Page images





WHILE William Wilson had been travelling round the island, the captain had been with his ship, helping the four missionaries appointed to divide the goods. I will mention a few circumstances that happened during William's absence.

One day the captain heard that the king was going to leave Matavai, because the missionaries, hearing he had sacrificed a man, had reproved him for his wickedness. The captain immediately left his ship, and went in a boat to find him.

When he landed, he saw the king and queen running very fast along the beach. The captain asked Otu where he was going in such haste. The king replied, that the missionaries were angry with him, and that he supposed the captain was angry too, and therefore he was going away. The captain told him it would be very wicked to sacrifice a man. Otu said that the report was not true. The cap



tain then entreated him never to do such things again, and promised to give him a canoe that he had brought from the Friendly Islands.

Otu seemed much pleased with this promise, and continued to live near the ship. The next day Otu and his wife were seen early paddling round the ship. The promised canoe was given to the king. He spent two hours in examining it, (as it was not quite like those of Tahiti,) and then got into it, and went to the shore. It was on the afternoon of the same day that William Wilson, as he was travelling round the island, met Otu and his wife; so it is probable that they went a long distance by the shore in the new canoe that day.*

You remember that Otu did not much like the fine clothes the captain had given him. Another day the captain gave him a handsome scarlet coat, but though Otu accepted it, he could not be persuaded to put it on.

About this time Idia sent to the ship to know whether the captain was angry with her. He sent back a plantain leaf to show that he was not, for such was the Tahitian manner of making peace. Idia then came on board with two hogs, and two bundles of cloth, as presents from her and Pomare to the captain. She said that Pomare not being able to visit the captain himself on account of the feast, had sent her to see that he wanted nothing; but the

* See page 50.



captain well knew that she had come to see what she could get.

When she was seated in the cabin, she was asked why she had killed her child. She replied, that it was the custom to do so; but she did not appear to like being spoken to on the subject. She came again several times. On one occasion the captain gave her a handsome soldier's coat, and all the red feathers he had, which greatly delighted her. Mane-1

-mane often visited the ship. He came one day in a very large boat that the missionaries had helped him to build according to their promise. He came again another day, and wanted to obtain rope, sails, and an anchor for this boat, that he might go to the Island of Raiatea, and make himself king again. The captain, however, had none to spare, and gave him instead his own cocked hat, and various other articles. Mane-mane was much disappointed, and said, “ Several people told me that you wanted Mane-mane, and now I am come you give me nothing." It was quite impossible to satisfy this old

He did not keep the presents he received, but gave them away to the natives, that he might gain many friends to help him to conquer his former kingdom. Of all the things that had been given him, he had nothing remaining but a glazed hat and a suit of





clothes. He had fringed the coat with red feathers, which were esteemed very precious in Tahiti.

This old priest was of a very different character from the young king: for though both were covetous, the priest was light, gay, and vain—the king was sullen, proud, and artful.

An instance of the king's deceitful conduct occurred just before the ship left. Otu encouraged one of the sailors, named Tucker, to hide himself in a thicket, and fed him daily ; for Otu liked having white men in his kingdom, that they might help him in his wars. The captain, however, was very anxious to find Tucker, and searched for him for three days. At length he began to suspect that Otu knew where he was; and he threatened to take Otu away in his ship, if Tucker was not found. This threat frightened Otu so much, that he determined to deliver up Tucker. In order to get him, he acted in the following artful manner. He sent a message to Tucker to desire him to come to him. He then asked some of the missionaries to hide themselves by the way, and to seize Tucker as he passed. They did so, and bound him, and carried him back to the ship in a canoe. Tucker arrived there late at night, struggling, and cursing Otu for having betrayed him.

He was immediately placed in confinement,



Andrew and Peter had been concerned in the hiding of Tucker. The captain had suspected them, and had seized Andrew, and shut him up in the ship : but Peter, by confessing, had escaped punishment. The captain, however, afterwards set Andrew at liberty, though Andrew, by his own desire, afterwards chose to go away in the ship.

There was one of the missionaries, named Dr. Gillham, who desired to return to England with Captain Wilson. I cannot tell you what his reasons were, though it is to be feared that his courage and patience failed him, when the ship was on the point of leaving him in a heathen land. There were now eighteen missionaries at Tahiti, as at first landing; for Mr. Harris had joined the company, and Dr. Gillham had left it.

On the 4th of August the captain weighed anchor, intending to leave Tahiti immediately. A great number of natives

came on board to take leave, and also to see what presents they could obtain. Each native took a particular leave of the person he had chosen for his friend, and some cried bitterly at parting ; yet no sooner had they walked to the end of the deck, than they began to laugh as usual. Some of the English told the natives that their sorrow had not been sincere; but they answered that it was the custom in Tahiti to

« PreviousContinue »