‘Thirteen years later ( after 1813) Peter Dillon was sailing in command of his own ship, the St Patrick, from Valparaiso to Pondicherry, when he sighted Tucopia.( Tikopia in the Santa Cruz group) Curiosity prompted him to stop to enquire whether his old friend Martin Bushart was still alive.
Greetings-canoes contain old mates: ‘He hove to, and shortly after two canoes put off from the land, bringing Bushart and the Lascar, both in excellent health. Now, Dillon observed that the Lascar sold an old silver sword guard to one of the ST. PATRICK’S crew in return for a few fish hooks. This made him inquisitive. He asked the Prussian where it came from’.
La Perouse wreck revealed on Vanikoro: ‘Bushart informed him that when he first arrived at the island he saw in possession of the natives, not only this sword guard, but also several chain plates, iron bolts, axes, the handle of a silver fork, some knives, tea cups, beads, bottles, a silver spoon bearing a crest and monogram, and a sword. He asked where these articles were obtained, and the natives told him that they got them from the Mannicolo (or Vanikoro) cluster of islands, two days’ canoe voyage from Tucopia, in the Santa Cruz group’.
‘initials of Perouse’: “Upon examining the sword minutely” wrote Dillon, “I discovered, or thought I discovered, the initials of Perouse stamped on it, which excited my suspicion and made me more exact in my inquiries. I then, by means of Bushart and the Lascar, questioned some of the islanders respecting the way in which their neighbours procured the silver and iron articles’.
Locals report two large ships: ‘They told me that the natives of Mannicolo stated that many years ago two large ships arrived at their islands; one anchored at the island of Whanoo, and the other at the island of Paiou, a little distance from each other. Some time after they anchored, and before they had any communication with the natives, a heavy gale arose and both vessels were driven ashore. The ship that was anchored off Whanoo grounded upon the rocks’.
First ship La Perouse landing crew killed : “The natives came in crowds to the seaside, armed with clubs, spears, and bows and arrows, and shot some arrows into the ship, and the crew in return fired the guns and some musketry on them and killed several. The vessel, continuing to beat violently against the rocks, shortly afterwards went to pieces. Some of the crew took to their boats, and were driven on shore, where they were to a man murdered on landing by the infuriated natives. Others threw themselves into the sea; but if they reached the shore it was only to share the fate of their wretched comrades, so that not a single soul escaped out of this vessel.’
Second ship crew held up beads, axes, and toys: ‘The ship wrecked on Paiou, according to the natives’ story, was driven on a sandy beach. Some arrows were fired into her, but the crew did not fire. They were restrained, and held up beads, axes, and toys, making a demonstration of friendliness.
Chief visits second ship: As soon as the wind abated, an old chief came aboard the wrecked ship, where he was received in friendly fashion, and, going ashore, pacified his people’.
Crew carry stores aboard: ‘The crew of the vessel, compelled to abandon her, carried the greater part of their stores ashore, where they built a small boat from the remains of the wreck. As soon as this craft was ready to sail, as many as could conveniently be taken embarked and sailed away. They were never heard of again. The remainder of the crew remained on the island until they died’.
Laperous Scott, Ernest, 1868-1939 Publisher Sydney : Angus & Robertson, 1912 ; Printer W.C. Penfold. http://www.fullbooks.com/Laperouse.html
Filed under: 1826, Buchart Martin, Comte de la Perouse, First Contact, France, Guns and ammunition, Hurricane, Lascar Joe, Peter Dillon, Santa Cruz, Sea journey, Uncategorized, violence, Wrecks | Tagged: First Contact, France, La Perouse, Lascar, Martin Bushart, Peter Dillon, Santa Cruz, Ship wrecks, St Patrick | Leave a comment »