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land were settled in the valley opening upon Resolution Bay, with some prospect of comfort and usefulness. They found, indeed, but little encouragement in the disposition of the natives, who, though they abolished open idolatry, retained the greater part of their heathen customs and prejudices. Eutiti, the principal ruler of the district, is a shrewd avaricious person, eager to encourage the resort of shipping to his ports, because, by means of the traffic, he acquires such munitions of war as enable him to maintain a considerable influence over the other chiefs. Viewed as the patron of christian teachers, he is regarded by our countrymen with respect, however dark or questionable his motives may appear. *
Captain Waldegrave, of her majesty's ship Seringapatam, had previously visited Noukahiva or Martin Island, which he describes as being of volcanic origin, and possessing a fertile soil. With regard to the bodily qualities of the natives, so much extolled by Cook and other navigators, he expresses great disappointment. The men, with few exceptions, were below five feet ten inches in height, and averaged about five feet six or seven, with stout muscular arms and chests, long backs, short thighs, long but rather small legs : the women were short, walked awkwardly, with long backs and short limbs, the majority being under five feet two inches. All of them appeared very indolent except when employed by the English crew, nature providing for them most liberally without the pain of labour. During the day, they sat collected in groups, either in their huts, or under the shadow of trees, but more frequently sleeping than talking. This idleness is not incompatible with the spirit of a warlike people, who, when the hour of danger comes, are easily roused to the most violent exertion. They are proud of displaying their wounds; and the marks of musket-balls were observed on the bodies of many of them. Their greatest delight is to mimic the movements and stratagems of
* Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, vol. vii. p. 223.
war, showing how they attack the enemy, oppose and traverse their tactics.
It was remarked by the officers when ashore, that the old men appeared much stronger than the present race. Whilst exploring the hills, the natives squatted twenty times in an hour to take rest, though the English sailors felt no fatigue. This degeneracy is supposed to arise from the general relaxation of morals, and more especially from early licentiousness; contrasting in a striking manner with the vigour displayed by the people of Pitcairn's Island, who are remarkable for their virtuous mode of living. There the men were seen to carry up or down a cliff a cask containing fourteen gallons of water; no weight was found too great, and no labour tired them. The women also were tall, well-shaped, modest, civil, and retiring.*
The Low Archipelago presents fewer points, either in its history or present condition, to arrest the attention of the philanthropist than may be found in the islands situated more to the leeward. The inhabited spots which compose it lie between the parallels of 14° and 26° south latitude, and between long. 130° and 145o W. They are exceedingly numerous, and probably many still remain undiscovered; they are nearly all of coral formation, and consist of narrow stripes of that rock, generally describing a circular figure, and enclosing a lagoon, in many instances of great depth. These edges or borders rarely exceed an elevation of ten feet above the sea, and half a mile in breadth. The eastern side is universally the most complete in its formation, and covered with shrubs or small trees; a fact owing to the westerly current caused by the trade-wind, which deposits all floating substances on that side, including a variety of seeds carried, it is probable, from a great dis
* Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. iii. p. 170. Captain Waldegrave states that he saw a double canoe which measured twenty of his steps, and was capable of carrying sixty men. “ At one end were two skulls and two war clubs, and some shells were fastened to the canoe.” He saw no.temple or place of worship, nor any signs of religious usage.
tance. Salas Rock, Pitcairn's Island, and Gambier's Group are decidedly volcanic; and it may be presumed that the same convulsions of nature have given to the little zoophyte, or saxigenous polypus, a foundation on which to erect his stupendous structure. One island, called Elizabeth, which has attained a height of seventy or eighty feet, is composed of compact coral, and well covered with vegetation suitable to the meagre soil by which it is supported. It has, however, no lagoon, a circumstance which is considered rare in that class of formations.
This archipelago is distinguished by the appellation of “ Dangerous,” an epithet which has not without reason been applied to the group. The surf, breaking violently over the walls which surround them, is the best safeguard for ships ; in the night it may be heard at the distance of six or eight miles, and by day it is frequently seen before the islands themselves are visible. In many instances, not more than five hundred yards from the reef, the ocean is so deep as to be beyond the reach of line or plummet. The western sides, as already noticed, being less completely formed, occasionally present openings wide enough to receive vessels of the largest size into the central lagoons, which are usually found to be safe harbours. All of them are situated within the range of the south-east trade-wind; but in the winter months they are exposed to frequent and heavy gales from the westward. Many are inhabited, but evidently not by the same race. Canoes drifted from the Society Isles have been the means of peopling some, and the occasional visits of European missionaries have conveyed to them the principles of religion, together with a tincture of civilisation.*
The islands which are distinguished by the name of
* In Captain Beechey's Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Behring's Straits, vol. i. p. 137-267, are many interesting notices respecting thirty-two islands in the Low Archipelago visited by himself. See, at p. 256, the question discussed as to the original inhabitants of the whole group.
Gambier, and which were discovered by Captain Wilson of the Duff, may be described as comparatively hilly, because most of the others do not rise more than three feet above the level of the sea at high water. Among those best known to navigators may be included the Crescent Isle, the Harp, the Chain, the Bow, appellations which they have received from the supposed resemblance to these objects. A few are thought to be increasing in size, while the greater part seem destined never to ascend above the surface of the waves by which they are constantly washed. But numbers are to be seen in every stage of their progress ; some exhibiting little more than the point or summit of a coral-line pyramid, at a depth scarcely discernible through the transparent waters; others spreading like submarine gardens beneath the surface; while a third class ascend, like long curved banks of sand, broken coral, or shells, two or three feet above the water, clothed with a partial vegetation, and bent occasionally into the shape of a horse-shoe. The whole archipelago is known to the natives of Otaheite by the designation of Paumotus; a term which is also applied by them to the inhabitants.
It is stated by Mr Ellis, that in the early part of the reign of Pomare the Second, the calamities of war had driven many of those miserable people to seek security in the Georgian Islands. They were at once protected and maintained by that meritorious ruler; and hence, when his own subjects renounced idolatry, they required little argument to induce them to follow this example. They not only cast away their gods, but also accepted instruction from the missionaries. In 1817, many of them returned home, accompanied by Moorea, one of their countrymen, who was much esteemed for his piety, and had learned to read. On reaching Anaa, or Chain Island, the place of his birth, he taught with so much success that, with the exception of a small district, all the inhabitants agreed to renounce heathenism. At a later period, about four hundred of them sailed to Otaheite for books and farther instruction. These dauntless persons, who, in
order to gratify their desire for knowledge, had traversed in their frail vessels a distance of three hundred miles, carried with them the pleasing intelligence that their kinsmen were eager to receive Christianity, that they were building places of worship at several stations, and that they had discontinued the practice of cannibalism, as well as many other atrocities incident to their unconverted state. Besides the small library of which they came in quest, they were supplied with ministers and teachers, including their zealous friend Moorea, who, in the mean time, had been raised by the brethren at Wilks' Harbour to the higher office of minister.
Mr Crook, whose exertions have been already so favourably noticed, visited Chain Island in 1825, which he found overwhelmed with desolation, occasioned by a most furious tempest. He was gratified by learning that the gospel had been received in other parts of the archipelago, and that though the faith of some professors had faltered, the great body of believers continued steadfast in their principles. It is no doubt acknowledged, that while the influence of Christianity had proved most efficacious in softening the barbarous character of the people, their savage dispositions were still occasionally manifested. Desirous to propagate the new religion, they had sent two native teachers to Amanu ; but these had no sooner begun their exhortations, and enjoined abstinence from the gross sins which every where prevailed, than they were attacked, their wives killed, and themselves compelled to seek safety in a precipitate flight. One of the women thus murdered was a daughter of the chief of Anaa; and the intelligence so enraged her countrymen, that, forgetting the principles of forbearance inculcated by Christianity, they fitted out a fleet, proceeded to the guilty island, and punished a number of the inhabitants with death.*
Alluding to the natives of the Gambier cluster, a navi. gator observes that, like the generality of uncivilized
* Polynesian Researches, vol. iii. p. 306.