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or thirteen men each. We shortened sail and allowed them to come up, when in one of them we found an Englishman named Parker. I allowed him, with the chief under whose protection he lived, to come on board. The chief embraced the Rothuma man whom I had brought with me from Tonga, and appeared much rejoiced and pleased with me for returning him to his native country, where, as he had now been absent about eight years, he was supposed by all his friends to have been lost at sea.
When those persons came on board, I made sail to the westward along the north side of the island, and found that an American whaler had been to anchor there as late as the 17th of the preceding month to the westward of the two small islands extending off from the north-east part of the main island.
I stood on until I got within a mile of the shore, and a mile and a half to the eastward of a bay that runs in near to the west point of the island. Here I had soundings in seventeen fathoms soft mud bottom, and to all appearance excellent holding ground. I then stood off to the northward, and sounded in twenty-three fathoms (bottom as above), with the high island to the north of the west point of the main island, bearing per compass S.W. one mile and a half, distance from the main island two miles.
I ain of opinion that in most places, at from one mile and a half to two miles from the shore, between the north and east points of the island and the west point, there is anchorage in from seventeen to twenty-five fathoms, good ground; and admitting that the wind should come from the northward, a vessel could make sail and stand out to the eastward or the westward, between the main island and three islands situated to the north of the west point of the main. The names of those islands are the High-peaked Island, a low flat island, and the Cleft Island. Keeping those islands on the starboard, and the main island on the larboard side, steer through the channel to the westward, which is clear of all dangers. Keep at the distance of from a half to three-quarters of a mile from the main island. The narrowest part of the channel is full two miles wide, that is, between the Highpeaked Island and the main island. Between the main island and the outer islands the channel is four or five miles wide.
I understood from Parker that there were no runs of water on the island, and that the natives were obliged to procure that necessary from the wells made in each village. He informed me that he watered the last ship which lay there, and produced the captain's certificate to that effect. He also stated that about eight months
ago he watered another whaler, which lay at anchor near the bay towards the west end of the island. Hence it appeared that abundance of water could be obtained from the wells on shore.
The natives told this man that about eight or ten years ago the island was visited by a dreadful tempest, which committed such ravages among their cocoa-nut trees and plantations as to cause a famine. In consequence of this, all the hogs on the island were destroyed, and
breed became extinct for some years, until at length they were again supplied from the whalers with a fresh stock. Their numbers are now increasing, and there may be about one hundred pigs on the islands; but so careful are the natives of them, that no inducement can prevail upon them to part with one. I
gave Parker a young Tonga boar and sow to breed from; and had the island possessed gold mines, for this simple present, if I had arrived here at the proper time, I might have realized the splendid fortune of the celebrated Whittington.
The products of this island are small yams, a kind of large sweet potatoe, cocoa-nuts, bananas, sugar-canes, tara, and the common barn-door fowl, and at certain seasons of the year the bread-fruit abounds; but generally the produc
tions of the island are not abundant; and this small spot being so thickly populated, the surplus produce is but inconsiderable at all times.
The natives barter their commodities chiefly for whales' teeth, tortoise-shells, glass beads, cutlery, and small axes. With the whales' teeth and tortoise-shells they ornament their clubs, spears, &c., and make neck and ear-ornaments of bits of turtle shell, which among them are valued as gold with us.
This island is divided into six districts, each ruled by its own chief. These meet in congress every six months, when they elect a president and deliberate upon state affairs, hearing and settling grievances without having recourse to
Thus intestine broils seldom occur, and when they are inevitable, are not very sanguinary. Parker, who has been upon the island about four years, estimates that during that period not more than forty lives have been lost in battle. It sometimes happens that the president does not wish to resign his post at the expiration of six months; when, rather than quarrel, they allow him to exceed the time appointed by law: but should he persist in a further maintenance of his power, the other chiefs league together, and compel him by force of arms to retire.
The people seem to belong to the same race
as the Friendly Islanders, but the females are not, in my opinion, either so cleanly or handsome as those of Tongataboo. They are generally bęsmeared with a mixture of turmeric and cocoa-nut oil, which gives them a reddish appearance. Both men and women wear their hair long, and hanging in ringlets down the back and shoulders. It is coloured according to each person's fancy, sometimes white, purple, or red; which colours are produced by the use of lime made from burnt shells, the bark of the mangrove tree, and a kind of ashes of burnt roots and limes. No restraint is placed on the inclinations of single or unmarried females : they may confer their favours on whomsoever they please ; but if caught sinning after mar. riage, woe to the unfortunate lover! his punishment is instant death.
We had several canoes off, each navigated by ten, twelve, or fifteen hands. These canoes are built much after the shape of those at the Friendly Islands, but are by no means so neat in their construction and workmanship. The articles brought off for barter were principally cocoa-nuts, some very fine mats, a few fowls, a dozen yams, two or three baskets of potatoes, and eighteen or twenty young girls, who, as I afterwards understood, were willing to avail themselves of the privileges which they enjoyed