THE DEATH OF KING GEORGE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.
This news caused mourning and lamentation along our beach, and filled all the Europeans with dismay. We could not calculate the extent of the injury we might receive, but felt certain we should be considerable sufferers in some way or other. The light of day seemed to add to, rather than to diminish, the moans of George’s faithful subjects. The violent sobbings from every dwelling were most dismal. Groups were scattered about, forming small crying parties, and cutting their skins deeply with knives and pieces of broken glass; in short, nothing was heard but yelling and groaning, and nothing was seen but streams of blood!
But however shocked I might feel by the train of accidents and deaths which had made such cruel havoc amongst my friends, and notwithstanding my sincere grief and regret for the fate of poor George, who was a most humane and intelligent chief, and particularly kind to all the English; the predicament in which I was now placed demanded all my energies, for I felt that I stood in a situation of great danger.
I have before noticed their barbarous custom, on the death of a chief, of plundering his family and friends. As we had always been considered as a part of George’s family, living under his protection, adopted by him, and admitted into his tribe, I entertained great suspicions that we also should be sufferers by the general plunder about to take place: besides, I was so circumstanced as to be obliged to cross the country with all my goods, and my route lay through the territories of all those chiefs who had been fighting against George; and I was at no loss to guess in what light they would regard me. Depending, too securely, on the general tranquility, I had not sent my luggage by sea, as I might have done, and which would have saved me great anxiety, as I should have ventured alone without fear, but could not manage to carry what I possessed; and to engage any to convey them was an impossibility, for the moment I made the proposition to any (even the meanest of the slaves) to accompany me, they ran off into the bush, nor could any entreaty, presents, or threats induce them to venture with me; so, for security, I removed all the property I had, and went with it on board the Marianne, whaler.
For three days after the death of George, all gave themselves up to grief; no work was done, and not an individual was to be seen but in an agony of tears. I began to feel strangely affected with melancholy myself, when, on the fourth morning, a scene of bustle took place, and low spirits were banished by tumult, noise, and confusion.