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INDIGENOUS TREES AND PLANTS.
the same bark, stripped from the young branches. The leaves are spread for table-cloths at entertainments. The timber is used in many ways:—when well dried, for procuring fire by friction; for walling houses with the planks, and wattling them with the twigs; for manufacturing paddles and constructing canoes; now also for oars and boat-building, which are gradually superseding the former.
The ati furnishes a suitable material for umities, or dishes; likewise stools, the keels of canoes, and other massy wood-work. The gum of this tree is administered medicinally
Of the bark of the aod, peeled from the branches and small roots, beautiful brown cloth is made, which is highly valued here.
The mape is a species of chesnut, which attains a great size, and bears abundant fruit. The nut is enclosed in a thick husk, oval-shaped, flattened, and about three inches long. The natives esteem the kernel pleasant food when roasted. The timber makes tough handles for axes, and other heavy edge-tools.--The mati is a kind of mountainsloe. With the juice of its berries the Tahitian red cloth is dyed; from the bark fine cordage is prepared, when the shrub itself is not more than two years
old. Of the ito weapons of war were fashioned of old; but the spear and the club are no longer wrought out of this once sacred, or rather once cursed, wood, which was the raw material whereof the gods were made. It is now applied to the much more humble and homely, yet far better, purposes of supplying middle posts to support the frame-roofs of dwellings, and occasionally for rafters. The mallets, also, with which bark is beaten into the cloth called le, are often carved out of the ito.
Miro, or amae, is a superior timber for carpentry and
NATIVE FLOWERING SHRUBS.
cabinet-work. It was formerly much employed about the maraes, for implements and ornamental furniture. The altars were frequently decorated with its graceful foliage. The grain is as close as that of mahogany.
Mara is a very hard and enduring timber. The altars were constructed of it; also the larger paddles, the keels of canoes, and posts on which to hang the most valuable utensils or articles of dress in dwelling-houses.
The bua furnishes a very white and lasting wood, but it is short-grained; yet found suitable for many ordinary purposes. With the flowers the people, especially the women, were fond of adorning their hair.
We may enumerate, without discriminating notice, the fata, tou, tiere, fara, paiori, atae, aute, &c., which are used for domestic furniture, house and boat-building, manufacturing dresses, or, borrowing their rich blossoms on festival occasions, as head-garlands --- according to their various qualities.
A Feeding— Warning Discourse against Apostacy-A Native Hog a rare
Animal now—A singular Fish--Handicrafts— Tahitian Language, and Figures of Speech-Sugar-cane Crop-Dauntless, Ship of War—Uncommon Spider-Questions proposed for consideration— Co-operation in House-building—Presents to Deputation-Tradition respecting the first Man and Woman-Noa-Mr. Tyerman and Mr. Ellis sail for Borabora -A Shark captured— Placid Beauty of the Sea— Arrival at Borabora— Missionary Station Influence of Conjurors— Visit to two English Vessels—Opening of a new Chapel.
Jan. 16. In the forenoon a messenger announced that Hautia and the raatiras had sent us a feeding—a present of eatables; and, before it was delivered, a similar token of good will was brought to us from the members of the church. When the whole was set out for our acceptance, in the chapel-yard, there appeared provision enough to feast all the island. There were seven hogs, and heaps upon heaps of cocoa-nuts, maias, bananas, and mountainplantains; with taro, pine-apples, pumpkins, sugar-canes, &c., &c.
In the evening, Mr. Ellis chose for the text of his lecture, “ Israel slideth back, like a backsliding heifer;now the Lord will feed them as a lamb in a large place.”-Hosea iv. 16. At the close of the discourse, we perceived that there was much earnest talking at the lower end of the chapel; when, on enquiring the cause, we were
NATIVE HOG-SINGULAR FISH.
pleased to find that the text, and the application of it by the preacher, had come with such force to the hearts of the people that they were constrained to express their godly fears, lest they also, like Israel of old, might be tempted to slide back to their idolatries, and depart from the Lord their shepherd, who now fed them “as a lamb in a large place.” Such discourses often produce exceedingly wholesome impressions upon the minds of these unsophisticated converts to the truth, to whom nothing appears so revolting as the idea of apostacy from that faith which they have found to be an inestimable blessing to themselves, their families, and their country.
Jan. 17. We have just seen what is now a rare animala hog of the native breed, such as were found on these islands by the first navigators, but which have been nearly killed off; or, being crossed with swine of European origin, have been superseded by a mixed race, much superior in size and value. This was an unsightly creature; very small, short, and hump-backed, with a disproportionately long head, and dwarf ears turned backward. But the main singularity was its tail, placed as if it grew upon the back; this was not more than two inches long, but bushy with thick hair, that covered the adjacencies. The colour of the bristles and hide was reddish-brown.
A singular fish, which had been struck with a spear and caught in the bay, was brought to us. It is called Aavere. It resembles an eеl and is a yard long, with a remarkably projecting snout one-fourth of its whole length, at the extremity of which is the mouth. The upper part of this proboscis consists of several bones so exquisitely articulated, side by side, as to be capable of enormous expansion, while below, where these bones seem to unite closely, by an equally curious contrivance, there is a connecting membrane
which falls inward and admits of corresponding distension with the cavity above; so that this small snout (in shape like a gun-barrel) might be enlarged enough to receive a substance equal in bulk to the whole body of the animal itself. It has pectoral, dorsal, and ventral fins, of very delicate structure. The tail-fins are finely arched backwards, and from between them, as from the centre of a crescent, shoots out a tapering tail four inches long and ending in a point. The colour is blue on the back and grey below; the eyes are large, and the pupil is surrounded by a glaring yellow iris. It is said that this arrow-like animal can dart itself out of the water with such violence as to pierce with its snout the body of a man. This fish is esteemed delicious food.
We were amused to see some of the natives here working at a smithy belonging to the Missionaries; and, considering their indifferent tools and the few instructions which they had received, it must be confessed that they did very well. . They were forging, and hammering into form, hinges and fish-spears; but, understanding the nature and use of the latter much better than the former, they made them more neatly. Many of these people may be called tolerable carpenters, but they have little notion of fashioning good joints or geometrically proportioning their work, except when they do it their own way. Thus, in constructing their canoes and building their houses in the style to which they have been accustomed, though they use neither plumb-line, compass, nor square, yet they finish every part with great accuracy and symmetry. Their deficiencies in the mechanical arts are not those of capacity, but the mere habits of untaught practice, or rather, practice according to different and less perfect rules and models. The women, in devising and executing patterns upon their many-coloured