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sufficiently interesting by involving a combination of untoward circumstances that led ultimately to the destruction of the ship: the whole of this has been faithfully composed from a journal kept by Mr. Mariner on board. Next follows a narrative, or rather, as it may be termed, an historical account, of all the important and interesting events that occurred during his stay at the Tonga Islands, not merely as they regarded himself, but with an aspect to the different changes, religious and political, as they affected, in a most important manner, the situation of public affairs: and that this portion of the work may
be better understood, a comparison is drawn between the state of these islands when Mr. Mariner first arrived there, and that in which Captain Cook had previously found them ; the revolution of Tonga", and other important and highly interesting events which had taken place in the mean while, being related according to the account of the principal natives of divers parties, who had been eye-witnesses. The narration of events being brought down to the period of Mr. Mariner's fortunate escape*, the remainder of the work gives a more intimate detail of the state of society in regard to rank and professions; their religious and political government; the names and attributes of their principal gods; their notions of the human soul, and of a future state of ex- . istence; an investigation of their moral principles, and of their state of morals; a description of their most important religious ceremonies ; an account of the healing art, with a detail of some important surgical operations practised by them; a description of their principal manufactures; their
* From the “ Transactions of the Missionary Society," it appears that this event took place in May, 1799.
and amusements; music, songs, &c.; and, lastly, a grammar of their language, and a vocabulary to
* The term escape is here used with propriety, for although Mr. M. was well treated, and had every thing that he could there want, the opportunities of returning home were very rare, and when he was about to profit from one that presented itself, his intention was opposed, and he was under the necessity of destroying one of the natives to accomplish his purpose.
the extent of above two thousand genuine Tonga words.
As it will, no doubt, be satisfactory to the reader to know how the rules and idioms of this heretofore unwritten language
have been investigated, it is proper to state that Mr. Mariner carefully selected out of an English dictionary all those words to which he could find appropriate Tonga words, or well adapted phrases ; and having assiduously attended to the elementary sounds of the language, and determined upon a plan of orthography, I took upon myself the charge of arranging all the Tonga words alphabetically, by which means my ear and eye became accustomed to them, and several were stored up in my memory. In the mean while Mr. Mariner wrote down several dialogues and popular tales in the Tonga language; and I afterwards exercised myself, with his assistance, and that of the vocabulary, in making literal translations to them, and thus became acquainted, more or less, with the idiom; and, at the same time, I had the opportunity of fur
nishing the Tonga part of the vocabulary with other words. In the next place, having written down sundry examples in English, illustrative of every part of speech, in a variety of forms, and upon a variety of subjects, I gave them to Mr. Mariner to translate into Tonga, according to the strict idiom of that language: by this method we began to perceive what could be translated, and what could not; we discovered where the Tonga language was poor in expression, and where it was more richly endowed; what were the fundamental principles of construction, and what the particular idioms and exceptions to general rules :—and thus proceeding, step by step, the character and genius of the language were unfolded ; and, at length, we arrived at that degree of theoretical knowledge of the structure of it which is now, for the first time, presented to the public.
Every attempt to afford accurate information respecting the manners, customs, and sentiments of any portion of the human species, cannot but be considered, in these enlightened days, at least a lauda
ble undertaking; but to bestow much time and pains upon an investigation of the principles of a barbarous language, like the one in question, will, no doubt, in the eyes of many persons, appear more cu. rious than useful; and how far such a view of the subject may be correct, every reader will judge for himself; to me it appears almost as great a deficiency in the history of a nation to overlook the structure of its language, as to neglect any portion of its moral or political character. In taking, for example, the Tonga people, Mr. Mariner could only arrive at a thorough knowledge of their religious, political, and moral character, and the spirit of their religious and political sentiments, through the medium of their language, for all accounts that had been given of them are little better than bare descriptions of outside appearances, every thing else, for want of this same medium, being founded in mere conjecture: so it is easy for a traveller to give an accurate description of the outside of a building, to which he has no admittance, and make some