« EelmineJätka »
ARRIVAL AT TAHITI.
and declivities are clothed, two-thirds of the way towards the truncated top, with rank vegetation, surmounted by cocoa-nut trees, single or in clumps. There is, however, no anchoring place on the coast, which is said to be four miles in compass; not even a boat can land without imminent hazard.
About one o'clock P. M., our captain discerned the loom of Tahiti, over the larboard-bow. This was a dark black shade indicating its site; and as we were advancing at the rate of nine knots an hour, we hoped to anchor in Matavai Bay by sunset. But the wind, which had blown hard all day, increased so much in violence towards evening, that we were reluctantly compelled to stand off from the land, and lay to for the night; the atmosphere, moreover, being very hazy, and frequent heavy showers descending. Since we left England, we had encountered only one severe gale, and in these seas, surrounded as we were by multitudes of miniature islands, our situation was certainly so perilous that we might have perished on the reefs of the very haven to which we had been so long steering; but the good hand of our God was upon us, and we escaped.
Sept. 25. Tahiti, “ the desire of our eyes," came upon us at sunrise, in all its grandeur and loveliness ;--more grand in the height of its mountains, and more lovely in the luxuriance of its valleys, than our imaginations had ever pictured it from the descriptions of former visitors and Missionaries. We had before us, in exquisitely undulated outline, the two peninsulas of which Tahiti consists; the whole rendered more striking by the shadowy obscurity which clouds of different hues and density cast over it. In a few hours, as we drew nearer, the beautiful region unveiled itself in all its enchanting variety of hills and plains, woods and waters: hills green up to their peaks,
ARRIVAL AT TAHITI.
twice the height of Snowden; plains spaciously opening from between the high-lands towards the shore, where the dwellings of the population were thickly sprinkled, under the shade of scattered trees; woods of gigantic growth and tropical ramification, so different from British forestscenery; and water bursting in brilliant cascades from the rocky eminences, then winding in rivulets through the valleys to the sea.
About eleven o'clock in the forenoon the first canoe came off towards us, for which the captain hove to. This small piece of excavated bread-fruit tree, balanced by an outrigger (that is, a piece of purau wood, lashed to the ends of two smaller pieces, which project from the sides of the vessel), amused us by the simplicity of its construction, and the dexterity with which it was managed by the two natives who occupied it; though, the sea being rather rough, we were inexperienced enough in their tactics to feel considerable apprehension for their safety. They proved to be a chief of a neighbouring district and one of his followers, bringing bread-fruit, cocoa-nuts, plantains, and lemons, which they hoped would be acceptable to the strangers. Our visitors were neatly apparelled in native cloth, and their modest and courteous demeanour exceedingly engaged our attention. Great numbers of their countrymen followed, in canoes of various sizes, from which they poured upon our deck; others, with their little vessels, lined the passage by which we were to enter the port of Matavai, while multitudes of both sexes and all ages ranged themselves in groups on Point Venus (the place whence the transit of the planet of that name across the sun was observed on Captain Cook's first voyage), and along the adjacent reef that runs out into the sea—to witness and welcome our arrival. At length, by the Providence which
ARRIVAL AT TAHITI.
had thus far helped us, we came to anchor in the bay, after narrowly escaping shipwreck, even at the last moment, by keeping too closely to the Dolphin Rock. Among the chiefs who had come on board and crowded our cabin, one, according to the custom of the country, chose Mr. Tyerman, and another Mr. Bennet, for his tayo, or friend, and desired a return of similar acknowledgment on their part. As a characteristic signal of our arrival, we had hoisted the Missionary flag, which had been prepared on our voyage, having the insignia, on a white ground, of a dove flying, with an olive branch in its bill, enclosed in a circle made by a serpent with the tail in its mouth, and this fenced with a triangle, on the sides of which was the motto,
Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will to men.” By this our brethren on the island had recognized the expected Deputation, and informed the natives of our character and object. Mr. Nott and Mr. Wilson, the Missionaries at this station, came on board, and most cordially received us as hoped-for partakers and helpers of their joy. After dinner we landed, and arrangements were made by these kind friends for our accommodation in their dwellings during our stay in this neighbourhood.
Pomare's Residence-Account of a League of Pacification among the Natives
-Strangers in Tahiti - Repararu's House-Cocoa-nut Water-Exotic Trees—Dress of Natives--St. Luke's Gospel transcribed by PomareVisit to Papeiti-Preparations for the Sabbath--Singular Consequence of a Mistake in Captain Wilson's Sea-reckoning—First Sabbath at Matavai— Prevalence of Infanticide in former times—Canoe-making-FishingIncident by which the Gospel was carried to Raiatea—Horrors of Idolatry -Pomare--Spirituous Liquors--Progress of Christianity at RaivavaiTahitian Supper- Tabued Trees.
Sep. 26. AFTER bringing some of our packages on shore, Captain Stavers, having learnt that there was better anchorage in Wilks's harbour, seven miles to the south, proceeded thither.
King Pomare, we found, was residing on the adjacent island of Eimeo, when we arrived. One of his houses standing near Mr. Nott's, the latter accompanied us to see it. This structure, about a hundred feet in length by forty in breadth, is nothing more than a thatched roof, supported by wooden pillars tapering from the base to the top, leaning a little inward, and not more than eight feet high. There were unities (a kind of wooden dishes), baskets, bundles of cloth, and various articles of domestic furniture, hanging up under the roof. On the floor, which was covered with grass, several bedsteads were standing. Near this large shed (for such it appeared to us) there was a smaller dwelling, the walls of which were framed of slight
bamboos fixed perpendicularly in the ground; and there was a door at each end. When the king is here, it is in this small place of retirement that Mr. Nott and he meet for the purpose of translating portions of the sacred Scriptures; and here, from day to day, have they often been employed, in settling the text and copying out the completed portions, from morning till night. The king is remarkably fond of writing; he was the first who learned the art, and is, probably, the greatest proficient in it among all his countrymen: when he writes, he lies down on the floor, with a support for his chest, and a desk before him. Between this sequestered apartment and the larger dwelling, are courts belonging to each. Here a very interesting scene took place, about six weeks before our arrival. A number of the Ana people, or inhabitants of Chain Island, and Pomutaus (both subjects of Pomare) assembled here. These tribes had long indulged towards each other the most rancorous hatred, and their islands being adjacent they were continually at war, in conducting which neither side gave quarter. The king determined, if possible, to subdue this enmity, and establish permanent peace between them. He therefore convened a meeting of the chiefs and principal personages, unarmed, on both sides. These were separately ranged in the two courts above mentioned, divided by a low fence. There stood Pomare, between the two parties, and in an impressive speech exhorted them to reconciliation. His arguments and his authority prevailed, and the representatives of both islands entered into an agreement upon the spot, that there should be no more war between their respective people, but that friendly intercourse should take place of perpetual strife. It was laid down, upon mutual understanding, that if two or three canoes, in company, arrived from one island at the other,