The Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World,|
by James Cook, orig. pub. 1777, p.107-128:
At eight o'clock next morning, we steered for Tongataboo [Tongatapu], having a gentle breeze at north-east. About fourteen or fifteen sailing vessels, belonging to the natives, set out with us; but every one of them outran the ships considerably. In the afternoon of the next day we came to an anchor off that island, in a safe station. Soon after I landed, accompanied by Omai [the translator] and some of the officers.
We found the king [Poulaho] waiting for us upon the beach. He immediately conducted us to a small neat house, situated a little within the skirts of the woods, with a fine large area before it. This house, he told me, was at my service during our stay at this island; and a better situation we could not wish for.
We had not been long in the house before a pretty large circle of the natives were assembled before us. A root of the kava plant being brought and laid down before the king, he ordered it to be split into pieces, and distributed to several people of both sexes, who began the operation of chewing it; and a bowl of their favourite liquor was soon prepared.
In the mean time a baked hog and two baskets of baked yams were produced, and afterwards divided into ten portions. These portions were then given to certain people present; but how many were to share in each I could not tell.
The liquor was next served out, but Poulaho seemed to give no directions about it. The first cup was brought to him, which he ordered to be given to one who sat near him. The second was also brought to him, and this he kept. The third was given to me; but their manner of brewing having quenched my thirst, it became Omai's property. The rest of the liquor was distributed to different people by direction of the man who had the management of it.
One of the cups being carried to the king's brother, he retired with this, and with his mess of victuals. Some others also quitted the circle with their portions; and the reason was, they could neither eat nor drink in the royal presence; but there were others present, of a much inferior rank, of both sexes, who did both. Soon after, most of them withdrew, carrying with them what they had not ate of their share of the feast.
I observed, that not a fourth part of the company had tasted either the victuals or the drink; those who partook of the former, I supposed to be of the king's household. The servants who distributed the baked meat and the kava always delivered it out of their hand sitting, not only to the king, but to every other person.
It is worthy of remark, though this was the first time of our landing, and a great many people were present who had never seen us before, yet no one was troublesome, but the greatest good order was preserved throughout the whole assembly.
Before I returned on board, I went in search of a watering-place, and was conducted to some ponds, or rather holes, containing fresh water, as they were pleased to call it. The contents of one of these, indeed, were tolerable; but it was at some distance inland, and the supply to be got from it was very inconsiderable.
Being informed that the little island of Pangimodoo, near which the ships lay, could better furnish this necessary article, I went over to it next morning, and was so fortunate as to find there a small pool that had rather fresher water than any we had met with amongst these islands. The pool being very dirty, I ordered it to be cleaned; and here it was that we watered the ships.
As I intended to make some stay at Tongataboo, we pitched a tent in the forenoon just by the house which Poulaho had assigned for our use. The horses, cattle and sheep, were afterwards landed, and a party of marines, with their officer, stationed there as a guard. The observatory was then set up at a small distance from the other tent; and Mr. King resided on shore, to attend the observations, and to superintend the several operations necessary to be conducted there. For the sails were carried thither, to be repaired; a party was employed in cutting wood for fuel, and plank for the use of the ships; and the gunners of both ships were ordered to remain upon the spot, to conduct the traffic with the natives, who thronged from every part of the island with hogs, yams, cocoa-nuts, and other articles of their produce. In a short time our land-post was like a fair, and the ships were so crowded with visitors that we had hardly room to stir upon the decks.
Feenou [the king's brother] had taken up his residence in our neighbourhood; but he was no longer the leading man. However, we still found him to be a person of consequence; and we had daily proofs of his opulence and liberality, by the continuance of his valuable presents. But the king was equally attentive in this respect; for scarcely a day passed without receiving from him some considerable donation. We now heard, that there were other great men of the island whom we had not as yet seen. Otago and Toobou, in particular, mentioned a person named Mareewagee, who, they said, was of the first consequence in the place, and held in great veneration; nay, if Omai did not misunderstand them, superior even to Poulaho, to whom he was related; but, being old, lived in retirement, and therefore would not visit us. Some of the natives even hinted that he was too great a man to confer that honour upon us. This account exciting my curiosity, I this day mentioned to Poulaho that I was very desirous of waiting upon Mareewagee, and he readily agreed to accompany me to the place of his residence the next morning...
On the 16th, in the morning, after visiting the several works now carrying on ashore, Mr. Gore [John Gore] and I took a walk into the country; in the course of which nothing remarkable appeared, but our having opportunities of seeing the whole process of making cloth [tapa cloth], which is the principal manufacture of these islands, as well as of many others in this ocean. In the narrative of my first voyage, a minute description is given of this operation as performed at Otaheite [Tahiti]; but the process here differing in some particulars, it may be worth while to give the following account of it.
The manufacturers, who are females, take the slender stalks or trunks of the papermulberry [paper mulberry], which they cultivate for that purpose, and which seldom grows more than six or seven feet in height, and about four fingers in thickness. From these they strip the bark, and serape off the outer rind with a muscle-shell [mussel shell].
The bark is then rolled up to take off the convexity which it had round the stalk, and macerated in water for some time (they say a night). After this it is laid across the trunk of a small tree squared, and beaten with a square wooden instrument about a foot long, full of coarse grooves on all sides; but sometimes with one that is plain.
According to the size of the bark, a piece is soon produced; but the operation is often repeated by another hand, or it is folded several times and beat longer, which seems rather intended to close than to divide its texture. When this is sufficiently effected, it is spread out to dry; the pieces being from four to six or more feet in length, and half as broad.
They are then given to another person who joins the pieces, by smearing part of them over with the viscous juice of a berry called to-oo, which serves as a glue. Having been thus lengthened, they are laid over a large piece of wood, with a kind of stamp made of a fibrous substance pretty closely interwoven, placed beneath. They then take a bit of cloth and dip it in a juice expressed from the bark of a tree called kokka, which they rub briskly upon the piece that is making. This at once leaves a dull brown colour, and a dry gloss upon its surface; the stamp, at the same time, making a slight impression, that answers no other purpose that I could see but to make the several pieces that are glued together stick a little more firmly.
In this manner they proceed, joining and staining by degrees, till they produce a piece of cloth of such length and breadth as they want; generally leaving a border of a foot broad at the sides, and longer at the ends, unstained. Throughout the whole, if any parts of the original pieces are too thin, or have holes, which is often the case, they glue spare bits upon them, till they become of an equal thickness.
When they want to produce a black colour, they mix the soot procured from an oily nut called dooedooe, with the juice of the kokka, in different quantities, according to the proposed depth of the tinge. They say that the black sort of cloth, which is commonly most glazed, makes a cold dress, but the other a warm one; and, to obtain strength in both, they are always careful to join the small pieces lengthwise, which makes it impossible to tear the cloth in any direction but one.
On our return from the country we met with Feenou, and took him and another young chief on board to dinner. When our fare was set upon the table, neither of them would eat a bit, saying that they were taboo avy. But, after inquiring how the victuals had been dressed, having found that no avy (water) had been used in cooking a pig and some yams, they both sat down and made a very hearty meal; and, on being assured that there was no water in the wine, they drank of it also.
From this we conjectured that, on some account or another, they were, at this time, forbidden to use water; or, which was more probable, they did not like the water we made use of, it being taken up out of one of their bathing-places. This was not the only time of our meeting with people that were taboo avy; but for what reason we never could tell with any degree of certainty...
The cattle, which we had brought, and which were all on shore, however carefully guarded, I was sensible, ran no small risk, when I considered the thievish disposition of many of the natives, and their dexterity in appropriating to themselves, by stealth, what they saw no prospect of obtaining by fair means. For this reason, I thought it prudent to declare my intention of leaving behind me some of our animals; and even to make a distribution of them previously to my departure.
With this view, in the evening of the 19th, I assembled all the chiefs before our house, and my intended presents to them were marked out. To Poulaho, the king, I gave a young English bull and cow; to Mareewagee, a Cape ram, and two ewes; and to Feenou, a horse and a mare. As my design, to make such a distribution, had been made known the day before, most of the people in the neighbourhood were then present, I instructed Omai to tell them, that there were no such animals within many months' sail of their island; that we had brought them, for their use, from that immense distance, at a vast trouble and expense; that, therefore, they must be careful not to kill any of them till they had multiplied to a numerous race; and, lastly, that they and their children ought to remember, that they had received them from the men of Britane.
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