Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

ferent garrisons came over to Finow: they all brought intelligence that Finow might shortly expect an attack from one or other of them : the fortress of Nioocalofa was, however, now well prepared to receive them. In the meanwhile, the chief of a fortress called Bea, about four miles to the eastward, entered into an alliance with Finow, or rather submitted to his dominion, acknowledging him king of Tonga. The name of this chief was Tarky'.

Having remained a fortnight or three weeks in daily expectation of an attack from an enemy, and seeing yet no signs of it, Finow became exceedingly impatient; for he was desirous of returning to the Hapai islands to perform the ceremony of fuccalahi, which, being of a religious nature, it was indispensably necessary to do. The nature of this ceremony, and the occasion of it, requires to be explained. At the death of Tooitonga, (their great divine chief) there is such a constant feasting for nearly a month, as to threaten a future scarcity of certain kinds of provisions : to prevent which evil, a' prohibition, or taboo, is afterwards laid

upon hogs, fowls, and cocoa-nuts, so that nobody but great chiefs may use them for food, under pain of death. This taboo lasts about eight months. When Mr. Mariner first arrived at these

islands, Tooitonga, the predecessor of the present Tooitonga, had just died, and the ceremony of his burial was being performed ; though this gentleman had not the opportunity of witnessing it. All the feasting consequent upon this event being over, the taboo was imposed upon the articles above named ; and now, after the lapse of eight months, comes the period to take it off, and the ceremony of doing this is called fuccalahi. It must be mentioned, by the way, that two or three plantations are not subject to this taboo, to the end that hogs, fowls, and cocoa-nuts, may be furnished for occasional religious ceremonies, and for the consumption of the higher order of chiefs. If the above ceremony is not performed in due time, it is supposed that the Gods will become exceedingly angry, and revenge themselves by the death of some of their great chiefs.

Finow, as before stated, seeing no appearance of an enemy, and being anxious to return to Hapai for the performance of this ceremony, consulted the Gods, and was admonished by them to proceed to the Hapai islands as soon as possible. With this view, he at first intended to make some further arrangements with Tarky', and to leave a hundred of his men to garrison Nioocalofa till his return : but being

advised not to do so, lest this chief should prove treacherous, and put his hundred men to death, he resolved to give the fortress wholly up to Tarky's possession, and not run the risk of losing his men. He accordingly ordered the canoes to be launched, and stored with provisions ; and having given up Nioocalofa to Tarky's chiefs, upon their faithful promise to take all due care of it, he went on board with all his army the same afternoon, and landed at Pangaimotoo, intending to sail the following morning for the Hapai islands.

During the night, a great fire was seen at Tonga, towards the fortress of Nioocalofa, and it was suspected to be on fire; but whether from accident, or the treachery of Tarky', Finow was resolved to learn as soon as possibļe. Before sun-rise, therefore, he sent out a canoe to make enquiry : it soon returned with the information, received from a well disposed subject of Tarky', that the place was burnt by order of that chief, whilst Finow was in sight, on purpose to vex and irritate him. At this insult, Finow was so enraged, that he resolved to go back immediately, and exterminate Tarky' and all his family : but the priests persuaded him not, reminding him of the admonition of the Gods. This circumstance so affected him,

that it prevented his departure till the following morning. In the mean time, a Tonga chief, Filimoëátoo, and his family, having obtained permission from the superior chief of his garrison (that of Hehefo) to join Finow, as he was his relation, arrived at Pangaimotoo, and entered into Finow's service. During the day, another circumstance occurred which amused the king, and served to quiet the ruffled state of his temper. Mr. Mariner, having heard that European ships more frequently touched at Tonga than at any of the other islands, had written, while yet at Tonga, an English letter (with a solution of gunpowder and a little mucilage for ink), on some paper which one of the natives had had a long time in his possession, and addressed it to whomsoever it might be, stating the circumstances of his situation, and that of his companions. This letter he had confided to the care of the chief of Mafanga, (the consecrated place formerly mentioned) with directions to give it to the captain of any ship that might arrive at Tonga. Tooi Tooi, (the Sandwich islander) having somehow heard of this letter, mentioned it to Finow, and represented it to be a notice to European ships of the fate of the Port au Prince, and a request to take revenge for the destruction of her crew.

Finow immediately sent for the letter, and, under some pretext or another, obtained it from the chief of Mafanga. When it was put into his hands, he looked at it on all sides ; but not being able to make any thing of it, be gave it to one of the Englishmen who was at hand, (Mr. Mariner not being present) and ordered him to tell him what it meant. The man took the letter, and translating part of it into the Tonga language, judiciously represented it to be merely a request to any English captain that might arrive, to interfere with Finow for the liberty of Mr. Mariner and his countrymen ; stating, that they had been kindly treated by the natives, but, nevertheless, wished to return, if possible, to their native country. This was not, indeed, the true substance of the let. ter, but it was what was least likely to give offence: and the chief accordingly remarked, that it was very natural for these poor

fellows to wish to go back to their native country and friends *.

* The letter, in fact, was an advice to European ships to go to the Hapai islands, in preference to the island of Tonga, as being a better place for victualling : advising, at the same time, not to suffer many of the natives to be on board at once, lest they should meet with the same fate as the Portau Prince, but, if possible, to make some of the chiefs pri-":

« ForrigeFortsæt »