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The captive of Nootka; or, the adventures of John R. Jewett Goodrich, Samuel G. (Samuel Griswold), 1793-1860 1835

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Nativity of Jewett—his father's views—John goes to school—
Mb master—his studies—he gives up Latin—is taken from
school—is intended for a surgeon—does not like the profession—concludes to be a blacksmith—his father removes to
Hull—he shows a taste for the sea—resolves to be a
sailor.      -       -       -       -      . -       -       -       -       page 13
John ships as armorer—the ship's cargo—Mr. Jewett's advice-
John sails—is seasick—gets well—goes to work—arrival and
stay at St. Catharine's—sails again for Cape Horn—passes it
—music—porpoises. .......       23 n
Description of a shoal of porpoises—albatrosses seen—arrival
at Nootka Sound—the natives came on board—the Indian
king described—intercourse witfi the savages—their visits—
Maquina breaks the gun—Captain Salter offends him—his
dignified deportment when angry.     ....       34
Thettatives induce some of the seamen to go on shore—they
massacre the crew—John's life spared—the ship is run into
the cove, and stranded—the savages welcome their king's
return to the village.        ------       4(5
John goes to the king's house—sees the women—gets acquainted with the1 young prince, Sat-sat-sok-sis—his supper
—how he passes the night—he learns that one of the men is
alive in the ship—finds it is Thompson—obtains, permission
for him to live. - -       .       55 CONTENTS.
The savages rob the ship of her contents, &c.—John secures
the papers—'two ships are seen—other tribes of natives come
to Nootka—their reception—their supper, and a dance by
Sat-sat—Maquina makes presents to his guests—their manner
of receiving them—visitors continue to come and go.        67
The ship is burnt—many articles lost by the fire—some valuable things saved—Maquina discovers a tierce of rum among
his spoils—invites company—holds a carousal—all get intoxicated—John empties the rum-cask upon the ground—anecdote of a merchant—John begins to work at his trade—he
assists Thompson in getting food.     -       -       - 78
John's remarks about cooking—Maquina throws away the kettle of salt—John's head gets better—Thompson's history—
he strikes Sat-sat—an affray, in which he is likely to be
slain—John pleads till the king consents to his life being
spared—strawberries appear—John begins his journal.      89 TIM
John's conduct towards the natives—Thompson's—his second
insult to a Tyee—description of Nootka—its buildings—
Dexter's images.     ..-----98
How they made boards at Nootka—their furniture—their
manner of eating—their feasts—how they made cloth—their
dress.    ---------       109
Description of the Nootkans—their habit of painting ornaments—manner of fishing for Ife-maw—continuation of remarks on their personal decorations, &c.—nose jewels.    120
Of the religion—the government—certain offices—the disposition of the natives—their oratory—their diseases, cures, &c.
—the climate. - .       .       . 130 CONTENTS. IX
Population of Nootka—making of canoes—pursuit of sea-otters
—description of one—-the Indian's fish-hook and fishing—
Maquina's household—instruments of music -       |       138
Different tribes of natives—some of their customs—dressing
for a visit—manner of making a bargain—lodging of the
visitors—their arms.      ......       146
Place of retirement for worship—its scenery—the Sabbath—a
ship seen—a thunder storm—hard fare—arts of other natives
—a young girl tries to win John—the Nootkans remove to
winter quarters—the place.    -----       155
The scene of departure—conveyance of their infants—an anecdote of St John's Indians—passage to Tashees—-arrival and
business there—manner of taking roe fish, &c.—how they
were cured and cooked—John's condition.     -       -       165 X CONTENTS.
John forbidden to write—a new dress made for the king—he
accounts for having killed the crew—the yama—taking the
bear—singular ceremony—an annual thanksgiving.    -    175
Conclusion of the thanksgiving—Christmas kept by the captives—removal to Cooptee—visit to the Aitizzarts—feast at
CoOptee—false stories of ships—return to Nootka—death of
a boy—insanity of a chief.      -      •'.-       -       -       -       187
Maquina goes a whaling—bringing in the whale—death and
burial service of the crazy chief—the king's jester—a mutiny
feared—a conspiracy—Thompson kills an Indian.      -    198
John is ordered to make arms—the king declares his intention
to go to war—expedition to Aycharts—attack and slaughter
of the inhabitants—return to Tashees—John is told he must
marry—going to select a wife—making choice of one.     210 CONTENTS.
Marriage ceremony—return to Tashees—John goes to housekeeping'—is told he must change his dress—religious observance—revenge of a husband towards bis wife—removal to
Cooptee—taking wild geese—return to Nootka—John is sick
—a slave dies.        .......      219
John continues sick—he is divorced from his wife—she goes
to her father—John recovers—an eclipse of the moon—a
vessel arrives—consultation about the captives—a letter
written to be carried by Maquina to the vessel.        -       228
Maquina questions John—He takes the letter—is detained in
irons on board the brig—rage and grief of the natives-
Thompson is sent to the vessel—John is also carried out—
his arrival at the brig—account of the brig—how she came
there—demand of the things belonging to the Boston.     233  CAPTIVE   OF  NOOTKA.
Nativity of Jewitt—his fathers views—John goes to school—
his master—his studies—he gives vp Latin—is taken from
school—is intended for a surgeon—does not like the profession—concludes to be a blacksmith—his father removes to
Hull—he shows a taste for the sea—resolves to be a sailor.
John R. Jewitt was born in Boston, England,
oil the 21st of May, 1783. His father was an
industrious and respectable blacksmith, who, while
he was shaping and moulding the iron on the anvil,
did not forget that he had the minds of his children
to shape and prepare for still more important purposes.
He knew that the iron, when it had fulfilled the
end for which he was fitting it, must rust and crunv 14
ble away. But he felt that the immortal minds of
his offspring, however, they mi^ht be suffered to
rust here, must carry the effects of neglect into
His wife died when his children were very young,
and the important part of bending the twig in a
right direction, so as to make it grow to a goodly
tree, devolved on his parental care, alone.
As a good and wise father, he sought to make
early moral and religious impressions, while the
minds of his little charge were young and tender;
and knowing that theory, to be of any use, must
be wedded to practice, he made his own example
an illustration of hjs te^phing.
With his truly blacksmith motto, j strike^while
the iron is hot,' he fej||that the most important bent
of the never-dying soul, for its happiness here, as
well as hereafter, must be made in an early state,
rw|yJ|i it was soft and warm, and that, in doing thi%,
there was no time to be lost.
His eldest son he intended for his own profes-
*i$n j buj^our hero, John, not being of so robust a CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA.
constitution as his brother, to enable him tQ stand
before the furnace, and wield the hammer, was destined to the less laborious, though not less trying
and painful office of a surgeon.
John was, therefore, at the age of twelve years,
sent from home, for the advantage of better schooling than could be obtained in his native town, and
placed under the care of a Mr. Moses, at Donning-
ton, about twenty miles from his own place of
Whether Mr. Moses was, or was not, a lineal
descendant of the Jewish lawgiver, whose name
he bore, I ajm not able to say.
But he was a very good lawgiver in his own
dominions, and preserved excellent order in the
academy over which he was set as head, to l teach
the young idea how to shoot.'
He taught John R- Jewitt's ideas to shoot into
arithmetic, surveying, navigation, English gram-
mar. &c.; but into Latify John did not much like
to have his master, direct them,.
iiM 16
He had a natural impediment in his speech, that
troubled and embarrassed%im in scanning Latin;
and concluding that his tongue was never made for
the purpose, he gave it up, altogether, when he had
obtained his father's consent to his so doing.
It is most probable, however, that John had in
his mind, a greater impediment to learning the
dead language, than any m his articulation. He
did not love the Latin; but he could amuse his
friends, whole evenings together, by singing to
them, and this he often did, having a fine, pleasant
voice, and a great taste for music.
Two years passed off very pleasantly with him,
at Donnington; for he loved his master, Moses;
and the master was attached to his pupil;—his
father came often to see him—he had many friends,
school-fellows, and relatives there; and, in short,
he has since declared the two years he spent at this
school, to be the happiest period of his life.
At length, the time arrived, when his father,
thinking it proper for him to begin his apprentice- CAPTIVE   OF  NOOTKA.
ship, and the study of the profession he was to pur
sue, took him from school, with the view of putting
him under the tuition of an eminent surgeon, fron
whom, he had reason to believe, that Ms youngdif
son would acquire as much skill at the lancet and
the probe, as his elde# one would, from himself, at
the bellows and the forge.
But, as a proof of what I have just said about
early impressions and inclinations being the strongest and most lasting, John's mind revolted at the
undertaking of a surgical profession, and his feelings all bore him, like a mighty current, towards
his father's anvil.
He had, from his infancy, been fond of going
into the shop and amusing himself, among the
workmen, by imitating, as far as he was able, their
motions; and he longed to accomplish such work
as he saw them do. ff&
This taste and disposition now returned upon
him with such force, that he became unhappy at
the thought of not pursuing his father's business,
2 18
and he said so much, and evinced such an aversion
to any other line of life, that^he finally succeeded
in gaining permission to go to the work of a blacksmith, in his father's shop.
But, it will hereafter appear, that, had he yielded implicitly to the first wish and design of his
good parent, and brought his own will and inclination into subjection to his, who knew better than
he did, what was best for him, he would have escaped the danger and sufferings, to which, making
choice of a profession for himself, paved the way.
His father had now married again, and his stepmother was an excellent woman, which, added to
the other charms of the paternal establishment,
made his life very happy.
About a year after his removal from school, his
father removed to Hull, which being one of the
best ports in England, and a place of much trade,
offered great advantages to one of his business.
At Hull, Mr. Jewitt had a great deal to do about
the iron-work of the sapping, which not only led CAPTIVE OF  NOOTKA
him often to the vessels, where. John liked exceed-
ly well to accompany him, but, also, brought many
seamen to his shop and his house.
Among his customers at Hull, were many of the
Americans, who frequented the port, and whose
conversation and characters pleased Mr. Jewitt so
much, that he often sought and cultivated an acquaintance with them, which his business alone
wo^ld not have demanded.
John loved to listen to the stories of the sailors;
and their merry-making accounts of the adventures
they had met with, kindled in his young mind a
strong desire to go to sea, and see the world too.
He read I Cook's Voyages,' and many other
voyages, till at last, he began to feel, that, to circumnavigate the globe, were a thing far easier for
him, than to stay on it, and not do this; and his
thoughts whirled round it, much faster than the
earth whirls upon her axis; while he came, in his
own mind, to the conclusion, that, it was for this
very purpose,  that his good master Moses  had 20
been turning his attention to the study of navigation.
He had, like many other boys, who get on tiptoe
to see the world, a thousand gay dreams of other
nations and other realms; and happy had it been
for him, as it would be for them, had all ended in
But John R. Jewitt proved, as hundreds of others
have done, that, sailing from port to port, by thj5
help of a bookj on one's pillow, or snugly lodged
in the window recess, or the rocking-chair, is a
very different affair, from climbing the shrouds in
the tempest—or when the icicles jingle at his ears,
from the frozen rigging.
Well, John had lived four years with his father,
at Hull, when, in the summer of 1802, the American ship Boston, of Boston, Massachusetts, arrived.
Her owners, Messrs. F. & T. Amory, had destined her to take in, at Hull, a cargo of .such goods
as should be suitable for a trade with the Indians,
on the North-west coast of America, to which place CAPTIVE OF  NOOTKA.
she was to proceed, to exchange her cargo for one
of furs and skins; then she was to depart for
China, for another traffic, and thence for honi&
At Hull, the ship needed repairs of so extensive
^t kind, as to detain her long enough for Mr. Jewitt
and his family to become well acquainted with
Captain Salter, her commander, her officers, and
Captain Salter and the mates used to pass many
evenings at Mr. Jewitt's house; and John, who
never lacked ears, when such visitors were present,
took it upoi#himself to do much to entertain them,
and greatfy won their favor.
Captain Salter asked him one_ day, in a jocose
manner, if he would like to go to sea with him.
The question was, to our young hero's imagination, like the spark that falls from the flint into the
tinder-box, and he began to think that the time had
really confe when he was to see the world. Captain Salter saw that John was serious, and he began
to be serious himself, and spoke to Mr. Jewitt on
the subject. 22
He really felt a deep interest in the young man,
and told Mr. Jewitt what a fine opportunity it
would be for his son, to make the voyage to China,
and then to return with him to the United States,
where he might do, probably, better for himself,
than he could by remaining in England, &c. &c.;
till it was finally agreed that John should ship as
armorer, on board the Boston, and thus take his
first voyage* 23
John ships as armorer—the ship's cargo—Mr. Jewitt*s advice—
John sails—is seasick—gets well—goes to work—arrival and
stay at St. Catharine's—sails again for Cape Horn—passes
'■ *f$—music—porpoises.
John was a very ingenious youth and he was
well skilled in his profession. He understood the
business he undertook as armorer, perfectly, and no
one could outdo him in giving polish and edge to
the-steel blade, or make a smoother gun-barrel.
His locks snapped well; and he fancied that all
his plans would go off as readily and successfully
as his muskets. He thought the one now on foot,
was to hit the mark exactly; and that he had not
been so long aiming in vain, at seeing other parts
of the world.
It was agreed that he should have for his wages,
thirty dollars a month; and his father put into the 24
hands of Captain Salter, a certain sum of money,
which, added to what should be due for his service,
was to be laid out in furs, at the North-west coast,
and these exchanged, when the ship should arrive
at China, for such goods as would turn to profit
when she returned to America.
Such was the plan laid for John to begin the
world for himselfT But, as many a fccee will put
forth fair leaves and blossoms, and yet yield no
fruit, so it turned out with the promises of John's
making his fortune a&a jump.
You have all, my young readers, heard the anecdote of the poultry-girl, who, with her basket of
eggs on her head, had her brain filled with the profit
she should make on them, when they should become
so many chickens; and anticipating the pleasure
she should take in wearing the green gown, that
was to be bought, when these chickens should be
full grown and carried to market, gave her head a
toss and her basket a fall.
You remember how all her hopes were then dashed
with the contents of ffche broken egg-shells, on the CAPTIVE OF  NOOTKA.
pavement^* which gives rise to the proverb of
1 counting the chickens before they are hatched.'
Thus it proved with John. His hopes were soon
He set out, however, with fair prospects, with
good advice, and in good company. Everything
that could conduce to his convenience and comfort,
was prepared by his excellent father; who had an
iron forge erected for him, on the deck of the ship,
and <a vice-bench put in one corner of the steerage,
so that, in bad weather, he might work below.
The ship's cargo consisted of English cloths,
Dutch blankets, looking-glasses, beads, knives,
razors, &c, with sugar, molasses, twenty hogsheads of rum, a great quantity of ammunition,
pistols, cutlasses, and three thousand muskets and
All was now ready for sea; and when John had
taken leave of all his other friends, his father went
with him to the vessel, where, a moment before she
sailed, he took him aside, and gave him, with deep
emotion, the following excellent advice, which it
ma 26
may be well for manj^-a youth, not so old as John,
to bear in mind, for he was now about nineteen.
( We now, my son, are going to part, and He
only, to whom all things are known, knows if we
are ever to meet again in this world. But, in whatever part of the world your lot may be cast, bear
it ever in mind, that on your own conduct alone,
depends your success in life and your peace hi
' Be honest, industrious, frugal, and temperate.
Let the Bible be your guide; and rely on $|s Author
as your first and best friend. Then, whatever may
befall you, you will have for your support in every
trial, the consoling thought, that your dependence
is on one who can bring good out of evil, and who
never deserts those who put their trust in him.
' In short, my son, make it your determination to
lead an honest and a Christian life; and remember
that when your place is found empty at our table,
it will not be so in our hearts; and that our first
wish will be to hear from you.
'And now may the blessing of Him, who "holds CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
the winds in his fists," and the "ocean in the hollow
of his handr" be upon you I'
It was on the 3d of September, 1802, that, in
company with several other American vessels,
bound to different ports, the Boston sailed from the
Downs, with a jserene, blue sky above, a peaceful
sea below, and her white sails swelled with a fresh
and favorable breeze.
As the vessel went on her watery way, and the
billows gave her alternately a heave and a plunge,
the head of our young hero, who had never been
out of sight, of the land before, began to turn and
to swim, till he was fully convinced that the world
must be as round as a bullet, but without the leaden
propensity to lie still where it was placed.
He was visited with a sudden loss of appetite—
his cheeks and his lips grew pale as the canvass
about him; and his stomach sympathized in the
motion of the waves. He was, for several of the
first days, prostrated in the full enjoyment of the
unenviable and unpitied condition, into which seasickness brings its subject.
But in a few days^John recovered from th&
malady—iu# Appetite returned—his color returned
—his head became steady, and he stood up on his
feet again, like a man.
As he did this, he lookesd behind, but saw nothing of the shores of old England; he looked before,
but the sky and the sea were all that met his eye;
so he turned for occupation to his forge.
With good health and spirits, he went to work,
and employed himself in fair weather, making
knives, daggers, and small hatchets for the Indian
trade. When it stormed, fee went below, and busied Jnmself in filing and polishing them.
He liked, however, to lend a hand now and then,
.when.line men were managing the rigging, so as £o
get a little initiated into the business of a sailor.
And he loved, when his day's work was done, to
look round on the mighty scene of the heavens and
the deep, till his mind was lost in contemplating
the greatness and the power of their Creator and
John found great comfort   in   reflecting   that,
% -, 30
though he was far from the house of his earthly
parent, the home of his heavenly Father was
everywhere; and that his eye would keep Watch
through the darkest night, and his hand be at the
helm, amid the most threatening seas.
A pleasant sail of twenty-nine days brought the
ship to the Island of St. Catharine, on the coast of
Brazil, where Captain Salter intended to stop, to
replenish his stock of wood and water, and obtain
fresh provisions.
The island belonged to the Portuguese, and on
entering the port, the ship was saluted by guns
from the fort, which compliment she returned, and
passed in.
The next day, she was honored with a visifr from
his excellency, the governor of the island, and his
suite, and her crew treated by them with much respect and politeness.
At this island, the Boston remained four days;
and the men found it a very good stopping-
place, for a purpose like theirs, as it abounds with CAPTIVE  OF   NOOTKA.
springs of sweet, clear water, and with fine oranges,
plantains, bananas, &c.
They took in such supplies as to render it unnecessary for them to stop at any of the Sandwich-
Islands, and put to sea;
On the twenty-fifth of December, they passed
Cape Horn, which they had made thirty-six days
before, but had been repeatedly driven back by adverse winds; the weather being extremely tempestuous while they were doubling, or passing round
the cape.
When they had gained tins point, all seemed
smooth again. The weather was fine; and taking
advantage of the monsoon, or trade-wind, they
went on with the greatest ease, having, for the
space of a fortnight, hardly to make a tack, or reef
a top-sail.
Captain Salter was an old experienced India
ship-master, who knew how to keep good order
among his men, without their being constantly at
work; and when their situation did not require tins,
he loved to see them enjoy themselves, as they now 32
had an opportunity of doing, till John began to
think a sailor's life was a pretty easy and merry
There was a fine musical band on board, and
during the serene, pleasant evenings they had while
making their way on the Southern ocean, Captain
Salter used to order them to play for the entertainment of the crew.
This was a treat he was very fond of giving
them on Saturday nights, as a sort of a welcome to
the coming Sabbath.
Music at such an hour, and in such a scene, must
have sounded delightfully, while the waters gurgled round the prow of the s^ap, and the ocean's
hoarse voice sang bass, in the distance.
Now and then a whale or a flying-fish would let
itself be seen above the surface of the water; but
whether it was to listen to the music, or not, it has
not yet been ascertained—the reader will be able
to judge of tfee probability of this*
They saw, also,  frequent shoals of porpoises,  34
Description of a shoal of porpoises—albatrosses seen—arrival at Nootka Sound—the natives came on board—the
Indian king described—intercourse with the savages—
their visits—Maquana breaks the gun—Captain Salter
offends him—his dignified deportment when angry.
A shoal of porpoises was to John R. Jewitt a
very novel and interesting sight. They looked at
a distance like a multitude of small black waves,
rolling one over the other, in great confusion and
very quick motion.
As they came gamboling along towards the vessel in this way, all on board was in a bustle. Every hand was busy to get the harpoons ready to
strike; and those who were the most skilful, took
the most favorable stands, to make the deadly
thrust, as the unsuspecting porpoises sported beside
the ship.
The porpoise, or sea-hog, when struck and drawn CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA.
on board by the harpoon, utters most piteous cries,
resembling those of an infant, till it dies. It was
very shocking to John, to hear these sounds of distress, when the first victim was taken.
The sailors afterwards told him that, if one of
these animals received a wound, without being
taken, all the others in the troop, attracted by his
blood, would leave the vessel and chase him till
they should overtake him, and then tear him to
pieces and devour him.
Our young mariner found the flesh of the porpoise a very palatable dish, after being so long as
he had been, without any thing fresh; and when
cut into steaks and broiled, he thought its taste re- '
sembled that of beef done in the same way.
He saw on his passage, a great number of albatrosses, one of which Captain Salter shot, and
measuring his extended wings, from one extremity
to the other, found that they measured fifteen feet.
The albatross is a large bird of the goose tribe,
whose feathers are brown and white.
Pursuing a northward course, after passing Cape 36
Horn, the ship arrived, on the I2th of March, 1803/
at Woody Point, in Nootka Sound, on the Northwest coast of America.
Captain Salter made up the sound towards Nootka, a few miles north of the Indian town, on the
land bordering the sound, in order to get supplies
qf wood and water, before he proceeded up the coast
for trade.
He wished to avoid being seen, so as to escape
molestation from the Indians of the village, which
was situated on Friendly Cove.
When some of the men, who took the boat and
wefit out to sound for a good anchoring place, returned, they said they had found one, near a small
island, which was well protected from the sea, and
had plenty of wood and water; and which lay about
half a mile from the coast.
Accordingly, the ship drew up to this place, and
was anchored; though not without being observed
by the natives.
The next morning an Indian canoe was seen
from the ship, gliding along towards it, manned  38
with a number of savages, who paddled their way up
to the Boston, and came on board.
It was the king of the place, with his savage
retinue; and an odd king, indeed, did he seem to
John R. Jewitt, who knew what splendor and pomp
surrounded his own king in England.
The name of the monarch of Nootka was
Maquina; whose Indian majesty, as he stood up in
all his dignity, on the deck of the ship, might thus be
His person, about six feet in height, was straight
and well formed; his face of the copper complexion, with good features and expression, but marked
with what is not common among these people, a
fine Roman nose. But his face, arms, and legs
were, on this occasion, so disguised by paint, as
almost to prevent their natural color from being
" Over each eyebrow was drawn a heavy black
line, like a crescent, and his hair, long and black,
was drawn up and tied in a bunch on the top of his
head.   It was oiled so as to shine, and then, strew- CAPTIVE  OF NOOTKA.
ed over with a fine white down, which gave it
the appearance of being half covered witn snow-
His dress was a cloak of black sea-otter skin,
which reached to his knees; and was fastened about
the waist with a girdle of the cloth of the country,
painted with various colors, and in a diversity of
This cloth is made of the bark of a tree, and
somewhat resembles straw-matting.
Maquina's attendants had their dresses made of
it.   The cloak, or mantle which they wore, was a
square of this material, large enough to reach to the
knee, and with places cut in the top for the arms to '
pass through.
The belt, being a strip of the same cloth, was
about four inches wide, and whimsically figured.
Maquina had frequently visited the American
and English vessels that came for trade on the
coast; and if they did not take his furs, or if he
had none to offer, the masters always treated him
well, and generally gave him some little presents, 40
which proved a sufficient inducement for him to visit
the next vessel that came.
In this way he had learnt to understand a great
many English words and expressions; and as it
afterwards proved, he knew much more than Captain Salter dreamed of, till he found it out at the cost
of his life.
He took the copper-colored monarch into his cabin, gave him a glass of drink, and fed him with
biscuit   and   molasses, a treat  that   pleased   him
highly. ^ >^S.
Both the king and his people seemed much gratified with the manner and the hospitality of the
ship's crew; and after leaving them the first day,
they returned the next, bringing with them more
of the natives, and a good supply of fine fresh salmon, for which they took some trifling articles by
way of pay.
It was not the intention of Captain Salter to
make his purchases at this place, as there were not
many furs to be obtained; but he wanted to get his
stock of wood and water, so as not to be obliged to CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
expose his men for these necessaries when they
should be farther north, and among, what he considered, more barbarous tribes than the savages of
While the hands were employed in laying in
these provisions, John, the armorer, busied himself
in repairing muskets, making tomahawks, knives,
&c. and in doing such iron work as was needed on
the ship.
Meantime, Maquina and his people kept up their
visits, while Captain Salter, in order to prove that
they had no hostile purposes, insisted that each
should throw off his dress before he came on board,
to satisfy him by showing that they had no arms ,
On the fifteenth, Maquina, attended by several
of his chiefs, came on board. He was arrayed in
his royal attire of otter-skin, and had his head
newly powdered with white down; his face was
painted with more than ordinary care, and almost
covered with the ingredients he had used in beautifying it.
Ill 42
His chiefs were clad in the cloth of their country, of its original color, which is pale yellow.
Their girdles were similar to that of the king, only
not so wide.
Around the bottoms of their cloaks were painted
borders, representing, in various colors, the heads of
men and beasts, birds, and fishes.
The dress of the common people was like that
of the chiefs, only the cloth was coarser, and they
were not allowed to paint with more than one color,
this being red.
Captain Salter invited them to dine with him, and
his invitation was accepted. It was a great source
of amusement to John, to see his copper-colored
eminence, the king, and all the savage nobles, seat
themselves and eat their dinner.
Their manner of sitting was similar to that of
the Chinese. They crossed their legs and sat upon
them; while they made their meal on ship-bread
dipped in molasses, which was the only thing they
would eat. They manifested a great aversion to
every thing that tasted in the least of salt. CAPTIVE  OF NOOTKA.
They appeared to enjoy their entertainment, and
retired very pleasantly; the few following days,
they kept up their trade; bringing the fresh salmon, and seemed satisfied with what they received
in return for what was a great luxury to the seamen
after living on salt provisions, as they had done, for
some time.
About the nineteenth of the month, Maquina
came on board the ship, and dined again. He
talked a great deal with Captain Salter, and told
him there were a great many wild ducks and geese
near Friendly Cove. -
Captain Salter gave him, upon this information,
a fine double-barreled fowling-piece, with which he
seemed greatly delighted, and went away.
The next day he came again on board, bringing
with him nine pair of wild ducks, as a present to the
He also brought bis new gun that he had received the day before, with one of the locks broken,
which he showed to Captain Salter, telling him it
was peshak, (bad.) 44
Captain Salter at this remark, which he thought
a token of his gift being undervalued, and feeling
irritated at seeing it so ill used too, showed signs
of anger, and not knowing the extent of Maquina's
understanding of the English, called him a liar,
and told John to see how that fellow had ruined the
beautiful fowling-piece. * See,' said he, ' if you can
mend it.'
The scene that now appeared on the deck, when
described, speaks a loud moral. Captain Salter was
in anger, and showed it, little dreaming of the bitter
consequences that were to follow.
Maquina had understood him, and was in anger
too; but he was silent and dignified—his emotions
only appeared in the flashes of his keen black eye,
and by his hand being rubbed hard upon his throat,
and pressed on his bosom.
This, he afterwards told John, was to keep down
his heart, that kept rising up in his throat, and
nearly choked him.
The offended Indian monarch uttered not a word,
but   soon  retired with his  men, with a haughty  46
*Fhe natives induce some of the seamen to go on shore—they
massacre the crew—John's life spared—the ship is run
into the covet and stranded—the savages welcome their
king's return to the village.
On the twenty-second, many of the natives cam*?
out in the morning, as usual, to the ship, with their
salmon, where they were joined, a few hours after,
by Maquina, with many of his chiefs and others.
The king seemed in uncommonly good humor.
He had over his face a hideous wooden mask, representing the head of some wild beast. In his hand
he held a whistle, which he blew to a kind of tune to
regulate the motions of his people, as they jumped,
sang, and capered about on the deck, to the great
amusement of the crew.
Maquina asked Captain Salter when he was going
to sail.   ■ To-morrow,' was the reply.
'You love salmon—plenty in Friendly Cove—
why not go catch some?' said he. The idea of
having some caught to carry away, struck Captain
Salter very pleasantly, and he concluded, after dinner, to send out some men to fish.
The steward was already on shore, at the watering-place, washing the Captain's clothes, when nine
men, with the mate at their head, took the boats
and the seine, and went in quest of salmon.
The king and his men had remained on board ;
and John had gone to work, cleaning muskets, at
his vice-bench, in the steerage. When he had been
below about an hour, he heard the seamen hoisting
in the long boat.
In a few minutes after, he heard the sound of
scuffling and great confusion on deck; and attempting to go up to see what was doing,, he was
seized, just as his head rose above board, by the
hair, which one of the natives caught hold of; but
the ribbon with which it was tied, slipping off in
the hand of the Indian, let him fall back into the
steerage. 48
Before he fell, however, he received a blow on
the forehead by an axe in the hand of another
savage, which left a deep wound; and he had time
to see that the whole deck was one appalling scene
of human slaughter.
The blow and the fall stunned him; and he probably lay some length of time senseless, for when
he came to himself, he was covered with his own
blood, and weak from its loss.
He felt as if arousing from some hideous dream
—the hatch had been closed, and he was in darkness and gore—while the horrid yells and shouts
of triumph sent from the savages over his head,
convinced him that they had possession of the ship,
and that they had done a great work of death,
while not a single voice of one of the seamen was
heard amid the wild sounds of barbarous exultation.
When the noise of singing, shouting, and yelling
had a little subsided, Maquina ordered the hatch to
be opened, and called, * John, come up.'
John attempted to obey, but found himself almost tUkPTIVB OF  NOOTKA
unable to movie, and the eye over which the gash
had been cut, was so swollen as to be nearly closed; while the other was half blinded by the blood
that had flowed and fastened upon it.
Maquina seeing his condition, ordered his people
not to injure him, but told them to help hinmup
and wash and dress his wound, saying, that he
knew how to make and mend their guns, and
would be of great use to them, if preserved alive
and unhurt.
This, John afterwards found, had been the cause
of Maquina's ordering the hatch to be closed, during the dreadful scene that had taken place, so that
he might not be numbered among the victims to
the revenge of the Indians, as he intended his life
should turn to their account, by keeping him a prisoner, to make arms, &c., for, die tribe.
But, when Jewitt first came on deck, before his
wound was attended to, the little sight that was
left him, showed the blood of his murdered brethren, flowing over the boards, and the naked
4 50
savages gathering round him in a circle, with their
iRrves and daggers* up, ready to strike.
They all united* their clamorous voices, to have
iiim despatched, so that there might be none left to
tell the tale, whenever another vessel shoulcbcome
on their borders.
But the king would not consent to his death, till
he had first examined and* questioned him respecting what he would do, if spared.
In this trying moment, John felt, as he has since
said, the value of having his Maker for a friend;
and of having given up his life and all his interests
into his Almighty care.
Maquina, wishing by his broken expressions, to
make John understand that a& he did not consent
to his terms, he would be put to death, said to him,
* John—I speak—you no say no—you say no,
daggers come!? He then asked if he would be his
slave for life; if he would fight in his battles,
make ^daggers and knivesy and mend muskets for
himj; and many other similar questions, to all of CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA.
which, John was careful to answer in such a way
as to turn aside the dreaded wrath, and obtain leave
to live.
When he had consented to all these proposals,
Maquina told him he must now kiss his hands and
feet, in token of perfect submission to him, as his
future master and sovereign.
When John requested to have a tobacco leaf, of
which there was plenty on board, bound on his
wound, having long known its healing qualities,
Maquina gave directions to have it brought, and
taking the silk cravat from the neck of his patient,
bound on the leaf with it, and fastened it round his
The a£r was very cold, and John was without
his coat, which, together with his bodily suffering,
and the awful spectacle before him, made him
tremble like a poplar leaf.
Maquina saw this, and going below, brought up
the Captain's great coat, and a bottle of rum, and
throwing the coat over his shoulders, and putting 52
the bottle to his mouth, he told him to drink, and
he would not shiver so.
When John had followed this prescription, and
was able to walk, the king led him to the quarterdeck, where he beheld a sight that chilled with
horror, the blood that was left in his veins.
The trunkless heads of his unfortunate comrades, to the number of twenty-five, lay with their
ghastly faces up, in a row before him; and not
a sign of life appeared on board the ship, except
in the persons of these dreadful executioners, and
his own aching bosom.
One of the savages brought a head and asked
whose it was. John told him it was the Captain's.
Then another and another was shown, in the same
way, till the horrid inspection of the whole number
was gone through with, though some of the faces
were so disfigured, as to make it impossible for the
terrified survivor to tell to whom it had belonged.
The first cause of this dreadful sacrifice to revenge—the  insult   which   Maquina  felt  he  had CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA,
received from the Captain, has already appeared to
the reader; though the haughty red monarch did
not see fit to explain it to Jewitt, till long after it
took place.
The whole matter by which he justified himself
in the merciless act, will be made known by some
of the subsequent pages.
The slaughter, it seems, began while some of the
seamen were busy in hoisting in the long-boat,
when the savages on board, taking advantage of
their situation, seized them and cut their throats
with their own jack-knives.
Captain Salter was thrown overboard in the
affray, but taken up and beheaded by the Indians
in the canoes.
When the fatal work was over with those at the
ship, the natives broke open the rum ehest and
magazine; and providing themselves with the
deadly engines, went on shore in quest of the men
that were there*; When they had taken their hves,
they severed -their heads from thMr bodies, whiett 54
were all cast into the sea, and brought the appalling trophies to place them with those on board.
When John got able to stand, Maquina told him
he must get the ship round to Friendly Cove. To
do this, he cut the cables, and directed some of the
savages to go aloft and loose the sails.
Had it not been for the melancholy i^rcumstances
that surrounded our disconsolate young friend,
he would have been much amused by the awkwardness of the Indians, at this new work of
handling the rigging of a vessel.
However, as the wind was exactly fair for the
purpose, they succeeded in running her into the
cove, and got her ashore on a sand beach, about
eight o'clock in the evening
The king was welcomed home to ithe village, by
every mark of savage hilarity at his return, and
joy at his success, which could be shown by men,
women, and children.
Some ran to meet him, singing, leaping, and
shouting; while others made an almost insupporta- CAPTIVE OF  NOOTKA.
ble din, to a head in such a state as John's must
have been, by drumming with sticks on the sides
and roofs of their houses, which were illuminated
with blazing pine torches, stuck in the cracks, in
honor of their king's return*
A sad, sad night was this to John, who, no
doubt, while he now took his good father% advice,
and resigned himself lb the will of God, wished he
had also taken it, and followed a better counsellor
than his own romantic desire to see flie world, before it was too late to be profited by U.
• !      '
John goes to the king's house—sees the women—gets acquainted
with the young prince, Sat-sat-sok-sis-—hit supper—how he
passes the night—he learns that one of the men is alive in the
ship—finds it is Thompson—obtains permission for him to
Maquina's house, of which more will be said
hereafter, was very large, and filled with people.
The king had no less than nine wives; one of
which was the mother of the young prince, the future heir to his honors.
This woman was very beautiful, and seemed to
be a sort of queen over the others. She was the
favorite of the king, and her son was his darling
The boy was about eleven years old. His name
was Sat-sat-sok-sis; but, this being rather an unwieldy word to manage, and as it may often occur in CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA,
our narrative, we will abbreviate it, and in future
call the prince Sat-sat.
John was conducted by Maquina to his house.
The women came round the prisoner, and patting
him softly on the head and shoulders, seemed to
feel much pity for him in his sufferings, and manifested a great desire to do something to relieve the
anguish of his wound.
Maquina called for something to eat, and his
women brought him some dried clams and train-
oil. He seated John beside him, and telling him to
eat a good deal of oil, because it would make him
fat and strong, began in earnest to show that his
theory and practice agreed; at least, so far as gormandizing was concerned.
But, poor John! little would he have relished
this disgusting repast, had there been no sorrow at
his heart, as there was, swelling it almost to
Little, too, in his present state of feeling, could he
have enjoyed the most sumptuous board that good
old England ever offered him.   But he made the Si
best of his condition, knowing that to murmur
would be in vain; and to show dissatisfaction
might yet cost him his life.
During the time of supper, he heard the savages
importuning their king to have him put to death;
urging as a reason, that he might prevent other
vessels from coming to trade wi&t them, by m-
forming, in some way, of what they had done.
But Maquina persisted in refusing to do this;
saying that he had promised John his life, and he
would not break his word. He again reminded
them of the use he might be to them, by working
at their arms, &c.
John had, also, to listen to their terrible boasting
of what they had each done, in the murder of his
companions; while, with horrid mimicry, they went
through some of the most dreadful acts of the
Sat-sat, the royal boy, attracted by curiosity, at
the novel appearance of a white person, and in the
dress that looked very odd to the little savage, came
up to John to examine him, Ill
John thought he might win the favor of the
father, by securing that ofithe child; so he coaxed
Sat-sat to come near, and caressed him till he got
him willing to sit upon his knee.
He then cut the bright metal buttons from the
coat he had on, and having run them on a string,
fastened them round the neck of the child.
This greatly delighted his young majesty, who
run off jingling his buttons, and showing them to
the company with as much pride as a civilized lady
would take in a necklace of pearls or diamonds.
And why should they not be as precious ta him,
as those more costly gems to their possessor? Nobody, it is true, had delved in the mine very deeply, or plunged into the ocean to obtain theirifS
Yet they were personal decorations, bright and
pleasing fc> the eye, and they satisfied in him, the
future monarch, that vain love for external show
and ornament, which seems alike implanted in the
bosom of the civilized and the savage, as well as
the more expensive brilliants do those who, too
often think more about them,  than they do of CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
obtaining the 'pearl of great price,1$;which our
Savior recommends as the best of air treasures.
The thought of taking this method with Sat-sat,
to win him, was a fortunate one for John. His buttons completely succeeded in purchasing the heart
of the young prince, for their giver.
From that moment, Sat-sat attached himself to
his new friend, acting out his human nature without reserve, upon the principle of those of whom
Sat-sat had never heard, but who of old showed
their selllinterest, by seeking the 'loaves and
When the hour came for those in the Indian
palace to go to rest, the company stretched themselves on the ground; and John was made to lie
Jiown between Maquina and his son.
This, the king, who was much pleased with the
attention he had shown to Sat-sat, told him, was to
prevent the Indians, who seemed bent on taking his
life, from coming to kill him in his sleep.
But the unfortunate youth, in his sadlp new
and strange condition, feltlfittle inclination ti sleep, CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA,
notwithstanding his being literally in the bosom of
the royal family.
About midnight, he heard one of the natives
come and tell Maquina that there was a white man
alive in the ship; and that he had been knocked
down by him, in attempting to go on board.
When the Indian had retired, Maquina told John
of this information, and said the white man must
be slain in the morning.
John tried to dissuade him from his purpose; but
he silenced his entreaties, and told him to lie down
and go to sleep.
As Jewitt lay revolving the question in his mind,
who this man might be, and by what means he
could prevail on the king to let him live, he thought
it was most probably Thompson, the sail-maker
of the ship, as he had not recognised his head
among those of the slain; and he remembered his
having been below, at work on the sails, when the
attack was made.
Thompson was a man about forty years of age;
but as he had always lived a sea-faring life, from 62
I    »
his boyhood, he looked much older. So John
thought, that if it should prove to be he, who was
alive, he would make Maquina think it was his
father, and see if, on this account, he could not win
mercy for him.
He fell into a doze towards morning; but at the
rising of the sunf Maquina waked him, telling him
he was going to the ship to kill the man, and that
he must get up and go with him.
He obeyed in silence, and taking Sat-sat by the
hand, led him out, following the father to the
Here all the men of the tribe were assembled,
waiting the approach of their king. When he
came nigh, they gathered round hrm, listening with
deep attention, while he informed them that there
was a white man in the ship; and asked their
general opinion whether he had better let him live,
or have him put to death.
The natives expressed their united wishes that
he might be kept alive, upon which John ventured
to put in his plea. CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA.
He pointed to the boy, whom he still held by the
hand, and asked Maquina if he loved his son; and
being answered in the affirmative, ,he then asked
the child if he loved his father. j Yes,' was the
reply.    l So do I love mine,' said he.
He threw himself now on his knees, at the feet
of the king, entreating him to spare the life of
his father, if it should prove to be he, who was in
the vessel.
The heart of the savage was touched, at this
pathetic appeal—he told John to rise and go on
board the ship to tell the man to come out; and
promised that if it was his father, he might live.
John went into the ship, and found to his great
joy, that it was indeed Thompson, who was there
alive and unhurt.
He was below when the massacre commenced,
and finding that he had been unobserved by the
natives, he hid himsefif in the hold, ti|J. all was
When the Indian came on board for plunder, in
the night, thinking he was in quest of him. he
determined to sell his life as dearly as possible, so
he made a thritet at the savage and knocked him
down; but he recovered himself in a moment, and
springing up, ran off to tell the king.
John told Thompson, in as few words as possible, the plan he had laid to save his life, and the
new relationship of father that he must assume—
reminding him how careful he must'be not to let
the secret that he was not his^hther, be discovered
by the sagacious Indians.
He then led him forth to Maquina, presenting
him as his father, and promising to do every thing
in Ins power to serve the native^ if they would
spare his life.
But he assured them that, if they put his father
to death, they would lose his services, however
useful they might be in the way of his art of arms-
making, &c, for he would certainly kill himself, as
he could not bear this loss and live.
This was a powerful argument; and when Maquina recognised Thompson, and knew him to be
the sail-maker, he thought his life, too, would be
5 66
of service to them, in his employment, as he could
make sails for their canoes; and reminding his peo-
wple of thjs, at the same time, telling them that, by
destroying him, they should lose the services of
both; for he took John to be in earnest in his intention to kill himself, if Thompson was killed.
Thus, self-interest effected what humanity could
not have done, with these barbarians; and it was
agreed that the sail-maker's life should be spared.
Maquina then took both his prisoners to his
house, and ordered something to be brought for
them to eat; and John had the pleasure of seeing
another entertainment of clams and train-oil set
before him
BT\ 67
The savages rob the ship of her contents, Sfc.—John secures the
papers—two ships are seen—ether tribes of natives come to
Nootka—their reception—their supper, and a dance by Sat-sat
—Maquina makes presents to his guests—their manner of receiving them—visitors continue to come and go.
The two following days, the savages busied
themselves in taking away the cargo of the ship,
her sails, rigging, and what ever pleased their fancies, or promised to be in any way useful to them.
They even cut away her spars and masts, and
tinned her to a complete wreck.
The greatest part of the cargo, and all the most
valuable articles, were carried to the king's house.
As John and his new father were obliged to asy
sist in this work of depredation, they thought iftk
good opportunity to secure the ship's papers, <fca,
not knowing what way might offer for them to be
of use; and as the natives set no value on such 68
things, they met with little difficulty in taking them
into their own possession.
John's chest had been broken open and plundered, but he still had the key; so he put into it the
papers, with the Captain's writing-desk, a blank
account-book that he found, and which he thought
might serve him, as he knew not how long he
should remain in captivity, for to keep some little
accounts of what he might meet with.
In the desk were some writing materials, which
he hoped to be allowed to use; and he also found
a Bible and Prayer Book, from which he expected
great consolation, t
These articles, witrf a few small tools, he *found
no difficulty in securing in his chest, in which he
also put a journal that had been kefxt by the mate,
and some drawings owned by him, which he reserved for his friends, in case of there ever being
an opportunity to convey them to the places of
their abode.
On the twenty-sixth, two ships hove in sight:
and, wMle their appearance filled the bosoms of CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
the captives wi th hope and joy, at least, for a short
time, it threw the natives it* to great consternation,
•for they thought they were coming to punish them
j£>r the work of destruction they had been doing.
They had immediate recourse to their newty-
acquired arms and ammunition, and kept up a
ffciejsk firing, till the ships, not disposed to be peppered with hot shot, returned a few rounds, that
%kd no harm, and stood out to sea again; thus
drowning the hopes of poor John and his felkrw-
captive, in the wide-spread ocean, over whose
surface they cut their watery way, till out of sight.
These ships, as was afterwards ascertained,
Were the Mary, and the Juno, of Boston, Massachusetts.
When the ships were out of sight, Maquina began to express great regret that he had let his people fire at them, as he feared that others, hearing
of this hostile treatment, would be prevented from
corning to trade with them.
Not many days after the capture of the ship, ike 70
news having spread round among the different
tribes of natives on the coast, brought them in
hosts to Nootka.
There came canoes filled with savages, of at
least twenty tribes, from the north and south, who
hastened to pay Maquina a visit of gratulation
for his success, and expecting, at the same time, to
better themselves by the presents it is the custom
of these people to bestow on their guests on sucff
an occasion.
Among these lisitors, many belonged to the tribes
of the north, that were tributary to the Nootka.
But those who were the best dressed, and sailed
in the most neatly-finished canoes, belonged to
the Wickanninish, a large and powerful tribe of
the south.
These had come the distance of two hundred
miles, which, with sails to their canoes, and a
good breeze, they performed in twenty-four hours.
An odd and ludicrous scene was presented on
the beach as the canoes of the visitors approached
it; for, Maquina, proud of his new acquisition, set
out to welcome Ms guests in what he thought real
European gentility of style.
And a motley group did the natives of Nootka
form as they assembled on the beach, clad in their
new and ill-gotten gear, which had been taken from
the ship.
Some had on kutsacks, or cloaks, made of broadcloths of blue, red, and yellow; with stockings
drawn over their heads, while, about their necks
were hung powder-horns, shot-bags, and eartouch
boxes; and many had eight or ten muskets apiece
on their shoulders, and half a dozen daggers fastened in one girdle.' *
Many articles of clothing they did not know
how to wear, and they put them on in a manner
to make most grotesque figures of themselves.
Equipped in this way, they all squatted upon
the beach, holding their muskets perpendicularly,
with the butts resting on the sand, waiting orders
to fire the salute.
The cannon had been taken from the ship to the 72
KM'. I
beach, and laid upon two sticks of timber; and at
these, Thompson was stationed; while Maquina
had taken a stick and a trumpet, and gone up on
the roof of his house, where he set up suoh a
drumming on the roof, with his stick, it was
enough to stun any but a savage head.
When the canoes drew up to the shore, he spoke
through his trumpet, telling his subjects to fire.
At the word of command, they obeyed, but
fearfully and awkwardly, keeping in their squat
position, and pressing the butt of the gun, as before,
hard upon the ground.
At the same moment, Thompson fired the cannon, upon which the natives threw themselves
back, and tumbled and rolled about as if they had
been shot.
Then they sprang up, and ran and danced about
upon the beach, singing a song of triumph, and
boasting of their exploits; while the strange, wild
sounds of their voices were accompanied by such
savage gesticulations as were sometimes laughably
and sometimes frightful. CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA.
When this ceremony was over, the king came
down from his perch, to meet his guests, and invite
them in, to partake of the royal entertainment that
had been prepared for them in his house.
This was a large quantity of whale blubber,
smoked herring-spawn, and dried fish with train-
oil, that were set before the company in large trays,
placed upon the ground, the floor of the red monarch's palace.
When the feast was over, and the trays removed,
preparations were made for the dance, which was
to close the entertainment.
Three of the principal chiefs, clad in otter-skin
mantles, a dress which they only assumed on great
occasions, and having their heads newly powdered
with white down, came forward into the room,
bearing each a bag of white down, similar to that
upon their heads, and began to scatter it round, so
as to represent a fall of snow.
This, I think a pretty idea, and quite a delicate
one too, as it was strewing the way, with this soft 74
and beautiful material, for the young prince to>step
It is a thought of a more refined nature than that
which, a short tune before, had occasioned the blubber and the sperm to be placed in trays upon the
same spot.
Bemnd these chiefs, who came paving the way
in so gentle and soft a manner, followed Sat*«at,
with a long piece of yellow cloth, wrapped loosely
about him; and tricked out with small bells, a cap,
and a mask in the form of a wolf's head.
Behind him came the king himseifj in a robe of
sea-otter skin, and having in his mouth a small
whistle, while in his hand he held a rattle, which
he shook to keep time to a wild, fantastic time that
he played upon his whistle.
When they had passed, with great gravity and
order, round the apartment, each was seated,
except Sat-sat, who immediately commenced his
This dance he performed chiefly by taking a CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA,
squat position, and thus, springing up as far as he
had power, to go; and incessantly turning round
upon his heels in a very small circle, and with great
swiftness in his motion.
The dance, with only a few intervals for him to
take breath, Sat-sat kept up for two hours, to the
doleful music which the chiefs made, by drunfniing
with short sticks, on pieces of plank, the under side
of which had been scooped out into a hollow, so as
to sound the louder, and the more like a hollow instrument
During the dance, Maquina and his chiefs continued singing; and the women uttered their
plaudits at every extraordinary jump of the young
performer, crying out, at the top of their voices,
1 Wocash! Wocash! Tyee P (good! very good!
When the dance was ended, Maquina began to
deal out gifts to the strangers, in the name of his
son Sat-sat.
These presents consisted of pieces of plotb, about 76 CAPT*VE  OF  NOOTKA.
two yards long, that had been taken from the ship,
muskets, powder, shot, &c.
Maquina, on this occasion, gave away four hundred yards of cloth, one hundred muskets, as many
looking-glasses, and twenty casks of powder, besides many other articles.
The manner in which these people received the
gifts, was very odd, and such as seemed very Uncivil and ungracious.
When the king held out the gift, the receiver
snatched it from him rudely, and with as stern a
look as could be put on, saying at the same time,.
'Wocask, Tyeei*
John thought by their looks, that all were dissatisfied with* their presents; but he afterwards learnt
that this stern expression was considered among
the savages a mark of respect; and it was viewed
as a great indignity to have it omitted on the reception of a thing bestowed; especially, if the
giver was a person in authority.
After the presents were   distributed,  Maquina CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA.
insisted on all the strangers, but the chiefs, going
on board their canoes to sleep, to prevent their pillaging during the night; and he set John and
Thompson, armed with cutlasses and pistols, to
watch them. The chiefs were accommodated with
a place in the houses.
The natives of the different tribes along the
coast continued to come in this way, to Nootka, for
several days, bringing with them such sorts of provisions as would be acceptable, and receiving in
return, presents from Maquina; after which, they
went directly back to their homes. 78
The ship is burnt—many articles lost by the fire—-some valuable
things saved—Maquina discovers a tierce of rum among his
spoils—invites company—holds a carousal—all get intoxicated
—John empties the rum-cask upon the ground—anecdote of a
merchant—John begins to work at his trade—he assists
Thompson in getting food.
On the morning of the eighteenth, John and his
companion in bondage witnessed a spectacle which
was to them a sad sight, while it shone brightly
before them.
As they arose, early m the morning, and went
out, on looking towards the ship, they saw her
wrapped in flames. She had taken fire by
means of some sparks that some of the natives
who went on board in the night, for plunder, had
let fall into the hold, among the light combustibles,
which soon broke out into a blaze, and entirely
completed the destruction of the only trace of a CAPTIVE OF  NOOTKA.
civilized country, except the articles carried on
shore, which appeared to their sight.
Besides, there were a great many provisions still
on board, which they had hoped to take out for
their own use and comfort, as the natives would
not touch a thing that had any flavor of salt, and
there were many other articles that would have
been left to their enjoyment, as they were as offensive to the savage taste, as the whale blubber and
train-oil were to theirs.
But it was a splendid, though melancholy sight
to them, to see the Boston, as she lay upon the
edge of the great waters, that spread themselves
out so far on one side, and the border of a savage
land, tjiat stretched off on the other, beyond the
power of their imaginations to follow. It was, I
say, a melancholy sight to see her thus standing
between these two elements, for a third, and more
terrible one to devour her.
As the flames towered high above the water, they
waved and sported on the surrounding air, as the  CAPTIVE  OF NOOTKA.
plumes of a group of soldiers are tossed and played
with by the winds that pass.
The captives breathed out their farewell to the
unfortunate ship as she became a mass of living
coals, and then crumbled to pieces before their
eyes. *;
The natives, too, seemed very sorry for the ldss,
as there were many things still about her, which
they had intended to save.
John lost j|is anvil and bellows, which had not
been removed to the beach; though nearly all the
other things with which he worked, were saved.
Among the things that had been carried on shore,
he was glad to find a nautical almanac, which one
of the natives gave h$m ] and a case of port wine,
and a box of chocolate, both of which, as the
Indians ilid not like their taste, fell to the disposal
of John and Thompson.
The almanac, John expected, would be of great
use to him in determining on points of time; and
the natives, in their turn, were highly delighted,
when examining their booty, about two days after
il'l 82
the burning of the ship, they found among a varie-
ty of things, a cask of rum, and a case of gin.
Since their intercourse with the whites, who first
introduced ardent spirits among the American Indians, they have become very fond of the 'firewater,' as they used to call rum, when they first
began to use it.
It was nearly night when Maquina discovered
that he had such a prize in his possession, and
much elated with the anticipated enjoyment of his
intoxicating draught, he invited all the men to a
feast at his house, or, to use a more fashionable
term, to an evening party, to enjoy with him the
The native Indians of Virginia, when they obtained a bag of gunpowder from some of the early
settlers, never having seen any thing of the kind
before, but finding it a thing of great power, as
well as pretty and curious in its effects, put it aside,
to plant with their corn, as they said they wanted
to become acquainted with f that kind of seed.'
But   Maquina   knew,  better  than  to  pour  his CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
treasure into the ground, to see if it would produce
little rivulets or fountains of that kind of water;
so when the company had assembled and partaken
of the feast and the beverage, they soon grew so
intoxicated and wild, that John and Thompson
fled to the woods for safety, and the women made
their escape to other houses for the night.
The men only were engaged in this drinking
frolic, the women of Nootka being perfectly temperate, and never using anything but water, by way
of drink.
About midnight, when the wild shouts and
frightful sounds of the savage mirth had died
away, the captives, feeling desirous of knowing
what was going on at the palace, returned to look
into the state of affairs in and about the premises.
The Indians, after their carousal, overcome by
the effects of the strong draughts they had taken,
were all stretched out on the ground, in profound
sleep, or stupefaction, such as follows excessive
It had now been an easy thing for the captives
m, 84
to destroy their lives, or bind them down, had there
been any vessel to which they might flee for refuge. ^
But to kill the poor untutored savages, was a thing
that was not to be thought of; and to make any other attempt upon them, would have been useless, as
there was no possible way of escape by water, and
to go back into the woods would only be exposing
themselves to the hostilities of other natives; so they
thought the best thing they could do, would be to
prevent the danger of another fire-water jubilee.
John went to the rum-cask, and, finding it had
still enough in it to make its effects dreaded, he
took a small gimblet, and bored in the under side
of the cask, a hole large enough to let the spirit
take its own way and its own time to sink into the
earth, before morning.
He had the satisfaction to find, that in a "few
hours, the soil had drunk up, wha<fc the children of
the soil had left; and that there remained no more
an opportunity for the natives to have another frolic
of this sort. CAPTIVE-OF NOOTKA
And he now ^aw that the burning of the ship,
which he had before regretted so much, was a wise
direction of Providence; as there was on board a
large quantity of rum, whjch, had it been secured
by the natives, would have been a source of great
trouble to him and Thompson, if it did not cause
their death.
John's act in the temperance cause reminds me of
an anecdote, which, as I was knowing to the facts
at the time, I will digress from our story, to relate.
In the summer of 1832, a merchant of Newbury-
port, Massachusetts, having long been convinced of
the evil of furnishing the seamen who went out in
his vessels, with a supply of spirituous liquor, for
their voyage, began to consider seriously on the.
easiest and best way to dispose of a couple of
hogsheads of rum that had been a great while in
his store.
To sell it to others, he felt, would not be destroying the evil, but only passing it off on his
neighbors—he had too much conscience for this, j 86
To ship the rum to some other port, would only
be removing from his sight the bad consequences
which he felt certain would follow the use of it.
So he called a truckman, and directed him to
take the hogsheads of rum on his trucks, and carry
them to the head of the wharf. He then bored a
hole in the head of each, and let them empty their
contents into the Merrimad raver.
Had he sold the rum, it would have brought him
much money; but in this act, he gave a proof that
a man of sound principle will be ready to make
a personal sacrifice of worldly gain, to the cause
of general good; and that he will not countenance
or assist others in doing what he would deem it
wrong for himself to do.
We will now resume our story. John had so far
recovered from the hurt on his head, and the shock
he had sustained in the loss of his friends, as to be
able to begin to work a little.
He found a large flat stone, which he converted
into an anvil; and heating the metal on which he CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA.
worked, in a common fire, for a furnace, he commenced his business, much to the satisfaction of the
king and his wives.
For the women he made bracelets and other ornaments of copper and steel, which pleased them
highly; and for the men, he mended their arms,
&c., which won for him their favor, also; and they
began to think they had a valuable prize in their
young captive.
The neighboring tribes of Indians still kept flocking to Nootka, with their stores of provisions, to
exchange for a share of the spoils of the ship; and
John was allowed to make, on his own hook, some
small ornamental articles which he sold to them,
for either victuals for himself and Thompson, or
pieces of European cloth, and wearing apparel,
whisn they had juSt received from his master.
I speak of John's procuring food in this way,
because it is the habit of the Nootka Indians to
make the most of to-day, and let to-morrow take
care of itself; and they would often destroy, at one
of their feasts, what would have kept them com- CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
':: mw-
fortable for several days, though they afterwards
had to take a very short allowance, in consequence
of their careless waste.
John* generally fared as well as his master's
family; but Thompson, who could not bring his
spirit into subjection to his new lords, being of an
irritable temper, often manifested a state of feeling
towards the Indians, that made him no favorite
with them, and greatly displeased them.
He would frequently have had to go himgry,
had not his adopted son procured food for him,
either by sellay% his work, or by begging-for him
of others, who did not belong to the king's family.
John was: so highly esteemed in the village, that
when he did not find enough of such disgusting
fare as he had to live on, at home, he could go into
any hut where he saw a smoke, (the sign that they
were cooking,) and get something, which was
readily given him for himself and his friend; thus
getting hunger satisfied whfi what did not do much
towards delighting the taste.
Ill 89
John's remarks about cooking—Maquina throws away the kettle
of salt—John's head gets better—Thompsons Mstory—he
strikes Sat-sat—an affray, OH which he is likely to be slain—
John pleads till the king consents to his life being spared—
strawberries appear—John begins his journal.
It would have been a cause of great pleasure to
the captives, could they have had permission to
cook their salmon, halibut, and other food in their
own way, which they might easily have done with
the pot and other cooking utensils, that had been
saved from the ship, had not Maquina forbidden it.
He and all the rest of the tribe were so proud
and tenacious of their own manner of cooking, that
whenever John procured a fish, he was obliged to
give it up to the women, and let them make what
sort of a mess they pleased with it, and it generally
came out a pretty unpalatable dish. rfi
Once, when the prisoners went away by themselves, into a retired place, in order to boil down
some sea-water, to make salt for their food, Maquina,, discovering what they were about, was so offended, that he spilt their brine, and threw the
kettle into the sea.
This act was not because Maquina wished to
treat John unkindly—on the contrary, he seemed
disposed to show him much kindness, in his barbarous way; but he was so proud, he could not bear
anything like innovation, or like dissatisfaction with
their mode of living.
Once, as a great favor, he permitted John to cook
a salmon; and he and his favorite wife condescended to taste of it; but they did not like it, and turned to that which was done according to their own
The wound on John's head was now getting
well fast. The tobacco having been brought on
shore, allowed him a fresh leaf every day, which
was the only thing applied to the cut, besides the
water with which it was washed, and some loaf- CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA
sugar that the king gave him once, to take out the
proud flesh that had formed.
Sat-sat's mother would often pokit to John's forehead, and giving a piteous look, express a
have it weH; while Maquina seemed also to feel
much compassion for him, and spared him what
labor he could, asking frequently if his head pained
But Thompson, who could not help showing by
his rude manner and unbending spirit, that he could
not well brook his captivity and subjection to Ms,
red masters, was not much in favor with any or
the natives.
To account a little for the rough outside and
the stubborn spirit of Thompson, it may be well to
say a few words about his origin and life.
He was born in Philadelphia; but he ran awrfy
from his friends when a very small boy, and entered as cabin-boy in a ship bound to London.
When he arrived at London, not knowing what to
do with himself, which is often, I suspect, the case m
with boys as disobedient and wayward as he, he
went and engaged himself as an apprentice to a
He was afterwards impressed on board an English man-of-war, and remained about twenty-seven
years in the service of the British navy.
During this time, he had encountered many perils, and engaged in some hot battles. He was a
strong, muscular man, and an expert boxer. He
had been so familiar with danger, it had lost its
dread to him; and whenever his temper was raised,
he was wholly regardless of his own life.
This daring spirit he could not, or would not,
overcome; and it came very near proving fatal to
him, in his new situation.
The Indians, it seems, had taken the lamps from
thev*ship, and placed them in the king'iS room, instead of the pine torcnes with which it was before
lighted; and it fell to Thompson's lot to fill and
light them.
One evening, when John was at the house *)f CAPTIVE OP  NOOTKA.
one of the chiefs, about some work he was doing
for him, word was brought him, that Maquina was
going to kill Thompson.
He dropped his worl?^ and running to see what
was the matter, he found Maquina holdings loaded musket, while he foamed at the mouth with
rage, at Thompson, who stood before him with his
bosom bare, telling him to fire.
He stepped between them, and addressing the
king in the most soothing words and tones, entreated him to spare his father, and at length prevailed on him to let him take the musket, and to sit
When the incensed monarch grew a little cool,
John learned the cause of the offence.
Thompson was about filling the lamps, when a
throng of Indian boys, eager to see how it was
done, gathered round him, pulling his clothes and
annoying him in various ways, till they made him
spill the od.
Upon this, he flew into a passion, and gave the 94
first boy that he could lay his hand on, a blow in
the face that knocked him down.
This happened to be Sat-sat, and the act of striking him the savages regarded as the highest indignity, as the persons of the royal family are held
sacred; and the sensation produced among them,
at seeing their little prince's majesty thus profaned, cannot be conceived of by one who did not
witness it.
When Maquina saw his son's face covered with
blood, he had resolved at once on taking the life
of the offender; and with this intent he had seized
the musket, which, had not John arrived at that
moment, would have laid Thompson breathless
before him.
It was "a, long time before Maquina could be appeased ; and for a great while after this affray, he
would say, now and then, l John, you die—Thompson kill.'
-But the king was not all who was to be pacified
—-the whole tribe felt themselves ill-treated h^the
person of their young prince. They held a council, and it was resolved upon, that Thompson
should be put to death in the most cruel manner.
But John assuring the king that, if he delivered
his father over to be tormented and slain by his
people, he would certainly not survive him, but
would destroy his own life; thus prevailed on him
to forbid their injuring him, in the least, which, he
took good care to inform John, was on his account,
not on his father's.
Sat-sat also assured him of this, afterwards; for
he said, if that blow had come on him from any
one of the natives, it would have caused him who
gave it, to be put to death at once.
Yet, strange as it may seem, the difficulty thus
brought on Thompson, by giving wny tc*anger, did
not teach him much prudence.
He detested the Indians, and he did not try to
conceal  his feelings towards them.     This often
|$rbught him into a squabble with  some one of
; them, and gave great anxiety to his fellow-captive.
OTJI^used to say sometimes that he abhorred the
'IM141 96
II ii! \
I *ra;,«8r
natives so much, he would rather die, than live a
slave among them, after being the brave soldier
that he had been, and fighting the French and the
Spaniards as he had done.
This irritable disposition of Thompson's kept
John in constant fear, lest he should, by some violence or insulting act, forfeit his life, and cause him
to be left to bear the horrors of his bondage alone.
It was now about the middle of May. The climate was so mild, and the season so fine, that the
strawberries, with which the coast abounded, were
fully ripe.
It was a great luxury to the captives to gather
these, and eat them fresh from the spot where they
grew; but the natives would not use them without
a dressing of the nauseous train-oil.
About this time, Thompson, who coulakiot write
himself, importuned John, frequently, to&egin his
journal; an.d told him, as he had no ink, he would
cut nis own finger and let him have blood from it
to write with, whenever he wished to set anything
But John was spared the painful acceptance of so
strange an offer; as he found a kind of wild berry,
the juice of which, being boiled with powdered
charcoal, and filtered through a cloth, made very
good ink-
He prepared a bottle or two of this, and gathering up some of the raven and crow-quills, that
were scattered about the shore, he furnished himself with a clam-shell for an inkstand, and thus
provided, he began his regular diary, about the first
of June.
1M 98
John's conduct towards the natives—Thompson's—his second
insult to a Tyee—description of Nootka—-its buildings—Dex*
ter's images.
John had, from the first of his bondage, resolved
on using a mild, conciliatory deportment towards
the natives; and to set about learning their language as fast as possible, so as to understand them,
and express himself in the safest terms, as this he
considered the surest way to win their favor, and
lessen the pains of captijrity.
But it was far otherwise with Thompson. He
insisted that he did not want to know the language
of so detestable a race, and declared that he would
not defile his mouth with their lingo.
It was not long after his thrust at Sat-sat, that
he got himself and his friend into a similar affair
of danger by striking the son of a chief, for calling
him a white slave.
The Indian lad was eighteen years old; an age,
which, by the custom of the tribe, endowed him
with the honors and the dignity of a Tyee, (chief.)
But John, making use of all his address, suc*-
ceeded a second time in extricating the white offender from the entanglement into which his own
folly and rashness had brought him, and which
made all the tribe clamorous for his death.
It seemed to be Thompson's determination not to
learn wisdom by experience, but rather to ' eat of
the fruit of his own ways, and be filled with his
own devices.'
It may now be well, as We may not find a more
convenient stopping-place in our narrative, to pause
here a little while, and suspend the thread of the
story, to give a short description of the place with
which it is connected, and an account of the customs of the people who inhabited it
The village of Nootka was situated in between %
forty-nine and fifty degrees of norHh latitude, at the
bottom of Friendly Cove, on the north-west side.
The houses, or huts, of which it consisted when
John was a prisoner there, were abo&t twenty in
number, and stood upon the slope of a small hill
that rose gradually up from the border of the
Friendly Cove, formed between the line of coast
on the one side, and a point of land that extends
three leagues into the sound, on the other, is between a quarter and a half of a mile wide, and
from a half to three quarters of a mile long. It is
a small harbor, and affords a good anchorage for
ships coming close to the shore.
The eastern and western shores of this harbor
are abrupt and rugged, with trees growing close to
the water's edge; but at the bottom of the cove, to
the north-west, there is a fine sandy beach, the
same on which I have described the natives as
sitting with their guns up, to hail their visitors
with a salute. CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
From the village there stretches off to the north
and north-east, a strip of plain, the soil of which
is soft and rich; but it soon terminates at the sea-
coast, that is lined with reefs of rocks that make it
impossible for vessels to approach the shore. The
coast in the neighborhood of Nootka is rather low,
and not much diversified with hills and dales. It
abounds with fine clear streams of sweet water,
and the soil is good, and overspread with noble
forests of pine, spruce, beech, and other trees.
A few years previous to the time of our story,
the Spaniards, thinking the hill where the village
of Nootka stood, would afford them a fine situation
for a garrison, took possession of it, driving the
Indians back several miles into the woods, and
demolishing their houses.
But when the Spanish garrison was expelled by
the English, the Indians returned with great joy to
their favorite spot, and rebuilt their town.
When John was there, the foundation of the
Spanish governor's house was still visible, and
there were several kinds of European plants, such 102
as peas, turnips, and onions, that had scattered
themselves about in the soil and were growing,
though in a stinted manner, without cultivation.
The houses at Nootka, which I have already
said, were about twenty in number, were of various sizes, according to the rank of the Tyees who
lived in them, as each house contained several
families, over whom the chief who occupied it with
them, was considered the rightful lord.
Each family held their little allotment in the
house, separate from the other parts; and each
house was large enough to accommodate a great
many people—none being too small for two families.
These buildings, of which Maquina's was the
largest, stood nearly in a direct line, thus forming
by one range, the little village on the hill's side.
The manner in which the Nootkans built, was
as follows: and it does not seem quite so difficult
as getting the materials ready for use, which must in
their way, and with their means, have been a very
laborious process. CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
When a building was to oe erected, and the preparations were made, the first step was to set two
large posts so far into the ground as to make them
sure to stand, and at such a distance from each
other, as to comprise the length of the house—the
top of each post being hollowed out, so as to let the
end of a spar fit in and remain secure.
An immensely large and long spar was then laid
upon them to form the ridgepole of the house; but
if the length of the house required it, two additional posts were set up, so as to admit of the ridgepole,
being formed of two spars, which was not un-
frequently the case, as the houses were some of
them very long. ^
The king's house was one hundred feet long, and
the single spar that passed from end to end of it,
measured eight feet four inches in circumference.
The corner posts were to be set up next, marking the width of the house; but they were shorter
than those on which the ridgepole rested, so as to
have another spar placed on each side of the first, tw
and a little lower, to give a slant to the roof of the
The spars that were to come under the eaves of
the building, were made flat on the upper side, with
a little rising edge left on the outer part, to prevent
the planks, of which the covering of the house was
to be made, from sliding off.
When these side spars were laid on the posts, the
builders proceeded to laying on the roof. The
planks of which this was formed, were heavy, with
a broad feather-edge so as to lap; and placed one
end on the ridgepole, the other on the side beam,
closely lapped along, till one coat of the roof was
Another coat of planks was laid on so as to jut
over the eaves, or, beyond the ends of the first laying, in a way to exclude the rain entirely.
These were only fastened on by large rocks that
were laid upon them; but they were often so insecure as to oblige the men to go out and sit upon the
roofs of their houses, in a violent storm, to keep
them from being blown away.
It seems to be reversing the common order of
things, to be sure, for a man to have to shelter, or
protect his house, instead'of receiving protection
from it in a storm; but so it was with these poor,
uncivilized, untutored savages, who knew no better way of fastening their buildings together.
A missionary among the Sandwich Islands, informs us that some of the natives set so high a
value on common nails, that when they have obtained a few from some vessel, they have been
known to plant them, in order to have a tree come
up and bear nails, not knowing how else they could
be produced.
But the Nootkans had no nails to spring up from
their grounds, and if, in any other way, they had
been furnished with enough for their buildings, it i&
doubtful whether they would have condescended
to use them, so proud and tenacious were they of
their own way in everything.
To form the side of the house, a double row of
stancheons was set up, as high as the eaves, the
distance of each pair from the other/about as long
t'.;f.i 106
as the planks to be used, and the stakes of each
couple, just far enough apart to admit the width of
the plank.
The planks were then slidden in between them,
resting one upon the edge of the other, till the side
of the building was sealed up.
There was but one entrance to th& house, and
this commonly at the end; though that of Maquina's house was in the middle of the side.
They had no chimneys, or fire-places, but a few
stones put together to build the fire on, and a board
in the roof above it, so fixed as to be shoved aside,
whenever they made a fire, and wanted to let the
smoke out.
Through the middle of the building, there runs
along from end to end, a passage about eight feet
wide, on each side of which lived numerous families, without any partition to mark their limits,
but all having their separate fire-places, furniture, &e.
The earth formed the only floor of these odd
habitations, and the only bed of their occupants, CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
except a piece of bark matting which they spread
down, and upon which they laid themselves to rest,
with only their clothing thrown over them for a covering.
The ridgepole of the king's house was painted
in alternate red and black rings, and the tops of
the posts were rudely carved and painted so as to
represent the heads of men of an enormous size.
This was done by way of embellishment to the
palace, and to distinguish the royal abode from
that of a subject.
A taste and a whim similar to that of the Indian
monarch, seems to have actuated the late noted
Timothy, (alias Lord,) Dexter, who, some thirty
years ago, or thereabouts, caused to be placed over
the arched door-way, and in the front yard of his
spacious house in Newburyport, Massachusetts,
numerous carved and painted images, clothed in
military, or other professional attire, that stood up
as large as life, on double rows of high pillars, each
labeled with a name, such as l Washington,' l Hancock,1 l Adams,7 &c.  109
How "they made boards at Nootka—their furniture—their manner of eating-*Hheir feasts—how they made cloth—their dress.
The manner in which the Nootkans prepared
their planks for building, was by splitting them out
from large pine logs, which they did with hard
wooden wedges, and then reducing them to a proper
-thickness by working on them with their chisels*
This was a labor that required much time and
patience, and the Indians must have obtained, not
only their food, but also their dwellings, by ! the
sweat of the brow.'
Their houses were, none of them, more than ten
feet high, at the ridgepole, but, broad and long as
they were, they must have cost many a hard day's
work, with their boards procured by so slow and
toilsome a process.
John found that the furniture of one of these
wmn 110
houses consisted neither in pieces of porcelain, alabaster, marble, polished mahogany, or gilt-work;
and that the royal establishment did not differ from
the others in its household gear.
All that these people seemed to want was just
enough for use; and for this, very little sufficed.
They had boxes in which to keep their clothes,
furs, and other articles which they wished to preserve
most carefully, formed of pine, and very smooth,
with covers to shut closely over and fastened on by
flexile twigs, instead of hinges and locks.
Sometimes these boxes were ornamented with
rows of small white shells, that were brought up
from the sea in so curious a way, that I shall hereafter describe jjfc^
With baskets for theix^dried fish, and other purposes, and bags of the bark matting, of which they
also had a patch to sleep upon, the Indians had
tubs of an oblong square, and of various sizes,
from six feet by four, down to" a very small measure.
These tubs they used, too, for keeping their soft
provisions, for cooking, and many other uses.
They were formed by the chisel from square
Their dishes were only large trays, formed in a
similar manner, and about three feet long, one
wide, and eight inches deep.
Around one of these trays, filled with whatever
their meal happened to consist of, whether of stewed salmon, whale-blubber, herring-spawn, or something else as inviting, from four to six persons
generally seated themselves, on the ground, with
their legs crossed and bent under them, to partake
of the repast.
They used nothing but their hands in eating,
unless the dish chanced to be a soup, or swimming
with oil; in which case, each resorted to a clamshell as a vehicle to convey to his mouth, the aliment that might otherwise have slipped through
his fingersV
Their food consisted chiefly of fish of various
kinds, clams, muscles, and a variety of wild berries, all of which, even to the delicate strawberries
<a 112
and raspberries, iad &> take stressing of train-oil,
before they were eaten.
One way which the Nootkans had to cook a fish
was this: They put into the largest *ub, water
enough to make their broth, and neating stones
very hot, put them into the wate*f!ali$ boiled.
Then they cut off the head, tail, and fins of a
salmon, and laid the fish in the water which was
kept boiling by the stones from the fire, 4all the
whole become tl$ickened by the decomposed sal-
mo%; and then it was taken out to be eaten, in a
sortfof unseasoned soup. This was with them a
favorite mess.
Another mode of their cooking was by steam.
This, was done by building a large fire, upon which
a layer of stones was placed, which becoming well
heated through, were overspread with green leaves
and pine boughs. Upon these the fish, muscles,
clams, &c., were put and covered closely with a
mat, to confine the steam, till the cooking was
In this way, the prisoners found the clams and CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
muscles were well done and tasted very good, and
the salmon was better than that done after the
other fashion. gjt:
They seldom cooked their food at Nootka in any
other than these two ways, though they sometimes
roasted herring and sprats, by spitting them on a
stick which they stuck into the ground, and built a
fire round it. The roe of salmon they supported
over the fire between the ends of two split pieces
of pine, till it was roasted.
At their meals, the king and chiefs had separate
trays, from which no one except the queen, or principal wife of the chief, was allowed to eat.
But whenever the king or one of the chiefs wished to confer a great mark of favor on one of the
people, he would call him to hrm and give him
some choice morsel from his tray.
The slaves, of which there were many, in the
village that had been captured from other tribes, in
time of war, fared as well as their masters, eating
at the same time, and of Jhe same food, but only
feeding from separate trays.
ii 114
Whenever a feast, or a party, was given by a
king or a chief, a master of ceremonies was chosen,
who conducted the whole with great decorum and
He receivefl the guests as they entered the house,
and pointed out to each his place with much exactness and perfect order, as rank and standing were
strictly attended to on such occasions, and no one
was allowed to take a seat without regard to these.
This etiquette, as well as many other usages of
these people concerning their dress and entertainments, one might almost view as a prophetical burlesque upon the refined ways of civilized life at a
more modern date.
Invitations to these feasts were often given to all
the people of the village; and in making preparations for it, a great quantity of food was cooked up
to waste. Excessive eating was a condition to be
complied with at one of these parties.
He who gormandized the most was considered
as enjoying the entertainment most highly, while
the host felt that the height of his felicity depended
on the height of the heaps of stewed fish, herring-
s,pawn, blubber, clams, (fee, that he shou;^ set before his guests.
It was the custom, when one of these entertainments was over, for each one of the company to
convey to his own house, all the food that remained
in his tray, after he had eaten what he could. The
king and the chiefs gave the contents of their trays
to their slaves, to be carried home for them; but the
others took each his portion of the remains of the
feas^ and managed to get home with it as well as
he could.
John and his companion made pretty awkward
work at first, in this kind of business; and they
felt very oddly carrying home, at arms-length, the
boiled fish and other food that they had received
where they visited.
But they soon became accustomed to it, and
were very glad of what they could get in this way.
The manner in which these Indians prepared the
bark of trees, of which they made their cloth,
mats, baskets, &c., was to soak it first, a fortnight, ■[-;*;
and then beat it between a block fixed for the purpose, and an instrument of bone, or hard wood, till
all the brittle, crumbly part was separated from the
fine fibrous parts, and left it soft and flexible, in
fine, long threads, quite even and delicate.
These threads they parceled out, rolling each
bunch under the hand till it became closely combined in a little cord, and when a sufficient number
of these cords were made, they were laid close together, and a thread strong enough to hold them
fast to each other, interwoven among them, somewhat in the way that our rush and cane window-
shades are made.
This web formed the cloth of which the common
people' at Nootka made their dresses, and many
other articles.
If they wished to have their cloth variegated,
they stahied the threads with the juice of berries,
or something else, before they were woven.
Some of the dresses were painted with red ochre,
the better to keep out the rain.
One garment generally constituted the dress, and CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA.
this was a sort of cloak or mantle, which they called kutsack—the form I have before described.
The bottoms of some of these dresses were
painted, and some ornamented with a border of
sea-otter skin, or a kind of gray cloth made of the
hair of some animal which was obtained from the
tribes farther at the south.
In the winter, they wore an additional garment*
when they went out This was a sojrt of hood,
with a place so formed as to admit the head; and
large enough to come down behind over the shoulders; and before, over the breast. It was trimmed
all round with a. border of fur.
The chiefs had kutsacks of sea-otter skin; but
these were only worn on great occasions. *■ They
had also cloaks of the skin of a large animal, which
was brought to them by the Wickanninish tribe.
This skin was so dressed as to be left in its perfect form, but with all the hair taken off in a way
that showed the skin white and soft as deer-skin,
but twice as thick.
When the skin was dressed, they painted it with
r* 118
figures of various kinds, representing human heads,
moons, fishes, canoes, and many other devices.
They called the name of this skin Metamelth,
It was apparently from an animal of the moose
The Indians prized it, or a dress of it, very highly ?
and considered it too precious to be put on, except
when they wanted to make the greatest display; it
was, therefore, considered as the war-dress of a
king or chief.
Strips of this skin were cut and painted for girdles, borders for their cloaks, and bracelets for their
wrists and ankles.
The dress of the females differed very little frbm
that of the men. The chief dissimilarity between
them was, that the kutsack of the female was so
long as to reach the feet, and fastened close under
the chin; while that of the men was tied loosely
on one shoulder, and reached only below the knee.
When they Went -out on any excursion, particularly when whaling was the object, they Wore a
sort of cap, made of their cloth, in the form of a Pf
sugar-loaf, with the point taken off, so as to make
the top flat.
A strip of the metamelth skin, ornamented with
rows of small white shells, was attached to it as a
The caps of the common people were painted
red; but those of the chiefs were diversified with
various colors. The one worn by the king, the
crown imperial, was larger than the others, and on
the top, had an ornament in form of an urn, to
finish it off.
In the front was painted a canoe, with a har-
pooner, in the prow, aiming, and ready to strike at
a whale. The other parts of the cap were laid in
plaits of alternate black and white. They called
this cap, Seeya-pocks.
mm fi
Description of the Nootkans—their habit of painting ornaments-
manner of fishing for Ife-maw—continuation of remarks on
their personal decorations 4fc.—nose jewels.
The personal appearance of the Indians of Nootka Was found by our young hero more agreeable to
the eye than that of any other tribes that he saw.
They were well formed, straight, robust and
strong. The greatest defect in their proportions,
was in their legs and feet, and this seemed rather the
work of habit than of nature; as it arose probably
from their mode of sitting upon the feet, with the
legs bent under them, which gave them a heavy,
clumsy look.
When not disguised by paint, their faces, of a
coppery hue, and' an oval form, were fine and intelligent.
Their eyeSj bright and black, were rather small;— CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
the nose neither flat nor too prominent;—their lips
thin and the teeth very sound and white. Their
hair was long, black and coarse. Their beards
were all plucked out by the roots, bearing no sign
of one, but making the faces smooth, among all the
men but the king, who had let his grow uncut,
upon the upper lip, in a mustachio, as a mark of
royal dignity and distinction.
The stature of the men was generally about five
feet, and from six to eight inches in height. But
one man of dwarfish growth, being the only instance of the kind that John saw, was thirty years
old, and only three feet, three inches high. He
was, however, well proportioned, and in good health.
The women were much lighter in their complexions than the men; many of them not being darker
than the women in some parts of the South of Europe. They were very modest in their deportaent,
and many of them quite beautiful. Their hair
was much finer than that of the men, and they
took great priie in it.
Maquina's favorite wife, the mother of Sat-sat, 122
was a Wickanninish princess, and a woman whom
John thought, would have been called handsome in
any country. She was tall and majestic in her
figure, of quite a light complexion; her features were
finely formed, and her eyes soft and languishing.
The women were much neater in their habits
and about their persons than the men; and one
way hi which their dress differs, which I forgot to
mention before, is, that the former had sleeves to
their kutsacks, that were' large and loose, and
reached to the elbows.
The men were very fond of painting their faces
and limbs, and tiaey would often spend much time
in performing this favorite business of the toilette.
And, after great patience in laying on the paint, hi
such colors and figures as they had chosen, if the
face thus coated did not happen to suit its possessor, he would wash it all clean, and begin.his daubing anew.
"3Jhe women used very little painjt, only drawing
a black, curved line over each eyebrow, and a
bright red streak from each corner of the mouth, •
towards the ear; bin>'<they were very fond of ornaments, such as ear rings, finger rings, necklaces,
bracelets, nose jewels, <fec.
Many of these ornaments were made of brass
and copper; but the wives of the king and chiefs
had their nose jewel* and necklaces of a small
white shell, that formed a kind of bead, and when
strung in rows, it looked very beautiful.
This shell which they called Ife-maw, they valued
very highly. It was about as large round as a
goose quill; and three inches long; of a cylindrical
form, a little curved, and tapering gradually to a
point at the ends, which were broken off by the natives, so as to admit of its being run on a string.
It was of a polished smoothness and white as snow,
and formed a very handsome ornament.
The ife^maw formed a sort of money among the
native^ and five fathoms of it, strung on threads
of bark, was the price of a slave, which they held
aewery valuable property.
It was brought to Nootka principally, by other
tribes, as very little«f it could beibund there; but
il'i S-
it was taken in great abundance, though with much
labor and difficulty, from among the reefs of rocks
on the coast about forty miles beyond.
The ife-maw fisher went to his work in the following way: A number of sharp pine pegs being fastened in the end of a piece of plank, so as to form
a set of teeth, he fastened on the plank, a stone or
some other weighty matter, so as to carry it down
in the water. Then he fastened the plank to one
end of a pole, to the other end of which he tied a
fine of such a length that he could let it down, or
take it up at wh%
Provided with this odd sort of a machine the
Indian went out in his canoe, skimming round the
reefs where he thought the shells grew.
He let down his plank, as if sounding, till it touched the bottom, and then lifting it and letting it fall
several times, would at length, bring it up with the
shells fastened on the ends of the pegs.
j But the ife-maw fisher earned his treasures by
much toil, for he would often work a great while
to bring up a few shells, as there would frequent- CAPTITE OF  NOOTKA
ly come up, not more than two or three at a
In addition to painting their faces, sometimes,
one half red, and the other "black, and sometimes
all over in small checks, the men of Nootka had
another way of dressing them, that was certainly
very showy, to say the least; but the privilege of
doing this was not allowed to any but the chiefs.
After spreading the face all over with bear's oil,
they strewed it with a fine, black, shining powder,
till it quite covered it, and sticking to the oil, sparkled in the sun, and glittered like silver.
When people are insincere, or unequal in their
spirits, or behavior, we often hear it figuratively
said of them, that they have two faces. But these
whimsical Indians had, literally, many faces, or
rather, many dresses 4br the face, and they changed
them, as capriciously as a fashionable belle will
change her ball-dress.
This shining powder, which the Nootkans valued very highly, they called pelpelth. It was
brought to them in bags, by one of the tribes at the ttklf
North, who gathered it among the rocfes, and sold
it at a high price.
From this tribe which bear the name of Newche-
mass, they obtained also their finest paints.
Though the natives employed so much paint
about their persons, as <yt was put on with oil, their
habit of going into the sea water every day, to
bathe, did not injure it much, if any; and whenever they wanted to remove the paint, they would
go to a place where there was fresh^ water, and
scrub themselves with sand and rushes.
When going to a festival, or on any great occasion, the Indians spent much time, not only in preparing their faces, but also in dressing the head,
which was done in the following way:
The hair, being liberally oiled, was drawn up,
smooth and carefuljy, on the top of the head, and
fastened in a tuft, with a large green l$jpanch of
spruce or pine, with all the leaves on, confined in it,
and touched with parpen tine or gum, so as to make
the white down with which it T^as to be powdered,
Then, the head and branch were carefully orna-
mented by a semi-covering of the said white down,
which was obtained from the eagles that inhabited
the coast in great numbers.
This must have been a fanciful, and somewhat
$|steful head-dress; if not as costly as a whole bird
of Paradise, worn by a fashionable lady, it was certainly not a more odd or strange imagination for
head gear; and if a beautiful, fair face had been
beneath it, it might have had quite an effect.
The white down of the eagle, and the fresh, green
branch from the forest, seemed to be quite tastefully
chosen, and they might have set well above the
precty face of a white lady, who in giving up her
bird, with its sweeping trail, to perch upon the
head of the Indian, above his painted or shining,
plaistered face, would have made no bad exchange,
and put things mote in keeping.
Or, if a lady would even set out the tree first in
her head, and then let the bird light upon it, it
would seem more like nature; and nature appears
to be the object when one carries an entire fowl 128
m law
about upon the uppermost part of the person, however much art may be employed in placing and
displaying the beautiful specimen of the workmanship of its Maker.
The men as well as the women of Nootka, wore
bracelets of painted leather and copper, and nose
jewels of various materials, and formed in divers
shapes ; such as hearts, diamonds, &c.
The chiefs, beside the brass and copper ornaments for the nose, had also a bright bluish-colored shell, of a twisted, conical form, and about
half an inch long, which they wore suspended by a
wire, or a thread, that went through the gristle of
the nose, in a hole that, made in infancy for the
purpose, was kept open by means of a wooden pin,
and enlarged till it became of the size of the pipe
stem, in diameter.
The common people, who could not afford to
wear a more expensive ornament, had, many of
them, smooth sticks of wood, polished for the purpose, which, passing through the perforated place, CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
came out on each side, several inches beyond the
Thompson used to call the wearers of these
strange ornaments, ' Sprit-sail-yard fellows;' and
as he saw one of them coming towards him, with
an air of importance which seemed to him proportionate to the length of the stick, he would hold up
his hand so th%t the stick should come violently
against it in passing, to the no small discomfort of
its wearer's nose. This, he said, he did, \ in order
to brace them up a little to the breeze.'
llff 130
Of the religion—the government—certain offices—the disposition of the natives—their oratory—their diseases, cures, Sfc.—
the climate.
Before our narrative is resumed, it may be well
to say something concerning the religion, government, &c. of the people whom it concerns.
John found that the Nootka Indians had a belief
in a Supreme Being, whom they called Quahootze;
and who, they said, was one great Tyee, the greatest of all kings.
They said he lived in the sky;—that he gave
them all their fish, and could withhold it or take it
from them when he pleased.
They usually went alone into a retired place in
the woods, or into the water, to worship, and offer
up their prayers. Whenever they bathed, they*
addressed a prayer, in a few words, to God, entreating him to preserve their health and to bless their
•a f tV.    .   "
labors while fishing, to give them success in whaling, war, and other enterprises.
Whenever they were going to war, or a whaling,
their prayers always seemed to be offered with
more fervor and energy, than at any other time.
When they went into the woods for devotional
purposes, they often retired to the distance of a
mile or two; and this secrecy, Jjhn sometimes suspected, arose from their WLh to address God on
account of some family or private quarrel, in such
a way, or with such requests, as they wanted to
keep from all human ears.
He once found a woman in the forest, two miles
from the village, kneeling, with her eyes closed
and her face turned upward, towards heaven, uttering in a lamentable tone, a prayer, in which she repeated with great fervor, Wocash Ah-Welth ? (good
Lord.) He came close to her, but she seemed wrapped in her devotions*, and insensible to every thing
around her.
The women frequently retired in this way; and
when they returned to the village, their sileneeand 132
melancholy looks told on what their minds had
been employed.
When the Nootkans were going to war with
another tribe, they passed much time in the water,
where they scrubbed themselves from head to foot,
with bushes and briers till they were covered with
blood, while all the time they repeated a prayer,
that may be translated thus:
' Great God ! let me live—not be sick—find the
enemy—not fear him—find him asleep, and kill a
great many many of him.'
Independent of this scratching ceremony, which
was done by way of hardening them for war, the
idea of their going into the sea to worship God,
had a good deal of beauty and sublimity in it. It
was certainly a noble temple that they chose, in
this, as well as in the forest, which was also a
grand sanctuary with many firm piHars, beautiful
curtains, and filled with the sounds of music from
the voices of the birds and the sweeping of the
The parents of twin children, the natives consid-
ered as Being fiivored with some peculiar notice
and with special communication from Quahootze,
and their persons were held as too sacred to mingle
with others at their festivals, or to do any labor
for two years.
During this time, they lived secluded lives, being
provided with food by the others; and wearing no
ornaments, they kept away from all amusements,
and became recluse in everything.
The father wore around his head a red fillet as a
sign of solemnity, and always appeared serious and
thoughtful. He became a kind of priesS, and went
daily to the mountain with a chief's rattle in his
hand, to pray Quahootze to bring fish into their
waters, and to sing and make music to him with
the rattle.
He never went out, except on such an errand as
mis, and to sing and perform religious rites and
ceremonies over the sick.
The government of the Nootka Indians was
vested in a hereditary king, and descended to his 134
eldest male heir. But in case of his dying without
a son, it went to his brother.
The king had no legal right over the property of
his subjects, nor did it appear that he expected
them to contribute to his support any more than to
that of each other.
But he was the head of their councils, and their
leader in war, in the management of which, his
power was absolute.
The right of holding slaves was shared between
him and the chiefs, but the subject did not possess
this privilege. The slaves were people taken in
war, from other tribes, and considered the king's
property, which he divided, according to his own
judgment, among the chiefs, and with due regard
to their rank and merits.
At the age of seventeen, the eldest son of a chief
was considered a chief himself; and whenever a
father, who was a chief, made a present, it was
always done in the name of his eldest son.
The   chiefs   frequently purchased   their wives
when they were not more than eight or nine years
old, to prevent their being engaged to others; but
they remained with their parents till sixteen, or
Among themselves, the Nootkans seemed pacific
and inoffensive, and manifested naturally good
tempers. Quarrels seldom occurred between any
of them.
But if they happened to get a little offended, they
had a way of seeming terribly enraged, which appeared to be rather a matter of fashion than of
This they did by kicking, spitting, foaming at
the mouth, and stamping with great fury.
An exhibition of this sort was made more by
custom, and for effect, than for any feelings of
malignity; and the same show of conduct was
carried on in their assemblages for public speeches,
where, he who raved and stamped with the most
violence, and went through the greatest variety of
contortions, was considered the greatest orator.
The people of Nootka were very healthy, and
■j1* W   !i
:         ■
seldom had any disease among them, but the cholic,
which they commonly cured by rubbing the bowels
of the patient, till the pain was allayed.
They cured the rheumatism by scarifying the
part affected; and their only remedy for a wound
was, to wash it in salt Water, and bind it up with
a piece of bark, or cloth.
They were very skilful in the management 01
dislocated or fractured limbs, and when they were
set and properly dressed, they took great care to
have them supported by blocks, in a right position,
and they had generally perfect success in performing the cure.
In cases of sickness, while those who performed
the office of physician and nurse, were busy in
their respective ways, the holy man, or conjuror,
was employed in going through certain strange
gestures, repeating his words of wisdom, singing
and blowing, to blow off the evil spirit. If it was
a case of cholic, the patient, after going through the
rubhing, was wrapped in a bear skin, to produce
perspiration. CAPTIVE  OF NOOTKA.
With such treatment the sick generally recovered, and a death among them, where the population
was about fifteen hundred, was a thing of rare
occurrence. The natives commonly lived to be
very old.
The climate at Nootka, and the neighboring region, was found by our adventurers, to be very
mild. The spring, summer and autumn were uncommonly delightful^ and the winter, which did
not set m till the last of December, was short, and
not at all severe. Water seldom froze to a depth of
more than three inches, and the snow, in its greatest fall, was not more than four inches deep.
But what did not fall in snow, did in rain; for it
frequently rained during the winter months, five or
six days in succession.
:-   '     i &
Population of Nootka—making of canoes—pursuit of sea-otters
—description of one—the Indian's fish-hook and fishing—-
Maquina's household—instruments of music. «
I have stated that the inhabitants of Nootka
were about fifteen hundred, and the buildings were
about twenty in number.
But, besides the Nootka tribe, there was a
small tribe whom they had conquered and made
subject to them, and who inhabited a cluster
of small houses, that stood near the other twenty
of the village.
This tribe was called Klahars. They lived
by themselves, but had no chiefs of their own,
being wholly under Maquina's government.
I dare say, my young reader, that you are
now growing impatient to have me resume the CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA. 139
thread of my story, and that you think 1 have
made a very long digression from it.
And so I have, but it has enabled you to
understand the better, what sort of a place John
was in, what kind of people he was among, and
how many odd ways and whims he had to
conform to, in his new condition, where he had
literally ' new lords andtnew laws.'
You can now imagine  just how one of  the
Indians looked when dressed for an excursion, or,
decked out for a feast.
You now want to be told how they made their-
canoes; for they were things of so much importance that we shall often make mention of them.
The first step towards this work, was to fell a
tree, by working round it with the chisel, which
was a very ilow and laborious business, especially
when they wanted a canoe of the largest kind,
for they made them of all sizes, from that which-
would contain only one man, up to one that would
hold forty.
The largest were the war canoes.    It took three
•? ii
m m
Indians about a day, to fell a tree, which being
done, they took of the trunk, the length they
wanted, and then dug it out with their chisels
inside, and fashioned it to their minds on the outside.
They then put light combustibles round, and
in it, and made a blaze, which took off all the
loose splinters, and left it quite black. - The next
step was to rub it hard alfover, with a piece of
matting, till it became quite smooth and polished.
The inside was then painted red, with red ochre,
and the figure of a bird, such as a duck or some
other water-fowl formed of separate pieces of
wood and painted, and then divided and fastened
on, the head part on the prow, and the tail, on the
stern of the canoe.
The war-canoes were painted' on the outside,
with white chalk, in figures representing men's
heads, moons, eagles, whales, &c.
The others were ornamented with double rows of
white shells, that formed a kind of bead-work all
round them, and had a very pretty effect as they CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA
were skimming along over the surface of the waters, looking like things half bird, half fish.
The Indians used the paddle with great dexterity, and gliding swiftly over the waves, kept
time to its stroke by some wild musical strains.
They always had a song for every occasion, which
varied according to the nature of the business of
the excursion.
John used frequently to go out with them in
these light skimmers of the sea; and we will now
imagine him with a company of natives dressed
as they have been described, and topped off with
their sugar-loaf caps, going out in pursuit of the
This animal was to John a very beautiful sight
as it sported round the canoes, and would dive
suddenly under water, and come out some where at
a distance, as if playing at bo-peep.
He found the length of the otter to be about
six feet from the head to the tip of the tail. It was
of a beautiful glossy black all over except a white
stripe on the top of the head, and a little tip of it 142
on the end of the tail, which tapered off to a point;
but it was thick and bushy near the body.
As the otter swam along, with its head entirely above water, having between its sharp, upright
ears a tuft of long hair that stood erect, and made
its head look as if it had three short horns, John
thought he had never seen a more beautiful object.
The skin of this creature was considered very
valuable by the natives. The young sea-otters
were so exceedingly small, that when John first
saw them he was puzzled to make out what they
could be,
A tror>p of them came swimming beside or
round the old one, and were not larger than rats,
and our hero, after some time, discovered it to
be a mother with her family of baby otters, that
followed her through the waves as the chickens follow the hen over the field.
The fish-hook used by the natives when John
wont among them, was formed by a sharp-bearded
piece of bone inserted in a piece of wood, and
bound in by a string of whale-sinew; but when CAPTIVE  OF NOOTKA.
they found how much faster they could take the
fish with the iron hooks that he made, they were,
for once, willing to give up their own old way, and
use the new-fashioned hook.
In fishing for salmon, they baited the hook with a
sprat, and fastening the line to the end of the paddle with which they sped their canoe, let it down,
and kept it in motion as if alive, under the water,
till the salmon snapped at it and was caught by
the hook.
In taking the whale they were very dexterous.
To kill him, they struck at him with a kind of
javelin or harpoon of their own invention, and made
of wood, bone, shell, and whale sinew.
The whale was considered by them as the royal
mark, and no person, however near he might be,
was permitted to strike at him, till the king's %ar-
poon had first drawn blood. It was held as a
sacrilegious deed for a common person to strike the
king's fish before his majesty and the chiefs had
killed him.
I do not know exactly how large a number of 144
people comprised the family in which our friends
.John and Thompson had to live; but the slaves
alone, of Maquina's household, were about fifty,
including male and female, some of which were
purchased from other tribes, and some were taken
in war.
I have alluded to the music of the Nootkans,
but not particularly. Their tunes were soft and
plaintive, and very harmonious.
When they sang, their voices were 'accompanied
by some rude kind of instrument. Their drum, I
think, I have described. The noise it made was
similar to that of the empty cask when the head is
drummed on, and very loud.
The rattle and pipe, or whistle, were the king's
instruments, and only used by him and the chiefs,^
or some honorable personage.
The rattle was formed of a piece of seal-skin, in
the shape of a fish, and painted red. The inside
contained small pebbles enough to make the music,
and it had a handle by which it was held and
I suspect it was as noisy a fish as ever had a
being, and that it was longer in motion than any
other j fish out of water.'
The whistle was made of a short piece of the
leg-bone of a deer; and sent forth a sprightly,
shrill sound. Thus, a part of the animal's leg kept
going, when the rest of him had long been, as the
chemist would say, l decomposed;' and, like the
farmer's boy that the poet describes, it i whistled as
it went, for want of thought.'
The Nootkans were, on the whole, a queer set of
people; and they might truly be said to have
' sought out many inventions,' though some of
these were not the wisest in the world.
Another sort of instrument that they used, was a
sort of castanet, formed of cockle-shells, tied together and shaken to a tune which the musician sung.
This, I think, was quite a pretty fancy; and I
suspect it originated in the head of some poetical
10 146
Different tribes of natives—some of their customs—dressing for
a visit—manner of making a bargain—lodging of the visiters—their arms.   I
So many different tribes of natives came to visit
those of Nootka, that our captives had an opportunity of observing a great variety of manners and
looks, some of which were disgusting, some terrific,
and others very amusing.
The Wickanninish was the tribe to which Y-ya-
tinkloyno, the mother of Sat-sat, and Maquina's
favorite Arcomah, or queen, belonged. She was
the daughter of their king.
They lived at the no#th, about two hundred
miles from Nootka, and had among them, from six
to seven hundred warriors. In their persons, they
were robust, and in their spirit, very courageous.
They had broad faces, but heads that, from their CAPTIVE OF  NOOTKA,
manner of pressing and binding them when young,
rose high, somewhat in the sugar-loaf form. They
often visited Nootka, and a close friendship subsisted between the two nations.
The Kla-iz-zarts belonged about three hundred miles to the south, and were a numerous
and powerful tribe, having nearly a thousand warriors.
They were more neatly dressed, were more
pleasing and mild in their manners, and appeared
more civilized than any other tribe. They were
sprightly, and affable, and much celebrated for
their singing and dancing.
Their canoes were more finely finished and
ornamented, and all their workmanship manifested
greater skill than appeared in any other tribe.
Their complexions were fairer than those of
Nootka, their noses not so prominent, and their
eyes smaller. Their heads were flattened on the
top, as if pressed by a weight; and their stature
was rather shorter than that of the Nbotkans.
They had  one practice not followed by any 148
other tribe; it was that of plucking out, not only
their beards, but their eyebrows also, so as not to
leave a sign of it remaining.
They manifested more taste and skill, than any
others, in decorating and painting their persons,
and some of them would have a dozen holes in
their ears, through which they passed little strings
of beads about two inches long, and of various
These people were great whalers, and very expert in taking the sea-otter, the metamelth, and the
beaver. Of the hair of the latter, and that of the
tiger-cat, they manufactured a handsome kind of
gray cloth.
The Eskquates were a tribe about as large as
the Wickanninish, and were tributary to Maquina.
The Aitizzarts were a smaller tribe, who were
also tributary to Nootka, and greatly resembled its
inhabitants in their appearance and practices.
They lived about forty miles up the sound.
Farther to the northward were the Cayuquets, a
more numerous tribe than the Nootkans, by whom CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA
they were considered such bad warriors, and so deficient in courage, that they said they had little
hearts, like those of birds.
John saw a great many tribes of which I shall
not make particular mention; but of all that he
saw, the most ugly and frightful looking, were the
Newchemasa^ who lived at a great distance inland.
Their complexions were darker, their hair coarser,
and their stature shorter than those of any others;
and they were extremely squalid about their persons.
Their beards grew long like a Jew's : their dress
was a kutsack of wolf skin, with tails hanging
from top to bottom of the garment. Sometimes,
tbey wore a mantle of cloth. Their hair was left
to hang down loose behind; but that on the other
parts of the head was brought round the forehead
like a fillet, and confined by a strip of cloth, ornamented with rows of shells.
Their weapons- were the Cheetoolth, or war club,
mm 150
formed of whale bone, daggers, and bows and arrows, and a bone or copper spear.
The merchandise they brought to trade with,
was the shining black mineral which I have
spoken of by the name of pelpelth, which spaikled
on the Indian faces; some wolf skins, dried salmon,
the roe of fish, red paint, clams, and a coarse
As they had to come a great distance, and a part
of it by land, they used to make longer visits at
Nootka, than any other tiibe, in order to recover
from their fatigue. On these occasions, they
joined in the amusements and taught their own
songs, &c. to the Nootkians.
The things which other tribes brought for sale,
or for presents, were principally train-oil, whale or
seal blubber, fish of various kinds, clams, muscles,
a kind Of fruit called yama, that was pressed and
dried, cloth, otter skins and slaves.
They also brought the Ife-maw, wild ducks, and
a very pleasant kind of root, called Quanoose.
This root seemed to take the place of the potato. CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA
It was pear-shaped, and about as large as a small
onion. It was brought in baskets, all ready cooked
by steam, and fit for eating, and was sweet, mealy,
and pleasant to the taste.
But the depraved taste of the natives would not
be satisfied, even with this delicious root, without
the dressing of train-oil to make it go down well.
Many of these things were offered to Maquina
as tributary gifts in token of his superiority; but
the cunning ones who brought them usually took
good care to get full their worth, and sometimes
more, in presents from the king and his people.
When a company of visitors came, there was always a great feast made for them, and tub after
tub was filled with blubber, roe, salmon, &c. of
which all the men, women and children of the village were invited to partake.
As they had no intoxicating liquors, aiid knew
no way of making any, their intemperance on these
occasions was shown by inordinate eating, their
drink being only water.
The visitors, when thev got within a few miles 152
of the village, used to stop under the lee of some
high rock, and attend to the toilette. Here they
dressed themselves for the party, in all their best
attire, and put on their best faces, by painting,
oiling, powdering, &e.
They did as many others do, when going to a
party; they put on all their ornaments, took great
pains to dress their heads, and to make a dazzling
appearance; an attempt not always confined to
those only, who are going to the king's festival.
On arriving at the shore, .they were met by the
king, who first invited them to egg|; when they
brought him such goods as they supposed he wished to receive. After this, other natives were allowed to purchase, the strangers taking good care
to keep their merchandise under guard in their
canoes, till sold, to avoid their being stolen by the
light-fingers among the natives, who considered
pilfering no sin if it was not discovered.
But when some particular purchase was the object of the new comer, he would keep his canoe a CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA
little off from the shore, and send forward an ambassador, tricked out in his best, and with his
head touched off with the white down, to stand
in the prow and display his goods, making known
the purpose of their owner and the price that he
was willing to give in such articles as were shown,
for the purchase he wished to make.
If the bargain was agreed on, the exchange was
made at once.
On visits either of friendship or trade, none of
the strangers, except the kings and chiefs, were
allowed to sleep on shore; and they lodged at the
king's house. The others passed the night in their
canoes. This was partly for the preservation of
their own goods from the inhabitants, and partly
an arrangement of theirs, to prevent danger to
themselves and their property from their crafty and
thievish visitors.
These people were always armed; the commoners, with a dagger, slung at the neck, and
hanging behind by a strip of metamelth, and sometimes with a bow and arrows; but the latter had U
almost grown out of use, in consequence of the
introduction of fire arms among them.
The chiefs, in addition to the dagger, wore the
cheetoolth, or war club, of which I have spoken.
This weapon, made of the bone of a whale, witjj^
a blade eighteen inches long, three broad, and very
heavy, was a powerful thing in the hand of a strong
man. The blade was thick in the middle, but thinned off to an edge on each side, and expanded in
width towards the end, to increase the force of
the blow.
It was covered with figures, such as, the sun,
moon, men's heads, and other devices of curious
inventions; and the hilt wrought in the form of a
human head, was fancifully inlaid with shells, and
had a strip of metamelth fastened to it, by which to
sling it over the shoulder.
They had, also, a sort of spear, headed with copper, or the bone of the sting-ray, which was a
weapon of great destruction when wielded by one
of a firm hand and bold spirit.
auv 155
Place of retirement for worship—its scenery-r-the Sabbath—a
ship seen—a thunder storm—hard fare—arts of other natives
—a young girl tries to win John—the Nootkans remove to
winter quarters—the place.
During all this exhibition of new faces, new
modes, and new things, John and his companion
fared better than they could have expected at the
beginning of their sorrows.
But day after day did their longing eyes stretch
out their sight in vain over the great waters, to
catch a glimpse of some sail that might give them
a gleaming hope of deliverance.
About a mile from the village there was a beautiful fresh-water pond, of a quarter of a mile in
breadth, and surrounded by a forest of evergreen
trees.   The pond was smooth and clear as crystal, 156
and the forest free of all annoyance from underwood or bramble.
It was filled with the music of a thousand birds,
and beautiful with their gay and diversified plumage. The bright little humming-birds came to it*
as a favorite resort; and they were seen hovering
round the low flowers, or pending from the green
boughs, like jewels kept in mo#on by some power
of the airy element.
This pond was seldom visited by the natives,
^except for the purpose of taking off a coat of paint;
It furnished, therefore, a calm and delightful retreat
to our captives, who used to retire to it every Sun*'
day, and after bathing freely in its waters, and
exchanging their garments for the clean ones thai:
they had before washed in it, and left on its margin
to dry, they spent the rest of the day in devotion to
Him, whom it was their chief consolation to find
was the God of the wilderness, as well as of the
garden and the city.
They took their Bible and  Prayer Book witft
them, and, seated under a noble, umbrageous pine, CAPTIVE  OF NOOTKA,
John read aloud, while Thompson listened, and the
feathered multitude performed the part of choir, in
singing praises to their Maker.
This scene of worship and supplication, in such
a solitude, presents a sublime and beautiful picture
to the imagination. The speaker and his single
auditor just made up one of the numbers to whom
our Savior has promised his presence and his blessing, when they meet together in his name.
And here in this lonely wild, trodden only by the
feet of the savage, and the beast of the forest were
these unfortunate men thrown, to learn, in the
bosom of nature, the value of the Bible and the
consolations of the Christian religion.
John felt the parting advice of his good father
written on his heart; and the promises of Him,
who used to go himself into the forest, and on the
mountains, to pray, were kept in his bosom, whispering peace to his soul, amid all the horrors of
captivity, and the hopelessness of the outward circumstances that surrounded him.
God, who declares that the hearts of kings are in
his hands, here showed, that civilized royalty was
not alone comprehended in the declarationr His
power was manifested on the heart of the red
monarchs of the wood. Maquina, when he learnt
that the purpose for which his prisoners retired on
theBabbath was to worship their God,'felt too great
a reverence for the object to have the$r devotions
interrupted, or to forbid them the privilege of going
by themselves, for the purpose of communing with
the great Being w^hom they adored.
, Some time in July, hope suddenly flashed into
the heart of John and his new father, from a distant
sail that appeared for a few minutes; but it passed
on without coming near the land, and all was
gloom again, as it respected the prospect of seeing a
Christian face.
A few days after this, there came up a violent
thunder storm. The people of the village all fled
from their own houses, and hurried to that of their
king, where, instead of going within for shelter,
they got on the roof of the house, seating tllem-
m u
selves as thick as they could, and have room to
The king commenced drumming and singing, and
looking up to the sky, and all the people joined m\
making a most tremendous noise with their sticks
on the boards, and their loud vociferations, while
they entreated Qnahootze not to kill them.
This religious ceremony, expressive of fear and
supplication, was kept up till the storm had subsided.
Things went on in rather a monotonous manner,
till towards the decline of summer, when the king
and his men, going out for whaling on the coast,
left the prisoners at home, for fear that they might
escape to some other tribe on the coast, if permitted to go with them.
Meantime, as the women seldom cooked much
when the. king and the men were gone, the prisoners often found themselves brought to a scanty fare,
and felt the cravings of hunger.
Sometimes they were fortunate enough to procure
a good piece of salmon, which they would boil in CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA,
salt water, with a ffew nettles for greens, and some
scattering turnips and onions, which they gleaned
from the remains of the Spanish garden, and with
these^ in secret, make up quite a comfortable meal.
They often heard from the tribes of the north and
south, who came to Nootka, stories of vessels that
were seen coming to land, along their coast, and
were advised to go with them, with the promise
that they would protect and see them safe on board
one that might carry them to their country.
But these accounts they found were all false, and
only a lure held out by these crafty savages, to get
them out of Maquina's hands into their own, for
slaves. Yet, preferring to remain with present
evils, to going where their situation might be rendered worse, they turned a deaf ear to these persuasions.
Among other inducements offered to John, to
make his escape from Nootka, a young lady of the
forest-took it into her, head to fall greatly in love
with him; and this young lady was a princess too,
belonging to a powerful tribe.
orl* 162
She was a daughter of the Wickanninish king,
and younger sister of Maquina's queen. She was
a beautiful Indian girl, quite fair, and of fine features ; but she had received an injury in one of her
eyes, that had impaired the sight. This, Maquina
told John, would forever prevent her being married ; as a defect of this kind was an insuperable
objection to a female, in the view of an Indian who
was choosing a wife.
But the young one-eyed beauty thought she
would outwit the fastidious beaux of her own color,
by securing to herself a white companion.
She therefore flattered and coaxed John to go
with her to her father's people, telling him he would
there have better food and clothing, and kinder
treatment; and that if he wished it, they would
put him into a vessel and let him go home.
She asked him about his friends, in his own country ; and if he had not a mother and sister who
would mourn for him till he returned.
But, as John had no idea of ingrafting himself
as a branch into the royal family of the wood, he CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA
decidedly declined all the splendor of such an alliance, and rejected the offer with the firmness of a
tone philosopher ;* and the Wickanninish fair was
left to bemoan her disappointed hopes. The name
of this princess was Yuqua.
Early in September, the Nootkans made preparations to depart from this, their summer residence,
to plant themselves for the autumn and winter on
a less exposed and more agreeable spot, according
to their usual custom; their village being located
where the winds were cold, and brought the storms
from the sea in upon them.
The places to which they resorted at these seasons, were Tashees and Cooptee. The latter place
was about thirty miles up the sound, and lay in a
deep bay; but it was very difficult of access by
canoes, on account of the reefs of dangerous rock
that lay in the way.
Tashees was not far from it, and situated in a
small hollow at the foot of a mountain, on the south
This place afforded a beautiful view of romantic
|fl 164
scenery, that was very pleasant to the eye; and
the noise of the rivulets and cascades, that rippled
and spajfkled on the sides of the mountains, ad^
dressed the ear with a native and inimitable music
The spot on which the town stood, with its
houses in a stiing like these of Nootka, was level,
the soil good; and a noble river, about twenty rods
vide, rolled by it.
The buildings here were not so large as those at
Nootka, and the people had to accommodate each
Other as well as they could by stowing closely together. One great object in the choice of this spot,
was the facility it afforded the natives for procuring
theit? winter provisions.
A lofty range of high hills ran along on each
side of Tashees, covered with beautiful forest trees,
and extending inland to a great distance.
:*<#> 165
tjflfaseene of departure—conveyance of their infants—an anecdote of St. John's Indians—passage to Tashees—arrival and
business there—manner of taking roe fish, <Sfc.—how they were
cured and cooked—John's condition. .Iv-.
The time of preparation for leaving Nootka presented a busy, bustling scene, and one that would
have greatly amused the captives, had they beheld
it for the first time, under happier circumstances
than now attended them.
If it was not, literally, plucking up stakes, it
was plucking off boards; for, even the coverings of
their houses were stripped away, to load the canoes,
and be carried with them, to lay on the roofs and
inclose the sides of the habitations they were going
to occupy.
Thus, they removed and changed the outside of
their buildings as  tliey did their own garments, 166
to suit their convenience, leaving only the posts
standing in the place they were about to desert till
they returned to it in another season.
Boxes^ baskets/ tubs, men, women and pappooses
were all huddled together into the canoes and the
long-boat of the ship, which, having been repaired
and furnished with a sail by Thompson, was loaded
as deep as she could swim, and put under the management of the prisoners, the natives finding them-
Aselves rather green hands at steering the boat.
Having got all their worldly goods afloat, they
pushed off from shore, turning their backs on the
naked posts of their town, that stood looking like
The infant children, for transportation in a removal of this sort, were laid into little bark cradles, or
hammocks, about six inches deep, and just long
and wide enough to contain them. They were
then laced in, by a string passing through the edges
of their vehicle, and slung at the backs of their
I believe it is a general practice among all our CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
Indians, to lace their young infants fiat upon their
backs, in a straight position, to a pidce of board or
in a cradle of this sort, in order to have their forms
erect, when they grow up. This is thought to be
the reason why the savages are generally so well
shaped and erect.
I once saw, among a company of St. John's Indians, an infant only a few days old, laced down in
fbis way to a small piece of board, as closely as a
little fish, pegged down to dry.
I went witjfc, several friends to visit the encampment, which was in an extensive cleared ground,
about an eighth of a mUe from the road. As we left
our carriages by the road-side to enter the field,
we perceived near the wall, a little ravage about
four years old, who had strayed away from the
wigwams, and was peeping at us through the crevices between the stones.
One of our company smacked his whip suddenly
at him to startle him; at which he was so affrighted, that he took to his little red heels, and went
full speed, and screaming, to the wigwams; and
ffimm 168
we lost sight of him among the others at the encampment, which we did not reach till someifme
after he had got safe home.
The Indians treated us very eivilly, as we went
round from one habitation to another; showing
us their basket-stuff, &c. and letting us creep, one
at a time, as well as we could, into their huts, that
were made of bark, and resembled a thicket of haycocks, more than anything else, when viewed at a
We were asked if we dM not want to see a little
infant that was in one of these huts, which we had
not entered, and told that we might, see it laced to
ife board, for six ceriffc apiece.
So we drew near the entrance, throwing in our
toll one at a time, when the mother, after she had
made sure of the fee, would lift the blanket that
was thrown over the child, and give the spectator
one peep, and then let it fall.
The gentleman who had smacked the whip, but
who had entirely forgotten the act, and myself,
happened to be the two last. CAPTIVE OF  NOOTKA.
He threw in a nine-penny piece, saying that was
for both of us. The mother took the money, and
beckoned to me to come first. When I had had
my peep, and passed out, the gentleman went forward for his.
But the cunning and handsome young mother
shrouded her child in another fold of the blanket,
and throwing her arms over to hide it, looked up,
and with an arch smile, said, lNo, no,—you scare
my little boy—^you no see—no, no!1—and with an
expression of playful triumph and satisfaction, at
having so soon avenged herself for the rudeness
offered to her boy, she hugged her baby tight till
the disappointed spectator went away.
The child was folded in a little blanket, over
which the lacing passed. It is the custom of these
Indian mothers, when they are out in the forests,
to hang their little bark cradles, with their infants
confined in them, on the boughs of trees, for the
birds to sing their lullaby, and the breezes to rock
them to sleep.
We will now return to our fleet of canoes, and 170
imagine them, as they went, with all the wealth of
Nootka piled up within their sides ; while the loud
songs of the people poured over the waters and
rang along the shore amid the rocks and the trees,
as they glided up the sound towards Cooptee, and
then passed it, on the way to Tashees.
On arriving at this place, the first business of
the people was, to set about covering the skeletons
of their houses that were found standing to receive
their coat of boards, and to be repeopled by their
former lords and masters.
Their habitations prepared, their next work
was to provide for themselves the creature comforts
that were to be brought up from under the waters,
in the form of herring roe, salmon, and other kinds
of fish.
In order to take the roe of the herring, which,
one would suppose, would be no easy thing to
effect, they laid a very curious and successful plan.
They cut immense quantities of broad pine
branches, and sunk them where the water was
about ten feet deep, fastening them to the bottom CAPTIVE   OF NOOTKA.
by means of heavy stones, that kept them down, till
the herring swam up and deposited their roe upon
The branches were then taken up, and the roe
stripped off by the women, who washed it and
cleared it from the pine leaves, and then dried it
and put up in baskets for future use.
To take salmon and other fish at this place, they
wove a sort of a trap or ware, with flexile twigs;
the form of which was somewhat like a pot, or
Its mouth was made by turning the sharpened
ends of the twigs in, after the manner of a wire
mouse-trap, and sloping to quite a narrow passage,
so as to let the fish slip in ; and then to cry (if he
could,) like Sterne's starling, £ I can't get out!'
The prisoners in these water-cages were obliged
to come out at length, as the proverb would say,
' at the little end of the horn;' for at the end where
the ware tapered off to a point, a place, like a sort
of door, was made so as to be opened for remov-
U l-i: 172
ing the finny dupe, and then closed ftfir the purpose
of entrapping another.
"These fish-traps were set immediately below
some rapid, above which the natives went with
their canoes, and drove the fish down, till, fleeing
from one evil, they slipped, unsuspectingly, into
another, and went to sure destruction.
John saw more than seven hundred salmon taken
by this method in the course of fifteen minutes.
Some bass were taken in thfe same way.
The cod and halibut were cut up into small
pieces, and dried in the sun, for preservation; but
the ^salmon that was to be cured for winter food,
was split open, the head and back bone were removed, and then it was hung up in the house to
dry.   ||
This season was a lime of great feasting and
hilarity among the Indians. They cooked immense quantities of fish^ and &ved not upon the fat
of the land, but of the waters.
They cooked at Maquina's house, one hundred
salmon at once, in a tub of enormous size, and ate CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
with the appetite of a people who were not accustomed to make two bites at a cheery.
Tashees was at this time a place of great business^ and all hands weue engaged, either in catching, curing, or cooking fish, or in conveying it to
the mouths of the feasters.
.John used frequently to go out with Maquina
after salmon; and the king would always allow
him a part, to be considered as his share of the
He used, also, to shoot wild ducks and teal,
which the women skinned, and boiled them in the
same way that they did their other food.
The prisoners foundVtheir condition at this place
less comfortable than at Nootka, in some respects,
as the weather began to grow cold, and they were
obliged to be more within doors; and the houses
being smaller, did not accommodate them so well
as those they had before occupied.
But they did not neglect to go off alone on the
Sabbath to bathe in some stream, and to pass the
rest of the day in retirement, by its side,  offer-  175
John forbidden to write—a new dress made for the king—he
accounts for having killed the crew—the yama—taking the
bear—singular ceremony—an annual thanksgiving.
John had not been long at Tashees, when he
began to feel serious alarm for the fate of his
journal. Maquina, who saw him writing in it
from day to day, told him that if he saw him engaged at it again, he would certainly destroy it.
John told him he was keeping accounts of the
weather; but the sagacious king said he knew
better, and that he was speaking bad about him and
his people for destroying the crew, so as to inform
his countrymen against them, if he could meet
with any who came upon the coast. After this,
John had to be very secret about his writing.
He finished about this time, some highly-polish- 176
ed daggers, and made a cheetoolth after the king's
directions, that pleased his majesty highly.
Thompson began to grow into the king's favor,
also, for having made a fine sail for his canoe, and
a kutsac^ for him by stitching European vest patterns together till he formed a mantle a fathom
This garment, comprised of various pieces and
figures, and vawegated with all the colors of the
rainbow, must certainly have exceeded Josephs
coat, in its ornaments, if not m the many hues r£exhibited; for to, finish it off1 in style, Thompson had
put on its edge a border >of otteT-skin, and above
this, six rows of gilt buttons, as thick as they
could be set together
Theiarm-holes were bordered in the same way
and :the.'idng put it on, and strutted aboult with
all 4he pride of a peacock, wtiile the buttons ttnkled1
as he went, and his people locked at him as at a
shining idol.
He rewarded Thompson for his skill, and gave
John a piece of European cloth large enough to CAPTIVE OF  NOOTKA.
make him a good suit of clothes for the winter, as
a token of gratification for his having finished the
daggers and the cheetoolth so well.y
Not long after this, he showed John a book in
which were seven names of persons who had belonged to the ship Manchester of Philadelphia,
commanded by Captain Brian. These were Daniel
Smith, Louis Gillon, James Tom, Clark, Ben, Johnson, and Jack.
These men, Maquina ?aid, deserted the ship and
came to him} and that sis. of them ran away afterwards, in order to go to the Wickanninish. But
being stopped on the way by another tribe, they
were sent back to him, and put to a cruel death.
One of the natives told John that the way in
which these men were killed was this :—Four Indians took a man at a time, and held him down,
! while others crowded stones down his throat: thus
^**   ^^*.< *■ •£& -
one after the other was despatched.
Jack, the boy who did not attempt to escape,
was sold to the Wickanninish king; but, according
to the account of Tuqua, the princess, he had to
12 178
work so hard that his hearth failed; and when he
heard of the murder of his friends, it affected him
so much, that he fell sick and died.
Maquina, finding that John had a great desire to
learn their language^ took much pleasure in conversing and in trying to teach him. In one of
his conversations, he fully explained the cause of
his having destroyed the crew of the Boston.
He said he bore no ill-will^towards white men in
general; but that he, had been several times so
badly treated by them, that he hadrresolved on
revenge for the injury they had done him, in repeated instances.
He said the first outrage was committed by a
Captain Tawnington, who had passed the winter
with his vessel at Friendly Cove, and received
kind treatment from the natives.
But when he was gone for his wife, to the Wickanninish, the captain and his men had entered
their houses in the absence of the men, terrified the
wome% and robbed their boxes of all that was
He said they stole from his store no less than
forty fine skins, and made off with their booty.
The next grievance was from a Spanish captain,
who barbarously murdered four of the natives.
The third was very soon after, from a captain
Hanna, of the Sea-Otter, who, because one of the
natives stole a chisel from the carpenter, fired upon
them, and killed more than twenty, among whom
were several Tyccs.
Maquina said he was himself on board the vessel
at the time, and came near being killed, saving his
life only, by leaping from the quarter-deck, and
swimming a great distance with his head under
He said he had, from that time, determined to
avenge the blood of his people, when a fair opportunity presented itself; and that, when Captain
Salter insulted him, the feeling of injury and
the desire of revenge were roused in his bosom>
and he resolved to wait no longer for vengeance on
the race of men who had wronged him and slain
his brethren.
K; ■* 180
This tale revealed some sad secrets respecting
the conduct of those who had been at Nootka for
trade, and received kind treatment from the native^; and.:jj|,is much to be lamented that civilized
men, and those who took the name of Christians,
should not have acted more according to the rules
of justice and humanity .#
One kind of provision which the natives made it
serious business to lay in for the winter, while
at Tashees, w^as the llama, a kind of fruit that
grew in the woods in great profusion; and which
the women went ou^in companies to gather, with
guards of men to protect them from wild beasts.
A yama party would stay several days at a time,
in the forest, making for themselves a covert of
leafy boughs for the n^ght, and busying themselves
during the day in filling their baskets with fruit.
This fruit was a berry, that grew in clusters,
upon bushes about three feet high, with large,
round and pojjished leaves. The berry was black,
of an oblong round, and about as large as grape- CAPTIVE OF  NOOTKA.
shot Its taste was sweet, with a little flavor of
The women would sometimes bring in a dozen
bushels of these berries at once, and spread them
on blankets: they then laid others over them, to
press them, and left them tto dry till they were fit
to put up in baskets.
Though fish and fruit were the main articles of
food among these people, they sometimes used to
eat the flesh of the bear, deer, and other animals.
But they had an odd superstition that obliged
them, whenever they had eaten of the bear, to abstain from eating fish for two months afterwards;
for they believed that, if they ate fish immediately
after having fed on the bear, the fish would know
it all around, and be so offended as not to come
within their waters or suffer themselves to be taken.
Most of the natives were, therefore, unwilling to
suffer the penalty of indulging the appetite by a
taste of this animal; and when one was taken and
dressed, scarcely a dozen of the tribe could be induced to eat of it *£. 182
To take the bear, they constructed a trap by the
side of some stream, where his black and shaggy
honor was in the habit of promenading. This trap
was built with post and planks, one of which was
so placed, as to let down a heavy load of stones
that were laid upon it, when the animal pulled
upon a salmon that was suspended to it, by way of
bait, within the trap. The head of the beast was,
by this means, either crushed, or so forcibly struck
as to cause his^death at once.
A trap, formed in this manner, was covered with
sodsj so as to have the appearance of a mound of
earth. 'iM ||ig
Dressing the bear, as the natives called a strange
ceremony which they went through,, soon after
they were established at Tashees, was to John and
his companion a very amusing farce, the cause of
which was never explained to thenl
The animal was taken dead   from   the trap
cleansed of all the blood and dirt that had gathered on him in his hour of distre^Pand then carried to the king's house.  184
Here, a chief's cap was put upon his head, his
body powdered all over with white down, which,
contrasted with his black fur, made quite a show.
He was then set, in an upright position, opposite
the king, and a tray of food put before him, when
the Indians urged him, by a variety of words and
^gestures, to eat.
But Sir Bruin, not showing mu^ jmclina^tion
J.0 accept the invitations, was soon tak^n away,
skinned, cut up and boiled.
This ceremony was an occasion of great merrymaking throughout the village. The king made a
great entertainment, and al| the people flocl|ed together at the festival, which was generally concluded with a dance by Sat-sat, performed uj the
way I have already described.
On the morning of December 13th, another
strange ceremony began, by the .king's' firing a
pistol, apparently, without a moment's warning,
close to the ear of Sat-sat, who dropped down
instantly, as if shot dead upon the spot
Upon this, all the women set up a most terrible .'fl
yelling, tearing out their hair by handfuls, and
crying out that the prince was dead; when the
men rushed in, armed with guns and daggers,
inquiring into the cause of the alarm, followed by
two of the natives covered with ^wolf-skins, with
masks representing the wolf's head.
These two came in on all-fours, and taking up
the prince on their back, carried him out, retiring
as they had entered.,
Maquina then came to John and Thompson,
with a supply of provisions, that he said they must
take, and depart with ifinto the woods, and there
remain six days, assuring them that if they returned before that time had expired, he should have
them killed.
The liberty of going out by themselves for a
week would, at a milder season of the year, have
been a matter of rejoicing to them; but as it was,
they 4obeyed without delay, and taking their provisions, retired into the forest, among the hills and
dells, where they passed the time reading, rambling
about, &c.  during the day time;   and at night,
II 186
they crept under a H&le covert of boughs woven
and made into a small cabin, where they laid
themselves down on a bed of leaves, and spread
over them the garments that they had taken thither
in a bundle, to keep off the cold night air.
On the seventh day after their banishment, they
returned to the village, where they found the king,
chiefs, and many of the people of another tribe,
who had been invited by Maquina to come and
keep the week with him, and joht in the ceremonies.
It was afterwards ascertained that this grand
celebration was an annual thanksgiving, held in
honor of Quahootze, to thank him for the favors
he had bestowed on them during the year that
had elapsed, and to invoke his smile on them for
the one now to come. 187
Conclusion of the thanksgiving—Christmas kept by the captives—
removal to Cooptee—visit to the Aitizzarts—feast at Cooptee—
false stories of ships—return to Nootka—death of a boy—
insanity of a chief.
What happened at the village while they were
absent, the prisoners never knew; but the celebration did not end tiB after their return, and then it
terminated with a shocking and distressing show
of deliberate self-torment.
Three men, each with two bayonets run through
their sides, between the ribs, walked up and down
in the room, singing war-songs, and exulting in
their firmness and triumph over pain.
When the 25th of the month came round, bringing with it a sad sense of the contrast between the
way in which it was celebrated in their native
land, and that in which it must be kept by them, 188
the captives requested to have the day to themselves, and retiring into the woods, they passed it
in reading and other religious exercises, singing the
Hymn of the Nativity, and returning thanks for
the birth of the Savior.
In the evening, wishing to conform to the customs of good old England, as far as circumstances
would permit, they set themselves about getting a
better meal than usual, for their Christmas supper.
They bought some of the best dainties among
the natives, such as, dried clams, dec. and a root
which they called keltsup, which being cooked by
steam, was a very pleasant kind of food; and having made ready their repast, they sat down to make
the best of their condition over it, and partook of it
with truly grateful hearts, that life, health, and
even this homely meal was granted to them in this
inhospitable wild.
On the last day of the month, the tribe removed
to Cooptee, about fifteen miles from Tashees, which,
though not so pleasant as that place, on some accounts^ was^ from its being nearer td Ndetka, beyond OAPTPIVE OF  NOOTKA.
which no vessel could come, a more agreeable situation to the prisoners, as they hoped it would,'allow
them a better opportunity of hearing of people of
their own nation arriving on the coast.
The first business of the natives at Cooptee, was
to cover their houses with their portable roofs and
The next day, January 1st, 1804, the first fall of
snow for that winter, came.
About a week afterwards, Maquina took John
in his canoe to visit the king of the Aitizzarts, who,
with his chiefs, had been to keep the thanksgiving
at Tashees, and who had invited Maquina to
come to see him at this time, to attend a similar
This king, whose name was Upquesta, had his
town about twenty miles from Cooptee, up the
sound, and in an extensive valley, on the bank of
a noble riverl
During the sail to this place, Maquina had told
John not to speak, after their arrival, till he made
a sign to him. *|
iRail 190
When they arrived, the king's messenger, who
was master of the ceremonies, came out to meet
them, dressed in his best, with his head bestrewed
with down, and holding in his hand a cheetoolth,
the badge of his office.
He saluted them, and conducted them to the
presence of the king, with due gravity, pointing
out to each, the seat that it belonged to him to
Visitors, on these occasions, wore their caps, and
took them off as they entered the house. Maquina
as he entered, not only doffed his cap, but threw off
some of his outer garments, of which he had put on
several, one over another.
But very few of the people at this place, who I
should have before remarked, welcomed the visitors
with loud shouts and the firing of guns, had ever,
seen a white man, or a European dress; and John
was to them an object of no small curiosity. j j
They flocked about him, feeling of his clothes^
his hands, his head, and face, and patting him on
the arms and shoulders, as if he had been some CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA
animal they had caught, and were glad to find
so tame.
As he obeyed the injunction of silence all the
time this examination was going on, they even
opened his mouth to see if he had a tongue.
At length, Maquina gave the sign, and John
spoke out, to the great surprise and delight of
the spectators, addressing them in their own language, n
They made a great burst of applause at this,
saying that he was a man, like themselves, only
he was white, and looked like a seal, alluding to
his blue jacket and trowsers. They did not like
this dress, and tried to persuade him to take it off,
and put on one like their own.
The celebration here was similar, as far as John
had had an opportunity of observing it, to the one
held at Tashees.
During the visit, Maquina gave a particular
detail of the manner in which he had obtained
his prisoners, and related all that had happened
concerning the ship and her crew, stating at the 192
same time, the motives that had prompted him to
the barbarous act.
The religion's ceremonies were concluded by
twenty men Who entered the house, with arrows
run through their sides and arms, having strings
fastened to them, by which the spectators twitched,
or pulled them back, as the men walked round the
room, singing and boasting of their power to endure
Returning to Cooptee after this visit, the men in
the canoe kept time to the stroke of the paddles,
with their songs; and they reached home about
The time went off, employed in fishing, &c. at
Cooptee, till the beginning of February, when an
annual feast was to be given by Maquina, to which
the whole of the Aitizzarts, and many of another
tribe, were invited.
It was a scene of great gluttony, and so was
almost/the whole of the life at Cooptee; immense
quantities of provisions being cooked, and destroyed
with Irutal lavishness. CAPTIVE  OF   NOOTKA.
On the 25th of February, the tribe returned to
Nootka, which, notwithstanding the melancholy
scene it brought to mind, was a matter of rejoicing
to the unhappy captiyes, as it gave them the hope
of seeing some vessel that might come to their
Not long after the return to this place, a story
was told to Maquina, by the Cayuquats, of twenty
ships that were on the coast, coming to destiey him
and his people for what they had done with the
Boston and her crew.
This threw him into great alarm, and thus the
objects of the false Indians, who had fabricated the
report, was obtained.
Though John assured him that there was not
the least truth in it, he would not believe him, but
kept a strict eye on him and Thompson, regarding
them with great jealousy, and would not let them
go out of his sight, for fear of their going somewhere, to meet their countrymen from the vessels,
to inform against him.
Soon after this, a death took place in the family
m 194
of the king. A son of his sister, about eleven years
old, and who was considered as a Tyee, died in the
night, after having languished a long time in a kind
of consumption or decay.
As soon as the breath left his body, all the men
and women in the house set up such a yelling and
howling, as waked the prisoners, and obliged them
to leave the house to escape the noise, which was
kept up |pl morning.
A great fire was then kindled, and in it Maquina
burnt ten fathoms of cloth, in honor of the dead
fChdld, with whom he afterwards buried ten fathoms
more, eight of the Ife-maw shells, and two small
trunks, containing Captain Salter's watch and his
It was the custom of these people, whenever a
chief died, to bury with him some of their most
valuable articles.
Tootoosh, the husband of Maquina's sister, and
the father of the deceased boy, had been one of the
chief actors in the dreadful tragedy on board the CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
J 95
Boston; he had killed two of the men with his
own hand.
Tins man, Tootoosh, had) a short time previous
to the removal to Tashees, been suddenly attacked,
while in perfect health, by a jyiolent fit of insanity,
during which he raved continually about the men,
Hall and Wood, whom he had killed, and said
their ghosts were by him all the time, to torment
He would swallow no food except what he was
forced by his friends, to take into his mouth; and
whenever he attempted to take any into his hand,
he would withdraw it, saying he should be glad to
eat, but the dead men would not let him.
No instance of insanity had occurred among these
people within the memory of their oldest man; and
tjhe only way in which they could account for
this was, by a superstitious belief, that the ghosts
of the murdered men had been called back by the
prisoners, to torment the murderer.
Maquina, when first made acquainted, by his
sister, with the strange symptoms of her husband, 196
took John and Thompson' with him to the house,
and, pointing at each, asked Tootoosh if they tormented him. He said, 'No—John good—Thompson good—Hall and Wood peshdk,' (bad.)
Maquina placed food before him; but he said Hall
and Wood would not let him eat, and continued in
this state till a short time after the death of his son,
when, after the most dreadful ravings, he grew
sxhausted and died.
Maquina became convinced that John and Thompson had no agency in causing the delirium, and the
prisoners found that it was viewed by the natives,
as a punishment sent by Quahootze, for the murder
of the men, and to this they thought they owed
their lives; as in several instances, when councils
had been held, respecting putting them to death,
the natives would not consent to it, and many of
them talked about Tootoosh, in a way that showed
they feared being visited themselves; and the king
said he was glad his hands did not dip in the blood
of the white men.
The   madness of  Tootoosh   was   terrible;   he CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA.
would rave, kick, bite and spit at all who came
near him, but the prisoners; but he would pat John
on the shoulder, and call him good; and none
could manage him but Thompson and he, who
were, on this account, set over him as attendants, i
It was a question with them, whether the insanity was occasioned by the death of a daughter,
about fifteen years old, not long before, or sent immediately from the hand of God to make the
natives tremble at their own crimes, and fear to
do any thing against their lives, lest their punishment should be of the like kind.        ., il.« 198
Maquina goes a whaling—bringing in the whale—death and
burial service of the crazy chief—the king's jester—a mutiny
feared—a conspiracy—Thompson kills an Indian.
Soon after the death of the boy, Whose mother
had been obliged to bring him to Maquina's house,
to avdiu the violence of his crazy father, the king
commenced his whaling excursions; but with so
little success that he returned day after day out of
humor, and once with a broken harpoon, and
nothing to pay for it, or for his toil.
John went to work and made him a good steel
one, which pleased him highly, and the first time
that he went out with it, he struck, with a death-
thrust, a noble whale; upon which, a signal was
given, and all the canoes were out to help tow
him in.
While the poor dying whale was dragged ashore, CAPTIVE  OF   NOOTKA.
the women were on the roofs of the houses, drumming with great violence, and mingling their
shouts of exultation with the cry of, * Wbocaski
woocash, Tuee!' and the men in the canoes were
singing a song of triumph, to a slow tune, as the
victim was brought to the land.
When he was cut up to be boiled, John had a
handsome present of blubber, for making so successful a harpoon.
It should have been remarked that, previous to
one of these whaling excursions, the king had a
habit of going alone to the mountains, to pass a
day or two in prayer for success in his business;
and when he returned, wearing the red fillet and
the spruce branch on his head, in token of humiliation, his manner was serious and gloomy.
Tootoosh died early in June, and his death occasioned another scene of mad sorrow, that was louder than his own crazy ravings had been.
The wailing and yelling was kept up, for about
three hours; then the corpse was brought out of
the house, and laid on a board before it.   A red al-  CAPTIVE OR NOOTKA.
let was bound round the head, and a mantle of sea-
otter skin wrapped about the form.
It was then put into a box or coffin, with several
strings, of the Ife-maw about the neck, and all the
most valuable articles possessed by the departed
chief, were laid into the coffin., Among these, were
several fine otter skins.
At night, the time of their burials, ropes were
passed round the coffin, and poles run through
them, by which the coffin was taken up, and borne
by eight men, followed by the widow and family,
with their heads shaved as a sign of mourning, to
the place of interment.
The grave was a small cavern in the side of a
hill. Here they deposited the coffin, and closing
up the cavern securely, returned to the house.
The next ceremony was performed by building
a large fire, and burning every thing owned by the
deceased, that had not been buried with him.
These were blankets, pieces of cloth, &c.
They were laid one by one, on the fire, by a
person appointed by the king, to the office, who 202
was dressed outfin his finest gear, with his head
bestrewed with down, and who, as each article
was laid on the fire, would pour on oil to increase
the flame, and while it was burning, make a
speech, or show off some feat of buffoonery, to the
The funeral solemnities, if so we may call them,
were finished by Sat-sat, who performed one of
his best dances on the occasion, in honor of his
dead uncle.
The name of the man who had officiated as
priest in making the sacrifice, was Kinneclimmets.
He stood with Maquina in the relation of king's jester, on account of his tricks of mimicry and other
monkey traits, that raised him high in his majesty's
He not only performed the part of buffoon, but
he haa also the office of master of ceremonies at all
the feasts, and that of public orator. He harangued
the people, showed all to their places, and amused
them mightily With his antic gestures, his low wit,
and savage merriment CAPTIVE  OT NOOTKA
In shoft, they seemed to think that all theft?
enjoyment of a public occasion depended on the
pranks of this speaking ape. Such a character
was attached to the train of each tribe among the
natives, and the title he bore was that of Okmmef-
Nabbee, which must have been a very comprehensive word, since it meant so much, enbodied in one
great personage.
One feat that this man undertook, for the amusement of the company, on some feast day, was to
eat to excess.
He first drank three pints of oil, and then engaged to eat four dried salmon, and five quarts of herring roe, mixed in a gallon of train-oil. But he
failed in this; for, before he got through with his
meal, the salmon proved that they were not quite
so securely imprisoned in his stomach as they had
been in the waves, and that they could ' get out'
fry the same mouth by which they had entered.
On one merry-making occasion, when a chief
had brought home his new wife, the jester undertook to entertain the revellers, by passing three
I 204
times through a large fire; but, happening not to be
made of asbestos, he got so severely burnt, as to
come very near dying for his folly.
Maquina was always delighted with any of this
man's extraordinary performances, and sure to reward him with some present.
The frenzy and death of Tootoosh caused great
alarm among the natives, lest a similar fate should
await them; for John told the king it was, no doubt,
a punishment sent by Quahootze, for the murder of
the men.
This intimation, while they believed it, only
soured them towards the prisoners, and when the
king was out of sight, they would insult them, by
calling them miserable slaves, asking them where
their Tyee was; when they would answer by their
own gestures, showing that his head was cut off,
and that theirs should be also.
But they took good care, at these times, to keep
out of the reach of Thompson's hand, the weight
of which they had sometimes severely felt.
As the summer advanced, there was a great CAPTIVE OF nootka
scarcity of fish in their waters, and they were reduced to a state of great want, so as to be obliged to
go sometimes without food, except what they got
by gleaning for muscles and cockles among the
The natives not only showed, on this account,
great ill-humor towards the prisoners, whom they
suspected of using some conjuration, or some influence with Quahootze, but with true savage
inconsistency, they reproached their Mng with having driven away the fish, by mingling the waters
with the blood of the murdered white men.
But Maquina was usually kind to the captives,
and always gave them a part of the best he had to
eat. Sometimes he would make them presents,
and when he feared a mutiny from his people, he
woufd assure them that ff a vessel came within a
hundred miles of the village, he would let them
send letters for their countrymen to come to their
relief, and take them home.
Once he so far feared a general revolt from his
people,  that he would suffer none but John and
11 206
Thompson to keep guard over his person, night and
day, and they had to go armed for the purpose.
He had, at this time, discovered a conspiracy between three of hi$ chiefs, one of whom was his
brother, against his life; and he suspected them to
be linked in the plot, to another neighboring tribe.
He, at this time, not only kept his white bodyguard close to him on all occasions, but he made
his men fire the cannon every morning, to let the
other jt£ibe know what they would have to meet
if they came upon him.
In these hours of intimacy with the king, and of
his dependence on them, John and Thompson
complained of the insults and unkind treatment
they had of late received from 4jie natives.
Maquina told them, that it should not be so, and
that they must let him know if ever any thing of
the kind was shown them by any of the Nootkans;
but 4f any of %he strangers among them offered to
abuse them, he said they might punish the offender
by immediate death; telljng #iem,  at the same CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
time, that they must take care always to go well
The mutinous spirit of the people gradually subsided ; but it was not long before Thompson availed
himself of the liberty the king had given him.
He was at the pond washing clothes for himself
and John, and a blanket for Maquina. Several of
the Wickanninish came by, and seeing him, began
to insult him, and to trouble him about his work.
He warned them to desist; but not heeding him,
one Indian, more bold than the rest, stepped on the
blanket that was spread on the grass to dry, and
trampled it under his feet.
Upon this, Thompson drew his cutlass and severed the Indian's head from his body. The others,
affrighted at the deed, took to their heels and went
off in a moment. Thompson then gathered up the
blanket, with the marks of the Indian's feet and
the stains of his blood on it, and the head wrapped
in it, and carried it to the king, telling him the
whole story.
He commended Thompson's chivalry, and gave
nhn a present in token of his approbation; and the
other natives, learning what it was in the power of
the white slave to do, treated him and his companion with more respect and deference ever afterwards.
This deed of Thompson's was a terrible one,
and it is sad to think that necessity compelled him
to take the life of a fefew-creature. But it was an
act of self-defencefyj|s much as.any warfare is:
for though his life dm not, at that moment, seem
threatened, there \ttno telling to what a dreadful
death these barba$|ps might have brought him,
had he not made them fear him.
Hi:, 't'l
^•JmTWJ! 210
John is ordered to make arms-—the king declares his intention
to go to war—expedition to Ay charts—attack and slaughter
of the inhabitants—return to Tashees—John is told he must
marry—going to select a wife—making choice of one.
Some time in July, Maquina told John that he
must set about making daggers for the men, Chee-
toolths for the chiefs, and a weapon for him that
should strike the enemy on the head, while asleep,
and kill him at a blow, for he was going to war,
he said, with the Ay charts, a tribe about fifty miles
to the south, who had quarrelled with him during
the last summer.
John must have felt very badly on receiving
these commands, and knowing for what immediate
purpose his work was designed. He was, however,
obliged to obey orders, and following Maquina's
directions, he made his weapon in a different manner from any of the others. CAPTIVE OF  NOOTKA.
It was a kind of dagger, or spike, with a long
iron handle, with a crook at the end where the
steel ispike went in, and at the other, a large knob,
to resemble a man's head, for the eyes of which,
he fastened in a couple of blackheads, with sealing-
The bend in the handle was to keep it from
being wrenched away; and the weapon, being
altogether a formidable one, and highly polished,
pleased the king mightily. He would not allow
any of the chiefs to have one like it, reserving its
use exclusively for his own royal hand.
When all preparations were made, the natives
manned about forty canoes, well armed with their
dreadful instruments of destruction, among which
were a few bows and arrows*
The bows, about four feet long, were drawn by
a string of whale sinew; the arrows, of a yard in
length, were pointed with copper, shell, or bone.
The expedition, of which John and Thompson
were obliged to make two, set off hi* the night, to
come upon and slay their sleeping foes.
*fk 212
They sailed during the silence of the night, and intent upon their dreadful purpose, about thirty miles
up a broad river, the banks of which were covered
with deep forests, till they came opposite the village
they were about to depopulate; here they landed,
and remained in perfect stillness till the moment
of attack. !
The town of Aycharts was situated on a hill,
which being of difficult access, was a kind of fortress.    The houses were about sixteen in number.
Maquina said he should not make the attack
till towards the dawn of morning, that being the
hour when the Indians sjept the soundest.
At length, the awful moment arrived. The Indians left their canoes, and, crawling on their hands
and knees, up a winding pass, they entered the
dwellings of their slumbering enemies, while John
and Thompson were stationed without, to stop
such as might try to escape.
Maquina seized the head of the chief, and as he
struck the death blow, he gave a terrible war-whoop,
the signal for all hands to S fall to, and spare not.' CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
A few of the surprised Aycharts fled into the
forests, and escaped death; the others were all
slain, or taken prisoners, to become slaves to Maquina.
The hand of Thompson was not slack in this
terrible work. He slew so many of the unarmed
enemy, that the Nootkans gave him the name of
Checkeil-simarhar, a chief who in former years
had been a great warrior among them.
But John was very glad it did not fall to his lot
to shed the blood of any. He only took four
captives, whom Maquina, as a peculiar favor, allowed him to call his slaves, and who were to
work exclusively for him.
All the old and infirm Aycharts having been
put to death, Maquitta set fire to the town, and
laid every thing waste; after which, he and his
men took their captives, and returned to their
canoes to set sail for home, with their trophies of
They were received at the village with great
applause from the women, who drummed on the 214
houses, sang and shouted at their bravery and conquest; and Sat-sat performed one of his graceful
jump-danpes in honor of their valor.
Soon after this, Maquina was strongly importuned to dispose of John. The Wickanninish king
sent his messenger, who, in their usual, formal
way, sat rigged for the occasion, in the canoe,
with his head powdered with down, and making a
display of the offerings his monarch would give for
the white slave whom he wanted to make arms for
He had sent four slaves, two fine canoes, a large
quantify of metamelth and other things of great
value, as the price he was willing to give.    But.
Maquina rejected these splendid offers; for he prized John higher than all of them.
Towards the close of the summer, Velatilla, chief
of the Klaizzarts, came on a visit to Nootka; and
he also urged the king to sell John to him.
This chief was a fine-looking Indian, of a complexion almost as light as that of a European.    He
^as well formed, very neat about his person, and CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
21 a
seldom wore paint, excejt on the place where,
according to the custom of his tribe, the eyebrows
had been plucked out.
His aspect was mild, and his manners pleasant;
he usually had a smile on his face, and could speak
English a little. He tool? great interest in Johny
and loved to converse with him in each of their
languages; asking questions about his country, his
friends and their modes of living.
He said that if he could prevail on Maquina to
sell him, he would procure a passage for him to
return home on board the first vessel he should
discover on the coast.
This promise, John aCterwards had reason to
believe, would have been fulfilled, could Velatilla
have prevailed on Maquina to part with him. For
it was to this man's fidelity in delivering a letter in
person to the master of a vessel, that the captives
ultimately owed their deliverance and this letter
was the only one of sixteen which John wrote, that
ever was delivered.
When he left Nootka, John made him a present 216
of a highly-polished cheetoolth, which he received
with much pleasure and many signs of gratitude,
and a promise to deliver the letter at the first vessel.
In September, the tribe returned to Tashees, and
went over again the same business and mode of
living that has been already described. But
shortly after this removal, John was thunderstruck,
if I may so speak, by a piece of information that
Avas announced to him.
Maquina told him that a council having been held,
it was agreed that he must marry one of the Indian girls; stating as a reason, that, as there were
no vessels coming to Nootka, he would, no doubt,
have to pass the rest of his life with them, and the
sooner he conformed to their customs, and had a
family of his own, the more happy and contented
he would be.
This was giving poor John something more
difficult than train-oil to swallow. He remonstrated vehemently against the step; but all to no
purpose—he must either marry or die.
The only way hi which the terms were softened, CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
was his having the liberty to choose his squaw
among the fair daughters of another tribe, if none
of those of Nootka pleased his fancy, for a helpmate.
John cast his eye round, while his heart revolted
at the sight of all the candidates for his hand,
among the Nootkans; and he told the king he
must look farther for a wife.
Accordingly, Maquina took about fifty men, in
two canoes, with John, and a large quantity of
cloth, sea-otter skins, and other articles, to purchase
a bride, and set sail for Aitizzarts.
They reached this place about sunset, while
John felt more like a victim going to the altar for
sacrifice, than like a bridegroom approaching
Hymen's altar.
Their sudden arrival at this hour, and without
any known purpose, caused great alarm at the
village. The men seized their weapons, and preparing for war, rushed violently down to the landing-place, making signs of defence, and threatening
destruction on the supposed assailants.
m 218
But when the Nootkans had seated themselves
quietly in their canoes, remaining perfectly sttH
for half an houar, the villagers discovered their
mistake; and the king sent his messenger to bid
them welcome, and to show them to his presence.
Meantime, Kinneciimmets, the jester, priest, &c.
had made himself ready for the duties of the office
he was to perform, by dressing and powdering with
The visitors, with their king at their head, formed a procession, and moved with great order to the
house of the Aitizzant monarch.
After being seated with due ceremony, and
retaking of a sumptuous spawny and oily feast,
Maquina told John to look round and see if he>
could find a girl that he liked.
His choice fell, on one about seventeen years
old, who sat beside her mother, and was th©
daughter of Upquesta, the king. 219
Marriage ceremony—return to Tashees—John goes to housekeeping—is told he must change his dress—religious observance—revenge of a husband towards his wife—removal to
Cooptee—taking wild geese—return to Nootka—John is sick
—a slave dies.
When John had pointed out his future companion, Maquina made a sign to his men, who rose
and taking the bridegroom by the hand, led him
forth into the middle of the room.
Two of them were then despatched to the canoes
to bring the articles with which the girl was to be
When the boxes were brought in, the men took
out the articles, one holding up a musket, another
a parcel of skins, a third a bundle of cloth, &c.
while the jester, (or priest for the time) stepped up
to Upquesta, telling him that all these belonged to
John, and that he had come to offer them for his
daughter whom he wished to haye for a wifie,.
if 220
As he said this, the men threw the articles at the
king's feet, with the stern air and look common for
their expression of respect.
As they did this, the men and women of the Village, who were all assembled to witness the ceremony, set up a loud cry of, * Klqck-ko—Klack-ko,
Tyee1 (thank you, thank you, chief.)
Maquina then addressed the king, setting forth
the good qualities of John, saying that he was as
good a man as themselves; that he had only the
fault of being white, which was more than overbalanced by his wonderful skill in making daggers,
cheetoolths and harpoons.
He said he had so good a temper, that men, women and children at Nootka loved him; and that
he would stay with them as long as he lived.
When Maquina began to make this eloquent harangue, which lasted half an hour, Kinneclhnmets
began to skip about the room, and continued performing all manner of pranks, till the speech was
)    Upquesta then took up the thread of discourse. CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
He set forth the amiable qualities of his daughter
Eutochee-exqua, her accomplishments, and the love
he bore her, as his only one.
He said, she was too dear for him to think of parting with her. But after talking some time in this
strain, he finally consented to the union, saying
that he hoped they would treat his daughter kindly,
and that she would have a good husband.
As his speech finished with his consent, the jester began to call out in his loudest tones of voice,
1 Wocash,'' and spun round the room on his heels,
like a top.
After this, Upquesta told his men to take the
presents that had been laid at his feet, and carry
them back to John,; and to these he added a gift
of two young slaves, to help his new son-in-law in
The company was then invited to a wedding
supper at the house of one of the chiefs, during
which the jester amused them with all sorts of
monkey gestures and tricks.
The entertainment ended with a war song from 222
the men of each tribe, and a show of brandishing
their weapons.
The company then returned to lodge at tlpques-
ta's house; and in the morning, John received his
bride at the hand of her father, with a charge to
treat her kindly, which he promised to do, as the
girl took an affectionate leave of her parents, and
accompanied him, with an air of satfefaction, on
board the canoe.
In addition to his other offices, the priest held
that of king's steersman, and while guiding the
canoe homeward with the lady of the forest within
it, he regulated the song of passage till they arrived
at the village.
On landing, their success was attended with great
bursas of joy, and Maquina held a feast, after the
women had received the bride, and conducted her
to a place in the king's house, where she was to be
kept, according to the custom of their country,
for the space of ten days in retirement, seeing none
but the women,—not even her husband,—till this
time had elapsed. CAPTIVE*©*"  NOOTKA.
After the ten days had passed, John had an
apartment appointed him between those of the king
and his brother.
His bride appeared, in every way, of an amiable
and yielding disposition; and she was more fair
and comely than any female Indian he saw except
Maquina's queen.
Her form was good; her manners were gentle
and affectionate; her features finely made and regular ; her eyes bright and soft; her teeth small and
white, and her hair very long and fine.
With this princess for a bride, John's household
consisted, beside himself, of Thompson and Sat-sat,
whose attachment to him still remained so strong,
that he prevailed on his father to let him five with
Thus John went to keeping house, but in quite
a different way from what he expected, when he
took his father's blessing and his money, and set
out from Hull to begin the world for himself.
Soon after his marriage, Maquina gave him
another shock, by telling him, that, as he had mar-
mi 224
ried one of thei* "women, he had become one of
them for life, and he must adopt not only their
habits, but also their dress; a command that was
$kid both on him and Thompson.
But John plead Thompson off, by urging that he
was an old man, and changing his close garments
for the kutsack, would probably kill him.
For himself, he got leave to wear the dress he had
on, till it was worn out, it being then nearly past use.
-Sat-sat, who was a very handsome and pleasant
boy, became a great pet with the new-married pair,
and they took much pleasure in decking out his
little red person with beads, shells, jewels and other
finery, which was very gratifying to his parents,
and increased his fondness for his white friend.
When the annual thanksgiving came round
again, John, being now identified with the natives,
was told that he and Thompson, instead of being
sent into the woods, must stay and help them pTay
to Quahootze to be good to them.
The ceremonies began as they did the year before ; after which the tribe all stripped themselves CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
of their ornaments; and binding on the fillet of
humiliation, they repaired to the king's house with
looks of sadness and dejection, and began to sing
mournful songs, while the king kept time to the
melancholy tunes by beating on his drum, or hoi-
low plank.
The celebration was concluded by a boy, who
entered the room with six bayonets run through
his flesh in different parts. By these he was lifted
and carried round the apartment, without makT
ing any visible signs of pain.
When John asked the cause of this scene, Maquina told him that formerly a man used to be sacrificed to Quahootze at the close of one of these ceremonies; but that his father had abolished the
practice, and adopted this in its stead.
A great feast followed this religious observance,
in which mirth and gluttony took the place of
tasting and self-abasement.
Shortly after this, YeaUhloioer, the king's brother,
sent word to his neighbor John, that he wanted
him to come and file his teeth for him.
Mm 226
John, suspecting no, harm, obeyed the summons,
and performed the office; which being done, and
the teeth well sharpened, Yealthlower told hipa
that the operation was to enable him to bite off
the nose of a new wife that he had lately bought,
and who refused to obey him.
John tried to dissuade him from this barbarous
act; but he said he should certainly do it, if his
wife did not behave better, for if she was not a
good wife to him, she should be nobody's wife.
Not many hours after, he did as he had threatened, and sent his wife back to her father, with
the loss of her nose as a souvenir of the attachment
of her sharp-toothed husband.
About the middle of December, the tribe went to
Cooptee, and recommenced their business of spreading boughs and setting wares under the water to
entrap their food.
In addition to their other provisions, they had a
plenty of wild geese brought them here, by the
To take these geese, the Indians wove a sort of CAPTIVE OF  NOOTKA,
net of strong fibrous bark, and going out on the
water in a very dark night, with their canoes stuck
full of blazing torches, they waited till the fowls,
(goose-like,) attracted by the glare, gathered round
it so near as to have the net thrown over them,
and be taken.
One would suppose that none but a goose
would do such a foolish thing as thai; yet many a
simpleton is so dazzled by fair and bright appearances, as to rush hito as sure destruction as followed these delusive lights.
In February, the Indians went back to Nootka;
and in March, John was taken violently ill of the
colic in consequence of not being properly clad;
and while he remained sick, a slave of the king's,
having died of the same complaint, was thrown out
of the house, and after lying some time without
care, he was at length taken up and thrown into
the water, as any dead animal would have been,
to be put out of the way.
'Wa 228
John continues sick —he is divorced from his wife—she goes
to her father—John recovers—an eclipse of the moon—a
vessel arrives—consultation about the captives—a letter written to be carried by Maquina to the vessel.
The manner in which this poor slave's remains
were treated, had but a saddening effect on John,
who expected soon to share the same fate, as his
disorder threatened his life ; and he seemed so disheartened, and so disturbed at every effort of his
wife, who, though she did what she could to relieve
hhn, was but an awkward nurse, that Maquina
suspected he was dissatisfied with her.
He therefore told John that if he did not like his
wife, his command or word could divorce them,
and that he might be unmarried and let his princess
return to her tribe.
So John, glad of the offer of liberty, told the CAPTIVE   OF  NOOTKA,
young princess that, as he should probably die, she
would not have so good care taken of her at Nootka as she would with her father, and advised her
to return and put herself under his protection.
With this advice the young Mrs. Jewitt took
an affectionate leave of her supposed dying husband, telling him she hoped he would soon be better,
and, leaving her two slaves to attend upon him, departed, with a suitable escort, for her father's town.
Though John was heartily glad of being relieved
from his marriage obligations, yet this amiable
young creature had ever been so kind and affectionate towards him, that he could not help feeling
some sadness on account of her departure; and
had he not viewed her as an insuperable objection to
his ever leaving the place, or had he felt the event
of his escape a hopeless thing, he would not have
been willing to have lost her society.
By degrees he recovered his health, but with a
heart sinking in despondency, as no signs of a
vessel appeared on the coast, and no way of
release from bondage opened to his view* 230
He had written many duplicates of his letter,'
imploring any into whose hands they might fall, to
come to the relief of two unfortunate Christian
men, held in bondage among a savage people, and
representing the state of the deplorable life they
dragged out, far from home and from a civilized
These had been distributed among the various
tribes on the coast, for delivery; but as no vessel
appeared, he supposed they must have been
deterred from coming to the coast by hearing of
the destruction of the Boston, which was a very
large and powerful ship.
One thing that occurred during the winter of
Which I have been giving an account, I have not
mentioned.'  So I wi& go back and relate it.
On the 15th of January, 1805, John and his
fellow prisoner were awakened suddenly, in the
night by a great noise and commotion among the
Indians, whU were all up and out on the roofs of
their houses, which they had stuck full of torches,
each in a bright blaze, while they were drumming CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
on pieces of plank, shouting and singing with alj
their might.
On John's asking the cause of this tumult, they
told him that a great cod-fish had come upon the
moon, and pointing up to her, told him to see how
the fish was trying to swallow her; and that they
were endeavoring to drive him away.
It was soon found that the great fish was only
an eclipse of the moon; but what gave rise to this
odd superstition, the prisoners were never able to
Prom the time of John's recovery from his illness,
his life and Thompson's were dragged out, much in
the way that has been described, until the 19th
of July, when they had a sudden and joyful
As John was busily at work, making daggers for
the king, the sound of cannon from the water
came in three successive peals, upon his ear; and
.the cry of f strangers! strangers! white metiP
was sent from mouth to mouth, among the natives,
mm 232
as they rushed into the house, telling him that a
vessel was coming into the harbor.
This was a trying moment for the captives.
The joy they felt may be imagined, but on the
suppression of every symptom of it, seemed to
depend their whole hope of escape ; for they knew
that if they manifested a strong desire to get away,
the jealousy of the king and chiefs^ lest- they
should inform against them, would occasion them
to have their lives taken at once.
They therefore affected great indifference at the
news; and the natives, wondering at it, asked if
they were not glad to see the vessel. They said
they cared very little about it, and kept at
Maquina coming in, and seeing them still employed, asked John if he did not know a vessel
had come. He answered, Yes; but that it was
nothing to him.
j What, John/ said the king, (j you no want
go board?' John pretended that he oared very
little, about it, as he had become so reconciled to  234
mode of living, that he felt
his present
satisfied not to give it up for his former customs.
A council was now held respecting the best way
of managing the affair, and of disposing of the
Some of the natives were for having them put
to death, and for making the strangers believe that
another tribe had destroyed, the Boston.
SoMe, more humane, were in favor of the
latter deception; but Aey wanted to have Jefyn and
Thompson sent back av few miles into the woods,
anj kept out of ^gjifc, till the vessel should depart.
Others, of better feelings still, were neither for
lffling nor hiding them, b#t Wanted to hav% them
liberate and sent home.
B^fc lia^Aa ,#«$& lefh t^$®se iW^^fiky Way,
yet te^-Jrad ai stf'ai^ /as9l& W ^o on l^^rd the
vessel, to traSe, and askerr frohn if he thought he
could do it with safety.
His people remonstrated against this step, for
knowing what they had been guilty of, they feared
being punished with the loss of their king;   and CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
recurred to the cruel treatment they had received
from the whites in the instances which Maquina
had related to John.
But John told them that if they had lived as long
among the whites as he had, they would find they
had nothing to fear; and said he was sure they
would not harm the king if they received a request
from him to use Maquina kindly;
Maquina then said he would go to the vessel
and trade, if John would write a letter and tell
the captain good about him; a proposal to which
John readily acceded, so far as writing the letter
was concerned; but the nature of the contents he
reserved for his own choice, and wrote as follows:
< To Capt.
I Sir—The bearer of this is the Indian king, Maquina, by whose orders the American ship Boston,
of Boston, Mass. was captured, twenty-five of her
crew, the officers included, were inhumanly murdered, and the only surviving two held as slaves
among the tribe. 236
* We, these unfortunate men, are now waiting for,
your assistance in our deliverance, and hope you
will keep this man confined, putting in your dead
lights, and having a strict eye to him, so that he
may not escape you. If you will do this, we shall,
in a few hours, be able to obtain our release.
1 John R. Jewitt, Armorer of the Boston,
for himself and John Thompson, Sail-
maker of said ship.'
Such was the letter of recommendation which *
the royal messenger had given into his hand to
deliver; and this was the I good' that was written
about him.
Great as John's deception and his departure
from the truth may seem, at this trying moment,
none can say that circumstances did not fully justify
him in taking these measures, as they were the only
means of effecting the escape, which, not made,
might leave him to a cruel death.
My readers may suppose that John ran a great
risk in giving these directions; but he knew very \  238
Maquina questions John—he takes the letter—is detained in trons
on board the brig—rage and grief of the natives—Thompson
is sent to the vessel—John is also carried out—his arrival at the
brig—account of the brig—how she came, there—demand of
the things belonging to the Boston.
Never did John undergo such a scrutinizing
look from any other mortal, as Maquina gave him,
when he took the letter, and told him to place his
finger on every word and tell him its true meaning.
He had to forge a definition for every syllable,
and to make it out, that he had told the captain
how kind the king had been to him; and asked
him to use him well, and give him as much biscuit and molasses, and rum, as he wanted.
Since his marriage, John had painted his face,
like the others, which helped him now to tell a he,
without fearing his own countenance would contra- CAPTIVE of nootka,
diet his tongue. When he had got to the end of
the letter, with a false interpretation for every sentence, Maquina placed his finger on his name, and
giving a glance that searched him through, said,
* John, you no lie?'
'Why, Tyee, do you ask me this? have you
ever known me to deceive you?' said John.' • No,'
was the reply.' j Why then,' said John, \ should you
suspect me now?' Maquina's keen black eye was
all this time rivetted upon his face, and when he
had done speaking, the king ordered his men to get
out the canoe for him to go to the vessel.
His people entreated him not to go, and his wives
fell on their knees at his feet, imploring him to stay
on shore; but he turned from them, and saying,
1 John no lie,' left the house, and stepping into the
canoe, ordered it to be paddled to the vessel.
He delivered the letter, and was immediately
taken and put in irons, after he had been lured
into the cabin to eat biscuit and molasses, while
the men on board were arming themselves and preparing the manacles.
11  captive of nootka
He was in great terror at this reception, but
made no resistance, only asking the captain to let
one of his men come to speak with him.
The captain granted this request, but told him
he was his prisoner till he ordered two men, who,
he knew, were on shore in captivity, to be released.
The inhabitants were all waiting on the beach
for the return of the canoe. As they saw it coming without the king, they showed much concern;
and when it neared the land, and they learnt what
had happened, they began to yell, tear out their hair,
and run about in a most wild and terrific manner.
They told John, they knew it was a plot of his;
and brandishing their weapons over him, said that
they would cut him into pieces as small as their
thumb-nails; that they would roast him alive, and
head downwards, over a slow fire; and many
Other ways did they tell in which he should atone
for his deed, but without alarming him; for he
threw open his bear-skin garment, telling them to
strike; that he was but one among many, and they
might easily kill him, if they wished to see their
16 242
king hung up on ! that pole,' which he called the
yard of the vessel, pointing to it.
These threats were from the common people,
and the men. But Maquina's wives came round
John, and kneeling before him, begged him not to
let the white people hurt him; while poor little Sat-
sat kept fast hold of his hand, and crying as if his
heart would break, as he plead for the life of his
father, saying, ' Don't let him be killed! don't let
him be hurt!'
John pacified them all by assuring them there
was nothing to fear, if they would let him and
Thompson go free; for, that this was a thing of
the captain's own doing, as no doubt, he had heard
of their being kept in bondage, and come to release
This, they believed, though they, at first, cried
out so violently, that John had spoke bad about
Maquina, in the letter; and they now came and
asked what they must do to get their king safe
John told them, the best thing would be to let CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
Thompson be sent on board, with a request to the
captain to treat the king well, till he could come
out towards the vessel in a canoe; and then to
let Maquina get into a boat and be brought out,
where an exchange of prisdners should take place
on the water.
They were willing to let Thompson go; but they,
at first, wanted John to remain on land, till the
men of the brig should bring Maquina, and take
him back.
But John knew better than to trust his life to a
plan like this. He felt it would not be worth much
on shore among the natives, with their .-king safe
back, after what had now taken place.
He therefore told them, that the captain, who
knew how they had treated the crew of the Boston,
would never consent to their king's coming till
after both their prisoners were safe in the vessel^
unless he got within reach, so that he could speak
to him, and tell him to let the king come off.
So when Thompson had got safe away from the
shore and the people he had so long and so hearti- 244
ly detested, John told them if they would now
take him, and paddle him so near that he could
hail the vessel, he would call to have Maquina sent
out in the boat, from which he might step into the
canoe, when he, givmg up his seat in it, would
take one in the boat and go to the vessel.
This they consented to; while Sat-sat hung
round John, begging him, since he was going
away himself to leave him, to see that his father
was given safe back to him.
John promised to do this, and, after taking an
affectionate leave of the weeping boy, he hastened
to the canoe that waited for him.
He took his seat so as to face the Indians, who
paddled, and who, as soon as they came within
hail of the brig, dropped their oars, and waited for
the call to be given.
At this, John took out his pistols, and told them
to proceed, or he would shoot them both dead in a
Unprepared for an act of this sort, the Indians
were so frightened, that they almost fancied them- CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA.
selves shot already, and seizing their oars, they
literally paddled for their lives, till they got to the
side of the brig.
We can never describe John's emotions; but we
may imagine how his heart leapt for joy within his
bosom, as his feet leapt on board the vessel of a
Christian people.
The vessel was the brig Lydia, of Boston, Captain Samuel Hill, commander, who had been on the
coast near Klaizzart, and received the letter from
the chief, Ulatilla.
This interesting young chief had been faithful to
his promise made to John, to see his letter delivered,
and had gone out some distance to sea in his canoe,
to give the letter with his own hand, into that of
the captain, who on receiving it, proceeded directly
to Nootka to the relief of the prisoners.,
The crew of the Lydia rushed to the side of
the deck as John sprang on board, with such a
crowd of feeling of various kinds, as almost choked
his utterance, while he  tried to thank them for  CAPTIVE OF  NOOTKA.
their kindness, and their congratulation on his
In this confused state of mind, and overwhelming
flow of feeling, with his strange and savage aspect,
he must have filled the beholders with astonishment. Indeed, Captain Hill afterwards told him
that he never saw any human figure look so wild
as he did when he came to the vessel.
He was dressed in bear-skm; his hair was long
and drawn up on the top of his head, and sur**
mounted by a branch of spruce; his face was painted in true Indian style.
When he went below to see MaquMa, who did
not know that he had%ny hand in his confinement,
he found him looking sad and dejected.
BJut his face brightened as he beheld lii's friend
John's; and John asked leave of the captain to
knock off the irons of the captive king, assuring
him, that as long as he°was with Maquina, there
was nothing to fear from him.
He then gave, in presence of Maquina, a full
account of the misfortune of the Boston; and Cap-
'■*£ 248
tain Hill thought Maquina ought to be put to death.
But John plead in his behalf.
He said that, notwithstanding all the cruelty
that had been shown to the crew, Maquina had
often spared his life, when the cry of the people
was for his blood.
He told Captain Hill that he had not only saved
his life, but been uniformly kind, giving him a
share of the best he had; and that he could never
give his consent to the death of a man who had
done this.
Maquina, who understood the nature of the conversation, kept interrupting it by asking, * What are
they going to do with me ? are they going to kill
me?' &c.
'John,' said he, 'you know that, when you
were alone among five hundred warriors, all your
enemies, I saved your life, when they demanded
it—I was your friend. Now will you not do the
same by me V
John told him he would, and that he had nothing to fear if he would remain quietly till his peo-  250
The things belonging to the Boston brought out—Maquina takes
his leave of John—death of a young Chief—return of the
vessel to Nootkaf from the northward—Maquina visits her
with skins—voyage to China—John hears from home by an
Englishman—comes   to   Boston—finds  a   letter from   his
-concluding remarks.
The Indians in waiting for their king, were then
told that as soon as they would bring out what
belonged to the Boston, they should take him back;
but a strict injunction was laid on them, not to
approach the vessel during the night, if they did
not wish to be fired upon.
It was John*s lot to pass the night with the royal
captive, who would not let him sleep, but kept
rousing him to answer some question about what
was to be done with him.
Early in the morning, John hailed the natives, CAPTIVE OF   NOOTKA
and told them it was the will of their king that they
should bring out the things belonging to the owners
of the Boston.
They accordingly went to work with great expedition. To remove the cannon and anchors,
they lashed two of the largest canoes together, and
covered them with planks, and thus, with their
burden upon them, towed them out.
In about two hours, every thing belonging to the
ship and her cargo, that remained with the natives,
was brought out; and Maquina was told that he
might go home.
His canoe had come for him, bringing, in addition to the other things, all the skins which he had
in possession, about sixty in number, as a present
to the captain for letting him return, and without
hurting him.
Such was Maquina's rapture, on being told he
might go, that he sprang up, and throwing off his
mantle that consisted of four fine skins, he gave it
to die captain in token of his gratitude.
Captain Hill gave him, in return, a hat and great
coat, with which he seemed much pleased; and
told him that he should return to that part of the
coast in November, and he wished him to save ail
his skins for him to purchase.
; John,' said Maquina, turning to him as his interpreter, {you know 1 shall then be at Tashees.
But make a pow, (fire a gun) and I will come down
to meet you here.'
As he stood at the side of the brig, ready to step
into the canoe, he shook John cordially by the
hand, telling him, he hoped he would come to see
him again in a big ship, and bring much plenty
blankets, biscuit, molasses and rum for him and
his son, who, he knew, loved him very much.
He added, that he should never take a letter of
recommendation to any one again, nor trust himself
on board a vessel, unless John were in it.
The tears, trickled down Mis cheeks, as he bade
John farewell, stepped into the canoe, and was paddled off   |- •!
There was much in the character of this Indian
king, which, had it been moulded by civilization,  CAPTIVE  OF  NOOTKA,
and purified by Christianity, would have been
noble and delightful, and John had received so
much kindness and protection from him, when he
had none besides to help him, by human agency,
that he could not help feeling a sort of sadness at
his final separation from him.
An accident that happened on board the brig,
greatly damaged the joy of John at his liberation.
A young Nootkan chief, who had bad no hand in
killing the crew of the Boston, and who was a fine
fellow, happened to be one to help bring the muskets to the brig. As they were delivered, Captain
Hill sat in the cabin, and snapped several of their
locks. The young chief was near; when one of
the muskets going off, discharged the contents into
his body.    The gun was loaded with swan shot.
John, on hearing the report of the gun, ran to the
cabin, and found the Indian weltering in his blood,
with the captain, greatly shocked at the accident,
trying to help him. John assured him it was not
intentional, as the captain had no idea of the gun's
being loaded. CAPTIVE  OF NOOTKA.
He said he was well aware of that, and after
having his wounds bound up, he was put into a
canoe and carried on shore. It was afterwards
found that he languished some days, and then died
of his wounds. He had always shown an amiable
disposition, and been a good friend to the captives.
The brig made her excursion northward, and
returned to Nootka in November. Here they followed Maquina's directions, and made the i pow.y
In a few hours, a canoe was seen. After having
landed the king, it came out to the brig, and John
recognised in it, the voice of Kinneclimmets, who
asked if John was on board, saying that he had
some skins to sell them, if he was.
John went forward and invited him and the
others on board. They accepted, and told the captain that Maquina had some fine skins; but that he
was afraid to come to the vessel unless John would
come after him. This John agreed to do, if they
would remain at the vessel.
They consented, and he got into their canoe, and
paddled ashore.   On his landing, Maquina was
\i-./% 256
overjoyed to meet him. But when he asked for
his men, and was told why they did not come,
I Ah ! John,' said he, S1 see you are afraid to trust
me, yet. But you need not have feared, for I
should not have hurt you, though I^htmld have
taken good care never to let you go on board a
vessel again.' i r*.*T
He then took his chest of skins, and got into
the canoe which John paddled to the brig. He
sold his skins, and seeming pleased with his visit,
took a second leave of John, asking how many
moons there would be, before he would come back
to see him and Sat-sat, who, he said, wanted very
much to come down with him from Tashees to see
The Lydia was bound to China. After a good
voyage, with pleasant weather, she arrived, in due
nme, at Canton. Here there was an English ship,
whose mate, hearing of two captives that had been
released from Nootka, came to inquire about them.
This young man happened to be the son of a
merchant at Hull, and next-door neighbor to John's CAPTIVE OF NOOTKA.
father.    He had heard of the fate of the Boston,
and,.like the rest of John's friends, supposed him*
to be long since dead.
Their meeting I will not describe. I will only
say that the young man, whose name was John
Hill, furnished John with comfortable clothing,
some; money, and many other articles that might
add to his comfort on his passage, and after his
arrival in America.
John gave him a letter to his parents, whicB ar-
<iived safely and speedily; for, when the Lydia arrived *at Boston, after a passage of a hundred and
fourteen days from China, which she left in February, 1807, he found a letter in the post-office, in
answer to it.
The letter was from his mother, informing him
that all his friends at home were alive and welL
,What else it informed him of, report saith not
Neither have we any particular  accounts of
Thompson, after he gained his freedom.   But I
presume,  he applied  himself to the  sail-needle
17 .   i 258
again; and that he always took good care to keep
clear of the shores of Nootka.
Our hero, John R. Jewitt, of whom we are now
about to take our leave, acknowledged much kind-,
ness received from the gentlemen who had owned
the lost ship, during his stay in Boston, Massachusetts.
How long he remained there, we have never
heard, nor where he bent his way from that place.
The last I ever heard of him, gave information
of his being a resident in Middletown, Connecticut^
in the year 1815.
Whether he ever went through a second marriage ceremony, or not, I am not able to say; neither can I tell the line of life which he followed
after his emancipation from slavery.
But I presume that wherever his lot was cast,
and whatever that lot might be, he j always carried
about with him a grateful heart.
However sincerely he might have regretted his
own waywardness, in preferring to take his own
course in the choice of a profession, to hearing to            


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