Bay of Ohetity.—Tamehameha,
King of the Islands.—His Visit to the
Ship.—His Capital.—His Naval Force.—His Authority.—Productions
of the Country.—Manners and Customs.—Reflections.
There is no good anchorage in the bay of Ohetity, inside the bar or coral reef: the holding-ground is bad: so that, in case of a storm, the safety of the ship would have been endangered. Moreover, with a contrary wind, it would have been difficult to get out of the inner harbor; for which reasons, our captain preferred to remain in the road. For the rest, the country surrounding the bay is even more lovely in aspect than that of Karaka-koua; the mountains rise to a less elevation in the back-ground, and the soil has an appearance of greater fertility.
Tamehameha, whom all the Sandwich Isles obeyed when we were there in 1811, was neither the son nor the relative of Tierroboo, who reigned in Owhyhee (Hawaii) in 1779, when Captain Cook and some of his people were massacred. He was, at that date, but a chief of moderate power; but, being skilful, intriguing, and full of ambition, he succeeded in gaining a numerous party, and finally possessed himself of the sovereignty. As soon as he saw himself master of Owhyhee, his native island, he meditated the conquest of the leeward islands, and in a few years he accomplished it. He even passed into Atoudy, the most remote of all, and vanquished the ruler of it, but contented himself with imposing on him an annual tribute. He had fixed his residence at Wahoo, because of all the Sandwich Isles it was the most fertile, the most picturesque—in a word, the most worthy of the residence of the sovereign.
As soon as we arrived, we were visited by a canoe manned by three white men, Davis and Wadsworth, Americans, and Manini, a Spaniard. The last offered to be our interpreter during our stay; which was agreed to. Tamehameha presently sent to us his prime-minister, Kraimoku, to whom the Americans have given the name of Pitt, on account of his skill in the affairs of government. Our captain, accompanied by some of our gentlemen, went ashore immediately, to be presented to Tamehameha. About four o’clock, P.M., we saw them returning, accompanied by a double pirogue conveying the king and his suite. We ran up our colors, and received his majesty with a salute of four guns.
Tamehameha was above the middle height, well made, robust and inclined to corpulency, and had a majestic carriage. He appeared to me from fifty to sixty years old. He was clothed in the European style, and wore a sword. He walked a long time on the deck, asking explanations in regard to those things which he had not seen on other vessels, and which were found on ours. A thing which appeared to surprise him, was to see that we could render the water of the sea fresh, by means of the still attached to our