Images de page

finished; some were plastered and thatched; and others, though only in frame, and presenting the appearance of mere skeletons of buildings, indicated a state of progressive improvement. The public burying-ground, situated on the border of the settlement, was kept remarkably neat. The outline of the grave was defended by a curb, or border, of fragments of coral planted in the ground, while the grave itself was covered with small pieces of white coral and shells, brought from the adjacent shore. The school was a good building; and the chapel, erected near the ruins of the ancient marae, which I visited during my stay, was one of the most compact I had seen in the Georgian or Society Islands. The walls were framed and boarded; the roof thatched with fara, or palm-leaves. The floor was boarded, the pulpit and appendages remarkably neat, and the whole area of the chapel filled with seats. It was also fitted up with a gallery, the first ever erected in the South Sea Islands; the gallery, and other parts of the interior, having been finished under the direction and by the assistance of Mr. Darling, were neater, and more European in appearance, than any I had hitherto beheld.

The advancement in civilization had not, however, been so striking or rapid at this station as at some others; but the effects of its progress were such as to afford encouragement, and to warrant the anticipation of its ultimately extending throughout the entire population of a district that had felt the ravages of war, and the demoralization of paganism, as much as any in the group.

About ten in the morning of the 21st we took leave of our friends at Burder's Point, and, after rowing about four hours between the reefs and the

shore, reached Papeete, or Wilks' harbour, where the queen and her sister were residing. On landing, the deputation from the Huahinean chiefs repaired to the abode of Teriitaria, and Matapuupuu delivered their message. She replied, "that she was anxious to remove to Huahine, and would return with them, if Pomare would allow her to leave Tahiti; but said she would see them again, and, before they returned, deliver her final reply."

On the brow of a hill, forming the commencement of a range extending from the vicinity of the shore to the lofty interior mountains, Mr. Crook formerly, at this station, had erected his abode. Having waited on the queen, and other members of the royal family residing with her, I walked up this hill, which Mr. Crook had designated Mount Hope, and was happy to find himself and his family well. The situation he had selected for his abode, though inconvenient on account of its distance from the settlement, and the fatigue induced by the ascent, has nevertheless peculiar advantages; the air is remarkably pure, the temperature generally cooler than on the adjacent lowlands, and the prospect delightful and extensive.

With his agreeable family I passed the remainder of this day, and the following, which was the Sabbath. The congregation at the public religious services consisted of about five hundred hearers, who were in general attentive; the singing was good, and the voices of the men better than I have heard elsewhere. The female voices are generally clear and distinct, and they sing well in most of the stations, but the voices of the men are seldom mellow or sonorous.

About ten o'clock on the following day I took

leave of the friends at Mount Hope, and, accompanied by the chiefs from Huahine, proceeded to Matavai, where Pomare resided. It was near noon when we arrived, and, soon after landing, the messengers waited upon the king, told him they had been sent by the chiefs of Huahine, to request Teriitaria to return, and reside there—and expressed their conviction that he would approve of the same. He replied-Ua tia ia ia oti ra May e tai ai. "It is agreed-but let May be over, and then go;" alluding to the annual meetings held in the month of May.

I took up my abode with Mr. Nott, and spent the whole of the week in revising, with him and one or two of the chiefs from Huahine, the laws which had been prepared for that island. In this revision we endeavoured to correct what was defective in those already published in Tahiti and Raiatea. This employment occupied a number of hours every day. It was a matter of importance: I was anxious that their laws should be framed with the utmost care, and felt desirous that we should avail ourselves of Mr. Nott's familiar acquaintance with the character of the people, and his observation on the effect of the laws on the inhabitants of Tahiti and Eimeo. I wished also to consult with Mr. Davies, but he was too far off. Mr. Nott stated, that the greatest defects he had observed, arose from the power vested in the hands of the magistrate to punish according to his own discretion those who were convicted. In consequence of this, the same crime was followed by different punishments, in different parts, or by different magistrates. In order to remedy this, the punishment to be inflicted was annexed to the prohibition of the offence. The laws, it was

hoped, would by these means be less uncertain in their influence.

Another subject of importance was the revenue of the government, and the means of support for the king and chiefs. On this subject, Pomare had refused to make any regulations, preferring to demand supplies from the people as his necessities might require, rather than receive any regular proportion of the produce of the soil. Private property, therefore, was still insecure, and the industrious cultivator of the land was not sure of reaping the fruits of his labour. This was remarkably manifest at the present time, when the king of Tahiti, in his anxiety to pay for the vessel that had been purchased in his name, after making repeated applications to the chiefs for large numbers of pigs, prohibited every individual from selling to a captain or other person any commodity he might have for barter, but required them to bring all to him, in return for which he sometimes gave them articles of the most trifling value. To remedy this defect, several laws were added to those prepared for the people of Huahine, and a certain tax, somewhat resembling a poll-tax, proposed, by which it was fixed what proportion of the produce of the island each individual should furnish for the use of the king, and also of the Ichief of the district in which he resided. The remainder was to be inviolably his own, for use or disposal. The treatment of offenders, between their apprehension and trial, was also regulated. These were the principal additions made to the Huahinean code.

The trial by jury had been incorporated in the laws of Raiatea. The alterations were approved of by the chiefs who had come from Huahine, and

were by them shewn to Teriitaria, who signified her entire satisfaction in their being adopted as the laws of Huahine. At the same time she informed the chiefs, that, after the approaching meetings, she intended to remove to Huahine, but Idid not wish them on that account to defer the public enactment of the laws, whenever it should appear desirable.

The most important object of our visit being now accomplished, we returned to Papeete, intending to proceed to Eimeo. About noon on the 28th, we embarked in our boat, hoisted our sails, and were on the point of leaving the shore, when a messenger arrived with intelligence that a vessel was approaching Matavai, so that instead of putting out to sea, our course was instantly directed thither. A brig of considerable size was advancing towards the harbour. We hailed her approach with joyful hopes that she would bring us

"News of human kind,

Of friends and kindred, whom, perhaps, she held
As visitors, that she might be the link
Connecting the fond fancy of far friendship."

Meeting the vessel at the entrance of the bay, we found it was the Hope, of London, having Mr. and Mrs. Hayward from England, and Mr. and Mrs. Wilson from New South Wales, on board. As the vessel was under full sail, we could only greet their arrival by signal, and follow them to the harbour. They had, however, scarcely anchored, when we found ourselves alongside, and, ascending the deck, were happy to exchange our mutual congratulations. A number of cattle, some belonging to the passengers, others sent as presents by Mr. Birnie to the chiefs, having suffered much during

« PrécédentContinuer »