1817 - Nicholas, J. L. Narrative of a Voyage to New Zealand [Vol.I] - CHAPTER I

       
E N Z B       
       Home   |  Browse  |  Search  |  Variant Spellings  |  Links  |  Short Link
Feedback  |  Conditions of Use      
  1817 - Nicholas, J. L. Narrative of a Voyage to New Zealand [Vol.I] - CHAPTER I
 
Previous section | Next section      

CHAPTER I

[Image of page 1]

NARRATIVE
OF A
VOYAGE TO NEW ZEALAND.

CHAP. I.

Introductory remarks -- Benevolence of Mr. Marsden-- Mission to New Zealand proposed by him to the Missionary Society--Approved, and Missionaries chosen--Tippahee, a New Zealand chief, visits Port Jackson--Particulars respecting him--Duaterra, his successor, brought to New South Wales--Some account of him-- Character of the Missionaries--The disposition of the natives tried and found favourable--Mr. Marsden resolves on going with the Mission himself--The Author's reason for accompanying him--Second visit of Duaterra to Port Jackson--Two other chiefs come with him--Description of them--New Zealanders abhorred at Port Jackson-- Proclamation of the Governor.

OF all the various islands in the Pacific Ocean, there is none with which Europeans in general are so little acquainted as New Zealand; and none, perhaps, which more deserves their particular attention. Ever since the time of Captain Cook, whose enterprising spirit could only be equalled by his indefatigable perseverance, this island has

[Image of page 2]

been almost entirely neglected, and the partial visits made to it, have in no instance been favourable to a permanent intercourse. The persons who at distant intervals resorted thither, were men, as will presently be seen, of callous hearts, who were as little disposed to conciliate the friendship of the rude inhabitants, as they were to pay a due regard to their own character; and, in addition to this, the odium thrown on the natives themselves, by being viewed as ferocious cannibals, served, as it were, to interdict any cordial communication with them. Dreaded by the good, and assailed by the worthless, their real dispositions were not ascertained; the former dared not venture to civilize them, the latter only added to their ferocity.

Too long had they continued in this state of obnoxious barbarism, when a man, whose benevolence is so closely connected with the subject of this narrative, that I must necessarily advert to it, came forward, in the genuine spirit of philanthropy, to rescue their persons from insult, and their minds from ignorance.

The individual to whom I allude, is the Reverend Samuel Marsden, his Majesty's Principal Chaplain in the territory of New

[Image of page 3]

South Wales. This excellent man, not restricting himself to those particular duties which more immediately belong to his appointment, has extended his labours to a more enlarged sphere, and consulted not only the spiritual but the temporal welfare of the numerous savage tribes who inhabit the neighbouring islands. His zeal and activity in vindicating their rights, and opposing the wanton aggressions made both on their persons and property by the unfeeling crews of several merchant-ships, who have long been in the habit of committing every kind of outrage against them with impunity, entitle him not only to the praise of every good man, but even serve to blot out the national disgrace which his country has too long sustained by the frequency of such atrocities. These inhuman practices have been carried to a degree which must shock every lover of humanity, and we have the testimony of Mr. Marsden himself, 1 to shew that even murder has been committed without the least provocation on the part of the unfortunate victims.

[Image of page 4]

Encouraged by the success which has attended the endeavours of the English missionaries, to civilize the inhabitants of Otaheite, in which he is well known to have taken so leading a part, Mr. Marsden had contemplated a similar establishment at New Zealand. The extent of its territory and population, afforded a noble scope for the exercise of his benevolence, and the remarks he had made on the character and genius of the natives of New Zealand, as they occasionally visited Port Jackson, induced him to augur favourably concerning its issue.

In these favourable hopes, however, he stood nearly alone. His plan was by most persons deemed wild and chimerical, and a sacrifice of the life of every one was foreboded, who should venture to carry it into execution. The New Zealanders, as will be seen in another part of this work, were represented at the Colony in the blackest colours; and any attempt to impress their minds with a sense of religion and morality, was judged not only hopeless and impracticable, but rash, absurd, and extravagant.

Not deterred, however, by this discouraging representation of their character, Mr, Marsden still entertained hopes of being

[Image of page 5]

able to execute the design he had formed. He weighed thoroughly and impartially the facts adduced against them, and considered with himself whether the implacable enmity which they were said to harbour in their hearts against Europeans, might not be the consequence of just provocation; and whether the cruelties occasionally committed on the crews of vessels, were more than retaliations of similar outrages.

As an Englishman, he was desirous of shewing to this bold, high-spirited, and inquisitive people, the proper character of his country; and as a Christian, of calling them from their gross idolatries to a knowledge of revealed religion, enlightening their minds and humanizing their pursuits. To a man, however, of less firmness than himself, the numerous and authenticated proofs of a hostile disposition on the part of the New Zealanders, would have been appalling, and subversive of every hope as to the success of the undertaking. Tasman, the first navigator that ever visited the New Zealand coasts, is well known to have had a boat's crew cut off shortly after be had sent them on shore, and to have' been so dismayed at this loss, as to sail away immediately without daring to

[Image of page 6]

make a second attempt. The inhabitants were no less hostile to Dufresne Marion, the Commodore of two French sloops, who in the year 1772 entered the Bay of Islands. They surprised and murdered twenty-eight of the men who were sent on shore, and were very near getting possession of the ships: while no later than the following year, two midshipmen and eight sailors, belonging to Captain Furneaux's expedition, were suddenly surrounded, and not only murdered, but (shocking to relate) eaten by the barbarians who captured them. In addition to these facts, which were but too well ascertained, and afforded more than sufficient proofs to counterbalance the good opinion which Captain Cook entertained of these people, when he ventured to penetrate so far into the interior of their country, and recommended the island as admirably calculated for an European settlement; the fatal attack upon the Boyd 2 was still fresh in the recollection of every one, and left an impression of horror and detestation which nothing could efface. This ill-fated ship having touched at New Zealand in 1809,

[Image of page 7]

while on her return to Europe, was actually seized by the natives in spite of the resistance of the crew, who were all of them murdered, and many of them in like manner eaten.

To any other man except Mr. Marsden, these instances of vengeful enmity would have demonstrated the danger, and shewn the almost total impossibility of bringing such savages to a state of rational improvement; but he was determined to have himself practical experience of the dispositions of some of them before he should abandon his purpose.

That he might be enabled to obtain a clear insight into the character of the New Zealand tribes, he carried home with him from time to time, and took under his roof, such individuals as were occasionally brought to Port Jackson by the different whalers; and as no man is more capable than himself of discriminating the various passions that influence the human heart, the plan he adopted and the practice he pursued were both equally judicious. By minutely inspecting their conduct and tracing their motives, he was led to form an estimate of the character of their savage brethren; and while the natural disposition of his rude guests insensibly developed itself, the result

[Image of page 8]

was no less creditable to themselves than gratifying to their benevolent host.

He found them possessed in an eminent degree of many excellent qualities of the heart that would do honour to the most civilized people; such as a cheerful readiness to the interchange of friendly offices among each other, a natural evenness of temper which never suffered them to break out into any turbulent excesses, unless when war, their great ruling propensity, was present in their minds, and a confidence the most implicit on being once assured of safety.

Among the different New Zealanders thus brought to Port Jackson, some were chiefs or kings, supposed to have considerable influence with their countrymen, who yielded a ready obedience to their authority. The most remarkable of these was Tippahee, who came to the colony during the time of Governor King, from the Bay of Islands, where, by the account he gave of himself, he was a ruler of great power and extensive possessions. Both the Governor and the gentlemen of the colony were particularly attentive to him, nor were they a little surprised to find in a man totally unacquainted with any one rule of civilized comportment, an acute

[Image of page 9]

shrewdness of remark, and nicety of discrimination, which they had never before thought compatible with a state of rude barbarism. The colonists still hold in remembrance many of his remarks, which equally shew the solidity of his understanding and the justness of his conceptions. On our remonstrating with him ou the absurdity and inconvenience of his customs, he immediately censured some of our own as far more ridiculous, and many of his arguments were both rational and convincing. Like most of the New Zealand chiefs, he was highly tattooed, a mode of disfiguring the face which is generally practised by all the savage tribes in the Pacific Ocean. The barbarous process consists in pricking on the face with a sharp instrument, a variety of semi-circular and other figures, and rubbing into the punctures a kind of blue paint, or sometimes charcoal, which gives to the countenance a most disgusting appearance, and makes it truly hideous to the eye of an European. On being laughed at one day by a gentleman for having disfigured his face in so unnatural a manner, the sagacious chief immediately retorted with pointed sarcasm; telling him he was quite as much an object of derision him-

[Image of page 10]

self for having put powder and grease in his hair, a practice which he thought was much more absurd than the tattooing.

He could not reconcile the rigour of our penal code with his own ideas of justice, which were certainly regulated by strong feelings of humanity. A person who had been sent out to the colony as a convict, having stolen some pigs during the time the chief happened to be there, was condemned to death, and Tippahee, on being made acquainted with the crime and the punishment, inveighed against the latter as unnecessarily cruel and unjustly severe. Reasoning on the subject with a great deal of natural logic, he said, if the man had stolen an axe or any thing else of essential utility, he ought to suffer death, but not for stealing a pig, to which he was prompted most probably by hunger. He interested himself very warmly ia favour of the culprit, and earnestly pressed the Governor for his pardon, while dining one day with a large party at his Excellency's table; but he was told it was impossible it could be granted, as the man had acted in direct violation of the laws of his country, which secured to each individual the safe possession of his property, and punished with

[Image of page 11]

death all those who would deprive him of it by theft or robbery. "Then," said Tippahee, "why you not hang Captain------?" pointing to the commander of a vessel, whose name I do not immediately recollect, but who was then sitting at table; --"Captain, he come to New Zealand, he come ashore, and tihi (stole) all my potatoes--you hang up Captain------." The company were much pleased with this strong and pointed reasoning of Tippahee, and the Captain appeared quite abashed at so sudden an exposure of his conduct, for he had in reality acted as the chief represented; having sent a boat's crew on shore with orders to dig up his potatoes, which they did, without offering to make the least remuneration for them. I regret to say that instances of unwarrantable depredations of this kind, are but too common among the commanders of vessels in general, who in their intercourse with savage nations, consider themselves exempt from the observance of all laws either of equity or justice; and, plundering with insatiable rapacity, seem to think that ignorance of civilized customs should exclude man from protection, and that honesty towards their rude fellow-creatures was never meant to be included in the compass of moral duties.

[Image of page 12]

Tippahee, however tenacious at first of his own manners and customs, becoming, during his short residence, more habituated to ours, and acquiring a clearer knowledge of their convenience and utility, gave them a decided preference. He also evinced an anxious desire to profit by them as much as possible; while he held the habits in which he had been educated himself, in the most sovereign contempt. Being taken one day to see a rope-walk, and shewn the method of making small twine, some of which was spun before him and the process explained, he was so affected by the contrast of our enlightened knowledge, with the barbarous ignorance of his own countrymen, that he burst into tears, and exclaimed in the bitterness of his regret, "New Zealand no good!" This fine instance of sensibility can only be appreciated by the man whose soul is equally susceptible of noble impressions, and who being blessed himself with the light of civilization and refinement, can feel for the mind that, wrapped in the darkness of barbarism, is still but too conscious of the gloom that surrounds it. Had this chief made a longer stay at Port Jackson, and been properly instructed in agriculture, there

[Image of page 13]

is no doubt but he would on his return have made considerable improvements among his people, and given them a turn for habits of industry and laudable exertion, which are the first and most necessary steps towards a state of humanized culture. Gratitude is a prominent feature in the character of the New Zealander; and Tippahee, on his return to his own country, did not fail to evince it, for he rendered essential services to the different ships that afterwards touched at the Bay of Islands.

Tippahee, on his decease, was succeeded both in his possessions and authority by a relative of his, who a short time ago was brought to Port Jackson by mere casualty. This man, whose name was Duaterra, formed the fanciful resolution of leaving his country for the sole purpose of seeing King George, and entered as a sailor on board one of our ships, where, I am sorry to say, he was treated with the greatest inhumanity. After suffering numberless hardships and mortifications, he was accidently found by Mr. Marsden when that Gentleman was last in England, on board a vessel then lying at Spithead; from whence he was conveyed by him back again to the South Sea Islands,

[Image of page 14]

as a person who might be very useful to him in forwarding the benevolent purpose which was the object of his voyage. The same ardent desire for acquiring knowledge, which was so strongly displayed by his predecessor, could also be perceived in this young man, who, from the advantage of a longer residence among our people, and a tolerable acquaintance with our language, was better enabled to judge of the abject condition of his own countrymen, while he promised to exert all his influence in order to improve it. He not only readily acquiesced in the proposal of Mr. Marsden to form a Missionary Establishment among his people, for the purpose of disseminating the great truths of Divine Revelation, but expressed an anxious solicitude to have it commenced as soon as possible; and guaranteed to all persons engaged in it, hospitality and kindness from his own tribe, and safe protection from the attacks of any other.

Availing himself of this favourable circumstance, Mr. Marsden, in the year 1810, proposed to the Church Missionary Society, whose Agent he is for carrying into effect their laudable endeavours in this part of the world, that they should send out to New

[Image of page 15]

Zealand, certain proper persons to form a Mission. To this they readily assented, and immediately engaged two persons with their families, Mr. Hall and Mr. King, who embarked with ail possible expedition, accompanied by Mr. Marsden himself. They have since engaged another person for the same purpose, Mr. Kendall, who, with his family, was brought out in the Earl Spencer, the same vessel that conveyed me to these interesting regions. A short time before my arrival, Mr. Marsden purchased a vessel for the service and convenience of the Mission, as likewise to keep up a regular intercourse between the Island and Port Jackson, which he conceived highly necessary, and would be attended with very beneficial consequences.

Before I proceed to a detail of the voyage, I shall beg leave to state the views which Mr. Marsden entertained of these people, and the means he thought best calculated to instruct and civilize them. He knew them to be a race quite different from the natives of Otaheite, who, though in a progressive state of enlightenment, are yet enervated by a relaxing climate, and evince in consequence an almost total inaptitude for mental as well as bodily exertion. On the

[Image of page 16]

contrary, the New Zealanders, a hardy and active people, appear well fitted for useful employment, and are always ready for vigorous enterprise. The former, it is true, have made nearer approaches to something like civilization than the latter, and are by no means deficient in natural genius, would they but exert it; but this superiority arises most probably from their geographical situation, which affording them a frequent intercourse with the other numerous islands by which they are surrounded, gives them at the same time opportunities of improvement, which the New Zealanders, who are detached and remote, cannot possibly possess. Contrasting, therefore, the genius and habits of this people with those of the other Islanders in this immense Ocean, he found them much more prepared for cultivation than the generality of savage tribes, and less tenacious of their own barbarous institutions. But he rightly considered that moral lectures and abstruse religious discourses, however proper at a subsequent period, when the mind became susceptible of their importance, could do but little at first towards reclaiming a people so totally immersed in

[Image of page 17]

ignorance: therefore he resolved on a better plan, and paved the way for introducing the mechanic arts, by creating artificial wants to which they had never before been accustomed, and which he knew must act as the strongest excitement to the exercise of their ingenuity. Accordingly he did not apply to the Society for men only of scriptural attainments, but for experienced and useful mechanics, who could instruct the natives in cultivating their ground, building their houses, and regulating the whole system of their internal and external economy. The choice made by the Society, of the persons sent out for this purpose, was judicious and correct. The two mechanics who had been selected by them, were men of regular and religious habits, and indefatigable industry; the one an excellent carpenter, and the other a shoemaker, who had been previously instructed at the expense of the Society, in the mode of dressing flax, a species of which plant abounds in the island, and is much valued by the inhabitants, but whose mode of preparing it is of course much inferior to that practised in Europe. Mr. Kendall, who acted as schoolmaster, an employment of much consequence to the success of the Mission in this island, was a

[Image of page 18]

man every way qualified for his situation. He joined to mild and persuasive manners, a good stock of useful knowledge, which he had the happy art to impart without appearing rigorous or severe; and above all, was impressed with a strong sense of the importance of religion, the duties of which he strenuously endeavoured to inculcate in others, while, punctually observant, he always took care to discharge them himself. Such were the men whom the Society provided as the guides and instructors of this people; and, in my opinion, none could have been chosen with more suitable qualifications, or better calculated to give efficiency to their benevolent intentions. Mr. Marsden, rightly judging that supplying the wants of the natives gratuitously, would be attended with an exorbitant expense to the Society, and rather retard than promote the grand object of civilization, purchased the vessel to excite a spirit of trade among them, and afford them continual opportunities of exchanging the valuable productions of their island for some of our commodities; besides, he knew it would be necessary that the persons sent out, should be supplied, occasionally, with whatever they might want, in a place where none of the conveniences

[Image of page 19]

of civilized life could be procured. His keeping up a regular intercourse with the island was, therefore, both prudent and considerate, and, as I before stated, he deemed it not only expedient, but likely also to be of important advantage.

Immediately after the arrival of Mr. Kendall in the colony, Mr. Marsden, having made all the necessary arrangements, resolved on forwarding the Mission without loss of time: but, solicitous for their safety, he was anxious first to make a trial of the dispositions of the natives, by sending the vessel well armed and in a state of preparation against any attack, to the territories of Duaterra, where, in the event of their being well received, he intended to establish the settlement. For this purpose, he appointed Mr. Kendall and Mr. Hall to go previously to the island, directing them to set out for the Bay of Islands, and giving them particular orders to use every precaution in their intercourse with the natives, to make themselves acquainted with Duaterra, and the different other chiefs, and to bring him or any of them to the colony, who might evince an inclination to visit it. That they might commence, on their landing, a species of trade with the inhabitants, he supplied them

[Image of page 20]

with whatever articles he thought most proper to be exchanged, and gave them also some presents, which they were to make among certain individuals, as their judgment might direct.

On the return of the vessel, the report they made of the reception they had met with, was highly encouraging, and afforded Mr. Marsden, who very wisely had made this previous trial, the strongest hopes of ultimate success. The rude natives, far from offering them the least molestation, received them, on the contrary, with evident symptoms of real satisfaction, and supplied them, in the most hospitable manner, with all the productions of their island. On being made acquainted with their intention of returning again and fixing their residence among them, they all appeared much delighted, and the chiefs, in particular, were anxious to express the joy they felt, by each of them offering, with pressing earnestness, his own district as the place of their abode. Duaterra, who, as I have stated, became the inheritor of the late chief Tippahee's possessions and jurisdiction, entered into their views with an alacrity and earnestness well worthy the noble object they contemplated, which, it

[Image of page 21]

plainly appeared, he was fully capable of appreciating. Having perfectly satisfied themselves as to the dispositions of the people, and made whatever other observations they deemed necessary on the occasion, they embarked for their return, accompanied by Duaterra, who wished once more to visit Port Jackson, and two other chiefs, who were also extremely desirous of being brought to see the colony. Both Mr. Kendall and Mr. Hall agreed, in representing the part of the island in which they had been, as beautifully picturesque in point of scenery, with a soil that only required the hand of cultivation to produce every thing in the greatest abundance. The climate, they said, was so salubrious and inviting, that, even in the depth of winter, the season of the year they happened to be there, no other change was perceptible, than a few refreshing showers, which gave a mellow and vernal softness to the fields, while no sudden or violent transitions ever disturbed the serenity of the mild atmosphere.

Seeing every thing had thus turned out favourably, and in accordance with his most sanguine hopes, Mr. Marsden now made all the necessary preparations to establish the settlement; and to contribute still more to

[Image of page 22]

its success, came to the resolution of accompanying the members of it himself, in order to superintend their labours, until they should be enabled themselves to proceed with facility. Yet, in forming this meritorious determination, his own private affairs must have been considerably deranged; for, besides having a wife and family, the dearest objects of his solicitude, he had other concerns at the same time of weighty importance, which demanded his personal direction at all hours. However, his zeal for the service of his fellow-creatures, whom he wished to raise from the degradation of gross ignorance to a rank suited to human beings, prevailed over every other consideration, and led him, for the first time of his life, to forego the duties of a husband and a father, which no man in existence knew better how to practise, or, on any other occasion, could more faithfully discharge. The reader, I am persuaded, will indulge this small tribute to the virtues of a gentleman, of whom no language can speak too highly, nor any panegyric distinguish more than he deserves. It now remains for me to state the motives which induced me to become the companion of their voyage, and visit the unfrequented

[Image of page 23]

island which gave occasion to this narrative. Being disappointed in the character of a person at the colony, with whom I intended to engage in some commercial transactions, I had much of my time unemployed, not choosing to make any speculations by myself, until I should have received advices from England. I was thus at liberty to indulge the ardent desire I felt from my earliest days, of learning the manners and customs of different nations, and particularly those with which Europeans in general are but little acquainted, and therefore readily yielded to the solicitations of Mr. Marsden, with whom I lived in habits of close intimacy, to accompany him on his voyage to New Zealand.

As the second visit of Duaterra to the colony afforded me an opportunity of seeing for the first time a person of whom I had heard such frequent mention, I shall in this place give some particulars respecting him and the two other chiefs by whom he was accompanied, and then proceed to an account of the voyage and subsequent events, of all which I kept a regular journal. Duaterra, who was now in the full bloom of youth, was a man of tall and commanding stature, great muscular

[Image of page 24]

strength, and marked expression of countenance: his deportment, which I will not hesitate to call dignified and noble, appeared well calculated to give sanction to his authority, while the fire and animation of his eye might betray even to the ordinary beholder, the elevated rank he held among his countrymen. But besides having from nature a set of regular and expressive features, his face formed in other respects an agreeable contrast to those of his fellow chiefs, for it was not disfigured with the disgusting marks of the tattoo, nor had any other extravagant arts been employed to give it an unnatural embellishment. His complexion was not darker than that of the natives of Spain or Portugal, and in general the lineaments of his countenance assumed the European character. But, however prepossessed by his personal appearance, I was much more forcibly struck with his correct and unobtrusive manners, which, totally contrary to what might be expected from one who had only for so short a period mixed with civilized people, and those only of the rudest order, common sailors, were not only extremely proper and well regulated, but even polite, engaging, and courteous. Thus do we often

[Image of page 25]

find Nature spurn the meretricious aids of art, while asserting her own superiority, she raises even among a nation of barbarians, a distinguished model of the wonders she can effect, and which in every age and country must entitle her to the pre-eminence she claims. Duaterra, like Peter the Great, if I may be allowed in this instance to compare the obscure chief of a savage tribe, with the mighty Emperor of a comparatively savage nation, laboured with indefatigable industry at all sorts of employments; but particularly agriculture, which he wished to introduce among his people, and spared no pains that he might be enabled to instruct them in it on his return. He had the advantage, as I before observed, of being able to speak the English language, so as to be easily understood, having made some proficiency in it during the time he was on board the ship; and he found this of considerable service to him ia his endeavours to improve himself.

Shunghi. a chief of superior rank, and more extensive power than Duaterra, in whose neighbourhood he resided, was induced by his representations to accompany him to Port Jackson. This man had not the same robust figure as Duaterra, but his coun-

[Image of page 26]

tenance was much more placid, and seemed, I thought, handsomer, allowing for the operation of the tattoo, which it had undergone, while it wanted that marked and animated severity which gave so decided a character to the face of his companion. As the mind of Duaterra was disposed chiefly to the pursuits of agriculture, and the desire of acquiring a perfect knowledge of the methods we employed in all its stages, so the genius of Shunghi was bent exclusively on mechanics, for which he shewed an evident predilection, and gave some extraordinary proofs of hia skill and ingenuity. I have seen myself an admirable specimen of his abilities in this line, considering the very rude and imperfect instruments which he was obliged to use on the occasion.. It was a gun that he brought over with him, which he had stocked in so complete a manner, that even the most expert and finished mechanic could not possibly have done it better with the same implements, or have afforded in any one part nicer or more ingenious samples of execution. While at the colony, he gave a still greater proof of his genius by a carving on wood, which excited the admiration of every body who beheld it. The subject represented was the head of

[Image of page 27]

a New Zealander, and the features were described with an astonishing boldness and fidelity, while the fantastic and chequered convolutions of the tattooing were delineated even with a mathematical precision. This man had the reputation of being one of the greatest warriors in his country, yet his natural disposition was mild and inoffensive, and would appear to the attentive observer much more inclined to peaceful habits than to strife or enterprise; a strong instance that man is in every state the creature of education, and liable to be impelled by circumstances to which very frequently neither his head nor his heart will lend its concurrence.

The other chief, whose name was Korra-korra, was the very opposite of the two I have described in habits and disposition, and possessed a soul that seemed to have been cast in quite a different mould. Despising the arts of peaceful industry to which they so sedulously applied themselves, war only was his delight; and to this all his thoughts were turned with an impatient avidity and wild enthusiasm that sometimes assumed the aspect of ungovernable violence. He never recounted the battles he had fought, or the foes he had conquered, without being

[Image of page 28]

transported with a kind of furious exultation; and when desired to sing the war-song, and give a description of his mode of attack, his gestures and manner became outrageous to the very extreme of frenzy; a savage fury took possession for the time of all his senses; his whole frame shook with rage; his eyes glowed with the most horrible ferocity; and, lost in the madness of his passion, the man appeared transformed into a hideous demon of insatiable vengeance. Yet though his soul was led away by this most violent propensity to war, let it not be inferred at the same time, that it was altogether incapable of feeling the influence of the softer affections. No, quite the contrary; the tear of remorse could stream from his eye for having offended any person who had rendered him a kindness, and the expressions of his gratitude, ardent and sincere, left no doubt that his heart was susceptible of its liveliest emotions. I have myself repeatedly seen his turbulent mind yield with easy pliancy to sentiments like these, and although it would have been next to an impossibility to dissuade him from his favourite pursuit, and reconcile his ideas to sober avocations, still the reprimand which he was conscious of deserving, would in-

[Image of page 29]

stantly subdue the vehemence of his temper, and even melt his soul in the bitterness of compunction. Furious to a degree when provoked, his rage knew no bounds; but when well treated, he was both gentle and affectionate; and such too was his fidelity, that when once conciliated by friendship, it might for ever after be confidently relied upon. In his person he might be considered a good specimen of the generality of his countrymen. Like Shunghi, he was highly tattooed all over his face, nor was the unsightly process neglected even on the hinder parts of his body, so great is their love of this extravagant and truly savage operation. His features, though not handsome or regular, were still agreeable and interesting, while at the same time they too often betrayed the lawless ebullitions of an ungovernable spirit.

Each of these chiefs was attended to the colony by a male relation, and Duaterra's remained there after him, under the instruction of a smith, while the other two, Tenana and Tui, returned with the vessel that conveyed us to their country.

The New Zealanders are looked upon at the colony as barbarians of the most ferocious and implacable dispositions; and it was not

[Image of page 30]

without much earnest importunity, that Mr, Marsden obtained leave of absence from the Governor for four months, as his Excellency considered it a most dangerous enterprise for him to venture his life among them; and told him plainly, he did not think himself justified in granting him the permission, though, with extreme reluctance, he yielded to his request.

As for me, I was importuned by all my friends to forego the resolution I had formed, and not trust myself to the hospitality of a people so savage and inhuman, to some of whom I must eventually fall a victim; but it was in vain they attempted to dissuade me, my purpose was fixed; and while I was fully sensible of their affectionate solicitude, I could not for a moment let it interfere to oppose an expedition, which I contemplated with sensations of enthusiastic pleasure.

In order to protect the natives from the customary depredations of vessels touching at the Bay of Islands, Mr. Kendall was, at the desire of Mr. Marsden, sworn in a magistrate; and the following proclamation, published by order of the Governor, appeared in the Sydney Gazette, with the view

[Image of page 31]

of imposing a salutary restraint on the commanders of ships, whose lawless incursions I have already taken occasion to notice.

GOVERNMENT AND GENERAL ORDERS.

"Government House, Sydney, New South Wales, 9th Nov. 1814.
(CIVIL DEPARTMENT.)

"It having been represented to his Excellency the Governor, that the commanders and seamen of vessels touching at, or trading with the islands of New Zealand, and more especially that part of them commonly called the 'Bay of Islands,' have been in the habit of offering gross insult and injury to the natives of those places, by violently seizing on and carrying off several of them, both males and females, and treating them in other respects with injudicious and unwarrantable severity, to the great prejudice of the fair intercourses of trade which might be otherwise productive of mutual advantages; and his Excellency being equally solicitous to protect the natives of New Zealand and the Bay of Islands, in all their just rights and privileges,

[Image of page 32]

as those of every other dependency of the territory of New South Wales, hereby orders and directs, that no master or seaman of any ship or vessel belonging to any British port, or to any of the colonies of Great Britain, resorting to the said islands of New Zealand, shall in future remove or carry therefrom any of the natives, without first obtaining permission of the chief or chiefs of the districts, within which the natives so to be embarked may happen to reside: which permission is to be certified in writing, under the hand of Mr. Thomas Kendall, the resident magistrate in the Bay of Islands, or of the magistrate for the time being in the said district.

"It is also ordered and directed by the authority aforesaid, that no master of any ship or vessel belonging to Great Britain, or any of her colonies, shall land or discharge any sailor or sailors, or other person from ou board his ship or vessel, within any of the bays or harbours of New Zealand, without having first obtained the permission of the chief or chiefs of the place, confirmed by the certificate of the resident magistrate, as in the foregoing case.

"Any neglect or disobedience of these

[Image of page 33]

orders by the masters or seamen belonging to ships or vessels trading from hence to, or having any intercourse with New Zealand, or the adjacent isles, will subject the offenders to be proceeded against with the utmost rigour of the law, on their return hither; and those who shall return to England without resorting to this place, will be reported to his Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, and such documents transmitted, as will warrant their being equally proceeded against and punished there, as if they had arrived within this territory.

"And with a view to carry these orders into due effect, his Excellency is pleased to direct that the following chiefs of New Zealand, viz. Duaterra, Shunghi, and Korra-korra, be, and they are hereby invested with power and authority for that purpose; and are to receive due obedience from all persons to whom these orders have reference, so far as they relate to the obtaining permission to remove or carry away any of the natives of New Zealand, or the adjacent isles, or to land or discharge any sailors or other persons thereon. ------By command of his Excellency the Governor.

"JOHN THOMAS CAMPBELL, Secretary."

[Image of page 34]

The time now arrived when we were to proceed on our destination, and the chiefs, who appeared highly gratified with their visit to the colony, received at their departure a variety of presents from all ranks of the inhabitants. The Governor gave them several articles of very great value to persons in their rude state, in addition to handsome uniforms which he ordered for them, and three cows, one for each of them, with which they were presented. A gentleman conferred on Duaterra a gift, which he knew how to appreciate, and was exceedingly solicitous about, a fine mare; and Mr. Marsden shipped another, together with a stallion, for the use of the settlers, who would find it of infinite advantage in the prosecution of their labours, to be supplied with so serviceable and necessary an animal as the horse. The ship being now ready to sail, having all the other persons on board, and every requisite laid in, Mr. Marsden and myself embarked, together, November 19th, 1814,

1   "-- As it is well known that the Europeans have thought it no crime, to murder and plunder these islanders, upon the most trivial occasions, and often from mere wanton cruelty."-- Proceedings of the Rev. Samuel Marsden, inserted in the Missionary Register for November 1816.
2   The particulars of the loss of the Boyd will be found in a subsequent part of this work.

Previous section | Next section