Life in Feejee, or, Five Years among the Cannibals
The National Dance—The Wedding—Death of the Priacess—War with Nakelo—The Lunatic—Evil Spirits—The Alarm—Strangling of a Woman at Bau.
Hearing that a national dance was to be performed this evening by Retova and a part of the Geer tribe, who have lately arrived at Bau from Mathuata, and being desirous of witnessing it, I repaired to Bau about noon, in company with Mr. J. Reese, an assistant printer in the employ of the mission at Vewa. We first called at the house of the king, and found all the household engaged in preparing for the nuptials of the king's daughter with Navinde, which was to take place on the following day. The bride elect was receiving presents from the people of her tribe, consisting of mats, native cloth, sweet scented oils, baskets, beads, paint, scissors, knives, and many other things which Feejeeans value. Several hundreds of mats and bales of cloth, testified to the lady's rank, and the liberality of her people.
We then called at the house of Tunitonga to see the princess, my little namesake, who, I had been informed, was sick. We found her very ill; indeed, she was probably dying. Her nurse desired me to present some vermillion to paint the little body after death. Two whales' teeth were placed at the feet of the child. When a child of rank dies, it is the custom to strangle one or more of its nurses to accompany it to the spirit land, as all Feejeeans have a great horror of dying alone. The spirits of the whales' teeth go with their spirits, while the teeth themselves are buried with the bodies in the grave. When tbe souls arrive at the spirit land, the nurse throws page 237the teeth at a big dog, or some huge animal that may be standing in their way, because, if they had nothing to frighten him with, they could not pursue their journey.
From the house of the Tunitonga we went to that of Thakombau. We found him seated near his favorite, Samonunu. A Tonga chief was present, and several other visitors. We had an opportunity, during our stay, of observing the manner in which food is served in the houses of the chiefs. There appear to be cooks employed nearly all the time, as the Feejeeans have no set time for their meals. The chiefs do not eat together, and are always served separately. Two females placed before the party to be served, a wooden tray and some fresh green leaves. A small native pot was then brought, containing boiled fish, which were placed in the tray, and the water in which they were boiled was poured into a cocoa-nut shell, and handed to the chief, who drank it. Cooked tarro was placed on the leaves, and the damsels fanned the chief while he partook of his repast, at the close of which, the servants clapped their hands. The same ceremony was observed when he drank. Samonunu's meal was served in the same manner, and with the same ceremonies as that of the chief. All were served by different cooks, who invariably approached aad retired on their knees. The food that was left by the superiors, was devoured by the servants and "kaises." Some messengers arrived while we were there; these entered on their hands and knees, and pronounced the word of respect, "Ndua whoa." After delivering their message, all clapped their hands. The chief answered them, and then all hands were clapped again.
Vatai sent for us to come to the house of Navinde, and we took leave of the royal couple. Samonunu expressed her regret that I did not reside at Bau instead of Vewa, page 238and Thakombau asked if I wore gloves because I was afraid of getting cold in my hands.
On our arrival at the house of the Lasakau chief, we were offered some native puddings, of which I am very fond, and having observed the cleanliness of the natives in preparing their food, I did not hesitate to eat some. We then repaired to a little distance to see a native oven, where food was being prepared for the grand wedding which was to take place on Christmas day. The oven Was about ten feet deep, and forty in circumference. Stones were placed in the bottom, on which fire was put, then wood and stones. After the wood was consumed, the stones were sufficiently heated, and pigs were then wrapped in green leaves and laid in the oven, then hot stones, then pigs again, then another layer of stones, and after a sufficient number of pigs, the oven is filled with tarro, yams, or whatever vegetables they may wish to cook, then leaves, hot stones and earth are placed on the top, where they remain until the food is cooked.
Navinde appeared very active and happy, said that he could not go to his house to see me, being so busy in superintending the preparations for the feast; but he had sent some puddings, and asked if I ate any of them. I told him that I did, and thought them very nice.
As it was now time for the dancing to commence, we repaired to the "rara." The square was surrounded with spectators, among whom, room was made for us. Soon we observed one of the dancers come from the inn, and squat like a monkey in the centre of the "rara." He was followed by one or two others, and they continued to assemble in this manner till they numbered about thirty; when they arose, the chanting commenced, and the dancers performed their evolutions for about fifteen minutes; when they all raced back to the hotel as though an army page 239was pursuing them, and we saw them no more. All appeared disappointed. Mr. Reese said that he supposed a club dance was to be performed, which would be worth witnessing.
Retova appears rather afraid, as he does not exactly understand how he stands with the old king on account of the murder of Tui Mathuata. He has brought the Geer people with him instead of the Mathuata natives. The dancers had painted their faces in a variety of patterns, and wore white turbans on their heads, and white bands around their arms and just below the knees. The other part of their dress was worn as usual.
Mr. W. and myself started about nine o'clock, A. M., for Bau, being desirous of witnessing the ceremonies of a Feejeean wedding in high life. We went first to the house of the bride's father, where we saw the marriage portion and the bride. The latter looked quite modest and rather bashful. We remained here but a few moments, and then passed on to the new house that had been prepared for the bride. We found the happy bridegroom seated on the door sill, his face well besmeared with dirt, and his dress not remarkable for its cleanliness. He desired us to walk into the house, and be seated near his mother. We observed in front of the building a wall of roasted fish about ten fathoms in length and five feet in height. We did not see the vegetables, as they were in some other place with pigs and turtles. The floor of the house was spread with four or five layers of the best of Feejeean mats; these had been provided by the Lasakau tribe. In one corner of the house, a basket ten feet long, four wide and three deep, was suspended from the rafters, filled with green leaves, and on these were placed pigs and turtles.
The Lasakau matrons (no maidens are allowed to take page 240any part in the marriages) were seated in the centre of the house, leaving a broad space unoccupied near the door. On the right hand of the principal entrance, the mother of Navinde was seated with her "popalagi" guests. The Lasakau ladies all wore old "lekus," and their persons were oiled with cocoa-nut oil, scented with sandal-wood. Each one, the mother excelled, wore a garland of flowers thrown over one shoulder. The garlands were made of sweet-scented flowers. One was offered me, and I threw it over my neck, which seemed to please the company exceedingly. Navinde was ordering the arrangement of the food, and when all was completed, one old man said to the chief, "The food is now ready. We hope that the god will be pleased with your marriage, and that you will live long and happily with your young wife." The speech ended with clapping of hands. The bridegroom then took seven whales' teeth and sent them by four old men to Tanoa, with a complimentary message, and a request that the king would send his daughter to the bouse where his people were waiting to receive her. Navinde then departed, and was seen no more for the day in that vicinity.
After this, two old Lasakau men and one old Bau man came in and seated themselves near the central door on tbe left. In a few moments the grand procession appeared, consisting of the bride and the married ladies of her tribe. Her mother was not present. The procession came singly, and moved very slowly. About one hundred preceded the bride, and then, the lady herself appeared. She wore a band of "bula-leka" shells around her head, and bracelets of the same cm her arms; a necklace of small whales' teeth on her seek, and in her hands she carried two large whales' teeth. She was arrayed in a new, handsome "leku," with a bale of marked na-page 241tive cloth attached to it, and a train of some forty yards in length; the latter trailed on the ground, and the former waa borne by two women. Oil was dripping from her person. As she entered the house, she laid the two large teeth at the feet of the old men, then turned and seated herself by the mother of Navinde. The rest of them now followed, and all were seated in the unoccupied part of the house. The Bau ladies were dressed in new, handsome "lekus," and wore flowers in their hair. After all were seated, the old Bau messenger presented whales' teeth to the Lasakau messengers, accompanied with a long speech, enumerating the names and titles of the king, his greatness and goodness, and lore for Navinde, which he had now shown by the gift of his daughter, who was of high rank, being his daughter by the queen, who was a woman of the highest rank in Somosomo. At the conclusion of the speech, the Bau ladies clapped their hands, The Lasakaus then took the teeth, and promised for their chief that the young Marama should ever be treated kindly—that they hoped wars would cease, in order that he might not be separated from her—that the winds might be favorable—that she might have a plenty of fish, to eat, and that yams and all their food might ever be plentiful in their lands, and ended by complimenting the king upon his greatness and goodness, and pronouncing him a god whom his enemies could never kill. At the conclusion of this eloquent speech the Lasakau ladies clapped their hands, and the men departed. I inquired if the men were priests, and was answered that they were not, and that the priests had nothing to do with marriages.
After the departure of the men, the bridegroom's mother and two other aged matrons proceeded to divest the bride of her ornaments. The oil was wiped from her per-page 242son, her handsome "leku" was exchanged for an old one, and taken, with all the other ornaments, by the mother-in-law of the bride. The Lasakau ladies had been chanting continually, from the time of their assembling tilt the present, only stopping while the old men made their speeches. The Bau tribe now commenced, and chanted for the space of an hour or more, when they concluded their music. The Lasakau ladies now proceeded to exchange their "lekus" with the Bau ladies, and began to chat and frolic as though the minister had departed. The garlands were also presented to the Bau party.
After some little time, quiet was again restored, and the singing recommenced. We inquired if the ceremonies were ended, and were informed that the parties would remain and sing a little longer, and then retire.
The Bau party were to take with them all the mats from the house, and bring the bride's portion in return. Tanoa had given his daughter ten servants, and Navinde had provided five to commence house-keeping with.
Samonunu now came to chat with us, and from her we learned that the bridegroom would not visit at the house of the bride till the next day, or perhaps for a week, or a month. The feast is prepared for the Bau tribe alone, and is divided into portions according to the rank of the family, and sent to them. When the marriage is fully consummated, the Bau people are again feasted, and some of the elderly ladies of the tribe proceed to the house of the young married lady, and cut off the woolly tresses from her head; these had hitherto remained uncut from childhood.
We now prepared to depart, when the mother of the chief desired us to go to a house belonging to him, where another of his wives resided (he had four), and partake of some refreshments, observing that she had some of my page 243favorite puddings in store for me. We complied with her request, and then departed.
On our arrival at the boat, we found a baked pig in it, as a present from the bridegroom, weighing about one hundred pounds.
Tbe Charles Wirgman, Capt. Waldron, arrived from America, by whom we received some newspapers and letters from home. We learn from Capt. W. that the Charles Wirgman visited the island of Manicola on the passage from Feejee to Manilla. The natives visited the brig in great numbers. Capt. Osborue used every precaution to prevent surprise, but the natives made an attempt to take the vessel. They did not succeed, however, being repulsed with considerable loss of life, and the destruction of many of their canoes. Their shyness when we called to see them, was probably owing to this circumstance.
Thakombau has sent to tbe bark seven whales' teeth, a root of yanggona, and a piece of native cloth. The teeth, yanggona and cloth are to be presented to the Natawa people, with orders from the royal city to that people to fish for Mr. W. Two young men of high rank were also sent to accompany Mr, W. to Natawa to collect "beech de mer."
My namesake, the little daughter of Thakombau and Samonunu, died on the Sabbath. My informant inquired if it was good or bad for her to die on that day. No one of her nurses was strangled with her—another glimmer of civilization! Had a princess of her rank died two years ago, as many as two of her nurses would have been murdered to accompany her to the land of souls.
|Jan. 1, 1847.||Mr. W. having sailed for Natawa, I once more take up my residence in my straw house.|
|5.||A boat called the Blackbird was robbed a few days page 244since by the natives of Sau Kasa. The boat was stripped of its sails, and every thing belonging to it.|
The Mathuata chief and his people have left Vewa to-day, for their homes.
Retova has heard that his enemies have burned his town since his absence, and that several places, such as Tavea, Naloa and some others, have joined his enemies; therefore he was afraid to return, as he would be obliged to pass Tavea and Naloa, and Elijah has gone with them for protection.
Mrs. Hunt came to my room, followed by six strange natives armed with clubs. She held in her hand a broad leaf that was tied like a native pudding. "Would you like a pudding?" she asked. Having something of a headache, I told her I did not dare to eat it. "I will open the leaf," she said, "you may be tempted." The leaf was untied, and found to contain letters from my husband. The six men who were now my visitors had brought them from Motureke. Having conferred so great an obligation upon me, they appeared to feel that they had earned the privilege of remaining a long time in ray house. As two hours would expire before I should be summoned to dinner, I began to contrive to get rid of them. Three of tbe number asked me if it would be good for them to go and bathe. I told them it was good for them all to bathe. They said they would leave their clubs with their companions, and return again very soon. The other three seemed determined to remain. After the departure of their companions, they said that they were sick for the want of sleep, and asked me if they should lie down upon the floor and sleep. I told them that I was about to visit Mrs. Lyth, and they must wait till my return. They said, "Yes, it is very good; we will go to Mr, Hunt's, and wait, and leave our page 245clubs at your house." "No," I said. "It is good for you to take all your clubs outside of the door." This being done, I went, and remained so long that my visitors were obliged to look for another place of rest.
Mr. Hunt having procured some of the materials from the two whaling vessels that were destroyed at Ovalau, the white residents of Solavu, who have received many kind acts from the mission, offered to raise and board a house for him at Vewa. They have now completed their work, having raised and boarded a large building, which, when finished, will be the roost comfortable dwelling in Feejee. It is situated on a lofty hill, fronting the sea, and commands a fine prospect of the surrounding bays and islands.
|17.||A meeting was held at Bau yesterday, for the purpose of formally declaring war with Rewa. Messengers were sent to the towns in this vicinity, and the drums have not ceased to beat during the past night.|
|21.||A party of warriors have gone to attack Nakelo, whose chief appears to have recommenced hostilities between the two kingdoms or states, on account of the daughter of Tanoa, who has been given to Navinde.|
|Feb. 2.||The warriors have returned to Bau, having destroyed Nakelo by fire. We do not learn that any lives were lost, the inhabitants of the town having fled. Elijah has returned from Mathuata, accompanied by two hundred of the Naikoratumba people, who have come to a "solavu vaka masi."|
|5.||Accompanied by Dr. and Mrs. Lyth, we ascended the elevation back of the mission premises, to the "rara," to witness the presentation of the masi brought by the Naikorotumba people to the chief of Vewa. We found the Vewa people seated on one side of the "rara." A company of about one hundred and fifty of the visitors page 246entered the "rara" in single file, each carrying a club or musket; one carried a large palm-leaf fan. These had "masi" wound around their persons, and laid in large folds falling from their shoulders. They passed through the "rara," and entered a narrow defile at the opposite end. Then followed fifty men, so enveloped in folds of "masi" that nothing could be seen but their faces; they stood on one side of the "rara," near the Vewa people. The natives who had passed into the defile, now came dancing forth to the centre of the "rara." One appeared to be the master of eeremonies, giving directions in a loud voice for the different evolutions which they performed. Some of their movements were graceful, some ridiculous, but none which the most chaste might not witness. Every part of the body appeared to be exercised more than the feet. The figure of the dance was difficult and pretty. Could the Polka dancers of civilized lands witness this, they might learn modesty, at least. After the dance was concluded, the "masi" Was left on the "rara," and the visitors all retired to the|
|6.||To-day a feast was spread on the "rara" for the Vewa visitors. It consisted of bread-fruit, bananas, mandrai, yanggona, and twelve baked pigs. All these were placed in large piles; eight or ten bushels in a pile. The men of Vewa with their chiefs were on one side of the "rara," and their visitors on the other. Several speeches were made, and answered by the spokesman (as they are here called) of each tribe. After all the formalities and ceremonies were over, the food was taken away by the visitors.|
|8.||Last night several of the Naikoratumba people diverted themselves by tormenting one of their company who was partially deranged. They tied his hands behind page 247him, knocked him about, made him walk over hot coals, and allowed him no rest at night. Id the morning he eluded the vigilance of his tormentors, and leaped from a precipice ninety-three feet in height. He was found on the beach below, still alive. Some of his tribe proposed that the sufferer should be clubbed at once; but others said, "If we club him we shall offend the chiefs of Vewa, who are 'lotu;' we had better hasten while it is yet early, and bury him, and we will say that he killed himself by the fall." While they were tying him up in a mat, two men were employed in digging a hole to serve for a grave, that the man might be buried before any of the Christians should become acquainted with the affair, and prevent them from showing their love to their suffering brother. They were prevented, however, by a Christian, named Noah, who was passing near the spot and inquired what they were doing. They told him they were about to bury a dead man. He disbelieved their statement, and ran to tell Dr. Lyth that he believed the man was alive. The Dr. hastened to the spot, and commanded the men to untie the mat. As they did. so, the sufferer raised his hand, and waved it as if for air. He waa immediately taken to the "buri," where Dr.. Lvth afforded such medical aid as the cnse required, apd Noah was appointed his nurse. In a short time his senses were restored, and two days after, he was able to sit up, and appeared only to have injured his head on one side.|
|16.||At breakfast this morning Mr. Hunt gave some account of the conversion of the principal priest of Nandy. He renounced heathenism in consequence of becoming angry with the gods of the lands because they did not cure him when he was sick. It is not uncommon for Feejeeans to get angry with their gods. Sometimes when they continue sick a long time, or meet with any page 248other troubles, they will take their clubs and dare then to come and fight, using the most provoking language to their godships that is to be found in their vocabulary. In this case the priest had been ill a long time, and had presented many offerings to his gods for the restoration of his health, but all to no purpose; the gods seemed to have other business to transact. A Tonga Christian was residing at the place, and advised him to try English medicine. He consented, took medicines prepared by Mr. Hunt, and recovered. On his recovery he said, "I will serve the gods of Feejee no longer. I am very angry with them. I will now serve the "popalagis God." Accordingly he sought instruction in the Christian religion, and appears to have become a good man. He states that for some time after he had renounced heathenism, his shaking, or convulsion fits would come on involuntarily, and just as they did when he believed that he held communication with the gods. This alarmed him much, and he inquired of the teacher what he should do when thus attacked. The teacher told him that he must pray heartily to God, and the wicked spirit would depart. He says that he prays now a great deal, and is not troubled.|
Intelligence has just been received of the murder of two white men belonging to Solavu. They stopped at a town on Vetelavu, about two miles from Vewa, to buy some fowls. Some trifling dispute arose about the price, when tho natives murdered them. Namosi and some of his people will visit the place on their return from Ovalau.
Thakombau has become angry with one of his brothers, and banished him from Bau for the present, ordering him to go to a town on Vetelavu. This he has not done, but has come to Vewa instead. Elijah came to page 249ask the advice of Mr, Hunt about allowing him to remain here. He thinks, as he was justly banished, that it would be wrong to harbor him in V. Mr. H. was of the same opinion, and the prince has received orders to proceed.
Last night a female servant belonging to Rev. Mr. Jaggar's family was severely attacked with tetanus, accompanied with delirium. This disease is not uncommon in these lands, and usually proves fatal. Natives are often wounded in the feet, which being unprotected, they often take cold in the wound, and tetanus follows, then death. The disease is often accompanied with a partial delirium. When a young, good-looking woman is taken with it, it is said that some god wants her for a wife, and nothing is done for her relief, as they would not excite the anger of the god by trying to detain her. If an ordinary, poor girl is afflicted, the god wishes to obtain her for a servant, and she, too, is left to die. In this case, the servants awoke Mr. J. in the night, and told him that a god had taken possession of Atta. Mr. J. supposing that the girl had been troubled by a dream, answered that they must tell her to go to sleep. In the morning Dr. Lyth and Mr. Hunt were informed of her case. They found her speechless, and her whole body dreadfully convulsed. She was immediately steamed, according to the directions given in a medical work, by Dr. Beech, of America. This process soon relaxed her nerves; her jaws became unfastened, and the violence of the spasms abated This is the second case of tetanus that has been relieved by steaming during the past week. The first was that of a woman belonging to Namosimalua. When Dr. Lyth entered the house, he found several Christians surrounding the patient, and praying to God that the evil spirit might depart from the woman, page 250who was shaking and foaming as the priests do, when they pretend that they are inspired. The doctor and Mr. Hunt soon had a tub of hot water ready, and commenced steaming, and the patient, who had been speechless for an hour, soon cried out, "Oh! I am cooked,—I am cooked" She is now recovering.
The native Christians believe that people are possessed by evil spirits (and in this belief they are fully borne out by the Bible, both the Old and New Testament testifying to the same). They believe that some of the priests are really possessed by the devil, at times, while others are thought to be hypocrites. They think that the gods whom they formerly served were evil spirits, and that they are wandering about now, seeking whom they-may destroy; but not possessing sufficient knowledge to distinguish a disease of the body, and supposing that a person who is deranged in intellect is possessed by some evil spirit, and reading in the Scriptures that "This kind goeth not out but by fasting and prayer," they commence praying, without making use of any remedies.
During our walk in the afternoon, we met Capt. Bowles, who commands a schooner from Tahiti. He was feeling very indignant against Thakombau. He had just been to inquire when his oil, that he had engaged and paid for, would be ready. The chief told him that it would not be ready for a long time, if ever, and that tha Consul had offered him a higher price for the oil, and perhaps he should let him have it. Capt. B. replied that be had received remuneration for the cargo, and that he bad no right to dispose of what did not belong to him. Thakombau then said, "Why did you come here? I did not send for you; however, white men make good eating, —they are like a ripe banana" He then ordered page 251Capt. B. and Mr. J., who was with him, to leave his house.
A party of Bauans have returned from a battle with Rewa, having loat twenty of their number. When they approached Rewa, every thing was so silent that the invaders, supposing the town vacated, approached quite near, when they were suddenly fired upon, and twenty were killed.
Received letters from Mr. W. The following is an extract:—
"I sent a boy some days since to Fawn's Harbor in company with a native, with orders for a house to be built, as my schooner was to go there and fish. The place belongs to Somosomo, and its chief went on to see that every thing was in readiness for the business to commence on the arrival of the schooner. On the arrival of the chief, yanggona was prepared, as is their custom on receiving so illustrious a visitor. After the yanggona had been prepared and drank, the chief said that an oven must be prepared and a pig killed. The boy, understanding the language imperfectly, thought that the oven was being prepared to cook himself in, and feeling no disposition to be cooked just at that time, took to the bush. After travelling two days he reached the bark, having eaten nothing since his flight. He stated that the chief had given orders for him to be baked, and he had no doubt but that the schooner would be taken, and all hands murdered.
In a few days after the arrival of the boy, I received a letter from the captain of the schooner, saying that in consequence of the disappearance of the boy Nat, no one knew whether the natives were afraid that the hostage, who is a son of the chief, would be punished or killed, page 252and nothing could be done in the way of business till the fate of Nat was ascertained.
I sent on a messenger immediately, stating that the boy was safe; on the reception of which, the natives commenced fishing"
|21.||Sabbath. Ratu Luke, a chief who was banished from Bau a short time since, on.account of his dislike to heathenism, was married in the chapel at the close of the forenoon services. He had been advised to marry the widow of the late Lasakau chief; but he said that she was of too high a rank for him, and that he should be happier with one of meaner birth. The bride and bridegroom were arrayed in native cloth, which was wound around their bodies to the size of a hogshead. Their costume was any thing but becoming.|
As Mrs. Hunt and myself were returning from our evening walk, we perceived the old nurse of Vatai seated upon a slight elevation, with her head bending towards her knees. Aa we approached, we observed that her hair had been nicely oiled, combed, and parted in front, and she had placed herself in that position that we might not fail to see her. She asked us if we would be angry if she wore her hair in that fashion,—if it was becoming for an old woman like her to wear it so,—if the grandmothers in our country wore their hair in that way, or if young people only dressed their hair so. After we had answered all her questions, she asked us if we would give her a comb to keep her hair nice. After this was settled, she kissed our feet, (she had knelt during the conversation,) and we passed on.
Vatai has been married to Namosi, who has dismissed his other wives. During his alarm, when he was expecting daily to be murdered by the chiefs of Bau, he took to praying with all his might, dismissed his concu-page 253bines, was married, and baptized by the name of Melchisedek, Vatai has been baptized by the name of Lydia.
One or more of the nurses of the women of rank often live with them through all their changes in life, and are buried with them. They are treated kindly, and appear to feel more affection for their charge than the mother.
Our schooner arrived from Somosomo and vicinity. Cnpt. Smith states that a Natawan was killed and brought to Somosomo while he was there. The body Was brought in a canoe, and on its arrival strings were attached to its wrists, and it was dragged from the shore, through the dirt, to the house of the chief. The joy of the chief, on seeing the body, was most extravagant, although it presented a most disgusting spectacle, having been killed three days, and being much swollen. The chief gave orders to have the "lovo" heated at once.
This morning a messenger came from Navinde, desiring Dr. Lyth to come to Bau immediately, and attend to the Marama-Iavu, who is dangerously sick. So great was the anxiety of the chief on her account, that he immediately followed the messenger, and earnestly desired the doctor to cure her, stating that he had presented large offerings to bis god, but he supposed that he was angry because she was given to him when she had been promised to the chief of Nakelo. On their passage to Bau, Dr. L. took the opportunity of preaching on the folly of serving false gods. The lady was found to be feverish, but was not considered dangerous by the doctor.
|26.||Rev. Mr. Hunt returned from Nukulau, where he went to receive letters which had come by the "Auckland" By him I received a large packet of letters, which had been in the charge of J. Chamberlain for some two years past. I feel very much indebted to Mr. Hunt for his kind perseverance in obtaining our let-page 254ters, which had been so unkindly detained from us for so long a period.|
|27.||We learn that a woman was strangled in Bau yesterday. Her husband had been killed at Rewa. The king sent word that she must live, and take care of her infant child. She declared, however, that she would die and rejoin her husband, for great was her love to him.|
|March 4.||The Lasakau people have returned from a battle with one of the Nakelo towns. They burned the town and killed nineteen of its inhabitants. One of the bodies of the slain was brought to Vewa last night. Whether it was sent as an insult to the Christians, or for a feast to the heathen, is not known. There are about ten families at Vewa that still adhere to heathenism, the men assisting in the wars, &c. The Christians will not allow them to cook and eat the body, and it is to be sent to another place. The schooner Sir John Franklin has been so unfortunate as to strike on one of the numerous reefs in this vicinity, and it is feared that she will be 6. The schooner Sir John Franklin has escaped injury, and sailed for her destination.|
|10.||The American bark, Pilot, Capt. Hartwell, arrived from Salem, Mass. She belongs to S. Chamberlain &. Co., and we expected to receive letters from our friends at home. They supposed, however, that we should leave Feejee before the arrival of the Pilot, and did not write. I find that most people had rather receive letters than write them.|
|11.||The bark Zotoff arrived, having gathered all the "beech de mer" from the reefs of Natawa. The bark sailed to the head of Natawa Bay. The captain states that the bay extends to the distance of 45 miles. It is page 255fifteen miles in width, and no anchorage is to be found, except at the head of the bay.|
|14.||While the Zotoff lays at Vewa, preaching is held on board on the Sabbath. The missionaries preach alternately. To-day none of our crew attended the services, several being angry on account of being denied visiting Bau and spending the last night.|
Thakombau visited the missionaries, and said that he had received information from Tahiti, that France was intending to send missionaries to Feejee, and that priests were to be landed on the islands whether the natives were willing to receive them or not. He said that he was not willing to receive them, because by and by they would take possession of the lands of Feejee, as they had done at Tahiti,—that he was quite satisfied with the English "lotu," which he intended to embrace by and by, and that he wished to have nothing to do with France or her religion,—if missionaries came they might starve to death, as he was determined to allow them no food.
He called at my room, said that I was a "Marama venaka," took my large arm chair, and placing it before the looking-glass, sat and viewed himself as long as he chose, and then departed.
|16.||Considerable excitement seems to prevail at Bau regarding the French. The king has sent to Vewa and commanded English flags to be displayed, in case a French vessel should appear, at Vewa, Bau, and on as many of the other islands as flags can be procured, to be shown.|
|17.||Vewa was honored with a visit from the old kins. The Kamba people are engaged in thatching the roof of the new mission house, and the king came, as he said, to tell them to do their work faithfully. The king and page 256his son appear to improve every opportunity, of late, to show kindness to the mission.|
|21.||Notwithstanding it is said that a "buri" is ready to be consecrated with the body of Mr. W., or some of his people, in consequence of the affair with the Salem vessel in 1836, before mentioned, we are now about to visit that place, and shall no doubt become acquainted with the brother of the murdered chief. Some of the white residents appear to think that every possible effort will be made at Ba to take the bark and bake the captain.|