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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 630 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 15.

I had fixed upon the 15th for sailing, till Taoofa pressed me to stay a day or two longer, to receive a present he had prepared for me.  This reason, and the daily expectation of seeing some of our friends from Tongataboo, induced me to defer my departure.

Accordingly, the next day I received the chiefs present, consisting of two small heaps of yams, and some fruit, which seemed to be collected by a kind of contribution, as at the other isles.  On this occasion, most of the people of the island had assembled at the place; and, as we had experienced on such numerous meetings amongst their neighbours, gave us not a little trouble to prevent them from pilfering whatever they could lay their hands upon.  We were entertained with cudgelling, wrestling, and boxing-matches; and, in the latter, both male and female combatants exhibited.  It was intended to have finished the shew with the bomai, or night dance, but an accident either put a total stop to it, or, at least, prevented any of us from staying ashore to see it.  One of my people, walking a very little way, was surrounded by twenty or thirty of the natives, who knocked him down, and stripped him of every thing he had on his back.  On hearing of this, I immediately seized two canoes, and a large hog, and insisted on Taoofa’s causing the clothes to be restored, and on the offenders being delivered up to me.  The chief seemed much concerned at what had happened, and forthwith took the necessary steps to satisfy me.  This affair so alarmed the assembled people, that most of them fled.  However, when they found that I took no other measures to revenge the insult, they returned.  It was not long before one of the offenders was delivered up to me, and a shirt and a pair of trowsers restored.  The remainder of the stolen goods not coming in before night, I was under a necessity of leaving them to go aboard; for the sea run so high, that it was with the greatest difficulty the boats could get out of the creek with day-light, much less in the dark.

The next morning I landed again, having provided myself with a present for Taoofa, in return for what he had given me.  As it was early, there were but few people at the landing-place, and those few not without their fears.  But on my desiring Omai to assure them that we meant no harm; and, in confirmation of this assurance, having restored the canoes and released the offender, whom they had delivered up to me, they resumed their usual gaiety; and presently a large circle was formed, in which the chief, and all the principal men of the island, took their places.  The remainder of the clothes were now brought in; but as they had been torn off the man’s back by pieces, they were not worth carrying on board.  Taoofa, on receiving my present, shared it with three or four other chiefs, keeping only a small part for himself.  This present exceeded their expectation so greatly, that one of their chiefs, a venerable old man, told me, that they did not deserve it, considering how

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