A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827 eBook

Augustus Earle
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 197 pages of information about A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827.
remained almost stupefied on the spot, Mr. Fannen said that he heard the cannibals assembling in the woods, on which we returned to our boat, and having hauled alongside the canoes, we demolished three of them.  During this transaction the fire on the top of the hill disappeared, and we could hear the savages in the woods at high words, quarrelling, perhaps, on account of their different opinions, whether they should attack us and try to save their canoes.  They were armed with long lances, and weapons not unlike a sergeant’s halbert in shape, made of hard wood, and mounted with bone instead of iron.  We suspected that the dead bodies of our people had been divided among those different parties of cannibals who had been concerned in the massacre, and it was not improbable that the group we saw at a distance by the fire were feasting upon some of them, as those on shore had been where the remains were found, before they had been disturbed by our unexpected visit.  Be that as it may, we could discover no traces of more than four of our friends’ bodies, nor could we find the place where the cutter was concealed.  It now grew dark, on which account we collected carefully the remains of our mangled friends, and, putting off, made the best of our way from this polluted place.  When we opened the upper part of the Sound, we saw a very large fire about three or four miles higher up, which formed a complete oval, reaching from the top of a hill down almost to the water-side, the middle space being enclosed all round by the fire, like a hedge.  Mr. Burney and Mr. Fannen having consulted together, they were both of opinion that we could, by an attempt, reap no other advantage than the poor satisfaction of killing some more of the savages.  Upon leaving Grass Cove we had fired a volley towards where we heard the Indians talking, but by going in and out of the boat our pieces had got wet, and four of them missed fire.  What rendered our situation more critical, it began to rain, and our ammunition was more than half expended.  We, for these reasons, without spending time where nothing could be hoped for but revenge, proceeded for the ship, and arrived safe aboard before midnight.’”

It is a little remarkable that Captain Furneaux had been several times up Grass Cove with Captain Cook, where they saw no inhabitants, and no other signs of any but a few deserted villages, which appeared as if they had not been occupied for many years, and yet, in Mr. Burney’s opinion, when he entered the same cove, there could not be less than fifteen hundred or two thousand people.

On Thursday, the 23rd of December, the Adventure departed from, and made sail out of, the Sound.  She stood to the eastward, to clear the straits, which was happily effected the same evening; but the ship was baffled for two or three days with light winds before she could clear the coast.  In this interval of time the chests and effects of the ten men who had been murdered were sold before the mast, according to an old sea custom.

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A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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