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EFFECTS OF THE INTENTION TO TAKE VENDOVI_FEAR OF AN ATTACK ON THE
OBSERVATORY-SERU DETAINED AS HOSTAGE-PREPARATIONS FOR RESISTANCERETURN OF THE FLYING-FISH - TONGESE CHIEFS. CORODOWDOW – VANUA-VATUTOVA REEF_TOTOIA-MATUKU-MOALA-IMPRUDENCE OF LIEUTENANT UNDERWOOD
-REPORT OF MIDSHIPMAN MAY – MOTURIKI – VISIT OF RIVALETTA- ARRIVAL OF CURRENCY LASS-CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES - CRUISE IN THE FLYING FISH - RABE.
RABE POINT-RETURN TO LEVUKA-H. B. M. SHIP SULPHUR-VISIT FROM SERU
SECOND CRUISE IN THE FLYING-FISH-WAKAIA-DIRECTION ISLAND-VUNA-SOMU.
SOMU-GOAT ISLAND MISSIONARIES AT SOMU-SOMU-CANNIBAL FEAST-TRIALS OF THE MISSIONARIES-JUNCTION WITH THE PORPOISE-COUNCIL OF CHIEFS_CEREMONIES OF AVA DRINKING-HORRID PRACTICES AT SOMU-SOMU-FUNERAL OBSE
QUIES OF KATU MBITHI-SUFFERINGS OF THE LADIES OF THE MISSIONARIES-OLD KING OF SOMU-SOMU–TUI ILLA-ILLA-RETURN TO OVOLAU.
IMMEDIATELY after despatching Paddy Connel on his errand to Captain Hudson, Whippy came to me. He had heard, on board the ship, some intimation of the purport of the message sent to Rewa by Connel, and he advised me to be on my guard for the first movement after Vendovi's capture. He thought that an endeavour would be made by the people of Ambau to surprise the observatory, and to take me prisoner, (for the purpose of ransoming Vendovi,) for they are closely allied to those of Rewa. As our distance from Ambau was no more than a few hours' travel, it would be easy for Tanoa, or his son Seru, to fall upon us with a thousand men, before we could have any notice whatever of their approach. After hearing all he had to say upon the subject, I sent him for Tui Levuka, who came to my tent. His amazement was great when he was told what was in progress, and he seemed to be almost beside himself for a few moments. When he was sufficiently recovered, I told him that I put implicit confidence in him; that if he suffered me to be surprised by any force, on him and his people would rest the responsibility, and that I looked to him to give me the earliest notice of any attempt to attack me. This he accordingly promised, and, at the same time, he told Whippy, the most probable persons from whom any attack would come would be the mountaineers, who were all now under the influence of Ambau, and would be easily induced to attack us. A thousand of them, according to his opinion, might be upon us in a few hours; but we had little to fear before dawn of day, for that was the only time at which they made an attack, choosing the time of the second or soundest sleep. He
then went off to send out his scouts and spies, in order to bring me the earliest information.
Seru was on board the ship when I heard these things. I, therefore, sent off word that he should be kept on board as a kind of hostage, and ordered forty men to reinforce the observatory, after dark, for the ship was not near enough to use our guns in defending it. The night, however, was quiet, and there were no signs of the natives moving about on shore. Indeed they are extremely a verse to go out after dark, from a fear of meeting kalous, or spirits. Seru was amused with rockets, , &c., on board, and passed his time to his satisfaction.
On the 21st, the ship was moved up abreast the observatory point, in order to protect it, and moored so that her guns might rake each side of the point in case of an attack. The knoll on which I had erected the observatory was a strong position, and we now set to work to make it more so, by clearing it of all the rubbish and brushwood that might afford cover to assailants. Signals were arranged with the ship in case of attack, to direct the fire of the guns, and all things made ready to give any hostile force a warm reception. About eight o'clock in the evening, Whippy told me that a report had reached Tui Levuka that there was trouble at Rewa, and that the king and chiefs were prisoners; but to this we gave no credit at the time. In the morning, however, I learned through him, that one old chief had got information that Vendovi was a prisoner, and that the king and queen would be released ; in fact, nearly the whole story that has been related in the preceding chapter, reached Levuka before the day on which it occurred had passed. On inquiring of Tui Levuka, through Whippy, after I had heard the particulars and learned how nearly they corresponded with the report, how he obtained his information, his answer was, “ Did you not tell me to bring you the earliest news, and have my spies out ?" The news must have been brought a distance of twenty miles in less than six hours, for I can scarcely believe that any native could possibly have invented the story, or could have surmised what was to take place.
Early on the morning of the 22d, Seru left the ship and proceeded to Ambau, although I had been informed that it was his intention to go to the different islands, to bring us hogs and yams. Tui Levuka called my attention to this, and also to the fact that a messenger had brought Seru intelligence of what had happened at Rewa during the stay of the Peacock there, and of the sailing of that ship with Vendovi on board.
During this time many things occurred to keep us on the alert. On the nigh of the 23d, the usual number of men were landed at the ob
servatory, and in the night a musket was accidentally fired, which, of course, created some stir, but it proved a false alarm; it, however, served to keep up our vigilance in case of attack.
On the 26th the Flying-Fish returned, entering through the reefs after dark. Lieutenant Carr had executed the greater part of the duties pointed out in his instructions. Among these were that of carrying Tubou Totai, the Tonga chief already spoken of, to the Porpoise. He was represented as an excellent pilot for the eastern group, and as likely to be of service to Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold, in pointing out the shoals and reefs, which might save much time in the surveying operations. Tubou spoke English tolerably well. He had been in New South Wales, and was a guest at the Government-House; talked much of the kindness of Sir George and Lady Gipps, and amused me by the accounts he gave of the balls and parties to which he had been invited, and of the attentions he had received, particularly from the ladies. He said that they had admired him very much, and called bim a very handsome man. He knew well how to behave himself, was well acquainted with our habits and customs, and had all the grace and elegance of a finished gentleman, if one can imagine such a being in a Tongese Islander. I have, indeed, seldom seen a native so correct in his deportment. He was a professing Christian, and might be called more than half civilized. He talked much to me of the gentlemen of Ambau; said “they were such fine fellows, so hospitable, and such gentlemen; there was so much pleasure in their society; there was nothing like Feejee fashions." I spoke to him of their eating human flesh, but he could not be brought to talk of it, and invariably refused to answer my questions in relation to that horrible custom, except as regarded himself. He said that he never touched it. At times he would evade the question by saying, “ Feejee country was a fine country," and be silent.
Tubou Totai is the brother of Lajika, who is generally an attendant of the preaching of the missionaries.* The brothers are somewhat alike in point of face and feature, but Lajika is much darker in complexion, and seems to have some Feejee blood in his veins. I learned from one of the missionaries that the family of these Tongese was of Feejee origin, their name being derived from the principal fortress on Lakemba, called Tumboa. They are well received in the group,
and hospitably entertained by the kings and chiefs of Ambau. The minor
The proselytes of the missionaries consist altogether of the few Tongese that are now in the group; these reside principally at Lakemba, and from what I understood are the followers of Lajika and Tubou Totai.