Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Old Whaling Days

The Letters

The Letters.

[Mr. Skinner's notes are shewn thus (….)].

A correct account of the siege and horrid transactions which happened between the tribes of Wicatto (Waikato) and Tarranchy (Taranaki), commencing January 2, 1832, and ending February 23. The natives of Tarranchy (Taranaki) have at different times been put in alarm on hearing false reports of the Wicattos (Waikato) being on their journey towards their settlements, to seek revenge for some former grievance, which they were well aware existed between them, and finding the reports to be false, page 42 they did not put much confidence in the latter, which they have since found to be too true. On the 25th of November, 1831, a boat arrived at Mutarau (Moturoa)* from Corfea (Kawhia), with natives, under a false pretence of procuring a particular sort of provisions for their chiefs, and also reported that the Wicatto (Waikato) tribes had reached as far as Mocow (Mokau), and returned back towards their own settlements. The natives of Mutarau (Moturoa), not doubting the integrity of their artful story, supplied them with every necessary they required, repaired their boat, and allowed them to return. On the 24th of December, in a few hours after their departure, the fires of the enemy were observed fifty miles to the northward, at a place called Tongaporutu, proceeding towards a place called Bucharangcoala (Puke-rangiora). The different tribes of Tarranchy (Taranaki) and Namuty (Nga-Motu) collected together to go down to meet them, but on perceiving the multitude they had to contend with, their spirits drooped, and they thought it a much wiser plan to return, which they accordingly did. They then consulted among themselves, and all the natives within six miles of our residence (Moturoa) fled to Bucharangcoala (Pukerangiora), where they enclosed themselves within a slight fence, to the number of about three thousand souls, men, women, and children, and a very scanty stock of provisions with them, to sustain such a number for a length of time. It was impossible for them to conjecture that their enemy might blockade them. On their approaching near the place, they took two men and one woman, slaves, which they killed, but did not eat, as it is their custom to feed their gods with the first slain in battle. They shortly afterwards took twenty-five women slaves, most of which they ate, and commenced burning, destroying, and laying waste the country, as those horrid wretches approached to commit the most bloody and treacherous deeds that have ever been recorded in the annals of history. When they page 43 arrived at a place called Friterra (Waitara), having a river to cross, our natives made a slight defence, to try and prevent them, but were obliged to retreat, killing two of the enemy. January 2, 1832, they surrounded Bucharangcoala (Puke-rangiora), and on the 3d. at daybreak, they attempted to take it by storm, in which they were defeated, with the loss of four chiefs and ten men killed; on our side two killed. On the 9th the enemy had one man killed; on the 10th four killed; on the 11th one chief killed; on the 13th six killed; on the 14th ten killed; on the 19th twelve killed. On the 21st the besieged wretches, being entirely exhausted for the want of provisions, and having no possible means of replenishing their stock, and a vast number not having a morsel to eat for several days previous, finding themselves entangled in this dreadful situation, being certain of death if they remained there, and not having the courage to go boldly out and face their enemy, which they might with little difficulty have conquered on their first arrival, they broke down part of the fence to endeavour to make their escape, in open daylight, so ignorant are those wretches. Those who had plenty of provisions would not divide with the starving, and not even with the distant tribes who voluntarily went into their part to their assistance, and had not time to procure a sufficiency. The enemy perceiving them running in such disorder, they advanced from all quarters, making a dreadful slaughter, not sparing man, woman, or child. Many were so weak with starvation (mere skeletons) that they were deprived of the use of their limbs, and could not even bear the weight of their musket; and those at the opposite end of the par not being aware of the intention of breaking down the fence, at this critical moment, took their children in their arms and threw themselves over cliffs of a tremendous height, so great is the dread of these savages of being eat by one another. Fear prevented others from making the least resistance whatever, and of course they becam an easy prey. The principal part of their prisoners, that day, were cripples, women and children; the remainder making page 44 their escape as well as their weak state would allow them. A party of the enemy were employed in despatching as many as would be sufficient for the evening's meal; their slaves getting their ovens ready, and the remainder went in search of more prey, which they found, to the number of twelve hundred. On the 23d they commenced the slaughter of the prisoners that were taken alive. They were all crammed into huts, well guarded, the principal chief, executioner, with a sharp tomahawk in his hand, ready to receive them. They were then called out, one by one. Those that had well carved or tatooed hands, hand their hands cut off on a block, the body quartered and hung upon fences, which were erected for that purpose; those with indifferent heads received one blow, and then dragged to a hole to bleed. The chief (Te Wherowhero), complaining of his arm being tired, after despatching about three hundred, very mercifully respited the remainder until next morning, when this monstrous cannibal commenced business with as much cheerful gaiety as if he was going to some grand entertainment. The young children, and grown up lads, were cut down the belly, then roasted on sticks before the fire. There was no mercy shown. I have, since this bloody deed has been committed, paid a visit to the fatal spot, to view the remains of this horrid carnage. Within several miles of the par (pa), in different directions, are placed in the ground pieces of wood, painted red, as a memorial of the spot where those that were left behind had some friend or relation slain. On advancing nearer, is a heap of bones, since burned, as near as I can imagine of about three hundred persons. Thence to about a quarter of a mile are skeletons, not burned, strewed about the place where the enemy had formed their settlements, and the ovens still remaining where they had been cooked. I believe they did not eat any flesh inside the place where they butchered them, as I could not see any bones in it; it had not been disturbed since the savages left it to pay us a visit. The block they struck the fatal blow on, was still remaining, the blood and the page 45 notches from the axe were still quite fresh. The trees in the par were stripped of their leaves, and the branches thereof supplied instead, with dead bodies, cleaned and ready for cooking. On taking a general view of the place, I observed the enemy had formed three different settlements, and in each of them was a heap of bones similar to the first I had seen, and also to each, a rack, placed along the spot where they eat their victuals; on it they put the heads of their unfortunate victims, that they may continually keep the objects of their revenge in their sight and mind, which is the continued blood-thirsty practice of this disgraceful race, whose constant study is, meditating the death of their fellow-countrymen. I have scarcely sufficient words to describe the horrid spectacle, and what was still more barbarous in the wretches that had made their escape and got safe into the bush from the Wicatto (Waikato) tribes, there being some old grievances between them, the stronger party fell upon the remainder of those tribes which had left their own settlements at a considerable distance, to come to their assistance, and slaughtered them in as cruel a manner as the enemy had served their fathers and brothers, only a day before; so treacherous is the heart of a New Zealander, even in the greatest distress, that he will never forget or forgive an injury, although it may have been sustained by accident. When these savages had satisfied their voracious appetites, at Bucharangeala (Puke-rangiora), and the adjacent settlements, they proceeded on their journey towards Maturee (Moturoa), feasting sumptuously, and enjoying their spoil as they marched along, conceiving among themselves, that they had achieved a most glorious victory, and not doubting in the least, but that they would soon be conquerors of a few more hundreds, with a great deal more ease than the former, well knowing, they had only a handful of men to contend with, in comparison with the numbers that were enclosed at Bucharangeala (Puke-rangiora), but amongst the few in number were eleven Europeans, who had firmly resolved to die rather than be taken alive; necessity compelling them to page 46 remain on the spot, and protect their property, not having any place of security to fly to. As for the Natives' bravery, I cannot boast much, as most of their victories are obtained by artifice and treachery; they dread the thoughts of being eat after death, much more than death itself, and will run more risque in getting a dead body to have a feast, than they will to meet their enemies. On the 28th, a party of Wicatto was observed coming along the beach, of about one hundred, which put the whole settlement in confusion, and leave off their employment, which was in cutting trenches inside the fence, and building banks with clay, intermixed with fern, round their huts, to prevent musketry from penetrating, which proved to be a very good scheme; the women were busy in bringing in the provisions, which were scarcely ripe enough to take out of the ground, but were very acceptable at that time; a party went on the beach to receive the enemy; they commenced firing, which continued for about an hour, and no damage done on either side; when they retreated to a short distance, to join the remainder of their tribes, about sixteen hundred, able and well armed, and a vast number of slaves, to contend with two hundred and fifty, and only one hundred muskets, three long guns, and one small swivel, placed in a good direction as we expected they would attack us. Previous to their arrival, the Europeans drew lots for their stations at each of the guns, which allowed three to each and two to the swivel. We had plenty of powder, but very scarce of balls, for which stones served as a substitute; but I am very sorry to say they did not give us much occasion to fire at them, always leaving us a wide berth; and the place being so full of trees, and very unlevel ground, we found it impossible to get them to bear upon them. On the 30th they blockaded us on three sides, forming their settlements at a quarter of a mile distant; one at each end, and the other in the centre, at the back of a large and high hill, which completely overlooked the par, and made it very dangerous in walking through it. The par being situated on steep ground, up from the beach, they could not form page 47 a settlement on that side; but, however, it was impossible for any person to make their escape unperceived by the enemy. On the 31st we observed one of the principal chiefs walking up the beach towards us, waving his mat as a signal for a truce. He wished to have a parley with our chief, who went to meet him.

They were relations and had a long conversation upon different subjects, but mostly concerning the intended battle. He dwelt very much upon the last place he had taken, Bucharangeolas (Puke-rangiora), and such a quantity of men, that it would be impossible for so few to contend with the numbers he was then surrounded with, and advised him strongly to surrender and he should not be hurt. Our chief told him, that such news would be very disagreeable to his children and brother chieftains, to be delivered up as slaves, killed and eat, without first trying their valour, and pressed his relation, the Conoway (Te Kanawa, of Kawhia) by name, to return without any more bloodshed, hinting, at the same time, that he had already dyed his hands too deep; he, after a long persuasion, consented to return on the next day, which was as false as he proved to be deceitful, for shortly after his return to his settlement, a general firing commenced from all quarters for about 20 minutes. We had on our side three killed and four wounded, on the enemies' five killed and seven wounded. A deep silence ensued, during those intervals, from day to day. Any of the natives that had any friend or relation on the enemy's side were permitted to pass and repass unmolested to see them, and on the opposite side were allowed to come into the par, each party telling different stories, the strength and number of their people, and every transaction that occurred. We, Europeans, had several times tried to persuade the different chiefs to prevent such intercourse, as being very injurious to the par, but to no effect; they had not the least control over them, and would still persist it was for their good, believing every story the artful enemy would send in, and which we well knew to be deceit. February the 2nd they page 48 sent a slave in with a message, that the head chief of the Moneapotto (Mania-poto) tribe would wish to speak with ours, to which he gave his consent, appointing a time and place to meet; they accordingly met on a plain a little distance from the par. I must here remark that the principal of their chiefs and ours, Namuty (Nga-Motu) are very near related; and in former days when in battle, a long time previous to their having the use of firearms, only their own implements of destruction—spears, nipes, and an instrument made of a beautiful blue or green marble stone, which they call a Mary (mere), none but a chief is allowed to take them to battle, they are very scarce and very dear. Our tribes had taken them all slaves, spared their lives and gave them their freedom, which plainly describes the gratitude of a New Zealander; whom at this time had only formed a pretended quarrel that could assign some reason for their coming to sacrifice their ancient conquerors and friends. Their conversation on the plain turned towards their former merciful and good deeds, and for what reason they should then come to murder their own friends, relations, and children; which, at that present time, made the monster ashamed, and promise he would return to his own land; they parted accordingly in seeming good friendship. This news was too good to be true; no sooner was his back turned, the venom clung to his heart again, and to complete his deception, he caused the whole tribe to dance that evening in two parties upon a plain, laying themselves open to our guns. They were not in the least interrupted in their amusements, as it is a signal with the natives of either friendship or war. Ours were in great glee, expecting it was the former, and that they would be rid of such unwelcome guests; on the next day they cooked an extra meal; but to their great surprise, they renewed their animosity on the following morning, not exhibiting the slightest symptoms of a retreat. It would be too tedious for me to mention the many different and artful stories they would send to our chiefs, and with great difficulty we could persuade them, that it was only deceit. page 49 Their intention was to take the place by night, thinking that by their stories every person would go to sleep contented. When they found that that was to no purpose, and that the white people annoyed them by keeping a good look out for them, they then tried to entice us out to them, and told us we would not be hurt; it was all to no purpose; we were certain of death had they once laid hands on us. We cheered our natives up, and told them to be brave and obstinate, and that they never would be taken, unless they stopped to starve us out; we had then three months' provisions in the par, and those that were short, we recommended the rest to share theirs with them, which they did. We, white people, have frequently been in more dread of the natives in the par than those outside, expecting civil wars amongst them, and we have several times threatened to break down the fence on the least quarrel. If any of their relations happened to be shot, there was sure to be a row, allusions to different frivolous faults; so that we were constantly busy trying to keep peace inside, and look out sharply for those outside. One instance of these civil wars—a woman (Te Wau) who had a few words with her sister, instantly ran out upon the fight, and upon her arrival there, they commenced quarrelling which of them should have her. Their chief, on perceiving the row, immediately despatched her with a tomahawk, visible to those in the par. The villainy of these wretches! to prevent our people drinking the water that run towards the place, they washed her body and threw her entrails in it, which, in their superstitious religion, made it sacred, and made us very badly off for water. They then eat her, cured the head, and sent it to her friends, who still keep it as a memorial of her miserable end. On their perceiving that we were resolute, and fully bent on holding the ground, they commenced digging trenches so close to the par, that they could converse with us with the greatest ease every evening after sunset, and tell every transaction that happened during the day; the number of people killed and wounded; and their names. I have often been surprised page 50 to hear them conversing, seemingly as if nothing was the matter, or no enmity existed between them, only five or six yards distant, and one afraid of lifting up his head, knowing the other would shoot him. So jealous of the white people were our natives, that they would not allow us to hold any conversation whatever with the enemy. Their intention in digging was, to undermine until they came to the fence, so that they could haul it down with ease; which rather alarmed us at first, as we could not get a gun to bear on them; however they lost a good many, killed by musketry. During that employment, we advised our natives to dig also and meet them, which they immediately did and prevented them of their bloody scheme, which put them to a stand. They then formed a plan of setting fire to the fence, which, if they had carried into execution, would have proved very destructive, on account of so many houses enclosed in such a small space, and so close to the fence.

If one had caught fire, the whole certainly would have been consumed, but they, fortunately for us, failed in their attempt, which gave our natives fresh courage. However, they still remained in great anxiety, putting their wits end to work which way they could take the place, without the loss of any more men, who were dropping very fast, having lost every day from twenty to thirty, so fully determined were they to take us white people slaves to Wicatto, and plunder the property which was enclosed in the par. Most of the tribes were bent upon killing us. At length the Currency Lass schooner arrived, Captain Hackell (Buckell), which was a very pleasant object to us, being in expectation of a supply of provisions, which were then getting scarce, not having any other sort of food but potatoes, Wicatto (Waikato) having deprived us of three hundred pigs, and a supply of musket balls; but to add fresh scenes of misery to the number of difficulties which we were then overwhelmed with, these hounds of hell prevented us from receiving the least assistance whatever from the vessel. They launched two canoes, and endeavoured page 51 to board her, but failed in the attempt. Our natives rauled me on board, amidst showers of musketry, and returned unhurt in the same manner. The following day Toarawaro (Te Wherowhero), the head chief of Wicatto, and from our par Mr. Love, with a crew of natives in a canoe, went on board. Mr. Love had a long conversation with Towrawara (Te Whero Whero) concerning his intention, if he took the par, as to what he would do with the white people, should they happen to be taken alive. He said, he did not mean to kill them; he only intended to take them slaves to Captain Kefil, in Corfea (Kawhia). Mr. Love then wished to know, what injury any of their tribes had sustained from the white men, that had induced him to come to their habitations to rob and murder them, or, as he termed it, to take them slaves? telling him at the same time, that he had not come there to fight New Zealanders; he had only come there to trade with them. Towarawara (Te Wherowhero) said, that was very good, but that he could only command his own tribe, and the remainder were fully determined on taking them, and very likely killing them. However, he requested Mr. Love would condescend to meet him next day on the beach, both to be unarmed, and he would then acquaint him of his determination, to which he consented. During this time, Captain Bucknell (Buckell) was endeavouring to get a quantity of flax on board, but found it was impossible, for he could not even land in the schooner's boat, there being a continual firing from the beach. Mr. Love had a very narrow escape, having to land in the midst of it; but fortunately, the New Zealanders are very bad marksmen. On the following day, Towarawara (Te Wherowhero) sent a slave to acquaint Mr. Love, that he was going to the beach, where they met, according to agreement, and remained in conversation about an hour. Towarawara (Te Wherowhero) agreed to return with his own tribe, as it might entice the others to follow his example, as his verbal persuasions were fruitless. He strongly pressed Mr. Love to retire with him to his settlement assuring him he might page 52 return when he thought proper, as he was very partial to his conversation. The latter being rather dubious of his honourable intention, begged leave to be excused, and made a very cordial farewell, advising him not to forget his promise—which he certainly kept, for he retired—to be ready at a call. We were continually on the alert, night and day at our guns, expecting every moment to be attacked, and in fact wishing for it, for really we were getting quite tired hearing so many different stories. Every morning brought forth fresh tidings of their determined and unmerciful revenge, no doubt expecting it would daunt the hearts of their intended victims, and make them surrender; and I must say, that the par would have been taken with ease, and very little loss on the enemy's side, had not the white men kept so strict a watch at night as they did; for the natives would lie in the trenches with their arms, cover themselves up with their blanket or mat, and fall fast asleep! I have frequently fired a musket close to their ear, and it would not waken them, so sweet would those savages enjoy repose, with death staring them in the face. It is my opinion that both parties are alike, which made ours place such confidence in their most bitter enemies. There was another instance which I thought a curious mode of carrying on war. For several days the natives came into the par and traded, selling their muskets, and several other things, trinkets, &c., which they had plundered at Bucharangcoala (Puke-rangiora), for blankets, and other commodities they were in want of. During this time, we received intelligence of the unfortunate Thomas Ralph, a young man, employed by Mr. Monefiore, merchant, of Sydney, to trade for flax, and landed in Mocow (Mokau). On the 12th or 13th of January, a tribe called Nauty Tamma (Ngati-Tama) took the Advantage during the time the natives of Mocow (Mokau) were enjoying the fruits of their plunder at Rucharangcoala (Puke-rangiora) and Mutarau (Moturoa), they having only left behind them two old men and five women to protect the settlement. On the above mentioned page 53 day the horrid savages surrounded his house in the middle of the night, but fear prevented them from doing any mischief until daybreak, when they ventured in, and slaughtered the unfortunate old woman—the two men made their escape. Luckily for Ralph and his woman, they remained in the house until the fury of their enemies had a little subsided; after which they were called out of the house, and many of them were for killing him at once. Their chief interfering, said, spare the white man for the present, until we hear if Wicatto has killed the white men at Mutarau; and, if they have, we will kill him for payment. They took the woman he was living with, and would not allow him to speak to her; they then stripped him, and left him only his shirt and trowsers to wear, and plundered the remainder of the merchandize, muskets, powder, &c., and then set fire to about twenty tons of flax, which he had procured for his employer, in Sydney. In this miserable condition they obliged him to travel with them to their settlement, a long distance in the interior, and would upon no account allow him to go to Corfea (Kawhia), which he earnestly requested of them, well knowing his life was in danger while in their custody, and expecting every moment they would put a period to his existence. In this sad dilemma he attempted to make his escape to Corfea (Kawhia), but those fiends of hell pursued and overtook him, which rendered his situation more miserable—the night being dark, and he not being well acquainted with the road, prevented him from making his progress so rapid as his heart could allow him. What was his surprise on hearing the voice of savages around him, about twenty in number, and even then afraid to face an unarmed man? After a long pause they ventured up to him, with uplifted tomahawks. He expected death, but, fortunately for him, the chief's son interfered on his behalf, and prevented them from committing murder, but could not stop them from stripping him stark naked, throwing him an old mat to cover his nakedness, and compelling him to return back with them to their settlement. They did not stint him of page 54 victuals, for of such as they had, they gave him a sufficient quantity, which is the only good principle that I am aware a New Zealander possesses; for they will share with a white man should he stand in need of it. In a few days afterwards, a dispute arose amongst the tribe concerning Ralph's woman. A party of them had resolved to despatch him for payment, and a monster came behind him while sitting eating some potatoes for breakfast, and snapped his musket, which, fortunately, missed fire. Another, on perceiving this fellow's manoeuvres, instantly seized the piece, which spared his life. I have frequently heard him say, that he has several times told them to kill him, and put an end to the misery he was then involved in. I will here leave him with the natives of Nauty Tamma (Ngati-Tama), and return to our antagonists, who were very busily employed in building small but high places to fire out of, which they call towmies (tau maihi, or fighting stages), within about one hundred yards distance from the par, which rather annoyed us more than usual, and made it very dangerous passing and repassing; and so effectually did they build them with clay, intermixed with fern, that our guns would not take the least effect, our ammunition consisting only of stones and broken pieces of iron.

On one of those days of their trading in the par, a dispute arose between our natives and the enemy, and firing commenced on both sides; ours came off victorious, having double the advantage of those outside, killing several, and they managed to get one man inside, which they buried, according to their custom; the first taken in battle they give to feed their Athna (Atua), the name of their God; on the 20th of February they had completed four of their towers, which made the white people especially very careful in walking to and fro in the par; they were sure to be saluted by four or five muskets being fired at them, but, thank God, they could not gratify their malicious designs. On the same date, a very serious accident had very nearly occurred to two of them who were firing the swivel, for it burst, and several of the pieces passing between them, went page 55 into the bank, not hurting either; it was a great loss to us with regard to defence, it protecting one end of the par, and being the most serviceable piece we had, on account of its being so handy in altering its position to different parts, where it was most likely to do execution. On the 22nd we received the information, that they intended to storm us on the following morning, and to take us by surprise at daybreak; and I can safely say that during the seige, I did not see a better watch kept by the natives than was kept that night; every man was in his station and armed, those who had not fire arms, were supplied with spears, tomahawks, and other native implements of war, which they use with great dexterity. About sunrise one of the white men observed a stir outside more than usual, and he asked the chief if he should give them a gun to let them know we were ready for them; he said no, he was going out to have a talk with them, and he was certain they would return; of course it made us all easy, in hopes it would be settled without any more bloodshed, and not doubting but that he could do so, as they sent word the previous evening, that they wanted to speak to him. Surely he ought to have judged better within himself, knowing they had deceived him twice, than to have put any confidence in them a third time; feeding ourselves with hopes of their departure, and being wearied, we ventured to go to our beds for an hour or two, but had not long been there, when a sharp firing recommenced from all quarters, and a general salley to the fence, some cutting it down with long tomahawks, and several had got inside before a man could get to his station, in the midst of showers of musketry we had to run to our guns, which were always kept loaded; almost naked, having nothing on but a shirt; we fired on them which proved effectual, for after they received our first fire, they began to draw back, dragging their dead after them, and throwing them into their trenches—it appears they had lain in ambush previous to the attack. The firing on both sides continued about forty minutes, and concluded with a dreadful slaughter on the part of the enemy. I must say, page 56 that those who did fight inside, fought bravely, and I am certain that one half of them never fired a shot, but stood in amazement till the enemy had disappeared, which they lost no time in doing, for so rapid was their flight, that they did not take time to burn all their dead, but placed them on the top of their huts, and then set fire to them;—others who had relations wounded so that they could not walk, they would quarter and divide amongst them to carry, in preference to letting them remain for the enemy to eat; in twenty minutes there was not one of them to be seen, Our party being few in number, could not go in pursuit of them, but allowed them to return with a loss of two hundred killed that morning. On our natives perceiving the coast was clear, they ventured out in search of prey; they found several bodies half roasted, some lay bleeding in their gore, others slightly wounded; their friends could not assist them, but were obliged to let them remain, and fly for their own safety; they had no mercy shown to them, being cut up on the spot. It made my blood run cold to behold a scene of the most horrid barbarity, of which I was thus compelled to be an eye-witness. I have not sufficient words to express my weak opinion of a race of the most depraved wretches that nature ever formed;—I will here explain an instance of their cruelty, which with horror I beheld. To the gun I was stationed at, they dragged a man slightly wounded in the leg, and tied him hand and foot until the battle was over, they loosed him, and put some question to him, which he could not answer nor give them any satisfaction thereof, as he knew his doom; they then took the fatal tomahawk and put it between his teeth, while another pierced his throat for a chief to drink his blood, others at the same time were cutting his arms and legs off, he never seemed to shrink; they then cut off his head, quartered him and sent his heart to a chief, it being a delicious morsel, they being generally favoured with such rarities after an engagement.

In the meantime, a fellow that had proved a traitor at Bucharangeoala (Puke-rangiora), wished to come in and page 57 see his wife and children; they seized him, and served in like manner. Oh, what a scene for a man of Christian feeling, to behold dead bodies strewed about the settlements in every direction, and hung up at every native's door; their entrails taken out and thrown aside, and the women preparing ovens to cook them. By great persuasion, we prevailed on the savages not to cook any inside the fence, or to come into our houses during the time they were regaling themselves, on what they termed their sumptuous food, far sweeter than pork; it was useless to contend with them concerning the barbarous practice they had addicted themselves to, and took such delight in. The enemy lost, during the siege, about three hundred men and a great number of chiefs, which they would burn, and along with them eight or ten muskets; at the same time for each chief that was killed, they would put to death, in a most cruel manner, ten slaves as a satisfaction for his death. Those superstitious wretches believe, when they die, they will require arms to protect them, and tobacco to smoke; travelling to a mountain where, they say, all those that are slain in battle go to. On our side, there were eight men killed, three children, and two women, during the seige; they got sixteen bodies in the par, besides a great number that were half roasted, and dug several up out of the grave, half decayed, which they also eat. Another instance of the most brutal depravity of the Wicatto (Waikato) wretches; a woman slave endeavouring to make her escape from her master, Howhogeia, was pursued and unfortunately taken by the monster, who, a short time after ordered her to prepare a large oven, which she very innocently complied with, not expecting her miserable doom; when it was ready, she went to her master and told him she had nothing to put into it—he very carelessly told her to get into it—the poor woman looked rather surprised at the command, scrupled a little, expecting mercy; the infidel was not possessed of any. Come, come, says he, I am in a great hurry, and immediately tied her, hands and feet, and put her in alive. When cooked he made a sumptuous meal along with his friends. page 58 This cruel monster would put his men slaves to a still more cruel death, making a musket ramrod red hot, entering it in the lower part of his belly and run it upwards, and then make a slight incision in a vein to let his blood run gradually, for them to drink. Several other dreadful deaths would he doom his unfortunate captives to. During the seige his conversation concerning us white people, was not the most agreeable in our hearing; chiefly consisted in baking us all in one oven, curing our heads, and taking them to Wicatto. Others would say, they had ropes ready, which they had, to drag us slaves there, and make us carry baskets of dead men on our backs; as for our women they had them allotted for different chiefs. I am very happy to say, they were all mistaken in their opinion. We held the ground, and gave them a good drubbing. I must here conclude, being very scanty of paper, for which reasons, columes of the disgraceful conduct of these cannibals remains unpenned by

Daniel Henry Sheridan.