Abbildungen der Seite


Saturd. 10.

the Nineveh, of which there were two besides himself; and the natives having all disappear. ed, they came to the chief mourner, and said imatata, there are no people, after which the company was dismissed to wash themselves in the river, and put on their customary ap


Monday 12. On the 12th, complaint being made to me,

by some of the natives, that two of the seamen had taken from them several bows and arrows, and some strings of plaited hair, I examined the matter, and finding the charge well supported, I punished each of the criminals with two dozen Talhes.

Their bows and arrows have not been mentioned before, nor were they often brought down to the fort : this day, however, Tubourai Tamaide brought down his, in consequence of a challenge which he had received from Mr. Gore. The Chief supposed it was to try who could send the arrow farthest; Mr. Gore, who best could hit a mark; and as Mr. Gore did not value himself upon shooting to a great distance, nor the Chief upon hitting a mark, there was no trial of skill between them. T'ubourai Tamaide, however, to shew us what he could do, drew his bow, and fent an arrow, none of which are feathered, two hundred and seventy-four yards, which is fomething more than a seventh, and something less than a sixth parţ of a mile. Their manner of shooting is somewhat fingulars 1769.

June. they kneel down, and the moment the arrow is discharged, drop the bow.

Monday 12. Mr. Banks, in his morning walk this day, met a number of the natives, whom, upon inquiry, he found to be travelling musicians; and having learnt where they were to be at night, we all repaired to the place. The band consisted of two flutes and three drums, and we found a great number of people assembled upon the occasion. The drummers accompanied the music with their voices, and, to our great surprise, we discovered that we were generally the subject of the song. We did not expect to have found among the uncivilized inhabitants of this sequestered spot, a character, which has been the subject of such praise and veneration where genius and knowledge have been most conspicuous; yet 'these were the bards or minstrels of Otaheite. Their song was unpremeditated, and accompanied with musie; they were continually going about from place to place, and they were rewarded by the master of the house, and the audience, with such things as one wanted and the other could spare.

On the 14th, we were brought into new dif- Wednes. 14. ficulties and inconvenience by another robbery at the fort. In the middle of the night, one of the natives contrived to steal an iron coal-rake, that was made use of for the oven. It happened

[blocks in formation]

to be set up against the inside of the wall, so
that the top of the handle was visible from with.
out; and we were informed that the thief, who
had been seen lurking there in the evening,
caine secretly about three o'clock in the morn-
ing, and, watching his opportunity when the
centinel's back was turned, very dexterously
laid hold of it with a long crooked stick, and
drew it over tlie wall. I thought it of some con-
fequence, if polible, to put an end to these
practices at once, by doing something that
should make it the common interest of the na-
tives themselves, to prevent them. I had given
Atrict orders that they should not be fired upon,
even when detected in these attempts, for which
I had many reasons: the common centinels were
by no means fit to be intrusted with a power of
life and death, to be exerted whenever they
should think fit, and I had already experienced
that they were ready to take away the lives that
were in their power, upon the slightest occasion;
neither indeed did I think that the thefts which
these people committed against us, were, in
them, crimes worthy of death: that thieves are
hanged in England, I thought no reason why
they should be shot in Otaheite ; because, with
respect to the natives, it would have been an
execution by a law ex post fa£to : they had no such
law among themselves, and it did not appear
to me that we had any right to make such a



law for them. That they should abstain from 1769. theft, or be punished with death, was not one of the conditions under which they claimed the Wednes. 14. advantages of civil society, as it is among us; and as I was not willing to expose them to firearms, loaded with shot, neither could I perfect-,' ly approve of firing only with powder : at first, indeed, the noise and the smoke would alarm them, but when they found that no mischief followed, they would be led to despise the weapons themselves, and proceed to insults, which would make it necessary to put them to the test, and from which they would be deterred by the very light of a gun, if it was never used but with effect. At this time, an accident furnished me with what I thought a happy expedi. ent. It happened that above twenty of their sailing canoes were just come in with a supply of fish: upon these I immediately seized, and bringing them into the river behind the fort, gave public notice, that except the rake, and all the rest of the things which from time to time had been stolen, were returned, the canoes should be burnt. This megace I ventured to publish, though I had no design to put it into execution, making no doubt but that it was well known in whose poliestion the stolen goods were, and that as restitution was thus made a common cause, they would all of them in a short time be brought back. A list of the Vol. II, Еe



Ju e.

3769. things was made out, consisting principally of

the rake, the musquet which had been taken Wednes. 14. from the marine when the Indian was shot; the

pistols which Mr. Banks loft with his clothes at Atahourou; a sword belonging to one of the petty officers, and the water cask. About noon, the rake was restored, and great folicitation was made for the release of the canoes; but I

ftill infifted upon my original condition. The Thursd. 15. next day came, and nothing farther was reftor.

ed, at which I was much surprised, for the people were in the utmost distress for the fish, which in a short time would be spoilt ; I was, therefore, reduced to a disagreeable situation, either of releasing the canoes, contrary to what I had solemnly and publicly declared, or to decain them, to the great injury of those who were innocent, without answering any good purpose to ourselves : as a temporary expedient, I permitted them to take the fish; but ftill detained the canoes. This very licence, however, was productive of new confufion and injury; for, it not being easy at once to distinguish to what particular persons the several lots of fish belong. ed, the canoes were plundered, under favour of this circumstance, by those who had no right to any part of their cargo. Most pressing instances were still made that the canoes might be restored, and I having now the greatest rea· son to believe, either that the things for which

I detained

« ZurückWeiter »