Billeder på siden

Section II.

Interview with Otoo, King of the Island. Imprudent Conduct of Omai.--Employments on Shore. European Animals landed. Particulars about a Native who had visited Lima.- About Oedidee. A Revolt in Eimeo.-War with that Island determined upon, in a Council of Chiefs.--4 human Sacrifice on that. Account.-A particular Relation of the Ceremonies at the great Morai, where the Sacrifice was offered.--Other barbarous Customs of this People.

ABOUT nine o'clock in the morning, Otoo, the king of the whole island, attended by a great number of canoes full of people, came from Oparre, his place of residence, and having landed on Matavai Point, sent a message on board, expressing his desire to see me there. Accordingly

I landed,

world, may be interpreted so as perfectly to agree with the theoretical solution of the question now proposed, the heavenly bodies being amongst the first and the most generally established objects of religious apprehen, sion and worship. It is curious enough, that what may be called the converse of the proposition, viz. that derangement follows or is accompanied with inspiration, whether religious or common, should almost as ertensively have formed a part of the popular creed. The reason of this notion again, is not altogether the same as that of the former; it has its origin probably in the observation, that enthusiasm with respect to any one subject, which, in the present case, is to be regarded as the appear. ance or expression of inspiration, usually unfits a person for the requisite attention to any other. The language of mankind accordingly quite falls in with this observation, and nothing is more general than to speak of a man being mad, who exhibits a more than ordinary ardour in the pursuit of some isolated object. Still, however, there seems a tacit acknowledgement amongst mankind, that the human mind can profitably attend to only one thing at a time, and that all excellence in any pursuit is the result of restricted unintermitting application: And hence it is, that enthusiasm, though perhaps admitted to be allied to one of the highest evils with which our nature can be visited, is nevertheless imagined to be an indication of superior strength of intellect. The weakest minds, on the contrary, are the most apprehensive of ridicule, and in consequence are most cautious, by a seeming indifference as to objects, to avoid the dan. gerous imputation of a decided partiality. Such persons, however, fornoing undoubtedly the greater portion of every society, console themselves and one another under the consciousness of debility, by the sense of their safety, and by the fashionable custom of dealing out wise reflections on these more enterprising minds, whose eccentricities or ardour, provoke their admiration.-E.

I landed, accompanied by Omai, and some of the officers. We found a prodigious number of people assembled on this occasion, and in the midst of them was the king, attended by his father, his two brothers, and three sisters, I went up first and saluted him, being followed by Omai, who kneeled and embraced his legs. He had prepared himself for this ceremony, by dressing himself in his very best suit of clothes, and behaved with a great deal of respect and modesty. Nevertheless, very little notice was taken of him. Perhaps envy had some share in producing this cold reception. He made the chief a present of a Jarge piece of red feathers, and about two or three yards of gold cloth; and I gave him a suit of fine linen, a goldlaced hat, some tools, and, what was of more value than all the other articles, a quantity of red feathers, and one of the bonnets in use at the Friendly Islands.

After the hurry of this visit was over, the king and the whole royal family accompanied me on board, followed by several canoes, laden with all kinds of provisions, in quantity sufficient to have served the companies of both ships for a week. Each of the family owned, or pretended to own, a part; so that I had a present from every one of them, and every one of them had a separate present in return from me, which was the great object in view. Soon after, the king's mother, who had not been present at the first interview, came on board, bringing with her a quantity of provisions and cloth, which she divided between me and Omai. For, although he was but little noticed at first by bis countrymen, they no sooner gained the knowledge of his riches, than they began to court his friendship. I encouraged this as much as I could, for it was my wish to fix him with Otoo. As I intended to leave all my European animals at this island, I thought he would be able to give some instruction about the management of them, and about their use. Besides, I knew and saw, that the farther he was from his pative island, he would be the better respected. But, unfortunately, poor Omai rejected my advice, and conducted himself in so imprudent a manner, that he soon lost the friendship of Otoo, and of every other person of note in Otaheite. He associated with none but vagabonds and strangers, whose sole views were to plunder him. And, if I had not interfered, they would not have left him a single article worth the carrying from the island. VOL. XVI. B


This necessarily drew upon him the ill-will of the principal chiefs, who found that they could not procure, from any one in the ships, such valuable presents as Omai bestowed on the lowest of the people, his companions.

As soon as we bad dined, a party of us accompanied Otoo to Oparre, taking with us the puultry, with wbich we were to stock the island. They consisted of a peacock and hen (which Lord Besborough was so kind as to send me, for this purpose, a few days before I left London); a turkey-cock and hen; one gander, and three geese ; a drake, and four ducks. All these I left at Oparre, in the possession of Otoo ; and the geese and ducks began to breed before we sailed. We found there a gander, which the natives told us, was the same that Captain Wallis had given to Oberea ten years before ; several goats, and the Spanish bull, whom they kept tied to a tree near Otoo's house. I never saw a finer animal of bis kind. He was now the property of Etary, and had been brought from Oheitepeha to this place, in order to be shipped for Bolabola. But it passes my comprehension, how they can contrive to carry him in one of their canoes. If we had not arrived, it would have been of little consequence who had the property of him, as, without a cow, he could be of no use; and none had been left with him. Though the natives told us, that there were cows on board the Spanish ships, and that they took them away with them, I cannot believe this, and should rather suppose, that they had died in the passage from Lima. The next day, I sent the three cows, that I had on board, to this bull; and the bull, which I had brought, the horse and mare, and sheep, I put ashore at Matavai.

Having thus disposed of these passengers, I found my. self lightened of a very heavy burthen. The trouble and vexation that attended the bringing this living cargo thus far, is hardly to be conceived. But the satisfaction that I felt, in having been so fortunate as to fulfil bis majesty's bumane design, in sending such valuable animals, to supply the wants of two worthy nations, sufficiently recompensed me for the many anxious hours I had passed, before this subordinate object of my voyage could be carried into execution.

As I intended to make some slay here, we set up the two observatories on Matavai Point. Adjoining to them, two tents were pitched for the reception of a guard, and of such people as it might be necessary to leave on shore, in different departments. At this station, I entrusted the command to Mr King, who, at the same time, attended the observations, for ascertaining the going of the time-keeper, and other purposes. During our stay, various necessary operations employed the crews of both ships. The Discovery's main-mast was carried ashore, and made as good as ever. Our sails and water-casks were repaired, the ships were caulked, and the rigging all overhauled. We also inspected all the bread that we had on board in casks ; and had the satisfaction to find that but little of it was damaged.

On the 26th, I had a piece of ground cleared for a garden, and planted it with several articles, very few of which, I believe, the natives will ever look after. Some melons, potatoes, and two pine-apple plants, were in a fair way of succeeding before we left the place. I had brought from the Friendly Islands several shaddock trees. These I also planted here, and they can hardly fail of success, unless their growth should be checked by the same premature curiosity, which destroyed a vine planted by the Spaniards at Oheitepeha. A number of the natives got together to taste the first fruit it bore; but, as the grapes were still sour, they considered it as little better than poison, and it was unanimously determined to tread it under foot. In that state, Omai found it by chance, and was overjoyed at the discovery. For he had a full confidence, that, if he had but grapes, he could easily make wine. Accordingly, he had several slips cut off from the tree, to carry away with him ; and we pruned and put in order the remains of it. Probably, grown wise by Omai's instructions, they may now suffer the fruit to grow to perfection, and not pass so hasty a sentence upon it again.

We had not been eight and forty hours at anchor in Matavai Bay, before we were visited by all our old friends, whose names are recorded in the account of my last voyage. Not one of them came empty-handed ; so that we had more provisions than we knew what to do with. What was still more, we were under no apprehensions of exhausting the island, which presented to our eyes every mark of the most exuberant plenty, in every article of refreshment, but, in his external appearance, he was not distinguishable from the rest of his countrymen. However, he had not forgot some Spanish words wbich he had acquired, though he pronounced them badly. Amongst them, the most frequent were, si Sennor ; and, when a stranger was introduced to him, he did not fail to rise up and accost him, as well as he could.

Soon after our arrival here, one of the natives, whom the Spaniards had carried with them to Lima, paid us a visit;


We also found here the young man whom we called Oedidee, but whose real name is Heete-heete. I had carried him from Ulietea in 1773, and brought him back in 1774; after he had visited the Friendly Islands, New Zealand, Easter Island, and the Marqueses, and been on board my ship, in that extensive navigation, about seven months. He was, at least, as tenacious of bis good breeding, as the man who had been at Lima; and yes, Sir, or if you please, Sir, were as frequently repeated by him, as si Sennor was by the other. Heete-heete, who is a native of Bolabola, had arrived in Otaheite about three months before, with no other intention, that we could learn, than to gratify his curiosity, or, perhaps, some other favourite passion ; which are very often the only objects of the pursuit of other travelling gentlemen. It was evident, however, that he preferred the modes, and even garb, of his countrymen, to ours. For, though I gave him some clothes, which our Admiralty Board had been pleased to send for his use (to which I added a chest of tools, and a few other articles, as a present from myself), he declined wearing them, after a few days. This instance, and that of the person who had been at Lima, may be urged as a proof of the strong propensity natural to man, of returning to habits acquired at an early age, and only interrupted by accident. And, perhaps, it may be concluded, that even Omai, who had imbibed almost the whole English manners, will, in a very short time after our leaving him, like Oedidee, and the visiter of Lima, return to his own native garments."


* Captain Cook's remark has often been exemplified in other instances. The tendency to revert to barbarism is so strong, as to need to be continually checked by the despotism of refined manners, and all the healthful emulations of civilized societies. Perhaps the rather harsh observation of Dr Johnson, that there is always a great deal of scoundrelism in a low man, is more strictly applicable

to the cases of savages in general, than to even the meanest member of any cultivated community. But in the case


« ForrigeFortsæt »