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RIGHTS OF FISHERY.
against him for it.” The Missionaries very properly declined to interfere with such a case ; indeed, they uniformly forbear from meddling, without special necessity, with disputes among the natives, which are best settled by arbitrators chosen from themselves. Their reply, on this occasion, in the presence of both parties, was that, so long as the bue raatiras acted with justice and due respect towards their chiefs, they might be assured that these would deal justly and kindly with them. This little circumstance shows the Tahitian frankness and fearlessness of speaking all their mind, even before their highest superiors; and the patience with which Hautia permitted the affair to pass, in public, equally exemplified the noble forbearance of which such generous spirits as his—at once refined and elevated by Christianity—are capable.
Near the chapel there is a stone, on which the idol Tani was wont to be set down, that he might rest himself after the fatigue of being carried in a man's arms (whose peculiar office it was) down the steep hill adjacent, from his grand marae above, when, on certain extraordinary public occasions, it was necessary that he should be removed. The stone is a rough flag, as it was separated from the rock, four feet long, one and a half broad, and nine inches thick. It is placed horizontally on the edge of the lake, about half a mile from the sacred tree. While we were looking at this relic of puerile idolatry, one of the bue raatiras came up.
He is now a pious, inoffensive man; but he long and stoutly stood against the gospel in this neighbourhood, and was one of the ringleaders of the rebel-party who opposed the chiefs when they renounced idolatry. Being asked when the idol Tani was last brought down hither, he replied, “ It was when the servants of the true God came to attack us for going to war with them
DESTRUCTION OF TANI'S IDOL.
because of their new religion. Tani was brought down by us, and laid upon that stone. The two bodies of warriors stood, face to face, so near together as to be ready to begin the battle. Hautia, one of our friends who is now with us, and Tiramano, the chief woman, were at the head of the Christians—for you must know that the chief women here buckle on the cartouch-box, and bear the musket before their troops, as well as the chief men. When both sides were about to strike the first blow, Hautia and Tiramano made an offer of peace. They said, • You must soon fall into our hands, or we must soon fall into yours; but, if you will lay down your arms now, we will be friends with you.' Then the true God caused the desire of peace to grow in our hearts, and we answered, We will have peace; we will not fight for those false gods any more; we will submit to the true God! And so it ended; peace was made between us; a fire was lighted just here, Tani's image was thrown into the flames, and burnt to ashes, before the eyes of both parties. Immediately afterwards we consumed his house and destroyed his
We, who had been rebels on account of our idols, turned to the true God. And then a great feast was made, and the men and the women ate together, in proof that we had all embraced the gospel in our hearts. It was never so before; if a woman had sat down on this stone, or even touched it with her finger, she would have been instantly murdered.” We congratulated Hautia on having been made the Lord's instrument in accomplishing so great a deliverance of his nation from the thraldom of Satan. He replied, with much emotion, “ All my forefathers worshipped Tani—where are they now? It is my mercy to live in better days.”
Jan. 8. We visited several maraes, accompanied by Mr.
CONVERTED PRIEST OF TANI.
Ellis and a native, named Toumata, who formerly held the illustrious office of te amo atua, or bearer of the god Tani. He belonged to the order of priests, and was a personage of such superhuman sanctity that every thing which he touched became sacred; he was, therefore, not suffered to marry, as the honour of being his wife was too much for any mortal woman. But this was not all; he would himself be so defiled by such a connection that he would be disqualified for his office, and must immediately resign it; nay, if he did not repent, and return with a great peaceoffering to Tani's house, he might expect to be first struck blind, and afterwards strangled in his sleep. He was not allowed to climb a cocoa tree, because, if he did, it would be so hallowed that nobody else durst afterwards ascend it. He was the only man living who had a right to handle the god Tani; and it was his special prerogative to carry the idol when it was annually removed to the neighbouring motu to be stripped and new dressed, as already described ; and though the latter ceremony was permitted to be performed by the priests, he alone could carry back the image to its marae on the mountain side. To do this, and reinstate it in its upper chamber, he had to climb a post of Tani's house, twenty-five feet high, with the unwieldy block on his shoulders. This office he voluntarily resigned, with all its privileges and emoluments, and embraced Christianity, on the day and at the place where Tani was burnt by Hautia and the zealous warriors who overthrew their country's idols with violence, but subdued their pagan adversaries with meekness, as stated in yesterday's journal. Toumata is a stout man, about thirty-five years of age, and very well versed in the traditions of his heathen forefathers, which enabled him to give us much information concerning the objects that attracted our curiosity in this day's excursion.
The first marae that we visited was the sepulchral one of the kings of Huahine, for many generations. It was an oblong inclosure, forty-five feet long by twenty broad, fenced with a strong stone wall. Here the bodies of the deceased, according to the manner of the country, being bound up, with the arms doubled to their shoulders, the legs bent under their thighs and both forced upwards against the abdomen, were let down, without coffins, into a hole prepared for their reception, and just deep enough to allow the earth to cover their heads.
Close behind this was another enclosure, thrice the length and twice the width of this; the whole raised to the height of five feet above the ground; the walls of oblong, and the pavement of flat, stones, forming a pretty level platform. On this were held the national councils, when the kings, priests, chiefs, and land-owners assembled to determine questions respecting peace, war, or other great public concerns. On such occasions this stage was crowded with the great actors in those scenes of violence which used to convulse the island with civil strife; while thousands of the people, the sufferers in such tragedies, thronged around it, to hear the issue of consultations which were to relieve them from hostilities already raging, or to break tranquillity then reigning, by letting loose man against man, family against family, and district against district, till rapine, murder, and devastation had done all but their worst, by stopping short only of utter extermination in their progress. The political and priestly orators who were wont, at such times, to harangue the multitude, often displayed no mean
savage eloquence. Close upon the margin of the lagoon, and under the shadow of the sacred tree, stands a marae, dedicated to the departed spirits of the kings whose bodies are interred in
the adjacent one. This, like the rest, is composed of rough coral blocks for walls, and raised to a second story by small flags and stones. A third, belonging to a family of the Bue Raatera, built in like manner, is seen in the same vicinity. Others appear on the lower slope of the hill, which are respectively dedicated to Tani, Raa, and Oro, the principal idols of Huahine. Above these there has been constructed, at some barbarous period, a vast wall, ten feet high and six thick. This rampart consists of rough masses of stone from the crags above, or coral-reef from the sea, piled and attached without cement, with great labour and no small art. It was raised for the
It was raised for the purpose of obstructing the course of a pursuing or invading enemy up the steep side of the mountain, which it engirdles to the length of two miles, and only breaks off at points of interruption where the precipice itself precludes all possibility of assault. The upper regions of this acclivity were considered almost impregnable; and they not only afforded security to fugitives who gained them, but the fertility of the soil, which was thick-planted with cocoa-nut and bread-fruit trees, nearly to the top, and the perpetual springs of fresh water abounding there, furnished provision for the occupants as long as they were likely to be besieged by a baffled army below. Behind this fortified eminence, and with a small valley only between, the moua tabu, or Sacred Mountain, already described, rises about three thousand feet; from the summit of which, as a last retreat, defiance might be hurled, not in words only, but in the enormous missiles of disrupted rocks, and the smaller ammunition of loose stones, with which the surface was abundantly strown.-On the lower mountain are many maraes, of which particular notice is unnecessary. The whole hill and subjacent beach seem to have been holy ground,