Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/151

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127
FIRST EFFORTS FOR SAMOA.

directed by Mr Williams towards Samoa. Even before he left Raiatea, he had resolved to visit the Navigator group, to endeavour, there also, to plant some seed of good, which might perchance take root. Now that the work had so prospered in the Hervey Isles, he ventured to broach the subject to his wife, who, naturally enough, at first objected to being left alone with her children for many months among a race of utter savages, while her husband went off on a very long and dangerous voyage of about 200 miles, to face perhaps still greater dangers when he reached his destination. After a while, however, this brave woman made up her mind that it was right he should go; and much to his astonishment, several months after the subject had been dismissed, she volunteered her consent.

Then came the primary difficulty of transit. They possessed no vessel which could possibly make such a journey—only native canoes. Nothing daunted, Mr Williams determined to try his hand at shipbuilding, though it was a trade of which he knew little, and he had scarcely any tools. His first great difficulty lay in making a pair of smith's bellows. Though he possessed only four goats, three were sacrificed for the sake of their skins. The fourth, which was giving a little milk, was spared. Scarcely were the bellows finished, when the rats, sole indigenous animals, assembled in scores, and in one night devoured every particle of

    1881, the following brief paragraph announced that the lives of these brave pioneers had already been sacrificed:—

    "Massacre of Missionaries.—Despatches received in Liverpool announce the massacre in New Guinea of a number of missionaries belonging to the London Missionary Society. The news was conveyed to Melbourne in a telegram from the Rev. Mr Beswick, who himself narrowly escaped with his life. On the 7th of March the missionaries were attacked by the natives at Kato, in the district of Port Moresby, Hulu, and four of them, with two of their wives, four children, and two servants, were killed. The natives also attempted to kill four native boys who were with the missionary party, but they saved themselves by swimming. Not the slightest provocation was given; but it is stated in the despatch that the perpetrators of other previous massacres on the coast have not been punished, and this is considered to be the main cause of the outbreak. The total number of persons killed was twelve, but the list would have been much greater had not the remainder of the party made their immediate escape. For fear the natives would make a further attack upon the missionaries in the outlying districts, they were all removed from their stations to Port Moresby."