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A SAILOR KING

» - George Wright who arrived at San Franolsoo on the steamer Australia somo time tgo from the Caroline Islauds, brings a queerstory of the sudden riae of a sailor to distinction In the largest lalaud of an itobipeUgo 75 miles from Hawels, where Mr Wright has a trading ttore. "The sailor," said Mr Wright, "Is Ctrl Benjsmln, and he has no fewer than ntnetaen wives and fifty odd copper-colored children. He w»s wrecked In the schooner Bombazine off the Lidrone Islsnda nine years ago, and floated at sea on a raft a couple of weeks before they struck land. If yon will look at a map of the Pacific you will find lying mldw»y between the Troplo of Osnoer and tbo equator, 600 miles west of the Marshall Group, thirteen dots. On some mips they are marked 4 Thirteen islands, well Inhabited.' That Is all there Is to point out their slgolfiOftuoe. It is on the blggett of these, o»Hod by the sailor Beoj^mla IsUnd After himidl', that he has taken up his hou-e It is about ten by twenty miles m extent. ' Well inhabited' means that there is qaite a sprinkling of dark-skinned natives ID re. aa well as nnny more who move to and fro m tbe archipelago wi'h boats. They oat bread f rnlt, bananar, oococanuts, and fith. They don't work at all. Benj.mla has joßt got to be King. He has nothing at all to do but go swimming m m the turf, talk the native gibberish, whioh he Übb learned, or 101 l under a palm tree. Sometimes he has his wives fan him while ho lazily smokes the Keseba leaf, which growß plentifully there, end which, after one becomes uaod to it, is liked better than tobaoco. "BaDJtmln ie doing some good work there, however. He carried three or four books away with him on bis raft, the Ust thing you would have expected, and he h»« oontrivad to teach the n&tlven fingllih. BaDJamln is an American of German or Jewlih desoent, and is a lover of books The - firit tilng he did was to seleot an Intelligent native and teaoh him r the alphabet; The fellow learned rapidly, and soon bog»n to teaoh it to othert, and a number of them otn now speak English white tbe tilng generation Immediately aronnd arc gradually pioklng up a knowledge of the language. Benjamin Is lookdd upon m the light of a sage. The ohlefi>, of whom there »re four, oome to him fur points, and of there own accord they have msdu him their ruler, the chiefs being ■ sort of Cabinet. "Benjunln has pickod ont tha handsomest women fo? wives, nnd they esteem It quite an honor! The King lives In the blggeet bimboo house In tbe village of Xit } a eieaggllng aggcegitlon of native houses on a oral roef. His children are of all sger, and are sprightly, lively lot. Nobody bothers mach »bcut clothing m the South Pacific, still Becjamln wears a Htlo eomethiog, and la gradually prevailing upon the uatlves to do ao, too, He keeps telling them there Is no civilisation wdhoat some olothea, BoDJ*mlu is about 30 years old He was formerly from Newbuiyport, Moss., but says that he.no longer has any desire to return to Amorloe. He ia the oaly wh ti man, with one exception, for hundreds of miles around. He has t»kon to neat a string of shells around his neok like the natives, and hn sometimes imitates them «td puts dots of blue pain*, got from a native eorub, on his face. This is oaly on Sate cocasionp, however, when there Is to be a ' discussion of Important questions with hfa chief?. The permanent population of his ifs'and Is about 600 or 700. The Island Is Indented with beautiful b»y», and Is dott)d with trees and shrubs of a troploal growth whioh are for the moat of the year coveted with fragrant flowers.

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A SAILOR KING Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2210, 27 August 1889

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