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CHAPTER I X.
PARTICULARS OF THE MURDERS AT MALOLO-BURIAL OF LIEUTENANT UNDERWOOD AND MIDSHIPMAN HENRY-PREPARATIONS FOR THE ATTACK ON MALOLO-CANOES INTERCEPTED--OPERATIONS OF THE BOATS-ARRO BURNT - OPERATIONS OF LIEU. TENANT - COMMANDANT RINGGOLD – FORTIFICATIONS OF SUALIB ATTACK UPON SUALIB-SUALIB SET ON FIRE, AND COMPLETELY DESTROYED – RETURN OF LIEU. TENANT-COMMANDANT RINGGOLD'S, DIVISIONS LIEUTENANT EMMONS'S ACTION
WITH FIVE CANOES-OVERTURES OF THE NATIVES FOR PEACE-MESSAGE TO THE
NATIVES-SECOND LANDING ON MALOLO—THE NATIVES BEG FOR MERCY — CONDI. TIONS IMPOSED UPON THEM – CAPTIVE CHIEF LIBERATED REMARKS ON THE
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDERS, AND ON THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE PUNISHMENT INFLICTED ON MALOLO—THE BOATS SENT BACK TO THE SHIPS—THE FLYING.
MIDSHIPMEN'S ISLANDS – ASTROLABE REEF - ARRIVAL OF THE FLYING-FISH AT OVOLAU-LEVUKA-DEPARTURE OF THE FLYING-FISH FROM LEVUKA-VALLEY OF VOONA-PASSAGE ROUND THE ISLAND OF OVOLAU-AMBAU-CASE OF THE AIMABLE JOSEPHINE OF THE BRIG SIR DAVID OGILBY -CAUTION TO VESSELS VISITING
AMBAU - MOTURIKI PASSAGE
WAR THREATENED BETWEEN SOMU . SOMU AND
AMBAU-INTERFERENCE ON BEHALF OF THE MISSIONARIES-ORATOR OF THE KING
OF SOMU-SOMU - MANNER OF TRADING - UPPER TOWN OF SOMU-SOMU
OF ROCKETS_NEWS OF CAPTAIN CROKER'S ATTACK ON THE HEATHEN OF TONGA, AND OF THE LOSS OF HIS LIFE-DEPARTURE FROM SOMU SOMU-CHICOBEA-MALI
REUNION OF THE SQUADRON-SEPARATE OPERATIONS OF CAPTAIN HUDSON-EX.
CURSION OF DR. PICKERING AND MR. BRACKENRIDGE-THE TWO CHIEFS OF SUALIB
-JUGGLERY OF A PRIEST-CAPTAIN HUDSON DEMANDS DESERTER-RETURN OF THE SON OF THE KING OF MUTHUATA-NALOA BAY-SURVEY OF THE HARBOUR OF MUTHUATA-PROCEEDINGS OF A MEETING OF OFFICERS_RECOVERY OF A DESERTER -ARRIVAL OF THE KAI-VITI AT MUTHUATA-WHALE-SHIP TRITON-JOY OF THE KING OF MUTHUATA AT THE DEPARTURE OF THE SHIPS-NATIVE PUNJSHED FOR THEFT BY THE KING SEPARATE OPERATIONS OF LIEUTENANT-COMMANDANT RINGGOLD-BIVA-HUDSON ISLES-PREPARATIONS FOR GOING TO SEA-THE INTERPRETERS DISCHARGED—THEIR CHARACTER,
The melancholy event of which I became aware in its full extent by the return of the boats under Lieutenant Alden, as related at the close of the foregoing chapter, was calculated to excite the most intense feelings that can agitate the mind of a man or of an officer. It took place just as,-after weeks of intense anxiety for the safety of those under my command, exposed in open boats to the perils of the sea, and in small detachments to the insidious attacks of savages, instigated not merely by cupidity, but by the horrible instinct of cannibal appetite,- I had myself closed the operations of the survey, and awaited only my junction with the boats to be satisfied that all our perils were at an end. One of the victims was my own near relation, confided to my care by a widowed mother; I had therefore more than the ordinary degree of sorrow, which the loss of promising and efficient officers must cause in the breast of every commander, to oppress me. The blood of the slain imperatively called for retribution, and the honour of our flag demanded that the outrage upon it should not remain unpunished. On the other hand, it was necessary, in order that any proceedings I should adopt should be such as would be capable of full vindication and meet the approval of the whole civilized world, that my action in the case should not appear to be instigated by mere vindictiveness, and should be calculated to serve, not as an incitement to retaliation upon future visiters, but as a salutary lesson, as well to the actual perpetrators of the deed, as to the inhabitants of the whole group.
It was beyond every thing else important, that in the desire of inflicting punishment, I should avoid, as far as possible, the risk of VOL. III.
losing other valuable lives. The two chief vessels of my squadron were at a distance, and I knew that the natives of Malolo were not only guarded in their towns by fortifications, impregnable in their own mode of warfare, but were furnished with fire-arms and ammunition. To burn the dwellings of these fastnesses, as I had done at Tye, if an adequate punishment for mere thefts, would have been no sufficient penalty for the present heinous offence, nor would it have served to deter the people of Malolo from similar acts for the future.
The passions of all around me were excited to the highest pitch, and although the most severely injured of any, it became my task to restrain the desire of revenge within the bounds of prudent action in the conduct of retaliatory measures, as it became afterwards my endeavour to prevent a just and salutary punishment from becoming a vindictive and indiscriminate massacre.
My first duty was to receive the report of the officer in command of the boats,* and to make such further inquiry into the circumstances of the transaction, as should satisfy me that the bloody deed had not been provoked on the part of the victims. The results of this inquiry were as follow.
On the 22d July, the first cutter of the Vincennes, Lieutenant Alden and Midshipman Henry, and the Leopard, Lieutenant Underwood, left, as has been stated, the station at Eld Island, and proceeded along the right side of Waia, for the purpose of fulfilling my orders to survey the small islands lying north of Malolo. This done, they had instructions to join the tender or Porpoise on the western side of that island, and survey such islands as they might fall in with on the way. After passing Waia, the boats anchored for the night under one of the small islands.
The next day, they were employed in the survey of the small: islands, and in the evening anchored in the bay on the east side of Malolo, formed by it and Malolo-lai-lai, or Little Malolo.
On reaching this place, Lieutenant Alden, being desirous of ascertaining if the Porpoise was at the anchorage on the west side, directed Lieutenant Underwood to land near the south end of Malolo, and to ascend a small eminence to get a view of that anchorage. Lieutenant Alden, it appears, cautioned Lieutenant Underwood to go well armed and to be on his guard with the natives, as on his former visit, about six weeks before, he had been led to doubt their friendly disposition, and, in consequence, had avoided having any communication with theni He also directed Lieutenant Underwood to return before sunset.
* Sce Appendix XIV.
Lieutenant Underwood landed and went up the hill with one of his men. After a few minutes, Lieutenant Alden observed some suspicious movements among the natives near the point, and, in consequence, hoisted a signal of recall. Lieutenant Underwood was soon seen returning to the boat with his man and a native. Before leaving the beach, he had some talk with the natives.
On joining Lieutenant Alden, he reported that there was no vessel in sight, and mentioned that on his way up the hill, he suddenly came upon a native carrying an armful of clubs, who, the moment he perceived him, threw down his load and attempted flight, but Lieutenant Underwood detained and made him go before them to the boat. When they reached the beach, a party of natives joined, and appeared to him much disconcerted at finding the lad a prisoner, and without arms.
They passed the night at anchor in this bay, and on the morning of the 24th, discovered the tender at anchor to the eastward. At nine o'clock Lieutenant Emmons joined them in the Peacock's first cutter, having passed the night at one of the small sand-islands in the neighbourhood. Lieutenant Emmons found them waiting breakfast for him. They anticipated that he had some more provisions for them, as he had recently parted with the tender, and hoped to procure some yams, pigs, &c., from him, or from the tender herself, which would in all probability reach Malolo during the day.
When Lieutenant Emmons arrived, several of the natives, some of whom were armed, were on the beach where the boats' crews had cooked their breakfast.
Many inducements were offered to them for pigs, yams, &c., with very little success, each offering some excuse, and urging the necessity of the boats going to their town for such things.
Just after they had finished their breakfast, the chief spokesman of the village came, wading out near the boats, and invited them, in the name of the chief, to their town, where he said the chief had secured four large hogs as a present for them. In this talk, Oahu Sam, who it will be recollected came on board the Peacock as Vendovi's barber, was the interpreter.
It appears that Lieutenant Underwood now volunteered to go to the town for provisions, taking with him John Sac (the New Zealander heretofore mentioned) as interpreter, from Lieutenant Alden's boat. He, in consequence, shoved off, leaving the other boat to follow him as soon as the tide would allow it to cross the reef between the islands. Lieutenant Emmons then pushed his boat for the shore, and landed, with three armed men, on Malolo-lai-lai, in order to obtain some angles from the top of a hill. On his approaching the beach, the natives