Mooetara (the friendly chief of Hokianga) no sooner heard of the fate of the vessel and her crew than he hastened with his party to the spot; it was owing to the investigation which then took place that the conclusion was arrived at that all had been murdered. What remained for Mooetara to do (according to their savage notion of what was right) was to take ample revenge on all the hostile tribes that might fall in his way, whether our poor countrymen met their deaths through accident or treachery. Mooetara instantly commenced the work of destruction; and, having made his vengeance complete, he returned laden with spoil. The promptness with which he acted on this melancholy occasion greatly increased the feelings of security possessed by those Englishmen settled on the banks of the river, as it proved to them that he was both able and willing to protect them, and though the dead could not be restored, yet he had inflicted an awful punishment on their murderers.
FAREWELL TO NEW ZEALAND.
On the 21st a fair wind and smooth sea favoured our departure. Early in the morning the natives who were on board assured us everything would facilitate our passing over the bar with safety, and they prepared to leave the ship. When the moment of separation came, it caused a great deal of emotion on both sides. I must confess I felt much affected when I came to rub noses, shake hands, and say “Farewell” to these kind-hearted people. I saw them go over the ship’s side, and reflected that I should never behold them more. There is always something repugnant to our feelings in the idea of separating from any being for ever; and as, in this instance, I felt assured that this was our last time of meeting, it cast a gloom over the pleasure the fair wind and smooth sea would otherwise have afforded me. As we fell down towards the river’s mouth, and, indeed, as long as their canoes were to be seen, they kept waving their hands towards us.
Thus terminated my visit to the islands of New Zealand. I had arrived with feelings of fear and disgust, and was merely induced to take up a temporary residence amongst the natives, in hopes of finding something new for my pencil in their peculiar and picturesque style of life. I left them with opinions, in many respects, very favourable towards them. It is true, they are cunning and over-reaching in trade, and filthy in their persons. In regard to the former, we Europeans, I fear, set them a bad example; of the latter, they will gradually amend. Our short visit to Kororarika greatly improved them in that particular. All took great pains to come as clean as possible when they attended our “evening tea-parties.” In my opinion, their sprightly, free, and independent deportment, together with their kindness and attention to strangers, compensates for many defects.