Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Polynesian Researches


page 74


Departure from Oahu—Occurrence off Ranai—Appearance of Lahaina—Keopuolani, queen of the Islands—Native dance—Missionary labours—Buhenehene, a popular native game—Traditions respecting some of the principal idols of Maui and the adjacent islands—Voyage to Hawaii—Visit to an aged English resident—Description of a heiau—Native dance at Kairua.

Eight days after the departure of Mr. Thurston and his companions, I followed in a small schooner belonging to Keopuolani, bound first to Lahaina, and then to Hawaii for sandal wood. Kalakua, one of the queens of the late Tamehameha, and Kekauruohe her daughter, were proceeding in the same vessel to join the king and other chiefs at Maui. The trade-wind blew fresh from the northeast, and the sea was unusually rough in the channel between Oahu and Morokai. The schooner appeared to be a good sea-boat, but proved a very uncomfortable one: the deck, from stem to stern, being continually overflowed, all who could not get below were constantly drenched with the spray. The cabin was low, and so filled with the chief women and their companions, that, where space could be found sufficient to stand or sit, it was hardly possible to endure the heat. The evening, however, was fine, and the night free from rain.

page 75

At daylight next morning, being close in with the west point of Morokai, we tacked, and stood to the southward till noon, when we again steered to the northward, and at four o'clock in the afternoon were within half a mile of the high bluff rocks which form the southern point of Ranai. A light air then came off the land, and carried us slowly along the shore, till about an hour before sun-set, when Kekauruohe said she wished for some fish, and requested the master to stop the vessel while she went to procure them among the adjacent rocks. Her wishes were gratified, and the boat was hoisted out. Kekauruohe and three of her female attendants proceeded towards the rocks that lie along the base of the precipice, about half a mile distant. The detention thus occasioned, afforded me time to observe more particularly the neighbouring coast. The face of the high and perpendicular rocks in this part of the island indicate that Ranai is either of volcanic origin, or, at some remote period, has undergone the action of fire. Different strata of lava, of varied colour and thickness, are distinctly marked from the water's edge to the highest point. These strata, lying almost horizontally, are in some places from twelve to twenty feet thick, in others not more than a foot or eighteen inches.

After fishing about an hour, Kekauruohe and her companions returned with a quantity of limpets, periwinkles, &c. of which they made a hearty supper. The wind died away with the setting of the sun, until about 9 p. m. when a light breeze came from the land, and wafted us slowly on our passage.

The southern shore of Ranai is usually avoided by masters of vessels acquainted with the navigation page 76 among the islands, on account of the light and variable winds or calms generally experienced there; the course of the trade-winds being intercepted by the high lands of Maui and Ranai.

It is not unusual for vessels, passing that way, to be becalmed there for six, eight, or even ten days. The natives, with the small craft belonging to the islands, usually keep close in shore, avail themselves of the gentle land-breeze to pass the point in the evening, and run into Lahaina with the sea-breeze in the morning; but this is attended with danger, as there is usually a heavy swell rolling in towards the land. One or two vessels have escaped being drifted on the rocks, only by the prompt assistance of their boats.

At day-break, on the 4th, we found ourselves within about four miles of Lahaina, which is the principal district in Maui, on account of its being the general residence of the chiefs, and the common resort of ships that touch at the island. A dead calm prevailed; but by means of two large sweeps, or oars, each worked by four men, we reached the roads, and anchored at 6 a. m.

The appearance of Lahaina from the anchorage is singularly romantic and beautiful. A fine sandy beach stretches along the margin of the sea, lined for a considerable distance with houses, and adorned with shady clumps of kou-trees, or waving groves of cocoa-nuts. The former is a species of cordia—the cordia sebastina in Cook's voyages. The level land of the whole district, for about three miles, is one continued garden, laid out in beds of taro, potatoes, yams, sugar-cane, or cloth-plants. The lowly cottage of the farmer is seen peeping through the leaves of the luxuriant plantain and banana tree, and in every direction white columns page 77 of smoke ascend, curling up among the widespreading branches of the bread-fruit tree. The sloping hills immediately behind, and the lofty mountains in the interior, clothed with verdure to their very summits, intersected by deep and dark ravines, frequently enlivened by waterfalls, or divided by winding valleys, terminate the delightful prospect.

Shortly after coming to anchor, a boat came from the barge, for the chiefs on board, and I accompanied them to the shore.

On landing, I was kindly greeted by Keoua, governor of the place; and shortly afterwards met and welcomed by Mr. Stewart, who was just returning from morning worship with Keopuolani and her husband.

We waited on Rihoriho, the late king, in his tent. He was, as usual, neatly and respectably dressed, having on a suit of superfine blue, made after the European fashion. We were courteously received, and, after spending a few minutes in conversation respecting my journey to Hawaii, and answering his inquiries relative to Oahu, we walked together about half a mile, through groves of plantain and sugar-cane, over a well-cultivated tract of land, to Mr. Butler's establishment, in one of whose houses the Missionaries were comfortably accommodated, until their own could be erected, and where I was kindly received by the members of the Mission family.

After breakfast I walked to the beach, and there learned that the king had sailed for Morokai, and that Kalakua intended to follow in the schooner in which she had come from Oahu. This obliged me to wait for the Ainoa, another native vessel, hourly expected at Lahaina, on her way to page 78 Hawaii. The forenoon was spent in conversation with Keopuolani, queen of Maui, and mother of Rihoriho. She, as well as the other chiefs present, appeared gratified with an account of the attention given to the means of instruction at Oahu, and desirous that the people of Lahaina might enjoy all the advantages of Christian education. Taua, the native teacher from Huahine, appeared diligently employed among Keopuolani's people, many of whom were his scholars; and I was happy to learn from Messrs. Stewart and Richards, that he was vigilant and faithful in his work.

At sun-rise next morning, Mr. Stewart and I walked down to Keopuolani's, to attend the usual morning exercises, in the large house near the sea. About fifty persons were present. In the afternoon I accompanied the Missionaries to their schools on the beach. The proficiency of many of the pupils in reading, spelling, and writing on slates, was pleasing.

Just as they had finished their afternoon instruction, a party of musicians and dancers arrived before the house of Keopuolani, and commenced a hura ka raau, (dance to the beating of a stick.) Five musicians advanced first, each with a staff in his left hand, five or six feet long, about three or four inches in diameter at one end, and tapering off to a point at the other. In his right hand he held a small stick of hard wood, six or nine inches long, with which he commenced his music, by striking the small stick on the larger one, beating time all the while with his right foot on a stone, placed on the ground beside him for that purpose. Six women, fantastically dressed in yellow tapas, crowned with garlands of flowers, having also wreaths, of native manufacture, of the sweet page 79 scented flowers of the gardenia on their necks, and branches of the fragrant mairi, (another native plant,) bound round their ankles, now made their way by couples through the crowd, and, arriving at the area, on one side of which the musicians stood, began their dance. Their movements were slow, and, though not always graceful, exhibited nothing offensive to modest propriety. Both musicians and dancers alternately chanted songs in honour of former gods and chiefs of the islands, apparently much to the gratification of the spectators. After they had continued their hura, (song and dance,) for about half an hour, the queen, Keopuolani, requested them to leave off, as the time had arrived for evening worship. The music ceased; the dancers sat down; and, after the Missionaries and some of the people had sung one of the songs of Zion, I preached to the surrounding multitude with special reference to their former idolatrous dances, and the vicious customs connected therewith, from Acts xvii. 30. “The times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” The audience was attentive; and when the service was finished, the people dispersed, and the dancers retired to their houses.

On our way home, the voice of lamentation arrested our attention. Listening a few moments, we found it proceeded from a lowly cottage, nearly concealed by close rows of sugar-cane. When we reached the spot, we beheld a middle-aged woman, and two elderly men, weeping around the mat of a sick man, apparently near his end. Finding him entirely ignorant of God, and of a future state, we spoke to him of Jehovah, of the fallen condition of man, of the amazing love of page 80 Christ in suffering death for the redemption of the world, and recommended him to pray to the Son of God, who was able to save to the uttermost. He said that, until now, he knew nothing of these things, and was glad he had lived to hear of them. We requested one of his friends to come to our house for some medicine; and having endeavoured to comfort the mourners, bade them farewell.

The Ainoa was seen approaching from the southward, on the morning of the 6th. About two p.m. she came to anchor, having been becalmed off Ranai four days.

This day being the Sabbath, at half-past ten the Mission family walked down to the beach to public worship. Most of the chiefs, and about three hundred people, assembled under the pleasant shade of a beautiful clump of kou-trees, in front of Keopuolani's house. After singing and prayer, I preached from Luke x. 23, 24. “Blessed are the eyes which see the things which ye see: for I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” After service, when we went to present our salutations to Keopuolani, we found her, Kaikioeva, and several chiefs, conversing about Tamehameha, and others of their ancestors, who had died idolaters, and expressing their regret that the gospel had not been brought to the Sandwich Islands in their day. “But perhaps,” said Keopuolani, “they will have less punishment in the other world for worshipping idols, than those who, though they do not worship wooden gods, yet see these days, and hear these good things, and still disregard them.” As we returned, I visited the sick man, found him better page 81 than on the preceding evening, and again recommended the Son of God as all-sufficient to save.

I afterwards saw a party at buhénehéne. This is one of the most popular games in the Sandwich Islands, is the favourite amusement of the king, and higher order of chiefs, and frequently occupies them whole days together. It principally consists in hiding a small stone under one of five pieces of native tapa, or cloth, so as to prevent the spectators from discovering under which piece it is hid. The parties at play sit cross-legged, on mats spread on the ground, each one holding in his right hand a small elastic rod, about three feet long, and highly polished. At the small end of this stick there is a narrow slit or hole, through which a piece of dog's skin, with a tuft of shaggy hair on it, or a piece of ti leaf, is usually drawn Five pieces of tapa, of different colours, each loosely folded up like a bundle, are then placed between the two parties, which generally consists of five persons each. One person is then selected on each side, to hide the stone. He who is first to hide it, takes it in his right hand, lifts up the cloth at one end, puts his arm under as far as his elbow, and, passing it along several times, underneath the five pieces of cloth, which lie in a line contiguous to each other, he finally leaves it under one of them. The other party sit opposite, watching closely the action in the muscles of the upper part of his arm; and it is said, that adepts can discover the place where the stone is deposited, by observing the change that takes place in those muscles, when the hand ceases to grasp it. Having deposited the stone, the hider withdraws his arm; and, with many gestures, separates the contiguous pieces of cloth page 82 into five distinct heaps, leaving a narrow space between each.

The opposite party, having keenly observed this process, now point with their wands or sticks o the different heaps under which they suppose the stone lies, looking significantly, at the same time, full in the face of the man who hid it. He sits all the while, holding his fingers before his eyes, to prevent their noticing any change in his countenance, should one of them point to the heap under which it is hid. Having previously agreed who shall strike first, that individual, looking earnestly at the hider, lifts his rod, and strikes a smart blow across the heap he had selected. The cloth is instantly lifted up; and should the stone appear under it, his party have won that hiding with one stroke; if it is not there, the others strike, till the stone is found. The same party hide the stone five or ten times successively, according to their agreement at the commencement of the play; and whichever party discovers it the given number of times, with fewest strokes, wins the game. Sometimes they reverse it; and those win, who, in a given number of times, strike most heaps without uncovering the stone. Occasionally they play for amusement only, but more frequently for money, or other articles of value, which they stake on the game.

I went to the party whom I found thus engaged, and, after a few minutes' conversation, told them, that it was the sacred day of God, and induced them to put aside their play, and promise to attend public worship in the afternoon. Leaving them, I passed through a garden, where a man was at work weeding and watering a bed of cloth-plants. I asked him if he did not know it was the sacred page 83 day, and improper for him to work? The man answered, yes, he knew it was the la tabu, (sacred day,) and that Karaimoku had given orders for the people of Lahaina not to work on that day but said, he was hana marù no, (just working secretly;) that it was some distance from the beach, and the chiefs would not see him. I then told him he might do it without the chiefs seeing him, but it was prohibited by a higher power than the chiefs, even by the God of heaven and earth, who could see him alike in every place, by night and by day. He said he did not know that before, and would leave off when he had finished the row of cloth-plants he was then weeding!

Mr. Stewart conducted an English service in the afternoon. The sound of the hura in a remote part of the district was occasionally heard through the after-part of the day, but whether countenanced by any of the chiefs, or only exhibited for the amusement of the common people, we did not learn.

At four o'clock we again walked down to the beach, and found about two hundred people collected under the kou-trees; many more speedily came, and, after the introductory exercises, I preached to them upon the doctrine of the resurrection and a future state, from John xi. 25. The congregation seemed much interested. Probably it was the first time many had ever heard of the awful hour, when the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised, and stand before God. At the conclusion of the service, notice was given of the monthly Missionary prayer-meeting on the morrow evening, and the people were invited to attend.

Taua, the native teacher of Keopuolani, visited page 84 the family in the evening, and gave a very pleasing account of Keopuolani's frequent conversations with him, on the love of God in sending his Son, on the death of Christ, and on her great desire to have a new heart, and become a true follower of the Redeemer. He informed us, that after most of the attendants had retired, she had several times sent for him, at nine or ten o'clock in the evening to engage in prayer with her and her husband, before they retired to rest. This account was truly gratifying, and tended much to strengthen the pleasing hope, which, from her uniform, humble, and christian conduct, had for some time been indulged, that a saving change had taken place in her heart.

In the afternoon of thr 7th I walked to the seaside with Mr. Richards, and waited on the queen Keopuolani, to converse with her respecting the houses and fences which she had kindly engaged to erect for the Missionaries. The interview was satisfactory. Keopuolani seemed anxious to make them comfortable, and assured Mr. Richards that the houses would soon be ready for them. We then visited Maaro, the chief of Waiakea, a large district on the eastern side of Hawaii. He had been on a short visit to the king at Oahu, and was returning to his land in the Aino. He received us kindly, and, when informed that I wished to proceed in the vessel to Hawaii, said, “It is good that you should go; we shall sail to-morrow.” The eastern part of Lahaina, in which he had his encampment, was highly cultivated, and adorned with beautiful groves of kou-trees and cocoa-nuts. There were also several large ponds, well stocked with fish.

On returning from our visit to Maaro, we found page 85 the people collecting under the shade of their favourite trees, in front of Keopuolani's house, for the purpose of attending the monthly Missionary prayer-meeting. About five o'clock the service commenced. I gave an address from the Saviour's commission to the first Missionaries to the heathen, Matt. xxviii. 19. “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations.” The audience appeared gratified with the brief account given of the Missionary operations of the present day, especially those among the southern islands of the Pacific, with whose inhabitants they feel themselves more particularly identified, than with the native tribes of Africa or Asia. It was a circumstance truly animating to see so many of those who, wrapt in the thick darkness of paganism, had till lately worshipped the work of their own hands, and “sacrificed” their fellow-creatures “to devils,” now joining with Christians of every nation, in praying for the spread of the gospel of Jesus throughout the world.

After breakfast on the eighth, I visited a neat strong brick house, which stands on the beach, about the middle of the district. It was erected for Tamehameha; appears well built, is forty feet by twenty, has two stories, and is divided into four rooms by strong boarded partitions. It was the occasional residence of the late king, but by the present is used only as a warehouse. Several persons, who appeared to have the charge of it were living in one of the apartments; and, having looked over the house, and made some inquiries about the native timber employed for the floor, beams, &c. I sat down on one of the bales of cloth lying in the room where the natives were sitting, and asked them if they knew how to page 86 read, or if any of them attended the school, and the religious services on the Sabbath? On their answering in the negative, I advised them not to neglect these advantages, assuring them that it was a good thing to be instructed, and to know the true God, and his Son Jesus Christ, the only Saviour. They said, “Perhaps it is a good thing for some to attend to the palapala and the pule, (to reading and prayers,) but we are the king's servants, and must attend to his concerns. If we (meaning all those that had the care of the king's lands) were to spend our time at our books, there would be nobody to cultivate the ground, to provide food, or cut sandal-wood for the king.” I asked them what proportion of their time was taken up in attending to these things? They said, they worked in the plantations three or four days in a week, sometimes from daylight till nine or ten o'clock in the forenoon; that preparing an oven of food took an hour; and that when they went for sandal-wood, which was not very often, they were gone three or four days, and sometimes as many weeks. They were the king's servants, and generally work much less than the people who occupy or cultivate lands. I asked them what they did in the remaining part of those days in which they worked at their plantations in the morning, and also on those days when they did not work at all? They said they ate poë, laid down to sleep, or kamailio no (just talked for amusement.) They were then asked, which they thought would be most advantageous to them—to spend that time in learning to read, and seeking the favour of Jehovah and Jesus Christ, that they might live for ever—or wasting it in eating, sleeping, or foolish talking, and remaining page 87 ignorant in this world, and liable to wretchedness in that which is to come? They immediately endeavoured to give a different turn to the conversation, by saying, “What a fine country yours must be, compared with this! What large bales of cloth come from thence, while the clothing of Hawaii is small in quantity, and very bad. The soil there must be very prolific, and property easily obtained, or so much of it would not have been brought here. I informed them, that the difference was not so great between the countries, as between the people—that, many ages back, the ancestors of the present inhabitants of England and America possessed fewer comforts than the Sandwich Islanders now enjoy; wore skins of beasts for clothing; painted their bodies with various colours; and worshipped with inhuman rites their cruel gods—but that since they had become enlightened and industrious, and had embraced Christianity, they had been wise and rich; and many, there was reason to hope, had, after death, gone to a state of happiness in another world—that they owed all their present wealth and enjoyment to their intelligence and industry—and that, if the people of either country were to neglect education and religion, and spend as much of their time in eating, sleeping, and jesting, they would soon become as poor and as ignorant as the Sandwich Islanders. They said, perhaps it was so; perhaps industry and instruction would make them happier and better, and, if the chiefs wished it, by and by they would attend to both. After again exhorting them to improve the means now placed within their reach by the residence of the Missionaries among them, I took my departure. During the forenoon, I went into page 88 several other houses, and conversed with the people on subjects relating to the Mission, recommending their attention to the advantages it was designed to confer. Some approved, but many seemed very well satisfied with their present state of ignorance and irreligion, and rather unwilling to be disturbed.

After having united with the family in their evening devotions, on the 9th I took my leave, grateful for the hospitable entertainment and kind attention I had experienced, during my unexpected stay at their station. I regretted that the illness of Mr. Stewart, which had been increasing for several days, prevented his accompanying me on the projected tour. At nine o'clock I walked down to the beach, but waited till midnight before an opportunity offered for getting on board. On reaching the brig, I learned that they did not intend to sail till daylight. There were such multitudes of natives on board, and every place was so crowded, that it was impossible to pass from the gangway to the companion without treading on them; and it was difficult any where, either below or upon deck, to find room sufficient to lie down.

Early in the morning of the 10th, the vessel was under way, but the light winds, and strong westerly current, soon rendered it necessary to anchor. Between eight and nine I went on shore, and, after breakfasting with the Mission family, returned to the beach, that I might be ready to embark whenever the wind should become favourable. I sat down in Keopuolani's house, and entered into an interesting conversation with her, Hoapiri, and several other chiefs, respecting their ancient traditions and mythology.

page 89

One of the ancient gods of Maui, prior to its subjugation by Tamehameha, they said, was Keoroeva. The body of the image was of wood, and was arrayed in garments of native tapa. The head and neck were formed of a kind of fine basket or wicker work, covered over with red feathers, so curiously wrought in as to resemble the skin of a beautiful bird. A native helmet was placed on the idol's head, from the crown of which long tresses of human hair hung over its shoulders. Its mouth, like the greater number of the Hawaiian idols, was large and extended.

∗An idol of this kind is deposited in the Missionary Museum, Austin Friars, London.

In all the temples dedicated to its worship, the image was placed within the inner apartment, on the left-hand side of the door, and immediately before it stood the altar, on which the offerings of every kind were usually placed. They did not say whether human victims were ever sacrificed to appease its imagined wrath; but large offerings, of every thing valuable, were frequent. Sometimes hogs were taken alive, as presents. The large ones were led, and the smaller ones carried in the arms of the priest, into the presence of the idols. The priest then pinched the ears or the tail of the pig till it made a squeaking noise, when he addressed the god, saying, “Here is the offering of such a one of your kaku,” (devotees.) A hole was then made in the pig's ear, a piece of cinet, formed of the fibres of the cocoa-nut husk, was fastened in it, and the pig was set at liberty until the priest had occasion for him. In consequence of this mark, which distinguished the sacred hog, he was allowed to range the district at pleasure; and whatever depredations he might commit, driving page 90 him away from the enclosures into which he had broken, was the only punishment allowed to be inflicted.

Keoroeva's hogs were not the only ones thus privileged. The same lenient conduct was observed towards all the sacred pigs, to whatever idol they had been offered.

Tiha, a female idol, they said was also held in great veneration by the people of Maui, and received nearly the same homage and offerings as Keoroeva.

The people of Ranai, an adjacent island, had a number of idols, but those best known by the chiefs with whom I was conversing, were Raeapua and Kaneapua, two large carved stone images, representing the deities supposed to preside over the sea, and worshipped chiefly by fishermen.

Mooarii, (king of lizards or alligators,) a shark, was also a celebrated marine god, worshipped by the inhabitants of Morokai, another island in the neighbourhood. The chiefs informed me, that on almost every point of land, projecting any distance into the sea, a temple was formerly erected for his worship. Several kinds of fish arrive in shoals on their coast, every year, in their respective seasons. The first fish of each kind, taken by the fishermen, were always carried to the heiau, and offered to their god, whose influence they imagined had driven them to their shores. In some remote period, perhaps, they had observed the sharks chasing or devouring these fish, as they passed along among their islands, and from this circumstance had been led to deify the monster, supposing themselves indebted to him for the bountiful supplies thus furnished by a gracious Providence.

page 91

They had a number of sea gods, besides those, who, they imagined, directed the shoals of fishes to their shores. They had also gods who controlled the winds, and changed the weather. During a storm, or other season of danger at sea, they offered up their paro, or pule kurana, a particular kind of prayer; but I did not learn to what idol they addressed it. On these occasions, their dread of perishing at sea frequently led them to make vows to some favourite deity; and if they ever reached the land, it was their first business to repair to the temple, and fulfil their vows. These vows were generally considered most sacred engagements; and it was expected that, sooner or later, some judgment would overtake those who failed to perform them. It is not improbable, that the priests of those idols, in order to maintain their influence over the people, either poisoned the delinquents, or caused them to sustain some other injury.

Karaipahoa was also a famous idol, originally belonging to Morokai. It was a middling-sized wooden image, curiously carved; the arms were extended, the fingers spread out, the head was ornamented with human hair, and the widely extended mouth was armed with rows of shark's teeth.

The wood of which the image was made was so poisonous, that if a small piece of it was chipped into a dish of poë, or steeped in water, whoever ate the poë, or drank the water, the natives reported, would certainly die in less than twenty-four hours afterwards. We were never able to procure a sight of this image, though we have been repeatedly informed that it still exists, not indeed in one compact figure, as it was divided in page 92 several parts on the death of Tamehameha, and distributed among the principal chiefs.

It is known that the natives use several kinds of vegetable poison; and probably the wood of which the idol was made is poisonous. But the report of the virulence of the poison is most likely one of the many stratagems so frequently employed by the chiefs and priests, to maintain their influence over the minds of the people.

A smaller image of the same god was formed of nioi, a hard yellow wood, of which idols were usually made. This was left at Morokai, the original being always carried about by Tamehameha, and placed under his pillow whenever he slept.

The following is the tradition given by the natives of the original idol.

In the reign of Kamaraua, an ancient king of Morokaai, lived Kaneakama, a great gambler. Playing one day at maita, (a Hawaiian game,) he lost all that he possessed, except one pig, which, having dedicated to his god, he durst not stake on any hazard. In the evening he returned home, lay down on his mat, and fell asleep. His god appeared to him in a dream, and directed him to go and play again on the following day, and stake this pig on his success in a particular part of the play. He awoke in the morning, did as the god had directed, and was remarkably successful through the day. Before he returned home in the evening, he went to the temple of his idol, and there dedicated the greater part of his gain.

During his sleep that night, the god appeared to him again, and requested him to go to the king, and tell him, that a clump of trees would be seen growing in a certain place in the morning; and that if he would have a god made out of one of page 93 them, he would reside in the image, and impart to it his power; signifying, also, that Kaneakama should be his priest.

Early the next morning, the man who had received the communication from his god went and delivered it to the king, by whom he was directed to take a number of men, and cut down one of the trees, and carve it into an image. As they approached Karuakoi, a small valley on the side of one of the mountains in Morokai, they were surprised at beholding a clump of trees, where there had been none before, the gods having caused them to grow up in the course of the preceding night. Into these trees, Tane, and some other gods, are reported to have entered. When they arrived at the spot, the gods, by some sign, directed Kaneakama which tree to cut down. They began to work with their short-handled stone hatchets; but the chips flying on the bodies of one or two of them, they instantly expired. Terrified at the dreadful power of the wood, the others threw down their hatchets, and refused to fell the tree: being urged by Kaneakama, they resumed their work; not, however, till they covered their bodies and faces with native cloth, and the leaves of the ti plant, leaving only a small aperture opposite one of their eyes. Instead of their hatchets, they took their long daggers, or pahoas, with which they cut down the tree, and carved out the image. From this circumstance, the natives say, the idol derived its name, Karai-pahoa, which is literally, dagger cut, or carved; from karai, to chip with an adze, or carve, and pahoa, a dagger.

Excepting the deities supposed to preside over volcanoes, no god was so much dreaded by the page 94 people as Karaipahoa. All who were thought to have died by poison, were said to have been slain by him.

Before I left the party, I could not help stating to them the striking identity between some of their traditions and those of the Tahitians, and expressed my conviction that both nations had the same origin. They said, tradition informed them that their progenitors were brought into existence on the islands which they now inhabit; that they knew nothing of the origin of the people of the Georgian and Society Islands, yet Tahiti, the name of the largest of the Georgian Islands, was found in many of their ancient songs, though not now applied exclusively to that island. With the people of Borabora, (the name they gave to the Society Islands,) they said they had no acquaintance before they were visited by Captain Cook, but that, since that time, by means of ships passing from one group of islands to the other, several presents and messages of friendship had been interchanged between Tamehameha and Pomare I.; and that, in order to cement their friendship more firmly, each had agreed to give one of his daughters in marriage to the son of the other. In consequence of this amicable arrangement, a daughter of Pomare was expected from Tahiti, to be the wife of Rihoriho, late king of Hawaii; and Kekauruohe, one of the daughters of Tamehameha, was selected by her father to be the bride of Pomare, the late king of Tahiti. Wanting a conveyance from Hawaii to Tahiti, Tamehameha was unable to send Kekauruohe; which, together with the death of Pomare before he had any opportunity of sending one of his relatives to Hawaii, page 95 prevented the intended intermarriages between the reigning families of Hawaii and Tahiti.

About two o'clock in the afternoon, the Ainoa hove up her anchor. I went on board in a canoe just as she was leaving the roads. The brig being about ninety tons burden, one of the largest the natives have, was, as has been already observed, much crowded, and, owing to the difference between the motion of the vessel, and that experienced in their small canoes, many of the natives soon became sea-sick.

It was calm through the night, but the wind blew fresh in the morning from N.N.E. and continued until noon, when, being under the lee of the high land of Kohala, one of the large divisions of Hawaii, we were becalmed. At four o'clock p. m. a light air sprung up from the southward, and carried us slowly on towards Towaihae, a district in the division of Kohala, about four miles long, containing a spacious bay, and good anchorage. The vessel stood in towards the north side of the bay, leaving a large heiau, (heathen temple,) situated on the brow of a hill, to the southward, and heading directly for a deep gully, or watercourse, called Honokoa, opposite the mouth of which, about seven p. m., she came to anchor in 10 fathoms, with a good bottom.

The north side of the bay affords much the best anchorage for shipping, especially for those that wish to lie near the shore. It is the best holding ground, and is also screened by the kuahive (high land) of Kohala from those sudden and violent gusts of wind called by the natives mumuku, which come down between the mountains with almost irresistible fury, on the southern part of Towaihae, and the adjacent districts.

page 96

At six a. m. the next day, I went on shore, and walked along the beach about a mile to the house of Mr. J. Young, an aged Englishman. I had met him before, both at Hawaii and Oahu. He has resided thirty-six years on the island, and rendered the most important services to the late king; not only in his various civil wars, but in all his intercourse with those foreigners who have visited the islands.

I found him recovering from a fit of illness, received from him a cordial welcome, and, as he was just sitting down to his morning repast, joined him, with pleasure, at his frugal board. After breakfast, I visited the large heiau or temple called Bukohóla. It stands on an eminence in the southern part of the district, and was built by Tamehameha about thirty years ago, when he was engaged in conquering Hawaii, and the rest of the Sandwich Islands. He had subdued Maui, Ranai, and Morokai, and was preparing, from the latter, to invade Oahu; but in consequence of a rebellion in the south and east parts of Hawaii, was obliged to return thither. When he had overcome those who had rebelled, he finished the heiau, dedicated it to Tairi, his god of war, and then proceeded to the conquest of Oahu. Its shape is an irregular parallelogram, 224 feet long, and 100 wide. The walls, though built of loose stones, were solid and compact. At both ends, and on the side next the mountains, they were twenty feet high, twelve feet thick at the bottom, but narrowed in gradually towards the top, where a course of smooth stones, six feet wide, formed a pleasant walk. The walls next the sea were not more than seven or eight feet high, and were proportionally wide. The entrance to the temple is by a narrow page 97 passage between too high walls. As I passed along this avenue, an involuntary shuddering seized me, on reflecting how often it had been trodden by the feet of those who relentlessly bore the murdered body of the human victim an offering to their cruel idols. The upper terrace within the area was spacious, and much better finished than the lower ones. It was paved with flat smooth stones, brought from a distance. At the south end was a kind of inner court, which might be called the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, where the principal idol used to stand, surrounded by a number of images of inferior deities.

In the centre of this inner court was the place where the anu was erected, which was a lofty frame of wicker-work, in shape something like an obelisk, hollow, and four or five feet square at the bottom. Within this the priest stood, as the organ of communication from the god, whenever the king came to inquire his will; for his principal god was also his oracle, and when it was to be consulted, the king, accompanied by two or three attendants, proceeded to the door of the inner temple, and, standing immediately before the obelisk, inquired respecting the declaration of war, the conclusion of peace, or any other affair of importance. The answer was given by the priest in a distinct and audible voice, though, like that of other oracles, it was frequently very ambiguous. On the return of the king, the answer he had received was publicly proclaimed, and generally acted upon. I have frequently asked the people, whether, on these occasions, there was not some previous agreement between the king and the priest. They generally answered in the negative, or said they did not know.

page 98

On the outside, near the entrance to the inner court, was the place of the rere (altar,) on which human and other sacrifices were offered. The remains of one of the pillars that supported it were pointed out by the natives, and the pavement around was strewed with bones of men and animals, the mouldering remains of those numerous offerings once presented there. About the centre of the terrace was the spot where the king's sacred house stood, in which he resided during the season of strict tabu, and at the north end, the place occupied by the houses of priests, who, with the exception of the king, were the only persons permitted to dwell within the sacred enclosures. Holes were seen on the walls, all around this, as well as the lower terraces, where wooden idols of varied size and shape formerly stood, casting their hideous stare in every direction. Tairi or Kukairimoku, a large wooden image, crowned with a helmet, and covered with red feathers, the favourite war-god of Tamehameha, was the principal. To him the heiau was dedicated, and for his occasional residence it was built. On the day in which he was brought within its precincts, vast offerings of fruit, hogs, and dogs, were presented, and no less than eleven human victims were immolated on his altars. And although the huge pile now resembles a dismantled fortress, whose frown no longer strikes terror through the surrounding country, yet it is impossible to walk over such a golgotha, or contemplate a spot which must often have resembled a pandemonium more than any thing on earth, without a strong feeling of horror at the recollection of the bloody and infernal rites so frequently practised within its walls. Thanks be to God, the idols are destroyed! Thanks to page 99 his name, the glorious gospel of his Son, who was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, has reached these heretofore desolate shores! May the Holy Spirit make it the “savour of life unto life” to the remnant of the people!

Leaving Bukohóla, accompanied by some natives, I visited Mairikini, another heiau, a few hundred yards nearer the shore. It was nearly equal in its dimensions to that on the summit of the hill, but inferior in every other respect. It appeared to have been crowded with idols, but no human sacrifices were offered to any of its gods.

On returning to Mr. Young's house, I was informed that the vessel would sail that evening for Kairua, a circumstance I much regretted, as I hoped to spend the sabbath at Towaihae. Mr. Young, however, collected his family and neighbours together, to the number of sixty. A short exhortation was given, and followed by prayer; after which I took leave of my kind host, repaired on board, and the vessel soon after got under way.

It was daylight the next morning before we had left Towaihae bay, as the wind during the night had been very light. The sea breeze had, however, set in early, and carried us along a rugged and barren shore of lava towards Kairua, which is distant from Towaihae about thirty miles. It being the sabbath, I preached on deck in the afternoon, from Mark iv. 38, 39. to a congregation of about one hundred and fifty natives, including the greater part of the crew. Many of the people were afterwards observed sitting together in small groups, and conversing about what they had heard, though some were inclined to make sport of it.

page 100

In the evening we were opposite Laemâno (Shark's Point,) but strong westerly currents prevented our making much progress.

On the morning of the 14th, we found ourselves becalmed to the southward of Kairua, several leagues from the shore. The snow-covered tops of the mountains were distinctly seen at sunrise, but they soon after became enveloped in clouds, and continued so through the day. A light breeze carried the vessel towards the land, and at nine a.m. the boat was lowered down, and I proceeded to the shore. On my way I met the governor Kuakini, and Messrs. Goodrich and Harwood, who were coming off in the governor's boat. We returned together to the shore, where I was gladly received by Messrs. Thurston and Bishop, whom I found waiting to proceed on the tour of the island.

In the afternoon, a party of strolling musicians and dancers arrived at Kairua. About four o'clock they came, followed by crowds of people, and arranged themselves on a fine sandy beach, in front of one of the governor's houses, where they exhibited a native dance, called hura araapapa.

The five musicians first seated themselves in a line on the ground, and spread a piece of folded cloth on the sand before them. Their instrument was a large calabash, or rather two, one of an oval shape about three feet high, the other perfectly round, very neatly fastened to it, having also an aperture about three inches in diameter at the top. Each musician held his instrument before him with both hands, and produced his music by striking it on the ground, where he had laid the piece of cloth, and beating it with his fingers, or the palms of his hands. As soon as they began to sound their calabashes, the dancer, a young man, about the middle page 101 stature, advanced through the opening crowd. His jet-black hair hung in loose and flowing ringlets on his naked shoulders; his necklace was made of a vast number of strings of nicely braided human hair, tied together behind, while a paraoa (an ornament made of a whale's tooth) hung pendent from it on his breast; his wrists were ornamented with bracelets, formed of polished tusks of the hog, and his ankles with loose buskins, thickly set with dog's teeth, the rattle of which, during the dance, kept time with the music of the calabash drum. A beautiful yellow tapa was tastefully fastened round his loins, reaching to his knees. He began his dance in front of the musicians, and moved forwards and backwards, across the area, occasionally chanting the achievements of former kings of Hawaii. The governor sat at the end of the ring, opposite to the musicians, and appeared gratified with the performance, which continued until the evening.