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at Ulietea, he sent two of his people in a canoe; 1 who brought me the satisfactory intelligence,
that he remained undisturbed by the people of - the island, and that every thing went well with
him, except that his goat had died in kidding. He accompanied this intelligence with a request, that I would send him another goat, and two axes. Being happy to have this additional opportunity of serving him, the messengers were fent back to Huaheine, on the 18th, with the axes, and two kids, male and female, which were 1pared for him out of the Discovery.
On the 24th, I was informed that a midshipman and a seaman, both belonging to the Discoyery, were misling. As the midshipman was known to have expressed a desire to remain at thele islands, it seemed pretty certain that he and his companion had gone off with this intention ; and Captain Clerke set out in quest of them, wiib two armed boats, and a party of marines. His expedition proved fruitless, for he returned in the evening without having got any certain intelligence where they were. From the conduct of the natives, Captain Clerke seemed to think that they intended to conceal the deserters; and, with that view, had amused him with false information the whole day, and directed him to search for them in places where they were not to be found. The captain judged right; for, the next morning, we were told that our runaways were at Otaha. As these two were not the only perfons in the ships who wished to end their days at these favourite illands, in order to put a stop to any further desertion, it was necessary to get them back at all events; and that the natives Vol. VII.
might might be convinced that I was in earnest, I resolved to go after them myself.
Accordingly, I set out the next morning, with two armed boats, being accompanied by the chief himself. I proceeded, as he directed, without stopping any where, till we came to the middle of the east side of Otaha. But when we got to the place where we expected to find them, we were told, that they had quitted this island, and gonę over to Bolabola the day before. I did not think proper to follow them thither; but returned to the thips ; fully determined, however, to have recourse to a measure, which, I guessed would oblige the natives to bring them back.
Soon after day-break, the chief, his son, daughter, and fon-in-law, came on board the Resolution. The three laft I resolved to detain, till the two deferters should be brought back. With this view, Captain Clerke invited them to go on board his thip; and as foon as they arrived there, confined them in his cabin. The chief was with me when the news reached him. He immediately acquainted me with it, supposing that this step had been taken without my knowledge, and consequently without my approbation. I inftantly undeceived him; and then he began to have apprehensions as to his own situation, and his looks expressed the utmost perturbation of mind. But I foon made him easy as to this, by telling him that he was at liberty to leave the fhip whenever he pleased, and to take such measures as he thould judge best calculated to get our two men back; that it he succeeded, his friends on board the Discovery should be delivered up; if not; that I was determined to carry them away with me.
Oreo himself, did not give way to unavailing lamentations, but instantly began his exertions to recover our deserters,' by dispatching a canoe to Bolabola, with a message to Opoony, the fovereign of that ifland, acquainting him with what had happened, and requesting him to seize the two fugitives, and send them back. The messenger, who was no leís a man than the father of Pootoe, Oreo's son-in-law, before he set out, came to receive my commands.
The consequence, however, of the prisoners was so great, that the natives did not think proper to trust to the return of our people for their reJease; or, at least, their impatience was so great, that it hurried them to meditate an attempt which might have involved them in till greater distress, had it not been fortunately prevented. Between, five and fix o'clock in the evening, I observed that all their canoes, in and about the harbour, began to move off, as if some sudden panic had seized them. I was ashore, abreast of the ship, at the time, and enquired, in vain, to find out the cause; till our people called to us from the Dif. covery, and told us that a party of the natives had seized Captain Clerke and Mr. Gore, who had walked out a little way from the ships. Struck with the boldness of this plan of retalia. tion, which seemed to counteract me fo effectually in my own way, there was no time to deliberate. I instantly ordered the people to arm; and, in less than five minutes, a strong party, under the command of Mr. King, was sent to refcue our two gentlemen. At the same time, two armed boats, aud a party under Mr. Williamson, went after the flying canoes, to cut off their retreat to the shore. These several detachments
were hardly out of sight, before an account arrived that we had been misinformed; upon which I sent and called them all in.
It was evident, however, from several corroborating circumstances, that the design of seizing Captain Clerke had really been in agitation arnongst the natives. Nay, they made no secret in speaking of it the next day. But their first and great plan of operations, was to have laid hold of me. It was my custom, every evening, to bathe in the fresh water. Very often I went alone; and always without arms. Expecting me to go, as usual, this evening, they had determined to seize me, and Captain Clerke too, if he had accompanied me. But I had, after confining Oreo's family, thought it prudent to avoid putting myself in their power; and had cautioned Captain Clerke, and the officers, not to go far from the ships. In the course of the afternoon, the chief asked me three several times, if I would not go to the bathing place; and when he found, at last, that I could not be prevailed upon, he went off, with the rest of his people, in spite of all that I could do or say to stop him. But as I had no suspicion, at this time, of their design, I imagined that some sudden fright had seized them, which would, as usual, foon be over. Finding themselves disappointed as to me, they fixed on those who were more in their power. It was fortunate, for all parties, that they did not succeed ; and not less fortunate, that no milchief was done on the occasion. For not a musket was fired, except two or three, to stop the canoes. To that firing, perhaps, Messrs. Clerke and Gore owed their fafety ; for, at that very instant, a party of the natives, armed with clubs.
were advancing toward them; and, on hearing the report of the mutkets, they dispersed.
Oreo, the chief, being uneasy, as well as myself, that no account had been received from Bolabola, set out the evening of the 28th, for that island, and desired me to follow down the next day with the ihips. This was my intention; but the wind would not admit of our getting to sea. But the same wind, which kept us in the harbour, brought Oreo back from Bolabola with the two deserters. They had reached Otaha the same night they deserted; but, finding it impossible to get to any of the islands to the eastward, for want of wind, they had proceeded to Bolabola, and from thence to the small island Toobaee, where they were taken. As soon as they were on board, the three prisoners were released. Thus ended an affair which had given me much trouble and vexation. Nor would I have exerted myself fo refolutely on the occasion, but for the reason before-mentioned, and to save the son of a brother officer from being lost to his country.
The wind continuing contrary, confined us in the harbour till the morning of the 7th of December ; when we took the advantage of a light breeze at north-east, and, with the affiftance of all the boats, got out to sea.
As soon as we had got clear of the harbour, we took our leave of Ulietea, and steered for Bolabola. Oreo, and fix or eight men more, took a paflage with us. My sole object in visiting this island was, to get poffeffion of an anchor, which M. Bougainville had lost at Otaheite; it was taken up there, and sent to the chief of this place as a present. I wanted it to fabricate hatchets