Singular pillars of lava—Scarcity of fresh water—Division of Kona—Appearance of the south-west part of the island—Keavaiti—Missionary labours at Patini—Beautiful spouting of water through the lava—Appearance of the southern extremity of Hawaii—Inland route to Kaura—Description of the mountain taro—A congregation of natives at Paapohatu-Valley of Waiohinu—Account of the Pahe, a native game—Conversation, respecting the abolition of idolatry, with the people at Kapauku—Superstitions connected with Kaverohea—Reception at Honuapo.
We took leave of the friendly people of Kalahiti about nine a. m. on the 25th. Messrs. Thurston, Bishop, and Goodrich continued their journey along the shore, and I went in the canoe in company with Mr. Harwood. The coast, along which we sailed, looked literally iron-bound. It was formed of steep rocks of porphyritic lava, whose surface wore the most rugged aspect imaginable. About two p. m. we reached Taureonanahoa, three large pillars of lava, about twenty feet square, and apparently sixty or eighty high, standing in the water, within a few yards of each other, and adjacent to the shore. Two of them were united at the top, but open at their base. The various coloured strata of black, reddish, and brown lava, page 184 being distinctly marked, looked like so many courses of masonry. We sailed between them and the main land; and about five in the afternoon landed at Kapua, a small and desolate-looking village, on the south-west point of Hawaii, and about twenty miles distant from Kalahiti. Here we had the canoe drawn up on the beach until our companions should arrive.
After leaving Kalahiti, Messrs. Thurston, Goodrich, and Bishop, proceeded over a rugged tract of lava, broken up in the wildest confusion, apparently by an earthquake, while it was in a fluid state. About noon they passed a large crater. Its rim, on the side towards the sea, was broken down, and the streams of lava issuing thence, marked the place by which its contents were principally discharged. The lava was not so porous as that at Keanaee, but, like much in the immediate vicinity of the craters, was of a dark red, or brown ferruginous colour, and but partially glazed. It was exceedingly ponderous and compact; many fragments had quite a basaltic shape, and contained quantities of olivine, of a green and brown colour. For about a mile along the coast, they found it impossible to travel without making a considerable circuit inland: they therefore procured a canoe, and passed along the part of the coast where the sea rolled up against the naked rocks; and about one p. m. landed in a very high surf. To a spectator on the shore their small canoe would have seemed every moment ready to be buried in the waves; yet, by the dexterity of the natives, they were safely landed, with no other inconvenience than a slight wetting from the spray of the surf.
Mr. Thurston preached to the people at the page 185 place where they landed, after which they took some refreshment, and kept on their way over the same broken and rugged tract of lava, till about six p. m., when they reached Honomalino. Here they were so much fatigued with the laborious travelling of the past day, that they were obliged to put up for the night. They procured a little sour poë, and only a small quantity of brackish water. Having conducted family worship with the people of the place, they laid themselves down to rest on their mats spread on the small fragments of lava, of which the floor of the house was composed.
Early the next morning the party at Honomalino proceeded to Kapua, and about eight a. m. joined those who had slept there.
At this place we hired a man to go about seven miles into the mountains for fresh water; but he returned with only one calabash full; a very inadequate supply, as our whole company had suffered much from thirst, and the effects of the brackish water we had frequently drunk since leaving Honaunau. Nothing can exceed the barren and solitary appearance of this part of the island, not only from the want of fresh water, but from the rugged and broken tracts of lava of which it appears to be entirely composed.
Unwilling to spend the Sabbath in the desolate and almost forsaken village of Kapua, we prepared for a long day's journey, as we knew of no village before us containing more than five or six houses for nearly thirty miles' distance.
Before we left Kapua, we were so favoured as to procure water enough to fill our canteens, and about 10 a. m. resumed our journey. Messrs. Thurston, Bishop, and Goodrich, walked on by the sea-side. About noon they reached Kaulanamauna, page 186 and shortly after left Kona, and entered Kaü.
Kona is the most populous of the six great divisions of Hawaii, and, being situated on the leeward side, would probably have been the most fertile and beautiful part of the island, had it not been overflowed by floods of lava. It is joined to Kohala, a short distance to the southward of Towaihae bay, and extends along the western shore between seventy and eighty miles, including the irregularities of the coast. The northern part, including Kairua, Kearake'kua, and Honaunau, contains a dense population; and the sides of the mountains are cultivated to a considerable extent; but the south part presents a most inhospitable aspect. The population is thin, consisting principally of fishermen, who cultivate but little land, and that at the distance of from five to seven miles from the shore.
The division of Kaü commences at Kaulanamauna, runs down to the south point of the island, and stretches about forty miles along the south-east shore. On entering it, the same gloomy and cheerless desert of rugged lava spread itself in every direction from the shore to the mountains. Here and there, at distant intervals, they passed a lonely house, or a few wandering fishermen's huts, with a solitary shrub, or species of thistle, struggling for existence among the crevices in the blocks of scoriæ and lava. All besides was “one vast desert, dreary, bleak, and wild.”
In many places all traces of a path entirely disappeared; for miles together they clambered over huge pieces of vitreous scoriæ, or rugged piles of lava, which, like several of the tracts they had passed in Kona, had been tossed in its page 187 present confusion by some violent convulsion of the earth.
From the state of the lava covering that part of the country through which we have passed, we should be induced to think that eruptions and earthquakes had been, almost without exception, concomitants of each other; and the shocks must have been exceedingly violent, to have torn the lava to pieces, and shaken it up in such distorted forms as we every where beheld.
Slabs of lava, from nine to twelve inches thick, and from four to twenty or thirty feet in diameter, were frequently piled up edgewise, or stood leaning against several others piled up in a similar manner. Some of them were six, ten, or twelve feet above the general surface, fixed in the lava below, which appeared to have flowed round their base, and filled up the interstices occasioned by the separation of the different pieces. One side of these rugged slabs generally presented a compact, smooth, glazed, and gently undulated surface, while the other appeared rugged and broken, as if torn with violence from the viscid mass to which it had tenaciously adhered. Probably these slabs were raised by the expansive force of the heated air beneath the sheet of lava.
After about eighteen miles of most difficult travelling, they reached Keavaiti, a small opening among the rocks, where, in case of emergency, a canoe might land in safety. Here they found Mr. Harwood and myself waiting; for, after leaving Kapua, we had sailed along close to the shore, till the wind, becoming too strong for us to proceed, we availed ourselves of the opening which Keavaiti afforded, to run the canoe, ashore, and page 188 wait till the wind should abate; though, in so doing, we were completely wet with the surf, and spoiled the provisions we had on board.
The wind was still too strong to allow the canoe to proceed on her voyage; and those who had travelled by land felt too much fatigued to go on without refreshment and rest. Desirous of spending the Sabbath with the people at Tairitii, which was still fourteen or fifteen miles distant, we determined to rest a few hours, and then prosecute our journey by moonlight.
A number of conical hills, from one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet high, rose immediately in our rear, much resembling sandhills in their appearance. On examination, however, we found them composed of volcanic ashes and cinders, but could not discover any mark of their having been craters.
When those of our party who had travelled by land had recovered a little from their fatigue, we partook of such refreshment as remained, and drank the little fresh water we had brought with us in the canoe. Being only about a quart between five persons, it was a very inadequate supply in such a dry and thirsty land; yet we drank it with thankfulness, hoping to procure some at Tairitii early on the following morning.
By the time we had finished our frugal meal, the shades of evening began to close around us. We called our little party together, and after committing ourselves, and those who travelled with us, to the watchful care of our merciful Father, we spread our mats on the small pieces of lava, and lay down to rest under the canopy of heaven. A pile of blocks of scoriæ and lava, part of which we had built up ourselves, screened our heads page 189 from the winds. The thermometer at sun-set stood at 73°; yet, during the evening, the land wind from the snow-covered top of Mouna Roa blew keenly down upon us. We slept, however tolerably well till midnight, when the wind from the shore being favourable, and the moon having risen, we resumed our voyage.
I went with Mr. Harwood in the canoe to Tairitii, which we reached a short time before day break; but the surf rolling high, we were obliged to keep off the shore until daylight enabled us to steer between the rocks to the landing place. Some friendly natives came down to the beach and pointed out the passage: by their aid, we landed in safety about half-past five in the morning of the 27th. Our first inquiry was for water; Mauae, the governor's man, soon procured a calabash full, fresh and cool, of which we drank most copious draughts, then filled the canteens and preserved them for those who were travelling along the shore.
About half-past eight, Mr. Thurston hastily entered the house; his first expressions were, “Have you got any water?” A full canteen was handed to him, with which he quenched his thirst exclaiming, as he returned it, that he had never in his life before suffered so much for want of water When he first discovered the houses, about two miles distant, he felt his thirst so great, that he left his companions and hastened on, running and walking till he reached the place. After leaving Keavaiti, Messrs. Bishop, Goodrich, and Thurston, travelled over the rugged lava, till the moon becoming obscured by dark heavy clouds, they were obliged to halt under a high rock of lava, and wait the dawn of day, for they found it impossible to page 190 proceed in the dark, without being every moment in danger of stumbling over the sharp projections of the rocks, or falling into some of the deep and wide fissures that intersected the bed of lava in every direction. After waiting about an hour, they resumed their journey; and Messrs. Bishop and Goodrich reached Tairitii nearly half an hour after Mr. Thurston's arrival.
At 10 a. m. Mr. Thurston preached to the people of Tairitii, and the neighbouring village of Patini, all of whom are fishermen. They behaved with propriety, and appeared interested. We had sent out Makoa, our guide, soon after our arrival, to inform the people that there would be a religious meeting, and invite their attendance. He had gone much further than we expected he would; and just as Mr. Thurston had finished his sermon, he returned, followed by a considerable company from an inland settlement, who, to use their own words, had come to hear about Jehovah and Jesus Christ. They seemed disappointed at finding the service over. As they said they could not wait till the evening, they and the people of the village assembled in a large canoe-house, and Mr. Thurston preached again of salvation through Jesus Christ. They sat very quietly, and listened with apparent attention. After they had spent an hour or two in conversation with us, they returned, seemingly interested in what they had heard. In the afternoon, Mr. Thurston preached a third time. Between seventy and eighty were present. With most of those who have attended the public worship in this place, this day was probably the first time they ever heard of Jehovah the living God, or Jesus Christ the Saviour. We could not but desire and pray that the Holy Spirit might make page 191 the word spoken in this distant and desolate part of the earth, the power of God to the salvation of many that heard it.
July 28th.—During the whole of yesterday, a beautiful spouting of the water had attracted our attention, which we found was produced in a manner similar to that we had witnessed at Kairua. The aperture in the lava was about two feet in diameter, and every few seconds a column of water was thrown up with considerable noise, and a pleasing effect, to the height of thirty-five or forty feet. The lava at this place was very ancient, and much heavier than what we had seen in Kona. The vesicles in it were also completely filled with olivine, which appeared in small, green, hard, transparent crystals, in such quantities as to give the rocks quite a green appearance; some of the olivine was brown. In this neighbourhood we also discovered large masses of porphyritic lava, containing crystals of felspar and olivine in great quantities, and apparently black schorls. The trade-winds blowing along the shore very fresh, and directly against us, obliged us to leave our canoe at this place. Mauae and his companions having drawn it into an adjacent shed, took off the out-rigger and left it, together with the mast, sails, and paddles, in the care of the man at whose house we had lodged: as he was also desirous to see the volcano, and, after an absence of several years, to revisit Kaimu, in the division of Puna, the place of his birth, he prepared to accompany us by land.
Hitherto we had travelled along the sea-shore, in order to visit the most populous villages in the districts through which we had passed. But here receiving information, that we should find more page 192 inhabitants a few miles inland, than nearer the sea, we thought it best to direct our course towards the mountains. Makoa, our guide, procured men to carry our baggage, and at nine a. m. we left Tairitii. Our way lay over a bed of ancient lava, smooth, considerably decomposed, and generally covered with a thin layer of soil. We passed along the edge of a more recent stream of lava, rugged, black, and appalling in its aspect, compared with the tract we were walking over, which here and there showed a green tuft of grass, a straggling shrub, or a creeping convolvulus. After travelling about a mile, we reached the foot of a steep precipice. A winding path led to its top, up which we pursued our way, occasionally resting beneath the shade of huge overhanging rocks. This precipice is about three hundred feet high, and the rocks, on fracture, proved a dark grey kind of lava, more compact than that on the adjacent plain. The whole pile appears to have been formed by successive eruptions from some volcano in the interior, as there appeared to be a thin layer of soil between some of the strata, or different inundations, which we supposed had been produced by the decomposition of the lava on the surface of the lower stratum, before it was overflowed by the superincumbent mass. The rocks appeared to have been rent in a line from the sea-shore towards the mountains, and probably the same convulsion which burst the rocks asunder, sunk the plain to its present level. In half an hour we reached its summit.
A beautiful country now appeared before us, and we seemed all at once transported to some happier island, where the devastations attributed to Nahoaarii and Pele, deities of the volcanoes, page 193 had never been known. The rough and desolate tract of lava, with all its distorted forms, was exchanged for the verdant plain, diversified with gently rising hills, and sloping dales, ornamented with shrubs, and gay with blooming flowers. We saw, however, no stream of water during the whole of the day; but, from the luxuriance of the herbage in every direction, the rains must be frequent, or the dews heavy. About noon we reached Kalehu, a small village, upwards of four miles from Tairitii. The kind cottagers brought us some fine water-melons, which afforded us a grateful repast while we rested during the heat of the noonday sun.
Between sixty and seventy persons collected around the house in which we were sitting, and as I was so far recovered as to be able to preach, I addressed them from Matt. i. 21. They seemed interested, and afterwards said, that they had heard good news. We remained about an hour, conversing on some of the first principles of the religion of Jesus Christ, and then resumed our journey over the same beautiful country, which was partially cultivated, and contained a numerous, though scattered, population. The prospect was delightful. On one hand, the Pacific dashed its mighty waves against the rocky shore, and on the other, the kuahivi (mountain ridges) of Kaü, and snow-top'd Mouna Roa, rose in the interior, with lofty grandeur. Our path led us through several fields of mountain taro, (a variety of the arum,) extensively cultivated in many parts of Hawaii. It was growing in a dry sandy soil, into which our feet sunk two or three inches every step we took. The roots were of an oblong shape, generally from ten inches to a foot in length, and page 194 four or six inches in diameter. Seldom more than two or three leaves were attached to a root, and those of a light green colour, frequently blotched and sickly in their appearance. The inside of the root is of a brown or reddish colour, and much inferior to that of the arum esculentum, or lowland taro. It is, however, palatable, and forms a prime article of food in those parts of the island, where there is a light soil, and but little water.
Between three and four o'clock in the afternoon we reached Kaulu, a small village environed with plantations, and pleasantly situated on the side of a wide valley, extending from the mountains to the south point of the island. As the men with our baggage had not come up, we waited about two hours, when Tuite, the head man of the village, arrived, and pressed us to spend the night at his house. We accepted his invitation, and proposed to him to collect the people of the village together, to hear about the true God. He consented, and a little before sunset about a hundred and fifty assembled in front of his house. Mr. Thurston, after the usual devotional exercises, preached to them for about half an hour, and they paid great attention.
At the request of Makoa, Tuite furnished men to carry our baggage to the next district, and soon after daylight on the 29th we left Kauru, and, taking an inland direction, travelled over a fertile plain, covered with a thin yet luxuriant soil. Sometimes the surface was strewed with small stones, or fragments of lava, but in general it was covered with brushwood.
The population in this part did not appear concentrated in towns, and villages, as it had been along the sea-shore, but scattered over the whole page 195 face of the country, which appeared divided into farms of varied extent, and upon these the houses generally stood singly, or in small clusters, seldom exceeding four or five in number.
After walking six or seven miles, we entered the district of Papapohaku. When we had nearly passed through it, we sat down to rest, on a pile of stones by the way-side. Between sixty and seventy natives soon collected around us; presenting a motley group. Most of the children were naked, or at best had only a narrow slip of tapa fastened round their waists. Several of the men, on seeing us pass along the road, had left their work in the fields and gardens, and, although covered with dust and perspiration, had seated themselves in the midst, with their o-os∗ in their hand. Their only clothing was the maro, a narrow girdle worn round the loins, one end of which passes between the legs, and fastens in front. The old men were most of them dressed in a kihei, as were also some of the women, but many of the latter wore only a paü of native cloth wound round their bodies. Their black hair was in several instances turned up, and painted white all round the forehead, with a kind of chalk or clay, which is found in several parts of the island. Many also wore a small looking-glass, set in a solid piece of wood, and suspended on the bosom by a handkerchief, or strip of native cloth, fastened round the neck, to which was sometimes added another article, considered equally useful, and not less page 196 ornamental; namely, a small wooden, brass-tipped tobacco-pipe; the looking-glass and tobacco-pipe were sometimes combined in one ornament. Most of these people had probably never seen so large a company of foreigners before; and their curiosity, as might be expected, was unusually excited. Their countenances, however, indicated no feelings of jealousy, but manifested a degree of pleasure greater than ordinary. After conversing with them some time, on the objects of our tour, and their ideas of the true God, we proposed to them to listen to his word, and unite with us in worshipping him. They seated themselves on the grass. We sung a hymn, and I preached from Psalm cxxviii. 1. At the conclusion of our religious service, we resumed our journey, several of the natives following us to the next village.
∗This o-o is the principal implement of husbandry which a Hawaiian farmer uses. Formerly it was a sharp-pointed stick of hard wood; it is now usually pointed with iron. The best are made with broad socket chisels, into which they fix a handle four or six feet long.
Our path running in a northerly direction, seemed leading us towards a ridge of high mountains, but it suddenly turned to the east, and presented to our view a most enchanting valley, clothed with verdure, and ornamented with clumps of kukui and kou trees. On the south-east it was open towards the sea, and on both sides adorned with gardens, and interspersed with cottages, even to the summits of the hills. A fine stream of fresh water, the first we had seen on the island, ran along the centre of the valley, while several smaller ones issued from the rocks on the opposite side, and watered the plantations below. We drank a most grateful draught from the principal stream, and continuing our way along its margin, through Kiolaakaa, travelled towards the sea, till we reached Waiohinu, about ten miles from the place where we slept last night. Here we found a very comfortable house, belonging to Pai, the page 197 head man, who invited us in, and kindly entertained us. About noon, a hospitable dinner was prepared, of which, with the additional luxury of fresh water, we made a comfortable meal. At two o'clock in the afternoon, the people of the place were collected outside of the house; and when we had requested them to sit down, we held a religious exercise similar to that in the morning. Much conversation followed, on the subject of religion. They said they had heard of Iéhó, (Jehovah) our God, but had never before heard of Jesus Christ; that, until now, they did not know there was a Sabbath-day, on which they ought not to work, but that hereafter they would recollect and observe it. They wished, they said, to become good men, and to be saved by Jesus Christ. Between three and four o'clock we took leave of them, and pursued our journey towards the seashore. Our road, for a considerable distance, lay through the cultivated parts of this beautiful valley: the mountain taro, bordered by sugarcane and banana, was planted in fields six or eight acres in extent, on the sides of the hills, and seemed to thrive luxuriantly.
In our way, we passed over a tahua páhe, or páhe floor, about fifty or sixty yards long, where a number of men were playing at páhe, a favourite amusement with farmers, and common people in general. The páhe is a blunt kind of dart, varying in length from two to five feet, and thickest about six inches from the point, after which it tapers gradually to the other end. These darts are made with much ingenuity, of a heavy wood. They are highly polished, and thrown with great force or exactness along the level ground, previously prepared for the game. Sometimes the page 198 excellence of the play consists in the dexterity with which the páhe is thrown. On these occasions two darts are laid down at a certain distance, three or four inches apart, and he who, in a given number of times, throws his dart most frequently between these two, without striking either of them, wins the game. At other times it is a mere trial of strength; and those win, who, in a certain number of times, throw their darts farthest. A mark is made in the ground, to designate the spot from which they are to throw it. The players, balancing the páhe in their right hand, retreat a few yards from this spot, and then, springing forward to the mark, dart it along the ground with great velocity. The darts remain wherever they stop, till all are thrown, when the whole party run to the other end of the floor, to see whose have been the most successful throws. This latter game is very laborious; yet we have known the men of whole districts engage in it at once, and have seen them playing several hours together, under the Scorching rays of a vertical sun.
On the same tahua, or floor, they also play at another game, resembling the páhe, which they call maita or uru maita. Two sticks are stuck in the ground only a few inches apart, at a distance of thirty or forty yards, and between these, but without striking either, the parties at play strive to throw their stone; at other times, the only contention is, who can bowl it farthest along the tahua, or floor. The uru, which they use instead of a dart, is a circular stone, admirably adapted for rolling, being of compact lava, or a white alluvial rock, (found principally in the island of Oahu,) about three or four inches in diameter, an inch in thickness around the edge, but thicker in the page 199 centre. These stones are finely polished, highly valued, and carefully preserved, being always oiled and wrapped up in native cloth, after having been used. The people are, if possible, more fond of this game than of the páhe; and the inhabitants of a district not unfrequently challenge the people of the whole island, or the natives of one island those of all the others, to bring a man who shall try his skill with some favourite player of their own district or island. On such occasions we have seen seven or eight thousand chiefs and people, men and women, assembled to witness the sport, which, as well as the páhe, is often continued for hours together.
Many of these amusements require great bodily exertion; and we have often been struck with the restless avidity and untiring effort with which they pursue even the most toilsome games. Sometimes we have expressed our surprise, that they should labour so arduously at their sport, and so leisurely at their plantations or houses, which, in our opinion, would be far more conducive to their advantage and comfort. They have generally answered, that they built houses and cultivated their gardens from necessity, but followed their amusements because their hearts were fond of them. There are some few who play merely for pleasure; but the greater part engage in it in hopes of gain.
Were their games followed only as sources of amusement, they would be comparatively harmless; but the demoralizing influence of the various kinds of gambling existing among them, is very extensive. Scarcely an individual resorts to their games but for the purpose of betting; and at these periods all the excitement, anxiety, exultation, and age, which such pursuits invariably produce, are page 200 not only visible in every countenance, but fully acted out, and all the malignant passions which gambling engenders are indulged without restraint. We have seen females hazarding their beads, scissors, cloth-beating mallets, and every piece of cloth they possessed, except what they wore, on a throw of the uru or páhe. In the same throng might be frequently seen the farmer, with his o-o, and other implements of husbandry; the builder of canoes, with his hatchets and adzes; and some poor man, with a knife, and the mat on which he slept,—all eager to stake every article they possessed on the success of their favourite player; and when they have lost all, we have known them, frantic with rage, tear their hair from their heads on the spot. This is not all; the sport seldom terminates without quarrels, sometimes of a serious nature, ensuing between the adherents of the different parties.
Since schools have been opened in the islands, and the natives have been induced to direct their attention to Christian instruction and intellectual improvement, we have had the satisfaction to observe these games much less followed than formerly; and we hope the period is fast approaching, when they shall only be the healthful exercises of children; and when the time and strength devoted to purposes so useless, and often injurious, shall be employed in cultivating their fertile soil, augmenting their sources of individual and social happiness, and securing to themselves the enjoyment of the comforts and privileges of civilized and Christian life.
After travelling about an hour, through a country which appeared more thickly inhabited than that over which we had passed in the morning, we came to Kapauku, a pleasant village belonging to page 201 Naihe. As we passed through it, we found tall rows of sugar-cane lining the path on either side, and beneath their shade we sat down to rest. A crowd of natives soon gathered around us; and after a little general conversation, we asked them who was their god? They said, they had no god; formerly they had many, but now they had cast them all away. We asked them if they had done well in abolishing them? They said, Yes, for the tabu occasioned much labour and inconvenience, and drained off the best of their property. We asked them if it was a good thing to have no god, and to know of no being to whom they ought to render religious homage? They said, perhaps it was, for they had nothing to provide for the great sacrifices, and were under no fear of punishment for breaking tabu; that now, one fire cooked their food, and men and women ate together the same kind of provisions.
We asked them if they would not like to hear about the true God, and the only Saviour? They said they had heard of Jesus Christ, by a boy belonging to Naihe, who came from Oahu about two months ago; but he had not told them much, and they should like to hear something more. I then requested them to sit down, and preached to them on the way of salvation by Jesus Christ. When the service was ended, many involuntarily exclaimed, “Nui roa maitai! E ake makou i kanaka makou no Jesu, a i ora roa ia ia:” It is greatly good! We wish to become the people of Jesus Christ, and to be saved everlastingly by him.—We recommended them to think on his love, and to love him in return; to obey him; to keep the Sabbath-day, by abstaining from labour; and, meeting together, to talk about what they had page 202 heard; to ask God in prayer to teach them all his righteous will; and to send to Naihe their chief, or the Missionaries at Oahu, for books, and a person to instruct them.
Bidding them farewell, we directed our course towards the shore, and in about half an hour came to Honuapo, an extensive and populous village, standing on a level bed of lava which runs out a considerable distance into the sea. As we approached this place, the natives led us to a steep precipice overhanging the waves, and pointed out a rock in the water below, called Kaverohea. They seemed to regard both the place where we were, and the rock below, with strong feelings of superstition; at which we were not surprised, when they informed us, that formerly a jealous husband, who resided a short distance from the place, murdered his wife in a cruel manner with a stone, and afterwards dragged her down to the spot where we stood, and threw her into the sea; that she fell on the rock which we saw, and, immediately afterwards, while he stood ruminating on what he had done, called out to him in the most affectionate and lamentable strains, attesting her innocence of the crime for which she had been murdered. From that rock, which is still called by her name, they said her voice was often heard calling to her husband, and there her form was sometimes seen. They also informed us, that her lamentations were considered by them as ominous of some great disaster; as of war, or famine, or the death of a distinguished chief. We told them it was in imagination only that she was seen, and that her supposed lamentations were but the noise of the surf, or the whistling of the winds.page 203
From the manner in which we were received at Honuapo, we should not think this village had been often visited by foreigners; for, on our descending from the high land to the lava on which the town stands, the natives came running out to meet us from all quarters, and soon gathered so thickly around us, that we found it difficult to proceed. Boys and girls danced and hallooed before us; vast numbers walked by our side, or followed us, occasionally taking us by the hand, or catching hold of some part of our clothes. They seemed surprised at our addressing them in their own tongue, but were much more so, when Mauae, who preceded us with a large fan in his hand, told them we were teachers of religion,—that we had preached and prayed at every place where we had stopped, and should most likely do so there before we slept.
We passed through the town to the residence of the head man, situated on the farthest point towards the sea. He invited us to his house, procured us water to wash our feet, and immediately sent to an adjacent pond for some fish for our supper. While that was preparing, the people assembled in crowds around the house, and a little before sunset Mr. Thurston preached to them in the front yard. Upwards of 200 were present, and, during the whole of the service, sat quietly, and listened attentively.
A number of the people at this place had one of their lips tataued, after the manner of some of the New Zealand tribes. There was more tatauing here than we had observed at any other place; but it was rudely done, displaying much less taste and elegance than the figures on the bodies of page 204 either the New Zealanders, Tahitians, or Marquesians, which are sometimes really beautiful.
After the service, some of our number visited the ruins of a heiau, on a point of lava near our lodging. During the evening, on making some inquiries respecting it, we found it had been dedicated to Tairi, and was thrown down in the general destruction of idols, in 1819. They seemed to think it was well that idolatry had been prohibited by the king; said its frequent requisitions kept them very poor, and occasioned them much labour. They were, as might be expected, almost entirely ignorant of the religion of Jesus Christ. And from what we saw and heard on first arriving among them, we should fear they were much degraded by immorality and vice.
One man only from this place had been at Oahu, since the king had been favourably disposed towards Christianity: while there, he once attended public Worship in the native language, and heard about Jesus Christ, the God of the foreigners; but had given a very imperfect account of him. The people seemed inclined to listen attentively to what was said about salvation through the Redeemer; and though fatigued by our journey, and exercises with the inhabitants of the different places where we had stopped during the day, we esteemed it a privilege to spend the evening in conversation on a topic of so much interest and importance, and experienced no small degree of pleasure, while endeavouring to convey to their uninformed, but apparently inquiring minds, a concise and simple view of the leading doctrines and duties of our holy religion. At a late hour, we asked them to unite with us in our page 205 evening worship, and afterwards lay down to rest. Many of the people in the house, however, continued talking till almost daylight. The attention given by the people to our instructions is not to be considered as evidencing their conversion to Christianity, or indicating any decisive change in their views or feelings, but is merely noticed as a pleasing manifestation of their willingness to listen to the truths we are desirous to promulgate amongst them.