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The Old Whaling Days

(2) The Sailors' Account

(2) The Sailors' Account.

“On the 10th of September a mob of natives came running into the hut where we stopped, calling out “corbura corbura,” (a ship); we rushed out and saw two vessels bearing down towards us. You may imagine how we felt, having been five months among these wretches, eaten up with vermin, half starved, nearly naked, and our lives in hourly danger. At nine o'clock the wind changing, the vessels bore away. As one of them seemed page 425 to us to be a man of war, we expected their return the first fair wind. On the 22nd the two vessels again hove in sight, and having a fine breeze, in a few hours anchored under the par where we were. The natives were very anxious to know what ship it was, and hearing us talk of the man of war, began to be very frightened, and told us they did not like to see the sailors with pistols and megara roar (a big knife) by their sides. Instead of asking us to pay them in muskets, blankets, powder, &c., they said they would be content with a few pipes or a bit of tobacco. By this time the Alligator had sent her boats ashore, and the natives did not hesitate to let us go on board, and in an hour's time we were under weigh. Captain Lambert and the officers kindly provided us with clothes which were much wanting.


“On Mr. Guard stepping out of the boat, one of the chiefs came up to shake hands with him whom he recognised as the one who had ordered the men to rush at the fight on the 10th of May, he being the chief who detained Mrs. Guard; he was accordingly secured and taken in the boat of the Alligator.


“The chief told Captain Lambert that if he would take him ashore at a place called Naturawey, he would call out for Mrs. Guard and the children.


“Before we had been long on shore, and before we could reach the hills above the beach, we saw the natives coming, one of them carrying the boy on his back. Captain Guard with seven of his crew and a few of the sailors of the Alligator, went to receive the boy, who was dressed in a clean mat, with several feathers on his head. A sailor of the name of Ruff, captain of the forecastle of the Alligator, was the first who reached the boy, and finding him fastened to the man's back by an old mat, took out his knife, and securing the child, deliberately drew his knife across the man's throat. The crew of the Harriett, finding the child safe, now determined on having ample revenge on the page 426 murderers of their shipmates, and there being about 103 natives assembled on the beach, we fired upon them; the soldiers on the hill supposing that orders had been given for firing, commenced a discharge of musketry upon them; numbers of their dead strewed the beach, the others fled for shelter to their par and to the woods.


“All the remaining crew of the Harriet shipped on board the Elizabeth, Cap. Currie, for England, except the carpenter, who came up in the Isabella schooner.”