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The body is then conveyed to the place of sacrifice with great form and ceremony. This place seems to be set apart entirely for religious affairs of this nature; on one side was a house for the residence of the priests; at some distance from which was a large piece of board, elevated upon two posts rudely carved, upon which were placed several hogs and dogs, that probably were killed upon that occasion. Near this was a kind of flat shed raised upon four posts, and decorated all round near the top with garlands, made of particular kinds of trees, such as the emotoo, awa, and etee, and upon its top several branches of plantains and cocoa nuts, were placed. On one side was a kind of altar of stone, and raised about two feet from the surface of the ground, upon various parts of which were fixed those rude kinds of carvings that are usually to be distinguished near Morais, and in the midst of these were a number of human skulls, which belonged to those who had formerly been sacrificed. Near the house were two large drums, upon which two men were continually drumming during the ceremony. The priest takes out one of the eyes, which he offers to the god, at the same time making a long prayer, imploring his protection during the war, and begging that victory may crown their arms, after which the body is interred.
The society of the Areeois is esteemed the most polite establishment in the islands; the members of which are always people of rank and fortune, and are distinguished by being tattowed in a peculiar manner. It will here be necessary to observe what
it is that first constitutes a member, and some of the rights and privileges annexed to this society. It is in consequence of a most cruel and inhuman action : a man must become a father, on purpose to murder his child, which he strangles the instant the unhappy mother brings it into life. At the next meeting he must bring witnesses to prove this horrid deed ; after which he is admitted as a member. They generally go in coinpanies of ten or twelve sail of canoes, and let them direct their course to whatever island they please, they are always certain of being well received; nay, if they have even been at war but a few days before the visit, all animosity is laid aside, and they are as perfect friends as if nothing had happened. One of their privileges is to keep two, three, or more women at once, who, however, must be members. They always wear the best cloth the islands produce, and eat many peculiar things which others are not permitted to do. In general they continue in this society to the age of thirty, or thirty-five, when, by suffering one of their children to survive, they debar themselves the privileges of an Areeoi. Many remain members all their lives, and die in the most emaciated state, occasioned by their very debauched way of living."
Otoo espoused Eddea, the sister of Motooaro, chief of Eimeo, with whom he thus became doubly connected by marriage. The first child she bore to him was immediately suffocated; but a second being born was preserved ; and in consequence the title and sovereign dignity of Otoo immediately de
volved upon his infant son. The father acted as regent, assisted by his intelligent and active consort Eddea. Henceforward he became known by the name of Pomarre, and his son as Otoo. Lieutenant Bligh, in the ship Bounty, arrived at Otaheite in 1788, to procure bread fruit, for the purpose of transplanting it in the West India islands. The young sovereign, now about six years old, was a resident at Oparre ; he was accompanied by a younger brother and sister, beside whom Eddea had also a female infant by Pomarre. Notwithstanding this, Eddea soon afterwards lived openly with a man of cominon rank, to wliom she bore several children, who were strangled immediately after their birth. Her influence was not affected by this change in her circumstances, either on the island, nor with Pomarre.
Pomarre lived with a young woman named Pe. peere, as his last wife, or concubine. Marriage is only binding during pleasure. Husbands take other wives, and wives accept other hasbands as their fancies lead; and this too without offence being taken by the parties concerned. One reason given for the murder of infants, is that women have so many successive husbands, there exist no sufficient ties of nature in father and mother, to be at the ex. pense of maintaining all their children. Thus one sin leads the way to the commission of more ; and infidelity to the conjugal relation, produces more depravity of heart than probably any other species of crime. Teppahoo, an uncle of Pomarre, resided at Tettaha, as chief of that district, Tohaw being dead: Teppahoo had destroyed eight children to preserve his rank as an Areeoi. Among those who visited Lieutenant Bligh was Tootaha, afterwards known as Manné Manné, brother of Oberreroa, the mother of Pomarre. He was heir apparent of Ulietea and Otaha, but by office a priest.
The history of the mutineers who seized the ship Bounty, as well as the affecting story of “Peggy Stewart," are too well known to require insertion in this place. Several ships afterwards touched at Otaheite, and some of their sailors deserted, in order to take up their residence on the island.
After the death of Motooaro, chief of Eimeo, Pomarre reduced that island to the government of his son Otoo. He also subdued Temarre, and conquered Tiaerraboo, so that none dared thereafter to dispute the authority of Pomarre and Otoo.
A Missionary Society, established in the city of London, commiserating the deplorable condition of the natives of the South Sea Islands, directed their first attention to them. In a spirit of generous philanthropy, they resolved to send the Gospel of Jesus Christ to these benighted Pagans, in the faith and hope that through the divine blessing they by this means might be turned “from darkness unto light, and from the power of satan unto God.” On the 28th of July, 1796, thirty Missionaries were solemnly set apart for that object. Of these, twenty-nine embarked on the 10th of August in the ship Duff, (which had been purchased by the society,) commanded by Captain James
Wilson, and manned by seamen professing godliness.
The Duff was favoured with a remarkably safe, healthy, and prosperous voyage.
In March, 1797, eighteen of the Missionaries were settled at Otaheite, ten at Tongataboo, and one at Santa Christiana. The Mission at Christiana terminated in 1798, and that at Tongataboo in 1800. The inhabitants of the latter place are cannibals, and a hostile party put three of the Missionaries to death; their bodies were afterwards found by their brethren, and interred. Captain Wilson and the Missionaries were received by the Chiefs and people at Otaheite with the greatest demonstrations of joy. By means of two Swedish sailors, who had lived some time on the island, the captain was enabled to make knowır his errand to Pomarre, who gave a house, which had been built for Captain Bligh, for the use of the Mission. The district of Matavai, in which this house was situated, also was solemnly ceded to the Missionary Society for the same purpose. Captain Wilson having fulfilled his commission, returned by way of Canton, at which place he took in a cargo of teas, and arrived in England in July, 1798.
In December, 1798, the ship Duff was again sent out, commanded by Captain Thomas Robson, with twenty-nine Missionaries, to reinforce the Missions.
It, however, pleased divine Providence to frustrate this attempt, the Duff being captured by a French privateer, under the command of Captain Carbonelle, off the coast of South America, on the 19th of February, 1799.