Billeder på siden

however, could paddle round us, so that we were obliged to sustain the attack without being able to return it, except with such stones as lodged in the boat, and in this I found we were very inferior to them. We could not close, because our boat was lumbered and heavy, and that they knew very well : I therefore adopted the expedient of throwing overboard some cloaths, which they lost time in picking up; and, as it was now almost dark, they gave over the attack, and returned towards the shore, leaving us to reflect on our unhappy situation.

“ The poor man I lost was John Norton : this was his second voyage with me as quarter-master, and his worthy character made me lament his loss very much. He has left an aged parent, I am told, whom he supported."

The account the natives gave was to the following purpose. Part of Captain Bligh's crew had been on shore to procure water, and had all returned into their boat, except one man, who was making the best of his way after his companions, with an axe in his hand; some of the natives, perceiving the axe, resolved to possess themselves of it, particularly one of them, who was a carpenter; they accordingly pursued him, and this carpenter,

throwing a stone at him, knocked him down,
and, coming up, beat him on the head with
stones till he was dead. They then stripped
the body, and dragged it up the country
towards a marly', where they left it exposed
two or three days, and afterwards buried it
near the spot. They said very little about a
general attack, merely stating, that some of the
natives threw stones at Captain Bligh's boat;
and Mr. Mariner, at that time, not having
read the narrative, did not enquire into such
particulars as he otherwise would have done:
but the most wonderful part of the story is,
that the whole track of ground through which
the body was dragged, had ever since been
destitute of grass, as well as the spot on which
it lay for two or three days. It was this cir-
cumstance, principally, that engaged Mr. Ma-
riner to visit the place, and there, indeed, he
found the bare track of ground from the beach
to near the place where they say he was buried;
nor has it much the appearance of a beaten
path, besides that it leads to and from places,
where there are but few inhabitants : at the
termination of this track there is a bare place,
lying transversely, about the length and breadth
of a man.
However trivial such accounts may appear


[ocr errors]

in themselves, they are worth mentioning, with a view to contrast them with the accounts given by credible travellers, that they may tend to prove how far the statements of the natives may be depended on; besides which, in some instances, as in the present, they shew what kind of superstitions they are subject to (for another instance of this kind, see the affair of the missionaries, p. 66). As to the bare track, although it may not now have much the appearance of a beaten path, owing to the grass having grown irregularly on either side, yet there is every probability that, some years back, it was such, in a great degree, though now little trod : but those who are willing to keep up the spirit of the wonderful, have attributed it to this supernatural cause. Superstitions, in all countries, are much of the same kind; we have similar ones in our own; but, whilst men of cultivated minds disregard them, the vulgar in general most firmly believe them, particularly where there is some sensible object that appears to corroborate the tale.

Whilst Finow was yet at the Hapai islands, he often held conversations at his cava parties with Filimóëátoo, respecting the nature of affairs at Tonga. Among other things, this ehief related, that a ship from Botany Bay had touched there about a week before he arrived, and which had on board a Tonga chief, Páloo Máta Móigna, and his wife, Fataféhi, both of whom had formerly left Tonga (before the death of Toogoo Ahoo), and had resided some years at the Fiji islands, from which place they afterwards went along with one Selly (as they pronounced it), or, probably, Selby, an En. glishman, in a vessel belonging to Botany Bay, to reside there. At this latter place, he and his wife remained about two years, and now, on their return to Tonga, finding the island in such an unsettled state, they chose rather (notwithstanding the earnest entreaties of their friends) to go back again to Botany Bay. The account they gave of the English customs at this place, and the treatment they met with, it may be worth while to mention. The first thing that he and his wife had to do, when they arrived at the governor's house, where they went to reside, was to sweep out a large court yard, and clean down a great pair of stairs ; in vain they endeavoured to explain, that, in their own country they were chiefs, and, being accustomed to be waited on, were quite unused to such employments : their expostulations were taken no notice of, and work they must. At first their life was so uncomfortable, that they wished to die; no one seemed to protect them ; all the houses were shut against them; if they saw any body eating, they were not invited to partake: nothing was to be got without money, of which they could not comprehend the value, nor how this same money was to be obtained in any quantity; if they asked for it, nobody would give them any, unless they worked for it, and then it was so small in quantity, that they could not get one tenth part of what they wanted with it. One day, whilst sauntering about, the chief fixed his eyes upon a cook's shop, and, seeing several people enter, and others, again, coming out with victuals, he made sure that they were sharing out food, according to the old Tonga fashion, and in he went, glad enough of the occasion, expecting to get some pork ; after waiting some time, with anxiety to be helped to his share, the master of the shop asked him what he wanted, and, being answered in an unknown language, straightway kicked him out, taking him for a thief, that only wanted an opportunity to steal. Thus, he said, even being a chief did not prevent him being used ill, for, when he told them he was a chief, they gave him to understand, that money made a

« ForrigeFortsæt »