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Title: A Narrative of the Shipwreck, Captivity and Sufferings of Horace Holden and Benj. H. Nute - Who were cast away in the American ship Mentor, on the - Pelew Islands, in the year 1832; and for two years - afterwards were subjected to unheard of sufferings among - the barbarous inhabitants of Lord North's island
Author: Holden, Horace
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Narrative of the Shipwreck, Captivity and Sufferings of Horace Holden and Benj. H. Nute - Who were cast away in the American ship Mentor, on the - Pelew Islands, in the year 1832; and for two years - afterwards were subjected to unheard of sufferings among - the barbarous inhabitants of Lord North's island" ***

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[Transcriber's Note: Every effort has been made to replicate this
text as faithfully as possible, including obsolete and variant spellings
and other inconsistencies. Text that has been changed to correct an
obvious error is noted at the end of this ebook.]











  IN THE YEAR 1832;









  Of Boston,



  Of New Bedford,

  To whom the author is under the greatest obligations
  for their countenance and assistance,
  this little work is gratefully



The islands now known by geographers under the general name of
_Polynesia_, have for some time past attracted the attention of the
scientific and commercial world. Few opportunities, however, occur of
obtaining information respecting any of them except those which are
resorted to for commercial purposes. With a view, therefore, to the
collecting of all the necessary materials for the history of their soil,
climate, productions, and other particulars, especially of such of them
as have not already been visited by the civilized people of Europe and
America, it is desirable to preserve all authentic accounts of them,
even of those which are of inferior importance.

The following unpretending Narrative contains such an account of one of
them, commonly called _Lord North's Island_, but sometimes known by the
name of _Nevil's Island_ and _Johnston's Island_. It is situated in
about lat. 3° 2-3/4' N., and, according to the most correct
calculations, about long. 131° 4-1/4' E.

This island has been stated, in geographical works of authority, to be
uninhabited; but Horsburg's India Directory (vol. ii. p. 497, edit. of
1827) correctly says it is inhabited, and that the natives "will
sometimes come off to ships passing near." And it will accordingly be
found, by the present Narrative, that it has a population of between
three and four hundred inhabitants, as nearly as could be estimated by
the American seamen, whose captivity and sufferings are the subject of
this work; the island itself being, according to their judgment also,
about three quarters of a mile long and half a mile in breadth.

The materials of this Narrative were furnished by Horace Holden, one of
the seamen above mentioned, who, with his companion, Benjamin Nute, was
detained as a captive by the islanders for two years; during which time
he and his companion acquired the language so far as to converse in it
with ease. This afforded them the means of knowing and observing many
things which would escape the mere passing voyager; and whatever
statements are here made, the editor has every reason to believe may be
entirely relied upon.

In order to complete the little collection of facts in relation to this
people--who may justly be called a new people, as no white man has ever
before been upon their territory--a specimen of their language is added
to the Narrative. This has been made under many disadvantages; but no
small labor has been bestowed upon it, in order to render it of use, so
far as was practicable, in elucidating the affinity of these islanders
to others in that quarter of the world. It is now universally agreed
among the learned, that language affords the surest test of the
affinities of nations; and it is greatly to be desired that more
attention should be bestowed upon this subject by the intelligent
navigators of the United States, and especially by the scientific young
men of our navy, who, under the permission of the government, would have
the most ample means of augmenting the stores of general science, while
at the same time they would confer honor upon their country.

The editor forbears to add any thing further in relation to the contents
of this little volume. But he cannot dismiss the work without again
expressing the high sense of gratitude felt by the two seamen in
question, to the benevolent individuals of their own country, and
others, who have relieved their sufferings; and this he subjoins in an
extract from a note on that subject by H. Holden:--

     "In addition to the gentlemen mentioned in the Narrative, we are
     under great obligations to Mr. Stephen Oliphant and his son, and
     their clerk, of New York, who were residents at Canton when we
     arrived there. Mr. Oliphant kindly furnished us with a room, food,
     and other necessaries, and gave us our passage from Canton to New
     York in his ship called the Morrison, commanded by captain
     Lavender, from whom also we experienced every attention.

     "The respected American missionary at Canton, Mr. Edwin Stevens,
     rendered us many friendly services; and from the English physician,
     who was formerly in the East India Company's service there, but
     whose name I do not recollect, we received every attention and
     medical aid that could have been bestowed on his nearest friends.

     "We are also much indebted to Mr. Bradford and Mr. Robert E.
     Apthorp, both of Boston, for their many acts of kindness. To the
     latter gentleman, then a resident at Canton, I cannot sufficiently
     express my obligations; he interested himself much in obtaining
     money, clothing, and other necessaries for us, to make our
     situation comfortable during our stay in Canton and on our passage

     "To the many friends whom we have found since our return to our own
     country we can never be sufficiently grateful. Among these I cannot
     omit to mention Mr. J. N. Reynolds, author of the interesting
     Account of the Voyage of the Potomac, who has taken the most lively
     interest in our case, and Mr. Joseph P. Bradley, of Boston, to
     whose untiring zeal and benevolence I feel myself to be indebted
     more than I am able to express.

                                                       HORACE HOLDEN"



Equipment and departure of the ship Mentor from the port of New
Bedford, Massachusetts.--The ship's company.--Arrival at
Fayal.--Passage down the Cape de Verd islands, and round the cape of
Good Hope, to the Indian ocean.--Cruising among the islands, and
arrival at the port of Coupang, in Timor.--A violent storm.--The ship
strikes on a coral reef off the Pelew islands.--Alarm and distressing
situation of the ship's company, and sudden loss of eleven of their
number.--The survivors preserved upon a dry part of the reef


The situation of the survivors of the ship's company upon the reef
during the night.--A canoe filled with savage natives approaches the
reef; intercourse with them; and description of their persons and
terrific appearance.--Their pilfering of the articles saved, and
plundering of the ship.--Several canoes arrive.--Mr. Nute's resolute
conduct towards the natives.--The ship's company pursue their course,
in their boat, towards an island, on which they land after severe


A canoe, with two natives, approaches the island.--Communication
opened with them.--A great number of canoes, filled with armed
natives, suddenly arrive; rough treatment of the captain by one of
the chiefs.--They all arrive at the harbor of the island, which
proved to be one of the Pelew islands.--Description of the island and
its inhabitants.--Consultation of the chiefs respecting the ship's
company.--Result of the consultation


An extraordinary and unexpected meeting with a person not a
native.--Happy result of the meeting.--Acquisition of the Pelew
language.--Dissensions between two portions of the natives.--Three of
the ship's company separated and carried to a place remote from
the rest.--Attempt to construct a boat, in order to leave
the island.--The natives agree to release them all for a
compensation.--Solemnities observed by the natives on the
occasion.--Tools used in making the boat; transportation of timber,
&c.--The plan abandoned, and a canoe substituted for the
boat.--Another festival


The natives become anxious to aid the ship's company in leaving the
island.--Terms on which they agreed to release them.--Departure from
the Pelew islands.--Necessity of returning the same night.--Detention
a month longer; and final departure


Regret at having undertaken the voyage in boats.--Storm, and damage
in consequence of it.--Loss of the canoe and the provisions on
board.--Danger of perishing from famine.--On the fifteenth day, when
nearly exhausted with fatigue and hunger, they discover a small
island.--Approach of eighteen canoes filled with natives, who make
prisoners of them all.--Cruelty of the natives; and return with their
prisoners to the island.--Reception there.--The prisoners
distributed among the captors


The island, to which they were carried, proves to be Lord North's
island, called by the natives _To´bee_.--Account of the island and
its inhabitants.--Their manners and customs


A ship discovered at a small distance from the island.--The natives
prepare to go on board of her.--Captain Barnard and Bartlet Rollins,
after being severely beaten, are allowed to go with the natives in
their canoes, and thus effect their escape; the rest of the Mentor's
people are still forcibly detained on the island.--Their hopes of
being taken on board of the same ship are suddenly blasted.--Their
despondency on that disappointment.--Return of the natives from the
ship; their rage, and quarrels about the division of the articles
procured on board of her.--They threaten to wreak their vengeance on
the Mentor's people that remained with them.--Their cruel treatment
of them.--A storm destroys the cocoa-nut trees and causes a scarcity
of food


The natives compel the Mentor's people to be tattooed.--Description
of that painful operation.--They also oblige them to pluck their
beards, &c.--Another vessel passes by the island; and, afterwards, a
third comes in sight and remains for three days; the Mentor's people
are closely guarded at these times.--The melancholy fate of William
Sedon; and the barbarous murder of Peter Andrews.--Attack on H.
Holden, who is protected by one of the natives, and escapes.--B. Nute
and others are protected by the female natives from the fury of the
men.--Death of one of the Pelew chiefs.--Another of the Pelew people
is detected in stealing, and is punished in their manner.--Death of
Milton Hewlet and Charles C. Bouket; leaving now only B. Nute, H.
Holden, and the other Pelew chief, named _Kobak_, who all remained in
a feeble and helpless condition.--Filthy practices of the
natives.--Friendship of the surviving Pelew chief


The feeble and exhausted condition of the survivors, Nute and
Holden.--The natives consent to release them from labor, but refuse
them food; and they obtain permission to leave the island in the
first vessel, for a compensation to be made to the natives.--They
crawl about from place to place, subsisting upon leaves, and
occasionally begging a little food of the natives, for two
months.--Their sudden joy at hearing of a vessel coming towards the
island.--It proves to be the British barque Britannia, captain Short,
bound to Canton.--They are taken on board the Britannia, November 27,
1834, and treated with the kindest attention.--Their joy and
gratitude at this happy termination of their sufferings.--They
gradually recover their health so far as to take passage for America,
in the ship Morrison, bound for New York, where they arrive May 5,
1835.--Acknowledgments for their kind reception at New York and



     Equipment and departure of the ship Mentor from the port of New
     Bedford, Massachusetts.--The ship's company.--Arrival at
     Fayal.--Passage down the Cape de Verd islands, and round the cape
     of Good Hope, to the Indian ocean.--Cruising among the islands, and
     arrival at the port of Coupang, in Timor.--A violent storm.--The
     ship strikes on a coral reef off the Pelew islands.--Alarm and
     distressing situation of the ship's company, and sudden loss of
     eleven of their number.--The survivors preserved upon a dry part of
     the reef.

I was born in the town of Hillsborough, in the state of New Hampshire,
on the 21st of July, 1810. My father's name was Phineas Holden. My
parents were in moderate circumstances, and derived their chief support
from a small farm. From the time to which my earliest recollections
extend, until I was about ten years of age, our little circle,
consisting of our parents, their three sons and two daughters, enjoyed a
large share of the pleasures of a New England home. We were all
accustomed to labor, but our exertions to secure a respectable
maintenance were richly rewarded by each other's approving smiles, and
by that contentment, without which blessings, however great or numerous,
are bestowed upon us in vain.

But, in early life, and in the midst of our enjoyments, we were called
upon to experience a loss which nothing on earth can supply. My father,
after a painful sickness of long continuance, died, and left us with no
other earthly protector than our affectionate mother; who, had her
ability and means been adequate to our support, or equal to her maternal
fondness and anxiety, would have saved us from every hardship, and
supplied all our reasonable desires. But, having no means of support
except our own industry, we were at that tender age thrown upon the
world, and compelled to provide for ourselves as Providence might best
enable us. I labored at different occupations until the age of
twenty-one; when, finding myself unable, by reason of an impaired
constitution, to do more than provide for myself, and feeling desirous
to contribute my share towards the maintenance of our surviving parent,
I resolved upon making the experiment of a voyage at sea.

I accordingly left the place of my nativity, sundered the many ties that
bound me to home and friends, and, in July, 1831, entered on board the
ship Mentor, at the port of New Bedford, Massachusetts, for a whaling
voyage to the Indian ocean. The ship was owned by William R. Rodman,
Esquire, an eminent merchant of that place, to whose benevolence, since
my return home, I acknowledge myself to be deeply indebted. We sailed on
the day of my enlistment; and I soon found myself upon the bosom of the
great deep, and at the mercy of an element to which I had been but
little accustomed.

The whole ship's company of the Mentor consisted of twenty-two; namely,
Edward C. Barnard, captain; Thomas M. Colesworthy, first mate; Peter
O'Connor, second mate; Benjamin F. Haskell, David Jenkins, and Jacob
Fisher, boat-steerers; Peter Andrews, steward; John Mayo, cook; and
Horatio Davis, Bartlet Rollins, William Jones, Thomas Taylor, Lewis
Bergoin, Charles C. Bouket, Calvin Alden, Milton Hulet, William Sedon,
James Meder, James Blackmore, John Baily, Benjamin H. Nute, (my
companion in suffering,) and myself, seamen.

After leaving port, nothing remarkable occurred during the first part of
our voyage. Having succeeded in obtaining a small quantity of oil, we
touched at Fayal, one of the Azores, or Western islands, to leave the
oil and replenish our stores. We left Fayal on the following day. Our
course was down the Cape de Verd islands; and, without any accident
worth relating, we passed round the cape of Good Hope, through the
straits of Madagascar, and found ourselves in the Indian ocean.

We continued to cruise among the small islands for some time; but being
unsuccessful in the object of our voyage, it was deemed advisable to
make for Java. We ran the whole length of the island of Java, passing
through the straits of Sandal-Wood Island, to the island of Timor, and
touched at the port of Coupang, where we remained about five days, took
in wood and water, and replenished our small stores. After leaving that
place we attempted to pass through the straits of Timor, with a view of
gaining the Pacific ocean; but owing to adverse winds, and the strong
currents setting against us, we were compelled to abandon the
undertaking; and accordingly altered our course. We intended to have
touched at Ternate, the principal of the Moluccas or Spice islands; but
we passed it, running down the island of Morty, (or Mortay) to its
furthermost point. Seeing no port at which we could stop, we altered our
course, intending to make for some of the Ladrone islands, which we knew
to be in possession of the Spanish.

I must here observe, that soon after leaving the island of Mortay,
there came on a violent storm, which lasted the whole of three days and
nights. During all this time we were unable to take an observation. This
led to the melancholy disaster, which was the commencement of
misfortunes and sufferings, too great to be adequately conceived of by
any but those who experienced them. The violence of the storm compelled
us to take in all the sails except the top-sail, (which was close
reefed,) foresail, and foretop-mast stay-sail.

We were sailing in this manner, not apprehending danger, when, about
eleven o'clock at night, on the 21st of May, 1832, just at the time of
relieving the watch, the ship struck with great violence upon what we
afterwards found to be the coral reef extending to the northward and
eastward of the Pelew islands. The ship ran directly upon the rocks, and
struck three times in quick succession, the waves dashing over and
around us with tremendous violence.

At this awful moment I was in my berth, in the steerage. When the ship
struck the third time, so great was the shock that I was thrown from my
berth against the opposite side of the steerage; but, soon recovering
myself, I rushed upon deck. There all was confusion, horror and dismay.
The ship, immediately after striking the third time, swung round so as
to bring her starboard side to the windward, and was in a moment thrown
upon her beam ends. While in this awful condition, with the waves
continually breaking over us, threatening to overwhelm us in a watery
grave, or dash us in pieces against the rocks, the captain came upon
deck, and inquired of the second mate, "Where are we?" The reply was, "I
don't know, but I think there is land to leeward." There was no time for
deliberation; it seemed that the immediate destruction of the ship was

In the midst of this confusion I heard the mate give orders for lowering
the larboard quarter boat. His directions were immediately complied
with, and ten of the crew threw themselves into it, thinking it more
safe thus to commit themselves to the mercy of the waves, than to
remain on board with the prospect of a certain and speedy termination of
their existence. But there are reasons which force upon the mind the
painful conviction, that their departure from the ship at that time
proved fatal to them all. As the oars were fastened to the sides of the
boat, some one asked for a knife or hatchet, with which to cut them
loose. The request was complied with; and, quitting their hold upon the
ship, they parted from us, and we never saw them more!

As some doubts have existed in the minds of those interested in the fate
of our shipmates who took to the boat in the manner just described, it
is deemed advisable here to state my reasons for entertaining the
opinion above expressed. Far would it be from me to desire to extinguish
any well-founded hopes of their having survived; but a knowledge of the
following facts renders it too certain, that they must all have
perished, soon after their departure from the ship. The next morning the
remains of a boat in every respect similar to that in which they
embarked, were distinctly seen on the rocks, at the distance of about
fifty yards from the ship, bottom up, and with her sides stove in. The
water being clear and shallow, we could see that she was held there by a
harpoon and lance, which constituted a part of the fishing implements,
or crafts, in the boat when she left. These were apparently stuck into
the crevices of the coral rock (of which the whole reef is composed)
either by accident or design; and the presumption is, that she became
fast in that place, and that the waves swept that portion of our
companions in suffering into a watery grave. But this, though a
melancholy subject of reflection, is not without some circumstances of
consolation; for, admitting that they thus met their fate, they were
saved from that extremity of suffering which some of the ship's crew
were destined to experience. Were such a death, or the pains of
captivity endured by my associates and myself, to be the only
alternatives, I have doubted whether I should not prefer the former. To
be far from kindred and friends, among a people but one grade above the
most ferocious beasts, sick at heart, and deprived of necessary food,
stripped of our clothing, and subjected to unheard-of severities,--to
endure all this, was to purchase a continuance of life at a dear rate.

Soon after the departure of the first boat, the captain, thinking it
impossible for the ship to hold together till morning, ordered his own
boat to be let down. This could be effected only by the united exertions
of the whole of the remaining part of the crew. Some of the men, and
myself among the rest, had resolved upon remaining on the ship to the
last; and, considering it impossible for a boat to live, we earnestly
expostulated with the captain, for the purpose of persuading him not to
hazard the experiment. But he seemed to think it best to make it, and
with great earnestness entreated the men to assist him in lowering his
boat. As this was a time when but little attention could be paid to the
distinctions usually kept up on board, I suggested that it might be well
to cut away the masts, believing that this would relieve the ship, and
cause her to lie easier upon the rock. This was the more necessary on
account of her position being such as to render it next to impossible to
let down the boat. The proposal was acceded to; and, seizing an axe, I
assisted in cutting away the masts and rigging. This, to some extent,
had the desired effect; and we were enabled, at length, by great
exertion, to lower the boat. The captain, Charles C. Bouket, William
Sedon, and William Jones, immediately placed themselves in it, and
commenced preparing to leave us. In compliance with his request, a rope
was fastened round the waist of the captain, so that should the boat be
destroyed, as there was reason to apprehend she would be, there might be
some chance of rescuing him from the waves. They were furnished with the
necessary nautical instruments, log-book, a bag of clothing, a small
quantity of bread in a tin tureen, and a keg of water. The boat was at
this time suspended by her falls, and, with a view of letting themselves
down, the captain stood in the stern, and Bouket in the forward part of
the boat, both having hold of the falls. Sedon still held on by the
boat's lashing. Jones had nothing in his hands. At this conjuncture, a
tremendous sea broke into the boat, and dashed it in pieces;--so entire
was the destruction, that not a fragment was afterwards seen. Jones was
soon after seen floating in the water apparently dead. Sedon, in
consequence of having hold of the boat's fastenings, saved himself by
climbing into the ship. Bouket, being an expert swimmer, on finding
himself in the sea, swam round to the leeward side of the ship, caught
hold of some part of the rigging, and thus escaped. The captain was
drifted away to the distance of nearly one hundred and fifty yards. It
was with the utmost difficulty that we retained our hold on the rope
which had been fastened to him; but at length we succeeded in drawing
him in. On hearing his cries for assistance, forgetting our own danger,
we redoubled our exertions, and soon drew him on board. He was much
exhausted, but fortunately had received no fatal injury.

After the failure of this attempt, and having in so short a time lost
one half our number, it was agreed upon, after due consultation to
remain upon the wreck till daylight should reveal to us more fully our
situation. In this state of suspense and suffering, we clung to the
rigging, and with much difficulty kept ourselves from being washed away.
Our situation and prospects during that awful night were such, that no
ray of hope was permitted to penetrate the dreary prospect around us;
our thoughts and feelings, wrought up to the highest degree of
excitement by the horrors of our situation, continually visited the
homes we had quitted,--probably forever,--and offered up prayers for the
dear friends we had left behind. Every succeeding wave that dashed over
us threatened to sweep us into an untried eternity; and while we
impatiently awaited approaching day, we committed our spirits to Him who
alone could control the raging elements.

At daybreak, we discovered that a part of the reef, apparently about
three miles off to the leeward, was dry; and this, though but of small
consequence, afforded us some comfort. In a short time we discovered
land at the distance of twenty or thirty miles, in an eastwardly
direction. This, though we were ignorant of the character of the
inhabitants--if indeed it should turn out to be the residence of human
beings--presented to our minds the possibility of escape; and without
any delay we prepared, as well as we could, to abandon the vessel. There
remained but one boat, and that was in a poor condition for conveying
us, eleven in number, so great a distance. But, as no choice was left
us, the boat was soon prepared; and when the sun was about two hours
high, we had completed our arrangements. We took into the boat one small
chest of bread, some water, a quantity of wearing apparel, a canister of
gunpowder, one musket, a brace of pistols, three cutlasses, and a
tinder-box. In this frail bark, and with these poor means of subsistence
and defence, with little to rely upon but the mercy of Providence, we
took leave of the ship; not without feelings of deep sorrow, and with
small hopes of improving our forlorn condition.

On leaving the ship we steered directly for the reef above mentioned,
and without much difficulty landed and drew up our boat. This proved to
be, as we had previously conjectured, a part of the reef upon which we
had been wrecked; and we soon ascertained that the portion of the rock
above water was but about sixteen rods long, and quite narrow, but
sufficiently large to afford us a secure footing for the little time we
had to stay upon it. It was our first, and almost our only object, to
remain here until we could render our arrangements more perfect, and
either put to sea with less hazard, or make our passage to the land,
which was still distinctly visible. As yet but little time had been
afforded us for calm reflection; and it was now a question of serious
importance, whether it would be most prudent to encounter the billows in
the crazy boat which was our chief dependence, upon the open sea, with
our scanty means of subsistence, or to throw ourselves into the hands,
and upon the mercy of whatever race of beings might chance to inhabit
the island. In favor of the former plan it was suggested that we might
be seen, and taken up by some vessel cruising in those seas, and thus
saved from captivity or death among a barbarous people; and, on the
other hand, it was maintained, that a chance among the savages of those
islands would be preferable to the risk of going to sea in a boat which
was in all respects unseaworthy, and with only a few pounds of bread,
and but little water, for our subsistence.


     The situation of the survivors of the ship's company upon the reef
     during the night.--A canoe filled with savage natives approaches
     the reef; intercourse with them; and description of their persons
     and terrific appearance.--Their pilfering of the articles saved,
     and plundering of the ship.--Several canoes arrive.--Mr. Nute's
     resolute conduct towards the natives.--The ship's company pursue
     their course, in their boat, towards an island, on which they land
     after severe suffering.

Happily, by the goodness of the allwise Disposer of events, the
unfortunate can avail themselves of a thousand sources of comfort,
which, by those in prosperous circumstances, are either overlooked or
neglected. We were upon a barren rock, in the midst of a waste of
waters, far from kindred and friends, and the abodes of civilized man;
the ship which had been our home, and on board of which we had embarked
with high hopes, lay within sight, a useless wreck; still we were
enabled to enjoy a moment of relief, if not of actual pleasure, derived
from an event, which, though trifling in itself, is worthy of being

We succeeded in taking an eel, a few crabs, and a small quantity of
snails. Having our fire-works with us, we collected a sufficient number
of sticks, with a few pieces of drift-wood which had lodged upon the
rock, to make a fire; with this we cooked our fish and snails; and, with
a small allowance of bread, we made what we then thought a sumptuous
repast! After we had finished our meal, we began to prepare for the
night. We erected a tent with some of our clothes and pieces of canvas,
at a little distance from the boat; and, when night came on, a part of
our number kept watch, and the rest soon lost all consciousness of their
misfortunes in sleep. About midnight those who had watched took their
turn at resting; and in the morning we found ourselves considerably
refreshed; though an increased activity of our minds served only to
bring home a more vivid picture of the horrors of the previous night,
and of our present condition.

Providence, it would seem, had ordained that we should not long remain
undetermined as to the course to be adopted; for before sunrise we
discovered a canoe within a short distance of us, containing twenty-two
of the inhabitants of the neighboring island. They approached to within
pistol-shot of where we stood, and there lay on their oars for some
time, looking at us, and manifesting no small degree of fear. Thinking
it best to be on friendly terms with them, we attached a shirt to one of
our oars, and hoisted it as a token of a wish, on our part, to regard
and treat them as friends. This had the desired effect; and they
immediately rowed up to the rock. Manifesting great pleasure, they left
their canoe and rushed towards the place where the principal part of our
boat's crew were standing, bringing with them cocoa-nuts, and a small
quantity of bread made of the cocoa-nut boiled in a liquor extracted
from the trunk of the tree. At that time, I was standing near the tent,
at a little distance from my companions, and was an anxious spectator of
the scene. Their appearance excited my astonishment, and I was filled
with horror by the sight of beings apparently human, and yet almost
destitute of the ordinary marks of humanity. They were entirely naked.
Each one was armed with a spear and tomahawk; some had battle-axes. They
were fantastically tattooed on different parts of their bodies. Their
hair, naturally coarse and black, like that of the Indians of America,
was very long, and hung loosely over their shoulders, giving them a
singular and frightful appearance. Their teeth were entirely black;
rendered so, as we afterwards found, by chewing what they call
"_abooak_."[1] The reader can judge of our feelings on finding ourselves
in the hands of beings of this description. Our confidence in the
honesty of our visiters did not improve on further acquaintance.

No sooner had they landed, than they commenced their depredations upon
the few articles, which at that time constituted all our earthly riches.
The nautical instruments, the musket, and a part of our clothing, they
immediately appropriated to their own benefit. Fortunately a part of our
clothing, the powder, and the cutlasses we had succeeded in concealing
in a crevice of the rock. Taking with them their booty, they
precipitately got into their canoe, and, beckoning to us, evidently with
a view of inducing us to follow them, they steered directly for the
wreck. Their first appearance, and this strong manifestation of their
thievish disposition, so far from inclining us to cultivate their
acquaintance any further, had given us an irresistible inclination to
avoid them. Our minds were not long in coming to the conclusion, that an
open sea, with Heaven to protect us, would be far preferable to a chance
among beings like those. Accordingly, with the least possible delay, we
launched our boat, and putting into it such things of value as we had
saved, once more, surrounded by new difficulties and dangers, committed
ourselves to the mercy of the waves.

The island before mentioned being now distinctly visible, we steered in
a direction towards it; though we found it necessary to go a somewhat
circuitous course, in order to avoid the reef. By the time we had
succeeded in getting into deep water, the natives had been to the ship,
and were returning with the five muskets which we had left on board.
They soon passed us with great rapidity, and evidently with the
intention of escaping with their booty unharmed. The cause of their
precipitancy will soon be explained.

Just at this time there came in sight a number of canoes, perhaps
thirty, filled with natives, who seemed no less intent upon plunder than
those with whom we had already formed a disagreeable acquaintance. Their
language was to us entirely unintelligible, but we could gather from
their somewhat significant gestures, that they most of all desired to
possess themselves of fire-arms. They beckoned to us to go with them,
and seemed quite anxious to avail themselves of our assistance; but we
were not less so to escape; and with the hope of being able to do so,
we continued to row towards the island. Some of them remained near us,
while the rest made for the ship. At length, all, except those in one
canoe, left us, and joined their companions. These seemed particularly
fond of our company, partly on account, as we afterwards learned, of
their suspecting that we had something of value concealed about us, and
partly for the purpose of making us their prisoners, and in that way
gaining some advantage over the others. After a while they offered, with
an appearance of friendship, to render us some assistance by towing our
boat; and after some deliberation we concluded to throw them a line.
This greatly facilitated our progress, as their canoe, being made very
light, skimmed over the water with incredible swiftness. No sooner was
this arrangement completed than a chief, and one other of the natives,
left their canoe and took their station with us; the chief with a
somewhat offensive familiarity seating himself in the stern of the boat,
near the captain. We were not long in doubt concerning the motive which
had led them to this act of condescension. Our bread was contained in a
small chest, which had been placed in the bottom of the boat; this
seemed to have excited their curiosity to the highest pitch, as they
kept their eyes almost constantly upon it, and endeavored to persuade
the captain to give them a chance to examine its contents. He declined
gratifying them, thinking it better to keep their anxiety alive, rather
than to expose to them the comparative worthlessness of the little that
remained with us, of either the comforts or necessaries of life.

Probably owing to this show of resistance on our part, when we had
approached to within five or six miles of the island, at a signal given
by the chief, the sail of their canoe was suddenly dropped; and, seizing
our powder canister, he jumped overboard and swam to the canoe. His
companion, following the example of the thievish chief, seized a bundle
of clothing and was making off with it; whereupon Mr. Nute, who had not
yet become entirely reconciled to the fashion of going without clothes,
like our new acquaintances, and conceiving that it might be well to
insist upon having the rights of property respected, caught hold of the
bundle and retained it. Upon this they immediately hauled us alongside,
and seized upon our oars; here again we had occasion to offer some
resistance to their supposed right to plunder us, and we succeeded in
keeping possession of these; the only remaining means of saving
ourselves from premature death and a watery grave.

They had by this time become so exasperated, that we considered it
altogether desirable to get ourselves out of the reach of their war
clubs, spears, and battle-axes; and we took measures accordingly. We
were still held fast to their canoe, and so completely within their
reach that it required not a little courage to make any attempt to leave
them; but Mr. Nute, whose resolution had been wrought up by the previous
contest, took a knife and deliberately cut the line. Our intention was
to throw ourselves astern, and then, by tacking directly about, and
steering in the wind's eye, to escape from them, or at least to give
them, for a time, some better employment than that of robbing their poor
and suffering victims. This we succeeded in accomplishing; not however
without the expense of much toil, and some blows, which they dealt out
at parting, with so much severity, that we shall not soon lose the
recollection of their barbarous conduct towards us. Mr. Nute, by his
intrepidity, seemed to have rendered himself an object of their
particular dislike; they beat him unmercifully, for his resolution in
retaining the bundle of clothes, and sundering the only cord that bound
us to our tormentors.

Having but three oars, our progress was by no means as rapid as we could
have desired; but perceiving that in going against the wind we had the
advantage of our pursuers, and knowing that our only safety was in
flight, we exerted our utmost strength, and soon had the satisfaction of
leaving them at a safe distance from us. They seemed determined not to
part with us, and continued to pursue us till about four o'clock, P. M.
It was with the greatest difficulty that we kept clear of them; at times
it seemed impossible; and in this situation we could fully realize the
force of the scriptural sentiment, "all that a man hath he will give for
his life." Finding them too near us, and evidently intent upon taking
vengeance for the crime we had committed in attempting to escape, though
our wardrobe had been reduced to a few necessary articles of clothing,
we resorted to the expedient of parting even with these, by casting one
thing at a time upon the water, rightly judging that they might be
detained in picking them up, and hoping by this management to keep our
distance from them.

After they left us, we continued our course, which was directly into the
open sea, until about sunset, when we discovered land ahead, apparently
at the distance of forty miles. We continued to row on till about three
o'clock in the morning, when we found that we were in shoal water, and
near breakers. We contrived to throw the bight of a rope over a point
of rock which was about eight feet under water, and we there remained
until daylight. We then let go our hold, and pulled for land. At about
four o'clock in the afternoon we succeeded in landing on a small island
distant from the main land about half a mile, and drew our boat upon the
beach. By this time our strength had become much exhausted, and we were
suffering beyond description from the want of water. Our first efforts
were made to find some means for quenching our thirst; and, to our
inexpressible joy, we soon found a spring, which, in that extremity of
our sufferings, was of more value than a mine of gold. Poor Sedon was
left lying in the boat in a state of complete prostration. We carried
him some water, and he soon revived.


[1] In Keate's Account of the Pelew Islands this word is written


     A canoe, with two natives, approaches the island.--Communication
     opened with them.--A great number of canoes, filled with armed
     natives, suddenly arrive; rough treatment of the captain by one of
     the chiefs.--They all arrive at the harbor of the island, which
     proved to be one of the Pelew islands.--Description of the island
     and its inhabitants.--Consultation of the chiefs respecting the
     ship's company.--Result of the consultation.

Having satisfied our most pressing wants, we next set ourselves at work
to obtain food. We had with us a part of the bread brought from the
wreck, and the preparation given us by the natives composed of the
cocoa-nut pulverized and mixed with the sweet liquor extracted from the
tree. Putting these together into a bucket-full of water, we made out
the materials for a supper, which, though not of a kind to suit the
delicate palate, was devoured with thankfulness and a good relish.
Feeling refreshed and invigorated by our meal, we gathered ourselves
into a group on the beach, and passed our moments of relaxation in
conversing upon the melancholy vicissitudes through which we had passed,
and the gloomy prospect which was at that unpromising moment spread out
before us. Should we find it possible to procure the means of
subsistence, it was thought best to remain where we were for a day or
two, not knowing what reception we should meet with, were we to throw
ourselves into the hands of the inhabitants of the main island, and
feeling an unconquerable reluctance to come in contact with beings
scarce less ferocious than beasts of prey. But fortune having commenced
making us the sport of painful incidents, soon subjected us to another

A canoe containing two living beings, in the form of men, in a state of
nakedness, was seen, from where we sat, putting off from a point of land
which projected into the sea a small distance below us. They had
evidently discovered us, and were approaching the spot where we were,
for the purpose of making themselves acquainted with us and our
condition. When within hailing distance they stopped, and seemed afraid
to come nearer. Thinking it best to be on friendly terms with them, we
beckoned to have them approach. This seemed to please them; and, to
manifest a friendly disposition, they held up a fish. To show them that
we were inclined to reciprocate any acts of kindness, to the extent of
our ability, we held up a crab which we had caught. Upon this they
immediately came near to where we stood. We presented to each one a
jackknife, and indicated by signs, that they were at liberty to take any
thing we had. They appeared highly gratified, and their conduct was
inoffensive. In a short time they returned to their canoe, and made
signs to us to follow them; we thought best to do so, and accordingly
soon placed our effects in the boat, and followed them towards a sort of
harbor at no great distance. In consequence of the lightness of their
canoe and their dexterity in managing it, they were soon ahead of us,
and, turning round a point of land, they were speedily withdrawn from
our view.

In a few minutes they returned, accompanied by a large number of
canoes--the water seemed to be literally covered by this miniature
fleet. The natives were all armed, much like those with whom we first
became acquainted.

This instantaneous movement was occasioned, as we afterwards learned, by
an alarm given by the two natives who had visited us on the small
island. Intelligence of the fact, that a boat's crew of strange looking
beings, as we doubtless appeared to them, had landed upon their
territory, was given by sounding a shell. This aroused the multitude,
and caused them to come out, to satisfy their curiosity, and assist in
conducting us safely and speedily to a place of security. A large war
canoe made directly towards us; and, on coming alongside, the head chief
sprung into our boat, seized the captain by the shoulder, and struck him
several times with a war-club; in the mean while giving him to
understand, that it was his will and pleasure to have us row, with all
convenient despatch, to the place whence they had issued. He then
commenced swinging his club over our heads with great apparent ferocity,
for the purpose, as it seemed, of awing us into submission; occasionally
striking some of our number. After pretty thoroughly convincing us that
in this case our only course was submission, he began to strip us of our
clothing. While this was going on, his associates in arms and mischief
kept their canoe close alongside, and, standing up, held their spears in
a position to enable them to pierce us through in an instant, if there
had been any occasion for so doing.

We were soon in their miserable harbor; and, it being low water, we were
compelled to leave our boat, and wade to the tableland through the mud.
Our appearance, as the reader will naturally conclude, was not very
creditable to the land which gave us birth; but since our destitute and
miserable condition was not our choice, we could do no less than be
thankful that it was no worse; and, making the best of it, we suffered
ourselves to be ushered into the presence of the dignitaries of the
island, in the way they thought most proper. We were conducted to a
platform, on a rise of land at a little distance from the harbor, on
which were seated those who had power to dispose of us as they pleased.
This platform was twelve or fifteen feet square, and was situated
between two long buildings, called "_pyes_." These, as we afterwards
learned, were used by the chiefs as places of carousal, and as a sort of
harem for their women. They were constructed in a rude manner, of bamboo
sticks, and covered with leaves. They were sixty or seventy feet in
length, and about twenty-four in width.

That something like a correct conception of this scene may be formed by
the reader, it may be well to give, in this place, a brief account of
the appearance, manners, and customs of the natives of this island. This
was the island known to navigators as Baubelthouap, the largest of the
group of the Pelew islands. It lies not far from the eighth degree of
north latitude, is about one hundred and twenty miles in length, and
contains probably not far from two thousand inhabitants.[2]

The men were entirely naked. They always go armed, in the way before
described, and carry with them a small basket, containing generally the
whole amount of their movable property. The women wear no other clothing
than a sort of apron (fastened to the waist by a curiously wrought
girdle) extending nearly to the knees, and left open at the sides. The
material of these garments (if such they can be called) is the bark of a
tree called by them "_karamal_." This tree grows from thirty to forty
feet high, and is two or three feet in circumference. The hair of both
males and females is worn long; it is coarse and stiff, and of a color
resembling that of the natives of North America. They make free use of
the oil extracted from the cocoa-nut; with this they anoint their
bodies, considering it the extreme of gentility to have the skin
entirely saturated with it. Their arms, and sometimes the lower parts of
the body and legs, are ingeniously tattooed. Their complexion is a light
copper. Their eyes have a very singular appearance, being of a reddish
color. Their noses were somewhat flat, but not so flat as those of the
Africans; nor are their lips so thick. They are excessively fond of
trinkets. It would cause a fashionable lady of America to smile, to
observe the pains taken by those simple daughters of nature to set off
their persons. In their ears they wear a sort of ornament made of a
peculiar kind of grass, which they work into a tassel; this is painted
and richly perfumed. In their noses they wear a stem of the _kabooa_
leaf, which answers the double purpose of an ornament and a smelling
bottle; and their arms, in addition to being tattooed in the manner
above mentioned, are adorned with a profusion of shells. Our fair
readers may judge how much we were amused, on finding that the
copper-colored females of the island cut up our old shoes into
substitutes for jewelry, and seemed highly delighted with wearing the
shreds suspended from their ears.

Our further acquaintance with this extraordinary people confirmed us in
the opinion, that the ceremony of marriage is unpractised and unknown
among them. The chiefs appropriate to themselves as many females as they
please, and in the selection they exercise this despotism over the
affections without regard to any other laws than those of caprice.
Reserving a more particular account of their manners, customs and mode
of living for another place, I content myself with observing at this
time, that the people of these islands, generally speaking, are in the
rudest state imaginable. It is true that some sense of propriety, and
some regard to the decencies of life, were observable; nor did they
appear entirely destitute of those feelings which do honor to our
nature, and which we should hardly expect to find in a people so rude
and barbarous.

Such were the beings among whom Providence had cast our lot; and to
think of remaining with them to the end of life, or for any great length
of time, was like the contemplation of imprisonment for life in the
gloomy cells of a dungeon.

From the rudely constructed wharf near the spot where we left our boat,
we were conducted into the presence of a number of the chiefs, who were
seated upon the platform above mentioned. The natives eagerly pressed
forward to obtain a sight of us. That curiosity peculiar to the better
portion of our race was, on this occasion, manifested by the females of
the island. They clustered around us, and, placing their hands upon our
flesh, seemed greatly to wonder that it should differ so much from their
own. The fashion of wearing a skin so white as ours, seemed to them, no
doubt, to be an offence against the taste and refinement of their
portion of the world. To go at large without being tattooed, was to
carry with us the palpable proofs of our vulgarity; and, to our sorrow,
we were afterwards compelled to conform to the custom of the barbarians
in this respect, and shall carry with us to the grave the marks of their
well-meant, though cruel operation upon our bodies.

Judging from appearances, our case had become a concern of great
importance. The chiefs seemed to have had under discussion the question,
whether we were to be treated as enemies, and subjected to the process
of beheading upon the block of the executioner, (which was there in
readiness before our eyes) or regarded as friends, and welcomed to their
rude hospitalities. Unable as we were to understand a word of their
language, or to say any thing by way of explanation or defence, the
reader will conceive, better than we could describe, our painful
situation. For a time we considered our case as hopeless. The women, who
seemed to have taken an interest in our welfare, after observing, for a
time, what was going on among the chiefs, began to utter their cries and
lamentations, as if greatly distressed on our account. Their grief had
the appearance of being sincere; they wept, and in a variety of ways
expressed emotions of deep and heart-felt solicitude. Whether this was
their manner of interceding in our behalf, to avert some impending
calamity, or was expressive of their regret on account of our doom
having been already sealed, it was impossible for us to determine. Nor
did we ever know the amount of our obligations to those female strangers
for the interest taken in our welfare. A termination was put to our
suspense, however, in the course of an hour.

At the close of the consultation, a large bowl was brought to us, filled
with sweetened water, and richly ornamented with shells, so arranged as
to form a sort of hieroglyphical characters. We drank of the contents of
the bowl, in compliance with their request, from a richly wrought cup
made of a cocoa-nut shell. This act of hospitality was regarded as a
favorable indication of a friendly disposition on their part towards us;
and our hopes were afterwards confirmed; for no sooner had we finished
drinking, than the natives prepared to conduct us away. We afterwards
learned, that a messenger had been despatched to a neighboring town, or
settlement, to consult their prophetess in regard to the proper manner
of disposing of us; and that she had directed them to send us to her. Of
this important personage a more particular account will be given
hereafter; suffice it, for the present, to say, that the respect paid to
her by the natives of the island was of the most profound character, and
her authority over them was almost unlimited.

We were conducted, through an inconsiderable place, to the town where
the prophetess resided. In this place there were several
dwelling-houses, scattered about without regard to order; and, besides
the dwelling of the prophetess, two of their long buildings, or "pyes,"
gave it not a little importance in the estimation of these rude and
uncultivated beings. We were halted in front of one of the "pyes," and
directly opposite the house of the prophetess. Here, again, we were
reminded of the fact, that we were in the presence of our superiors, as
to power, by the platform on which were placed our judges, the chiefs,
and the block standing near them, for the purpose of execution.

We were soon surrounded by a vast crowd of the natives, eager to see us,
and to learn something of the nature of beings so different from

A short time after our arrival, a quantity of food was brought from the
house of the prophetess, and placed in the centre of the platform. This
consisted of a hog's head, boiled in sea-water, highly seasoned with
cayenne and aromatic herbs, a plentiful supply of yams, and a large bowl
of sweetened water. This meal was abundant and delicious; and we partook
of it with an excellent relish.


[2] This island is not always laid down by name on our common maps, nor
mentioned in geographical works. In the best _charts_ it is called
_Baubelthouap_. In the chart prefixed to the fifth volume of _Burney's
Chronological History of the Voyages and Discoveries in the South Sea_,
it is called "Panloq or Babelthoup." In the map accompanying the late
edition of Malte Brun's Geography, (in 4to) it is carelessly printed


     An extraordinary and unexpected meeting with a person not a
     native.--Happy result of the meeting.--Acquisition of the Pelew
     language.--Dissensions between two portions of the natives.--Three
     of the ship's company separated and carried to a place remote from
     the rest.--Attempt to construct a boat, in order to leave the
     island.--The natives agree to release them all for a
     compensation.--Solemnities observed by the natives on the
     occasion.--Tools used in making the boat; transportation of timber,
     &c.--The plan abandoned, and a canoe substituted for the
     boat.--Another festival.

An interesting incident now occurred. Just at the time when the servant
of the prophetess brought out the materials for our repast, we observed,
at a little distance, a singular looking being approaching us. His
appearance was that of a man of sixty. His hair was long and gray,
unlike that of the natives. His legs, arms, and breast were tattooed.
His step was quick and firm; his motions indicating that he felt himself
a person of not a little importance. His teeth were entirely gone, and
his mouth was black with the use of "kabooa." Judge of our emotions on
hearing this strange being address us in broken English! His first
exclamation was--"My God, you are Englishmen!" He immediately said, "You
are safe now;" but he gave us to understand, that it was next to a
miracle that we had escaped being killed on the water.

This person was by birth an Englishman, and had been on the island about
twenty-nine years. He told us that he had been a hatter by trade, and
that his name was Charles Washington. He had been a private in the
British naval service, on board the Lion man-of-war. Cruising in those
seas, he had, while on duty, been guilty of some trifling offence; and,
apprehending that he should be severely punished for it, had left the
ship, and taken up his residence upon the island. He seemed to be
contented with his situation, and had no desire to return to his native
country. He had attained to great celebrity, and was the sixth chief
among them. His authority seemed great, and he exercised it with
exemplary discretion.

Observing the provisions before us, he told us that they were for our
use, and desired us to partake of whatever we preferred. Seeing that we
were likely to be somewhat annoyed by the crowd of young persons who had
collected around us, he swung his battle-axe over their heads, and
giving them to understand that we belonged to _him_, immediately caused
them to disperse.

Arrangements were soon made for our accommodation. A part of one of the
"pyes" was appropriated to our use, and we were furnished with mats, and
other things for our comfort and convenience. Here we remained for about
a month, and were regularly supplied by the natives with a sufficiency
of provisions of various kinds, such as hogs, goats, fish, yams,
cocoa-nuts, bread-fruit, preserved almonds, and occasionally with sweet

A change seemed now to have come over us. We were, it is true, amongst a
rude and barbarous people, cut off from all intercourse with the rest of
the world, and deprived of many things which we had been accustomed to
regard as essential to our happiness; but even then we found many
reasons for being grateful to the Disposer of events. Our actual wants
were supplied; and the natives soon evinced a disposition to consider us
friends, and treat us as such. To the latest day of our lives we shall
remember some of them with heartfelt respect and affection; and, most of
all, regret our inability to requite them for the favors which they
voluntarily bestowed upon us. Especially should we rejoice to revisit
that lonely spot of earth, and carry with us, to those children of
nature, the means of civilization, and the blessings of Christian faith
and Christian morality. And should the government of enlightened America
ever see proper to extend to them some proof of its regard, it would
afford us unspeakable pleasure to have it in our power to communicate to
them the exalted principles, which might incline this highly favored
nation to the performance of so noble a deed.

Finding it important to be able to converse with the natives, we
improved every opportunity to become acquainted with their language.
Having but little to occupy our attention, it was not long before we had
acquired a tolerable knowledge of it; and we found our situation much
more pleasant as we became familiar with it. Our great object was, as
the reader will naturally suppose, to contrive some way of escape. Our
only means of accomplishing this was by friendly and amicable
negotiation, and to make them understand our wishes, and convince them
that it would be for their interest to aid us in returning to our native
land, were essential to our success.

We had not long been with them before we became acquainted with the
fact, that upon the opposite end of the island there was another tribe,
and that the two divisions of the inhabitants were not on the most
friendly terms with each other. Intelligence had in some way been
communicated to those who lived remote from the spot where fortune had
thrown us, that we were desirous of leaving the island; and, probably
with a view of gaining some advantage, they sent to us a message,
informing us of their willingness to assist in constructing a boat
sufficiently large to convey us across the water. The persons
commissioned to make this proposal, and to persuade us to go to them,
were two Englishmen, who, as we afterwards learned, had been on the
island for several years, and were left there by English vessels. The
particulars of their history we were unable to obtain.

An offer of that kind, coming as it did from their enemies, and being in
itself calculated to offend the pride of those into whose hands we had
fallen, greatly excited their feelings of animosity; and, in consequence
of our having manifested some desire to satisfy our own minds on the
subject, we were closely watched. On the whole, however, we had no
reason to regret this state of things; for on finding that their
neighbors were disposed to assist us, a spirit of emulation was aroused
among them, and for a time we had some hopes that the excited energies
of this tiny nation would lead to the performance of some exploit,
which, in the end, might place at our disposal the means of

Our maintenance had by this time become so great a tax upon their
resources, that it was found expedient to cause some of our number to be
removed to a settlement about a mile distant. Mr. Nute, Mr. Rollins, and
myself were accordingly selected, and under a strong escort taken to the
place. This did not please us, as we preferred remaining with our
companions; but either expostulation or resistance would have involved
us in worse difficulties, and we submitted. In our new situation we were
well supplied with provisions, and kindly treated. We were allowed to
visit our friends at the other town, and spent our time as agreeably as
could be expected under the circumstances.

Previously to this, some steps had been taken towards constructing a
sort of boat or vessel to convey us home. Finding the natives disposed
to part with us, for a stipulated consideration, and to render us any
assistance in their power, we left no means unemployed to induce them
to exert themselves to the utmost; and, to their credit be it said, it
was more owing to their inability than to their want of inclination that
we were not entirely successful. An account of their proceedings cannot
fail of being interesting.

After much deliberation, and many consultations upon the momentous
subject, it was agreed to commence operations. Their prophetess had been
duly consulted, and the assistance of their divinity had been implored
with great formality. Before they ventured upon the undertaking, it was
deemed advisable to hold a festival. An event of so much importance
could not be suffered to transpire without being duly solemnized.
Tradition furnished no account of any thing equal to this attempt!
Accordingly large quantities of provisions were brought from various
parts of the island, and an immense concourse of men, women, and
children, attended the feast. On our part we had little confidence in
the success of the plan; but, be that as it might, we were far from
being displeased with their efforts to carry it into execution, and
shared with them the festivities of the occasion, with not a little

This part of the business having been duly attended to, the time had
come for united and vigorous action; and accordingly the whole male
population of that region repaired to the woods, to procure timber. In
the mean time the females, animated by a spirit of emulation, betook
themselves to the task of making mats, to serve as sails to our vessel,
when it should be completed. In fine, the whole resources of the
country, of every kind, were taxed to the last extremity, to accomplish
the work.

Considering the means they had for carrying the plan into execution, it
is surprising that they accomplished as much as they did. The best tools
we had were a few old inch chisels, which served as substitutes for the
broad-axe, in manufacturing trees into planks, and afterwards fitting
them to their places. There were a few spikes on the island, but we had
neither auger nor gimlet.

When news had been received that the timber was ready in the woods,
orders were given to have it brought together. Seldom had we witnessed a
more novel scene than that presented by the natives when they brought
from the forests the rudely prepared materials for the boat. They were
seen coming in from all quarters with loads of timber on their
shoulders, of every size and shape that could be conceived of, and
causing the hills and vales to resound with their shouts.

In due time the work of putting together the materials commenced. We
succeeded in laying a sort of keel, and at length contrived to erect a
kind of frame, which, though it might not be regarded as a first-rate
specimen of naval architecture, nevertheless looked somewhat like the
beginning of a water-craft. But when we came to the more difficult part
of the business, that of putting on the planks, we found that not only
our skill, but that of the whole nation, was completely baffled. We were
compelled to abandon the undertaking; and despaired of ever being able
to succeed in building any thing of the kind.

During all this time the natives were sanguine in the belief that they
should succeed, and repeatedly assured us that they could accomplish the
work. Their sorrow and mortification, on being obliged to give it up,
were great; for they seemed to realize, that now they must have fallen
in our estimation, and thought that we should be anxious to avail
ourselves of the assistance of their enemies, who, as they well knew,
were extremely anxious to get us into their hands. The captain did not
attempt to conceal his wish to go to the other part of the island. This
greatly increased their dissatisfaction; and their murmurs became
frequent and loud. After considerable expostulation, they proposed to
make a _canoe_ sufficiently large to convey us away; and, having some
confidence in the practicability of the plan, we consented to wait and
assist them in their endeavors to supply us with this substitute for the
more respectable craft we had contemplated building. After duly
consulting the old prophetess, the principal chiefs were assembled, and
having agreed to take for the purpose the largest bread-fruit tree on
the island, the people were called upon to meet at the spot where it
stood, and assist in cutting it down.

Matters of so great importance required deliberation in the operation of
planning out the work,--but the accomplishment of an undertaking like
that of felling so large a tree, with tools even less adapted to the
business than the teeth of a beaver, was one that took several days. At
length the herculean task was performed, and the tree fell! But judge of
our feelings on finding that the trunk, which we had hoped to render so
useful in conveying us to some place from which we could obtain a
passage to our native land, had, in falling, become so split as to be
good for nothing! It seemed to us that a cruel fate had ordained, that
no labor of our hands should prosper. Another tree was selected, and
with that we were more successful. We then commenced digging it out, and
bringing it to a proper shape. The old chisels were now put in
requisition; and, in twenty-eight days from the time we began, we had
succeeded in bringing that part of our labor to a close. Of the other
tree we made two wide planks, which we fastened to the upper edges of
the canoe, thereby adding very considerably to its capacity. Two months
more were consumed in fitting up our canoe with sails, and getting it
ready for sea.

Having proceeded thus far, it was deemed proper by the natives to have
another festival; and, as our labors, in this instance, had been
attended with better success, extraordinary preparations were made for a
feast that should do honor to the occasion. An immense quantity of fish
had been obtained; the females brought large quantities of bread-fruit,
cocoa-nuts, and yams; and the toil of months was forgotten in the
universal joy which then prevailed.


     The natives become anxious to aid the ship's company in leaving the
     island.--Terms on which they agreed to release them.--Departure
     from the Pelew islands.--Necessity of returning the same
     night.--Detention a month longer; and final departure.

By this time the natives had become nearly as anxious to part with us as
we had ever been to leave them; and being mutually desirous to be rid of
each other's company, we lost no time in preparing for our departure.
Our object now was to get into the open sea, with the hope of falling in
with some vessel on its passage to China or elsewhere, and thus be able,
after a while, to find a conveyance to America. Provisions were
furnished us by the natives; but we greatly needed a compass, and with
much difficulty obtained one. Captain Wilson, who had been shipwrecked
there many years before, left his compass with one of the chiefs, whom
we finally succeeded in inducing to part with it. It had become much
impaired by time and improper usage, but served as a tolerable guide.[3]

It is proper here to state the particulars of our agreement with the
natives of this island. They had, as before related, furnished us with
the means of subsistence, and with comfortable lodgings; and, for the
purpose of enabling us to return home, had been at great expense in
fitting up a craft, such as they thought would answer to convey us
wherever we pleased to go. According to their notions, we were persons
of sufficient consequence in the estimation of our countrymen, to
fulfil any engagement we might make with them, and to the extent to
which, in our necessity, we were compelled to go, in order to obtain the
object which we had in view, should the government consider itself
bound; and it would be no less an act of justice than of humanity, to
secure the friendship and confidence of these islanders; so that, should
others unfortunately fall into their hands, their lives and property
might be respected. It is also important, that those who engage in
commercial pursuits should have every protection extended to them. It
would cost the government but a mere trifle to secure an amicable
understanding with these islanders; and it is but reasonable to hope
that no time will be lost in making the attempt.

Situated as we were, we did not feel ourselves at liberty to expostulate
against the obvious unreasonableness of their demands. We were, in
truth, indebted to them for our maintenance while among them, and for
the assistance they rendered us in fitting up our craft; and, as a
suitable requital for these favors, and to remunerate them for their
hospitality, we solemnly assured them, that, should fortune so far
prosper us, as to enable us once more to reach our native country, we
would send to them two hundred muskets, ten casks of powder, with a
corresponding quantity of balls and flints. Besides this, we gave them
assurances of having several articles of ornament, such as beads, belts,
combs, and trinkets of various kinds.

On the 27th of October, 1832, we set sail, having the boat in which we
had escaped from the ship, and which we had repaired as well as we were
able, and the canoe which had been constructed by the natives especially
for our use. It was agreed, that three of our number, viz. Davis, Meder,
and Alden, should remain on the island as hostages, and that three of
the natives (two chiefs, and one of the common class) should accompany
us, to see that the agreement made with them should be faithfully
executed. Fearing that the natives residing on the other part of the
island might come upon us and prevent our going, we took our departure
in the night. We soon found that our boats leaked so badly that it would
be next to madness to proceed, and we returned in the course of the
night. Our unexpected return gave great offence; but we insisted that to
go to sea in that condition would be certain destruction. They at length
consented to assist in repairing the canoe and boat, and to suffer us to
remain long enough to complete our arrangements more to our mind.

We were detained by these operations about a month, and then again took
our leave of the spot where we had remained so long against our will;
though we would not conceal the fact, that the rude kindness of the
natives had so entirely overbalanced their faults, that, on parting with
them, we experienced emotions of regret, and were quite overpowered with
a sense of our obligations to them for the many favors which they had
bestowed upon us. They had regarded and treated us as beings of a higher
order than themselves; and our conduct had inspired them with a
veneration and confidence almost unbounded. As a proof of this, three
of their number were committed to our care, and were entirely willing to
place themselves at our disposal.

Seven of our number now took the canoe, viz., Bouket, Sedon, Andrews,
Hulet, and the three natives. Captain Barnard, Rollins, Nute, and myself
preferred the ship's boat. We were accompanied on our passage the first
day by a large number of the natives. At night, as we had then succeeded
in getting beyond the reef, they left us, and we continued our course.


[3] The Englishman before mentioned, Charles Washington, told us that
this compass was left there about _thirty_ years before, which was the
time when captain _James_ Wilson, of the ship Duff, was there. But from
circumstances it appeared that he was mistaken as to the time, and that
it was one which had belonged to captain _Henry_ Wilson, who was
shipwrecked there in the Antelope, in 1783, and of whose voyage and
disasters a most interesting and well-known account was published by Mr.
Keate. Its preservation for about fifty years is certainly


     Regret at having undertaken the voyage in boats.--Storm, and damage
     in consequence of it.--Loss of the canoe and the provisions on
     board.--Danger of perishing from famine.--On the fifteenth day,
     when nearly exhausted with fatigue and hunger, they discover a
     small island.--Approach of eighteen canoes filled with natives, who
     make prisoners of them all.--Cruelty of the natives; and return
     with their prisoners to the island.--Reception there.--The
     prisoners distributed among the captors.

We had not proceeded far before we had reasons for regretting, that we
had entered upon the perilous undertaking of navigating the waters of
that region in boats so poorly adapted to the purposes we had in view.
There came on a violent storm of rain, the wind blowing hard, and the
waves threatening to swallow us each moment of the night. To our dismay,
the rudder of the canoe, owing to the imperfect manner in which it had
been constructed, was unshipped, and for a time the destruction of those
on board seemed inevitable. Fortunately we continued to keep company.
By great exertion we made out to replace the rudder in the morning, and
then proceeded. In the course of the day the rudder was again unshipped;
but, with less difficulty than before, we succeeded in fastening it to
its place with ropes, so that it answered tolerably well as a substitute
for a better one. Happy would it have been for us, if this had been the
worst of the disasters of our voyage. Our mast next went by the board;
and during the whole of the next night, we lay drifting at the mercy of
the winds and waves. In the mean time the canoe sprung a leak, and we
found it impossible to bail out the water as fast as it came in. In this
extremity we lost no time in shifting all our lading into one end of the
canoe; and by tearing up our old clothes, and stuffing them into the
crack, we at length stopped the leak. In this sad plight we continued
on, meeting with no very serious accident till the fifth day from the
time of leaving the island; when, just at the setting of the sun, owing
to some mismanagement, a light puff of wind capsized the canoe!
Fortunately no one was drowned. All but three swam to our boat; those
who remained continued through the night to cling to the canoe. With
great difficulty we kept our boat from being stove in pieces by coming
in contact with the canoe. During all this time it rained very hard, and
never had we experienced a more dismal night. In the morning we tried to
get the canoe right side up; but finding that impossible, we concluded
to abandon it entirely. We took from it a few cocoa-nuts, and, as our
last resort, all took refuge in the boat. We saved the compass, and did
not so much regret the loss of the canoe, as it had cost us already an
incalculable amount of anxiety, toil, and suffering.

But new difficulties now stared us in the face. Most of our provisions
had been lost by the upsetting of the canoe, and we had but a very small
quantity of water. It was therefore deemed expedient to divide among us
the means of subsistence remaining. We had four cocoa-nuts for each
person, and a few pieces over, which were distributed equally. At this
time no objects were seen, except a few sea birds. We continued in this
condition for nine days and nights, with actual starvation before us, as
the most probable end of our anxieties and sufferings. We were about
settling down into a state of confirmed despair, when, to our
inexpressible joy, we discovered land apparently about ten miles off. We
exerted all our remaining strength to reach it. When within six miles we
saw, approaching us, a fleet of eighteen canoes, filled with the natives
of the small island we were approaching.

At first the small canoes came near us, for the purpose of ascertaining
who and what we were. The appearance of these natives was such as to
excite at once our astonishment and disgust. Like the inhabitants of the
island we had left, they were entirely naked; and, as our subsequent
experience proved, they were infinitely more barbarous and cruel. Very
soon the large canoes came up, when the wretches commenced their
outrages. They attacked us with brutal ferocity, knocking us overboard
with their clubs, in the mean time making the most frightful grimaces,
and yelling like so many incarnate devils. They fell upon our boat and
immediately destroyed it, breaking it into splinters, and taking the
fragments into their canoes. While this was going on we were swimming
from one canoe to another, entreating them by signs to spare our lives
and permit us to get into their canoes. This they for a long time
refused, beating us most unmercifully, whenever we caught hold of any
thing to save ourselves from sinking.

After they had demolished our boat, and kept us in that condition for
some time, they allowed us to get on board. They then compelled us to
row towards the land. They stripped us of all our clothing immediately
after we were taken in; and the reader may form some idea of our
distress in this condition, under a burning sun, from the fact, that
before night our shoulders were blistered, by being thus exposed to the

On approaching land we discovered no habitation; but after going round a
point of the island, we saw near the beach a row of small and badly
constructed huts. We were compelled to jump from the canoes into the
water and wade to the shore. By this time the beach was lined with women
and children, who caused the air to resound with the most horrid yells
and screams. Their gestures and violent contortions of countenance
resembled the frantic ravings of Bedlamites.

The reception we met with on land was no more agreeable than that upon
the water. Judging from the treatment we had received from the females
of the island which we had left, it was hoped that the gentler sex would
extend to us some proof of their commiseration; but in this we were
sadly disappointed. If possible, they were more cruel than their inhuman
lords and masters. We were soon separated from each other, and dragged
about from place to place; our brutal captors, in the mean time,
contending with each other to see who should have us as his property.
Frequent contests of this kind occurred; in one of which, during the
first day, I was knocked down. The question of ownership was at length
settled, and we were retained by those into whose hands we had at first
fallen. Some of us were taken to their house of worship, called by them
Verre-Yarris--literally, God's house, where they went through with some
of their religious ceremonies, and we received a few mouthfuls of food,
which was the first we had tasted through the day.

It was my good fortune to be retained by one who, compared with the
other natives, was humane. His name was _Pahrahbooah_; the female head
of the family was called Nahkit; and they had four children. I went by
the name of _Tee´mit_; and Benjamin Nute by the name of _Rollo_. The
captain was also fortunate in falling into the hands of a friend of my
master, who treated him with comparative kindness. He was valued the
more highly also on account of being a large, fleshy man--they judging
of these things by the size and appearance.


     The island, to which they were carried, proves to be Lord North's
     island, called by the natives _To´bee_.--Account of the island and
     its inhabitants.--Their manners and customs.

It may now be proper in this place to give some account of the place
where our unhappy lot was cast, and of its rude and miserable
inhabitants. It will be impossible to convey a correct idea of their
ignorance, poverty, and degradation; but some conception may be formed,
by imagining what the condition of beings must necessarily be, when
wholly separated from the rest of their species, stripped of all the
refinements of life, and deprived of all means and opportunities for

We were now upon the small piece of land called by the natives _To´bee_,
but known to navigators by the name of _Lord North's Island_, situated
between the third and fourth degrees of north latitude, and in longitude
one hundred and thirty-one degrees twenty minutes east. It is also
known by the name of _Nevil's Island_ and _Johnston's Island_; and it
has been hitherto considered by navigators and others as uninhabited.
This is not surprising; as we were told by the natives, that no white
man had ever visited the place; though it seemed, from the pieces of
iron in their possession, and from other circumstances, that they had
had some communication with the Spaniards and Portuguese in that quarter
of the world.[4] Like many other islands in those seas, this is
surrounded by a coral reef, which is from an eighth to one half of a
mile wide; but outside of the reef the water is apparently fathomless,
the water being as blue as it is in the middle of the ocean; and the
largest vessels may in many places approach within a quarter of a mile
of the beach. The whole island rises so little above the level of the
sea, that the swell often rolls up to a considerable distance inland.
It is about three quarters of a mile in length, and not far from half a
mile in width. There were upon it three villages, situated on the
shores, and containing, in all, between three and four hundred souls, at
the time when we were taken there; but the number was considerably
diminished by famine and disease before we left.

The inhabitants are in a state of entire barbarism and ignorance. The
men wear a sort of girdle or belt made of the bark of a tree. This is
girded round the loins so as to leave one end to hang loose behind, the
other is brought forward and fastened to the belt in front. This is
their only clothing. The females, after arriving at the age of
womanhood, wear an apron made of the leaves of a plant, by them called
_kurremung_, split into fine strips and plaited. This extends from the
loins nearly to the knees. Some few wear rings upon their wrists made of
white shells, and some had this kind of ornament made of turtle-shell.
In their ears, which are always bored, they sometimes wear a leaf; and
round their necks a necklace made of the shell of the cocoa-nut, and a
small white shell, called _keem_ shell. The children go entirely naked.
The complexion of these islanders is a light copper color; much lighter
than the Malays, or the Pelew islanders; which last, however, they
resemble in the breadth of their faces, high cheek bones, and broad
flattened noses. They do not color their teeth, by chewing any thing, as
many of those islanders do; but their teeth are so strong that they can
husk a cocoa-nut with them instantly.

Their principal food is the cocoa-nut. They occasionally succeed in
procuring fish, though the supply obtained during our residence there
was exceedingly small. Their fish-hooks are made of turtle-shell, and
not well contrived for the purpose; but we could not induce them to use
our hooks, till they had heated them and altered their form so that they
would not hold the fish. They did this, because they said that Yarris
(God) would be angry with them, if they used our hooks without preparing
them according to their fashion. Sometimes they are so fortunate as to
obtain a sea-turtle; five only were taken during the two years we were
there. The turtle, I may add, has something of a sacred character with
them. They also raise small quantities of a vegetable somewhat
resembling the yam; but while we were with them they were unsuccessful
in cultivating it. These constitute the slender means of their support;
and they are thus barely kept from actual death by famine, but on the
very verge of starvation. When any one of them begins to fail, for want
of food, so that his death is pretty certain, they inhumanly turn him
off from among them, to starve to death.

Their religion is such as might be expected among a people in their
condition. Their place of worship is a rudely constructed building, or
hut, about fifty feet long and thirty wide. In the centre, suspended
from the roof, is a sort of altar, into which they suppose their deity
comes to hold converse with the priest. Rudely carved images are placed
in different parts of the building, and are supposed to personate their
divinity. As nearly as could be ascertained by us, they supposed that
the object of their worship was of like passions with themselves,
capricious and revengeful. During the time we were with them, they
attributed to his displeasure their want of success in taking fish as
they had done in former times, and the unfruitfulness of their
bread-fruit and cocoa trees.

Their religious ceremonies are singular. In the commencement the priest
walks round the altar and takes from it a mat devoted to the purpose,
which is laid upon the ground. He then seats himself upon it, and begins
to hoot, in the mean time throwing himself into a variety of attitudes,
for the purpose of calling down the divinity into the altar. At
intervals the congregation sing, but immediately stop when the priest
breaks out in his devotions. By the side of the altar is always placed a
large bowl, and six cocoa-nuts. After the incantation is gone through,
and the divinity is supposed to be present, the bowl is turned up, and
four of the nuts are broken and put in it, two being reserved for the
exclusive use of a priest by them called also "_yarris_." As soon as the
nuts are broken, one of the company begins to shout, and, rushing to the
centre, seizes the bowl, and drinks of the milk of the nut, generally
spilling a considerable part of it upon the ground. After this a few
pieces are thrown to the images, and the remainder are eaten by the
priests. This closes the ceremony; after which they indulge in any
recreations that chance to please them best.

While we were on the island several earthquakes happened, and some of
them pretty severe. On those occasions the natives were much terrified;
they would not let their children speak a word; and they said among
themselves--_zahbee´too Yarris_, _To´bee yettah´men_, that is, Yarris
(God) is coming and To'bee (the name of the island) will sink. They were
also very much alarmed at thunder and lightning; and used to say at such
times, _Yarris tee´tree_, God is talking. I do not know how they would
be affected by an eclipse, as none happened, that I noticed, while we
remained there.

I will here mention some other things in respect to their customs and
usages, as they now occur to me.

Their implements of war are spears and clubs; they have no bows and
arrows. Their spears are made of the wood of the cocoa-nut trees; the
points of them are set with rows of sharks' teeth; and, being at the
same time very heavy and from ten to twenty feet long, are formidable

Their canoes are made of logs which drift to their island from other
places, there being no trees on it large enough for that purpose; they
are hollowed out with great labor, and are of very clumsy workmanship;
to prevent their oversetting, they are fitted up with outriggers, like
those of the Pelew islanders. A sketch of one is given in the
accompanying engraving.

They kindle their fires, as they informed me, by rubbing two pieces of
wood together, as is common in the islands of the Pacific ocean; and
they cook their turtle or other meat, (when they are so fortunate as to
have any,) as well as their vegetables, by covering them with heated
stones. I should state, however, that during the whole time we staid
among them, fire was always preserved in some part of the island, so
that there was no necessity for kindling it in the manner here

Like other savage people, they reckon time by moons; I could not learn
that they ever reckoned by any other period, except, indeed, when
speaking of two or three days.

They take pride in their hair, and are particularly careful about it,
washing and cleansing it almost every day. They do not color it,
however, as the natives of some islands are said to do; but they moisten
it with the juice pressed out from the cocoa-nut, which gives it a very
glossy appearance; and it is frequently so long as to reach down to
their waist.

Their mode of salutation is, to clasp each other in their arms, and
touch their noses together, as is practised in many other islands.

We found no musical instruments of any kind among them. They sometimes,
on particular occasions, would sing or bawl out something like a rude
tune; but we could not understand it. We frequently tried to teach them
to whistle, and their awkward attempts to do it amused us; but they
never were able to learn how it was done.

In their names, I could not find that they had any thing like a family
name, but only a single one, (corresponding to our christian names,) as
is the case, I believe, throughout the islands of the Pacific. I could
not learn, that the names were significant either of animals or other
objects, as the Indian names of America are, and I never found any two
persons of the same name. The names of the members of the family with
which I lived were as follows:--

Pahrahboo´ah, the father of the family.

Nah'kit, the mother.

Buhwur´timar, the eldest child, a son, ten or twelve years old.

Kobaw´ut, the second, a daughter.

Kobahnoo´uk, the third, a daughter.

Wah´rebo, the fourth, a son.

The children do not address their parents by any word corresponding to
father or mother, papa or mamma, but by their names. Their parents treat
them on the footing of equality; they are generally well behaved, and
are never punished, except occasionally when impatient for their food.

Their language appears to be different from those of the other islands
in that quarter; we found that the three natives of the Pelew islands,
that accompanied us, could not understand any thing they said; though I
observed afterwards, occasionally, a resemblance in two or three words.
The reader will, however, be enabled to judge for himself, by means of a
short vocabulary of common words which will be found at the end of this
narrative. I may add, that the Pelew chiefs had never heard of Lord
North's island; but they are acquainted with the _Caroline_ islands.

A detail of all that befell us would serve only to give pain to the
benevolent, or at most to show how much human beings can endure. I shall
attempt but little more than to describe the sufferings of a day;
observing once for all, that for the term of two long years we
experienced the same privations, and were subjected to the same brutal
treatment; life, during all that time, being no better than the constant
succession of the most acute sufferings.

This island, unlike the Pelews, is one of the most horrible and wretched
on the face of the globe. The only product of its soil worth mentioning
is the cocoa-tree; and those are of so dwarfish and miserable a growth
as to bear but very few nuts. These few, however, constitute the food of
the inhabitants, with the exception of a species of fish caught
occasionally near the shore. The only animals or creeping things known
on the island are lizards and mice, and, during our stay there, scarcely
a solitary sea-fowl was known to have alighted on the island, and but
few fish were taken by the natives.

The character of the inhabitants much resembles that of the island
itself. Cowardly and servile, yet most barbarous and cruel, they
combine, in their habits, tempers, and dispositions, the most
disgusting and loathsome features that disgrace humanity. And, what may
be regarded as remarkable, the female portion of the inhabitants
outstrip the men in cruelty and savage depravity; so much so, that we
were frequently indebted to the tender mercies of the men for escapes
from death at the hands of the women. The indolence of the natives,
which not even the fear of starvation itself can rouse to exertion,
prevents their undertaking the least toil, although a little labor, well
applied, might be made to render them infinitely more comfortable.[5]

Strange as it may appear, it is nevertheless true, that, notwithstanding
they are in this miserable condition, with no prospect of its ever being
improved, they are of the opinion that they are highly favored. This can
be accounted for in no other way than by the fact, that they are
entirely ignorant of all that lies beyond the narrow limits of their
observation. They know nothing of any other portion of the globe, than
the mere speck of barren land upon which by some accident they were
thrown, and where they remain, to drag out a wretched existence. Their
traditions do not extend further back than to about a hundred years;
and, to their simple minds, it seems like a splendid effort of mind to
be able to relate, with tolerable accuracy, the time-hallowed stories
told them by their parents. Whether they could in any way be improved by
instruction, is a question which it would be difficult to answer. They
seem to be doomed to remain, as one of the last links in the chain that
connects our race with the mere animal part of the creation.


[4] They occasionally wore a kind of broad hat, called by them _shappo_,
and sometimes _shambaráro_; which are evidently derived from the
Portuguese _chapeo_ (or possibly the French _chapeau_) and the Spanish

[5] Some of these remarks are taken from the New York Sun of May 30,
1835; for which paper the substance of them was furnished by Mr. Nute
and myself.


     A ship discovered at a small distance from the island.--The natives
     prepare to go on board of her.--Captain Barnard and Bartlet
     Rollins, after being severely beaten, are allowed to go with the
     natives in their canoes, and thus effect their escape; the rest of
     the Mentor's people are still forcibly detained on the
     island.--Their hopes of being taken on board of the same ship are
     suddenly blasted.--Their despondency on that
     disappointment.--Return of the natives from the ship; their rage,
     and quarrels about the division of the articles procured on board
     of her.--They threaten to wreak their vengeance on the Mentor's
     people that remained with them.--Their cruel treatment of them.--A
     storm destroys the cocoa-nut trees and causes a scarcity of food.

We were captured and taken to the island December 6, 1832; and on the
third day of February, 1833, two months wanting three days, captain
Barnard and Bartlet Rollins effected their escape. Compared with the
remainder of our captivity, our privations and sufferings up to that
time were less severe. But at no time did we have sufficient food to
satisfy the cravings of hunger! The very crumbs that fall from an
ordinary table would have been to us a luxury; the swine of America are
better fed than we were, on the most fortunate day of our residence upon
that island.

It was on the day above mentioned that a ship was discovered a short
distance from the island, and the natives immediately collected, and
prepared to go to it, in order to obtain iron, or some other articles of
value. Hope once more visited us. To escape was, of course, our strong
desire and intention. Accordingly, when the canoes put off we attempted
to go. Our savage masters interposed their authority, and by menaces and
blows prevented us. Many of us were severely beaten, and all but two
were detained by the brutal force of the savages. At length captain
Barnard and Rollins, after being severely beaten, were allowed to
accompany the natives to the ship, and succeeded in effecting their
escape. Trusting to the humanity of the captain and crew, we for some
time confidently expected, that they would contrive some way of enabling
us to join them. They were in sight about three hours; at one time they
were so near that we could distinctly see the hands on board; but judge
of our feelings when we saw the vessel pursuing her course! Our
expectations were all blasted in a moment, and our minds, which had been
gladdened by the hope of once more enjoying the society of civilized
beings, of once more reaching the shores of our beloved country, sunk
back into a state of despair; we wept like children.

The natives, when they returned from the vessel, brought with them a
small quantity of iron hoops, and a few articles of some little value,
but they were highly dissatisfied with the amount received, and greatly
enraged. The division of the property caused much difficulty, and they
quarrelled about it for several days. Those of us who remained, though
innocent, were the greatest sufferers. They held us accountable for the
conduct of those who had left, and vented the malignity of their
unfeeling hearts upon us. We were given to understand, that now our doom
was fixed; that we should remain with them, and die the victims of our
tormentors! Alas! it was but too true, that such was to be the fate of
all but two of our number! We were destined to see one after another of
our fellow-sufferers sink under the constantly increasing severity of
the burdens imposed upon them, and perish either from actual starvation,
or by the blows of the savages.

After the departure of the captain and Rollins, we were treated with
much greater severity than we had been before. Generally we were aroused
from our broken slumbers about sunrise, and compelled to go to work; we
were usually employed in cultivating a species of vegetable somewhat
resembling the yam, and called by them "_koreï_." This root is raised in
beds of mud, which are prepared by digging out the sand, and filling the
place with mould. The whole of this labor was performed with the hands.
We were compelled day after day to stand in the mud from morning till
night, and to turn up the mud with our hands. Frequently we were
required to do this without receiving a morsel of food till about noon,
and sometimes we were left without any thing to eat till night. At best
we could get no more than a small piece of cocoa-nut, hardly a common
sized mouthful, at a time, and if, either from exhaustion or any other
cause, we neglected to perform the required amount of labor, our
pittance of food was withheld altogether.

From this plain and unexaggerated account it will be seen, that our
condition at best was bad enough; but a misfortune befell us which
rendered it still worse. About four months from the time of our landing
on that dreary spot, there was a violent storm, which came very near
sweeping away the whole of the means of support which remained for the
miserable inhabitants. The wind blew down many of the best cocoa trees,
and materially injured the fruit on such as were left standing. Besides
this, the low places in which they raised the root, by them called
"_korei_," were mostly filled with sand, and famine stared us all in the

They attributed this misfortune to the anger of their god, and did not
fail to use such means as they thought best calculated to appease him;
and the calamity greatly added to our sufferings. Besides subjecting us
to still more severe deprivations, we were compelled (though hardly able
to drag our limbs from place to place) to labor in repairing the damage
done by the storm. We were employed for months in carrying in our arms
and on our shoulders pieces of the coral rock, in order to form a sort
of seawall to prevent the waves from washing away the trees; and this
drudgery, considering that we were naked, under a burning sun, and
reduced to nothing but skin and bones, was too severe to admit of any
thing like an adequate description. Our flesh, or, to speak more
properly, our skin--for flesh we had none--was frequently so torn by the
sharp corners of the rock, and scorched by the sun, as to resemble more
that of the rhinoceros than of human beings.


     The natives compel the Mentor's people to be tattooed.--Description
     of that painful operation.--They also oblige them to pluck their
     beards, &c.--Another vessel passes by the island; and, afterwards,
     a third comes in sight and remains for three days; the Mentor's
     people are closely guarded at these times.--The melancholy fate of
     William Sedon; and the barbarous murder of Peter Andrews.--Attack
     on H. Holden, who is protected by one of the natives, and
     escapes.--B. Nute and others are protected by the female natives
     from the fury of the men.--Death of one of the Pelew
     chiefs.--Another of the Pelew people is detected in stealing, and
     is punished in their manner.--Death of Milton Hewlet and Charles C.
     Bouket; leaving now only B. Nute, H. Holden, and the other Pelew
     chief, named _Kobak_, who all remained in a feeble and helpless
     condition.--Filthy practices of the natives.--Friendship of the
     surviving Pelew chief.

A new trial now awaited us. The barbarous beings among whom our lot had
been cast, deemed it important that we should be _tattooed_, and we were
compelled to submit to the distressing operation. We expostulated
against it--we entreated--we begged to be spared this additional
affliction; but our entreaties were of no use. Those savages were not
to be moved, and we were compelled to submit; and that the reader may
form some idea of the painful process, I will here give a brief account
of it.

We were in the first place securely bound down to the ground, and there
held fast by our tormentors. They then proceeded to draw with a sharp
stick the figures designed to be imprinted on the skin. This done, the
skin was thickly punctured with a little instrument made of sharpened
fish bones, and somewhat resembling a carpenter's adz in miniature, but
having teeth, instead of a smooth, sharp edge. This instrument was held
within an inch or two of the flesh, and struck into it rapidly with a
piece of wood, applied to it in such a manner as to cause it to rebound
at every stroke. In this way our breasts and arms were prepared; and
subsequently the ink, which was made of a vegetable found on the island
called by them the "_savvan_," was applied. The operation caused such an
inflammation of our bodies, that only a portion could be done at one
time; and as soon as the inflammation abated another portion was done,
as fast as we could bear it, till our bodies were covered. It was
effectually done; for to this day the figures remain as distinct as they
were when first imprinted, and the marks will be carried by us to the
grave. They were exceedingly anxious to perform the operation upon our
faces; but this we would not submit to, telling them that sooner than
have it done we would die in resisting them. Among themselves, the
oldest people had the greatest quantity of tattooing, and the younger
class less.

Besides the operation of _tattooing_, they compelled us to pluck the
hair from different parts of the body, and to pluck our beards about
every ten days, which was extremely painful; and at every successive
operation the beard grew out harder and stiffer.

About seventeen days after the captain and Rollins left, we saw a vessel
to the windward; but the natives did not attempt to visit it. Five
months afterwards another came in sight, and remained for three days
near the island. At one time we could distinctly see the men on board;
but we were kept on shore and closely guarded. Several canoes visited
the ship, and brought back a few pieces of iron, fish-hooks, glass
bottles, &c. We tried, but in vain, to escape. It seemed to us, that we
were doomed to remain on that dreary spot, to wear out our remaining
strength in hopeless bondage, and to submit to the control of brutal
masters, whose tender mercies were cruelties. Death, in any form, would
have been a relief, and often did we see moments when it would have been
welcomed as the best of friends! To some of our companions it did come,
though dreadful in the manner, yet as a not unwelcome alternative.

About a year after we first arrived at the island, William Sedon became
so reduced as to deprive us of all hopes of his recovery. He looked like
a skeleton; and, at last, was so entirely exhausted by hunger, as to be
unable to walk, or even to rise from the ground. He continued, however,
to crawl from place to place, until all his remaining strength was
nearly gone, when the inhuman monsters placed him in an old canoe, and
sent him adrift on the ocean! Gladly would his unhappy shipmates have
extended to him the last sad offices of friendship; that poor
consolation was denied both him and us! My heart bleeds at the
recollection of our separation and his melancholy fate--when we saw him
anxiously turn his languid eyes towards those who were doomed still to
linger on the borders of the grave! Our sighs were breathed almost in
silence, and our tears were shed in vain!

It may be observed here, that it is not their custom to deposit the
bodies of any of their dead in the earth, except very young children.
The bodies of grown people, after death, are laid in a canoe and
committed to the ocean.

It was soon our lot to part with another of our companions, Peter
Andrews. He was accused by the natives of some trifling offence, and put
to death. The savages knocked him down with their clubs, and then
despatched him in the most cruel and most shocking manner. I was at this
time at a distance from the place where he was killed. My master was
absent; and upon my hearing a noise in the direction of the place where
the foul business was transacted, and suspecting that all was not right,
I started to see what was going on. I was near the beach when I saw a
number of the savages coming towards the spot where I stood, dragging
along the lifeless and mangled body of our comrade! One of them
approached me behind, and knocked me down with his club. The body of
Andrews was thrown into the sea, and it seemed to be their determination
to destroy the whole of us. I warded off the blows aimed at me as well
as I could, and recovering myself, ran towards the hut of my master. He
had not yet returned; but, fortunately, an old man, who had previously
shown some regard for me, and who was the particular friend of my
master, happened at that moment to be passing; and seizing the man who
had pursued me, held him fast. I escaped and ran into the hut, and
crawled up through an aperture in the floor into the chamber under the
roof. I seized an old box and covered up the hole through which I had
ascended; but this was not sufficient to detain, for any great length of
time, the wretches who were thirsting for my blood. They soon succeeded
in displacing the box, and one of them seized me; but just as he was
pulling me from my place of refuge, my master returned with several of
his friends, and rescued me from the clutches of my enemies.

In the mean time Nute and the rest of our companions were at the
"_Tahboo_," a place of public resort, where, for the only time, the
females rendered our people any assistance. They concealed the men under
some mats, and kept them there till the fury of the natives had in a
measure subsided.

We were next called upon to part with one of the Pelew _chiefs_ who had
come with us. He died of absolute starvation, and, according to custom,
was committed to the waves in an old canoe. In a short time after this,
the Pelew private (who had also come with us) was detected in the crime
of taking a few cocoa-nuts without leave; for which offence he had his
hands tied behind him, and was put into a canoe and sent adrift; which
was their usual method of punishment for offences of different kinds.

About a year and seven months from the commencement of our captivity
Milton Hewlet died, and, like the others, was, according to the custom
of the natives, committed to the ocean. A short time afterwards Charles
C. Bouket, having become so reduced by his sufferings as to be unable to
help himself, was (horrible to relate!) placed in a canoe, while still
alive, and committed to the mercy of the ocean. Thus did one after
another of our companions sink under the weight of their sufferings, and
perish without any alleviation of their wretchedness. Nute and myself,
with our friend _Kobac_, the other Pelew chief, were all that remained;
and we were constantly expecting that the next hour would end our

The idea of death, however, had now become familiar; and often did we
desire the release from suffering which that alone could afford.
Nothing, as it now appears to us, but the kind interposition of
Providence, could have continued our lives, and have given us the power
of endurance to hold out so long as we did. We were frequently so
reduced as to be unable to walk, and were forced to drag ourselves on
our hands and knees to some place where we could lie down under the
shade of a bush, and take rest. But the small comfort to be obtained in
this way was greatly lessened by the annoyance of musquetoes, which
could attack us with impunity in our helpless and feeble condition.
Besides this, our flesh had so fallen away, that on lying down, our
bones would actually pierce through the skin, giving us the most severe
pain. After we were tattooed, the parts operated upon were, for a long
time, running sores; and when exposed to the sun, the pain was

It has been already said, that the natives were indolent, filthy and
degraded, but the half has not been told; and some things which we
witnessed cannot be related. The intercourse of the sexes was
unrestrained by any law; and the decencies of life were almost entirely
neglected. Instead of taking pains to keep clean, they seemed to be not
unwilling to have their heads overrun with vermin; and however
incredible it may seem, it is a disgusting truth, that they are
accustomed to eat them; and particular care seems to be taken to keep
those loathsome animals in the heads of the children. But I forbear any
further particulars.

I have already said, that only two of the crew of the Mentor, namely,
Nute and myself, remained alive, with the exception of captain Barnard
and Rollins, who had fortunately escaped. The Pelew chief had become
strongly attached to us, and we take pleasure in stating the fact, that
his faithfulness and affection had greatly endeared him to us. He seemed
more like a brother than a barbarian; and most gladly would we have
saved him from those sufferings which, no doubt, before this time, have
terminated his life. Alas! it was not in our power to administer to his
relief; and when we last saw him he was but just alive.


     The feeble and exhausted condition of the survivors, Nute and
     Holden.--The natives consent to release them from labor, but refuse
     them food; and they obtain permission to leave the island in the
     first vessel, for a compensation to be made to the natives.--They
     crawl about from place to place, subsisting upon leaves, and
     occasionally begging a little food of the natives, for two
     months.--Their sudden joy at hearing of a vessel coming towards the
     island.--It proves to be the British barque Britannia, captain
     Short, bound to Canton.--They are taken on board the Britannia,
     November 27, 1834, and treated with the kindest attention.--Their
     joy and gratitude at this happy termination of their
     sufferings.--They gradually recover their health so far as to take
     passage for America, in the ship Morrison, bound for New York,
     where they arrive May 5, 1835.--Acknowledgments for their kind
     reception at New York and Boston.

Having thus briefly related the story of our captivity and sufferings,
it only remains to give an account of our escape from this barbarous
people. We continued to survive the horrible sufferings to which we were
constantly subjected, and to serve our tyrannical masters, in despite of
our agonies of body and mind, till the beginning of the autumn of 1834;
at which time we had become so emaciated, feeble, and sickly, that we
found it impossible any longer even to attempt to labor. By this time we
had acquired a sufficient knowledge of their tongue to converse fluently
with the natives, and we informed our masters, that our feeble condition
rendered it impossible for us to attempt to do any thing more. We also
reasoned the matter with them, telling them that death was our
inevitable doom, unless we were allowed to relax our labor; that if we
died we could be of no service to them, but if allowed a respite, and we
lived, and could be put on board a vessel, they should be liberally

With much difficulty we at length persuaded our masters to allow us to
quit labor, and obtained from them a promise to be put on board the
first vessel that should come to the island. But, at the same time, they
informed us, that if we ceased to work, they should cease to furnish the
miserable allowance of cocoa-nut on which we had before subsisted, and
that we must either labor or starve. We deemed death as welcome in one
shape as in another, and relinquished our labors and our pittance of
food together.

We were thus literally turned out to die! We crawled from place to
place, subsisting upon leaves, and now and then begging of the natives a
morsel of cocoa-nut. In this way we contrived to live for about two
months, when the joyful intelligence was brought to us that a vessel was
in sight, and was coming near the island! Hope once more revisited our
despairing hearts, and seemed to inspire us with renewed strength and


After taxing our exhausted powers to the utmost, we persuaded the
natives to prepare for visiting the vessel; and throwing our emaciated
bodies into their canoes, we made for the ship with all possible
despatch. The vessel proved to be the British barque Britannia, captain
Short, bound to Canton. Our reception on board is faithfully described
in the following certificate given by captain Short, the original of
which is still in my possession:

                                   "LINTIN, 29th December, 1834.

     "This is to certify, that on the 27th day of November, 1834, off
     the small island commonly called Lord North's by the English,
     situated in latitude 3° 3' north, and longitude 131° 20' east, on
     board the British barque Britannia, bound to Canton river, we
     observed about ten or eleven canoes, containing upwards of one
     hundred men, approaching the vessel, in a calm, or nearly so, with
     the intention of coming alongside. But having the small complement
     of thirteen men, it was considered most prudent to keep them off,
     which was effected by firing a few six pound shots in a contrary
     direction from the boats, some of which were then within
     pistol-shot. At the same time hearing cries in our own language,
     begging to be taken on board, the boat was despatched away to know
     the cause. The boat returned to the ship, and reported an American
     on board one of them. She was then sent back, having strict
     orders to act with caution, and the man got from the canoe into the
     sea, and was taken up by the ship's boat, and brought on board. He
     then stated in what manner he came there, and said he had another
     of his countrymen in another canoe. I said if we could get some of
     the boats dispersed, that every assistance should be rendered for
     the liberty of the other man. Accordingly they did so, all but
     three. The ship's boat was then despatched in search, and soon
     found the other man. He was brought on board, but in a most
     deplorable condition with fever, from the effects of a miserable
     subsistence. These two poor fellows were quite naked, under a
     burning sun. They appeared to bear all the marks of their long
     servitude, and I should suppose two or three days would have been
     the end of the last man taken on board, but from this act of
     Providence. It appears that these men were wrecked in the ship
     Mentor, on the Pelew islands, and were proceeding with their
     commander to some Dutch settlement, in one of the Pelew island
     canoes, when they got to the afore-mentioned island, and were
     detained by the natives; and that captain Edward C. Barnard had got
     on board some ship, and reached Canton river shortly after their
     detention at the island; which has been confirmed by the different
     masters now at the port of Lintin.

     "The statement given in to me by the two men runs thus:--That they
     were wrecked May 21st, 1832, on the Pelew islands, and detained on
     Lord North's island 6th December, 1832. The two men's names are
     Benjamin H. Nute and Horace Holden. I should thank any ship master
     now in port, acquainted with the circumstance, to confirm it by his
     signature, in order to make some provision for those men, should
     they require it. But from the disposition and liberality of those
     American gentlemen coming forward, that are already acquainted with
     the circumstance, perhaps it will be unnecessary. At the same time
     I shall be very willing to draw up any form, or in any other way
     that I may forward their views, according to the opinion of their
     American friends. I should hope that every vessel passing in the
     direction of the afore-mentioned island, passing any of their
     boats, will give them a trifle. I gave them what articles those two
     men thought most beneficial, and should have held a closer
     communication with them had I been better manned and armed.

                                   HENRY SHORT, Barque Britannia."

Never shall we find words to express our joy at once more finding
ourselves in the company of civilized men! Nor can we be too grateful to
captain Short, and his officers and crew, for their kind attentions
during our passage to Lintin. Every thing in their power was done to
restore our health and strength, and to render us comfortable. On
arriving at Lintin we found ourselves sufficiently recovered to be able
to pass up the river to Canton. We remained there, at the factories,
under medical treatment, until the ship Morrison, of New York, was ready
to sail; when we took passage in her for our native country, and arrived
in New York on the 5th day of May, 1835.

In New York we found many kind friends, who took a lively interest in
our behalf. We would particularly acknowledge a debt of gratitude which
we owe to Mr. John Munson, who opened his hospitable dwelling for our
reception, and with whom we tarried for several weeks. Assisted by the
humane and philanthropic citizens of New York, we have been enabled to
reach Boston. Here Providence has raised us up warm friends, through
whose assistance we have been rendered as comfortable as could under any
circumstances have been expected.

In compliance with the solicitations of many respectable gentlemen, the
foregoing narrative is submitted to the public, with the hope that it
may not be entirely uninteresting, and not without use. Every statement
may be relied upon as strictly true; and it is believed, that, simple
and unadorned as is our story, it may serve to afford some information
of a little spot hitherto supposed to be uninhabited, and to present to
view of the curious and intelligent some knowledge of a portion of our
race among whom no white man has ever before lived.

To captain Barnard the author of the statements in this narrative is
under great obligations for his uniformly kind treatment previous to the
loss of the Mentor, and during the whole time we were together. We have
no reason to doubt, that he did all in his power to obtain our release
from captivity at the time when he was himself so fortunate as to
escape; and not the least blame is to be imputed to him on account of
the disasters that befell us.

Of the twenty-two persons who composed the ship's company of the Mentor
when she sailed from New Bedford, only _four_ have returned. It has been
reported, that one of the three who was left at the Pelew islands
escaped a few months since. If such be the case only two remain there;
and it is hoped that some measures will soon be adopted, either by the
government or by humane individuals, to rescue them from their painful
and distressing situation.

I cannot close this narrative without expressing the most heart-felt
gratitude to that kind Providence which has sustained us under trials
and sufferings the most severe, and returned us to our homes and
friends. And may those who have been to us friends indeed, find an ample
reward for their generosity, in the consciousness of having been
influenced by those sentiments and feelings which best adorn and dignify
the human character!




The language of the inhabitants of Lord North's island appears to be a
new and hitherto unknown dialect of the Polynesian family of languages.
According to the preceding Narrative, it was wholly unintelligible to
the _Pelew_ chiefs who accompanied the crew of the Mentor when they were
made captives. To judge by the _numerals_, and a few other words, which
have been collected by travellers, it has a near affinity to the
dialects of the neighboring _Caroline_ islands.

In the selection of words for the following vocabulary, we have
principally followed the list of English words in Keate's Account of the
Pelew Islands, but have added several from the Empress Catherine's
Vocabulary; distinguishing by SMALL CAPITALS all the words which
correspond to those in that Vocabulary. Some short dialogues are
subjoined to the vocabulary.

The orthography adopted is that of the _English_ language; it being the
most useful to such of our navigators as may chance to visit Lord
North's island or those in its vicinity. It is only necessary to state
particularly, that _ay_ is to be pronounced like _aye_, or _ah-ee_; _g_,
always hard, as in _go_; _ng_, in the middle of a word, as it is at the
end; as, for example, in the English word _hanger_, and not as in the
word anger, (ang-ger;) and _zh_ is to be pronounced like _s_ in
_pleasure_, or the French _j_.

It is proper to remark, that the words of the language here given, not
having been furnished by _natives_ of the island, are to be received
rather as approximations than as perfectly exact specimens of the
language; but the comparisons made with kindred dialects lead us to
believe, that they are as exact as are usually obtained from similar
sources. Two years' residence in the island strongly impressed the
language in the memory of the unfortunate captives.

     And, mah.

     Arm. (_See_ Hand.)

     BACK, tukkalek´.

     BAD, tuhmah´.

     Bamboo, sheel, _or_ shil.[6]

     BEARD, koosum. (_See_ Hair.)

     BELLY, mish´ee-um.

     Belt, (worn by the men,) tap´pah.

     Big, yennup.

     Bird, kar´rum.

     BLACK, wayzer´ris, (wah-ee-zerris.)

     Boat, prow, (prah-oo.)

     BONE, cheel.

     BOY. (_See_ Man.)

     Brass, mullebah´dee.

     Breast (of a female,) toot.[7]

     Brother, biz´zheem, _or_ biz´zhim.

     Canoe, (_the same as_ Boat.)

     CHILD, (_of two or three years old_,) lah´bo.

     Clouds, kotcho.

     Cocoa-nut, (_when ripe_,) kahrah´pah; (_when very young_,) soob;
     (_when the husk is so hard as to require breaking with a stone_,)
     chou, _or_ chah-oo.

     Cold, makkrazm´.

     Come, (_verb, the same as to go_,) mo´rahbeeto.

     Copper, (_the same as_ Brass.)

     Cord, (small line) kreel.

     Darkness, klo-wayzer´ris.

     DAY, yahro, (_the same as_ Sun.)

     DEAD, poo´ruk.

     Dirt, yuhbur´.

     Drink, (_verb_,) lim´mah.

     DUST. (_See_ Dirt.)

     Eat, muk´kah.

     FATHER, wur´teemum; (_used also for_ Friend.)

     FINGERS, kay´muk, (_the same as_ Hand.)

     FIRE, yah, _or_ yahf.

     Fish, ee´kah.

     Fish-hook, kah-oo eekah.

     Fishing net, shibbo´.

     Fly, (_the insect_,) lahng.

     Foot, petchem´; (_applied to the_ foot, leg, _and_ thigh.)

     Friend. (_See_ Father.)

     GIRL, pah´chik vay-ee´vee; (_literally_, a little woman.)

     Go. (_See_ Come.)

     GOOD, yissung.

     GOD, yarris. (_They had images of twelve gods._)

     GRASS, waw´ree.

     HAIR, (_of the head_,) chim. (_See_ Beard.)

     HAND, kay´muk. (_See_ Fingers.)

     HEAD, mitch´eemum.

     HERE, atid´dee, _or_ ettid´dee.

     HOUSE. (_See_ Hut.)

     Hungry, surmah´.

     Hut, _or_ house, yim.

     I, (myself,) nang.

     Iron, pahng-ul; _also_ pishoo.

     Iron hoop, chee´pah; (i. e. _pieces of iron hoops, of which they
     make knives, &c._)

     Kill, (_verb_,) mah´tee.

     Large. (_See_ Big.)

     Laugh, (_verb_,) mee´mee.

     LEAF, (_of a cocoa-nut tree_,) trillah.

     Leg. (_See_ Foot.)

     LIGHTNING, visseeg´.

     Little. (_See_ Small.)

     Lizard, peelel´.

     MAN, mah´ree, _or_ mah.

     Many, pee´pee.

     MILK, toot. (_See_ Breast.)

     My, mine; e. g. _my cocoa-nut_, kahrah´pah ah nang.

     Moon, muk´kum.

     Mother, mish´erum.

     Mouse. (_See_ Rat.)

     Musquetoe, lahm.

     Near to, yah peteh´to, _or_ petetto.

     Night, neebo´; (_also_ by night.)

     No, taw, _or_ tah-oo.

     Numerals. (_See the list at the end of this vocabulary._)

     Oar. (_See_ Paddle.)

     Old, (i. e. from twenty years upwards,) mahzoo´-ee; very old,
     mahzoo-ee ah va; _also_, butchee butch chim, _literally_, the hair
     is white.

     Paddle, vettel.

     People, pee´pee ah mah´ree; _literally_, many men.

     Rain, (it rains,) oot; it does not rain, taw oot.

     Rat, tum´meeum.

     Reef (of rocks,) ahrah´-oo.

     Rope, tah´ree. (_See_ Cord.)

     Sand, (or shoal in the sea,) pee. _This word means simply the

     Sea, (salt water,) taht.

     Shark, po.

     Ship, waw´wee.

     Short, yuhmoat´, _or_ yah moat´.

     Sick, makkah´kes; I am not sick, nang tay makkah´kes.

     Sister, mee´ang-um.

     Sleep, mus´see, _or_ mummah teed´ee.

     Small, pah´chik; very small, (as a grain of sand,)

     Son, (or daughter,) lah´bo. (_See_ Child.)

     Stars, vish.

     STONE, vahs.

     Storm, pee´pee oot; i. e. much rain.

     Strong, (in good health,) yuhkayl´.

     Sun, yah´ro.

     Tahboo´, _the religious interdiction called_ tahboo, _which is
     common in the islands of the Pacific ocean, and which is also used
     in Lord North's island._

     Talk, (_verb_,) tee´tree; e. g. tee´tree Inglish, talk English;
     tee´tree To´bee, talk To´bee, or the language of the island.

     Tattoo, (_verb_,) ver´ree-ver´-ree.

     There, a-tur´nah.

     Thou, _or_ you, gur.

     Thunder, pah; pah zah tee´tree, it thunders; _literally_, the
     thunder speaks. _When it thunders, they say_, Yarris tee´tree, God
     is speaking.

     To-morrow, waw´rah-zoo´rah.

     Tree. (_See_ Wood.)

     Turtle, wah´ree.

     WATER, (fresh,) tah´roo.

     ----, (salt,) taht.

     Whale, kahs.

     What; (what is that,) mahtah´men ah menno.

     WHITE, butch´ee butch.

     Why, bah.

     WIND, yang.

     Woman, vay-ee´vee; a young woman, wer´ree-wedg vay-ee´vee.

     Wood, (trees,) tummutch´ee; tabur´rah eek´ah, the stem _or_ trunk.

     Yellow, arrang´.

     Yes, ee´lah.

     Yesterday, rollo; yesterday night, rollo neebo´.

     You, _or_ thou, gur.


  One,       yaht
  Two,       guhloo´
  Three,     yah
  Four,      vahn
  Five,      neem
  Six,       yah-woar´
  Seven,     yah-veesh´
  Eight,     yah-wah´
  Nine,      yah-too´
  Ten,       yah-saik´ (sake)
  Eleven,    sa-kum ah soo´
  Twelve,    sa-kum ah goo-o´
  Thirteen,  sa-kum ah sa-roo´
  Fourteen,  sa-kum ah vah´oo
  Fifteen,   sa-kum ah leemo´
  Sixteen,   sa-kum ah wahroo´
  Seventeen, sa-kum ah weeshoo´
  Eighteen,  sa-kum ah wahrew´
  Nineteen,  sa-kum ah tee-o´
  Twenty,    sa-kum ah gloo-o´

  Ten,       saik
  Twenty,    goowaik´
  Thirty,    sa-reek´
  Forty,     vah-eek´
  Fifty,     leemaik (leemake)
  Sixty,     woar-eek´
  Seventy,   vesheek´
  Eighty,    wahreck´
  Ninety,    tew-week´
  Hundred,   surbung; &c.[8]

The inhabitants of Lord North's island seldom count above a hundred; but
when they wish to express a larger number they do it by a repetition of
the syllable _saik_, (ten,) in this manner:--sakum ah saik, ah saik, ah
saik, &c.

In counting cocoa-nuts, they use the following numerals:--

  One,    soo
  Two,    goo-o´
  Three,  sa-roo´
  Four,   vah´o
  Five,   leemo´
  Six,    woarroo
  Seven,  veeshoo´
  Eight,  tee-oo
  Nine,   wahrew´
  Ten,    saik

In counting fish they have still a different set of numbers:--

  Seemul eekah, one fish
  Gwimmul eekah, two fishes
  Sreemul eekah, three fishes
  Vahmul eekah, four fishes
  Neemul eekah, five fishes
  Waw´remul eekah, six fishes
  Vish-ee ahmul eekah, seven fishes
  War´remul eekah, eight fishes
  Too-ee´mul eekah, nine fishes
  Saik eekah, ten fishes


     Tee´mit, tay too attee´dee, nang ver´ree-ver´ree gur; mah´ree
     To´bee tay ver´ree-ver´ree man Inglish mo´ree pooruk; zahbee´to
     Yarris yettah´men man Inglish.

          Horace, come here, for I am going to tattoo you; if To´bee man
          does not tattoo Englishman he will die; Yarris (God) will come
          and Englishman will go immediately out of sight; i. e. be

They perform the process of tattooing by means of a little instrument,
made either of a thin, flat fish-bone, or of the wing bone of a large
sea-bird. The blade of the instrument (as it may be called) is about an
inch long; it is fixed upon a little handle, about four inches in
length, and the whole instrument may be compared to a carpenter's adz,
in miniature; except that the edge, instead of being straight, and
smooth for cutting, is made into teeth for puncturing the skin. This
little instrument is held in the left hand, with the edge or teeth
directly over the place to be punctured, and successive blows are then
struck upon it, with a small stick of iron-wood, resembling a drumstick,
and of about two pounds' weight, until the coloring matter is
sufficiently pricked into the skin.[9]

Before commencing the operation they mix the coloring liquid (before
described, page 102) in a cocoa-nut shell. They then compel you to lie
down upon the ground in such a position that the part of the body which
is to be tattooed shall lie uppermost. After this, with a slender,
flexible stick dipped in the liquid, they mark out upon the body the
figures that are to be imprinted in the skin; then they dip the teeth of
the tattooing instrument in the liquid, and by successive strokes, as
above mentioned, prick it into the skin, till it is completed to their
taste. During the operation you are surrounded by men, women, and
children, all singing a kind of chorus or song adapted to the occasion;
and if any complaint escapes you, from the severe treatment of the
operators, (of whom there are generally two,) the whole company strikes
up a louder strain, apparently as if rejoicing. The spirited wood cut
accompanying this volume gives a very correct representation of this
important ceremony.

       *       *       *       *       *

After captain Barnard and Rollins escaped from the island, the natives
would often ask of Holden and Nute where they thought _Peeter Inglish_
(their name for the captain) was;[10] they were answered, that he was on
his passage to England. They would then say,--

     Ah! Peeter Inglish taw borobeeto Inglish; Peeter Inglish yepee´lif
     tang ah nee mah´ree ah To´bee ah pahng-ul; Peeter Inglish mo´ree
     poo´ruk woar ah taht; Peeter Inglish tee´tree tee´tree mah´ree
     To´bee pee´pee pee´pee ah pahng-ul, pee´pee ah lego´, pee´pee ah
     mullebah´dee; shaik, man Inglish yepee´lif tuhmah´; mah´ree ah
     To´bee zah so zah tee´tree Yarris, waurwa ah Inglish cher prow tay
     beeto woar Inglish.

          Ah! the captain will never get to England; the captain was a
          thief; he had not given To´bee man any iron, and he would die
          at sea; the captain talked, and talked with To´bee men, (that
          they should have) much iron, great many clothes, and much
          brass; for shame! Englishmen (are) all thieves and bad men;
          To´bee men (are) very angry; (we) will speak to God, and he
          will make the ship founder at sea, and the captain never will
          arrive in England.

Whenever Holden or Nute expressed a wish to go to England, the natives
would say to them,--

     Gur zah beeto Inglish bah? Taw ah muk´kah woar Inglish; gur zah
     beeto Inglish, gur mo´ree poo´ruk; mah´ree Inglish muk´kah ketch´ee
     etch´ee, omah ah yahpuk gur mum´mee tee´dee ah To´bee, yevvers
     mah´ree To´bee yissung ah mukkah.

          What do you (wish to) go to England for? There is nothing to
          eat in England; if you go to England you will die; Englishmen
          eat rats and snails and filth; if you stay in To´bee you will
          live; To´bee men have very good (food) to eat.

_Dialogue between Horace Holden and his master Pahrahbooah._

     _H._ Pahrahbooah, gur zah wosheeto ah nang woar ah prow, nang zah
     beeto Inglish; nang zah mum´mah tee´dee ah To´bee zah pooruk, taw
     ah muk´kah woar To´bee; woar Inglish pee´pee ah muk´kah, pee´pee,
     pee´pee; gur zah wosheeto ah nang woar ah prow nang zah lee ah gur
     pee´pee ah pahng-ul, pee´pee ah lego´, pee´pee ah mullebah´dee; gur
     tay wosheeto ah nang zah poo´ruk woar ah To´bee, gur taw ah pishoo.

          _H._ Pahrahbooah, if you will put me on board of a ship I will
          go to England; if I remain at To´bee (Lord North's) I shall
          die, for there is nothing to eat on To´bee; in England, much
          food, much, much; and if you will put me on board of a ship, I
          will give you much iron, many clothes, and much brass; if you
          do not put me (on board) I shall die on To´bee, and you (will
          get) no iron.

     _P._ Hah, nang tay wosheeto ah gur; gur tee´tree tuhmah; gur tang
     ah nee nang ah pahng-ul; Peeter Inglish yepee´lif, gur yepee´lif,
     mah´ree ah Inglish yepee´lif, senah-messen´; tuhmah man Inglish;
     gur mummah tee´dee woar To´bee, zah pooruk ah To´bee.

          _P._ Ah! I will not let you go; you talk bad; you will not
          give me any iron; Peeter Inglish is a thief, you are a thief,
          all Englishmen (are) thieves and liars; Englishmen (are) bad
          men; you (are) to stay on To´bee, to die on To´bee.

_Another Dialogue between the same persons._

     _P._ Tee´mit, gur zah beeto Inglish gur zahnee mah´ree To´bee ah
     pahng-ul, yennup way´sa teberëe´kah yennup ah tepo´ee ah waus´sa,
     ah lego´, kah-oo eekah, zis ah pishoo´ ah teet ah tuv´vatif, ah
     mullebah´dee, zah beeto To´bee zah lee wur´teemum ah gur?

          _P._ Horace, if you go to England will you give the men of
          To´bee iron of a large size, as big as a stick of wood, and
          big axes, and knives, and cloth, and fish-hooks, an anvil and
          hammer, and needles, a trunk, and brass, and then come back to
          To´bee and give them to your father?

     _H._ Ee´lah, nang zah beeto Inglish nang zahnee mahree To´bee ah
     pahng-ul yennup, ah tepo´-ee, ah waus´sa, ah lego´, kah-oo eekah,
     zis ah pishoo´, ah teet, ah tuv´vatif, ah mullebah´dee, zah beeto
     To´bee, zah lee wur´teemum ah nang.

          _H._ Yes, I will go to England, and I will give to the men of
          To´bee iron of a large size, and big axes, and knives, and
          cloth, and fish-hooks, an anvil, and needles, and trunks, and
          brass, and then come back to To´bee and give them to my

     _P._ Gur zah beeto Inglish gur dee mum´mah tee´dee woar Inglish,
     taw borobee´to To´bee, gur zah yuh-woon; tuhmah taw muhpeer klo

          _P._ If you go to England you will stop (sleep) there, and not
          return to To´bee; this (will be) bad and not friendly, and you
          will be a bad man.

     _H._ Nang zah beeto Inglish, nang dak mum´mah teedee woar Inglish,
     nang zah beeto To´bee.

          _H._ If I go to England I will not stop (sleep) there, but
          return to To´bee immediately.

     _P._ Gur too-ay-go´rah beeto Inglish, gur mo´ree pooruk woar ah
     taht, gur tay beeto To´bee.

          _P._ You do not know the way to England; you will die (or be
          lost) at sea, and not come to To´bee.

     _H._ Hah! nang yego´rah beeto Inglish, taw mo´ree pooruk woar ah

          _H._ Aye, I do know the way to England; I shall not die (or be
          lost) at sea.

     _P._ Gur ahnee ah prow woar Inglish, pee´pee ah pahng-ul, ah lego´,
     kahrahpah, ah vay-ee´vee pee´pee, ah mahree pee´pee, ah lah´bo?

          _P._ Have you got ships in England, and a great deal of iron,
          and cloths and cocoa-nuts, and many men, women, and children?

     _H._ Eelah, nang yuhwo´ ah prow woar Inglish, pee´pee ah pahng-ul,
     ah lego´, kahrahpah ah vay-ee´vee, pee´pee ah mah´ree, pee´pee ah

          _H._ Yes, I have got ships in England, much iron, and cloths,
          and cocoa-nuts, and women, and a great many men and children.

     _P._ Gur mukkah woar Inglish pee´pee?

          _P._ Do you eat in England a plenty?

     _H._ Eelah, nang mukkah woar Inglish pee´pee.

          _H._ Yes, in England I eat a plenty, (or much.)

     _P._ Tee´mit, gur zah beeto Inglish woshee´to ah pahng-ul woshee´to
     ah lego´, ah mullebah´dee, ah tepo-ee, ah kah-oo eekah, mo´ree
     To´bee zah lee mah´ree To´bee, gur muhpeer, gur yissung ah mah´ree,
     muhpeer muhpeer.

          _P._ Horace, if you go to England, and fetch us iron, and
          cloths, and brass, and axes, and fish-hooks, to To´bee, and
          give them to To´bee men, you (will be) our friend, a very
          good man, a very great friend; (_literally_, a friend, a

     _H._ Eelah, nang zah beeto Inglish, nang wosheeto ah pahng-ul,
     wosheeto ah lego´, ah mullebah´dee, ah tepo-ee, ah kah-oo eekah,
     woar To´bee zah lee mah´ree To´bee.

          _H._ Yes, (if) I go to England I will fetch you iron, and
          fetch cloths and brass, and axes and fish-hooks, to To´bee,
          and give them to the people of To´bee.

     _P._ Tee´mit, gur zah beeto Inglish gur tay beeto To´bee, mah´ree
     To´bee zah tee´tree Yarris, gur moree pooruk.

          _P._ Horace, if you go to England and do not come back to
          To´bee, the men of To´bee will talk to God and you will die.

     _H._ Nang zah beeto Inglish, nang de mummah tee´dee, ah turt zah
     beeto To´bee.

          _H._ I will go to England and stop a short time, (i. e. sleep
          there,) and shall return to To´bee.

     _P._ Tee´mit, gur zah beeto venne Yarris, gur tay beeto, gur mo´ree

          _P._ Horace, if you do not go to Yarris´ house, (i. e. the
          place of worship,) you will die.

     _H._ Tur pay; nang zah beeto.

          _H._ Wait a minute; I will go.

     Verrah mahtah gur?

          What is your name?


[6] No bamboo grows on Lord North's island, but it frequently drifts
ashore, and the natives make knives of it.

[7] Used also by the Pelew Islanders.

[8] _Numerals of the Caroline Islands, from the Missionary Voyage to the
Southern Pacific Ocean, 4to, London, 1799._

  One,    iota
  Two,    rua
  Three,  toloo
  Four,   tia
  Five,   leema
  Six,    honoo
  Seven,  fizoo
  Eight,  wartow,
  Nine,   shievo
  Ten,    segga

[9] Tattooing instruments may be seen in the valuable East India museum,
at Salem; and perhaps in some of the museums in Boston.

[10] What the import of this name _Peeter_ was, we are unable to
determine. They gave the same appellation to a character of great
celebrity in their history, whose entire name was _Peeter Kart_; and
who, according to their traditions, came from the island of Ternate,
many years ago, and gave them their religion and such simple arts as
they possessed. They said he was of a copper color, like themselves.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Transcriber's Notes:

The transcriber made these changes to the text to correct obvious

  1. The author was inconsistent in his use of accents with some of the
     words in the language of Lord North's island. This inconsistency
     remains as originally published.
  2. Some of the last words of the native's dialogue was moved to
     the previous page for readibility.  This occured on the following
            130 text moved to page 129
            131 text moved to page 130
            133 text moved to page 132
  3. The illustration "Escape to Britannia" has been moved from between
     page 114 and 115 to page 113.

End of Transcriber's Notes]

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Narrative of the Shipwreck, Captivity and Sufferings of Horace Holden and Benj. H. Nute - Who were cast away in the American ship Mentor, on the - Pelew Islands, in the year 1832; and for two years - afterwards were subjected to unheard of sufferings among - the barbarous inhabitants of Lord North's island" ***

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