« FöregåendeFortsätt »
says, “to intimidate the Indians, I fired a nine. pounder over their heads." This, as might have been imagined, startled the islanders, but did not prevent them from attempting immediately to cut off the cutter, as she was standing towards the ship. Several stones were thrown into this boat, on which the commanding officer fired a musket, loaded with buckshot, at the man who threw the first stone, and wounded him in the shoulder.
Finding no good anchorage at this place, the ship proceeded to another part of the island, where, on one of the boats being assailed by the Indians in two or three canoes, with their clubs and paddles in their hands, “ Our people,” says the commander, “being much pressed, were obliged to fire, by which one of the assailants was killed, and another much wounded." This unlucky rencounter did not, however, prevent, as soon as the ship was moored, a great number of canoes from coming off the next morning, with hogs, fowls, and fruit. A brisk traffic soon commenced, our people exchanging knives, nails, and trinkets for more substantial articles of food, of which they were in want. Among the canoes that came out last were some double ones of very large size, with twelve or fifteen stout men in each, and it was observed that they had little on board except a quantity of round pebble stones. Other canoes came off along with them, having only women on board ; and while these females were assiduously practising their allurements, by attitudes that could not be misunderstood, with the view, as it would seem, to distract the attention of the crew, the large double canoes closed round the ship; and as these advanced, some of the men began singing, some blowing conchs, and others playing on flutes. One of them, with a person sitting under a canopy, approached che ship so close, as to allow this person to hand up a bunch of red and yellow feathers, making signs it was for the captain. He then put off to a little dis
tance, and, on holding up the branch of a cocoanut tree, there was a universal shout from all the canoes, which at the same moment moved towards the ship, and a shower of stones was poured into her on every side. The guard was now ordered to fire, and two of the quarter-deck guns, loaded with small shot, were fired among them at the same time, which created great terror and confusion, and caused them to retreat to a short distance. In a few minutes, however, they renewed the attack. The great guns were now ordered to be discharged among them, and also into a mass of canoes that were putting off from the shore. It is stated, that at this time there could not be less than three hundred canoes about the ship, having on board at least two thousand men. Again they dispersed, but having soon collected into something like order, they hoisted white streamers, and pulled towards the ship's stern, when they again began to throw stones with great force and dexterity, by the help of slings, each of the stones weighing about two pounds, and many of them wounded the people on board. At length a shot hit the canoe that apparently had the chief on board, and cut it asunder. This was no sooner observed by the rest than they all dispersed, in such haste that in half an hour there was not a single canoe to be seen; and all the people who had crowded the shore fled over the hills with the ut. most precipitation. What was to happen on he following day was matter of conjecture, but this point was soon decided.
“The white man landed ;-need the rest be told !
The new world stretch'd its dusk hand to the old.**
Lieutenant Furneaux, on the next morning, landed without opposition close to a fine river that fell into the bay,-stuck up a staff on which was hoisted a pendant,-turned a turf,--and by this process took possession of the island in the name of his majesty.
and called it King George the Third's Island. Just as he was embarking, an old man, to whom the lieutenant had given a few trifles, brought some green boughs, which he threw down at the foot of the staff, then retiring, brought about a dozen of his countrymen, who approached the staff in a supplicating posture, then retired and brought two live hogs, which they laid down at the foot of the staff, and then began to dance. After this ceremony the hogs were put into a canoe, and the old man carried them on board, handing up several green plantain leaves, and uttering a sentence on the delivery of each. Some presents were offered him in return, but he would accept of none.
Concluding that peace was now established, and that no further attack would be made, the boats were sent on shore the following day to get water. While the casks were filling, several natives were perceived coming from behind the hills and through the woods, and at the same time a multitude of canoes from behind a projecting point of the bay As these were discovered to be laden with stones and were making towards the ship, it was concluded their intention was to try their fortune in a second grand attack. 66 As to shorten the contest would certainly lessen the mischief, I determined,” says Captain Wallis, " to make this action decisive, and put an end to hostilities at once." Accordingly a tremendous fire was opened at once on all the groups of canoes, which had the effect of immediately dispersing them. The fire was then directed into the wood, to drive out the islanders, who had assembled in large numbers, on which they all fled to the hill, where
the women and children had seated themselves. Here they collected to the amount of several thousands, imagining themselves at that distance to be perfectly safe. The captain, lowever, ordered four shot to be fired over them; but two of he balls having fallen close to a tree where a numbe.
of the were sitting, they were so struck with terror and consternation, that in less than two minutes not a creature was to be seen. The coast being cleared, the boats were manned and armed, and all the carpenters with their axes were sent on shore, with directions to destroy every canoe they could find; and we are told this service was effectually performed, and that more than fifty canoes, many of which were sixty feet long and three broad, and lashed together, were cut to pieces.
This act of severity must have been cruelly felt by these poor people, who, without iron or any kind of tools, but such as stones, shells, teeth, and bones supplied them with, must have spent months and probably years in the construction of one of these extraordinary double boats.
Such was the inauspicious commencement of our acquaintance with the natives of Otaheite. Their determined hostility and perseverance in an combat could only have arisen from one of two motives—either from an opinion that a ship of such magnitude as they had never before beheld could only be come to their coast to take their country from them; or an irresistible temptation to endea. vour, at all hazards, to possess themselves of so valuable a prize. Be that as it may, the dread inspired by the effects of the cannon, and perhaps a conviction of the truth of what had been explained to them, that the “ strangers wanted only provisions and water,” had the effect of allaying all jealousy; for from the day of the last action, the most friendly and uninterrupted intercourse was established, and continued to the day of the Dolphin's departure; and provisions of all kinds, hogs, dogs, fruit, and vegetables, were supplied in the greatest abundance, in exchange for pieces of iron, nails, and trinkets.
As a proof of the readiness of these simple people to forgive injuries, a poor woman, accompa nied by a young man bearing a branch of the plan
tain-tree, and another man with two hogs, ap. proached the gunner, whom Captain Wallis had appointed to regulate the market, and looking round on the strangers with great attention, fixing her eyes sometimes on one and sometimes on another, at length burst into tears. It appeared that her husband and three of her sons had been killed in the attack on the ship. While this was under explanation, the poor creature was so affected as to require the support of the two young men, who from their weeping were probably two more of her sons. When somewhat composed, she ordered the two hogs to be delivered to the gunner, and gave him her hand in token of friendship, but would accept nothing in return.
Captain Wallis was now so well satisfied that there wa nothing further to apprehend from the hostility of the natives, that he sent a party up the country to cut wood, who were treated with great kindness and hospitality by all they met, and the ship was visited by persons of both sexes, who by their dress and behaviour appeared to be of a superior rank. Among others was a tall lady about fiveand-forty years of age, of a pleasing countenance and majestic deportment. She was under no restraint, either from diffidence or fear, and conducted herself with that easy freedom which generally distinguishes conscious superiority and habitual command. She accepted some small present which the captain gave her, with a good grace and much pleasure; and having observed that he was weak and suffering from ill health, she pointed to the shore, which he understood to be an invitation, and made signs that he would go thither the next morning. His visit to this lady displays so much character and good feeling, that it will heşt be described in the captain's own words.,
ã The next morning I went on shore for the first tinie, and my princess, or rather queen, for such by