John Rutherford, the White Chief eBook

George Lillie Craik
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 195 pages of information about John Rutherford, the White Chief.

We have collected these notices in order to give a more complete illustration of so singular and interesting a character as that formed by the union of the rude and bloodthirsty barbarian with the bustling trafficker.  It is an exhibition of the savage mind in a new guise.  We have only to add, with regard to Pomaree, that it appears by other authorities, as well as by the notice we find in Rutherford, that he was in the habit of making very devastating excursions occasionally to the southern part of the island.  When Cruise left New Zealand in 1820, he had been away on one of these expeditions nearly a year, nor was it known exactly where he had gone to.  The people about the mouth of the Thames said they had seen him since he left home, but he had long ago left their district for one still farther south.  The last notice we find of him, is in a letter from the Rev. H. Williams, in the “Missionary Register” for 1827, in which it is stated, that he had a short time before fallen in battle, having been cut to pieces, with many of his followers, by a tribe on whom he had made an attack.

This event, of the circumstances of which Dillon was furnished with a particular account by some of the near relations of the deceased chief, took place in the southern part of the island.


[Footnote BC:  This is one of the discrepancies in Rutherford’s narrative.  Taranaki is a district on the West Coast of the North Island, and is about 150 miles from Cook Strait.]

[Footnote BD:  Otago is a large province in the southern part of the South Island, 300 miles from the Strait.  Rutherford probably refers to Takou, a Wairarapa chief, who was connected with the Ngai-Tahu of Otago.]

[Footnote BE:  It is supposed that the man was “Jim the Maori,” the latter word being wrongly spelt “Moury” in the manuscript of Rutherford’s story.  The man’s real name was James Caddell.  He was an Englishman by birth, and lived amongst the Maoris so long that he became one of them, adopting their customs and ideas.  Those who have investigated his case believe that he belonged to the “Sydney Cove,” a sealer, which sailed in New Zealand waters.  Near the South Cape, a boat from a sealer was captured by the Maoris, and all the members of the crew except Caddell were killed and eaten.  Caddell, according to his own account, was saved by running to a chief and touching his mat.  He was sixteen years of age then.  He married a chief’s daughter, and became a Maori in all respects except colour.  He was captured by Captain Edwardson, of the “Snapper,” and was taken to Sydney, where he seems to have paraded as a savage chief.  While he was with the Maoris, he almost forgot the English language, and found much difficulty in making himself understood by Captain Edwardson.]

[Footnote BF:  Mr. Kendal was one of the missionaries who went to New Zealand with Marsden when missionary work in the country was begun.]

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John Rutherford, the White Chief from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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