Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/271

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239
MIGHT MAKES RlGHT.

considerable force of sailors and marines, to assist their own body of 2000 men in attacking a neighbouring tribe. The latter had offered a desperate resistance, and repulsed the allied forces, who, however, consoled themselves by burning every village they could reach, thus giving the inhabitants good cause to hate the white men's ships.

Now, with the aid of these warlike French troops, the Nukuhevans thought themselves sure of victory, with the prospect of retaining the supremacy. But when fortifications were commenced, and the troops surrounded their camps with solid works of defence, making it evident that the occupation was to be a permanent one, a feeling of detestation, mingled with fear of the invaders, gradually increased, and was certainly not lessened by several sharp encounters, in one of which, 150 natives are said to have been slain. However, the reign of might prevailed, and the tricolour has floated over the Marquesas unchallenged from that time to the present.

This appropriation of the Marquesas was immediately followed by that of the Society Isles, whither the admiral proceeded in the Reine Blanche frigate, leaving the rest of the squadron at the Marquesas. He anchored in the harbour of Papeete, and sent a message to Queen Pomare to the effect that, unless she immediately agreed to pay somewhere about 30,000 dollars as an indemnity for alleged insults to the French flag, he would bombard the defenceless town.

The said insults were very much like those offered by the lamb to the wolf in the old fable, the pretext raked up being simply that Queen Pomare and all her people, having already become stanch Christians, according to the teaching of the London Mission, had positively refused to allow certain French priests to settle in the isles, and found a Roman Catholic Mission, with a view to proselytising. These proving obstinate in their determination to remain, had, with all due honour, been conveyed on board a vessel about to sail for some distant port, with a sensible recommendation to pursue their calling on some of the many isles which were still heathen.

The French admiral now insisted that, in addition to paying the