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LIBRARY 



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IMPERIAL "jLLEGE 

SCIENCE ^ 
BOTA 



J 

/ 



SAVAGE ISLAND 






BY THE SAME AUTHOR 

South Ska Yarns 

The Diversions of a Prime Minister 
^ A Court Intrigue 

The Indiscretions of Lady Asbnath 



P--U>-^: 



P v7 /2S' 



SAVAGE ISLAND 



AN ACCOUNT OF A SOJOURN 
IN NIUE AND TONGA 



By basil THOMSON 

GOVEKNOK OF DARTMOOK 







IMPERIAL COLLEGE 

OF 

%• ' TECHNOinaY- 

L% TA..V ulBRARY. 



LONDON 

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET 

1902 



DM 



"1 7 

PREFACE 



NIUE, more commonly known as Savage 
Island, lies i,cxx5 miles N.N.E. of New 
Zealand, and 300 miles S.S.E. of Samoa, in the 
loneliest spot in that part of the Pacific. Its 
iron-bound coasts tempt no vessels to call for 
supplies. At rare intervals great four- masted 
timber-ships pass in the offing ; more rarely still 
schooners call to replenish the stock of the 
traders and to carry away their copra. 

I went to the Niu^ans in the name of the 
Queen and Empress whom the world is still 
lamenting, and I do not like to think of what 
our loss means to the people in these remote 
outposts of her Empire. The oldest native in 
the South Seas remembers no sovereign's name 
but hers. She was a real person to them all ; 
a lady who had made them her especial care, 
had sent the gospel to them, and had bade 
them lay aside their clubs, and live in peace, 
order, and equity. Vika, as they called her 



vi PREFACE 

affectionately — Vika, after whom they named 
their girl -children — ^was the benigfn, all-powerful 
chief, whose house was built upon the coral 
strand of Lonitoni (London), opposite the land- 
ing-place, where her men-o'-war were moored 
stem and stern in rows before her door. She 
read their letters with her own eyes, and had 
her captains to sit before her on the floor-mats 
while she gave them messages for the brown 
folk in far islands. And now Vika, the well- 
beloved, has left them, mourned by the empire 
of which they were but the tiniest part. It 
was hers, and she never saw it; but we, who 
have seen it — who have, in the humblest way, 
helped in the making of it — ^think with heavy 
hearts of how much hangs upon a name, and 
of how hard it will be to reassure them, when, 
as they say of their own dead kings, ^'kuo 
hala 'ae langi" — "the heaven has fallen." 

Northampton, 1901 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

VACB 

The Island and its People . . . i 



CHAPTER II 
Affairs of State ... 23 

CHAPTER III 
The King of all Niui^ . . ... 34 

CHAPTER IV 
A Trip through the Island . . 49 

CHAPTER V 
Some Historical Records . . 69 

CHAPTER VI 
The Ancient Faith . . ... 84 

CHAPTER VII 
The Tribunals of Arcadia . . 103 

CHAPTER VIII 
A Native Entertainment • 117 

CHAPTER IX 
Byways of Custom . . 133 

CHAPTER X 
Westward Ho! . . . . 141 

CHAPTER XI 
Tonga Revisited . . . 152 



• •• 

via 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER XH 
The King and his Ministers 



Vavau . 



Between the Acts 



Farewell 



ToNGAN Music . 



Index 



CHAPTER XIII 



CHAPTER XIV 



CHAPTER XV 



APPENDIX 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



« 



rXGB 

• 167 



. 182 



. 194 

. 211 

. 218 

. 229 



Ship Ahoy!" .... 

The Church at Aloli. 

A Street in Alofi .... 

The Royal Procession 

King Tongia .... 

Hoisting the Union Jack over Savage Island 

The Queen of Niu^ .... 

"Decently clothed from head to foot" . 

The King and Queen take their Seats 

A Grave in Tonga .... 

Uiliame Tungi, the blind Chief of Hahake 

George Tubou II., King of Tonga 

A Tongan Girl .... 

The Church built by King Geoige I. and the Government Offices 
wrecked by the Cyclone 

The Land-locked Harbour of Vavau 

The Colony of Flying Foxes at Kolovai . 

J. Mateialona, Cousin of the King and Governor of 

The Otuhaka .... 

Map of Nin^ .... 



FACB WAOm 

6 



H 

H 
26 

38 
40 

46 

78 
118 

134 
164 
170 
178 

186 
19a 



313 
332 

Attkeemd 



SAVAGE ISLAND 






CHAPTER I 
THE ISLAND AND ITS PEOPLE 

" " I "O Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Queen 
X of Great Britain, the first kingdom of 
all the kingdoms of the world. 

**We the chiefs and rulers and governors of 
Niu6-Fekai desire to pray Your Majesty, if it 
be your pleasure, to stretch out towards us your 
mighty hand, that Niu6 may hide herself in it 
and be safe. We are afraid lest some other 
powerful nation should come and trouble us, and 
take possession of our island, as some islands in 
this quarter of the world have been taken by 
great nations. On account of this we are 
troubled, but we leave it with you to do as 
seems best to you. If you send the flag of 
Britain, it is well ; or if you send a Commissioner 
to reside among us, that also will be well. 

B 



2 THE ISLAND AND ITS PEOPLE 

"Our king, Tuitonga, died on the 13th July 
last, but before he died he wished to write to 
Your Majesty, and beg you to send the power- 
ful flag of Britain to unfurl in this island of 
Niu6, in order that this weak island of ours 
might be strong. It was from your country 
that men first came to this island to make known 
the name of the Lord, and through them this 
land of Niu^-Fekai became enlightened ; then, 
for the first time, this people knew that there 
were other lands in the world. Therefore the 
people of this land rejoice in you and in your 
kingdom. This land is enlightened by the 
gospel of Jesus Christ brought by the subjects 
of Your Majesty, and that is why we make 
this petition. 

"That is all we have to say. May Your 
Majesty the Queen and your powerful king- 
dom be blessed, together with the kingdom of 
Niue, in the kingdom of Heaven. 

"I, Fataaiki, write this letter." 

Thus wrote Fataaiki, King of Niu^ other- 
wise known as Savage Island, thirteen years 
ago. 

The first request for a protectorate was made 
to a missionary as early as 1859, when the 



BRITISH SUBJECTS BY CHOICE 3 

people were in the first heat of conversion 
to Christianity ; this seems to have gone no 
further. But King Fataaiki's letter reached its 
destination, and England, "the first kingdom 
of all the kingdoms of the world," England 
the earth-hungry and insatiable (as others see 
her), took thirteen years to think it over, and 
then, having received a second letter more pre- 
cisely worded, reluctantly consented. It is an 
object-lesson of the way in which we blunder 
into Empire. 

It was not until the Germans began to develop 
their plantations in Samoa that Niu6 was dis- 
covered to have a value. The Polynesian races, 
as everybody knows, are a picturesque, easy- 
going, and leisure-loving people, too fond of 
home to travel, and too indolent to do a 
steady day's work, A dash of some alien blood, 
as yet unrecognised, has played strange freaks 
with the men of Niud ' Alone among Polynesian 
races they opposed the landing of Europeans ; 
alone they love to engage as labourers far 
from home, and show, both at home and 
abroad, a liking for hard work ; no other island 
race has the commercial instinct so keenly de- 
veloped. The number of them working in 
Samoa has increased so rapidly in recent years 



4 THE ISLAND AND ITS PEOPLE 

that their houses form a distinct quarter of the 
town of Apia, and when the recent troubles 
broke out they went in a body to the British 
Vice-Consul and claimed his protection as British 
subjects. It was hard to turn away people who 
were fellow-subjects by inclination, and to put 
the case at its lowest, our need of plantation 
labourers is tenfold greater than the Germans'. 
And so, when we had to receive from Germany 
an equivalent for the surrender of our claims 
in Samoa, Niu6 was thrown into our side of 
the scale in what is known as the '* Samoa 
Convention, 1899," 3,nd it became my duty 
when negotiating a British protectorate over 
the independent kingdom of Tonga in 1900, 
to visit the island and announce a favourable 
answer to the petition forwarded thirteen years 
before. 

So litde was known of the lonely island that 
we approached it with mixed feelings — anxiety 
on the part of the captain, and high curiosity 
in those unconcerned with the navigation of 
the ship. There were, indeed, other feelings 
among our company, for we had been plunging 
into a strong head sea ever since we left the 
shelter of a Tongan harbour, and H.M.S. 
Porpoise has a reputation as a sea boat on 



SIGHTING THE ISLAND 5 

which it would be charitable not to enlarge. 
The island has never been surveyed — indeed, 
the greater part of it is still indicated in the 
chart by a dotted line — and the brief paragraph 
devoted to it in the "Sailing Directions" is not 
encouraging to navigators. While the wind was 
in the east, a precarious anchorage might be 
found at more than one point on the western 
side, but let the wind shift to the west, and you 
were on a lee shore of precipitous cliffs. 

As the grey cloud, that stretched like a bow 
across our course, grew in definition, the least 
sea-going of our party staggered to the deck. 
The island appeared to be what indeed it is — a 
coral reef upheaved from the sea-bed by some 
terrific convulsion — a Falcon Island of old time, 
only made of solid coral instead of pumice, and 
thirteen miles long instead of two furlongs. Not 
a hill nor a depression broke the monotonous 
line, but a fuzzy indistinctness in the drawing 
betokened that the place was densely wooded, 
as all limestone islands are. The sea was 
moderating; already we had begun to feel the 
influence of that great natural breakwater ; with 
a strong glass we could make out a cluster of 
white houses nestling among the palm trees. 
Setting our course for them, we steamed in, until 



6 THTE ISLAND AND ITS PEOPLE 

the sea grew calm and the steady breeze broke 
into sharp puffs with still air between. On either 
hand, as far as the eye could reach, the sea dashed 
against an abrupt limestone cliff, unprotected by 
any reef; here breaking into smoky spray that 
dimmed the far horizon, there thundering into 
inky caverns. A hundred feet above sprang the 
wall of dark green timber, broken here and 
there by clusters of cocoanut palms that shaded 
trim villages, with roofs of thatch and walls of 
dazzling white. Neatest of all was our haven of 
Alofi, for there the houses were fenced, and a 
grass lawn sloped down to the edge of the cliffs. 
Before the lead touched the bottom a fleet of 
small canoes had put out to meet us. Something 
unusual about these caught the eye ; it was not 
the canoe, which was of the out-rigged build 
common to these seas ; it was the crew. Every 
man wore a hat instead of a turban, and a sober 
coat and trousers instead of a bronze skin and 
a gay waist -cloth. From one of these — the 
only craft that carried more than one man— a 
youth boarded us, and, introducing himself as 
Falani (Frank), the son of the late king, mounted 
the bridge, and offered to pilot us to an anchor- 
age. 

** What you come here for ? " he inquired, with 



L. H 

" I 



THE PRINCE'S LITTLE FAILING 7 

an easy unconsciousness of his responsibilities 
towards the ship. **You come to hoist flag?" 
But his thoughts were elsewhere, for presently, 
espying the captain's black steward, he descended 
to the deck, and began to seek occasion for 
bringing himself under the notice of a functionary 
who, he had a right to assume, would have con- 
trol of the proper perquisites of a pilot There- 
after we saw little more of him. That a person 
of such exalted rank should volunteer his services 
as pilot to even the humblest ship proceeded, as 
we afterwards learned, from no public spirit ; the 
only spirit that drew him forth from the shore 
was that which is kept in the steward's pantry. 
But for this frailty he might have succeeded his 
royal father, but he had now forfeited all his 
chances of succession by refusing to vacate the 
tin-roofed palace, built by public subscription as 
an official residence for future monarchs, on a 
site which, owing to an unfortunate oversight, 
was still the private property of the royal family. 
The reputation of the rightful heir requires no 
comment from me, if so commercially-minded a 
people could prefer the building of a second 
palace at Tuapa to being ruled over by the 
occupant of the original. 

Some four hundred yards from the base of the 



8 THE ISLAND AND ITS PEOPLE 

cliflf the lead gave nineteen fathoms, and there 
the anchor was let go. It caught upon the 
extreme edge of a submarine precipice, for 
soundings under the counter gave sixty-three 
fathoms ; and if a westerly wind would put us on 
a lee shore, it was equally manifest that a strong 
easterly puff might set us dragging our anchor 
into deep water. We might have found better 
holding ground closer in, but it is not g6od to 
play tricks with His Majesty's ships, and as we 
had decided to keep the fires banked until our 
departure, there was nothing to be gained by 
moving. The captain may have had in his mind 
the case of another ship-of-war that anchored in 
seventeen fathoms in a secure but unsurveyed 
harbour for three days, when the navigating 
officer happened to notice that a blue-jacket, 
casting off one of the boats from the boom, was 
using his boat-hook as a punt pole against some 
object a few feet below the surface of the water. 
It was then discovered that all the ships com- 
pany, except the officers, were aware that the 
ship was anchored a few feet from a sharp- 
pointed rock, upon which any veer in the wind 
would have impaled her, but that no one had 
considered it his business to mention what it was 
the officers* duty to find out for themselves. 



AN ADMIRABLE MISSIONARY 9 

I lost no time in sending a boat ashore 
for Mr. Frank Lawes, the representative of the 
London Missionary Society, who, from his long 
residence and his kindly influence over the 
natives, has long been regarded by them as their 
adviser in all matters at issue between the 
Europeans and themselves, and who has so 
modestly and tactfully discharged the duties of 
his unsought office that Europeans and natives 
alike have cheerfully accepted his arbitration. 
He came on board at once, and willingly tendered 
his services, nominally as interpreter, but actually 
as a great deal more than that He is a man of 
middle age, of gentle, sympathetic, and rather 
melancholy mien, with a vein of quiet humour, 
and a manner that would inspire confidence and 
affection in the native races of any country. He 
was anxious that we should move the ship to the 
king s village of Tuapa, for it seems that the 
key to native politics in Niu6 is the jealousy 
between village and village. To summon the 
headmen to the king s village could not be mis- 
interpreted, but to send for the king to Alofi 
would be not only to put the old gentleman into 
ill-humour, but to imply a pre-eminence in Alofi 
that would in no wise be tolerated or forgiven 
by its fellow villages. But, since his description 



lo THE ISLAND AND ITS PEOPLE 

of Tuapa disclosed the fact that the anchorage 
was vile, and the landing-place such that it would 
probably be necessary to wade ashore in full- 
dress uniform, we decided to brave the royal 
displeasure, and to send a message explaining 
that a Queen's ship is not as other ships, and 
that although, out of consideration for her safety, 
our bodies must be landed at Alofi, our hearts 
would certainly be in that capital of capitals, 
Tuapa. Mr. Lawes, having taken upon himself 
the task of despatching messages to each of the 
eleven villages, inviting all the inhabitants of the 
island to a solemn council at ten o'clock the 
next morning, most kindly begged us to take 
up our quarters on shore with him, and took his 
leave. 

There were, meanwhile, signs of a stir on 
shore. Men were running down to the landing- 
place with planks to build a wharf, and a flutter- 
ing crowd of Women and children lined the edge 
of the cliff. When we reached the shore we 
wondered no longer that the Europeans in Niu6 
prefer canoes to boats when they have to board 
a ship. There is a slit in the fringing reef of 
coral just wide enough to admit a boat, which 
heaves and falls with the swell in imminent peril 
of being ground to splinters against its jagged 



OUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS ii 

sides.* But there are no better boatmen in the 
world than the English blue-jackets, and in a 
few seconds we were hoisted upon the crazy pier 
with our baggage. 

There was a smile of welcome on every native 
face, and we had a good opportunity for noting 
the characteristics of this interesting people. The 
men are generally shorter than the Samoans and 
Tongans, and their well-knit muscular bodies are 
less inclined to accumulate fat. Their features 
are smaller, and they often have a pinched 
appearance, as if they had originally been cast 
in a larger mould and compressed, like toy faces 
of india-rubber. Their colour is darker than the 
Samoan, and their bright eyes and vivacious 
gestures show that they have far greater energy 
and activity. Their hair is now cropped short, 
and very few wear beards, but this is a mark 
of civilisation, for the warriors of old depended 
upon hair and beard, plaited and ornamented 
with shells, and long enough to chew between 
their teeth, for striking terror into the hearts of 
their enemies. They all wore suits of European 

* In October, 1900^ the boat that landed Lord Ranfurly for the 
ceremony of annexation shipped a big sea, and the captain of 
H.M.S. Mildura so re-formed the landing-place with gun cotton 
that a boat may now turn round in it. 



12 THE ISLAND AND ITS PEOPLE 

slop clothing, complete except for boots, and 
wide-brimmed hats plaited at home. The women 
wear the flowing sacque — a kind of nightgown 
of coloured print not taken in at the waist — like 
the women of Tahiti and Rarotonga. They had 
the same facial characteristics as the men, but 
they were fleshier in youth and more disposed 
to corpulence in age. They had long and 
rather coarse black hair, sometimes knotted on 
the back of the head, but more often hanging 
loose down the back. It is a pity that they do 
not follow the cleanly custom of Tonga and Fiji 
of smearing the hair with lime once a week, 
which, besides dyeing it a becoming auburn, 
serves other more practical purposes. That 
Niu^ is destitute of running water might be seen 
in a glance at their clothing, which has always to 
be washed with water in which soap will not 
lather. In a large assemblage such as this it 
was easy to recognise two distinct racial types — 
the one clearly Polynesian, the other doubtful. 
This admixture is an ethnological puzzle which 
I shall discuss later. 

The Mission-house is a vast thatched building 
with walls of concrete, partitioned off" into a 
number of large rooms, and standing in its own 
small compound. Most cool and spacious it 



A SELF-DENYING MISSION 13 

seemed after the confined quarters in a third- 
class cruiser. The space before the verandah 
is planted with the flowering shrubs of which 
you may see dwarfed specimens in the tropical 
houses at Kew. I was surprised to find that 
this little compound was the only land on the 
island which Mr. Lawes could call his own. He 
could not even have milk, because when he kept 
a cow he was always having to meet claims by 
his parishioners for the damage it was alleged to 
have done. Judging by the ways of Missions 
in other parts of the Pacific, I may safely say 
that if any other than the London Missionary 
Society had taken Niu^, it would have made the 
island a ** Mission field " in the more literal sense. 
For itself it would have taken the eyes of the 
land ; the pastor would have had a horse and a 
boat and a company of white -robed student 
servants to wait upon him ; as in Hawaii and 
New Zealand, he would have acquired a hand- 
some little landed property of his own, and for 
the natives there would have been left what the 
Mission had no use for. Here the missionary 
must pay for everything except the very rare 
presents of produce that are made him, and 
though four-fifths of the island are overgrown 
with bush, he has not land enough to keep a 



14 THE ISLAND AND ITS PEOPLE 

cow. I do not say which I think is the better 
system ; I only contrast the two. 

In the afternoon we were taken to see the cave 
of the Tongans. Public curiosity having now 
subsided, the village had resumed its normal 
appearance. It is cleaner and tidier even than 
it looked from the sea. The grass that stretches 
like a lawn to the clifTs edge, laced with the 
delicate shadow of the palm leaves, is bounded 
on the landward side by a stiff row of cottages, 
all built as exactly to plan as if a surveyor to a 
county council had had a hand in it, with lime- 
washed walls so dazzling that the eye lifts in- 
stinctively to the cool brown thatch to find rest. 
Every doorway is closed with a rough-hewn door ; 
every window with broad, unpainted slats pivoted 
on the centre, so as to form a kind of fixed 
Venetian blind that admits the air and excludes 
the sun and rain — a device learned, it seems, 
from the Samoan teachers, who must in their 
turn have adapted it from the Venetian blinds 
of some European house in their own islands. 
These cottages are divided into rooms by thin 
partitions of wood or reeds that reach to the 
eaves, leaving the roof space open. Most of 
them are floored with palm-leaf matting, and a 
few boxes and wooden pillows are the only furni- 



THE CHURCH f 



KKKT IN ALOFI 



COTTAGES FOR SHOW 15 

ture. The cooking is done in little thatched huts 
in the rear. Mr. Lawes confessed that the older 
natives keep these cottages for show, preferring 
to live on week-days in the thatched hovels that 
contented their ancestors. You may see one of 
these behind each cottage, rickety when new, 
and growing year by year more ruinous until 
the crumbling rafters and rotten thatch are ripe 
for the firebrand that puts an end to their 
existence. Besides his town house, every house- 
holder has a building on his plantation in which 
he passes the nights during the planting and 
copra-making season with such of his family 
and friends as care to work with him. A 
thatched roof and frail wicker-work walls, with 
a mat or two to sleep on, and an iron pot for 
cooking, are all that he needs when the days 
from dawn to sunset are spent in hard work 
upon the land. 

It is curious to note how the native clings to 
the form, however he may vary the material, of 
his architecture. The Savage Island hut of 
Cook's time, with its rounded ends, took the 
shape of aii elongated oval, and the concrete 
walls of the modern cottage are moulded to the 
same form. In Tonga, where corrugated iron, 
alas! is gradually usurping the place of thatch, 



i6 THE ISLAND AND ITS PEOPLE 

the roof was rounded in the form of a scow 
turned bottom upwards, and the sheets of iron, 
with infinite skill and labour, have been tortured 
into the same form. The King of Tonga told 
me that it was hopeless to attempt to rebuild 
the fine native church built in 1893 by his great- 
grandfather in Vavau, and destroyed in the 
hurricane of April 2nd, 1900, because, although 
the posts and rafters were all intact, and had 
only to be cut loose from their lashings. to be 
fit for use again, there was not a builder left 
in the group who understood the art of so 
lashing them in place as to produce the bellying 
curve which appeals to the Tongan eye for beauty 
in architecture. The new edifice, he said, must 
be built of weatherboard and iron. 

The church in Niud, being simply a glorified 
native house, was an excellent object-lesson in 
the Polynesian system of building. The South 
Sea Island architect, whether Polynesian or 
Melanesian, thinks in fathoms, which he mea- 
sures with the span of his outstretched arms, 
but whereas the Fijian is obliged to regulate 
the size of his house by the length of the vest 
trunk he can find for his king posts, the Samoan 
and Tongan, by a more elaborate arrangement 
of his interior supports, may build a roof as 



NATIVE ARCHITECTURE 



17 



lofty as he pleases. The ridge pole of the Fijian 
rests upon two uprights, buried for two-sevenths 
of their length in the ground if the house is to 
withstand hurricanes ; and, since it is impossible 
to find straight vesi trunks more than fifty-four 
feet long, the ridge pole can never be more than 
forty-two feet above the ground. And since the 
sense of proportion would be wounded by a 
house being too long for its height, there is no 
public building in Fiji more than sixty-six feet 
long — ^the length of the great bure at Bau and 
the court house at Natuatuathoko (Fort Car- 
narvon). The system of supports for the Tongan 
roof-tree is best shown by a sectional diagram. 




By elongating the side and centre supports, such 
a building may be seventy or eighty feet high 
and of a proportionate length and breadth. If 



i8 THE ISLAND AND ITS PEOPLE 

it succumbs to a hurricane, the roof merely slips 
from the supporting posts and subsides in a 
single piece, held firmly together by its sinnet 
lashings, as was the case with the great church at 
Vavau, shown in the illustration. Far otherwise 
is it with a weatherboard building overtaken by 
the same fate. The Government offices in 
Vavau were reduced to a mere heap of kindling 
wood, for lashings, by reason of their greater 
elasticity, have a great advantage over nails 
for building in the hurricane belt. 

The Niu6an style of house-building so closely 
resembles the Tongan that it is difficult to believe 
that the one has not been copied from the other. 
Alofi Church, a fine native building with concrete 
walls, is almost as imposing as the best of King 
Georges churches. Into one of the wall-plates 
the builder has worked a bifurcated tree-trunk, 
skilfully trimming it so that each prong shall bear 
an equal share of the weight of the beam. 

When we reached the path to the Tongan 
cave at the southern end of the village our 
train had swelled to half a dozen voluble young 
men and a shy little girl. The cave was a rent 
in the limestone rock overgrown with creeping 
vines. A steep slope led ddWn into an irregular 
gallery about twenty feet wide on the floor and 



I 

A DEADLY STRATAGEM 19 

narrowing to barely six feet at the narrowest part 
of the roof. The floor was very uneven, but 
in the lowest part, where there was a pool much 
encumbered with boulders, the cave must have 
been from thirty to forty feet high. Near the 
walls there was some depth of vegetable mould 
washed down from above, and I noticed that 
buckets were placed at intervals to catch the 
drip from the stalactites. This water, heavily 
charged with lime, was the drinking water of 
the village. 

One of the men related the tradition of the 
cave, Mr. Lawes interpreting. In the days of the 
ancestors of old time a fleet of war-canoes was 
seen approaching from the west, and the warriors 
of Alofi made hasty preparations to receive what 
they knew to be an invading army. The women 
and children were sent into the thicket behind 
the rift, across which slender boughs were thrown, 
covered with soft earth to conceal the pitfall 
below. In the cave a chosen band of warriors 
was posted, armed with clubs. A war party 
of Tongans, leaping from the canoes, rushed 
up into the village, and was drawn towards 
the treacherous bridge by the retreating Niudans, 
who knew where it was safe to cross. Dashing 
hot-foot in pursuit, the Tongans crashed through 



20 THE ISLAND AND ITS PEOPLE 

the false covering into the cave beneath, where 
they lay with broken limbs at the mercy of a 
clubbing party which knew no mercy. Only 
a remnant of stragglers stopped short of the 
pitfall and regained the canoes. And if we 
doubted the truth of the tradition, here in the 
soft earth were bones — the bones of those 
invaders of old time ; and our escort fell to upon 
the proof, using their naked hands for spades. 
Bones there were certainly, but since the 
Niu6ans laid the bones of their own dead in 
caves until the missionaries introduced the 
fashion of European burial, he would be a bold 
man who would swear to their nationality. 

Now, mark how history is written by the 
savage as well as by the civilised man. I had 
heard a Tongan tradition of the invasion of 
Niu6, and when I returned to Tonga I induced 
old Lavinia, the highest chief lady in the group 
and the guardian of ancient lore, to relate it 
again. 

Fifteen generations ago, that is to say about 
1535, Takalaua, King of Tonga, was assassinated 
by two old men, Tamajia and Malofafa, who had 
taken upon themselves the duty of avenging the 
miseries of their country. Pursued by his eldest 
son, Kau-ulu-fonua, they put to sea, and fled 



HOW HISTORY IS MADE 21 

from island to island until they came to Futuna, 
where, because it was the end of the world and 
they could flee no further, they made a stand, 
and, being captured, were forced by their con- 
queror to chew his kava with their toothless and 
bleeding gums. From this horrible draught, 
swallowed in the ecstasy of triumph, Kau-ulu- 
fonua earned his surname of Fekai (the Cannibal). 
Among the islands visited by Kau-ulu-fonua in 
his pursuit of his fathers murderers was Niu6, 
and here, as the Tongan tradition has it, he 
landed on a small outlying islet, divided from 
the main island by a narrow chasm, into which 
the Niudans, not knowing the stuff of which 
Tongan warriors are made, confidently expected 
that they would fall, if they essayed to cross. In 
this false security the defenders of the island 
assembled on the landward side of the chasm, and 
strove to terrify the invaders into retreating to 
their ships. But they fell into their own trap, 
for the Tongans, taking the chasm at a leap, 
slew hundreds of them, and cast the bodies of 
the slain into the depths below. And just as 
there are English and German and Belgian, if 
not French, historians to claim the victory at 
Waterloo, so Tongans and Niu^ans tell the story 
each in their own fashion, and are happy. 



22 THE ISLAND AND ITS PEOPLE 

That the tradition is history cannot be doubted. 
The Tongans relate that in the assault upon the 
walled fortress of Futuna, in which the mur- 
derers had taken refuge, a man, marvelling at 
the prowess of Kau-ulu-fonua, cried, "Thou art 
not brave of thyself, but by favour of the gods ! " 
and that the chief retorted, " Then let the gods 
defend my back, and leave my front to me"; 
that as he was rushing through a breach in the 
wall he was wounded in the back, and cried, 
" The gods are fools ! " An old man of Futuna, 
whom I asked whether there were any traditions 
of a foreign invasion, replied that the Tongans 
once assaulted his island, led by a chief who 
cried, " The gods are fools ! " and that as a 
punishment for his impiety so many of his 
warriors were slain that stacks were made of 
the dead bodies. It is scarcely possible that 
by mere coincidence such an incident could be 
common to the history of two peoples who have 
had no intercourse for generations. 



CHAPTER II 



AFFAIRS OF STATE 



MR. LA WES' fears were relieved by the 
messenger who had carried my invitation 
to the king at Tuapa. The old gentleman, far 
from being offended at our choice of Alofi for 
the meeting, had beamed upon him with his left 
eye (the right is missing, and it was all he had 
to beam with), and was already half-way to the 
royal lodging in Alofi. The other messengers, 
returning from the more distant villages at inter- 
vals during the evening, brought back news no 
less favourable. Early in the morning persons 
sent out to reconnoitre reported that men were 
erecting awnings on the green before the school- 
house, that the headmen of villages had all 
arrived, and that His Majesty was being helped 
into his uniform. Ten was the hour, and on the 
stroke of the hour Captain Ravenhill landed with 
the portrait of the Queen, sent from Windsor as 

a present to the king. The sun was very hot : 

23 



24 AFFAIRS OF STATE 

English uniforms are not built for a thermometer 
above eighty in the shade, and there was there- 
fore some excuse for our feelings when we walked 
on to the green and found three men trying to 
fasten a mat to four stakes planted anyhow in 
the grass. Half a dozen children were amusing 
themselves with a running commentary upon how 
not to rig an awning, and that was all. 

The hour that we spent in the school-house 
was the sultriest of my experience, but it was 
cool and comfortable beside the language that 
might have clothed our thoughts had Mr. Lawes 
not been present That we were impotent made 
it no better. There were no means of knowing 
whether the king's unpunctuality was an in- 
tentional slight or merely the innate inability of 
a native to keep an appointment, and there was 
no certainty that he would choose to come at all. 
But although, as the green began to fill with a 
gay-coloured, chattering crowd, I was at one 
moment almost resolved to get to business with- 
out His Majesty, I was restrained by the mortifi- 
cation of poor Mr. Lawes, who felt that he had 
been charged with the arrangements, and whose 
hope that his flock would do nothing to disgrace 
themselves was suffering so cruel a check. The 
messengers who trod heels in the road leading 



A QUESTION OF PETTICOATS 25 

to the royal quarters brought back conflicting 
rumours. One said that the king was arraying 
himself in the new rifle-green uniform imported 
for him by a storekeeper; another that he was 
taking off his royal trousers at the behest of a 
Samoan teacher, who asserted that trousers were 
no trappings for an interview with the Queen's 
Commissioner; another that he had sent for a 
trusted councillor to decide whether, if he wore 
a Samoan petticoat, he might retain his military 
helmet with the cock-feather plume to which he 
clave. What Mr. Lawes did not know about 
the people was not worth knowing, and yet, so 
long have form and ceremonial been abandoned 
by the Niu6ans, that he was still inclined to think 
that the king would stroll on to the green as if 
he was taking the air, despite these reports of 
elaborate preparations. 

The awnings were rigged at last — one for us, 
floored with planks, at the door of the school- 
house, and the other facing it, with a couple of 
wooden chairs for Their Majesties, and benches 
for the retinue. A crowd of several hundred 
people — women and children for the most part — 
had assembled when a man ran in to say that 
the royal procession was coming up the road. 
There was but just time to post Amherst Webber 



26 AFFAIRS OF STATE 

with his camera when the procession burst from 
behind the angle of the Mission fence. 

It was worth waiting for. I heard Mr. Lawes 
murmur, "Well, I never thought they would do 
this!" The procession was headed by a dozen 
men in slop clothes and villainous, billycock 
hats set at a rakish angle. They all carried 
spears and paddle-shaped clubs in either hand, 
and a similar rabble brought up the rear. In the 
middle of this grotesque bodyguard walked the 
king and queen, both in petticoats, as befits the 
sex to which they belonged, for if the queen was 
a young woman, the king was assuredly an old 
one. To their united ages of ninety-four His 
Majesty contributed seventy -six, but what he 
lacked in youthful elasticity he made up in con- 
descension, for she had been but a beggar-maid 
— or what corresponds therewith in Niu6, where 
beggary is unknown — when he had played 
Cophetua to her a few months before our visit 
She wore a wreath of roses, he the soldier's 
helmet with the cock's plume, which was all 
that the officious Samoan teacher would leave 
him of his military uniform, and from which he 
refused to be divided, although it assorted ill 
with his petticoat To tell the brutal truth, His 
Majesty was unsexed by the garments that had 



|i 
M 

I 



A COURT DIGNITARY 27 

been chosen for him, and his appearance justified 
the remark of a friend who, holding the photo- 
graphs of Their Majesties in his hand and con- 
fusing them, exclaimed, '*Why, the queen's got 
a beard!" With the king was an angular old 
man in a strange, ill-fitting uniform and a tall 
hat of ancient date, carefully brushed the wrong 
way to show its wealth of nap; his uniform 
was bespattered with yellow anchors and other 
nautical devices, and he carried a spear in either 
hand. Though we could not discover that he 
had any connection with the court, he certainly 
imparted to the royal procession an air of dignity 
that it sadly needed. 

As soon as the royal party had taken their 
seats under the awning that faced ours the retinue 
fell upon the crowd with loud shouts, brandish- 
ing their paddle-shaped clubs, making thereby a 
louder disturbance than that which they were 
sent to quell ; but the sight of Mr. Lawes 
standing forth to interpret produced what passes 
for silence in Niu6. I gave my speech to Mr. 
Lawes sentence by sentence, using my old ex- 
perience as an interpreter of South Sea languages 
to cast them in the form and length that are best 
suited to the translator. But, had I disguised 
my remarks in the language of the accomplished 



28 AFFAIRS OF STATE 

gentlemen who provide the copy for the half- 
penny press, Mr. Lawes would have triumphed 
over all difficulties. Mindful of his gentle tones 
in conversation, I had suggested a doubt whether 
his voice would carry easily over the wide 
interval between the awnings, and had evoked 
from Mrs. Lawes an assurance that his voice 
would carry twice the distance. In truth its 
power and resonance were astonishing, and for 
once in my life I found it a positive pleasure^ to 
talk to a native through an interpreter. The 
similarity of Niu^n and Tongan was so close 
that I was able to appreciate the clever way in 
which he turned his sentences so as to convey 
the exact meaning without a superfluous word. 
After the usual compliments I explained that 
the Queen had answered the petition of the late 
king by taking Niu^ under her protection ; that 
the people need never fear seizure of their 
country by one of the great Powers ; that their 
young men working on plantations in other 
countries would henceforth be able to claim the 
protection of the British Consul ; and that, as a 
token of her solicitude for their welfare, the 
Queen had sent them a portrait of herself to be 
the property of the Niudan people. The picture, 
an engraving of Her Majesty in the robes of her 



DREAD OF TAXES 29 

Jubilee in 1887, was carried over to the king's 
awning. Then I improved the occasion by 
giving them the results of a little calculation I 
had made. Their island, denuded of its young 
men, had, in its record harvest, produced but 
seven hundred tons of copra, valued at six 
thousand pounds ; if the young men who went 
abroad to earn twenty-four pounds a year were 
to stay at home and plant cocoanuts, they would 
soon be able to earn four times that amount from 
their own lands, money would flow into the 
island, the women who had neither husbands nor 
children would be bringing up families, and the 
chiefs, who now encouraged their young men to 
go abroad for the sake of the beggarly com- 
mission paid to them by the recruiting agent, 
would be richer than they had ever dreamed. 

On the previous afternoon a travelled Niu&in 
had asked me anxiously whether the hoisting of • 
the flag entailed tukukau, the Tongan word for 
taxes, an institution unknown in Niu6 save by 
report, and justly dreaded on account of the 
stories brought back by those who had been in 
Tonga, where labourers are made to pay £1 i6s. 
to the Government out of their wages. When I 
reassured him, the good news was passed down 
the line of our followers, who received it with 



30 AFFAIRS OF STATE 

enthusiasm. A repetition of this assurance as 
regards the immediate future made the most 
appropriate peroration to my speech. 

The king, who had till now sat like a bronze 
image, so deeply sunk in his voluminous draperies 
that little could be seen of him but his helmet, 
now shook himself, and returned thanks in a 
formal speech, from which his real feelings could 
not be gathered ; and I, warned by Mr. Lawes 
that if I once allowed the pent-up flood of oratory 
to find an open sluice, the river of talk would 
flow far into the night, went over to shake hands 
with him and to invite him to come into the 
school-house and sign the treaty. In Samoa, in 
Tonga, or in Fiji, this portion of the proceedings 
would have been invested with some solemnity ; 
in Niu6 it was a children's game. The treaty 
was laid upon the schoolmaster's standing desk, 
and three separate messengers were despatched 
to bring ink, pens, and blotting-paper. The 
king sat apart in a Windsor chair; the headmen, 
under the guise of electing three of their number 
to witness the king s signature, were boiling over 
with jealousy ; a troop of children were playing 
noisily at the far end of the school-house, and 
near us a woman was sitting on the floor, 
placidly suckling her baby. Outside three of the 



ROOM FOR ALOFI! 31 

club-bearers were haranguing the crowd, which, 
having much to say on its own account, did not 
listen to them. We had almost to shout to 
make ourselves heard, until some new attraction 
took the fancy of the idlers, the earth shook to 
the thud of running feet, and the orators were 
left to harangue to the babies who were too tiny 
to run. 

Now a difficulty arose. On the most liberal 
allotment of space — and Niudan calligraphy 
demanded full measure — there was room in the 
treaty for but three signatures besides the king's. 
Eleven villages, and space for only three! It 
meant that three headmen would be represented 
to Queen Victoria as pre-eminent above their 
fellows. Mr. Lawes had been listening to the 
discussion, and he hastened to assure me that 
unless space could be found for four at least 
there would be trouble, for it meant that the 
headman of Alofi would be left out The other 
seven mattered but little, for they were either 
amiable nonentities themselves, or their villages 
were too insignificant to matter. Room had to 
be made for Alofi, but his fingers were so tremu- 
lous with indignation at the suggested insult that 
they could scarcely hold the pen. 

When the treaty was signed, I invited the 



32 AFFAIRS OF STATE 

chiefs to ask me questions, suggesting at Mr. 
Lawes' instance that the king should be their 
spokesman. His Majesty, fixing his single eye 
upon me, began in a plaintive voice to recite 
the wise acts of his reign. He desired me to 
take note that he had enacted two laws which 
would never be abrogated : the one forbidding 
the sale of land to Europeans, and the other 
prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquor to his 
people. I hastened to assure him that these 
wise enactments (in which I suspected the guid- 
ing hand of Mr. Lawes) had my full approval, 
provided that no difficulties were thrown in the 
way of leasing land to Europeans for trading 
purposes. This, the king assured me, was never 
the case ; they liked Europeans, and if their 
young men stole things from them, the com- 
munity made restitution and punished the 
culprits. What they wanted was advice, and 
if the Queen sent an adviser to live among 
them, it would be well. He agreed with me 
that it was ill to denude the island of its young 
men, and I might count up^n him to discourage 
the practice.* Finally he commended Niud- 

* Here I may remark that His Majesty lacked his usual frank- 
ness, for the first recruiting vessel that called after my visit found 
him as active an ally as ever. 



BLUE-JACKETS STAND EASY 33 

Fekai to the keeping of God, who had showed 
His favour to her this day in uniting her to 
England — the ** greatest nation in the world.'* 

A messenger, who now arrived from the land- 
ing-place, explained the defection of the crowd 
outside. A party had landed from the Porpoise 
to erect the flagstaff that we had brought from 
Sydney. As soon as the people understood 
their purpose, the crowbars and shovels were 
snatched from the hands of the blue-jackets, and 
the natives themselves, with shouts of laughter, 
fell to with a will upon the grave of their in- 
dependence. The blue-jackets, nothing loath to 
exercise their unaccustomed r61e as foremen of 
works, were laughingly directing operations, 
when some officious elders, scandalised by what 
they considered to be a breach of manners, fell 
upon the volunteers with their paddle-clubs and 
drove them off, though not before the happiest 
relations had been established between the natives 
and their visitors. 



CHAPTER III 
THE KING OF ALL NIUE 

FOR a few hours His Majesty could lay aside 
the cares of state, and I was able to make 
his acquaintance. He faced the camera without 
a trace of embarrassment, though he had probably 
never seen one before, and he consented, at my 
entreaty, to be photographed without his helmet. 
He is a withered, grey-bearded, querulous old 
man, and he looks the age assigned to him — 
seventy-six ; but, despite the ravages of age and 
the blemish of a missing eye, there is an air of 
decision and obstinacy about him which does not 
belie his character. For it is by sheer tenacity 
of purpose that Tongia has attained his present 
giddy eminence. 

The institutions of Niud have always been 
republican. In heathen times the king was 
theoretically an officer elected by the people ; in 
practice he was a figure-head set up by the war- 
party (ioa) who happened to have the upper 

34 



WANTED A KING 35 

hand for the moment. And since, in the see-saw 
of intertribal warfare, Fortune sometimes frowned 
upon his supporters, and the hopes of the opposi- 
tion were always centred in the murder of the 
king, from the day of his election he went in 
peril of his life. In fact, a violent death was 
so often the portion of the titular ruler of the 
island that it became as difficult to find a candi- 
date for royal honours as it was to discover a 
person to serve heir to a damnosa hereditas in 
Rome before Justinian. About the middle of 
the last century the supply failed altogether : 
for eighty years there was no king at all, and 
the island seems to have got on very well without 
one. But with the arrival of the missionaries 
and the cessation of war the office was discovered 
to have some attractions, and Tuitonga, a chief 
of Alofi, leaned his back against the stone * — the 
time-honoured symbol of the assumption of 
supreme power. His successor, Fataaiki, also 
of Alofi, was described by Commodore Good- 
enough as the most remarkable chief he had 
seen in the Pacific, and, at his death in 1897, 

* The two great stones against which Tongia's last two pre- 
decessors had leaned may still be seen standing in the square 
before Alofi Church. Tongia chose to have the ceremony at 
his own village of Tnapa. 



36 THE KING OF ALL NIUE 

no one was found worthy to succeed him. His 
son, the young man who had acted as our pilot, 
was addicted to strong waters, and even if he 
had been otherwise eligible, he had put himself 
out of court by refusing to vacate the house 
built by the people as an official residence, 
but, owing to an oversight, erected on Fataaiki s 
private land. There was an interregnum for 
two years, and only one man in the island 
thought that there need ever again be a king 
of Niu6-Fekai.* That man was Tongia 

Tongia was headman of Tuapa, and if he 
had attained no greater eminence until he was 
past seventy, it was owing to no foolish modesty 
on his part. You may, it seems, choose your 
own surname in Niud, and the name he chose 
in early life was Folofonua, which is ** Horse " 
— the most terrible of all the beasts known to 



* The following is a list of the kings as far back as their names 
are recorded : — 

1. Punimata of Halafualangi, who reigned at Fatuaua (died). 

2. Galiaga of Pulaki (killed). 

3. Patuavalu of Puato (died). 

4. Pakieto of Utavavau (starved to death). 

Interregnum of eighty years. 

5. Tuitonga (succeeded 1876). 

6. Fataaiki (succeeded 1888). 

Interregnum of nearly two years. 

7. Tongia (succeeded 1898). 



AN IMPORTUNATE PRETENDER 37 

the men of that day. When horses lost their 
terrors and became vulgar, he took a name 
more awe-inspiring still — Puleteaki, which is 
" Great Ruler " ; but, lest men should forget 
his importance for lack of reminder, he changed 
that for Tongia, the highest title he knew. A 
full year he waited for someone to suggest an 
election to the throne, and then, at one of the 
monthly councils, he took the matter in hand 
himself. As no one seemed to covet the dignity, 
how would it do, he asked, to elect him ? When 
they had recovered from their astonishment, his 
colleagues adduced reasons enough why it would 
not do : to begin with, they had done very well 
without a king, and (if he would have the brutal 
truth) should they ever find themselves in need 
of one, there were ten other good men and true 
from whom to choose. They, in fact, were 
adamant, but Tongia knew that drops of water 
will wear even adamant away. He had ex- 
perienced seventy years of opposition, and he 
had always had his way in the end. He dangled 
the empty crowning-stone before them at Fono 
after Fono, until in very weariness they let him 
have his will of them. It made little difference 
to them then, for in Niu^ there is no civil list. 
The king lives like any other landowner, on 



38 THE KING OF ALL NIUE 

the produce of his own plantation, and the rent 
which his poor relations pay him in kind. 
Occasionally, when these fail him, he suggests 
how becoming it would be in his people if they 
were to bring him an offering of food, or even 
money, and they, mindful of the manner in 
which their liege lord attained his present 
dignity, murmur, ** Anything for a quiet life," 
and hasten to stop his mouth. 

Whether he is begging or merely asserting his 
importance, there is an air of conscious rectitude 
about Tongia that is impressive. Like most men 
who have done great things in the world, he has 
no sense of humour ; I do not think he has ever 
been known to smile. He has gone through 
life in a deadly earnest, beside which the purpose 
in other men was but the purpose of butterflies. 
He had been but a few days king when he heard 
of the Queen's Jubilee of 1897. "Has the 
Queen of England been told of me ? " he asked 
Mr. Head. '* What ? Has no one thought of 
telling her that I am king of all Niu6— of Niu6- 
Fekai ? " Yet he must not be called vain, if the 
old definition be just which sets forth that " the 
conceited man is he who thinks well of himself 
and thinks that others do so too ; the vain man 
is he who thinks well of himself and wishes that 



KING TONGIA 



KING TONGIA'S FAMILY PRIDE 39 

others thought so too ; but the proud man is he 
who thinks well of himself and does not care a 
jot whether others think well of him or not." 
Upon this exegesis Tongia is a proud man. 
Knowing that he was versed in ancient lore. I 
asked him some questions about the Niu6 custom 
in time of war. "Tell him," he said to Mr. 

• 

Lawes, "that the greatest warrior of old time 
was my father. There has been none like him 
in the world before or since." I tried my ques- 
tion in three several forms, but His Majesty, 
knowing better than I what I wanted to know, 
entertained me with anecdotes of his dashing 
father until I dropped my point. 

In order to give ^clat to the ceremony of 
hoisting the flag, which is in itself a somewhat 
brief and barren entertainment, I had asked 
Captain Ravenhill to invite the volunteer drum 
and fife band belonging to the ship to take part 
in it He objected that the band had not played 
together for many months, but as the Niudans 
had never heard a band of any kind, and were 
not likely to be a critical audience, we decided 
to send the invitation. Half an hour later the 
island was startled by the spirited performance 
of the " British Grenadiers." It brought the 
whole population to the flagstaff at a run, and 



40 THE KING OF ALL NIUE 

I doubt whether musicians ever played to so 
attentive an audience since Joshua's trumpets 
played their symphony before the walls of Jericho. 
We needed no crier to remind the people of the 
historic hour ; when the guard of honour landed 
not even a dog was missing. The sky had 
clouded, and a gentle rain was falling as the 
guard formed up, but ere I had done reading the 
proclamation, the sun came out to see another 
gap in its course filled by the flag on which it 
never sets. As the signalman slowly ran up the 
Jack, the band played the National Anthem, and 
a royal salute thundered from the guns of the 
ship lying at anchor below us. To stand at the 
salute in a hot sun until the whole twenty-one 
guns have been fired is a tedious ordeal, and I 
could not help my eyes ranging right and left of 
me to the faces of the crowd. It was a strange 
scene. Here were some thousands of natives, 
clad for the most part in clothes made by the 
slop-tailors of Europe, gazing in open-mouthed 
wonder at a handful of officers in gold-laced 
uniform performing a ceremony intended in some 
way to change the tenour of their lives. And be- 
hind lay the island, unchanged and unchangeable 
through the centuries. Overhead were the trees 
that had looked down upon the assault upon Cook 



h 
ft 



HOISTING THE FLAG 41 

by the native grandsires of these orderly Chris- 
tians, who set upon him " with the fury of wild 
boars," brandishing paddle-clubs, and throwing 
these same lances that arm the king's bodyguard. 
The foreigner has been too strong for them, but 
the island will be too strong for the foreigner. 
The foreigner has landed and brought with him 
the disease they feared so much, but let him 
hoist flags and fire guns once a week until the 
Last Trump, he will never conquer the stern fact 
that the island lies remote from the great high- 
ways of the ocean, and turns a frowning cliff, 
against which the great rollers shatter themselves 
unavailingly, upon those who would beguile her 
into commerce. 

With the smoke of the last gun still floating 
in the air, I turned to congratulate the king upon 
being now under the protection of Her Majesty. 
He shook hands with me and thanked me in a 
bewildered way. And looking round upon these 
hundreds of *' British Protected Persons," who 
had changed their international status so sud- 
denly, I could not help wondering what they 
(or, indeed, anybody else) thought had been 
effected by the change. 

And here let me say a word about Protectorates. 
The word was invented by the lawyers a few 



42 THE KING OF ALL NIUE 

years ago when the scramble for the world 
began, and there are those who think that if the 
man who first conceived the idea had been led 
out quietly to a lethal chamber, the world would 
have been saved a great deal of worry and 
vexation. In the old days when a nation wanted 
a land it took it, dishonestly, it may be, but at 
least openly, and tried to govern it after such 
fashion as lay within its power. But when the 
scramble began, the European Powers had to 
invent a polite way of saying to one another, 
"We have taken this country, not because we 
mean to use it, but because we do not mean you 
to have it! We take it under 'our protection.'" 
Under the old system nations recognised some 
responsibility towards the land they seized ; they 
were at least responsible for its good government ; 
under the new they recognise none except the 
duty of crying " Hands off! " to the others, 
until action is forced upon them by internal dis- 
order. Now mark the hair-splitting that ensues. 
No man can serve two masters. The men of 
Niu6 owe allegiance to their own sovereign ; 
they cannot also owe it to the Queen ; and 9. 
man who owes no allegiance to the Queen cannot 
be a British subject And yet when you guarantee 
him protection at home, it would be unreasonable 



THE FICTION OF PROTECTORATES 43 

to refuse him protection while sojourning abroad. 
If not a British subject, yet somfething British 
he must be. The lawyers had ta invent another 
term, and they called him a ** British Protected 
Person." When a black man is a British subject 
it is bad enough. A Fijian residing in Tonga 
has a child by a Tongan woman. If he was 
legally married to her the child is British, and 
must be tried by a British court ; if they were 
not legally married it is Tongan, and is under 
the jurisdiction of Tongan magistrates. And 
the wretched consul has to test the legality of 
the native marriage. If it was a heathen mar- 
riage the case is worse, for the courts have never 
settled whether heathen marriages, performed 
after the custom of the country, are marriages 
at all in the eye of the law of England. But 
when a " British Protected Person *' has a child, 
we are treading upon thin ice indeed, and I 
presume that every consul follows the dictates 
of such conscience as he may have left to him. 
One need not go further than Siam to see how 
the system may be abused. You have only to 
rake in half the population as Protected Persons 
to establish a very fair claim to the Protector- 
ate of the soil on which they live, and this is 
precisely what the French Consul, by inscribing 



44 THE KING OF ALL NIUE 

all disaffected Siamese as French citizens, is 
doing. 

The invention of the Protectorate is, of course, 
very useful in certain cases. Many of the Pacific 
Islands are the natural heritage of the future 
Australian people, and it would have been most 
unfair to them to allow alien nations to seize 
upon points of vantage about their very gates. 
It would have been equally unfair to the English 
taxpayer and to the natives of the islands to 
assume the government of countries that were 
content to be under the authority of their own 
chiefs. If the idea of the Protectorate had 
entered the heads of politicians sixty years ago, 
the French would not now own Tahiti and New 
Caledonia, nor the Germans the Marshalls, the 
Northern Solomons, and Northern New Guinea. 

There are Protectorates and Protectorates. 
In some you may have a resident adviser who 
virtually rules the country ; in others a resident 
who is there to give advice when it is asked for ; 
in others no resident at all. To the first class 
belong Zanzibar and the protected states of India; 
to the second, Tonga and Somaliland ; and to the 
third, Niud ; but in every class the establishment 
of a Protectorate is probably the prologue to 
annexation more or less delayed. Why then was 



WHY THE FLAG WAS HOISTED 45 

the flag hoisted? There is, in fact, no reason 
why the flag should be hoisted in a Protectorate, 
for the mere hoisting of a piece of bunting is not 
in itself an act of appropriation recognised by 
international lawyers. At one time or another 
the British flag has been hoisted in many parts 
of the world that now belong to other nations. 
The legally recognised act is the reading of a 
proclamation, and of this the flag is a mere 
symbol that adds nothing to the legality when 
it is there, nor takes away from it when it is 
absent. As a general rule the flag is not hoisted 
in countries that have a flag of their own. It 
has never been hoisted in Zanzibar nor in the 
protected states of India. On the other hand, 
a people like the Niu6ans, who have no flag, and 
know that other countries have one, would never 
consider the Protectorate effective unless they 
were granted the outward symbol of their alle- 
giance. As the matter had been left to my 
discretion, I had no hesitation in giving them 
what they wanted. Fortunately none of the 
complications attending a Protectorate had time 
to arise in Niu6, for six months later the island 
was formally annexed to the Colony of New 
Zealand. 

The king had a request to make. He had 



46 THE KING OF ALL NIUE 

never been on board a man-of-war. Would the 
captain invite him to pay the ship a visit that 
very afternoon? The eleven headmen also had 
requests to make : they too would like to be of 
the party. As each of the eleven would have 
brought two friends, and each friend two cousins, 
Captain Ravenhill was advised by Mr. Lawes to 
make stem discrimination. The captain's boat 
would be sent for the king, the queen, and the 
king's son. No one else, on pain of the captain's 
severe displeasure, was to take passage in her, 
but the eleven would be welcomed provided that 
they came alone and found their way off in their 
own canoes. Their Majesties were punctual, and 
the boat was got away with Mr. Head's son, a 
well-educated half-caste, as interpreter, and not 
more than two interlopers. All went well until 
she neared the ship, and then the queen, after 
a whispered consultation with her consort, began 
to take off her boots. This operation being still 
in progress long after the boat was alongside the 
gangway, faces began to peer curiously over the 
side, but the blue-jacket stationed at the foot of 
the ladder preserved an admirable composure, 
and, when Her Majesty had paddled up the steps 
in her stockings, he gravely followed the pro- 
cession, carrying the royal boots as if they were 



i QUEEN OF NIUE 



TIPPING THE CAPTAIN 47 

insignia of office, to the suppressed merriment of 
his fellows, who were drawn up to receive the 
royal party. After the usual entertainment in 
the captain's cabin the king was shown over the 
ship. Neither the big six-inch guns, nor the neat 
little three-pounders that are fired from the shoul- 
der like a shot-gun, seemed to impress him, and it 
was not until he was shown into the chart-room 
that he began to show enthusiasm. Deceived 
by the brass chimney of the heating stove, he 
declared it to be the finest kitchen he had ever 
seen. It was in vain for the interpreter to 
explain the real uses of the room. It was the 
kitchen — ^anyone could see that for himself — and 
if the captain chose, for reasons of his own, to 
lie about its real uses, he, Tongia, was too old 
in the craft of this world to be taken in. When 
I questioned him afterwards about his visit, he 
said without hesitation that the part of the ship 
that he had most admired was the kitchen, and 
he clung to the idea with the same tenacity that 
had won him the throne. When the interpreter 
had hinted to him that it was time to take leave, 
the king, producing a dollar from his waistband, 
signified his intention of tipping the captain for 
the pleasant entertainment he had provided, and 
the interpreter had the greatest difficulty in 



48 THE KING OF ALL NIUE 

persuading him that such an act would be 
contrary to the decencies of European custom. 
A dollar was a very precious possession in the 
king's eyes, and it puzzled him, after many years* 
experience of the breed, that any white man 
should refuse to pocket money when it was 
offered him. The king was half-way down the 
ladder when he turned back, and the ^mile faded 
from the countenance of the captain, who thought 
that he was in for a second visit ; but it ap- 
peared that Tongia had suddenly remembered 
the foreign custom of giving precedence to ladies, 
and he gallantly motioned to the queen to 
precede him, and handed her boots down after 
her. At that moment he caught sight of the 
red ensign flying at the fore, and asked the 
captain to give him one like it Pointing with 
some contempt to the Jack floating proudly 
from the flagstaff on shore, he said that the 
red ensign was the flag for him, the other being 
too dingy for his taste. With great tact Captain 
Ravenhill explained that the red ensign was the 
badge of merchant ships and second-class poten- 
tates, and that, on seeing the Jack, visitors would 
at once recognise the importance of Niu6-Fekai, 
and would conduct themselves with a proper 
spirit of respect. 



CHAPTER IV 
A TRIP THROUGH THE ISLAND 

ON a sunny afternoon we took horse and rode 
to Tuapa, the royal village. The road was 
a grassy path vaulted with palm fronds and walled 
with dense undergrowth. Though it followed the 
trend of the coast, and was never more than a 
few hundred yards from the edge of the cliff, the 
foliage was so dense that we seldom caught sight 
of the sea below us. I imagined in my inno- 
cence that we should cover the seven miles at a 
hand gallop, the ordinary pace of horses in Tonga, 
but in less than a hundred yards I discovered the 
difference between a Niu6an and a Tongan road. 
The couch grass that looked so soft and springy 
was as specious as the thin earth which a game- 
keeper sprinkles over the teeth of his gin. 
Taking root in little pockets of earth, it sent 
out a tangle of runners over the jagged pro- 
jections of coral, which it just served to hide, so 
that the poor unshod horses could not avoid them. 

E 49 



so A TRIP THROUGH THE ISLAND 

My beast knew his business, which was to walk 
daintily, like a cat on hot bricks. He had his 
frogs to mind, and when I forced him into a 
canter he obliged me for half a dozen paces, just 
to show me what pain I was giving him. After 
that we let our horses choose the pace they pre- 
ferred, which was something under three miles an 
hour. We passed hundreds of natives dispersing 
from the meeting at Alofi, among them four 
men who were carrying the Queen's picture, 
shoulder high, on a sort of bier. Men and 
women alike, they all had a smile for us, and 
most of them a word of greeting to Mr. Flood, 
who had not only lent us the horses, but was 
acting as our guide. We passed through three 
villages of white cottages, not arranged on any 
plan, as in Alofi, but straggling among the trees 
in a most picturesque fashion. On the seaward 
side the way was dotted with graves, sometimes 
in clusters, oftener in twos and threes. They 
varied from an oblong cairn of stones, with a 
white headstone of concrete, to a neat domed 
tomb, carefully trowelled off, so as to leave the 
name of the deceased in bas-relief characters of 
irregular shape, six inches in length. The 
fashion of burying the dead was introduced by 
the missionaries, for in former times (and unlike 



ANCIENT CATACOMBS 51 

the Tongans, who always buried their dead in 
graves, even where caves abounded) the Niu&ins 
used occasionally to lay their dead in canoes and 
let them drift out to sea; but more generally 
they laid the body on a platform of stones in the 
bush, under a coverlet of bark cloth (Atapo), until 
nothing was left but the bones, which they 
gathered up and deposited in a cave. During 
the lying -in -state a kind of wake was held 
on the ninth day, and repeated at intervals 
until the hundredth, and during the earlier 
stages the body was frequently washed. In the 
little island of Nayau, in Fiji, I once visited 
one of these natural catacombs. The steep and 
rocky path by which it was approached was 
polished by the feet of the generations of 
mourners that had passed over it. In the cave 
itself the dead were laid in a neat row. In 
the more recent cases the skeletons were entire, 
and fragments of the mats that had swathed the 
bodies still lay about them ; but further in the 
bones had crumbled, bats' droppings had mingled 
with the dust, and the teeth and a few fragments 
of the jaws were all that was left 

The attention now paid to graves in Niu^ 
is due less to the influence of the Mission than 
to the superstition of the people. The Mission 



52 A TRIP THROUGH THE ISLAND 

has never been able to cure them of their belief 
in ghosts. When a man is sick to death his 
friends bring him food (which he is long past 
eating) and say, " Grant our request ; if go you 
must, go altogether." But his dying promise is 
not enough. As soon as the breath is out of 
him they lay a fragment of white bark cloth 
beside the body, and sit watching for an insect 
to crawl on to it. The insect is the dead man's 
maut, the soul (literally, " life "), and it is care- 
fully wrapped up and buried with the body. The 
grave having been dug and the body, washed, 
oiled, and wrapped in bark cloth, laid in it, heavy 
stones are piled upon it to keep the aitu down. 
The dome of concrete, plastered without a crack, 
is generally enough to baffle the most restless 
ghost, but there have been cases when it has 
defied even this precaution. About the year 1898 
a woman, who had thus buried her daughter, fell 
ill of a lingering malady, which could only have 
been caused by the malevolence of the dead girls 
ghost. With infinite difficulty she collected a 
load of firewood, which she stacked over the 
grave and ignited, reducing the limestone rock 
to powder. From that day she steadily re- 
covered, and in that village, at all events, super- 
stition will die hard. 



THE BASEMENT OF THE ISLAND 53 

At a village near Alofi we left the road to 
examine the bathing-cave, which proved to be a 
rift in the limestone— a cavern whose roof had 
fallen in. Scrambling down its steep sides, we 
found the water about sixty feet below the 
surface. It was an oblong pool, about eighty 
feet long and twenty broad, green, brackish, and 
forbidding. Somewhere in its mantling depths 
there must have been communication with the 
sea, for the water rose and fell with the tide. It 
was difficult to understand how anyone, for the 
sake of some twenty per cent, less salt in the 
water, could prefer this stagnant pool, striking 
icy cold from the grim shadow of the rock, to 
the sunlit sea so near at hand. In the same 
village there was a natural well, which Mr. 
Lawes had commended to me as being the one 
place where really fresh drinking water was to be 
had. It was a mere crack in the rock by the 
side of the footpath, eight inches by twelve, and 
the gear for drawing water was a little canvas 
bucket with a sinnet string attached By mea- 
suring the string we found its depth to be sixty- 
three feet It was a hot day, and we fell eagerly 
upon the clear, cool water, but a mouthful was 
enough. A tumblerful of spring water with a 
teaspoonful of salt well stirred would have tasted 



54 A TRIP THROUGH THE ISLAND 

fresh in comparison. I gently chaffed Mr. Lawes 
about his well afterwards, and he then admitted 
that it was an acquired taste, but that for his 
part he found the water of other countries a 
little insipid. 

We found Tuapa almost deserted, for we had 
overtaken the greater part of its population on 
the road. It is as large as Alofi, but more 
irregular, and, if the truth be told, the palace of 
His Majesty is the meanest and ugliest building 
in it I was constrained to drop my voice when 
I said so, for it seems that his palace is not the 
least of King Tongia's claims to fame, seeing 
that it shares with the dwelling of the late king 
the distinction of being the only native house in 
the island roofed with corrugated iron. If I had 
told him that there were many dogs in England 
lodged in houses of more pretentious size, he 
would (if I understand the old gentleman's 
character) not have put an end to his existence ; 
on the contrary, he would have asked me for the 
ground plan of Buckingham Palace, and have 
worried his council until they had got to work 
upon an edifice a size larger. 

A few miles beyond Tuapa the road breaks 
away from the sea so as to cut off the north end 
of the island The bush is denser, the way more 



POLYNESIAN SHOPPING 55 

wild and lonely, and, night coming on, we were 
obliged to turn back to Tuapa to sleep. And 
yet, though none but the European traders own 
carts, the natives have made all these roads, with 
the exception of a bad bit between Alofi and 
Avatele, available for wheel traffic. The Pacific 
Islands Company is doing its best to persuade 
the people to buy and use carts, but a people 
who cheerfully carry to market on their backs a 
sack of copra weighing close upon a hundred- 
weight for a distance of nine miles do not see 
any point in labour-saving contrivances. 

Mr. Flood was good enough to show me the 
contents of his store. The products of civili- 
sation that tempt natives are much the same 
throughout the Pacific. Axes and knives come 
first, of course; looking-glasses and umbrellas 
run them hard for second place; prints, and 
sewing-machines to make them up with, and 
(alas!) slop clothing have now become neces- 
sities. For luxuries there are pipes and plug 
tobacco and cheap scents and a hundred other 
things, but there are certain articles that you will 
not find in a native store. The Niu6ans want 
no hats ; they make them for themselves and for 
others, the export of straw hats to New Zealand 
having been a few years ago three thousand 



$6 A TRIP THROUGH THE ISLAND 

dozen. These hats are plaited very cleverly by 
the women from the leaves of the pandanus and 
a similar leaf imported from Anuia in the New 
Hebrides. The manufacturer got a shilling, and 
the middleman only tenpence, which sounds 
curious until you learn that the manufacturer was 
paid in trade, and then you understand where 
the middleman came in. Unfortunately the 
market was overstocked, and the export fell away 
to nothing, but this year it is reviving. You 
will find neither combs nor spades, for the native 
makes his own comb, and finds a digging-stick 
the more handy tool in his garden. 

The traders make no fortunes in Niu6. In 
normal years the whole export of the island is 
about three hundred and fifty tons of copra, a 
few hats, and eight tons of fungus, which finds 
its way to China to be food for mandarins. 
Arrowroot might be grown in any quantity if 
there were any demand for it The export of 
fungus is now decreasing, owing to the fall in 
price. At the liberal valuation of £9 a ton for 
the copra, and allowing for the money brought 
back by the returned emigrants, the entire in- 
come of the island is under ;^3,500 a year, and 
upon this modest sum the natives have to satisfy 
their new wants, the Mission teachers and several 



COTTON AND FUNGUS S7 

independent traders have to live, and a fair- 
margin of profit has to be found for the share- 
holders of two trading companies, after paying 
the salaries of their local employ^. In 1899, 
however, the export of copra reached the un- 
usual figure of seven hundred tons, and the 
island was passing rich. 

The first trader to settle in the island was the 
late Mr. H. W. Patterson, who came from Samoa 
in 1866 as agent for Messrs. Godefroy and Son, 
of Hamburg. For some years this famous firm 
had almost a monopoly of the trade of the Pacific. 
In 1866, owing to the American civil war, kidney 
cotton fetched 20 cents a pound. The export 
from Niu^ increased year by year until 1880, 
when it fell to 7 cents. For a brief period it 
advanced to 10 cents, and then it fell so low that 
it is not worth growing. Mr. R. H. Head, 
who landed in January, 1867, began to trade as 
agent for the notorious Bully Hayes, pirate and 
blackbirder. He was the first to buy fungus, 
which reached its highest export about 1880. 
Copra, which was not manufactured until 1877, 
is now almost the only export. 

At present the cocoanuts planted on Niu6 
consist of a strip along the western coast that 
widens into patches on the sites of the villages. 



58 A TRIP THROUGH THE ISLAND 

The trees were in rude health, and I do not 
doubt that every acre on the island would grow 
nuts with a trifling expenditure of labour in 
clearing and planting. The cocoanut palm must 
have been specially designed by Providence for 
South Sea Islanders, for after the first five years 
it takes care of itself, and will continue to bear 
nuts though its roots are choked by under- 
growth. AH that its owner has to do is to 
collect and split the fallen nuts, exposing their 
kernels to the sun, which shrivels the pulp until 
a shake will free it from the shell. A sack and 
a sturdy pair of shoulders will carry the dried 
kernel — now converted into copra — to the nearest 
store, where it is worth a shilling for every ten 
pounds. The traders are able to give this high 
retail price, because they pay in "trade," and 
not in money. Their profit is made out of the 
calico, etc., accepted by the native as the equiva- 
lent for the shilling. To even the laziest native 
an occasional short spurt of energy is pleasant, 
and his copra having provided him with a change 
of clothes, a tin of biscuits, and a gallon of lamp 
oil, he can lie on his back for the rest of the 
year. Copra, it must be remembered, has 
nothing to do with his daily subsistence, for 
which nature has provided in other ways. In 



HOW MISSIONARIES FOSTER TRADE 59 

the bread-fruit islands of the east he has only 
to bury the ripe fruit in a pit, and dig it up as 
it is wanted ; in the west he has to plant his 
yams and taro, or set his wives to do it, as his 
fathers did before him. But the Niu^ans are 
not lazy, and I could not help contrasting their 
neglect of so obvious a source of wealth with the 
greater energy in copra-making of the Tongan. 
It is here that the Mission comes in. But for 
the missionary collection it may be doubted 
whether some of the Polynesian races would 
plant cocoanuts at all, and I do not think that 
justice has been done to the value of the Wes- 
leyan missionaries, who always run their missions 
on a good business basis, as fosterers of com- 
merce. When the Tongan has bought his small 
luxuries and paid his taxes, the native ladies 
who are to have basins at the missionary collec- 
tion (as Englishwomen hold stalls at a bazaar) 
begin to tout for constituents. The chain of 
emulation is most skilfully forged. Each basin- 
holder vies with her neighbour; each of her 
constituents vies with his fellows who shall attain 
the glory of making the largest contribution. 
The missionary has simply to set the delicately 
balanced machine in motion, and wait until it 
showers dollars into his lap. The basin-holders 



6o A TRIP THROUGH THE ISLAND 

do the rest. " Paul has promised to give five 
dollars : you beat Paul last year ! " and Peter 
sets forth next morning with his splitting-hatchet 
to split nuts enough to make six dollars. Out 
of this copra the trader sucks his profit From 
the mercantile point of view this is to be put to 
the credit side of the account : with its other side 
I have dealt with elsewhere. ♦ 

The London Missionary Society appears to 
care more for the work of its churches and 
schools than for its balance-sheet, and to practise 
no method for swelling its collections. And as 
the Niudans have as yet few wants, and are 
subject to no sudden calls for money, they leave 
tree-planting alone, and expend their energy in 
road-making, in house-building, and in working 
for white men in other islands. If they were to 
spend but one day a month in planting cocoanuts 
for the next five years, they might double their 
export of copra. But their needs are growing, 
and with instincts so keenly commercial they are 
unlikely long to leave the potential wealth of their 
island unexploited. 

In view of the enormous tracts of land through- 
out the tropic zone that have lately been planted 
with cocoanuts, it is remarkable that copra has 

* Thi Diversions of a Prime Minister. 



COPRA AND ITS PRODUCTS 6i 

maintained its price. In Ceylon I saw hundreds 
of acres planted with trees in full bearing, where 
scarce a tree was to be seen twelve years ago. 
From both coasts of Africa and from the West 
Indies the export has been steadily increasing, 
and yet, though the world seems to be easily 
sated with every other kind of tropical product, 
of copra it never seems to have enough. Handi- 
capped by a sea-carriage of twelve thousand 
miles, the South Sea Island copra has always 
commanded a local price of from ;^8 to ;^ii 
a ton, and now that a soap and candle factory 
has been established in Australia, it is more 
likely to rise than fall. Ten years ago most 
of the copra went direct to Europe on German 
sailing ships, which came out to Australia with 
a general cargo and loaded copra in the islands. 
In the long homeward voyage of from four to 
six months the rats and the little bronze copra- 
beetles tunnel through the cargo, destroying 
large quantities. On arrival at the oil mills it 
is crushed by rollers, and the refuse, after every 
drop of oil has been squeezed out of it, is 
pressed into oil-cake for fattening cattle. The 
oil is then resolved into glycerine and stearine, 
from which more than half the candles and soap 
used in the world are made. At first sight it 



62 A TRIP THROUGH THE ISLAND 

would seem more economical to press the oil 
on the spot, and so save the freight upon the 
waste material ; but the explanation is that oil 
must be shipped in tanks or in casks. Ships 
fitted with tanks would have to make the out- 
ward voyage empty, and casks, if shipped in 
"shooks," require expert coopers, and when 
soaked in oil become a prey to borers. It is 
possible that a new use may be found for copra 
as fuel for warships. Every ton of copra con- 
tains over one hundred gallons of oil besides 
other combustible matters, and it burns with a 
fierce heat. It is very easily stored and handled, 
and it is only one-third more bulky than coal, 
its disadvantage in this respect being more than 
compensated by its superior heating qualities 
and its freedom from ash. It is expensive, but 
as Welsh coal costs in distant stations such as 
China as much as £2 lar. a ton, it is only 
four times as dear, and in naval warfare, where 
quick steam is everything, the dearest fuel may 
often be the cheapest It would be peculiarly 
suited to torpedo craft and destroyers, which 
are required to get up steam in a hurry, and 
to go short distances at enormous speed. I offer 
this suggestion to the Admiralty as a matter for 
experiment 



A STRANDED MERMAID 63 

I have wandered far from the village of King 
Tongia, which was a curious peg on which to 
hang a digression on the markets of the world. 
Whatever the fates may have in store for Tuapa, 
it will never hum with the business of a trade 
centre. Our reluctance to anchor one of Her 
Majesty's ships at the seat of government was 
amply justified when I came to look at its so- 
called harbour. At this point the coast breaks 
away to the eastward, and even with the light 
easterly breeze that was blowing, there was 
a very respectable sea. With the wind inshore 
no ship could anchor and live. The cliff was so 
sheer that shoots had been built by which the 
bags of copra could be dropped to its base, 
and the little schooners that ship the copra 
have to watch the weather before they venture 
from the safer anchorage of Alofi. Mr. Head, 
the oldest trader on the island, told me that 
one morning several years ago his attention 
was attracted by seeing the natives running to 
the steep path that leads to the base of the 
cliff. Looking over, he saw them crowding 
about some object on the beach, and a mile 
to the northward a similar group was forming. 
Their gestures were so excited that he ran 
down the path to see what it was. Shouldering 



64 A TRIP THROUGH THE ISLAND 

the natives aside, he was astonished to find a 
white girl of about eighteen, barefooted, half- 
laughing and half-crying at the perplexity of 
her case. For the natives were touching 
her to see whether she was real, and satisfied 
on that score, but baffled by her voluminous 
draperies, were proceeding in all innocence to 
more searching investigation, when Mr. Head 
fortunately intervened. While she was recover- 
ing from her hysterical laughter Mr. Head had 
time to remember^ that visitants from another 
world do not appear to mortals dressed in white 
flannel, albeit neither vessel nor boat was in 
sight. Yet her account of how she came to 
be one of the first white women to land on 
Niu^ was simple enough. She was not alone : 
farther up the beach he would find her father 
(Mr. Head remembered the second group of 
excited natives a mile away). He was the 
captain and owner of a little yacht a month 
out from Honolulu, and in the early morning 
they had landed to stretch their legs while the 
yacht lay off and on seeking anchorage. They 
thought the island uninhabited, and when her 
father wandered off and left her paddling in 
the warm sea, this crowd of wild savages had 
surrounded her, and she had made up her mind 



THE STOCKS 65 

that she was to be eaten. While she was speak- 
ing, a trim little yacht, flying American colours, 
glided out from behind the point, towing her 
dinghy behind her. 

Near Tuapa there is a cave which is dark 
at high noon. In its murkiest recess you. may 
see a relic of the first civilised institution that 
took root in Niu^ — a. set of stocks. The only 
punishments the Niu&ins then knew were fines 
and the death penalty^ and the stocks, which 
they appear to have seen in use on a whale ship, 
or more likely in Tahiti whither some of them 
were carried as slaves, were a notable discovery. 
The poor wretches thus imprisoned in the black 
hole of Tuapa were at least spared the dead 
cats and rotten eggs that were a recognised 
part of this punishment in England. When 
Hood visited Niu6 in 1862, a boy was lashed 
hand and foot to a bamboo for several days 
with just sufficient food to keep the life in him, 
as a punishment for tattooing himself after the 
Samoan fashion, to the scandal of the Niu^ans 
who were never tattooed. Hood describes this 
as one of the ancient punishments. 

Most fortunately for me the schooner Isabel, 
owned by Captain Ross, one of the most daring 
and successful navigators of these seas, arrived 



66 A TRIP THROUGH THE ISLAND 

that day from New Zealand, bringing Mr. Head, 
who had been commended to me as the most 
suitable person to act as registrar to the Consul 
in Tonga, in whose province, as it was then 
intended, the new Protectorate was temporarily 
to be placed. I was a little bashful in approach- 
ing him with the offer, for twenty-three years 
ago Lord Stanmore, the High Commissioner, 
had offered him a similar post, and the letter 
of appointment was still to come. But finding 
that, despite his seventy years, he was still ready 
to accept the unpaid office, and that he was a 
persona grata to Europeans and natives alike, my 
hesitation vanished. I was particularly anxious 
to see him for another reason. He had lived more 
than forty years among the natives, and quite early 
in life he had married a Niud woman, with whom 
he still lived : consequently his knowledge of 
Niu6 customs was absolute and complete. To 
my great satisfaction a messenger arrived to 
announce that he had walked over to Tuapa 
in the dark, and that he invited me to spend 
the night with him. What he must have thought 
of me I dare not think, for blind to the fact 
that he had just landed from a rough voyage, 
and had tramped fourteen miles, I plied him 
with questions till past midnight. To me it 



A HALF-CASTE FAMILY 67 

was one of the most interesting evenings I have 
ever spent, but I blush now when I think of my 
inhumanity. To him and to Mr. Lawes I am 
indebted for all the ethnological information in 
this book. They agreed in every particular, and 
as Mr. Bell, a gentleman who had spent seven 
years in the island in the service of the Pacific 
Islands Company, to whom I showed my notes 
in Sydney, added his testimony, they may be 
accepted as accurate. 

Mr. Head was the best specimen of an English 
trader that it has been my fortune to meet He 
had had more than ten children by his native 
wife, and he was sufficiently educated to know 
the value of a good education. Nothing daunted 
by the gloomy forebodings of his friends, he 
determined to bring them up as European 
children. One after another, as they grew old 
enough, they were sent to school in New Zealand. 
All the sons that have stayed there are in good 
positions. Three have returned to Niu6, where 
two help their father in his business, and a third 
has set up a store on his own account 

***Its all very well with the boys, but what 
about the girls ? ' they used to say, but I think I 
have proved that half-caste girls are as good as 
any other if you give them a start," he said with 



68 A TRIP THROUGH THE ISLAND 

quiet pride. One of his girls is married and 
prosperous in Auckland, another is a teacher in 
the public schools, and a third whom I met 
at Alofi would pass for a handsome, well- 
educated Italian. It was interesting to observe 
the manners of the boys towards their native 
mother when we met at breakfast. Mrs. Head 
wears the native dress and speaks English with 
hesitation, but she is an intelligent woman, and 
she plays the hostess at the head of her table 
admirably.* She seemed a little shy of her 
English sons, but they spoke to her with 
courtesy and respect, and obliged her to take 
her fair share in the conversation. They have 
preserved the old fashion of addressing their 
father as " Sir." Thus has Mr. Head solved the 
problem that has baffled most fathers of half- 
caste children the world over. 



CHAPTER V 
SOME HISTORICAL RECORDS 

IT would have astonished the first visitors to 
Niu6 not a little if they could have lived to 
see the island now. The first foreigner to land 
on the island after the Tongan invasion under 
Kau-ulu-fonua in the sixteenth century was 
Captain Cook, and his experience would have 
led no one to suppose that the natives would 
take kindly to strangers. They were, in fact, 
the only Polynesians who would have nothing to 
say to him. On Monday, June 20th, 1774, he 
landed on the north-west side of the island, 
at a spot probably not far from Tuapa, and, 
seeing no natives, rowed southward in his boat 
to a rift in the cliff, which, to judge from his 
description, must have been none other than 
Alofi. Here two canoes, hauled up upon the 
sand, tempted him to land, after his men had 
been posted on a rocky point to guard against 
surprise. He had not long to wait Voices 

69 



70 SOME HISTORICAL RECORDS 

were heard in the thick undergrowth, and in a 
few minutes a band of men, naked save for a 
waistband, smeared from head to foot with black 
paint, and armed with throwing spears and 
slings, ran out into the open. His friendly 
gestures met with no response. They came at 
him "with the ferocity of wild boars and threw 
their darts." One of them struck Lieutenant 
Spearman on the arm with a stone from his 
sling, and another threw a spear at Cook at five 
yards that went near to ending the great navi- 
gator's career before ever he saw Hawaii. The 
spear missed his shoulder by a hair's-breadth, 
and the musket with which he tried to shoot the 
man missed fire, though when he afterwards fired 
it in the air, the powder exploded. The marines 
immediately opened fire, and at the report the 
natives took to their heels without suffering any 
loss. Cook wisely refrained from making further 
attempts to open relations with them, for the 
island was wooded to the edge of the cliff, and, 
the villages at that time being little fortresses 
in the interior, he saw no houses. Naming the 
place " Savage Island,*' a title which the natives 
now resent, he bore away to the north. 

The first white man to land upon the island 
after Cook's visit did so under dramatic circum- 



A SAILOR MAROONED ^\ 

stances. It appears from the account of an aged 
native, who described the occurrence to Mr. 
W. G. Lawes as an eye-witness, that a whaler 
was lying off the island bartering with the 
natives, who were as wild and savage in appear- 
ance as Cook described them. As the ship got 
under weigh the master savagely threw one of 
his men overboard among the supposed cannibals, 
who took him ashore in their canoes. The 
natives were in great perplexity what should be 
done under such unprecedented circumstances. 
Many took their stand upon the ancient law. 
Salt water was in the stranger's eyes — he must 
die ! On the other hand, it was evident that the 
man had not landed of his own free will. The 
matter was settled by giving him a canoe vic- 
tualled with bananas and cocoanuts and sending 
him out to sea. Returning to an unfrequented 
part of the coast under cover of night, he lay hid 
in a cave for several days, and succeeded in 
getting on board another whaler cruising in the 
neighbourhood. 

In 1830 the pioneer missionary, John Williams, 
visited Niu6 in the Messenger of Peace,* on his 

* The Messenger of Peace was the most remarkable vessel that 
ever plied among the islands. She was built in Rarotonga, for 
the most part by natives who had never handled tools before. 



72 SOME HISTORICAL RECORDS 

way from Aitutaki to Samoa, where he intended 
to found a mission. Perceiving some natives on 
a sandy beach, which must have been the present 
landing-place at Avatele, he made signals of 
peace by waving a white flag, and, as soon as 
these were returned, he despatched a boat 
manned by natives only. They found the 
islanders drawn up in battle array, each having 
three or four spears, a sling, and a belt filled with 
large stones. They laid aside their arms as 
soon as they were satisfied that there were no 
Europeans in the boat, and presented the uiu, 
or peace-offering, receiving small presents in 
return. This ceremony performed, they ventured 
out to the ship in their canoes, but Mr. Williams 
could prevail upon only one of them — the old 
man who endeavoured, with some success, to 
make the white men s flesh creep with the war 
dance — to come on board the ship. While he 
was retained as a hostage the boat party was 
permitted to land, but, night coming on, the 

Williams killed his goats to make bellows for welding the bolts, 
and, when his iron ran out, he fastened his planking with wooden 
trenails. Cocoanut fibre stood for oakum, but there was not an 
ounce of pitch or paint for caulking. She was of about sixty tons 
burden. When she put to sea with her landsman captain, her 
crew of natives, who had never been to sea, and her cargo of pigs, 
cocoanuts, and cats, she must have been a sight to make a seaman 
weep. 



DREAD OF DISEASE 73 

hostage was landed, and the vessel stood out 
to sea. The old man had received with in- 
difference an axe, a knife, and a looking-glass, 
but he broke into transports of joy when he was 
presented with a pearl shell. 

On the following day Williams landed the two 
Aitutaki teachers and their wives, whom he 
intended to leave as pioneers of Christianity. 
They were ** handled, smelt, and all but tasted," 
and, perceiving a vast multitude of natives 
gathering thoroughly equipped for war, they 
took alarm, and rowed off to the ship with one 
native, whom they persuaded to embark with 
them. This man wore the handle of an old 
clasp knife attached to his girdle, thus giving 
colour to the report that a few months earlier 
the natives had cut off a boat belonging to a 
passing vessel, and had murdered all the crew. 
The Aitutaki teachers, not unnaturally, objected 
to be left unprotected among these inhospitable 
people, and begged to be taken on to Samoa. 
To this Williams assented, not out of fear for 
their lives, which he thought would be in no 
danger, but because he thought it probable that 
they would be despoiled of everything they 
possessed. 

He now set about inducing two natives to 



74 SOME HISTORICAL RECORDS 

sail with him to the Society Islands, with the 
idea of restoring them to Niu6 after a course 
of instruction in the Mission school. With the 
greatest difficulty he persuaded two lads to 
embark, but no sooner did they see their island 
vanishing in the offing than they became frantic 
with grief, tearing their hair, "and howling in 
the most affecting manner." Nor would they 
eat, drink, or sleep for three days. They turned 
with disgust from meat and howled piteously, 
for, having never seen meat before, they took it 
for human flesh, and concluded that they had 
been taken on board as sea-stock for the voyage. 
On the third day, however, their fears were 
allayed by seeing a pig killed and cooked, and 
gradually they became reconciled to their new 
companions and pleased at the prospect of seeing 
new countries. They stayed some months with 
Williams in Samoa, and re-embarked with him 
in August, 1830, to return to their island. "Very 
favourable impressions had been made on one 
of them, but the other had resisted every effort 
to instruct him." Baffled by calms and light 
head winds, the ship ran out of provisions, and 
was compelled to bear away for Rarotonga 
without landing the boys, at which they showed 
much disappointment, until they were comforted 



MURDEROUS QUARANTINE 75 

by the assurance that by going first to Raiatea, 
they would be able to return home with more 
valuable presents. A few months later they 
were landed at Niu6 by Mr. Crook, one of the 
original missionaries who came out in the Dujf 
in 1797, and Williams saw no more of them. 

Perhaps it was as well. Dr. Turner, who 
visited Niu6 in 1848, says that shortly after 
the two lads' return influenza broke out, and 
they were accused of bringing the disease from 
Tahiti, which was not unlikely, seeing that 
Williams speaks more than orice of its prevalence 
among the Mission families. One of the lads 
was killed, together with his father; the other 
contrived to escape in a whaler in company 
with a boy named Peniamina Nukai, who entered 
the Mission school in Samoa. In 1842 this boy 
returned to Niu6 in the Mission ship Camden, 
but so threatening was the attitude of his 
countrymen that he had to leave again by the 
same vessel. After another spell of four years 
in the school he returned to his island in 
October, 1846, in the John Williams. On his 
landing an armed crowd assembled to kill him. 
They wanted him to send his canoe, his chest, 
and all his property back to the ship, saying 
that the foreign wood would cause disease among 



76 SOME HISTORICAL RECORDS 

them. He told them to examine the wood — 
it was the same that grew on their own island 
— ^and as for himself, how should he, a Niudan 
like themselves, have more control over disease 
than they ? Thereupon they broke up into two 
parties, the one for sparing his life, the other 
for giving him the shortest shrift " Let us do 
it now," they said ; "let us do it now while he is 
alone, and before the disease comes ; presently 
others will join him, and it will be difficult" 
Night came on, but the people, fearing the 
infection, refused him shelter, and sent him to 
a deserted fortress, where he wandered about 
in the rain, until one man, moved either by 
compassion or scepticism, ventured to give him 
asylum for the night. Next day he began to 
display the treasures of his chest, purchasing 
many friends at the cost of his whole outfit 

The heathen priests, seeing their occupation 
in jeopardy, now set to work to compass his 
death by witchcraft, and perhaps much of the 
success of the Mission was due to the fact that 
he was too tough for their spells. Other villages 
began to wish that they had Mission teachers 
with the attendant blessings of hatchets and 
fish-hooks. 

On August 29th, 1848, Dr. Turner, having 



CONVERSION 77 

obtained permission to send Samoan teachers 
to the island, sailed for Samoa with two more 
Niu6 boys to be trained in the Mission school. 
In October, 1849, a Samoan teacher named 
Paulo was landed at Avatele, and he was followed 
afterwards by four others, Amosa, Samuela, 
Sakaio, and Paula. 

Captain Erskine touched at Niu6 in H.M.S. 
Havannah on July 6th, 1849, but did not land 
owing to the heavy swell from the westward. 
Numbers of the natives boarded the ship from 
their canoes, prepossessing Erskine favourably 
with their fearlessness and their honesty. One 
of them puzzled him by repeating the Samoan 
salutation of "Alofa!" and going through the 
pantomime of prayer, intending, doubdess, to 
inform him of the presence of Samoan teachers 
on the island. 

Long before Dr. Turner's next visit in 1859 
the whole population, with the exception of ten 
irreconcilables, was nominally Christian. The 
five Samoans had, indeed, changed the face of 
the country. The natives, formerly scattered 
about in little strongholds in the bush, were 
now congregating in settled villages round the 
school-houses ; they had caught the garment- 
epidemic in its most aggravated form, and, as 



78 SOME HISTORICAL RECORDS 

the missionary records complacentiy, they were 
all decently clothed from head to foot (we only, 
who have seen it, can realise the appalling nature 
of this reform); they had completed a six-foot 
road round the coast, which would ''enable a 
missionary to take a horse all round the island, 
a distance of forty or fifty miles, perhaps " ; they 
had abandoned war and infanticide ; they no 
longer cut down the fruit-trees of the dead ; they 
had even changed their manner of house-building. 
All this is an extraordinary result for five 
Samoans to have achieved unaided in half a 
dozen years. 

The breaking down of the old system of 
exclusiveness was not an unmixed blessing to 
the islanders. Hitherto the whalers, knowing 
the reputation of the place, had given it a wide 
berth. As early as 1830 John Williams had 
found evidence in support of the story that 
they had cut off and murdered the boat's crew 
of a passing vessel, and in 1847 ^^ American 
whaler lying off the island had not ventured 
to land to cut firewood until Peniamina showed 
the captain his paper of credentials as a Mission 
teacher. With the establishment of free inter- 
course the visits of ships became frequent 
Whalers introduced a terrible disease ; Bully 



ISOLATION OF THE PIONEERS 79 

Hayes, as will be presently related, found it a 
virgin field for **blackbirding." 

The first European missionary who settled 
on the island was the Rev. G. Pratt, who was 
followed a few months later by the Rev. 
W. G. Lawes, now the head of the London 
Mission in New Guinea, the elder brother of 
our kind host. He came out direct from 
England with his wife in August, 1861, and 
found himself priest, prime minister, lawgiver, 
and physician all in one. He must have suffered 
terribly from the strain of isolation. Occasion- 
ally he obtained American papers from passing 
whalers — in one case a ship calling in 1862 
supplied him with a Boston journal of 1834 — 
but oftener he had the mortification of seeing 
ships pass in the offing without communicating 
with the shore. More than once English men- 
of-war actually had communication with the 
natives, but left again without knowing that 
there were white people on the island, or that 
there was a practicable landing-place.* Mr. 

* The vile anchorages of Niu^ are responsible for the loneliness 
of the Europeans. Even in these days of more or less regular 
steam communication among the islands the visits of ships are 
so rare that the Europeans have come to believe in omens fore- 
telling their arrival. An insect settling on the dining-table is one 
of these, and the Mission party laughingly recalled the (act that 



8o SOME HISTORICAL RECORDS 

Lawes* first intercourse with Englishmen took 
place in June, 1862, when H.M.S. Fawn 
(Captain Cator), the first steam vessel to visit 
Niu4 put in, expecting to find the natives as 
Cook and Williams described them. Lieutenant 
Hood has left us an interesting account of this 
visit* The natives were then in the first 
blush of their conversion. Less sophisticated 
than they are now, and as warm-hearted, they 
overwhelmed their visitors with the heartiness 
of their welcome. ** Pleasant surprises," wrote 
Mr. Hood, "are amongst the most agreeable 
things in life. I don't remember ever being 
better pleased than with our reception at Savage 
Island." But the fever of foreign travel had 
already seized upon them. They importuned the 
captain to give them a passage in the ship ; 
and it was then common, some days after 
whalers had left the coast, for two or three half- 
starved wretches to make their appearance from 

this portent had raised their hopes two days before our arrivaL 
Never were people so easy to entertain. It happened that the 
captain had some new carbons of French make to test in his 
searchlight, and the people took his experiments to be a display 
of fireworks for their amusement. The brilliant flashes, which, in 
the more sophisticated islands would not have drawn an European 
to his door, were watched with rapture, and every native who was 
entangled in the dazzling beam w6nt frantic with delight 
♦ The Cruise o/HM.S, ''Fawn,'' by T. H. HoOD, London, 1862. 



BULLY HAYES, THE PIRATE 8i 

the hold Force had generally to be used to 
drive the would-be emigrants into their canoes 
when a vessel was leaving, and it was reported 
that among the unhappy wretches labouring in 
slavery in the guano pits of the Chincha Islands 
were a few Savage Islanders. 

The great enemy to the prosperity of the 
island is the labour trade. It began in 1865, 
when the Germans took a number of young men 
to work on their plantations in Samoa. In 1871 
Messrs. Grice Sumner carried a number of men 
to Maiden Island at a wage of ten dollars a 
month, half in trade and half in English money, 
with one month's wages paid in advance. This 
has been the regulation wage since that date, and 
it is not surprising that the island has been 
depopulated of its young men, for it is double 
the profit that can be made by tillage of the 
land in its present state, with the attractions of 
foreign travel thrown in. Nevertheless, if they 
only knew it, the Niu^ans might become passing 
rich if they would stay at home and bestow their 
labour on the planting of cocoanuts. 

In early life Mr. Head had been in the employ- 
ment of Bully Hayes, the pirate. In the in- 
tervals of piracy Mr. Hayes had passed as a 
law-abiding trader, and it was only when he 



82 SOME HISTORICAL RECORDS 

wearied of the slow returns accruing from the 
sale of calico that he turned to means of quicker 
profit. One day, in 1 868, he put in unexpectedly 
at Alofi, and made himself so agreeable to the 
natives that sixty of them came off to his vessel 
to gloat over the wonder of a foreign ship. With 
that he slipped his cable and stood out to sea. 
The indignation of the islanders at this outrage 
knew no bounds. It was at its height when one 
morning, a week later, the joyful news spread that 
the ship was returning. Mr. Hayes landed alone, 
and met Mr. Head on the village green before 
all the natives. He was in high spirits, and had 
a ready answer to Mr. Head s reproaches. ** I 
told the beggars that I was going to sail," he 
said, "but they wouldn't leave the ship. I 
couldn't stay here a month. What could I do ? " 
The men, he told the natives, were all right. 
Finding that he had not provisions enough for 
so large a company, he had landed them at a 
nice little island to the northward, and had re- 
turned for food and water for the return voyage. 
If he had meant to kidnap them, would he have 
returned like this.** The story was thin, but the 
natives were in no mood to test it Provisions 
were shipped in quantities, and the crew of 
Aitutaki men landed and made friends with the 



BLACKBIRDIN6 83 

people. That night word was brought to 
Mr. Head that these gentry had made plans 
to elope with a number of girls, whose heads 
they had turned with stories of foreign travel. 
He went at once to the chiefs, and a guard was 
despatched hotfoot to the beach, only to make 
out the schooner's lights in the offing. When 
they called the roll they found that more than 
thirty girls were missing. This was the last 
time Bully Hayes visited Niu^. It was not till 
long afterwards that Mr. Head heard the sequel 
to the story. Re-embarking the men, whom he 
found half-starving, Hayes set sail for Tahiti, 
where he disposed of the whole of his cargo 
to the highest bidder, or, as he chose to put it, to 
the planter who paid the highest sum for their 
passage money. He had promised to bring them 
back in two years, but they heard no more of 
him. Many died in Tahiti ; a few found their 
way to Samoa and Queensland ; a remnant, in 
which was King Tongia's daughter, now a 
middle-aged woman, returned to Niu6 ; the rest 
had scattered, who knows whither ? 



CHAPTER VI 
THE ANCIENT FAITH 

THE mythology of the Niudans affords no 
key to the problem of their undoubtedly 
mixed origin, for it is purely Polynesian. As in 
New Zealand, Tonga, and many other Poly- 
nesian islands, Tangaloa and Mau*i were their 
principal deities — Tangaloa, the Creator, too 
august and remote to concern himself with 
human affairs ; Mau'i, the sportive and mischiev- 
ous, the Loki of Nibelung myth. Every village 
had its deus loci^ who protected its crops in peace 
and its warriors in war, but, since there is no 
tradition of the earthly pilgrimages of these 
deities, there is no direct evidence to show that 
they were deified ancestors. One Niu^n story 
of the peopling of the earth is almost identical 
with the Maori myth as related by Sir George 
Grey. The Niudan version is as follows. In the 
beginning of things Langi, the Heaven, lay 
locked in the embraces of his spouse, the Earth. 

84 



A CREATION MYTH 85 

Offspring were born to them, but because Langi 
would not leave their mother, they lay in per- 
petual night So they took counsel together; 
and some were for killing both their parents ; 
others were for forcing them apart, yet not so 
far but that their father should protect them from 
dangers above and their mother be close to nurse 
and feed them. The milder counsel prevailed. 
Uniting all their force, the men of those days 
pushed upwards and rent the pair in twain, nor 
desisted until the Heaven was set far above 
them and the light and air gushed in. Ever 
since that day the tears of Langi, thus severed 
from his bride, fall gently upon her, and in 
summer time his deep-toned lament terrifies the 
ears of men. 

As another version of the myth has it, the 
wife of the first man complained that between 
the Heaven and the Earth there was not room 
for her to till the ground. The husband thrust 
his digging-stick upward, and pushed and pushed 
until something gave way, and the Heaven went 
up with a run. 

In those days the ocean rolled unbroken over 
Niu^. The god Mau'i, the same that drew 
Tonga to the surface with his entangled fish-hook, 
lying in a cave at the bottom of the sea, pushed 



86 THE ANCIENT FAITH 

up the floor of the ocean until it became a 
reef awash at low water. With another heave 
he sent it higher than the spray can reach, 
and birds settled upon it ; seeds floated to it and 
germinated, and it became an island like to 
Tonga. Uprooting it with a last effort, he forced 
it to its present height, and, if you doubt the 
story, you have only to sail seaward and look 
back upon the cliffi where you will note galleries 
eaten into it by waves, marking its successive 
levels. 

A third myth ascribes the creation of the 
island to Huanaki and Fao, two men who swam 
to Niu6 from Tonga. They found the island 
a mere reef awash at high water. They stamped 
upon it, and it rose, flinging the water from its 
sides. They stamped again, and up sprang the 
trees and grass. From a /r plant they made a 
man and woman, and from these sprang the 
race of men. At this time Mau'i lived just 
below the surface of the Earth. He prepared 
his food secretly, and his son, who had long been 
tantalised by the delicious smell of his father's 
food, lay in hiding to watch the process, and saw 
fire for the first time. When Mau'i was out 
of the way he stole a flaming brand and fled 
up one of the cave mouths into Niu^, where he 



HOW MEN STOLE FIRE 87 

set an ovava tree on fire. And thence it comes 
that the Niu^ans produce fire from ovava wood 
by rubbing it with a splinter of the hard kavika 
tree. 

A similar myth is current in the Union Group. 
An adventurous person named Talanga, having 
descended into the lower regions, found an old 
woman named Mafuike busied with a cooking 
fire. 'Compelling her by threats of death to 
part with her treasure, he enclosed the fire in a 
certain wood, which was consequently used by 
his descendants for making fire by friction. 

There is a vast difference in the age of these 
myths. The Mau'i story, being common to 
other Polynesian races, belongs to the period 
before the Niu^ns arrived in their island ; the 
story of the two Tongans is probably a fragment 
of traditional history corrupted by Polynesian 
folklore. Huanaki and Fao were the ancestors 
of the race who drifted hither in a canoe with 
their women, perhaps through a westerly wind 
setting in while they were making the passage 
from Haapai to Vavau. That it was a chance 
drift, and not an organised immigration, is shown 
by the fact that there were no domestic animals 
in the island. Once cut off, the first immigrants 
seem to have lost all wish to seek their own 



88 THE ANCIENT FAITH 

land, which they might easily have done by 
building a canoe and running westward before 
the wind. They soon forgot how to make a 
sail. There is still current in Tonga a frag- 
mentary tradition of a canoe belonging to the 
Tui Tonga having drifted to Niu^ in com- 
paratively modern times. The Niutens use the 
word " Tonga " to denote all foreign countries, 
and the best known of their kings bore the title 
of **Tui Tonga." Europeans were called Koe 
tau mau'ty after the Polynesian god, either from 
the wonders that they brought with them, or 
because they were supposed to come from the 
nether regions where Mau*i has his abode. 

The oldest natives, when asked for an ex- 
planation of the name " Niu6," shake their 
heads, and suggest that their ancestors, driven 
seaward from another island, and giving them- 
selves up for lost, saw palms upon the island, 
and hailed them with the cry " Niu — 6 !" ("Palms 
ahoy ! ") ; but that may be classed with a host of 
other native derivations of place-names, equally 
ingenious and equally improbable. 

In the crowd at Alofi I noticed two distinct 
types of physiognomy, the one with wavy Poly- 
nesian hair and the large features of the Cook 
Islanders, and the other with lank, coarse hair 



THE ABORIGINAL RACE 89 

and the Malayan features and rather oblique 
eyes of the Micronesians. These latter were 
comparatively rare — not more than ten per cent. 
The exact origin of the people, now that the 
old men are fast dying off, can never be ascer- 
tained; but a clue may be found in the people 
of Avatele, the village at the south-west corner 
of the island. Even now they show traces of a 
distinct physical type, and in the last generation 
the short and thick-set frame, the large mouth 
and thick lips were very marked. They have, 
moreover, a higher reputation for bravery. They 
have several words not used in the other villages, 
and they speak with a peculiar sing-song, so that, 
as soon as an Avatele man opens his mouth, 
his speech bewrays him. In olden times the 
whole island was against them, and they would 
certainly have been exterminated but for their 
fortress, which was taue uka — impregnable. It 
is situated at a place called Tepd, a little 
south of Avatele. The only entrance to it is 
a hole in the rock about three feet high and 
three feet six inches wide. The warriors and 
their families lived inside, where they cultivated 
bananas, sugar-cane, taro, and kape (giant taro). 
Thence they made frequent sorties against their 
enemies. To this day they dislike being united 



90 THE ANCIENT FAITH 

with the rest of the island, wishing only to be 
left alone to go their own way. 

It may be that the Avatele people are the 
remnant of the aboriginal inhabitants, driven 
southward by Tongan immigrants, who have 
succeeded in impressing their language upon 
them. What they were, it is too late to specu- 
late upon. The type is not Melanesian, though 
it has some Melanesian characteristics. There 
must have been other immigrants besides the 
Tongans. Drifts from the Gilbert Islands may 
have left a Micronesian trace in the blood, and 
from time to time there must have been arrivals 
from Aitutaki and other islands of the Cook 
Group, which lies to windward. Indeed, there 
is still a tradition of the wreck on the east side 
of the island of a canoe containing several men 
and one woman. The men were all killed, but 
the woman was kept as a wife. It may be that 
one of these arrivals was followed by an epidemic, 
and that the people took fright, and thereafter 
adopted their murderous system of quarantine. 

There is more than one reason for believing 
that the island has been inhabited for five hun- 
dred years at least Mr. Gill found the oldest 
historical tradition in Mangaia (I do not include 
mythological story) to be no older than four 



ALL TRADITION LOST 91 

hundred and fifty years : the earliest tradition 
in Tonga is of about the same age ; and, though 
Fomander professes to date Hawaiian history 
from far earlier, his methods seem to be too 
free to be convincing. Five centuries seem to 
be the limit which the memory of a people, 
unacquainted with writing, can attain, and the 
fact that the Niu6ans have preserved no certain 
tradition of their origin seems to show that they 
were established as a race before that limit 
Again, in Pylstaart Island, a known colony of 
Tongan castaways, a complete aristocracy on 
the complicated Tongan model was found in 
miniature, although the island is scarce a mile 
across. That the institutions of the Niudans 
were republican suggests that they left Tonga 
before society in that group had crystallised 
into its present form. Moreover, so far from 
regarding the Tongans as brothers sprung from 
the same ancestors, the Niudans had a traditional 
horror of them as "man-eaters," which by the 
way they were not. The tie must have been 
remote that allowed Polynesians to speak thus 
of their kinsmen, whatever injuries they had 
suffered at their hands. And lastly, though 
the Tongans, even as early as Tasman's visit 
in 1642, tattoped their thighs from the buttocks 



92 THE ANCIENT FAITH 

to the knees, tattooing was unknown in Niu^ 
until the arrival of the Samoan teachers. 

Custom, of course, is more durable than tradi- 
tion, and there was until lately a custom in 
Niu6 that is, I believe, unique in the history 
of the human race. When a boy was a few 
weeks old the old men assembled, and a feast 
was made. On the village square an awning 
of native cloth was rigged, and the child was 
laid upon the ground under it. An old man 
then approached it, mumbling an incantation, 
and performed the operation of circumcision in 
dumb-show with his forefinger. No child was 
regarded as a full-bom member of the tribe 
until he had been subjected to this rite of 
MatapuUga. Now, circumcision was pretty 
generally practised in Fiji, in Tonga, and in 
Samoa, but the Niu^ans assert that the rite was 
never performed in their island except in this 
modified form. They even express disgust at 
the idea of such a mutilation, but they are quite 
unable to assign any reason for their own pur- 
poseless mummery. If what they say is true 
— and Mr. Lawes has no reason to doubt it — 
we have in this a perfect example of the survival 
of a meaningless form five centuries after the 
death of the custom that gave rise to it. In 



TRACES OF TOTEM 93 

their old home the ancestors of the race practised 
circumcision, but, the operation being the pre- 
rogative of a skilled caste to which none of the 
band of castaways belonged, they did not dare 
to tamper with their children's bodies, nor yet 
to abandon a rite which their gods demanded. 

There is a trace of totemism in certain animals 
being sacred to the people of certain villages; 
but these animals, at any rate in late heathen 
times, were not regarded as incarnations of the 
tutelary god. Thus, though Langa'iki was the 
god of Alofi, the owl {/u/u), which was tabu to 
the same village, was not his incarnation, A 
small lizard, the moio (Lawestt), which is peculiar 
to the island, is sacred throughout Niu^, and 
this must be the totem of the original castaways. 
I have already described how the soul of a dead 
man is supposed to have entered into the body 
of the first insect that crawls upon the cloth 
spread by the body : possibly the soul of some 
ancestor may have entered into the mo^o lizard 
in the same way, but it is more likely that the 
moko was a totem, and, if only Polynesian folk- 
lore were being systematically collected in all the 
Polynesian islands, we might, by comparing the 
Niu^ans with other peoples to whom the moko 
is sacred, arrive at a clue to the origin of the 



94 THE ANCIENT FAITH 

people. In Fiji the bond known as tauvu — ^that 
is, the worship of the same god — ^has always been 
found to be a sign of a common origin, for the 
cult of the common ancestor is remembered long 
after the historical tradition of the division of the 
tribe has perished. 

The Niudans had a belief in a future state, 
albeit shadowy and ill -defined. The virtuous 
passed into Ako-noa (everlasting day), the vicious 
into Po (darkness), but there was none so bold 
as to conjecture what they did there. The 
virtues were kindness, courage in batde, chastity, 
theft from another tribe, the slaughter of an 
enemy ; the vices, cowardice, the breaking of an 
agreement or a tabu, theft from a member of 
the tribe, homicide in the time of peace. Ardent 
Christians though they are, no effort of the 
missionary can avail to break them of their belief 
in the malevolence of ghosts, even of those who 
loved them best in life ; the spirits of the dead 
seem compelled to work ill to the living without 
their own volition. And yet their malevolence 
may be directed into a seemly channel, for, 
though they cannot be summoned to answer the 
questions of the living, widows often go to the 
graves of their dead husbands and cry to them 
for help when they are oppressed, in the hope 



INSPIRED PRIESTS 95 

that they will afflict their oppressor with sickness. 
Even so did the Christian natives of a village in 
the Mathuata Province in Fiji when they rebelled 
against the government in 1895. To make their 
secession patent to the world they first killed and 
ate a village policeman, and then carried kava to 
the grave of their dead chief, imploring his assist- 
ance. The office of the priesthood {Taula'atua) 
was hereditary. And here is another curious 
survival of the customs of the original home. 
The kava plant {Jnper methysticum) abounds in* 
Niu^ as in most other Polynesian islands ; kava, 
as everybody knows, is the national drink of 
Polynesia ; it was also the drink under which the 
priests went into their inspired frenzy. The 
Niu^ns alone, of all the Polynesian races who 
know the use of kava, do not drink it as a 
beverage, reserving it for the inspiration of their 
priests. The Niu&m priests behaved much as 
priests do all the world over, that is to say, they 
took the offerings made to the gods as their 
perquisites. While they were in the frenzy of 
inspiration their voices were the voices of the 
god ; at other times, though they had great 
influence, no special reverence was due to their 
persons. There were no built temples ; the gods 
were approached under the open sky, as gods 



96 THE ANCIENT FAITH 

should be — upon consecrated mounds, or in sacred 
clearings in the forest. There was a perfect 
understanding between the priests and the petty 
chiefs, to their mutual advantage, for the chiefs 
could not afford to ignore the political influence 
of the priests, and the priests, knowing that a 
chief could invoke the god without their aid, 
realised that they were not indispensable. 

The gods to whom offerings were made were 
the spirits of dead ancestors, for the gods of 
Polynesian myth were too remote to concern 
themselves with human affairs. Turner was 
informed in 1848 that a long time before they 
were wont to make offerings to an idol which 
had legs like a man, but that in the time of a 
great epidemic, believing that the sickness was 
caused by the idol, they broke it in pieces and 
threw it away. 

Christianity has failed to eradicate the belief 
in witchcraft; indeed, in one curious particular, 
it has even strengthened it. As in Tonga and 
Fiji, when the perpetrator of a crime is un- 
discovered, it is common to summon the in- 
habitants of a village, and to require them each 
to swear upon the Book that he is not the guilty 
person. Sometimes the evildoer is discovered 
by the trembling of his hand ; sometimes after 



WITCHCRAFT AND THE BIBLE 97 

taking the oath he falls sick from sheer fright 
and makes confession. In 1887 when I was in 
Lomaloma (Fiji) several cases of arson had 
occurred among the Tongans settled there. 
Mafi, the old native magistrate, caused every 
man and woman in the village to take the oath, 
and a week later he was summoned to a woman 
to receive her dying confession. As soon as she 
had relieved her conscience she began to mend, 
and she lived to take her trial for the crime. A 
very exalted personage in Tonga, in his anxiety 
to prove to me that he had had no relations with 
the French, a matter of which I had indubitable 
proof, called for a Bible, and would have im- 
perilled his health in the same way had I not in- 
terfered. The custom, which probably originated 
with the early missionaries, has been disseminated 
far and wide throughout the Christianised Pacific 
by native teachers. So deeply rooted is it that 
all Mr. Lawes' efforts have failed to discourage it 
A common form of witchcraft was to take up 
the soil on which an enemy had set his footprint 
and carry it to a sacred place, where it was 
solemnly cursed in order that he might be 
afflicted with lameness. When preparing for 
war a piece of green kava was bound on either 
side of the spear-point to strike the enemy with 

H 



98 THE ANCIENT FAITH 

blindness. Nowadays no spell can be more fatal 
than to imprison one of the sacred ntoko lizards 
in a bottle and bury it at the foot of a cocoanut 
tree with an appropriate curse, to destroy any 
person who may drink the water of the nuts. 
To ensure the working of this spell it was, of 
course, essential that the victim should come to 
know of his impending doom ; a hint was enough 
to lay him on his bed from pure fright There 
was one slender hope for him. Curses can be 
neutralised by counterspells and the voluntary 
imposition of tabus, such as abstaining from 
certain acts, or certain kinds of food, much as 
the ancient Hebrews laid themselves under vows. 
When other means fail, a knife is run into the 
nape of the patient s neck. It is not uncommon 
for medical officers in Fiji, when prescribing 
medicine for a patient, to be asked what tabu is 
to be observed, for most native medicine-men of 
repute insist upon certain prohibitions, such as 
abstention from all "red food" {i.e. shell fish, red 
kaile, roots, etc.), or from all food grown under 
the earth, as essential to the cure. If the victim 
of the spell believes in his own antidote he does 
not fall ill ; if he is sceptical he sickens from 
fright ; in either case the belief in witchcraft 
receives a gentle impetus. 



THE SPIRIT OF TONGUES 99 

No less active is the belief in the possession 
by evil spirits. Not long ago a middle-aged 
woman was hag-ridden. She rushed in frenzy 
about the country to the consternation and terror 
of the people, and for several days she neither 
ate nor slept To one question only would she 
give a connected answer : she knew the name of 
the spirit that had entered into her. Knowing 
no means of exorcising him, the people let her 
alone, and she eventually recovered, having 
apparently no recollection of her seizure. Close 
beneath the phlegmatic surface of the Polynesian 
there runs a strong current of neurotic hysteria, 
often unsuspected by the Europeans that know 
them best. The early missionaries were startled 
at the frequent disturbance of their services by 
an outburst of frenzy on the part of their most 
promising converts, who professed to be pos- 
sessed by the Holy Spirit as at Pentecost 
They gabbled in an unknown tongue, while their 
neighbours patted them soothingly on the back 
to bring them back to their senses. It was 
nothing else than the inspired frenzy of the 
heathen priests, who shivered and foamed at the 
mouth, and squeaked in shrill falsetto when pos- 
sessed by their god To the same neurotic 
quality are to be ascribed that curious seizure 



^oo THE ANCIENT FAITH 

described by Mr. Rathbone* among the Malays, 
known as Lite, where at the utterance of some 
simple word such as " cut " a man will spring to 
his feet and leap about in a frenzy, shouting 
" Cut 1 Cut ! Cut ! " in endless reiteration ; and 
the curious affection known in Fiji as ** Dongai," 
whereby two young people of a race not naturally 
amorous, being separated after a first cohabita- 
tion, will pine away and die from purely physical 
debility, or, as we should say, of a broken heart ; 
and that strange surrender whereby a man who 
thinks himself bewitched will give up all hope 
of life, and will take to his mat and foretell 
correctly the hour of his death. In the early 
part of 1888 a young native private of the 
garrison stationed at Fort Carnarvon in Fiji fell 
sick on returning from furlough on the coast. 
His comrades soon discovered the cause : he 
had had one brief hour of happiness with the 
girl of his choice, her parents had discovered the 
liaison and had driven him from the village ; 
they were both *' dongai " and would surely die. 
Every means wais taken to distract him, and I 
had just completed arrangements to send him 
down to the coast for change of air, when the 
camp blackguard, one Motulevote, had a seizure 

* Camping tmd Tramping in MtUaya^ by H. Rathbonk, 1S98. 



EXORCISM BY THE ROD loi 

in the night, and woke up every man in the 
barrack-room. When asked whose spirit pos- 
sessed him, he replied in a squeaky voice, " I am 
Avisai (the sick than). I am about to die. I 
shall die on Thursday." In the morning, it is 
scarcely necessary to say, Avisai, who had heard 
this cheering announcement, was too ill to move. 
When Motulevote appeared next morning among 
the defaulters in the orderly room, he treated 
himself as an interesting case, and was proceed- 
ing to give the fullest details of his symptoms 
when the remedy of the cane was prescribed. It 
was gravely explained to him that he personally 
was entitled to the greatest sympathy; it was 
imperative that his carcass should be made an 
uncomfortable lodging for wandering spirits, and 
that the strokes of the cane were intended to 
extend below the surface of his innocent skin to 
that of Avisai's truant spirit that lay within. It 
is said that the corporal who wielded the cane 
entered into the spirit of the cure, and when 
Motulevote howled, addressed himself to Avisai's 
spirit, who was reported to me as having fled at 
the tenth stroke. By adopting the same air of 
tender solicitude that nurses use towards a child 
after it has been made to take a dose of nauseous 
medicine, I believe that we ended by impressing 



I02 THE ANCIENT FAITH 

Motulevote with a sense of obligation. At any 
rate the spirit took the hint and visited him no 
more, and Avisai ultimately recovered. 

Cannibalism was unknown in Niu^, which is 
remarkable in a Polynesian race destitute of 
animal food. This does not in itself entitle the 
people to rank high among Polynesian nations, 
for, as is well known, cannibalism is not incon- 
sistent with considerable advance towards civili- 
sation, and the absence of it may be found 
accompanied with a very low state of barbarism. 
The Hawaiians and the Maories, whose polity 
and art and ornate manners entitled them to 
be called semi-civilised, were cannibals ; the 
South African bushmen were not Nor did the 
Niudans make human sacrifice, though infanti- 
cide used to be common in the cases of illegiti- 
mate children, or of children born in war time. 
In the latter case the child was disposed of by 
fakafolau; that is to say, the babies were laid 
in an ornamental basket cradle, and, with many 
tears, were set adrift upon the sea when the wind 
was off shore. Then, as now, mothers were very 
affectionate towards their children, and when 
stern necessity commanded this sacrifice, they 
had to be restrained by force. 



CHAPTER VII 
THE TRIBUNALS OF ARCADIA 

HAPPY IS the land that has neither taxes, 
nor treasury, nor paid civil service, nor 
prisons, nor police! The problem that puzzled 
Plato and Confucius and Machiavelli and Locke 
and Jeremy Bentham has never troubled Niu6, 
for only once in its history has it felt the need 
of these things. It happened in 1887, when one 
Koteka slew his brother. He could not be 
acquitted — the man was disobliging enough to 
admit his guilt — the penal code had never con- 
templated such a crime as this. The chiefs 
sought counsel of Mr. Lawes, as they have ever 
done in moments of perplexity, and for once he 
was powerless to help them. There was no 
prison, and an execution carried out by natives 
was out of the question ; the H igh Commissioner's 
Court in Fiji had no jurisdiction over natives, 
and the Pulangi Tau, or Council of War, that 

would have given the man short shrift in heathen 

103 



I04 THE TRIBUNALS OF ARCADIA 

days by telling off one of hi^ judges to betray 
him into ambush, had long been dissolved. 
There was nothing for it but to sentence him 
to perpetual labour on the roads, and, as they 
could not sentence a free citizen to stand per- 
petual gruard over him, they left it to the convict's 
honour to see that the sentence was carried out 
But Koteka, who had showed singfular callous- 
ness to the embarrassment of his fellow-country- 
men, now came to their aid, which proved that 
there was good in the man, since he suffered little 
personal inconvenience from the sentence. A 
ship coming in a few weeks later, he boarded her 
without opposition, and worked his passage to 
Manahiki, where he is still living, to the un- 
disguised relief of the native authorities. 

The old criminal court was, as I have said, 
the Pulangi Tau, or Council of War, whose 
only rule of procedure was to meet and try the 
accused when he happened to be out of the way. 
The code was the Lex Talionis modified by the 
rank and influence of the defendant. Murder, 
that is the killing of a member of the tribe (for 
the slaying of a potential enemy was a virtue 
rather than a crime), was punished by the kopega. 
The trial was held in secret and without the 
knowledge of the accused. If he was con- 



EXECUTION BY AFO lOS 

demned to death, some member of the court 
was told off to afo him, that is to say, to win 
his confidence by an open profession of friend- 
ship. The business of the executioner was thus 
drawn out into weeks. When he had wormed 
himself into his victim's confidence, a day was 
appointed, and a band of warriors was concealed 
at a concerted spot in the bush. Then the Judas, 
on the pretence of taking him to an assignation 
with some village beauty, led him into the 
ambush, and he was done to death by blows 
struck from behind. Adultery was punished by 
fine or by the paddle-club, according to the 
influence of the offender, and there were in- 
stances of persons being condemned to be the 
slaves of their accusers. The gratification of 
private revenge was recognised, and justice was 
administered capriciously, as must always be the 
case in a society that tolerates might as right. 

All this was swept away by the five Samoan 
teachers. They brought with them the penal 
code of the London Missionary Society, which 
was already in full force in Tahiti and Rarotonga, 
and was beginning to displace the elaborate 
system of punishments in Samoa. When the 
Mission ship Duff sailed from Portsmouth the 
stocks were still in use, and just as they were 



io6 THE TRIBUNALS OF ARCADIA 

being abandoned in England, they took root in 
the South Seas. But in 1859, as Dr. Turner 
records with complacency, the *' Broom Road," 
which was to aid the good work by enabling the 
missionary to keep a horse, had become the 
sheet-anchor of the law. All malefactors, from 
thieves to truants from the Sunday school, were 
sentenced to a spell of work upon this road, 
calculated in fathoms according to the degree of 
their iniquity, and if at that early date it 
stretched already, as Dr. Turner says, from 
Avatele to Alofi, a distance of six miles, the 
greater part of the population must have brought 
themselves within the clutches of the law. In 
these days men must sin with greater impunity, 
for to keep the road in repair the entire male 
population is giving the first Monday in the 
month. On the very afternoon of my landing 
they took me with pride to see a gigantic feat 
of engineering on which they were engaged — 
nothing less than the grading of a steep hill of 
coral for wheel traffic, although the only carts in 
the island belong to the traders. A few charges 
of dynamite would have done the job in a week, 
but they were too proud to ask the white men 
to help them, and they had set about the task in 
the only fashion they knew, which was to light 



PRIMITIVE LAW COURTS 107 

big fires on the limestone rock, and then break 
away the calcined surface with hammers, a few 
inches at a time. That bluff may be cut through 
some day, but it will not be in our time, nor in 
theirs. 

The law courts of Niu^ have never felt the 
want of paid police. There is a judge in every 
village, who holds his court when and where he 
pleases, but preferably in the open air. A verbal 
summons is sent to the accused. If he appears, 
the trial proceeds, but if not, the court adjourns 
until such time as his contumacy yields to the 
constant worrying to which he is subjected. 
There are no particular rules of procedure. The 
great object is to get the accused to confess. 
Accuser and accused generally fall to wrangling 
before the judge, who sits quietly listening until 
they have done, when, having used this excellent 
opportunity for forming an opinion of the merits 
of the case, he pronounces sentence. When 
there is no clue to the perpetrator of a crime, it 
is not unusual for the judge to send for a Bible 
and solemnly curse him upon it Then the 
real culprit generally falls ill from sheer fright, 
and confesses to save his life. Primitive as 
the system is, I feel sure, from my experience 
of the Tongan courts, that with more elaborate 



io8 THE TRIBUNALS OF ARCADIA 

machinery the Niu6an magistrates will do less 
justice. 

Three penalties are now recognised by the 
courts : the making of fifty or one hundred 
fathoms of road, the burning of an oven of lime, 
and the fine. The road-making consists in 
clearing the undergrowth, filling up the crevices 
in the jagged limestone with branch coral carried 
from the beach, and spreading a layer of sand 
over all. Making an oven of lime is supposed to 
take a fortnight — one week for cutting the fire- 
wood, and another for bringing coral to burn in 
the fire ; but, inasmuch as there is no officer paid 
to see that the sentence is carried out, the courts 
have fallen into an easy way of imposing fines 
for all offences, which, being usually paid by the 
relations of the prisoner, are apt to fail as a 
deterrent. 

It is not surprising that offences are on the 
increase. The abduction of married women to 
the bush — an offence that was kept down by the 
club in the old days — is a growing source of 
trouble. A fine paid by the relations of the co- 
respondent does not satisfy the injured husband, 
who might think his honour cleared if he could 
see the gallant sweating at labour on the public 
road. I remember once laying before the great 



SUICIDE 109 

Council of Chiefs in Fiji a proposal to substitute 
a civil action for damages for the criminal penalty 
for seduction. During the debate that followed 
not a single voice was heard in support of the 
proposal. The opinion was unanimous that the 
existing law was a safety-valve without which 
there would be constant explosions. A man 
wanted no monetary gain from his dishonour, 
and if he were denied the legitimate revenge 
of seeing the man that had injured him lan- 
guishing in gaol, he would resort to the old 
remedy of the club. Suicide, which seems to 
have been common in heathen times, is still of 
riot unfrequent occurrence. It is rarely com- 
mitted deliberately, but in an access of rage or 
shame young men and women jump over the 
cliffs and are dashed to pieces on the coral 
rocks below. Like angry children, they are 
tempted to avenge themselves by picturing the 
trouble that they will bring upon the friends who 
have offended them. 

Thefts from Europeans are settled in an in- 
formal manner that does credit to everyone but 
the thief. The European generally goes first 
to Mr. Lawes, who invites the chiefs to make 
inquiry. A Fono is held, and, as a rule, the 
offender is discovered The honour of the 



\ 



no THE TRIBUNALS OF ARCADIA 

island being concerned, the relations of the thief 
are obliged to make restitution, in some cases 
twofold But even in cases where a close inquiry 
has failed to discover the thief, restitution is 
sometimes made by the district, even though the 
European has admittedly thrown temptation in 
the way of the thief by his own negligence. It 
was owing to the just and tactful arbitration of 
Mr. Lawes that the Europeans had no com- 
plaints to bring before me, and that there exists 
between the traders and the natives a good feeling 
that can scarcely be found in any other part of 
the Pacific These good relations may not last 
Mr. Lawes told me that the young bloods who 
have been abroad and have worked side by side 
with Europeans are becoming prone to be in- 
solent and abusive to the traders, and that there 
is a disposition to take advantage of the traders' 
necessity when a copra ship is in by refusing to 
work for the time-honoured rate of a dollar a 
day. The Niu^ns mind does not deal in 
fractions; it works in dollars, and when one 
seems insufficient, it jumps lightly to two. ** Two 
dollars or we strike," are the terms they spring 
upon the wretched trader, who knows that his 
ship cannot wait many hours in her dangerous 
anchorage, and that his copra may lie rotting in 



A NEW WAY WITH SEDITION iii 

his sheds before another ship will come to take 
it This is one of the questions that an English 
Resident may be trusted to deal with. 

The judicial preference for moral suasion to 
overcome contumacy is shared by the Executive. 
Nothing is done in Niu^ without the decree of 
the Fono, a council attended by all the chiefs 
of villages and heads of families. The Fono is 
half parliament and half law-court Nothing is 
too great or too small for its attention. Has a 
strong man encroached on a widow's yam patch, 
it is to the Fono that she makes her plaint Has 
a villager of Avatele been rude to a visitor from 
Tuapa, it is to the Fono that he will be called to 
answer. Time was when the Fono made laws, 
but as the only copy of these enactments is in 
the possession of Mr. Lawes, and the magistrates 
have managed very well without them for many 
years past, legislation is a very rare part of its 
labours. It sometimes happens that a village 
has refused to obey the decree of the Fono. The 
Great Council flies into no vulgar passion, talks 
not of legal penalties, sets no police in motion. 
It simply announces that the next meeting will 
be held in the rebellious village. This means 
more than meets the eye, for councillors are 
hungry folk, and they do not bring sandwiches 



112 THE TRIBUNALS OF ARCADIA 

with them. No village would dare incur the 
odium of neglecting to feed its august visitors. 
The headstrong village knows its doom. Day 
after day the Fono will blandly hold its sittings, 
eating its meals with intervals of talk between, 
and one thing only will prorogue the session 
— the humble submission of its refractory enter- 
tainers. Is it surprising that no standing army 
is wanted to suppress sedition in Niue ? 

When I asked to see the Statute Book, Mr. 
Lawes, who combines with his other unofficial 
functions the duties of Gustos Rotulorum, pro- 
duced a faded sheaf of foolscap paper. It was 
the only existing copy of the Acts of King 
Fataaiki, and it was doubtful whether any of 
the magistrates, who administered the code from 
memory, knew of its existence. It was simple 
in the extreme. Theft and adultery were to be 
punished with labour on the roads ; for traffic in 
strong liquor and the sale of land, both absolutely 
forbidden, no penalties were provided. I would 
fain have left the law in its nebulous and elastic 
condition had it not been for the increasing 
proneness of the Niu&in to remove his neigh- 
bour s landmark and—^if the naked truth be told 
— his neighbours wife. Having with me the 
Penal Code which I drafted for the Tongans in 



THE NEW PENAL CODE 113 

1 89 1, I dictated to Mr. Lawes the simplest and 
the shortest Penal Code that ever nation had, 
providing broadly for every crime in the calendar, 
with \ penal ties ranging from a fine of a plaited 
straw hat to a maximum of six months' labour 
on the roads. The omission was criminal assault 
upon children — a crime unknown in Niu^, Mr. 
Lawes assured me, though by a strange coin- 
cidence, as I heard afterwards, this very crime 
was committed within a month from the passing 
of the code. My part of the work was finished 
in two hours, and I blushed when I accepted 
the offer of my patient amanuensis to make the 
translations and fair copies after my departure, 
and even to persuade King Tongia to the task 
of commending it to his council — the only legis- 
lative body. To quote Mr. Lawes* own words, 
written six weeks afterwards : ** We got the 
Quarantine Regulations through at Fono on 
May 1st. At the same time I read the trans- 
lation of the laws which you wrote out, and 
suggested that the present would be a fitting 
time to revise their laws, and, together with 
those left by you, get all written out and put 
in force. The proposal was received more 
cordially than I expected. The patus had two 
sittings at Alofi. In every case in which they 



114 THE TRIBUNALS OF ARCADIA 

had similar laws to those left by you they voted 
for the mena fou in preference to the old. I 
wrote out all on which they were unanimous, and 
at the Fono at Tuapa to-day they have passed 
them by show of hands, and got the king s 
signature affixed. The late king was an intelli- 
gent, shrewd man, but I could not get him to do 
what Tongia has now done. There was a little 
hesitation in substituting work in almost every 
case for fines. The constables shrugged their 
shoulders at six or three months on the roads, 
and no pay. We advised them to pass the law 
and arrange afterwards about some remuneration 
for constables. For feeding the prisoners for the 
longer terms of labour they have agreed to let 
them off two days a week, to work for them- 
selves and get food. In addition to fines, they 
have decided upon a sixpenny poll-tax per annum 
for man and wife and sons up to the age of 
going away in * ships : unmarried women and 
girls exempt. The beginning of taxes in Savage 
Island ! What will it grow to ? " 

There was one other matter in which I was 
obliged to tamper with legislation. There were 
cases of bubonic plague in Australia and New 
Zealand, and ships were free to communicate 
with the shore at four different parts of the 



PRECAUTIONS AGAINST THE PLAGUE 115 

coast A master might even land his sick on 
the island and sail away unchallenged if he chose, 
and though masters who would commit such an 
act of infamy are fortunately rare in these days, 
the risk of infection was too great to be left un- 
provided for. There being no Customs officer or 
medical man on the island, it was obvious that 
nothing could be done without the willing co- 
operation of the Europeans. The nine traders 
responded to my invitation to a meeting. Having 
laid before them the risk the island ran^ I called 
for volunteer health officers. It was first pro- 
posed that Alofi should be made the only port 
of entry, but to this it was objected that masters, 
having anchored at one port, would refuse to 
incur the delay of going on to another and re- 
turning before they began to discharge their 
cargo. There was nothing for it but to appoint 
a health officer for every port, and to the credit 
of the gentlemen present volunteers at once came 
forward. Quarantine Regulations were drafted to 
be passed by the native council (which must have 
been sorely puzzled by the unaccustomed phrase- 
ology); the health officers undertook to board 
every incoming vessel, and demand the Bill of 
Health, at the same time serving upon the 
master a copy of the penalties he would incur 



ii6 THE TRIBUNALS OF ARCADIA 

if he allowed men to land before he got pratique ; 
and King Tongia, for his part, undertook to 
punish any native who should put off to a vessel 
flying the yellow flag. It was a game of bluff — 
for how was the penalty of ;^50 or six months' 
imprisonment to be enforced ? — but it served its 
purpose. 



CHAPTER VIII 
A NATIVE ENTERTAINMENT 

IT was not in accordance with Niu&in custom 
that visitors should go away empty-handed. 
At three o'clock one sunny afternoon we were 
summoned to an entertainment on the square 
of grass before the Mission-house. Sitting with 
our backs to the gate, we faced a grassy stage, 
built, as it were, of palm trees — their stems for 
wings, their feathery, glistening fronds for flies, 
and for background the blue Pacific clear to the 
horizon, save for the Porpoise lying at anchor 
below. 

First there came a band of shy g^irls with 
garlands twined in their black tresses and 
presents in their hands, shepherded by a few 
armed warriors (in coat and trousers, be it con- 
fessed) and three or four aged women capering 
grotesquely. Sitting down in two double rows 
facing one another, they began to chant paeans 
in our honour to the cadence of an English 

117 



Ii8 A NATIVE ENTERTAINMENT 

drum. Mr. Lawes, sitting at my elbow, trans- 
lated as they sang. It must be confessed that 
both in voice and melody they fell far behind 
the Samoans and the Tongans, but a people 
who in a single night can compose and teach to 
a chorus of fifty persons words and music, with 
the accompanying gestures, is not lightly to be 
called unmusical. One of the songs described 
the hoisting of the flag; the girls imitated the 
action of hauling on a rope and the salute fired 
from the ship as they sang ''Fust/ Fust/" (" Pull 
up ! Pull up ! "). Viewed in a body like this, the 
women were not prepossessing. Their straight, 
greasy-looking black hair, fat cheeks, ill-shaped 
features, and clumsy figures wanted more than 
a good-natured expression and bright smiles to 
redeem them from ugliness. The songs were 
led by the composer, a daughter of the late king 
and sister to the young gentleman who had acted 
as our pilot, an enormously fat girl, with a smile 
that seemed to lose itself behind her ears. After 
the singing had been protracted into the second 
half-hour the old gentleman of the nautical 
uniform, whom we had nicknamed ** the Admiral," 
broke in upon the stage to expostulate. It ap- 
peared that he too had a band of singers behind 
the scenes, and that the first choir was cheating 



si 

si 



2 'E 

II 

Q ■■ 



AN AGED BACCHANTE 119 

him of his fair share of our attention. He had 
now discarded his ancient beaver for a home- 
made cocked hat, hastily constructed in imitation 
of mine. At his remonstrance the first choir good- 
naturedly yielded him place, which meant that 
every member of the troupe came up to us in 
turn, presenting us with some trinket with the 
left hand and shaking hands with the right. The 
pile of presents between our feet rose higher and 
higher, and the garlands wreathed our knees 
until we looked too Bacchanalian for the gravity 
of the crowd of blue-jackets who were looking on. 
There were fans and shells and coloured pebbles, 
and crab shells with scarlet spots upon them, and 
tail feathers of the frigate bird, and live chickens 
bound fast by the leg, and necklaces of little 
yellow shells, which, as we afterwards found, 
are highly prized in Tonga. 

The Admiral's troupe now advanced upon the 
stage, and we were again reminded that dignity 
is little accounted of in Niu6. At its head 
capered the Admiral and three old ladies, and 
warriors with spears in poise danced awkwardly 
in the rear. While the song was in progress the 
Admirals sister, a dame as old as himself, danced 
before us in a flame-coloured nightgown. No 
stately measure was this, but a vulgar caper of 



I20 A NATIVE ENTERTAINMENT 

the Moulin Rouge that recked not of singers or 
of drum-beat With her fists clenched on a 
level with her ears, this weird old person pranced 
solemnly in the background until she wore down 
the other dancers and was left to caper by her- 
self When flesh and blood would bear no more, 
she sat down panting beside us. Blown though 
she was, she had no intention of yielding the 
crachoir to the legitimate performers, for now 
she called for a wooden drum, upon which she 
beat vigorously for a few minutes quite out of 
time to the music. Then, flinging it aside, she 
whipped a nose-flute from the bosom of her 
nightgown, and blew soft notes upon it with 
one nostril, watching us the while out of the 
corner of her eye, lest our attention should 
stray from her. Whatever further tricks she 
had to show us were cut short by the close of 
the singing and the consequent handshaking, 
in which she gravely took her part, presenting 
me with her nose-flute. Her buffoonery did not 
provoke a smile from the other performers until 
they noticed our amusement, when some of the 
girls smiled indulgently upon her. It is pos- 
sible that she was touched in the head, though 
Mr. Lawes had always known her as a staid 
matron and a regular attendant at church. We 



* 



MIMIC DUELS 121 

were told that this dance of old women, which 
is practised, so far as I know, in no other part 
of Polynesia, and which Mr. Lawes had never 
seen, was a revival of an ancient custom. 

The warriors now engaged in mimic duel. 
A short man brandishing a paddle-club with 
both hands challenged another armed with a 
spear. Contorting his features into the most 
horrible grimaces, the club man rushed upon his 
antagonist, and appeared to be on the point of 
cracking his skull, when he seemed to take 
•alarm at the spear and retired step by step 
before the other s onset. Thus by alternate 
rushes the fight swayed to and fro, until both 
the duellists were out of breath and gave place 
to others. The feints were so cleverly done that 
more than once I feared for a moment that they 
had lost their heads in the excitement, and that 
one or the other would receive a dangerous 
wound. What they must have looked in war 
paint, with tangled locks over their eyes and 
matted beards chewed between their teeth, it 
was easy to imagine, and I think that the success 
of the performance, which was so popular that we 
had to interfere when we had had enough of it, 
was due to the fact that it was not play-acting 
at all, but actual warfare as it was waged in 



122 A NATIVE ENTERTAINMENT 

the old days ; for, as I shall presently explain, 
there is good reason to believe that hand-to-hand 
fighting was seldom more than a series of feints 
persisted in until the weaker vessel ran away, 
leaving his antagonist master of the field. 

When the dancers had withdrawn a man rose 
from the ring of spectators and began an oration 
of welcome. He was the headman of Avatele, 
and it soon became evident that the headmen 
of each of the eleven villages intended to deliver 
themselves of the oratory of which I had de- 
frauded them when the Treaty was signed 
Mr. Lawes achieved the difficult feat of interpret- 
ing in a rapid undertone without interrupting the 
speakers, whose fluency and declamation would 
shame the average public speaker in England. 
The fact is that you will scarcely find in the 
Pacific a native who cannot make a fair speech 
in public on any subject at a moment's notice. 
There is none of the hesitation, the tiresome 
reiteration, the halting delivery, and the depend- 
ence upon the rhetorical conjunction "er-er-er" 
when the reservoir of thought runs dry, that 
distinguish the efforts of the male Briton who 
is called suddenly to his feet. (I say male 
Briton because I have been given to understand 
that the oratory of platform ladies, having none 



POLITICAL INFLUENCE OF BLUE- JACKETS 123 

of these defects, is a pure delight to listen to.) 
The Polynesian is never at a loss for a word, 
for a phrase, or for an illustration. He owes, 
perhaps, something to his language, for I am 
not the only Englishman who finds it easier 
to make a speech in a Polynesian language 
than in English. 

Niu6, lying east of the i8oth degree of 
longitude, keeps western time, and our Sunday 
was the natives' Saturday. Captain Ravenhill, 
in compliance with my hint that the natives 
should have none but pleasant recollections of 
our visit, allowed no one to go on shore 
who was below the rank of petty officer. I do 
not think that, if he had, the result would have 
been different, for after six weeks' stay in Tonga, 
where every man on board was allowed the 
usual shore leave, the king assured me that 
the Porpoise's was the best -behaved ship's 
company that had ever visited his kingdom. 
But the British petty officers are a class apart, 
and if I were set the task of winning the 
confidence of suspicious and hostile natives, 
I should ask for an escort of the first naval 
petty officers that came to hand and consider 
the work done. On returning from a walk late 
in the afternoon we heard sounds of merry- 



124 A NATIVE ENTERTAINMENT 

making in the village square, and found the 
whole population sitting convulsed with laughter 
at an entertainment provided by their visitors. 
It appeared that the shore party, returning to 
their boat, had discovered a band of urchins 
playing catch with oranges, and seized upon 
the opportunity for teaching the new British 
subjects the British national game. With sticks 
for wickets and cocoanut butts for bats, they 
soon had the game going, and when we came 
up a boy of eight was bowling to a bearded 
engine-room artificer, who was going through 
the antics of clown-cricket to the huge delight 
of the onlookers. The little boys positively 
wept when the boat came to carry away their 
new-found friends. 

As no one has yet done justice to the enormous 
political influence wielded by English blue-jackets 
in these seas, I will here set down an unwritten 
chapter of history, related to me by the King 
of Tonga, in His Majesty's own words : — 

" I think that it is because the English joke 
with us Tongans that they are our friends. 
Now, when the Taulanga (H.M.S. Taurangd) 
was here, there was a marine who used to carry 
the letters to the post-office. He could not 
speak our language, yet he spent much time 



BRITISH IMPUDENCE 125 

with my guard-boys in the guard-room at the 
end of the wharf, and was beloved of them. 
One day another man-of-war was signalled. 
She was the flagship of the French admiral, and 
we all watched through telescopes, wondering 
whether the two ships would salute one another, 
and whether the French admiral would first call 
upon the English captain, or the English captain 
would first call upon the admiral, for we thought 
that the first to call would acknowledge himself 
to be the inferior of the other. And while 
we watched, a boat put off from the Taulanga 
to carry the captain to the French ship ; there- 
fore some said, 'See, the Englishman admits 
his inferiority.' But they did not speak thus 
on the next day. It was a Sunday, and the 
French sailors, to the number of about eighty, 
landed in boats, and marched to the Roman 
Catholic church at Maofanga to attend the 
service. The English marine was in the guard- 
room when they passed, and the Tongan 
guard-boys jested with him, saying how fine 
the Frenchmen looked and how terrible they 
must be in battle, at which the marine spat 
upon the ground, but said nothing, and presently 
he went away to walk in the town. About noon 
the sentry called the guard to the door, saying. 



126 A NATIVE ENTERTAINMENT 

* Here come the Frenchmen ! ' and while they 
watched them marching proudly in lines of four, 
they saw also their friend, the English marine, 
coming down a cross-road from the town, so 
that he must encounter the Frenchmen at the 
place where the two roads met, though as yet 
he saw them not because of the trees. * Now,' 
they said, * we shall see an Englishman abashed, 
for our friend loves not the French, and when 
he comes upon these suddenly, he will turn and 
slink back into the town as white clergymen 
of rival churches are used to do when they 
encounter one another in the street' But they 
were false prophets, for as soon as their friend 
saw the Frenchmen he threw back his head 
proudly and stepped high, behaving like a 
general about to lead his troops into battle. 
So waited he at the cross-road, and when they 
had come up to him he put himself at their 
head, and marched so bravely in his red coat, 
that the Tongans cried out, * Lo, a king is 
approaching us with his bodyguard ! It behoves 
us to salute him with all humility!' The face 
of the French officer was not good to look upon, 
for when he called upon his men to stamp the 
ground and let the marine go on, he also 
stamped the ground, and when they pressed 



BATTLE BY BLUSTER 127 

forward to pass him he quickened his steps 
and kept with them, as if he was indeed their 
leader. Nor was it better when they passed 
the guard -room, and saw even the Tongan 
sentry dissolved in laughter, for the marine 
behaved as if he was too exalted to know his 
friends, save for a secret sign that he made to 
them with one eyelid. So they went on together 
to the boat The rumour of this thing was carried 
throughout Tonga, and the people thought more 
of this marine than of the French admiral and 
all his men." 

When I read the narratives of Captain Cook 
and John Williams, the missionary, I believed 
the Niu^ans to be the most ferocious warriors 
that the world has ever seen. Now I have my 
doubts. The sham duel performed in our honour 
at Alofi was no doubt a very terrifying perform- 
ance, and to witness, as Williams did, an old 
gentleman of sixty in a state of nature, smeared 
with charcoal, with a long grey beard plaited into 
rats'-tails, poising and quivering his spear, dis- 
torting his features most horribly by distending 
his mouth, gnashing his teeth, and forcing his 
eyeballs almost out of their sockets, ** thrusting 
his long grey beard into his mouth, and gnawing 
it with the most savage vengeance," and main- 



128 A NATIVE ENTERTAINMENT 

taining throughout the performance a loud and 
hideous howl, must have made a lasting impres- 
sion. And King Tongia, it is true, could talk of 
little less than the warlike exploits of himself and 
his fathers. But one of His Majesty's anecdotes 
has left me to wonder whether Niudan warfare 
often overstepped the limits of beard-chewing. 
He was relating how an ancestor of his, the 
greatest warrior the world has known, met the 
second greatest warrior in single combat The 
battle-light glowed in Tongia s left eye as he 
described the weapons, the strength, the courage, 
and the ferocious aspect of the warriors. At his 
recital the stoutest heart must have quailed. But 
noticing that the battlefield of this historic duel 
was no larger than the dining-room of a suburban 
villa, and knowing that only one of them could 
have come alive from a combat in so confined 
a space, Mr. Lawes inquired which of them was 
killed. " Oh, neither ! " said the king, and passed 
lightly to other battle stories. I believe that in 
Niu6 the battle was not to the strong, but to the 
ugly. Your object in battle was not so much to 
crack your opponent s skull as to frighten him off 
the field, and if your grimaces and howls failed 
to make him run, you knew that he meant 
business, and you ran away yourself. If you 



THE CULT OF UGLINESS 129 

could make up well, you became a toa (brave), 
and the ball was at your feet, for the toa ruled 
their rulers, made and unmade kings, and lived 
on the fat of the land. We have no photographs 
of the famous men of old, but I suspect that 
they were blessed from birth with a natural 
uncomeliness which they fostered with art, 
by plaiting their beards into rats'-tails, and by 
assiduous practice of the battle-howl That a 
whole people should devote itself to the cult of 
ugliness is, I think, uncommon even among the 
most primitive races. Nearly every warlike 
people do something to "make-up" for the part 
of a warrior, but their object is to strike fear into 
their enemies by an effect of noble and awful 
dignity. The Samoans don a lofty headdress ; 
the Fijians disguise themselves with black and 
white paint ; the people of New Britain wear 
masks. The Aztecs and the Mallicolo Islanders, 
it is true, compress their skulls to a point, and 
the Maories disfigure their faces with tattooing, 
but only because what we regard as disfigure- 
ments minister to their ideas of beauty. With 
the sole exception of the Niudans the Polynesian 
races never forget their dignity so far as to make 
themselves either ludicrous or grotesque. In the 
whole island of Niud I saw but one man with 



I30 A NATIVE ENTERTAINMENT 

a trace of dignity about him, and he was a 
Samoan teacher. As for the rest, from the grey- 
bearded elder to the smallest child, they all 
behaved like schoolboys. Some alien strain in 
the blood has debased a race of Polynesian 
aristocrats into Melanesian republicans. 

The loss of life from warfare can never have 
been great. I imagine that in place of desperate 
assaults upon fortified strongholds, as in Tonga 
and New Zealand, the Niu^an warrior contented 
himself with cutting off defenceless stragglers 
and slaying individuals by ambush. Naturally 
timorous, the Niu^ans did not even dare to 
execute their criminals honestly. 

Their arms did not lend themselves to pre- 
cision. The paddle-club was almost as ineffective 
a weapon as an oar, for, being flimsy and light, 
the blade caught the air, and the force of the 
stroke was diminished. The spear was a mere 
stick sharpened at one end, and, as we have 
seen, the warrior who launched one at Cook at 
five yards range failed to hit him. If the slings 
and the hand-grenades fashioned from the cave- 
stalactites, rounded and polished, had been 
accurate in aim, scarce a man of Cook's party 
would have escaped. But the club and the 
spear were excellent weapons for brandishing, 



BLOODLESS ENCOUNTERS 131 

and scaring the enemy was all that the Niu6an 
warrior aimed at The Fijians, who are often 
quoted as types of ferocity, expended their 
heroism in the preliminary mboU, or "boasting," 
before they encountered the enemy. Striking 
the earth with his club before his chief, one 
cries, ** I cause the earth to tremble ; it is I 
who meet the enemy to-morrow!" Another, 
swinging his club, shouts, **This club is a defence, 
a shade from the heat of the sun and the cold 
of the rain ; you may come under it ! " But in 
the face of an enemy who will not run away 
the performance fell short of the promise, and 
the frontal attack was unknown unless a con- 
tingent of Tongans happened to be of the party. 
I have never myself witnessed a fight between 
two war parties of natives armed with nothing 
but their own weapons, but a European, the 
late Mr. English, who saw one in Cloudy Bay, 
British New Guinea, thus described" it to me. 
One party having been pursued on to the open 
beach made a stand, whereupon the pursuers 
halted, uncertain what to do. The pursued, 
taking heart, shouted their battle-cry and made 
a move towards them ; the others ran back for 
fifty yards or so, and rallied in their turn. This 
bloodless see-saw having continued for three 



132 A NATIVE ENTERTAINMENT 

or four rounds, accompanied by much abusive 
language, the battle ended by the invaders 
taking to flight Never once did either side 
get within spear -throw of the other, though 
spears enough flew harmlessly into the sand. 

This dislike of hard knocks is a provision of 
Nature for perpetuating island races. Were it 
otherwise, how could an island thirteen miles 
by four continue to be populated.^ With pigs, 
women, and land to quarrel about, a race of 
warriors cooped up within such narrow limits 
would be reduced to a single survivor in less 
than a century. 



CHAPTER IX 
BYWAYS OP CUSTOM 

AMONG those who had made speeches to 
us after the dancing was the headman of 
Hakupu village, whose features had been de- 
stroyed by the ravages of lupus. The roof of 
his mouth being also involved, his speech was 
hardly intelligible even to Mr. Lawes. " I am 
afflicted, as you see," he said, "yet could I 
not bear to let this day pass without bidding 
you welcome to Niud-Fekai." I questioned Mr. 
Head about the diseases of the natives. He 
said that yaws (Frambaesia, so called from the 
strawberry-like appearance of the eruption), and 
phthisis, coughs and colds were quite unknown 
before the arrival of the Samoan teachers. The 
people, when he first arrived on the island, 
generally died of old age. The diseases of that 
time were makulokuli, an urinary trouble, lupus 
and scrofula. Since intercourse with ships has 
become common, there has been ample justifi- 

133 



134 BYWAYS OP CUSTOM 

cation for the policy that earned for the Niu^ans 
from Cook the title of Savage Islanders. Nowa- 
days every child has yaws as a matter of course, 
though, being a contagious disease, it might 
easily be stamped out by isolation. Whooping- 
cough has never left the island since its intro- 
duction. Measles, brought in two years ago 
by a labourer returning from abroad, occasioned 
about one hundred deaths, but though it 
lasted twelve months, so efficient was the native 
quarantine of infected- villages that Tuapa 
escaped it altogether. The worst form of con- 
tagious disease, unknown thirty-four years ago, 
is said now to be common in the tertiary stage, 
especially among infants. As its name, tona 
Tahiti (Tahitian yaws), implies, it was introduced 
from Tahiti during the sixties. There is not much 
ophthalmia, and deformities are rare. There are 
a few cases of insanity — our friend, the Admirals 
sister, is fast qualifying to rank among them — 
and the people do not treat them kindly. . 

Serious illness is still regarded as possession 
by the spirit of some dead person, and a neces- 
sary part of the treatment is to evict the spirit in 
possession. I have already told how a mother 
destroyed her daughter s grave by fire in order 
to burn the spirit that was afflicting her. Nearly 






5 

I 

I 

,1^ 



THE LADY PRACTITIONER 135 

all the old women are medical practitioners. The 
number of herbal decoctions that they administer 
to a sick person is incredible. If one fails in 
working a cure before their eyes, they administer 
another, and if the patient persists in dying after 
drinking them all, as is not uncommon, they lay 
the blame upon the spirit, and their practice 
suffers no injury. The best known of these 
native doctors exact heavy fees in kind for their 
services, but their faith in their own nostrums 
must be rather slender, for they themselves, when 
taken ill, resort to the Mission dispensary. Mr. 
Lawes and Mr. Head, who both dispense medi- 
cines for the natives, are agreed in finding that 
the natives are more susceptible to the action of 
drugs than Europeans, and require smaller doses. 
Families are large. Five or six children are 
quite common, and there is more than one woman 
now alive who has given birth to sixteen children. 
There used to be no barren women, though now 
childless women are not unknown. These gener- 
ally adopt children, whom they treat with the 
same affection as if they had borne them. The 
marriage of first cousins is not popular as in Fiji, 
though there is a trace of the sentiment that has 
produced the curious custom of concubitancy 
practised by the Fijians. The offspring of two 



136 BYWAYS OF CUSTOM 

sisters are absolutely forbidden to marry, but the 
children of two brothers, or of a brother and 
sister, may do so without shocking the sentiments 
of the community. In the case of the offspring 
of two sisters the prohibition dates from a time 
when a man who married one member of a family 
had a right to marry all her sisters, and it was 
never certain that the children of sisters had not 
the same father. The population of 4,576, as 
will be seen in the returns in the appendix, is 
now stationary. 

Relationships are traced back for four or five 
generations. The people seem to be in a tran- 
sition state between Patriarchy and Matriarchy. 
A grown-up son inherits his father's house and 
land, but the daughters seem to have claims 
upon their mother's brother, and though these 
claims are universally recognised, there is nothing 
approaching the extraordinary rights of the Fijian 
vasu. 

The land is the common property of the 
septs, represented by their heads. The present 
boundaries are not of old standing, for in fight- 
ing times the braves (ioa) ignored all rights, and 
seized upon any land they thought themselves 
strong enough to hold, and some of this spirit 
still survives. But there is land enough for all 



LAND TENURE 137 

and to spare, and the junior members of a sept 
come to their laird whenever they are in need 
of land to plant on. There is individual owner- 
ship in a sense, because a title can be acquired 
by cultivation, and the sons inherit their father s 
land ; but no landowner can demise his holding 
to anyone outside the limits of his sept, and, in 
default of heirs, the land reverts to the head of 
the sept for assignment to other members of it. 
The headman receives a sort of rent in the form 
of labour and produce, and the firstfruits, formerly 
offered to the gods, are sometimes presented to 
him. Last year the Pacific Islands Company 
applied for a lease of two hundred acres in the 
interior for a plantation, and as there were no 
native plantations on the land, they considered 
that the refusal of their application was due to 
mere obstruction. As King Tongia had laid 
great emphasis upon one of his laws which pro- 
hibited the sale of land to foreigners, I thought 
it possible that he did not understand the differ- 
ence between a lease and a sale, and I was at 
some pains to explain that the company was not 
asking him to do anything contrary to the spirit 
of the law. But he replied that the refusal rested 
upon other grounds. The persons who had ex- 
pressed their willingness to lease were in fact 



138 BYWAYS OF CUSTOM 

not the exclusive owners. Every member of 
several different septs would claim a voice in 
granting the lease, and the boundaries of this 
unoccupied land were so ill -defined that the 
division of the rent would lead to endless bicker- 
ing and dispute. Moreover it might well happen 
that the poorer members of some of the septs 
would be left landless, on the excuse that the 
lease of so large an area had eaten up the land 
for which they might have applied He satisfied 
me that the boundaries would have to be settled 
by some sort of commission before it would be 
prudent to grant leases for plantations. 

Like all the Polynesians, the Niudans are 
possessed by an earth-hunger that nothing will 
satisfy. Most of the jealousy between villages 
has its root in land disputes, and the land question 
is daily becoming more complicated through the 
system that allows titles to be acquired by culti- 
vation, because the entanglements can no longer 
be cut periodically by the sword, or rather by the 
paddle-shaped club. The planting of plantains 
or of yams by leave of the owner confers no 
title, but the planting of cocoanuts and other 
fruit trees does so. In Fiji it is not uncommon 
for one man to own the land and another the 
trees growing upon it, but in Niu6 the trees 



THE WIDOW AND THE ORPHAN 139 

carry the land with them. Thus, there being 
no boundary marks, encroachment by tree-plant- 
ing is a continual source of friction. It presses 
particularly hard upon widows and orphans, whose 
protests against tree-planting are unheeded, and 
who are frequently robbed of land inherited from 
their dead husbands and fathers in this way. 
The excuse usually given for this injustice is that 
widows and orphans are in wrongful possession, 
for their connection with the dead man's sept 
ceases with his death, and they should go back 
to their own kin for land to plant on ; but that 
this argument is regarded as sophistry is shown 
by the fact that the majority of natives condemn 
the practice. 

I have purposely refrained from touching on 
the flora and fauna of Niu6 because they are 
subjects that are better left by the passing 
traveller to the specialist, who is certain sooner 
or later to visit so promising a field as a solitary 
island originally destitute of domestic animals. 
Unlike human customs, which change with the 
old order, the fauna of an island is not affected 
by the fictions of human statecraft ; the birds and 
the lizards and the land-shells will continue to 
breed their kind under the Union Jack as they 
did when the Pulangi Tau swayed the destinies 



I40 BYWAYS OF CUSTOM 

of Niu^-Fekai. But I must make an exception 
in favour of the Musca Domestical the common 
house-fly. All the later visitors agree in de- 
scribing the swarms of flies as an Egyptian 
plague. The bodies of the men who came off 
to ships were black with them, and I knew of 
them by reputation long before we arrived at 
the island. We were prepared for the worst 
when our .royal pilot boarded us, and we were 
astonished to find that he came on board un- 
attended. One of our first questions was, 
"Where are your flies .^" and we found that 
the Europeans on shore shared our surprise. 
At Christmas, 1899, they had been as bad as 
ever : then came February and March, unusually 
wet months, and the flies entirely disappeared. 
During our stay not a fly was seen. Those 
are the facts : entomologists must explain them. 
The house-fly, as most people know, takes some- 
thing under fourteen days from the laying of the 
egg to the hatching of the pupa. The voracious 
larvae are supposed to earn their living by 
scavenging, but the Niu&,ns have dispensed with 
their services for some months without being one 
penny the worse. Their satisfaction will be short- 
lived : a new breed will be introduced by the 
steamers, and Niud will be fly-blown again. 



CHAPTER X 



WESTWARD HO! 



THE following day was the Niud Sunday. 
It had been my intention to sail soon after 
daybreak, but Mr. Lawes seemed to be so 
anxious that we should attend the morning 
service that I agreed. It seems that the influence 
of the Mission is waning from a variety of causes. 
Chief among these is the passion for foreign 
travel, which, having been the cause of the 
peopling these remote spots, still possesses all 
the natives of the smaller Polynesian islands. 
Every year numbers of young men return from 
abroad and disturb the still waters of the island 
with fascinating tales of the emancipation of 
foreign lands, where men get drunk and swear 
and break the Sabbath with impunity. They 
play upon ^ the mercantile instinct of the old 
men with garbled stories, told them by beach- 
combers, of the money that the missionaries 
make out of the natives. Every year Mr. Lawes, 

141 



142 WESTWARD HO! 

who has devoted thirty years' unremitting labour 
to these people, finds arrayed against him a 
growing opposition composed of all the "bad 
hats" in the island. 

The church was crowded. We were placed 
with the other Europeans within a sort of 
chancel rail, facing the congregation, who sat 
on the matted floor. Seven-eighths at least were 
women, whose enormous straw hats, heavily 
trimmed with artificial flowers, resembled a vast 
flower bed. Here and there a dusky face and 
a pair of bright eyes peeped out, but behind 
the first two rows stretched an unbroken area 
of hat brim, like a light-coloured soil in which 
the flowers were growing. From the roots of 
the bed proceeded a whimpering chorus of 
babies, and every now and then, when a 
louder burst threatened to drown the voice of 
the preacher, officials stationed at intervals round 
the walls stirred the flowers at the noisiest spot 
with a long pole. Then a woman would rise, 
producing from aniong her petticoats a jolly fat 
baby, who instinctively threw his legs apart in 
the proper position for straddling his mother's 
back, while she threw a folded cloth over her 
shoulders as a sling for him to sit in. He would 
then smile complacently at us as he was carried 



A WEEK WITH TWO SUNDAYS 143 

out, as who should say, " I have won my point ; 
I advise you to howl too." Babies flowed out 
all through the sermon, but there was little 
cessation of the overtone of whimper. At the 
end of the sermon Mr. Lawes announced that 
the ship was leaving, and that it was not im- 
probable that a salute might be fired. This, 
he explained, must not be accounted to us for 
unrighteousness ; a ship belonging to the Queen 
was no Sabbath-breaker. It was simply a matter 
of the calendar, because the ship, coming from 
a far land, reckoned its days differently, and 
counted the Niuean Sabbath a Monday. If 
anyone in that great congregation remembered 
the petty officers' clown cricket on what was the 
ship s Sabbath, they did not show it. 

Shaking hands is better than rubbing noses, 
but that is all that can be said for it, for, where 
two Niudans of the old time rubbed noses, one 
hundred insist upon shaking hands. Every male 
of the congregation approached us in unending 
file at the church door to indulge in this friendly 
exercise, and, thinking that this was to pass for 
our farewell, we had not the heart to escape. 
Were I made Resident of the island, the first bill 
that I would introduce to the Fono would be a 
" Bill for Abolishing the Pernicious Custom of 



144 WESTWARD HO! 

Hand-shaking" (short title, "The Salutations 
Act, 1 90 1 "). It would contain a single clause 
substituting for contact with the hands a vulgar 
nod, with the optional addition of the word 
"Alofa!" on pain of being sentenced to shake the 
handle of the village pump until the village reser- 
voir was full. But legislation in such matters 
is not invariably successful even in Tonga, 
the most overgoverned community in the world. 
The ancient form of salutation to superiors in 
Tonga was to drop everything that you were 
carrying and to crouch at the roadside with 
the head sunk between the knees. When the 
country, under the guiding hand of its Wesleyan 
pastors, set out to seek fakasiuilaise (which is 
"civilisation"), and decreed it "to be the will 
of God that man should be free, as He has made 
all men of one blood," some modification was 
felt to be necessary. King George Tubou I. 
himself settled the point in his fine autocratic 
manner. His subjects, high and low alike, were 
to exchange greetings by raising the hand per- 
pendicularly from the elbow about six inches 
from the right ear — an invention of His Majesty's 
own, suggesting a compromise between a friendly 
wave of the hand and a military salute. And, 
having noticed that the natural cheek of the 



SALUTES BY ACT OF PARUAMENT 145 

Tongan swelled mountainously when he could 
look down upon his fellows from the saddle, he 
further decreed that men should dismount from 
their horses when they encountered the person 
or passed the house of any member of his House 
of Lords. Ten years ago, while he lived, you 
might have seen his decree in daily practice in 
the streets of Nukualofa ; now Jack has grown so 
much better than his master that all outward 
marks of deference have passed away, men jostle 
their chiefs openly in the road, good manners 
and respect for authority have perished with 
their outward symbols, and the only person in 
whose presence a Tongan lays aside his jaunty 
swagger is a mounted policeman. A fine of one 
dollar or four days* imprisonment still frowns 
upon the disrespectful from the pages of the 
statute book, but the noble loses dignity by 
prosecuting, while the policeman gains pro- 
motion. 

At the Mission House the last box was being 
packed, and, despite our entreaties, Mrs. Lawes 
was generously stripping her house of all her 
curiosities as parting gifts — shells, rare mats, 
barbaric ornaments and specimens of ingenuity 
in plaiting. If the boat had not been lying in 
jeopardy among the rocks below, there would 



146 WESTWARD HO! 

have been nothing left on her walls or in her 
cabinets. This lavish bounty was to be the 
impression we were to carry away from this 
delightful island, wherein we had been over- 
whelmed with a hospitality that we can never 
repay, and with a kindness that we shall never 
forget. The path to the landing-place was lined 
with our native friends pressing forward for a 
parting hand-clasp. Down we scrambled to the 
boat, which rose and fell with the swell between 
two walls of jagged coral ; we were afloat again, 
the features of our friends waving to us from the 
landing-place grew blurred and indistinct, the 
three-pounders banged, we were off. In a few 
minutes H.M.S. Porpoise was dipping her nose 
into the swell, the island was fading into a grey 
haze on the horizon, and it was difficult to 
believe that we had not dreamed the whole 
adventure. 

It has been a year of high emotion for Niu^- 
Fekai. Six weeks later — on June ist — the 
Tutunekaiy a steam yacht belonging to the New 
Zealand Government, brought Mr. Seddon, the 
Premier of New Zealand, who, while cruising for 
the sake of his health, was occupied with his 
scheme of federating the Pacific Islands under 
New Zealand. 



A SECOND FLAG-HOISTING 147 

On October 19th — six months to a day from 
the date of our landing — H.M.S, Mildura arrived 
with Lord Ranfurly, Governor of New Zealand, 
to proclaim the formal annexation of the island. 

The natives must be sorely puzzled by the 
solemn pageant of flag-hoisting, for the Protect- 
orate Jack was hauled down, and a counterpart 
of it run up in its stead with the usual salutes. 
The deed of cession was signed, like the treaty, 
in the school -house, two villages, Alofi and 
Avatele, dissenting, until they saw that they 
were to be outvoted by the other nine. There 
are, it seems, even in Niu^ a few professional 
grumblers, who accused King Tongia and his 
chiefs of having sold the country to a foreign 
power, and even went so far as to attack Mr. 
Lawes for having acted as interpreter at the 
proclamation of the Protectorate. The ring- 
leader had come to my meeting primed with a 
hostile speech, but, having been denied an 
opportunity for unburdening himself, he dis- 
charged it upon the next meeting of the Fono. 
He was busy organising opposition to Lord 
Ranfurly, when, in an unlucky moment for his 
cause, he was called up to sign the deed of 
cession as the representative of Avatele. Thus 
was he impaled on the horns of a dilemma. If 



148 WESTWARD HO! 

he refused, another would have gone down to 
posterity as a greater than he in his own village ; 
if he accepted, he stultified his own words. 
Staggered by the compliment, or reflecting, 
perhaps, that it is the written word that endures, 
he cast his principles to the winds and signed 
the deed. That is the last that we shall hear of 
the Home Rulers of Niud. 

My readers will rejoice to hear that King 
Tongia is not to suffer the mortification of 
parting with the title for which he worked so 
hard. Filtered through His Majesty's peculiar 
cast of mind this part of the agreement may not 
be without embarrassment to the new Resident 
So far from suffering any eclipse, Tongia 
emerges from the late events with an added 
dignity, according to' his rendering of the 
clause that refers to him in the agreement, "It 
has pleased the two of us. Me and Victoria . . ." 
{Kua metaki ko e tokoua a tnaua, Ko au mo 
Vitaria). To do him justice, I think that if he 
had been offered the alternative between abdicat- 
ing unconditionally with a life pension, or con- 
tinuing to enjoy his high title without emolument, 
he would have taken the pension ; but, since 
that temptation was never put in his way, he is 
quite right to cling to what he has. And who 



NEW ZEALAND'S PROBATION 149 

shall grudge him this modest satisfaction? As 
Mr. Gladstone once said of Peel, " I should not 
say that he was egotistical, but I should say that 
his own personality occupied no inconsiderable 
area in his mental vision." There are worse men 
and weaker kings than Tongia of Niu6-FekaL 

The future of this interesting little people 
depends upon the man chosen by the New 
Zealand Government to be the first Resident. 
A wise, sympathetic, and patient man, endowed 
with a sense of humour, not over-sensitive about 
his dignity, and content to gain his point by 
suasion rather than pressure, will be able to do 
what he pleases with the people ; a pompous or 
choleric person will have the island about his 
ears before he has been there a month. New 
Zealand has not always been wise in her choice 
of residents for her dependencies, though no 
colony has better material to choose from. 
During the next few years she will be on her 
trial : if she governs her new dependencies wisely, 
keeping out the liquor traffic, and fostering the 
prosperity and contentment of her native fellow- 
subjects, she may prove herself fit to be entrusted 
with the government of a great South Sea con- 
federation ; but if she uses her new dependencies 
merely as a means of rehabilitating her declining 



ISO WESTWARD HO! 

South Sea trade, and is cynically indifferent to 
the interests of the natives, she will find herself 
with a new and more difficult Native Question 
on her hands, and her great scheme will be 
rudely shattered. In her own interest, there- 
fore, besides that of the sturdy, energetic little 
people that she has taken uiider her wing, she 
will pray for a wisdom in her second experiment 
of governing natives that was sadly wanting in 
her first. 

As I began this account of the island with 
a letter from one king of Niu6, I will end it 
with that of another. I wanted to bring back 
with me autograph letters from the native 
sovereigns for the wonderful collection of Her 
Majesty, the late Queen. Probably the last 
presents that she received from abroad were 
those that we brought back from the newest and 
most distant parts of the great empire. From 
the King of Tonga we brought a piece of red 
hand-woven cloth, which had been thrown about 
the shoulders of his ancestor by Captain Cook 
in 1772, and had been religiously preserved as 
an heirloom in the royal family out of rever- 
ence for the memory of the great ** Tute " ; from 
the King of Niu6 came the letter of which this 
is a translation ; — • 



KING TONGIA^S LETTER 151 

" Niu4 23 May, 1900. 
"To Her Majesty 

** Queen Victoria, 

" Queen of Great Britain. 

" Thanks to the Lord of Heaven, for through 
Him we have peace upon Earth. I, the King 
of Niud, send greeting to Your Majesty, the 
great Queen of Britain, and to your chiefs and 
governors. We, the King and Chiefs of Niu6, 
send our thanks for the portrait of the Queen of 
Great Britain that has reached Niu6. We, the 
chiefs and people of Niu6, men, women, and 
children, gaze at the portrait. 

"Thanks! Thanks! Great Thanks! 

" Thanks for your great thought of us ! 
Thanks for stretching out your arm to protect 
Niue-Fekai, Nukututaha (the land that stands 
alone), and Faka-hua-motu (the dependent). 

"Tulou! Tulou! Tulou! (the form used in 
thanking a chief for help in war, implying a 
request for help in any future emergency). 

*' May the Lord of Heaven, of His grace, 
bless the treaty now made! 

" That is all. 

"I, Tongia, 

" King of Niu6-Fekai." 



CHAPTER XI 



TONGA REVISITED 



OU R holidays were over ; our real work was 
now to begin. As we steamed past the 
islet of Atati and opened the low, monotonous 
shores of Tongatabu, stretching crescent-wise as 
far as the eye could reach, I wondered how the 
impulsive, faction-riven little people i^ould receive 
me. Ten years ago I had been escorted to the 
steamer by the Lords and Commons in proces- 
sion, but I had then been a Tongan Minister of 
the Crown working my hardest to bolster the 
independence of my adopted country ; now I was 
an Englishman charged with a very different 
errand. 

There is an apparent inconsistency about the 
two r6les that calls for explanation. Ten years 
bring many changes in the circumstances of little 
states. When I was last in Tonga, Hawaii was 
independent ; three great Powers were still 
wrangling over Samoa; countless islands in the 

Pacific were yet unclaimed. All had fallen now, 

152 



THE HELPLESSNESS OF TONGA 153 

and eyes had been cast upon Tonga — the last 
independent state in the Pacific. She could make 
no resistance ; her seizure was only a question 
of months, unless she had a powerful protector. 
For political, strategic, and geographical reasons 
England could not afford to tolerate a foreign 
Power in possession of the best harbour in the 
Pacific islands within striking distance of Fiji. 
And with the new agreement between England 
and Germany the last prop to Tongan independ- 
ence had been cut away. Until then, the coaling 
station ceded to the Germans had been a guarantee 
against seizure by another Power, while British 
interests had acted as a check upon Germany. 
But now that the Germans had ceded all their 
treaty rights to us, we had either to take what 
was g^ven to us, or leave the field open to others. 
In extending our protection, therefore, to the 
Tongans we were serving their interests even 
more than our own. 

The reports which we had heard in Sydney, 
Fiji, and Samoa were very conflicting. All 
agreed in one thing — ^that, since the newspapers 
announcing us had been received, our arrival was 
awaited with anxiety; but, while some declared 
that the Tongans would resist the loss of their 
independence to the last man, others asserted 



154 TONGA REVISITED 

that they would not be satisfied with a Protect- 
orate, but would ask for annexation. I flattered 
myself that I knew the little people too well to 
believe the latter forecast. 

As the white line of houses that marked the 
capital grew in definition, I began to notice changes. 
There stood the palace and its church as trim as 
ever within the stone-walled compound, but to 
the westward, where a native could be seen 
running up the British ensign, a wooden bunga- 
low had replaced the picturesque old native-built 
consulate. These had been prosperous years 
with the Tongans ; there was not a native-built 
house to be seen ; trim little weather-board 
cottages had sprung up everywhere, and in the 
vacant space beside the government offices of my 
day there now stood a pretentious wooden build- 
ing, the new House of Parliament. Naturally the 
traders, who had had the erecting of all these, 
had prospered too, and the line of stores on the 
eastern side of the town were resplendent in new 
paint. Two houses only in all the half-mile — 
ruinous, rain- washed, and neglected — told their 
own tale. They belonged to old Tungi and his 
son Tukuaho, my dear lamented colleague ; with 
them and with their owners the years had dealt 
unkindly, as I shall presently relate. 



A GRASS-GROWN CAPITAL 155 

The town was asleep in the sun ; its trim, 
g^rassy streets stretching away inland were utterly 
deserted ; it was like a toy town, fresh-painted 
from the shop before the miniature inhabitants 
have been taken out of their packing box. 
Nukualofa is, indeed, unlike any other town in 
the world. Not long ago a friend of mine en- 
countered an American tourist, just landed from 
a steamer, gaping at a street comer where four 
ways meet, and asked him what he was looking 
at " Sir," he replied, '* they tell me that this is 
the business quarter of this capital, and Tm going 
to watch these four grass- walks till I see a human 
being. But I've wasted ten minutes, and I'll 
have to give it up." 

We were boarded by my friend. Dr. Donald 
Maclennan, who, as the only practitioner in the 
group, is the hardest- worked man in Tonga. He 
has had a remarkable career. A Scotsman, edu- 
cated in Canada, he practised first in San Fran- 
cisco and afterwards in Hawaii, where he became 
a close friend of the native queen and the royalist 
party. When the Revolution of 1893 resulted 
in annexation by the United States, he made a 
tour round the Pacific islands without a definite 
intention of setding, and chanced to reach Tonga 
when the government was in desperate need 



156 TONGA REVISITED 

of a medical officer. He accepted the post 
temporarily and has remained ever since, having 
by his skill, his independence, his distaste for 
politics, and his unselfish and fearless devotion 
to duty, inspired extraordinary confidence in the 
king, the people, and the Europeans — a feat 
which no foreigner has ever accomplished before. 

It being necessary that we should take up our 
quarters on shore, we accepted Dr. Maclennan's 
hospitality with an alacrity that was almost 
indecent, since we knew, and he did not, the 
tax that we were to levy upon him. He had to 
submit to our society, to endless interruptions 
from messengers, and to an invasion by the 
entire court retinue on a memorable night when 
he was kept up till half-past two to witness the 
signing of the treaty in his dining-room. But 
he bore it all with untiring good humour to the 
end, and buried us beneath a load of obligation 
that would weigh very heavily upon me if he 
were conscious of it 

If any of us flattered himself that the town 
would wake up when it learned of our arrival, 
he was disappointed. Flags, it is true, fluttered 
up to the head of every staff, but the beach 
and the streets were still deserted. At three 
o'clock we ran the Tongan ensign to the mast- 



THE KING'S GUARDS 157 

head and saluted it, and the report of the first 
gun did certainly produce some stir. Little 
Tongan guardsmen began to bustle about the 
guard-room at the shore end of the wharf; 
presently a score of them hauled out a couple 
of five-pounders mounted on iron carriages, and 
trundled them to the foot of the flagstaff. The 
Tongan ensign fluttered down; the Jack was 
run up in its place and saluted with remarkable 
precision and regularity, for the guns must have 
been dangerously hot before the twenty-one had 
been fired. Presently a boat was manned, and 
a burly gentleman in frock-coat and silk hat, 
whom even at that distance I could recognise 
as Tui Belehake, embarked in her and came on 
board. 

The lineal descendant of the gods had carried 
the ten years easily. His hair was a shade 
greyer, but the brightness of his eye and the 
natural gaiety of his laugh were not abated. 
With the exception of poor Tukuaho, all my 
old friends were well ; they had heard of my 
coming through the newspapers, and rejoiced 
at it, though they knew not the cause (and 
here the hereditary laugh carried a tremor of 
nervousness) ; a princess had been born to the 
king six weeks before, and he, as His Majesty's 



158 TONGA REVISITED 

father, chuckled at the thought of being a 
grandfather, and touched lightly on the still 
burning question of the king's marriage, which 
had not disturbed him, for all it had threatened 
revolution. And " Misa Beika" was back again. 
He laughed long and loud at this admission and 
the reminiscences that it evoked. 

I must here digress to explain what had taken 
place since my term of office ten years before. 
In 1893 King George had died, at the age of 
ninety-seven, of a chill supposed to have been 
brought on by his obstinate habit of bathing 
at daybreak in the sea, and had been buried in 
a huge mound thrown up in the public square 
of Nukualofa, known as the Malaekula, or Red 
Square. Contrary to expectation, his great 
great-g^ndson, Taufa'ahau, had succeeded him 
without disturbance, under the title of George 
Tubou II. Not long after his accession he had 
dismissed Tukuaho, appointing him governor 
of Vavau, and had made Sateki, my auditor- 
general, premier in his stead. For a time the 
premier had had an European clerk, but the 
native government had gradually come to dispense 
with all Europeans except the Customs staff. 
This meant, of course, that it had sought un- 
official and irresponsible advice from traders, 



THE JILTING OF OFA 159 

and, during the last few months, the government 
was said to have been in the hands of a Hebrew 
firm, which contracted for the public supplies. 
In the eighth year of the kings reign it 
was felt that it was time for him to marry. 
Overtures are said to have been made to more 
than one Polynesian princess, but public feeling 
ran high in favour of Ofa, a near kinswoman 
of Tukuaho, and therefore a chief woman of the 
Haatakalaua line. The betrothal was announced, 
and preparations had already been made for the 
royal wedding, when the king announced that he 
preferred Lavinia, Kubu's daughter, who, though 
descended from the Tui Tonga on her father s 
side, inherited inferior rank and congenital weak- 
ness from her mother. A meeting of all the 
high chiefs was summoned in Nukualofa, which 
recommended the king to make Ofa his queen ; 
but His Majesty's reply, that, if he were not 
allowed to marry Lavinia, he would not marry 
at all, threw the meeting into confusion, and he 
was permitted to have his way under protest. 
It seems that the Lavinia party, though numeric- 
ally inferior, trotted out that ancient stalking 
horse, the Constitution, to prove to their an- 
tagonists that inasmuch as " it shall not be lawful 
for any member of the royal family, who is 



i6o TONGA REVISITED 

likely to succeed to the throne, to marry any 
person without the consent of the king," the king 
was free to give consent to his own marriage 
with any person he pleased. This argument, 
so characteristic of the sophistry of the Tongan 
mind, was gravely set forth to me in a letter 
from my old colleague Asibeli Kubu, the father 
of His Majesty's preference ; it reminded me 
of a legal judgment delivered during Mr. Baker s 
term of office, when two men, indicted for the 
theft of a pig, were sentenced to ten years' penal 
servitude for conspiracy, because in the evidence 
it had transpired that by mutual agreement one 
of the accused had kept watch while the other 
did the stealing. ** Therefore," said his worship, 
" not only did you steal the pig, which is a small 
matter in itself, but you conspired together to 
steal it ; and having sought in the index of this 
code for the clause concerning conspiracy, I find 
the minimum sentence to be ten years. To that 
term I sentence you, and you may think your- 
selves fortunate that I do not punish you for the 
theft as well." 

To have the " Konisitutone " thrown at their 
heads was more than the nobles had reckoned 
upon. They might be wrong in law, but they 
knew what they wanted, and they broke up their 



MISA BEIKA i6i 

meeting grumbling, and departed, each to his 
own home. The king, boycotted by all but his 
immediate adherents and the relations of his 
bride, kept close within the palace compound ; 
the marriage feast was but sparsely attended, 
and thp dissatisfaction of the people vented itself 
in attempts to burn public buildings and the 
houses of unpopular members of the royal party. 
The last of these incendiary attempts had occurred 
shortly before my visit. 

Meanwhile, my old acquaintance Mr. Shirley 
Waldemar Baker, a person so remarkable in the 
Pacific that it will some day be a public duty 
to write his biography, had turned up again. 
Having spent several years in Auckland after his 
deportation by the High Commissioner, he had 
made overtures to the Free Church of Tonga 
to accept him as their president. The Conference 
considered his application with the utmost gravity, 
and replied that, while they would be glad to 
welcome him as a minister, the office of president 
happened to be filled. That the Church of his 
own creation should treat him so was more than 
he could bear, and his next letter was a grim 
intimation that they would hear of him again. 
Those who knew him best may have felt an 
uncomfortable shiver at the threat, but none in 

M 



i62 TOrrtiA REVISITED 

his wildest dreams can have guessed how he 
would carry it out. For when Mr. Baker came 
back to Tonga it was as an emissary of the 
Church of England, speciously introduced to 
the Tongans as the Jiaji a Vika (the Church 
of Queen Victoria). Rebuffed by the Bishop 
of Honolulu, to whom the Bishop of London 
has delegated his authority over this part of 
the globe, he had persuaded the Bishop of 
Dunedin to give him a licence as lay reader. 
It is no part of my business to criticise this 
bishop's action, or to relate how the bishops 
of New Zealand intervened to dissuade him 
from going himself to Tonga to support his 
prot^g6, but I may be pardoned for asking under 
what authority of custom or ecclesiastical law 
one bishop can issue a licence for what is virtually 
the diocese of another. 

The new Church was just the political weapon 
that the party of the rejected princess wanted. 
Jt offered a proof of discontent, it was a new 
experiment in Churches, and, above all, it 
annoyed the king. It was safer than burning 
houses, because, at the first whisper of reprisal, 
you could stand boldly forth and quote the 
Constitution about liberty of conscience. At 
the time of our visit Ofa had joined the new 



THE "FREE CHURCH OF ENGLAND^' 163 

Church with most of her relations ; and poor blind 
Tungi, her kinsman, had so far conquered his 
aversion to Mr. Baker as to permit services to 
be held in his premises. Mr. Baker had been 
careful not to define his exact position to the 
Tongans. All that a stole and surplAs could do ccc^ 
towards making him an ordained clergyman had 
been done. He did not bother the Tongans 
with any nonsense about Church government ; 
the one thing he did understand was making 
a collection, and he held his first while I was 
at Nukualofa. Something under three hundred 
adherents subscribed nearly ;^20o. I asked Ofa 
who kept the money. Had they churchwardens? 

" Churchwardens," she said, " what are they ? " 

I explained. No, they had no churchwardens. 

" Then who keeps the money ? " 

*' Misa Beika." 

It was melancholy to see how cruelly Fortune 
had used Tungi, whom I had left the most in- 
fluential chief in Tonga. While his son Tukuaho 
was still alive his sight had begun to fail, and he 
had made the voyage to Samoa to consult a 
German oculist, who pronounced his case to be 
beyond hope. Hardly had night closed in upon 
him when Tukuaho, his only son and the most 
popular chief in Tonga, died suddenly of heart 



i64 TONGA REVISITED 

disease while riding with the king. Then came 
the jilting of Ofa, his near kinswoman, an insult 
to his family which must have hit him hard. 
He had retired to his little house in Nukualofa 
and was living quietly on the rents of the adjoin- 
ing property, which he had enjoyed undisputed 
for many years, when the government suddenly 
put in a claim to it and dispossessed him, 
reducing him to poverty. I do not know the 
rights of the matter ; I only know that the man 
who, failing royal issue, stood next to the throne, 
who was the most courtly and imposing of the 
chiefs of the old time, the last repository of 
ancient lore and tradition, was reduced to living 
in a hovel in which you would not stable a horse, 
blind, deserted, and in utter penury. A few 
weeks after our departure the last link with the 
past was severed by his death. 

Beyond the birth of a princess three weeks 
before our arrival nothing had occurred to change 
the position. The king was in voluntary con- 
finement in his compound, estranged from his 
chiefs, and consorting with three of his ministers, 
his kinsmen, and his guardboys, who tumbled 
into uniform only when a foreign ship was in 
port The government of the country was 
nominally in the hands of old Sateki, my old 



UtLIAME TUNG! 



THE RATS AND THE MONEY-BAGS 165 

auditor-general, then regarded as a sort of Sea- 
green Incorruptible, but now openly accused of 
acting at the behest of the firm of Hebrew 
merchants who were contractors to the govern- 
ment. The Treasury was empty and the salaries 
in arrear, but the country was not in debt, 
probably because its credit was not strong 
enough to carry a loan. The chronic depletion 
of the Treasury was due partly to the light- 
hearted Polynesian habit of turning money into 
goods on the first op{)ortunity, and partly to the 
light-fingered ease with which the Treasury 
officials helped themselves to the contents of 
the till. It reminded me of old times to hear 
that a sum of jC 2, 000 was missing from one of 
the sub-treasuries ; that the treasurer, put upon 
his trial, had challenged an audit ; and that the 
auditors, after completing their task, had stated 
that they were not quite sure whether the money 
had ever been received, or, if it had been 
received, whether it had been paid out legiti- 
mately or purloined. The foreshore was littered 
with dressed stone, intended for the thief-proof 
treasury which had been projected even in my 
time — **to keep out the rats," as the Chief 
Justice remarked facetiously, ** only the rats 
that gnaw the money-bags will come in through 



i66 TONGA REVISITED 

the door." The Europeans made much of these 
defalcations as a factor in the general discontent, 
but in reality the grumbling was confined to the 
European traders, who naturally object to pay 
taxes under such conditions, for the Tongan does 
not greatly care what becomes of his money after 
he has paid it. 



CHAPTER XII 
THE KING AND HIS MINISTERS 

PUNCTUALLY at ten next morning we 
made our official landing, taking with us 
Her Majesty's presents to the King of Tonga — 
her portrait and a sword of honour inscribed 
with his name. The kodak representations of 
our procession were not flattering, but the large 
crowd of Tongans in the public square was 
too much preoccupied to perceive the humour 
in the show. For after passing the guard of 
honour on the wharf, we had to skirt the flagstaff, 
and we were told afterwards that, according to 
Mr. Baker, We should halt there and run up 
the Jack in place of the Geneva cross that 
fluttered aloft But we passed the fatal spot, 
to the evident relief of the natives sitting on 
the grass and the disappointment of the Euro- 
peans who had their kodaks ready levelled 
The entire Tongan army was drawn up in the 

palace compound as a guard of honour, and its 

167 



i68 THE KING AND HIS MINISTERS 

band played our national anthem very creditably 
as we approached. While the rank and file 
numbered about thirty, as in my time, I noticed 
that the roll of officers had increased until they 
formed a third line nearly as close as that of 
the men : their uniforms were so spotless and 
correct that some of my companions mistook 
them for Europeans. We were ushered into 
the throne-room, where two rows of chairs were 
drawn lip facing one another, each with a be- 
crowned armchair in the centre. On these, after 
the first greetings, we took our seats. I knew 
the room well, and it called up many memories, 
for here old King George had often received 
me informally, and all the state functions and 
receptions of foreign officials, which the old 
king disliked so heartily and underwent so 
cheerfully, had taken place. At an earlier date, 
when Mr. Baker had sought protection in the 
palace with his family, it had been Mrs. Baker's 
parlour, and from that epoch dated the fairy 
lights, wax flowers, and other incongruities. 
The faces of the kings suite were all familiar, 
for they had been my own colleagues when 
I was a Tongan like themselves. There was 
Fatafehi in his sober suit of black ; Kubu, now 
swelled to the dignity of a sovereign's father-in- 



KING GEORGE II. 169 

law, in a French-looking uniform with a cocked 
hat ; Sateki, greyer and more care-lined than of 
old, and the two uniformed aides-de-camp, both 
famous cricketers in my day, but now inclining 
to obesity. Towering above all was the king, 
something over six feet in height and so broad 
in proportion that he cannot weigh much less 
than twenty stone. His tight uniform tunic, 
which enhanced his bulk, was covered with 
orders, which on closer examination proved to 
be the various classes of some Tongan decora- 
tion instituted by himself, designed by a jeweller 
in Sydney, and not yet bestowed upon lesser 
men. He has a broad, intelligent, good-humoured 
face, with black, languid eyes, and a strong family 
likeness to his kinsman, poor Tukuaho. His 
manners are scarcely less genial and engaging, 
though he has not much taste for the society 
of Europeans, who cannot help feeling in his 
company quHl ne montre jamais le fond du sac. 
Of his intelligence it is enough to say that, 
though he has never been abroad save for a 
few weeks spent in Auckland, he speaks English 
fairly well and reads the English newspapers ; 
that he conducts his own correspondence with 
a typewriter, and can write Pitman's system of 
shorthand with facility. Though there are said 



I70 THE KING AND HIS MINISTERS 

to be flaws in his nature which prevent him from 
becoming a strong or popular ruler, he is by no 
means wanting in character. He has never been 
tempted by strong liquors, like so many of the 
Polynesian chiefs ; his private life is regular ; he 
has always known how to hold himself aloof 
from the lower sort of European ; and I do not 
doubt that the insincerity of which he is so 
generally accused is really due to the desire of 
pleasing and the dislike of refusing a request 
His health is not all that could be desired. 
Remembering the early death of all his family, 
until he alone was left to succeed his great- 
grandfather, we could not regard his stoutness, 
which had been characteristic of all of them, 
as a healthy sign, especially when we heard that 
he only took exercise in the palace compound 
at the direct order of his doctor. His mother 
and his uncles had all died of fatty degeneration 
of the heart when under forty, and none were so 
stout as he at twenty-seven. 

A foreign language is apt to rust on the tongue 
after disuse for ten years, and my speech, pre- 
senting my credentials and the Queen's presents, 
ran less trippingly than I could have wished. 
But words came back to me as I talked, and, 
having plenty of time before me, I left politics 



J OF TONGA 



WE ENTERTAIN THE KING 171 

alone. Then came the usual presentation of the 
naval officers, and a promise that the king would 
visit H.M.S. Porpoise on the morrow. 

Next morning we sent on shore for the royal 
standard of Tonga to hoist at the masthead 
when the king came on board. His Majesty 
came off in his barge, manned by a crew clad 
in black jumpers and valas fastened at the waist 
with a red sash, his band playing the Tongan 
national anthem as he left the wharf. Mounting 
the gangway alone, he seemed a little bewildered 
at finding a guard of honour drawn up to receive 
him, and not a little heated by the weight of his 
uniform and the orders that plastered it His 
suite, consisting of Kubu, Fatafehi, and his aides- 
de-camp, quite filled the captain's cabin, and 
being the only medium of communication between 
hosts and guests, I found the burden of conversa- 
tion rather difficult, for good manners in Tonga 
require that on formal occasions chiefs should 
confine themselves to monosyllables, and have 
their talking done for them. Once on deck, 
however, the ball rolled of itself, for the captain 
had rigged a mine, which the king fired with 
a button, sending a volcano of water into the 
air and slaying innumerable fish. The men 
then went through gun drill with the six-inch 



172 THE KING AND HIS MINISTERS 

guns, which, it was explained, would carry with 
precision to the farthest limits of the island, and 
ended up with the imaginary ramming of an 
enemy. As the king left the side the three- 
pounders roared out a salute of twenty -one 
guns, perhaps the part of the entertainment 
which the king enjoyed best, for, whatever our 
mission might portend, it had so far left him the 
outward symbol of royalty. 

That afternoon the draft treaty was sent to 
him, and then the tussle began. Besides the 
acknowledgment of a Protectorate, which would 
prevent the country falling into other hands, two 
definite concessions had to be made. In the 
port of Neiafu, in Vavau, Tonga possesses the 
best harbour in the Pacific — a land-locked basin 
with an easily defended entrance three or four 
miles long. In 1876, as the price of her treaty 
with Germany, Tonga had ceded a coaling-station 
in this harbour, and the Germans had dumped 
some twenty tons of coal upon their concession 
as a proof of occupation, and had thereafter 
forgotten all about it Though we had succeeded 
to their treaty rights, it was necessary, not only 
to obtain the consent of the Tongans to the 
transfer, but to acquire the site for a fort to 
defend the coaling-station — a matter which had 



THE TREATY 173 

been neglected by the Germans. The second 
matter was more important, Tonga had made 
three treaties, ceding her jurisdiction over the 
subjects of the Powers concerned to their respec- 
tive consuls, but, inasmuch as England only had 
a consular court in the group, it followed that 
Germans and Americans who committed a crime 
could not be punished for it, while the subjects 
of other Powers, in theory amenable to the native 
courts, in practice were free to break the law 
with impunity. The Samoa Convention gave 
the jurisdiction over Germans to us, but the 
experience of Zanzibar has taught us that 
a Protectorate without jurisdiction over all 
foreigners is a very unsatisfactory arrangement. 
The only person who could legally confer 
the jurisdiction over foreigners upon our courts 
was the King of Tonga, who nominally possessed 
it, and this he had to be asked to do. If he 
had been anxious to part with his responsibilities 
there would have been little difficulty, but 
Tongans share with schoolboys a light-hearted 
contempt for the dangers of responsibility, and 
are, besides, rather proud of their law courts. 
We soon found that it was to be a long and 
tortuous business, calling for all the patience 
that we had at command. 



174 THE KING AND HIS MINISTERS 

It was common gossip that the most influential 
chiefs and a large number of the people were 
secretly in favour of a Protectorate, but that the 
real obstacle was the king. Not long before my 
visit he had received a letter from the deposed 
queen of Hawaii, greeting him as the last indepen- 
dent sovereign of the Polynesian race, and con- 
doling with him upon the threatened loss of his 
independence. Fully alive to the advantages it 
would give him in securing him from the con- 
stant demands for compensation pressed upon 
him by foreigners, he feared that if he volun- 
tarily ceded a Protectorate his opponents would 
accuse him of having sold his country ; and he 
thought, no doubt, that it was the first step 
towards depriving him of the outward pomp of 
royalty which was so dear to him. One cannot 
but understand his attitude, though it was incon- 
sistent with the welfare of his country. 

At my first private interview with the king as 
in duty bound I asked to be presented to the 
queen and the new-born princess. The queen 
was still confined to her room. His Majesty led 
me upstairs. The whole of the wall space on 
the staircase is filled by a colossal equestrian 
portrait of the first Kaiser, very ill-painted, and 
so large that the frame must either have been 



THE QUEEN'S BEDCHAMBER 175 

carried in piecemeal or the palace built round it 
It belonged to the period when the Germans 
acquired their coaling-station and Mr. Baker was 
decorated with the Red Eagle of Prussia. There 
are four large rooms on the upper floor, three of 
them furnished in European style, and the fourth 
used as a lumber-room for the toys and litter 
which Polynesian chiefs buy so readily and tire 
of so quickly. We found Her Majesty in the 
best bedroom, which is furnished with a four-post 
bed and Brussels carpet. Everything was im- 
maculately clean, and there was nothing to show 
that the room did not belong to an European 
lady. The queen wore a pink silk wrapper, and 
was sitting in a low chair with her brown baby 
on her knee. Her illness, which at one time had 
caused great anxiety, accounted for her pallor 
and her delicate appearance. Though she is not 
handsome, her slenderness and her delicacy of 
feature give her a certain air of distinction, and, 
like all Tongan women of good family, she has 
pretty manners. Having made my christening 
present and kissed the baby, I took my leave. 
During the queen's illness Dr. Maclennan had 
a busy time, for, though the king has an implicit 
belief in European treatment, the old ladies 
about the court insist upon administering nos- 



176 THE KING AND HIS MINISTERS 

trums of their own on the principle of ** more 
medicine, quicker cure." It is only by simulated 
outbursts of indignation that Dr. Maclennan can 
get his orders obeyed. 

In surgery alone do the Tongans frankly admit 
their helplessness. An old shed in our host s 
compound had been hastily converted into an 
operating-room, in order that the presence of 
a naval surgeon to assist in operations might be 
turned to account. For several days in succes- 
sion the two doctors were operating on bad cases 
of elephantiasis, the relations of the patients 
camping outside to act as hospital nurses. Evep 
under these unfavourable conditions the patients 
all made rapid recovery, but there was one pain- 
ful case in which the patient deliberately pre- 
ferred death. A young man, while pig-shooting 
in the bush, had put a charge of shot into his 
own leg, shattering the ankle. There was no- 
thing for him but amputation, but when his 
relations heard that he must lose his foot, they 
refused to allow the operation. They would try 
herbs, they said, and for a day or two they 
brought reports that he was better. Gangrene 
at last set in, and while there was yet time I 
went to reason with the lad's mother. Secretly, 
I fear, the reflection that if he lived the lad would 



SURGERY UNDER DIFFICULTIES 177 

be a helpless cripple on their hands had some 
weight with them. At last they were brought so 
far as to put him on a litter to carry him to the 
operating-room, but their hearts failed them in 
the end and he never came. The lad himself 
seemed to prefer death, so great is the Poly- 
nesian's horror of mutilation. 

It is not always for human beings that Dr. 
Maclennan is asked to prescribe. Having been 
much troubled by his neighbours' pigs, he gave 
public warning of his intention of shooting 
intruders at sight The very next night he 
executed his threat by moonlight, and heard 
the trespasser make off with an agonised squeal. 
Next morning he received an urgent summons 
from the inspector of police, a particular friend 
of his, to see his favourite pig which had been 
taken violently ill. One glance was enough to 
show him what ailed it, and he said, "The pig 
is very ill ; it cannot live many hours, but if 
you kill and eat it at once, the meat will be 
perfectly wholesome." The owner took his 
advice, but unhappily, in carving the meat, he 
came across a bullet It cost the doctor more 
than the value of the pig to patch the friendship 
up. By dint of a happy mingling of kindliness 
and mock ferocity he contrives to get his orders 

N 



178 THE KING AND HIS MINISTERS 

obeyed, and the people have an extraordinary 
respect and affection for him. 

I had more than one interview with the chief 
justice — not the somnolent old gentleman of ten 
years ago, but William Maealiuaki, who was 
then but an over-intelligent Radical member of 
Parliament Persecution (he was an exile for 
conscience' sake in Mr. Baker's time), prosperity, 
or promotion had not been good for him; he 
had parted with even that little meed of modesty 
which adorns even the loftiest eminence. He 
took his duties very seriously, however, and 
whenever he came to see me it was to resolve 
some legal doubt that had arisen in the course 
of his duties on the bench. " You see," he said 
one day, " I have to be more careful now that 
there are loya listening to my judgments." 

" Lawyers.^ " I inquired in surprise. 

"Yes," he said, with pride; "and that is your 
work." 

It was, I confess with shame, only too true. 
In Mr. Baker's days no one knew the law — 
not even the magistrates — and, as judgments 
went by favour, a suitor lost nothing by pleading 
his own case. But the code which I had drafted 
for them changed all that It was furnished 
with an index, and a copy could be bought 



k TONGAN GIRL 



COUNSELS FEES 179 

for less than a dollar. As soon as it transpired 
that there was nothing in it to preclude one 
Tongan from pleading for another, every native 
who could talk better than he could work took 
to loafing about the police courts, offering him- 
self as a mouthpiece to the litigants. His 
fees were tentative at first — " give me what you 
like if I get you off," and so on — but now he 
likes to be paid in advance, though you can brief 
him with a sucking-pig and keep him going 
with an armful of yams as a "refresher." The 
loya who enjoyed the largest practice were those 
who had the code at their finger-ends, and had 
acquired a high reputation for obscuring the issue 
and confusing the common sense of the court 

The chief justice also gave me a summary 
of the birth and death returns for the nine 
years ending December, 1899. I do not regard 
them with any confidence, partly because I 
know the haphazard way in which the registers 
are kept, and partly because, assuming the total 
population of the kingdom to be not less than 
19,000,* the death-rate is represented as low as 
eleven per thousand and the birth-rate as high 

* The Mission returns put the total population at i9}968 : Tonga- 
tabu, 8,454; Haapai, 5,087; Vavau, 4,589; Niuatobutabu, 710; 
Niuafoou, 1,128. The males exceed the females by 454, or 2*2 per 
cent, and the adults outnumber the children. 



i8o THE KING AND HIS MINISTERS 

as twenty-six per thousand, which is very un- 
likely, seeing that families of more than three 
living children are rare. Nevertheless, the 
Tongans are all agreed that, in spite of a 
devastating epidemic of measles in 1893, there 
has been an increase of population of over 200 
in the nine years ; the returns say 203. I think 
myself that the population is stationary, or 
slightly decreasing, but that there has been no 
very marked decline, as in Hawaii, New 
Zealand, and Fiji since the beginning of the 
nineteenth century. The people, moreover, are 
so fearful of foreign epidemics and so sensitive 
about quarantine that there is not much likelihood 
of a sudden decline for many years to come. 

It was very pleasant to renew acquaintance 
with the European colony at the Consulate. 
Many of them are prosperous merchants, and 
their appearance of rude health justified the 
saying that the climate of Tonga is the healthiest 
in the Pacific. The little gathering did not pass 
off without incident While I was talking to 
two new arrivals an elderly and rather feeble 
little gentleman in black entered the room, and 
my two visitors hastily seized their hats and 
took their leave before I had had time to ex- 
change a word with them. The features of my 



MR. BAKER AS HE IS i8i 

new visitor seemed familiar, but the suspicion 
that crossed my mind while he was talking 
affably of the weather and the earthquake and 
other general topics died away, as I noticed 
how decrepit and broken he seemed. Suddenly 
through the open window I saw a party of new 
arrivals stop short, hesitate for a moment, and 
then turn tail, and knowing that there was but 
one man in all Tonga who could produce this 
effect, I recognised my visitor. It was Mr. 
Shirley Waldemar Baker himself. He was 
greatly changed from the masterful and pros- 
perous minister of King George, whose name 
had been a byword throughout the Pacific and 
Australasia. His gains were all gone ; years of 
hard living had played havoc with his health 
and prematurely aged him ; he seemed to have 
lost even the self-confidence behind which he 
had concealed his lack of education. And yet 
even in this broken state he was able to make 
himself feared. Why he came and what he 
wanted I do not know; his motive can scarcely 
have been friendly after the criticism of his 
proceedings that I had been obliged to publish 
ten years before. Probably he wished to prove 
to the adherents of his new Church that he was 
on terms with the authorities. 



CHAPTER XIII 



VAVAU 



I NEED not detail all the moves in a game of 
hide-and-seek played in a South Sea capital 
with private agents for pieces. It lasted a full 
six weeks, and like other hard-fought games, it 
is pleasanter in the retrospect than it was in the 
playing. There were pauses in the game, and in 
one of these I steamed off to Vavau, carrying 
with me Fatafehi, His Majesty's father, to choose 
the fort and the coaling-station. 

Fatafehi, Tui Belehake — ** Two-belly," as the 
blue-jackets irreverently called him — is a lineal 
descendant of the gods, and too exalted a per- 
sonage to sit upon an earthly throne. So while 
his son, inheriting through his mother Fujipala, 
the late king's granddaughter, wears the crown 
(fashioned by a Sydney jeweller out of a metal 
that was charged for as gold, but apt to develop 
verdigris in damp weather), he is content to 

discharge the humbler office of Minister of Lands 

182 



AN ISLE OF UNREST 183 

combined with that of Speaker of the Parliament 
To assist in determining the boundaries of the 
coaling-station, he brought with him a body- 
servant and a young man armed with a theodolite, 
an instrument which proved of great value to us, 
though not in the way intended by its makers. 
By his charming manners and his hearty laugh 
he endeared himself to all on board, though 
he could not speak a word of any language but 
his own, and I was not always at hand to in- 
terpret. He lived nominally in the captain's 
cabin, but though he ate heartily and was quite 
at his ease, he showed the instinct of an old 
sailor in carrying up his blanket to the deck, 
where he was found in the morning asleep in a 
canvas chair. 

Having a curiosity to visit Falcon Island, we 
did not take the direct route to Vavau. Early in 
1896 Falcon Reef, then a patch of coral awash 
at low water, suddenly broke into eruption and 
cast up an island of pumice stone more than 100 
feet high. Mr. Shirley Baker, who watched the 
eruption from a schooner, described it to me as 
a terrific spectacle, as indeed it must have been, 
for the sea had access to the crater, and was 
flung aloft in explosions of steam. As soon as 
the mass was cool enough to stand upon, the 



i84 VAVAU 

Tongan ensign was hoisted upon it, and the new 
island became a portion of King George's 
dominions. It did not swell his revenues, for, 
when I passed it four years later, it had shrunk 
to less than half its original size, and every roller 
that broke upon its shores brought down a land- 
slip of pumice which covered the surface of the 
sea for some distance. H.M.S. Porpoise had 
examined it in 1899, and had reported it as a 
reef barely awash, and her officers were anxious 
to see whether there had been any change since 
their last visit We sighted it at three o'clock in 
the afternoon. The sea was breaking heavily, 
and as we drew near we were astonished to find 
a black hump protruding nine feet above the 
waves. It was impossible to make a closer 
examination in the boats, but the navigating 
lieutenant was satisfied that the restless island 
was emerging again from the sea. 

Early next morning we steamed into Neiafu 
Harbour. Something unusual about the vegeta- 
tion on the outer island had struck us as we came 
in, but we were not prepared for the scene of 
desolation that met us as we swung round Utulei 
Point to the anchorage. The centre of a terrific 
cyclone had struck the island on April 2nd, 19CX), 
just a week before our arrival. Scarce a hous^ 



THE PATH OF THE CYCLONE 185 

was left standing ; the trees were naked ; the 
graceful palms were mere ragged broomsticks 
stuck aslant in the earth. In the steamy calm 
the water of the harbour was like oil, and it 
was impossible to picture the wild fury that had 
beset the place but seven days past. We landed, 
half deafened by the reverberating echo of the 
saluting guns, to pay our official visit to George 
Finau, now promoted to be governor over the 
people whose hereditary lord he is. Abnormally 
thick-set when I knew him, he was now elephan- 
tine in girth, and if his twelve-year-old son 
maintains his present rate of growth, his little 
finger will be thicker than his father's loins. 

The formal reception being over, we were 
free to stroll through the town. The ruin was 
complete ; the government offices were an 
untidy heap of lumber ; the great native church, 
the last work of King George of pious memory, 
had collapsed ; its mighty roof, unshipped from 
the supporting posts, but still held together by 
its sinnet lashings, lay careened like a stranded 
hull — the pulpit was overturned, the flooring 
ripped from end to end. Never again, the king 
told me, would such a house be built again, for the 
degenerates of these days prefer corrugated iron. 
Already the Roman Catholics were pointing to 



« .X 



i86 VAVAU 

their concrete church, still standing like an island 
among the general wreckage, as a proof of 
Divine warranty, a little tempered perhaps by 
reason of a gaping rent in the tower. The 
people were living in the open air, crawling into 
the cover of their ruined houses to shelter from 
the rain. Poor souls! they bore their misfortunes 
with a light heart, though the crop of orange 
trees, from which they get their living, were 
uprooted, and the cocoanuts would not recover 
for two years. Every boat in the island was 
busy bringing food from the less stricken villages, 
and the men were saving something from the 
wreck by turning the fallen cocoanuts into copra. 
Next day we set forth in the ship s boats to 
survey the German coaling-station in the bight 
of the harbour. The shore is here a coral reef, 
upheaved about fifteen feet above the sea. The 
soil is shallow, but, like all limestone formations, 
very productive, and covered with plantations 
and cocoanut trees. On the further side was 
the open sea, for this part of the harbour is 
a mere breakwater, tapering away to a boat 
passage in the bight of the harbour, where the 
land is only two furlongs across. The Germans 
had done themselves handsomely, and had 
allowed no concern for the welfare of the 



THE CHURCH BUILT BY KING GEORGE I. 

Wreclicd tiy Ihc i:yclone 



THE COVERSMEXT OFFICES AT VAVAU 
;d by ihc cyclone. A rcmlc convlci u clearing away the w 



THE COALING STATION 187 

natives to interfere with their wishes. Starting 
from the boat passage, they had annexed a 
generous strip of country for a distance of half 
a mile, regardless of the fact that many families, 
who had never been consulted, were robbed of 
all their planting land at a stroke of the pen. 
These families had continued placidly to cultivate 
their plantations, and they were now sitting 
silent in the road to hear their fate. The coal, 
the sole evidence of their dilemma, was now 
a hillock of crumbling, chocolate-coloured gravel, 
overgrown with creepers and long unrecognisable 
as fuel. 

We chained the boundary with a sounding- 
line, the owners cheerfully pointing it out with- 
out any attempt to diminish the area, which 
proved to contain no less than thirty acres of 
good planting land. This being far more than 
we wanted, I saw an opportunity for securing 
a site for the fort as well. Calling them together 
in an open place, I announced that though 
England had succeeded to all the German 
concession, yet she would restore to them six- 
sevenths of this good land, and in return would 
only ask for a little plot of bad land in another 
part of the harbour. Then we chained out a 
rectangular piece, with a frontage of 200 yards. 



i88 VAVAU 

ICX5 yards deep on one side and 140 at the other, 
and the natives showed their delight by clearing 
the boundary and planting lines of cocoanuts to 
mark it The ship s carpenter made huge broad 
arrows in cement at the corners on the sea face, 
and erected blocks of stone, similarly marked, 
at the inner corners. 

Meanwhile the navigating officer was taking 
angles with a sextant on the sea front, and Unga, 
Fatafehi's secretary, was following him about 
with his theodolite like a faithful dog. So 
pathetic was his anxiety that his ancient instru- 
ment should be put to use that the lieutenant 
at last took pity on him, and set it up. The 
first glance showed him that the metal cap had 
rusted to the lens, and when he wrenched it off 
a cry of agony was wrung from Unga, as who 
should say, "Now youVe done it ! " For years 
he had been pretending to survey the boundaries 
in land disputes with the cap on, and the erection 
of the instrument had always sufficed to setde 
the dispute, and here was an Englishman, albeit 
possessing the occult knowledge of a naval 
lieutenant, ruthlessly destroying the mana of his 
weapon for ever. But when he was shown that 
he could look through the telescope, which had 
formerly only presented darkness to his eye, and 



THE NAVIGATOR'S PUPIL 189 

his instructor even promised to give him lessons 
in the science of angles, his delight knew no 
bounds. For days afterwards the lieutenant and 
his disciple were familiar spectacles in the chart- 
room, and the former, who came to be a little 
bored with his pupil's ardour, admitted that he 
had shown amazing aptitude, and that he could 
take rough angles and calculate area with approxi- 
mate accuracy. 

It was not easy to select the site for the 
protecting fort owing to the wealth of choice, 
but eventually we found what we wanted. 
Fatafehi undertook to ''square" the owner, the 
descendant of a Portuguese deserter from a ship, 
who had found favour with the Finau Ulukalala 
of Mariner's time. So far from receiving the 
idea of a British fort on Tongan territory with 
coolness, the Tongans seemed to be pleased 
with it, especially when I hinted that the garrison 
might consist of Tongans under the command of 
a British officer. They are a race of warriors, 
condemned for the present to live upon the 
traditions of their ancestors' exploits, and soldier- 
ing is to them the most noble of occupations ; 
indeed, no commander could ask for more 
promising material for troops, for alone among 
South Sea races they had evolved the idea of 



I90 VAVAU 

discipline, and preferred to capture entrenched 
positions by direct assault. 

The remainder of our visit was given to sight- 
seeing. I was anxious to revisit the Hunga 
cave, twice-famed by Mariner and Byron. In 
1890 a westerly swell had prevented me from 
diving into it, but this time Finau had promised 
to provide guides from the best divers in the 
island, and to put no obstacles in my way if 
the weather made the adventure possible. But 
to my disappointment a westerly swell again 
set in, and the guides backed his declaration 
by refusing to risk their own skins. I had 
to admit to myself that it would have been a 
poor ending to my trip to be sent home in 
bandages, after defying the advice of the guides, 
especially as I had been warned by Mr. H. J. 
Marshall, R.N., who was a midshipman on 
H.M.S. Calliope when Captain Aylen explored 
the cave in 1852, that the feat was difficult 
even in calm weather. Captain Sir J. Everard 
Home being anxious to have the cave explored 
in order to test William Mariner's story, selected 
Mr. J. F. R. Aylen, then a Masters Assistant, 
now a Post-Captain retired, as being the best 
diver in the ship. He was taken to the in- 
dicated position of the cave's mouth in the 



MARINER'S CAVE 191 

galley, and furnished with a lead line and two 
natives as guides. There was no sea on, but 
the dive is a long one— one fathom down and 
five fathoms along the passage before it is possi- 
ble to rise into the cave. Aylen was, I believe, 
the first white man to enter the cave since 
Mariner, and, being something of a draughtsman, 
he made a sketch of the interior, which was 
afterwards turned into a picture by an artist in 
Sydney. The return dive was not so successful. 
The great difficulty in diving out of these sub- 
marine caves is that, your face being downwards, 
you are deceived by the reflected light into coming 
up too soon. Captain Aylen scratched his back 
so severely with the stalactites that the wounds 
did not heal for two months. 

With Finau for guide we rode out to see the 
famous fortress of Feletoa, at whose ramparts 
the most stirring of Mariner's adventures * were 
enacted. Those who have read this classic in 
the literature of travel will remember that when 
Toeumu revolted against her nephew, Finau 
Ulukalala, in 18 10, the entire population of the 
island was entrenched at Feletoa in the largest 
and strongest fortress ever built in Tonga. 

♦ Mariner's Account of the Tonga Islands, By JOHN Martin, 
M.D. 



192 VAVAU 

Finau besieged the place with an army of 5,cx)0 
men and artillery taken from the captured ship 
Port-au' Prince, but, after an ineffective siege 
of many months, was obliged to make terms 
with the enemy. The place lies four miles 
from Neiafu, on a deep bay communicating with 
the same harbour. Descending from the modern 
village which lies just outside the landward 
defences, we came upon the outer rampart at 
a spot about two furlongs from the beach and 
ICO feet above it We traced the triple line 
of ditches and earthworks for 200 yards, to a 
spot near the angle, where they made a semi- 
circular sweep to enclose a fissure in the earth 
before trending inland, This rift was the secret 
of the long resistance to Finau's army. The 
story runs that, a few years before the siege, 
a man weeding yams in the gardens above 
noticed that his dog disappeared and returned 
with a dripping coat. Fresh water is too rare 
in Vavau for this to be allowed to pass, and the 
next day the dog was followed. He vanished 
into a hole in the coral rock, and after several 
minutes, returned dripping as before. 

Torches were procured and a man scrambled 
down. The passage gradually widened until, 
at a* depth of forty or fifty feet, it became a 



1! • 



1^" 



11 
'I 



-s 

i 



AN IMPREGNABLE FORTRESS 193 

large cave full of water of unknown depth. It 
was this discovery that led to the choice of 
Feletoa as the site for the fortress that was to 
contain the entire population of the island. We 
explored the cave, and found that the water 
was clear, but slightly brackish. Probably it 
rises and falls with the tide, and the whole 
island, like Niud, contains similar reservoirs of 
fresh water beneath its crust. Mariner says that 
Finau had the ramparts levelled with the ground, 
but, to judge by the works still remaining, his 
commands must have been but grudgingly 
obeyed, for it would not take much to put the 
place into a state of defence again. 

Surveying the fort, even in its dismantled and 
overgrown condition, we could well believe that 
it had a most imposing appearance. The land- 
locked inlet, with its vista of hazy islands to 
seaward and its brilliant reflections, broken here 
and there by light puffs of wind, must have been 
a fit setting for the lofty triple rampart alive 
with warriors in their war-harness. Of their 
Homeric deeds in the great siege you may read 
in the pages of Dr. Martin, who, if he wrote 
no epic, contrived at least to lose nothing of the 
romance in William Mariner's story. 



CHAPTER XIV 
BETWEEN THE ACTS 

ON our return to Nukualofa, we found that 
the hurricane had had its bearing upon 
the negotiations. The king had promised to 
assemble all his chiefs, and of the vessels at his 
disposal one had come to grief and the remain- 
ing • two were engaged in the pressing work of 
carrying food for the relief of the homeless and 
hungry people of Vavau. There was reason in 
his demand that he should not be asked to take 
the sole responsibility of signing a momentous 
treaty, an act which might afterwards be used 
against him by any disaffected chief, and there 
was nothing left to do but to urge more rapid 
action and sit still until the chiefs came. While 
my native agents were employed in allaying the 
wild rumours that had been set abroad among 
the people, we were free to do some sight-seeing. 
We made an expedition to Bea to inspect the 
English guns, said to be those abandoned by the 

landing party from H.M.S. Favourite^ which 

194 



THE GUNS OF THE "FAVOURITE^' 195 

came to grief at the siege of Bea in 1840, and 
often cited by the Tongans as evidence of how 
they beat a British man-o'-war. We found two 
of them half buried in the grass in the middle of 
the village, and a third serving as a fencing-post. 
They all bore the same mark : — 



Pr. 



9 jg^ 

P 

1813 

8 : 3 : 14 

that is, 9 -pounders, cast in Portsmouth in 
181 3, and weighing 8 cwL 3 qrs. 14 lbs. It 
seemed unlikely that frigates in 1840 would have 
been carrying iron g^ns cast in 181 3, but an old 
man who had taken part in the defence of Bea 
and old Tungi cleared up the difficulty between 
them. The relics of the Favourite had all been 
removed by another ship, sent expressly from 
Sydney in the following year, and these guns 
had been bought from the captain of a whaler 
which was wrecked at the eastern part of the 
island some years after the siege. For many 
years whalers and trading vessels had carried 
guns like these, which they had probably bought 
cheap from the Admiralty, for purposes of trade. 



196 BETWEEN THE ACTS 

One of our excursions was to the colony of 
flying -foxes at Hihifo, where I wished to renew 
my acquaintance with old Ata, the hereditary 
lord of the western district, who had not been 
on cordial terms with the king since the royal 
marriage. His village lies upon the shores of 
Maria Bay, so named by Tasman when he dis- 
covered the island in 1643, ^^^ ^^ ^^ close to 
Kanakubolu, where the temporal kings were 
always crowned, and from which they take their 
title of Tui Kanakubola The ancient tree 
under which they sat was overthrown (aSsti 
omen) in a gale a few years ago, and the present 
king caused pieces of the wood to be inlaid in 
the throne of the royal chapel. But the feature 
of the place is the flying-fox colony. Four or 
five great ioa trees stand in the village square, 
and many thousands of these great fruit-eating 
bats roost there in the sunshine, hanging head 
downward like noisome fruit, crawling, scratch- 
ing, quarrelling, killing the foliage with their 
droppings and poisoning the air with their reek. 
At nightfall they set forth in long procession for 
the banana plantations, levying toll on them as 
far as Mua, fifteen miles distant, and returning to 
their perch before daybreak. In no sense are 
they sacred, and away from the colony they may 



DEATH PORTENTS 197 

be shot, but it is inauspicious to shoot them in 
the village itself, because then they would go 
away and dire misfortune would happen. For 
every great family in Tonga has its death por- 
tent ; with the Fatafehi it is the splitting of a 
great banyan tree ; with the Tui Kanakubolu 
it is the roar of breakers on the reef in calm 
weather ; with the Ata it is the sudden migration 
of the flying-foxes from the trees in Kolovai. 

We had a delightful ride along the grassy 
road shaded with orange trees ripening to harvest 
On either side of the road lay wide tracts of 
uncultivated bush, and I was sorry to see, 
mingled with the matted foliage, the ill-omened 
pink flowers of the Talatala hina. In the Parlia- 
ment of 1 891, when I sat on the Treasury bench, 
a panic bill had been hurried through, making 
it penal for any landowner to have this plant on 
his land after March, 1902. If the fines then 
provided were to be enforced now, the govern- 
ment would require no other source of revenue, 
for the plant, then confined to a small district 
at the back of the island, has now advanced to 
within a few miles of Nukualofa. It is a tough, 
creeping vine, armed with sharp, reflexed thorns, 
deep-rooted and very difficult to eradicate. Throw- 
ing its wicked arms about a young tree it thrusts 



198 BETWEEN THE ACTS 

them up to the light, choking its support in its 
tangled embrace. The story that it was intro- 
duced by a trader in the straw of a packing-case 
is, perhaps, mythical, but it was certainly un- 
known in Tonga thirty years ago. Unless strong 
measures are taken to check it, there will come 
a day when neither cocoanuts nor yams can be 
planted any more. Then Tonga, overrun with 
a tangle of thorny vines, swarming with hornets, 
will not be a pleasant place to live in. 

This plant is not the only pest for which 
packing-straw is said to be accountable. Between 
1890 and last year hornets were introduced. 
They have multiplied so rapidly that it is now 
unsafe to brush through the thick undergrowth 
in which they build their nests. We had lived 
on shore in Nukualofa for three weeks before 
we saw any, but on a never-to-be-forgotten day 
in May, they made up for their neglect. About 
ten the air began to vibrate with an angry hum, 
and we noticed a few hornets cruising about the 
eaves of the verandah. An hour later they were 
knocking against the window panes and crawling 
about the walls, seeking entrance to the house. 
At lunch-time the dining-room was full of them, 
and their angry hum almost drowned conversa- 
tion. They were making for the darker places. 



A PLAGUE OF HORNETS 199 

the shade of the shuttered bedrooms, the backs 
of pictures and the folds of curtains. They took 
no notice of us, but every now and then a couple 
would meet in the upper air, fall pat upon the 
floor, and take to crawling. As there seemed 
no reason why they should not choose to fall 
between the collar and the neck, or crawl up 
the legs, we thought it time to seek sanctuary. 
But there was none. Every comer of the house 
was theirs, and in the pitiless sun outside the air 
' was black with them. A hot argument arose 
about this phenomenon, some of us maintaining 
that they were swarming, and, like bees, would 
gather about their queen ; others, who knew 
them better, that they were male and female, 
and that this was their pairing time. To that 
emotional hour I owe all my learning about 
hornets. The brute so heavily barred with black 
stripes that he looks a wicked brown, is the male, 
who has no sting, and may be trodden on with 
impunity; the bright yellow beasts are females, 
with a barbed sting nearly as long as their bodies. 
We disturbed the economy of Nature that day. 
Our host had a five-gallon jar of some American 
insect powder, and .we lighted censers of the 
acrid stuff in every room until we had to dash 
into the air to breathe. Would that I could 



200 BETWEEN THE ACTS 

remember the name of that powder, to give its 
inventor a gratuitous advertisement ! In half an 
hour our enemies were all upon the floor at the 
mercy of a soft broom and a dust-pan. We 
filled two buckets with their kicking bodies, and 
fed the kitchen fire with them. We heard next 
day that every house in Nukualofa, from the 
king's palace to the pigsties, had been made 
uninhabitable, but that at sunset they had dis- 
appeared, to be seen no more till next year. 

Our escort of policemen were most obliging 
fellows. One was a Wesleyan, the other a Free 
Churchman, and the friendly theological dis- 
cussions in which they indulged from time to 
time showed that the bitter sectarian hatred, 
so sedulously nurtured by Mr. Baker, had quite 
died away. Ten years before a Wesleyan could 
not have hoped for the humblest government 
appointment. 

I was bursting with the showman's pride as 
we rode into Kolovai, having wrought the 
expectations of my companions to the highest 
pitch. I begged them not to look up until we 
halted under the trees. When I gave the word 
they looked up, and then they looked at me. 
Surely these were not the trees ! But the state 
of the foliage left no doubt upon that point. We 



ATA^S DEATH FORETOLD 201 

called an old woman out of a neighbouring house, 
and there was no mistaking the concern in her 
tone as she was telling her tale. Four days 
before, she said, at an hour before sunset, an 
albino flying-fox had circled over the village, 
settling at last on the branches of a tree over 
against the door of Ata's house. Early in the 
morning it had flown over the trees, and the 
entire colony, which was just settling down to 
sleep after its nocturnal excursion in search of 
food, took to wing and followed it. Not a flying- 
fox had visited the town since. 

Our escort were very grave over the news. 
'You know our belief," said Salesi ; "when the 
beka flies away, it is a sign to Ata's family. 
Twice have I known it so ; the last time when 
Ata's son, who was a tutor in the Wesleyan 
college, died without warning, and it was always 
so in the time of our fathers." I found old Ata 
and his wife in excellent health and spirits to all 
outward seeming, though naturally the flying- 
foxes were not mentioned in our conversation. 
Next day Nukualofa was buzzing with the news 
of Atas approaching dissolution. Ridicule of 
the superstition was always met with the remark, 
**Well, wait and see; it may not be this week, 
or this month, but none the less Ata has not long 



202 BETWEEN THE ACTS 

to live" — a statement which, as the old gentle- 
mans age verged upon seventy, we were not in 
a position to gainsay. The king, who is as 
enlightened as anyone in his kingdom, was 
scarcely less positive. "It is one of those 
things," he said, "that one would fain laugh at, 
but it has come true so often that one is com- 
pelled, against his will, to believe it true." Well, 
ten days passed, and Ata attended the great 
council of chiefs assembled to consider the treaty, 
the halest and liveliest of the old gentlemen 
present I noticed that while he was chaffing 
two members of the cabinet, the bystanders 
regarded him with the tender, melancholy interest 
which is supposed to be bestowed upon the man 
in the condemned cell, and this may have told 
upon his spirits ; for certain it is that a few weeks 
after my departure from the islands I received 
the news that he was dead. That superstition 
will die hard, and if I were Ata's successor I 
would see to it that a few of the flying-foxes were 
caught and tied to their perches by a string. 

One morning two of Kubu s nieces, accom- 
panied by an aged duenna, brought presents from 
their uncle, who perhaps felt that, since his dual 
r61e as my friend and the king s father-in-law had 
been beyond his powers, some pledge of our old 



5 * 

S s 

'J 
I 



THE TONGAN IDEAL OF BEAUTY 203 

intimacy would not be out of place. Among the 
things was a set of stamps for printing the native 
cloth, and when I hastened to appropriate these, 
the younger sister, who has kittenish manners, 
broke in with " Oh, but / made these ; they are 
not for you, they are for this gentleman ! " 
Webber did his best to rise to this embryonic 
flirtation, but it died stillborn in nods and smiles 
for want of an interpreter. As the conversation 
dragged and the ladies showed no consciousness 
of having discharged their mission, it was sug- 
gested that they should face the camera by way 
of complimentary dismissal. They were nothing 
loath, but the elder sister stipulated for the loan 
of a silk handkerchief to hide her neck. As she 
had the ordinary English neck of not ungraceful 
outline, and her sister, who had no neck to speak 
of, showed none of this bashfulness, our curiosity 
was aroused. It was thus that we discovered the 
Tongan ideal of female loveliness. The perfect 
woman must be fat — that is most imperative 
— her neck must be short (like the younger 
sister s) ; she must have no waist, and if Nature 
has cursed her with that defect she must disguise 
it with draperies, or submit to be " miscalled " in 
the streets of Nukualofa ; her bust and hips and 
thighs must be colossal. The woman who pos- 



204 BETWEEN THE ACTS 

sesses all these perfections will be esteemed chief- 
like and elegant, and her nose will not matter, 
though, if she have that organ flat to the face, 
she will be painting the lily. There chanced to 
be an illustrated paper on the table, and when we 
showed them the wasp-waisted ladies in the 
fashion plates they chuckled with amusement and 
derision. The king, whom I afterwards asked 
for a definition of female beauty, confirmed all 
they saM, and added a philosophical explanation 
of his own. He said that the human eye de- 
manded a sufficiency in the things presented to 
it ; if they were insufficient, it found them ugly. 
The Tongan dress did not conceal the form as 
does the European ; consequently Tongan ladies 
were expected to be satisfying in respect of the 
portions of their anatomy that are exposed to 
view. We may be content with a simpler ex- 
planation. In days gone by the chief women got 
more to eat than their inferiors, and embonpoint 
became a chiefly attribute. This mark of high 
birth being once stereotyped, men chose their 
wives accordingly, and the Tongan dames will 
grow stouter with every generation. It is not 
a pleasing prospect. 

At one stage in our negotiations the king 
began to develop a remarkable capacity for 



A RELIC OF CAPTAIN COOK 205 

digression. At any other time his excursions 
would have been interesting, for, untrained as 
he is, he possesses the historical and literary 
instinct, and he can tell a good story. I think 
that it was while we were discussing the relative 
merits of the Tongan synonyms for the word 
Protectorate that he suddenly inquired my opinion 
upon the close connection between the Tongan 
and Hebrew tongues. I hastened to turn the 
subject, assuring him that I had never thought 
about the matter, for that hoary folly of the 
Ten Lost Tribes was in the air ; but he said 
that it W2LS his own discovery. Someone had 
given him a Hebrew book to look at, and in 
one page he had found no less than six Tongan 
words. He quoted the conjunction kaeumda^ 
which, he said, occurred in both languages with 
the same meaning. On another occasion he 
brought out the piece of hand-made red cloth 
which I was to take home as a present to the 
Queen. This had been given by Captain Cook 
to the Tamahd, the noblest lady in the land, and 
had been preserved by the family of the Tui 
Haat^iho. It was a large piece of hand-made 
woollen cloth, rather loosely woven and of a 
rusty red colour, with a black selvedge edge, 
and it smelt strongly of sandalwood oil, having 



2o6 BETWEEN THE ACTS 

been worn on great occasions by chiefs anointed 
with that precious essence. It is now, I believe, 
among the curiosities in the royal collection at 
Windsor Castle. He then told me some native 
traditions of Cook s visit. When the vessels 
were seen approaching Hihifo in 1773 there was 
a heated discussion among the Tongans as to 
whence they came. The king mimicked the 
querulous intonation of the old Tongans very 
funnily. " Whence come they ? " said one. 
**Seuke!" exclaimed the old chief, Eikinaba, a 
noted wit in his day, "why, from the land of 
riches — ^from Babalangi ! " (or, as we might say, 
from Brobdignag), and the nickname Babalangi 
has stuck to Europeans ever since. Ba-ki-langi 
(" shooting up to heaven ") is the derivation which 
Fatafehi favours, meaning that the ships' masts 
reached to the sky. When the Tongans boarded 
the Resolution, the same chief, Eikinaba, noticed 
a strange yam on the deck and picked it up. 
" I give you that," said Tute (Cook), and from 
that day this kind of yam was called the Kizd. 
Favoured perhaps by the cooler climate and the 
new soil, this yam has grown to colossal dimen- 
sions. Cook had probably brought it from 
Rarotonga, or from Tahiti. 
Of the number of curious petitions to which I 



A LOVER'S ROMANCE 207 

had to listen, the strangest came from a singularly 
ill-favoured private in the king's guards. He 
waylaid me in the road with a letter in an official 
envelope, which I took to be a message from the 
palace. It contained, however, a long and con- 
fused recital of the love troubles of one Josefa, 
who, being enamoured of Ana, the daughter of 
an Englishman and the most beautiful taahine in 
all the world, had eloped with her into the bush. 
At this, as it appeared, Ana's father, the English- 
man, had been much incensed (as was not un- 
natural), and had haled Josefa before the British 
Consul, who had fulminated threats, scaring 
Josefa out of his wits. Would I therefore order 
the Consul to marry the pair out of hand, for, 
loving each other with so consuming a passion, 
how were they to wait five years ? 

When I asked who had written this mysterious 
letter in the envelope superscribed **On His 
Tongan Majesty's Service," the bearer's sheepish 
look betrayed the fact that he had written it 
himself. In fact, he himself was Josefa, and, 
looking at his countenance, I could only wonder 
at the lady's taste. It then transpired that she 
was barely sixteen (love's arrows strike early 
in these latitudes), and he had been guilty of 
nothing less than the abduction of a British 



2o8 BETWEEN THE ACTS 

subject under age, for her father was an English 
carpenter legally married to a Tongan wife. I 
could only counsel the love-sick guardsman to 
win consent from the father, or in the alternative 
to contain his soul in patience till she was 
twenty-one. It seemed to be cold comfort, for 
the father had terminated their last interview 
by chasing him with a carpenter's adze, and I 
suspect that by this time the friendly forest has 
again swallowed up the pair, and the carpenter 
is abroad with his chopper. 

The eaves-dropping nuisance at the palace was 
little less tiresome than it had been ten years 
before, when one had to bawl state secrets into 
the deaf ears of old King George. One morning, 
while I was explaining the treaty to the kings 
ministers, 1 chanced to see in a mirror the re- 
flection of a girl on her hands and knees, with 
eyes and ears wide open at a chink of the door, 
which she had pushed ajar. Our eyes met in 
the glass, and she scurried away like a frightened 
rabbit, but I was not surprised to hear after- 
wards that many of my remarks were being 
quoted verbatim in the town. Accordingly when 
the king asked me one morning to come into 
his private chapel to hear an important com- 
munication, I understood his reasons. As we 



CONFERENCE IN THE CHAPEL ROYAL 209 

crossed the compound he remarked in a loud 
voice for the benefit of the sentry, "Yes, all 
that remains of the sacred tree has been inlaid 
in the state chair like your coronation stone in 
England Come and see." Sitting on the two 
thrones on the dais we were at last secure from 
eaves-droppers, and could talk freely. He told 
me that there were two Tongan words that 
expressed the feeling of his country towards 
England — -falala 3Xidfaha'a. Rising and leaning 
against one of the pillars of the aisle, he said, 
** This is fahcHa : then I spring away from it so, 
and cry, 'Oh! but it won't bear my weight!' 
and you say, * Don't be afraid ; falala be ki at ' 
(* Lean upon it without fear ') " As his mighty 
bulk thrust against the wooden post, it cracked 
ominously. It was fortunate that the king is not 
superstitious, for the post represented England 
in his metaphor. 

The European merchants had a well-founded 
grievance in their complaints against the premier, 
my old colleague Sateki. It was not that he was 
obstinate, or that he was ignorant, though I was 
assured that the most stubborn Carolina mule 
might resent being mentioned in the same breath 
with the Prime Minister ; it was that he was no 
longer incorruptible. There were slanderous 



2IO BETWEEN THE ACTS 

stories of cases of merchandise delivered at his 
door that had never been paid for over the counter, 
but, putting these aside, there was the fact that a 
certain Semitic firm, not long established in the 
group, had the ear of the Cabinet, imported most 
of the stores required by the government, and 
could oblige its friends and harass its enemies 
with an ease that would have been impossible if 
the Cabinet had been impartial. When I brought 
these matters to the notice of the king he said, 
*' Without doubt Sateki is very unpopular; you 
see, he is like Mr. Joseph Chamberlain." Per- 
haps my face betrayed surprise, for he hastened 
to add, "Of course, I do not mean that he is 
as able as Mr. Chamberlain, or as eloquent ; 
what I mean is that, like Mr. Chamberlain, 
Sateki says just what is in his mind without 
thinking, and seldom opens his lips to speak 
without hurting somebody's feelings." Perhaps 
I should add that His Majesty's only English 
journal is the Review of Reviews. 



CHAPTER XV 



FAREWELL 



WE had now been in Tonga for six weeks, 
and still the chiefs tarried. But the arrival 
of the monthly steamer from New Zealand met 
the difficulty. Through the kindly offices of my 
friend Captain Crawshaw, who had frequently 
done good service for the British Government 
in similar emergencies, the whole of the .rank 
and fashion of the Friendly Islands was landed 
on Nukualofa wharf within the week, and on 
May 17th we rode to the palace to meet the 
House of Lords assembled in council. I found 
them sitting in the dining-room on rows of chairs 
as at a charity meeting. The king presided, 
seated on his throne at a table, and I was pro- 
vided with a chair on his left Some of the 
nobles arrived heated and late ; they explained 
to me afterwards that they had been turned 
back by the sentry at the doors, and told to go 

home and don black coats, which accounted for 

211 



212 FAREWELL 

the funereal aspect of the meeting. The only 
absentees were bed-ridden ; even poor old blind 
Tungi had been wheeled to the palace in his 
bath -chair. Among the new arrivals by the 
steamer was Mateialona, the most intelligent and 
enlightened of all the chiefs. The son of an 
elder brother of the king's mother, he would 
have had an earlier claim to the throne but for 
the bar sinister : the influence that he would 
have derived from his birth and character has 
been somewhat neutralised by his loyalty to the 
Wesleyan Church, which made him choose exile 
to Fiji rather than bow the knee to the Free 
Church which Mr. Baker had set up. He is now 
Governor of Haapai, and whatever hope there 
may be of the regeneration of King George s 
Cabinet is centred is him. With his portrait 
before the reader it is scarcely necessary to say 
that he is a man of great purpose and strength 
of character. The proceedings were conducted 
with the old-world courtesy and decorum which 
is fast dying out in Tonga, except among the 
men of high degree. This is not the place to 
describe the intricacies of our long, but friendly 
contest ; it is enough to say that after nightfall 
on the second day of debate all the main diffi- 
culties had been overcome. As it was so late, 



THE KING DINES OUT 213 

the king of his own motion proposed that we 
should adjourn for dinner to Dr. Maclennan's 
house, and sign the treaty before we separated 
for the night. We made a singular procession. 
The night was very dark, and the king s guards 
hastily procured lanterns to light their master, 
who, I believe, had not left the compound of 
his palace to pay such a visit since his marriage. 
We overtook Tungi's bath-chair in the darkness ; 
I believe that the king would have avoided the 
meeting if he had been alone, for his relations 
with the blind chief were anything but cordial; 
but the stately manners of Tongan chiefs came 
to his aid, and their complimentary speeches 
would have been thought unsparing for a 
friendship of many years* standing. " Farewell, 
Wiliame," cooed the king at parting ; " I will 
come and drink a bowl of kava with you." His 
Majesty must have been thinking of another and 
a better world. 

I trembled when I thought of our kind host, 
who had been waiting dinner for more than an 
hour, and was now to have two royal, hungry, 
and uninvited guests sprung upon him. But 
he bore the invasion with his usual good-nature, 
and set his cook to work, while Webber played 
the part of David to our Saul with the piano. 



214 FAREWELL 

As soon as the cloth was drawn we got to work. 
Guards crowded the verandahs ; native secretaries 
sat on the floor drafting amendments, which the 
king produced from under the table like cards 
from a conjurer's hat, only to have them gently 
but firmly put aside. At one in the morning 
we were agreed on the main points, and the 
king, who had long been yawning, drove off 
in his carriage, leaving the negotiation of the 
minor points to Fatafehi, his father, whom he 
had appointed his plenipotentiary. This cleared 
the air, and at half-past two, the oil in the last 
lamp having given out, the treaty was signed 
by the light of a guttering candle. Then, and 
not till then, was it discovered that the privy seal 
had been left at the palace, and we had to wait 
until a messenger had galloped for it on horse- 
back Then Fatafehi and I exchanged presents, 
and we were free to go to bed. The thing that 
had astonished the king most was Webbers 
extraordinary power of writing correctly from 
dictation Tongan, of which he did not under- 
stand a word, the secret being that Tongan is 
written phonetically with the Italian vowels, and 
that, so long as the speaker indicates the divisions 
between the words, the task is not so difficult as 
it sounds. 



THE PROCLAMATION 215 

Next day we said good-bye to our kind hosts 
and went on board the Porpoise to prepare for 
our departure. Having duly appointed ten 
o'clock on the morning of May 19th, 1900, for 
taking leave of the king, we landed with a guard 
of honour of fifty men, and visited the palace for 
the last time. Our reception was the same as 
on the occasion of our arrival. In the presence 
of his ministers I gave the king some wholesome 
advice, and he asked me to be the bearer of 
a letter of thanks to the Queen. On leaving 
the palace we took our way to the middle 
of the public square, where a large crowd was 
assembled. The guard of honour fell in behind 
us and the proclamation of a Protectorate was 
read in English and Tongan. 

As the g^ard presented arms, the signalman 
on board, who was watching our proceedings 
through a glass, gave the word, and at the 
pull of a string the ship was dressed with flags 
from stem to stem, and the first of twenty- one 
guns was fired. Then we returned on board, 
leaving a sergeant of marines to serve copies 
of the proclamation upon the king, the premier, 
the foreign consuls, and the heads of missions. 
While we were getting up steam we saw flags 
hoisted on every flagstaff, and a number of 



2i6 FAREWELL 

people came on board to take leave of us. From 
the king came a note enclosing his letter to the 
Queen and thanking me for all that had been 
done. Of the numerous native presents the most 
interesting was that from my fellow-plenipoten- 
tiary, Fatafehi, who sent a curious stone celt* 

As the sun set Tonga was a mere cloud upon 
the horizon, and the Porpoise was plunging in 
a heavy westerly swell. I had seen the little 
kingdom in three phases — ^under the dictatorship 
of Mr. Baker in 1886, under old King George 
in 1 89 1, when I was one of his ministers, and as 
a British Protectorate. May the Protectorate 
remain purely nominal for many years to come ! 
That rests with the Tongans. If they will 
abstain from squabbling among themselves, keep 
free from debt, and govern themselves decently, 

* This celt measures 9I inches long by 3I inches wide in the 
broadest part, made of an olive-green stone with grey longitudinal 
veins, and beautifully polished. It was clear that it had come 
from another part of the Pacific, for the Tongan celts are wedge- 
shaped, angular, and roughly made. Sir William Macgregor, who 
saw it on my return to England, at once pronounced it to be from 
New Guinea, and identified the stone as belonging to the quarry 
that he had discovered in Woodlark Island. All that Fatafehi 
could say was that it had been for generations in his family, and 
if this was true, the celt might be used as evidence of a Tongan 
migration from the west, for there were no whalers or sandal- 
wooders before 1790 ; but there have been Tongan teachers work- 
ing in New Guinea, and he may have been mistaken about its age. 



A WORD OF WARNING 217 

there is no reason that their status should 
change, though the history of little states is not 
reassuring. The scattered group has been under 
one king as long as tradition runs ; its people 
have played a notable part in the history of the 
Pacific as navigators, conquerors, and colonists ; 
and I for one should be grieved if the last native 
state in the Pacific should pass away. 



APPENDIX 



TONGAN MUSIC 

THE music of the Tongans was inseparable from 
the dance (by which I mean the rhythmic 
movements of any part of the body), and it therefore 
esteemed rhythm before melody or harmony. There 
were two principal forms, the M^e-tu^u-baki (dance 
standing up with paddles) and the Otuhaka (song, with 
gestures). Since the inculcation of English h}min- 
singing a third form, known as the LaiaUaka, which 
is music composed by Tongans on the European model, 
has been introduced, and of this the Tongans are 
inordinately fond. Fortunately the taste of the older 
chiefs and the influence of the French missionaries have 
been strong enough to preserve the old forms intact, 
and both the M^e-ti^u-baki and the Otuhaka are given 
on ceremonial occasions, though their ultimate decay is 
certain. 

The specimens of Polynesian music that have found 
their way into the text-books are, from Mariner down- 
ward, nearly all inaccurate. Written down by un- 
trained musicians, they have afterwards been *' faked " 
to bring them into line with our notation, and (infamy 
of infamies) harmonised! The visit of a composer 

218 



THE POET PHINEAS 219 

with time on his hands and a .patient determination to 
record the native music faithfully, at any sacrifice of 
time and temper, was an opportunity not to be neg- 
lected. Soon after our arrival, therefore, we paid a visit 
to Mua, where the old music is most cultivated, and 
invited the people to entertain us with the Lakalaka^ 
for we had naval officers with us, and the Otuhaka is 
strong meat for the uninitiated. At the close of the 
performance I sent for the leader, Finease (which is 
Phineas), and unfolded my proposal, which was that, 
for value to be received, he and a select band of musi- 
cians of the old school should come to Nukualofa 
and sing without ceasing until they had yielded up 
their treasures to the paper. Plainly they thought it 
a fatuous proceeding, but they consented lightly, not 
knowing what lay before them. 

Three mornings later we were at work in the huge 
wooden shed which serves Dr. Maclennan as operating- 
room and hospital. At the further end lay two patients 
who had undergone serious operations on the previous 
afternoon ; what they thought of our proceedings I do 
not know, but I could make a shrewd guess from the 
expression of the old ladies who were nursing them. 
Amherst Webber sat at a deal table littered with music- 
paper, with Phineas and three middle-aged ladies, all 
noted singers, sitting in a row on the floor before him. 
He wore a harassed air, for it soon transpired that the 
ladies, thinking that they knew better than he did what 
he wanted, were bent on running through their r^ertoire 
without encore. When I explained that they would 
have to sing each phrase, not twice, but perhaps forty 
times over, they were at first amused and afterwards 
distinctly bored Webber found it impossible to take 



220 TONGAN MUSIC 

the music down phrase by phrase, because they were 
incapable of picking up the melody where they had left 
it ; the only way was to make them begin each time at 
the b^inning, and carry the score a few notes further 
with every repetition. Moreover, it was discovered that 
Phineas seldom sang the same phrase in exactly the 
same notes, for the melody is overlaid with innumerable 
turns and ornaments at the will of the singer, and these 
are impossible to represent in our notation. Two hours 
at a time being as much as writer or singer could stand 
with safety, the work took several days, but, thanks to 
the good sense of Phineas and the patience of Webber, 
a valuable collection was ultimately made. For the 
notes I am, of course, indebted to Amherst Webber. 

I. THE " ME'E-TU'U-BAKL" 

A good drawing of this dance is to be found in 
CooKs Voyagesy and, as Mariner also has described it, I 
need say no more than that it is performed by men, 
drawn up in one line or two, who perform certain slow 
and stately evolutions, accompanying the music by 
twirling a light wooden instrument carved in the shape 
of a paddle. The rhythm is set by three large wooden 
drums, and a number of men sitting round them sing 
the words, which consist generally of a single phrase, 
endlessly reiterated. Unlike the Otuhaka^ the ^Me'e- 
MU'baki is not contrapuntal, and, though a number of 
voices maintain one note while the others sing the 
melody, it may be said to be sung in unison. To the 
European ear, despite its marked character, it is inde- 
scribably monotonous, for the words have no meaning, 
and the phrase is repeated for twenty minutes at a 



THE DANCE CAPTAIN COOK SAW 221 

stretch, without any variation except an occasional 
crescendo. The native, however, regarding it as a 
mere accompaniment, concentrates his attention on 
the dance, which, though also monotonous to our eyes, 
is full of ancient grace and dignity to his. 

MEE-TUU-BAKI. 




2. THE "OTUHAKA." 

Though it may be performed standing, the singers of 
the Oiuhaka generally sit in a single line, loaded with 
garlands and anointed with scented oil. The feature 
of the performance is the haka^ or gesture-dance, for 
though the performers may be sitting, it is still a dance. 



222 TONGAN MUSIC 

Heady eyes, arms, fingers, knees, and even toes all have 
their part, and the precision of the gestures is extra- 
ordinary. The talent may be said to be bom in every 
Tongan, for you may see little mites of eight years old 
shyly take their places at the end of the row and acquit 
themselves without a slip. The Otuhaka opens with 
a lon^ and threatening solo on the drum, consisting of 
the same bar insistently repeated. After thirty bars 
or so the gesture dance begins in silence to the same 
monotonous accompaniment, until at last, when you 
have almost given up hope of anything more, the 
leader bursts into song, the rhythm of the drum never 
varying until it quickens up towards the end. All the 
performers sing ; the leader takes the melody, and the 
chorus the second part, for the Otuhaka^ which are 
generally of the same form, are always in two parts, 
and usually in rough canon. Here, too, there is an 
interminable repetition of the same theme until the 
leader gives the signal for a change by striking a higher 
note, and then the gestures change, the time quickens, 
and the chorus breaks into the tali^ or coda, ending with 
a long-drawn note and a sudden dropping of the voice 
down the scale, like an organ when the bellows give 
out. The time is generally common or two-four, but 
in one of the examples given below the time is three- 
eight. 

In reading these examples it is to be remembered 
that the leader loads his melody with turns and grace 
notes which are never quite the same, and which are 
impossible to write down, and further, that the final 
note always ends with the peculiar groan which I have 
described. 



OTUHAKA (1) 




[e no-nuoi toogi . a 



^^ 



tongi e a scuiu- 



DmHL 




Meatus. 



IE: 





f-a toflg^-irrr. 
He fio-nu-a tocfjfi ^ a 







He no-iia.a tongi-i a 



jlJ-Jj J 1-;:; ^ 



toog'.i..e a no.na* 




- a tong-irrrT 
He no.niua tong.i 







He no-nia-a tong*.! a 



tosg • i e a 



OTUHAKA (2) Kbe Kolo Kakala. 





THE TONGAN SCALE 



225 



OTtJHAKA in three-eig^ time. 




From these examples it will be seen that the old 
Tongan scale is limited to the following notes : — 



$ 



3a: 



3Z 




In the absence of any indication of the chord, it 
would be incorrect to speak of tonic or dominant, but 
if we assume the key to be C minor, we may say that 
the Tongans have no fifth, nor leading note, and that they 
are not enamoured of the fourth. It is not that any of 
these intervals are abhorrent, for, as we shall presently 
see, they have taken very kindly to our notation in the 
Lakalaia, where a progression of consecutive fifths seems 
to afford them peculiar delight The character of their 
music is contrapuntal and not harmonic, though in their 
church music they are intensely fond of the full chord. 
The intonation in singing is very nasal, and though the 
men were easily taught to correct this fault in singing 
European music, the women are incorrigible. The ex- 
Q 



226 TONGAN MUSIC 

planation offered to me by a native lady was that open- 
ing the mouth wide while singing swelled a disfiguring^ 
vein in the throat, but I suspect the real reason to be 
that which prompts them to conceal a yawn behind the 
hand — namely, that it is indelicate to expose the inside 
of the mouth to public gaze. 

3. THE "LAKALAKA." 

The only interesting feature in the Lakalaka lies in 
the fact that it is music composed by natives under the 
influence of European music. It shows little talent or 
invention, and its more ambitious melodies and crude 
harmonies, however spirited the performance, pall quite 
as quickly as the Otuhaka, which has at least a weird 
and striking character of its own. The composer of the 
Lakalaka is at once poet and dancing-master as well as 
composer. When the afflatus is upon him he retires to 
the bush, and returns with words, music, and appro- 
priate gestures complete in his head, and an hour's 
practice suffices to make all the boys and girls in his 
village perfect in their parts. Finease Fuji was one of 
these, and his reputation ensured a public performance 
to all his compositions. Those that become popular 
may endure for many years. Langa faU kakala (build 
a house of flowers), for example, which is given below, 
is as popular a favourite now as it was when I was in 
Mua in 1886. The themes are boating songs, odes to 
Nature and to flowers, or laments, but never love-songs. 
I remember one very pathetic lamentation of a poet 
named Tubou, whose theme was a term of six months' 
hard labour awarded him for flirting; it attained im- 
mense popularity on accoimt of its pathos ; indeed, I 
think that the pathetic LakcUaka are the most enduring. 
Love-songs are called sipiy and they are never sung in 



A MUSICAL PEOPLE 227 

public, being rather in the nature of sonnets to my 
lady's eyebrow. 

Like the Otuhaka^ the Lakalaka is in two parts, 
though the voices may divide into four parts in the 
final chord. They are contrapuntal in form as well as 
harmonic, and they are accompanied with the same 
kind of gesture dance as the Otuhaka. The singers 
may either sit or stand in one or two rows ; if they 
stand, the men go through a sort of dance, while the 
women move their heads and arms without changing 
their position. The difference between the two forms 
lies in the scale, for the Lakalaka makes use of our 
scale both major and minor, with the exception of the 
leading note, which is generally omitted ; the melody is 
more sustained, and, no drum being used in accompani- 
ment, the rhythm is less marked. 

The European music which have been the foundation 
of the Lcikalaka are Wesleyan hymns, military band 
marches, and Mozart's Twelfth Mass, which is very 
well done by the students of the Wesleyan College. 
Most of the educated natives can read very well in the 
tonic sol-fa notation, and they have now begun to 
compose a kind of choral anthem for themselves, which 
is very much like the Lakalaka without the gestures. 
They show a great aptitude for keeping their parts, 
even in complicated counterpoint That they have a 
strong natural turn for music is certain ; it is the ex- 
ception to find a native without a voice and a correct 
ear, and if they lack originality themselves, they have 
at least a very quick appreciation. I have described 
elsewhere* how the Grand March from Tannhauser 
took them by storm when it was first performed, albeit 
imperfectly, by the king's band. 

* The Divirsions pfa Prime AHmsUr, 



All€gro. 



LAKALAKA. 

by nMlASI Fmi of MH^ 





INDEX 



Abduction, io8 

Adultery, the punishment for, 

105 
Aitutald, 90 

— teachers, 73 

Alofi, 63, 69, 82, 93, 113, IIS, 
147 ; arrival at, 6, 10 ; the 
cottages of, 14; church of, 
1^9 35 > ^ council at, 23 et seq,j 
types of physiognomy at, 88 

Amosa, the Samoan teacher, 77 

Apia, 4 

Architecture, native, 16-18 

Asibeli Kubu, 160 

Ata, 201, 202 

— family, the, death portent of, 
197, 201 

Atati, the islet of^ 152 
Avatele, 72, 77, 147 ; the people 

o( 89, 90; the headman of^ 

122 
Aylen, Captain, 190, 191 

Baker, Shirley Waldemar, 160 
etseq.^ 167, 168, 175, 181, 183, 
200, 216 

Bea, 194, 195 

Beauty, the Tongan ideal of, 203 

Bell, Mr., 67 



Blue-jackets, the political in- 
fluence wielded by, 124 
" Broom Road," the, 106 
Bubonic plague, 1 14 
Burial customs, 50, 51 

Calliope^ H.M.S., 190 
Camden^ the, 75 

Camping and Tramping in Ma- 
layoy H. Rathbone's, 100 (foot- 
note) 
Cannibalism, 102 
Catacombs, ancient, 51 
Cator, Captain, 80 
Celt, a curious stone, 216 
Chincha Islands, the, 81 
Circumcision, the practice of, 92 
Cloudy Bay, a native fight in, 

131 

Cook, Captain, 127, 130; land- 
ing of, in Niud, 69, 70 ; a relic 
of, 150, 205 ; native traditions 
of his visit to Tonga, 206 

CooJl^s Voyages^ 220 

Copra, trade in, $6etseq,j manu- 
^cture of, 58, 61 ; price of^ 61 ; 
use of, 62 

Crawshaw, Captain, 211 

Crime, an unknown, 113 



Q2 



229 



230 



INDEX 



Crime and its punishment, 103 

et seq. 
Crook, Mr., 75 
Cruise of H.MS. ''Fawn,'* The, 

80 (footnote) 
Custom, a unique, 92 

Dance, a native, 119, 120 
Disease, native fear of^ 75, 76 ; 

introduced by whalers, 78 
Diseases of the natives, 133 et 

seq, 
" Dongai,'' 100 
Duel, a mimic, 121 
Duff, the, 75. 105 
Dunedin, the Bishop o^ 162 

Earth, tradition of the peopling 

of the, 84 
Eaves-dropping, 208 
Elephantiasis, cases of, 176 
English, Mr., 131 
Entertainment, a native, 117 

et seq, 
Erskine, Captain, visit of, to 

Niud, 77 
European merchants, 209 
Evil spirits, belief in, 99 

Fakafolau, the practice of, 102 

Falcon Island, 183 

Fao, 86, 87 

Fataaki, King, 2, 3, 35, 36 (foot- 
note) 

Fatafehi, 157, 168, 171, 182, 189, 
214, 216 

— family, death portent of, 197 

Favourite, H.M.S., 194, 195 

Fawn, H.M.S., 80 






Feletoa, fortress, 191, 193 
Fiji, 94, 100; the Mathuata 
province in, 95 ; medical 
officers in, 98; warriors of, 
131 ; concubitancy in, 135 ; 
land tenure in, 138 
Fijian architecture, 16, 17 
Finau, George, 185, 190, 191 
— Ulukalala, 189, 191-3 
Flies, swarms of, 140 
Flood, Mr., 50 ; his store, 55 
Fono,the,37, 1 11, 112 
Fomander, 91 

French missionaries, the in- 
fluence of, 218 
Fujipala, 182 
Futuna, 21, 22 

Galiaga, King, 36 (footnote) 
George Tubou I., King, I44» ^1% 

216 
George Tubou XL, King, 158 
German plantations in Samoa, 

3.81 
Germans in Tonga, the, 1 53, i ^^% 

173 
Gilbert Islands, 90 

Gill, Mr., 90 

Godefroy and Sons, 57 

Goodenough, Commodore, 35 

Graves. See Burial customs 

Grey, Sir George, 84 

Grice Sumner, Messrs., 81 

Haapai, 212; population of, 179 

(fbotnote) 
Hakupu, the headman of, 133 
Havannak, H.M.S., 77 



INDEX 



231 



Hawaii, 152, 155; the Queen of, 

and Tonga, 174 
Hawaiian history, 91 
Hayes, " Bully," 57, 79, 81-3 
Head, R. H., 38, 57, 63, 64, 66, 

8i-3> i33i J 35 ; family of, 67 

•— Mrs., 68 

Hihifo, flying foxes at, 196 ; Cap- 
tain Cook's visit to, 206 

Home, Captain Sir J. Everard, 
190 

Honolulu, the Bishop of, 162 
Hood, Lieut. T. H., his visit to 

Niu^, 65, 80 
Hornets, 198 
Huanaki, 86, 87 
Hunga Cave, the, 190, 191 

Infanticide, 102 
Influenza, prevalence of^ 75 
Isabel^ the, 65 

John Wiliiamsy the, 75 
Jurisdiction over foreigners, 173 
Justice, native, 103 et seg,^ 107 
Kaiser, the first, a portrait of, 

174 
Kanakubolu, 196 
Kau-ulu-fonua, 20-2, 69 
Kava, the use of, 95, 97 

— plant, the, cultivation of, 95 
Kolovai, 200 

— family, the, death portent o^ 
197 

KopegOy the, 104 
Kubu, 168, 171, 202 

Labour trade, the, 81 
Land tenure, 136 et stq. 



Langa'iki, the deity, 93 
Lavinia, the princess, 20, 159 
Lawes, Frank, 9, ip, 19, 23-28, 

30, 31, 53, 54, 67, 93. 97, 103, 
109-12, 118, 121, 122, 135, 

141, 143, 147 

— Mrs., 28 ; bounty of, 145, 146 

— Rev. W. G., 71, 79 
Lizard, the, sanctity of, 93, 98 
Lomaloma, 97 

.London Missionary Society, the, 
9, 13, 60; the house oi^ 12, 
13; influence of, 51, 52, 59, 
141 ; the penal code of, 105 

Macgregor, Sir William, 216 
(footnote) 

Maclennan, Dr. Donald, 155, 
156, 175, 177, 213 

Maealiuaki, William, 178 

Mafiiike, 87 

Maiden Island, 81 

Malofafa, 20 

Mangaia, 90 

Maria Bay, 196 

Mariner, William, 190^ 191 (foot- 
note), 193, 218, 220 

Marshall, H. J., R.N., 190 

Martin, John, M.D., 191 (foot- 
note), 193 

Matapulega, the rite of, 92 

Mateialona, 212 

Mau'i, the deity, 84-6, 88 

Measles, an epidemic of, 180 

Messenger of Peace^ the, 71 

Milduray H.M.S., 11 (footnote^ 

147 
Mua, 196, 219 

Murder, the punishment for, 104 



232 



INDEX 



Native beliefs, 94 tt seq, ; cus- 
toms, 50, 51, 92, 95, 133 etseq,; 
mythology, 84; superstitions, 
51,52 ; justice, 103 et seg.^ 107; 
entertainment, 1 17 «/ seq. 

Neiafii, the port of, 172, 184 

New Zealand, annexation of 
Niu^ to, 45, 147 ; and her de- 
pendencies, 149 

Niu^-Fekai, letter from chiefe of, 
to Queen Victoria, i ; the in- 
habitants of, 3, II ; native 
politics in, 9 ; the architecture 
of, 15-18 ; the church in, 16 ; 
a tradition of the invasion of, 
20 et seq, J the language o^ 
28; institutions of, 34; sove- 
reignty in, 37, 38 ; annexation 
of, to New Zealand, 45, 147 ; 
burial customs in, 50, 51 ; 
superstition in, 51, 52; traders 
in, 56 et seq,; cocoanut plant- 
ations in, 57, 58; A set of stocks 
in, 65 ; influence of Samoan 
teachers in, 77; anchorages of, 
79 (footnote) ; mythology of, 
84 ; meaning of the name, 88 ; 
origin of the people of, 89 et 
seq,; tattooing in, 92; a unique 
custom in, 92 ; beliefs in, 94 ; 
infanticide in, 102 ; the tri- 
bunals of, 103 et seq,; the 
warriors of, 127, 130, 131 ; 
want of dignity in the natives 
of, 129; earth-hunger in, 138 

Niuafoou, population of^ 179 
(footnote) 

Niuatobutabu, population of, 179 
(footnote) 



Nukualofe, 145, 155, 158, 159, 
163, 164, 194, 198, 201, 211 ; 
plague dL hornets at, 199, 200 

Ofa, Princess, 159, 164; joins 
the Church of England, 162, 
163 

Pacific Islands, the, federation 

of, 146 
Pacific Islands Co., the, 55, 137 
Pakieto, ICing, 36 (footnote) 
Patterson, H.W., 57 
Patuavalu, King, 36 (footnote) 
Paula, the Samoan teacher, 77 
Penal code, a, iia, 113, 178 
Penalties for crimes, 108 
Peniamina Nukai, 75, 78 
Petitions fh>m the natives, 206, 

207 
Polynesian chiefs, 170, 175 
— music, 218 
Polynesians, the, 3, 165 ; dignity 

of, 129 
Population returns, 179 
Porpoise^ H.M.S., 4, 33, 117, 123, 

146, 184, 215, 216; a royal 

visit to, 46, 171 
Port-au-Prince^ the, 192 
Pratt, Rev. G., 79 
Priesthood, the, 95 
Protectorates, 41 ^/ seq, 
Pulangi Tau, the, 103, 104 
Punimata, King, 36 (footnote) 
Pylstaart Island, 91 

Quarantine regulations, 1 13, 1 15 

Ranfurly, Lord, 1 1 (footnote), 147 
Rarotonga, 74, 105 



INDEX 



233 



Rathbone> H., 100 

Ravenhill, Captain, 23, 39, 46^ 

48, 123 
Relationships, 136 
Resolution^ the, 206 
Review of Reviews^ The^ 210 
Ross, Captain, 65 

Sakaio, the Samoan teacher, 77 
Samoa, 152; Gennan planta- 
tions in, 3, 81 ; visit <^ John 
Williams to, 74; mission 
school in, 74, 75, 77 
'' Samoa Convention, 1899," the, 

4, 173 
Samoan teachers, the, ^^^ 92, 

'OS. 133 in 

Samuela, the Samoan teacher, 
Sateki, 158, 164, 169, 209, 210 
Savage Island. See Niu^ 
Seddon, R. J., 146 
Spearman, Lieutenant, 70 
Spells, the working of, 98 
Stanmore, Lord, 66 
Stone of power, the, 35 
Suicide, 109 

Superstition, prevalence of, 51, 
197, 201 

Tahiti, 105 

Takalaua, King, 20 

Talanga, 87 [197 

Talaiala hinoy th^ flowers of^ 

Tamajia, 20 

Tangaloa, the deity, 84 [IL 

Taufa'ahau. See George Tubou 

TauramgOj H.M.S., 124 

Tauvu, 94 

Taxes, 29 



Tepd,89 
Theft, 109 
Toeumu, 191 

Tonga, 91, I S3, I5S, 172; the 
protectorate over, 4, 172, 174, 
215, 216; taxes paid by lab- 
ourers in, 29; the Free Church 
of, 161 ; the army of, 167 ; the 
Queen of, 175 ; the European 
colony of, 180 

Tongan castaways, a colony of, 

— families, death portents of, 
197 

— music. Appendix 
Tongans, the, 173, 189; cave of, 

14, 18, 19; burial customs of, 
51, 52; energy of, in copra- 
making, 59; practice of tattoo- 
ing amongst, 91 ; regard of, 
for the English, 124 ei seq,; 
their ignorance of surgery, 
176; their ideal of female 
beauty, 203 

Tongatabu, 1 52 ; population o^ 
179 (footnote) 

Tongia, King, 34, 35 (footnote), 
36-9, 113, 116, 128, 137, 148; 
his daughter, 83 ; letter from, 
to Queen Victoria, 151 

Totemism, 93 

Traders, 56 et seq. 

Treaty, the signing of a, 30, 172 
etseq,; 214 

Tuapa, 9, 10, 35 (footnote), 36, 
54» 55> 63, 134 ; cave near, 65 ; 
the road to, 49; the King's 
palace in, 54 

Tui Belehake. See Fatafehi 



234 



INDEX 



Tui Kanakubolu, death portent 
of the, 197 

— Tonga, the, 88 

Tuitonga, King, 2, 35, 36 (foot- 
note) 

Tukuaho, 154, I57i 158, 163 
Tungi, 154, 163, 195, 212, 213 
Turner, Dr., 75-7, 96, 106 
ThUunekaiy the, 146 
Ugliness, the cult of, 129 
Unga, 188 
Utulei Point, 184 

Vavau, 172, 182 et seq.; the 
native church o( 16, 18 ; the 
German coaling-station at, 
186, 187 



Victoria, Queen, letter to, Inxn 
native chiefs, i; from King 
Tongia, 151 ; a portrait o^ 23, 
28 ; autograph letters for, 1 50 ; 
presents from the King of 
Tonga, 167 

Webber, Mr. Amherst, 25, 203, 

213, 214, 219, 220 
Wesleyan missionaries, 59 
Whalers, 78 

Williams, John, 71-6, 127 
Witchcraft, belief in, 96, 97 
Women doctors, 135 
Woodlark Island, 2 16 (footnote) 



PLYMOUTH 
WILUAM BUUfOOM AMD SON, PaiNTBKS 



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