The schooner Sir John Franklin arrived on Monday from Kantavu, which she left on the 2nd instant. Since her departure from this port in April last, she has visited the Fejees and Rotuma, being engaged in trading throughout these islands. The Albion and Colcastle, schooners of Sydney, were likewise trading amongst the islands at the period of Sir John Franklin's departure. The American whaler Alfred, three months from Sydney, had put into Ovalau on the 1st of May, , with 300 barrels sperm oil. The barque Catharine left the Fejees for New Caledonia on the 8th of May ; she had been ten months among the islands, and had procured 400 piculs of bêche-le-mer. The Sir John Franklin has brought to this port Captain Walden, the first and second officers, and crew of the brig Tim Pickering, of Salem, which was wrecked on the Fejee group, having been driven on shore on the island of Ovalau, after parting from both anchors in a violent hurricane, on the 6th of April.
She had been seventeen months in the bêche-le-mer trade, from the United States, and had only arrived at Ovalau the previous day. She bilged immediately after she struck, and was driven high and dry upon the beach. As soon as the tide receded, the natives, in great numbers and armed with clubs, proceeded to board the vessel, plundering her of everything valuable, and stripping the master and crew of all they possessed, and telling them, in reply to their remonstrances, that they might think themselves fortunate that their lives were spared. A missionary, Dr. Lyth, was present at the time, having gone on board the evening before from a small schooner in which he had been passing from one island to another, and which was wrecked during the night, with the loss of all hands, save one.
On the same night the schooner Colcastle, of Sydney, was lying at Saulivu, and was driven into a mangrove bush, but was floated off without damage. The natives tempted to possess themselves of the copper of the Tim Pickering, but the American barque Catherine having opportunely arrived, Captain Walden was enabled to drive away the marauders. He then proceeded to burn the brig, and, thereby, saved the copper which was shipped on board the Catherine. Subsequently about a dozen canoes crowded with natives returned and carried off the fragments of the Tim Pickering. Captain Walden and his crew embarked in the Catherine, and were conveyed from Ovalau to the Wesleyan Missionary Station at Viwa, where they remained for two or three months. After this they went to Niculau, the residence of the U.S. Consul, J. B. Williams, Esq., where they continued till the arrival of the Sir John Franklin, by which vessel, as we have already stated, they were brought on to Auckland.
H.M.S. Calypso, Captain Worth, was at the Fejees about the middle of June. During her visit she burnt the town of Unduvan, some eight or nine miles from the Missionary Station at Viwa. This summary act was caused by aggression of the natives of that village, who, about a year before had taken forcible possession of a boat belonging to some white residents, murdering two of their number. On the 20th of June the Calypso opened upon the town, keeping up a heavy fire. On the following day, under cover of her guns, she landed her Marines and Blue Jackets, marching them on the town, and burning it with but little resistance. On the retiring of this force, the natives rushed out and attacked them, wounding one of the seamen in the thigh. They were, however, speedily put to the rout, with a loss of eight men killed, and twenty wounded. After this affair, the British re-embarked, without further molestation. On the same evening, the chief of the village proceeded on board the Calypso, soliciting pardon, according to native custom, by presenting to Captain Worth, a whale's tooth, three hogs, and a basket of earth. The Roman Catholic Missionary schooner was at Lekaba, Fejee, about the middle of July.-- New Zealander, September 20 
SG & SGTL ; Vol 5 ; Page 259.
^ back to top ^