A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 768 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16.
Society and Friendly Islands, split the carcases through their whole length.  They met with a positive proof of the existence of the taboo (or, as they pronounce it, the tafoo), for one woman fed another who was under that interdiction.  They also observed some other mysterious ceremonies; one of which was performed by a woman, who took a small pig, and threw it into the surf, till it was drowned, and then tied up a bundle of wood, which she also disposed of in the same manner.  The same woman, at another time, beat with a stick upon a man’s shoulders, who sat down for that purpose.  A particular veneration seemed to be paid here to owls, which they have very tame; and it was observed to be a pretty general practice amongst them, to pull out one of their teeth;[4] for which odd custom, when asked the reason, the only answer that could be got was, that it was teeha, which was also the reason assigned for another of their practices, the giving a lock of their hair.

[Footnote 4:  It is very remarkable, that, in this custom, which one would think is so unnatural, as not to be adopted by two different tribes, originally unconnected, the people of this island, and Dampier’s natives on the west side of New Holland, at such an immense distance, should be found to agree.—­D.]

After the water-casks had been filled and conveyed into the boat, and we had purchased from the natives a few roots, a little salt, and some salted fish, I returned on board with all the people, intending to visit the island the next day.  But, about seven o’clock in the evening, the anchor of the Resolution started, and she drove off the bank.  As we had a whole cable out, it was some time before the anchor was at the bows; and then we had the launch to hoist up alongside, before we could make sail.  By this unlucky accident, we found ourselves, at day-break next morning, three leagues to the leeward of our last station; and, foreseeing that it would require more time to recover it than I chose to spend, I made the signal for the Discovery to weigh and join us.  This was done about noon, and we immediately stood away to the northward, in prosecution of our voyage.  Thus, after spending more time about these islands than was necessary to have answered all our purposes, we were obliged to leave them before we had completed our water, and got from them such a quantity of refreshments as their inhabitants were both able and willing to have supplied us with.  But, as it was, our ship procured from them provisions, sufficient for three weeks at least; and Captain Clerke, more fortunate than us, got, of their vegetable productions, a supply that lasted his people upward of two months.  The observations I was enabled to make, combined with those of Mr Anderson, who was a very useful assistant on all such occasions, will furnish materials for the next section.


Project Gutenberg
A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.