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waded off to his boat, but he ordered them off, and directed the officer with him, Midshipman Clark, to keep his boat afloat, and not suffer them to approach her during his absence. This order was strictly attended to, and although a similar attempt was again made, the natives when ordered off retired as before.
Lieutenant Underwood's boat drew too much water to get across the reef, and grounded, upon which a number of natives collected around her, and joining with the boat's crew, assisted to drag her over the reef. At this time the natives got a knowledge of the feebleness of the armament of Lieutenant Underwood's boat. To my surprise I have since learned that Lieutenant Underwood had left the greater part of the armament with which he had been furnished on board the brig some few days before. Seven rifles had been put on board that vessel, under the idea that it would lighten the boat, and no more than three out of the ten he took with him from the Vincennes remained.
On landing they found no more than two pigs tied to a tree for sale, instead of the four they had been promised as presents. These the natives declined selling until the chief, who was out upon the reef fishing, should return. A messenger was sent for him, and he soon made his appearance, but conducted himself haughtily, and refused to part with his hogs except for a musket, powder, and ball, which being against orders was refused.
Lieutenant Alden entertained some uneasiness at the number of natives that had crowded around the Leopard, and proceeded to join her, but was detained near the reef about twenty minutes before the tide would allow the boat to pass over, the first cutter drawing more water than the Leopard. On entering the bay, he found the Leopard at anchor about two thousand feet from the shore, in just sufficient water to enable his boat to get alongside. He was informed by the boat's crew that Lieutenant Underwood had gone on shore, leaving a hostage in the Leopard, whom Lieutenant Alden immediately took into his own boat. Lieutenant Underwood was accompanied to the shore by J. Clark, armed with a rifle and sheath-knife; J, Dunnock and J. M'Kean, armed with cutlasses; William Leicester, who had the trade-box, unarmed; John Sac, interpreter, unarmed; Jerome Davis and Robert Furman, unarmed. The rest of his men remained in the boat, armed with cutlasses and two rifles.
Lieutenant Underwood was now seen on the beach, endeavouring to trade with a party of about fifteen natives, whence he sent off Robert Furman, a coloured boy, to Lieutenant Alden, to say that the natives would not trade, except for powder, shot, and muskets. Furman was sent back by Lieutenant Alden to say, that he would not consent to
any such exchange while the schooner was within reach; that they could be supplied by her, and that he must hurry off, as he thought he had been long enough absent (having remained on shore about an hour) to purchase all they required, if the natives were disposed to trade.
After this, Midshipman Henry asked, and Lieutenant Alden gave him' permission to land in the canoe, and come off with Lieutenant Underwood. A few moments after, a small canoe came alongside Lieutenant Alden's boat, and exchanged some words with the hostage, who displayed a little anxiety to return with them to the shore. As the canoe shoved off, he attempted to leave the boat, when Lieutenant Alden took him by the arm and directed him to sit down, giving him to understand that he must keep quiet. Lieutenant Emmons now joined, and the Leopard was ordered to drop in as near to the party on shore as possible. The tide had by this time risen sufficiently to allow her to go most of the way on the reef. After another half hour had expired, Jerome Davis, one of the boat's crew, came off with a message from Lieutenant Underwood, that with another hatchet he could purchase all he required.
The hatchet was given to Davis, who was directed to say to Lieutenant Underwood that Lieutenant Alden desired to see him without delay, and that he should come off as soon as possible with what he had.
While Lieutenant Alden was relating the circumstances of the hostage's desire to escape to Lieutenant Emmons, from the starboard side of the boat, the hostage jumped overboard from the larboard quarter, and made for the shore, in two and a half feet water, looking over his shoulder, so as to dodge at the flash if fired at. He took a direction different from that of the party on the beach, to divide the attention of those in the boats. Lieutenant Alden immediately levelled his musket at the hostage, who slackened his pace for a moment, and then continued to retreat.
Midshipman Clark, who was ready to fire, was directed to fire over his head, which did not stop him.
J. Clark testifies that Lieutenant Underwood, M'Kean, and himself, were standing near the beach, waiting the return of Davis, when they saw the chief escape from the boat, and heard the report of the musket. The old chief, who was standing near, immediately cried out that his son was killed, and ordered the natives to make fight. Upon this two of them seized upon Clark's rifle, and tried to take it from him. One of these he stabbed in the breast with his sheath-knife; the other Mr Underwood struck on the head with the butt end of his pistol, upon
which both relinquished their hold. Lieutenant Underwood then ordered the men to keep close together, and they endeavoured to make their way to the boat, facing the natives. Lieutenant Underwood also called upon Midshipman Henry to assist in covering the retreat of the men to the boats, to which Mr. Henry replied, that he had just received a blow from the club of a native, and would first have a crack at him. He then pursued the native a few steps, and cut him down with his bowie-knife pistol, and had again reached the water's edge, when he was struck with a short club on the back of the head, just as he fired his pistol and shot a native. The blow stunned him, and he fell with his face in the water, when he was instantly surrounded by the natives, who stripped him. The natives now rushed out from the mangrovebushes in great numbers, some of them endeavouring to get between Lieutenant Underwood and the water, while others crowded upon his party, throwing their short-handled clubs and using their spears. Lieutenant Underwood, having received a spear-wound, fired, and ordered the men to do the same; and after he had fired his second pistol, was knocked down by the blow of a club. Clark at the same time was struck, and had no farther recollection.
J. Dunnock says that he was at some distance from Lieutenant Underwood at the time the attack was made; and the first intimation he had of it, was Lieutenant Underwood's order to keep together and go down to the boat. While obeying the order, he saw the natives seize upon Clark's rifle, and strike Lieutenant Underwood; but after this he had as much as he could do to avoid the clubs and spears hurled at himself. He says that Mr. Henry was near him, and up to his knees in water, when he received the blow from the short club which knocked him down lifeless, with his face in the water. He did not see the hostage escape, nor hear the gun
fired. M'Kean states that he was standing by the side of Lieutenant Underwood at the time they were awaiting the return of Davis; that suddenly there was a movement among the natives, and the cause of it was discovered to be the escape of the hostage. Mr. Underwood, anticipating trouble, immediately ordered the men to assemble and make for the boat.
John Sac's story corroborates that of M'Kean. He says, that upon hearing the gun, and seeing the hostage escaping, the chief cried out that his son was killed, and gave the war-cry.
On seeing the attack, Lieutenants Emmons and Alden pushed for the shore, with both boats. The former had already started to endeavour to retake the hostage. The boats commenced firing as they sailed in on some natives who appeared to be wading out to meet
them As soon as the boats took the bottom, all jumped out except two boat-keepers, and waded in, occasionally firing at the natives, who now retreated, carrying off their dead and wounded, and soon disappeared among the mangrove-bushes.
Before reaching the beach, J. G. Clark was met badly wounded, and was taken at once to the boats. On the beach lay Lieutenant Underwood, partly stripped, and Midshipman Henry, quite naked, with a native close by the latter, badly wounded, who was at once despatched.
The party, picking up the bodies, bore them to the boats. . On the first inspection, some faint hopes were entertained that Midshipman Henry was not dead; but a second examination dissipated this idea.
The boats now hauled off, and made sail to join the tender, where they had seen her in the morning at anchor.
Every attention was paid to the wounded and dead by the officers that affection and regard could dictate; and I could not but feel a melancholy satisfaction in having it in my power to pay them the last sad duties, and that their bodies had been rescued from the shambles of these odious cannibals. Yet, when I thought that even the grave might not be held sacred from their hellish appetites, I felt much concern relative to the disposition of the bodies. I thought of committing them to the open sea; but one of the secluded sand-islands we had passed the day before occurred to me as a place far enough removed from these condor-eyed savages to permit them to be entombed. in the earth, without risk of exhumation, although there was no doubt that our movements were closely watched from the highest peaks. On consultation with the officers, they concurred with my views on this point.
There being no doubt, from the reports of all parties present, that this outrage was entirely unprovoked, I had no hesitation in determining to inflict the punishment it merited, and this, not by the burning of the towns alone, but in the blood of the plotters and actors in the massacre.
The two first cutters of the Vincennes and Peacock were therefore directed to take up stations to prevent the escape of any persons from the island, and before daylight Passed Midshipman Eld was despatched on the same service with the Leopard.
The tender got under way at the same time, and proceeded towards the spot I had chosen for the place of burial.
The sun rose clearly, and nothing could look more beautiful and peaceful than did the little group of islands, as we passed them in succession on our melancholy errand. At the last and largest, about ten miles from Malolo, we came to anchor. Dr. Fox and Mr. Agate went
on shore to select a place, and dig a common grave for both the victims About nine o'clock they came off, and reported to me that all was ready. The bodies were now placed in my gig, side by side, wrapped in their country's flag, and I pulled on shore, followed by Mr. Sinclair and the officers in the tender's boat.
Only twenty sailors, (all dressed in white,) with myself and officers, landed to pay this last mark of affection and respect to those who had gone through so many toils, and shared so many dangers with us, and of whom we had been so suddenly bereaved. The quiet of the scene, the solemnity of the occasion, and the smallness of the number who assisted, were all calculated to produce an unbroken silence. The bodies were quietly taken up and borne along to the centre of the island, where stood a grove of ficus trees, whose limbs were entwined in all directions by running vines. It was a lonely and suitable spot that had been chosen, in a shade so dense that scarce a ray of the sun could penetrate it.
The grave was dug deep in the pure white sand, and sufficiently wide for the two corpses. Mr. Agate read the funeral service so calmly and yet with such feeling, that none who were present will for
the impression of that sad half hour. After the bodies had been closed in, three volleys were fired over the grave. We then used every