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for barter consisted as usual of hogs, bread-fruit, cocoanuts, yams, spears, and clubs, besides other pieces of ingenious manufacture. But their demands were so high that little was purchased; while, to the confusion of both parties, it was discovered that the people of the Society Íslands, some of whom were on board, could not understand the language of their western neighbours. It had been supposed by certain authors, that there was only one dialect among the inhabitants of the Southern Pacific; later investigations, however, have proved that the aborigines of the Fijee Archipelago, with whom the Friendly tribes have constant intercourse, use a form of speech quite different from that which prevails among the families of the windward groups. A chief presented himself to the captain of the English ship, asserting that he possessed great power in the country, and added, that some white men had taken refuge in his dominions. Two of these individuals, who also soon made their appearance, proved to be Benjamin Ambler and John Connelly, the one a native of London, and the other of Cork, and both runaway convicts from New South Wales.*
From the former of these persons Wilson learned, that the chief who had visited him presided over all the eastern part of the island, but that another, named Tibo Moomooe, who was generally considered the king, intended to come on board in a day or two. Hearing that this ruler was celebrated for humanity to his subjects and hospitality to strangers, the captain apprized Ambler of the object of his voyage to those remote shores, and requested his opinion as to the expediency of establishing a mission. To this the other replied, that the natives would certainly receive them gladly, and even treat them with kindness; but with respect to the security of
*“ They were convicts who escaped from Port Jackson in the same vessel with Mr Muir the Jacobin. They were recognised by several of Captain Garden's crew, whom he brought from Port Jackson in the Mercury, and appear to have arrived at Tonga in March 1796.”—Greathead's MS. Notes. Campbell's Maritime Discovery, p. 315.
any kind of moveable goods, he could give him no as
Connelly, who seemed to speak with greater openness, did not conceal that their lives also would be in danger, if it were found that they possessed iron tools, and, on any occasion, attempted to defend themselves against private robbers, a class of men, it was admitted, nearly commensurate in number with all the male inhabitants of the island. As to a house, they had no doubt that Tibo would give them a suitable one, and would, moreover, so far as his influence extended, protect their bodies from violence, and their property from depredation; hinting, at the same time, that their chance of a comfortable maintenance would be the greater, if they separated, and placed themselves in different parts of the country, under the eye of subordinate chiefs.
The assurances now given were afterwards confirmed by Moomooe himself, who, when on board the Duff, was informed that the men who had been brought from England to live with him, would teach his people all the useful arts, and other things of much more importance to their welfare. The generous savage replied, that he not only acquiesced in the proposal for their residence in his dominions, but would also make a proper provision for their comfort. He assured them, that for the present they should have a dwelling near his own, until one more suitable, with a portion of land attached to it, could be provided ; that he would take care neither their persons nor property should receive the slightest molestation ; and that if they did not like the situation of their residence, he would give orders to have another prepared in a more convenient locality. Upon going ashore, the brethren found within an enclosure of a few acres five houses, the largest of which was intended for themselves. It was thirty-six feet long, twenty broad, with a roof fifteen feet high in the middle, resting upon wooden pillars. The floor was raised about a foot, and covered with thick clean matting.
The missionaries, finding that the majority of the chiefs, with the larger portion of the people, resided at
the western end of the island, expressed a desire to place themselves under the protection of Finou Toogahowe, brother of the ruler who made so favourable an impression on Captain Cook; and with this view they despatched Ambler to make a proposal for their settling on his lands. Meanwhile the pompous personage who had favoured the ship with the first visit, entreated that five of the teachers should be stationed on his territory; a request with which, as they were unwilling to separate from each other, they respectfully declined to comply. In the course of the same day, the English envoy arrived on board with Finou, who had already agreed to take all the brethren under his care, and to bestow upon them a house surrounded by a large portion of land. He was the most powerful chief as well as the greatest warrior in Tongataboo, and it was expected that on the death of Moomooe he would be formally chosen king of the whole country. Lest any mistake should have arisen from misconception or fraud on the part of Ambler, the captain requested that Toogahowe would repeat, in the presence of the missionaries, his promise to defend them from all danger, and likewise to supply a suitable maintenance. Mr Wilson therefore recited anew every particular of the conditions to which it was understood he had given his assent. The morose barbarian, who seemed to understand the greater part of what was said, looked as if he felt that his veracity was called in question, and answered somewhat haughtily, that if they chose to land, they might live in his district in what manner they pleased ; that no one should be allowed to hurt them; and that he would without delay send a double canoe, which should take them and their effects ashore.
This negotiation was hardly completed, when Ambler told the captain that an intention was formed to massacre him and all his crew. The conspiracy, it was alleged, comprehended all the men in eight double canoes of the largest size, as well as hundreds more, whose means of attack were less formidable, In such circumstances, though little reliance could be placed on the good faith of the informer, measures of precaution were immediately adopted. All the natives were turned out of the ship except Toogahowe and his personal attendants; the small arms were laid in readiness for use; the great guns were loaded with grape, and every man was placed at his quarters. The truth of the representation was never ascertained, though appearances fully justified all the steps which were taken. In the canoes which surrounded the ship there were not fewer than three thousand warriors, all armed with clubs or spears; a force against which, had an attack been suddenly commenced, the utmost resistance which could have been made by a small body of undisciplined sailors must have been found altogether unavailing.
On the 12th April, the brethren landed, not without some apprehension of danger to life and property. No sooner had they reached the shore than their luggage was surrounded by a hundred of the natives, whose suspicious motions might be traced either to curiosity or a desire to steal, both equally characteristic of the savage state. Mytyle, a chief whose authority could not be resisted in that quarter, ordered the chests to be removed into a house; menacing the covetous crowd with the severest punishment should any one of them, during the ensuing night, disturb the repose of the strangers. On the afternoon of the 14th, the last boatful of goods was landed, at which juncture the missionaries reported that all was well, and that the people appeared kindly disposed towards them. The captain then took an affectionate leave of his friends, promising, if possible, to remain on the coast till the following morning ; but a heavy gale at an early hour compelled him to leave the vicinity of the reefs and stand out into the depth of the ocean. The christian ministers watched her labouring amid the waves, till she disappeared from their view in the distant horizon. A feeling of sadness then arose, and some tears of regret fell from their eyes, whilst they looked around upon the island on which they had been left, far distant from the regions of civilized life, as the scene where they were to pass their days, and probably encounter a premature death. This, they said to each other, “ is the ground where our bodies will moulder to dust ; this we must now look upon as our country and our grave. But there were ten of us in company, all social and friendly, all attached to each other, all of similar sentiment, all at this time united in love and zeal for our Divine Master, and all glowing with an earnest desire to convey the blessing of his inestimable and glorious gospel to the friendly but heathen inhabitants around us."*
The missionaries were not long resident in the island before they had an opportunity of witnessing, in their most appalling form, the horrors of the native superstition, Moomooe, the sovereign chief, being on his deathbed, a young man, son of the king himself, was strangled in the presence of his parent, not so much with the view of appeasing the angry spirit who is supposed to cut the thread of life, as to transfer to the patient a portion of the vigour which belonged to the victim whose days were thus brought to a close. But this sacrifice proved unavailing, for the disease under which the old monarch laboured was destined to complete its work. Immense preparations for the funeral immediately followed; the people flocking from all quarters with hogs, fruit, cloth, spears, and clubs.
The christian teachers, in whose vicinity this pageant was set forth, relate that the exhibition began with loud shouting and the blowing of conch shells, when speedily about a hundred men appeared armed with clubs and spears. These infatuated wretches cut and mangled themselves in the most barbarous manner; many struck their heads with their weapons so violently that the blows were heard at a great distance;
* Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean in the ship Duff, p. 102-112. Campbell's Maritime Discovery and Christian Missions, p. 302. The latter author trusts chiefly for his materials to the narrative contained in the Missionary Voyage, aided by a reference to journals kept by the teachers them. selves, published in their several Magazines and Registers.