HotFreeBooks.com
A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 14
by Robert Kerr
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Forster the father is decided in opinion, as to the revolution that has undoubtedly occurred in this island, being occasioned by a volcano and earthquake, and gives a very curious account of a notion prevalent amongst the Society Isles, and forming indeed part of their mythological creed, which, if to be credited, affords support to it. The subject altogether is of a most interesting and important nature, but cannot possibly be investigated or even specified in an adequate manner in this place. We hope to do it justice hereafter.—E.



SECTION IX.

The Passage from Easter Island to the Marquesas Islands. Transactions and Incidents which happened while the Ship lay in Madre de Dios, or Resolution Bay, in the Island of St Christina.

After leaving Easter Island, I steered N.W. by N. and N.N.W., with a fine easterly gale, intending to touch at the Marquesas, if I met with nothing before I got there. We had not been long at sea, before the bilious disorder made another attack upon me, but not so violent as the former. I believe this second visit was owing to exposing and fatiguing myself too much at Easter Island.

On the 22d, being in the latitude of 19 deg. 20' S., longitude 114 deg. 49' W., steered N.W. Since leaving Easter Island, the variation had not been more than 3 deg. 4', nor less than 2 deg. 32' E.; but on the 26th, at six a.m., in latitude 15 deg. 7' S., longitude 119 deg. 45' W., it was no more than 1 deg. 1' E.; after which it began to increase.

On the 29th, being in the latitude of 10 deg. 20', longitude 123 deg. 58' W., altered the course to W.N.W., and the next day to west, being then in latitude 9 deg. 24', which I judged to be the parallel of Marquesas; where, as I have before observed, I intended to touch, in order to settle their situation, which I find different in different charts. Having now a steady settled trade-wind, and pleasant weather, I ordered the forge to be set up, to repair and make various necessary articles in the iron way; and the caulkers had already been some time at work caulking the decks, weather- works, &c.

As we advanced to the west, we found the variation to increase but slowly; for, on the 3d of April, it was only 4 deg. 40' E., being then in the latitude of 9 deg. 32', longitude 132 deg. 45', by observation made at the same time.

I continued to steer to the west till the 6th, at four in the afternoon, at which time, being in the latitude of 9 deg. 20', longitude 138 deg. 14' W., we discovered an island, bearing west by south, distant about nine leagues. Two hours after we saw another, bearing S.W. by S., which appeared more extensive than the former. I hauled up for this island, and ran under an easy sail all night, having squally unsettled rainy weather, which is not very uncommon in this sea, when near high land. At six o'clock the next morning, the first island bore N.W., the second S.W. 1/2 W., and a third W. I gave orders to steer for the separation between the two last; and soon after, a fourth was seen, still more to the west. By this time, we were well assured that these were the Marquesas, discovered by Mendana in 1595. The first isle was a new discovery, which I named Hood's Island, after the young gentleman who first saw it, the second was that of Saint Pedro, the third La Dominica, and the fourth St Christina. We ranged the S.E..coast of La Dominica, without seeing the least signs of anchorage, till we came to the channel that divides it from St Christina, through which we passed, hauled over for the last-mentioned island, and ran along the coast to the S.W. in search of Mendana's Port. We passed several coves in which there seemed to be anchorage; but a great surf broke on all the shores. Some canoes put off from these places, and followed us down the coast.

At length, having come before the port we were in search of, we attempted to turn into it, the wind being right out; but as it blew in violent squalls from this high land, one of these took us just after we had put in stays, payed the ship off again, and before she wore round, she was within a few yards of being driven against the rocks to leeward. This obliged us to stand out to sea, and to make a stretch to windward; after which we stood in again, and without attempting to turn, anchored in the entrance of the bay in thirty-four fathoms water, a fine sandy bottom. This was no sooner done, than about thirty or forty of the natives came off to us in ten or twelve canoes; but it required some address to get them alongside. At last a hatchet, and some spike-nails, induced the people in one canoe to come under the quarter-gallery; after which, all the others put alongside, and having exchanged some breadfruit and fish for small nails, &c. retired ashore, the sun being already set. We observed a heap of stones on the bow of each canoe, and every man to have a sling tied round his hand.

Very early next morning, the natives visited us again in much greater numbers than before; bringing with them bread-fruit, plantains, and one pig, all of which they exchanged for nails, &c. But in this traffic they would frequently keep our goods, and make no return, till at last I was obliged to fire a musket-ball over one man who had several times served us in this manner; after which they dealt more fairly; and soon after several of them came on board. At this time we were preparing to warp farther into the bay, and I was going in a boat, to look for the most convenient place to moor the ship in. Observing too many of the natives on board, I said to the officers, "You must look well after these people, or they will certainly carry off something or other." I had hardly got into the boat, before I was told they had stolen one of the iron stanchions from the opposite gang-way, and were making off with it. I ordered them to fire over the canoe till I could get round in the boat, but not to kill any one. But the natives made too much noise for me to be heard, and the unhappy thief was killed at the third shot. Two others in the same canoe leaped overboard, but got in again just as I came to them. The stanchion they had thrown over board. One of them, a man grown, sat bailing the blood and water out of the canoe, in a kind of hysteric laugh; the other, a youth about fourteen or fifteen years of age, looked on the deceased with a serious and dejected countenance; we had afterwards reason to believe he was his son.[1]

At this unhappy accident, all the natives retired with precipitation. I followed them into the bay, and prevailed upon the people in one canoe to come alongside the boat, and receive some nails, and other things, which I gave them; this in some measure allayed their fears. Having taken a view of the bay, and found that fresh water, which we most wanted, was to be had, I returned on board, and carried out a kedge-anchor with three hawsers upon an end, to warp the ship in by, and hove short on the bower. One would have thought that the natives, by this time, would have been so sensible of the effect of our fire-arms, as not to have provoked us to fire upon them any more, but the event proved otherwise; for the boat had no sooner left the kedge-anchor, than two men in a canoe put off from the shore, took hold of the buoy rope, and attempted to drag it ashore, little considering what was fast to it. Lest, after discovering their mistake, they should take away the buoy, I ordered a musket to be fired at them; the ball fell short, and they took not the least notice of it; but a second having passed over them, they let go the buoy, and made for the shore. This was the last shot we had occasion to fire at any of them, while we lay at this place. It probably had more effect than killing the man, by shewing them that they were not safe at any distance; at least we had reason to think so, for they afterwards stood in great dread of the musket. Nevertheless, they would very often be exercising their talent of thieving upon us, which I thought proper to put up with, as our stay was not likely to be long amongst them. The trouble these people gave us retarded us so long, that, before we were ready to heave the anchor, the wind began to increase, and blew in squalls out of the bay, so that we were obliged to lie fast. It was not long before the natives ventured off to us again. In the first canoe which came, was a man who seemed to be of some consequence; he advanced slowly, with a pig on his shoulder, and speaking something which we did not understand. As soon as he got alongside, I made him a present of a hatchet and several other articles: In return, he sent in his pig; and was at last prevailed upon to come himself up to the gang-way, where he made but a short stay. The reception this man met with, induced the people in all the other canoes to put alongside; and exchanges were presently reestablished.

Matters being thus settled on board, I went on shore with a party of men, to see what was to be done there. We were received by the natives with great courtesy; and, as if nothing had happened, trafficked with them for some fruit and a few small pigs; and after loading the launch with water, returned aboard. After dinner I sent the boats ashore for water, under the protection of a guard; on their landing, the natives all fled but one man, and he seemed much frightened; afterwards one or two more came down, and these were all that were seen this afternoon. We could not conceive the reason of this sudden fright.

Early in the morning of the 9th, the boats were sent as usual for water; and just as they were coming off, but not before, some of the natives made their appearance. After breakfast I landed some little time before the guard, when the natives crowded round me in great numbers; but as soon as the guard landed, I had enough to do to keep them from running off: At length their fears vanished, and a trade was opened for fruit and pigs. I believe the reason of the natives flying from our people the day before, was their not seeing me at the head of them; for they certainly would have done the same to-day, had I not been present. About noon, a chief of some consequence, attended by a great number of people, came down to the landing-place. I presented him with such articles as I had with me, and, in return, he gave me some of his ornaments. After these mutual exchanges, a good understanding seemed to be established between us; so that we got by exchanges as much fruit as loaded two boats, with which we returned on board to dinner; but could not prevail on the chief to accompany us.

In the afternoon, the watering and trading parties were sent on shore, though the latter got but little, as most of the natives had retired into the country. A party of us went to the other, or southern cove of the bay, where I procured five pigs, and came to the house which, we were told, did belong to the man we had killed. He must have been a person of some note, as there were six pigs in and about his house, which we were told belonged to his son, who fled on our approach. I wanted much to have seen him, to make him a present, and, by other kind treatment, to convince him and the others that it was not from any bad design against the nation, that we had killed his father. It would have been to little purpose if I had left any thing in the house, as it certainly would have been taken by others; especially as I could not sufficiently explain to them my meaning. Strict honesty was seldom observed when the property of our things came to be disputed. I saw a striking instance of this in the morning, when I was going ashore. A man in a canoe offered me a small pig for a six-inch spike, and another man being employed to convey it, I gave him the spike, which he kept for himself, and instead of it, gave to the man who owned the pig a sixpenny nail. Words of course arose, and I waited to see how it would end; but as the man who had possession of the spike seemed resolved to keep it, I left them before it was decided. In the evening we returned on board with what refreshments we had collected, and thought we had made a good day's work.

On the 10th, early in the morning, some people from more distant parts came in canoes alongside, and sold us some pigs; so that we had now sufficient to give the crew a fresh meal. They were, in general, so small, that forty or fifty were hardly sufficient for this purpose. The trade on shore for fruit was as brisk as ever. After dinner, I made a little expedition in my boat along the coast to the south-ward, accompanied by some of the gentlemen: At the different places we touched at, we collected eighteen pigs; and I believe, might have got more. The people were exceedingly obliging wherever we landed, and readily brought down whatever we desired.[2]

Next morning I went down to the same place where we had been the preceding evening; but instead of getting pigs, as I expected, found the scene quite changed. The nails and other things they were mad after but the evening before, they now despised, and instead of them wanted they did not know what; so that I was obliged to return, with three or four little pigs, which cost more than a dozen did the day before. When I got on board, I found the same change had happened there, as also at the trading place on shore. The reason was, several of the young gentlemen having landed the preceding day, had given away in exchange various articles which the people had not seen before, and which took with them more than nails or more useful iron tools. But what ruined our market the most, was one of them giving for a pig a very large quantity of red feathers he had got at Amsterdam. None of us knew at this time, that this article was in such estimation here; and, if I had known it, I could not have supported the trade, in the manner it was begun, one day. Thus was our fine prospect of getting a plentiful supply of refreshments from these people frustrated; which will ever be the case so long as every one is allowed to make exchanges for what he pleases, and in what manner be pleases. When I found this island was not likely to supply us, on any conditions, with sufficient refreshments, such as we might expect to find at the Society Isles, nor very convenient for taking in wood and water, nor for giving the ship the necessary repairs she wanted, I resolved forthwith to leave it, and proceed to some other place, where our wants might be effectually relieved. For after having been nineteen weeks at sea, and living all the time upon salt diet, we could not but want some refreshments; although I must own, and that with pleasure, that on our arrival here, it could hardly be said we had one sick man; and but a few who had the least complaint. This was undoubtedly owing to the many antiscorbutic articles we had on board, and to the great attention of the surgeon, who was remarkably careful to apply them in time.

[1] Mr G.F. represents this unhappy transaction in a somewhat different manner, affirming that an officer who happened to come on deck the moment after the second ineffectual shot, and who was totally ignorant of the nature of the offence committed, snatched up a musket and fired with such fatal precision. This might be the case unknown to Captain Cook, whose representation may be considered as perfectly according with his own immediate understanding of the circumstance, and not modified, for perhaps valid enough reasons, by subsequent information. The event, in any view of it that can be taken, is another melancholy proof of that unprincipled depreciation of human life, which so strongly characterizes men who are continually risking it at their own cost. The conduct of Mahine on this event, it seems, was very striking. He burst into tears, when he saw one man killing another on so trifling an occasion. "Let his feelings," says Mr G.F., "put those civilized Europeans to the blush, who have humanity so often on their lips, and so seldom in their hearts."—E.

[2] Mr G.F. strongly commends the friendly behaviour and conciliatory manners of the people. It is unnecessary to quote his words—E.



SECTION X.

Departure from the Marquesas; a Description of the Situation, Extent, Figure, and Appearance of the several Islands; with some Account of the Inhabitants, their Customs, Dress, Habitations, Food, Weapons, and Canoes.

At three o'clock in the afternoon, we weighed, and stood over from St Christina for La Dominica, in order to take a view of the west side of that isle; but as it was dark before we reached it, the night was spent in plying between the two isles. The next morning we had a full view of the S.W. point, from which the coast trended N.E.; so that it was not probable we should find good anchorage on that side, as being exposed to the easterly winds. We had now but little wind, and that very variable, with showers of rain. At length we got a breeze at E.N.E. with which we steered to the south. At five o'clock p.m., Resolution Bay bore E.N.E. 1/2 E. distant five leagues, and the island Magdalena S.E., about nine leagues distant. This was the only sight we had of this isle. From hence I steered S.S.W. 1/2 W. for Otaheite, with a view of falling in with some of those isles discovered by former navigators, especially those discovered by the Dutch, whose situations are not well determined. But it will be necessary to return to the Marquesas; which were, as I have already observed, first discovered by Mendana, a Spaniard, and from him obtained the general name they now bear, as well as those of the different isles. The nautical account of them, in vol. i. p. 61, of Dalrymple's Collection of Voyages to the South Seas, is deficient in nothing but situation. This was my chief reason for touching, at them; the settling this point is the more useful, as it will in a great measure fix the situations of Mendana's other discoveries.

The Marquesas are five in number, viz. La Magdalena, St Pedro, La Dominica, Santa Christina, and Hood's Island, which is the northernmost, situated in latitude 9 deg. 26' S., and N. 13 deg. W., five leagues and a half distant from the east point of La Dominica, which is the largest of all the isles, extending east and west six leagues. It hath an unequal breadth, and is about fifteen or sixteen leagues in circuit. It is full of rugged hills, rising in ridges directly from the sea; these ridges are disjoined by deep vallies which are clothed with wood, as are the sides of some of the hills; the aspect, however, is barren; but it is, nevertheless, inhabited. Latitude 9 deg. 44' 30" S. St Pedro, which is about three leagues in circuit, and of a good height, lies south, four leagues and a half from the east end of La Dominica; we know not if it be inhabited. Nature has not been very bountiful to it. St Christina lies under the same parallel, three or four leagues more to the west. This island stretches north and south, is nine miles long in that direction, and about seven leagues in circuit. A narrow ridge of hills of considerable height extends the whole length of the island. There are other ridges, which, rising from the sea, and with an equal ascent, join the main ridge. These are disjoined by deep narrow vallies, which are fertile, adorned with fruit and other trees, and watered by fine streams of excellent water. La Magdalena we only saw at a distance. Its situation must be nearly in the latitude of 10 deg. 25', longitude 138 deg. 50'. So that these isles occupy one degree in latitude, and near half a degree in longitude, viz. from 138 deg. 47' to 139 deg. 13' W., which is the longitude of the west end of La Dominica.

The port of Madre de Dios, which I named Resolution Bay, is situated near the middle of the west side of St Christina, and under the highest land in the island, in latitude 9 deg. 55' 30", longitude 139 deg. 8' 40" W.; and north 15' W. from the west end of La Dominica. The south point of the bay is a steep rock of considerable height, terminating at the top in a peaked hill, above which you will see a path-way leading up a narrow ridge to the summits of the hills. The north point is not so high, and rises with a more gentle slope. They are a mile from each other, in the direction of N. by E. and S. by W. In the bay, which is near three quarters of a mile deep, and has from thirty-four to twelve fathoms water, with a clean sandy bottom, are two sandy coves, divided from each other by a rocky point. In each is a rivulet of excellent water. The northern cove is the most commodious for wooding and watering. Here is the little water-fall mentioned by Quiros, Mendana's pilot; but the town, or village, is in the other cove. There are several other coves, or bays, on this side of the island, and some of them, especially to the northward, may be mistaken for this; therefore, the best direction is the bearing of the west end of La Dominica.

The trees, plants, and other productions of these isles, so far as we know, are nearly the same as at Otaheite and the Society Isles. The refreshments to be got are hogs, fowls, plantains, yams, and some other roots; likewise bread-fruit and cocoa-nuts, but of these not many. At first these articles were purchased with nails. Beads, looking-glasses, and such trifles, which are so highly valued at the Society Isles, are in no esteem here; and even nails at last lost their value for other articles far less useful.

The inhabitants of these islands collectively, are, without exception, the finest race of people in this sea. For fine shape and regular features, they perhaps surpass all other nations. Nevertheless, the affinity of their language to that spoken in Otaheite and the Society Isles, shews that they are of the same nation. Oedidee could converse with them tolerably well, though we could not; but it was easy to see that their language was nearly the same.

The men are punctured, or curiously tattowed, from head to foot. The figures are various, and seem to be directed more by fancy than custom. These puncturations make them look dark: But the women, who are but little punctured, youths and young children, who are not at all, are as fair as some Europeans. The men are in general tall, that is, about five feet ten inches, or six feet; but I saw none that were fat and lusty like the Earees of Otaheite; nor did I see any that could be called meagre. Their teeth are not so good, nor are their eyes so full and lively as those of many other nations. Their hair, like ours, is of many colours, except red, of which I saw none. Some have it long, but the most general custom is to wear it short, except a bunch on each side of the crown, which they tie in a knot. They observe different modes in trimming the beard, which is in general long. Some part it, and tie it in two bunches under the chin, others plait it, some wear it loose, and others quite short.

Their clothing is the same as at Otaheite, and made of the same materials; but they have it not in such plenty, nor is it so good. The men, for the most part, have nothing to cover their nakedness, except the Marra, as it is called at Otaheite; which is a slip of cloth passed round the waist and betwixt the legs; This simple dress is quite sufficient for the climate, and answers every purpose modesty requires. The dress of the women is a piece of cloth wrapped round the loins like a petticoat, which reaches down below the middle of the leg, and a loose mantle over their shoulders. Their principal head-dress, and what appears to be their chief ornament, is a sort of broad fillet, curiously made of the fibres of the husk of cocoa- nuts. In the front is fixed a mother-o'-pearl shell wrought round to the size of a tea saucer. Before that is another smaller one, of very fine tortoise-shell, perforated into curious figures. Also before, and in the centre of that, is another round piece of mother-o'-pearl, about the size of half-a-crown; and before this another piece of perforated tortoise- shell, about the size of a shilling. Besides this decoration in front, some have it also on each side, but in smaller pieces; and all have fixed to them, the tail feathers of cocks, or tropic birds, which, when the fillet is tied on, stand upright; so that the whole together makes a very sightly ornament. They wear round the neck a kind of ruff or necklace, call it which you please, made of light wood, the out and upper side covered with small red pease, which are fixed on with gum. They also wear small bunches of human hair, fastened to a string, and tied round the legs and arms. Sometimes, instead of hair, they make use of short feathers; but all the above-mentioned ornaments are seldom seen on the same person.

I saw only the chief, who came to visit us, completely dressed in this manner. Their ordinary ornaments are necklaces and amulets made of shells, &c. I did not see any with ear-rings; and yet all of them had their ears pierced.

Their dwellings are in the vallies, and on the sides of the hills, near their plantations. They are built after the same manner as at Otaheite; but are much meaner, and only covered with the leaves of the bread-tree. The most of them are built on a square or oblong pavement of stone, raised some height above the level of the ground. They likewise have such pavements near their houses, on which they sit to eat and amuse themselves.

In the article of eating, these people are by no means so cleanly as the Otaheiteans. They are likewise dirty in their cookery. Pork and fowls are dressed in an oven of hot stones, as at Otaheite; but fruit and roots they roast on the fire, and after taking off the rind or skin, put them into a platter or trough, with water, out of which I have seen both men and hogs eat at the same time. I once saw them make a batter of fruit and roots diluted with water, in a vessel that was loaded with dirt, and out of which the hogs had been but that moment eating, without giving it the least washing, or even washing their hands, which were equally dirty; and when I expressed a dislike, was laughed at. I know not if all are so. The actions of a few individuals are not sufficient to fix a custom on a whole nation. Nor can I say if it is the custom for men and women to have separate messes. I saw nothing to the contrary: Indeed I saw but few women upon the whole.

They seemed to have dwellings, or strong-holds, on the summits of the highest hills. These we only saw by the help of our glasses; for I did not permit any of our people to go there, as we were not sufficiently acquainted with the disposition of the natives, which (I believe) is humane and pacific.

Their weapons are clubs and spears, resembling those of Otaheite, but somewhat neater. They have also slings, with which they throw stones with great velocity, and to a great distance, but not with a good aim.

Their canoes are made of wood, and pieces of the bark of a soft tree, which grows near the sea in great plenty, and is very tough and proper for the purpose. They are from sixteen to twenty feet long, and about fifteen inches broad; the head and stern are made of two solid pieces of wood; the stern rises or curves a little, but in an irregular direction, and ends in a point; the head projects out horizontally, and is carved into some faint and very rude resemblance of a human face. They are rowed by paddles, and some have a sort of lateen sail, made of matting.

Hogs were the only quadrupeds we saw; and cocks and hens the only tame fowls. However, the woods seemed to abound with small birds of a very beautiful plumage, and fine notes; but the fear of alarming the natives hindered us from shooting so many of them as might otherwise have been done.[1]

[1] Mr G.F. concurs generally with Captain Cook in his account of the matters spoken of in this section, and is very particular in noticing the strong and distinct resemblance of the natives of the Marquesas to those of the Society Islands. What differences he remarked, he thinks may be specifically ascribed to the nature of the respective countries, whilst in his judgment the many points of identity imply a common origin. The reader, it is believed, will hereafter see the most reasonable grounds, for such an inference.—E.



SECTION XI.

A Description of several Islands discovered, or seen in the Passage from the Marquesas to Otaheite; with an Account of a Naval Review.

With a fine easterly wind I steered S.W.—S.W. by W. and W. by S. till the 17th, at ten o'clock in the morning, when land was seen bearing W. 1/2 N., which, upon a nearer approach, we found to be a string of low islets connected together by a reef of coral rocks. We ranged the northwest coast, at the distance of one mile from shore, to three quarters of its length, which in the whole is near four leagues, when we came to a creek or inlet that seemed to open a communication into the lake in the middle of the isle. As I wanted to obtain some knowledge of the produce of these half- drowned isles, we brought-to, hoisted out a boat, and sent the master in to sound; there being no soundings without.

As we ran along the coast, the natives appeared in several places armed with long spears and clubs; and some were got together on one side of the creek. When the master returned he reported that there was no passage into the lake by the creek, which was fifty fathoms wide at the entrance, and thirty deep; farther in, thirty wide, and twelve deep; that the bottom was every where rocky, and the sides bounded by a wall of coral rocks. We were under no necessity to put the ship into such a place as this; but as the natives had shewn some signs of a friendly disposition, by coming peaceably to the boat, and taking such things as were given them, I sent two boats well armed ashore, under the command of Lieutenant Cooper, with a view of having some intercourse with them, and to give Mr Forster an opportunity of collecting something in his way. We saw our people land without the least opposition being made by a few natives who were on the shores. Some little time after, observing forty or fifty more, all armed, coming to join them, we stood close in shore, in order to be ready to support our people in case of an attack. But nothing of this kind happened; and soon after our boats returned aboard, when Mr Cooper informed me, that, on his landing, only a few of the natives met him on the beach, but there were many in the skirts of the woods with spears in their hands. The presents he made them were received with great coolness, which plainly shewed we were unwelcome visitors. When their reinforcement arrived he thought proper to embark, as the day was already far spent, and I had given orders to avoid an attack by all possible means. When his men got into the boats, some were for pushing them off, others for detaining them; but at last they suffered them to depart at their leisure. They brought aboard five dogs, which seemed to be in plenty there. They saw no fruit but cocoa-nuts, of which, they got, by exchanges, two dozen. One of our people got a dog for a single plantain, which led us to conjecture they had none of this fruit.[1]

This island, which is called by the inhabitants Ti-oo-kea, was discovered and visited by Commodore Byron. It has something of an oval shape, is about ten leagues in circuit, lying in the direction of E.S.E. and W.N.W., and situated in the latitude of 14 deg. 27' 30" S., longitude 144 deg. 56' W. The inhabitants of this island, and perhaps of all the low ones, are of a much darker colour than those of the higher islands, and seem to be of a more ferine disposition. This may be owing to their situation. Nature not having bestowed her favours to these low islands with that profusion she has done to some of the others, the inhabitants are chiefly beholden to the sea for their subsistence, consequently are much exposed to the sun and weather; and by that means become more dark in colour, and more hardy and robust; for there is no doubt of their being of the same nation. Our people observed that they were stout, well-made men, and had the figure of a fish marked on their bodies; a very good emblem of their profession.[2]

On the 18th, at day-break, after having spent the night snaking short boards, we wore down to another isle we had in sight to the westward, which we reached by eight o'clock, and ranged the S.E. side at one mile from shore. We found it to be just such another as that we had left, extending N.E. and S.W. near four leagues, and from five to three miles broad. It lies S.W. by W., two leagues distant from the west end of Ti-oo-kea; and the middle is situated in the latitude of 14 deg. 37' S., longitude 145 deg. 10' W. These must be the same islands to which Commodore Byron gave the name of George's Islands. Their situation in longitude, which was determined by lunar observations made near the shores, and still farther corrected by the difference of longitude carried by the watch to Otaheite, is 3 deg. 54' more east than he says they lie. This correction, I apprehend, may be applied to all the islands he discovered.

After leaving these isles, we steered S.S.W. 1/2 W., and S.W. by S., with a fine easterly gale, having signs of the vicinity of land, particularly a smooth sea; and on the 19th, at seven in the morning, land was seen to the westward, which we bore down to, and reached the S.E. end by nine o'clock. It proved to be another of these half-over-flowed or drowned islands, which are so common in this part of the ocean; that is, a number of little isles ranged in a circular form, connected together by a reef or wall of coral rock. The sea is in general, every-where, on their outside, unfathomable; all their interior parts are covered with water, abounding, I have been told, with fish and turtle, on which the inhabitants subsist, and sometimes exchange the latter with the high islanders for cloth, &c. These inland seas would be excellent harbours, were they not shut up from the access of shipping, which is the case with most of them, if we can believe the report of the inhabitants of the other isles. Indeed, few of them have been well searched by Europeans; the little prospect of meeting with fresh water having generally discouraged every attempt of this kind. I, who have seen a great many, have not yet seen an inlet into one.[3]

This island is situated in the latitude of 15 deg. 26', longitude 146 deg. 20'. It is five leagues long in the direction of N.N.E. and S.S.W. and about three leagues broad. As we drew near the south end, we saw from the mast-head, another of these low isles bearing S.E., distant about four or five leagues, but being to windward we could not fetch it. Soon after a third appeared, bearing S.W. by S., for which we steered; and at two o'clock p.m. reached the east end, which is situated in latitude 15 deg. 47' S., longitude 146 deg. 30' W. This island extends W.N.W. and E.S.E., and is seven leagues long in that direction; but its breadth is not above two. It is, in all respects, like the rest; only here are fewer islets, and less firm land on the reef which incloses the lake. As we ranged the north coast, at the distance of half a mile, we saw people, huts, canoes, and places built, seemingly for drying of fish. They seemed to be the same sort of people as on Ti-oo-kea, and were armed with long spikes like them. Drawing near the west end, we discovered another or fourth island, bearing N.N.E. It seemed to be low, like the others, and lies west from the first isle, distant six leagues. These four isles I called Palliser's Isles, in honour of my worthy friend Sir Hugh Palliser, at this time comptroller of the navy.

Not chusing to run farther in the dark, we spent the night making short boards under the top-sail; and on the 20th, at day-break, hauled round the west end of the third isle, which was no sooner done than we found a great swell rolling in from the south; a sure sign that we were clear of these low islands; and as we saw no more land, I steered S.W. 1/2 S. for Otaheite, having the advantage of a stout gale at east, attended with showers of rain. It cannot be determined with any degree of certainty whether the group of isles we had lately seen, be any of those discovered by the Dutch navigators, or no; the situation of their discoveries not being handed down to us with sufficient accuracy. It is, however, necessary to observe, that this part of the ocean, that is, from the latitude of 20 deg. down to 14 deg. or 12 deg., and from the meridian of 138 deg. to 148 deg. or 150 deg. W., is so strewed with these low isles, that a navigator cannot proceed with too much caution.

We made the high land of Otaheite on the 21st, and at noon were about thirteen leagues E. of Point Venus, for which we steered, and got pretty well in with it by sun set, when we shortened sail; and having spent the night, which was squally with rain, standing on and off, at eight o'clock the next morning anchored in Matavai Bay in seven fathoms water. This was no sooner known to the natives, than many of them made us a visit, and expressed not a little joy at seeing us again.[4]

As my chief reason for putting in at this place was to give Mr Wales an opportunity to know the error of the watch by the known longitude, and to determine anew her rate of going, the first thing we did was to land his instruments, and to erect tents for the reception of a guard and such other people as it was necessary to have on shore. Sick we had none; the refreshments we had got at the Marquesas had removed every complaint of that kind.

On the 23d, showery weather. Our very good friends the natives supplied us with fruit and fish sufficient for the whole crew.

On the 24th, Otoo the king, and several other chiefs, with a train of attendants, paid us a visit, and brought as presents ten or a dozen large hogs, besides fruits, which made them exceedingly welcome. I was advertised of the king's coming, and looked upon it as a good omen. Knowing how much it was my interest to make this man my friend, I met him at the tents, and conducted him and his friends on board, in my boat, where they staid dinner; after which they were dismissed with suitable presents, and highly pleased with the reception they had met with.

Next day we had much thunder, lightning, and rain. This did not hinder the king from making me another visit, and a present of a large quantity of refreshments. It hath been already mentioned, that when we were at the island of Amsterdam we had collected, amongst other curiosities, some red parrot feathers. When this was known here, all the principal people of both sexes endeavoured to ingratiate themselves into our favour by bringing us hogs, fruit, and every other thing the island afforded, in order to obtain these valuable jewels. Our having these feathers was a fortunate circumstance, for as they were valuable to the natives, they became so to us; but more especially as my stock of trade was by this time greatly exhausted; so that, if it had not been for the feathers, I should have found it difficult to have supplied the ship with the necessary refreshments.

When I put in at this island, I intended to stay no longer than till Mr Wales had made the necessary observations for the purposes already mentioned, thinking we should meet with no better success than we did the last time we were here. But the reception we had already met with, and the few excursions we had made, which did not exceed the plains of Matavai and Oparree, convinced us of our error. We found at these two places, built and building, a great number of large canoes, and houses of every kind; people living in spacious habitations who had not a place to shelter themselves in eight months before; several large hogs about every house; and every other sign of a rising state.[5]

Judging from these favourable circumstances that we should not mend ourselves by removing to another island, I resolved to make a longer stay, and to begin with the repairs of the ship and stores, &c. Accordingly I ordered the empty casks and sails to be got ashore to be repaired; the ship to be caulked, and the rigging to be overhauled; all of which the high southern latitudes had made indispensably necessary.

In the morning of the 26th, I went down to Oparree, accompanied by some of the officers and gentlemen, to pay Otoo a visit by appointment. As we drew near, we observed a number of large canoes in motion; but we were surprised, when we arrived, to see upwards of three hundred ranged in order, for some distance, along the shore, all completely equipped and manned, besides a vast number of armed men upon the shore. So unexpected an armament collected together in our neighbourhood, in the space of one night, gave rise to various conjectures. We landed, however, in the midst of them, and were received by a vast multitude, many of them under arms, and many not. The cry of the latter was Tiyo no Otoo, and that of the former Tiyo no Towha. This chief, we afterwards learnt, was admiral or commander of the fleet and troops present. The moment we landed I was met by a chief whose name was Tee, uncle to the king, and one of his prime ministers, of whom I enquired for Otoo. Presently after we were met by Towha, who received me with great courtesy. He took me by the one hand, and Tee by the other; and, without my knowing where they intended to carry me, dragged me, as it were, through the crowd that was divided into two parties, both of which professed themselves my friends, by crying out Tiyo no Tootee. One party wanted me to go to Otoo, and the other to remain with Towha. Coming to the visual place of audience, a mat was spread for me to sit down upon, and Tee left me to go and bring the king. Towha was unwilling I should sit down, partly insisting on my going with him; but, as I knew nothing of this chief, I refused to comply. Presently Tee returned, and wanted to conduct me to the king, taking hold of my hand for that purpose. This Towha opposed; so that, between the one party and the other, I was like to have been torn in pieces; and was obliged to desire Tee to desist, and to leave me to the admiral and his party, who conducted me down to the fleet. As soon as we came before the admiral's vessel, we found two lines of armed men drawn up before her, to keep off the crowd, as I supposed, and to clear the way for me to go in. But, as I was determined not to go, I made the water, which was between me and her, an excuse. This did not answer; for a man immediately squatted himself down at my feet, offering to carry me; and then I declared I would not go. That very moment Towha quitted me, without my seeing which way he went, nor would any one inform me. Turning myself round I saw Tee, who, I believe, had never lost sight of me. Enquiring of him for the king, he told me he was gone into the country Mataou, and advised me to go to my boat; which we accordingly did, as soon as we could get collected together; for Mr Edgcumbe was the only person that could keep with me, the others being jostled about in the crowd, in the same manner we had been.

When we got into our boat, we took our time to view this grand fleet. The vessels of war consisted of an hundred and sixty large double canoes, very well equipped, manned, and armed. But I am not sure that they had their full complement of men or rowers; I rather think not. The chiefs, and all those on the fighting stages, were dressed in their war habits; that is, in a vast quantity of cloth, turbans, breast-plates, and helmets. Some of the latter were of such a length as greatly to encumber the wearer. Indeed, their whole dress seemed to be ill calculated for the day of battle, and to be designed more for shew than use. Be this as it may, it certainly added grandeur to the prospect, as they were so complaisant as to shew themselves to the best advantage. The vessels were decorated with flags, streamers, &c.; so that the whole made a grand and noble appearance, such as we had never seen before in this sea, and what no one would have expected. Their instruments of war were clubs, spears, and stones. The vessels were ranged close along-side of each other with their heads ashore, and their stern to the sea; the admiral's vessel being nearly in the centre. Besides the vessels of war, there were an hundred and seventy sail of smaller double canoes, all with a little house upon them, and rigged with mast and sail, which the war canoes had not. These, we judged, were designed for transports, victuallers, &c.; for in the war-canoes was no sort of provisions whatever. In these three hundred and thirty vessels, I guessed there were no less than seven thousand seven hundred and sixty men; a number which appears incredible, especially as we were told they all belonged to the districts of Attahourou and Ahopatea. In this computation I allow to each war canoe forty men, troops and rowers, and to each of the small canoes eight. Most of the gentlemen who were with me, thought the number of men belonging to the war canoes exceeded this. It is certain that the most of them were fitted to row with more paddles than I have allowed them men; but, at this time, I think they were not complete. Tupia informed us, when I was first here, that the whole island raised only between six and seven thousand men; but we now saw two districts only raise that number; so that he must have taken his account from some old establishment; or else he only meant Tatatous, that is warriors, or men trained from their infancy to arms, and did not include the rowers, and those necessary to navigate the other vessels. I should think he only spoke of this number as the standing troops or militia of the island, and not their whole force. This point I shall leave to be discussed in another place, and return to the subject.[6]

After we had well viewed this fleet, I wanted much to have seen the admiral, to have gone with him on board the war-canoes. We enquired for him as we rowed past the fleet to no purpose. We put ashore and enquired; but the noise and crowd was so great that no one attended to what we said. At last Tee came and whispered us in the ear, that Otoo was gone to Matavai, advising us to return thither, and not to land where we were. We accordingly proceeded for the ship; and this intelligence and advice received from Tee, gave rise to new conjectures. In short, we concluded that this Towha was some powerful disaffected chief, who was upon the point of making war against his sovereign; for we could not imagine Otoo had any other reason for leaving Oparree in the manner he did.

We had not been long gone from Oparree, before the whole fleet was in motion to the westward, from whence it came. When we got to Matavai, our friends there told us, that this fleet was part of the armament intended to go against Eimea, whose chief had thrown off the yoke of Otaheite, and assumed an independency. We were likewise informed that Otoo neither was nor had been at Matavai; so that we were still at a loss to know why he fled from Oparree. This occasioned another trip thither in the afternoon, where we found him, and now understood that the reason of his not seeing me in the morning was, that some of his people having stolen a quantity of my clothes which were on shore washing, he was afraid I should demand restitution. He repeatedly asked me if I was not angry; and when I assured him that I was not, and that they might keep what they had got, he was satisfied. Towha was alarmed, partly on the same account. He thought I was displeased when I refused to go aboard his vessel; and I was jealous of seeing such a force in our neighbourhood without being able to know any thing of its design. Thus, by mistaking one another, I lost the opportunity of examining more narrowly into part of the naval force of this isle, and making myself better acquainted with its manoeuvres. Such another opportunity may never occur; as it was commanded by a brave, sensible, and intelligent chief, who would have satisfied us in all the questions we had thought proper to ask; and as the objects were before us, we could not well have misunderstood each other. It happened unluckily that Oedidee was not with us in the morning; for Tee, who was the only man we could depend on, served only to perplex us. Matters being thus cleared up, and mutual presents having passed between Otoo and me, we took leave and returned on board.

[1] Mr G.F., who was one of the party that went ashore, gives a sketch of the people. They were a set of stout men, of a dark-brown colour, not disagreeable features, with dark curling hair and beards, perfectly naked, and variously marked on different parts of the body. They had the New Zealand custom of touching noses as a salutation; and their language seemed a dialect of the Otaheitean.—E.

[2] The following remarks ought not to be omitted.—"Besides fish and vegetable food, these people have dogs which live upon fish, and are reckoned excellent meat by the natives of the Society Islands, to whom they are known. Thus Providence, in its wise dispensations, made even those insignificant narrow ledges rich enough in the productions of nature, to supply a whole race of men with the necessaries of life. And here we cannot but express our admiration, that the minutest agents are subservient to the purposes of the Almighty Creator. The coral is known to be the fabric of a little worm, which enlarges its house, in proportion as its own bulk increases. This little creature, which has scarce sensation enough to distinguish it from a plant, builds up a rocky structure from the bottom of a sea too deep to be measured by human art, till it readies the surface, and offers a firm basis for the residence of man! The number of these low islands is very great, and we are far from being acquainted with them all. In the whole extent of the Pacific Ocean, between the tropics, they are to be met with; however, they are remarkably frequent for the space of ten or fifteen degrees to the eastward of the Society Islands. Quiros, Schouten, Roggewein, Byron, Wallis, Carteret, Bougainville, and Cook, have each met with new islands in their different courses; and what is most remarkable, they have found them inhabited at the distance of two hundred and forty leagues to the east of Otaheite. Nothing is more probable than, that on every new track other islands of this kind will still be met with, and particularly between the 16th and 17th degree of S. latitude, no navigator having hitherto run down on that parallel towards the Society Islands. It remains a subject worthy the investigation of philosophers, to consider from what probable principles these islands are so extremely numerous, and form so great an archipelago to windward of the Society Islands, whilst they are only scattered at considerable distances beyond that group of mountainous islands? It is true, there is another archipelago of coral ledges far to the westward, I mean the Friendly Islands; but these are of a different nature, and appear to be of a much older date; they occupy more space, and have a greater quantity of soil, on which all the vegetable productions of the higher lands may be raised."—G.F.

How far the opinions here stated are supported by subsequent investigation, will be afterwards considered.—E.

[3] "The lagoon within this island was very spacious, and several canoes sailed about upon it. It appears to me, that the most elevated and richest spots on the coral ledges, are generally to leeward, sheltered from the violence of the surf. In this sea, however, there are seldom such violent storms, as might make these isles uncomfortable places of abode; and when the weather is fair, it must be very pleasant sailing on the smooth water in the lagoon, whilst the ocean without is disagreeably agitated."—G.F.

[4] The following passage both strikingly expresses the satisfaction experienced on again visiting Otaheite, and affords a lively idea of its peerless beauty. "Every person on board gazed continually at this species of tropical islands; and though I was extremely ill of my bilious disorder, I crawled on deck, and fixed my eyes with great eagerness upon it, as upon a place where I hoped my pains would cease. Early in the morning I awoke, and was as much surprised at the beauty of the prospect, as if I had never beheld it before. It was, indeed, infinitely more beautiful at present, than it had been eight months ago, owing to the difference of the season. The forests on the mountains were all clad in fresh foliage, and glowed in many variegated hues; and even the lower hills were not entirely destitute of pleasing spots, and covered with herbage. But the plains, above all, shone forth in the greatest luxuriance of colours, the brightest tints of verdure being profusely lavished upon their fertile groves; in short, the whole called to our mind the description of Calypso's enchanted island."—G.F.

[5] "The difference between the present opulence of these islanders, and their situation eight months before, was very astonishing to us. It was with the utmost difficulty that we had been able to purchase a few hogs during our first stay, having been obliged to look upon it as a great favour, when the king or chief parted with one of these animals. At present our decks were so crowded with them, that we were obliged to make a hog-stye on shore. We concluded, therefore, that they were now entirely recovered from the blow which they had received in their late unfortunate war with the lesser peninsula, and of which they still felt the bad effects at our visit in August 1773."—G.F.

[6] So much curious information is given in the following passage, that, long as it is, there are few readers, it is believed, who would willingly dispense with it. "All our former ideas of the power and affluence of this island were so greatly surpassed by this magnificent scene, that we were perfectly left in admiration. We counted no less than one hundred and fifty-nine war-canoes, from fifty to ninety feet long betwixt stem and stern. All these were double, that is, two joined together, side by side, by fifteen or eighteen strong transverse timbers, which sometimes projected a great way beyond both the hulls, being from twelve to four-and-twenty feet in length, and about three feet and a half asunder. When they are so long, they make a platform fifty, sixty, or seventy feet in length. On the outside of each canoe there are, in that case, two or three longitudinal spars, and between the two connected canoes, one spar is fixed to the transverse beams. The heads and sterns were raised several feet out of the water, particularly the latter, which stood up like long beaks, sometimes near twenty feet high, and were cut into various shapes; a white piece of cloth was commonly fixed between the two beaks of each double canoe, in lieu of an ensign, and the wind swelled it out like a sail. Some had likewise a striped cloth, with various red chequers, which were the marks of the divisions under different commanders. At the head there was a tall pillar of carved-work, on the top of which stood the figure of a man, or rather of an urchin, whose face was commonly shaded by a board like a bonnet, and sometimes painted red with ochre. These pillars were generally covered with branches of black feathers, and long streamers of feathers hung from them. The gunwale of the canoes was commonly two or three feet above the water, but not always formed in the same manner; for some had flat bottoms, and sides nearly perpendicular upon them, whilst others were bow- sided, with a sharp keel. A fighting stage was erected towards the head of the boat, and rested on pillars from four to six feet high, generally ornamented with carving. This stage extended beyond the whole breadth of the double canoe, and was from twenty to twenty-four feet long, and about eight or ten feet wide. The rowers sat in the canoe, or under the fighting-stage on the platform, which consisted of the transverse beams and longitudinal spars; so that wherever these crossed, there was room for one man in the compartment. The warriors were stationed on the fighting-stage to the number of fifteen or twenty. Their dress was the most singular, and at the same time the most shewy, in the whole fleet. They had three large and ample pieces of cloth with a hole in the middle, put one above another. The undermost and largest was white, the next red, and the uppermost and shortest brown. Their targets or breast-plates were made of wicker- work, covered with feathers and sharks' teeth, and hardly any of the warriors were without them. On the contrary, those who wore helmets were few in number. These helmets were of an enormous size, being near five feet high. They consisted of a long cylindrical basket of wicker- work, of which the foremost half was hid by a semi-cylinder of a closer texture, which became broader towards the top, and there separated from the basket, so as to come forwards in a curve. This frontlet, of the length of four feet, was closely covered with the glossy bluish green feathers of a sort of pigeon, and with an elegant border of white plumes. A prodigious number of the long tail feathers of tropic birds diverged from its edges, in a radiant line, resembling that glory of light with which our painters commonly ornament the heads of angels and saints. A large turban of cloth was required for this huge unwieldy machine to rest upon; but as it is intended merely to strike the beholder with admiration, and can be of no service, the warriors soon took it off, and placed it on the platform near them. The principal commanders were moreover distinguished by long round tails, made of green and yellow feathers, which hung down on the back, and put us in mind of the Turkish bashaws. Towha, their admiral, wore five of them, to the ends of which several strings of cocoa-nut tree were added, with a few red feathers affixed to them. He had no helmet on, but wore a fine turban, which sat very gracefully on his head. He was a man seemingly near sixty years of age, but extremely vigorous, tall, and of a very engaging noble countenance. In each canoe we took notice of vast bundles of spears, and long clubs or battle-axes placed upright against the platform; and every warrior had either a club or spear in his hand. Vast heaps of large stones were likewise piled up in every canoe, being their only missile weapons. Besides the vessels of war, there were many smaller canoes without the ranks, most of which were likewise double, with a roof on the stern, intended for the reception of the chiefs at night, and as victuallers to the fleet. A few of them were seen, on which banana-leaves were very conspicuous; and these the natives told us were to receive the killed, and they called them e-vaa no t'Eatua, "the canoes of the Divinity." "The immense number of people assembled together was, in fact, more surprising than the splendour of the whole shew; and we learnt to our greater surprise, that this fleet was only the naval force of the single district of Atapooroo, and that all the other districts could furnish their quota of vessels in proportion to their size. This account opened our eyes, in regard to the population of the island, and convinced us in a few moments, that it was much more considerable than we had hitherto supposed. The result of a most moderate computation gave us one hundred and twenty thousand persons in the two peninsulas of Otabeite, and this calculation was afterwards confirmed to be very low, when we saw the fleet of the smallest district, which amounted to forty-four war-canoes, besides twenty or thirty of a smaller size."—G.F.



SECTION XII.

Some Account of a Visit from Otoo, Towha, and several other Chiefs; also of a Robbery committed by one of the Natives, and its Consequences, with general Observations on the Subject.

In the morning of the 27th, I received a present from Towha, consisting of two large hogs and some fruit, sent by two of his servants, who had orders not to receive any thing in return; nor would they when offered them. Soon after I went down to Oparree in my boat, where, having found both this chief and the king, after a short stay, I brought them on board to dinner, together with Tarevatoo, the king's younger brother, and Tee. As soon as we drew near the ship, the admiral, who had never seen one before, began to express much surprise at so new a sight. He was conducted all over the ship, every part of which he viewed with great attention. On this occasion Otoo was the principal show-man; for, by this time, he was well acquainted with the different parts of the ship. After dinner Towha put a hog on board, and retired, without my knowing any thing of the matter, or having made him any return either for this, or the present I had in the morning. Soon after, the king and his attendants went away also.[1] Otoo not only seemed to pay this chief much respect, but was desirous I should do the same; and yet he was jealous of him, but on what account we knew not. It was but the day before that he frankly told us, Towha was not his friend. Both these chiefs when on board solicited me to assist them against Tiarabou, notwithstanding a peace at this time subsisted between the two kingdoms, and we were told their joint force was to go against Eimea. Whether this was done with a view of breaking with their neighbours and allies if I had promised them assistance, or only to sound my disposition, I know not. Probably they would have been ready enough to have embraced an opportunity, which would have enabled them to conquer that kingdom, and annex it to their own, as it formerly was. Be this as it may, I heard no more of it; indeed, I gave them no encouragement.

Next day we had a present of a hog sent by Waheatoua, king of Tiarabou. For this, in return, he desired a few red feathers, which were, together with other things, sent him accordingly. Mr Forster and his party set out for the mountains, with an intent to stay out all night. I did not go out of the ship this day.[2]

Early in the morning of the 29th, Otoo, Towha, and several other grandees, came on board, and brought with them as presents, not only provisions, but some of the most valuable curiosities of the island. I made them returns, with which they were well pleased. I likewise took this opportunity to repay the civilities I had received from Towha.

The night before, one of the natives attempting to steal a water-cask from the watering-place, was caught in the act, sent on board, and put in irons; in which situation Otoo and the other chiefs saw him. Having made known his crime to them, Otoo begged he might be set at liberty. This I refused, telling him, that since I punished my people, when they committed the least offence against his, it was but just this man should be punished also; and as I knew he would not do it, I was resolved to do it myself. Accordingly, I ordered the man to be carried on shore to the tents, and having followed myself, with Otoo, Towha, and others, I ordered the guard out, under arms, and the man to be tied up to a post. Otoo, his sister, and some others, begged hard for him; Towha said not one word, but was very attentive to every thing going forward. I expostulated with Otoo on the conduct of this man, and of his people in general; telling him, that neither I, nor any of my people, took any thing from them, without first paying for it; enumerating the articles we gave in exchange for such and such things; and urging that it was wrong in them to steal from us, who were their friends. I moreover told him, that the punishing this man would be the means of saving the lives of others of his people, by deterring them from committing crimes of this nature, in which some would certainly be shot dead, one time or another. With these and other arguments, which I believe he pretty well understood, he seemed satisfied, and only desired the man might not be Matterou (or killed). I then ordered the crowd, which was very great, to be kept at a proper distance, and, in the presence of them all, ordered the fellow two dozen lashes with a cat-o'-nine-tails, which he bore with great firmness, and was then set at liberty. After this the natives were going away; but Towha stepped forth, called them back, and harangued them for near half an hour. His speech consisted of short sentences, very little of which I understood; but, from what we could gather, he recapitulated part of what I had said to Otoo; named several advantages they had received from us; condemned their present conduct, and recommended a different one for the future. The gracefulness of his action, and the attention with which he was heard, bespoke him a great orator.

Otoo said not one word. As soon as Towha had ended his speech, I ordered the marines to go through their exercise, and to load and fire in vollies with ball; and as they were very quick in their manoeuvres, it is easier to conceive than to describe the amazement the natives were under the whole time, especially those who had not seen any thing of the kind before.

This being over, the chiefs took leave, and retired with all their attendants, scarcely more pleased than frightened at what they had seen. In the evening Mr Forster and his party returned from the mountains, where he had spent the night; having found some new plants, and some others which grew in New Zealand. He saw Huaheine, which lies forty leagues to the westward; by which a judgment may be formed of the height of the mountains in Otaheite.[3]

Next morning I had an opportunity to see the people of ten war-canoes go through part of their paddling exercise. They had put off from the shore before I was apprised of it; so that I was only present at their landing. They were properly equipped for war, the warriors with their arms, and dressed in their war habits, &c. In landing, I observed that the moment the canoe touched the ground, all the rowers leaped out, and with the assistance of a few people on the shore, dragged the canoe on dry land to her proper place; which being done, every one walked off with his paddle, &c. All this was executed with such expedition, that in five minutes time after putting ashore, you could not tell that any thing of the kind had been going forward. I thought these vessels were thinly manned with rowers; the most being not above thirty, and the least sixteen or eighteen. I observed the warriors on the stage encouraged the rowers to exert themselves. Some youths sat high up in the curved stern, above the steersmen, with white wands in their hands. I know not what they were placed there for, unless it was to look out and direct, or give notice of what they saw, as they were elevated above every one else. Tarevatoo, the king's brother, gave me the first notice of these canoes being at sea; and knowing that Mr Hodges made drawings of every thing curious, desired of his own accord that he might be sent for. I being at this time on shore with Tarevatoo, Mr Hodges was therefore with me, and had an opportunity to collect some materials for a large drawing or picture of the fleet assembled at Oparree, which conveys a far better idea of it than can be expressed by words. Being present when the warriors undressed, I was surprised at the quantity and weight of cloth they had upon them, not conceiving how it was possible for them to stand under it in time of battle. Not a little was wrapped round their heads as a turban, and made into a cap. This, indeed, might be necessary in preventing a broken head. Many had, fixed to one of this sort of caps, dried branches of small shrubs covered over with white feathers, which, however, could only be for ornament.

On the 1st of May, I had a very great supply of provisions sent and brought by different chiefs; and the next day received a present from Towha, sent by his servants, consisting of a hog, and a boat-load of various sorts of fruits and roots. The like present I also had from Otoo, brought by Tarevatoo, who stayed dinner; after which I went down to Opparree, paid a visit to Otoo, and returned on board in the evening.[4]

On the 3d, in looking into the condition of our sea-provisions, we found that the biscuit was in a state of decay, and that the airing and picking we had given it at New Zealand, had not been of that service we expected and intended; so that we were obliged to take it all on shore here, where it underwent another airing and cleaning, in which a good deal was found wholly rotten and unfit to be eaten. We could not well account for this decay in our bread, especially as it was packed in good casks, and stowed in a dry part of the hold. We judged it was owing to the ice we so frequently took in when to the southward, which made the hold damp and cold, and to the great heat which succeeded when to the north. Be it this, or any other cause, the loss was the same to us; it put us to a scanty allowance of this article; and we had bad bread to eat too.

On the 4th, nothing worthy of note.

On the 5th, the king and several other great men, paid us a visit, and brought with them, as usual, some hogs and fruit. In the afternoon, the botanists set out for the mountains, and returned the following evening, having made some new discoveries in their way.

On going ashore in the morning of the 7th, I found Otoo at the tents, and took the opportunity to ask his leave to cut down some trees, for fuel. He not well understanding me, I took him to some growing near the sea-shore, where I presently made him comprehend what I wanted, and he as readily gave his consent. I told him, at the same time, that I should cut down no trees that bore any fruit. He was pleased with this declaration, and told it aloud, several times, to the people about us.

In the afternoon, this chief and the whole of the royal family, viz. his father, brother, and three sisters, paid us a visit on board. This was properly his father's visit of ceremony. He brought me, as a present, a complete mourning dress, a curiosity we most valued.[5] In return, I gave him whatever he desired, which was not a little, and having distributed red feathers to all the others, conducted them ashore in my boat. Otoo was so well pleased with the reception he and his friends met with, that he told me, at parting, I might cut down as many trees as I pleased, and what sort I pleased.

During the night, between the 7th and 8th, some time in the middle watch, all our friendly connections received an interruption, through the negligence of one of the centinels on shore. He having either slept or quitted his post, gave one of the natives an opportunity to carry off his musket. The first news I heard of it was from Tee, whom Otoo had sent on board for that purpose, and to desire that I would go to him, for that he was mataoued. We were not well enough acquainted with their language to understand all Tee's story; but we understood enough to know that something had happened which had alarmed the king. In order, therefore, to be fully informed, I went ashore with Tee and Tarevatoo, who had slept aboard all night. As soon as we landed, I was informed of the whole by the serjeant who commanded the party. I found the natives all alarmed, and the most of them fled. Tarevatoo slipped from me in a moment, and hardly any remained by me but Tee. With him I went to look for Otoo; and, as we advanced, I endeavoured to allay the fears of the people, but, at the same time, insisted on the musket being restored. After travelling some distance into the country, enquiring of every one we saw for Otoo, Tee stopped all at once and advised me to return, saying, that Otoo was gone to the mountains, and he would proceed and tell him that I was still his friend; a question which had been asked me fifty times by different people, and if I was angry, &c. Tee also promised that he would use his endeavours to recover the musket. I was now satisfied it was to no purpose to go farther; for, although I was alone and unarmed, Otoo's fears were such, that he durst not see me; and, therefore, I took Tee's advice, and returned aboard. After this I sent Oedidee to Otoo to let him know that his fears were ill- grounded; for that I only required the return of the musket, which I knew was in his power.

Soon after Oedidee was gone, we observed six large canoes coming round Point Venus. Some people whom I had sent out, to watch the conduct of the neighbouring inhabitants, informed me they were laden with baggage, fruit, hogs, &c. There being room for suspecting that some person belonging to these canoes had committed the theft, I presently came to a resolution to intercept them; and having put off in a boat for that purpose, gave orders for another to follow. One of the canoes, which was some distance ahead of the rest, came directly for the ship. I went alongside this, and found two or three women in her whom I knew. They told me they were going on board the ship with something for me; and, on my enquiring of them for Otoo, was told he was then at the tents. Pleased with this news, I contradicted the orders I had given for intercepting the other canoes, thinking they might be coming on board also, as well as this one, which I left within a few yards of the ship, and rowed ashore to speak with Otoo. But when I landed, I was told that he had not been there, nor knew they any thing of him. On my looking behind me, I saw all the canoes making off in the greatest haste; even the one I had left alongside the ship had evaded going on board, and was making her escape. Vexed at being thus outwitted, I resolved to pursue them; and as I passed the ship, gave orders to send another boat for the same purpose. Five out of six we took, and brought alongside; but the first, which acted the finesse so well, got clear off. When we got on board with our prizes, I learnt that the people who had deceived me, used no endeavours to lay hold of the ship on the side they were up on, but let their canoe drop past, as if they meant to come under the stern, or on the other side; and that the moment they were past, they paddled off with all speed. Thus the canoe, in which were only a few women, was to have amused us with false stories as they actually did, while the others, in which were most of the effects, got off.

In one of the canoes we had taken, was a chief, a friend of Mr Forster's, who had hitherto called himself an Earee, and would have been much offended if any one had called his title in question; also three women, his wife and daughter, and the mother of the late Toutaha. These, together with the canoes, I resolved to detain, and to send the chief to Otoo, thinking he would have weight enough with him to obtain the return of the musket, as his own property was at stake. He was, however, very unwilling to go on this embassy, and made various excuses, one of which was his being of too low a rank for this honourable employment; saying he was no Earee, but a Manahouna, and, therefore, was not a fit person to be sent; that an Earee ought to be sent to speak to an Earee; and as there were no Earees but Otoo and myself, it would be much more proper for me to go. All his arguments would have availed him little, if Tee and Oedidee had not at this time come on board, and given a new turn to the affair, by declaring that the man who stole the musket was from Tiarabou, and had gone with it to that kingdom, so that it was not in the power of Otoo to recover it. I very much doubted their veracity, till they asked me to send a boat to Waheatoua, the king of Tiarabou, and offered to go themselves in her, and get it. I asked why this could not be done without my sending a boat? They said, it would not otherwise be given to them.

This story of theirs, although it did not quite satisfy me, nevertheless carried with it a probability of truth; for which reason I thought it better to drop the affair altogether, rather than to punish a nation for a crime I was not sure any of its members had committed. I therefore suffered my new ambassador to depart with his two canoes without executing his commission. The other three canoes belonged to Maritata, a Tiarabou chief, who had been some days about the tents; and there was good reason to believe it was one of his people that carried off the musket. I intended to have detained them; but as Tee and Oedidee both assured me that Maritata and his people were quite innocent, I suffered them to be taken away also, and desired Tee to tell Otoo, that I should give myself no farther concern about the musket, since I was satisfied none of his people had stolen it. Indeed, I thought it was irrecoverably lost; but, in the dusk of the evening it was brought to the tents, together with some other things we had lost, which we knew nothing of, by three men who had pursued the thief, and taken them from him. I know not if they took this trouble of their own accord, or by the order of Otoo. I rewarded them, and made no other enquiry about it. These men, as well as some others present, assured me that it was one of Maritata's people who had committed this theft; which vexed me that I had let his canoes so easily slip through my fingers. Here, I believe, both Tee and Oedidee designedly deceived me.

When the musket and other things were brought in, every one then present, or who came after, pretended to have had some hand in recovering them, and claimed a reward accordingly. But there was no one who acted this farce so well as Nuno, a man of some note, and well known to us when I was here in 1769. This man came, with all the savage fury imaginable in his countenance, and a large club in his hand, with which he beat about him, in order to shew us how he alone had killed the thief; when, at the same time, we all knew that he had not been out of his house the whole time.

Thus ended this troublesome day; and next morning early, Tee, Otoo's faithful ambassador, came again on board, to acquaint me that Otoo was gone to Oparree, and desired I would send a person (one of the natives as I understood), to tell him that I was still his Tiyo. I asked him why he did not do this himself, as I had desired. He made some excuse; but, I believe the truth was, he had not seen him. In short, I found it was necessary for me to go myself; for, while we thus spent our time in messages, we remained without fruit, a stop being put to all exchanges of this nature; that is, the natives brought nothing to market. Accordingly, a party of us set out with Tee in our company, and proceeded to the very utmost limits of Oparree, where, after waiting some considerable time, and several messages having passed, the king at last made his appearance. After we were seated under the shade of some trees, as usual, and the first salutations were over, he desired me to parou (that is, to speak). Accordingly, I began with blaming him for being frightened and alarmed at what had happened, since I had always professed myself his friend, and I was not angry with him or any of his people, but with those of Tiarabou, who were the thieves. I was then asked, how I came to fire at the canoes? Chance on this occasion furnished me with a good excuse. I told them, that they belonged to Maritata, a Tiarabou man, one of whose people had stolen the musket, and occasioned all this disturbance; and if I had them in my power I would destroy them, or any other belonging to Tiarabou. This declaration pleased them, as I expected, from the natural aversion the one kingdom has to the other. What I said was enforced by presents, which perhaps had the greatest weight with them. Thus were things once more restored to their former state; and Otoo promised on his part, that the next day we should be supplied with fruit, &c. as usual.

We then returned with him to his proper residence at Oparree, and there took a view of some of his dock-yards (for such they well deserve to be called) and large canoes; some lately built, and others building; two of which were the largest I had ever seen in this sea; or indeed any where else, under that name. This done, we returned on board, with Tee in our company; who, after he had dined with us, went to inform old Happi, the king's father, that all matters were again accommodated.

This old chief was at this time in the neighbourhood of Matavai; and it should seem, from what followed, that he was not pleased with the conditions; for that same evening all the women, which were not a few, were sent for out of the ship, and people stationed on different parts of the shore, to prevent any from coming off; and the next morning no supplies whatever being brought, on my enquiring into the reason, I was told Happi was mataoued. Chagrined at this disappointment as I was, I forbore taking any step, from a supposition that Tee had not seen him, or that Otoo's orders had not yet reached Matavai. A supply of fruit sent us from Oparree, and some brought us by our friends, served us for the present, and made us less anxious about it. Thus matters stood till the afternoon, when Otoo himself came to the tents with a large supply. Thither I went, and expostulated with him for not permitting the people in our neighbourhood to bring us fruit as usual, insisting on his giving immediate orders about it; which he either did or had done before. For presently after, more was brought us than we could well manage. This was not to be wondered at, for the people had every thing in readiness to bring, the moment they were permitted, and I believe thought themselves as much injured by the restriction as we did.

Otoo desiring to see some of the great guns fire from the ship, I ordered twelve to be shotted and fired towards the sea. As he had never seen a cannon fired before, the sight gave him as much pain as pleasure. In the evening, we entertained him with fire-works, which gave him great satisfaction.

Thus ended all our differences, on which I beg leave to suggest the following remarks. I have had occasion before, in this journal, to observe that these people were continually watching opportunities to rob us. This their governors either encouraged, or had not power to prevent; but most probably the former, because the offender was always screened.[6] That they should commit such daring thefts was the more extraordinary, as they frequently run the risk of being shot in the attempt; and if the article that they stole was of any consequence, they knew they should be obliged to make restitution. The moment a theft of this kind was committed, it spread like the wind over the whole neighbourhood. They judged of the consequences from what they had got. If it were a trifle, and such an article as we usually gave them, little or no notice was taken of it; but if the contrary, every one took the alarm, and moved off with his moveables in all haste. The chief then was mataoued, giving orders to bring us no supplies, and flying to some distant part. All this was sometimes done so suddenly, that we obtained, by these appearances, the first intelligence of our being robbed. Whether we obliged them to make restitution or no, the chief must be reconciled before any of the people were permitted to bring in refreshments. They knew very well we could not do without them, and therefore they never failed strictly to observe this rule, without ever considering, that all their war-canoes, on which the strength of their nation depends, their houses, and even the very fruit they refused to supply us with, were entirely in our power. It is hard to say how they would act, were one to destroy any of these things. Except the detaining some of their canoes for a while, I never touched the least article of their property. Of the two extremes I always chose that which appeared the most equitable and mild. A trifling present to the chief always succeeded to my wish, and very often put things upon a better footing than they had been before. That they were the first aggressors had very little influence on my conduct in this respect, because no difference happened but when it was so. My people very rarely or never broke through the rules I thought it necessary to prescribe. Had I observed a different conduct, I must have been a loser by it in the end; and all I could expect, after destroying some part of their property, would have been the empty honour of obliging them to make the first overture towards an accommodation. But who knows if this would have been the event? Three things made them our fast friends. Their own good-nature and benevolent disposition; gentle treatment on our part; and the dread of our fire-arms. By our ceasing to observe the second; the first would have worn out of course; and the too frequent use of the latter would have excited a spirit of revenge, and perhaps have taught them that fire-arms were not such terrible things as they had imagined. They were very sensible of the superiority of their numbers; and no one knows what an enraged multitude might do.

[1] "Towha paid more attention to the multitude of new objects on board, to the strength and size of the timbers, masts, and ropes, than any Otaheitean we had ever seen, and found our tackle so exceedingly superior to that which is usual in his country, that he expressed a wish to possess several articles, especially cables and anchors. He was now dressed like the rest of the people, and naked to the waist, being in the king's presence. His appearance was so much altered from what it had been the day before, that I had some difficulty to recollect him. He appeared now very lusty, and had a most portly paunch, which it was impossible to discern under the long spacious robes of war. His hair was of a fine silvery grey; and his countenance was the most engaging and truly good-natured which I ever beheld in these islands. The king and he staid and dined with us this day, eating with a very hearty appetite of all that was set before them. Otoo had entirely lost his uneasy, distrustful air; he seemed to be at home, and took a great pleasure in instructing Towha in our manners. He taught him to make use of the knife and fork, to eat salt to his meat, and to drink wine. He himself did not refuse to drink a glass of this generous liquor, and joked with Towha upon its red colour, telling him it was blood. The honest admiral having tasted our grog, which is a mixture of brandy and water, desired to taste of the brandy itself, which he called e vai no Bretannee, British water, and drank off a small glass full, without making a wry face. Both he and his Otaheitean majesty were extremely cheerful and happy, and appeared to like our way of living, and our cookery of their own excellent provisions."—G.F.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15     Next Part
Home - Random Browse