Billeder på siden

standing. Thus, Mafi Habe, one of the wives of Finow, father of the present king, was Mr Mariner's foster-mother, appointed by the king, her husband. To this person Mr Mariner feels himself greatly indebted for a considerable portion of his intimate knowledge of the language and true customs of Tonga, in contradistinction to words and customs introduced from other islands. She would frequently take the greatest pains in teaching him the correct Tonga pronunciation, and would laugh him out of all little habits and customs, in dress, manners, and conversation, that were not strictly according to the Tonga fashion, or not considered sufficiently polished and becoming an, egi (noble). In all respects, and on every occasion, she conducted herself towards him with maternal affection, modesty, and propriety. She was a woman of great understanding, personal beauty, and amiable manners.

If a young girl is betrothed, or set apart to be the wife or concubine of a noble higher in rank than herself, she derives more respect on that account, independent of what is due to her own proper rank. The women employ themselves (particularly nobles) in making a variety of articles, chiefly ornamental; these employments, however, are considered accomplishments, not professions. Some of the higher class of women not only make these employments an amusement, but actually make a sort of trade of it, without prejudice to their rank; which is what the lower class of women could not do, because what they make is not their own property, but is done by the order of their superiors. The highest accomplishments

cannot add to a woman's rank, though it does somewhat to the estimation in which she may be held; for such things, when well done, are honourable in a woman of rank. These things will be farther spoken of hereafter.

Children acquire their rank by inheritance, as before observed, from the mother's side. If she be not a noble they are not, and vice versa. If a man, however high his rank, were to have a child by a woman who is only a tooa, no matter whether they are married or not (but indeed there is no instance of a noble marrying a tooa), that child would not be a noble, though it were known that the father was a noble. The child might rank as a mooa, but not higher; on the contrary, if a woman who is a noble were to have a child by a tooa, the child would be a noble; but this perhaps seldom happens, for the pride of the females would not allow of such a low intrigue; or if such a circumstance were to take place, the greatest care would be used that it should not be known. Children that are nobles are somewhat less respected, as may be supposed, on account of their childhood; but then any familiarity or slight disrespect that might be shown them would only be by nobles nearly equal or superior to them. If Finow were to see a child of superior rank approach or be brought near him, he perhaps would say (and frequently does on such occasions), take that child away! why do you bring him here, troubling me with the taboo? or some such abrupt expression. Such language, however, would not be decorous from an inferior, unless he be of nearly equal rank, and then only by authority of his superior age.


THE RELIGION of the Tonga Islands rests chiefly upon a belief of the following notions.

1. That there are Hotooas, gods, or superior beings, who have the power of dispensing good and evil to mankind, according to their merit, but of whose origin they form no idea, rather supposing them to be eternal.

2. That there are other Hotooas or gods, viz. the souls of all deceased nobles and matabooles, who have a like power of dispensing good and evil, but in an inferior degree.

3. That there are besides several Hotooa Pow, or mischievous gods, whose attribute is never to dispense good, but petty evils and troubles, as a punishment, but indiscriminately, from a pure mischievous disposition.


4. That all these superior beings, although they had a beginning, will have no end.

5. That the world also is of doubtful origin, and co-existent with the gods; the solid sky, the heavenly bodies, and the ocean, being pre-existent to the habitable earth, and that the Tonga Islands were drawn out of the water by the god Tangaloa, whilst fishing with a line and hook.

6. That mankind, according to a partial tradition, first came from Bolotoo, the chief residence of the gods, and resided at the Tonga Islands, by command of Tangaloa. They consisted of two brothers, with their wives and attendants, whose original they know nothing about. 7. That all human evil is inflicted by the gods up

on mankind, on account of some neglect of religious duty, either in the person or persons who suffer the inflictions, or in the egi or chief whom they serve; and the contrary of good. 8. That all egi or nobles have souls, which exist hereafter in Bolotoo, not according to their moral merit, but their rank in this world, and then they have power similar to the original gods, but less. The matabooles also go to Bolotoo after death, where they exist as matabooles or ministers to the gods, but they have not the power of inspiring priests. The mooas, according to the belief of some, also go to Bolotoo, but this is a matter of great doubt. But the tooas have no souls, or such only as dissolve with the body after death, which consequently ends their sentient existence.

9. That the soul during life is not a distinct essence from the body, but only the more etherial part of it, which exists in Bolotoo, in the form and likeness of the body, the moment after death. 10. That the primitive gods and deceased nobles, sometimes appear (visibly) to mankind, to warn or to afford comfort and advice: that the primitive gods also sometimes.come into the 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 known by the name of Tooitonga and Veachi, are descendants 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 inspiration of the gods, by an actual existence of the god for the time being, in the person so inspired, who is then capable of prophesying. 13. That human merit or virtue consists chiefly 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, &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 matters 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

« ForrigeFortsæt »