Page images
PDF
EPUB

utmost, and begun to despair, they, it seems, saw me by the help of their spy-glasses. They supposed it was some European boat, belonging to some ship that was lost; so they shortened sail to let me come up. I was encouraged by this, and as I had my patron's ancient on board, I waved it to them as a signal of distress, and fired a gun, both of which they saw, for they told me they saw the smoke, though they did not hear the gun. Upon seeing these signals they very kindly brought to, and lay by for me, and in about three hours' time I came up with them.

They asked me what I was in Portuguese, and in Spanish, and in French, but I understood none of them. But at last a Scotch sailor,; who was on board, called to me, and I answered him, and told him I was an Englishman; and that I had made my escape out of slavery from the Moors at Sallee. Then they bade me come on board, and very kindly took me in, and all my goods.

It was an inexpressible joy to me, as any one will believe, that I was thus delivered from such a miserable and almost hopeless condition as I was in. I immediately offered all I had to the captain of the ship, as a return for my deliverance; but he generously told me he would take nothing from me, but that all I had should be delivered safe to me when I came to the Brazils.

Defoe.

Drop anchor, come to anchor ; opp. weigh.
Ammunition, powder, &c.
Muster, assemble in preparation for an attack.
Companion, box-like covering over the entrance to the cabin.

JOHN RUTHERFORD. I will now tell you the story of John Rutherford. He was born in Manchester, in 1796. He went to sea when he was very young, and made a great many voyages. When on board an English vessel he was taken sick, and left on one of the Sandwich Islands. When he got well again, he entered on board an American vessel called the Agnes.

After touching at several places, the vessel arrived at New Zealand, in March, 1816. She finally put into a place called Poverty Bay, on the south-eastern part of the northern island.

As soon as the vessel had dropped anchor, a great many canoes came off to the ship from every part of the bay. These were paddled each by about thirty women. Very few men made their appearance that day; but many of the women remained on board all night, stealing whatever they could lay their hands on. Their conduct greatly alarmed the captain, and a strict watch was kept during the night.

The next morning one of the chiefs. came on board, whose name was said to be Aimy. He was in a large war-canoe, about sixty feet long, carrying above a hundred of the natives, all provided with plenty of mats and fishing-lines. These were made of the strong white flax which grows in New Zealand; and the natives wished to trade with them.

The captain arranged that this chief should go ashore with some of his men, to fill some casks of water, which the people on board ship wanted very much. While their chief was gone, the natives brought on board a number of pigs, and at the close of the day above two hundred had been purchased, with a quantity of fern root to feed them on.

During the night the thieving was renewed, and carried much further than the night before. For it was found in the morning that some of the natives had not only stolen the lead off the ship’s stern, but had also cut away many of the ropes, and carried them off in their canoes. It was not till daybreak, too, that the chief came back with a second load of water. It was observed the ship's boat which he had had with him leaked a good deal. When the carpenter examined her, he found that many of the nails had been drawn out of her planks.

About the same time, Rutherford saw one of the natives steal a piece of lead, and took it from him,-“ Which, when I took from him," says he, in his book, “he grinded his teeth, and shook his tomahawk at me.”

The captain now paid the chief for fetching the water, giving him two muskets, and a quantity of gunpowder and shot; for arms, ammunition, and iron tools are the only things these people will trade for.

There were at this time about three hundred of the natives on the deck, with Aimy, their chief, in the midst of them, Every man was armed with a green stone, which was slung with a string around his wrist. This weapon the New Zealanders call a “mery;" they use it to kill their enemies by striking them on the head with it.

There was now seen smoke rising from several of the hills. It seemed also as if the natives were mustering in great numbers on the beach. The captain grew much afraid, and ordered his men to loosen the sails, and to make baste to get their dinners, as he was going to put to sea immediately.

As soon as the sailors had dined, they went aloft among the sails. At this time none of the crew were on deck except the captain and the cook. The chief mate was loading some pistols at the cabin table.

The natives seized this opportunity to commence an attack upon the ship. First the chief threw off the mat which he had worn as a cloak, brandished a tomahawk in his hand, and began a war-song. All the rest immediately threw off their mats likewise, and began to dance so furiously that one might have thought they would stave in the ship's deck.

The captain, in the meantime, was leaning against the companion, when one of the natives went stealthily behind him, and struck him three or four blows on the head with a tomahawk, which instantly killed him. The cook, seeing his captain attacked, ran to his help, but was immediately murdered in the same manner.

Just then the chief mate came running up the companion ladder, but before he reached the deck, he was struck on the back of the neck, as the captain and the cook had been. He fell with the blow, but did not die immediately. A number of the natives now rushed in at the cabin door, while others jumped down through the skylight, and others again were cutting away some of the rigging.

At the same time four of the ship's crew jumped overboard off the fore-yard, but were picked up by some canoes that came from the shore, and were bound hand and foot. The natives now climbed up the rigging, drove the rest of the crew down, and made them all prisoners. One of the chiefs beckoned to Rutherford to come to him. Rutherford did so, and gave himself up as a prisoner.

The captive ship's crew were then put all together into a large canoe, with their hands tied. The natives searched them, and took their knives, pipes, tobacco-boxes, and different articles, from them. The two dead bodies, and the wounded mate, were thrown into the canoe along with the prisoners. The mate groaned fearfully, and seemed in great agony, the tomahawk having cut two inches deep into the back of his neck..

Meanwhile, a number of women who had been left in the ship jumped overboard, and were swimming to the shore. Before doing so they cut the vessel's cable, so that she drifted, and ran aground on the bar near the mouth of the river. Many of the canoes went to the land loaded with plunder from the ship; and numbers of the natives quarrelled about dividing the spoil, and fought and slew each other.

While all this was going on, the prisoners from the ship were detained in the canoe ; but at last, when the sun had set, they were conveyed on shore to one of the villages, and tied by the bands to several small trees. The mate had died before he reached the shore, so that there now remained only twelve of the ship's crew alive in the hands of the New Zealanders.

A number of large fires were kindled on the beach, to give light to the canoes, which were busy all night with going to and fro between the shore and the ship, although it rained the greater part of the time.

About ten o'clock in the morning, the savages set fire to their ship; after which they all mustered together on a piece of ground near the village, where they remained standing for some time. At last, they all sat down except five, who were chiefs, for whom a large ring was left vacant in the middle. The five chiefs, of whom Aimy was one, then approached the place where the prisoners were. After they had whispered together for some time, Aimy set two of the men free, one of whom was Rutherford. He took them into the middle of the ring, and made signs for them to sit down, which they did.

In a few minutes the other four chiefs came also into the ring, bringing along with them four more of the prisoners, who were made to sit down beside the two first ones. The chiefs now walked backwards and forwards in the ring, with their “merys" in their hands, and kept on talking together for some time. What they said, however, none of the prisoners could make out.

At length one of the chiefs spoke to one of the natives who sat on the ground. The latter instantly rose, and taking his tomahawk in his hand, went and killed the six men who had remained tied to the trees. They groaned several times as they were struggling in the agonies of death, and at every groan the natives burst out into fits of laughter.

Rutherford and his five companions could not help weeping for the sad fate of their comrades, not knowing at the same time whose turn it might be next. Many of the natives, on seeing their tears, laughed aloud, and brandished their “merys" at them.

After this, Rutherford was taken into the interior of the island, where he was kept in captivity for ten long years. Some of his companions were killed, but the fate of the rest he did not know.

He was tattooed like the natives, and conformed as well as he could to their manners and habits, so that he might save his life. At length they made him a chief, and he married Aimy's two daughters. Still he was anxious to leave the island, and return to his native country.

In January, 1826, he escaped on board an American brig, and two years after he reached England, and returned to his native city.

Celebrated, noted, distinguished.
Treated, bargained.
Prospect, view, aspect of a country.
Articles, objects, things.

LA PEROUSE. I am going to tell you about a celebrated French voyager, named La Perouse. The king employed him to go on a voyage of discovery into the Pacific Ocean.

In the year 1785, he set out with two ships, and proceeded to the Pacific. He first came along the coast of America, and stopped at various places. He saw a good many of the Indians, and treated with them for various articles. He saw Mount St. Elias, which, I believe, is the highest mountain in North America, and whose top is always covered with snow.

« PreviousContinue »