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1769. Perhaps no better use can be made of reading an

tune, account of manners altogether new, by which the ^""~v 'follies and absurdities of mankind are taken out of that particular connection in which habit has reconciled them to us, than to consider in how many instances they are essentially the same. When an honest devotee of the Church of Rome reads, that there are Indians on the banks of the Ganges, who believe that they (hall secure the happiness of a future state by dying with a cow's tail in their hands, he laughs at their folly and superstition; and if these Indians were to be told, that there are people upon the continent of Europe, who imagine that they shall derive the same advantage from dying with the slipper of St. Francis upon their foot, they would laugh in their turn. But if, when the Indian heard the account of the Catholic, and the Catholic that of the Indian, each was to reflect, that there was no difference between the absurdity of the slipper and of the tail; but that the veil of prejudice and custom, which covered it in their own case, was •withdrawn in the other, they would turn their knowledge to a profitable purpose.

Having observed that bread-fruit had for some days been brought in less quantities than usual,, we enquired the reason; and were told, that there being a great shew of fruit upon the trees, they had been thinned all at once, in order to make a kind of'four paste, which the natives call Mahie, and which, in consequence of having undergone a fermentation, will keep a considerable time, and supply them with food when no ripe fruit is to be had. Saturd. 10. On the 10th, the ceremony was to be performed, in honour of the old woman whole sepulchral tabernacle has just been described, by the chief mourner; and Mr. Banks had so great a curiosity to fee all the mysteries of the solemnity, that he determined to take a part in it, being told, that he could be present upon no other condition. In the evening, therefore, he repaired to the place where the body lay, and was received by the daughter of the deceased, and several other persons, among whom was a boy about fourteen years old, who were to assist in the ceremony. Tubourai Tamaide was to be the principal mourner;


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and his dress was extremely fantastical, though not unbecoming. Mr. Banks was stripped of his European, clothes, and a small piece of cloth being tied round his middle, his body was smeared with charcoal and water, as low as the shoulders, till it was as black as that of a negroe; the fame operation was performed upon several others, among whom were some women, who were reduced to a state as near to nakedness as himself; the boy was blacked all over, and then the procession set forward. Tubourai-Tamaide uttered something, which was supposed to be a prayer, near the body, and did the same when he came up to his own house: When this was done, the procession was continued towards the fort, permission having been obtained to approach it upon this occasion. It is the custom of the Indians to fly from these processions with the utmost precipitation, so that as soon as those who were about the sort saw it at a distance, they hid themselves in the woods. It proceeded from the fort along the shore, and put to flight another body of Indians, consisting of more than an hundred, every one hiding himself under the first shelter that he could find; it then crosted the river, and entered the woods, passing several houses, all which were deserted, and not a single Indian could be seen during the rest of the procession, which continued more than half an hour. The office that Mr. Banks performed was called that of the Nineveh, of which there were two besides himself; and the natives having all disappeared, 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 apparel.

On the 12th, complaint being made to me, byyiond. i*. some of the natives, thai two of the seamen had taken from them several Jbows 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 lashes.

Their bows and arrows have not been mentioned' hefore, 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 B s *<»

1769- to try who could send the arrow farthest; Mr. Gore^ . 1"°!^ . who best could hit a mark: and as Mr. Gore did not ^J_* value himself upon shooting to a great distance, nor the Chief upon hitting a mark, there was no trial of skill between them. Tubourai Tamaide, however, to shew us what he could do, drew his bow, and sent an arrow, none of which are feathered, two hundred and seventy-four yards, which is something more than a seventh, and something less than a sixth part of a mile. Their manner of shooting is somewhat singular; they kneel down, and the moment the arrow is discharged drop the bow.

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 learned 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 musick with their voices, and, to our great surprize, 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 musick; 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. Wednes. 14. On the 14th, we were brought into new difficulties 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 to be set up against the inside of the wall, so that the top of the handle was visible from without; and we were informed that the thief, who had been seen lurking there in the evening, came secretly about three o'clock in the morning, and, watching his opportunity when the centinel's back

was was turned, very dexterously laid hold of it with a »7*9long crooked slick, and drew it over the wall. 1. .j." — thought it of some consequence, if possible, to put an end to these practices at once, by doing something that should make it the common interest of the natives themselves to prevent them. I had given strict 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 entrusted 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 facto:' 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 theft, or be punished with death, was not one of the conditions under which they claimed the advantages of civil society, as it is among us; and as I was not willing to expose them to fire arms, loaded with shot, neither could I perfectly 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 sight of a gun, if it was never used but with effect. At this time, an accident furnished me with what I thought a happy expedient. It happened that above twenty pf 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 publick notice, that except the lake, and all the rest of the things which from time to time had been stolen, were returned, the canoes should be burned. This menace I ventured to publish, though I had no design to put it into execution, making no. ""doubs

'7^9- doubt but that it was well known in whose possession t_ -'-_>tne ft°len 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 things was made out, consisting principally of the rake, the musket which had been taken from the marine when the Indian was {hot, the pistols which Mr. Banks lost 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 solicitation was made for the release of the canoes; but I still insisted Thurs. 15. upon my original condition. The next day came, and nothing farther was restored, at which I was much surprised, for the people were in the utmost distress for the fish, which in a short time would be spoiled ; I was therefore reduced to a disagreeable situation, either of releasing the canoes, contrary to what I had solemnly and publicly declared, or to detain them, to the great injury of those who were innocent, without answering any good purpose to ourielves: as a temporary expedient, I permitted them to take the fish, but still detained the canoes. This very licence, however, was productive of new confusion and injury; for, it not being easy at once to distinguish to what particular persons the several lots of fish belonged, the canoes were plundered, under savour 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 reason to believe, either that the things for which ,1 detained them were not in the island', or that those who suffered by their detention had not sufficient influence over the thieves to prevail upon them to relinquish their booty, determined at length to give them up, not a little mortified at the bad success of my project.

Another accident also about this time was, notwithstanding all our caution, very near embroiling us with the Indians. I sent the boat on shore with an officer to get ballast for the ship, and not immediately finding stones convenient for the purpose, he began to pull down some part of an inclosure where they deposited the bones of their dead: this the Indians violently opposed, and a messenger came down to the tents to acquaint

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