While we were plying up to the harbour, to which the natives directed us, the king kept sailing round us in his canoe. There were, at the same time, a great many small canoes about the ships. Two of these, which could not get out of the way of his royal vessel, he run quite over, with as little concern as if they had been bits of wood. Amongst many others who came on board the Resolution, was Otago, who had been so useful to me when I visited Tongataboo during my last voyage, and one Toubou, who, at that time, had attached himself to Captain Furneaux. Each of them brought a hog and some yams, as a testimony of his friendship; and I was not wanting, on my part, in making a suitable return.
At length, about two in the afternoon, we arrived at our intended station. It was a very snug place, formed by the shore of Tongataboo on the S.E. and two small islands on the E. and N.E. Here we anchored in ten fathoms water, over a bottom of oozy sand, distant from the shore one-third of a mile.
Friendly Reception at Tongataboo.—Manner of distributing a baked Hog and Kava to Poulaho’s Attendants.—The Observatory, &c. erected.—The Village where the Chiefs reside, and the adjoining Country, described.—Interviews with Mareewagee, and Toobou, and the King’s Son.—A grand Haiva, or Entertainment of Songs and Dances, given by Mareewagee.—Exhibition of Fireworks.—Manner of Wrestling and Boxing.—Distribution of the Cattle.—Thefts committed by the Natives.—Poulaho, and the other Chiefs, confined on that Account.—Poulaho’s Present and Haiva.
Soon after we had anchored, having first dined, I landed, accompanied by Omai and some of the officers. We found the king waiting for as upon the beach. He immediately conducted us to a small neat house, situated a little within the skirts of the wood, with a fine large area before it. This house, he told me, was at my service during our stay at the island; and a better situation we could not wish for.
We had not been long in the house before a pretty large circle of the natives were assembled before us, and seated upon the area. A root of the kava plant being brought, and laid down before the king, he ordered it to be split into pieces, and distributed to several people of both sexes, who began the operation of chewing it, and a bowl of their favourite liquor was soon prepared. In the mean time, a baked hog, and two baskets of baked yams, were produced, and afterward divided into ten portions. These portions were then given to certain people present; but how many were to share in each I could not tell. One of them, I observed, was bestowed upon the king’s brother, and one remained undisposed of, which, I judged, was for the king himself, as it was a choice bit. The liquor was next served out, but Poulaho seemed to give no directions about it. The first cup was brought to him, which he ordered to be given