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Narrative of a voyage round the world, performed in Her Majesty's ship Sulphur, during the years 1836-1842,… Belcher, Edward, Sir, 1799-1877 1843

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FROM DEC.  1840, TO NOV.  1841.

C.B.,  F.R.A.S.,   &C.
Anchor in Matavai Bay—Shift to Papeete—1 Jim," the pilot—
Chiefs Itoti and Paofai—Visit queen Pomare—Her husband
—Legal discussions—King-consort impeached—Reconciliation
—Native dances—Cruelty of king—Quit Tahiti—Noon-tide
disproved—Touch at Huaheine—Visit Raratonga—Mr. Buza-
cott, the missionary—-The chiefs—Market regulations — Diseases—Quit Raratonga       • Page 1
Visit theFeejees—Ship strikes—Rudder damaged—Reach anchorage—Visit of Missionary—Starling despatched to Tibooka—
Measures adopted with the natives—Town of Rewa—Fighting bourri canoes—Phillips and chief of Rewa — Kindness
of Commodore Wilkes — Rivers of Am-ba-ou—Implements
of war—Captured chief—Mode of dressing hair—Leekee worn
by women — Discussion relative to missionaries and their
adoption of the Christian Religion—Invasion of Banga—Cannibalism— Garingaria— Reach Port Resolution — Unpleasant
position of missionaries from Navigators^—Natives troublesome
—Awkward predicament—Habits and dress of natives—Quit
35 IV
Quit Port Resolution—Tanna—Pass Erromango — Arrive off
Island of Guadalcanar—Dangers of Guadalcanar—Proceed to
Port Carteret—New Ireland—Examine Port Gower and Turtle
Bay—Visited by natives—Quit Port Carteret—Pass Duke of
York's Island — Visited by canoes—Articles brought for
traffic — Mother and Dfrtighter — Proceed towards New
Guinea—Sighting Elizabeth Island and Admiralty Group—
Pass the Britannia Islands, discovered in 1795—Land, and
survey Port Victoria—Visit of natives—Thermal springs—
Quit Port Victoria, and examine coast of Guinea—Structure of
canoes—Pass " Los Crespos"—Anchor off Arimoa—Visited by
natives — Habitations — Floating islands — Reach island of
Jobie—Description of it—Quit Jobie—Pass Goelvink's Bay—
Fix position of Middleburg and Amsterdam—Land at Pigeon
Island—Dampier Strait—Pass Ceram—Anchor in Cajeli Bay
—Bouro—Quit, and reach Amboina . .        67
Amboina—Flattering reception by the governor—The rajahs—
Visit a cavern—Mode of travelling—Grotesque attendants—
Society—Fishing trammels—Chinese town—Garrison—Capabilities and government of the island—Return to Bouro-*—
Cajeli Bay examined—Passage to Celebes, Macassar—Fort—•
Situation of the Dutch—Solombo—Pulo Kumpal—Singapore
—Receive orders to proceed to China—Prosperous state of
Singapore — Palawan passage—Starling struck by lightning
—"Manila—Transports with invalids—Indisposition of the authorities towards them—Join the squadron at Chuenpee     107 CONTENTS.
Naval force in the Canton-river—The forts of Chuenpee and Ty-
cocktow attacked—Destruction of the war-junks—Preparations
for forcing the Bocca Tigris—A barber surgeon made prisoner
—Turned to account—Operations suspended—The captured
forts givenup—Squadron descends the river—Take possession of
Hong-kong—Hostilities resumed—Return to the Bocca Tigris
—A battery constructed on South Wangtong—The forts of the
Bocca Tigris cannonaded and stormed—Cruelties of the Sepoys
—Ascend the river—Affair of the First Bar Fort—The Cambridge burnt-r-Unmask a battery—A man killed—Take possession of "Howqua's Folly"—Chinese charges for a gun—
Operations in the river, and before Canton—Another trace
and its remarkable terms—The Commodore goes to Calcutta.
;-;^^l|.:^-' •   'f4    •'■*      ^ :-'-■:  .   '•■•" :■::-'•:     139
CHAPTER VI.     ~v-."' "•'
Examine the channels of the river—A fresh rupture—Treacherous
edict—Many boats and junks destroyed—Reconnoitre for
landing troops—Preparations for the advance on Canton—
Storm the heights—Camp deserted—Casualties—Truce—Memorial—Chinese view of affairs—Memorial of Yishan to the
Emperor—Reception of the terms of trace—Death of Major
Beecher—Approach of the Chinese—The ransom paid—Premature death of Sir Le Fleming Senhouse—Commodore Sir J.
Gordon Bremer returns—Typhoon—The Plenipotentiaries in
the hands of the Chinese—Procure freedom by ransom      173
Arrival of Admiral Sir W. Parker and Sir H. Pottinger—Distribution of the force—The Chinese re-fortify the Canton river—
Sulphur detained at Macao—Arms clandestinely supplied to
the Chinese—Madagascar steam-vessel^wrecked—Feelings to- VI
wards the English — Various boats in use — Quit the China
waters—Return to Singapore—Climate—Geology—Malacca
—Pinnag—Acheen—Malays—Conduct of the Sultan—Observations ......     227
Ceylon—Point de Galle—Climate—Sail again—Numerous marine animals—Natural history—Anchor at Port Victoria, S6-
chelles—Partiality of the seamen for cocoa-nuts—State of
Victoria—Black population—Description of the Sechelles from
their almanack—Mahe"—Monsoons—Cession of the islands to
England—Terms of capitulation—Political and commercial
importance—Woods—Quit the Sechelles — Majambo Bay,
Madagascar—Appearance of the coast—Natural history—Absence of natives—Sail for the Cape of Good Hope—St. Helena
—Ascension—Cape Blanco—Arrival in England—Liberality
of the Admiralty—Paid off—Conclusion        . .     263
Nicaragua ......      303
Convention with the Emperor of Russia . .     308
Marquesas ......     313
Kuikahi . . . . . .323
The Regions of Vegetation, being an Analysis of the Distribution
of Vegetable Forms over the surface of the Globe in connexion
with Climate and Physical Agents, by Richard Brinsley
Hinds, Esq. .....      325 mmmmmmmmmm.
Attack on the War-Junks, at Chuenpee Creek Frontispiece.
Thoka-nauta (or Phillips)  and Garingaria,  Brothers of Chief
Rewa, Feejee Group      ....    Page 46
Natives of Port Victoria, Britannia Group, New Guinea
Native of New Guinea       ....
Bow of a State Canoe, Island of Jobie, New Guinea
Prahu of Geby
Native of Celebes ....
Native Women of Celebes
Attack on First Bar Battery, Canton River
Chinese Soldiers, with Gingals
Chinese Soldiers at Great Guns
•        >V1
State Canoe
•           .          ,           .
Rewa Canoe
.    43
Native of Bugis
. 124
Prahus of Macassar
. 126
Hand of Barber-surgeon
. 145
Chinese Trading-junk
. 236
. 237
Fast-Boat .
. 238
. 239  cmi
Anchor in Matavai Bay—Shift to Papeete—" Jim 1 the pilot—
Chiefs Itoti and Paofai—Visit queen Pomare—Her husband
—Legal discussions—King-consort impeached—Reconciliation
—Native dances—Cruelty of king—Quit Tahiti—Noon-tide
disproved—Touch at Huaheine—Visit Raratonga—Mr. Buza-
cott the missionary—The chiefs—Market regulations — Diseases—Quit Raratonga.
B  mmmm
Having so lately quitted the American continent,
and particularly Nuhuhiva, the scenery of Tahiti did
not so much interest us, as the assistance we looked
for in refitting, added to the rest and amusement
after our late fatigues.
I landed on Point Venus, perhaps with feelings
totally incomprehensible to any on board. Fourteen
years before, on the very spot where Cook was encamped, I had bivouacked for several days. I was
then a lieutenant, now a captain; and I looked forward to my labours* which were there to be resumed,
with an anxiety only to be experienced by those
charged with similar duties. The question as to
the increase of the Dolphin shoal since 1826 was my
hobby. Next came the determination by actual
experiment  of the tidal question;  Kotzebue and
Beechey having asserted a noon high water. Magnetic
data were looked to with anxiety; and I was now
to enter the field where so many talented men had
preceded me. Furnished with well-tested instruments, perseverance alone was required. In addition
to these considerations, I expected to meet with those
who had befriended me in 1826, and I hoped possibly to be of service to their country.
Having obtained the necessary data for securing
the meridian distance, we moved, on the morning of
the 5th, through Toanoa channel to Papeete.
This channel in the Blossom's day was deemed
impassable, but is now the common entrance, the
French frigate,  l'Artemise, having entered by it.
On entering the reefs, the boats of thirteen American whale ships came to our assistance, and, aided
by a light air, we were taken through in good style
by our pilot " Jim," of notoriety in Beechey's work.
As a native pilot, he deserves great credit, and
acquits himself with far more coolness and decision
than many Europeans. At twenty minutes past
eight we dropped anchor in Papeete Bay, followed
shortly by the Starling.
Before entering the narrows, the chiefs, Paofai,
Itoti, and the husband of the queen's mother, paid
me a visit. I was much surprised at their loss of
caste. In former times they were the essence of
propriety; now they were reduced to compete with
the other natives for the washing of linen, even in
their fancy uniforms. ^^mmm
The consul, Mr. Pritchard, immediately paid me
a visit, and we proceeded together, about noon, to
visit queen Pomare, then residing at her country
establishment, at Papawa. She has been married
within the last six years to a young chief at Hua-
heine, by whom she has two sons who are living, the
eldest about three years old.
I expected, as an old acquaintance, to have met
with a cordial reception, but I subsequently learned
that she had been so much harassed by threats of vengeance from various nations, that she hardly knew
whether I had not come to make some new demand
for satisfaction. However, this soon wore away
upon the explanation of Mr. Pritchard, and she
readily assented to my making use of the small
island, Motu-utu, to land our stores, &c. during the
operations of caulking and replacing some copper.
Her apprehensions removed, she immediately moved
down to her new house at Papeete. Her husband,
of whom, however, she is very fond, is a great scamp,
and is causing much trouble in the island.
Owing to the caulking and other disagreeables
on board, I took up my abode at the house of the
queen's aunt, where I erected my observatory, and
superintended the building of a new boat. Unfortunately, there were several whalers in port, refitting,
and it was not until the sixth day after our arrival
that we could obtain any aid from artificers, our own
being nearly useless or sick. Those who eventually
came, performed about half as much as we were
accustomed to in civilized countries. 6
Representation having been made to me that
there were several cases where British subjects had
opposed the verdict of Tahitan juries, and the queen
and chiefs having solicited my advice thereon,
a public meeting of the chiefs was convened.
Upon the questions which were brought forward for my consideration, I had only direct answers to give, confirming the sentences in accordance with their laws, and expressing my surprise
that they should have hesitated in carrying them
vigorously into execution, when they had the assurance of the British consul that his government
would not countenance any opposition to them.
Some discussion, however, threatened to arise, in consequence of their putting " home questions? which
bore severely on the conduct of foreigners present.
But these I avoided, by answering as for British
subjects only, or the British consul,—promising any
private advice they might wish at a future occasion.
Upon one decision against a British subject, viz.,
that of a young man who had forcibly retained
the wife of a native, I was applied to by the defendant for redress, inasmuch as he had acted under
the authority of the queen's husband, who had given
the woman a paper desiring her to go and live with
this young man, and say " that he told her to do
so." As this was a manifest usurpation of authority,
and the parties had thus been led into error and fined
for it, I enclosed the documents to the queen and
chiefs, requiring them to look into the matter, and _-*■*■■
adding that as they had talked so much about
their laws being disregarded by foreigners, it was
incumbent on them to see that they were not brought
into contempt, by being tampered with by one of
their own body.
The affair was taken up with spirit. The queen
(although not without a struggle) gave up her husband to the law, and issued a summons to the seven
supreme judges. When they had assembled, the
young king-consort refused to appear, and after much
noise and excitement, the confer&ace was put off until
it could be more solemnly conducted, by summoning
all the chiefs of Eimeo, as well as those of Tahiti.
Upon their assembling, the king again refused to
appear, backed by the lowest order of foreigners
living on the beach, who were interested in setting1
the laws at defiance. At length the queen, to prove-
her sincerity, and that she would not screen him,
requested that the judges would adjourn to the
palace, and try him there. This was accordingly
On my passage thither, I had an opportunity of
witnessing some of the manoeuvres which were attempted in order to foil the trial. Indeed, some
of the braggadocios talked largely of going in a body
to protest against the proceedings. They were the
beach rabble before alluded to. They had not the
courage to appear, and the judges proceeded to
select a jury. They were about to proceed to trial;
the king having submitted, and appeared.    As I per- ■^--~—!
ceived this would afford a good opportunity for the
judges to give him a lecture, which opportunity
might be lost after the trial, I expressed myself
(as far as I was concerned) " satisfied that he had
at length seen his error, and submitted to the laws
of his country, and that I merely wished the judges
to point out to him, in the presence of the queen,
chiefs, and people, his total inability to interfere
with the government: that he was merely the queen's
husband, and by the laws of the island was not even
entitled to the authority of a chief.
This had an almost electric effect. Taatee and
Utamme, the two oldest chiefs, immediately stepped
forth, and in the most energetic language, told him
his faults, and finally exhorted him to stay more at
home, and look to the interests of the queen and
their children.
The several chiefs who had secretly opposed me,
and supported the ultras, now stepped forth, and
were lavish of " soft sawder." In fact, the tables
were entirely turned.
To conclude the matter, I immediately offered
the king and queen my hand, and invited them,
together with Taatee and Utamme, to dinner on
board, where they enjoyed themselves rationally and
happily, and were entertained by fireworks from
the island. Much to the chagrin of the disaffected,
they were for this night entirely cut off from their
society and machinations.
Having put upon paper answers to several ques- 1840.]
tions, relating to the proper course to be pursued
against turbulent foreigners, and pointed out how
far they would be listened to by foreign powers
when complaining of their subjects, I left them
in peace and harmony, and moved the ship to Point
Venus, in order to complete our magnetic observations.
Shortly after our arrival the king joined us, and
seemed determined to separate himself from his
former acquaintance. In the evening, a hula-hula,
or native dance, was performed before us, by fifty
young men and boys, dressed a la militaire, in blue,
with white trimmings. The day following the queen
arrived, and a similar exhibition of ladies and gentlemen took place, the former all in white, with very
neat straw bonnets.
Both parties went through the performance of the
hula-hula with great spirit; but the dresses were
rather inconvenient to both sexes. One young lady,
with shoes and white stockings, findiug them inconvenient, first threw away the shoes, and shortly after
the stockings followed.
The hula-hula of the present day is entirely free
from objection. It is merely a display of extraordinary activity, the acme of which is an instantaneous
and simultaneous stop when at the highest pitch of exertion.    It is what might be termed a romping dance.
After all this gaiety, I was much surprised, on the
day following, by a visit from the consul, who, to my
astonishment, informed me that he was the bearer of «as»5S^* "3SBaH9ffi*5*
_jf^£ «i- ^"52^53
a message from the queen, intreating my stay until
the May meeting, (on the Wednesday following,) as
the king, in a fit of intoxication, had treated the
queen in a most brutal manner, in the high road;
having attempted to kill her with a stone. Being
foiled by her female retinue, and two young men
who were passing, he had seized her by her hair, and
had it not been for those about, doubtless would have
destroyed her. The queen fled to the house of a
cooper, where she was concealed. It appears that
he had fallen from his horse in a fit of intoxication,
and she had rushed to his assistance with all the
warmth of affection, which was thus repaid. On
his return to the house, he destroyed all her presents
of dresses, bonnets, ornaments, &c, and attempted to
fire the house. It was the professed intention of the
queen " to move for a divorce, and that he be returned to Huaheine."
The consul immediately took the queen under his
protection, and having requested my interference, I
assured her that four days'delay was important to
me, but if she would assure me of her determination
to rid herself of such a dangerous and detestable
character, and immediately summon the judges, I
would not only wait, but also convey him to his
island (Huaheine.)
To my utter astonishment, the consul informed
me the day following, that she had forgiven him, and
returned, thanking me in the warmest terms for my
attention. M 1840.]    FORGIVING  DISPOSITION   OF   POM ARE. 11
Poor woman! afraid this is but a beginning
of such scenes. Two most unprincipled chiefs,
Hetoti and Poafai, are well known to bear her mortal hatred, and if they can excite the husband to do
their will, she will probably fall, and he will then
inevitably become their victim.
Pomare is now growing old for a Tahitan, being
above twenty-eight, and very corpulent. She appears to be very fond of her children, and to feel
much for her unprincipled husband, although for
months they scarcely speak. Her forgiveness on
this late occasion speaks volumes for her kindness
of heart. She is at times, however, violent and
passionate, as I have noticed in her arguments with
the consul. She does not possess one single trace of
the pretty little girl I recollect as Aimatta in 1826.
I had frequent opportunities of seeing her in the
midst of her retinue at Papeete, as she occasionally
stopped to take tea at my quarters. One division were
admitted to table; the second division sitting in
the verandah. On these occasions her manners were
very pleasing, and care appeared to be banished. I
endeavoured to entice the husband to join us, but
without success.
With respect to the present condition of the
Tahitans, it is my decided opinion, that with the
introduction of dress, the peculiar religious feeling
which I noticed in 1826 has vanished. They were
then simple in the extreme; they are now comparatively civilized.    The introduction of foreigners has 12
broken down the legal barrier which restrained them.
I much regretted that I could not be present at
their May meeting. It is similar to our parliament,
and our presence might have assisted in the introduction of laws for the comfort of the well-disposed.
I had no object in view; but the chiefs of all parties,
as well as the missionaries, wished my presence.
On the evening of the 8th, we quitted Matavai
Bay, and shaped our course for Huaheine, in the hope
of finding an anchor said to have been left there.
The course of tidal experiments at Papeete, as well
as Point Venus, negative the noon high-water.
Dolphin shoal has not increased since 1826, nor
had it at that date altered from the account given by
Wallis or Cook. On the other hand, two coral
patches, discovered by me in the Blossom's visit,
have decreased, and are now hardly to be found. The
new channel into Papeete exhibits a clearing away
of coralline obstructions, and the formation of a deep
channel. The Blossom could barely enter Toanoa;
now, a line of battle ship can enter easily. The spot
where the consul's house then stood is no more:
vessels may ride there. Surely here is no evidence
of the astonishing activity of lithophytes.
Hardly had we cleared Point Venus, when, for the
first time during our visit, it rained heavily, and did
not clear up until after midnight, when we cleared
the island of Eimeo. Shortly before sunset on the
day following we rounded the point of Huaheine, and
would probably have anchored had the wind favoured 1840.]
our entry. However, as we were taken aback at the
entrance, I decided on going in my boat to view the
anchor, and ascertain if it was worth delay.
Having given a passage to Mr. Barff, jun., (the
missionary at Papeete,) to visit his father, the resident
missionary at Huaheine, I took him with me, to
show where the anchor lay. One glance was sufficient ; it was entirely useless. I therefore proceeded
on with him to his father's, where an hour or two
flew away rapidly, in the presence of the fairest display of beauty we had seen in these seas. Having partaken of tea, and the hospitalities and attentions of
this worthy family, and discussed the budget of Ta-
hitan intelligence, I took leave of this interesting
group, (nine children, ranging from ten to twenty,)
and by moonlight soon regained my ship, and bore
away for Raratonga.
The natural beauties of the island we saw little of,
although, from the luxuriance of the trees noticed
near the beach, and the peculiar formation of the
island, I have little doubt that it would have repaid
our delay. ~ By the description of Mr. Barff, it contains  an interior pool, with two  passages, one of
which is  navigable—apparently an old crater.    It
is, in fact, a double island.    It is considered one of
the most interesting islands in the Society Group.
The mountain scenery is more picturesque, the soil
on the lowland more fertile, the population better
disposed and better featured, and more easily ruled.
The island itself affords more scope for investiga- 14
tion, by sea as well as by land, and it is very probable
that in the course of time its excellent harbour may
rise into importance. This island was a great
favourite with Cook. Had it been sixjiundred miles
west of Tahiti it certainly would have attracted my
attention; but time was of too much importance to
wait here, every hour in chronometric measurements
being of importance.
Just after noon on the 13th, (having the night
previous experienced a most extraordinary head sea>
with the wind hauling to the S.E.) we observed the
island of Mauki, through the rain clouds which hung
upon the horizon, exactly on the bearing which, by
our common reckoning, we had anticipated. In
Arrowsmith's chart, the island is termed Parry's
Island, as laid down by Lord Byron, 1825, as well as
Miuta. The whole of the Harvey Group were
however, well known before 1825, as will be seen
by the work of the late Mr. Williams, who claims also
the discovery of Raratonga, but which is designated
on the chart as Orurute, "discovered by Captain
Henry." However, it is well known by the native
account, that they had long before been visited frequently by whalers, and Captain Henry did not
touch at it until after Mr. Williams resided there.
The island of Mauki is about two miles in diameter, well wooded, and inhabited, but the soil does not
appear in any part to exceed forty feet above the sea
evel. It is situated in latitude 20° T S., and longitude 157° IP W.   | '.%■■ 1840.]
About four p. m., we lost sight of Mauki, and,
favoured by a strong breeze from S.E., made the
island of Raratonga at eight on the following morning. Heavy rain clouds frequently obscured the
island, so that its lofty and picturesque peaks were
shut out from us until we had neared within three
miles. Three American whalers were cruising off,
waiting for supplies; but nothing was at anchor, to
guide us to the landing. Following up one of the
whale-boats, we tacked close in to the reefs, and went
on shore in my gig about ten: the showers fortunately
admitting of our saving the forenoon sights between
them, as well as the latitude at noon.
Having letters to Mr. Buzacott, the principal
missionary, he soon made his appearance, and conducted us to his house, which for neatness and comfort surpasses anything we have met amongst the
missionaries. The roads, enclosures, church, school,
and private residences, are an age in advance of Tahiti.
Neatness and regularity prevail, and the appearance
of the resident chief, as well as of those about him,
reflects the highest credit on the present missionary,
as well as the unfortunate originator of the present
system, the late Mr. Williams, who was recently
murdered at Mallicolo. It reminds me of what I
expected of Tahiti if their laws had been enforced.
The residence of Mr. Buzacott is situated about
one eighth of a mile from the sea, and about half that
distance from the main road; which is perfectly
level, and of the ordinary width of those in England,
T-" 16
the walls of the enclosures in the town (constructed
of coral and mortar) confining it. The road to his
house leads through the churchyard, when an artificial raised road on coral blocks, carries you through
a cocoa-nut vista by a gentle rise to the house,
which is reached by a flight of steps composed of
block coral, about twenty feet ascent, the house
occupying a level terrace cut away from a rather
steep hill.
With all the difficulties incident to missionary
progress, one is not a little surprised to meet, not
only with the conveniences, but also the comforts, of
a well-furnished house. These are principally native, but the result of missionary instructions; care
having been taken to teach them useful arts. They
manufacture tables, chairs, and sofas, with cane
bottoms, fit for any of the middling classes in England. These form an article of export to Tahiti, and a
pair of their arm-chairs grace my cabin. The wood
of the Tamanu, from which they are manufactured,
may vie with Honduras mahogany in beauty, and is
far superior in durability.
Four very neat stone cottages were just completed,
having two good rooms each ; these are intended for
the students in the college about to be built where
Mr. Buzacott's house now stands. In the present
school-room, where they have also a printing press,
I was shown the production of one of the native
scholars, being a manuscript copy of the New Testament, in progress, the writing clear and intelligible, mmm
the scholar a native missionary, probably to be forwarded to some island where Christianity is unknown.
The church is an extensive wood and plaster
building, capable of accommodating about one thousand persons ; it occupies one side of the road, and
the native school the opposite, flj
The house of the principal chief, Makea, (or perhaps more properly the king,) is well built, of
two stories, and fit for any European. It was built
by the father of the present chief, whose likeness is
given in Mr. Williams's work. He has also a very
neat little cottage within the same inclosure, where
he probably lived during the lifetime of his father.
Between the two stands very conspicuously the
tomb of old Makea, very neatly kept and whitewashed.
A covered building, or extensive shed, near the
landing-place, is used as a market-place. There I
found the ehief tidily dressed in European costume,—
cotton shirt, white trousers, and white frock coat,—
superintending the purchases for the captains of the
whalers. All this results from a change from absolute barbarism and heathenism since 1825.
About sunset all were in motion towards the
church, the women mostly in native tapas, with
straw bonnets; but there was no unseemly noises or
behaviour, as at Tahiti. The chief himself, although
engaged in conversation with me at the time, followed the stream.
It is pleasing to witness the influence Mr. Buza-
VOL.  II. c "J»S^	
cptt has acquired; not the servile fear of the Sandwich Islanders, but an honest, warm-hearted attachment. He is a pattern for missionaries. Such men
by their labours improve all around them. They
prove their superiority by their ability to instruct
others, and they leave behind them lasting monuments of their utility, in the increased civilization and
happiness of the people.
From constant association in their labours they
acquire a desire to progress, and I have little doubt
that this island will hereafter produce valuable results on many others. They have now three missionary stations, but I fear they have not three
Buzacotts. This excellent person's history is told by
Mr. Williams, in his account of this island.
It is to be hoped that this island may be spared
the introduction of foreign settlers as at Tahiti and
Oahu; for when that commences, adieu to peace
and prosperity ! I used my best efforts to alarm the
chief, as well as Mr. Buzacott, in order to induce
them to watch this point jealously; and I trust
with effect. A very judicious code of port regulations is printed, and a copy furnished to every
vessel on arrival; non-compliance excludes communication. Deserters find no refuge. Spirits are
prohibited; and order at night is insured by preventing any foreigner remaining on shore after dark.
The produce of the island is similar to that of
Tahiti; but poultry, particularly large turkeys, vegetables, &c, are finer and cheaper, and are readily 1840.}
obtained by application to the chief, who controls
the market and prevents any undue demands. The
mountains, constantly fed by the clouds, afford numerous streams; one enters the sea at the landing-
place, which, although apparently open to the sea, and
edged by reefs on either hand, seldom throws in a
ripple to hurt a boat, excepting in the bad season
or S.W. monsoon, when the breeze blows in.
The island is infested by myriads of the mantis,
which completely strip the cocoa-nut trees of their
leaves, and eventually destroy the tree. The tamanu
attains a great size; one tree I noticed near Mr.
Buzacott's house, divided into two stems, but the
bulk at the root would give the entire twelve feet
diameter.    Their state canoes are made from this
tree, and are very beautifully carved.    At the island
c 2 20
of Mangea, belonging to this group, they are famed
for their carving, particularly in fancy axe-handles,
resembling in some degree the Roman fasces;
several of which, as well as mats and tapas of native
workmanship, and other curiosities, were obtained
By perseverance between the showers, we succeeded in obtaining our suite of observations, by
which we find that this island is placed on the charts
about fifteen miles too far west, and two south, of
its actual position.
As the ship could not find any safe anchorage, and
Vavao had been selected as a rating position, delay
was out of the question; therefore, taking leave of
our kind friends, about four p. m. on the 15th, we
took our departure with much regret.
The natives are generally well-built, but of a
coarser habit than our Tahitan friends. It appears that in addition to the immense mortality
which occurred in the time of Mr. Williams, a new
nondescript disease has of late years presented itself
amongst them, and is entirely confined to the native
population. On its early presentation, the first
symptoms, merely swelling of the glands of the
throat, were considered certain monitors of speedy
death, attended with great torture; but latterly it has
yielded to treatment. It is thus described by Mr.
Hinds, our surgeon, who examined a case said to
present a complete type of the disorder.
"The accession is accompanied by   the   usual 1840.]
symptoms of fever,—rigors, followed by heat, dryness
of skin, and some headache. This either entirely
disappears, or assumes an intermitting form, but in
both is followed by an affection of the glands of the
neck, groin, or axilla, and sometimes by tumours in
the small of the back. An enlargement commences,
due to chronic inflammation, which gradually increases, until the tumour attains a large size, impeding the functions of the neighbouring parts.
In the case I witnessed, the gians of the neck were
affected on the right side, and an abscess had burst,
leaving a large but superficial ulcer, discharging a
thin serous matter. On the opposite side large
abscesses were in progress, and the back of the
neck was also occupied by another in a less forward
state. The patient previously had been a strong
healthy man, but the disease had deprived him of all
energy, and his limbs were much emaciated. Although the disease did not extend much inwards, he
experienced difficulty in speaking, swallowing, or
respiring. The progress is slow, but generally fatal.
The termination is perhaps assisted by the patient's
giving himself up immediately, and neglecting to
pursue the remedies prescribed. The missionaries
have used the liquor arsenicalis internally, and ointment of hydriodate of potass externally, with parr
tial success. They also regard it as contagious, but
this is a character which cannot be admitted except
after strong proof. Hitherto no white people have
been attacked, nor have I heard of its appearance
elsewhere." 22
The swellings are immense; at first sight appearing like huge wens. In a case which I witnessed
the left cheek was continued nearly to the shoulder
and back of the neck; and this was in a youth who
apparently gave himself little concern about it.
This would go far to dispel the impression of contagion, as few would submit to his company, and
yet he was always foremost amongst those who
pressed round us. I took especial care, however,
that he did not come in contact with any of our
I have before adverted to the customary charge
of a certain set of missionaries, and more particularly those of the Sandwich Islands, that the decrease of population is to be ascribed to the intercourse with foreigners. In this island at least we
have certain proof that in both visitations, (which
have, nearly depopulated this island,) foreign intercourse cannot be the cause; and I feel well assured
that in the majority of cases, diseases which have
baffled the scanty knowledge of pharmacy which
the reporters possessed, were conveniently ascribed
to suit the hypothesis they were bent on maintaining.
The question naturally arises—Do you speak from
personal knowledge? Possibly not to the extent
necessary to settle the point. But I do know, that
on our visit in 1826 to Pitcairn's Island, we had the
opportunity of learning from those who spoke pure
English, " that they would suffer severely from  our 1840.]
visit;" that the change from vegetable to animal
diet, when visited by strangers, never failed to entail sickness. (Vide Beechey, vol. i. page 94, 95.)
This has been noticed by Captain Beechey, but I
followed it out at Tahiti, as well as at the Sandwich
Islands, and my own opinion is, that the attempt at
premature change of habits, as well as clothing, will
account for many varieties of disease.
It is evident that many diseases rage in positions
where Europeans never set foot, and it is highly
probable, that, like the two cases now before us,
they originated amongst themselves. I heard at
Tahiti of a pig affecting numbers. Was the pig
diseased? And if so, how came it so? Had a
party existed as intent on tracing the true sources of
disease, as others are in croaking about what they are
utterly ignorant of, probably a very different tale
would be told. But if the fact be, as urged by these
upholders of American and European contamination,
(at the Sandwich Islands,) why do they not exert
themselves to erect a hospital, by which means the
remedy might be offered ? Have any of them moved
such a question? Do they ever visit the sick or
attempt the cure of body and soul, or in any way
assuage their miseries ?
On the 18th, baffling winds and rain caused me to
haul to the southward for the night, intending to
search for an island and shoal laid down by Arrow-
smith. Fortunately very strict orders were issued to
the officers in charge of watches, and at four a. m., 24
whilst estimating the probable distance on the chart,
" breakers under the lee " were reported. We were
at this time fifteen miles to the eastward of their
assigned position. We tacked immediately, signalled to warn the Starling, and at daylight separated to examine both sides, and continue a parallel
course due west one hundred miles, in order to determine if any second danger existed.
By our survey, it appears that this reef occupies
an outline similar to that of a coral island, having
an entrance to the N.W. All the mass of shoal
water appeared to be contracted at its S.W. extremity, but no rocks above water could be traced.
The S.W. extremity was determined to be in latitude 20° 2' N., longitude 167° 49' W. ; which differs
from that assigned to the shoal ,seen by Captain
Nicholson.    We termed it Lagoon Reef.
Our course was then shaped for Vavao, the
largest northern island of the Hapae group, but by
some navigators they are included in the Tonga
At daylight on the 21st, we reached within ten
miles of its northern point. The appearance of this
cluster presented a complete archipelago, with many
dangerous reefs off the southern extreme. We
fully expected to reach our anchorage before nine,
but after rounding the northern extremity, where
by the chart we expected to find " Port Refuge,"
we continued to run down its western side until the
openings seen from the eastward again presented mm
themselves. Through these openings, only, could we
expect to find the port. Indeed, I had almost
fancied that we had made a wrong landfall, and in
order to secure the meridian distance, I immediately landed on the nearest accessible station, and
succeeded in saving latitude and time; the ship
working to windward during the interval.
A pilot, left by her Majesty's ship Cruizer, soon
visited the ship, and having rejoined her myself,
about five miles to windward, we continued to beat
through a labyrinth of islands, about six miles to
the N.N.E., until sunset, when we dropped our
anchor in the inner harbour,—the first ship or vessel
of war that had anchored there.
The title of Port Refuge it certainly deserves
when this anchorage is obtained. Few square
rigged vessels, however, would reach our position.
It is very difficult of access, and it is necessary after
entering the islands to turn five miles to windward
against a lee set, before an anchor can conveniently
be let go, and this requires daylight. To a disabled
or crippled vessel seeking refuge, this name is deceitful : she never could reach it.
I merely allude at present to the outer anchorage,
for nothing but small fore and aft vessels will attempt the inner harbour.
The resident missionary, Mr. Thomas, accompanied by the master of the American whale-ship
Triton, immediately called, and afforded us all the
information   which    might   interest.     From   Mr. 26
Thomas we learned " that owing to internal wars
in the Tonga group, arising from the rebellion of
the heathen population, in opposition to Christianity, the king (George) and chiefs had gone to
assist the latter." The produce of this beautiful
island has been nearly destroyed by the violent
hurricanes, which of late years have been frequent.
Upon the subject of this " religious war? in
Tonga—(or better perhaps known as Tonga-taboo)
and in which Mr. Thomas appears to take a strong
interest, I am much inclined to believe that its
origin proceeds from a harshness in making Christians, instead of inducing them to become so by
persuasion. The punishments for offences against
a forced religion, by a people not long converted,
are dealt too unmercifully-^are indeed so severe,
that we were informed some of the women died
under them, and that they were only induced, by the
interference of one of our ships of war, to adopt milder
It was openly asserted that three and a half inch
rope has been used to inflict punishment on
These remarks lead me back to an observation in
the Hawaiian spectator; " Remarks on the discourse
by the late Rev. W. Orme, foreign lecturer of the
London Missionary Society;" asserting that he drew
a portrait of the South Sea Mission, for which there
is no original in the Pacific.
The Sandwich Island missionaries never will see mm
such where they are residing; and the English
mission at Tahiti had well nigh met entire discomfiture, by bordering on their absurdities.
Savages are not to be broken in like wild horses.
They are not to be compelled to feel that the religion imposed on them by the fiat of the king, is
to be akin to abject slavery. Where are they to
look for that peace and contentment so often
preached? Is it reasonable to expect, that the
millions inhabiting the islands in these seas can,
from a state of the most unlimited enjoyment, be
brought by law to believe that the Christian religion is to ameliorate their condition, when the very
habits and countenances of their would-be pastors
are almost distorted by severity f
But I remember, in our visit to Tahiti in 1826,
that the natives, by choice, by free good will, made the
sabbath such as I have never witnessed in the civilized
Sandwich Islands. I have seen them with cheerful
faces flock to church in their best. I could not
purchase provision on that day. I witnessed less
crime amongst them than in other countries; and
on my doubting the word of a chief, he very deliberately asked me whether " I did not believe
that a God above saw him, and if it could be to his
interest to tell a falsehood ?" The attachment also
of the natives to their pastors was strikingly evinced
on many occasions, and I confidently believed, from
having lived constantly amongst them, and away
from the neigbourhood of the ship, that prodigies had 28
been effected amongst that nation. But I suspect
that the harshness which ensued caused them
to revolt, and by that measure broke a link in the
chain which it will be no easy matter to unite. I
understand, however, that at the districts distant
from the port of Papeete much regularity still prevails.
This is one British mission. Reports from Huaheine, and what I myself witnessed, of the benignant features of Mr. Barfly lead us to believe that
happiness and content reign there.
The success of the late Mr. Williams, who was
beloved at Raratonga, is shown by his narrative. I
must add, from personal observation, that I was most
agreeably surprised at finding the condition of the
people under their esteemed friend and pastor, Mr.
Buzacott, (with a good, honest, hearty John Bull
countenance, to court instead of terrify,) far exceed
my expectations, and I certainly think that Mr.
Orme's picture must have been furnished from
At Vavao, however, the missionary creed, I understand, changes, consequently the system may be
more rigorous. All I can state is, that the approach of the missionary to my tent was not hailed
with anything like satifaction by the natives, and
that I lost many articles of curiosity, from parties
being afraid to approach without his approbation.
In the morning our tents were pitched in the
face of the hill on which the town is situated, and w
we succeeded in obtaining most of our magnetic
observations. Rain set in, preventing our obtaining
the requisite astronomical observations until the
day following.
We were soon surrounded by natives anxious to
dispose of their wares, but the absence of the chiefs,
and principal people, caused a very apparent dejection. Vegetables, fruit, cloth, (tapa,) mats, shells,
and weapons, were brought for barter, but their
prices, since the days of Cook, have materially increased ; cotton, cloth, and knives, were the only
trading articles.
Money they knew by name, but hardly understood its value; as they frequently demanded a
dollar in lieu of a knife worth fourpence, and were
generally content with a real, (sixpence,) in lieu.
The term dollar (or tarra) is here, as at Tahiti,
intended to imply coin, and the immediate offer of
the real, one eighth its value, was frequently taken
with avidity.
The manners of the natives appeared to be several shades superior to those of any of the islands
we had visited, evidently resulting from a more
determined character, and a reflective turn; probably much assisted by their stricter adherence to
Christianity, which at this particular moment of
religious warfare, they feel it necessary to maintain
with closer observance. At dawn and dark the
voice of prayer and singing may be heard from each
house throughout the settlement, and  on Sunday 30
the full chorus of natives afforded a very fair specimen of their singing.
The church is spacious, and tastefully ornamented
with native mats on the rafters, much resembling
printed calico. The interior of most of the missionary and other houses, here as well as at the other
islands in these seas, generally have the rafters, ten
or fifteen feet upwards from the eaves, decorated
in this manner.
We saw but little of their workmanship, owing
to the absence of the canoes, chiefs, and warriors.
The few articles obtained were inferior, excepting
their household wares, consisting of mats, pillows,
&c, which are very simple. The frequent visits
of whale-ships have also drained the market.
A state prisoner, 1 the heathen king? as well as his
family from one of the islands, was in our immediate
neighbourhood. Tvisited them, and gave them various
presents. They were much dejected, and apparently
very grateful for the notice bestowed on them. A
very pretty little girl, either a daughter or relative,
about six or seven years old, seemed to have much
influence with the natives, and interested herself
very much in bartering for us, and preventing undue
demands. I presented her with various trifles, particularly beads, which were useless in the market.
On the day of our departure, she brought a number
more of her own age, and literally commanded by
her manner, that they should be similarly treated.
As she was a princess, there could be no denial! ^mmmm
It is very strange, that although we have generally
noticed beautiful children, we have seldom, if at all,
seen a striking grown up beauty.
When I took leave of this unfortunate family,
several little presents were secretly sent to me
through the pilot. That from the king was a piece
of kava root, wrapped very carefully in tapa;
doubtless, a most splendid gift in his estimation, but
if it had been detected in his possession, I was told
that he would be severely punished.
We had no opportunity of examining the country, our arrival being on Saturday, and our departure the evening following. The trees here do not
attain the size of those in higher islands, but from
their being thinner, they attain a much closer texture. The Tamanu, although it does not attain a
large size, is much superior in grain and beauty, to
that of Tahiti or Raratonga.
The highest range of land, all of which might
easily be converted into one great garden, does not
at any point exceed three hundred feet. The
surface is very level, and the soil fine.
The composition of the rock is a very close-grained
limestone, containing large caverns, in which crystallized carbonate of lime, stalactites, &c., abound. Indeed, wherever the cliff is fractured a complete crystalline structure is presented, in which shells, coral, &c.
are frequent. At the outer position, where I obtained observations, I found many specimens of
imbedded  fossil nautilus.     None  of the nacreous 32
substance remained, but was replaced by crystallized
carbonate of lime. The hardness of the rock, added
to its broad flat surface, prevented me from obtaining more than a single specimen.
At the sea level the water has worn away the
outlines so much, that all the cliffs overhang the
islands, presenting a mushroom form. The caving
runs about ten to fifteen feet horizontally, by fiYe or
six vertically ; consequently, where the sea has much
play, and the coast is exposed, landing is impracticable. In some cases the overhanging mass has
fallen away, and landing is facilitated; but the depths
alongside these islands increase suddenly to forty
fathoms or more.
The supplies to be obtained at this island chiefly
consist of yams, which were said to be the finest
in these seas. The hurricanes have injured or destroyed the greater part of the fruit-trees, otherwise
shaddocks and cocoa-nuts would be plentiful. I
noticed but one indifferent shaddock, a few pines,
cabbages, onions, and yams. But our arrival was
hardly known in time, and Saturday is so completely
devoted to cooking for the next day, that little was
Here again we met with the iron hand of the
missionaries, for they rule the king, chiefs, and people.
The system throughout these islands, of prohibiting
even the necessary ablutions on the sabbath, is a
stretch of feeling far beyond good sense. A certain hour might be established by law, at which
necessary labours should cease. 1840.]
Fish is either scarce, or other occupations
prevent the people from seeking it. The great
depth of water also around these islands is another
drawback. Were it not for this cause, this groupe
would afford some of the finest harbours in the
world. But, excepting the inner harbour, I should
not consider my ship pleasantly berthed, the depths
decreasing suddenly from ten, sixteen and twenty-five
to forty-five fathoms. Our stay was too short to
admit of any survey being made.
At three on the 23rd of May, we took our departure fromVavao, and had barely cleared the entrance
when the breeze chopped round to S.S.W., preventing our making much headway.
Final observations for rating were obtained at our
first station, as well as the true bearing of the Peak
of the island of Latte, which we were eventually
enabled to fix, from a sea position, the day following.
I am informed that very dangerous breakers extend
a considerable distance from its western extremity.
The positions fixed by us were, first, the outer
white-faced point on the left side of entrance, which
ean readily be known by being the nearest to Nine-pin
Island. It is situated in latitude 18° 38' N., longitude 174° 3' W. The second position at the town
is in the King's Old Garden, latitude 18° 39' N.,
longitude 173° 55' W., variation 9° 34, dip 35° f.
The island of Vavao is placed about sixteen miles
too far to the southward, on Arrowsmith's charts.
» . "■   '    ■ — ■
Visit the Feejees—Ships trikes—Rudder damaged—Reach anchorage—Visit of Missionary—Starling despatched to Tibooka—
Measures adopted with the natives—Town of Rewa—Fighting bourri canoes—Phillips and chief of Rewa — Kindness
of Commodore Wilkes — Rivers of Am-ba-ou—Implements
of waiv-Captured chief—Mode of dressing hair—Leekee worn
by women — Discussion relative to missionaries and their
adoption of Christian Religion—Invasion of Banga—Cannibalism— Garingaria — Reach Port Resolution — Unpleasant
position of missionaries from navigators—Natives troublesome
—Awkward predicament—Habits and dress of natives—Quit
D W*»Hh.mi     lfinyTBw wiili
i  ^''iTBiiiH ^-^<1^■
Light breezes from S.W. to S.S.E. prevented our
making much progress. On the 26th, we made the
easternmost of the Feejee Groupe, about forty miles
to the northward of Turtle Island, and passing
through between the islands, were soon favoured
with a fair wind.
Previous to quitting Tahiti, we had been fortunate
in obtaining information respecting this group, and
particularly of several new islands not laid down,
which are excellent guides to what is deemed the
best harbour, Nukulau, on the southern side of
At noon, on the 27th, we passed the island of
¥ atoke, and shaping a course for Ambou, found ourselves, about two A.M., quite close enough to the
breakers, tacking within sight and hearing of them.
We had, not a moment before, had our attention excited by lights, probably fishermen on the reefs, otherwise our position might have been hazardous.    The 1840.]
lights were instantly withdrawn, upon our showing
lights at our foreyardarm.
At daylight the current had set us considerably
to the westward, and just as we bore up for the
anchorage, the breeze headed us off. As this was
followed by calm, I immediately started in my gig, to
save time, as well as examine the anchorage, &c,
leaving the sketch of the entrance with the commanding officer. We reached the island of Nuku-
lau, about half-past ten, and were visited by a few
fishermen, and, at noon, by seven double (sailing)
canoes, having about ten to twenty persons in each.
One who termed himself " a small thief? (chief,) understood a few words of English, and acquainted us
that they were bound to Cantab, or Mywoollah on
the charts, which are nearly useless.
About two the ship entered by the eastern channel, and one of the natives immediately volunteered
his services to conduct her through the shoals. I
had already my misgivings about that channel,
although stated to be "quite free from danger," and
whilst anxiously watching her progress, as well as
that of the boat with the pilot, had the mortification
to see her take the ground.
In a very few moments the ensign, union reversed,
informed me that the accident was serious, and called
for my immediate presence. No time was lost in
packing up our instruments, and proceeding to her.
On reaching her, I found that she was afloat, but
had her rudder off, and had broken the pintles.
m :=**s.
"Misfortunes never come single." Having anchored and secured the rudder, we commenced warping, occasionally assisting her by the fore and aft
sails, when she suddenly went from ten into two
fathoms, with her stem between two rocks. The
tide left her, and having steadied her by the stream-
anchor in still water, we patiently awaited the turn of
tide, when we warped her forward to her anchorage,
discovering several other patches in our route. In
the midst of distress we were visited by Mr. Cargill,
one of the resident missionaries, whose wife, then
dangerously ill, required medical assistance.
From him we ascertained that the American surveying squadron were still at this group, the Peacock
having quitted the port but a few days since; the
Vincennes was supposed to be at Tacanoa, or Obalau,
where they were all to rendezvous. One of the
king's brothers having taken an active part in an
attack, or retaliation upon an American vessel, by
which the mate and several of the crew lost their
lives, opportunity was taken, when the king, queen,
and chiefs were guests, to detain them as prisoners
until this man was delivered up. Sooner than
lose their king, his brother, Tho-ka-nau-to, or
Phillips, volunteered to produce him. On his appearance he was heavily ironed and taken away. It
is said he will be taken to America, but what they
can do to him is very problematical.
In consequence of this affair, our reception was
anything   but   flattering.     Neither  the  king,  his 1840.]      STARLING  DESPATCHED   TO   LIBOOKA.
brothers, or the chiefs, would venture within our
power for some days. This partly vanished, when
it became known that it was a British vessel of war.
The king, however, refused to come until I had paid
him a visit, which my duties prevented for some
On the second day after our arrival, Mrs. Cargill
died, and as my duties rendered my absence impossible, the senior lieutenant, attended by all the officers
who could be spared, was sent to attend the funeral.
As there was a probability that one of the American ships could spare us rudder pintles, the Starling
was immediately despatched to make the necessary
application; on which occasion, Phillips, (the king's
brother,) who speaks English well, volunteered to
pilot the schooner to Libooka, where the Peacock
was supposed to be at anchor.
In the meantime the rudder was hoisted in, and
preparations made for securing it, in the event of her
mission proving unsuccessful.
Measures were taken to complete the survey of
this port; and the tents, &c, were pitched on the
island of Nukulau, for obtaining the necessary suite
of magnetic observations, &c. For several days we
were beset by the natives, and were finally compelled
to erect barrier lines, and appoint a guard to keep
them at a proper distance ; not from any troublesome
conduct on their part, but the nature of the observations  did  not admit of the vibrations caused I
■HiSTW     ifflHfi
by such numbers walking to and fro on the loose
The king's brother, Garin-ga-ria, paid us a visit, in
order to ascertain what he could pick up, and numerous spears, clubs, bows, arrows, and ornaments, were
brought for sale ; but, as customary with these people,
they were exorbitant in their demands — whale's
teeth, knives, &c, being the objects sought in exchange. My object was first to secure pigs and yams
for the crew, and then look for arms, curiosities, &c.
Indeed, I had promised Phillips, to await his return.
Some few pigs, yams, and fruit, were purchased. Vermillion was found to be an article in great demand
amongst the ladies ; I therefore gave them to understand I should reserve this for shells, which they were
to seek on the reefs, and with which we were soon
inundated : although none of them were of any value*
The canoes bound for Cantab, unfortunately for
us, put back the moment they perceived the ship at
anchor, making our island their rendezvous, and
rendering it a difficult matter to preserve order.
However, as some of the principal chiefs accompanied
Garin-ga-ria, as well as their interpreter, and " lawyer? I made known my wish to have the space occupied by my party tabooed.
In a few minutes the lawyer, or crown orator,
made known that he was about to address them.
As if by magic, every one immediately became seated,
and a simultaneous  signal, by clapping the hands 1840.]
and a hollow nasal whoo,   denoted that they were
The manner and gesture of the orator was energetic
and admirable, but as we understood nothing that
was uttered, all that we can say is, that many parts
of his harangue were specially applauded, and at its
termination the same whoo and clapping of hands
I was now informed by the interpreters, (an American black, and two or three Tahitans,) that they
would observe my wishes and respect the boundaries,
which we accordingly formed by stretching lead lines
from post to post. Itisa curious fact, observed throughout the groups from Marquesas to this island, that a
native will seldom stoop to pass under aline; andinmany
cases rather than step over it, even when lying on the
ground, they would walk entirely round the end. This
was rigidly adhered to at Marquesas. I have my doubts
if this line of demarcation is not offensive to them.
Notwithstanding the efforts of the crown lawyer,
I found that nothing but " vi et armis " would preserve
the boundary, and was compelled, therefore, to keep
sentinels constantly on the alert. These interpreters
alluded to are foreigners taken under the protection
of different chiefs; they are, de facto, their slaves so
long as they are maintained, and are even compelled
to feed their masters when the custom of the country,
or their being placed under Tambo (or tabu) prevents
their touching their own food with their hands. I
am sorry to say that Englishmen are amongst the rm
" liiiii Ijf .^JimsaBt  ''
number. One of these, the American black, I took
into my service during our stay, as interpreter, and
he behaved satisfactorily.
Finding that the king was afraid to visit the ship,
in consequence of my failure in visiting the town of
Rewa, I determined on sacrificing a few hours and
paying him a visit; as, until he was propitiated, there
was no chance of obtaining the necessary supplies of
hogs and vegetables. I therefore started, taking
with me Lieut. Monypenny.
The distance to the town of Rewa from the
anchorage is about six miles, and two to the mouth
of the river, studded with unpleasant sand banks,
over which there is about three feet at low water,
and on which the capricious rollers at times suddenly
bestow a ducking. After entering the river, the
channel at low water becomes tortuous, and the drain
generally bears out, although the main-banks are
about four hundred yards asunder. The canoes are
generally forced up by poles, similar to punting on the
The town of Rewa is situated about half a mile
from the bank of the river, on the right bank of a
creek, which shoots off abruptly from the main stream
the width of the creek at that point not exceeding
one hundred yards.
The houses, which overlook the creek in some
places, are firmly constructed with posts, which do
not rise more than seven feet from the earth. On
these arise  very lofty pitched roofs, varying from 1840.]
twenty-five to thirty feet in height, and in some
instances thatched to the thickness of two feet. The
doors are small, excepting in the state-house, and
resemble windows or ports; those in elevated mounds
with ditches remind one strongly of block-houses.
In the state-house the resemblance is rendered still
closer by the presence of two ship guns, as if prepared
for war; certainly not very appropriate chamber
The establishment of the king is situated upon a
bend of the creek, the houses of his queens occupying
the water-side, and his own being in an open area,
in which also is the house of his principal queen, the
tomb of his father and brothers, and the | fighting
Bourri," or temple. This latter is a small building
about twelve feet square, erected upon a mound of
about ten feet elevation. The thatched roof is very
steep, probably thirty feet, across the summit of
which is a pole projecting about three feet at each II
end, studded with brilliant white porcellanic shells.
(Ovula ovum.)
Their canoes are similar to most of those belonging to the low islands, very long and narrow, furnished .with outriggers, and a convenient house on a
platform.    Vide wood-cut.
The house of the king (or more properly chief of
Rewa, he being subordinate to the king at Obalau)
is one of the most filthy in the town. Its dimensions
are about sixty feet in length by thirty wide. Two
thirds of it is well clothed with mats and kept clean;
the remainder may be considered the cooking and
eating hall, &c.
Three immense iron caldrons, probably intended
for a whale-ship, together with other earthen vessels
for boiling, occupy the cooking square. The king
and favourite queen were seated upon a range of mats
immediately contiguous to the fire, and on entering
invited us to do the same. Shortly after, a roasted
hog and vegetables were introduced, and we were
invited to partake. As they had neither knives,
forks, nor plates, I followed their motions, rather
than the chiefs should take fresh offence, and our
journey prove fruitless.
The carving of this hog was most adroitly performed by the " carver general," a professor, with a
piece of slit bamboo, which by-the-bye was first cut
into shape with a steel knife; therefore I suspect
etiquette demands that the bamboo should be preferred.    The king's barber, taster, &c, (or I suppose .~4m
" the barber royal" to be his proper style,) selects
the king's portion, peels his taro, or yam, and presents it, without any humiliating forms, in a clean
leaf. This person is never permitted, under penalty
of instant death, to touch his own food with his hands;
and he maybe seen tearing his meat like a dog from
the floor with his teeth, whilst it is there held by a
stick. Before the king commences eating, all present
clap their hands about four times. If he drinks,
finishes, or sneezes, the same is repeated. The
principal queen and about ten other queens were
As I found that friendship was established, and
the king signified his intention to visit the ship on
the following Monday, I gladly took my leave.
As some mischievous persons had been busy inducing the chiefs to withhold supplies to the ship,
to suit their own purposes, I visited the brother of
the king, Garingaria, reported to be in the list of
malcontents, and most active in the pig embargo.
His house I found very superior to that of the king;
very large, neat, and well arranged, but nevertheless
that of a perfect savage. This Garingaria is reported as the most determined cannibal of this
group. He has his friends as well as enemies, and
although savage, is less deceitful than those around
him. I would much rather be his prisoner than
that of the king or any of his immediate retinue.
He distinctly denied any participation in the plot,
and I  instantly saw by his  countenance  that  he
iOTaM^Mnae^eMi"*"*1    _  In  i _
spoke the truth.    He immediately sent down a present of three pigs.
The king of Rewa is a very strong-built, muscular man, standing about six feet two inches ; Phillips,
or Thokanauto, five feet ten inches; Garingaria
probably six feet four inches. The prisoner taken
away in the Peacock, said to be a very fine man, we
did not see. The present king, who is considered a
very weak-minded man, and despised by his brothers, succeeded his father, who, according to custom,
was murdered to make room for him. It is not
improbable that his death will shortly enable one of
the remaining brothers to succeed him. Indeed,
Phillips said in his presence, 11 shall be king in four
years." I found there were plenty of spies to interpret falsely the few English sentences which
escaped me.
As the moment approached for the king's visit,
his courage failed, and as it suited my purpose to
re-visit Rewa, I went up to tell him my opinion.
I found myself so perplexed by the falsehoods and
misrepresentations, by which he had been misled,
that I left him in disgust, but not without adopting
secure measures for our supplies.
On the day following, yams in profusion arrived,
but few pigs; and having purchased sufficient for our
crew, I declined further barter until the arrival of
more pigs.
On the 13th, the Starling returned, bringing three
pintles, belonging to the Peacock, Captain Wilkes, of CT)
CD mrrmiinm ^Mg
1 W /I I
tan, fmM m
tus deat
1, and  m it g
|  went up to
bo perplexed '
[Mbi hmm and
|||^ by which
h @ '■.h
^Ijgh -  rfsM
: di&utt fei   1840.]      CIVILITY   OF   COMMODORE   WILKES.
the Vincennes, having in the handsomest manner
despatched one of his boats to that vessel, thinking
her size better adapted; at the same time offering
those of the Vincennes, should they not answer.
At this critical moment, our carpenter and armourer
became ill. Fortunately, an engineer by trade happened to call upon me for assistance to recover property alleged to be piratically taken from him, and
as he would be compelled to await the arrival of
the parties, he consented to give his assistance in
fitting and reducing the metal work, which he executed admirably; and by the evening of the 15th,
we were in a condition to complete our voyage.
On the evening of the 15th, the tender of the
Vincennes hove in sight, and Captain Wilkes himself i very shortly came on board.    Under any circumstances this was a satisfaction I had long hoped
for, but in these remote regions, and entirely shut
out from civilized beings, it became, independent of
the feelings   due  to   his promptitude in  relieving
our difficulties, matter of sincere satisfaction.    Unfortunately I had only that morning despatched the
Starling to fix  the position of Banga, one of the
new islands not placed on the chart, and had promised to join him on Monday.    Having, however,
been nearly eighteen hours together, we were enabled to talk over matters of much interest to both
expeditions, and as they would go over part of our
ground, their observations made  in the same positions would become doubly interesting. airrmmt'+a**
Our observatory and tents being embarked, and
rudder in order, after dinner we parted; and by the
aid of the moon the Sulphur was again moving
through the waters with her accustomed freedom.
The United States Expedition, under the command of Commodore Wilkes, had very recently returned from the Antarctic regions, via New South
Wales, bringing us later English news than we had
previously seen. They had visited the Tonga
group, and had been about six weeks examining the
Feejees, of which they intended to complete the
chart. When I state that four large islands occurred
in our passage alone, which are not placed on the
charts, and that many unnoticed exist in the whole
group, which is most erroneously set forth in the charts,
the value of their labours may be easily appreciated.
Owing to threats held out that vengeance would
be taken for the capture of the chief by the Peacock, I did not conceive it right to risk the chance
of aggression, by permitting our parties to pursue
their examinations where our force could not act;
consequently, beyond the island of Nukulau and the
beach-line little was obtained.
The anchorage of Nukulau is safe, as well as convenient. Two safe and easy passages lead to it,
and with the assistance of the chart, vessels can
enter at all times without a pilot. The eastern
channel, by which the Sulphur entered, is also safe,
if assisted by the chart and a boat ahead. The
best anchorage is in twelve fathoms, with the outer Sa
island barely shut in with Nukulau, about two cables
length from the shore, in a muddy bottom. The
strongest breezes blow from south to south-west.
Water can be had at Nukulau, or by sending up the
river.    The Sulphur watered at the island.
At present there are so many doubts about the
proper name of the main island, that I retain
" Ambow,"* this being the name understood by the
chiefs and natives, and it has stood sufficiently long
on the charts for preference.
It is traversed by very extensive rivers, and the
chiefs assert that in the rainy season the fresh
water prevails one mile beyond the breakers. It
is also asserted that no one has yet reached the
source of this river, and that numerous other similar
streams exist. The Americans made the attempt, and
I am informed penetrated six miles beyond any previous white person. I am not aware of anything to repay
the labour, which probably would entail sickness on
the exploring party. The mountains are lofty, and
exhibit deep ravines between the ranges, which alone
would account for powerful streams. They are
generally shallow, and not adapted for navigation.
A code of regulations has been drawn up and
signed by mark, for the chiefs of Rewa, (not of
Ba-ou,) but as they neither read, write, nor understand the laws they have enacted, (possibly Phillips
may be an exception,) they will prove a dead letter.
* I think, although Ambow on charts, that it should be written
Ambauo.    Baud being the residence of the principal or king.
VOL.  II. E 50
Their implements of war are clubs, spears, bows,
and arrows; but the club appears to be that generally in use. Probably the spear may be used on
the first charge, but in conversation they never say
that " a man was speared;" it is invariably " clubbed."
These clubs are very neatly made, of a strong hard
wood, resembling live oak in grain, and ornamented
with coloured sennit, made from cocoa-nut fibre.
They generally carry with them short clubs, similar to
I life preservers," which are the club root of a peculiar tree affording a knob about the size of an
orange, the stem, or handle, seldom exceeding three
quarters of an inch in diameter. These are either
carved or smoothly polished. It is a very formidable weapon, and probably, excepting in actions
where numbers are engaged, their most fatal instrument of death. They readily part with any of their
arms or ornaments for whale teeth, which are at all
times irresistible articles in traffic.
The costume of the men is similar to that of the
Tonga group, or most of the Pacific Islands, viz.,
a simple maro round the waist. The chiefs who
possess European finery, seldom exhibit it, excepting Phillips, (Thokanauto) who generally made his
appearance in white trowsers, shirt, waistcoat, and
surtout. Indeed, I would not permit him to visit
the ship in any other costume. This chief speaks
English, French, and Spanish, is clever and intelligent, and has made one or two voyages in an Ame-*
rican trader to Tahiti, and the neighbouring islands. wmmmM
It is probable that he will shortly have the chief
power at Rewa, as he broadly hinted in the presence of his brother. It is to be hoped that he will
attain it by a more civilized process than the customary mode.
The king or principal chief of Ambow, " Old
Snuff," as he is termed, resides at Bauo, or Bow,
about thirty miles up the river, and near to the river
which empties itself northerly at Obalauo. His
son, I Young Snuff," is described as an active, intelligent young man, much prepossessed in favour of our
Indeed, the abstraction of the Rewa chief by
the Americans has irritated the natives amazingly, and
will probably injure their mercantile interests. The
story told here is that this chief resented some indignity offered him by an American trader on
some former visit, and on the return of some of
the crew in another vessel, they were 1 clubbed."
It is stated that he was kept chained in her main
top, but escaped, and swam ashore. However, on
the arrival of the American squadron, the Peacock
was despatched to demand this chief. His capture
was achieved as before stated. This was the version given by the missionaries. Doubtless we shall
hear the facts in a more authenticated form, when
the narrative of the exploring voyage comes out.
Both men and women take great pride in dressing their hair. Although it is long enough sometimes to reach to the waist, it nevertheless has a
e 2 lO'-UW.* i WUl
strong disposition to curl or frizzle, and the main
object appears to be to render each individual hair
independent, presenting an uniform mob, similar to
the wigs of onr bishops. In one instance I measured
the distance from the skin to the outer edge of the
hair, which was six inches. In some cases of the
first class queens, the external shape was beautifully
even and round, generally coloured by powder, of
a very light lead colour. The men in many instances have their hair party-coloured; sometimes
black, red, blue, and lead, or dirty white, on the same
scalp. In several instances I noticed a single red
long lock cultivated from the side of a thick frizzled
black mob. These colours are obtained from different barks, the whitish or lead colour from the
ashes of the bark of the bread fruit-tree. Those
who cannot maintain a barber frequently cover
the hair with tapa, which gives it the appearance
of a turban.
This style of dress, with their thick black beards,
and tapa thrown over the shoulder, gives them
a Turkish aspect. They are inordinately fond of
paint. Vermilion is equal to gold ; but failing this,
they besmear themselves with a thick coating of
lampblack, and oil or varnish, and vary it by scoring off until the skin shews, or by coloured ashes.
Their chief object in dress is to render themselves
as unlike human beings as possible; the more terrific, the more admired. They have nearly the
same abhorrence of a white skin as we have of
a black one. Hi
The women wear an ornamented belt, about four
inches deep, with six inches fringe, called a leekee*
They are very neatly worked, and are becoming.
The queen of Rewa had no other covering. Her
hair, however, was very neatly dressed, and as perfect as if she had come from under the hands of a
French frisseur.
I am afraid that the missionaries will find these
people far beyond their powers. They have no
chiefs of sufficient importance to carry into effect
any important change, and possibly if any one attempted it otherwise than by example, his head
might pay the forfeit. They are too self-willed
and independent to be driven, and at the present
moment far too ferocious to submit to any restraint.
I put the question to Phillips, who answered immediately to the point. | They have no objection
to the residence of the missionaries, and would
feed them; and would not molest any one
voluntarily embracing their religion. But they
dislike their spying into their houses. By-and-
bye, when they see more of them, and understand
them, the people may come round."
" But," I observed,  | the chiefs should set the
example, as the kings of all the other islands have
" What did they give them for helping them ?"
I replied,  " Nothing;  they were induced by the >s>*"
superior advantages which the christian religion offered."
As he could not be made to comprehend this
part of the subject, and appeared restless, I changed
the topic.
With a light air from the eastward, we pursued
our course for the island of Banga, and about four
a.m. observed the Starling at anchor. Lieut. Kellett
came on board at daylight, but as nothing offered
of sufficient interest to detain the ship, I merely
landed to secure the position, and complete the
survey which had been commenced by the Starling.
The anchorage is safe and convenient, and probably, had I been aware of its existence, would
have been selected in preference to Nukulau for
our astronomical position, as being more detached
from a large population. Not long since it possessed its full portion of inhabitants; but on the
death of their king, who was tributary to the king
of Rewa, the chiefs determined to throw off the
yoke, and become independent.
Such a pretext for war was not overlooked, and
a band of warriors immediately issued forth to
reduce them to submission, or in plainer terms, to
rob them -of all they possessed. This was found
difficult by reason of their fastnesses, the towns
being situated in many cases on the very summit of
the mountains, elevated one thousand four hundred
feet above the sea. 1840.]
Finding they were not sufficiently strong, reinforcements were demanded, which were sent under
the command of Garingaria, or raised by him
under a contract that he might exterminate them.
His brother, Thokanauto, (or Phillips,) who is upheld as the white man's friend, (but only so long as
he can get anything from him,) was foremost in
destroying the villagers by fire, and committing
other brutal acts. The expedition resulted in victory to the besiegers, the death of the principal
chief, and several hundreds of the population. The
son of the chief was spared to govern, under the
usual subjection.
The sequel will hardly be credited, yet it is beyond doubt: cannibalism to a frightful degree still
prevails amongst this people, and, as it would seem,
almost as one of their highest enjoyments. The victims
of this ferocious slaughter were regularly prepared,
being baked, packed, and distributed in portions to
the various towns which furnished warriors, according
to their exploits; and they were feasted on with a
degree of savage barbarity nearly incredible ! They
imagine that they increase in bravery, by eating
their valorous enemy.
This Garingaria is a noted cannibal, and it is asserted that he killed one of his wives and ate her.
This he denied, and accounted for her death (which
took place violently by his order) on other grounds.
He did not attempt a denial of his acts at Banga,
nor  did Phillips.     These occurrences are of late 56
date. I am told they threw one or more of the
heads (which they do not eat) into the missionary's
The population of the Feejees are very tall, far
above the height of any other nation I have seen.
Of five men assembled in my tent, none were under
six feet two inches. It was rather an awkward subject to tax Garingaria with in his own house, and
solely attended by his own dependent, our interpreter ; but he took it very quietly, and observed
that he cared not for human flesh, unless it was
that of his enemy, and taken in battle. When he
used this expression, I could not help thinking that
his lips were sympathetically in motion, and that I
had better not make myself too hostile. I therefore bid him good evening.
Quitting the unfortunate island of Banga, we steered
a course to pass close to Cantab, and the following
day passed its western extreme, steering for Tanna,
one of the southernmost of the New Hebrides.
On the 20th we made for the island of Erronan,
which, from our great distance, presented the appearance of a low flat island. On the following morning we passed about seven miles to the southward,
when a nearer view showed it to be a very high
truncated cone, well wooded, and surrounded by a
low belt of flat land, projecting about half a mile
beyond its base. We were not sufficiently near to
observe inhabitants, or if landing or harbours existed. mn »ma
Shortly after, the island of Annatom was noticed
to the S. W., and Tanna west. Annatom presents
undulating hills, but no remarkable peaks or striking features. Tanna is a larger island, presents
high peaks and ranges on the southern portion, with
very abrupt cliffy bluffs.
Port Resolution may readily be found, by a very
remarkable yellow sandstone bluff at its north-west
angle, and which is situated to the northward of
the entrance; also by the smoke of the volcano,
a little inland from it. Approaching from the
southward, the entrance of the port might be overshot, by reason of the overlapping breakers; but
by bearing in mind that it is formed by the low
peninsular south-east angle, and that the entrance is
situated about one mile southerly of the yellow
bluff, it will easily be found.
By noon we reached the entrance, the wind being
dead out: but by edging close to the breakers on our
left, and hauling sharp up, we made the entrance, and in
four boards reached our berth inside in six fathoms.
It is too narrow for a long vessel to work in, and
it is preferable to shoot into fifteen fathoms, and
be prepared to warp.
We were soon visited by the natives, in some of
the most miserable apologies for canoes that we
have yet witnessed. In one of these frail barks
came the resident missionary, a native of Samoa,
one of the Navigator Group, left here by the missionary vessel to convert these people.    I took him ***"
with me to select a position favourable for our observations. This did not appear likely to be effected
on the eastern side of the bay, and we therefore
commenced those requiring the most undivided
attention on the western rocky cliffs. The
natives, however, soon began to find us there, which,
added to the frequent vibration from the volcano,
determined me on trying the town side the ensuing
day. %■
Being short of fuel, and depending on the peaceable character given of these people by Cook, added
to the presence of the messengers of peace and good
will, I determined on making the most of time
here, and parties were accordingly despatched wooding, as well as making the survey of the port.
Our observing position was pitched in front of the
house of the missionaries, a mere thatched hovel, in
which five unfortunate natives of the Navigators
were literally imprisoned, being compelled to close
the door, immediately one entered or departed, to
prevent the intrusion of the natives. Their number
consisted originally of six men and two women, but
their chief (or king, as they termed him,) died not
long since, and the remainder were suffering more or
less from fever and ague. They appear to be very
uneasy and unhappy, and painfully anxious to return
to their native land. They enquired most anxiously
and eagerly if we were bound to the Navigators; and
although their stock of English was but scanty, we
could plainly understand that they were in great fear ^
from the natives, and much dreaded our departure.
They were, moreover, aware of the melancholy fate
of Mr. Williams and his companion, at the neighbouring island of Mallicolo.
It was with feelings of deep disappointment that
our mutual ignorance of the language prevented me
from using any exertions to smooth their way with
the natives, who appear a most lawless set. The
surgeon inquired into their complaints, and his prescriptions probably afforded temporary alleviation, but,
with the mind so much depressed and harassed, I
fear recovery is problematical. The only chance
they now have, is the return of the missionary
vessel from New South Wales, when they will be
doubtless removed to Samoa.
The fatal catastrophe to Mr. Williams, and his
companion at Mallicolo, has not failed to make
a deep impression; and although the natives endeavoured to persuade us that they abhorred
the unnatural practice of cannibalism, I should be
very sorry to be placed at their mercy. I certainly
felt a more than ordinary interest about these unfortunate beings, and the frequent repetition of "Samoa,
Samoa," from the sick within the hut, sounded like
the cry of the condemned.
During the course of my pursuits, I was frequently
annoyed by the natives intruding too closely on our
tabu lines, although frequently warned by their own
chief, as wells as one of the missionaries, to preserve
the prescribed boundaries.    It was unfortunate that 60
we had so many irons in the fire, otherwise I could
have placed sufficient men on the lines of demarcation to have effectually deterred the ill-disposed
from seeking a quarrel, for which several were evidently much inclined.
I had also a strong reason for keeping up a good
understanding, without arms, if possible, in order to
show them how little we feared anything from them,
want of decision generally, in my opinion, acting
rather as an inducement to molestation. Had force
been resorted to, I also foresaw that their spleen
might have been vented upon the unfortunate, unprotected missionaries, who were already dreading
our departure.
Though their actions, to other visitors, not similarly occupied with ourselves, would have been
deemed harmless, they, monkey-like, no sooner comprehended that they could, without serious displeasure,
annoy me by the vibration of the ground at the moments for observation, than they commenced simultaneous poundings with billets of wood, and threw
stones high into the air, which fell near and risked
the instruments. In order to secure the last and
most important set, (which can only be comprehended by those as intently engaged,) I found it necessary
to clear the ground to a certain distance, and to
effect this, recalled one of the cutters; letting the
chiefs understand my determination.
The instant the crew landed, they enforced my
wishes, and the yell of departure, half serious, half V?1
comic, which burst forth, hadnearly awakened the slumbers of the Sulphur, which had kept an attentive eye
on our movements. Anything, even in mimic hostility
after this, would have drawn an unfortunate shot: of
this I was not aware until my return in the evening.
However, a few minutes sufficed to complete what I
required, when I hastened to remove anything like
bad feeling, by mixing immediately with them.
The sentinel having reported that one of the natives
raised his club with a threatening attitude, when
he warned him off the instruments, I immediately
went to him and desired him, by signs, to lay down
his club, which he immediately did, trembling. I
then gave it in charge to the sentinel, who placed it
under his foot for safer custody, and the native was
ordered out of bounds. A cry of derision at his expense followed. The chiefs were with me, and requested me to be quiet, ordering the people back.
After great intercession on the part of the chiefs, and
on condition that the man was sent entirely away, I
allowed the club to be restored to his chief. This
shows how completely savages may be reduced from
insolence to abject fear, by even pretending determination, for I was unarmed. But as it was done
in a good-humoured manner, and made a joke
against the party, it failed to procure him support had
he been inclined to resist.
Very little was brought to the beach for traffic,
although on my landing the first question asked, was
for "permission to open trade."     The  little that 62
they did bring consisted of large yams, (weighing thirty-
six pounds,) plantains, malay apples, sugar-cane of very
large growth and very tender skin, and a few small
chickens. The ornaments brought were light bows,
arrows, and carved wristbands made from the shell of
the cocoa-nut. They were not disposed to part with
their clubs, or the bits of serpentine suspended to
their necks.
In all their productions of art they were far behind
any of the islands we have visited. They differ also
from any hitherto noticed by us in their costume.
The hair is bound into minute ringlets, about one
twentieth of an inch in diameter, the last three or
four inches of the ends being allowed to curl, or
wave, so that it assumes a thick wig of lines, fagged
at the ends. They are very plentifully smeared with
black and red paint, the latter resembling very
coarse ochre, but vermilion they did not value.
They do not wear the customary maro, or tapas,
on the loins; but follow the custom in many parts of
Africa, of binding matting, terminating in ornaments.
The women wear a petticoat, very similar in fashion
to that of Nootka, Columbia River, &c, but formed
of the loose fibres of the Hibiscus tiliaceus, (or
Purau.) This is heavy, and being sometimes worn
diagonally over one shoulder, forms a covering to the
•side exposed to the sun. The septum of the nose of
the women is perforated, and from the size of the
aperture, calculated to sustain a weighty ornament.
The lobes of the ear, in the males, are also perfo- 1840.]
rated, but no ornaments were displayed in them.
The men also wore shells round the arm, above the
elbow, (generally Ovula Ovum,) and some few had
pretty cones and bulla round the neck; but we were
unable to procure a single live shell from them,
although they were distinctly aware that they would
receive ample compensation for their labours.
Altogether they appear to be very low in the scale
of human beings, little inclined to traffic, filthy, ill-
looking, insolent, and troublesome as a people. Of
course there are exceptions.
Our party employed wooding at the extreme end
of the bay, were latterly troubled by their throwing
stones, but this probably arose merely from a mischievous disposition.
By four o'clock our operations were concluded,
and having presented to our unfortunate friends the
missionaries, some few necessaries, and taken leave not
without some misgiving as to their security, I walked
to the extremity of the bay, towards the ship, the gig
keeping pace along shore, purchasing occasionally the
few things brought down by the natives, who continued to throng about me with much good-humour.
I pursued this course purposely, in order to discover if any ill-feeling existed amongst them; and
to ensure keeping them at a respectful distance, I
very quietly borrowed the club of the nearest man,
without the slightest resistance on his part, (although
generally they are very tenacious on this jDoint, when 64
arms are near,) and used it to make them preserve
their distance.
These acts, although trivial to the reader, were
performed in a manner which I have never known to
fail amongst savages. If resistance is shown I do
not persist, generally leaving the matter to the feelings of those around. But I have never failed in
obtaining my object, and restoring harmony, even
when I suspected I had outraged any of their superstitions. If success be proof, I have judged correctly ; for I never had occasion in my life, where
my own will guided, to have recourse to force.
By the time I reached my point for embarkation
I found them all in good humour, anxiously inquiring if the ship slept in the bay, and when we intended
to depart; at the same time making motions to cry,
and following us off with Aloha Aleeke, or " goodbye, chief."
Our gentry who were exploring, in pursuit of
natural history, were not altogether unmolested, and
this circumstance, added to the shortness of our visit,
prevented their penetrating far inland. The volcano
smoked and muttered occasionally, and, when the
breeze blew from it, brought a plentiful supply of
cinder dust.
The habitations of these people are, in general,
mere huts, which I should have supposed temporary,
had they not exactly corresponded to the description
given of them by Cook. He terms them merely the
thatched roof of a house.    They are, however, even 1840.]
inferior to that, being simply high enough at the apex
for a man to stand upright, and certainly not exceeding six feet spread at the base. Their gardens appear to occupy more of their attention, being neatly
fenced in with reeds.
The surgeon visited the hot spring at the base of
the cliff, mentioned in Cook, but the water did not
appear to contain anything to render its taste unpleasant.
r ~ .? ■"' i i iiv « ss ess
Quit Port Resolution—Tanna—Pass Erromango — Arrive off
Island of Guadalcanar—Dangers of Guadalcanar—Proceed to
Port Carteret—New Ireland—Examine Port Gower and Turtle
Bay—Visited by natives—Quit Port Carteret—Pass Duke of
York's Island — Visited by canoes—Articles brought for
traffic — Mother and Daughter — Proceed towards New
Guinea—Sighting Elizabeth Island and Admiralty Group—
Pass the Britannia Islands discovered in 1795—Land, and
survey Port Victoria—Visit of natives—Thermal springs—
Quit Port Victoria, and examine coast of Guinea—Structure of
canoes—Pass " Los Crespos"—Anchor off Arimoa—Visited by
natives — Habitations — Floating islands — Reach island of
Jobie—Description of—Quit Jobie—Pass Goelvink's Bay—Fix
position of Middleburg and Amsterdam—Land at Pigeon
Island—Dampier Strait—Pass Ceram—Anchor in Cajeli Bay
—Bouro—Quit, and reach Amboina.
F  2 m
At dawn on the 24th June, with light airs from
N.W., we quitted Port Resolution. Several canoes
came off, bringing fowls and fruit, and followed us
about a mile, and when they quitted, repeated their
aloha, accompanied with invitations to return. It
is very probable that another day's sojourn would
have made us better acquainted, and exhibited a
better market.
The breeze did not permit us to steer a course,
and we were barely able to reach a low island to the
N.E., mentioned by Cook, which is situated about
ten miles to the northward of the port. As we
approached, the natives flocked to the beach, where
we plainly discerned two, attired in frocks, trowsers,
and hats, whom we immediately set down as missionaries, probably part of those from Samoa.
Several canoes put off, but pulling too far ahead of
where we should fetch, failed in reaching us. We
tacked within musket-shot of the rocks, which in 1840.]
several places appeared to afford convenient cover
for landing.
Our next board brought us well in with the north
point of Tanna, near sunset, and shortly after tacking, the breeze gradually favoured, until we were
enabled to make a free course, during the night, past
I had failed in putting to sea the previous evening, in order to allow my crew their full night's
rest, as well as in the hope of being able to pass
Erromango by daylight, and sufficiently near to
communicate with the canoes, or probably to land
and determine its position. It was, therefore, a disappointment, after the late lamentable occurrences at
this island or Mallicolo, that they had not the sight
of other vessels of war, to afford them the impression
at least that Great Britain will not lose sight of her
subjects scattered over the vast surface of the
globe. I might possibly have derived other information as to their present disposition.
At daylight the remarkable saddle peaks, situated
over Traitor's Head of Cook, and by which this
island may be particularly distinguished, were seen
about fifteen miles to the southward. The breeze
fresh from S.E., afforded us strong hopes of soon
nearing Sandwich Island, and by sunset its outline
was well defined. We found ourselves set considerably to the northward by the current, and changed
our course to keep well off the land.
Shortly after eight o'clock breakers were reported 70
to leeward. The ship was tacked, and we stood
off an hour without observing them. We again
tacked, and kept the wind until the morning. The
report was evidently incorrect, as our position at
dawn evinced. By noon we were about fifteen
miles off the north end of Sandwich Island, with
several smaller in sight in the northern quarter.
Our course was shaped to clear the island of Mallicolo, which at sunset was not visible. Wind
easterly, with very unpleasant cross swell from S.W.,
as well as S.E.
It was my intention to touch at the island of
Guadalcanar, or the nearest convenient spot in that
meridian. On the morning of the 1st July we made
the island; weather very unsettled, heavy rain and
squalls, and making but little progress against a
strong S.W. current. By noon we had reached a
small islet off the northern point; but experienced a
very unpleasant sea, and heavy breakers were noticed
extending a considerable distance in the offing.
Quitting the ship, I ran in with the Starling,
until she reached seven fathoms, when, disliking the
sea then running, which would have prevented her
clawing off in the event of danger, I proceeded in
my gig to examine the inner side of the island.
Unfortunately no depth for safe anchorage could
be found, although the facility for landing rendered
this a most eligible spot for our operations. I had
previously intended standing, off and on, during the
night, and  landing  in  the morning,  but  on   my 1840.]
return to the ship, finding the current set strong
towards the breakers, and moreover having split our
foresail, the ship being very uneasy, I determined on
seeking a more eligible situation, and bore away for
New Ireland.
The breeze favoured us, but a strong current from
N.E. prevented our making the land on the evening of the 4th. Unfortunately we had no meridian
observation on that day, and heavy squalls with
thunder, lightning, and rain, (or f the customary
rainy season of this region,) overtook us about eight
o'clock, at the very moment when we hoped to reach
our port.
About four A. M., we found ourselves close in with
the breakers, the squall providentially clearing up
just in time to wear clear of destruction. Calms
and baffling winds ensued, preventing our reaching
our port by daylight; but the weather proving fine,
and obtaining a fair view of the landmarks, we had
no hesitation in running in by night,—although it
had been well if Carteret had stated that the passage between the Booby and the main was unsafe.
Between the flaws and warping we reached our anchorage in port Carteret by midnight; affording to
our crew a good night's rest, instead of knocking
about at the mercy of swell and currents outside.
We were fortunate, as the rains recommenced at
dawn, and continued with slight intermission during
the whole period of our visit.
On the second day we succeeded in securing our 72
principal observations, and the main triangulation
of port Carteret. I then joined the Starling, and
proceeded to complete the coast as far as Cape St.
George, leaving the Sulphur to complete wood,
water, &c. Rain still impeded us, but by perseverance and taking every advantage which offered, this
was eventually achieved.
This southern bay is termed Gower's Harbour and
English Cove. The latter is more peculiarly
adapted for watering, but does not afford sufficient
facility for ingress or egress without towing. At
the southern extremity of Gower's Harbour, we fell
in with a party of five natives, one of whom spoke
a little English. From him we learned that the
visits of British vessels from Sidney were frequent;
that the natives who communicated with them
resided on the eastern side of the island; and
that their supplies consisted chiefly of wild hogs,
fruit, and vegetables. He was anxious to sleep on
board the schooner, to which we consented, and his
allies, youths from sixteen to eighteen, were despatched home, with directions to return the following morning with stock, &c.
The inclemency of the weather, I suspect, prevented this, and our labours having terminated, our
new friend " Tom Starling " (for Jack seldom fails to
christen his friends) was landed, and we rejoined the
Sulphur that evening.
" Tom Starling" informed us | that the rains
would cease in one moon, and that they would then 1840.]
be considerably more oppressed by the sun." The
continuance of the torrents of rain has certainly surpassed anything I have before observed in any other
clime. Our good fortune, however permitted us to
obtain sufficient sun the day following our return, to
rate our chronometers, and thus released us from
further sojourn in this land of moisture.
Just on the eve of departure, half a dozen miserable half-drowned natives came down to the watering place, bringing a cooked pig, with a few bad
specimens of bread fruit. They did not-understand
English, and having presented them with a few
beads and other articles, they were relanded, taking
with them their pig, &c. They were entirely naked,
very slightly made, and resemble much the natives of
Tanna, the hair in the same minute queues, with
bushy points, although not bound up.
On the morning: of the 16th, having embarked the
observatory, we quitted Port Carteret; the day
beautifully fine, but wind light.
Having examined the range comprehending Ports
Carteret and Gower, I should certainly on any future
visit prefer what in our survey I have designated
Port Sulphur, as that under every circumstance the
best adapted for wooding and watering, ingress and
egress under canvas, and affording, what is most
important, convenient depth for anchorage.
In Gower's harbour the depth is not only inconvenient, being thirty fathoms, but there is great
liability to drag off the bank.    In English Cove the 74
swell sets in so heavily at times that it may be difficult,
or impossible, to tow, and watering is not so convenient as in Sulphur Bay.
For a temporary supply without intending to
anchor, the stream at the southern bay in Gower's
Harbour will be found most convenient, as a vessel
might drop towards the passage through Gower's
Harbour, and pass out by Turtle Bay. The anchorage
in Turtle Bay is bad, by reason of the rocky bottom
as well as great depth.
During our stay there, for two days, in the Starling,
we experienced the shock of an earthquake, which led
us to believe that we were dragging over rocks. The
same was experienced on board the ship at the same
instant, and those on shore state that they felt the undulation strongly.
Fuel of the best quality is to be had at the beach
in any of these harbours, as well as fancy woods for
cabinet making, including tamanu, ebony, &c. The
nutmeg was found, but not abundant, nor of the kind
valued in commerce.
Although Captain Carteret named the greater
island in Port Carteret Cocoa Island, from the abundance of cocoa nuts found there at the period of his
visit, not a single tree of this fruit now exists. The
bastard sago palm, pandanus, &c, grow luxuriantly,
although the depth of soil is literally nothing, the
trees rising through the loose limestone rock.
The structure of the reefs, points, cliffs, &c, in this
region is entirely limestone, frequently crystallized, 1840.]
but it is rather remarkable that on three islets
forming these harbours all the rocks near the beach
are loose, and apparently disturbed by some violent
action. In the main streams, sandstone, claystone,
and porphyritic balls were found.
The breeze, failing with an unpleasant swell setting
on the islands, compelled us to warp as well as tow,
and it was not until noon that we considered ourselves
safe on our own element again. The breeze just
favoured us in time to send our men to their dinner?
for which they doubtless had good appetites, and our
head was then directed for Duke of York's Island,
which we reached the following afternoon. We
were visited by several canoes bringing cocoa-nuts,
bananas, pine apples, and several fruits unknown to
us; also some few shells, principally nautilus,
(pompilius.) These were readily purchased for beads,
but the natives were very timid and could not be
persuaded to come on board.
On the day following we ran along the north
western side of New Ireland, in order to ascertain
how far the natives were disposed to barter, and what
they had to dispose of. Many canoes put off, and,
after some solicitation, not only came alongside, but
the natives ventured on board. Viewed in their
canoes we thought them a tall race, but I was much
surprised, on actual measurement as they were standing
beside us, that the man I had selected as their stoutest
and tallest did not exceed five feet seven, and was
spare withal. 76
The canoes, which appeared for the most part to
be new, are constructed from a hard white wood
with a red core, (probably a mimosa.) They are
very simple and neat, and furnished with the customary outriggers. They generally contained three or
four persons. The largest, which was about fifty
feet in length, contained eight. All those who came
off in the canoes were male, and entirely naked, but
the females, whom we discerned dancing and waving
along the beach, were covered with the leekee of
the Feejees and new Hebrides. The natives who
ventured on board had each a single leaf stuck in
their belts, but no more.
As they brought nothing but cocoa-nuts and very
small bread fruit, and were moreover very difficult to
please, we very politely caused their departure, by
slightly increasing our speed. I have little doubt
that had we been able to anchor, stock, &c, would
have been easily procured.
The indentations of the coast appeared to offer
several very snug little harbours, and judging from
the numerous canoes as well as from the population
we saw on the beach, added to large patches of
cleared land, there can be little doubt that they have
sufficient produce. Probably the distance at which
we were from the land at the time they put off prevented their risking live stock.
On the day following, being a little further in
advance, a large and handsomely finished canoe, with 1840.]
the figure-head turned inwards, paid us a visit, but
were too timid to communicate. Doubtless she contained a chief, as those who managed her were
silent, and did not even notice our advances to friendly
communications. Our indisposition also to delay
longer in this region of rains, calms, and variables
did not induce us to make much repetition, although,
so long from home, " New Irish" was a novelty in
our ears. The season certainly was most unfortunate,
as from the nature of the coast before us I could
easily imagine the scenery in fine weather to be
The hills of New Ireland rise to a height of fifteen
hundred to two thousand feet, and are clothed from
base to summit with the most luxuriant forest. In
the distance the high lands of New Britain, with the
magnificent peaks of " Mother and Daughter," afford
a fine finish to the landscape.
In a mercantile point of view I cannot at present
perceive how these islands can prove interesting beyond
the fancy woods and tortoise shell, of which latter
substance every canoe appeared to possess several
plates. It is of good quality, better than I have
before noticed in the Pacific, and from the manner
in which it was offered no doubt vessels come here
to trade for it; indeed we learnt as much from. Tom
It was unfortunate that such an opportunity for
acquiring a more perfect estimate of these islands
and their resources was completely marred, by the
- iff
dreadfully tedious weather and long sick list, which
rendered further delay impossible.
We continued making but little progress through
torrents of rain, and pressed by the current about
one mile per hour to the N.E. On the 23rd we
passed Elizabeth Island, and saw part of Admiralty
Group, and on the 24th, with fine weather, passed
Purdy's Island, finding the current still pressing us
to the northward.
On the 25th of July, the group laid down on
Arrowsmith's chart as the "Six Islands," seen by
the Britannia in 1795, were in sight, as well as
several other low islands to the southward, which
probably escaped notice, amounting in all to ten.
At midnight the westernmost was discovered ahead,
but at day-break, appeared to compose part of the
main land of New Guinea.
Two more low islands were also observed to the
northward, and as my principal object was to select
a spot free from basaltic or volcanic influence, these
appeared to offer an eligible position. About the
same time a deep bay was observed on the S.W.
angle of what I now believed to be merely a peninsula, and my friend KeEett was immediately despatched in the Starling, to examine it, in the event
of failing to find safe anchorage amongst the low
On rounding the reefs which break the eastern
swell, everything appeared to favour a convenient
position.     Lieutenant   Wood   was  despatched  to 1840.]
search for anchorage, but as no bottom under
seventy or eighty fathoms could be obtained free
from danger, and the Starling about the same
time having signalled "the port examined safe,"
our exertions were directed to reach it before dark.
A constant current setting to the N.E., added to
variable squally weather, prevented our reaching a
position before nine o'clock, when we anchored near
the Starling in twenty-five fathoms, mud. Kellett
having anchored her at sunset, with orders to show
a light, joined us to pilot us in.
The morning (27th July) showed us a very snug
and picturesque bay, but heavy rain prevented our
landing until eleven, when a sandy spot on the
north side of the bay was selected as most convenient, and commanded by the ship's guns. To
prevent the chance of misunderstanding, a sufficient
force was landed to put anything like opposition out
of the question, and a space soon cleared for our
The natives, who met us, appeared rather nervous, but very soon recovered their self-possession,
and exhibited more good-humour than the accounts
of previous navigators had led me to expect. They
brought but little to traffic, and appeared to be
impelled more by curiosity than any other motive,
and, although the means were at hand, (by procuiv
ing shells and other curiosities,} they could not be
induced to exert themselves, probably fearing to go
too far from their arms, which were no doubt con- ft
Pi ■
cealed in the bush. Their costume was entirely
new to us ; resembling nothing we have seen. The
hair, which is permitted to grow to a great length,
is confined behind by a conical case, having the
crown as its base, and generally tapering at eighteen inches length to three at the point, the hair
curling over. Into this preposterous appendage
they stick their feather ornaments, either birds
of paradise or canes with gaudy feathers of parrots
or other birds neatly worked on, which add about
eighteen inches to the length. They are generally in a state of nature, but in many cases, particularly the older people, have a dirty tapa about
their loins. In stature they seldom reach the
height of five feet four inches, and average about
five feet. They are small-limbed, and did not exhibit any symptoms of strength; and from what we
observed in their dealings, I am inclined to think
them well-tempered.
Their canoes are formed from single trees, with
wash boards brought on very similar to others in
these seas, but the fitting of the outrigger, and a
seat amidships for the person in command, or to
secure their goods from wetting, is very neat and
convenient. It is a raised platform, about six feet
by three, with ornamented sides, &c, about nine
Our attempts to discover what articles they
prized, or would be tempted to barter for, were entirely ineffectual: they preferred iron, axes, knives, t=doxL.HerLTV CoTfcmxn. Great M it
- vgg|g
tv wo
S    IUJ
thefejroiodft from
I   i        ■» pi       £-fc
rait -^^~^^^^^^<
JBritanMia' ffreicp, Jfew G-Mtwa,.
LoxL.TIeiiTY Colbixrn, Great
r t 1840.]
&c, despised beads, but evinced no particular desire to possess anything shown to them. Latterly
they brought some birds of paradise, but they were
indifferent, and I am not aware what was given in
The constant showers during the day prevented
our obtaining the necessary data for determining
our position. We were, therefore, compelled to
trust to the stars, the weather generally proving
clear between sunset and two a.m. By midnight
we had completed our observations, and about one
embarked.    The natives retired about sunset.
During the day the survey of the bay was completed. The depths throughout are regular, over a
bottom of tough dark mud, varying from thirty to
nine fathoms, which latter will be found close to
the reefs, which in most places skirt the bay.
Streams of fresh water abound; that in the bight
at the sandy beach is the best, and it probably runs
at the dry season. On the south side of the bay
a salt thermal spring was noticed, of which the temperature appeared to be nearly at the boiling point;
it was, however, not strictly tested, our high temperature thermometer being broken. Wood is everywhere
abundant at the water's edge.
On the morning of the 28th we quitted this very
snug bay, which (as the first discoveries of these
islands called them Britannia group) I have thought fit
to name " Victoria Bay." This island is the easternmost of the group, and I have therefore called it
VOL.   II. G <f*$
Britannia island, and the whole group " the Britannia
The day proving propitious, our survey was extended, by which we discovered that many points
which we had mistaken for headlands, &c, leading into a large river, were the extremities of a
series of islands forming a very extensive archipelago. Eighteen were counted from the mast
head, and I have little doubt that further examination to the southward would have materially increased this number.
The lateness of the season, and our immediate
duty in this neighbourhood, not permitting further
exploration, I was compelled very reluctantly to be satisfied in effecting only what the progress of our passage would allow; and keeping within a short distance
of the land, our head was again directed westerly.*
In natural history our short stay afforded but
trifling scope. Some interesting micoscropic shells
were found in the mud at the anchorage, a few from
the beach, and one new land shell.
The geological composition of the island, as far
as examined, proved to be jasper, but very much
decomposed. The natives appear to take great
pains in clearing and cultivating the land, and
several brilliant green spots relieved the eye from
the sameness of the dull forest tint. Our botanical
collector was as usual indefatigable.
Our course along the land proved tedious, by rea-
* I hope that this portion may hereafter be explored. r
ss 82
was exr
further e
Me ma
imined|. proved tc
in clearing -^iiftcl  Iff
•'■) 1840.]
son of calms and baffling winds : but aware that the
current in shore was much stronger than out of
soundings, our exertions were directed to keep near
the land, where something very similar to land and
sea breezes occasionally favoured us, but nothing
regular. We did not fairly accomplish our object
until the morning of the 1st, when we commenced
a track survey of the coast, with a light favourable
air, which permitted us to range within one mile of
the coast.
About sunset we found ourselves off* a very deep
and extensive inlet, on the outer peninsula (or island)
of which, arose several very lofty and remarkable
peaks, frequently hidden by clouds. Nothing of the
kind is apparent on the charts, and the fact of our
being some miles inland, by our latitude and longitude, evinces how little we know of the geographical
features of New Guinea. We were visited by many
natives, from whom we purchased weapons, and
other trifles.
The day following enabled us to add little to the
preceding, the currents having driven us, during the
night, almost out of sight of some of our lofty marks.
At noon we observed within one mile of the easternmost of three low islands, nine being then in sight :
these were " Los Crespos." By sunset we had
reached the seventh, and tacked off shore for the
night. The wind being light and variable ; we anchored between them in thirteen fathoms.    Here I
r> 9 I
determined to remain, in order to fix their position,
until noon, when we again moved westerly.
We were visited by great numbers of natives in
canoes from these islands, and so far from displaying
fear or distrust, they were very anxious to persuade me
to land. Had calm prevailed, I most certainly
should have done so. The natives were decidedly
superior to, and entirely different from, those of the
Britannia group. The hair was worn loose, and in
ringlets, some having the minute tails of Tanna.
Each canoe was laden with bows, arrows, cocoa-
nuts, and plantains; and several plates of tortoiseshell,
which they freely exchanged for bits of iron hoop,
beads, &c.; but some large blue China beads, which
I had, were singly worth anything offered in the
market. One small blue bead was fixed as the price
of a cocoa-nut. The canoes differ much from any
we have noticed on this coast. They are neatly
built, and short, and seldom contained more than
three persons. The people were good-humoured,
docile, and honest. Many birds of paradise, but
tarnished, were worn as ornaments; but not brought
for barter. Tortoiseshell was sufficiently abundant
to be worth trading for; the plates good, and the
demand about six inches of rusty useless hoop, for
each plate.    No females were seen.
About noon the breeze favoured us, and having
procured about three hundred cocoa-nuts, and supplies of bananas, &c, and also pretty well filled the mmm
WJ.I ,■  —-
ship with ornaments, bows, arrows, &c, we weighed,
and proceeded for Arimoa, then in sight to the
N. N. E. |||     |
From our dealings with these people, who were
probably inhabitants of the neighbouring low
islands, we have every reason to believe them
friendly and well-disposed. They were evidently
in fear, as the slightest noise would instantly cause
them to paddle off in alarm. But no dispute occurred in their dealings; they were always well
satisfied and good humoured, and invited us to
land. Several cases of disease (apparently leprosy)
were noticed, and many have lost noses, and have
their features otherwise much disfigured.
They chew the betel, with chunam; smoke their
native tobacco, and wear as ornaments the tusks of
the wild boar. The septum of the nose is perforated, through which I noticed (and purchased) a
bamboo ornament above one and a half inches in
diameter. The lobes of the ears were similarly distended to two inches. They are expert divers,
frequently catching things which fell overboard,
(even beads,) and manage their canoes with great
dexterity. A small canoe which I purchased was
very neatly ornamented by carved figures at each
end. The sail is an oblong mat, very similar to
that in use throughout these seas—probably Malay.
Their bows are very plain, and made of the outer
part of the bamboo; the arrows from a reed, about 86
six feet in length, and ornamented by burning with
a hot iron instrument.    The string is also of rattan.
The whole of the coast has, I believe, been visited
by D'Urville. They are, without doubt, " Los
Crespos" of the old charts, but the natives call the
island which we anchored off, Yamna, which name
I find is known at Arimoa.
The following morning brought us close up with
the islands of Arimoa, Moa, and Insu, or close
under the south end of the southern Moa. The
weather being hazy, with rain and little wind,
prevented our effecting much of their delineation.
Numerous canoes from Arimoa visited us, and for a
short period trafficked without reserve. Iron hoop
had fallen desperately in value, and nothing but
knives or beads would succeed. The incautious
appearance of a sentinel, with his musket, caused an
immediate panic, which we were unable to dispel;
and, although compelled by calm to anchor close off
their village, not a soul came off during the remainder
of that day, although they remained in their canoes at
a short distance in shore, laden with cocoa-nuts,
bananas, &c.
From the natives we learned that they acknowledge the names on the charts, with the addition of
the syllable too, as Arimoa-too, Insu-too, Moa-too,
with a perceptible division of the too, as if it implied island.
The articles obtained from these people differed ■UUIMMH*
from those of our Yamna friends, their bows being
less finished, and arrows not so long. It appears
that each tribe preserves an established length of
this missile.
As our distance from their village enabled, us to
see their huts and inhabitants very distinctly, by aid
of our telescopes, we were able to make out that
their houses are constructed similarly to those described as customary amongst the natives of New
Guinea, viz. the huts are constructed on platforms
elevated on piles about ten or fifteen feet above the
ground. A thatched pitched roof rises direct from,
and overlaps, the platform, (similar to the attic of our
pitched-roofed houses.) It is closed at the ends by
a window, used also for the door, about three feet
square. The ascent is by a ladder or notched post
laid slanting to the window.
The features and structure of this race differed
from those of Yamna. They are more athletic,
appear to possess more determination, as well as
craftiness, and, probably from the fear of firearms,
have had reason to repent some aggressions on a
former visitor, or, equally probable, have been made
to feel the blessings of communicating with white
men who wished to drive their bargains vi et armis.
We had no reason to wish for closer acquaintance
by admitting them on board, and had this been
permitted then it would certainly have been attended
with great caution. They appeared as much afraid
of a telescope as of firearms. 88
As their women and children were plentiful on
the beach, they could have little idea of hostility;
and from this circumstance, I am inclined to suspect them the injured instead of the aggressing
We were afforded an opportunity of observing
that the females are clothed similarly to those in the
neighbouring islands, viz. by a matted fringe from
the hips to the knees.
Finding our neighbours still disposed to keep
aloof, we warped to the edge of the reef, and with
a light air cleared the island during the night; but
anchored a short distance to the westward, where
we remained until after noon the day following, in
order to effectually fix the position of the island.
Our anchorage was in eleven fathoms, mud, twelve
miles at least from the nearest land.
From the point off which these islands are situated
the coast appears to undergo an immediate change
to a low swampy mangrove archipelago; the numerous gaps being either the channels between
them, or the mouths of large streams. The fact of
many being islands was fully proved by observation,
at their termination in the great northern gulf. I
have little doubt also that large estuaries or rivers
contribute to form the great mud flat which extends
to such a distance from the land, as very strong
currents were experienced, and many floating
masses torn from the land (containing whole palm-
trees) indicated more than mere tidal action. 1840.]
On the afternoon of the 6th of August we moved
with a light air and current from the eastward; and
the water continuing to decrease, hauled off, until
we reached fifteen fathoms. Much to our astonishment, several strange sail were reported, and they
rapidly increased to a fleet, as we imagined, of canoes.
Having, however, directed our course towards the
nearest, we grazed it sufficiently to sweep our
copper well, as it proved a large peat island, with a
palm bush.
Several sea-snakes were observed, differing from
those generally noticed, and one taken in the trawl
was preserved.    A rare nondescript shell also taken.
The openings in the coast became more numerous,
and left little doubt that our pigmy fleet resulted
from the islands abreast of us. The depth at eight or
nine miles from the land being only nine fathoms,
prevented our making any close examination of the
coast, and at dark we dropped anchor for the night.
In the morning we resumed our course, and
succeeded in detaching several of the western group
of islands, which at length showed us a passage between the westernmost, and what we assumed* to be
the island of Jobie on the charts.
Through this channel a strong tide set against us,
compelling us again to drop anchor. Many canoes
came off from the low islands near us, on which we
could discern several villages, the houses, however, exhibiting red roofs, which, from the material employed
* Assumed, nothing like the chart. 90
for the construction of their buckets, I suspect to
be the palm-sheath, of which several neat little
buckets, which we obtained, were constructed.
The natives of these islands were superior in features, cleanliness, &c, to any who had yet visited
us. Their canoes were better finished, their weapons more numerous, and the numbers in each
occasionally amounted to eighteen. They were
furnished with double outriggers, and set their
mat sail, sheer fashion, on a tripod, serving for stay
as well as rigging: masts, therefore, they had not.
Their arrows were invariably three feet in length, as
if by law.    The bows were rough, but strong and
serviceable.    They were not intimidated by firearms,
excepting the first single canoe which visited us, probably to  report.     They  even  came on board by
the   quarters   without   invitation,   although   they
could not be persuaded to come alongside to traffic.     This evinced  some  little knowledge of war
tactics.    We noticed that in their approach they
observed  a   very ceremonious   distance  and pace
in passing  the broadside,   but  on  completing the
circuit as far as the quarter, pulled up for the stern.
They were evidently aware of the use of the ports,
as well as the destructive engines concealed within,
and that the quarter was the weakest point.
In their traffic they evinced more than usual
knowledge of useful articles, and plainly intimated
that knives or cloth must be the trading medium.
We obtained but little from them in return, but
i 1840.]
bows, arrows, a few birds of paradise, and bananas.
The head costume differs from those previously
seen. The hair is well combed, and drawn through
ornamented tubes of bamboo, about one inch
and a half in diameter by four in length. In one
instance a very fine well-featured lad, apparently a
dandy in his way, had five of these ornaments,
although they were seldom observed with more
than two. A peculiar comb, like a toasting fork,
having a pendant at its extremity, is stuck in the
coronal tuft, and projects in front about two feet,
standing, when the body and head is erect, about
ten inches above the line of the eyebrows.
They were apparently under control of a chief
who was present, though we could not ascertain
which was he. They were very good-tempered,
and anxious that we should visit their towns. In
build, manners, &c, they were of a superior cast;
the features of some of them, particularly those
from eighteen to twenty-five, being remarkably
handsome, and of a light copper colour. The elders
were fine healthy pleasant featured and vigorous
men. Apparently, they were above cunning, and
were quite independent in their manner. They
have evidently been accustomed to visits from
Europeans; as they displayed iron, steel, and cloths,
and perfectly comprehended that our colours were
About two o'clock, the tide having changed, and
W  ' 92
brought a breeze from S.E., we weighed, and steered
through the passage between the western low island
and Jobie, the water deepening as we entered the
channel (which is about three miles wide) to thirty-
six fathoms.
Having hauled to the westward for the night, we
were visited by heavy rain, thunder, and lightning,
which lasted until daylight, when I transferred myself to the Starling, in order to seek for convenient
anchorage, as well as a good position for rating the
Fortunately we picked up a very snug berth, in
time to save our observations, and fixed upon a
detached limestone clump, half a mile from the
main island, completely adapted for our magnetic
observations. The ship anchored within hail, in
nineteen fathoms, tough clay.
The size and detached position of our rock prevented the chance of molestation from visitors, as
not more than ourselves and instruments could find
The natives came off to the vicinity of our position, but giving them to understand that we could
not have any communication with them, they quietly
retired to the nearest beach, apparently awaiting
our pleasure. J At sunset, finding that we still remained in the same mood, they retired.
The canoes of this party, which I shall term
" state canoes," and which were probably only intended  for the   inner   waters, differed  essentially  li
■ :-; '
-'orctei'- to" seek for convenient
lion for rating- the
W**   wM**"
?ave Our
ifinrinri   at
irom vn
The p:i;i.-ee came off to
tion= but giving them to n
not have any communica&B
i2fcired_iii_the • "Reared  <-1
'At ".8351:! '•
3 YiCIft;
csmoes of *flfHi
kinoes,'* and wfifi !«aMa9R9 If 1840.]
from those seen the day before. These were of two
kinds, one intended for extensive fishing, and with
trifling ornament; the other entirely state, and gorgeously ornamented in sculpture at the stern, which
was further decorated by plumes of birds of paradise.
This latter had a kind of frame work, which could
be immediately converted into a house, by mats there
in readiness, and I am inclined to believe they
generally sleep in them in preference to landing.
We landed on the day following at the beach,
where they had remained, and examined the woods
in the immediate neighbourhood. We noticed
several very peculiar piles of earth and leaves resembling tumuli, but were unable to trace their
Having completed our suite of observations, I
determined, during our delay for rating the chronometers, to take advantage of the interval to correct
this almost unknown region, and with our reduced
force, we commenced the survey.
In the progress of this duty, which lasted about
a week, and extended over eighty miles of longitude,
we found the island which the natives pronounce
Jobie, cut into deep creeks, and at twenty miles
west of our rating position, formed into numerous
harbours by a very extensive archipelago. In the
interior, bays were observed, and several very large
towns built on posts as before described, but much
higher, and apparently so combined as to present
a formidable defence to an attacking party.     Many 94
of the interior spots were cultivated, and the plantains and other trees we observed, showed them
to be well supplied. Owing to their being warned
off by a musket fired over them to prevent their
stealing our marks, we had little or no communication with them, although several which visited the
Starling at one of the out positions, gave them to
understand that hogs, fruit, and the potatoe yam
(of the Feejees) were abundant.
Amongst the feathered tribe a very trifling addition was made to our collection, probably owing
to our not having sufficient leisure to penetrate into
the interior, but a very beautiful cream-coloured
pigeon,* was very abundant. A very curious species of a bat or flying fox, parroquets, &c, were innumerable, but difficult to obtain, as they maintained their perch on the loftiest trees, nearly on
the summits of the island.
Amongst the trees, several kinds of nutmeg were
found, and these appear to abound on the main
island, if we may judge from the roosting places of
the pigeons, the ground beneath which was literally
covered with the nuts which they had voided, as
they merely feed on the outer fleshy covering. All
the islands are thickly wooded, and afford excellent
fuel. The Tamanu, ebony, and other hard cabinet
woods, were noticed; the lance wood of the South
Seas (Casuarina equisetifolia) we 'cut for firewood,
handspikes, and many useful purposes.
* The nutmeg pigeon. 1840.]
The reefs which generally belt these islands are
well stocked with a great variety of shell-fish, some
well worthy the attention of the naturalist.
During our detention in this region, scarcely a
day passed without a copious fall of rain, at times
almost a deluge. The daily breezes were irregular,
frequently from the south-west; and the scud aloft
generally travelled from that point.
On the 16th August, having completed the rating
of our chronometers, we recommenced our voyage,
but were again teazed by our old enemies, calms,
variables, and rain, which prevented our making
more than twenty or thirty miles a-day. I fully
expected that on clearing the high lands of Jobie,
the customary trades, or sea-breezes, might reach
us. In this we were disappointed, until passing what
we took to be the island of Bultige.
On the 21st we arrived at the termination of
this group, forming a complete cluster of twenty-two
small islets, rising from the same rocky flat, and probably at spring-tides nearly dry. As the Starling lost
the breeze before reaching the passage, I determined on attempting a final suite of observations
at these islands, but after landing and waiting a considerable time, rain entirely frustrated our endeavours.
It is a curious fact, that from the time of passing
Yamna, until the present, not the slightest swell
has been perceptible, the ripples on the weather
sides of reefs not even endangering the bottoms of our
light boats: a perfect still water has prevailed. 96
On the 22nd, we passed on the eastern side of
Long Island of Maclure, our position by latitude
and bearing of Mysory proving his survey relatively
correct, but about thirty miles of longitude in
error. Several deep indentations presented themselves in Long Island, and I have little doubt but
good harbours would be found within; but no traces
of inhabitants were discernible, although Maclure
places a village where we must have noticed it, had
it at present existed*    It is probably deserted.
On the morning of 23rd the mainland of New
Guinea was ahead, and with a light breeze we
shaped our course for " the Beehive," then in sight,
hoping to reach Goelvinks Bay before sunset; but
with such imperfect charts, this could only be at a
At noon, our longitude placed us exactly at its
entrance, but it was evident from our distance from
the Beehive, that it was still at least twenty miles
further to the westward.
About four o'clock, we passed its probable situation, but as no convenient opening presented, and
nothing which I could at all assimilate to the description of Goelvinks Bay, I passed on, hoping to
meet with some favourable position. In this I was
entirely disappointed, and therefore made up my
mind to terminate my observations on this coast
at the island of Amsterdam, its position having
already been determined by chronometers from Point
Pigot, as well as Amboyna. 1840.]
The features of New Guinea now resumed their
bold outline, which failed about Yamna; and " Trees
Cape," (which certainly deserves a better name, and
was mistaken for Cape Good Hope,) was passed
on the evening of the 24th.
We then found that another low cape showed on
the same bearing, which being more westerly, could
be no other than Cape Good Hope.
During our run along the last forty miles of coast,
and not more than two miles from the shore, but
three villages were noticed, and no disposition
evinced to put off in their canoes. Indeed, but
one or two natives were observed, the remainder,
probably from fear, or employment, being absent
in the mountains, from whence many columns of
smoke were observed to issue.
On the morning of the 23rd, we had neared
the islands of Amsterdam and Middleburg, sufficiently to proceed in the boats, the wind having
nearly failed. We first directed our course towards
the northern sandy point of Amsterdam, but on
nearing it, found it to be dead low water, with
a heavy surf setting on a rocky barrier, which prevented access. . Contrary, however, to the description, we found the soundings regular, as the bottom
could be plainly traced from a cable's length from
the breakers.:
On rounding the eastern end by the channel
between the islands, we found safe and convenient
landing on a clear sandy beach, within the eastern
VOL.  II. H '*»»■" ^
point of Amsterdam. The channel between the
islands is safe, and instead of seventeen or eighteen
feet, read seventeen or eighteen fathoms.
After completing a suite of magnetic as well as
astronomical observations, and surveying the two
islands, we bore up at sunset for Point Pigot, the
evening terminating with thunder, lightning, and
We have observed, that in the mornings before
sunrise all the outlines of the mountains and distant land are beautifully distinct and free from
haze. As the sun rises, vapour is generated, and
they become less distinct. By nine o'clock clouds
form over the mountainous peaks, and shortly cap
them; thunder (which, by-the-bye, is almost incessant) is distinctly heard. By four o'clock the
clouds have accumulated into a dense black mass;
and from this time until eight p.m., they pour down
their contents at intervals, with unsparing volume.
About eight the clouds suddenly disperse, and the
spangled arch is free even from scud.
It is also a curious fact, that before the clouds
exhibit any apparent discharge of rain, small white
vapours resembling steam-clouds arise from the
valleys and woods, and mingle with the black mass
gathering above them, becoming more dense, and
increasing in rapidity, as they approach near the
This, doubtless, results from the sudden condensation of  the vapour arising from the earth, pre- 1840.]
viously heated by the sun's rays. Yet this latter
phenomenon is more frequently observed, and in
greater volume, after long continued rain, at the
moment of clearing off, although no sun is visible.
At New Ireland it was perpetual, and resembled
smoke issuing from the forests.
In these regions one may therefore calculate on
a sound drenching once every twenty-four hours, if
within twenty miles of high land.
Nothing of interest occurred at these islands.
They are mere coral patches, having about ten feet
soil above the sea level, and are well clothed with
tall trees, similar to the main island. The natives
came off in their canoes to the Starling, and one
uncouth Noah's ark went off to the ship, but did not
In the account of these islands, they are described
as two low flat islands surrounded by a reef, and
about two or two and a half leagues from the coast;
the reef projecting from Amsterdam, " steep to?
having fifty fathoms near, and four or five feet on
it in some places.
From our examination it will appear that these
islands are distinctly separate, the depth between
them ranging gradually from five to thirty-five
fathoms mid channel; that the soundings approaching them are regular from one hundred fathoms from
the reef; and that in a south-east direction from
the eastern sandy point of Amsterdam, good tough
holding ground, in mud, may be found from twenty
h 2 100
to thirty fathoms.    The Starling anchored in twenty-
eight fathoms mud, 2',7 miles from the point.
The inner point   of   Middleburg is more  than
two miles from the coast.
Wood for fuel is plentiful, and tamanu of large
size overhangs the water.
On the morning of the 26th, we found ourselves at
the mouth of Dampier's Strait, but the breeze proving light, did not succeed in getting abreast of
Point Pigot before eight in the evening. Our noon
position showed the charts to be defective, the
whole eastern side of Waygiou forming a deep
and extensive bay, and our latitude being much to
the southward of Point Pigot, although its island
bore to the southward of west from us. With
respect to the current also, we were much disappointed, not having experienced its action during
the whole day.
We noticed an extensive line of sand banks
between Point Pigot and the south-eastern point
of Waygiou, which, although of interest to the surveyor, are too close in to cause uneasiness to the
About eight p.m., we took a fine breeze from
S. S. E., which helped us for a few hours, carrying us past the islands off Cape Pigot. At four in
the morning we found ourselves close to two low
islands, and as I conjectured them to be the " Foul
Islands," the ship was tacked until daylight, when
my suspicions were confirmed.    We had no sound- 1840]
ing'S, with one hundred fathoms, but could hear the
surf sound very distinctly. The line of current was
now very distinctly apparent on the surface, and
with a light air from south-east, we edged over for
Pigeon Island, for the purpose of fixing one decided
position in this strait, as well as to obtain the exact
time of high water; this being the change of the
moon. The stream anchor was dropped, and means
taken to avail ourselves of every advantage during
our necessary delay.
Our observations having. been completed, and a
rough survey made, we embarked about.three, when
the anchor was weighed, but the. flood-tide having
made too strong for the breeze, compelled us to
anchor again until slack water. \
Our observations disagree very materially with the
charts. The relative position of the islands is also
very erroneous, our rough survey having narrowed
the channel several miles.
Pigeon Island is a mere strip of land, surrounded
by a coral ledge. Landing is easily effected at half-
tide, on the S.W. point: but at low water, springs,
the waterline shows a steep coral belt, having some
inches water within, over sand and coral, for a cable's
The island is pretty well wooded, the whole of the
S.W. point alluded to abounds with theCasuarina equi-
setifolia, or Ito of Sandwich Islands, Tahiti, &c, or
commonly termed " iron-wood." It is difficult to
cut when of large growth, and dry; but in its green •ytf^yM*=^-'?>aea»aaraagyg?S' Jiag^g^gg "ssstsz*
iff i
state not more so than other hard woods. It forms
excellent fuel, and does not ferment in the hold, an
evil to be cautiously avoided in tropical regions: I
strongly suspect the mangrove, and I placed great
faith in keeping my ship clear from fever on the
coast of Africa, by never admitting green wood, or
that with the bark moist.
We found it low water precisely at noon, and
from the rapidity with which the tide flowed, as well
as the current slackening offj I presume that it was
high water about six p. m. At ten the breeze enabled us to weigh, and after our usual dose of rain,
and et ceteras, we cleared the straits in the morning.
During our detention we were visited by several
canoes, and one state canoe, having on board a person styling himself Captain of Gibbie, probably the
island of Geby, or Ghibi, of the charts. He was
well attired in oriental costume, spoke English tolerably, and informed us that in one moon, many ships
of several nations would visit his island. He was
very anxious that the ship should proceed there, where
she would obtain supplies of vegetables and fruit.
During my conversation with this individual, I was
rather surprised to hear him designate his people
Papoos, and upon my questioning him whether they
belonged to New Guinea, he explained that the lower
order of Ghibi, Battanta, and others, were designated
Papoos, but which had no connexion with the " Great
Island" of New Guinea. I have since been informed
that they are of the same race.  m
s  . 1840.]
The vessel in which this person came was one of
the regularly built prahus, or prau, (not a canoe,)
but furnished with outriggers, and stages for those
working the oars. She carried banners, and assumed
some little state. Her stem was precisely in the
Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian style—rising high,
with a nob. We had some difficulty, at first, in
dealing with this person, who was either unwilling to
trade, or waiting for a present. We succeeded in
obtaining several very handsome lories alive, and a few
birds of paradise, mats, &c. He did not consider the
fine season as set in until next moon. His " fine season" probably reckoned by the number of whale-ships
and visitors who take this route in the S.W. monsoon.
A fine breeze led us up to the island of Pulo Popa,
which we cleared after a short tack. The Full and
Change, hitherto, has been attended with rain and
unsettled weather at this season, which the last
twenty-four hours has fully corroborated.
On the morning of the 28th August, as the rain
cleared off, we found ourselves close off the coast of
Ceram. Nothing could surpass the beauty of the scenery,
and now, for the first time for many months, we beheld
clear spots of park land, studded with a moderate
proportion of trees. Of late nothing but the sombre
sameness of dingy forest had met the eye, and gradation of shade, betwixt hill and ravine, afforded the
only variation in the landscape. Here we had not
only the varied yellow, brown, or green, of the clear
lands or meadows, but every other forest tint; above 104
which beetling peaks, with their white weather-worn
lines, occasionally peeped through the misty clouds,
which but a few hours since had entirely eclipsed
them, and shortly floated over their summits, merely
to add fresh spirit to the scenery by their shadows.
There is something more than ordinarily interesting
in the rapid changes of scenery which the seaman
witnesses; point after point opening and displaying
bays, harbours, huts, natives, &c.
We had now, however, arrived within the range of
civilization, and the sight of a vessel was an occurrence too ordinary to cause any of the natives to visit
us in their canoes. Having reached within two
miles of the beach, we took the fresh trade, or probably sea-breeze, which by sunset carried us well
clear of the Island of Ceram, (pronounced Cee-ram.)
As it was important to reach the nearest port, in
order to save the meridian distance, I determined
to stand on for Cajeli Bay, Bouro, and therefore
signalled the Starling " to make the best of her way
to Amboina," where she would prepare the governor
for my arrival, and remove the difficulty of obtaining
immediate observations.
At daylight we were well in with the island of
Bouro, but too far to the southward. Horsburgh's
directions are not sufficiently explicit for finding
Cajeli Bay. He should have explained that " Mother
and Daughter," (the latter, might have been omitted,
as only seen when well into the depth of the bay,)
are two very high conical hills inland, which from 1840.]
the sea appear as one. The eastern side is streaked
white, by reason of its bare rocks. It lies on the S.E.
side of the depth of Cajeli Bay, and is an excellent
mark for rounding the eastern head, from the S. E.
As long as its head can be seen above the trees at
the eastern point, the ship will be perfectly clear of
danger. The instant it begins to rise, after passing
the point, a course may be shaped for the north point,
which apparently shows as the left of an island on
the N.W. shore. When mid-channel, steer with
the town off the larboard cathead, until Mother bears
S. E. by S. Then steer south for the fort; shorten
sail about one mile from it, and anchor at the first
cast twenty-five, bottom mud, and good holding
The limit of danger, westerly, is the two eastern
turrets of the fort in line. We found soundings in every
part of the bay, both going in and coming out; on the
latter occasion, it never exceeded fifty fathoms, until we
hauled up E.N.E. Entering, it ranged from sixty-
two, forty-two, and sixty, gravel. It frequently falls to
our fate to enter ports at night, and on this occasion
we did not reach our anchorage until three a.m., on
the 31st., in twenty-five fathoms. Fort south, Red
Island East.
I paid a visit to the | resident," who was rather
surprised at a visit from a British man-of-war, with
out the  customary notice  from  the   governor  of
the Moluccas.    Indeed, he scarcely comprehended 106
the difference between a ship of war and a merchantman, and could not be made to comprehend
that our visit was merely to look at " his sun, moony
and stars.n CHAPTER IV.
Amboina—Flattering reception by the governor—The rajahs-
Visit a cavern—Mode of travelling—Grotesque attendants—
Society—Fishing trammels—Chinese town—Garrison—Capabilities and government of the island—Return to Bouro—
Cajeli Bay examined—Passage to Celebes, Macassar—Fort—
Situation of the Dutch—Solombo—Pulo Kumpal—Singapore
—Receive orders to proceed to China—Prosperous state of
Singapore — Palawan passage—Starling struck by lightning
—Manila—Transports with invalids—Indisposition of the authorities towards them—Join the squadron at Chuenpee. 108
About four o'clock on the 1st of September, having completed our observations, we quitted Cajeli
Bay for Amboina. The current at ebb sets very
strong to the southward, so that, by keeping in the
strength of the stream during the night, we found
ourselves well to windward of the island of Amblau
by daylight.
At dawn on the 3rd, we were close off Noessaniva
Point, and, favoured with a light easterly breeze, we
soon rejoined the Starling, and found two Dutch
Company's brigs at anchor within. We dropped
anchor close to the westernmost, in twenty fathoms.
It is customary to run the stream cable to the
shore, in case of strong puffs off shore, and for this
purpose, heavy anchors are already laid down, to
which cables can be attached at low water.
Accompanied by my friend Kellett, I proceeded
immediately to call on the governor of the Moluccas, Colonel de Stuers, who resides at a very delightful spot about half a mile from the town. My
reception was highly flattering, and was immediately 1840.]
followed by permission to place my observatory
where I pleased, and the requisite orders were immediately issued. , After examining the governor's
magnificent collection of shells, insects, and other
objects of natural history, we took our leave until
the dinner hour.
The position selected for our observations was on
the S.W. angle of the curtain of Fort Victoria,
where a summer house, constructed for taking tea
and smoking, very conveniently afforded shelter, without the trouble of erecting tents. Occasionally the
passing of the natives jarred the ground slightly;
but whether by the order of his excellency, or a
proper consideration on the part of the officers, we
were entirely free from visitors during the progress
of our observations. Those not interested in or
comprehending such duties, cannot but feel that
we are unwelcome guests whilst we are thus engaged. The inattention to questions, and the perfect abstraction necessary for a portion of time, must
appear almost as a slight on their intended courtesy.
Yet, if they could but comprehend the value we
attach to time, they would clearly feel the propriety of allowing us to enjoy our hermitage.
At six the Governor sent his carriage for us, and
we repaired to his beautiful retirement, where we
were introduced to Madame de Stuers. Once more
we congratulated ourselves on regaining society,
from which, excepting a few short moments at Tepic,
Sitka, and Lima, we had been almost excluded since
1836. 110
The governor and Madame both speak English
well, and were unremitting in their polite attentions.
They are both strongly imbued with the taste for
natural history, and appear to enjoy perfect happiness, even in this distant region, by constant application to rational pursuits. They have a fine healthy
and beautiful family, consisting of three boys and
three girls, the eldest boy being about ten years old.
Madame is the daughter of General de Kock, now
minister of the interior in Holland, and formerly
governor-general at Java, where I believe madame
was born. It is, therefore, surprising that she does
not, according to the custom of India, give way to
the habit of consuming the greater part of the day in
the siesta, which I believe to be very enervating.
Activity appears to be their motto, and blooming
health results.
On their passage hither in a steamer they were
wrecked upon the Turtle Islands, near Goonong
Apee, not more than a hundred and twenty miles
from their destination. There they experienced
great hardships, and probably would have perished,
had not one of the boats reached Timor or Java,
and brought them assistance. Another boat fell
into the hands of the pirates, but the crew were
eventually recovered by ransom.
At the period of our visit the rajahs from the
neighbouring islands had assembled at Amboina, to
try their disputes, for which purpose the governor
presides in court twice in the year.    The court is 1840.]
composed of the president, assisted by twenty-four
rajahs; the cause is heard before them, and the
law explained, so that the award is nearly the act of
their own body. I was informed that it is a very
tedious operation to make them understand the
law, or be convinced (probably against their will) of
its infallibility. After the third day, on which the
business terminated, the governor, according to custom, gave the rajahs an entertainment, to which my
officers and self were invited. I fully expected to have
seen all the rajahs in splendid costumes, but the
greater part of them were dressed as Europeans, and
had nothing in particular to distinguish them from
the general residents. After dinner their healths
were drunk, and " success to their clove plantations."
The governor was kind enough to make a party
the following morning to visit a cavern in the mountains, as well as afford us a sample of the style in
which he travels in these regions. At six o'clock
his carriage conveyed us to his house, where a host
of natives with open palanquins were assembled.
During the delay of taking coffee, a band of seven
grotesquely dressed men, with swords and shields,
birds'-head helmets, adorned with the feathers of
the cock, or birds of paradise, (very much in the
merry-andrew style observed at our fairs in England,) danced to the sound of a drum and gong,
keeping excellent time, and imitating the attack and
defence of war parties;  intimating that your  ad- 112
vance was opposed until their ceremony or mode of
salute was complete.
Having mounted our palanquins, to each of which
twelve bearers were appointed, the band and dancers,
preceded by two Dutch ensigns, led the way. Our
journey lay over very slippery ground, it having
rained hard all the preceding night, and some of the
steeps were so very rugged, that one could with
difficulty keep his seat in the palanquin. Some of
the party got out and walked, an example which I
felt much inclined to follow, but as the governor
remained seated, I considered it etiquette to maintain my state, even at the risk of my bones.
At every hundred yards, or probably at such
intervals as the leader of the band considered the
bearers out of wind, the dancing guard obstructed
our progress until their fantastic ceremony was
We enjoyed several very beautiful prospects from
the heights, which probably would have been still
more brilliant had the sun favoured us. But we
could well spare his presence, and enjoyed the cool
fresh air resulting from the late showers infinitely
more than the steam heat which his rays would inevitably have produced.
About half-past seven we reached the mouth of
the cavern, which the rajah of the district had
already prepared for our entry, by a range of stakes
forming steps down the first steep descent. The
depth was not great, nor from the nature of the
10 1840.]
soil was there much stalactitic concretion. Bats
were numerous, as well as crustaceous spiders, and
crickets of a curious kind. The swallows which
construct the nidi esculenti, or edible birds' nests,
were here uninterrupted. I obtained one, however,
as a specimen, but it had but little of the glutinous
matter with which it is attached to the sides or roof
of the cavern. At the extremity of the cave we
found a marble tablet noting the visit of Captain
D'Urville, commanding the expedition of the Astrolabe and Zelee, which was placed there by the fiscal
or chief magistrate.
Our return was much in the same style; when, having breakfasted at the governor's, we returned to the
ship. In the evening we rejoined the governor's
party at a ball, where we saw all the youth and beauty
of the colony, and waltzing and quadrilles were maintained with great spirit until a late hour. With the
exception of four or five, all the young ladies were
born of native mothers, or of native extraction, in
the colony. Of the whole collection not an ordinary face was visible; all were pretty, several very
m. The attentions of our kind host and hostess were
unremitting. Indeed, from the moment of arrival
until we took our final leave, hardly an hour elapsed
without increasing our debt of gratitude. All our
establishment have felt the kindness of our warmhearted friends at Amboina, and I am satisfied will
VOL.   II. i 114
not easily forget them. Deprived of society for
such a period, it has been to us quite a paradise.
The roads in the neighbourhood of the town are
in admirable order, and afford several very pleasant
rides. I accompanied the governor to examine one
of their fishing trammels at his sea-side cottage,
which is situated about two miles from the fort.
The manner of construction is ingenious. Stakes
are driven into the ground in the figure of a broad
arrow, the barbs incurved to half their length.
The apex is formed similar to a mouse-trap. This
is surmounted by three others; that outside being
the preserve. All the barbs are fitted with hinges, by
which the angular aperture can be closed at the pleasure of the person on watch, who generally lives on the
stage in "Jack-straw's house." The outer preserve
is generally in three fathoms water, and the upper
frame-work weighted with stones to prevent its
rising. All the walls are even, constructed of slight
bamboo, with half-inch openings.
To take the fish, the outer doors are all secured;
a diver descends with a landing net, and first
frightens the fish from the bottom. Then looking
upwards, as his buoyancy causes him to ascend
easily, he dexterously uses his net to take those at
the surface, which are completely bewildered.
The horses in use here are small, but well-limbed,
and very strong. The governor was kind enough
to send his carriage for us on all occasions,  and 1840.]
although the little animals were not taller than
Scotch ponies, they carried four inside and three
servants outside at a rapid rate.
The town of Amboina contains a large number of
Chinese, who reside principally in the western quarter, where a very large and well stocked market
furnishes most of the luxuries as well as the necessaries of this climate. The race, however, do not
appear to maintain the high character they have for
industry in other parts of the world; possibly the
laws restrain them from indulging in such speculations as they would prefer. I was rather disappointed, therefore, in not finding their shops well
stored, forgetting their limited communication with
their own country.
Amboina is garrisoned by companies, partly Dutch
partly Malay, commanded by a lieutenant-colonel,
who keeps them actively drilled every morning at
six, and frequently in the evenings. Their appearance speaks for their health. In the evening the officers
amuse themselves at the club with billiards, cards,
&c. They are required to serve a certain number
of years before they are entitled to a pension, and
no officer is permitted to marry, unless he can give
security that himself and his intended possess enough
to maintain them respectably.
The brig of war mounts twenty thirty-two pounders,
upon very small tonnage, but appears to be kept in very
creditable kelter. The European part of her crew
are preserved from undue exposure by part comple-
i 2 116
ment of Malays, who perform wooding, watering,
and other heavy duties, similar to our Krou-men on
the coast of Africa. Our officers received much
attention from the army and navy; indeed, from the
governor downwards we were to all deeply indebted.
The governor having accepted an invitation to a
second breakfast, accompanied me in my gig, in full
uniform ; the Starling having been ordered to hoist
the Dutch national colours, fired the necessary salutes
to the flag, as well as personal salute. His own
state barge, however, was in waiting, a splendid kind
of " city barge," manned by Malays, and decorated
with three large Dutch ensigns. The lieutenant-
colonel, chief magistrate, suite, &c, came off in
Owing to the tie of observations, chronometers,
&c, I was unable to spare time to visit the clove
gardens, or make any protracted excursion into the
country, which was several times proposed by my kind
friend, the governor. The nutmeg trees are very common, and produce abundantly, but the fruit is inferior to
that of Banda, not yielding the same quantity of oil,
which in the Chinese market is important. The
natives manufacture various ornamental articles, as
work-boxes, urns, prahus, &c, from the clove; and
the native-born young ladies occupy their leisure
hours in making fancy flowers from the feathers of
the numerous parroquets, lories, and other gaudy-
plumaged birds with which these islands abound.
Amboina, although not yielding plentifully from its 1840.]
own harbour, is the nucleus where the shells from
the Moluccas are usually assembled, and where they
generally find a good market. The islands of
Ceram and Goram appear to contribute not only
largely, but also the greater number of rare shells.
The island of Amboina itself presents one of nature's freaks, being almost divided at its northern
end. At one period the Dutch attempted to cut a
passage through, and in part succeeded. This has
been partially filled up, although I am given to
understand that at present the large prahus are
floated and carried across, so as to prevent the
necessity of going out by Noessaniva, when bound
to Ceram.
The Dutch maintain their sway over the island of
Ceram; have forts established on it; and by the
ceremony before alluded to, viz. the biennial visit to
decide their legal differences before the governor at
Amboina, the natives distinctly acknowledge their supremacy. Gillolo, Ternate, and Tidore, are subject to
the Sultan of Tidore, who, I am given to understand,
is in turn, either subject to, or under more than close
alliance with, the Dutch government. All these
islands, including the Banda group, Manada, (on
Celebes,) Mindanao, Oby Major, and a few settlements on the shores of New Guinea, are under the
authority and surveillance of the governor of the
Molluccas, who usually makes his annual tour of
inspection, when I understand he is well received.
Indeed, we ourselves witnessed the attachment expressed by those assembled here. 118
According to custom in all semi-civilized nations,
wherever food is spontaneously produced, there is
but little disposition to labour. The sago-tree,
which at Amboina, Bouro, Ceram, and adjacent
islands, grows must luxuriantly and attains a large
size, (eighteen inches diameter,) is calculated to subsist a family for one month, or even six weeks. The
tree being felled, is secured in a horizontal position,
and an opening being cut on its upper surface, the
centre, which is about eight-tenths of the capacity,
is scooped out as required.
Plantations, gardens, &c, flourish; and nothing
but the desire of gain, or of being in a condition to
assume the European garb, can excite the natives to
labour. The cultivation of the patches awarded by
government is kept up by a kind of tax on tenure,
and these are guaranteed by responsible rajahs.
Amongst the many presents constantly arriving
from my kind friend, I cannot omit to mention that
important addition to our zoological collection, the
Babyroussa hog; which, from its docility and having been reared from young, promised to see England safe ; unless indeed poisoned by eating anything
that fell in his way amongst his epicurean researches. Six lories, and as many marine's shoulder
and cap scales, (of brass,) did not in the least impede
digestion. He eventually reached England, and I
believe is now happy in the Zoological Gardens.
Having completed our necessary refit, &c, we
took leave of our kind friends at Amboina on the
k&feg^w 1840.]
13th of September, and directed our course for
Bouro, to take a fresh departure, as well as obtain a
sea-rate for our chronometers from our absolute
meridian. I was anxious also to examine the dangers of Cajeli Bay, and either dispel them, or put
them into some tangible form on paper.
On the night following (about two a. m.) I anchored in the bay, much to the surprise of our
Dutch friend " the resident," (a clerk,) who I believe
thought us little better than mad. During the interval occupied in obtaining our necessary observations, a fair survey of the bay was completed, certainly outlining the important danger line, to vessels
wishing to visit the bay. On the 16th we quitted
Cajeli Bay, and hauled to the southward, in preference to risking the calms which generally prevail at
this season on the northern or lee side of Bouro.*
Bouro, or Cajeli Bay, possesses great advantages
over Amboina, as regards supplies of poultry, eggs,
water, and wood. The harbour also is snug and
safe, sheltered from the monsoons, and less troubled
with the diurnal rains of Amboina, consequently
better adapted for casual refit, as well as astronomical
observations. As regards natural history also, it affords a wider field, particularly in conchology. The
famed Babyroussa hog abounds on this island, although very difficult to obtain. Deer are plentiful
in the interior, and birds unknown to the Dutch
residents are frequently spoken of by the natives.
* Also spelt Boeroa. i*W\          -
A great variety of very beautiful woods, adapted
for cabinet purposes, are also plentiful, including
perhaps the most valuable ebony of these seas.
I was informed, however, at Amboina, that the
ports of Ceram completely eclipse Cajeli Bay in
point of natural history, and the fancy woods generally.
The Cajeput oil, I believe, is principally obtained
from this island, and sent to Amboina. That obtained here was superior to any offered for sale at
the latter.*
The morning after our departure from Bouro
found us well to the southward, aided by the prevailing currents, now nearly at the springs. Our
hopes of a speedy passage were, however, baffled by
light airs; and dreading calms in the Boreton passage, I determined on hauling to the southward of
the group of Token Bessy, sighting Velthoen, and correcting, if necessary, the positions of any of the islands.
On the 21st of September we passed Velthoens,
after having been somewhat puzzled at the islands
which surrounded us. Unfortunately the weather
was too hazy to test Velthoens, but the next day at
noon, satisfied me that some of them should take a
more northerly place on the chart. We passed
through very strong ripples and overfalls, but could
not obtain soundings.
From  the 17th until the 20th, a heavy misty
* It has the faculty of rendering paper transparent or opaque
at pleasure. .1840.]
oppressive atmosphere surrounded us, preventing our
effecting any of the objects which I had contemplated on pursuing this course.
On the night of the 19th of September we had
the misfortune to lose our gunner (Mr. W. Holder)
from dysentery contracted at Tahiti, and which had
obstinately hung upon him since. He was an old
shipmate of mine (as a boy) in 1819, was deservedly
a favourite with every one, and much regretted as a
public loss.
Having cleared the Token Bessy group, a course
was steered to sight the Tiger Islands, situated to
S.E. of the island of Salayer. At noon on the 20th
of September we were within four miles of the
position assigned to the easternmost, and before
sunset had run over two more without the slightest
indication of land. They are therefore justly placed
"doubtful** on the charts. Had our position at
noon admitted of doubt, I might have been inclined to attribute' something to current, but this
was out of the question on the course steered, as we
reached the mouth of Salayer Strait by daylight,
experiencing a north-westerly current. Indeed, at
dawn we found we had been literally driven through
the strait by the current, then setting west.
About eight on the 24th of September, we perceived the Dutch colours flying on the fort at Boele
Comba, (on the southern coast of Celebes,) and as
this position might assist vessels in correcting their
longitudes, I despatched the Starling to secure its 122
position,   make  a rough, survey  of the  road,   and
rejoin me at Macassar.
Pursuing our course westerly, we passed the Bay
of Bonthian, (celebrated for the unhandsome treatment of poor Carteret,) rounded point Layken by
sunset, and shaping our course between Celebes and
the island of Tanakeke, passed through this strait
about eight o'clock, when we anchored for the
night in eighteen fathoms. On weighing at dawn,
we found we had far overshot our distance.
About ten o'clock we discerned a Dutch frigate,
and the forts and town of Macassar; but as the
plans supplied differed by exactly double their scales,
I deemed it prudent to incur expense rather than
risk her Majesty's ship. I therefore made the
signal for a pilot, but as he was long in getting out,
we found ourselves within the harbour, and at anchor, before he reached us.
The frigate we found to be the Rotterdam, her
captain having immediately despatched one of his
officers with offers of assistance, and to pay the customary compliments. The visit I returned without
delay, and accompanied her captain to pay my respects to the governor. The customary ceremonies
over, and the necessary sanction obtained, our observatory was pitched nearly on the spot occupied
by the French expedition in the Astrolabe and Zelee.
From the imperfect state of the charts, I deemed
it necessary to make the most of our detention, by
resurveying the dangers, channels, &c, on the approach to this anchorage.  m
o aall   islai
iney are pi
fronl 1ft
*■ 1840.]
On the day following I accepted an invitation to
a parting dinner given to the captain and officers of
the Rotterdam, which passed off pleasantly, by
dancing until midnight. Our labours having terminated on the 30th, we took our departure on the
1st of October for Great Solombo and Singapore;
the Rotterdam having sailed on the 29th for Ba-
The civilities offered to myself and officers at this
port left no weight of obligation on our minds.
With the exception of the chief magistrate, who offered me every assistance, I had no acquaintance.
The fort of Macassar stands on the S.W. angle
of the town, disconnected by a ditch and high rampart, within the walls of which reside the military,
amounting in all to about three hundred, inclusive of
a squadron of cavalry.
The town, which is walled, is very regularly
built, extending about one quarter of a mile by half
a mile on its squares, and having three gates on its
southern face, which are closed at nine o'clock. The
Chinese appear to constitute the majority of the
population within the town; but the huts of the
natives extend considerably to the northward, and
appear to be very thickly inhabited. All the coastline displays a large proportion of population, and
the small islands also are not deficient in this
respect. They are probably fishermen. Indeed the
approaches from seaward afford very strong testimony to the piscatory pursuits of the natives;  their M
beacons, which were frequently found in sixteen and
seventeen fathoms, inducing a belief in shoal water,
and thus causing an alteration of our course to
thread them.    The canoes are also very numerous.
Although the Dutch have so long held possession
of Macassar, their position does not appear free from
alarm, the natives not unfrequently giving them
cause for vigilance. We had frequent opportunities
of noticing the variety of castes, which generally
loitered about the observatory, in their passage
through the fort.    In  some instances, the higher
in a \ «
I  \
classes were very superior in figure, attitude, carriage, and complexion.    The lower orders, on the  i
\ 1840.]
contrary, are generally undersized, ill-looking, moody,
and might easily have been stirred into brutality.
Even the higher grades assumed a sulky, suspicious
air, which was anything but prepossessing, and they
appeared at all times ready for mischief. But I never
failed in making them throw off their ill-humour
when I wished to communicate. They were even
excessively polite in their manner.
None go unarmed; generally they carry the
kris, and those of rank are followed by an attendant
with a silver-mounted hunting-spear. Their costume
is Arabic, their religion Mahomedan. The port
appears to possess an extensive coasting trade, if
one may judge from the numerous large prahus at
anchor and on the move; but I am informed that
their exports will not cover the specie they require
for the purchase of European commodities.
The position of Macassar is reckoned particularly
salubrious. The atmosphere is very dry, and, unlike
any of the positions we have lately visited, we
found it entirely free from rain during our visit. I
am told that it seldom rains, and is very similar to
the climate of Lima. Nevertheless the horizon and
atmosphere on the mountains is very hazy. The
sea-breeze generally sets in regularly about ten
o'clock, commencing from the southward, and
veers to the westward before sunset, when it fails*
and is succeeded about ten o'clock by a cool land-
breeze. The thermometer ranged during our visit
from 74° to 94°.    Stock is plentiful and reasonable, M.
as  well as vegetables; but  no table requisites or
wines are to be procured.    Their prahus are peculiar.
Quitting Macassar, our course was directed to
pass to the northward of the Northern Brother,
crossing the Tanakeke ledge, on which the chart
gives nothing less than nine fathoms. About eight
p. m., in heavy ripplings, we shoaled to four and a
half fathoms, when we tacked, and stood to the
eastward, anchoring in five fathoms. The current
set very strong to the W.N.W., and the boats sent
to sound, reporting nothing under four, we again
tripped, and shortly deepened to thirteen fathoms,
By daylight this would have been of little importance, but the dangers of the region being almost
unknown, and heavy overfalls surrounding us, our
situation was anything but pleasant.
On the 3rd of October, we made the island of
Solombo, but were unable to reach our anchorage 1840.]
before dark. After rounding the S.W. an^le, and
coming suddenly into eight fathoms, I hauled to the
southward, to determine the range of soundings, and
gradually edged in, letting go our anchor in ten fathoms. Daylight showed that our usual good fortune
attended us, as had we stood on half a mile further,
we certainly would have been too near to be pleasant.
In the morning we succeeded in landing, to save
the astronomical observations for time, and having
obtained our suite of magnetic observations, I found
the officers, with their boat's crews, engaged hunting
wild buffalo. The reports of muskets were frequent, but, although one was badly wounded, our
sportsmen did not reward us by the sight of a carcass. Up a small valley near the southern point,
our men noticed a small fresh-water lake, apparently staked, which would lead one to infer that
there were natives or sojourners concealed. However, we did not perceive even a trace of a footstep
on the sands, nor anything resembling habitations
or their ruins. The mysterious piles, indicating the
work of human beings, as noticed in every island
within the New Guinea range, were numerous.
The composition of the island appears to be volcanic, belted, as usual, by compact coral limestone,
through which the black amygdaloidal rocks protrude. The island is well wooded, and has a
crowned elevation with two cones (about three
hundred feet above the sea level) near its southern
extremity.    Landing is easily effected at high water, 128
but not without wet feet or even wading, nearer
than half a mile from our place of observation, at
low water. It is probable that better landing may
be found in the bay immediately within the south
point, but neither time nor duties admitted of determining this question, or even how far it might be
practicable to water. We were released by the
flowing tide, just before sunset, and having completed our observations, weighed and pursued our
voyage, steering for the Mancap shoals off the southwest extremity of the island of Borneo, hoping to
be able to meet with some position for a magnetic
station in that neighbourhood, j
On the morning of the 7th of October, we
rounded the shoals of Pulo Mancap, but being then
in seven fathoms, and no island near, I determined
on running for Pulo Kumpal, (Rendezvous Island;)
and with a favourable breeze reached the anchorage
within one mile of the point selected for observing,
by noon. This is considerably nearer as well as
much safer anchorage than the charts admit. The
Starling afterwards took up her position within one
eighth of a mile, but had rocky bottom.
No time was lost in selecting our position and
landing our instruments, nor did the island offer anv
inducement to expend time in making any very
critical examination, beyond the composition of our
immediate location, (as regarded magnetic disturbance,) which was found to be a mixture of contorted
slaty and sandy schistus, traversed by veins of quartz, 1840.]
the general mass having apparently undergone volcanic action. It had not the slightest effect on the
needles, although the slaggy edges apparently offered
traces of iron.
Having completed our observations, and a simple
survey of the anchorage and outlines of the neighbouring islands, we took our departure at sunset,
October 8th, shaping our course for the Carimata
group. Light variable winds prevailed. On the
9th, we passed the southern Carimata. On the
14th, made Bintang, and about eight p. m., on the
15th, passed to the northward of Pedro Branca,
where, the wind and tide proving adverse, we dropped
anchor until daylight, when we resumed our course for
Singapore, and reached that port about nine a. m. on
the 16th. Having been visited by the master attendant, I called on the governor, Mr. Bonham, who
was excessively civil; and as our observations and
occupations did not admit of disturbance, he allotted
me the recorder's house, where Captain D'Urville had
preceded me.
From the utter improbability of our touching at
this port on our homeward voyage, I had not the
most remote idea of meeting with despatches or letters.
To my surprise, however, several official letters were
presented to me; and this surprise was not a little
increased by one from their lordships, directing
me | immediately to retrace my steps and join the
commander-in-chief in China." Orders, it appeared,
had been transmitted to San Bias, via Mexico, di-
VOL.   II.
K 130
recting me to proceed direct to China, but having
quitted previous to their arrival, we had thus lost
the first onset of active operations.
I hardly know whether I am safe in saying that
pleasure or disappointment prevailed. To those
reduced to their last shreds by a five years' absence,
I presume that the hopes of home predominated.
However, for myself, I could not but feel the compliment intended, and the importance of straining
every nerve to satisfy my patrons that, although late
in the field, I would do my best. This induced me
to put up with many inconveniences, in order to get
my ship to sea: but with all our exertions, caulking,
refitting, and provisioning, we did not succeed in
moving until daylight of the 23rd of October.
The botanical collector of seeds from Kew, conceiving himself out of his sphere in our prospective
cruize, requested permission to return to England
with his collection. Several invalids were also sent
away, whose constitutions could not stand further
exposure, as also our Epicurean friend the Baby-
roussa hog.
The port of Singapore has been so frequently
described, that anything like a history of its march
would appear superfluous. Nevertheless, thus much
I think may be safely advanced, that under its present worthy and spirited governor, it is making rapid
strides in advancement as well as importance. The
buildings are all in princely style, and viewed from
the sea, will soon contest the title of the City of 1840.]
Palaces with its more wealthy predecessor. Those
who could at this moment view from the Governor's
Hill what has been effected, and is now in progress,
from marsh to city, would really be astonished at
what wealth, perseverance, and bold design can effect.
On the northern side of the stream are situated
the private residences of the merchants' (little palaces) public offices, &c, behind which, on a mound
rising two hundred feet above the sea, on a fine
airy commanding position, stands the dwelling of the
governor, as well as the signal station.
To the southward of the river all is commercial,
comprehending the warehouses and counting-houses
of the merchants, as well as the shops of the numerous Chinese. All is activity, river and streets
alive with human beings, and the port, almost too
closely, thronged with vessels from every clime.
The nature of our duties, as well as the very
short period of sojourn, prevented our seeing much
of the residents. To the governor I feel that my
able coadjutor Kellett and myself are under considerable obligation for his unremitted kindness during
our short stay, as well as his anxiety to further the
success of our operations. We had also the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Lieutenant Elliot
of the Madras Engineers, in charge of the Magnetic
Observatory, and were enabled to compare our instruments with his splendid suite before moving to China.
Previous to our departure, the French frigate
Magicienne, Captain Roy, arrived from Brest and Cal-
k 2 132
cutta on her way to Manila and China. I had the
pleasure of paying him a visit on board his frigate,
and felt regret at so short an acquaintance, and the
impossibility, from want of time, to show him the
attention which, under other circumstances, I should
have been delighted to do.
A light breeze helped us but tardily towards
Piedra Branca, or white rock, which serves as the
beacon in those straits, and never did light breezes
weigh so heavily on us as at this moment. About
noon we discovered canvass evidently of our own
hue, and shortly after exchanged numbers with Her
Majesty's brig Cruizer, Captain Giffard. Knowing
him to be direct from the China fleet, our anxiety to
learn particulars was very strong. He shortly came
on board, and although he had but little to communicate, that little was to the effect that nothing hostile had yet taken place, and that we might yet
be in time to share in hostilities.
This served as a fresh spur to lose not a moment
in reaching the commander-in-chief. We, therefore, took leave, and hastened on for China. Light
airs compelled us to anchor off Piedra Branca until
daylight, when we resumed our voyage.
I had already made up my mind, owing to the late^
ness of the season, to take the Palawan passage, and
it so happened that on reaching the offing, the, prevailing breezes left us no alternative. We were
much worried by heavy rains, squalls, variables, &c,
preventing our obtaining the latitude; and had we not 840.]
fortunately passed close to Low Island, we should have
been much puzzled how to act. During a heavy
squall, a kind of whirlwind and whirlpool combined,
which barely cleared our flying jib-boom, passed
close under our lee without damage.
On the morning of the 28th of October we found
ourselves to the S.E. of the great Natuna, with fine
weather and light breeze from S.W., enabling us to
dry our feathers.
On the evening of the 29th, with breezes varying
from E.S.E. to W.S.W., we passed off the bank of
soundings, our last depth being in one hundred and
ten fathoms. On the night of Saturday, the 7th of
November, we experienced a very severe visit of
thunder, lightning, and rain. The forked lightning
darted around us, and apparently inboard, with
awful explosions of thunder, fortunately without
wind. At daylight we found that the Starling had
her foremast, topmast, and topgallant mast shattered,
and three of her crew wounded by the electric fluid.
Every exertion was made to secure the foremast
by the assistance of our spars, and by noon she was
in a condition to limp along with us, until they tried
how much it would stand.
By Sunday, the 15th of November, we had only
reached the northern end of the island of Balabac.
On the 18th, we were off the Royal Captain Shoal;
which by night is certainly most dangerous, particularly if a vessel should unfortunately find it to the
S.W. with light winds.     We tacked  within  one 134
cable's length of its S.W. extremity. It is not
more than one mile in diameter.
On the 19th we made Bombay Shoal, passing
within half a cable of its western extreme ; no bottom with one hundred and fifty fathoms.
These patches are lagoon ledges, having about two
or three feet of water over them, with deep blue
water within. A few straggling coral blocks, not
exceeding three feet in height, are here and there
sprinkled over them.
Nothing particular occurred until the 27th, when
we experienced fresh breezes, with very sharp gusts
off the south end of Palawan, causing us to split
several sails. The southern end of the island appeared either to form an archipelago, or to possess
several very snug harbours. I am inclined to the
latter opinion, as I did not observe corresponding
openings on the northern sides of the headlands, and
our in-shore reaches kept us close in with the land
during the whole day.
On the 28th, we experienced a strong northeaster, which gradually veering to S.E., enabled us to
round Goat Island, and shape our course for Manila.
Both the Starling and Sulphur shaved the surf line
of this island without obtaining soundings ; therefore
the dangers reported to lie to the northward of this
island, are incorrectly stated.
At dawn the following morning, we had hoped to
fetch into Manila, but baffling winds prevented us
until the day following from entering the horns of 1840.]
the bay.    It was not until the morning of the 1st of
December that we reached our anchorage off the
town, in four and a half fathoms.    The Starling had
anchored the preceding evening.
We found here the Danaide French corvette, commanded by Captain Rosamel, (son of the minister,)
and two English transports, having on board part
of the troops from Chusan, sent here for the recovery of their health. They were under strict
quarantine, and in consequence of the massacre of
the English and foreign residents which took place
in 1824, (supposed to originate in the introduction
of cholera,) the authorities could not be persuaded
to relax in their favour. Although, strictly, there
was not the least chance of injurious result by permitting the officers to communicate with the shore for
their general comfort, still the government was apprehensive that the native population and Creoles would
create some disturbance, or possibly insult the visitors.
After the visit of the captain of the port, whom
I found to be a very gentlemanly prepossessing
character, I accompanied him, together with Mr.
Strachan and Lieut. Kellett, to pay my respects
to the governor, who received us very kindly, and
invited us to dinner on the day following. From
thence we proceeded to the chief of the Hydrogra-
phic commission, and after entering into some conversation relative to their present operations in the
survey of these islands, returned to Mr. Strachan's,
the  merchant who  conducts  the   consular  duties
-— 136
here, and who at once made us at home, and installed us as part of his family during our stay.
In the evening we attended the ball, and were°
introduced to the beauties of Manila. The evening
passed off agreeably. It is the custom amongst the
merchants here to give a ball weekly, each in his
turn, which renders the society very pleasant. The
dinner hour is generally early; most people drive
out after sunset, and visits are paid in the evening.
Manila is situated on the mouth of a river, which
runs a considerable distance into the interior; its
branches, particularly in the northern or mercantile
town, forming a small archipelago. On the south
,ide, which is a complete walled fortification, the
governor, officials, and military reside. The Customhouse, merchant's houses, Chinese, &c, occupy the
northern bank. The sides of the river are bounded
by stone walls, which are carried out in the manner
of canals, about six hundred yards to the seaward.
On the northern extremity stands the light-house,
and on its opposite a guard-house. At all times
of tide the stream rnns out, but the level is subject
to tidal rise as far as the first bridge, at which
point the stream is always fresh enough to fill
water for shipping. Vessels of two hundred tons, or
more, are brought into this canal. They have a dredging vessel worked by steam, which is kept pretty constantly employed. The Chinese carry on trade
here to a considerable extent, but their abodes
render the town very shabby in appearance; in
fact, a sort of rag fair.    The higher orders, how-
-V-T" 1840.]
ever, reside in good houses, and their wares are only
to be viewed within.
The party at the governor's passed off very agreeably. He was particularly civil. On my urging
the necessity of deciding upon something relative
to our pent-up soldiers in the transports, he immediately entered into a very full and satisfactory
explanation of his reasons.. At the same time, to
show how very anxious he was to exert all the
authority that he possessed, he directed a new board
of health to proceed next morning, and allowed me
to accompany them, and satisfy myself of their
proceedings. Everything that could be done under
their laws, was conceded. The officers who wished
to land, were to undergo purification in a gun-boat
for forty-eight hours, and might then remain on
shore, but could not be permitted to pass to and
fro; and in order to relieve them of any embarrassment, I placed myself in quarantine, after taking
my final leave of the shore, by going on board to
communicate the result of my negociations.
But disappointed men are rarely grateful for anything short of their desires. The indulgence and result
of my exertions were hardly considered worth thanks,
and I quitted them, sorry that I could do no better,
but with the gratification of reflecting that the duty
I had executed would be satisfactory to my commander-in-chief, to whom the governor begged me
most expressly to say, that he would do all that his
power permitted, but that he was controlled by the
board of health. nil
Having taken my leave, and stepped the Starling's
foremast, with orders to rejoin me with all despatch
at Macao, I quitted Manila. I had heard that
it was the intention of our commander-in-chief to
commence hostilities on the 15th, therefore hours
were of the greatest importance, and every exertion
was used to beat up to Cape Bolinas, before stretching across the China Sea.
On the morning of the 13th, we passed within
a mile of the southern edge of the Pratas reef, on
which we noticed the wreck of a junk. The
weather proved thick; and was attended with fresh
breezes. We pushed on for Macao on the following
morning (14th); but, by an error in the steerage, found
we could not weather the northern Lemma, and therefore bore up, passing between them. About noon,
we reached the south-west point of Lantao, and the
breeze failing anchored off the rock on its western side.
It was my intention to proceed direct to Macao,
but observing a pleasure-boat near us, we sent to
inquire for news. The intelligence altered our
plans. The admiral had resigned and gone home,
and Commodore Sir J. Gordon Bremer was in
command of the squadron, off Chuenpee; but the
most interesting portion was, that no action had
taken place. About sunset, the tide and breeze
being favourable, we moved upwards, but were
again compelled to anchor off Fansyack. After
another tedious day, we sighted and anchored about
two miles from the squadron, and that evening I
paid my respects to the commodore. M CHAPTER V.
Naval force in the Canton river—The forts of Chuenpee and Ty-
cocktow attacked—Destruction of the war-junks—Preparations
for forcing the Bocca Tigris—A barber surgeon made prisoner
—Turned to account—Operations suspended—The captured
fortsgivenup—Squadron descends the river—Take possession of
Hong-kong—Hostilities resumed—Return to the Bocca Tigris
—A battery constructed on South Wangtong—The forts of the
Bocca Tigris cannonaded and stormed—Cruelties of the Sepoys
—Ascend the river—Affair of the First Bar Fort—The Cambridge burnt—Unmask a battery—A man killed—Take possession of " Howqua's Folly"—Chinese charges for a gun—
Operations in the river, and before Canton—Another truce
and its remarkable terms—The Commodore goes to Calcutta. 140
Neither letters nor orders awaited us ; in fact, nothing was known about us; and (as some could not
keep their own counsel) we were viewed as little better than interlopers. On this day they had expected
hostilities. Had they taken place, we certainly
should have been in sight, but there our part
would have ended. We found, however, nothing
at present in contemplation, and for some time
we were kept on the tenter hooks of expecta
tion. Our time was not, however, passed in idle
ness, as we managed to carry on our immediate
survey up to the battery ranges, and otherwise make
ourselves acquainted with the ground. The Starling
rejoined us on the 23rd December.
Various communications having passed between
Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary and the Chinese authorities, decided operations were now in contemplation. Our force consisted of the undermentioned
ships: Wellesley, 78, Captain Maitland, bearing
the broad pendant of Commodore Sir J. G. Bremer; 1840.]
Blenheim, 74, Sir H. Le Fleming Senhouse, K.C.H.;
Melville, 74, Hon. R. S. Dundas; Calliope, Capt.
Herbert; Samarang, 28, Capt. Scott; Druid, 44,
Capt. Smith ; Sulphur, Commander Belcher; Larne,
18, Commander Blake ; Hyacinth, 18, Commander
Warren; Modeste, 18, Commander Eyres: Columbine, 18, Commander Clarke; Starling, Lieut. H.
Kellett. Steamers, Queen, Nemesis, Madagascar,
and Enterprize.
Chuenpee, or Shakok, is supposed to be the outer
defence to Canton river, but ships can easily pass
it, and even through in the direction of Tycocktow
(or Taikok) without much danger from shot from
either battery. The first battery on the crest of
Chuenpee, in the hands of practised gunners with
good ordnance, would be a serious obstruction.
The island of Chuenpee is entirely composed of
small hills, rising from a general level, which affords
good valley passes for troops. By a reconnoissance,
almost overlooking the enemy's works, it was evident that troops could advance, if covered by shipping
on the west to create a diversion, and that the hill
of Chuenpee once in our hands, the batteries beneath were untenable. The Chinese had thrown up
a very perfect ditch, extending from the sea on the
west, and completely surrounding their entrenched
camp, and, moreover, had guns placed to command
the several valley passes.
Tycocktow was an open-faced battery, which must
inevitably fall under a direct attack from the shipping. 142
On the morning of the 7th of January the order of
battle was issued. The western division, for the
attack of Tycocktow, was placed under the command
of Captain Scott of the Samarang, having under his
orders the Druid, Modeste, and Columbine. The
eastern division, under Captain Herbert, consisted of
Calliope, Larne, Hyacinth; steamers, Queen and Nemesis, with boats of Sulphur, &c, Commander Belcher, who was ordered to place Queen and Nemesis
to shell the enemy from the heights; and afterwards
to attack the enemy's war junks. The troops and
marines were to be landed, and advance by the
valley, direct on the enemy's works; the brigade
commanded by Major Pratt, 26th (Cameronians.)
This force consisted of a battalion of Royal
Marines, under their gallant chief, Captain Ellis;
a detachment of Royal Artillery, one twenty-four
pounder howitzer, and two field-pieces, drawn by seamen, from Wellesley, Blenheim, and Melville; the
whole commanded by Captain Knowles, Royal
Artillery; detachments of 26th Cameronians; and
37th native infantry, under Major Pratt, amounting
in all to about fourteen hundred men. The brigade,
as before stated, under the command of Major
The divisions landed about half-past eight. The
Samarang led her division in gallant style, direct for
the centre of the battery, anchoring within half a
cable's length of the walls, followed by the Modeste,
Druid, and Columbine; and quickly and gallantly was
-U 1841.]
their work achieved. Queen and Nemesis were duly
placed, and dropped their shells prettily, the Queen
firing the first shot, or " opening the ball," as Jack
had it, when Calliope, Hyacinth, and Larne, anchored and opened on the Lower Chuenpee.
On observing the marines about to enter the upper
battery, I transferred myself to Nemesis, and pushed
on with our division of boats for the junks, giving
Lower Chuenpee a dose of grape and canister, within
pistol range. The Nemesis, drawing not more than
five and a half or six feet, enabled us to get close
up with the junks before opening fire, when several
well-directed guns put them completely into confusion. The first rocket pitched into the magazine of
the ship next the admiral, and she blew up in great
This settled the affair. The boats then moved
on, and set fire to the junks in the lower part of the
river, but in ascending the main branch, those
retreating under canvass kept up a very spirited fire
on the chasing boats, very gallantly kept in check
by Lieut. Watson, of the Calliope. The increase of
force soon decided their fate; two ran on shore, and
the remainder made their escape.
The Nemesis having entered by the deep channel,
came up in time to give the ^.ve retreating junks a
dose, when the falling tide, and lateness of the hour,
rendered it necessary to ensure her return. We first
ran alongside the town, and selecting three of the
most suspicious looking craft, they were towed down. BaH
One proving to be merchant property, and her
owners imploring her restitution in the most affecting manner, I released it; the other two were
towed out, but one grounding outside, I left Kellett
with the boats to destroy her; but as she was found to
contain powder, this was not an easy task; she was
therefore abandoned. Eleven war junks, including
their admiral's vessel, were destroyed and burned.
About five I rejoined the commodore, dined with
him, and made arrangements for the work of the
morrow; the squadron having already moved up in
readiness to commence the attack on the Wangtong,
Anunghoy, and other batteries.
Having waited on the commodore about daylight,
(by desire,) it was arranged that having examined
the line of danger, so as to admit of taking one of
the line-of-battle-ships up the western channel to
Wangtong, I was to place the Queen, Nemesis, and
rocket-boats, flanking Anunghoy, and then pilot
Wellesley to Wangtong.
In our affair of the junks, I had captured the admiral's flag, cap, button, &c, and he now had sent the
comprador to implore that the latter might be returned to him. This having caused some sharp discussion, which interfered with, and, as I thought, delayed
action, I instantly offered the button and cap, to put an
end to the question; for which I was warmly thanked
by Captain Elliott, as well as the commodore. I
mention this circumstance, as the public prints have
attributed this act of mine to Captain Elliot, instancing
8 1841.]
it as a peculiar act of kindness. Indeed, I cannot, on
mature reflection, at all reconcile to myself the justice of returning an enemy his sword or rank, when
his desertion or abandonment of it have rendered
him unworthy to wear it. However, as this button
brought us nearer action by some minutes, perhaps
hours, I was glad to pay the price.
Another still more unfortunate transaction marred
that day's operations. A Chinese barber-surgeon,*
taken prisoner in Tycocktow, was allowed to go in
with a chop,f intimating, I that if they wished their
lives spared, or the action stayed, they had only to
' Chin-chin," haul down their colours, or send out a
white flag, and hostilities would cease;" meaning to
intimate, that life would be spared by their pursuing
such a line of conduct when they intended to submit.
* The woodcut of this hand of the barber-surgeon, was taken
by making him place his hand on the paper, and tracing it out.
f Chop is a note or letter, and in this case, of truce.
VOL.   II. L 146
This, however, was too great an oversight for a
Chinese to let slip, and at the very critical moment when the Nemesis had opened a distant fire;
and when a twenty-four pounder rocket had pitched
into the fort from Blenheim's rocket-boat, the Queen
also close in upon her station, about to enfilade, and
in a few minutes more Blenheim's broadside to settle
the question;—down dropped the Chinese banners,
and out moved a Tankea boat, with an old man and
woman exhibiting a letter. I was within shot of her in
the Queen, about halfway between her and the commodore, and perfectly aware of its meaning; but it
appeared to the other officers of the squadron not a
little strange that the flag of truce answered this
non-official demonstration from the old woman. Up
went the flag of truce, and action was annulled,
before the contents of that paper could be known.
Under the customary practice of war, action had
commenced, and we were certainly entitled to anchor,
" muzzle to muzzle," when their colours were thus
struck, and in that condition settle the terms of
negociation; even if the act were not deemed a
virtual surrender.
On the 13th of January, the Calliope, Sulphur,
Modeste, Columbine, and Starling, (forming the
light division,) anchored in line, off South Wangtong
Island, preparatory to raising a howitzer battery on
that island, and, supported by it, attacking the
northern forts with the ships. On the 21st, these
operations were suspended, by the pacific disposition 1841.]
of the Chinese minister, Keshen; and the squadron
were therefore directed to move back to Chuenpee.
Thus for a period ended this struggle ; a messenger (formerly a disgraced comprador of the house of
Dent and Co.) arrived to signify that he was prepared to treat. Keshen did not personally appear,
but through this emissary sent his adhesion to the
demands of Captain Elliot, as embodied in the;
The only important point to which we became
officially parties, was the cession of the island of
Hongkong, situated off the peninsula of Cowloon,
within the island of Lama, and on the northern side
of entrance through the Lemma channel.
Captain Scott, of the Samarang, having been left
behind to give up the demolished forts of Chuenpee
and Tycocktow to the Chinese authorities, the squadron
withdrew from the river, and moved down to the
S.W. bay of Lantao; the commodore, shifting his
broad pendant to the Calliope, moved on to Macao,
accompanied by the Larne, Hyacinth, and Modeste.
The Columbine was despatched to Chusan, to
recal the force stationed there, and further to direct
its evacuation on the release of Captain Anstruther,
Mrs. Noble, &c.        §
On the return of the commodore on the 24th, we
were directed to proceed to Hongkong, and commence its survey. We landed on Monday, the
26th, at fifteen minutes past eight, and being the
l 2 148
bona fide first possessors, her Majesty's health was
drank with three cheers on Possession Mount.
On the 26th, the squadron arrived; the marines
were landed, the union hoisted on our post, and
formal possession taken of the island, by Commodore
Sir J. G. Bremer, accompanied by the other officers
of the squadron, under a feu-de-joie from the marines,
and a royal salute from the ships of war.
On the Cowloon Peninsula were situated two batteries, which might have commanded the anchorage,
but which appeared at present to be but thinly
manned; these received due notice to withdraw their
men and guns, as part of the late treaty.
The French corvette Danaide having arrived at
Macao, on a cruise of observation, and Captain
Elliot having arranged to meet Keshen, and complete the negociations at the Second Bar, had
invited Captain Rosamel to join the party at Chuenpee. The Hyacinth and Modeste, being off Lintin
to maintain the blockade, refused to permit the
Danaide to pass up: an official refusal was very politely requested, when it was arranged that the
Hyacinth should remove to Chuenpee, where the
blockade would be acknowledged. Both vessels
having anchored there, Captain Elliot, with his
party of the officers of the squadron, in the Nemesis,
took Captain Rosamel on board, and moved on to
the place of meeting. Keshen received them in
state at the Second Bar, in tents, where they were 1841.]   MEETING OF KESHEN AND CAPT. ELLIOT.    149
very handsomely entertained. A guard of marines,
taken up by the steamers, was turned out, and
Keshen, as well as the other mandarins, were particularly struck with their appearance and accoutrements. Various engines of war were exhibited, but
from the nature and construction of those in use
amongst their soldiers, I should imagine that they
comprehended very little of their superiority.
Having completed the necessary data for the survey of Hong-kong, we quitted for Macao, intending
to rate the chronometers, and complete a course of
magnetic observations, preparatory to revisiting Manila, on our homeward route. The commodore had
released me, in the full belief that the war in China
was at an end.
On the 19th, the commodore being on a visit at
Macao,  I  called  to pay my respects, previous to
taking leave, when I found that operations were to
be renewed.    I was, therefore, retaken  under his
orders, and directed to return forthwith to our late
position off the Wangtong islands, and place myself
under the orders of Captain Herbert.  It appears that
whilst the Nemesis was waiting for an answer to a
despatch, one of her boats had been sounding, and the
northern Wangtong battery thought fit to fire a shot
at her.    This was not the actual cause of this sudden
movement.    But the period having elapsed for the
completion of the necessary documents of the treaty;
and the intelligence from Canton clearly evincing
hostile preparations, as well as the supercession of I*
Keshen by the exterminating Generals Yihshan
Lungwan, and Yangfang, it became necessary to
strike a sudden blow.
Having passed the light squadron during the
night, and obtained some observations on Sampan-
chow, the Calliope, Samarang, Herald, and Alligator,
passed up, and about four we rejoined them off
Wangtong. A reconnoissance of the enemy's works
was immediately made from the southern Wangtong,
which they had neither fortified nor occupied; and
preparations were accordingly made for constructing
a howitzer battery on the saddle neck of that island.
As no immediate operations were to take place,
the Sulphur and the Louisa tender moved down to
Lintin Bar, to guide the ships of the line over the bar.
Observing the Queen steamer coming up, I immediately put myself on board of her, and joined the commodore; leaving the Louisa at anchor on the tongue of
Lintin spit, and one of our cutters on the opposite
side, the Sulphur following us up. Just as we passed
Sampanchow, we noticed the Nemesis coming out of
Junk Creek, towing the boats of the light squadron,
and displaying the Chinese banners captured at a
stockade fort which Captain Herbert had destroyed.
(Guns mounted and dismounted at this fort, about
I accompanied Captain Herbert to visit it the day
following, but a serious attack of fever left me
little time for amusement. The thought of being
left out of the approaching attack, did not tend to 1841.]
relieve it; but a visit from the commodore and
Captain Herbert the evening previous to the action,
revived me considerably, and at four on the following morning the fever suddenly quitted me.
I immediately dressed myself, and walked the
deck to gather strength, and about eight o'clock went
to the Wellesley, when I contrived to scramble up the
side and mount her quarter-deck. My orders were
brief as usual—| Join Captain Herbert's division as
As the breeze was light, and scarcely gave steerage
way, the squadron did not move as early as was
expected. At daylight Captain Knowles, R.A.,
opened with his howitzers from South Wangtong,
and kept the enemy pretty well amused throughout
their lines. About nine o'clock I visited his battery, and took a fair view of the enemy's works,
and as soon as the breeze freshened, repaired on
board the Calliope. Passing close to the western
battery, she was anchored within musket-shot, on
its N.W. flank, opposing her broadside to the new
works which had been thrown up on that face of the
island. Samarang took up her station very prettily
under her stern, and the cross fire of the two vessels was beautiful; it acted like masons chipping off
the alternate angles of the nearest embrasure.
In a few minutes the enemy were flying; when,
by Captain Herbert's direction, I passed to the
commodore, and found Wellesley and Druid punishing the western heavy fort.    Having communicated If I
"that there was no further opposition," I was ordered to see the troops landed immediately. It required but the sight of our despatch boat to set all
the landing boats in motion, forcing my gig high
and dry.
On landing, I immediately took possession of the
pass above the western battery, and prevented any
advance until a commanding officer was found to
lead the troops; many of the landing boats' crews
having quitted their boats, were sent back. I then
directed Commander Fletcher to take the battery at
the beach, and moved on with the troops.
Opposition there was none. The unfortunate
Chinese literally crammed the trenches, begging for
mercy. I wish I could add that it was granted.
The Sepoys fired into them. Wishing to rescue
some of them, I went into the trench and drew
three out, motioning them to come amongst our
troops, and they would be safe. Two were shot
down whilst holding by my skirts; and one of my
gig's crew, perceiving my danger, dragged me away,
exclaiming, " They will shoot you next, sir." Thus
much for employing troops who cannot understand
English, and will only be commanded by their own
Passing to the eastern battery, seconded by the
first lieutenant of the Samarang, (now Commander
Bowers,) we found not the slightest opposition.
Indeed, it had been better if the troops had not
advanced at all, for the hatred of the Bengal Vo- 1841.]
lunteers towards the unfortunate wretches we found
on their knees imploring for mercy, might have
been averted, and our colours still unsullied. Over
seamen I had control, and could make myself understood, but these Bengalese would not understand.
It is unnecessary to relate the numerous acts of
ferocity and brutality that I witnessed. I saw one
of them deliberately fire his musket at a magazine
door, and mentioned it to an officer of the 26th;
but it was of no avail; he was in the same predicament, and could only place a sentinel to prevent a
On my return, I met the Commodore and Captain Maitland. They were also busy in putting a
stop to these irregularities. I do not believe, from
the instant we landed, (and I was the first,) that one
single individual was found in arms, and yet hundreds were killed.
Quitting Wangtong, I rejoined Captain Herbert,
who, with Captain Elliot, moved into the Nemesis,
and ran over to have a finger in the Anunghoy
affair. But Sir Le F. Senhouse, in the Blenheim, and
Captain Dundas of the Melville, had already done
their work brilliantly. We saw Sir Le Fleming
leading his men on to the second battery in good
style. A shell was sent into the near corner, and
it was then decided that it would not be fair to interfere with his laurels.
Before sunset the enemy were driven from every 154 LIGHT DIVISION PASS UP THE RIVER. -   [1841.
post, even from their hill encampment; and the
British were the only colours in sight. Captain
Herbert having intimated his intention of moving
on at dawn, I dropped Sulphur up to Tiger Island,
leaving, en passant, a beacon on " the sixteen feet
rock." \|| .   ;|:
At half past six, A.M.Feb. 27th, we weighed, and led,
followed by Calliope, Herald, Alligator, Modeste, Nemesis, and Madagascar steamers. The batteries on
Tiger Island were deserted, and the guns withdrawn,
probably for the new defences on Wangtong. At fifty
minutes past ten we passed the second bar creek,
and about a quarter past twelve, observed an extensive battery and encampment within the first bar.
The channel was barred at the Chop House below
Golgotha, by a floating bridge, and the Cambridge,
now converted into a Chinese ship of war, moored
above to cover it.
By signal, at half past one, we anchored off the first
bar. I immediately joined Captains Herbert and
Elliot in the Nemesis, and went in to reconnoitre.
The Nemesis and Madagascar having anchored
within, in an enfilading position, fired a few shots to
try range. This was returned by the Celestials,
and the question then became,—"can we retreat
without their claiming a victory ?" No one was bold
enough to give his consent to such a proposition.
It was, therefore, determined that our ships should
come in. By the advantage of our boat signals the
Sulphur was instantly underway to meet me; but  CO
H mounted
!  1841.]
I had promised Captain Herbert, the instant he approached, to join him. The Sulphur anchored ahead,
in support of the steamers, and after watching
the effect of a few of our red-hot shot, I joined
Calliope, when she was placed within and ahead of
the Sulphur, and after one broadside it was determined to storm. The other ships anchored in
In refutation of Commander Bingham's hearsay
account, (p. 152 to 158,) it is merely necessary to
refer to the public despatch on the capture of First
Bar Fort, and it will then appear that the junior corvette did not lead into action, but that the facts are
as above stated.
A hard embankment fortunately afforded us excellent footing, and the marines having been drawn
up, and Captain Herbert joined the van, we entered
without opposition on the S.W. angle of the battery, one party taking the eastern line, and the
remainder the sea face. At some points the enemy
behaved well; but as they could not stand an instant against disciplined men, a very few moments
made the battery our own. The only living prisoners were two fine little horses, which were cast
in the ditch, but helped out. One of the party
mounted one of them, but was glad to be left behind, as, immediately on regaining the use of his
limbs, he scampered .off to the enemy.
The instant the battery was attacked, Lieut.
Watson, first of Calliope, crossed their gig over the 156
floating bridge, and boarded the Celestial frigate,
Cambridge. The crew had fled, and she was soon
in flames. About dark, she blew up with a magnificent explosion. The solid wall or column of
flame exceeded three hundred feet, and was capped
by a mushroom head, of apparently fluid fire. In
a few seconds not a vestige remained of this once
British ship. This is the same Cambridge which
was brought on speculation to China, by Mr. (now
Sir C.) Douglas, was sold by him to an American,
and immediately transferred, with her guns, &c, to
the Chinese.
After spiking and disabling the guns in the fort,
blowing up their magazines, and carrying off a
stock of banners, we retired about seven. Thus in
the short space of a few hours, all this very beautifully constructed, and (as far as silk banners and
tents could make it so) beautifully decorated battery was utterly annihilated, and the valiant Celestials had fled no one could tell whither.
It has been the custom with all those with whom
we have had thus to deal, to strip off every badge
of military apparel the instant we come to close
quarters; and I suspect that they conceive that
having yielded all, their persons are free; at all
events, they lose no opportunity to render that
point secure, by their very rapid flight. By preconcerted arrangements with Captain Herbert, I am
happy to say that no butchery was practised
here. .
In the morning I joined Captain Herbert, who,
with Captain Elliot, and the captains of the squadron, proceeded in the Nemesis to examine the Salt
Junk creek, and ascertain what depth we could
carry up. After sighting " Howqua's Folly," and
Napier Fort, where the river was observed to be
staked, and junks sunk, we put her head downwards, to return to our ships. At this moment I
noticed a suspicious smoke at the near angle of the
trees, but as no report followed, I could not be certain that it was a battery.
On our return, our ships were passed through the
raft at the First Bar, and anchored in Whampoa
reach. On the following day it was determined
that the Sulphur should move up the creek, and
Captain Elliot having volunteered his assistance, we
moved on without any accident, until we neared the
suspected point, where I noticed the smoke yesterday.
In my own mind, I was satisfied that we were to
have amusement, and having with me a division of
the Wellesley's boats, they were ordered "to close,
load, and prepare for action." Our men were also
at quarters, and red hot shot were in readiness for the
bow guns.
We were not too soon. They instantly opened
on us from a very well masked battery of thirty-five
guns. The boats having been warned, required no
further orders; and leaving Captain Elliot in charge,
I jumped into my gig to recal them, (or " prevent
their doing too much,") in compliance with Captain 158
Elliot's wish, They were, however, too quick for
me. The enemy had fled, and our party (rather
foolishly) had pursued them into the town, where
they might have been cut off. In what direction
to pursue them was a difficult problem; I therefore
took means to secure their retreat, or aid them
if requisite, and destroyed the guns and munitions*
of war. In this affair, we had the misfortune to lose
one of the Wellesley's men, who was shot through
the lungs whilst sounding. Having returned to
the Sulphur, she was anchored in advance within
two miles of Howqua's Folly, Napier's Fort being
about one mile and a half beyond. The Herald,
Alligator, and Modeste, entered the reach  in the
In commander Bingham's account, p. 159, he
here makes not only a great mistake, but certainly
appears to imply a want of discipline in Lieut.
The Sulphur only, and not towed, accompanied by
the boats of the Wellesley, as I have before stated,
performed this service. Lieut. Symons could not
order when a superior was commanding.
" Howqua's Folly" is a quadrangular fort, constructed of granite, and mounting twenty-eight guns
on its four faces. It was built at the cost of
Howqua, the Hong merchant, either by a squeeze,
or for some punishment. " Napier's Fort" is of similar
construction, placed on the tongue of an island, commanding   two  passages, and  intended  to   prevent  158
r.& k FOIili
•e% too quick tm
the town, where
misixm fees -ewii
aid  them
: , r, ^e"Ui> iim^w^&jie Dolose
Ke|||l|g|jfe^ vr!|a^f%|()f ifcougfe
felsfelsdundina^ "Having' returned  to
W»: sue was* aaciioreit- in aav
' - W-- -' *    -v*% IS -  -.
-i   FduT. Nam?
.;v.v formed, itm tc-rviee,
-:;• -dted of granite, art  p |
,01    ||i -fonr  feces* 0&
|-    - before   1841.]
any more Napiers proceeding, vi et armis, to Canton.
Drury's Folly is a lofty pagoda, but not in a conspicuous position, and is intended to point out the
failings of the individual of that name.
On the 3rd of March the commodore joined us
in the Madagascar, and having already examined the
river, within musket shot of Howqua's Folly, I got
permission to move the Sulphur, " but not to risk
action for the present," a flag of truce having been
sent by the American consul. On anchoring
within grape range, but entirely protected by the
bank, the enemy fired the gun nearest to us, and I
suspect fled.
Major-General Sir Hugh Gough had arrived in
the Cruizer, and taken command of the troops. I
had now the pleasure of being introduced to him.
As the Quangchowfoo, or mayor of Canton, was expected with a flag of truce, I was despatched to
receive him, and conduct him to the Commodore.
In my passage up the river, I took a glance at
Howqua's Folly, but found it apparently deserted.
The Sulphur was moved nearer to the battery, and
hoisted the Commodore's pendant, and flag of truce.
The Quangchowfoo passed without my noticing him,
niistaking the boat which conveyed him for that of
the American, who was in her.
As I considered Howqua's Folly virtually abandoned, I obtained the commodore's leave to take
possession, and on reaching the gate, found some 160
people at the embrasures. As they did not attend to
my gestures to open the gates, my boat's crew in a
few seconds pitched me through the embrasure,
when the Chinese vacated at double quick time by
the opposite one. A shot soon opened the gates,
the union was substituted for their hieroglyphics, and
Lieut. Kellett, of the Starling, was left as acting governor. The gun which had been fired on my anchoring off the fort the first day, I found had burst,
and driven its breech into the house behind it;
probably committing more havoc amongst^ the
garrison, than its shot would, had it fallen on board
the Sulphur. On my return, I found the pendant of the
commodore shifted to the Modeste, as they wished the
Quangchowfoo to visit a vessel with a greater display of
guns. (Vide Commander Bingham's account of this,
p. 160.)
I was then despatched with a flag of truce to
Napier's Fort, accompanied by Mr. Morrison, interpreter and secretary to the plenipotentiary. The
flag of truce made use of on this occasion, was a
large white silk flag, captured at First Bar Fort, and
possibly recognised by some of the runaways here.
After delivering the despatch, the mandarin in command agreed to give up the fort next day, if I
would permit him "to make plenty of bobbery,"
" and not put that plum in the gun." I told him,
as I should probably have the job, that I would
not trouble him, provided he ran away in time."     1841.]
These facts being communicated to the commodore, at eleven the next day, when the flag of truce,
came down, I was directed to take possession.
The enemy had commenced a very strong mud
battery on the right bank, for thirty-eight guns;
but I had been in its rear, and ascertained it to be
harmless. On the left, in the opposite channel, a
strong battery of forty guns covered Napier's Fort,
and a wide and deep ditch at the floating bridge,
flanked by a five-gun battery, prevented access by land.
Of this latter we were not then aware. By boat
. signal, (all the captains being on board the Nemesis
with the commodore,) the Sulphur was in motion
before any of those anxious to lead could get to
their ships, and was well supported by the Wellesley
and Druid's boats, as well as her own. The ship
was steered direct for the battery, the first lieutenant having orders to drop his anchor, so as to
bring her stern to the raft, and port broadside to
the gate within pistol shot; but not to fire without
orders.    We were in our boats, towed alongside.
Our respective terms of treaty were religiously observed. The enemy fired away all his rammers, &c,
wide of us, and fled by one gate as I entered at the
other. Two huge guns were pointed out of the archways of the gates; their calibre about twenty-four
pounders, but much heavier than our ten-inch guns.
These I had ordered to be embarked, but when
they commenced drawing the charges, they found
that each contained seven shot and six cartridges,
inserted alternately—I suppose cartridge first, but
the contrary certainly would not surprise me. The
whole charge, as their cartridges are not less than
one foot in length, came pretty near the muzzle.
The guns were too cumbrous to move during our
limited stay.
A few minutes sufficed to make the fort British,
and leading on the division for the centre of the
bridge, a few strokes of a well-tempered axe, which
is my constant companion, made a gap wide enough
for ourselves, and ships if required, to pass.
The division intended to take the fortv-ffun bat-
tery were brought to a stand still by the ditch, but
we pushed on and planted our colours. But what
a mortification! not a gun or enemy remained; everything had been withdrawn during the night. A
flare up" we might easily have had, as the lines
were plentifully strewed with powder.
The troops had been moved on, with their gallant
General at their head, in order to take this battery
in rear, as well as obtain the command of the main
road to Canton; but he also had been impeded by
the ditches and paddy fields, and returned as much
disheartened as ourselves.
The Modeste and Starling had moved down on the
7th, to try another branch, called " the Macao Fort
channel," and the Sulphur, without wakinglonger, beat
down, and reached the anchorage at Whampoa, seating herself on the mud about five o'clock, when I
joined the General, Commodore Captain J. Elliot, and f
Captain Herbert, on board the Calliope, at dinner.
The Sulphur now proceeded up the Macao Fort
reach, but unfortunately grounded, and returned. On
the 13th she again moved up, but grounding again,
was prevented having her shot at the battery before
it was captured. I just reached in time, in my gig,
to be launched over the rafts, and take possession
of a very complete "fast boat? the crew of which
ran her ashore and fled. Her commander was a mandarin with a white button, which latter I captured,
together with sundry articles for the toilet, which
prove that mandarin dandies exist. During the
short interval of truce, we moved down to Sam-
panchow, to obtain rates for our chronometers, returning to Whampoa on the 11th.
As some pause took place before further operations, I busied myself with the examination of an
unfrequented channel to the southward of Dane's
and French Islands; indeed, one never attempted
by ships on any previous occasion. Having ascertained that a corvette could be carried up to a position where the commerce of the enemy might be
completely obstructed, I had permission to move
the Hyacinth (18) thither.
On the 16th March, we started, and placed her
in the southern end of the Fatee creek, and on the
17th at noon, returned to the Mo