Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

belonging to the chief of Myanboor were restored to him, as he had no concern in the conspiracy. While the assault upon the canoes was performing by the cutter, Mr. Norman had been no less active with the ship's people in setting fire to a native town, comprising about 50 huts, one-half of which they destroyed.

The next morning (Sept. 6) the cutter and ship, in company, got all clear to heave the cutter down; previous to effecting which, the Bough natives strongly exhorted the captain and officers to go on shore again, and take the remainder of the canoes, to prevent being attacked by them; and the advice was unfortunately approved. The vessel's boats were manned without delay, and the people landed, under no expectation that the inhabitants of the town had been reinforced.

The tide was now too low to get off the canoes: a rumber of natives, who chewed themselves, insulted the assailants with shouts and gestures, and in a passionate moment several huts were set on fire. The people from the vessels, unconscious of their danger, were separated into straggling parties; and lo! in an instant, as if by some signal given, they were on all sides surrounded by at least eight thousand armed men, assembled from all parts of the coast, possibly with intent to attack the vessels. Six of the Europeans, among whom were Mr. Norman, M'Cave, and Graham, confounded at the change, threw down their muskets and ran towards the boats—but were intercepted, and massacred with spears and clubs. Nine others, among whom was Mr. Dillon (who reports this tragical event) collected themselves, with a determination to resist as long as they were able. They made for the summit of a hill near the sea, and six reached the top, but left three of their companions on the way, dead or dying of their spear and arrow wounds. As they were now beyond the reach of spear and stones, and by a high wind providentially shielded from the arrows, whole flights of which were blown out of their destructive course, they defended themselves with their muskets, the dread of which deterred their opponents from any attempt to ascend the hill; and in this hopeless state having continued several hours, a priest ventured to approach them with friendly gestures, and was welcomed up. The business of his mission was to promise them security, provided they would release the eight natives who were prisoners in the vessels. Gladly consenting to this proposition, one of the Europeans accompanied the priest, who was of the highest order and consideration, down to the boats ; he went on board, and the eight patives were released accordingly; but during this interval two of the Europeans were by pacific signs and declarations induced to quit the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

summit of the hill, and to go down among them, against the
advice of Mr. D. and his two remaining companions; who
after refusing to follow his example, had the mortification to
see those also perish bencath the weight of innumerable
weapons. The defenders of the hill being so reduced in
number, were now furiously assaulted with stones and arrows
upon all sides; but the muskets still kept them at a distance.
After about four hours the priest, followed by the eight
natives, appeared in view, and hostilities were again sus-
pended. They went up the hill, and proffered to conduct
Mr. Dillon and the two remaining companions in safety to
their boats, provided they would suffer them to carry their
muskets. This proposal, after their treacherous murder of
the two who had inconsiderately ventured down among them,
they would not at all accede to; and while the priest was
haranguing on the policy of a compliance, Mr. Dillon got
behind him, and pressing the muzzle of his gun close behind
bis back, commanded him to proceed in a direct line for the
boats, threatening him with instant death if he either
hesitated, or if any of his people should attempt to attack
them or impede their passage. The priest proceeded as
directed ; and as he passed along, thought it prudent to
remind his countrymen that he was their chief divinity, and
that if, through any rash act of theirs, he should lose his life,
destruction would fall upon them all. By a well-timed pre-
sence of mind, these three persons got safely to one of the
boats, and were happy in once more gaining their vessels
an event which a few minutes before was beyond the reach of
hope. Next morning, the 7th, a party went on shore with a
considerable property to offer a ransom for the bones of their
late ill-fated companions--but, alas ! not one could be pro-
duced ; and the wretched cannibals replied to the request,
that they had been devoured the night before !

All the persons whom we have already mentioned as living among the natives of Bough lost their lives in the melancholy contest, as did also Mr. Norman and Mr. Cox, officers ; Hugh Evans, seaman ; and a Lascar named Jonno, belonging to the vessel ; in all fourteen persons. The same day (the 7th) they left the dreadful place, and kept company as far as the New Hebrides, where they (the Hunter and Elizabeth) parted, the 22d ult.

Captain Dillon's two remaining companions, who escaped with him, were William Wilson and Martin Bushart." If Bushart and the Lascar, who also took refuge on board the Hunter, had returned to the island, they certainly would have been sacrificed, and under this impression they besought Captain Robson to give then a passage to the first land he fell in with, in the prosecution of his voyage to

[ocr errors]

VOL. II.

2 F

Canton. Having finally left the Fejees on the 12th of September, the Hunter made land on the 20th, which proved to be the island of Tuccopeea, in lat. 12 deg. 15 min. south, and east long. 169 deg. Here Bushart and a Lascar, with his wife a Fejee woman, requested to be put ashore, and they were accordingly left, and the ship pursued her voyage.

In 1826, returning from Valparaiso, in the St. Patrick, Capt. Dillon came in sight of Tuccopeea, and curiosity prompted him to heave-to off the island, and ascertain whether the persons left there in 1813 were still alive. Both Martin Bushart and the Lascar appeared; when an old silver swordguard, in possession of the latter, led to inquiries which ierminated in the discovery of the relics obtained from the wreck of Pérouse's vessels on the coral reefs which surround Manicolo. Thus it is to the circumstance of Bushart and the Lascar having escaped the massacre at the Fejee Islands, and being accidentally landed at Tuccopeea, that we are indebted for the information industriously collected by Captain Dillon.

Letter from the Secretary of the Assiatic Society of Bengal,

to Captain Dillon, SIR;-I am desired by the Asiatic Society to acknowledge the donation made by you, of various articles of interest, from New Zealand, Tucopia, Manicolo, and other islands in the same direction.

The number and value of the articles presented, entitle you, in the opinion of the Society, to more than ordinary acknowledgement, especially marking in the most indisputable manner, the interest you have taken in the objects of the Society, and the active zeal with which you have accumulated accessions to their Museum, illustrative of the state of society amongst the South Sea Islanders.

Although not called upon to express my opinion upon the great purpose your voyage, the discovery of relics of the wreck of Count La Pérouse, the Society have thought it incumbent upon them to institute such an examination, as the period of your further stay in Calcutta will permit; a Committee has been accordingly nominated to inspect the articles, and report upon their probable origin, at the next general meeting. A copy of their report will be forwarded to you in England.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,

H. H. Wilson, Calcutta, May 10, 1828.

Sec. As. Soc.

of

Report of the Committee of the Asiatic Society of Bengal,

on the Relics procured at Manicolo. The Committee of the members of the Asiatic Society, appointed to inspect and report upon the articles brought by Captain Dillon, as remains of the vessels commanded by Count La Pérouse, assembled accordingly at the Society's Rooms, on Friday the 9th instant, at seven o'clock.

The articles were found to conform in general to the list furnished by Captain Dillon, and by their character and quantity furnish indubitable indications of the loss of some vessel or vessels in the vicinity of the places where they were found, or the islands designated by Captain Dillon as Tuccopeea and Manicolo.

It is also highly probable, from the presence of the fleur. de-lis on various articles, from the bell inscribed • Bazin ma, fait,' from the piece of timber which seems to have been the ornamented back-board of a large boat, from the sword-hilt, which is of the same pattern as the guard pronounced in Paris to be of French manufacture, and from the make of the guns, that the vessel or vessels were French.

It is impossible to arrive at the positive conclusion, that the articles were derived from the wreck of the Astrobale and Boussole ; but it is not known that any other French ships have ever been lost amongst the South Sea Islands, and there are several circumstances in favour of the supposition.

The calibre of the guns, of which three are 2 in., and one 1 in., correspond severally to the description of the brass guns given in a French Journal, entitled Annales Maritimes et Coloniales for April and May 1827, which specifies their carrying shot of 1 16. and 1 lb. ; we believe that the calibre of these guns is not noticed in the account of Pérouse's voyage.

The articles called brass sheaves of top-masts in Captain Dillon's list, appear to be those of a purchase-block for heaving down a ship, and are not usually supplied to vessels except when they are engaged in distant voyages.

The articles deseribed in Captain Dillon's list as a circular plate of brass, part of some nautical instrument, and a brass circle belonging to an azimuth compass, are parts of a theodolite : an instrument not likely to be found on an ordinary trading vessel, and one with which Pérouse's ships were supplied, as appears from the list of scientific instruments published in the account of his voyage.

The list of articles provided as presents, in the same account, specifies large quantities of bar and bolt iron, and china-ware coloured and gilt: fragments of the latter, which appear to have been partly gilt, are amongst Captain Dillon's collection, and the iron bolts are of some size and number.

There are other considerations of a similar nature, which it is unnecessary here to detail. Those already pointed out, combined with the history of Pérouse's loss, and the circumstances of the discovery of the articles collected, seem to us to authorize the conjecture that they are derived from the source to which they have been assigned by the discoverer. It will, however, without doubt, be easy to determine the question in France, and the manufacture of the bell and the brass guns, the latter of which bear double numbers, will be promptly identified. Whatever may be the result, the articles prove that the expedition to discover vestiges of La Pérouse was not undertaken without some grounds of reasonable hope that the fate of the navigator would be ascertained. The collections made with this view, and also for the extension of the Society's Museum, are highly creditable to the activity and zeal of Captain Dillon. (Signed) J. BRYANT, Col.

J. ATKINSON,
J. VAUGHAN, Col.
H. H. Wilson, Sec. As. Soc.
C. C. EGERTON,
J. A. Hodgson, Col., Surv. Gen.
J. ADAMS, M.D.
J. CALDER,
F. JENKINS,

J. Kyd, Master Ship-builder to Hon. Com. Members of the Asiatic Society appointed to inspect the articles brought by Capt. Dillon, as remains of the wreck of Pérouse, and report at the next meeting of the Society their opinions of the probable source from whence they were derived.

(True Copy.) H. H. Wilson, Sec. As. Soc. Calcutta May 9, 1828

London :

Y'RINTED BY J. I. COX, GREAT QUEEN STREET,

Lincoln's-Inn Fields,

« ForrigeFortsæt »