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ropean crimes, in addition to their native stock of wickedness, without learning so much as the names of the Christian graces, much less the practice of any moral duties.
Beholding the mingled interchange of crime, treachery, and death, between the white Christian, and the sable African, or tawny Indian, will it not require an effort of the mind to acknowledge either as truly civilized, if civilization be considered to indicate a moral principle, humane, courteous, generous, upright, and constantly prevailing in the conduct of its possessor? Will not humanity turn aside from the scene, and sighing confess, that the white and the coloured savages stand equally in need of some powerful principle to renew their souls, to refine their minds, to soften their hearts, and so to change their whole deportment into what may be termed civilized and virtuous ? How delightful will that time be, when such a powerful reforming principle shall be felt by every individual upon earth! When all shall delight in the welfare of each other ; when treachery, oppression, and licentiousness, shall be unknown; and mutual love, reciprocal confidence, and holy harmony, shall make sweet the bonds of social compacts, and diffuse a heavenly influence over social intercourse !
I know of no instance recorded in history, which afiords a more satisfactory experiment of reducing a whole nation from habits truly savage, and rites idolatrous and cruel, to a life of humane, and almost holy habits, than we have presented to us in the very extraordinary revolution produced in the
character and conduct of the inhabitants of Otalieite. To every mind interested for the welfare of heathen and savage nations, the history of Otaheite would afford a subject worthy of strict examination, and of salutary reflection. For this purpose I trust that some gentleman of leisure and of sufficient qualifications, will undertake to write such a history. Until that be done, I wish to submit to the serious consideration of reflecting minds some interesting facts, and extracts from authentic documents, tending to exhibit to their view, the original character, and the subsequent reformation of the Otaheitans; the pure and persevering benevolence of the agents who were instruments in that reformation ; and the meek and sacred philanthropy of the venerable society who sent those agents forth.
The Island of OTAHEITE is situated between 17° 28', and 17° 53' south latitude; and between 149° 11', and 149° 39'west longitude. It was first discovered by Captain Wallis, of the British ship Dolphin, on the 19th of June, 1767. The natives, after repeated attacks on the boats, were at length brought to an accommodating conduct; and a mutual traffic in articles wanted by either party, was carried on. The inhabitants are of a clear olive complexion; the men tall, strong, and finely shaped; the women of an inferior size, but handsome, and generally licentious.
Oammo at that time governed in behalf of his son Temarree. Ilis consort Oberea (or Poorea)
had been separated from him after the birth of Temarree, on account of her reluctance to destroy her child. Her authority was not diminished by this separation, and she was hospitable towards Captain Wallis and his people.
Great inconvenience however, soon arose from the licentious intercourse of the crew with the female islanders. This was not checked by Oberea, whose character for sensuality exceeded even the usual standard of Otaheite. She lived after her separation from Oammo, with Toopaea, chief priest, who excelled all his countrymen in sagacity and information,
In 1768, Monsieur Bougainville, in a French frigate, visited Otaheite, and was hospitably received. Outarroo, brother to the chief of Hedea, attached himself to the commander, and accompanied him to France. Sensuality seems to have been pracliced during this visit from the French, with still greater indecency than before. A criminal and loathsome disease prevailed on board of the ship, and amongst the natives. The accounts given by the Islanders respecting their previous knowledge of this disorder, are confused and contradictory. The existence and general prevalence of this evil in the year 1798 was too obvious; and, says a writer in 1800, "it concurs with other dreadful effects of sensuality, to threaten the entire depopulation of this beautiful island, if it be not seasonably averted by the happy influence of the gospel.”
Subsequent to Monsieur de Bougainville's departure, an important revolution took place. The
whole island at that time acknowledged the sovereignty of Temarree: the smaller peninsula Teirraboo, was governed by an elderly man, named Waheadooa, distantly allied to the king. The larger peninsula has usually been distributed into three principal governments, each of which included several subordinate districts; they were then subject to three brothers, Oammo, Tootaha and Happae ; the latter presiding over the northern and eastern district, which are collectively named Tepirreoroo. Tootaha conspired with Waheadooa to wrest the government from Oammo and Oberea; transferred the royal dignity to Otoo, the son of Happae ; and acted bimself as Regent during the minority of Otoo. He carried off from the great Morai at Pappara, Oammo's residence, the peculiar ensigns of royal and sacerdotal offices, and placed them in another great Morai in Attahooroo. The grand ceremonies which are attended with human sacrifices, were for many years afterwards performed at this place. Tootaha, as Regent, resided at Oparre, the hereditary district of the new sovereign Otoo, when Lieut. Cook, in the Endeavour, anchored in Matavai bay, in 1769. Tootaha in attempting to reduce Teirraboo, was slain in battle by Waheadooa, who made peace with Otoo: the latter now assuming the reins of government, assisted by the counsels of his father Happae.
Otoo had two brothers younger than himself. One since well known under the name of Orapeia ; the other as Weidooa.
Captain Cook revisited Otaheite in 1773. Mootoaro chief of the neighbouring island of Eimeo, had married a sister of Otoo, and being expelled by his uncle Maheine, took refuge with his brotherin-law, who espoused his cause. Tohaw, chief of Tettaha, was appointed to command a combined fleet fitted out by different districts of Otaheite. He possessed great courage and talents, was advanced in years, and highly respected. From the multitude of people embarked in this fleet, Capt. Cook computed that the whole island might contain more than two hundred thousand inhabitants. Subsequent navigators have even exceeded this calculation; but in the year 1798 itsappeared that not a tenth part of that number of people, were to be found in Otaheite. Unlimited sensuality, with the general contamination and infant murders attendant upon it, have without doubt, dreadfully diminished the population. The following extract from Captain Cook's voyages, as published, may afford some idea of the manners of the natives at that time.
“ We found our friends engaged in a war with a neighbouring island called Imaio, or York Island. On the first day of September, Tohaw offered a human sacrifice to their god of war, whom they call Oro. These kinds of religious rites we find are customary things amongst them on any particular occasion. The person sacrificed is always one of the lowest and most useless persons they can find; he is totally ignorant of the affair, till the persons who are sent to despatch him arrive, when they knock him on the head without any hesitation.