ound the coast, I think, I may safely assert, that the island contains, at least fifteen hundred inhabitants.
During our stay here, we found the variation of the compass to be 6° 12' east.
PASSAGE FROM EASTBR ISLAND TO WASHINGTON ISLANDS.
Departure of the Neva from Easter Island, State of the Winds. Make the Marquesas. Take a Survey of this Group. Visited by Canoes from the Island of Noocahiva, one of the Washington Islands. The two Ships meet. Anchor in the Bay of Tayohaia. Receive a Visit from the King of the Bay. Attempts of the Women to gain Admittance on Board. Traffic for Provisions. Further Visits of the King, with some of his Relations. Trick ployed us by His Majesty. Misunderstanding with the Inhabitants. Visit the King, with Captain Krusenstem. Palace. Burying-ground. A Grappling stolen from one of our Boats. The King dines on Board the Neva. The Neva visited by the Queen. Excursion to Jegawé Bay. Excellent Anchorage there. Prepare for Departure from Noocahiva. Further Account of the Religion, Government, and Customs of the Inhabitants,
We left Easter Island, as I have observed above, on the 26th of April, at six o'clock in the evening. We were not many miles from the shore, when a south-east wind began to blow. From its regular and temperate nature for a while, we thought we had reached the trade-winds, but we soon discovered our mistake; for it shifted the next day, and continued variable till the 30th, when, a north-easter sprung up, and lasted till we reached the Marquesas. It seems that in this part of the world, the south-east trade does not stretch so far from the equator, as on the east side of America.
Nothing remarkable happened to us during this passage. It was tranquil, and my people had an opportunity of rest from the fatigues they had undergone off Cape Horn. We were accompanied by the tropic birds and benitas; the last were sometimes caught with a hook and line, and furnished the crew with an agreeable fresh meal,
Concluding, by my observations, that, on the 6th of May, which was Easter Sunday, we were near the Marquesas, I ordered a dinner of fresh provisions for my ship's company, with half a bottle of Teneriffe wine to each man. This so elated them, that, towards evening, they sung and danced as merrily as if they had been among their relatives and friends in Russia. I mention this to show, that, though we had experienced many hardships since our departure from Europe, our spirits were not broken, and we knew, upon occasion, how to enjoy ourselves. Expecting that the Marquesas would be in sight the next morning, I thought proper, at sun-set, to bring-to for the night,
As soon as it was day, the island of Fatoohiva (Magdalena) was seen to the westward, at the distance of thirty miles, resembling in appearance three hills. About thirteen miles to the eastward of this island, is a flat long rock, of which ships should be extremely wary, as it lies almost on a level with the surface of the water. On passing Fatoohiva, the island of Motane (St. Pedro) appeared first, and then, in succession, Towata (St. Christina), Hoivahovtf (La Dominica), and Fatoohoo (Hood's inland). This last is the most remarkable of the cluster: its height is very considerable, and it looks like a stupendous solid rock.
At noon we found ourselves a-breast of the island of Motane, in latitude, by observation, 10° south. On some maps this island appears smaller than that of Fatoohoo, whereas it is double the size.
I steered to the eastward of this group of islands, to survey them more minutely, and draw a chart from the survey. They are all lofty and steep, except the Towata, which has a more level appearance than the rest. At seven o'clock we passed the island of Fatoohoo, and steered to the west, till we found ourselves between it and the island of Ouahoonha (Riou's), one of the Washington cluster, when I brought-to for the night.
In the morning of the 8th we neared the island of Ouahoonha: and I had intended to survey it all round; but the unsettled state of the weather prevented me, and I was obliged to bear for the island of Noocahiva (sir H. Martin's), another of the Washington cluster; which, when we were a-breast of the rocks, off the north-west point of Ouahoonha, was in sight. The island of Ouahoonha is also high and hilly: on the south-west side of it, we perceived many small bays, fit for landing boats; but there is only one that will admit ships, which is situated close to the south point, in latitude, by our observation, 8° 56'. It appears, however, to be considerably exposed to the southerly-winds. -This bay is remarkable for two small islands, one of which is high and rocky; the other level, and covered with grass. Though we passed the shore at the distance of about four miles, we were not so fortunate as to see a single human being come off to welcome us; which greatly surprised me, as lieutenant Graves says, in his journal, that the inhabitants came on board his ship very readily, and behaved with much civility. From this circumstance, I thought it not unlikely, that some navigators, passing this way before had treated them in an unfriendly manner, and made them afraid of showing themselves to vessels arriving off their shores; and, as the wind in the afternoon was in a quarter that would enable me to reach the north part of Noocahiva, about six o'clock, with disappointed fadings I tacked for that purpose.
The night proved squally, and we were once in the course of it in danger of being driven on the shore of Noocahiva, but a sudden gust from the land fortunately saved us.
In the morning, a canoe with eight persons made for the ship, from the east side of this island; and, when at a short distance from us, one of the company sounded a large conch, while another waved a piece of white cloth. Thinking these to be tokens of friendship, I ordered, in return, a white handkerchief to be waved, and a white flag hoisted. My guests climbed the ship's sides, with the assistance of a rope that was thrown to them from deck, and behaved in as free and amicable a manner as if they had lived amongst us all their lives. Our curiosity did not in the least interrupt their singing, dancing, and other wild testimonies of joy, on receiving the different presents we made them, and especially the knives, which they called cake.
Observing that four more canoes were hurrying from the shore. I ordered our present visitors to leave us; and in a moment they all jumped overboard, one after another. As soon as the new visitors arrived, those who left us made a most tumultuous noise; and, displaying our presents, vociferated, repeatedly, the word cuanna.
In one of the new canoes, which was rowed by fifteen men, was the chief, who held a long stick, to which was fastened a bunch of bananas, a piece of white cloth manufactured on the island, and a square fan. Being under sail, I did not like to be surrounded by too many of these savages, and I therefore signified that a few only were to come on board. The chief, as soon as he comprehended my orders, jumped out of his canoe into the water, and climbed up the ship with astonishing alacrity. As soon as he was on the quarter-deck, be sat himself down, and presented me with the. bunch of bananas, and the cloth that had been fastened to the stick. I was going to put on his head a cap of striped stuff; but he refused the honour, and begged a knife, which was given him with a pair of ear-rings, made of two copeks, which is the smallest Russian copper money. One of my officers made him a present of a small looking-glass, which delighted him so much, that I thought he would have lost his senses. Our new guests behaved with the same familiarity as the preceding ones. They were all perfectly honest in the Exchange of articles, and so docile, that no one left the ship without asking my permission. I showed them fowls and pigs; the fowls they called moa,
and the pigs boaga,
intimating by signs that there were plenty of both on shore; but, from their surprise at the sight of our sheep and goats, I inferred that they had never till then seen such animals.
We steered all the; morning of the 9th to the southward, in the hope of reaching the bay of Tayobata towards evening; but at noon we were becalmed, and gave up the idea of being at anchor before night.
During the night, the rain was so heavy, that a dozen casks might have been filled in a very short time. At day-break we reached the south end of Noocabiva; but as the wind blew from the south-west, we tacked about. The bay, from which the canoes had come Out the day before, is situated on the east side of the island, and is pretty large. The islanders did all they could to persuade us to stop in this quarter; but, as it was completely exposed to the easterly winds, I could not comply with their request. At eight in the morning the wind shifted to the north-east; and, as the weather cleared up a little, I made for the; shore: and at nine, to our equal joy and surprise, a jolly-boat was seen coming to us from the Nadejda. Having been separated nearly seven weeks from our friends, the pleasure we felt, on hearing they were all in good health and spirits, can hardly be expressed.
At noon we entered the long-desired bay of Taiohaia; but, the wind failing, we were obliged to warp the ship to the anchoring place. While this was doing, I went on board the Nadejda to pay my respects to captain Krusenstern, with whom I found the king of the bay and a great number of islanders, who were entirety naked. His majesty differed in no respect from his subjects, except that his body was more punctured or tatooed. I had the good fortune to please the king at first sight; he called me Too, and promised to pay me a visit as soon as possible. There were also on board the Nadejda a Frenchman and an Englishman, whty having resided several years in these islands, were extremely useful to us, as will be seen hereafter.
Returning on board my ship, I found the king already arrived, with presents of fruit. There were also many islanders swimming round the vessel with fruit, which they wished to dispose of: there were women amongst them; but it was signified to them, that I had resolved to admit none of their sex on hoard till the ship should he ready for sea, and at sun-set they swain back with the rest
The next day, as soon as it was light, we were surrounded by a still greater multitude of these people. There were now a hundred females at least; and they practised all the arts of lewd expression and gesture, to gain admission on board. It was with difficulty I could get my crew to obey, the orders I had given on this subject. Amongst these females were some not more than ten years of age. But youth, it seems, is here no test of innocence; these infants, as I may call them, rivalled their mothers in the wantonness of their motions and the arts of allurement.
About seven o'clock the traffic for cocoa-nuts, bread-fruit, bananas, and different articles of curiosity, began, and was continued briskly till noon. Of the three first commodities, I obtained a considerable quantity, at a cheap rate, giving only, for seven outs, and a bunch of bananas and bread-fruit, a piece of an old iron hoop, not more than five inches long. At eight o'clock two canoes arrived, with the king in one, and his uncle in the other. They brought with them four pigs, which they wished to exchange for two of our English sheep; but finding me averse to this, the canoes took them back on their return. I offered, as a present to the king, some axes, knives, and other articles; but be would only take a striped cap, observing, as he refused the rest, that such precious things could not be accepted, till he had something to give me in return. He immediately sent, on shore his canoe, which soon returned with fifty cocoa-nuts, for which, in addition to what I had before given, I made a present to the uncle of an axe and three knives. While this was going on, another of his majesty's relations came on board, and exchanged a large pig, for a cock and hen.
The king, during his stay, took such a liking to the large looking-glass in the cabin, that he could scarcely leave it for a moment; and as he stood before it, he made the most ridiculous distortions. For a green parrot which I had, he offered two large pigs; but I refused to part with it. However, to keep his majesty in good humour, I gave him a quantity of sugar, of which I knew he was extremely fond. Soon after breakfast, to my great surprise, our royal, guest leaped overboard, without saying a word to any one, and swam on shore. This strange method of taking leave disconcerted me, and made me a little suspicious; but, being assured by our interpreter, Roberts, that it was agreeable to the custom of the country, my suspicions vanished. We observed, that of the immense number of people swimming round our vessel, not one paid the least attention to their king as he passed them, but continued what they were doing, uninterrupted by his presence. His attendants remained on board some time after his departure, and begged to be shaved, having been, told by one of their countrymen, that the operation was much easier and -more pleasant with a razor, than with their shells.
At one o'clock I put a taboo, or prohibition, upon further cornmercial intercourse for the present, by hoisting put a red flag, as it was our hour of dinner. The moment the islanders understood, from our interpreter (the Englishman of whom I have just spoken) what was meant, they retired to a short distance from the ship; but their noise was as tumultuous as ever.
As soon as dinner was over, the taboo was taken off, and the traffic began again. We had as yet no reason to complain of misconduct on the part of the islanders. Whenever any thing was purchased, it was hoisted on board, and a piece of iron hoop (our common payment), fastened to the end of the rope, was let down in return. Some of these traders were occasionally admitted, in to the ship; but on receiving payment, they in general instantly jumped overboard, seemingly the happiest beings in the world.
We moored! the ship to-day; and, as the weather was warm, I called the islanders to our assistance. This produced great joy amongst them; and the capstern was manned in an instant. After the business was over, I made each a present of an iron nail; and they departed, as before, perfectly happy.
To my great satisfaction, Roberts was induced to stay on board and attend the ship during her continuance at these islands.
On the 12th we were again awaked in the morning by the noise of the swimmers; but their number was so small, in comparison with that of the day before, that only fifty cocoa-nuts, and a few other trifles were purchased. About noon the king paid us another visit, accompanied by his brother, and exchanged four cocks, which he btought with him, for one of ours, whose crowing had particularly pleased him. The brother also had taken a liking to one of our ducks, and offered a middling size pig for her, promising at the same time another, not quite so large, for a drake. This exchange was not only advantageous, but very gratifying to me, as it might be the means of introducing into the island a useful domestic bird, unknown there before. During this visit, a circumstance took place of a seriocomic nature. One of my midshipmen, in examining the oar of a canoe that I had purchased, happened to let it fall, and it struck against the head of the king, who was sitting on the deck. His majesty immediately fell down, and began to make the most extraordinary wry faces, as if in great pain. The accident mortified me so much, that I reprimanded the young man a little severely for his carelessness. He was himself considerably alarmed; and, in apologizing, presented the king with a small piece of iron. This changed the scene; his majesty burst into a loud laugh, and expressed by signs, how cleverly he had deceived us, and that he was not in the least hort. This scene over, the king went on shore in high spirits, and I was myself not a little pleased that the accident terminated as it did.
In the afternoon, captain Krusenstern came to see me, and in the course of conversation informed me, that the king had also brought him in the morning a pig; but as on his coming on board, the officers being at dinner, there was nobody to receive him on deck, he was so much displeased, that he ordered the pig to be taken back again. Though this circumstance appeared to us of a trifling nature, it had nearly been productive of serious consequences. One of the savages, returning on shore, reported that the king was in irons on board the Nadejda, for refusing to part with a pig. The bay was instantly in commotion; and our Jaunch, which was then watering on shore, was surrounded by a host of savages, who threatened, if their chief was not immediately released, to put Roberts, who was attending the launch, to death. Though the poor fellow did all he could to convince them of the falsehood of the story, he certainly would have been cruelly treated, had not his majesty opportunely made his appearance, and assured the throng that he had received no insult or injury. This conduct of the islanders was a little grating to us; but we showed no resentment, considering them as uneducated children of Nature, who suffered their passions to run away with their judgment, and force to carry it over reason.
Notwithstanding these tumultuous symptoms, I ordered the launch to be dispatched again the next morning for water; and I proposed to captain Krusenstern our paying a visit to the king. At eight o'clock we set out, thirty in number, with Roberts for our guide. Our way at first was along the beach, and then through a grove of cocoa-nut and bread-fruit trees. Having passed some poor cottages, we reached the house of the king's brother, where we stopped for a while to repose ourselves. The multitude that followed from curiosity, crowded upon us continually; but a word occasionally from Roberts, was sufficient to make them keep at a proper distance. As we proceeded, there were many springs of water on the way, and the path being narrow, we were wet and dirty before we reached the place of destination. Arriving at the king's abode, we made a proper disposition of our armed force, and then entered a building resembling a summer-house. The foundation was of stone. The sides were constructed with poles, placed horizontally one upon another, some of which were moveable, to admit air and light. The roof, which was covered with leaves of the bread-fruit tree, had only one slope. The front of the building had a door in the middle, about five feet high and three broad.
The inside of this edifice was divided lengthwise into two parts, by means of a large piece of wood, like a beam or rafter, placed on the floor. The division furthest from the entrance was covered with mats, spread upon clean dry grass, and answered the purpose of bed-chamber and drawing-room.
The walls of the building were hung on the inside with several domestic utensils, made of the calabash; and with stone axes, pikes, clubs, and other instruments of war. In one corner of the room was a curious sort of drum, made of the hollowed trunk of a tree, and covered with the skin of the shark.
Adjoining to this habitation was a small store-room, the entrance of which was from within, and so narrow and low, that it was difficult to creep through it. There was also another tolerably large building or room, apart from the house, where his majesty, on particular festivals, takes his meals.
On our entrance, we were received by the king and queen with great politeness: several of the royal family were present, and in particular the king's daughter-an-law, called the Goddess of the Bay. I questioned this goddess, by means of Roberts, concerning the customs and manners of the country, and found that she felt her consequence in its full extent.
Having distributed scissars, knives, looking-glasses, and other trifles amongst this royal group, we departed, to proceed to the house of our interpreter, and were introduced, on the way, to the king's grand-child, who is respected as a divinity by the islanders. The infant was exhibited by his uncle, who stood within the in-closure of the house. I expressed a desire that his little highness might be brought to me; but understanding that he was under the law of taboo, which would not permit him to leave the inclosure, I approached him, and presented him with a piece of white cloth. The royal family had accompanied us to this place, as well as the multitude; but of the latter, no one dared to pass within the prohibited boundary.
Our walk to the habitation of Roberts was extremely pleasant, as it extended along an eminence, from whence we had a beautiful view of our ships in the bay, and the plantations of the natives in the valleys. Though the house was not so large as many we had passed, it was well adorned on the outside with different kinds of fruit-trees, which afforded us, after our fatigue, a very acceptable repast. Being refreshed, we visited a burying-ground, which, I must confess, was by no means equal to my expectation. It contained but a few wooden statues, rudely carved, while cocoa-nut shells were strewed in such abundance on the ground, that we were greatly incommoded by them. Roberts informed us, that sacrifices to the dead consisted here of cocoa-nuts; and I observed one quite fresh, on the head of a statue, that was erected over a grave. I observed also the remains of a dead body, exposed on a simple board, supported by poles, under a roof of leaves. A considerable period must have elapsed since the body was placed there, as the skeleton only remained. The most pleasing sight in the burying-ground was a kind of monument lately erected to one of their deceased priests. It was constructed in a very handsome manner, was ornamented exteriorly with green leaves of the cocoa-nut tree, and had an altar within, of by no means a savage appearance.
Having satisfied our curiosity in this melancholy place, we returned to our ship by a road, on which stood many houses; but they all so nearly resembled the king's, though some were larger, that it is not necessary to describe them. The crowd that accompanied us during our stay on shore offered us various articles in the way of exchange, and behaved in so fair and friendly a manner, that I thought these islanders incapable of dishonesty. My ideas, however, were soon changed; for, on arriving at the boats, I found that one of our grapplings had been cut away under water, and carried off in so dextrous a manner, that neither the quarter-master nor the bargemen could. conceive how it had disappeared. In this wily business they. must have employed the knives we had distributed among them; showing us thereby that they well knew how preferable our instruments, made of iron, were to theirs, made of stone or shells.
Sow after my arrival on board, the king returned my visit, and brought with him a pig, and a stone axe, in exchange for two of my iron axes. As we were just going to dinner, I invited his majesty to partake of it. Of our several dishes be preferred that of pancakes with honey, which he relished so much, that the whole of what was served up was dispatched in an instant, ism. His relish of the pancakes was no matter of surprise to me, being aware that savages in general, like children, are fond of sweet things the first time of tasting them; but when I saw him drink port wine, glass for glass, with us, I own I was astonished the afterwards, however, felt the effects of it in their full force.
The next morning, I received from the queen a message, that if I would send my boat on shore, she would come with some of her relations to see me; adding, that a taboo being imposed on her, she was forbidden to go into a canoe, or to swim, I complied with this agreeable request immediately; and about noon I had the pleasure of seeing the queen, her daughter, and the Goddess of the Bay in my cabin. They remained with us a considerable time, and were regaled with tea, sweetmeats, and other delicacies. Our presents of knives, scissars, and looking-glasses, however, pleased them most, and especially the Goddess of the Bay, who was so enchanted with her reception, that she appeared unwilling to leave the ship. Our royal guests, on this occasion, were dressed in yellow cloth made of the bark of a particular tree, and had their bodies smeared with oil of cocoa-nut, mixed with a kind of yellow paint, which affected our olfactory nerves in no very agreeable way: but this could no more be dispensed with by a Marquesan woman, when full-dressed, than rouge and eau de Cologne by an European lady of fashion. The handsomest of my party was certainly the Goddess, whose name was Anataena. She was a daughter of the king of another bay in the island, called Houmé, and owed her title of divinity to her marriage. These personages having left us, I granted to other female, the long desired permission to visit the ship and satisfy their curiosity.
Finding that there was no possibility of providing ourselves here with a greater quantity of live stock than we had already obtained, captain Krusenstern and I, with some officers of both ships, repaired to Jegawé Bay, which was about three miles and a half to the westward of our station. On our landing, we were surrounded by men and women, with fruit and other commodities for sale; and in a very short time sixty bunches of bananas were in our possession. After visiting the king, and breakfasting at his house, we proceeded in search of what was the main object of our excursion. We were, however, disappointed: the natives would sell us nothing but fruit and vegetables, though plenty of hogs and fowls were seen about their houses; and towards evening we returned to our ships.
The bay of Jegawé is a very safe place for anchoring; it forms a small bason, defended from all the winds, and ships may lie there quite close to the shore, especially on the south side, which renders it an admirable place for such as may be in want of thorough repair. The entrance is rather narrow; but as its depth does not exceed eighteen fathoms, and the bottom is good, you may warp in with ease, when you cannot sail in. To a small river of fresh water there, I gave the name of the Little Neva, the banks of which abound with inhabitants, who are able to supply vessels with a sufficiency both of fruit and hogs, though to us they would spare none of the last-mentioned article.
From the difficulty of further augmenting our live stock, we began on the 16th to prepare for sea. I rewarded Roberts for his services, with linen, pieces of iron, and other articles that were useful to him in his present situation. I also left with him a quantity of garden seeds, which he promised to cultivate. Gunpowder was the only thing I refused him; for it was a law with me, not to suffer a single grain, of this dangerous commodity to be given to the islanders. As this was to be the last day of our stay, I ordered, at night, some rockets to be let off, the appearance of which terrified the natives extremely. They verily believed that we had the power of sending up stars, and that these luminaries, after disappearing in the sky, returned to us to be sent up again.
Though in my narrative of events as they occurred, I have exhibited, perhaps, no very imperfect view, either of the islands we are quitting, or their inhabitants; it may not be amiss to add a few particulars, to render the picture more complete.
The old Marquesa islands, the names of which I have already given in their place, are live in number. They extend, by the observations I made, from 138° 18' to 138° 55' west longitude, and from 9° 25' to 10° 30' south latitude.
The new Marquesas are in like manner five in number; and are called by their inhabitants, Ooaboa, which is Trevanijion's island; Ooahoonha, which is Riou's; Noocahiva, which is Martin's; and Hiaoo and Fatooda, which are Roberts's. The first three occupy about thirty-five miles in latitude, and forty in longitude; they were discovered in 1791, by Mr. Ingram of the United States, in his voyage to America for furs, and were named by him after the immortal Washington. Having stopped, only at the island of Noocahiva, I can say nothing of the rest, except that they are high and craggy. It struck me, however, as singular, that none of them should have a conical elevation, but should all rise out of the sea almost perpendicularly. The island of Noocabiva, in my opinion, is the largest of the whole group. Having passed almost round it, I can venture to say, that there is no danger in sailing quite close to its shores. On the east side, which is high, and of no very pleasing aspect, is seen the bay called Hotisheve, which appeared to me to be open to the easterly winds, which in this part of the world blow almost continually. To the south are three bays: the first, called Houmé, is situated towards the south-east point; the second, Jegawé, at the south-west point, with an excellent anchorage, as I have before observed; and the third, Tayohaia, about midway between the other two. This last has also a good anchorage, but, being surrounded by high lands, is subject to strong squalls, against which a vessel should be on its guard when at anchor, and should take care to be always well moored. In coming in, and going out, anchors and boats should be ready to assist, in case of a change of wind, or a calm. When the islets of Mitao and Mootonoo6, that lie at the mouth of the bay, so near the shore as to be scarcely distinguished at a distance, and which I placed, by my observations, at 139° 40' west, and 8° 56' south, are in sight, steer for the first, and double it when at the distance of forty fathoms, where you will find twenty-seven fathoms of water. In coming out, the ship should be kept close to the eastern shore, on account of the winds, which at sea Wow always from the eastward. The best anchorage in this bay, with regard to the currents, is under the south-east point, in twelve fathoms. From lying rather dose to the other shore, I was obliged to work at my cables every day, as the ship was continually turning round. However, this is the surest side, if the ship should have parted with her anchors in a squall from the mountains, as happened here once to an American; because she may then run out to sea, under her stay-sails only, with ease. Though the watering place is by no means convenient in the bay of Tayohaia, yet, with the assistance of the natives, a launch may be completed in less than two hours, as the casks need only to be thrown into the water, to be filled, and the islanders are expeditious in cutting fire-wood on the beach: for this trouble, a small piece of iron, per man, is a satisfactory recompense. It is necessary, however, while the work is going on, that one or two of the ship's crew, armed with muskets, should attend, otherwise many things may be lost; for the islanders have no scruple in this respect, and will even knock off the iron hoops from the casks, while in the act of rolling them along the surf. A single discharge from a musket is, however, sufficient to terrify the most daring.
Our short stay at this island, and our ignorance of the language of its native inhabitants, would have rendered our information very incomplete, but for the fortunate circumstance of our meeting with Roberts, who seemed to have been sent providentially to our assistance. This personage was a run-away English sailor, and had long resided on the island. He had married one of the king's relations, and was treated, in consequence, with great respect by his new countrymen, whose language he appears to speak with fluency. From this Englishman I received many of the particulars I am about to relate.
Noocahiva, like all the other islands of this group, is governed by a number of chiefs, each of whom is independent of the rest, having a separate district, and different subjects. These chiefs, or kings, are almost always at war with each other. Though their kingly dignity is, to outward appearance, more fictitious than real, they enjoy great privileges. They have large domains, and are in high respect with the people. In a fruitful season, they have a right to a fourth part of the produce of the lands of their subjects;' and in other seasons, an apportionment according to circumstances. Their dignity descends to them by hereditary succession. They can carry on war without consulting their people, and have sometimes a happy mode of making peace: for example, After war had raged for a long time, both by sea and land, between the chiefs of the bay of Tayohaia and two other neighbouring bays; the brother of the king of Tayohaia married the daughter of one, and his son the daughter of the other of the two chiefs; and the consequence was a suspension of hostilities by sea; with this condition, that if both princesses should finish their days in harmony and happiness with their husbands, perpetual peace by land, as well as by sea, should thenceforward prevail between the three nations. How happy would it be for humanity, how much innocent blood would be spared, if all the princes of the world would, by similar alliances, introduce the reign of peace! But, alas! royal ties are in general no secure pledge of tranquillity to the respective nations.
I have hitherto said nothing of established laws or established religion; and it appeared to me, as if neither had existence in the country. With individuals, as with chiefs, the law of right seemed to be the law of strength; and even violence, theft, and murder, had no punishment but what personal revenge might dictate. As to religion, though there are priests amongst them, we never perceived the least signs of worship. When any person dies, the corpse is immediately washed, and exposed on a plank in the middle of the house, and his relations and friends assemble to mourn over him; on which occasion they weep bitterly, and scratch their bodies with sharp bones, or shells. Sometimes this attendance on the dead, is a scene of crying and laughing alternately; these different emotions immediately following each other, as I have often witnessed, in savages. For instance, on my firing a gun, though it terrified them almost to death, a burst of laughter almost instantaneously succeeded their fright. The ceremony of washing and weeping being over, the body is carried to the burying-ground, where it is exposed on a wooden platform, and left to waste away in the open air. In war, the bodies of the dead are always buried, for fear of their falling into the hands of the enemy; nothing being so humiliating to a Marquesan, as to see a scull of one of his party tied to the foot of an individual of an adverse party, who shows his triumph in this manner, if he obtains one in any way.
The most barbarous honours are paid here to priests, on their decease. Roberts assured me, that, on the death of a priest, three men must be sacrificed; two of whom are hung up in the burying-ground, while the third is cut to pieces, and eaten by visitors; all but the head, which is placed upon one of the idols. When the flesh of the first two are wasted away, the bones that remain are burnt. The custom of the country requires, that the men destined for sacrifice should belong to some neighhouring nation, and accordingly they are generally stolen. This occasions a war of six, and sometimes of twelve, months: its duration, however, depends upon the nearest relation of the deceased priest; who, as soon as he is acquainted with his death, retires to a place of taboo; and, till be chooses to come out, the blood of the two parties does not, cease to flow. During his retirement, he is furnished with everything he may require, human flesh not excepted.
Former voyagers have asserted, that the, Marquesan men and women have no individual attachments, but cohabit promiscuously as inclination, may dictate. This, however, is a mistake: the marriage state is held nearly as sacred among them as it is among any uncivilized people. It is true indeed, fathers sometimes offered us their daughters, and husbands their wives; but this proceeded from their ardentdesire of possessing iron, or other European articles, which, in their estimation, are above all price. This out of the. question, jealousy is so prevalent with the men, that upon the smallest suspicion of infidelity, tb6y punish their wives with severity. Though, there is no law here against adultery, any more than against any other crime, there is a custom so generally sanctioned respecting it, that it on some occasions supplies the place of law; which is, that if a husband knows his wife to have been unfaithful to him, he may endeavour to seduce the wife of the adulterer, and avenge his own wrong by possessing her. The only ceremony relating to marriage that takes place in the Marquesa islands, is this: If a young man falls in love with a girl, and this love is returned, he endeavours to get possession of her person; or, failing in this, goes immediately and claims her of her parents; and, if they consent, he takes up his abode with them. The young lovers live together for a while, on the most intimate footing; and if, at the termination of that period, they still are attached to each other, the marriage is concluded, by their quitting the paternal house. And removing to one of their own.
In rich families, every woman has two husbands; of whom one may be called the assistant husband. This last, when the other is at home, is nothing more than the head servant of the house; but, in case of absence; exercises all the rights of matrimony, and is also obliged to attend his lady wherever she goes. It happens sometimes, that the subordinate partner is chosen after marriage; but in general two men present themselves to the same woman, who, if she approves their addresses, appoints one for the real husband, and the other as his auxiliary: the auxiliary is generally poor, but handsome and well-made.
It is no disgrace here, if a woman be brought to bed on the very day of her marriage; the child is still legitimate: indeed there is no such thing known as illegitimacy. Divorces take place with as little ceremony as the nuptial rites are performed.
A man may take another wife, and a woman another husband, whenever they find it mutually convenient to do so. Though near relations are forbidden to marry, it sometimes happens, that a father lives-with his daughter, and a brother with his sister. Some years ago an instance occurred of a mother cohabiting with her son, but it was regarded with horror; which shows that, even among savages, the rights of maternity are respected above all others. On the birth of a child, the ceremony is observed of cutting off the navel-string; and till it is performed, nobody can come in or go out of the house in which the child is. All prohibitions are signified here by the word taboo; which is divided into the king's taboo and the taboo of the priests, and is very strictly observed by the commonalty: the powerful, however, sometimes violate it.
Every inhabitant of the island may possess property by succession, or in any other way. There are rich and poor here. The rich have plantations, houses, and canoes; the poor have nothing, and pass their days like others of the same station in the rest of the world. All the houses are built alike, and resemble summer bowers, as I have before observed in describing the king's habitation. I admired the cleanliness of the interior of these small houses. The opulent have separate buildings fop their dining-rooms, on particular occasions of feasting, which the women are not permitted to enter; and so strict is the prohibition, that they dare not even pass near them. The selfish gluttony; of the men, who would deprive the other sex of the pleasure of eating pork, I believe, is the origin of this custom.
Besides a magazine for provisions, the rich have small gardens, or rather enclosures, round their houses, planted with trees, of the bark of which a sort of cloth is made. The magazines are merely deep holes dug in the ground, and covered with leaves, clay, and sand. There are no kitchens to the houses. The food is prepared in any spot near the habitation, in the open air, in the same manner as in other islands in these seas, and which many navigators have described.
My endeavours to ascertain with accuracy the population of the island were fruitless: from comparing, however, Roberts's account with what I could observe myself, I judged that the south side of it contained about four thousand inhabitants.
The natives are a handsome and well-made people; the men especially, who are tall and strong-limbed. The commonalty are of a dark complexion, with straight black hair. The nobility are much fairer.
Tatooing is so much in fashion here, that there is not an individual without some marks of it. Many were covered all over with different figures, some of which displayed much taste. The king, however, surpassed all his subjects in this kind of embellishment. His body was so completely figured, that scarcely the smallest spot of the natural colour of his skin could be perceived. To be thus perfectly tatooed, is a business of great expense; the masters of the art expecting to be paid handsomely for their work. The practice of tatooing appeared to me very ridiculous at first; but when accustomed to it, those who had the most figures I thought the most comely. It is astonishing that women, who are in all countries so fond of beautifying their persons, do not tatoo themselves here; except with a few lines on the lips, round the perforation in the ears and on the hands.
There is hardly any clothing worn by these people. The men have sometimes a sort of towel round the waist, but in general they go quite naked, Mr. Langsdorff has said, that circumcision is universal among them. So far from this being the case, I observed instances, of the prepuce being drawn forward over the glans and tied with a string, the ends of which hung down about four inches. To this string much value seemed to be attached; for it happened that the king's brother, in coming on board my ship, had the misfortune to lose it, and his anxiety upon the occasion was extreme. As he stepped on the gangway, he eagerly covered the untied part with his hands, and made earnest signs for a piece of rope-yarn; till he had received which, and restored the part to its previous state, he appeared as if incapable of moving from the spot where the accident happened.
The women are more decent, as to clothing, than the men. When full-dressed, they are wrapped in a kind of doth of their own making, which is fastened round the waist, and then folded over the shoulders, so as to leave one only or both breasts uncovered. In general, however, nothing is hidden but the part which nature forbids them to expose; and so tenacious are they of the covering to this part, that the most salacious will not consent to take it off.
The men wear their hair in different forms. Some cut it quite close, and shave a little space upwards from behind; others shave half the head lengthwise, leaving the hair long on the other half; and others again shave off all the hair, except a tuft on each side, which is twisted into the shape of horns. Some daub themselves over with yellow paint only, and others with cocoa-nut oil and yellow paint mixed. They all wear ear-rings and necklaces. The necklaces are made of shells or wood, and sometimes of the teeth of swine, or the porpoise: those made of wood are embellished with a handsome red pea. The women tie up their long hair in knots, and, on ceremonious occasions, besmear themselves like the men.
The food of these islanders consists chiefly of fish, swine, cocoa-nuts, plantains, bananas, bread-fruit, tarro-root, and sugar-cane. The last is rather a scarce article; as also is pork, which seldom makes its appearance but on occasions of festivity. Both sexes eat their meals together, except when public dinners are given in the dining-rooms, where women dare not appear, for reasons which I have before assigned.
In case of a bad harvest the poor suffer dreadfully, as they never lay up a sufficient stock of provisions to prevent the horrors of famine. A few years ago, numbers of them were obliged to roam among the mountains in search of what they could: find, leaving their wives and children at home dying with hunger. Roberts told me, that in the bay of Tayohaia only, four hundred perished on this occasion. In these times of dearth, every one was in danger, he said, of losing his life; not only for want of nourishment, but from the violence of one stronger than himself, who may seize and devour him.
Considering the mild temper of the inhabitants of this island, it is difficult to believe that they are cannibals. Roberts, however, assured me, that the bodies of the prisoners taken in war were eaten, all but the sculls, which were preserved for trophies. We purchased several of these sculls, paying a knife for each; but neither their wearing them as trophies, nor offering them for sale, proves cannibalism: like other savages, they may cut off the beads of their vanquished enemies, without the idea occurring to them of eating their flesh.
The Marquesans carry on war both by sea and land. Their arms consist of heavy clubs, spears, and an instrument in the form of a small oar. The clubs are four feet nine inches long, with a broad and flat upper end, which is generally carved with different figures. The length of the oar is six feet, and the spears are from elev