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Massacre of the crew of the American
whaling ship Superior, by the natives of
Treasury Island, in the Solomon Group.

The Sydney Herald publishes a letter from Capt. Mair, of the schooner Ariel, giving the particulars of the murder of twenty six of the crew of the American whaling bark Superior, which sailed from New Bedford, by the savages of Treasury Island. Capt. Mair sailed to the island to inquire the truth of the reported massacre. The following is his account of the affair:

I found out that six of her crew were prisoners upon the island, and I at once set about trying to get possession of them. For three days more I cruised off the island, having the natives backwards and forward during that time. I went to the beach occasionally, and could see the men, but on every occasion they were strongly guarded. None of the principal natives coming on board, as a last resource I had to secure a native who was related to one of the head chiefs. I put him in irons, and next morning I took him ashore, and again offered the natives to pay them for the men.--They agreed at last to let me have one, who, on coming to my boat, gave me the dreadful intelligence that the whole of the crew of the Superior, with the exception of himself and five others, had been murdered and the ship burnt. It seems there are two chiefs implicated — Copan, the head man, and America, the next. My prisoner being a relative to America, I resolved to keep him until I got the two other men that chief had, (for each of the two chiefs had, it seems, two men,) and I was finally successful, after a great deal of trouble. The three men, however, whom Copan had possession of, I could not get either by persuasion or by threats. At night I proceeded to the anchorage, where the ship had been taken, and remained there two days. I saw no natives, but I found the ship's jibboom on the beach, together with pieces of burnt timber, staves, &c.

The bark Superior, R. D. Woods, master, (Woods owner) of New Bedford, sailed from that port on the 24th June, 1857, made Treary Island on the 12th of September, 1860, and came to anchor there on the same day. On the 13th, 14th and 15th of that month the crew were employed in wooding and watering, and, from the men's statement, were visited by a great number of natives, armed. On Sunday, the 16th, nine of the crew went ashore. The carpenter and two men went to the settlement and were murdered in one of the native huts. The natives then proceeded, in canoes and overland, to the ship, and those who came by land fell in with the remaining six close to the beach, and murdered them.--About 150 natives got on board the vessel and made a rush on the crew, who were all on deck except four, who were in bed. Those on deck were immediately tomahawked, only two escaping by jumping down the main hatchway, and joining the four below in the forecastle. One of the crew, whom I recovered, saw the captain and second mate murdered by a native called ‘"Billy,"’ who has been to Sydney, and speaks English well. --The chief Copan was the principal in this dreadful massacre. The six men below, being armed with lances, kept the natives from coming down the forecastle, until at last ‘ "Billy"’ told my informant that if they came up they should not be hurt. At length, therefore, they did so, and were at once surrounded, and by the chief Copan ordered to be put to death. The chief America offered to buy three of the men, and he persuaded Copan to keep the other three to till the ground. These three, as I have already intimated, I could could not recover.

The three men on board my vessel say they were well treated by the chief America, and they tell me that the native ‘"Billy"’ was at the taking of the schooner Pearl, where I am now at anchor, about eighteen months before this happened. It is said that he went over to Treasury Island in the Superior, and had an opportunity of seeing that there were no arms kept; there being only seven old flint guns, and none of them loaded when the ship was taken. Twenty-six men were butchered in cold blood, amongst whom was a poor lad ten years of age — the crew consisting of thirty-two souls when she anchored. The natives took five boats, with a quantity of cordage and sails, which were all cut up, and everything else was destroyed by setting the ship on fire. The Superior had on board 150 barrels of sperm and 150 barrels of right whale oil.

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Copan (Oklahoma, United States) (3)
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Mair (2)
R. D. Woods (1)
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September 12th, 1860 AD (1)
June 24th, 1857 AD (1)
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13th (1)
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