When the account of this melancholy affair reached our beach, everyone flew to arms, even all the women, for the young man was a general favourite. The war-cry spread in every direction. “Here,” they exclaimed, “is the last of the Pomare family killed treacherously, a warrior related to and connected with every chief of consequence in the country, and a nephew of the great Shulitea.” The cry for blood and revenge was universal. I must confess that, added to the danger it placed me in, I was much shocked when I heard of the fate of poor Tiki, for he was one of our particular friends, and had passed many an evening in our hut. I had taken leave of him only the day before, when he had set out, full of health and spirits, on this hog expedition, which had terminated thus fatally.
The death of this young man excited the highest indignation in the minds of his countrymen, as well as in those of his numerous intimate friends and relations; for a report was industriously circulated that he had fallen by the hands of a slave. This was considered by his tribe as a degradation infinitely worse than the murder itself. The offended chiefs assembled on our beach, with all their followers, armed: and none appeared more indignant at the transaction than our friend George, who, with his brother Kiney Kiney, placed themselves at the head of the party, to revenge the insult which had been offered them.
The night before they started on this expedition, George spent the evening with us. He was in particularly low spirits, and said he did not at all like the business he was going upon: but, as he was the nearest relation of the deceased, and the eldest of the tribe, he went in hopes of being able to prevent a great effusion of blood, and also to restrain the impetuosity of the young men. Little did we then think he would be the first victim; although his unusual depression of mind brought to my remembrance the prophecy of Hongi, and, spite of my endeavours to banish my forebodings, I felt convinced that the prediction would in all probability be fulfilled.
Three days had elapsed from the time the avenging party had gone on their mission, when, at midnight, a messenger, faint and nearly exhausted, arrived on our beach with the following dreadful intelligence; and that night no other sounds were heard than those of agony and woe, the yelling of women, and the shrieks of slaves.
The substance of the man’s information was, that George and the offending party had met; but, as several days had passed since the murder of their friend, their feelings were in some degree appeased, and they had contented themselves with a general plunder of whatever property their enemies possessed. They had spared their lives, and the outrage was considered as atoned for. The chiefs were on their return home, laden with spoil, when, like other coalesced armies, disagreements began to take place among themselves, and discord long smothered, broke out in every quarter of the camp.