An Account of the Voyages undertaken by the order of His Present Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour: Drawn from the Journals which were kept by the several Commanders, and from the Papers of Joseph Banks, Esq. [Vol. II]
Of the Canoes and Navigation of the Inhabitants of New Zealand; their Tillage, Weapons, and Music; Government, Religion, and Language: With some Reasons against the Existence of a Southern Continent.
The ingenuity of these people appears in nothing more than in their canoes; they are long and narrow, and in shape very much resemble a New-England whale-boat; the larger sort seem to be built chiefly for war, and will carry from forty to eighty or an hundred armed men: we measured one which lay ashore at Tolaga, she was sixty-eight feet and an half long, five feet broad, and three feet and an half deep; the bottom was sharp, with straight sides like a wedge, and consisted of three lengths, hollowed out to about two inches, or an inch and an half thick, and well fastened together with strong plaiting; each side consisted of one entire plank, sixty-three feet long, ten or twelve inches broad, and about an inch and quarter thick, and these were fitted and lashed to the bottom part with great dexterity and strength. A considerable number of thwarts were laid from gunwale to gunwale, to which they were securely lashed on each side, as a strengthening to the boat. The ornament at the head projected page 264 five or six feet beyond the body, and was about four feet and an half high; the ornament at the stern was fixed upon the end, as the stern-post of a ship is upon her keel, and was about fourteen feet high, two feet broad, and an inch and an half thick: they both consisted of boards of carved work, of which the design was much better than the execution. All their canoes, except a few at Opoorage or Mercury Bay, which were of one piece, and hollowed by fire, are built after this plan, and few are less than twenty feet long: some of the smaller sort have out-riggers, and sometimes two of them are joined together, but this is not common. The carving upon the stern and head ornaments of the inferior boats, which seem to be intended wholly for fishing, consists of the figure of a man, with a face as ugly as can be conceived, and a monstrous tongue thrust out of the mouth, with the white shells of sea-ears stuck in for the eyes. But the canoes of the superior kind*, which seem to be their men of war, are magnificently adorned with open work, and covered with loose fringes of black feathers, which had a most elegant appearance: the gunwale boards were also frequently carved in a grotesque taste, and adorned with tufts of white feathers placed upon a black ground. Of visible objects that are wholly new, no verbal description can convey a just idea, but in proportion as they resemble some that are already known, to which the mind of the reader must be referred; the carving of these people being of a singular kind, and not in the likeness of any thing that is known on our side of the ocean, either “in the heaven above, or in the “earth beneath, or in the waters that are under the “earth.”
The paddles are small, light, and neatly made; the blade is of an oval shape, or rather of a shape resembling a large leaf, pointed at the bottom, broadest in the middle, and gradually losing itself in the shaft, the whole length being about six feet, of which the shaft or loom, including the handle, is four, and the blade two. By the help of these oars they push on their boats with amazing velocity.page 265
In sailing they are not expert, having no art of going otherwife than before the wind: the sail is of netting or mat, which is set up between two poles that are fixed upright upon each gunwale, and serve both for masts and yards: two ropes answered the purpose of sheets, and were consequently fastened above to the top of each pole. But clumsy and inconvenient as this apparatus is, they make good way before the wind, and are steered by two men who sit in the stern, with each a paddle in his hand for that purpose.
Having said thus much of their workmanship, I shall now give some account of their tools; they have adzes, axes, and chisels, which serve them also as augors for boring of holes: as they have no metal, their adzes and axes are made of a hard black stone, or of a green talc, which is not only hard but tough; and their chisels of human bone, or small fragments of jasper, which they chip off from a block in sharp angular pieces like a gun-flint. Their axes they value above all that they possess, and never would part with one of them for any thing that we could give: I once offered one of the best axes I had in the ship, besides a number of other things, for one of them, but the owner would not fell it; from which I conclude that good ones are scarce among them. Their small tools of jasper, which are used in finishing their nicest work, they use till they are blunt, and then, as they have no means of sharpening them, throw them away. We had given the people at Tolaga a piece of glass, and in a short time they found means to drill a hole through it, in order to hang it round the neck as an ornament by a thread; and we imagine the tool must have been a piece of this jasper. How they bring their large tools first to an edge, and sharpen the weapon which they call Patoo-Patoo, we could not certainly learn; but probably it is by bruising the same substance to powder, and with this grinding two pieces against each other.
Their nets, particularly their seine, which is of an enormous size, have been mentioned already: one of these seems to be the joint work of a whole town, and I suppose it to be the joint property also: the other net, which is circular, and extended by two or three page 266 hoops, has been particularly described, as well as the manner of baiting and using it. Their hooks are of bone or shell, and in general are ill made. To receive the fish when it is caught, and to hold their other provisions, they have baskets of various kinds and dimensions very neatly made of wicker work.
They excel in tillage, as might naturally be expected where the person that sows is to eat the produce, and where there is so little besides that can be eaten: when we first came to Tegadoo, a district between Poverty Bay and East Cape, their crops were just covered, and had not yet begun to sprout; the mould was as smooth as in a garden, and every root had its small hillock, ranged in a regular quincunx by lines, which with the pegs were still remaining in the field. We had not an opportunity to see any of the husbandmen work, but we saw what serves them at once for spade and plough: this instrument is nothing more than a long narrow stake sharpened to an edge at one end, with a short piece fastened transversely at a little distance above it, for the convenience of pressing it down with the foot. With this they turn up pieces of ground six or seven acres in extent, though it is not more than three inches broad; but as the soil is light and sandy, it makes little resistance.
Tillage, weaving, and other arts of peace, seem to be best known and most practised in the northern part of this country; for there is little appearance of any of them in the south: but the arts of war flourish equally through the whole coast.
Of weapons they have no great variety, but such as they have are well fitted for destruction; they have spears, darts, battle-axes, and the Patoo-Patoo. The spear is fourteen or fifteen feet long, pointed at both ends, and sometimes headed with bone: these are grasped by the middle, so that the part behind balancing that before, makes a push more difficult to be parried, than that of a weapon which is held by the end. The dart and other weapons have been sufficiently described already; and it has also been remarked, that these people have neither sling nor bow. They throw the dart by hand, and so they do stones; but darts and stones are seldom used except in defending page 267 their forts. Their battles, whether in boats or on shore, are generally hand to hand, and the slaughter must consequently be great, as a second blow with any of their weapons is unnecessary, if the first takes place: their trust, however, seems to be principally placed in the Patoo-Patoo, which is fastened to their wrists by a strong strap, left it should be wrenched from them, and which the principal people generally wear sticking in their girdles, considering it is a military ornament, and part of their dress, like the poniard of the Asiatic, and the sword of the European. They have no desensive armour; but, besides their weapons, the Chiefs carried a staff of distinction, in the same manner as our officers do the spontoon: this was generally the rib of a whale, as white as snow, with many ornaments of carved work, dog's hair, and feathers; but sometimes it was a stick, about six feet long, adorned in the same manner, and inlaid with a shell like mother-of-pearl. Those who bore this mark of distinction were generally old, at least past the middle age, and were also more marked with the Amoco than the rest.
One or more persons, thus distinguished, always appeared in each canoe, when they came to attack us, according to the size of it. When they came within about a cable's length of the ship, they used to stop, and the Chiefs rising from their seat, put on a dress which seemed appropriated to the occasion, generally of dog's skin, and holding out their decorated staff, or a weapon, directed the rest of the people what they should do. When they were at too great a distance to reach us with a lance or a stone, they presumed that we had no weapon with which we could reach them; here then the defiance was given, and the words were almost universally the same, Haromai, haromai, harre uta a Patoo-Patoo oge: “Come to us, come on shore, “and we will kill you with our Patoo-Patoos.” While they were uttering these menaces they came gradually nearer and nearer, till they were close along-side; talking at intervals in a peaceable strain, and answering any questions that we asked them; and at intervals renewing their defiance and threats, till being encouraged by our apparent timidity, they began their warsong and dance, as a prelude to an attack, which always page 268 follows, and was sometimes continued till it became absolutely necessary to repress them by firing some small shot; and sometimes ended after throwing a few stones on board, as if content with having offered us an insult which we did not dare to revenge.
The war-dance consists of a great variety of violent motions, and hideous contortions of the limbs, during which the countenance also performs its part: the tongue is frequently thrust out to an incredible length, and the eye-lids so forcibly drawn up, that the white appears both above and below, as well as on each side of the lid, so as to form a circle round it; nor is any thing neglected that can render the human shape frightful and deformed: at the same time they brandish their spears, shake their darts, and cleave the air with their Patoo-Patoos. This horrid dance is always accompanied by a song; it is wild indeed, but not disagreeable, and every strain ends in a loud and deep figh, which they utter in concert. In the motions of the dance, however horrid, there is a strength, firmness, and agility, which we could not but behold with admiration; and in their song they keep time with such exactness, that I have often heard above an hundred paddles struck against the sides of their boats at once, so as to produce but a single found, at the division of their music.
A song not altogether unlike this, they sometimes sing without the dance, and as a peaceable amusement: they have also other songs which are sung by the women, whose voices are remarkably mellow and soft, and have a pleasing and tender effect; the time is flow, and the cadence mournful; but it is conducted with more taste than could be expected among the poor ignorant savages of this half desolate country; especially as it appeared to us, who were none of us much acquainted with music as a science, to be sung in parts; it was at least sung by many voices at the same time.
They have sonorous instruments, but they can scarcely be called instruments of music; one is the shell, called the Triton's trumpet, with which they make a noise not unlike that which our boys sometimes make with a cow's horn: the other is a small wooden pipe, page 269 resembling a child's nine-pin, only much smaller, and in this there is no more music than in a pea-whistle. They seem sensible, indeed, that these instruments are not musical, for we never heard an attempt to sing to them, or to produce with them any measured tones that bore the least resemblance to a tune.
To what has been already said, of the practice of eating human flesh, I shall only add, that in almost every cove where we landed we found fresh bones of men, near the place where fires had been made; and that among the heads that were brought on board by the old man, some seemed to have false eyes, and ornaments in their ears, as if alive. That which Mr. Banks bought was sold with great reluctance by the possessor: the head was manifestly that of a young person, about fourteen or fifteen years of age, and by the contusions on one side appeared to have received many violent blows, and indeed a part of the bone near the eye was wanting. These appearances confirmed us in the opinion, that the natives of this country give no quarter, nor take any prisoners to be killed and eaten at a future time, as is said to have been a practice among the Indians of Florida; for if prisoners had been taken, this poor young creature, who cannot be supposed capable of making much resistance, would probably have been one, and we knew that he was killed with the rest; for the fray had happened but a few days before.
The towns, or Hippahs, of these people, which are all fortified, have been sufficiently described already, and from the Bay of Plenty to Queen Charlotte's Sound, they seem to be the constant residence of the people; but above Poverty Bay, Hawke's Bay, Tegadoo, and Tolaga, we saw no Hippahs, but single houses scattered at a distance from each other; yet upon the sides of the hills there were stages of a great length, furnished with stones and darts, probably as retreats for the people at the last extremity, as upon these stages a fight may be carried on with much advantage against those below, who may be reached with great effect by darts and stones, which it is impossible for them to throw up with equal force. And indeed the forts themselves seem to be no farther serviceable, page 270 than by enabling the possessors to repress a sudden attack; for as there is no supply of water within the lines, it would be impossible to sustain a siege. A considerable stock of fern-root and dry fish is indeed laid up in them, but they may be reserved against seasons of scarcity, and that such seasons there are, our obseirvations lest us no room to doubt; besides, while an enemy should be prowling in the neighbourhood, it would be easy to snatch a supply of water from the side of the hill, though it would be impossible to dig up fern-root or catch fish.
In this district, however, the people seemed to live in a state of conscious security, and to avail themselves of their advantage: their plantations were more numerous, their canoes were more decorated, and they had not only finer carving, but finer clothes. This part of the coast also was much the most populous, and possibly their apparent peace and plenty might arise from their being united under one Chief, or King; for the inhabitants of all this part of the country told us, that they were the subjects of Teratu. When they pointed to the residence of this Prince, it was in a direction which we thought inland, but which, when we knew the country better, we found to be the Bay of Plenty.
It is much to be regretted, that we were obliged to leave this country without knowing any thing of Teratu by his name. As an Indian monarch, his territory is certainly extensive; he was acknowledged from Cape Kidnappers to the northward, and westward as far as the Bay of Plenty, a length of coast upwards of eighty leagues; and we do not yet know how much farther westward his dominions may extend: possibly the fortified towns which we saw in the Bay of Plenty may be his barrier, especially as at Mercury Bay he was not acknowledged, nor indeed any other single Chief; for wherever we landed, or spoke with the people upon that coast, they told us that we were at but a small distance from their enemies.
In the dominions of Teratu we saw several subordinate Chiefs, to whom great respect was paid, and by whom justice was probably administered; for upon our complaint to one of them, of a theft that had been page 271 committed on board the ship by a man that came with him, he gave him several blows and kicks, which the other received as the chastisement of authority, against which no resistance was to be made, and which he had no right to resent. Whether this authority was possessed by appointment or inheritance we could not learn; but we observed that the Chiefs, as well here as in other parts, were elderly men. In other parts, Tiowever, we learned that they possessed their authority by inheritance.
The little societies which we found in the southern parts seemed to have several things in common, partiticularly their fine clothes and fishing nets. Their fine clothes, which possibly might be the spoils of war, were kept in a small hut, which was erected for that purpose in the middle of the town: the nets we saw making in almost every house, and the several parts being afterwards collected were joined together. Less account seems to be made of the women here than in the South Sea islands; such at kast was the opinion of Tupia, who complained of it as an indignity to the sex. We observed that the two sexes eat together; but how they divide their labour we do not certainly know. I am inclined to believe that the men till the ground, make nets, catch birds, and go out in their boats to fish; and that the women dig up fern roots, colled lobsters and other shell fish near the beach, dress the victuals, and weave cloth: such at least were their employments when we had an opportunity of observing them, which was but seldom; for in general our appearance made a holiday wherever we went, men, women and children flocking round us, either to gratify their curiosity, or to purchase some of the valuable merchandize which we carried about with us, consisting principally of nails, paper, and broken glass.
Of the religion of these people it cannot be supposed that we could learn much; they acknowledge the influence of superior beings, one of whom is supreme, and the rest subordinate; and gave nearly the same account of the origin of the world, and the production of mankind, as our friends in Otaheite: Tupia, however, seemed to have a much more deep and extensive knowledge of these subjects than any of the people page 272 here; and whenever he was disposed to instruct them, which he sometimes did in a long discourse, he was sure of a numerous audience, who listened in profound silence, with such reverence and attention, that we could not but with them a better teacher.
What homage they pay to the deities they acknowlege we could not learn; but we saw no place of public worship, like the Morais of the South Sea Islands; yet we saw, near a plantation of sweet potatoes, a small area, of a square figure, surrounded with stones, in the middle of which one of the sharpened stakes which they use as a spade was set up, and upon it was hung a basket of sern roots: upon inquiry, the natives told us, that it was an offering to the gods, by which the owner hoped to render them propitious, and obtain a plentiful crop.
As to their manner of disposing of their dead, we could form no certain opinion of it, for the accounts that we received by no means agreed. In the northern parts, they told us that they buried them in the ground; and in the southern, that they threw them into the sea: it is however certain that we saw no grave in the country, and that they affected to conceal every thing relating to their dead with a kind of mysterious secrecy. But whatever may be the sepulchre, the living are themselves the monuments; for we saw scarcely a single person of either sex whose body was not marked by the scars of wounds which they had inflicted upon themselves as a testimony of their regret for the loss of a relation or friend: some of these wounds we saw in a state so recent, that the blood was scarcely staunched, which shews that death had been among them while we were upon the coast; and makes it more extraordinary that no funeral ceremony should have fallen under our notice: some of the scars were very large and deep, and in many instances had greatly disfigured the face. One monument indeed was observed of another kind, the cross that was set up near Queen Charlotte's Sound.
Having now given the best account in my power of the customs and opinions of the inhabitants of New Zealand, with their boats, nets, furniture, and dress, I shall only remark, that the similitude between these page 273 particulars here and in the South Sea islands is a very strong proof that the inhabitants have the same origin; and that the common ancestors of both, were natives of the same country. They have both a tradition that their ancestors, at a very remote period of time, came from another country; and, according to the tradition of both, that the name of that country was HEAWIJE; but the similitude of the language seems to put the matter altogether out of doubt. I have already observed, that Tupia, when he accosted the people here in the language of his own country, was perfectly understood; and I shall give a specimen of the fimilitude, by a lift of words in both languages, according to the dialed of the northern and southern islands of which New Zealand consists, by which it will appear that the language of Otaheite does not differ more from that of New Zealand, than the language of the two islands from each other.
|What do you call this or that,||Owy Terra,||Owy Terra.|
By this specimen, I think, it appears to demonstration that the language of New Zealand and Otaheite is radically the same. The language of the northern and southern parts of New Zealand differs chiefly in the pronunciation, as the same English word is pronounced gate in Middlesex, and geate in Yorkshire: and as the southern and northern words were not written down by the same person, one might possibly use more letters to produce the same found than the other.
I must also observe, that it is the genius of the language, especially in the southern parts, to put some article before a noun, as we do the or a; the articles used here are generally be or ko: it is also common here to add the word o'ia after another word, as an iteration, especially if it is an answer to a question; as we say yes indeed, to be sure, really, certainly: this sometimes led our gentlemen into the formation of words of an enormous length, judging by the ear only, without being page 275 able to refer each found into its signification. An example will make this perfectly understood.
In the Bay of Islands there is a remarkable one, called by the natives MATU ARO. One of our gentlemen having asked a native the name of it, he answered, with the particle, Kematuaro; the gentleman hearing the sound imperfectly, repeated his question, and the Indian repeating his answer, added öeia, which made the word Kematuaroöeia; and thus it happened that in the log book I found Matuaro transformed into Cumettiwarroweia: and the same transformation, by the same means, might happen to an English word. Suppose a native of New Zealand at Hackney church, to inquire, “What village is this?” The answer would be, “It “is Hackney.” Suppose the question to be repeated with an air of doubt and uncertainty, the answer might be, It is Hackney indeed;” and the New Zealander, if he had the use of letters, would probably record, for the information of his countrymen, that during his residence among us he had visited a village called “Ityshakneeindede.” The article used by the inhabitants of the South Sea islands, instead of be or ko, is to or ta, but the word oeia is common to both; and when we began to learn the language, it led us into many ridiculous mistakes.
But supposing these islands, and those in the South Seas, to have been peopled originally from the same country, it will perhaps for ever remain a doubt what country that is: we were, however, unanimously of opinion, that the people did not come from America, which lies to the eastward; and except there should appear to be a continent to the southward, in a moderate latitude, it will follow that they came from the westward.
Thus far our navigation has certainly been unfavourable to the notion of a southern continent, for it has swept away at least three-fourths of the positions upon which it has been founded. The principal navigators, whose authority has been urged on this occasion, are Tasman, Juan Fernandes, Hermite, the commander of a Dutch squadron, Quiros, and Roggewein; and the track of the Endeavour has demonstrated that the land seen by these persons, and supposed to be part of a continent, page 276 is not so; it has also totally subverted the theoretical arguments which have been brought to prove that the existence of a southern continent is necessary to preserve an equilibrium between the two hemispheres; for upon this principle what we have already proved to be water, would render the southern hemisphere too light. In our route to the northward, after doubling Cape Horn, when we were in the latitude of 40°, our longitude was 110°; and in our return to the southward, after leaving Ulietea, when we were again in latitude 40°, our longitude was 145°; the difference is 35°. When we were in latitude 30°, the difference of longitude between the two tracks was 21°, which continued till we were as low as 20°; but a single view of the chart will convey a better idea of this than the most minute description: yet as upon a view of the chart it will appear that there is a large space extending quite to the Tropics, which neither we, nor any other navigators to our knowledge have explored, and as there will appear to be room enough for the cape of a southern continent to extend northward into a low southern latitude, I shall give my reasons for believing there is no cape, of any southern continent, to the northward of 40° S.
Notwithstanding what has been laid down by some geographers in their maps, and alledged by Mr. Dalrymple, with respect to Quiros, it is improbable in the highest degree that he saw to the southward of two islands, which he discovered in latitude 25 or 26, and which I suppose may lie between the longitude of 130° and 140° W. any signs of a continent, much less any thing which, in his opinion, was a known or indubitable sign of such land; for if he had, he would certainly have sailed southward in search of it, and if he had sought supposing the signs to have been indubitable, he must have found: the discovery of a southern continent was the ultimate object of Quiro's voyage, and no man appears to have had it more at heart; so that if he was in latitude 26° S. and in longitude 146° W. where Mr. Dalrymple has placed the islands he discovered, it may fairly be inferred that no part of a southern continent extends to that latitude.page 277
It will, I think, appear with equal evidence from the account of Roggewein's voyage, that between the longitudes of 130° and 150° W. there is no main land to the northward of 35° S. Mr. Pingre, in a treatise concerning the transit of Venus, which he went out to observe, has inserted an extract of Roggewein's voyage, and a map of the South Seas; and for reasons which may be seen at large in his work, supposes him, after leaving Easter Island, which he places at lattitude 28½ S. longitude 123° W. to have steered S. W. as high as 34° [unclear: S] and afterwards W. N. W. and if this was indeed his route, the proof that there is no main land northward of 35° S. is irrefragable. Mr. Dalrymple indeed [unclear: supposes] his route to have been different, and that from Easter Isle he steered N. W. taking a course afterwards very little different from that of La Maire; but I think it highly probable that a man, who at his own re[gap — reason: unclear] was sent to discover a southern continent, should take a course in which La Maire had already proved no continent could be found: it must however be confessed, that Roggewein's track cannot certainly be ascertained, because in the accounts that have been published of his voyage, neither the longitudes nor latitudes are mentioned. As to myself, I saw nothing that I thought a sign of land, in my route either to the northward, southward, [unclear: or] westward, till a few days before I made the east coast of New Zealand: I did indeed see large flocks of birds, but they were generally such as are found at a very remote distance from any coast; and it is also true, that I frequently saw pieces of rockweed, but I could not infer the vicinity of land from these, because I have been informed, upon indubitable authority, that a considerable quantity of the beans called Ox-eyes, which are known to grown no where but in the West Indies, [unclear: are] every year thrown up on the coast of Ireland, which is not less than twelvehundred leagues distant.
Thus I have given my reasons for thinking that there is no continent to the northward of latitude 40° [gap — reason: unclear] Of what may lie farther to the southward than 40° I can give no opinion; but I am so far from wishing to [unclear: discourage] any further attempt. finally to determine a page 278 question, which has long been an object of attention to many nations, that now this voyage has reduced the only possible scite of a continent in the southern hemisphere, north of latitude 40°, to so small a space, I think it would be pity to leave that any longer unexamined, especially as the voyage may turn to good account, besides determining the principal question, if no continent should be found, by the discovery of new islands in the tropical regions, of which there is probably a great number, that no European vessel has ever yet visited. Tupia from time to time gave us an account of about one hundred and thirty, and in a chart drawn by his own hand, he actually laid down no less than seventyfour.
* See plate, Vol. page 164.