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book, which book he knows to be, at the time, a competitor with his own for public favour ? It is true the depredation is generally avowed, a circumstance however which only exculpates from theft to convict of robbery. With regard to the ancients, properly so called, or authors who are, to us, as in the place of ancients, who live only in their books—not even an acknowledgment may be necessary. Ils sont tous, ou fort peu s'en faut, des noms si fameux et anciens, qu'ils me semblent se nommer assez sans moi.' Nor even with regard to contemporaries, would we blame a writer for single words: they are lawful game, 'wild by nature, the property of all who can capture them'— and perhaps a few common flowers of speech may be gathered, as we pass over our neighbour's inclosure, without stigmatizing us with the title of thieves; but we must not therefore plunder his cultivated fruit.'
If Mr. Taylor have not leisure to continue his own work, and would condescend to make reprisals on Mr. Crabb's, he might, with the free use of a bolter, like the Academy Della Crusca, render considerable service to his native tongue. For we repeat, that Mr. Crabb has collected much valuable matter from others, and added some himself; but confused in arrangement, and entangled, and encumbered, and obscured, with foreign matter ;
• So spins the silk-worm small its slender store;
And labours till it clouds itself all o'er.' If the book, thus loaded with lumber, should be the occasion of suppressing the productions of chaster pens, it will continue a permanent burthen upon our literature; but if any equally comprehensive and purer work appear, this will sink by its own weight.
Art.V.-1. Voyage of His Majesty's Ship Blonde to the Sand
wich Islands, in the Years 1824-1825. London. 1827. 2. Narrative of a Tour through Hawaii, or Owhyhee ; with
Remarks on the History, Traditions, Manners, Customs, and Language of the Inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands. By William Ellis, Missionary from the Society and Sandwich
Islands. London. 1826. W!
E have not quite made up our minds to join with the
editor of the “Voyage of His Majesty's Ship Blonde' in the expression of regret that the Rev. Mr. Bloxam, the chaplain and journalist of that voyage, should have left England before it was determined to send an account of it to the press :-what has been lost in any additions or alterations he might have made on a revision of his manuscript, is, to us at least, more than compensated 2 E 2
by our having, if we really have, the narrative in its original state, recording the transactions and impressions as they occurred and were felt at the time. It is, however, but a meagre narrative, being confined chiefly to the transactions that took place with the natives, in consequence of the Blonde having carried out the bodies of the late king and queen of the Sandwich Islands, and the surviving part of their suite. For the introduction, which is briefly and ably drawn up, we are indebted, as we understand, to Mrs. Maria Graham, a lady not unknown to literary fame, who undertook to edit the work, in the absence of the chaplain. That part of it which relates to the royal visitors from the Sand'wich Islands, during their stay in London, is highly interesting; and knowing, as we do, the source from which Mrs. Graham derived her information, we are convinced the readers of her memoir may safely permit it to leave on their minds an impression highly favourable to the good sense, sound feeling, and humane disposition of those untutored, but very far from savage or barbarous, islanders.
It is evident, indeed, from a perusal of the two works whose titles are placed at the head of this article, that a more cheerful, inoffensive, hospitable, and kindhearted people than the Sandwich islanders do not exist in any society whatever ; and that there is not to be found, in a rude, uncivilized state, a people of more ingenuity, or more desirous of instruction and improvement, than these islanders are. A most unfavourable impression of their character was, indeed—and naturally enough—made by the murder of our celebrated navigator who first discovered their islands; but it was even then suspected, and it has subsequently been fully proved, that his death was the result of a misunderstanding; that there was not the slightest intention of injuring a hair of his head; that, on the contrary, the veneration bestowed on him, both before and after his death, fell little short of a desire to render divine honours to his person and his memory; and that, to this moment, they have never ceased to regret and deplore the unfortunate and melancholy occurrence.
As the chance of improvement in knowledge and prosperity, or the reverse, in despotic governments, depends mainly on the personal character of the sovereign, it was fortunate for the inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands, that a man possessed of so vigorous a mind as Tamehameha should have ruled over them so soon after the discovery, when English, Americans, and Russians began to visit the islands; and that his reign was of so long a duration. In the time of Cook and Vancouver, each of the seven islands had its king or chief, among whom a petty warfare was constantly
kept up. Tamehameha reduced the whole under his sway, and thus put an end to these harassing and exterminating broils. From Vancouver he learnt to build ships of considerable burden; his subjects soon became good seamen, and engaged in commercial speculations to the coasts of America and Asia, and even as far as Canton; he granted lands to foreign residents, and even had the good sense to protect by taboo, or rendering sacred, for ten years, the cattle left by Vancouver; the consequence of which is, that numerous herds are now running wild, especially in the interior of Owhyhee, the largest of the seven islands, besides those which are domesticated. He encouraged the law of inheritance, by bestowing the lands on the wives and children of the deceased, whereas, by the old custom of the country, they always reverted to the king. He caused roads to be made, waste lands to be reclaimed, wells to be sunk, new vegetables to be introduced, and groves of fruit-trees to be planted; he built forts for the protection of the towns, and procured artillery from the trading vessels, to be mounted upon them. From the time of Vancouver's visit, when he voluntarily made a cession of the islands to Great Britain, he always considered the English as his best friends and protectors. It is due to this uneducated man to say that perhaps no country in the world, during a reign of thirty years, ever witnessed so great a change in the condition of a people as did the Sandwich Islands under that of Tamehameha.
• His intelligent mind was aware of the incalculable superiority possessed by the Europeans and others, whose ships visited him, over his own poor islanders. The circumstances, that the English were the first to touch there ; that their vessels were the largest and most powerful; that, besides the advantages sought for themselves in procuring provisions of all kinds, they had endeavoured to improve the islands by carrying thither new and profitable animals and vegetables; all led him to look on the British as not only the most powerful, but the most friendly, of the new nations they had learned to know; and he might reasonably hope that we should be as willing as able to protect them against the insults and injuries that some of the traders had offered them.'— Voyage, p. 37.
It is supposed, indeed, that he did more than appeared externally during his life-time; and, in particular, that, from witnessing the superior intelligence of his European visitors, he had taken up, and to a certain extent acted upon, a deep prejudice against the crafty priesthood and clumsy religion which had so long imbued the minds of his people with all the folly and much of the cruelty of superstition. His desire for the introduction of some more rational faith manifested itself, as all believed at the time, in the conduct adopted almost immediately after his death, in May, 1819, by his
son and successor, Iolani Riho Riho. After many conferences with the chiefs of the islands on the absurdities of their religion, especially the impotence of the wooden images which they were in the habit of adoring, and to whom they frequently offered human sacrifices, the new king (who had, on his accession, assumed his father's name of Tamehameha) announced his resolution, with the consent of his nobles, at once to desecrate the Morais or temples, and destroy the idols. The king's mother, indeed, showed some little reluctance; she asked what harm had their gods done? • Nay,' said the chiefs, 'what good have they done ? Are not the offerings we are required to make burdensome, and the human sacrifices demanded by the priests cruel and useless? Do not the foreigners who visit our shores laugh at our supposing these illshaped logs of wood can protect us?' To which the queen replied,
Do as you will —and on that same day the morais and the hevas were destroyed or desecrated, except some few places, where the bones of certain famous chiefs were deposited, and over which a few old priests were permitted to keep watch.
The next important step taken by Riho Riho, was the total abolition of that singnlar instrument of power and oppression, which then extended over the whole of the Polynesian islands—and appears to be exclusively confined to them—the Taboo; an instrument, by virtue of which the king, the chiefs, and the priests could at any time possess themselves of the property of the people; while the females, in particular, were made to feel all its humiliating and degrading force. From its birth, the child, if a female, was not allowed to be fed with a particle of food from the father's dish, or that had been cooked at the father's fire ; if a boy, he partook of his father's food, and ate his meals with him, while the mother was not only obliged to eat in an outhouse, but was interdicted from tasting certain species of animal food and fruits. Of this essential part of their cruel system of idolatry, Mr. Ellis has given the best explanation we have yet met with. The word, in its literal sense, means sacred ; in a religious sense, it implies a separation from ordinary purposes, and an exclusive appropriation to persons or things bearing a sacred character. Thus, those chiefs of the highest rank, who derive their genealogy from the gods, are taboo; the morais, or temples, are taboo; but females generally, not being invested with a sacred character, are not taboo ; and hence the prohibition of females from eating any of the fruits or animals that enter into the offerings to the gods. It is probable that this degradation of females was brought, with many other customs and superstitions, by the original settlers from the east. Mr. Ellis tells us :• The tabu seasons were either common or strict. During a common
tabu, the men were only required to abstain from their usual avocations, and attend at the heiau when the prayers were offered, every morning and evening. But during the season of strict tabu, every fire and light on the island or district must be extinguished; no canoe must be launched on the water, no person must bathe; and, except those whose attendance was required at the temple, no individual must be seen out of doors ; po dog must bark, no pig must grunt, no cock must crow, or the tabu would be broken, and fail to accomplish the object designed. On these occasions they tied up the mouths of the dogs and pigs, and put the fowls under a calabash, or fastened a piece of cloth over their eyes. All the common people prostrated themselves, with their faces touching the ground, before the sacred chiefs, when they walked out, particularly during tabu ; and neither the king nor the priests were allowed to touch anything ; even their food was put into their mouths by another person.'—Ellis, pp. 366, 367.
For every breach of a strict taboo, the delinquent was offered as a sacrifice to the offended deity, by being burnt or strangled, or dispatched with a club or a stone, within the precincts of the temple. Well may Mr. Ellis say, that an institution so universal in its influence, and so inflexible in its demands, contributed very materially to the bondage and oppression of the natives in general.' To the honour of the young king, he determined to relieve the great body of the people from the miseries of this singular institution, and the females from a state of hopeless degradation. For this purpose, he instituted a great feast, at which the chiefs, the priests, and multitudes of the people were assembled.
• When the baked meats were bronght into the king's presence, he caused the choicest part of them, and especially of those kinds of food which it was unlawful for women to taste, to be carried into the eatinghouse of his wives, and accompanying them himself, he sat down and ate, and caused the women to eat, in the sight of the people, of all the things looked upon as prohibited. The priests and chiefs were instantly apprized of the fact, which to the multitude appeared prodigious, and calculated to awaken the vengeance of Heaven ; but they, prepared beforehand, had already met together, and the chief priest Hevaheva, preventing the messenger with the report, explained to the people, that as the gods had not revenged the violation of the tabu it was a sign they had no power, and therefore ought to be destroyed; on which Hevaheva himself began by setting fire to the principal morai. On that day the idols were overthrown; and as soon as the event could be known in the other islands, the example was followed without hesitation.'--Voyage, p. 47.
From this moment, two chiefs, possessed of great power and influence, Karaimoku (better known by his assumed name of William Pitt), and Boki, his brother, resolved to take the first opportunity of solemnly and openly professing Christianity; and,