« PředchozíPokračovat »
prolong the time of our stay in the group. We, therefore, contented ourselves with surveying those parts that required correction, and testing the accuracy of the former examinations.
Ambau is one of the most striking of the Feejee towns; its mbure is very conspicuous, and it is, upon the whole, one of the most extraordinary places in this group, holding as it does so much of the political power. The island on which it is situated is not more than a mile long by half a mile wide, and the place has literally been made of importance by the assistance of a few. renegade whites, who, besides aiding the inhabitants in their wars, have taught them all manner of roguery. Among those who thus added all the vices of civilized life to their own native barbarity, I would include the people of Viwa and Verata, who have frequently been enabled to carry on their wars at a distance by the assistance of the foreign vessels that have been here, and in return have in several instances massacred their white coadjutors.
It was at Ambau that the French brig Aimable Josephine, Captain Bureau, was cut off, on the night of the 19th July, 1834. In retaliation for this act, Captain D'Urville destroyed the town of Viwa in 1839. It appears that this vessel had been frequently employed in transporting the warriors of Ambau from place to place. In return for this service, a promise was made to supply Captain Bureau with a cargo of biche de mar and shell. Instead of fulfilling this promise, the chief Namosimalua, in whom he had long trusted, seized upon his vessel and caused him to be put to death. The chief was, it is said, averse to the latter crime, but was constrained to it by the chiefs of Ambau, although he at the same time acknowledged himself under many obligations to the captain, and professed a great Feejee friendship towards him. The captain was 'warned by the traders as to the danger of trusting the natives as much as he did. But he disregarded these cautions, and the consequence was the loss both of the vessel and his own life.*
The brig was cut off through the instrumentality of six of the natives of Viwa, whom he had on a former visit taken on board and carried with him to Tahiti. These went on board on the afternoon of 19th July, leaving at the fish-house Charley, an English resident of Viwa, and a Frenchman named Clermont. When the natives came on board and were in the gangway, the second officer, with the cook and steward, were standing on the forecastle, and the captain was on the quarter-deck. One of the natives called the attention of the captain to the small schooner which was then lying at a short distance
* See Appendix XVII., for Captain Eagleston's letter.