THE ſouthern hemiſphere having never till now been explored, and affording us as it were a new world, it cannot but be highly agreeable to the public to have a deſcriptive account of it. It is true we may pick out ſuch an account from the journals of the ſeveral voyages that have been made into that part of the world, but it lies ſo diffuſed amidſt [Page 2] a heap of matter uſeleſs to the general reader, as to be tedious, uninſtructive, and unentertaining: Beſides, the accounts there given being blended with metereological obſervations on the weather, temperature of climate, and variation of the compaſs, ſoundings, and bearings, neceſſary only to a navigator, the pages are ſo exceedingly voluminous as to be ſwelled to many quarto volumes. It has been the buſineſs therefore of the compiler of the preſent narrative to digeſt and range the matter, there found, ſo as to give ſome regular account of each iſland, from its firſt diſcovery to the preſent time, and to ſhew the ſtate of the inhabitants, &c. as it fell under the obſervations of thoſe who have there touched. And he has endeavoured to deſcribe every thing ſo particularly as to render drawings of them unneceſſary.
It being immaterial which iſland is firſt treated of, we will begin with that which is moſt known, the iſland of O-Taheitee, as it is called by the natives, or King George the Third's Iſland, as it was afterwards named by Captain Wallis.
THIS iſland was probably firſt diſcovered by Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, a Spaniard; who ſailed from Lima in Peru on Dec. 21, 1605, and made this land on the 10th of February following: he called it La Sagittaria. He continued here but two days, leaving it the 12th of the ſame month. It was next met with by Captain Wallis on the 18th of June, 1767, who called it George the Third's Iſland, and continued there about a month. On the 2d of April, 1768, M. de Bouganville, who made this voyage by order of the King of France, arrived at the eaſtern part of this iſland, and left it on the 13th. Captain Cook was the next perſon that viſited it, coming to anchor here April 13, 1769. He went round the whole iſland in a boat, and continued here three months. He made a ſecond trip to this place, and reached it Auguſt the 16th, 1773, [Page 4] and left it September the 1ſt following; returned April 22, 1774; left it again May the 14th following, and is now upon his paſſage to the ſame place a fourth time. It lies in 17° 30′ ſouth latitude, and 150° weſt longitude; and its S. E. bearing, at about two leagues diſtance, reſembles a high pyramidical rock: It conſiſts as it were of two circular peninſulas, one near as large again as the other, joined by a ſmall neck of land: and one of theſe peninſulas is called by the natives Opoureonu or O-Taheitee nue, that is, Great O-Taheitee, and is about nineteen miles acroſs; the other Tiarrabo or O-Taheitee ete, that is, Leſſer O-Taheitee, and is about eight miles acroſs; the neck of land that joins them is about two miles over, and the whole iſland in length is about thirty miles, and in circuit about one hundred and twenty.
THE iſland in general is ſurrounded by a reef of coral rocks which forms many excellent bays and harbours, with plenty of room, and depth of water ſufficient for the largeſt ſhips. The face of the land, except the ſea coaſts, is far from level; it riſes in hills quite to the middle of the iſland, and there forms [Page 5] mountains viſible at twenty leagues diſtance, ſo high that the iſland of Huaheine to the weſt may be ſeen in a clear day though at the diſtance of forty leagues; the only low land is between the ſea and the bottom of the hills, which is of various breadths in different parts, but no where more than about a mile and a half, ſo that each of the peninſula's may be compared to a high crowned hat as it lies with its brim flat upon a table. The ſoil, except at the very ſummit of the hills, is rich and productive, being watered with a number of rivulets, and cloathed with variety of fruit-trees of fine thick foliage and lofty growth, with ſhrubberries every where of odoriferous flowers. The trees ſtand ſo thick, that the country ſeems one continued wood, and in ſome places, even the tops of the hills, though in general bare, being burnt up with the ſun, are not wholly fruitleſs. They are rocky, but woody on the ſides, and covered with fern on the tops, and the vallies covered with herbage. From the black rocks of Biſaltes, and the appearance every where of burnt clay and ſtone, there is very good reaſon to ſuppoſe that the iſland has undergone a variety of changes by ſubterraneous fires;—but at preſent it wears the moſt beautiful appearance, and ſeems to be a univerſal garden.
[Page 6] The flat lands bordering on the ſea, and ſome few of the vallies, are the only parts where the inhabitants dwell. The houſes are built without order, ſcattered up and down about fifty yards from each other, in the ſhade of fruit-trees, and each houſe has a little plantation of plantain-trees from which they make their cloth. The communications from place to place are by public paths judiciouſly formed, and carefully kept. The number of inhabitants cannot be aſcertained with any degree of certainty; but from what could be collected from the natives, and the number of their war canoes, the whole iſland cannot contain leſs than two hundred thouſand inhabitants; the ſtrongeſt proof of its fertility and the richneſs of the ſpot.
THE chief productions of this iſland, are the bread-fruit. Bananas, or plantains of thirteen different ſorts, cocoa-nuts, yams, the curaſſol, or cuſtardapple, a tree that produces fruit ſomething like the pine-apple, plenty of ſugar-canes, a ſpecies of wild indigo, a very fine red and yellow ſubſtance for dying, ginger and turmeric, and many more which ſerve for food and other purpoſes: but they have no European fruit, vegetables, [Page 7] or grain of any kind. The bread-tree grows to near forty feet in height, and its leaves are large and palmated of a deep green colour on the upper ſide, and paler on the under, and bears male and female flowers, which ſhoot out ſingle at the bottom of each leaf; the male flower drops off and the female produces the fruit, which, when full grown, is as big as a man's head, weighs three or four pounds, and is, on the outſide, much like a rough melon. It bears fruit a great part of the year, ſome fit to pluck at different ſeaſons. It is generally gathered before it is ripe; and the following is the method of preparing it for uſe. Having ſcraped off the rind, they cut it into quarters, lay it between leaves, and bake it for two or three hours, it then appears inviting like a well-baked loaf, and taſtes as if made of flower. It will not keep many days, but they have a method of preſerving it for ſeveral months. They build canoes of the wood of this tree, and make a kind of cloth of the bark.
The cocoa-nut, when half ripe, yields rather more then a pint of delicious liquor; the milk and the kernel is good to eat; of the rind they make a variety of things, as by ſoaking and beating it it will become a kind of thread; and of the leaves they make bonnets and baſkets.
[Page 8] M. De Bouganville, when he was there in 1768, perſuaded one of the chiefs to encloſe a piece of ground for a garden, had it dug, ſowed it with wheat, barley, oats, rice, maize, onions, and pot-herbs of all kinds, and gave him to underſtand of what great uſe they would be to the inhabitants if they were properly attended to; they did not thrive, for Captain Cook, in 1773, neither ſaw nor heard of any of their product. In May, 1769, Captain Cook ſowed ſome melon ſeed, and the ſeed of other plants, but they did not come up; this might indeed have been the fate of the ſeeds which M. de Bouganville ſowed. Indeed no European ſeeds ſeem to ſucceed here but thoſe of pumkins, which the natives diſlike. M. De Bouganville alſo left a cock and hen turkey, and ſome ducks and drakes. The turkeys it is ſuppoſed died, as there were none in 1774, but it is preſumed the ducks bred, and encreaſed, there being plenty of them at preſent in the iſland. Captain Cook in Auguſt, 1773, left a couple of goats, male and female, and on his return, the April following, he found that the ſhe goat had two kids, and was then with kid again, that they looked fleck and well, that their hair was as ſoft and fine as ſilk, and that there was [Page 9] great proſpect of the iſland's being ſtocked with them. They alſo put near twenty cats on ſhore.
OF domeſtic animals they have only little hogs of the Chineſe breed, ſmall dogs, and fowls like ours: The dogs are very different from thoſe we are acquainted with, being a heavy, ſluggiſh animal of little more ſenſibility then ſheep. Of wild animals, they have only ducks, turtle-doves of a beautiful green, large pigeons of a deep blue colour, cuckoos, king-fiſhers, herons, &c. and paroquets beautifully red and green. They have alſo ſome few turtles. As to quadrupeds they have no other than rats, which abound here; nor have they any frogs, toads, ſerpents, or other venemous animals, not even a troubleſome inſect, the plague of other tropical countries, except a few ants, and of theſe but few.
THE inhabitants of the iſland are a ſtout well-made people; tall, ſtrong, ſtately, and fine ſhaped: the men are fit models to paint a Hercules or a Mars from, and are generally from five feet ſeven to ſix feet high, and ſome even taller: the women are remarkably handſome and beautifully made; thoſe of diſtinction rather taller than the Engliſh, thoſe of an inferior claſs, rather below us in height. This may poſſibly proceed from their early commerce with men. Their natural complexion is a clear brunette; their features do not differ from thoſe of the Europeans, except that their noſes are rather flat, being purpoſely flattened in their infancy; their ſkin is delicately ſoft and ſmooth, their eyes are black, ſparkling, and full of expreſſion, and ſometimes melting with ſoftneſs; though they have no crimſon in their cheeks they are delicately clear, their teeth are beautifully white and regular, which continue ſo to old age; and their breath without the leaſt degree of taint; and it is apprehended that were they leſs expoſed to the ſun and air, they would be as white as ourſelves: Nay, the ſkins of ſome few were ſeen of a dead white, [Page 11] like the noſe of a white horſe. Theſe had white hair, eye-brows, and eye-laſhes, red and weak eyes, ſkins ſcurfy, and covered with a ſort of down, and were ſhort-ſighted; but it was ſuppoſed they became ſo by diſeaſe.
Their hair in general is black, which they cut ſhort round their ears, but ſome few have brown hair, and others red and flaxen, though in children it is moſtly flaxen; whereas the original natives of Aſia, Africa, and America have univerſally black hair: they oil it with cocoanut oil, in which they infuſe a root that gives it the ſmell of roſes, and though they have no combs, they dreſs it neatly. The men wear their beards in many ſhapes, plucking out great part of them, but all in general have whiſkers, which they keep clean and neat, and permit to grow ſo as to flow about the ſhoulders, or elſe they tie it in a bunch upon the crown of their heads. Both men and women take great pains to take out by the roots every hair that grows in the arm-pits, and ſeem aſtoniſhed that we are not delicate enough to do the ſame. For want of combs they are too apt to be louſy, which the children and common people pick out and eat;— the only inſtance in which they are not cleanly; but thoſe who could procure combs from any [Page 12] of Captain Cook's people, ſhewed their abhorrence of this filthineſs, by combing their heads till they had totally extirpated theſe diſagreeable attendants: indeed cleanlineſs is their chief characteriſtic. Both men and women regularly bathe themſelves in running water thrice a day; as ſoon as they riſe, at noon, and before they go to reſt. They waſh their mouths at every meal, and not only their mouths but their hands, and this five or ſix times in the courſe of the meal, and they keep their clothes without either ſpot or ſtain.
THE people in general, both men and women, are frequently ſeen without any other covering than a ſaſh or mantle round their waiſt; but the principal people have an additional garment, they wrap themſelves gracefully in a piece of cloth containing many yards, which hangs down as low as the knees. Some of the women wear a piece of cloth, with a hole in the middle through which they put their head, ſo that it hangs down before and behind below the knees; over this they throw a fine white cloth, like a mantle, which is wound ſeveral times over the body, in elegant turns, below the breaſt, forming a kind [Page 13] of tunic, one turn ſometimes falling gracefully acroſs the ſhoulders; and they know how to hang this mantle over them, ſo as to give themſelves an air of elegance and coquetry. The inferior ſort of people are known by a leſs quantity of cloth about them. Girls under four years of age go quite naked, and boys till they are ſix or ſeven. The women of diſtinction, in the evening, uncover themſelves to the waiſt; and the men, though they ſhall have about their middle as much cloth as would cover nine or ten perſons, will frequently leave the reſt of the body quite naked; this cloth is made like paper, of macerated bark, ſpread out and beaten together. On their heads they occaſionally wear a little bonnet, made of matting, or cocoa-nut leaves, to defend their faces from the ſun; and the women ſometimes wear ſmall turbans, and ſometimes plait their hair in threads, and wind it round their heads, ſo thick as to produce a very good effect. In this they occaſionally ſtick flowers and feathers, by way of ornament. Both men and women wear ear-rings in one ear, made of ſhell, berries, or ſmall pearls. They likewiſe let their finger nails grow, except that of the middle finger on [Page 14] the right hand, and ſeem to pride themſelves in it.
When De Quiros firſt diſcovered this iſland, in 1606, the men were quite naked, and the women covered only from the waiſt downwards with a garment made of the palm-tree; he, indeed, ſaw one man, who ſeemed to be a chief, who had on his head a kind of coronet made of ſmall black feathers, ſo fine and ſoft that they reſembled ſilk, and behind hung down a bunch of red hair ſomewhat curled, as low as the middle of his back: by which we learn that a century and a half will make ſome alterations in the cuſtoms of the natives of the South Seas as well as in Europeans.
It is a univerſal cuſtom with theſe people, both men and women, to mark their loins and breech, and back part of their thighs, with black or blue lines, in a variety of forms, which they call Tattowing. They ſtain themſelves in this manner, by puncturing or pricking the ſkin till it juſt bleeds, with a ſharp inſtrument, ſomething like a comb, and then rubbing upon the part a greaſe made of ſoot and oil, which continues through life; ſuch as are marked with deep blue punctures have the parts rubbed with [Page 15] the juice of a plant that gives that colour. They do not mark their children till they are about thirteen years old; and though it is a painful operation, and ſeveral days before the part is healed, they bear it Stoically, and with great reſolution; conſidering it as the higheſt ornament. They are very laviſh of this decoration, eſpecially on the breech, and take pride in ſhewing it when they grow up, either as marks of diſtinction, or proofs of their fortitude in undergoing the operation.
THEIR diet is chiefly vegetables ſuch as bread-fruit, cocoa-nuts, plantains, yams, a particular kind of apple which the country affords, and other fruits; yet they occaſionally eat pork, poultry, dogs-fleſh, and fiſh. Their dogs are fed wholly on vegetables, and when killed young, and well dreſſed, are very little inferior to lamb. The ſea furniſhes them with a variety of fiſh, and their rivers yields them ſmall mullet. Small fiſh are eaten raw, and for want of ſalt they dip their meat, as they eat it, into ſea water. They are very expert at catching fiſh, which they do both by nets and lines, their hooks being made of mother of pearl, and they have a method of intoxicating [Page 16] fiſh, by the juice of one of their plants, ſo as to catch them with the hands.
It ſeems to be handed down among them, by tradition, that in early ages, there was upon this iſland a race of cannibals, or men-eaters, who were a very ſturdy, ſtrong people; but this race has been a long time extinct. In the leſſer peninſula there is ſcarce any bread-fruit, and the people ſeem wholly to live upon nuts, not unlike a cheſnut.
Their manner of dreſſing their food is very ſingular; having procured fire by making a groove in one ſtick, and rubbing another in that groove, in the ſame manner as carpenters whet their chiſſels, till the ſmall duſt kindles, they dig a hole in the ground about ſix inches deep, and eight or nine feet in circuit; this done, they pave the bottom with pebbles, and make a fire in it: they then ſweep off the aſhes, and lay their food upon it, firſt covering it with plantain leaves, and then heaping over it the hot embers—Here it lies till it is ſufficiently baked; and when taken out, it is tender, juicy, and full of gravy. Their chief drink is water, but they ſometimes drink the juice of the cocoa-nut. They have an intoxicating juice, which they preſs out from the root of a plant; [Page 17] but it is ſeldom made uſe of but by the chiefs, and by theſe not often; for drunkenneſs to them is abominable: their method of procuring this juice is diſguſting, and an exception to their natural cleanlineſs. The root is chewed by ſeveral perſons till it is ſoft and pulpy, it is then ſpit out into a veſſel, and diluted with water and ſtrained, and in this ſtate it is drank.
When they ſit down to meat, it is on the ground, in the manner of the Perſians, with a large quantity of leaves ſpread by way of a cloth. Their proviſion is brought in baſkets, with two cocoa-nut ſhells, one containing ſalt water, the other freſh. No one preſumes to eat, till he has waſhed his hands and mouth, which he does often in the courſe of the meal. They carve their meat with ſhells, cutting from them, and feed themſelves with their fingers, and will eat an immoderate quantity, enough to fill five or ſix Europeans: but what is remarkable, they always eat alone, not from want of ſociableneſs, but from a notion that it is right ſo to do. If a family are to dine, each will have his ſeparate proviſion, and they will fit themſelves down at three or four yards diſtance from each other, and turn their faces different [Page 18] ways, and not a word ſhall be heard through the whole meal.
THE huts of theſe people conſiſt merely of a roof, ſupported on three rows of pillars, one at each ſide, and one in the middle, and thatched with the leaves of the palm-tree; their houſes are formed like our hay-ricks, with their roofs ſloping both ways, the eaves of the roof about three or four feet from the ground; they have ſeldom any walls, but are open at the ſides and ends; ſome few are encloſed with reeds, having only a hole to enter in at, which can be ſhut up with a board; but theſe are the habitations of the principal people. Within, they are very neatly bedded with a kind of ſtraw, or hay, on which they lay mats to ſleep on; reſting their head on a block, or four-legged ſtool, by way of pillow. When dark, they burn a kind of candle, made of the kernels of an oily nut, many of which they ſtick upon a ſmall piece of ſtick like a ſkewer, one over another; when the firſt is burnt down, the one below it takes fire, and ſo to the bottom. They ſeldom ſit up longer than an hour after it is dark; and when [Page 19] they have any ſtrangers with them they burn a light the whole night; probably, as the whole family ſleep together, that nothing improper may paſs. Their huts are encloſed by a low reed fence, and ſome of them are ſurrounded with little plantations. They are principally uſed indeed for ſleeping in, for unleſs the weather is bad they take their meals upon the ground without or under the ſhelter of a neighbouring tree. The mantle that clothes them in the day covers them at night, and the whole family ſleeps upon the ſame floor without the leaſt partition. The maſter of the manſion and his wife in the middle, next to them thoſe who are married, along ſide of thoſe the ſingle women, and at a little diſtance from theſe the ſingle men. The ſervants ſleep without, unleſs it rains, in this caſe they juſt creep beneath the roof.
It ſhould ſeem ſtrange that a whole family ſhould thus ſleep together in common; but when it is conſidered that the people of this iſland have not the leaſt idea of indelicacy, but gratify every paſſion publicly without any ſenſe of impropriety, the wonder will ceaſe.
AFTER meals, and during the heat of the day, elderly perſons of the better ſort lie down to ſleep: indeed eating and ſleeping is their general way of paſſing time, for they have little to do but to procure themſelves food, and are a very indolent people; ſo indolent as ſometimes not to feed themſelves. If they plant a few trees in the courſe of their lives it is all that is expected from them. They are not however without the more ſprightly amuſements; ſuch as muſic, dancing, wreſtling, ſwimming and diving, which they do wonderfully, (both men, women, and children of ſix years old) throwing a lance and ſhooting with a bow. In throwing the lance their ambition is to hit a mark at about twenty yards diſtance, and in uſing the bow he is the beſt archer that conveys the arrow fartheſt; and as their arrows are not feathered, they will often ſend them two hundred and eighty yards. When they draw the bow they kneel, and drop it as ſoon as the arrow is delivered.
Their muſical inſtruments are flutes only and drums: the flutes are made of the bamboocane about twelve inches long, with two holes only which they ſtop with the firſt finger of the [Page 21] left hand and the middle one of the right. Thus they have only four notes, and of theſe they ſeem to have but one tune, and what is more remarkable, they ſound this inſtrument in the manner of our German flute, by blowing through their noſtrils.
The drum is cylindrical and formed of a hollow block of wood, ſolid at one end and covered with the ſkin of a ſhark at the other. Theſe they beat with their hands, and can tune them; they have a contrivance alſo to tune the flute, which they do by the ear with great exactneſs.
To the ſound of theſe inſtruments they ſometimes ſing, and ſometimes dance. Their ſongs are in couplets, and frequently extemporaneous, and from their repeating them, ſeem to be metre though without rhime. At other times they dance, and their way of dancing is not leſs ſingular than their muſic, for they twiſt and writhe their bodies into many extravagant and wanton poſtures, ſpread their legs, and ſet their arms a-kimbo, and at the ſame time diſtort their faces in a manner which no European can imitate. Much of the cleverneſs of the dances ſeems to conſiſt in the indelicacy of their attitudes, which exceeds all deſcription.
[Page 22] Wreſtling is alſo a public diverſion, and is exhibited before the chief and principal people of the iſland. The following is a deſcription of one. When the ſpectators are ſeated round upon the ground, and a ring thus formed, the wreſtlers are introduced, conſiſting of eight or ten men ſtripped all to the ſaſh that ſurrounds the waiſt. Theſe pace ſlowly round the area, and by ſtriking their left arm with the right hand, give the general challenge: particular challenges are afterwards given, and each wreſtler ſingles out his competitor; but the conteſt, inſtead of being kept up by ſkill, ſeems merely a conteſt of ſtrength, each trying to throw the other by catching hold of the thigh, the cloth, the hair, or any other part. When the fall is given, the victor receives a plaudit from the oldeſt perſons preſent, and the conqueſt is crowned by three huzzas. Two only wreſtle at a time; and when the conteſt of theſe are over, other two begin.
They have alſo dramatic entertainments, a kind of regular interlude performed by men and women, divided into three or four acts. Theſe dramatic interludes are called by the iſlanders Heava, and they conſiſt of dancing and comedy, and laſt near two hours; the ſubject matter [Page 23] of them is of a temporary nature, ſuch as invaſions, repreſentations of women in labour, and the birth of the child, &c. &c. performed by men, and the child alſo by a man, and the dialogue is generally extemporaneous; but from their ſingular contortions and oddity of their actions, they are ſometimes very laughable. Sometimes the muſicians will travel from one part of the iſland to the other, and entertain the inhabitants at their ſeveral houſes, for which they are generally rewarded with ſuch things as they may want and which the giver has to ſpare.
THE principal manufacture of this iſland is cloth, of which they have three ſorts made of the bark of three different trees, one better than the other, though manufactured in the ſame way, by ſoaking it in water and afterwards beating it out; and it ſpreads very faſt under the beater. This done, it is bleached and often dyed red or yellow with the juices of particular plants. The cloth thus made is thin, cool, and ſoft, but like paper is eaſily torn: they have a way however of mending it, by paſting pieces over the [Page 24] fracture. They alſo make matts by way of ſummer covering.
They are likewiſe very ready in making baſkets and wicker-work, which they do very expeditiouſly. They will make baſkets of the cocoa-nut leaves in a few minutes, and alſo bonnets to ſhade their faces from the ſun, not ſuch bonnets as cover the head, but merely a ſhade over the eyes which they tie round the head.
Of the bark of another tree they make ropes and lines from the ſize of a packthread to that of an inch in diameter. Of theſe they form their fiſhing-nets and tackle, and of the fibres of the cocoa-nut they make thread. The fiſhhooks, as I ſaid before, are made of mother of pearl; and they make a kind of harpoon of cane, pointing them with hard wood, for they have no metal of any ſort.
THEIR tools in general are made with ſhells and ſtone, and with theſe they will erect houſes, build canoes, and after their manner carve images. They make an adze with ſtone, a chiſel of human bone, a raſp of coral, and coral ſand ſerves them as a file or poliſher.
THEIR canoes are of two kinds, one for ſhort trips called Ivahah, and the other for longer voyages called a Pahie. The firſt are of various ſizes, and uſed for various purpoſes, fighting, fiſhing and travelling; their ſides are perpendicular, and their bottoms flat, and they are of different breadths, but not proportionable to their length, which is from ſeventy-two feet to ten. Thoſe of ten feet long are about twelve inches wide, and thoſe of ſeventy-two feet in length are about twenty-three inches in width.
The fighting canoe is the longeſt; the head and ſtern are raiſed in a ſemicircular form with a carved image on the top, ſeventeen or eighteen feet above the ſides of the boat, which are ſeldom more than about thirty inches in height. Two of theſe canoes are always faſtened together at the diſtance of three feet, by ſtrong poles laſhed to the ſides. Upon theſe in the fore-part is erected a ſtage about eleven or twelve feet long, like the quarter deck of a ſhip, and rather wider than the canoes, ſupported by pillars about ſix feet high. On theſe ſtages ſtand the warriors, and from hence they throw their lances; their bows and arrows being [Page 26] uſed only for diverſion. They alſo make uſe of ſlings. Below theſe ſtages, which ſometimes cover the whole canoe, ſit the rowers, ſixteen or ſeventeen in number, who paddle on with oars reſembling a baker's peel, and the ſpare men, who when any are wounded on the platform above, exchange places with them. The fiſhing canoe is from ten to forty feet in length, and ſometimes carries a ſail; and the travelling canoes are always uſed in pairs, and have generally a ſmall houſe ſix or ſeven feet ſquare, built on a ſtage in the fore-part of them, and ſometimes only an awning; for in fine weather they go a pleaſuring in theſe boats, a number together, and make a good appearance. At theſe times the veſſels are decorated with ſtreamers, and the people on board are dreſſed; thoſe who row and ſteer are dreſſed in white, thoſe who ſit upon the awning and under it, in white and red; and two men mounted on the prow of each canoe, in red only.
The Pahie or canoe for longer voyages, is bow ſided, and made with a keel at bottom; they are from thirty to ſixty feet in length but very narrow, ſcarce two feet wide. Theſe are ſometimes uſed double, and are furniſhed with ſtages for fighting, or other purpoſes. [Page 27] Some of theſe have one maſt, and ſome two, and have ſails of matting pointed at top, ſquare at bottom, and curved at the ſide, reſembling what is called a ſhoulder of mutton ſail. Theſe veſſels have been out at ſea for eighteen or twenty days together, and might be longer, if they could ſtow ſufficient proviſions. When not in uſe they are drawn upon land, and are carefully kept under a covering of thatch, open only at the ends.
When out at ſea, the Indians ſteer by the ſun in the day time, and the ſtars in the night, every one of which they know by name, and when and where they will appear: They alſo can, with ſome degree of certainty, foretell the weather, and from which quarter the wind will blow the enſuing day: They tell you that the milky way is always curved, but not in the ſame direction, and that the wind will blow the next day from that quarter oppoſite the concave part of it.
THEIR language is ſoft and harmonious, and abounds with vowels, like the Spaniſh and Italian, which they can readily pronounce; but they find a difficulty in pronouncing Engliſh. The following liſt of words will give ſome idea of it.
- Aree, a chief.
- To aree, a ſecondary chief.
- Taowaa, a prieſt.
- Midee, a child.
- Tane, a huſband.
- Huaheine, a wife.
- Eupea, a net.
- Mahanna, the ſun.
- Mama, light.
- Timahah, heavy.
- Eho mai, come to me.
- Paraow mai, ſpeak to me.
- Parahei, ſit down.
- Ainao, take care.
- Mamoa, hold your tongue.
- Wa hoèe, what is it.
- Tai poe etee noòw. Pray give me a little bread.
WHERE food is ſimple, and there is little debauchery, there can be but few diſorders: the principal diſeaſes of this iſland are cutaneous eruptions, eriſipelas, ulcers, and a kind of leproſy. Thoſe afflicted with the laſt, ſeclude themſelves from ſociety, and live in a ſmall houſe alone. Phyſicians they have none. They run to the prieſt for cure, who generally makes uſe only of a charm and incantation. This ceremony is performed till the patient recovers or dies. If he recovers, they attribute it to the prieſt, if he dies, to the incurableneſs of the diſorder. In dangerous caſes, the neareſt relations aſſemble in the ſick man's houſe, and continue nurſing and watching him, by turns, till he dies or is out of danger. Bleeding is uſed in this iſland, but this is done by a prieſt, in the Sagittal vein on the head, the operation being performed with a ſharp wooden inſtrument; when a ſufficient quantity of blood is taken away, they tie the head round with a bandage, which cloſes the orifice.
Their commerce with Europeans have unfortunately entailed upon them the venereal diſeaſe. It is ſuppoſed to have been communicated [Page 30] by M. De Bouganville's people; for when Captain Wallis left it, the diſorder was not known there, and when Captain Cook was there in 1769, it had made great ravage throughout the iſland; but it is believed that they have found out a ſpecific to cure it, for it is not ſo general as it was.
THERE are two kinds of depoſit for the dead in this iſland, one called a Tupapow, which is little leſs than a ſhed, under which the fleſh is ſuffered to putrefy; and the other called a Morai, a kind of encloſure, with pyramidical erections of ſtone, where the bones are afterwards interred; and the chief ambition of theſe people ſeems to be in the magnificence of their Morai.
As ſoon as any one dies, the houſe of the deceaſed is crowded with relations. Such as are neareſt of kin, and are truly affected by the loſs are ſilent, the reſt are clamorous, at one moment with lamentations, and the next with laughing and vociferous talking; for true grief always ties the tongue. Thus is the remainder of the day and ſucceeding night ſpent, and in the morning the body is wrapt in a cloth and [Page 31] conveyed on a bier to the ſea ſide, attended by a prieſt; there it is ſet down upon the beach, cloſe to the water, and the prieſt prays and throws the water with his hands towards the body, but not to touch it. This ceremony is continued long enough till a houſe is built, and a ſmall ſpot of ground near it railed in. Within the rails poſts are ſet up to ſupport the bier, under a ſhed or covering erected for the purpoſe, where the body is left covered with the cloth to putrefy.
The body being thus depoſited, the women aſſemble, and are conducted to the door of the houſe juſt mentioned by the neareſt relation, who wounds herſelf in the crown of her head, by pricking it with the tooth of a ſhark, till it bleeds plentifully, this blood is taken upon a cloth and thrown under the bier; every woman preſent follows her example, and the ceremony continues two or three days. The tears likewiſe that are ſhed at theſe funeral rites, are wiped upon pieces of cloth, and appropriated to the ſame uſe, and ſome of the young folks cut off their hair, and offer it as oblations, on a preſumption that the ſoul of the deceaſed is hovering round the body, and obſervant of the love and fidelity of the mourners.
[Page 32] When the women have performed their part, the men begin. Every relation in turn, beginning with him who is the neareſt of kin, aſſumes the office of chief mourner; he dreſſes himſelf in a fantaſtic dreſs, ſuch a one as in England would convey the idea which nurſes affix to a ghoſt or goblin; Captain Cook has preſented one to the Britiſh Muſeum, and Dr. Forſter another to the Univerſity of Oxford: it conſiſts of drapery, ſhells, and feathers, and covers the whole body, even the face. At the death of a man, the women wear this dreſs, and at the death of a woman, the men. The chief mourner, at the head of the reſt, who are naked to the waiſt, and their bodies ſmeared with charcoal and water as low as the ſhoulders, marches in proceſſion to a great diſtance round the corpſe; and as he carries in his hand a long ſtick, the end of which is ſet with ſhark's teeth, and affects a kind of phrenzy, occaſioned by grief, the people fly before him, leſt he ſhould ſtrike and wound them with it, which he certainly would, were they within his reach.
Theſe proceſſions are not dropped till near the expiration of five months, when the remains of the dead body are taken down, and the bones ſcraped, waſhed, and buried within or without [Page 33] a Morai, or place of worſhip, according to the diſtinction of the deceaſed.
Even after this the prieſt continues for ſome time to pray for the departed, and is well rewarded by the ſurviving relations, who, as their grief for the perſon deceaſed is ſuppoſed to wear out; ſtill viſit the grave, more or leſs, and make occaſional offerings upon the altars, ſuch as food and bunches of feathers.
They go into mourning likewiſe, and call it Ceva. Their mourning conſiſts of a veil over the face, and a certain head-dreſs of feathers. When mourners go abroad, they are preceded by ſlaves, who beat caſtenets before them dolefully, giving notice of their approach to every one, who clears the way for them; but as moſt good cuſtoms are abuſed, this is no leſs ſo, for clearing the way and wearing a veil gives the married women an opportunity to intrigue, who frequently profit by the occaſion. The whole nation mourns on the death of a ſovereign, and mourning for a father is continued a length of time. Women mourn for their huſbands, but this compliment is not returned them.
LITTLE can be ſaid of their religion, with any certainty, as none of the Europeans who have been there were ſufficiently acquainted with their language; indeed, like the Chineſe, they have a different language to expreſs their religious myſteries by, from what is ſpoken in general. The only thing rightly underſtood is, that when the moon, in their eyes, wears a peculiar appearance, they ſay it is in a ſtate of war, and at this time they have human ſacrifices. The perſon to be offered up as the victim, is generally a bad man, one who, by his evil actions, becomes obnoxious to ſociety; but as the perſon thus to ſuffer is fixed upon by the chief prieſt, it often happens that individuals fall a ſacrifice to the reſentment of this man, who, no doubt, has oratory ſufficient to repreſent him as a villain. When the people aſſemble upon any ſolemn occaſion, the prieſt enters the Morai alone, and after ſtaying there a conſiderable time, he comes out and tells the multitude that he has ſeen and converſed with the ſupreme Being, that he expects a human ſacrifice, that ſuch a one preſent is the man, and the poor wretch is [Page 35] immediately beaten to death. At other times they ſacrifice hogs, dogs, and fowls.
It appears, that theſe people conceive that every thing in nature does and did proceed from procreation. That the ſupreme Deity, by conjunction with a rock, brought forth the year; that the year, by a connection with the Father of all, gave birth to the months, and theſe, by a further procreation among themſelves, the days. The ſtars, plants, &c. they ſuppoſe to have obtained their exiſtence ſomewhat in the ſame way. Their ridiculous and futile imagination leads them to believe that there are certain inferior divinities, whom they call Eatuas, two of whom firſt inhabited the earth, and were the progenitors of the firſt man, brought forth in the ſhape of a ball, but moulded into the preſent form by his mother; that inſtinct led this firſt man to beget children upon his mother, which children were females only, ſo that it was many generations before he could get a ſon, which at laſt he did out of one of his ſiſters, and thus peopled the earth.
Their inferior divinities, of which they have a great number, are ſuppoſed to be male and female. The men pay their adoration to the males, and the women to the females, and there [Page 36] are Morais, or places of worſhip, appropriated to both, where prieſts officiate, but theſe prieſts are men. Their deities are rather ſuch as we underſtand by genii, of which they have good and bad, and they ſuppoſe that a good or evil genius preſides over each important action of their lives, deciding its determinations whether it be ſucceſsful or not. In caſes of ſickneſs, they ſeem to rely wholly upon theſe genii, and neglect any application for cure but to the prayers of the prieſts, and thus ſhew themſelves ſtrong predeſtinarians.
They ſo far believe the immortality of the ſoul, as to ſuppoſe that there are two ſeparate ſtates of exiſtence hereafter, which they conceive not to be places of rewards and puniſhments, but merely receptacles for the different claſſes of men; they have no conception that their actions here below can influence their future ſtate: and, therefore, as their view of immortality tends not to regulate their earthly conduct, their religion muſt be diſintereſted, and their adoration riſe from an humble ſenſe of their own inſignificance, when compared to the perfection of their divinities.
The prieſthood here is hereditary; prieſts are generally choſen from ſome family of diſtinction, [Page 37] and have the higheſt authority, inferior only to the chief. They have a ſuperior knowledge in religious myſteries, but that knowledge conſiſts in naming and claſſing their deities, and preſerving traditions. They know a little more of aſtronomy and navigation indeed, and to them only is appropriated the office of tattowing, or puncturing the ſkin, and circumciſion, which with them is a ſlitting only of the prepuce, and adopted merely from motives of cleanlineſs.
Marriage is celebrated with ſome few ceremonies, but ſeems to be nothing more than the mutual contract of man and woman, which is continued or diſſolved as the parties ſhall agree, the prieſt having nothing to do with them.
The Morai is not only a place of burial, but alſo, as I ſaid before, a place of worſhip; and to this place the Indian comes with the greateſt humility and reverence, with ſlow ſteps and a dejected eye, inſpired with a ſenſe of his own inferiority, and the exalted excellence of the Divinity he is going to adore; and in this act diſgraces the generality of Chriſtians. Nay, they never paſs a Morai but they uncover their ſhoulders as a mark of awful reſpect. The floor of this place within is paved; without, an [Page 38] altar or two, reſembling tables, about ſeven feet high, are raiſed pretty near the Morai, and both within the walls and without are a number of ſmall wooden ſtatues, uncouthly carved upon the top of a piece of wood, which they ſtick into the ground. They do not worſhip theſe images, for they are by no means idolaters. This and the neighbouring iſlands hold particular birds, indeed, in veneration, ſome a heron, others a king-fiſher, ſomething in the ſame manner as we do the robin or the ſwallow, but they pay not the leaſt adoration to them.
THOUGH the natives of O-Taheitee live under no regular form of government, yet a kind of feudal ſyſtem ſubſiſts among them. Each of the peninſulas has an Earee Rahie or ſovereign, and each diſtrict, of which there are forty-three in the two peninſulas, has an Earee or chief, and theſe divide the lands within their territories among their vaſſals. The iſland formerly [Page 39] was under the command of one ſovereign; the kings of Leſſer O-Taheitee being ſprung from thoſe of the Greater: the two ſovereigns at preſent are nearly related, and that of the former ſeems as it were a tributary to the latter. Each chief keeps a kind of court, and has a number of officers; and it is obſervable, that he ſeldom gives his deciſion in any caſe, without the advice of council. If an offence was given at any time to the people by the Europeans that viſited them, the matter was to be adjuſted with the chief before a reconciliation could be brought about. The male child of a chief, as well as of the ſovereign, as ſoon as born, ſucceeds to the title of its father, and diſpoſſeſſes the parent of all his honours except that of the management of the eſtate, &c. and of conducting and carrying on the buſineſs till the boy is of age.
In caſe of an attack, every diſtrict furniſhes its proportion of fighting men, and the ſovereign commands the whole. Their weapons are ſlings, pikes, and clubs; when they fight it is with great obſtinacy, and they give no quarter; but often kill their priſoners, men, women and children, and carry off their jaw-bones as trophies, in like manner as the Indians of North America [Page 40] do the ſcalps. If a diſpute at any time ariſes between two chiefs, it is ſettled among themſelves. Captain Cook was once preſent at a naval review, and found it conſiſted of upwards of three hundred large canoes completely equipped, and manned with near eight thouſand men; the chiefs and all thoſe on the fighting platforms, were habited in their war accoutrements, which conſiſted of a great quantity of cloth, turbans, breaſt-plates, and unwieldy helmets. The canoes were dreſſed with flags and ſtreamers. This fleet was deſigned to attack a neighbouring iſland that had thrown off its independency on O-Taheitee. Some of the troops at Captain Cook's requeſt went through their exerciſe on ſhore. Two parties firſt began with clubs; the blows of the clubs were aimed at the legs and head, thoſe at the legs were evaded by jumping; and thoſe at the head by ſtooping, or leaping aſide: when they proceeded to uſe their ſpears or darts, they parried the puſh or dart by fixing the point of a ſpear in the ground before them, and directing the other end of it, as they foreſaw the aim was made.
There is no ſuch thing as money among them; the fruit of the trees are in common to all; the commerce of the ſeas is no way reſtrained; [Page 41] and there ſeems to be few things that can be taken by violence or fraud. In a ſtate therefore where there is but little oppoſition of intereſt, every paſſion being ſo readily gratified, there cannot be many crimes; of courſe a regular diſtribution of juſtice will be unneceſſary. It is true there are thefts here, but as none among theſe people can be much injured or benefited by ſuch thefts, they are not reſtrained by any public law, but the puniſhment of the criminal reſts with the injured perſon. They do not ſeem diſpoſed to rob one another, but they made no ſcruple of ſtealing from the Europeans, whenever they had an opportunity; even the chiefs would ſtoop to purloin a nail or a piece of glaſs bottle; but when it is conſidered that an Indian among iron and glaſs is in the ſame ſtate of temptation with the pooreſt European among unlocked boxes of jewels and gold, it is not to be wondered at. To rate the virtue of theſe people properly, we muſt take a view of their moral ſyſtem, which is ever to conform to what they think right. If they have any notions of right and wrong, they muſt proceed from the mere dictates of nature, for leſſons they have none on this head; and as theft among themſelves is attended but [Page 42] with little diſadvantage to the injured perſon, they think very little of it. In this light they conſidered nails and other things to Captain Cook and his people, and thought no wrong in making free with what they preſumed the perſons they took them from could not miſs. Adultery is ſometimes heard of in this iſland; and if the parties are caught in the act, the man perhaps is inſtantly ſlain by the injured huſband, if he is the ſtrongeſt of the two, and the wife eſcapes with a beating: It ſeldom happens that the chiefs interfere. Murder indeed is ſometimes puniſhed with death, and the criminal in this caſe is hanged.
The diſtinction of rank preſerved in this iſland does not materially affect the happineſs of the people. In a country where ſcarce a ſecond garment is neceſſary, where every one can gather fruit from the firſt tree he meets, or is at liberty to take ſome in any houſe which he enters; where the neceſſaries of life can be eaſily obtained; there can be but little envy, but little repining. The upper claſs of people, it is true, enjoy ſome dainties which the lower claſs probably cannot get at; this may hurt an individual, but cannot affect a nation at large. The diſtinction between the greateſt and the [Page 43] loweſt man in O-Taheitee is not more than between a manufacturer in England and his workman. A chief has the command of life and death over his ſervants and ſlaves; but he very ſeldom exerciſes it, and notwithſtanding this, is more beloved than feared; a proof of the mildneſs of their government. He alone has power to plant the Babylonian willow before his houſe; for by bending down the branches of this tree, and planting them in the ground, they will ſhoot afreſh; thus the ſhade may be extended to any diſtance, and in any direction. Under theſe ſhady arches the chiefs regale, whoſe ſervants are known by wearing ſaſhes high up under the arms, which others wear only round their middle. When a chief approaches, or paſſes, it is cuſtomary for all to uncover their ſhoulders as a compliment; but this is all: the meaneſt man in the iſland addreſſes his ſovereign as freely as he would an equal, and can ſee him whenever he pleaſes: for, not depraved by the empty notions of European greatneſs, the king will often amuſe himſelf with his ſubjects, and at times will paddle in his own canoe.
AFTER what has been ſaid of theſe people, it cannot be ſuppoſed that chaſtity here is in much repute. Their natural ſimplicity is ſo great, that the very conjugal rites are performed in public, a whole family or houſhold reſting at night in one room. In more northern climates, girls and unmarried women are ſuppoſed to be ignorant of the buſineſs of the marriage-bed, but here it ſeems to be the very reverſe. Among their dances, where eight or ten young ſingle women can be got together, they have one which conſiſts of ſuch wanton and laſcivious geſticulations, accompanied by obſcene diſcourſe, that one is led to think that ſuch geſtures and expreſſions muſt be taught them at the earlieſt age; but they are no ſooner married, than they leave off this fooliſh practice. Some of the principal women of the iſland introduced themſelves to Captain Cook, and his officers, by ſeveral times taking up all their garments round them, quite to the waiſt; and as where there is no idea of indelicacy with reſpect to actions, there can be none in words, their language is groſsly obſcene, and as freely ſpoken by the women as the men. [Page 45] The women in general are very lively in their converſation, and very chatty, and they have vivacity and underſtanding often to be witty and to play upon words.
To give the reader a ſtill better idea of their want of decency, and to convince him, that it does not ariſe from depravity of ſentiment, but from an innate ſimplicity authorized by cuſtom, I need only mention, that when Captain Cook was there in the year 1769, and then on a viſit to the queen of the iſland, ſhe entertained him with an exhibition of a very ſingular kind, and among the ſpectators were many women of diſtinction. A young man of uncommon ſtature was directed by her to perform the rites of Venus, with a little girl about twelve years old, which was done without the leaſt ſenſe of impropriety on either ſide; and though the girl ſeemed to want no inſtructions in the office, her Majeſty vouchſafed to aſſiſt at the ceremony.
But though the unmarried are ſo little reſerved, they no ſooner take a partner for life, than they are as choice of their favours as before they are free of them; and if we conſider the ſimplicity, both of their education and dreſs, we cannot juſtly charge them with the crime of [Page 46] unbounded licentiouſneſs. There are ſome women of the better ſort, and ſome few even of the lower claſs, that are in this reſpect very reſerved; all I would infer is, that freedoms of the kind I mentioned, are not conſidered here as crimes of ſuch a nature as to preclude them from ſociety; and as a further proof of it, it need only be told, that a very reſpectable chief offered his wife to Captain Cook, in exchange for a few red feathers, and ſhe, by the orders of her huſband, took ſome pains, by a ſtudied diſplay of her charms, though artfully concealed, to captivate him. But, to ſhew that they are delicate in their notions, notwithſtanding this freedom of conduct, and that it is not every man with whom they will aſſort, take the following little anecdote. When Captain Cook was there in 1774, he had on board his veſſel a weak ſcorbutic man, with one eye, who, ſoon after his arrival, gaining a little ſtrength and ſpirits upon a vegetable diet, paid his addreſſes to a pleaſing O-Taheitean girl, lighted a candle and conducted her from the deck to his birth below; but ſhe no ſooner looked in his face, and found that he had loſt an eye, than ſhe refuſed to continue with him, led him upon deck again, introduced him to a one-eyed girl, [Page 47] at that time there, and gave him to underſtand, that ſhe was a more ſuitable partner for him; for that, for her part, ſhe would not take up with a blind lover.
But as in every country there are ſome more diſſolute than others, ſo is it in O-Taheitee: there is a ſociety formed here of a great number of the principal people of the iſland, of both ſexes, called an Arreoy; where, to indulge their paſſions, and keep up their flame by a pleaſing variety, every woman is common to every man; and where, in order to ſtimulate deſire, frequent meetings are held among them, at which time the men wreſtle, and the women dance, and endeavour, by the moſt wanton geſtures, to incite thoſe amorous paſſions that probably could not be kept alive any other way; and the paſſion once raiſed, is immediately gratified. This cuſtom may poſſibly be conſonant with their peculiar notions; but the ſequel is horrid. Should any of theſe women prove pregant, which does not often happen, the poor infant is ſmothered as ſoon as born, that it may be no interruption to thoſe diabolical pleaſures of the father and mother, who, if the child is preſerved, are immediately excluded the ſociety: and the members of this aſſociation, inſtead of being [Page 48] aſhamed of the connection, pride themſelves in it, and boaſt of it as a privilege.
But as the natives of this iſland have the general character of being gentle, generous, tender, and affectionate, which cannot be reconciled with the murder of their own children; there may be other reaſons than unbounded licentiouſneſs to countenance this ſociety: and as all the men who are members of it are warriors, ſuch an aſſociation may be political, as it obviates the attachments of both wife and child. Beſides, ſuch a ſociety might be inſtituted to prevent multiplying the chiefs of the iſland, who perhaps once were petty-tyrants, eſpecially, as a child brought forth in wedlock is a chief as ſoon as born; and the members of this aſſociation were generally chiefs and are now perſons of the firſt diſtinction. This ſociety may thus have been inſtituted in ſound policy, and the reſpect it is held in, in the iſland, ſeems to favour the notion; but as all inſtitutions, in courſe of time, are liable to abuſe, it may be the caſe here; for the members ſeem to meet merely to indulge a voluptuous diſpoſition. They feaſt on the choiceſt dainties, and that to exceſs; they make a free uſe of the intoxicating plant; they are amuſed with muſic, [Page 49] and laſcivious dancing, and a train of ſenſual pleaſures ſurrounds them. But, at the ſame time, they are friendly and hoſpitable to each other in the higheſt degree, and, to ſoften the crime of murder on the part of the mother, it is but juſtice to obſerve, that they never give up their children but at the entreaties and perſuaſions of the reſt, and where entreaties will not prevail, force is employed, and the murder is committed in ſecret.
Polygamy is not allowed among them, except among the principal people of the iſland. Love being the reigning paſſion, a number of wives is the higheſt luxury. The women pay a blind ſubmiſſion to their huſbands, and though an exception is now and then to be found to the general rule, they would ſooner die than be guilty of conjugal infidelity; and ſo little is jealouſy known among them, that when a woman yields to the importunities of a ſtranger, it is generally by the huſband's perſuaſion.
As the reader probably will wiſh to know the reception the firſt European veſſel met with at this iſland, I will relate what happened to Captain Wallis in June 1767, for, till this time, no European ſhip had touched there, except that of De Quiros in 1606; and he continued there not [Page 50] more than two days; beſides, it being more than a century and a half ago, the viſit of Captain Wallis may be conſidered as the firſt which the natives of this iſland ever received from a civilized people.
When Captain Wallis's ſhip brought up cloſe under the land, which the depth of water enabled him to do, he was ſoon ſurrounded by ſome hundreds of canoes, with ſeveral perſons in each. When they came within piſtol ſhot, they gazed and ſeemed to hold a council how to act; at laſt they paddled round the veſſel, exhibiting ſignals of friendſhip, and one of them made a ſpeech. Soon after this, ſome few came on board, but one of them being butted by a goat then on deck, and on turnign round ſeeing the goat riſe on his legs, they all jumped over the ſides of the veſſel, in the greateſt fright, but ſoon ſwam round her and returned on board again, and the crew had enough to do to prevent their ſtealing ſundry things that lay in their way; one of them ſnatched off a goldlaced hat from an officer's head, leaped overboard, and ſwam off with it. Upon the Captain's ſending out a boat to ſound the depth of water, the Indians, to prevent their coming on ſhore, threw ſtones into her, and wounded ſome [Page 51] of the men, which made an officer in the boat fire his muſquet, loaded with buck-ſhot, at the Indian who threw the firſt ſtone, and wounded him on the ſhoulder. This was an alarm ſufficient—it brought together three or four hundred canoes, with upwards of two thouſand men, armed with ſlings, and ſtones, of two pounds weight, who attacked the ſhip, and hurt ſome of the crew, but they were ſoon quieted and diſperſed by firing a few great guns at them, with the loſs only of a few Indians: they prepared for a ſecond attack, but found it in vain; in ſhort, they became ſo afraid of a gun, that was a muſquet pointed at them, thouſands would fly before it, like a flock of ſheep. Indeed, ſo great was their dread, that when a party of Indians once attempted to attack an officer, then ſtrolling about on ſhore by himſelf, he put them all to flight, by preſenting his tooth-pick caſe at them, which they conceived to be a little gun. After this the ſhip's boats went peaceably to ſhore, and upon ſignals of friendſhip made on both ſides, a trade was opened with the iſlanders, which improved every day. The things they valued moſt were nails and hatchets, they having no ſuch thing as iron among them; and the rates of trafficking were, a ſpike for a [Page 52] ſmall pig, a ſmaller for a fowl, a hatchet for a hog, and a middling-ſized nail for twenty cocoa-nuts or bread-fruit. Nay, they trafficked with the ſhips crew for the perſonal favours of their daughters and ſiſters, whom fathers and brothers brought down to the ſea-ſide on purpoſe: a nail was generally the price of theſe favours, but, to ſhew that they were not inſenſible of the ſuperiority of charms in one female more than another, the ſize of the nail demanded roſe always in proportion to the beauty of the lady; but no nails were current at O-Taheitee under the ſize of a forty-penny.
When the ſhip had been there about three weeks, the Captain was introduced to a woman of diſtinction among them. She invited him to her houſe, and taking hold of his hand, made all her attendants, of which there were a great number, both male and female, kiſs it.—When any of the natives meet a friend, whom they have not ſeen for ſome time, they affect to cry for joy; but no ſuch ceremonial paſſed here; they kiſſed the Captain's hand. This lady's houſe was merely a roof, thatched with palm leaves, like other habitations in the iſland, but covering a ſpot of ground three hundred and twenty-ſeven feet long, and forty-two feet in [Page 53] breadth; it was raiſed upon three rows of pillars, thirty-nine on each ſide, and fourteen in the middle. The ridge of the houſe within was thirty feet high, and the ſides of it, to the eaves of the thatch, twelve feet high. As Captain Wallis and his party entered, ſhe beckoned four girls, by waving her hand downwards, that being the method there, and ordered them to take off the Captain's ſhoes and ſtockings, and then directed the girls to rub and chafe their feet between their hands. This is conſidered at O-Taheitee, and is in reality the greateſt refreſhment. When the young women had continued this for about half an hour, they dreſſed their legs again, and, by the order of their miſtreſs, brought ſome bales of cloth, of their own manufacturing, to clothe them in the faſhion of the country, but they declined it. This done, the Queen preſented them with a ſow big with pig, and conducted them to the ſhore where the boats lay; and, what is remarkable, at every little dirty place they paſſed, ſhe took the Captain up in her arms and lifted him over, with as little difficulty as we would lift a child. During this viſit, one of the gentlemen took off his wig, to wipe his head, having walked till he was warm, which ſo aſtoniſhed [Page 54] the Indians, that they could not have been more ſo, had his limbs been ſcrewed to his body, and he had unſcrewed them one after another.
As a general character of theſe people; let it ſuffice to ſay, that they are hoſpitable, unambitious, and far from revengeful. They probably are not ſo ſincere in their profeſſions of friendſhip, as from appearances might be expected; for they weep upon every little occaſion, and ſeem to have tears at will; like children they cry for trifles, and like children too their ſorrows are ſoon forgotten: but when we reflect, that they have never been taught either to diſguiſe or ſuppreſs their paſſions, and are not accuſtomed to thought, which alone only can recall the paſt and anticipate the future, it is no wonder that their ſorrows ſhould be tranſient; they are affected only with the occurrence of the paſſing minute; and yet they are of a benevolent diſpoſition. Their life reſembles, in a great meaſure, what poets call the Golden Age, for they are happy in their ſimplicity and innocence; and if the frequent viſits of Europeans do not corrupt their manners, may continue ſo to the end of time. Though they have no trade, they have plenty of amuſements and employments; manufacturing of [Page 55] their dreſs is an agreeable employ to the women, and building houſes and canoes, with making of tools and arms, ſufficient occupation for the men. Moſt of their days are ſpent in a country where nature has been laviſh of her gifts; where the temperature of the air is warm, but continually refreſhed by wholeſome breezes; where the atmoſphere is conſtantly clear and ſerene, and where the climate and fruits of the land contribute to the ſtrength, the pleaſure, and elegance of the natives. In ſhort, their tempers are unruffled by violent paſſions; they live a life of eaſe, equanimity, and content, and are ſituated in a delightful country, free from care, and happy in their ignorance; reſembling the paradiſe of Mahomet, where the appetites are gratified, without ever being cloyed.
When M. De Bouganville was at O-Taheitee, he met with a native of that iſland, about thirty years of age, very deſirous of accompanying him to France, and his countrymen ſeemed to approve the ſtep. He happened, however, to be a ſtupid fellow, and in two years ſtay at Paris, could never get to ſpeak, or even pronounce the language; poſſibly from ſome impediment in his ſpeech, yet ſtill, he would go [Page 56] out into the ſtreets by himſelf, and was well acquainted with the town. He frequently made a purchaſe, and ſeldom paid more for it than its value. The principal exhibition that pleaſed him was the opera, and particularly the dancing; he conſtantly went there by himſelf, paid for his admiſſion, and his favourite place was in the ſeats behind the boxes. Among the great number deſirous of ſeeing him, he knew how to diſtinguiſh thoſe who were moſt civil, and his grateful heart never forgot them. The Ducheſs of Choiſeul appropriated a ſum of money for the purpoſe of conveying a variety of tools to O-Taheitee, and the miniſtry ſent him, in March 1770, to the Iſle of France, that he might be thence conveyed home; but he never lived to reach his native iſle, for having caught the ſmall-pox, it proved fatal to him. M. De Bouganville allotted one thouſand five hundred pounds, being a third part of his fortune, towards equipping the ſhip for that purpoſe.
CONSISTING of ſix, Huaheine, Ulietea, Otaha, Bolabola, Tubai and Maurua, are ſituated between the latitude of 16° 10′, and 16° 65′, and between the longitude W. from Greenwich, 150° 57′, and 152°. Ulietea and Otaha lie within two miles of each other, and are incloſed in one reef of coral rock, which forms many excellent harbours.
Bolabola lies N. W. and by W. from Otaha, and about four leagues diſtant, ſurrounded by ſeveral little iſlands, together about eight leagues in circuit; and the chief of this iſland has lately conquered, and now governs the iſles of Ulietea and Otaha, and alſo Maurua, which lies fifteen leagues to the weſtward; ſo that theſe conquered iſles are governed by a Viceroy: and many of the conquered natives have retired to Huaheine and O-Taheitee. There is [Page 58] very little difference in any of theſe iſlands, reſpecting the cuſtoms, manners, &c. &c. of the inhabitants: I ſhall therefore ſpeak only of Huaheine and Ulietea, and that but little. In landing at theſe ſeveral iſlands, the ſhips crews met with no reſiſtance, but a friendly and peaceful welcome. How theſe iſlands came under the dominion of the ſovereign of Bolabola is thus related by a native.
Some years ſince, the Chiefs of O-Taheitee, and other neighbouring iſles, baniſhed ſuch as were guilty of thefts and other crimes, not deſerving death, to that of Bolabola, which till then was uninhabited. In courſe of time the numbers increaſed ſo much, that the produce of the iſland was not ſufficient for their ſupport. Being men of deſperate fortunes, they built canoes, turned pirates, and made ſuch of their neighbours as fell in their way, their priſoners, ſeizing their property. One of the worſt of theſe baniſhed men became their chief, and encreaſing every year in power and property by ſuch depredations; he invaded Otaha, and took it: he afterwards conquered Ulietea, and other iſlands, and they from that time became a part of his dominions.
IS ſituated in ſouth latitude, 16° 43′, and 150° 52′ weſt longitude. It lies thirty-one leagues N. W. of O-Taheitee, and is about ſeven leagues round. The face of it is hilly and uneven, and it has on the weſt a ſafe and commodious harbour. It was firſt diſcovered by Captain Cook on the 11th of July, 1769.
Huaheine is divided by a deep inlet into two peninſulas, joined by an iſtmus which is overflowed at high water. Its hills are not ſo lofty as thoſe at O-Taheitee, but, like the hills of that iſland, they ſeem to be the remains of a volcano: the top of one has the appearance of a crater, and a kind of lava is very conſpicuous on one of its ſides.
The face of the country is ſimilar to that of O-Taheitee, but in a leſs ſcale, though it is conſiderably more pictureſque; the ſides of the hills being here cultivated, owing to a ſcarcity of level ground. From the principal bay, the iſlands of Ulietea, Otaha, and Bolabola may be ſeen; the laſt appears like a conical hill, forked at the top.
[Page 60] The natives ſpeak the ſame language, wear the ſame habits, and are the ſame as the O-Taiheteans, except that they are not ſo darkcoloured: The women in general are as handſome, and both women and men rather ſtouter, larger made, and leſs timid; but if any thing they are more indolent and lazy.
The productions likewiſe of this iſland are the ſame as thoſe of the laſt-mentioned, but are about a month forwarder in their growth. They have here indeed mulberry-trees, which are not to be met with at O-Taheitee. Of the cocoa-nuts, the inhabitants make a food, by ſcraping them and mixing them with yams, and eating it, ſo as to reſemble a kind of oily haſty-pudding. There are a great quantity of ducks, curlews, and ſnipes, and here are ſome inſects and ſcorpions, and the ſame animals which are found at O-Taheitee. Notwithſtanding the ſtupidity of the dogs, they are in high favour with the women, who are ſo ridiculouſly fond of them, that they will ſuckle the puppies at their breaſts. The dogs in general, of theſe iſlands, are of various ſizes, from that of a lap-dog to the ſize of a large ſpaniel. The head is broad, and pointed at the noſe, the eyes are ſmall, the ears upright, [Page 61] the hair lank and hard, and the colour moſtly brown and white; and they ſeldom bark, but often howl and ſeem to have an averſion to ſtrangers. Their method of killing them for food, both here and at O-Taheitee, is by ſtifling them, either by ſtopping their fundament with graſs, and holding their noſe and mouth between their hands till they die, or by laying them on their backs and preſſing their throats with a ſtick till they are choaked.
The amuſements and cuſtoms of this iſland are alſo the ſame with thoſe of the laſt-mentioned. They have their Heava or dramatic entertainments, and alſo their Arreoy, or licentious ſociety; but parents do not here ſuffer their daughters to follow their own inclinations. A reciprocal changing of names is here a friendly ceremony, and when they accept a preſent, as they do at O-Taheitee, they lift it always above their heads.
Huaheine is governed alſo by chiefs related to thoſe at O-Taheitee, and the religious notions of this place, and indeed of all the neighbouring iſles, is much the ſame as that which has been there deſcribed, excepting that each iſland as a ſeparate theogony, calling their deities by different names. They believe every man to have [Page 62] a diſtinct being within him, who acts according to the impreſſion of the ſenſes. This being they ſuppoſe to be immortal, and after the death of the perſon they inhabit, to take poſſeſſion of, and lodge in, the wooden images that decorate their Morai, or places of burial. They conceive both ſun and moon to be inhabited by its reſpective divinity, and ſo far pay them adoration, as they ſuppoſe them to have an influence on things below. Their good or evil genii, are addreſſed, in proportion to the good or ill they do; the good are ſupplicated by prayers, and the evil are revered by hiſſings.
In a word, it would be unjuſt to their general character if I did not ſay, that, notwithſtanding their errors and cuſtoms, inconſiſtent with European nations, they poſſeſs the moſt exalted ſentiments, ſentiments that do honour to mankind; and though various characters are found among all nations, for one villain in theſe iſles there are fifty to be found in a civilized country. They are friendly and hoſpitable without ſeeming to know it, and leave their virtues to be recorded by ſtrangers who viſit them.
When Captain Fourneaux was at this iſland in 1773, he at the requeſt of a young man at [Page 63] that time there, brought him away, to ſhew him to the people of England, as M. de Bouganville did a native of O-Taheitee to Paris. This man's name is Omai, a native of Ulietea; he is of the middling claſs of people, and had ſome property there, but was plundered of it by the inhabitants of Bolabola. He is far from being a ſpecimen of the natives of theſe iſlands, they being in general much fairer, much handſomer, and much better made. He is a man however of quick parts, honeſt principles, and a good underſtanding. He continued two years in England under the patronage of Lord Sandwich, Dr. Solander, and Mr. Banks. While here, he was introduced into the beſt company, conducted to every ſplendid entertainment, and frequently was led to court, and taken uncommon notice of by his Majeſty. He fell in with that elegance and eaſe natural to the polite people of the age, and adopted the manners and amuſements of thoſe with whom he aſſociated. As a proof of his underſtanding, he ſoon became a proficient in the game of cheſs. No one here attempted to improve his underſtanding or his moral character; the only pains taken was to lead him into a round of faſhionable enjoyments, and feaſt [Page 64] his eyes with daily wonders. During his ſtay here, he was inoculated for the ſmall-pox, and when Captain Cook ſailed for O-Taheitee again in July 1776, Omai voluntarily went with him, though with manifeſt regret, at leaving England. He carried with him a great variety of dreſſes, and other ornaments, a portable handorgan, a puppet-ſhow, a coat of mail, a ſuit of armour, and an electrical machine, which he was taught to uſe. Though at years of maturity, his judgmentw as ſtill in its infant ſtate, and, like children, he coveted every thing he ſaw: he did not carry with him any inſtruments of real uſe in life; but a variety of domeſtic animals, male and female, were put on board, as a preſent from Captain Cook to the inhabitants of O-Taheitee, and the other South Sea iſlands.
LIES S. W. and by W. about ſeven or eight leagues from Huaheine. It was firſt diſcovered by Captain Cook in July 1769, and is about three times as large as Huaheine, has much broader plains, and much higher hills; the ſoil at the top of which is a kind of ſtone marle; [Page 65] on the ſides may be ſeen a few ſlints and ſmall pieces of ſpongy ſtone lava, another confirmation that volcanos muſt formerly have exiſted here.
Their Morais here, are different from thoſe of O-Taheitee. They conſiſt only of an area, about twenty yards ſquare, encloſed with four walls about eight feet high, made with coral ſtones. At one ſide many planks are ſet up an end, carved from top to bottom, and in this iſland, and at Huaheine, they make uſe of a machine reſembling the ark of old, which they call the Houſe of God, and remove it from place to place by poles like thoſe of a ſedan chair. It is frequently ſeen near a Morai.
The manner of the principal peoples receiving a viſit of ceremony here, is alſo differend from what has been mentioned elſewhere, which is, being ſeated within their habitations, [Page 66] at the end of a long mat, and the party introduced by four or five old women weeping, and, as it were, bitterly lamenting, and cutting their heads with inſtruments made of the teeth of a ſhark, till the blood runs plentifully down their faces and ſhoulders; before the viſitor enters, theſe women embrace him, and thus frequently beſmear him with their blood. This ceremony ended, they go and waſh themſelves and immediately appear as chearful as any of the company.
The dances and dramatic entertainments in this iſland alſo are very ſingular; in one houſe, where Dr. Solander and Mr. Banks paid a viſit, by order of the maſter, a man with a large cylindrical piece of wicker-work upon his head, about four feet long, and eight inches in diameter, faced with feathers, placed perpendicularly, and edged round with ſharks teeth, began to dance. In dancing, he often twiſted his head in ſuch a manner, that the top of the head-dreſs deſcribed a large circle, and was frequently ſtriking the by-ſtanders, which never failed to produce a laugh, at the expence of the perſon ſo ſtruck.
Among the comic dances, was one in which the performers, who were all men, were divided [Page 67] into two parties, diſtinguiſhed from each other by the colour of their dreſs. One was white and the other brown. The brown party repreſented a maſter and his ſervants, and the white a parcel of robbers: the firſt had a baſket of proviſions given into their care by their maſter, and the dance of the white conſiſted of ſeveral expedients to ſteal it. After a length of time the brown party ſet their baſket down on the ground, in the midſt of them, and leaning upon it, went to ſleep; the others, taking advantage of this opportunity, lifted them up, and went off with it: ſoon after this the ſleepers awoke, miſſed their baſket, but without regarding the loſs, proceeded to dancing. The dramatic action of this dance would have ſtood the teſt of criticiſm, and perſons of taſte muſt have admired the ſimplicity, unity, and chaſteneſs of the whole.
IS ſituated in 27° 5′ 30″ S. latitude, and 109° 46′ 20″ W. longitude from Greenwich; it is of a triangular form, about four leagues long, on the S. E. ſide, three leagues and a half on the N. W. ſide, and about two leagues and a half on the N. E. ſide. It has a hilly and ſtony ſurface, and the hills are high enough to be ſeen at fifteen or ſixteen leagues diſtance. This is ſuppoſed to be the land ſeen by Captain Davis in 1687; but the diſcovery is attributed to Roggewein, the Dutchman, in April 1722, who called it Eaſter Iſland, it being Eaſter-Day when he firſt ſaw it. It is called by the natives Waihu. It was afterwards viſited by ſome Spaniards in 1770, and by Captain Cook in March 1774. It lies about ſix hundred leagues W. of the coaſt of Peru.
BUT the honour of diſcovering this iſland is not worth contending for, it affording neither anchorage, fuel, good water, or any convenience for ſhipping. The whole country is barren and ruinous, without wood, and ſtrewed with volcanic cinders: in many places it is ſtripped of its ſoil to the very rock, which ſeems to contain an iron ore. It is more than probable that this iſland was produced by a volcano, and deſtroyed by its fire. There are, however, ſeveral plantations of potatoes, plantains, and ſugar-canes; but every thing is obliged to be raiſed by the dint of labour. Their plantations are prettily laid out by line, and fenced in with ſtone. They plant their bananas in holes one foot deep, in order to collect the rain, without which contrivance they would not grow in this parched country. The graſs which naturally ſprings among the ſtones in uncultivated ſpots, is carefully pulled up and ſpread as a manure over the whole plantation, or perhaps to preſerve it from the ſcorching ſun.
THE chief produce of the iſle is potatoes, nuts, plantains, ſugar-canes, yams, and ſome few gourds. Their potatoes are ſweet as carrots, and of a gold-yellow colour: the Indians uſe them inſtead of bread. The plantains are very delicious, and the ſugar-canes ſweeter than thoſe at O-Taheitee; indeed, the juices of every vegetable ſeem concentrated by the dryneſs of the ſoil. There is here a particular ſhrub, called by the natives Torromedo, not much unlike the common vetch, but the pod, in its ſize and ſhape, reſembles that of a tamarind. The wood is reddiſh, and pretty hard and heavy, but very crooked, ſmall and ſhort, not exceeding ſix or ſeven feet in height. The ſeeds have a diſagreeable, bitter taſte, and the natives ſeem to think them poiſonous. They have in this iſland alſo the O-Taheitean cloth-plant, but it does not thrive well: in ſhort, the different ſpecies of plants do not exceed twenty.
THE only animals ſeen here were cocks and hens, of the European kind, well taſted, but ſmall; and rats which they uſe as food. Land birds there are ſcarcely [Page 71] any, and ſea birds but few, and theſe are, men of war, tropic, and egg-birds, noddies, tern, &c. but what is ſtill worſe, the coaſt ſeems not to abound with fiſh.
THE number of inhabitants ſeems not to exceed ſix or ſeven hundred; and above two thirds of theſe are men. This diſproportion can no otherways be accounted for, but by the womens concealing themſelves. This might be the caſe, or it might not, for very few children were ſeen, and the behaviour and conduct of thoſe women who made their appearance, gave it to be underſtood, that they could well diſpenſe with a plurality of huſbands. In colour, features, and language, the natives here bear ſo great an affinity to thoſe of the more Weſtern Iſles, that they muſt have had the ſame origin; but how the people ſhould ſpread themſelves throughout the whole South Sea, which is not leſs than one quarter of the globe, is truly aſtoniſhing. The inhabitants of Eaſter Iſland are of a middle ſtature, but ſlender, with thin features: their muſcles are hard and rigid, influenced, as muſt be ſuppoſed, by the heat and ſterility of the country. They are lively, ſtrong, well made, and ſwift of foot. [Page 72] Their looks are mild, pleaſing, modeſt, and ſubmiſſive. Their complexion, in general, is a cheſnut brown; but ſome few are darker, and ſome are quite white, and the bodies of the men are very hairy. Their beards are black and ſtrong, and they wear them clipped ſhort. The noſes, both of men and women, are not very broad, but rather flat between the eyes; their lips, though not ſo thick as thoſe of the negro, are ſtrong, and their hair is black and curling. Their eyes are dark brown, and rather ſmall, and the whites of them not ſo clear as in other iſlands of the South Seas. The women wear their hair long, and ſometimes tie it up on the crown of the head, but the men never ſuffer theirs to grow more than three inches in length. Both men and women are remarkable for the great length of their ears. They pierce the flaps of them, and ſtretch the holes, by wearing a leaf in them, rolled up tight like a ſcroll, till they become two or three inches long and reach the ſhoulder. They ſometimes turn this ſlit over the upper part of the ear, and it then looks as if the flap was cut off.
From the Dutch relation of Roggewein's voyage, we are taught to believe, that the ſavages [Page 73] of this iſland, were in 1722, twice as tall and as thick as the largeſt European; that the men meaſured in general twelve feet in height, and the women from ten to eleven. But this relation cannot be true, as Captain Cook met with none exceeding ſix feet high.
They tattow or puncture the ſkin here, as they do at O-Taheitee, and mark themſelves from head to foot, face and all, in various figures, nearly alike, but in different directions, as fancy leads. The women are not punctured ſo much as the men; but they paint their whole faces with a reddiſh brown, over which they lay the bright orange of the turmeric root, or ornament them with ſtreaks of white.
THE ſcorching heat of the ſun obliges them to cover their heads, which they do with a round fillet, decorated with feathers, and a ſtraw bonnet, ſomething like a Scotch one. Others wear large buſhy caps, of brown gull feathers, little leſs than the wig of an Engliſh judge.
The womens cloathing conſiſts of a piece or two of red and white quilted cloth, about ſix feet by four, or a mat. One piece wrapped round the loins, and another thrown over the [Page 74] ſhoulders; but the men go almoſt naked, except a ſlip of cloth between the legs, both ends of which are faſtened to a belt round the waiſt. Both ſexes wear on the breaſt, ſuſpended by the neck, a flat piece of bone, ſhaped like a laurel leaf; and occaſionally necklaces and ear-rings, made of ſhells, by way of amulet or charm.
THE conſtruction of their huts declares the poverty and wretchedneſs of the people. They reſemble a canoe lying upon the ground, with the keel upwards, are about fifty or ſixty feet long, and are built in the following manner. The foundations are laid with ſtone, by paving the ground in two curve lines, converging at the extremities to each other; the diſtance, from line to line, in the middle, is about ſix feet, and at the ends not more than a foot. In every ſtone of this line or foundation is made a hole, into which they fix a ſtake, ſix feet high in the middle, and diminiſhing proportionably to two feet at the ends: theſe ſtakes are drawn together, and faſtened at the top, and the whole is covered with matting of ſugar-cane leaves to the ground. On one [Page 75] ſide is left an opening, eighteen or twenty inches high, by way of entrance, covered with a kind of porch: ſo that to get in they are obliged to creep upon the hands and knees. In theſe huts they only ſleep, and that on the bare ground. Some have ſheds made with piles of ſtone, and ſome ſeem to live in caverns cut in the rocks; but as no admittance could be obtained into theſe, nothing can be ſaid about them.
THEY do not appear to have any utenſils, except gourds. Roggewein, in 1722, talked of their having earthen pots, but no ſuch thing was ſeen in 1774. They dreſs their victuals in the O-Taheitean faſhion, with hot ſtones, in an oven, or hole in the ground; and roaſt their plantains under fires of ſtraw or dried graſs.
THEY make a kind of cloth here of the bark of the paper mulberry, as they do at O-Taheitee; which they quilt with thread to ſtrengthen it, and paint yellow with turmeric. When completed, it is ſoft to the touch, like ſilk, and [Page 76] they make baſkets, bonnets, &c. of matting, very neat.
Their working tools are very mean and few, made of ſtone, bone, or ſhells; but yet they are very ingenious at carving, and ſhew a taſte for the arts. They carve human figures, about eighteen inches long, with great neatneſs and proportion, and poliſh them very highly.
In ſeveral places on the coaſts of this iſland, are a number of gigantic ſtone ſtatues, ſome erected in groups, in platforms of maſonry, and others ſingle, fixed only in the earth. They reſemble a human figure to the waiſt, are thirty feet high, more than eight feet acroſs the ſhoulders, and ſeemed to be formed each of one ſingle ſtone. The workmanſhip is rude, and the eyes, noſe, and mouth ſcarce marked on an ill-ſhaped head; but the ears quite long, in the preſent faſhion of the country. On the heads of theſe ſtatues are placed huge round cylinders of ſtone, five feet in height, and five in diameter, ſet upright. They ſeem to have been erected over the graves of ſome chiefs, in former days, not being the workmanſhip of the preſent inhabitants, but preſerved now as monuments of antiquity. How theſe ſtones were thus raiſed [Page 77] one upon another, is as little to be gueſſed at as the manner in which thoſe at Stonehenge were erected. The iſlanders do not pay any adoration to them, but hold them in a kind of veneration, and will not ſuffer any one to tread upon the platforms. They probably may have ſome tradition concerning them, but as the Europeans who viſited the iſland, did not continue long enough to learn the language, nothing could be collected with any certainty; except only that they were the burial places of ſome former chiefs.
THEIR canoes are wretched, about eighteen or twenty feet long, and very narrow; the head and ſtern are raiſed a little, and carved, and fitted with out-riggers, [Page 78] they will not carry above four perſons, and are not to be navigated to any diſtance. They are patched up with pieces of wood two or three feet long, and four or five inches wide, and are worked with paddles made up alſo with ſeveral pieces of wood. In one of theſe canoes ſeen by Captain Cook was a board ſix or eight feet long, fourteen inches broad at one end, and eight at the other. This is mentioned, as at that time there did not appear to be a tree upon the iſland that would have yielded a board of half that ſize.
VERY little can be ſaid of the religion of theſe ſavages, except that they are not idolators and as little can be ſaid of their government; whether or not they have one or more chiefs among them. When Roggewein was there, they appeared and ſpoke without diſtinction; the government was obviouſly patriarchial; the moſt aged had plumes of feathers on their heads, and a ſtaff in their hands; and it was obſervable, that in each houſe or family, the oldeſt perſons governed and gave the orders. When Captain Cook was there, there ſeemed to be but little ſubordination [Page 79] among them. The plantations on the iſland are evidently private property, but, though he frequently ſaw theſe plantations plundered, no penalty or puniſhment was the conſequence of the crime.
THERE ſeems, as I ſaid before, to be an affinity between the language of Eaſter Iſle, and that of O-Taheitee; though what is ſpoken at the latter was not underſtood at the former. The natives indeed of Eaſter Iſland called the numbers by the ſame names as they do at O-Taheitee, and ſome other of their words are alſo ſimilar: Eeya implies a bone at O-Taheitee, whereas at Eaſter Iſland, and New Zealand, a bone is called Eeka. The word friend at the Society Iſles is expreſſed by Hòa, at the Friendly Iſles by Wòa, and at Eaſter Iſle by Heeo. So that the language of Eaſter Iſland ſeems to be a dialect of the O-Taheitean.
ALTHOUGH theſe iſlanders have weapons of offence, they are cowardly and timorous; they ſtand in great awe of a muſquet, and probably from the ravage that was made among them by Roggewein and his people, who, without any provocations, wantonly fired upon the natives and killed a great number of them: but they are harmleſs and friendly; have a natural mildneſs, fellow-feeling, and good-nature in their diſpoſition, which prompt them to treat their viſitors kindly, and as hoſpitably as their wretched country will admit. They are frugal livers, and good ſwimmers.
Their ideas of decency are of courſe very different from thoſe of nations accuſtomed to cloathing. The women are neither reſerved nor chaſte, but would ſit down with the European ſeamen, and undreſſing themſelves, would by ſmiles and laſcivious geſtures, entice them to familiarities; and both men and women, notwithſtanding their friendlineſs, are exceedingly addicted to pilfering.
Whether it be owing to filthineſs or cleanlineſs, I cannot take upon me to ſay; but, I [Page 81] will not quit this people without obſerving that they have many wells on the iſland, which are generally dirty, for the natives never go to drink, but they waſh themſelves all over, as ſoon as they have done; and let ever ſo many be together, the firſt leaps right into the middle of the hole, drinks and waſhes himſelf without the leaſt ceremony; after which another takes his place and does the ſame.
WERE diſcovered by Alvara Mendana, a Spaniard, in 1595, and obtained from him the general name they now bear, La Marqueſas de Mendoça, in honour of the Marquis of Cannete, Viceroy of Peru, as did the different iſles their reſpective names. The Marqueſas are five in number, La Magdalena, St. Pedro, La Dominica, Santa Chriſtina, and Hood's Iſland, which laſt was a diſcovery of Captain Cook's in April 1774: Mendana having only ſeen the firſt four. They occupy one degree in latitude, and near half a degree in longitude. Hood's Iſland is to the north of the reſt, and lies in 9° 26′ S. latitude, and 138° W. longitude, and about five leagues and a half diſtant from the eaſt point of
AS it is called by the natives; which is the largeſt of all the iſles, being ſix leagues in length from eaſt to weſt. Its breadth is unequal, but it is about fifteen or ſixteen leagues round. It is full of rugged hills riſing in ridges directly from the ſeas: theſe ridges are disjoined by deep vallies cloathed with wood, as are the ſides of ſome of the hills; the aſpect is however barren; but it is nevertheleſs inhabited; and as Santa Chriſtina lies within a league of it, an account of this iſland may be gathered from what is ſaid of that. Its latitude is 9° 44′ 30″ S. Four leagues and a half to the S. from the eaſt end of this iſland, lies
AS it is called by the natives; but whether inhabited or not is uncertain, as it was never touched at: it is about three leagues round, [Page 84] and lies high, but nature has not been very bountiful to it.
AS it is called by the natives, lies under the ſame parallel three or four leagues more to the W. It is nine miles long in the direction of N. and S. about eight leagues round, and about a league diſtant to the ſouthward of La Dominica. A narrow ridge of hills of conſiderable height extends the whole length of the iſland: and there are other ridges with an equal aſcent riſing from the ſea, and joining the main ridge. Theſe are disjoined by deep narrow vallies, extremely fertile, clothed with fruit and other trees, and watered by fine ſtreams of excellent water. The ſoil is a rich mould, covering rocks containing volcanic productions, which ſhew that this iſland, like the Society Iſles, has had burning mountains.
THE iſlanders collectively are tawny, but without exception the fineſt race of people in this ſea; for fine ſhape, and regular features, they ſurpaſs every one; though the affinity of their language, behaviour, manners, form, dreſs, proviſions and canoes, to thoſe of O-Taheitee, ſhews that they are of the ſame nation, and only differ from them in a few reſpects. The men are beautifully tattowed or punctured from head to foot, which gives them a dark colour; the women but little; young men and children not at all, but are as fair as ſome Europeans. The men in general are tall, about ſix feet high. Their teeth are not ſo good as thoſe of the inhabitants of O-Taheitee, nor are their eyes ſo full and lively; but their countenances are pleaſing, open, and full of vivacity: their hair, like Europeans, is of many colours, except red. The men wear their beards long and in different modes; ſome part it, and tie it in two bunches under the chin; others plait it; ſome wear it long, and others quite ſhort. The features of the women are like thoſe of [Page 86] O-Taheitee; but what is moſt remarkable, a deformed or ill-proportioned perſon, is ſeldom if ever ſeen among them: all are tall, ſtrong, active, and beautifully made.
THEIR cloathing is the ſame as at O-Taheitee, and made of the ſame materials. The men, indeed, in general go naked, except a ſlip of cloth paſſed round the waiſt and between the legs. The dreſs of the women is a piece of cloth wrapped round the waiſt like a petticoat, hanging down below the middle of the leg, and a looſe mantle or tunic thrown over the ſhoulders. Their chief head-dreſs is a broad fillet neatly made of the fibres of the cocoa-nut huſk, in the front of which is fixed a mother of pearl ſhell, cut round about the ſize of a ſaucer, in the middle of which is another ſmaller of tortoiſe-ſhell pierced in a ſort of fret work; in the centre of which laſt is another piece of mother of pearl about the ſize of half a crown, and in the centre of that a ſecond piece of perforated tortoiſe-ſhell, the ſize of a ſhilling; ſo that the whole reſembles the roſe of a lady's ſlipper: beſides this ornament before, ſome have them on each ſide, but in ſmaller pieces; and in [Page 87] each of theſe roſes are ſtuck a variety of tail feathers of the cock or tropic bird, which when the fillet is tied upon the head, ſtand upright, and have a good effect. They wear round the neck a necklace made of light wood, on the upper edge of which are gummed on a row of red peas reſembling beads. They alſo wear round the legs and arms bunches of human hair, or ſhort feathers faſtened to a ſtring; upon each ear they occaſionally fix an oval piece of flat wood, about three inches long, ſo as to cover it, which they paint white. Their chiefs wear a kind of gorget made of wood, ſtudded with ſcarlet beans, hanging from the neck upon the breaſt. In very hot weather, many make uſe of large fans to cool themſelves, made of ſtiff matting, painted white. Some alſo carry large feathered leaves, by way of umbrella.
THE only material difference between the inhabitants of the Marqueſas, and thoſe of the Society Iſles, is in the point of cleanlineſs: the latter are the cleaneſt people under the ſun; they bathe two or three times a day, and waſh their hands and face before and after every meal. The former bathe and waſh, but not ſo often, nor are they [Page 88] ſo nice in preparing their meals. Their chief food is bread-fruit, which they roaſt: when ſufficiently done, they mix it with water in a dirty wooden trough, which at other times they feed their hogs from. This mixture they ſcoop out with their hands, and make of it a kind of fermented paſte. Their diet is principally vegetables, though they occaſionally eat hogs, fowls, and fiſh of which they catch great quantities. They have no other drink than water, for cocoa-nuts here are very ſcarce; they have alſo the pepper root, of which they make an intoxicating draught, and which like the other iſlanders, they preſent to ſtrangers, as a mark of friendſhip. But if they are leſs cleanly than the O-Taheiteans in their meals, they are far more ſo in their evacuations. Like the cats, they hide their ordure, which at O-Taheitee is dropped and left expoſed in every path-way.
THEIR houſes are in the vallies and on the ſides of the hills near their plantations. They are built twenty or thirty together, and form two ſides of a ſquare, one north and ſouth, the other eaſt and weſt, with the parts adjoining well-paved; the [Page 89] reſt like an open place, encompaſſed with thick trees. Each houſe is erected on an elevated platform of ſtones; it is built with bamboo canes, cloſely connected together, five or ſix feet high, above which the roof riſes to a ridge at the top, conſiſting of ſmall ſticks, and thatched with the leaves of the bread-tree: the platform on which it ſtands is generally about ſixteen feet long, and ten broad, and erecting it on ſuch a baſis ſeems to intimate, that the iſland at certain ſeaſons is liable to be flooded. They raiſe ſeveral of theſe platforms near their houſes to ſit on and regale. The pavement within the houſe is covered with mats to ſleep on. The fronts of ſome houſes are wholly open, and a low door-way is cut in others.
When Mendana was there in 1595, he took notice of a houſe, at ſome diſtance from the town, ſurrounded with paliſades, which he called an Oracle; Captain Cook thinks he ſaw ſomething of the ſame nature. Mendana deſcribes the houſe, as containing ſome ill-carved wooden figures, and an altar on which was offered up a hog and ſome eatables: his ſoldiers pulled it down; notwithſtanding the Indians oppoſed it, intimating that they reſpected both the houſe and figures.
THEIR weapons are clubs and ſpears, reſembling thoſe of O-Taheitee, but rather neater. They have alſo ſlings with which they throw ſtones with great velocity, and to a great diſtance; but not with a good aim. In times of danger, they beat an alarm with drums of the ſame kind with thoſe of the Society Iſles.
THEIR canoes are likewiſe very ſimilar to thoſe of O-Taheitee, but not ſo large. 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 head has a flat piece, projecting horizontally from the body of the boat, and on the end of this piece is coarſely carved a human face. The ſtern riſes, or curves a little, but irregularly, and ends in a point. They are worked on by ſhort paddles, ſharp pointed, and with a knob at the upper end, made of a very hard wood. Some have a ſort of triangular latine ſail, made of matting, with one of the angles downwards.
NOTHING can be ſaid, with any certainty, of their government. They ſeem to conſider themſelves as one family, of which the eldeſt born is the chief. As they have not arrived at that degree of civilization viſible at O-Taheitee, diſtinction of rank does not take place among them, and their conſtitution has no regular form. Accordingly, no honours are paid to their chief; all his pre-eminence conſiſts in his dreſs. The great ſources of OTaheitean luxury, the variety and great quantity of food and cloth do not exiſt at the Marqueſas, nor are the means of ſubſiſtence ſo eaſily attained; this keeps the people upon a level; but they have a competence; they are active and healthy, and have nothing to reſtrain them from following the dictates of nature. Like thoſe of the other South Sea Iſles, they are addicted to pilfering, and the women almoſt as little reſerved, being extremely liberal of their favours to the Europeans that viſited them. They are in general a courteous friendly people; and though one or two fatally felt the reſentment of the Engliſh, when they attempted [Page 92] to pilfer, they ſoon forgot the injury, and buried their animoſity in oblivion.
LIES nearly in 10° 25′ S. latitude, and 138° 50′ W. longitude. It was only ſeen by Captain Cook in 1774, but was touched at by Mendana in 1595. It is from the account of his voyage, therefore, that the following particulars are collected.
The iſland is about ſix leagues in circuit, and lies ten leagues N. by W. from St. Pedro. It has high ſteep cliffs to the ſea, is mountainous, with vallies, where the Indians dwell, and is very populous. When he drew near the ſhore, above four hundred of the natives in ſeventy veſſels put off to the ſhip: ſome ſwam, and others were on floats. They ſeemed to invite the Spaniards on ſhore. They brought with them cocoa-nuts, and plantains. Above forty ventured on board, and notwithſtanding they were preſented with a variety of things, they could not help pilfering, and being unwilling to retire when the captain deſired it, a great gun was fired in order to frighten them. On [Page 93] hearing this they all jumped overboard, ſwam to their canoes, and put themſelves upon their defence. A ſhell was ſounded by way of alarm, and a volley of ſtones from ſlings was immediately ſent into the ſhip; and others threatened with their lances; but five or ſix being killed by muſquet balls, they ſoon held out boughs as ſignals of peace, and all again was quiet.
The inhabitants of La Magdalena are white, and of a gentle diſpoſition; large, ſtout-limbed, and ſo well ſhaped as greatly to exceed the Spaniards; they have beautiful teeth, eyes and mouths, delicate fine hands and feet, long fingers, flowing hair which they tie and plait, and amongſt them ſome of the moſt beautiful boys ever ſeen, all of them naked, and without the leaſt covering; and many of them were very ruddy: they are of European ſtature, and they tattow or puncture their bodies and faces with the figures of fiſh and other forms.
Indeed, there is reaſon to believe that the natives of the Marqueſas are all of one, and the ſame, tribe, and converſe and trade together. What then has been ſaid of St. Chriſtina will hold good with reſpect to the reſt.
ARE about ſixteen days ſail W. from the Society Iſles; they lie between 19° 44′ and 21° 32′ S. latitude, and 174° and 175° 14′ W. longitude from Greenwich; and conſiſt of Amſterdam, or Tongatabu, Middleburg, or Eaoowe, Rotterdam, or Anamocka, the Iſle of Handſome People, Cocos, Traitors, Horne, and ſome leſſer iſles adjacent. They received their name of Friendly from the firm alliance that ſubſiſts among the inhabitants; and from the friendly reception Captain Cook, &c. received there in 1773; for even the firſt diſcovers met with in general a peaceful welcome.
MIDDLEBURG, or, as it is called by the natives, Eaoowe, is about ten leagues in circumference, and may be ſeen at the diſtance of [Page 95] twelve leagues: it lies in 21° 17′ S. latitude, and 174° 44′ W. longitude; and was firſt diſcovered and named by Captain Abel Taſman, a Dutchman, in January 1642-3.
THE borders of this iſle, at the bottom of the hills, conſiſt of plantations of bananas, and groves of cocoa-nut trees; but the inner parts are but little cultivated, though the ſoil is of a nature to admit of it. The hills are not higher than thoſe of the Iſle of Wight, and in many places decorated with clumps of trees. Glades are frequently met with, covered with thick graſs, and winding paths, beautiful by nature, leading to every part.
Amſterdam, or, as it is called by the natives, Tongatabu, was alſo diſcovered by, and received its name from, Captain Taſman, in January 1642-3: it lies in 21° 7′ S. latitude, and 175° W. longitude, is to the northward of Middleburg, and about five leagues from it; it is ſomething in the form of an Iſoceles triangle, the longeſt ſides of which are ſeven leagues long, the ſhorteſt about four: its direction is nearly E. S. E. and W. N. W. It lies low, not exceeding, in any place, eighty [Page 96] feet above the level of the water. Both this and Middleburg are protected from the encroachments of the ſea by reefs of coral rocks, and they have ſome ſnug harbours; but there is a ſcarcity of freſh water in theſe iſlands.
The Iſle of Amſterdam is every where planted with bread-fruit, cocoa-nut trees, plantains, ſugar-cane, a fruit reſembling a nectarine, and moſt of thoſe that are the produce of the Society Iſles, with ſome few that were not met with there; and Captain Cook, in October 1773, left the inhabitants an aſſortment of European ſeeds. The high ſtate of cultivation this iſland is in, muſt have coſt the natives immenſe labour; but they are amply rewarded by the great produce, of which every one ſeems to partake.
THE natives, both male and female, are in ſize like Europeans; their complexion a uniform lightiſh copper, their hair in general black. They are wellſhaped, and elegantly formed, have a regular ſet of features, mild and pleaſing, fine eyes and good teeth; their faces are ſomewhat different from the inhabitants of O-Taheitee, [Page 97] being not ſo round, their noſes not ſo flat, and their lips not ſo thick.
The hands and arms of the women are full as delicate as thoſe of the natives of O-Taheitee; but like them their feet and legs are large in proportion to the body. The men puncture their ſkin here likewiſe, upon the thighs, breech, and hips, but the women do not; the only marks of this kind on them, are about the arms and fingers, and this very ſparingly.
THE dreſs, both of men and women, conſiſts of a piece of cloth, or matting, tied round the waiſt, ſo as to hang below the knees: the upper part of the body being generally naked. This ſeems to be the dreſs of the women only, when Taſman was there in 1643, for the men at that time went quite naked, except a ſmall covering over their private parts. The men frequently wear a ſtring round their necks by which a ſhell of mother of pearl hangs down on the breaſt, and the women, looſe necklaces made of ſhell, fiſh-teeth, and ſeeds intermixed. The women alſo wear, on their fingers, neat tortoiſe-ſhell rings, and both men and women through the bottom of their ears, cylindrical pieces, about the ſize of a ſmall quill.
[Page 98] Both ſexes wear their hair ſhort, and moſt of them comb it upwards; the boys ſeldom have more than a lock on the crown of their heads, and a little on each ſide, and the men ſhave their faces with ſhells; a deviation from what was cuſtomary in 1643, when they wore whiſkers, and let part of their beard grow, ſo as to be about three or four fingers in breadth, and about a quarter of an inch in length.
They have a cuſtom here alſo of powdering their hair, with powder of different colours, ſome with white, made of a kind of lime, which burns the hair; others with blue, and others with orange colour, made of turmeric.
HERE are no towns or villages; the chief part of the houſes are built in encloſed plantations, where convenience is more ſtudied than order. They are ſimilar to thoſe of O-Taheitee, except that the floor is a little raiſed and covered with thick matting, of delicate texture, and beautiful colours. They are alſo incloſed on the windward ſide with matting, and have within a moveable ſcreen, made of wicker-work, to part off their bed-places. The roof is formed with a number of ſpars and round ſticks, and covered with matting made of banana leaves. Their furniture [Page 99] conſiſts only of a few wooden platters, cocoa-nut ſhells, ſmall ſquare cups, made of banana leaves, curiouſly folded, and ſome neat wooden ſtools, on four legs, to reſt the head on at night, by way of pillow, when their clothing ſerves them for a covering. A few pipkins and other earthen veſſels were ſeen by Captain Cook in 1773, but he believed them to be the remains of what were preſented to the natives by Captain Taſman in 1643.
THE language of theſe iſlands is nearly the ſame with that of O-Taheitee and the Society Iſles, the difference not being greater than that between the northern and weſtern dialects of England; it is not, however, ſo harmonious, being more replete with conſonants.
THEIR domeſtic animals are hogs only, and fowls. Hogs like thoſe of other iſles in this ſea, but the fowls were remarkably large and fine flavoured, equal if not ſuperior to European poultry. They have no rats here, nor any quadrupeds, except lizards. Captain Cook left a dog and bitch there in 1773. The land birds are, pidgeons, [Page 100] doves, parrots, parroquets, owls, blue baldcoots, large bats, that meaſure from three to four feet between the extremities of the wings, when expanded, and a great variety of uncommon ſmall birds.
THEY make the ſame kind of cloth here as they do at O-Taheitee, though not of ſo many ſorts, nor any near ſo fine; but they have a way of ſizing it, ſo as to keep out the rain. They dye it of various tints, by dyes made from vegetables, black, brown, purple, yellow, and red. They make alſo matting of fine texture, which occaſionally ſerves for cloathing, and ſome of ſtronger texture for flooring, and to ſerve as ſails. Of their matting they make a variety of baſkets, and ſome alſo from the twiſted fibres of the cocoa-nut, which they ſtud with beads, formed from ſhells and bones. They have the neateſt ornamental combs ever ſeen, conſiſting of a number of little flat ſticks, about five inches long, firmly and elegantly connected together by cocoa-nut fibres; and a variety of fiſhing-tackle. Their working tools are made of ſtone, bone, ſhell, &c. as at the other iſlands; and when we ſee the work performed by them, [Page 101] we hardly know which to admire moſt the ingenuity or the patience of the workman.
THE clubs of theſe iſlanders wear a variety of forms, and are in general ſo heavy, as not to be managed with one hand; and they are prettily carved and poliſhed. They have alſo ſpears and ſharp-pointed ſticks, ſome of which are barbed, and bows and arrows of a ſingular conſtruction. The bow is ſix feet long, about the ſize of one's little finger, and when ſlack forms a curve; the convex part has a groove in it that holds the ſtring: in drawing the bow, inſtead of pulling it ſo as to encreaſe the natural curvature, they draw it the reverſe way; ſo that the ſpring, to recover its former poſition, gives greater velocity to the arrow, and the recoil never hurts the arm of the bow-man. It is probable that they are often at war with their neighbours, from the great quantity of arms in their poſſeſſion.
THEIR canoes, in point of neatneſs and workmanſhip, exceed every thing of the kind met with in the South Seas. They are conſtructed of ſeveral planks ſewed together ſo neatly, that the joints on the outſide [Page 102] are ſcarcely to be ſeen. Some of their canoes are double, and ſome ſingle; the ſingle ones are from twenty to thirty feet long, about twenty inches wide in the middle, terminating at each end in a point. At the ends are a kind of deck, about ten feet long, ſo that the canoe is open in the middle; and they frequently decorate their decks with rows of white ſhells. Some of them have ſails, and ſome are worked on with paddles. The double canoes are formed of two, faſtened together by ſtrong beams, and a boarded platform is raiſed upon ſtaunchions over them. They are ſo contrived, that they can be ſunk under water quite to the platform, without being in any danger of filling; nor can they ſink while they hold together. They are in general ſixty or ſeventy feet long, and four or five broad. They have one maſt in the middle, and one ſail made of matting. Their rope is exactly like ours, and ſome of it four or five inches thick. On this platform is built a little ſhed to ſhelter the crew from the weather, and they carry on it a moveable fire-hearth to dreſs their proviſions, which is a wooden trough filled with ſtones: the whole canoe, thus conſtructed, is as well finiſhed and well poliſhed, as our beſt cabinet-work in England.
IT is not ſufficiently known how theſe people amuſe themſelves at their leiſure hours; all that can be ſaid on this head is, that they frequently ſing in parts, and accompany the ſong with a ſnapping of their ſingers. Their voices are ſweet and mellow, and they ſing in time and tune, much ſuperior to the natives of the Society Iſles. They have a large bambo flute, with eight ſtops, which they ſound like a German flute, but by the noſtrils; and they have a muſical inſtrument, formed of eight or ten reeds, of different lengths, joined together, reſembling the ancient Doric pipe, which they ſound by the breath, ſliding the inſtrument to and fro along the lips. They have alſo a drum, formed of a piece of hollow wood, on the ſides of which they beat with ſticks, and produce a noiſe ſomething like that which may be produced from an empty caſk.
They are great ſwimmers and divers, and the women further amuſe themſelves at times by ſlinging five or ſix balls continually into the air, and catching them alternately; and frequently they dance, and their dances are of the dramatic kind.
A leprous diſorder ſeems to be general here, and to acquire a great degree of virulence; but let their ulcers be ever ſo bad, they appear to diſregard them. To cure this, or ſome other diſorder, they bliſter upon the cheek-bones, for theſe marks are ſo univerſal, that moſt of the iſlanders muſt have been ſorely afflicted with diſeaſe, at one time or other.
VERY little is known of their religion: all that can be ſaid of it is, that they do not ſeem to be idolaters, nor like the people of O-Taheitee, to hold any particular birds in veneration, but to worſhip a ſupreme inviſible Being. The religious notions of a people are, indeed, the laſt things a ſtranger becomes acquainted with, who is with them but a few days, owing to an imperfect knowledge of their language; beſides, as I mentioned before, the terms in which the natives of the South Seas expreſs their religious myſteries are different from ſuch as are in general uſe; of courſe, it is difficult to get at them.
As their burying places, or places of worſhip, are different from any thing yet mentioned, I [Page 105] will deſcribe one. They are generally erected upon a green mount raiſed by hand, ſixteen or eighteen feet above the level of the common ground, which mount is of an oblong figure, and encloſed by a ſtone wall about three feet high. From this wall the mount riſes gradually, and is turfed; on the top of it ſtands the houſe of worſhip, ſimilar in figure to the mount on which it ſtands, about twenty feet long and ſixteen broad, and has a gravel walk round it: in the front are two ſtone ſteps leading to the top of the wall: the houſe is built like their dwelling-houſes, only it is encloſed with ſtrong matting; within, the floor is gravelled; the middle part, eight feet in length, is raiſed about ſix inches above it, and paved with pebbles, and, this generally is the grave of ſome reſpectable perſon: a carved image or two ſtuck up upon poles decorate the walls.
Theſe buildings are called A-fia-touca, and they are generally ſeen where two roads croſs each other. At particular times the prieſt addreſſes himſelf to theſe buildings in certain ſet ſpeeches and prayers; but of what kind I cannot ſay.
FROM what could be collected from the natives, the government is much like that of O-Taheitee; that is, under certain chiefs ſubordinate to a ſovereign. All the land at Amſterdam Iſland appears to be private property; but there are here a claſs of people who are ſlaves and have no property at all.
ONE hundred and thirty years do not ſeem to have made any change in the cuſtoms and manners of this people. What Captain Taſman obſerved in 1643, Captain Cook obſerved in 1773. The mode of ſaluting each other is by touching or meeting noſes; though ſuch as wiſh to expreſs a greater regard, will embrace each other and kiſs the hands; and the ſign of peace to ſtrangers is the diſplay of white flags; and a ſtill greater teſtimony of friendſhip is a reciprocal exchange of names. Whatever they are pleaſed to accept they immediately raiſe to their heads, and this grateful acceptance is taught them from their childhood. The intoxicating juice from the pepper-root of which they are very choice, they offer to ſtrangers as a mark of civility. [Page 107] But the moſt ſingular cuſtom among them, is the cutting off one or both of their little fingers, which they do on the death of a parent or near relation. Many of the iſlanders carry about with them pidgeons perched on crooked ſticks: theſe poſſibly may be marks or badges of honour; for at Horne Iſland they are carried by perſons of diſtinction in the preſence of a chief, in the ſame manner as falcons formerly were carried by the nobility in Europe.
THE general character of the natives is that they are friendly, brave, and courteous. The women are moſtly modeſt and reſerved, particularly the married ones; but as in all countries there are ſome of eaſy virtue, ſo are there in theſe iſlands, women who will invite your embraces by immodeſt words and geſtures. The women in general are the merrieſt creatures in life, they will, if we ſeem pleaſed with it, chatter by one's ſide without any invitation, and without conſidering whether they are underſtood or not. But theſe as well as the men have a ſtrong propenſity to pilfering. They are far more induſtrious here then at O-Taheitee, and this accounts for the regularity of their [Page 108] plantations, and their nice diviſion of property. Though their political conſtitution does not appear favourable to liberty, and eaſineſs of mind, yet they preſerve a happineſs of temper. The climate is very good, between the extremes of heat and cold, and individuals are ſeldom ſeen to be ſick or lame: they feel no wants which they are unable to gratify, and joy and contentment are painted in every face.
OR, as the natives call it, Anamocka, lies about a day's ſail to the N. E. of Amſterdam, with which the natives have an intercourſe; it is in 20° 15′ S. latitude, and 174° 36′ W. longitude from Greenwich, and has a variety of ſmall iſles in its neighbourhood. It was firſt diſcovered by Captain Abel Taſman in January 1642-3, and received its name from him; he met with a friendly welcome, and continued there about two days, and it was not viſited again by any European, till Captain Cook touched there in June 1774.
[Page 109] About eleven or twelve leagues N. N. W. half W. from Rotterdam lie two iſlands, both of which are inhabited, but not very fertile, they are called Amattafoa, and Oghao: the former is about fifteen miles round, the latter not ſo much. Amattafoa is a volcano and has a crater.
Anamocka is in the form of a triangle, about three or four miles long on each ſide, and the greateſt part of its ſurface is covered by a ſaltwater lake. It conſiſts of a coral rock covered with mould, which is exceedingly fertile, and abounds with fine groves.
The productions, canoes, inhabitants, dreſs, cuſtoms, and language are exactly ſimilar with thoſe at Amſterdam; and they ſeem to have plenty of water-hens, and quantities of ſhaddock which is a delicious fruit. With reſpect to their religion and government, nothing can be particularly ſaid of it; but, as there is a coincidence of cuſtoms and manners among theſe iſlanders, and their neighbours, it is natural to ſuppoſe that they imitate them alſo in their religious and conſtitutional policy: though they have no burying places upon the iſland.
The natives ſeem to be here more afflicted with the leproſy than their neighbours. This [Page 110] diſorder breaks out in the face more than in any other part of the body, ſo as to deſtroy the noſe and indeed the whole face, which is ſometimes one continued putrid ulcer. They heal ſimple wounds with the pulp of the ſugarcane.
The houſes here are different from any thing before mentioned: they are an oblong ſquare, about thirty feet long, eight feet wide, and they are built about nine feet in height; and their walls and ſides are about four feet high, and made of reeds fixed up, not perpendicularly, but converging from the eaves of the roof to the bottom. The roof is ridged at the top, ſo that a ſection of the whole would reſemble a pentagon. It is thatched, and the roof ſpreads a good way beyond the ſloping walls. In one of the long ſides, there is an opening like a window, which is the only entrance into it. Within, are ſtored quantities of yams, which is probably the chief ſupport of the natives. On theſe they ſleep, covered only with a little matting; they reſt their heads on narrow ſtools as do the O-Taheiteans. In the day time they lie under ſheds, the floors of which are covered with mats. They have a variety of large wooden diſhes and bowls, and [Page 111] ſome earthen pots, which ſeem to have been long in uſe and may be the manufacture of ſome neighbouring iſle.
Captain Cook met with a very good reception from the inhabitants; and was no ſooner landed than an old woman preſented a beautiful girl to him, and gave him to underſtand that ſhe was at his ſervice; indeed a number of women put off to the ſhip, and tendered themſelves to the ſailors for the ſame purpoſe.
The natives who are happy enough to call the rich plantations in this iſland their own, are hoſpitable and brave; but as they were in 1643 ſo are they now—very much addicted to pilfering. The healthy climate, and excellent productions, ſeem to gratify them in all their wants: their general turn is to be active and induſtrious, but their behaviour to ſtrangers is rather polite than cordial.
LIES about eighteen or nineteen days ſail N. W. by W. of O-Taheitee, in 10° S. latitude, and 185° E. longitude from London. Its direction is N. and S. and it is about eighteen miles round. It was firſt diſcovered by De Quiros, who touched there in March 1606, and tells us, that notwithſtanding the natives of this iſland are expoſed to the rigour of the ſun, the air and cold, reaſon enough for burning up their ſkins till they are as black as negroes, yet, they are extremely white and beautiful, particularly the women, and being graceful in their perſons, and modeſt in their carriage, would, if cloathed in an European dreſs, eclipſe the ladies in his country. They are naked, covered only from the waiſt downwards with neat well-made white mats compoſed of the palm, throwing over their ſhoulders occaſionally a mantle of the ſame kind. Though a barbarous people, they ſeem in general well diſpoſed: and De Quiros, however, [Page 113] did not meet with a very friendly reception. Some of the ſhip's people, in ſearch of freſh water, were oppoſed by ten or twelve of the Indians, who attacked them with miſſile darts having ſharp burnt points, and large black clubs; but the men with their ſwords and targets alone ſoon overcame them. As a proof of their bravery, however, it muſt be told that a naked ſavage, armed only with a club, fought more than twenty well-armed ſoldiers, and ſtood againſt them; and though fatigued, and overpowered with numbers, and ſpent with the loſs of blood, he dropped dead, biting the earth with revengeful agonies. Their ſigns of peace are carrying burning torches in their hands, made with ſticks dipped in a kind of roſin.
As De Quiros made but a very ſhort ſtay here, and it has not been viſited ſince by any European, no farther account of the iſland can be given, except what he collected from a native of an iſle called Taumaco in the neighbourhood, whom he brought with him as far as Acapulco on his return. This iſland is [Page 114] reckoned one thouſand two hundred and fifty leagues diſtant from Mexico, and is in 10° S. latitude, and about 169° E. longitude from London. From this Indian he learnt that there are iſlands called Chicayana, not farther than about four days ſail from Taumaco, whoſe inhabitants have long looſe hair; that they puncture themſelves as he was, in the face, arms and breaſt; that there are alſo white people on that iſland with long red hair, and that they are alſo mulattoes with curled hair: that at Taumaco there are many ſtones impregnated with ſilver, and plenty of oyſters in which they find large white pearls as big as a ſmall plumb, and that ſuch are to be found at all the iſlands in that neighbourhood; that they called the devil Terua, and that without being ſeen he frequently talked to the people from a piece of wood, particularly at night; that he would ſometimes touch their cheeks and breaſt with ſomething very cold; that he had often felt it himſelf, and that before De Quiros was at Taumaco, the devil had told ſeveral that a number of ſtrangers were coming to kill them.
ARE ſituated in 15° 53′ S. latitude, and 175° 13′ W. longitude from Greenwich, and were firſt diſcovered by Schouten in 1616, and afterwards viſited by Wallis in July 1767. They are about a league diſtant from each other.
Cocos or Boſeawen's Iſle, as it was called by Captain Wallis in honour of Admiral Boſcawen, is a high mountain, in appearance like a ſugar loaf; it is in 15° 50′ S. latitude, and 175° W. longitude: it is nearly circular and three miles over. It was called Cocos Iſle by Schouten, from its being full of cocoa-nut trees.
When Schouten approached the land, a number of canoes put off from ſhore with cocoa-nuts and yams, and when they were pretty near the ſhip, the Indians jumped into the water with their proviſions in their hands, for they are excellent ſwimmers, and coming up the ſhip's ſide, exchanged them for nails and ſtrings of beads. As the ſhip's boat was going on ſhore, the natives of Traitor's Iſle, in canoes, ſurrounded [Page 116] it, and endeavoured to take it, being armed with ſtaves of hard wood, pointed and burnt at the end; on which the ſailors, in defence of themſelves, fired amongſt them two or three times but without effect. This they laughed at, but on their leader's being killed at another fire, they diſperſed.
Traitor's Iſle as it was called by Schouten from the reception he met with, or Keppel's Iſle as it was afterwards named by Wallis in compliment to Admiral Keppel, lies in 15° 55′ S. and longitude 174° 33′ W. is three miles and a half long, and two miles broad, and is much leſs elevated from the ſea than Cocos.
The natives of Traitor's Iſle are a poor people, little better than ſavages, without a chief or conductor. They were cloathed, when Schouten was there, all round with ruſhes, having ſtrings about their necks to which hung the ſhell of a ſnail or mother of pearl. When Wallis was at Traitor's Iſle in 1767, the inhabitants were clothed in matting, and were without the firſt joint of their little fingers. Thoſe of Cocos are a handſome robuſt wellmade people, of large ſtature. Some wear their hair ſhort, ſome curled, ſome long, and [Page 117] others tied in treſſes of various kinds. The flaps of their ears are ſlit and hang down almoſt as low as their ſhoulders: they wear whiſkers, and a little beard under the chin, the reſt being all ſhaven, and their bodies are marked or tattowed in like manner as the iſlanders of OTaheitee.
In 1616, a chief put off from the ſhore, in a canoe covered with a mat in form of a tent, and accompanied with a number of people in thirty-five canoes: as they approached Schouten's ſhip the chief cried out three times with a loud voice; and at the fourth, all his company joined in the cry. He preſented the captain with a paper dreſs, and a fine mat; and he was entertained and received preſents in his turn. Theſe people, certainly, had no idea of property, attempting to ſteal every thing they could lay their hands upon; nay, they tried to draw out the nails from the ſhip's ſide with their teeth, and ſome ſwam under the keel, and attempted to draw the nails from thence; but being fired at, they deſiſted. The next day, however, they put off from ſhore to the number of one thouſand, with hogs, bananas, fowls, and cocoa-nuts, of which they have plenty, under a pretence of trading; and [Page 118] the chief or Latou, as he is there called, in a double canoe, giving a ſignal, they all ſhouted, and at that inſtant threw a volley of ſtones on board the ſhip, and the chief was abſurd enough to ſuppoſe that he could run down the ſhip by ſailing againſt it with his canoe: he made the ridiculous attempt, and beat the head of his canoe to pieces; this exaſperated the Indians, and they reanimated their attack; but, on a diſcharge of ſome muſquets, and a few great guns, they were ſoon put to flight; and with very little ſlaughter.
The canoes of theſe iſlanders are made of one piece of red wood, flat before, and pointed behind; they dart along very faſt in them, ſteering them and putting them on with two oars a-ſtern. They have other canoes that carry a ſail, in the middle of which is generally drawn a grey and red cock; and a large piece of wood on the larboard ſide, with which they keep the veſſel upright: on this wood is a fiſhgig, a kind of prong to ſtrike fiſh, always ready for uſe.
It is worthy of a remark on the iſlands in theſe ſeas, that though no kind of metal was found in them, yet the inhabitants in general, as ſoon as they got a piece of iron, began to ſharpen [Page 119] it, which they never attempted to do with either braſs or copper.
LIES in 14° 56′ S. latitude, and 179° E. longitude from Greenwich, and was diſcovered alſo in 1616 by Captain William Schouten, who ſailed from Holland. It is computed to lie 1660 leagues W. of Peru. When Schouten's ſhip was near the land, the natives put off from the ſhore in canoes as did the people at Cocos and Traitor's Iſle, and when on board attempted to ſteal every thing in their way; on being oppoſed they became unruly; but a ſhot or two ſoon quieted theſe as it did the others. After this they brought branches of trees, and white flags, as ſymbols of peace, and invited the ſhip's company on ſhore; which, when hoſtages were exchanged on both ſides, was complied with.
The hoſtages ſent from on ſhore were apparently men of diſtinction, and accompanied to the veſſel by two young men their ſons, as handſome, genteel, and well made as one would wiſh to ſee, with fine open countenances, [Page 120] good hair, and good eyes. The purſer who went as hoſtage from the ſhip, was received by the chief of the iſland, whom they called the Herico, with great ceremony and humility, bowing himſelf and laying proſtrate before him for near half an hour. A man of diſtinction near the chief, threw himſelf down alſo, weeping like a child, and with the greateſt abaiſance took the purſer's foot, and laid it upon his own neck. When more of the ſhip's company went on ſhore, the chief, and his ſon the viceroy, took off their crowns and put them on the ſailors heads: theſe crowns were made of long white feathers tipped with others red and green, thoſe of the paroquet. The Indians of diſtinction round the chief, carried each a pigeon perched on a little ſtick. Theſe pigeons are white above to the wings, the reſt black, except on the belly where the feathers are reddiſh. They have a fiſh here reſembling a bat, on account of the largeneſs of the head and body, ſmallneſs of the tail, and great extent of a pair of fins which reſemble wings: the ſkin of this fiſh is ſpotted like a ſparrow-hawk.
The men of this iſland are tall, large, well made, and ſtrong bodied: they are faſt runners, [Page 121] expert ſwimmers, and good divers. Their complexion is a yellow brown, and they take great pleaſure in dreſſing their hair, which is black. Some tie it, others frize it, and others curl it; ſome let it grow down to the waiſt, and tie it in five or ſix tails, and others dreſs it right an end, ſtanding up like hog's briſtles, ten or eleven inches long; but they do not ſuffer the beard to grow.
The women are very much deformed both in face and body, and are ſhort. Their breaſts are long, and hang down to their bellies like leather bags; of courſe they are very ugly, and at the ſame time, they are very immodeſt, performing the rites of Venus in the preſence of every one, only under a mat. Both men and women go naked, except a piece of covering between their legs; and the women rub their heads and cheeks with ſomething red.
Their land produces ſpontaneouſly a great variety of fruits, ſuch as cocoas, bananas, yams, &c. for they know nothing of cultivation, and at low water the women catch fiſh, which is eaten raw. They have alſo ſome hogs which they cook wretchedly.
[Page 122] They ſeem to have very little notion of merchandize; and no great appearance of religion; though when the chief came on board the ſhip, he fell on his face, and ſaid ſomething like a prayer: but there is a kind of ſubordination to ſuperiors among them; for one of them having ſtolen a ſword from on board the ſhip, on a complaint to the chief, the ſword was returned, and the man that ſtole it baſtinadoed, and given to underſtand by his king, that if he did ſo again he ſhould loſe his head.
The houſes or huts of the natives are erected along the ſhore as thick as they can ſtand. They are built with leaves of trees, in form of a hay-cock, about twenty-five feet round, and ten or twelve feet high, with a door ſo low that they are obliged to ſtoop to get in. They have no furniture within, except a fiſhgig or ſtaff; and in ſome a wooden club, which ſeems to be all the weapon they have; and a little dry graſs like hay to ſleep on.
The canoes of this iſland are made with much ſkill, and have an outrigger; neither the head nor the ſtern is raiſed, but there is a kind of deck over each of them, and in the middle of theſe is a row of wooden pegs, [Page 123] with heads like nails, covered with fine white ſhells. The ſail is triangular, compoſed of ſeveral matts; two of its ſides are bent to two ſticks, one of which ſupports it up along the mat, the other anſwers the purpoſe of a boom.
The natives are upon the whole a lively people, and ſeemed to enjoy dancing with the ſailors; and ſome of Captain Schouten's people found a number of young girls dancing before the chief by moonlight, quite naked, to the ſound of an inſtrument made in form of a pump. I muſt not forget to mention that they have a wonderful way of climbing a rock or tree expeditiouſly, by winding a band round the feet.
While the Europeans were there, the chief of a neighbouring iſle came to viſit the chief of Horne, and Captain Schouten was preſent at the meeting, which he thus deſcribes: When the two chiefs approached each other, they threw themſelves proſtrate on the ground, as in an act of adoration, and clapped their hands; they then roſe up and ſeated themſelves on the ground, under a ſhed, upon two mats; then a number of the natives, more than three hundred, who brought with them round their waiſts a quantity of a green plant called by [Page 124] them Kava, chewed it and ſpit it out into a great trough; when they had thus prepared a ſufficient quantity of this maſticated herb, they poured water on it, and mixed it, and ſqueezed it together, ſtraining it with tow, and gave it to their chiefs to drink: they next ſerved up plenty of roaſted yams, and ſixteen hogs quite bloody, out of which they had only taken the guts without waſhing them, and put a few hot ſtones in the bellies to roaſt them within; this, with burning the briſtles a little, is what they call cooking: the diſhes were carried on the heads of the attendants, who kneeled down, and thus placed them before the chief: nine hundred people were aſſembled on this occaſion, and when the chiefs had dined, they fell to upon the remainder.
CONSIST of the following iſlands, Tierra del Eſpiritu Santo, Iſle of St. Bartholomew, Mallicolo, Sandwich Iſle, Erromango, Tanna, Apee, Ambrym, Whitſuntide Iſle, Aurora Iſle, Iſle of Lepers, and ſome few ſmaller Iſles in their neighbourhood. They are about eighteen days ſail from the Friendly Iſles, and lie between 14° 30′, and 19° 40′ S. latitude, and 166° 40′, and 169° 45′ E. longitude from Greenwich. They received their name from Captain Cook in 1774 from the Hebrides of Great Britain; thoſe being the weſtermoſt iſles on our coaſt.
WAS firſt diſcovered by De Quiros in 1606, it lies in 14° 39′ S. latitude, and 166° 50′ E. longitude from Greenwich. It is the weſtermoſt, and lies fartheſt north of all the Hebrides, is the largeſt of the whole, and is twenty-two leagues long in the direction of N. N. W. half W. and S. S. E. half E. twelve broad, and ſixty round. The land to the W. is very mountainous, the hills frequently riſing immediately from the ſea. Every part of it, except the cliffs and beeches, is covered with trees and plantations, and every valley watered with a ſtream. It has a remarkable fine bay, on the north ſide, called, by De Quiros, St. Philip and St. Jago, it being St. Philip's and St. James's day when he entered it. It has almoſt twenty leagues of ſea ſhore, is eight leagues at the mouth, and is unfathomable.
[Page 127] The iſland is exceedingly fertile and produces ſpontaneouſly cocoa-nuts, potatoes, yams, oranges, limes, almonds, nutmegs, ſweet baſil, &c. An uncommonly luxuriant vegetation was every where ſeen.
With reſpect to animals; as De Quiros's people were only once on ſhore, and Captain Cook merely ſailed round the iſland, it cannot be ſaid with any certainty that they abound with cattle. De Quiros believes they had plenty; but a great number of hogs were ſeen, alſo honey-bees, fowls, doves, parrots, partridges, ſwallows, and a variety of ſmall birds; and Captain Cook when he was there met with a booby.
The natives are taller, ſtouter, and better ſhaped than thoſe of Mallicolo, to which I muſt refer the reader, and of the ſame colour with the Mallicoleſe. Their hair like theirs alſo is black, ſhort, and frizzled: ſome were obſerved to have it long, tied up on the crown of the head, and ornamented with feathers. They go naked, except two long ſlips of matting five inches broad, hanging down before and behind from the waiſt to the knees, and faſtened round the middle by a girdle. Some [Page 128] wear bracelets and necklaces of ſhells, and others wear a white ſhell tied on the forehead.
When De Quiros touched there, ſome of his people went on ſhore and endeavoured to make peace with the Indians; but one among them, apparently a chief, making a line on the ground with a bow, gave a ſign that they ſhould not paſs it, but this not being complied with, the barbarians let fly a volley of arrows, which was returned by a volley of balls that killed ſome, particularly the chief, and diſperſed the reſt. Twenty-five ſoldiers ſoon after getting up the ſide of a mountain in queſt of proviſions, heard the noiſe of drums made of hollow wood, and ſome ſhoutings of the natives, and were attacked as before, but they again repulſed them in the ſame manner. Thus it appears that they had bows and arrows in 1606; but in 1774, when Captain Cook was there, [Page 129] they ſeemed to have no other weapons than darts and fiſh-gigs.
IS the next in ſize, being eighteen leagues long in the direction of N. W. and S. E. Its greateſt breadth, which is at the S. E. end, is eight leagues, the other end is about ſix leagues broad, and in the middle it is near a league wide. It was firſt touched at by Captain Cook in July 1774; though it was heard of by De Quiros in 1606, and ſeen by Bouganville in 1768. On the N. E. ſide it has a good harbour, now called Port Sandwich, which lies in 16° 25′ 20″ S. latitude, and 167° 57′ 23″ E. longitude.
ITS mountains are very high and abound with foreſts. The ſoil is rich and fertile, and its productions are luxuriant, and in great variety. There are plenty of cocoa-nuts, bread-fruit, ſugarcanes, yams, turmeric and oranges. Hogs and common poultry are their domeſtic animals; but the natives had no dogs till Captain [Page 130] Cook left them two puppies, male and female: they poſſibly may have other animals, but as the ſhip continued there but one day, this point cannot be aſcertained. They have, however, a variety of ſmall birds: and upon the coaſt is caught a poiſonous fiſh called a Red Sea-bream, which, if eaten in any quantity, will prove fatal.
THE people are the moſt ugly, and ill-proportioned of any met with in the South Seas: they are very dark-coloured, and of a ſlender and diminutive ſize, with long heads, flat faces, and monkey-countenances which they paint black; yet they are ſprightly, and are quick of comprehenſion. Their lips and lower part of their faces are nothing like the Guinea negroes, but their noſes are exactly ſimilar, and [Page 131] the ſubſtance of their hair the ſame, woolly, black, or brown, ſhort and curly. Their beards are ſhort, ſtrong, criſp and buſhy: their foreheads are flat, and probably depreſſed ſo in their infancy: and what adds to their uglineſs, is a cord about as thick as one's finger, which they accuſtom themſelves to tie ſo tight round the belly, that it would prove fatal to thoſe who were not accuſtomed to it from their childhood. They ſeem almoſt to be cut in two with it; the cord being loſt as it were in the fleſh. The men go quite naked except a piece of cloth or leaf in which they wrap their private parts, and tie up the end to the cord round their waiſt; ſo that this covering rather diſplays than conceals what they pretend to hide. They wear bracelets on the upper part of the arm made with thread, and ſhells four or five inches broad; theſe they put on when young, and never take off, ſo that part of the arm is conſiderably ſmaller than the other. And by way of further ornament, they bore the ſeptum of their noſes, that part that divides the noſtrils, and wear a piece of white ſtone in it curved, and about an inch and an half long, which hangs out at each noſtril. They wear alſo round the right wriſt hogs tuſks bent circular, [Page 132] and round the left a round piece of wood to ward of the ſtring of the bow; and on their breaſt hangs a ſhell, ſuſpended by a ſtring round their necks. Some wear tortoiſe-ſhell ear-rings, and others rings of ſhells.
The women are not leſs ugly than the men, for they paint their heads and faces red and yellow, and alſo their ſhoulders, over which ſome wear a kind of petticoat, others a bag in which they carry their children, made of a kind of cloth. Full-grown women wear ſhort pieces of cloth or matting round their waiſts, reaching nearly to their knees, others have only a ſtring round their middle with a wiſp of ſtraw between the legs, and girls, as do the boys, go quite naked. Wearing of ornaments ſeems to be the privilege only of the men.
THEIR weapons are clubs and ſpears made of a hard wood; and bows and arrows. Their bows are about four feet long, made of a dark brown ſtick like mahogany, ſplit through the middle, are ſtrong, elaſtic, and nicely poliſhed; and their arrows, a kind of reed, pointed with hard wood, or bone dipped in poiſon, which they keep in a fort of quiver made of leaves: the points of [Page 133] theſe arrows are jagged to prevent their being readily drawn out of the wounds. Their clubs are highly poliſhed, and they ſling them round their ſhoulders by a thick rope made of graſs.
THE people of Mallicolo ſeem to be quite a different nation from thoſe of the Friendly or Society Iſles, and ſpeak a different language. It contains a number of conſonants, but yet is not difficult to pronounce. The moſt ſingular articulation is that of the Brrr, Mambrrùm, and Bonombrrooài are proper names. They can pronounce moſt Engliſh words with eaſe. Admiration they expreſs by hiſſing.
THEIR dwellings are ſmall wretched hovels, ſo low that they can hardly ſtand upright in them, and conſiſt merely of a roof, reſting on a few poſts, and thatched with palm leaves. Some few are encloſed with boards, and the entrance is by a ſquare hole at one end.
THEY ſeem to be a chearful people, and paſs away great part of their time in muſic and dancing. Their inſtruments without doubt are very ſimple; for none were ſeen but drums and pipes, which are readily made. Their drums ſerve alſo to ſound an alarm in caſes of danger.
NOTHING can be ſaid either of their religion or government; and the only cuſtoms obſerved were the ſigns of amity, ſuch as preſenting green boughs, and ſprinkling water upon the head with the hand, ſomething like the people of New Guinea. The women here are timid, and ſeem to be treated with very little reſpect. Both men and women coveted almoſt every thing they ſaw, but never repined at a refuſal, or attempted to pilfer. They are expert ſwimmers, chearful, good humoured, and chatty, and ſeem very friendly diſpoſed; have quick parts, and appear only to want an ambitious individual or two to ſpur them on to a higher ſtate of civilization.
When Captain Cook landed here, he met with a friendly reception; but while he lay at [Page 135] anchor a number of the natives put off in their canoes, and one more forward than the reſt, on being refuſed by him admittance into the ſhip, pointed his bow and arrow at him, and received as a reward a charge of ſmall ſhot in his face. It ſtaggered him, but did not make him drop his bow till he was fired at a ſecond time. This declaration of war put them on their defence; but the firing a cannon-ball over their heads among the trees, frightened and diſperſed them all.
LIES between the S. end of Tierra del Eſpiritu Santo, and the N. end of Mallicolo, diſtant from Mallicolo about eight miles: its latitude is S. 15° 42′, and longitude E. 167° 27′. It is about ſix or ſeven leagues in circumference, and was named Saint Bartholomew by Captain Cook; it being on that day he diſcovered it.
LIES between Eſpiritu Santo, and Aurora Iſland, eight leagues from the former, and three from the latter, in latitude 15° 22′ S. and 168° 3′ E. longitude. It is in form like an egg, very high land, and about twenty leagues round. It was firſt diſcovered by M. De Bouganville in 1768, and from him received its name from its leprous inhabitants.
Some of the ſhip's crew went on ſhore, and were approached by a numerous troop of iſlanders armed with bows and arrows, and ſtones ready to caſt. They began hoſtilities; but a diſcharge or two from the muſquetry ſoon quieted them.
Theſe iſlanders are of two colours, black and mulattoes; they have thick lips, and their hair is woolly, which they powder with turmeric, and give it a yellow caſt; but they do not wear a beard. They are ſhort, ugly, illmade, and in general infected with leproſy. They wear an ornament in their noſes like the Mallicoleſe, and the ſame kind of bracelets and necklaces. The men go naked; ſcarcely covering [Page 137] their nudities. The women are not leſs diſagreeable than the men, and wear bandages on their backs by which they carry their children. On their cloth they paint many pretty deſigns with a fine crimſon.
Their arms are bows and arrows, and clubs of hard wood, like thoſe at Mallicolo; ſtones they alſo uſe as weapons of offence; but they caſt them without ſlings. They have alſo ſabres of hard wood. Their canoes are like thoſe of their neighbours.
The whole iſland is covered with trees: the ſoil is very light and of no great depth. There are many paths through the woods, and places encloſed three feet high with reed fences. Their huts are low, and could not be entered but by creeping. They have here productions in common with their neighbours, and a particular ſpecies of figs.
IS one league and an half to the S. of Aurora, is eleven leagues long, and about three broad, lying N. and S. it was firſt diſcovered by M. De Bouganville on Whitſunday, 1768, and from him received its name. The land is very high, and covered with trees, except where there are plantations, which are numerous.
LIES N. by W. and S. by E. and is alſo eleven leagues long, and from two to two and a half broad: it lies high, and has a hilly ſurface, covered with wood, except where the natives dwell. It enjoys the moſt luxuriant vegetation that can be conceived; numberleſs climbers winding up the trees, forming beautiful feſtoons. This iſland owes its diſcovery and name alſo to Bouganville in 1768.
IS diſtant from Ambrym about five leagues, and not leſs than twenty leagues round: its longeſt direction is about eight leagues N. W. and S. E. It is very high land richly diverſified with woods and lawns. Theſe laſt two are the diſcovery of Captain Cook in 1774.
WAS alſo diſcovered by him at the ſame time, and ſo called in compliment to Lord Sandwich. This iſle is ten leagues long in the direction of N. W. by W. and S. E. by E. twenty-two leagues S. S. E. half E. from Mallicolo, [Page 140] and is twenty-five leagues round. It exhibits a delightful view, the hills gently ſloping to the ſea, and ſpotted with woods and lawns.
LIES eighteen leagues from Sandwich Iſle in S. latitude 18° 54′, and 169° 14′ E. longitude, and is about twenty-five leagues in circuit. It was diſcovered by Captain Cook. When he drew near the coaſt the natives in great numbers flocked to the ſea ſide, and made ſignals of invitation: accordingly he went aſhore, and was received apparently in a very friendly manner; but on their wiſhing him to draw the ſhip's boat upon dry land, and his refuſing it, they made an attempt to drag it by force, which obliged him to give orders to his men to fire; this diſperſed them with the loſs only of three or four of their number. They were armed with bows and arrows, darts and ſtones, which they every now and then came out of ambuſh and caſt, ſo as to wound one or two of the ſhip's company; but on the [Page 141] great guns being fired from the ſhip, they diſperſed, and all was quiet.
Theſe iſlanders ſeem to be of a different race from thoſe of Mallicolo, and ſpeak a different language. They are a middle-ſized people, with good ſhapes and tolerable features; very black, and they paint their faces, ſome with black, and others with red pigment. Their hair is curly, criſp, and woolly. The women are ugly, and wear a ſort of petticoat made of the leaves of ſome plant; but the men, like thoſe of Mallicolo, have only a belt round the waiſt, and their privities encloſed in a wrapper. They live in thatched huts, and lay out their plantations by line; but they have no canoes.
IS the laſt of theſe iſles to the ſouthward; it lies ſix leagues S. of Erromango, about eight leagues long in the direction, S. E. by S. and N. W. by N. and about three or four leagues broad: its latitude is 19° 30′ and longitude 169° 30′ E. It was diſcovered by Captain Cook in 1774.
UPON this iſland there are many ponds of ſtagnant water, where the natives plant great quantities of eddoes. The cocoa-palms form ſpacious groves full of different ſhrubberies, affording a fragrant and refreſhing ſmell. Several ſorts of bloſſoms embelliſh the tufted foliage, and the moſt beautiful bind-weeds wind like ivy to the tops of the talleſt trees, and adorn them with wreathes of blue and purple flowers. There is a hot ſpring in this iſland, coming out of a rock cloſe to the edge of the ſea, whoſe degree of heat is ſuch, that the finger cannot be held in it longer than a ſingle ſecond. A thermometer that ſtood at 78° on board the ſhip, plunged in this ſpring, roſe to 191° in the ſpace of five minutes; and in another place to 202 ½°. Some ſmall ſhell-fiſh thrown into it were boiled in two or three minutes, ſo that it is but little colder than boiling water. A piece of ſilver, after laying in the water above half an hour, came out perfectly bright and untarniſhed, and ſalt of tartar had no viſible effect upon it. As the ſea retires from the ſpring, the water acquires a greater degree of heat. Theſe ſprings, for there are ſeveral in [Page 143] the ſame neighbourhood, are heated by a volcano in the iſland, at the end of a ſecondary range of hills; a proof, that ſuch burnings are not confined to the higheſt mountains. The volcano is on the loweſt hill in the range, of a conical form, with a crater in the middle. A column of heavy ſmoke riſes, from time to time, accompanied with a deep rumbling noiſe like thunder, filling the whole air with ſmoaky particles and aſhes, and ejecting cinders to the extent of five or ſix miles. Sometimes it emits flames, and ſometimes hurls to a great diſtance large maſſes of rock, as big as the hulk of a ſhip's long-boat. But this volcano and its productions ſeem to contribute greatly to the luxuriance of the vegetation; for the verdure in Auguſt, the winter of theſe regions, was aſtoniſhingly rich and beautiful. The thermometer, which ſtood at 78° on board the ſhip, roſe to 87° cloſe to the volcano; and being plunged into the earth for half a minute, reached to 170°. On the ſides of the mountains are ſeveral fiſſures in the earth, from whence iſſue ſteam and ſmoke, that keep pace with the volcano.
THE productions of this iſland are, bread-fruit, plantains, cocoa-nuts, a fruit like a nectarine, yams, ſo large as to weigh half a hundred weight, a ſort of potatoes, ſugar-cane, wild figs, a fruit reſembling an orange, nutmegs, nuts, &c. and a variety of Eaſt Indian plants, never obſerved in the more eaſterly iſlands.
THE only quadrupeds here ſeen are hogs and rats, the laſt of which, being injurious to the ſugar-cane, are caught by digging holes four or five feet deep among the canes, into which they fall. Their birds are the common cock and hen, owls, pigeons of different ſorts, wild doves, ducks, rails, flycatchers, creepers, bats, paroquets beautifully black, red, and yellow, and a variety of ſmall birds of fine plumage, ſuch as are unknown to the naturaliſt. Their fiſh are turtle, ſharks, dolphins, garfiſh, pikes, mullet, mackerell, &c. and an amphibious fiſh, about two inches long, reſembling a lizard; the fins to the breaſt anſwer the purpoſe of feet, and their eyes are placed in the ſummit of the head, that they may ſee their enemies when out of water. They can [Page 145] leap the length of a yard with great eaſe. They have no idea of catching fiſh with hooks or nets, but kill them with a kind of harpoon, or fiſh-gig, or ſhoot them with arrows as they riſe to the ſurface of the water. Their inſects are muſquetoes, crickets, &c.
THE iſlanders are of the middle ſize, rather ſlender than otherwiſe, but much ſtronger and better made than the Mallicoleſe, but have none of that beautiful form which the natives of O-Taheitee are ſo remarkable for. Their features are large, the noſe broad, but the eyes full and agreeable. Moſt of them have good features, and open countenances, and a manly good-natured air. Their hair is black, but ſometimes brown or yellowiſh at the tips; it is in general thick, buſhy, and frizzled, and preſerves a degree of woolineſs; but, like the hair of Europeans, it grows grey as they advance in years. The colour of their bodies is a dark brown, with a blackiſh hue, and, like the negroes, their ſkin is extremely ſoft to the touch.
The women are no beauties, but handſome enough for the men, conſidering the uſe that is made of them, for they are put to all the ſervile [Page 146] labour, ſuch as carrying loads, &c. It is no uncommon thing to ſee a woman carrying a large bundle, or a child upon her back, and another under her arm, with a fellow ſtrutting before her with nothing but a club or ſpear, or ſome ſuch thing. Indeed, the women are not held in any eſtimation among them, for they are obliged to obey implicitly. They are all ill-favoured, and of ſmaller ſtature than the men. Such as have borne children have loſt every female grace; but girls about fourteen years of age have ſmall agreeable features, round full boſoms, delicate arms, and their whole form is ſlender. Both men and women have a ſwelling in their upper eye-lids, ſo as not to be able to ſee without leaning their heads back; this is ſuppoſed to be owing to their conſtantly huddling over a ſmoaky fire, but it poſſibly may be propagated from parent to child, as children, five or ſix years old, are troubled with the ſame complaint.
THE men go quite naked, except wearing a ſtring round their bodies, but not ſo tight as to cut their bellies like the Mallicoleſe; like them alſo they tie up their privities to this ſtring, having firſt wound them about with leaves. Boys of ſix years old do the ſame, of courſe this covering is not made [Page 147] uſe of ſo much from motives of decency as thoſe of convenience. Their manner of dreſſing their hair is very ſingular. They cut it to about four inches in length, and then collect as much of it together as will form a queue, about the the ſize of a pigeons quill, and wind it round with a narrow ribband made of bind-weed, leaving a ſmall tuft at the end; they do this with all the hair upon their heads, ſo as to form many hundred queues, which ſtand upright, diverging every way, like the quills on the back of a porcupine. Some few will let their hair grow from five to eight inches in length, in this caſe it hangs about their ears as if their heads had been dipped in water, and looks like a number of ſmall ſtrings hanging down from the crown of their heads. Thoſe who have woolly hair do not queue it in this manner, but tie it in a bunch on the crown, with a leaf. The womens hair is cropped, and ſo is the boys, till they arrive at manhood. Moſt of them carry a ſtick in their hair, about nine inches long, with which they at times diſturb the vermin that there abound. This ſtick at meals alſo ſerves them for a fork. They let their beards grow, and ſome few twiſt them into a tail, but chiefly they are ſuffered to remain in their natural form.
[Page 148] The women are likewiſe naked, except a ſhaggy petticoat, made of graſſes and leaves, which they wear almoſt as low as their knees, but which they encreaſe in length as they advance in life, till it reaches their feet. When they carry their children, or a load upon their backs, it is in a kind of mat-ſatchel thrown over the ſhoulders. The women ſurround their heads with a plantain leaf, or piece of matting, by way of cap, and the men frequently deck their hair with a reed, in which is ſtuck ſome owl or cock feathers.
Both men and women wear amulets, necklaces, ear-rings, and bracelets, made of ſhells, tortoiſeſhell, &c. and alſo noſe jewels, made of white alabaſter, like the Mallicoleſe. A number of rings linked together, like a chain, is ſometimes worn hanging round from ear to ear, as low as the breaſt. They mix up a paint with cocoa-nut oil, red ochre, white lime, and ſomething like black lead, and lay it on their faces in lines two or three inches broad, covering often one half the face: they alſo paint their breaſts and ſhoulders with the ſame; and, by way of further ornament, they raiſe ſcars, in form of flowers, upon their upper arms and bellies, by cutting [Page 149] the fleſh with a ſhell, and applying a particular plant to the wound.
THEIR poultry and hogs ſupply them at times with animal food, and they occaſionally catch fiſh and birds, which are reckoned dainties; but they chiefly live on vegetables, which is much varied by their different modes of cooking. Yams and bananas they either roaſt or boil: they ſtew fig-leaves, and they bake a kind of pudding of banana paſte and eddoes, with a mixture of the cocoanut and leaf, but they have no veſſels in which water can be boiled. As to liquor, they have none but water and the juice of the cocoanut.
Mr. Foſter, when there, had reaſon to believe that the natives of this iſle are cannibals; for though he ſaw no appearance of it, they took ſome pains to make him underſtand, by ſigns, how they killed a man, cut him up, ſeparated his fleſh from his bones, and eat it when they had done; but from what he could collect, he apprehends that they eat human fleſh through violence of reſentment only, and never ſlay for the purpoſe any but thoſe whom they take in war.
THEY ſpeak here two languages, one peculiar to Tanna, and one ſpoken at the iſland of Irronan, ſeven or eight leagues to the eaſt of Tanna, and which is exactly the ſame with that ſpoken at the Friendly Ifles. It is therefore probable that Irronan was peopled from the Friendly Iſles, and that by a long intercourſe between Irronan and Tanna, the natives of Tanna have acquired the language of Irronan. In the common language of Tanna, there are ſome words that have a near affinity to that of Mallicolo, and others to the Malay, but in general they are wholly unlike each other, and related to no other tongue. There is a ſtrong aſpiration, and a guttural ſound in many words at Tanna, which are, however, very ſonorous and full of vowels, and therefore eaſily pronounced. The following are proper names at Tanna, Paw-yangom, Oomb-yégan, Fannòkko, and Yogàî. Areeke, implies a chief; Koù-voſh, a ſucceſſor to the crown; Markom, he is killed; and Erramange, it is a man.
THEIR huts need no other deſcription than by comparing them to the roof of a thatched houſe in England, forming a ridge at the top, taken off the [Page 151] walls, and laid upon the ground with the ends open: the height of the ridge from the ground is from eight to ten feet high, and the width within about the ſame, but the length from thirty to forty feet. The roof is covered with palm-leaves, and the floor within with dry graſs, and here and there a mat compoſed of cocoanut leaves. On hearths within they make fires, and the whole inſide of the roof is thus lined with ſmoke. Theſe hovels are within a ſmall encloſure, made with reeds or ſticks, about eighteen inches high, one part of which is left low enough to ſtep over.
THEIR utenſils are very few; a mat-ſatchel, which they throw over their ſhoulders, to carry their children in, on their back; baſkets of matting to carry fruits, and of wicker to carry chickens, and the ſtick with which they ſcratch their heads, and convey the meat into their mouths: theſe, with ſome wooden bowls, are all the domeſtic conveniencies they have. They make a coarſe cloth of the bark of a tree, and their hatchets are made of ſtone, with a wooden handle.
THEY ſeem to be fond of muſic, and to have a taſte for ſinging; their tunes are ſimple, but harmonious, and run through a conſiderable compaſs of notes, and have in general a ſerious turn that adds a ſoftneſs to them. They excell in this the people of O-Taheitee, and thoſe of Tongatabu. The words of their ſongs compoſe a kind of verſe, and flow very currently from the tongue. They have a muſical inſtrument, conſiſting of eight reeds, regularly decreaſing in ſize, and forming an octave: and in times of danger they ſound conchs, and raiſe an alarm by blowing with great force into their hands.
WHAT their religion is, it is impoſſible to ſay; for though Captain Cook ſpent a fortnight at this iſland, he could not collect any thing with certainty about that or any of their rites, except that circumciſion was practiſed among them. In a particular part of the iſle, he heard every morning, at day break, a ſlow ſolemn ſong or dirge ſung, which laſted more than a quarter of an hour; it ſeemed to be a religious act, and gave reaſon to ſuppoſe that ſome place of worſhip was concealed [Page 153] in a neighbouring grove, and the conſtant endeavours of the natives to keep ſtrangers from the place, confirms the ſuppoſition. But theſe ſongs might poſſibly be addreſſed to the corpſe of ſome friend, whom they had depoſited within one of their huts, for their roofs ſerve to cover the dead as well as the living.
THEIR government, it is believed, is in a very imperfect ſtate; every village or family appears to be independant, and to unite only with their neighbours in times of invaſion. They have individuals among them, to whom they give the title of Areekee, or chief, but who ſeem not to have ſufficient authority to order any one up into a tree to gather any fruit. Theſe Areekees, however, are diſtinguiſhed by wearing a broad red and white chequered belt round their bodies inſtead of a ſtring. The aged or the ſtrong ſeem to have the greateſt influence among them.
THE natives in Tanna are either engaged in conſtant feuds among themſelves, or in frequent wars with their neighbours, for they are continually armed. [Page 154] They are ſoon provoked, and when ſo, are governed by no other law than force, and endeavour to extirpate their enemies with an uncommon degree of rage. Their arms are clubs, ſpears, or darts, bows and arrows, and ſtones. The clubs are of three or four ſorts, from three to five feet long; with theſe they parry or ward off the darts of their enemies, much in the ſame manner as they do at O-Taheitee. Some of their clubs have a lateral blade, like a farrier's fleam; ſome have great knobs upon them; ſome have two ſharp edges, and others are cylindrical, and they are all highly poliſhed and kept oiled. But they ſeem to rely moſt upon their darts, which are pointed, with three bearded edges; in throwing them, they make uſe of a piece of a plaited cord, about five or ſix inches long, with an eye at one end and a knot at the other. They fix the eye on the forefinger of the right hand, and the other is hitched round the dart juſt above the hand; then taking the dart between the thumb and forefinger, they caſt it from the ſtring, to the diſtance of ten or twelve yards, with ſuch force and accuracy, that they will hit a mark four inches in diameter, and force it through a board two inches thick. They ſhoot their arrows [Page 155] with the ſame accuracy and force; but being fearful of breaking their bows, they never convey them more than eight or ten yards to do any execution. Their arrows are made of reeds, pointed with hard wood, and bearded, and are near four feet long. Thoſe for killing birds have three or four points, and their bows are ſtrong and elaſtic. They learn this art of caſting a dart, and ſhooting an arrow with force and accuracy, very early: they will throw the miſſile weapon ſixty or ſeventy yards, but then they are not ſo ſure of their mark; and it is remarkable, that whether they mean to throw it ſixty yards or ſix, they always give it the ſame velocity. The ſtones they uſe are generally branches of coral rocks, from eight to fourteen inches long, and from an inch to an inch and a half in diameter, and they caſt them with a ſling. Every man carries a club, beſides ſome of the miſſile weapons.
THE form of their canoes is that of the Friendly Iſles, made out of one hollow piece of timber, with a plank or two fixed at each ſide; but the workmanſhip is much inferior. They have outriggers to them all, and ſome of them will contain twenty [Page 156] perſons. The ſails are low triangular mats, the broadeſt ſide of which is uppermoſt, and the ſharp angle below; and their oars are ill ſhaped and clumſy.
FRIENDSHIP is made in this iſland, as in ſome others I have mentioned, by a reciprocal exchange of names; and whether it is owing to ſome ſuperſtitious notions, or a fancied idea of cleanlineſs, cannot be ſaid; but when any thing was preſented to them by the Europeans, they refuſed to touch it, but deſired it might be laid down, and then they took it up in a leaf. When any thing new ſtrikes their attention, they cry out Heebou! and this, whether they admire or diſlike; the different tones and manner of uſing the words, marking the affection of the mind. When they uſe this exclamation, they always ſnap their fingers.
As reſolute and inſulting as theſe people may be, for their cuſtomary challenge (and indeed it is the ſame with all nations of the South Seas) is to turn their poſteriors to their enemy, and ſlap them with their hands; I ſay, as inſulting and reſolute as they may be, they were always ſtruck with a panic at the noiſe of the [Page 157] great guns, when any of them were fired from the ſhip; for when the balls whiſtled over their heads, and that at a very conſiderable diſtance from the veſſel, they began to think they could not be ſafe even at the fartheſt part of the iſland. This not only kept them civil, but made them honeſt; for till they were diſperſed by the cannon, they made a variety of attempts to ſteal the ſhip's buoy.
TANNA, thus well ſupplied by nature, and happy in the mild influence of a tropical climate, contains a race of men much inferior in point of civilization to the natives of the Society and Friendly Iſles who live nearly in the ſame parallel, but more to the eaſtward. As the plantations bear but a ſmall proportion to the foreſts, we cannot ſuppoſe the iſland to contain above twenty thouſand people. The richneſs of the ſoil rather retards the cultivation than encourages it, as a very wild production is propagated with ſuch luxuriance, that to root them out will be the labour of ages. The people ſeem to live diſperſed in ſmall villages not more than about twenty houſes together. They are remarkably honeſt, compared with the people of the other [Page 158] South Sea Iſlands, for, excluſive of an attempt to ſteal the ſhip's buoy, there was not an inſtance of their wiſhing to pilfer. At O-Taheitee, they are already obliged to ſuſpend their goods to the roofs of their houſes, to keep them out of the reach of thieves, but here they are ſafe on every buſh. They are at the ſame time, friendly, hoſpitable, and civil: they ſoon grew familiar with their European viſitors, and, when they found them to be harmleſs, and to have no hoſtile intentions, they laid aſide their diſtruſt, admitted them to their ſhady receſſes, ſat down with them in their domeſtic circles, with that harmony that becomes the members of one great family, and cheerfully ſhared with them the produce of their little plantations. They are implacable only to their enemies. Far from any degree of depravity, but from an exceſs of hoſpitality, did they point out their girls to their new acquaintance, with indications not in the leaſt equivocal; but theſe females, with an innate modeſty, and a natural timidity general through the women at Tanna, ran from the civility their native friends deſigned to confer on them, and ſeemed much ſhocked at their indelicacy. Their knowledge ſeems to be much confined, and their ſkill in geography appeared [Page 159] not to extend beyond the horizon. Iron was of no value to them: a bit of cloth made at OTaheitee was moſt coveted, and for a little tortoiſe-ſhell, or a few ſhells of mother of pearl, they would barter the moſt valuable of their property: they ſeem, however, to be in an improvable ſtate, and, as many iron inſtruments were left among them, it is not doubted but they will ſoon find out its uſes and its value.
IN general, are the diſcovery of Captain Carteret, in 1767, and conſiſt of Egmont's Iſle, or New Guernſey, Howe's Iſland, or New Jerſey, Egecombe's Iſle, or New Sark, Ourry's Iſle, or New Alderney, Swallow's Iſland, Carteret's Iſland, Simpſon's Iſle, Gower's Iſle, and ſome ſmaller ones. They are ſituated between 7° 50′, and 11° 15′ S. latitude, and 155° 50′, and 165° 10′ E. longitude from London.
AS it was called by Captain Carteret, or Santa Cruz, as it was before named by Mendana, who firſt diſcovered it in 1595, lies in 11° S. latitude, and 164° E. longitude, ninety leagues N. N. W. of Eſpirito Santo, about [Page 161] nine hundred E. of Manilla, and one thouſand eight-hundred and fifty W. of Lima; and is from ninety to about a hundred leagues in circuit, having many harbours: it is quite covered with woods to the tops of the higheſt hills, of which there are many, no place being free from trees, but where the Indians have cleared them away for their plantations. There is a fine open bay, in the north ſide of the weſtern part of this iſland, four leagues and a half in circuit, its mouth half a league, formed by an iſle to the weſtward, four leagues in circumference: this iſle was called by Mendana, La Guerta, i. e. The Garden, from its beauty and fertility: it was called by Captain Carteret, Trevanion's Iſle, and was obſerved by him to be exceedingly populous.
When Mendana came near the ſhore, in 1595, he met with a very unwelcome reception; for the natives put off from the land, and let fly a volley of arrows at the ſhip, which fortunately did no miſchief: the ſoldiers on board were accordingly ordered to fire; one Indian was killed, many wounded, and they all fled. The next morning, however, a chief, with a train of the natives, ventured on board, exchanged names with the Captain, as a mark of friendſhip, and [Page 162] was ſo well pleaſed with his reception and entertainment, that he and his people came to and fro for four days. One day, however, the ſame chief, attended with fifty canoes, the men in which having concealed their arms, came along the ſhip's ſide; but a ſoldier taking up a muſquet, ſo diſpleaſed him, that he inſtantly returned to his party, who rowed aſhore, and founded an alarm; and on the boat's crew going on ſhore the next day for water, they were attacked by the Indians, and war was commenced: forty ſoldiers, by order of the Captain, landed upon the iſland on purpoſe to chaſtiſe them: a party of the Indians flew before them, and took ſhelter in ſome houſes, which the ſoldiers burnt about their ears. Six iſlanders loſt their lives in this affair; and ſeven of the ſoldiers were wounded with arrows.
A party of the ſhip's company, going aſhore in another part of the iſland, was attacked by five hundred natives, caſting vollies of arrows, darts, and ſtones; they fought very looſely, jumping about, while they perceived no miſchief from the fire arms; but when they ſaw two or three killed, and more wounded, they fled. Mendana's deſign was to ſettle a colony here, having carried out a number of married people for that purpoſe; but his project was [Page 163] entirely defeated; for, notwithſtanding he ſtayed here two months and eight days, they could neither conquer nor bring about a reconciliation with the Indians: the ſoldiers having malevolently killed the chief that firſt came off to them, and notwithſtanding the murderers, by the Captain's orders, were beheaded to ſatisfy the Indians, nothing would effect it; and to add to the misfortune, ſickneſs took place among the ſhip's company, and carried off Mendana, ſeveral of his officers, and many of his people.
Captain Carteret's attempt to be upon good terms with the iſlanders, in 1767, was equally fruitleſs; for on the maſter and ſome of the men's going aſhore, a ſkirmiſh enſued between them and the Indians, who followed them breaſt high into the water, as they were putting off in the boat; and in this attack, the maſter and three ſeamen loſt their lives. The Indians here are well diſciplined, and ſhoot their arrows in regular platoons. His attempt to land on Trevanion's Iſle was to as little purpoſe; for as ſoon as the natives ſaw the boat leave the ſhip, they ſent off ſeveral armed canoes to attack her; they returned, however, ſecure from a flight of arrows ſent after them, having killed [Page 164] one Indian, and mortally wounded another, by a volley of their ſmall arms. On ſome of the great guns being fired from the ſhip, with grape ſhot, they thought proper to retire, leaving the wounded Indian in a canoe by himſelf behind. This Indian was brought on board, and found to be ſhot through the head, and to have one of his arms broken; but as the ſurgeon deemed him paſt recovery, he was put into his canoe again, and notwithſtanding his condition, he paddled away to ſhore. From this unwelcome reception, which both the Spaniards and the Engliſh met with, no very particular account of this iſland and its inhabitants can be given. All that can be ſaid is as follows.
THE productions, as far as could be known, are, of the animal kind, hogs, fowls, ring-doves, turtledoves, partridges, geeſe, grey and white herons, ſwallows, and other birds: no inſects but a kind of black lizard. Of the vegetable kind, plantains, ſugar-canes, two or three kinds of bread-fruit, beetle, two kinds of good almonds, Spaniſh pumpkins, cheſnuts, and nuts, cocoanuts, large pine-apples with kernels in them, and apples reſembling pearmains; ſago, ſweet [Page 165] baſil, and a variety of herbs. Ginger grows here ſpontaneouſly, and the ground is covered with a plant called Chiquilite, from which they make indigo. Their grounds, fields, and gardens, are very well laid out, and the ſoil is black, fat, and looſe. They have curious ſnail-ſhells, and ſome pearls of value.
THE natives of the iſle are black, but not ſo black as negroes; and their hair is woolly. They are well featured, and of a common ſtature; are nimble, vigorous, and active, and ſeem almoſt as well qualified to live in the water as upon land; for they are in and out of their canoes every minute. When Carteret was there, they were quite naked and unadorned, but Mendana deſcribes them, in 1595, as colouring their hair, ſome white, ſome red, and ſome with other colours; tinging their teeth red; half ſhaving their heads; ſtaining their bodies with a black dye; marking their faces and bodies with ſtreaks; binding their arms round with many turns of black rattans; covering their private parts with a kind of ſoft cloth; ornamenting their necks with necklaces of ſmall beads of bone, ebony, and fiſhes [Page 166] teeth; hanging round their bodies many plates of pearl ſhell, and occaſionally wearing in their heads and noſes feathers of different colours: the women with handkerchiefs and cloaks.
THEIR towns conſiſt of about twenty houſes each, they are built round and of plank, and thatched with palm-leaves; every houſe has two ſtories, to which they go up by hand ladders; each ſtory is encloſed breaſt high, the part above being left open to give light and air. Their houſes are ſurrounded by a wall of looſe ſtones, open at the entrance, inſtead of a gate; and the ſides and floors within are lined with fine matting. There is in each town a large houſe, probably a temple, and another long houſe, apparently belonging to the community, in which are hung bundles of arrows, in great quantity, ready for uſe; and alſo a well or two curiouſly made, with ſteps to go down, and covered with plank. Some of their towns are ſurrounded with a breaſt-work of ſtone, reſembling a fortification, and gives reaſon to ſuppoſe, that the natives are often troubled with civil wars; and cloſe to the ſea are ſome fiſhing weirs fenced with ſtone. The iſland [Page 167] muſt be very populous, for the towns ſwarm like bee-hives.
THE ſea yields them many kinds of fiſh, which they artfully take, by various methods; they have a kind of net made of twine; pieces of wood ſerve them for floats, and ſtones for leads. The different productions of the iſland are eaten in turn, and they make a biſcuit of the bread-fruit, which they dry by the fire or the ſun. A food called Brete, known and much uſed in the Eaſt Indies, is eaten here: it is a leaf in the ſhape of a heart, about the ſize of a man's hand; having the ſmell, taſte and colour of a clove: they chew this leaf, ſpit out the firſt ſpittle, and ſwallow the reſt. It is reckoned wholeſome, and a good ſtrengthener of the ſtomach and gums: and from the trunk of a tree they diſtill, by wounding it, a ſweet-ſcented liquor, much reſembling the oil of Beto.
THE only diverſion obſerved among them was dancing. A great number will get together, and, with a wiſp of graſs in their hands, ſtroaking each other, [Page 168] dance round in a ring, to the ſound of little drums or caſtenets.
BESIDES their fiſhingtackle, already mentioned, and their weapons, they make ropes of oziers, and cordage of rattans, bags and pockets of palm, and curious and large mats for ſails. They weave alſo, in ſmall looms, a kind of cloth, which ſerves the women for covering.
THEIR hoſtile weapons are bows and arrows, darts with three rows of barbs, a kind of wooden ſword, and ſtones: the bows are ſix feet five inches long, and their arrows four feet four inches, pointed with flint: and with theſe miſſile weapons they do execution at a conſiderable diſtance. One of the arrows went through the boat's waſh-board, and wounded a man in the thigh.
THEIR canoes, for daily uſe, are ſmall, and of rude workmanſhip, being nothing more than part of the trunk of a tree, hollowed out, with an out-rigger, but no ſails; ſome of theſe are double, like thoſe at O-Taheitee. They will carry a dozen men, [Page 169] though three or four will manage them with aſtoniſhing dexterity: ſome were ſeen with awnings over them. But the canoes with which they go to diſtant parts are large and beautiful: theſe are formed with the keel ſomewhat flat, with head and ſtern all of one piece. The well is in the middle, where they bale out the water, and ſtep the main maſt. They fix ſtages upon ſome, that project beyond the ſides of the canoe, ſo that the hull ſerves only as a ſupport. Theſe ſtages will hold thirty men or more, with their proviſions. Each canoe has one ſail made of matting, broad and long above, and narrow below. They are very ſwift, and good to work to windward.
ABOUT ten leagues to the north of Egmont's Iſle, is an iſland of ſtupendous height, and a conical figure, the top of which is ſhaped like a funnel; it is about three or four leagues round; it is ſteep to the [Page 170] ſhore, quite bare, and in one part of it is a volcano, that vomits out fire and ſmoke with a thundering noiſe; it is, however, inhabited at one end.
THE other iſlands, of which Queen Charlotte's Iſles conſiſt, were only ſeen at a diſtance, and named by Carteret: he had reaſon to believe them, however, to be all inhabited. As he paſſed the iſland that bears his name, which is about ſix leagues long, and lies in 8° 26′ S. latitude, and 159° 14′ E. longitude, he met with ſome of the inhabitants fiſhing. He ſent out a boat, and ſeized one of the canoes, which was large enough to carry eight or ten men, was very neatly built with planks well jointed, ornamented with ſhellwork, and figures rudely painted, and the ſeams were covered with ſomething like black putty, but of better conſiſtence. The people were armed with bows, arrows, and ſpears, pointed with flint, as at Egmont Iſle. They ſeemed to be the ſame kind of people as the natives of that iſland, and were quite naked. Carteret's Iſland is about two days ſail from Egmont Iſle.
IS the diſcovery of Captain Cook, in September 1774, and, excepting New Zealand, is perhaps the largeſt iſland in the South Pacific Ocean, extending from the latitude of 19° 37′ to 22° 30′ S. and from the longitude of 163° 37′ to 167° 14′ E. Its direction is nearly N.W. half W. and S.E. half E. and it is about eightyſeven leagues long. Its breadth does not any where exceed ten leagues; Captain Cook coaſted the north ſide of the iſland, but the ſouth ſide is as yet unexplored. It lies about twelve degrees, or two hundred and forty leagues diſtant from New Holland.
IT is a country full of hills and vallies, of various extent, both for height and depth. From theſe hills ſpring great numbers of little rivulets, which fertilize the plains, and ſupply the wants of the inhabitants. The tops of moſt of the hills ſeem to be barren, though [Page 172] ſome few are covered with trees, as are all the plains and vallies. From the hills, the flat lands which lie along the ſhore appear to great advantage; the winding ſtreams that meander through them, the plantations, the little ſtraggling villages, and the pleaſing variety of wood, ſo chequer the ſcene, as to render it delightful: notwithſtanding this, the thin ſtratum of poor vegetable ſoil that covers the plains, the numberleſs ſwamps on the ſea ſide, and the dry parched earth every where, ill repay the huſbandman's toils. The natives are indefatigable in their cultivation, or the land would not ſatisfy their wants. They drain the moraſſes, and manure their plantations with broken ſhells and corals. The mountains, and other high ſpots, are, for the moſt part, incapable of being cultivated, conſiſting chiefly of rocks, many of which are full of mundicks. The little ſoil upon them is ſcorched with the ſun and affords little but a few ſcattered trees, and a quantity of dry graſſes, two or three feet high, and this, to a people who have no cattle, is of very little uſe. The general way of recruiting land in the South Seas is, by letting it lie uſeleſs for ſeveral years, and burning the weeds and graſs upon it annually.
THE productions of this iſland are figs, ſugar-canes, plantains, taro, or eddy root, by ſome called yams, cocoa-nut and bread-fruit (the laſt two ſcarce), and many Eaſt Indian plants. The taro plantations are watered by artificial ſtreams, continually ſupplied by the main channel at the foot of the mountains. They have two ways of planting this root; ſome in ſquare or oblong patches, ſunk below the level of the ground, by which means they can let as much water in upon them as is neceſſary; others in ridges, three or four feet broad, and two and a half high. On the top of theſe ridges is a narrow gutter, through which is conveyed a rill of water that moiſtens the whole ridge. Among their trees, are the mangrove, and the caputi-tree, which laſt is large and black at the root, having long narrow leaves like willows, of a pale dead green colour, bearing flowers, and a bark perfectly white, ſoft, and looſe, which often conceals within it beetles, ants, ſpiders, lizards, and ſcorpions, and frequently burſts off from the wood. In the Eaſt Indies they caulk their ſhips with the bark of this tree, and the natives of the Moluccas make the oil of caputi from the leaves, which are extremely fragrant [Page 174] and aromatic. Here is alſo a new ſpecies of the paſſion-flower, which is the more extraordinary, as no kind of this flower has been ſuppoſed to grow wild in any part of the world, except America.
THEY have no quadrupeds in this iſland of any kind, but a variety of the feathered tribe, large tame fowls, with bright plumage, ducks, a ſort of ſmall crow tinged with blue, a beautiful ſpecies of parrot, turtle-doves, fly-catchers, a kind of hawk, boobies, man of war, tropic birds, and others unknown to Europe. Turtles and fiſh in plenty, particularly a poiſonous fiſh, ſomething like a ſun-fiſh, with a large long ugly head, and which brings on an extraordinary numbneſs and giddineſs in thoſe who eat it. They have alſo, as mentioned before, beetles, ants, ſpiders, lizards, ſcorpions, &c. and a flattailed water-ſnake. Captain Cook left with them an O-Taheitean dog and bitch.
NATURE having been leſs bountiful to New Caledonia than to other tropical iſlands in the South Seas, the inhabitants are not very numerous. Captain [Page 175] Cook computes the number to be about fifty thouſand, which, on a ſea coaſt, of near two hundred leagues, is but ſmall. They are of a dark brown colour, like that of mahogany, and nearly the ſame with the people of Tanna, but they have better features, more agreeable countenances, and are a much ſtouter race, ſome few meaſuring ſix feet four inches in height. Some indeed have thick lips, flat noſes, and full cheeks; and, as they beſmear their faces with black pigment, they look like negroes. All are in general well proportioned, but many of the men have ſwelled and ulcerated legs and arms, apparently occaſioned by leproſy, and alſo a ſwelling of the ſcrotum.
The ſtature of the women is middle-ſized, ſome are tall, and their whole form is very ſtout, and rather clumſy. Their features are coarſe, but expreſs good-nature: the forehead high, and the noſe broad and flat at the root, and eyes ſmall, the cheek-bones prominent, and the cheeks plump. Their hair, like that of the men, is black, ſtrong, and frizzled, and in many woolly; both men and women keep it cut ſhort, ſo that their heads reſemble thoſe of negroes; and as it muſt be ſuppoſed frequently to want ſcratching, they have an excellent inſtrument [Page 176] for this purpoſe; a kind of comb, made of ſticks of hard wood, from ſeven to ten inches long, and about the thickneſs of knitting needles; about twenty of theſe are faſtened together at one end, parallel to each other, and about the tenth of an inch aſunder. Theſe combs they wear conſtantly in their hair, on one ſide of their heads. They cut their hair with a piece of mineral, ſharped like a flint. Some few indeed of the men wear it long, and tye it up on the crown of the head; others ſuffer only a large lock to grow on each ſide, which they tie up in clubs.
THE men go quite naked, except a wrapper over their privities, which they faſten up to their girdle, as they do at Mallicolo, or up to the neck by a ſtring, and ornament that ſtring with ſmall round beads, of a pale green nephritic ſtone. This wrapper is made of ſoft bark or leaves, and though it is contrived to conceal what all nations wiſh to hide, it has altogether a very indecent appearance, and every male looks like a walking figure of the Roman garden-god. They wear on their heads black cylindrical caps, made of ſtiff coarſe matting, open at top, very much [Page 177] like a huſſar's cap. The chiefs ornament theirs with feathers. They ſtretch the flaps of their ears to a great length, cut out the whole cartilage or griſtle, as at Eaſter Iſland, and hang great numbers of tortoiſe-ſhell rings in them, as they do at Tanna.
The dreſs of the women gives them a thick ſquat ſhape, and conſiſts of a petticoat reſembling fringe, about eight inches long, juſt dropping below the waiſt: it is made of filaments, or ſmall cords, laid thick over one another, and faſtened to a long ſtring that is wound ſeveral times round the body. The outward filaments of this fringe they dye black; the under ones are of a pale yellow. By way of ornament, they fix on one ſide of the petticoat a few pearl oyſter-ſhells. Both ſexes wear tortoiſe-ſhell earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, above the elbow. The women tattow or puncture themſelves a little in the face, generally in three black ſtrait lines, from the under lip downwards to the chin; and they carry their infants on their backs in a kind of ſatchel.
MOST of their houſes are circular, ſomething like a beehive, and full as cloſe and warm, very much [Page 178] like thoſe at Cocos and Horne Iſland: the entrance is by a ſquare hole, juſt large enough to admit a man upon his hands and knees. The ſide walls are about four feet and a half high; but the roof is lofty and peaked at the top, above which is a ſtick, generally ornamented with carving and ſhells. The frame of this building conſiſts of a number of poles fixed into the ground, drawn together and tied at the top, and connected to each other by twigs, in the manner of hurdles. This is covered with matting, from top to bottom, and the roof thatched with ſtraw. Within, a kind of large table is made upon poſts for convenience: the floor is ſpread with dry graſs to ſleep on, and here and there mats for the principal people. Some of theſe houſes have two floors, one above the other; but they have no light but what comes through the entrance. In moſt are two fireplaces, and commonly a fire burning; and, as there is no vent for the ſmoke but by the door, the whole hut is continually ſmoaky and hot.
THEY have no great variety of houſhold utenſils. Each family has an earthen pot that will hold four or five [Page 179] gallons, clumſily ſhaped, with a large belly, and made of a reddiſh clay, but perfectly covered, both within and without, with ſoot. In theſe they bake and cook their victuals, on hearths in the open air, raiſing the pot from the fire or embers by three pointed ſtones, fixed into the ground, and riſing five or ſix inches from it, by way of trivet. The pot, when on the fire, is not ſet upon its bottom, but laid inclined on one ſide.
THEY ſubſiſt chiefly on roots and fiſh, and the bark of a tree, which they roaſt, and are for ever chewing, and which has a ſweetiſh, inſipid taſte. This tree grows in the Weſt Indies. In barren ſeaſons they have recourſe to fern-roots: and, as to drink, water is their only liquor. Their fiſh they catch with nets made of the filaments of the plantain-tree twiſted, and with fiſh-gigs, with which they lie in wait upon the reefs, in ſhoal water, and ſtrike the fiſh as they may chance to come in their way.
IT is needleſs to mention their working tools, they being made of the ſame materials, and much in the ſame manner, [Page 180] as at the other iſlands. The inſtrument with which they ſtir up the ſoil is indeed different, it being a long, curved and ſharp-pointed bill, like the bill of a bird fixed upon a handle. They uſe this alſo occaſionally as a weapon of defence. Their axes, likewiſe, are ſomewhat different, being made of a crooked piece of wood, forming a great knob, with a ſhort handle, not exceeding ſix inches in length: the knob is hollowed out, and a black cutting ſtone is wedged into the cavity. They carry loads on their back, upon boards ſlung round the ſhoulders.
THE people of New Caledonia are well provided with weapons of offence, of courſe they muſt ſometimes have wars among themſelves, or with their neighbours. Theſe weapons are, clubs, ſpears, darts, and ſlings for caſting ſtones. Their clubs are about two feet and a half long, and of different forms; ſome like a ſcythe; others like a mattock; ſome have a head like a hawk, and others have knobs at the end; but they are all neatly made and well poliſhed. Their darts and ſpears are ornamented with carved work; but their ſlings are perfectly ſimple, being no other than a [Page 181] ſlender, round cord, no thicker than packthread, with a taſſel at one end, a loop at the other and in the middle. The ſtones they throw are of a ſoft ſoap-rock, rubbed into the form of an egg. Theſe exactly fit the loop in the middle of the ſling, and are kept in a pocket of matting, tied round the waiſt for the purpoſe. They caſt their darts alſo with a ſhort ſtring knotted at one end, and looped at the other, as they do at Tanna, called by ſeamen a Becket, and are very dextrous in throwing them. Their ſpears are fifteen or twenty feet long, blackened over, and have a prominence near the middle, carved ſo as to reſemble ſomething like a human face.
THEIR canoes are, in ſome ſort, like thoſe of the Friendly Iſles; but heavy and clumſy. They are, as it were, double, conſiſting of two hulls, made out of two large trees, hollowed out, the gunnel raiſed about two inches high, and cloſed at each end with a kind of bulk head of the ſame height. The two hulls are ſecured to each other, about three feet aſunder, by ſeveral croſs ſpars, which project about a foot over each ſide: on theſe ſpars is laid a deck or heavy platform, on which [Page 182] they have a fire-hearth, and generally a fire burning; and they carry a pot to dreſs their victuals in. The ſpace between the two hulls is laid with plank. They are navigated with one or two latteen ſails, compoſed of matting; the ropes are made of the filaments of the plantain-tree, twiſted into cords of the thickneſs of a finger, and three or four more ſuch cords marled together, ſerve them for ſhrouds. When they cannot ſail they row them on by paddles, or ſculls, and for this purpoſe there are holes in the boarded deck, through which they put the ſculls, which are ſo long, that, when the blade is in the water, the handle is four or five feet above the deck. The perſon who works it ſtands behind it, and with both his hands ſculls the veſſel forward. The canoe is about thirty feet in length, the deck or platform about twenty-four, and ten in breadth.
CAPTAIN Cook having been at New Caledonia but eight days, little can be ſaid of their religion. Nothing was obſerved that could be conſtrued into a religious act; nor was a ſingle cuſtom remarked that had the leaſt colour of ſuperſtition. When a perſon dies, they commit [Page 183] his body to the earth and bury it. Their graves are encloſed with ſticks about three feet high, the earth is raiſed a little over them, and generally decorated with ſpears, darts, paddles, &c. ſtuck right up in the ground about them.
As little can be ſaid of their government. It is ſuppoſed that the country is divided into many diſtricts, and that each diſtrict has a chief. Perhaps each family forms a little kingdom of its own, which is directed by its patriarch, as muſt be the caſe in all infant ſtates. The women here are kept in the higheſt ſubordination, not ſo much eſteemed by the men as thoſe at Tanna, and ſeem to be the only perſons who are employed in any laborious buſineſs.
THEIR language, if we except the word Areekee, i. e. Chief, and one or two more, has no affinity with any of the various languages of the South Sea iſlands. It ſeems to be uncultivated, and their pronunciation is indiſtinct. Though they have but few harſh conſonants, they have a frequent return of gutturals, and a naſal ſound unknown but to the Engliſh.
THESE people are ſtrictly honeſt, and not the leaſt addicted to pilfering: they are good ſwimmers, and fond of ſinging and dancing. The only muſical inſtrument obſerved among them was a whiſtle, made of a poliſhed piece of brown wood, about two inches long, ſhaped like a bell, though apparently ſolid, with a rope fixed at the ſmall end. Two holes were made in it near the baſe, and another near the inſertion of the rope, all which had ſome communication with each other, and, by blowing in the uppermoſt, a ſhrill ſound like whiſtling was formed at the other. The inhabitants in general may be deemed a friendly, inoffenſive people: they gave Captain Cook and his ſhip-mates a very welcome and peaceable reception, addreſſing him firſt in a ſhort ſet ſpeech, and then inviting him aſhore; but they are indolent and deſtitute of curioſity: the greater part of them did not move from their ſeats when the Europeans paſſed them for the firſt time: they are remarkably grave, ſpeak always in a ſerious tone, and laughter ſeems to be a ſtranger among them; perhaps their plantations lying remote from each other, are the means of preventing that [Page 185] familiar intercourſe, which would gradually give life to the pleaſures of ſociety. The women are kept, as I ſaid before, in the greateſt ſubjection: they ſeem fearful of offending the men by a look or a geſture. Their inſenſible huſbands ſeldom deign to look upon them, and continue in a kind of phlegmatic indolence; whilſt the women ſometimes indulge that ſocial chearfulneſs, which is the diſtinguiſhing ornament of the ſex. Conſidering theſe cruel oppreſſions of the ſex, ſeen in a variety of countries, may we not admire the wiſdom of the Creator, who has planted that attachment in the female breaſt, which ſtands the teſt of every outrage, and patiently ties them to their tyrants? To the honour likewiſe of the women of New Caledonia, as well as thoſe of Tanna, it muſt be ſaid, that they are far more chaſte than thoſe of the more Eaſtern Iſles: they would frequently divert themſelves with the European ſeamen, ſeemingly liſten to their propoſals, beckon them aſide among the buſhes, and, with an air of coquetry, laugh at them for their pains. There was not a ſingle inſtance of their ever having condeſcended to permit any indecent familiarity from an European, during their whole ſtay.
CONSISTS of two large iſlands, divided by a ſtreight four or five leagues broad, and lying nearly north and ſouth of each other, between 180° 45′ and 193° 15′ W. longitude, and 34° 24′ and 47° 24′ S. latitude, and about two thouſand miles diſtant from O-Taheitee. The northern iſland is called by the natives Eahei-nomauwe, and that to the ſouth T'avai Poenammeo. The figure and extent of theſe iſlands will appear in the chart. They are much the ſize of each other, and together are as large as the iſland of Great Britain; having many ſmall iſlands about them. They were firſt diſcovered by Abel Janſen Taſman, a Dutchman, on the thirteenth of December 1642. He coaſted the Eaſtern part, from latitude 34° to 43°, and entered the ſtreight which divides the two iſlands; but, meeting with a diſagreeable reception from the natives, as ſoon as he dropped his anchor, he thought proper to weigh it again without landing. He called the country Staaten Land, [Page 187] in compliment to the States General; but it is now known by the name of New Zealand. He ſuppoſed the land to be a continent; but Captain Cook, in 1769 and 1770, traverſed the whole coaſt and diſcovered it to be two iſlands, having a number of fine bays and anchoring places.
Captain Cook was ſix months coaſting New Zealand, having made the land October 5, 1769, and not leaving it till March 31, 1770. He paid it a ſecond viſit in October 1773, and a third in October 1774, and it was touched at by M. De Marion, a Frenchman, in 1772.
T'AVAI POENAMMOO is, in general, a barren country, and a ridge of mountains, towering in many places above the clouds, extends nearly the whole length of the iſland; the tops of which being for ever covered with ſnow, more rude or deſolate proſpect from the ſea cannot be conceived; for as far inland as the eye can reach, nothing but the ſummits of rocks appear, which ſtand ſo cloſe together, that inſtead of vallies being between them, there are nothing but fiſſures. Further to the north the mountains are more inland, and the ſea coaſt conſiſts of [Page 188] woody hills and vallies, and large plains covered with trees.
Eahei-nomauwe is much more fertile: it is mountainous, indeed, but the mountains are clothed with trees, and every valley is watered with a rivulet. The ſoil in the vales is light and ſandy, and the productions of Europe would flouriſh here with luxuriance. A vaſt quantity of pummice ſtone lies all along the ſhore, which indicates that there is a volcano in this iſland; and that there is iron, is evident from the quantities of iron ſand brought down to the ſea coaſt by every rivulet. There is a mountain here as high as the Peak of Teneriffe, whoſe ſummit ſoars far above the clouds: but what is more remarkable, there are many arched rocks in different places truly grand and romantic, one foot of whoſe arches ſtands upon the iſland, the other in the ſea, and whoſe arches are large enough to admit a ſmall veſſel beneath them. One of theſe arched rocks, ſtanding inland, has a river running under it.
THE ſpring begins here with the month of November; the winters are milder than thoſe in England; and the ſummer, though more equally warm, is not hotter: [Page 189] ſo that was this country ſettled by Europeans, they might ſoon be richly furniſhed, not only with the neceſſaries, but the luxuries of life.
T'AVAI POENAMMOO is but thinly inhabited, and chiefly by wanderers from one part to another, but Eahei-nomauwe is, in many places, highly cultivated, and they ſave their offal for manure. In their plantations the ground is as well tilled, and the mould as ſmooth as in our gardens, and every root has its ſmall hillock ranged by lines in a regular quincunx, and every thing planted with the niceſt care and attention: for where the perſon that ſows is to eat the produce, and where there is little elſe to eat, it is natural to expect they ſhould excell in tillage. Their plantations are of different extent, from one acre to ten: here they grow ſweet potatoes, cocoas, gourds, and yams. They have excellent celery, and a kind of creſſes, with abundance of farinaceous fern-root, which ſerves them for bread. Gourds are cultivated for the fruit, which furniſhes them with veſſels for various purpoſes. They have a ſort of long pepper, very much the taſte of mace; and near four [Page 190] hundred ſpecies of plants never yet deſcribed by any botaniſt.
But, among the vegetable productions of theſe iſlands, the trees claim no ſmall conſideration. Here are foreſts of great extent, crowded with trees, the ſtraighteſt, cleaneſt, and largeſt ever ſeen. They are rather too hard and heavy for maſts; but if they could be lightened by tapping, as it is probable they might, they would make the fineſt maſts for ſhipping in the world: they are not unlike the pitch-pine. There are ſome with a ſcarlet flower, well adapted to the mill-wright. There are many other ſorts of trees; one like the maple, yielding a whitiſh gum, and another giving a deep yellow ſubſtance fit for dyeing. They have plenty of mangrove trees, and a kind of tree that grows ſo large and lofty, that they will meaſure, at ſixteen inches above the ground, full nineteen feet in girth, and ninety feet, ſtrait as an arrow, from the root to the firſt branches; many of them will yield three hundred and fifty-ſix feet of ſolid timber, excluſive of the branches. It bears a narrow leaf like the juniper, is generally found in low land, and has a dark-coloured appearance. The natives make their canoes of this tree. There is alſo a cabbage [Page 191] tree here, the ſtem not thicker than a man's leg, but from ten to twenty feet high. They are of the ſame genus with the cocoa-nut tree: the cabbage is the bud, each tree producing but one, and that at the crown, where the leaves ſpring out, and are encloſed in the ſtem: cutting off the cabbage deſtroys the tree. This vegetable is not only wholeſome, but exceedingly palatable. Great quantities of ſupple-jack are found in the woods, and of exceeding great length.
But among all the trees and ſhrubs, of which there are many, bearing beautiful flowers, and highly aromatic, there is not one that produces fruit; but there is a plant worth them all, ſerving the natives inſtead of hemp and flax. Of this plant there are two ſpecies; one bearing a deep red flower, the other a yellow. The leaves of both reſemble flags, but the bloſſoms are not ſo large, and their cluſters are more in number. They make all their clothes of the leaves of this plant, and alſo all their ſtrings and cordage, which are at once gloſſy, elaſtic, and ſo ſtrong, that nothing made of hemp can equal them. From the ſame, by another proceſs, they draw out long, ſlender, ſtrong fibres, white as ſnow, and ſhining as ſilk; of theſe they [Page 192] make their better cloth; and, by ſlitting the leaves in proper breaths, and tying them together, they make their fiſhing-nets. This plant ſeems to grow beſt in boggy grounds; there is every reaſon to believe that it would thrive well in England, and could we tranſport it here, it would be a great acquiſition.
Captain Cook, when there, ordered ſome land to be dug up, in which he ſowed a variety of European ſeeds; and, on his return, they ear following, he found almoſt all the radiſhes and turneps ſhot into ſeed, the cabbages and carrots very fine, and abundance of onions and parſley in good order: a proof that the winter was mild; but the peas and beans were almoſt loſt, ſeemingly deſtroyed by the rats, and no potatoes could be found, probably extirpated by the natives.
THERE are no four footed animals in this country, but dogs and rats; the latter are ſcarce, but there are plenty of the former; they are tame, and live with the inhabitants, who breed them merely for food. Their dogs are of a ſulky diſpoſition, are ſmall and ugly, with rough long hair, pricked ears, much like the ſhepherd's cur; their colours are different; ſome [Page 193] are ſpotted, ſome black, and others white. They feed as their maſters do, on fiſh and vegetables. Three or four of Captain Cook's people ſaw a quadruped, when they where out upon the hunt; but as no two of them gave the ſame deſcription of it, it is impoſſible to ſay what it was; probably as no other of the ſame kind was ſeen either before or after, they might have miſtaken ſomething elſe for it. However, they all agreed, that it was about the ſize of a cat, with ſhort legs and a mouſe colour. One ſaid it had a buſhy tail, and was moſt like a jackall of any animal he knew. Captain Cook left them ſome hogs and geeſe.
Though quadrupeds are ſcarce, there are birds in endleſs variety, exquiſitely beautiful, and ſuch as are unknown to Europeans; hawks, owls, quails, ſomething like our parrots, woodpidgeons, and numberleſs ſmall ſinging birds, infinitely ſuperior in wild melody, to any yet heard; and, what is moſt remarkable, the birds, like our nightingales, begin to ſing at midnight, and continue their ſong till ſun-riſe, and are ſilent all the day. Their parrots are of two ſorts, one ſmall and green, the other very large, of a greyiſh green, with a reddiſh breaſt. Among the ſmall birds, they have three very ſingular ones, one with two wattles under its beak, as [Page 194] large as thoſe of a ſmall dung-hill cock: it is larger than an Engliſh blackbird, with a ſhort and thick bill; its feathers are of a dark lead colour, and its wattles of a dull yellow or orange. The ſecond is of a fine mazarine blue, except its neck, which is a beautiful ſilver grey, and a few white feathers on the pinion joint of the wing. Under its throat hang two little tufts of curled ſnow-white feathers. It has a ſweet note, and its fleſh is delicious. The third may be called a fan-tail, of which there are ſeveral ſorts; but the moſt remarkable has a body ſcarcely bigger than a large filbert, yet it ſpreads a tail of beautiful feathers, three quarters of a ſemicircle of near five inches deep.
Of the aquatic order, they have ducks, water-hens, ſhags, curlieus, geeſe and gannets, reſembling ours, and a variety of ſea-birds, albatroſſes, ſheerwaters, pintados, penguins, &c. and a ſpecies between bird and fiſh, whoſe feathers differ little from ſcales, and whoſe wings ſerve only for diving.
Of ducks there are five different kinds, the largeſt are the ſize of Muſcovy ducks, beautifully feathered and darkly variegated, with a large white ſpot on each wing. The ſecond ſort are about the ſize of an Engliſh duck; its [Page 195] feathers are brown, tipped with a yellowiſh white, with bright green feathers in its wings, and bright yellow eyes. The third ſort is a bluiſh-grey whiſtling duck, about the ſize of a widgeon, with a cartilaginous or griſtly bill; for they live upon worms, which they ſuck out of the mud. The fourth ſort is ſomething larger than a teal, and all black, except the drake, which has ſome white feathers in his wings. The laſt ſort is rather leſs than a teal; its colours are a ſhining greeniſh black above, a dark ſooty grey below, a purple caſt on the head, a lead coloured bill and feet, a white bar in the leſſer quill feathers, and a golden eye.
A few butterflies, beetles, and fleſh-flies, like ours, with ſome muſquitos and ſand-flies, make up their whole liſt of inſects; and with the laſt two they abound. The ſting of the ſand-fly is exceedingly painful; and, when the part ſtung grows warm, cauſes an intolerable itching, which, if ſcratched, brings on a violent ſwelling, attended with great pain, and ſome fever.
Of fiſh they have no ſcarcity; every creek ſwarms with them; mackerel, of many kinds, bream, mullet, ſkate, ſting-ray, flounders, eels, congers, lobſters, cray-fiſh, clams, cockles, muſcles, and fine oyſters, and they have ſome [Page 196] whales, and plenty of ſeals. They catch their fiſh with cylindrical nets, which they bait and lower down into the water, drawing them up gently, and, when at the ſurface, taking them out with a jerk.
THE number of inhabitants bears no proportion to the extent of country. Tavai Poenammoo is, as I ſaid before, very thinly peopled, conſiſting chiefly of wanderers, but Eahie-nomauwe is better populated; though the weſtern ſide of this iſland is quite a deſert, and the interior parts being ſo mountainous, ſcarce any place is inhabited but the ſea coaſts, which, on an extent of four hundred leagues, is ſuppoſed to contain only about one hundred thouſand people.
THE ſtature of the men, in general, is equal to the largeſt European, tall, but lean, yet exceedingly ſtrong, fleſhy and well made, and they are exceedingly active and vigorous, with an uncommon adroitneſs in every thing they do; but moſt of their legs are ſlender and bandy, with large knees, owing to the little exerciſe they take, and their continually ſitting croſs-legged in confined canoes. [Page 197] Their complexion is a clear mahogany brown, though they are rather darker in the ſouthern iſland. Their hair is black and curling, and their teeth extremely regular and white. They have good faces, like Europeans, dark eyes, lips rather thick, and aquiline noſes. Their voice is rough, they talk loud, and, in general, are more rude and unpoliſhed than the natives of O-Taheitee.
The women are plain, and have no great female delicacy; but their voices are remarkably ſoft and harmonious, and by this they are chiefly diſtinguiſhed, the dreſs of both ſexes being nearly the ſame. They have, like the women of other countries, a cheerfulneſs ſuperior to the men, and a greater flow of animal ſpirits. Some of them have uncommon long breaſts. They ſeem to be proud of their ſex, and expect to have every thing they wiſh from ſtrangers, merely becauſe they are women.
They tattow themſelves here as they do at OTaheitee, and call it amoco: different tribes have different ways of marking themſelves: ſome cover themſelves ſo much on the breech and thighs with ſpiral lines, that they ſeem as if they had on black ſtriped breeches; and, as they add ſomething every new year to the ornaments of [Page 198] the laſt, thoſe who are advanced in life are almoſt covered from head to foot. They have ſcarcely a ſtain, except on the lips, which all ſeem to concur in rendering black. Many indent their ſkins, ſo as to reſemble carving, which they do by cutting it with ſhells. The women are tattowed only on the breaſts, necks, and bellies, but then they beſmear their faces and bodies with red oker and oil, which ſeldom dries, and thus render themſelves filthy and naſty; for whoever touches them partakes of their colouring. Servants among the men do the ſame, but theſe uſe chiefly dry oker, and ſome carry it with them, and as conſtantly renew the colour as it rubs or wears off.
THE general dreſs of the men of this country, is merely a wrapper round the body, kept from falling below the waiſt by two ſlips over the ſhoulders, faſtened before and behind with bone bodkins. It is made of flag-leaves, and reſembles a ſhaggy door-mat. Some men, on particular occaſions, wear another piece of this matting round the waiſt, which reaches almoſt to the ground. They tie the prepuce of the penis with a ſtring over the glands, and faſten this ſtring to a girdle [Page 199] round the body. The glands, indeed, ſeem to be the only part they wiſh to conceal; for they will often throw off every thing, without ſcruple, but this ſtring and girdle; which, whenever they were requeſted to untie, they did with reluctance and confuſion. Some wear ſhoulderknots made of the ſkin of the neck of a large ſea-fowl, with the feathers on, ſlit into two pieces lengthways; and ſome wear a piece of ſhaggy matting round their ſhoulders, by way of cloak, which has all the appearance of a ſtraw thatch. The dreſs of the chiefs, and principal people, conſiſts of a cloth jacket, ornamented with ſtripes of dog-ſkin, in different parts, or tufts of red feathers, and cloaks trimmed with dogs-fur, of different colours, and often lined with the ſame. This cloak is a ſquare piece, two corners of which are tied on the breaſt, the other part hangs down to the calf of the leg, and a belt of matted graſs confines it round the waiſt.
The women wear a petticoat and cloak of the ſame rough matting, perfume them with ſome fragrant plant, and beneath the petticoat before wear a bunch of aromatic leaves, hanging from a girdle between the legs. They wear their hair cropped ſhort, or flowing about their ſhoulders, ornamenting it with leaves; but the men tie [Page 200] theirs up in a bunch on the crown of the head, decorate that bunch with feathers, and ſtick a comb behind it. Their beards they wear cut ſhort. Both men and women greaſe their hair, and frequently wear, upon the crown of their heads, a large bunch of black feathers, tied up round, ſo as to raiſe their head twice its natural height, and almoſt to cover it.
Both ſexes wear a variety of ornaments, earrings, necklaces, and anclets. Both men and women bore their ears, and ſtretch the holes till they will admit a finger; in theſe they wear cloth, feathers, bones of large birds, and ſometimes pieces of wood ſtuck through them. The women frequently ſtuff in the white down of the albatroſs, ſtained with ruddle or oker, which ſpreads before and behind, as large as one's fiſt; and, though ſingular, has a very good effect. Sometimes they hang to their ears, by ſtrings, chizels, or bodkins, made of talc, and often the nails or teeth of their deceaſed relations; bracelets and anclets are made of birds bones, ſhells, or any other ſubſtance they can drill a hole through. The men ſometimes wear round the neck, ſuſpended by a ſtring, a piece of green tranſparent tale, or whalebone ſhaped like a laurel leaf, and with the rude figure of a man carved upon it; [Page 201] and ſometimes through the ſeptum or griſtle that divides the noſtrils, a long feather, projecting on each ſide over the cheeks; and ſome wear a fillet of feathers round their heads.
THE chief food on which this people live, is fiſh and vegetables. Dogs fleſh is very ſcarce. The birds they eat are generally penguins, albatroſſes, and a few others, which ſerve them as delicates. They roaſt their birds by hanging them to a ſmall ſtick, inclined to the fire, one end of which is ſtuck into the ground, and bake them by putting them into a hole in the ground, with hot ſtones, as they do at O-Taheitee. They frequently dry their fiſh in order to preſerve them, and ſmoke their eels. As a ſubſtitute for bread, they eat fern-roots, very ſimilar to ours, which they thus prepare: after ſcorching them over the fire, they beat them with a ſtick, till the bark and dry outſide fall off; what remains, is a ſoft ſubſtance, rather clammy and ſweet, mixed with ſtringy fibrous parts, which, after having chewed, they ſpit out. They are great eaters, will take in pieces ſix times as large as we can do, and will drink near a quart at one draught.
[Page 202] Water is their only liquor; and, having nothing that will intoxicate, they are, in this reſpect, the happieſt perſons in the world; but, on the other hand, ſhould their plantations fail, or an unfavourable ſeaſon happen, and they accidently not be provided with a ſufficient dry ſtock, the diſtreſs to ſuch as inhabit the interior parts of the country muſt be dreadful. This will, in ſome meaſure, account for the fear theſe people live in of each other, for the care they take to fortify their villages, and for the horrid cuſtom of eating thoſe whom they kill in battle. The head is the only part they do not eat. They ſuck the brains, and frequently convert the ſkull to domeſtic purpoſes, ſuch as to hold water, &c. The way they diſpatch their priſoners, is, by knocking them down with their patta-pattoos, and then ripping them up.
THE towns, or hippahs, of theſe people, are all fortified. Many are built upon eminences near the ſea, and ſecured on the land ſide by a bank and ditch, and a high paling within the ditch; and ſome have out-works. Their houſes are built on a riſing ground, under a tuft of trees, but are little better than dog-kennels, ſeldom more [Page 203] than eighteen or twenty feet long, eight or ten broad, and five or ſix high, and conſiſt only of a roof: the pole that runs from one end to the other forms the ridge to the ground. The framing conſiſts of ſlender ſticks, tightly put together, and is covered with dry graſs. There is a door at one end, juſt high enough to admit a perſon on his hands and knees; near the door is a ſquare hole, for the double purpoſe of giving light and letting out the ſmoke. The roof projects beyond the end walls, about two feet, ſo as to form a porch, in which there are benches for the family to ſit on. That part of the floor where the fire-place is (which is generally at the end, in the middle between the two ſides), is incloſed in a hollow ſquare, by partitions either of wood or ſtone, and in the midſt the fire is made. The floor within, along the ſides, is bedded thick with ſtraw, and on this the family, in bad weather, ſleep; at other times, they ſleep abroad in the open air, having no other ſhelter but a few ſhrubs: the women and children are ranged innermoſt; the men lie in a half circle round them, and they ſet up their arms againſt the trees cloſe by them.
THEIR furniture and utenſils are very few. One cheſt commonly contains the whole, except the baſkets that hold their proviſions, the gourds that ſerve them as water cups, and the hammers with which they bruiſe their fern-root.
THEIR chief amuſements are, ſinging and dancing. Whilſt one ſings, in a rough manner, others will dance and make their geſtures conform to the roughneſs or uncouthneſs of the ſong: they will roll their eyes, loll out their tongues, alternately extend their arms, work themſelves up into a kind of frenzy, and, joining with the laſt chorus of the ſong, ſtamp their feet in a violent and frantic manner. Greyheaded old men will often take part in their dances, and aſſume every antic poſture imaginable. Women, when they dance, tie on before them an apron made of their cloſe-wrought cloth, ornamented with red feathers, dog-ſkin, and earſhells; but they throw off, as do the men, their ſhaggy cloaks. They ſing ſometimes, particularly the women, with a degree of taſte uncommon among ſavages; their voices are mellow and ſoft, and have a pleaſing and tender effect. [Page 205] Their ſongs are frequently in parts; ſung by many voices, and in proportionate thirds. Their tunes are generally dirge-like, ſlow and ſolemn, reſembling the chaunt which a popiſh prieſt uſes at maſs, containing many tones and ſemi-tones, and they accompany their ſongs, which ſeem to have great ſimplicity, and to be a kind of metre without rhyme, with ſome correſponding expreſſions of countenance. Their muſic is far ſuperior to that of the Society and Friendly Iſles; and if any nation of the South Sea comes in competition with them, it is only that of Tanna.
They have three ſounding inſtruments, but they can ſcarcely be called muſical ones. One is a trumpet, made of a ſhell, which gives a noiſe not unlike that which our boys make with a cow's horn. This ſhell is generally mounted with wood, prettily carved and pierced at the point where the mouth is applied. The ſecond is a ſtraight wooden tube, about four feet long, five inches in diameter through its whole length, except at the mouth, where it is reduced to two; with this inſtrument they always ſound the ſame note, and it makes a very uncouth kind of braying. The third is a ſmall wooden pipe, reſembling a child's nine-pin, but much ſmaller, and yields a noiſe ſomething like a pea-whiſtle. [Page 206] They are ſenſible that theſe inſtruments are not muſical, for they never attempt to ſing to them, or to produce with them any tones that bear the leaſt reſemblance to a tune.
TWO or three ſorts of cloth are made in theſe iſlands: the ſhaggy ſort, mentioned before, reſembling a thrummed door-mat, one as coarſe as our coarſeſt canvas, though ten times as ſtrong, and another as gloſſy as ſilk. The ſhaggy ſort is made of flag-leaves, ſplit into three or four ſlips, and interwoven when dry, leaving a number of ends hanging to it on the outſide, eight or nine inches long; and the gloſſy ſort is formed by many threads lying very cloſe one way, and a few croſſing them the other; but theſe are about half an inch aſunder, ſomewhat like the round pieces of cane matting that are by ſome perſons placed under the diſhes upon table to ſave the cloth. This ſtuff is prepared ſo as to ſhine like ſilk, and is often ſtriped. It is made in a frame of the ſize of the cloth, about five feet long and four broad, acroſs which the long [Page 207] threads that lie cloſe together, or warp, are ſtrained, and the croſs threads, or woof, are worked in by hand. To this laſt kind of cloth, they work borders of different colours, and various patterns, in ſtitches like an girl's ſampler, and with a degree of neatneſs and elegance, which, conſidering they have no ſuch thing as a needle, is ſurprizing; this is always the work of the women, though it is chiefly worn by the men. They have the cloth-plant here, as well at O-Taheitee, and they make cloth of it, but, being ſcarce, no larger pieces are made than ſufficient to hang in their ears, by way of ornament.
They have a particular and ſingular taſte for carving: they attempt not to imitate any thing in nature, but confine themſelves to a volute or ſpiral, which they vary many ways, ſingle, double and triple, and with as much regularity as if done from mathematical draughts. They thus ornament their boats, paddles, arms, tools, and almoſt every thing they make; though they have very awkward tools to do it with.
Their fiſhing nets muſt not be here forgotten. Theſe they make of a kind of graſs, very ſtrong in it's nature, and their principal nets are ſo large, that they ſeem to be the joint work [Page 208] and joint property of a whole town: they are generally about five fathom deep, and from three to four hundred fathom long: they make alſo a circular net, extended by two or three hoops, ſeven or eight feet in diameter, which they bait at the bottom, and leave open at the top. In uſing it, it is let down ſo as to lie on the ground; and, when a ſufficient quantity of fiſh is ſuppoſed to be collected over it, they draw it up by a gentle and even motion, ſo that the fiſh are ſcarce ſenſible of being lifted up in it, till they bring it very near the ſurface of the water; and then take it out by a ſudden jerk. They very ſeldom angle for fiſh, but, when they do, their fiſh-hooks are made of bone.
THEIR tools are not many, but anſwer the purpoſes for which they are deſigned. They have adzes, axes and chiſſels. The chiſſel ſerves equally for an auger; they having no contrivance to bore holes. Having no metal, their axes and adzes are made [Page 209] of a hard, black ſtone, and their chizzels of human bone, or pieces of jaſper, chipped from a block, like gun-flints. They have a variety of ſmall tools of jaſper for finiſhing their neat work, which, when grown blunt, are thrown away, having no method of ſharpening them.
Conſidering the inſtrument with which they till their land, it is aſtoniſhing to think how much work can be done in a little time. This inſtrument, which ſerves them both for plough and ſpade, is nothing more than a long, narrow ſtake, cut to an edge at one end, about three inches broad, with a ſhort piece fixed tranſverſely at a little diſtance above it, for the convenience of the foot to preſs it down. With this they will turn up pieces of ſeven or eight acres, and with great expedition, the ſoil being light and ſandy.
THEIR declarations of hoſtilities are always accompanied with a war-ſong and dance, in which the women [Page 210] often join: during this exultation, they ſtamp their feet violently, hideouſly writhe their bodies, roll their eyes, thruſt out their tongues, fetch loud and deep ſighs, and diſtort their faces in the moſt horrid manner; and, when they begin the attack, it is by ſhouting and brandiſhing their weapons.
Upon a wiſh of Captain Cook's to ſee their method of attack and defence, one young man mounted a fighting ſtage, which is a platform raiſed from the ground, and ſurrounded with a ditch, of which they have many large ones on the ſides of hills; and another went into the ditch: both he that was to defend the place, and he that was to attack it, ſung the war-ſong, and danced in the frightful manner I have deſcribed, working themſelves up into a degree of mechanical rage: this done, they attacked each other with uncommon fury. They firſt pierce with a lance, and then proceed to knock their enemy on the head with a ſhort club.
The perpetual hoſtilities in which theſe people live, owing to there being ſo little land in a ſtate of cultivation, have made every village a fort; and they ſeem to have ſtudied more the inſtruments of war than thoſe of peace. Had they any kind of order or military diſcipline [Page 211] among them, they would be much more formidable in arms than they are, for no quarter is given to the enemy.
They have no miſſile weapon but the lance, which is fourteen or fifteen feet long, pointed at both ends, and barbed, and ſometimes headed with bone; theſe are graſped by the middle and thrown by the hand. They make uſe of darts or ſhorter lances at times, and alſo of ſtones; but have no contrivance like the bow to convey their darts, nor any ſuch thing as a ſling. Their other weapons are, battle-axes, a ſtaff about five feet long, broad at one end, like an oar, and pointed at the other, and the patoopatoo, which is generally made of green talc, well poliſhed, about a foot long, and thick enough to weigh four or five pounds: it is made like a pointed battledore, with a ſhort handle and ſharp edges, well contrived for cloſe fighting, as it would ſplit the thickeſt ſcull at a ſingle blow. Through the handle of this weapon is a ſtring, which is twiſted round the hand when uſed. The principal people conſider this inſtrument as a military ornament, and conſtantly wear it ſticking in their girdles. Their engagements, whether in boats or on ſhore, are generally hand to hand; the ſlaughter of [Page 212] courſe muſt be dreadful, as a ſecond blow from their weapons is unneceſſary, if the firſt takes place.
The chiefs carry about them a ſtaff of diſtinction, generally the rib of a whale, white as ſnow, ornamented round the top with carving, dog-ſkin and feathers, like our ſheriffs halberts; but ſometimes this ſtaff is merely a ſtick, about ſix feet long, adorned in the ſame manner, and inlaid with a ſhell reſembling mother of pearl.
THE ingenuity of theſe people appears in nothing more than their canoes: they are of different ſizes, narrow and long, and reſemble very much the New England whale-boat. Some of the larger ſort ſeem to be built chiefly for war, and will contain from forty to near a hundred armed men, being near ſeventy feet long, though not more than five feet broad, and about three feet and a half in depth. The ſides are made ſtrait, of three entire planks, one above another, which reach from end to end, and are ſewed together by a ſtring, made of the flax-plant, and caulked with the woolly ſubſtance of the reed-mace. The ſides being ſtrait, and the bottom ſharp, they are in form of a wedge. A conſiderable [Page 213] number of thwarts or ſeats are laid from gunwale to gunwale, in order to ſtrengthen them, and a profuſion of carved ornaments decorate the head and ſtern, which project beyond the body, riſing almoſt perpendicularly five or ſix feet above it, are pierced through and through in ſpirals, like fillagree-work, and are adorned with ſtreamers hanging from them. The gunwales of their beſt boats are alſo carved in a groteſque taſte, and ornamented with tufts of white feathers placed upon a black ground.
Theſe boats are worked on by eighteen or twenty ſmall light paddles, about ſix feet long, neatly made, having an oval blade, pointed at the bottom, and gradually loſing its oval form in the handle; and the Indians have ſuch an adroitneſs and manual dexterity in uſing theſe paddles, that thirty of them together will keep time ſo exactly, that one would think the rowers were actuated by one common ſoul. Sails of matting fixed upright, between two poles, are ſometimes made uſe of; but they can make no way with theſe, except right before the wind. They frequently ſing when rowing, and beat time with their paddles.
THE language of New Zealand and O-Taheitee is radically the ſame, the difference being merely provincial, or a different dialect, but guttural. That of the northern part and ſouthern parts of New Zealand differ only in the pronunciation.
LITTLE can be ſaid of their religion, except that they worſhip a ſupreme Being, believe in ſubordinate deities, and give nearly the ſame account of the origin of the world, &c. as they do at O-Taheitee.
They make offerings of proviſions occaſionally to the inferior gods; but what other homage they pay could not be learned, as no place of worſhip was ſeen in the iſland, nor any religious ceremonies. They ſeem to pay a degree of veneration to a ſpecies of creeper, which they call atuee, or the bird of the divinity; but they never expreſſed the leaſt wiſh to preſerve the life of this bird in preference to any other.
What they do with their dead I cannot take upon me to ſay: in the northern parts they told their European viſitors that they buried them in the ground, and in the ſouthern parts, that they threw them into the ſea, with a ſtone faſtened to them, to ſink them. No ſuch a thing as a grave was ſeen in the iſland, nor any monument, except in one place, where a croſs was erected, ornamented with feathers. This was deſigned to perpetuate the memory of ſome [Page 216] friend or relation; but the particulars could not be learned, as they make a myſtery of theſe matters.
The only ceremony obſerved at the death of a kinſman was, that of ſcarifying the body of the ſurvivors. Women, at the deceaſe of their huſbands, and men at that of their neareſt relations, cut their arms, thighs and faces with ſharp ſhells, in a very dreadful manner, and it is a conſiderable time before the wounds are healed.
THE inhabitants of the ſouthern iſle, T'avai Poenammoo, live a wandering life, and ſeem to be under no regular kind of government: the head of each tribe, indeed, is reſpected, and, on ſome occaſions, commands obedience; but thoſe of Eahie-nomauwe acknowledge a ſovereign, under whom are ſeveral ſubordinate chiefs, to whom great reſpect is paid, and by whom juſtice is is probably adminiſtered; and it was learned that they poſſeſſed their authority by inheritance.
THE ſmall ſocieties in the ſouthern iſland have ſeveral things in common, particularly their fine clothes and fiſhing-nets. Their fine clothes are preſerved in a place by themſelves, in the middle of their towns, and part of their nets are found in almoſt every houſe; for, when they go out to fiſh, they collect theſe parts and join them together.
The women here ſeem to be held in leſs eſtimation than in the other South Sea iſlands; they carrying, at New Zealand, all the burdens, and doing all the drudgery. Dr. Forſter was an eye witneſs of the ferocity of the natives with reſpect to the women. A boy, about ſix or ſeven years old, demanded a piece of boiled penguin, which his mother held in her hands, but ſhe not immediately complying, he took up a large ſtone and threw it at her. Incenſed at this, the woman ran to puniſh him; but ſhe had ſcarce given him a blow, before her huſband fell upon her, beat her in an unmerciful manner, daſhed her againſt the ground, and was very near killing her. Ill treatment of the weaker ſex is carried here to exceſs; and, contrary to every principle of morality, boys are taught from their [Page 218] infancy to hold their mothers in contempt. It is the employment of the men to till the ground, catch birds, make nets, and go out to fiſh, and that of the women to dig up fern roots, collect lobſters and other ſhell-fiſh, near the beach, cook, and weave their cloth; nay, the women it is ſuppoſed ſometimes go out to war, for many were ſeen carrying ſpears.
Theſe people have but few cuſtoms among them but what are common to the other South Sea iſlands; addreſſing a ſtranger in a formal ſpeech or oration, while they preſent a green branch or a white bird's ſkin, and then putting on their own coat upon him, is a ſignal and ceremonial of amity; waving the hand, and crying out Horomai, is a token of friendſhip; and putting noſes together is their mode of ſalutation. They never take a preſent, till they have given one, and, when they are pleaſed upon any occaſion, they cry ai, and cluck like a hen.
THE diſpoſition of this people ſeems to be mild and gentle: they treat each other with great attention and affection, but are implacable towards their enemies, to whom they give no quarter. It may at firſt appear ſtrange, that where conqueſt [Page 219] is attended with little advantage, there ſhould be frequent wars; but if we conſider, that ſelfpreſervation is the firſt law of nature; that the principal food of the iſlanders is fiſh, and that this is only to be caught upon the ſea coaſts, and in ſufficient quantities, at certain times only, and of courſe that the inland tribes, without a conſtant look-out to preſerve this food, muſt be in frequent danger of periſhing by famine; I ſay, when this is conſidered, we may readily account, not only for their fortifying their little towns, but for the horrid cuſtom of eating their priſoners of war; for, when a man is preſſed by hunger to take up arms, every natural feeling is loſt, and every ſentiment that would otherwiſe reſtrain him from allaying it with the body of his adverſary is abſorbed. If this account of the origin of feeding on human fleſh be admitted as plauſible, the reaſon of its continuance will readily be ſeen; for, when the practice has been begun by hunger, it will naturally be kept alive by revenge; for among thoſe who are accuſtomed to eat the dead, death muſt have loſt much of its horror; and where it has loſt much of its horror, there will not be a great repugnance to kill, eſpecially when a [Page 220] deſire to deſtroy is whetted by an implacable revenge.
Though the New Zealanders are more irraſcible than the other South Sea iſlanders in general, they are, however, leſs immodeſt, having ſome idea of indecency. They are as decent and reſerved in their actions as the politeſt perſons in Europe. The women are not impregnable, indeed, but their terms and manner of compliance do them honour. When an overture is made to any young woman, the party is given to underſtand, that the conſent of friends is neceſſary; that a ſuitable preſent muſt be made; that the conſenting female muſt be treated with good manners and delicacy; that no unbecoming liberties muſt be taken, and that the day-light muſt not be a witneſs of what paſſes between them. An agreement thus made is conſidered by them as innocent as a marriage ceremonial in England; many of the women are, however, as great coquets as the moſt faſhionable ladies in Europe, and the young ones are exceedingly ſkittiſh.
The young unmarried women would not have been very liberal of their favours to the European ſeamen, had it not been often by the compulſion of their fathers and brothers, [Page 221] who bartered their virtue for iron tools. The idea of female chaſtity in New Zealand is very different from ours; for a girl may favour a number of lovers, without any ſtigma upon her character; but, if ſhe marries, conjugal fidelity is exacted from her with the utmoſt rigour.
But if the New Zealanders are more modeſt than the natives of O-Taheitee, they are leſs cleanly; for the climate being colder, they do not ſo often bathe. This, however, might be diſpenſed with, if they did not render themſelves filthy, by the oil with which they greaſe their hair: the better kind of people uſe it freſh, but the lower claſs anoint their heads with rancid oil, which makes them ſmell like a Hottentot; and, add to this, notwithſtanding they have combs both of bone and wood, moſt of them are intolerably louſy; nay, the vermin that infeſt their heads may be often ſeen crawling upon their cloaths, and ſo loſt are they to cleanlineſs, that they will occaſionally crack them between their teeth and eat them.
The chief of diſeaſes taking their riſe from intemperance and want of exerciſe, both of which are unknown to theſe iſlanders, it is no matter of wonder that they enjoy perfect and uninterrupted health. Among hundreds of every [Page 222] age, not an eruption, nor any mark of one, was ſeen upon their ſkin, nor any bodily complaint. Their wounds heal naturally of themſelves, without any topical application; and, among a great number of very old men, they were all obſerved to be chearful, and none of them decrepid.
While they conſidered the Europeans as their enemies, and as coming to make an advantage of them, they did not ſcruple to plunder them, as opportunity ſerved, and to deſcend to little acts of unfairneſs and diſhoneſty: they would receive the price of what they offered to ſale, and, when done, pack up the purchaſe and purchaſe money, with great compoſure, and march off with it as lawful plunder; but, when they began to be acquainted with their viſitors, they wiſhed to eſtabliſh a mutual confidence, and never preſumed to pilfer any thing.
When Captain Taſman touched at Eahie-nomauwe, in 1642, they would not ſuffer him, nor any of his people, to go aſhore; but attacked the ſhip's boat and murdered three of his men. [Page 223] This led him to call the bay where he anchored, Murderers Bay. But as they have no tradition of any European veſſel paying them a viſit, before that of Captain Cook, in October 1769, his may be conſidered as the firſt. As ſoon as he caſt anchor, he, accompanied with a party, put off for the ſhore, and landed in ſight of a number of people aſſembled on the beach, leaving four boys, with the cockſwain, to take care of the boat. As ſoon as they landed, the people ran away; but, when he had got to ſome diſtance from the ſea ſide, four armed men ruſhed forward to ſeize the boat, which was prevented by the boys putting off from the ſhore, and the cockſwain's firing a muſquet and killing one of thoſe who attacked him. When this man fell, the other three ſtood motionleſs for ſome time, almoſt petrified with aſtoniſhment; preſently after, recovering their ſurprize, they dragged the dead body away with them, and left Captain Cook and his party an opportunity to return. But the next day, taking with him a native of the Society Iſles, whom he brought with him, and who was underſtood by the New Zealanders, the nature of his viſit was explained, and a friendly intercourſe took place between them; but not till three or four were [Page 224] killed by muſquet-balls, for attempting to plunder the ſhip. Three boys being taken by force on board the veſſel, they had no other expectation than to be inſtantly put to death; but, when they found themſelves treated with generoſity and kindneſs, their joy was beyond expreſſion. They continued on board till the next day, and, being ſent on ſhore, dreſſed and decorated with bracelets and necklaces, they repreſented to the natives the kind treatment they had received from the Europeans, and thus eſtabliſhed a peace between them. They met alſo with ſome oppoſition in landing at other parts of the iſland, and a native or two fell in the diſpute; but matters were ſoon ſettled, and an amicable intercourſe ſucceeded; for thoſe who are ſtrangers to fire-arms muſt naturally dread the very thought of them. It was ſo here; and, when the iſlanders found themſelves not ſafe from a diſcharge of the cannon, even at great diſtances, they gave up all attempts at oppoſition.
I muſt not omit to mention, however, a dreadful affair that happened to Captain Furneaux's people, when in Charlotte Sound, in December 1773. A midſhipman, with nine of the boat's crew, being ſent on ſhore to gather greens, were [Page 225] taken and put to death, and eaten by the ſavages. It was afterwards learnt, that on one of the natives, ſtealing a ſeaman's jacket, the midſhipman gave orders to fire at them. Thus war commenced between them, and, when they had fired away all their ammunition, they fell a ſacrifice to the reſentment of their enemies.
Monſieur Dufreſne Marion, who had the command of two ſhips from France, and who put into a bay in diſtreſs, at the northern iſland of New Zealand, in 1772, was, with twentyeight of his men, murdered by the natives. Having loſt his maſts, he was obliged to ſearch the woods of this country for new ones; and, though he had lived upon the beſt terms with the iſlanders for thirty-three days, he, with his men, were ſurprized and cut off. But notwithſtanding theſe two tranſactions, the New Zealanders muſt be acquitted of either treachery or cruel malevolence; for it is greatly to be ſuſpected that ſome umbrage was taken at ſomething done by the ſtrangers, and that the affair was revenged with that paſſionate fury which hurries on a ſavage to exceſs.
As there is ſomething very uncommon in part of this buſineſs, I will cloſe the account of New Zealand with the relation. The carpenters were [Page 226] encamped in the woods, under the protection of a M. Crozet, with a ſmall party, for the purpoſe of making new maſts, &c. Upon the news, therefore, of Captain Marion and his men being cut off, a corporal and four marines were diſpatched to M. Crozet to acquaint him with his danger, while ſeveral boats waited to receive him. M. Crozet immediately diſpoſed every thing, as well as he could, to effect a retreat; but ſoon found himſelf in ſight of a prodigious crowd of the natives, led on by ſeveral chiefs. He directed the four marines to be ready to fire at ſuch perſons as he ſhould point out, if neceſſity required it, and then ordered all his party to ſtrike their tents and retire with their tools to the boats, while he advanced up to one of the chiefs. This man told him that M. Marion was killed by another chief, whom he named. At this M. Crozet ſtuck a ſtake into the ground, juſt before the feet of the chief, and bid him advance no farther. The boldneſs of the action ſtartled the ſavage, which, being obſerved by M. Crozet, he inſiſted on his commanding the croud to ſit down, which was accordingly complied with. He now walked up and down before the natives, till all his men were in the boat: his ſoldiers were ordered to follow, and [Page 227] himſelf was the laſt who embarked. Scarce was the boat put off from the ſhore, but the ſavages began their ſong of defiance, and threw ſtones at him; however, by the exertion of his people, he got ſafe on board. This, however, did not intimidate M. Crozet; for, finding himſelf under a neceſſity of procuring new maſts, he landed again with a party, attacked one of their fortifications, and cut a breach in it; an armed chief inſtantly ſtepped into it, and was ſhot dead, another ſtepped on the dead body and occupied his place, he likewiſe fell a victim to M. Crozet's heroiſm, and in like manner fell eight chiefs, who ſucceſſively defended, and bravely fell upon this poſt of honour. The reſt, ſeeing their leaders dead, fled, and many were purſued and killed. In ſhort, after this enterprize, M. Crozet completed the repairs of his ſhip, without interruption, and proſecuted his voyage, after a ſtay of ſixty-four days.
NOW known by the name of Nova Britannia, conſiſt of New Britain, New Ireland, New Hanover, and a number of ſmaller iſlands. They lie in the neighbourhood of New Guinea, in about 210° W. longitude, and 5° S. latitude, about two thouſand five hundred leagues W. from America; were firſt diſcovered by Mendana, in 1567, and by him called Salomon, and afterwards New Britain, by Dampier, in 1700.
As theſe iſlands were merely coaſted, little can be ſaid of the country or the inhabitants: New Ireland is ninety-five leagues long, twenty broad, and above two hundred in circuit, and the face of that iſland, as well as New Britain, and their neighbouring iſles, is mountainous, beautifully romantic, pictureſque, and well cloathed with trees of enormous growth. The heat of the climate may be known by Farenheit's thermometer, which ſtood at 22° and 23° through the whole month of July. New Ireland [Page 229] and New Hanover received their names from Captain Carteret, who touched there in 1766.
Theſe iſlands are ſuppoſed to be very populous, from the many thouſands that appeared on the ſea coaſt, and are fertile in proviſions and cattle. The inhabitants are black and woolly headed, like negroes, but have not the thick lip and flat noſe. They go naked, except covering their privities with a piece of mat, and wearing bracelets and anclets of ſhells: their ears are generally long, and they bore them to carry earings: their teeth are red, from chewing betel, and they powder their hair and beards abundantly with a white powder. They occaſionally wear plumes upon their heads, large, round white plates of ſhells hanging to their necks, and rings through the cartilages of their noſes: and, if we may judge of the people by their miſerable dwellings, they muſt ſtand low even in the ſcale of ſavage life. Their food is cocoa-nuts and roots, though they occaſionally eat human fleſh: they adore ſnakes, toads and ſuch things; are a people who live in ſmall communities; have frequent wars among themſelves, and make ſlaves of their priſoners.
The ſoil of theſe iſlands is light, and their productions are cocoa-nuts in plenty, betel, the areca, the fine Indian reed, mangle-apples, various ſpecies of the palm, aloe, canes, bamboos, rattans, with many trees, ſhrubs, and plants unknown to Europeans. There are alſo the nutmeg and pepper tree; but no eſculent vegetable of any kind. The thatch palm was alſo ſeen there, and the cabbage tree, the fruit of which is a white, criſp, juicy ſubſtance, ſomewhat like a cheſnut when eaten raw, and, when boiled, ſuperior to the beſt parſhip. Among the trees, is one bearing a plumb, with a pleaſant tartiſh taſte, not unlike a Jamaica plumb.
Of the animal kind, there are dogs, wild boars, and tiger-cats; turtles, ſerpents, ſnakes, ſcorpions, centipedes, and a number of inſects of a ſingular ſort. One of theſe is three or four inches long, covered over with a kind of armour, with ſix legs, projecting points on the ſides, and a very long tail; another about three inches long, belonging to the Mantis genus: almoſt every part of its body is of ſuch a texture, that it appears like a leaf, even when we are cloſely [Page 231] examining it: each of its wings is one half of a leaf, which, when cloſed together, ſeem one entire leaf: the under ſide of its body wears the appearance alſo of a leaf, but of a more dead colour than the upper one: the creature has two antennae and ſix legs, the upper joints of which are alſo ſimilar to parts of leaves.
Of birds there are great variety. European poultry; large pigeons, of great beauty, their plumage, green-gold, their neck and belly of a greyiſh white, with a little creſt upon their heads. Another large creſted pigeon, near as big as a turkey, of azure plumage, called a Crowned Bird in the Moluccas, which has a plaintive note like the cries of men; and another kind whoſe cry reſembles ſo well the barking of a dog, that every one who hears it, for the firſt time, muſt be deceived by it. There are likewiſe turtle-doves, and widow birds, larger than thoſe of the Braſils.
Fiſh alſo abound upon the coaſts in large quantities, which the natives take with nets. They are not without ſome rock oyſters, and very large cockles, ſo large as to ſpread five feet between point and point of the ſhell.
Their canoes are very long and very narrow, with an outrigger: ſome of them reach to [Page 232] ninety feet in length, and yet are formed of a ſingle tree. The head and ſtern are very much raiſed, to ſhelter the people within from arrows, which is done by turning either end of the boat towards the enemy. Their canoes are decorated with carved work, and paddled on by thirty or forty rowers.
The offenſive weapons of theſe people are, lances, bows and arrows, ſlings, and long ſticks and poles, like the quarter-ſtaff. They have alſo ſhields to defend themſelves. Theſe offenſive and defenſive weapons, their dextrous management of them, and their boldneſs in attacking, is a convincing proof that they are almoſt conſtantly at war.
Theſe iſlands being not a great way from New Holland, the cuſtoms and manners of the natives muſt be, in many reſpects, ſimilar, I ſhall proceed, therefore, to treat of the latter, being that of which we are beſt informed; for though M. De Bouganville anchored at New Britain in 1768, he was not long enough there to be much acquainted with the people.
IS an iſland of larger extent than any other in the known world. The eaſtern coaſt of it, firſt diſcovered by Captain Cook in 1770, and called by him New South Wales, takes up twenty-ſeven degrees of latitude, being near two thouſand miles long; ſo that its ſquare ſurface muſt be much more than equal to all Europe. The northern, weſtern, and ſouthern coaſts, were diſcovered by the Spaniards early in the ſeventeenth century, but the eaſtern coaſt had not been ſeen by any before Captain Cook. The north-eaſt part is but five leagues from New Guinea, and the ſouth-eaſt part, known by the name of Van Dieman's Land, diſcovered by Abel Taſman, in 1642, not above eighteen days ſail from the ſouthern iſland of New Zealand.
SOUTH of 33° or 34°, the land in general is low and level; more to the northward [Page 234] it is hilly, but not mountainous. It is rather barren than otherwiſe, but ſtill the riſing grounds are diverſified with wood and lawn, and the plains covered with herbage in many places. The trees are tall, ſtrait, and without underwood, and ſtanding at ſuch diſtances, that the land between them will admit of cultivation; never leſs than forty feet aſunder. The ſoil of the hills is hard, dry and ſtrong, yet productive of trees and coarſe graſs, high but thin; that of the plains and vallies is, in ſome places, ſandy, in ſome clayey, and in others rocky, yet wears the appearance of fertility.
OF timber-trees, there are but two ſorts: the largeſt is the gum tree, which grows all over the iſland: it yields a deep red gum, and the wood is heavy, hard and dark coloured, like the lignum vitae, with narrow leaves, like thoſe of the willow. The other grows tall and upright, reſembling the pine, ſomething like the live oak of America. The wood alſo of this tree is hard and heavy. Beſides theſe, there are trees, having a ſoft bark, eaſily peeled off, the ſame that is uſed for caulking of ſhips in the Eaſt Indies.
[Page 235] There are palms alſo of three different ſorts; one whoſe leaves are plaited like a fan, the cabbages of which are ſmall, but exceedingly ſweet; another like the Weſt India cabbage tree, with large pinnated leaves, like the cocoanut, producing large fruit, and a third about ten feet high, with ſmaller pinnated leaves, bearing no cabbage, but abundance of nuts, about the ſize of cheſnuts. They have, among other trees, one that bears a fruit, in colour and ſize not unlike a cherry, whoſe juice, indeed, has no great flavour, but an agreeable tartneſs. The borders or banks of the bays, of which there are many, are covered with mangroves, and the iſland abounds with a number of ſmall trees and flowering ſhrubs, unknown to Europeans. There is one tree which produces a ſort of fig, but very poor; another that bears a plumb, flat on the ſides, like a dried medlar; and a third, that bears a kind of purple apple, in taſte ſomething like a damaſcene.
There are alſo a great variety of plants unknown to us, but very few of the eſculent kind, except a ſort of bean, growing on a ſtalk that creeps along the ground; a kind of parſley and porcelain; two ſpecies of yams, one ſhaped like a parſnip, the other round, and a plant [Page 236] called Coccos, the leaves of which are little inferior to ſpinnage. I muſt not forget to mention here, that the ground is almoſt every where covered with a graſs, whoſe ſeeds, in the month of May, are very troubleſome to the walker; they are ſharp and bearded backwards, ſo that when they ſtick in one's cloaths, which they do at every ſtep, they are worked forwards by means of the beard, till they reach the fleſh and prick it.
OF quadrupeds there are ſeveral that we are unacquainted with; but, as they could not be caught, no deſcription can be given of them. They ſeem to be of the wolf, polecat, and weazel kind. There are goats, but no tame animals, except dogs. They have the opoſſum, a creature with a membranous bag near the ſtomach, in which it conceals and carries its young, when apprehenſive of danger. They have alſo a remarkable animal, about the ſize of a ſheep, called a Kanguroo, ſome of which will weigh upwards of eighty pounds, and are not bad eating, reſembling the fleſh of a hare, but better flavoured. Its body is formed like a gooſe, largeſt behind, and growing taper to the head, which reſembles that [Page 237] of a fawn; it has lips and ears, which it throws back, like a hare's; on the upper jaw it has ſix large teeth, on the under one, only two; its neck is ſhort and ſmall, near to which are the fore feet, which have five toes, each with nails like a cat. The fore legs are kept cloſe to the breaſt, and ſeem, like thoſe of a mole, to be uſed only for digging; they are ſmall, and not more than eight inches long, having no knee joint; but the hind legs have the cuſtomary joints of animals, and are twenty-two inches in length. It has a tail tapering to the end, as long as its whole body, which it carries like a grey-hound, and the whole animal is covered with a ſhort fur, of a dark mouſe or grey colour. It ſets up on its hinder legs, like a hare in her form, and does not run, like other quadrupeds, but leaps like a hare or deer.
Of birds there are great variety, of exquiſite beauty. Loriquets; fine large black cockatoos, with ſcarlet and orange-coloured feathers in their tails, and ſome white ſpots on each wing, and alſo between the beak and ear. Theſe fly in flocks of ſcores together. They have alſo the goat-ſucker, or churn-owl; the bee-eaters; large bats; a ſmall bird, with wattles of a deep orange red; another with wattles of a fine ultramarine [Page 238] colour, with black beak and legs; an owl, having the iris of its eyes gold colour, and the pupil of them dark blue; a large black and white gull, with a bright yellow beak, on the gibbous part of which is a ſcarlet ſpot, the corners of its mouth and irides of its eyes a bright ſcarlet, and its legs and feet a greeniſh yellow; a black bird, with a bright red beak, yellow at the point, the iris of its eyes ſcarlet, and the feet and legs a pale yellow; and many other curious ſmall birds, unknown to Europeans. They have, likewiſe, quails and crows, reſembling ours, a ſpecies of buſtard, beautiful grey pigeons, with red beaks and reddiſh brown creſts; two ſorts of doves; two ſorts of paroquets; pied hawks; black and white kites and eagles.
Of the tribe of inſects, they have green caterpillars, in great numbers, which range themſelves on the mangrove leaves, ſide by ſide, twenty or thirty together, and whoſe hair on their bodies ſting like a nettle; butterflies in ſuch quantities, that, for the ſpace of three or [Page 239] four acres, the air is often ſo crowded with them, that millions may be ſeen flying in every direction, while every branch and twig in the neighbourhood is covered; ants alſo of different kinds, ſome white and others black; the black ants will perforate the twigs of the gum-tree, work out the pith, and occupy the pipe that contained it; yet the parts in which theſe inſects form a lodgment, and in which they ſwarm in amazing numbers, bear leaves and flowers, and appear to flouriſh as much as thoſe that are ſound. Upon the branches of theſe trees, the ants will often make neſts of clay as big as a buſhel. There are ants as green as a leaf, that live upon trees, where they build their neſts of various ſizes, from that of a man's fiſt, to the ſize of his head. Theſe neſts are curiouſly formed, by bending down ſeveral of the leaves, which are as broad as one's hand, and gluing the points of them together, ſo as to form a purſe; the glue uſed upon this occaſion is an animal viſcus, which nature has provided them with. Thouſands will unite their ſtrength to bend down a leaf, which they do by their weight, while others employ the gluten to prevent its return. If diſturbed, they will throw themſelves [Page 240] upon their enemy and ſting him like a bee.
Of fiſh, they have ſting rays, rock and pearl oyſters in ſuch quantities, that a pearl fiſhery might be there eſtabliſhed to great advantage; muſcles, and other ſhell fiſh, cockles, ſome of which are as much as two men can move, and contain twenty pounds of good meat; crabs of two kinds, one adorned with the fineſt hue, equal to the ultramarine, with which all its claws and every joint is deeply tinged, and the under part white, and ſo exquiſitely poliſhed, that, in colour and brightneſs, it reſembles the white of old china; the other kind is marked more ſparingly with the ultramarine, but its back is beautifully ſpotted with brown. They have alſo plenty of turtles and water-ſnakes, like land ones, except that their tails are broad and flat, which ſerve them for fins; but among all the fiſh ſeen at the iſland, none is more remarkable than one that jumps: it is about the ſize of a minnow, and has two very ſtrong breaſt fins, by which it leaps as nimbly as a frog: it ſeems not to prefer water more than land, for it will frequently leave the water, and purſue its way on dry ground.
IN proportion to the extent of land, the number of inhabitants appears to be ſmall; for though Captain Cook was upwards of three months upon the coaſt, and it is natural to have expected numbers ſhould have flocked to the ſea-ſide, in order to view what muſt ſeem to them a wooden world, yet he never ſaw ſo many as thirty collected together; nor, when they formed a reſolution to oppoſe the Captain's landing, could they muſter more than fourteen or fifteen fighting men: neither do they appear to live in ſocieties, but, like other animals, to be ſcattered about along the coaſt and in the woods. Nor, indeed, was a ſpot of ground ſeen in a ſtate of cultivation in any part of the iſland, a further proof of the thinneſs of the inhabitants; for where the ſea does not contribute to feed the inhabitants, the country muſt be deſolate.
The complexion of theſe people is what is commonly called a Chocolate Colour, though they are ſo uniformly covered with dirt that it is difficult to ſay what their true colour is. Their features are far from diſagreeable: their noſes [Page 242] not being flat nor their lips thick: their teeth are white and even, and their hair, though they ſinge it ſhort, is naturally long and black, and generally ſtraight with a ſlight curl at bottom. They, ſome way or other, keep their hair free from lice, though they ſeldom comb it, for it is in general matted and greaſy, but without oil or greaſe.
The beards of the men are of the ſame colour with their hair, and alſo buſhy and thick, it never being ſuffered to grow long. Their ſtature is of the middle ſize, but ſlender, and their bones ſo ſmall, that a common hand may ſpan their ancles and their arms above their elbows; and in general they are clean-limbed and remarkably vigorous, active and nimble. Their countenances are not without expreſſion, and their voices are remarkably ſoft and effeminate.
Both ſexes go quite naked, without the leaſt ſenſe of indecency; but ſtill they are not without their ornaments, the principal of which is, a bone five or ſix inches long, and as thick as a man's finger, which they thruſt through the ſeptum of their noſes: it reaches quite acroſs the face, and ſo effectually ſtops up the noſtrils, that the wearer, when he ſpeaks, ſnuffles ſo as ſcarce to be underſtood, and is obliged to keep [Page 243] his mouth conſtantly open, in order to breathe freely. The ſailors, in humour, called it their Spritſail-yard. They wear alſo necklaces made of ſhells, bracelets of ſmall cord round the upper part of their arms, and a ſtring of human hair plaited, tied round the waiſt; and ſome were ſeen with large gorgets of ſhells hanging on the breaſt, and a few women with feathers in their heads, ſtuck on with gum. They paint themſelves red and white and duſt their faces with a white powder. The red is generally laid on in broad patches upon the breaſt and ſhoulders, and the white in ſtreaks, one round their thighs, two below their knees, one like a ſaſh over their ſhoulders, and another acroſs their foreheads. They have holes alſo in their ears, but no ornaments were ſeen in them. On their bodies were noticed large ſcars in irregular lines, apparently made by ſome blunt inſtrument, probably as memorials of grief for the dead.
LIKE quadrupeds, they ſeem, as was ſaid before, not to live in ſocieties, but to wander about in the woods; and a farther reaſon to confirm this aſſertion, is, that, in an extent of near two thouſand miles upon [Page 244] the coaſt, nothing like a town or village was to be ſeen. Their huts are merely ſheds to ſleep in, ſcarce big enough for a man to ſit under, and hardly large enough to cover his whole length. They are made with ſticks about an inch diameter, in the form of an oven, open at one end, by ſticking the two ends in the ground, and covering them with pieces of bark or palm leaves. They frequently make fires in theſe houſes, and, as they ſeldom waſh or clean themſelves, they thus become ſmoke-dried. Under theſe ſheds they ſleep, with their heads and knees together, ſo that in this poſition one hut will hold three or four perſons.
The only furniture they have is an oblong veſſel made of bark, contrived, by tying up the two ends with a withy, to carry water; and a ſmall bag, knit like a cabbage-net, which the men carry on their backs by a ſtring round their heads, for the purpoſe of conveying, from place to place, the little treaſure they poſſeſs, generally only a lump or two of paint, a piece of reſin, ſome lines and fiſhing hooks, the bracelets, &c. which they continually wear, and a few points of darts.
EXCEPT the fruits and vegetables of the country, they eat little but fiſh: now and then, indeed, they kill the Kanguroo, and occaſionally a bird or turtle. Though they have no veſſel to boil water in, they do not ſeem to eat animal food raw: they broil it and bake it with hot ſtones in an oven, in the ſame manner they do at O-Taheitee. They were conſtantly obſerved chewing a leaf, but of what quality it was could not be learned; all that can be ſaid is, that it had no viſible effect upon the teeth or lips.
Having no nets, they catch fiſh only by ſtriking it with a fiſh-gig, or by hooks and lines, except ſuch as they find in the hollows of the rocks, and ſhoals when the water ebbs. Their hooks are very neatly made, and ſome of them are exceedingly ſmall. Their lines are from half an inch to the fineneſs of a hair, and are made of ſome vegetable ſubſtance.
Their method of procuring fire and ſpreading it is worth remarking. To produce it, they take two pieces of ſoft, dry wood, one a round [Page 246] ſtick of about eight or nine inches long, the other piece flat: one end of the round piece they ſhape into an obtuſe point, and make a hole in the flat piece. In this hole they twirl the end of the ſtick between their hands, as we do a chocolate mill, preſſing it down in the hole, till it fires. By this method they get fire in leſs than two minutes, and, from the ſmalleſt ſpark, they increaſe it with aſtoniſhing ſpeed. They will wrap up a ſpark in a little dry graſs, which, by moving, will be fanned into a flame. Thus a man will run on for miles, and, without any viſible fire in his hands, will, at every fifty or a hundred yards, ſtoop down and leave fire behind him.
One of their methods of annoying their European viſitors, whom they conſidered as enemies, was, by ſetting fire to the high graſs in the neighbourhood of the place where the tents were fixed; which being dry as ſtubble, burnt with amazing force and did incredible miſchief.
THEIR weapons are ſpears and lances of different kinds, ſome with four prongs, pointed with bone and barbed, the points of which are covered with a hard reſin, which gives them a poliſh and facilitates their entrance into what they ſtrike: others [Page 247] have only one point, with the ſhaft made of a light jointed cane, from eight to fourteen feet long; others are barbed all the way up the ſhaft. They are very dextrous in throwing them, and will convey them forcibly with the hand ten or twenty yards; but if they wiſh to convey them further, they make uſe of a throwing-ſtick, which is a plain, ſmooth piece of hard wood highly poliſhed, about two inches broad, half an inch thick and three feet long, with a ſmall knob or nook at one end, and a croſs piece about three or four inches long at the other. In the ſhaft of the lance, near the point, is made a hollow to receive the knob of the throwing-ſtick, from which it eaſily ſlips on being impelled forward. To throw it they lay the lance along upon this inſtrument and hold it over the ſhoulder; and, after ſhaking, throw both the ſtick and lance with all their force; but the ſtick being ſtopped by the croſs piece which comes againſt the the ſhoulder with a jerk, the lance flies forward with incredible ſwiftneſs, and with ſuch good aim, that the thrower is more ſure of his mark at fifty yards diſtance, than a muſqueteer is of his ball. They have alſo bows and arrows, and an oblong ſhield three feet long, and eighteen inches broad, made of bark; and a wooden [Page 248] ſword reſembling a ſcymitar. Some of their weapons had a chizzel fixed at their ends, but of what ſubſtance they were framed could not be learned.
THE canoes of New Holland are as wretched as their houſes. To the ſouthward they are made of one piece of bark, about twelve feet long, tied up at the ends, and ſpread open in the middle by two ſticks. In ſhallow water they puſh them on by a pole, and in deep water by paddles, two of which they uſe at a time. More to the northward they are made of the trunk of a tree, fourteen feet long, hollowed out by fire. They are in general very narrow, and furniſhed with an out-rigger to prevent their overſetting. They never carry more than four people.
The only tools ſeen among them were, an adze made of ſtone, wedges of the ſame, wooden mallets, and a few ſhells and pieces of coral. For poliſhing they make uſe of the rough leaves of a wild fig, which anſwers the purpoſe of ſhave-graſs. With ſuch wretched tools, it is aſtoniſhing that they can perform any kind of work; but there are few difficulties [Page 249] that perſeverance will not overcome, and that will not give way to the patience and good contrivance of a workman.
SOME idea of their language may be collected from the following liſt of words. They articulate plainly, though in ſpeaking they make a great motion with their lips. When they mean to ſhew a diſapprobation, they utter their words vociferouſly, and, when they would manifeſt an approbation, they cry hee with a loud flexion of voice, in a high and ſhrill tone. They ſay tut, tut, many times together to expreſs aſtoniſhment, and often whiſtle when ſurprized.
- The Head Wageegee
- Hair Morye
- Eyes Meül
- Eyebrows Garbar
- Noſe Bonjoo
- Breaſt Coyor
- Hands Mangal
- A Dog Cotta
- A Turtle Putai
- A Butterfly Walboolbool
- A Canoe Carbanda
- [Page 250] Get along Kidde
- Come along Corvai
- Come hither Hala, hala, máé
- I cannot do it Kono, kono.
THESE people have no idea of traffick, nor could any be given them; for all the ſigns made to them, deſcribing a return for things preſented to them were fruitleſs: they did not ſeem to underſtand them. This indifference with reſpect to buying kept them honeſt: they never attempted to purloin any thing, but, if refuſed what they wiſhed for, they attempted to take it by force. They ſeemed to ſet no value upon any thing that was given them, for, like play-things given to children, they pleaſed only while they were new. Nor do they ſeem to have any curioſity; for though walking on the ſea ſhore in ſight of the ſhip, a wonderful machine they had never ſeen before, [Page 251] of numbers that trudged along, ſcarce one caſt an eye towards it.
Whether they are brave or not cannot truly be aſcertained: they made ſome little oppoſition on the crew's landing, but they were ſoon intimidated by the fire arms, as a few pieces fired with ſmall ſhot preſently diſperſed them, and, after the firſt conteſt, they would never come near enough to parley; ſo that the Europeans could by no means form the leaſt connection with them. How it happens that there are ſo few inhabitants, is not eaſy to deviſe: whether they are deſtroyed by each other in conteſts for food, whether ſwept off by famine, or their increaſe prevented by any particular cauſe, cannot be at preſent determined. That they have wars amongſt them is evident by their weapons, but what gives riſe to theſe wars, or what is the conſequence of them, cannot be aſcertained: the few facts that could be picked up we here give our reader, and he muſt be left to reaſon for himſelf.
IS that great peninſula which makes the boundary of Aſia to the north eaſt, and ſtretches from north to ſouth, about 7° 30′. The beginning of this peninſula is at the rivers Puſtaia and Anapho, lying in 59° 30′ N. latitude. At theſe places, the iſthmus is ſo narrow, that, in fair weather, the ſea may be ſeen on both ſides, from the hills in the middle. The figure of the peninſula is ſomewhat eliptical, being broader towards the middle, and growing narrower towards both ends. The country north of the iſthmus, is called Zenoſſe, and is under the government of Anadir.
UPON the banks of the navigable river, is found plenty of roots and berries, which, in ſome meaſure, ſupply the want of corn. Near the head of this river, both ſummer and winter, corn would grow as well as in other places of the ſame latitude, the ſoil being deep and rich; for though the ſnow falls in very great quantities, yet it thaws early enough, and the ſpring is not ſo wet, nor have they ſuch damps there as in many other places. Several trials of ſummer-corn have been made, in which both barley and oats have ſucceeded; but it cannot be expected that they ſhould ſow any great quantities, as, for [Page 254] want of horſes, they are obliged to plough their land with men.
As to vegetables, the moſt ſucculent plants produce only leaves and ſtalks: cabbage and lettuce never come to perfection, and peas continue in bloſſom till late in the harveſt, without yielding ſo much as a pod; but ſucculent roots, ſuch as turneps and radiſhes, thrive very well. The graſs runs up near ſix feet high, eſpecially near the rivers and lakes, and grows ſo faſt, that it is ſometimes mowed three times in a ſummer. The cattle, therefore, are large and fat, and give plenty of milk all the year, for the graſs continues full of juice, even to the beginning of winter, and this juice being condenſed by the cold, prevents the graſs from turning hard during that ſeaſon, ſo that there is feed all the winter. Places where the graſs thus grows, are never ſo much covered with ſnow as the bogs and ſwamps, and, on this account, it is difficult to paſs over them in winter. There is plenty of wood in this country, not only for building houſes, but even for ſhip-building.
THE natives of Camchatca are as wild as the country itſelf. Some of them have no fixed habitations, but wander from place to place, with their herds of rein deer; others have ſettled dwellings, and reſide upon the banks of the rivers and the ſea ſhores.
They are divided into three nations, the Camchatcans, the Koreki and Kuriles. The Camchatcans live upon the ſouth ſide of the peninſula; the Koreki inhabit the northern parts, and round the eaſtern ocean, almoſt to Anadir; and the Kuriles inhabit the iſlands in the eaſtern ſea, reaching as far as thoſe of Japan.
They are of ſmall ſtature, ſwarthy, have black hair, broad faces, ſharp noſes, with the eyes falling in, eye-brows ſmall and thin, hanging bellies, and ſlender legs and arms. They are notorious cowards, great boaſters, and are remarkable for their ſlaviſhneſs to people who uſe them hardly, and for their obſtinacy and contempt of thoſe who treat them with gentleneſs.
THEIR cloaths are chiefly made of ſkins of deer, dogs, ſeveral ſea and land animals, and even the ſkins of birds, thoſe of different animals being frequently joined in the ſame garment. Their upper garment is made after two faſhions, ſometimes cutting the ſkirts all of an equal length, and ſometimes leaving them long behind, in form of a train, with wide ſleeves, long enough to reach down below the knee, and a hood or caul behind, which, in bad weather, they put over their heads below their caps: the opening above is merely large enough to let their heads paſs, and round this opening they ſew the ſkins of dogs feet, with which they cover their faces in cold, ſtormy weather. Round their ſkirts and ſleeves they put a border of white dog's ſkin; and upon their backs they ſew the ſmall ſhreds of ſkins of different colours. They commonly wear two coats; the under coat with the hair ſide inwards, the other ſide being dyed with alder; and the upper with the hair outwards. For the upper garment they chooſe black, white, or ſpeckled ſkins, the hair of which is moſt eſteemed for the beauty of its colours.
[Page 257] Men and women, without diſtinction, wear the above-mentioned garments, their dreſs only differing in their under cloathing, and in the covering of their feet and legs. The women have an under garment, which they commonly wear at home, conſiſting of a breeches and waiſtcoat ſewed together. The breeches are wide, like thoſe of the Dutch ſkippers, and tie below the knee; the waiſtcoat is wide above, and drawn round with a ſtring. Their ſummer habits are made of dreſſed ſkins, without hair, their winter ones of deer, or ſtone ram ſkins, with the hair on. The undreſs, or houſehold habit of the men, is a girdle of leather, with a bag before, and a leather apron to cover them behind: theſe girdles are ſewed with hair of different colours. They uſed frequently to go a hunting and fiſhing, during the ſummer, in this dreſs; but the faſhion being now changed, they wear linen ſhirts, which they buy of the Ruſſians.
The covering of their feet and legs is made of ſkins of different ſorts. In the ſummer time, during the rains, they wear the ſkins of ſeals, with the hair outwards; but the moſt common covering is the ſkin of the legs of the rein deer, and ſometimes of the legs of other beaſts, the [Page 258] ſhaggieſt they can find, to preſerve them againſt the cold. But the buſkins which both the Coſſacs and Camchatcans uſe in their fineſt dreſs, are made in the following manner: The ſole is a white ſeal-ſkin, the upper part of fine white leather, and the hind quarters of white dogſkin: what comes round the legs is of dreſſed leather, or dyed ſeal-ſkin; the upper parts are embroidered. Theſe buſkins are looked upon ſo extraordinary, that if a batchelor wears them, he is immediately concluded to be dreſſed for courting.
They wear the ſame ſort of caps as the people of Jakutſki. In ſummer, they tie about their heads a kind of hat, made of birch bark; and the Kuriles, in hot weather, wear caps of platted graſs; but at preſent, round the Ruſs ſettlements, the faſhion is changed, the women wearing ſhifts, ruffles, waiſtcoats, caps and ribbands. The women do all their work in mittins. Formerly they never waſhed their faces, but now they uſe both red and white paint. Rotten wood ſerves them for white paint, and a ſea-plant for red, which they boil in ſeal's fat, and rub their cheeks with, till they are very red. They dreſs moſt in winter, eſpecially when they either receive or pay viſits.
[Page 259] The common cloaths for a Camchatcan and his family, will not coſt him leſs than a hundred rubles, ſo dear is every article of dreſs. The Kuriles are better able to buy good cloaths than the Camchatcans; for they can purchaſe for one ſea-beaver as much as the Camchatcans can for twenty foxes, and one beaver coſts the Kuriles no more trouble in catching him, than five foxes do the Camchatcans; for he muſt be a good hunter who takes more than ten foxes in the winter; and a Kurili thinks himſelf unlucky, if he does not catch three beavers in the ſeaſon, beſides the numbers that are caſt on ſhore by ſtorms.
THE Camchatcans divide their fiſh into ſix parts; the ſides and tail are hung up to dry; the back and thinner part of the belly are prepared apart, and generally dried over the fire; the head is laid to ſour in pits, and is then eaten like ſalt fiſh, and is much eſteemed, though it ſtinks intolerably; the ribs and fleſh upon them are hung up and dried, and then pounded for uſe: the larger bones are dried and given to the dogs.
Their ſecond favorite food is caviar, or the roes of fiſh, which they prepare three different [Page 260] ways. They dry the roe whole, in the air, or take it out of the ſkin, which envelopes it, and, ſpreading it upon a bed of graſs, dry it before the fire; or make rolls of it with the leaves of graſs, which they alſo dry. They never take a journey, or go a hunting, without dry caviar; and if a Camchatcan has a pound of this, he can ſubſiſt without any other proviſion a great while; for every birch and alder tree furniſhes him with bark, which, with his dried caviar, makes him an agreeable meal; but they cannot eat either ſeparately; for the caviar ſticks to the teeth like glue; and it is almoſt impoſſible to ſwallow the bark by itſelf, chew it ever ſo long. There is ſtill a fourth method, which both the Camchatcans and Koreki uſe in preparing their caviar; the firſt, having covered the bottom of a pit with graſs, throw the freſh roes into it, and leave them till they are ſour; the Koreki tie theirs in bags, and leave them to ſour: this is eſteemed their moſt delicate diſh.
There is a third ſort of diet, called by the Chamchatcans Chupriki, which is thus prepared: In their huts, over the fire-place, they make a bridge of ſtakes, on which they lay a heap of fiſh, which remains there till the hut becomes as warm as a bagnio. If there is no great thickneſs [Page 261] of fiſh, one fire ſerves to dreſs it, but ſometimes they are obliged to make two, three, or more fires. Fiſh, dreſſed in this manner, is half roaſted, and half ſmoaked, but has a very agreeable taſte, and may be reckoned the beſt of all the Camchatcan cookery; for the whole juice and fat is prepared with a gradual heat, and kept in by the ſkin, from which they may, when done enough, be eaſily ſeparated; and, as ſoon as it is thus dreſſed, they take out the guts and ſpread the body upon a mat to dry; this they afterwards break ſmall, and, putting into bags, carry it with them for proviſion.
They have another diſh, much eſteemed, which they call Huigul: it is fiſh laid to grow ſour in pits; and, though the ſmell of it is intolerable, yet the Camchatcans eſteem it a perfume. This fiſh ſometimes rots ſo much in the pits, that it cannot be taken out but with ladles; in this caſe, indeed, they give it to their dogs.
As for the fleſh of land, and the larger ſeaanimals, they boil it in their troughs, with ſeveral different herbs and roots: the broth they drink out of ladles and bowls, and the meat they take out upon boards, and eat in their hands.
Before the conqueſt by the Ruſſians, they ſeldom drank any thing but plain water, except when they made merry, at which time they drank water, which had ſtood ſome time upon muſhrooms. Now they drink ſpirits as faſt as the Ruſſians. After dinner, they drink water, and at night ſet a veſſel of water by the bed-ſide, with the addition of ſnow or ice to keep it cool, and always drink it up before morning. In the winter time, they amuſe themſelves frequently by throwing handfuls of ſnow into their mouths; and the bridegrooms, who work with the fathers of their future brides, find it their hardeſt taſk to provide ſnow for the family in ſummer time; for they muſt bring it from the higheſt hills, be the weather what it will, or they never would be forgiven.
[Page 263] Their huts are built in the following manner: They dig a hole in the earth, about five feet deep, the breadth and length proportioned to the number of people deſigned to live in it. In the middle of this hole, they ſet up four thick, wooden pillars; over theſe they lay balks, upon which they form the roof or cieling, leaving in the middle a ſquare opening, which ſerves them for a window and chimney: this done, they cover the building with graſs and earth, ſo that it reſembles a round hillock without, but within it is an oblong ſquare, with the fire-place in one of the long ſides: between the pillars, round the walls of their huts, they make benches, upon which each of the family lies ſeparately; but, on that ſide oppoſite the fire, there are no benches, being left for their kitchen furniture. In theſe huts, where there are no benches, there are balks laid upon the floor, and covered with mats. They adorn the walls within with graſs mats.
Theſe huts are entered by ladders, commonly placed near the fire-hearth; ſo that when they are heating their huts, the ſteps of the ladder become ſo hot, and the ſmoke ſo thick, that it is almoſt impoſſible for a ſtranger to go up or down without being burnt or ſtifled to death; [Page 264] yet the natives find no difficulty in it; and though they can only fix their toes on the ſteps of the ladder, they mount like ſquirrels; nor do the women heſitate to go through this ſmoke, with the children upon their ſhoulders, though there is another opening, through which the women are allowed to paſs; but if any man ſhould pretend to do the ſame, he would be laughed at. The Camchatcans live in theſe huts all the winter, after which they go into others, which they call Balagans. Theſe ſerve them not only to live in during the ſummer, but alſo for magazines. The balagans are built in the following manner: Nine pillars, about two ſathom long or more, are fixed in the ground, and bound together with balks laid over them, which they cover with rods, and over all lay graſs, faſtening ſpars, and a round ſharp roof at top, which they cover with bramble, and thatch with graſs. They faſten the lower ends or the ſpars to the balks with ropes and thongs, and have a door on each ſide, one directly oppoſite to the other. They make uſe of the ſame kind of huts to keep their fiſh, &c. till winter comes on, when they can more eaſily remove it; and this without any guard, only taking away the ladders. If theſe buildings were [Page 265] not ſo high, the wild beaſts would undoubtedly plunder them; for, notwithſtanding all their precaution, the bears ſometimes climb up and force their way into their magazines, eſpecially in harveſt time, when fiſh and berries begin to grow ſcarce.
The ſouthern Camchatcans commonly build their villages in thick woods and other places, which are naturally ſtrong, not leſs than twenty verſts from the ſea; and their ſummer habitations are near the mouths of the rivers; but thoſe who live upon the Penchinſka ſea, and the eaſtern ocean, build their villages very near the ſhore. They look upon that river, near which their village is ſituated, as the inheritance of their tribe.
BEFORE the arrival of the Ruſſians, the Camchatcans uſed ſtones and bones inſtead of metals, out of which they made their hatchets, ſpears, arrows, needles and lances. Hatchets were made of the bones of whales and rein deer, and ſometimes of agate and flint: they were ſhaped like a wedge, and faſtened to crooked handles. With theſe they hollowed out their canoes, bowls, diſhes and troughs; which, [Page 266] with cans of birch-bark, conſtituted the whole of their furniture; but with ſo much expence of trouble and time, that a canoe would be three years in making, and a large bowl one year. On this account, a large canoe or trough was in as great eſtimation among them as a veſſel of the moſt precious metal and fineſt workmanſhip is with us; and the village in poſſeſſion of ſuch a canoe or trough, valued itſelf extremely upon it. In theſe bowls they dreſs their victuals and heat their broth, by throwing red-hot ſtones into it.
Their knives were made of a greeniſh mountain cryſtal, ſharp pointed, and ſhaped like a lancet, which was ſtuck into a wooden handle. Of ſuch cryſtals were likewiſe made their arrows, ſpears, and lancets with which they ſtill continue to let blood. Needles they formed of the bones of ſables, with which they not only ſewed their cloaths together, but made alſo very curious embroidery.
To procure fire, they uſe a board of dry wood, with round holes in its ſides, and a ſmall round ſtick; this they rub in a hole till it takes fire, making uſe of dry graſs, beaten ſoft, by way of tinder. Theſe inſtruments are held in ſuch eſteem by the Camchatcans, that they are [Page 267] never without them, and they value them more than our ſteels and flints: they are, however, exceedingly fond of other iron inſtruments, ſuch as hatchets, knives or needles; nay, at the firſt arrival of the Ruſſians, a piece of broken iron was looked upon as a great preſent, and even now they receive it with thankfulneſs, finding uſe for the leaſt fragment, either to point their arrows or make darts, which they do by hammering it out cold between two ſtones. As ſome of them delight in war, the Ruſſian merchants are forbidden to ſell them any warlike inſtruments; but they are ingenious enough to make ſpears and arrows out of the iron pots and kettles, which they buy; and they are ſo dextrous, when the eye of a needle breaks, as to make a new one, which they will repeat until nothing remains but the point.
THE Camchatcans make their boats of poplar wood; but the Kuriles not having any wood of their own, make uſe of what is thrown on ſhore by the ſea, and is ſuppoſed to come from the coaſts of Japan, China or America. The northern inhabitants of Camchatca, the ſettled Koreki and Chukorſkoi, for want of proper timber and plank, [Page 268] make their boats of the ſkins of ſea animals. They ſew the pieces together with whales beards, and caulk them with moſs or nettles beaten ſmall.
Theſe boats hold two perſons, one of which ſits in the prow, and the other in the ſtern. They puſh them againſt the ſtream with poles, which is attended with great trouble: when the current is ſtrong, they can ſcarely advance two feet in ten minutes; notwithſtanding which, they will carry theſe boats, full loaded, twenty verſts, and, when the ſtream is not very ſtrong, even thirty or forty verſts.
The larger boats carry thirty or forty pood. When the goods are not very heavy, they lay them upon a float or bridge, reſting upon two boats joined together. They uſe this method of conveying their proviſions down the ſtream, and alſo to and from the iſlands.
IN ſummer time the men are employed in catching, drying, and carrying fiſh to their houſes, in preparing bones and ſour fiſh to feed their dogs: the women, in cleaning the fiſh and ſpreading it out to dry; ſometimes they go a fiſhing with their huſbands. When fiſhing ſeaſon is over, [Page 269] they gather in the herbs, roots and berries both for food and medicine.
In harveſt, men catch the fiſh that appear at that time and kill fowl, ſuch as geeſe, ducks, ſwans, and the like; teach their dogs to draw carriages, and prepare wood for their ſledges and other uſes. The women at this time are buſy in pulling up nettles, of which they make their thread; watering, breaking, and peeling them, and laying the hemp of them up in their balagans.
In winter, the men hunt for ſables and foxes, weave fiſhing-nets, make ſledges, fetch wood, and bring home the proviſions which they had prepared in the ſummer and could not bring home in harveſt. The women at this time are principally employed in ſpreading threads for nets.
In ſpring, when the rivers begin to thaw, and the fiſh which there wintered go towards the ſea, the men are buſied in catching them and the amphibious animals that at this time frequent the bays. The people on the eaſtern ſhore catch the ſea-beaver. All the women go into the fields, where they gather wild garlick and other young herbs, which they uſe not only in a ſcarcity of other proviſion, which often happens [Page 270] at this ſeaſon of the year, but likewiſe out of luxury; for ſo fond are they of every thing that is green, that, during the whole ſpring, they are ſeldom without having ſome of it in their mouths; and though they always, bring home a great bundle of greens, it ſeldom laſts them above a day.
Beſides the above-mentioned employments, the men are obliged to build their huts and balagans, to heat their huts, dreſs victuals, feed their dogs, flay the animals, whoſe ſkins are uſed in cloathing, and provide all houſehold and warlike inſtruments. The women are the only taylors and ſhoemakers; for they dreſs the ſkins, make the cloaths, ſhoes and ſtockings: it is even a diſgrace for the men to do any thing of that ſort; ſo that they looked upon the Ruſſians who came here firſt, in a very ridiculous light, when they ſaw them uſe the needle or the awl. The women are likewiſe employed in dying ſkins, in conjuration and curing the ſick.
Their method of preparing and dying ſkins, ſewing and joining them is as follows: Skins which they uſe for cloaths, ſuch as thoſe of the deer, ſeal, dog, and beaver, they prepare in the following manner: Firſt they wet and ſpread [Page 271] them out, ſcrape of all the pieces of fat or veins that remain after flaying, with ſtones fixed in pieces of wood; then rubbing it over with freſh or ſour caviar, they roll it up and tread it with their feet till the hide begins to ſtink; they again ſcrape and clean it, and continue this till the ſkin is ſoft and clean. Such ſkins as they want to prepare without the hair, they uſe at firſt in the ſame manner as above; then hang them in the ſmoke for a week, and afterwards ſoak them in warm water to take the hair off; at laſt rubbing them with caviar, by frequent treading, and ſcraping them with ſtones, they make them clean and ſoft.
They dye the deer and dog ſkins, which they uſe for cloathing, with alder bark cut and rubbed very ſmall. Seal ſkins they dye in a more curious manner: Having firſt cleaned off the hair, they make a bag of the ſkins, and, turning the hair ſide outwards, they pour into it a ſtrong decoction of alder bark: after it has lain thus ſome time, they hang it upon a tree and beat it with a ſtick. This operation they repeat till the colour is gone quite through the ſkin; then they rip it open, and, ſtretching it out, dry it in the air: at laſt they rub it till it becomes ſoft and fit for uſe. Such ſkins are not unlike [Page 272] dreſſed goat ſkins. They call them Mendari, and are worth about three ſhillings each. The hair of the ſeals, with which they ornament their cloaths and ſhoes, is dyed with the juice of the red wortleberry boiled with alder bark, allum, and lac lunae, which makes a very bright colour. They uſed to ſew their cloaths and ſhoes with needles made of bone, and inſtead of thread they made uſe of the fibres of the deer, ſplit to the ſize or thinneſs required.
THE dogs of Camchatca differ very little from our common houſe-dogs: they are of a middling ſize, and of various colours, though there ſeem to be more white, black, and grey than of any other. In travelling they make uſe of thoſe that are caſtrated, and generally yoke four to a ſledge.
They drive and direct their dogs with a crooked ſtick, about four feet long, which they ſometimes [Page 273] adorn with different-coloured thongs: this is looked upon as a great piece of finery. They drive their ſledges, ſitting on the right ſide, with their feet hanging down; for it would be conſidered as a diſgrace to a man to ſit down in the bottom of the ſledge, or to have a perſon to drive him; no one doing this but the women.
It is very difficult to travel in theſe ſledges; for, unleſs a man keeps the exacteſt balance, he is liable every moment, from their height and narrowneſs, to be overturned: in a rugged road, this would be very dangerous, as the dogs never ſtop till they come to ſome houſe, or are entangled by ſomething on the road, eſpecially in going down ſteep hills, when they run with all their force, and are ſcarcely to be kept in; for which reaſon, in deſcending any great declivity, they unyoke all the dogs except one, and lead them gently down. They likewiſe walk up hill; for it is as much as the dogs can do to draw up the empty ſledges. After a deep ſnow, before it has been hardened by a froſt, there is no travelling with dogs until a road be made, which is done by a man's going before with ſnow-ſhoes, whom they call Brodovſhika.
[Page 274] Theſe ſnow-ſhoes are made of two thin boards, ſeparated in the middle, bound together at the ends, and with the fore-part bent a little upwards. The Brodovſhika having one upon each foot, leaves the dogs and ſledge, and, going on, clears the road for ſome way; then returning, leads forward the dogs and ſledge ſo far as the road is made; a method which he muſt continue till he comes to ſome dwellinghouſe. This is very laborious, and it happens ſo often, that no driver ever ſets out without his ſnow-ſhoes.
When a ſtorm of driven-ſnow ſurprizes them, they are obliged with all haſte to ſeek the ſhelter of ſome wood, and ſtay there as long as the tempeſt laſts, which ſometimes is a whole week. If they are a large company, they dig a place for themſelves under the ſnow, and cover the entry with wood or brambles. Sometimes they hide themſelves in caves or holes in the earth, wrapping themſelves up in their furs; and, when thus covered, they move and turn themſelves with the greateſt caution, leaſt they ſhould throw off the ſnow, for under that they lie as warm as in their common huts: they only require a breathing place, but their cloaths muſt not be [Page 275] tight or hard girt about them, for then the cold is unſufferable.
Another danger attending travellers is, that, in the ſevereſt froſt, ſeveral rivers are not quite frozen over; and, as the roads, for the moſt part, lie cloſe upon the rivers, the banks being very ſteep, ſcarce a year paſſes without many being drowned. A diſagreeable circumſtance alſo to thoſe who travel in theſe parts, is, their ſometimes being obliged to paſs through coppices, where they run the riſk of having their eyes ſcratched out or their limbs broken; for the dogs always run moſt violently in the worſt roads, and, to free themſelves, very often overturn their driver.
The beſt travelling is in the month of March or April, when the ſnow is become hard, or frozen a little at top; however, there is ſtill this inconvenience attending it, that ſometimes travellers are obliged to lodge two or three nights in deſart places; and it is difficult to prevail upon the Camchatcans to make a fire, either for warming themſelves or dreſſing their victuals, as they and their dogs eat dried fiſh, and find themſelves ſo warm, wrapped up in their furs, that they want none; nay, all the people of this climate bear cold ſo well, that they ſleep [Page 276] in the open air, as ſound as others in a warm bed, and awake next morning perfectly refreſhed and alert. This ſeems to be ſo natural to all here, that ſome of them have been ſeen to lie down with their backs uncovered againſt a fire; and, notwithſtanding the fire has been burnt out long before morning, they continued to ſleep on very comfortably, and without any inconvenience.
THOUGH before the Ruſſian conqueſt, the Camchatcans did not ſeem to have had any ambition of encreaſing their power, or enlarging their territories, yet they had ſuch frequent quarrels among themſelves, that ſeldom a year paſſed without one village or other being entirely ruined. The deſign of their wars was to make priſoners, in order to employ them, if males, in their hardeſt labour; or, if females, to make wives or concubines of them; and ſometimes the neighbouring villages went to war for quarrels that happened among the children, or for neglecting to invite each other to their entertainments.
Their wars are carried on more by ſtratagem than bravery; for they are ſuch cowards, that [Page 277] they will not openly attack any one, unleſs forced by neceſſity: this is the more extraordinary, as no people ſeem to deſpiſe life more than they do, ſelf-murder being here very frequent. Their manner of attacking is this: In the night time they ſteal into the enemy's village and ſurprize them, which may eaſily be done, as they keep no watch; thus a ſmall party may deſtroy a large village, as they have nothing more to do than to ſecure the mouth of a hut, and ſuffer no body to come out, which one only can do at a time; whoever, therefore, firſt attempts to eſcape, is knocked down, or obliged to ſubmit to be bound.
The male priſoners which they take, eſpecially if they are men of any conſequence, are treated with all manner of barbarity, ſuch as hewing them to pieces, tearing out their bowels when alive, and hanging them up by the feet. This has been the fate of ſeveral Ruſſian Coſſacs, during the diſturbances of Camchatca, and their barbarities are exerciſed with great ſhow of triumph and rejoicing.
The private differences among themſelves were very uſeful to the Coſſacs, in their conqueſt of the nation; for, when the natives ſaw the latter attacking one village, they were ſo [Page 278] far from aſſiſting their countrymen, that they rejoiced at their deſtruction, not conſidering that the ſame was to be their fate next.
In their wars with the Coſſacs, they deſtroyed more by ſtratagem than by arms; for, when the Coſſacs came to any village to demand its tribute, they were received with all marks of friendſhip, and not only the tribute was paid, but likewiſe great preſents were made them. Thus the natives having lulled them into a ſtate of ſecurity, they either cut their throats in the night time, or ſet fire to their huts, and burnt them, with all the Coſſacs which were within. By ſuch ſtratagems, ſeventy people were deſtroyed in two places, which, conſidering the ſmall number of Coſſacs that were there, was a very conſiderable loſs; nay, it has ſometimes happened, that when they had no opportunity of immediately deſtroying the Coſſacs, they have for two years quietly paid the tribute, waiting till they could find an opportunity of doing it. But now the Coſſacs are more upon their guard, and are particularly afraid of extraordinary careſſes, and always expect ſome bad intention, when the women, in the night time, retire from their huts. When the Camchatcans pretend to have dreamed of dead [Page 279] people, or go to diſtant villages, there is reaſon to dread a general inſurrection.
When this happens, they kill all the Coſſacs which fall in their way, and even the Camchatcans who will not join in the rebellion. As ſoon as they hear that troops are coming againſt them, inſtead of going to oppoſe their enemies, they retire to ſome high place, which they fortify as ſtrongly as they can, and, building huts there, wait till they are attacked, when they bravely defend themſelves with their bows and arrows, and every other method they can think of; but if they obſerve that the enemy is likely to make themſelves maſters of the fortreſs, they firſt cut the throats of their wives and children, and afterwards either throw themſelves down the precipice, or with their arms ruſh in upon their enemies, that they may not die unrevenged; this they call 'Making a bed for themſelves.' In the year 1740, the rebels threw themſelves from a very high hill, upon which they were fortified, into the ſea, after murdering all their women and children, except a girl, whom they miſſed in their hurry. Notwithſtanding this reſoluteneſs, from the time that Camchatca was ſubdued, there have been but [Page 280] two rebellions which could properly be called ſo.
Their arms are, bows and arrows, ſpears, and a coat of mail: their quivers are made of the wood of the larch-tree, glued round with birchbark: their bow-ſtrings of the blood veſſels of the whale, and their arrows are commonly about four feet long, pointed with flint-ſtones or bone; and though they are but indifferent, yet they are very dangerous, being all poiſoned; ſo that a perſon wounded by them generally dies in twenty-four hours, unleſs the poiſon be ſucked out, which is the only remedy known. Their ſpears are likewiſe pointed with flint or bone. Their coats of mail are made of mats, or of the ſkins of ſeals or ſea-horſes, which they cut into thongs and plait together. They wear them on the left ſide, tying them with thongs upon the right: behind is fixed a high board to defend their heads, and another before to guard the breaſt.
It is remarkable when they march, two never go abreaſt, but follow one another in the ſame path, which, by uſe, becomes very deep and narrow; ſo that it is almoſt impoſſible for one that is not uſed to it to walk therein; for theſe [Page 281] Camchatcans always ſet one foot ſtraight before the other in walking.
THEIR trade is almoſt entirely confined to procuring the immediate neceſſaries and conveniencies of life. They ſell the Koreki ſables, fox and white dog ſkins, dried muſhrooms, and the like, in exchange for cloaths made of deer-ſkins, and other hides. Their domeſtic trade conſiſts in dogs, boats, diſhes, troughs, nets, hemp, yarn, and proviſions, and this kind of barter is carried on under a great ſhow of friendſhip; for when one wants any thing that another has, he goes freely to viſit him, and, without any ceremony, makes known his wants, although perhaps he never had any acquaintance with him before: the hoſt is obliged to behave according to the cuſtom of the country, and gives his gueſt what he has occaſion for: but he may afterwards return the viſit, and muſt be received in the ſame manner.
BEFORE the Ruſſian conqueſt, they lived in perfect freedom, having no chief, being ſubject to no law, nor paying any taxes; [Page 282] the old men, or thoſe who were remarkable for their bravery, bearing the principal authority in their villages, though none had right to command or inflict puniſhment.
If any one kills another, he is to be killed by the relations of the perſon ſlain. They burn the hands of thoſe who are frequently caught in theft; but, for the firſt offence, the thief muſt reſtore what he hath ſtolen, and live alone, in ſolitude, without expecting any aſſiſtance from others. They never have any diſputes about their land or their huts, every one having land and water more than ſufficient for his wants.
They think themſelves, however, the happieſt people in the world, and look upon the Ruſſians, who are ſettled among them, with contempt. But this notion begins to change; for the old people, who are confirmed in their cuſtoms, drop off, and the young ones, being converted to Chriſtianity, adopt the cuſtoms of the Ruſſians, and deſpiſe the barbarity and ſuperſtition of their anceſtors.
THE Camchatcans, like other barbarous nations, have no notions of a Deity, but what are abſurd, ridiculous and ſhocking, to a humaniſed mind. They call their God Kutchu, but they pay him no religious worſhip; and the only uſe they make of his name is, to divert themſelves with it: they relate ſuch ſcandalous ſtories of him, as one would be aſhamed to repeat. Amongſt other things, they reproach him with having made ſo many ſteep hills, ſo many ſmall and rapid rivers, ſo much rain, and ſo many ſtorms; and, in all the troubles that happen to them, upbraid and blaſpheme him. They, however, celebrate always three days in the month of November, hence called the Month of Purification, after their ſummer or harveſt labour is over: they look upon it as a ſin to do any work, or make any viſits, before theſe holidays, the breach of which they never ſuffer to paſs without expiation. From hence we may ſee, that the anceſtors of theſe people were accuſtomed to offer up the firſt-fruits of their ſummer labours to God, and at the ſame time make merry with one another. Their ceremonies, in the [Page 284] celebration of their holidays, are extremely ſilly, and conſiſt of many ridiculous antics.
They place a pillar upon a large, wide plain, which they bind round with rags. Whenever they paſs this pillar, they throw a piece of fiſh or ſome other victuals to it; and near it they never gather any berries or kill any beaſts or birds. This offering they think preſerves their lives, which otherwiſe would be ſhortened: however, they offer nothing which can be of uſe to themſelves, but only the fins and tails of fiſh, or ſuch things as they would be obliged to throw away. In this all the people of Aſia agree, offering only ſuch things as are uſeleſs to themſelves. Beſides theſe pillars, ſeveral other places are reckoned ſacred, ſuch as burning and ſmoaking mountains, hot ſprings, and ſome particular woods, which they imagine are inhabited by devils. The world, they believe, is eternal, and the ſoul immortal, and that it ſhall be again joined to the body, and live eternally, ſubject to fatigues and troubles, as in this preſent life, with this difference only, that they ſhall have greater plenty of all the neceſſaries of life: even the very ſmalleſt animal they imagine will riſe again and dwell under the earth. They think the earth is flat, and that under it [Page 285] there is a firmament like ours, and under that firmament another earth, in which when we have ſummer, they have winter, and when we have winter, they have ſummer. With regard to future rewards and puniſhments, they believe that, in the other world, the rich will be poor, and the poor rich.
Their notions of vice and virtue are equally extravagant. They believe every thing lawful that procures them the ſatisfaction of their wiſhes and paſſions; and think that only to be ſin, from which they apprehend danger or ruin; ſo that they neither reckon murder, ſelf-murder, adultery, oppreſſion, nor the like, any wickedneſs: on the contrary, they look upon it to be a mortal ſin to ſave any one that is drowning; becauſe, according to their notions, whoever ſaves him will be ſoon drowned himſelf. They account it, likewiſe, a ſin to bathe in, or drink, hot water, or to go up to the burning mountains. They have, beſides theſe, innumerable abſurd cuſtoms, ſuch as ſcraping the ſnow from their feet with a knife, or whetting their hatchets upon the road. This may, however, be ſaid, that they are not the only people who have ridiculous ſuperſtitions.
[Page 286] Beſides the above-mentioned gods, they pay a religious regard to ſeveral animals, from which they apprehend danger. They offer fire at the holes of ſables and foxes: when fiſhing, they intreat the whales or ſea-horſes not to overturn their boats; and in hunting, beſeech the bears and wolves not to hurt them.
They fill almoſt every place in Heaven and earth with different ſpirits, and offer them ſacrifices upon every occaſion. Some carry little idols about them, or have them placed in their dwellings; but with regard to God, they not only neglect to worſhip him, but, in caſe of troubles and misfortunes, they curſe and blaſpheme him.
Every old woman is looked upon as a witch, and an interpreter of dreams, and there are perſons who pretend to conjure. In their conjurations, they whiſper upon the fins of fiſh and ſome other things; by which means they think they cure diſeaſes, divert misfortunes, and foretel futurity. They are, in general, great obſervers of dreams, which they relate to one another as ſoon as they awake in the morning, judging from thence of their future good or bad fortune; and ſome of theſe dreams have their interpretation fixed and ſettled. Beſides this, [Page 287] they pretend to chiromancy, and to foretel a man's good or bad fortune, by the lines of his hand; but the rules which they follow are kept a great ſecret.
All this ignorance and ſuperſtition, however, will ſoon be rooted out from amongſt them; chapels of worſhip being built in almoſt every village, and ſchools erected, to which the Camchatcans ſend their children with great pleaſure.
WHEN a Camchatcan reſolves to marry, he looks about for a bride in ſome of the neighbouring villages, ſeldom in his own; and when he finds one to his mind, he diſcovers his inclination to the parents, deſiring that he may have the liberty of ſerving them for ſome time: this permiſſion he eaſily obtains, and, during his ſervice, he ſhews an uncommon zeal to ſatisfy them in whatever he does. The time of his ſervice expired, he deſires liberty to ſeize his bride; and, if he has happened to pleaſe the parents, his bride, and her relations, his requeſt is preſently granted; but if they diſapprove of it, they diſmiſs him with ſome ſmall reward for his ſervices. It ſometimes happens, [Page 288] that theſe bridegrooms, without diſcovering any thing of their intention, engage themſelves in ſervice in ſome diſtant village; and though every one ſuſpects their deſign, yet no notice is taken of it till they declare it.
When a bridegroom obtains the liberty of ſeizing his bride, he ſeeks every opportunity of finding her alone, or in the company of but a few people; for, during this time, all the women in the village are obliged to protect her: beſides, ſhe has two or three different coats, and is ſo ſwathed round with fiſh-nets and ſtraps, that ſhe has ſcarce more motion than a ſtatue. If the bridegroom happens to find her alone, or with few in company, he throws himſelf upon her, and begins to tear off her cloaths; for to ſtrip the bride naked, conſtitutes the ceremony of marriage. This is not always an eaſy taſk; for though ſhe herſelf makes little reſiſtance (and, indeed, ſhe can make but little), yet, if there happen to be many women near, they all fall upon the bridegroom, without mercy beating and dragging him by the hair, ſcratching his face, and uſing every other method they can think of to prevent him from accompliſhing his deſign. If the bridegroom is ſo happy as to obtain his wiſh, he immediately runs from [Page 289] her, and the bride, as a proof of her being conquered, calls him back, with a ſoft and tender voice, and thus the marriage is concluded. This victory is ſeldom obtained at once, but ſome times the conteſt laſts a whole year; and, after every attempt, the bridegroom is obliged to take ſome time to recover ſtrength, and to cure the wounds he has received. There is an inſtance of one, who, after having perſevered for ſeven years, inſtead of obtaining his bride, was rendered quite a cripple, the women having uſed him very barbarouſly.
As ſoon as the ceremony is over, he is at liberty next night to go to her bed, and, the day following, carries her off to his own village. After ſome time, the bride and the bridegroom return to the bride's relations, where the marriage feaſt is celebrated in the following manner, of which the writer of this account was an eye witneſs, in 1739.
The bridegroom, his friends, and wife, viſited the father-in-law in three boats. All the women were in the boats, and the men, being naked, puſhed them along with poles. About one hundered paces from the village to which they were going, they landed, began to ſing, and uſed conjurations with tow faſtened upon a rod, muttering [Page 290] ſomething over a dried fiſh's head, which they wrapped in the tow, and gave to an old woman to hold. The conjuration being over, they put upon the bride a coat of ſheep's ſkin, and tied four images about her: thus loaded, ſhe had ſome difficulty to move. They then returned to their boats and came up to the village, where they landed a ſecond time; at this landing-place a boy of the village met them, and, taking the bride by the hand, led her along, all the women following.
When the bride came to the hut, they tied a ſtrap round her, by which ſhe was let down the ſtairs, the old woman who carried the fiſh's head going before her. This head ſhe laid down at the foot of the ſtairs, where it was trodden upon by the bride and bridegroom and all the people preſent, and then thrown into the fire.
All the ſtrangers took their places, having firſt ſtripped the bride of ſuperfluous ornaments. The bridegroom heated the hut, and dreſſed the victuals which they had brought with them, and entertained the inhabitants of the village. The next day, the maſter of the hut entertained the ſtrangers with great abundance, who on the third day departed; the bride and bridegroom only remained, to work ſome time with their [Page 291] father. The ſuperfluous part of the bride's dreſs, which was taken from her, was diſtributed among the relations, who were obliged to return her preſents of far greater value.
Theſe ceremonies only relate to a firſt marriage; for in the marriage of a widow, the man and woman's agreement is ſufficient; but he muſt not take her to himſelf before her fins are taken away. This can only be done by ſome ſtranger lying with her once; but as this taking off of ſin was looked upon by the Camchatcans as very diſhonourable for the man, it was formerly difficult to find one to undertake it, ſo that the poor widows were at a great loſs before the Ruſſians came amongſt them; ſince which they have been in no great want of ſtrangers to take away their ſins.
Marriage is forbidden only between father and daughter, mother and ſon; a ſon-in-law may marry his mother-in-law, and a father-in-law his daughter-in-law, and firſt couſins marry frequently. Their divorce is very eaſy, conſiſting only in a man's ſeparating beds from his wife. In ſuch caſes, the man immediately marries again, and the woman accepts of another huſband, without any further ceremony.
[Page 292] A Camchatcan hath two or three wives, with whom he ſleeps by turns. Sometimes he keeps them all in one hut, and ſometimes in different huts. With every maid that he marries, he is obliged to go through the above-mentioned ceremonies. Though theſe people are fond of women, yet they are not ſo jealous as the Koreki. In their marriages they do not ſeem to regard the marks of virginity. Nor are the women more jealous; for two or three wives live with one huſband in all harmony, even though he ſhould alſo keep ſeveral concubines.
IN general theſe people are not fruitful; for it does not appear that any one man has had ten children by the ſame woman. Their women, as they ſay, have commonly very eaſy births; for, in a quarter of an hour afterwards, they will appear abroad about their ordinary buſineſs, and without any change of countenance. They have no profeſſed midwives, and for the moſt part, the mother or neareſt relation performs the office.
Women who deſire to have children, eat ſpiders for that purpoſe. To prevent conception, they uſe ſeveral herbs and different conjurations. [Page 293] Some of them are ſuch unnatural wretches, as to deſtroy their children when they are born, or throw them alive to the dogs. When a woman bears twins, one of them at leaſt muſt be deſtroyed, and ſo muſt a child born in very ſtormy weather, though the laſt can be avoided by ſome conjurations. After the birth, the women, to recover their ſtrength, eat fiſh broth, made with an herb which they call hale; and in a few days return to their ordinary diet.
THE principal diſeaſes in Camchatca are, the ſcurvy, boils, palſy, cancer, jaundice, and the venereal diſtemper. Theſe diſeaſes they think are inflicted upon them by the ſpirits that inhabit ſome particular groves, if ignorantly they happen to out down any of them. Their chief remedies conſiſt in charms and conjurations, but at the ſame time they do not neglect the uſe of herbs and roots. For the ſcurvy they uſe a certain herb, which they rub upon their gums, as alſo the leaves of the cranberry and blackberry. The Ruſſians cure themſelves with decoctions of the tops of cedar, and by eating wild garlic.
[Page 294] Boils are a moſt dangerous diſeaſe in Camchatca, cauſing the death of numbers. The palſy, cancer, and French diſeaſe, are ſuppoſed to be incurable; the laſt, they ſay, was not heard of before the arrival of the Ruſſians. There is likewiſe another diſtemper which they call the ſuſhutch, which is a ſort of ſcab that ſurrounds the whole body under the ribs like a girdle. When this does not come to ſuppurate and fall off, it is mortal; and, they ſay, every one muſt have this once in his life-time, as we have the ſmall-pox.
When they are bitten by a dog or wolf, they lay the bruiſed leaves of the ulmaria upon the wound, drinking, at the ſame time, a decoction of them: this decoction they alſo adminiſter in the belly-ach and ſcurvy. The leaves and ſtalks bruiſed they uſe in burns. The decoction of this herb, mixed with fiſh, they uſe alſo in the tooth-ach, holding it warm in their mouths, and laying a piece of the root upon the affected tooth. They uſe a ſpecies of gentian in the ſcurvy, and almoſt againſt every diſorder.
In the jaundice they have a medicine which they conſider as infallible. They take the roots of the iris ſylveſtris, and, after cleaning them, beat them in warm water, and uſe the juice, [Page 295] which they ſqueeze out, as a clyſter, continuing it for two days, two or three times a day: this produces a purging, and generally gives great relief. After ſome time, if the cure is not completed, they repeat it. They neither uſe lancets nor cupping-glaſſes, but, with a pair of wooden pincers, draw up the ſkin and pierce it with an inſtrument of cryſtal made on purpoſe, letting out as much blood as they want.
In pains of the back, they rub the part affected before the fire, with a root of the cicuta, being careful not to touch the loins, which they ſay would produce ſpaſms. In pains of the joints, they place upon the part a little pyramid, made of a fungus which grows upon the birchtrees, and ſet the top of it on fire, letting it burn till it comes to the ſkin, which then cracks and leaves a wound that yields a great quantity of matter. This wound they cure with the aſhes of the fungus, but give themſelves no trouble at all about it. The root of the anemonides or ranunculus is made uſe of to hurt or poiſon their enemies; and they likewiſe poiſon their arrows with it.
INSTEAD of burying or laying the dead bodies in ſome hole, the Camchatcans [Page 296] bind a ſtrap round the neck of the corpſe, draw it out and leave it near the hut, to be devoured by their dogs; for thoſe, ſay they, who are eaten by dogs, will drive with fine dogs in the other world; and, by leaving them near the hut, they ſuppoſe, that the evil ſpirits, whom they imagine to have been the occaſion of their death, ſeeing the dead body, may be ſatisfied with the miſchief they have done. However, they frequently remove to ſome other place, when any one has died in the hut, leaving the corpſe behind them in it.
They throw away all the cloaths of the deceaſed, not becauſe they imagine they ſhall have occaſion for them in the other world, but becauſe they believe that whoever wears the cloaths of one that is dead, will certainly come to an untimely end.
After the burial of the dead, they uſe the following purification: going to the wood, they cut ſome rods, of which they make a ring, and, creeping through it twice, they carry it to the wood, and throw it towards the weſt. Thoſe who dragged out the body are obliged to catch two birds of one ſort or other, one of which they burn, and eat the other with the whole family. The purification is performed on the ſame [Page 297] day; for, before this, they dare not enter any other hut, nor will any one elſe enter their's. In commemoration of the dead, the whole family dine upon a fiſh, the fins of which they burn in the fire.
THE Camchatcans have this particular cuſtom, that they endeavour to give every thing a name in their language which may expreſs the property of it; but if they do not underſtand the thing quite well themſelves, they then take a name from ſome foreign language, which perhaps has no relation to the thing itſelf: as, for example, they call a prieſt Bogbog, becauſe probably they hear him uſe the word bogbog, God. Bread they call Brightatin Augſh, that is, Ruſſian root; and thus the ſeveral other words to which their language is a ſtranger.
It appears likely, that the Camchatcans lived formerly in Mungalia, beyond the river Amur, and made one people with the Mungals, which is farther confirmed by the following obſervations: ſuch as the Camchatcans having ſeveral words common to the Mungal Chineſe language, as their terminations in ong, ing, oang, chin, cha, ching, kſi, kſung; it would [Page 298] be ſtill a greater proof, if we could ſhew ſcveral words and ſentences the ſame in both languages.
They are alſo very far from being a cleanly people; their manner of living is ſlovenly to the laſt degree; they never waſh their hands nor face, nor cut their nails; they eat out of the ſame diſh with the dogs, which they never waſh; they never comb their heads, but both men and women plait their hair in two locks, binding the ends with ſmall ropes. When any hair ſtarts out, they ſew it with threads to make it lie cloſe; by this means they have ſuch a quantity of lice, that they can ſcrape them off by handfuls, and they are naſty enough even to eat them. Thoſe that have not natural hair ſufficient, wear falſe locks, ſometimes as much as weigh ten pounds, which makes their heads look like a haycock.
[Page 299] They place their chief happineſs in idleneſs, and ſatisfying their natural luſt and appetites; which incline them to ſinging, dancing, and relating of love ſtories; and think it more eligible to die, than to lead a diſagreeable life, which opinion frequently leads them to ſelfmurder. This was ſo common after the conqueſt, that the Ruſſians had great difficulty to put a ſtop to it. They have no notion of riches, fame, or honour; therefore, covetouſneſs, ambition and pride are unknown among them. On the other hand, they are careleſs, cruel, and luſtful: theſe vices occaſion frequent quarrels and wars among them, ſometimes with their neighbours, not from a deſire of encreaſing their power, but from ſome other cauſes; ſuch as the carrying off their proviſions, or rather their girls, which is frequently practiſed as the moſt ſummary method of procuring a wife.
When any man ſeeks the friendſhip of another, he invites him to his hut, and for his entertainment dreſſes as much of his beſt victuals as might ſerve ten people. As ſoon as the ſtranger comes into the hut, which is made hot for his reception, both he and the hoſt ſtrip [Page 300] themſelves naked; then great plenty of victuals is ſet before the gueſt; and, whilſt he is eating, the hoſt throws water upon red-hot ſtones, until he makes the hut inſupportably hot. The ſtranger endeavours all he can to bear this exceſſive heat, and to eat up all the victuals, whilſt the hoſt is ſtill endeavouring to oblige him to complain of the heat, and beg to be excuſed from eating all up. It is reckoned a diſhonour to the hoſt, and a mark of niggardlineſs, if he ſhould not be able to accompliſh this. He himſelf eats nothing during the whole time, and is allowed to go out of the hut, but the ſtranger is not ſuffered to ſtir, until he acknowledges himſelf overcome. At theſe feaſts, they over eat themſelves to ſuch a degree, that for three days they cannot bear the ſight of victuals, and are ſcarce able to move.
When the ſtranger is gorged, and can no longer endure the heat, he purchaſes his diſmiſſion with preſents of dogs, cloaths, or whatever elſe is agreeable to his hoſt. This, however, is no injury, but a proof of friendſhip; for he expects, in turn, to uſe his friend in the ſame manner.
[Page 301] In their banquets, they treat their friends much in the ſame way, except that they do not torment them with heat, nor expect any preſents. When they entertain with the fat of ſeals or whales, they cut it out in ſlices; and the hoſt, kneeling before his company, with one of theſe ſlices in one hand, and a knife in the other, thruſts the fat into their mouths, crying, in a ſurly tone, Ta na, and with his knife cuts off all that hangs out of their mouths, after they are crammed as full as they can hold. Whoever wants any thing from another, may generally obtain it upon theſe occaſions; for it is reckoned diſhonourable for the gueſt to refuſe his generous hoſt any thing.
It is very diverting to ſee them attempt to count above ten; for, having reckoned the fingers of both hands, they claſp them together, which ſignifies ten; then they begin with their toes and count to twenty; after which they are quite confounded, and cry Metcha? that is, 'Where ſhall I take more?' They reckon ten months in the year, ſome of which are longer and ſome ſhorter; for they do not divide them by the changes of the moon, but by the order of particular occurrences that happen in thoſe regions: they commonly divide our year into [Page 302] two, ſo that winter is one year and ſummer another: the ſummer year begins in May, the winter in November.
They do not diſtinguiſh the days by any particular appellation, nor form them into weeks or months, nor yet know how many days are in the month or year. They mark their epochs by ſome remarkable thing or other, ſuch as the Arrival of the Ruſſians, the Great Rebellion, or the Firſt Expedition to Camchatca.
They are ignorant of the cauſes of eclipſes, but when they happen, they carry fire out of their huts, and pray the luminary eclipſed to ſhine as formerly. They know only three conſtellations, the Great Bear, the Pleiades, and the three ſtars in Orion; and give names only to the principal winds.
Such was the general ſtate of theſe people, when the Ruſſians firſt came among them; but now, by the care of the Empreſs Elizabeth, miſſionaries are appointed to civilize them, and teach them the Chriſtian faith. In 1741, a clergyman was ſent by the ſynod, with aſſiſtants, and every thing neceſſary for the purpoſe, and for building a church, which has been attended with ſuch ſucceſs, that many of them are baptiſed, and all, as was ſaid before, ſend their [Page 303] children very readily to the ſchools opened in many places for their inſtruction; ſo that in a few years, we may hope to ſee the Chriſtian faith planted in all theſe northern countries.