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CH A P. XII.
Some Ladies visit the Fort with uncommon Ceremonies.
The Indians attend Divine Service, and in the Evening exhibit a most extraordinary Spectacle. Tubourai falls into Temptation.
TRIDAY, the 12th of May, was diftinguished by
I a visit from some ladies whom we had never seen before, and who introduced themselves with some very singular ceremonies. Mr. Banks was trading in his boat at the gate of the fort as usual, in company with Tootahah, who had that morning paid him a visi, and some other of the natives ; between nine and ten o'clock, a double canoe came to the landing-place, under the awning of which sat a man and two women : The Indians that were about Mr. Banks made signs that he should go out to meet them, which he hafted to do ; but by the time he could get out of the boat, they advanced within ten yards of him : they then stopped, and made signs that he should do so too, laying down about a dozen young plantain trees, and some other small plants : he complied, and the people having made a lane between them, the man, who appeared to be a servant, brought fix of them to Mr. Banks by one of each at a time, paffing and repalling six times, and always pronounced a short sentence when he delivered them. Tupia, who stood by Mr. Banks, acted as his -matter of the ceremonies, and receiving the branches as they were brought, laid them down in the boat. When this was done, another man brought a large bundle of cloth, which having opened, he spread piece by piece upon the ground in the space between Mr. Banks and his visitors; there were nine pieces, and having laid three pieces one upon another, the foremost of the women, who seemed to be the principal, and who was called OORАttoo, stepped upon them, and taking up her garments all round her to the waist, turned about, with great composure and deliberation, with an air of perfe& innocence and fimplicity, three times ; when this was done, she dropped the veil, and stepping off the cloth, three more pieces
: were laid on, and the repeated the ceremony, then $769
On the 13th,the market being over about ten o'clock,
1769. circle of people, to whom he had probably related what May.
had happened, and his fears of the consequences; he
theft which none of these people could withstand. Sunday 14. On the 14th, which was Sunday, I directed thar
Divine Service should be performed at the fort : we were desirous that some of the principal Indians should be present; but when the hour came, most of them were returned home. Mr. Banks, however, crossed the river, and brought back Tubourái. Tamaide and his wife Tomio, hoping that it would give occasion to some inquiries on their part, and some instruction on ours : having feated them, he placed himself between them, and during the whole service, they very attentively observed his behaviour, and, very exactly imitated it ; standing, sitting, or kneeling, as they saw him do : they were conscious that we were employed about somewhat serious and important, as appeared
by their calling to the Indians without the fort to be 1769. silent ; yet when the service was over, neither of them
May. asked any questions, nor would they attend to any ato? tempt that was made to explain what had been done.
Such were our Matins ; our Indians thought fit to perform Vespers of a very different kind. A young man, near six feet high, performed the rites of Venus with a little girl about eleven or twelve years of age before several of our people, and a great number of the natives, without the least sense of its being indecent or improper, but, as it appeared, in perfect conformity to the custom of the place. "Among the spectators were several women of superior rank,particularly Oberea, who may properly be said to have assisted at the ceremony ; for they gave instructions to the girl how to perform her part, which, young as she was, she did not seem much to stand in need of.
This incident is not mentioned as an object of idle curiosity,but as it deserves consideration in determining a question which has been long debated in philosophy ; Whether the shame attending certain aâions, which are allowed on all sides to be in themselves innocent, is implanted in nature, or superinduced by custom? If it has its origin in custom, it will, perhaps, be found difficult to trace that custom, however, general, to its source ; if in instinct, it will be equally difficult to dircover from what cause it is subdued or at least overruled among these people, in whose manners not the least trace of it is to be found. . : On the 14th and 15th we had another opportunity Monday 15. of observing the general knowledge which these people had of any design that was formed among them. In the night between the 13th and 14th one of the watercasks was stolen from the outside of the fort : in the morning, there was not an Indian to be seen who did not know that it was gone ; yet they appeared not to have been trusted, or not to have been worthy of trust, for they seemed all of them disposed to give intelligence where it might be found. Mr. Banks traced, it to a part of the bay where he was told it had been put into a canoe ; but as it was not of great consequence, he did not complete the discovery. When he returned, he
* H 1.2
water-calks 10o and family so is certain ; for hou
was told by Tubourai Tamaide, that another cask would be stolen before the morning : how he came by this knowledge it is not easy to imagine, but that he was not a party in the design is certain ; for he came with his wife and family to the place where the water-casks stood, and placing their beds near them, he said he would himfelf be a pledge for their safety, in despight of the thief: of this, however, we would not admit; aud making him understand that a centry would be placed to watch the casks till the morning, he removed the beds into Mr. Banks's tent, where he and his family spent the night, making signs to the centry when he retired, that he should keep his eyes open. In the night this intelligence appeared to be true ; about twelve o'clock the 'thief came, but difcovering that a watch had been fet, he went away without his booty. .
Mr. Banks's confidence in Tubourai Tamaide had greatly increased fince the affair of the knife, in consequence of which he was at length expofed to temptations which neither his integrity nor his honour were able to refilt. They had withstood many allurements, but were at length ensnared by the fascinating charms of a basket of nails : These nails were much larger than any that had been yet brought into trade, and had, with perhaps fome degree of criminal negligence, been left in a corner of Mr. Banks's tent, to which the Chief had always free access. One of these nails Mr. Bankş’s fervant' happened to fee in his pofsession, upon his having inadvertently thrown Back that part of his garment under which it was concealed. Mr. "Banks 'being told of 'this, and knowing that no such thing had been given him, either as a present or in barter, immediately examined the bafket, and discovered, that out of seven nails five Were mifling. Hethen, though not without great telu&ancë, chargcd him with the fa&t, which he immediately confessed, and however he'ntight suffer, was probably not more hurt'than his accoser. A demand was immediately. made of restitution"; but this he declined, saying, that 'the nails were at Eparre: however, Mr. Banks appearing to be much'in earneit, and ufing some threat'ening signs, he thought fit to produce one of them.