THE HISTORY OF THE
FROM THE YEAR 1827 TO THE YEAR 1876
AND OF NATHANIEL SAVORY
ONE OF THE ORIGINAL SETTLERS
TO WHICH IS ADDED A SHORT SUPPLEMENT
DEALING WITH THE ISLANDS AFTER
THEIR OCCUPATION BY THE
LIONEL BERNERS CHOLMONDELEY
OF ST. ANDREW'S MISSION, TOKYO, AND HONORARY
CHAPLAIN TO THE BRITISH EMBASSY
CONSTABLE & CO. LTD.
IN THE HISTORY OF THE
|1543.||Sighted by the Spanish explorer Villalobos.|
|1592(?).||Discovered by Ogasawara Sadayori.|
|1823.||Visit of American whaler Transit Captain Coffin to S. Island.|
|1825.||Visit of English whaler Supply to Port Lloyd. Board left recording the visit, and found by Captain Beechey in 1827.|
|1827. June 9.||Visit of H.M.S. Blossom Captain Beechey. Two castaways found on Main Island.|
|1830. June 26.||Arrival of the first colonists. Five white men, Savory, Millinchamp, Mazarro, Chapin, Charles Johnson, together with Harry Otaheite, and a party of natives.|
|1831.||British whaler Partridge called. Joachim Gonzales stayed on the Islands, also Joe Cullins.|
|1831.||Arrival of the barque Kent, of London Captain Lawton. Jackson and Butler left on the Islands sick under Savory's care. Also "six female passengers."|
|1833.||The Amelia Wilson and crew cast away (May 24). Crew sent to Japan.|
|1833-35.||About this time arrived William Gilley, Thos. Bailey, and Joseph Cullins.|
|1838.||The barque Admiral Cockburn left John Hume on the Islands, sick.|
|1838.||Mention made about this time of Francis Silver, Thomas Meek, junr., Joseph M. Mintridge, William Soar, and Chas. Johnson (they may have been off some ship in harbour), also of John Shearwood, James Marshall, and George Bennett.|
|1843-45.||Mention made of James H. Smith, William Savory, and George Hilbrowne.|
|1847.||Arrival of the Howard with George Robinson, Teapa, and Caroline; Bill Mann and Hypa.|
|1849.||Arrival of Louisa and two other vessels. Captain Barker's raid. Lucy and Fanny carried off.|
|1851.||Visit of Captain Collinson, H.M.S. Enterprise.|
|1853. June.||Arrival of Commodore Perry with ships of war, Susquehanna and Saratoga.|
|1854.||John Smith left to assist Mr. Savory, who was in 1854 elected chief magistrate of the Island for two years; and then again for three years more. (After that time there was no form of government.) George Horton also left by the squadron. Moitley was here by 1854.|
|1860.||Captain Nye, of the barque Helen Snow, lands three women, one man, and a child from Wellington Island. Probably Dan Tucker, Boasin, Kitty Rolfs, Luke Huntingdon (Pompey), an American, and child.|
|1861.||The feud at S. Island between Moitley and Robinson's party. Hypa's flight into the bush. The first Japanese colony arrive, with a chief commissioner.|
|1862.||Arrival of the Wyola, leaving Louis Leseur, William Allen, and Charles Vier.|
|1875.||The Islands taken over by the Japanese Government. Second Japanese colony.|
|1877.||Visit of Rev. F. B. Plummer. He took back John and James Tewcrab to Tokyo.|
|1878.||Arrival of other boys there.|
|1881.||Second visit of American ships of war. Mr. von Buskirk takes back Joseph Gonzales and Moses Webb (second time), Benjamin Savory (second time), Johnny Tewcrab (second time), Felix Leseur, Isabella Savory, and Carrie Pease on the Alert.|
|1888.||Joseph's second visit to Kobe.|
|1891.||Joseph begins Sunday School.|
|1894.||Visit of Rev. L. B. Cholmondeley. Ishida San a Catechist had come by previous steamer and returned with Mr. Cholmondeley to Tokyo.|
|1895.||Mrs. and Miss Black visited the Islands in December 1894, and stayed on till April 1895, doing all kinds of useful Christian work. Rev. A. F. King came in February 1895 for three weeks. First celebration of Holy Communion on Ash Wednesday.|
|1896:||Second visit of Rev. L. B. Cholmondeley, in February. Mr. Cameron Johnson staying there at the time. The School-house built this year by settlers in August.|
|1897.||Third visit of Rev. L. B Cholmondeley (February).|
|1898.||Second visit of Rev. A. F. King (February). Mr. P. C. van Buskirk visited the Islands at the same time and stayed over a steamer. He overhauled the Savory papers. Mr. van B. had been here in the American squadron years before.|
|1899. February.||Visit of the Right Rev. Bishop Awdry of S. Tokyo, and Mrs. Awdry; also of Rev. A. F. King (third visit). Confirmation on February 8; fourteen confirmed. On this visit Mr. King baptized twenty persons with the conditional form, besides six others, including one Japanese.
|MAP from Inside Front Cover|
My own interest in the Bonin Islands and their inhabitants dates from the year 1894. A special request had been made to Bishop Bickersteth, then the English Bishop in Tokyo, that he would send a clergyman to visit the English-speaking settlers on the islands. It fell to my lot to go, and sixteen times, at least, I have made the voyage since. One English clergyman only had previously visited the islands, the Rev. F. B. Plummer of the S.P.G., in the early spring of 1877. He also had gone there to acquaint himself with the condition of the English-speaking settlers, who were the self-governing, and that meant practically the ungoverned, inhabitants of the islands before they were formally taken possession of by the Japanese at the close of the year 1875. Who these settlers were; when and how for the most part they came to the islands; how they lived and how they got on together; and what intercourse they had with the world outside, it is the purpose of the present volume to recount. It is a remarkable history and not a very easy one to tell, for settlers came to the islands, now one and now another; some stayed on, some left ; some came back again and not one of them but had had his own strange life of adventure. I have hardly attempted to do more than put together in chronological sequence the various records existing, supplemented by such information as I and others have been able to elicit from the settlers themselves.
The islands, which were then uninhabited, had been discovered by Captain Beechey, H.M.S. Blossom, in the year 1827, and the first settlers came to the islands, as we shall see, from the Sandwich Islands in the year 1830. It had been my original purpose to have carried the history on from that date to the present time in fact, to have passed in review the earlier years as briefly as possible and to have made my volume largely one of personal narrative and of our mission work on the islands in which it has been my privilege to bear a leading part.
But I was soon led to change my purpose, and the considerations that influenced me to deal only with the earlier period in the present volume were these: (1) that the history fell into two very clear divisions, embracing respectively the years previous to, and the years that followed the Japanese occupation ; (2) that much interesting matter would have had to be left out if I had been under the necessity of condensing; (3) that one figure stood prominently out in the earlier period, that of Nathaniel Savory, a citizen of the United States, who being one of the original settlers on the main island made it his permanent home until his death in 1874; (4) that it, therefore, gave a unity to the story of that early period to make Nathaniel Savory himself the subject of it; and finally, (5) that the doing this gave fuller justification for including in the volume the bulk of Nathaniel Savory's letters. For the publication of these letters alone I feel sure that I shall be repaid by the gratitude of all who read them. They give us an insight, hardly to be gained elsewhere, or more vividly, into the home life in New England in the early part of the nineteenth century; into the character and lives of seafaring captains masters of whalers and of small trading vessels. They take us into the society of storekeepers and business agents in such places as Honolulu and Manila; they tell us of the fair or failing prospects of trade ; of strange family matters; of feuds and rogueries; and reveal to us how men of a type we are familiar with in the mixed community of trading ports commented on the events of the day and in the world going on around them. Every letter, in fact, has some peculiar interest of its own, and I have been content as a rule to let them follow one another in order of date, without any attempt to connect or elucidate them.
And what causes these letters to be so unique is that they were written to one cut off from the ordinary means of communication and to whom consequently the receiving of a letter meant a great deal. I can well imagine, after a friendly evening spent together, how the storekeeper host would say to our seafaring captain always an important personage and a welcome guest Right, Captain; then if you are going out on Thursday I will be sure to let you have that letter to our friend Nathaniel at latest by Wednesday night" and of that letter, just as it was written, it has come to us now unexpectedly to be the readers.
What the published records are from which I have drawn or made extracts will appear in the course of the narrative. The fullest information on the islands is contained in a paper read before the Asiatic Society of Japan by Mr. Russell Robertson, British Consul of Yokohama, on March 15, 1876. Another diligent collector of information has been my friend and fellow-worker, Archdeacon King, who has visited the islands some three or four times, and from whose manuscripts I have freely drawn. I have also had access to the archives of the British Embassy. My special acknowledgments for invaluable help given in collating manuscripts and for persevering researches on many points are due to Mrs. E. O. Gordon, daughter of Dean Buckland (after whom one of the islands in the Bonin Group was named by Captain Beechey), who is the author of the "Life of Dean Buckland," and of "St. George the Champion of Christendom." To Miss Black of Tokyo, who has also been a visitor to the islands with her widowed mother, and from whose graphic story of her visit (not published), I have given a short extract in Chapter X, I am also greatly indebted for much kindly help.
EARLIEST RECORDS OF THE ISLANDS:
THEIR DISCOVERY BY CAPTAlN
BEECHEY, H.M.S. "BLOSSOM
Mu nin to or Bu nin to are the Japanese sounds for three Chinese ideographs which would be translated "no man island." There can be little doubt that we have here the origin of the name Bonin Islands. Kaempfer, in his classic work on Japan, is our authority for the statement that about the year 1675 a vessel belonging to Japanese was driven by a storm to these islands which, though uninhabited, they found to be pleasant and fruitful and, in default of other name, described as Buninto. This may or may not have been the occasion of their coming to be so called. But this is not the name by which they are commonly known in Japan, nor is the year 1675 the first in which we have record of them, for these same islands are claimed to have been discovered in 1592 by a certain Ogasawara Sadayori, a Japanese warrior under Hideyoshi, to whom they were granted as a fief, so that they became known as the Islands of Ogasawara. That is the name for them to which the Japanese adhere to-day. This warrior chief no doubt did what he could to farm some portion, at least, of his newly acquired island territories, but there were five hundred miles of serious sea separating them from the mainland, and we can quite believe that any Japanese who, induced by a spirit of enterprise, set sail in those early days for these islands, soon found their banishment intolerable and were not satisfied until they were back again in their own country.
But there is yet another name for these islands which claims our attention. They figure still on some not very antiquated maps as the Bonin or Arzobispo Islands, and this latter name is evidence that the Spaniards come into their history.
The Rev. A. F. King (now Archdeacon), having already ascertained that a Spanish explorer was reported to have discovered the islands in 1543, and the likelihood being, if this were so, that he had given this name Arzobispo to the islands, was determined to pursue his inquiries on this point further, and, being in London some years ago on furlough, visited the libraries of the British Museum and the Royal Geographical Society. The result of his researches he gives as follows:
It appears that the Spaniard Ruy Lopez de Villalobos commanded an exploring expedition that sailed from Mexico some time in 1542 or 1543. After reaching the Philippines on August 26, 1543, he sent off a small ship, the San Juan, having a crew of eighteen or twenty men, to explore in a northerly direction. Somewhere about the beginning of October they sighted some islands, which from the description were almost certainly some of the Bonin group. But I am persuaded they effected no landing because they shortly afterwards steered back for the Philippines, and the chief reason given is that their stock of water was not sufficient for them to proceed. If they had landed they could hardly have failed to find a sufficient supply of excellent water. Thus, as far as our knowledge goes at present, to the captain of the San Juan, whose name is not given, must be allowed the honour of having been the first discoverer of the islands, and some fifty years before their discovery by Ogasawara. With regard to the name Arzobispo, however, my conviction is that Villalobos was not the author of it. It must have been given to the islands at some later date by the Spaniards of Manila, for the name appears first in some Manila maps and probably was inserted not earlier than the middle of the eighteenth century. It was afterwards copied into some English maps, and I have seen it in an English chart dated 1800. Exactly when and for what reason this name was given is still uncertain.
The above early notices of the islands are given for the light they throw on the names which the islands have received. Other interesting early facts relating to them might be collected, but it will be enough to say that, throughout the eighteenth century at least, they remained isolated from the world and uninhabited. Their consecutive history only begins after their re-discovery by Captain Beechey in the year 1827; and because this is our true starting point it will be well to give the account of that discovery in some detail.
H.M.S. Blossom, under command of Captain Beechey, was a sloop carrying fifteen guns and a complement all told of 122 men. She had been dispatched from England on May 19, 1825, with instructions to co-operate with Franklin and Parry's Arctic Expeditions. Captain Beechey's instructions were that he should be at Bering Straits in October 1827, the interval to be employed in cruising in the Pacific Ocean. At the close of 1827 the Blossom was to leave for England on her return voyage.
Captain Beechey, having sailed as above narrated on May 19, 1825, rounded Cape Horn, and touching at Tahiti and the Sandwich Islands reached Bering Straits in July, 1826. In October the Blossom, failing to meet Franklin, left Bering Straits and proceeded to San Francisco, where she anchored on or about November 6. On December 28, 1826, Captain Beechey sailed from San Francisco and again visited the Sandwich Islands, proceeding from there to Canton and Macao, at which latter place he arrived on or about April 30, 1827. After a brief stay the Blossom again set sail, making for Loochoo, and in due course, some time in May 1827, she anchored off the town of Napha, the capital of those islands.
From here Captain Beechey took his departure on May 25, and shaping his course to the eastward he reached on the evening of June 7 the situation of the Bonin Islands as marked in Arrowsmith's chart in use at that time. The following day, the 8th, no land was in sight, and Captain Beechey was on the point of giving up the islands as having no actual existence, when, after a few hours sail to the eastward, several islands were seen extending in a north and south, direction as far as the eye could discern. These were the Bonins. A full account of the Blossom's visit is found in Captain Beechey's narrative, published in two volumes.
The Blossom anchored in Port Lloyd on June 9, 1827, having first attempted to fetch the southernmost group; but finding wind and current against the ship and discovering in the nearest land an opening which appeared to give promise of a good harbour, Captain Beechey made for this and anchored in Port Lloyd, to which he gave this name out of regard to the then Bishop of Oxford.
Captain Beechey was much surprised to find here two Europeans who turned out to have been two of the crew of the English whaler William, which vessel had been wrecked in Port Lloyd some eight months previous to the Blossom's arrival. The name of one of the men was Wittrein; that of the other is not given.
According to the statement of these men it appears that after the wreck of the vessel the crew set to work to build a small schooner in order to find their way to Manila, as the chances of their being picked off from Port Lloyd were somewhat remote; to their surprise, however, a whale ship, the Timor, appeared, and took off the crew of the wrecked vessel with the exception of these two men, Wittrein and his companion.
The Blossom remained at Port Lloyd for six days, and the time was fully taken up with surveying the harbour, excursions in the immediate neighbourhood, and with circumnavigating the island. To the island in which Port Lloyd is situated Captain Beechey gave the name of Peel Island, in compliment to Sir Robert Peel, who at the date of the departure of the Blossom from England was Secretary of State for the Home Department; and to the other two of the cluster he gave the names Stapleton and Buckland, the last mentioned after the then Professor of Geology at Oxford. A large bay at the south-east angle of Peel Island was named Fitton Bay, after a late President of the Geological Society; whilst a bay to the south-west angle of Buckland Island was called Walker Bay, after Mr. Walker, at that time one of the officers of the Hydrographical Department.
To the southern cluster of islands Captain Beechey gave the name of Bailey, after a former President of the Astronomical Society; but they are equally known as Coffin Islands, from the name of the master of the American whaler Transit, who must have been an earlier discoverer of them.Ή Captain Coffin, of the American whaler Transit, landed on the South Island in the year 1823. Not the whole island, but only the principal bay, was given his name, Coffin Bay.
To the northern group Captain Beechey gave the name of Parry, after the former Hydrographer to the Admiralty.
Captain Beechey has pronounced Peel and surrounding islands to be volcanic in their nature, which is borne out by Commodore Perry of the United States Navy, who visited the islands in 1853 and writes of Port Lloyd as follows: "It would appear that Port Lloyd was at one time the crater of an active volcano, from which the surrounding hill had been thrown up, while the present entrance to the harbour was formed by a deep fissure in the side of the cone through which a torrent of lava had poured into the sea, leaving after its subsidence a space into which the waters subsequently were emptied, bringing with them their usual deposits, which together with the coral formation now forms the bottom and sides of the harbour.
In a letter of Captain Beechey's to Dr. Buckland at Oxford, he states that he has named the central island after him from its peculiar geological formation and the existence of a cave of basaltic columns, closely resembling that of the Giant's Causeway.
After leaving Port Lloyd on June 15, Captain Beechey made another attempt to reach the southern group, the Bailey or Coffin Islands, but finding the wind adverse he bore away to the north and fixed the position of the Parry Group.
Before leaving, Captain Beechey affixed to a tree a sheet of copper nailed to a board, and on the sheet of copper the following words were punctured:
H.M.S. Blossom, Captain Beechey, R.N., took possession of this group of islands in the name and on behalf of His Majesty, King George, the 14th June, 1827.
Ή See also chapters vi and vii.
NATHANIEL SAVORY AND THE FIRST
At Bradford, near Salem, in the State of Massachusetts, at the close of the eighteenth century lived a family of the name of Savory. The father was the owner of a little property, working hard and bringing up his children to work; a typical New Englander of those days, an independent man pushing his own interests among other independent men doing the same; not averse from his glass of punch, and fond of having a neighbour in to share it with him and to discuss the affairs of the community. No doubt, too, he fulfilled the duties of religion and duly supported his chapel, but probably his wife fulfilled them with the sincerer piety, and he was quite content that it should be so. They had seven children, five sons, Robert, John, Eleazar, Nathaniel, and Benjamin; and two daughters, Judith and Mercy. They held well together, married and settled down, all with one exception within an easy radius of one another. Judith became Mrs. Stickney; Mercy, Mrs. Thurlow. Eleazar was the last to take to himself a wife, and in his days of prudent waiting was laughed at by his brothers as a stiff old bachelor. When he did marry, he married money "and that," as an impertinent nephew, Wicom, the son of his brother John, said, "was the secret of it." But Wicom's own father, as Wicom himself testifies, never lost a chance of turning a dollar, and was the one amongst the brothers who raised himself highest in the world.
The adventurer of the family was Nathaniel, and it is Nathaniel who becomes the prominent figure in our history. He was born July 31, 1794, and in 1814, when he was twenty years of age, went away to sea. He does not seem to have had any quarrel with his family, and perhaps for a time he communicated irregularly with them. He was certainly at the port of Philadelphia in September 1817, for amongst his extant letters and papers is a certificate of citizenship dated at that port on the 15th of that month, but a reference to his having been at Salem, found in letter 16 of the home correspondence, though on that occasion he never went home to see his father, seems to put it beyond question that he never revisited his home; and eventually his family ceased to hear any news of him, and almost gave up hopes that he was still in the land of the living.
The certificate is as follows :
Copy No. 25 234 District and Port of Philadelphia.
I, John Steel, collector of the District of
Philadelphia, do hereby certify that
an American seaman aged twenty three years or
thereabouts, of the height of five feet six inches,
Dark Complexion, black Hair, gray Eyes,
has a small scar on the upper lip,
a natural reddish mark on his right wrist
Is a native of Essex County
in the state of Massachusetts
has this day produced to me proof, in the manner directed in
the Act entitled "An Act for the relief and protection of
American Seamen;" and pursuant to the said Act, I do hereby
certify that the said NATHANIEL SAVORY
is a citizen of the United States of America.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and
seal of office this fifteenth day of September 1817.
This Nathaniel Savory, an American citizen but none the less under English auspices was one of the founders of the first colony, of which he subsequently became chief, on the Bonin Islands. It came about in this way: Nathaniel Savory was serving in some capacity on an English merchantman which in the year 1829 put in at Honolulu. What the occasion may have been I do not know, but in firing a salute he had the misfortune to lose a finger of his right hand. Having to undergo surgical treatment, his vessel left him behind at the port of Oahu. Now, the fame of the Bonin Islands had reached Hawaii, or the Sandwich Islands, as they were then called, and there were already one or two of the chance residents in Oahu who were entertaining the idea of going to these newly-discovered islands and trying their fortune there as colonists. Savory, on his recovery, threw himself warmly into the project. He had many acquaintances among the storekeepers in Honolulu, and many friends among the captains of whalers and small trading vessels to the South Seas. From all accounts, the islands were fruitful; fish and turtle abounded; the climate was warm and genial; and the prospects of opening out some lucrative trade seemed altogether promising. Plans took shape, the scheme being furthered in every way by Mr. Richard Charlton, at that time British Consul in Honolulu; and a schooner was fitted out which eventually set sail with Nathaniel and four other white men on board in the month of May, 1830, and, having safely traversed the intervening 3300 miles of open sea, arrived at its destination on June 26, 1830.
Nathaniel's four associates leaving out of account some twenty-five Hawaiian natives with some women were Aldin Chapin, who also hailed from Massachusetts, John Millinchamp, Charles Johnson, a Dane, and the fourth, Matteo Mazarro, who was the head of the party and reported to have been a native of Genoa. Now, of these five, the only one whose claim to be a British subject has never been questioned, though he may not have been an Englishman, was John Millinchamp. But I think we must admit the claim of Matteo Mazarro (and call him "Matthew") to have been a British subject too, for he it was who with Millinchamp seems in the first instance to have approached the British Consul and under him to have taken the direction of all the arrangements of the expedition. In the year 1842 the affairs of the island brought him again to Honolulu, and we have an interesting report dated December 27 of that year, written by the then British Consul, Mr. Alexander Simpson, in which he makes special reference to Mazarro's visit, and gives us some valuable information about the islands.
This small but interesting, and from its situation, valuable group of islands," so the report runs, "lies in latitude 27Ί north, longitude 146Ί east, within five hundred miles distance from the city of Yedo in Japan. It appertains to Great Britain, having been discovered by an English whaling vessel in 1825, and formally taken possession of by Captain Beechey of H.M.S. Blossom in 1827. There were no aboriginal inhabitants found on the islands nor any trace that such had existed.
Their aggregate extent does not exceed two hundred and fifty square miles; but their geographical position so near Japan, that mysterious empire, of which the trade will one day be of immense value gives them a peculiar importance and interest. The climate is excellent, the soil rich and productive, and there is an admirable harbour well fitted for the port of a commercial city.
The first colonists of this eastern group were two men of the names of Millinchamp and Mazarro who, having expressed to Mr. Charlton, the British Consul at the Sandwich Islands, their wish to settle on some uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean, were by him recommended to go to this group, of the discovery and taking possession of which he had been recently informed. They sailed accordingly in 1830, took with them some Sandwich Island natives as labourers, some live stock and seeds, and landing at Port Lloyd, hoisted an English flag which had been given them by Mr. Charlton.
The little settlement has been visited by several whaling vessels since that period, and also by a vessel from the British China Squadron. Mr. Millinchamp returned to England,Ή and Mr. Mazarro, anxious to get additional settlers or labourers to join the infant colony, the whole population of which only numbers about twenty, came to the Sandwich Islands in the autumn of 1842 in an English whaling vessel. He described the little settlement as flourishing, stated that he had hogs and goats in abundance, and a few cattle; that he grew Indian corn and many vegetables, and had all kinds of tropical fruits; that, in fact, he could supply fresh provisions and vegetables to forty vessels annually.
Mr. Mazarro who, in virtue of his first arrival, receives the appellation of Governor, finds the task of governing even this little colony no easy matter. He applied to me for assistance in this task, and thankfully received the following document, which I drew up for his assistance and moral support: 'I hereby certify that Mr. Matthew Mazarro was one of the original leaders of the Expedition fitted up from this port, under the protection of Richard Charlton Esq., Her Majesty's Consul, to colonize the Bonin Islands; and I would intimate to the masters of all whaling vessels touching at that group, that the said Mazarro is a sober and discreet man, and recommend them to support him by all means in their power against the troublers of the peace of that distant settlement, recommending also to the settlers to receive Mr. Mazarro as their head, until some officer directly appointed by her Britannic Majesty is placed over them.'
H.B.M. Acting Consul for the Sandwich Islands.
It will be noted how in the above report Mr. Simpson lays stress on the fact that the islands appertain to Great Britain, and makes no mention of Nathaniel Savory or of the two other original settlers who were not British subjects. This was hardly fair on Nathaniel, who from the first, I believe, had thrown himself the most wholeheartedly into the enterprise. He certainly stuck manfully to the islands when he got there, leaving them only once on a trip to Manila, and died on his island an old man in his eightieth year, on April 10, 1874.
We also notice in the report that "Mr. Mazarro finds the task of governing even this little colony no easy matter," and that Mr. Simpson calls on masters of whaling vessels putting in at the islands "to support him by all means in their power against the troublers of the peace of that distant settlement." Troubles it is certain there were, and continued to be, rivalries, feuds and even bloodshed; and against Mazarro himself, in spite of the testimonial he receives from Mr. Simpson, there were some ugly charges, but, away from his islands, there was nothing to prevent his giving his own coloured account of things to the British Consul at Honolulu and presenting himself in a favourable light. Materially, however, the colony was prospering, and opportunities of sale and barter were furnished when, not unfrequently, whalers and other vessels came to visit it.
Mazarro died in 1848, five years after his return from Honolulu, leaving a widow, who subsequently became the wife of Nathaniel Savory, and the unsalaried governorship of a British colony to be contested for between him and John Millinchamp.
NOTE TO CHAPTER II
The following is a copy of an odd list of sundries, with the prices he paid for them in Mexican dollars, which Nathaniel Savory provided himself with on first setting out for the Bonins. It is dated Honolulu, May 20, 1830 :
|Two Madras Gowns||7.00|
|30 yds. White Long Cloth||30.00|
|77 yds. Print||3.50|
|l Tortoise-shell Comb||50|
|1 pr. Scissors||50|
|1/2 doz. Dog Knives and Forks, 3 Spoons||1.50|
|Pr. Blue Nankeen Trousers||2.00|
|Two Tin Pots||75|
|3 doz. Fish Hooks||37|
|l Gown Piece||5.00|
|l Madras Gown||3.50|
|2 pr. Blue Nankeen Trousers||4.00|
|1 Candlestick and Lamp||1.00|
|1 Small Catty Box Tea||1.50|
Ή A mistake he had gone to the Island of Guam.
VISIT OF CAPTAIN COLLlNSON, R.N.,
H M S "ENTERPRISE," 1851
In following the fortunes and growth of this little colony thus strangely established on the Bonin Islands, it is evident that we have largely to depend on such records as have been set down by visitors to the islands at various times. And the fullest information we have of the settlement in these earlier years is that collected and given to us in the narrative of Commodore Perry, the Commander of the American Squadron, which, in the early summer of 1853, startled Japan by its sudden appearance in her forbidden waters and departed to reappear again in the following year. On the occasion of his first voyage the Commodore made a point of visiting these islands and devoted, as we shall see, considerable attention to them. But it so happened that, two years before the great American Commodore appeared on the scene, in the spring of 1851, this distant British possession we will call it so as long as we can was favoured by a visit from a British man-of-war, H.M.S. Enterprise, on its way to the Polar seas under the command of Captain Richard Collinson. The following extracts relating to the islands are taken from his Journal:
A fine breeze sprung up on the morning of the 26th of April, which, continuing for the next forty-eight hours, relieved my anxiety concerning our live stock, which I began to fear we should not be able to carry up to the ice with us; but making Bailey Island at 2 A.M. on the morning of the 28th, we bore away for Port Lloyd. At daylight, and even for some time afterwards, we had a difficulty in making out exactly where we were. The Blossom having made the port from the north, we could not for some time reconcile Captain Beechey's description of the land; but running along outside the islets which lay off the south end of Peel Island, we soon made out the three peaks at the back of the harbour, and the high cliff on the south side as you enter. Still we were at a loss for the remarkable islet on the northern side, which is described as the principal landmark; being, however, under the cliffs from the direction we approached, it did not appear conspicuous. As we drew in, a canoe under sail crossed our bows, the sole occupant of which was soon on board. He had but small clothing, and less English, but managed, however, to let us know that his name was Harry, that he was a pilot, and that he had pigs, turtle, yams and onions for sale. So putting ourselves under his guidance, we ran in, without, however, seeing the coral patch on the south side, to which we must have given a close shave, and succeeded in getting to an anchorage without much difficulty. It is, however, an awkward place for a heavy ship to enter, in consequence of the deepness of the water, the steepness of the coral banks, and the sudden flaws of wind, which are sometimes very violent. Our cattle were soon revelling in all the luxury of a cabbage-palm.
Captain Beechey's voyage in the Blossom having called public attention to these islands, and their importance as a place of resort for the whale ships employed in the Japanese seas being early seen, Mr. Charlton, our Consul at the Sandwich Islands, equipped an expedition for the purpose of establishing a settlement on them in 1830. Four of these original settlers still remained on our arrival, and from one of these (Chapin) I got the following account, which I copy nearly verbatim, as it gives both a useful and interesting account of the establishment.
The information supplied by Chapin is chiefly with regard to climate, tides and winds, the islands' produce and the turtles. Of the inhabitants he says, "Since the isle has been settled (about twenty-one years), there have been born on the isle twenty-six children, of which twenty-one were boys and five girls; twelve children have died, ten boys and two girls; and also eight male adults and six females. Some of the men have been left here sick from the ships; the greater part of the boys, all but four, are gone away on board different ships; and two of the girls are gone to Oahu for their education.
Of an extraordinary outrage committed on the settlers, referred to by Commodore Perry and others, Chapin probably gives the most reliable account in the course of this relation to Captain Collinson. I here quote it:
August 9th, 1849, arrived the schooner Louisa, Captain Hadley, and the cutter Maid of Australia, Captain Young, from Hong-Kong; and on August 1lth, arrived the China-built vessel (junk) Saint Andrew, Captain Barker, from Hong-Kong, as commander of the whole; they recruited, and all sailed again August 29th. On September 2lst, the junk, Captain Barker, and the cutter, Captain Young, returned (the schooner having gone on), having had bad weather, and the junk having broke her rudder, and both wanting repairs and provisions; the settlers on the island gave them every assistance in their power, and fitted them for sea.
After they were ready, they first commenced plundering the natives of their live stock, salt provisions, oil, etc. They then commenced plundering the whites; they robbed Mr. Savory of about $2000 in cash, and about $2000 in live stock, salt provision, stores, oil, clothing, medicine chests, canvas, etc.; in fact, all they could get hold of; what they did not want they broke and destroyed, Mr. Savory being obliged to secrete himself in the bush, for fear they would take his life. They also robbed Mr. Millinchamp of his live stock, salt meat, stores, money, etc., and a large quantity of clothing; in fact, they robbed all the settlers of whatever they could.
A French whale ship, the Nile, arrived while they were here, and nine of her men left her; Captain Barker furnished them with arms to defend themselves, and prevent the French captain and officers from taking them; and after the ship had sailed he received them all on board. On some of the settlers remonstrating with Captain Young, of the cutter, concerning the robberies, he said he did not care what his people did, and did not care if they left the settlers with only a shirt and trousers. They took away Mr. Savory's wife and also one other female with them; and on January 9th, 1850, the junk and the cutter sailed for San Francisco.
Mr Savory," so Captain Collinson writes, "still felt his loss deeply, but most of all his wife, who was a young girl born on the island; she, however, it appears, was a good riddance, for by all accounts she gave information as to where his money and valuables were hid, and departed nothing loth." I may say in passing that the young wife was not the widow of Mazarro, referred to in the last chapter, who became the mother of a large family, and of whom we shall hear more later, but a Kanaka girl of whom we know little. I doubt, however, whether she was born on the island.
Captain Collinson's account concludes as follows:
The cliffs in many places round the harbour came so close to the beach as to leave no cultivatable ground between them and the sea; but where valleys occur they have all been turned to account, with the exception of one on the west side of the inner harbour, which has probably been left vacant as a careening and repairing place for vessels. Beginning at the head of the harbour, on the eastern side is the establishment of Mr. Savory, which yet showed signs of the wantonness of Commodore Barker and his crew. One could not help sorrowing to see the old man thus robbed of the fruits of his industry, and the comforts he had laid by for his old age. On the same side of the harbour, abreast our anchorage, James Moitley, an old man-of-war's man, was located, and here we watered; the stream, however, being so far from the beach as to require all the length of our watering hose. Below Moitley and opposite the entrance of the harbour was a long beach, occupied by the natives of Oahu, and here the deserters from the whale ships had taken refuge. At the southern end of the harbour, and just inside the high cliff is the flagstaff, and the settlement of the principal person charged by Mr. Charlton with the colony; he was and had been absent some time, and the house and grounds were in charge of John Newheaven. This is a very convenient situation, as it has the advantage of a narrow isthmus of sand over which canoes can be hauled, thus affording a convenient communication both with the harbour and the sea; and there is more level ground in this vicinity. Outside the harbour, in a bay to the southward of the isthmus, was the establishment of our pilot, Harry Bolla. On the west side of the harbour, immediately after you enter, is a long beach, within which Bravo, Webb, and Cullins had their plantations. We were soon boarded by the different parties, and having made our arrangements to take something from all, so that the whole community might benefit by our visit, we set to work completing our water, cutting grass and taking in firewood. With our seine we were at first unsuccessful; but by taking the proper time of tide and watching the shoals, we soon caught more mullet than we could consume. On the 2nd of May I went to one of the islands outside, goat-shooting, but having been far from well since leaving Hong-Kong, I was soon overcome by the heat. Some of the officers afterwards succeeded in getting two or three, which proved capital eating; they are quite wild, and cause an amazing deal of fatigue not only to follow but to get at.
Chapin informed me that there are five men and two women on Bailey Islands to the southward; there is no anchorage among them, but ships sometimes stand off and on, while their boats obtain water and refreshment. Webb also mentioned that since he had been on the island (five years) he has twice seen the harbour covered with pumice stone; no doubt caused by an eruption from Sulphur Island. The turtle, no doubt, are fast diminishing; they still, however, form the staple article of food, being salted down for the winter's consumption.
Having laid in a good stock of fodder for our remaining five head of cattle, completed our stock of pigs to thirty-five, and embarked twenty turtle, besides as many potatoes, yams, and onions as we could stow, some of which we hoped to carry up to the Plover, we were ready for sea on the morning of the 5th of May, but owing to light airs did not start until next day. Then, being well content with the nature and extent of our supplies, we bade the settlers farewell. I furnished them with a Union Jack and some ball cartridge, strongly advising them to show some confidence, and stick by one another, in the event of Commodore Barker, or any other marauder, visiting them in future; but if they did not work together, and allowed one bay after another to be robbed, they would all suffer in detail. I also had the gratification of increasing Mr. Chapin's library, which I have little doubt affords the old patriarch some gratification, and may possibly be useful to the rising generation.
In the above account we are introduced to some new names, and it may be as well to end this chapter by saying something briefly about their owners.
James Moitley we shall hear of again. He was a native of London. How he came to the Bonins I do not know, but he settled on the south island about 1846, where he acquired a considerable property which he bequeathed to Kitty, his Kanaka wife. He died in 1866, and was buried on the island.
Bravo or Joachim Gonzales was a Portuguese, and hailed from the Island of Brava, the most southerly of the Cape Verde islands on the west coast of Africa. Somehow or other he got taken on board the British whaler Partridge, and with Cullins was left by her on the Bonins in 1831, eighteen months after the first settlers had arrived. He married a Hawaiian woman, and his second son, George, was the father of Rev. Joseph Gonzales Priest-in-charge to-day of the Bonin Island Church. Joachim was familiarly known as old Bravo, and the great rock, which forms such a bold feature on the left as you enter the harbour, had, amongst other names that have been given to it, the name of Bravo Rock. He died on the island, January 1885, aged 75.
Thomas Webb, a native of Wallington, Surrey, came to the island in the American barque Japan, of Nantucket, some time in 1847. He married Caroline, the daughter of a George Robinson who came to the island two years later.Ή He had a large family the most English family on the island. He died March 24, 1881. His widow is still living (1914).
Joe Cullins. His real name is said to have been Joseph Freeman. He was an Englishman, and married a Kanaka woman called Betty. As we have seen, he came to the island with "Bravo" in 1831. We shall hear little more about him. From all accounts he was a cranky character, and a heavy drinker. He died in 1881, aged about 70.
Of Aldin Chapin, himself, we may here take leave also, for he seems to have died the year after Captain Collinson's visit. He never married, and from accounts given of him was a steady man, never heard to use angry words or to swear. George Gonzales said that he was baptized by him, and presumably he baptized others.
I can find no record of John Newheaven, who Captain Collinson tells us was in charge of the settlement of the absent chief of the island. This apparently must have been Millinchamp. Millinchamp's first wife, who had accompanied him on the original expedition from Hawaii, had died. For his second wife, Joacquina de la Cruz, he had gone to Guam,² to which he went back with her some time afterwards, and probably it is this absence in Guam to which Captain Collinson refers.
It is interesting to notice that Captain Collinson furnished the settlers with a Union Jack. This is the third Union Jack of which we have record. The first settlers took one with them to the islands, and the second was furnished by Mr. Alex. Simpson to Mazarro as the officially recognized governor.
Ή See chap. viii.
² See chap. xi.
NATHANIEL SAVORY'S GROWING
HIS BUSlNESS CORRESPONDENCE
From Guam Millinchamp never came back. Neither he nor Mazarro, however, as far as we can gather, had shown any capacity for governing the little settlement. The man who undoubtedly had proved that he was worth more than either of them was Nathaniel Savory. But he was an American, and though Great Britain was leaving these settlers to shift for themselves, Nathaniel stood in too great awe of the Laws of Nations and would not, by aspiring to be governor, thereby defy or rebel against the supposed British sovereignty over the islands.
Nathaniel was a man who had a home; whose father was of good repute in Salem, Mass: Salem was a seaport with a large trade, and not a few traders must have been well acquainted with his family; Nathaniel himself had been a seaman and had made many friends for himself in places like Honolulu and elsewhere. Accordingly we find that, when Nathaniel eventually established himself on the Bonin Islands, captains of whalers and trading vessels came along to see him; take news of him back to his family; become bearers of their letters to him; and it is with him that Nathaniel's store-keeper friends want to transact business. Mazarro and Millinchamp commanded none of the same trust, had no like influence, and there does not seem to have been a home behind either of them. It is not strange then that Nathaniel's influence and connexions excited their jealousy and hatred; and among various old letters and papers in the possession of the Savory family to-day is a remarkable document, greatly faded and not easily decipherable of which I made a copy as I did of the other letters, which shows how deep that hatred of Mazarro towards Nathaniel went. The document is the deposition of a certain Francis Silver of the Island of Fugil or Fayal and runs thus:
Sept. 27, 1838.
Be it remembered that I, Francis Silver, of the Isle of Fugil [?] do make oath of the following: That Mr. Matthew Mazarro told me some time since that if he could get Chapin and Savory out of the way he would give everything he possessed in the world. I told him that it was more than I could do. He said that it was easy enough for to be done. I said, Well, How? He said for me to go up on Sh.... land and wait for Savory to come up there after water melons, and for me to go close alongside of him for to make friends with Savory and when he turns his head ... to beat his Brains out with a club, and if that did not kill him to stab him with a knife until dead and throw him into the sea. I then answered that I would not do it. A few days after he told me he would give me some Laudanum and for me to give it to Savory's girl and for her to put it in Savory's tea and poison him, and that it should never be known who poisoned him.
Witness my hand,
signed FRANCIS SILVER.
sworn before me ALDEN B. CHAPIN.
signed NATHANIEL SAVORY.
THOMAS MEER, Jun.
JOSEPH M. MINDREDGE (?)
The other letters and papers are, as I have stated in the introduction, so interesting and of a type so rarely preserved that I will here give first in order of date, a selection of what I may call Savory's official correspondence which falls in the period between his first settling on the island in 1830, and Commodore Perry's visit in 1853. In the following chapter I will give the home letters belonging to the same period.
(22) Letter to NATHANIEL SAVORY from JOHN
May 14, 1831.
The long wished for opportunity as come at last by Capt. Lorton although I have but a few hours notice I will get all on board for you I can. I was a Passenger with Capt. Thomas Meek from Honolulu to Otooi 23rd Oct. 1830. I knowed nothing of his calling at those islands else it would been a good opportunity to send you everything you sent for by Capt. Dowsett at Otooi I remained there 5 months which was a great disadvantage to selling of you goods and the Invoice of you good I send you. Mr. Reynold and Mr. Franks as seen it and say they are invoiced higher than theirs by 20 or 30 pp. the same by our goods. The paintings ? are very common ones 2 case contain 14 invoiced at $53.4 I send you 3 I have sold, all the Ready made clothes excepting one jacket; 1 trowser and 10 shirts I send you, the two Camlets suits were very small therefore I have sold them. I have almost all the Nankeens on hand. Mr. Thomas at Whyaraa as 40 pieces to sell for me, Mr. Mill as 60 etc. etc. as there is very little goods sold here at present. There is great alteration every day. Capt. Cole arrived the 3rd. of May, as opened a new store where Collet[?] lived. Capt. Charlton as sent all his goods there and in the Bussal I have lost your last letter with the list of the things you want. But I Reclect some and having but a short notice and the ship laying Outside I ham afrade I cannot get everything you want. The largest iron pot I can get will contain about 3 gallons. Concerning your house the widow of the Chief that gave France the land will not allow any white man to live there. Else I could have ad 75 per week. 50 I intend giving myself, France's mother 25 for you which by this time would have whole paid for the house. The Queen Kanhuman [?] is taking the lands of the Kanaka chiefs and the white residents without exception Old Mannie's land the first. They have taken the Licence from every Public House in the place, no coach now are riding on a Sunday. Mr. Ridley expect a letter from you. I hope the first opportunity you have to write you will give me a more explanatory account of the Island and how you like it as there is no knowing how someone might wish to come and see you. God give you all good health and a quiet living the former thank God we enjoy but the latter we have not at present. The next opportunity I hope I shall bc able to .... Mr. Shaw says he could not sell your Camphoi[?] therefore he gave it away. I have paid your order to Capt. Cumpliss Meek likewise Mr. Kemble. The list of the goods will be in the trunk and the price of the articles bought.
Dear friends yours very truly and my best Respects to all
(23) From the same
May 15, 1831.
more time; I see the ship this morning still in the offing and the Capt. on shore. Capt. Charlton has collected all the seeds he can, Doctor Scarran[?] likewise. I have got tobacco, seed, tarra tips[?] etc. The times here at present are very Dareful. I ham requested to sleep in Capt. Cole's store and at the same time I feared of my house being robbed. The soldiers seem to have no particular orders going about the street by 30 and 40 in disorder with muskets and fixt Painets. However I have seen Capt. Reed's Boat's crew drive 50 of them from the Pier with boat hooks etc. I think some of the murchants is looking out for some other place and I ham looking out for the forst Rider for my house and Premices which is worth at present 500$. I think Capt. Charlton as sent for British man of war not shure. The King Kankanaule all hands thought so must have turned Methodist. But the time is getting short. You will hear more than I can tell you at present from the girls that is on board the Captain Lorton coming to pay you a visit. There is no good vinegar here At present. I send you the best can get. There is no knowing the mind of the Peeble, they are certainly led by the Misraki[?] The Queen often pays a visit to a sartain British Gentleman's House and is left Drink and her servants the same.
Yours very truly and my best compliments to all hands,
(24) A document drawn up by CAPT. WILLIAM
LAWTON of the "KENT."
Oct. 18, 1881.
Captain. William Lawton of the Kent Whaler having brought from Oahu six female passengers who were sent by Captain Charlton, English Consul there to assist in forming a new settlement at these Islands (the Bonins) with directions to Mr. Savory (one of the first settlers here) to take them under his care. But on the arrival of Capt. Lawton at these Islands it was found that the settlement was as yet extremely young. He Capt. Lawton being anxious for the welfare of the women and also two of our own crew who are sick and are anxious to go on shore, viz. Jackson and Butler has thought proper to make some written understanding with Mr. Savory as regards them:
Firstly. Mr. Savory promises to give every assistance and instruction to the above-mentioned people as regards sustenance and lodging until they are capable of finding for themselves.
Secondly. He, Mr. Savory, also promises to do his best endeavours to recover the two sick men and also to instruct them in the manners of obtaining sustenance and to give them protection until they are capable of doing for themselves.
Thirdly. Captain Lawton wishes strongly that all the persons sent from the Kent do attend most strictly to the orders and laws which Mr. Savory dictates at any time knowing it to be the only way in which any order or indeed comforts can be obtained.
Fourthly. It is understood that when any of the persons are capable of doing for themselves they are entirely without the care of Mr. Savory and they are at any time unless they attend strictly to the wishes of Mr. Savory and obey his orders.
Fifthly. They all understand that at the present moment it is only through the goodness of Mr. Savory they owe their present Protection the most valuable at the present moment as they would have extreme difficulties to encounter had they not the assistance Mr. Savory has kindly offered.
Captain Lawton from many circumstances is greatly pleased with Mr. Savory and has very good reason to think that under his management and care that this settlement although now in its Infant State will soon be in a flourishing condition. The Kent has not as yet anchored here but expects to do so in a short time when, if opportunities occur there will be some account given of the Harbour etc.
Signed W. LAWTON.
(25) Testimonial to MR. SAVORY from the same
Barque "Kent," Whaler of London.
Oct. 18th, '31.
Captain William Lawton having touched at this Island for a supply of wood and water has had repeated conversations with Mr. Savory one of the first settlers at this island and from many circumstances Capt. Lawton thinks him to be a very worthy man whose Industry and Perseverance has overcome many difficulties which are of course inseparable from the formation of a new settlement in any country, from whose endeavours Capt. Lawton has very good reason to suppose there will be an excellent refreshment to be obtained for ships in a very short time.
Under these circumstances Capt. Lawton begs thoroughly to recommend him to the attention of all ship masters whose business may call them this way.
(N.B. "Bonin Islands" does not occur on the above paper.)
(26) Another Testimonial.
To gentlemen Masters of ships Visiting the Bonin Islands. The bearer Mr. Nathaniel Savory is a person whom I have long known. I have no hesitation in recommending him as a persevering industrious honest and honourable man and deserving the patronage of any person whom may please to confide in him.
July 18, 1834.
J. O. CARTER.
Port Lloyd .
(27) A letter from NATHANIEL SAVORY
(to whom not stated).
May 14, 1838.
I have for some time thought that if I could obtain a few of the undermentioned articles it would be of advantage to me on this island, as every season we have many opportunities of disposing of them. I should therefore feel exceedingly obliged by your sending me as early as possible, the following articles to the sum of from 2 to 300 dollars, namely 1 Ton of salt and 200 gallons of New England Rum if the market is at present reasonable, for which things I will pay in ready cash or if you could manage to give an order to any Master of a Vessel for produce to the amount from me I should much prefer it as it will enable me to obtain larger supplies from you but at any rate I will ensure you payment. The bearer will answer any particulars regarding my circumstances.
I remain, Sir,
Yours most respectfully,
(28) Letter from JOHN SHEARWOOD.
March 22, 1840.
I take this favourable opportunity of writing to you these few lines hoping to find you well as it leaves me at present thank God. I am sorry to inform you that I shall never be able to proceed to the Island as my health is so bad and my wife having no relations there and me not expecting to remain long in this world through bad health. I John Shearwood do give unto N. Savory full liberty to do with my landed property as he thinks proper as I hear you are about to leave the Island.
Witnesses : JOHN SHEARWOOD.
Have the goodness to send to me a few seeds belonging to the Island and whatever you do don't forget the Sasafras seed and bark by any ship that is coming to the Southward. I am glad to hear that you are a doing well and give my best respects to the old man and all our old acquaintances and sorry I am that I can't come and see you once more.
So no more at present from a well wisher until death.
(29) Copy of a Bill of Exchange written at the back of a printed official form given below.
Oct. 12, 1843.
Exchange for $106.04cts. No. 2 at sight of this Second of Exchange, First and Third of the same tenor and date unpaid, pay to Nathaniel Savory or order one hundred and six dollars and four cents at the rate of four shillings and twopence strlg. per Dollar Value received and place the same to account of the Barque George Home of London.
Commander of the Barque George Home.
(30) To NATHANIEL SAVORY from CAPTAIN NORTH.
Nov. 24, A.D. 1845.
I take this opportunity of writing you this small imperfect epistle to inform you that my health at this time is tolerable hoping that by God's best blessing this may find you together with all my acquaintance at the Bonin Islands in perfect health peace and prosperity. And I will add that I "should be very happy to learn that Temperance prevailed with you all but as you do not write me by letter all the information that I can obtain from those that have visited you since my last voyage in the Howard I am very sorry to learn that Intemperance prevails to a very large extent among you. My friend Savory, take the advice of one who loves you and one who often thinks of you, and that is, to dispose of your Farm etc. and return to your father and Brothers and Sisters whose hearts yearn after you. Do not think of spending your days on those islands, but return to this delightful State Mass: May the God above help you so to do is the prayer of your friend and well wisher,
P.S. Give my best love to all my acquaintances that now remains with you on the Island both male and female. May God add his Blessings to them all. Do write to me by all the ships that touch at your delightful Island.
In great haste,
I remain with sentiments of esteem,
To THOMAS STURGE, Esq.
Pay to Messrs. Gaskill and Co. of Manila on order Nathaniel Savory
6, New Kent Road,
Please pay to Mr. Thomas Hodson of Liverpool on order Gaskill and Co.
Pay to Messrs. Imril and Tomlinson on order Thos. Hodgson
Pay also Howden, Esq. on order Imrie and Tomlinson.
[Printed Official Form filled in.]
ON THE Third day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-six at the request of Alexander Howden of London Esquire I William Duff of the City of London Notary Publick duly admitted and sworn exhibited the original Bill of Exchange before copied to Thomas Sturge, Esq. upon whom the same is drawn; and demanded payment of its contents. With which demand he did not comply but he thereunto answered 'NO ADVICE.'
I the said Notary at the request of aforesaid have protested and by these Presents do solemnly Protest against the Drawer and the Indorsers of the said Bill and all others concerned for Exchange, Re-exchange, and all costs, damages, Interest and Charges already incurred and to be hereafter incurred for what of Payment of the said Bill. Thus done and protested at London aforesaid in the presence of John Carter and Edward Watson Witnesses.
In Testimonium Veritatis,
CONTAINING LETTERS FROM 1835 TO 1845 TO NATHANIEL SAVORY FROM HIS BROTHERS AND SISTERS
AND TWO LETTERS FROM NATHANIEL HIMSELF, ONE TO HIS FATHER AND THE OTHER TO HIS SISTER, MRS. STICKNEY
(1) From his Sister, JUDITH STICKNEY.
July 3lst, 1835.
I have now retired from the labours of the day. My family all being gone to bed, I thought I could no better employ my time in writing a few lines to you to let you know that our healths are all very good at this time. And I should be very glad that these lines might find you enjoying the same blessing. It being your birthday as I could not see you I thought I could no better employ my time than gathering up a few seeds to send you although it does seem a great distance. But as we have been blessed with the privilege of seeing one who could give us so much of an account about you I feel great gratitude to a kind providence in directing you to write to us and I feel that I am indebted to Captain North for the visit he has made us. But may the blessing of God follow him and you whether by sea or by land and may you have the blessing of again seeing each other. And may the glad tidings he shall bear to you refresh your heart and may it be a medicine which shall enable you to say I will arise and go to my Father. O Brother, the box I have sent you is one that was your mother's. It is a small present but it may remind you of her as she has gone out of our sights, but may she be still saying to us Prepare to meet thy God. I have sent you a Bible not knowing whether you have one or not but if you are a stranger to the book while I am writing may it reach you rejoicing in the Lord. And may you be led to say that it was good that it was sent. Here I pray you may receive it in love and practise in faith. May you search the scriptures daily and may it be your meat and drink to do the will of. your heavenly Father. May you realize that you left your best property behind. Martha Thurlow is living ; her father and sister Mary is dead. She said she would not part with the book only she felt it was a going home. I would inform you that a great many of your friends since you left us have gone to the world of spirits too many to enumerate but may it be our greatest concern to lay up a treasure in heaven, and to be prepared to meet our God. I must now be drawing to a close lest I should weary your patience in reading such poor composition. You must not think it strange that I have not written no more particulars concerning the family. If you are so fortunate as to get my letter which I have sent before, you would not want to read them over again.
I remain your sincere friend and well wisher
Do write often if you have an opportunity, do come quickly. They all want to see you, brother, and so do I. Sister Thurlow sends her love to you.
(2) From his brother BENJAMIN SAVORY.
I now take this opportunity in writing a few lines to you that I am well and hope that these few lines will find you enjoying the same blessing. I had the pleasure of seeing the letter that you sent to Father and was very much gratified in hearing from you who we thought was not numbered among the living, as it was a great number of years since we had heard from you and that you would have written us were you alive, but it must be that you had forgotten that you had friends and relations in America. But you know best the reason that you have not written before but I hope that you will in future embrace every opportunity in writing to all of us, as I shall in writing to you. I have no news to write to you for my brothers and sisters are a going to write by the ship. I thought that I would write a few lines to let you know that I had not forgotten you although it seemed that you had forgotten us who was far distant from you but I hope that we shall all meet together once more in this world but should we not I hope that we shall be prepared to meet in the world to come. If you have a plenty of shells on the beach please to send me a few.
I remain your loving Brother
August the 3rd, 1835.
(3) From his brother ELEAZAR SAVORY.
June 15th, 1836.
'Tis with pleasure that I take this opportunity to write you hoping you are in the land of the living and enjoying good health by the goodness of God. Your Father and all your brothers and sisters are enjoying a tolerable state of health, except Mrs. Thurlow is not very well. She met with a fall about four weeks ago but now is recovering. Your Father is married again, he was married the first of April, you have a mother in law. I want to come out and see you if there is an opportunity to come I think I shall. But we entreat of you to come home, come and see your honered father once more is well and smart, able to do a day work but is almost 75 years old already. I am in a great hurry at present. I got but very little time to write a cant think half dear brother although you are a far off we think of you after wishing you to write every opportunity as I shall write to you by every opportunity. I must now bid you goodbye from your affectionate Brother.
(4) From JUDITH STICKNEY.
Sep. 20th, 1838.
I have put by all work to answer your beloved letter dated July 11th, 1837 and most gladly have I done it. Oh if the spirit of the Lord would be with me to teach me what to write. It gave me and others satisfaction to hear you was well and found us the same. Those lines you sent me have been read to many relations and friends and they most all express a wish to see you. And I hope you will not let it long before you will visit that sweet home you speak of Dear Brother when I think of the great distance that parts us tears flow, and did I not view the hand of the Lord in all events I could not endure it. But do you make an attempt to come soon and do not go back again, as you are not married you can come to me better than I can come to you. I would inform you, when you read my feelings about you, you may know sister Mercy's are as great, you know she cannot write you must forgive her. Your letter I received 16th of July and since that have been expecting Capt. North to make us a visit but very sorry to say he has not been, but can I express enough to you for him for what he has done for us, and may the Blessing of the Lord be with us by sea or by land. The Record you sent for I have done all I knew to get the dates correct and I hope it will be completed and you will receive it in kindness and love. But do not let the names of all and ages satisfy you without coming to be with us. You know that time is rapidly passing away and soon it will be said of us we are no more. I would inform you that almost all the Fathers and Mothers are gone that was alive when you went away. Our dear mother is gone and never can we have another here. She expressed great desire to s6e you in her last sickness. Father has a great desire to see you but says he shall never see you but I hope he will. He is married again to a kind wife, lives close by Brother John's. He has a little land to work on which is his wife's thirds [third wife's ?] and he appears to enjoy his health pretty well for anybody as old as he is. Brother, I would wish to inform you a few particulars respecting my family. At this date I have a kind husband and three children and a Bachelor that compose my family. For stock, one horse, five cows and one yoke of oxen, some sheep. The Boys have got so that they make their father considerable help but my helpΉ is small. but I hope as my strength is declining my help will increase but would remind you that your sisters has to work hard to take care of what we occupy. Brother, if you and I and all the rest could live so when called for to give up our account with joy and not grief what a happy change it would be for us. I want to give you a little small account of your aunts and uncles that are living. Uncle Jonathan Savory of Derry ; David Foot and wife ; Aunt Saunders ; Aunt Adams. Uncle Eliphaz Savory died last January and aunt is but just alive. Uncle Samuel's wife is living and Uncle Daniel's wife is living. Uncle Caleb Burban and wife is living. That is all the uncle and aunts there is alive. And as to your acquaintances some are neighbours to me. Thomas B. married Hannah Dow lives where his father lived. John Tenny lives where his father lived. John Colby lives where he did when you lived with him. I must be drawing to a close lest I should weary your patience with my imperfect lines, I hope you have got those other letters that you said you had not received for they contain many things which I have not written now but you are too far off to write all the particulars, but I should write about my brothers did I not expect they would write. I am very sorry to hear you have lost some of your members² but a great chance it was not your life. May these thorns in the flesh prove to humble us. O brother do write often if you have a chance and I will do the same.
This is from your friend and well wisher,
Dear brother having been blest with the priviledge of going to meeting with my family, Sabbath 23rd, between the hours of intermission I thought I could not seal up this letter without putting you in mind to remember the Sabbath day and to keep it holy and to search the scriptures duly for in them there is food for the soul and health for the body. The Map of Bradford if you should be so fortunate as to get remember that I sent for it and Dr. Spoffard said that as you was once a Bradford man they would send it as a present and so receive it Do excuse my bad writing.
(5) From BENJAMIN SAVORY
Sept. 23rd, 1838.
I now take this opportunity of writing a few line to you to inform you that I am well and my family at present and hope that the few lines will find you enjoying the same blessings. But there may be a great change before you receive these few lines from your affectionate brother and well wisher for there is great changes in this world for there is nothing that is certain in this world and we know not how long we shall be here. I have not any news in particular to respecting our brothers and sisters for I expect they will all write. We have a very short notice. We expected Capt. North would have paid us all a visit before that he left for Bonin Island but he was taken sick at Boston and had to leave for Nantucket. I saw him a few minutes and his lady but I expected to see him again. I did not say half so much to him as I should, had I knew that I should not see him again. He said that he was a coming up to Georgetown, late N. Rowley [New Rowley former name of Georgetown], but brother P. B. Savory had a letter from him saying he was going to sail in a few days and it gave us but a short time to prepare and to get everything to Nantucket. I have seen all brothers and sisters a few days before writing to you except you, and hope that we shall all meet together though not forgotten by us for there is not scarcely a day but that I do not make enquiry of sailors that I carry on the Stage if they have ever been at Bonin Islands or knew one N. Savory there, but find none except Capt. John Bradshaw of Beverley, Mass. said that he knew you well when at Sandwich Islands, I am very well acquainted with him. He wish to be remembered to you. He is a very fine man. I have not ever received any letters from you nor the Box of shells that I wrote to you last about, but I will excuse you this time, do not forget it the first opportunity. Write every opportunity and do not forget you have brothers and sisters in the land of the living. Write me if you ever calculate to be home again and when.
Your affectionate loving brother,
(6) From PATIENCE PEARSON.
Sep. 22nd, 1838.
I now take these few leisure moments to address an absent friend. I thought it might be some pleasure to you to have a few lines from some of your nieces. I was very small when you went away from home. I can remember the bottle you gave me and the riding stick you gave my brother Tristram that is dead. Times has altered very much since you left this place. There was but two of us and there is the same number left but not the same persons. It is a sister in the place of a brother and she was called for her Grandmother Judith Savory Thurlow. I have been married six years and have two children as you will see by the record and we live in the house with father and mother [or with father's mother] in Grandfather's Thurlow part of the house with Aunt Martha Thurlow. We are all well at present and I hope these few lines will find you enjoying the same blessing. Mother's health is very poor for she got throwed out of a wagon two years ago last May and she has not been well since. Father's health is poor for his old humour rages bad. Mother wants to know whether you fare any better than you did when she warmed your bed and tucked up your back. We all as one sends our best respects to you and wishing you good luck in all your undertakings and we hope you will soon come back again when we shall see one another face to face for we are very impatient awaiting to see you. You must write to us as soon as possible.
(7) From ROBERT SAVORY
Sep. 23rd, 1838.
I take my pen in hand for the first time to write a few lines to a distant brother. I think it is twenty-four years since I parted with you at Mr. Benjamin Plummers where I then lived and I have never had any letter from you though some or all of my brothers and sisters have had a letter from you. I think you cannot have forgotten me. I trust you have not for I must assure you I have not forgotten you. I know I was to blame for not writing by Capt. North. He stopped with me and I had considerable conversation with him respecting you. The boots and the cider you received were from me though I expect a letter would have been more acceptable. I thought the cider would turn into vinegar before it got to you which I thought would be a rarity in your country. I live in Georgetown, formerly New Rowley, within a few rods of Bro : John's and he lives where the widow Pilsbury kept tavern when you lived in this place. Seven years ago the first day of this month I married Catherine Spofford daughter of Mr. William Spofford and we have one son only which is a son five years old the first day of last May and we are all in good health and I am in comfortable circumstances as to property, all my brothers and sisters are well off that they have enough to make them comfortable as riches we don't expect here in this place. Brother John has got the most property of any of us, but as for property it is but little consequence ; all we want is enough to live on. We can't carry anything out of the world and we ought to try make ourselves and our friends as comfortable as we can while we stay here in this world which will be but a short time if we should live to the common age of man. I hope it is not for the sake of property that keeps you away from your friends. We should all of us rejoice to see you if you was poor as though you were rich. I should be willing though I had but one dollar to give you half of it. You don't know how glad we should be to see you. If you should come soon perhaps you might see us all, if you should put it off long you cannot expect to. We cannot expect father to live but a few years at any rate if any of us do. It would be a time of rejoicing to see you here before any of us are taken away . We cannot tell who will go first old or young but I beseech you come and see your father if it is possible, come and see him if you have to go back again. You have been informed of the death of mother by Capt. North the only death in the family since you left which is not common for so long time. Father is married to the widow Tenny wife of David Tenny so called who lived on the corner. She used to keep his house when you lived here. Her name was Mary Saunders. I think he enjoys himself very well. I can go and see my father and all my brothers and sisters in one day except you only. Think if you were here how pleasant it would be Father, five brothers and two sisters all within a few miles of each other. Shall I live to see it I feel as though it might take place. If I could only see you to talk with you I could persuade you to do it. Many of your old friends would be glad to see you. George Spofford keeps store within five rods of my house, he often mentions about you, tells of the good times he has had with you, wishes to be remembered to you. I expected to have seen Capt. North but sickness prevented him from visiting us. It is now growing late in the evening and I am going to retire. I hope in the morning I shall think of something more to say.
Monday morning Sep. 24. It is now past 11 o'clock. I have been engaged all the morning. I dont know what to say. I have been looking round to find something to send you. I dont see anything to send you except a pair of boots. Perhaps you can wear them if not you can sell them. My wife and son send their respects to you and would be glad to see you. I hope you will write to me the first opportunity if you do not come to see us but I entreat you to come without fail. If I had not got any family I should like to come and see where you live. I wish I could think of more to say to you but I must bid you farewell from your friend and brother,
(8) From his brother JOHN B. SAVORY
Sep. 24, 1838.
To NATHANIEL SAVORY.
MY DEAR BROTHER,
Your letters by Capt. William North 2nd. were gratefully received the early part of last summer, notwithstanding you have been absent from us now about twenty-four years we have not forgotten you nor are our kind regards for your welfare at all diminished. We presume you are doing well so far as the mere matter 'of money making goes, and have you not made money enough already to enable you to return home to the land of your nativity and visit your father and your friends once more ? Our aged father yet lives and enjoys good health. He married a second wife April 5, 1836 as you will see by the family record which I send enclosed in the box herewith. This 2nd wife was the widow of David Tenny who used to live just above Little's corner on the Haverhill road. She has some property and she treats our father kindly we think he enjoys himself better than he would had he remained single By the family record above mentioned you will see that your brothers and sisters are all living and they all enjoy comfortable health. Sister Thurlow was quite sick last spring however and her health is not very firm now. You will see by said record the number of children each brother and sister (now married) have had and how many of their children have died, etc. Brother Eleazar only remains unmarried (except yourself). Speaking of Little's Corner above I believe that place was built up since you left it is the place then called Widow Pilsbury's Corner. I send you a map of the town of Rowley with a line drawn across it marking a division made last April by the General Court. New Rowley is now incorporated by the name of Georgetown, the place has been very much altered since you left here. By the map you can see the number of houses there was (in 1830) then in the town with the names of the owners quite a number have since been erected and the population considerably increased.
The manufacture of shoes is the principal business of the place and that is carried on to a great extent. The shoes are principally sold to southern and western merchants. The western states of this Union are now settling rapidly. My wife sends her best respects to you and wished me to inform you that her brother Wicom Hale who left here the same year that you did is now settled in New Albany, Indiana (a new western state) about 1500 mi. from here. He has visited us once and only once during the time. The amount of boots and shoes manufactured in this place in I 836 was (by a return then made) about 500,000 dollars worth. Eleazar desires to be remembered to you. He still remains a stiff old bachelor some say he has been courting most ever since you left here how much longer it will take to get a girl well courted I cannot tell. I suppose he wont marry till that is done. We have a Bank in this place with a capital of 100,000$. Benjamin Little is the President. He desires to be remembered to you. They all call him Uncle Ben yet.
I remain yours with
Sentiment of Respect
JOHN B. SAVORY.
(9) From his brother, ELEAZAR SAVORY.
Sep. 12. 1839.
I take this opportunity to inform you my health and the rest of the family. Your father is well and the rest of your brothers and sisters. My health is rather feeble at this time. It has been my intention to come out in the Barque Dan Quixote, and came to Boston on that business and was taken sick. I had got a good deal tress (?) to fetch out to you, but the doctor says I must not embark, if I should 'twill shorten my days so you must take the will for the deed. Dear brother, we want to have you return to America very much, all your friends would be exceeding happy to see you especially your aged father. Your brother Benjamin has got a boy named for you about six months old and a fine boy he is. I should think that you would like to come and see him. I send you one tin box of garden seeds by the barque. I left home eight days ago but I have heard from home this morning by M. Little and they are all well. Be so good as to come to your native land once more and see your near and dear friends.
I remain your sincere brother
(10) From his sister, JUDITH STICKNEY.
July 28, 1839.³
I have now commenced writing a few lines to an absent brother to inform you that this day would have been our mother's birthday if she had been living. But though she be dead may she still be speaking to us and saying 'Prepare to meet thy God.' This morning was Sabbath and my children was saying Mother where is this thing and that thing which put me to remembrance that it seemed but little while ago that we were together and calling upon our mother the same. But the great distance you are from us we little thought of then and it is quite too much to think of now with pleasure. But O, may it soon be said that our tears of grief are turned into joy. O Brother I have sat down to write a few lines on your Birthday although very tired with work but let us remember that every birthday brings us nearer our end and how important that we should spend every year and day as though it was the last for we know not what a day may bring forth. But was you situated so I could call and see you on that day or any other day or you could call and see me I should be very glad, but we seem to be debarred from those privileges now but I hope it will not be long before we have that favour granted us. I will leave this subject lest I should weary your patience and will now give some account of my family which is in pretty good health now and has been since I wrote last. Should you be so fortunate as to get these few imperfect lines may it find you the same. My husband and sons are very much engaged in gathering in the former harvest,, our hay is not so great as it is some years but how the latter harvest is to come in is known only to God who is so good as to send us showers and sunshine and may he continue the same blessing to each of us and may we not be ungrateful but thankful to Him who giveth us every good and perfect gift. My family remains the same as when I wrote last, the neighbours pretty much the same, they wish to be remembered to you and says they have not forgot you and says they would be glad to see you. Brother, your sister has a desire to write a few lines in respect to your brother Eleazar making you a visit and I am troubled in mind to know how to compose them so they may be comforting to you if he should not arrive to see you for his health is very poor, he is not able to perform what we call work but he has had a great desire to make you a visit ever since he heard where you was. But I must say he has caused me to weep and to mourn on account of his undertaking such a journey but did I know that he would be permitted to find you I would say Go and bring a dear Brother home with you and I think so far as I know the mind of Father, brothers and sisters they would utter the same sympathy and language. But I must leave these things with an all-wise being who has a wright to govern me and all as he thinks best, may we be enabled to say that all things are working for our good though they may seem grievous at the present. Should Brother set sail my prayers to God is that he may go out with joy and be led forth with peace and be received gladly wherever he shall land and may be sent back in safety and you with him and may his friends receive you both with gladness of heart and I think they will if you should be permitted to come. And now brother I must be drawing to a close lest I should weary your patience with these imperfect lines. But did I know you would see Brother Eleazar I should have written a little different from what I have but thinking it uncertain and not knowing whether the rest of the family will write I take liberty to inform you that we are all as well as can be expected considering cares and the work we have to perform. Sister Thurlow and Sister Stickney each of us send you a cheese and hopes you will have the pleasure of eating of them both.
This is from your friend and well wisher
Dear Brother, I feel as though I could not close up my letter without informing you that Brother Benjamin's family left my house yesterday all of them excepting Brother.
Today is the first day of September. They have another son born the first day of March and I think they will name it for you. They are at Sister Thurlow's to-day. They expect to return home on Tuesday. Their children are very pretty ones. Brother Robert has a son born your birthday and they would like to name it for you if Benjamin dont his.
(11) From NATHANIEL SAVORY to his sister.
(A reply to the previous letter.)
July 20, 1841.
Your letter dated 28th July 1839 was most gladly received by me the 20th of last month which was happy to say (thank God) met me in good health as I am at present. A few days more will be the birthday of our dear departed mother. Dearest sister, the Lord help and assist me to mingle my prayers with yours. May she still be saying Prepare to meet thy God. The past times you mention, our childhood and calling on our kind mother are scenes never to be forgotten by your brother Nathaniel, but the great distance that separates us debars us the privilege of seeing each other at present. I make no doubt you and the rest of the family have received the letters from me forwarded by Capt. North in 1839 and 40. I then stated my intention and determination of coming to the States to spend the remaining part of my days. But who can foretell the things of tomorrow? I have thus far been disappointed. I have not been able to effect a sale of my premises which would enable me to return home in a decent manner, but should my brother Eleazar arrive as I expect from what you express in your letter I shall try very hard to get home if I should have to return here again. But I am at a loss to know where he is. Isaac Adams writes date 25th August 1839, I send this by your brother Eleazar. I know not what to think, it causes me great anxiety of mind but my hopes are, trust in God, that he arrive in safety to this Island and feel it will be the happiest meeting ever experienced by your too long absent brother Nathaniel, who will if possible be more than a brother. I shall be as a father, anything I have shall be at his service; O, how I anticipate the joyful day but I have said enough, an hour or a moment is sufficient to destroy our greatest hopes, but let us all willingly submit to the divine will of Heaven, the great Father of the Universe who doeth all things according to his own good will and pleasure, dear sister, perhaps this is the last chance of writing this season and this a poor one an English ship bound to Japan and I hope will fall in with some American ship. If I have time I will write again tomorrow to my honoured and aged father; if not I inform you that I have been much disappointed by Capt. Squire Sandford of ship Phoenix N. Bedford is not calling here this month promising to take my letters and a small cask containing curiosities. But I dont expect he will it being too late in the season. I am well acquainted with Capt. Sandford and with all the officers and crew. He is a very candid man and has talked of calling on my father on his return home next Spring. I wish some of my brothers to go to N. Bedford as they ill learn many particulars concerning my affairs. Captain Sandford will be happy at seeing a brother or friend of mine in the States. I received no letter last season, and he only one this, is yours and one from my niece P. W. Pearson, one from Isaac. The seeds by Patience I have received. The cheese you and sister was so kind to send I can hear nothing of. It grieves me much the loss of anything from home especially from my beloved sisters. Adieu, give my love to my father, my respects to my mother in law, my love to all my brothers and sister Mercy, husbands wives and children and accept the same for your husband and children.
From your loving Brother
(12) From NATHANIEL SAVORY to hisFATHER.
July 21, 1841.
My anxiety of mind is greatly relieved in hearing from you. I received a letter from sister Judith the 20th of last month which brought me the joyful tidings of your being in the land of the living and in good health. I am astonished to hear you are able to labour in the field. Your great age has already exceeded the common age of man but if it should please God in His goodness to spare our lives to meet once more in this world I shall have a thousand pardons to ask not for crimes but the trouble and anxiety of mind which I have been the occasion of. I know not what has been my thoughts in my younger days to treat the best of parents with the neglect which I have done but I feel all my Father would express My son return to my arms and be forgiven . I know your tender feelings and I beg and beseech you will not suffer grief to oppress you but rather be cheerful. You have been blest by having your children (except myself) settled so near you and becoming respectable members of society. all who I hope and trust are kind to you and happy I am to hear my mother in law [should be "stepmother"] treats you with great kindness. I mentioned in my former letters of coming home which was my intention and is, yet if an opportunity offers but I have no prospect at present. If I had I should wait till I see brother Eleazar or hear from him as I hear by sister's letter and one from J. Adams I judge he is somewhere on his way. Should he arrive and his health should admit I shall have one to leave in charge of my affairs. Be assured it is no want of inclination that I have not been home. I acknowledge I am loath to leave what I have earned and gained by honesty and industry. I am very glad to hear Eleazar is coming. I have long been wishing to invite him but was afraid it would cause you and the family a great deal of sorrow, but I hope all our sorrows may be turned into joy and in all things the Lord's will be done. I am endeavouring to do my duty to the best of my abilities. I hope you received the articles I sent you by my friend Capt. North who promised me he would come and see you, as I thought it would be a great satisfaction to hear so much from me. I have become acquainted with a number of masters of vessels from Nan-tucket and N. Bedford this two years past. One Capt. Sandford, Ship Phoenix N.B. a fine man who I hope will call and see you, and Capt. Neel of Salem who is acquainted with brother Ben and family. I have nothing particular to inform you of respecting my circumstances. I am doing the best I can. When you receive this letter let it comfort you and not depress your feelings. Oh Father if I could see you once more in this world which I hope I shall my mind would be at ease. Blessed are they that trust in the Lord. Give my love to my Mother in law [sic] to brothers and sisters and friends and receive the affections and love from your absent son
To MR. BENJAMIN SAVORY
(13) To NATHANIEL SAVORY from his brother BENJAMIN.
March 22, 1843.
I now take this opportunity of printing a few lines to you to inform you that we are well at present and hope that the lines will find you enjoying the same blessing. I received your letter from Capt. Neal and was very glad to hear from you but should be very glad to see you. We are looking for you all the time. Capt. Neal told me that he thought you would be home before he was. I believe there has not been any letters sent to you since you sent the box by Capt. North. I should have wrote before this had I not expected you would have been home before this time. Father enjoys very good health considering his age. I have hot seen him for a year and a half. You will think that I am very neglectful for not going to see him for so long a time. Nor have I seen Sister Thurlow within that time. Sister Stickney has been to Salem this winter or I should not have seen her. Julia S. Thurlow is married to Mr. Harriman of Georgetown son of Moses Harriman whom you know. I do not know whether any of the rest are going to write to you this time. I told Wilcom H. Savory that he must write and let the others know that there was a chance to send to you, but have not seen him since but I thought that I would write a few lines. I have a chance of sending this letter by Capt. Geo. Brown of Beverley Mass. who's going to sail for the Sandwich Islands. He is to be stationed there as commission merchant. I have nothing more to write for news. I should have wrote more if I thought that you would be at the Bonin Islands and should have sent you some papers if you have not left when you receive this letter you will write as soon as you can and every opportunity if it be but a few lines.
From your affectionate brother
(14) From his nephew WICOM, son of JOHN B. SAVORY.
March 26, 1843.
I take this opportunity as I have a few moments to write to inform you a little how things stand this way. As to business at this time it is very dull indeed. Folks do not hardly know what they are all a coming to. I am in my twenty third year and have this year commenced business in company with a Mr. Ayer the dry goods line. I have been in the store with Father for three years past and now we have taken his store and are doing a cash business. Father is in the Tavern same as usual and trading Horses and everything else that he thinks he can make a dollar by. His health is first rate together with Mother and the rest of the children. I have not known what it is to have a sick day for many years (I wish I was out with you). Aunt Thurlow's health is very poor indeed and I dont think we shall have her to stay with us long. She often speaks of you and says it seems as though she could not die before she sees you. Aunt Stickney's health is very good and all the rest of the family. They seem to enjoy life finely and take it just as it comes along. As to Grandfather you can realize how he does want to see you. He says it seems to him as though he should never see you for he has been expecting to see you for a year or two past and you have not come and he is well aware that he cannot live much longer yet he may. I think his health is as good as you can expect for an old man at that age. I think he worries himself very much about you for fear that you will not visit this way at present. He tells me to write you that if you have any kind of regard for him to come on this way immediately. Eleazar is married and lives in the old Granite state. I am very well acquainted with his wife and I think she is a very good kind of woman. She has got some money and that tells the story. I should just as quick as thought that the heavens and the earth would have come together as that he would have got married. His health is very good for him and I expect now he has got married he will be fat as a seal. The folks this way think that you are on your way and that you wont get this letter but if you should they want to have you come the first opportunity for they are all very anxious indeed about seeing you. When you come I hope you will bring us a good lot of shells and curiosities. I have not said anything about Uncle Benjamin's folks for I supposed he is a going to write. I dont know as I can tell you any news that would be very interesting. I hope we shall have the pleasure of seeing you this way soon never to return back to that country again. Do come soon.
Yours with the greatest of Respect
WICOM H. SAVORY.
Son of the Hon. John B. Savory.
Politeness of CAPT. GEORGE BROWN.
MR. NATHANIEL SAVORY
To care MR. RUNNELS.
(15) From his sister, JUDITH STICKNEY.
Oct. 20, 1845.
I have a desire to write a few lines in answer to your last kind affectionate letter dated July 1st. 1840, which I received not far from one year after and likewise a very pleasant visit from Capt. North and wife and I think it will be pleasing to you to hear that your father waited upon them to my dwelling place. They took tea with us and would inform you that we received them kindly and gladly for he gave us such an interesting account of your affairs that it made it a very pleasant meeting. He said he thought in the course of one more year you would be here. I thought that the time would soon roll away but I have been very anxious for your return ever since the length of time is above four years. O Brother I must express my feelings are so tender that I know not how to compose a few lines as I should like to. The first of July I was down on a visit to Sister Thurlow and she and I was a talking about you. I told her that I had about given over ever hearing from you again but I was happily disappointed. The day before your birthday Capt. Bunker and his wife came to see us and dined with us and we gave them a cordial welcome but what he told us about your coming seems to be uncertain. I told him that strangers was very good to come and see us with tears in my eyes and I said I thought you might do as much as they did but I hope they will all be rewarded here or hereafter for the kindness to the family they have manifested and likewise to you for directing them to us but I hope coming and going will not fully satisfy you from striving to come to see your near and dear friends for if you delay it till we are laid in the cold grave you may have wished you had come before. But you and I do know life is uncertain and death is certain. How soon we shall be called to meet our Judge we know not and how important that we lay these things suitable to heart so that we may have the approbation of our Judge 'well done, good and faithful servants enter thou into the joy of your Lord. Lest I should weary your patience with my poor composition and mean writing I will leave here and return to the family for I think it will give you more satisfaction to hear something about them. As to our healths we are all able to perform labour which is the greatest blessing we can have here is health of body and health of mind. My constant family consists of seven, my husband and his sister and Mr. Sawyer and my three children. They are all at home. It gives me great satisfaction to have them with me. My husband has done the farming last year mostly and the boys are busily engaged in shoemaking. Betty has just commenced going to school for the winter term, she is tall as her mother, you must judge how old I must feel when you think how old my children are. My eyesight begins to fail me, I write with glasses on, my strength fails me at times, I feel quite old and my memory goes with the rest of my faculties will soon be gone. I cannot close writing without remembering our father desires to see you for I think they are very great. He often says he never shall see you and unless you should return soon tis not likely he will although his health is better than could be expected, he is able to carry on what land he improves, he seems to be comfortly for the things of this world and I hope he is laying up treasures for another. Time will not permit me to write what I want to but you must excuse me and from whence it came. I expect therewill more of the family write to you so I shall not write so many particular things as I should if that was not the case. Your sister Mercy, wanted me to remember her in particular, she wants to see you very much and you will ever be remembered by your dear sisters. Brother Eleazar is married and moved to Epsom about 40 mi. off. His health is rather poor. I think he will be deprived of this opportunity of writing, but do not think it is because he would not like to have written for he ever has taken a very active part to hear from you and send to you. He would have made you a visit if his constitution been so that he could performed the journey. So you must take the will for the deed. I have sent you a little visiter another book the daily food and a few tracks and may they prove a comfort to you and those around you. But above all things look into your Bible daily and if we are weary and heavy laden may we go to Christ who has died to atone for our sins and may we look and live. If my cares was no more than when you left home I would gladly have filled up this whole sheet of paper. It has been very dry with us this season but our crops have come in about middling we think. There has been and continues still to be deaths often but when it will enter our dwellings God only knows. May we stand ready if He calls to say Hear Lord do as seemeth good in thy sight. I must close with requesting you to excuse my misspelt words and black marks. In health and prosperity I hope these lines will find you is the desire of your unworthy sister
Do come or write the first opportunity but I hope I shall once more behold your face in this world, for we shall all be glad to see you. Farewell. Give Capt. Bunker my best respects. Thank him for coming to see us.
(16) Copy of a letter which it will be convenient to insert here from CAPT. NORTH alluded to in the above letter.
July the 30th. A.D. 1841.
It is with much pleasure that I set myself to communicate to you these few lines to inform you of my health which is not very good at this time hoping that this may find you enjoying perfect health peace and prosperity. I will inform you that I made a short visit to Georgetown in the month of June last where I found all your dear brothers and sisters and father and Mother enjoying perfect health. I will inform you that they expect you home in the space of one or two years. They are all doing well in their employment. I took tea with your sister Stickney and enjoyed a good glass of punch with your father at five in the morning after taking tea with him and wife the evening previous together with Mrs. North. They all feel very desirous for you to come home to America. Your father feels very much about your not coming home while you was in Salem but he feels in great hopes to see you once again in this world of trouble. You must write him every opportunity. Please give my best respects to Thomas Baily and Wm. Gilley and to my old friend Mr. A. B. Chapin and all of my acquaintance.
I remain your esteemed friend
To Mr. N. Savory at the Bonin Islands.
(17) To NATHANIEL, from his brother, BENJAMIN SAVORY.
Nov. 7. 1845.
I improve this opportunity in writing a few lines to you to inform you that I am well and Family except my wife. Her health is very poor and has been for some years but she attends to her family concerns and hope that these lines will find you enjoying the same blessing and good circumstances so that you will be able to come to native country once more if you are able so to do. If you only knew the wish that our aged Father and Brothers and sisters had for you to come I doubt not that you would come back the first opportunity you had after receiving these letters. I saw father and sister Thurlow John and Robert Oct. 1845. Father expressed great desire to see you before that he departed this life, but, said he, it is not likely that I ever shall. Said he, it is not to be expected that I can live many years on yet, and I thought so too, but I didnt tell him so, his health appears to be very good. When I received the letters by Capt. Neal we thought that you would be at home long ere before this but we suppose that, you have altered your mind. I hope that you will think better of it and return as soon as you receive these letters on return of Capt. Bunker if you can. Capt. Bunker thought it was very uncertain about your coming back at present but I hope that you will think better of it and come immediately. Your money will not do you any good if you stay on the Island too long. It would be great consolation for you to come home and see all your brothers and sisters living but life is very uncertain but I hope you will improve the first opportunity in coming home, it would give us so much satisfaction in seeing you who had been absent so long a time. But I do not expect to even to see you in this world but I do think if you only knew what desire that your friends had for you to come you would not stay long after you receive these lines. I never see sister Thurlow nor Stickney but what there is some conversation respecting you whether I think you will come back again which is a very hard question to answer. You can answer it when you write to us again but hope you will answer it by coming yourself. I shall expect to hear from you before you will receive these letters. I see by the papers of a ship which belongs to New Bedford bound for Bonin Islands which I hope you will write so that we may hear from you and hope that you will write by every ship that comes to Bonin Islands or is coming to any ports of America or to Sandwich Islands. There is ships coming from the Islands every little while if you will improve the opportunity. I send you a box containing some books newspapers or the beans Sister Thurlow and Sister Stickney has wrote all the particulars about I suppose. John and Robert, I have not received their letters. I have sent to them twice but they have not sent them yet. I shall close the box tomorrow. Benjamin my son has sent you a Book marker 'absent but not forgotten,' the other is from my daughter which she worked for her Uncle. They thought it would be something new to you to see done with a needle. Benjamin aged 13 years, Mary aged 8 years. I have forgotten to say anything about Brother Eleazar, he is in the country and does not know that there is a chance of sending out to you, you will excuse him for not writing to you. But John and Robert there is not any excuse for not. I expected that Uncle Benjamin Little would have written to you as I told him that I was a going to send to you but have not received his. I send you a few pens so that you may write a few more letters to me and write every opportunity. If you have only little curiosities to send you may send some to my children as they would think it very nice if anything came from you one that they have never seen and one that they have heard so much about. You will excuse my bad writing and spelling as I am a very bad hand to write letters. You are all the one that I write to. I should have wrote before this had I not thought that you would have come home before this time. When you wrote to me the last time you wrote not to send you out anything more and have been waiting all this time to see you and probable shall have to wait a long time before seeing you, but I do hope that if you have health that you will come with Capt. Bunker when he comes back.
Write every opportunity,
I am your affectionate Brother
No family letters have been preserved after this date. It is possible that all later ones were destroyed by the tidal wave in 1872 to which reference is made at the end of Chapter VIII.
The letters sufficiently prove that true affection existed between Nathaniel and all the members of his family. Even in his letter to his father while he asks forgiveness for having forsaken his home, he professes himself innocent of anything in the nature of a crime. We gather from the letters that, during the "forties," Nathaniel had been seriously contemplating leaving the Bonins for good and returning to his family; also that one of his brothers, Eleazar, had been on the point of setting out to pay him a visit.
Ή i.e. the help they give me.
² Referring, I suppose, to the lost finger of his right hand.
³ N.B. This letter reached Nathaniel June 20, 1841!
COMMODORE PERRY'S VISIT
No one, I think, can have read the letters in the foregoing chapters without feeling kindly disposed towards Nathaniel Savory and persuaded that, whether he was Englishman or not, he had truest right especially now that Mazarro was dead and Millinchamp out of the way to be the head of the Bonin settlement. The situation was a strange and unsatisfactory one a colony on islands which, though an English possession, England was doing nothing to keep possession of. Nathaniel would have been perfectly happy and content under a proper English governor, but if the settlers were left to themselves not one amongst them had any right to be governor but himself. But how could he, American as he was, be governor in the face of the accepted belief that the islands belonged to Great Britain ? Here was the problem, and providence was so ordering it that a great American from outside was now coming to the support of our American friend on the island.
Commodore Perry, having for the time detached his flagship the Susquehanna from the other ships of the United States' squadron under his command, arrived in the Bonin harbour from the Loo Choo Islands on June 14 in the year 1853. This was no accidental visit, nor one paid just from motives of friendliness or curiosity. The Commodore meant business, as we shall see, and he was not a man who easily brooked being thwarted. I must confess to being almost sorry that he did not do a little bombarding and in fine old-fashioned style capture the islands. But he did everything short of this. The idea that the islands belonged to England he would hardly tolerate, and, in the account of his expedition, he describes Captain Beechey as an accidental visitor who with the proverbial modesty of an Englishman freely dowered the islands with English names. He is annoyed at having to use these names himself and claims for the S. Island that it had received the earlier name of Coffin Island from a Captain Coffin of an American whaler. "The English," he writes, "have not a particle of claim to priority of discovery." Further it pleases him to state that "the inhabitants practically disown the paternity of the English sovereign," and that "the right of sovereignty undoubtedly belongs to Japan as the earliest known occupant of the islands.
We have had Alexander Simpson, the British Consul at Honolulu's account of the first founding of the Bonin colony, and we noticed how the only two names given by him of the first colonists were those of Matthew [sic] Mazarro and John Millinchamp. The following, however, is the Commodore's version: "In 1880," so he writes "several Americans and Europeans came to the Bonins from the Sandwich Islands. . . . The leaders of this adventure were five men, two originally from the United States Nathaniel Savory and Aldin B. Chapin of Massachusetts one from England of the name of Richard Mildtchamp, one Charles Johnson of Denmark, and the fifth a Genoese known as Matteo Mazara.
It will be seen that while Matthew Mazarro, presumably a British subject, and undoubtedly the first recognized head of the settlers, was given the first place by Mr. Simpson; Matteo Mazara, the Genoese, is here placed last in the list by Commodore Perry, and the first place given to Nathaniel Savory, of whom, I am afraid, Mr. Simpson deliberately made no mention.
Nathaniel Savory was now the only survivor of the first party of adventurers, and the total number of inhabitants now on Peel Island is given by Commodore Perry as thirty-one in all, made up of four Americans, about the same number of Englishmen, one Portuguese, and natives of the Pacific islands with children actually born on the Bonins. They are reported as being happy and contented and as having no desire to change their condition "leading as they are doing, a quiet and easy life in a climate which is genial and wholesome, and upon a land whose fertility supplies them, in return for but little labour, with all they want for their sustenance.
June 14, as mentioned above, was the day of the Susquehanna's arrival. The following day was one of exploring activity and big transactions. The latter Commodore Perry conducted himself; but for the exploring of the islands two parties were formed, one headed by Mr. Bayard Taylor, the well-known traveller, who had joined the Susquehanna at Shanghai; and the other by Dr. Fahs, the assistant surgeon. The island to the south of the harbour fell to the share of Mr. Taylor's party and a full account of their adventures has been chronicled.
They fell in with a man called John Marquese, whose services they secured as guide. He seems to have come to the islands as a lad with the original settlers and to have been a native of the Marquesas Islands hence his nickname. He had a face tattooed light blue and was clothed in a coarse cotton shirt and trousers. He introduced himself to the party by the dignified name of "Judge." They report him to have been in a very flourishing condition with a hut to live in, a plantation to cultivate, and "as making a fair show of livestock with his dogs and four pigs.
To one who is familiar with the Bonin Island today the account of the day's adventures is chiefly interesting as showing how vastly the island has changed. We read of "vegetation in tropical profusion," of the "denseness of the woods," of the "wildness of tropical growth," of the "dew dripping from the thick foliage"; the party also lighted on the lair of a wild boar. To-day the feature of the island is rather its barrenness, and on Peel Island not a wild animal of any kind survives.
While the two parties in the heat of this mid-summer's day were arduously making their way through the tangled growths and exploring the island, Commodore Perry for his part was busy with Nathaniel Savory, and the following docu-ments and letters, bearing the date of this very day, will sufficiently reveal the nature of the high transactions that had been taking place.
|Title deed of Property
COMMODORE M. C. PERRY.
June 15, 1853.
Be it known that on this Fifteenth day of June in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty Three I Nathaniel Savory born in the United States of America and Twenty three years a resident of this Island having in the year One Thousand Eight Hundred, and Thirty Six located, staked out and held as my own property according to the usage of the Island, all that certain portion, parcel or piece of ground fronting on what is called the Ten Fathom Hole, the same being a part of the Bay or Harbour of Port Lloyd in the said Island commonly called and known at present as Peel Island including the entire and both sides of the Creek which empties into the said Harbour called Ten Fathom Hole of one thousand yards more or less with a depth from low water mark of Five hundred yards more or less between parallel lines, all of which said piece or parcel of ground together with the Creek hereinbefore mentioned I have and do by these presents sell transfer assign and make over unto Commodore M. C. Perry of the United States Navy here present accepting and acknowledging due delivery and possession thereof for himself his heirs and assigns for ever together with all my right, title and interest whatsoever thereunto appertaining.
The said sale is made for and in consideration of the sum of Fifty Dollars and other benefits and which said sum of Fifty Dollars with other benefits the said Nathaniel Savory hereby acknowledges the receipt thereof and grants acquittance therefor.
Thus done and signed in the Island known as Peel Island on the Day Month and Year first above written, in the presence of Edwin Fithean Jr. and John Green lawful witnesses above the age of Twenty one.
U.S. Steam Frigate Susquehanna.
PORT LLOYD, PEEL ISLAND,
June 15, 1853.
I give you charge as my agent of the piece of ground this day purchased of you by me, and request that you will forbid the cutting of timber, or any trespass thereon on pain of the penalties of the law.
Respectfully your obedient servant
M. C. PERRY.
MR. NATHANIEL SAVORY,
Port Lloyd, Peel Island.
U.S. Steam Frigate Susquehanna.
PORT LLOYD, PEEL ISLAND,
June 15, 1853.
I hereby appoint you Agent to look after and take charge of certain live stock landed from the ship for the purpose of improving the breed of animals useful in husbandry, the pasturage of this and the neighbouring islands being abundant. And I have to direct that none of the said animals be killed until after the exploration of five years from this date recommending at the same time that the bulls and cows be permitted to multiply even after that time in view of furnishing to the farmers of the Islands a sufficient number of cattle for the plough and other agricultural and useful purposes. I also appoint you agent for the United States Squadron under my command at the Bonin Islands to look after the comfort and interests of anyone who may land at the Islands from the said Squadron and to take charge of all property belonging to said Squadron or to the United States and you are invested with authority to act accordingly. One man John Smith belonging to the U.S. Naval Service will be landed from this ship to assist you in the duties entrusted to your charge and he will have orders to refer to you for advice and instructions. I have caused your name to be placed upon the books of this ship for pay and provisions and you are consequently attached to the Navy of the United States and possessed of all the privileges and immunities to be derived therefrom.
Your obedient servant,
Commander-in-Chief U.S. Naval Forces
East India, China and Japan Seas.
NATHANIEL SAVORY. ESQ.
Port Lloyd, Peel Island.
Instructions to JOHN SMITH Ordinary Seaman.
You will be left on shore at this place for the purpose of assisting Mr. Nathaniel Savory whom I have appointed Agent for the Squadron and you will be careful to conduct yourself in a manner alike creditable to yourself and the ship.
It is probable that a ship of the Squadron will be here in three months but in case of any unexpected delay in her coming six months' provisions have been provided for you.
You will keep a Diary of every event that occurs on the Island noting down the names of every vessel that may arrive or depart or have communication with the Port; also noting the name of the respective masters, the Cargoes of the vessels, where from and where bound, and if whalers, how much oil they have. And you will notify all men who may leave merchant ships or whalers of any nation that they will not be received on board of any ship of this Squadron unless by permission of their Captain.
And warn all people of the Island not to harbour deserters from the U.S. Squadron under penalty of the law.
You will consider yourself as under-assistant to Mr. Savory and :will look to him for advice and instructions.
M. C. PERRY,
Commanding U.S. East Indian Squadron.
U.S. Steam Frigate Susquehanna,
PORT LLOYD, PEEL ISLAND. June 1853.
The Commodore had certainly been making good use of his day. If England did not value these islands to the extent of establishing a government on them, why should her sovereignty over them be respected, and America be debarred from deriving any advantages from them that they might offer her? Thus had the Commodore reasoned with himself, and, in anything that he had chosen to do, it had been convenient to him to believe that England had no right to question his actions and that he was really answerable only to the Government of that mysterious country with which he was now on his way to attempt to open negotiations.
Fortunately the Commodore had found the person of chief importance on the island to be an American citizen, and this American, Nathaniel Savory, he placed at once, as we learn from the above documents, in a position of authority by appointing him agent on the island to the United States Squadron with a stipulated salary and with one of his trusted seamen, John Smith, to act as his assistant. Further he purchased from the same Nathaniel Savory a considerable tract of land fronting the bay, a property of which the former owner was now to be the guardian.
On the two remaining days that the Susquehanna remained in port, the Commodore gathered the leading settlers together and with them made a preliminary draft of a code of rules for their government to which they all with an easyplacidity, which has ever characterized them, gave their serious assent. This code consisted of three articles, and thirteen sections, and was called "Organization of the settlers of Peel Island." It provided for the election of a Chief Magistrate and Council, of two persons to be elected by and from amongst the settlers, the Chief Magistrate and Council to have power to enact rules and make regulations to be binding on the residents provided the concurrence and approval of two-thirds of the whole number of residents had been obtained.
Under these rules, which however were not formally adopted until August 28, 1853, Nathaniel Savory was elected as Chief Magistrate and James Motley and Thomas H. Webb as Councilmen. The document was signed by Nathaniel Savory, Thomas H. Webb, James Motley, William Gilley, John Brava, Joseph Cullen, George Brava and George Horton. The rules, however, were never enforced, and the existence of the scheme in a few years' time passed out of remembrance.
Quite apart from his political schemes, everything goes to prove, both at the time of his visit and subsequently, that the Commodore was humanely interested in the welfare of these island settlers, and among the acceptable presents he left behind him were four head of cattle, five Shanghai sheep and six goats.
It now remains to be told what the purpose of the Commodore was in visiting the islands, and why he was so anxious that America should establish a footing on them. In a letter from Napha, the port of Loo Choo, to the U.S.A. Naval Department, he writes: As my instructions direct me to seek out and establish ports of refuge and refreshment for vessels traversing these distant seas, I have kept constantly in view the port in which we are now at anchor, and the principal harbour of the Bonin Islands, as well for general convenience of resort as to furnish connecting links or suitable stopping places for a line of mail steamers which, I trust may soon be established between some one of our Pacific ports and China an event so much to be desired, and, if accomplished, one that will be distinguished, even in the history of these remarkable times, as of the highest importance to the commerce of the United States and of the world.
If the choice lay between the Loo Choo port and the port of the Bonin Islands, in a later document, written on his return to America, the Commodore gives forcible reasons for his preference for the latter, and allows himself to indulge in a dream of the future prosperity of the Bonin colony. "Materials should be first transported to the islands for the construction of a large storehouse and a few small dwellings." In a short time a prosperous colony could be built up, and whaling vessels, American, English and French would resort in great numbers to the port for refreshments and supplies." He even contemplates that the settlement might form the nucleus of a religious and happy community" and that "a missionary station might be formed from whence missionaries at a proper season might be sent to Japan, Formosa, and other benighted countries in that part of the globe." We can hardly repress a smile when we read these words to-day, but here we have the Commodore's noble dream of the Bonin possibilities. There is not, a little irony in the fact that after his departure from the Bonin Islands the next immediate intention of the Commodore was to discover the position of Disappointment Island. If he could only have known it, he could have bestowed no more appropriate name on the island he was now leaving.
FROM 1853 TO 1861
NATHANIEL SAVORY, citizen of the United States, is now the "Chief Magistrate" on the Bonin Islands and, in virtue of the office he holds as the agent of the U.S. Squadron, the Stars and Stripes and not the Union Jack is the flag that he runs up on his flagstaff. We have nothing but goodwill towards Nathaniel, but somehow, where the Union Jack had once been flying, we do not like to see it dismissed in a cavalier way by an American officer and told that its services are no longer required.
But Commodore Perry was after all not to have a quiet walk-over. Our old friend Mr. Alexander Simpson the stout defender of British interests, whether now retired from the Consular Service or not I cannot say got wind of what had been happening, and from Scotland had the courage to write a brief letter to Lord Clarendon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In it he practically put three questions to his lordship: whether he was aware that there were certain islands known as the Bonin Islands which belonged to Great Britain? Secondly, whether he was aware of their importance? Thirdly, whether he was aware of the fact that the officer commanding the United States' expedition to Japan had made purchase on the main island of land for a Government Coal Depot?
As a result of that letter, when Commodore Perry was refitting at Hong-Kong in the winter of 1853 on his return from his first visit to Japan, he was not too well pleased when the Governor, Sir George Bonham, called on him one day and informed him that there was a little matter in connexion with the Bonin Islands that he had been instructed by his Government to inquire about. No doubt the Commodore would be obliging enough to tell him what he had done there and just with what intention he had made purchase of a site of land on the harbour. I say that the Commodore was not too well pleased at being thus unexpectedly called on to render an account of his actions to a British Governor, the more so because he had been coming to a conclusion in his own mind that whatever warrant there was for England to claim rights over the central island of the Bonin group, she had no warrant whatever to extend her claim over the South Island. That island, though he had taken upon himself to name it Bailey Island, had never been visited by Captain Beechey, and undoubtedly had been previously named Coffin Island by Captain Coffin of an American whaler. The outcome of these reflections was that when the Commodore had come on to Hong-Kong from Japan he had told off Captain Kelly of the Plymouth to call at the Bonin Islands and to formally take possession of the S. Island in the name of the United States. This, I may say, Captain Kelly did, and following Captain Beechey's example had a copper plate announcing the fact fixed to a sycamore tree near the landing stage. The Commodore said nothing about this further little move of his in the letter of explanation that he wrote to Sir George Bonham. For the rest, he put as simple a construction on his actions as they could bear: The question of the ownership of the island, he contended, was not one for him to enter into: the British Government must, if necessary, satisfy the United States Government of Great Britain's right to them: the purchase of the land had been a private purchase, but designed to facilitate the securing of a good position for a coal depot in the event of the Bonin port becoming a port of refuge and supply for steamers plying between California and China; he further contended that it was practically in the common interests alike of Great Britain and the United States to work together for the securing of such a port and for the making it as convenient and as serviceable a port as possible. This, as far as we know, was the end of the matter. It might not have been, had the port scheme come to anything, but it did not, and the Commodore's investment in land proved, I am afraid, of no advantage either to himself or to his country.
The stay of the Plymouth at the Bonin Islands was marked by an untoward accident. One of her cutters with fourteen men on board had gone outside the harbour in the face of a somewhat rough sea and was never more heard of, there being no doubt that she capsized with all hands, not one of whom ever reached shore.
It fell to the Plymouth to contribute to the Bonin colony one of its not least notable recruits. This was a man called George Horton, formerly an English seaman who had fought under Lord Nelson at Trafalgar and the Nile. Somehow he had come to be serving on the Plymouth as Quartermaster, and by his own request, his term having expired, he was discharged and forthwith threw in his lot with the settlers. In 1862, when he was an old man of eighty he was involved in a serious quarrel with the captain of a Japanese whaler. It was over a chest which Horton had undertaken to fetch in a boat from the whaler and bring on shore for the presumable owner. He was challenged by the captain, but neither of them being able to speak the language of the other, and neither of them being in a civil mood, it came to this, that Horton was determined to take the chest away and the captain was equally determined that he should not. It is quite possible that the captain may have had good grounds for not allowing the chest to be taken away, but his Japanese blood was up and, the whaler being on the point of sailing, he ruthlessly made the old man a prisoner and took him bound with a rope to Yokohama where he was charged in the United States' Consular Court with making a "piratical attempt" (!) on the vessel. The fact that Horton at the time happened to have an old gun with him was cited in support of the absurd charge, but he was, of course, acquitted, and the Japanese were called upon either to replace him in possession of his house and clearing on the island, or to deposit a thousand dollars with the American Consul to be applied to his support in Yokohama. The latter course was agreed to, and Horton was thus supported till his death, which took place about two years later. A tombstone was erected to his memory which may be seen to-day in the cemetery at Yokohama.
In 1854 a squadron of Russian ships entered Port Lloyd. Here was an opportunity for further complications to have arisen but, having had her look at them, Russia apparently came to the conclusion that she had no use for the islands and left them unmolested. Following close on this visit came the Macedonian, another ship of the Commodore's squadron, under Captain Abbot, and on her way from Japan to Formosa with a view of ascertaining what coal supply there was on that island. Captain Abbot was the bearer of a letter from the Commodore to his Bonin agent. It is the last we have of his, and reads as follows:
U.S. Flagship Powhatan.
YEDO BAY, JAPAN,
April 10th, 1854.
As I expect soon to return to the United States I have directed Captain Abbot in command of the Frigate Macedonia to pay to you the compensation allowed for your services to the Squadron up to the last day of this month (April).
Meanwhile I shall be glad if you will continue to give your best attention to the interests with which you have been charged, and will suggest to the Government on my return to Washington the propriety of making you some future allowance. It is to be hoped that steps may ere long be taken to give greater importance to Port Lloyd, and that the condition of the settlers may be improved, and I can only recommend the observance of temperance, good order and industry to all those who have determined to spend their lives upon the Island. Captain Abbot has been requested to purchase for the use of the Squadron whatever of refreshments the settlers can conveniently spare without stinting themselves.
I hope you have taken good care of the stock I left upon the Islands and that the animals have all multiplied.
Orders will be given by Captain Abbot forbidding the destruction of any of either description, or the goats on the adjacent Islands. It must be understood that the sovereignty of the Bonin Islands has not yet been settled, and the interest taken by me in the welfare and prosperity of the settlement has solely in view the advantage of commerce generally.
Your obedient servant,
M. C. PERRY.
MR. NATHANIEL SAVORY,
It amuses us to see in that cautious reference to the sovereignty of the island how a certain letter written by a Mr. Simpson in Scotland had not been without its effects.
Commodore Perry having been primarily responsible for re-opening the long closed doors of Japan, we are now passing on to the first attempt made by the Japanese to re-establish themselves on the island. This was in the year 1861. First, however, place must be given to two interesting letters, respectively dated 1855 and 1859, from Nathaniel Savory's trading friends in Honolulu, and to a remarkable document concerning a consignment of new inhabitants from the master of a whaler.
Copy of a letter from JAMES ABRAHAM to NATHANIEL SAVORY.
Jan. 23rd, 1855.
MR. NATHANIEL SAVORY.
I send by Mr. Mutley these few lines with a few late papers hoping that you will avail yourself of the contents. It is the first opportunity that has come to me to write to you in that remote part of the world and the first time that I have heard from you direct since I saw Michael Gilley in California and there wrote a letter to you for him, but Mutley tells me it never reached you so I will give you the contents as near as I can remember. He wished you to oversee the affairs of the Farm and requested you to see that Fanny did not want, also to take care of George if he came back and he would settle all accounts. Mutley tells me you are quite anxious about Mike. All that I know about him is that he was still living about 2 years ago and keeping a stores in the mines in California but what part I could not learn because Fanny says she saw him since I was there, but for particulars you must ask her about it. George has been here 2 or 3 times but I could not persuade him to go home and see his mother. He seems to like this place so much; also Lucy she is wavering still whether she will go there or stay where she is. Little Victoria Hazavia is still under the care of Mr. Reynolds. She has grown quite fat and makes a good appearance among the natives. She is better here. Times in Honolulu are not what they were when you was here. We have steamboats and Steam Mill Foundry etc. The natives are getting wide awake for money. We have had a sad loss in the death of King Kamahameha 3rd but is succeeded by Prince Alexander who I think will rule despotic. Trade at the Sandwich Islands is increasing fast, the market is overstocked with goods and things are cheap, the exports are in demand on the coast, sugar molasses and other Island produce fetch a good price. The Whaling Fleet has not done much last season some without a whale but still they go ahead; still we have had a great many men of war of different nations in port all the season which has kept the money market brisk. There are three at anchor now, one French frigate, one American sloop of war and the Trincomalee [?] English. There has been great talk about annexation to U. States, but I don't think it will take place yet. There is strong opposition but sooner or later it will fall into the hands of the Americans though I don't know what they will gain by it. I hope, Mr. Savory that you are doing well and in good health. I hear you have a commission from Commodore Perry and am glad to hear of it. Mutley tells me that things stand the same as usual. Remember me to all the residents on the Island. I have some thoughts to settle there myself sometime or other. I hope you will gain some news by the papers that I have sent. They are the latest we have received by the last mail and will be interesting to you. We have a mail about every 3 weeks from the coast [or " court "] and the smoke from the guns at Sebastopul has hardly cleared away before we know the result. Although Death is scattered around and war is sweeping with destruction amongst the mighty nations of the earth we are quiet here on the Isle of the Ocean and I pray God that peace may remain,
I remain, Sir,
P.S. If you have an opportunity of sending me a few lines I should like it very much, direct to me Honolulu.
Copy of a letter to NATHANIEL SAVORY from SHERMAN PECK.
HONOLULU SAND ISLANDS.
November 12th, 1859.
MR. N. SAVORY.
Years have elapsed since I had the pleasure of meeting you and perhaps you have forgotten me after so long a time has elapsed. At the time of your misfortune in losing a part of your hand in firing a salute, I was a resident of these Islands and saw you off on the schooner fitted out by Mr. Charleston and A. B. Thompson and have always kept you in remembrance and made frequent inquiries of your welfare. I was doing business at Lahuina Mani from 1840 to 1847 and put up many little orders for you handed me by ship masters. I was doing business under the firm of Peck & Co. I am now located at this place and connected in business with Mr. C. Brewer a nephew of Capt. Charles Brewer which you recollect at these Islands in 1830 who was afterwards connected with Henry A. Pierce who took the business off Mr. Honniwell. We are under the name of C. Brewer & Co. My friend Capt. Nye informs me that goats have become very abundant on the Bonin Islands, and you may not be aware of the value of the skins. They have been for many years a great article of export from these Islands. The price ranges from 15 cts. to 35 cts. each according to size and will average 28 cts. each. Capt. Nye informs us that salt for curing skins is scarce with you. We can furnish any quantity here for one dollar per bbl (barrel ?). Any orders you may have for goods of any description forwarded by masters of ships will be promptly attended to and skins received in payment at the market value. As to our old acquaintances most of them are dead; Mr. Hunniwell, Mr. Pierce and Capt. Brewer I saw in Boston in June. Capt. John Meek is here and Thos. Cummings and Robinson Ship Carpenter, Dutch Harry, Boyd and a few others are alive, Dr. Rooke, Capt. Little, Carter, Reynolds, Dominis, Fench, Charleton are dead. John C. Jones is in Boston and A. B. Thompson is in California. Honolulu has become a large place. You would not recollect it. There is but few houses now standing that you ever saw, I should think you would like to take a trip here for a few months. We should like to see you. I forward a few newspapers which you may find interesting, and remain,
Yours very truly,
The Firm of C. Brewer and Co.,
Honolulu, Sandwich Islands.
BARQUE HELEN SNOW.
June 9th, 1860.
This will certify that I have brought to this Port from Wellington Island at their own request 3 women 1 man and a child and give them their passage free and they are at perfect liberty to go where they please and stop with whom they please and no one I hope will take advantage of them or misuse them in any respect.
EBENEZER F. NYE,
Bark Helen Snow.
In the earlier of the two letters given above, reference is made to a man called Mutley, or James Moitley as he figures in Commodore Perry's narrative. This James Moitley who, according td the inscription on his gravestone, was a native of London and came to the Bonins about the year 1846, was closely concerned in a tragic affair which took place on the South Island in the year 1860. An account of it may with chronological fitness bring the present chapter to a close.
There was an Englishman, George Robinson, who had arrived at Port Lloyd in the whaler Howard some time in 1847, and had taken up his residence with Thomas Webb. He did not, however, remain long at Port Lloyd but removed to the South Island, where he spent about eight years with his wife and family and cleared a good piece of land. Seemingly from disappointment with his prospects, he left with his family for Guam and Seypan, but some three years afterwards made up his mind to return and took with him, besides his family, some natives from the Kingsmill group, intending with the help of these extra hands to develop the productive possibilities of the farm he had too imprudently abandoned. However, on landing, Robinson found James Moitley in possession of his farm and altogether indisposed to hand it back to its former owner. This at once led to ill feelings on both sides, and little by little the quarrel assumed serious proportions. The Kanakas who had come with Robinson all turned against him and sided with Moitley; on the other hand a man called Bob, who had deserted from a whaler and had been taken in by Moitley, went over to Robinson. At this time Robinson's family consisted of his sons John, Henry, and Charles and his daughters Eliza, Caroline, and Susan. There was also living with him as nurse to the children a woman called Hypa, a native of Raven Island. Some time early in the year 1860 things came to a crisis. The Kanakas, instigated it is said by Moitley, made a fierce attack on Bob. Bob made a brave fight and defended himself for some time in the cleft of a rock, but was eventually overpowered and killed. Gruesome stories are told of the savage triumph of the Kanakas over the body of the murdered man. Happily this was the only fatal issue of the quarrel. Robinson with his children John, Henry, and Eliza fled into the bush. Hypa, the old nurse, with Caroline, then a girl of nineteen, and her younger sister Susan and brother Charles made good their escape to the opposite side of the island. Robinson and the children with him were caught by the Kanakas and brought to Moitley, and, through Moitley's instrumentality, so it is said, were shortly afterwards deported on a passing whaler, the Montreal, to Honolulu, from whence they never returned. The fate of the rest of the family was extraordinary. They safely. eluded their pursuers, and for eleven months lay hidden in the bush, keeping themselves alive on shell-fish and tree fruits. Eventually, they were rescued in the spring of 1861 by Captain Marsh of the E. L. B. Jenny, whom we know as one of Nathaniel's correspondents, and were taken to Port Lloyd where they were sheltered by Webb, who subsequently married the girl Caroline.
I may add that all the three are still living on the islands. Susan became Mrs. Pease; her husband, as we shall come to know, was a thorough bad character: Charles married Isabel Savory and is the father of a large family.
As to the old nurse Hypa, she died on the island in 1897, having reached, so it was believed, the wonderful age of 112. In compliance with a strong, simple desire she had expressed, she was baptized at the last and received Christian burial. Her story is fully told in the S.P.G. "Mission Field" of November 1898.
FROM 1861 TO 1875
We have now come to the last section of this first period of the Bonin history. The year 1861 is the date when from newly-opened Japan the first attempt is made to recover her long lost hold on the islands, and 187'5 the date when her hold on them is eventually established.
Towards the end of the year 1861, a Japanese steamer was despatched to Port Lloyd from Yedo, as the city of Tokyo was originally called, having on board a commissioner, subordinate officers, and about a hundred colonists. On his arrival, the commissioner proceeded to draw up rules and regulations for the governance of the settlers-including of course those whom he found in possession and whom it was naturally, in the first instance, greatly in the Japanese interest to conciliate. We have a copy of the following statement made about himself to the Chief Commissioner by Nathaniel Savory:
PEEL ISLAND (Bonin),
March 20th, 1862.
This is to certify that I Nathaniel Savory was born 31 of July 1794 in the Town of Bradford County of Essex State of Massachusetts, U.S.A. That in May 1830 at the Island of Oahu I in company with four other white men and a party of natives fitted out and emigrated to this Island arriving here the 26 of June and commenced a settlement and with the exception of a voyage to Manila have been here ever since. I have five children viz. Agnes Burbank born Feb. 14th 1853, Horace Perry born April 3rd 1855, Helen Jane born Feb. 28th 1857, Robert Nathaniel born March 18th, 1860, Esther Thurlow born March 26th ? 1862. My wife is a native of Guam, is 34 years of age. My expectations are to remain here for life. Since the arrival of the Japanese authorities I have been treated with respect and much friendship. To the Chief Commissioner in particular for the very kind manner which he has been pleased to treat me I return him my sincere thanks.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
In 1854 I was elected Chief Magistrate of this Island for two years which period I served and was re-elected for three years more. I served my term and declined. Since that time we had no form of government until the present regulations published by the Commissioner the Representative of the Japanese Government.
HIS EXCELLENCY CHIEF COMMISSIONER.
Mr. Russell Robertson also gives us in his paper read before the Asiatic Society these three of what he terms "the somewhat unintelligible Articles" of the Harbour regulations which were drawn up in English:
Article 3. It shall be unlawful for any vessel or vessels that may be come into this port to discharge any of the cannon that will hurtful for the fishing,
Article 4. Any vessel or vessels that may come into this port or harbour, the said vessel shall pay the pilot the amount of the established pilotage.
Article 5. If any person or persons come on shore from any vessel that may be come into this port who shall have pleasure hunting and waste upon the land of any inhabitants and also) committed any of such, he or they shall be seized and transported to the Captain of their vessel.
Communication would appear to have been kept up with Port Lloyd from Japan from time to time during 1862, for it is recorded that the colonists, soon wearying of the enterprise, left Port Lloyd in batches until, early in 1863, the commissioner himself withdrew, taking with him the few remaining Japanese who had for some fifteen months cast their lot upon the islands.
On the South side of the harbour, where the Japanese settlement was situated, may be seen to-day an imposing monument a slab of slate-coloured stone, set up on a substantial base, recording in Japanese characters that these islands were first visited in the time of Iyeyasu by Ogasawara Sadamori; that in 1593 they received the name of Ogasawarajima (shima= island); that they were again visited in 1828 (this I think is a politic fiction, so far as it is intended to refer to a Japanese visit); that they are Japanese territory, and were visited again in 1861.
After the departure of the Japanese commissioner and the Japanese colonists, things on the island reverted very much to their former condition, and there was no one to challenge Nathaniel's virtual supremacy which he now enjoyed until the day of his death.
The last batch of letters and papers, which I give in a separate chapter, belong to this period and from them we learn in a fragmentary way of strange happenings and strange characters. Amongst others they introduce us to a man called Richards, a trader connected with Guam, and, as will appear afterwards, a very bad lot, who had so far insinuated himself into the old man Savory's trust that he made proposals of entering into partnership with him and of marrying his eldest daughter Agnes. Another man who stands out prominently in these letters is Benjamin Pease, the husband of Susan Robinson whose elder sister was the wife of Thomas Webb. This Benjamin, or Captain, Pease as he is generally called was, in his turn, one of the darkest (or "blackest") characters who ever came to the islands, and it will be seen how he had a deeprooted hatred of the Savory's and harboured designs against the old man's life. He himself is believed to have met with a violent death. He disappeared on October 9, 1874, a negro called Spencer being strongly suspected of having been his assassin.
It will be in place here if I give another typical, but a more complicated, story of contested possession such as that related in the last chapter of George Robinson and James Moitley on the South Island. In the present case the parties were Thomas Webb and a Frenchman called Leseur, with whom I myself latterly had much to do; and the trouble arose through Webb's too implicitly trusting to the friendly offices of this same Benjamin Peace.
Thomas Webb, after Nathaniel Savory, was the man of greatest consequence on the island. He had the advantage of being a scholar; and, being the possessor of a Bible and perhaps of an English Prayer Book, was generally called on to perform the rites of baptism and burial. He had already been on the island twenty-two years when on April 23, 1869, the brig Pioneer, commanded by a man called Hayes and with Benjamin Peace, who would appear to have been its owner, on board, came into Port Lloyd. Peace played the part of a gentleman with large interests' in various concerns. A friendship sprang up between him and Webb and he told Webb that he could offer him good employment on the Island of Ascension, one of the Caroline group, where saw-mills were about to be established under the proprietorship of the Pacific Trading Co., which had an agency in Shanghai. The machinery was to arrive in due course in the schooner Lizzie Allen. Webb as superintendent apparently Peace could insure his appointment was to receive 800 dollars. Relying on these assurances Webb was tempted to quit his holding, leaving John Marquesas in charge the same gentleman who, we remember, had accompanied the exploring party on the occasion of Commodore Perry's visit to place all his stock at Pease's disposal and to go on board the Pioneer with his wife and family. Before departure Pease married Susan Robinson, and the whole party set sail for the Island of the Ascension. On arrival Webb and his family were put on shore, but, having made show of giving him full instructions, Peace himself professed to have business which compelled him to continue on his cruise.
From a letter to Nathaniel Savory in the collection that follows dated February 21, 1870, written from the Island of the Ascension and signed by Gustav and Lizzie Brown, we gather that there certainly was a Company at Shanghai concerned in a timber business on the island, for Gustav Brown was himself employed in some capacity under the manager of it, and he makes mention of the Lizzie Allen as being at the time of writing overdue. But in the letter, strangely enough, there is no reference made to Webb and his family. Webb, lured away from the Bonins by false promises, had in any case secured no appointment and had been only able to make a precarious living. Benjamin Pease turned up again in due course, explained away, as well as he could, his failure to make his promises good, and eventually himself took Webb and his family on board the Pioneer back to the Bonins after an absence from them of fifteen months.
On his return, Webb found the Frenchman Leseur in possession of his holding. It is impossible in all these cases to get at the true facts and to determine who was in the right and who was in the wrong, but briefly what had happened was this: Before Webb's departure, Leseur had been on the island some four years. The chief part of Webb's holding had formerly belonged to Millinchamp, who, as related in a former chapter, had withdrawn to the Island of Guam. It would seem that Millinchamp had never abandoned his right of tenure, so, after Webb's departure, Leseur had contrived to go to Guam and had there purchased from Millinchamp the holding to which it was assumed Webb was not likely to return. Leseur had thus good ground to assert his right of ownership. On the other hand, Webb's title to his holding had been formally ratified by the Japanese Commissioners who, satisfied probably with the nine-tenths of the law, knew nothing about the other one-tenth that might upset it. Great altercations took place, and Webb, being a penman, made appeal in writing to the British Consul at Yokohama, in which he strongly denounced both Leseur and Millinchamp. The matter was eventually settled by a compromise, and when Mr. Robertson, the British Consul, came to the Bonins in 1875, he found that the rancour had died down and that Leseur and Webb were on comparatively friendly terms.
Before passing on to the Letters in the next chapter I must here give brief account of a tidal wave, or "borras" as the Bonin settlers term it, which visited the island in the autumn of 1872, and in which the whole collection of papers narrowly escaped destruction.
It occurred on a Sunday about midnight and was preceded by a severe earthquake. The sea was calm at the time, and the people were just recovering from the shock, and had gone to bed again, when old Savory heard the rush of water through the wood, intervening between the beach and the settlers' tenements, and gave the alarm. There seems to have been a succession of some six or seven waves, increasing and decreasing in force, so that the middle one was the most violent. The people clambered up the steep rock in the rear of their houses, coming down in the interval of the waves to save all they could. The letters happened to be in a seaman's chest which was rescued, but a large diary, kept by Nathaniel Savory, which with other books lived on a table set against the wall, was unfortunately swept over and ruined.
LAST LETTERS AND PAPERS
Copy of a letter to NATHANIEL SAVORY from WILLIAM MARSH
April 21st, 1862.
MY DEAR MR. SAVORY,
Captain Lass now being here I take the opportunity of sending you a few lines. I arrived here on the 27th of February from Sydney in the ship Beverley of New York. I condemned the Eliza L. B. Jenny and sold her and her oil. After paying all expenses and the crew left me $35.000, so you can see by that the owners have not got much on my weather bow. I have not been entirely asleep. I arrived in Sydney New Year's Eve and left on the 21st of the same month, what I call quick work. Marvin and the Cooper went home from Sydney in the Gazelle of New Bedford (Captain Baker). I paid Marvin $3.500. I got 150 barrels of oil going over from Guam to Sydney. The brig from Nailla leaves here to-day, the old Major and his family have gone and my brother-in-law, Bisente has also gone and I think he will get married this time in Manila. Carmen sends her respects to you and Maria. John is still living with your friend Millinchamp and is well and his master is as mean as ever. I have not exchanged a word with him for a year and a half. Carmen is expecting her confinement about the beginning of June, I think she will go through this time as she is now very well. I have bought the old Major's house for $1400. Ana's promised husband has been here in January bound to China to sell his vessel but she had a letter from him by this vessel from Manila saying he could not find sale for her and that he will come up in August and get spliced. I heard of Brown over at Sydney, somewhere about New Zealand, with 1800 barrels-his owners also failed the same time with E. L. B. Jenny but I don't think Brown will suffer any loss by the failure of his owners. The E. L. B. Jenny turned out 2027 barrels caught the whole voyage, not so bad after having so much bad luck. When I put her in dock I found her forefoot eaten very much with the worms and if the passage home had been undertaken I don't think she would have ever reached there. The oil sold in Sydney for $1.13 per gallon. We had an English war steamer here two weeks ago, called the Sphinx, having been in search of the wrecked crew of the Barque Norna which they found on the Hogoulu Islands prisoners to the natives, but after destroying the towns and taking some of the Chiefs prisoners they delivered up all the men. She was bound to Hong Kong. We had quite a time here at the Governor's who gave a ball and all hands went on board the steamer and had a fine time. I don't know of anybody you may have about whaling about the Islands but Captain Lass, but I expect there will be some. You must give my respects to all the people Bravo George, Jo Collins, Bill and all and Tom Webb. If you have many onions and garlics and there is anybody coming down this fall to Guam send me some and I will send you the pay by the first opportunity. If you like let Tom Webb read this letter as there is no secret and I want Tom to send me some onions and garlics also. Don't make a mistake and send them to old Millinchamp. The medical book of mine I could not get one like it to send you but if I can meet with one I will send it. Remember me and Carmen to Maria and the children.
I still remain,
Your most obedient servant,
When we got to Sydney the old Foremast was all gone in the hold. The carpenters there said they never see a mast hung on stilts before.
Copy of a letter to NATHANIEL SAVORY from E. BRAND, Pilot, Shanghai.
May 21st, '65.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I send you a few lines by Mr. Hendricks hoping you are well and enjoying good health, likewise all of your family. I arrived back in Shanghai in the course of six weeks after I left you and found things going to the dogs. I went away again soon after on the same lay but did not prosper so gave up the fishing in disgust. I am now at my old trade piloting and am doing about as well as any of them but I have had some heavy losses and it will take me all this year to retrieve them.
I hope you have had a good fleet of whalers in this year and sold all your stock of onions and potatoes, etc., etc. My dear Friend, I often look back at your quiet and peaceful homes and envy you your primitive life, you need not repine at your lot for in civilized life, as it is termed, it is one continual war of wits who shall get the advantage of the other, and I am sick of it. If it was not for my old mother and a young sister who is in a consumption, I should bid adieu to this kind of life and settle down over there with you, that is if you would have me. Often, after a hard day's work running about in the sea, I long for your cool, shady trees and a comfortable smoke and chat, but stern duty compels me to stay here although I live in hopes of one day seeing you again. It is no use my sending you any account of the war for Hendricks will give you a more detailed account of it than I can write.
The Mail Route will be established in the course of another year, but I think it will do you no good as the projected route is from San Franc: via Sandwich Islands and north part of Japan. If that is adopted the steamer will pass 800 miles to the north of your place. I have sent you a case of port wine, it is the most I can do for you just now as my financial condition is rather low it is a luxury you are not able to get every day and it is good. Remember me to your wife and all your family, tell Agness to grow up a good woman and to look after you in your old age I often think of her. Give my respects to Jack and the Bravas. I do not know how Hendricks will make out but if he can make it pay, the schooner will run over there often, so it will be to all of your benefits to be as liberal as you can if ever I come there it will be in my own vessel and carry the produce to market. Do not let any information you may get influence you unduly about this new line of steamers for if there was any hopes I would certainly tell you. I saw a gentleman the other day upon whose veracity I can rely and he told me the contemplated route is Yokohama, so that will do you no good. I must now bid you an unwilling farewell, hoping the Almighty God will take you all under his protection and bless and prosper you and yours.
I remain your ever faithful friend till death,
P.S. Please write me a letter and let me know how you are getting on.
Copy of a letter, with no address and the first sheet of which may be missing, from C.H. RICHARDS.
The next letter following throws some light upon it.
Referring to our conversation in regard to my working the place in partnership with you I would suggest the folling ideas:
1st. I feel sure that with your advice as to the mode of raising produce I could relieve you from all the labor and care of mind.
2nd. The market I could find with the schooner would enable you with less trouble than you now have to raise and sell more in one season than you now sell in four.
3rd. It would please me during the leisure time to teach your children such things as would fit them to act for and support themselves when it becomes a necessity to do so. It would not add to the cares of your wife as I should be willing to build a house on the Pepper place and live there as soon as the house could be built.
In case of the infirmities of age confining you to the house it would make your mind easier to have someone in whom you had confidence at hand to watch the interests of yourself and family. You might get someone more capable but you could not get anyone who would go beyond me in trying to make the connection advantageous to you.
In case of your death I should pursue any course you might dictate to me or in case Mrs. Savory had not the same confidence in me that you have so kindly expressed I should feel it my duty to resign the place to any capable person she might select.
As I should still retain my interest in the schooner which would trade south between the seasons one third of the produce would be all I require to enable me to live comfortably.
I can only assure you that if we make the arrangement it will be my constant effort to have it gain your approval more and more every day. It would not require any outlay on your part as I would bring any loots or labor that you might advise.
C. H. RICHARDS.
There is one proposition I have to make in connection with the other arrangement. I put it on separate paper that if it does not meet your approval the other case may be considered separately. In coming to the Island I should wish to have a companion. From what I have seen of Agnes I think she and I could live happily together and with your approval shall ask her to be my wife. If this does not meet your approval please destroy it and forget that it was ever mentioned, but if it does, as I trust it will, please consider it as part of the other paper.
C. H. RICHARDS.
Copy of a second letter from
C. H. RICHARDS
August 24th, 1866.
MY DEAR MR. SAVORY,
Circumstances beyond my control induce me to ask you to release me from my agreement with you. I regret it very much but feel certain that if you could know all circumstances you would acknowledge the necessity. I have settled up with the schooner and made arrangements with Captain Bird, to take my furniture to Japan. The Medicine Chest and the Donkey and sugar you will please accept. I fear this will disappoint you and much wish I could tell you my reasons but I have not told even Captain Bird or Russell. Please trust in me that the reasons for this act are too powerful to be put on one side.
Yours very truly,
C. H. RICHARDS.
Copy of a letter to NATHANIEL SAVORY from CAPT. PERRY (?) BIRD.
Nov. 10th, 1866.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
We leave here to-day for the Island of Ascension and other Islands along the line if we have good luck shall go to the Prelew Island and to Manila and want to be in the Bonin Islands by the first of April if possible. I leave this letter with a friend to send it by the first chance and he will send you two pickets of Rice for Aline and you can take some of it if you want now my good friend do please look out for Aline and the Boy tell Aline I am all right and kiss the boy for me. Richards has done us a great deal of harm here, the girl's mother, Maddane Pepie has told him to leave her house and the whole thing is bust up. The Governor has also had a row with him. The Governor says that he will always be glad to have Captain Russell and myself come here to trade and will do everything to help or assist us but does not want to see Richards again. He has told people here that he owned the schooner and that he had hired Russell and me, that is, he gave us a certain share for our work and that he was worth ten thousand dollars and a pack of Damn lies like that. When he made me out to be a mate or a lobbolly Boy and the folks at Town asked me about it I had for my own sake to tell them the truth. He has turned Roman Catholic and passes himself off for a great saint. I told Richards what you told me to tell him. He did not say much but asked how much you wanted to settle with him. I told him I did not know anything about it but if he gave me a Power of Attourney to act for him if I were you I would get all I could. Mana's son has gone for a soldier, Mr. Millinchamp (?) has sent him, so I hear, I cannot find out for how long a time but he will not go off the Island. Her sister is well. We have done very well here and are in hopes that we will continue to do so. Russell and myself are well and hope you and your family are the same. And now, Mr. Savory, once more please look out for my girl and boy and God bless you and yours. Mana's son has gone seven years to be a soldier.
PURY (?) BIRD.
Copy of a letter from WILLIAM MARSH.
Schooner Eagle, MANILA,
11th Jan., 1869.
MY DEAR MR. SAVORY,
I wrote you last year by Richards who delivered the letter to Capt. Bird and from him I learn that you received the same. Although I have received no answer I feel bound by our long acquaintance to drop you another line by our friend Bird who goes to Guam now in a few days. I hear that Capt. Brown in the Callao has been about the Bonins last season but as near as I can learn has been very unfortunate. No doubt you will have seen him and know all about that. I am getting along here very well and as well as yourself am growing old. I shall be 48 years old in a few days hence if I live to see it, the 2nd of next month. I will send you a picture and allow you to make up your mind from it how I look for a man of my age. Although I never drinked much rum I have sold considerably as you know, but I don't know as that makes people look any older. I should like to see you all once more. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to meet old friends and I consider you all as such as I believe I have always had the goodwill of everybody in the Bonins, particularly of poor old Joe CollinsΉ when I brought plenty of rum. How I should like to come around and bring about 100 gallons of good rotgut and see the old boys have a time. I cannot spare time to write to all of you, but commission you to get all the old friends together and read d them these few lines and see how they feel. The probability is that we shall never meet again in this world but may in the one to come, but you may all yet consider me your friends and I believe you do. The pleasant hours that I have spent amongst you will never be forgotten. We have four children now, the last was born the 9th. of Nov. last and its name is Felice. I begin to think now that I have about enough of them for the more there are the more the trouble is I to provide for them. Mrs. Marsh sends much love to you and Maria for your kindness shewn us when there. Remember me to all, Webb, Jo Bravo, and George and
Yours very truly,
Write me if an opportunity offers.
Copy of a letter to NATHANIEL SAVORY from GUSTAVE and LIZZIE BROWN.
Feb. 21st, 1870.
MY DEAR SAVORY,
I am happy to inform you of our safe arrival here on May 20th., all in good health and full of hopes but hopes never to be realised to our great great sorrow for everything has been misrepresented to us. I, for my part, should have been well enough if it had not been for the manager of the company (called Captain Coe) a never-can-be-pleased sort of man, but I shall write as things went along so you can form an opinion of him and the state of things yourself. I landed on the station called Bonatick and was put into the main building on it a two storey house Capt. Pease and family staying in the house with me, that is upstairs, the ground floor being a kind of store room. Captain Pease stopped on shore because his cabin was getting altered. My business was to take care of all stores and things on and about the said station; everything went on pretty fair, at least I could have put up with them, had it not been for what follows:
I had been about a month on the station when the Lizzie Allan arrived here to load timber, bringing the said Coe as manager of the business on this island. He likewise came to live in the same house with me, having a Chinese steward and Boy with him. Capt. Pease then left and went round the group to trade. This said Coe not using very nice language before Lizzie, and in his absence the Chinese likewise. Lizzie complained about it to me and I thought it best to shift downstairs although I was promised a house to myself at first, I should have put up with this had it not been for a new grievance. Coe, as I supposed, had taken a kind of liking to Lizzie and frequently used to come downstairs where I was living. I suspected him but did not think he would dare to go as far as he did. [Here details are given of an attempted assault.] We had a quarrel and almost came to blows and the end of it all was I left the employ and ever since then I have made shift for myself. I have got an order for the time I served in the Company in Shanghai but I hope I shall not have to go there for it as a vessel, the Lizzie Allan, is over due. An agent is expected by her to pay all claims on the company. No money being here to pay anybody he will bring it with him. As the payment of non-fulfilment of agreement is due to me ($500) I shall claim the same and if I cannot get it here I shall go to Shanghai and sue the Company, for without that I shall be as bad off as the day I landed on the Bonins. The manager is aware of my intentions and seems to be sure of me being able to claim damages, for he has been trying to bribe me with good promises, to build a house for me, never to speak to Lizzie again and such-like offers.
Capt. Pease has returned from the Group and did pretty well, by what means is hard to say. Susan is well but not contented for Capt. Pease carries two native women beside her on board of his vessel. Capt. Pease left for the Group again and took Charlie with him this time. Charlie not being very well he will be back in two months from now. Lizzie and I are rubbing along, living on what is to be got for trade from the natives, such as Pigs, Yams, Arrowroot, bananas and Bread fruit. We are quite well but sick and tired of this place, but hope to be back to the Bonins in from three to eight months' time from now. I have not forgot your "tortoise shell" and shall bring it along with me when I return. Lancaster has been sent back to Shanghai but may come back again, still I doubt it much. Poor Agnes! She ought to be thankful. I think you have nearly all the news I have got so Goodbye to you your wife and family and all the rest of kind friends. I hope I see you all very soon and in as good health as it is at present.
GUSTAVE AND LIZZIE BROWN.
Please tell my brother² that I am quite well and coming back. Likewise tell all my friends that I am coming back again and quite well and wish them the same.
Letter from PHILIP RODEL³ to NATHANIEL SAVORY.
Feb. 23rd, 1871.
I arrived here safe and sound on the 9th of this month and got a freight from Teinnan N the Frenchman, that Pease bought the schooner of, arrived here on the 13th. and is now in prison, Gustave and four more, Capt. Mallman among them. Capt. Pease tried to bully all hands but found it no go. He has cancelled the agreement with the Wanderer. He wanted me to clear out with the vessel but I would not do it. He also wanted me to claim all the property and sell it so as to let him have the money but I would not anything of the kind for I have found out that he is a very bad man and a confirmed liar. He has been trying to sell my oil to Captain Taylor saying it belongs to him. Now he says that I am a partner in his villanny. There is a charge of murder against him and it would make your hair stand on end to hear the frenshman relate of the treatment he got on board of the schooner coming from Wallis Island to Strong's Island. Besides that he made by force to sell him $964 [or $164, hardly decipherable] worth of oil and gave him an order on his agent at Mille [Manila?] where he had none at all. We have all got to go and witness to Manilla. He even claimed my rifle that I had not paid. Captain Shearmen has got a bill of $1800 against him, Gustave of $650, the Cooper $700. There are all so a man of war looking for him English and American. August [?] is a thief, Ackerman is a very good man and I shall do all I can to get him back to the island. The Governor told me that he had orders to stop him [i.e. Pease] two years ago if he should come here. I must say I have never seen a man with such a cheek as he has. When anybody comes to see him he begins to cry, trying to get simpathy and when you turn your back he trys to accuse you of some villanny with him. He has sent for me 3 times but I would not go. He told some of the people that I had a large sum of money belonging to him in my possession. God knows that I had not one sent. When I left Bonin Island after the Government stopt the Wanderer he had the cheek to order the Captain get under wheigh tefying the governor's order. I hope that he has not got anything out of you before he left. Nothing that he has got belongs to him at Arakee [?] not even that whale boat that sunk, whaling spades Boxes, Coats, Cloaks, Copper iron all belonged to the frenshman a man about 57 years old. When the man tried to get on board the brig at Pinglass he threatened to shoot him. I leave this letter with Henry to send for there is no vessel here at present except the schooner Wanderer and I do not know is whether she will go there or not. I saw John and whould have brought with me if I should have come back again. Millinchamp says that he expended all his money with his mother in law Marria's sister.
Now for the oil and my bed if I am not at Bonnin Islands inside of six months open the papers and follow these instructions, all so receve my Bed from Susan and give it to Jane, all so the Wash Baisin, for it will take me over a year to get there and i might just as well go home. i whould have send you some Arrow root but there is no opportunity to do so. Do not deliver up the oil to anyboty whatever. I could have got the tarrow patch if i could have gone back as Millinchamp promised it to me. He sends his best repex to you and says he is very sorry you should think hard of him.
Aileen is here. Capt. Bird left here last August for Sambangs. He has got harry on board but has not been heard from.
Johnson is a very bad man because Bird has not been heard. The reason that have to go is to recover my wages from Capt. Pease. The crew have all with drawn there claim as they had had only 18 dollars share. Capt. Pease has got the tarrow patch for one year only and he got that by frawth. Mr. Savory that man is a villian of the first water. Jack is going to live on the island with him, the Cooper is going all so. I do not think that I shall come back any more. The Government here is a very bad Government. Endeed I have thrown myself on the Government entirely so they will have to take care of me. The frenshman has got his vessel back again. You will be sure to receve my Bed from Susan as i only left it in her care until i came back again. Give everything to Jane and Agnes for she wants the Wash Baisin and I promised it to her before. I hope you are all well and hearty all so Isabella, my repex to Horace and Agnes for I have not forgot her yet,
I bid you all good by,
From PHILIP RODEL to NATHANIEL SAVORY.
Sep. 28th, 1871.
I take the pleasure in writing these few lines to you that you may know that i am well hoping that you are the same all so your family. i arrived here on the 1st of June from Mannilla after very near losing my life on S. Peter's rock a few hundred miles from Peel's Island. Capt. Pease was send to Shanghai to stand his trial and i thought it whould go very hard with him but I have heard since that he is clear and that the Cooper is dead. I have seen Coffin's brother. frank told me that he whould rite to me but he never dit. i was in jail in Manilla but Mr. Looving the Counshul knew that i was in the Eagle with Capt. Bird. Mr. Savory beware of Pease if he should ever come on the island again for he means you harm of which I am sure of. I have been very lucky in getting work i was only four days here befor i shipt in the Bark Architect at $40 per month. i have been in her 3 months and now i am going home in the Rail Road. My father is alive yet and wishes to see me once more. all that I got from Capt. Pease was his sextant, he is a thorough villian and it whould take a quire of paper to state everything that man has done. Times are very good here at Present but in the winder they are bad enough. i hope you are in good health all so Marria and Agnes. Mr. Savory, I wish that she was here with me now. I think i should be satisfied. i hope little Isabella is well all so Jane and the boys. Tell Horace not to kill all the turtle i may come and get some some of these days for i Realy think that i shall see your family again. If it was not for going East i should to go the island next spring in the Whalers. The climate is very rough here, all ways foggy on the coast and awful hard work stowing lumber and so much lumber. There is not a day but what there is 5 or 6 large vessel loads comes in to frisco, some carrying as high as 1000000 feet of lumber. I have been to trips one to Puget Sound and one to Humbold it is impossible to describe it, the amount of wood there is cut up trees 10 to 19 feet through from 200 to 300 feet in length.
Capt. has lost his schooner. She was to be sold at Manilla. i got from him the same day that i left Manilla from the Consullate i am very sorry for that Capt. Marsh is in San Francisco for his health. Capt. Nye is gone home and has given up whaling i have been very highly recommended to a particular friend of his Mr.Hare the owner of the vessel that I whent (in) to Manilla (with) Capt. Green. I think that he will call at Bonnin Islands in about 4 months. He told Mr. Hare that I was the only man fit to go mate of his vessel. and i think if i stop here or come this way again i can get charge of a Brig the Advance to go trating. No later than yesterday he told me that (is) if I wished to go, i should very much like to have a letter from you if you whould only be so kind and send one. If you do, direct to Philip Rodel 408 East 11th Street or 291 Washington Street New York City. No more at present i shall rite again when i get home. Give my repex to Agnes i hope she is well.
Letter from CAPTAIN PEASE to NATHANIEL SAVORY.
Oct. 18, 1871.
To N. SAVORY.
Understanding that you are about to sell a lot of oil delivered to you by my late partner Philip Rodel I now protest against disposing of the same as I claim that it belongs to the late firm of Pease and Rodel of which I am now the sole representative.
I shall refer the whole matter to the United States Court at Yokohama for their decision as to the ownership.
Letter from CAPT. PEASE to NATHANIEL SAVORY (written on two sheets of very thin paper and much smudged).
Sunday Evening (blot) 72.
N. P. SAVORY.
Last night your two sons in company with some of the South Island Kanaekas were on and about my premises and from what I can ascertain I am led to believe they are guilty of killing one of my sheep, which was found dead near the spot where they were seen to land. It was either clubbed or stoned as I have made a careful examination and find no other wounds but which must be caused by such weapons. If it proved that your son has been in part or wholly guilty of the act I shall believe that other persons have been the instigators of his folly I am well aware of the growing rancour against me of more than one member of your family and if they espouse the quarrels of their father they must not feel they are free from the evils of a defeat. I believe that in all my meetings with your children they have met with the utmost respect from me and I can know of no reasons why they should transgress against me.
From the same.
Schooner Tom at PORT LLOYD,
Aug. 23rd, 1873.
To N. P. SAVORY.
I have just been notified by C. (Captain ?) of Cressey that you had refused to pay for goods sold you by the Bonnin Company giving you your reasons for not paying that I was indebted to you which I deny and here state that you are owing me. Which I shall soon collect and also settle an old account long standing between myself and your family. I was in hopes that the old wounds so long healing would have been left alone but as you have seen fit to tear them open you must be prepared to suffer from them. Your refusal to pay that bill and your reasons for not doing so I consider as open Chalange which I readily accept and let the bitter end come as soon as it likes.
A Statement without a date made by ROBERT SOLOMON.
You asked me to put in writing a few of the sayings of Capt. Pease. You will find a few of them below. What I put down I take my oath I heard him say. He was over at George Bravo one day and when he came back he told me George had given him a drink of brandy which had poison in it, and he believed he tried to poison. When he got a schooner he was going to entice the men of every ship that came here (especially whalers) to run away so that the people on the island would be dependent on him for supplies. Also he was going to shoot or injure one Capt. Cogan when he saw him.. He also spoke of Capt. Tripp's wife as a woman that Tripp picked up off the streets of Honolulu. Also he was trying and was going to try all he could to make the people of this Island quarrel among themselves so that they would come to him to settle their disputes. Also that if you did not let him alone and quit talking about him he was going to the cove and hang you to your door post, another time he was going to put you in irons and send you to Yokohama by the first ship that passed. He said he laided in ambush in the break wind at Tom Kanaka to shoot you one time when you and your family was going over to killed Big Mary, so he says.These are a very few of the saying of Governor Pease. I thank you very much for the kindness you have shewed me while I lived on the Island. My regards to your family.
I remain respt.
Copy of a letter to NATHANIEL SAVORY from CAPT. NYE.
Dec. 25, 1873.
FRIEND N. SAVORY and all my Friends at Bonin Islands.
I have just sent my ship home around Cape Horn and I shall take a Ride off 35 Hundred miles on the Railroad in a few days. I have been two seasons in the Arctic Ocean in Bark Louisa and have gots 1700 lbs. in 14 months and 22000 lbs. of whale bone. I dont think I shall go to sea much more but if I do I want to come and see you all at the Bonin Islands. I do like the Bonin Islands very much and I like all the people.
I should like to hear from you all and I want to get a letter from you or some one to post me up about what has been going on since I was there.
Mr. Model was drownded about 18 months ago. He was mate of a Brig and was knocked overboard by the Boom. Mr. Nye that was mate with me in the Helen Snow is dead. He was Ceady for one year before he died. Mr. Taboe (?) mate of the Higail is keeping a store in New Bedford. Mr. Maekes died very suddenly with heart disease on his way home from the Sandwich Islands. Mr. Parminter married a young half white girl at Honolulu about two years ago my old Cooper Tripp is now at Guam and is married to a Spanish woman of easy nature (?) with the children. He has turned doctor I hear. Where is Capt. Pease and where is Capt. Bird. Capt. William Allen that frightened Mr. Webb so is at home. he is rich. Mr. Wardell is married and is living at Falleina (?) Mass: I hear Agnes has two children. I send my respects to Mr. Bravo and to George, to Charlie and his wife, to Mr. Webb and family, to Uncle Collins and Aunt Bet and to every one on the Bonin Islands that I know or that knows me. I send this letter by an old friend Mr. Fiske (or "Fisher"). He is Naturalist on board U.S. Steamer and, any favor you can do him will be appreciated by him and myself. Hoping this will find you all in Health and Prosperity.
I remain your sincere friend and well wisher,
EBENEZER F. NYE.
To NATHANIEL SAVORY, ESQ.,
Ή See chap. Iii, p. 32.
² This would be George Gilley, son of William Penn Gilley, one of the earliest settlers.
³ His letters make it sufficiently evident that he was an Irish-American.
NATHANIEL SAVORY'S WIFE: HIS
ELDEST DAUGHTER, AGNES:
HIS TREATMENT OF HIS CHILDREN:
FINAL APPRECIATION OF HIS
To the short biographical notices given in the course of this history and mostly compiled by Rev. A. F. King, there are two more I must still add I promise they shall be the last the one is that of Nathaniel Savory's wife, and the other that of their eldest daughter, Agnes. To both of them already brief allusions have been made.
MARIA DEL LOS SANTOS Y CASTRO (generally written Maria Dilessanto) was half Spanish, born in the Island of Guam in 1828, and brought up as a Roman Catholic. When she was about fifteen years old, John Millinchamp went to Guam and there met with Joaquina de la Cruz, Maria's aunt, whom he persuaded to leave Guam and a husband who ill-treated her and to come with him on board the schooner which lay in the harbour ready to sail for the Bonins. At Joaquina's invitation Maria also came on board, but with no other intention than to see the schooner and say Good-bye to her aunt. However she never had an opportunity of going ashore again and was brought to the Bonins with Joaquina. Whether she had any choice in the matter we do not know, but she became the wife of Mazarro, who headed the first party of colonists from Hawaii in 1830 a man at least four times as old as herself. Two children were born to them, John, and Reta, or Arita. John latterly went to Guam, where he died in 1897, leaving a wife and two children. Reta died when she was eleven years old.
Towards the close of 1850, about two years after the death of Mazarro, Maria was taken to wife by Nathaniel Savory to whom she bore ten children. The eldest, Albert Burbank, when he was hardly two years old, was found drowned in a small pool of water not far from the Savory's house on April 19, 1853. Foul play on occasions of this kind was generally suspected, and in this case suspicion fell on a Kanaka woman who bad been living with Nathaniel shortly before he married, and was supposed to have thus done away with the child to revenge herself on Nathaniel and his wife.
In 1855 a passport was sent by the Governor of Guam to Mr. and Mrs. Savory to enable them to go to Guam to be duly married. As it was on the sole condition that Mr. Savory should previously comply with the necessary forms of the Church of Rome, the offer was not accepted. As long after as in 1871 another passport was sent, and this time to Mrs. Savory, with the hope of prevailing upon her to return to her family in Guam, but she did not avail herself of it and never saw her native island again.
Mrs. Savory survived her husband by sixteen years and (more Boninico!) allowed herself, some two years after his death, to become the wife of a German settler, William Allen. Thus, being herself of Spanish extraction, she had in turn for her husbands an Italian, an American, and a German. She does not ever seem to have given up her faith as a Roman Catholic, though she never taught her children anything very definite about religion. One of her daughters remembers how "she would never do any sewing on Sundays"; and another tells how in her last illness "she prayed often and used to cross herself.
In the story that follows of Agnes, Nathaniel's eldest daughter, there is, as in the other stories given, an element of romance, but it is a pathetic story too. It is right in any case that special mention should be made of her because she was the mother of Rev. Joseph Gonzales, our native clergyman on the Bonins to-day a man whose simple earnestness and high character have won for him not only respect, but I might say an incalculable influence.
AGNES BURBANK SAVORY GONZALVE (so her name is given on the tombstone put up to her memory) was born on February 14, 1853. When about fifteen years of age she became engaged to George Gonzales then aged thirty-two. As we have seen in one of the letters in the preceding chapter, a man named C. H. Richards, part owner of a schooner that sometimes anchored in Port Lloyd, had in 1866 written privately to her father desiring to have Agnes for his wife. Savory, doubtless, had given him no encouragement. Richards, however, was so enamoured of Agnes that when early in 1868 his schooner was again in port, he made up his mind to kill George Gonzales and so leave Agnes free to marry him. Flattering himself, apparently, that she would prefer him as a suitor he went so far as to give hint of his design to Agnes herself, but Agnes shrank in horror, from his dark suggestion, and secretly warned George Gonzales of his danger. Not long after, as George stepped outside his house one night just after dark, he saw a man hiding in the bushes. When he asked him his business the man pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger. It missed fire and the man made off. There can be little doubt that this was Richards himself. Some time in 1869 Agnes was duly married to George Gonzales. They had two children. Joseph was born April 14, 1870, and Rosa, who afterwards became Mrs. Henry Webb, on June 23, 1872. Agnes seems to have had a presentiment that she would not live to see her twentieth birthday, and so it came to pass. For soon after Rosa's birth there was an epidemic of typhoid among the settlers; some sailor from one of the ships was the first to have it. Esther and Robert Savory, her brother and sister, both took it, and then their sister Jane. Agnes, though still far from strong, felt her mother could not undertake the nursing of three children at once, and herself saw Jane through her illness. Just, however, as Jane reached convalescence, Agnes herself sickened with the same fever. She was lovingly nursed in her turn by Jane, then only a girl of fourteen, but had not strength to battle with the disease and died on September 14, 1872, just five months short of her twentieth year. There is no evidence that she was ever baptized, but both from her father and mother she had learnt the fear of God, and was used to say her prayers. She was a clever woman "one who could put her hand to anything" and had much charm both of person and character.
The question we may now turn to consider is, how Nathaniel played the part of a father to his children. In the matter of education so far as teaching them to read and write it may be said at once that he faced a problem that fairly baffled him. He was no schoolmaster; their mother could do nothing; there was nobody else to whom he could turn, and he gave the problem up. The most he could do was to bring them up to work. But even this was no easy matter, for the rocks and thickly wooded hills, the sea and the beach, and the warmth of the climate were all favourable to the children growing up wild and free. Nathaniel, however, was a disciplinarian as the following anecdote will prove. It was taken down, as he told it, from the lips of his eldest son Horace Perry by Miss Black to whom reference has been made in the introduction:
The Ole man mos' allus let us off if we spoke up and didn't try to hide what we done. I remember once when Jane was a youngster. We used to get our drinking-water in a demi-john, them bottles what have got like a basket outside o' 'm. Big heavy things, they was. Well, one day Jane, she goes to get water from the river and somehow lets the demi-john slip out of her hands so that, of course, it got all broke up. 'Never yer say noding,' ses she, 'I shan't say who done it,' she ses, and she tooken it home, and put it in the middle of the table same as allers. Yer see being it had the basket outside, yer couldn't tell as the bottle inside were all broke. Then she goes to the sleeping room and puts on every dress she had, one over de oder, till she looked round as a ball everything she had. Then she went to hide for she know'd the ole man 'd spank her when he found out what she'd done.Ή
By-'n-bye he com'd in; straight he goes to the demi-john to get some water. Who done this?' he ses. I'll give you such a whipping,' he ses. Come on!' Jane see'd it wasn't no sort of good to hide so she com'd out with all those clothes on. She know'd she couldn't feel the stick much. By jingo, I wonder the ole man didn't laugh!
'Did you done it ?' he ses. If yer tell me a lie about it,' he ses, yer'd better be keerful,' he ses, but if yer owns up I won't say no more about it.'
Jane got off that time, but my father, he ses 'Don't yer never try to hide anything,' he ses. 'Come and tell me at once and I forgie ye.' But I shan't never furget how Jane looked she were that round!
On the whole Savory's family has done him credit. We have had the story of Agnes. Of his three surviving sons, Horace has worked hard but has somehow generally "been down on his luck." Robert is a fine handler of tools, a good farmer, and has done well. Benjamin had the advantage of going for a time to a Mission school in Japan and acquiring a little learning. He is the father of a large family, has been fairly prosperous and was the first to build himself a well boarded house which he painted green.
If we ask how far Savory was a religious man, the true account of him is probably this: He had been brought up in a home where the claims of religion had been definitely recognized. He would cherish recollections of the piety of his mother and of his sister Judith; and from his childhood he would have been imbued with the belief that it was the right thing for people to say their prayers and to keep Sunday. In his seafaring life we may take it for certain that he was not one who passed among his fellows for a "Christian" a term which in a ship's company, or among soldiers, is generally convertible with that of a "converted man." We may be equally satisfied that he never threw in his lot with those who set religion at naught. Thus in his Bonin life we see in him an instance of one who, having left it to others to actively concern themselves about religion, found himself by force of circumstances bound either to bring what religion he had in him to the front or to let it go altogether. It was to his honour that he did the former. There was not much that he did, but in what he did there was just the reality that made it of value. There was no cant about the man. He never allowed Sunday to be a working day, and he had prayers of a kind in his family.
But the admirable qualities of Nathaniel Savory best show themselves in his commercial dealings and in the friendly relations he cultivated with men of the right sort. Abundant testimony is paid to his uprightness. He was an honourable man to deal with, and did what he could to win for the islands a fair name. No doubt among the settlers there were those who were jealous of him and his influence, but none the less they could not fail to recognize that it was Savory who mainly brought to the islands their trade. The men whom Savory trusted, and who put trust in him, were the most worthy of trust, and the islands benefited by their coming. Webb was a different type of man altogether, and Savory never got on with him too well. Webb would fall a dupe to a bragging scoundrel like Benjamin Pease, but Savory never made a friendship or created an enmity that was not on the whole to his credit.
In taking our final leave of Savory, I cannot do better than quote here a testimonial from a Captain Shields, master of the schooner Lady Lee, who had come to Port Lloyd bringing to him an introduction from Mr. George Seward, U.S.A. Consul in Shanghai. How the Bonin settlers had been able to furnish him with another vessel, I again cannot say, but this is the testimonial:
I have had the pleasure of Mr. Nathaniel Savory's acquaintance for two months and a half during the time my vessel the Lady Lee, now condemned here, has been in this port and I can truly say that only through his kindness and influence with the other inhabitants have I been enabled to leave these Islands by having presented to me and others the vessel we trust will a take us to China. He has always been ready to assist us with anything when at a loss; my wishes are that he may prosper and be happy, he is, I firmly believe, a strictly honest and upright man who will treat anyone in want of things the Islands can supply (with) strict honesty; For me it remains to thank him for much kindness shown.
Master of the late Lady Lee.
Port Lloyd, Dec. 20th. 1863.
Only a few steps from the door of the house now occupied by Horace Savory is a tombstone bearing this inscription:
to the memory of
a native of Bradford
in Essex County,
one of the first settlers
of this island who
departed this life
April 10th, 1874,
aged 80 years."²
Ή She reckoned then on being more fortunate than the demi-john.
² It should have read in his eightieth year.
THE ISLANDS PASS UNDER THE
GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN
On Sunday, November 21, 1875, the Meiji Maru, a Japanese ship, captained by an Englishman or American of the name of Peters, left Yokohama at noon with four Commissioners on board Tanabe Yaichi, Hayashi Masaki, Obana Sakusuke,Ή and Nezu Seikichi. Her destination was the Bonin Islands.
On Monday, the 22nd of the same month, at 9 A.M., H.M.S. Curlew (Captain Church) with Mr. Russell Robertson, British Consul, on board, also left Yokohama, and her destination was the Bonin Islands.
The Meiji Maru, putting on full steam, arrived in Port Lloyd early on Wednesday morning, the 24th.
The Curlew, proceeding more leisurely, arrived on Friday morning, the 26th.
What occasioned the separate departure of these two ships bound for the same place naturally calls for explanation, and as briefly as possible it shall be given:
Owing to the circumstances under which the first colony had been established on the Bonins, the early settlers, whether British subjects or not, had always regarded themselves as coming ultimately under the jurisdiction of the British Consulate in Hawaii and, had communication with Hawaii been more possible, there is no doubt that appeals would have been made from time to time from the Bonin settlers to the British Consul there. After the opening of Japan, the settlers came to realize that they had a British Consul now within comparatively easy reach at Yokohama. Thus it came to pass that by appeals made to him, and in other ways, the British Consul at Yokohama had his attention directed officially to these English-speaking settlers some of whom were undoubtedly British subjects who were inhabiting the Bonin Islands.
I do not know whether, on the occasion of the dispatch of the first Japanese Commissioners to the islands in 1861, any official communications had then passed between our British Minister and the Japanese Government. Certainly we had not interfered with the then attempt the Japanese had made, after an interval of some two hundred and fifty years, to reclaim the islands. But the attempt had practically failed, and the question was whether the Japanese were contemplating doing anything further, or whether they were now going to leave the islands alone. This was a matter on which it was reasonable that our British Minister in Japan should seek to inform himself, but Sir Barry Parkes the British Minister in Tokyo at the time, could elicit no very definite reply from the Japanese Government to his inquiries. Shortly, however, before the dispatch of tile Meiji Maru, he received intimation that the Government, having never regarded the Bonin Islands otherwise than as coming within the dominion of Japan, were about to dispatch a vessel with Commissioners on board to visit the islands and report on affairs there. On receipt of this communication, in which, apparently, no reference was made to English interests in the islands, Sir Harry Parkes felt that the occasion warranted the dispatch also of an English ship; and, Admiral Ryder having placed the Curlew at his disposal, the two ships sailed from Yokohama and arrived at their destination as stated above.
There was something not a little humorous as well as dramatic in the situation, the more so as the event proved that the Japanese Commissioners had been definitely instructed to take over the government of the islands. We can therefore well understand how, with the knowledge that the Curlew was following in her wake, the Meiji Maru had put on steam; and Thomas Webb was Mr. Robertson's informant that on their arrival on Wednesday morning (Webb, of course, was not aware of the reason) the Commissioners were manifesting much impatience, and desired Webb himself to gather together as many of the settlers as he could to an assembly on shore at two o'clock that same day.
The assembly gathered, but to the mortification of the Japanese, the function must have fallen sadly short of its intended impressiveness, for there had been no time to make the elaborate preparations for it which the dignity of the occasion required. Moreover, the important declaration and the speeches were to be duly made in English. The Commissioners had flattered themselves no doubt that they would have acquitted themselves in English much to their own satisfaction before their illiterate Bonin audience, but the discomposure they were under must have seriously affected their eloquence.
History records not a few cases where great rites have been hurriedly performed, with just a technical validity under circumstances of emergency, and here is one that might be added to the list. The Commissioners had at least fulfilled their task. A public assembly had been called; and the proclamation had been made; and the purport of it had been grasped that the islands rightfully belonged to the Emperor of Japan, who was graciously pleased to take all those who were living on the islands from henceforth under his protecting care. So now let the Curlew come!
It is interesting to speculate what would have happened if that assembly had not taken place before the Curlew's arrival.
Believing ourselves that England would readily have conceded Japan's right to the islands, we can only say that, if the Japanese had, as we have no reason to suppose they had not, intentions of acting honourably towards the settlers, they would have themselves desired that the Meiji Maru should be accompanied by an English ship; and the presence of the British Consul, as England's representative and a consenting party to the step they were taking, would have contributed greatly to the reassurance of the settlers and to the impressiveness of the function. But, throughout, the Japanese had adopted the high course of ignoring any claim on them that England might make rather than allow themselves to acknowledge any favour done, or risk any restrictions being imposed on their freedom of action or administration, by coming to a recovery of their long-lost islands through the process of negotiation.
When the Curlew at length came into the harbour on the Friday, the conventional courtesies were duly exchanged between the two ships, and inasmuch as Captain Church and Mr. Robertson had come with no intention of thwarting or interfering with Japanese plans, Mr. Robertson, accepting the declaration made as a fait accompli, was careful that everything he did should be done as openly as possible, and held no important interview with the settlers at which he did not invite the Japanese Commissioners to be present. They readily availed themselves of these invitations, but extended no invitations of a like kind to Mr. Robertson, and were never quite at ease during the whole week of the Curlew's stay.
At the further end of the harbour, where there is a sandy beach, Mr. Robertson had noticed on arrival an American flag flying. Latterly he discovered that the Savorys' house and clearing lay beyond, hidden from sight by a belt of intervening trees. In his account of the visit he paid to it, he writes: "I had a long chat with the old lady who received Captain Church and myself surrounded by her family one or two of the other settlers also being present. She explained that the hoisting of the flag was out of compliment to us, and that one of her husband's dying wishes had been that the flag should be so displayed whenever a vessel arrived or on any exceptional occasion." The widow Savory had not yet given herself to her third husband, William Allen, the German; but in Mr. Robertson's mention of Allen, our knowledge of what subsequently happened makes us open our eyes a little when we read, "He appears to be a man of fifty and upwards and has taken to wife a Sandwich Island woman, Poconoi by name.
One criticism I should make of Mr. Robertson's report, admirable though it is. He clearly does not realize how different an account he might have had to give of the settlers, whom he describes for the most part as fairly prosperous, well mannered and orderly, had it not been for the character and influence of Nathaniel Savory. This failure to appreciate and record the debt the island owed to this veteran settler, who had passed away in the previous year, is no doubt largely attributable to his having had Thomas Webb for his chief informant on all the island matters.
The Meiji Maru had come with a generous supply of blankets, cottons, shirtings, tobacco, and cakes for distribution among the settlers. Captain Church also made up for most of them packets of useful things out of the ship's stores, so that the expectations of what they might succeed in getting for themselves, which were always kindled when a vessel of any kind put into harbour, suffered on this occasion no disappointment.
One circumstance must not be left untold. Captain Church discovered the original copper plate² put up by Captain Beechey in 1827, in the house of Leseur the Frenchman, and for a small gratuity made himself the possessor of it. In order, however, to guard against any wrong construction being afterwards placed upon his action in taking it away from the islands, he was careful to leave behind the following statement in writing:
December 3rd, 1875.
The undersigned wishes to place on record that he has removed from Peel Island the Copper Plate put up by Captain Beechey of H.M.S. Blossom on the occasion of his visit to the Bonins in June 1827 when these Islands were taken possession of by Captain Beechey in the name and on behalf of His Majesty King George the Fourth. The plate was found in the possession of Louis Leseur a resident on Peel Island, who parted with it for a small pecuniary consideration. The undersigned wishes it to be understood that the removal of the plate is in no way to be considered as the relinquishing of any rights that the British Government may have acquired by the action of Captain Beechey, as the undersigned has no authority to determine or pronounce any opinion one way or the other on the question of the acquisition of the Islands, past, present or future. The plate will be retained by the undersigned as an object of curiosity unless circumstances should demand that it be disposed of in any other way.
EDMD. J. CHURCH,
Commander H.M.S. Curlew.
In the presence of
(Signed) RUSSELL ROBERTSON,
H.B.M.'s Consul at Kanagawa."
Ή He became first governor and was very popular.
² See chap. i, page 13.
A SUPPLEMENTARY CHAPTER
In which a short account is given of the
Islands after their appropriation by the
Japanese, and of the opening of St. George's
From the year 1876 until 1904 when, under the Revised Treaties foreigners secured the right of travel and residence in any part of the Japanese Empire, no new settlers other than Japanese could make their home on the Bonin Islands. Japanese settlers were slow in coming, and for the first two or three years the Japanese colony did not prosper. But there was to be no more withdrawal, and, after the Government had set things in some order and made life under Japanese conditions more possible, emigration to the islands became even too popular.
The Japanese are happiest in a warm climate; fish is one of the staples of their food; fish were to be had in abundance; and granted that the vessels from Japan brought sufficiency of rice, the frugal, industrious Japanese always attracted too by novel enterprises were nothing loth to try their fortunes in this new field.
The two chief islands are no longer "Peel" Island and "Bailey" Island. As newer maps and charts supersede the old ones, the names given by Captain Beechey will gradually disappear and be forgotten. "Peel" Island is now Chichijima, Father Island; its harbour Futami ; "Bailey" Island is Hahajima, or Mother Island, and on each of these islands to-day is a population of roughly three thousand. The original settlers and I must not omit mentioning that they have all become naturalized citizens of Japan thus found themselves every year more and more environed by Japanese. They have profited much by being under government; by the regular service of steamers; by the laying out of the little harbour town with its stores; by the construction of roads, and by other facilities offered them. On the other hand they had lost their freedom and independence of action, so far as they were no longer their own masters, and had to submit to the growing domination of the Japanese. They have watched the goats and turtles disappearing, and fish becoming procurable only in the open sea; they could make no protest against the ruthless clearings, the wholesale cutting down of trees; nor check the keen competition of the Japanese, one with the other, and all with themselves, to derive from the islands all the immediate profit they could; and it must be said in pity for the islands, that almost all the Japanese who have gone there, as farmers and cultivators, have gone there without any capital.
Hahajima, or the South Island, is mainly peopled by workers on the sugar farms, but Chichijima, though it has the smaller population, is an island of altogether greater consequence. This is due, of course, to its fine harbour. On Chichijima to-day there is the Government House with its staff of secretaries and clerks, the headquarters of the island police, the post office, the school with its certificated teachers from Japan, the office of the steamship company, a canning factory, etc. But this harbour island has further become a telegraph station, for when the island of Guam had been ceded to the United States after the war with Spain, cable connexion was established between that island and Hawaii, and latterly, in 1906, the cable was carried through Chichijima to Japan. As a telegraph station the island must be permanently of some importance and, because of this telegraphic connexion with the mainland a meteorological observatory (or "station") has also been established on the island.
The production of sugar is the chief industry, and bananas are largely cultivated; but hardly a year passes without serious damage being wrought by the typhoons. Another industry, which has furnished considerable employment for the women, is the making of soft white plaited baskets from the long ribbon leaves of the Lohala palm; handles are given to them and they are fastened with bits of shell or coral which pass through a loop. A company has secured the monopoly of this trade, and while the baskets, strangely enough, may be purchased in towns in England and elsewhere, they will not be found in the shops in Japan.
For many years the stalwart men-settlers made their living chiefly by seal-hunting, but this is a pursuit which is unfortunately no longer open to them. They were engaged by companies, and left the island to join their sealing schooners, at Yokohama, or Hakodate, generally in March, to return in October or November. If they had average luck, a hunter would bring back the equivalent of about £40 or £50.
A mail steamer of some 2000 tons now goes to the islands from Yokohama twice a month. Formerly little steamers of not half that tonnage made the voyage in alternate months, but when the seas ran high they were greatly delayed. Moreover, 160 miles out from Yokohama there is the large island of Hachijo with rocky inhospitable shores, and here the steamers have to discharge and take in cargo. I remember once, in one of my earlier visits, how the high seas and strong currents round Hachijo fairly baffled us, and our little steamer having shifted from one side of the island to the other, had at last to give up in despair and make back for Yokohama.
It would be worth very little to say that on the whole, and all things considered, the relations between our settler friends and the Japanese have been as amicable as could have been reasonably expected; for the relations, under the circumstances that had thrown them together, and taking into account their strangely differing characteristics, would have furnished scope for a most interesting psychological study. But with the general statement, made above, we must for the present content ourselves.
Where I think the Japanese certainly failed from the first in their duty towards the settlers was in making no provision for teaching their children the elements of English. This was a boon they might easily have conferred upon them. Latterly this defect was supplied by the opening of a mission school, presided over by Joseph Gonzales, and many of the Japanese were not slow to avail themselves of the opportunity thus offered for their own children. To-day the children of our settlers go as a matter of course to the Japanese elementary school, but we must bear in mind that many of the men, Mr. Gonzales included, have married Japanese wives, and the children of such marriages are hardly distinguishable from Japanese.
After Japan's two victorious wars against China and Russia, the Bonins were just a place where national pride was likely to display itself too arrogantly, and missionaries who came to the islands could not fail here and there to be unfavourably impressed with the bearing of the people. But having said this, I gladly acknowledge that we have met with so much compensating friendliness that our stays on the island have always been pleasurable. By the Governor we have never been otherwise than courteously welcomed, and no obstacles of any kind have been put in the way of our missionary work.
The occasion of the opening of S. George's Church on Sunday, October 17, 1909, was a memorable one. The church had been specially designed by Mr. Josiah Conder, F.R.I.B.A., of Tokyo, to whom our debt of gratitude was largely increased for undertaking, under necessarily difficult conditions, the work of its erection and its internal furnishing. It is a wooden structure on a solid concrete foundation, with a deeply thatched roof of cabbage palm. A rose window at the west end was appropriately the gift of the S. George's Societies in Yokohama and Kobe. The other windows with their stained glass designs were the generous gift of the architect himself. On the Tuesday previous to the consecration of the Church by Bishop Cecil,Ή we incvited all the chief people in and around the little town to a reception in the Church grounds. The refreshments had been put in the hands of a caterer in Yokohama, and the party had to be a little accelerated for fear lest certain of the good things should spoil, and the ice for the ice-creams should melt away. The gathering was a most successful one, and a speech was made by the Governor, Mr. Ari Kotaro, to which the Bishop replied. Post cards with a picture of the Church were distributed to all the guests, and the master of the post-office kindly allowed them to be postmarked with the date.
There had been suggestion that the Church should receive the name of St. Nathanael or of St. Bartholomew, who has been generally identified with him, but there were not a few minor considerations which tended to confirm our eventual decision to commemorate the fact that the Bonins had once in the name of King George IV been claimed for England, by dedicating the first Church on the islands to England's patron saint.
Ή The Right Rev. Cecil Henry Boutflower, successor to the Right Rev. William Awdry, Bishop of S. Tokyo, had arrived in Japan in February 1909. Thus the Church in the Bonin Islands was the first church to be consecrated by him in his new diocese. Bishop Awdry himself had twice visited the islands, and was planning himself the erection of a church in the Bonins, when his last serious illness compelled him to leave for England.