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hanging loose about the shoulders, or tied in a bunch on the crown of the head.*
The Hervey Islands are seven in number, which, besides the one now specified, are Mangaia, Atiu, Mitiaro, Mauke, Aitutaki, and Rarotonga. The first of these was discovered by Captain Cook, on the 29th March 1777. Being near the shore, he could perceive with his glass that several of the natives, who appeared upon a sandy beach, were armed with long spears and clubs, which they brandished in the air with signs of threatening. Most of them were naked, but a few had pieces of cloth of different colours, white, striped, or chequered, which they wore as a garment, thrown about the shoulders. They had a kind of sandal, made of a grassy substance ingeniously woven, which seemed intended to defend their feet against the coral rock. Their beards were long ; and the inside of their arms, from the shoulder to the elbow, was tattooed, after the manner of the other islanders in those latitudes. The lobe of the ear was pierced, or rather slit, and to such a length that one of them stuck into it a knife and some beads which he had received from the sailors. Mourooa, a chief, accompanied the captain on board, where the cattle and other new objects presented to his view did not strike him with so much surprise as was expected. His mind, indeed, seemed to be so deeply occupied with thoughts about his own safety, that he was incapable of attending to any other thing. Going out of the cabin, he happened to stumble over a goat; and his curiosity now overcoming his fear, he looked at it, and asked what bird it was. Mangaia lies in lat. 21° 57' S., and long. 158° 3' W. Such parts of it as fell under the notice of the discoverers were guarded by a coral reef, on the outside of which the sea is of an unfathomable depth. It is fully five
• A Voyage towards the South Pole and round the World, performed in His Majesty's Ships the Resolution and Adventure, in the years 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775, written by James Cook, Commander of the Resolution (2 vols, London, 1779), vol. i. p. 190. Missionary Enterprises, p. 18.
leagues in circuit, and in the middle rises into little hills, whence there is a gentle descent to the shore. This declivity is covered with trees of a deep green colour, very thick, but not tall, among which are numbers of that species of dracæna found in the woods of New Zealand as well as in some other places. “Upon the whole,” concludes the navigator, “ the island has a pretty aspect, and might be made a beautiful place by cultivation.”*
On the authority of later observers, we may remark that Mangaia, which is estimated to be about twenty or twenty-five miles in circumference, rises to a greater height than was supposed by Cook, who did not land. The population is stated by the missionaries to exceed two thousand, though the grounds on which their calculations are founded, do not challenge an unlimited confidence. This island presents a peculiarity of conformation which may be traced throughout nearly the whole group; the surrounding reef every where joins the shore, and hence there is neither an entrance for boats nor a safe anchorage for ships.
Atiu, or Wateoo, as it was called by the distinguished officer already so often named, is situated in lat. 20° S., and long. 158° 15'W. In circuit its dimensions are understood to be not less than twenty miles; its surface is hilly; its general aspect is that of romantic beauty; and the number of inhabitants is said to fall somewhat short of two thousand. It was discovered by him in the month of March 1777, and he soon afterwards opened an amicable intercourse with the simple natives. A canoe appeared alongside the Resolution, having twelve men on board, who, as they drew near, recited some words in concert, by way of chorus, one of their number first standing up and giving the signal before each repetition. When first conducted into the cabin, some objects seemed to strike them with great surprise ; but nothing fixed their attention for a moment. They were afraid to go near the cows and horses, nor could they form the least conception of their nature. The sheep and goats, however, did not surpass the limits of their comprehension; they at once took them for birds. “ It will appear rather incredible," observes the captain, “ that human ignorance could ever make so strange a mistake; there not being the most distant similitude between a sheep or goat and any winged animal. But these people seemed to know nothing of the existence of any other land animals besides hogs, dogs, and birds. Our sheep and goats, they could see, were very different creatures from the two first, and therefore they inferred that they must belong to the latter class, in which they knew there is a considerable variety of species.”
* A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean for making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere (3 vols, London, 1785), vol. i. p. 177.
The most remarkable incident connected with this visit to Atiu, was a meeting which took place between the celebrated Omai, now on his return home, and three of his own countrymen, natives of the Society Islands. At the distance of not less than six hundred miles, an unknown ocean intervening, and with such imperfect boats as their inhabitants are known to use, this event might be regarded as one of those feigned occurrences which writers of imagination produce in orderto excite the astonishment or amuse the fancy of their readers. Their story, as related by themselves, is not a little affecting. About twenty persons of both sexes had embarked in a canoe at Otaheite, to cross over to the neighbouring island of Raiatea; but a violent wind arising, they could neither reach the one nor get back to the other. As the intended voyage was short, their stock of provisions was soon exhausted; and the sufferings they endured, while driven before the tempest they knew not whither, were exceedingly great. They passed some days without having any thing either to eat or drink. Worn out by famine, their numbers gradually diminished, till only four men survived; and at length their small vessel being overset, hope itself nearly deserted them. But unwilling to resign life so long as any means remained whereby it might possibly be saved, they continued to cling to the sides of their skiff until they came in sight of Atiu, the inhabitants of which removed them from the wreck, and carried them ashore. Of the four thus rescued, one had subsequently died; but so well satisfied were the survivors with their situation, that they refused the offer made by the English commander to restore them to their own country. The similarity of manners and language had quite naturalized them to their new abode ; and the connexions which they had formed in the island, and which, after a residence of twelve years, it would have been painful to break off, sufficiently account for their declining to revisit the place of their birth.*
For their first acquaintance with Aitutaki, the geographers of Europe are indebted to the indefatigable researches of the same distinguished navigator. Like the other members of the archipelago, it is surrounded with a reef; presents a rich and variegated landscape; and rises to a considerable elevation above the waters of the great ocean by which its shores are constantly washed. Its position is lat. 18° 54' S., and long. 159° 41' W. The population is conjectured to be about two thousand.
Mauke, which was discovered by two christian teachers, in the year 1823, lies a little farther south, and two degrees more to the eastward. Being about fifteen miles in circumference, it is capable of maintaining a considerable population ; but, a short time before it became known to our countrymen, the inhabitants had been attacked by an enemy, and their numbers reduced to three hundred. A similar visitation had nearly exterminated the natives of Mitiaro, a smaller island of the same description, and situated about twenty miles north-west of the former.
Rarotonga, the most important of the whole, having
A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, vol. i. p. 200. This fact, as Cook justly remarks, “ will serve to explain better than a thousand conjectures of speculative reasoners, how the detached parts of the earth, and, in particular, how the islands of the South Sea may have been first peopled; especially those which lie remote from any inhabited continent, or from each other.”
a population of not less than six thousand, was, as will be immediately related, added to the Hervey cluster by the late Mr Williams, a zealous servant of the gospel, and favourably known to the public as the author of “Missionary Enterprises.” It was found in lat. 21° 20' S., and long. 160° W.; is thirty miles in circumference, and surrounded with a reef, which, nevertheless, permits some good harbours. At a little distance, it appears to the eye like a mountainous mass, but it is found to contain fine valleys, and most romantic scenery. The aggregate number of inhabitants in the seven islands is computed at sixteen thousand, which, however, varies according to the healthiness and abundance of the seasons.
Of all this group, the gospel was first introduced into Aitutaki. Proceeding from Rurutoo, the missionary just named touched at that insular spot, and was immediately surrounded by canoes. The natives were noisy, and presented in their persons and manners all the wild features of savage life. Some were tattooed from head to foot; some were painted most fantastically with pipe-clay and various-coloured ochre, while others were smeared with charcoal ; but all were dancing, shouting, and exhibiting the most whimsical gestures. The chief, who went on board, being informed that idolatry was abolished in the Society Islands, and that all the gods were consumed with fire, lent a ready ear to the proposal of receiving teachers who should instruct his people in the true faith. He forthwith promised protection to his new guides, and saluting them heartily by rubbing noses, he paddled away with them to the nearest landing-place.
At Aitutaki there were two natives of an adjacent island, to which they were desirous of carrying the glad tidings which they themselves had just received. This was no other than Rarotonga, as yet unknown to every European adventurer, but of which there were many traditions afloat, as well in the tales circulated among the people, as in the conversation of the more aged of their number. It was therefore resolved, that with the view of discovering the birthplace of the two converts, a special voyage