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chiefs at Denimah, and also presents for twelve other chiefs, should he happen to meet with so many in his excursion. Besides these presents, I sent a chest of ironmongery, cutlery, and cloths, to barter for such things as the islanders might still have to sell which had formerly belonged to the wrecks.
I would have proceeded myself with this expedition, but that I apprehended the approach of bad weather, the change of the moon and equinox taking place within a few days of each other; and the ship being at anchor in an open roadstead, would be exposed to great danger, in case we were visited by a gale from the N.E.
Letter of Instruction to the Officer in charge of the Boats.
18th of September, 1827. Sır:- The boats under your charge being now ready to proceed on an expedition round this island, it is my wish that you set out to-morrow morning between the hours of four and five o'clock, and proceed as follows:
After leaving the ship, you will proceed with as little delay as possible to the village of Denimah, near the south-east point of Mannicolo, and give the three chiefs of that place the presents entrusted to you by me for that purpose.
If you can prevail on Owallie to accompany you round the island to the ship, do so, and promise that I will reward him for his trouble. Should Owallie not feel inclined to go with you, try to get one of the other two chiefs to accompany boats; that is, if either of the latter recollect the fatal accident.
From Denimah you will proceed along the coast to Paiow
(touching at the villages on your way), where a small ship or brig was built, by the islander's account, some thirty-five or forty years ago. On your arrival at this place, land and examine the spot carefully where the vessel was built, for the remains of any stone or wood fortification the builders might have erected for their defence against the islanders; also, examine the shore carefully for any trench or channel that might have been dug out for the purpose of launching the vessel.
Be very particular in examining the trees, rocks, and stones adjacent to where the vessel was built, for inscriptions that might be cut on them, or for plates of copper or brass that might be nailed up. Should you meet with an epitaph or inscription to lead you to the grave of any of the unfortunate shipwrecked people, allow it to be opened, and the bones removed if any remain.
It cannot for a moment be supposed that such enlightened men as the Count de la Pérouse and his officers would remain on this island several months without leaving some account of their misfortunes, either engraved on the rocks, stones, trees, or buried in the earth, with instructions to guide future navigators where to find it. I fervently hope you will be successful in making such a discovery, for the satisfaction of our Government and honourable employers.
Without the aid of some of the aged islanders in the neighbourhood of Paiow, you may not find the spot where the vessel was built. If you are fortunate in finding the place, I am clearly of opinion you will find sufficient engraved on the rocks, stones, or trees, to put the question at rest which has interested the friends of humanity for the last forty years.
After doing all that is necessary at Paiow, proceed to Whannow, and from there to the ship, touching at the intervening villages, to purchase all articles that may be in the hands of the 'islanders from the shipwreck, so as to enable me to trace out to whom and where they originally belonged.
You will make it one of your first points of duty to allow no person or persons accompanying you to purchase the smallest article from the islanders, and be particular that the islanders are paid for such things as they feel inclined to dispose of, with the property sent by me for that purpose, and no other.
Should M. Chaigneau, the French agent, who accompanies you, feel inclined to make the islanders presents, on landing or going from the shore, of such articles as he possesses, you will not interrupt him in so doing.
On your return to the ship, I will require a written certificate from you to the above effect, to which you are to place your signature, stating that you are willing to make oath to its accuracy whenever called upon so to do by the Government you are now so honourably serving; which Government has fitted out this expedition from the purest motives of philanthropy.
I wish you to inquire of the chief Owallie, how or in what way the four men came on shore from the ship wrecked off Paiow to Denimah. Be particular in not putting any leading questions to the islanders, Martin Bushart, or Rathea, but note down what they say. From your questions, if judiciously put, and their answers, we may draw a conclusion.
At no time place confidence in the Tucopian, who answers in a way that he thinks will please us. With respect to Martin, he understands our language indifferently; you will, therefore, make him understand your questions clearly before he puts them to the islanders through Rathea.
A judicious distribution of the articles sent as presents for twelve chiefs, exclusive of those at Denimah, will secure for
respect and esteem of the islanders. Make all inquiries in your power at Paiow and Whannow regarding the particulars of the ships wrecked in that neighbourhood, also if the heads alluded to are as yet in the spirithouse. Make friends with the priests at the different villages you visit, and try to prevail on them by flattery to sell you
some or all of the articles from the wrecks, offered by them to the deity.
With respect to being on your guard against the islanders, sleeping out of the boats, more than a certain number of persons landing, keeping close company, observations on soundings, remarks on the coast, bays, harbour, reefs, &c. you will proceed as formerly directed.
I shall conclude by wishing you a safe and successful cruize, and beg to say that it is necessary you should be on board the ship on the evening of Friday the 21st of this month.
I am, &c.
(Signed) P. Dillon.
19th.—At daylight the boats set out on the expedition planned yesterday. In the course of the day we were visited by the canoes belonging to the two villages in our neighbourhood, with several cocoa-nuts and a few bananas, a part of which they disposed of at a very dear rate. For a chisel and a small bit of red cloth I procured from them one half of what I supposed to be a Chinese curry-dish, ornamented with figures of flowers, fishes, and a bird. It might have belonged to a set of china procured by la Pérouse at Manilla, while the ships under his command were at anchor there, prior to his departure from thence for the coast of Tartary and Gulf of Sachilene. I also procured the elbow of an iron knee with the remains of two bolt-holes in it, making the eighth we received from the islanders since our arrival. The use of iron knees was solely con
fined to king's ships at the time of the wreck of la Pérouse.
20th.–Fine trade weather. All the male inhabitants in our neighbourhood came off to-day with cocoa-nuts, bananas, and a few fish of the mullet species, also some of another sort, curiously variegated with blue, yellow, black, and grey lines down the sides. There were several sharks about the ship of a monstrous size, spotted black and white; we hooked one of them, and notwithstanding he struggled for nearly half an hour, suspended half out of the water, during which time he received several pistol shots in his back and belly, and was attacked and grievously wounded in the fin and belly by a fish of his own species, and nearly as large, he at last succeeded in getting away.
I procured from the islanders this forenoon a cold chisel, fitted with a handle somewhat like a hand-hammer, and some iron bolts.
At 6 P.M. the boats under Mr. Russell's command hove in sight, and shortly after reached the ship, after having circumnavigated the island, and procured from the natives the following articles, viz.
A quantity of bolt iron unwrought of various dimensions, one piece measuring 9 feet 21 inches, another 6 feet 95 inches, another 5 feet 5 10 inches, with nineteen other bolts of various lengths and diameters. The following were of wrought iron : viz. 1 piece of iron bolt with a cross at the end, 5 feet 6 inches long.-1 remains of a very large eye-bolt