Obrazy na stronie

ing it was in his power to take it by force, if he thought fit,) I readily complied. This unexpected separation was a terrible blow to us, and we returned to our cottages with heavy hearts, well knowing, if we could not find out some way to prevent it, there were no hopes of ever getting off the island.

Hereupon the three captains, viz. Drummond, Steward, and Younge, with some of the chief of our people, entered immediately into a consultation about what was proper to be done in this emergency; and to make some bold attempt for our lives and liberty. Captain Drummond, as I heard afterwards, was the man who proposed to take the king prisoner; and by that means to make their own terms with the natives. Now Captain Drummond and some others were men of experience and undaunted resolution; our captain, indeed, had courage enough, but he was too young. However, the proposition was universally approved of, and the time and manner of the execution was fixed. I was too young to be admitted as one of the council; therefore I shall not pretend to relate what reasons were produced, either for or against the proposal; though I was told afterwards : that night, however, I was wholly ignorant. I observed Captain Younge and Mr. Bembo to talk with great earnestness, but in whispers, and with the utmost precaution. As I was then a stranger to that design, I slept soundly, till I was roused in the morning by a great and sudden noise in the town, occasioned by the plot being put into execution. Our people went, as usual, betimes in the morning, to pay their compliments to the king; and whilst some of them were at the prince's house, the signal was given, by one of Captain Drummond's men firing a pistol; at which the king was seized, and his son at the same instant.

This instantly alarmed the whole town. I started up without my shoes, being frighted at the sudden outcry. Not knowing what was the matter, and seeing the negroes flocking out of the town, I ran with them, till I was taken notice of by one of our men, who called me back; and I was as much amazed as the natives, to see


the king, his consort, and one of his sons, with their hands tied behind them, under the guard of our people. They soon plundered the king's inansion-house, and every other place where they could find any agreeable plunder. We happened to find about thirty small arms, a small quantity of powder and shot, and a few lances. The natives (as I observed before) ran out of the town, but they did it with no other view than to procure 'assistance; for they soon alarmed the country, and returned with great numbers from all the adjacent towns; and immediately besieged us. They fired in upon us, and wounded one of our men in the groin; on which Captain Younge ordered Sam to tell the king, if they fired any more, they would kill him that very moment. The king, hearing their resolution, called to his men, and desired them to desist, if they had a mind to save his life.

This attempt, indeed, was bold and hazardous, and some perhaps may censure it as criminal: I shall not say much in its defence; but since I have arrived to years of maturity, I cannot forbear reflecting, that if nature, even in a Christian country, will rebel against principle, what will it not do for life and liberty, under the tyranny and oppression of a barbarous and savage nation!

However, at length we put ourselves in a posture of defence, and marched out of the town. Six men under arms marched in the front, and in the body where the king was, six went armed before him and six behind; three before his son, and three behind him; and six brought up the rear, in which were the Lascars. Captain Younge, out of compassion, would have released the queen, and let her go wherever she pleased, but she would not abandon her husband,

We had not gone above four miles on our march, before our wounded companion fainted; and not being able to carry him off, we were forced to leave him by the side of a pond of water; where, as I was afterwards informed, they soon put him out of his pain, by striking their lances into several parts of his body. Having

marched about two or three miles farther, we got out o. the woods, and found ourselves in a spacious, open plain, where we could see all around us; and soon found that our enemies were not only near, but numerous, and threatened immediately to attack us. We faced towards them, our armed men being in the front, with the king bound before them. Sam was ordered at the same time to tell him, that our design was not to hurt either him or his son, nor to carry them into their enemies' country, but only to detain them as hostages for our safeguard, while we passed through his dominions; and that as soon as we came to the borders of Port Dauphine, we would let them go again, and give them back the arms and ammunition we had taken from them; but if the least violence were offered to us, we would sacrifice them both; and this we desired him to tell his people.

Hereupon he called one of his generals to him, assuring him that he should receive no harm. Accordingly he left his gun and lance behind him, and came to us, where he was informed, both by us and the king, of our resolution ; upon which he told us there should not be a gun fired whilst we preserved the king alive, and gave him civil treatment.

This parley being over, we continued our march through the plain till near evening; many of us without shoes as well as myself, and some sick; which obliged us to take up our quarters sooner than we would otherwise have done; so that every one was almost taint, and glad of rest. The king ordered Sam to tell us, that an ox should be sent to us forthwith. We made a trench, like a ring, in the midst whereof we planted the black king and his son; our captain, and some few others were appointed as a guard over them: our armed men were divided into four parts, in order to secure us in the best manner they could. We had just finished our camp, when the officer, who had been with us before, and three other men, brought us a bullock. He brought likewise some roasted meat in his hand, and a horn of water for the king; so we loosed our royal prisoners' hands, that they might feed themselves. They eat some small matter, and gave the remainders to Captain Younge.

Whilst we were employed in killing the ox, we desired the king to send some of his people into the woods for some fuel to dress it; which he readily did, and they soon brought us sufficient for our purpose. But all this time we wanted water, and complained thereof to the king; who assured us that there was none to be got near that place by several miles; and that what small quantity was given him in the horn, was brought from that very pond where we left the wounded man, which could not be less than about ten miles' distance. This


much disheartened us; for we were parched with thirst, which was the more increased by the fatigue of our long march, and the heat of the country. However, there was no help for us, and patience was the only remedy. When the king and his son had supped, we bound their hands before them, that they might sleep as easily as they could; so after we had cut up our bullock, and divided it amongst us, broiled and eat it, though with but little satisfaction, for want of water; and when we had made as good a supper as our unhappy circumstances would admit of, we also used our best endeavours to repose ourselves. The three captains, however, agreed to watch alternately, and divided our people into three parts for that purpose. The king entreated his wife to go home, and to comfort his children ; but more particularly recommended his beloved daughter to her care.

She went at his request, but shed tears at her departure; as did also the king and his son. Such of us as were not on the watch lay down, but we had a wretched night; for the ground was stony, and there was but little grass ; and what was a still greater affliction, .we were excessively dry, and had nothing to quench our thirst.

At dawn of day we arose, which was the second day of our travel, and the better to support ourselves under the fatigue of it, we eat part of the remains of our beef; but it was a miserable repast, as we had nothing to drink. However, we put ourselves in the same order as we had done the day before, and went forwards; the natives perceiving us in motion, moved too, but kept at a greater distance, and went into our camp after we had quitted it to see what they could find, and their labour was not altogether lost; for many of our people thought proper to leave half those India goods they had brought out of the town behind them, that they might travel with less fatigue. We walked with more ease half this day than we did the day before, it proving cloudy weather and cool. About noon the general who had been with us before, came with some roast meat, and a horn of water for the king and his son. As we did not loose their hands, we were forced to feed them. The general ordered Sam to ask the captains if they would release the king for six guns. I perceived there was a debate between them and Mr. Bembo: some thinking the six guns would be of great service to us, especially as we should still have the king's son. Others were of opinion that it would be more for our safety to keep the king ; however it was agreed at last that he should be dismissed. We informed the general that if they would give us six very good guns, and promise on their honour not to follow us, but return with their king, we would let him go ; and that as soon as we came to the river Manderra, which divided his dominions from those of Port Dauphine, we would release the king's son, and leave all their arms behind us.

The general was startled at this unexpected condescension of our people, and despatched away one of his attendants to the king's other sons, who were not far off with their army, to acquaint them with our proposal ; and in half an hour's time returned to us with six of the best guns. They made the more haste lest our minds should alter. We kept them no longer in suspense than while we took the guns to pieces, to see whether they were in good condition or not; and finding them better than we could reasonably have expected in such a country, we released their king, and sent him away with the general. He took his leave of the prince, and went

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