MASSACRE OF THE COMMANDER AND CREW OF THE SHIP OLDHAM.
From the Sydney Herald.
It is with unfeigned regret, we have learned by the Lady Rowena, Russell, which left this Port on the 3d of November, 1830, and arrived with 600 barrels of §perm Oil on board, on Wed- nesday last) that the crew of the ship Oldham, of London, had been massacred at Wallis Island, by the natives. The particulars of the case are but imperfectly known, but we have gleaned the following scanty details.
It would appear that the greater part of Wal- lis Island had been reduced to subjection by George Minini, a native Wahou, and a particular friend of the American Traders. Being of an en- terprising disposition, he had become owner of a fourth part of an American schooner, the Chin- chella. which was employed in gathering Beche-
le-mer, amongst the Islands of the Pacific. His exactions and oppressive conduct, however, had excited the hostile feelings of the natives, and having found a favorable opportunity, they at tacked him, and put him to death. This event had taken place a short time before the arrival of the Caledonia, with Captain Browning, when carried away by the pirates from Moreton Bay. The natives being aware of the feelings the Ame- ricans would entertain when they learned the death of their friend, were at that period making strenuous preparations for defending themselves against their attacks, should the Americans visit the Island, to revenge the death of their confe- derate. It is supposed that the Oldham had made her appearance during the time the natives were in this state of excitement, and as they could make no distinction between the natives of countries so widely separated in distance, but whose appearance was the same, they had fallen upon them by stratagem, and had cut them off to a man. What means were employed to lull
suspicion asleep, and to effect the murderous pur- pose, or what has become of the ship has not been ascertained. She was seen by the Lady Rowena, at the Island, without a person on board, to navigate her. These unfortunate men have, without doubt, fallen a sacrifice to the in- discretion and imprudence of others. What will be done by the proper authorities to recover the vessel, or ascertain whether any of the crew are still alive, will be known in a few days. In the mean time these views of this, and other recent melanchoy cases, call forth deep and bit- ter regret and reproaches against those who by
neglect or parsimony in the Mother Country de- sert and destroy the interests of Britain in these seas. In no respect is the apathy of England so criminal as in the total neglect and indiscriminate abandonment of the thousands of beautiful and fertile islands in the Pacific. With a little dexte- rous management they would submit to her sway, and their people would become our sincere friends. But there is no individual invested with legitimate authority to take cognizance of crimes, or pro- tect mercantile interests in the whole range of the Southern and Pacific Oceans. Crimes commit- ted in these islands by our countrymen, or agaiast them, are left unavenged, or are considered as beyond the reach of law. Crimes that are de- cidedly hostile to reason, expediency, and jus- tice, are frequently perpetrated, awakening the most vindictive feelings in the breasts of savages. Ignorant as they are, they distinguish the right and the wrong ; but it frequently happens that the guilty perpretrators escape and the next inno- cent crew that arrive amongst them suffer the most unheard of barbarities. The whole shipping interest, and more particularly the crews en- gaged in the whale fishery on the one hand, and the peaceful natives on the other, imperiously de- mand some regulations, some permanent establish- ments of official men on these Islands, (which
might be effected at small expense,) for the pro- tection of trade and British interests, and for taking cognizance of crimes committed against all law and justice, and often in opposition to the plainest dictates of reason and the claims of humanity. How much may be done with these savage, barbarous, and hostile people may be seen from, the persevering efforts of the missionarios, who in spite of all that has been written against them, have successively triumphed in their labours in a manner that seems more than human. They have sowed the seed that will overspread the whole of these islands, if the fostering aid of Britain is ex- tended to the protection of the commercial in- terests of her people. The missionaries have civilized and refined the savage minds of the na- tives; by their own unmasked, unrequited, though often vilified exertions. The Government has done nothing ; and by their apathy they are permitting the islands one after the other to slip through their fingers, under pretence of leaving them in a state of independence to their native proprietors, while the Americans are cultivating their acquaintance and are bringing them gradu- ally under the domination of the republic. It frequently happens that we have not a single ship of war in these seas, for our protection, or for
the suppression of piracy. But we observe, that in the last annual speech of General Jackson, he stated, that he had despatched a ship of war to Sumatra, for redress of grievances, and to demand satisfaction for plundering a ship belonging to the Port of New York. The same prompt and de- cided conduct is displayed in the South Seas, and by this means these beautiful Islands are gradu- ally becoming virtually the property of our en- terprising rivals. No such field of usefulness was ever presented to a nation as that which New Zealand, Otaheite, Owhy-hee, Tonga, Papua, &c, and their multitudes of tributary Islands furnished ; and a few thousands of pounds yearly expended would have been sufficient to have se- cured them to Britain. It is to be regretted this work is still to be commenced. Were it possible to open the eyes of the British ministry to this subject, it were easy to enter into detail, to con- vince the most incredulous, But passing by what Ellis, Beechey, and Bennet, and the Mission- aries have written, we have only to refer to the latest, and probably the best work on the sub- ject, that of Mr. Stewart, Chaplain of the Ame- rican ship, Vincennes, from which we learn the policy of the American Government, with regard to these Islands, and have, at the same time, this testimony of a rival in favor of their beauty, fertility, and general value.