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time that all their canoes should be retained alongside. The king and chiefs were immediately informed, through the interpreter, that they were prisoners, and that the object was to obtain Vendovi, the murderer of the crew of the Charles Doggett, some eight years before. It may readily be imagined that this announcement threw them all into great consternation, while it was, at the same time, a matter of surprise to all the officers of the ship. The poor queen was apparently the most alarmed, and anxiously inquired of Phillips if they were all to be put to death. Phillips was equally frightened with the rest, and it was observed that his nerves were so much affected for some time afterwards that he was unable to light a cigar that was given him, and could not speak distinctly. Captain Hudson reminded them, that they had visited the ship of their own accord, and without any promise of safeguard from him; that his object was to obtain Vendovi, and that all hopes of obtaining him without this decisive measure had failed; that he meant them no harm, but it was his intention to detain them until Vendovi was brought off. The canoes were likewise secured, and orders given to allow none to leave the ship. The whole party thus made prisoners consisted of seventy or eighty
The king and chiefs, when they had recovered themselves a little, acknowledged that our demand was a just one; that Vendovi deserved to be punished; that he was a dangerous character among themselves; and that they would be glad to see him removed. At the same time, they said they thought the capture of Vendovi impossible, and gav many reasons for this opinion. They expressed great fears for the missionaries and their families, when the people of Rewa should hear of their detention. Captain Hudson had assured himself previously of the perfect safety of the missionaries and their families, and well knew that this was a ruse on the part of the king to induce him to change his purpose.
They soon found him fully determined in his purpose. It was shortly arranged that, with his permission, Ngaraningiou and another chief should go quietly to Rewa, take Vendovi by surprise, before he had time to escape, and bring him on board alive if possible. In order to insure protection to the missionaries and their establishments, they were particularly told that the missionaries had nothing to do with the business, and did not know of it, as was evident from Mr. Jagger naving returned to Rewa before they were detained, and that every influence must be exerted to protect them from harm, or the prisoners might expect the most exemplary punishment.
The selection of Ngaraningiou as the emissary to capture the murderer was well-timed, as Vendovi had always been his rival, and the temptation to get rid of so powerful an adversary was an opportunity not to be lost by a Feejee man, although that adversary was a brother. He was soon under way in his double canoe, which, with its enormous sail spread to a strong breeze, was speedily out of sight.
The king, at Captain Hudson's request, informed his people that none must attempt to leave the ship, or they would be fired at; that they must remain on board until further orders; and that, in the mean time, they would be supplied with food. One attempt was made by a small canoe to leave the ship, but on seeing the preparations for firing at it, the persons in it quickly returned.
After the departure of Ngaraningiou the king, queen, and chiefs, became more reconciled to their position. They talked much about Vendovi and the murder he had committed on the crew of the Charles Doggett, and said that he had also killed his eldest brother.
The king, during the evening, spoke much of his being a friend to the white men, asserted that he had always been so, and adduced, as an instance of it, his conduct in the case of the Currency Lass, an English trading schooner, of Sydney, New South Wales. He said that this vessel, in going out of the harbour, had got on shore near the anchorage; that his people had assembled round about her for plunder, but that he went on board himself, and kept all his subjects off that were not required to assist. He told Captain Wilson and the owner, Mr. Houghton, who was on board, that if she got off he should expect a present, which they readily consented to give; but if she broke, and got water in her hold, the vessel and property must be his. This, he said, they also agreed to. His people, wishing her to go to pieces, made several attempts to remove the anchors, but he stopped them, and drove them away; and the only thing he did, with the hope of getting the vessel himself, while he was assisting the captain to get her off, was to send up some of his chiefs to Rewa, to give a present to the ambati, at the mbure, to offer up prayers to the Great Spirit, that he would cause her to get water in. Something went wrong with the spirit, and the vessel got clear. The only thing the owner gave him was a whale's tooth and a small looking-glass!
When the evening set in, the natives (kai-sis) were all brought on board for the night, and placed forward on the gun-deck. Here they were supplied with plenty of hard bread and molasses, which they enjoyed exceedingly, and afterwards performed several dances. The performers arranged themselves in two ranks, and went through
various movements, with their bodies, heads, arms, and feet, keeping time to a song in a high monotonous key, in which the whole joined, the ranks occasionally changing places, those in the rear occupying the front, and the others retiring behind.
The inferior chiefs were provided with a sail under the half-deck; the king, queen, and their little daughter, were accommodated by Captain Hudson in his cabin. The king having expressed a desire to have his evening draught of ava, some of the piper mythisticum, from which it is made, was fortunately found among the botanical specimens which had been collected, and a large and well-polished dish-cover was converted into an ava-bowl. The ava was accordingly brewed, and all the usual ceremonies gone through with, even to the king's having his own cup-bearer, Jimmy Housman, who was one of the party.
After the ava was over, theatricals were resorted to for the amusement of their majesties. This was a business in which many of the crew of the Peacock were proficients, having been in the habit of amusing themselves in this way. Jim Crow was the first piece, and well personated, both in appearance and song, by Oliver, the ship's tailor. This representation did not fail to amuse the audience exceedingly, and greatly astonished their majesties. Jim Crow's appearance, on the back of a jackass, was truly comical: the ass was enacted by two men in a kneeling posture, with their posteriors in contact; the body of the animal was formed of clothing; four iron belaying-pins served it for feet; a ship's swab for its tail, and a pair of old shoes for its ears, with a blanket as a covering. The walking of the mimic quadruped about the deck, with its comical-looking rider, and the audience, half civilized, half savage, gave the whole scene a very remarkable effect. The king confessed that if he had been alone, he would be much frightened at the curvetting and braying of the beast before him. The queen, on its being explained to her that what she saw was only two men, expressed the greatest astonishment in her eager, incredulous look. The dance of "Juba" came off well, through the exertions of Howard and Shepherd, but the braying ass of Godwin, with the Jim Crow of Oliver, will long be remembered by their savage as well as civilized spectators. The whole company seemed contented and happy; the king had his extra bowl of ava, the queen and chiefs their tea and supper; and all enjoyed their cigars, of which they smoked a great number. On Captain Hudson expressing to the king his hope that the queen had got over her fears, and inquiring if she was tired, he replied, "Why should she be troubled? is she not with
me? When I die, must not she die also?" Thereby intimating that were he in peril, she would be equally so, whether present or absent. The theatricals having been ended, they all retired to rest.
One could not but perceive the great difference between the Tongese and Feejees who passed the night on board. The former are generally Christians, or missionaries' people; they were orderly and respectable, and before going to rest, quietly and very devoutly met and had their evening prayer; which, contrasted with the conduct of the others, had a pleasing effect.
Mr. Phillips, in recompense for his attention to Lieutenant Budd and Mr. Peale, was well provided for by the officers; and, at various times, imparted information respecting the history of Rewa, his own family, and others, that may be looked upon as quite authentic; and I have little doubt that it will prove interesting to the reader.
By the aid of the whites, Tambiavalu, father of Kania, was established as king, upon the dethronement of the reigning family, of whom Vunivalu, the governor, is a descendant. Rewa at this time was of little consequence, comprising only the small town of Ndraketi, from which the king now derives his title.
Tambiavalu governed with great firmness and wisdom. During his reign, all criminals met with exemplary punishment. According to the Feejee custom, he had many wives, the chief among whom was a descendant of the family of Mbatitombi, who reigned at Ambau before Bamiva, the father of Tanoa, succeeded in gaining the kingdom. Although considered the queen, and holding the title of RamdiniNdraketi, she was not the highest in rank. There was also among the wives of Tambiavalu a sister of Tanoa, named Salaiwai, who was younger, and in consequence had not the station to which her rank entitled her to.
Phillips gives Tambiavalu the credit of having had a hundred children by his numerous wives and concubines, a statement of which those best acquainted with Feejee history do not doubt the correctness. Of this large progeny, the children by the two above mentioned females are alone entitled to any rank. By the queen, RamdiniNdraketi, he had four sons, named Madonovi, Kania, Valivuaka, and Ngaraningiou. By Salaiwai, he had only two, Seru and Thokanauto (Mr. Phillips). Of the six, Kania, Ngaraningiou, and Thokanauto are still living.
Tambiavalu had a long and prosperous reign, and under him Rewa assumed a rank among the chief cities of the Feejees, having acquired much territory, and among the rest, the island of Kantavu. His eldest son, Koraitamano, was the child of a Kantavu woman of rank; he
was, in consequence, a vasu of the most important possessions of Rewa, and had many connexions and friends throughout the country; he had so ingratiated himself with the chiefs and people, that he could have made himself king on the death of his father. Ramdini-Ndraketi, the queen, who is represented as a most artful as well as unscrupulous woman, was fearful that his popularity might become disadvantageous to her children, and she determined to have him removed. She managed to instil into the king's mind suspicions that Koraitamano intended to seize upon the succession, which determined him to put this son to death. Koraitamano received a hint of his intentions, and was able to evade every attempt. On some occasions he was obliged to flee to distant places, once to Ra, the western end of Vitilevu, and another time to Mbenga, where he remained until a kind of reconciliation took place, when he was induced to return. He had not been long in Rewa, before the queen recommenced her machinations for his destruction, and his father also resumed his designs against him.
Koraitamano was doubtful whether again to resort to flight or remain, when some chiefs who were hostile to the king, represented to the young chief that the only method to secure his own safety effectually was to put his father to death, assuring him they would stand by him in the struggle. By their persuasions he was induced to accede to their designs. At night he set fire to a canoe-house, and coming into his father's dwelling, he approached the place where he was sleeping, and cried out, "Do you lie here asleep when your city is burning!" Tambiavalu immediately started up and ran out. Koraitamano following closely after him, watched an occasion, struck him with his club on the back of his head, and killed him on the spot; after which he retired to his own house, trusting to the promises of his friends and adherents, that they would protect and defend him. But the queen was more than an equal for his cunning, and her hatred caused her to go to the greatest lengths in wreaking her vengeance upon him. She had the body brought to the house, where, observing that the external injury to the head was slight, she conceived the singular plan of making the deed of the assassin and his friends recoil upon their own heads. She, therefore, at once raised a cry that the body showed signs of life, and that her husband was not dead. She then had the body conveyed to the farther end of his house, under the plea that he required to be removed from the noise; and no one was suffered to approach the body but herself and a Tonga woman, who was her confidant. She soon spread the report that the king had recovered his senses, but was very weak, and called upon several chiefs in the king's name, saying that he required the instant death of Koraitamano.