THE ROSARIO AND THE MUR-
DERERS OF BISHOP PATTESON.
(FROM THE SYDNEY EMPIRE, FEB 9.)
H.M.S. Rosario, three guns, Captain Challis, returned last evening from a cruise to the South Sea Islands. The following account of her proceedings will be read with in-
Called at Norfolk Island, and from thence
proceeded to Havanah Harbour. The ship's boats went from thence to Nuna or Montague Island, to inquire into the circumstances attending the murder of the mate and two of the crew of the cutter Fanny. Captain Challis landed, and opened communication with the natives, who refused to give up the murderers. The boats thereupon opened fire
on them, which the natives returned with
November 15.—The Rosario steamed round to Nuna, and shelled the native village.
November 19, 6 a.m.—The Rosario anchored off Cherry Islands, and the captain left the ship with a boat's crew to make inquiries about the Marian Renny murder. The natives were supposed to have a boat in their posses- sion, but the surf was too great to land. The natives came down to the beach in great numbers, and appeared friendly. Two chiefs came off, and seemed to be fine intelligent fellows, greatly resembling in appearance the New Zealanders. One of the chiefs was put on the scales, and turned 18st. They spoke but little English, and no understanding could be arrived at respecting the murder.
November 24.—A boat's crew landed, and saw the head chief, but could make out nothing. All the women had been sent away, and only a few men remained. Went over the island, which was very fertile, and wildfowl were very plentiful. The native huts were very roomy and clean. No fire- arms were seen. Returned to the ship and sailed at 5 p.m.
November 29, Noon.—The Rosario steamed up to the south-east side of Nukapu (Swallow Group), where Bishop Patteson had been mur- dered. Captain Challis's object was to com- municate with the natives respecting the affair; but the ship could get no nearer than a mile and three-quarters, in consequence of a reef which encircles the bay. A boat was sent to endeavour to cross the reef, and communicate with the natives. The boat followed round tho outside of the reef, and about 20 native canoes approached from the inside. The Rosario's boat had got to within 50 yards of the mainland when the natives commenced their war dance and made other hostile indications. They then sent a shower of arrows at the Rosario's boat, which however, all fell short. The boat then returned to the ship to report the attack, and to ask permission to return it. The boat was ordered to return, and the ship was cleared for action, and opened fire with shell from the 40-pounder Armstrong, and the 7in. six and a half ton gun; while the crew of the boat opened fire with their rifles. The Rosario made a circuit of the island, and when abreast of the native village fired on it with shell at 2,300 yards. At 4 p.m., it being high water, the boats were able to cross the reef, and four of them advanced on the village with small arms, and engaged the natives, who kept up a continual discharge of arrows; the ship sent in shell at a range of a mile. After firing several hundred rounds, the men landed from the boats and drove the natives in from the beach. Here one of the arrows struck Corporal Marcus in the arm, and the wound afterwards proved fatal. The native canoes were destroyed, and the seamen pulled on to the village, where one of them received two bad wounds, but ultimately recovered from their effects. The village proved to be very strongly fortified with stone work, which was thrown up in front of each hut. In a few minutes the native habitations were set in flames. It was esti- mated that from 20 to 30 natives were killed in the engagement. At half-past 5 p.m. the boats started for the ship, which made sail for Santa Cruz. Just as the ship was leaving, the natives were seen at work extinguishing the flames, but their reflection was visible for three hours after the ship had sailed.
An instance of capital shooting is recorded on the part of the wounded corporal, Marcus. Five natives were seen on a point of land with their canoes, when Marcus lodged a shell which burst in the midst of them, causing most terrible havoc and destroying their
November 30.—Arrived off Santa Cruz, and witnessed a native engagement; the shore party were fighting against the canoes; the cause of quarrel could not be ascertained. One hundred and ten native canoes came round the vessel for trade, their favourite articles being beads and bottles.
November 31.—The natives came on board in great numbers.
December 1.—Left the island at 20 minutes to 6 p.m., and touched at several small
December 6.—Anchored off Port Patteson, and communicated with the native mis- sionary.
December 9.—Left for Espirito Santo.
December 12.—Had a fine view of the eclipse of the sun, two-thirds of which was covered. The first contact was at 25 minutes to 4 p.m., greatest at a quarter to 5 p.m., last contact at 10 minutes to 6 p.m.
December 15.—Anchored at Cape Lisbon, and inquired of Mr. Goodwell respecting the murderers of the crew of the New Zealand craft, the Wild Duck.
December 16.—Landed at the village, and demanded of the head chief the murderers. He acknowledged having killed them, and it was supposed he had eaten them. Inflicted a fine of 15 pigs. The natives delivered only four, and then escaped. The canoes were then destroyed and the village set in flames.
December 19.—Spoke the schooner Melanie, of Sydney, bound to Cape York.
December 22.—Corporal Marcus died from the effects of the poisoned arrow.
December 26.—Touched at Pentecost Island; the natives were inclined to be
December 27.—Called at Aurora Island. As the natives appeared friendly the boat was sent on shore. Paymaster Hill had just got out and sat down on the beach when one of the natives clubbed him, inflicting two severe wounds. The men took to the boat, and the ship commenced to shell the village, which caused an immediate flight of the inhabitants. The village was destroyed, also the canoes. Left in the evening for Tanna. After this nothing particular took place.
The Rosario arrived at New Caledonia on the 20th January, and left on the 29th. Arrived at Sydney on the 8th February, at 6 p.m.