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who are resident near them to store up and repeat these facts, with exaggerations, which go far to damp the ardour of those who are interested in forwarding the great cause in which they are engaged. For all these considerations, they ought to avoid, by every means, falling short of that high-minded liberality that is expected from them.
The Tongese are remarkable for their feats in swimming, and are very daring when sailing their canoes. An instance was told me that occurred in 1839, the year before our visit, which is looked upon as a well-established fact in this group. Two canoes left Hapai for Vavao; on their way, the wind arose and blew a strong gale from the north directly against them; one of them was driven back and landed at Ofalanga, an uninhabited island of the group, occasionally visited by the natives for nuts, shells, fish, &c. ; in the other canoe as they were taking in sail, a man fell overboard, and the wind and sea being strong and high, it was found impossible to save him without risking the lives of all on board, and he was given up; this was about four o'clock, and the canoe was just in sight of land. The man accordingly turned his face towards Hapai, and resolved to reach it if possible; he knew the wind was north, and directed his course by feeling the wind in his right and left ear, intending to swim before it; he continued swimming, and resting by floating upon the water, until the moon rose; he then steered his course by that luminary, and thus continued until morning, when he was near land and almost within reach of the coral reef. When he had thus nearly escaped drowning, he was on the point of becoming the prey of a huge shark, whose jaws he avoided by reaching the coral shelf; he then landed
upon island, which proved to be Ofalanga, where the first canoe had been driven; the crew found him on the beach 'senseless, and attended to bim; he soon was brought to, and shortly afterwards recovered his strength. This man's name is Theophilus Tohu; he is a native of Huano on the island of Hapai. The canoe from which he was lost returned to Huano before Theophilus did, and when he reached his home, he found his friends had passed through the usual ceremonies of his funeral.
The island of Tongataboo is of coral formation, and with extensive coral reefs to the northward of it; it has a shallow lagoon, which extends about ten miles into the interior. The soil is deeper than upon any island of coral formation we have yet visited; it is nearly a dead level, with the exception of a few hillocks, thirty or forty feet high ; the soil is a rich and fertile vegetable mould, and it is not composed of sand, as in the other coral islands. The vegetation, probably for this reason, does not altogether resemble that found on those islands. The
luxuriance of the foliage is not surpassed. Some few specimens of pumice have been found on its shores, probably drifted there from the island of Tofooa, which is said to have an active volcano. Tofooa is the highest island of the group, and next in height is Eooa. There is a marked difference in the appearance of the islands of Ecoa and Tonga ; on the former of which there is comparatively little vegetation.
On Tonga, although the vegetation equals any within the tropics, I was struck with the exaggerated accounts of the cultivation of the island; for, so far from finding it a perfect garden, exhibiting the greatest care in its cultivation, it now appeared to be entirely neglected. The yam-grounds are more in the interior of the island, and in consequence of the war, there was no safety in passing beyond the limits of the party which possessed the north part of the island, or that in the vicinity of Nukualofa.
The natives cultivate yams, sweet-potatoes, bananas, cocoa-nuts, bread-fruit, sugar-cane, shaddock, limes, and the ti (Spondias dulcis); the pandanus is much attended to, and is one of their most useful trees, and of it all their mats are made; a little corn is grown, and they have the papaw-apple (Papaya), and water-melon. The missionaries have introduced the sweet orange from Tahiti, and a species of cherimoyer (Annona); many other things have, as I learned, been attempted, but have hitherto failed. I presented the missionaries with a variety of both fruit and vegetable seeds, and trust that they will succeed and be of advantage to future visiters; the natives, I was told, understand the different kinds, discriminating among them in their planting.
The botany of this island resembles that of the Samoan Group. A species of nutmeg was found here, differing from either of the Samoan ones: the trees were very full of fruit, and much larger; one of them was observed a foot and a half in diameter, and upwards of forty feet in height. There was a number of ornamental shrubs. A description of climbing plants, which it was found a difficult matter to trace among the varieties of forest trees, gave a peculiar character to some parts of this overgrown island.
The climate of Tonga is humid and the heat oppressive, rising frequently to 98° in the shade; much rain falls; the mean temperature during our stay was 79.25°. The trade-winds are by no means constant, and westerly winds occasionally blow in every season, which, from their variable character, have obtained the name with the natives of " foolish winds."
We had to regret the state the island was in, as it prevented our making that full examination of it that I had intended and hoped; we
saw enough, however, to satisfy ourselves 'that Tongataboo is not the cultivated garden it has been represented to be. The Ficus tree figured in the voyage of the Astrolabe, whose trunk is there stated to be one hundred feet in circumference, was visited. We were surprised to find it had no proper trunk, but only a mass of intertwined roots, through which it is possible to see in many directions, rising to a height of eighty or ninety feet, when it throws around its great and widespreading branches. Two other species of Ficus were found, one with labiate branches and horizontal spreading arms, the other with a trunk about nine feet in diameter.
The climate cannot be considered salubrious; very heavy dews fall at night, and no constitution can endure frequent exposure at this time; the transitions from heat to cold are sudden and great, and the nights are often so chilly as to make blankets necessary.
· Hurricanes are frequent in this group, scarcely a season passing without some occurrence of the kind: the months of February and March are those in which they occur ; but they have also taken place in November and December. The missionaries as yet have made no series of observations, nor kept any kind of meteorological diary; but in answer to my inquiries I obtained the information, that the storms begin at the northwest, thence veer to the eastward, and end in southeast. The wind continues to increase until it becomes a hurricane : houses are levelled, and trees torn up by the roots; vessels are driven on shore; canoes lost or driven hundreds of miles away to other islands. In these storms the wind is frequently observed to change almost immediately from one point to its opposite; and in the same group of islands, trees have fallen, during the same gale, some to the south and others to the north. They are local in their effects, and fall chiefly upon Hapai and Vavao; if the fury of the storm be felt at Vavao, Tonga generally escapes, and vice-versâ; but Hapai is more or less the sufferer in both cases, situated as it is between the two places. A very severe hurricane was felt at Lefooka, Hapai, in 1834. These hurricanes vary in duration from eighteen to thirty-six hours; after a destructive one, a famine generally ensues, in which numbers of the natives die: it destroys all their crops. The natives give the name to those which are most severe, “ Afa higa faji,” or the hurricane that throws down the banana-trees.
Earthquakes are frequently felt here, though there is no knowledge of any destructive effects from them.
The diseases of this climate are influenza, colds, coughs, and consumption; glandular swellings, some eruptive complaints, fevers, and some slight irregular intermittents are experienced; but to judge from
the number of old persons,"longevity is by no means uncommon. The venereal disease has not made the same devastation here as elsewhere; probably because, as respects morals and virtue, these natives are the opposite to those of Tahiti.
Desirous of obtaining some of their arms, implements, and other curiosities, Mr. Waldron, Mr. Hale, and Mr. Vanderford, went to Nukualofa to make purchases, taking with them a large assortment of articles for the fair. The difficulties to be encountered in making purchases of the natives is scarcely to be imagined; no small amount of patience is required to go through the chaffering that is necessary to secure the article desired; for if their price is at once acceded to, they consider their bargain is a bad one. No inducement is sufficient for them to part with several articles of a kind at once; each must be disposed of separately, and on all, a like chaffering must be gone through with. The natives, before they bring articles for sale, fix their minds upon something they desire to obtain, and if that is not to be had, they take their things away again, it matters not whether the article is equivalent in value or not. Mr. Vanderford, who has been here several times since 1810, told me “ he had never found the Tonga people such saucy fellows."
During our stay here, we were much incommoded by the musquitoes. I never saw them more troublesome; and for three or four nights the officers and men obtained no sleep, which, added to the excessive heat, was overpowering, after the fatigues of a day spent in surveying. I never saw the men look as much fatigued when the day dawned; some of them declared that the musquitoes had bitten through every thing but their boots and hats; they even sought shelter in the tops and cross-trees, hoping thus to escape the attacks of these tormentors; the ship was so filled with them, that she was (not unaptly) likened to a musical-box. Their attacks bade defiance to all defences in the way of musquito-nets; night observations became almost impracticable in consequence of this intolerable annoyance, and I felt quite desirous for the time of our departure from the island to arrive.
On the 1st of May, our observations and surveying duties being completed, the instruments were embarked, and the boats hoisted in. A new difficulty now arose; for I was informed that the native pilots had received a message from the king, forbidding them to take the ships through the reefs; and although we needed their services but little, yet I thought it was a circumstance that required some investigation. J however gave orders to weigh anchor; but, while in the act of doing so, the Porpoise was reported as in sight: I therefore awaited her joining company. She had been detained in consequence of light,
variable winds; had seen nothing of Vasquez Island, but had sighted Pylstart's Island.
We found that the crew of the Porpoise had been, as well as ourselves, affected by the epidemic influenza, and that one case (that of David Bateman the marine) was somewhat serious; we therefore received him on board the Vincennes, for his better accommodation.
In the afternoon we ran down to the anchorage, off Nukualofa, when the Porpoise and Flying-Fish both went ashore on the reef, in consequence of the sun preventing it from being seen; they got off soon after without any damage. On anchoring, I despatched an officer on shore, to inquire into the reason of the order sent the pilots; word was immediately returned, on the part of the kings, that they knew nothing of the business; and they disclaimed any interference with them at all. On further investigation, the report was found to have grown out of the jealousy between two pilots, Tahiti Jim and Isaac: the former being the favourite of King George, whilst the latter was 'attached to King Josiah. Isaac having come on board first, was accepted as pilot; but Tahiti Jim being shrewd and cunning, (of which we had much experience afterwards,) did not like the idea of Isaac, who, as he told me, was no pilot, reaping all the reward; he accordingly intimated to him, that unless he promised to share the profits with him, he should report him to King George; and that if he got the ship ashore the captain would hang him. This so alarmed Isaac, that, being unwilling to fall under the displeasure of the king, and equally so to divide his profits, concocted the story that he was ordered by the king not to take the vessel to sea. I rather suspected Tahiti Jim of delivering such a message; finding, however, since the arrival of the Porpoise, that there was now a prospect of profit for both, they became reconciled. This affair being settled, and having finished my orders for the Peacock, and sent them to the missionaries, we hove up our anchors, and made sail. Before we had got without the reef, a sail was descried, which proved to be the Peacock. After passing congratulations, by cheering, I made signal to anchor, which was done, near the outer reefs, in ten fathoms water. We were now once more together, and only a few days behind the time allotted for reaching the Feejee Group, and beginning operations there.
The Peacock, as we have seen, was left at Sydney to complete her repairs; these detained her until the 30th of March, for it was found extremely difficult to obtain mechanics; and all wło were employed, except two, were a lazy and drunken set : they all belong to the “ Trades' Union;" and to such an extreme is the action of this association carried, that they invariably support the most worthless, and