III-"The Kanaka Labour Traffic" - J.D. Melvin - The Argus

"Our Representative on a Recruiting Schooner; Reception of Returned Laborers by their Tribes; The First Attempt to Recruit"

When they heard that land was in sight, the ‘boys’ deserted their quarters and crowded the bows and rigging. After a prolonged absence, they looked once more on the higher outlines of the first of their native isles. They seemed deeply interested, and were remarkably serious. If they were glad, it was not in a demonstrative way. There was no shouting, no ringing cheer. What was the meaning of their seemingly apathetic demeanour? Did they realize that they were about to pass from civilization back into savagedom – from the care of a parental Government back to the lawless tyranny of island life; from bread, meat, and etceteras in abundance to a scramble for native food; from peace to war; from a country where toil is rewarded and protected to one where might only is right? 

Description:The second article in The Argus' series "The Kanaka Labour Traffic" by J.D. Melvin about his time spent as a crew member on the blackbirding vessel The Helena.

Rights: Public domain.

Additional Media

An article written as part of The Argus' series "The Kanaka Labour Traffic" by J.D. Melvin.