Billeder på siden

4. Peculiarity of the mourning for his decease.

5. Tooitonga is not circumcised, as all the other men are, unless he goes to foreign islands to undergo this ceremony ; nor is he tattowed.

6. Peculiarities of speech, used in regard to Tooitonga. For instance, if the king or any chief but Tooitonga be sick, they say he is ténga tángi ; but Tooitonga being sick, he is said to be booloohi. So with many other words that are used exclusively for him, and which will be noticed hereafter.

These things are mentioned in this place, merely to afford an idea of the high veneration in which Tooitonga is held; for to whom but the greatest personage can such peculiarities belong ? Notwithstanding his high rank, however, he has comparatively but very little absolute power, which extends in a direct and positive manner only over his own family and attendants.

As to his property, he has somewhat more than the generality of the nobles, but much less than the king, who by his arbitrary sovereignty can lay claim to almost any thing. Thus all that can be said in this place of Tooitonga is, that he is by far the greatest Egi, having the credit of a high divine original, and that all

respect and veneration is therefore due to him.

Veachi', as mentioned before, is another Egi: of divine original, but far from being equal to Tooitonga. The king, indeed, avoids his presence, the same as he would that of Tooitonga, and always pays him the usual obeisance when he hapa pens to meet him. But he has no peculiar marks of high respect shown to him, as are shown to Tooitonga : that is to say, no ceremonies that are, hemselves, peculiar"and different from what are

to other chiefs by their inferiors. There is

this one aniversal acknowledgment, however, viz. that he is a great chief descended from a god that he is next in rank to Tooitonga, and superior to every other chief. His name has no known literal meaning that Mr Mariner can discover.

PRIESTS, or FAHE-GEHE. The term fahe-gehe means, split off, separate, or distinct from, and is applied to signify a priest, or man, who has a peculiar or distinct sort of mind or soul, differing from that of the generality of mankind, which disposes some god occasionally to inspire him. These inspirations, of which an account has been given Vol. i. p. 101, frequently happen, and on such occasions the priest has the same deference and respect shown to him as if he were the god himself. If the king happen to be present, he retires to a respectful distance, and sits down among the body of the spectators. So would Veachí, and so would

the high divine chief Tooitonga, because a god is believed to exist at that moment in the priest, and to speak from his mouth. At other times, a priest has no other respect paid to him than what his own proper family rank may require. They generally belong to the lower order of chiefs, or to the matabooles, though sometimes great chiefs are thus visited by the gods, and the king himself has been inspired by Tali-y-toobo, the chief of the gods. During the time a priest is inspired, he is looked on with more or less veneration, according to the rank of the god that inspires him. But more upon this subject under the head of Religion.

The civil ranks of society may be thus divided -How, or King ; Egi, or NOBLES ; MATABOOLES; Moons, and Toons.

The How, or KING, is an arbitrary monarch, de


[graphic][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

have credible records, which is not more than about four, or, at most, five generations, were all relations of Tooitonga. At all events, this is certain, that the present acknowledged fountains of nobility are Tooitonga, Veachi, and the king, in the order in which they here stand. In every family nobility descends by the female line ; for where the mother is not a noble, the children are not nobles ; but supposing the father and mother to be nearly equal by birth, the following is the order in which the individuals of the family are to be ranked, viz. the father, the mother, the eldest son, the eldest daughter, the second son, the second daughter, &c., or, if there be no children, the next brother to the man, then the sister, the second brother, the second sister, &c. But if the woman is more noble than the man, then her relations, in like order, take precedence in rank, but they do not inherit his property, as will be seen in another place. All the children of a female noble are, without exception, nobles.

MATABOOLES rank next to the chiefs: they are a sort of honourable attendants upon chiefs, are their companions, counsellors, and advisers. They see that the orders and wishes of their chiefs are duly executed, and may not improperly be called their ministers, and are more or less regarded according to the rank of the chief to whom they are attached. They have the management of all ceremonies. Their rank is from inheritance ; and they are supposed to have been, originally, distant relations of the nobles, or to have descended from persons eminent for experience and wisdom, and whose acquaintance and friendship on that account became valuable to the king, and other great chiefs.

riving his right to the throne partly from hereditary succession, and partly from military power, which latter he is occasionally obliged to exert to secure hinseli in the former. His power and influence over the winds of the people is derived from the following circumstances riz, hereditary right; supposedi protection of the gods, if he be the lawful heir: his reperation as a warrior; the nobility of his edescent; and, lastiy, but not least, the strength and number of his dghting men. He, of course, Possess the greatest power of any individual ; bert. in respect so rank, as before observed, he is ditierently cinnustanced. Nobility consists in being related either to Tooitonga, Veachi, or the How, and the nearer any family is related to them, the hubier it is

Eol, er Nobles. All those persons are egi, or nobis or chiets, who are any way related either to the family of Tocitonga or Veachi, or the How. Tenisongea and Teachi may easily be conceived seure's of nolulity, on account of their supposed divine original, and the How because he holds the rvigns of government, and is invested with power. The family of Finow, who is the present How, say, that they descended neither from Tooitonga nor Veachi, but are altogether a distinct race. The fact probably is, that Finow's family is a distant branch of one of the others ; but having at length ascended the throne, it drew its rank and consequence more from this circumstance, than from such distant relationship. The present Finow's father was the first of his family that came to the throne, which, as already detailed, he did by usurpation and expulsion of the then reigning family. The Hows before that time, as far back as they

« ForrigeFortsæt »