Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

the late king (the widow of the late Tooitonga), and was much noticed : he probably still remains at Vavaoo, and must now (1827) be about twenty-two years old,

being two when he left his father. Robert Brown, Cooper; THOMAS Dawson, Seaman;

THOMAS Brown, Landsman ; MANUEL PEREZ, Seaman; Josef, a black.—These came away with Mr Mariner in the Favourite; all but Thomas Brown were under the necessity of remaining in the East Indies. Thomas Brown got employment on board one of the homeward-bound vessels from China, and came to England in the same fleet with Mr Mariner.

Thomas Dawson has since been in London.

Mr Mariner regrets very much not being able to furnish dates. His only method of keeping time was by cutting certain notches on certain trees (unknown to any one), but even with such rude memoranda, he was only out in his calculation one day at the time of the Favourite's arrival.

In the ensuing pages, we shall endeavour to furnish a correct view of all the manners, customs, and sentiments of the Tonga people, that have not been mentioned, or sufficiently dwelt upon in the foregoing part of the work; and which it is hoped will be found exceedingly interesting, as offering a striking contrast to the manners, customs, and sentiments of civilized nations. Upon these subjects we shall speak in the following order; viz. Rank in society, religious, civil and professional ; Religion ; Religious Ceremonies ; Knowledge; Dress ; Domestic Habits ; Pastimes ; Music and Poetry; and lastly, Language.

* Thomas Eversfield has since been some years in London (1827.)-Ep.

3

VOL. II.

G

CHAPTER IV.

The rank or estimation in which individuals are held in society at the Tonga Islands, may be most conveniently treated of, first, under three different points of view, viz. religious, civil, and professional, with reference to their mythology, political subordination, and their arts and manufactures ; and, secondly, with reference to old age, female sex, and infancy. In this chapter, we propose to speak merely of rank in society, and the degree of respect due from one man to another; all which is determined in regard to every individual, by one or other, or more of the foregoing circumstances, mythology, politics, arts, age, sex, and childhood.

To divide society into distinct classes, and to discourse of the degree of rank or respect accruing to individuals, accordingly as they may belong to one or other of these classes, would be a task very difficult to execute, and perhaps impossible in respect to the people of these islands ; at least, not without making numerous exceptions and ex, planations, which would only be the means of rendering the description both tedious and complicate. For one and the same individual, (a

priest), who to-day is held in scarcely any estimation, may to-morrow, (under the influence of inspiration), take place of every body present, seat himself at the head of the cava ring, be respected as the god himself, and his discourse attentively listened to as oracular. Again,– the king himself, whom one might suppose to be the greatest person in the country, (and in fact he has the greatest power), is by no means the highest noble, but must yield in point of rank to many others. In this order of things, therefore, we shall first speak of those persons to whom rank and respect is yielded, on the score of religious circumstances ; and these are Tooitonga, Veachi, and the priests.

We here speak of Tooitonga as if actually existing in his full rank, with all the public honours of religious estimation ; but it will be recollected, that, before Mr Mariner's departure from Vavaoo, the king had done away entirely with all the ceremonies formerly considered due to the divine character of this chief. As this was done immediately after Tooitonga's death, his son did not succeed to this high title ; so that, if affairs still remain in the same state at Vavaoo, there is at present no Tooitonga, and probably never again will be ; but, if there should happen some violent political change, it is possible the son of the late divine chief may be raised to that honour. We therefore speak of Tooitonga as if actually existing. The family name of Tooitonga is Fatafehi, and the present

head of the family, the only son, (of legitimate rank), is now (1817) a youth of about sixteen or seventeen years of age ; his name is Fatafehi Low fili Tonga. He is still considered a chief of high rank, and has respect paid to him accordingly.

Tooitonga and Veachi are both acknowledged descendants of chief gods who formerly visited the islands of Tonga ; but whether their original mothers were goddesses, or merely natives of Tonga, is a question which they do not pretend to decide. Of these two personages, Tooitonga, as may be guessed from his title, is far higher in. rank ;-the word imports chief of Tonga, which island has always been considered the most noble of all the Tonga Islands, and from time immemorial the greatest chiefs have been accustomed to make it their principal place of residence, and, after their decease, to be buried there in the tombs of their ancestors. This island, moreover, gives name, by way of pre-eminence, to all the islands taken collectively, as a capital town sometimes gives name to a country; and withal it has acquired the epithet of sacred, táboo, and is thus sometimes called Tonga Táboo, denoting its excellence. From this circumstance it is erroneously noted down in our charts Tongataboo ; but táboo is only an epithet occasionally used. The respect which is shown to Tooitonga, and the high rank which he holds in society, is wholly of a religious nature, and is far superior, when occasion demands it, to that which is shown even to the king himself; for the king, as will by and by be seen, is by no means of the most noble descent, but yields in this respect to Tooitonga, Veachi, and several families related to them; and if he were accidentally to meet any chief of nobler descent than himself, he would have to sit down on the ground till the other had passed him, which is a mark of respect that a

them;

common peasant would be obliged to show to any chief or Egi whatsoever. For this reason the king never associates with any chief superior to himself, and always endeavours to avoid meeting

and they in like manner endeavour to avoid him, that he might not be put to the trouble of sitting down while they passed ; for if any one were to forego this ceremony in presence of a superior Egi, some calamity from the gods would be expected as a punishment for the omission. Sitting down is with them a mark of respect, as standing up is with us, before a superior ; upon the principle, perhaps, that in this posture a man cannot so readily attack or assassinate the person in whose presence he is ; or it may be that in in this posture lowering his height is significant of his rank or merit being humbled in presence of the other.

There are many ceremonies which characterize the high respect and veneration shown to Tooitonga; but as in this place we are discoursing of rank, not of ceremonies, the full description of the latter must, be deferred till we come to speak of religious rites. Here we shall only mention, in a general way, of what these ceremonies chiefly consist.

1. The grand ceremony of ináchi, which is performed once a year (about the month of October), and consists in offering the first fruits of the year to Tooitonga. It was supposed that if this ceremony were neglected, the vengeance of the gods would fall in a signal manner upon

the people. 2. Peculiarity of his marriage ceremony. 3. Peculiarity of his burial ceremony.

« ForrigeFortsæt »