« ForrigeFortsæt »
was that the necessity of the case obliged him to punish his rebellious subjects with so dire an evil. He then represented, in the most lively colours, the blessings of peace, and on this side of the prospect touched his hearers so with the beauty of the description that they entreated him to endeavour to make a peace. He then pretended to be inexorable, but always threw in something in favour of the Vavaoo people, so that the priests at length thought there was no question at all about the propriety and honour of making a peace, and that it was their duty to persuade him to do it, for when they were inspired they had the same sentiment, and of course they considered it to be the sentiment of the gods, and represented it to him as such; when he, pretending to submit only because it was the divine will, left the matter entirely to them to negotiate, and if they succeeded, it would afford him, he said, at least one great gratification, viz. the opportunity of again renewing his friendship with his aunt Toe Oomoo, and paying her that respect which her superior relationship required.
The day after the last conference, the priests accordingly drest themselves in mats, with wreaths of green leaves round their necks as tokens of humility, not towards the enemy, but the gods,
as fulfilling a commission sacred in its nature. Thus equipped, they set out on their way to Felletoa. In the mean time, Finow gave orders that none of his men, if they met with a party of the enemy, should commit any act of hostility, but should endeavour on all occasions to avoid them by as speedy a retreat as possible, for as the gods had admonished him to endeavour to make a peace, and the priests were actually fulfilling that endeavour, any act of hostility might defeat their purpose.
The priests went four or five different times to hold conferences with the chiefs of Felletoa before they could bring about a reconciliation. For although the old men seemed willing enough to listen to terms of accommodation, influenced perhaps by their prejudice in favour of Finow as their lawful king, yet the young and spirited warriors, who saw clearly enough into the artful character of Finow, with much less of the above prejudice, constantly objected to make peace with a man on whose honour and integrity they thought it impossible to rely with any degree of certainty, and who would again give room for a quarrel with the Vavaoo people whenever it suited his purpose. This was their real thought, and perhaps a just one; · though they did not express their sentiments
with such latitude to the priests : to these they merely objected their apprehensions, that in the event of a peace, Finow would, at some fit opportunity, wreak his vengeance upon them personally for having fought against him. At length, however, they said that as their lives were not a matter of so much consequence as ' the peace and happiness of Toe Oomoo and her people generally, they were willing to withdraw; their objections, that the affair might be speedily settled according to the wishes of the older chiefs. The priests now returned to Neafoo with the warmest assurances from the chiefs of Felletoa, that they would pay Finow an amicable visit the following day.
The next morning the chiefs and warriors of Felletoa; with several women, were seen coming towards Neafoo, advancing two and two, all armed, painted and decorated with streamers, forming altogether a very beautiful and romantic procession, bringing with them abundance of gnatoo, yams, &c. as presents to their relations. In this way they entered the fortress of Finow, and came into the king's presence on the marly, where he was seated with his chiefs and matabooles. The Vavaoo people then laid down their spears, which were afterwards shared out to three of Finow's principal chiefs, who
again shared them out to all those below them in rank*. They seated themselves round the marly and cava was prepared, the young chiefs and warriors of Felletoa waiting on the companyť. All this time Finow's men were un. armed I, (agreeably to the custom on such occasions) but by his orders the greater part remained at their houses where their arms were deposited, for he was upon his guard lest his guests had some stratagem to play: but he had merely signified to his men, that it would be better for them to remain at their houses, as it would inspire the Vavaoo chiefs with more confidence than if they were present in a body.
During the time the cava was being served out, the king made a speech, addressed principally to the chiefs of Felletoa, in which he acknowledged that they were not to be blamed for their fears and apprehensions as long as
* Mr. Mariner believes this to be always the case on such occasions ; but this was the only instance of a peace formally established, that ever happened while he was there.
+ It is an honourable office to assist at cava parties, it is therefore generally filled by young chiefs.
The visitors come armed for the sake of parade, giving up their arms afterwards as presents ; those that receive them must be unarmed as a proof of their amicable disposition, and that they do not mean to get them in their power by stratagem.
they believed him to be the treacherous character which his enemies had represented him ; but he hoped that these calumnies were now at an end. He was willing, he said, to excuse them for having fought in honour of the memory of their late chief Toobo Neuha against his murderers, for if they had not done so, he should have considered them cowards ; but as most of these murderers had now by their death expiated their crime, and as he himself, as he solemnly assured them, was perfectly innocent of that affair, the present peace, he was convinced, was a most honourable one to all parties. He then made the most solemn protestations of the sincerity of his intentions towards them, and as a proof of his wish to avoid all future occasions of quarrel, he should send back all his people to the Hapai islands, except a few matabooles, who were to remain with him at Vavaoo, which, for the future, he should make his place of residence, out of the love and respect he had for them ; whilst he should consign the government of the Hapai islands to Toobo Toa, to send him annual tribute.
When the cava was finished the company rose up, and the Vavaoo party returned to Felletoa, to prepare an entertainment for the Hapai people the following day.