Billeder på siden

insults and cruelty of the enemy: she replied, that she had only come out for a walk, and was going shortly to return. To this account he objected, that it was too far, and too dangerous a walk for her to take alone, with the risk of meeting Moteita' and his followers, who often concealed themselves in those woods, and declared his suspicion that she intended to run away. She immediately fell on her knees, clasped her hands, and begged and intreated most earnestly, that he would not prevent her flight from the dominion of tyranny to the bosom of her relations, and appealed most pathetically to his own feelings and affections towards his mother, or whatever relatives he might have in his own country, and represented how hard and cruelly severe it would be for any one to prevent him fying to them, if it were otherwise in his power. Being moved by the earnestness of her manner, and the unfortunate circumstanees of her situation, he raised her up, and promised not to interfere in her escape, nor to divulge the matter to any


her full liberty to proceed whichever way she thought proper.

Finow had, for a long time past, entertained the idea of seizing upon several of the enemy's women, who were in the habit of assembling

one, and

[ocr errors]

at a certain part of the inlet, to gather shellfish, and now, that his wife had run away, he was more than ever encouraged to do this, by way of retaliation upon Toe Oomoo, for the detention of her. The place where they procured this sort of fish, was upon a shelf of rocks (about a foot and a half deep at low water), that ran across the inlet at no great distance from Felletoa. . Upon this shelf they were accustomed to fish every day,

very day, wading through the water. On these occasions, several men of their own party had frequently alarmed them by rushing out upon them, pretending to be the enemy, and had repeated this so often, that, at length, they only laughed at the joke, and ridiculed the idea of running away. One evening a party of Finow's men, who had formed themselves for the express purpose of making an attack upon these women, set out in a canoe, and sailed to a part of the island where they could land unobserved, and proceed to the spot where they were fishjug, without any danger of discovery, on account of the high bushes that were there in abundance. Being arrived on the spot, at an appointed signal they rushed out upon the women, who immediately set up a hearty laugh, taking them for their old friends, so

fond of a joke; but, when they saw two or three knocked down with clubs, they ran away as fast as their strength and the resistance of the water would let them, and the men after them in full pursuit. There were thirty of them, of which number five were killed, and thirteen taken prisoners, the other twelve escaping safe to the opposite shore. In this affair the wife of Finow's son was very nearly retaken; she ran so exceedingly swift through the water, knee-deep, and the young chief in pursuit of her exerted himself so much to overtake her, although he was near enough to knock her down with his club, that he actually fell through fatigue. It must, however, be said in favour of the chief, that the weight of his club was a great disadvantage, whereas his lovely fugitive ran without any incumbrance, for, in her endeavour to quicken her pace, her gnatoo (dress), became loose, and fell from her waist; this was the only time that she looked back, from a sense of modesty, to see if it was recoverable, but she was under the necessity of pursuing her flight without it.

The thirteen prisoners were conducted to Neafoo*, though Finow had given orders that

* They were obliged, however, by the way, to submit to the will of their captors, for this is always considered a thing

[merged small][ocr errors]

all that should be taken should be killed on the spot. The captors saved their lives, however, partly from motives of humanity, and partly from those of profit (as they could employ them in making gnatoo, &c.). When they

arrived at Neafoo, there happened a strong dispute between several relations of the prisoners, and those who had taken them; the

former arguing that they had a claim to the women, according to the old Tonga custom, which decrees, that all persons shall be in the service of their older and superior relations, if those relations think proper to employ them : the captors, on the other hand, strenuously grounded their claims on the right of conquest. The dispute ran very high, and they veferred it to Fiņow, who replied, that he should not interfere in it, and they might settle it themselves as well as they could, for they had no right to bring the prisoners there course,


not at all an act of brutality. These transactions are generally conducted in neighbouring woods, and by no means in an open, public, or outrageous way.

In short, notions of delicacy, in respect to the female sex, have a much higher influence in the Tonga islands than what would be commonly understood from the accounts of some travellers: among the lower orders, of course, there are abuses every where, but these do not constitute the legal custoins of a country.


at all to create disturbances, but should have knocked out their brains according to his orders. At length he condescended to give his opinion, viz. that the most proper method would be, under these circumstances, to cut each woman in two, and give one half to her relation, and the other to the captor. The affair, however, was amicably settled, without having recourse to such bloody measures ; some being given up to their relatives, and others retained, upon terms mutually agreeable to all parties.

About this time the two long expected canoes arrived from Hapai, laden with provisions: they had been detained partly by contrary winds, and partly by the people going to visit their relatives at different islands.

It has already been mentioned, more than once, that places, which have been consecrated either by express declaration, or by the burial of great chiefs, are forbidden to be the scene of war, and that it would be highly sacrilegious to attack an enemy, or spill his blood within their confines. This circumstance, however, occurred a few days after the dispute about the female prisoners; the particulars of it are as follow: Palavali (brother of Havili), went out one day on a foraging party with six

« ForrigeFortsæt »