Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

them, conducted as most European establishments amongst Indian nations have unfortunately been, would, I fear, give them just cause to lament that our ships had ever found them out. Indeed, it is very unlikely that any measure of this kind should ever be seriously thought of, as it can neither serve the purposes of public ambition, nor of private avarice; and, without such inducements, I may pronounce that it will never be undertaken.3

I have already mentioned the visit that I had from one of the two natives of this island, who had been carried by the Spaniards to Lima. I never saw him afterward, which I rather wondered at, as I had received him with uncom mon civility. I believe, however, that Omai had kept him at a distance from me, by some rough usage ; jealous that there should be another traveller upon the island who might vie with himself. Our touching at Teneriffe was a fortunate circumstance for Omai ; as he prided himself in having visited a place belonging to Spain as well as this man. I did not meet with the other who had returned from Lima; but Captain Clerke, who had seen him, spoke of him as a low fellow, and as a little out of his senses. His own countrymen, I found, agreed in the same account of him. In short, these two adventurers seemed to be held in no esteem. They had not, indeed, been so fortunate as to return home with such valuable acquisitions of property as we had bestowed upon Omai ; and, with the advantages he reaped from his voyage to England, it must be his own fault if he should sink into the same state of insignificance.

there

? We may have occasion hereafter to make mention of several subsequent visits to this island, on the part of our countrymen. It is evident, that Captain Cook was far from being well pleased with the consequences which had already resulted to its inhabitants from their intercourse with Europeans. Unfortunately, it is impracticable to give a more agreeable picture of the condition of the island as influenced by future visits. Cook's solicitude, in behalf of these people, is extremely commendable, and it is to this we must ascribe his opinion of the impolicy of attempting settlements amongst them. Is it wonderful, that to a man of his humanity and discernment, any other effect should seem likely to proceed from the undertaking, than what would augment his concern that ever Otaheite felt the necessity of being obliged to his countrymen? One motive alone, perhaps, not contemplated by him in reasoning on the purposes which might induce to such an attempt, gave some promise of compensating for former evils, without being likely to entail others, which would still leave the balance of good and bad consequences a subject of regret. We allude to the intentions of the missionaries, who projected a settlement on the island in 1796, &c. But the friends of humanity have not hitherto had cause to rejoice at the amount of the new benefits conferred. The advocates for such labours, indeed, require to arm themselves with patience, unless they can satisfy themselves with the conviction of having willed a good work. Besides, even they ought to anticipate the certainty, that, were their intentions realized, intruders of very different principles, and with very different motives, would speedily mar the fruits of their benevolence. Such reflections, it may be said, are discouraging. nion, then, ought we to entertain of the wisdom of labours, which had been undertaken without a full view of obvious causes threatening their ultinate failure? It would little alleviate the mortification of disappointment, to exclaim, as is often done on such occasions, “ Who could have thought it?” But the most enlightened judges of such undertakings, will not only advert to the probable occurrence of such mischief, but also be well aware of the existence of other untoward circumstances, extremely well calculated to render any fears of subsequent deterioration altogether superfluous !--E.

What opi. north

SECTION V.

Arrival at Eimeo.-Two Harbours there, and an Account of

them.-Visit from Maheine, Chief of the Island.- His Person described. --A Goat stolen, and sent back with the Thief. -- Another Goat stolen, and secreted.-Measures taken on the Occasion.— Expedition cross the Island.- Houses and Canoes burnt. The Goat deļivered up, and Peace restored. Some Account of the Island, &c.

As I did not give up my design of touching at Eimeo, at day-break, in the morning of the 30th, after leaving Otaheite, I stood for the north end of the island; the harbour which I wished to examine being at that part of it. Omai, in his canoe, having arrived there long before us, had taken some necessary measures to shew us the place. However, we were not without pilots, having several men of Otaheite on board, and not a few women. Not caring to trust entirely to these guides, I sent two boats to examine the harbour; and, on their making the signal for safe anchorage, we stood in with the ships, and anchored close up to the head of the inlet, in ten fathoms water, over a bottom of soft mud, and moored with a hawser fast to the shore. This harbour, which is called Taloo, is situated upon the north side of the island, in the district of Oboonohoo, or Poonohoo. It runs in south, or south by east, between the hills, above two miles. For security and goodness of its bottom, it is not inferior to any harbour that I have met with at any of the islands in this ocean; and it has this advantage over most of them, that a ship can sail in and out, with the reigning trade wind; so that the access and recess are equally easy. There are several rivulets that fall into it. The one, at the head, is so considerable as to admit boats to go a quarter of a mile up, where we found the water perfectly fresh. Its banks are covered with the pooroo tree, as it is called by the natives, which makes good firing, and which they set no value upon; so that wood and water are to be got here with great facility.

On the same side of the island, and about two miles to the eastward, is the harbour of Parowroah, much larger within than that of Taloo; but the entrance, or opening in the reef (for the whole island is surrounded by a reef of coral rock) is considerably narrower, and lies to leeward of the harbour. These two defects are so striking, that the harbour of Taloo must always have a decided preference. It is a little extraordinary, that I should have been three times at Otaheite before, and have once sent a boat to Eis meo, and yet not know till now that tbere was a harbour in it. On the contrary, I always understood there was not. Whereas, there are not only the two above mentioned, but one or two more on the south side of the island. But these last are not so considerable as the two we have just described.

We had no sooner anchored, than the ships were crowded with the inhabitants, whom curiosity alone brought on board; for they had nothing with them for the purposes of barter. But, the next morning, this deficiency was supplied ; several canoes then arriving from more distant parts, which brought with them abundance of bread-fruit, cocoa-nuts, and a few hogs. These they exchanged for batchets, nails, and beads; for red feathers were not so much sought after here as at Otaheite. The ship being a good deal pestered with rats, I hauled her within thirly yards of the shore, as near as the depth of water would allow, and made a path for them to get to the land, by fastening hawsers to the trees. It is said, that this experiment has sometimes succeeded; but, I believe, we got clear of very few, if any, of the numerous tribe that haunted us."

In the morning of the 2d, Maheine, the chief of the island, paid me a visit. He approached the ship with great caution, and it required some persuasion to get him on board. Probably, he was under some apprehensions of mischief from us, as friends of the Otabeitans; these people not being able to comprehend how we can be friends with any one, without adopting, at the same time, his cause against his enemies. Maheine was accompanied by his wife, who, as I was informed, is sister to Oamo, of Otaheite, of whose death we had an account while we were at this island. I made presents to both of them of such things as they seemed to set the highest value upon ; and, after a stay of about half-an-hour, they went away. Not long after, they returned with a large hog, which they meant as a return to my present; but I made them another present to the full value of it. After this they paid a visit to Captain Clerke.

This chief who, with a few followers, has made himself, in a manner, independent of Otaheite, is between forty and fifty years old. He is bald-headed, which is rather an uncommon appearance in these islands at that age. He wore a kind of turban, and seemed ashamed to shew his head. But whether they themselves considered this defi. ciency of hair as a mark of disgrace, or whether they entertained a notion of our considering it as such, I cannot

say.

' A French traveller in Greece, it is believed Sonnini, makes mention of such an artifice having been used with success by a vessel that put into one of the islands he visited; but in this case the transference was made, not into the island, but into another vessel, containing apples, of which Fats are known to be exceedingly fond. A bawser was secretly fastened to the latter, so as to form a communication betwixt the two vessels. On the following morning, it is said, not a rạt was found in the one which originally contained them, the whole having gone over during the night to the other. So much for the efficacy of the stratagem. The reader will be at no loss to decide as to the morality of having recourse to it. Me Bingley relates another method of getting rid of these yermin, whiclą seems to be abundantly serviceable, and which certainly has honesty in its favour. The Valiant man of war, on its return from the Havannah, was so shockingly infested with them, that they destroyed a hundred weight of biscuit daily. The ship was smoked between decks in order to suffocate them, which had the desired effect. In proof of this, he says, that six hampers were for some time filled every day with the dead animals.-

say. We judged that the latter supposition was the truth, from this circumstance, that they had seen us shave the head of one of their people whom we had caught steal. ing. They therefore concluded, that this was the punishment usually inflicted by ús upon all thieves; and one or two of our gentlemen, whose heads were not overburthened with hair, we could observe, lay under violent suspicions of being tetos.

In the evening, Omai and I mounted on horseback, and took a ride along the shore to the eastward. Our train was not very numerous, as Omai had forbid the natives to follow us; and many complied; the fear of giving offence getting the better of their curiosity. Towha had stationed his fleet in this barbour; and though the war lasted but a few days, the marks of its devastation were every where to be seen. The trees were stripped of their fruit; and all the houses in the neighbourhood had been pulled down or burnt.

Having employed two or three days in getting up all our spirit casks to tar their heads, which we found necessary, to save them from the efforts of a small insect to destroy them, we hauled the ship off into the stream, on the 6th, in the morning, intending to put to sea the next day; but an accident happened that prevented it, and gave me a good deal of trouble. We had sent our goats ashore, in the day-time, to graze, with two men to look after them; notwithstanding which precaution, the natives had contrived to steal one of them this evening. The loss of this goat would have been of little consequence, if it had not interfered with my views of stocking other islands with these animals; but this being the case, it became necessary to recover it, if possible. The next morning, we got intelligence that it had been carried to Maheine, the chief, who was at this time at Parowroah harbour. Two old men offered to conduct any of my people, whom I might think proper to send to him, to bring back the goat. Accordingly, I dispatched them in a boat, charged with a threatening message to Maheine, if the goat was not immediately given up to me, and also the thief.

It was only the day before that this chief had requested me to give him two goats. But, as I could not spare them, unless at the expense of other lands that might never have another opportunity to get any, and had besides heard that VOL. XVI.

there

L

« ForrigeFortsæt »