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Лисянский Юрий Фёдорович - Voyage round the world..., Страница 6

Лисянский Юрий Фёдорович - Voyage round the world...

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   Government of the Sandwich Islands. Particulars of the Institution of Taboo. Division of Time. Priests. Human Sacrifices. Funereal Customs. Nobility. Customs as to Eating. Advance of the Inhabitants towards Civilisation. Reign of the present King Hamamea. Mr. Young. Cattle. Feathered Tribe. Division of Owyhee into Provinces, Districts, and Farms.

1804. June.

   The Sandwich Islands serve at present as a resort for all ships going to the north-west coast of America, as they can refit there and take in provisions. The islands are divided in two dominions, of which one, consisting of the islands of Otooway, Origoa, and Tagoora, is governed by Tamoory; and the other, including all the islands to the southward, by Hamamea. {By some navigators he has been called Tomeomeo, Comeomeo, and Toamama, but incorrectly.} Hamamea is said to be a prince of ability and courage. He is so much attached to Europeans, that their ships enter his ports, not only without the least fear, but with a certainty of obtaining, on the best terms, every thing the place they may anchor at is capable of furnishing. By this conduct, he has not only obtained various articles of necessity for his subjects, but has even formed an army, that may be styled, compared with others among the South-Sea islands, invincible. Add to this, that he has upwards of fifty Europeans in his service; and so great a quantity of small guns, swivels, muskets, and ammunition, supplied by the ships of the United States, that these articles in the island of Owyhee have greatly sunk in value.
   The power of the kings is unlimited. The succession to the throne is hereditary, though it is often disputed by the most opulent grandees of the island. Hamamea himself obtained his elevation by violence. On the death of the late king Tyreboo, he contrived first to divide the dominions with the son of the deceased, and afterwards to seize upon the whole himself. Next to the king, the greatest power on the islands vests in the chiefs, or grandees, who are called Nooy Nooy Eiry.
   The military force of the country consists of all who are capable of bearing arms. Every man is brought up to war from his infancy, and is obliged, if called upon, to follow his chief wherever be may go. Besides the general army, Hamamea has a body-guard, composed of the best warriors on the island, which is always near his person. He has also several schooners, from ten to twenty tons, built by Europeans, after the plan of captain Vancouver's, and armed with swivels. We saw, however, none of these vessels, as they were all in the expedition with the king.
   Here, as in the Marquesas, force reigns instead of laws. The king may take the life of any of his subjects at his pleasure, and the chiefs may do the same with those who are subordinate to them. The grandees generally decide their own quarrels by the strength of their respective adherents; but if one of them should disobey the king, the body-guards are immediately dispatched to put him to death, or to bring him alive to the royal presence. Should it happen, that the chief or grandee on this occasion conceives himself sufficiently powerful, he disputes this despotic mandate, and a war generally ensues between the sovereign and his rebellious subject.
   To give the reader some idea of the jurisprudence of this people, I shall furnish him with two incidents that were related to me by Mr. Young, and which had taken place in the island of Owyhee since the period of his arrival there. An islander was condemned to death for eating a cocoa-nut during the taboo. One of the Europeans on the island hearing this, went to the king, and interceded for the life of this man, representing that the crime was of too insignificant a nature to deserve so severe a punishment The king heard the representation of the stranger without interrupting him; and when he had done, replied, with all imaginable coolness, that, as there was a great difference between the inhabitants of the two countries of Owyhee and Europe, there must of necessity be a difference also as to crimes and punishments: and, without further delay, the poor culprit was deprived of his life.-      The other anecdote is of a still more sanguinary nature. The king had given to Mr. Young a piece of land, with several people on it. Of these, one happened to have a quarrel with his wife; and, on their separating, rather than resign to her hi& child, a beautiful boy, he put him to death. Mr. Young, hearing of this cruelty, immediately went to the king, to demand justice on the offender. But how great was his astonishment, when told by his majesty, that the man was not an offender liable to punishment, since by killing his child, he had injured no one but himself! The king however added, that Mr. Young, as master of his own people, might act respecting them in what manner he pleased. From these two instances we may form some judgment of the morals of a country, where the most trivial fault is often punished with death, while the blackest crime is left unnoticed.
   The word taboo signifies here, as in the Marquesas, a sacred prohibition. The king may lay a taboo on any thing he pleases; and there are instances in which he is obliged to observe it himself: these are established by religion, and are held by him in the highest veneration. The principal taboo is that called Macahity, which answers to the twelfth month of the year. Besides this, there are four taboos in every month, the eleventh. excepted, which has no established taboo. Of these four, the first is called Ohiro, and takes place on the 1st day of the month; the second, Mooharoo, on the 12th; the third, Orepaoo, on the 23d; and the fourth, Ocan6, on the 27th. Taboo Ohiro continues three nights and two days, and the other three only two nights and a day. The taboo Macahity is not unlike to our festival of Christmas. It continues a whole month, during which the people amuse themselves with dances, plays, and sham-fights of every kind. The king must open this festival wherever he is. On this occasion, his majesty dresses himself in his richest cloak and helmet, and is paddled in a canoe along the shore, followed sometimes by many of his subjects. He embarks early, and must finish his excursion at sun-rise. The strongest and most expert of the warriors is chosen to receive him on his landing. This warrior watches the royal canoe along the beach; and as soon as the king lands, and has thrown off his cloak, he darts his spear at him, from a distance of about thirty paces, and the king must either catch the spear in his hand, or suffer from it: there is no jesting in the business. Having caught it, he carries it under his arm, with the sharp end downwards, into the temple or heavoo. On his entrance, the assembled multitude begin their sham-fights, and immediately the air is obscured by clouds of spears, made for the occasion with blunted ends. Hamamea has been frequently advised to abolish this ridiculous ceremony, in which he risks his life every year; but to no effect. His answer always is, that he is as able to catch a spear, as any one on the island is to throw it at him. During the Macahity, all punishments are remitted throughout the country; and no person can leave the place in which he commences these holidays, let the affair requiring his absence be ever so important.
   The division of time on the Sandwich Islands is this. A year is divided into twelve months, a month into thirty days, and a day into five parts, sun-rise, noon, sun-set, the time between sun-rise and noon, and the time between noon and sun-set. The year begins with our November. The first month of it is called Macaree; the second, Caere; the third, Ocaoorooa; the fourth, Onana; the fifth, Oero; the sixth, Oykeekee; the seventh, Caona; the eighth, Hoyner6; the ninth, Oherenahoo; the tenth, Oherenima; the eleventh, Oytooa; the twelfth, Macahity. The days of the month have all different names, which are these: the first, Oheero; the second, Hoaca; the third, Coohahi; the fourth, Toorooa; the fifth, Toocoroo; the sixth, Coopaoo; the seventh, Oricoocahe; the eighth, Oricoorooha; the ninth, Oricoocoroo; the tenth, Oripaoo; the eleventh, Hoona; the twelfth, Mooharoo; the thirteenth, Hooa; the fourteenth, Oatooa; the fifteenth, Ho too; the sixteenth, Mahearona; the seventeenth, Tooroo; the eighteenth, Roacoocahé; the nineteenth, Roacoorooha; the twentieth, Roaopaoo; the twenty-first, Orecoocahé; the twenty-second, Orecoorooha; the twenty-third, Orepaoo; the twenty-fourth, Carocoocahé; the twenty-fifth, Carocoorooha; the twenty-sixth, Caropaoo; the twenty-seventh, Ocané; the twenty-eighth, Ronoo; the twenty-ninth, Mowry; the thirtieth, Omoocoo.
   The people of the Sandwich Islands believe in good and in evil spirits, in the resurrection of the dead, and a better life in another world. Their heavoos are crowded with idols, representing, as I have before described, the gods of war, peace, joy, &c, to some of whom sacrifices are offered of fruits, pigs, and dogs. The human sacrifice is only practised on prisoners and rebellious subjects, and is therefore more a political than a religious institution. The priests are brought up to the: offices of religion from their infancy, and early learn by heart what they have to speak on the days of taboo. A particular sect of these priests pretend to have the power of killing, by means of prayer, any person they choose. They call themselves Coohananana, and are the greatest scoundrels imaginable. As soon as their vile praying against any individual is in agitation, the unfortunate being is sure to bear of it, in some way or other; and so great is the superstition which reigns here, that, believing, himself the sure victim of malice, he puts an end to his existance, or loses his senses, or withers away till he dies. It is true, the religion of the country permits the relations of the chosen victim to hire some one belonging to this wicked fraternity, to pray against the murderer; but it never happened that these counter prayers had the effect of depriving any individual of the sect, of either his senses or his life.
   The ceremony of sacrifice to the gods, of prisoners of war and rebels, was differently related to me by different persons; but in the main points of this horrid business, there was but little variation in the accounts. The mode of death is strangling. If the victim to be sacrificed is a person of note, a certain number of his adherents, from six to twenty, according to his rank, must be strangled with him. On such occasions, a particular platform or place of sacrifice is erected in the great heavoo, and is almost entirely covered with cocoa-nuts, plantains, and yams. When prisoners are sacrificed, after being strangled, they are singed, and then laid on the platform, parallel to each other, with spaces between, their feet directed towards the idols representing the gods of war, before whom these sacrifices are performed. The chief victim is always placed in the middle, and the vacancies, between him and his fellow-victims, are filled up with dogs and pigs, well roasted or baked. In this state, every thing is left till time shall have wasted away the flesh, when the heads of the sacrificed are stuck upon the rails that enclose the heavoos, and the bones deposited in a place constructed for the purpose.
   This account I had from the chief priest of Caracacoa Bay. Mr. Young, however, to whom I communicated it, assured me, that no particular platform was erected for the sacrifice; that the victims were simply laid on the ground, with the face downward, their heads towards the idols, and their arms stretched out on the back of one another. He told me also, that no singeing took place, nor were there any dogs in this ceremony. He confirmed the circumstance of the heads of the sacrificed being cut off, and fixed on the wooden rails enclosing the heavoo; but said that it commenced immediately after the expiration of ten days, during which the taboo, called Canaca, prevailed. He added, that only the bones of the arms and legs were taken away, to be deposited in a place appointed for the purpose, and that the other parts of the body were reduced to ashes. The reader must judge for himself respecting the contrarieties in these two accounts, I can only surmise, that they might be in some degree owing to the imperfect knowledge my interpreter had of the language of the natives; and it was by him that my conversation with the priest was carried on.
   The funerals here vary according to the rank and wealth of the parties. The poor are buried any where along the beach, after being wrapt in a piece of coarse cloth, manufactured in the islands. The rich are dressed in their best apparel, and put into coffins, which are placed in small buildings or cemeteries, where they are permitted to rot in state. When the flesh is gone, the bones are taken away, and deposited elsewhere. If the deceased be a person of great consequence, six of his favourite servants must be put to death, and buried with him. On the death of the king, a scene of horror takes place that is hardly credible. Twelve men are sacrificed; and shortly after the whole island abandons itself for a month to the utmost disorder and licentiousness. During this period, both sexes go entirely naked, and men cohabit with women without any distinction: the woman who should dare to make resistance, would be considered as violating the laws of the country. The same licentiousness is observed on the death of a noble; but it does not extend beyond the domains of the deceased, and is of a much shorter duration, not continuing, as Mr. Young informed me, more than a few days, though attempts are made by the youth of the party to prolong the period. Those who are put to death on the demise of the king, or any great personage, are such as have offered themselves for the purpose during the life of their master; and they are in consequence considered and treated by him as his best friends, since they have sworn to live and die with him. When I reflect upon the horrid nature of this ceremony, I hardly know how to credit its existence amongst a race of men so mild and good as these islanders in general appear to be; but Mr. Young, whose veracity I had no reason to doubt, assured me of the fact
   Their modes of expressing mourning are by scratching the body, cutting off the hair, and pulling out the teeth. On the death of the king, every one in his dominions must pull out a tooth; and if a great man die, those who were subject to him must do the same; so that, if an individual should have lost many masters, he may at last not have a tooth left in his head. {Mr. Langsdorff, who saw among the islanders that came on board the Nadejda many who had lost their front teeth, supposes, erroneously in my opinion, the defect to have arisen from the teeth having been knocked out in battle by the slings.}
   The inhabitants of the Sandwich Isles are of a middle stature, and of a dark complexion. In the men, the form of the countenance varies; some have even a perfect European face. The women, on the contrary, nearly resemble each other; the face J^ in all being round, the nose small and flattish, and the eyes black. The hair of both sexes is black and strong. The men cut theirs in different forms; but the prevailing fashion at present, is that of a Roman helmet. The women crop theirs close, leaving a ridge, about an inch and-a-half long, sticking up, and extending from side to side on the forehead. This ridge of hair they daub over every afternoon with a sort of pomatum (if I may use the word), made of shells and corals, to give it a yellowish appearance. The men do the same with theirs, colouring only the hair which forms the crest of the helmet. From this practice, we were at first led to suppose the hair of the head to be of two natural colours, for the ridge and the crest retain a portion of the hue they acquire by the frequent daubings. Contrary to the usage of their neighbours (the other islanders of the South Sea), these people neither paint the body nor wear ornaments in the ears. They have, however, bracelets on their arms, made of bone.
   The women ornament their heads with wreaths of flowers, or worsted threads, of different colours, raveled out of European stuffs. They commonly wrap themselves in a long piece of cloth, of the manufacture of the country; and in cold weather cover the body with broader pieces of it, several times doubled The rich and poor are in common dressed alike; but, on particular occasions, the rich put on their feather cloaks, which, with their helmets and fans, form a dress that must be admired every where.
   These people are extremely fond of the European dress, and receive with pleasure, old shirts, jackets, and trowsers. We parted here with all our rags, in exchange for provisions, and other articles, of which we were in want.
   They have been described by former navigators as thieves and swindlers; I have, however, nothing of the kind to allege against them. During our stay in Caracoa Bay, we were surrounded by them every day, and did not lose a single thing. They are certainly very difficult in bargaining, and know how to keep up the price of whatever they have to sell; and, if it happened that we purchased any thing at a dear rate, it was immediately known to the whole throng, and the article could not be obtained afterwards cheaper. They would even let a day or two pass, in the hopes of bringing us to their terms: but aware of this, and unbending as themselves, we generally obtained what was wanted reasonably. Iron, which was considered formerly as of the greatest value here, is now little regarded, unless in bars. Our rusty hoops, which were deemed so precious on the island of Noocahiva, availed us nothing.
   The island of Owyhee has undergone, within the last ten years, a very considerable change. Every thing at present is dear, on account of the many American ships, which, in navigating these seas, always touch at the Sandwich Islands for refreshments. In the course of a twelvemonth, the bay of Cara-cacooa has been visited by no less than eighteen different vessels.
   The provisions I obtained for my ship were at the following rates:- For four large hogs, I gave a piece of thin canvass; for three others, a bar and a half of iron; for a middling-sized one, two iron axes; for a small one, a single iron axe; for a sucking-pig, a piece of printed linen, measuring nearly three yards, but cut in two, lengthwise. The same for six or eight bunches of sweet potatoes, or a hundred weight of yams; and, lastly, a small knife for a fowl.
   I cannot say that the houses of Owyhee pleased me so much as those of Noocahiva. They resemble our wooden barns, with this difference, that the sides are lower, and the roofs higher, in proportion. The furniture of these dwellings consists of mats, which are spread on the floor, and some domestic utensils, made of the calabash, or of wood, which are hung up out of the reach of the different animals, which are here the constant companions of their masters. The rich hare separate huts, for the several purposes of sleeping, cooking, eating, &c., as I have mentioned before. They are rather larger than the huts of the poor, and have stone foundations: they are also railed round; but the railing is so bad, that dogs and swine can get in with ease.
   The food of the islanders consists of pork, dog's flesh, fish, fowls, cocoa-nuts, sweet potatoes, bananas, tarro-root, yams, &c. They sometimes eat their fish raw; but they bake almost every thing else, their fruits excepted. I was told that the women were forbidden to eat pork, cocoa-nuts, and bananas.
   Animals are not slaughtered here, but stifled, by tying a strong cord tight over the muzzle. The flesh is afterwards barbecued or baked, in boles made in the earth. This method of cooking is too well known to require explanation. I must observe, however, that the meat so dressed, was excellent, even preferable, I thought, to ours by roasting.
   The nobility here are not permitted to borrow, or take any fire from one of the commonalty; but must provide it themselves, or obtain it from their equals. I am not sure, whether commoners may make use of the fire of the nobles; but I was given to understand that this sometimes happened. I was puzzling myself to discover the cause of this curious custom, when an old priest told me, that the nobility were considered as too great, to use any thing not belonging particularly to themselves; which, if true, is surely ridiculous enough.
   The women are forbidden, when in their houses, to eat in company with men, and even to enter the eating-room during meals. The men, on the contrary, may enter the rooms in which the women dine, but must not partake of any thing. When in the fields, or at sea, both sexes may eat together, and may use the same vessels, the calabash excepted, in which each sex Has its own tarro dainty.
   The inhabitants of the Sandwich Isles take salt with their food, and are excessively fond of salted meat. Among their articles of provision, is one made of tarro-flour into small balls, which, by being put into fresh or salt water, is converted into a pudding. It is very nourishing, and will keep for a long time.
   The marriage tie is here, as in other islands of the Pacific Ocean, very lax: a man and woman live together as long as they please, and may, at any time, separate, and make choice of other partners. A man may, in reality, have as many wives as he is able to maintain: in general, however, the king has three, and the nobles two, while the common people content themselves with one. It might be supposed that jealousy would be a feeling scarcely known to these islanders; whereas, in fact, it is extremely prevalent; though with regard to their wives they allow to Europeans great freedom, which, as I have before stated, proceeds from interest.
   The Sandwich Islands are inhabited by a race of men who are not deficient in talents. They are extremely attached to European customs. Some speak English tolerably well, and almost all attempt to pronounce a few words of the language, however indifferently they may succeed; as, for instance, nypo for a knife, how lo, lo, for how do you do? and cabeca, for a cabbage. They are fond of travelling; many offered me their services, and would have given all they had, to have been taken on board as sailors. Ships of the United States often take them to sea, and find them in a short time very useful.
   I am of opinion, that these islands will not long remain in their present barbarous state. They have made great advances towards civilisation since the period of their discovery, and especially during the reign of the present king. They are so situated, that with a little systematic industry they might soon enrich themselves. They produce an abundance of timber, some of which is fit for the construction of small vessels. The sugarcane also thrives here; the cultivation of which would alone yield a tolerable revenue, if sugar and rum were made of it; and the more so, as the use of these articles is already known to the savages of the north-west coast of America, and becomes daily of more importance there. The principal inconvenience is the want of a good harbour. {Mr. Okeen, whom I shall mention hereafter, informed me, that the island of Wahoo has a very fine harbour.} There are, however, a number of bays, which are in no respect worse than the bay of Teneriffe, or that of the island of Madeira.
   The inhabitants are very ingenious in fabricating their cloth, as well as in colouring it. I was astonished at their skill, when I saw the instruments by which it was effected. Their cloth greatly surpasses that made by the inhabitants of Noocahiva; who, I am persuaded, would part with their most costly things in exchange for this, as it would be deemed by them, excellent article.
   I shall here introduce a brief history of the reign of the present king, Hamamea.
   On the death of the late king, Tyreboo, great troubles ensued in the island of Owyhee, the consequence of which was, that his dominions were divided between Kiauva, his son, and an ambitious relation, of the name of Hamamea. As war still raged between Owyhee and the islands to the northward of it, Vahoo, Moreky, Renay, and Mové, which had Haykery for their king; Hamamea, after settling affairs at home, proceeded, in the year 1791, against these islands. Having an army of eight thousand men, and two thousand canoes, he soon subdued his enemy, so far as to take from him all his possessions, except Vahoo. In the year following, when this conqueror was about to terminate, as he supposed, a war so successfully begun, he received information, that his own dominions were in danger from Kiauva. This unexpected news enraged him so much, that, in his fury, he knocked out several of his own teeth. He returned immediately to Owyhee; while Haykery, who had retained only the island of Vahoo, on bearing that Mov6 was abandoned by his enemy, took possession again of that, and all the other islands he had lost.
   Hamamea, landing in the bay of Towyhy, found Kiauva there, who, not expecting this rencounter, retired into the interior. Hamamea followed him. Many battles were fought, with various success; when, at last, the conqueror of Mov6 completely defeated his adversary by a stratagem. He gave out that he was going to construct a new heavoo, or temple, to his gods; and, on that account, ordered hostilities to be suspended. The enemy, believing him sincere, relaxed in his operations, which Hamamea observing, attacked him suddenly with all his forces, and completely routed him. Kiauva, however, saved himself by flight; but many of his chiefs were taken prisoners and sacrificed.
   During the taboo of Macahity, no war could be carried on; but as soon as it ceased, Hamamea, forming his army into two divisions, gave the command of one to his chief captain, Tyana, and put himself at the head of the other. Kiauva, in the mean time, had been by no means dilatory. He collected what forces he could, and was determined to defend himself to the last. Nothing, however, could withstand the courage and resolution of his adversary. Tyana on one side, and Hamamea on the other, carried death and destruction every where. This unfortunate war continued till the year 1793; when Kiauva, dejected by his frequent misfortunes, and deserted by almost all his chiefs, delivered himself up to the mercy of his enemy. His life, after that, was of short duration. Hamamea ordered him to be brought to Towyhy, where he was massacred, with nearly all his principal followers. On the death of this last branch of the Tyreboo family, Hamamea became sovereign master of the whole island of Owyhee.
   Such was the situation of affairs when captain Vancouver arrived. Hearing of the implacability of the islanders, he did all he could to soften their ferocity and render them less savage; and he thought he had, in some degree, succeeded; but, on his departure, as soon as his ships were out of sight, the monster Discord began again to rear her head. A report was spread, that the inhabitants of the island of Mov6 had stolen some people from Owyhee, and had sacrificed them on a certain occasion; and the wrath of Hamamea was again kindled, and be resolved on vengeance. It is probable, that, finding himself strong and in condition for war, he was himself the author of this report, meaning to take advantage of it to conquer his neighbours.
   Haykery was, it seems, now dead, and his son and successor, Tryshepoor, was quarreling with the king of Otooway, his uncle, who had advanced pretensions to the dominions of his deceased brother. Hamamea, hearing of these dissensions, ordered his warriors to get ready, and, with a reinforcement of three brass cannons, and eight Europeans with muskets, he set out against his enemy, in the schooner presented to him by captain Vancouver, which was armed with swivels.
   The three cannon belonged formerly to a schooner of the United States, called the Fair American, which had been seized upon, in the year 1791> by the islanders, and all her crew murdered, except one, a Mr. Davis, who still resides here, and shares the king's favour with Mr. Young. The war, thus renewed, was first directed against Mov6; but, as neither that island nor the others had the same means of defending themselves, they were in a short time all taken, as before, except Vahoo, where king Tryshepoor himself resided. In the next year, 1795, Vahoo was also taken; and in this affair, Hamamea's chief captain, Tyana, ignominiously lost his life, fighting against his sovereign. The circumstances were these. When Hamamea set out on his expedition against VahOo, Tyana was to proceed by sea, to join him with the rest of the army; instead, however, of joining the king, he went over to the enemy. Hamamea had waited a long time for the forces under Tyana, believing them to be still afloat; when he received information of the treachery of his favourite. An unexpected circumstance like this, might have overwhelmed a common mind, but it produced upon Hamamea a very different effect. This brave warrior attacked both his enemies without delay, and, by his courage and the rapidity of his motions, vanquished them both. Mr. Young told me, that he was himself in this expedition, and saw Tyana fall, pierced by a spear. The body of this rebel, and those of many of his associates, were sacrificed in the usual manner, and their heads stuck on the palings of the heavoo.
   In 1796, Hamamea was called home by the rebellion of Tyana's brother, Namotahy, and he remained a whole year at Owyhee; but his ambition would not let him rest, and he again returned to Vahoo, where he is at present, to forward the necessary preparations for a war he had planned against the island of Otooway,
   By Mr. Young's account, the forces of Hamamea consist now of about seven thousand natives and fifty Europeans. He has six hundred muskets, eight guns, carrying a ball of four pounds, one, carrying a ball of six, and five, carrying a ball of three pounds; forty swivels, and six small mortars, with a sufficiency of powder, shot, and ball.
   His navy is as formidable as his army. Exclusive of a great number of war-canoes, it consists of twenty-one schooners, from ten to twenty tons, some of which are armed with swivels, and commanded by Europeans. {We were told on our arrival at Canton, by an American captain, that he afterwards obtained, in exchange for a schooner, an American ship of twenty guns, called Lilly Bird, which had been run ashore, and could not be got off by the crew; and that in this ship, which the natives contrived to set afloat, the king sailed to Otooway, and conquered the island.}
   With such an armament, he certainly would have reduced Otooway last spring, if a disease, as I have mentioned in my narrative, had not spread amongst his troops, and destroyed the flower of his army. When we left the bay of Caracacoa, it was the general opinion there, that he would postpone the expedition against the island of Otooway, and return home; where his presence was very much required, as his long absence, with the whole of the chiefs, had occasioned such languor and inactivity amongst the common people, that the produce of Owyhee was not half what it used to be, when the king and his nobles resided in it. I am confident, that in taking his chiefs with him to the war, and leaving Mr. Young to preside over the island in his absence, Hamamea was governed more by policy than necessity.
   This Mr. Young was formerly boatswain of a merchant-vessel belonging to the United States. He says of himself, that happening to be on shore when his ship sailed out of the bay, he was detained on some false pretext by the inhabitants, and that he has continued with them from that time, which was in the year 1791. He has recommended himself successfully both to the people and the king. The latter he has accompanied in several of his wars, and appears to enjoy his full confidence. He has also acquired a handsome landed property, and some hundreds of Spanish dollars, the value of which is very well known in this island.
   Owyhee is the largest of the Sandwich Islands, and is remarkable for containing one of the highest mountains in the world, Mount Roi. Considering the quantity of lava, and other volcanic substances, that are found every where in this island, it would seem as if it had formerly been subject to eruptions in more places than one; though there is only one mountain at present, called Tavoorapery, where they occasionally happen. I was told, indeed, that three years ago Mount Macaoora, by a sudden burst, did much mischief, but had since that time been perfectly quiet.
   Though the coast of Owyhee does not give to the eye much promise of abundance, except in some few scattered spots, and is inhabited chiefly on account of its fishery, and the trade with European ships, the interior is very fertile, and furnishes a variety of excellent fruits and vegetables. What is of still greater importance, the island abounds also with swine, the flesh of which is delicious, and with goats and fowls, which are both delicate and cheap.
   Some cattle, which captain Vancouver left in this island, have very much multiplied. It is a pity they have been permitted to run wild; though this has probably been the cause of their increasing so fast. It is said, that some time ago a herd came down from the mountains, and committed great ravages in the plantations in the valleys. A body of armed men was sent to drive them away; and in effecting it, four lives were lost. This determined the king to breed some of these animals in a domesticated state; and I saw a very handsome cow and calf, in an enclosure set apart for the purpose.
   Before the introduction of different animals by Europeans, there were swine only on this island, and a small species of rat. This last animal is so numerous, that the inhabitants are obliged to hang up every thing, that it might not be destroyed by them. The king has lately received a couple of horses, that were brought out to him by a ship of the United States, and I understand that he has been promised a stallion and a mare from Spanish America.
   There are but few species of birds in the island, and of those the fowl is the only domestic one. The wild tribe consists of a small gray goose; woodcocks; hawks; little gray birds, with a bill like that of our parrot, and red feathers under the belly, of which the most beautiful cloaks and helmets are made; two other species, that resemble our linnet, and some small birds, of no rarity.
   The coast of Owyhee abounds in fish, many of which are proper for salting. Amongst the rest is a flying-fish, which is caught in considerable quantities, and is sometimes more than a foot long.
   I am told, that the island is perfectly free from all sorts of venemous reptiles. There is but one species of lizard, which is the hairy one; it lives about the houses, and, though very ugly, is highly revered by the natives.
   Owyhee is divided into six provinces, the first of which is called Cona; the second, Cohola; the third, Hamacooa; the fourth, Hidoos; the fifth, Poona; and the sixth, Kau. They are governed by the Nooy Nooy Eiry, or grandees, of the island. These provinces are again divided into Hopooas, or districts, which are in the disposition of the second sort of nobility, called Pekynery Eiry. The hopooas, or districts, are subdivided into farms, which are let to different families of the commonalty. These divisions are very useful, in collecting the revenues, which are paid by the farmers to the king and the nobility, in animals of different sorts, in cloth, and in red and yellow feathers.
   Though in the account I have given of the Sandwich Islands, many things may strike the reader as extraordinary, I can assure him, that I have recorded no circumstance but what came under my own observation, or was related to me by persons whom I believed to be entitled to credit. For the truth, however, of what I derived from others, I can only thus far answer to the public, that I took all the care I could not to be misled.
   In the Appendix, No. II., will be found a small, but, I trust, not ill-chosen vocabulary of the language of these islands. It is given more for curiosity than use, as there are several Europeans there, who may serve as interpreters; and, from the increasing civilisation of the natives, the English language becomes better known to them every day.
   I cannot take a final leave of these islands, without acknowledging, that the inhabitants behaved in the most friendly manner to us, during the whole of our intercourse with them. Surrounded by hundreds every day, we never experienced the smallest injustice or injury: on the contrary, we had many proofs of their honesty and hospitality; which shows, at least, how much they have improved since the time of captain Cook.



   Unfavourable State of the Weather on quitting the Sandwich Islands. Make Cheeri-cqff Island. Pass the Islands of Sithoonack and Toohidack. Visited by Bidarkas from Cadiack. Danger of the Ship from the Unskilfulness of the Pilot. Anchor in the Harbour of St. Paul. Accept a Proposal of assisting the Commander-in-chief of the Russian Settlements against the Sitcans. Delayed by contrary Winds. Proceed for Sitca. Arrive in Cross Bay. Cautious Conduct of a Sitcan Boat. Visited by Boats from the Company's Ships, the Alexander and Catharine. Find the Commander-in-chief absent. Cautious Conduct of other native Sitcans. Endeavour in vain to take a Boat in which was the Son of our principal Enemy. Skill of the Sitcans in the Use of Fire-Arms. The Commander-in-chief arrives, Curio-skies found by him. Aleutian Tents, Hunters, and Dances. Take Possession of a Settlement of the Enemy. Overtures on the Part of the Sitcatis. Attack the Sitcans, and are repulsed by them. Fresh Overtures. Flight of the Enemy from their Fort. Horrible Massacre of Infants previous to their Flight. Fort described. Lass sustained by the Russian Party in the Contest with the Sitcans. Sea-Lions killed by our Sportsmen. One of our Fishermen shot. Fabulous Origin of the Sitcan Nation. Eloquence of their Toyons.

1804. June. 20th.

   At two o'clock in the morning of the 20th of June, the wind settled favourably in the north-east for us to continue our course, and the breeze was so fresh, that by sun-rise we lost sight of Otooway, and thus took leave of the whole of the Sandwich group. We now discovered, that the second cross-tree in our fore-top was cracked, to repair which we were obliged to take in the fore-top sail.
   On finding ourselves in 23° 6 north, and 160° 11' west, I ordered the ship to be steered north-west by north, that we might arrive in the longitude of 165° west, when at the latitude of about 30° north. This I deemed necessary, on account of the westerly winds that blow almost continually above the tropic.
   After losing sight of Otooway, we had proceeded but a short distance, when the wind veered from the north-east to the point directly opposite, and brought with it such thick weather, that we could hardly see a mile from the ship. The flying-fish left us in the latitude of 25° north, and the cold became very sensible. This sudden change of climate, and perhaps a too free use of fresh pork, produced a relaxation of the bowels in many of my crew, which was speedily remedied, by mixing bark with their brandy, and giving them warm clothing.

27th. 29th.

   On the 27th of June we found ourselves in 36° 24' of north latitude, and 164° 3' of west longitude; and on the 29th passed the parallel, where captains Cook, Dixon, and several other navigators, had observed many signs of land: the weather, however, was too hazy for us to perceive any thing of the kind.


   The next day, on reaching 42° 18' north, and 163° 12' west, we met with an amphibious animal, about three feet in length, with a bushy tail and a sharp muzzle. It continued playing round us for more than an hour. We supposed it to be an otter, which never goes far from shore, and conjectured that some unknown land must be near: but the weather continuing in the same hazy state, we could not go in search of it.
   Though we had scarcely any wind during the whole of the day, the air nevertheless was sharp, especially towards night, when the thermometer fell to forty-five degrees. I am at a loss in what manner to account for the singular climate of this part of the globe, where, in the middle of summer, we met with such cold and disagreeable weather. Perhaps the fogs that prevail do not allow the sun to have its full power there till late in the season, when, by its long duration in the northern hemisphere, the air at length becomes rarefied.

July. 3d.

   On the 3d of July, when in 48° 20' north, and 160° 41' west, we were surrounded by several kinds of wild duck, and by one species in particular, that seldom flies far from shore.


   On the 7th, reckoning myself to be near Cheericoff Island, I put the ship under easy sail, and had soundings in the night in seventy fathoms, with bottom of mud and gray sand. During the day we passed great flights of wild ducks, and a quantity of sea-leeks, one piece of which being drawn on board, measured seventy-one feet in length.


   On the 8th, at two o'clock in the afternoon, Cheericoff Island was visible, bearing north-east by north, at the distance of about forty miles. It appeared like three distinct hills; but, on approaching nearer, was reduced to one mass, high and steep on the east side, and gently sloping on the west. From the western side of this island, in the direction of south-west, a reef runs out to the distance of three miles, where it terminates in a large flat rock. The weather all day being heavy and thick, I had no observation by which I could determine with sufficient accuracy the position of the place; but about ten o'clock the next morning it cleared up, and we found ourselves at noon in the latitude of 55° 52' north. The east end of the island, by the true compass, then bore south 70° west, distant twenty-seven miles. Its exact position, therefore, must be in 55° 42' 50" of north latitude, and 155° 23' SO" of west longitude. The longitude was determined by two chronometers. This point settled, I made sail, and towards night passed the islands of Sithoonack and Toohidack, quite close.


   On the 10th, at one in the morning, we sounded in fifty-five fathoms, white sand mixed with mud, and at two the long-wished-for island of Cadiack appeared, bearing north by east eighteen miles. Many of its high mountains were still covered with snow. At four o'clock we approached the harbour of Three Saints, from which came several leathern canoes, called bidarkas, with a Russian in one of them. These were welcome visitors on many accounts, and especially as they brought us a quantity of very excellent fish, an article that was become a great rarity. Encouraged by our success thus far, I hoped before night to make Cape Chiniatskoy; but the wind falling towards evening, we could with difficulty reach the island of Salthidack.


   On the 11th, the weather being foggy, we kept under easy sail, in the depth of from forty to twenty fathoms, till six o'clock in the evening; when, conjecturing we had passed the island of Oohack, we brough-to. The weather continued in the same state till the afternoon of the next day, when it cleared up, and allowed us to make sail for the harbour of St. Paul, with the wind at south-west


   After doubling Cape Chiniatskoy, we steered west-northwest, till we distinguished the rock called Horboon, for which we shaped a direct course. The pilot, whom I had taken on board from the harbour of Three Saints, insisted upon keeping close to the Horboon; and, by so doing, brought us into considerable danger. When the ship was a-breast of the rock, the wind suddenly shifted to the opposite point of the compass; and, together with the current, drove us against it: fortunately, however, my boats were ready, and we passed it without injury. A calm now took place, accompanied with fog, so that we were obliged to tow a-head against the current from the south-west, the lead being our only guide. The depth of water about the Horboon was from ten to twenty fathoms, increasing by degrees to ninety-five, with muddy ground. Fearing the barren and woody islands, we towed to the south-west till midnight of the 13th, when, reaching the depth of sixty fathoms, we brought-to. Shortly after, two large leathern boats came to our assistance, in consequence of a letter I had sent the day before, by means of a small bidarka, to announce our arrival, in one of which was captain Bander, deputy-commander of the Russian establishment here. The weather was so thick and dark, that he found us merely by the noise we made in furling our sails. His own stay with us was short, but he left his pilot on board, who brought the vessel into the harbour about two o'c

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