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state of existence for a better. In this case, no effort is made to dissuade the devotee from his purpose ; the willing murderers proceed forthwith to dig a hole of sufficient capacity, and placing him in a sitting posture, cast the earth upon him, which is pressed down by the feet of his own relatives and friends. *
That the charge of cannibalism brought against the natives of this part of the South Seas is not without foundation, will appear from the following statement given by Mariner, to whose residence at Tonga we have more than once alluded. A war having arisen between the men of Pau and Chichia, both islands of the Fijee class, the latter, who were victorious, resolved to signalize their triumph by a great feast. After the usual dancing and indulgence in cava, the chief gave orders to his cooks to bring forward the repast. Immediately they advanced two and two, each couple bearing on their shoulders a basket, in which was the body of a man barbacued like a pig. The bodies were placed before the monarch, who was seated at the head of his company on an esplanade in the open air. When these victims had been arranged on the ground in due order, roasted pigs were brought in like manner; afterwards baskets of yams, on each of which was a baked fowl.
These being regularly deposited, the number of dishes was counted and announced to the guests with a loud voice, when there appeared to be two hundred human bodies, two hundred hogs, two hundred baskets of yams, and the same amount of fowls. The provisions were then divided into various lots, all of which were severally dedicated to a particular god; after which they were cominitted to the care of as many principal leaders, who shared them out to all their attendants, so that every man and woman in the island became possessed of a portion of each article, whether they might choose to eat
Ample details relative to the atrocities committed by the Fijee tribes under the sanction of religion, will be found in the Missionary Journals, most of which are too gross and appalling to be transferred to our pages.
it or not. The narrator does not positively assert, that every one present at this savage entertainment partook of the human flesh; and it is not improbable that the captive Pauans had been offered as sacrifices, or in compliance with ancient custom, rather than to gratify the palates of their conquerors. But it is not concealed that the chiefs, the warriors, and the more ferocious part of the company, did regale themselves on the unnatural diet, and that several of them feasted on it exclusively.*
Leaving for a time that scene of brutal rage and sensuality, we proceed to the Navigators’ Islands, which have profited to a greater extent by the spirit of improvement introduced
among them by the missionaries, and are in every respect extremely important. They are situated between lat. 10° and 15° S., and long. 185° and 195° E. The number is usually said to be nine, the largest of which, named Pola or Savaii, is double the extent of Otaheite, and not inferior either in beauty or fertility. Upolu and Maouna or Tutuila are the next in size and value, the remainder being small and not very productive. They all manifest the most distinct proofs of a volcanic origin. The rocks forming the beach, upon which the sea breaks with such fury as to throw the water more than fifty feet high, are lava, basalt, and coral, united into a firm mass by the action of subterraneous heat. The hills, some of which are lofty, are clothed to the very summit with trees bearing loads of fruit. The soil of the plains is rich, and covered with extensive plantations of guavas, bananas, and sugar-cane. Pigs, fowls, birds, and fish, every where abound; and hence it is not surprising to find that the population has been estimated at not less than a hundred and fifty thousand.t
These islands were discovered by Bougainville, in the year 1768, who gave them the designation they still bear, from observing, it is supposed, the superior con
* Mariner's Tonga Islands, vol. i. p. 276. + The names of the other islands are Orosenga, Ofu, Manono, Aboruna, and Manua ; in addition to which, there are several small ones near the coast of Tutuila and Savaii.
struction of the canoes, and the skill with which they were managed. In 1788, they were visited by the unfortunate La Perouse, who lost there his friend M. de Langle and a number of his men, who were murdered by a party of the natives. This barbarous act conveyed such an impression of their treachery and bloodthirstiness as deterred other voyagers from approaching their coast for many years; and hence the remembrance of them was almost obliterated before they were again explored by adventurers in our own day. Captain Edwards of the Pandora appears to have determined the position of several of them, but his narrative is so imperfect, that no reliance can be placed on the conclusions which have been drawn from his statements.
Kotzebue, in 1824, directed his course for the Navigators', and on the 2d day of April observed the most easterly of their number rising from the sea like a high round mountain. He remarks, that the inhabitants of the whole group are far less civilized than were the Otaheitans when first discovered by Wallis. Those of Maouna, especially, are perhaps the most ferocious people to be met with in the South Sea. He visited the scene where De Langle and his comrades fell, now known by the name of Massacre Bay. The appearance of the country was inviting ; the shores were bordered with cocoa-nut trees, and the freshest vegetation enlivened the interior; but nothing betrayed that the island was inhabited; no smoke arose, and no canoe was seen. This appeared the more remarkable, as on La Perouse's arrival, his ship, as soon as perceived by the natives, was surrounded by several hundred skiffs laden with provisions. At length a small canoe containing three men was seen paddling towards the Russian frigate, by the crew of which the savages were invited to go on board. Declining this offer of confidence, one of them climbed up the side high enough to see over the deck, and handed to the persons nearest him a few cocoa-nuts, all the provisions he had brought. He received in return a piece of iron, which he pressed to his forehead in sign of thankfulness, making a low reverence. Having examined the deck a long time with a suspicious eye, without speaking a word, he suddenly commenced a pathetic harangue, growing more and more animated as he
proceeded, and pointing with passionate gestures alternately to the vessel and the land.
In the midst of this address, several other canoes approached, filled, as the captain conjectured, by the descendants of the furious murderers. The wild troop appeared timid at first, but the orator having inspired them with courage, they at once became so impudent and daring that they seemed disposed to take possession of the ship by violence. To prevent any assault, the sailors were appointed to the proper stations fully armed, with orders to check their forwardness without inflicting any personal injury. It was soon found, however, that all the bayonets and lances were quite necessary to prevent an invasion from the canoes, the number of which had considerably increased ; and even in defiance of repeated blows, some of the most resolute of the natives succeeded in planting themselves on board. Impelled by that covetous emotion which no savage has ever been able to repress, they grasped with both hands every object they could reach, and held it so pertinaciously, that it required the united efforts of some of the strongest seamen to throw them overboard. Except a few cocoa-nuts, they offered no kind of provisions; but by a variety of expressive gestures they invited the strangers to land, intimating, that they would be amply supplied on shore with every thing they wanted. The barbarians, it was imagined, had destined for them the fate of the too credulous Frenchmen; they appeared unarmed, but had artfully concealed clubs and short lances in their boats.
A few who were permitted to remain on deck behaved as rudely as if they had been already masters of the shipsnatching from the hands of the officers some little presents they were about to distribute amongst them. There was one exception, a youth, who in return for a gift bestowed upon him, bowed to the captain with great
politeness, and almost in European fashion. The rest of his countrymen behaved like beasts of the desert, trying to seize by main force whatever struck their fancy. They even showed more disgusting propensities. One of them, for example, was so much tempted by the accidental display of a sailor's bare arm, that he could not help exhibiting his horrible appetite for human flesh; he snapped at it with his teeth, indicating, by the most unequivocal signs, that such food would be very palatable to him. Kotzebue, after remarking that cannibalism still prevails very extensively in the islands of the South Sea, warns all voyagers not to venture among the tribes who have a taste for so horrible a diet, without the utmost precaution, because they are more artful and treacherous than any other of the Polynesians. The inhabitants of Maouna are probably the worst in the Navigators' group. Intent on some wicked purpose, they continued to invest the ship with increasing numbers and less disguised ferocity. Many of them stood up in their canoes, made long speeches, accompanied by angry looks and menacing gestures. Their screams and threatenings soon became general; and, brandishing their clubs, they began to make formal preparations for an attack, which were only repelled by a display of bayonets and the fear of loaded guns.
In point of stature, the inhabitants presented nothing remarkable, not exceeding five feet six inches, and being rather slender in form, though strikingly muscular. Their faces would have been thought handsome, had they not been disfigured by an expression of wildness and cruelty. Their colour is dark brown; some let their long black hair hang down unornamented, over the neck, face, and shoulders; others wore it bound up and fastened like a cap round the temples, which appendage being coloured yellow, makes a striking contrast with the rest of the head.*
A New Voyage round the World in the Years 1823-1826. By Otto Von Kotzebue, post-captain in the Russian Imperial Navy (2 vols. 12mo, London, 1830), vol. i. p. 265. The island called by Kotzebue Maouna, is by Williams denominated Tutuila.