Billeder på siden

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 undefend. ed, 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 en, deavoured 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 warwhoop 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 fol, lowed 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.

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 enter. ed 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 destruction within, although, without, the damage appeared in Finow's eyes so inconsiderable; but he had formed his judgment of the effect of the guns by their effect upon the fencing.

The king, having finished this affair, began to think of returning to Pangaimotoo: Mr. Mariner, indeed, endeavoured to persuade him to follow up the advantages of his victory by immediately laying siege to another fortress, which, no doubt, would soon have fallen into their hands; and the whole island, being struck with dismay, would readily have submitted to his government. But, it seems, Finow was not yet the complete warrior ; or he thought, perhaps, that, having such powerful weapons in his possession, he could reduce the island at any future time.

Pangamotoo is not more than three quarters of a mile distant from Tonga, separated from it only by a long narrow reef. To this place Finow returned with all his men, intending to go back to Tonga another day. As soon as they landed, they sat down to eat, not having taken any refreshment since morning, with the exception of some of the men, whose stomachs not being the inost delicate, had partaken of some yams and plantains that they found roasting along with the bodies of the dead in the general conflagration at Nioocalofa,

They remained several days at this island, during which time several canoes were sent to an uninhabited part of Tonga for the purpose

of procuring reeds to rebuild the fortress of Nioocalofa. This step was taken by the admonition of the gods, who were consulted on the occasion through the medium of the priests.

As the invocation of the gods, and inspiration of the priests, are circumstances that will often occur in the course of this work, it will be well to take the present opportunity of describing them.

The night previous to the consultation of the oracle, the chief orders his cooks to kill and

prepare a hog, and to procure a basketof yams, and two bunches of ripe plantains. These things being got ready, the next morning they are carried to the place where the priest resides, or wherever he may be at that time: the priest is sometimes previously apprized of the circumstance, at other times not. The chiefs and matabooles clothe themselves in mats, and repair to the place where the priest is to be found: if it is at a house, the priest seats himself just within the eaves*; if at a distance, he seats

* Their houses are built somewhat in form of a shed, open all round, and the eaves coming within about four feet of the ground.

« ForrigeFortsæt »