At about eight o’clock a light sea breeze sprang up: they then set their sail, and all went to sleep, excepting one slave, who was employed to steer the canoe; so that I had ample time to ruminate upon my solitary and perilous situation. The tide failed us at twelve o’clock, and we then went on shore, kindled a fire, and soon collected such a supply of shell-fish as furnished us a splendid repast. Here we remained till the flood-tide set in strong, when, again hoisting our sail, we arrived at the Kirikiri about sunset.
I here found the missionaries in the greatest consternation and dismay, and learned that it was one of the chiefs of Hokianga who had shot George, and they dreaded lest the result of that deed should be that the whole of the savage tribes on that part of the island would be opposed to each other; that combats would ensue; and which side soever might be victorious, it would prove equally injurious to them, as they had settlements on both sides of the island. But their greatest alarm was occasioned by their possessions at Hokianga, as the most violent depredations were there being committed; and as this was the very point of my destination, the news was not very consolatory to me. “So anxious,” said one of “the brethren” to me, “were we to inform our Christian brethren of our danger, that we actually gave a warm piece to a native to carry a letter over to you, although that is strictly contrary to our orders.” I expressed a desire to know what he meant by a warm piece; he kicked his foot against the stock of a gun I had at the time in my hand; and, looking at me with an expression of the greatest contempt, said, “It is what you worldly folks call a musket!”
They were making considerable preparations to repair to the great meeting of the chiefs, to which Rivers was journeying. This was a wise and politic measure for them to pursue; and they were highly delighted to have such an addition to their party as this well-known chief; and though they would not acknowledge it, their satisfaction was very visible. I earnestly requested them to inform me candidly, from all they had heard,