Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

CHAP. IV.

Disembarkation of the forces—Siege of Nioocalofa-De

struction of the fortress-Cruelty of the conquerorsDecription of the effect of the artillery-Embarkation for Pangaimotoo-Ceremony of invoking a God—Inspiration of a priest—Return to Tonga—The fortress rebuilt-Cannibalism-Garrison of Bea enters into alliance with FinowFinow embarks again for Pangaimotoo, leaving the fortress in the care of the chief of Bea–Treachery of this chief-Return of the fleet to the Hapai islands Astonishment of Finow at the mode of communicating sentiments by writing, with the circumstance that gave rise to it—A Tonga chief and his family join FinowArrival at Lefooga-Ceremony of Fuccalahi-Ceremony of marriage between Tooitonga and Finow's daughter.

Finow being arrived with the whole of his fleet off Nioocalofa, and having with him, besides Mr. Mariner, fifteen other Englishmen, eight of whom were armed with muskets, he proceeded to land his troops under cover of a fire of musketry, which speedily drove almost all the enemy who had sallied forth back into the garrison. The first fire killed three, and wounded several; and a repetition of it threw them into such dismay, that in five minutes

only forty of the braveșt remained to molest them; and these began to retire, as the forces of Finow increased on the beach. In the mean while, the carronades were dismounted from their carriages, slung on poles, and conveyed over a shallow reef to the shore. The whole army being landed, and the guns again mounted, the latter were drawn up before the garrison, and a regular fire was commenced. Finow took his station on the reef, seated in an English chair, (from the Port au Prince) for his chiefs would not allow him to expose his person on shore. The fire of the carronades was kept up for about an hour: in the mean while, as it did not do all the apparent mischief to the exterior of the fortress, owing to the yielding nature of its materials, that the king expected, he sent for Mr. Mariner, and expressed his disappointment: the latter replied, that no doubt there was mischief enough done on the inside of the fort, wherever there were resisting bodies, such as canoes, the posts and beams of houses, &c.; and that it was already very evident the besieged had no reason to think slightly of the effect of the artillery, seeing that they had already greatly slackened their exertions, not half the number of arrows being now discharged from the fort; arising, in all

probability, from the number of the slain, or of those who had fled up into the country. It was now resolved to set fire to the place; for which

purpose a number of torches were prepared and lighted, and an attack was made upon the outer fencing ; it was found, however, but weakly defended, and was soon taken : for the door-posts being shot away, an easy entrance was obtained, A considerable portion of the inner fencing was now found undefended, and towards this place a party rushed with lighted torches, whilst the enemy were kept in play elsewhere: the conflagration spread rapidly on every side ; and, as the besieged endeavoured to make their escape, their brains were knocked out by a party of the besiegers, stationed at the back of the fort for the purpose. During this time the guns kept up a regular fire with blank cartridges, merely to intimidate the enemy. The conquerors, club in hand, entered the place in several quarters, and slew all they met, men, women, and children. The scene was truly horrible. The war. whoop shouted

shouted by the combatants, the heartrending screams of the women and children, the groans of the wounded, the number of the dead, and the fierceness of the conflagration, formed a picture almost too distracting and

awful for the mind steadily to contemplate. Some, with a kind of sullen and stupid resignation, offered no resistance, but waited for the hand of fate to dispatch them, no matter in what mode: others, that were already lying on the ground wounded, were stuck with spears, and beaten about with clubs by boys who followed the expedition to be trained to the horrors of war, and who delighted in the opportunity of gratifying their ferocious and cruel disposition. Every house that was not on fire was plundered of its contents; and the conquerors made a considerable booty of bales of gnatoo, mats, &c.

In a few hours, the fortress of Nioocalofa, which had obstinately and bravely defended every attack for eleven years, or more, was thus completely destroyed. When Finow arrived upon the place, and saw several canoes which had been hauled up in the garrison, shattered to pieces by the shot, and discovered a number of legs and arms lying around, and about three hundred and fifty bodies stretched upon the ground, he expressed his wonder and astonishment at the dreadful effect of the guns. He thanked his men for their bravery, and Mr. Mariner and his companions in particular, for the great assistance rendered by them.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

A few of the enemy, who had escaped the general slaughter, were taken prisoners. They gave a curious description of the effect of the guns. · They declared, that, when a ball entered a house, it did not proceed straight forward, but went all round the place, as if seeking for men to kill; it then went out of the house and entered another, still in search of food for its vengeance, and so on to a third, &c.; sometimes it would strike the corner-post of a house, and bring it all down together. The chiefs, seeing all this dreadful mischief going forward, rendered still more tremendous by their own imagination, sat in consultation, upon one of the large canoes just mentioned, and came to a determination to rush out upon the white men, and take possession of the guns: this was scarcely resolved upon, when a shot struck the canoe on which they were sitting, and shattered it to pieces. This so damped their courage, that they ran for security to one of the inner houses of the garrison, when their distress was much increased by finding their men deserting the place, and running up into the country. Thus every thing was going to de-struction within, although, without, the damage appeared in Finow's eyes so inconsiderable;

« ForrigeFortsæt »