CHAPTER XX. Tahiti and New Zealand.
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Tahiti--Aspect--Vegetation on the slope of the mountains--View of Eimeo--Excursion in the interior--Profound ravines--Succession of waterfalls--Number of wild useful plants--Temperance of inhabitants --Their moral state--Parliament convened--New Zealand--Bay of islands--Hippahs--Absence of all government--Excursion to Waimate --Missionary establishment--English weeds now run wild--Waiomio-- Funeral service--Sail from New Zealand.
TAHITI AND NEW ZEALAND.
OCTOBER 20TH. --The survey of the Galapagos Archipelago being concluded, a course was steered towards Tahiti; and we commenced our long passage of 3200 miles. In the course of a few days we sailed out of the gloomy and clouded region, which extends during the winter far from the coast of South America. We then enjoyed bright and clear weather, while running pleasantly along at the rate of 150 or 160 miles a day before a steady trade-wind. The temperature in this more central part of the Pacific, is higher than near the American shore. The thermometer in the poop cabin, both by night and day, ranged between 80 deg. and 83 deg., which to my feelings was quite delightful; but with one degree higher, the effect became oppressive. We passed through the Dangerous or Low Archipelago, and saw several of those most curious rings of land, just rising above the edge of the water, which have been called Lagoon Islands. A long and brilliantly-white beach is capped by a margin of green vegetation; and this strip appears on both hands rapidly to narrow away in the distance, and then sinks beneath the horizon. From the mast-head a wide expanse of smooth water can be seen within the annular margin of land. These low islands bear no proportion to the vast ocean out of which they abruptly rise; and it seems wonderful, that such weak in-
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TAHITI. Nov. 1835.
truders are not overwhelmed, by the all-powerful and never-tiring waves of that great sea, miscalled the Pacific.
NOVEMBER 15TH. --At daylight, Tahiti, an island which must for ever remain as classical to the voyager in the South Sea, was in view. At this distance the appearance was not very inviting. The luxuriant vegetation of the lower parts was not discernible, and as the clouds rolled past, the wildest and most precipitous peaks showed themselves towards the centre of the island. As soon as we came to an anchor in Matavai Bay, we were surrounded by canoes. This was our Sunday, but the Monday of Tahiti: if the case had been reversed, we should not have received a single visit; for the injunction not to launch a canoe on the sabbath is rigidly obeyed. After dinner we landed to enjoy all the delights of the first impressions produced by a new country, and that country the charming Tahiti. A crowd of men, women, and children, was collected on the memorable point Venus, ready to receive us with laughing, merry faces. They marshalled us towards the house of Mr. Wilson, the missionary of the district, who met us on the road, and gave us a very friendly reception. After sitting a short time in his house, we separated to walk about, but returned there in the evening.
The land capable of cultivation is scarcely in any part more than a fringe of low alluvial soil, accumulated round the base of the mountains, and protected from the waves of the sea by a coral reef, which encircles at a distance the entire line of coast. The reef is broken in several parts so that ships can pass through, and the lake of smooth water within thus affords a safe harbour, as well as a channel for the native canoes. The low land which comes down to the beach of coral sand, is covered by the most beautiful productions of the intertropical regions. In the midst of bananas, orange, cocoa-nut, and breadfruit trees, spots are cleared where yams, sweet potatoes, sugar-cane, and pineapples, are cultivated. Even the brushwood is a fruit-tree, namely, the guava, which from its abundance is as noxious
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Nov. 1835. TAHITI.
as a weed. In Brazil I have often admired the contrast of varied beauty in the banana, palm, and orange tree: here we have in addition the bread-fruit, conspicuous from its large, glossy, and deeply digitated leaf. It is admirable to behold groves of a tree, sending forth its branches with the force of an English oak, loaded with large and most nutritious fruit. However little on most occasions utility explains the delight received from any fine prospect, in this case it cannot fail to enter as an element in the feeling. The little winding paths, cool from the surrounding shade, led to the scattered houses; and the owners of these every where gave us a cheerful and most hospitable reception.
I was pleased with nothing so much as with the inhabitants. There is a mildness in the expression of their countenances, which at once banishes the idea of a savage; and an intelligence, which shows they are advancing in civilization. Their dress is as yet incongruous; no settled costume having taken the place of the ancient one. But even in its present state, it is far from being so ridiculous as it has been described by travellers of a few years' standing. Those who can afford it wear a white shirt, and sometimes a jacket, with a wrapper of coloured cotton round their middles; thus making a short petticoat, like the chilipa of the Gauchos. This dress appears so general with the chiefs, that it will probably become the settled fashion. No one, even to the queen, wears shoes or stockings; and only the chiefs have a straw hat on their heads. The common people, when working, keep the upper part of their bodies uncovered; and it is then that the Tahitians are seen to advantage. They are very tall, broad-shouldered, athletic, and with well-proportioned limbs. It has been somewhere remarked, that it requires little habit to make a darker tint of the skin more pleasing and natural, even to the eye of an European, than his own colour. To see a white man bathing by the side of a Tahitian, was like comparing a plant bleached by the gardener's art, with one growing in the open fields. Most of the men are tattooed; and the orna-
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TAHITI. Nov. 1835.
ments follow the curvature of the body so gracefully, that they have a very pleasing and elegant effect. One common figure, varying only in its detail, branches somewhat like a tuft of palm-leaves 1 from the line of the backbone, and curls round each side. The simile may be a fanciful one, but I thought the body of a man thus ornamented, was like the trunk of a noble tree embraced by a delicate creeper.
Many of the older people had their feet covered with small figures, placed in order so as to resemble a sock. This fashion, however, is partly gone by, and has been succeeded by others. Here, although each man must for ever abide by the whim which reigned in his early days, yet fashion is far from immutable. An old man has thus his age for ever stamped on his body, and he cannot assume the airs of a young dandy. The women are also tattooed in the same manner as the men, and very commonly on their fingers. An unbecoming fashion in one respect is now almost universal: it is that of cutting the hair, or rather shaving it, from the upper part of the head, in a circular form, so as to leave only an outer ring of hair. The missionaries have tried to persuade the people to change this habit: but it is the fashion, and that is sufficient answer at Tahiti as well as at Paris. I was much disappointed in the personal appearance of the women; they are far inferior in every respect to the men. The custom of wearing a flower in the back of the head, or through a small hole in each ear, is pretty; the flower is generally either white or scarlet, and like the Camelia Japonica. They wear also a sort of crown of woven cocoa-nut leaves, as a shade to their eyes. The women appear to be in greater want of some becoming costume, even than the men.
Nearly all understand a little English; -- that is, they know the names of common things, and by the aid of this,
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Nov. 1835. TAHITI.
together with signs, a lame sort of conversation could be carried on. In returning in the evening to the boat, we stopped to witness a very pretty scene; numbers of children were playing on the beach, and had lighted bonfires, which illuminated the placid sea and surrounding trees. Others, in circles, were singing Tahitian verses. We seated ourselves on the sand, and joined their party. The songs were impromptu, and I believe related to our arrival: one little girl sang a line, which the rest took up in parts, forming a very pretty chorus. The whole scene made us unequivocally aware that we were seated on the shores of an island in the South Sea.
NOVEMBER 17TH. --This day is reckoned in the log-book as Tuesday the l7th instead of Monday the 16th, owing to our, so far successful, chase of the sun. Before breakfast the ship was hemmed in by a flotilla of canoes, and when the natives were allowed to come on board, I suppose their numbers could not have been under two hundred. It was the opinion of every one, that it would have been difficult to have picked out an equal number from any other nation, who would have given so little trouble. Every body brought something for sale: shells were the main article of trade. The Tahitians now fully understand the value of money, and prefer it to old clothes or other articles. The various coins, however, of English and Spanish denomination puzzle them, and they never seemed to think the small silver quite secure until changed into dollars. Some of the chiefs have accumulated considerable sums of money. One not long since offered eight hundred dollars (about 160 pounds sterling) for a small vessel; and frequently they purchase whale-boats and horses, at the rate of from fifty to a hundred dollars.
After breakfast I went on shore, and ascended the slope of the nearest part of the mountain, to an elevation between two and three thousand feet. The form of the land is rather singular, and may be understood by explaining its hypothetical origin. I believe the interior mountains once
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TAHITI. Nov. 1835.
stood as a smaller island in the sea; and that around their steep flanks, streams of lava and beds of sediment were accumulated under water, in a conical mass. This, after being raised, has been cut by numerous profound ravines, which all diverge from the common centre; the intervening ridges being flat-topped, and belonging to one slope. Having crossed the narrow girt of inhabited and fertile land, I followed the line of one of these ridges; having on each hand, very steep and smooth-sided valleys. The vegetation is singular, consisting almost exclusively of small dwarf ferns, which, higher up, are mingled with coarse grass. The appearance was not very dissimilar from that on some of the Welsh hills; and this being so close above the orchard of tropical plants on the coast, was very surprising. At the highest point which I reached, trees again appeared. Of these three zones of comparative luxuriance, the lower one owes its moisture, and therefore fertility, to its extreme flatness; for being scarcely raised above the level of the sea, the water, which it receives from the higher land, drains away slowly. The upper zone extends into a moister atmosphere; whilst the intermediate part, not being benefited by either of these advantages, is barren. The wood in the upper part was very pretty; tree-ferns having replaced the cocoa-nuts of the coast. It must not, however, be supposed that these woods at all equal the forests of Brazil. In an island, that vast number of productions which characterizes a continent, cannot be expected to occur.
From the point which I attained, there was a good view of the distant island of Eimeo, dependant on the same sovereign with Tahiti. On the lofty and broken pinnacles, white massive clouds were piled up, which formed an island in the blue sky, as Eimeo itself did in the blue ocean. The island, with the exception of one small gateway is completely encircled by a reef. At this distance, a narrow but well-defined line of brilliant white was alone visible, where the waves first encountered the wall of coral. The glassy water of the lagoon was included within this line;
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Nov. 1835. TAHITI.
and out of it the mountains rose abruptly. The effect was very pleasing, and might aptly be compared to a framed engraving, where the frame represented the breakers, the marginal paper the lagoon, and the drawing the island itself. When in the evening I descended from the mountain, a man, whom I had pleased with a trifling gift, met me, bringing with him hot roasted bananas, a pine-apple, and cocoa-nuts. After having walked under a burning sun, I do not know any thing more delicious than the milk of a young cocoa-nut. Pine-apples are here so abundant, that the people eat them in the same wasteful manner as we might turnips. They are of an excellent flavour, --perhaps even better than those cultivated in England; and this I believe is the highest compliment which can be paid to a fruit, or indeed to any thing else. Before going on board I went to Mr. Wilson, who interpreted to the Tahitian, who had paid me so adroit an attention, that I wanted him and another man to accompany me on a short excursion into the mountains.
NOVEMBER 18TH. --In the morning I came on shore early, bringing with me some provisions in a bag, and two blankets for myself and servant. These were lashed to each end of a pole, and thus carried by my Tahitian companions: from custom these men are able to walk for a whole day, with as much as fifty pounds at each end. I told my guides to provide themselves with food and clothing: but for the latter, they said their skins were sufficient, and for the former, that there was plenty of food in the mountains. The line of march was the valley of Tia-auru, in which the river flows that enters the sea by Point Venus. This is one of the principal streams in the island, and its source lies at the base of the loftiest pinnacles, which attain the elevation of about 7000 feet. The whole island may be considered as one group of mountains, so that the only way to penetrate the interior is to follow up the valleys. Our road, at first, lay through the wood which bordered each side of the river; and the glimpses
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of the lofty central peaks, seen as through an avenue, with here and there a waving cocoa-nut tree on one side, were extremely picturesque. The valley soon began to narrow, and the sides to grow lofty and more precipitous. After having walked between three and four hours, we found the width of the ravine scarcely exceeded that of the bed of the stream. On each hand the walls were nearly vertical; yet from the soft nature of the volcanic strata, trees and a rank vegetation sprung from every projecting ledge. These precipices must have been some thousand feet high: and the whole formed a mountain gorge, far more magnificent than any thing which I had ever before beheld. Until the mid-day sun stood vertically over the ravine, the air had felt cool and damp, but now it became very sultry. Shaded by a ledge of rock, beneath a facade of columnar lava, we ate our dinner. My guides had already procured a dish of small fish and fresh-water prawns. They carried with them a small net stretched on a hoop; and where the water was deep and in eddies, they dived, and like otters, by their eyesight followed the fish into holes and corners, and thus secured them.
The Tahitians have the dexterity of amphibious animals in the water. An anecdote mentioned by Ellis shows how much they feel at home in that element. When a horse was landing for Pomarre in 18l7, the slings broke, and it fell into the water: immediately the natives jumped overboard, and by their cries and vain efforts at assistance, almost drowned the animal. As soon, however, as it reached the shore, the whole population took to flight, and tried to hide themselves from the man-carrying-pig, as they christened the horse.
A little higher up, the river divided itself into three little streams. The two northern ones were impracticable, owing to a succession of waterfalls, which descended from the jagged summit of the highest mountain; the other to all appearance was equally inaccessible, but we managed to ascend it by a most extraordinary road. The sides of
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NOV. 1835. EXCURSION INTO THE MOUNTAINS.
the valley were here nearly precipitous; but, as frequently happens with stratified rocks, small ledges projected, which were thickly covered by wild bananas, liliaceous plants, and other luxuriant productions of the tropics. The Tahitians, by climbing amongst these ledges, searching for fruit, had discovered a track by which the whole precipice could be scaled. The first ascent from the valley was very dangerous: for it was necessary to pass the face of a naked rock, by the aid of ropes, which we brought with us. How any person discovered that this formidable spot was the only point where the side of the mountain was practicable, I cannot imagine. We then cautiously walked along one of the ledges, till we came to the stream already alluded to. This ledge formed a flat spot, above which a beautiful cascade, of some hundred feet, poured down its waters, and beneath it another high one emptied itself into the main stream. From this cool and shady recess, we made a circuit to avoid the overhanging cascade. As before, we followed little projecting ledges, the apparent danger being partly hidden by the thickness of the vegetation. In passing from one of the ledges to another, there was a vertical wall of rock. One of the Tahitians, a fine active man, placed the trunk of a tree against this, climbed up it, and then by the aid of crevices reached the summit. He fixed the ropes to a projecting point, and lowered them for us, then hauled up a dog which accompanied us, and lastly our luggage. Beneath the ledge on which the dead tree was placed the precipice must have been five or six hundred feet deep; and if the abyss had not been partly concealed by the overhanging ferns and lilies, my head would have turned giddy, and nothing should have induced me to have attempted it. We continued to ascend sometimes along ledges, and sometimes along knife-edged ridges, having on each hand profound ravines. In the Cordillera, I have seen mountains on a far grander scale, but for abruptness, no part of them at all comparable to this. In the evening we reached a flat little spot on the banks of the same stream,
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TAHITI. Nov. 1835.
which I have mentioned as descending by a chain of waterfalls. Here we bivouacked for the night. On each side of the ravine there were great beds of the Feye, or mountain-banana, covered with ripe fruit. Many of these plants were from twenty to twenty-five feet high, and from three to four in circumference. By the aid of strips of bark for twine, the stems of bamboos for rafters, and the large leaf of the banana for a thatch, the Tahitians in a few minutes built an excellent house; and with the withered leaves made a soft bed.
They then proceeded to make a fire, and cook our evening meal. A light was procured by rubbing a blunt-pointed stick in a groove made in another (as if with the intention of deepening it), until by friction the dust became ignited. A peculiarly white and very light wood (the Hibiscus tiliaceus) is alone used for this purpose: it is the same which serves for poles to carry any burden, and for the floating outrigger to steady the canoe. The fire was produced in a few seconds: but, to a person who does not understand the art, it requires the greatest exertion; as I found, before at last, to my great pride, I succeeded in igniting the dust. The Gaucho in the Pampas uses a different method: taking an elastic stick about eighteen inches long, he presses one end on his breast, and the other (which is pointed) in a hole in a piece of wood, and then rapidly turns the curved part, like a carpenter's centre-bit. The Tahitians having made a small fire of sticks, placed a score of stones, of about the size of cricket-balls, on the burning wood. In about ten minutes' time the sticks were consumed and the stones hot. They had previously folded up in small parcels of leaves, pieces of beef, fish, ripe and unripe bananas, and the tops of the wild arum. These green parcels were laid in a layer between two layers of the hot stones, and the whole then covered up with earth, so that no smoke or steam could escape. In about a quarter of an hour, the whole was most deliciously cooked. The choice green parcels were now laid on a cloth of banana-
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Nov. 1835. EXCURSION INTO THE MOUNTAINS.
leaves, and with a cocoa-nut shell we drank the cool water of the running stream; and thus we enjoyed our rustic meal.
I could not look on the surrounding plants without admiration. On every side were forests of banana; the fruit of which, though serving for food in various ways, lay in heaps decaying on the ground. In front of us there was an extensive brake of wild sugar-cane; and the stream was shaded by the dark green knotted stem of the Ava, --so famous in former days for its powerful intoxicating effects. I chewed a piece, and found that it had an acrid and unpleasant taste, which would have induced any one at once to have pronounced it poisonous. Thanks be to the missionaries, this plant now thrives only in these deep ravines, innocuous to every one. Close by I saw the wild arum, the roots of which, when well baked, are good to eat, and the young leaves better than spinach. There was the wild yam, and a liliaceous plant called Ti, which grows in abundance, and has a soft brown root, in shape and size like a huge log of wood. This served us for dessert, for it is as sweet as treacle, and with a pleasant taste. There were, moreover, several other wild fruits, and useful vegetables. The little stream, besides its cool water, produced eels and cray-fish. I did indeed admire this scene, when I compared it with an uncultivated one in the temperate zones. I felt the force of the observation, that man, at least savage man, with his reasoning powers only partly developed, is the child of the tropics.
As the evening drew to a close, I strolled beneath the gloomy shade of the bananas up the course of the stream. My walk was soon brought to a close, by coming to a waterfall between two and three hundred feet high; and again above this there was another. I mention all these waterfalls in this one brook, to give a general idea of the inclination of the land. In the little recess where the water fell, it did not appear that a breath of wind had ever entered. The leaves of the banana, damp with spray, possessed an unbroken edge,
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instead of being split, as generally is the case, into a thousand shreds. From our position, almost suspended on the mountain-side, there were glimpses into the depths of the neighbouring valleys; and the lofty points of the central mountains, towering up within sixty degrees of the zenith, hid half the evening sky. Thus seated, it was a sublime spectacle to watch the shades of night gradually obscuring the last and highest pinnacles.
Before we laid ourselves down to sleep, the elder Tahitian fell on his knees, and with closed eyes repeated a long prayer in his native tongue. He prayed as a Christian should do, with fitting reverence, and without the fear of ridicule or any ostentation of piety. At our meals neither of the men would taste food, without saying beforehand a short grace. Those travellers, who think that a Tahitian prays only when the eyes of the missionary are fixed on him, should have slept with us that night on the mountain-side. Before morning it rained very heavily; but the good thatch of banana-leaves kept us dry.
NOVEMBER 19TH. --At daylight my friends, after their morning prayer, prepared an excellent breakfast in the same manner as in the evening. They themselves certainly partook of it largely; indeed I never saw any men eat nearly so much. I should suppose such capacious stomachs must be the result of a large part of their diet consisting of fruit and vegetables, which contain, in a given bulk, a comparatively small portion of nutriment. Unwittingly, I was the means of my companions breaking (as I afterwards learned) one of their own laws and resolutions. I took with me a flask of spirits, which they could not resolve to refuse; but as often as they drank a little, they put their fingers before their mouths, and uttered the word " Missionary." About two years ago, although the use of the ava was prevented, drunkenness from the introduction of spirits became very prevalent. The missionaries prevailed on a few good men, who saw their country rapidly going to ruin, to join with them in a Temperance Society. From good sense or shame all the chiefs and the
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NOV. 1835. TEMPERANCE OF INHABITANTS.
queen were at last persuaded to join it. Immediately a law was passed, that no spirits should be allowed to be introduced into the island, and that he who sold and he who bought the forbidden article, should be punished by a fine. With remarkable justice, a certain period was allowed for stock in hand to be sold, before the law came into effect. But when it did, a general search was made in which even the houses of the missionaries were not exempted, and all the ava (as the natives call all ardent spirits) was poured on the ground. When one reflects on the effect of intemperance on the aborigines of the two Americas, I think it will be acknowledged, that every well-wisher of Tahiti owes no common debt of gratitude to the missionaries. As long as the little island of St. Helena remained under the government of the East India Company, spirits, owing to the great injury they had produced, were not allowed to be imported; but wine was supplied from the Cape of Good Hope. It is rather a striking, and not very gratifying fact, that in the same year that spirits were allowed to be sold on that island, their use was banished from Tahiti by the free will of the people.
After breakfast we proceeded on our journey. As my object was merely to see a little of the interior scenery, we returned by another track, which descended into the main valley lower down. For some distance we wound, by a most intricate path, along the side of the mountain which formed the valley. In the less precipitous parts we passed through extensive groves of the wild banana. The Tahitians, with their naked, tattooed bodies, their heads ornamented with flowers, and seen in the dark shade of the woods, would have formed a fine picture of man, inhabiting some primeval forest. In our descent we followed the line of ridges; these were exceedingly narrow, and for considerable lengths steep as a ladder; but all clothed with vegetation. The extreme care necessary in poising each step rendered the walk fatiguing. I am never weary of expressing my astonishment at these ravines and precipices: the mountains may almost be described, as rent by so many crevices. When
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TAHITI. Nov. 1835.
viewing the surrounding country from the knife-edged ridges, the point of support was so small, that the effect was nearly the same, I should think, as from a balloon. In this descent we had occasion to use the ropes only once, at the point where we entered the main valley. We slept under the same ledge of rock, where, the day before, we had dined: the night was fine, but from the depth and narrowness of the gorge, profoundly dark.
Before actually seeing this country, I had difficulty in understanding two facts mentioned by Ellis; namely, that after the murderous battles of former times, the survivors on the conquered side retired into the mountains, where a handful of men could resist a multitude. Certainly half-a-dozen men, at the spot where the Tahitian reared the old tree, could easily have repulsed thousands. Secondly, that after the introduction of Christianity, there were wild men who lived in the mountains, and whose retreats were unknown to the more civilized inhabitants.
NOVEMBER 20TH. --In the morning we started early, and reached Matavai at noon. On the road we met a large party of noble athletic men, going for wild bananas. I found that the ship, on account of the difficulty in watering, had moved to the harbour of Papawa, to which place I immediately walked. This is a very pretty spot. The cove is surrounded by reefs, and the water as smooth as that in a lake. The cultivated ground, with all its beautiful productions, and the cottages, comes close down to the water's edge.
From the varying accounts which I had read before reaching these islands, I was very anxious to form, from my own observation, a judgment of their moral state--although such judgment would necessarily be very imperfect. A first impression at all times very much depends on one's previously-acquired ideas. My notions were drawn from Ellis's "Polynesian Researches" --an admirable and most interesting work, but naturally looking at every thing under a favourable point of view; from Beechey's Voyage; and
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Nov. 1835. TAHITI.
from that of Kotzebue, which is strongly adverse to the whole missionary system. He who compares these three accounts, will, I think, form a tolerably accurate conception of the present state of Tahiti. One of my impressions, which I took from the two last authorities, was decidedly incorrect; viz., that the Tahitians had become a gloomy race, and lived in fear of the missionaries. Of the latter feeling I saw no trace, unless, indeed, fear and respect be confounded under one name. Instead of discontent being a common feeling, it would be difficult in Europe to pick out of a crowd half so many merry and happy faces. The prohibition of the flute and dancing is inveighed against as wrong and foolish; --the more than presbyterian manner of keeping the sabbath, is looked at in a similar light. On these points I will not pretend to offer any opinion in opposition to men who have resided as many years as I was days on the island.
On the whole it appears to me, that the morality and religion of the inhabitants is highly creditable. There are many who attack, even more acrimoniously than Kotzebue, both the missionaries, their system, and the effects produced by it. Such reasoners never compare the present state with that of the island only twenty years ago; nor even with that of Europe at this day; but they compare it with the high standard of Gospel perfection. They expect the missionaries to effect that, which the Apostles themselves failed to do. In as much as the condition of the people falls short of this high order, blame is attached to the missionary, instead of credit for that which he has effected. They forget, or will not remember, that human sacrifices, and the power of an idolatrous priesthood--a system of profligacy unparalleled in the world, and infanticide a consequence on that system--bloody wars, where the conquerors spared neither women nor children-- that all these have been abolished; and that dishonesty, intemperance, and licentiousness have been greatly reduced by the introduction of Christianity. In a voyager to forget these things is base ingratitude; for should he chance to be at the point of shipwreck on some unknown
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TAHITI. Nov. 1835.
coast, he will most devoutly pray that the lesson of the missionary may be found to have extended thus far.
In point of morality the virtue of the women, it has been often said, is most open to exception. But before they are blamed too severely, it will be well distinctly to call to mind the scenes described by Captain Cook and Mr. Banks, in which the grandmothers and mothers of the present race played a part. Those who are most severe, should consider how much of the morality of the women in Europe is owing to the system early impressed by mothers on their daughters, and how much in each individual case to the precepts of religion. But it is useless to argue against such reasoners: --I believe that disappointed in not finding the field of licentiousness quite so open as formerly, they will not give credit to a morality which they do not wish to practice, or to a religion which they undervalue, if not despise.
SUNDAY 22D. --The harbour of Papiete, which may be considered as the capital of the island, is about seven miles distant from Matavai, to which point the Beagle had returned. The queen resides there, and it is the seat of government, and the chief resort of shipping. Captain FitzRoy took a party there to hear divine service, first in the Tahitian language, and afterwards in our own. Mr. Pritchard, the leading missionary in the island, performed the service, which was a most interesting spectacle. The chapel consisted of a large airy framework of wood; and it was filled to excess by tidy, clean people, of all ages and both sexes. I was rather disappointed in the apparent degree of attention; but I believe my expectations were raised too high. At all events the appearance was quite equal to that in a country church in England. The singing of the hymns was decidedly very pleasing; but the language from the pulpit, although fluently delivered, did not sound well. A constant repetition of words, like "tata ta, mata mai" rendered it monotonous. After English service, a party returned on foot to Matavai. It was a pleasant walk, sometimes along the sea-beach and sometimes under the shade of the many beautiful trees.
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Nov. 1835. TAHITIAN PARLIAMENT.
About two years ago, a small vessel under English colours was plundered by the inhabitants of the Low Islands, which were then under the dominion of the Queen of Tahiti. It was believed that the perpetrators were instigated to this act by some indiscreet laws issued by her majesty. The British government demanded compensation; which was acceded to, and a sum of nearly three thousand dollars was agreed to be paid on the first of last September. The commodore at Lima ordered Captain FitzRoy, to inquire concerning this debt, and to demand satisfaction if it were not paid. Captain FitzRoy accordingly requested an interview with the queen: and a parliament was held to consider the question; at which all the principal chiefs of the island and the queen were assembled. I will not attempt to describe what took place, after the interesting account given by Captain FitzRoy. The money it appeared had not been paid. Perhaps the alleged reasons for the failure were rather equivocating: but otherwise I cannot sufficiently express our general surprise, at the extreme good sense, the reasoning powers, moderation, candour, and prompt resolution, which were displayed on all sides. I believe every one of us left the meeting with a very different opinion of the Tahitians, from that which we entertained when entering. The chiefs and people resolved to subscribe and complete the sum which was wanting: Captain FitzRoy urged that it was hard that their private property should be sacrificed for the crimes of distant islanders. They replied, that they were grateful for his consideration, but that Pomarre was their Queen, and they were determined to help her in this her difficulty. This resolution and its prompt execution (for a book was opened early the next morning), made a perfect conclusion to this very remarkable scene of loyalty and good feeling.
After the main discussion was ended, several of the chiefs took the opportunity of asking Captain FitzRoy many intelligent questions, concerning international customs and laws. These related to the treatment of ships and foreigners. On
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NEW ZEALAND. Dec. 1835.
some points, as soon as the decision was made, the law was issued verbally on the spot. This Tahitian parliament lasted for several hours; and when it was over Captain FitzRoy invited the queen to pay the Beagle a visit.
NOVEMBER 26TH. --In the evening, with a gentle land-breeze, a course was steered for New Zealand, and as the sun set we took a farewell look at the mountains of Tahiti, -- the island to which every voyager has offered up his tribute of admiration.
DECEMBER 19TH. --In the evening we saw New Zealand in the distance. We may now consider ourselves as having nearly crossed the Pacific ocean. It is necessary to sail over this great sea to understand its immensity. Moving quickly onwards for weeks together we meet with nothing, but the same blue, profoundly deep, ocean. Even within the Archipelagoes, the islands are mere specks, and far distant one from the other. Accustomed to look at maps, drawn on a small scale, where dots, shading, and names are crowded together, we do not judge rightly how infinitely small the proportion of dry land is to the water of this great sea. The meridian of the Antipodes likewise has now been passed; and every league, thanks to our good fortune, which we travel onwards, is one league nearer to England. These Antipodes call to mind old recollections of childish doubt and wonder. Only the other day, I looked forward to this airy barrier, as a definite point in our voyage homewards; but now I find it, and all such resting-places for the imagination, are like shadows which a man moving onwards cannot catch. A gale of wind, which lasted for some days, has lately given us time and inclination to measure the future stages in our long voyage, and to wish most earnestly for its termination.
DECEMBER 21ST. --Early in the morning we entered the Bay of Islands, and being becalmed for some hours near the mouth, we did not reach the anchorage till the middle of the day. The country is hilly, but with a smooth outline; and it is deeply intersected by numerous arms, extending from the bay. The surface appears from a distance, as if clothed
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Dec. 1835. BAY OF ISLANDS.
with coarse pasture, but this in truth is nothing but fern. On the more distant hills, as well as in patches in some of the valleys, there is a good deal of wood-land. The general tint of the landscape is not a bright green; and it resembles the country a short distance to the southward of Concepcion in Chile. In several parts of the bay, little villages of square tidy-looking houses were scattered close down to the water's edge. Three whaling ships were lying at anchor; but with the exception of these, and of a few canoes, now and then crossing from one shore to the other, an air of extreme quietness reigned over the whole district. Only a single canoe came alongside. This, and the aspect of the whole scene, afforded a remarkable, and not very pleasing contrast, with our joyful and boisterous welcome at Tahiti.
In the afternoon we went on shore to one of the larger groups of houses, which yet hardly deserves the title of a village. Its name is Pahia: it is the residence of the missionaries; and with the exception of their servants and labourers, there are no native residents. In the vicinity of the Bay of Islands, the number of Englishmen, including their families, amounts to between two and three hundred. All the cottages, many of which are white washed, and look as I have said very neat, are the property of the English. The hovels of the natives are so diminutive and paltry, that they can scarcely be perceived from any distance. At Pahia, it was quite pleasing to behold the English flowers in the platforms before the houses; there were roses of several kinds, honeysuckle, jasmine, stocks, and whole hedges of sweetbriar.
DECEMBER 22D. --In the morning I went out walking; but I soon found, that the country was very impracticable. All the hills are thickly covered by tall fern, together with a low bush which grows like a cypress; and very little ground has been cleared or cultivated in this neighbourhood. I then tried the sea-beach; but proceeding towards either hand, my walk was soon stopped short, by creeks and deep streams of fresh water. The communication between the inhabitants
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NEW ZEALAND. Dec. 1835.
of the different parts of the bay, is (as in Chiloe) almost entirely kept up by boats. I was surprised to find that almost every hill, which I ascended, had been at some former time more or less fortified. The summits were cut into steps or successive terraces, and they had been frequently protected by deep trenches. I afterwards observed that the principal hills inland, in like manner showed an artificial outline. These are the Pas, so frequently mentioned by Captain Cook under the name of "hippah"; the difference of sound being owing to the prefixed article.
That the Pas had formerly been used, was evident from the piles of shells, and the pits in which, as I was informed, sweet potatoes were kept as reserved provisions. As there was no water on these hills, the defenders could never have anticipated a long siege, but only a hurried attack for plunder; under which circumstances the successive terraces would have afforded good protection. The general introduction of fire-arms has changed the whole system of warfare; and an exposed situation on the top of a hill would now be worse than useless. The Pas in consequence, is at the present day, always built on a level piece of ground. It consists of a double stockade of thick and tall posts, placed in a zigzag line, so that every part can be flanked. Within the stockade a mound of earth is thrown up, behind which the defenders can rest in safety, or use their fire-arms over it. On the level of the ground, little archways sometimes pass through this breastwork, by which means the defenders can crawl out to the stockade, to reconnoitre their enemies. The Rev. W. Williams, who gave me this account, added, that in one Pas he had noticed spurs or buttresses projecting from the inside of the mound of earth. On asking the chief the use of them, he replied, that if two or three of his men should be shot their neighbours would not see the bodies, and so be discouraged.
These Pases are considered by the New Zealanders as very perfect means of defence: for the attacking force is never so well disciplined as to rush in a body to the stockade, cut
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Dec. 1835. NEW ZEALAND.
it down, and effect their entry. When a tribe goes to war, the chief cannot order one party to go here, and another there; but every man fights in the manner which best pleases himself; and for individuals to approach a stockade defended by fire-arms, must appear certain death. I should think a more warlike race of inhabitants could not be found in any part of the world, than the New Zealanders. Their conduct on first seeing a ship, as described by Captain Cook, strongly illustrates this: the act of throwing volleys of stones at so great and novel an object, and their defiance, of "Come on shore and we will kill and eat you all," shows uncommon boldness. This warlike spirit is evident in many of their customs, and even in their smallest actions. If a New Zealander is struck, although but in joke, the blow must be returned; and of this I saw an instance with one of our officers.
At the present day, from the progress of civilization, there is much less warfare. When Europeans first traded here, muskets and ammunition far exceeded in value any other article: now they are in little request, and are indeed often offered for sale. Among some of the southern tribes, however, there is still much hostility. I heard a characteristic anecdote of what took place there some time ago. A missionary found a chief and his tribe in preparation for war; -- their muskets clean and bright, and their ammunition ready. He reasoned long on the inutility of the war, and the little provocation which had been given for it. The chief was much shaken in his resolution, and seemed in doubt: but at length it occurred to him, that a barrel of his gunpowder was in a bad state, and that it would not keep much longer. This was brought forward as an unanswerable argument for the necessity of immediately declaring war: the idea of allowing so much good gunpowder to spoil was not to be thought of; and this settled the point.
I was told by the missionaries, that in the life of Shongi, the chief who visited England, the love of war was the one and lasting spring of every action. The tribe in which he
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NEW ZEALAND. Dec. 1835.
was a principal chief, had at one time been much oppressed, by another from the Thames river. A solemn oath was taken by the men, that when their boys should grow up, and they should be powerful enough, they would never forget or forgive these injuries. To fulfil this appears to have been Shongi's chief motive for going to England; and when there it was his sole object. Presents were valued only as they could be converted into arms; of the arts, those alone were interesting, which were concerned with the manufacture of arms. When at Sydney, Shongi, by a strange coincidence, met the hostile chief of the Thames river at the house of Mr. Marsden: their conduct was civil to each other; but Shongi told him, that when again in New Zealand he would never cease to carry war into his country. The challenge was accepted; and Shongi on his return fulfilled the threat to the utmost letter. The tribe on the Thames river was utterly overthrown, and the chief to whom the challenge had been given, was himself killed. Shongi, although harbouring such deep feelings of hatred and revenge, is described as having been a goodnatured person.
In the evening I went with Captain FitzRoy, and Mr. Baker, one of the missionaries, to pay a visit to Kororadika. This is the largest village, and will one day, no doubt increase till it becomes the chief town: besides a considerable native population, there are many English residents. These latter are men of the most worthless character: and among them are many runaway convicts from New South Wales. There are many spirit-shops; and the whole population is addicted to drunkenness and all kinds of vice. As this is the capital, a person would be inclined to form his opinion of the New Zealanders from what he here saw; but in this case his estimate of their character would be too low. This little village is the very stronghold of vice. Although many tribes in other parts have embraced Christianity, here the greater part yet remain in heathenism. In such places the missionaries are held in little esteem: but they complain far more of the conduct of their countrymen, than of that of the natives. It is strange,
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Dec. 1835. NEW ZEALAND.
but I have heard these worthy men say, that the only protection which they need, and on which they rely, is from the native chiefs against Englishmen.
We wandered about the village, and saw and conversed with many of the people, both men, women, and children. Looking at the New Zealander, one naturally compares him with the Tahitian; both belonging to the same family of mankind. The comparison, however, tells heavily against the New Zealander. He may, perhaps, be superior in energy, but in every other respect, his character is of a much lower order. One glance at their respective expressions, brings conviction to the mind, that one is a savage, the other a civilized man. It would be vain to seek in the whole of New Zealand, a person with the face and mien of the old Tahitian chief, Utamme. No doubt the extraordinary manner in which tattooing is here practised, gives a disagreeable expression to their countenances. The complicated but symmetrical figures covering the whole face, puzzle and mislead an unaccustomed eye: it is moreover probable, that the deep incisions, by destroying the play of the superficial muscles, give an air of rigid inflexibility. But besides this, there is a twinkling in the eye, which cannot indicate any thing but cunning and ferocity. Their figures are tall and bulky; but in elegance are not comparable with those of the working classes in Tahiti.
Both their persons and houses are filthily dirty and offensive: the idea of washing either their bodies or their clothes never seems to enter their heads. I saw a chief, who was wearing a shirt black and matted with filth; and when asked how it came to be so dirty, he replied, with surprise, "Do not you see it is an old one?" Some of the men have shirts; but the common dress is one or two large blankets, generally black with dirt, which are thrown over their shoulders in a very inconvenient and awkward fashion. A few of the principal chiefs have decent suits of English clothes; but these are only worn on great occasions.
Considering the number of foreigners residing in New
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NEW ZEALAND. Dec. 1835.
Zealand, and the amount of commerce carried on there, the state of government of the country is most remarkable. It is, however, incorrect to use the term government, where absolutely no such thing exists. The land is divided, by well-determined boundaries, between various tribes, independent of each other. The individuals in each tribe consist of freemen, and slaves taken in war; and the land is common to all the free born; that is, each may occupy and till any part that is vacant. In a sale, therefore, of land, every such person must receive part payment. Among the freemen, there will always be some one, who from riches, from talents, or from descent from some noted character, will take the lead; and in this respect he may be considered as the chief. But if the united tribe should be asked, who was their chief, no one would be acknowledged. Without doubt, in many cases, individuals have obtained great influence; but as far as I can understand the system, their power is not legitimate. Even the authority of a master over his slave, or a parent over his child, appears to be regulated by no kind of ordinary custom. Proper laws of course are quite unknown: certain lines of action are generally considered right, and others wrong: if such customs are infringed, the injured person and his tribe, if they have power, seek retribution; if not, they treasure up the recollection of the injury till the day of revenge arrives. If the state in which the Fuegians live should be fixed at zero in the scale of government, I am afraid New Zealand would rank but a few degrees higher; while Tahiti, even when first discovered, would have occupied a respectable position.
DECEMBER 23D. -- At a place called Waimate, about fifteen miles from the Bay of Islands, and midway between the eastern and western coasts, the missionaries have purchased some land for agricultural purposes. I had been introduced to the Rev. W. Williams, who, upon my expressing the wish, invited me to pay him a visit there. Mr. Bushby, the British Resident, offered to take me in his boat by a creek, where I should see a pretty waterfall, and by which means my
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Dec. 1835. NEW ZEALAND.
walk would be shortened. He likewise procured for me a guide. Upon asking a neighbouring chief to recommend a man, the chief himself offered to go; but his ignorance of the value of money was so complete, that at first he asked how many pounds I would give him; but, afterwards was well contented with two dollars. When I showed the chief a very small bundle, which I wanted carried, it became absolutely necessary to take a slave for that purpose. These feelings of pride are beginning to wear away; but formerly a leading man would sooner have died than undergone the indignity of carrying the smallest burden. My companion was a light active man, dressed in a dirty blanket, and with his face completely tattooed. He had formerly been a great warrior. He appeared to be on very cordial terms with Mr. Bushby; but at various times they had quarrelled violently. Mr. Bushby remarked that a little quiet irony would frequently silence any one of these natives in their most blustering moments. This chief has come and harangued Mr. Bushby in a hectoring manner, saying, "A great chief, a great man, a friend of mine, has come to pay me a visit--you must give him something good to eat, some fine presents, etc." Mr. Bushby has allowed him to finish his discourse, and then has quietly replied by some such answer as, "What else shall your slave do for you?" The man would then instantly, with a very comical expression, cease his braggadocio.
Some time ago, Mr. Bushby suffered a far more serious attack. A chief and a party of men tried to break into his house in the middle of the night, and not finding this so easy, commenced a brisk firing with their muskets. Mr. Bushby was slightly wounded; but the party was at length driven away. Shortly afterwards it was discovered who was the aggressor; and a general meeting of the chiefs was convened to consider the case. It was considered by the New Zealanders as very atrocious, inasmuch as it was a night attack, and that Mrs. Bushby was lying ill in the house: this latter circumstance, much to their honour, being con-
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NEW ZEALAND. Dec, 1835.
sidered in all cases as a protection. The chiefs agreed to confiscate the land of the aggressor to the King of England. The whole proceeding, however, in thus trying and punishing a chief was entirely without precedent. The aggressor, moreover, lost cast in the estimation of his equals; and this was considered by the British as of more consequence, than the confiscation of his land.
As the boat was shoving off, a second chief stepped into her, who only wanted the amusement of the passage up and down the creek. I never saw a more horrid and ferocious expression, than this man had. It immediately struck me, I had somewhere seen his likeness: it will be found in Retzsch's outlines to Schiller's ballad of Fridolin, where two men are pushing Robert into the burning iron furnace. It is the man who has his arm on Robert's breast. Physiognomy here spoke the truth; this chief had been a notorious murderer, and was to boot an arrant coward. At the point where the boat landed, Mr. Bushby accompanied me a few hundred yards on the road: I could not help admiring the cool impudence of the hoary old villain, whom we left lying in the boat, when he shouted to Mr. Bushby, "Do not you stay long, I shall be tired of waiting here."
We now commenced our walk. The road lay along a well-beaten path, bordered on each side by the tall fern, which covers the whole country. After travelling some miles, we came to a little country village, where a few hovels were collected together, and some patches of ground cultivated for potato crops. The introduction of the potato, has been the most essential benefit to the island; it is now much more used, than any native vegetable. New Zealand is favoured by one great natural advantage; namely, that the inhabitants can never perish from famine. The whole country abounds with fern; and the roots of this plant, if not very palatable, yet contain much nutriment. A native can always subsist on these, and on the shells which are abundant on all parts of the sea-coast. The villages are chiefly conspicuous, by
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Dec. 1835. EXCURSION TO WAIMATE.
the platforms which are raised on four posts ten or twelve feet above the ground, and on which the produce of the fields is kept secure from all accidents.
On coming near one of the huts, I was much amused by seeing in due form the ceremony of rubbing, or as it should more properly be called, pressing noses. The women, on our first approach, began uttering something in a most dolorous voice; they then squatted themselves down and held up their faces; my companions standing over them, placed the bridge of their own noses at right angles to theirs, and commenced pressing. This lasted rather longer than a cordial shake of the hand would with us; and as we vary the force of the grasp of the hand in shaking, so do they in pressing. During the process they uttered comfortable little grunts, very much in the same manner as two pigs do, when rubbing against each other. I noticed, that the slave would press noses with any one he met, indifferently either before or after his master the chief. Although among savages the chief has absolute power of life and death over his slave, yet there is an entire absence of ceremony between them. Mr. Burchell has remarked the same thing in Southern Africa with respect to the rude Bachapins. Where civilization has arrived at a certain point, as among the Tahitians, complex formalities are soon instituted between the different grades of society. For instance, in the above island, formerly all were obliged to uncover themselves as low as the waist in presence of the king.
The ceremony of pressing noses having been completed with all present, we seated ourselves in a circle in the front of one of the houses, and rested there half-an-hour. All the native hovels which I have seen, have nearly the same form and dimensions, and all agree in being filthily dirty. They resemble a cow-shed with one end open, but having a partition a little way within, with a square hole in it, which thus cuts off a part, and makes a small gloomy chamber. In this the inhabitants keep all their property, and when the
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NEW ZEALAND. Dec. 1835.
weather is cold they sleep there. They eat, however, and pass their time in the open part in front.
My guides having finished their pipes, we continued our walk. The path led through the same undulating country, the whole uniformly clothed as before with fern. On our right hand, we had a serpentine river, the banks of which were fringed with trees, and here and there on the hill-sides there were clumps of wood. The whole scene, in spite of its green colour, bore rather a desolate aspect. The sight of so much fern impresses the mind with an idea of sterility. This, however, is not the case; for wherever the fern grows thick and breast-high, the land by tillage becomes productive. Some of the residents, with much probability think that all this extensive open country was originally covered with forests, and that it has been cleared by the aid of fire. It is said that by digging in the barest spots, lumps of the kind of resin which flows from the kauri pine, are frequently found. The natives had an evident motive in thus clearing the country; for in such parts the fern, formerly so staple an article of food, flourishes best. The almost entire absence of associated grasses, which forms so remarkable a feature in the vegetation of this island, may perhaps be accounted for, by the open parts being the work of man, while nature had designed the country for forest land.
The soil is volcanic; in several parts we passed over slaggy and vesicular lavas, and the form of a crater could clearly be distinguished in several of the neighbouring hills. Although the scenery is nowhere beautiful, and only occasionally pretty, I enjoyed my walk. I should have enjoyed it more, if my companion, the chief, had not possessed extraordinary conversational powers. I only knew three words; "good," "bad," and "yes:" and with these I answered all his remarks, without of course having understood one word he said. This, however, was quite sufficient: I was a good listener, an agreeable person, and he never ceased talking to me.
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Dec. 1835. WAIMATE.
At length we reached Waimate. After, having passed over so many miles of an uninhabited useless country, the sudden appearance of an English farm-house, and its well-dressed fields, placed there as if by an enchanter's wand, was exceedingly pleasing. Mr. Williams not being at home, I received in Mr. Davies's house a cordial and pleasant welcome. After drinking tea with his family party, we took a stroll about the farm. At Waimate there are three large houses, where the missionary gentlemen Messrs. Williams, Davies, and Clarke, reside; and near them are the huts of the native labourers. On an adjoining slope fine crops of barley and wheat in full ear were standing; and, in another part, fields of potatoes and clover. But I cannot attempt to describe all I saw; there were large gardens, with every fruit and vegetable which England produces; and many belonging to a warmer clime. I may instance, asparagus, kidney beans, cucumbers, rhubarb, apples, pears, figs, peaches, apricots, grapes, olives, gooseberries, currants, hops, gorze for fences, and English oaks; also many different kinds of flowers. Around the farmyard there were stables, a thrashing-barn with its winnowing machine, a blacksmith's forge, and on the ground ploughshares and other tools: in the middle was that happy mixture of pigs and poultry, which may be seen so comfortably lying together in every English farm-yard. At the distance of a few hundred yards, where the water of a little rill was dammed up into a pool, a large and substantial water-mill had been erected.
All this is very surprising, when it is considered, that five years ago, nothing but the fern flourished here. Moreover, native workmanship, taught by the missionaries, has effected this change: --the lesson of the missionary is the enchanter's wand. The house has been built, the windows framed, the fields ploughed, and even the trees grafted, by the New Zealander. At the mill, a New Zealander may be seen powdered white with flour, like his brother miller in England. When I looked at this whole scene, I thought it admirable. It was not merely that England was vividly brought before my mind;
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NEW ZEALAND. Dec. 1835.
yet, as the evening drew to a close, the domestic sounds, the fields of corn, the distant country with its trees now appearing like pasture-land, all might well be mistaken for some part of it. Nor was it the triumphant feeling at seeing what Englishmen could effect, but it was something of far more consequence; the object for which this labour had been bestowed--the moral effect on the aborigines of this fine country.
The missionary system here appears to me different from that of Tahiti; much more attention is there paid to religious instruction, and to the direct improvement of the mind; here, more to the arts of civilization. I do not doubt that in both cases, the same object is kept in view. Judging from the success alone, I should rather lean to the Tahiti side; probably, however, each system is best adapted to the country where it is followed. The mind of a Tahitian is certainly one of a higher order; and on the other hand, the New Zealander, not being able to pluck from the tree that shades his house the bread-fruit and banana, would naturally turn his attention with more readiness to the arts. When comparing the state of New Zealand with that of Tahiti, it should always be remembered, that from the respective forms of government of the two countries, the missionaries here have had to labour at a task, many times more difficult. The reviewer of Mr. Earle's travels in the Quarterly Journal, by pointing out a more advantageous line of conduct for the missionaries, evidently considers that too much attention has been paid to religious instruction, in proportion to other subjects. This opinion being so very different from the one at which I arrived, any third person hearing the two sides, would probably conclude, that the missionaries had been the best judges, and had chosen the right path.
Several young men were employed about the farm, who had been brought up by the missionaries; having been redeemed by them from slavery. They were dressed in a shirt, jacket and trousers, and had a respectable appearance. Judging from one trifling anecdote, I should think they must be
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Dec. 1835. WAIMATE.
honest. When walking in the fields, a young labourer came up to Mr. Davies, and gave him a knife and gimlet, saying he had found them on the road, and did not know to whom they belonged! These young men and boys appeared very merry and good-humoured. In the evening I saw a party of them at cricket: when I thought of the austerity of which the missionaries have been accused, I was amused by observing one of their own sons taking an active part in the game. A more decided and pleasing change was manifested in the young women, who acted as servants within the houses. Their clean, tidy, and healthy appearance, like that of dairymaids in England, formed a wonderful contrast with the women of the filthy hovels in Kororadika. The wives of the missionaries tried to persuade them not to be tattooed; but a famous operator having arrived from the south, they said, "We really must just have a few lines on our lips; else when we grow old our lips will shrivel, and we shall be so very ugly." Tattooing is not nearly so much practised as formerly; but as it is a badge of distinction between the chief and the slave, it will not probably very soon be disused. So soon does any train of ideas become habitual, that the missionaries told me, that even in their eyes, a plain face looked mean, and not like that of a New Zealand gentleman.
Late in the evening I went to Mr. Williams's house, where I passed the night. I found there a very large party of children, collected together for Christmas-day, and all sitting round a table at tea. I never saw a nicer or more merry group: and to think, that this was in the centre of the land of cannibalism, murder, and all atrocious crimes! The cordiality and happiness so plainly pictured in the faces of the little circle, appeared equally felt by the older persons of the mission.
DECEMBER 24TH. --In the morning, prayers were read in the native tongue to the whole family. After breakfast, I rambled about the gardens and farm. This was a market-day, when the natives of the surrounding hamlets bring
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NEW ZEALAND. Dec. 1835.
their potatoes, Indian corn, or pigs, to exchange for blankets, tobacco, and sometimes, through the persuasions of the missionaries, for soap. Mr. Davies's eldest son, who manages a farm of his own, is the man of business in the market. The children of the missionaries, who came while young to the island, understand the language better than their parents, and can get any thing more readily done by the natives.
A little before noon, Messrs. Williams and Davies walked with me to part of a neighbouring forest, to show me the famous Kauri pines. I measured one of these noble trees, in a part which was not enlarged near the roots, and found it to be thirty-one feet in circumference. There was another close by, which I did not see, thirty-three; and I heard of one, no less than forty feet. The trunks are also very remarkable from their smoothness, cylindrical figure, absence of branches, and having very nearly the same girth through a length from sixty to even ninety feet. The crown of this tree, where it is irregularly branched, is small, and out of proportion to the trunk; and the foliage is likewise diminutive as compared with the branches. The forest in this part was almost composed of the Kauri; and the largest, from the parallelism of their sides, stood up like gigantic columns of wood. The timber of this tree is the most valuable product of the island: moreover, a quantity of resin oozes from the bark, which is collected and sold at a penny a pound to the Americans, but its use is kept secret.
On the outskirts of the wood, I saw the New Zealand flax growing in the swamps: this is the second most valuable export. This plant somewhat resembles (but not botanically) the common iris; the under surface of the leaf is lined by a layer of strong silky fibres; and the upper consists of green vegetable matter, which is scraped off with a broken shell, and the hemp remains in the hand of the workwoman. In the forest, besides the kauri, there are some other fine timber trees. I saw numbers of beautiful tree-ferns, and was told of palms. Some of the New Zealand forests must
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Dec. 1835. WAIMATE.
be impenetrable to an extraordinary degree. Mr. Matthews gave me an account of one, which, although only thirty-four miles wide, and separating two inhabited districts, like the central forest of Chiloe, had never been passed until lately. He and another missionary, each with a party of about fifty men, undertook to open a road: but it cost them more than a fortnight's labour! In the woods I saw very few birds. With regard to animals, it is a most remarkable fact, that so large an island, extending over more than 700 miles in latitude, and in many parts ninety broad, with varied stations, a fine climate, and land of all heights, from 14,000 feet downwards, with the exception of a small rat, should not possess one indigenous animal. It is moreover said, that the introduction of the common Norway kind, has annihilated from the northern extremity of the island, the New Zealand species, in the short space of two years. In many places I noticed several sorts of weeds, which, like the rats, I was forced to own as countrymen. A leek, however, which has overrun whole districts, and will be very troublesome, was imported lately by the favour of a French vessel. The common dock is widely disseminated, and will, I am afraid, for ever remain a proof of the rascality of an Englishman, who sold the seeds for those of the tobacco-plant.
On returning from our pleasant walk to the houses, I dined with Mr. Williams; and then, a horse being lent me, I returned to the Bay of Islands. I took leave of the missionaries, with thankfulness for their kind welcome, and with feelings of high respect for their gentleman-like, useful, and upright characters. I think it would be difficult to find a body of men better adapted for the high office which they fulfil.
CHRISTMAS-DAY. --In a few more days, the fourth year of our absence from England will be completed. Our first Christmas-day was spent at Plymouth; the second at St. Martin's Cove, near Cape Horn; the third at Port Desire, in Patagonia; the fourth at anchor in a harbour in the
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NEW ZEALAND. Dec. 1835.
Peninsula of Tres Montes; this fifth here; and the next, I trust in providence, will be in England. We attended divine service in the chapel of Pahia; part of the service was read in English, and part in the New Zealand language.
As far as I was able to understand, the greater number of people in this northern part of the island profess Christianity. It is curious, that the religion even of those who do not profess it, has been modified and is now partly Christian, partly heathen. Moreover, so excellent is the Christian faith, that the outward conduct even of the unbelievers is said to have been decidedly improved by the spread of its doctrines. It is beyond doubt, however, that much immorality still exists; -- that there are many who would not hesitate to kill a slave for a trifling offence; and that polygamy is still common, -- indeed, I believe, general.
We did not hear of any recent act of cannibalism; but Mr. Stokes found burnt human bones, strewed round an old fireplace, on a small island near the anchorage: these remains of some quiet banquet might, indeed, have been lying there for several years. Notwithstanding the above facts, it is probable that the moral state of the people will rapidly improve. Mr. Bushby mentioned one pleasing anecdote as a proof of the sincerity of some, at least, of those who profess Christianity. One of his young men left him, who had been accustomed to read prayers to the rest of the servants. Some weeks afterwards, happening to pass late in the evening by an outhouse, he saw and heard one of his men reading the bible with difficulty, by the light of the fire, to the others. After this, the party knelt and prayed: in their prayers they mentioned Mr. Bushby and his family, and the missionaries, each separately in his respective district.
DECEMBER 26TH. --Mr. Bushby offered to take Mr. Sulivan and myself in his boat, some miles up the river to Cawa-Cawa; and proposed afterwards to walk on to the village of Waiomio, where there are some curious rocks. Following one of the arms of the bay, we enjoyed a pleasant row,
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Dec. 1835. NEW ZEALAND.
and passed through pretty scenery, until we came to a village, beyond which the boat could not proceed. From this place a chief and a party of men volunteered to walk with us to Waiomio, a distance of four miles. The chief was at this time rather notorious, from having lately hung one of his wives and a slave, for adultery. When one of the missionaries remonstrated with him, he seemed surprised, and said he thought he was exactly following the English method. Old Shongi, who happened to be in England during the Queen's trial, expressed great disapprobation at the whole proceeding: he said he had five wives, and he would rather cut off all their heads, than be so much troubled about one. Leaving this village, we crossed over to another, seated on a hill-side at a little distance. The daughter of a chief, who was still a heathen, had died here five days before. The hovel in which she had expired had been burnt to the ground: her body being enclosed between two small canoes was placed upright on the ground, and protected by an enclosure bearing wooden images of their gods, and the whole was painted bright red, so as to be conspicuous from afar. Her gown was fastened to the coffin, and her hair being cut off was cast at its foot. The relatives of the family had torn the flesh of their arms, bodies, and faces, so that they were covered with clotted blood; and the old women looked most filthy, disgusting objects. On the following day some of the officers visited this place, and found the women still howling and cutting themselves.
We continued our walk, and soon reached Waiomio. Here there are some singular masses of limestone, resembling ruined castles. These rocks have long served for burial-places, and in consequence are held sacred. One of the young men cried out, "Let us all be brave," and ran on ahead; but when within a hundred yards, the whole party thought better of it, and stopped short. With perfect indifference, however, they allowed us to examine the whole place. At this village we rested some hours, during which
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NEW ZEALAND. Dec. 1835.
time there was a long discussion with Mr. Bushby, concerning the right of sale of certain lands. One old man, who appeared a perfect genealogist, illustrated the successive possessors by bits of stick driven into the ground. Before leaving the houses, a little basketful of roasted sweet-potatoes was given to each of our party; and we all, according to the custom, carried them away to eat on the road. I noticed that among the women employed in cooking, there was a man-slave: it must be an humiliating thing for a man in this warlike country to be employed in doing that which is considered as the lowest woman's work. Slaves are not allowed to go to war; but this perhaps can hardly be considered as a hardship. I heard of one poor wretch who, during hostilities, ran away to the opposite party; being met by two men, he was immediately seized; but they not agreeing to whom he should belong, each stood over him with a stone hatchet, and seemed determined that the other at least should not take him away alive. The poor man, almost dead with fright, was only saved by the address of a chiefs wife. We afterwards enjoyed a pleasant walk back to the boat, but did not reach the ship till late in the evening.
DECEMBER 30TH. --In the afternoon we stood out of the Bay of Islands on our course to Sydney. I believe we were all glad to leave New Zealand. It is not a pleasant place. Amongst the natives there is absent that charming simplicity which is found at Tahiti; and the greater part of the English are the very refuse of society. Neither is the country itself attractive. I look back but to one bright spot, and that is Waimate, with its Christian inhabitants.