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One engagement succeeded another; hut if the combatants could not throw each other in the space
of a minute, careful that even these wrestlings should be attended with no injury, they then parted, either by consent or by the intervention of friends. A man with a large stick officiated as masier of the ceremonies, and severely beat those who rashly | pressed forward.
During these athletic sports, another party of men performed a dance. But neither party took the least notice of each other, their whole attention being only engaged to please and to conquer. Equally careful to avoid injury; this contest only continued about the space of a minute. In this circumstance, the Otaheiteans 'exceed both the Roman and the European wrestlers, who continue till the body is injured, if the life be not taken away,
The science of defence is greatly cultivated among them, a wound in battle conferring no honour, but rather disgrace. From their earliest years they are practised in this art. They frequently exercise at quarter-staff, and soon become expert at defending the head and every other part of the body.
The sling constitutes one of the boyish sports of Europe, and those children in improvement, manifest a strong partiality for this amusement. Nor has the want of proper materials for slings prévented the enjoyment of this pleasure. Invention has enabled them to plait the fibres of cocoa-nut busk, These shings have a loop for the hand in one end, in order to keep the sling fast when they discharge the stone, and a broad place is constructed for the reception of the stone. In charging the sling they hold ii round their shoulders, keeping the stone
fast.will their left thumb, and, jumping, swing the s'ing three times round their heads, holding the left hand grasped on the wrist of the right; and thus they discharge the stone with a force sufficia ent to enter the bark of a tree at two hundred, vards distant, the stone flying at an equal distance, froin the ground all the way.
But the most delightful amusement must - soon. be relinquished for another, or the pleasure . of amusement is at once destroyed. European boys have their annual and successive sports, and so have the natives of the southern islands. The sling is laid aside, and the bow eagerly seized.. Tlieir bows are constructed of porow, and their : arrows of small bamboos, painted with toa wood, wliich is fixed on with bread-fruit gum; the bark of the roava affords, them bow.string: :-with these they contend, not at a mark, but for the greatest distance. The bow is never honoured: with employment in war, but the sling appears in that destructive science. Since they have used. guns from the Europeans, they have become excellent marksmen. It is a singular fact, that, ai in more cultivated nations, the sportsman, and the hunter have a dress peculiar to that, einployment, so these islanders have a dress sacred to the game, and never worn but on such an occasion.
The javelin succeeds to the sling and bow. It iş from eight to fourteen feet long, and pointed with palm-tree wood. 'They hold the javelin in the right hand, and pitch it over the fore finger of the left hand, in which position they will hurl it with great exactness against a mark set up at the distance of thirty or forty yards. As one district in the highlands of Scotland was formerly accus
tomed to contend against another in playing at the ball, so one district of the southern world, in their present rude state, often contend againsteach other in throwing the javelin. Nor are ihe females exempted or less eager than the men.
The only prize is, that the district in which the game is played affords an entertainment. It is proper, however, to remark, that the women and the nien contend separately: the women combat with women, and the men with men.
Swimming is another bodily exercise, of which they are extremely fond. Those who live in the vicinity of the sea, or upon the brink of a river, universally manifest a partiality to swimming.
The insulated situation of these men invite to this employment, which they have carried almost to incredible perfection. The children learn to swim almost as soon as they learn to walk; and there. fore gradually arrive at perfection. Swimming in the surf is an amusement in high repute with both sexes, and the entertainment is estimated'in proportion to the largeness and violence of the surf. This sport is continued for hours together, till they be quite tired : on no other occasion do they make such exertions.
Some use a smail board, about two feet and an half broad, formed with a sharp point like the fore part of a cange; but others depend wholly upon their own strength and dexterity. They usually swim out as far as the surf begins, which they follow as it swells, throwing themselves upon the surface of the water, steering their body with one leg, their breast reposing on the wooden plank, the other leg raised above water, and one hand moving them forward. When the surfincreases its strength and motion, they are carried forward with an ama. zing velocity, until it be about to break upon the
shore; but then, they turn about with so rapid a movement, as, to dart head foremost through the wave, and ascending on the surface, swim back to the place where the surf begins to swell, diving all the way through the waves, which are running with violence against the shore. In the course of this amusement, as might naturally be expected, they frequently run against each other :--sometimes also they are driven on the shore, and considerably bruised.
The children arrive at such perfection in swimming, that they likewise engage in the same amusement, only choosing a smaller surf; and seldom or never receive any injury, except a throw upon the beach. It is also astonishing, and searcely credible, that if a shark come in among them, unapprehensive of any danger, they will surround him, and, enclosing him in the surf, force him on shore. When the bad weather abates, a westerly wind attended with a heavy swell prevails, during which time this amusement is generally practised.
The dances of the southern islanders are various. That called the evening dance is perfurmed by women of any age, or any description, who chuse to attend ; and their usual place of meeting is the cool shade. On such occasions, they are drest in their best apparel, and their heads decorated with wreaths of flowers.
There is another dance termed the heiva, performed by men and women in separate parties.. The women are graceful in their dress, regularly keeping time along with the music, both with their bands and their feet. The manner of this dance is accurately represented in Cook's Voyages, and is usually performed by torch light,
The southern islanders, living in a warm climate, possessing a luxurious country, and surrounded with countless blessings of life, have consequently had but few calls of necessity to exert the powers of ingenuity. The first of these however were of a mechanical nature. Favourable as the climate iss yet, there was not wanting some necessity to erect a dwelling, that might prove a better shelter from the descending rains and the blowing tempest, than either the shady tree or the dark excavated rock. Hence the southern genius began to display its strength in the mechanical art of building.
Fertile as the soil is, and numerous as the spontaneous productions are, yet the desire of having a greater quantity of some provisions, or the desire of having them in a season beyond the usual time of their spontaneous production, would induce the ancient islander to invent the means of cultivating and maturing these favourite plants: hence originated the rude beginnings of the science of agriculture. But as these incentives are both lew and very feeble, the progress of that science is singularly slow.
A desire of change of food, or the necessity' arising from the periodical suspension of vegetaable production, naturally induced the islander to betake himself to that animal food wiich every where surrounded him; hence the invention of the bow and the javelin succeeded to the ruller : sling and stone.
The agreeable vatiety or the convenient supply