Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/28

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in charge of M. Berryer and M. Pinart, to explore the hideous town. The shore-reef is so wide that at low tide there is a broad expanse of slimy mud and sharp coral; so it was with some difficulty that we effected a landing, just below the king's house, whence floated the flag of Tonga, which is red, with a white cross on one corner. King George has a guard of two hundred men, some of whom are arrayed in scarlet, and a detachment of these were on duty, expecting a formal visit from the captain and the bishop,—which, however, did not come off till the afternoon, when there was much saluting—twenty-one guns fired from the ship, and twenty-one returned.

We naturally made for the highest point of this very flat town—namely, the Wesleyan church, which, though it only stands about fifty feet above the sea, commands a good bird's-eye view of its surroundings—thatched roofs just seen through luxuriant bread-fruit trees, cocoa-palms, and large-leaved bananas, with scarlet hybiscus and rosy oleanders to give an occasional touch of colour.

Close to the church is the grave of the commander of an English man-of-war, who, forty years ago, allowed his valour to overcome his discretion, and himself led an armed force to assist the present King George in asserting his claim to the throne. In charging a stockade he and several of his men were killed, and an English gun was captured, which still lies at the village of Bea, about four miles from here.

Another very sad memory clings to this place—namely, that of the barbarous massacre in the year 1799 of three of the very first missionaries who ever landed in the South Pacific. A party of ten men were sent to Tonga in 1796 by the London Mission, and for three years they contrived to hold their ground, till, on the breaking out of a civil war, three of their number were murdered, and the others were compelled to fly, and conceal themselves as best they could. On this occasion, as on almost every other when the lives of Christian teachers have been sacrificed, the action of the savages was distinctly due to the influence of wicked white men. The culprit at Tonga was an escaped English convict, who, having won the ear of the king, persuaded him that these men