Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/272

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indemnity demanded, the people of Tahiti should, at their own expense, erect a Roman Catholic church in every district where they had built one for their congregational worship.

The unhappy queen, terrified lest the arrogant Du Petit Thouars should commence bombarding her helpless capital, yet utterly incapable of complying with his unjust demands, fled by night in a canoe to the isle of Moorea, knowing that no decisive action could be taken in her absence. Her best friend and adviser throughout these troubles was the British consul, Mr Pritchard. The admiral, perceiving this, caused him to be arrested and imprisoned. After being kept for ten days in solitary confinement, he was put on board an English vessel out at sea, and forcibly sent away from the islands without a trial or investigation of any kind.

On his arrival in England the British Government naturally demanded an explanation of such proceedings. M. Guizot replied that the French authorities at Tahiti found they could make no progress there because of Mr Pritchard's great influence with the queen—in other words, his determination, if possible, to see fair play. The French Government, therefore, approved the action of its officials, but promised to indemnify Mr Pritchard for what they themselves described as his illegal imprisonment and pecuniary losses. We have, however, Mr Pritchard's own authority for the fact that, in the year 1880, he had never received one single sou of the promised indemnity; and England apparently considered it the part of wisdom, if not of honour, to let the subject drop.

So the French pirates (for certainly in all this matter they acted as such) compelled the poor queen and her chiefs to yield to their demands. Some, indeed, strove to make a brave stand, and drive the invaders from their shores; but what could these unarmed warriors do against artillery? They retreated to their mountain fastnesses, but French troops pursued them thither, built scientific forts, and remained masters of the position. The good, sensible queen, who had proved herself so wise a ruler of a happy and peaceful people up to this terrible November 1843, was now declared incompetent to govern. The French Protectorate was