« ForrigeFortsæt »
living bodies of lizards, porpoises, and a species of water-snake: hence these animals are much respected. Their coming into porpoises is supposed to be for the purpose of taking care of vessels, &c.
11. That the two personages of the Tonga Island known by the name of Tooitonga and Veachi, are descended in a right line from two chief gods, and that all respect and veneration is therefore due to them.
12. That some persons are favoured with the inspirations of the gods, by an actual existence of the god for the time being in the person (the priest) so inspired, who is then capable of prophesying.
13. That human merit or virtue consists chief ly in paying respect to the gods, nobles, and aged persons; in defending one's hereditary rights; honour, justice, patriotism, friendship, meekness, modesty, fidelity of married women, parental and filial love, observance of all religious ceremonies, patience in suffering, forbearance of temper, &c.
14. That all rewards for virtue or punishments for vice happen to men in this world only, and come immediately from the gods.
15. That several acts acknowledged by all civilized nations as crimes, are under many circumstances considered by them as a matter of
indifference, such as revenge; killing a servant who has given provocation, or any body else, provided it be not a very superior chief or noble; rape, provided it be not upon a married woman, or one to whom respect is due on the score of superior rank from the perpetrator ; theft, except it be consecrated property.
16. Omens are considered direct indications of the gods to mankind. Charms or superstitious ceremonies to bring evil upon any one are considered for the most part infallible, as being generally effective means to dispose the gods to accord with the curse or evil wish of the malevolent invoker. To perform these charms is considered cowardly and unmanly, but does not constitute a crime.
The Tonga people universally believe in the existence of a large island called Bolotoo, lying at a considerable distance to the north-westward of their own island, which they consider to be the place of residence of their gods, and of the souls of their noble matabooles. This island is supposed to be much larger than all their own islands put together; to be well stocked with all kinds of useful and ornamental plants; always in a state of high perfection, and always bearing the richest fruits and the most beautiful flowers, according to their respective natures. That when these fruits or flowers are plucked, others
immediately occupy their place; and that the whole atmosphere is filled with the most delightful fragrance that the imagination can conceive, proceeding from these immortal plants. The island is also well stocked with the most beautiful birds of all imaginable kinds, as well as with abundance of hogs, all of which are immortal, unless they are killed to provide food for the hotooas, or gods; but the moment a hog or bird is killed, another living hog or bird immediately comes into existence to supply its place, the same as with the fruits and flowers : and this, as far as they know or suppose, is the only mode of propagation of plants and animals. The island of Bolotoo is supposed to be so far off as to render it dangerous for their canoes to attempt going there; and it is supposed, moreover, that even if they were to succeed in reaching so far, unless it happened to be the particular will of the gods, they would be sure to miss it. They give, however, an account of a Tonga canoe, which on her return from the Feejee Islands a long time ago, was driven by stress of weather to Bolotoo. Ignorant of the place where they were, and being much in want of provisions, seeing the country abound in all sorts of fruit, the crew landed and proceeded to pluck some bread-fruit; but, to their unspeakable astonishment, they could no more lay hold
on it than if it were a shadow. They walked through the trunks of trees and passed through the substance of the houses (which were built like those of Tonga) without feeling any resistance. They at length saw some of the hotooas, who passed through the substance of their bodies as if there was nothing there. The hotooas recommended them to go away immediately, as they had no proper food for them, and promised them a fair wind and a speedy passage. They accordingly put directly for sea, and in two days' sailing with the utmost velocity they arrived at Kamoa (the Navigators’ Islands), at which place they wanted to touch before they went to Tonga. Having remained at Kamoa two or three days they sailed for Tonga, where they arrived with great speed. But in the course of a few days they all died, not as a punishment for having been at Bolotoo, but as a natural consequence, the air of Bolotoo, as it were, infecting mortal bodies with speedy death. The hotooas are supposed to have no canoes, not requiring them ; for if they wish to be any where, there they are the moment the wish is felt.
The Hotooas, or supernatural intelligent beings, may be divided into classes.
1. The original gods. 2. The souls of nobles that have all attributes
in common with the first, but inferior in degree.
3. The souls of matabooles that are still inferior, and have not the power, as the two first have, of coming back to Tonga to inspire the priests, though they are supposed to have the power of appearing to their relatives.
4. The original attendants or servants, as it were, of the gods, who although they had their origin, and have ever since existed in Bolotoo, are still inferior to the third class.
5. The Hotooa Pow, or mischievous gods.
6. Moooi, or the god that supports the earth, and does not belong to Bolotoo.
The first class, or original hotooas, are supposed to be rather numerous, perhaps about three hundred; but the names of very few are known, and those only to some of the chiefs and matabooles.
Several of these primitive hotooas have houses dedicated to them. The houses are built in the usual style, but generally somewhat more care is taken both in building them and keeping them in good order, decorating their enclosures with flowers, &c. About twenty of the gods have houses thus consecrated to them, some having five or six, others one or two. The following are the names and attributes of the principal gods.
Táli-y-Toobó. The literal meaning of this