Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

the wars of others, but entered into one of their own, for the greater acquirement of plunder: and their superior bravery rendered them very successful. Tired at length with their long absence from home, they returned to Tonga; leaving their own canoes behind them, and coming away in the better formed ones of the Feejee islands. In their passage however they experienced a heavy gale, during which one of the canoes, with some of the choicest men, was lost. On the arrival of the remainder at the island of Tonga, they found the place in a state of insurrection ; the cause and circumstances of which are as follow : Long before the period of Tooi Hala Fatai's departure for Feejee, Toogoo Ahoo had succeeded to the throne ; but had held the reins of government not with the complete satisfaction of his people: far from it. He is reported to have been a man of a vindictive and cruel turn of mind, taking every opportunity to exert his authority; and frequently in a manner not only cruel, but wanton : as an instance of which, he on one occasion gave orders (which were instantly obeyed,) that twelve of his cooks, who always were in waiting at his public ceremony of drinking cava, should undergo the amputation of their left arms, merely to distin

[ocr errors]

guish them from other men; and for the vanity of rendering himself singular by this extraordinary exercise of his authority. This and many other acts of cruelty laid the groundwork for an insurrection, and a complete revolution in the affairs of Tonga. Toobo Neuha, a great chief, and brother of Finow, felt, or conceived himself, to be exceedingly oppressed by the tyranny of Toogoo Ahoo; till at length he determined to be free, or to die in the attempt. With this view he often conversed with Finow, (at that time tributary chief of the Hapai islands,) sounding his opinion, and spurring him on to the same resolution; with the declaration, that if he would not assist him, he would manage the whole conspiracy himself. Led on partly by these persuasions, but principally by his own private views, Finow entered into a league with Toobo Neuha. One evening these two, attended by several of their usual followers, waited on Toogoo Ahoo, as was now and then customary, to pay their respects to him, by presents of cava root, cloth, a pig, and several baskets of yams; they then retired. This served as a plausible reason for their being that night in the neighbourhood of the king's house. About midnight they again repaired to his house with their followers, whom they placed around it as watchful guards, ready to dispatch all who might attempt to escape from the place: of these Finow took the command, whilst Toobo Neuha entered, armed with his axe, and burning with desire of revenge. As he passed along, on either hand lay the wives and favourite mistresses of the king, the matchless beauties of Tonga, perfumed with the aroma of sandal wood, and their necks strung with wreaths of the freshest flowers; the sanguinary chief could have wept over their fate, but the freedom of his country was at stake, and the opportunity was not to be lost. He sought the mat of his destined victim, where he lay buried in the profoundest sleep : he stood over him for a short moment, but being willing that he should know from whom he received his death, he struck him with his hand upon the face: Toogoo Ahoo started up, “ ”Tis I, Toobo Neuha, that strike," and a tremendous blow felled him to the ground, never to rise again. Horror and confusion immediately took place : Toobo Neuha snatched up the late king's adopted son, (a child of three years old,) whom he was desirous of saving, and rushed out of the house * the guards of Finow rushed in, when speedy death silenced the screams of those who but now lay reposed in the arms of sleep. The two chiefs and their followers betook themselves, as quickly as possible, to Hahagi, the northern part of the island. Early in the morning confusion and dismay reigned in the island of Tonga—men and women ran they knew not whither, unknowing whether to join this party or that—old men were seen making speeches to the people, encouraging them to avenge the death of their chief:—the numerous relations and friends of the deceased king ran about beating their breasts and weeping:— shells were heard blowing in every quarter, as the signals of war and disturbance,—here to assemble the friends of the late Ilow, *— there to summon together the partizans of liberty. Finow and Toobo Neuha, in the course of a few hours, assembled together a considerable number of adherents, with whom, after having launched their canoes in case their retreat from the island should be necessary, they proceeded to Hihifo (the place where the How was killed). When they arrived here, their first concern was to destroy the enemy's canoes;

+ Ring.

and they succeeded in doing it, after some opposition. They next directed their march to the place where the loyalists were assembled, about three quarters of a mile distant from Hihifo, and a general battle took place, which lasted till night, with great slaughter on both sides: Finow's party, however, was at length repulsed, and forced to fly back to Hahagi, where it remained till the evening of the ensuing day, when an event happened which reinforced its strength, and gave the allied chiefs and their followers fresh spirits for the combat;—this was the arrival of the two canoes with Tooi Hala Fatai and his bold adventurers from the Feejee islands. This chief and his warlike companions, ever ready to enter into a new contest, immediately joined Finow, and swore allegiance to his cause. The very evening of their landing, however, their leader, Tooi Hala Fatai, felt himself much indisposed; and as his disorder hourly increased, he was seized with the apprehension that his complaint was mortal. With this idea strongly impressed upon his mind, he proposed that they should sally forth as early as possible the ensuing morning, to meet the enemy while he had any strength remaining, that by this means he might escape the bed of sickness and

« ForrigeFortsæt »