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Title: The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead - Vol. II
Author: Frazer, James George, Sir, 1854-1941
Language: English
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                        THE BELIEF IN IMMORTALITY
                                 VOL. II

                       MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
                   LONDON · BOMBAY · CALCUTTA · MADRAS

                          THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
                       NEW YORK · BOSTON · CHICAGO
                         DALLAS · SAN FRANCISCO

                    THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.

                          BELIEF IN IMMORTALITY
                       AND THE WORSHIP OF THE DEAD

                 SIR JAMES GEORGE FRAZER, F.R.S., F.B.A.



                          PARIS AND STRASBOURG

                                VOL. II

                       MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
                       ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON


                        PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN


The first volume of this work, which comprised the Gifford Lectures
given by me at St. Andrews in the years 1911 and 1912, dealt with the
belief in immortality and the worship of the dead, as these are found
among the aborigines of Australia, the Torres Straits Islands, New
Guinea, and Melanesia. In the present volume I take up the subject at
the point at which I broke off, and describe the corresponding belief
and worship among the Polynesians, a people related to their neighbours
the Melanesians by language, if not by blood. The first chapter formed
the theme of two lectures delivered at the Royal Institution in 1916;
the other chapters have been written for lectures at Trinity College,
Cambridge, in 1921 and 1922. But in the book the lecture form has been
discarded, and the treatment of the subject is somewhat fuller than
comports with the limits imposed by oral delivery.

Should circumstances allow me to continue the work, I propose in the
next volume to treat of the belief in immortality and the worship of the
dead among the Micronesians and Indonesians.


LONDON, _19th July 1922_.



       PREFACE                                                       v

       TABLE OF CONTENTS                                        vii-ix


       § 1. The Polynesians                                        1-5
       § 2. The Maoris of New Zealand                             5-10
       § 3. The Beliefs of the Maoris concerning the Souls of
                    the Living                                   10-19
       § 4. The Beliefs of the Maoris concerning the Souls of
                    the Dead                                     19-37
       § 5. Taboo among the Maoris                               37-50
       § 6. Conclusion                                              51


       § 1. The Tonga or Friendly Islands                        52-57
       § 2. The Tonga Islanders, their Character, Mode of
                    Life, and Government                         57-63
       § 3. The Tongan Religion: its General Principles          64-68
       § 4. The Primary or Non-human Gods                        68-73
       § 5. The Temples of the Gods                              73-77
       § 6. Priests and their Inspiration                        77-79
       § 7. The Worship of the Gods, Prayers, and Sacrifices     79-84
       § 8. The Doctrine of the Soul and its Destiny
                    after Death                                  84-91
       § 9. The Souls of the Dead as Gods                        91-98
       § 10. Temples and Tombs: Megalithic Monuments            99-132
       § 11. Rites of Burial and Mourning                      132-146
       § 12. The Ethical Influence of Tongan Religion          146-147


       § 1. The Samoan Islands                                 148-156
       § 2. The Samoan Islanders, their character              156-163
       § 3. Houses, Agriculture, and Industries                163-169
       § 4. Rights of Property                                 169-171
       § 5. Government, Social Ranks, Respect for Chiefs       171-181
       § 6. Religion: Gods of Families, Villages,
                    and Districts                              181-192
       § 7. Priests and Temples                                192-200
       § 8. Origin of the Samoan Gods of Families, Villages,
                    and Districts: Relation to Totemism        200-202
       § 9. The High Gods of Samoa                             202-205
       § 10. The Samoan Belief concerning the Human
                    Soul: Funeral Customs                      205-213
       § 11. The Fate of the Human Soul after Death            213-218


       § 1. The Hervey or Cook Islands                         219-220
       § 2. The Islanders and their Mode of Life               220-223
       § 3. Social Life: the Sacred Kings                      223-225
       § 4. Religion, the Gods, Traces of Totemism             225-229
       § 5. The Doctrine of the Human Soul                     229-231
       § 6. Death and Funeral Rites                            231-237
       § 7. The Fate of the Human Soul after Death             238-245


       § 1. The Society Islands                                246-248
       § 2. The Islanders and their Mode of Life               248-256
       § 3. The Religion of the Society Islanders              256-278
       § 4. The Temples and Images of the Gods                 278-291
       § 5. The Sacrifices, Priests, and Sacred Recorders      291-296
       § 6. The Doctrine of the Human Soul                     297-299
       § 7. Disease, Death, and Mourning                       299-308
       § 8. The Disposal of the Dead                           308-313
       § 9. The Fate of the Soul after Death                   313-321
       § 10. The Worship of the Dead                           322-327


       § 1. The Marquesas Islands                              328-331
       § 2. Physical Appearance of the Natives                 331-333
       § 3. Food, Weapons, Tools, Houses, Canoes, Fishing      333-337
       § 4. Polyandry, Adoption, Exchange of Names             337-339
       § 5. Amusements, Dancing-places, Banqueting-halls       339-344
       § 6. Social Ranks, Taboo                                344-347
       § 7. Religion and Mythology                             348-352
       § 8. The Soul, Death, and Funeral Customs               352-363
       § 9. Fate of the Soul after Death                       363-374


       § 1. The Sandwich or Hawaiian Islands                   375-377
       § 2. The Natives and their Mode of Life                 377-380
       § 3. Houses, Mechanical Arts                            380-383
       § 4. Government, Social Ranks, Taboo                    383-390
       § 5. Religion, the Gods                                 390-404
       § 6. Priests, Sorcerers, Diviners                       404-406
       § 7. Temples, Images, Human Sacrifices                  406-414
       § 8. Festivals                                          414-416
       § 9. Death and Funeral Rites                            417-427
       § 10. Fate of the Soul after Death                      427-431

       INDEX                                                   433-447



§ 1. _The Polynesians_

The Polynesians are the tall brown race of men who inhabit the widely
scattered islands of the Pacific, from Hawaii on the north to New
Zealand on the south, and from Tonga on the west to Easter Island on the
east.[1] Down to the eighteenth century they remained practically
unknown to Europe; the first navigator to bring back comparatively full
and accurate information concerning them was our great English explorer,
Captain James Cook. Thus at the date of their discovery the natives were
quite unaffected by European influence: of our civilisation they knew
nothing: of Christianity, though it had existed in the world for nearly
eighteen hundred years, they had never heard: they were totally ignorant
of the metals, and had made so little progress in the arts of life that
in most of the islands pottery was unknown,[2] and even so simple an
invention as that of bows and arrows for use in war had not been thought
of.[3] Hence their condition was of great interest to students of the
early history of man, since it presented to their observation the
spectacle of a barbaric culture evolved from an immemorial past in
complete independence of those material, intellectual, and moral forces
which have moulded the character of modern European nations. The
lateness of their discovery may also be reckoned a fortunate
circumstance for us as well as for them, since it fell at a time when
scientific curiosity was fully awakened among us, and when scientific
methods were sufficiently understood to allow us to study with profit a
state of society which differed so widely from our own, and which in an
earlier and less enlightened age might have been contemplated only with
aversion and disgust.

    [1] Horatio Hale, _The United States Exploring Expedition,
    Ethnography and Philology_ (Philadelphia, 1846), pp. 4 _sqq_.,
    9 _sqq._; J. Deniker, _The Races of Man_ (London, 1900), pp. 500

    [2] J. Deniker, _The Races of Man_ (London, 1900), pp. 154, 501;
    _British Museum, Handbook to the Ethnographical Collections_
    (1910), p. 147.

    [3] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_ (London, 1809), v. 416; W.
    Mariner, _Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands_, Second
    Edition (London, 1818), i. 67; W. Ellis, _Polynesian
    Researches_, Second Edition (London, 1832-1836), i. 220; E.
    Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New Zealanders_,
    Second Edition (London, 1856), p. 212; J. Deniker, _The Races of
    Man_, p. 501. In Polynesia "the bow was not a serious weapon; it
    was found in some islands, _e.g._ in Tahiti and Tonga, but was
    principally used for killing rats or in shooting matches"
    (_British Museum, Handbook to the Ethnographical Collections_,
    p. 153). As to the limited use of bows and arrows in Polynesia,
    see further E. Tregear, "The Polynesian Bow," _Journal of the
    Polynesian Society_, vol. i. no. 1 (April 1892), pp. 56-59; W.
    H. R. Rivers, _The History of Melanesian Society_ (Cambridge,
    1914), ii. 446 _sqq._

The question of the origin of the Polynesian race is still unsettled,
but the balance both of evidence and of probability seems to incline in
favour of the view that the people are descended from one of the yellow
Mongoloid races of South-Eastern Asia, who gradually spread eastward
over the Indian Archipelago and intermingling to some extent with the
black aboriginal inhabitants of the islands formed the lighter-tinted
brown race which we call the Polynesian.[4] A strong argument in favour
of this theory is drawn from the Polynesian language, which belongs
essentially to the same family of speech as the Melanesian and Malay
languages spoken by the peoples who occupy the islands that intervene
between Polynesia and the south-eastern extremity of the Asiatic
continent.[5] The black Melanesian race occupies the south-eastern
portion of New Guinea and the chain of islands which stretches in a
great curve round the north-eastern coasts of New Guinea and Australia.
The brown Malays, with the kindred Indonesians and a small admixture of
negritoes, inhabit the islands westward from New Guinea to the Malay
Peninsula.[6] Of the two kindred languages, the Polynesian and the
Melanesian, the older in point of structure appears unquestionably to be
the Melanesian; for it is richer both in sounds and in grammatical forms
than the Polynesian, which may accordingly be regarded as its later and
simplified descendant.[7]

    [4] Compare (Sir) E. B. Tylor, _Anthropology_ (London, 1881), p.
    102; R. H. Codrington, _The Melanesian Languages_ (Oxford,
    1885), pp. 33 _sqq._; S. Percy Smith, _Hawaiki, the Original
    Home of the Maori_ (Christchurch, etc., New Zealand, 1910), pp.
    85 _sqq._; A. C. Haddon, _The Wanderings of Peoples_ (Cambridge,
    1919), pp. 34 _sqq._; A. H. Keane, _Man Past and Present_,
    revised by A. Hingston-Quiggin and A. C. Haddon (Cambridge,
    1920), p. 552.

    [5] On the affinity of the Polynesian, Melanesian, and Malay
    languages, see R. H. Codrington, _The Melanesian Languages_
    (Oxford, 1885), pp. 10 _sqq._; S. H. Ray, "The Polynesian
    Language in Melanesia," _Anthropos_, xiv.-xv. (1919-1920), pp.
    46 _sqq._

    [6] J. Deniker, _The Races of Man_, pp. 482 _sqq._

    [7] _Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to
    Torres Straits_, vol. iii. _Linguistics_, by Sydney H. Ray
    (Cambridge, 1907), p. 528 (as to the relation of the Polynesian
    to the Melanesian language). As to the poverty of the Polynesian
    language in sounds and grammatical forms by comparison with the
    Melanesian, see R. H. Codrington, _The Melanesian Languages_, p.

But whereas the three peoples, the Polynesians, the Melanesians, and the
Malays speak languages belonging to the same family, their physical
types are so different that it seems impossible to look on the brown
straight-haired Polynesians and Malays as pure descendants of the
swarthy frizzly-haired Melanesians. Accordingly in the present state of
our knowledge, or rather ignorance, the most reasonable hypothesis would
appear to be that the Melanesians, who occupy a central position in the
great ocean, between the Polynesians on the east and the Malays on the
west, represent the original inhabitants of the islands, while the
Polynesians and Malays represent successive swarms of emigrants, who
hived off from the Asiatic continent, and making their way eastward over
the islands partially displaced and partially blent with the aborigines,
modifying their own physical type in the process and exchanging their
original language for that of the islanders, which, through their
inability to assimilate it, they acquired only in corrupt or degenerate
forms.[8] Yet a serious difficulty meets us on this hypothesis. For
both the Polynesians and the Malays, as we know them, stand at a
decidedly higher level of culture, socially and intellectually, than the
Melanesians, and it is hard to understand why with this advantage they
should have fallen into a position of linguistic subordination to them,
for as a rule it is the higher race which imposes its language on its
inferiors, not the lower race which succeeds in foisting its speech on
its superiors.

    [8] This seems to be the hypothesis favoured by Dr. R. H.
    Codrington, _The Melanesian Languages_, pp. 33 _sqq._ Compare J.
    Deniker, _The Races of Man_, p. 505. On the other hand Sir E. B.
    Tylor says (_Anthropology_, pp. 163 _sq._), "The parent language
    of this family may have belonged to Asia, for in the Malay
    region the grammar is more complex, and words are found like
    _tasik_ = sea and _langit_ = sky, while in the distant islands
    of New Zealand and Hawaii these have come down to _tai_ and
    _lai_, as though the language became shrunk and formless as the
    race migrated further from home, and sank into the barbaric life
    of ocean islanders." Dr. W. H. R. Rivers suggests that the
    Polynesian language "arose out of a pidgin Indonesian" (_The
    History of Melanesian Society_, ii. 584).

But these are intricate questions which await future investigation. I
cannot enter into them now, but must confine myself to my immediate
subject, the beliefs of the Polynesians concerning the human soul and
the life after death.

In spite of their diffusion over a multitude of islands separated from
each other by hundreds and even thousands of miles of ocean, the
Polynesians are on the whole a remarkably homogeneous race in physical
type, language, and forms of society and religion. The differences of
language between them are inconsiderable, amounting to little more than
some well-marked dialectical variations: all dwell in settled homes and
subsist partly by fishing partly by the fruits of the earth, tilling the
soil and gathering coconuts and bread-fruit from the trees:[9] all are
bold and expert mariners, making long voyages in large well-built
canoes: all possess a copious and comparatively well developed
mythology; and all at the time of their discovery enjoyed, or perhaps we
should rather say suffered from, a singular institution, half social,
half religious, which may be summed up in the single Polynesian word
taboo. Hence it would no doubt be possible to give a general account of
the belief in human immortality which would hold good in outline for all
the different branches of the Polynesian race; but such an account would
necessarily be somewhat meagre, inexact in detail, and liable to many
exceptions. Accordingly I shall not attempt it, but shall describe the
creed of each group of islanders separately. As the beliefs of the
various islanders on this momentous topic are characterised by a general
similarity, the method I have adopted will no doubt involve a certain
sameness and repetition, but for the serious student of comparative
religion I hope that these disadvantages may be more than outweighed by
the greater accuracy and fulness of detail which this mode of treating
the subject renders possible.

    [9] J. Deniker, _The Races of Man_, p. 501. On the apparent
    homogeneity of the Polynesian race see W. H. R. Rivers, _The
    History of Melanesian Society_ (Cambridge, 1914), ii. 280, who,
    however, argues (ii. 280 _sqq._) that the race has been formed
    by the fusion of two distinct peoples.

The principal groups of islands included in Polynesia are New Zealand,
the Friendly or Tonga Islands, the Samoan or Navigators Islands, the
Hervey or Cook Islands, the Society Islands, including Tahiti, the
Marquesas Islands, and Hawaii or the Sandwich Islands.[10] All of them,
except New Zealand, are within the tropics; and all of them, except
Hawaii, lie to the south of the equator. I shall deal with them in the
order I have mentioned, beginning with New Zealand.

    [10] Horatio Hale, _United States Exploring Expedition,
    Ethnography and Philology_ (Philadelphia, 1846), pp. 4 _sqq._

§ 2. _The Maoris of New Zealand_

The Maoris of New Zealand are not aborigines of the islands which they
inhabit: they possess long and apparently in the main trustworthy
traditions of their migration to New Zealand many generations ago. The
circumstances which led to the migration, the names of the canoes in
which it was accomplished, the names and genealogies of the chiefs who
conducted it, are all recorded, having been handed on by word of mouth
from generation to generation, till they were finally written down from
the lips of the natives by English enquirers.[11] The place from which
the Maoris came is unanimously designated as Hawaiki, an island or
group of islands lying far to the north or north-east of New Zealand.
Among English scholars there is some difference of opinion whether
Hawaiki is to be identified with Hawaii, that is, the Sandwich Islands,
or with Savaii, one of the Samoan or Navigators Islands, since Hawaii
and Savaii are both dialectical variations of the New Zealander's
pronunciation of Hawaiki.[12] Though Hawaii is more than twice as far as
Savaii from New Zealand, being separated from it by almost the whole
breadth of the tropics and a great stretch of ocean besides, some good
authorities have inclined to regard it as the original home of the
Maoris, but the balance of opinion appears now to preponderate in favour
of the view that Savaii was the centre from which the Polynesians
dispersed all over the Pacific.[13] However, the question is one that
hardly admits of a positive answer.

    [11] E. Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_ (London, 1843),
    ii. 85 _sqq._; Horatio Hale, _United States Exploring
    Expedition, Ethnography and Philology_ (Philadelphia, 1846), pp.
    146 _sqq._; Sir George Grey, _Polynesian Mythology_ (London,
    1855), pp. 123 _sqq._, 136 _sqq._, 162 _sqq._, 202 _sqq._; E.
    Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New Zealanders_,
    Second Edition (London, 1856), pp. 1 _sqq._; R. Taylor, _Te Ika
    A Maui, or New Zealand and its Inhabitants_, Second Edition
    (London, 1870), pp. 26, 27, 289 _sqq._; John White, _The Ancient
    History of the Maori, his Mythology and Traditions_ (London,
    1887-1889), ii. 176 _sqq._; Elsdon Best, "The Peopling of New
    Zealand," _Man_, xiv. (1914) pp. 73-76. The number of
    generations which have elapsed since the migration to New
    Zealand is variously estimated. Writing about the middle of the
    nineteenth century Shortland reckoned the number at about
    eighteen; Mr. Elsdon Best, writing in 1914, variously calculated
    it at about twenty-eight or twenty-nine (on p. 73) and from
    eighteen to twenty-eight (on p. 74).

    [12] E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, p. 33.

    [13] H. Hale, _Ethnography and Philology of the U.S. Exploring
    Expedition_, pp. 119 _sq._; E. Dieffenbach, _Travels in New
    Zealand_ (London, 1843), ii. 85 _sqq._; E. Shortland,
    _Traditions and Superstitions of the New Zealanders_, pp. 33
    _sqq._; A. S. Thomson, _The Story of New Zealand_ (London,
    1859), i. 57 _sqq._; R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 26; E.
    Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_ (Wellington,
    N.Z., 1891), pp. 56 _sqq._, _s.v._ "Hawaiki"; A. C. Haddon, _The
    Wanderings of Peoples_ (Cambridge, 1919), p. 36. Of these
    writers, Dieffenbach, Shortland, and Taylor decide in favour of
    Hawaii; Thomson, Hale, and Haddon prefer Savaii; Tregear seems
    to leave the question open, pointing out that "the inhabitants
    of those islands themselves believe in another Hawaiki, neither
    in Samoa nor Hawaii."

The Maoris are not a pure-blooded Polynesian race. Among them even at
the present day two distinct racial types may be distinguished, one of
them the comparatively fair Polynesian type with straight nose and good
features, the other the swarthy, thick-lipped, flat-nosed,
frizzly-haired Melanesian type. They have a tradition that on their
arrival in New Zealand they found the country in the possession of a
dark-skinned folk of repulsive appearance, tall, spare, and
spindle-shanked, with flat faces, overhanging brows, and noses of which
little but the upturned nostrils could in some cases be discerned. These
savages wore little clothing and built no good houses, nothing but rude
shelters against the inclemency of the weather. They were ignorant and
treacherous, and the Maoris regarded them with dislike and contempt; but
their women looked with favour on the handsome Maori men, and a mixture
of the two races was the result. This tradition both explains and is
confirmed by the two different racial types which still exist side by
side or blent together among the Maoris. It seems, therefore, highly
probable that before the advent of the Maoris the North Island of New
Zealand was occupied by a people of inferior culture belonging to the
Melanesian stock, who may themselves have had a strain of Polynesian
blood in their veins and some Polynesian words in their language. This
at least is suggested by some features in the Maori traditions about
them. For these savages told the Maoris that they were the descendants
of the crews of three fishing canoes which had been driven to sea from
their own land in past times, and that their original home was a much
warmer country than New Zealand. All these various indications may
perhaps be reconciled by supposing that the dark predecessors of the
Maoris in New Zealand were a Melanesian people, who had accidentally
drifted from Fiji, the inhabitants of which have long been in contact
with their Polynesian neighbours on the east, the Tongans.[14] They
received from the Maoris the name of Maruiwi,[15] and were perhaps of
the same stock as the Moriori of the Chatham Islands; for two skulls of
the Moriori type have been found in an old deposit at Wanganui, near the
south end of the North Island of New Zealand.[16]

    [14] Elsdon Best, "The Peopling of New Zealand," _Man_, xiv.
    (1914) pp. 73-76. The Melanesian strain in the Maoris was
    recognised by previous writers. See J. S. Polack, _Manners and
    Customs of the New Zealanders_ (London, 1840), i. 6, "The nation
    consists of two aboriginal and distinct races, differing, at an
    earlier period, as much from each other as both are similarly
    removed in similitude from Europeans. A series of intermarriages
    for centuries has not even yet obliterated the marked difference
    that originally stamped the descendant of the now amalgamated
    races. The first may be known by a dark-brown complexion, well
    formed and prominent features, erect muscular proportions, and
    lank hair, with a boldness in the gait of a warrior, wholly
    differing from that of the second and inferior race, who have a
    complexion brown-black, hair inclining to the wool, like the
    Eastern African, stature short, and skin exceeding soft." The
    writer rightly connects the latter people with the stock which
    we now call Melanesian. Compare also R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_,
    pp. 13 _sqq._, who says (p. 13), "The Melanesian preceded the
    Polynesian.... The remains of this race are to be seen in every
    part of New Zealand, especially among the Nga-ti-ka-hunu, to
    which the derisive name of Pokerekahu--Black Kumara--is applied.
    The Maori traditions preserve both the names of the canoes which
    brought them to New Zealand, as well as of the chiefs who
    commanded them; several of these records make mention of their
    having found this black race in occupation of the country on
    their arrival." The blending of two distinct races, a
    light-brown and a dark race, among the Maoris is clearly
    recognised by E. Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_, ii.
    8-11. The dark race, he says (pp. 9 _sq._), "has undoubtedly a
    different origin. This is proved by their less regularly shaped
    cranium, which is rather more compressed from the sides, by
    their full and large features, prominent cheek-bones, full lips,
    small ears, curly and coarse, although not woolly, hair, a much
    deeper colour of the skin, and a short and rather
    ill-proportioned figure. This race, which is mixed in insensible
    gradations with the former, is far less numerous; it does not
    predominate in any one part of the island, nor does it occupy
    any particular station in a tribe, and there is no difference
    made between the two races amongst themselves; but I must
    observe that I never met any man of consequence belonging to
    this race, and that, although free men, they occupy the lower
    grades; from this we may perhaps infer the relation in which
    they stood to the earliest native immigrants into the country,
    although their traditions and legends are silent on the

    [15] Elsdon Best, "The Peopling of New Zealand," _Man_, xiv.
    (1914) pp. 73 _sq._

    [16] (Sir) Arthur Keith, "Moriori in New Zealand," _Man_, xiii.
    (1913) pp. 171 _sq._

At the time of their discovery the Maoris had attained to a fair level
of barbaric culture. They lived in comfortable houses ornamented with
carved work and with scrolls painted in red and white on the posts and
beams. Their villages were fortified with earthworks, palisades, and
trenches, and surrounded by large gardens planted with sweet potatoes,
taro, and melons.[17] "They excel in tillage," says Captain Cook, 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 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.[18] They understood the arts of irrigating their
gardens[19] and of manuring them so as to render the soil light and
porous and therefore better suited for the growth of the sweet potato,
their favourite food. For this purpose they used sand, and in the
Waikatoo district, where the root was formerly much cultivated, deep
excavations, like the gravel pits of England, may still be seen, from
which the natives extracted sand to fertilise their gardens.[20]
Moreover, they cultivated various species of native flax and used the
fibre for the manufacture of garments, first scraping it and drying it
in the sun, then steeping it in water, and afterwards beating it with
wooden mallets. Thus prepared the flax was dyed black or reddish brown
and woven into cloth with broad borders of neat and varied patterns. The
stronger and coarser fibres were made into string, lines, and cordage of
all sorts.[21] The Maoris also built large and magnificently adorned
canoes,[22] in which they made long voyages; for example, they invaded
and conquered the Chatham Islands, which lie to the eastward across the
open sea about five hundred miles distant from the nearest coast of New
Zealand.[23] In hunting they had little opportunity to shine, for the
simple reason that in their country there were no beasts to hunt except
rats;[24] even birds they could not shoot, because they had no bows and
arrows to shoot them with,[25] but they made some amends by catching
them in ingeniously constructed snares.[26] They caught fish both with
nets, some of which were of enormous size, and with hooks made of bone
or shell.[27] They displayed great skill and infinite patience in
fashioning, sharpening, and polishing their stone implements and
weapons.[28] In council they were orators, and in the battlefield
warriors whose courage has merited the respect, and whose military skill
has won the admiration of the British troops opposed to them.[29] In
short, the Maoris were and are one of the most highly gifted among the
many uncivilised peoples which the English race, in its expansion over
the world, has met and subdued. It is therefore of peculiar interest to
learn what conceptions they had formed of man's spiritual nature and his
relations to the higher powers.

    [17] E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the Maoris_,
    p. 202. The elaborate system of fortification employed by the
    Maoris, of which the remains may be seen by thousands, seems to
    have no exact parallel in Polynesia. See Elsdon Best, "The
    Peopling of New Zealand," _Man_, xiv. (1914) p. 75. These native
    forts or _pas_, as they were called, had often a double or even
    quadruple line of fence, the innermost formed by great poles
    twenty or thirty feet high, which were tightly woven together by
    the fibrous roots of a creeper. They were built by preference on
    hills, the sides of which were scarped and terraced to assist
    the defence. Some of them were very extensive and are said to
    have contained from one to two thousand inhabitants. Many of
    them were immensely strong and practically impregnable in the
    absence of artillery. It is believed that the habit of
    fortifying their villages was characteristic of the older race
    whom the Maoris, on landing in New Zealand, found in occupation
    of the country. See W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_
    (London, 1835), pp. 122 _sqq._; G. F. Angas, _Savage Life and
    Scenes in Australia and New Zealand_ (London, 1847), i. 332
    _sq._; Elsdon Best, "Notes on the Art of War as conducted by the
    Maoris of New Zealand," _Journal of the Polynesian Society_,
    vol. xii. no. 4 (December 1903), pp. 204 _sqq._; W. H. Skinner,
    "The Ancient Fortified _Pa_," _Journal of the Polynesian
    Society_, vol. xx. no. 78 (June 1911), pp. 71-77.

    [18] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_ (London, 1809), ii. 50.

    [19] The ruins of native irrigation works are to be found in New
    Zealand as well as in other parts of Polynesia (J. Deniker, _The
    Races of Man_, p. 501).

    [20] E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, pp. 202 _sq._

    [21] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, ii. 30 _sq._, 40 _sq._; W.
    Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_ (London, 1835), pp. 157
    _sqq._; E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, pp. 204 _sqq._; R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 5.

    [22] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, ii. 47 _sq._; W. Yate, _op.
    cit._ pp. 161 _sqq._

    [23] A. Shand, "The Occupation of the Chatham Islands by the
    Maoris in 1835," _Journal of the Polynesian Society_, vol. i.
    no. 2 (July 1892), pp. 83 _sqq._

    [24] R. Taylor, _op. cit._ p. 496; A. R. Wallace, _Australasia_
    (London, 1913), pp. 442 _sq._

    [25] E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, p. 212; Elsdon Best, "Notes on the Art of War as
    conducted by the Maori of New Zealand," _Journal of the
    Polynesian Society_, vol. xi. no. 4 (December 1902), p. 240.

    [26] E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, pp. 212 _sqq._; R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 442

    [27] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, i. 49 _sq._; W. Yate, _An
    Account of New Zealand_, p. 160.

    [28] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, ii. 49; R. Taylor, _Te Ika A
    Maui_, p. 4.

    [29] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 4. The Maoris delivered set
    speeches composed according to certain recognised laws of
    rhetoric, and their oratory was distinguished by a native
    eloquence and grace. See E. Shortland, _Traditions and
    Superstitions of the New Zealanders_, pp. 186 _sqq._

§ 3. _The Beliefs of the Maoris concerning the Souls of the Living_

Like most other peoples, whether savage or civilised, the Maoris
explained the mystery of life in man by the presence of an invisible
spirit or soul, which animates his body during life and quits it at
death to survive the separation for a longer or shorter time either in
this world or another. But like many others who have sought to fathom
this profound subject, the Maoris would seem to have experienced some
difficulty in ascertaining the precise nature of the human soul. When
the natural man, on the strength of his native faculties, essays to
explore these dark abysses and to put his vague thoughts into words, he
commonly compares his soul either to his breath or to his shadow and
his reflection, and not content with a simple comparison he is led, by a
natural confusion of thought, to identify more or less closely the
imperceptible entity which he calls his soul with one or both of these
perceptible objects. To this general rule the Maori is apparently no
exception. He has two words which he specially uses to designate the
human spirit or soul: one is _wairua_, the other is _hau_.[30] Of these
words, _wairua_, the more usual name, is said to mean also a shadow, an
unsubstantial image, a reflection, as of a person's face from a polished
surface;[31] and we may surmise that these were the original and proper
meanings of the term. Similarly _hau_, which is described as "the vital
essence or life principle" in man,[32] appears primarily to mean
"wind,"[33] from which we may infer that in its application to man it
denotes properly the breath. The idea of the soul as a breath appears in
the explanation which was given to Dumont d'Urville of the Maori form of
salutation by rubbing noses together. The French traveller was told that
the real intention of this salute was to mingle the breath and thereby
the souls of the persons who gave each other this token of friendship.
But as his informant was not a Maori but a certain Mr. Kendall, the
truth of the explanation remains doubtful, though the Frenchman believed
that he obtained confirmation of it from his own observation and the
testimony of a native.[34] On the other hand the comparison of the soul
to a shadow comes out in the answer given by a Maori to an Englishman
who had asked him why his people did not prevent their souls from
passing away to the nether world. The Maori replied by pointing to the
Englishman's shadow on the wall and asking him whether he could catch

    [30] Elsdon Best, "Spiritual Concepts of the Maori," _Journal of
    the Polynesian Society_, vol. ix. no. 4 (December 1900), pp. 177
    _sqq._, 189 _sqq._

    [31] E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, pp.
    591 _sq._, _s.v._ "wairua."

    [32] Elsdon Best, _op. cit._ p. 189.

    [33] E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, p.
    52, _s.v._ "hau"; Elsdon Best, _op. cit._ p. 190.

    [34] J. Dumont d'Urville, _Voyage autour du Monde et à la
    recherche de la Pérouse, Histoire du Voyage_ (Paris, 1832-1833),
    ii. 558 _sq._

    [35] William Brown, _New Zealand and its Aborigines_ (London,
    1845), p. 81.

Thus far the Maori conception of the soul does not perhaps differ very
materially from the popular notion of it current among ourselves. But
we come now to a marked difference between the Maori idea of the soul
and our own. For whereas the European commonly believes his soul to be
fixed during life immovably in his body, and only to depart from it once
for all at death, the soul of the Maori is under no such narrow
restrictions, but is free to quit its bodily mansion at pleasure and to
return to it without prejudice to the life and health of its owner. For
example, the Maori explains a dream by supposing that the soul of the
sleeper has left his body behind and rambled away to places more or less
distant, where it converses with the spirits of other people, whether
alive or dead. Hence no well-bred Maori would waken a sleeper suddenly
by shaking him or calling out to him in a loud voice. If he must rouse
him, he will do it gradually, speaking to him at first in low tones and
then raising his voice by degrees, in order to give the truant soul fair
warning and allow it to return at leisure.[36] Believing in the power of
the soul to wander far away and converse with other spiritual beings in
sleep, the Maoris naturally paid great attention to dreams, which they
fancied were often sent them by the gods to warn them of coming events.
All dreams were supposed to have their special significance, and the
Maoris had framed a fanciful system for interpreting them. Sometimes, as
with ourselves, the interpretation went by contraries. For example, if a
man dreamed that he saw a sick relative at the point of death, it was a
sign that the patient would soon recover; but if, on the contrary, the
sufferer appeared in perfect health, it was an omen of his approaching
end. When a priest was in doubt as to the intentions of the higher
powers, he usually waited for his god to reveal his will in a dream, and
accepted the vagaries of his slumbering fancy as an infallible
intimation of the divine pleasure. Spells were commonly recited in order
to annul the effect of ill-omened dreams.[37]

    [36] Elsdon Best, "Spiritual Concepts of the Maori," _Journal of
    the Polynesian Society_, vol. ix. no. 4 (December 1900), pp. 177

    [37] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 333-335. As to omens
    derived from dreams see Elsdon Best, "Omens and Superstitious
    Beliefs of the Maori," _Journal of the Polynesian Society_, vol.
    vii. no. 27 (September 1898), pp. 124 _sqq._

But the departure of the soul from the body in life was not always
voluntary; it might take place under the compulsion of a hostile
sorcerer or magician. In a Maori legend called _The curse of Manaia_ we
read that "the priests next dug a long pit, termed the pit of wrath,
into which by their enchantments they might bring the spirits of their
enemies, and hang them and destroy them there; and when they had dug the
pit, muttering the necessary incantations, they took large shells in
their hands to scrape the spirits of their enemies into the pit with,
whilst they muttered enchantments; and when they had done this, they
scraped the earth into the pit again to cover them up, and beat down the
earth with their hands, and crossed the pit with enchanted cloths, and
wove baskets of flax-leaves to hold the spirits of the foes which they
had thus destroyed, and each of these acts they accompanied with the
proper spells."[38]

    [38] Sir George Grey, _Polynesian Mythology_ (London, 1855), pp.
    168 _sq._

This mode of undoing an enemy by extracting and killing his soul was not
with the Maoris a mere legendary fiction; it was practised in real life
by their wizards. For we are told that when a priest desired to slay a
person by witchcraft, he would often dig a hole in the ground, and
standing over it with a cord in his hand would let one end of the cord
hang down into the hole. He then recited an incantation which compelled
the soul of the doomed man to swarm down the cord into the pit,
whereupon another potent spell chanted by the magician speedily put an
end to the poor soul for good and all.[39]

    [39] Elsdon Best, "Spiritual Concepts of the Maori," _Journal of
    the Polynesian Society_, vol. ix. no. 4 (December 1900), p. 187.

It seems obvious that spells of this sort may be used with great
advantage in war, for if you can only contrive to kill the souls of your
foes, their mere bodies will probably give you little or no trouble. Nor
did this practical application of the magic art escape the sagacity of
the Maoris. When they marched to attack an enemy's stronghold, it was an
ancient custom to halt and kindle a fire, over which the priest recited
certain spells to cause the souls of his adversaries to be drawn into
the fire and there to perish miserably in the flames. In theory the idea
was admirable, but unfortunately it did not always work out in
practice. For magic is a game at which two can play, and it sometimes
happened that the spells of the besieged proved more powerful than those
of the besiegers and enabled the garrison to defy all the attempts of
the enemy to filch their souls from their bodies.[40] But even when the
assailants were obliged to retire discomfited, they did not always lose
heart, the resources of the magic art were not yet exhausted. On their
return home the priest, nothing daunted by a temporary discomfiture,
might betake himself again to his spells, and by crooning his
incantations over a garment or a weapon belonging to one of his party,
might dash in pieces the arms of the enemy and cause their souls to
perish. Thus by his ghostly skill would he snatch victory from defeat,
and humble the pride of the insolent foe in the very moment of his
imaginary triumph.[41] One way in which he effected his purpose was to
take a bag or basket containing some sacred food, hold it to the fire,
and then opening the bag point the mouth of it in the direction of the
enemy. The simple recitation of a spell then sufficed to draw the souls
of the adversaries into the bag, after which nothing was easier for him
than to destroy them utterly by means of the appropriate

    [40] Elsdon Best, "Spiritual Concepts of the Maori," _Journal of
    the Polynesian Society_, vol. ix. no. 4 (December 1900), p. 181.

    [41] Elsdon Best, "Notes on the Art of War as conducted by the
    Maori of New Zealand," _Journal of the Polynesian Society_, vol.
    xi. no. 3 (September 1902), p. 141.

    [42] Elsdon Best, "Notes on the Art of War as conducted by the
    Maori of New Zealand," _Journal of the Polynesian Society_, vol.
    xii. no. 2 (June 1903), p. 72.

But valuable as are these applications of magic to practical life, the
art, like every good thing, is liable to abuse; and even where it is
employed with the best intentions, the forces which it controls are so
powerful that in spite of all precautions an accident will sometimes
happen. For example, in sickness the patient often had recourse to a
priest, who would lead him down to the nearest water, whether a pool or
a stream, and there perform the magical rites necessary for the relief
of his particular malady. While the wizard was engaged in this
beneficent task, all the people in the village kept strictly indoors,
lest their souls should wander forth to the water-side and there
colliding, if I may be allowed the expression, with the mystic forces
of the priest's spells be damaged or even annihilated by the
collision.[43] In such a case the fatal consequences were the result of
a pure accident, but sometimes they were intentional. For this fell
purpose a malignant wizard would dig a hole, invoke the spirit of the
man against whom he had a grudge, and when the spirit appeared over the
hole in the form of a light, he would curse it, and the man whose soul
was cursed would be sure to die, sooner or later; nothing could save
him. The Uriwera, who dwelt dispersed among the forests and lonely hills
of a wild mountainous region in the North Island, were reputed to be the
greatest warlocks in all New Zealand. When they descended from their
mountains to the coast, the lowlanders scarcely dared refuse them
anything for fear of incurring their displeasure. It is said that in
their magical rites they made a special use of the spittle of their
destined victims; hence all visitors to their country were careful to
conceal their spittle lest they should give these wicked folk a handle
against them.[44] Another mode in which a Maori wizard could obtain
power over a man's soul was by working magic on the footprints of his
intended victim. The thing was done in this way. Suppose you are walking
and leave your footprints behind you on the ground. I come behind you,
take up the earth from your footprints, and deposit it on the sacred
_whata puaroa_, that is, a post or pillar set up in the holy place of a
village and charged in a mysterious manner with the vitality both of the
people and of the land. Having laid the earth from your footprints on
the sacred post, I next perform a ceremony of consecration over it, and
then bury it with a seed of sweet potato in the ground. After that you
are doomed. You may consider yourself for all practical purposes not
only dead but buried, like the earth from your footprints.[45]

    [43] Elsdon Best, "Maori Medical Lore," _Journal of the
    Polynesian Society_, vol. xiii. no. 4 (December 1904), p. 225.

    [44] E. Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_ (London, 1843),
    ii. 58 _sq._; E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the
    New Zealanders_, pp. 116 _sq._; _id._, _Maori Religion and
    Mythology_ (London, 1882), p. 31.

    [45] Elsdon Best, "Spiritual Concepts of the Maori," _Journal of
    the Polynesian Society_, vol. ix. no. 4 (December 1900), pp. 194
    _sq._, 196.

From some of the foregoing facts it seems to follow that the souls of
the Maoris are not, so to say, constitutionally immortal, but that they
are of a brittle and perishable nature, and that in particular they are
liable to be cut short in their career and totally exterminated by the
insidious arts of magicians. So frequently, indeed, did this happen in
former days that the Maoris of old apparently recognised no other cause
of death, but imagined that every man and woman would naturally live for
ever, if the thread of his or her life were not prematurely snipped by
the abhorred shears of some witch or wizard. Hence after every death it
was customary to hold an inquest in order to discover the wretch who had
brought about the catastrophe by his enchantments; a sage presided at
the solemn enquiry, and under his direction the culprit was detected,
hunted down, and killed.[46]

    [46] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 51.

The Maoris tell a story to explain how death first came into the world,
or at least how men were prevented from enjoying the boon of
immortality. The story runs as follows.

The great mythical hero of Polynesia is Maui, a demigod or man of
marvellous powers, who lived in the early ages of the world, and whose
mighty deeds are the theme of tales of wonder told far and wide among
the islands of the Pacific.[47] In his childhood his mother prophesied
that he should thereafter climb the threshold of his great ancestress
Hine-nui-te-po, and that death should have no more dominion over men. A
happy prediction, but alas! never destined to be fulfilled, for even the
would-be saviour Maui himself did not escape the doom of mortality. The
way in which he became subject to death was this. His father took him to
the water to be baptized, for infant baptism was a regular part of Maori
ritual.[48] But when the baptism was over and the usual prayers had
been offered for making the lad sacred and clean from all impurity, his
father bethought him that through haste or forgetfulness he had omitted
some of the prayers and purifications of the baptismal service. It was a
fatal oversight, and the anxious father was struck with consternation at
the thought, for too well he knew that the gods would punish the
omission by causing his son Maui to die.[49] Yet did his son make a
brave attempt to rescue all men from the doom of death and to make them
live for ever. One day, after he had performed many feats and returned
to his father's house, his father, heavy at heart and overcome with a
foreboding of evil, said to him, "Oh, my son, I have heard from your
mother and others that you are very valiant, and that you have succeeded
in all feats that you have undertaken in your own country, whether they
were small or great; but now that you have arrived in your father's
country, you will perhaps be overcome." Then Maui asked his father,
"What do you mean? what things are there that I can be vanquished by?"
And his father answered him, "By your great ancestress, by
Hine-nui-te-po, who, if you look, you may see flashing, and, as it were,
opening and shutting there, where the horizon meets the sky." And Maui
answered, "Lay aside such idle thoughts, and let us both fearlessly seek
whether men are to die or live for ever." And his father said, "My
child, there has been an ill omen for us; when I was baptizing you, I
omitted a portion of the fitting prayers, and that I know will be the
cause of your perishing." Then Maui asked his father, "What is my
ancestress Hine-nui-te-po like?" and he answered, "What you see yonder
shining so brightly red are her eyes, and her teeth are as sharp and
hard as pieces of volcanic glass; her body is like that of a man, and
as for the pupils of her eyes, they are jasper; and her hair is like the
tangles of long sea-weed, and her mouth is like that of a barracouta."

    [47] E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, pp.
    233 _sqq._, _s.v._ "Maui"; Horatio Hale, _United States
    Exploring Expedition, Ethnography and Philology_ (Philadelphia,
    1846), p. 23.

    [48] J. L. Nicholas, _Narrative of a Voyage to New Zealand_
    (London, 1817), i. 61 _sq._, "The New Zealanders make it an
    invariable practice, when a child is born among them, to take it
    to the _Tohunga_, or priest, who sprinkles it on the face with
    water, from a certain leaf which he holds in his hand for that
    purpose; and they believe that this ceremony is not only
    beneficial to the infant, but that the neglect of it would be
    attended with the most baneful consequences. In the latter case,
    they consider the child as either doomed to immediate death, or
    that, if allowed to live, it will grow up with a most perverse
    and wicked disposition." Before or after sprinkling the child
    with water the priest bestowed on the infant its name. See W.
    Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_ (London, 1835), pp. 82-84; A.
    S. Thomson, _The Story of New Zealand_ (London, 1859), i. 118
    _sqq._; R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, Second Edition (London,
    1870), pp. 184 _sqq_. Compare J. Dumont d'Urville, _Voyage
    autour du Monde et à la recherche de la Pérouse, Histoire du
    Voyage_ (Paris, 1832-1833), ii. 443 _sq_. (who says that the
    baptism was performed by women); E. Dieffenbach, _Travels in New
    Zealand_ (London, 1843), ii. 28-30 (who, in contradiction to all
    the other authorities, says that the naming of the child was
    unconnected with its baptism).

    [49] Sir George Grey, _Polynesian Mythology_ (London, 1855), p.

Now Hine-nui-te-po was the Great Woman of Night, the Goddess of Death,
who dwelt in the nether world and dragged down men to herself. But Maui
was not afraid, for he had caught the great Sun himself in a snare and
beaten him and caused him to go so tardily as we now see him creeping
across the sky with leaden steps and slow; for of old the Sun was wont
to speed across the firmament like a young man rejoicing to run a race.
So forth fared the hero on his great enterprise to snatch the life of
mortals from the very jaws of death. And there came to him to bear him
company the small robin, and the large robin, and the thrush, and the
yellow hammer, and the pied fantail (_tiwakawaka, Rhipidura
flabellifora_), and every kind of little bird; and these all assembled
together, and they started with Maui in the evening, and arrived at the
dwelling of Hine-nui-te-po, and found her fast asleep.

Then Maui addressed them all, and said, "My little friends, now if you
see me creep into this old chieftainess, do not laugh at what you see.
Nay, nay, do not, I pray you, but when I have got altogether inside her,
and just as I am coming out of her mouth, then you may shout with
laughter if you please." But his little friends were frightened at what
they saw, and they answered, "Oh, sir, you will certainly be killed."
And he answered them again, saying, "If you burst out laughing at me as
soon as I get inside her, you will wake her up, and she will certainly
kill me at once; but if you do not laugh until I am quite inside her,
and am on the point of coming out of her mouth, I shall live, and
Hine-nui-te-po will die." And his little friends answered, "Go on then,
brave sir, but pray take good care of yourself."

Then the young hero started off, and twisted the strings of his weapon
tight round his wrist, and went into the house, and stripped off his
clothes, and the skin on his hips was as mottled and beautiful as the
skin of a mackerel by reason of the tattoo marks cut on it with the
chisel of Uetongo, and he entered the old chieftainess. The little birds
now screwed up their little mouths to keep back their laughter when
they saw him disappearing into the body of the giantess; their cheeks
swelled up and grew purple, and they almost choked with suppressed
emotion. At last the pied fantail could bear it no longer, and he
suddenly exploded with a loud guffaw. That woke the old woman, she
opened her eyes, and shut her jaws with a snap, cutting the hero clean
through the middle, so that his legs dropped out of her mouth. Thus died
Maui, but before he died he begat children, and sons were born to him,
and some of his descendants are alive to this day. That, according to
Maori tradition, is how death came into the world; for if only Maui had
passed safely through the jaws of the Goddess of Death, men would have
died no more and death itself would have been destroyed. Thus the Maoris
set down human mortality at the door of the pied fantail, since but for
his unseasonable merriment we might all have lived for ever.[50]

    [50] Sir George Grey, _Polynesian Mythology_, pp. 56-58; John
    White, _The Ancient History of the Maori_ (Wellington and
    London, 1887-1889), ii. 98, 105-107. For another version of the
    myth, told with some minor variations, see S. Percy Smith, _The
    Lore of the Whare-w[=a]nanga_, Part I. (New Plymouth, N.Z.,
    1913), pp. 145 _sq._, 176-178. For the identification of the
    bird _tiwakawaka_ see E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative
    Dictionary_, p. 519, _s.v._ "Tiwaiwaka."

§ 4. _The Beliefs of the Maoris concerning the Souls of the Dead_

When a chief died, a loud howl or wail announced the melancholy event,
and the neighbours flocked to the scene of death to testify their
sorrow. The wives and near relations, especially the women, of the
deceased displayed their anguish by cutting their faces, arms, legs, and
breasts with flints or shells till the blood flowed down in streams; it
was not wiped off, for the more the person of a mourner was covered with
clotted gore, the greater was esteemed his or her respect for the dead.
Sometimes relatives would hack off joints of their fingers as a token of
grief. Mourners likewise cut their hair, the men generally contenting
themselves with clipping or shaving it on one side only, from the
forehead to the neck. The eyes of the dead were closed by the nearest
relative; and the body dressed in the finest mats, decked with
feathers, and provided with weapons, lay in state for a time. After the
first day a brother of the deceased used to beat the body with fresh
flax gathered for the purpose; this he did to drive away any evil thing
that might be hovering about the corpse. In the olden time one or more
of the chief's wives would strangle themselves, that their souls might
accompany their dead lord and wait upon him in the other world, and with
the same intentions slaves were killed, lest the great man should lack
attendants in the spirit land.[51]

    [51] W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_, pp. 135 _sqq._; J.
    Dumont d'Urville, _Voyage autour du Monde et à la recherche de
    la Pérouse, Histoire du Voyage_ (Paris, 1832-1833), ii. 541
    _sq._; Servant, "Notice sur la Nouvelle-Zélande," _Annales de la
    Propagation de la Foi_, xv. (1843) p. 25; E. Dieffenbach,
    _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 62, 118; W. Brown, _New Zealand
    and its Inhabitants_, pp. 15 _sqq._; G. F. Angas, _Savage Life
    and Scenes in Australia and New Zealand_, i. 331; A. S. Thomson,
    _The Story of New Zealand_, i. 185 _sqq._; R. Taylor, _Te Ika A
    Maui, or New Zealand and its Inhabitants_, Second Edition
    (London, 1870), pp. 217 _sq._; E. Tregear, "The Maoris of New
    Zealand," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xix.
    (1890) pp. 104 _sq._

The body was kept for three days because, we are told, the soul was
believed not to quit its mortal habitation till the third day.[52] The
mode of disposing of the corpse differed in different districts and
according to the rank of the deceased. In some places a grave was dug in
the house and the body buried in a sitting posture, the legs being kept
in that position by bandages or doubled up against the chest. In the
grave the dead man retained the fine garments in which he had been
dressed together with the family ornaments of jade and shark's teeth.
With him also was usually interred his property, especially the clothes
which he had worn and everything else that had touched him during his
last illness. The weapons of a warrior were laid near him that he might
be able to fight his battles in the spirit land. In other places the
corpse was laid in a box on a stage; or two pieces of an old canoe were
set upright in the earth, and in the hollow between them the body was
seated on a grating so as to allow the products of decomposition to drip
through on the ground. In other places again, the corpse was laid in a
sort of canoe-shaped coffin and deposited among the branches of a tree
in a grove, where it remained for several months. This burial in the
branches of a tree seems to have been usually adopted for the bodies of
commoners; the corpses of chiefs, enclosed in coffins, were placed in
mausoleums, carved and painted red, which were raised on pillars.
Whether buried in the earth or placed in a tree or on a stage, the body
was left until the flesh had so far decayed as to permit of the bones
being easily detached; there was no fixed time allowed for
decomposition, it might vary from three months to six months, or even a
year. When decay was thought to have proceeded far enough, the bones
were dug up or taken down from the stage or tree and scraped; the
ornaments also were removed from the skeleton and worn by the relatives.
In the south, where the custom was to bury the dead in the ground, this
disinterment took place four weeks after the burial; the bones were then
buried again, but only to be dug up again after a longer interval, it
might be two years, for the final ceremony. When this took place, all
the friends and relatives of the dead were summoned to assist, and a
great feast was given: the bones were scraped, painted red, decked with
feathers, and wrapped up in mats. The precious bundle was then deposited
in a small canoe or a miniature house elevated on a pole; or it was
carried to the top of some sacred tree and there left on a small stage.
Sometimes the bones were concealed in a hollow tree in a secret place of
the forest, or hidden away in one of the numerous limestone caverns or
in some lonely and inaccessible chasm among the rocks. The motive for
secret burial was a fear lest an enemy should get possession of the
bones and profane them by making fish-hooks out of them or converting
the skull into a baler for his canoe. Such a profanation was deemed a
deadly insult to the surviving relatives. After a burial the persons who
had dressed or carried the corpse, and all indeed who had had anything
to do with it, repaired to the nearest stream and plunged themselves
several times over head in the water.[53]

    [52] J. Dumont d'Urville, _op. cit._ ii. 541.

    [53] J. Dumont d'Urville, _op. cit._ ii. 543 _sq._; W. Yate,
    _op. cit._ p. 137; Servant, "Notice sur la Nouvelle-Zélande,"
    _Annales de la Propagation de la Foi_, xv. (1843) p. 25; E.
    Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 62 _sqq._; G. F.
    Angas, _Savage Life and Scenes in Australia and New Zealand_,
    i. 331; A. S. Thomson, _The Story of New Zealand_, i. 188; R.
    Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 218 _sqq._; E. Tregear, "The Maori
    of New Zealand," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_,
    xix. (1890) p. 105; Elsdon Best, "Cremation among the Maori
    Tribes of New Zealand," _Man_, xiv. (1914) p. 110.

In some districts the removal of the bones from their temporary to their
final resting-place was the occasion of a grand annual festival in which
several neighbouring tribes took part. The bones of all members of the
tribes who had died within the year were taken down from the stages or
trees where the bodies had been temporarily deposited. The grave-clothes
having been removed, the mouldering remains were wrapped in new blankets
and carried in procession, attended by the crowd, to a place where they
were deposited on a carpet of leaves. Should any putrid flesh be found
still adhering to the bones, it was scraped off and buried on the spot.
A few old women, dressed in their best, oiled from head to foot, and
plastered with raddle, received the skulls into their laps. While they
held them thus, a funeral ode was sung and speeches, loud and long, were
delivered. Then the bones were tied up, decked with feathers of the
gannet, rolled up in blankets, and carried to their last place of rest
in a sacred grove, where they were left, securely fastened up and
gaudily decorated with red and white. Having thus discharged their duty
to the dead, the living gave themselves up to festivity; they ate and
drank, danced, sang, whistled, wrestled, quarrelled, bought and sold.
This Holy Fair, which went by the name of Hahunga, lasted several days.
At the end of it the mourners, or revellers, dispersed and returned to
their homes, laden with food which had been made ready for them by their
hosts.[54] Great importance was attached to the final disposal of the
remains of the dead. According to one account, the soul of the dead man
could not rest till his bones were laid in the sepulchre of his
ancestors, which was often a natural cave or grotto. There they were
deposited on a shelf or platform a few feet above the floor of the

    [54] W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_, pp. 137-139; Servant,
    "Notice sur la Nouvelle-Zélande," _Annales de la Propagation de
    la Foi_, xv. (1843) pp. 26 _sq._ The name _Hahunga_ is doubtless
    connected with the verb _hahu_ which means "to exhume the bones
    of dead persons before depositing them in their final
    resting-place." See E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative
    Dictionary_, p. 42, _s.v._ "hahu."

    [55] J. Dumont d'Urville, _op. cit._ ii. 543, 545.

Not uncommonly the bones of the dead, instead of being preserved, were
burned.[56] But cremation, though not unusual, seems never to have been
a general custom with the Maoris. They resorted to it only in
exceptional circumstances, for example, in order to stay the spread of
disease, or in cases where a tribe occupied open country and found no
suitable place where to lay the bones of their dead after exhumation.
Cremation for the latter reason is said to have been practised by the
Ngati-apa tribe in the Rangatikikei District, and also by the tribes who
occupied the Waimate Plains. An old earthwork fort near the present
township of Manaia was the scene of many cremations of the Maori dead in
former days. Again, it was a common custom for a raiding party to
cremate their dead in the enemy's country, when there was no time to
carry them home for the usual obsequies. The intention of burning them
was to prevent the enemy from eating the bodies and making fish-hooks
out of the bones. For a similar reason even the wounded, whom they could
not carry with them, were sometimes thrown into great fires and burnt
alive. If the slain man was a chief, only his body would be consumed in
the flames; his head would be cut off, steamed, cured, and carried home,
to be wept over by his friends. In the Bay of Plenty district the bodies
of persons who died of a certain disease called _Kai uaua_, apparently
consumption, used to be burnt to prevent the spread of the malady, and
all the ashes were carefully buried.[57]

    [56] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 220. This was called
    _tahunga_, "burning," a word no doubt derived from _tahu_,
    "to set on fire, kindle." See E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian
    Comparative Dictionary_, p. 444, _s.v._ "tahu."

    [57] Elsdon Best, "Cremation amongst the Maori tribes of New
    Zealand," _Man_, xiv. (1914) pp. 110 _sq._

Often enough the heads of dead relatives were cut off, dried, and
preserved by the family for many years in order to be occasionally
brought forth and mourned over. Sometimes a widow would sleep with her
husband's severed head at her side. After a victory, too, it was
customary to decapitate the slain foes and dry their heads, which were
then carried home and used as scarecrows or stuck on short stakes in the
village, where they were jeered at and reviled. When the time came to
plant the sweet potatoes, and the priests recited their spells for the
sake of the crops, the dried heads were sometimes brought out and
placed at the edge of the field, for this was believed to promote the
growth of the sweet potatoes.[58] Apparently the spirits of the dead
were thought able to quicken the fruits of the earth.

    [58] Elsdon Best, "Notes on the Art of War as conducted by the
    Maori of New Zealand," _Journal of the Polynesian Society_, vol.
    xii. no. 4 (December 1903), pp. 195-197. Compare W. Yate, _An
    Account of New Zealand_, pp. 130 _sqq._; E. Dieffenbach,
    _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 66.

At all events the Maoris undoubtedly believed that the souls of the
departed survive the death of their bodies for a longer or shorter time
and in their disembodied state can influence the living for weal or woe.
The belief in the survival of the soul is strikingly manifested in their
old custom of killing widows and slaves to serve dead chiefs in the
other world. It found expression in the more harmless custom of laying
food beside a dead person or burying it with him in the grave; but, as
usually happens in such cases, the ghost only consumed the spiritual
essence of the victuals, considerately leaving the gross material
substance to be despatched by the priest.[59] A dying Maori, unable to
eat a loaf which a missionary had offered to him, begged that it might
be kept for his ghost, who, after his death, would come and fortify
himself with it for the journey to his long home.[60] At Tanaraki the
child of a chief was buried in its father's house, grasping in each of
its little fists a taro for consumption in the other world. Over the
grave were laid boards, and the family slept on them. When they thought
that the child's body was sufficiently decayed, they dug it up, scraped
the bones, and hung them in the verandah, where from time to time the
priest recited spells to assist the soul in its ascent to heaven. Every
spell was supposed to raise the soul one stage nearer to the abode of
bliss. But the ascent was long and tedious, for there were no less than
ten heavens one above the other; the tenth was believed to be the
principal abode of the gods. When the parents of the child who had been
despatched to the happy land with taro in each hand were asked, "Why
taro, if the little one is gone to heaven?" they answered that they
were not quite sure whether it went up or down, and therefore as an
additional precaution they planted a seed of taro in the grave, so that
their offspring might find something to eat either above or below.[61]

    [59] J. Dumont d'Urville, _op. cit._ ii. 542; G. F. Angas,
    _op. cit._ ii. 71; R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 220.

    [60] J. Dumont d'Urville, _l.c._

    [61] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 220.

Similar ceremonies were performed to facilitate the ascension of the
souls of chiefs and priests. Before the body was taken to the place of
burial, it was laid out with its feet towards the north, and all the
blood-relations of the deceased, men, women, and children, assembled
round it. Then the priest, standing at the head of the corpse, between
the rows of the people, chanted two incantations, of which the second
was supposed to assist the soul to ascend to heaven. The priest next put
a bulb of taro in the left hand of the corpse and chanted another
incantation. After that, flaxen cords were tied with a slip-knot to a
tassel of the mat in which the body was enshrouded, and a cord was
placed in the hand of each child, boy and girl, present at the ceremony.
When the priest had chanted one more incantation, each child pulled the
cord with a jerk, to disconnect the soul from the body, lest it should
remain and afflict the relatives.[62] This last rite, with the reason
assigned for it, is significant at once of the dread which the Maoris
felt for departed spirits, and of the very materialistic conception
which they entertained of the human soul, since they appear to have
imagined that it could be detached from the body by jerking at a cord.

    [62] John White, "A Chapter from Maori Mythology," _Report of
    the Third Meeting of the Australasian Association for the
    Advancement of Science, held at Christchurch, New Zealand, in
    January 1891_, pp. 362 _sq._

The wish to raise the soul to heaven was perhaps the motive for another
curious rite performed at the obsequies of a chief. When the body had
been buried, the chief returned to the village; but the men who had
carried the body went to the nearest swamp, and having caught a
swamp-sparrow (_matata_) sent word to the priest, who forthwith rejoined
them. Each of the bearers was then provided with a stick to which
certain of the feathers of the bird were tied. Then, holding the sticks
in their hands, they sat on their heels in a row opposite the priest,
who stood facing the east with a stick similarly adorned in his left
hand. Next he moved to the south end of the row of men and chanted, and
as he chanted he gradually raised his stick, while at the same time all
the bearers, holding their sticks at arm's length, gradually raised them
and their bodies simultaneously, keeping perfect time, till the priest
had concluded his chant, when they all stood erect with outstretched
arms. After that the priest collected the sticks and threw them down in
front of the _mua_, which seems to have been a kind of altar.[63] We may
surmise that the ceremony was intended to waft the soul of the dead
chief upward, the feathers of the bird being naturally fitted to
facilitate its heavenward flight.

    [63] John White, "A Chapter from Maori Mythology," _op. cit._
    p. 363. As to the meaning of _mua_, see E. Tregear,
    _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, p. 267, _s.v._ "mua."

At other times, however, with the inconsistency so common in such
matters, it appears to have been supposed that the soul set out on its
far journey across the sea, and steps were accordingly taken to equip it
for the voyage. Thus we hear of a _wahi tapu_ or sacred repository of
the property of a deceased chief, which contained, among other things, a
little canoe with sail and paddles, "to serve as a ferry-boat for the
spirit to enter in safety into the eternal abodes." Nevertheless in the
same enclosure, which was fenced with a double set of palings,
"calabashes of food and water, and a dish prepared from the pigeon, were
placed for the ghost to regale itself when visiting the spot; and the
heathen natives aver that at night the spirit comes and feeds from the
sacred calabashes."[64]

    [64] G. F. Angas, _Savage Life and Scenes in Australia and New
    Zealand_, ii. 70 _sq._

Many people in the Taranaki district thought that souls went neither up
nor down, but always stayed near their mouldering bodies. Hence the
sacred grove in which their remains were buried was full of disembodied
spirits; and when a man died a violent death his soul wandered about
disconsolate, till a priest by his spells and enchantments had brought
the poor ghost within the spiritual fold.[65]

    [65] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 220 _sq._

When a chief was killed in battle and eaten by his foes, as often
happened, his departed spirit entered the stones of the oven in which
his body had been cooked, and the stones retained their heat so long as
the ghost was in them. Meanwhile his sorrowing friends at home recited
their most potent spells to draw his soul out of the oven and back to
the sacred grove (_wahi tapu_) the burial-place of his people; for
otherwise the soul could find no repose, but must roam about for ever,
wreaking its spite on the living, for all disembodied spirits were
deemed malicious. Hence after a battle, if people could not obtain the
body of a slain friend, they sought to procure at least some drops of
his blood or shreds of his raiment, that by crooning over them the
appropriate spell they might draw home the vagrant spirit to his place
of rest. The burial-grounds were regarded with awe and fear, for
sometimes a restless ghost would break bounds and spread sickness among
the inhabitants of the neighbourhood. Within their sacred precincts
stood altars or stages for offerings to the gods, and any living man who
entered them did so at his peril. For the same reason no one would set
foot in a house where a dead man or woman had been buried. Hence in
nearly every village half the houses stood empty and deserted, falling
into decay, tenanted only by ghosts. The living had constantly before
their eyes the mansions of the dead.[66]

    [66] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 221.

The common belief of the Maoris seems to have been that the souls of the
dead pass away to a region of the underworld, which was sometimes called
Po and sometimes Reinga. Properly speaking, Po was night or the
primaeval darkness out of which all forms of life and light were evolved
or created;[67] and Reinga was not so much the spirit land itself as the
leaping-off place where the souls bade good-bye to earth and took their
departure for the far country. This leaping-off place was at the North
Cape, the Land's End of New Zealand. The cape terminates in a steep
cliff with a sea-cave at its foot, into which the tide rushes with a
thunderous roar. There the evil spirit Wiro is thought to dwell, lurking
for his prey; for he battens on such of the passing souls of the dead as
he can get into his clutches. On their passage to the North Cape the
ghosts stop by the way at two hills; at the first, which is called
Wai-hokimai, they wail, cut themselves, and strip off their clothes; at
the second, which is called Wai-otioti, they turn their backs on the
land of the living and set their faces to the land of the dead. Arrived
at the cape they pass outward over a long narrow ledge of rock and then
leap down on a flat stone. There they see a mass of sea-weed floating on
the water, its roots hidden in the depth, its upper branches clinging to
a _pohutukawa_ tree. When they perceive an opening in the sea-weed they
dive and soon find themselves in the lower world. But before they reach
the abode of spirits they must cross a river by a plank; the river is
called Waiorotane or the River of the Water of Life; and sometimes the
warden of the plank will not suffer the ghosts to pass the river, but
drives them back with friendly violence and bids them return to their
friends on earth. Such souls come back to the bright world of light and
life, and tell their friends what they have seen and heard on the
journey to that bourne from which so many travellers return no more.
Hence when any one has recovered from a dangerous sickness or escaped
some great peril, they say of him that he has come back from the River
of the Water of Life. Even if a soul has crossed that sombre stream, he
may still return to the land of the living, if only he refuses to
partake of the food set before him by the ghosts; but should he taste of
it, he cannot come back. They say that people living near the North Cape
can hear the spirits of the dead passing through the air on their way to
the spirit land; and in the old days, when a battle had been fought and
before the news of it could reach them by word of mouth, the natives
near the cape were made aware of what had happened by the rushing sound
of a great multitude flitting by overhead in the darkness.[68] Perhaps
the sighing of the night-wind or the clangour of birds of passage
winging their way out to sea may have contributed to create or foster
these fancies.

    [67] E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_,
    p. 342, _s.v._ "Po."

    [68] E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, pp. 150 _sqq._; _id._, _Maori Religion and
    Mythology_, p. 45; R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 52, 231;
    W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_, p. 140; E. Dieffenbach,
    _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 66 _sq._; E. Tregear, "The Maoris
    of New Zealand," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_,
    xix. (1890) pp. 118 _sq._; _id._, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative
    Dictionary_, pp. 407 _sq._, 591, _s.vv._ "Reinga" and "Waiora";
    John White, "A Chapter from Maori Mythology," _Report of the
    Third Meeting of the Australasian Association for the
    Advancement of Science, held at Christchurch, New Zealand,
    in January 1891_, pp. 361 _sq._

On the day after a burial the priest used to perform a ceremony to
facilitate the passage of the soul to its final rest. For this purpose
some men would go out in the morning and kill a small bird of the swamps
called _kokata_ and pluck up some reeds of a certain sort (_wiwi_).
These they brought to the priest at the grave. He asked them, "Whence
came ye?" They answered, "From the seeking, from the searching." He
asked them again, "Ah! what have you got? ah! what have you gained?"
Then the men threw the bird and the reeds on the ground. Next the priest
chose a stalk of grass or fern and put it near the grave in a direction
pointing towards Hawaiki, the land far away from which the forefathers
of the Maoris came long ago. Another stalk of grass or fern was laid
near the place of death, and along these stalks the soul of the dead man
travelled to rejoin his friends and kinsfolk who had gone before.[69]

    [69] E. Shortland, _Maori Religion and Mythology_, p. 44. Such
    a stalk to aid the spirit on its passage was called a _tiri_.
    Compare E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_,
    p. 517, _s.v._ "Tiri." The ceremony described in the text
    resembles in some points the one which seems intended to raise
    the soul of the deceased to heaven. See above, p. 25.

As might be anticipated, the accounts which the Maoris gave of the
spirit world and of life in it were neither clear nor consistent.
According to one account, while the heavens increase in beauty as they
ascend one above the other, the lower regions increase in darkness and
horror as they descend, each being darker and worse than the one above
it, till in the lowest of all complete darkness reigns. There the souls,
deprived alike of light and food, wasted away and ultimately ceased to
exist; or according to another account they assumed the shape of worms
and in that guise returned to earth, where they died a second death and
so finally perished. But it was only the souls of common folk which came
to this melancholy end. Chiefs and priests were believed to be descended
from the gods, and at death their souls ascended to heaven, there to
live for ever.[70]

    [70] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 232; John White, "A Chapter
    from Maori Mythology," _Report of the Third Meeting of the
    Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, held
    at Christchurch, New Zealand, in January 1891_, pp. 361 _sq._

Other reports, however, paint the nether world in more cheerful
colours. We are told that the souls of the dead live there very much as
people do on earth, but all good things are more plentiful there than
here. The staple food of the ghosts is sweet potatoes, and the quality
of the potatoes appears to be remarkably fine; for once a woman, who had
the good fortune to go to the spirit land and come back, received from
her dead father in the nether regions two roots of sweet potatoes of a
most prodigious size. These the ghost told her to take back to earth and
plant for the benefit of his grandchild. So she hurried away with them
and arriving at the foot of the North Cape had begun to clamber up the
face of the cliff, when two infant spirits overtook her and attempted to
drag her back to dead land by tugging at her cloak. To divert their
attention she threw the two roots of sweet potato behind her, and while
the sprites were munching them she made good her escape up the cliff and
succeeded in reaching home. Her friends were very glad to see her again,
but they always lamented that she had not brought back at least one of
those gigantic roots of sweet potato, since it would unquestionably have
done much to improve the quality of sweet potatoes grown here on

    [71] E. Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 48 _sq._, 67,
    118; E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, pp. 153 _sqq._; R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 233

But the spirits of the dead are by no means strictly confined to the
lower world; they can quit it from time to time and return to earth,
there to influence the actions and fortunes of the living and to
communicate with them through the priest, who can hear their voices.
They speak in whistling tones, which even common folk can sometimes
distinguish as they walk about in the dark. Often their communications
are made to the priest or chief in dreams, and he announces the glad or
mournful tidings to other people in the morning. Any commands conveyed
in this manner from the other world are, or used to be, implicitly
obeyed and might decide the course to be pursued in the most important
affairs of life.[72] In some tribes, especially among the natives of
Wangunui, it used to be customary to keep in the houses small carved
images of wood, each of them dedicated to an ancestor of the family, who
was believed occasionally to enter into the image in order to hold
converse with his living descendants.[73] But even without the
intervention of such images the priest could summon up the spirits of
the dead and converse with them in the presence of the relatives or of
strangers; at these interviews, which were held within doors and in the
dark, the voices of the ghosts, or perhaps of the priestly
ventriloquist, were sometimes distinctly audible even to sceptical
Europeans. Nor was the art of necromancy confined to men; for we read of
an old woman who, like the witch of Endor, professed to exercise this
ghostly office, and treated an English visitor to an exhibition of her

    [72] E. Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 67, 118; E.
    Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New Zealanders_,
    ii. 83, 84.

    [73] E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, p. 83.

    [74] E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, pp. 84 _sqq._; _Old New Zealand_, by a Pakeha
    Maori (London, 1884), pp. 122 _sqq._ As to the belief in the
    reappearance of the dead among the living compare R. A. Cruise,
    _Journal of a Ten Months' Residence in New Zealand_ (London,
    1823), p. 186: "The belief in the reappearance of the dead is
    universal among the New Zealanders: they fancy they hear their
    deceased relatives speaking to them when the wind is high;
    whenever they pass the place where a man has been murdered, it
    is customary for each person to throw a stone upon it; and the
    same practice is observed by all those who visit a cavern at the
    North Cape, through which the spirits of departed men are
    supposed to pass on their way to a future world."

The spirits of the dead were sometimes useful to the living, for
commonly enough they would appear to their kinsfolk in dreams and warn
them of approaching foes or other dangers. Again, they might be and were
invoked by spells and enchantments to avenge a murder or even to slay an
innocent person against whom the enchanter had a grudge.[75] But for the
most part the ghosts were greatly dreaded as malicious demons who worked
harm to man.[76] Even the nearest and dearest relations were believed to
have their natures radically changed by death and to hate those whom
they had loved in life.[77] And so powerful were these malignant beings
supposed to be that they were confused with the gods, or rather the
spirits of the dead became themselves gods to all intents and purposes,
and played a much more important part in the religious life of the
Maoris than the high primaeval deities, the personifications of nature,
who figured in Maori mythology and cosmogony.[78] The gods whom the
Maoris feared, we are told, were the spirits of the dead, who were
believed to be constantly watching over the living with jealous eyes,
lest they should neglect any part of the law relating to persons or
things subject to the sacred restriction called taboo (_tapu_). These
spirits, however, confined their care almost exclusively to persons
among the living with whom they were connected by ties of relationship,
so that every tribe and every family had its own worshipful ancestral
spirit or god, whom members of the tribe or family invoked with
appropriate prayers or spells (_karakias_). Ancestral spirits who lived
in the flesh before the Maoris emigrated to New Zealand were invoked by
all the tribes in New Zealand without distinction, so far as their names
and memories survived in tradition. Thus the worship of these remote
ancestors constituted what may be called the national religion of the
Maoris as distinguished from the tribal and family religions, which
consisted in the worship of nearer and better remembered progenitors.
The great importance attached by the Maoris to the worship of ancestors
may account, we are told, for the care with which they preserved their
genealogies; since the names of ancestors often formed the groundwork of
their religious formulas (_karakias_), and any error or even hesitation
in repeating these prayers or incantations was deemed fatal to their
efficacy.[79] "Ancestor worship, or rather the deification of
ancestors, was essentially a Maori cult. It was a form of necrolatry, or
hero worship. A man would placate the spirit of his father, grandfather,
or ancestor, and make offerings to the same, that such spirit might
protect his life principle, warn him of approaching danger, and give
force or effectiveness to his rites and charms of black or white

    [75] Elsdon Best, "Spiritual Concepts of the Maori," _Journal of
    the Polynesian Society_, vol. ix. no. 4 (December 1900), p. 182.

    [76] Elsdon Best, _op. cit._ p. 184.

    [77] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 104.

    [78] E. Shortland, _The Southern Districts of New Zealand_
    (London, 1851), p. 294; _id._, _Traditions and Superstitions of
    the New Zealanders_, pp. 80, 81; _id._, _Maori Religion and
    Mythology_, pp. 10 _sq._; R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 108,
    "Maori gods are so mixed up with the spirits of ancestors, whose
    worship entered largely into their religion, that it is
    difficult to distinguish one from the other."

    [79] E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, p. 81; _id._, _Maori Religion and Mythology_, p.
    11. As to the _karakias_, which were prayers or invocations,
    spells or incantations, addressed to gods or ancestral spirits,
    see E. Shortland, _Maori Religion and Mythology_, pp. 28 _sqq._;
    E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, p. 128,
    _s.v._ "karakia." Apparently the _karakia_ partook of the nature
    of a spell rather than of a prayer, since it was believed to be
    so potent that the mere utterance of it compelled the gods to do
    the will of the person who recited the formula. See R. Taylor,
    _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 180 _sq._: "The Maori, in his heathen
    state, never undertook any work, whether hunting, fishing,
    planting, or war, without first uttering a _karakia_; he would
    not even take a journey without repeating a spell to secure his
    safety; still he could not be said to pray, for, properly
    speaking, they had no such thing as prayer. As in war, they
    armed themselves with the most formidable weapons they could
    procure, and laid their plans with the greatest skill they
    possessed, so to secure the fruition of their desires, they used
    their most powerful means to compel the gods to be obedient to
    their wishes, whether they sought for victory over their foes,
    fruitful crops, successful fishings, or huntings, they called in
    the aid of potent incantations; when they planted their _kumara_
    [sweet potatoes], they sought to compel the god who presided
    over them to yield a good increase; when they prepared their
    nets and their hooks, they must force the ocean god to let his
    fish enter them; as the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and
    the violent take it by storm, so the heathen Maori sought, by
    spells and incantations, to compel the gods to yield to their
    wishes; they added sacrifices and offerings at the same time, to
    appease as it were their anger, for being thus constrained to do
    what they wished them. Their ancestors were addressed as
    powerful familiar friends; they gave them offerings, and if it
    can be said that any prayers were offered up, it was to them
    they were made. The word _karakia_, which we use for prayer,
    formerly meant a spell, charm, or incantation."

    [80] Elsdon Best, "Maori Religion," _Report of the Twelfth
    Meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of
    Science, held at Brisbane, 1909_, p. 459.

The ancestral spirits who particularly watched over the fortunes of a
tribe were the souls of its dead warriors and great men. In war these
powerful, though invisible, beings were thought to attend the army and
direct its movements on the march by communicating advice or warning
through some one or other of their nearest living kinsmen. In battle
they hovered over the combatants and inspired courage into the hearts of
their own tribe. Hence when, on the eve of battle, any young man showed
signs of the white feather, recourse was immediately had to the family
priest, who repeated a charm, invoking the aid of his friendly spirit;
for the sensation of fear was ascribed to the baneful influence of a
hostile spirit. If the friendly spirit prevailed, and the craven spirit
was expelled, the young man would rush into the thickest of the fight
and prove himself the bravest of the brave.[81]

    [81] E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, pp. 81 _sq._

The interest taken by the spirits of the dead in mundane affairs seldom
extended beyond the limits of the tribe to which they belonged. Hence a
captive in war, who was carried away and enslaved by another tribe,
ceased from that moment to be under the protection and care of any
ancestral spirit or god. For the ancestral spirits of his own tribe did
not trouble themselves to follow him among a hostile tribe and hostile
spirits, and the ancestral spirits of the tribe whom he served as a
slave would not deign to give him a thought. Hence being forsaken of
god and left to their own devices, slaves were relieved from many of
the burdensome restrictions which the Maori gods laid upon their
worshippers; they were therefore free to perform many menial offices,
particularly in regard to carrying and cooking food, which no free Maori
could discharge without sinning against the sacred law of taboo and
incurring the wrath of the ancestral spirits, who for such a
transgression might punish the sinner with sickness or death.[82]

    [82] E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, pp. 82 _sq._; _id._, _The Southern Districts of New
    Zealand_, pp. 296 _sq._

In addition to their deified ancestors, who had lived as men of flesh
and blood on earth, the Maoris believed in certain great primaeval
deities, who had existed before the human race came into being, and
whose doings were the theme of many mythical stories. These mighty
beings appear to have been personifications of the various forces or
elements of nature, such as the sky and the earth. But though fancy wove
round them a glistering web of myth and fable, they were apparently
believed to stand aloof in cold abstraction from human affairs and to
take no interest in the present race of men. The practical religion of
the Maori was concentrated on the souls of his deceased kinsfolk and
forefathers: "neither in any existing superstition nor tradition, purely
such, is there to be found internal evidence that an idea of God existed
more exalted than that of the spirit of a dead ancestor."[83]

    [83] E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, p. 80. Compare _id._, _Traditions and Superstitions
    of the New Zealanders_, p. 81; _id._, _The Southern Districts of
    New Zealand_, p. 294; _id._, _Maori Religion and Mythology_, pp.
    10 _sq._ In Maori mythology Rangi is the personification of the
    sky, and Papa of earth. They were the primal parents, and the
    other great gods were their offspring. See Elsdon Best, "The
    Maori Genius for Personification," _Transactions of the New
    Zealand Institute_, liii. (1921) p. 2. Among the great
    primordial deities who were worshipped by all tribes of New
    Zealand may be mentioned Tane, Tu, Tangaroa, and Rongo. Of the
    four, Tane was the origin and tutelary deity of forests and
    birds: no tree might be felled and no bird caught till certain
    rites had been performed to placate him. Tu was the god of war.
    Tangaroa was the god of the ocean, the origin and tutelary deity
    of fish. Rongo was the god of peace, and presided over
    agriculture. See Elsdon Best, "Maori Religion," _Report of the
    Twelfth Meeting of the Australasian Association for the
    Advancement of Science, held at Brisbane, 1909_, p. 458. The
    same four gods, with names only dialectically different, were,
    as we shall see later on, the principal deities of the Sandwich
    Islanders, the most distant geographically from the Maoris of
    all the Polynesians. The coincidence furnishes an example of the
    homogeneity of religion which prevailed among the various
    branches of the Polynesian race.

The word which the Maoris applied to a god, whether a personification of
nature or the spirit of a dead ancestor, was _atua_. The name is not
confined to the Maori language, but is the common word for god
throughout Polynesia.[84] When the Maoris attempt to define the nature
of an _atua_, they have recourse to the same comparisons with a shadow
and with breath which appear to underlie their conception of the human
soul.[85] But though "god" is the nearest English equivalent of the word
_atua_, we must beware of assuming that the Maori idea of godhead
coincided with ours. On this subject one of our best authorities tells
us that the term "god" is really not applicable to the _Atua Maori_, the
so-called gods of the Maoris. For these beings, he says, "were, with few
exceptions, malignant demons, to be feared and placated or conciliated,
but not worshipped. Their principal task seems to have been the
inflicting upon mankind of diverse evils, pains, and penalties. Of the
few good offices performed by them, the warning of the people in regard
to coming troubles, seems to have been the most important. The vast
majority of the so-called gods of the Maori were simply deified

    [84] E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, pp.
    30 _sq._, _s.v._ "Atua."

    [85] J. Dumont d'Urville, _Voyage autour du Monde et à la
    recherche de la Pérouse, Histoire du Voyage_ (Paris, 1832-1833),
    ii. 516 _sq._

    [86] Elsdon Best, "Notes on the Art of War as conducted by the
    Maori of New Zealand," _Journal of the Polynesian Society_, vol.
    xi. no. 2 (June 1902). pp. 63 _sq._

In order to illustrate the difference between the Maori conception of
deity and our own, I will quote the words of another eminent authority
on the native religion of the New Zealanders. He says, "Before the
mythology of the Maori is further considered, it will be necessary
briefly to state what were the ideas of God entertained by the natives.
The word _atua_, or spirit, which is used for God, formerly had various
significations; a plague or disease was also _he atua_, or God; a thief
was an _atua_, thus also a thievish dog was _he kuri atua_, a god-like
dog, so also _he tangata atua ki te muru_, a man equal to a god in
stealing; a child who pilfered was _he tamaiti atua_, a divine child;
there were great spirits and small ones, a man's spirit was an _atua
pore pore_, a little spirit, but Maru Rongomai and other gods were _Atua
nui_, great gods; there were _atua ika_, reptile or fish gods; a great
chief was called _He ika_, a fish, sea monster, or reptile, and was
regarded as a malignant god in life, and a still worse one after death;
there were likewise _Atua marau_, as the _toroa_, albatross, the _ruru_,
owl; and _karu karu_, the film which shades its eye from the light, was
also an _atua_; male and female spirits presided over dreams, and were
regarded as _atuas, Ko nga atua moe moea o te poko_, the gods of dreams;
_Tunui a rangi_, a male, _Pare kewa_, a female deity, both were prayed
to as gods; the _atua kore_ and _atua kiko kiko_ were inferior gods. The
_Atua ngarara_ or reptile gods were very abundant, and were supposed to
be the cause of all diseases and death, being always ready to avail
themselves of every opportunity of crawling down the throat during
sleep, and thus preying upon the lives of unfortunate creatures. _Atuas_
or spirits of the deceased were thought to be able to revisit the earth
and reveal to their friends the cause of their sickness. Everything that
was evil or noxious was supposed especially to belong to the gods; thus
a species of euphorbium, whose milk or juice is highly poisonous, is
called _wai u atua_, the milk of the gods."[87] "In fact, in the
accounts which the natives give of their gods and their exploits, we
have but a magnified history of their chiefs, their wars, murders, and
lusts, with the addition of some supernatural powers; they were
cannibals; influenced by like feelings and passions as men, and were
uniformly bad; to them were ascribed all the evils incident to the human
race; each disease was supposed to be occasioned by a different god, who
resided in the part affected; thus, Tonga, the god who caused headache,
took up his abode in the forehead; Moko Titi, a lizard god, was the
source of all pains in the breast; Tu-tangata-kino was the god of the
stomach; Titihai occasioned pains in the ankles and feet; Rongomai and
Tuparitapua were the gods of consumption, and the wasting away of the
legs and arms; Koro-kio-ewe presided over childbirth, and did his worst
to unfortunate females in that state. In fact, the entire human body
appears to have been shared out amongst those evil beings, who ruled
over each part, to afflict and pain the poor creatures who worshipped

    [87] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 134 _sq._

    [88] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 137.

Anything, indeed, whether good or evil, which excited the fear or wonder
of the Maoris would seem in the old days to have been dubbed by them an
_atua_ and invested with the attributes of divinity. For example, when a
traveller in the early years of the nineteenth century showed his watch
to some Maoris, the ticking struck them with such astonishment that they
deemed it nothing less than the voice of a god; and the watch itself,
being looked upon as a deity (_atua_) in person, was treated by the
whole of them with profound reverence.[89] Other travellers have had
similar experiences among the Maoris,[90] and compasses and barometers
have also been accorded divine honours by these ignorant savages.[91]

    [89] J. L. Nicholas, _Narrative of a Voyage to New Zealand_
    (London, 1817), i. 254.

    [90] J. Dumont d'Urville, _Voyage autour du Monde et à la
    recherche de la Pérouse, Histoire du Voyage_ (Paris, 1832-1833),
    ii. 516.

    [91] E. Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 118.

§ 5. _Taboo among the Maoris_

But the most momentous practical consequence which flowed from their
belief in the spirits of the dead was the enormous influence which that
creed wielded in establishing and maintaining the system of taboo, the
most remarkable and characteristic institution in the life of the Maoris
and of the Polynesians in general. I shall first give some account of
the taboo or _tapu_, as the Maoris called it, and afterwards show how
this extraordinary system of society and religion was directly based on
a belief in the existence of ghosts and their mighty power over human

First, then, as to taboo or _tapu_ itself. This curious institution, as
I have said, prevailed throughout all the widely scattered islands of
Polynesia, but nowhere to a greater extent than in New Zealand. It
pervaded the whole life of the natives, affected their plans, influenced
their actions, and in the absence of an efficient police provided a
certain security both for their persons and their property. Sometimes it
was used for political, and sometimes for religious purposes; sometimes
it was the means of saving life, and at other times it was the
ostensible reason for taking life away.[92] It may be defined as a
system of consecration which made any person, place, or thing sacred
either permanently or for a limited time.[93] The effect of this
consecration was to separate the sacred person or thing from all contact
with common (_noa_)[94] persons and things: it established a sort of
quarantine for the protection not only of the sacred persons themselves,
but of common folk, who were supposed to be injured or killed by mere
contact with a tabooed person or object. For the sanctity which the
taboo conferred on people and things was conceived of as a sort of
dangerous atmosphere, charged with a spiritual electricity, which
discharged itself with serious and even fatal effect on all rash
intruders. A tabooed person might not be touched by any one, so long as
the taboo or state of consecration lasted; he might not even put his own
hand to his own head; and he was most stringently forbidden to touch
food with his hands. Hence he was either fed like a child by another,
who put the food into his mouth; or he had to lap up his victuals like a
dog from the ground, with his hands held behind his back; or lastly he
might convey the nourishment by means of a fern stalk to his mouth. When
he wished to drink, somebody else poured water into his mouth from a
calabash without allowing the vessel to touch his lips; for mere contact
with the lips of the tabooed man would have rendered the vessel itself
sacred or tabooed and therefore unfit for common use. Similarly, when he
desired to wash his hands, water had to be poured on them from a
distance by his attendant. This state of consecration or defilement, as
we might be tempted rather to call it, was incurred by any person who
had touched either a young child or a corpse or had assisted at a
funeral. The taboo contracted by association with the dead was the
strictest and most virulent of all. It extended not only to the persons
who had handled the corpse or paid the last offices of respect to the
departed; it applied to the place where the body was buried or the bones
deposited. So sacred, indeed, was deemed the spot where a chief had died
that in the old days everything upon it was destroyed by fire. Hence in
order to avoid the destruction of a house, which a death in it would
have entailed, it was customary to remove a sick or dying man to a
temporary shed just large enough to shelter him from the sun or screen
him from the rain; for if the man died in it, the destruction of the
wretched hovel was no great loss to the survivors.[95] A widow was
tabooed and had to observe the aforesaid restrictions from the death of
her husband until his bones had been scraped and deposited in their last
resting-place; and the same rule applied to a widower.[96] These taboos
were temporary and could be removed by a priest, who performed certain
rites and repeated certain spells (_karakias_), and thereby relieved the
tabooed person from the state of sanctity or consecration under which he
had laboured. The performance of the ceremony put an end to the
spiritual quarantine; the man ceased to be sacred, he became common
(_noa_) once more, and could mingle freely with his fellows. One of the
ceremonies of desecration, as we may call it, was to pass a consecrated
piece of wood over the right shoulder of the tabooed person, then round
his loins, and back again over the left shoulder, after which the stick
was broken in two and buried, burned, or cast into the sea.[97] Again, a
temporary taboo was laid on all persons who were engaged in planting
sweet potatoes, or in sorting the seed, or in digging and preparing the
ground; they might not leave the fields where they were at work nor
undertake any other labour. The fields themselves were sacred during
these operations; none but the persons who were tabooed for the purpose
might set foot on the ground or pluck up the weeds which grow rankly
round the roots of the vegetable.[98] Similarly, in their great
fishing-expeditions to catch mackerel, all concerned in making or
mending the nets were under a taboo: the ground where the nets were made
was sacred, and so was the river on the banks of which the work went on.
No man but the tabooed persons might walk over the land or pass up or
down the river in a canoe: no fire might be lighted within a prescribed
distance: no food might be dressed while the taboo lasted. Not till the
net had been finished and wetted with the sacred water, and the owner
had caught and eaten a fish, did these burdensome restrictions come to
an end by the removal of the taboo.[99] Once more, the men who took part
in a warlike expedition were under a severe taboo and had to observe
very strictly the customs which that mysterious state of consecration
rendered obligatory.[100] Even after their return home they were not
allowed to enter their houses or to hold any direct communication with
their families who had remained there, till they had been rendered
common (_noa_) by a ceremony of desecration. Before that ceremony took
place, the warriors were obliged to throw away the remains of the bodies
of their foes on which, as usual, they had been feasting; for being
sacred food the flesh could only be touched by sacred or tabooed
persons. One woman only, the _wahine ariki_, as she was called, that is
the elder female of the elder branch of the stock from which the tribe
traced their descent, was permitted to touch the sanctified meat;
indeed, in order to carry out the ritual of desecration in due form she
was expected and required to swallow an ear of the first enemy killed in
battle.[101] A warlike expedition might lay even people at home under a
taboo; for all who remained behind, including old men, women, and
slaves, were often required to observe a rigid fast and to abstain from
smoking till the return of the warriors.[102]

    [92] W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_, pp. 84 _sq._

    [93] W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_, p. 84; R. Taylor, _Te
    Ika A Maui_, p. 163.

    [94] E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, pp.
    268 _sq._, _s.v._ "Noa."

    [95] W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_, pp. 85 _sq._; R.
    Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 163, 164.

    [96] E. Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 40.

    [97] J. Dumont d'Urville, _Voyage autour du Monde et à la
    recherche de la Pérouse, Histoire du Voyage_ (Paris, 1832-1833),
    iii. 685; W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_, p. 86; E.
    Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 104 _sq._; Servant,
    "Notice sur la Nouvelle-Zélande," _Annales de la Propagation de
    la Foi_, xv. (1843) p. 23; R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 166
    _sq._; _Old New Zealand_, by a Pakeha Maori, pp. 104 _sqq._ The
    taboo could be got rid of more simply by the tabooed man
    touching his child or grandchild and taking food or drink from
    the child's hands. But when that was done, the taboo was
    transferred to the child, who retained it for the rest of the
    day. See E. Dieffenbach, _op. cit._ ii. 105.

    [98] W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_, p. 85; R. Taylor,
    _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 165 _sq._; _Old New Zealand_, by a Pakeha
    Maori, pp. 103 _sq._

    [99] W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_, p. 85.

    [100] _Old New Zealand_, by a Pakeha Maori, pp. 96, 114 _sq._

    [101] E. Shortland, _The Southern Districts of New Zealand_, pp.
    68 _sq._

    [102] _Old New Zealand_, by a Pakeha Maori, pp. 114 _sq._

But in contrast to the temporary taboos which affected common folk and
debarred them for a time from familiar intercourse with their fellows, a
perpetual and very stringent taboo was laid on the persons and property
of chiefs, especially of those high hereditary chiefs who bore the title
of _Ariki_ and were thought to be able at any time to hold visible
converse with their dead ancestors.[103] Strictly speaking, "the _ariki_
of a Maori tribe is the senior male descendant of the elder branch of
the tribe, that is, he is a descendant of the elder son of the elder son
of each generation from the time of the original ancestor down to the
present day. As such, he was of old regarded almost as a god, inasmuch
as he represented all that there was of _m[)a]na_ and sacredness of his
tribe. That he should have been regarded in this light is not
astonishing, for the Maoris believed he was something more than human,
in that he was the shrine of an hereditary _Atua_, the guardian spirit
of the tribe, and could therefore at any time communicate with the
tribal gods.... Such a man was not only _tapu_ in person but he made
everything he touched so dangerously sacred as to be a source of terror
to the tribe. To smoke his pipe, or drink from any vessel he had
touched, was death speedy and certain at the hands of the gods, who
avenge breaches of the _tapu_."[104] "The gods being no more than
deceased chiefs, the _arikis_ were regarded as living ones, and thus
were not to be killed by inferior men, but only by those who had more
powerful _atuas_ in them; the victorious chief who had slain numbers,
swallowed their eyes, and drunk their blood, was supposed to have added
the spirits of his victims to his own, and thus increased his _mana_ or
power; to keep up this idea, and hinder the lower orders from trying
whether it were possible to kill such corporeal and living gods, was the
grand work of the _tapu_."[105] The godhead of a chief was thought to
reside in his eyes, especially in his left eye; that was why by
swallowing the eye or eyes of a slain chief a living chief was believed
to absorb the divine spirit of the dead man and thereby to strengthen
his own divinity; the more eyes he swallowed, the greater god he

    [103] E. Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 40, 112
    _sq._, 356; E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the
    New Zealanders_, p. 104; R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 149,
    164, 212 _sq._; E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative
    Dictionary_, pp. 23 _sq._, _s.v._ "Ariki." The word _ariki_
    signifies properly the first-born or heir, whether male or
    female, of a family.

    [104] Lieut.-Col. W. E. Gudgeon, "Maori Religion," _Journal of
    the Polynesian Society_, vol. xiv. no. 3 (September 1905), p.
    130. Compare _id._, "The Tipua-Kura and other Manifestations of
    the Spirit World," _Journal of the Polynesian Society_, vol. xv.
    no. 57 (March 1906), p. 38.

    [105] R. Taylor, _Te Ika a Maui_, p. 173. _Mana_ means
    authority, especially divine authority or supernatural power.
    See E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, p.
    203, _s.v._ "Mana"; and for a full discussion of the conception
    see Lieut.-Col. W. E. Gudgeon, "Mana Tangata," _Journal of the
    Polynesian Society_, vol. xiv. no. 2 (June 1905), pp. 49-66.
    "_Mana_ plays a leading part in the ability of a leader, or
    successes in war of celebrated warriors. When a man frequently
    undertakes daring deeds, which ought under ordinary
    circumstances to fail, but none the less prove successful, he is
    said to possess _mana_, and thereafter is regarded as one
    peculiarly favoured by the gods, and in such cases it is held
    that he can only be overcome by some act or default; such as a
    disregard or neglect of some religious or warlike observance,
    which has been shown by experience to be essential to success in
    war, but which our warrior, spoiled by a long career of good
    fortune, had come to regard as necessary to ordinary mortals
    only and of but little consequence to men of _mana_" (W. E.
    Gudgeon, _op. cit._ p. 62). "There were cases in which the
    _mana_ of a man depended upon the facility with which he could
    communicate with the spirits of departed ancestors, that is,
    upon his capacity to enforce the aid and attendance of these
    minor deities. To this end every man with any pretension to
    _mana_ had a knowledge of certain forms of invocation by which
    he could summon the spirits of long departed heroes and
    ancestors, but it must not be supposed that these invocations
    would necessarily have power in the mouths of all men, for such
    was not the case. The efficacy of a _karakia_ or invocation
    depended in part on its method of delivery, and in part on the
    _mana_ of the man who used it" (W. E. Gudgeon, _op. cit._ p.
    50). Compare R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 172, 173; _Old New
    Zealand_, by a Pakeha Maori, p. 100.

    [106] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 147, 352. The soul was
    thought to reside especially in the left eye; accordingly it was
    the left eye of an enemy which was most commonly swallowed by a
    victorious chief who desired to increase his spiritual power.
    See J. Dumont d'Urville, _Voyage autour du Monde et à la
    recherche de la Pérouse, Histoire du Voyage_ (Paris, 1832-1833),
    ii. 527; E. Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 118, 128

Every such divine chief was under a permanent taboo; he was as it were
surrounded by an atmosphere of sanctity which attached to his person and
never left him; it was his birthright, a part of himself of which he
could not be divested, and it was well understood and recognised by
everybody at all times. And the sanctity was not confined to his person,
it was an infection which extended or was communicated to all his
movable property, especially to his clothes, weapons, ornaments, and
tools, indeed to everything which he touched. Even the petty chiefs and
fighting men, everybody indeed who could claim the title of _rangatira_
or gentleman, possessed in some degree this mysterious quality.[107]
However, in young people of rank the sanctity which appertained to them
by virtue of their birth was supposed to be only latent; it did not
develop or burst into full bloom till they had reached mature age and
set up house on their own account. Hence noble boys and lads were under
none of the irksome restrictions to which in their adult years they were
afterwards bound to submit; they mixed freely with the profane vulgar
and did not even disdain to carry fuel or provisions on their backs, a
thing which no man of any standing could possibly do; at all events, if
he did so demean himself, the food was thereby rendered taboo and could
accordingly be used by nobody but himself. "If he went into the shed
used as a kitchen (a thing, however, he would never think of doing
except on some great emergency), all the pots, ovens, food, etc., would
be at once rendered useless--none of the cooks or inferior people could
make use of them, or partake of anything which had been cooked in them.
He might certainly light a little fire in his own house, not for
cooking, as that never by any chance could be done in his house, but for
warmth; but that, or any other fire, if he should have blown upon it
with his breath in lighting it, became at once _tapu_, and could be used
for no common or culinary purpose. Even to light a pipe at it would
subject any inferior person, or in many instances an equal, to a
terrible attack of the _tapu morbus_, besides being a slight or affront
to the dignity of the person himself. I have seen two or three young men
fairly wearing themselves out on a wet day and with bad apparatus
trying to make fire to cook with, by rubbing two sticks together, when
on a journey, and at the same time there was a roaring fire close at
hand at which several _rangatira_ and myself were warming ourselves, but
it was _tapu_, or sacred fire--one of the _rangatira_ had made it from
his own tinder-box, and blown upon it in lighting it, and as there was
not another tinder-box amongst us, fast we must, though hungry as
sharks, till common culinary fire could be obtained."[108]

    [107] _Old New Zealand_, by a Pakeha Maori, p. 94.

    [108] _Old New Zealand_, by a Pakeha Maori, p. 98.

The head of a chief was always and at all times deemed most sacred, and
in consequence he might not even touch it with his own hand; if he
chanced to commit the sacrilege, he was obliged at once to apply his
fingers to his sacred nose and to snuff up the odour of sanctity which
they had abstracted, thus restoring the holy effluvium to the place from
which it had been taken.[109] For the same reason the cutting of a
chief's hair was a most difficult and delicate operation. While it
lasted neither the great man himself nor the barber who operated on him
was allowed to do anything or partake of any food except under the
restrictions imposed on all sacred or tabooed persons; to use the
scissors or the shell, with which the operation was performed, for any
other purpose or any other person would have been a terrible profanation
of sacred things, and would have rendered the rash sacrilegious wretch,
who had dared so to appropriate it, liable to the severest punishment.
The severed hair was collected and buried or hung up on a tree,[110]
probably to put it out of the way of common folk, who might have been
struck dead by contact with the holy locks. But apparently the dangers
incident to hair-cutting were by no means confined to chiefs, but
extended to any one who was bold enough to submit his head to the
barber's shears; for one of the early writers on the Maoris tells us
that "he who has had his hair cut is in the immediate charge of the
_Atua_; he is removed from the contact and society of his family and his
tribe; he dare not touch his food himself; it is put into his mouth by
another person; nor can he for some days resume his accustomed
occupations, or associate with his fellow-men."[111] The hair of the
first-born of a family in particular, on account of his extreme
sanctity, might be cut by nobody but a priest; and for many days after
the operation had been performed the priestly barber was in a state of
strict taboo. He could do nothing for himself, and might not go near
anybody. He might not touch food with his hands, and no less than three
persons were required to feed him. One of them prepared the food at a
safe distance, took it to a certain place, and retired; a second came
forward, picked up the victuals, carried them to another spot and left
them; finally, a third, venturing into the danger zone, actually brought
the food to the priest and put it into his mouth.[112]

    [109] W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_, p. 87; R. Taylor,
    _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 165.

    [110] W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_, p. 87; E.
    Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 104.

    [111] Richard A. Cruise, _Journal of a Ten Months' Residence in
    New Zealand_ (London, 1823), pp. 283 _sq._ Compare J. Dumont
    d'Urville, _Voyage autour du Monde et à la recherche de la
    Pérouse, Histoire du Voyage_ (Paris, 1832-1833), ii. 533.

    [112] Elsdon Best, "Maori Religion," _Report of the Twelfth
    Meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of
    Science, held at Brisbane, 1909_, p. 463.

The atmosphere of taboo or sanctity which thus surrounded Maori chiefs
and gentlemen not only imposed many troublesome and inconvenient
restraints on the men themselves, it was also frequently a source of
very real danger, loss, and annoyance to other people. For example, it
was a rule that a chief should not blow on a fire with his mouth,
because his breath being sacred would communicate its sanctity to the
fire, and if a slave or a common man afterwards cooked food at the fire
or merely took a brand from it, the chief's holiness would cause that
man's death.[113] Again, if the blood of a high chief flowed on
anything, though it were but a single drop, it rendered the thing sacred
to him, so that it could be used by nobody else. Thus it once happened
that a party of natives came in a fine new canoe to pay their respects
to an eminent chief; the great man stepped into the canoe, and in doing
so he chanced to strike a splinter into his foot, which bled. That
sufficed to consecrate the canoe to him. The owner at once leaped out,
drew the canoe ashore opposite to the chief's house and left it
there.[114] Again, a Maori gentleman, visiting a missionary, knocked
his head against a beam in the house, and his sacred blood was spilt.
The natives present thereupon told the missionary that in former times
his house would after such an accident have belonged to his noble
visitor.[115] Even the cast garments of a chief had acquired, by contact
with his holy body, so virulent a degree of sanctity that they would
kill anybody else who might happen in ignorance to find and wear them.
On a journey, when a chief found his blanket too heavy to carry, he has
been known to throw it very considerately down a precipice where nobody
would be likely to light on it, lest some future traveller should be
struck dead by appropriating the sacred garment. Once a chief's lost
tinder-box actually caused the death of several persons; for having
found it and used it to light their pipes, they literally died of fright
on learning the sacrilege which they had committed.[116] Such fatal
effects consequent on the discovery of a breach of taboo were not
uncommon among the Maoris. For instance, a woman once ate some peaches
which, though she did not know it, had been taken from a tabooed place.
As soon as she heard where the fruit had come from, the basket which she
was carrying dropped from her hands, and she exclaimed in agony that the
spirit (_atua_) of the chief whose sanctuary had thus been profaned
would kill her. That happened in the afternoon, and next day by twelve
o'clock she was dead.[117] Again, a slave, a strong man in the prime of
life, once found the remains of a chief's dinner beside the road, and
being hungry ate it up without asking any questions. No sooner, however,
did he hear to whom the food had belonged than he was seized with the
most extraordinary convulsions and cramps in the stomach, which never
ceased till he died about sundown the same day. The English eyewitness
who reports the case adds, that any European freethinker who should have
denied that the man was killed by the chief's taboo would have been
listened to by the Maoris with feelings of contempt for his ignorance
and inability to understand plain and direct evidence.[118]

    [113] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 165.

    [114] E. Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 101; R.
    Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 164 _sq._

    [115] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 165.

    [116] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, pp. 164 _sq._

    [117] W. Brown, _New Zealand and its Aborigines_ (London, 1845),
    p. 76.

    [118] _Old New Zealand_, by a Pakeha Maori, pp. 95-97.

In order that a thing should be consecrated or tabooed to the exclusive
use and possession of a chief, it was not necessary that his sacred
blood should flow on it, or that he should merely touch it; he had only
to call it his head, or his back-bone, or any other part of his body,
and at once the thing, by a legal fiction, became his and might be
appropriated by nobody else under pain of violating the taboo which the
chief had laid upon it. For example, when a chief desired to prevent a
piece of ground from being cultivated by any one but himself, he often
resorted to the expedient of calling it his back-bone; after that if any
man dared to set foot on the land so consecrated, the transgression was
equivalent to a declaration of war. In this simple and easy fashion a
chief might acquire anything that took his fancy from an axe or a canoe
to a landed estate, and the rightful owner of the property dared not
complain nor dispute the claim of his superior.[119]

    [119] E. Shortland, _Traditions and Superstitions of the New
    Zealanders_, p. 111; _Old New Zealand_, by a Pakeha Maori, pp.
    137 _sqq._; R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 168.

Nevertheless in daily life even ordinary people used the taboo to secure
their property or to acquire for themselves what had hitherto been
common to all. For example, if a man found a piece of drift timber, he
could make it his own by tying something to it or giving it a chop with
his axe; he thereby set his taboo on the log, and as a general rule the
taboo would be respected. Again, with a simple piece of flax he might
bar the door of his house or his store of food; the contents of the
house or store were thus rendered inviolable, nobody would meddle with

    [120] R. Taylor, _Te Ika A Maui_, p. 171.

It is easy to see that this form of taboo must have greatly contributed
to create and confirm respect for the rights of private property. The
most valuable articles might, we are told, under ordinary circumstances
be left to its protection in the absence of the owners for any length of
time.[121] Indeed so obvious and so useful is this function of taboo
that one well-informed writer supposes the original purpose of the
institution to have been no other than the preservation of private
property;[122] and another observer, after eulogising its beneficent
effects, declares that "it was undoubtedly the ordinance of a wise
legislator."[123] But to say this is greatly to overrate the wisdom and
foresight of primitive man in general and of the Polynesians in
particular; it implies a fundamental misconception of the real nature
and history of taboo. That curious institution was not the creation of a
prudent and sagacious legislator, who devised this system of checks and
restrictions for the purpose of curbing the passions of a savage race
and inducing them to submit to the salutary restraints of law and
morality. It was in its origin, I believe, simply a crude and barbarous
form of superstition, which, like many other superstitions, has
accidentally led to good results that were never contemplated by its
ignorant and foolish votaries. It is thus that in the long history of
mankind things which to a contemporary spectator might seem to be almost
unmitigated evils turn out in the end to be fraught with incalculable
good to humanity. This experience, often repeated, enables students of
the past to look forward, even in the darkest hours, with cheerful
confidence to the future.

    [121] _Old New Zealand_, by a Pakeha Maori, p. 97.

    [122] _Old New Zealand_, by a Pakeha Maori, p. 94.

    [123] E. Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 100,
    "Ridiculous as this custom of the _tapu_ has appeared to some,
    and as many of its applications really are, it was,
    notwithstanding, a wholesome restraint, and, in many cases,
    almost the only one that could have been imposed; the heavy
    penalties attached to the violation of its laws serving in one
    tribe, or in several not in actual hostility with each other, as
    moral and legal commandments. It was undoubtedly the ordinance
    of a wise legislator." Compare G. F. Angas, _Savage Life and
    Scenes in Australia and New Zealand_, i. 330, "Doubtless this
    law is the result of some wise regulation for the protection of
    property and individuals, and it has in many things a beneficial
    influence amongst a people who have no written or regularly
    established code of laws of their own." To the same effect
    another authority on the Maoris observes: "The most politic and
    useful of all the superstitious institutions of the Maori people
    is that which involves the rites of _tapu_. It has always seemed
    to me that this institution, with its far-reaching
    ramifications, must have been the conception of a very gifted
    mind, for, as a governing factor, it is very superior to the
    Hindu institution of caste. It must, moreover, have been
    initiated during a period of civilisation, to which the
    Polynesians have long been strangers, but with which at one
    period of their history they were sufficiently familiar." See
    Lieut.-Colonel Gudgeon, "The Tipua-Kura and other Manifestations
    of the Spirit World," _Journal of the Polynesian Society_, vol.
    xv. no. 57 (March 1906), p. 49.

The particular superstition which lies at the root of taboo and has
incidentally exercised a beneficent influence by inspiring a respect for
law and morality appears to be a belief in the existence of ghosts and
their power to affect the fortunes of the living for good or evil. For
the ultimate sanction of the taboo, in other words, that which engaged
the people to observe its commandments, was a firm persuasion that any
breach of these commandments would surely and speedily be punished by an
_atua_ or ghost, who would afflict the sinner with a painful malady till
he died. From youth upwards the Maori was bred in the faith that the
souls of his dead ancestors, jealous of any infraction of the
traditionary rites, would commission some spirit of their kin to enter
into the transgressor's body and prey on a vital part. The visible signs
of this hidden and mysterious process they fancied to be the various
forms of disease. The mildest ailments were thought to be caused by the
spirits of those who had known the sufferer on earth, and who
accordingly were imagined to be more merciful and more reluctant to
injure an old friend and relation. On the other hand the most malignant
forms of disease were attributed to the spirits of dead infants, who
having never learned to love their living friends, would rend and devour
the bowels of their nearest kin without compunction. With these ideas as
to the origin of disease the Maoris naturally did not attempt to heal
the sick through the curative properties of herbs and other drugs; their
remedies consisted not in medicine but in exorcism: instead of a
physician they sent for a priest, who by his spells and incantations
undertook to drive the dangerous sprite from the body of the patient and
to appease the ancestral spirit, whose wrath was believed to be the
cause of all the mischief. If the deity proved recalcitrant and
obstinately declined to accept this notice to quit, they did not
hesitate to resort to the most threatening and outrageous language,
sometimes telling him that they would kill and eat him, and at others
that they would burn him to a cinder if he did not take himself off at
once and allow the patient to recover.[124] Curiously enough, the
spirit which preyed on the vitals of a sick man was supposed to assume
the form of a lizard; hence these animals, especially a beautiful green
species which the Maoris called _kakariki_, were regarded with fear and
horror by the natives.[125] Once when a Maori of Herculean thews and
sinews was inadvertently shown some green lizards preserved in a bottle
of spirits, his massive frame shrank back as from a mortal wound, and
his face betrayed signs of extreme horror. An aged chief in the room, on
learning what was the matter, cried out, "I shall die! I shall die!" and
crawled away on hands and knees; while the other man gallantly
interposed himself as a bulwark between the fugitive and the green gods
(_atuas_) in the bottle, shifting his position adroitly so as to screen
the chief till he was out of range of the deities.[126] An old man once
assured a missionary very seriously that in attending to a sick person
he had seen the god come out of the sufferer's mouth in the form of a
lizard, and that from the same moment the patient began to mend and was
soon restored to perfect health.[127]

    [124] E. Shortland, _The Southern Districts of New Zealand_, pp.
    30 _sq._, 294 _sq._; _id._, _Traditions and Superstitions of the
    New Zealanders_, pp. 114 _sqq._; _id._, _Maori Religion and
    Mythology_, 31 _sq._; W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_, pp.
    141 _sq._ Most malignant and dangerous of all appear to have
    been thought the spirits of abortions or still-born infants. See
    Elsdon Best, "The Lore of the _Whare-Kohanga_," _Journal of the
    Polynesian Society_, vol. xv. no. 57 (March 1906), pp. 12-15;
    _Reise der Oesterreichischen Fregatte Novara um die Erde,
    Anthropologischer Theil, Dritte Abtheilung, Ethnographie_,
    bearbeitet von Dr. Fr. Müller (Vienna, 1868), pp. 59 _sq._ Even
    more dangerous than the spirits of dead infants were supposed to
    be the spirits of human germs, which the Maoris imagined to
    exist in the menstrual fluid. See E. Shortland, _Traditions and
    Superstitions of the New Zealanders_, pp. 115, 292; _id._,
    _Maori Religion and Mythology_, pp. 107 _sq._ As to disease
    inflicted by ancestral spirits (_atuas_) for breaches of taboo,
    see further J. L. Nicholas, _Narrative of a Voyage to New
    Zealand_ (London, 1817), i. 272 _sq._, ii. 176 _sq._; E.
    Dieffenbach, _Travels in New Zealand_, ii. 105, "The breaking of
    the _tapu_, if the crime does not become known, is, they
    believe, punished by the _Atua_, who inflicts disease upon the
    criminal; if discovered, it is punished by him whom it regards,
    and often becomes the cause of war."

    [125] Richard A. Cruise, _Journal of a Ten Months' Residence in
    New Zealand_ (London, 1823), p. 320; J. Dumont d'Urville,
    _Voyage autour du Monde et à la recherche de la Pérouse,
    Histoire du Voyage_ (Paris, 1832-1833), ii. 517; W. Yate, _An
    Account of New Zealand_, pp. 141 _sq._; E. Dieffenbach, _Travels
    in New Zealand_, ii. 117; Elsdon Best, "Maori Medical Lore,"
    _Journal of the Polynesian Society_, vol. xiii. no. 4 (December
    1904), p. 228. As to the superstitious veneration of lizards
    among the peoples of the Malay-Polynesian stock, see G. A.
    Wilken, _Verspreide Geschriften_ (The Hague, 1912), iv. 125

    [126] G. F. Angas, _Savage Life and Scenes in Australia and New
    Zealand_, ii. 67.

    [127] W. Yate, _An Account of New Zealand_, p. 142.

§ 6. _Conclusion_

If now we attempt to sum up the effects which the belief in human
immortality exercised on the life of the Maoris we may perhaps conclude
that these effects were partly good and partly evil. On the one hand by
ascribing to the chiefs the special protection of the powerful spirits
of the dead, it invested the governing class with a degree of authority
to which on merely natural or rational grounds they could have laid no
claim; hence it tended to strengthen the respect for government and to
ensure the maintenance of law and order. Moreover, by lending a
supernatural sanction to the rights of private property among all
classes it further contributed to abolish one of the most fruitful
sources of discord and crime in the community and thereby to foster
economic progress, which cannot exist without some measure of peace and
security for life and possessions. These were great gains, and so far as
the faith in immortality helped to win them for the Maoris, it certainly
ameliorated their condition and furthered the cause of civilisation
among them. But on the other hand the belief in the essential malignancy
of the spirits of the dead and in their great power to harm the living
added a host of purely imaginary terrors to the real evils with which
man's existence on earth is naturally and inevitably encompassed: it
imposed a regular system of needless and vexatious restrictions on
social intercourse and the simplest acts of daily life; and it erected
an almost insuperable barrier to the growth of science, and particularly
of that beneficent branch of science which has for its object the
alleviation of human suffering, since by concentrating the whole
attention of the people on a false and absurd theory of supernatural
agency it diverted them from that fruitful investigation of natural
causes which alone can strengthen and extend man's control over matter.
This was a heavy toll to pay for the advantages incidental to a belief
in immortality; and if we were asked to strike a balance between the
good and the evil which that belief entailed on the Maoris, we might
well hesitate to say to which side the scales of judgment should



§ 1. _The Tonga or Friendly Islands_

The Tonga or Friendly Islands form an archipelago of about a hundred
small islands situated in the South Pacific, between 18° and 22° South
latitude and between 173° and 176° East longitude. The archipelago falls
into three groups of islands, which lie roughly north and south of each
other. The southern is the Tonga group, the central is the Haabai or
Haapai group, and the northern is the Vavau group. In the southern group
the principal islands are Tongataboo and Eua; in the central group,
Namuka and Lifuka (Lefooga); in the northern group, Vavau. The largest
island of the archipelago, Tongataboo, is about twenty-two miles long by
eight miles wide; next to it in importance are Vavau and Eua, and there
are seven or eight other islands not less than five miles in length. The
rest are mere islets. Most of the islands are surrounded by dangerous
coral reefs, and though the soil is deep and very fertile, there is a
great lack of flowing water; running streams are almost unknown. Most of
the islands consist of coral and are very low; the highest point of
Tongataboo is only about sixty feet above the level of the sea.[1]
However, some of the islands are lofty and of volcanic formation. When
Captain Cook visited the islands in 1773 and 1777 there was apparently
only one active volcano in the archipelago; it was situated in the small
island of Tufoa, which lies to the west of Namuka. Cook saw the island
smoking at the distance of ten leagues, and was told by the natives that
it had never ceased smoking in their memory, nor had they any tradition
of its inactivity.[2] In the hundred and fifty years which have elapsed
since Cook's time volcanic action has greatly increased in the
archipelago. A considerable eruption took place at Tufoa in 1885: the
small but lofty island of Kao (5000 feet high) has repeatedly been in
eruption: the once fertile and populous island of Amargura, or
Funua-lai, in about 18° South latitude, was suddenly devastated in 1846
or 1847 by a terrific eruption, which reduced it to a huge mass of lava
and burnt sand, without a leaf or blade of grass of any kind. Warned by
violent earthquakes, which preceded the explosion, the inhabitants
escaped in time to Vavau. The roar of the volcano was heard one hundred
and thirty miles off; and an American ship sailed through a shower of
ashes, rolling like great volumes of smoke, for forty miles. For months
afterwards the glare of the tremendous fires was visible night after
night in the island of Vavau, situated forty miles away.[3] Another
dreadful eruption occurred on the 24th of June 1853, in Niua Foöu, an
island about two hundred miles to the north-north-west of Funua-lai. The
entire island seems to be the circular ridge of an ancient and vast
volcano, of which the crater is occupied by a lake of clear calm water.
On the occasion in question the earth was rent in the centre of a native
village; the flames of a new volcano burst forth from the fissure,
belching a sea of molten lava, under which ten miles of country, once
covered with the richest verdure, have been encased in solid rock,
averaging from eight to fifteen feet in thickness. The lake boiled like
a cauldron, and long after the more powerful action of the volcano had
ceased, the waters of the lake were often rent by tongues of flame,
which shot up from them as well as from the clefts in the surrounding
precipices.[4] In the island of Late, lying to the west of Vavau, a new
volcano broke out with great violence in 1854; the roar of the volcano
was heard at Lifuka, fifty miles away; the immense pillar of smoke was
visible by day and the fire by night. The central portion of one side of
the mountain (about 2500 feet high) was completely blown out by the

    [1] Horatio Hale, _U.S. Exploring Expedition, Ethnography and
    Philology_ (Philadelphia, 1846), pp. 4 _sq._; F. H. H.
    Guillemard, _Australasia_, ii. (London, 1894) pp. 497, 499. As
    to the scarcity of running water, see Captain James Cook,
    _Voyages_ (London, 1809), iii. 206, v. 389. He was told that
    there was a running stream on the high island of Kao. As to the
    soil of Tongataboo, see Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage
    to the Southern Pacific Ocean_ (London, 1899), p. 280, "The soil
    is everywhere prolific, and consists of a fine rich mould, upon
    an average about fourteen or fifteen inches deep, free from
    stones, except near the beach, where coral rocks appear above
    the surface. Beneath this mould is a red loam four or five
    inches thick; next is a very strong blue clay in small
    quantities; and in some places has been found a black earth,
    which emits a very fragrant smell resembling bergamot, but it
    soon evaporates when exposed to the air."

    [2] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 277. For descriptions of
    the volcano see W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, Second Edition
    (London, 1818), i. 240 _sq._; and especially Thomas West, _Ten
    Years in South-Eastern Polynesia_ (London, 1865), pp. 89 _sqq._
    Both these writers ascended the volcano.

    [3] Thomas West, _op. cit._ pp. 79 _sqq._; J. E. Erskine,
    _Journal of a Cruise among the Islands of the Western Pacific_
    (London, 1853), p. 120; F. H. H. Guillemard, _Australasia_, ii.
    p. 497.

    [4] T. West, _op. cit._ pp. 82 _sqq._; George Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_ (London, 1910), pp. 4 _sq._

    [5] T. West, _op. cit._ pp. 88 _sq._

But not only have new volcanoes appeared or long extinct volcanoes
resumed their activity within the last century in the existing islands,
new islands have been formed by volcanic action. One such island,
emitting volumes of fire, smoke, and steam, issued from the surface of
the sea, and was discovered by the missionary ship _John Wesley_ in
August 1857; its appearance had been heralded some years before by a
strange agitation of the sea and by fire and smoke ascending from the
water. This new volcanic island lies about midway between the two other
volcanic islands of Tufoa and Late.[6] A third new volcanic island seems
to have been formed to the south of Tufoa in 1886.[7] Another new island
was thrown up from the sea about the beginning of the twentieth century;
it was partly washed away again, but has again materially increased in
size.[8] It is noteworthy that the volcanoes, new or old, all occur in a
line running roughly north and south at a considerable distance to the
west of, but parallel to, the main body of the Tongan archipelago. They
clearly indicate the existence of submarine volcanic action on a great
scale. Even in the coralline islands traces of volcanic agency have come
to light in the shape of pumice-stones, which have been dug out of the
solid coral rock at considerable depths.[9] In the lofty island of Eua
an extensive dyke of basalt is found inland underlying the coral

    [6] T. West, _op. cit._ pp. 92-93.

    [7] I infer this from the entry "Volcanic island, 1886," in Mr.
    Guillemard's map of the Pacific Islands. He does not mention it
    in the text (_Australasia_, ii. p. 497).

    [8] George Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 6.

    [9] T. West, _op. cit._ p. 94.

    [10] George Brown, _op. cit._ p. 4.

These facts lend some countenance to the view that the whole archipelago
forms the summit or visible ridge of a long chain of submarine
volcanoes, and that the islands, even those of coralline formation, have
been raised to their present level by volcanic action.[11] That very
acute observer, Captain Cook, or one of the naturalists of the
expedition, noticed that in the highest parts of Tongataboo, which he
estimated roughly at a hundred feet above sea-level, he often met with
"the same coral rock, which is found at the shore, projecting above the
surface, and perforated and cut into all those inequalities which are
usually seen in rocks that lie within the wash of the tide."[12] Again,
on ascending the comparatively lofty island of Eua, Captain Cook
observes: "We were now about two or three hundred feet above the level
of the sea, and yet, even here, the coral was perforated into all the
holes and inequalities which usually diversify the surface of this
substance within the reach of the tide. Indeed, we found the same coral
till we began to approach the summits of the highest hills; and, it was
remarkable, that these were chiefly composed of a yellowish, soft, sandy
stone."[13] In the island of Vavau it was remarked by Captain Waldegrave
that the coral rock rises many feet above the present level of the sea,
and he adds: "The action of fire is visible on it, and we saw several
instances of its crystallisation."[14]

    [11] T. West, _op. cit._ 95.

    [12] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 344.

    [13] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 381.

    [14] Captain the Hon. W. Waldegrave, R.N., "Extracts from a
    Private Journal," _Journal of the Royal Geographical Society_,
    iii. (1833) p. 193.

The view that even the coralline islands of the Tongan archipelago have
been elevated by volcanic agency is not necessarily inconsistent with
Darwin's theory that coral reefs are formed during periods of
subsidence, not of elevation;[15] for it is quite possible that, after
being raised ages ago by volcanic forces, these islands may be now
slowly subsiding, and that it has been during the period of subsidence
that they have become incrusted by coral reefs. Yet the occurrence of
coral rocks, bearing all the marks of marine action, at considerable
heights above the sea, appears indubitably to prove that such a general
subsidence has been in some places varied by at least a temporary

    [15] Charles Darwin, _Journal of Researches, etc., during the
    Voyage of the "Beagle"_ (London, 1912), pp. 471 _sqq._; Sir
    Charles Lyell, _Principles of Geology_, Twelfth Edition (London,
    1875), ii. 602 _sqq._; T. H. Huxley, _Physiography_ (London,
    1881), pp. 256 _sqq._

In thus postulating elevation by volcanic action, as well as subsidence,
to explain the formation of the Tongan islands I am glad to have the
support of a good observer, the late Rev. Dr. George Brown, who spent
the best years of his life in the Pacific, where his experience both of
the larger and the smaller islands was varied and extensive. He writes:
"I have seen islands composed of true coralline limestone, the cliffs of
which rise so perpendicularly from the blue ocean that the natives have
to ascend and descend by ladders in going from the ocean to the top, or
vice versa. A large steamer can go so close to some of these cliffs that
she could be moored alongside of them in calm weather. It is not at all
improbable, I think, that in these islands we have the two factors in
the formation of islands, viz. subsidence, during which these immense
cliffs were formed, and subsequent upheaval. This is the only way, I
think, in which we can account for these perpendicular cliffs in the
midst of deep blue ocean."[16]

    [16] George Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_ (London, 1910),
    pp. 13 _sq._

I have dwelt at what may seem undue length on the volcanic phenomena of
the Tonga islands because the occurrence of such phenomena in savage
lands has generally influenced the beliefs and customs of the natives,
quite apart from the possibility, which should always be borne in mind,
that man first obtained fire from an active volcano. But even if, as has
been suggested, the Tonga islands formed the starting-point from which
the Polynesian race spread over the islands of the Pacific,[17] it seems
very unlikely that the Polynesians first learned the use of fire when
they reached the Tongan archipelago. More probably they were
acquainted, not only with the use of fire, but with the mode of making
it long before they migrated from their original home in Southern Asia.
A people perfectly ignorant of that prime necessity could hardly have
made their way across such wide stretches of sea and land. But it is
quite possible that the myth which the Tongans, in common with many
other Polynesians, tell of the manner in which their ancestors procured
their first fire, was suggested to them by the spectacle of a volcano in
eruption. They say that the hero Maui Kijikiji, the Polynesian
Prometheus, first procured fire for men by descending into the bowels of
the earth and stealing it from his father, Maui Atalanga, who had kept
it there jealously concealed.[18]

    [17] John Crawfurd, _Grammar and Dictionary of the Malay
    Language_ (London, 1852), _Preliminary Dissertation_, p. 253,
    quoted by Thomas West, _Ten Years in South-Central Polynesia_,
    pp. 248 _sqq._ But the more usual view is that the
    starting-point of the dispersal of the Polynesian race in the
    Pacific was Samoa.

    [18] Sarah S. Farmer, _Tonga and the Friendly Islands_ (London,
    1855), pp. 134-137; Le P. Reiter, "Traditions Tonguiennes,"
    _Anthropos_, xii.-xiii. (1917-1918), pp. 1026-1040; E. E.
    Collcott, "Legends from Tonga," _Folk-lore_, xxxii. (1921) pp.
    45-48. Miss Farmer probably obtained the story from the Rev.
    John Thomas, who was a missionary in the islands for twenty-five
    years (from 1826 to 1850). She acknowledges her obligations to
    him for information on the religion of the natives (p. 125). For
    the period of Mr. Thomas's residence in Tonga, see Miss Farmer's
    book, p. 161. The story is told in closely similar forms in many
    other islands of the Pacific. For some of the evidence see my
    edition of Apollodorus, _The Library_, vol. ii. p. 331 _sqq._

§ 2. _The Tonga Islanders, their Character, Mode of Life, and

Physically the Tonga islanders are fine specimens of the Polynesian race
and generally impress travellers very favourably. Captain Cook, the
first to observe them closely, describes them as very strong and well
made, some of them really handsome, and many of them with truly European
features and genuine Roman noses.[19] At a later date Commodore Wilkes,
the commander of the United States Exploring Expedition, speaks of them
as "some of the finest specimens of the human race that can well be
imagined, surpassing in symmetry and grace those of all the other groups
we had visited"; and farther on he says: "A larger proportion of
fine-looking people is seldom to be seen, in any portion of the globe;
they are a shade lighter than any of the other islanders; their
countenances are generally of the European cast; they are tall and well
made, and their muscles are well developed."[20] Still later, in his
account of the voyage of the _Challenger_, Lord George Campbell
expressed himself even more warmly: "There are no people in the world,"
he says, "who strike one at first so much as these Friendly Islanders.
Their clear, light, copper-brown coloured skins, yellow and curly hair,
good-humoured, handsome faces, their _tout ensemble_, formed a novel and
splendid picture of the genus _homo_; and, as far as physique and
appearance go, they gave one certainly an impression of being a superior
race to ours."[21] A Catholic missionary observes that "the natives of
Tonga hardly differ from Europeans in stature, features, and colour;
they are a little sallower, which may be set down to the high
temperature of the climate. It is difficult to have a very fresh
complexion with thirty degrees of heat, Réaumur, as we have it during
four or five months of the year."[22] In appearance the Tonga islanders
closely resemble the Samoans, their neighbours on the north; some find
them a little lighter, but others somewhat darker in colour than the
Samoans.[23] According to the French explorer, Dumont d'Urville, who
passed about a month in Tongataboo in 1827, the Polynesian race in Tonga
exhibits less admixture with the swarthy Melanesian race than in Tahiti
and New Zealand, there being far fewer individuals of stunted stature,
flat noses, and frizzly hair among the Tongans than among the other
Polynesians.[24] Even among the Tongans the physical superiority of the
chiefs to the common people is said to be conspicuous; they are taller,
comelier, and lighter in colour than the lower orders. Some would
explain the difference by a difference in upbringing, noblemen being
more carefully nursed, better fed, and less exposed to the sun than
commoners;[25] but it is possible that they come of a different and
better stock.

    [19] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 401 _sq._

    [20] Charles Wilkes, _Narrative of the United States Exploring
    Expedition_, New Edition (New York, 1851), iii. 10, 25.

    [21] Quoted by F. H. H. Guillemard, _Australasia_, ii. p. 488.

    [22] Jérôme Grange, in _Annales de la Propagation de la Foi_,
    xvii. (1845) p. 8.

    [23] Horatio Hale, _United States Exploring Expedition,
    Ethnography and Philology_, pp. 10 _sq._; Charles Wilkes,
    _Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition_, iii. 25;
    J. E. Erskine, _Journal of a Cruise among the Islands of the
    Western Pacific_, pp. 116, 155. The naturalist J. R. Forster
    thought the Tongans darker than the Tahitians. See his
    _Observations made during a Voyage round the World_ (London,
    1778), p. 234.

    [24] J. Dumont d'Urville, _Voyage de la corvette Astrolabe,
    Histoire du Voyage_, iv. (Paris, 1832) p. 229.

    [25] J. E. Erskine, _op. cit._ pp. 155 _sq._; Sarah S. Farmer,
    _Tonga and the Friendly Islands_, p. 140.

Intellectually the Tongans are reported to "surpass all the other South
Sea islanders in their mental development, showing great skill in the
structure of their dwellings and the manufacture of their implements,
weapons, and dress."[26] They are bold navigators,[27] and Captain Cook
observes that "nothing can be a more demonstrative evidence of their
ingenuity than the construction and make of their canoes, which, in
point of neatness and workmanship, exceed everything of this kind we saw
in this sea."[28] However, the Tongans appear to have acquired much of
their skill in the art of building and rigging canoes through
intercourse with the Fijians, their neighbours to the west, who, though
their inferiors in seamanship and the spirit of marine adventure,
originally surpassed them in naval architecture.[29] Indeed we are told
that all the large Tongan canoes are built in Fiji, because the Tongan
islands do not furnish any timber fit for the purpose. Hence a number of
Tongans are constantly employed in the windward or eastern islands of
the Fiji group building these large canoes, a hundred feet or more in
length, a process which, it is said, lasts six or seven years.[30] The
debt which in this respect the Tongans owe to the Fijians was
necessarily unknown to Captain Cook, since he never reached the Fijian
islands and knew of them only by report, though he met and questioned a
few Fijians in Tongataboo.[31]

    [26] F. H. H. Guillemard, _Australasia_, ii. pp. 498 _sq._

    [27] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 264.

    [28] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, iii. 197.

    [29] W. Mariner, _The Tonga Islands_, ii. 263 _sqq._

    [30] J. E. Erskine, _op. cit._ p. 132.

    [31] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 396 _sq._

When Captain Cook visited the Tonga islands he found the land almost
everywhere in a high state of cultivation. He says that "cultivated
roots and fruits being their principal support, this requires their
constant attention to agriculture, which they pursue very diligently,
and seem to have brought almost to as great perfection as circumstances
will permit."[32] The plants which they chiefly cultivated and which
furnished them with their staple foods were yams and plantains. These
were disposed in plantations enclosed by neat fences of reeds about six
feet high and intersected by good smooth roads or lanes, which were
shaded from the scorching sun by fruit-trees.[33] Walking on one of
these roads Cook tells us, "I thought I was transported into the most
fertile plains in Europe. There was not an inch of waste ground; the
roads occupied no more space than was absolutely necessary; the fences
did not take up above four inches each; and even this was not wholly
lost, for in many places were planted some useful trees or plants. It
was everywhere the same; change of place altered not the scene. Nature,
assisted by a little art, nowhere appears in more splendour than at this
isle."[34] Interspersed among these plantations irregularly were
bread-fruit trees and coco-nut palms, of which the palms in particular,
raising their tufted heads in air above the sea of perpetual verdure,
formed a pleasing ornament of the landscape.[35] There were no towns or
villages; most of the houses were built in the plantations, generally
surrounded by trees or ornamental shrubs, whose fragrancy perfumed the

    [32] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 411 _sq._

    [33] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, iii. 184, 195, v. 274, 316,
    357, 416.

    [34] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, iii. 184.

    [35] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 274, 357.

    [36] _Id._ iii. 196.

When Captain Cook surveyed this rich and beautiful country, the islands
were and had long been at peace, so that the natives were able to devote
themselves without distraction to the labour of tilling the soil and
providing in other ways for the necessities of life. Unhappily shortly
after his visit to the islands wars broke out among the inhabitants and
continued to rage more or less intermittently for many years. Even the
introduction of Christianity in the early part of the nineteenth
century, far from assuaging the strife, only added bitterness to it by
furnishing a fresh pretext for hostilities, in which apparently the
Christians were sometimes the aggressors with the connivance or even the
encouragement of the missionaries.[37] In consequence cultivation was
neglected and large portions of land were allowed to lie waste.[38]

    [37] This is affirmed by the Catholic missionary, Jérôme Grange
    (_Annales de la Propagation de la Foi_, xvii. (1845) pp. 15
    _sqq._), and though he writes with a manifest prejudice against
    his rivals the Protestant missionaries, his evidence is
    confirmed by Commodore Wilkes, the commander of the United
    States Exploring Expedition, who on his visit to Tongataboo
    found the Christians and heathens about to go to war with each
    other. He attempted to make peace between them, but in vain. The
    heathen were ready to accept his overtures, but "it was evident
    that King George and his advisers, and, indeed, the whole
    Christian party, seemed to be desirous of continuing the war,
    either to force the heathen to become Christians, or to carry it
    on to extermination, which the number of their warriors made
    them believe they had the power to effect. I felt, in addition,
    that the missionaries were thwarting my exertions by permitting
    warlike preparations during the pending of the negotiations."
    See Charles Wilkes, _Narrative of the United States Exploring
    Expedition_, iii. 7 _sqq._ (my quotation is from p. 16). The
    story is told from the point of view of the Protestant
    (Wesleyan) missionaries by Miss S. S. Farmer, _Tonga and The
    Friendly Islands_, pp. 293 _sqq._

    [38] John Williams, _Narrative of Missionary Enterprise in the
    South Seas_ (London, 1838), p. 264; Charles Wilkes, _op. cit._
    iii. 32 _sq._

Like all the Polynesians the natives of Tonga were ignorant of the
metals, and their only tools were made of stone, bone, shells, shark's
teeth, and rough fish-skins. They fashioned axes, or rather adzes, out
of a smooth black stone, which they procured from the volcanic island of
Tufoa; they used shells as knives; they constructed augers out of
shark's teeth, fixed on handles; and they made rasps of the rough skin
of a fish, fastened on flat pieces of wood. With such imperfect tools
they built their canoes and houses, reared the massive tombs of their
kings; and did all their other work.[39] The wonder is that with
implements so imperfect they could accomplish so much and raise
themselves to a comparatively high level among savages.

    [39] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, iii. 199, v. 414 _sq._
    Captain Cook says that the only piece of iron he found among the
    Tongans was a small broad awl, which had been made of a nail.
    But this nail they must have procured either from a former
    navigator, perhaps Tasman, or from a wreck.

A feature of the Tongan character in which the islanders evinced their
superiority to most of the Polynesians was their regard for women. In
most savage tribes which practise agriculture the labour of tilling the
fields falls in great measure on the female sex, but it was not so in
Tonga. There the women never tilled the ground nor did any hard work,
though they occupied themselves with the manufacture of bark-cloth,
mats, and other articles of domestic use. Natives of Fiji, Samoa, and
Hawaii, who resided in Tonga, used to remark on the easy lives led by
the Tongan women, and remonstrated with the men on the subject, saying
that as men underwent hardships and dangers in war and other masculine
pursuits, so women ought to be made to labour in the fields and to toil
for their living. But the Tongan men said that "it is not _gnale fafíne_
(consistent with the feminine character) to let them do hard work; women
ought only to do what is feminine: who loves a masculine woman? besides,
men are stronger, and therefore it is but proper that they should do the
hard labour."[40]

    [40] W. Mariner, _The Tonga Islands_, ii. 287. Compare _id._ ii.
    124, note *; Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 410 _sq._

Further, it is to the credit of the Tongans that, unlike many other
Polynesians, they were not generally cannibals, and indeed for the most
part held in abhorrence the practice of eating human bodies. Still young
warriors occasionally devoured the corpses of their enemies in imitation
of the Fijians, imagining that in so doing they manifested a fierce,
warlike, and manly spirit. On one occasion, returning from such a
repast, they were shunned by every one, especially by the women, who
upbraided them, saying, "Away! you are a man-eater."[41]

    [41] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 194; compare _id._ i.

The government of the Tongan islanders was eminently monarchical and
aristocratic. A strict subordination of ranks was established which has
been aptly compared to the feudal system. At the head of the social
edifice were two chiefs who bore some resemblance to the Emperor and the
Pope of mediaeval Europe, the one being the civil and military head of
the State, while the other embodied the supreme spiritual power.
Nominally the spiritual chief, called the Tooitonga, ranked above the
civil chief or king, who paid him formal homage; but, as usually happens
in such cases, the real government was in the hands of the secular
rather than of the religious monarch. The Tooitonga was acknowledged to
be descended from one of the chief gods; he is spoken of by Mariner, our
principal authority, as a divine chief of the highest rank, and he is
said to have enjoyed divine honours. The first-fruits of the year were
offered to him, and it was supposed that if this ceremony were
neglected, the vengeance of the gods would fall in a signal manner upon
the people. Yet he had no power or authority in matters pertaining to
the civil king.[42] The existence of such a double kingship, with a
corresponding distribution of temporal and spiritual functions, is not
uncommon in more advanced societies; its occurrence among a people so
comparatively low in the scale of culture as the Tongans is remarkable.

    [42] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 424 _sqq._; W. Mariner,
    _Tonga Islands_, ii. 74 _sqq._, 132 _sqq._; J. Dumont d'Urville,
    _Voyage de l'Astrolabe, Histoire du Voyage_, iv. (Paris, 1832)
    pp. 90 _sq._, "_Si tout était suivant l'ordre légal à
    Tonga-Tabou, on verrait d'abord à la tête de la société le
    toui-tonga qui est le véritable souverain nominal des îles
    Tonga, et qui jouit même des honneurs divins_."

Below the two great chiefs or kings were many subordinate chiefs, and
below them again the social ranks descended in a succession of sharply
marked gradations to the peasants, who tilled the ground, and whose
lives and property were entirely at the mercy of the chiefs.[43] Yet the
social system as a whole seems to have worked well and smoothly. "It
does not, indeed, appear," says Captain Cook, "that any of the most
civilised nations have ever exceeded this people, in the great order
observed on all occasions; in ready compliance with the commands of
their chiefs; and in the harmony that subsists throughout all ranks, and
unites them, as if they were all one man, informed with, and directed
by, the same principle."[44] According to the American ethnographer,
Horatio Hale, the mass of the people in the Tonga islands had no
political rights, and their condition in that respect was much inferior
to that of commoners in the Samoan islands, since in Tonga the
government was much stronger and better organized, as he puts it, for
the purpose of oppression. On the other hand, he admitted that
government in Tonga was milder than in Tahiti, and infinitely preferable
to the debasing despotism which prevailed in Hawaii or the Sandwich

    [43] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 424 _sq._, 429 _sq._; W.
    Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 83 _sqq._

    [44] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 426.

    [45] Horatio Hale, _United States Exploring Expedition,
    Ethnography and Philology_, p. 32.

§ 3. _The Tongan Religion: its General Principles_

For our knowledge of the religion and the social condition of the
Tongans before they came under European influence, we are indebted
chiefly to an English sailor, William Mariner, who lived as a captive
among them for about four years, from 1806 to 1810.[46] His account of
the natives, carefully elicited from him and published by a medical
doctor, Mr. John Martin, M.D., is one of the most valuable descriptions
of a savage people which we possess. Mariner was a good observer and
endowed with an excellent memory, which enabled him to retain and record
his experiences after his return to England. He spoke the Tongan
language, and he was a special favourite of the two Tongan kings, named
Finow, who reigned successively in Tonga during his residence in the
islands. The kings befriended and protected him, so that he had the best
opportunities for becoming acquainted with the customs and beliefs of
the people. His observations have been confirmed from independent
sources, and we have every reason to regard them as trustworthy. So far
as we can judge, they are a simple record of facts, unbiassed by theory
or prejudice. In the following notice of the Tongan religion and
doctrine of the human soul I shall draw chiefly on the evidence of

    [46] Mariner was captured by the Tongans on December 1, 1806,
    and he escaped from the islands in 1810, apparently in November,
    but the exact date of his escape is not given. See W. Mariner,
    _Tonga Islands_, i. 43, ii. 15 _sqq._, 68, 69.

According to him, the religion of the Tonga islanders rests, or rather
used to rest, on the following notions.[47]

    [47] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 97 _sqq._

They believed that there are _hotooas_,[48] gods, or superior beings,
who have the power of dispensing good and evil to mankind, according to
their merit, but of whose origin the Tongans formed no idea, rather
supposing them to be eternal.

    [48] The word is commonly spelled _atua_ in the Polynesian
    languages. See E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative
    Dictionary_ (Wellington, N.Z. 1891), pp. 30 _sq._, who gives
    _otua_ as the Tongan form.

They believed that there are other _hotooas_ or gods, who are the souls
of all deceased nobles and _matabooles_, that is, the companions,
ministers, and counsellors of the chiefs, who form a sort of inferior
nobility.[49] The souls of all these dead men were held to possess a
power of dispensing good and evil to mankind like the power of the
superior gods, but in a lesser degree.

    [49] As to the _matabooles_ see W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii.
    84 _sqq._

They believed that there are besides several _hotooa pow_, or
mischievous gods, who never dispense good, but only petty evils and
troubles, not as a punishment, but indiscriminately to anybody, from a
purely mischievous disposition.

They believed that all these superior beings, although they may perhaps
have had a beginning, will have no end.

They believed that the world also is of uncertain origin, having
coexisted with the gods. The sky, which they regard as solid, the
heavenly bodies, and the ocean were in being before the habitable earth.
The Tonga islands were drawn up out of the depth of the sea by the god
Tangaloa one day when he was fishing with a line and a hook.

They believed that mankind, according to a partial tradition, came
originally from Bolotoo, the chief residence of the gods, a fabulous
island situated to the north-west of the Tongan archipelago. The first
men and women consisted of two brothers, with their wives and
attendants. They were commanded by the god Tangaloa to take up their
abode in the Tonga islands, but of their origin or creation the Tongans
professed to know nothing.[50]

    [50] According to a later account, "on Ata were born the first
    men, three in number, formed from a worm bred by a rotten plant,
    whose seed was brought by Tangaloa from heaven. These three were
    afterwards provided by the Maui with wives from the Underworld."
    See E. E. V. Collocot, "Notes on Tongan Religion," _Journal of
    the Polynesian Society_, xxx. (1921) p. 154.

They believed that all human evil was inflicted by the gods upon mankind
on account of some neglect of religious duty, whether the neglect is the
fault of the sufferers or of the chief whom they serve. In like manner
the Tongans apparently referred all human good to the gods, regarding it
as a reward bestowed by the divine beings on men who punctually
discharged the offices of religion.[51]

    [51] So apparently we must interpret Mariner's brief statement
    "and the contrary of good" (_Tonga Islands_, ii. 98).

They believed that nobles had souls, which existed after death in
Bolotoo, not according to their moral merit, but according to their rank
in this world; these had power like that of the original gods, but less
in degree. The _matabooles_, or ministers of the nobles, also went after
death to Bolotoo, where they existed as _matabooles_, or ministers of
the gods, but they had not, like the gods and the souls of dead
noblemen, the power of inspiring the priests with superhuman knowledge.
Some thought that the _mooas_, who ranked next below the _matabooles_ in
the social hierarchy, also went after death to Bolotoo; but this was a
matter of great doubt. As for the _tooas_ or commoners, who formed the
lowest rung in the social ladder, they had either no souls at all or
only such as dissolved with the body after death, which consequently
ended their sentient existence.

They believed that the human soul during life is not an essence distinct
from the body, but only the more ethereal part of the corporeal frame,
and that the moment after death it exists in Bolotoo with the form and
likeness of the body which it had on earth.

They believed that the primitive gods and deceased nobles sometimes
appear visibly to mankind to warn or to afford comfort and advice; and
that the primitive gods also sometimes come into the living bodies of
lizards, porpoises, and a species of water snake, hence these animals
are much respected. When the gods thus entered into the bodies of
porpoises, it was for the sake of safeguarding canoes or for other
beneficent purposes.

They believed that the two personages in the Tonga islands known by the
titles of Tooitonga and Veachi were descendants in a right line from two
chief gods, and that all respect and veneration are therefore due to

They believed that some persons are favoured with the inspiration of the
gods, and that while the inspiration lasts the god actually exists in
the body of the inspired person or priest, who is then capable of

They believe that human merit or virtue consists chiefly in paying
respect to the gods, nobles, and aged persons; in defending one's
hereditary rights; in honour, justice, patriotism, friendship, meekness,
modesty, fidelity of married women, parental and filial love,
observance of all religious ceremonies, patience in suffering,
forbearance of temper, and so on.

They believed that all rewards for virtue or punishments for vice happen
to men in this world only, and come immediately from the gods.

They believed that several acts which civilised nations regard as crimes
are, under certain circumstances, matters of indifference. Such acts
included the taking of revenge on an enemy and the killing of a servant
who had given provocation, or indeed the killing of anybody else, always
provided that the victim were not a very superior chief or noble.
Further, among indifferent acts was reckoned rape, unless it were
committed on a married woman or on one whom the offender was bound to
respect on the score of her superior rank. Finally, the list of venial
offences included theft, unless the stolen object were consecrated
property; for in that case the action became sacrilege and was, as we
shall see presently, a very serious crime.

They believed that omens are the direct intimations of the future
vouchsafed by the gods to men. "Charms or superstitious ceremonies to
bring evil upon any one are considered for the most part infallible, as
being generally effective means to dispose the gods to accord with the
curse or evil wish of the malevolent invoker; to perform these charms is
considered cowardly and unmanly, but does not constitute a crime."[52]
One such charm consisted in hiding on a grave (_fytoca_) some portion of
the wearing apparel of an inferior relation of the deceased. The person
whose garment was so hidden was believed to sicken and die. An equally
effectual way of working the charm and ensuring the death of the victim
was to bury the garment in the house consecrated to the tutelary god of
the family. But when a grave was made use of for the malignant purpose,
it was thought essential that the deceased should be of a rank superior
to that of the person against whom the charm was directed; otherwise it
was supposed that the charm would have no effect.[53] In either case the
fatal result was clearly held to be brought about by the power of the
ghost or of the god, who used the garment as an instrument for putting
the charm in operation. These charms or superstitious ceremonies are
what we should now call magical rites, and they were apparently supposed
to effect their purpose indirectly by constraining the gods to carry out
the malevolent intention of the magician. If I am right in so
interpreting them, we seem driven to conclude that in Tonga magic was
supposed to be ineffectual without the co-operation of the gods,
although its power to compel them was deemed for the most part
irresistible. Even so its assumed dependence on the consent, albeit the
reluctant consent, of the deities implies a certain decadence of magic
and a growing predominance of religion. Moreover, the moral reprehension
of such practices for the injury of enemies is another sign that among
the Tongans magic was being relegated to that position of a black art
which it generally occupies among more civilised peoples. Be that as it
may, certain it is that we hear extremely little about the practice of
magic among the Tongans.

    [52] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 101.

    [53] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 424, note *.

§ 4. _The Primary or Non-human Gods_

Such are, or rather used to be, the principal articles of the old Tongan
creed. We may now examine some of them a little more at large. But first
we may observe that on this showing the Tongans were an eminently
religious people. They traced all the good and ill in human affairs to
the direct intervention of the gods, who rewarded or punished mankind
for their deeds in this life, bestowing the reward or inflicting the
punishment in the present world and not deferring either to a distant
and more or less uncertain future in a world beyond the grave. Thus with
the Tongans the fear of the gods was a powerful incentive to lead a
virtuous life; morality was placed under the immediate guardianship of
the deities. It is true that according to their notions morality
consisted largely in the performance of religious ceremonies, but it was
by no means limited to a simple observance of the prescribed rites; for
we have seen that their conception of a virtuous life included
compliance with the dictates of justice, modesty, and friendship, the
fidelity of wives to their husbands, the mutual affection of parents and
children, patience in suffering, and other modes of conduct which we too
should not hesitate to rank among the virtues.

When we consider the nature of the Tongan gods, we perceive that they
are sharply discriminated into two classes, namely, the primitive and
superior gods on the one side and the secondary and inferior gods on the
other side. The primitive and superior gods are those who have always
been gods and whose origin and beginning are unknown; the secondary and
inferior gods are the souls of dead men, who consequently have not
always been gods, because they were human beings before death elevated
them to the rank of deities. The distinction between these two classes
of gods is highly important, not merely for Tongan religion in
particular, but for the history of religion in general. For whatever we
may think of Euhemerism as a universal explanation of the gods, there
can be no doubt that in many lands the ranks of the celestial hierarchy
have been largely recruited by the ghosts of men of flesh and blood. But
there appears to be a general tendency to allow the origin of the human
gods to fall into the background and to confuse them with the true
original deities, who from the beginning have always been deities and
nothing else. The tendency may sometimes be accentuated by a deliberate
desire to cast a veil over the humble birth and modest beginning of
these now worshipful beings; but probably the obliteration of the
distinction between the two classes of divinities is usually a simple
result of oblivion and the lapse of time. Once a man is dead, his
figure, which bulked so large and so clear to his contemporaries, begins
to fade and melt away into something vague and indistinct, until, if he
was a person of no importance, he is totally forgotten; or, if he was
one whose actions or thoughts deeply influenced his fellows for good or
evil, his memory lingers in after generations, growing ever dimmer and
it may be looming ever larger through the long vista of the ages, as the
evening mist appears to magnify the orb of the descending sun. Thus
naturally and insensibly, as time goes on, our mortal nature fades or
brightens into the immortal and divine.

As our subject is the belief in immortality and the worship of the dead,
we are not directly concerned with the original Tongan deities who were
believed never to have been men. But since their functions and worship
appear to have been in certain respects closely analogous to those of
the inferior deities, the souls of the dead, some notice of them may not
be out of place, if it helps to a fuller understanding of what we may
call the human gods. Besides, we must always bear in mind that some at
least of the so-called original gods may have been men, whose history
and humanity had been forgotten. We can hardly doubt that the celestial
hierarchy has often been recruited by the souls of the dead.

The original and superior gods, Mariner tells us, were thought to be
rather numerous, perhaps about three hundred all told; but the names of
very few of them were known, and even those few were familiar only to
some of the chiefs and their ministers, the _matabooles_; "for it may
easily be supposed," says Mariner, "that, where no written records are
kept, only those (gods) whose attributes particularly concern the
affairs of this world should be much talked of; as to the rest, they
are, for the most part, merely tutelar gods to particular private
families, and having nothing in their history at all interesting, are
scarcely known to anybody else."[54]

    [54] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 104.

Among these original and superior deities was Tali-y-Toobo, the patron
god of the civil king and his family. He was the god of war and was
consequently always invoked in time of war by the king's family; in time
of peace prayers were sometimes offered to him for the general good of
the nation as well as for the particular interest and welfare of the
royal house. He had no priest, unless it was the king himself, who was
occasionally inspired by him; but sometimes a whole reign would pass
without the king being once favoured with the divine afflatus.[55]

    [55] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 105.

Another god was Tooi fooa Bolotoo, whose name means "Chief of all
Bolotoo." From this it might be supposed that he was the greatest god in
Bolotoo, the home of the gods and of the deified spirits of men; but in
fact he was regarded as inferior to the war god, and the natives could
give no explanation of his high-sounding title. He was the god of rank
in society, and as such he was often invoked by the heads of great
families on occasion of sickness or other trouble. He had several
priests, whom he occasionally inspired.[56]

    [56] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 105 _sq._

Another great god was Toobo Toty, whose name signifies "Toobo the
mariner." He was the god of voyages, and in that capacity was invoked by
chiefs or anybody else at sea; for his principal function was to
preserve canoes from accidents. Without being himself the god of wind,
he had great influence with that deity, and was thus enabled no doubt to
save many who were in peril on the great deep.[57]

    [57] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ ii. 106 _sq._

Another god was Alo Alo, whose name means "to fan." He was the god of
wind and weather, rain, harvest, and vegetation in general. When the
weather was seasonable, he was usually invoked about once a month to
induce him to keep on his good behaviour; but when the weather was
unseasonable, or the islands were swept by destructive storms of wind
and rain, the prayers to him were repeated daily. But he was not
supposed to wield the thunder and lightning, "of which, indeed," says
Mariner, "there is no god acknowledged among them, as this phenomenon is
never recollected to have done any mischief of consequence."[58] From
this it would appear that where no harm was done, the Tongans found it
needless to suppose the existence of a deity; they discovered the hand
of a god only in the working of evil; fear was the mainspring of their
religion. In boisterous weather at sea Alo Alo was not invoked; he had
then to make room for the superior god, Toobo Toty, the protector of
canoes, who with other sea gods always received the homage of
storm-tossed mariners. However, Alo Alo, the weather god, came to his
own when the yams were approaching maturity in the early part of
November. For then offerings of yams, coco-nuts, and other vegetable
products were offered to him in particular, as well as to all the other
gods in general, for the purpose of ensuring a continuation of
favourable weather and consequent fertility. The offering was
accompanied by prayers to Alo Alo and the other gods, beseeching them to
extend their bounty and make the land fruitful. Wrestling and boxing
matches formed part of the ceremony, which was repeated eight times at
intervals of ten days. The time for the rite was fixed by the priest of
Alo Alo, and a curious feature of the ceremony was the presence of a
girl of noble family, some seven or eight years old, who represented the
wife of Alo Alo and resided in his consecrated house during the eighty
days that the festal season lasted.[59]

    [58] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ ii. 108.

    [59] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 205-208; compare _id._ 7,
    note *, 108.

Another god named Móooi was believed to support the earth on his
prostrate body. In person he was bigger than any other of the gods; but
he never inspired anybody, and had no house dedicated to his service.
Indeed, it was supposed that this Atlas of the Pacific never budged from
his painful and burdensome post beneath the earth. Only when he felt
more than usually uneasy, he tried to turn himself about under his heavy
load; and the movement was felt as an earthquake by the Tongans, who
endeavoured to make him lie still by shouting and beating the ground
with sticks.[60] Similar attempts to stop an earthquake are common in
many parts of the world.[61]

    [60] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ ii. 112 _sq._ Compare Captain James
    Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean_
    (London, 1799), pp. 277 _sq._ Móooi is the Polynesian god or
    hero whose name is usually spelled Maui. See Horatio Hale,
    _United States Exploring Expedition, Ethnography and Philology_,
    p. 23; E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_,
    pp. 233 _sqq._ _s.v._ "Maui."

    [61] _Adonis, Attis, Osiris_, i. 197 _sqq._

Tangaloa was the god of artificers and the arts. He had several priests,
who in Mariner's time were all carpenters. It was he who was said to
have brought up the Tonga islands from the bottom of the sea at the end
of his fishing line;[62] though in some accounts of Tongan tradition
this feat is attributed to Maui.[63] The very hook on which he hauled
up the islands was said to be preserved in Tonga down to about thirty
years before Mariner's time. It was in the possession of the divine
chief Tooitonga; but unfortunately, his house catching fire, the basket
in which the precious hook was kept perished with its contents in the
flames. When Mariner asked Tooitonga what sort of hook it was, the chief
told him that it was made of tortoise-shell, strengthened with a piece
of whalebone, and that it measured six or seven inches from the curve to
the point where the line was attached, and an inch and a half between
the barb and the stem. Mariner objected that such a hook could hardly
have been strong enough to support the whole weight of the Tonga
islands; but the chief replied that it was a god's hook and therefore
could not break. The hole in the rock in which the divine hook caught on
the memorable occasion was shown down to Mariner's time in the island of
Hoonga. It was an aperture about two feet square.[64]

    [62] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 109, 114 _sq._; Horatio
    Hale, _United States Exploring Expedition, Ethnography and
    Philology_, pp. 24 _sq._

    [63] Jérôme Grange, in _Annales de la Propagation de la Foi_,
    xvii. (1845) p. 11; Charles Wilkes, _Narrative of the United
    States Exploring Expedition_, iii. 23; Sarah S. Farmer, _Tonga
    and the Friendly Islands_, p. 133. According to this last writer
    it was only the low islands that were fished up by Maui; the
    high islands were thrown down from the sky by the god Hikuleo.

    [64] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 272, ii. 114 _sq._ The
    Catholic missionary Jérôme Grange was told that the hook in
    question existed down to his time (1843), but that only the king
    might see it, since it was certain death to anybody else to look
    on it. See _Annales de la Propagation de la Foi_, xvii. (1845)
    p. 11.

§ 5. _The Temples of the Gods_

Some of the primitive gods had houses dedicated to them. These sacred
houses or temples, as we may call them, were built in the style of
ordinary dwellings; but generally more than ordinary care was taken both
in constructing them and in keeping them in good order, decorating their
enclosures with flowers, and so on. About twenty of the gods had houses
thus consecrated to them; some of them had five or six houses, some only
one or two. For example, Tali-y-Toobo, the patron god of the royal
family, had four houses dedicated to him in the island of Vavau, two in
the island of Lefooga (Lifuka), and two or three others of smaller
importance elsewhere.[65] Another patron god of the royal family,
called Alai Valoo, had a large consecrated enclosure in the island of
Ofoo; he had also at least one priest and was very frequently consulted
in behalf of sick persons.[66]

    [65] W. Mariner, _Tonga Island_, ii. 104 _sq._

    [66] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii, 107 _sq._

To desecrate any of these holy houses or enclosures was a most serious
offence. When Mariner was in the islands it happened that two boys, who
had belonged to the crew of his ship, were detected in the act of
stealing a bale of bark-cloth from a consecrated house. If they had been
natives, they would instantly have been punished with death; but the
chiefs, taking into consideration the youth and inexperience of the
offenders, who were foreigners and ignorant of native customs, decided
that for that time the crime might be overlooked. Nevertheless, to
appease the anger of the god, to whom the house was consecrated, it was
deemed necessary to address him humbly on the subject. Accordingly his
priest, followed by chiefs and their ministers (_matabooles_), all
dressed in mats with leaves of the _ifi_ tree[67] round their necks in
token of humility and sorrow, went in solemn procession to the house;
they sat down before it, and the priest addressed the divinity to the
following purport: "Here you see the chiefs and _matabooles_ that have
come to thee, hoping that thou wilt be merciful: the boys are young, and
being foreigners, are not so well acquainted with our customs, and did
not reflect upon the greatness of the crime: we pray thee, therefore,
not to punish the people for the sins of these thoughtless youths: we
have spared them, and hope that thou wilt be merciful and spare us." The
priest then rose up, and they all retired in the same way they had come.
The chiefs, and particularly the king, severely reprimanded the boys,
endeavouring to impress on their minds the enormity of their offence,
and assuring them that they owed their lives only to their presumed
ignorance of the heinousness of the crime.[68]

    [67] The _ifi_ tree, of which the leaves were used by the
    Tongans in many religious ceremonies, is a species of chestnut
    (_Inocarpus edulis_) which grows in Indonesia, but is thought to
    be a native of America. It is supposed that the Polynesians
    brought the seeds of this tree with them into the Pacific, where
    it is said to be a cultivated plant. See S. Percy Smith,
    _Hawaiki, the Original Home of the Maori_ (Christchurch, etc.,
    New Zealand, 1910), p. 146. To wear a wreath of the leaves round
    the neck, and to sit with the head bowed down, constituted the
    strongest possible expression of humility and entreaty. See E.
    E. V. Collocot, "Notes on Tongan Religion," _Journal of the
    Polynesian Society_, xxx. (1921) p. 159.

    [68] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 163 _sq._

Another case of sacrilege, which occurred in Mariner's time, was
attended with more tragic consequences. He tells us that consecrated
places might not be the scene of war, and that it would be highly
sacrilegious to attack an enemy or to spill his blood within their
confines. On one occasion, while Mariner was in the islands, four men,
pursued by their enemies, fled for refuge to a consecrated enclosure,
where they would have been perfectly safe. One of them was in the act of
scrambling over the reed fence, and had got a leg over it, when he was
overtaken by a foe, who struck him such a furious blow on the head that
he fell dead within the hallowed ground. Conscience-stricken, the slayer
fled to his canoe, followed by his men; and on arriving at the fortress
where the king was stationed he made a clean breast of his crime,
alleging in excuse that it had been committed in hot blood when he had
lost all self-command. The king immediately ordered kava to be taken to
the priest of his own tutelary god, that the divinity might be consulted
as to what atonement was proper to be made for so heinous a sacrilege.
Under the double inspiration of kava and the deity, the priest made
answer that it was necessary a child should be strangled to appease the
anger of the gods. The chiefs then held a consultation and determined to
sacrifice the child of a high chief named Toobo Toa. The child was about
two years old and had been born to him by a female attendant. On such
occasions the child of a male chief by a female attendant was always
chosen for the victim first, because, as a child of a chief, he was a
worthier victim, and second, because, as a child of a female attendant,
he was not himself a chief; for nobility being traced in the female line
only those children were reckoned chiefs whose mothers were
chieftainesses; the rank of the father, whether noble or not, did not
affect the rank of his offspring. On this occasion the father of the
child was present at the consultation and consented to the sacrifice.
The mother, fearing the decision, had concealed the child, but it was
found by one of the searchers, who took it up in his arms, while it
smiled with delight at being noticed. The mother tried to follow but
was held back; and on hearing her voice the child began to cry. But on
reaching the place of execution it was pleased and delighted with the
bandage that was put round its neck to strangle it, and looking up in
the face of the executioner it smiled again. "Such a sight," we are
told, "inspired pity in the breast of every one: but veneration and fear
of the gods was a sentiment superior to every other, and its destroyer
could not help exclaiming, as he put on the fatal bandage, _O iaaoé chi
vale!_ (poor little innocent!)." Two men then tightened the cord by
pulling at each end, and the struggles of the innocent victim were soon
over. The little body was next placed upon a sort of hand-barrow,
supported on the shoulders of four men, and carried in a procession of
priests, chiefs, and _matabooles_, all clothed as suppliants in mats and
with wreaths of green leaves round their necks. In this way it was
conveyed to various houses dedicated to different gods, before each of
which it was placed on the ground, all the company sitting behind it,
except one priest, who sat beside it and prayed aloud to the god that he
would be pleased to accept of this sacrifice as an atonement for the
heinous sacrilege committed, and that punishment might accordingly be
withheld from the people. When this had been done before all the
consecrated houses in the fortress, the body was given up to its
relations, to be buried in the usual manner.[69]

    [69] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 216-219. As to the rule
    that nobility descended only in the female line, through
    mothers, not through fathers, see _id._ ii. 84, 95 _sq._; J.
    Dumont d'Urville, _Voyage de l'Astrolabe, Histoire du Voyage_,
    iv. 239.

The consecration of a house or a piece of ground to a god was denoted by
the native word _taboo_, the general meaning of which was prohibited or
forbidden.[70] It was firmly believed by the Tongans in former days that
if a man committed sacrilege or broke a taboo, his liver or some other
of his internal organs was liable to become enlarged and scirrhous, that
is, indurated or knotty; hence they often opened dead bodies out of
curiosity, to see whether the deceased had been sacrilegious in their
lifetime. As the Tongans are particularly subject to scirrhous tumours,
it seems probable that many innocent persons were thus posthumously
accused of sacrilege on the strength of a post-mortem examination into
the state of their livers.[71] Another disagreeable consequence of
breaking a taboo was a peculiar liability to be bitten by sharks, which
thus might be said to act as ministers of justice. As theft was included
under the general head of breach of taboo, a simple way of bringing the
crime home to the thief in case of doubt was to cause the accused to go
into the water where sharks were known to swarm; if they bit him, he was
guilty; if they did not, he was innocent.[72]

    [70] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 220.

    [71] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 194, note *; compare 434,
    note *.

    [72] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ ii. 221.

§ 6. _Priests and their Inspiration_

Priests were known by the title of _fahe-gehe_, a term which means
"split off," "separate," or "distinct from," and was applied to a man
who has a peculiar sort of mind or soul, different from that of ordinary
men, which disposed some god occasionally to inspire him. Such
inspirations frequently happened, and when the fit was on him the priest
had the same reverence shown to him as if he were the god himself; at
these times even the king would retire to a respectful distance and sit
down among the rest of the spectators, because a god was believed to
exist at that moment in the priest and to speak from his mouth. But at
other times a priest had no other respect paid to him than was due to
him for his private rank in society. Priests generally belonged to the
lower order of chiefs or to their ministers, the _matabooles_; but
sometimes great chiefs were thus visited by the gods, and the king
himself has been inspired by Tali-y-Toobo, the chief of the gods.[73]
The profession of priest was generally hereditary, the eldest son of a
priest becoming, on his father's death, a priest of the same god who had
inspired his deceased parent. In their uninspired moments the priests
lived indiscriminately with the rest of the people and were treated with
no special deference.[74]

    [73] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 80 _sq._

    [74] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ ii. 136-138.

The ceremony of inspiration, during which the priest was believed to be
possessed by a god and to speak in his name, was regularly accompanied
or preceded by a feast, at which the drinking of kava formed the
principal feature. The priest himself presided at the feast and the
people gathered in a circle round him; or, to be more exact, the people
formed an ellipse, of which the priest occupied the place of honour at
one of the narrow ends; while opposite him, at the other extremity of
the ellipse, sat the man who was charged with the important duty of
brewing the kava. At such sessions the chiefs sat indiscriminately among
the people on account of the sacredness of the occasion, conceiving that
such humble demeanour must be acceptable to the gods. The actual process
of inspiration was often witnessed by Mariner, and is described by him
in his own words as follows:

"As soon as they are all seated, the priest is considered as inspired,
the god being supposed to exist within him from that moment. He remains
for a considerable time in silence, with his hands clasped before him;
his eyes are cast down, and he rests perfectly still. During the time
that the victuals are being shared out, and the cava preparing, the
_matabooles_ sometimes begin to consult him; sometimes he answers them,
at other times not; in either case he remains with his eyes cast down.
Frequently he will not utter a word till the repast is finished, and the
cava too. When he speaks, he generally begins in a low and very altered
tone of voice, which gradually rises to nearly its natural pitch, though
sometimes a little above it. All that he says is supposed to be the
declaration of the god, and he accordingly speaks in the first person as
if he were the god. All this is done generally without any apparent
inward emotion or outward agitation; but on some occasions his
countenance becomes fierce, and, as it were, inflamed, and his whole
frame agitated with inward feeling; he is seized with an universal
trembling; the perspiration breaks out on his forehead, and his lips,
turning black, are convulsed; at length, tears start in floods from his
eyes, his breast heaves with great emotion, and his utterance is choked.
These symptoms gradually subside. Before this paroxysm comes on, and
after it is over, he often eats as much as four hungry men, under other
circumstances, could devour. The fit being now gone off, he remains for
some time calm, and then takes up a club that is placed by him for the
purpose, turns it over and regards it attentively; he then looks up
earnestly, now to the right, now to the left, and now again at the club;
afterwards he looks up again, and about him in like manner, and then
again fixes his eyes upon his club, and so on, for several times: at
length he suddenly raises the club, and, after a moment's pause, strikes
the ground, or the adjacent part of the house, with considerable force:
immediately the god leaves him, and he rises up and retires to the back
of the ring among the people."[75]

    [75] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 99-101. Compare E. E. V.
    Collocot, "Notes on Tongan Religion," _Journal of the Polynesian
    Society_, xxx. (1921) pp. 155-157.

§ 7. _The Worship of the Gods, Prayers, and Sacrifices_

The worship offered to the gods consisted as usual of prayers and
sacrifices. Prayers were put up to them, sometimes in the fields, and
sometimes at their consecrated houses. On ordinary occasions a simple
offering consisted of a small piece of kava root deposited before a
god's house.[76] But in the great emergencies of life the favour of the
gods was sued with more precious offerings. When the younger daughter of
Finow, a girl of six or seven years, was sick to death, the dying
princess was carried from her father's house into the sacred enclosure
of Tali-y-Toobo, the patron god of the kings, and there she remained for
a fortnight. Almost every morning a hog was killed, dressed, and
presented before the god's house to induce him to spare the life of the
princess. At the same time prayers were addressed to the deity for the
recovery of the patient; but as this particular god had no priest, the
prayers were offered by a minister (_mataboole_), sometimes by two or
three in succession, and they were repeated five, six, or seven times a
day. Their general purport was as follows: "Here thou seest assembled
Finow and his chiefs, and the principal ministers (_matabooles_) of thy
favoured land; thou seest them humbled before thee. We pray thee not to
be merciless, but to spare the life of the woman for the sake of her
father, who has always been attentive to every religious ceremony. But
if thy anger is justly excited by some crime or misdemeanour committed
by any other of us who are here assembled, we entreat thee to inflict on
the guilty one the punishment which he merits, and not to let loose thy
vengeance on one who was born but as yesterday. For our own parts, why
do we wish to live but for the sake of Finow? But if his family is
afflicted, we are all afflicted, innocent as well as guilty. How canst
thou be merciless? Have regard for Finow and spare the life of his
daughter." When despite of prayers and the sacrifices of pigs, the girl
grew daily worse instead of better, she was removed to many other
consecrated enclosures of other gods, one after the other, where the
like fond prayers and fruitless offerings were presented in the vain
hope of staving off the approach of death.[77]

    [76] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ ii. 224.

    [77] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 350-360.

But more precious sacrifices than the blood of hogs were often laid at
the feet of the angry gods. When a relation of a superior rank was ill,
it was a very common practice for one or more of his or her inferior
kinsfolk to have a little finger, or a joint of a finger, cut off as a
sacrifice to induce the offended deity to spare the sick man or woman.
So common was the custom in the old days that there was scarcely a
person living in the Tonga islands who had not thus lost one or both of
his little fingers, or a considerable portion of both. It does not
appear that the operation was very painful. Mariner witnessed more than
once little children quarrelling for the honour of having it performed
on them. The finger was laid flat upon a block of wood: a knife, axe, or
sharp stone was placed with the edge on the joint to be severed, and a
powerful blow with a hammer or heavy stone effected the amputation.
Sometimes an affectionate relative would perform the operation on his or
her own hand. John Williams questioned a girl of eighteen who had hacked
off her own little finger with a sharp shell to induce the gods to spare
her sick mother. Generally a joint was taken off at a time; but some
persons had smaller portions amputated to admit of the operation being
often repeated in case they had many superior relations, who might be
sick and require the sacrifice. When they had no more joints which they
could conveniently spare, they rubbed the stumps of the mutilated
fingers till the blood streamed from the wounds; then they would hold up
the bleeding hands in hope of softening the heart of the angry god.[78]
Captain Cook understood that the operation was performed for the benefit
of the sufferers themselves to heal them in sickness,[79] and the same
view was apparently taken by the French navigator Labillardière,[80] but
in this they were probably mistaken; neither of them had an accurate
knowledge of the language, and they may easily have misunderstood their
informants. Perhaps the only person in the islands who was exempt from
the necessity of occasionally submitting to the painful sacrifice was
the divine chief Tooitonga, who, as he ranked above everybody, even
above the king, could have no superior relation for whom to amputate a
finger-joint. Certainly we know that Tooitonga had not, like the rest of
his countrymen, to undergo the painful operations of tattooing and
circumcision; if he desired to be tattooed or circumcised, he was
obliged to go to other islands, particularly to Samoa, for the
purpose.[81] Perhaps, though this is not mentioned by our authorities,
it would have been deemed impious to shed his sacred blood in his native

    [78] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 438 _sq._, ii. 210-212;
    Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific
    Ocean_, pp. 239, 278; John Williams, _Narrative of Missionary
    Enterprises in the South Sea Islands_, pp. 470 _sq._; Jérôme
    Grange, in _Annales de la Propagation de la Foi_, xvii. (1845)
    pp. 12, 26; Sarah S. Farmer, _Tonga and the Friendly Islands_,
    p. 128.

    [79] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, iii. 204, v. 421 _sq._
    However, in a footnote to the latter passage Captain Cook gives
    the correct explanation of the custom on the authority of
    Captain King: "It is common for the inferior people to cut off a
    joint of their little finger, on account of the sickness of the
    chiefs to whom they belong."

    [80] Labillardière, _Relation du Voyage à la recherche de la
    Pérouse_ (Paris, 1800), ii. 151.

    [81] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 79, 268.

But sacrifices to the gods for the recovery of the sick were not limited
to the amputation of finger-joints. Not uncommonly children were
strangled for this purpose.[82] Thus when Finow the king was grievously
sick and seemed likely to die, the prince, his son, and a young chief
went out to procure one of the king's own children by a female
attendant to sacrifice it as a vicarious offering to the gods, that
their anger might be appeased and the health of its father restored.
They found the child sleeping in its mother's lap in a neighbouring
house; they took it away by force, and retiring with it behind an
adjacent burial-ground (_fytoca_) they strangled it with a band of
bark-cloth. Then they carried it before two consecrated houses and a
grave, at each place gabbling a short but appropriate prayer to the god,
that he would intercede with the other gods in behalf of the dying king,
and would accept of this sacrifice as an atonement for the sick man's
crimes.[83] When, not long afterwards, the divine chief Tooitonga, in
spite of his divinity, fell sick and seemed like to die, one or other of
his young relations had a little finger cut off every day, as a
propitiatory offering to the gods for the sins of the saintly sufferer.
But these sacrifices remaining fruitless, recourse was had to greater.
Three or four children were strangled at different times, and prayers
were offered up by the priests at the consecrated houses and
burial-grounds (_fytocas_) but all in vain. The gods remained deaf to
the prayers of the priests; their hearts were not touched by the cutting
off of fingers or the strangling of children; and the illness of the
sacred chief grew every day more alarming. As a last resort and
desperate remedy, the emaciated body of the dying man was carried into
the kitchen, the people imagining that such an act of humility,
performed on behalf of the highest dignitary of the Tonga islands, would
surely move the deities to compassion and induce them to spare a life so
precious to his subjects.[84] The same curious remedy had shortly before
been resorted to for the benefit of the dying or dead king, Finow the
First: his body was carried into the kitchen of the sacred chief, the
Tooitonga, and there placed over the hole in the ground where the fire
was lighted to cook victuals: "this was thought to be acceptable to the
gods, as being a mark of extreme humiliation, that the great chief of
all the Hapai islands and Vavaoo, should be laid where the meanest class
of mankind, the cooks, were accustomed to operate."[85]

    [82] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 208 _sq._

    [83] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 366.

    [84] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 438 _sq._; compare _id._
    ii. 214.

    [85] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 367 _sq._

The custom of strangling the relations of a sick chief as a vicarious
sacrifice to appease the anger of the deity and ensure the recovery of
the patient was found in vogue by the first missionaries to Tonga before
the arrival of Mariner. When King Moom[=o]oe lay very sick and his death
was hourly expected, one of his sons sent for a younger brother under
pretence of wishing to cut off his little fingers as a sacrifice to save
the life of their dying father. The young man came, whereupon his elder
brother had him seized, strangled, and buried within a few yards of the
house where the missionaries were living. Afterwards the fratricide came
and mourned over his murdered brother by sitting on the grave with his
elbows on his knees and covering his face with his hands. In this
posture he remained for a long time in silence, and then departed very
thoughtful. His motive for thus mourning over the brother whom he had
done to death is not mentioned by the missionaries and was probably not
known to them. We may conjecture that it was not so much remorse for his
crime as fear of his brother's ghost, who otherwise might have haunted
him.[86] Morality, or at all events a semblance of it, has often been
thus reinforced by superstitious terrors.

    [86] Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern
    Pacific Ocean_, pp. 238-240.

In recording this incident the missionaries make use of an expression
which seems to set the strangling of human beings for the recovery of
sick relations in a somewhat different light. They say that "the prince
of darkness has impressed the idea on them, that the strength of the
person strangled will be transferred into the sick, and recover
him."[87] On this theory the sacrifice acts, so to say, mechanically
without the intervention of a deity; the life of the victim is
transfused into the body of the patient as a sort of tonic which
strengthens and revives him. Such a rite is therefore magical rather
than religious; it depends for its efficacy on natural causes, and not
on the pity and help of the gods. Yet the missionaries, who record this
explanation of the custom, elsewhere implicitly accept the religious
interpretation of such rites as vicarious sacrifices; for they say that
among the superstitious notions of the natives concerning spirits was
one that "by strangling some relations of the chief when he is sick, the
deity will be appeased, and he (that is, the sick chief) will
recover."[88] Perhaps both explanations, the religious and the magical,
were assigned by the Tongans: consistency of thought is as little
characteristic of savage as of civilised man: provided he attains his
ends, he recks little of the road by which he reaches them. An English
sailor named Ambler, who had resided for thirteen months in Tonga before
the arrival of the missionaries, told them, "that when a great chief lay
sick they often strangled their women, to the number of three or four at
a time."[89] Such a sacrifice is more likely to have been religious than
magical; we may suppose that the victims were rather offered to the gods
as substitutes for the chief than killed to recruit his failing strength
by an infusion of their health and vigour. A chief would probably have
disdained the idea of drawing fresh energy from the bodies of women,
though he might be ready enough to believe that the gods would consent
to accept their life as a proxy for his own. It is true that elsewhere,
notably in Uganda, human beings have been killed to prolong the life of
the king by directly transferring their strength to him;[90] but in such
cases it would seem that the victims have invariably been men and not

    [87] Captain James Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 240.

    [88] Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern
    Pacific Ocean_, p. 257.

    [89] Captain James Wilson, _op. cit._, p. 278. This Ambler was a
    man of very indifferent, not to say infamous, character, but he
    rendered the missionaries considerable service by instructing
    them in the Tongan language, which he spoke fluently. See
    Captain James Wilson, _op. cit._ pp. 98, 244 _sq._

    [90] See _Adonis, Attis, Osiris_, Third Edition, ii. 219 _sqq._

§ 8. _The Doctrine of the Soul and its Destiny after Death_

Thus far we have dealt with the primary or superior gods, who were
believed to have been always gods, and about whose origin nothing was
known. We now pass to a consideration of the secondary or inferior gods,
whose origin was perfectly well known, since they were all of them the
souls of dead chiefs or nobles, of whom some had died or been killed in
recent years. But before we take up the subject of their worship, it
will be well to say a few words on the Tongan doctrine of the human
soul, since these secondary deities were avowedly neither more nor less
than human souls raised to a higher power by death.

The Tongans, in their native state, before the advent of Europeans, did
not conceive of the soul as a purely immaterial essence, that being a
conception too refined for the thought of a savage. They imagined it to
be the finer or more aeriform part of the body which leaves it suddenly
at the moment of death, and which may be thought to stand in the same
relation to the body as the perfume of a flower to its solid substance.
They had no proper word to express this fine ethereal part of man; for
the word _loto_, though it might sometimes be used for that purpose, yet
rather means a man's disposition, inclination, passion, or sentiment.
The soul was supposed to exist throughout the whole of the body, but to
be particularly present in the heart, the pulsation of which they
regarded as the strength and power of the soul. They did not clearly
distinguish between the life and the soul, but said that the right
auricle of the heart was the seat of life. They took the liver to be the
seat of courage, and professed to have remarked, on opening dead bodies,
that the largest livers belonged to the bravest men, in which
observation they were careful to make allowance for the enlargement of
livers consequent on disease.[91]

    [91] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 127 _sq._

They acknowledged that the _tooas_ or lower order of people had minds or
souls; but they firmly believed that these vulgar souls died with their
bodies and consequently had no future existence. In this aristocratic
opinion the generality of the commoners acquiesced, though some were
vain enough to think that they had souls like their betters, and that
they would live hereafter in Bolotoo. But the orthodox Tongan doctrine
restricted immortality to chiefs and their ministers (the _matabooles_);
at most, by a stretch of charity, it extended the privilege to the
_mooas_ or third estate; but it held out no hope of salvation to
_tooas_, who formed the fourth and lowest rank of society.[92]

    [92] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 419, ii. 99, 128 _sq._

Mariner's account, which I have followed, of the sharp distinction which
the Tongans drew between the immortality of chiefs and the mortality of
common people is confirmed by the testimony of other and independent
observers. According to Captain Cook, while the souls of the chiefs went
immediately after death to the island of Boolootoo (Bolotoo), the souls
of the lower sort of people underwent a sort of transmigration or were
eaten by a bird called _loata_, which walked upon their graves for that
purpose.[93] The first missionaries, who landed in Tongataboo in 1797,
report that the natives "believe the immortality of the soul, which at
death, they say, is immediately conveyed in a very large fast-sailing
canoe to a distant country called Doobludha, which they describe as
resembling the Mahometan paradise. They call the god of this region of
pleasure Higgolayo, and esteem him as the greatest and most powerful of
all others, the rest being no better than servants to him. This
doctrine, however, is wholly confined to the chiefs, for the _tooas_ (or
lower order) can give no account whatever; as they reckon the enjoyments
of Doobludha above their capacity, so they seem never to think of what
may become of them after they have served the purposes of this
life."[94] One of these first missionaries was a certain George Veeson,
who had been a bricklayer before he undertook to convert the heathen to
Christianity. Wearying, however, of missionary work, he deserted his
brethren and betook himself to the heathen, among whom he lived as one
of them, adopting the native garb, marrying native women, and eagerly
fighting in the wars of the natives among themselves. In this way he
acquired a considerable knowledge of the Tongan language and customs, of
which he made some use in the account of his experiences which he
published anonymously after his return to England. Speaking of Tongan
ideas concerning the immortality of the soul he says that he heard the
chiefs speak much of Bulotu (Bolotoo). "Into this region, however, they
believed none were admitted but themselves. The Tuas, or lower class,
having no hope of sharing such bliss, seldom speculate upon a futurity,
which to them appears a subject lost in shadows, clouds, and
darkness."[95] The missionaries reported to Commodore Wilkes that the
spirits of all chiefs were supposed to go to Bolotoo, while the souls of
poor people remained in this world to feed upon ants and lizards.[96]
With regard to the fate of the soul after death, the Tongans universally
and positively believed in the existence of a great island, lying at a
considerable distance to the north-west, which they considered to be the
abode of their gods and of the souls of their dead nobles and their
ministers (the _matabooles_). This island they supposed to be much
larger than all their own islands put together, and to be well stocked
with all kinds of useful and ornamental plants, always in a high state
of perfection, and always bearing the richest fruits and the most
beautiful flowers according to their respective natures; they thought
that when these fruits or flowers were plucked, others immediately took
their place, and that the whole atmosphere was filled with the most
delightful fragrance that the imagination can conceive, exhaled from
these immortal plants. The island, too, was well stocked with the most
beautiful birds, of all imaginable kinds, as well as with abundance of
hogs; and all of these creatures were immortal, except when they were
killed to provide food for the gods. But the moment a hog or a bird was
killed, another live hog or bird came into existence to supply its
place, just as happened with the fruits and flowers; and this, so far as
they could ascertain, was the only way in which plants and animals were
propagated in Bolotoo. So far away was the happy island supposed to be
that it was dangerous for living men to attempt to sail thither in
their canoes; indeed, except by the express permission of the gods, they
could not find the island, however near they might come to it. They
tell, however, of a Tongan canoe which, returning from Fiji, was driven
by stress of weather to Bolotoo. The crew knew not the place, and being
in want of provisions and seeing the country to abound in all sorts of
fruits, they landed and proceeded to pluck some bread-fruit. But to
their unspeakable astonishment they could no more lay hold of the fruit
than if it were a shadow; they walked through the trunks of the trees
and passed through the substance of the houses without feeling any shock
or resistance. At length they saw some of the gods, who passed through
the men's bodies as if they were empty space. These gods recommended
them to go away immediately, as they had no proper food for them, and
they promised them a fair wind and a speedy passage. So the men put to
sea, and sailing with the utmost speed they arrived at Samoa, where they
stayed two or three days. Thence, again sailing very fast, they returned
to Tonga, where in the course of a few days they all died, not as a
punishment for having been at Bolotoo, but as a natural consequence, the
air of that place, as it were, infecting mortal bodies with speedy
death. The gods who dwell in Bolotoo have no canoes, not requiring them;
for if they wish to be anywhere, there they are the moment the wish is

    [93] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 423.

    [94] Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern
    Pacific Ocean_, pp. 278 _sq._

    [95] Quoted by Miss Sarah S. Farmer, _Tonga and the Friendly
    Islands_, p. 131. As to Veeson, see _id._ pp. 78, 85 _sqq._ The
    title of his book is given (p. 87) as _Authentic Narrative of a
    Four Years' Residence in Tongataboo_ (London: Longman & Co.,
    1815). I have not seen the book. The man's name is given as
    Vason by (Sir) Basil Thomson in his _Diversions of a Prime
    Minister_ (Edinburgh and London, 1894), pp. 326, 327, 329, 331;
    but his real name seems to have been George Veeson. See Captain
    James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean_,
    pp. 6, 230.

    [96] Charles Wilkes, _Narrative of the United States Exploring
    Expedition_, iii. 22.

    [97] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 101-103.

It is said that in order to people Bolotoo the god Hikuleo used to carry
off the first-born sons of chiefs and other great men, whom he
transported to the island of the gods. To such lengths did he go in this
system of abduction that men on earth grew very uneasy. Their ranks
became thinner and thinner. How was all this to end? At last the other
gods were moved to compassion. The two gods Tangaloa and Maui laid hold
of brother Hikuleo, passed a strong chain round his waist and between
his legs, and then taking the chain by the ends they fastened one of
them to the sky and the other to the earth. Thus trussed up, the deity
still made many attempts to snatch away first-born sons; but all his
efforts were thwarted and baffled by the chain, for no sooner did he
dart out in one direction, than the chain pulled him back in another.
According to another, or the same story, the excursions of the deity
were further limited by the length of his tail, the end of which was
tethered to the cave in which he resided; and though the tail was long
and allowed him a good deal of rope, do what he would, he could not
break bounds or obtain more than a very partial view of what was going
on in the rest of the world.[98]

    [98] Sarah S. Farmer, _Tonga and the Friendly Islands_, pp. 132
    _sq._ As to Hikuleo and his long tail, see also Charles Wilkes,
    _Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition_, iii. 23,
    "Hikuleo is the god of spirits, and is the third in order of
    time; he dwells in a cave in the island. Bulotu is most
    remarkable for a long tail, which prevents him from going
    farther from the cave in which he resides than its length will
    admit of." Here the god Hikuleo appears to be confused with the
    island of Bulotu (Bulotoo) in which he resided. Tradition wavers
    on the question whether Hikuleo was a god or goddess, "but the
    general suffrage seems in favour of the female sex." See E. E.
    V. Collocot, "Notes on Tongan Religion," _Journal of the
    Polynesian Society_, xxx. (1921) pp. 152, 153.

In this curious story we may perhaps detect a tradition of a time when
among the Tongans, as among the Semites, religion or superstition
demanded the sacrifice of all first-born sons, a barbarous custom which
has been practised by not a few peoples in various parts of the

    [99] As to a custom of putting the first-born to death, see _The
    Dying God_, pp. 178 _sqq._; and for other reported instances of
    the custom, see Mrs. James Smith, _The Booandik Tribe of South
    Australia_ (Adelaide, 1880), pp. 7 _sq._; C. E. Fox, "Social
    Organisation in San Cristoval, Solomon Islands," _Journal of the
    R. Anthropological Institute_, xlix. (1919) p. 100; E. O.
    Martin, _The Gods of India_ (London and Toronto, 1914), p. 215;
    N. W. Thomas, _Anthropological Report on the Ibo-speaking
    peoples of Nigeria_, Part i. (London, 1913) p. 12. Compare E.
    Westermarck, _Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas_
    (London, 1906), i. 458 _sqq._

The human soul after its separation from the body at death was termed a
_hotooa_ or _atua_, that is, a god or spirit, and was believed to exist
in the shape of the body and to have the same propensities as in life,
but to be corrected by a more enlightened understanding, by which it
readily distinguished good from evil, truth from falsehood, and right
from wrong. The souls dwelt for ever in the happy regions of Bolotoo,
where they bore the same names as in life and held the same rank among
themselves as they had held during their mortal existence. But their lot
in Bolotoo was in no way affected by the good or evil which they had
done on earth; for the Tongans did not believe in a future state of
retribution for deeds done in the body; they thought that the gods
punished crime in this present world, without waiting to redress the
balance of justice in the world to come. As many of the nobles who
passed at death to Bolotoo had been warlike and turbulent in their life,
it might naturally be anticipated that they should continue to wage war
on each other in the land beyond the grave; but that was not so, for by
a merciful dispensation their understandings were so much enlightened,
or their tempers so much improved, by their residence in Bolotoo, that
any differences they might have between themselves, or with the
primitive gods, they adjusted by temperate discussion without resort to
violence; though people in Tonga sometimes heard an echo and caught a
glimpse of these high debates in the rumble of thunder and the flash of
lightning.[100] In the blissful abode of Bolotoo the souls of chiefs and
nobles lived for ever, being not subject to a second death, and there
they feasted upon all the favourite productions of their native country,
which grew also abundantly in the happy island.[101]

    [100] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 110 _sq._, 130, 131, 139,

    [101] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 423.

A less cheerful picture, however, of the state of souls in the other
world was painted for Commodore Wilkes by the missionaries who furnished
him with information on the native religion of the Tongans. According to
them, the souls were forced to become the servants, or rather slaves, of
the long-tailed deity Hikuleo, whose commands they had no choice but to
execute. His house and all things in it were even constructed of the
souls of the dead; and he went so far as to make fences out of them and
bars to his gates, an indignity which must have been deeply resented by
the proud spirits of kings and nobles.[102] How this gloomy picture of
the fate of souls in Bolotoo is to be reconciled with the bright
descriptions of it which I have drawn from the pages of Mariner and
Cook, it is not easy to say. Apparently we must acquiesce in the
discrepancy. That savages should entertain inconsistent views on the
life after death need not surprise us, when we remember how little
accurate information even civilised peoples possess on that momentous

    [102] Charles Wilkes, _Narrative of the United States Exploring
    Expedition_, iii. 23. The writer here speaks of Bulotu, where he
    should have said Hikuleo. See above, p. 89, note^1.

§ 9. _The Souls of the Dead as Gods_

We have seen that according to Mariner, our best authority on Tongan
religion, the souls of dead nobles ranked as gods, possessing all the
powers and attributes of the primary or original deities, though in an
inferior degree.[103] Thus, like the primary gods, they had the power of
returning to Tonga to inspire priests, relations, or other people.[104]
For example, the son of Finow, the King, used to be inspired by the
spirit of Toogoo Ahoo, a former king of Tonga, who had been assassinated
with the connivance of his successor, Finow. One day Mariner asked this
young chief how he felt when he was visited by the spirit of the
murdered monarch. The chief replied that he could not well describe his
feelings, but the best he could say of it was, that he felt himself all
over in a glow of heat and quite restless and uncomfortable; he did not
feel his personal identity, as it were, but seemed to have a mind
differing from his own natural mind, his thoughts wandering upon strange
and unusual topics, though he remained perfectly sensible of surrounding
objects. When Mariner asked him how he knew it was the spirit of Toogoo
Ahoo who possessed him, the chief answered impatiently, "There's a fool!
How can I tell you how I knew it? I felt and knew it was so by a kind of
consciousness; my mind told me that it was Toogoo Ahoo." Similarly Finow
himself, the father of this young man, used occasionally to be inspired
by the ghost of Moomooi, a former king of Tonga.[105]

    [103] W. Mariner, _Tongan Islands_, ii. 97, 99, 103, 109 _sq._
    See above, pp. 64 _sq._, 66.

    [104] W. Mariner, ii. 130 _sq._; compare _id._ pp. 99, 103
    _sq._, 109 _sq._

    [105] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 104 _sq._

Again, the souls of dead nobles, like gods, had the power of appearing
in dreams and visions to their relatives and others to admonish and warn
them. It was thought, for example, that Finow the king was occasionally
visited by a deceased son of his; the ghost did not appear, but
announced his presence by whistling. Mariner once heard this whistling
when he was with the king and some chiefs in a house at night; it was
dark, and the sound appeared to come from the loft of the house. In
Mariner's opinion the sound was produced by some trick of Finow's, but
the natives believed it to be the voice of a spirit.[106] Once more,
when Finow the king was himself dead, a noble lady who mourned his death
and generally slept on his grave, communicated to his widow a dream
which she had dreamed several nights at the graveyard. She said that in
her dream the late king appeared to her, and, with a countenance full of
sorrow, asked why there yet remained so many evil-designing persons in
the islands; for he declared that, since he had been at Bolotoo, he had
been disturbed by the plots of wicked men conspiring against his son;
therefore was he come to warn her of the danger. Finally, he bade her
set in order the pebbles on his grave, and pay every attention to his
burial-ground. With that he vanished.[107] In such dreams of the
reappearance of the recent dead we may discover one source of the belief
in the survival of the soul after death.

    [106] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 110, 130 _sq._

    [107] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 423 _sq._

But the gods appeared to mankind to warn, comfort, and advise, not only
in their own divine form but also in the form of animals. Thus the
primitive gods, according to Mariner, sometimes entered into the living
bodies of lizards, porpoises, and a species of water snake. Hence these
creatures were much respected. The reason why gods entered into
porpoises was to take care of canoes. This power of assuming the form of
living animals, says Mariner, belonged only to the original gods, and
not to the deified souls of chiefs.[108] In thus denying that the
spirits of the dead were supposed sometimes to revisit the earth in
animal shapes Mariner was perhaps mistaken, for a different view on the
subject was apparently taken at a later time by Miss Farmer, who had
access to good sources of information. She writes as follows: "Bulotu
(Bolotoo) was peopled with the spirits of departed chiefs and great
persons of both sexes; and it was to these chiefly that worship was paid
and that sacrifices were offered. These spirits in Bulotu were supposed
to act as intercessors with the supreme gods, who were too highly
exalted to be approached by men except in this way. The spirits were in
the habit of revisiting earth. They would come in birds, or in fish as
their shrines. The tropic-bird, king-fisher, and sea-gull, the sea-eel,
shark, whale, and many other animals were considered sacred, because
they were favourite shrines of these spirit-gods. The heathen never
killed any of these creatures; and if, in sailing, they chanced to find
themselves in the neighbourhood of a whale, they would offer scented oil
or kava to him. To some among the natives the cuttle-fish and the lizard
were gods; while others would lay offerings at the foot of certain
trees, with the idea of their being inhabited by spirits. A rainbow or a
shooting star would also command worship."[109]

    [108] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ ii. 99, 131.

    [109] Sarah S. Farmer, _Tonga and the Friendly Islands_, pp. 126

This account seems to imply that the spirits which took the form of
these animals, birds, and fish were believed to be the souls of the dead
returning from the spirit world to revisit their old homes on earth. But
even if we suppose that herein the writer was mistaken, and that, as
Mariner affirmed, only the original and superior gods were deemed
capable of incarnation in animal shape, the account is still valuable
and interesting because it calls attention to a side of Tongan religion
on which our principal authority, Mariner, is almost silent. That side
comprises the worship of natural objects, and especially of animals,
birds, and fish, regarded as embodiments of spirits, whether gods or
ghosts. This worship of nature, and particularly of animated nature, was
highly developed among the Samoans; it would be natural, therefore, to
find the same system in vogue among their neighbours and near kinsmen
the Tongans, though our authorities on Tongan religion say little about
it. The system may with some appearance of probability be regarded as a
relic of a former practice of totemism.[110]

    [110] See below, pp. 182 _sqq._, 200 _sqq._

In recent years a considerable amount of evidence bearing on the subject
has been collected by Mr. E. E. V. Collocot. He distinguishes the
national Tongan gods from the gods of tribes, clans, and small groups
of allied households; such a group of households, it appears, formed the
ordinary social unit. Indeed, he tells us that there was nothing to
prevent a man from setting up a tutelary deity of his own, if he were so
disposed; he might adopt almost any object for the religious reverence
of his household and himself. Thus there was "a gradation in the divine
hierarchy from gods of populous tribes down to deities the private
possession of a very few."[111] Further, Mr. Collocot found that most of
the gods had sacred animals or other natural objects associated with
them,[112] and that the worshippers were generally forbidden to eat the
sacred animals of their gods. He concludes that "in the period of which
we have information totemism has given way to a more highly developed
polytheism, but there are indications that the development was by way of
totemism."[113] Among the facts which appear to support this conclusion
we may note the following.

    [111] E. E. V. Collocot, "Notes on Tongan Religion," _Journal of
    the Polynesian Society_, xxx. (1921) pp. 154 _sq._, 159.

    [112] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ pp. 160, 161.

    [113] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ pp. 159 _sq._

There was a great god called Boolotoo Katoa, that is, "the whole of
Boolotoo (Bolotoo)," who had the dog for his sacred animal; while the
deity was being worshipped, a dog lay at the side of the priest. This
god had his principal shrine at Boha in the eastern part of Tongataboo:
the district was of old the centre of government and the residence of
the Tooitonga.[114] Another god, whose name was the King of the tribe or
clan of Fonua (_Tui-Haafakafonua_), had for his sacred animal a lizard,
and for the convenience of his departure, and presumably arrival, a tree
or post was always provided for him to crawl along. A handy post or
tree-stump was a regular part of his temple furnishings.[115] Another
god, whose name signifies "Proud Boastfulness of the Season"
(_Mofuta-ae-ta'u_), had for his sacred animal a great sea-eel, which
dwelt in an opening of the reef opposite the village. This deity used to
take it very ill if anybody appeared on the beach near his abode wearing
a turban or whitened with lime; and should a man rashly disregard the
feelings of the divine eel in these respects, it was believed that the
deity would carry him off to his hole in the rock.[116] Another god,
named Haele-feke, used to manifest himself in the form of an octopus
(_feke_). Whenever an octopus appeared in a certain pool, it was at once
recognised as the god, and the priestess immediately went and awaited
him at the shrine, which seems to have been a small raised platform.
Thither the people presently resorted, bringing bunches of coco-nuts and
coco-nut leaves and earth. The priestess thereupon spoke as in the
person of the octopus, and apparently imitated the creature, presumably
by sprawling in the ungainly manner of an octopus. The worshippers of
this deity abstained from eating the flesh of the octopus, and even from
approaching a place where other people were eating it. If any of them
transgressed the taboo, he was afflicted with complete baldness. Should
any of the worshippers find a dead octopus, they buried it with all due
ceremony in Teekiu, their principal village.[117] The rail bird
(_kalae_) was worshipped by some people, who used to tie bunches of the
birds together and carry them about with them when they travelled; and
the priest had a bunch of the sacred birds tattooed as a badge on his
throat.[118] The clan Fainga'a had for its sacred animal the mullet; and
it is said that young mullets were tabooed to the men of the clan.[119]
A family group in Haapai had the owl for their sacred creature; if an
owl hooted near a house in the afternoon, it was a sign that there was a
pregnant woman in the household.[120] The god of Uiha in Haapai was the
Eel-in-the-Open-Sea (_Toke-i-Moana_); as usual, the worshippers might
not eat the flesh of eels or approach a place where an eel was being
cooked.[121] The clan Falefa worshipped two goddesses, Jiji and
Fainga'a, whose sacred creature was the heron. Jiji was supposed to be
incarnate in the dark-coloured heron, and Fainga'a in the light-coloured
heron. When a pair of herons, one dark and the other light-coloured,
were seen flying together, people said that it was the two goddesses
Jiji and Fainga'a.[122] In the island of Tofua there was a clan called
the King of Tofua (_Tui Tofua_), which had the shark for its god;
members of the clan might not eat the flesh of sharks, because they
believed themselves to be related to the fish; they said that long ago
some of the clansmen leaped from a canoe into the sea and were turned
into sharks.[123] Another god who appeared in the form of a shark was
Taufa of the Sea (_Taufa-tahi_); but in another aspect he was a god of
the land (_Taufa-uta_) and a notable protector of gardens. To secure his
aid the husbandman had only to plait a coco-nut leaf in the likeness of
a shark and to hang it up in his plantation; a garden thus protected was
under a taboo which no one would dare to violate. A Christian, who
ventured to thrust his hand in mockery into the maw of the sham shark,
had both his arms afterwards bitten off by a real shark.[124] Other gods
were recognised in the shape of flying-foxes, shell-fish, and little
blue and green lizards.[125] We hear of two Tongan gods who had black
volcanic pebbles for their sacred objects,[126] and of one whose shrine
was the tree called _fehi_, the hard wood of which was commonly used for
making spears and canoes.[127] The gods of Niua Fo'ou, one of the most
distant islands of the Tongan group, were three in number, to wit, the
octopus, pig's liver, and a large lump of coral. The worshippers of the
two former deities might not eat the divine octopus and the divine pig's
liver.[128] Christianity itself appears not to have wholly extinguished
the reverence of the natives for the sacred animals of their clans. A
much-respected native minister of the Methodist Church informed Mr.
Collocot that to this day he gets a headache if he eats the sacred
animal of his clan, though other people may partake of the creature, not
only with impunity, but with relish.[129]

    [114] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ p. 162.

    [115] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ p. 227.

    [116] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ pp. 227 _sq._

    [117] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ pp. 231 _sq._

    [118] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ pp. 161, 233.

    [119] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ p. 234.

    [120] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ p. 234.

    [121] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ pp. 234 _sq._

    [122] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ p. 232.

    [123] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ pp. 238 _sq._

    [124] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ p. 229.

    [125] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ pp. 230, 231, 233.

    [126] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ pp. 230, 233.

    [127] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ p. 232.

    [128] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ p. 239.

    [129] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ p. 160.

Thus the worship of natural objects, and especially of animals, fish,
and birds, presents a close analogy to the Samoan system, as we shall
see presently;[130] and it is not without significance that tradition
points to Samoa as the original home from which the ancestors of the
Tongans migrated to their present abode.[131] On the question of the
nature of the divine beings who presented themselves to their
worshippers in the form of animals, the evidence collected by Mr.
Collocot seems to confirm the statement of Mariner, that only the
primary or non-human gods were believed capable of thus becoming
incarnate; at least Mr. Collocot gives no hint that the worshipful
creatures were supposed to be tenanted by the souls of the human dead;
in other words, there is nothing to show that the Tongan worship of
animals was based on a theory of transmigration.

    [130] See below, pp. 154 _sq._

    [131] E. E. V. Collocot, _op. cit._ p. 239.

The statement of Miss Farmer, which I have quoted, that among the
Tongans the souls of the dead were the principal object of worship and
received the most sacrifices, is interesting and not improbable, though
it is not confirmed by Mariner. It may indeed, perhaps, be laid down as
a general principle that the worship of the dead tends constantly to
encroach on the worship of the high gods, who are pushed ever farther
into the background by the advent of their younger rivals. It is natural
enough that this should be so. The affection which we feel for virtue,
the reverence and awe inspired by great talents and powerful characters,
persist long after the objects of our love and admiration have passed
away from earth, and we now render to their memories the homage which we
paid, or perhaps grudged, to the men themselves in their lifetime. For
us they seem still to exist; with their features, their characteristic
turns of thought and speech still fresh in our memories, we can hardly
bring ourselves to believe that they have utterly ceased to be, that
nothing of them remains but the lifeless dust which we have committed to
the earth. The heart still clings fondly to the hope, if not to the
belief, that somewhere beyond our ken the loved and lost ones are joined
to the kindred spirits who have gone before in that unknown land, where,
in due time, we shall meet them again. And as with affection, so with
reverence and fear; they also are powerful incentives to this
instinctive belief in the continued existence of the dead. The busy
brain that explored the heights and depths of this mysterious
universe--the glowing imagination that conjured up visions of beauty
born, as we fondly think, for immortality--the aspiring soul and
vaulting ambition that founded or overturned empires and shook the
world--are they now no more than a few mouldering bones or a handful of
ashes under their marble monuments? The mind of most men revolts from a
conclusion so derogatory to what they deem the dignity of human nature;
and so to satisfy at once the promptings of the imagination and the
impulse of the heart, men gradually elevate their dead to the rank of
saints and heroes, who in course of time may easily pass by an almost
insensible transition to the supreme place of deities. It is thus that,
almost as far back as we can trace the gropings of the human mind, man
has been perpetually creating gods in his own likeness.

In a pantheon thus constantly recruited by the accession of dead men,
the recruits tend to swamp the old deities by sheer force of numbers;
for whereas the muster-roll of the original gods is fixed and
unchangeable, the newcomers form a great host which is not only
innumerable but perpetually on the increase, for who can reckon up the
tale of the departed or set bounds to the ravages of death? Indeed,
where the deification of the dead is carried to its logical limit, a new
god is born for every man that dies; though in Tonga against such an
extreme expansion of the spiritual hierarchy, and a constant
overcrowding of Bolotoo, a solid barrier was interposed by the Tongan
doctrine which opened the gates of paradise only to noblemen.[132]

    [132] We have seen (p. 70) that according to Mariner the number
    of the original gods was about three hundred; but as to the
    deified noblemen he merely says that "of these there must be a
    vast number" (_Tonga Islands_, ii. 109). In his "Notes on Tongan
    Religion" (_Journal of the Polynesian Society_, xxx. (1921) p.
    159) Mr. E. E. V. Collocot remarks: "The number of the gods,
    moreover, was liable to constant augmentation by the deification
    of the illustrious or well-beloved dead." As a notable instance
    he cites the case of a certain chief named Fakailoatonga, a
    native of Vavau, who subdued or overran a large part of
    Tongataboo. He was a leper, but for a long time did not know the
    true nature of his malady. When he learned the truth, he in
    disgust buried himself alive, and after his death he was
    elevated to the godhead. But in this deification, if Mariner is
    right, there was nothing exceptional; as a chief he became a god
    after death in the course of nature.

§ 10. _Temples and Tombs: Megalithic Monuments_

On the whole it seems reasonable to conclude that in Tonga the
distinction between the original superhuman deities and the new human
gods tended to be obliterated in the minds of the people. More and more,
we may suppose, the deified spirits of dead men usurped the functions
and assimilated themselves to the character of the ancient divinities.
Yet between these two classes of worshipful beings Mariner draws an
important distinction which we must not overlook. He says that these new
human gods, these souls of deified nobles, "have no houses dedicated to
them, but the proper places to invoke them are their graves, which are
considered sacred, and are therefore as much respected as consecrated
houses."[133] If this distinction is well founded, the consecrated house
or temple, as we may call it, of an original god was quite different
from the grave at which a new god, that is, a dead man or woman, was
worshipped. But in spite of the high authority of Mariner it seems
doubtful whether the distinction which he makes between the temples of
the old gods and the tombs of the new ones was always recognised in
practice, and whether the two were not apt to be confounded in the minds
even of the natives. The temples of the gods, as we have seen, did not
differ in shape and structure from the houses of men, and similar
houses, as we shall see, were also built on the graves of kings and
chiefs and even of common people. What was easier than to confuse the
two classes of spirit-houses, the houses of gods and the houses of dead
kings or chiefs, especially when the memory of these potentates had
grown dim and their human personality had been forgotten? Certainly
European observers have sometimes been in doubt as to whether places to
which the natives paid religious reverence were temples or graves. In
view of this ambiguity I propose to examine some of the descriptions
which have been given by eye-witnesses of the sacred structures and
enclosure which might be interpreted either as temples or tombs. The
question has a double interest and importance, first, in its bearing on
the theory, enunciated by Herbert Spencer, that temples are commonly, if
not universally, derived from tombs,[134] and gods from dead men; and
secondly, in its bearing on the question of the origin and meaning of
megalithic monuments; for not a few of the tombs of Tongan kings and
sacred chiefs are constructed in part of very large stones.

    [133] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 110

    [134] Herbert Spencer, _Principles of Sociology_, vol. i
    (London, 1904) pp. 249 _sqq._

I will begin with the evidence of Captain Cook, an excellent observer
and faithful witness. He paid two visits to the Tonga islands, a short
one in 1773, and a longer one of between two and three months in 1777.
Speaking of his first visit to Tongataboo in 1773, he writes as follows:

"After sitting here some time, and distributing some presents to those
about us, we signified our desire to see the country. The chief
immediately took the hint, and conducted us along a lane that led to an
open green, on the one side of which was a house of worship built on a
mount that had been raised by the hand of man, about sixteen or eighteen
feet above the common level. It had an oblong figure, and was inclosed
by a wall or parapet of stone, about three feet in height. From this
wall the mount rose with a gentle slope, and was covered with a green
turf. On the top of it stood the house, which had the same figure as the
mount, about twenty feet in length, and fourteen or sixteen broad. As
soon as we came before the place, every one seated himself on the green,
about fifty or sixty yards from the front of the house. Presently came
three elderly men; who seated themselves between us and it, and began a
speech, which I understood to be a prayer, it being wholly directed to
the house. This lasted about ten minutes; and then the priests, for such
I took them to be, came and sat down along with us, when we made them
presents of such things as were about us. Having then made signs to them
that we wanted to view the premises, my friend Attago immediately got
up, and going with us, without showing the least backwardness, gave us
full liberty to examine every part of it.

"In the front were two stone steps leading to the top of the wall; from
this the ascent to the house was easy, round which was a fine gravel
walk. The house was built, in all respects, like to their common
dwelling-houses; that is, with posts and rafters; and covered with palm
thatch. The eaves came down within about three feet of the ground, which
space was filled up with strong matting made of palm leaves, as a wall.
The floor of the house was laid with fine gravel; except in the middle,
where there was an oblong square of blue pebbles, raised about six
inches higher than the floor. At one corner of the house stood an image
rudely carved in wood, and on one side lay another; each about two feet
in length. I, who had no intention to offend either them or their gods,
did not so much as touch them, but asked Attago, as well as I could, if
they were _Eatuas_, or gods. Whether he understood me or no, I cannot
say; but he immediately turned them over and over, in as rough a manner
as he would have done any other log of wood, which convinced me that
they were not there as representatives of the Divinity. I was curious to
know if the dead were interred there, and asked Attago several questions
relative thereto; but I was not sure that he understood me; at least I
did not understand the answers he made, well enough to satisfy my
inquiries. For the reader must know, that at our first coming among
these people, we hardly could understand a word they said. Even my
Otaheitean youth, and the man on board the _Adventure_, were equally at
a loss: but more of this by and by. Before we quitted the house we
thought it necessary to make an offering at the altar. Accordingly we
laid down upon the blue pebbles, some medals, nails, and several other
things; which we had no sooner done than my friend Attago took them up,
and put them in his pocket. The stones with which the walls were made
that inclosed this mount, were some of them nine or ten feet by four,
and about six inches thick. It is difficult to conceive how they can cut
such stones out of the coral rocks.

"This mount stood in a kind of grove open only on the side which fronted
the high road, and the green on which the people were seated. At this
green or open place, was a junction of five roads, two or three of which
appeared to be very public ones. The groves were composed of several
sorts of trees. Among others was the _Etoa_ tree, as it is called at
Otaheite, of which are made clubs, etc., and a kind of low palm, which
is very common in the northern parts of New Holland.

"After we had done examining this place of worship, which in their
language is called _a-fiat-tou-ca_, we desired to return."[135]

    [135] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, iii. 182-184.

A little farther on, still speaking of his first visit to Tonga, Captain
Cook observes: "So little do we know of their religion, that I hardly
dare mention it. The buildings called _afiatoucas_, before mentioned,
are undoubtedly set apart for this purpose. Some of our gentlemen were
of opinion, that they were merely burying-places. I can only say, from
my own knowledge, that they are places to which particular persons
directed set speeches, which I understood to be prayers, as hath been
already related. Joining my opinion with that of others, I was inclined
to think that they are set apart to be both temples and burying-places,
as at Otaheite, or even in Europe. But I have no idea of the images
being idols; not only from what I saw myself, but from Mr. Wales's
informing me that they set one of them up, for him and others to shoot

    [136] Captain James Cook, _op. cit._ iii. 206.

Thus Captain Cook and his party were divided in opinion as to whether
the house on the mound, within its walled enclosure built of great
stones, was a temple or a tomb. Captain Cook himself called it simply a
"house of worship" and a "place of worship," but he inclined to the view
that it was both a temple and a burying-place, and in this opinion he
was probably right. The native name which he applied to it, _afiatouca_,
means a burial-place; for it is doubtless equivalent to _fytoca_, a word
which Mariner explains to mean "a burying-place, including the grave,
the mount in which it is sunk, and a sort of shed over it."[137]
Moreover, the oblong square of blue pebbles, which Captain Cook observed
on the floor of the house on the mound, and which he regarded as the
altar, speaks also in favour of the house being a tomb; for Mariner has
described how the mourners brought white and black pebbles to the house
which stood over the grave of King Finow, and how they "strewed the
inside of the house with the white ones, and also the outside about the
_fytoca_, as a decoration to it: the black pebbles they strewed only
upon those white ones, which covered the ground directly over the body,
to about the length and breadth of a man, in the form of a very
eccentric ellipse. After this, the house over the _fytoca_," continues
Mariner, "was closed up at both ends with a reed fencing, reaching from
the eaves to the ground, and, at the front and back, with a sort of
basket-work, made of the young branches of the cocoa-nut tree, split and
interwoven in a very curious and ornamental way, to remain till the next
burial, when they are to be taken down, and, after the conclusion of the
ceremony, new ones are to be put up in like manner."[138] This
description of the house over King Finow's grave agrees so closely with
Captain Cook's description of the house in the _afiatouca_, that we may
with much probability regard the latter as a tomb, and suppose that the
"oblong square of blue pebbles," which Cook regarded as an altar and on
which he laid down his offering, marked the place of the body in the
grave: it was at once an altar and a tombstone.

    [137] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 144, note *. However, in
    another passage (i. 392, note *) Mariner tells us that, strictly
    speaking, the word _fytoca_ applied only to the mound with the
    grave in it, and not to the house upon the mound; for there were
    several _fytocas_ that had no houses on them. For other mentions
    of _fytocas_ and notices of them by Mariner, see _op. cit._ i.
    pp. 386, note *, 387, 388, 392, 393, 394, 395, 402, ii. 214-218.

    [138] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 402. A little farther on
    (p. 424, note *) Mariner remarks that "mourners were accustomed
    to smooth the graves of their departed friends, and cover them
    with black and white pebbles."

On his second and more prolonged visit to the Tonga islands, Captain
Cook expressed, with more confidence, his opinion that the _fiatookas_,
as he calls them, were at once burial-grounds and places of worship.
Thus he says: "Their _morais_ or _fiatookas_ (for they are called by
both names, but mostly by the latter), are, as at Otaheite, and many
other parts of the world, burying-grounds and places of worship; though
some of them seemed to be only appropriated to the first purpose; but
these were small, and, in every other respect, inferior to the
others."[139] Again, in another passage he describes one of the more
stately of these temple-tombs. He says: "Some of us, accompanied by a
few of the king's attendants, and Omai as our interpreter, walked out to
take a view of a _fiatooka_, or burying-place, which we had observed to
be almost close by the house, and was much more extensive, and seemingly
of more consequence, than any we had seen at the other islands. We were
told, that it belonged to the king. It consisted of three pretty large
houses, situated upon a rising ground, or rather just by the brink of
it, with a small one, at some distance, all ranged longitudinally. The
middle house of the three first, was by much the largest, and placed in
a square, twenty-four paces by twenty-eight, raised about three feet.
The other houses were placed on little mounts, raised artificially to
the same height. The floors of these houses, as also the tops of the
mounts round them, were covered with loose, fine pebbles, and the whole
was inclosed by large flat stones of hard coral rock, properly hewn,
placed on their edges; one of which stones measured twelve feet in
length, two in breadth, and above one in thickness. One of the houses,
contrary to what we had seen before, was open on one side; and within it
were two rude, wooden busts of men; one near the entrance, and the other
farther in. On inquiring of the natives, who had followed us to the
ground, but durst not enter here, What these images were intended for?
they made us as sensible as we could wish, that they were merely
memorials of some chiefs who had been buried there, and not the
representations of any deity. Such monuments, it should seem, are seldom
raised; for these had probably been erected several ages ago. We were
told, that the dead had been buried in each of these houses; but no
marks of this appeared. In one of them, was the carved head of an
Otaheite canoe, which had been driven ashore on their coast, and
deposited here. At the foot of the rising ground was a large area, or
grass-plot, with different trees planted about it; amongst which were
several of those called _etoa_, very large. These, as they resemble the
cypresses, had a fine effect in such a place. There was also a row of
low palms near one of the houses, and behind it a ditch, in which lay a
great number of old baskets."[140]

    [139] Captain Cook, _Voyages_, v. 424.

    [140] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 342 _sq._

Between the departure of Cook and the arrival of Mariner the first
Protestant missionaries were fortunate enough to witness the burial of
a king of Tonga, by name Moom[=o]oe. Their description of it and of the
royal tomb entirely bears out the observations and conclusions of
Captain Cook. The _fiatooka_ or burial-ground, they tell us, "is
situated on a spot of ground about four acres. A mount rises with a
gentle slope about seven feet, and is about one hundred and twenty yards
in circumference at the base; upon the top stands a house neatly made,
which is about thirty feet long, and half that in width. The roof is
thatched, and the sides and ends left open. In the middle of this house
is the grave, the sides, ends, and bottom of which are of coral stone,
with a cover of the same: the floor of the house is of small stones. The
_etoa_ and other trees grow round the _fiatooka_."[141] Into this grave,
or rather stone vault, the missionaries saw the king's body lowered. The
stone which covered the vault was eight feet long, four feet broad, and
one foot thick. This massive stone was first raised and held in suspense
by means of two great ropes, the ends of which were wound round two
strong piles driven into the ground at the end of the house. The ropes
were held by about two hundred men, who, when the king's body had been
deposited in the grave, slowly lowered the great stone and covered the
vault.[142] Some years later Mariner witnessed the funeral of another
king of Tonga, Finow the First; and he similarly describes how the tomb
was a large stone vault, sunk about ten feet deep in the ground, the
covering stone of which was hoisted by the main strength of a hundred
and fifty or two hundred men pulling at the two ends of a rope; when the
bodies of the king and his daughter had been laid side by side in the
vault the massive stone was lowered by the men with a great shout.[143]
The number of the men required to raise and lower these great stones
gives us some idea of their weight.

    [141] Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern
    Pacific Ocean_, pp. 240 _sq._

    [142] Captain James Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 244.

    [143] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 387 _sq._

Thus far we have been dealing only with the tombs of the civil kings of
Tonga. But far more stately and massive are the tombs of the sacred
kings or pontiffs, the Tooitongas, which still exist and still excite
the curiosity and admiration of European observers. The Tongan name for
these tombs is _langi_, which properly means "sky," also "a band of
singers"; but there appears to be no connexion between these different
meanings of the word.[144] The tombs are situated in Tongataboo, not far
from Mooa, the old capital of the island. They stand near the
south-eastern shore of the lagoon, which, under the name of the Mooa
Inlet, penetrates deeply into the northern side of Tongataboo. Beginning
at the northern outskirts of the village of Labaha, they stretch inland
for more than half a mile into the forest.[145] They are of various
constructions and shapes. Some consist of a square enclosure, on the
level of the ground, the boundary walls being formed of large stones;
while at each corner of the square two high stones, rising above the
wall, are placed upright at right angles to each other and in a line
with their respective sides.[146] But apparently the more usual and
characteristic type of tomb has the form of a truncated pyramid or
oblong platform raised in a series of steps or terraces, which are built
of massive blocks of coral. The number of steps or terraces seems to
vary from one to four according to the height of the monument.[147] It
is much to be regretted that no one has yet counted and mapped out these
tombs and recorded the names of their royal or divine occupants, so far
as they are remembered; but a trace of the religious awe which once
invested this hallowed ground still avails to keep it inviolate. A
proposal which Sir Basil Thomson made to clear away the forest and
preserve the tombs was very coldly received; in the eyes of the natives,
professing Christians as they are, it probably savoured of sacrilege.
The ancient custom was to clear the ground about every new tomb, and
after the interment to suffer the tropical undergrowth to swallow it up
for ever. Nowadays no holy pontiffs are borne to their last
resting-place in these hallowed shades; so the forest is never cleared,
and nature is left free to run wild. In consequence the tombs are so
overgrown and overshadowed that it is difficult to photograph them in
the gloomy and tangled thicket. Great _ifi_ trees[148] overhang them:
banyan-trees have sprouted on the terraces and thrust their roots into
every crevice, mantling the stones with a lacework of tendrils, which
year by year rend huge blocks asunder, until the original form of the
terrace is almost obliterated. Sir Basil Thomson followed the chain of
tombs for about half a mile, but on each occasion his guides told him
that there were other smaller tombs farther inland. The tombs increase
in size and in importance as they near the shore of the lagoon, and to
seven or eight of the larger ones the names of the occupants can be
assigned; but the names of the sacred chiefs who sleep in the smaller
tombs inland are quite forgotten. Some of them are mere enclosures of
stones, not squared, but taken haphazard from the reef.[149]

    [144] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 213 _sq._

    [145] (Sir) Basil Thomson, "Notes upon the Antiquities of
    Tonga," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii.
    (1902) p. 86.

    [146] Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern
    Pacific Ocean_, pp. 283 _sq._

    [147] The tomb described and illustrated by the first
    missionaries had four massive and lofty steps, each of them five
    and a half feet broad and four feet or three feet nine inches
    high. See Captain James Wilson, _l.c._, with the plate facing p.
    284. One such tomb, rising in four tiers, is ascribed
    traditionally to a female Tooitonga, whose name has been
    forgotten. See (Sir) Basil Thomson, "Notes upon the Antiquities
    of Tonga," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii.
    (1902) p. 88 n.^2.

    [148] The Tahitian chestnut (_Inocarpus edulis_); see above, p.
    74, note^2.

    [149] (Sir) Basil Thomson, _Diversions of a Prime Minister_
    (Edinburgh and London, 1894), pp. 379 _sq._; _id._ "Notes upon
    the Antiquities of Tonga," _Journal of the Anthropological
    Institute_, xxxii. (1902) p. 86. According to an earlier
    authority, the Tongans could name and point out the tombs of no
    less than thirty Tooitongas. See the letter of Mr. Philip
    Hervey, quoted in _Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of
    London_, Second Series, vol. ii. p. 77.

The tombs were built in the lifetime of the sacred chiefs who were to
lie in them, and their size accordingly affords a certain measure of the
power and influence of the great men interred in them. Among the largest
is the tomb which goes by the name of Telea, though it is said to
contain no body, Telea himself being buried in the tomb next to it. We
are told that, dissatisfied with the first sepulchre that was built for
him, he replaced it by the other, which is also of great size. The most
modern of the tombs is that of Laufilitonga, the last to bear the title
of Tooitonga. He died a Christian about 1840 and was buried in the tomb
of very inferior size which crowns the village cemetery. The most
ancient cannot be dated; but that some are older than A.D. 1535 may be
inferred from the tradition that Takalaua, a Tooitonga, was assassinated
about that time because he was a tyrant who compelled his people to drag
great stones from Liku, at the back of the island, to the burial ground
at Mooa; the distance is about a mile and a half.[150]

    [150] (Sir) Basil Thomson, "Notes upon the Antiquities of
    Tonga," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii.
    (1902) pp. 86 _sq._, 88 n.^2. As to the legend of the tyrant
    Takalaua, see _id._ _Diversions of a Prime Minister_, pp.

The first, so far as I know, to see and describe these remarkable tombs
were the earliest missionaries to Tonga about the end of the eighteenth
century. Speaking of the burial ground at Mooa, where lay interred the
divine chiefs whose title was Tooitonga and whose family name was
Futtaf[=a]ihe or Fatafehi, the missionaries observe that "the
_fiatookas_ are remarkable. There lie the Futtaf[=a]ihes for many
generations, some vast and ruinous, which is the case with the largest;
the house on the top of it is fallen, and the area and tomb itself
overgrown with wood and weeds."[151] Later on they had the advantage of
being conducted over the august cemetery by the Futtaf[=a]ihe or
Tooitonga of the day in person, who gave them some explanations
concerning these sepulchres of his ancestors. To quote their
description, they say that the tombs "lie ranged in a line eastward from
his house, among a grove of trees, and are many in number, and of
different constructions: some, in a square form, were not in the least
raised above the level of the common ground; a row of large stones
formed the sides, and at each corner two high stones were placed upright
at right angles to each other, and in a line with their respective
sides: others were such as the brethren describe that of Moom[=o]oe to
be: and a third sort were built square like the first; the largest of
which was at the base one hundred and fifty-six feet by one hundred and
forty; it had four steps from the bottom to the top, that run quite
round the pile: one stone composed the height of each step, a part of it
being sunk in the ground; and some of these stones in the wall of the
lower are immensely large; one, which I measured, was twenty-four feet
by twelve, and two feet thick; these Futtaf[=a]ihe informed me were
brought in double canoes from the island of Lefooga. They are coral
stone, and are hewn into a tolerably good shape, both with respect to
the straightness of their sides and flatness of their surfaces. They are
now so hardened by the weather, that the great difficulty we had in
breaking a specimen of one corner made it not easy to conjecture how the
labour of hewing them at first had been effected; as, by the marks of
antiquity which some of them bear, they must have been built long before
Tasman showed the natives an iron tool. Besides the trees which grow on
the top and sides of most of them, there are the _etooa_, and a variety
of other trees about them; and these, together with the thousands of
bats which hang on their branches, all contribute to the awful solemnity
of those sepulchral mansions of the ancient chiefs. On our way back
Futtaf[=a]ihe told us that all the _fiatookas_ we had seen were built by
his ancestors, who also lay interred in them; and as there appeared no
reason to doubt the truth of this, it proves that a supreme power in the
government of the island must for many generations have been in the
family of the Futtaf[=a]ihes: for though there were many _fiatookas_ in
the island, the brethren, who had seen most of them, said they were not
to be compared to these for magnitude, either in the pile or the stones
which compose them."[152]

    [151] Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern
    Pacific Ocean,_ p. 252. As to Futtaf[=a]ihe, the Tooitonga or
    divine chief of their time, the missionaries remark (_l.c._)
    that "Futtaf[=a]ihe is very superstitious, and himself esteemed
    as an _odooa_ or god." Here _odooa_ is the Polynesian word which
    is usually spelled _atua_. Mariner tells us (_Tonga Islands_,
    ii. 76) that the family name of the Tooitonga was Fatafehi,
    which seems to be only another way of spelling Futtaf[=a]ihe,
    the form adopted by the missionaries. Captain Cook similarly
    gives Futtaf[=a]ihe as the family name of the sacred kings or
    Tooitongas, deriving the name "from the God so called, who is
    probably their tutelary patron, and perhaps their common
    ancestor." See Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 425.

    [152] Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern
    Pacific Ocean_, pp. 283-285. The description is accompanied by
    an engraved plate, which illustrates the three types of tombs
    mentioned in the text. In the foreground is the stepped pyramid,
    a massive and lofty structure, its flat top surmounted by a hut.
    To the right, in the distance, is seen the square walled
    enclosure, with high stones standing upright at the corners of
    the walls, and with a hut enclosed in the middle of the square.
    In the background appears a mound enclosed by a wall and
    surmounted by a hut. Thus a hut figures as an essential part
    in each type of tomb. However, Mariner tells us that "they
    have several _fytocas_ which have no houses on them" (_Tonga
    Islands_, i. 392 note *).

                                            | 3 ft. 9 in.
                                5-1/2 feet. |
                              | 3 ft. 9 in.
                  5-1/2 feet. |
                | 3 ft. 9 in.
    5-1/2 feet. |               PROFILE OF THE STEPS.
  | 4 feet.

Some thirty years later the tombs of the Tooitongas were visited and
described by the French explorer, J. Dumont d'Urville. His description
is worth quoting. He says: "I directed my steps to the splendid
_faï-tokas_ of the Fata-Faïs. As these monuments are essentially taboo,
in the absence of the Tooi-tonga no one looks after their upkeep, and
they are now buried on every side among dark masses of trees and almost
impenetrable thickets. Hence we had some difficulty in approaching them,
and it was impossible for us to get a single general view of the whole
of these structures, which must have a somewhat solemn effect when the
ground is properly cleared.

"For the most part these mausoleums have the form of great rectangular
spaces surrounded by enormous blocks of stone, of which some are as much
as from fifteen to twenty feet long by six or eight broad and two feet
thick. The most sumptuous of these monuments have four or five rows of
steps, making up a total height of eighteen or twenty feet. The interior
is filled up with shingle and fragments of unhewn coral. One of these
_faï-tokas_, which I measured, was a hundred and eighty feet long by a
hundred and twenty broad. At one of the upper angles I observed a block
of considerable size with a deep cutting in it. I was told that it was
the seat of the Tooi-tonga-fafine[153]; it was there that she sat to
preside at the ceremony of the funeral of the Tooi-tonga.

    [153] The Tooi-tonga-fafine (or fefine) was the Tooitonga's
    sister and ranked above him. Her title means "the lady
    Tooi-tonga." "Her dignity is very great. She is treated as a
    kind of divinity. Her rank is too high to allow of her uniting
    herself in marriage with any mortal: but it is not thought wrong
    or degrading for her to have a family, and in case of the birth
    of a daughter the child becomes the _Tamaha_. This lady rises
    higher than her mother in rank, and is nearer the gods. Every
    one approaches her with gifts and homage. Her grandfather will
    bring his offerings and sit down before her, with all humility,
    like any of the common people. Sick people come to her for cure"
    (Miss Sarah S. Farmer, _Tonga and the Friendly Islands_, p. 145,
    apparently from the information of Mr. John Thomas). Captain
    Cook learned with surprise that Poulaho, the Tooitonga of his
    time (whom Cook speaks of as the king) acknowledged three women
    as his superiors. "On our inquiring, who these extraordinary
    personages were, whom they distinguish by the name and title of
    _Tammaha_, we were told that the late king, Poulaho's father,
    had a sister of equal rank, and elder than himself; that she, by
    a man who came from the island of Feejee, had a son and two
    daughters; and that these three persons, as well as their
    mother, rank above Futtafaihe the king. We endeavoured, in vain,
    to trace the reason of this singular pre-eminence of the
    _Tammahas_; for we could learn nothing besides this account of
    their pedigree. The mother and one of the daughters called
    Tooeela-Kaipa, live at Vavaoo. Latoolibooloo, the son, and the
    other daughter, whose name is Moungoula-Kaipa, reside at
    Tongataboo. The latter is the woman who is mentioned to have
    dined with me on the 21st of June. This gave occasion to our
    discovering her superiority over the king, who would not eat in
    her presence, though she made no scruple to do so before him,
    and received from him the customary obeisance, by touching her
    foot." See Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 430 _sq._

"Some of these edifices were of an oval form, but they were much
smaller. Each of them was surmounted by a small hut, which served as an
oratory or house for the spirit of the dead; most of them have been
destroyed by the lapse of time, and only traces of them are left
scattered on the ground.

"The enormous blocks of coral employed in the construction of these
monuments have all been brought by sea from Hifo to Mooa. They were got
on the shore of the sea at Hifo, were hewn on the spot, and were
transported in great canoes; then they were landed at Mooa and drawn on
rollers to the place of their destination. These monuments are
astonishing evidence of the patience which they must have demanded on
the part of these islanders; they were ocular testimony to me of the
high degree of civilisation which the natives had reached. Man must have
risen to ideas of a much higher order than those of a simple savage
before he would take so great pains for the single object of
consecrating the memory of his chiefs.

"Such tombs are no longer built in Tongataboo: people content themselves
with simple mounds surrounded by a row of posts or even an ordinary
palisade. However, Singleton assured me that Finow the Younger had
erected two great _faï-tokas_ of stone in Vavao, one for the last
Tooitonga, and one for his father."[154]

    [154] J. Dumont d'Urville, _Voyage de l'Astrolabe, Histoire du
    Voyage_, iv. (Paris, 1832) pp. 106-108. Singleton was an
    Englishman, one of the crew of the _Port-au-Prince_, the ship in
    which Mariner sailed. When Dumont d'Urville visited Tonga,
    Singleton had lived as a native among the natives for
    twenty-three years; he was married and had children, and he
    hoped to end his days in Tongataboo. See J. Dumont d'Urville,
    _op. cit._ iv. 23 _sq._

The Frenchman, De Sainson, who accompanied Dumont d'Urville on his visit
to Tongataboo, has also described the tombs of the Tooitongas at Mooa
from personal observation. I will quote his description: "It is in the
heart of the forest that the ancient inhabitants of these countries, who
idolized their Kings (Tooi-tongas), placed the tombs of that sacred
race. These monuments of a more enterprising age still astonish the
beholder by their mass and their extent. The _fai-tokas_, as these
burial-places are called, are artificial eminences, on the top of which,
in the form of a square, are three or four crosses of great granitic
blocks arranged as steps, of which each block may be four or five feet
high. If there is only a single step on the top of the mound, it is
because only a single Tooi-tonga sleeps there in the grave; if the bones
of a whole family are deposited in a common tomb, three or four steps,
one above the other, mark their union in death. Some of these monuments
which contain only a single body are arranged in an oval. I counted more
than twelve of these immense structures, and yet we left a great many
aside. I counted more than one stone between eight and fifteen feet
long; and I conceived a high idea of those men of ancient days who
erected over the remains of their kings these imperishable mausoleums,
in an island based on coral, where it would be difficult to find a stone
of two feet square. I imagined them to be very different from their
effeminate descendants, those men of old who went in their canoes more
than a hundred and fifty leagues to look for the enormous blocks of
which these tombs are built, who cut them without the help of iron, and
succeeded, by means unknown, in planting them on these hillocks, where
by their own weight they are fixed for ever, like the Druidical
monuments of Brittany, which one would say were dropped on earth rather
by the magic of talismans than by the power of man.

"The present inhabitants of Tonga contemplate with a pious awe the fruit
of the labours and patience of their forefathers, without dreaming for a
moment of imitating them in their noble enterprises. A distant voyage
affrights these degenerate scions of a hardy race, and the great canoes
which still survive, sheltered under sheds very skilfully built, are
little more than the useless encumbrance of chiefs grown languid in the
long peace which has infected the whole people with habits of indolence.

"The most recent tombs consist of a small house enclosed on all sides,
built on a rising ground, and shaded by a circle of mimosas, a tree
sacred to the dead. Most of the illustrious graves are clustered
together at Mafanga, a large village of which the whole territory is
sacred on account of the hallowed relics which it contains. Along with
the corpse they bury at the depth of a few inches small wooden effigies
representing persons of both sexes. I had occasion to unearth a few of
these little statues, and I remarked in them an astonishing feeling for
artistic design."[155]

    [155] "Extrait du Journal de M. de Sainson," in J. Dumont
    d'Urville, _Voyage de l'Astrolabe, Histoire du Voyage_, iv.
    (Paris, 1832) pp. 361 _sq._

Some sixteen years later a Catholic missionary, living among the heathen
population of Tongataboo, wrote thus: "Nothing equals the care which
they take in the burial of their dead. As soon as a native has breathed
his last, the neighbours are informed, and immediately all the women
come to weep about the corpse. Here the men never weep. The body is kept
thus for a day or two, during which they are busy building a tomb near
the dwelling of the deceased's family. The sepulchral house is neat,
built on an eminence, surrounded by a pretty fence of choice bamboos;
the enclosure is planted with all kinds of odoriferous shrubs,
especially evergreens. Finally, the monument is covered by a roof
artistically constructed. For the tombs of kings and the greatest chiefs
they go to distant islands to find huge stones to crown the grave. I
have seen one twenty-four feet long by eight broad and at least eighteen
inches thick. One of these tombs was built by the natives of Wallis
Island, who brought the enormous blocks in immense canoes. It is
wonderful for these peoples."[156]

    [156] Jérôme Grange, in _Annales de la Propagation de la Foi_,
    xvii. (1845) pp. 12 _sq._

Captain Erskine, who visited Tongataboo in 1849, says that "near the
landing-place at the village of Holobeka, off which we were lying, we
saw overshadowed with trees, one of the _faitokas_, or old burial-places
of the country, which, although no longer 'tabu,' are still in some
cases used as places of sepulture, and very carefully kept. This one was
an oblong square platform a few feet high, surrounded by a stone wall,
the interior being beautifully paved with coloured corals and gravel;
the house or temple, which Captain Cook and others describe as occupying
the centre, having been, I suppose, removed. I saw but one other of
these monuments during our stay among the islands, the largest of which
stands on several rows of steps, as described by all former

    [157] J. E. Erskine, _Journal of a Cruise among the Islands of
    the Western Pacific_ (London, 1853), p. 130.

Thomas West, who lived as a missionary in the Tongan islands from 1846
to 1855, tells us that "chiefs were usually interred in tombs,
constructed of blocks of sandstone, cut from suitable localities by the
seashore, where, at a little depth from the surface, layers of hard and
durable sandstone are found, even on many of the coralline islands. In
several of the ancient burial-places, similar stones, arranged in
terraces, surround the whole enclosure. Some of these are of immense
size, and seem to indicate the possession, on the part of former
inhabitants, either of greater energy than the present race, or of
better tools and appliances. The burial-places of the Tonguese are
always surrounded by the most imposing foliage of the tropics, and
placed in sequestered spots. A mound of earth is raised, of dimensions
varying with the necessities of the place; and, whenever a grave is
opened within the limits of this mound, it is always filled up with
beautiful white sand, and never contains more than one body. No particle
of clay or earthy mould is allowed to touch the remains of the dead. The
sand is brought in baskets by the chief mourners, who sometimes sail or
journey many miles to procure it; and each person pours the contents
into the grave until it is sufficiently filled up. The top of the grave
is, afterwards, carefully tended and decorated with black pebbles and
red coral, arranged in various devices, which have a very pretty effect.
Small houses are also placed over the tombs of the chiefs and

    [158] Thomas West, _Ten Years in South-Central Polynesia_
    (London, 1865), pp. 268 _sq._

In more recent years the tombs of the Tooitongas at Mooa have been
visited by Sir Basil Thomson, who has described and discussed them.[159]
From an anonymous pamphlet called _The Wairarapa Wilderness_, written by
the passengers of the s.s. _Wairarapa_ and published in 1884, Sir Basil
Thomson quotes a passage containing a description of the tombs, with
measurements which, he tells us, are accurate as far as they go. From it
I will extract a few particulars. The writers inform us that the tombs
are built of blocks of coral which vary in length and thickness; some of
the largest they found to be from fifteen to eighteen feet long and from
one and a half to two feet thick. The largest measured by them is
twenty-two feet long and two feet thick and stands between seven and
eight feet above the ground. This great stone, now split in two, is at
the middle of the lowest step of one of the pyramidal tombs. The height
of the steps varies much in the different pyramids; one step was found
to be four feet high. The breadth of each step is three feet or more: it
has been carefully levelled and covered with coral gravel. The stones
fit very closely and are very regular at top and bottom throughout the
tiers. The corners of one pyramid observed by the writers are formed of
huge rectangular stones, which seem to have been put in position before
they were finally faced. On the upper surface of the largest stone is a
deep hollow about the size and shape of a large chestnut mortar. Sir
Basil Thomson, who has examined this hollow, believes it to be a natural
cavity which has been artificially smoothed by a workman. He suggests
that it may have been lined with leaves and used as a bowl for brewing
kava at the funeral ceremonies. On one mound the writers of the
pamphlet remarked a large flat stone, some five and a half feet square;
and in several of the tombs they noticed huge slabs of volcanic stone
placed indiscriminately side by side with blocks of coral. The writers
measured the bases of three of the tombs and found them to be about two
chains (one hundred and thirty-two feet) long by a chain and a half
(ninety-nine feet) broad; the base of a fourth was even larger.[160]

    [159] (Sir) Basil Thomson, _Diversions of a Prime Minister_, pp.
    379 _sq._; _id._ "Notes upon the Antiquities of Tonga," _Journal
    of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii. (1902) pp. 86-88.

    [160] (Sir) Basil Thomson, "Notes upon the Antiquities of
    Tonga," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii.
    (1902) pp. 87 _sq._

Surveying these various accounts of the tombs of the Tooitongas or
sacred chiefs, we may perhaps conclude that, while the type of tomb
varied in different cases, the most characteristic, and certainly the
most remarkable, type was that of a stepped or terraced pyramid built of
such large blocks of stone as to merit the name of megalithic monuments.
So far as I have observed in the accounts given of them, this type of
tomb was reserved exclusively for the sacred chiefs, the Tooitongas,
whom the Tongans regarded as divine and as direct descendants of the
gods. The civil kings, so far as appears, were not buried in these
massive pyramids, but merely in stone vaults sunk in the summits of
grassy mounds.

It is natural, with Sir Basil Thomson,[161] to compare the pyramids of
the Tooitongas with the similar structures called _morais_ or _marais_
which are found in Tahiti and the Marquesas islands. Indeed, the very
name _morai_ was sometimes applied to them by the Tongans themselves,
though more usually they called them _fiatookas_, which was simply the
common word for burying-ground.[162] In Tahiti and the Marquesas islands
these _marais_ were in like manner truncated pyramids, rising in a
series of steps or tiers, built of stones, some of which were large, but
apparently not so large as in the corresponding Tongan edifices; for in
describing one of the largest of the Tahitian _morais_ or _marais_ Cook
mentions only one stone measuring as much as four feet seven inches in
length by two feet four in breadth, though he found several three and a
half feet long by two and a half feet broad. These dimensions can hardly
compare with the size of the blocks in the tombs of the Tooitongas, some
of which, as we have seen, measure fifteen, eighteen, and even
twenty-two or twenty-four feet in length by eight or twelve feet in
height. These Tahitian and Marquesan pyramids are commonly described as
temples, and justly so, because the gods were worshipped there and human
sacrifices were offered on them.[163] But they were also, like the
similar structures in Tonga, used in certain cases for the burial of the
dead, or at all events for the preservation of their embalmed bodies.
Captain Cook seems even to have regarded the Tahitian _morais_ primarily
as burying-grounds and only secondarily as places of worship.[164] In
the island of Huahine, one of the Society Islands, the sovereign chiefs
were buried in a _marai_, where they lay, we are told, in more than
Oriental state.[165] William Ellis, one of our best authorities on the
religion of the Tahitians, tells us that "the family, district, or royal
_maraes_ were the general depositories of the bones of the departed,
whose bodies had been embalmed, and whose skulls were sometimes
preserved in the dwelling of the survivors. The _marae_ or temple
being sacred, and the bodies being under the guardianship of the gods,
were in general considered secure when deposited there. This was not,
however, always the case; and in times of war, the victors sometimes
not only despoiled the temples of the vanquished, and bore away their
idol, but robbed the sacred enclosure of the bones of celebrated
individuals."[166] Moerenhout, another good authority on the Tahitian
religion, informs us that the _marais_ which belonged to individuals
often served as cemeteries and were only the more respected on that
account; but he says that in the public _marais_ almost the only persons
buried were the human victims offered in sacrifice, and sometimes the
priests, who were laid face downwards in the grave, for the curious
reason that otherwise the gaze of the dead men would blight the trees
and cause the fruit to fall to the ground.[167]

    [161] (Sir) Basil Thomson, _Diversions of a Prime Minister_, p.

    [162] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 424. Elsewhere (v. 364)
    he speaks of "a _morai_ or _fiatooka_"; and shortly afterwards,
    referring to the same structure, he mentions it as "this
    _morai_, or what I may as well call temple" (p. 365). As to the
    equivalence of the words _morai_ and _marai_ (_marae_), see J.
    A. Moerenhout, _Voyages aux Îles du Grand Océan_ (Paris, 1837),
    i. 466; and as to the significance of the word in its various
    dialectical forms, see E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative
    Dictionary_, p. 213, _s.v._ "malae."

    [163] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, i. 157 _sqq._; J. R.
    Forster, _Observations made during a Voyage round the World_
    (London, 1788), pp. 543 _sqq._; Captain James Wilson,
    _Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean_, pp. 207
    _sqq._; David Porter, _Journal of a Cruise made to the Pacific
    Ocean_ (New York, 1822), ii. 38 _sq._; D. Tyerman and G. Bennet,
    _Journal of Voyages and Travels_ (London, 1831), i. 240-248, 265
    _sqq._, 271, 274, 529 _sq._, ii. 13 _sq._, 38 _sq._; W. Ellis,
    _Polynesian Researches_, Second Edition (London, 1832-1836), i.
    340, 405; J. A. Moerenhout, _Voyages aux Îles du Grand Océan_,
    i. 466-470; G. H. von Langsdorff, _Reise um die Welt_ (Frankfurt
    am Mayn, 1812), i. 115, 134; H. Melville, _Typee_ (London,
    N.D.), pp. 166-169 (_Everyman's Library_); Matthias G----,
    _Lettres sur les Îles Marquises_ (Paris, 1843), pp. 54 _sq._;
    C. E. Meinicke, _Die Inseln des Stillen Oceans_ (Leipzig,
    1875-1876), i. 49, ii. 180, 183 _sq._; G. Gerland, in Th. Waitz,
    _Anthropologie_, vi (Leipzig, 1872) pp. 376 _sqq._

    [164] Capt. James Cook, _Voyages_, i. 157 _sq._, "Their name for
    such burying-grounds, which are also places of worship, is
    _Morai_." Compare _id._, i. 217, 219, 220, 224, vi. 37, 41; J.
    Turnbull, _Voyage round the World_ (London, 1813), p. 151, "the
    _morais_, which serve the double purpose of places of worship
    and receptacles for the dead." Compare J. R. Forster,
    _Observations_, p. 545, "To ornament the _marais_ and to honour
    by it the gods and the decayed buried there, the inhabitants
    plant several sorts of trees near them."

    [165] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 271.

    [166] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_, i. 405. Elsewhere (p.
    401), speaking of the Tahitian burial customs, Ellis observes
    that "the skull was carefully kept in the family, while the
    other bones, etc., were buried within the precincts of the
    family temple."

    [167] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 470. As to the Tahitian
    custom of burying the dead in the _marais_, see also C. E.
    Meinicke, _Die Inseln des Stillen Oceans_, ii. 183 _sq._,
    according to whom only the bodies of persons of high rank were
    interred in these sanctuaries.

In the Marquesas islands the _morais_ appear to have been also used
occasionally or even regularly as burial-places. Langsdorff, one of our
earliest authorities on these islands, speaks of a _morai_ simply as a
place of burial.[168] He tells us that the mummified bodies of the dead
were deposited on scaffolds in the _morai_ or family burial-place, and
that the people of neighbouring but hostile districts used to try to
steal each other's dead from the _morais_, and deemed it a great triumph
when they succeeded in the attempt. To defeat such attempts, when the
inhabitants of a district expected to be attacked in force by their
enemies, they were wont to remove their dead from the _morai_ and bury
them in the neighbourhood.[169] Again, in their monograph on the
Marquesas islands, the French writers Vincendon-Dumoulin and Desgraz
recognise only the mortuary aspect of the _morais_. They say: "The
_morais_, funeral monuments where the bodies are deposited, are set up
on a platform of stone, which is the base of all Nukahivan
constructions. They are to be found scattered in the whole extent of the
valleys; no particular condition seems to be required in the choice of
the site. Near the shore of Taïohae is the _morai_ which contains the
remains of a brother of the _atepeïou Patini_, an uncle of Moana, who
died some years ago, as they tell us."[170]

    [168] G. H. von Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 115.

    [169] G. H. von Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 134.

    [170] Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _Îles Marquises ou
    Nouka-hiva_ (Paris, 1843), p. 253.

Thus to some extent, in function as well as in form, these pyramidical
temples of Tahiti and the Marquesas islands corresponded to the
megalithic monuments of the Tooitongas or sacred chiefs of Tonga; in
fact, they were mausoleums as well as temples. We are not at liberty to
assume, with one authority on the Polynesians, that they were mausoleums
first and foremost, and that they only developed into temples at a later
time.[171] It is possible, on the contrary, that from the outset they
were temples dedicated to the worship of the high gods, and that the
custom of depositing the dead in them was a later practice adopted for
the sake of the protection which these holy places might be expected to
afford against the efforts of enemies to carry off and desecrate the
remains of the departed. Dr. Rivers propounded a theory that the custom
of building these megalithic monuments in the form of pyramids was
introduced into the Pacific by a people who brought with them a secret
worship of the sun, and he apparently inclined to regard the monuments
themselves as at least associated with that worship.[172] The theory can
hardly apply to the megalithic monuments of the Tooitongas in
Tongataboo; for the evidence which I have adduced seems to render it
certain that these monuments were erected primarily as tombs to receive
the bodies of the sacred chiefs. It is true that these tombs enjoyed a
sacred character and were the scene of worship which justly entitles
them to rank as temples; but so far as they were temples, they were
devoted to the worship, not of the sun, but of the dead.

    [171] C. E. Meinicke, _Die Inseln des Stillen Oceans_, ii. 180.

    [172] W. H. R. Rivers, "Sun-cult and Megaliths in Oceania,"
    _American Anthropologist_, N.S. xvii. (1915) pp. 431 _sqq._

Thus our enquiry into the meaning and origin of these interesting
monuments entirely confirms the view of the shrewd and observant Captain
Cook that the _fiatookas_, as the Tongans called them, were both places
of burial and places of worship.

Finally, the evidence which I have cited appears to render it highly
probable that these imposing monuments were built, not by a prehistoric
people, predecessors of the Tongans in the islands, but by the Tongans
themselves; for not only do the people affirm that the tombs were
erected by their ancestors, but they have definite traditions of some of
the chiefs who built them, and are buried in them; and they still
profess to remember some of the islands from which the huge stones were
brought to Tongataboo in great double canoes.

That the graves of the great chiefs were, like temples, regarded by the
people with religious reverence appears plainly from a statement of
Mariner. He tells us that a place called Mafanga, in the western part of
Tongataboo, being a piece of land about half a mile square, was
consecrated ground. "In this spot," he says, "are the graves where the
greatest chiefs from time immemorial have been buried, and the place is
therefore considered sacred; it would be a sacrilege to fight here, and
nobody can be prevented from landing: if the most inveterate enemies
meet upon this ground, they must look upon each other as friends, under
penalty of the displeasure of the gods, and consequently an untimely
death, or some great misfortune. There are several of these consecrated
places on different islands."[173] Thus the reverence paid to the tombs
of the chiefs was like the reverence paid to the consecrated houses and
enclosures of the gods; we have already seen what a sacrilege it was
deemed to fight or to pursue an enemy within the consecrated enclosure
of a god,[174] and we now learn that it was equally a sacrilege to fight
within the ground that was hallowed by the graves of the chiefs.

    [173] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 88.

    [174] Above, pp. 74 _sqq._

Mariner has described for us the worship paid by the king and his chiefs
to one of the sacred graves at Mafanga. One morning Finow the king,
accompanied by several of his chiefs and their ministers (the
_matabooles_), landed at Mafanga and immediately proceeded to his
father's grave to perform a ceremony called _toogi_. Mariner attended
the party and witnessed the ceremony. All who went to participate in it
assumed the attire of mourners or suppliants, that is, they wore mats
instead of their usual dress and they had wreaths, made of the leaves of
the _ifi_ tree, round their necks. They sat down before the grave, and
the king and all of them beat their cheeks with their fists for about
half a minute without speaking a word. One of the principal ministers
(_matabooles_) then addressed the spirit of the king's father to the
following effect: "Behold the man (meaning Finow, the king) who has come
to Tonga to fight his enemies. Be pleased with him, and grant him thy
protection. He comes to battle, hoping he is not doing wrong. He has
always held Tooitonga in the highest respect, and has attended to all
religious ceremonies with exactness." One of the attendants then went to
the king and received from him a piece of kava root, which he laid down
on the raised mount before the burial-place (_fytoka_). Several others,
who had pieces of kava root in their bosoms, went up to the grave in
like manner and deposited them there.[175]

    [175] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 88 _sq._

Thus the king prayed to the spirit of his dead father at his grave and
made an offering at the tomb. What more could he do to a god at his
temple? And in general we are told that when a great blessing was
desired, or a serious evil deprecated, if the people wished to enjoy
health or beget children, to be successful at sea, or victorious in war,
they would go to the burial grounds of their great chiefs, clean them
up thoroughly, sprinkle the floor with sand, and lay down their
offerings.[176] When Finow the king was dying, his friends carried him
on a bier, not only to the temples of the great gods Tali-y-Toobo and
Tooi-fooa-Bolotoo, where prayers for his recovery were offered; they
bore him also to the grave of a chieftainess and invoked her spirit in
like manner to pity and spare the expiring monarch.[177] Apparently they
thought that the ghost of the chieftainess was quite as able as the
great gods to heal the sick and restore the dying.

    [176] Sarah S. Farmer, _Tonga and the Friendly Islands_, p. 127.

    [177] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 367.

But on no occasion, perhaps, was the assimilation of dead men to gods
so conspicuous as at the annual offering of first-fruits, which seems to
have been the most impressive of all the yearly rites observed by the
Tongans. The ceremony was observed once a year just before the yams in
general had arrived at a state of maturity; the yams offered at it were
of a kind which admitted of being planted sooner than the others, and
which consequently, ripening earlier, were the first-fruits of the yam
season. The object of the offering was to ensure the protection of the
gods, that their favour might be extended to the welfare of the nation
generally, and in particular to the productions of the earth, of which
in Tonga yams are the most important. At this solemn ceremony the new
yams, slung on poles, were brought from distant islands, carried in
procession to the grave of the late Tooitonga, and deposited in front of
it, their bearers sitting down beside them. Thereupon one of the
ministers (_matabooles_) of the living Tooitonga arose, advanced, and
sat down before the grave, a little in front of the men who had brought
the yams. Next he addressed the gods generally, and afterwards
particularly, mentioning the late Tooitonga and the names of several
others. In doing so he returned thanks for their divine bounty in
favouring the land with the prospect of a good harvest, and prayed that
their beneficence might be continued in future. In this harvest
thanksgiving the spirit of the dead Tooitonga seems to have ranked on an
equality with the original or superhuman gods; indeed, in a sense he
took precedence of them, since the offerings were presented at his
grave. The first-fruits, we are told, were offered to the gods in the
person of the divine chief Tooitonga.[178]

    [178] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 196-202, compare p. 78.
    The ceremony was also witnessed, though not understood, by
    Captain Cook (_Voyages_, v. 363 _sqq._) and by the first English
    missionaries (Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the
    Southern Pacific Ocean_, pp. 264 _sq._).

On the whole we may conclude that, however sharp a distinction was drawn
in theory between the old gods, who had always been gods, and the new
gods, who had once been men, the line which divided them in practice was
wavering and blurred. The dead men and women were fast rising, if they
had not already risen, to an equality with the ancient deities. We may
even surmise that some of these old gods themselves were human beings,
whose original humanity was forgotten.

The tombs of the kings and sacred chiefs may be described as megalithic
monuments in so far as immense stones were often employed in the
construction either of the enclosing walls or of the high steps which
led up to the summit of the mound where the grave was dug. It is
possible, and indeed probable, that great stones were similarly employed
as ornaments or accessories of the consecrated houses or temples of the
primary gods, but of such an employment I have met with no express
notice among our authorities. So far as their descriptions allow us to
judge, these megalithic monuments of the Tongans were purely sepulchral
in character; they were dedicated only to the worship of the dead. But
there exists at least one other remarkable megalithic monument in these
islands of which the original meaning is quite uncertain, and of which
consequently we cannot confidently say that it was erected for the sake
of honouring or propitiating the spirits of the departed. The monument
in question is situated near the eastern extremity of Tongataboo, at a
distance of three or four hundred yards from the beach and facing
towards the island of Eua. The land on which it stands was the private
property of the Tooitongas, whose megalithic tombs are situated some
eight or nine miles away to the west. In the intervening country, which
is perfectly flat and partly covered with forest, partly under
cultivation, there are said to be no other monuments or ruins. It is
remarkable that this imposing monument, which naturally impresses the
observer by its resemblance to the trilithons or gate-like structures of
Stonehenge, should have apparently escaped the observation of Europeans
down to the middle of the nineteenth century. It is not mentioned by
Cook and Mariner, nor even by those who, like the first missionaries and
Dumont d'Urville, described in some detail the tombs of the Tooitongas
not many miles off. Perhaps the solitariness of the surrounding country
may partly account for their ignorance and silence; for there are said
to be few inhabitants in this part of the island and none at all in the
immediate neighbourhood of the monument. It seems to have been first
discovered by Mr. Philip Hervey of Sydney in 1850 or 1851, but his
description of it was not published for some ten years. In August 1852
it was seen by Dr. Charles Forbes, Surgeon of H.M.S. _Calliope_, and his
description of it was published by the Society of Antiquaries of London
in the following year. In 1865 it was seen and briefly described by Mr.
Foljambe of H.M.S. _Curaçoa_. Some twenty years later the passengers of
the s.s. _Wairarapa_, on a yachting cruise from New Zealand, visited the
spot and published an account of the structure. Still later Sir Basil
Thomson examined the monument and discussed its history.[179]

    [179] See the letter of Dr. Charles Forbes, in _Archaeologia, or
    Miscellaneous Tracts relating to Antiquity_, xxxv. (London,
    1853) p. 496 (with a woodcut); _Proceedings of the Society of
    Antiquaries of London_ [First Series], iii. 19; _id._ Second
    Series, i. 287; letter of Philip Hervey, quoted by Kenneth R. H.
    Mackenzie, in _Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of
    London_, Second Series, ii. 75-77; Julius L. Brenchley,
    _Jottings during the Cruise of H.M.S. "Curaçoa" among the South
    Sea Islands in 1865_ (London, 1873), p. 132 (with a woodcut);
    (Sir) Basil Thomson, _Diversions of a Prime Minister_ (Edinburgh
    and London, 1894), pp. 380-382 (with a woodcut on p. 393); _id._
    "Notes upon the Antiquities of Tonga," _Journal of the
    Anthropological Institute_, xxxii. (1902) pp. 81-84 (with a
    photograph). Views of the monument, taken apparently from
    photographs, have also been published by Dr. F. H. H. Guillemard
    (_Australasia_, vol. ii. London, 1894, p. 501), Dr. George Brown
    (_Melanesians and Polynesians_, London, 1910, plate facing p.
    410), and by Mr. S. Percy Smith (_Hawaiki_, Third Edition,
    Christchurch, N.Z., 1910, pp. 157 _sq._). Dr. W. H. R. Rivers
    spoke as if there were several trilithons in Tongataboo
    (_History of Melanesian Society_, ii. 430 _sq._; _id._ "Sun-cult
    and Megaliths in Oceania," _American Anthropologist_, N.S.
    xvii., 1915, p. 444); but in this he seems to have been
    mistaken. So far as I can gather, there is only one of these
    remarkable monuments in Tongataboo or indeed in the whole of the

The monument in question is a structure of the type known as a
trilithon; that is, it is composed of three large stones, of which two
stand upright, while the third rests horizontally on their tops. All
three stones are monoliths of hardened coral, rough and much weathered
on the surface, and precisely similar to the coral of the neighbouring
reefs. Indeed, about halfway between the monument and the beach the
coral rock is exposed in a hollow, from which it seems probable that the
great blocks were hewn and brought to their present situation. The
statement of Mr. Brenchley, that the stone of which the monument
consists is not to be found elsewhere on the island, is erroneous. The
uprights are quadrangular monoliths neatly squared. No measurements of
the stones appear to be on record, but the two uprights are variously
estimated to measure from fourteen to sixteen feet in height; their
breadth or depth from front to back is variously given as from eight to
ten or even twelve feet; but they seem to taper somewhat upwards, for
the estimate which assigns twelve feet for the depth of the uprights at
their base, mentions seven feet or probably more as their breadth at the
top. The thickness of the uprights seems to be four feet. The space
between them is variously stated at ten and twelve feet. The
cross-stone, which rests on the two uprights, is reported to measure
twenty-four feet in length, by four or five feet in depth, and two feet
in thickness. Each of the uprights is estimated by Sir Basil Thomson to
weigh not less than fifty tons. The tops of both are deeply mortised to
receive the cross-stone, the ends of which are sunk into them instead of
being laid flat on the top. The cross-stone lies east and west, so that
the opening between the uprights faces north and south. On the upper
surface of the cross-stone, and at about the middle of it, is a cup-like
hollow, very carefully cut, about the size of a coco-nut shell. A large
bowl of the same material is said to have formerly stood on the
cross-stone, but the statement is not made by an eyewitness and is
probably mistaken.[180]

    [180] For the authorities, see the preceding note. The
    measurements, to some extent discrepant, are given by Dr.
    Charles Forbes, Mr. Philip Hervey, and the passengers of s.s.
    _Wairarapa_, as reported by Sir Basil Thomson _Journal of the
    Anthropological Institute_, xxxii. 82 _sq._), who had
    unfortunately mislaid his own notes containing the measurements.
    The statement that the monument was surmounted by a large bowl
    is made by Mr. Brenchley, in whose sketch of the structure the
    bowl figures. But Mr. Brenchley did not himself see the
    monument, and nobody else appears to have seen the bowl. I
    suspect that the report of the bowl may have originated in a
    hasty reading of Mr. Hervey's statement that "on the centre of
    it [the cross-stone] a small cava bowl is scooped out," though
    in Mr. Brenchley's account the bowl has seemingly increased in
    size. Similarly in his report the height of the uprights has
    grown to about thirty feet, which appears to be just double of
    their real size. Perhaps Mr. Brenchley's erroneous allegation as
    to the material of the monument similarly originated in a
    misunderstanding of Mr. Hervey's statement that "the material is
    the coral rock, or coral rag which are formed of stone brought
    from Wallis's Island."

The name which the natives give to this megalithic monument is
_Haamonga_ or _Ho ha Mo-nga Maui_, which is said to mean "Maui's
burden." The name is explained by a story that the god or hero Maui
brought the massive stones in a gigantic canoe from Uea (Wallis Island),
where the great holes in the rock from which he quarried them may still
be seen. From the canoe he bore them on his back to the spot where they
now stand.[181] This story can hardly be thought to throw much light on
the origin of the monument; for the natives are in the habit of
referring the marvels which they do not understand to the action of the
god or hero Maui, just as the ancient Greeks fathered many natural
wonders on the deified hero Hercules.[182] But from Mateialona, Governor
of Haapai and cousin of the King of Tonga, Sir Basil Thomson obtained a
tradition of the origin of the stones which is at least free from the
miraculous element and connects the monument with Tongan history. The
account runs thus: "Concerning the Haamonga of Maui, they say forsooth
that a Tui Tonga (the sacred line of chiefs), named Tui-ta-tui,
erected it, and that he was so named because it was a time of
assassination.[183] And they say that he had it built for him to sit
upon during the Faikava (ceremony of brewing kava), when the people sat
round him in a circle, and that the king so dreaded assassination that
he had this lordly seat built for himself that he might sit out of the
reach of his people. And this, they say, is the origin of the present
custom of the Faikava, it being now forbidden for any one to sit behind
the king." At such wassails the presiding chief sits at the apex of an
oval. To this tradition Sir Basil Thomson adds: "Mr. Shirley Baker told
me that he believed the Haamonga to have been erected as a _fakamanatu_
(memorial) to the son of some Tui Tonga, a view that finds support in
the fondness of Tongan chiefs for originality in the burial ceremonies
of their near relations--witness Mariner's account of the funeral of
Finau's daughter--but on the other hand native traditions generally
have a kernel of truth, and the legend of Tui-ta-tui and its
consequences finds an analogy in our own custom of guarding against an
assassin's dagger at the drinking of the loving cup."[184] The tradition
receives some confirmation from the bowl-like hollow on the upper
surface of the cross-stone; for the hollow might have served as the
king's drinking-cup to hold his kava at the customary wassails. Indeed,
Mr. Philip Hervey, the first to examine the monument, describes the
hollow in question as "a small cava bowl";[185] and after giving an
account of the monument Mr. Brenchley adds: "Its history seems to be
entirely unknown, but it is very natural to suppose from its form that
it was connected with some ancient kava ceremonies."[186]

    [181] Charles Forbes, in _Archaeologia_, xxxv. 496 (who gives
    _Ho ha Mo-nga Maui_ as the name of the stones); (Sir) Basil
    Thomson, _Diversions of a Prime Minister_, p. 382; _id._, "Notes
    upon the Antiquities of Tonga," _Journal of the Anthropological
    Institute_, xxxii. (1902) p. 81 (who gives _Haamonga_ as the
    native name of the stones).

    [182] (Sir) Basil Thomson, "Notes upon the Antiquities of
    Tonga," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii.
    (1902) p. 81. Maui is the great hero of Polynesia, known in
    nearly every group of islands, generally regarded as a demigod
    or deified man, but sometimes and in some places rising to the
    dignity of full godhead. He appears, says Mr. E. Tregear, to
    unite the classical attributes of Hercules and Prometheus. See
    E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, p. 233,
    _s.v._ "Maui."

    [183] "_Tui-ta-tui, lit._ 'King-strike-King.'"

    [184] (Sir) Basil Thomson, "Notes upon the Antiquities of
    Tonga," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii.
    (1902) p. 82.

    [185] _Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London_,
    Second Series, ii. 77.

    [186] Julius L. Brenchley, _Jottings during the Cruise of H.M.S.
    "Curaçoa" among the South Sea Islands in 1865_ (London, 1873),
    p. 132.

The tradition which connects the erection of the monument with the reign
of a Tooitonga named Tui-ta-tui is further countenanced, if not
confirmed, by a list of the Tooitongas, in which the name of Tui-ta-tui
occurs as the eleventh in descent from the great god Tangaloa.[187] This
Tui-ta-tui is believed to have reigned in the thirteenth or fourteenth
century of our era.[188] From the size and style of the masonry Sir
Basil Thomson is disposed to assign the monument to a later date. He
points out that for the quarrying and mortising of stones that weigh
some fifty tons apiece the craft of stone-cutting must have been fully
developed; and from a comparison of the megalithic tombs of the
Tooitongas which can be approximately dated, he infers that the craft of
stone-cutting in Tonga reached its culmination at the end of the
seventeenth century, though it was still practised down to the beginning
of the nineteenth century; for Mariner tells us that in his time a
professional class of masons was set apart for building the stone
sepulchral vaults of chiefs.[189] Yet on the whole Sir Basil Thomson
concludes that "when one is left to choose between a definite native
tradition on the one hand and probability on the other for the
assignment of a date, I would prefer the tradition. If the Tongans had
invented the story as a mere expression for antiquity they would not
have pitched upon Tui-ta-tui, about whom nothing else is recorded, in
preference to Takalaua, Kau-ulu-fonua-fekai, or any of the kings who
loom large in traditionary history. Whether the Haamonga was built for a
throne or for a memorial, doubtless it is connected with the reign of
Tui-ta-tui, who lived in the fourteenth century."[190]

    [187] (Sir) Basil Thomson, _Diversions of a Prime Minister_, p.
    395. In this work the author prints a list of the Tooitongas "as
    given by Mr. E. Tregear on the authority of the Rev. J. E.

    [188] (Sir) Basil Thomson, "Notes upon the Antiquities of
    Tonga," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii.
    (1902) p. 83; S. Percy Smith, _Hawaiki_, p. 158.

    [189] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 266. As to the size of
    the stones, Mariner says, "The stones used for this purpose are
    about a foot in thickness, and are cut of the requisite
    dimensions, out of the stratum found on the beaches of some of
    the islands."

    [190] (Sir) Basil Thomson, "Notes upon the Antiquities of
    Tonga," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii.
    (1902) pp. 83 _sq._

As an alternative to the view that the hollow on the cross-stone was a
kava bowl Dr. Rivers suggests that it "may have been destined to receive
the skull and other bones of the dead, so often preserved in
Polynesia."[191] The suggestion accords well with the opinion that the
monument is a memorial of the dead, and it might be supported by the
Samoan practice of severing a dead chief's head from his body and
burying it separately, to save it from being dug up and desecrated by
enemies in time of war.[192] However, Dr. Rivers is careful to add that
such a practice is not recorded in Tonga and appears to be incompatible
with the mode of sepulture which prevails there.

    [191] W. H. R. Rivers, _History of Melanesian Society_, ii. 431.

    [192] See below, p. 212.

In this connexion another megalithic monument of the Tonga islands
deserves to be considered, though it appears to have been commonly
overlooked. It was observed by Captain Cook in the island of Lefooga
(Lifuka). He says: "Near the south end of the island, and on the west
side, we met with an artificial mount. From the size of some trees that
were growing upon it, and from other appearances, I guessed that it had
been raised in remote times. I judged it to be about forty feet high;
and the diameter of its summit measured fifty feet. At the bottom of
this mount stood a stone, which must have been hewn out of coral rock.
It was four feet broad, two and a half thick, and fourteen high; and we
were told by the natives present, that not above half its length
appeared above ground. They called it _Tangata Arekee_;[193] and said,
that it had been set up, and the mount raised, by some of their
forefathers, in memory of one of their kings; but how long since, they
could not tell."[194]

    [193] "_Tangata_, in their language, is man; _Arekee_, king."

    [194] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 298 _sq._ To this
    description of the monument Sir Basil Thomson has called
    attention; he rightly classes it with the tombs of the chiefs.
    See his "Notes upon the Antiquities of Tonga," _Journal of the
    Anthropological Institute_, xxxii. (1902) p. 85.

When we remember that Tongan kings were commonly buried in such mounds
as Captain Cook here describes, and further that these mounds were
commonly enclosed or faced with great blocks of hewn stone, we may be
disposed to accept as reasonable and probable the explanation which the
natives gave of this great monolith, which, if the reported measurements
of it are correct, must have been no less than twenty-eight feet high.
If it was indeed a memorial of a dead king, it might be thought to
strengthen the view that the great trilithon was also set up as a
monument to a deceased monarch or Tooitonga.

Another possible explanation of the trilithon is, as Sir Basil Thomson
points out, that it served as a gateway to some sacred spot inland. But
against this view he observes that he examined the bush for some
distance in the neighbourhood without finding any trace of ruins or
stones of any kind. He adds that the memory of sacred spots dies very
hard in Tonga, and that the natives do not believe the trilithon to have
been a gateway.[195]

    [195] (Sir) Basil Thomson, "Notes upon the Antiquities of
    Tonga," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii.
    (1902) pp. 81 _sq._

It is natural to compare the trilithon of Tongataboo with the famous
trilithons of Stonehenge, which it resembles in plan and to which it is
comparable in size. The resemblance struck Dr. Charles Forbes, the first
to publish a description of the monument based on personal observation.
He says: "The route we pursued led us over a country perfectly level,
with the exception of occasional mounds of earth, apparently artificial,
and reminding one very much of the barrows of Wilts and Dorset, which
idea is still more strongly impressed upon the mind on coming in sight
of the monument, which bears a most striking resemblance to the larger
gateway-looking stones at Stonehenge."[196] But at the same time, as Dr.
Forbes did not fail to note, the Tongan trilithon differs in some
respects from those of Stonehenge. In the first place the interval (ten
or twelve feet) between the uprights of the Tongan trilithon appears to
be much greater than the interval between the uprights of the trilithons
at Stonehenge.[197] In the second place, the cross-stone of the Tongan
trilithon is mortised much more deeply into the uprights than are the
cross-stones at Stonehenge. For whereas at Stonehenge these cross-stones
present the appearance of being laid flat on the top of the uprights,
the cross-stone of the Tongan trilithon is sunk deeply into the uprights
by means of mortises or grooves about two feet wide which are cut into
the uprights, so that the top of the cross-stone is nearly flush with
their tops, while its ends also are nearly flush with their outside

    [196] Dr. Charles Forbes, in _Archaeologia_, xxxv. p. 496.

    [197] I have no measurements of these intervals, but write from
    the impression of a recent visit to Stonehenge.

    [198] (Sir) Basil Thomson, "Notes upon the Antiquities of
    Tonga," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii.
    (1902) p. 82, quoting the anonymous pamphlet _The Wairarapa

As the origin and purpose of Stonehenge are still unknown, its massive
trilithons can hardly be cited to explain the similar monument of
Tongataboo. The rival theories which see in Stonehenge a memorial of the
dead and a temple of the sun[199] are equally applicable or inapplicable
to the Tongan monument. In favour of the mortuary character of this
solitary trilithon it might be urged that the Tongans were long
accustomed to erect megalithic monuments, though of a different type, at
the tombs of their sacred kings, which are situated not many miles away;
but against this view it may be argued that there are no traces of
burial or graves in the immediate neighbourhood, and that native
tradition, not lightly to be set aside, assigns a different origin to
the monument. Against the solar interpretation of the trilithon it may
be alleged, first, that the monument faces north and south, not east and
west, as it might be expected to do if it were a temple of the sun or a
gateway leading into such a temple; second, that, while a circle of
trilithons, as at Stonehenge, with an opening towards the sunrise may be
plausibly interpreted as a temple of the sun, such an interpretation
cannot so readily be applied to a solitary trilithon facing north and
south; and, third, that no trace of sun-worship has been discovered in
the Tonga islands. So far as I have observed, the Tongan pantheon is
nowhere said to have included a sun-god, and the Tongans are nowhere
reported to have paid any special respect to the sun. Savages in
general, it may be added, appear to be very little addicted to
sun-worship; it is for the most part among peoples at a much higher
level of culture, such as the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and
Peruvians, that solar worship becomes an important, or even the
predominant, feature of the national faith.[200] Perhaps the impulse to
it came rather from the meditations of priestly astronomers than from
the random fancies of common men. Some depth of thought was needed to
detect in the sun the source of all life on earth; the immutable
regularity of the great luminary's movements failed to rouse the
interest or to excite the fear of the savage, to whom the elements of
the unusual, the uncertain, and the terrible are the principal
incentives to wonder and awe, and hence to reflexion. We are all
naturally more impressed by extraordinary than by ordinary events; the
fine edge of the mind is dulled by familiarity in the one case and
whetted by curiosity in the other.

    [199] Lord Avebury, _Prehistoric Times_, Seventh Edition
    (London, 1913), pp. 132 _sqq._; Sir Norman Lockyer, _Stonehenge
    and other British Stone Monuments astronomically considered_
    (London, 1906); C. Schuchhardt, "Stonehenge," _Zeitschrift für
    Ethnologie_, xlii. (1910), pp. 963-968; _id._ in _Zeitschrift
    für Ethnologie_, xliii. (1911) pp. 169-171; _id_., in
    _Sitzungsberichte der königl. preuss. Akademie der
    Wissenschaften_, 1913, pp. 759 _sqq._ (for the sepulchral
    interpretation); W. Pastor, "Stonehenge," _Zeitschrift für
    Ethnologie_, xliii. (1911) pp. 163-(for the solar

    [200] Adolph Bastian observed that "sun-worship, which people
    used to go sniffing about to discover everywhere, is found on
    the contrary only in very exceptional regions or on lofty
    table-lands of equatorial latitude." See his book, _Die Voelker
    des Oestlichen Asien_, iv. (Jena, 1868) p. 175. Nobody,
    probably, has ever been better qualified than Bastian to
    pronounce an opinion on such a subject; for his knowledge of the
    varieties of human thought and religion, acquired both by
    reading and travel, was immense. It is only to be regretted that
    through haste or negligence he too often gave out the fruits of
    his learning in a form which rendered it difficult to sift and
    almost impossible to digest them. Yet from his storehouse he
    brought forth a treasure, of which we may say what Macaulay said
    of the scholarship of Parr, that it was "too often buried in the
    earth, too often paraded with injudicious and inelegant
    ostentation, but still precious, massive, and splendid."

Bearing in mind the numerous other stone monuments scattered widely over
the islands of the Pacific, from the Carolines to Easter Island, Dr.
Guillemard concludes that some race, with a different, if not a higher
civilisation preceded the Polynesian race in its present homes, and to
this earlier race he would apparently refer the erection of the
trilithon in Tongataboo.[201] He may be right. Yet when we consider,
first, the native tradition of the setting up of the trilithon by one of
the sacred kings of Tonga; second, the practice of the Tongans of
building megalithic tombs for these same sacred kings; and, third, the
former existence in Tonga of a professional class of masons whose
business it was to construct stone vaults for the burial of chiefs,[202]
we may hesitate to resort to the hypothesis of an unknown people in
order to explain the origin of a monument which the Tongans, as we know
them, appear to have been quite capable of building for themselves.

    [201] F. H. H. Guillemard, _Australasia_, ii. 500.

    [202] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 266.

§ 11. _Rites of Burial and Mourning_

The only mode of disposing of the dead which was practised in the Tonga
islands seems to have been burial in the earth. So far as appears, the
corpse was not doubled up, but laid at full length in the grave; at all
events I have met with no mention of burying a corpse in a contracted
posture; and Captain Cook says that "when a person dies, he is buried,
after being wrapped up in mats and cloth, much after our manner." He
adds that, while chiefs had the special burial-places called _fiatookas_
appropriated to their use, common people were interred in no particular
spot.[203] So far as I have observed, none of our authorities speak of a
practice of embalming the dead or of giving the bodies any particular
direction in the grave.

    [203] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 421.

After a death the mourners testified their sorrow by dressing in old
ragged mats and wearing green leaves of the _ifi_ tree round their
necks. Thus attired they would repair to the tomb, where, on entering
the enclosure, they would pull off the green twigs from their necks and
throw them away; then sitting down they would solemnly drink kava.[204]
Further, they accompanied their cries and ejaculations of grief and
despair by inflicting on their own bodies many grievous wounds and
injuries. They burned circles and scars on their bodies, beat their
teeth with stones, struck shark's teeth into their heads till the blood
flowed in streams, and thrust spears into the inner part of the thigh,
into their sides below the arm-pits, and through the cheeks into the
mouth.[205] Women in wailing would cut off their fingers, and slit their
noses, their ears, and their cheeks.[206] At the funerals of the kings
especially the mourners indulged in frantic excesses of self-torture and
mutilation. Of two such funerals we have the detailed descriptions of
eye-witnesses who resided in the islands at a time when the natives were
as yet practically unaffected by European influence. King Moom[=o]oe
died in April 1797, and the first missionaries to Tonga witnessed and
described his funeral. They have told how, when the corpse was being
carried in procession to a temporary house near the royal burial-ground
(_fiatooka_), it was preceded by relatives of the deceased in the usual
mourning garb, who cut their heads with shark's teeth till the blood
streamed down their faces. A few days later, when the burial was to take
place, the missionaries found about four thousand people assembled at
the mound where the body was to be interred. In a few minutes they heard
a great shouting and blowing of conch-shells, and soon after there
appeared about a hundred men, armed with clubs and spears, who, rushing
into the area, began to cut and mangle themselves in a most dreadful
manner. Many struck their heads such violent blows with their clubs that
the sound could be heard thirty or forty yards off, and they repeated
them till the blood ran down in streams. Others, who had spears, thrust
them through their thighs, arms, and cheeks, all the while calling on
the deceased in a most affecting manner. A native of Fiji, who had been
a servant of the late king, appeared quite frantic; he entered the area
with fire in his hand, and having previously oiled his hair, he set it
ablaze, and ran about with it all on flame. When they had satisfied or
exhausted themselves with this manner of torment, they sat down, beat
their faces with their fists, and then retired. A second party then
inflicted on themselves the same cruelties. A third party next entered,
shouting and blowing shells; four of the foremost held stones, which
they used to knock out their teeth, while those who blew the shells
employed them as knives with which they hacked their heads in a shocking
manner. A man who had a spear pierced his arm with it just above the
elbow, and with it sticking fast in his flesh ran about the area for
some time. Another, who seemed to be a principal chief, acted as if
quite bereft of his senses; he ran to every corner of the area, and at
each station beat his head with a club till the blood flowed down on his
shoulders. At this point the missionary, unable to bear the sight of
these self-inflicted tortures, quitted the scene. When his colleagues
visited the place some hours later in the afternoon, they found the
natives of both sexes still at the dreadful work of cutting and mangling
themselves. In the course of these proceedings a party of mourners
entered the area, sixteen of whom had recently cut off their little
fingers. They were followed by another party with clubs and spears, who
battered and wounded themselves in the usual fashion, and also
disfigured their faces with coco-nut husks, which they had fastened to
the knuckles of both hands. The missionaries noticed that the mourners
who were either related to the dead king or had held office under him,
were the most cruel to themselves; some of them thrust two, three, and
even four spears into their arms, and so danced round the area, while
others broke off the spear-heads in their flesh.[207]

    [204] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 345 _sq._ As to the
    mourning costume of mats and leaves, see also Captain James
    Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean_, p.
    240; W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 380, 392, 431, ii. 214

    [205] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_ v. 420.

    [206] Jérôme Grange, in _Annales de la Propagation de la Foi_,
    xvii. (1845) p. 13.

    [207] Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern
    Pacific Ocean_, pp. 242-244.

Similar scenes were witnessed some years later by Mariner at the death
and burial of Finow, another king of Tonga; and the Englishman has
described from personal observation how on this occasion the mourners
cut and wounded their heads and bodies with clubs, stones, knives, or
sharp shells. This they did on one or other of the _malais_[208] or
ceremonial grounds in the presence of many spectators, vying apparently
with each other in the effort to surpass the rest in this public
manifestation of their sorrow for the death of the king and their
respect for his memory. As one ran out into the middle of the ground he
would cry, "Finow! I know well your mind; you have departed to Bolotoo,
and left your people under suspicion that I, or some of those about you,
were unfaithful; but where is the proof of infidelity? where is a single
instance of disrespect?" Then, inflicting violent blows and deep cuts on
his head with a club, stone, or knife, he would again exclaim at
intervals, "Is this not a proof of my fidelity? does this not evince
loyalty and attachment to the memory of the departed warrior?" Some more
violent than others cut their heads to the skull with such heavy and
repeated blows that they reeled and lost their reason for a time.[209]
The king's successor, Finow the Second, not content with the usual
instruments of torture, employed a saw for the purpose, striking his
skull with the teeth so violently that he staggered for loss of blood;
but this he did, not at the time of the burial and in presence of the
multitude, but some weeks later at a more private ceremony of mourning
before the grave.[210] At the public ceremony the late king's fishermen
varied the usual breaking of heads and slashing of bodies by a peculiar
form of self-torment. Instead of clubs they appropriately carried the
paddles of canoes, with which they battered their heads in the orthodox
style; but besides every man of them had three arrows stuck through each
cheek in a slanting direction, so that, while the points pierced through
the cheeks into the mouth, the other ends went over the shoulder and
were kept in position by another arrow, the point of which was tied to
the ends of the arrows passing over one shoulder, while the other end
was tied to the ends of the other arrows which passed over the other
shoulder. Thus each fisherman was decorated with a triangle of arrows,
of which the apex consisted of six arrow-heads in his mouth, while the
base dangled on his back. With this remarkable equipment they walked
round the grave, beating their faces and heads with their paddles, or
pinching up the skin of the breast and sticking a spear right through

    [208] Mariner defines a _malai_ as "a piece of ground, generally
    before a large house, or chief's grave, where public ceremonies
    are principally held" (_Tonga Islands_, vol. ii., "Vocabulary"
    _s.v._). It is the same word as _malae_ or _marae_, noticed
    above, p. 116, note^3.

    [209] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 379-384.

    [210] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 440-442.

    [211] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 404 _sq._

The grave of a chief's family was a vault paved with a single large
stone, while the four walls were formed each of a single block. The
vault was about eight feet long, six feet broad, and eight feet deep,
and was covered at the top by one large stone.[212] So heavy was this
covering stone that, as we have seen, from a hundred and fifty to two
hundred men were required to lift and lower it.[213] Mariner estimated
that the family vault in which King Finow was interred was large enough
to hold thirty bodies. When the king's corpse was being deposited in it,
Mariner saw two dry and perfectly preserved bodies lying in the vault,
together with the bones of several others; and he was told by old men
that the well-preserved bodies had been buried when they, his
informants, were boys, which must have been upwards of forty years
before; whereas the bodies of which nothing but the bones remained had
been buried later. The natives attributed the exceptional preservation
of the two to the better constitution of their former owners; Mariner,
or more probably his editor, Dr. Martin, preferred to suppose that the
difference was due to the kind or duration of the disease which had
carried them off. Apparently the natives did not suggest that the bodies
had been embalmed, which they would almost certainly have done if they
had known of such a custom.[214] No sooner was the king's body deposited
in the grave, and the great stone lowered over it, than certain
ministers (_matabooles_) and warriors ran like men frantic round and
round the burial-ground, exclaiming, "Alas! how great is our loss!
Finow! you are departed; witness this proof of our love and loyalty!" At
the same time they cut and bruised their own heads with clubs, knives,
and axes in the usual fashion.[215] Afterwards the grave was filled up
with earth and strewed with sand, which a company of women and men had
brought for the purpose in baskets from a place at the back of the
island; what remained of the sand was scattered over the sepulchral
mound (_fytoca_), of which it was deemed a great embellishment. The
inside of the burial-ground was then spread with mats made of coco-nut

    [212] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 144 note *.

    [213] See above, p. 105.

    [214] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 388 note *.

    [215] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 388 _sq._

    [216] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 389-392.

Meantime the company of mourners had been seated on the green before the
burial-ground, still wearing their mourning garb of mats, with leaves of
the _ifi_ tree strung round their necks. They now arose and went to
their homes, where they shaved their heads and burnt their cheeks with a
lighted roll of bark-cloth, by applying it once upon each cheek-bone;
next they rubbed the place with an astringent berry, which caused it to
bleed, and afterwards they smeared the blood in a broad circle round the
wound, giving themselves a very ghastly appearance. They repeated this
friction with the berry every day, making the wound bleed afresh; and
the men meanwhile neglected to shave and to oil themselves during the
day, though they indulged in these comforts at night. Having burnt their
cheeks and shaved their heads, they built for themselves small temporary
huts, where they lived during the time of mourning, which lasted twenty

    [217] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 392 _sq._

The women who had become tabooed, that is, in a state of ceremonial
pollution, by touching the king's dead body, remained constantly within
the burial-ground for the twenty days of mourning, except when they
retired to one of the temporary huts to eat,[218] or rather to be fed by
others. For it was a rule that no ordinary person, man or woman, could
touch a dead chief without being tabooed, that is ceremonially polluted,
for ten lunar months, during which time he or she might not touch food
with their own hands. But for chiefs the period of pollution was
limited to three, four, or five months, according to the superiority of
the dead chief. Only when the dead body which they had touched was that
of the sacred chief, the Tooitonga, they were all tabooed for ten
months, however high their rank; for example, the king's wife was
tabooed for that length of time during the residence of Mariner, because
she had touched the dead body of the Tooitonga. During the time that a
person was tabooed, he might not feed himself with his own hands, but
must be fed by somebody else: he might not even use a toothpick himself,
but might guide another person's hand holding the toothpick. If he was
hungry and had no one to feed him, he must go down on his hands and
knees, and pick up his victuals with his mouth; and if he infringed any
of these rules, it was firmly expected that he would swell up and
die.[219] Captain Cook observed this custom in operation at Tongataboo.
On one of his walks he met with a party of women at supper, and noticed
that two of them were being fed by others. On asking the reason, he was
answered _taboo mattee_, that is, "Death taboo." It was explained to him
that one of the women had washed the dead body of a chief two months
before, and that consequently she might not handle any food for five
months. The other had performed the same office for the corpse of
another person of inferior rank, and was now under the same restriction,
but not for so long a time.[220] The tabooed women at Finow's grave were
supplied with food by the new king, Finow the Second. The food was
brought and placed on the ground at some distance from the grave, or
else it was deposited before the temporary house to which the chief of
the tabooed women retired to be fed. With the provisions was also sent
every day a supply of torches to light up the burial-ground by night.
The torches were held up by a woman of inferior rank, who, when she was
tired, was relieved in her office by another. During the twenty days of
mourning, if any one passed the burial-ground, he had to go at a slow
pace, with his head bowed down, and his hands clasped before him; and
if he carried a burden, he must lower it from his shoulder and carry it
in his hands or on his bended arms; but if he could not do so
conveniently, he had to make a circuit to avoid the grave.

    [218] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 393.

    [219] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 141 note *.

    [220] Captain James Cook, _Voyages_, v. 336. The writer does not
    translate the expression _taboo mattee_; but _mate_ is the
    regular Tongan word for "death" or "to die." See Mariner, _Tonga
    Islands_, Vocabulary, _s.v._ "Mate." Compare E. Tregear,
    _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, p. 228, _s.v._

Such were the regular observances at the death and burial of chiefs;
they were not peculiar to the obsequies of Finow the king.[221]

    [221] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 394 _sq._

The twentieth day of mourning concluded the ceremonies in honour of the
deceased monarch. Early in the morning all his relations, together with
the members of his household, and also the women who were tabooed on
account of having touched his dead body in the process of oiling and
preparing it, went to the back of the island to procure a quantity of
flat pebbles, principally white, but a few black, which they brought
back in baskets to the grave. There they strewed the inside of the house
and the outside of the burial-ground (_fytoca_) with the white pebbles
as a decoration; the black pebbles they laid only on the top of those
white ones which covered the ground directly over the body, to about the
length and breadth of a man, in the form of a very eccentric ellipse.
After that, the house on the burial mound was closed up at both ends
with a reed fencing, which reached from the eaves to the ground; while
at the front and the back the house was closed with a sort of
basket-work, made of the young branches of the coco-nut tree, split and
interwoven in a very curious and ornamental way. These fences were to
remain until the next burial, when they would be taken down and, after
the conclusion of the ceremony, replaced by new ones of similar pattern.
A large quantity of food and kava was now sent by the chiefs and the
king to the public place (_malai_) in front of the burial mound, and
these provisions were served out among the people in the usual way. The
company then separated and repaired to their respective houses, to
prepare for the dances and the grand wrestling-match, which were to
conclude the funeral rites.[222]

    [222] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ i. 401-403.

During the intervals of the dances, which followed, several warriors and
ministers (_matabooles_) ran before the grave, cutting and bruising
their heads with axes, clubs, and so forth as proofs of fidelity to
their late chief, the dead and buried King Finow. It was on this
occasion that the deceased king's fishermen demonstrated their loyalty
and attachment to his memory by the self-inflicted tortures which I have
already described.[223] When these exhibitions of cruelty were over, the
day's ceremonies, which altogether lasted about six hours, were
terminated by a grand wrestling-match. That being over, the people
dispersed to their respective houses or occupations, and the obsequies
of Finow, king of the Tonga islands, came to an end.[224]

    [223] Above, pp. 135 _sq._

    [224] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 403-405.

The wrestling-match which wound up the funeral honours paid to the
departed monarch would seem not to have been an isolated case of
athletic sports held at this particular funeral. Apparently it was a
general custom in Tonga to conclude burial-rites with games of this
kind. At least we may infer as much from an expression made use of by
the first missionaries to Tongataboo. They say that the chief of their
district, after taking to himself a wife in the morning went in the
afternoon "to finish the funeral ceremonies for his brother, in
celebrating the games usual on that occasion."[225] The practice, which
is apt to seem to us incongruous, of holding games at a funeral, was
observed by the Greeks in antiquity and by not a few other peoples in
modern times.[226]

    [225] Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern
    Pacific Ocean_, p. 265.

    [226] _The Golden Bough_, Part III., _The Dying God_, pp. 92

On the other hand the obsequies of the sacred or divine chief, the
Tooitonga, differed in certain remarkable particulars from the
posthumous honours generally paid to chiefs. It is true that his
burial-place was of the same form as that of other chiefs, and that the
mode of his interment did not differ essentially from theirs, except
that it was customary to deposit some of his most valuable property with
him in the grave, including his beads, whale's teeth, fine Samoan mats,
and other articles. Hence the family burying-place of the Tooitongas in
the island of Tongataboo, where the whole line of these pontiffs had
been interred, must have become very rich in the course of time; for no
native would dare to commit the sacrilege of stealing the treasures at
the holy tomb.[227] However, the sacrifice of property to the dead seems
not to have been, as Mariner supposed, peculiar to the funeral of the
Tooitonga; for at the burial of King Moom[=o]oe, in May 1797, the first
missionaries saw files of women and men bringing bags of valuable
articles, fine mats, and bales of cloth, which they deposited in the
tomb expressly as a present for the dead.[228] Again, the mourning
costume worn for the Tooitonga was the same as that for any chief,
consisting of ragged old mats on the body and leaves of the _ifi_ tree
round the neck; but in the case of the Tooitonga the time of mourning
was extended to four months, the mats being generally left off after
three months, while the leaves were still retained for another month;
and the female mourners remained within the burial-ground (_fytoca,
fiatooka_) for about two months, instead of twenty days, only retiring
occasionally to temporary houses in the neighbourhood to eat or for
other necessary purposes.[229]

    [227] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 213 _sq._

    [228] Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern
    Pacific Ocean_, p. 243.

    [229] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ ii. 214 _sq._

One very remarkable peculiarity in the mourning for a Tooitonga was
that, though he ranked above the king and all other chiefs, the mourners
strictly abstained from manifesting their grief by wounding their heads
and cutting their bodies in the manner that was customary at the
funerals of all other great men. Mariner was never able to learn the
reason for this abstention.[230]

    [230] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 213.

Other peculiar features in the obsequies of a Tooitonga were the
following. In the afternoon of the day of burial, when the body of the
Tooitonga was already within the burial-ground, almost every man, woman,
and child, all dressed in the usual mourning garb, and all provided with
torches, used to sit down about eighty yards from the grave; in the
course of an hour a multitude of several thousands would thus assemble.
One of the female mourners would then come forth from the burial-ground
and call out to the people, saying, "Arise ye, and approach"; whereupon
the people would get up, and advancing about forty yards would again sit
down. Two men behind the grave now began to blow conch-shells, and six
others, with large lighted torches, about six feet high, advanced from
behind the burial-ground, descended the mound, and walked in single file
several times between the burial-ground and the people, waving their
flaming torches in the air. After that they began to ascend the mound,
whereupon all the people rose up together and made a loud crashing noise
by snapping their _bolatas_, which were pieces of the stem of a banana
tree used to receive the ashes falling from lighted torches. Having done
so, the people followed the torch-bearers in single file up the mound
and walked in procession round about the tomb (_fytoca_). As they passed
at the back of the tomb, they all, torch-bearers and people, deposited
their extinguished torches on the ground; while the female mourners
within thanked them for providing these things. Having thus marched
round, the people returned to their places and sat down. Thereupon the
master of the ceremonies came forward and ordered them to divide
themselves into parties according to their districts; which being done
he assigned to one party the duty of clearing away the bushes and grass
from one side of the grave, and to another party a similar task in
regard to another side of the grave, while a third party was charged to
remove rubbish, and so forth. In this way the whole neighbourhood of the
burial-ground was soon cleared, and when this was done, all the people
returned to the temporary houses which, as mourners, they were bound to

    [231] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 215-217.

Soon after darkness had fallen, certain persons stationed at the grave
began again to sound the conches, while others chanted a song, or rather
recitative, partly in the Samoan dialect, partly in an unknown language,
of which the natives could give no account. None of them understood the
words, nor could they explain how their forefathers came to learn them.
All that they knew was that the words had been handed down from father
to son among the class of people whose business it was to direct burial
ceremonies. According to Mariner, some of the words were Tongan, and he
thought that the language was probably an old or corrupt form of Tongan,
though he could make no sense out of it. Such traditional repetition of
a litany in an unknown tongue is not uncommon among savages; it occurs,
for instance, very frequently among some of the aboriginal tribes of
Australia, where the chants or recitatives accompanying certain dances
or ceremonies are often passed on from one tribe to another, the members
of which perform the borrowed dance or ceremony and repeat by rote the
borrowed chants or recitatives without understanding a word of

    [232] W. E. Roth, _Ethnological Studies among the
    North-west-central Queensland Aborigines_ (Brisbane and London,
    1897), pp. 117 _sq._; (Sir) Baldwin Spencer and F. J. Gillen,
    _Northern Tribes of Central Australia_ (London, 1904), pp. 234,
    235; _id._, _Native Tribes of Central Australia_ (London, 1899),
    p. 281 note; _id._, _Across Australia_ (London, 1912), i. 244.

While the conches were sounding and the voices of the singers broke the
silence of night, about sixty men assembled before the grave, where they
awaited further orders. When the chanting was over, and the notes of the
conches had ceased to sound, one of the women mourners came forward, and
sitting down outside the graveyard addressed the men thus: "Men! ye are
gathered here to perform the duty imposed on you; bear up, and let not
your exertions be wanting to accomplish the work." With these words she
retired into the burial-ground. The men now approached the mound in the
dark, and, in the words of Mariner, or his editor, performed their
devotions to Cloacina, after which they withdrew. As soon as it was
daylight the next morning, the women of the first rank, wives and
daughters of the greatest chiefs, assembled with their female
attendants, bringing baskets and shells wherewith to clear up the
deposit of the preceding night; and in this ceremonious act of humility
no lady of the highest rank refused to take her part. Some of the
mourners in the burial-ground generally came out to assist, so that in a
very little while the place was made perfectly clean. This deposit was
repeated the fourteen following nights, and as punctually cleared away
by sunrise every morning. No persons but the agents were allowed to be
witnesses of these extraordinary ceremonies; at least it would have been
considered highly indecorous and irreligious to pry upon them. On the
sixteenth day, early in the morning, the same women again assembled, but
now they were dressed in the finest bark-cloth and beautiful Samoan
mats, decorated with ribbons and with wreaths of flowers round their
necks; they also brought new baskets, ornamented with flowers, and
little brooms very tastefully made. Thus equipped, they approached and
acted as if they had the same task to perform as before, pretending to
clear up the dirt, and to take it away in their baskets, though there
was no dirt to remove. Then they returned to the capital and resumed
their mourning dress of mats and leaves. Such were the rites performed
during the fifteen days; every day the ceremony of the burning torches
was also repeated.[233]

    [233] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 217-219.

For one month from the day of burial, greater or less quantities of
provisions were brought every day and shared out to the people. On the
first day the quantity supplied was prodigious; but day by day the
supply gradually diminished till on the last day it was reduced to very
little.[234] Nevertheless the consumption or waste of food on such
occasions was so great that to guard against a future dearth of
provisions it was deemed necessary to lay a prohibition or taboo on the
eating of hogs, fowls, and coco-nuts for a period of eight or ten
months, though two or three plantations were exempted from this rigorous
embargo, to the end that in the meantime hogs, fowls, and coco-nuts
might be furnished for occasional religious rites, and that the higher
order of chiefs might be able to partake of these victuals. At the end
of the eight or ten months' fast the taboo was removed and permission to
eat of the forbidden foods was granted by the king at a solemn ceremony.
Immense quantities of yams having been collected and piled up in
columns, and some three or four hundred hogs having been killed, the
people assembled from all quarters at the king's _malái_ or public
place. Of the slaughtered hogs about twenty were deposited, along with a
large quantity of yams, at the grave of the deceased Tooitonga. The rest
of the provisions were shared out in definite proportions among the
gods, the king, the divine chief (the living Tooitonga), the inferior
chiefs, and the people, so that every man in the island of Tongataboo
got at least a mouthful of pork and yam. The ceremony concluded with
dancing, wrestling, and other sports, after which every person retired
to his home with his portion of food to share it with his family. The
hogs and yams deposited at the dead Tooitonga's grave were left lying
till the pork stank and the yams were rotten, whereupon the living
Tooitonga ordered that they should be distributed to all who chose to
apply for a portion. In strict law they belonged to the principal
chiefs, but as these persons were accustomed to feed on meat in a rather
less advanced stage of decomposition they kindly waived their claims to
the putrid pork and rotten yams in favour of the lower orders, who were
less nice in their eating.[235]

    [234] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, ii. 220.

    [235] W. Mariner, _Tonga Islands_, i. 112 _sq._, 120-126, ii.

It was customary that the chief widow of the Tooitonga should be
strangled and interred with his dead body.[236] But the practice of
strangling a wife at her husband's funeral was not limited to the widows
of the Tooitongas. A similar sacrifice seems to have been formerly
offered at the obsequies of a king; for at the funeral of King Moomöoe
the first missionaries to Tonga saw two of the king's widows being led
away to be strangled.[237]

    [236] W. Mariner, _op. cit._ ii. 135, 209 _sq._, 214.

    [237] Captain James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern
    Pacific Ocean_, p. 240.

The funeral and mourning customs which we have passed in review serve to
illustrate the Tongan conceptions of the soul and of its survival after
death. The strangling of widows was probably intended here as elsewhere
to despatch their spirits to attend their dead husbands in the spirit
land;[238] and the deposition of valuable property in the grave can
hardly have had, at least in origin, any other object than to ensure the
comfort of the departed in the other world, and incidentally, perhaps,
to remove from him any temptation to return to his sorrowing friends in
this world for the purpose of recovering the missing articles. The
self-inflicted wounds and bruises of the mourners were clearly intended
to impress the ghost with the sincerity of their regret at his departure
from this sublunary scene; if any doubt could linger in our minds as to
the intention of these extravagant proceedings, it would be set at rest
by the words with which, as we have seen, the mourners accompanied
them, calling on the dead man to witness their voluntary tortures and to
judge for himself of the genuineness of their sorrow. In this connexion
it is to be borne in mind that all dead noblemen, in the opinion of the
Tongans, were at once promoted to the rank of deities; so that it was in
their power to visit any disrespect to their memory and any defalcation
of their dues with the double terror of ghosts and of gods. No wonder
that the Tongans sought to keep on good terms with such mighty beings by
simulating, when they did not feel, a sense of the irreparable loss
which the world had sustained by their dissolution.

    [238] This was the reason assigned for the strangling of widows
    at their husband's funeral in Fiji. See John Williams,
    _Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands_,
    pp. 478 _sq._

§ 12. _The Ethical Influence of Tongan Religion_

Surveyed as a whole, the Tongan religion presents a singular instance of
a creed which restricted the hope of immortality to the nobly born and
denied it to commoners. According to the doctrine which it inculcated,
the aristocratic pre-eminence accorded to chiefs in this world was more
than maintained by them in the next, where they enjoyed a monopoly of
immortality. And not content with sojourning in the blissful regions of
Bolotoo, their departed spirits often returned to earth to warn, to
direct, to threaten their people, either in dreams and visions of the
night, or by the mouth of the priests whom they inspired. Such beliefs
involved in theory and to some extent in practice a subjection of the
living to the dead, of the seen and temporal to the unseen and eternal.
In favour of the creed it may at least be alleged that, while it looked
to spiritual powers, whether ghosts or gods, for the reward of virtue
and the punishment of vice, it did not appeal to another life to redress
the balance of justice which had been disturbed in this one. The Tongan
religion inculcated a belief that the good and the bad alike receive a
recompense here on earth, thus implicitly repudiating the unworthy
notion that men can only be lured or driven into the narrow way of
righteousness by the hope of heaven or the fear of hell. So far the
creed based morality on surer foundations than any faith which would
rest the ultimate sanctions of conduct on the slippery ground of
posthumous rewards and punishments. In this respect, if in no other, we
may compare the Tongan religion to that of the Hebrew prophets. It has
been rightly observed by Renan that whereas European races in general
have found in the assurance of a life to come ample compensation for the
iniquities of this present life, the Hebrew prophets never appeal to
rewards and punishments reserved for a future state of existence. They
were not content with the conception of a lame and laggard justice that
limps far behind the sinner in this world and only overtakes him in the
next. According to them, God's justice is swift and sure here on earth;
an unjust world was in their eyes a simple monstrosity.[239] So too,
apparently, thought the Tongans, and some Europeans may be inclined to
agree with them.

    [239] E. Renan, _Histoire du peuple d'Israël_, ii.  505.



§ 1. _The Samoan Islands_

About three hundred and fifty or four hundred miles nearly due north of
Tonga lies Samoa, a group of islands situated between 13° 30' and 14°
30' South latitude and between 168° and 173° West longitude. The native
name of the group is Samoa, which has this singularity, that it is
apparently the only name that designates a group of islands in the
Pacific; native names for all the other groups are wanting, though each
particular island has its own individual name. Samoa is also known to
Europeans as the Navigators' Islands, a name bestowed on them by the
French explorer De Bougainville, who visited the group in 1768. The
three most easterly islands were discovered in 1722 by Jacob Roggewein,
a Dutch navigator, but he appears not to have sighted the principal
islands of the group, which lie a good deal farther to the westward.
There is no record of any visit paid by a European vessel to the islands
in the interval between the visits of Roggewein and De Bougainville. The
whole archipelago was not explored till 1787, when the French navigator
La Pérouse determined the position of all the islands.[1]

    [1] Ch. Wilkes, _Narrative of the United States
    Exploring Expedition_, New Edition (New York, 1851), ii. 117; J.
    B. Stair, _Old Samoa_ (London, 1897), pp. 21 _sq._; F. H. H.
    Guillemard, _Australasia_, ii. (London, 1894) p. 500; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_ (London, 1910), pp. 1, 360.

The islands are disposed in a line running from west to east. The most
westerly, Savaii, is also the largest, measuring about forty miles in
length. Next follow two small, but important islands, Apolima and
Manona. Then about three miles to the east of Manona comes Upolu, the
second of the islands in size, but the first in importance, whether we
regard population, harbours, or the extent of soil available for
cultivation. The channel which divides Upolu from Savaii is from fifteen
to twenty miles broad. About forty miles to the east, or rather
south-east, of Upolu lies the island of Tutuila, with the fine and
almost landlocked harbour of Pangopango. It was in this island that the
French navigator La Pérouse lost his second in command and twelve men in
a fierce encounter with the natives. The place where the fight took
place is now known as Massacre Cove.[2] Some fifty miles to the east of
Tutuila is situated a group of three small islands, Tau, Ofu, and
Olosenga, which are collectively known as Manua.

    [2] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 27 _sq._; F. H. H.
    Guillemard, _op. cit._ pp. 500, 504.

The islands are of volcanic formation and for the most part surrounded
by coral reefs, but the intervening seas are quite free from danger, and
the possession of good harbours renders Samoa politically important.
Viewed from the sea the islands are mountainous and for the most part
wooded to the water's edge, except where a stretch of fertile plain is
interposed between the foot of the mountains and the sea. The whole
group presents to the voyager a succession of enchanting views as he
sails along the coast. The eye is delighted by the prospect of lofty and
rugged mountains, their tops sometimes lost in clouds, their slopes
mantled in the verdure of evergreen forests, varied here and there by
rich valleys, by grey and lofty cliffs, or by foaming waterfalls
tumbling from heights of hundreds of feet and showing like silvery
threads against the sombre green of the woods. Along the shore rocks of
black lava alternate with white sands dazzling in the sunlight and
fringed by groves of coco-nut palms, their feathery tops waving and
dancing in the breeze, while the brilliant cobalt blue of the calm
lagoon contrasts with the olive-green of the deep sea, which breaks in a
long line of seething foam on the barrier reef. The scenery as a whole
combines romantic grandeur with wild and rank luxuriance, thus winning
for Samoa the reputation of being among the loveliest of the islands
which stud like gems the bosom of the Pacific.[3]

    [3] J. E. Erskine, _Journal of a Cruise among the
    Islands of the Western Pacific_ (London, 1853), p. 110; T. H.
    Hood, _Notes of a Cruise in H.M.S. "Fawn" in the Western
    Pacific_ (Edinburgh, 1863), p. 40; J. L. Brenchley, _Jottings
    during the Cruise of H.M.S. "Curaçoa" among the South Sea
    Islands in 1865_ (London, 1873), pp. 37-39, 61 _sq._; F. H. H.
    Guillemard, _Australasia_, ii. 502 _sq._; John B. Stair, _Old
    Samoa_, pp. 26 _sqq._

The island of Upolu in particular is wooded from its summit to the
water's edge, where in some places the roots of the trees are washed by
the surf, while in many places clumps of mangrove trees spread out into
the lagoon. The forests are dense and more sombre even than those of
Brazil. The lofty trees shoot up to a great height before sending out
branches. At their feet grow ferns of many sorts, while climbing vines
and other creepers mantle their trunks and sometimes even their tops.
But the gloom of the tropical forest is seldom or never relieved by
flowers of brilliant tints; the few flowers that bloom in them are of a
white or greyish hue, as if bleached for want of the sunbeams, which are
shut out by the thick umbrageous foliage overhead.[4]

    [4] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 31 _sq._, 52 _sq._

Very different from the aspect presented by this luxuriant vegetation is
a great part of the interior of Savaii, the largest island of the group.
Here the desolate and forbidding character of the landscape constantly
reminds the traveller of the dreadful forces which slumber beneath his
feet. Extinct volcanoes tower above him to heights of four and five
thousand feet, their steep and almost perpendicular sides formed of
volcanic ashes and denuded of vegetation. For miles around these gloomy
peaks the ground presents nothing to the eye but black rocks, scoriae,
and ashes; the forlorn wayfarer seems to be traversing a furnace barely
extinguished, so visible are the traces of fire on the sharp-pointed
stones among which he picks his painful way, and which in their twisted
and tormented forms seem still to preserve something of the movement of
the once boiling flood of molten lava. The whole country is a barren
and waterless wilderness, a solitude destitute alike of animal and of
vegetable life, alternately parched by the fierce rays of the tropical
sun and deluged by hurricanes of torrential rain. Even the natives
cannot traverse these dreary deserts; a European who strayed into them
was found, after five or six days, prostrate and almost dead on the

    [5] Violette, "Notes d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel
    de Samoa," _Les Missions Catholiques_, iii. (1870) pp. 71 _sq._;
    F. H. H. Guillemard, _Australasia_, ii. 502 _sq._; J. B. Stair,
    Old Samoa, p. 34; G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 1

In Samoa, as in Tonga, volcanic activity has ominously increased within
less than a hundred years. Near the island of Olosenga, in 1866 or 1867,
a submarine volcano suddenly burst out in eruption, vomiting forth rocks
and mud to a height, as it was estimated, of two thousand feet, killing
the fish and discolouring the sea for miles round.[6] Still later,
towards the end of 1905, another volcano broke out in the bottom of a
deep valley in the island of Savaii, and rose till it attained a height
of about four thousand feet. Down at least to the year 1910 this immense
volcano was still in full action, and had covered many miles of country
under a bed of lava some ten or twelve feet thick, while with the same
river of molten matter it completely filled up the neighbouring lagoon
and replaced the level shore by an iron-bound coast of volcanic

    [6] F. H. H. Guillemard, _op. cit._ ii. 504; J. B.
    Stair, _Old Samoa_, p. 43.

    [7] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 3.

A remarkable instance of these volcanic cliffs is furnished by the
little island of Apolima between Savaii and Upolu. The islet, which is
in fact the crater of an extinct volcano, is only about a mile long by
half to three-quarters of a mile in width. On every side but one it
presents to the sea a precipitous wall of basaltic rock some thousand
feet high, while the interior is scooped out in the likeness of a great
cauldron. Only at one place is there a break in the cliffs where a
landing can be effected, and there the operation is difficult and
dangerous even in fine weather. In bad weather the island is completely
isolated. Thus it forms a strong natural fortress, which under the
conditions of native warfare was almost impregnable.[8]

    [8] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 33 _sq._; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 171.

As might be expected from their volcanic formation, the islands are
subject to frequent and sometimes severe shocks of earthquake. The
veteran missionary, J. B. Stair, has recorded that the shocks increased
in number and violence during the last years of his residence in Samoa.
The last of them was preceded by loud subterranean noises, which lasted
for hours, to the great alarm of the natives. At the north-west of Upolu
also, Mr. Stair used often to hear a muffled sound, like the rumble of
distant thunder, proceeding apparently from the sea under the reef. This
curious noise always occurred on hot, sultry days, and seemed to strike
a note of warning, which filled natives and Europeans alike with a sense
of awe and insecurity.[9] Thus if, beheld from some points of view, the
Samoan islands appear an earthly paradise, from others they present the
aspect, and emit the sounds, of an inferno.

    [9] T. H. Hood, _Notes of a Cruise in H.M.S. "Fawn" in
    the Western Pacific_ (Edinburgh, 1863), p. 145; J. B. Stair,
    _op. cit._ pp. 41 _sq._

And with all their natural beauty and charm the islands cannot be said
to enjoy a healthy climate. There is much bad weather, particularly
during the winter months, when long and heavy rains, attended at times
with high winds and gales, are frequent. The air is more moist than in
Tahiti, and the vegetation in consequence is more rank and luxuriant.
Decaying rapidly under the ardent rays of a tropical sun, it exhales a
poisonous miasma. But the heat, oppressive and exhausting at times, is
nevertheless tempered by the sea and land breezes, which blow daily,
alternating with intervals of calm between them. Besides these daily
breezes the trade wind blows regularly from the east during the fine
season, when the sky is constantly blue and cloudless. Yet with all
these alleviations the climate is enervating, and a long residence in it
is debilitating to the European frame.[10] Nor are the natives exempt
from the noxious effects of an atmosphere saturated with moisture and
impregnated with the fumes of vegetable decay. The open nature of their
dwellings, which were without walls, exposed them to the heavy night
dews and rendered them susceptible to diseases of the chest and lungs,
from which they suffered greatly; consumption in its many forms, coughs,
colds, inflammation of the chest and lungs, fevers, rheumatism,
pleurisy, diarrh[oe]a, lumbago, diseases of the spine, scrofula, and
many other ailments are enumerated among the disorders which afflicted
them. But the prevailing disease is elephantiasis, a dreadful malady
which attacks Europeans and natives alike. There are many cases of
epilepsy, and though idiots are rare, lunatics are less infrequent.
Hunchbacks are very common in both sexes, and virulent ophthalmia is
prevalent; many persons lose the sight of one eye, and some are totally
blinded; not less than a fifth part of the population is estimated to
suffer from this malady.[11] Curiously enough, hunchbacks, who are said
to be very numerous on account of scrofula, used to be looked on as
special favourites of the spirits, and many of them, on growing to
manhood, were accordingly admitted to the priesthood.[12]

    [10] Ch. Wilkes, _Narrative of the United States
    Exploring Expedition_, ii. 118; Violette, "Notes d'un
    Missionnaire sur l'archipel de Samoa," _Les Missions
    Catholiques_, iii. (1870) p. 72 (who, however, affirms that the
    climate is not unhealthy); T. H. Hood, _Notes of a Cruise in
    H.M.S. "Fawn" in the Western Pacific_ (Edinburgh, 1863), pp. 144
    _sq._; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 16, 35 _sqq._

    [11] Ch. Wilkes, _Narrative of the United States
    Exploring Expedition_, ii. 124 _sq._; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_,
    pp. 165 _sq._, 169 _sq._; G. Brown, _Melanesians and
    Polynesians_, pp. 180 _sqq._

    [12] S. Ella, "Samoa," _Report of the Fourth Meeting of
    the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science,
    held at Hobart, Tasmania, in January 1892_, p. 622.

During the stormy season, which lasts from December to April, hurricanes
sometimes occur, and are greatly dreaded by the natives on account of
the havoc which they spread both among the crops and the houses. A
steady rain, the absence of the sun, a deathlike stillness of the birds
and domestic animals, and above all the dark and lowering aspect of the
sky, are the premonitory symptoms of the coming calamity and inspire
general consternation, while the thunderous roar of the torrents and
waterfalls in the mountains strike on the ear with redoubled
distinctness in the prevailing silence which preludes the storm. Warned
by these ominous signs, the natives rush to secure their property from
being swept away by the fury of the blast. Some hurry their canoes
inland to places of comparative safety; others pile trunks of
banana-trees on the roofs of their houses or fasten down the roofs by
hanging heavy stones over them; while yet others bring rough poles,
hastily cut in the forest, and set them up inside the houses as props
against the rafters, to prevent the roof from falling in. Sometimes
these efforts are successful, sometimes futile, the hurricane sweeping
everything before it in its mad career, while the terrified natives
behold the fruits of months of toil, sometimes the growth of years, laid
waste in an hour. On such occasions the shores have been seen flooded by
the invading ocean, houses carried clean away, and a forest turned
suddenly into a bare and treeless plain. Men have been forced to fling
themselves flat on the ground and to dig their hands into the earth to
save themselves from being whirled away and precipitated into the sea or
a torrent. In April 1850 the town of Apia, the capital of the islands,
was almost destroyed by one of these cyclones. When the rage of the
tornado is spent and calm has returned, the shores of a harbour are apt
to present a melancholy scene of ruin and desolation, their shores
strewn with the wrecks of gallant ships which lately rode there at
anchor, their pennons streaming to the wind. So it happened in the
harbour of Apia on March 16th, 1889. Before the tempest burst, there
were many ships of various nations anchored in the bay, among them five
or six American and German warships. When it was over, all were wrecked
and their shattered fragments littered the reefs. One vessel alone, the
British man-of-war, _Calliope_, was saved by the courage and skill of
the captain, who, seconded by the splendid seamanship of the crew,
forced his ship, in the very teeth of the hurricane, out into the open
sea, where he safely weathered the storm.[13]

    [13] Ch. Wilkes, _Narrative of the United States
    Exploring Expedition_, ii. 72; Violette, "Notes d'un
    Missionnaire sur l'archipel de Samoa," _Les Missions
    Catholiques_, iii. (1870) p. 72; F. H. H. Guillemard,
    _Australasia_, ii. 504; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 38-41.

A special interest attaches to Samoa in so far as it is now commonly
believed to be the original seat of the Polynesian race in the Pacific,
from which their ancestors gradually dispersed to the other islands of
that vast ocean, where their descendants are settled to this day.
Polynesian traditions point to such a dispersal from Samoa as a centre,
and they are confirmed by the name which the various branches of the
race give to their old ancestral home. The original form of that name
appears to have been Savaiki, which through dialectical variations has
been altered to Hawaiki in New Zealand, to Hawaii in the Sandwich
Islands, to Havaii in Tahiti, to Havaiki in the Marquesas, and to Avaiki
in Rarotonga. In the Samoan dialect, which of all the Polynesian
dialects alone retains the letter S, the word presumably appears as
Savaii, the name of the largest island of the group, which accordingly
may be regarded, with some probability, as the cradle-land of the
Polynesians in the Pacific; though native traditions indicate rather
Upolu or Manua as the place from which the canoes started on their long
and adventurous voyages. On the other hand in favour of Savaii it has
been pointed out that the island holds a decided superiority over the
other islands of the group in respect of canoe-building; for it
possesses extensive forests of hard and durable timber, which is much
sought after for the keels and other parts of vessels; indeed, the large
sea-going canoes were generally, if not always, built on Savaii, and
maritime expeditions appear sometimes to have started from its
shores.[14] In proof that the Samoans have long been settled in the
islands which they now occupy, it may be alleged that they appear to
have no tradition of any other home from which their ancestors migrated
to their present abode. With the single exception of a large village
called Matautu in Savaii, the inhabitants of which claim that they came
originally from Fiji, all the Samoans consider themselves
indigenous.[15] The Samoans and Tongans, says Mr. S. Percy Smith,
"formed part of the first migration into the Pacific, and they have
been there so long that they have forgotten their early history. All the
numerous legends as to their origin seem to express their own belief in
their being autochthones, created in the Samoan Islands."[16]

    [14] Horatio Hale, _Ethnography and Philology of the
    United States Exploring Expedition_ (Philadelphia, 1846), pp.
    119 _sqq._; J. E. Erskine, _Journal of a Cruise among the
    Islands of the Western Pacific_, pp. 102 _sq._; J. B. Stair,
    _Old Samoa_, pp. 271 _sqq._ (compare _id._ p. 34 as to the
    timber and canoe-building of Savaii); G. Brown, _Melanesians and
    Polynesians_, pp. 358, 371 _sq._; A. C. Haddon, _The Wanderings
    of Peoples_ (Cambridge, 1919), p. 36; A. H. Keane, _Man Past and
    Present_ (Cambridge, 1920), p. 552. That the Samoan language,
    alone of the Polynesian dialects, retains the S sound, is
    affirmed by Ch. Wilkes (_Narrative of the United States
    Exploring Expedition_, ii. 123). In some of the islands the name
    of the ancient fatherland of the race (Hawaiki, etc.) has been
    applied or transferred to the spirit-land to which the souls of
    the dead are supposed to pass as their final abode. See S. Percy
    Smith, _Hawaiki_, pp. 46 _sqq._; E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian
    Comparative Dictionary_, pp. 56 _sqq._, _s.v._ "Hawaiki."

    [15] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 360
    _sq._ As to the Fijian colony in Savaii, compare T. H. Hood,
    _Notes of a Cruise in H.M.S. "Fawn" in the Western Pacific_
    (Edinburgh, 1863), pp. 117 _sq._

    [16] S. Percy Smith, _Hawaiki_, pp. 114 _sq._

§ 2. _The Samoan Islanders, their character_

In spite of the many diseases prevalent among them, the Samoans are
commonly reckoned among the finest, as well as the purest, specimens of
the Polynesian race. Like the Tongans, whom they closely resemble, they
are generally tall and shapely, with full rounded faces and limbs, but
without that grossness and laxity of fibre common in the Tahitians. The
average height of the men is said to be five feet ten inches, but some
of them are over six feet with the thews and sinews of a Hercules. Their
features, though not always regular, are commonly pleasing; and in
particular the forehead is remarkable for its ample development, which,
with the breadth between the eyes, gives to the countenance an
expression of nobleness and dignity. Some of the young men especially
are models of manly beauty; we read of one who, having decked his hair
with the flowers of the scarlet hibiscus, might have sat for an
Antinous. The women are comely enough, but strikingly inferior to the
men in point of personal beauty. The prevailing colour is a light copper
or olive brown, but the shade varies a good deal, deepening somewhat in
fishermen and others who are much exposed to the sun; but it never
approaches the dark chocolate tint, or Vandyke brown, of the
Melanesians. Their hair is usually black and wavy, sometimes curly; but
hardly a vestige is to be seen among them of the crisped and woolly hair
and dusky complexion of the Melanesians, their neighbours on the

    [17] Horatio Hale, _Ethnography and Philology of the
    United States Exploring Expedition_, pp. 10 _sq._; Ch. Wilkes,
    _Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition_, ii. 125
    _sq._; J. E. Erskine, _Journal of a Cruise among the Islands of
    the Western Pacific_, pp. 41, 51; C. E. Meinicke, _Die Inseln
    des Stillen Oceans_ (Leipzig, 1875-1876), ii. 110 _sq._; G.
    Turner, _Samoa_, p. 3; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, p. 58; G.
    Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 55 _sq._

The prepossessing appearance of the Samoans on the whole does not belie
their character. They are reputed to be the most refined and civilised
of all the native races of the Pacific, and this superiority is said to
manifest itself in their social and domestic life.[18] The Samoans, we
are told, are a nation of gentlemen and contrast most favourably with
the generality of the Europeans who come among them.[19] They are said
to carry their habits of cleanliness and decency to a higher point than
the most fastidious of civilised nations;[20] and the Samoan women
appear to be honourably distinguished by their modest behaviour and
fidelity in marriage, qualities which contrast with the profligacy of
their sex in other branches of the Polynesian race.[21] Equally
honourable to the men are the respect and kindness which, according to
the testimony of observers, they pay to their women, whom they are said
to regard as their equals.[22] The aged were treated with respect and
never abandoned; and strangers were always received in the best house
and provided with food specially prepared for them.[23] Infanticide,
which was carried to an appalling and almost incredible extent among
some of the Polynesians,[24] was unknown in Samoa; abortion, indeed, was
not uncommon, but once born children were affectionately cared for and
never killed or exposed.[25] Wives and slaves were never put to death at
a chief's burial, that their souls might attend their dead lord to the
spirit land[26], as was the practice in some of the other islands, even
in Tonga. Again, human sacrifices were not offered by the Samoans to the
gods within the time during which the islands have been under the
observation of Europeans; but in some of the more remote traditions
mention is made of such sacrifices offered to the sun. Thus it is said
that in the mythical island of Papatea, somewhere away in the east, the
sun used to call for two victims every day, one at his rising and
another at his setting. This lasted for eighty days. At such a rate of
consumption the population of the island was rapidly wasting away. To
escape the threatened doom, a brother and sister, named Luama and Ui,
fled from Papatea to Manua, the most easterly of the Samoan islands, but
they found to their consternation that there too, the sun was demanding
his daily victims. Every house had to supply a victim in succession,
and, when all had yielded the tribute, it came to the first house in
turn to renew the sacrifice. The victim was laid out on a pandanus tree,
and there the sun devoured him or her. When the lot fell on Luama, his
heroic sister Ui insisted on taking his place, and lying down, she
cried, "O cruel sun! come and eat your victim, we are all being devoured
by you." But the amorous sun fell in love with her and took her to wife,
at the same time putting an end to the human sacrifices. Another story
affirms that the heroine was a daughter of the King of Manua, and that
he yielded her up as an offering to the sun in order to end the
sacrifices by making her the saviour of the people.[27]

    [18] S. Ella, "Samoa," _Report of the Fourth Meeting of
    the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science,
    held at Hobart, Tasmania, in January 1892_, p. 634.

    [19] T. H. Hood, _Notes of a Cruise in H.M.S. "Fawn" in
    the Western Pacific_ (Edinburgh, 1863), pp. 59 _sq._

    [20] J. E. Erskine, _op. cit._ p. 110

    [21] Ch. Wilkes, _op. cit._ ii. 125; J. E. Erskine,
    _op. cit._ p. 110

    [22] Ch. Wilkes, _op. cit._ ii. 148; Violette, " Notes
    d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel de Samoa," _Les Missions
    Catholiques_, iii. (1870) p. 156; J. L. Brenchley, _op. cit._ p.
    77; S. Ella, _op. cit._ pp. 628 _sq._; G. Brown, _op. cit._ pp.
    43, 410.

    [23] G. Brown, _op. cit._ p. 410.

    [24] For some evidence of the practice see John
    Turnbull, _Voyage round the World_ (London, 1813), pp. 363
    _sq._; C. S. Stewart, _Journal of a Residence in the Sandwich
    Islands_ (London, 1828), pp. 251 _sqq._; P. Dillon, _Voyage in
    the South Seas_ (London, 1829), ii. 134; William Ellis,
    _Polynesian Researches_, Second Edition (London, 1832-1836), i.
    248 _sqq._; J. Williams, _Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in
    the South Sea Islands_ (London, 1838), pp. 479-486. According to
    Stewart, in those parts of Hawaii to which the influence of the
    missionaries had not penetrated, two-thirds of the infants born
    were murdered by their parents within the age of two years. In
    Tahiti three women, questioned by Mr. Williams, acknowledged
    that they had killed twenty-one of their children between them.
    Another, at the point of death, confessed to him, in an anguish
    of remorse, that she had destroyed sixteen of her children.

    [25] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 79. Compare J. Williams,
    _op. cit._ p. 479; S. Ella, _op. cit._ p. 621; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 47.

    [26] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 219.

    [27] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 201 _sq._ Compare G.
    Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 230 _sq._; J.
    Williams, _Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea
    Islands_, p. 471; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, p. 210.

The Samoans, when they became known to Europe in the nineteenth century,
did not habitually indulge in cannibalism; indeed, according to John
Williams, one of the earliest missionaries to the islands, they spoke of
the practice with great horror and detestation.[28] But we have the
testimony of other early missionaries that in their wars they
occasionally resorted to it as a climax of hatred and revenge, devouring
some portion of an enemy who had rendered himself peculiarly obnoxious
by his cruelty or his provocations. Traditions, too, are on record of
chiefs who habitually killed and devoured their fellow-creatures. A form
of submission which a conquered party used to adopt towards their
conquerors has also been interpreted as a relic of an old custom of
cannibalism. Representatives of the vanquished party used to bow down
before the victors, each holding in his hands a piece of firewood and a
bundle of leaves, such as are used in dressing a pig for the oven. This
was as much as to say, "Kill us and cook us, if you please." Criminals,
too, were sometimes bound hand and foot, slung on a pole, and laid down
before the persons they had injured, like pigs about to be killed and
cooked. Combining these and other indications we may surmise that
cannibalism was formerly not infrequent among the ancestors of the
Samoans, though among their descendants in the nineteenth century the
practice had almost wholly died out.[29] It is further to the credit of
the Samoans that their public administration of justice was on the whole
mild and humane. Torture was never employed to wring the truth from
witnesses or the accused, and there seems to be only a single case on
record of capital punishment inflicted by judicial sentence. At the same
time private individuals were free to avenge the adultery of a wife or
the murder of a kinsman by killing the culprit, and no blame attached to
them for so doing. The penalties imposed by the sentence of a court or
judicial assembly (_fono_) included fines, banishment, and the
destruction of houses, fruit-trees, and domestic animals. But a criminal
might also be condemned by a court to suffer corporal punishment in one
form or another. He might, for example, be obliged to wound himself by
beating his head and chest with a stone till the blood flowed freely; if
he seemed to spare himself, he would be ordered by the assembled chiefs
to strike harder, and if he still faltered, the prompt and unsparing
application of a war club to his person effectually assisted the
execution of the sentence. Again, he might be condemned to bite a
certain acrid and poisonous root (called in the native language _tevi_)
which caused the mouth to swell and the culprit to suffer intense agony
for a considerable time afterwards. Or he might have to throw up a spiny
and poisonous fish into the air and to catch it in his naked hand as it
fell; the sharp-pointed spines entered into the flesh and inflicted
acute pain and suffering. Or he might be suspended by hands and feet
from a pole and in this attitude exposed to the broiling sun for many
hours together; or he might be hung by the feet, head downward, from the
top of a tall coco-nut tree and left there to expiate his crime for a
long time. For certain offences the culprit was condemned to have his
nose tattooed or his ears split. In sentences of banishment the term of
exile was never specified, but when the sentence had been pronounced in
full assembly, and the offence was great, the culprit might live in
exile for years. When the punishment consisted in the destruction of
houses, plantations, and live stock, it was immediately inflicted by the
whole force of the district, under the direction and superintendence of
the leading men, who had taken part in the assembly and passed the
sentence. A whole family might suffer in this way for the offence of one
of its members, and be driven into exile, after witnessing the burning
of their house, the killing of their pigs, and the barking of their
breadfruit trees.[30] If such penalties seem to us in some cases
needlessly severe, they at least testify to a strong sense of public
justice developed among the Samoans, who had thus advanced far enough to
transfer, in some measure, the redress of wrongs to judicial assemblies
instead of leaving it to the caprice of the injured individuals.
Nevertheless the transference was but imperfect: the administration of
justice was loose and irregular: for the most part every man was a law
to himself, and did what was right in his own eyes. An aggrieved party
would become his own judge, jury, and executioner. The thirst for
vengeance was slaked only by the blood of a victim.[31]

    [28] J. Williams, _Narrative of Missionary Enterprises
    in the South Sea Islands_, p. 456.

    [29] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 108-111; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 149 _sq._, 290; J. E.
    Erskine, _op. cit._ pp. 39, 101 _sq._; W. T. Pritchard,
    _Polynesian Reminiscences_ (London, 1866), pp. 125 _sq._;
    Violette, "Notes d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel de Samoa,"
    _Les Missions Catholiques_, iii. (1870) p. 168; J. B. Stair,
    _Old Samoa_, pp. 240 _sq._

    [30] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 91 _sqq._; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 288-291. Compare Violette,
    "Notes d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel de Samoa," _Les Missions
    Catholiques_, iii. (1870) pp. 119, 120.

    [31] S. Ella, "Samoa," _Report of the Fourth Meeting of
    the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science,
    held at Hobart, Tasmania, in January 1892_, p. 633.

It is another sign of the intellectual enlightenment of the Samoans that
they rose apparently superior to that system of malignant magic, which
kept their neighbours the Melanesians in lifelong bondage. The
experienced missionary, Dr. George Brown, could not find in Samoa any
trace of the practice of that particular form of the black art with
which he was familiar in New Britain and other Melanesian islands, the
practice of procuring some object which has belonged to an enemy or been
touched by him, and taking it to a sorcerer, that he may perform over it
a ceremony for the purpose of injuring the person from whom the object
has been obtained. The proceeding is one of the commonest forms of
sympathetic magic, but the Samoans appear to have ignored or despised
it.[32] Again, the silence of our authorities on the subject of amulets
and talismans leaves us to infer that the Samoans were equally
indifferent to that branch of magic which seeks to ensure the safety and
prosperity of the individual by attaching a miscellaneous collection of
rubbish to his person, a system of ensurance against evil and misfortune
which has attained a prodigious development among some savages, notably
in Africa,[33] and is very far from being unknown in Europe at the
present day. Again, unlike most savages, the Samoans were close
observers of the stars, not only reckoning the time of night by the
rising of particular stars, but steering by them when they were out of
sight of land.[34]

    [32] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 245.
    Compare S. Ella, _op. cit._ p. 638.

    [33] See, for example, E. W. Smith and A. M. Dale, _The
    Ila-speaking Peoples of Northern Rhodesia_ (London, 1920), i.
    252 _sqq._

    [34] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 348.

Against these amiable and enlightened traits in the Samoan character
must be set their cruelty in war. If they opened hostilities with a
great deal of formal politeness, they conducted them with great
ferocity. No quarter was given to men in battle, and captives were
ruthlessly slaughtered. Women were sometimes spared for the use of their
captors. Nor did death save the conquered from the insults and outrages
of the insolent victors. The slain on the battlefield were treated with
great indignity. Their heads were cut off and carried in triumph to the
village, where they were piled up in a heap in the place of public
assembly, the head of the most important chief being given the place of
honour on the top of the pile. However, they were not kept as trophies,
but after remaining for some hours exposed to public gaze were either
claimed by the relatives or buried on the spot. The headless trunks were
given to children to drag about the village and to spear, stone, or
mutilate at pleasure.[35] The first missionary to Samoa was told in
Manua that the victors used to scalp their victims and present the
scalps, with kava, either to the king or to the relatives of the slain
in battle, by whom these gory trophies were highly prized. He mentions
as an example the case of a young woman, whose father had been killed. A
scalp of a foe having been brought to her, she burnt it, strewed the
ashes on the fire with which she cooked her food, and then devoured the
meat with savage satisfaction.[36] But the climax of cruelty and horror
was reached in a great war which the people of A'ana, in Upolu, waged
against a powerful combination of enemies. After a brave resistance they
were at last defeated, and the surviving warriors, together with the
aged and infirm, the women and children, fled to the mountains, where
they endeavoured to hide themselves from their pursuers in the caves and
the depths of the forest. But they were hunted out and brought down to
the seashore; and an immense pit having been dug and filled with
firewood, they were all, men, women, and children, thrown into it and
burnt alive. The dreadful butchery went on for days. Four hundred
victims are said to have perished. The massacre was perpetrated at the
moment when the first missionaries were landing in Samoa. From the
opposite shore they beheld the mountains enveloped in the flames and
smoke of the funeral pile. The decisive battle had been fought that
very morning. For many years a great black circle of charcoal marked the
scene and preserved the memory of the fatal transaction.[37]

    [35] J. Williams, _op. cit._ p. 456; Ch. Wilkes, _op.
    cit._ ii. 150 _sq._; W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian
    Reminiscences_, p. 61; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 247 _sqq._;
    G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 170, 172 _sq._ Dr.
    Brown here speaks as if captive women were regularly spared and
    married by the victors. As to the elaborate civilities which
    passed between the vanguards of two hostile armies at their
    first meeting, see Dr. Brown, _op. cit._ pp. 166 _sq._

    [36] J. Williams, _op. cit._ p. 458.

    [37] J. Williams, _op. cit._ pp. 286 _sq._, 456; J. B.
    Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 254-258.

§ 3. _Houses, Agriculture, and Industries_

Like all the Polynesians, the Samoans are not nomadic, but live in
settled villages. The typical Samoan house is commonly described as oval
or elliptical, though in fact it would seem to be of oblong shape with
semicircular ends. But many houses were circular in shape, and with
their conical thatched roofs resembled gigantic beehives. From the
Tongans the Samoans also borrowed the custom of building oblong
quadrangular houses, which were called _afolau_. The best houses, in
particular those of important chiefs, were built on raised platforms of
stones about three feet high. One of the circular houses would measure
about thirty-five feet in diameter by a hundred in circumference. Two or
three posts in the centre of the house, some twenty feet high, supported
the roof, the lower end of which rested on a series of short posts, four
or five feet high, placed at intervals of about four feet all round the
house. The intervals between these posts were sometimes closed by thatch
neatly tied to sticks, which were planted upright in the ground and
fastened to the eaves; but more commonly, it would seem, the intervals
between the posts were left open and only closed at night by blinds made
of coco-nut leaves, which could be let down or pulled up like Venetian
blinds. During the day these blinds were drawn up, so that there was a
free current of air all through the house. The roofs of the best houses
were made of bread-fruit wood carefully thatched with leaves of the wild
sugar-cane; when well made, the thatch might last seven years. The
circular roofs were so constructed that they could be lifted clean off
the posts and removed anywhere, either by land or on a raft of canoes.
The whole house could also be transported; and as Samoan houses were
often bartered, or given as presents, or paid as fines, it frequently
happened that they were removed from place to place. In the whole house
there was not a single nail or spike: all joints were made by exactly
corresponding notches and secured by cinnet, that is cordage made from
the dried fibre of the coco-nut husk. The timber of the best houses was
the wood of the bread-fruit tree; and, if protected against damp, it
would last fifty years. The floor of the house was composed of stones,
overlaid with fine gravel and sand. In the centre of the floor was the
fire-place, a circular hollow two or three feet in diameter and a few
inches deep, lined with hardened clay. It was not used for cooking, but
for the purpose of lighting up the house by night. The cooking was never
done in the house, but always in the open air outside on an oven of hot
stones. An ordinary Samoan house consisted of a single apartment, which
served as the common parlour, dining-room, and bedroom of the family.
But at night small tents made of bark-cloth were hung from the
ridge-pole, and under them the various members of the family slept
separately, the tents serving them at the same time as curtains to
protect them against the mosquitoes. Formerly, the houses of the
principal chiefs were surrounded with two fences; the outer of the two
was formed of strong posts and had a narrow zigzag entrance, several
yards long, leading to an opening in the inner fence, which was made of
reeds. But with the advent of a more peaceful epoch these fortified
enclosures for the most part disappeared. Houses constructed on the
Tongan model were often very substantially built: a double row of posts
and cross-beams supported the roof. These houses were found better able
to resist the high winds which prevail at one season of the year.[38]

    [38] Ch. Wilkes, _op. cit._. ii. 145 _sqq._; J. E.
    Erskine, _op. cit._ pp. 45-47; T. H. Hood, _Notes of a Cruise in
    H.M.S. "Fawn" in the Western Pacific_ (Edinburgh, 1863), p. 32;
    Violette, "Notes d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel de Samoa,"
    _Les Missions Catholiques_, iii. (1870) p. 135; G. Turner,
    _Samoa_, pp. 152 _sqq._; S. Ella, _op. cit._ pp. 634 _sq._; J.
    B. Stair, _Old Samoa,_ pp. 105 _sqq._, 153 _sqq._; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 24 _sqq._

Like the rest of the Polynesians, the Samoans are an agricultural
people, and subsist mainly by the fruits of the earth, though the
lagoons and reefs furnish them with a large supply of fish and
shell-fish, of which they are very fond. They all, but especially
persons of rank, occasionally regaled themselves on pigs, fowls, and
turtle. But bread-fruit, taro, yams, bananas, and coco-nuts formed the
staff of life in Samoa. As the soil is very rich and the hot, damp
climate is eminently favourable to the growth of vegetation, food was
always abundant, and the natives could procure the necessaries and even
the luxuries of life at the cost of very little labour; if they tilled
the soil, it was rather to vary their diet than to wring a scanty
subsistence from a niggardly nature. Coco-nut palms, bread-fruit and
chestnut trees, and wild yams, bananas, and plantains abound throughout
the islands, and require little attention to make them yield an ample
crop. For about half the year the Samoans have a plentiful supply of
food from the bread-fruit trees: during the other half they depend
principally upon their taro plantations. While the bread-fruit is in
season, every family lays up a quantity of the ripe fruit in a pit lined
with leaves and covered with stones. The fruit soon ferments and forms a
soft mass, which emits a very vile smell every time the pit is opened.
In this state it may be kept for years, for the older and more rotten
the fruit is, the better the natives like it. They bake it, with the
juice of the coco-nut, into flat cakes, which are eaten when the ripe
fruit is out of season or when taro is scarce. For taro is on the whole
the staple food of the Samoans; it grows all the year round. The water
of the coco-nut furnishes a cool, delicious, slightly effervescing
beverage, which is peculiarly welcome to the hot and weary wayfarer far
from any spring or rivulet.[39]

    [39] Ch. Wilkes, _op. cit._ ii. 147; W. T. Pritchard,
    _Polynesian Reminiscences_ (London, 1866), pp. 126-128;
    Violette, "Notes d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel de Samoa,"
    _Les Missions Catholiques_, iii. (1870) pp. 87 _sq._; G. Turner,
    _Samoa_, pp. 105-107; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 53-55; G.
    Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 130 _sqq._ According
    to Dr. Brown, there are generally three crops of bread-fruit in
    the year, one of them lasting about three months.

To obtain land for cultivation the Samoans went into the forest and cut
down the brushwood and creeping vines with small hatchets or large
knives. The large forest-trees they destroyed by chopping away the bark
in a circle round the trunk and then kindling a fire of brushwood at the
foot of the tree. Thus in the course of a few days a fair-sized piece of
ground would be cleared, nothing of the forest remaining but charred
trunks and leafless branches. Then followed the planting. The
agricultural instruments employed were of the simplest pattern. A
dibble, or pointed stick of hard wood, was used to make the hole in
which the plant was deposited. This took the place of a plough, and a
branch served the purpose of a harrow. Sometimes the earth was dug and
smoothed with the blade of a canoe paddle. The labour of clearing and
planting the ground was done by the men, but the task of weeding it
generally devolved on the women. The first crop taken from a piece of
land newly cleared in the forest was yams, which require a peculiar
culture and frequent change of site, two successive crops being seldom
obtained from the same land. After the first crop of yams had been
cleared off, taro was planted several times in succession; for this root
does not, like yams, require a change of site. However, we are told that
a second crop of taro grown on the same land was very inferior to the
first, and that as a rule the land was allowed to remain fallow until
the trees growing on it were as thick as a man's arm, when it was again
cleared for cultivation. In the wet season taro was planted on the high
land from one to four miles inland from the village; other kinds of taro
were planted in the swamps, and these were considered more succulent
than the taro grown on the uplands. The growing crops of taro were
weeded at least twice a year. The natives resorted to irrigation, when
they had the means; and they often dug trenches to drain away the water
from swampy ground. Yams also required attention; for sticks had to be
provided on which the plants could run. The fruit ripens only once a
year, but it was stored up, and with care would keep till the next
season. The natives found neither yams nor bread-fruit so nourishing as

    [40] Violette, "Notes d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel
    de Samoa," _Les Missions Catholiques_, iii. (1870) p. 188; S.
    Ella, _op. cit._ p. 635; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 54 _sq._;
    G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 130 _sqq._, 338

The degree of progress which any particular community has made in
civilisation may be fairly gauged by the degree of subdivision of labour
among its members; for it is only by restricting his energies to a
particular craft that a man can attain to any perfection in it. Judged
by this standard the Samoans had advanced some way on the road to
civilisation, since among them the division of labour was carried out to
a considerable extent: in their native state they had not a few separate
trades or professions, some of which may even be said to have developed
the stability and organisation of trade guilds. Among them, for example,
house-building, canoe-building, tattooing, and the making of nets and
fish-hooks were distinct crafts, which, though not strictly hereditary,
were usually confined to particular families. Thus by long practice and
experience handed down from generation to generation a considerable
degree of skill was acquired, and a considerable degree of reputation
accrued to the family. Every trade had its particular patron god and was
governed by certain well-known rules. The members formed, indeed, we are
told, a trade union which was remarkably effective. Thus they had rules
which prescribed the time and proportions of payment to be made at
different stages of the work, and these rules were strictly observed and
enforced by the workmen. For example, in the house-building trade, it
was a standing custom that after the sides and one end of a house were
finished, the principal part of the payment should be made. If the
carpenters were dissatisfied with the amount of payment, they simply
left off work and walked away, leaving the house unfinished, and no
carpenter in the whole length and breadth of Samoa would dare to finish
it, for it would have been as much as his business or even his life was
worth to undertake the job. Anyone so foolhardy as thus to set the rules
of the trade at defiance would have been attacked by the other workmen
and robbed of his tools; at the best he would receive a severe
thrashing, at the worst he might be killed. A house might thus stand
unfinished for months or even years. Sooner or later, if he was to have
a roof over his head, the unfortunate owner had to yield to the trade
union and agree to such terms as they might dictate. If it happened that
the house was almost finished before the fourth and final payment was
made, and the builder at that stage of the proceedings took offence, he
would remove a beam from the roof before retiring in dudgeon, and no
workman would dare to replace it. The rules in the other trades, such
as canoe-building and tattooing, were practically the same. In
canoe-building, for example, five separate payments were made to the
builders at five stages of the work; and if at any stage the workmen
were dissatisfied with the pay, they very unceremoniously abandoned the
work until the employer apologised or came to terms. No other party of
workmen would have the temerity to finish the abandoned canoe upon pain
of bringing down on their heads the wrath of the whole fraternity of
canoe-builders; any such rash offenders against the rules of the guild
would be robbed of their tools, expelled from their clan, and prohibited
from exercising their calling during the pleasure of the guild. Such
strides had the Samoans made in the direction of trade unionism.[41]

    [41] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 157 _sqq._, 162 _sqq._; J.
    B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 141 _sqq._, 145 _sqq._, 153 _sqq._,
    157 _sqq._; G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 268,
    305-308. Compare Ch. Wilkes, _op. cit._ ii. 143 _sqq._;
    Violette, _op. cit._ pp. 134 _sq._; S. Ella, _op. cit._ pp. 635

In addition to their household duties women engaged in special work of
their own, particularly in the manufacture of bark-cloths and of fine
mats; but among them there seems to have been no subdivision of labour
and consequently no professional guilds. In all families the making of
bark-cloth and mats was carried on by the women indifferently, though
some no doubt excelled others in the skill of their handiwork. The cloth
was made from the bark of the paper-mulberry (_Morus papyrifera_), which
was beaten out on boards with a grooved beetle. The sound of these
beetles ringing on the boards, though not very musical, was a familiar
sound in a Samoan village. The fine mats, on the manufacture of which
the Samoans particularly prided themselves, were worn as dresses on
ceremonial occasions. They were made from the leaves of a large plant
which the natives call _lau ie_; the leaves closely resemble those of
the pandanus, but are larger. These mats were of a straw or cream
colour, and were sometimes fringed with tufts of scarlet feathers of the
paroquet. They were thin and almost as flexible as calico. Many months,
sometimes even years, were spent over the making of a single mat.
Another kind of fine mat was made from the bark of a plant of the nettle
tribe (_Hibiscus tiliaceus_), which grows wild over the islands. Mats
of the latter sort were shaggy on one side, and, being bleached white,
resembled fleecy sheep-skins. These fine mats, especially those made
from the leaves of the pandanus-like plant, were considered by the
Samoans to be their most valuable property; they were handed down as
heirlooms from father to son, and were so much coveted that wars were
sometimes waged to obtain possession of them. The pedigrees of the more
famous mats, particularly those fringed with red feathers, were
carefully kept, and when they changed hands, their history was related
with solemn precision. Age enhanced their value; and their tattered
condition, deemed a proof of antiquity, rather added to than detracted
from the estimation in which they were held. The wealth of a family
consisted of its mats; with them it remunerated the services of
carpenters, boat-builders, and tattooers. The mats formed, indeed, a
sort of currency or medium of exchange; for while the Samoans were not
in general a trading people, and there was little or no actual buying
and selling among them, there was nevertheless a considerable exchange
of property on many occasions; at marriage, for example, it was
customary for the bride's family to give mats and bark-cloth as her
dowry, while the bridegroom's family provided a house, canoes, and other
articles. But though the fine mats were thus paid away or given in
exchange, they had no fixed negotiable value, and thus did not serve the
purpose of money.[42]

    [42] Ch. Wilkes, _Narrative of the United States
    Exploring Expedition_, ii. 142 _sq._; J. E. Erskine, _Journal of
    a Cruise among the Islands of the Western Pacific_, pp. 109
    _sq._; W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian Reminiscences_, pp. 129-132;
    Violette, "Notes d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel de Samoa,"
    _Les Missions Catholiques_, iii. (1870) p. 135; G. Turner,
    _Samoa_, pp. 119-121; S. Ella, "Samoa," _Report of the Fourth
    Meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of
    Science, held at Hobart, Tasmania, in January 1892_, p. 636; J.
    B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 143 _sq._; G. Brown, _Melanesians and
    Polynesians_, pp. 304 _sq._, 305, 315, 434.

§ 4. _Rights of Property_

In Samoa the rights of private property, both personal and landed, were
fully recognised, but with certain limitations. The lands were owned
alike by chiefs and by heads of families; the laws regulating their
possession were very definite. In no case did the whole of the land
belong to the chiefs. Every family owned portions of land not only in
the village and adjoining gardens, but far away in the unreclaimed
forests of the interior. The title, which passed by inheritance,
generally vested in the family; but the family was represented by the
head, who often claimed the right to dispose of it by sale or otherwise.
Yet he dared not do anything without consulting all concerned; were he
to persist in thwarting the wishes of the rest, they would take his
title from him and give it to another. Sometimes, however, the title to
landed property vested in individual owners. The legitimate heir was the
oldest surviving brother, but occasionally he waived his right in favour
of one of the sons. Women might hold land when the male side of a family
was extinct. The boundaries of land were well defined, being marked by
pathways, natural limits, such as a river, or by trenches and stones
half buried in the ground. Every inch of ground had its owner, even to
the tops of the mountains. Trespass by a neighbouring village would be
resisted, if necessary, by force of arms.[43]

    [43] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 176 _sq._; J. B. Stair,
    _Old Samoa_, pp. 83 _sq._; G. Brown, _Melanesians and
    Polynesians_, pp. 287 _sq._, 314, 339.

In regard to personal property it may be said that, like landed
property, it belonged rather to the family than to the individual; for
no Samoan could refuse to give, without an equivalent, anything which
any member of his family asked for. In this way boats, tools, garments,
and so forth passed freely from hand to hand. Nay, a man could enter the
plantation of a relative and help himself to the fruit without asking
the owner's leave; such an appropriation was not considered to be
stealing. Under this communistic system, as it has been called,
accumulation of property was scarcely possible, and industry was
discouraged. Why should a diligent man toil when he knew that the fruit
of his labour might all be consumed by lazy kinsfolk? He might lay out a
plantation of bananas, and when they were full-grown, bunch after bunch
might be plucked and eaten by his less industrious relations, until,
exasperated beyond endurance, the unfortunate owner would cut down all
the remaining trees. No matter how hard a man worked, he could not keep
his earnings; they all soon passed out of his hands into the common
stock of the clan. The system, we are told, ate like a canker-worm at
the roots of individual and national progress.[44]

    [44] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 160 _sq._; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 247, 262 _sq._, 434.

§ 5. _Government, Social Ranks, Respect for Chiefs_

The native government of Samoa was not, like that of Tonga, a
centralised despotism. Under the form of a monarchy and aristocracy the
political constitution was fundamentally republican and indeed
democratic. The authority of the king and chiefs was limited and more or
less nominal; practically Samoa consisted of a large number of petty
independent and self-governing communities, which sometimes combined for
defence or common action in a sort of loose federation.[45]

    [45] J. Williams, _Narrative of Missionary Enterprises
    in the South Sea Islands_, p. 454; H. Hale, _Ethnography and
    Philology of the United States Exploring Expedition_, p. 29; T.
    H. Hood, _Notes of a Cruise in H.M.S. "Fawn" in the Western
    Pacific_ (Edinburgh, 1863), p. 118; G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 173;
    S. Ella, "Samoa," _Report of the Fourth Meeting of the
    Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, held at
    Hobart, Tasmania, in January 1892_, p. 631; J. B. Stair, _Old
    Samoa_, pp. 83 _sq._, 89; G. Brown, _Melanesians and
    Polynesians_, p. 333.

To a superficial observer the aristocratic cast of Samoan society might
at first sight seem very marked. The social ranks were sharply divided
from each other, and the inferior orders paid great formal deference to
their superiors. At the head of all ranked the chiefs (_alii_); but even
among them the ordinary chiefs were distinct from the sacred chiefs
(_alii paia_), who enjoyed the highest honours. These sacred chiefs
preserved their pedigrees for twenty or more generations with as great
care as the oldest and proudest families in Europe, and they possessed
many feudal rights and privileges which were as well known and as fully
acknowledged as are, or were, those of any lord of a manor in England.
The task of preserving a record of a chief's pedigrees was entrusted to
his orator or spokesman, who belonged to a lower social rank (that of
the _tulafales_).[46] The influence of chiefs was supported by the
belief that they possessed some magical or supernatural power, by which
they could enforce their decisions.[47] Their persons were sacred or
taboo. They might not be touched by any one. No one might sit beside
them. In the public assemblies a vacant place was left on each side of
the seat of honour which they occupied. Some chiefs were so holy that
they might not even be looked at by day. Their food might not be handed
to them, but was thrown to them, and it was so sacred that no one might
eat any of it which they had left over.[48]

    [46] H. Hale, _op. cit._ p. 28; Violette, _op. cit._ p.
    168; G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 173 _sqq._; J. B. Stair, _Old
    Samoa_, pp. 65 _sqq._; G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_,
    pp. 283, 430.

    [47] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 431.

    [48] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 280,
    283, 285; Violette, _op. cit._ p. 168 (as to chiefs too holy to
    be seen by day).

"The sacredness attributed to many chiefs of high rank gave rise to
observances which were irksome to their families and dependents, since
whatever they came in contact with required to undergo the ceremony of
_lulu'u_, or sprinkling with a particular kind of cocoanut-water
(_niu-ui_); both to remove the sanctity supposed to be communicated to
the article or place that had touched the chief, and also to counteract
the danger of speedy death, which was believed to be imminent to any
person who might touch the sacred chief, or anything that he had
touched; so great was the mantle of sanctity thrown around these chiefs,
although unconnected with the priesthood. Thus the spot where such a
chief had sat or slept was sprinkled with water immediately he had left
it, as were also the persons who had sat on either side of him when he
received company, as well as all the attendants who had waited upon him.

"This remarkable custom was also observed on other occasions. It was
always used on the occasion of deposing a chief, and depriving him of
his _Ao_, or titles, in which case the ceremony was performed by some of
those who had either conferred the titles or had the power to do so. In
the case of O le Tamafainga, the usurper who was killed in A'ana in
1829, his body was first sprinkled with cocoanut-water, and his title of
_O le Tuia'ana_ recalled from him, before he was hewn in pieces. The
ceremony consisted of sprinkling the body with cocoanut-water, and the
officiating chief or _Tulafale_ saying, 'Give us back our _Ao_,' by
which means the title was recalled, and the sacredness attaching to it
was dispelled. It was also used over persons newly tattooed, and upon
those who contaminated themselves by contact with a dead body. In each
of these cases the ceremony was carefully observed, and reverently
attended to, as very dire consequences were considered certain to follow
its omission."[49] Thus the sacredness of a chief was deemed dangerous
to all persons with whom he might come, whether directly or indirectly,
into contact; it was apparently conceived as a sort of electric fluid
which discharged itself, it might be with fatal effect, on whatever it
touched. And the sacredness of a chief was clearly classed with the
uncleanness of a dead body, since contact with a dead body involved the
same dangerous consequences as contact with the sacred person of a chief
and had to be remedied in precisely the same manner. The two conceptions
of holiness and uncleanness, which to us seem opposite and even
contradictory, blend in the idea of taboo, in which both are implicitly
held as it were in solution. It requires the analytic tendency of more
advanced thought to distinguish the two conceptions, to precipitate, as
it were, the components of the solution in the testing-tube of the mind.

    [49] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 127 _sq._ Compare
    Violette, _op. cit._ p. 168; G. Brown, _Melanesians and
    Polynesians_, pp. 231, 280, 285. In this work Dr. Brown remarks
    (p. 231) that there is no clear explanation of the custom of
    sprinkling coco-nut water as a purificatory rite. But the
    explanation given by Stair, which I have quoted in the text, is
    clear and satisfactory, and elsewhere (p. 285) Dr. Brown
    implicitly adopts the same explanation, where he says that the
    man who had served kava to a sacred chief "sprinkled himself all
    over to wash away the sacredness (_paia_)."

The profound respect which the Samoans entertained for their chiefs
manifested itself in yet another fashion. A special form of speech was
adopted in addressing a chief, in conversing in his presence, or even in
alluding to him in his absence. Thus there arose what is called a
chiefs' language, or polite diction, which was used exclusively in
speaking to or of a chief, whether the speaker was a common man or a
chief of lower rank. But it was never used by a chief when he was
speaking of himself. Persons of high rank, in addressing others and
alluding to themselves, always employed ordinary language and sometimes
the very lowest terms; so that it was often amusing to listen to
expressions of feigned humility uttered by a proud man, who would have
been indignant indeed if the same terms which he applied to himself had
been applied to him by others. Thus, for example, the actions of
sitting, talking, eating, sleeping, and dying were expressed by
different terms according as the agent was a chief or a common man. The
ordinary word for a house was _fale_; but a chief's house was called
_maota_. The common word for anger was _ita_; the polite term was
_toasa_. To sleep in ordinary language was _moe_, but in polite language
it was _tof[=a]_ or _toá_. To be sick in common speech was _mai_, but in
polite language it was _ngasengase, faatafa, pulu pulusi_. To die was
_mate_ or _pe_ (said of animals), or _oti_ (said of men); but the
courtly expressions for death were _maliu_ ("gone"), _folau_ ("gone on a
voyage"), _fale-lauasi, ngasololo ao_, and a number of others. The terms
substituted in the court language sometimes had a meaning the very
opposite of that borne by the corresponding terms in the ordinary
language. For example, in the court language firewood was called
_polata_, which properly means the stem of the banana plant, a wood that
is incombustible. If the use of an ordinary word in the presence of a
chief were unavoidable, it had to be prefaced by the apologetic phrase
_veaeane_, literally "saving your presence," every time the word was
spoken. Nay, the courtly language itself varied with the rank of the
chief addressed or alluded to. For example, if you wished to say that a
person had come, you would say _alu_ of a common man; _alala_ of a head
of a household or landowner (_tulafale_); _maliu_ of a petty chief;
_susu_ of a chief of the second class; and _afiu_ of a chief of the
highest rank.[50] The same respect which was shown in the use of words
descriptive of a chief's actions or possessions was naturally extended
to his own name, when he belonged to the class of sacred chiefs. If his
name happened to be also the name of a common object, it ceased to be
used to designate the thing in question, and a new word or phrase was
substituted for it. Henceforth the old name of the object was dropped
and might never again be pronounced in the chief's district nor indeed
anywhere in his presence. In one district, for example, the chief's name
was Flying-fox; hence the ordinary word for flying-fox (_re'a_) was
dropped, and that species of bat was known as "bird of heaven" (_manu
langi_).[51] Again, when the chief of Pango-pango, in the island of
Tutuila, was called Maunga, which means "mountain," that word might
never be used in his presence, and a courtly term was substituted for
it.[52] This is only one instance of the ways in which the dialects of
savages tend to vary from each other under the influence of

    [50] H. Hale, _Ethnography and Philology of the United
    States Exploring Expedition_, pp. 28 _sq._; Violette, "Notes
    d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel de Samoa," _Les Missions
    Catholiques_, iii. (1870) p. 190; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp.
    67 _sqq._; G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 380
    _sq._ Compare G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 175.

    [51] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 280,

    [52] J. E. Erskine, _Journal of a Cruise among the
    Islands of the Western Pacific_, p. 44.

Yet despite the extraordinary deference thus paid to chiefs in outward
show, the authority which they possessed was for the most part very
limited; indeed in the ordinary affairs of life the powers and
privileges of a chief were little more than nominal, and he moved about
among the people and shared their everyday employments just like a
common man. Thus, for example, he would go out with a fishing party,
work in his plantation, help at building a house or a canoe, and even
lend a hand in cooking at a native oven. So strong was the democratic
spirit among the Samoans. The ordinary duties of a chief consisted in
administering the law, settling disputes, punishing transgressors,
appointing feasts, imposing taboos, and leading his people in war. It
was in time of war that a chief's dignity and authority were at their
highest, but even then he could hardly maintain strict discipline.[53]
However, the influence of chiefs varied a good deal and depended in
great measure on their personal character. If besides his hereditary
rank a chief was a man of energy and ability, he might become
practically supreme in his village or district. Some chiefs even used
their power in a very tyrannical manner.[54]

    [53] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 174 _sq._; S. Ella,
    "Samoa," _Report of the Fourth Meeting of the Australasian
    Association for the Advancement of Science, held at Hobart,
    Tasmania, in January 1892_, pp. 631 _sq._; J. B. Stair, _Old
    Samoa_, p. 70; G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 286.

    [54] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, p. 70; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 286.

But for the abuse of power by their nominal rulers the Samoans had a
remedy at hand. When a chief rendered himself odious to his people by
tyranny and oppression, the householders or gentry (_tulafales_) and
neighbouring chiefs would not uncommonly depose him and transfer his
office to another; in extreme cases they might banish him or even put
him to death. The place of banishment for exiled chiefs was the island
of Tutuila. Thither the fallen potentate was conveyed under custody in a
canoe, and on landing he was made to run the gauntlet between two rows
of the inhabitants, who belaboured him with sticks, pelted him with
stones, or subjected him to other indignities. He was lucky if he
escaped with nothing worse than bruises, for sometimes the injuries
inflicted were severe or actually fatal.[55] Chieftainship was
hereditary in the male line, but did not necessarily pass from father
to son; the usual heir would seem to have been the eldest surviving
brother, and next to him one of the sons. But a dying chief might
nominate his successor, though the final decision rested with the heads
of families. Failing a male heir, a daughter might be appointed to, or
might assume, the prerogative of chieftainship.[56]

    [55] J. Williams, _Narrative of Missionary Enterprises
    in the South Sea Islands_, p. 454; H. Hale, _Ethnography and
    Philology of the United States Exploring Expedition_, p. 28;
    Violette, "Notes d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel de Samoa,"
    _Les Missions Catholiques_, iii. (1870) p. 119; G. Turner,
    _Samoa_, p. 177; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 71 _sqq._

    [56] Violette, _op. cit._ p. 119; G. Turner, _Samoa_,
    p. 174; S. Ella, _op. cit._ p. 631; G. Brown, _Melanesians and
    Polynesians_, pp. 282, 286, 430.

In addition to their hereditary nobility chiefs might be raised to
higher rank by the possession of titles (_ao_), which were in the gift
of certain ruling towns or villages. When four or, according to another
account, five of these titles were conferred upon a single chief, he was
called _o le tupu_, or King of Samoa. But if the constituencies were not
unanimous in their choice of a candidate, the throne might remain vacant
for long periods. Thus the monarchy of Samoa was elective; the king was
chosen by a hereditary aristocracy, and his powers were tempered by the
rights and privileges of the nobility. Yet under the show of a limited
monarchy the constitution was essentially a federal republic.[57] The
ceremony of anointing a King of Samoa in ancient times appears to have
curiously resembled a similar solemnity in monarchical Europe. It took
place in presence of a large assembly of chiefs and people. A sacred
stone was consecrated as a throne, or rather stool, on which the king
stood, while a priest, who must also be a chief, called upon the gods to
behold and bless the king, and pronounced denunciations against such as
should fail to obey him. He then poured scented oil from a native bottle
over the head, shoulders, and body of the king, and proclaimed his
several titles and honours.[58]

    [57] Violette, _op. cit._ pp. 118 _sq._; J. B. Stair,
    _Old Samoa_, pp. 65 _sqq._; G. Brown, _Melanesians and
    Polynesians_, p. 283. Compare H. Hale, _Ethnography and
    Philology of the United States Exploring Expedition_, p. 29.

    [58] S. Ella, "Samoa," _Report of the Fourth Meeting of
    the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science,
    held at Hobart, Tasmania, in January 1892_, p. 631.

Next below the chiefs ranked an inferior order of nobility called
_tulafales_ or _faipules_, who are variously described as householders,
councillors, and secondary chiefs. They formed a very powerful and
influential class; indeed we are told that they generally exercised
greater authority than the chiefs, and that the real control of
districts often centred in their hands. They usually owned large lands:
they were the principal advisers of the chiefs: the orators were usually
selected from their number: the _ao_ or titles of districts were always
in their gift; and they had the power, which they did not scruple to
use, of deposing and banishing an unpopular chief. Sometimes a chief
contrived to bring them into subjection to himself; but as a rule they
were a sturdy class, who did not shrink from speaking out their minds
to their social superiors, often uttering very unpalatable truths and
acting with great determination when the conduct of a chief incurred
their displeasure. In short, they made laws, levied fines, and generally
ruled the village.[59]

    [59] H. Hale, _op. cit._ p. 28; Ch. Wilkes, _op. cit._
    ii. 152; Violette, _op. cit._ p. 119; S. Ella, _op. cit._
    p. 629; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 70 _sq._; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 285 _sq._, 287.

Below the _tulafales_ ranked the _faleupolu_ or House of Upolu, and the
_tangata nuu_ or Men of the Land. The former were considerable
landowners and possessed much influence; the latter were the humblest
class, bearing arms in time of war, and cultivating the soil, fishing,
and cooking in time of peace. But they were far from being serfs; most
of them were eligible for the position of head of a family, if, when a
vacancy occurred, the choice of the family fell upon them.[60] For the
title of head of a family was not hereditary. A son might succeed his
father in the dignity; but the members of the family would sometimes
pass over the son and confer the title on an uncle, a cousin, or even a
perfect stranger, if they desired to increase the numerical strength of
the family.[61]

    [60] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 74 _sq._; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 432.

    [61] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 173.

The villages of the Samoans were practically self-governing and
independent communities, though every village was more or less loosely
federated with the other villages of its district. Each district or
confederation of villages had its capital (_laumua_) or ruling town.
These federal capitals, however, possessed no absolute authority over
the other villages of the district; and though great respect was always
shown to them, the people of the district, or even of a particular
village, would often dissent from the decisions of the capital and
assert their independence of action.[62] Of this independence a notable
instance occurred when the Catholic missionaries first settled in Samoa.
Under the influence of the Protestant missionaries a federal assembly
had passed a decree strictly forbidding the admission of Roman Catholics
to the islands, and threatening with war any community that should dare
to harbour the obnoxious sect. The better to enforce the decree, prayers
were publicly offered up in the chapels that God would be pleased to
keep all Papists out of Samoa. To these charitable petitions the deity
seems to have turned a deaf ear; for, in spite of prayers and
prohibitions, two Catholic priests and a lay brother landed and were
hospitably received and effectually protected by the people of a
village, who paid no heed either to the remonstrances of the chiefs or
to the thunders of the federal assembly.[63]

    [62] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 180; G. Brown, _Melanesians
    and Polynesians_, p. 333.

    [63] Violette, "Notes d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel
    de Samoa," _Les Missions Catholiques_, iii. (1870) pp. 119

The population of a village might be from two to five hundred persons,
and there might be eight or ten villages in a district. Throughout the
Samoan islands there were in all eight of these separate districts. The
union of the villages in a district was voluntary; they formed by common
consent a petty state for their mutual protection. When war was
threatened by another district, no single village acted alone; the whole
district, or state, assembled at their capital and held a special
parliament to concert the measures to be taken.[64] The boundaries of
the districts were well known and zealously guarded, if necessary, by
force of arms against the aggression of a neighbouring state. The
wardenship of the marches was committed to the two nearest villages on
either side, the inhabitants of which were called Boundary-Keepers.
Between two such villages in former days mutual ill-feeling constantly
existed and border feuds were frequent.[65]

    [64] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 173, 180 _sq._ A third
    local division, intermediate between the village and the
    district, is mentioned by Stair, who calls it a settlement (_Old
    Samoa_, p. 83); but the other authorities whom I have consulted
    appear not to recognise such an intermediate division.

    [65] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, p. 83.

The form of government both of the village and of the district was
parliamentary. Affairs were discussed and settled in a representative
assembly (_fono_), composed of the leading men of each village or
district. These representatives included the chiefs, together with the
householders or landowners (_tulafales_) and the inferior gentry (the
_faleupolu_). The more weighty affairs, such as declaring war or making
peace, or any matters of importance which concerned the whole district,
were debated in the general parliament of the district, while business
of purely local interest was transacted in the parliament of the
village. It was the privilege of the capital to convene the district
parliament, to preside over its deliberations, to settle disputed
points, to sum up the proceedings, and to dismiss the assembly. These
meetings were usually conducted with much formality and decorum. They
were always held in the large public place (_malae_ or _marae_) of the
village or town. It was an open green spot surrounded by a circle of
trees and houses. The centre was occupied by a large house which
belonged to the chief and was set apart as a caravansary for the
entertainment of strangers and visitors. Members of all the three orders
which composed the parliament had the right to address it; but the
speaking was usually left to the householders or landowners
(_tulafales_). Each chief had generally attached to him one of that
order who acted as his mouthpiece; and in like manner each settlement
retained the services of a member of the order, who was the leading
orator of the district. Decisions were reached not by voting but by
general consent, the discussion being prolonged until some conclusion,
satisfactory to the greater part of the members, and particularly to the
most influential, was arrived at. One of the principal prerogatives of
the king seems to have been that of convoking a parliament; though, if
he refused to do so, when circumstances seemed to require it, the
assembly would undoubtedly have met without him. The functions of these
assemblies were judicial as well as legislative and deliberative.
Offenders were arraigned before them and, if found guilty, were
condemned and punished.[66]

    [66] H. Hale, _Ethnography and Philology of the United
    States Exploring Expedition_, p. 29; Ch. Wilkes, _Narrative of
    the United States Exploring Expedition_, ii. 153 _sq._;
    Violette, "Notes d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel de Samoa,"
    _Les Missions Catholiques_, iii. (1870) p. 119; G. Turner,
    _Samoa_, pp. 177 _sqq._, 180 _sqq._; S. Ella, _op. cit._ pp. 632
    _sq._; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 84 _sqq._; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 286 _sq._, 288 _sqq._

It says much for the natural ability of the Samoans that they should
have attained to a level of culture so comparatively high with material
resources so scanty and defective. Nature, indeed, supplied them with
abundance of food and timber, but she denied them the metals, which were
unknown in the islands until they were introduced from Europe. In their
native state, accordingly, the Samoans were still in the Stone Age,
their principal tools being stone axes and adzes, made mainly from a
close-grained basalt which is found in the island of Tutuila. Of these
axes the rougher were chipped, but the finer were ground. Shells were
used as cutting instruments and as punches to bore holes in planks; and
combs, neatly carved out of bone, were employed as instruments in
tattooing. A wooden dibble served them instead of a plough to turn up
the earth. The only skins they prepared were those of sharks and some
other fish, which they used as rasps for smoothing woodwork. The art of
pottery was unknown.[67] Food was cooked in ovens of hot stones;[68]
fire was kindled by the friction of wood, the method adopted being what
is called the stick-and-groove process.[69]

    [67] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 319;
    G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 158; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 146,
    149, 154, 159. As to the wooden dibbles, see Ella, _op. cit._ p.
    635 (above, p. 166).

    [68] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 111 _sq._; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 130.

    [69] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 129.

We now pass to a consideration of the religion of these interesting
people, especially in regard to the human soul and its destiny after

§ 6. _Religion: Gods of Families, Villages, and Districts_

The first missionary to Samoa, John Williams, was struck by the contrast
between the religion of the Samoans and the religion of the other
Polynesian peoples whom he had studied. "The religious system of the
Samoans," he says, "differs essentially from that which obtained at the
Tahitian, Society, and other islands with which we are acquainted. They
have neither _maraes_, nor temples, nor altars, nor offerings; and,
consequently, none of the barbarous and sanguinary rites observed at the
other groups. In consequence of this, the Samoans were considered an
impious race, and their impiety became proverbial with the people of
Rarotonga; for, when upbraiding a person who neglected the worship of
the gods, they would call him 'a godless Samoan.' But, although
heathenism was presented to us by the Samoans in a dress different from
that in which we had been accustomed to see it, having no altars stained
with human blood, no _maraes_ strewed with the skulls and bones of its
numerous victims, no sacred groves devoted to rites of which brutality
and sensuality were the most obvious features, this people had 'lords
many and gods many';--their religious system was as obviously marked as
any other with absurdity, superstition, and vice."[70]

    [70] John Williams, _Narrative of Missionary
    Enterprises in the South Sea Islands_, pp. 465 _sq._

This account of the Samoan religion, written at a time when the islands
were not yet fully opened up to Europeans, must be modified by the
testimony of later writers, in particular with regard to the alleged
absence of temples and offerings; but in its broad outlines it holds
good, in so far as the Samoan ritual was honourably distinguished from
that of many other islands in the Pacific by its freedom from human
sacrifice and from the gross and licentious practices which prevailed in
other branches of the Polynesian race. The notion of the Rarotongans
that the Samoans were a godless people has proved to be totally
mistaken. On closer acquaintance it was found that they lived under the
influence of a host of imaginary deities who exercised their faith and
demanded their obedience. Among these deities the most numerous and
perhaps the most influential were the _aitu_, which were the gods of
individuals, of families, of towns or villages, and of districts.[71]
These gods were supposed to appear in some visible embodiment or
incarnation, and the particular thing, or class of things, in which his
god was in the habit of appearing, was to the Samoan an object of
veneration, and he took great care never to injure it or treat it with
contempt. In the great majority of cases the thing in which the deity
presented himself to his worshippers was a class of natural objects,
most commonly a species of animal, bird, or fish, less frequently a tree
or plant or an inanimate object, such as a stone, the rainbow, or a
meteor. One man, for example, saw his god in the eel, another in the
shark, another in the turtle, another in the owl, another in the lizard,
and so on throughout all the fish of the sea, the birds, the four-footed
beasts, and creeping things. In some of the shell-fish, such as the
limpets on the rocks, gods were supposed to be present. It was not
uncommon to see an intelligent chief muttering prayers to a fly, an ant,
or a lizard, which chanced to alight or crawl in his presence. A man
would eat freely of the incarnation of another man's god, but would most
scrupulously refrain from eating of the incarnation of his own
particular god, believing that death would be the consequence of such
sacrilege. The offended god was supposed to take up his abode in the
body of the impious eater and to generate there the very thing which he
had eaten, till it caused his death. For example, if a man, whose family
god was incarnate in the prickly sea-urchin (_Echinus_), were to eat of
a sea-urchin, it was believed that a prickly sea-urchin would grow in
his body and kill him. If his family god were incarnate in the turtle,
and he was rash enough to eat a turtle, the god would enter into him,
and his voice would be heard from within the sinner's body, saying, "I
am killing this man; he ate my incarnation." Occasionally, however, the
penalty exacted by the deity was less severe. If, for instance, a man's
god was in cockles, and he ate one of these shell-fish, a cockle would
grow on his nose; if he merely picked up a cockle on the shore and
walked away with it, the shell-fish would appear on some part of his
person. But in neither case, apparently, would the kindly cockle take
the life of the offender. It was not a bloodthirsty deity. Again, a man
whose god was in coco-nuts would never drink the refreshing beverage
which other people were free to extract from the nuts. But the
worshipper who shrank from eating or drinking his god in the shape, say,
of an octopus or of coco-nut water, would often look on with
indifference while other people partook of these his divinities. He
might pity their ignorance or envy their liberty, but he would not seek
to enlighten the one or to restrain the other.[72] Indeed this
indifference was sometimes carried to great lengths. For example, a man
whose god was incarnate in the turtle, though he would not himself dare
to partake of turtle, would have no scruple in helping a neighbour to
cut up and cook a turtle; but in doing so he took the precaution to tie
a bandage over his mouth to prevent an embryo turtle from slipping down
his throat and sealing his doom by growing up in his stomach.[73]
Sometimes the incarnate deity, out of consideration perhaps for the
weakness of the flesh, would limit his presence to a portion of an
animal, it might be the left wing of a pigeon, or the tail of a dog, or
the right leg of a pig.[74] The advantages of such a restriction to a
worshipper are obvious. A man, for instance, to whom it would have been
death to eat the right leg of a pig, might partake of a left leg of pork
with safety and even with gusto. And so with the rest of the divine

    [71] W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian Reminiscences_
    (London, 1866), pp. 106 _sqq._; T. H. Hood, _Notes of a Cruise
    in H.M.S. "Fawn" in the Western Pacific_, p. 141; G. Turner,
    _Samoa_, pp. 16 _sqq._; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 211, 215

    [72] J. Williams, _Narrative of Missionary Enterprises
    in the South Sea Islands_, p. 468; Ch. Wilkes, _Narrative of the
    United States Exploring Expedition_, ii. 131 _sq._; T. H. Hood,
    _Notes of a Cruise in H.M.S. "Fawn" in the Western Pacific_, p.
    141; W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian Reminiscences_, pp. 106
    _sqq._; Violette, "Notes d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel de
    Samoa," _Les Missions Catholiques_, iii. (1870) p. 111; G.
    Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 16 _sqq._, 40, 50 _sq._; J. B. Stair, _Old
    Samoa_, pp. 211, 216 _sq._; G. Brown, _Melanesians and
    Polynesians_, pp. 137, 218. The account of these deities given
    by Dr. G. Turner is by far the fullest and best.

    [73] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 67 _sq._

    [74] W. T. Pritchard, _op. cit._ p. 107. Similarly some
    people had pig's heart for their god, or the embodiment of their
    god, and they scrupulously avoided eating pigs' hearts lest
    pigs' hearts should grow in their bodies and so cause their
    death. See G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 72.

However, even if the worst had happened, that is to say, if the deity
had been killed, cooked and eaten, the consequences were not necessarily
fatal to his worshippers; there were modes of redeeming the lives of the
sinners and of expiating their sin. Suppose, for example, that the god
of a household was the cuttle-fish, and that some visitor to the house
had, either in ignorance or in bravado, caught a cuttle-fish and cooked
it, or that a member of the family had been present where a cuttle-fish
was eaten, the family would meet in conclave to consult about the
sacrilege, and they would select one of their number, whether a man or a
woman, to go and lie down in a cold oven and be covered over with
leaves, just as in the process of baking, all to pretend that the person
was being offered up as a burnt sacrifice to avert the wrath of the
deity. While this solemn pretence was being enacted, the whole family
would engage in prayer, saying, "O bald-headed cuttle-fish, forgive what
has been done. It was all the work of a stranger." If they did not thus
abase themselves before the divine cuttle-fish, they believed that the
god would visit them and cause a cuttle-fish to grow internally in their
bodies and so be the death of some of them.[75] Similar modes of
appeasing the wrath of divine eels, mullets, stinging ray fish, turtles,
wild pigeons, and garden lizards were adopted with equal success.[76]

    [75] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 31 _sq._

    [76] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 38, 58, 59, 69 _sq._, 72.

Apparently the Samoans were even more concerned to defend their village
gods or district gods against injury and insult than to guard the
deities of simple individuals. We are told that all the inhabitants of a
district would thus unite for the protection of the local divinity.[77]
For example, it happened that in a village where the first native
Christian teachers settled one of them caught a sea-eel (_Muraena_) and
cooked it, and two of the village lads, who were their servants, ate
some of the eel for their supper. But the eel was the village god, and
when the villagers heard that the lads had eaten the god, they
administered a sound thrashing to the culprits, and dragged them off to
a cooking-house where they laid them down in the oven pit and covered
them with leaves in the usual way, as if the lads had been killed and
were now to be cooked as a peace-offering to avert the wrath of the
deity.[78] When John Williams had caused some Christian natives to kill
a large sea-snake and dry it on the rocks to be preserved as a specimen,
the heathen fishermen of the island at sight of it raised a most
terrific yell, and, seizing their clubs, rushed upon the Christian
natives, saying, "You have killed our god! You have killed our god!" It
was with difficulty that Mr. Williams restrained their violence on
condition that the reptile should be immediately carried back to the
boat from which the missionary had landed.[79] The island in which this
happened belonged to the Tongan group, but precisely the same incident
might have occurred in Samoa. In some parts of Upolu a goddess was
believed to be incarnate in bats, and if a neighbour chanced to kill one
of these creatures, the indignant worshippers of the bat might wage a
war to avenge the insult to their deity.[80] If people who had the
stinging ray fish for the incarnation of their god heard that their
neighbours had caught a fish of that sort, they would go and beg them to
give it up and not to cook it. A refusal to comply with the request
would be followed by a fight.[81]

    [77] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 216 _sq._

    [78] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 58.

    [79] J. Williams, _op. cit._ p. 469.

    [80] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 57.

    [81] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 75.

Accordingly, when the Samoans were converted to Christianity, they gave
the strongest proof of the genuineness of their conversion by killing
and eating their animal gods. Thus when a chief named Malietoa renounced
heathenism, he caused an eel to be publicly caught, cooked, and eaten by
many persons who had hitherto regarded the eel as their god. His own
sons had a different sort of fish, called _anae_, for their private
deity, and to demonstrate their faith in the new religion they had a
quantity of the fish caught, cooked, and served up in the presence of a
large party of friends and relations. There, with trembling hearts, they
partook of the once sacred morsel; but, their fears getting the better
of them, they immediately retired from the feast and swallowed a
powerful emetic, lest the divine fish should lie heavy on their stomachs
and devour their vitals.[82] As nothing particular happened after these
daring innovations, the people took heart of grace, and concerted
further plans for the destruction of their ancient deities. Among these
was a certain Papo, who was nothing more or less than a piece of old
rotten matting, about three yards long and four inches wide; but being a
god of war and, in that capacity, always attached to the canoe of the
leader when they went forth to battle, he was regarded with great
veneration by the people. At the assembly convoked to decide on his
fate, the first proposal was to throw him into the fire. But the idea
was too shocking to the general sense of the community, and by way of
making death as little painful as possible to the deity, they decided to
take him out to sea in a canoe and there consign him to a watery grave.
Even from this mitigated doom Papo was rescued by the efforts of the
missionaries, and he now adorns a museum.[83]

    [82] J. Williams, _op. cit._ pp. 373 _sq._

    [83] J. Williams, _op. cit._ p. 375.

But even when the career of one of these animal gods was not prematurely
cut short by being killed, cooked, and eaten, he was still liable to die
in the course of nature; and when his dead body was discovered, great
was the sorrow of his worshippers. If, for example, the god of a village
was an owl, and a dead owl was found lying beside a road or under a
tree, it would be reverently covered up with a white cloth by the person
who discovered it, and all the villagers would assemble round the dead
god and burn their bodies with firebrands and beat their foreheads with
stones till the blood flowed. Then the corpse of the feathered deity
would be wrapped up and buried with as much care and ceremony as if it
were a human body. However, that was not the death of the god. He was
supposed to be yet alive and incarnate in all the owls in existence.[84]

    [84] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 21, 26, 60 _sq._ Compare
    W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian Reminiscences_, pp. 110 _sq._

The offerings to these deities consisted chiefly of cooked food,[85]
which was apparently deemed as essential to the sustenance of gods as of
men, and that even when the gods were not animals but stones. For
example, two oblong smooth stones, which stood on a platform of loose
stones near a village, were regarded as the parents of the rain-god, and
when the people were making ready to go off to the woods for the
favourite sport of pigeon-catching, they used to lay offerings of cooked
taro and fish on the stones, accompanied by prayers for fine weather and
no rain. These stone gods were also believed to cause yams to grow;
hence in time of dearth a man would present them with a yam in hope of
securing their favour.[86]

    [85] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 20.

    [86] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 24 _sq._

At the feasts the first cup of kava was dedicated to the god, the
presiding chief either pouring it out on the ground or waving it towards
the sky. Afterwards all the chiefs drank from the same cup according to
their rank; then the food brought as an offering was divided and eaten
there before the god.[87] Even within the circle of the family it was
customary to pour out on the ground a little kava as an offering to the
family god before any one else drank of it.[88]

    [87] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 20; W. T. Pritchard,
    _Polynesian Reminiscences_, pp. 121 _sqq._

    [88] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 229.

Annual feasts were held in honour of the gods, and the season of the
feast was often in May, but sometimes in April or June.[89] In some
cases the feasts were regulated by the appearance of the bird which was
believed to be the incarnation of the god. Whenever the bird was seen,
the priest would say that the god had come, and he would fix upon a day
for the entertainment of the deity.[90] At these festivals all the
people met in the place of public assembly, where they had collected
heaps of cooked food. First, they made their offerings to the god and
prayed to him to avert calamity and grant prosperity; then they feasted
with and before their god, and after that any strangers present might
eat. Some of the festivals included games, such as wrestling,
spear-throwing, club exercises, sham-fights, and nocturnal dances; and
they lasted for days.[91] At one of these annual festivals held in the
month of June, the exercise with clubs assumed a serious and indeed
sanguinary form. All the people, old and young, men, women, and
children, took part in it, and battered their scalps till the blood
streamed down over their faces and bodies. This proof of their devotion
was supposed to be acceptable to the deity, who, gratified by the sight
of their flowing blood, would answer their prayers for health, good
crops, and victory in war.[92] At the feast of the cockle god in May
prayers were offered up to the divine shell-fish that he would be
pleased to cure the coughs and other ailments usually prevalent at that
season, which in Samoa forms the transition from the wet to the dry
months.[93] At the festival of an owl god, which fell about the month of
April, the offerings and prayers were particularly directed towards the
removal of caterpillars from the plantations; for these insects were
believed to be the servants of the owl god, who could send them as his
ministers of vengeance to lay waste the fields and orchards of the
impious.[94] Elsewhere the owl was a war god, and at the beginning of
the annual fish festivals the chiefs and people of the village assembled
round the opening of the first oven and gave the first fish to the
god.[95] A family, who had the eel for their household god, showed their
gratitude to him for his kindness by presenting him with the first
fruits of their taro plantation.[96] Another family believed their deity
to be incarnate in centipedes; and if a member of the family fell ill or
was bitten by a centipede, they would offer the divine reptile a fine
mat and a fan, with a prayer for the recovery of the patient.[97] The
utility of a fine mat and a fan to a centipede is too obvious to be
insisted on. Sometimes offerings were made to a god, not to persuade him
to come, but to induce him to go away. For example, where gods or
spirits were believed to voyage along the coast, offerings of food were
often set down on the beach as an inducement to the spirits to take the
victuals and pass on without calling at that particular place.[98]

    [89] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 20, 26, 29, 41, 44, 47,
    53, 57.

    [90] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 20 _sq._

    [91] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 20, 26, 29; W. T.
    Pritchard, _Polynesian Reminiscences_, p. 123.

    [92] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 57.

    [93] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 41.

    [94] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 47.

    [95] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 25 _sq._

    [96] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 70 _sq._

    [97] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 47 _sq._

    [98] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 229.

Formal prayers were offered to the god by the head of a family, and
public prayer was put up when the men were setting out for war. On such
occasions they prayed that stones, stumps of trees, and other obstacles
might be taken out of the way of the warriors, and that their path might
be wet with the blood of their foes. All their prayers were for temporal
benefits, such as protection against enemies, plenty of food, and other
desirable objects. They attached great importance to confession of
wrongdoing in times of danger, but, so far as appears, they expressed no
repentance, promised no amendment, and offered no prayer for
forgiveness. If, for example, a canoe, crossing the channel between
Savaii and Upolu, were caught in a squall and seemed likely to be
swamped, the steersman would head the canoe to the wind, and every man
on board would make a clean breast of his sins. One would say, "I stole
a fowl at such and such a village." Another would confess an intrigue
with a married woman somewhere else; and so on. When all had either
confessed their guilt or declared their innocence, the helmsman would
put the helm about and scud before the wind, in perfect confidence of
bringing the canoe and crew safe to land.[99]

    [99] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 229

When a god was believed to be incarnate in a species of birds or animals
or fish, omens were naturally drawn from the appearance and behaviour of
the creatures. This happened particularly in time of war, when hopes and
fears were rife among the people. Thus, if their war god was an owl,
and the bird fluttered above the troops on the march, the omen was good;
but if the owl flew away in the direction of the enemy, it was an evil
omen, the god had deserted them and joined the foe;[100] if it crossed
the path of the warriors or flew back on them, it was a warning to
retreat.[101] So in places where the war-god was a rail-bird, if the
bird screeched and flew before the army, the people marched confidently
to battle; but if it turned and flew back, they hesitated. If the
plumage of the rail showed glossy red, it was a sign to go to war; but
if the feathers were dark and dingy, it was a warning to stay at home.
And if the bird were heard chattering or scolding, as they called it, at
midnight, it prognosticated an attack next day, and they would at once
send off the women and children to a place of safety.[102] In like
manner omens were drawn from the flight of herons, kingfishers, the
_Porphyris Samoensis_, and flying-foxes, where these creatures were
supposed to incarnate the war god.[103] People who saw their war god in
the lizard used to take omens from a lizard before they went forth to
fight. They watched the movements of a lizard in a bundle of spears. If
the creature ran about the outside of the bundle and the points of the
spears, the omen was favourable; but if it crept into the bundle for
concealment, it was an evil sign.[104] The inhabitants of several
villages looked upon dogs, especially white dogs, as the incarnation of
their war god; accordingly if the dog wagged his tail, barked, and
dashed ahead in sight of the enemy, it was a good omen; but if he
retreated or howled, their hearts failed them.[105] Again, where the
cuttle-fish was the war god, the movements of that fish at sea were
anxiously observed in time of war. If the fish swam inshore while the
people were mustering for battle, it augured victory; but if it swam far
away, it portended defeat.[106]

    [100] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 25 _sq._

    [101] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 60.

    [102] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 52, 61, 65.

    [103] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 35, 51, 54 _sq._, 64.

    [104] G. Turner, pp. 46 _sq._

    [105] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 49.

    [106] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 29.

When a god was supposed to dwell in some inanimate object, the art of
divination was similarly employed to elicit a knowledge of the future
from an observation of the object, whatever it might be. In several
villages, for example, the people viewed a rainbow as the representative
of their war god. If, when they were going to battle by land or sea, a
rainbow appeared in the sky right in front of them, with the arch, as it
were, straddling across the line of march or the course that the fleet
was steering, it was a warning to turn back. But if the bow shone on the
right or left of the army or of the fleet, it meant that the god was
marching with them, and cheering on the advance.[107] Another village
revered its god in the lightning. When lightning flashed frequently in
time of war, it was believed that the god had come to help and direct
his people. A constant play of lightning over a particular spot was a
warning that the enemy was lurking there in ambush. A rapid succession
of flashes in front meant that the foe was being driven back; but if the
lightning flashed from front to rear, it was a signal to retreat.[108]
In one large village the war god resided in two teeth of the sperm
whale, which were kept in a cave and observed by a priest in time of
war. If the teeth were found lying east and west, it was a good omen;
but if they lay north and south, it prognosticated defeat.[109] In
another place the war god was present in a bundle of shark's teeth, and
the people consulted the bundle before they went out to fight. If the
bundle felt heavy, it foreboded ill; but if it was light, it was an omen
of victory, and the troops marched with hearts correspondingly

    [107] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 35; compare p. 43.

    [108] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 59 _sq._

    [109] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 35.

    [110] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 55.

When the god was incarnate in a live creature, it was an obvious
advantage to ensure his constant presence and blessing by owning a
specimen of his incarnation and feeding it. Hence some folk kept a tame
god on their premises. For instance, some people possessed a war god in
the shape of a pet owl;[111] others had a divine pigeon, which was
carefully kept and fed by the different members of the family in
turn.[112] Yet others were so fortunate as to capture the thunder god
and to keep him in durance, which effectually prevented him from doing
mischief. Having caught him, they tied him up with pandanus leaves and
frightened him by poking firebrands at him. And lest, as an old
offender, he should attempt to break prison and relapse into his former
career of crime, they filled a basket with pandanus leaves and charred
firebrands and hung it up on a tree _in terrorem_, to signify what he
might expect to get if he took it into his head to strike houses

    [111] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 25 _sq._

    [112] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 64.

    [113] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 34.

Vegetable gods were much less plentiful than animal gods in Samoa. Still
they occurred. Thus, the god of one family lived in a large tree
(_Hernandia peltata_); hence no member of the family dared to pluck a
leaf or break a branch of that tree.[114] The household deity of another
family dwelt in a tree of a different sort (_Conanga odorata_), which
has yellow and sweet-scented flowers.[115] In Savaii the special abode
of a village god called Tuifiti or "King of Fiji" was a grove of large
and durable trees (_Afzelia bijuga_). No one dared to cut that timber.
It is said that a party of natives from another island once tried to
fell one of these trees; but blood flowed from the trunk, and all the
sacrilegious strangers fell ill and died.[116] One family saw their god
in the moon. On the appearance of the new moon all the members of the
family called out, "Child of the moon, you have come." They assembled
also, presented offerings of food, feasted together, and joined in
praying, "Oh, child of the moon! Keep far away disease and death." And
they also prayed to the moon before they set out on the war path.[117]
But in Samoa, as in Tonga, there seems to be no record of a worship of
the sun, unless the stories of human sacrifices formerly offered to the
great luminary be regarded as reminiscences of sun-worship.[118]

    [114] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 72.

    [115] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 71.

    [116] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 63.

    [117] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 67.

    [118] See above, p. 158.

§ 7. _Priests and Temples_

The father of a family acted as the priest of the household god. He
usually offered a short prayer at the evening meal, begging the deity to
guard them all from war, sickness, death, and the payment of fines.
Sometimes he would direct the family to hold a feast in honour of their
god, and on these occasions a cup of kava was poured out as a libation
to the divinity. Such simple domestic rites were celebrated in the
house, where the whole family assembled; for the gods were believed to
be present with men in a spiritual and invisible form as well as in the
material objects which were regarded as their visible embodiments. Often
the deity spoke through the father or other members of the family,
telling them what to do in order to remove a present evil or avert a
threatened one.[119]

    [119] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 18. For the offering of
    kava to the household god, compare _id._ p. 51.

But while every head of a family might thus act as a domestic priest and
mouthpiece of the deity, there was also a professional class of priests
set apart for the public worship of the gods, particularly of the war
gods, who in their nature did not differ essentially from the gods of
families, of villages, and of districts, being commonly embodied either
in particular material objects or in classes of such objects, especially
in various species of birds, animals, and fish, such as owls, rails,
kingfishers, dogs, lizards, flying-foxes, and cuttle-fish. Sometimes the
ruling chiefs acted as priests; but in general some one man in a
particular family claimed the dignity of the priesthood and professed to
declare the will of the god. His office was hereditary. He fixed the
days for the annual feasts in honour of the deity, received the
offerings, and thanked the people for them. He decided also whether the
people might go to war.[120] The priests possessed great authority over
the minds of the people, and they often availed themselves of their
influence to amass wealth.[121] The gods were supposed from time to time
to take possession of the priests and to speak through their mouths,
answering enquiries and issuing commands. Thus consulted as an oracle
the priest, or the god through him, might complain that the people had
been slack in making offerings of food and property, and he would
threaten them with vengeance if they did not speedily bring an ample
supply to the human representative of the deity. At other times the god
required a whole family to assemble and build him a large canoe or a
house, and such a command was always obeyed with alacrity and a humble
apology tendered for past neglect. The priests were also consulted
oracularly for the healing of the sick, the recovery of stolen property,
and the cursing of enemies. Thus they kept the people in constant fear
by their threats and impoverished them by their exactions.[122]

    [120] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 20. For a full account of
    the priesthood, see J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 220 _sqq._ As
    to the Samoan war-gods, see G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 23, 25
    _sq._, 27 _sq._, 28, 32, 33, 35, 42, 46 _sq._, 48, 49, 51, 52,
    54 _sq._, 55, 57, 60, 61, 64, 65; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp.
    215 _sq._

    [121] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 70, 222 _sq._, 225;
    G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 228, 246 _sq._

    [122] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 223-225; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 246 _sq._

The outward signs of divine inspiration or possession were such as
priests or prophets have manifested in many lands and ages as conclusive
evidence of their being the vehicles of higher powers. The approach or
presence of the god was indicated by the priest beginning to gape, yawn,
and clear his throat; but soon his countenance changed, his body
underwent violent contortions, and in loud, unearthly tones, which the
trembling and awe-stricken hearers interpreted as the voice of an
indwelling deity, he delivered his message of exhortation or warning, of
menace, or comfort, or hope.[123]

    [123] J. B. Stair, p. 223; G. Brown, _Melanesians and
    Polynesians_, pp. 228, 246 _sq._

Spirit-houses (_fale-aitu_) or temples were erected for some, but not
all, of the class of deities (_aitu_) which we are now considering. It
was chiefly the war gods who were thus honoured. Such temples were built
with the same materials and in the same style as the houses of men, with
nothing to distinguish them from ordinary dwellings, except that they
almost always stood on platforms of stones, which varied in height and
size with the respect felt for the particular deity. They were usually
situated on the principal public place or green (_malae_) of the village
and surrounded by a low fence. Sometimes they were mere huts; yet being
viewed as the abode of gods they were held sacred and regarded with
great veneration by the Samoans in the olden time. Whatever emblems of
deity were in possession of the village were always placed in these
houses under the watchful care of keepers.[124] In one temple, for
instance, might be seen a conch shell hung from the roof in a basket.
This shell the god was supposed to blow when he wished the people to go
to war. In another a cup made of the shell of a coco-nut was suspended
from the roof, and before it prayers were uttered and offerings
presented. The cup was also used in an ordeal for the detection of
theft. In a trial before chiefs the cup would be sent for, and each of
the suspected culprits would lay his hand on it and say, "With my hand
on this cup, may the god look upon me, and send swift destruction, if I
took the thing which has been stolen." They firmly believed that it
would be death to touch the cup and tell a lie.[125]

    [124] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 226-228.

    [125] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 19.

The temples were always built by the united exertions of a whole family,
village, or district.[126] For example, when the inhabitants of a
village whose god was the cuttle-fish erected a new temple to that
deity, every man, woman, and child in the village contributed something
to it, if it was only a stick or a reed of thatch. While some of the
villagers were drafted off to put up the house, the rest engaged in a
free fight, which appears to have been considered as a necessary part of
the proceedings. On this occasion many old scores were settled, and he
who got most wounds was believed to have earned the special favour of
the deity. With the completion of the temple the fighting ended, and
ought not to be renewed for a year, till the anniversary of the building
of the temple came round, when the worshippers were again at liberty to
break each other's heads in honour of the divine cuttle-fish.[127]

    [126] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 227 _sq._

    [127] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 29 _sq._

At one place in Savaii there was a temple in which a priest constantly
resided. The sick used to be carried to him in the temple and there laid
down with offerings of fine mats. Thereupon the priest stroked the
diseased part, and the patient was supposed to recover.[128] We hear of
another temple in which fine mats were brought as offerings to the
priests and stored up in large numbers among the temple treasures. Thus
in time the temples might have amassed a considerable degree of wealth
and might even, if economic progress had not been arrested by European
intervention, have developed into banks. However, when the people were
converted to Christianity, they destroyed this particular temple and
dissipated the accumulated treasures in a single feast by way of
celebrating their adhesion to the new faith.[129] Where the bat was the
local deity, many bats used to flock about the temple in time of
war.[130] Where the kingfisher received the homage of the people as the
god of war, the old men of the village were wont to enter his temple in
times of public emergency and address the kingfisher; and people outside
could hear the bird replying, though, singularly enough, his voice was
that of a man, and not that of a bird. But as usual the god was
invisible.[131] In one place a temple of the great god Tangaloa was
called "the House of the Gods," and it was carefully shut up all round,
the people thinking that, if this precaution were not taken, the gods
would get out and in too easily and be all the more destructive.[132]
Such a temple might be considered rather as a prison than a house of the

    [128] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 49.

    [129] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 55.

    [130] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 56 _sq._

    [131] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 54 _sq._

    [132] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 53.

To the rule that Samoan temples were built of the same perishable
materials as ordinary houses a single exception is known. About ten
miles inland from the harbour of Apia, in the island of Upolu, are the
ruins of a temple, of which the central and side posts and the rafters
were all constructed of stone. The ground plan seems to have resembled
that of an ordinary Samoan house of the best style, forming an ellipse
which measured fifty feet in one direction by forty feet in the other.
Two central pillars appear to have supported the roof, each fashioned of
a single block of stone some thirteen feet high, twelve inches thick one
way and nine inches the other. The rafters were in lengths of twelve
feet and six feet, by four inches square. Of the outside pillars, which
upheld the lower edge of the sloping roof, eighteen were seen standing
by Pritchard, who has described the ruins. Each pillar stood three feet
high and measured nine inches thick in one way by six inches in the
other. Each had a notch or shoulder on the inner side for supporting the
roof. Pillars and rafters were quarried from an adjoining bluff, distant
only some fifty yards from the ruins. Some squared stones lying at the
foot of the bluff seem to show that the temple was never completed. The
site of the ruins is a flat about three acres in area. The natives call
the ruins _Fale-o-le-Fe'e_, that is, the House of the Fe'e. This Fe'e
was a famous war god of A'ana and Faleata, two native towns of Upolu; he
was commonly incarnated in the cuttle-fish. As the Samoans were
unacquainted with the art of cutting stones, and had no tools suitable
for the work, they thought that this temple, with its columns and
rafters of squared stone, must have been built by the gods, and they
explained its unfinished state by alleging that the divine builders had
quarrelled among themselves before they had brought the work to

    [133] W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian Reminiscences_, pp.
    119-121; Violette, "Notes d'un Missionnaire sur l'archipel de
    Samoa," _Les Missions Catholiques_, iii. (1870) p. 112; G.
    Turner, _Samoa_, p. 31; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, p. 228; G.
    Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 220.

For the sake of completeness I will mention another stone monument, of
more imposing dimensions, which has been discovered in Samoa, though its
origin and meaning are unknown. It stands on a tableland in the high
mountainous interior of Upolu and appears to be not altogether easy of
access. The discoverer, Mr. H. B. Sterndale, reached it by clambering up
from what he describes as a broad and dangerous ravine. In making his
way to the tableland he passed through a gap which from a distance he
had supposed to be a natural fissure in the rocks; but on arriving at it
he discovered, to his surprise, that the gap was in fact a great fosse
formed by the hand of man, being excavated in some places and built up
at others, while on one side, next to the rise of the hill, it was
further heightened by a parapet wall. When, passing through the fosse,
he issued upon the tableland, which is a level space of some twenty
acres in extent, he perceived the monument, "a truncated conical
structure or _Heidenmauer_ of such huge dimensions as must have required
the labour of a great multitude to construct. So little did I expect,"
he says, "in this neighbourhood to meet with any example of human
architecture, and so rudely monstrous was the appearance of this
cyclopean building, that from its peculiar form, and from the vegetation
with which it was overgrown, I might have passed it by, supposing it to
have been a volcanic hillock, had not my attention been attracted by the
stonework of the fosse. I hastened to ascend it. It was about twenty
feet high by one hundred in diameter. It was circular with straight
[perpendicular?] sides; the lower tiers of stone were very large, they
were lava blocks, some of which would weigh at least a ton, which must
have been rolled or moved on skids to their present places. They were
laid in courses; and in two places near the top seemed to have been
entrances to the inside, as in one appeared a low cave choked with rocks
and tree roots. If there had been chambers within, they were probably
narrow and still existing, as there was no sign of depression on the
crown of the work, which was flat and covered with flat stones, among
which grew both trees and shrubs. It is likely that it was not in itself
intended as a place of defence, but rather as a base or platform upon
which some building of importance, perhaps of timber, had been erected,
no doubt in the centre of a village, as many foundations of a few feet
high were near it. The fosse, when unbroken, and its inner wall entire,
was probably crossed by a foot-bridge, to be withdrawn on the approach
of an enemy; and the little gap, by which I had entered, closed, so that
this must have been a place of great security. The Samoan natives, as
far as I have been able to learn, have no tradition of what people
inhabited this mountain fastness."[134]

    [134] H. B. Sterndale, quoted by R. A. Sterndale,
    "Asiatic Architecture in Polynesia," _The Asiatic Quarterly
    Review_, x. (July-October 1890) pp. 347-350. The writer of this
    article reports the discoveries of his brother, Mr. Handley
    Bathurst Sterndale.

On an adjoining tableland, approached by a steep and narrow ridge, Mr.
Sterndale saw a great number of cairns of stone, apparently graves,
disposed in rows among huge trees, the roots of which had overturned and
destroyed very many of the cairns. Here, within the numerous trunks of a
great spreading banyan tree, Mr. Sterndale found what he calls an inner
chamber, or cell, about ten feet square, the floor being paved with flat
stones and the walls built of enormous blocks of the same material,
while the roof was composed of the twisted trunks of the banyan tree,
which had grown into a solid arch and, festooned by creepers, excluded
even the faint glimmer of twilight that dimly illuminated the
surrounding forest. Disturbed by a light which the traveller struck to
explore the gloomy interior, bats fluttered about his head. In the
centre of the chamber he discovered a cairn, or rather cromlech, about
four feet high, which was formed of several stones arranged in a
triangle, with a great flat slab on the top. On the flat slab lay a
large conch shell, white with age, and encrusted with moss and dead
animalculae. The chamber or cell, enclosed by the trunks of the
banyan-tree, might have been inaccessible, if it were not that, under
the pressure of the tree-trunks, several of the great slabs composing
the wall had been displaced, leaving a passage.[135]

    [135] H. B. Sterndale, _op. cit._ pp. 351 _sq._

What were these remarkable monuments? Mr. Sterndale believed the stone
chamber to be the tomb of some man of authority in ancient days, the
antiquity of the structure being vouched for by the great banyan-tree
which had so completely overgrown it. This view is likely enough, and is
confirmed by the large number of cairns about it, which appear to be
sepulchral. But what was the massive circular monument or platform,
built of huge blocks of lava laid in tiers? From Mr. Sterndale's
description it would seem that the structure closely resembled the tombs
of the sacred kings of Tonga, though these tombs are oblong instead of
circular. But they often supported a house or hut of wood and thatch;
and Mr. Sterndale may well be right in supposing that the circular
Samoan monument in like manner served as a platform to support a wooden
building. In this connexion we must not forget that the typical Samoan
house was circular or oval in contrast to the typical Tongan house,
which was oblong. The openings, which seemed to lead into the interior
of the monument, may have given access to the sepulchral chamber where
the bodies of the dead were deposited.

Slight as are these indications, they apparently point to the use of the
monument as a tomb. There is nothing, except perhaps its circular shape,
to suggest that it was a temple of the sun. As no such stone buildings
have been erected by the Samoans during the time they have been under
European observation, it may be, as Mr. Sterndale supposed, that all the
ruins described by him were the work of a people who inhabited the
islands before the arrival of the existing race.[136]

    [136] H. B. Sterndale, _op. cit._ p. 352.

§ 8. _Origin of the Samoan Gods of Families, Villages, and Districts:
Relation to Totemism_

If we ask, What was the origin of the peculiar Samoan worship of animals
and other natural objects? the most probable answer seems to be that it
has been developed out of totemism. The system is not simple totemism,
for in totemism the animals, plants, and other natural objects are not
worshipped, that is, they do not receive offerings nor are approached
with prayers; in short, they are not gods, but are regarded as the
kinsfolk of the men and women who have them for totems. Further, the
local distribution of the revered objects in Samoa, according to
villages and districts, differs from the characteristic distribution of
totems, which is not by place but by social groups or clans, the members
of which are usually more or less intermixed with each other in every
district. It is true that in Samoa we hear of family or household gods
as well as of gods of villages and districts, and these family gods, in
so far as they consist of species of animals and plants which the
worshippers are forbidden to kill or eat, present a close analogy to
totems. But it is to be observed that these family gods were, so to say,
in a state of unstable equilibrium, it being always uncertain whether a
man would inherit his father's or his mother's god or would be assigned
a god differing from both of them. This uncertainty arose from the
manner of determining a man's god at birth. When a woman was in travail,
the help of several gods was invoked, one after the other, to assist the
birth; and the god who happened to be invoked at the moment when the
child saw the light, was his god for life. As a rule, the god of the
father's family was prayed to first; so that generally, perhaps, a man
inherited the god of his father. But if the birth was tedious and
difficult, the god of the mother's family was next invoked. When the
child was born, the mother would call out, "To whom were you praying?"
and the god prayed to just before was carefully remembered, and his
incarnation duly acknowledged throughout the future life of the
child.[137] Such a mode of selecting a divine patron is totally
different from the mode whereby, under pure totemism, a person obtains
his totem; for his totem is automatically determined for him at birth,
being, in the vast majority of cases, inherited either from his father
or from his mother, without any possibility of variation or selection.
Lastly, the Samoan system differs from most, though not all, systems of
totemism, in that it is quite independent of exogamy; in other words,
there is no rule forbidding people who revere the same god to marry each

    [137] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 17, 78 _sq._

Thus, while the Samoan worship of certain classes of natural objects,
especially species of animals, is certainly not pure totemism, it
presents points of analogy to that system, and might easily, we may
suppose, have been developed out of it, the feeling of kinship for
totemic animals and plants having been slowly transformed and sublimated
into a religious reverence for the creatures and a belief in their
divinity; while at the same time the clans, which were originally
intermixed, gradually sorted out from each other and settled down in
separate villages and districts. This gradual segregation of the clans
may have been facilitated by a change from maternal to paternal descent
of the totem; for when a man transmits his totem to his offspring, his
descendants in the male line tend naturally to expand into a local group
in which the totem remains constant from generation to generation
instead of alternating with each successive generation, as necessarily
happens when a man's children take their totem not from him but from
their mother. That the Samoan worship of _aitu_ was developed in some
such way out of simple totemism appears to have been the view of Dr.
George Brown, one of our best authorities on Samoan society and
religion; for he speaks without reserve of the revered objects as
totems.[138] A similar derivation of the Samoan _aitu_ was favoured by
Dr. Rivers, who, during a visit to Samoa, found some evidence
confirmatory of this conclusion.[139]

    [138] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 137,
    218, 334.

    [139] W. H. R. Rivers, "Totemism in Polynesia and
    Melanesia," _Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute_,
    xxxix. (1909) pp. 159 _sq._

§ 9. _The High Gods of Samoa_

But besides these totemic gods of Samoa, as we may term them, which were
restricted in the circle of their worshippers to particular families,
villages, or districts, there were certain superior deities who were
worshipped by all the people in common and might accordingly be called
the national divinities of Samoa; indeed the worship of some of them was
not confined to Samoa, but was shared by the inhabitants of other groups
of islands in Polynesia. These high gods were considered the progenitors
of the inferior deities, and were believed to have formed the earth and
its inhabitants. They themselves dwelt in heaven, in the sea, on the
earth, or under the earth; but they were invisible and did not appear to
their worshippers in the form of animals or plants. They had no temples
and no priests, and were not invoked like their descendants.[140]

    [140] W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian Reminiscences_, pp.
    111 _sq._; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 211 _sq._

Among these high gods the chief was Tangaloa, or, as he was sometimes
called, Tangaloa-langi, that is, Tangaloa of the Skies. He was always
spoken of as the principal god, the creator of the world and progenitor
of the other gods and of mankind.[141] It is said that after existing
somewhere in space he made the heavens as an abode for himself, and that
wishing to have also a place under the heavens he created this lower
world (_Lalolangi_, that is, "Under the heavens"). According to one
account, he formed the islands of Savaii and Upolu by rolling down two
stones from the sky; but according to another story he fished them up
from the depths of the sea on a fishing-hook. Next he made the _Fee_ or
cuttle-fish, and told it to go down under the earth; hence the lower
regions of sea or land are called _Sa he fee_ or "sacred to the
cuttle-fish." In its turn the cuttle-fish brought forth all kinds of
rocks, including the great one on which we live.[142] Another myth
relates how Tangaloa sent down his son or daughter in the likeness of a
bird called _turi_, a species of plover or snipe (_Charadrius fulvus_).
She flew about, but could find no resting-place, for as yet there was
nothing but ocean; the earth had not been created or raised above the
sea. So she returned to her father in heaven and reported her fruitless
search; and at last he gave her some earth and a creeping plant. These
she took down with her on her next visit to earth; and after a time the
leaves of the plant withered and produced swarms of worms or maggots,
which gradually developed into men and women. The plant which thus by
its corruption gave birth to the human species was the convolvulus.
According to another version of the myth, it was in reply to the
complaint of his daughter or son that the sky-god Tangaloa fished up the
first islands from the bottom of the sea.[143]

    [141] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, p. 212.

    [142] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 7.

    [143] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 7 _sq._; J. B. Stair,
    _Old Samoa_, pp. 212-214. The bird _turi_ or _tuli_ is spoken of
    by Turner as the daughter, but by Stair as the son, of Tangaloa.
    According to Turner, the bird is a species of snipe; according
    to Stair, a species of plover. As to Tangaloa and the stories
    told about him, compare John Williams, _Narrative of Missionary
    Enterprises in the South Sea Islands_, pp. 469 _sq._; H. Hale,
    _Ethnography and Philology of the United States Exploring
    Expedition_, p. 22; Violette, "Notes d'un Missionnaire sur
    l'archipel de Samoa," _Les Missions Catholiques_, iii. (1870)
    pp. 111 _sq._; E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative
    Dictionary_, p. 463, _s.v._ "Tangaroa."

Another of the national gods of Samoa was Mafuie, who was supposed to
dwell in the subterranean regions and to cause earthquakes by shaking
the pillar on which the earth reposes. In a tussle with the hero
Ti'iti'i, who descended to the lower world to rob Mafuie of his fire,
the earthquake god lost one of his arms, and the Samoans considered this
as a very fortunate circumstance; for otherwise they said that, if
Mafuie had had two arms, he would have shaken the world to pieces.[144]
It is said that during a shock of earthquake the natives used to rush
from their houses, throw themselves upon the ground, gnaw the grass, and
shriek in the most frantic manner to Mafuie to desist, lest he should
shake the earth to bits.[145]

    [144] Ch. Wilkes, _Narrative of the United States
    Exploring Expedition_, ii. 131; W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian
    Reminiscences_, pp. 112, 114 _sqq._; G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp.
    209-211; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 238 _sq._

    [145] J. Williams, _op. cit._ p. 379.

It seems to be doubtful whether among the Samoan gods are to be numbered
the souls of deceased ancestors. Certainly the evidence for the practice
of a worship of the dead is far less full and clear in Samoa than in
Tonga. On this subject Dr. George Brown writes as follows: "Traces of
ancestor worship are few and indistinct. The word _tupua_ is supposed by
some to mean the deified spirits of chiefs, and to mean that they
constituted a separate order from the _atua_, who were the original
gods. The word itself is the name of a stone, supposed to be a petrified
man, and is also generally used as the name of any image having some
sacred significance, and as representing the body into which the deified
spirit was changed. What appears certain is that ancestor worship had
amongst the Samoans gradually given place to the worship of a superior
order of supernatural beings not immediately connected with men, but
having many human passions and modes of action and life. There are,
however, some cases which seem to point to ancestor worship in olden
days, as in the case of the town of Matautu, which is said to have been
settled by a colony from Fiji. Their principal deity was called Tuifiti,
the King of Fiji. He was considered to be the head of that family, and a
grove of trees, _ifilele_ (the green-heart of India), was sacred to him
and could not be cut or injured in any way."[146] This god was supposed
to be incarnate in a man who walked about, but he was never visible to
the people of the place, though curiously enough he could be seen by

    [146] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 223.
    See also above, p. 192.

    [147] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 62 _sq._ The town or
    village of Matautu is in the island of Savaii. According to G.
    Turner, the sacred tree of Tuifiti was the _Afzelia bijuga_.

However, another experienced missionary, J. B. Stair, who knew Samoa a
good many years before Dr. Brown arrived in it, speaks apparently
without hesitation of the _tupua_ as being "the deified spirits of
chiefs, who were also supposed to dwell in Pulotu," where they became
posts in the house or temple of the gods. Many beautiful emblems, he
says, were chosen to represent the immortality of these deified spirits;
among them were some of the heavenly bodies, including the Pleiades and
the planet Jupiter, also the rainbow, the marine rainbow, and many
more. He adds that the embalmed bodies of some chiefs were worshipped
under the significant title of "sun-dried gods"; and that people prayed
and poured libations of kava at the graves of deceased relatives.[148]

    [148] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 210 _sq._, 215.

§ 10. _The Samoan Belief concerning the Human Soul: Funeral Customs_

Whether the Samoans practised the worship of the dead in a developed
form or not, they certainly possessed the elements out of which the
worship might under favourable circumstances be evolved. These elements
are a belief in the survival of the human soul after death, and a fear
of disembodied spirits or ghosts.

The Samoans believed that every man is animated by a soul, which departs
from the body temporarily in faints and dreams and permanently at death.
The soul of the dreamer, they thought, really visited the places which
he saw in his dream. At death it departed to the subterranean world of
the dead which the Samoans called Pulotu, a name which clearly differs
only dialectically from the Tongan Bolotoo or Bulotu. Some people
professed to see the parting soul when it had quitted its mortal body
and was about to take flight to the nether region. It was always of the
same shape as the body. Such apparitions at the moment of death were
much dreaded, and people tried to drive them away by shouting and firing
guns. The word for soul is _anganga_, which is a reduplicated form of
_anga_, a verb meaning "to go" or "to come." Thus apparently the Samoans
did not, like many people, identify the soul with the shadow; for in
Samoan the word for shadow is _ata_.[149]

    [149] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 8, 16; J. B. Stair, _Old
    Samoa_, p. 220; G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 218
    _sq._; E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, p.
    26, _s.v._ "Ata."

However, they seem to have in a dim way associated a man's soul with his
shadow. This appears from a remarkable custom which they observed in the
case of the unburied dead. The Samoans were much concerned for the lot
of these unfortunates and stood in great dread of their ghosts. They
believed that the spirits of those who had not received the rites of
burial wandered about wretched and forlorn and haunted their relatives
everywhere by day and night, crying in doleful tones, "Oh, how cold! oh,
how cold!" Hence when the body of a dead kinsman was lost because he had
been drowned at sea or slain on a battlefield, some of his relatives
would go down to the seashore or away to the battlefield where their
friend had perished; and there spreading out a cloth on the ground they
would pray to some god of the family, saying, "Oh, be kind to us; let us
obtain without difficulty the spirit of the young man!" After that the
first thing that lighted on the cloth was supposed to be the spirit of
the dead. It might be a butterfly, a grasshopper, an ant, a spider, or a
lizard; whatever it might be, it was carefully wrapt up and taken to the
family, who buried the bundle with all due ceremony, as if it contained
the body of their departed friend. Thus the unquiet spirit was believed
to find rest. Now the insect, or whatever it happened to be, which thus
acted as proxy at the burial was supposed to be the _ata_ or shadow of
the deceased. The same word _ata_ served to express likeness; a
photographer, for example, is called _pue-ata_, "shadow-catcher." The
Samoans do not appear to have associated the soul with the breath.[150]

    [150] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 170
    _sq._, 218 sq.; G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 150 _sq._; S. Ella,
    "Samoa," _Report of the Fourth Meeting of the Australasian
    Association for the Advancement of Science, held at Hobart,
    Tasmania, in January 1892_, pp. 641 _sq._; J. B. Stair, _Old
    Samoa_, p. 184. According to Brown and Stair the ceremony
    described in the text was observed when a man had died a violent
    death, even when the relatives were in possession of the body,
    and in that case the insect, or whatever it might be, was buried
    with the corpse. I have followed Turner and Ella in supposing
    that the ceremony was only observed when the corpse could not be
    found. As to the fear of the spirits of the unburied dead, see
    also W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian Reminiscences_, pp. 58 _sq._,

They attributed disease and death to the anger of a god, to the agency
of an evil spirit, or to the ghost of a dead relative who had entered
into the body of the sufferer. Epilepsy, delirium, and mania were always
thus explained by the entrance into the patient of a god or demon. The
Samoan remedy for all such ailments was not medicine but exorcism.
Sometimes a near relative of the sick person would go round the house
brandishing a spear and striking the walls to drive away the spirit that
was causing the sickness.[151] Hence when a member of a family fell
seriously ill, his friends did not send for a doctor, but repaired to
the high priest of the village to enquire of him the cause of the
sickness, to learn why the family god (_aitu_) was angry with them, and
to implore his mercy and forgiveness. Often the priest took advantage of
their anxiety to demand a valuable piece of property, such as a canoe or
a parcel of ground, as the best means of propitiating the angry deity
and so ensuring the recovery of the patient. With all these demands the
anxious and unsuspecting relatives readily complied. But if the priest
happened not to want anything in particular at the time, he would
probably tell the messengers to gather the family about the bed of the
sufferer and there confess their sins. The command was implicitly
obeyed, and every member of the family assembled and made a clean breast
of his or her misdeeds, especially of any curse which he or she might
have called down either on the family generally or on the invalid in
particular. Curiously enough, the curse of a sister was peculiarly
dreaded; hence in such cases the sister of the sick man was closely
questioned as to whether she had cursed him and thus caused his illness;
if so, she was entreated to remove the curse, that he might recover.
Moved by these pleadings, she might take some coco-nut water in her
mouth and spurt it out towards or upon the body of the sufferer. By this
action she either removed the curse or declared her innocence; a similar
ceremony might be performed by any other member of the family who was
suspected of having cursed the sick man.[152]

    [151] S. Ella, _op. cit._ pp. 639, 643; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 223 _sq._, 402.

    [152] W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian Reminiscences_, pp.
    146 _sq._; G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 140 _sq._; S. Ella, _op.
    cit._ p. 639; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 180 _sq._; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 223 _sq._, 401.

When an illness seemed likely to prove fatal, messengers were despatched
to friends at a distance that they might come and bid farewell to the
dying man. Every one who came to visit the sufferer in his last moments
brought a present of a fine mat or other valuable piece of property as
a token of regard, and to defray the cost of the illness and funeral.
The best of the mats would be laid on the body of the dying man that he
might have the comfort of seeing them before he closed his eyes for
ever. Dr. George Brown thought that the spirits of the mats thus laid on
the body of the dying chief were supposed to accompany his soul to the
other world. It is possible that their spirits did so, but it is certain
that their material substance did not; for after the funeral all the
mats and other valuables so presented were distributed among the
mourners and friends assembled on the occasion, so that every one who
had brought a gift took away something in return on his departure.[153]

    [153] W. T. Pritchard, _op. cit._ pp. 147, 150 _sq._;
    G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 141 _sq._, 146; S. Ella, _op. cit._ p.
    639; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, p. 180; G. Brown, _Melanesians
    and Polynesians_, pp. 220, 401, 405 _sq._

If the dying man happened to be a chief, numbers crowded round him to
receive a parting look or word, while in front of the house might be
seen men and women wildly beating their heads and bodies with great
stones, thus inflicting on themselves ghastly wounds, from which the
blood poured as an offering of affection and sympathy to their departing
friend or lord. It was hoped that, pleased and propitiated by the sight
of their devotion, the angry god might yet stay his hand and spare the
chief to his people. Above all the tumult and uproar would rise the
voice of one who prayed aloud for the life then trembling in the
balance. But if the prayer seemed likely to prove ineffectual, it was
exchanged for threats and upbraiding. "O thou shameless spirit," the
voice would now be heard exclaiming, "could I but grasp you, I would
smash your skull to pieces! Come here and let us fight together. Don't
conceal yourself, but show yourself like a man, and let us fight, if you
are angry."[154]

    [154] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 181 _sq._

Immediately after death, all the mats on the floor of the house were
thrown outside, and the thatched sides of the house were either torn
down or knocked in with clubs; while the relatives and assembled crowds
wrought themselves up to frenzy, uttering loud shrieks, rending their
garments, tearing out their hair by handfuls, burning their bodies with
firebrands, beating their faces and heads with clubs and stones, or
gashing themselves with shells and shark's teeth, till the blood ran
freely down. This they called an offering of blood for the dead. In
their fury some of the mourners fell on the canoes and houses, breaking
them up and tearing them down, felling the bread-fruit trees, and
devastating the plantations of yams and taro.[155]

    [155] W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian Reminiscences_, p.
    148; G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 144; S. Ella, _op. cit._ p. 640; J.
    B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, p. 182; G. Brown, _Melanesians and
    Polynesians_, pp. 401 _sq._

As decomposition is rapid in the hot moist climate of Samoa, it was
customary to bury commoners a few hours after death. The body was laid
out on a mat, anointed with scented oil, and the face tinged with
turmeric, to soften the cadaverous look. It was then wound up in several
folds of native cloth and the chin propped up, the head and face being
left uncovered, while for some hours longer the body was surrounded by
weeping relatives, who kept constant watch over it, so long as it
remained in the house. These watchers were always women, and none of
them might quit her post under any pretext till she was relieved by
another. A fire was kept burning brightly in the house all the time. If
the deceased had died of a complaint which had previously carried off
other members of the family, they would probably open the body to
"search for the disease." Any inflamed substance which they happened to
find they would take away and burn, thinking thus to prevent any other
member of the family from being similarly afflicted. Such a custom
betrays an incipient sense of death from natural, instead of
supernatural, causes, and must have contributed to diffuse a knowledge
of human anatomy.[156]

    [156] W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian Reminiscences_, pp.
    148 _sq._; G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 144 _sq._; J. B. Stair, _Old
    Samoa_, 182; G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 402.

So long as a corpse remained in the house no food might be eaten under
the roof; the family had their meals outside or in another house. Those
who had attended to the deceased or handled the corpse were taboo: they
might not feed themselves or touch food with their hands. For days they
were fed by others as if they were helpless infants. Baldness and the
loss of teeth were supposed to be the punishment inflicted by the
household god for a breach of the rule. Many people fasted at such
times, eating nothing during the day, but taking a meal in the evening.
The fifth day was a day of purification. The tabooed persons then washed
their faces and hands with hot water and were clean; after that they
were free to eat at the usual time and in the usual manner.[157]

    [157] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 145; W. T. Pritchard, _op.
    cit._ p. 149; S. Ella, _op. cit._ p. 640; J. B. Stair, _Old
    Samoa_, p. 182; G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p.

The ordinary mode of disposing of the dead was by interment either in a
stone vault or in a shallow grave. But occasionally other modes were
adopted, such as embalming, putting the corpse in a canoe and setting it
adrift on the sea, or exposing it on a stage erected in the forest,
where it was left to decay, the bones being afterwards collected and
buried. Upon the death of a chief his body was generally deposited in a
family vault, the sides and bottom of which were lined with large slabs
of sandstone or basalt, while another large slab of the same material
formed the roof. Such vaults were sometimes large and massive. The
stones used in their construction were found in various parts of the
islands. Commoners were buried in shallow graves.[158]

    [158] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 178 _sq._

Ordinary people were usually buried the day after they died. As many
friends as could be present attended the funeral. Every one brought a
present, but on the day after the funeral all these presents, like those
which had previously been made to the dying man, were distributed again,
so that none went empty-handed away. The corpse was generally buried
without a coffin; but chiefs were laid in hollow logs or canoes.
However, even the bodies of common people were sometimes interred
in rude coffins similarly constructed. There were no common
burying-grounds; all preferred to bury their dead on their own land.
Often the grave was dug close to the house. The body was laid in it with
the head to the east and the feet to the west. When it had been thus
committed to its last resting-place, a near relative of the deceased, a
sister, if one survived, seated herself at the grave, and waving a white
cloth over the corpse, began an address to the dead. "Compassion to
you," she said, "go with goodwill, and without bearing malice towards
us. Take with you all our diseases, and leave us life." Then pointing to
the west, she exclaimed, "Misery there!" Next pointing to the east, she
cried, "Prosperity there!" Lastly, pointing to the grave, she said,
"Misery there; but leave happiness with us!" With the body they
deposited in the grave several things which had been used by the
deceased during his illness, such as his clothing, his drinking-cup, and
his bamboo pillow. The wooden pickaxes and coco-nut shells employed as
shovels in digging the grave were also carefully buried with the corpse.
It was not, we are told, because the people believed these things to be
of use to the dead; but because it was supposed that, if they were left
and handled by others, further disease and death would be the
consequence. Valuable mats and other articles of property were sometimes
buried with the corpse, and the grave of a warrior was surrounded with
spears stuck upright in the ground. Graves were sometimes enclosed with
stones and strewn with sand or crumbled coral.[159]

    [159] W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian Reminiscences_, pp.
    150 _sq._; G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 146 _sq._; S. Ella, _op.
    cit._ pp. 640 _sq._; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 179 _sq._,
    182 _sq._; G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 403.

The obsequies of a chief of high rank were more elaborate. The body was
kept unburied for days until his clansfolk had assembled from various
parts of the islands and paraded the body, shoulder high, through the
village, chanting a melancholy dirge.[160] The mourning and ceremonies
lasted from ten to fifteen days. All that time the house of death was
watched night and day by men appointed for the purpose. After the
burial, and until the days of mourning were ended, the daytime was
generally spent in boxing and wrestling matches, and sham-fights, while
the nights were occupied with dancing and practising a kind of
buffoonery, which was customary at these seasons of mourning for the
dead. The performance was called _O le tau-pinga_. The performers amused
themselves by making a variety of ludicrous faces and grimaces at each
other, to see who could excite the other to laugh first. Thus they
whiled away the hours of night till the days of mourning were
expired.[161] So long as the funeral ceremonies and feasts lasted no
work might be done in the village, and no strangers might approach it.
The neighbouring lagoon and reefs were taboo: no canoe might pass over
the lagoon anywhere near the village, and no man might fish in it or on
the reef.[162] For a chief or man of distinction fires were kept burning
day and night in a line from the house to the grave; these fires were
maintained for ten days after the funeral. The reason assigned for this
custom, according to Ella, was to keep away evil spirits. Even common
people observed a similar custom. After burial they kept a fire blazing
in the house all night, and they were careful to clear the intervening
ground so that a stream of light went forth from the house to the grave.
The account which the Samoans gave of the custom, according to Turner,
was that it was merely a light burning in honour of the departed, and a
mark of their tender regard for him. Dr. George Brown believed that the
original motive for the custom was to warm the ghost, and probably at
the same time to protect the mourners against dangerous spirits.[163]

    [160] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 146

    [161] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 183 _sq._

    [162] W. T. Pritchard, _Polynesian Reminiscences_, pp.
    149 _sq._; S. Ella, _op. cit._ p. 642; G. Brown, _Melanesians
    and Polynesians_, pp. 403 _sq._

    [163] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 149; S. Ella, _op. cit._
    pp. 640 _sq._; G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 402.

The head was deemed a very sacred part, and in olden days the bodies of
chiefs were often buried near their houses until decomposition had set
in, when the head was cut off and interred in some family burying-place
inland, to save it from insult in time of war. This interment of the
head was accompanied with feasts, dances, and sham-fights. The skull was
borne to the appointed place on a kind of stage, attended by a troop of
armed men. With these sham-fights Dr. George Brown, who records the
custom, compares the sham-fights which used to take place among the
Melanesians of the Duke of York Island when the body of a chief was laid
on a high platform in front of his house, one company of warriors
striving to deposit the corpse on the platform, while their adversaries
attempted to prevent them from doing so.[164] The meaning of these
curious sham-fights is obscure. Perhaps the attacking party represented
a band of evil spirits, who endeavoured to snatch away the chief's
body, but were defeated in the nefarious attempt.

    [164] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 388
    _sq._, 404 _sq._

One or two families of chiefs in the island of Upolu used to practise a
rude kind of embalming. The work was done exclusively by women. The
viscera having been removed and buried, the women anointed the body
daily with a mixture of oil and aromatic juices. To let the fluids
escape, they punctured the body all over with fine needles. Finally,
wads of native cloth, saturated with oil or resinous gums, were inserted
in the abdomen, the apertures were closed up, and the body wrapt in
native cloth. The face, hands, and feet were left exposed, and were
repeatedly anointed with oil, mixed with turmeric powder, to give a
fresh and life-like appearance to the mummy. The whole process lasted
about two months. On its completion the mummy was placed in a house
built specially for the purpose, where, loosely covered with a sheet of
native cloth, it rested on a raised platform. Strangers were freely
admitted to see it. Four of these mummies, laid out in a house, were to
be seen down to about the year 1864. They were the bodies of a chief,
his wife, and two sons. Dr. George Turner judged that they must have
been embalmed upwards of thirty years, and although they had been
exposed all that time, they were in a remarkably good state of
preservation. The people assigned no particular reason for the practice,
further than that it sprang from an affectionate desire to keep the
bodies of their departed friends with them, as if they were still

    [165] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 148 _sq._; S. Ella, _op.
    cit._ p. 641; J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 184 _sq._; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 405.

§ 11. _The Fate of the Human Soul after Death_

With regard to the fate of human souls after death the Samoans appear to
have believed in their immortality, or at all events in their indefinite
survival. On this subject Dr. Brown observes: "All souls survived after
death, and so far as I know they had no idea of their dying a second
death or being destroyed. I do not think that a Samoan could give any
reason for his belief that the soul does not perish with the body, but
he certainly does believe this, and I never heard any one question
the fact."[166] Thus, according to Dr. Brown the Samoans, unlike the
Tongans, drew no invidious distinction between the souls of noblemen and
the souls of commoners, but liberally opened the doors of immortality to
gentle and simple alike. So far, they carried their republican or
democratic spirit into the world beyond the grave.

    [166] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 220

However, according to the American ethnologist, Horatio Hale, some of
the Samoans agreed with the Tongans in taking an aristocratic view of
the destiny of souls after death; and as he had good opportunities for
acquainting himself with the Samoan religion during the prolonged stay
of the American Exploring Expedition at Samoa in 1839, when the islands
were as yet but little affected by European influence, I will quote his
account. He says: "All believe in the existence of a large island,
situated far to the north-west called _Pulótu_, which is the residence
of the gods. Some suppose that while the souls of the common people
perish with their bodies, those of the chiefs are received into this
island, which is described as a terrestrial elysium, and become there
inferior divinities. Others hold (according to Mr. Heath) that the
spirits of the departed live and work in a dark subterraneous abode, and
are eaten by the gods. A third, and very common opinion is, that the
souls of all who die on an island, make their way to the western
extremity, where they plunge into the sea; but what then becomes of them
is not stated. The rock from which they leap, in the island of Upolu,
was pointed out to us; the natives term it '_Fatu-asofia_,' which was
rendered the 'jumping-off stone.'"[167]

    [167] H. Hale, _Ethnography and Philology of the United
    States Exploring Expedition_, p. 27.

Of these various opinions described by Hale the third would seem to have
been by far the most prevalent. It was commonly believed that the
disembodied spirit retained the exact resemblance of its former self, by
which we are probably to understand the exact resemblance of its former
body. Immediately on quitting its earthly tabernacle it began its
solitary journey to Fafa, which was the subterranean abode of the dead,
lying somewhere to the west of Savaii, the most westerly island of the
group. Thus, if a man died in Manua, the most easterly of the islands,
his soul would journey to the western end of that island, then dive into
the sea and swim across to Tutuila. There it would walk along the beach
to the extreme westerly point of the island, when it would again plunge
into the sea and swim across to the next island, and so on to the most
westerly cape of Savaii, where it finally dived into the ocean and
pursued its way to the mysterious Fafa.[168]

    [168] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 218 _sq._ Compare
    G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 257; S. Ella, _op. cit._ pp. 643 _sq._

At the western end of Savaii, near the village of Falealupo, there are
two circular openings among the rocks, not far from the beach. Down
these two openings the souls of the dead were supposed to go on their
passage to the spirit-world. The souls of chiefs went down the larger of
the openings, and the souls of common people went down the smaller. Near
the spot stood a coco-nut tree, and if a passing soul chanced to collide
with it, the soul could not proceed farther, but returned to its body.
When a man recovered from a deep swoon, his friends supposed that his
soul had been arrested in its progress to the other world by knocking
against the coco-nut tree, and they rejoiced, saying, "He has come back
from the tree of the Watcher," for that was the name by which the
coco-nut tree was known. So firmly did the people of the neighbourhood
believe in the passage of the souls near their houses, that at night
they kept down the blinds to exclude the ghosts.[169] The "jumping-off
stone" at the west end of Upolu was also dreaded on account of the
passing ghosts. The place is a narrow rocky cape. The Samoans were much
astonished when a Christian native boldly built himself a house on the
haunted spot.[170] According to one account, the souls of the dead had
not to make their way through the chain of islands by the slow process
of walking and swimming, but were at once transported to the western end
of Savaii by a band of spirits, who hovered over the house of the dying
man, and catching up his parting spirit conveyed it in a straight
course westward.[171]

    [169] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 257 _sq._; S. Ella, _op.
    cit._ pp. 643 _sq._; G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p.

    [170] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, p. 219.

    [171] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 257; S. Ella, _op. cit._
    p. 643.

The place down which the spirits of the dead were supposed to descend to
the nether world was called by a native name (_Lua[=o]_), which means
"hollow pit." "May you go rumbling down the hollow pit" was a common
form of cursing. At the bottom of the pit was a running stream which
floated the spirits away to Pulotu. All alike, the handsome and the
ugly, old and young, chiefs and commoners, drifted pell-mell on the
current in a dazed, semi-conscious state, till they came to Pulotu.
There they bathed in "the Water of Life" and recovered all their old
life and vigour. Infirmity of every kind fled away; even the aged became
young again. The underworld of Pulotu was conceived on the model of our
upper world. There, as here, were heavens and earth and sea, fruits and
flowers; there the souls of the dead planted and fished and cooked;
there they married and were given in marriage, all after the manner of
life on earth.[172]

    [172] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 258 _sq._; G. Brown,
    _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 222.

However, it appears that according to a widespread belief the world of
the dead was sharply discriminated into two regions, to wit, an Elysium
or place of bliss called Pulotu, and a Tartarus or place of woe named
S[=a]-le-Fe'e. The title for admission to one or other of these places
was not moral worth but social rank, chiefs going to Elysium and
commoners to Tartarus. The idea of the superiority of the chiefs to the
common people was thus perpetuated in the land of the dead.[173] The
king of the lower regions was a certain Saveasiuleo, that is, Savea of
the Echo. He reclined in a house in the company of the chiefs who
gathered round him: the upper part of his body was human, the lower part
was like that of a fish and stretched away into the sea. This royal
house of assembly was supported by the erect bodies of chiefs, who had
been of high rank on earth, and who, before they died, anticipated with
pride the honour they were to enjoy by serving as pillars in the temple
of the King of Pulotu.[174]

    [173] J. B. Stair, _Old Samoa_, pp. 217 _sq._; G.
    Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 221. On the question
    whether the Samoans held a doctrine of moral retribution after
    death, Dr. Brown observes: "I do not remember any statement to
    the effect that the conduct of a man in this life affected his
    state after death. They certainly believe this now, but whether
    they did so prior to the introduction of Christianity I cannot
    definitely say. I am inclined, however, to believe that they did
    not believe that conduct in this life affected them in the
    future" (_Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 261 _sq._).
    Elsewhere, however, Dr. Brown seems to express a contrary
    opinion. He says: "It was generally understood that the
    conditions of men in this life, even amongst the common people,
    had an effect on their future conditions. A good man in Samoa
    generally meant a liberal man, one who was generous and
    hospitable; whilst a bad man was one who was mean, selfish, and
    greedy about food" (_op. cit._ p. 222).

    [174] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 259 _sq._; S. Ella, _op.
    cit._ p. 644.

But the souls of the dead were not permanently confined to the lower
world. They could return to the land of the living by night to hold
converse with members of their families, to warn and instruct them in
dreams, and to foretell the future. They could cause disease and death
by entering into the bodies of their enemies and even of their friends,
and they produced nightmare by sitting on the chests of sleepers. They
haunted some houses and especially burying-grounds. Their apparitions
were visible to the living and were greatly dreaded; people tried to
drive them away by shouts, noises, and the firing of guns. But the
ghosts had to return to the nether world at daybreak. It was because
they feared the spirits of the dead that the Samoans took such great
pains to propitiate dying people with presents; this they did above all
to persons whom they had injured, because they had most reason to dread
the anger of their ghosts.[175] However, the souls of the departed were
also thought of in a more amiable light; they could help as well as harm
mankind. Hence prayers were commonly offered at the grave of a parent, a
brother, or a chief. The suppliant, for example, might pray for health
in sickness; or, if he were of a malignant turn, he might implore the
ghost to compass the death of some person at whom he bore a grudge. Thus
we are told that a woman prayed for the death of her brother, and he
died accordingly.[176] In such beliefs and practices we have, as I have
already observed, the essential elements of a regular worship of the
dead. Whether the Samoans were on the way to evolve such a religion or,
as Dr. George Brown preferred to suppose,[177] had left it behind them
and made some progress towards a higher faith, we hardly possess the
means of determining.

    [175] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 259; S. Ella, _op. cit._
    p. 644; G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp.
    219, 221, 222.

    [176] G. Turner, _Samoa_, p. 151.

    [177] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, pp. 245,

But while the Samoans thought that the dead return to earth to make or
mar the living, they did not believe that the spirits come back to be
born again in the form of men or animals or to occupy inanimate bodies;
in other words they had no belief in the transmigration of souls.[178]
The absence of such a belief is significant in view of Dr. Rivers's
suggestion that Melanesian totemism may have been evolved out of a
doctrine of metempsychosis, human souls being supposed to pass at death
into their totem animals or plants.[179] We have seen that the Samoan
system of family, village, and district gods bears strong marks of
having been developed out of totemism; and if their totemism had in turn
been developed out of a doctrine of transmigration, we should expect to
find among them a belief that the souls of the dead appeared in the
shape of the animals, plants, or other natural objects which were
regarded as the embodiments of their family, village, or district gods.
But of such a belief there is seemingly no trace. It appears, therefore,
unlikely that Samoan totemism was based on a doctrine of transmigration.
Similarly we have seen reason to think that the Tongan worship of
animals may have sprung from totemism, though according to the best
authorities that worship was not connected with a theory of
metempsychosis.[180] Taken together, the Samoan and the Tongan systems
seem to show that, if totemism ever flourished among the Polynesians, it
had not its roots in a worship of the dead.

    [178] G. Brown, _Melanesians and Polynesians_, p. 221,
    "They had no belief in the transmigration of souls either into
    animals, inert bodies, or into different human bodies."

    [179] W. H. R. Rivers, _The History of Melanesian
    Society_, ii. 358 _sqq._

    [180] See above, pp. 92 _sqq._



§ 1. _The Hervey or Cook Islands_

The Hervey or Cook Archipelago is a scattered group of nine small
islands situated in the South Pacific about seven hundred miles
south-east of Samoa. The islands are either volcanic or coralline, and
approach to them is impeded by dangerous reefs and the absence of
harbours.[1] The two principal islands are Rarotonga and Mangaia, the
most southerly of the group. Of these the larger, Rarotonga, has a
circumference of about thirty miles. It is a vast mass of volcanic
mountains, rising peak above peak, to a height of between four and five
thousand feet above the sea; but from the foot of the mountains a
stretch of flat land, covered with rich alluvial soil, extends for one
or two miles to the coast, which is formed by a fringing reef of live
coral. The whole island is mantled in luxuriant tropical verdure. It is
difficult, we are told, to exaggerate the strange forms of beauty which
everywhere meet the eye in this lovely island: gigantic and fantastic
columns of rock draped with vines; deep valleys lying in the shadow of
overhanging mountains; primaeval forest with its many shades of green;
immense chestnut trees, laden with fragrant blossoms; miles of
bread-fruit groves, intermingled with coco-nut palms; and nearer the
beach plantains, bananas, sweet potatoes, and lastly, growing to the
water's edge, graceful iron-wood trees with hair-like leaves drooping
like tresses, all contribute to the variety and charm of the scenery.[2]

    [1] F. H. H. Guillemard, _Australasia_, ii. (London, 1894) p.

    [2] W. W. Gill, _Life in the Southern Isles_ (London, N.D.), p.
    11. Compare John Williams, _Narrative of Missionary Enterprises
    in the South Sea Islands_ (London, 1838), pp. 16, 174-176.
    According to Dr. Guillemard (_loc. cit._), the height of
    Rarotonga is 2900 feet; according to W. W. Gill, our principal
    authority on the island, it is 4500 feet.

Very different is the aspect of Mangaia. It is a complete coral island
rising from deep water as a ring of live coral; there is no lagoon. A
few hundred yards inland from the rugged beach there rises gradually a
second or inner ring of dead coral, which towards the interior falls
away perpendicularly, thus surrounding the island like a cyclopean wall.
This belt or bulwark of dead coral is from one to two miles wide. To
cross it is like walking on spear-points: to slip and fall on it may
entail ghastly wounds. The streams of water from the interior find their
way through it to the sea by subterranean channels. Imbedded in the
highest parts of this inland reef of coral are many sea-shells of
existing species, and it is honeycombed with many extensive caves, which
were formerly used as dwellings, cemeteries, places of refuge, or
storehouses. Scores of them are filled with desiccated human bodies. So
vast are they that it is dangerous to venture alone into their recesses;
the forlorn wanderer might never emerge from them again. Some of them
are said to penetrate far under the bed of the ocean. In these caverns
stalactite and stalagmite abound, forming thick and fast-growing layers
of limestone rock. The largest and most famous of the caves is known as
the Labyrinth (_Tuatini_). The interior of the island is formed of dark
volcanic rock and red clay, descending in low hills from a flat-topped
centre, called the Crown of Mangaia. The summit is not more than six
hundred and fifty feet above the level of the sea.[3]

    [3] W. W. Gill, _Life in the Southern Isles_. pp. 7 _sq._;
    _id._, _From Darkness to Light in Polynesia_ (London, 1894), pp.
    6 _sq._; A. Baessler, _Neue Südsee-Bilder_ (Berlin, 1900), pp.
    271 _sqq._, 274 _sqq._ (as to the caverns).

§ 2. _The Islanders and their Mode of Life_

Though the natives speak a Polynesian language closely akin to the
Samoan and have legends of their migration from Samoa, they appear not
to be pure Polynesians. They say that they found black people on
Rarotonga; and their more pronounced features, more wavy hair, darker
complexion, and more energetic character seem to indicate an admixture
of Melanesian blood. In Mangaia, indeed, this type is said to
predominate, the natives of that island being characterised by dusky
brown skin, wavy or frizzly hair, and ample beards: their features, too,
are more prominent than those of the Rarotongans, and their manners are
wilder.[4] Cannibalism prevailed in most of the islands of the group
down to the conversion of the natives to Christianity, which took place
between 1823 and 1834, when, with the exception of a few pagans in
Mangaia, there did not remain a single idolater, or vestige of idolatry,
in any one of the islands. However, many years afterwards old men, who
had partaken of cannibal feasts, assured a missionary that human flesh
was far superior to pork.[5]

    [4] F. H. H. Guillemard, _Australasia_, ii. 509. Compare A.
    Baessler, _Neue Südsee-Bilder_, pp. 257 _sq._, 269. The latter
    writer remarks on the great variety of types among the natives
    of these islands. In Mangaia he found the people darker than in
    Rarotonga, undersized, sturdy, with thick lips, noses broad and
    sunken at the bridge, which gave them a somewhat wild
    appearance. As to the tradition of an emigration of the Hervey
    Islanders from Samoa, see W. W. Gill, _Life in the Southern
    Isles_, pp. 23 _sqq._ "The Mangaians themselves trace their
    origin to Avaiki, or nether world; but Avaiki, Hawai'i, and
    Savai'i, are but slightly different forms of one word. The _s_
    of the Samoan dialect is invariably dropped in the Hervey Group
    dialects, whilst a _k_ is substituted for the break at the end.
    No native of these days doubts that by Avaiki his ancestors
    really intended Savai'i, the largest island of the Samoan Group.
    In Polynesia, to sail _west_ is to go _down_; to sail _east_ is
    to go _up_. To sail from Samoa to Mangaia would be 'to come up,'
    or, to translate their vernacular closely, 'to climb up.' In
    their songs and myths are many references to 'the hosts of
    _Uk_upolu,' undoubtedly the Upolu of Samoa" (W. W. Gill, _op.
    cit._ p. 25). Compare _id._, _Myths and Songs from the South
    Pacific_ (London, 1876), pp. 166 _sq._

    [5] W. W. Gill, _Life in the Southern Isles_, pp. 13 _sq._;
    _id._, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _Report of the Second Meeting
    of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science
    held at Melbourne, 1890_, p. 324. As to the date of the
    introduction of Christianity into the Hervey Islands, see John
    Williams, _Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea
    Islands_, pp. 491 _sq._

In the larger islands the natives cultivated the soil diligently even
before their contact with Europeans. The missionary John Williams, who
discovered Rarotonga in 1823, found the island in a high state of
cultivation. Rows of superb chestnut trees (_inocarpus_), planted at
equal distances, stretched from the base of the mountains to the sea,
while the spaces between the rows, some half a mile wide, were divided
into taro patches, each about half an acre in extent, carefully banked
up and capable of being irrigated at pleasure. On the tops of the banks
grew fine bread-fruit trees placed at equal intervals, their stately
foliage presenting a pleasing contrast to the pea-green leaves of the
ordinary taro and the dark colour of the giant taro (_kape_) in the beds
and on the sloping banks beneath.[6] In Rarotonga bread-fruit and
plantains are the staple food; in Mangaia it is taro. On the atolls the
coco-nut palm flourishes, but no planting can be done, as the soil
consists of sand and gravel thrown up by the sea on the ever-growing
coral. The inhabitants of the atolls live contentedly on coco-nuts and
fish; they are expert fishermen, having little else to do. But fresh
fish are also eaten in large quantities on most of the islands.[7] In
some of the islands the planting was done by the women, but in others,
including Rarotonga, the taro was both planted and brought home by the
men. Women cooked the food in ovens of hot stones sunk in holes, and
they made cloth from the bark of the paper-mulberry, which they stripped
from the tree, steeped in water, and beat out with square mallets of
iron-wood. But garments were made also from the inner bark of the banyan
and bread-fruit trees.[8] In the old days the native houses were flimsy
quadrangular huts constructed of reeds and thatched with plaited
leaflets of the coco-nut palm, which were very pervious to rain; but the
temples and large houses of chiefs were thatched with pandanus leaves.
The doors were always sliding; the threshold was made of a single block
of timber, tastefully carved. There was a sacred and a common
entrance.[9] Like all the Polynesians, the Hervey Islanders before their
discovery were ignorant of the metals. When in a wrecked vessel they
found a bag of Californian gold, they thought it was something good to
eat and proceeded to cook the nuggets in order to make them juicy and

    [6] John Williams, _op. cit._ pp. 175 _sq._

    [7] W. W. Gill, _Life in the Southern Isles_, pp. 12, 15; _id._,
    "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _Report of the Second Meeting of the
    Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science held at
    Melbourne, 1890_, p. 336.

    [8] W. W. Gill, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ pp. 332
    _sq._, 338.

    [9] W. W. Gill, _Life in the Southern Isles_, p. 16; _id._,
    "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ pp. 335 _sq._

    [10] W. W. Gill, _Life in the Southern Isles_, p. 16.

§ 3. _Social Life: the Sacred Kings_

The people were divided into tribes or clans, each tracing descent in
the male line from a common ancestor, and each possessing its own lands,
which were inalienable. Exogamy, we are told, was the universal rule in
the olden time; but when a tribe was split up in war, the defeated
portion was treated as an alien tribe. Polygamy was very common, and was
not restricted to chiefs. A man often had two or three sisters to wife
at the same time. Distant cousins sometimes, though rarely, married each
other; but in such cases they had to belong to the same generation; that
is, they must be descended in the same degree, fourth, fifth, or even
more remote, from the common ancestor. If misfortune or disease overtook
couples linked even by so distant a relationship, the elders would
declare that it was brought upon them by the anger of the clan-god. It
was the duty of parents to teach their growing children whom they might
lawfully marry, but their choice was extremely limited. Children as a
rule belonged to the tribe or clan of their father, unless they were
adopted into another. However, parents had it at their option to assign
a child at birth either to the tribe of its father or to the tribe of
its mother; this they did by pronouncing over the infant the name either
of the father's or of the mother's god. Commonly the father had the
preference; but occasionally, when the father's tribe was one from which
human victims for sacrifice were regularly drawn, the mother would seek
to save the child's life by having the name of her tribal god pronounced
over it and so adopting it into her own tribe.[11] Circumcision in an
imperfect form was practised in the Hervey Islands from time immemorial.
It was usually performed on a youth about the age of sixteen. The
operation was indispensable to marriage. No woman would knowingly marry
an uncircumcised husband. The greatest insult that could be offered to
a man was to accuse him of being uncircumcised. The rite is said to have
been invented by the god Rongo in order to seduce the beautiful wife of
his brother Tangaroa, and he enjoined the observance of circumcision
upon his worshippers.[12] In Rarotonga it was customary to mould a
child's head into a high shape by pressing the forehead and the back of
the head between slabs of soft wood. This practice did not obtain on
Mangaia nor, apparently, on any other island of the Hervey Group.[13]

    [11] W. W. Gill, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ pp. 323,
    330, 331, 333.

    [12] W. W. Gill, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ pp.
    327-329. In the operation the prepuce was slit longitudinally,
    and the divided pieces were drawn underneath and twisted, so as
    in time to form a small knot under the urethra. As to the
    ceremony of assigning a child either to its father's or to its
    mother's tribe, see W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South
    Pacific_ (London, 1876), pp. 36 _sq._

    [13] W. W. Gill, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 326.

In Rarotonga four ranks of society were recognised. These were the
_ariki_, or king; the _mataiapo_, or governors of districts; the
_rangatira_, or landowners; and the _unga_, or tenants. A man was
accounted great according to the number of his _kaingas_ or farms, which
contained from one to five acres. These were let to tenants, who, like
vassals under the feudal system, obeyed the orders of their superior,
assisted him in erecting his house, in building his canoe, in making
fishing-nets, and in other occupations, besides bringing him a certain
portion of the produce of his lands.[14]

    [14] John Williams, _Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the
    South Sea Islands_, pp. 183 _sq._

The kings were sacred men, being regarded as priests and mouthpieces of
the great tutelary divinities.[15] In Mangaia they were the priests or
mouthpieces of the great god Rongo. So sacred were their royal persons
that no part of their body might be tattooed: they might not take part
in dances or in actual warfare. Peace could not be proclaimed nor blood
spilt lawfully without the consent of the king speaking in the name of
the god Rongo. Quite distinct from, and subordinate to, the sacred king
was the "lord of Mangaia," a warrior chief who gained his lordship by a
decisive victory. He represented the civil power, while the king
represented the spiritual power; but while the office of the king was
hereditary, the office of the civil lord was not. It sometimes happened
that the civil lord was at enmity with the king of his day. In that
case the king would refuse to complete the ceremonies necessary for his
formal investiture; life would remain unsafe; the soil could not be
cultivated, and famine soon ensued. This state of turbulence and misery
might last for years, till the obnoxious chief had been in his turn
despatched, and a more agreeable successor appointed.[16] Thus the
sacred king and the civil lord corresponded to the Tooitonga or sacred
chief and the civil king of Tonga.[17]

    [15] W. W. Gill, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 335.

    [16] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p.

    [17] See above, pp. 62 _sq._

§ 4. _Religion, the Gods, Traces of Totemism_

Yet though the king of Mangaia ranked above the civil or temporal lord,
it devolved on that lord to install a new king in office by formally
seating him on "the sacred sandstone" (_te kea inamoa_) in the sanctuary
or sacred grove (_marae_)[18] of Rongo on the sea-shore facing the
setting sun. The ceremony took place in presence of the leading
under-chiefs. The special duty of the king was by offering rhythmical
and very ancient prayers to Great Rongo to keep away evil-minded spirits
who might otherwise injure the island. For this end the principal king
(_te ariki pa uta_) lived in the interior of the island in the sacred
and fertile district of Keia. His prayers were thought to avert evil
spirits coming from the east. On the barren sea-shore at O-rongo (the
seat of the temple or grove of Rongo) lived the secondary king (_te
ariki pa tai_), who warded off bad spirits coming from the west. Besides
this primary ghostly function, many other important duties devolved upon
these royal personages. The secondary or shore king was not infrequently
a natural son of the great inland king. By virtue of their office all
kings were high priests of Rongo, the tutelary god of Mangaia.[19]

    [18] In the Hervey Islands a _marae_ seems to have been a sacred
    grove. So it is described by W. W. Gill (_Myths and Songs from
    the South Pacific_, p. 14), who adds in a note: "These _maraes_
    were planted with _callophylla inophylla_, etc., etc., which,
    untouched by the hand of man from generation to generation,
    threw a sacred gloom over the mysteries of idol-worship. The
    trees were accounted sacred, not for their own sake, but on
    account of the place where they grew."

    [19] W. W. Gill, _From Darkness to Light in Polynesia_, pp. 314
    _sq._ As to the installation of the priestly king by the
    temporal lord, see also _id._, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op.
    cit._ pp. 339 _sq._

But Rongo was not peculiar to the Hervey Islands. He was a great
Polynesian deity worshipped in almost every part of the Pacific, and
though his attributes differed greatly in different places, a universal
reverence was paid to him. In the Hervey Islands, he and his twin
brother Tangaroa were deemed the children of Vatea, the eldest of the
primary gods, a being half man and half fish, whose eyes are the sun and
the moon. The wife of this monstrous deity and mother of the divine
twins was Papa, whose name signifies Foundation and who was supposed to
be a daughter of Timatekore or "Nothing-more." The twin Tangaroa,
another great Polynesian deity, was specially honoured in Rarotonga and
Aitutaki, another of the Hervey Islands.[20] The famous Polynesian hero
Maui was also well known in the Hervey Islands, where people told how he
had brought up the first fire to men from the under world, having there
wrested it from the fire-god Mauike;[21] how he raised the sky--a solid
vault of blue stone--to its present height, for of old the sky almost
touched the earth, so that people could not walk upright;[22] and
finally how he caught the great sun-god Ra himself in six nooses made of
strong coco-nut fibre, so that the motions of the orb of day, which
before had been extremely irregular, have been most orderly ever

    [20] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp. 3
    _sqq._; _id._, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ pp. 348
    _sq._ As to Rongo and Tangaroa, see E. Tregear,
    _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_ (Wellington, N.Z.,
    1891), pp. 424 _sq._, 463 _sq._, _svv._ "Rongo" and "Tangaroa."

    [21] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.

    [22] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p.

    [23] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.

But besides the divine or heroic figures of more or less anthropomorphic
type, which the Hervey Islanders recognised in common with the rest of
the Polynesians, we may distinguish in their mythology traces of that
other and probably older stage of thought in which the objects of
religious reverence are rather animals than men or beings modelled in
the image of man. We have seen that this early stage of religion was
well preserved in Samoa down to the time when the islands fell under the
observation of Europeans, and that it was probably a relic of
totemism,[24] which at an earlier period may perhaps have prevailed
generally among the ancestors of the Polynesians. In the Hervey Islands
there was a god called Tonga-iti, who appeared visibly in the form of
black and white spotted lizards.[25] Another deity named Tiaio took
possession of the body of the large white shark, the terror of these
islanders, and he had a small sacred grove (_marae_) set apart for his
worship. It is said that this shark-god was a former king of Mangaia,
who in the pride of his heart had defiled the sacred district of Keia,
the favourite haunt of the gods, by wearing some beautiful scarlet
hibiscus flowers in his ears. Now anything red was forbidden in that
part of the island as being offensive to the gods; and even the beating
of bark-cloth was prohibited there, lest the repose of the gods should
be disturbed by the noise. Hence an angry priest knocked the proud and
impious king on the head, and the blood of the slain monarch flowed into
a neighbouring stream, where it was drunk by a great fresh-water eel. So
the spirit of the dead king entered into the eel, but subsequently,
pursuing its way to the sea, the spirit forsook the eel and took
possession of the shark.[26] Nevertheless he continued occasionally to
appear to his worshippers in the form of an eel; for we are told that in
the old heathen days, if a huge eel were caught in a net, it would have
been regarded as the god Tiaio himself come on a visit, and that it
would accordingly have been allowed to return to the water
unmolested.[27] It is quite possible that this derivation of the eel-god
or shark-god from a former king of Mangaia may be historically correct;
for we are told that "many of the deities worshipped in the Hervey Group
and other islands of the eastern Pacific were canonised priests, kings,
and warriors, whose spirits were supposed to enter into various birds,
fish, reptiles, insects, etc., etc. Strangely enough, they were regarded
as being, in no respect, inferior to the original deities."[28] Among
the creatures in which gods, and especially the spirits of deified men,
were believed permanently to reside or to be incarnate were reckoned
sharks, sword-fish, eels, the octopus, yellow and black spotted lizards,
as well as several kinds of birds and insects.[29] In Rarotonga the
cuttle-fish was the special deity of the reigning family down to the
subversion of paganism.[30] In Mangaia the tribe of Teipe, whose members
were liable to serve as victims in human sacrifices, worshipped the
centipede: there was a shrine of the centipede god at Vaiau on the
eastern side of Mangaia.[31] Again, two gods, Tekuraaki and Utakea, were
supposed to be incarnate in the woodpecker.[32] A comprehensive
designation for divinities of all kinds was "the heavenly family" (_te
anau tuarangi_); and this celestial race included rats, lizards,
beetles, eels, sharks, and several kinds of birds. It was supposed that
"the heavenly family" had taken up their abode in these creatures.[33]
Nay, even inanimate objects, such as the triton-shell, sandstone, bits
of basalt, cinnet, and trees were believed to be thus tenanted by
gods.[34] The god Tane-kio, for example, was thought to be enshrined in
the planets Venus and Jupiter, and also, curiously enough, in cinnet
work.[35] Again, each tribe had its own sacred bird, which was supposed
to be sent by a god to warn the people of impending danger.[36] In these
superstitions it is possible that we have relics of totemism.

    [24] See above, pp. 182 _sqq._, 200 _sqq._

    [25] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    10 _sq._ 19. Another god called Turanga, who was worshipped at
    Aumoana, was also supposed to be incarnate in white and black
    spotted lizards. See _id._, _Life in the Southern Isles_, p. 96.

    [26] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    29 _sq._

    [27] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    79 _sq._

    [28] W. W. Gill, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 349.

    [29] W. W. Gill, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 347.
    Yet in the same passage the writer affirms that "there is no
    trace in the Eastern Pacific of the doctrine of transmigration
    of human souls, although the spirits of the dead are fabled to
    have assumed, temporarily, and for a specific purpose, the form
    of an insect, bird, fish, or cloud."

    [30] _Id._, _Life in the Southern Isles_, p. 289.

    [31] _Id._, _Life in the Southern Isles_, pp. 96, 308, 309.

    [32] _Id._, _Life in the Southern Isles_, p. 96.

    [33] _Id._, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp. 34

    [34] _Id._, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p. 32.

    [35] _Id._, _Life in the Southern Isles_, p. 96.

    [36] _Id._, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p. 35;
    _id._, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 349.

Originally, it is said, the gods spoke to men through the small land
birds, but the utterances of these creatures proved too indistinct to
guide the actions of mankind. Hence to meet this emergency an order of
priests was set apart, the gods actually taking up their abode, for the
time being, in their sacred persons. Hence priests were significantly
named "god-boxes" (_pia-atua_) a title which was generally abbreviated
to "gods," because they were believed to be living embodiments of the
divinities. When a priest was consulted, he drank a bowl of kava (_Piper
methysticum_), and falling into convulsions gave the oracular response
in language intelligible only to the initiated. The oracle so delivered,
from which there was no appeal, was thought to have been inspired by the
god, who had entered into the priest for the purpose.[37]

    [37] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p.
    35; _id._, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 349.

§ 5. _The Doctrine of the Human Soul_

Like other Polynesians, the Hervey Islanders believed that human beings
are animated by a vital principle or soul, which survives the death of
the body for a longer or shorter time. Indeed, they held that nobody
dies a strictly natural death except as an effect of extreme old age.
Nineteen out of twenty deaths were believed to be caused either by the
anger of the gods or by the incantations of "the praying people" or
sorcerers.[38] Hence, when a person fell ill, it was customary to
consult a priest in order to discover the nature of the sin which had
drawn down on the sufferer the wrath of the deity or the enmity of the
sorcerer.[39] But besides its final departure at death, the soul was
thought to quit the body temporarily on other occasions. In sleep it was
supposed to leave the sleeper and travel over the island, holding
converse with the dead, and even visiting the spirit-world. It was thus
that the islanders, like so many other savages, explained the phenomena
of dreams. We are told that some of the most important events in their
national history were determined by dreams.[40] Again, they explained
sneezing as the return of the soul to the body after a temporary
absence. Hence in Rarotonga, when a person sneezes, the bystanders
exclaim, as though addressing his spirit, "Ha! you have come back!"[41]

    [38] W. W. Gill, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 342.
    Compare _id._, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p. 35.

    [39] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p.
    35; _id._, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 339; _id._,
    _Life in the Southern Isles_, p. 70.

    [40] W. W. Gill, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 347.

    [41] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p.

How exactly the Hervey Islanders pictured to themselves the nature of
the human soul, appears not to be recorded. Probably their notions on
this obscure subject did not differ greatly from those of the natives of
Pukapuka or Danger Island, a lonely island situated some hundreds of
miles to the north-west of the Hervey Group. These savages apparently
conceived the soul as a small material substance that varied in size
with the dimensions of the body which it inhabited. For the sacred men
or sorcerers of that island used to set traps to catch the souls of
people, and the traps consisted of loops of coco-nut fibre, which
differed in size according as the soul to be caught in one of them was
fat or thin, or perhaps according as it was the soul of a child or that
of an adult. Two of these soul-traps were presented to Mr. W. W. Gill,
the first white missionary to land in Danger Island. The loops or rings
were arranged in pairs on each side of two cords, one of which was
twenty-eight feet long and the other fourteen. The mode of setting the
traps was this. If a person was very sick or had given offence to a
sorcerer, the offended wizard or priest would hang a soul-trap by night
from a branch of a tree overhanging the house of the sufferer or of the
person against whom he bore a grudge; then sitting down beside the snare
he would pretend to watch for the flight of the victim's spirit. If the
family enquired the sin for which the soul-trap had been set, the holy
man would probably allege some ceremonial fault committed by the sick
man against the gods. If an insect or small bird chanced to fly through
one of the loops, the priest would allege that the man's soul was caught
in the mesh, and that there was no hope for it but that the wretch must
die. In that case the demon Vaerua, who presided over the spirit-world,
was believed to hurry off the poor soul to the nether world, there to
feast upon it. The news that So-and-so had lost his soul would then
spread through the island, and great would be the lamentation. The
friends of the unhappy man would seek to propitiate the sorcerer by
large presents of food, begging him to intercede with the dread Vaerua
for the restoration of the lost soul. Sometimes the intercessions were
successful, and the patient recovered; but at other times the priest
reported that his prayers were of no avail, and that Vaerua could not
be induced to send back the soul to re-inhabit the body. The melancholy
tidings acted like a sentence of death. The patient gave up all hope and
soon pined away through sheer distress at the thought of his soul caught
in the trap.[42]

    [42] W. W. Gill, _Life in the Southern Isles_, pp. 180-183;
    _id._, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p. 171.

§ 6. _Death and Funeral Rites_

The moment a sick person expired, his near relatives cut off their hair,
blackened their faces, and slashed their bodies with shark's teeth, so
that the blood might stream down; in Rarotonga it was customary also to
knock out some of the front teeth in token of sorrow. During the days of
mourning people wore only native cloth, dyed red in the sap of the
candle-nut tree and then dipped in the black mud of a taro-patch. The
very foul smell of these garments is said to have been symbolical of the
putrescent state of the corpse;[43] perhaps at the same time, though we
are not told so, it helped to keep the ghost at arm's length.

    [43] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p.
    181; _id._, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 344.

That the mourners were not anxious to detain the departed spirit appears
from a custom observed by the Rarotongans and described by the
discoverer of the island, John Williams. He tells us that in order to
secure the admission of a departed spirit to future joys, the corpse was
dressed in the best attire the relatives could provide, the head was
wreathed with flowers, and other decorations were added. A pig was then
baked whole and placed on the body of the deceased, surrounded by a pile
of vegetable food. After that, supposing the departed to have been a
son, the father would thus address the corpse: "My son, when you were
alive I treated you with kindness, and when you were taken ill I did my
best to restore you to health; and now you are dead, there is your
_momoe o_, or property of admission. Go, my son, and with that gain an
entrance into the palace of Tiki,[44] and do not come to this world
again to disturb and alarm us." The whole would then be buried; and, if
they received no intimation to the contrary within a few days of the
interment, the relatives believed that the pig and the rest of the
victuals had obtained for the deceased an entrance to the abode of
bliss. If, however, a cricket was heard to chirp in the house, it was
deemed an ill omen, and they would immediately break into loud laments,
saying, for example, "Oh, our brother! his spirit has not entered the
paradise; he is suffering from hunger; he is shivering with cold!"
Forthwith the grave would be opened and the offering repeated. This
usually effected the purpose.[45]

    [44] The name of the god of the Rarotongan paradise.

    [45] John Williams, _Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the
    South Sea Islands_, pp. 477 _sq._

In Rarotonga the provisions which were buried with the dead person as an
offering to Tiki sometimes consisted of the head and kidneys of a hog, a
split coco-nut, and a root of kava; in the island of Aitutaki it was
usual to place at the pit of the stomach of the corpse the kernel of a
coco-nut, and a piece of sugar-cane; in Mangaia the extremity of a
coco-nut frond served the same purpose of propitiating Tiki and ensuring
the entrance of the ghost into paradise.[46]

    [46] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    170 _sq._

The bodies of the dead were anointed with scented oil, carefully wrapt
up in a number of cloths, and so committed to their last resting-place.
They were never disembowelled for the purpose of embalming, but some
were desiccated by being kept for about a month and daily anointed with
coco-nut oil. A few were buried in the earth within the precincts of a
sacred grove (_marae_); but by far the greater number were hidden in
caves which were regarded as the private property of certain families.
The bodies of warriors were in general carefully concealed by their
friends, lest foes should find and burn them in revenge. If a body were
buried in the earth, it was always laid face downwards, with chin and
knees meeting, and the limbs well secured with coco-nut fibre. A thin
covering of earth was spread over the corpse, and large heavy stones
were piled on the grave. "The intention," we are informed, "was to
render it impossible for the dead to rise up and injure the living." The
head of the corpse was always turned to the rising sun. It was customary
to bury with the dead some article of value: a woman would have her
cloth-mallet laid by her side, while a man would enjoin his friends to
bury with him a favourite stone adze or a beautiful white shell (_Ovula
ovum_, Linn.) which he had worn in the dance. Such articles were never
afterwards touched by the living. Many people were buried in easily
accessible caves, that their relatives might visit the mouldering
remains from time to time. On such visits the corpse might be again
exposed to the sun, anointed afresh with oil, and wrapt in new cloth.
But as the sorrow of the survivors abated, these visits became less and
less frequent, and finally ceased.[47]

    [47] W. W. Gill, _Life in the Southern Isles_, pp. 72-76; _id._,
    "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 343.

A death in a family was the signal for a change of names among the near
relatives of the deceased. The greatest ingenuity was exercised in
devising new appellations. Sometimes these names were most offensive to
good taste. This custom of changing names after the death of a relative
has survived the conversion of the natives to Christianity;[48] probably
it originated in a desire to avoid the unwelcome attentions of the
ghost, who might be thought to be attracted by the sound of the familiar

    [48] W. W. Gill, _Life in the Southern Isles_, pp. 78 _sq._;
    _id._, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 344.

    [49] See _The Golden Bough_, Part II., _Taboo and the Perils of
    the Soul_, pp. 356 _sqq._

As soon as the corpse was committed to its last resting-place, the
mourners selected five old coco-nuts, opened them one after the other,
and poured the water on the ground. These nuts were then wrapt up in
leaves and native cloth and thrown towards the grave; or, if the corpse
had been let down by cords into the deep chasm called Auraka, the nuts
and other food would be cast down successively upon it. Calling loudly
each time the name of the departed, they said, "Here is thy food; eat
it." When the fifth nut and the accompanying pudding were thrown down,
the mourners cried, "Farewell! we come back no more to thee."[50]

    [50] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p.
    187; _id._, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 344.

Immediately after a decease a remarkable custom was observed in Mangaia.
A messenger was despatched to bear the tidings round the island. On
reaching the boundary of each district, he paused to give the war-shout
peculiar to the people of the district, adding, "So-and-so is dead."
Thereupon near relatives would start off at once for the house of the
deceased, each carrying a present of native cloth. Most of the athletic
young men of the entire island on the day following united in a series
of sham-fights called _ta i te mauri_ or "slaying the ghosts." The
district where the corpse lay represented the _mauri_ or ghosts. The
young men belonging to it early in the morning arrayed themselves as if
for battle, and, well armed, started off for the adjoining district,
where the young men were drawn up in battle array under the name of
_aka-oa_ or "friends." Having performed the war-dance, the two parties
rushed together, clashing their spears and wooden swords, as though
fighting in good earnest. The sufferers in this bloodless conflict were
supposed to be malignant spirits, who would thus be deterred from doing
further mischief to mortals. After the mock battle the combatants
united, and, being collectively called _mauri_ or "ghosts," passed on to
the third district. Throughout the day their leader carried the sacred
_iku kikau_, or coco-nut leaf, at the pit of his stomach, like a dead
man. Arrived at the third village, they found the younger men ready for
the friendly conflict and bearing the name of _aka-oa_ or "friends." The
battle of the ghosts was fought over again, and then with swelling
numbers they passed on to the fourth, fifth, and sixth districts, in
every one of them fighting and thrashing the ghosts afresh. Repairing at
last with united forces to the place where the corpse was laid out in
state, the brave ghost-killers were there entertained at a feast, after
which all, except the near relatives, returned to their various homes at
nightfall. So similar to actual warfare was this custom of fighting the
ghosts that it went by the name of "a younger brother of war."[51]
Apparently every death was attributed to the action of ghosts who had
carried off the soul of the departed brother or sister; and in order to
prevent a repetition of the catastrophe it was deemed necessary to repel
or even to slay the ghostly assailants by force of arms.

    [51] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    268 _sq._

The mourning ceremonies lasted from ten to fifteen days according to the
rank and age of the deceased. During the whole period no beating of bark
for the manufacture of the native cloth was permitted in the district
where the death had occurred. A woman who wished to beat out her
bark-cloth must go to another part of the island. This rule is said to
have been dictated by a fear of offending the female demon Mueu, who
introduced the beating of bark-cloth into the world, but who herself
beats out cloth of a very different texture; for her cloth-flail is the
stroke of death.[52]

    [52] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p.

Some months after the decease of a person of note funeral games called
_eva_ were performed in honour of the departed. These ceremonies
invariably took place by day. They were of four sorts.

First, there was the _eva tapara_, or "funeral dirge." In this the
mourners appeared with blackened faces, shaved heads, streaming blood,
and stinking garments. This, we are told, was a most repulsive

    [53] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p.

Second, there was the _eva puruki_ or "war dirge." In this the people
arrayed themselves in two columns facing each other, both sides armed
with spears made of a brittle kind of wood instead of the fatal
iron-wood (_Casuarina equasitifolia_), out of which the spears used in
real warfare were made. The performance began with an animated
conversation between the leaders of the two squadrons of supposed
enemies as to the grounds for war. When this was concluded, the person
most nearly related to the deceased began the history of the heroic
deeds of the clan by slowly chanting the introductory words. At the
appointed pause both companies took up the strain and chanted it
vigorously together, the mighty chorus being accompanied by the clash of
spears and all the evolutions of war. Then followed a momentary pause,
after which a new story would be introduced by the musical voice of the
chief mourner, to be caught up and recited in full chorus by both
companies as before. These war-dirges were most carefully elaborated,
and they embodied the only histories of the past known to these

    [54] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p.

Third, there was the _eva toki_ or "axe dirge." In this ceremony the
performers, armed with mimic axes of iron-wood instead of stone, used
to cleave the cruel earth which had swallowed up the dead; and as they
smote the ground, with tears streaming down their cheeks, they expressed
a vain wish that so they might open up a passage through which the
spirit of the departed might return. This axe-dirge was appropriate to
artisans only, who enjoyed great consideration because their skill was
believed to be a gift of the gods.[55]

    [55] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    272 _sq._

Fourth, there was the _eva ta_ or "crashing dirge." In this ceremony two
supposed armies were arrayed against each other as in the "war dirge,"
but differed from it both in the style of composition and in the weapons
employed, the combatants being armed with flat spears or wooden swords.
In the dialogue or songs the death of their friends was explained by the
anger of the gods, for which reasons were assigned. These performances
generally concluded with a sort of comedy, the nature of which has not
been described.[56]

    [56] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p.

Sometimes, instead of these funeral games or ceremonies, a grand tribal
gathering was held for the sake of reciting songs in honour of the
illustrious dead. Such an assembly met in a large house built for the
purpose and well lighted with torches, for the doleful concert always
took place at night. As many as sixty songs might be prepared for the
occasion and mournfully chanted to the accompanying drone of the great
wooden drum. Every adult male relative was bound to recite a song; if he
could not compose one himself, he had to pay a more gifted person to
furnish him with the appropriate words. Some of the songs or ballads of
a touching nature were much admired and long remembered. Several months
were needed for the preparation of such a performance or "death-talk,"
as it was called. Not only had the songs to be composed and the dresses
made, but a liberal supply of food had to be provided for the

    [57] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    269-271; _id._, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 345.

In general all mourning ceremonies were over within a year of the death.
But we hear of a chief of the island of Atiu who mourned for seven years
for an only child, living all that time in a hut near the grave, and
allowing his hair and nails to grow, and his body to remain unwashed. He
was the wonder of all the islanders.[58]

    [58] W. W. Gill, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 345.

Among the caverns in which, in the island of Mangaia, the dead used to
be deposited, two are particularly famous. One of them, at Tamarua, is
the chasm called Raupa or "leafy entrance" on account of the dense
growth of hibiscus which formerly surrounded this supposed entrance to
the shades. It was the ancient burial-place of the Tongan tribe, the
descendants of a band of Tongans, who had landed in Mangaia and settled
there. The chasm is a hundred and fifty feet deep and has two openings,
the smaller of which was used only for chiefs and priests. The other
famous sepulchral cavern, called Auraka, is situated on the western side
of the island. It was the grand depository of the dead of the ruling
families, who claimed to be descended from the great god Rongo. This
chasm is not nearly so deep as Raupa, but, like it, has two entrances;
the one sacred and the other profane; the former was reserved for the
bodies of the nobility, the latter for the bodies of commoners. Besides
these ceremonial entrances there are many natural openings into the vast
subterranean cave, for the rock is everywhere perforated. It is possible
by torchlight to explore the gloomy recesses of the cavern, which in
some places contracts to the narrowest dimensions, while in others it
expands till the roof is almost lost to sight. Hundreds of
well-preserved mummies may be seen lying in rows, some on ledges of
stalactite, others on wooden platforms. Mr. Gill, who thrice visited the
cave, judged that some of the bodies were over fifty years old. The
whole neighbourhood of the great cavern was deemed sacred to wandering
disembodied spirits, who were believed to come up at midnight and
exhibit the ghastly wounds by which they had met their fate.[59]

    [59] W. W. Gill, _Life in the Southern Isles_, pp. 71 _sq._ As
    to the settlement of a Tongan colony in Mangaia, see _id._,
    _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp. 287 _sq._ In
    native tradition the colonists were spoken of as "Tongans
    sailing through the skies" (_Tongaiti-akareva-moana_). Their
    leader was the first high-priest of the god Turanga.

§ 7. _The Fate of the Human Soul after Death_

The home of the departed spirits was believed to be a vast subterranean
region called Avaiki. The natives of Mangaia believed that this
mysterious region was situated directly under their island. "As the dead
were usually thrown down the deepest chasms, it was not unnatural for
their friends to imagine the earth to be hollow, and the entrance to
this vast nether world to be down one of these pits. No one can wonder
at this who knows that the outer portion of Mangaia is a honeycomb, the
rock being pierced in every direction with winding caves and frightful
chasms. It is asserted that the Mission premises at Oneroa are built
over one of these great caverns, which extends so far towards the sea
that the beating of the surf can be distinctly heard, whilst the water,
purified from its saline particles, continually drips from the stony
roof." The inland opening into the infernal regions was believed to be
the great cavern of Auraka, in which, as we have just seen, so many of
the dead were deposited.[60]

    [60] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.

However, Avaiki was not the home of the ghosts alone; it was tenanted
also by the gods, both the greater and the lesser, with their
dependants. There they married, and multiplied, and quarrelled, just
like mortals. There they planted, cooked, fished, and inhabited
dwellings of exactly the same sort as exist on earth. Their food was no
better than that of mortals. There might be seen birds, fish, and rats,
likewise the mantis, centipedes, and beetles. There the coco-nut palm,
the pandanus, and the myrtle flourished, and yams grew in abundance. The
gods committed murder and adultery; they got drunk; they lied; they
stole. The arts and crafts were also practised by the deities, who
indeed taught them to mankind. The visible world, in short, was but a
gross copy of the spiritual and invisible world. If fire burns, it is
because latent flame was hidden in wood by the god Mauike in Hades. If
the axe cleaves, it is because the fairy of the axe is present unseen in
the blade. If the ironwood club kills its man, it is because a fierce
demon from Tonga lives in the weapon.[61]

    [61] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p.

The old high-road to the spirit-land used to start from a place called
Aremauku, on a cliff overhanging the western ocean. By this road a
regular communication was formerly kept up with the infernal regions. It
was by this route, for example, that the hero Maui descended in ancient
days to the home of the fire-god Mauike and brought up fire for the use
of men. However, the denizens of spirit-land in time grew very
troublesome by constantly coming up and afflicting mankind with disease
and death; they also created a dearth by stealing people's food, and
they even ravished their wives. To put an end to these perpetual
annoyances a brave and beautiful woman, Tiki by name, rolled herself
alive down into the gloomy chasm which led to the infernal world. The
yawning abyss closed on her, and there has been no thoroughfare ever
since. The spirits have not been able to come up from Avaiki by that
road, and the souls of the dead have been equally unable to go down by
it; they are now obliged to descend by a different route.[62]

    [62] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    154 _sq._

After their departure from the body the spirits of the dead wandered
disconsolately along the seashore, picking their steps painfully among
the sharp spikes of the coral and stumbling over the bindweed and thick
vines which caught their feet. The fragrant smell of the heliotrope,
which grows luxuriantly among these barren and rugged rocks, afforded
them a little relief, and they wore a red creeper, like a turban, round
their heads; the rest of their costume was a miscellaneous collection of
weeds which they had picked up in the course of their wanderings. Twice
a year, at the summer and winter solstices, they mustered to follow the
setting sun down into the under world. They gathered at the two points
of the island which face towards the rising of the sun at these two
seasons of the year. At the summer solstice, in January, he seems to
rise out of the sea opposite to Ana-Kura, that is, the Red Cave, so
called because it receives the red rays of the morning. It was there
that by far the greater number of the ghosts gathered for their last
sad journey with the sun: they all belonged to the southern half of the
island. The other point of ghostly muster was called Karanga-iti or "the
Little Welcome"; it faced towards the rising of the sun at the winter
solstice in June, and it was there that the ghosts born in the northern
half of the island assembled. Thus many months might elapse between a
death and the final departure of the soul from the land of the living.
The weary interval was spent by the spirits in dancing and revisiting
their old homes. As a rule they were well disposed to their living
relatives, but the ghost of a mother would often grow vindictive when
she saw her pet child ill-treated by its stepmother. Sometimes, weary of
wandering, the poor ghosts huddled together in the Red Cave, waiting for
the midsummer sun and listening to the monotonous moan of the great
rollers, which break there eternally.[63]

    [63] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.

The exact moment of departure was fixed by the leader of the band. As
the time drew near, messengers were despatched to call in the stray
ghosts who might be lingering near their ancient haunts. Tearfully they
gathered at the Red Cave or on a grassy lawn above it, out of reach of
the foam and the billows. All kept their eyes on the spot of the horizon
where the sun was expected to appear. At the first streak of dawn the
whole band took their departure to meet the rising orb of day. That
done, they followed in his train as nearly as might be, flitting behind
or beneath him across the rolling waters or the rocks and stones of the
coast, till towards the close of day they all mustered at Vairo-rongo,
"the Sacred Stream of Rongo," facing towards the setting sun. The spot
is so named from a little rivulet which there rushes out of the stones
at the sacred grove (_marae_) of Rongo: none but priests and kings might
bathe there in days of old. At the moment when the sun sank beneath the
horizon, the entire band of ghosts followed him along the golden track
of light across the shimmering sea and descended in his train to the
nether world, but not like him to reappear on the morrow.[64]

    [64] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    157 _sq._

There were three such points of departure for the spirit-land in
Mangaia, all facing the setting sun. Each of them was known as a
_Reinga vaerua_ or "leaping-place of souls." One of them was at Oneroa,
where a rocky bluff stands out by itself like a giant looking towards
the west. To it a band of souls from the great cavern of Auraka used to
go in mournful procession, and from it they leaped one by one to a
second and much smaller block of stone resting on the inner edge of the
reef; thence they passed to the outer brink of the reef, on which the
surf beats ceaselessly, and from which at sunset they flitted over the
ocean to sink with the great luminary into the land of the dead.

Such appears to have been the general notion of the people concerning
the departure of human souls at death in Mangaia. Similar ideas
prevailed in the other islands of the group, in all of which the
"leaping-place of souls" was regularly situated on the western coast of
the island.[65]

    [65] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    159 _sq._

The teaching of the priests added many particulars to this general
account of the journey of the soul to the nether world. According to
them the souls of the dying, before life was quite extinct, left their
bodies and travelled towards the edge of the cliff at Araia, near the
sacred grove (_marae_) of Rongo, which faced westward. But if on its way
to this fatal bourne the soul of the dying chanced to meet a friendly
spirit who cried to it, "Go back and live," the departing soul would
joyfully return to its forsaken body, and the sick man or woman would
revive. This was the native explanation of fainting. But if no friendly
spirit intervened to save the passing soul, it pursued its way to the
edge of the cliff. On its arrival a great wave of the sea washed the
base of the crag, and a gigantic _bua_ tree (_Beslaria laurifolia_),
covered with fragrant blossoms, sprang up from Avaiki to receive the
ghost. The tree had as many branches as there were principal gods in
Mangaia, and every ghost had to perch on the particular branch allotted
to members of his or her tribe; the worshippers of the great gods, such
as Motoro and Tane, had separate boughs provided for their
accommodation; while the worshippers of the lesser deities huddled
together on a single big branch.[66]

    [66] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    160 _sq._; _id._, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 346.

No sooner had the ghost perched on the place appointed for him than down
plumped the tree with him into the nether world. Looking down to see
where he was going, what was the horror of the ghost to perceive a great
net spread by Akaanga and his assistants to catch him at the foot of the
tree! Into this fatal net the doomed spirit inevitably fell to sink in a
lake of fresh water and there to wriggle like a fish for a time. At last
the net was pulled up with the ghost in it, who, half-drowned, was now
ushered trembling into the presence of the grim hag Miru, generally
known as "the Ruddy," because her face reflected the glowing heat of the
ever-burning oven in which she cooked her ghostly victims. At first,
however, she fed, and perhaps fattened, them on a diet of black beetles,
red earth-worms, crabs, and small blackbirds. Thus refreshed, they had
next to drain bowls of strong kava brewed by the fair hands of the hag's
four lovely daughters. Reduced to a state of insensibility by the
intoxicating beverage, the ghosts were then borne off without a struggle
to the oven and cooked. On the substance of these hapless victims Miru
and her son and her peerless daughters regularly subsisted. The leavings
of the meal were thrown to the servants. Such was the fate of all who
died what we should call a natural death, and therefore of all cowards,
women, and children. They were annihilated.[67]

    [67] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    161 _sq._; _id._, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ pp. 346

Not so with warriors who fell fighting on the field of battle. For a
time, indeed, their souls wandered about among the rocks and trees where
their bodies were thrown, the ghastly wounds by which they met their
fate being still visible. The plaintive chirping of a certain cricket,
rarely seen but heard continually at night, was believed to be the voice
of the slain warriors sorrowfully calling to their friends. At last the
first who fell would gather his brother ghosts at a place a little
beyond Araia, on the edge of the cliff and facing the sunset. There they
would linger for a time. But suddenly a mountain sprang up at their
feet, and they ascended it over the spears and clubs which had given
them their mortal wounds. Arrived at the summit they leaped up into the
blue expanse, thus becoming the peculiar clouds of the winter or dry
season. During the rainy season they could mount up to the warriors'
paradise in the sky. In June, the first month of winter, the atmosphere
was pervaded by these ghosts, to whom the chilliness of death still
clung. For days together their thronging shapes hid the sun, dimming the
sky and spreading among men the heaviness and oppression of spirits
which are characteristic of the season. But with the early days of
August, when the coral-tree puts forth its blood-red blossoms and the
sky grows mottled with light fleecy clouds, the ghosts of the brave
prepare to take flight for heaven. Soon the sky is cloudless, the
weather bright and warm. The ghosts have fled away, and the living
resume their wonted avocations in quiet and comfort.[68]

    [68] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    162 _sq._

In their celestial home the spirits of the slain are immortal. There, in
memory of their deeds on earth, they dance their old war dances over
again, decked with gay flowers--the white gardenia, the yellow _bua_,
the golden fruit of the pandanus, and the dark crimson, bell-like
blossom of the native laurel, intertwined with myrtle; and from their
blissful heights they look down with pity and disgust on the wretched
souls in Avaiki entangled in the fatal net and besmeared with filth. For
the spirits of the slain in battle are strong and vigorous, their bodies
never having been wasted by disease; whereas the spirits of those who
die a natural death are excessively feeble and weak, like their bodies
at the moment of dissolution. The natural result of such beliefs was to
breed an utter contempt for a violent death, nay even a desire to seek
it. Many stories are told of aged warriors, scarcely able to hold a
spear, who have insisted on being led to the battlefield in the hope of
finding a soldier's death and gaining a soldier's paradise.[69]

    [69] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    163 _sq._

Beliefs of the same general character concerning the fate of the dead
prevailed in other islands of the Hervey Group. Thus in Rarotonga the
great meeting-place of the ghosts was at Tuoro, facing the sunset. There
at a stately tree, called "the Weeping Laurel," the disembodied spirits
used to bewail their hard fate. If no pitying spirit sent him back to
life, the ghost had to scramble up a branch of an ancient _bua_ tree
which grew on the spot. Should the bough break under his weight, the
ghost was precipitated into the net which Muru had spread out for him in
a natural circular hollow of the rock. A lively ghost might break the
meshes of the net and escape for a while, but passing on to the outer
edge of the reef, in the hope of traversing the ocean, he inevitably
fell into another net artfully concealed by Akaanga. From this second
net escape was impossible. The demons drew the captive ghosts out of the
nets, and ruthlessly dashing out their brains on the sharp coral they
carried off the shattered victims in triumph to devour them in the lower
world. Ghosts from Ngatangiia ascended the noble mountain range which
stretches across the island, dipping into the sea at Tuoro.
Inexpressibly weary and sad was this journey over a road which foot of
living wight had never trod. The departed spirits of this tribe met at a
great iron-wood tree, of which some branches were green and others dead.
The souls that trod on the green branches came back to life; but the
souls that crawled on to the dead boughs were at once caught in the net
either of Muru or of Akaanga.[70]

    [70] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, pp.
    169 _sq._; _id._, "Mangaia (Hervey Islands)," _op. cit._ p. 346.

In Rarotonga, as in Mangaia, the lot of warriors who died in battle was
much happier than that of the poor wretches who had the misfortune to
die quietly in bed or to be otherwise ignominiously snuffed out. The
gallant ghosts were said to join Tiki, who in Rarotonga appears to have
been a dead warrior, whereas in Mangaia, as we saw, Tiki was a dead
woman. In the Rarotongan Hades, which also went by the name of Avaiki,
this Tiki sat at the threshold of a very long house built with walls of
reeds, and surrounded by shrubs and flowers of fadeless bloom and
never-failing perfume. Each ghost on his arrival had to make an offering
to the warder Tiki, who, thus propitiated, admitted him to the house.
There, sitting at their ease, eating, drinking, dancing, or sleeping,
the brave of past ages dwelt in unwithering beauty and perpetual youth;
there they welcomed newcomers, and there they told the story of their
heroic exploits on earth and fought their old battles over again. But
ghosts who had nothing to give to Tiki were compelled to stay outside in
rain and darkness for ever, shivering with cold and hunger, watching
with envious eyes the joyous revels of the inmates, and racked with the
vain desire of being admitted to share them.[71]

    [71] W. W. Gill, _Myths and Songs from the South Pacific_, p.
    170; John Williams, _Narrative of Missionary  Enterprises in
    the South Sea Islands_, pp. 476 _sq._

Such beliefs in the survival of the soul after death may have nerved the
warrior with fresh courage in battle; but they can have contributed but
little to the happiness and consolation of ordinary people, who could
apparently look forward to nothing better in the life hereafter than
being cooked and eaten by a hideous hag.



§ 1. _The Society Islands_

The Society Islands are a large and scattered archipelago in the South
Pacific, situated within 16° and 18° of South latitude, and between 148°
and 155° of West longitude. They lie some three hundred miles from the
Hervey or Cook Islands, from which they are separated by the open sea.
The islands form a chain nearly two hundred miles in length, extending
from north-west to south-east, and fall into two groups, an eastern and
a western, which, on account of the prevailing wind, are known
respectively as the Windward and Leeward Islands. The Windward or
eastern group includes Eimeo or Moörea in the west, Maitea in the east,
and Tahiti, the principal island of the whole archipelago, in the
centre. In the Leeward or western group the chief islands are Huahine,
Raiatea, Tahaa, and Borabora. The islands appear to have been first
discovered by the Spanish navigator Fernandez de Quiros in 1606 or 1607,
but after him they were lost sight of till 1767, when they were
rediscovered by Wallis. A few years later they were repeatedly visited
by Captain Cook, who gave the first full and accurate description of the
islands and their inhabitants.[1]

    [1] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_, i. 6 _sq._; A. v.
    H[ügel], "Tahiti," _Encyclopaedia Britannica_, Ninth Edition,
    xxiii. 22, 24; C. E. Meinicke, _Die Inseln des Stillen Oceans_,
    ii. 151 _sqq._; F. H. H. Guillemard, _Australasia_, ii. 510. As
    to Wallis's discovery of the islands see J. Hawkesworth,
    _Voyages_, i. (London, 1773) pp. 433 _sqq._; R. Kerr, _General
    History and Collection of Voyages and Travels_, xii. (Edinburgh,
    1814) pp. 164 _sqq._

The islands, with the exception of a few flat lagoon islands, are of
volcanic formation, high and mountainous, consisting for the most part
of a central peak or peaks of bold and striking outline, which descend
in steep ridges towards the sea, sometimes reaching the coast, but
oftener leaving a broad stretch of flat and very fertile land between
their last slopes and the beach. Between the ridges lie deep and
beautiful valleys, watered by winding streams and teeming with luxuriant
vegetation. The rocks of which the islands consist are all igneous,
chiefly trachyte, dolerite, basalt, and lava. They are considered by
geologists to present perhaps the most wonderful and instructive example
of volcanic rocks to be seen on the globe. Yet, though the islands are
judged to be of comparatively recent formation, there are no traces of
volcanic action in them at the present time. The craters have
disappeared: hot springs do not exist; and earthquakes are rare.[2]

    [2] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_, i. 11 _sqq._; C. E.
    Meinicke, _op. cit._ ii. 152 _sq._; A. v. H[ügel], _op. cit._
    p. 22; F. H. H. Guillemard, _op. cit._ p. 513.

The Society Islands, and Tahiti in particular, are famous for the beauty
of their natural scenery; indeed, by general consent they appear to rank
as the fairest islands in the Pacific. Travellers vie with each other in
praise of their enchanting loveliness. Tahiti, the largest island of the
group, may be taken as typical of them all. It consists of two almost
circular islands united by a very low and narrow neck of land: the
northern and larger island is known as Tahiti the Great (Tahiti nui),
the southern and smaller island is known as Tahiti the Little (Tahiti
iti). In the centre of each island the mountains rise in craggy peaks,
sometimes in the shape of pyramids or sugar-loaves, their rocky sides
clothed with every variety of verdure, and enlivened here and there by
cataracts falling from lofty cliffs, while the shore is washed by the
white-crested waves of the Pacific breaking in foam on the coral reefs
or dashing in spray on the beach. The scene is especially striking when
beheld for the first time from the sea at sunrise on a fine morning.
Then the happy combination of land and water, of precipices and plains,
of umbrageous trees drooping their pendent boughs over the sea, and
distant mountains shown in sublime outline and richest hues, all blended
in the harmony of nature, produces in the beholder sensations of
admiration and delight. The inland scenery is of a different character,
but not less impressive. There the prospect is occasionally extensive,
but more frequently circumscribed. There is, however, a startling
boldness in the towering piles of basalt, often heaped in picturesque
confusion near the source or margin of some crystal stream that flows in
silence at their base, or plashes purling over the rocks that obstruct
its bed; and there is the wildness of romance about the deep and lonely
glens, from which the mountains rise like the steep sides of a natural
amphitheatre till they seem to support the clouds that rest upon their
summits. In the character of the teeming vegetation, too, from the
verdant moss that drapes the rocks to the rich foliage of the
bread-fruit tree, the luxuriance of the pandanus, and the waving plumes
of the coconut palm, all nurtured by a prolific soil and matured by the
genial heat of a tropical climate, there is enough to arrest the
attention and to strike the imagination of the wanderer, who, in the
unbroken silence that reigns in these pleasing solitudes, may easily
fancy himself astray in fairyland and treading enchanted ground.[3]

    [3] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_, i. 14-18. Compare J.
    Cook, _Voyages_, i. 172 _sqq._; G. Forster, _Voyage round the
    World_ (London, 1777), i. 253 _sq._; J. Wilson, _Missionary
    Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean_, pp. 321 _sqq._; D.
    Tyerman and G. Bennet, _Journal of Voyages and Travels_ (London,
    1831), i. 58 _sq._, 108 _sqq._, 136 _sqq._, 206 _sq._, 234
    _sq._, 316 _sq._, 555 _sq._, ii. 51-53, 59-61; F. H. H.
    Guillemard, _op. cit._ pp. 511 _sqq._ C. E. Meinicke, _op. cit._
    ii. 152 _sq._; A. Baessler, _Neue Südsee-Bilder_ (Berlin, 1900),
    pp. 29 _sqq._

§ 2. _The Islanders and their Mode of Life_

The islanders are, or were at the date of their discovery by Europeans,
fine specimens of the Polynesian race, being tall, well-proportioned,
and robust. Captain Cook described them as of the largest size of
Europeans. Their complexion varies from olive to bronze and
reddish-brown, frequently presenting a hue intermediate between the
yellow of the Malay and the copper-colour of the American Indians. The
hair is shining black or dark brown, usually straight, but often soft
and curly; never lank and wiry like that of the American Indians, and
only in rare cases woolly or frizzly like that of the Papuans. The men
have beards, which they used to wear in a variety of fashions, always,
however, plucking out the greater part. The shape of the face is comely,
and the facial angle is often as perpendicular as in Europeans. The
cheek-bones are not high; the nose is either straight or aquiline, often
accompanied by a fulness about the nostrils; it is seldom flat, though
it was formerly the practice of mothers and nurses to press the nostrils
of the female children, a broad flat nose being by many regarded as a
beauty. The mouth in general is well formed, though the lips are
sometimes large and protuberant, yet never so much as to resemble the
lips of negroes; the chin is usually prominent. The general aspect of
the face very seldom presents any likeness to the Tartar or Mongolian
cast of countenance; while the profile frequently bears a most striking
resemblance to that of Europeans. A roundness and fulness of figure, not
usually extending to corpulency, is characteristic of the race,
especially of the women. In general physique they resemble the Sandwich
Islanders and Tonga Islanders; according to Ellis, they are more robust
than the Marquesans, but inferior in size and strength to the Maoris.[4]

    [4] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 175 _sq._; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 79
    _sqq._; C. E. Meinicke, _op. cit._ ii. 171; F. H. H. Guillemard,
    _op. cit._ pp. 513 _sq._

Their diet is chiefly vegetable; when Captain Cook visited the islands,
the only tame animals were hogs, dogs, and poultry. Bread-fruit, taro,
yams, bananas, and coconuts are their staple food; the bread-fruit in
particular has been called their staff of life. Taro and yams are
carefully cultivated by the natives, and they also grow the sweet potato
as an article of food, though to a less extent than the other two roots;
in quality the sweet potato of Tahiti is far inferior to that of the
Sandwich Islands. The sea affords a great variety of fish and
shell-fish, which the natives catch and eat; nothing that the sea
produces is said to come amiss to them. Hogs and dogs were in olden
times the only quadrupeds whose flesh was eaten by the Tahitians; but
for the most part they rarely tasted meat, subsisting almost exclusively
on a diet of fruit, vegetables, and fish.[5]

    [5] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 185 _sq._ vi. 139 _sqq._; W. Ellis,
    _op. cit._ i. 36 _sqq._, 70 _sqq._; J. A. Moerenhout, _Voyages
    aux Îles du Grand Ocean_ (Paris, 1837), ii. 93 _sqq._; C. E.
    Meinicke, _op. cit._ ii. 171 _sq._

The common houses were of an oblong shape, usually from eighteen to
twenty-four feet in length, by eleven feet in width, the long sides
being parallel to each other, but the two ends commonly rounded,
especially in the houses of chiefs. The thatched roofs were supported on
three parallel rows of wooden posts, and there being no outer walls and
no partitions, the wind blew freely through them. The floor was covered
with mats, forming a single cushion, on which the people sat by day and
slept at night. In some houses there was a single stool appropriated to
the use of the master of the family; otherwise an ordinary dwelling
contained little or no furniture except a few small blocks of wood,
hollowed out on the upper surface so as to form head-rests or pillows.
The houses served chiefly as dormitories and as shelters in rain: the
people took their meals in the open air. Chiefs, however, often owned
houses of much larger dimensions, which were built and maintained for
them at the common expense of the district. Some of these chiefly
dwellings were two hundred feet long, thirty feet broad, and twenty feet
high under the ridge; one of them, belonging to the king, measured three
hundred and seventy feet in length. We read of houses which could
contain two or three thousand people;[6] and of one particular house in
Tahiti we are informed that it was no less than three hundred and
ninety-seven feet long by forty-eight feet broad, and that the roof was
supported in the middle by twenty wooden pillars, each twenty-one feet
high, while the sides or eaves of the roof rested on one hundred and
twenty-four pillars, each ten feet high. A wooden wall or fence enclosed
the whole. This great house was used for the celebration of feasts,
which sometimes lasted for days together, and at which nearly all the
hogs in the island were consumed.[7]

    [6] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 181 _sqq._; J. Wilson, _op. cit._ pp.
    341 _sq._; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 170 _sqq._; J. A. Moerenhout,
    _op. cit._ ii. 84 _sqq._ As to the wooden head-rests see W.
    Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 188 _sq._

    [7] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ pp. 213 _sq._

Like all the Polynesians down to the date of their discovery by
Europeans, the inhabitants of the Society Islands were totally ignorant
of the use and even of the existence of the metals, and they had to
employ substitutes, chiefly stone and bone, for the manufacture of their
tools and weapons. Of their tools Captain Cook gives the following
account: "They have an adze of stone; a chisel, or gouge, of bone,
generally that of a man's arm between the wrist and elbow; a rasp of
coral; and the skin of a sting-ray, with coral sand, as a filer or
polisher. This is a complete catalogue of their tools, and with these
they build houses, construct canoes, hew stone, and fell, cleave, carve,
and polish timber. The stone which makes the blade of their adzes is a
kind of basaltes, of a blackish or grey colour, not very hard, but of
considerable toughness: they are of different sizes; some, that are
intended for felling, weigh from six to eight pounds; others, that are
used for carving, not more than so many ounces; but it is necessary to
sharpen both almost every minute; for which purpose, a stone and a
cocoa-nut shell full of water are always at hand. Their greatest
exploit, to which these tools are less equal than to any other, is
felling a tree; this requires many hands, and the constant labour of
several days."[8] The earliest missionaries expressed their astonishment
that with such simple tools the natives could carve so neatly and finish
so smoothly; our most ingenious workmen, they declared, could not excel

    [8] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 204 _sq._

    [9] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 400.

The principal manufacture of the Society Islanders was the making of the
cloth which they used for their garments. The material for the cloth was
furnished by the bark of several trees, including the paper-mulberry,
the bread-fruit tree, and a species of wild fig-tree. Having been
stripped from the tree and soaked in water, the bark was spread out on a
beam and beaten with heavy wooden mallets, till it was reduced to the
proper degree of thinness and flexibility. The finest and most valuable
kind of cloth was made chiefly, and sometimes entirely, from the bark of
the paper-mulberry and was bleached pure white. But vegetable dyes were
also commonly employed to stain the cloth with a variety of hues
arranged in patterns. The favourite colours were a brilliant scarlet and
a bright yellow; Captain Cook described the scarlet as exceedingly
beautiful, brighter and more delicate than any we have in Europe; it was
produced by a mixture of the juices of two vegetables, the fruit of a
species of fig and the leaves of the _Cordia sebastina_ or _etou_ tree.
The patterns were in this bright scarlet on a yellow ground; formerly
they were altogether devoid of uniformity or regularity, yet exhibited a
considerable degree of taste. The bales of bark-cloth were sometimes as
much as two hundred yards long by four yards wide; the whole bale was in
a single piece, being composed of narrow strips joined together by being
beaten with grooved mallets. A chief's wealth was sometimes estimated by
the number of bales which he possessed; the more valuable sort, covered
with matting or cloth of an inferior sort, were generally hung from the
roof of his house. The manufacture of cloth was chiefly in the hands of
women; indeed it was one of their most usual employments. Even women of
high rank did not disdain this form of industry; the wives and daughters
of chiefs took a pride in manufacturing cloth of a superior quality,
excelling that produced by common women in the elegance of the patterns
or the brilliance of the dyes. Every family had a little house where the
females laboured at the making of cloth; but in addition every district
had a sort of public factory, consisting of a spacious house where
immense quantities of cloth were produced on the occasion of festivals,
the visits of great chiefs, or other solemnities. In such a factory the
women would often assemble to the number of two or three hundred, and
the monotonous din of their hammers falling on the bark was almost
deafening; it began early in the morning, only to cease at night. Yet
heard at a distance in some lonely valley the sound was not
disagreeable, telling as it did of industry and peace.[10]

    [10] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 196 _sqq._; G. Forster, _Voyage
    round the World_ (London, 1777), i. 276 _sq._; J. Wilson, _op.
    cit._ pp. 389-392; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 179 _sqq._; J. A.
    Moerenhout, _op. cit._ ii. 112 _sqq._

Among the other articles manufactured by the Society Islanders before
the advent of Europeans were fine mats, baskets of many different
patterns, ropes, lines, and fishing-tackle, including nets, hooks, and
harpoons made of cane and pointed with hard wood. In every expedient for
taking fish they are said to have been exceedingly ingenious.[11] They
made bows and arrows, with which, as an amusement, they shot against
each other, not at a mark, but to see who could shoot farthest. Like the
rest of the Polynesians, they never used these weapons in war.[12]

    [11] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 202 _sq._

    [12] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 368; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i.
    217-220; J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ ii. 148-150.

Society among these islanders was divided into three ranks; first the
royal family and nobility (_hui arii_); second, the landed proprietors,
or gentry and farmers (_bue raatira_); and third, the common people
(_manahune_). Of these, the landed gentry and farmers were the most
numerous and influential class, constituting at all times the great body
of the people and the strength of the nation, as well as of the army.
The petty farmers owned from twenty to a hundred acres. Some of the
great landowners possessed many hundreds of acres, and being surrounded
by retainers they constituted the aristocracy of the country and imposed
a restraint upon the king, who, without their co-operation, could carry
but few of his measures. They also frequently acted as priests in their
family temples. The common people comprised slaves and servants. The
slaves were captives taken in war. Their treatment was in general mild,
and if peace continued, they often regained their freedom and were
allowed to return to their own country.[13]

    [13] W. Ellis, _op. cit._. iii. 94-98. Compare J. Cook,
    _Voyages_, i. 225 _sq._

The government of the Society Islands, like that of Hawaii, was at least
in form an arbitrary monarchy. The supreme authority was vested in the
king and was hereditary in his family. It partook of a sacred character,
for in these islands government was closely interwoven with religion;
the king sometimes personated the god and received the homage and
prayers of the worshippers; at other times he officiated as high-priest
and transmitted the vows and petitions of the people to the superior
deities. The genealogy of the reigning family was usually traced back to
the first ages of the world: in some of the islands the kings were
believed to be descended from the gods: their persons were always
sacred, and their families constituted the highest rank recognised by
the people.[14]

    [14] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iii. 93 _sq._

Indeed, everything in the least degree connected with the king or
queen--the cloth they wore, the houses in which they dwelt, the canoes
in which they voyaged, the men who carried them when they journeyed by
land--became sacred and could not be converted to common use. The very
sounds in the language which composed their names could no longer be
appropriated to ordinary significations. If on the accession of a king
any words in the language were found to resemble his name, they were
abolished and changed for others; and if any man were bold enough to
continue to use them, not only he but all his relations were immediately
put to death; and the same severity was exercised on any who should dare
to apply the sacred name to an animal. Thus in process of time the
original names of most common objects in the language underwent
considerable alterations. No one might touch the body of the king or
queen; nay, any person who should so much as stand over them, or pass
his hand over their heads, was liable to pay for the sacrilege with the
forfeiture of his life. The very ground on which the king or queen even
accidentally trod became sacred; and any house belonging to a private
person which they entered must for ever be vacated by the owner and
either set apart for the use of the royal personages or burnt down with
every part of its furniture. Hence it was a general rule that the king
and queen never entered any dwellings except such as were specially
dedicated to their use, and never trod on the ground in any part of the
island but their own hereditary districts. In journeying they were
always carried on men's shoulders.[15]

    [15] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 155 _sq._; J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p.
    329; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iii. 101 _sq._

The inauguration of a king consisted in girding him with a sacred girdle
(_maro ura_) of red, or red and yellow, feathers, which not only raised
him to the highest earthly station, but identified him with the gods.
The red feathers were taken from the images of the gods and interwoven
with feathers of other colours. A human victim was sacrificed when they
began to make the girdle, and another was sacrificed when it was
finished; sometimes others were slaughtered at intermediate stages, one
for each fresh piece added to the girdle. The blood of the victims was
supposed to consecrate the belt.[16]

    [16] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iii. 108 _sqq._ Compare J. Wilson,
    _op. cit._ pp. 327 _sq._; J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ ii. 22
    _sq._; D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _Journal of Voyages and
    Travels_, i. 526 _sq._, ii. 56. Another singular ceremony
    observed at the installation of a king was this. The king
    advanced into the sea and bathed there. Thither he was followed
    by the priest of Oro bearing a branch plucked from a sacred tree
    that grew within the precincts of the temple. While the king was
    bathing, the priest struck him on the back with the holy bough,
    at the same time invoking the great god Taaoroa. This ceremony
    was designed to purify the monarch from any defilement or guilt
    he might previously have contracted. See W. Ellis, _op. cit._
    iii. 110.

The deification of kings in their lifetime would seem not to have been
confined to Tahiti, but to have prevailed in the other islands of the
Society Archipelago. We hear particularly of the divinity of the kings
of Raiatea. In that island a place called Opoa is said to have been the
metropolis of idolatry for all the South Pacific Islands within a
compass of five hundred miles. Hither, from every shore, human victims,
already slain, were sent to be offered on the altar of the war-god Oro,
whose principal image was there worshipped. There, too, was the
residence of the kings of the island, "who, beside the prerogatives of
royalty, enjoyed divine honours, and were in fact living idols among the
dead ones, being deified at the time of their accession to political
supremacy here. In the latter character, we presume, it was, that these
sovereigns (who always took the name of Tamatoa) were wont to receive
presents from the kings and chiefs of adjacent and distant islands,
whose gods were all considered tributary to the Oro of Raiatea, and
their princes owing homage to its monarch, who was Oro's hereditary
high-priest, as well as an independent divinity himself."[17] Of one
particular monarch of this line, Tamatoa by name, we read that he "had
been enrolled among the gods," and that "as one of the divinities of his
subjects, therefore, the king was worshipped, consulted as an oracle,
and had sacrifices and prayers offered to him."[18]

    [17] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _Journal of Voyages and Travels_,
    i. 529 _sq._

    [18] Tyerman and Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 524.

In the succession to the throne the law of primogeniture prevailed, and
in accordance with a singular usage, which was invariably observed, the
king regularly abdicated on the birth of his first son and became a
subject of his infant offspring. The child was at once proclaimed the
sovereign of the people: the royal title was conferred on him; and his
own father was the first to do him homage by saluting his feet and
declaring him king. The public herald was despatched round the island
with the flag of the infant monarch: in every district he unfurled the
banner and proclaimed the accession of the youthful sovereign. The
insignia of royalty and the homage of the people were at once
transferred from the father to the child: the royal domains and other
sources of revenue were appropriated to the maintenance of the household
of the infant ruler; and the father paid him all the marks of reverence
and submission which he had hitherto exacted from the people. However,
during the minority of his son the former king appears to have filled
the office of regent. This remarkable rule of succession was not limited
to the royal house, but prevailed also in noble families: no sooner did
a baron's wife give birth to a child than the baron was reduced to the
rank of a private man, though he continued to administer the estate for
the benefit of the infant, to whom all the outward marks of honour were
now transferred.[19]

    [19] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 225 _sq._; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iii.
    99 _sq._ Compare J. Wilson, _op. cit._ pp. 180 _sq._, 327, 330,
    333; J. Turnbull, _Voyage round the World_ (London, 1813), pp.
    134, 137, 188 _sq._, 344; J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ ii. 13

§ 3. _The Religion of the Society Islanders_

If religion consists essentially in a fear of gods, the natives of the
Society Islands were a very religious people, for they believed in a
multitude of gods and stood in constant dread of them. "Whatever
attention," says Ellis, "the Tahitians paid to their occupations or
amusements, and whatever energies have been devoted to the prosecution
of their barbarous wars, the claims of all were regarded as inferior to
those of their religion. On this every other was dependent, while each
was alike made subservient to its support."[20] "No people in the world,
in ancient or modern times, appear to have been more superstitious than
the South Sea Islanders, or to have been more entirely under the
influence of dread from imaginary demons, or supernatural beings. They
had not only their major, but their minor demons, or spirits, and all
the minute ramifications of idolatry."[21] "Religious rites were
connected with almost every act of their lives. An _ubu_ or prayer was
offered before they ate their food, when they tilled their ground,
planted their gardens, built their houses, launched their canoes, cast
their nets, and commenced or concluded a journey. The first fish taken
periodically on their shores, together with a number of kinds regarded
as sacred, were conveyed to the altar. The first-fruits of their
orchards and gardens were also _taumaha_, or offered, with a portion of
their live-stock, which consisted of pigs, dogs, and fowls, as it was
supposed death would be inflicted on the owner or the occupant of the
land, from which the god should not receive such acknowledgment."[22]

    [20] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 321; compare J. A. Moerenhout, _op.
    cit._ i. 417.

    [21] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 361.

    [22] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 350.

Different gods were worshipped in different islands, and even in
different parts of the same island,[23] and if a deity failed to answer
the expectations of his worshippers, they did not scruple to change him
for another. In Captain Cook's time the people of Tiaraboo (Tairaboo),
the southern peninsula of Tahiti, discarded their two old divinities and
adopted in their place Oraa, the god of the island of Bolabola
(Borabora), apparently because the people of Bolabola had lately been
victorious in war; and as, after this change of deity, they themselves
proved very successful in their operations against their enemies, they
imputed the success entirely to their new god, who, they literally said,
fought their battles.[24] Again, when the prayers and offerings for the
recovery of a sick chief were unavailing, the god was regarded as
inexorable, and was usually banished from the temple, and his image

    [23] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 148, 160; J. R. Forster,
    _Observations made during a Voyage round the World_ (London,
    1778), p. 539.

    [24] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 148 _sq._

    [25] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_, i. 350.

The pantheon and mythology of the Society Islands were of the usual
Polynesian type; some of their chief gods were recognised and worshipped
under the same names, with dialectical differences, in other islands of
the Pacific. In the beginning they say that all things were in a state
of chaos or darkness, from which the principal deities, including
Taaroa, Oro, and Tane, at last emerged. Hence these high gods were said
to be born of Night or the primaeval darkness (_Po_). Among them all the
first place in time and dignity was generally assigned to Taaroa, who
appears in other parts of Polynesia as Tanaroa, Tangaroa, Tagaloa, and
so on. By some he was spoken of as the progenitor of the other gods and
as the creator of the heavens, the earth, and sea, as well as of men,
beasts, birds, and fishes; but others were of opinion that the land or
the world had existed before the gods. Oro, the great national god of
Tahiti, Raiatea, and other islands, was believed to be a son of
Taaroa.[26] To these three great gods, Oro, Tane, and Taaroa, the people
sacrificed in great emergencies, when the deities were thought to be
angry. At such times the wrath of the god was revealed to a priest, who,
wrapt up like a ball in a bundle of cloth, spoke in a sharp, shrill,
squeaky voice, saying, "I am angry; bring me hogs, kill a man, and my
anger will be appeased."[27]

    [26] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 322 _sqq._ Compare J. R. Forster,
    _Observations made during a Voyage round the World_, pp. 539
    _sqq._; G. Forster, _Voyage round the World_, ii. 149 _sqq._; J.
    Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean_, pp.
    343 _sqq._; D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _Journal of Voyages and
    Travels_, i. 523 (as to Taaroa); J. A. Moerenhout, _Voyages aux
    Îles du Grand Ocean_, i. 416 _sqq._, 436 _sqq._, 442 _sq._ As to
    Taaoroa and his counterparts in Polynesian mythology, see H.
    Hale, _United States Exploring Expedition, Ethnography and
    Philology_, p. 22; E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative
    Dictionary_, pp. 463 _sq._, _s.v._ "Tangaroa."

    [27] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ pp. 167 _sq._

Oro is sometimes described as the war-god.[28] The great seat of his
worship was at Opoa in the island of Raiatea: his principal image was
worshipped there "with the most bloody and detestable rites"; and
thither human victims, ready slain, were sent from every shore to be
offered on his altar.[29] Sometimes, instead of the bodies of the slain,
only their jaw-bones were sent to decorate the temple of Oro at Opoa;
long strings of these relics might be seen hanging about the sacred
edifice.[30] In the small island of Tahaa, off Raiatea, there was a
temple (_marae_) dedicated to Oro and his two daughters. It belonged to
the king and "was upheld for the convenience of finding a pretext to get
rid, from time to time, of obnoxious persons, of both sexes; the men
slain by assassination, or in war, being presented to the male idol, and
the women to his female progeny, who were held to be as cruelly
delighted with blood as their parent. But the human sacrifices brought
hither were not allowed to remain and infect the atmosphere. When they
had lain upon the altar till they became offensive, the carcases were
transported to Oro's metropolitan temple at Opoa, in Raiatea, which was
the common Golgotha of his victims."[31]

    [28] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 114, 529.

    [29] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 529.

    [30] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ ii. 14. In a long
    house in the southern part of Tahiti, Captain Cook saw, at one
    end of it, a semicircular board, from which hung fifteen human
    jaw-bones, apparently fresh; not one of them wanted a tooth. He
    was told that they "had been carried away as trophies, the
    people here carrying away the jaw-bones of their enemies, as the
    Indians of North America do the scalps." See J. Cook, _Voyages_,
    i. 152, 160.

    [31] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 549.

Oro was said to have instituted the notorious Society of the Areois, a
licentious fraternity of strolling players and mountebanks, who roamed
about in troupes from island to island, everywhere entertaining the
populace by their shows, which comprised recitations, songs, dramatic
performances, wrestling matches, and especially dances, which were often
of a lascivious character.[32] These exhibitions, which were witnessed
by crowds and appear to have been the most popular amusement of the
islanders, were given in large, substantial, sometimes highly
ornamented, houses, which were erected chiefly for the purpose of
lodging these itinerant performers, and providing them with suitable
places for their performances.[33] The first missionaries describe how,
in a long native house where they lodged for the night, they saw the
Areois men and women dancing and singing till near midnight: so great
were their numbers that they made the house appear like a village.[34]
Sometimes, apparently, the performances took place in front of the
house, the musicians, singers, and reciters occupying a sort of stage,
while the actors or dancers performed on a place marked out for them on
the ground or on the floor.[35] The subject of their songs or
recitations was often a legend of the gods, or of some distinguished
member of the Society, which was chanted or recited by the performers in
chorus seated in a circle on the ground, while the leader stood in the
centre and introduced the recitation with a sort of prologue,
accompanied by antic gestures and attitudes.[36] In these recitals the
tales often turned on romantic and diverting episodes in the lives of
ancestors or of deities. "Many of these were very long, and regularly
composed, so as to be repeated verbatim, or with such illustrations only
as the wit or fancy of the narrator might have the skill to introduce.
Their captain on public occasions, was placed cross-legged on a stool
seven feet high, with a fan in his hand, in the midst of the circle of
laughing or admiring auditors, whom he delighted with his drollery, or
transported with his grimaces, being, in fact, the merry-andrew of the
corps, who, like a wise fool, well knew how to turn his folly to the
best account."[37]

    [32] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 193-195; J. R. Forster,
    _Observations made during a Voyage round the World_, pp.
    411-414; G. Forster, _Voyage round the World_, ii. 128-135; J.
    Wilson, _op. cit._ pp. 56, 57, 59, 65 _sq._, 153, 154, 174, 194
    _sq._, 209, 331, 335; J. Turnbull, _Voyage round the World_
    (London, 1813), p. 364; D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i.
    326-328; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 229-247; Waitz-Gerland,
    _Anthropologie_, vi. 363-369.

    [33] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 236 _sq._

    [34] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 209.

    [35] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ ii. 133 _sq._

    [36] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 235.

    [37] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 327 _sq._

The Society of the Areois was wealthy and highly esteemed; members were
drawn from all social ranks and greatly prided themselves on belonging
to it.[38] Indeed, they were regarded as a sort of superhuman beings,
closely allied to the gods, and were treated with a corresponding degree
of veneration by many of the vulgar and ignorant.[39] They were divided
into seven ranks or classes, the members of which were distinguished
from each other by their tattoo marks; the greater the amount of the
tattooing, the higher the rank of the person.[40] Admission to the
Society was attended by a variety of ceremonies; a protracted noviciate
followed, and it was only by progressive advancement that any were
promoted to the higher dignities. It was imagined that those who became
Areois were prompted or inspired by the gods to take this step. A
candidate for admission, therefore, repaired to one of the public
exhibitions in that apparent state of frenzy which is commonly supposed
to indicate divine inspiration. His face was dyed scarlet; his hair was
perfumed and adorned with flowers, and he wore a girdle of yellow
plantain leaves. Thus arrayed, he rushed through the crowd assembled
round the house in which the actors or dancers were performing, and,
leaping into the circle, joined with seeming frantic wildness in the
dance or pantomime. If the Society approved of him, they appointed him
to wait as a servant on the principal Areois, and after a period of
probation he might be inducted into the Society as a full-fledged
member. At his induction, which took place in a great assembly of the
body, the candidate received a new name, by which he was thenceforth
known in the Society.[41] When a member was advanced from a lower to a
higher grade, the ceremony was performed at a public festival which all
the members of the Society in the island were expected to attend. The
candidate was then taken to a temple, where he was solemnly anointed
with fragrant oil on the forehead, and offered a pig to the god.[42]

    [38] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 239, 245; G. Forster, _op. cit._
    ii. 130; J. R. Forster, _op. cit._ pp. 411 _sq._

    [39] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 239, 244; J. Turnbull, _op. cit._
    p. 364; J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 492.

    [40] G. Forster, _op. cit._ ii. 128 _sq._; W. Ellis, _op. cit._
    i. 238; J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 491.

    [41] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 239 _sq._; J. A. Moerenhout, _op.
    cit._ i. 491 _sqq._

    [42] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 241 _sq._; J. A. Moerenhout, _op.
    cit._ i. 493 _sq._

When a member of the Society died his body was conveyed by the Areois to
the grand temple, where the bones of the kings were deposited. There the
priest of Oro, standing over the corpse, offered a long prayer to his
god. This prayer, and the ceremonies accompanying it, were designed to
divest the body of all the sacred and mysterious influence which the
deceased was thought to have received from the god at the moment when,
in the presence of the idol, the perfumed oil had been sprinkled on him,
and he had been raised to the order or rank in which he died. By this
act they supposed that the sacred influence was restored to Oro, by whom
it had been imparted. The body was then buried, like that of a common
man, within the precincts of the temple, in which the mortal remains of
chiefs were interred.[43] But if for any reason the corpse were buried
in unconsecrated ground, the ghost would appear to a survivor next day
and remonstrate with him, saying, "You have buried me in common earth,
and so long as I lie there, I cannot go to heaven. You must bury me with
ceremonies, and in holy ground." After that the corpse was disinterred,
and having been doubled up by tying the arms to the shoulders and the
knees to the trunk, it was buried in a sitting posture in a hole so
shallow that the earth barely covered the head. This was esteemed the
most honourable form of sepulture, and was principally confined to
personages of high rank.[44]

    [43] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 244 _sq._

    [44] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 273 _sq._

The Areoi Society comprised women as well as men,[45] but the accounts
given of the proportion of the sexes and their relations to each other
are conflicting. According to one account, the male members outnumbered
the women as five to one.[46] The first missionaries reported that the
Areois were said to have each two or three wives, whom they exchanged
with each other.[47] According to Cook, every woman was common to every
man[48]; and Turnbull affirmed that the community of women was the very
principle of their union.[49] On the other hand, the naturalist George
Forster, who accompanied Captain Cook, observes: "We have been told a
wanton tale of promiscuous embraces, where every woman is common to
every man: but when we enquired for a confirmation of this story from
the natives, we were soon convinced that it must, like many others, be
considered as the groundless invention of a traveller's gay fancy."[50]
Again, Ellis observes that, "although addicted to every kind of
licentiousness themselves, each Areoi had his own wife, who was also a
member of the Society; and so jealous were they in this respect, that
improper conduct towards the wife of one of their own number, was
sometimes punished with death."[51] Yet the same writer speaks of "the
mysteries of iniquity, and acts of more than bestial degradation" to
which the Areois were at times addicted; and he says that "in some of
their meetings, they appear to have placed their invention on the rack,
to discover the worst pollutions of which it was possible for man to be
guilty, and to have striven to outdo each other in the most revolting

    [45] G. Forster, _op. cit._ ii. 128.

    [46] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 326.

    [47] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 174.

    [48] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 193 _sq._

    [49] J. Turnbull, _Voyage round the World_, p. 364.

    [50] G. Forster, _op. cit._ ii. 132.

    [51] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 239.

    [52] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 243.

It was a rule of the Society that no member should have any children;
hence the first injunction given to a new member was to murder his
offspring. Any infant that might afterwards be born to him was strangled
at birth.[53] If a woman spared her child and could induce a man to
father it, "both the man and the woman, being deemed by this act to have
appropriated each other, are ejected from the community, and forfeit all
claim to the privileges and pleasures of Arreoy for the future; the
woman from that time being distinguished by the term _whannow-now_,
'bearer of children,' which is here a term of reproach."[54] The
pretext alleged by the Areois for this cruel practice was that, on
the institution of the Society by the god Oro, the first two members,
Orotetefa and Urutetefa, brothers of the god, had been celibate and
childless, and that therefore the members of the Society were bound to
imitate them by being also without offspring.[55]

    [53] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 194; J. R. Forster, _Observations_,
    pp. 413 _sq._; G. Forster, _Voyage_, ii. 129 _sq._; J. Wilson,
    _op. cit._ pp. 154 _sq._, 174, 194 _sq._; W. Ellis, _op. cit._
    i. 230 _sq._, 233, 240. Moerenhout says that when a chief was an
    Areoi, his first-born son was spared, but all the rest were
    sacrificed; but immediately afterwards he adds, with apparent
    inconsistency, that "the first (by which he seems to mean the
    principal) Areois only killed their first sons and all their
    daughters; the other male infants were spared." See Moerenhout,
    _op. cit._ i. 495, 496. These statements, so far as I have
    observed, are not confirmed by other writers.

    [54] J. Cook, i. 194.

    [55] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 230 _sq._, 232 _sq._

In the constant repetition of their often obscene exhibitions the Areois
passed their lives, sailing from island to island or strolling from one
chief's house to that of another, where they renewed the same round of
dances, wrestlings, and pantomimic performances.[56] But the labour and
drudgery of dancing and performing for the amusement of the spectators
devolved chiefly on the lowest members of the Society, who were the
principal actors in all their shows, while the higher orders, though
they plastered themselves with charcoal and stained themselves scarlet
like their humbler brethren, were generally careful not to contribute to
the public hilarity by any exhausting efforts of their own. Thus they
led a life of dissipation and luxurious indolence.[57]

    [56] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 236, 237.

    [57] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 238, 241.

They seem to have moved about in great troupes. As many as seventy
canoes, with more than seven hundred of these vagabonds on board, have
been seen steering from island to island.[58] The approach of such a
fleet to the shore with drums beating, flutes playing, and streamers
floating on the wind, was a picturesque sight, and as the canoes neared
the land the dancers might be seen jigging it on stages erected on
board, while the voices of the singers mingled with the roll of the
drums, the shrill music of the flutes, and the roar of the surf on the
beach in a confused but not unmelodious babel of sound.[59]

    [58] J. R. Forster, _Observations_, p. 412; G. Forster,
    _Voyage_, ii. 128.

    [59] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 236 _sq._ Compare J. A. Moerenhout,
    _op. cit._ ii. 132 _sq._ According to the latter writer there
    were traditions of as many as a hundred and fifty canoes sailing
    at once, each one seldom containing less than thirty or forty,
    and sometimes a hundred persons.

On landing in an island their first business was to take a small
sucking-pig to the temple and present it to the god as a thank-offering
to him for having brought them safe to shore. This, we are told, was the
only sacrifice ever offered in token of gratitude by any of the South
Sea Islanders to their imaginary divinities.[60] While they were
everywhere welcomed by the vulgar for the merriment they carried with
them, and were everywhere countenanced and liberally entertained by the
kings and chiefs, who found them convenient tools of fraud and
oppression, they were not received with equal enthusiasm by the farmers,
who had to furnish them with provisions, and who durst not refuse them
anything, however unreasonable and extortionate their demands. For the
Areois lived on the fat of the land. When they alighted, like a swarm of
locusts, on a rich district, they would send out their henchmen to scour
the neighbourhood and plunder the miserable inhabitants; and when they
moved on to their next halting-place, the gardens which they left behind
them often presented a scene of desolation and ruin.[61] Such havoc,
indeed, did they spread by their feastings and carousings on even a
short visit of a few days, that in some parts of Tahiti the natives were
compelled to abandon the fertile lowlands and retreat up the mountains,
submitting to the trouble of clambering up almost inaccessible slopes
and cultivating a less fruitful soil rather than expose much of the
produce of their labour to the ravages of these privileged robbers.[62]

    [60] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 326 _sq._

    [61] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 237 _sq._; D. Tyerman and G.
    Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 326-328. Compare J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p.
    174, "Wherever they go they exercise power to seize what they
    want from the inhabitants. They smite their hand on their breast
    and say '_Harre_, give,' whenever they covet any thing, and none
    dares deny them. They never work; live by plunder; yet are
    highly respected, as none but persons of rank are admitted among
    them." This last statement, however, is contradicted by Ellis,
    who says (_op. cit._ i. 239) that "the fraternity was not
    confined to any particular rank or grade in society, but was
    composed of individuals from every class."

    [62] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 197.

Not the least of the privileges, real or imaginary, enjoyed by the
Areois was that after death their spirits were believed to pass without
difficulty to that paradise of delights to which otherwise none but the
noble and wealthy could hope to attain.[63]

    [63] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 245 _sq._, 397; J. A. Moerenhout,
    _op. cit._ i. 434 _sq._

In spite of the profligate life which the Areoi led and their addiction
to a round of frivolous amusements and entertainments, it seems likely
that the Society was originally founded for some serious purpose, though
the accounts which have come down to us hardly enable us to determine,
or even to conjecture with a fair degree of probability, what that
purpose was. That its aim was religious might be inferred on general
grounds, and is confirmed by the close relation in which the Society
stood to the national god Oro. Not only is Oro said to have founded the
Society, but before a troop of Areois set out on their peregrinations
they were obliged to kill many pigs in sacrifice to him and to offer
large quantities of plantains, bananas, and other fruits on his altars.
Moreover, temporary shrines were erected in their canoes for the worship
of Oro's two divine brothers, Orotetefa and Urutetefa, who were
traditionally said to have been the first members of the Society and
were regarded as its tutelary deities. In these shrines the principal
symbols were a stone for each of the brothers taken from Oro's temple,
and a few red feathers from the inside of his sacred image. Into these
symbols the gods were supposed to enter when the priest pronounced a
short prayer immediately before the sailing of the fleet.[64]

    [64] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 234.

We might be better able to understand the purpose and the functions of
the Areoi Society if we were acquainted with the nature and meaning
which the natives ascribed to the god Oro, the reputed founder of the
Society; but on this subject our authorities shed little light. He is
described as the war-god[65] and as "the great national idol of Raiatea,
Tahiti, Eimeo, and some of the other islands," and he was said to be a
son of the creator Taaroa, who at first dwelt alone up aloft, but who
afterwards, with the help of his daughter Hina, created the heavens, the
earth, and the sea.[66] By European writers Oro has been variously
interpreted as a god of the dead or of the sun; and accordingly the
Society of the Areois has been variously explained as devoted either to
a cult of the Lord of the Dead for the sake of securing eternal
happiness in a world beyond the grave, or to a worship of the sun-god;
but the grounds alleged for either interpretation appear to be extremely

    [65] Above, p. 258.

    [66] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 324, 325.

    [67] Gerland takes the former view, Moerenhout the latter. See
    Waitz-Gerland, _Anthropologie_, vi. 368 _sq._; J. A. Moerenhout,
    _op. cit._ i. 484. The only evidence adduced by Moerenhout for
    his interpretation of Oro as a sun-god is a statement that in
    the Marquesas Islands the Areois suspended their performances
    and went into retreat from April or May till the vernal equinox
    (which in the southern hemisphere falls in September), and that
    during their retreat they assumed the style of mourners and
    bewailed the absence or death of their god, whom they called
    Mahoui. This Mahoui is accordingly taken by Moerenhout to be the
    sun and equated to Oro, the god of the Areois in the Society
    Islands. But Mahoui seems to be no other than the well-known
    Polynesian hero Maui, who can hardly have been the sun (see
    below, p. 286 note^5); and Moerenhout's statement as to the
    annual period of mourning observed by the Areois in the
    Marquesas Islands is not, so far as I know, confirmed by any
    other writer, and must, therefore, be regarded as open to doubt.
    His statement and his interpretation of Oro and Mahoui were
    accepted by Dr. Rivers, who made them the basis of his
    far-reaching theory of a secret worship of the sun introduced
    into the Pacific by immigrants from a far northern country, who
    also built the megalithic monuments of Polynesia and Micronesia.
    See W. H. R. Rivers, "Sun-cult and Megaliths in Polynesia,"
    _American Anthropologist_, xvii. July-September 1915, pp. 431
    _sqq._ In proof of the supposed connexion between these
    megalithic monuments and a worship of the sun, Dr. Rivers says
    (p. 440) that the Areois "held their celebrations in an
    enclosure called _marae_ or _marai_, at one end of which was
    situated a pyramidical structure with steps leading to a
    platform on which were placed the images of the gods during the
    religious celebrations of the people." But if by "their
    celebrations" Dr. Rivers means the ordinary dramatic, musical,
    and athletic performances of the Areois, he seems to be in
    error; for it appears to be certain that these exhibitions were
    regularly given, not at the _maraes_, but in or before large
    houses built or specially set apart for the purpose. See above,
    pp. 259 _sq._

Perhaps a faint gleam of light may fall on the mystery of the Areois
from an examination of their traditionary first members and guardian
deities, the two divine brothers, Orotetefai and Urutetefai. The
similarity of the names of the brothers suggests that they may have been
twins; for it is a common custom to bestow either the same or a similar
name on each of a pair of twins in order to indicate their close
relationship to each other.[68] If they were twins, there are some
grounds for thinking that they were Heavenly Twins; for their father or
creator, Taaroa, seems certainly to have been a sky-god, and their
mother, Hina, is by some authorities regarded as the moon; moreover, the
two brothers are said to have first descended from the sky to the earth
on a rainbow.[69] If the twinship of the divine brothers could be made
out, it might perhaps explain some of the peculiar features of the Areoi
Society. For example, their remarkable custom of not allowing any of
their offspring to live; for it has been a common custom in many parts
of the world to put twins to death.[70] Further, the superhuman rank
accorded to the Areois becomes more intelligible on this hypothesis. For
among many savage peoples twins are credited with the possession of
powers superior to those of ordinary humanity; in particular, they are
thought to be able to influence the weather for good or evil, as by
causing rain or drought and the wind to blow or be still.[71] Among the
Baronga of South-Eastern Africa the supposed relation of twins to the
sky is very clearly marked. They call the mother of twins by a name
which means "Heaven" (_Tilo_), and consistently they style the twins
themselves "Children of Heaven" (_Bana ba Tilo_).[72] The mother is even
said to have "made Heaven," to have "carried Heaven," and to have
"ascended to Heaven."[73] The connexion which is believed to exist
between her and the twins on the one side and the sky on the other is
brought out plainly in the customs which the Baronga observe for the
purpose of procuring rain in time of drought. Thus they will take a
mother of twins, put her in a hole, and pour on her water which they
have drawn from all the wells, till the hole is half full, and the water
comes up to her breast. This is thought to make the rain fall.[74] Or
again, in order to get rain, the women will strip themselves naked
except for a girdle and head-dress of grass, and thus attired will go in
procession, headed by a mother of twins, and pour water on the graves of
twins. And if the body of a twin has been buried in dry ground, they
will dig it up and bury it again near a river; for the grave of a twin,
in their opinion, should always be wet. Thus they hope to draw down rain
on the thirsty ground.[75] Again, when a thunderstorm is raging and
lightning threatens to strike a village, the Baronga will say to a twin,
"Help us! you are a Child of Heaven! You can therefore cope with Heaven;
it will hear you when you speak." So the child goes out of the hut and
prays to Heaven as follows: "Go away! Do not annoy us! We are afraid. Go
and roar far away." When the thunderstorm is over, the child is thanked
for its services. The mother of twins is also supposed to be able to
help in the same way, for has she not, as the natives express it,
ascended to Heaven? They say that she can speak with Heaven, and that
she is at it or in it.[76] Among the Kpelle, a negro tribe of Liberia,
twins are regarded as born magicians, and as such are treated with
respect, and people sometimes make them presents in order to ensure
their goodwill; in doing so they are careful never to make a present to
the one twin without the other, and the twin who was born last gets his
present first, for he is regarded as the first-born. Twins are thought
by the Kpelle to do wonders; they even say that "a twin surpasses every
medicine-man."[77] Among the Fan or Fang, a tribe of the Cameroons in
West Africa, there is a curious superstition that a twin ought not to
see a rainbow. Should he by accident have caught sight of one, he must
shave his eyebrows and dye the place of the one black and the place of
the other red.[78] This superstition seems to imply a special relation
between twins and the sky, and it reminds us of the Tahitian tradition
that the two divine brothers, the first members of the Areoi Society,
descended to earth on a rainbow.[79]

    [68] J. Rendel Harris, _The Dioscuri in the Christian Legends_
    (London, 1903), pp. 1 _sqq._ _id._, _The Cult of the Heavenly
    Twins_ (Cambridge, 1906), pp. 58 _sqq._; _id._, _Boanerges_
    (Cambridge, 1913), pp. 291 _sqq._

    [69] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 230, 232. Ellis does not admit that
    Orotetefa and Urutetefa were, strictly speaking, the sons of
    Oro. He writes: "According to the traditions of the people,
    Taaroa created, and, by means of Hina, brought forth when full
    grown Orotetefa and Urutetefa. They were not his sons; _oriori_
    is the term employed by the people, which seems to mean
    _create_" (_op. cit._ i. 230). With regard to Hina (Heena),
    interpreted as the moon, or the goddess of the moon, see J. R.
    Forster, _Observations_, p. 549; G. Forster, _Voyage_, ii. 152;
    J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._. i. 428 _sq._, 458, 472; E.
    Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, p. 69.
    _s.v._ "Hina," "Hina is by far the best known of all Polynesian
    legendary personages. In the more easterly islands she is a
    goddess, and is almost certainly the Moon-goddess." Similarly
    Mr. E. E. V. Collocot observes that Hina "is generally regarded
    as the Moon-goddess, and this view was spontaneously put forward
    by a Tongan; in conversation with me" (_Journal of the
    Polynesian Society_, xxx. (1921) p. 238).

    [70] Abundant evidence of the custom is produced by Dr. Rendel
    Harris in his learned works, _The Cult of the Heavenly Twins_
    and _Boanerges_.

    [71] _The Golden Bough_, Part I., _The Magic Art and the
    Evolution of Kings_, i. 262 _sqq._

    [72] H. A. Junod, _Les Ba-ronga_ (Neuchâtel, 1898), p. 412;
    _id._, _Life of a South African Tribe_ (Neuchâtel, 1912-1913),
    ii. 394.

    [73] H. A. Junod, _Life of a South African Tribe_, ii. 398.

    [74] H. A. Junod, _Life of a South African Tribe_, ii. 399.

    [75] H. A. Junod, _Les Ba-ronga_, pp. 417 _sq._; _id._, _Life of
    a South African Tribe_, ii. 296.

    [76] H. A. Junod, _Life of a South African Tribe_, ii. 399 _sq._

    [77] D. Westermann, _Die Kpelle, ein Negerstamm in Liberia_
    (Göttingen, 1921), pp. 68, 212, 355. The Bambara, another tribe
    of West Africa, similarly regard the last-born of twins as the
    elder of the two. See Jos. Henry, _Les Bambara_ (Münster i. W.,
    1910), p. 98. So, too, with the Mossi of the Sudan. See E.
    Mangin, "Les Mossi," _Anthropos_, x.-xi. (1915-1916) p. 192.

    [78] L. Martrou, "Les 'Eki' des Fang," _Anthropos_, i. (1906) p.
    751; H. Trilles, _Le Totémisme chez les Fân_ (Münster i. W.,
    1912), p. 593. Compare H. A. Junod, _Life of a South African
    Tribe_, ii. 400, note^1, who reports the same superstition among
    the Fan on the testimony of his wife, who was for years a
    missionary in the tribe.

    [79] Above, p. 267.

Another notion about twins which may possibly help to throw light on
some of the practices of the Areoi Society, is that they or their
parents or both are endowed with a fertilising or prolific virtue, which
enables them to multiply animals or plants and thereby to increase the
food supply. Thus, for example, some tribes of Northern Rhodesia keep
pigeons in their villages, and in erecting a pigeon-cote they take care
that the first stakes "are driven in by a woman who has borne twins, in
order, they say, that the pigeons may multiply."[80] Some Bantu tribes
of this region ascribe a similar virtue to both the father and the
mother of twins. They think that such parents exert a beneficial or
prolific influence at laying the foundations of pigeon-cotes,
chicken-houses, goat-pens, or any other building used for the purposes
of breeding; a certain woman who had borne twins thrice was lately in
great request at these functions.[81] The Zulus think that all goats
belonging to a twin bring forth young in couples.[82]

    [80] C. Gouldsbury and H. Sheane, _The Great Plateau of Northern
    Nigeria_ (London, 1911), pp. 307 _sq._

    [81] D. Campbell, _In the Heart of Bantuland_ (London, 1922), p.

    [82] Dudley Kidd, _Savage Childhood_ (London, 1906), p. 49.

In the Central District of Busoga, Central Africa, when a woman has
given birth to twins, the people of her clan do not sow any seed until
the twins have been brought to the field. A pot of cooked grain is set
before the children with a cake of sesame and all the seed that is to be
sown. The food is eaten by the assembled people, and afterwards the
field is sown in presence of the twins; the plot is then said to be the
field of the twins. The mother of twins must sow her seed before any
person of the clan will sow his or hers.[83] These customs seem clearly
to imply a belief that twins and their mother possess a special power of
fertilising the seed. Among the Baganda of Central Africa twins were
supposed to be sent by Mukasa, the great god whose blessing on the crops
and on the people was ensured at an annual festival. The twins were
thought to be under the protection of the god, and they bore his name,
the boys being called Mukasa and the girls Namukasa. And a series of
customs observed by the parents of twins among the Baganda indicates in
the plainest manner a belief that they were endowed with a fertilising
virtue which extended, not only to the crops and the cattle, but also to
human beings. Thus the parents of twins were supposed to make people
fruitful by sprinkling them with a mixture of water and clay from pots,
of which each of the parents had one. Again, some time after the birth
the parents used to make a round of visits to relations and friends,
taking the twins with them. At every house they danced, the father
wearing a crown made from a certain creeper, and the mother wearing a
girdle of the same material. At these dances offerings were made to the
twins. These dances were most popular "because the people believed that
thereby they obtained a special blessing from the god Mukasa, who
favoured the parents of twins, and through them dispensed blessing
wherever they went." The persons whom the twins and their parents
honoured with a visit "thought that, not only they themselves would be
blessed and given children, but that their herds and crops also would be
multiplied." A ceremony performed by the father and mother of twins over
a flower of the plantain indicated in the plainest, if the grossest,
fashion the belief of the Baganda that parents of twins could magically
fertilise the plantains which form the staple food of the people. No
wonder, then, that among them a mother of twins is deemed a source of
blessing to the whole community, and that for some time after the birth
both she and the father were sacred and wore a distinctive dress to
prevent any one from touching them. The father, in particular, "could do
what he liked, because he was under the protection of the god"; for
example, he was free to enter anybody's garden and to take the produce
at will. Special drums, too, were made for the parents, one for the
father and one for the mother; and for some time after the birth these
were beaten continually both by day and by night.[84]

    [83] J. Roscoe, _The Northern Bantu_ (Cambridge, 1915), p. 235.

    [84] J. Roscoe, "Further Notes on the Manners and Customs of the
    Baganda," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii.
    (1902) pp. 32-34, 80; _id._, _The Baganda_ (London, 1911), pp.
    64-72. These two accounts to some extent supplement each other.
    I have drawn on both. As to the annual festival of the god
    Mukasa, see _id._, _The Baganda_, pp. 298 _sq._

Among the Hos of Togo, in West Africa, in like manner, special drums are
beaten for the parents of twins, and the parents dance publicly to the
music in the main street of the village, after going nine times round
it. Some days later the parents go the round of all the Ho towns,
everywhere executing the same dance to the same music at noon; but
should one of the twins have died in the meantime, the parents dance at
night. It is believed that, if the customary rites were not performed at
the birth of twins, the parents of the twins would be crippled.
Curiously enough, the drums, to the music of which the parents dance,
may not be beaten by any one without special reason; and no one else may
dance to their music except such as have slain either a man or a
leopard. Among these people the birth of twins is the occasion of very
great rejoicing. They say that "the road which the mother of twins goes
is better than the road which the rich man goes."[85] The saying
suggests that the Hos, like the Baganda, regard a mother of twins as
diffusing fertility wherever she goes; and, on the analogy of the dances
of parents of twins among the Baganda, we may conjecture that in like
manner among the Hos the parents of twins are supposed to confer the
blessing of fruitfulness on all the towns where they dance.

    [85] J. Spieth, _Die Ewe-Stämme_ (Berlin, 1906), pp. 202-206.

Among the Barundi of East Africa the birth of twins is celebrated with
rites, songs, and ritual dances, which last for days and even for weeks.
As soon as the news spreads, the neighbours, friends, and relations
flock to the house to sing, bringing with them presents for the parents
or offerings to the spirits. The amount of provisions thus accumulated
is enormous, but the parents of the twins benefit little by it; the
great bulk disappears as by magic among the self-invited guests.
Festivity, dancing, and singing are now the order of the day. Dancers,
male and female, their faces painted red and white or yellow, dance like
furies in a circle for hours together, singing ritual hymns at the top
of their voices, while an old sorceress besprinkles the troop with
lustral water. It is commonly believed that if these rites were omitted,
the twins and their parents would die. At the birth of twins it is
customary to buy two black sheep or lambs and to dedicate them to the
twins, one to each. These sheep are then left at liberty to run about as
they like by day and night, and to enter the fields and browse at will.
If one of them dies it is replaced by another. The animals are described
as the guardians of the children, the receptacle or symbol of their
spirits, in short, as their fetish.[86] To some extent, they are
analogous to the pig which an Areoi used to offer to the god at the
ceremony of his consecration; for, though sometimes the animal was
killed, at other times it was liberated, and, being regarded as sacred
or belonging to the god to whom it had been offered, was allowed to
range the district uncontrolled till it died.[87] Among the Baluba, a
tribe of the Belgian Congo, there is great joy at the birth of twins,
and special ceremonies are observed on the occasion. The twins are
invariably named Kyunga and Kahya, after the spirits of two ancient
kings, and to these spirits the twins are consecrated. After being
washed and decorated they are placed side by side in a winnowing-basket
and carried by the women of the family in procession through the
village, headed by the proud father. Dancing and singing they go to the
ash-heap of the village. There they all rub themselves with ashes and
perform another dance. After that, still led by the father of the twins,
they go to the houses of the chief people, and in front of each house
the father dances, while the women beat time with their hands. Wherever
the procession halts, the householder is expected to come and admire the
twins, to compliment the father, and to deposit a small present in the
winnowing-basket.[88] Among the Herero of South-West Africa the parents
of twins are looked on as sacred, and for a time they may not speak to
any one, and no one may speak to them. But after the lapse of some days
the family goes the round of the village, visiting three or four huts
every day. The father of the twins sits down on the right side of the
hut, and the inmates make him offerings of beads, oxen, and so forth.
When he has thus gone the round of the village, he repairs to the
neighbouring villages, where the same ceremonies are repeated. It is
often a year before he returns to his own village, and when he does so
he brings back with him a great quantity of offerings. Henceforth the
father of the twins enjoys all the privileges of a priestly chief; he
may sacrifice at the holy fire, and he may represent and even succeed
the chief in the office of priest for the village. The twins themselves
are eligible for the same office. If a chief dies a natural death, he is
succeeded in his priestly function by his twin son; whereas the
chieftainship passes to the chief's legal heir, who is properly the son
of his eldest sister, and who thenceforth assumes the name of the twin.
A twin is bound by no taboo; he may eat of all flesh offered in
sacrifice; he may drink of the milk of every holy cow, just like the
chief and the priest themselves.[89]

    [86] J. M. M. van der Burgt, _Dictionnaire Français-Kirundi_
    (Bois-le-Duc, 1903), pp. 324 _sq._; H. Meyer, _Die Barundi_
    (Leipzig, 1916), pp. 110 _sq._

    [87] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_, i. 242.

    [88] Colle, _Les Baluba_ (Brussels, 1913), i. 253-255.

    [89] J. Irle, _Die Herero_ (Gütersloh, 1906), pp. 96-99.

In these cases we are not told that twins and their parents are supposed
to be endowed with a power of multiplying the herds and generally of
increasing the supply of food by the prolific influence which they
diffuse about them; but the analogy of the customs and beliefs of the
Baganda concerning the birth of twins renders the supposition probable.
At least on this hypothesis we can readily understand the round of
visits which the parents, or one of them, pay to the surrounding towns
or villages, and the presents which are made to them. If they indeed
possess a power of imparting fertility and abundance wherever they go,
it is obviously in everybody's interest to be visited by them, and
clearly, on the same supposition, it is everybody's duty to make some
return to them for the wonderful benefits which they have conferred.

Similarly we may perhaps suppose that the rounds which the Areois went
from island to island, dancing, singing, and playing their tricks
wherever they stopped, were believed to quicken the fruits of the earth,
and possibly also to multiply the pigs and the fish. On that assumption,
the unlimited right which these vagabonds enjoyed of appropriating and
consuming the produce of the gardens was probably accorded to them as a
natural and proper remuneration for the inestimable services which their
mere presence was believed to render to the crops. The sexual excesses,
in which they appear to have indulged, would also be intelligible, if it
was imagined that, on the principle of sympathetic magic, such
indulgences actually promoted the multiplication and growth of plants
and animals. But this explanation of the extravagant rites observed by
the Areois, and of the quaint beliefs entertained concerning them, is
offered only as an hypothesis for what it is worth. It may be worth
while noting that among the Kpelle, a tribe of Liberia in West Africa,
there is reported to exist a Secret Society of Twins,[90] but whether
it bears any resemblance to the Society of the Areois I do not know.

    [90] D. Westermann, _Die Kpelle, ein Negerstamm in Liberia_
    (Göttingen, 1921), p. 228.

A familiar figure of the Polynesian pantheon, who meets us in the
mythology of the Society Islanders, was the famous god or hero Maui.
Many stories of his exploits were told in the islands. It is said that
originally the sky lay flat upon the face of the earth and ocean, being
held down by the legs of a huge cuttle-fish. But Maui dived into the
sea, and, grappling with the monster, utterly dismembered him; whereupon
the sky flew up and expanded into the beautiful blue vault which we now
see above us, with the noonday sun for the keystone of the arch.[91]
Again, the natives told how, one day, sitting in his canoe, Maui let
down his line with a hook at the end of it and fished up the earth,
which had hitherto lain at the bottom of the sea.[92] Also he is said to
have held the sun with ropes to prevent him from going too fast.[93] For
it happened that Maui was hard at work, building a temple, when he
perceived that the day was declining and that the night would overtake
him before he had accomplished his task; so hastily twining some ropes
of coco-nut fibre, he laid hold of the sun's rays and tethered them by
the ropes to a tree, so that the sun could not stir till Maui had
finished the task he was at.[94] Further, Maui is said to have invented
the mode of kindling fire by rubbing the point of one stick in the
groove of another,[95] which was the way in which the Society Islanders
regularly made fire.[96] Maui was also supposed to be the cause of
earthquakes.[97] In Tahiti a curious image of Maui was seen and
described by Captain Cook. "It was the figure of a man, constructed of
basket-work, rudely made, but not ill-designed; it was something more
than seven feet high, and rather too bulky in proportion to its height.
The wicker skeleton was completely covered with feathers, which were
white where the skin was to appear, and black in the parts which it is
their custom to paint or stain, and upon the head, where there was to be
a representation of hair: upon the head also were four protuberances,
three in front and one behind, which we should have called horns, but
which the Indians dignified with the name of _Tate Ete_, little men. The
image was called Manioe, and was said to be the only one in Otaheite.
They attempted to give us an explanation of its use and design, but we
had not then acquired enough of their language to understand them. We
learnt, however, afterwards that it was a representation of Mauwe, one
of their _Eatuas_, or gods of the second class."[98]

    [91] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 526.

    [92] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 449 _sq._

    [93] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 167.

    [94] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ ii. 40 _sq._; W.
    Ellis, _op. cit._ ii. 170 _sq._

    [95] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 526.

    [96] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 141; J. Wilson,
    _op. cit._ p. 357; J. Turnbull, _Voyage round the World_, p.
    349; Wallis, in R. Kerr's _General History and Collection of
    Voyages and Travels_, xii. 212; _id._, in J. Hawkesworth's
    _Voyages_, i. (London, 1773) p. 483.

    [97] J. R. Forster, _Observations_, p. 540; G. Forster, _Voyage
    round the World_, ii. 151. These writers spell his name O-Maouwe
    and O-mauwee.

    [98] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 156 _sq._

Besides the high primaeval deities, born of the Night, the Society
Islanders believed in a host of inferior divinities, many of whom were
said to have been created by Taaroa, the supreme god. Thus, between the
high gods and the deities of particular places or of particular
professions, there was a class of intermediate deities, who were not
supposed to have existed from the beginning or to have been born of
Night. Their origin was veiled in obscurity, but they were often
described as having been renowned men, who, after death, were deified by
their descendants. They all received the homage of the people, and on
all public occasions were acknowledged among the gods.[99] Again, there
were many gods of the sea, among whom the principal seem to have been
Tuaraatai and Ruahatu. These were generally called shark gods (_atua
mao_), not that the shark was itself deemed a god, but that it was
supposed to be employed by the marine gods as their minister of
vengeance. It was only the large blue shark which was believed to act in
this capacity; and it is said that these voracious creatures always
spared a shipwrecked priest, even when they devoured his companions;
nay, they would recognise a priest on board any canoe, come at his call,
and retire at his bidding. A priest of one of these shark gods told Mr.
Ellis that he or his father had been carried on the back of a shark from
Raiatea to Huahine, a distance of twenty miles. Other gods were thought
to preside over the fisheries, and to direct the shoals of fish to the
coasts. Their aid was invoked by fishermen before they launched their
canoes and while they were busy at sea. But these marine deities were
not supposed by the people to be of equal antiquity with the great
primordial gods, born of the Night (_atua fauau po_).[100] Again, there
were gods of the air, who were sometimes worshipped under the figure of
birds. The chief of these aerial deities were thought to be a brother
and sister, who dwelt near the great rock, which is the foundation of
the world. There they imprisoned the stormy winds, but sent them forth
from time to time to punish such as neglected the worship of the gods.
In tempests their compassion was besought by mariners tossed on the sea
or by their friends on shore.[101] To the minds of the islanders there
were also gods of hill and dale, of precipice and ravine. "By their rude
mythology each lovely island was made a sort of fairy-land, and the
spells of enchantment were thrown over its varied scenes.... The
mountain's summit, and the fleecy mists that hang upon its brows--the
rocky defile--the foaming cataract--and the lonely dell--were all
regarded as the abode or resort of these invisible beings."[102]

    [99] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 326 _sq._ As to the inferior gods,
    see also J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 451 _sqq._

    [100] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 327-329.

    [101] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 329 _sq._ As to the worship of
    birds, Captain Cook says: "This island [Tahiti indeed, and the
    rest that lie near it, have a particular bird, some a heron and
    others a king's fisher, to which they pay a peculiar regard, and
    concerning which they have some superstitious notions with
    respect to good and bad fortune, as we have of the swallow and
    robin-redbreast, giving them the name of _eatua_, and by no
    means killing or molesting them; yet they never address a
    petition to them, or approach them with any act of adoration."
    See J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 224.

    [102] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 329 _sq._, 331.

The general name for "god" in the Society Islands, as throughout
Polynesia, was _atua_.[103] The word was also applied, in the expression
_oramatuas_ or _oromatuas_, to the spirits of departed relatives, who
were also worshipped and ranked among the deities.[104] To these we
shall return presently; meantime it may not be out of place to give some
notice of the worship of the other gods, since in the religion of the
Society Islanders, as of other branches of the Polynesian race, it was
closely interwoven with the worship of the dead.

    [103] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 333 _sq._; J. A. Moerenhout, _op.
    cit._ i. 440 _sqq._; E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative
    Dictionary_, pp. 30 _sq._, _s.v._ "atua." Captain Cook and the
    first missionaries spelled the word _eatua_ or _eatooa_. See J.
    Cook, _Voyages_, i. 221, vi. 149; J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 343.

    [104] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 324 _sq._; J. A. Moerenhout, _op.
    cit._ i. 454 _sq._

§ 4. _The Temples and Images of the Gods_

The sacred place dedicated to religious worship was called a _morai_,
or, as it is also spelled, a _marai_ or _marae_, which may be translated
"temple," though all such places were uncovered and open to the sky. The
national temples, where the principal idols were deposited, consisted of
large walled enclosures, some of which contained smaller inner courts.
The form was frequently that of a square or a parallelogram, with sides
forty or fifty feet long. The area was paved with flat stones, and two
sides of it were enclosed by a high stone wall, while the front was
protected by a low fence, and within rose in steps or terraces a solid
pyramidical structure built of stone, which usually formed one of the
narrow sides of the area, either at the western or at the eastern end.
These pyramids, which were always truncated so as to form a narrow
platform or ridge on their upper surface, were the most striking and
characteristic feature of the _morais_; indeed the name _morai_ or
_marae_ appears to have been sometimes confined, at least by European
observers, to the pyramid. In front of the pyramid the images were kept
and the altars fixed. The houses of the priests and of the keepers of
the idols were erected within the enclosure.[105] Of these interesting
monuments, which seemed destined to last for ages, only a few
insignificant ruins survive; the rest have been destroyed, chiefly at
the instigation of the missionaries.[106]

    [105] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_, i. 339 _sqq._ Compare
    J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 157 _sqq._, 217, 219, 220, 222, vi. 37,
    _sq._, 41; J. R. Forster, _Observations made during a Voyage
    round the World_, pp. 543 _sqq._; G. Forster, _Voyage round the
    World_, i. 267, ii. 138 _sq._; J. Wilson, _op. cit._ pp. 207
    _sq._, 211 _sq._; D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 267
    _sq._, 271, 280 _sqq._, 549, ii. 13 _sq._; J. A. Moerenhout,
    _op. cit._ i. 466-470; A. Baessler, _Neue Südsee-Bilder_, pp.
    111 _sqq._; S. and K. Routledge, "Notes on some Archaeological
    Remains in the Society and Austral Islands," _Journal of the
    Royal Anthropological Institute_, li. (1921) 438 _sqq._
    According to J. R. Forster (_l.c._), the _marais_ (_morais,
    maraes_) "consist of a very large pile of stones, generally in
    the shape of an Egyptian pyramid, with large steps; sometimes
    this pyramid makes one of the sides of an area, walled in with
    square stones and paved with flat stones: the pyramid is not
    solid, but the inside is filled with smaller fragments of coral

    [106] A. Baessler, _Neue Südsee-Bilder_, p. 135. This writer has
    given us a survey and description of some of the principal
    remains which existed at the end of the nineteenth century (pp.
    111-148). The ruins of two _maraes_ in the island of Moorea are
    described by Mr. and Mrs. Routledge (_l.c._). In one of them the
    pyramid stood at the western end of the enclosure, and in the
    other at the eastern end.

Some of the pyramids erected within these sacred enclosures were of
great size. In Tahiti an enormous one was seen and described by Captain
Cook as well as by later observers. It was of oblong shape and measured
two hundred and sixty-seven feet in length by eighty-seven feet in
width. It rose in a series of eleven steps or terraces, each four feet
high, so that the total height of the structure was forty-four feet.
Each step was formed of a single course of white coral stone, neatly
squared and polished. The steps on the long sides were broader than
those at the ends, so that at the top it terminated, not in an oblong of
the same figure as the base, but in a ridge like the roof of a house.
The interior of the pyramid was solid, being filled up with round
pebbles which, from the regularity of their figure, seemed to have been
wrought. Some of the coral stones were very large; one of them was three
and a half feet long by two and a half feet wide. The foundation of the
pyramid was built not of coral, but of what Captain Cook called rock, by
which he probably meant a volcanic stone. These foundation stones were
also squared; one of them measured four feet seven inches by two feet
four inches. "Such a structure," says Captain Cook, "raised without the
assistance of iron tools to shape the stones, or mortar to join them,
struck us with astonishment: it seemed to be as compact and firm as it
could have been made by any workman in Europe, except that the steps
which range along its greatest length are not perfectly strait, but sink
in a kind of hollow in the middle, so that the whole surface, from end
to end, is not a right line, but a curve." All the stones, both rock and
coral, must have been brought from a distance, for there was no quarry
in the neighbourhood. The squaring of these blocks with stone tools
must, as Captain Cook observes, have been a work of incredible labour;
but the polishing of them could have been effected more easily by means
of the sharp coral sand, which is found everywhere on the seashore in
great abundance. On the top of the pyramid, and about the middle, stood
the wooden image of a bird; and near it lay the image of a fish carved
in stone. This great pyramid formed part of one side of a spacious area,
nearly square, which measured three hundred and sixty feet by three
hundred and fifty-four, and was walled in with stone as well as paved
with flat stones in its whole extent. Notwithstanding the pavement,
several trees were growing within the sacred enclosure. About a hundred
yards to the west was another paved area or court, in which were several
small stages raised on wooden pillars about seven feet high. These
stages the natives called _ewattas_. Captain Cook judged them rightly to
be altars, observing that they supported what appeared to be offerings
in the shape of provisions of all sorts, as well as whole hogs and many
skulls of hogs and dogs.[107]

    [107] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 157-159. The great pyramid was
    afterwards visited and described by the first missionaries.
    Their measurements confirm, while slightly exceeding, those of
    Captain Cook. They speak, however, of ten steps instead of
    eleven, and say that the lowest step was six feet high and the
    rest about five. See J. Wilson, _op. cit._ pp. 207 _sq._, with
    the plate.

The pyramids within the sacred enclosure were not usually so large or so
lofty. In the island of Huahine the pyramid of the chief god Tani or
Tane was a hundred and twenty-four feet long by sixteen feet broad, and
it had only two steps or stories. The lower step or story was about ten
feet high and faced with blocks of coral, set on their edges: some of
these blocks were as high as the step itself. The upper step or story
was similarly faced with coral, but was not more than three feet high.
The interior of both stories was filled with earth. In the centre of the
principal front stood the god's bed, a stone platform twenty-four feet
long by thirteen feet wide, but only eighteen inches high. The style and
masonry of this pyramid, as well as its dimensions, appear to have been
very inferior to those of the great one in Tahiti. The blocks were
apparently unhewn and unpolished, the angles ill formed, and the walls
not straight. Venerable and magnificent trees overshadowed the
sanctuary. One of them measured fifteen yards in girth above the roots.
It is said that the god often wished to fly away, but that his long tail
always caught in the boughs of this giant tree and dragged him down to
earth again.[108]

    [108] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 265 _sq._

These sacred pyramids "were erected in any place, and at any time, when
the priests required, by the slavish people. On such occasions the
former overlooked the latter at their work, and denounced the most
terrible judgments upon those who were remiss at it. The poor wretches
were thus compelled to finish their tasks (burthensome as they often
were, in heaving blocks from the sea, dragging them ashore, and heaping
them one upon another) without eating, which would have desecrated the
intended sanctuary. To restrain the gnawings of hunger they bound
girdles of bark round their bodies, tightening the ligatures from time
to time, as their stomachs shrank with emptiness. And, when the drudgery
was done, it was not uncommon for the remorseless priests to seize one
of the miserable builders and sacrifice him to the idol of the

    [109] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 13 _sq._

Temples of this sort were found scattered over the islands in every
situation--on hill-tops, on jutting headlands, and in the recesses of
groves.[110] They varied greatly in size: some were small and built in
the rudest manner, mere squares of ill-shapen and ill-piled stones. In
the island of Borabora the missionaries found not less than two hundred
and twenty of these structures crowded within an area only ten miles in
circumference.[111] The trees that grew within the sacred enclosure were
sacred. They comprised particularly the tall cypress-like casuarina and
the broader-leaved and more exuberant callophyllum, thespesia, and
cardia. Their interlacing boughs formed a thick umbrageous covert, which
often excluded the rays of the sun; and the contrast between the bright
glare of a tropical day outside and the sombre gloom in the depths of
the grove, combined with the sight of the gnarled trunks and twisted
boughs of the aged trees, and the sighing of the wind in the branches,
to strike a religious horror into the mind of the beholder.[112] The
ground which surrounded the temples (_morais_) was sacred and afforded a
sanctuary for criminals. Thither they fled on any apprehension of
danger, especially when many human sacrifices were expected, and thence
they might not be torn by violence, though they were sometimes seduced
from their asylum by guile.[113]

    [110] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 341.

    [111] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ ii. 13.

    [112] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 341 _sq._

    [113] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 351.

These remarkable sanctuaries were at once temples for the worship of the
gods and burial-places for the human dead. On this combination of
functions I have already adduced some evidence;[114] but as the point is
important, I will cite further testimonies as to the custom of burying
the dead in these enclosures.

    [114] Above, pp. 116 _sqq._

Thus Captain Cook writes: "I must more explicitly observe that there are
two places in which the dead are deposited: one a kind of shed, where
the flesh is suffered to putrefy; the other an enclosure, with erections
of stones, where the bones are afterwards buried. The sheds are called
_tupapow_, and the enclosures _morai_. The _morais_ are also places of
worship".[115] Again, after describing how a dead body used to be placed
in the temporary house or shed (_tupapow_) and left there to decay for
five moons, Captain Cook tells us that "what remains of the body is
taken down from the bier, and the bones, having been scraped and washed
very clean, are buried, according to the rank of the person, either
within or without a _morai_: if the deceased was an _earee_ or chief,
his skull is not buried with the rest of the bones, but is wrapped up in
fine cloth, and put in a kind of box made for that purpose, which is
also placed in the _morai_. This coffer is called _ewharre no te
orometua_, the house of a teacher or master".[116]

    [115] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 217.

    [116] J. Cook, _op. cit._ i. 219.

Again, after describing the human sacrifice which he witnessed at the
great _morai_ at Attahooroo, in Tahiti, Captain Cook proceeds as
follows: "The _morai_ (which, undoubtedly, is a place of worship,
sacrifice, and burial at the same time), where the sacrifice was now
offered, is that where the supreme chief of the whole island is always
buried, and is appropriated to his family, and some of the principal
people. It differs little from the common ones, except in extent. Its
principal part is a large oblong pile of stones, lying loosely upon each
other, about twelve or fourteen feet high, contracted toward the top,
with a square area on each side, loosely paved with pebble stones, under
which the bones of the chiefs are buried.... The human sacrifices are
buried under different parts of the pavement."[117]

    [117] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 37.

Again, Captain Cook tells us that after a battle the victors used to
collect all the dead that had fallen into their hands and bring them to
the _morai_, where, with much ceremony, they dug a hole and buried all
the bodies in it as so many offerings to the gods; but the skulls of the
slain were never afterwards taken up. Their own great chiefs who fell in
battle were treated in a different manner. Captain Cook was informed
that the bodies of the late king and two chiefs, who were slain in
battle, were brought to the _morai_ at Attahooroo. There the priests cut
out the bowels of the corpses before the great altar, and the bodies
were afterwards buried at three different spots in the great pile of
stones which formed the most conspicuous feature of the _morai_. Common
men who perished in the same battle were all buried in a single hole at
the foot of the pile. The spots where the bodies of the king and chiefs
reposed were pointed out to Captain Cook and his companions.[118]

    [118] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 40 _sq._

Again, in the island of Tahiti, the naturalist George Forster, who
accompanied Captain Cook, saw a stone building, "in form of the frustum
of a pyramid," constructed in terraces or steps, and measuring about
twenty yards in length at the base. "This the native said was a
burying-place and place of worship, _marài_, and distinguished it by the
name of _marai no-Aheatua_, the burying-place of Aheatua, the present
king of Tiarroboo."[119]

    [119] G. Forster, _Voyage round the World_, i. 267.

Again, in the island of Huahine, the missionaries Tyerman and Bennet saw
"a pagan _marae_ hard by, where the sovereigns of Huahine were
buried--and where, indeed, they lay in more than oriental state, each
one resting in his bed, at the foot of the Sacred Mountain, beneath the
umbrage of the magnificent _aoa_ [tree], and near the beach for ever
washed by waters that roll round the world.... The great _marae_ itself
was dedicated to Tani, the father of the gods here; but the whole ground
adjacent was marked with the vestiges of smaller _maraes_--private
places for worship and family interment--while this was the capital of
the island and the headquarters of royalty and idolatry."[120] A little
later, speaking of the same sacred place, the missionaries observe, "The
first _marae_ that we visited was the sepulchral one of the kings of
Huahine, for many generations. It was an oblong inclosure, forty-five
feet long by twenty broad, fenced with a strong stone wall. Here the
bodies of the deceased, according to the manner of the country, being
bound up, with the arms doubled to their shoulders, the legs bent under
their thighs and both forced upwards against the abdomen, were let down,
without coffins, into a hole prepared for their reception, and just deep
enough to allow the earth to cover their heads."[121]

    [120] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 271.

    [121] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 280.

One of our best authorities on these islands, William Ellis, speaks of
the _maraes_ (_morais_), whether they belonged to private families, to
districts, or to the kings, as being "the general depositories of the
bones of the departed, whose bodies had been embalmed"; and as a motive
for the practice he alleges the sanctity which attached to these places,
and which might naturally be supposed to guard the graves against
impious and malicious violation.[122] However, the first missionaries
say of the islanders that "they bury none in the _morai_, but those
offered in sacrifice, or slain in battle, or the children of chiefs
which have been strangled at the birth--an act of atrocious inhumanity
too common."[123] According to Moerenhout, the _marais_ (_morais_)
belonging to private families were often used as cemeteries; but in the
public _marais_ none but the human victims, and sometimes the priests,
were interred.[124] Thus there is to some extent a conflict of testimony
between our authorities on the subject of burial in the temples. But the
evidence which I have adduced seems to render it probable that many at
least of the _morais_ served as burial-grounds for kings and chiefs of
high degree, and even for common men who had fallen fighting in the
service of their country.

    [122] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 405. See above, pp. 117 _sq._

    [123] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 364.

    [124] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 470.

In more recent years the German traveller, Arthur Baessler, who examined
and described the existing ruins of these sacred edifices, denied that
the _maraes_ (_morais_) were places of burial, while he allowed that
they were places of worship.[125] He distinguished a _marae_ from an
_ahu_, admitting at the same time that they closely resembled each
other, both in their structure and in the ritual celebrated at
them.[126] According to him, a _marae_ was a sort of domestic chapel,
the possession of which constituted the most distinctive mark of a noble
family. Every chief, high or low, had one of them and took rank
according to its antiquity.[127] It was an oblong area, open to the sky
and enclosed by walls on three sides and by a pyramid on the fourth:
walls and pyramid alike were built of blocks of stone or coral.[128] The
_ahu_, on the other hand, was a monument erected to the memory of a
distinguished chief, whose mortal remains were deposited in it. But
apart from the grave which it contained, the _ahu_, according to
Baessler, hardly differed from a _marae_, though it was mostly larger:
it was a great walled enclosure with a pyramid, altars, and houses of
the priests. And the ritual celebrated in the _ahu_ resembled the ritual
performed in the _marae_: there, too, the faithful assembled to pray,
and there the priests recited the same liturgy.[129] Thus both the form
and, to some extent at least, the function of the two types of sanctuary
presented a close similarity. The islanders themselves, it appears, do
not always clearly distinguish them at the present day.[130] And the
single distinction on which Baessler insisted, that the dead were buried
in the _ahu_ but not in the _marae_, seems not to hold good universally,
even on Baessler's own showing. For he admits that, "if ever a chief was
buried in his own _marae_, it must have been in most exceptional cases,
but probably statements to that effect rest only on a confusion of the
_marae_ with the _ahu_; such a practice would also run counter to the
habits of the natives, who sought the most secret places for their dead,
and certainly concealed the heads in caves difficult of access and
unknown to others. On the other hand, the _maraes_ of humbler families
may more frequently, if not as a rule, have served as places of
burial."[131] And even in regard to the holiest _marae_, dedicated to
the great god Oro, in the island of Raiatea,[132] Baessler himself cites
a tradition, apparently well authenticated, that a great number of
warriors slain in battle were buried in it.[133] The argument that the
people buried their dead, or at all events their skulls, only in remote
caves among the mountains seems untenable; for according to the evidence
of earlier writers the practice of concealing the bones or the skulls of
the dead in caves was generally, if not always, a precaution adopted in
time of war, to prevent these sacred relics from falling into the hands
of invaders; the regular custom seems to have been to bury the bones in
or near the _marae_ and to keep the skulls either there or in the
house.[134] On the whole, then, it is perhaps safer to follow earlier
and, from the nature of the case, better-informed writers in neglecting
the distinction which Baessler drew between a _marae_ (_morai_) and an
_ahu_. In any case we have Baessler's testimony that an _ahu_ was at
once a place of burial and a place of worship. There seems to be no
evidence that any of these sacred edifices, whether _maraes_ or _ahus_,
were associated with a worship of the sun. On the other hand, it is
certain that some at least of them were dedicated, partly or chiefly, to
a cult of the dead, which formed a very important element in the
religion of the Society Islanders, whereas there is little or nothing to
show that they adored either the sun, or any other of the heavenly
bodies, with the possible exception of the moon.[135] This did not,
however, prevent them from entertaining absurd notions concerning these
great luminaries. At an eclipse they imagined that the moon or the sun
was being swallowed by some god whom they had offended; and on such
occasions they repaired to the temple and offered prayers and liberal
presents to the deity for the purpose of inducing him to disgorge the

    [125] A. Baessler, _Neue Südsee-Bilder_, pp. 116 _sq._, 127
    _sq._, 144 _sq._

    [126] A. Baessler, _op. cit._ pp. 130, 131.

    [127] A. Baessler, _op. cit._ p. 119.

    [128] A. Baessler, _op. cit._ pp. 117 _sq._

    [129] A. Baessler, _op. cit._ pp. 130 _sq._

    [130] A. Baessler, _op. cit._ p. 140.

    [131] A. Baessler, _op. cit._ p. 127.

    [132] A. Baessler, _op. cit._ pp. 124, 141.

    [133] A. Baessler, _op. cit._ pp. 127 _sq._, 144 _sq._

    [134] See below, p. 311.

    [135] Ellis says, "I am not aware that they rendered divine
    homage either to the sun or moon" (_Polynesian Researches_, iii.
    171). Speaking of the Areois, Moerenhout says that "it seems to
    me clear that though they did not adore directly the sun and the
    other stars, nevertheless their worship was little else than
    sabeism or the adoration of the visible and animated universe"
    (_op. cit._ i. 503). He interpreted both Oro and Maui or Mahoui
    (as he spells the name) as the sun-god (_op. cit._ i. 484, 502,
    503, 560 _sq._); but these interpretations appear to be his own
    guesses, unsupported by any statement of the natives. Maui was
    the great Polynesian hero, one of whose most famous exploits was
    catching the sun in a snare and compelling him to move more
    slowly (E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_,
    pp. 234 _sqq._, _s.v._ "Maui"; see above, p. 275); but this
    story, far from favouring the identification of Maui with the
    sun, seems fatal to it. According to J. R. Forster, the great
    god Taroa (Taaroa) was thought to have created the sun and to
    dwell in it (_Observations_, p. 540); but even if this statement
    is correct, it hardly implies a worship of the sun. With regard
    to the moon, the same writer tells us (_l.c._) that it was
    supposed to be procreated by a goddess named O-Heena, "who
    presides in the black cloud which appears in this luminary"; and
    the statement is repeated by his son, George Forster, who adds:
    "The women sing a short couplet, which seems to be an act of
    adoration paid to that divinity [O-Heena], perhaps because they
    suppose her to have some influence upon their physical
    [oe]conomy.... 'The cloud within the moon, that cloud I love'"
    (_Voyage round the World_, ii. 152). This so far seems to imply
    a reverence for the moon; and there are some grounds for
    thinking that O-Heena or Hina (as the name is usually spelt) was
    in Eastern Polynesia a moon-goddess. See above, p. 267, note^2.

    [136] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 331 _sq._, iii. 171. According to
    another account, the sun and moon in eclipse were supposed to be
    in the act of copulation. See J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 346.

Temples such as have been described were erected on all important
occasions, such as a war, a decisive victory, or the installation of a
great chief or king of a whole island. In these latter cases the natives
boasted that the number of persons present was so great that, if each of
them only brought a single stone, the amount of stones thus collected
would have sufficed to build their largest temples and pyramids.[137]
One of the occasions when it became necessary to build new temples was
when the old ones had been overthrown by enemies in war. After such a
desecration it was customary to perform a ceremony for the purpose of
purifying the land from the defilement which it had incurred through the
devastations of the foe, who had, perhaps, demolished the temples,
destroyed or mutilated the idols, and burned with fire the curiously
carved pieces of wood which marked the sacred places of interment and
represented the spirits of the dead (_tiis_). Before the rite of
purification was performed the temples were rebuilt, new altars reared,
new images placed within the sacred precincts, and new wooden effigies
set up near the graves. At the close of the rites in the new temples,
the worshippers repaired to the seashore, where the chief priest offered
a short prayer and the people dragged a net of coco-nut leaves through a
shallow part of the sea, usually detaching small pieces of coral, which
they brought ashore. These were called fish and were delivered to the
priest, who conveyed them to the temple and deposited them on the altar,
offering at the same time a prayer to induce the gods to cleanse the
land from pollution, that it might be as pure as the coral fresh from
the sea. It was now thought safe to abide on the soil and to eat of its
produce, whereas if the ceremony had not been performed, death would
have been, in the opinion of the people, the consequence of partaking of
fruits grown on the defiled land.[138]

    [137] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 468.

    [138] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 348 _sq._

The temples were sacred. When a man approached one of them to worship or
to bring his offering to the altar, he bared his body to the waist in
sign of reverence and humility.[139] Women in general might not enter a
temple, but when their presence was indispensable for certain
ceremonies, the ground was covered with cloth, on which they walked,
lest they should defile the holy place with their feet.[140] For
example, some six weeks or two months after the birth of a child the
father and mother took the child to a temple, where they both offered
their blood to the gods by cutting their heads with shark's teeth and
allowing the blood to drip on leaves, which they laid on the altar. On
this occasion the husband spread a cloth on the floor of the temple for
his wife to tread upon, for she might not step on the ground or the
pavement.[141] Similarly at marriage bride and bridegroom visited the
family temple (_marae_, _morai_), where the skulls of their ancestors
were brought out and placed before them; but a large white cloth had to
be spread out on the pavement for the bride to walk upon. Sometimes at
these marriage rites the female relatives cut their faces and brows with
shark's teeth, caught the flowing blood on cloth, and deposited the
cloth, sprinkled with the mingled blood of the mothers of the married
pair, at the feet of the bride.[142] At other times the mother of the
bride gashed her own person cruelly with a shark's tooth, and having
filled a coco-nut basin with the blood which flowed from her wounds, she
presented it to the bridegroom, who immediately threw it from him.[143]
While certain festivals were being celebrated at the temples the
exclusion of women from them was still more rigid. Thus in the island of
Huahine, during the celebration of the great annual festival, at which
all the idols of the island were brought from their various shrines to
the principal temple to be clothed with new dresses and ornaments, no
woman was allowed to approach any of the sacred edifices under pain of
death, which was instantly inflicted by whoever witnessed the sacrilege.
Even if the wives and children of the priests themselves came within a
certain distance, while some particular services were going on, they
were murdered on the spot by their husbands and fathers with the utmost

    [139] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 224; J. R. Forster, _Observations
    made during a Voyage round the World_, p. 547; J. A. Moerenhout,
    _op. cit._ i. 469. Elsewhere (vi. 149) Captain Cook mentions
    that the baring of the body on the approach to a temple was
    especially incumbent on women, who otherwise had to make a
    considerable circuit to avoid the sacred edifice.

    [140] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 469 _sq._; A. Baessler,
    _Neue Südsee-Bilder_, pp. 126 _sq._

    [141] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 536 _sq._

    [142] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 271 _sq._

    [143] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 558.

    [144] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 267 _sq._

Some of these sacred edifices are still impressive in their ruins and
deserve the name of megalithic monuments. Thus the temple (_marae_,
_morai_) of Oro at Opoa, which was the holiest temple in the island of
Raiatea and perhaps in the Society Islands generally,[145] is about a
hundred and thirty-eight feet long by twenty-six feet broad. It is
enclosed by a wall of gigantic coral blocks standing side by side to a
height of about six feet seven inches. The blocks have been hewn from
the inner reef; the outer surfaces were smoothed, the inner left rough.
One of the blocks stands over eleven feet high, without reckoning the
part concealed by the soil; it is twelve feet wide, by two and a half
feet thick. Another block is about ten feet long by eight feet broad and
one foot thick.[146] In the ruined temple of Tainuu, situated in the
district of Tevaitoa, one block is about eleven and a half feet high by
eleven feet wide, with a thickness varying from twenty inches to two and
a half feet.[147]

    [145] A. Baessler, _Neue Südsee-Bilder_, pp. 124, 141; D.
    Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 529 _sq._

    [146] A. Baessler, _op. cit._ p. 142.

    [147] A. Baessler, _op. cit._ p. 146.

The idols or images of the gods were usually made of wood, but sometimes
of stone. Some were rudely carved in human shape; others were rough
unpolished logs, wrapped in many folds of cloth or covered with a
matting of coco-nut fibre.[148] The image of the god Oro was a straight
log of casuarina wood, six feet long, uncarved, but decorated with
feathers. On the other hand Taaroa, the supreme deity of Polynesia, was
represented by a rudely carved human figure about four feet high, with a
number of little images studding his body to indicate the multitude of
gods that had proceeded from him as creator. The body of the god was
hollow, and when it was taken from the temple, where it had been
worshipped for many generations, it was found to contain a number of
small idols in the cavity. It is supposed that these petty gods had been
placed there by their worshippers and owners that they might absorb some
of the supernatural powers of the greater divinity before being removed
to the places where they were to commence deities on their own
account.[149] With a similar intention it was customary to fill the
inside of the hollow images with red feathers in order that the plumes
might be impregnated with the divine influence and might afterwards
diffuse it for the benefit of the owner of the feathers, who had placed
them in the image for that purpose. The red feathers, plucked from a
small bird which is found in many of the islands, thus became an
ordinary medium for communicating and extending supernatural powers, not
only in the Society Islands, but throughout Polynesia. The beautiful
long tail-feathers of the tropic or man-of-war bird were used for the
same purpose. The gods were supposed to be very fond of these feathers
and ready to impart their blessed essence to them. Hence people brought
the feathers to the priest and received from him in exchange two or
three which had been sanctified in the stomach of the deity; on
extracting them from that receptacle, the priest prayed to the god that
he would continue to inhabit the red feathers even when they were
detached from his divine person.[150] The feathers thus consecrated were
themselves regarded as in some sense divine and were called gods
(_atuas_, _oromatuas_); the people had great confidence in their
sovereign virtue, and on occasions of danger they sought them out,
believing that the mere presence of the feathers would afford them
adequate protection. For example, when they were threatened by a storm
at sea, they would hold out the feathers to the menacing clouds and
command them to depart.[151]

    [148] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 337 _sq._; J. A. Moerenhout, _op.
    cit._ i. 471. According to Ellis, the wooden images were made
    from the durable timber of the _aito_ or casuarina tree, and the
    stone images were mostly rude uncarved angular columns of
    basalt, of various sizes, though some were of calcareous or
    siliceous stone. Some stone images, however, were rudely carved
    in human form. See A. Baessler, _Neue Südsee-Bilder_, pp. 128

    [149] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 354.

    [150] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 338 _sq._; J. A. Moerenhout, _op.
    cit._ i. 471 _sqq._

    [151] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 473 _sq._

§ 5. _The Sacrifices, Priests, and Sacred Recorders_

The offerings presented to the gods included every kind of valuable
property, such as birds, fish, beasts, the fruits of the earth and the
choicest native manufactures. The fruits and other eatables were
generally, but not always, dressed. Portions of the fowls, pigs, or
fish, cooked with sacred fire in the temple, were presented to the
deity; the remainder furnished a banquet for the priests and other
sacred persons, who were privileged to eat of the sacrifices. The
portions appropriated to the gods were placed on the altar and left
there till they decayed. In the public temples the great altars were
wooden stages, some eight or ten feet high, supported on a number of
wooden posts, which were sometimes curiously carved and polished. But
there were also smaller altars in the temples; some of them were like
round tables, resting on a single post. Domestic altars and such as were
erected near the bodies of dead friends were small square structures of
wicker-work. In sacrificing pigs they were very anxious not to break a
bone or disfigure the animal. Hence they used to strangle the animal or
bleed it to death.[152]

    [152] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 344 _sq._

Human victims were sacrificed on many occasions, as in time of war, at
great national festivals, during the illness of their rulers, and at
the building of a temple. William Ellis was told that the foundations of
some of their sacred edifices were laid in human sacrifices, and that at
least the central pillar, which supported the roof of one of the sacred
houses at Maeva, had been planted on the body of a man. The victims were
either captives taken in war or persons who had rendered themselves
obnoxious to the chiefs or the priests. In the technical language of the
priests they were called "fish." When once a man had been chosen for
sacrifice, the family to which he belonged was regarded as taboo or
devoted to the altar, and when another victim was wanted, he was more
frequently taken from that family than from any other. Similarly, a
district which had once furnished victims was thenceforth devoted.
Hence, at the approach of ceremonies which were usually accompanied by
human sacrifices, the members of certain families and the inhabitants of
certain districts used to flee to the mountains and hide in caves till
the ceremony was over. But the doomed man was seldom apprised of his
fate beforehand. A sudden blow with a club or a stone on the nape of the
neck was the usual way of despatching him, lest the body should be
mangled or a bone broken. If the blow had only stunned him, he was soon
killed, and the corpse, placed in a long basket of coco-nut leaves, was
carried to the temple and offered to the god by being set before the
idol. In dedicating it the priest took out one of the eyes and handed it
on a leaf to the king, who made as if he would swallow it, but passed it
on to a priest or attendant. After the ceremony the body, still wrapt in
coco-nut leaves, was often deposited on the branches of a neighbouring
tree, where it remained some time. Finally, the bones were taken down
and buried under the pavement of the temple (_marae_).[153]

    [153] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 345-348. Compare J. Cook,
    _Voyages_, iii. 168 _sqq._ vi. 28-41; J. Wilson, _op. cit._ pp.
    350 _sq._; D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 549, ii. 38

In the family, according to patriarchal usage, the father was the
priest, but the priests of the national temples formed a distinct class;
their office was hereditary. The high priesthood was often held by a
member of the royal family, and sometimes the king himself acted as the
national priest. The duties of the priests were to recite prayers, to
present offerings, and to sacrifice victims. Their prayers, usually
uttered in shrill, chanting tones, were often exceedingly long and full
of repetitions.[154] They had plenty of employment, being called in to
officiate on all occasions, whether at birth or at death, at feasts or
in sickness; for they were the physicians as well as the clergy of the
country. They professed to possess extraordinary powers, such as to
promote conception or to effect abortion, to cause or to heal disease,
to pray the evil spirit into food, and even to kill men outright. Hence
they were greatly feared.[155] Of the little knowledge that existed in
the islands the priests are reported to have possessed the largest
share, but it consisted chiefly in an acquaintance with the names and
ranks of the various subordinate deities (_atuas_); however, according
to Captain Cook, they excelled the rest of the people in their knowledge
of navigation and astronomy: indeed, the very name for priest (_tahowa_)
signified nothing more than a man of knowledge.[156] In the island of
Huahine the priest whose duty it was to carry the image of the god Tani
(Tane) "was a personage of such superhuman sanctity that everything
which he touched became sacred; he was, therefore, not suffered to
marry, as the honour of being his wife was too much for any mortal
woman. But this was not all; he would himself be so defiled by such a
connection that he would be disqualified for his office, and must
immediately resign it; nay, if he did not repent, and return with a
great peace-offering to Tani's house, he might expect to be first struck
blind, and afterwards strangled in his sleep. He was not allowed to
climb a cocoa tree, because, if he did, it would be so hallowed that
nobody else durst afterwards ascend it."[157]

    [154] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 342 _sq._ Compare J. R. Forster,
    _Observations made during a Voyage round the World_, pp. 545
    _sqq._; J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 474 _sqq._

    [155] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 348.

    [156] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 223.

    [157] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 279.

One of the most important functions of the priests was to act as
mouthpieces of the gods. In the discharge of this duty they were
believed to be inspired and possessed by the deity, who spoke through
them to the people. When the time came for them to consult the god, they
assumed an odd fantastic dress, enriched with red and black feathers,
to which the deity was so partial, that when the priests approached him
in this array, he descended to earth at their call in one of the sacred
birds that frequented the temples (_morais_) and fed on the sacrifices.
As soon as the bird lighted on the sacred edifice, the god left the fowl
and entered into the priest. The holy man, thus inspired, now stretched
himself, yawned, and rubbed his arms, legs, and body, which began to be
inflated, as if the skin of the abdomen would burst; the eyes of the
seer were thrown into various contortions, now staring wide, now
half-shut and sinking into stupor, while at other times the whole frame
was convulsed and appeared to have undergone a sudden and surprising
change. The voice sank to a low pitch, and grew squeaky and broken; but
at times it would suddenly rise to an astonishing height. The words
uttered by the possessed man were regarded as oracular, and nothing that
he asked for the god or for himself in this state was ever refused him.
Of all this the priest himself affected to be entirely unaware, but a
colleague was regularly at hand to record the divine message and the
divine requirements, which were often very large. When the deity took
his departure from the priest, he did so with such convulsions and
violence as to leave the man lying motionless and exhausted on the
ground, and the oracle was so timed that this happened at the very
moment when the sacred bird, the vehicle of the god, flew away from the
temple. On coming to himself the priest uttered a loud shriek and seemed
to wake as from a profound sleep, unconscious of everything that had
passed.[158] Sometimes, however, the priest continued to be possessed by
the deity for two or three days; at such times he wore a piece of native
cloth, of a peculiar sort, round one arm as a sign of his inspiration.
His acts during this period were deemed to be those of the god; hence
the greatest attention was paid to his expressions and to the whole of
his deportment. Indeed, so long as the fit of inspiration lasted he was
called a god (_atua_); but when it was over, he resumed his ordinary
title of priest.[159]

    [158] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ pp. 349 _sq._

    [159] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 373-375.

We are told that in his fine frenzy the priest "often rolled on the
earth, foaming at the mouth, as if labouring under the influence of the
divinity, by whom he was possessed, and, in shrill cries, and violent
and often indistinct sounds, revealed the will of the god."[160] It
would probably be a mistake to assume that on such occasions the frantic
behaviour was deliberately assumed and the wild whirling words were
consciously uttered for the purpose of deceiving the people; in short,
that the whole performance was a mere piece of acting, a bare-faced
imposture. It is far more likely that, bred from childhood to believe in
the reality of divine inspiration, the priest often sincerely imagined
himself to be possessed by a deity, and that, under the excitement which
such an imagination was calculated to produce, he honestly mistook his
own thick-coming fancies for a revelation from the gods. A chief, who
had formerly been a prophet of the god Oro, assured the missionaries
"that although he sometimes feigned his fits of inspiration, to deceive
the credulous multitude, yet, at other times, they came upon him
involuntarily and irresistibly. Something seemed to rush through his
whole frame, and overpower his spirit, in a manner which he could not
describe. Then he frothed at the mouth, gnashed his teeth, and distorted
his limbs with such violence that it required five or six strong men to
hold him. At these times his words were deemed oracles, and whatever he
advised respecting state affairs, or other matters, was implicitly
observed by king and chiefs."[161] Thus on the ravings of these crazy
fanatics or deliberate impostors often hung the issues of life or death,
of war or peace.[162] It appears to have been especially the priests of
Oro who laid claim to inspiration and contrived to shape the destinies
of their country through the powerful sway which they exercised over the
mind of the king. In their fits of fanatical frenzy, while they
delivered their oracles, they insisted on the sovereign's implicit
compliance with their mandates, denouncing the most dreadful judgments
on him if he should prove refractory.[163]

    [160] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 373 _sq._

    [161] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 124.

    [162] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 114 _sq._

    [163] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 121.

Apart from the priests there was a class of men whose business it was to
preserve and hand down to their successors the lists of the gods, the
liturgical prayers, and the sacred traditions. As these liturgies and
legends were often very lengthy and couched in a metaphorical and
obscure language, a prodigious memory and long practice were
indispensable for their preservation and transmission among a people to
whom the art of writing was unknown. Since the slightest mistake in the
recitation of a liturgy was deemed the worst of omens and necessitated
the suspension of the religious service, however costly and important
the service might be, the sacred recorders, as we may call them, were
obliged, for the sake of their credit, to practise continually the
recitation of the prayers, legends, and traditions of which they were
the depositories. To aid them in their task they made use of bundles of
little sticks of different sizes, one of which they drew from a bundle
at the conclusion of each prayer. It was their duty on solemn occasions
to recite these liturgies or sacred poems while they paced slowly by
night round the temples (_morais_) and other holy places; hence they
went by the name of _harepo_, which means "Walkers by night." We are
told that if at these times they made a mistake in a single word or
hesitated for a moment, they stopped and returned home; and if the
subject of their prayers chanced to be some enterprise in which they
desired to enlist the favour of the gods, such a mistake or hesitation
was enough to cause the undertaking to be abandoned irretrievably, since
success in it was believed to be impossible. Nothing, it is said, could
be more astonishing than the memory displayed by these men, while they
recited, word for word, and for nights together, the ancient traditions
of which the mutilated and mangled remains would demand the assiduous
study of several years. The office of sacred recorder (_harepo_) was
hereditary in the male line; the sons were trained in the duties from
their earliest years, but only such as were endowed with an excellent
memory could satisfy the requirements of the profession. They believed
that a good memory was a gift of the gods.[164]

    [164] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 504-507.

§ 6. _The Doctrine of the Human Soul_

Of the Society Islanders we are informed that "they believe every man to
have a separate being within him, named _tee_, which acts in consequence
of the impression of the senses, and combines ideas into thoughts. This
being, which we would call the soul, exists after death, and lodges in
the wooden images which are placed round the burying-places, and which
are called by the same name, _tee_."[165] When they were asked in what
part of the body the soul resides, they always answered that it was
seated in the belly or in the bowels (_I roto té obou_). They would not
admit that the brain could be the seat of thought or the heart of the
affections; and in support of their opinion they alleged the agitation
of the bowels in strong emotion, such as fear and desire.[166] Hence,
too, they called thoughts by a phrase which signifies "words in the
belly" (_parou no te oboo_).[167]

    [165] G. Forster, _Voyage round the World_, ii. 151 _sq._
    Compare J. R. Forster, _Observations made during a Voyage round
    the World_, pp. 534 _sq._, 542 _sq._, where the word for soul is
    given as _E-teehee_ or _Teehee_.

    [166] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 431.

    [167] G. Forster, _op. cit._ ii. 151 note *.

But the Society Islanders did not regard the possession of a soul as a
privilege peculiar to humanity. According to Captain Cook, "they
maintain that not only all other animals, but trees, fruit, and even
stones, have souls, which at death, or upon being consumed or broken,
ascend to the divinity, with whom they first mix, and afterwards pass
into the mansion allotted to each."[168] Their word for soul was
_varoua_, according to Moerenhout, who adds that, "It appears that they
accorded this _varoua_ (spirit, soul) not only to man, but even in
addition to the animals, to plants, to everything that vegetates, grows
or moves on the earth."[169]

    [168] J. Cook, _op. cit._ vi. 151.

    [169] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 430.

They thought that the soul of man could be separated for a time from the
body during life without causing immediate death. Thus, like many other
peoples, they explained dreams by the supposed absence of the soul
during slumber. We are told that "they put great confidence in dreams,
and suppose in sleep the soul leaves the body under the care of the
guardian angel, and moves at large through the regions of spirits. Thus
they say, My soul was such a night in such a place, and saw such a
spirit. When a person dies, they say his soul is fled away, _h[=a]rre
p[=o]_, gone to night."[170] But they also believed that a man's soul or
spirit could be conjured out of his body by magic art or demoniacal
agency. Thus, when people had been robbed, they would sometimes call in
the help of a priest to ascertain the thief. In such a case the priest,
after offering prayers to his demon, would direct them to dig a hole in
the floor of the house and to fill it with water; then, taking a young
plantain in his hand, he would stand over the hole and pray to the god,
whom he invoked, and who, if he were propitious, was supposed to conduct
the spirit of the thief to the house and to place it over the water. The
image of the spirit, which they believed to resemble the person of the
man, was, according to their account, reflected in the water and
perceived by the priest, who was thus able to identify the thief,
alleging that the god had shown him the reflection of the culprit in the
water.[171] From this it appears that in the opinion of the Society
Islanders, as of many other peoples, a man's soul or spirit is a
faithful image of his body.[172]

    [170] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 346. In the Polynesian languages
    _po_ is the word both for "night" and for "the shades," the
    primaeval darkness from which all forms of life were evolved,
    and to which the souls of the dead return. See E. Tregear,
    _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, p. 342, _s.v._ "po."

    [171] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_, i. 378 _sq._

    [172] Compare W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 396, "What their precise
    ideas of a spirit were, it is not easy to ascertain. They
    appear, however, to have imagined the shape or form resembled
    that of the human body, in which they sometimes appeared in
    dreams to the survivors."

They believed that in the pangs of death the soul keeps fluttering about
the lips, and that, when all is over, it ascends and mixes with or, as
they expressed it, is eaten by the deity.[173] When one of their sacred
recorders (_harepo_), who had been famous in his life for his knowledge
of the ancient traditions, was at the point of death, it was customary
for his son and successor to place his mouth over the mouth of the dying
man, as if to inhale the parting soul at the moment of quitting the
body; for in this way he was supposed to inherit the lore of his father.
The natives, it is said, were convinced that these sages owed their
learning to this expedient, though none the less they studied day and
night to perfect themselves in their profession.[174]

    [173] J. Cook, _op. cit._ vi. 150.

    [174] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 507.

§ 7. _Disease, Death, and Mourning_

Every disease was supposed to be the result of direct supernatural
agency, and to be inflicted by the gods for some crime committed against
the law of taboo of which the sufferer had been guilty; or it might have
been brought upon him by an enemy, who had compassed his destruction by
means of an offering. They explained death in like manner: according to
them, it was invariably caused by the direct influence of the gods.[175]
They acknowledged, indeed, that they possessed poisons which, taken with
food, produced convulsions and death, but these effects they traced to
the anger of the gods, who employed the drugs as their material agents
or secondary causes. Even when a man was killed in battle, they still
saw in his death the hand of a god, who had actually entered into the
weapon that inflicted the fatal blow.[176]

    [175] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 395; J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._
    i. 433, 538 _sqq._

    [176] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 395 _sq._

The gods who were thus supposed to afflict human life with sickness and
disease and to bring it to an untimely termination in death were not
always nor perhaps usually the high primaeval deities; often they were
the souls of the dead, who ranked among the domestic divinities
(_oromatuas_). And, like the Maoris,[177] the natives of the Society
Islands are said to have stood in particular fear of the souls of dead
infants, who, angered at their mother for their too early death, took
their revenge by sending sickness on the surviving members of the
family. Hence when a woman was ill-treated by her husband, she would
often threaten to insult the ghost of a dead baby; and this threat, with
the deplorable consequences which it was calculated to entail, seldom
failed to bring the husband to a better frame of mind; or if he happened
to prove recalcitrant, the other members of the family, who might be
involved in the calamity, would intercede and restore peace in the
household. Thus we are told that among these islanders the fear of the
dead supplied in some measure the place of natural affection and
tenderness in softening and humanising the general manners.[178]

    [177] See above, p. 49.

    [178] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 538 _sq._

Disease and death were also attributed to the malignant charms of
sorcerers, who, hired by an enemy of the sufferer, procured for the
purpose the clipped hair or the spittle of their intended victim, the
flowers or garment he had worn, or any object which had touched his
person. But the real agents who were thought to give effect to the
charms were the minor deities, whom the sorcerer employed to accomplish
his nefarious ends. For this purpose he put the hair or other personal
refuse of the victim in a bag along with the images and symbols of the
petty divinities, and buried the bag and its contents in a hole which he
had dug in the ground. There he left it until, applying his ear to the
hole, he could hear the soul of the sufferer whimpering down below,
which proved that the charm was taking effect. If the intended victim
got wind of these machinations, it was always in his power to render
them abortive, either by sacrificing to the gods or by sending a present
to the sorcerer, who thus was feed by both sides at the same time.[179]

    [179] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 539-541. Compare W. Ellis,
    _op. cit._ i. 363 _sqq._

However, most cases of sickness apparently were set down not to the
wiles of sorcerers, but to the displeasure of the deified spirits of the
dead.[180] On this point the evidence of the early missionaries is
explicit. Speaking of the Society Islanders, they say that "they regard
the spirits of their ancestors, male and female, as exalted into
_eatooas_ [_atuas_, deities], and their favour to be secured by prayers
and offerings. Every sickness and untoward accident they esteem as the
hand of judgment for some offence committed; and therefore, if they have
injured any person, they send their peace-offering, and make the matter
up: and if sick, send for the priest to offer up prayers and sacrifices
to pacify the offended _eatooa_; giving anything the priests ask, as
being very reluctant to die."[181] "As it is their fixed opinion, that
no disease affects them but as a punishment inflicted by their _eatooa_
[_atua_] for some offence, and never brought on themselves by
intemperance or imprudence, they trust more to the prayers of their
priests than to any medicine."[182]

    [180] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 543.

    [181] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 345.

    [182] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 404.

They imagined that at death the soul (_varua_) was drawn out of the head
by a god or spirit (_atua_) as a sword is drawn out of its scabbard, and
that the spirits of the dead often waited to catch it at the moment when
it issued from the body. Sometimes the dying man would fancy that he saw
the spirits lurking for him at the foot of the bed, and would cry out in
terror, "They are waiting for my spirit. Guard it! Preserve it from

    [183] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 396.

When the last struggle was over, a priest or diviner (_tahua tutera_)
was called in to ascertain the cause of death. For this purpose he
entered his canoe and paddled slowly along on the sea, near the house in
which the dead body was lying, in order to watch the passage of the
departing spirit; for they thought that it would fly towards him with
the emblem of the cause through which the person had died. If he had
been cursed by the gods, the spirit would appear with a flame, fire
being the agent employed in the incantations of the sorcerers, who had
presumably drawn down the curse upon the deceased. If some enemy had
bribed the gods to kill him, the spirit would come with a red feather,
as a sign that evil spirits had entered into his food. After a short
time the diviner returned to the house, announced the cause of death to
the survivors, and received his fee, the amount of which was regulated
by the circumstances of the family. After that a priest was employed to
perform ceremonies and recite prayers for the purpose of averting
destruction from the surviving members of the family; but the nature of
the ceremonies has not been recorded.[184]

    [184] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 398 _sq._

When it was manifest that death was approaching, the relatives and
friends, who had gathered round the sufferer, broke into loud
lamentations and other demonstrations of sorrow, which redoubled in
violence as soon as the spirit had departed. Then they not only wailed
in the loudest and most affecting tone, but tore out their hair, rent
their garments, and cut themselves with shark's teeth or knives in a
shocking manner. The instrument usually employed was a small cane, about
four inches long, with five or six teeth fixed into it on opposite
sides. Struck forcibly into the head, these instruments wounded it like
a lancet, so that the blood poured down in copious streams. Every woman
at marriage provided herself with one of these implements and used it
unsparingly on herself on the occasion of a death in the family. Some
people, not content with this instrument of torture, provided themselves
with a sort of mallet armed with two or three rows of shark's teeth; and
with this formidable weapon, on the demise of a relative or friend, they
hammered themselves unmercifully, striking their skulls, temples,
cheeks, and breast, till the blood flowed profusely from the wounds. At
the same time they uttered the most deafening and agonising cries; and
what with their frantic gestures, the distortion of their countenances,
their torn and dishevelled hair, and the mingled tears and blood that
trickled down their bodies, they presented altogether a horrible
spectacle. This self-inflicted cruelty was practised chiefly by women,
but not by them alone; for the men on these occasions committed the like
enormities, and not only cut themselves, but came armed with clubs and
other deadly weapons, which they sometimes plied freely on the bodies of
other people. These dismal scenes began with the nearest relatives of
the deceased, but they were not confined to them. No sooner did the
tidings spread, and the sound of wailing was heard throughout the
neighbourhood, than friends and kinsfolk flocked to the spot and joined
in the demonstrations of real or affected sorrow. The pageant of woe
reached its climax when the deceased was a king or a principal chief. It
was then, above all, that the tenants and retainers came armed with
bludgeons and stones, with which they fought each other till some of
them were wounded or slain; while others operated on themselves by
tearing their hair and lacerating their bodies in the usual manner till
their bodies were bedabbled with blood. After the introduction of
firearms into the islands, these lethal weapons lent variety and noise
to the combats, as well as adding to the number of the slain. At the
death of a person of distinction these exhibitions of frenzied sorrow
sometimes lasted two or three days in succession, or even longer.[185]
On such occasions a body of armed men, composed of friends and allies,
used to arrive from a neighbouring district and request to be allowed
access to the body of the chief, in order that they might mourn for him
in due form. The request was always refused by the bodyguards, who kept
the last vigil over their departed lord; and in consequence a fight
ensued in which several warriors were generally wounded or killed. Yet
it was only a sham fight, which seems to have always ended in a victory
for the mourners who had come from a distance; and when it was over,
victors and vanquished regularly united in performing the usual
sanguinary rites of mourning. In all the islands wrestling matches,
combats, and assaults-at-arms were ordinary features of the obsequies of

    [185] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_, i. 407-409; J. Wilson,
    _op. cit._ p. 352; J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 546 _sq._

    [186] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 551 _sq._

The blood which women in the paroxysms of grief drew from their bodies,
and the tears which flowed from their eyes, were received on pieces of
cloth, which were then thrown upon or under the bier as oblations to the
dead.[187] Sometimes for this purpose a woman would wear a short apron,
which she held up with one hand, while she cut herself with the other,
till the apron was soaked in blood. Afterwards she would dry it in the
sun and present it to the bereaved family, who kept it as a token of the
estimation in which the departed had been held.[188] Some of the younger
mourners used also to cut off their hair and throw it under the bier
with the other offerings.[189] When the deceased was a child, the
parents, in addition to other tokens of grief, used to cut their hair
short on one part of their heads, leaving the rest long; sometimes they
shaved a square patch on the forehead; sometimes they left the hair on
the forehead and cut off all the rest; at other times they removed all
the hair but a lock over one or both ears; or again they would clip
close one half of the head, while on the other half the tresses were
suffered to grow long; and these signs of mourning might be continued
for two or three years.[190]

    [187] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 135, 218; J. R. Forster,
    _Observations made during a Voyage round the World_, p. 560.

    [188] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 410.

    [189] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 218; J. R. Forster, _Observations
    made during a Voyage round the World_, p. 560.

    [190] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ pp. 352 _sq._

Captain Cook tells us that the custom observed by mourners of offering
their own blood, tears, and hair to their departed relative or friend
"is founded upon a notion that the soul of the deceased, which they
believe to exist in a separate state, is hovering about the place where
the body is deposited: that it observes the actions of the survivors,
and is gratified by such testimonies of their affection and grief."[191]
This explanation, in perfect harmony with the vigilance, vanity, and
jealousy commonly ascribed to ghosts, is in all probability correct. Yet
it deserves to be noticed that the custom of voluntarily hacking the
body with shark's teeth to the effusion of blood was singularly enough
practised by the Society Islanders on occasions of joy as well as of
sorrow. When a husband or a son returned to his family after a season of
absence or exposure to danger, his arrival was greeted, not only with
the cordial welcome and the warm embrace, but with loud wailing, while
the happy wife or mother cut her body with shark's teeth, and the
gladder she was the more she gashed herself.[192] Similarly many savage
peoples weep over long-absent friends, or even over strangers, as a
polite form of greeting in which genuine sorrow can hardly be supposed
to play a part.[193] It is difficult to see how such observances can be
based on superstition; apparently the emotion of joy may express itself
in very different ways in different races.

    [191] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 218 _sq._

    [192] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 410; J. Wilson, _op. cit._ pp.
    196, 362.

    [193] See _Folk-lore in the Old Testament_, ii. 82 _sqq._

The natives stood in great fear of the spirits of the dead, which were
supposed to haunt the places of their former abode and to visit the
habitations of men, but seldom on errands of mercy or benevolence. They
woke the survivors from their slumbers by squeaking noises to upbraid
them with their past wickedness or to reproach them with the neglect of
some ceremony, for which the ghosts were compelled to suffer. Thus the
people imagined that they lived in a world of spirits, which surrounded
them night and day, watching every action of their lives and ready to
revenge the smallest slight or the least disobedience to their
injunctions, as these were proclaimed to the living by the priests.
Convulsions and hysterics, for example, were ascribed to the action of
spirits, which seized the sufferer, scratched his face, tore his hair,
or otherwise maltreated him.[194]

    [194] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 406.

This fear of the spirits of the dead induced the Society Islanders to
resort to some peculiar ceremonies for the protection of the living
against the ghosts of persons who had recently died. One of these quaint
rites was performed by a priest, who went by the name of the
"corpse-praying priest" (_tahua bure tiapa-pau_). When the corpse had
been placed on a platform or bier in a temporary house, this priest
ordered a hole to be dug in the earth or floor, near the foot of the
platform, and over this hole he prayed to the god by whom the spirit of
the deceased had been summoned to its long home. The purport of the
prayer was that all the dead man's sins, and especially that for which
his soul had been called to the region of Night (_po_), should be
deposited in that hole, that they should not attach in any degree to the
survivors, and that the anger of the god might be appeased. The priest
next addressed the corpse, usually saying, "With you let the guilt now
remain." The pillar or post of the corpse, as it was called, was then
planted in the hole, earth was thrown over the guilt of the departed,
and the hole filled up. After that, the priest proceeded to the side of
the corpse, and taking some small slips of plantain leaf-stalk he fixed
two or three of them under each arm, placed a few on the breast, and
then, addressing the dead body, said, "There are your family, there is
your child, there is your wife, there is your father, and there is your
mother. Be satisfied yonder (that is, in the world of spirits). Look not
towards those who are left in this world." The concluding parts of the
ceremony were designed to impart contentment to the deceased, and to
prevent his spirit from repairing to the places of his former resort,
and so distressing the survivors. This was considered a most important
ceremony, being a kind of mass for the dead and necessary as well for
the peace of the living as for the quiet of the departed. It was seldom
omitted by any who could pay the priest his usual fees, which for this
service generally took the form of pigs and cloth, in proportion to the
rank or possessions of the family.[195]

    [195] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 401-403. Compare J. A. Moerenhout,
    _op. cit._ i. 552.

Soon after the decease of a chief or person of distinction, another
singular ceremony, called a _heva_, was performed by the relatives or
dependants, who personated the ghost of the departed. The principal
actor in the procession was a priest or kinsman who wore a curious dress
and an imposing head-ornament called a _parae_. A cap or turban of thick
native cloth was fitted close to the head; in front were two broad
mother-of-pearl shells that covered the face like a mask, with only a
small aperture through which the wearer could look in order to find his
way. Above the mask were fixed a number of long, white, red-tipped
feathers of the tropic bird, diverging like rays and forming a radiant
circle; while beneath the mask was a thin yet strong board curved like a
crescent, from which hung a sort of network of small pieces of brilliant
mother-of-pearl, finely polished and strung together on threads. The
depth of this network varied according to the taste or means of the
family, but it was generally nine inches or a foot, and might consist of
ten to fifteen or twenty perfectly straight and parallel rows. The
labour of making this mother-of-pearl pendant must have been immense;
for many hundred pieces of the shell had to be cut, ground down to the
requisite thinness, polished and perforated, without the use of iron
tools, before a single line could be fixed upon the head-dress. Fringed
with feathers, the pendant formed a kind of ornamental breastplate or
stomacher. Attached to it was a garment composed of alternate stripes of
black and yellow cloth, which enveloped the body and reached sometimes
to the loins, to the knees, or even to the ankles.[196] On his back the
masker wore an ample cloak or mantle of network covered with glossy
pigeon's feathers of a bluish colour. The costume appears to have been
intended as a disguise to prevent the spectators from recognising the
wearer; for George Forster, who has given us an elaborate description of
it, observes that "an ample hood of alternate parallel stripes of brown,
yellow, and white cloth descends from the turban to cover the neck and
shoulders, in order that as little as possible of the human figure may

    [196] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 412 _sq._ Compare J. Cook,
    _Voyages_, i. 135 _sq._, 138, 219; J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._
    i. 547-549.

    [197] G. Forster, _Voyage round the World_, ii. 74. For the full
    description of the garb, see _id._, ii. 71-75; J. R. Forster,
    _Observations made during a Voyage round the World_, pp.

In this strange garb the chief mummer, who was usually the nearest
relation of the deceased, carried in one hand a formidable weapon,
consisting of a staff about five feet long, one end of which was rounded
to serve as a handle, while the other end broadened out into a sort of
scythe, of which the inner or concave side was armed with a row of large
strong shark's teeth fixed in the wood. In the other hand he bore a kind
of clapper formed of two pearl-oyster shells, beautifully polished. Thus
attired and equipped, he led a procession either from the house of the
deceased, or, according to another account, from a valley to which, as
if under a paroxysm of grief, the party had retired at the death of the
person for whom the ceremony was performed; and as he walked along he
continued to rattle or jingle the shells against each other to give
notice of his approach. With him walked a number of men and boys, naked
except for a girdle, armed with cudgels, their faces and bodies painted
black, red, and white with charcoal and coloured earths. In this
impressive style the mummers marched through the district, the people
everywhere fleeing in terror at the sight of them, and even deserting
the houses at their approach. For whenever the leader caught sight of
any one, he ran at him, and if he overtook the fugitive, belaboured him
with his sharp-toothed club, to the grievous mauling of the unfortunate
wretch; while, not to be behind their leader, the assistants plied their
bludgeons on the bodies of all and sundry who chanced to fall into their
hands. At such times safety was only to be found in the king's temple,
which served on this as on other occasions as a sort of sanctuary or
place of refuge. Having thus scoured the country, the mummers marched
several times round the platform where the body was exposed, after which
they bathed in a river and resumed their customary apparel. This
performance was repeated at intervals for five moons, but less and less
frequently as the end of the time approached. The longer it lasted, the
greater was the honour supposed to be done to the dead. The relatives
took it in turn to assume the fantastic dress and discharge the office
of leader. Throughout the ceremonies the performers appeared and acted
as if they were deranged. They were supposed to be inspired by, or at
all events to represent, the spirit of the deceased, to revenge any
injury he might have received, or to punish those who had not shown due
respect to his remains.[198] Hence we may infer that the whole of this
quaint masquerade was designed to appease the anger of the ghost, and so
to protect the survivors by preventing him from returning to take
vengeance on them for any wrongs or slights he might have suffered at
their hands.

    [198] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 138 _sq._, 219; J. R. Forster,
    _Observations made during a Voyage round the World_, pp. 560
    _sq._; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 413 _sq._; J. A. Moerenhout, _op.
    cit._ i. 549 _sq._ According to Ellis, the mummers were supposed
    to be inspired by the spirit of the deceased; according to
    Moerenhout, they were not inspired by, but merely represented,
    the ghost. The difference between spiritual representation and
    inspiration is somewhat fine; too fine perhaps to be apprehended
    by Tahitian intelligence. Forster says that the procession
    started from the house of the deceased, Ellis that it started
    from a valley.

The same fear of the returning ghost is clearly expressed in a prayer
which the natives used to address to a dead relative at burial. They put
blossoms of bread-fruit and leaves of the edible fern under the arms of
the corpse, and as they did so, they prayed, saying, "You go to the Po
[Night, the World of Shades], plant bread-fruit there, and be food for
the gods; but do not come and strangle us, and we will feed your swine
and cultivate your lands."[199]

    [199] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _Journal of Voyages and
    Travels_, i. 322.

§ 8. _The Disposal of the Dead_

The heat of the climate, by hastening the decomposition of dead bodies,
rendered it necessary that corpses should be speedily removed or treated
so as to preserve them for a time from decay. As such treatment was
generally too costly for the poor and even the middle ranks of society,
families belonging to these classes were usually obliged to inter their
dead on the first or second day after the decease. During the short
intervening period the body, resting on a bed of fragrant green leaves,
was placed on a sort of bier covered with white cloth and decorated with
wreaths and garlands of sweet-smelling flowers. Round it sat the
relatives, giving vent to their grief in loud and continued
lamentations, and often cutting their temples, faces, and breasts with
shark's teeth, till they were covered with blood from their
self-inflicted wounds. The bodies were frequently committed to the grave
in deep silence; but sometimes a father would deliver a pathetic oration
at the funeral of his son.[200] The grave was generally shallow and the
corpse was deposited in a bent posture, with the hands tied to the knees
or to the legs.[201]

    [200] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 399 _sq._

    [201] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 553 _sq._

But in the families of chiefs the custom was to submit the bodies of the
dead to a sort of embalming and to preserve them above ground for a
time.[202] The Tahitians had a tradition of a rude or unpolished period
in their history, when the bodies of the dead were allowed to remain in
the houses in which they lived, and which were still occupied by the
survivors. A kind of stage or altar was erected in the dwelling, and on
it the corpse was deposited. But in a later and more polished age, which
lasted till the advent of Europeans, the practice was introduced of
building separate houses or sheds for the lodgment of corpses.[203]

    [202] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 400.

    [203] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 404.

These houses or sheds (_tupapows_) were small temporary buildings, often
neatly constructed. The thatched roof rested on wooden pillars, which
were seldom more than six feet high. The body was laid on a bier or
platform raised on posts about three feet from the ground. This bier was
movable, for the purpose of being drawn out, and of exposing the body to
the rays of the sun. The body was usually clothed or covered with cloth,
and for a long time it was carefully rubbed with aromatic oils once a
day. The size of these charnel-houses varied with the rank of the
persons whose bodies they contained; the better sort were enclosed by
railings. Those which were allotted to people of the lower class just
sufficed to cover the bier, and were not railed in. The largest seen by
Captain Cook was eleven yards long. Such houses were ornamented
according to the taste and abilities of the surviving kindred, who never
failed to lay a profusion of good cloth about the body, and sometimes
almost covered the outside of the house.[204]

    [204] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 93 _sq._, 135, 217, 218; J. Wilson,
    _op. cit._ pp. 84, 212 _sq._; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 404; J. A.
    Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 547.

But before the corpse was deposited in one of these temporary
structures, it was shrouded in cloth and carried on a bier to the
sea-shore, where it was set down on the beach at the water's edge. There
a priest, who accompanied the procession, renewed the prayers which he
had offered over the body both at the house and on its passage to the
shore. Further, he took up water in his hands and sprinkled it towards
the corpse, but not upon it. These prayers and sprinklings he repeated
several times, and between the repetitions the body was carried back
some forty or fifty yards from the sea, only to be brought back again to
the water's edge. While these ceremonies were being performed, the
temporary house or shed was being prepared, in which the corpse was to
remain until the flesh had wholly wasted from the bones. Thither it was
then carried from the beach and laid upon the bier.[205]

    [205] J. Cook, _op. cit._ i. 217 _sq._ Compare J. R. Forster,
    _Observations made during a Voyage round the World_, p. 559.

The practice of embalming appears to have been long familiar to the
natives of the Society Islands. The methods employed by them were
simple. Sometimes the juices were merely squeezed out of the corpse,
which was then exposed to the sun and anointed with fragrant oils. At
other times, and apparently more usually, the bowels, entrails, and
brains were extracted, and the cavities filled with cloth soaked in
perfumed oils, which were also injected into other parts of the body.
Scented oils were also rubbed over the outside daily: every day the
corpse was exposed to the sun in a sitting posture: every night it was
laid out horizontally and often turned over, that it might not remain
long on the same side. By these means, combined with the heat of the sun
and the dryness of the atmosphere, the process of desiccation was
effected in the course of a few weeks: the muscular parts and the eyes
shrivelled up; and the wizened body resembled a skeleton covered with
parchment or oilcloth. Thus reduced to a mummy, it was clothed and fixed
in a sitting attitude: a small altar was erected before it; and
offerings of fruit, food, and flowers were daily presented by the
relatives or by the priest who was appointed to attend to it. For if the
deceased was a chief of high rank or great renown, a priest or other
person was set apart to wait upon the corpse and to present food to its
mouth at different hours of the day. They supposed that the soul still
hovered over the mouldering remains and was pleased by such marks of
attention. Hence during the exposure of the body in the temporary house
the mourners would sometimes renew their lamentations there, and,
wounding themselves with shark's teeth, wipe off the blood on a cloth,
and deposit the bloody rag beside the mummy as a proof of their
affection. In this state the desiccated body was preserved for many
months till the flesh had completely decayed; Ellis was of opinion that
the best-preserved of these mummies could not be kept for more than
twelve months. The bones were then scraped, washed, and buried within
the precincts of the family temple (_morai_), if the deceased was a
chief; but if he was a commoner, they were interred outside of the holy
ground. However, the skull was not buried with the bones; it was
carefully wrapt in fine cloth and kept in a box by the family, it might
be for several generations. Sometimes the box containing the skull was
deposited at the temple, but often it was hung from the roof of the
house.[206] At marriage the skulls of ancestors were sometimes brought
out and set before the bride and bridegroom in order, apparently, to
place the newly wedded pair under the guardianship of the ancestral
spirits who had once animated these relics of mortality.[207] In time of
war victorious enemies would sometimes despoil the temples of the
vanquished and carry off the bones of famous men interred in them; these
they would then subject to the utmost indignity by converting them into
chisels, borers, or fish-hooks. To prevent this sacrilege the relations
of the dead conveyed the bones of their chiefs, and even the bodies of
persons who had lately died, to the mountains and hid them in caverns
among the most inaccessible rocks and lofty precipices of these wild
solitudes.[208] Where the mountains advance to the coast, many of these
caves exist in the face of cliffs overhanging the sea; for the most part
they are situated in places which Europeans can reach only with the help
of ropes and ladders, though the natives, it is said, can clamber up the
steepest crags with ease. Few even of the islanders know the situation
of the caverns, and fewer still will consent to act as guides to the
curious stranger who may wish to explore their recesses; for the fear of
the ghosts, who are supposed to haunt these ancient depositories of the
dead, is yet deeply rooted in the native mind. Moreover, the mouths of
the caves are generally so low and overgrown with shrubs and creepers
that they may easily be overlooked by an observer standing in front of
them. Some of the grottos are said to be still full of skulls, or were
so down to the end of the nineteenth century.[209] The mummies as well
as the bones were liable to be captured by an invader, and were esteemed
trophies not less glorious than foemen slain in battle. Hence during an
invasion the mummies were generally the first things to be carried off
for safety to the mountains.[210]

    [206] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 93 _sq._, 135 _sq._, 218, 219, vi.
    47 _sq._; J. R. Forster, _Observations made during a Voyage
    round the World_, pp. 561 _sq._; J. Wilson, _op. cit._ pp. 212
    _sq._, 363 _sq._; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 400 _sq._, 404 _sq._,
    405 _sq._; J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 554.

    [207] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 272, who observes that the
    survivors "considered the spirits of the proprietors of these
    skulls as the guardian spirits of the family."

    [208] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 405.

    [209] A. Baessler, _Neue Südsee-Bilder_ (Berlin, 1900), pp. 37
    _sq._, 81 _sq._, 83.

    [210] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 364.

A dangerous pollution was supposed to be contracted by all who had
handled a corpse. Hence the persons employed in embalming a body were
carefully shunned by every one else so long as the process lasted,
because the guilt of the crime for which the deceased had died was
supposed to attach in some degree to such as touched his mortal remains.
The embalmers did not feed themselves, lest the food, defiled by the
touch of their polluted hands, should cause their death; so they were
fed by others.[211] This state of uncleanness lasted for a month, during
which the tabooed persons were forbidden to handle food as well as to
put it into their own mouths.[212]

    [211] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 403.

    [212] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 363.

Again, when the ceremony of depositing the sins of the deceased in a
hole[213] was over, all who had touched the body or the garments of the
deceased, which were buried or destroyed, fled precipitately into the
sea to cleanse themselves from the pollution which they had incurred by
contact with the corpse; and they cast into the sea the garments they
had worn while they were engaged in the work. Having bathed, they
gathered a few pieces of coral from the bottom of the sea, and returning
with them to the house, addressed the dead body, saying, "With you may
the pollution be." With these words they threw down the pieces of coral
on the top of the hole that had been dug to receive all the objects
defiled by their connexion with the deceased.[214]

    [213] See above, p. 305.

    [214] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 403.

When a person had died of an infectious disorder, the priests entreated
him to bury the disease with him in the grave and not to inflict it upon
other people, when he revisited them as a ghost. They also threw a
plantain into the grave, and either buried with him or burned all his
utensils, that nobody might be infected by them.[215]

    [215] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 364.

§ 9. _The Fate of the Soul after Death_

The natives of the Society Islands believed in the immortality of the
human soul, or at all events in its separate existence after death[216];
they thought that no person perishes or becomes extinct.[217] On its
departure from the body the spirit, now called a _tee_, _teehee_, or
_tii_, was supposed to linger near its old habitation, whether the
mouldering remains exposed on the bier, or the bones buried in the
earth, or the skull kept in its box. In this state the spirits were
believed to lodge in small wooden images, seldom more than eighteen
inches high, which were placed round about the burial-ground.[218] These
images are variously said to have borne the same name (_tee_, _teehee_)
as the spirits which inhabited them,[219] or to have been called by a
different name (_unus_)[220]. Specimens of these images were seen by
George Forster in Tahiti. He says that round about the _marai_ (_morai_)
of Aheatua, at that time King of Tiarroboo, "were placed
perpendicularly, or nearly so, fifteen slender pieces of wood, some
about eighteen feet long, in which six or eight diminutive human figures
of a rude unnatural shape were carved, standing above each other, male
or female promiscuously, yet so that the uppermost was always a male.
All these figures faced the sea, and perfectly resembled some which are
carved on the sterns of their canoes, and which they call _e-tee_."[221]
To the same effect George Forster's father, J. R. Forster, observes that
"near the _marais_ are twenty or thirty single pieces of wood fixed into
the ground, carved all over on one side with figures about eighteen
inches long, rudely representing a man and a woman alternately, so that
often more than fifteen or twenty figures may be counted on one piece of
wood, called by them _Teehee_."[222] But the souls of the dead, though
they inhabited chiefly the wooden figures erected at the temples or
burial-grounds (_marais_, _morais_), were by no means confined to them,
and were dreaded by the natives, who believed that during the night
these unquiet spirits crept into people's houses and ate the heart and
entrails of the sleepers, thus causing their death.[223]

    [216] J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 222, vi. 150.

    [217] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 345.

    [218] J. R. Forster, _Observations made during a Voyage round
    the World_, pp. 552, 553; G. Forster, _Voyage round the World_,
    ii. 151 _sq._

    [219] J. R. Forster and G. Forster, _ll.cc._

    [220] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_, i. 348, "the _unus_, or
    curiously carved pieces of wood marking the sacred places of
    interment, and emblematical of _tiis_ or spirits."

    [221] G. Forster, _op. cit._ i. 267. Compare J. A. Moerenhout,
    _op. cit._ i. 461, "_Les images des Tiis étaient placées aux
    extrémités des marais et gardaient l'enceinte des terres

    [222] J. R. Forster, _op. cit._ pp. 544 _sq._ In the southern
    peninsula of Tahiti, both on the coast and inland, Captain Cook
    saw many sepulchral buildings, and he described them as
    "decorated with many carved boards, which were set upright, and
    on the top of which were various figures of birds and men: on
    one in particular there was the representation of a cock, which
    was painted red and yellow, to imitate the feathers of that
    animal, and rude images of men were, in some of them, placed one
    upon the head of another." See J. Cook, _Voyages_, i. 150 _sq._
    These "carved boards" were no doubt of the same sort as the
    _tees_ or _teehees_ described by the two Forsters. No other
    writer seems to mention the figures of birds carved on them.

    [223] J. R. Forster, _op. cit._ p. 543.

However, the Society Islanders appear to have been by no means
consistent in the views which they held concerning the fate of the soul
after death. Like many other people, they seem to have wavered between a
belief that the souls of the dead lingered invisible near their old
homes and the belief that the disembodied spirits went away to a distant
land, where all human souls, which have departed this life, met and
dwelt together. Or perhaps it might be more correct to say, that instead
of wavering between these two inconsistent beliefs, they held them both
firmly without perceiving their inconsistency. At all events these
islanders believed that either at death or at some time after it their
souls departed to a distant place called _po_ or Night, the common abode
of gods and of departed spirits.[224] Thither the soul was conducted by
other spirits, and on its arrival it was eaten by the gods, not all at
once, but by degrees. They imagined that the souls of ancestors or
relatives, who ranked among the gods, scraped the different parts of the
newly arrived spirit with a kind of serrated shell at different times,
after which they ate and digested it. If the soul underwent this process
of being eaten and digested three separate times, it became a deified or
imperishable spirit and might visit the world and inspire living
folk.[225] According to one account, the soul was cooked whole in an
earth-oven, as pigs are baked on earth, and was then placed in a basket
of coco-nut leaves before being served up to the god whom the deceased
had worshipped in life. "By this cannibal divinity he was now eaten up;
after which, through some inexplicable process, the dead and devoured
man emanated from the body of the god, and became immortal."[226] In the
island of Raiatea the great god Oro was supposed to use a scallop-shell
"to scrape the flesh from the bones of newly deceased bodies, previous
to their being converted into pure spirits by being devoured by him, and
afterwards transformed by passing through the laboratory of his cannibal
stomach."[227] This process of being devoured by a god was not conceived
of as a punishment inflicted on wicked people after death; for good and
bad souls had alike to submit to it. Rather, Captain Cook tells us, the
natives considered "this coalition with the deity as a kind of
purification necessary to be undergone before they enter a state of
bliss. For, according to their doctrine, if a man refrain from all
connexion with women some months before death, he passes immediately
into his eternal mansion, without such a previous union; as if already,
by this abstinence, he were pure enough to be exempted from the general
lot."[228] A slightly different account of this process of spiritual
purification is given by the first missionaries to Tahiti. They say that
"when the spirit departs from the body, they have a notion it is
swallowed by the _eat[=o]oa_ (_atua_) bird, who frequents their
burying-places and _morais_, and passes through him in order to be
purified, and be united to the deity. And such are afterwards employed
by him to attend other human beings and to inflict punishment, or remove
sickness, as shall be deemed requisite."[229]

    [224] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 396. Compare J. Wilson, _op. cit._
    p. 346; J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 431; D. Tyerman and G.
    Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 330.

    [225] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 396 _sq._; J. A. Moerenhout, _op.
    cit._ i. 433.

    [226] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _Journal of Voyages and
    Travels_, i. 273; compare _ib._ pp. 330 _sq._

    [227] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 521 _sq._

    [228] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 150.

    [229] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ pp. 345 _sq._

In spite of the purification which the souls of the dead underwent by
passing through the body of a god or of a divine bird, they were
believed to be not wholly divested of the passions which had actuated
them in life on earth. If the souls of former enemies met in the world
beyond the grave, they renewed their battles, but apparently to no
purpose, since they were accounted invulnerable in this invisible state.
Again, when the soul of a dead wife arrived in the spirit land, it was
known to the soul of her dead husband, if he had gone before, and the
two renewed their acquaintance in a spacious house, called _tourooa_,
where the souls of the deceased assembled to recreate themselves with
the gods. After that the pair retired to the separate abode of the
husband, where they remained for ever and had offspring, which, however,
was entirely spiritual; for they were neither married nor were their
embraces supposed to be like those of corporeal beings.[230]

    [230] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 150 _sq._

In general the situation of _po_ or the land of the dead seems to have
been left vague and indefinite by the Society Islanders; apparently they
did not, like the Western Polynesians, imagine it to be in some far
western isle, to reach which the souls of the departed had to cross a
wide expanse of sea.[231] However, the natives of Raiatea had very
definite ideas on this mysterious subject. They thought that _po_ was
situated in a mysterious and unexplored cavern at the top of the highest
mountain in the island. This cavern, perhaps the crater of a volcano,
was said to communicate, by subterranean passages, with a cave on the
coast, the opening of which is so small that a child of two years could
hardly creep into it. Here an evil spirit (_varu iino_) was said to lurk
and, pouncing out on careless passers-by, to drag them into the darkest
recesses of his den and devour them. After the conversion of the natives
to Christianity the missionaries were shown the spot. Near it were the
ruins of a temple of the war god, where multitudes of the corpses of
warriors slain in battle had been either buried or left to rot on the
ground. The missionaries saw many mouldering fragments of skeletons. Not
far off a cape jutted into the sea, up the lofty and precipitous face of
which the souls of the dead were said to climb on their way to their
long home in the cavern at the top of the mountain. A native informant
assured the missionaries that he had often seen them scaling the dizzy
crag, both men and women.[232]

    [231] See above, pp. 87 _sq._, 214 _sqq._, 238 _sqq._

    [232] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 537 _sq._

In the island of Borabora the fate even of kings after death was
believed to be a melancholy one. Their souls were converted into a piece
of furniture resembling an English hat-stand; only in Borabora the
corresponding utensil was the branch of a tree with the lateral forks
cut short, on which bonnets, garments, baskets, and so forth were
suspended. The natives very naturally concluded that in the other world
a similar stand was wanted for the convenience of the ghosts, to hang
their hats and coats on. Kings who shrank from the prospect of being
converted into a hat-stand after death made interest with the priest to
save them from such a degradation. So when a king who had been great and
powerful in life saw his end approaching, he would send to the priests
the most costly presents, such as four or five of the largest and
fattest hogs, as many of the best canoes, and any rare and valuable
European article which he happened to possess. In return the priests
prayed for him daily at the temples till he died; and afterwards his
dead body was brought to one of these sacred edifices and kept upright
there for several days and nights, during which yet larger gifts were
sent by his relatives, and the most expensive sacrifices offered to the
idols. The decaying corpse was then removed, placed on a canoe, and
rowed out on the lagoon as far as an opening in the reef, only to be
brought back again in like manner; while all the time the priests
recited their prayers and performed their lugubrious ceremonies
over it on the water as well as on the land. Finally, the mouldering
remains were laid out to rot on a platform in one of the usual

    [233] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 331 _sq._

Conversion into a hat-stand was not, perhaps, the worst that could
happen to the soul of a Society Islander after death. In the island of
Raiatea there is a lake surrounded by trees, the tops of which appear
curiously flat. On this verdant platform the spirits of the newly
departed were said to dance and feast together until, at a subsequent
stage of their existence, they were converted into cockroaches.[234] The
souls of infants killed at birth were supposed to return in the bodies
of grasshoppers.[235]

    [234] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 522.

    [235] J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 455.

But the Society Islanders were far from thinking that the souls of the
dead herded together indiscriminately in the other world. They imagined
that the spirits were discriminated and assigned to abodes of different
degrees of happiness or misery, not according to their virtues or vices
in this life, but according to the rank which they had occupied in
society, one receptacle of superior attractions being occupied by the
souls of chiefs and other principal people, while another of an inferior
sort sufficed to lodge the souls of the lower orders. For they did not
suppose that their good or bad actions in this life affected in the
least their lot in the life hereafter, or that the deities took account
of any such distinction. Thus their religion exerted no influence on
their morality.[236] Happiness and misery in the world beyond the
grave, we are told, "were the destiny of individuals, altogether
irrespective of their moral character and virtuous conduct. The only
crimes that were visited by the displeasure of their deities were the
neglect of some rite or ceremony, or the failing to furnish required

    [236] J. Cook, i. 222. Compare _id._, vi. 150; J. R. Forster,
    _Observations made on a Voyage round the World_, pp. 553 _sqq._

    [237] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 397. Compare J. A. Moerenhout,
    _op. cit._ i. 433.

The Society Islanders, especially the natives of the Leeward Islands,
believed that some of the souls of the dead were destined to enjoy a
kind of heaven or paradise, which they called _Rohutu noanoa_,
"sweet-scented Rohutu." This blissful region was supposed to be near a
lofty and stupendous mountain in the island of Raiatea, not far from the
harbour Hamaniino. The mountain went by the name of _Temehani unauna_,
"splendid or glorious Temehani." It was probably the same with the lofty
mountain on whose summit popular fancy placed the _po_ or common abode
of the dead.[238] But the paradise was invisible to mortal eyes, being
situated in the regions of the air (_reva_). The country was described
as most lovely and enchanting in appearance, adorned with flowers of
every shape and hue, and perfumed with odours of every fragrance. The
air was pure and salubrious. Every sort of delight was to be enjoyed
there; while rich viands and delicious fruits were supplied in abundance
for the celebration of sumptuous festivals. Handsome youths and women
thronged the place. But these honours and pleasures were only for the
privileged orders--the chiefs and the members of the society of the
Areois--for only they could afford to pay the heavy charges which the
priests exacted for a passport to paradise; common folk seldom or never
dreamed of attempting to procure for their relatives admission to the
abode of bliss. Even apart from the expense of getting to heaven, it is
probable that the sharp distinction kept up between chiefs and commoners
here on earth would be expected to be maintained hereafter, and to
exclude every person of the humbler sort from the society of his betters
in the future life.[239] The other less exclusive, and no doubt less
expensive, place for departed spirits, in contrast to "sweet-scented
Rohutu," went by the significant name of "foul-scented Rohutu"; but over
the nature of the substances which earned for it this unsavoury
appellation our missionary authority preferred to draw a veil.[240]

    [238] See above, p. 317.

    [239] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 245 _sq._, 397; J. A. Moerenhout,
    _op. cit._ i. 434 _sq._

    [240] J. Williams, _Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the
    South Sea Islands_, p. 476.

According to one account, the souls of the dead were supposed to gather
in the sun, where they feasted with the god Maouwe or O-Mauwee (Maui) on
bread-fruit and the flesh of pigs or dogs, and drank never-ending
draughts of kava.[241]

    [241] J. R. Forster, _Observations made during a Voyage round
    the World_, p. 553; G. Forster, _Voyage round the World_, ii.

But wherever the souls of the dead were imagined to dwell, we may infer
that they were credited with the power of returning to earth for a
longer or shorter time to benefit or injure the living. For we have seen
that sickness and death were commonly ascribed to the action of these
spirits,[242] which seems to imply that they revisited this sublunary
world on their errands of mischief. Accordingly, whenever the natives
approached by night one of the charnel-houses in which dead bodies were
exposed, they were startled "in the same manner that many of our
ignorant and superstitious people are with the apprehension of ghosts,
and at the sight of a churchyard." Again, the souls of the departed were
sometimes thought to communicate with their friends in dreams and to
announce to them things that should afterwards come to pass, thus
enabling the dreamer to foretell the future. Foreknowledge thus
acquired, however, was confined to particular persons, and such favoured
dreamers enjoyed a reputation little inferior to that of the inspired
priests. One of them prophesied to Captain Cook on the strength of a
communication vouchsafed to him by the soul of his deceased father in a
dream; but the event proved that the ghost was out in his reckoning by
five days.[243]

    [242] See above, pp. 299 _sqq._

    [243] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 152.

The fear of ghosts in the minds of the Society Islanders has long
survived their conversion to Christianity; indeed, we are informed that
it is as rampant as ever. No ordinary native would dare to visit one of
the lonely caves where the mouldering bones or skulls of his forefathers
were deposited for safety in days of old.[244] At one point on the
western coast of Tahiti, where the mountains advance in precipices close
to the sea, the road which skirts their base is a place of fear to the
natives. For in these precipices are caves full of skulls, and the
ghosts who reside in the caverns are reported sometimes to weary of
their own society and to come down to the road for company, where in a
sportive vein they play all sorts of tricks on passers-by. Not so long
ago three Tahitians were riding home at dusk from Papeete, where they
had been drinking rum. Just at the pass under the cliff they were
surprised by ghosts, who threw them into the ditch at the side of the
road. So great is the dread which the natives entertain of apparitions
at this spot that the Government has been compelled to divert the road,
so that it no longer skirts the foot of the haunted mountain, but gives
it a wide berth, and runs in a long sweep by the edge of the sea.[245]

    [244] A. Baessler, _Neue Südsee-Bilder_, p. 37.

    [245] A. Baessler, _op. cit._ pp. 83 _sq._

Again, at another point on the west coast of Tahiti, where mighty
mountains, a glorious sea, and little coral islands with their groves of
palms, offer a view of enchanting beauty, there is said to be a cave
containing the skulls of chiefs in a jutting cliff half-way up the
mountain. The cave was in charge of an old man in whose family the
office of guardian was hereditary. It had been entrusted to him by his
father on his deathbed, and the son had kept the secret faithfully ever
since. In vain did a traveller seek to persuade the old man to guide him
to the cave; in vain did the chief himself beg of him to reveal the
grotto which concealed the mouldering relics of his forefathers. The
guardian was obdurate; he believed that the world was not wide enough to
hold two men who knew the holy place. He assured the traveller that
nobody could reach the cave without the help of the ghosts, so
perpendicular and so smooth was the face of the cliff that led up to it.
When he himself wished to make his way to it, his custom was to go to
the foot of the crag and pray, till the spirits came and wafted him
lightly up and down again; otherwise it would have been a sheer
impossibility for him to ascend and descend.[246]

    [246] A. Baessler, _op. cit._ pp. 81 _sq._

§ 10. _The Worship of the Dead_

The belief in the existence of the spirits of the dead, and in their
power to help or harm the living, naturally led the Society Islanders,
like so many other peoples of the world, to propitiate these powerful
beings, to sue their favour, or to appease their anger by prayer and
sacrifice, in short, to worship them. On this subject the first
missionaries to these islanders tell us that, in addition to the greater
gods, "for general worship they have an inferior race, a kind of _dii
penates_. Each family has its _tee_ or guardian spirit: he is supposed
to be one of their departed relatives, who, for his superior
excellences, has been exalted into an _eatooa_ (_atua_). They suppose
this spirit can inflict sickness or remove it, and preserve them from a
malignant deity who also bears the name _tee_, and is always employed in
mischief."[247] "Every family has its _tee_, or guardian spirit, whom
they set up, and worship at the _morai_."[248] "They regard the spirits
of their ancestors, male and female, as exalted into _eatooas_ (_atuas_)
and their favour to be secured by prayers and offerings. Every sickness
and untoward accident they esteem as the hand of judgment for some
offence committed."[249] As for the mischievous spirit who bore the same
name as the worshipful spirit of a dead ancestor, the missionaries say
that "the evil demon named _Tee_ has no power but upon earth; and this
he exercises by getting into them with their food, and causing madness
or other diseases; but these they imagine their tutelar saints, if
propitious, can prevent or remove."[250]

    [247] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 344.

    [248] T. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 343.

    [249] J. Wilson, _op. cit._ p. 345. "The general name for deity,
    in all its ramifications, is _eatooa_" (_id._ p. 343).

    [250] J. Wilson, p. 346.

We may suspect that the missionaries were mistaken in thus sharply
distinguishing between an "evil demon" and a "tutelar saint," both of
whom went by the same name (_tee_). Probably the "evil demon" and the
"tutelar saint" were alike supposed to be souls of dead persons, with
this difference between them, that whereas the one had been good and
beneficent in his life, the other had been bad and maleficent; for it
is a common belief that the dead retain in the other world the character
and disposition which they manifested on earth, and that accordingly as
disembodied spirits they may benefit or injure their surviving
relatives.[251] Thus according to his character and behaviour in this
present state of existence a person's ghost may naturally develop either
into a god or into a devil.

    [251] In confirmation of my conjecture that the missionaries
    mistook a general name (_tee_, otherwise spelled _tii_) for the
    name of a particular demon, I may point out that the naturalist
    J. R. Forster before them seems to have fallen into precisely
    the same mistake with regard to another general name for
    departed spirits (_oramatuas_ or _oromatuas_). Thus he writes:
    "Besides these divinities of the second class, there are others
    of a still inferior rank, and though called _Eatooas_, are no
    more than what the Greek or Roman mythologists would have called
    _Genii_, or _Dii minorum gentium_: one of them, called
    _Orometooa_, is of a malignant disposition, resides chiefly near
    the _Marais_ and _Toopapous_ (places of burial) and in or near
    the boxes, or little chests, including the heads of their
    deceased friends, each of which, on that account, is called
    _Te-wharre no te Orometooa_, the house of the evil genius
    _Orometooa_, The people at Taheitee are of opinion, that if
    their priests invoke this evil genius, he will kill, by a sudden
    death, the person on whom they intend to bring down the
    vengeance of this divinity." See J. R. Forster, _Observations
    made during a Voyage round the World_, pp. 541 _sq._ In this
    passage we can hardly doubt that "this evil genius," Orometooa,
    is simply the _oramatuas_ or _oromatuas_, the spirits of the
    dead, by means of whom sorcerers were supposed to injure or
    destroy any one at whom they or their employers had a grudge.
    See above, p. 299, and below, pp. 323 _sqq._

It is to be feared that in the case of Tahitian ghosts the course of
spiritual evolution was rather in the direction of devilry than of
deity. At least this conclusion seems forced on us by the account which
William Ellis, perhaps our best authority on Tahitian religion, gives of
the character of these worshipful beings. I will reproduce it in his own

"The objects of worship among the Tahitians, next to the _atua_ or gods,
were the _oramatuas tiis_ or spirits. These were supposed to reside in
the _po_, or world of night, and were never invoked but by wizards or
sorcerers, who implored their aid for the destruction of an enemy, or
the injury of some person whom they were hired to destroy. They were
considered a different order of beings from the gods, a kind of
intermediate class between them and the human race, though in their
prayers all the attributes of the gods were ascribed to them. The
_oramatuas_ were the spirits of departed fathers, mothers, brothers,
sisters, children, etc. The natives were greatly afraid of them, and
presented offerings to avoid being cursed or destroyed, when they were
employed by the sorcerers.

"They seem to have been regarded as a sort of demons. In the Leeward
Islands, the chief _oramatuas_ were spirits of departed warriors, who
had distinguished themselves by ferocity and murder, attributes of
character usually supposed to belong to these evil genii. Each
celebrated _tii_ was honoured with an image, through which it was
supposed his influence was exerted. The spirits of the reigning chiefs
were united to this class, and the skulls of deceased rulers, kept with
the images, were honoured with the same worship. Some idea of what was
regarded as their ruling passion, may be inferred from the fearful
apprehensions constantly entertained by all classes. They were supposed
to be exceedingly irritable and cruel, avenging with death the slightest
insult or neglect, and were kept within the precincts of the temple. In
the _marae_ of Tane at Maeva, the ruins of their abode were still
standing when I last visited the place. It was a house built upon a
number of large strong poles, which raised the floor ten or twelve feet
from the ground. They were thus elevated, to keep them out of the way of
men, as it was imagined they were constantly strangling, or otherwise
destroying, the chiefs and people. To prevent this, they were also
treated with great respect; men were appointed constantly to attend
them, and to keep them wrapped in the choicest kinds of cloth, to take
them out whenever there was a _pae atua_, or general exhibition of the
gods; to anoint them frequently with fragrant oil; and to sleep in the
house with them at night. All this was done, to keep them pacified. And
though the office of calming the angry spirits was honourable, it was
regarded as dangerous, for if, during the night or at any other time,
these keepers were guilty of the least impropriety, it was supposed the
spirits of the images, or the skulls, would hurl them headlong from
their high abodes, and break their necks in the fall."[252]

    [252] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_. i. 334-336.

The difference in power and dignity between the great national gods
(_atuas_) and the spirits of deceased relations (_oramatuas tiis_) might
be measured by the size of their images; for whereas the images of the
gods were six or eight feet long, those of the spirits were not more
than so many inches.[253] But while these malignant and irritable
spirits--the souls of dead fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and
children--resided generally either in their little images or in their
skulls, they were not strictly confined to these material vehicles; they
resorted occasionally to the shells from the seashore, especially to a
beautiful kind of murex, the _Murex ramoces_. These shells were kept by
the sorcerers, and the peculiar singing or humming sound that may be
heard when the valve is applied to the ear was imagined to proceed from
the demon in the shell.[254]

    [253] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 337.

    [254] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 363.

It was these malignant and dangerous demons whom the sorcerer employed
as his agents to execute his fell purposes. But to effect them he had to
secure something connected with the body of his intended victim, it
might be the parings of his nails, a lock of his hair, his spittle or
other bodily secretions, or else a portion of the food which he was
about to eat. Over this material substance, whatever it was, the
sorcerer recited his incantations and performed his magical rites either
in his own house or in his private temple (_marae_). The result was
believed to be that the demon entered into the substance, and through it
passed into the body of the man at whom the enchanter aimed his elfish
darts. The wretched sufferer experienced the acutest agonies; his
distortions were frightful to witness; his eyes seemed starting from his
head; he foamed at the mouth; he lay writhing in anguish on the ground;
in short, to adopt the native expression, he was torn by the evil
spirit. Yet his case was not hopeless; the demon could be mollified by a
bribe, or defeated by the intervention of a more powerful demon. Hence,
when any one was believed to be suffering from the incantations of a
sorcerer, if he or his friends were rich enough they engaged another
sorcerer for a fee to counteract the spells of the first and so to
restore the health of the invalid. It was generally supposed that the
efforts of the second sorcerer would be crowned with success if only the
demon whom he employed were equally powerful with that at the command of
his rival, and if the presents which he received for his professional
services were more valuable. In order to avoid the danger of being thus
bewitched through the refuse of their persons, the Tahitians used
scrupulously to burn or bury their shorn hair, lest it should fall into
the hands of enchanters.[255]

    [255] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 363-370.

It is possible that some even of the great national gods were no more
than ghosts of dead men, whose human origin was forgotten. There is some
reason for supposing that this was true of Hiro, the god of thieves. On
the one hand, this deity was reputed to be the son of the great god
Oro;[256] and when a mother desired her child to grow up a clever thief,
she repaired to a temple, where the priest, on receipt of the requisite
offerings, caught the spirit of the god in a snare and infused it into
the infant, thus ensuring the future proficiency of the infant in the
arts of theft and robbery.[257] Yet, in spite of these claims to
divinity, there are some grounds for thinking that Hiro was himself
originally no better than a thief and a robber. He is said to have been
a native of Raiatea, from whose sacrilegious fingers not even the
temples and altars of the gods were safe. His skull was shown in a large
temple of his own construction in that island down to the early years of
the nineteenth century. His hair, too, was stuffed into the image of his
reputed father, the god Oro, and perished when that image was committed
to the flames by the early converts to Christianity.[258]

    [256] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iii. 112, 125.

    [257] J. Williams, _Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the
    South Sea Islands_, pp. 466 _sq._

    [258] D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 254 _sq._ As to
    Hiro, the god of thieves, see also J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._
    i. 447-449.

Once a year the Society Islanders celebrated a festival accompanied by
rites, of which one has been compared to the Roman Catholic custom of
performing a mass for the benefit of souls in purgatory. The festival
was called "the ripening of the year," and the time for its observance
was determined by the blossoming of reeds. It was regularly observed in
the island of Huahine, and vast multitudes assembled to take part in it.
As a rule, only men engaged in the pagan festivals, but at this
particular one women and children were also present, though they were
not allowed to enter the sacred enclosure. The celebration was regarded
as a kind of annual acknowledgment made to the gods. Prayers were
offered at the temple, and a sumptuous banquet formed part of the
festival. At the close of the festival every one returned to his home,
or to his family temple (_marae_), there to offer special prayers for
the spirits of departed relatives, that they might be liberated from the
_po_, or state of Night, and might either ascend to paradise
("sweet-scented Rohutu") or return to this world by entering into the
body of one of its inhabitants. But "they did not suppose, according to
the generally received doctrine of transmigration, that the spirits who
entered the body of some dweller upon earth, would permanently remain
there, but only come and inspire the person to declare future events, or
execute any other commission from the supernatural beings on whom they
imagined they were constantly dependent."[259]

    [259] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_, i. 351 _sq._  Compare
    J. A. Moerenhout, _op. cit._ i. 502 note^1, 523.

Hence we learn that the spirits of the dead as well as the gods were
believed to be capable of inspiring men and revealing to them the
future. In this, as in other respects, the dead were assimilated to



§ 1. _The Marquesas Islands_

The Marquesas are an archipelago of eleven or twelve chief islands in
the South Pacific, situated about nine hundred miles to the north-east
of Tahiti. They fall into two groups, which together stretch in a
direction from north-west to south-east, from 8° to 11° of South
latitude. The south-eastern group, of which Hivaoa (Dominica) is the
largest island, was discovered by the Spanish Admiral Alvaro Mendana de
Neyra in 1595, but, so far as appears, it was not again visited by
Europeans until 1774, when Captain Cook touched at the islands on his
second voyage. Curiously enough, the north-westerly group, of which
Nukahiva is the largest and most important island, remained unknown
until 1791, when it was discovered by the American Captain Ingraham, who
named the group the Washington Islands. About a month later, in June
1791, the French navigator Marchand visited the same islands, and in
1797 the first missionary, William Crook, was landed from the missionary
ship _Duff_. The whole archipelago is now known as the Marquesas, a name
which the Spanish Admiral Mendana bestowed on the islands discovered by
him in honour of the Marquess de Canete, Viceroy of Peru, by whose order
the voyage had been undertaken.[1]

    [1] Captain J. Cook, _Voyages_, iii. 274 _sqq._; G. Forster,
    _Voyage round the World_, ii. 5 _sqq._; C. P. Claret Fleurieu,
    _Voyage round the World performed by E. Marchand_ (London,
    1801), i. 27 _sqq._, 55 _sqq._; J. Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to
    the Southern Pacific Ocean_, pp. lxxiii. _sqq._, 127 _sqq._; A.
    J. von Krusenstern, _Voyage round the World_ (London, 1813), i.
    136; Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _Îles Marquises ou
    Nouka-hiva_ (Paris, 1843), pp. 1 _sqq._, 12 _sq._; Le P. Mathias
    G----, _Lettres sur les Îles Marquises_ (Paris, 1843), pp. 7
    _sqq._; P. E. Eyriaud des Vergnes, _L'Archipel des Iles
    Marquises_ (Paris, 1877), pp. 1 _sqq._; C. E. Meinicke, _Die
    Inseln des Stillen Oceans_, ii. 235 _sq._; F. H. H. Guillemard,
    _Australasia_, ii. 522.

The islands are of volcanic formation, lofty and mountainous. The
interior consists generally of a range of mountains some three thousand
feet high, from which a series of spurs descend steeply to the coast,
terminating for the most part in tremendous cliffs, at the foot of which
the great rollers break in foam; for with a single exception there are
no coral reefs, and a ship can sail in deep water within a cable's
length of the rocks. Viewed at a distance from the sea, the aspect of
the islands is somewhat stern and forbidding. Bare mountains, jagged
peaks, sometimes lost in the clouds, and an iron-bound coast of black
and beetling crags, buffeted eternally by the surf, make up a gloomy
picture; but a nearer view discloses verdant valleys nestling between
the ridges which radiate from the central mountains. These valleys are
watered by mountain streams and clothed with dense tropical vegetation,
their luxuriant green offering an agreeable contrast to the bareness and
aridity of the frowning precipices and sharp peaks which soar above
them. Cascades tumbling from high cliffs into the depths of the glens
add to the beauty and charm of the scenery. So steep and precipitous are
the ridges which divide these smiling vales from each other that the
ascent and descent are in many places both difficult and dangerous even
for the natives; European mountaineers need to have stout limbs and
steady heads to accomplish them in safety. Hence in former days each
valley contained a separate tribe, which was commonly in a state of
permanent hostility towards its neighbours across the mountain
barriers.[2] Of these tribes the most famous were the warlike and
dreaded Taipiis or Typees, who occupied a beautiful valley at the
eastern end of Nukahiva, and in their mountain fastness deemed
themselves inaccessible to their enemies. However, in the early part of
the nineteenth century an American naval officer, Captain David Porter,
succeeded, not without great difficulty, in carrying havoc and
devastation into these sylvan scenes.[3] Later in the century a runaway
American sailor, Hermann Melville, spent more than four months as a
captive in the tribe, and published an agreeable narrative of his
captivity; but never having mastered the language, he was not able to
give much exact information concerning the customs and beliefs of the
natives.[4] As there is no maritime plain interposed between the
mountains and the shore, the only way of passing from one valley to
another is either to go by sea or to clamber over the intervening
ridges. It would be materially impossible, we are told, unless at
enormous and ruinous cost, to make a road or even a mule-path round any
of the Marquesas Islands, as has been done in Tahiti.[5]

    [2] As to the formation and scenery of the islands, see
    Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 110; C. S. Stewart, _Visit to the
    South Seas_ (London, 1832), i. 193 _sqq._; F. D. Bennett,
    _Narrative of a Whaling Voyage round the Globe_ (London, 1840),
    i. 299 _sqq._; H. Melville, _Typee_, pp. 8 _sq._, 17 _sq._, and
    _passim_ (_Everyman's Library_); Vincendon-Dumoulin et C.
    Desgraz, _op. cit._ pp. 138 _sq._; P. E. Eyriaud des Vergnes,
    _op. cit._ pp. 84 _sq._; Clavel, _Les Marquisiens_ (Paris, 1885)
    pp. 1 _sq._; C. E. Meinicke, _op. cit._ ii. 236 _sq._; F. H. H.
    Guillemard, _op. cit._ pp. 522 _sq._; A. Baessler, _Neue
    Südsee-Bilder_ (Berlin, 1900), pp. 192 _sq._, 220 _sqq._ As to
    the extreme difficulty of scaling the mountains and precipices
    to pass from one valley to another, see particularly M.
    Radiguet, _Les Derniers Sauvages_ (Paris, 1882), pp. 101 _sq._,

    [3] Captain David Porter, _Journal of a Cruise made to the
    Pacific Ocean_, Second Edition (New York, 1822), ii. 86 _sqq._

    [4] H. Melville, _Typee_ (London, _Everyman's Library_, no
    date). The first edition of this book was published in 1846.
    Melville's residence among the Taipiis (Typees) fell in the year

    [5] P. E. Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op. cit._ p. 85.

Despite their situation in the heart of the tropics, the Marquesas enjoy
an extremely healthy climate subject to none of the inconveniences
usually incidental to countries in the same latitude; endemic and
epidemic diseases are alike unknown. European soldiers can work in the
sun without accident and without exhaustion.[6] The climate has been
described as an eternal spring, without winter or even autumn; though a
perpetual succession of ripe fruits may seem to lend an autumnal air to
the landscape, which yet is never chilled by hoar frosts or saddened by
the sight of bare boughs and fallen leaves.[7] Even in the hottest days
a cool wind blows from the sea, and at night there is a breeze from the
land. Rain falls during some months of the year, especially from May or
June to August or September; but on the whole there is little variation
in the seasons;[8] the Marquesan year has been described as one long
tropical month of June just melting into July.[9] Yet we are told that
the northern islands sometimes suffer from droughts which may last for
years; at such times vegetation languishes, till a fresh cloud-burst
restores the verdure of the trees and grass as by magic.[10] It is then,
too, that the cascades everywhere enliven the landscape by the glitter
and roar of their tumbling waters, which, after dropping from the
height, flow rapidly down their steep beds into the sea.[11]

    [6] M. Radiguet, _Les Derniers Sauvages_ (Paris, 1882), pp. 304
    _sq._; P. E. Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op. cit._ p. 57.

    [7] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p. 94.

    [8] P. E. Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op. cit._ p. 57. Compare M.
    Radiguet, _Les Derniers Sauvages_, pp. 304 _sq._

    [9] H. Melville, _Typee_, p. 220.

    [10] A. Baessler, _op. cit._ pp. 222 _sq._

    [11] M. Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 304.

§ 2. _Physical Appearance of the Natives_

Observers are generally agreed that from the purely physical point of
view the Marquesan islanders are, or used to be, the noblest specimens
of the Polynesian race. Captain Cook remarked that "the inhabitants of
these islands collectively are, without exception, the finest race of
people in this sea. For fine shape and regular features, they perhaps
surpass all other nations."[12] To the same effect the naturalist George
Forster, who accompanied Captain Cook, gives his impression of a crowd
of Marquesan men, among whom were no women. He says: "They were tall,
and extremely well limbed; not one of them unwieldy or corpulent like a
Taheitian, nor meagre and shrivelled like a native of Easter Island. The
punctuation" (by which he meant the tattooing) "which almost entirely
covered the men of a middle age, made it difficult to distinguish their
elegance of form; but among the youths, who were not yet marked or
tattooed, it was easy to discover beauties singularly striking, and
often without a blemish, such as demanded the admiration of all
beholders. Many of them might be placed near the famous models of
antiquity, and would not suffer in the comparison:

    "_Qualis aut Nireus fuit, aut aquosa
      Raptus ab Ida."_

"The natural colour of these youths was not quite so dark as that of the
common people in the Society Isles; but the men appeared to be
infinitely blacker, on account of the punctures which covered their
whole body, from head to foot. These punctures were disposed with the
utmost regularity; so that the marks on each leg, arm, and cheek, and on
the corresponding muscles, were exactly similar. They never assumed the
determinate form of an animal or plant, but consisted of a variety of
blotches, spirals, bars, chequers, and lines, which had a most motley

    [12] J. Cook, _Voyages_, iii. 284.

    [13] G. Forster, _Voyage round the World_, ii. 14 _sq._ Compare
    Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 152 _sq._; U. Lisiansky, _Voyage
    round the World_ (London, 1814), p. 85; G. H. von Langsdorff,
    _Reise um die Welt_ (Frankfurt am Mayn, 1812), i. 92 _sqq._;
    Fleurieu, _op. cit._ i. 96 _sqq._; Vincendon-Dumoulin et C.
    Desgraz, _op. cit._ pp. 216 _sqq._; Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op.
    cit._ p. 39.

Similarly, speaking of the Taipiis or Typees, Melville observes, "In
beauty of form they surpassed anything I had ever seen. Not a single
instance of natural deformity was observable in all the throng attending
the revels. Occasionally I noticed among the men the scars of wounds
they had received in battle; and sometimes, though very seldom, the loss
of a finger, an eye, or an arm, attributable to the same cause. With
these exceptions, every individual appeared free from those blemishes
which sometimes mar the effect of an otherwise perfect form. But their
physical excellence did not merely consist in an exemption from these
evils; nearly every individual of their number might have been taken for
a sculptor's model."[14] As to their stature, the same writer affirms
that "the men, in almost every instance, are of lofty stature, scarcely
ever less than six feet."[15] Similarly Captain Porter tell us that
"they are far above the common stature of the human race, seldom less
than five feet eleven inches, but most commonly six feet two or three
inches, and every way proportioned. Their faces are remarkably handsome,
with keen, piercing eyes; teeth white, and more beautiful than ivory;
countenances open and expressive, which reflect every emotion of their
souls; limbs which might serve as models for a statuary, and strength
and activity proportioned to their appearance."[16] Another observer
remarks of them that "the natives bear the palm for personal beauty
from most other of the Polynesian tribes. The men are tall and muscular,
though rather slightly framed; their deportment is graceful and
independent; their features are handsome, and partake more of the
European regularity of profile than is usual with Polynesian
islanders."[17] The nose is straight or aquiline, sometimes short or
slightly flattened, but never ill-shaped: the mouth is never large nor
the lips thick: the forehead is rather low and somewhat retreating.[18]
The hair is almost always straight or wavy; men or women with frizzly
hair are very seldom seen, especially in the north-western group. The
colour of the skin, where it is not darkened by tattooing, is a clear
brown, resembling the bronzed appearance acquired by Europeans through
exposure to a tropical sun.[19] The women are both absolutely and
relatively shorter than the men; indeed Melville describes them as
"uncommonly diminutive." Their complexion is lighter; in the parts of
the body which are seldom exposed to the sun they are even said to
appear as white as European women. Their features are good, but rather
pretty than beautiful; their hands and feet are very shapely. Unlike the
men, who are, or used to be, tattooed from head to foot, the women were
tattooed very little, and that chiefly on the lips.[20] They took pains
to whiten their skin by avoiding exposure to the sun and by washing
themselves with the juice of a small native vine,[21] or by smearing
themselves with a cosmetic in which the yellow of the turmeric root

    [14] H. Melville, _Typee_, p. 194.

    [15] H. Melville, _Typee_, p. 195.

    [16] David Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 58 _sq._

    [17] F. D. Bennett, _op. cit._ i. 304.

    [18] M. Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 169.

    [19] Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op. cit._ p. 39.

    [20] Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op. cit._ pp. 39 _sq._; H. Melville,
    _Typee_, p. 195.

    [21] C. S. Stewart, _Visit to the South Seas_, i. 231 _sq._, who
    speaks highly of the beauty of the women. But the general
    opinion appears to be that the Marquesan women are much less
    handsome than the men. See Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 94-96;
    Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 59.

    [22] F. D. Bennett, _op. cit._ i. 308 _sq._

§ 3. _Food, Weapons, Tools, Houses, Canoes, Fishing_

The Marquesans subsist chiefly on a vegetable diet. Their staple food is
the bread-fruit, and their national dish is a paste called _popoi_,
which is prepared from bread-fruit after it has been subjected to a
process of fermentation. Fish is also a common article of diet; the
natives usually eat it raw, even when it is rotten and stinking. They
keep pigs, but seldom kill them except for a festival or at the
reception of a stranger. Hence pork is not a regular or common article
of diet with them; and apart from it they hardly taste flesh. Other
sorts of food, such as bananas, taro, and sugar-cane, are entirely
subsidiary to the great staples, bread-fruit and fish. The natives do
not readily accustom themselves to a European diet; indeed when the
experiment has been made of feeding them exclusively in our manner, they
have wasted away and only recovered their health when they were allowed
to return to their usual nourishment. Their ordinary beverage was water,
but they were also addicted to the drinking of kava, which was extracted
from the root of the _Piper methysticum_ in the usual fashion.[23]
Drawing their sustenance chiefly from the bread-fruit tree, the
Marquesans paid little attention to the cultivation of the soil;
however, they grew a certain amount of taro, sweet potatoes, and
sugar-cane; and they had plantations of the paper-mulberry,[24] the bark
of which was manufactured by the women into cloth in the ordinary way.
But the bark of other trees was also employed for the same purpose.
Since the natives were able to procure European stuffs, the indigenous
manufacture of bark-cloth has much declined.[25] Hence agriculture
engaged the men very little; fishing, though it was part of their
business, they are said to have neglected; the only work of consequence
they did was to build their houses and manufacture their arms, but these
employments occupied them only occasionally.[26]

    [23] Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op. cit._ pp. 42-44; Clavel, _Les
    Marquisiens_, pp. 3 _sqq._ Compare G. Forster, _op. cit._ ii. 27
    _sq._; Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 106-108; Fleurieu, _op. cit._
    i. 115 _sq._; Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 50-55; F. D. Bennett, _op.
    cit._ i. 316 _sq._; H. Melville, _Typee_, pp. 120-124, 179;
    Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ pp. 277 _sq._;
    Mathias G----, _op. cit._ pp. 138 _sq._, 144 _sq._; A. Baessler,
    _op. cit._ pp. 208-211. As to the preparation and drinking of
    kava among the Marquesans, see also M. Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp.

    [24] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 164; Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 53;
    C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 213 _sq._; F. D. Bennett, _op.
    cit._ i. 345 (who says that the only root the natives cultivate
    for food is the sweet potato); Mathias G----, _op. cit._ pp.
    148, 149; Clavel, _op. cit._ p. 18.

    [25] Fleurieu, _op. cit._ i. 122 _sq._; Porter, _op. cit._ ii.
    116; Bennett, _op. cit._ i. 337 _sq._; Melville, _Typee_, pp.
    158-160, 210; Mathias G----, _op. cit._ pp. 137 _sq._; Radiguet,
    _op. cit._ pp. 53 _sq._; Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op. cit._ 55
    _sq._; Clavel, _op. cit._ 19.

    [26] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 164.

The weapons of the warriors were clubs, spears, and slings. The slings
were made of coco-nut fibre, and the natives were very expert in the use
of them. Bows and arrows were unknown.[27] Like the rest of the
Polynesians, the Marquesans were totally ignorant of the metals until
they acquired them from Europeans. Their tools were made of stone, bone,
and shell. Thus they employed a pointed stone to bore holes with, and an
axe of black, hard stone for cutting. The axe-head was shaped like an
elongated wedge or mortise-chisel, and was fastened to the haft by
coco-nut fibre. Some of these axes weighed as much as twenty-five
pounds. The natives also used sharp-edged or toothed shells as cutting
implements, and borers made of pointed bones; while rough fish-skins
served them as polishers.[28] Like the rest of the Polynesians, they
kindled fire by the method known as the stick-and-groove, that is, by
rubbing the sharp point of one stick against the flat surface of
another, so as to form a groove in it and, by continued friction, to
elicit smoke and a glow, which, with the help of dry leaves, is nursed
into a flame. Contrary to the usage of some peoples, the Marquesans
employed the same kind of wood for both the fire-sticks, either a
species of hibiscus (_Hibiscus tiliaceus_) or a species of poplar
(_Thespesia populnea_); for this purpose they split a branch in two,
lengthwise, and used the two pieces as the fire-sticks. In former days
these fire-sticks were regularly kept in every native house.[29]

    [27] Fleurieu, _op. cit._ i. 118 _sq._; Krusenstern, _op. cit._
    i. 162; Lisiansky, _op. cit._ p. 88; Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i.
    152 (bows and arrows unknown); Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz,
    _op. cit._ pp. 282 _sq._

    [28] Fleurieu, _op. cit._ i. 121; Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i.

    [29] H. Melville, _Typee_, pp. 118 _sq._; Clavel, _Les
    Marquisiens_, pp. 11 _sq._ Compare G. Forster, _op. cit._ ii.
    20; D. Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 116; Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p.

The Marquesan houses are regularly built on stone platforms, oblong or
square in shape, and raised above the ground to heights varying from one
to four, eight, or even ten feet. The higher platforms are approached
from the ground by ladders or notched poles. The houses, constructed of
timber and bamboo, are oblong in shape, and comprise a high back wall,
generally inclined forward at an angle, from which the thatched roof
slopes down steeply to a low front wall, while two short walls close the
house at either end. The door is in the middle of the front wall, and
is so low that it is necessary to stoop in entering. Sometimes the
fronts of the houses are entirely open except for the low pillars which
support the roof. The interior of the house forms a single chamber
undivided by partitions. Two trunks of coco-nut palms extend parallel to
each other along the whole length of the floor at an interval of four or
five feet; the innermost log, a foot or two distant from the back wall,
forms a pillow on which the heads of the sleepers rest, while the other
supports their feet or legs. The space between the two logs is paved
with stone, and spread with mats. In the single apartment the whole
family live and sleep. Such at least were the domestic arrangements in
the old days. The size of the houses naturally varies. Some of them
measure eighty feet by forty, others only twenty-five feet by ten, or
even less.[30]

    [30] J. Cook, _Voyages_, iii. 285 _sq._; G. Forster, _op. cit._
    pp. 21, 24; J. Wilson, _op. cit._ pp. 131, 134 _sq._; Lisiansky,
    _op. cit._ p. 84; Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 159; Langsdorff,
    _op. cit._ i. 109-111; Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 39 _sq._; C. S.
    Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 209-211, 212, 267 _sq._; Bennett, _op.
    cit._ i. 302 _sq._; Melville, _Typee_, pp. 81-83;
    Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ pp. 274-276;
    Mathias G----, _op. cit._ pp. 122-129; Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp.
    36-38; Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op. cit._ pp. 44 _sq._; Clavel,
    _op. cit._ pp. 15 _sq._; Baessler, _op. cit._ pp. 200-208.

The platforms on which the houses are built consist often of large
blocks of stone neatly and regularly laid without mortar or cement, in a
style which would do no discredit to European masons.[31] Sometimes the
stones are described as enormous blocks of rock,[32] some of which would
require ten or twelve men to carry or roll them.[33] Water-worn
boulders, washed down from the mountains in the bed of torrents, were
especially chosen for the purpose.[34]

    [31] Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 109 _sq._

    [32] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p. 129.

    [33] Langsdorff, _l.c._

    [34] Clavel, _op. cit._ p. 15.

Sometimes, though far less commonly, Marquesan houses were raised above
the ground on posts from eight or ten to sixteen feet high. Such houses
were lightly built of wood and thatched; the floor was an open work of
split bamboos. Sometimes these raised dwellings resembled the ordinary
Marquesan house in structure; at other times they were quadrangular,
with perpendicular walls and an ordinary roof. They were approached by
ladders and resembled the habitations in use among the Malay tribes of
the Indian Archipelago. No dwellings of this type have been noticed in
Nukahiva, the principal island of the archipelago; but they have been
seen and described in Tauata (Santa Christina) and Hivaoa

    [35] F. D. Bennett, _op. cit._ i. 303 _sq._; Baessler, _op.
    cit._ pp. 207 _sq._

The Marquesans built canoes of various sizes, the smaller for fishing,
the larger for war. These latter might be from forty to fifty feet long.
They were fitted with outriggers. The prow had an ornamental projection
rudely carved to represent the head of an animal. Sometimes the prows of
war canoes were decorated with the skulls of slaughtered enemies. But in
general the Marquesans appear to have been inferior to the other South
Sea islanders in the arts of canoe-building and navigation.[36] This
inferiority may perhaps have been partly due to the absence of those
lagoons which, formed by coral reefs, elsewhere enabled the natives to
acquire confidence and skill in sailing on smooth and sheltered waters.
The same cause may also, perhaps, explain why fishing was comparatively
little practised by the Marquesans. We are told that as an occupation it
was despised by such as owned a piece of land of any extent, and that
only the poorer class of people, who depended on the sea for a
livelihood, addicted themselves to it. They caught fish by means both of
nets and of lines with hooks neatly made of mother-of-pearl; also they
stupefied the fish by a certain mashed root, which the fisherman
distributed in the water by diving, and then caught the fish as they
rose to the surface.[37]

    [36] J. Cook, _Voyages_, iii. 287; Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i.
    163 _sq._; Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 150; Porter, _op. cit._,
    ii. 12-14; Bennett, _op. cit._ i. 338; Vincendon-Dumoulin et C.
    Desgraz, _op. cit._ pp. 280-282.

    [37] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 163.

§ 4. _Polyandry, Adoption, Exchange of Names_

The social life of the Marquesan islanders presented some peculiar
features. Thus they are said to have practised the rare custom of
polyandry. On this subject Stewart observes: "We have yet met with no
instance, in any rank of society, of a male with two wives, but are
informed that for one woman to have two husbands is a universal habit.
Some favourite in the father's household or retinue at an early period
becomes the husband of the daughter, who still remains under the
paternal roof till contracted in marriage to a second individual, on
which she removes with her first husband to his habitation, and both
herself and original companion are supported by him."[38] Melville
describes the custom in substantially the same way, and adds, "No man
has more than one wife, and no wife of mature years has less than two
husbands,--sometimes she has three, but such instances are not
frequent." He seems to have attributed the practice to a scarcity of
women; for he tells us that "the males considerably outnumber the
females."[39] The same view was taken at a later date by Dr. Clavel, who
observes: "In the islands where the women are in a minority we may to
this day observe tolerably numerous cases of polyandry. Thus at Ua-Una I
met some women who had each two husbands, almost always one of them
young and the other old. Such households of three are not worse than the
rest and never give rise to intestine dissensions."[40] According to
Radiguet, the right of having more husbands than one was not general and
hardly belonged to any but chieftainesses,[41] but this limitation is
denied by a good authority.[42] The Russian navigator Lisiansky, who
visited the Marquesas in 1804, seems to have supposed that the custom
was restricted to wealthy families. He says: "In rich families, every
woman has two husbands; of whom one may be called the assistant husband.
This last, when the other is at home, is nothing more than the head
servant of the house; but, in case of absence, exercises all the rights
of matrimony, and is also obliged to attend his lady wherever she goes.
It happens sometimes, that the subordinate partner is chosen after
marriage; but in general two men present themselves to the same woman,
who, if she approves their addresses, appoints one for the real husband,
and the other as his auxiliary: the auxiliary is generally poor, but
handsome and well-made."[43]

    [38] C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 317.

    [39] Melville, _Typee_, pp. 203 _sq._

    [40] Clavel, _op. cit._ p. 60.

    [41] Radiguet, _op. cit._ 173.

    [42] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p. 111.

    [43] Lisiansky, _op. cit._ p. 83. As to polyandry in the
    Marquesas, see further E. Westermarck, _History of Human
    Marriage_, Fifth Edition (London, 1921), iii. 146 _sqq._

Another peculiar habit of the Marquesans was to give away their children
to be adopted by other people soon after their birth. When a woman was
pregnant, she and her husband would discuss to whom they should give the
child that was about to be born. They received offers from neighbours,
and often knocked down the infant to the highest bidder; for the
adopting parents regularly made presents to the child's family,
consisting of cloth, tools, and pigs, according to the fortune of the
contracting parties. After birth the child remained with its mother for
some months till it was weaned, upon which it was sent away to its
parents by adoption, who might inhabit a different district and even a
different island. It is said to have been exceptional for parents to
bring up their own offspring.[44]

    [44] Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op. cit._ pp. 19 _sq._; Clavel, _op.
    cit._ pp. 56, 61 _sq._

Another mode by which the Marquesans created artificial relationships
was the exchange of names. Such an exchange was equivalent to a
ratification of amity and good-will between the persons, who thereby
acquired a claim to mutual protection and the enjoyment of each other's
property and even of their wives, if they happened to be married men.
The custom was not limited to the natives; they readily exchanged names
with Europeans and granted them the privileges which flowed from the
pact. It is even said that some natives gave their own names to animals,
which thenceforth became sacred for them and for the rest of the tribe.
This led to so many inconveniences that the priests had to forbid the
practice of exchanging names with animals.[45]

    [45] Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp. 16 _sq._, 158 _sq._; Clavel, _op.
    cit._ pp. 61 _sq._

§ 5. _Amusements, Dancing-places, Banqueting-halls_

A favourite amusement of the islanders was racing or combating on
stilts. A stilt was composed of two pieces, a pole of light wood which
the runner held in his hand, and a step or foot-rest of hard wood, on
which he planted one of his feet. The step or foot-rest was often
adorned with human figures curiously carved, which are said to have
represented gods. The races or combats took place on the paved areas
which were to be seen in most villages, and which formed the scene of
public entertainments. In these contests each runner or combatant tried
to get in the way of his adversary, and, balancing himself on one stilt,
to strike his rival with the other, so as to bring him to the ground
amid the laughter and jeers of the spectators. It has sometimes been
supposed that the use of stilts in the Marquesas originated in the
practical purpose of enabling people to cross a stream without wetting
their feet. But the supposition is highly improbable. For, on the one
hand, the streams in the islands are mere rivulets, which dry up for the
greater part of the year; and, on the other hand, the natives are almost
amphibious, often spending whole days in the water, and swimming for
hours without fatigue. Hence it is absurd to imagine that they invented
stilts simply to keep their feet dry at crossing a shallow stream.[46]

    [46] Fleurieu, _op. cit._ i. 119 _sq._, 124; Langsdorff, _op.
    cit._ i. 146; Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 124-126; Vincendon-Dumoulin
    et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ p. 284; Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p.
    96. As for the ability of the natives to swim in the sea for
    hours without fatigue, compare J. Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to
    the Southern Pacific Ocean_, p. 129.

But perhaps the most popular recreation of the Marquesans was dancing
and singing, which formed a leading feature of their festivals. Every
inhabited district had its dancing-place, a sort of public square, where
places were set apart for the use of the performers, the musicians, and
the spectators. These have been described by the missionary, C. S.
Stewart, from personal observation. He says, "Our walk terminated at
what may be called the _theatre_ or _opera house_ of the settlement, a
large rectangular platform of stone pavement, surrounded by low terraces
also laid with stone; the first designed for the public exhibitions of
the song and the dance, and the last for the accommodation of the
spectators who assemble to witness the performance. Entertainments of
this kind are the most fashionable and favourite amusements at the
Washington and the Marquesan groups. Every inhabited district has its
_Tahua_, or public square of this kind; some of them so extensive, it is
said, as to be capable of accommodating ten thousand people."[47] Again,
speaking of another of these dancing-places, the same writer observes,
"This _Tahua_, or theatre, is a structure altogether superior to that
visited by us yesterday, and so massive and well built as to be capable
of enduring for ages. It is a regular oblong square, about sixty feet in
length and forty broad. The outer wall consists of immense stones, or
slabs of rock, three feet high, and many of them four or six feet long,
joined closely together and hewn with a regularity and neatness truly
astonishing, in view of the rude implements by which it must have been
accomplished. On a level with the top of this outer wall, a pavement of
large flat stones, several feet in width, extends entirely round,
forming seats for the chiefs, warriors, and other persons of
distinction, and singers performing the recitatives and choruses
accompanying the dance. Within this, and some inches lower, is another
pavement still wider, having large flat-topped stones fixed in it at
regular intervals of six or eight feet, used as seats by the beaters on
the drums, and other rude instruments of music, and immediately within
this again, an unpaved area, some twenty feet long by twelve broad,
constituting the stage on which the dancers exhibit their skill."[48]

    [47] C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 214 _sq._

    [48] C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 233 _sq._ Compare
    Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ pp. 265 _sq._

Some of these dancing-places appear to have been much larger than those
seen by Stewart. According to Langsdorff they were sometimes not less
than a hundred fathoms in length, and the great smooth pavement
consisted of blocks of stone, several feet broad, laid so neatly and so
close together that you might have imagined it to be the work of
European master-masons.[49] Radiguet describes one such dancing-place as
a rectangular area eighty metres (about two hundred and sixty feet) long
by thirty metres (about one hundred feet) broad, and surrounded by a
terrace paved with stone, on which the spectators were seated.[50]

    [49] Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 138.

    [50] Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 195.

The festivals (_koikas_) celebrated at these places were either
periodical or occasional. Among the periodical perhaps the most
important was that held at the ingathering of the bread-fruit harvest in
February and March. Among the occasional were those held after a
successful fishing, at the ratification of peace, and after the death
of a priest or chief, who had been raised to the rank of a deity. A
messenger decked in all the native finery repaired to the surrounding
villages inviting the inhabitants to attend the festival. Immense
numbers of hogs were killed and huge troughs filled with bread-fruit
were provided by the hosts for the banquet. The festivals were attended
not only by the people of the particular valley in which they were held,
but by the inhabitants of other valleys and even of other islands; for
so long as a festival lasted, a special taboo forbade the natives to
harm the strangers in their midst. A general truce was observed; members
of hostile tribes came to share the pleasures of the festival with the
foes whom they had recently fought, and whom they would fight again in a
few days.[51] Yet such visitors were careful to observe certain
precautions: they never came unarmed, and they always kept together on
one side of the festival ground, in order that they might rally the more
easily for mutual defence, if they should be suddenly attacked.[52]

    [51] C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 236 _sq._; F. D. Bennett, _op.
    cit._ i. 318; Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ pp.
    264 _sq._; Mathias G----, _op. cit._ pp. 69 _sqq._; Radiguet,
    _op. cit._ pp. 192 _sq._

    [52] Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 138.

The performers who sang and danced at these festivals for the
entertainment of the public were called _Hokis_ or _Kaioas_: they are
described as a sort of wandering troubadours or minstrels, who went from
tribe to tribe, seeking their fortune. They took great care of their
persons, which they artificially whitened. At once poets, musicians, and
dancers, they nevertheless did not enjoy the public esteem; on the
contrary, their effeminate habits incurred the contempt of a people who
had small taste for the fine arts.[53] Thus these wandering minstrels
and mountebanks would seem to have corresponded to the Areois of the
Society Islands.[54] The dances were accompanied by the beating of drums
and the songs of a chorus, it might be of a hundred and fifty singers,
who sat on the upper platform along with the chiefs and warriors.
Sometimes in the intervals between the dances a choir of women, seated
on an adjoining and elevated platform, would chant in dull monotonous
tones, clapping their hands loudly in unison with their song. The
subjects of the songs were various and were often furnished by some
passing event, such as the arrival of a ship or any less novel incident.
Not unfrequently, like ballads in our own country, the songs caught the
popular fancy and became fashionable, being sung in private by all
classes of society. So passionately addicted were the Marquesans to
these entertainments that they undertook the longest and most fatiguing
journeys from all parts of the island in order to be present at them,
carrying their food and suffering great hardships by the way; they even
came in their crazy canoes, at the hazard of their lives, from other
islands, and accepted the risk of being knocked on the head at one of
the brawls with which such gatherings usually ended.[55]

    [53] Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ p. 231.
    Compare C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 237, who calls the
    performers _Kaioi_.

    [54] See above, pp. 259 _sqq._

    [55] C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 234, 236, 237.

Closely connected with the festivals were the banqueting-halls, as they
may be called. These were houses, or rather sheds, thatched with leaves
and open in front, where the lower end of the sloping roof was supported
on short wooden pillars, of which the upper parts were rudely carved in
the likeness of the god Tiki, thus forming a sort of Caryatids. These
sheds varied in length from thirty to sixty and even two hundred feet in
length. They stood on quadrangular stone platforms of the usual type,
ranging from three or four to six, eight, twelve, and even fifteen feet
in height. The blocks of stone put together to form the platforms were
sometimes enormous, many of them measuring eight feet long by four feet
thick and wide; and they were hewn and polished into such perfect form
as to excite the wonder of the European beholder, who reflected with
astonishment on the vast labour requisite to bring these huge rocks from
the sea and to chisel them into shape without the help of iron tools.
Access to the platforms was afforded by sloping trunks of trees notched
into steps. In these open sheds the men feasted and prayed. Before each
repast it was customary to offer to the deity a small portion of food
wrapt in leaves. Sometimes the priests would thrust the morsels into the
mouths of Tiki's grotesque images. No woman might enter these
banqueting-halls or mount the platforms on which they stood. The place
was strictly tabooed to them, and the taboo was signified in the usual
way by long pennants of white cloth attached to the posts of the

    [56] Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 38 _sq._; F. D. Bennett, _op. cit._
    i. 317 _sq._; Mathias G----, _op. cit._ pp. 54-56; Melville,
    _Typee_ pp. 93-95. Of these writers it is Porter who gives the
    dimensions of some of the blocks of stone composing the
    platforms and expresses his amazement at the labour involved in
    their construction. He concludes his description as follows (ii.
    39): "When we count the immense numbers of such places, which
    are everywhere to be met with, our astonishment is raised to the
    highest, that a people in a state of nature, unassisted by any
    of those artificial means, which so much assist and facilitate
    the labour of the civilized man, could have conceived and
    executed a work, which, to every beholder, must appear
    stupendous. These piles are raised with views to magnificence
    alone; there does not appear to be the slightest utility
    attending them: the houses situated on them are unoccupied,
    except during the period of feasting, and they appear to belong
    to a public, without the whole efforts of which they could not
    have been raised, and with every exertion that could possibly
    have been made, years must have been requisite for the
    completion of them." Of one of these structures seen by him in
    the anterior of Nukahiva, Stewart observes, "The stones, bearing
    marks of antiquity that threw the air of an old family mansion
    around the whole, were regularly hewn and joined with the
    greatest nicety, many which I measured being from four to six
    feet in length, nearly as wide, and two or more deep" (_Visit to
    the South Seas_, i. 267 _sq._).

§ 6. _Social Ranks, Taboo_

Socially the Marquesans were divided into chiefs or nobles and
commoners; but the chiefs seem to have possessed very little authority,
and to have received few outward marks of deference and respect. A
monarchical government in any proper sense of the word was unknown.[57]
The power of the chiefs, such as it was, rested mainly on their superior
wealth, particularly on their landed property; for the larger their
estates, the greater the number of the tenants whose services they could
command. Hence the government has been called aristocratic and compared
to the feudal system.[58] In a fruitful season the chiefs had a right to
a fourth part of the produce, and in other seasons a share according to
circumstances. Their dignity was hereditary.[59] There was no general
government of the archipelago as a whole. Each island was quite
independent of all the rest; and in every island there were several
independent tribes, which were generally at war with each other.[60]

    [57] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 165; Langsdorff, i. 112 _sq._;
    Fleurieu, _op. cit._ i. 132-134; Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 64;
    Melville, _Typee_, p. 199; Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz,
    _op. cit._ p. 225; Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op. cit._ pp. 24 _sq._

    [58] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ 101 _sq._

    [59] Lisiansky, _op. cit._ p. 80.

    [60] Lisiansky, _op. cit._ pp. 79 _sq._; Clavel, _op. cit._ p.

A powerful instrument in the hands of the nobles was the taboo or
_tapu_, which, though it seems to have been originally a religious
institution,[61] was turned to political and economic account by the
chiefs and priests acting in conjunction. One of our best authorities on
the Marquesans describes the institution as a tool of despotism for the
gratification of the passions and caprices of such as could wield
it.[62] But this is a somewhat one-sided and imperfect view to take of
its scope. There is no doubt, as other good authorities on the
Marquesans have pointed out, that in the absence of a strong government
which could maintain order and protect life and property, the taboo to a
great extent served the purposes which in more civilised society are
fulfilled by laws.[63] The taboo was a sacred interdiction, a breach of
which was believed of itself to entail disastrous consequences on the
transgressor. The interdiction might be either public or private. To
give examples of public interdictions, when the quantity of breadfruit,
on which the people depended for their subsistence, was from any cause
seriously diminished in a district, the chief had the right to impose a
taboo on bread-fruit trees for twenty months, during which no one might
gather the fruit. This close time allowed the trees to recover their
strength and fertility. Similarly, if fish were scarce, the chief might
pronounce a taboo on the neighbouring bay, or a part of it, in order to
allow the fish to multiply undisturbed and replenish the sea in the
neighbourhood of human habitations. Again, in the prospect of a great
festival, a chief might lay an interdict on pigs for two or three years
in advance, in order that, when the time came, there might be plenty of
pork for the multitude at the banquet. Similarly, when the
paper-mulberry, from which the Marquesans made their bark-cloth,
threatened to give out, the chief might lay the trees under an
interdict for five years, at the end of which the crop was sure to be
magnificent.[64] In these and similar cases the taboo was of public
utility by ensuring a proper supply of the necessaries of life. However,
its imposition was not always guided by rational considerations, and
hence it sometimes failed of its purpose. For example, so long as the
bread-fruit was unripe, almost all kinds of fish were taboo and
therefore might not be eaten, and this interdiction, instead of
alleviating, tended naturally to aggravate the scarcity of food. The
reason for the taboo was a curious superstition that if any one were to
eat fish while the bread-fruit was unripe, the fruit would fall from the

    [61] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ pp. 47 _sq._; Vincendon-Dumoulin
    et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ p. 259.

    [62] Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 153.

    [63] Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ pp. 258 _sq._;
    Clavel, _op. cit._ pp. 65 _sq._

    [64] Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op. cit._ pp. 35 _sq._ Compare
    Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 155.

    [65] Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 118.

But the taboo also served a useful purpose by ensuring respect for
private property, which is a fundamental condition of social prosperity.
"The priests only," we are told, "can impose a general taboo, but every
individual has a right to pronounce one upon his own property: this is
done by declaring, if his wish be to preserve a breadfruit, or a cocoa
tree, a house or a plantation, from robbery and destruction, that the
spirit of his father or of some king, or indeed of any other person,
reposes in this tree, or house, which then bears the name of the person,
and nobody ventures to attack it. If any one is so irreligious as to
break through a taboo, and should be convicted of it, he is called
_kikino_; and the _kikinos_ are always the first to be devoured by the
enemy, at least they believe it to be so, nor is it impossible that the
priests should so arrange matters as that this really happens."[66]
Again, if a man's pig had been stolen, and he suspected who had done the
deed, he would lay a taboo on the swine or other property of the thief
by giving his own name, or the name of somebody else, to the animals or
the trees or whatever it might be. After that, in the opinion of the
people, the property so named was bewitched or haunted by the spirit of
the person, whether alive or dead, whose name it bore; and this belief
sometimes sufficed to compel the thief to abandon his possessions and to
settle elsewhere.[67] A wreath of leaves or a strip of white cloth
attached to a house, a canoe, a fruit-tree, or other piece of property,
was the symbol of taboo, and in ordinary circumstances was enough to
protect it.[68]

    [66] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 172. In this quotation I have
    altered the spelling _tahbu_ into _taboo_.

    [67] Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 116.

    [68] Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 157; Melville, _Typee_, p. 230;
    Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ p. 264.

But the taboo was an instrument which could be used capriciously to
thwart, as well as to further, the course of justice. Thus we read how,
under the French government of the islands, a wife set out for the
police-office to complain of the ill-treatment to which she had been
subjected by her husband. But scarcely had she put her foot outside the
door, when her husband, aware of her intention and determined to
frustrate it, called out after her, "The road from here to the
police-office is your father." On hearing that, the woman at once
stopped short, for under no circumstances would she dare to trample on
the author of her being. On the contrary, she immediately roasted two
little pigs and carried them to the tomb of her father as an offering to
appease his ghost, which might reasonably be supposed to fret at the
mere thought of being trodden under foot by his own daughter.[69] This
instructive example shows how closely the taboo was associated with the
fear and worship of the dead; by bestowing the name of a dead person on
a thing you rendered the thing inviolate, since thereby you placed it
under the immediate protection of the ghost.

    [69] Clavel, _op. cit._ p. 68.

Among the multitude of taboos which were religiously observed by the
Marquesans it is perhaps possible to detect a trace of totemism. Thus
the sting ray fish was taboo to the tribe of Houmis. Not only would they
not eat the fish, but they fled in horror if it were even shown to them.
Their horror was explained by a tradition that once on a time a great
chief of the tribe had been out fishing with his people, when a gigantic
sting ray upset their canoes and gobbled them all up.[70] This aversion
to eating and even looking at a certain species of animal, together with
a traditionary explanation based on an incident in the past history of
the tribe, is very characteristic of totemism.

    [70] Clavel, _op. cit._ pp. 67 _sq._

§ 7. _Religion and Mythology_

The consideration of taboo introduces us to the subject of religion;
for, on the one hand, the foregoing evidence tends to establish a
connexion between the institution of taboo and the doctrine of the human
soul, and on the other hand some of our best authorities on the
Marquesans have stated that the taboo was believed to be an expression
of the will of the gods conveyed to the people through the mouth of a
priest.[71] The definition may be accepted, if under gods we include the
spirits of the dead, who were worshipped by the Marquesans and lent
their sanction, as we have just seen, to the taboo.

    [71] Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ p. 258;
    Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p. 48; Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 153;
    Clavel, _op. cit._ p. 65.

The Marquesan term for a god was the usual Polynesian word _atua_ or, as
it is sometimes spelled, _etua_. But their notion of divinity, as
commonly happens, was vague. One of the earliest writers on their
religion, the Russian navigator Krusenstern, informs us that "a confused
notion of a higher being, whom they call _Etua_, does indeed exist among
them, but of these there are several kinds; the spirit of a priest, of a
king, or of any of his relations, being an _etua_. They likewise
consider all Europeans as such; for as their ideas do not extend beyond
their own horizon, they are firmly convinced that their ships come from
the clouds; and they imagine that thunder is occasioned by the
cannonading of vessels which float in the atmosphere, on which account
they entertain a great dread of artillery."[72] The _atuas_ or deities
of the Marquesans, we are told by another writer, "are numerous and vary
in their character and powers. Besides those having dominion
respectively, as is supposed, over the different elements and their most
striking phenomena, there are _atuas_ of the mountain and of the forest,
of the sea-side and of the interior, _atuas_ of peace and of war, of the
song and of the dance, and of all the occupations and amusements of
life. It is supposed by them that many of the departed spirits of men
also become _atuas_: and thus the multiplicity of their gods is such,
that almost every sound in nature, from the roaring of the tempest in
the mountains and the bursting of a thunderbolt in the clouds, to the
sighing of a breeze through the cocoa-nut tops and the chirping of an
insect in the grass or in the thatch of their huts, is interpreted into
the movements of a god."[73]

    [72] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 171.

    [73] C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 243 _sq._ Compare
    Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ p. 240; Radiguet,
    _op. cit._ pp. 218 _sq._

But the Marquesans, not content with deifying some men after death,
deified others in their lifetime. Amongst them there is, or rather used
to be, a class of living men "who claim the title and attributes of the
Deity; not through a professed inspiration or possession by a
supernatural influence or power, but in their own right of godship as
those who control the elements, impart fruitfulness to the productions
of the earth or smite them with blasting and sterility, and who exercise
the prerogatives of the Deity in scattering disease and wielding the
shafts of death. They are few in number, not more than one or two at
farthest on an island, and live in a seclusion and mysticism somewhat in
unison with their blasphemous pretensions. There is none at present in
the near vicinity of Taiohae,[74] though the former abode of such an
individual is pointed out at the foot of a bold cliff, high in the
mountains. The Rev. Mr. Crook gives the following account of an Atua, at
the island of Tahuata, in the Windward or Marquesan group, while he
resided there temporarily in 1797, as a missionary from the London
Missionary Society: 'He is now of great age, and has lived from early
life at Hanateiteina, in a large house surrounded by an enclosure called
the A. In the house is an altar, and from the beams within and upon the
trees around it are human carcasses, suspended with their heads downward
and scalped. No one enters the premises but his servant, except when
human sacrifices are offered. Of these, more are offered to him than to
any other of their gods, and he frequently seats himself on an elevated
scaffold in front of his house and calls for two or three at a time. He
is invoked in all parts of the island, and offerings everywhere are
made to him and sent to Hanateiteina.'"[75] Similarly a Catholic
missionary tells us that in the island of Nukahiva he was personally
acquainted with two living human deities, a priest and a priestess, both
of whom, it was said, had the right to demand the sacrifice of human
victims to themselves. He adds, however, that they did not abuse the
right, and that nobody in the world appeared more affable and polite
than these divinities; he even entertained hopes of one day baptizing
the priest.[76] Of the reverence in which the priestly class in general
was held by the people, Captain Porter remarks that "their priests are
their oracles; they are considered but little inferior to their gods; to
some they are greatly superior, and after their death they rank with the
chief divinity."[77]

    [74] The principal harbour of Nukahiva.

    [75] C. S. Stewart, _op cit._ i. 244 _sq._ Compare
    Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ pp. 226, 240 _sq._
    The missionary William Crook was landed in the Marquesas from
    the missionary ship _Duff_ in 1797. See J. Wilson, _Missionary
    Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean_, pp. 131 _sqq._

    [76] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p. 45.

    [77] Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 114.

Little seems to be recorded of the theology and mythology of the
Marquesans; but among their myths was the widespread Polynesian story of
the origin of fire. Of old, it was said, fire used to be jealously
guarded by Mahoike in the infernal regions. Hearing of its utility, Maui
descended into the nether world to steal some of the element; but he
failed to elude the vigilance of its guardian and was obliged to resort
to force to extort the boon from him. In the struggle which ensued
Mahoike lost an arm and a leg, and to save his remaining limbs he
consented to give fire to the victorious Maui. At the same time he
offered to rub it on Maui's leg; but Maui was too cunning to agree to
that, for he knew that in that case the fire which he took to earth
would not be sacred. Finally, Mahoike rubbed the fire on Maui's head,
and said to him, "Go back to the place you came from and touch with your
forehead all the trees except the _keïka_: all the trees will yield you

    [78] Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp. 223 _sq._ For the names of the
    Marquesan deities, among whom Tiki appears to have been the most
    famous, and for some myths concerning them, see Mathias G----,
    _op. cit._ pp. 40 _sqq._; Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp. 221 _sqq._;
    Amable, in _Annales de la Propagation de la Foi_, xix. (1847)
    pp. 23 _sq._; Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op. cit._ pp. 27 _sqq._

In the Marquesas there was a class of men called _tauas_, who were
supposed to possess an hereditary gift of inspiration and to become
deities after their death. They could cause a god to dwell within them.
Often at night they might be heard conversing with the divinity in their
bodies, the deity crying out in a shrill voice, while the man answered
him in his own ordinary voice. Sometimes they would make a rustling
noise with their fingers in the leaves, and say that they had been
miraculously taken through the thatch of the house and brought back
again by the door. In their fits of inspiration they became convulsed
and glared fiercely with their eyes; then, with their hands quivering
violently, they would run about, while they prophesied death to their
enemies in squeaky tones, or demanded human victims for the god by whom
they were possessed. With the function of prophecy they combined the
office of physician or rather of exorciser. For every internal disorder
was believed to be inflicted by some god, who had taken possession of
the sufferer's person; and the _tauas_, or high priests, as we may call
them, were called in to heal the patient by ridding him of the divinity
who had entered into him. This they commonly did by feeling for the
mischievous deity till they found him, when they smothered him between
the palms of their hands.[79] Sometimes the good physician would
converse with the spirit whom he had thus caught between his hands, and
would elicit from him in conversation the cause of the sickness, which
usually consisted in some breach of taboo, such as a theft of
bread-fruit or coco-nuts from a sacred tree. At the same time the
affable spirit would reveal to the physician the penalty which the sick
man must pay in order to expiate his crime and thereby ensure his
recovery. A sacrifice of pigs would appear to have been usually deemed
indispensable for the patient's complete convalescence; the animals were
conveyed to a temple and there consumed by the priests for the benefit
of the sufferer.[80] The _tauas_ or high priests were supposed to become
gods after death; when one of them departed this life, it was essential
for his deification that human victims should be sacrificed. The number
of victims varied with the rank of the new deity; it was never less than
seven, but oftener ten. Each victim was sacrificed for the sake of a
particular part of the deity's body, as for his head, or his eyes, or
his hair. To procure the necessary tale of victims, predatory
expeditions were undertaken against the tribes in neighbouring

    [79] C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 245 _sq._; Vincendon-Dumoulin
    et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ pp. 227 _sq._

    [80] Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 136. The writer's language seems
    to imply that the spirit whom the priestly physician caught in
    his hands and interrogated was the patient's own soul.

    [81] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p. 45; C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._
    i. 247; Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ pp. 228

§ 8. _The Soul, Death, and Funeral Customs_

Like most savages, the Marquesans thought that they possessed souls
which could quit their bodies and wander far away in dreams. Thus a
young girl once related how, the night before, she had sailed in a
splendid canoe to Tiburones, a mythical paradise to the west of
Nukahiva; there she had seen beautiful things such as do not exist here
on earth. "There," said she, "the trees are very tall, and the people
very handsome; there they sing songs to music sweeter than ours. Ah!
when shall I be able to return to Tiburones?" On another occasion a
woman's soul appeared to a priest to inform him that she had committed
the heinous crime of eating a fowl, but that she would expiate the
sacrilege by an early death. The French authorities summoned both the
priest and the woman to the bar of justice. There the priest stuck to it
that he had received the revelation, and the woman expressed her regret
for the escapade of which her soul had been guilty without her
knowledge. It was necessary to reassure her on the subject of her soul's
rash act and melancholy prediction, otherwise she might have fulfilled
the prophecy by refusing food and dying outright.[82]

    [82] Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp. 238 _sq._

At death the soul was supposed to depart from the body by the mouth or
the nose; hence in order to delay its departure and so to prolong the
life of its owner, affectionate relatives used to stop his mouth and
nostrils, thus accelerating the event which they wished to retard.[83]

    [83] Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 245; Clavel, _op. cit._ p. 44,
    note^1. Compare Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p. 115.

The Marquesans have, or used to have, a sovereign contempt for death,
and do not fear its approach. When a native felt that he must die, he
took it calmly and ordered his coffin, which he caused to be brought to
the house while he was still in life. The coffin is hollowed out of a
single log and resembles a canoe. If the sick man after all recovered,
the coffin was kept in a corner of the house till it was wanted. No
attempt was made to hide it or to disguise its purpose. Should a
stranger ask, "What is that?" he would be told, "It is So-and-so's
coffin"; though So-and-so might be present and within hearing.[84]
Nevertheless, when it was clear that a serious illness was about to
terminate fatally, and that all the efforts of the priestly physician or
sorcerer to avert the inevitable end were fruitless, the house would be
filled by wailing women, who danced naked round the mat of the dying
man, cutting themselves with sharp stones or shark's teeth as in a
frenzy, and uttering the most piercing lamentations. This lasted till
the moment of death, when all united in a terrific and prolonged
howl.[85] Similar demonstrations of sorrow were continued or renewed
after the decease. If the departed was a married man and his widow
survived him, she would bruise her flesh with a stone, scratch it with
her nails, and cut her forehead, cheeks, and breast with shark's teeth
or splinters of bamboo till the blood trickled down.[86] Captain Porter
saw a woman with deep wounds still unhealed, which she had inflicted on
her neck, breast, and arms for the loss of her husband, who had been
devoured by a shark.[87] After the death, too, the widow would place
herself in front of the corpse, and three or four girls would surround
her; whereupon they would all engage in a lascivious dance, with
outstretched arms, tripping in cadence to the accompaniment of a funeral
hymn or lamentation, which was chanted by a choir in honour of the dead.
After executing the dance, which would seem to have been intended to
attract the attention of the deceased and recall his wandering spirit,
they would stoop over the corpse, and cry, "He has not stirred! He
stirs not. Alas! alas! he is no more." It was only after they had thus
practised their seductions in vain on the dead man that the widow gave
way to her frantic outburst of sorrow by mauling herself with a sort of
saw.[88] This funeral dance a widow was apparently expected to renew in
public at every festival for months after the death. At a festival,
which he called the Feast of Calabashes, Melville saw four or five old
women, stark naked, holding themselves erect and leaping stiffly into
the air, with their arms pressed close to their sides, like sticks
bobbing up and down in water. They preserved the utmost gravity of
countenance, and continued their strange movements without a single
moment's cessation, though they did not appear to attract the
observation of the crowd around them. The American was told that these
dancing or leaping figures "were bereaved widows, whose partners had
been slain in battle many moons previously; and who, at every festival,
gave public evidence in this manner of their calamities."[89] When the
deceased was a chief, the lamentations and the dances went on day and
night for some time. A priestess or sorceress, in festal costume, led
the choir of female mourners and vaunted the exploits of the dead
warrior, recalling his mighty deeds and the incidents of his life. The
dances were accompanied by the music of drums. The crowd of spectators,
in their best array, ate and drank to repletion, and, flushed with
liquor, abandoned themselves to excesses which transformed the mortuary
chamber, lit up at night by smoky torches, into a scene of low
debauchery. From time to time remarks of a gross nature were addressed
to the dead man on the helpless condition to which he was reduced; and
now and then the women would slash their faces and breasts with
splinters of bamboo in the usual fashion. The orgy went on till the
provisions were completely exhausted, which might not be for a
considerable time, since hecatombs of pigs were sometimes slaughtered
for the purpose of celebrating the obsequies of a chief in a manner
worthy of his rank.[90]

    [84] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ pp. 114. _sq._; Eyriaud des
    Vergnes, _op. cit._ p. 58. Compare Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp. 260

    [85] C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 263; Vincendon-Dumoulin et C.
    Desgraz, _op. cit._ pp. 249 _sq._

    [86] Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 284; Clavel, _op. cit._ p. 39.

    [87] Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 121.

    [88] Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp. 283 _sq._ Another writer mentions
    that at the moment of death it was customary for a number of
    matrons to strip themselves naked and execute obscene dances at
    the door of the house, crying out at the pitch of their voices,
    "Father! father!" See Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p. 116.

    [89] Melville, _Typee_, pp. 180, 201.

    [90] Clavel, _op. cit._ pp. 43 _sq._

The soul of the dead was believed not to abandon the corpse definitely
for two days after the death. In the interval it was thought to haunt
the house, watching the conduct of the survivors, and ready to act as a
friend or a foe according as the mourners behaved towards the deceased
and his remains. Hence, to keep the ghost in good humour it was
customary to offer him food, in the shape of breadfruit paste and other
dainties, which were wrapped up in leaves, hung on the edge of the
coffin, and frequently renewed.[91] On the third night after the death a
priest, stepping out on the terrace in front of the house, implored the
wandering soul of the deceased to depart; and by way of enforcing the
request a band of men, armed with spears and other lethal weapons, went
about in the outer darkness, beating the bushes and stabbing the
thatched roofs of the houses in order to drive the lingering ghost away.
If, roused by the clamour, the dogs began to bark, the priest would say,
"The soul is departing."[92]

    [91] Clavel, _op. cit._ p. 46.

    [92] Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp. 284 _sq._

From the moment of death till the priests had completed the litany or
songs chanted on such occasions, all the assembled people fasted, no one
touched the provisions collected for the funeral feast, and no fire
might be kindled within sight of the house.[93] The litany consisted in
the mumbling of a long speech in an unintelligible language accompanied
by the constant beating of drums.[94] Among the victuals provided for
the funeral feast special importance appears to have been attached to
the head of a pig, which was cut off and attached to the bier.[95] We
are told that the professed intention was thereby "to propitiate the
gods, and obtain for the deceased a safe and peaceable passage through
the lower regions." But, in point of fact the priest took possession of
the pig's head and devoured it secretly, leaving only a small piece of
it under a stone.[96]

    [93] C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 265; Vincendon-Dumoulin et C.
    Desgraz, _op. cit._ p. 251.

    [94] Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 133.

    [95] Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 285.

    [96] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 173. Compare Langsdorff, _op.
    cit._ i. 133; C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 265;
    Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ p. 251.

When death had taken place, the body was washed, neatly dressed in
garments of new cloth, and laid on a bier constructed of bamboos or of
spears and other warlike weapons, fastened together with wicker-work and
spread with mats.[97] If the deceased was a chief and a warrior, his
body would be arrayed in his finest ornaments, and his club, plumed
helmet, necklaces of whale's teeth, and skulls of the enemies he had
killed, would be laid beside him. Thus exposed, the corpse might be kept
for weeks in the house, where, in spite of the stench, the family
continued to eat, drink, and sleep beside it. Sometimes, however, and
perhaps more usually, the body was transferred to a small house or shed
adjoining the dwelling of the deceased, where it received the necessary
attentions. Finally, it was removed to a little hut or shed, where the
bier was supported on posts under a thatched roof. To be buried in the
earth was a mark of ignominy reserved at most for a young girl of the
lowest rank who had died childless. Beside the corpse food was hung for
the use of the ghost, it might be fish, roast pork, or coco-nuts, and
there it was allowed to remain till it rotted and fell to the ground;
none but children would be greedy or impious enough to partake of the
sacred victuals, and that only in the greatest secrecy. Often the house
in which the death had taken place was tabooed and abandoned after the
remains had been deposited in their last home.[98]

    [97] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 172 _sq._; Langsdorff, _op.
    cit._ i. 133; Lisiansky, _op. cit._ p. 81; C. S. Stewart, _op.
    cit._ i. 264.

    [98] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ pp. 116 _sq._ As to the
    decoration of the corpse, see Clavel, _op. cit._ pp. 43 _sq._ As
    to the temporary house or shed in which the body was kept for
    some time after death, compare C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 264,
    266; Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ p. 250. As for
    the custom of keeping the body for months in the ordinary house,
    surrounded by the family, see Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 286. As to
    the practice of hanging food beside the body, even after its
    removal to its last place of rest, see J. Dumont d'Urville,
    _Voyage au Pole Sud et dans l'Océanie, Histoire du Voyage_, iv.
    (Paris, 1842), p. 33; Clavel, _op. cit._ p. 46.

The bodies of the dead were regularly subjected to a kind of embalmment,
which had the effect of preserving them for a longer or shorter time. As
soon as decomposition appeared imminent, the corpse was stripped of its
ornaments and placed in the usual canoe-shaped coffin, the trunk being
propped up so as to facilitate the work of the embalmers. The task of
embalming was entrusted to women, relations of the deceased, who rubbed
the body daily with coco-nut oil and perfumes. They had no intercourse
with the rest of the family, and took their meals apart without ever
washing their hands. According to one account, the anointment was
performed by night, while during the day the body was exposed to the sun
on the stone platform of the house. The products of decomposition were
carefully received in vessels and carried away to the place of
sepulture; and the corpse was gradually eviscerated through the rectum.
The friction was continued until the desiccated body was reduced to the
state of a mummy, though sometimes, in spite of all precautions, it
crumbled into dust. If the operation was successful, the mummy, wrapt in
many bandages, was covered by a second canoe attached to the first, and
was then placed on a scaffold in a _morai_ or sanctuary specially
consecrated to it. But sometimes the mummy was fastened up to the roof
or wall of the house wherein the person had died; and it might be kept
there even for years. When it was deposited in a _morai_, no woman was
allowed to approach it under pain of death.[99] Sometimes the head was
detached from the body and kept in the house, where it was treated with
respect. Sometimes it was carried away and hidden in some almost
inaccessible cave in the mountains or beside the sea. This was done as a
precaution to save the skulls from falling into the hands of enemies,
who were eager to bear them off as trophies.[100]

    [99] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 173; Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i.
    133 _sq._; Melville, _Typee_, p. 206; Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp.
    286 _sq._; Clavel, _op. cit._ pp. 44 _sq._ In a house in
    Nukahiva the missionary Stewart saw a canoe-shaped coffin
    containing the remains of a man who had died many years before.
    It was raised on a bier of framework, at a height of two or
    three feet above the ground. Stewart adds, "The dead bodies of
    all persons of high distinction are preserved in their houses
    for a long period in this way." See C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i.

    [100] Clavel, _op. cit._ pp. 45 _sq._; Baessler, _op. cit._ pp.
    233 _sq._

Each family had its own _morai_ or burial-place, where the mouldering
bones or mummies were finally deposited and left to decay.[101] Such
family cemeteries were scattered about the valleys; the choice of a
site seems to have been determined by no special rule.[102] The _morai_
or burial-place of ordinary people was near their houses, and not far
from it was a taboo-house, where the men feasted on the flesh of
pigs.[103] But the cemeteries of chiefs were situated in the interior of
the valleys, often so deeply imbedded in dense foliage that it was not
easy to find them without the guidance of a native.[104] Similarly we
are told that the cemeteries (_morais_) of priests lay quite apart from
all dwellings.[105]

    [101] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 127, 173; Langsdorff, _op.
    cit._ i. 115, 134. Other writers on the Marquesas in like manner
    speak of a _morai_ simply as a place of burial. See Porter, _op.
    cit._ ii. 114 ("the gods at the burying-place, or morai, for so
    it is called by them"); Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 52 ("un _morai_
    (sépulchre) en ruine"); Melville, _Typee_, p. 168 ("the 'morais'
    or burying-grounds"). So, too, the term was understood by the
    French navigator, J. Dumont d'Urville. See his _Voyage au Pole
    Sud, Histoire du Voyage_, iv. (Paris, 1842), pp. 27, 33.

    [102] Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ p. 253.

    [103] Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 115. According to Krusenstern
    (_op. cit._ i. 127), the _morais_ in general "lie a good way
    inland upon hills."

    [104] F. D. Bennett, _Narrative of a Whaling Voyage_, i. 329.

    [105] Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 115.

The ordinary form of a Marquesan _morai_ or burial-place seems to have
been a thatched shed erected on a square or oblong platform of stones,
exactly resembling the stone platforms on which the Marquesan houses
were regularly built. Thus Vincendon-Dumoulin and Desgraz say that "the
_morais_, funeral monuments where the bodies are deposited, are erected
on a stone platform, the base of all Nukahivan edifices."[106] Again,
describing what he calls "a picturesque _morai_," Radiguet observes,
"Four posts, erected on a platform, supported a small plank covered with
a roof of leaves. Under this roof could be seen the remains of a
skeleton, perhaps that of the daughter-in-law of the neighbouring
house.... At the two ends of the platform two upright stones, about ten
feet high, and resembling the Breton _menhirs_, formed an exceptional
ornament to this _morai_, which the bushes were in course of invading
and the storms of demolishing."[107] Again, Stewart describes as follows
what he calls "a depository of the dead": "It stands in the midst of a
beautiful clump of trees, and consists of a platform of heavy stone
work, twenty feet or more square and four or five high, surmounted in
the centre by eight or ten posts arranged in the shape of a grave, and
supporting at a height of six or seven feet a long and narrow roof of
thatch. Close beneath this was the body enclosed in a coffin."[108]
Again, in the island of Tahuata (Santa Christina), Bennett describes a
chief's burial-place as follows: "A low but extensive stone platform,
beneath the shade of a venerable _fau_-tree, marks the more consecrated
ground; and on this is erected a wooden hut, containing an elevated
trough, shaped as a canoe, and holding the perfect skeleton of the late
chief. In front of the sepulchre are two hideous wooden idols, and
several bundles of coco-nut leaves."[109] The shed, which was erected on
the stone platform, and under which the body rested on a bier, seems to
have consisted for the most part simply of a thatched roof supported on
wooden posts.[110] Sometimes, however, instead of a simple shed, open on
all sides, a small house resembling the ordinary houses of the natives
appears to have been erected for the reception of the corpse or mummy.
Thus in the island of Tahuata (Santa Christina) Bennett describes a
burial-place as follows: "The most picturesque mausoleum we noticed was
that which contained the corpse of one of Eutiti's children. It was
placed on the summit of an isolated hill, rising from the bosom of a
well-wooded savannah, and was covered entirely with the leaves of the
fan-palm. The posterior, or tallest wall, was twelve feet high, the
anterior was low, closed by a mat, and decorated with six wooden
pillars, covered with stained cinnet and white cloth. Strips of tapa
[bark-cloth], fixed to a wand, fluttered on the roof, to denote that the
spot was tabooed; and for the same purpose, a row of globular stones,
each the size of a football, and whitened with coral lime, occupied the
top of a low but broad stone wall which encircled the building. The
interior contained nothing but the bier on which the corpse was
laid."[111] From the sketch which Bennett gives of this particular
mausoleum, as he calls it, we gather that the sepulchral hut containing
the body was not raised on a stone platform, but built on the flat.

    [106] Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ p. 253.

    [107] Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 92. One of these stones was said
    to have been erected by the French navigator, Captain Marchand,
    and to have formerly borne an inscription recording his taking
    possession of the island. Hence it would be unsafe to draw any
    conclusion from the supposed antiquity of these two tall upright

    [108] C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ i. 260.

    [109] F. D. Bennett, _op. cit._ i. 329.

    [110] Compare J. Dumont d'Urville, _Voyage au Pole Sud, Histoire
    du Voyage_, iv. 33, "Sous un hangar se trouvent quelques
    supports formant, à 2 mètres au-dessus du sol, une estrade sur
    laquelle est déposé le _toui-papao_. C'est le nom que les
    naturels donnent au cadavre enveloppé d'herbes et de _tapa_
    (étoffes de papyrus faites dans le pays). On n'aperçoit du corps
    ainsi habillé que les extremités des doigts des pièds et des

    [111] F. D. Bennett, _op. cit._ i. 331.

There seems to be no evidence that the stone platforms on which the
sepulchral sheds or huts of the Marquesans were erected ever took the
shape of stepped or terraced pyramids like the massive stone pyramids of
Tahiti and Tonga. So far as the mortuary platforms of the Marquesans are
described, they appear to have been quadrangular piles of stone, with
upright sides, not stepped or terraced. Megalithic monuments in the form
of stepped or terraced pyramids seem to have been very rare in the
Marquesas Islands; indeed, it is doubtful whether they existed at all.
With regard to the island of Tahuata (Santa Christina), it is positively
affirmed by Bennett that none of the valleys contain "any _morais_ or
other buildings devoted to religious purposes, nor any public
idols";[112] and by _morais_ he probably means stepped pyramids like
those of Tahiti and Tonga. However, in the valley of Taipii (Typee), in
Nukahiva, a megalithic monument, built in terraces, was seen by Melville
in 1842. He describes it as follows:

    [112] F. D. Bennett, _op. cit._ i. 322.

"One day in returning from this spring by a circuitous path, I came upon
a scene which reminded me of Stonehenge and the architectural labours of
the Druids. At the base of one of the mountains, and surrounded on all
sides by dense groves, a series of vast terraces of stone rises, step by
step, for a considerable distance up the hillside. These terraces cannot
be less than one hundred yards in length and twenty in width. Their
magnitude, however, is less striking than the immense size of the blocks
composing them. Some of the stones, of an oblong shape, are from ten to
fifteen feet in length, and five or six feet thick. Their sides are
quite smooth, but though square, and of pretty regular formation, they
bear no mark of the chisel. They are laid together without cement, and
here and there show gaps between. The topmost terrace and the lower one
are somewhat peculiar in their construction. They have both a
quadrangular depression in the centre, leaving the rest of the terrace
elevated several feet above it. In the intervals of the stones immense
trees have taken root, and their broad boughs, stretching far over and
interlacing together, support a canopy almost impenetrable to the sun.
Overgrowing the greater part of them, and climbing from one to another,
is a wilderness of vines, in whose sinewy embrace many of the stones lie
half-hidden, while in some places a thick growth of bushes entirely
covers them. There is a wild pathway which obliquely crosses two of
these terraces, and so profound is the shade, so dense the vegetation,
that a stranger to the place might pass along it without being aware of
their existence.

"These structures bear every indication of a very high antiquity, and
Kory-Kory, who was my authority in all matters of scientific research,
gave me to understand that they were coeval with the creation of the
world; that the great gods themselves were the builders; and that they
would endure until time shall be no more. Kory-Kory's prompt
explanation, and his attributing the work to a divine origin, at once
convinced me that neither he nor the rest of his countrymen knew
anything about them."[113] Melville was accordingly disposed to
attribute the erection of these remarkable terraces to an extinct and
forgotten race.[114] The hypothesis is all the more probable because the
monument appears to have been entirely abandoned and unused by the
natives during the time when they have been known to Europeans. But it
is doubtful whether the edifice was a pyramid; all that Melville's
somewhat vague description implies is that it consisted of a series of
terraces built one above the other on the hillside.

    [113] Melville, _Typee_, pp. 166 _sq._

    [114] Melville, _Typee_, p. 167.

According to some accounts the remains of the dead, instead of being
deposited in sheds or huts erected on stone platforms, were buried in
the platforms themselves. Thus, according to William Crook, the first
missionary to the Marquesans, "they have a _morai_ in each district,
where the dead are buried beneath a pavement of large stones."[115]
Similarly, in Nukahiva two or three large quadrangular platforms
(_pi-pis_), heavily flagged, enclosed with regular stone walls and
almost hidden by the interlacing branches of enormous trees, were
pointed out as burial-places to Melville, and he was told that the
bodies "were deposited in rude vaults beneath the flagging, and were
suffered to remain there without being disinterred. Although nothing
could be more strange and gloomy than the aspect of these places, where
the lofty trees threw their dark shadows over rude blocks of stone, a
stranger looking at them would have discerned none of the ordinary
evidences of a place of sepulture."[116] To the same effect, perhaps,
Porter observes that, "when the flesh is mouldered from the bones, they
are, as I have been informed, carefully cleansed: some are kept for
relics, and some are deposited in the _morais_."[117] Again, Krusenstern
says that twelve months after the death "the corpse is broken into
pieces, and the bones are packed in a small box made of the wood of the
bread-fruit tree, and carried to the _morai_ or burial place, where no
woman is allowed to approach under pain of death."[118] However, these
statements do not necessarily imply that the bones were buried under the
stones of the platform at the _morai_.

    [115] Quoted by J. Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern
    Pacific Ocean_, p. 144.

    [116] Melville, _Typee_, p. 205.

    [117] Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 123.

    [118] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 173.

But whether deposited on biers or buried under the pavement, the remains
of the dead were liable to be carried off in time of war by foes, who
regarded such an exploit as a great deed of heroism. Hence when an
invasion of the enemy in force was expected, the custom was to remove
the bodies from the _morai_ and bury them elsewhere.[119] The heads of
enemies killed in battle were invariably kept and hung up as trophies of
victory in the house of the conqueror. They seem to have been smoked in
order to preserve them better.[120] It is said that they were used as
cups to drink kava out of.[121]

    [119] Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 134.

    [120] Melville, _Typee_, p. 206.

    [121] Clavel, _op. cit._ p. 47.

After ten months or a year the obsequies were concluded by another
funeral feast, which might last from eight to thirty days according to
the rank of the deceased and the opulence of his family. At the same
time offerings of food were presented afresh at the tomb, and the
decorations were renewed, consisting of branches and leaves and strips
of white bark-cloth, which waved like flags at the end of little white
wands. At these anniversary feasts, to which, if the deceased was a man
of quality, only chiefs were in many cases admitted, great quantities
of pigs were consumed.[122] The intention of the feast is said to have
been to thank the gods for having permitted the dead person to arrive
safely in the other world.[123]

    [122] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ pp. 117 _sq._

    [123] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 173.

§ 9. _Fate of the Soul after Death_

The souls of the dead were supposed to depart either to an upper or to a
lower world, either to heaven or to a subterranean region called
Havaiki. The particular destination of a soul after death was
determined, not by moral considerations, not by the virtue or vice of
the deceased, but by the rank he had occupied in this life: people of
quality went to the upper world, and common people went to the lower, to
Havaiki.[124] According to a more precise account, heaven was inhabited
by deities of the highest order, by women who had died in childbed, by
warriors who had fallen on the field of battle, by suicides, and
especially by the aristocratic class of the chiefs. This celestial
region was supposed to be a happy land, abounding in bread-fruit paste
(_popoi_), pork, and fish, and offering the companionship of the most
beautiful women imaginable. There the bread-fruit trees dropped their
ripe fruit every moment to the ground, and the supply of coco-nuts and
bananas never failed. There the souls reposed on mats much finer than
those of Nukahiva; and every day they bathed in rivers of coco-nut oil.
In that happy land there were plenty of plumes and feathers, and
boars'-tusks, and sperm-whale teeth far better than even white men can
boast of. The nether world, on the other hand, was peopled with deities
of the second class and by ordinary human beings, who had no pretensions
to gentility. But it was not a place of misery much less of punishment
or torture; on the contrary, we are told that both the upper and the
lower regions were happier than the earth which the living inhabit.[125]
The approach to the lower world, curiously enough, was by sea. The soul
sailed away in a coffin shaped like a canoe (_pahaa_). When it came
near the channel which divides the island Tahuata from the island
Hivaoa, it was met by two deities or two opposing influences, one of
which tried to push the soul into a narrow strait between Tahuata and a
certain rock in the sea, while the other deity or influence endeavoured
to contrive that the soul should keep the broad channel between the rock
and Hivaoa. The souls that were thrust into the narrow strait were
killed; whereas such as kept the open channel were conducted safe by a
merciful god to their destination.[126]

    [124] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p. 44.

    [125] Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 220; Melville, _Typee_, p. 185.
    Compare Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p. 40.

    [126] Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp. 220 _sq._

Sometimes the land of the dead was identified with a happy island or
islands called Tiburones lying somewhere in the ocean to the west of
Nukahiva. Not uncommonly natives of the Marquesas sailed away in great
double canoes to seek and find these happy isles, but were never heard
of again. On one occasion, for example, forty men in the island of
Ua-pu, who had revolted against their chief and been defeated, embarked
secretly by night and put to sea, hoping to discover the Fortunate
Islands, where they would be beyond the reach of their offended lord,
and where they might pass the remainder of their days in liberty and
bliss. What became of them is unknown, for they were seen and heard of
no more in their native island.[127]

    [127] Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 51 _sq._; Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp.
    238 note, 239, 269, 270; Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op.
    cit._ pp. 238 _sq._; Mathias G----, _op. cit._ pp. 234 _sq._

But even the souls that went to heaven were supposed to stand in need of
a canoe in order to reach the place of bliss. On this point Porter
writes: "I endeavoured to ascertain whether they had an idea of a future
state of rewards and punishments, and the nature of their heaven. As
respects the latter article, they believed it to be an island, somewhere
in the sky, abounding with everything desirable; that those killed in
war and carried off by their friends, go there, provided they are
furnished with a canoe and provisions; but that those who are carried
off by the enemy, never reach it, unless a sufficient number of the
enemy can be obtained to paddle his canoe there. For this reason they
were so anxious to procure a crew for their priest, who was killed and
carried off by the Happahs. They have neither rewards nor punishments
in this world, and I could not learn that they expected any in the

    [128] Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 113.

In the valley of Taipii (Typee), in the island of Nukahiva, Captain
Porter visited "the chief place of religious ceremony." It was a
platform of the usual sort situated in a fine grove at the foot of a
steep mountain. On the platform was an idol of hard stone, rudely
representing a deity in human shape of about life size and in a
squatting posture. Arranged on either side of this idol, as well as in
front and rear, were several other images of about the same size and of
the same model, but better carved out of bread-fruit wood. The place was
decorated with streamers of white cloth. A few paces from the grave were
four fine war canoes, furnished with outriggers, and decorated with
human hair, coral shells, and many white streamers. In the stern of each
canoe was the effigy of a man with a paddle, steering, in full dress,
decked with plumes, ear-rings, and all the usual ornaments. On enquiring
of the natives, Captain Porter was informed that the dignified effigy
seated in the stern of the most splendid canoe represented a priest who
had been killed not long before by their enemies the Happahs. In the
bottom of the priest's canoe Captain Porter found the putrefying bodies
of two Taipiis (Typees) whom he and his men had recently killed in
battle; and lying about the canoe he saw many other human carcasses,
with the flesh still on them. The other canoes, he was told, belonged to
different warriors who had been killed or had died not long since. "I
asked them," continues Captain Porter, "why they had placed their
effigies in the canoes, and also why they put the bodies of the dead
Typees in that of the priest? They told me (as Wilson interpreted) that
they were going to heaven, and that it was impossible to get there
without canoes. The canoe of the priest being large, he was unable to
manage it himself, nor was it right that he should, he being now a god.
They had, therefore, placed in it the bodies of the Happas and Typees,
which had been killed since his death, to paddle him to the place of his
destination; but he had not been able yet to start, for the want of a
full crew, as it would require ten to paddle her, and as yet they had
only procured eight. They told me also that the taboo, laid in
consequence of his death, would continue until he had started on his
voyage, which he would not be able to do until they had killed two more
of their enemies, and by this means completed the crew. I inquired if he
took any sea stock with him. They told me he did, and pointing to some
red hogs in an enclosure, said that they were intended for him, as well
as a quantity of bread-fruit, coco-nuts, etc., which would be collected
from the trees in the grove. I inquired if he had far to go; they
replied, no: and pointing to a small square stone enclosure, informed me
that was their heaven, that he was to go there. This place was tabooed,
they told me, for every one except their priests."[129]

    [129] Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 109-111. A similar, or the same,
    effigy of a dead chief seated in his canoe was seen by Melville
    in the same valley (_Typee_, pp. 183 _sq._). He says that "the
    canoe was about seven feet in length; of a rich, dark-coloured
    wood, handsomely carved, and adorned in many places with
    variegated bindings of stained sinnate [cinnet], into which were
    ingeniously wrought a number of sparkling sea-shells, and a belt
    of the same shells ran all round it. The body of the figure--of
    whatever material it might have been made--was effectually
    concealed in a heavy robe of brown tappa [bark-cloth], revealing
    only the hands and head; the latter skilfully carved in wood,
    and surmounted by a superb arch of plumes."

But it was deemed necessary to provide a dead priest or chief with human
victims for other purposes than to paddle his canoe to heaven. When a
great chief died, two commoners were sometimes sacrificed for the
purpose of escorting him to the abode of bliss; one of them carried the
chief's girdle, and the other bore the head of the pig that had been
slaughtered for the funeral feast. The head was intended as a present to
the warden of the infernal regions, who, if he did not get this
perquisite, would revile and stone the ghost, and shut the door in his
face.[130] The number of human victims sacrificed at the death of a
priest varied with the respect and fear which he had inspired in his
lifetime;[131] a common number seems to have been three.[132]

    [130] Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 163.

    [131] Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ p. 228.

    [132] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i, 170.

The runaway English sailor, Roberts, who had long resided in the
islands, assured the Russian explorer Lisiansky "that, on the death of a
priest, three men must be sacrificed; two of whom are hung up in the
burying-ground, while the third is cut to pieces, and eaten by
visitors; all but the head, which is placed upon one of the idols. When
the flesh of the first two are wasted away, the bones that remain are
burnt. The custom of the country requires, that the men destined for
sacrifice should belong to some neighbouring nation, and accordingly
they are generally stolen. This occasions a war of six, and sometimes of
twelve, months: its duration, however, depends upon the nearest relation
of the deceased priest; who, as soon as he is acquainted with his death,
retires to a place of taboo; and till he chooses to come out, the blood
of the two parties does not cease to flow. During his retirement, he is
furnished with everything he may require, human flesh not

    [133] U. Lisiansky, _Voyage round the World_, pp. 81 _sq._

A curious mode of preparing a dead man to appear to advantage before the
gods in the other world was to flay his corpse. A Catholic missionary
tells us that when a dead body began to swell up, in consequence of
internal putrefaction, it was customary to flay it and to preserve the
skin as a precious relic in the family treasury, where the eye of a
profane stranger could never fall on it.[134] The reason for observing
the custom is not mentioned by this missionary, but it is explained by
another missionary, Father Amable. It happened that the king or head
chief of the island of Tahuata died, and that his body was brought to
the house of the queen on the bay where Father Amable resided. For
thirty days she kept the corpse in the house and occupied herself with
skinning it with her fingers. Questioned by the missionary as to her
reasons for this strange procedure, she answered that her husband's body
must be without spot or stain, in order that the great goddess Upu might
give him leave to dwell in her land and to bathe in her lake. For this
deity rules over a sort of submarine Eden, planted with all sorts of
excellent fruits and beautified by the calm waters of an azure lake. The
natives of Tahuata believe that the souls of all who die in the
archipelago assemble on the top of a high mountain called Kiukiu. When a
great multitude of souls is there gathered together, the sea opens and
the souls fall plump down into the paradise of the goddess Upu.
However, not all of them are permitted to enter the happy land and to
enjoy the pleasures which it offers. Only such are admitted as have
owned in their lifetime many servants and many pigs and have not been
wicked. Further, none may enter in who bear on their body any marks of
tattooing.[135] Hence the reason for flaying dead bodies seems to have
been to efface, by removing the skin, the tattooed marks which would
have acted as a fatal bar to the entrance of the ghost into paradise. As
to the souls of slaves and the poor, in the opinion of the natives of
Tahuata they go to a gloomy land, which is never illumined by the sun,
and where there is nothing but muddy water to drink.[136] Nevertheless
the people would seem to have believed that the souls of the dead
lingered for a time beside their mouldering bodies before they took
their departure for the far country. In this belief they sacrificed to
them pigs, some baked, and some alive. The baked pigs they put in a
hollow log and hung from the roof of the hut, and they said that a god
named Mapuhanui, who in the beginning had bestowed pigs on men, used to
come and feast on the carcasses in company with the ghost. But when they
offered live pigs, they tethered the animals to the hut in which the
dead body lay, and they fed them till the flesh dropped from the
skeleton; after that they allowed the pigs to die of hunger.[137]
Perhaps, like some other peoples, they imagined that the ghost hovered
about his remains so long as the flesh adhered to the bones, but that
when even that faint semblance of life had vanished he went away and had
no further occasion for pigs, whether alive or dead.

    [134] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p. 116.

    [135] Lettre du R. P. Amable, in _Annales de la Propagation de
    la Foi_, xix. (1847) pp. 22 _sq._, 24.

    [136] Lettre du R. P. Amable, _op. cit._ p. 24.

    [137] Lettre du R. P. Amable, _op. cit._ pp. 23 _sq._

However, the souls of the dead were not supposed to be permanently
confined to the other world. After a long sojourn in it, all alike,
whatever the region they inhabited in their disembodied state, could
return to earth and be born again.[138] Indeed, according to the natives
of Nukahiva, the interval between death and reincarnation was not unduly
long; for "every one here is persuaded, that the soul of a grandfather
is transmitted by Nature into the body of his grandchildren; and that,
if an unfruitful wife were to place herself under the corpse of her
deceased grandfather, she would be sure to become pregnant."[139]
Occasionally the soul of a dead person might even inhabit the body of an
animal. Once when a whale was stranded on one of the islands, a
priestess declared that it was the soul of a certain priest, which would
wander until eight human victims were sacrificed to the gods. In vain
her son would have substituted turtles for human beings; the people
would not hear of it; the prescribed victims were captured from a
neighbouring tribe and put to death in order to lay the ghost of the
whale, or rather of the priest who had animated the whale's body.[140]

    [138] Lettre du R. P. Amable, _op. cit._ p. 24.

    [139] Lisiansky, _op. cit._ p. 89.

    [140] Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp. 161 _sq._

But the souls of the dead were also believed to return from the spirit
land for other purposes than to be born again in the flesh. They might
come as ghosts to haunt and torment the living, and as such they were
greatly dreaded by the people.[141] The first watch of the night was the
hour when they were supposed especially to come on errands of
mischief.[142] Particularly dreaded were the ghosts of high priests and
great chiefs, who retained in their spiritual form the passions and the
rancours which they had nursed in life, and who returned in ghostly
shape to earth to meddle with the affairs of the living, and to punish
even trivial offences. To guard against these dangerous intrusions, the
intervention of a priest or priestess was deemed indispensable; it was
his or her business to counteract a spell cast on a family, or to heal a
sickness inflicted on an individual by one of these ghostly
vagrants.[143] Such was the fear of wandering ghosts that no Marquesan
would dare to stir a step abroad at night without the light of a torch;
for well he knew that evil spirits lurked beside the path to knock down
and throttle any rash wayfarer who should dare to leave his footsteps
unillumined.[144] Indeed, we are told that, of all beliefs in the minds
of the natives, the belief in ghosts was the most deeply rooted. It is
impossible to express the dread which they felt of spectres and
apparitions; nobody was exempt from it. But it was only at night that
these phantoms were to be feared. Though they remained invisible, they
revealed themselves to the terror-stricken wanderer by sound and touch;
the least noise heard in the darkness disclosed their presence; the
least contact with them was a sentence of death, sudden or slow, but
sure. Hence, if a man was obliged to go out after sunset, he would
always take somebody with him to bear him company, even if he had to
wake a comrade for the purpose. Among the women the fear of ghosts was
yet greater, many of them would not stir abroad on a moonless night even
in company. In passing by a burial-ground or a solitary tomb, people
used to throw food towards it for the purpose of appeasing the ghost,
who otherwise would have attacked them.[145]

    [141] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p. 40.

    [142] Mathias G----, _op. cit._ p. 210.

    [143] Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp. 224 _sq._

    [144] Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp. 227, 240.

    [145] Eyriaud des Vergnes, _op. cit._ pp. 31 _sq._

This deep-seated fear of the dead has survived the conversion, real or
nominal, of the Marquesans to Christianity. No native would even now
venture into a cave where the remains of the dead have been deposited,
not though the greatest treasures were to be found there, for such spots
are believed to be constantly haunted by the ghosts of the departed.
Nobody, it is said, would live in a house in which somebody has died;
every such dwelling is immediately burnt down. Hence, when a person is
grievously sick, a little primitive hut is erected beside the house, and
he is carried out to die in it, and when he is dead, the hut is in like
manner destroyed with fire.[146] A woman will sometimes commit suicide
in order that her ghost may haunt and torment her unfaithful

    [146] Baessler, _op. cit._ p. 234.

    [147] Baessler, _op. cit._ pp. 193 _sq._

On the other hand, ghosts in the olden time had also their utility, for
they could be summoned up by a priest or priestess to give information
on various subjects, such as the issue of an illness. On these occasions
the wizard would hold a conversation with the spirit, whose voice could
be heard by the listeners, though his or her shape, as usual, was
invisible in the darkness. Sceptics thought that such communications
were made by means of ventriloquism, and indeed a priestess, who had
professed to evoke the soul of a dead chieftainess, solemnly maintained
that she could make the voice of anybody, whether dead or alive, to
speak from her stomach.[148]

    [148] Radiguet, _op. cit._ pp. 227-238.

In such beliefs and customs are contained as in germ the whole theory
and practice of the worship of the dead.

NOTE.--We possess no thorough account of the native Marquesan society
and religion as these existed before they were transformed by European
influence. Some of the writers who have described the islanders and
their customs spent only a few days or at most a few weeks among them.
Captain Cook was at the Marquesas only five days, from the 6th to the
11th of April 1774.[149] The French explorer Marchand spent eight days
in the islands from the 13th to the 21st of June 1791.[150] The Russian
explorers Krusenstern and Lisiansky were with their two ships, the
_Nadeshda_ and _Neva_, at Nukahiva for ten days, from the 7th to the
17th of May 1804; along with them was the naturalist Langsdorff, who
wrote an independent account of the voyage.[151] But though their stay
was short, they had the advantage of meeting with two Europeans, an
Englishman named E. Roberts, and a Frenchman named Jean (or Joseph)
Baptiste Cabri, who had lived long in the islands and spoke the native
language. These men acted as interpreters to the Russians and supplied
them with most of the information which they give in their books
concerning the customs and beliefs of the Marquesans. Roberts told them
that he had been seven years in Nukahiva and two years previously in
Santa Christina (Tau-ata); that he had been put ashore on the latter
island out of an English merchant ship, the crew of which had mutinied
against their captain and could not prevail upon him to join their
party; and that in Nukahiva he had lately married a relation of the
king's, by which he acquired great consideration, so that it would be
easy for him to be of assistance to them. At the same time he earnestly
warned them against the Frenchman, who had also resided for some years
in Nukahiva, but whose character he painted in very dark colours. The
two Russian captains, Krusenstern and Lisiansky, accordingly put their
trust in Roberts and drew most of their information concerning the
natives from him. On the other hand their naturalist, Langsdorff, made
most use of the Frenchman. He admitted, indeed, that the Englishman was
a man of better character, greater natural intelligence, and much higher
education; but on the other hand he tells us that the Frenchman had
been longer in the island and possessed a more thorough mastery of the
language and a greater intimacy with the natives, among whom he had
lived as a savage among savages so long that he had almost forgotten his
own native tongue. But Langsdorff took care to question both these men
and only accepted as true statements in which they agreed with each
other, and to this agreement he naturally attached the greater weight
because his two informants were bitterly hostile to each other and
therefore were unlikely to unite in deceiving him.[152] On the whole,
then, the account which Langsdorff gives of Marquesan society and
religion is perhaps more trustworthy as well as fuller than that of his
two compatriots and companions, Krusenstern and Lisiansky.

    [149] J. Cook, _Voyages_, iii. 274-281; compare G. Forster,
    _Voyage round the World_ (London, 1777), ii. 5 _sqq._

    [150] C. P. Claret Fleurieu, _Voyage round the World performed
    during the years 1790, 1791, and 1792 by Étienne Marchand_
    (London, 1801), i. 31, 51. Marchand's brief account is
    supplemented from other sources by his editor Fleurieu (_op.
    cit._ i. 55 _sqq._).

    [151] A. J. von Krusenstern, _Voyage round the World in the
    years 1803, 1804, 1805, and 1806_ (London, 1813), i. 108 _sq._,
    133 _sqq._; U. Lisiansky, _Voyage round the World_ (London,
    1814), pp. 62, 95; G. H. von Langsdorff, _Bemerkungen auf einer
    Reise um die Welt in den Jahren 1803 bis 1807_ (Frankfurt am
    Main, 1812), i. 75, 161.

    [152] Krusenstern, _op. cit._ i. 110-112; Lisiansky, _op. cit._
    p. 79; Langsdorff, _op. cit._ i. 77, 83-85. As to the subsequent
    history of Roberts and Cabri, see Vincendon-Dumoulin et C.
    Desgraz, _Iles Marquises ou Nouka-hiva_ (Paris, 1843), pp.

Captain David Porter of the United States Navy was with his ship the
_Essex_ at Nukahiva from October 24th till December 9th, 1813.[153] A
great part of his time was spent on shore and in close contact with the
natives, and though he did not learn the language, he was able to employ
as an interpreter an Englishman named Wilson, who had lived for many
years in the islands, spoke the language of the natives with the same
facility as his own, and had become a Marquesan in every respect except
in colour. He proved indispensable to the American as an organ of
communication with the people; and much of the information which Porter
gives concerning the customs of the Marquesans was derived by him from
this man.[154]

    [153] Captain David Porter, _Journal of a Cruise made to the
    Pacific Ocean in the United States frigate Essex in the years
    1812, 1813, and 1814_, Second Edition (New York, 1822), ii. 5,

    [154] D. Porter, _op. cit._ ii. 17 _sq._

The American naval chaplain, the Rev. C. S. Stewart, paid about a
fortnight's visit to Nukahiva, from July 27th to August 13th, 1829,
while his ship, the _Vincennes_, was anchored at the island. But he
received much information from the Rev. W. P. Crook, who spent nearly
two years (1797 and 1798) in the Marquesas, having been the first
missionary landed in the islands by the missionary ship _Duff_. During
his residence in the islands Mr. Crook kept a journal, which he allowed
Mr. Stewart to consult. The contents of the journal corroborated Mr.
Stewart's own observations as to the inhabitants, and the account which
he gives of the religion of the islanders is based mainly on the
information derived from Mr. Crook[155] and is therefore valuable; for
at the time when Mr. Crook landed in the Marquesas the customs and
beliefs of the islanders were still practically unaffected by contact
with Europeans.

    [155] C. S. Stewart, _Visit to the South Seas_ (London, 1832),
    i. pp. x _sq._, 193, 331. The writer speaks (p. 331) of his stay
    of "a fortnight at the Washington Islands." Mr. Crook first
    landed in the island of Santa Christina (Tau-ata) on June 6th,
    1797. See James Wilson, _Missionary Voyage to the Southern
    Pacific Ocean_ (London, 1799), pp. 129 _sqq._ As to his
    subsequent history in the islands, see Vincendon-Dumoulin et C.
    Desgraz, _Iles Marquises ou Nouka-hiva_, pp. 35-40.

The surgeon F. D. Bennett, on a whaling voyage spent a few days in
Santa Christina (Tau-ata), from February 28th to March 4th, 1835; and
his descriptions of what he saw are good so far as they go; but
naturally he could collect but little accurate information as to the
habits and ideas of the people in so short a time.[156]

    [156] F. D. Bennett, _Narrative of a Whaling Voyage round the
    Globe from the year 1833 to 1836_ (London, 1840), i 296, 346.

One of the early Catholic missionaries to the Marquesas, Father Mathias
G----, spent two years in the islands and has given us, in a series of
letters, an account of the native customs and beliefs, which, though far
from complete or systematic, is based on personal observation and is
among the best that we possess.[157]

    [157] Le P. Mathias G----, _Lettres sur les Iles Marquises_
    (Paris, 1843). The writer is not explicit as to the dates of his
    residence in the Marquesas; but he tells us that he spent two
    years in habitual intercourse with the natives (p. 49), and from
    other allusions which he makes in his narrative (pp. 28 _sq._)
    it would seem that the years were 1839 and 1840. The first
    Catholic missionaries landed in 1838 (_ib._ p. 22), and others
    in 1839 (_ib._ pp. 23 _sq._). Among the latter were Fathers
    Garcia and Guilmard (_ib._ p. 24). Father G----may have been one
    of them.

Hermann Melville lived among the Taipiis (Typees) in Nukahiva for more
than four months,[158] and wrote a lively narrative of his experiences.
His personal observations are valuable, but as he did not master the
native language, he was not able to throw much light on the inner life
of the people, and in particular on their religious ideas.

    [158] H. Melville, _Typee_ (London, _Everyman's Library_), p.

On the 1st of May, 1842, the Marquesas Islands were taken possession of
for France by the French Admiral, Du Petit-Thouars;[159] and next year,
to satisfy the interest of the French public in their new possession, a
comprehensive work on the islands and their inhabitants was published by
MM. Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz.[160] The authors had visited the
islands with the expedition of the French navigator, J. Dumont
d'Urville, in his ships the _Astrolabe_ and the _Zélée_. But as the
expedition stayed only about a week at Nukahiva, from August 26th to
September 3rd, 1838,[161] the writers had little opportunity of making
personal observations. Their work is mainly a careful compilation from
earlier sources, and as such it is a useful and trustworthy summary of
what was known about the archipelago and its inhabitants down to the
date of publication.

    [159] Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _op. cit._ pp. 119

    [160] Vincendon-Dumoulin et C. Desgraz, _Iles Marquises ou
    Nouka-hiva_ (Paris, 1843).

    [161] J. Dumont d'Urville, _Voyage au Pole Sud et dans
    l'Océanie, Histoire du Voyage_, iv. (Paris, 1842), pp. 5, 49.

Max Radiguet, one of the members of the expedition to the Marquesas
under Admiral Du Petit-Thouars, passed a considerable time in the
islands and wrote a graphic account of his experiences, which contains
some valuable information as to the natives, their customs, religion,
and mythology.[162] In the part which concerns the mythology he was
assisted by an officer of artillery, M. Rohr, who had lived for several
years in Nukahiva and was familiar with the language and customs of the

    [162] Max Radiguet, _Les Derniers Sauvages_, Nouvelle Édition
    (Paris, 1882). The author does not inform us as to the exact
    length of his stay in the islands.

    [163] M. Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 221 note.

In 1877 a good general account of the archipelago and its inhabitants
was published at Paris. The author was a naval lieutenant, P. E. Eyriaud
des Vergnes, who having lived in the islands in the official capacity of
Resident for about six years (from 1868 to 1874) had ample time and
opportunity for obtaining accurate information on the subject.[164] His
work, though somewhat slight, is valuable so far as it goes; but it does
not tell us much about the native religion, which in his time had
probably lost a good deal of its original character through the
influence of the missionaries and of civilisation.[165]

    [164] P. E. Eyriaud des Vergnes, _L'Archipel des Iles Marquises_
    (Paris, 1877).

    [165] Some years previously a naval lieutenant, M. Jouan, who
    had been in command of the French military post at Nukahiva,
    published in the _Revue Coloniale_ (1857-1858) some notes on the
    Marquesas, which are said to contain some useful information on
    the archipelago. See M. Radiguet, _op. cit._ p. 310 note. I have
    not seen the work of M. Jouan; but according to Radiguet it
    shows that in the twelve years and more which had elapsed since
    the French occupation of the islands the presence of French
    missionaries and of a French garrison had done little to
    civilise the natives.

Some years later, in 1881 and 1882, a French naval doctor, Clavel by
name, passed six months in the Marquesas. During his stay he made
personal observations and collected information on the natives. These he
subsequently published in a little work, which contains much of
value;[166] but when he wrote almost all the natives had been nominally
converted to Christianity and their ancient religion was practically

    [166] _Les Marquisiens_, par M. le Docteur Clavel (Paris, 1885).

    [167] Clavel, _op. cit._ pp. 68-71.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century the German traveller Arthur
Baessler paid a short visit to the Marquesas. In his book of travel in
the South Sea he has given us descriptions of the islands and the people
as he saw them, including some account of the scanty remains of their
stone monuments and images.[168]

    [168] Arthur Baessler, _Neue Südsee-Bilder_ (Berlin, 1900), pp.
    189-242. The writer omits to mention the date of his  visit to
    the islands, and the length of his stay in them.



§ 1. _The Sandwich or Hawaiian Islands_

The Sandwich or Hawaiian Islands form an archipelago lying in the North
Pacific Ocean just within the northern tropic. They stretch in a
direction from north-west to south-east for more than four hundred miles
and include eight inhabited islands, of which the most important are
Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. Of these Hawaii is by far the largest;
indeed it is the largest island in Polynesia with the exception of New
Zealand. The islands are all mountainous and of volcanic formation. In
Hawaii two of the mountains are between 13,000 and 14,000 feet in
height, and two of them are active volcanoes; one of them, named
Kilauea, possesses the greatest active crater in the world, a huge
cauldron of seething lava, which presents a spectacle of awe-inspiring
grandeur when seen on a moonless night. The other and much loftier
volcano, Mauna Loa, was the scene of a terrific eruption in 1877 and of
another in 1881. Craters, large and small, hot springs, and other
evidences of volcanic activity, abound throughout the archipelago. One
of the craters on the island of Maui is said to be no less than fifteen
miles in circumference and about two thousand feet deep. The islands
appear to have been known to the Spaniards as early as the sixteenth
century; but they were rediscovered in 1778 by Captain Cook, who was
afterwards killed in a fight with the natives in Hawaii.[1]

    [1] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_, iv. 4 _sqq._; J. J.
    Jarves, _History of the Hawaiian or Sandwich Islands_ (London,
    1843), pp. 1 _sqq._; J. Remy, _Histoire de l'Archipel Havaiien_
    (Paris and Leipzig, 1862), pp. vii _sqq._; C. E. Meinicke, _Die
    Inseln des Stillen Oceans_, ii. 271 _sqq._; _Encyclopaedia
    Britannica_, Ninth Edition, xi. 528 _sqq._; A. Marcuse, _Die
    Hawaiischen Inseln_ (Berlin, 1894), pp. 1 _sqq._; F. H. H.
    Guillemard, _Australasia_, ii. 533 _sqq._

Viewed from the sea the islands are apt to present an appearance of
barrenness and desolation. The mountains descend into the sea in
precipices often hundreds of feet high: their summits are capped with
snow or lost in mist and clouds; and their sides, green and studded with
clumps of trees in some places, but black, scorched and bare in others,
are rent into ravines, down which in the rainy seasons cataracts rush
roaring to the sea. With the changes of sunshine and shadow the
landscape as a whole strikes the beholder now as in the highest degree
horrid, dismal, and dreary, now as wildly beautiful and romantic with a
sort of stern and sombre magnificence.[2] Inland, however, in many
places the summits of the ridges crowned with forests of perpetual
verdure, the slopes covered with flowering shrubs or lofty trees, the
rocks mantled in creepers, the waterfalls dropping from stupendous
cliffs, and the distant prospects of snowy peaks, bold romantic
headlands, and blue seas, all arched by a summer sky of the deepest
azure, combine to make up pictures of fairy-like and enchanting

    [2] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vii. 94; W. Ellis, _Polynesian
    Researches_, iv. 34, 379; C. S. Stewart, _Residence in the
    Sandwich Islands_, Fifth Edition (Boston, 1839), pp. 69 _sqq._,
    140; D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, _Journal of Voyages and Travels_,
    i. 366, 391; Ch. Wilkes, _United States Exploring Expedition_,
    New Edition (New York, 1851), iii. 373.

    [3] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 13 _sq._; C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._
    pp. 213 _sqq._, 229 _sqq._; Tyerman and Bennet, _op. cit._ i.
    426 _sqq._; J. Remy, _op. cit._ pp. xiv _sq._; Ch. Wilkes, _op.
    cit._ iii. 390 _sq._; F. D. Bennett, _Narrative of a Whaling
    Voyage round the Globe_ (London, 1840), i. 198 _sqq._ The vale
    of Anuanu, which runs up into the mountains from the plain of
    Honululu in the island of Oahu, is especially famed for its
    natural beauty.

The climate naturally varies with the height above the sea. On the
coasts, though warm, it is remarkably equable, and perhaps no country in
the world enjoys a finer or healthier climate than some parts of Hawaii
and Maui. On the mountains all varieties of climate are to be found,
from the tropical heat of the lowlands to the arctic cold of the two
great peaks of Hawaii, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa with their perpetual
snows, which are not, however, always visible from the sea or from the
foot of these giants. In the lowlands frost is unknown. The fresh
breezes, which blow from the sea during the day and from the mountains
at night, temper the heat of the sun, and render the evenings delicious;
nothing can surpass the splendour and clearness of the moonlight. Rain
falls more abundantly on the windward or eastern side of the islands
than on the leeward or western side. Thus at Hilo, on the eastern side
of Hawaii, it rains almost every day, whereas in Kena, on the western
side, rain hardly ever falls, and along the coast not a single
water-course is to be seen for many miles. In general it may be said
that the archipelago suffers from drought and hence occasionally from

    [4] J. Remy, _op. cit._ pp. xvi _sqq._ Compare J. Cook,
    _Voyages_, vii. 99 _sq._; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 21 _sq._; Ch.
    Wilkes, _op. cit._ iv. 283 _sq._; J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ pp.
    12 _sqq._; _Encyclopaedia Britannica_, 9th edition, xi. 530.

§ 2. _The Natives and their Mode of Life_

The natives of the Sandwich Islands are typical Polynesians. In general
they are rather above the middle stature, well formed, with fine
muscular limbs, open countenances, and features frequently resembling
those of Europeans. The forehead is usually well developed, the lips
thick, and the nostrils full, without any flatness or spreading of the
nose. The complexion is tawny or olive in hue, but sometimes reddish
brown. The hair is black or brown and occasionally fair or rather ruddy
in colour, in texture it is strong, smooth, and sometimes curly. The
gait is graceful and even stately. But in these islands, as in other
parts of Polynesia, there is a conspicuous difference between the chiefs
and the commoners, the superiority being altogether on the side of
the chiefs. "The nobles of the land," says Stewart, "are so strongly
marked by their external appearance, as at all times to be easily
distinguishable from the common people. They seem, indeed, in size and
stature to be almost a distinct race. They are all large in their frame,
and often excessively corpulent, while the common people are scarce of
the ordinary height of Europeans, and of a thin rather than full
habit."[5] And the difference between the two ranks is as obvious in
their walk and general deportment as in their stature and size, the
nobles bearing themselves with a natural dignity and grace which are
wanting in their social inferiors. Yet there seems to be no reason to
suppose that they belong to a different race from the commoners; the
greater care taken of them in childhood, their better living, sexual
selection, and the influence of heredity appear sufficient to account
for their physical superiority. The women are well built and "beautiful
as ancient statues" with a sweet and engaging expression of countenance.
Yet on the whole the Hawaiians are judged to be physically inferior both
to the Tahitians and to the Marquesans; according to Captain King, they
are rather darker than the Tahitians, and not altogether so handsome a
people. On the other hand they are said to be more intelligent than
either the Tahitians or the Marquesans. Captain King describes them as
of a mild and affectionate disposition, equally remote from the extreme
levity and fickleness of the Tahitians, and from the distant gravity and
reserve of the Tongans.[6] They practised tattooing much less than many
other Polynesians, but their faces, hands, arms, and the forepart of
their bodies were often tattooed with a variety of patterns.[7]

    [5] C. S. Stewart, _Residence in the Sandwich Islands_, p. 104.

    [6] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vii. 112 _sq._, 115 _sq._; U. Lisiansky,
    _Voyage round the World_, pp. 123 _sq._; L. de Freycinet,
    _Voyage autour du Monde, Historique_, ii. Deuxième partie
    (Paris, 1839), p. 570; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 23; C. S.
    Stewart, _Residence in the Sandwich Islands_, pp. 104, 106; J.
    J. Jarves, _op. cit._ pp. 77 _sqq._; J. Remy, _op. cit._ pp.
    xxxvii _sq._; F. D. Bennett, _op. cit._ i. 209. The last of
    these writers speaks in unfavourable terms of the personal
    appearance of the women, whom he found less handsome than the
    men and very inferior to the women of the Society Islands.

    [7] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 213 _sq._, vii. 121; W. Ellis, _op.
    cit._ iv. 23.

The staple food of the Hawaiians consists of taro (_kalo_), sweet
potatoes, and fish, but above all of taro. That root (_Arum_ or
_Caladium esculentum_) is to the Hawaiians what bread-fruit is to the
Tahitians, and its cultivation is their most important agricultural
industry. It is grown wherever there is water or a marsh, and it is even
planted on some arid heights in the island of Hawaii, where it yields
excellent crops. Artificial irrigation was practised and even regulated
by law or custom in the old days; for it was a rule that water should be
conducted over every plantation twice a week in general, and once a
week during the dry season. The bread-fruit tree is not so common, and
its fruit not so much prized, as in the Marquesas and Tahiti. The
natives grew sweet potatoes even before the arrival of Europeans. Yams
are found wild, but are hardly eaten except in times of scarcity. There
are several sorts of bananas; the fruit for the most part is better
cooked than raw. In the old days the cooking was done in the ordinary
native ovens, consisting of holes in the ground lined with stones which
were heated with fire. After being baked in an oven the roots of the
taro are mashed and diluted with water so as to form a paste or pudding
called _poe_ or _poi_, which is sometimes eaten sweet but is more
generally put aside till it has fermented, in which condition it is
preferred by the natives. It is a highly nutritious substance, and
though some Europeans complain of the sourness of taro pudding, others
find it not unpalatable. Fish used to be generally eaten raw, seasoned
with brine or sea-water. But they also commonly salt their fish, not for
the sake of preserving it for a season of scarcity, but because they
prefer the taste. They construct artificial fish-ponds, into which they
let young fish from the sea, principally the fry of the grey mullet, of
which the chiefs are particularly fond. Every chief has, or used to
have, his own fish-pond. The natives are very skilful fishermen. In the
old days they made a great variety of fish-hooks out of mother-of-pearl
and tortoise shell as well as out of bone, and these they dragged by
means of lines behind their canoes, and so caught bonettas, dolphins,
and albicores. They took prodigious numbers of flying fish in nets. At
the time when the islands were discovered by Captain Cook, the natives
possessed pigs and dogs. The flesh of both of these animals was eaten,
but only by persons of higher rank. Fowls were also bred and eaten, but
they were not very common, and their flesh was not very much esteemed.
The sugar-cane was indigenous in the islands, and the people ate it as a
fruit; along with bananas and plantains it occupied a considerable
portion of every plantation. Captain Cook found the natives skilful
husbandmen, but thought that with a more extensive system of
agriculture, the islands could have supported three times the number of
the existing inhabitants.[8] He remarked that the chiefs were much
addicted to the drinking of kava, and he attributed some of the
cutaneous and other diseases from which they suffered to an immoderate
use of what he calls the pernicious drug.[9]

    [8] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 215 _sq._, 219, 224 _sq._, vii. 126
    _sq._; U. Lisiansky, _Voyage round the World_, p. 126; Archibald
    Campbell, _Voyage round the World_ (Edinburgh, 1816), pp.
    161-63, 182 _sq._, 194-197; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 61, 215
    _sq._, 420 (as to irrigation); C. S. Stewart, _Residence in the
    Sandwich Islands_, pp. 111-113; Tyerman and Bennet, _op. cit._
    i. 412, 426, 428, 430, 472; O. von Kotzebue, _Neue Reise um die
    Welt_ (Weimar, 1830), ii. 96; J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ pp. 68
    _sq._; J. Remy, _op. cit._ pp. xxiv _sq._, xliii; F. D. Bennett,
    _Narrative of a Whaling Voyage round the World_, i. 213 _sqq._
    As to the system of irrigating the taro fields, see especially
    O. von Kotzebue, _Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea and
    Beering's Straits_ (London, 1821), i. 340 _sq._

    [9] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vii. 113 _sq._

§ 3. _Houses, Mechanical Arts_

Captain King observed that in some respects the natives of the Sandwich
Islands approached nearer in their manners and customs to the Maoris of
New Zealand than to their less distant neighbours of the Society and
Friendly Islands, the Tahitians and the Tongans. In nothing, he says, is
this more observable than in their method of living together in small
towns or villages, containing from about one hundred to two hundred
houses, built pretty close together, without any order, and with a
winding path leading through them. They were generally flanked towards
the sea with loose detached walls, intended for shelter and defence.[10]
The shape of the houses was very simple. They were oblong with very high
thatched roofs, so that externally they resembled the top of hay-stacks
or rather barns with the thatched roof sloping down steeply to two very
low sides, and with gable ends to match. The entrance, placed
indifferently in one of the sides or ends, was an oblong hole, so low
that one had rather to creep than walk in, and often shut by a board of
planks fastened together, which served as a door. No light entered the
house but by this opening, for there were no windows. Internally every
house consisted of a single room without partitions. In spite of the
extreme simplicity of their structure, the houses were kept very clean;
the floors were covered with a large quantity of dried grass, over which
they spread mats to sit and sleep upon. At one end stood a kind of bench
about three feet high, on which were kept the household utensils. These
consisted merely of a few wooden bowls and trenchers, together with
gourd-shells, serving either as bottles or baskets. The houses varied in
size with the wealth or rank of the owners. Those of the poor were mere
hovels, which resembled the sties and kennels of pigs and dogs rather
than the abodes of men. The houses of the chiefs were generally large
and commodious by comparison, some forty to sixty feet long by twenty or
thirty feet broad, and eighteen or twenty feet high at the peak of the
roof. Chiefs had always a separate eating-house, and even people of the
lower ranks had one such house to every six or seven families for the
men. The women were forbidden to eat in company with the men and even to
enter the eating-house during the meals; they ate in the same houses in
which they slept. The houses of the chiefs were enclosed in large yards,
and sometimes stood on stone platforms, which rendered them more

    [10] J. Cook, vii. 125.

    [11] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 214 _sq._; U. Lisiansky, _Voyage
    round the World_, p. 127; A. Campbell, _Voyage round the World_,
    pp. 180-182; C. S. Stewart, _Residence in the Sandwich Islands_,
    p. 107; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 320-322; Tyerman and Bennet,
    _op. cit._ i. 371 _sq._; J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ pp. 67 _sq._

In the mechanical arts the Hawaiians displayed a considerable degree of
ingenuity and skill. While the men built the houses and canoes and
fashioned wooden dishes and bowls, the women undertook the manufacture
of bark-cloth (_kapa_) and mats. Bark-cloth was made in the usual way
from the bark of the paper-mulberry, which was beaten out with grooved
mallets. The cloth was dyed a variety of colours, and patterns at once
intricate and elegant were stamped on it and stained in different tints.
The mats were woven or braided by hand without the use of any frame or
instrument. The materials were rushes or palm-leaves; the mats made of
palm-leaves were much the more durable and therefore the more valuable.
The coarser and plainer were spread on the floor to sleep on; the finer
were of white colour with red stripes, rhombuses, and other figures
interwoven on one side. Among the most curious specimens of native
carving were the wooden bowls in which the chiefs drank kava. They were
perfectly round, beautifully polished, and supported on three or four
small human figures in various attitudes. These figures were accurately
proportioned and neatly finished; even the anatomy of the muscles
strained to support the weight were well expressed. The fishing-hooks
made by the men, especially the large hooks made to catch shark, are
described by Captain Cook as really astonishing for their strength and
neatness; he found them on trial much superior to his own.[12]

    [12] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 218 _sq._, vii. 133-135; L. de
    Freycinet, _Voyage autour du Monde, Historique_, ii. 611 _sq._;
    A. Campbell, _Voyage round the World_, pp. 192-195; W. Ellis,
    _op. cit._ iv. 109-113; C. S. Stewart, _Residence in the
    Sandwich Islands_, pp. 114-116; J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ pp. 66

The mechanical skill of these people was all the more remarkable because
of the extreme rudeness and simplicity of the tools with which they
worked. Their chief implement was an adze made of a black or
clay-coloured volcanic stone and polished by constant friction with
pumice-stone in water. They had also small instruments made each of a
single shark's tooth, some of which were fixed to the forepart of a
dog's jawbone and others to a thin wooden handle of the same shape.
These served as knives, and pieces of coral were used as files. Captain
Cook found the natives in possession of two iron tools, one of them a
piece of iron hoop, and the other an edge-tool, perhaps the point of a
broadsword. These they could only have procured from a European vessel
or from a wreck drifted on their coast. No mines of any kind are known
to exist in the islands.[13]

    [13] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 220-224; A. Campbell, _op. cit._ p.
    198; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 322; O. von Kotzebue, _Neue Reise
    um die Welt_, ii. 97 (as to the kava bowls); J. J. Jarves, _op.
    cit._ p. 66. As to the absence of mines in the Hawaiian Islands,
    see J. Remy, _op. cit._ p. xvi.

Their weapons of war included spears, javelins, daggers, and clubs, all
of them made of wood. They also slung stones with deadly effect. But
they had no defensive armour; for the war-cloaks and wicker-work
helmets, surmounted with lofty crests and decked with the tail feathers
of the tropic bird, while they heightened the imposing and martial
appearance of the wearers, must have proved rather encumbrances than
protections. Captain Cook found the natives in possession of bows and
arrows, but from their scarcity and the slenderness of their make he
inferred that the Hawaiians, like other Polynesians, never used them in

    [14] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 227 _sq._, vii. 136 _sq._; W.
    Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 156 _sq._; J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ pp. 56

§ 4. _Government, Social Ranks, Taboo_

The government of the Hawaiian Islands was an absolute monarchy or
despotism; all rights of power and property vested in the king, whose
will and power alone were law, though in important matters he was to a
certain extent guided by the opinion of the chiefs in council. The rank
of the king and the chiefs was hereditary, descending from father to
son; but the appointment to all offices of authority and dignity was
made by the king alone. Nevertheless posts of honour, influence, and
emolument often continued in the same family for many generations. Nor
were hereditary rank and authority confined to men; they were inherited
also by women. According to tradition, several of the islands had been
once or twice under the government of a queen. The king was supported by
an annual tribute paid by all the islands at different periods according
to his directions. It comprised both the natural produce of the country
and manufactured articles. But besides the regular tribute the king was
at liberty to levy any additional tax he might please, and even to seize
and appropriate any personal possessions of a chief or other subject.
Not infrequently the whole crop of a plantation was thus carried off by
his retainers without the least apology or compensation.[15] However,
the government of the whole Hawaiian archipelago by a single monarch
was a comparatively modern innovation. Down to nearly the end of the
eighteenth century the different islands were independent of each other
and governed by separate kings, who were often at war one with the
other; indeed there were sometimes several independent kingdoms within
the same island. But towards the close of the eighteenth century an
energetic and able king of Hawaii, by name Kamehameha (Tamehameha),
succeeded in extending his sway by conquest over the whole archipelago,
and at his death in 1819 he bequeathed the undivided monarchy to his

    [15] U. Lisiansky, _op. cit._ pp. 116 _sq._; A. Campbell, _op.
    cit._ pp. 169 _sq._; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 411 _sq._; C. S.
    Stewart, _Residence in the Sandwich Islands_, p. 102; Tyerman
    and Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 380; J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ pp. 30
    _sqq._ According to Jarves (_op. cit._ p. 33), "Rank was
    hereditary, and descended chiefly from the females, who
    frequently held the reins of government in their own right. This
    custom originated in the great license existing between the
    sexes; no child, with certainty, being able to designate his
    father, while no mistake could be made in regard to the mother."

    [16] C. S. Stewart, _Residence in the Sandwich Islands_, p. 101;
    J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ p. 30; J. Remy, _op. cit._ pp. lxi
    _sq._; _Encyclopædia Britannica_, 9th Edition, xi. 528.

The whole body of chiefs fell into three classes or ranks. The first
included the royal family and all who were intimately connected with it.
The second included such as held hereditary offices of power or
governorships of islands, after the time when the whole archipelago was
united in a single kingdom. The third class embraced the rulers of
districts, the headmen of villages, and all inferior chiefs. The members
of the first two classes were usually called "high chiefs"; they were
few in number and closely related both by blood and marriage. The
members of the third class were known as "small" or "low" chiefs. They
were by far the most numerous body of chiefs in any island, and were
generally called _haku aina_ or landowners, though strictly speaking the
king was acknowledged in every island as the supreme lord and proprietor
of the soil by hereditary right or the law of conquest. When Kamehameha
had subdued the greater part of the islands, he distributed them among
his favourite chiefs and warriors on condition of their rendering him
not only military service, but a certain proportion of the produce of
their lands. In this he appears to have followed the ancient practice
invariably observed on the conquest of an island.[17] For "from the
earliest periods of Hawaiian history, the tenure of lands has been, in
most respects, feudal. The origin of the fiefs was the same as in the
northern nations of Europe. Any chieftain who could collect a sufficient
number of followers to conquer a district, or an island, and had
succeeded in his object, proceeded to divide the spoils, or 'cut up the
land,' as the natives termed it. The king, or principal chief, made his
choice from the best of the lands. Afterwards the remaining part of the
conquered territory was distributed among the leaders, and these again
subdivided their shares to others, who became vassals, owing fealty to
the sovereigns of the fee. The king placed some of his own particular
servants on his portion as his agents, to superintend the cultivation.
The original occupants who were on the land, usually remained under
their new conqueror, and by them the lands were cultivated, and rent or
taxes paid."[18]

    [17] C. S. Stewart, _op. cit._ p. 97; W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv.
    412 _sq._, 414; J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ p. 33. Compare J. Cook,
    _Voyages_, vii. 137 _sqq._

    [18] Ch. Wilkes, _op. cit._ iv. 34.

Below the chiefs or nobles were the commoners, who included small
farmers, fishermen, mechanics, such as house-builders and
canoe-builders, musicians and dancers, in short, all the labouring
classes, whether they worked for a chief or farmer or cultivated patches
of land for their own benefit.[19] According to one account, "the common
people are generally considered as attached to the soil, and are
transferred with the land from one chief to another."[20] But this
statement is contradicted by an earlier and perhaps better-informed
writer, who spent some thirteen months in Oahu, while the islands were
still independent and before the conversion of the people to
Christianity. He tells us that commoners were not slaves nor attached to
the soil, but at liberty to change masters when they thought proper.[21]
On this subject Captain King observes: "How far the property of the
lower class is secured against the rapacity and despotism of the great
chiefs, I cannot say, but it should seem that it is sufficiently
protected against private theft, or mutual depredation; for not only
their plantations, which are spread over the whole country, but also
their houses, their hogs, and their cloth, were left unguarded, without
the smallest apprehensions. I have already remarked, that they not only
separate their possessions by walls in the plain country, but that, in
the woods likewise, wherever the horse-plantains grow, they make use of
small white flags in the same manner, and for the same purpose of
discriminating property, as they do bunches of leaves at Otaheite. All
which circumstances, if they do not amount to proofs, are strong
indications that the power of the chiefs, where property is concerned,
is not arbitrary, but at least so far circumscribed and ascertained, as
to make it worth the while for the inferior orders to cultivate the
soil, and to occupy their possessions distinct from each other."[22] Yet
on the other hand we are told by later writers that "in fact, the
condition of the common people is that of slaves; they hold nothing
which may not be taken from them by the strong hand of arbitrary power,
whether exercised by the sovereign or a petty chief." On one occasion
the writers saw nearly two thousand persons, laden with faggots of
sandal-wood, coming down from the mountains to deposit their burdens in
the royal store-houses, and then departing to their homes, weary with
their unpaid labours, yet without a murmur at their bondage.[23] When at
last, through contact with civilisation, they had learned to utter their
grievances, they complained that "the people was crushed by the numerous
forced labours and contributions of every sort exacted from them by the
chiefs. It was, indeed, very hard to furnish the chiefs, on every
requisition, with pigs, food, and all the good things which the folk
possessed, and to see the great despoiling the humble. In truth, the
people worked for the chiefs incessantly, they performed every kind of
painful task, and they paid the chiefs all the taxes which it pleased
them to demand."[24]

    [19] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 413.

    [20] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 417. Compare J. J. Jarves, _op.
    cit._ p. 34.

    [21] A. Campbell, _op. cit._ p. 169. As to the length of
    Campbell's residence in Wahoo (Oahu), see _id._, p. 153 note.
    The date of his residence was 1809-1810. Compare O. von
    Kotzebue, _Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea and Beering's
    Straits_ (London, 1821), iii. 246: "The people are almost
    subject to the arbitrary will of the lord, but there are no
    slaves or vassals (_glebae adscripti_). The peasant and the
    labourer may go wherever they please. The man is free, he may be
    killed, but not sold and not detained."

    [22] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vii. 141 _sq._

    [23] Tyerman and Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 415.

    [24] J. Remy, _op. cit._ p. 167.

Certainly commoners were bound to pay great outward marks of deference
to their social superiors, the chiefs, or nobles. Indeed, the respect
almost amounted to adoration, for they were on no occasion allowed to
touch their persons, but prostrated themselves before them, and might
not enter their houses without first receiving permission.[25] Above
all, the system of taboo or _kapu_, as it was called in the Hawaiian
dialect,[26] oppressed the common people and tended to keep them in a
state of abject subjection to the nobles; for the prescriptions of the
system were numerous and vexatious, and the penalty for breaches of them
was death. If the shadow of a subject fell on a chief, the subject was
put to death; if he robed himself in the cloth or assumed the girdle of
a chief, he was put to death; if he climbed on the wall of a chief's
courtyard, he was put to death; if he stood upright instead of
prostrating himself when a vessel of water was brought for the chief to
wash with or his garments to wear, he was put to death; if he stepped on
the shadow of a chief's house with his head smeared with white clay, or
decked with a garland of flowers, or merely wetted with water, he was
put to death; if he slept with his wife on a taboo day, he was put to
death; if he made a noise during public prayers, he was put to death; if
a woman ate pig, or coco-nuts, or bananas, or lobster, or the fish
called _ulua_, she was put to death; if she went in a canoe on a taboo
day, she was put to death; if husband and wife ate together, they were
both put to death.[27]

    [25] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 413; J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ pp.
    33 _sq._ Compare J. Cook, _Voyages_, vii. 137.

    [26] In the Hawaiian dialect the ordinary Polynesian T is
    pronounced K, and the Tongan B is pronounced P. Hence the Tongan
    _taboo_ becomes in Hawaiian _kapoo_ (_kapu_). See E. Tregear,
    _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, p. xxiii.

    [27] J. Remy, _op. cit._ pp. 159, 161, 167.

In Hawaii, as in other parts of Polynesia, the taboo formed an important
and essential part both of the religious and of the political system, of
which it was at once a strong support and a powerful instrument. The
proper sense of the word taboo (in Hawaiian _kapu_) is "sacred." This
did not, however, imply any moral quality; it expressed rather "a
connexion with the gods, or a separation from ordinary purposes, and
exclusive appropriation to persons or things considered sacred";
sometimes it meant devoted as by a vow. Chiefs who traced their
genealogy to the gods were called _arii taboo_, "chiefs sacred"; a
temple was a _wahi taboo_, "place sacred"; the rule which prohibited
women from eating with men, and from eating, except on special
occasions, any fruits or animals ever offered in sacrifice to the gods,
while it allowed the men to partake of them, was called _ai taboo_,
"eating sacred." The opposite of _kapu_ was _noa_, which means "general"
or "common"; for example, _ai noa_ signifies "eating generally" or
"having food in common." Although it was employed for civil as well as
sacred purposes, the taboo was essentially a religious ceremony and
could be imposed only by the priests. A religious motive was always
assigned for laying it on, though it was often done at the instance of
the civil authorities; and persons called _kiaimoku_, "island keepers,"
a kind of police officers, were always appointed by the king to see that
the taboo was strictly observed.[28]

    [28] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 385 _sqq._ Compare L. de
    Freycinet, _Voyage autour du Monde, Historique_, ii. 597.

The application of the restriction implied by taboo was either general
or particular, either permanent or occasional. To take examples of
permanent taboos, the idols and temples, the persons and names of the
king and other members of the royal family, the persons of priests,
canoes belonging to the gods, the houses, clothes, and mats of the king
and priests, and the heads of men who were the devotees of any
particular idol, were always taboo or sacred. The flesh of hogs, fowls,
turtles, and several sorts of fish, coco-nuts, and almost everything
offered in sacrifice were taboo or consecrated to the use of the gods
and the men; hence women were, except in cases of particular indulgence,
forbidden to partake of them. Particular places, such as those
frequented by the king for bathing, were also permanently taboo. As
examples of temporary taboos may be mentioned those which were imposed
on an island or district for a certain time, during which no canoe or
person was allowed to approach it. Particular fruits, animals, and the
fish of certain places were occasionally taboo for several months,
during which neither men nor women might eat them.[29] The predecessor
of Kamehameha, king of Hawaii, "was taboo to such a degree that he was
not allowed to be seen by day. He only showed himself in the night: if
any person had but accidentally seen him by daylight he was immediately
put to death; a sacred law, the fulfilment of which nothing could

    [29] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 387.

    [30] O. von Kotzebue, _Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea
    and Beering's Straits_ (London, 1821), iii. 247.

The seasons generally kept taboo were on the approach of some great
religious ceremony, immediately before going to war, and during the
sickness of chiefs. Their duration was various, and much longer in
ancient than in modern times. Tradition tells of a taboo which lasted
thirty years, during which men might not trim their beards and were
subject to other restrictions. Another was kept for five years. Before
the reign of Kamehameha forty days was the usual period; but in his time
the period was shortened to ten or five days, or even to a single day.
The taboo seasons might be either common or strict. During a common
taboo the men were only required to abstain from their usual avocations,
and to attend morning and evening prayers at the temple. But during a
strict taboo every fire and light in the district or island must be
extinguished; no canoe might be launched; no person might bathe or even
appear out of doors, unless his attendance was required at the temple;
no dog might bark, no pig grunt, and no cock crow; for if any of these
things were to happen the taboo would be broken and fail to accomplish
its object. To prevent this disaster the mouths of dogs and pigs were
tied up, and fowls were put under a calabash, or a cloth was fastened
over their eyes.[31]

    [31] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 387 _sq._

The prohibitions of the taboo were strictly enforced; every breach of
them was punished with death, unless the delinquent had powerful friends
among the priests or chiefs, who could save him. The culprits were
generally offered in sacrifice, being either strangled or clubbed at the
temple; according to one account, they were burnt.[32]

    [32] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 389. As to the taboo in Hawaii,
    see also J. Cook, _Voyages_, vii. 146 _sq._; L. de Freycinet,
    _Voyage autour du Monde, Historique_, ii. 597; C. S. Stewart,
    _Residence in the Sandwich Islands_, pp. 31 _sq._; J. J. Jarves,
    _op. cit._ pp. 50-52; J. Remy, _op. cit._ pp. xxxviii _sq._, 159

The system seems to have been found at last too burdensome to be borne
even by the king, who under it was forbidden to touch his food with his
own hands, and had to submit to having it put into his mouth by another
person, as if he were an infant.[33] Whatever his motive, Liholiho, son
of Kamehameha, had hardly succeeded his father on the throne of Hawaii
when he abolished the system of taboo and the national religion at a
single blow. This remarkable reformation took place in November 1819.
When the first Christian missionaries arrived from America, some months
later, March 30th, 1820, they were astonished to learn of a peaceful
revolution, which had so opportunely prepared the way for their own

    [33] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 388.

    [34] L. de Freycinet, _Voyage autour du Monde, Historique_, ii.
    603; O. von Kotzebue, _Neue Reise um die Welt_, ii. 109 _sqq._;
    W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 30, 126 _sqq._, 137, 204, 312; C. S.
    Stewart, _Residence in the Sandwich Islands_, pp. 31, 32 _sq._;
    Tyerman and Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 378 _sq._, 397 _sq._, 442
    _sq._; J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ pp. 197 _sq._, 201; J. Remy,
    _op. cit._ pp. lxv, 133 _sqq._; H. Bingham, _Residence of
    Twenty-one Years in the Sandwich Islands_ (Hartford, 1849), pp.
    69 _sqq._ King Kamehameha the First died 8th May 1819.

§ 5. _Religion, the Gods_

Of the native Hawaiian religion, as it existed before the advent of
Europeans and the conversion of the people to Christianity, we possess
no adequate account. The defect is probably due in great measure to the
readiness with which the islanders relinquished their old faith and
adopted the new one. The transition seems to have been effected with
great ease and comparatively little opposition; hence when the
missionaries settled in the islands a few months after the formal
abolition of the ancient religion, paganism was already almost a thing
of the past, and the Christian teachers were either unable or perhaps
unwilling to record in detail the beliefs and rites which they regarded
as false and pernicious. Be that as it may, we possess no such
comparatively full and accurate records of the old Hawaiian religion, as
we possess, for example, of the old pagan religion of the Tongans and
the Samoans, who clung much more pertinaciously to the creed of their
fathers than their more enlightened or more fickle kinsfolk in the
Sandwich Islands. Hence we are obliged to content ourselves with some
more or less meagre and fragmentary notices of the ancient Hawaiian
system of religious belief and practice. But as the Hawaiians are, or
were, pure-blooded Polynesians, we may assume with a fair degree of
probability that in its broad lines their religious system conformed to
the ordinary Polynesian type.

On this subject Captain King, the colleague and successor of Captain
Cook in his last voyage, observes as follows: "The religion of these
people resembles, in most of its principal features, that of the Society
and Friendly Islands. Their _Morais_, their _Whattas_, their idols,
their sacrifices, and their sacred songs, all of which they have in
common with each other, are convincing proofs that their religious
notions are derived from the same source. In the length and number of
their ceremonies this branch indeed far exceeds the rest; and though in
all these countries there is a certain class of men to whose care the
performance of their religious rites is committed, yet we had never met
with a regular society of priests, till we discovered the cloisters of
Kakooa in Karakakooa Bay [in the island of Hawaii]. The head of this
order was called _Orono_; a title which we imagined to imply something
highly sacred, and which, in the person of Omeeah, was honoured almost
to adoration.... It has been mentioned that the title of _Orono_, with
all its honours, was given to Captain Cook; and it is also certain that
they regarded us generally as a race of people superior to themselves;
and used often to say that great _Eatooa_ [_atuas_, spirits] dwelled in
our country. The little image, which we have before described as the
favourite idol on the _Morai_ in Karakakooa Bay, they called
_Koonooraekaiee_, and said it was Terreeoboo's god, and that he also
resided amongst us. There are found an infinite variety of these images
both on the _Morais_, and within and without their houses, to which they
give different names; but it soon became obvious to us in how little
estimation they were held, from their frequent expressions of contempt
of them, and from their even offering them to sale for trifles. At the
same time there seldom failed to be some one particular figure in
favour, to which, whilst this preference lasted, all their adoration was
addressed. This consisted in arraying it in red cloth, beating their
drums, and singing hymns before it, laying bunches of red feathers, and
different sorts of vegetables, at its feet, and exposing a pig or a dog
to rot on the _whatta_ that stood near it. In a bay to the southward of
Karakakooa, a party of our gentlemen were conducted to a large house, in
which they found the black figure of a man, resting on his fingers and
toes, with his head inclined backward, the limbs well formed and
exactly proportioned, and the whole beautifully polished. This figure
the natives call _Maee_; and round it were placed thirteen others of
rude and distorted shapes, which they said were the _Eatooas_ [spirits]
of several deceased chiefs, whose names they recounted. The place was
full of _whattas_, on which lay the remains of their offerings. They
likewise give a place in their houses to many ludicrous and some obscene
idols, like the Priapus of the ancients."[35]

    [35] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vii. 142-144.

The general Hawaiian name for god was _akua_, corresponding to the more
usual Polynesian form _atua_.[36] The four principal Hawaiian deities
were Ku, Kane, Kanaloa, and Lono.[37] Their names are only dialectically
different forms of Tu, Tane, Tangaroa or Tagaloa, and Rongo, four of the
greatest Polynesian gods.[38] Of these deities it is said that Ku, Kane,
and Lono formed the original Hawaiian triad or trinity, who were
worshipped as a unity under the name of Ku-kau-akahi, "the one
established."[39] The meaning or essence of the three persons of the
trinity is said to be Stability (Ku), Light (Tane), and Sound
(Lono).[40] "These gods," we are told, "created the three heavens as
their dwelling-place, then the earth, sun, moon, and stars, then, the
host of angels and ministers. Kanaloa (Tangaroa), who represented the
spirit of evil, was a later introduction into the Hawaiian theology; he
it was who led the rebellion of spirits, although Milu is in other
traditions credited with this bad pre-eminence."[41] We read that when
the trinity were at work on the task of creating the first man, the bad
spirit Kanaloa, out of rivalry, also made an image, but he could not
endow it with life. So, in a rage, he cried to Kane, "I will take your
man, he shall die!" And that, it is said, was the origin of death. The
reason why the spirits, under the leadership of Kanaloa, rebelled was
that they had been denied the sacrifice of kava. For their rebellion
they were thrust down to the lowest depth of Darkness or Night

    [36] J. Remy, _op. cit._ p. xxxix; E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian
    Comparative Dictionary_, p. 30, _s.v._ "Atua."

    [37] J. Remy, _op. cit._ p. xxxix; J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ p.
    40; H. T. Cheever, _Life in the Sandwich Islands_ (London,
    1851), p. 11; A. Bastian, _Die heilige Sage der Polynesier_
    (Leipzig, 1881), p. 131; _id._, _Inselgruppen in Oceanien_
    (Berlin, 1883), p. 225; A. Marcuse, _Die Hawaiischen Inseln_,
    pp. 97 _sq._

    [38] E. Tregear, _op. cit._ 425, 461, 464, 540, _s.vv._ "Rongo,"
    "Tane," "Tangaroa," "Tu."

    [39] E. Tregear, _op. cit._ p. 425, _s.v._ "Rongo."

    [40] E. Tregear, _op. cit._ pp. 461, 540, _s.vv._ "Tane," "Tu."

    [41] E. Tregear, _op. cit._ p. 540, _s.v._ "Tu."

    [42] E. Tregear, _op. cit._ p. 464, _s.v._ "Tangaroa." According
    to another account, the evil spirit was not Kanaloa, but Ku;
    Kanaloa was a younger brother of Kane, and helped him in his
    beneficent labours. See A. Marcuse, _Die Hawaiischen Inseln_,
    pp. 97 _sq._ This latter version agrees with the view of Kane
    and Kanaloa as divine twins. See below, pp. 394 _sq._

A fuller account of these momentous transactions presents a close,
perhaps a suspicious, resemblance to the Biblical narrative of the same
events. It runs as follows:

"According to ancient Hawaiian traditions, there existed in the chaos
three mighty gods, Kane, Ku, and Lono. By their common action light was
brought into the chaos. Then the gods created three heavenly spheres, in
which they dwelt, and last of all the earth, sun, moon, and stars. Out
of their spittle they thereupon created a host of angels, who had to
render service to the three original deities. Last of all came the
creation of man. His body was fashioned out of red earth, and his head
out of white clay, and Kane, the highest of the gods, breathed into this
Hawaiian Adam the breath of life. Out of one of his ribs the Hawaiian
Eve was created. The newly formed pair, by name Kumuhonua and
Keolakuhonua, were placed in a beautiful paradise called Paliuli, which
was watered by the three rivers of life, and planted with many fine
trees, among them the sacred bread-fruit tree. The mightiest of the
angels, Kanaloa, the Hawaiian Lucifer, desired that the newly created
human pair should worship him, which was forbidden by God the Father,
Kane. After vain attempts to create a new man devoted to himself,
Kanaloa, out of desire for vengeance, resolved to ruin the first human
pair created by the gods. In the likeness of a great lizard he crept
into Paradise and seduced the two inhabitants of the same into
committing sin, whereupon they were driven out of Paradise by a powerful
bird sent by Kane. Then follow, as in the Bible, the legends of the
Hawaiian Cain (Laka) and the Hawaiian Noah (Nuu), by whom the ancestors
of the Hawaiian people are said to have been saved from the universal
flood."[43] The story of the creation of the first woman out of a rib of
the first man appears to have been widespread in Polynesia, for it is
reported also from Tahiti,[44] Fakaofo or Bowditch Island,[45] and New

    [43] A. Marcuse, _Die Hawaiischen Inseln_, p. 97.

    [44] W. Ellis, _Polynesian Researches_, i. 110 _sq._; Tyerman
    and Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 312 _sq._

    [45] G. Turner, _Samoa_, pp. 267 _sq._

    [46] J. L. Nicholas, _Narrative of a Voyage to New Zealand_
    (London, 1817), i. 59. Compare _Folk-lore in the Old Testament_,
    i. 9 _sq._

Of the three persons in the Hawaiian trinity, Kane (Tane) is said to
have been the principal. He was especially associated with light; in a
fragment of an ancient liturgy he is called Heaven-father (_Lani-makua_)
and in a very ancient chant he is identified with the Creator. When
after the great flood the Hawaiian Noah, who is called Nuu, left his
vessel, he offered up sacrifice to the moon, saying, "You are doubtless
a transformation of Tane." But the deity was angry at this worship of a
material object; nevertheless, when Nuu expressed his contrition, the
rainbow was left as a pledge of forgiveness.[47]

    [47] E. Tregear, _op. cit._ p. 461, _s.v._ "Tane."

According to one account, the two great gods Kane and Kanaloa were
twins. In Hawaii twins are regarded as superior to ordinary mortals both
in mind and body; hence it was natural to conceive of a pair of divine
twins, like the Dioscuri in Greek mythology. And, like the Dioscuri, the
divine Hawaiian twins sometimes appeared together to their worshippers
as helpers in time of need. Thus, in a season of dearth, when people
were dying of hunger, a poor fisher lad in the island of Lanai set up a
tiny hut on the sea-shore, and there day by day he offered a little from
the scanty store of fish which his family had caught; and as he did so
he prayed, saying, "Here, O god, is fish for thee." One day, as he sat
there, racked with unsatisfied yearning for the divine assistance, two
men came walking that way and rested at the hut; and, taking them to be
weary wanderers, the fisher lad willingly gave them what little food he
had left over. They slept there that night, and next day, when they were
departing, they revealed themselves to him as the two gods Kane and
Kanaloa, and they told him that his prayer had been heard, and that
salvation would follow. Sure enough, plenty soon returned to the land,
and on the spot where the little hut had stood, a stone temple was
built in stately terraces.[48] Again, we hear how when drought had
lasted long in the island of Oahu, and death stared the farmers in the
face for lack of water, the gods Kane and Kanaloa appeared in the
likeness of two young men and showed them a spring, which was afterwards
consecrated to the divine twins.[49] Once more, it is said that, when
the two deities were in Oahu, it chanced that they could find no water
with which to moisten their dry food. Then at Kane's direction Kanaloa
struck a stone with his spear, and from the stone there sprang a
fountain, which bears the name of Kane to this day, and still it rises
and sinks on the day of the moon which is sacred to that divinity.[50]

    [48] A. Bastian, _Die heilige Sage der Polynesier_, pp. 131,

    [49] A. Bastian, _op. cit._ pp. 132 _sq._

    [50] A. Bastian, _op. cit._ p. 133. As to the divine twins in
    Hawaii, see also _id._, _Inselgruppen in Oceanien_, p. 243.

The god Lono was, as we have seen, no other than the great Polynesian
deity Rongo, the two names being the same word in dialectically
different forms. He was one of the most popular gods of Hawaii;[51] the
seasons and other natural phenomena were associated with him, and
prayers for rain were particularly addressed to him.[52] According to
one account, he was an uncreated, self-existent deity;[53] but according
to another account he was an ancient king of Hawaii, who rashly killed
his wife on a suspicion of infidelity, and then, full of remorse,
carried her lifeless body to a temple and made a great wail over it.
Thereafter he travelled through Hawaii in a state of frenzy, boxing and
wrestling with every one whom he met. The people in astonishment said,
"Is Lono entirely mad?" He replied, "I am frantic with my great love."
Having instituted games to commemorate his wife's death, he embarked in
a triangular canoe for a foreign land. Before he departed, he
prophesied, saying, "I will return in after times, on an island bearing
coco-nut trees, swine, and dogs." After his departure he was deified by
his countrymen, and annual games of boxing and wrestling were instituted
in his honour.[54] When Captain Cook arrived in Hawaii, the natives
took him to be their god Lono returned according to his prophecy. The
priests threw a sacred red mantle on his shoulders and did him
reverence, prostrating themselves before him; they pronounced long
discourses with extreme volubility, by way of prayer and worship. They
offered him pigs and food and clothes, and everything that they offered
to the gods. When he landed, most of the inhabitants fled before him,
full of fear, and those who remained prostrated themselves in adoration.
They led him to a temple, and there they worshipped him. But afterwards
in a brawl, when they saw his blood flowing and heard his groans, they
said, "No, this is not Rono," and one of them struck him, so that he
died. But even after his death, some of them still thought that he was
Rono, and that he would come again. So they looked on some of his bones,
to wit his ribs and his breastbone, as sacred; they put them in a little
basket covered all over with red feathers, and they deposited it in a
temple dedicated to Rono. There religious homage was paid to the bones,
and thence they were carried every year in procession to several other
temples, or borne by the priests round the island, to collect the
offerings of the faithful for the support of the worship of the god

    [51] J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ p. 41.

    [52] A. Marcuse, _Die Hawaiischen Inseln_, p. 98.

    [53] E. Tregear, _op. cit._ p. 425, _s.v._ "Rongo."

    [54] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 135; O. von Kotzebue, _Neue Reise
    um die Welt_ (Weimar, 1830), ii. 88 _sq._; J. J. Jarves, _op.
    cit._ pp. 41 _sq._; H. Bingham, _Residence of Twenty-one Years
    in the Sandwich Islands_ (Hartford, 1849), p. 32; A. Bastian,
    _Inselgruppen in Oceanien_, p. 246.

    [55] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 134-136; Tyerman and Bennet, _op.
    cit._ i. 376; J. Remy, _op. cit._ pp. 29-37; O. von Kotzebue,
    _Neue Reise um die Welt_, ii. 98 _sq._

The great Polynesian god or hero Maui was known in Hawaii, where the
stories told of him resembled those current in other parts of the
Pacific. He is said to have dragged up the islands on his fishing-hook
from the depths of the ocean, and to have brought men their first
fire.[56] One day, when his wife was making bark-cloth and had not time
to finish it before night, Maui laid his hand on the sun and prevented
it from going down till the work was completed.[57]

    [56] E. Tregear, _Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary_, p.
    236, _s.v._ "Maui"; A. Marcuse, _Die Haiwaiischen Inseln_, p.

    [57] Tyerman and Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 433; J. J. Jarves, _op.
    cit._ p. 26.

The national war-god of Hawaii was named Tairi (Kaili). In the evening
he used to be seen flitting about near his temple in the form of a sort
of luminous vapour, like a flame or the tail of a comet. A similar
appearance is also occasionally seen in the Society Islands, where the
terrified natives formerly identified it with their god Tane, and
supposed that the meteor was the deity flying from temple to temple or
seeking whom he might destroy.[58] The image of the war-god Tairi used
to be carried to battle by the priest, who held it aloft above the
ranks. It was four or five feet high; the upper part was of wicker-work,
covered with red feathers; the face grinned hideously; the mouth
displayed triple rows of dog's or shark's teeth; the eyes gleamed with
mother of pearl; and the head was crowned with a helmet crested with
long tresses of human hair. In the battle the priest used to distort his
face into a variety of frightful grimaces and to utter appalling yells,
which were supposed to proceed from the god whom he bore or attended.
But the national war-god was not the only deity whose image was borne to
battle. Other chiefs of rank had their war-gods carried near them by
their priests; and if the king or chief was killed or taken, the god
himself was usually captured also. The presence of their deities
inspired the warriors with courage; for they imagined the divine
influence to be essential to victory.[59] The diviners were consulted
immediately before a battle. They slew the victims, and noticed the face
of the heavens, the passage of clouds over the sun, and the appearance
of a rainbow. If the omens were favourable, the image of the principal
war-god was brought out in front of the whole army and placed near the
king. The priest then prayed to the gods, beseeching them to prove
themselves stronger than the gods of the enemy in the ensuing
engagement, and promising them hecatombs of victims in the event of
victory. The bodies of foes slain in the battle were dragged to the king
or priest, who offered them as victims to his gods.[60]

    [58] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 119.

    [59] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 158 _sq._

    [60] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 157 _sq._, 159.

The gods of Hawaii fell into two classes, according as they were
believed to have been primaeval deities born of Night (Po), or the souls
of men who had been deified after death. For it was believed to be
possible to detain the soul of a beloved or honoured person at death by
keeping his clothes or his bones; and the soul could thereafter be
invoked and could speak through the mouth of the person into whom it had
entered. Both classes of deities, the primaeval and the human, were
credited with the power of making people ill.[61] One way of obtaining a
guardian deity for a family was to take the body of a still-born child
and throw it into the sea or bury it in the earth; in the former case
the embryo was supposed to turn into a shark, in the latter case into a
grasshopper. When it was deemed necessary to obtain the help of a deity
(_akua_) for a special purpose, such as success in fishing or in
canoe-building, the divine spirit could be conjured into an image
(_kii_), and could thereafter appear in a dream to his worshipper and
reveal to him what food he desired to have dedicated to him, and what
accordingly the worshipper must abstain from eating. Often the god
showed himself to the dreamer in the shape of a stone or other object;
and on awakening the man was bound to procure the object, whatever it
was, and to honour it with prayer and sacrifice, in order to ensure the
protection of the deity. Prayers addressed to private gods were usually
the property of the owner, who was commonly also their author; whereas
prayers addressed to a public god, such as Kane, had to be learned from
a priest or other adept.[62]

    [61] A. Bastian, _Inselgruppen in Oceanien_, pp. 269 _sq._

    [62] A. Bastian, _Inselgruppen in Oceanien_, pp. 271 _sq._

Among the deities who had once been men would seem to have been the god
of medicine, the Hawaiian Aesculapius. It is said that many generations
ago a certain man named Koreamoku received all medicinal herbs from the
gods, who also taught him the use of them. After his death he was
deified, and a wooden image of him was placed in a large temple at
Kairua, to which offerings of hogs, fish, and coco-nuts were frequently
presented. Oronopuha and Makanuiairomo, two friends and disciples of
Koreamoku, continued to practise the healing art after the death of
their master, and they too were deified after death, particularly
because they were often successful in driving away the evil spirits
which afflicted the people and threatened them with death. To these
deified men the priests addressed their prayers when they administered
medicine to the sick.[63]

    [63] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 335 _sq._; J. J. Jarves, _op.
    cit._ p. 71.

Of all the deities of Hawaii the most dreaded was Pele, the goddess of
the volcanic fire, whose home was in the great and ever active volcano
of Kilauea. There she dwelt with the other members of her family,
brothers and sisters. They were all said to have come to Hawaii from a
foreign country called Tahiti after the great deluge had subsided. The
cones which rise like islands from the vast sea of boiling lava,
vomiting columns of smoke or pyramids of flame, were the houses where
these volcanic deities lived and amused themselves by playing at
draughts: the crackling of the flames and the roaring of the furnaces
were the music of their dance; and the red flaming surge was the surf
wherein they sported, swimming on the rolling fiery waves.[64] The
filaments of volcanic glass, of a dark olive colour and as fine as human
hair, some straight, some crimped or frizzled, which are to be seen
abundantly on the sides of the crater, and on the plain for miles round,
are called by the natives "Pele's hair"; in some places they lie so
thick as to resemble cobwebs covering the surface of the ground.[65]
Near the crater grow bushes bearing clusters of red and yellow berries
resembling large currants; of these the natives formerly would never eat
till they had thrown some of the clusters into the thickest of the smoke
and vapour as an offering to the goddess of the volcano.[66] Vast
numbers of hogs, some alive, others cooked, used to be cast into the
craters when they were in action or when they threatened an eruption;
and when they boiled over, the animals were flung into the rolling
torrent of lava to appease the gods and arrest the progress of the fiery
stream. For the whole island had to pay tribute to the gods of the
volcano and to furnish provisions for the support of their ministers;
and whenever the chiefs or people failed to send the proper offerings or
incurred the displeasure of the dreadful beings by insulting them or
their ministers, or by breaking the taboos which had to be observed in
the vicinity of the craters, the angry deities would spout lava from the
mountain or march by subterranean passages to the abode of the culprits
and overwhelm them under a flood of molten matter. And if the fishermen
did not offer them enough fish, they would rush down, kill the fish with
fire, and, filling up the shoals, destroy the fishing-grounds
entirely.[67] People who passed by the volcano of Kilauea often
presented locks of hair to Pele by throwing them into the crater with an
appropriate address to the deity.[68] On one occasion, when a river of
lava threatened destruction to the people of the neighbourhood, and the
sacrifice of many hogs, cast alive into the stream, had not availed to
stay its devastating course, King Kamehameha cut off some of his own
sacred locks and threw them into the torrent, with the result that in a
day or two the lava ceased to flow.[69] In the pleasant and verdant
valley of Kaua there used to be a temple of the goddess, where the
inhabitants of Hamakua, a district of Hawaii, formerly celebrated an
annual festival designed to propitiate the dread divinity and to secure
their country from earthquakes and floods of lava. On such occasions
large offerings of hogs, dogs, and fruit were made, and the priests
performed certain rites.[70] Worshippers of Pele also threw some of the
bones of their dead into the volcano, in the belief that the spirits of
the deceased would then be admitted to the society of the volcanic
deities, and that their influence would preserve the survivors from the
ravages of volcanic fire.[71] Nevertheless the apprehensions uniformly
entertained by the natives of the fearful consequences of Pele's anger
prevented them from paying very frequent visits to the vicinity of the
volcano; and when on their inland journeys they had occasion to approach
the mountain, they were scrupulously attentive to every injunction of
her priests, and regarded with a degree of superstitious veneration and
awe the appalling spectacle which the crater, with its sea of molten and
flaming lava, presented to their eyes.[72] They even requested strangers
not to dig or scratch the sand in its neighbourhood for fear of
displeasing the goddess and provoking her to manifest her displeasure by
an eruption.[73]

    [64] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 237, 246-249; J. J. Jarves, _op.
    cit._ pp. 42 _sq._

    [65] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 363 _sq._; Ch. Wilkes, _op. cit._
    iv. 129.

    [66] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 234-236.

    [67] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 250.

    [68] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 350.

    [69] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 59. _sq._

    [70] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 350.

    [71] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 361.

    [72] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 275.

    [73] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 239.

The service of Pele was regularly cared for by an hereditary steward
(_kahu_) and an hereditary priestess. The duty of the steward was to
provide the materials for the public sacrifices, including the food and
raiment for the goddess; it was for him to furnish the hogs and fowls,
to cultivate the taro, sweet potatoes, and sugar-cane which were to
serve her for nourishment, to tend the plants from which her garments
were to be made, and to have all things in readiness for the offerings
at the appointed seasons. Of the plantations sacred to this use, one was
on the sea-shore, and another in the broken ground within the precincts
of the crater; and the steward with his family resided sometimes in the
one place and sometimes in the other. When the time came for offering
the sacrifice, the priestess descended into the depths of the volcano,
and there approaching as near as possible to the spot where the fire
burned most furiously, she cast into it her gifts, saying, "Here, Pele,
is food for you, and here is cloth," whereby she mentioned each article
as she flung it into the flames.[74] Sometimes the priestess claimed to
be inspired by Pele and even to be the goddess in person. One of the
priestesses, in an interview with the missionary William Ellis, assumed
a haughty air and declared, "I am Pele; I shall never die; and those who
follow me, when they die, if part of their bones be taken to Kilauea,
will live with me in the bright fires there." In a song she gave a long
account of the deeds and honours of the goddess, who, she said, dwelt in
the volcano and had come in former times from the land beyond the sky.
This song she chanted or recited in a rapid and vociferous manner,
accompanied by extravagant gestures, working herself up to a state of
excitement in which she appeared to lose all self-command. She also
claimed to be able to heal the sick through the indwelling spirit of the
goddess.[75] But the goddess was served also by priests. We read of one
such who offered prayers to her and assured the people that thereafter
she would do them no harm.[76]

    [74] C. S. Stewart, _A Visit to the South Seas_ (London, 1832),
    ii. 104.

    [75] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 309-311. For other interviews with
    priestesses of the goddess see _id._, iv. 275 _sq._; C. S.
    Stewart, _Visit to the South Seas_, ii. 100-103.

    [76] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 378.

The Hawaiians also paid religious reverence to certain birds, fish, and
animals. In a village Captain King saw two tame ravens which the people
told him were _eatooas_ (_atuas_, _akuas_), that is, gods or spirits,
cautioning him at the same time not to hurt or offend them.[77] The
native authors of a work on the history of Hawaii, speaking of the
ancient religion of their people, tell us that "birds served some as
idols; if it was a fowl, the fowl was taboo for the worshippers, and the
same for all the birds which were deified. The idol of another was a
four-footed animal, and if it was a pig, the pig was taboo for him. So
with all the animals who became gods. Another had a stone for his idol;
it became taboo, and he could not sit upon the stone. The idol of
another was a fish, and if it was a shark, the shark was taboo for him.
So with all the fish, and so they deified all things in earth and
heaven, and all the bones of men."[78] Further, the same writers observe
that "the trees were idols for the people and for the chiefs. If a man
had for his idol the _ohia_ tree, the _ohia_ was taboo for him; if the
bread-fruit tree was the idol of another, the bread-fruit tree was taboo
for him. The taboo existed likewise for all the trees out of which men
had made divine images, and it was the same also for food. If taro was a
person's idol, taro was taboo for him. It was the same for all the
eatables of which they had made gods."[79] This deification of birds,
fish, animals, plants, and inanimate objects resembles the Samoan system
and may, like it, be a relic of totemism.[80] Among the living creatures
to which they thus accorded divine honours were lizards, rats, and

    [77] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vii. 144.

    [78] J. Remy, _op. cit._ p. 165.

    [79] J. Remy, _op. cit._ pp. 163, 165.

    [80] See above, pp. 182 _sqq._, 200 _sqq._

    [81] L. de Freycinet, _Voyage autour du Monde, Historique_, ii.

Among the deified fishes it would seem that the shark held a foremost
place. On almost every cape jutting out into the sea, a temple used to
be built for the worship of the shark. The first fish of each kind,
taken by the fishermen, were always carried to the temple and offered to
the god, who was supposed to have driven them towards the shore.[82]
When the king or the priests imagined that the shark wanted food, they
sallied forth with their attendants, one of whom carried a rope with a
running noose. On coming to a group or crowd of people, they threw the
rope among them, and whoever happened to be taken in the snare, whether
man, woman, or child, was strangled on the spot, the body cut in pieces,
and flung into the sea, to be bolted by the ravenous monsters.[83]
Fishermen sometimes wrapped their dead in red native cloth, and threw
them into the sea to be devoured by the sharks. They thought that the
soul of the deceased would animate the shark which had eaten his body,
and that the sharks would therefore spare the survivors in the event of
a mishap at sea.[84] It was especially stillborn children that were thus
disposed of. The worshipper of the shark would lay the body of the
infant on a mat, and having placed beside it two roots of taro, one of
kava, and a piece of sugar-cane, he would recite some prayers, and then
throw the whole bundle into the sea, fully persuaded that by means of
this offering the transmigration of the soul of the child into the body
of a shark would be effected, and that thenceforth the formidable
monster would be ready to spare such members of the family as might
afterwards be exposed to his attack. In the temples dedicated to sharks
there were priests who, at sunrise and sunset, addressed their prayers
to the image which represented the shark; and they rubbed themselves
constantly with water and salt, which, drying on their skin, made it
appear covered with scales. They also dressed in red cloth, uttered
piercing yells, and leaped over the wall of the sacred enclosure;
moreover they persuaded the islanders that they knew the exact moment
when the children that had been thrown into the sea were transformed
into sharks, and for this discovery they were rewarded by the happy
parents with liberal presents of little pigs, roots of kava, coco-nuts,
and so forth.[85] The priests also professed to be inspired by sharks
and in that condition to foretell future events. Many people accepted
these professions in good faith and contributed to support the
professors by their offerings.[86]

    [82] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 90; compare _id._, pp. 129 _sq._

    [83] Tyerman and Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 422 _sq._; J. J. Jarves,
    _op. cit._ p. 45.

    [84] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 361.

    [85] L. de Freycinet, _Voyage autour du Monde, Historique_, ii.
    595 _sq._

    [86] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ ii. 65.

From the foregoing account it appears that some at least of the
worshipful sharks were supposed to be animated by the souls of the
dead. Whether the worship of other sacred animals in Hawaii was in like
manner combined with a theory of transmigration, there seems to be no
evidence to decide. We have seen that a similar doubt rests on the
worship of animals in Tonga.[87]

    [87] See above, pp. 92 _sqq._

§ 6. _Priests, Sorcerers, Diviners_

The priesthood formed a numerous and powerful body. Their office was
hereditary. They owned much property in people and lands, which were
heavily taxed for their support. Each chief had his family priest, who
followed him to battle, carried his war-god, and superintended all the
sacred rites of his household. The priests took rank from their gods and
chiefs. The keeper of the national war-god, who was immediately attached
to the person of the king, was the high priest.[88] In the inner court
of the great temple dedicated to Tairi, the war-god, stood a lofty frame
of wicker-work, in shape something like an obelisk, hollow within and
measuring four or five feet square at the base. Within this framework
the priest stood and gave oracles in the name of the god, whenever the
king came to consult the deity on any matter of importance, such as a
declaration of war or the conclusion of peace; for the war-god was also
the king's oracle. The oracular answer, given by the priest in a
distinct and audible voice, was afterwards reported by the king,
publicly proclaimed, and generally acted upon.[89] When the villages
failed to pay their tribute punctually to the king, he used to send
forth a priest bearing the image of the great god Rono, who scoured the
country of the defaulters for twenty-three days and obliged them to pay
double tribute. The priest who bore the image was strictly tabooed;
during his peregrination he might not touch anything with his hands; his
food had to be put into his mouth either by the chiefs of the villages
where he halted or by the king himself, who accompanied him.[90]

    [88] J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ p. 48.

    [89] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 97.

    [90] L. de Freycinet, _Voyage autour du Monde, Historique_, ii.

Distinct from the regular priests were the diviners or sorcerers who
formed a sort of lower priesthood or clergy. Their services were
employed for various purposes, such as to discover the cause of illness
or to detect a thief. The people generally believed that all deaths,
which were not due to acts of violence, were wrought either by the
action of a deity or by the incantations of a sorcerer. Hence in cases
of protracted illness the aid of one of these inferior clergy was almost
invariably sought by all who could procure a dog and a fowl for the
necessary sacrifice to the god, and a piece or two of cloth as a fee for
the priest. But the offerings to the god and the fees to the priest
naturally varied with the rank or wealth of the sufferer. After
sacrificing the victims the priest lay down to sleep, and if his prayers
were answered, he was usually able to inform the invalid of the cause of
his illness, which had been revealed to him in a dream. But the same
men, who could thus heal the sick by ascertaining and removing the cause
of sickness, were supposed to possess the power of praying or enchanting
people to death by the recitation of spells or incantations. The prayers
or incantations which they employed for these beneficent or maleficent
purposes varied with the individual: every practitioner had his own
formulas, the knowledge of which he carefully confined to his own
family; and he who was thought to have most influence with his god was
most frequently employed by the people and derived the greatest
emoluments from his profession.[91] Of this class of men the most
dreaded were those who invoked the god Uli as their patron deity. Their
special business was to kill people by their spells, which they recited
secretly, and for the most part by night; but to render these effectual
it was necessary for them to obtain some of the personal refuse of their
victim, such as his spittle, the parings of his nails, or the clippings
of his hair, which they buried or burned with the appropriate
incantations.[92] Hence the king of Hawaii was constantly attended by a
servant carrying a spittoon in which he collected the royal saliva to
prevent it from being used by the king's enemies for his injury or
destruction.[93] Ordinary chiefs seem to have adopted the same
precaution; a confidential servant deposited their spittle carefully in
a portable spittoon and buried it every morning.[94]

    [91] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 293-295. Compare U. Lisiansky,
    _op. cit._ pp. 120 _sq._; A. Campbell, _Voyage round the World_,
    pp. 171 _sqq._; C. S. Stewart, _Residence in the Sandwich
    Islands_, pp. 202 _sq._; Tyerman and Bennett, _op. cit._ i. 414;
    J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._ pp. 36 _sq._, 71 _sq._; A. Marcuse,
    _op. cit._ pp. 103-105.

    [92] A. Marcuse, _op. cit._ p. 104.

    [93] O. von Kotzebue, _Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea
    and Beering's Straits_ (London, 1821), i. 313.

    [94] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ i. 365.

A form of divination or magic was employed to detect a thief. The person
who had suffered the loss used to apply to a priest, to whom he
presented a pig and told his story. Thereupon the priest kindled a fire
by rubbing two pieces of wood together, and having taken three nuts he
broke the shells and threw one of the kernels into the fire, saying,
"Kill or shoot the fellow." If the thief did not appear before the nut
was consumed in the flames, the priest repeated the ceremony with the
other two nuts. Such was the fear inspired by this rite that the culprit
seldom failed to come forward and acknowledge his guilt. But if he
persisted in concealing his crime, the king would cause proclamation to
be made throughout the island that so-and-so had been robbed, and that
the robber or robbers had been prayed to death. So firm was the belief
of the people in the power of these prayers, that the criminal, on
hearing the proclamation, would pine away, refuse food, and fall a
victim to his own credulity.[95]

    [95] A. Campbell, _Voyage round the World_, pp. 171-173.

§ 7. _Temples, Images, Human Sacrifices_

Of the Hawaiian temples, as they existed before the abolition of the
native religion, we seem to possess no good and clear description. When
Captain Cook first visited Hawaii and was sailing along the coast, he
noticed from the ship at every village one or more elevated white
objects, like pyramids or rather obelisks; one of them he judged to be
fifty feet high. On landing to examine it, he could not reach it on
account of an intervening pool of water. However, he visited another
structure of the same sort in a more accessible situation, and found
that it stood in what he calls a burying-ground or _morai_ closely
resembling those which he had seen in other Polynesian islands and
especially in Tahiti. This particular _morai_ was an oblong space, of
considerable extent, surrounded by a wall of stone, about four feet
high. The area enclosed was loosely paved with smaller stones; and at
one end of it stood the pyramid or obelisk, measuring about four feet
square at the base and about twenty feet high. The four sides were
composed, not of stones, but of small poles interwoven with twigs and
branches, thus forming an indifferent wicker-work, hollow or open within
from bottom to top. It seemed to be in a rather ruinous state, but
enough remained to show that it had been originally covered with the
light grey cloth to which the natives attached a religious significance.
It was no doubt with similar cloth that the white pyramids or obelisks
were covered which Captain Cook beheld in the distance from the deck of
his ship. Beside the particular pyramid which he examined Captain Cook
found a sacrificial stage or altar with plantains laid upon it. The
pyramids or obelisks which he thus saw and described were presumably the
structures in which the priests concealed themselves when they gave
oracles in the name of the god. On the farther side of the area of the
_morai_ of which Captain Cook has given us a description stood a house
or shed about ten feet high, forty feet long, and ten broad in the
middle, but tapering somewhat towards the ends. The entrance into it was
at the middle of the side, which was in the _morai_. On the farther side
of the house, opposite the entrance, stood two wooden images, each cut
out of a single piece, with pedestals, in all about three feet high, not
badly designed nor executed. They were said to represent goddesses
(_eatooa no veheina_). On the head of one of them was a carved helmet,
and on the other a cylindrical cap like the head-dress worn at Tahiti.
In the middle of the house, and before the two images, was an oblong
space, enclosed by a low edging of stone and covered with shreds of the
same grey cloth which draped the pyramid or obelisk. Within this
enclosure seven chiefs lay buried; and outside the house, just on one
side of the entrance, were two small square spaces in which a man and a
hog were buried respectively, after being killed and sacrificed to the
divinity. At a little distance from these, and near the middle of the
_morai_, were three more of these square enclosed places, in which three
chiefs had been interred. In front of their graves was an oblong
enclosed space in which, as Captain Cook was told, three human victims
were buried, each of them having been sacrificed at the funeral of one
of the three chiefs. Within the area of the _morai_ or burying-ground,
as Captain Cook calls it, were planted trees of various kinds. Similar
sanctuaries appeared to Captain Cook to abound in the island; the
particular one described by him he believed to be among the least
considerable, being far less conspicuous than several others which he
had seen in sailing along the coast.[96]

    [96] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vi. 183-187. The cloth-covered pyramid
    or obelisk was called a _henananoo_ (_ib._ p. 187).

From his description we may infer that the temples (_morais_) observed
by him did not contain stone pyramids like those which formed such
prominent features in the Tahitian sanctuaries and in the burial grounds
of the Tooitongas in Tongataboo; for the pyramids, or rather obelisks,
of wicker-work seen by Captain Cook in the Hawaiian sanctuaries were
obviously structures of a wholly different kind. But there seem to be
some grounds for thinking that stone pyramids, built in steps or
terraces, did occur in some of the Hawaiian temples. Thus Captain King
saw a _morai_, as he calls it, which consisted of a square solid pile of
stones about forty yards long, twenty broad, and fourteen [feet?] in
height. The top was flat and well paved, and surrounded by a wooden
rail, on which were fixed the skulls of captives who had been sacrificed
on the death of chiefs. The ascent to the top of the pile was easy, but
whether it was a staircase or an inclined plane is not mentioned by
Captain King. At one end of the temple or sacred enclosure was an
irregular kind of scaffold supported on poles more than twenty feet
high, at the foot of which were twelve images ranged in a semicircle
with a sacrificial table or altar in front of them. On the scaffold
Captain Cook was made to stand, and there, swathed in red cloth, he
received the adoration of the natives, who offered him a hog and chanted
a long litany in his honour.[97]

    [97] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vii. 5-7.

When Kamehameha was busy conquering the archipelago in the last years of
the eighteenth century, he built a great temple (_heiau_) for his
war-god Tairi in the island of Hawaii. Some thirty years later the
ruined temple was visited and described by the missionary William Ellis.
He says: "Its shape is an irregular parallelogram, 224 feet long, and
100 wide. The walls, though built of loose stones, were solid and
compact. At both ends, and on the side next the mountains, they were
twenty feet high, twelve feet thick at the bottom, but narrowed in
gradually towards the top, where a course of smooth stones, six feet
wide, formed a pleasant walk. The walls next the sea were not more than
seven or eight feet high, and were proportionally wide. The entrance to
the temple is by a narrow passage between two high walls.... The upper
terrace within the area was spacious, and much better finished than the
lower ones. It was paved with flat smooth stones, brought from a
distance. At the south end was a kind of inner court, which might be
called the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, where the principal idol
used to stand, surrounded by a number of images of inferior deities....
On the outside, near the entrance to the inner court, was the place of
the _rere_ (altar) on which human and other sacrifices were offered. The
remains of one of the pillars that supported it were pointed out by the
natives, and the pavement around was strewed with bones of men and
animals, the mouldering remains of those numerous offerings once
presented there. About the centre of the terrace was the spot where the
king's sacred house stood, in which he resided during the season of
strict _tabu_, and at the north end, the place occupied by the houses of
priests, who, with the exception of the king, were the only persons
permitted to dwell within the sacred enclosures. Holes were seen on the
walls, all around this, as well as the lower terraces, where wooden
idols of varied size and shape formerly stood, casting their hideous
stare in every direction."[98]

    [98] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 96-98. Compare J. J. Jarves, _op.
    cit._ pp. 45 _sq._

From this somewhat indistinct description we gather that the temple was
a large oblong area enclosed by high stone walls and open to the sky,
and that at some place within the enclosure there rose a structure in a
series of terraces, of which the uppermost was paved with flat stones
and supported the king's house, while the houses of the priests stood in
another part of the sacred enclosure. If this interpretation is correct,
we may infer that the temple resembled a Tahitian _morai_, which was a
walled enclosure enclosing a sort of stepped and truncated pyramid built
of stone.[99] The inference is confirmed by the language used by Captain
King in speaking of the temple which he describes, for he calls it a
_morai_,[100] and the same term is applied to the sacred edifices in
Hawaii by other voyagers.[101]

    [99] See above, pp. 278 _sqq._

    [100] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vii. 5.

    [101] O. von Kotzebue, _Neue Reise um die Welt_, ii. 89 _sq._;
    A. Campbell, _Voyage round the World_, p. 175.

Another ruined temple (_heiau_) seen by Ellis in Hawaii, is described by
him as built of immense blocks of lava, and measuring a hundred and
fifty feet long by seventy feet wide. At the north end was a smaller
enclosure, sixty feet long and ten wide, partitioned off by a high wall,
with but one narrow entrance. The places where the idols formerly stood
were apparent, though the idols had been removed. The spot where the
altar had been erected could be distinctly traced; it was a mound of
earth, paved with smooth stones, and surrounded by a firm curb of lava.
The adjacent ground was strewn with bones of the ancient offerings.[102]
Another temple (_heiau_), in good preservation, visited by Ellis,
measured no less than two hundred and seventy feet in one direction by
two hundred and ten in another. The walls were thick and solid; on the
top of them the stones were piled in a series of small spires. The
temple was said to have been built by a queen of Hawaii about eleven
generations back.[103] Once more in one of the _puhonuas_ or cities of
refuge, which in Hawaii afforded an inviolable sanctuary to fugitives,
Ellis saw another temple (_heiau_), which he describes as "a compact
pile of stones, laid up in a solid mass, 126 feet by 65, and ten feet
high. Many fragments of rock, or pieces of lava, of two or more tons
each, were seen in several parts of the wall, raised at least six feet
from the ground." Ellis was told that the city of refuge, of which this
temple formed part, had been built for Keave, who reigned in Hawaii
about two hundred and fifty years before the time when the missionary
was writing.[104] From his descriptions we may infer that some at least
of the Hawaiian temples deserved to rank among megalithic structures,
and that the natives had definite traditions of the kings or queens by
whom the temples had been built.

    [102] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 116.

    [103] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 117 _sq._

    [104] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 169.

In the island of Oahu a temple (_heiau_) visited by the missionary
Stewart was forty yards long by twenty yards broad. The walls, of dark
stone, were perfectly regular and well built, about six feet high, three
feet wide at the level of the ground, and two feet wide at the top. It
was enclosed only on three sides, the oblong area formed by the walls
being open on the west; from that side there was a descent by three
regular terraces or very broad steps.[105] This brief account confirms
the inference which I have drawn from the more detailed description of
Ellis, as to the terraced structure of some Hawaiian temples.

    [105] C. S. Stewart, _Residence in the Sandwich Islands_, pp.
    226 _sq._

In the mountains of Hawaii, at a height of about five thousand feet
above the sea, Commodore Wilkes saw the ruins of an ancient temple of
the god Kaili (Tairi), round about which stood eight small pyramids
built of compact blocks of lava laid without cement. These pyramids were
said to have been erected at the command of Umi, an ancient king, to
commemorate his conquests. They seem to have measured each some ten or
twelve feet square. The temple which they surrounded was about
ninety-two feet long by seventy-two feet wide; the outer walls were
about seven feet high and as many thick. Internally the edifice was
divided by partition walls three feet high. The building was said to
have been formerly covered with idols, of which no traces remained at
the time of Wilkes's visit.[106]

    [106] Ch. Wilkes, _op. cit._ iv. 99 _sq._, with the plate.

Often, apparently, a Hawaiian temple consisted of little more than a
walled or palisaded enclosure containing a number of rudely carved
images and a place of sacrifice in the form of a platform raised on
poles. Such a temple is described by the Russian navigator Lisiansky.
The images in it were grouped and arranged so as to form a sort of
semicircle. The chief priest of the temple informed the Russians "that
the fifteen statues wrapped in cloth represented the gods of war; the
two to the right of the place of sacrifice, the gods of spring; those on
the opposite side, the guardians of autumn; and that the altar was
dedicated to the god of joy, before which the islanders dance and sing
on festivals appointed by their religion." With regard to the temples in
general, Lisiansky observes that they "were by no means calculated to
excite in the mind of a stranger religious veneration. They are suffered
to remain in so neglected and filthy a condition, that, were it not for
the statues, they might be taken rather for hog-sties than places of

    [107] U. Lisiansky, _op. cit._ pp. 105-107. He says (p. 106)
    that the temple was "called by the natives _Heavoo_, not
    _Morai_, as some navigators have said." The word _Heavoo_ is
    probably identical with the word _heiau_, which other writers
    give as the Hawaiian name for a temple. As to the form of the
    temples see also A. Campbell, _Voyage round the World_, pp. 175
    _sq._: "Their Morais, or places of worship, consist of one large
    house or temple, with some smaller ones round it, in which are
    the images of their inferior gods. The tabooed or consecrated
    precincts are marked out by four square posts, which stand
    thirty or forty yards from the building. In the inside of the
    principal house there is a screen or curtain of white cloth,
    hung across one end within which the image of Etooah [_atua_,
    _akua_] is placed." Remy (_op. cit._ p. xl) describes the
    Hawaiian temples as "simple enclosures of stones, roofless,
    where the religious ceremonies were performed."

The images of the gods were usually carved of wood. When a new idol was
to be made, a royal and priestly procession went forth, with great
ceremony, to the destined tree, where the king himself, with a stone
axe, struck the first blow at the root. After the tree was felled, a man
or a hog was killed and buried on the spot where it had grown.[108]
Sometimes, apparently, the direction to carve an idol out of a
particular tree was given by a god in a dream. There is a tradition that
once when the woodmen were felling such a tree with their stone axes,
the chips flew out and killed two of them; whereupon the other woodmen
covered their faces with masks, and cut down the tree with their
daggers.[109] Another famous idol was said to be made of wood so
poisonous, that if chips of it were steeped in water, and anybody drank
of the water, he would die in less than twenty-four hours.[110] The
Hawaiians seem to have made their idols hideous on purpose to inspire
terror.[111] The features of some of the images were violently
distorted, their mouths set with a double row of the fangs of dogs,
their eyes made of large pearl oysters with black nuts in the middle;
some had long pieces of carved wood, shaped like inverted cones, rising
from the top of their heads;[112] some had tongues of a monstrous size,
others had no tongues at all; some had mouths that reached from ear to
ear; the heads of some were a great deal larger than their bodies.[113]
Some of the idols were stones. In the island of Hawaii there is a pebbly
beach from which pebbles used to be carried away to be deified or to
represent deities. They were generally taken in couples, a male and a
female, and having been wrapt up very carefully together in a piece of
native cloth, they were conveyed to a temple (_heiau_), where ceremonies
of consecration or deification were performed over them.[114]

    [108] Tyerman and Bennet, _op. cit._ i. 450.

    [109] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 92 _sq._

    [110] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 91.

    [111] A. Marcuse, _Die Hawaiischen Inseln_, p. 101.

    [112] J. Cook, _Voyages_, vii. 6, 15; compare A. Campbell, _op.
    cit._ p. 76.

    [113] U. Lisiansky, _op. cit._ p. 107.

    [114] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 212 _sq._

The human sacrifice offered at the making of an idol was intended to
impart strength to the image.[115] But human sacrifices were offered on
many other occasions, such as on the approach of war, on the death of a
chief, and so forth. There is a tradition that Umi, a famous king of
Hawaii, once offered eighty men to his god as a thank-offering for
victory. The victims were generally prisoners of war, but in default of
captives any men who had broken taboos or rendered themselves obnoxious
to the chiefs were sacrificed. It does not appear that they were slain
in the presence of the idol or within the temple, but either on the
outside or where they were first taken; in all cases an attempt seems to
have been made to preserve the body entire or as little mangled as
possible. Generally the victims were despatched by a blow on the head
with a club or stone; sometimes, however, they were stabbed. Having been
stripped naked, the bodies were carried into the temple and laid in a
row, with their faces downwards, on the altar immediately before the
idol. The priest thereupon, in a kind of prayer, offered them to the
gods; and if hogs were sacrificed at the same time, they were
afterwards piled on the human bodies and left there to rot and putrefy

    [115] J. Remy, _op. cit._ p. 161.

    [116] W. Ellis, _op. cit._ iv. 150-152; J. J. Jarves, _op. cit._
    pp. 47 _sq._; J. Remy, _op. cit._ pp. xl _sq._ Compare U.
    Lisiansky, _op. cit._ pp. 121 _sq._; Tyerman and Bennet, _op.
    cit._ i. 423 _sq._

When a new temple was about to be dedicated, some of the people used to
flee into the mountains to escape being sacrificed. The last human
sacrifices are said to have been offered in 1807, when the queen of the
islands was seriously ill.[117] Whenever war was in contemplation, the
diviners used to sacrifice animals, generally hogs and fowls, and to
draw omens from the manner in which they expired, from the appearance of
their entrails, and from other signs. Sometimes, when the animal was
slain, they disembowelled it, took out the spleen, and, holding it in
their hands, offered their prayers. But if the contemplated expedition
was of any importance or the danger was imminent, human sacrifices were
offered to ensure the co-operation of the war-gods in the destruction of
their enemies.[118]

    [117] A. Marcuse, _op. cit._ p. 103.

    [118] W. Ellis, iv. 150 _sq._

§ 8. _Festivals_

In every lunar month the people celebrated four festivals. The festival
of the new moon lasted three nights and two days; the three others
lasted two nights and one day. These nights and days were taboo or
sacred: men who took part in the festivals might not speak to a woman
under pain of death, and all the people were forbidden to sail the sea,
to fish, to make bark-cloth, and to play games.[119] Besides these
monthly festivals there was one called Macahity, which lasted for a
whole month and seems to have celebrated the end of the old year. It
fell in November, and has been compared by Lisiansky to our festival of
Christmas. He tells us that "it continues a whole month, during which
the people amuse themselves with dances, plays, and sham-fights of every
kind. The king must open this festival wherever he is. On this occasion,
his majesty dresses himself in his richest cloak and helmet, and is
paddled in a canoe along the shore, followed sometimes by many of his
subjects. He embarks early, and must finish his excursion at sun-rise.
The strongest and most expert of the warriors is chosen to receive him
on his landing. This warrior watches the royal canoe along the beach;