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PROVIDENTIAL PRESERVATION AT SEA.
from the water's edge; but there were no able-bodied natives near the spot to paddle us, all the men being gone to the mountains to procure food, or to the ship for traffic and curiosity. Several mothers with their children having followed us, we asked a woman and a boy if they could row us to the ship. They readily answered, “ Yes, surely we could;" “but,” said the female, “no woman is now permitted to go out to any ship that comes here, as they used to do.” The Missionary, however, under the peculiar urgency of our circumstances, granted her a dispensation in this case. Thereupon we dragged the canoe to the water, and shipped ourselves into it with no little difficulty, on account of the narrowness of the vessel, and its extreme liability, from lightness, to be upset by the smallest derangement within. The woman and boy took their stations fore and aft; Mr. Tyerman sat near the head, next to the boy; while Mr. Bennet and Mr. Wilson occupied the space
between them and the woman at the stern. pretty well over the surf, but as we proceeded from the shore, and found the swell of the sea regularly increasing, while the upper edge of our little bark was nearly even with the water, we began to feel the peril of our situation, and heartily repented having quitted the firm land in such a cockle-shell. But, as Mr. Wilson thought there would be quite as much danger in attempting to return now, as in going forward, we pushed away, and were soon alongside of the General Gates; when, as might have been expected, we perceived the agitation of the water to be greatly heightened by the rocking of the ship. Our canoe, however, was paddled up to the gangway; whereupon, Mr. Tyerman, being nearest to the ladder, stood up and caught hold of the ropes; but, as the first step was rather high, he inadvertently, though very naturally, set his foot on the edge of our tiny
PROVIDENTIAL PRESERVATION AT SEA.
vessel, which, before a word could be uttered to warn him of his imprudence, was fairly overset and floating bottom uppermost. Here Mr. Bennet must speak for himself
Anticipating this catastrophe when I saw Mr. Tyerman get up, and not being able to swim, I seized hold of the side of the canoe, and kept hold when it was capsized; but having only the round bottom to rest my arm upon (canoes being without keels), I felt I should not be able to maintain my buoyancy long ; I recollected also that many sharks are usually in the neighbourhood of ships, off shore. In this extremity I cried out loudly for help, and soon saw many of the natives peeping carelessly over the sides of the vessel, and saying one to another, “Te papaai roto te miti ! te papaai roto te miti !'~*The foreigners are in the water! the foreigners are in the water !' But they moved not to my assistance; in fact, being themselves almost amphibious, and such accidents often occurring to them, they thought we were sporting among the waves; it never came into their heads that we could not swim ! Mr. Tyerman, however, on looking back, and perceiving our plight, hastened to obtain a rope, which he and another person threw overboard; when one end falling across the canoe, within my reach, I eagerly grasped it, first with one hand, then with the other; but I had no sooner let go the canoe, expecting to be hoisted up into the ship, than down I sank close under its side. My instant thoughts were these :—they have dropped the rope without keeping hold of the other end; I shall now certainly be drawn under the vessel ;—and thus I enter eternity! It is the will of God; and I commit myself to his mercy, in whose presence I must appear in a few moments! While these presentiments were rushing through my mind, suddenly I felt the rope tighten within my hands, for I continued to clasp it instinctively, though
THE LAST BATTLE OF THE LAST NATIVE WAR.
But a gra
my head had already become confused, from the quantity of
This evening, after our return to land, Mr. Nott related to us several particulars concerning the last battle of the last war-and may it ever be the last !—in this island; when Pomare, having professed himself a Christian, was opposed by a powerful idolatrous party, and overcame them, not less by his clemency after the conflict than by the prowess of himself and his followers in it. It was on the twelfth of November, 1815, that this decisive action was fought, and it was the Sabbath. Pomare had previously landed from Eimeo, with a considerable number of his faithful adherents, most of whom, like himself, had renounced the worship of idols; and with the force which he then mustered (about eight hundred, including those who had joined him in Tahiti), he hoped to be able to quell the insurrection and recover the sovereignty of this island. Mr. Nott, who had resided with him during his temporary exile, forewarned the king to be on his guard during the Sabbath, while the army rested for the purposes of devotion, since it was probable that the enemy would seize that opportunity to attack
THE LAST BATTLE OF THE LAST NATIVE WAR.
him during the time of divine worship. Accordingly he commanded his people (as many as had the opportunity) to assemble armed, and to be prepared at any moment against surprise, but on no account to move except in obedience to his signals. Having planted their muskets on the outside of the building in which they were convened, at the hour of prayer, they entered upon the solemn service, but were soon interrupted by the cry, “it is war !-it is war !"-Pomare, who remained without, on a spot where he had an ample view of the neighbourhood, having discovered a considerable body of the enemy, hastening in martial array towards the place where he and his people were met. He, however, maintained his presence of mind, and ordered that the singing should proceed, prayer should be made, and the whole duty of God's house be performed, unless actual hostilities were commenced before it could be concluded. This was done, when, under the dire necessity laid upon them, they rose from worship, and went forth to battle, resolved, in the spirit of the exhortation of Joab to Israel, to “ be of good courage, and play the men for their people, and for the (cities) of their God;" content also to add, 6 the Lord do that which seemeth him good !” Thus they marched in several bands, one following another, to meet the foe. When the first troop had advanced some distance, a signal was given, whereupon they halted, and, falling down on their knees, implored divine protection, and success against the idolaters. They then went forward, and the second division, at the same place, bowed themselves on the ground in like manner, supplicating help from above; division after division followed the example, and thus, not with carnal weapons only, but with the most effectual missile from the armoury of God—with “all prayer,” they faced, they fought, and they discomfited, the rebels. One of the chief
HUMANITY OF THE CONQUERORS.
prophets of Oro, the god of war, animated the idolaters, promising them victory, the spoil of their antagonists, and the sole dominion of the island. The struggle was long, and fierce, and wavering in its issues, as the desultory conflicts of undisciplined combatants must be. While the foremost warriors of the king's army were thus engaged with open breast, and arm to arm, against their desperate assailants, a corps of chosen men, defiling through a wood that flanked the field, emerged from thence in the critical juncture, and fell with irresistible impetuosity upon the rear of the latter, levelling and routing all before them. The chief commander of the idolaters was slain, and the intelligence of his death being rapidly communicated through the ranks of his followers, already broken, a panic seized them, and they fled in utter confusion to the mountains.
The prophet of Oro, among the most disheartened and terrified, sought refuge with the rest in the recesses of the interior. He has since declared that the power of Oro then forsook him—the evil spirit went out of him, and never afterwards returned. Pomare's conquering bands were eager to pursue the fugitives and complete the victory, though they disavowed the purpose of destroying them. The king, however, interfered, and said, in a style of oriental magnificence, “The mountains are mine: follow not the vanquished thither! The motus (the low coral islets where the enemy had left their wives and children are mine : let them alone there also. Proceed only along the open ways. Take no lives :-take nothing but the spoils which you find in the field or on the roads." The idolatrous prisoners were so affected by the king's lenity, and the forbearance of the victors generally—having expected, as a matter of course, to be barbarously murdered in cold blood—that many of them