John Rutherford, the White Chief, by George Lillie Craik, et al, Edited by James Drummond
THE WHITE CHIEF.
A Story of Adventure in New Zealand.
JAMES DRUMMOND, F.L.S., F.Z.S.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.John Rutherford
A Maori's shoulder mat
Short striking weapons (clubs) used by the Maoris
Kororareka Beach, in the Bay of Islands, where some of Rutherford's adventures are supposed to have taken place
A door-lintel, showing Maori carving
"Moko" on a man's face and on a woman's lips and chin
Two Maori Chiefs—Te Puni, or "Greedy," and Wharepouri, or "Dark House"
Scene in a New Zealand Forest
Flute of bone
Stone implements used by Maoris for cutting hair
Greenstone axes, with carved wooden bandies, and ornamented with dogs' hair and birds' feathers
Long striking and thrusting weapons used by the Maoris
A Maori war-canoe
John Rutherford. From an original drawing taken in 1828.
Eighty years ago, when the story told in these pages was first published, "forecastle yarns" were more thrilling than they are now. In these days we look for information in regard to a new land's capabilities for pastoral, agricultural, and commercial pursuits; in those days it was customary, with a large portion of the British public, at any rate, to expect sailors to tell storiesOf the cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders,
and to relate other particulars likely to arrest the attention and excite the imagination. Men then sailed to unknown lands, peopled by unknown barbarians, and their adventures in strange and mysterious countries were clothed in a romance which has been almost completely dispelled by the telegraph, the newspaper press, cheap books, and rapid transit, and by the utilitarian ideas which have swept over the world.
It was largely to meet the public taste for something wonderful and striking that John Rutherford's story of adventures in New Zealand saw the light of publicity. In fairness to the original editor and the publisher, however, it should be stated that the story was given also as a means of supplying interesting information in regard to a country and a race of which very little was then known. It was embodied in a book of 400 pages, entitled "The New Zealanders," published in 1830, for the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, by the famous publisher, Charles Knight.
He was a versatile, talented, and ambitious man; but all his ambitions ran in the direction of the public good. From the time of his early manhood, he wished to become a public instructor. At first he tried to achieve his end by means of journalism, which he entered in 1812, by reporting Parliamentary debates for "The Globe" and "The British Press," two London journals. Later on he started a publishing business in London. Dealing only with instructive subjects, he established "Knight's Quarterly Magazine," and other periodicals, to which he was one of the prominent contributors.
He was not a business man, and in 1828 he was overwhelmed by financial difficulties. In the meantime he had become acquainted with the brilliant but erratic Lord Brougham, who had completed arrangements for putting into operation one of his great enterprises for educating the masses. This was the establishment of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It began a series of publications under the title of "The Library of Entertaining Knowledge," which Knight published. The first volume, written by Knight himself, was "The Menageries"; the second was "The New Zealanders." Other publications were issued by the society until it was dissolved in 1846. Knight continued to send works out of the press nearly to the end of his useful life, in March, 1873. Some of these were written by himself, some by friends, and some were translations. His "Penny Magazine," at the end of its first year, had a sale of 200,000 copies. Amongst his other publications are Lane's "Arabian Nights," "The Pictorial Bible," "The Pictorial History of England," and—the object of his highest ambition—"The Pictorial Shakespeare." In "Passages of a Working Life," he wrote his own biography. In spite of his strenuous life he died a poor man. He was an enthusiast, but his impetuous nature induced him to attempt to carry out his schemes before they had matured. He had a quick temper and an eloquent tongue. The esteem in which he was held by his friends is shown by the admirable jest with which Douglas Jerrold took leave of him one evening at a social gathering. "Good Knight," Jerrold said.
The "New Zealanders" was published anonymously, and for many years the authorship was attributed to Lord Brougham. There is no doubt now, however, that the author was George Lillie Craik, a scholar and a man of letters. He was born at Kennoway, Fife, in 1798. He studied at St. Andrew's, and went through a divinity course, but never applied to be licensed as a preacher. Like Knight, he was attracted by journalism, which he regarded as a means of instructing the public. When he was only twenty years of age he was editor of "The Star," a local newspaper. In London he adopted authorship as a profession. In 1849, he was appointed Professor of English Literature and History at the Queen's College, Belfast, and later on, although he still resided at Belfast, he became examiner for the Indian Civil Service. All his literary work is distinguished by careful research. Perhaps his best effort is represented by "The Pursuit of Knowledge Under Difficulties," published in the same year as "The New Zealanders." With a colleague he edited "The Pictorial History of England," in four volumes. Amongst his other works are "A Romance of the Peerage," "Spencer and his Poetry," "A History of Commerce," "The English of Shakespeare," and "Bacon, his Writings and Philosophy." He had a flowing and cultured style, and he embellished his work with many references to the classics. He was one of the best read men of his time. His extensive reading and the simplicity of his style made him a very welcome contributor to the "Penny Magazine," the "Penny Cyclopædia," and other popular publications. He had a paralytic stroke while lecturing in Belfast in February, 1866, and he died in June of the same year. It is said of him that he was popular with students and welcome in society.
It is not known if Craik met Rutherford. He probably did not. He may have had "The New Zealanders" partly written when the manuscript describing Rutherford's adventures was placed in his hands. In that case, he wove it into his book, using it as a means of illustrating his remarks on the Maoris' customs. His work bears the stamp of honesty and industrious care. He collected all the information dealing with New Zealand available at the time, and he produced a fairly large book, which, for many years after it was published, must have been a valuable contribution to the public's store of "entertaining knowledge."
Rutherford, as his narrative shows, was ten years amongst the Maoris. He was an ignorant sailor. He could not write, and the account of his adventures, it is explained, was dictated to a friend while he was on the voyage back to England. Craik says that if allowance is made for some grammatical solecisms, the story, as it appeared in the manuscript, was told with great clearness, and sometimes with considerable spirit. Knight evidently knew him, as it is stated in "The New Zealanders" that "the publisher of this volume had many conversations with him when he was exhibited in London." It is probable, too, that Brougham knew him. Brougham, indeed, may have "discovered" him and introduced him to Knight. Rutherford was just the kind of man in whose company Brougham delighted to spend hours. He would listen to the recital of the thrilling adventures with the Maoris with breathless interest. A story told of the madcap days of Brougham's youth gives some idea of the welcome he would extend to Rutherford. One evening, after Brougham and some other gay spirits had supped together in London, they saw a mob of idle scoundrels beating an unfortunate woman with brutal ferocity. The young fellows went to her rescue. Their interference increased the tumult, and all the watchmen in the neighbourhood were soon about their ears. In return for their chivalry they were lodged in the watch-house. Amongst their fellow-prisoners there was an old sailor, who sat cowering over the embers of the fire. He had been in the American War. Brougham picked up an acquaintance with him, and all night long the young man held the old one in conversation, ascertaining the strength of the forces in the engagements, the scenes of the battles, the nature of the manoeuvres, the advances and reverses, and so on, until his avariciousness for knowledge was satisfied.
Neither Brougham nor Knight, nor even Craik, had sufficient means of testing the accuracy of Rutherford's story. Unfortunately there are many points on which the narrative is not only inaccurate but misleading. Craik concludes that Poverty Bay, where Cook first landed in New Zealand, is the scene of the capture of the "Agnes." Rutherford, however, gives the name as "Tokomardo." This corresponds with a bay some miles further north, and about forty miles from the East Cape. The Maoris call it Tokomaru, which Rutherford evidently intended. His description of the place might represent Tokomaru almost as well as Poverty Bay. The strangest part of the affair, however, is that the Maoris on that coast have no knowledge whatever of the "Agnes," the vessel which, according to Rutherford, was captured in the bay he describes. Eighty years ago the arrival of a vessel at New Zealand was an advent of the utmost importance. The news spread throughout the land with surprising rapidity, and whole tribes flocked to the port to see the "Pakehas" and trade for their iron implements and guns. The Maoris of the district know of three white men, whom they called Riki, Punga, and Tapore, who lived amongst them for some time in the early days, before colonization began; but they have no knowledge of Rutherford. The chiefs to whom Rutherford frequently refers did not belong to that district. The chief who takes the principal part in the story, "Aimy," cannot be traced. The name is spelt wrongly, and it is difficult to supply a Maori name that the spelling in the book might represent. This is surprising, as the Maoris are very careful in regard to their genealogical records.[A] While Rutherford was in New Zealand some terrible slaughters took place in the Poverty Bay district, but he does not refer to these, although they must have been one of the principal subjects of conversation amongst the Maoris for months, perhaps years.
Near the end of the narrative, Rutherford gives an account of a great battle, in which the chief Hongi was a prominent figure. His description of what took place is incorrect in several respects. Victory went to Hongi, not, as Rutherford says, to the people of Kaipara and their allies, although they were victorious in the first skirmish. The battle is known as Te Ika-a-rangi-nui, that is the Great Fish of the Sky or the Milky Way, and it took place in February, 1825. As Rutherford states, Hongi was present, and wore the famous coat of mail armour which had been given to him by His Majesty King George IV. when he was in England in 1820. The strife was caused not by an attempt to steal Hongi's armour, as Rutherford suggests, but by a thirst for revenge for the death of a chief of the Nga-Puhi tribe, to which Hongi belonged. The chief Whare-umu, evidently identical with "Ewarree-hum" in Rutherford's narrative, did not belong to the party that Rutherford was connected with; he was related to the man whose murder was avenged, and seems to have been Hongi's first lieutenant. Some authorities, notably Bishop Williams, of Waiapu,[B] and Mr. Percy Smith,[C] believe that Rutherford was not present at the battle, and that he obtained all his information from others. Bishop Williams, who knows the Poverty Bay district as well as anyone, has come to the conclusion that Rutherford must have spent his years in New Zealand in the Bay of Islands district; and Mr Percy Smith, in a letter to me, says that he has always entertained the idea that Rutherford was one of the men taken when the schooner "Brothers" was attacked at Kennedy Bay in 1815. Bishop Williams sets up the theory that Rutherford was a deserter from a vessel which visited New Zealand, that he induced the Maoris to tattoo him in order that he might escape detection after he had returned to civilization, and that he concocted the story of the capture of the "Agnes" to account for his reappearance amongst Europeans. The weakness of this theory is that he evidently did not object to publicity, and that the tattooing would make him a conspicuous man who could not avoid public attention. If Bishop Williams is right in assuming that Rutherford wished to escape detection, he took the very best course to defeat his object.
Whatever Rutherford's object may have been, and whether he deceived the author and publisher of "The New Zealanders," or merely erred through ignorance and lack of observation, there is no doubt that he spent some years with the Maoris in the northern part of New Zealand. His tattooed face is sufficient evidence of that. The pattern is the Maori "moko." The tattooing on his breast, stomach, and arms, however, is not the work of Maoris; that was done, probably, by natives at some of the islands, or by sailors. I hardly think that those who read the narrative will agree with Bishop Williams's opinion that it is "a mere romance." It is more like the story of an ignorant, unobservant, careless sailor, who entertained no idea that any importance would be attached to his statements. Many mistakes were probably made in the work of dictating the narrative to a fellow-sailor. If Rutherford had been bent upon making a romantic story, he would have told it in a different form. There is no straining after effect in the manuscript reproduced by Craik. The faults are inaccuracies, not exaggerations. Some excuse may be found for Rutherford's mistakes in the description of the battle Te Ika-a-rangi-nui in the fact that modern Maori scholars cannot agree on important details, there being differences of opinion in regard to even the year in which the battle was fought.
A Maori's shoulder mat. Christchurch Museum.
It is felt that, with all its blemishes, the story has a good claim to be included in the list of New Zealand works that are now being reprinted by Messrs. Whitcombe and Tombs, to whom the people of New Zealand are deeply indebted. When Mr. Whitcombe first asked me to edit Rutherford's story for his firm, I proposed to take it alone, leaving out all the rest of Craik's work in "The New Zealanders." On reading the book again I came to the conclusion that many of Craik's remarks, although discursive at times, are sufficiently interesting to be read now, and I have included in the reprint a large portion of his original writings. I have retained his spelling of Maori words, but have made many corrections in footnotes. The book is not sent out as an authentic account of the Maoris. "The New Zealanders" was the first book that attempted to deal with them, and it has been superseded by many which have been written in the light of more extensive knowledge, and in them students will find results of much patient study and research.
February 13th, 1908.
At my request, Mr. S. Percy Smith, the author of "Hawaiki, the Original Home of the Maori," endeavoured to trace "Aimy," but even his extensive knowledge of the Maori language and tribal histories failed to bring that man to light. Mr. Smith explains that "Ai" in Rutherford's spelling represents "E," a vocative, in the accepted method of spelling, and "my" represents "mai." The two words, combined, would be "E Mai." In this way, "Mai's" attention would be called. But "Mai" may be the first, second, or third syllable of a man's name, according to euphony. The name supplied in the narrative, therefore, is no guide in a search for Rutherford's friendly chief.
Transactions New Zealand Institute, volume xxiii., page 453.
"Journal of the Polynesian Society," volume x., page 35.
THE WHITE CHIEF.
John Rutherford, according to his own account, was born at Manchester about the year 1796. He went to sea, he states, when he was hardly more than ten years of age, having up to that time been employed as a piecer in a cotton factory in his native town; and after that he appears to have been but little in England, or even on shore, for many years.
He served for a considerable time on board a man-of-war off the coast of Brazil; and was afterwards at the storming of San Sebastian, in August, 1813. On coming home from Spain, he entered himself on board another king's ship, bound for Madras, in which he afterwards proceeded to China by the east passage, and lay for about a year at Macao.
In the course of this voyage his ship touched at several islands in the great Indian Archipelago, among others at the Bashee Islands,[D] which have been rarely visited. On his return from the east he embarked on board a convict vessel bound for New South Wales; and afterwards made two trading voyages among the islands of the South Sea.
It was in the course of the former of these that he first saw New Zealand, the vessel having touched at the Bay of Islands, on her way home to Port Jackson.
His second trading voyage in those seas was made in the "Magnet," a three-masted schooner, commanded by Captain Vine; but this vessel having put in at Owhyhee,[E] Rutherford fell sick and was left on that island. Having recovered, however, in about a fortnight, he was taken on board the "Agnes," an American brig of six guns and fourteen men, commanded by Captain Coffin, which was then engaged in trading for pearl and tortoiseshell among the islands of the Pacific.
This vessel, after having touched at various other places, on her return from Owhyhee, approached the east coast of New Zealand, intending to put in for refreshments at the Bay of Islands.
Rutherford states in his journal that this event, which was to him of such importance, occurred on March 6th, 1816. They first came in sight of the Barrier Islands, some distance to the south of the port for which they were making. They accordingly directed their course to the north; but they had not got far on their way when it began to blow a gale from the north-east, which, being aided by a current, not only made it impossible for them to proceed to the Bay of Islands, but even carried them past the mouth of the Thames. It lasted for five days, and when it abated they found themselves some distance to the south of a high point of land, which, from Rutherford's description, there can be no doubt must have been that to which Captain Cook gave the name of East Cape. Rutherford calls it sometimes the East, and sometimes the South-East Cape, and describes it as the highest part of the coast. It lies nearly in latitude 37° 42' S.
The land directly opposite to them was indented by a large bay. This the captain was very unwilling to enter, believing that no ship had ever anchored in it before. We have little doubt, however, that this was the very bay into which Cook first put, on his arrival on the coasts of New Zealand, in the beginning of October, 1769. He called it Poverty Bay, and found it to lie in latitude 38° 42' S. The bay in which Rutherford now was must have been at least very near this part of the coast; and his description answers exactly to that which Cook gives of Poverty Bay.
It was, says Rutherford, in the form of a half-moon, with a sandy beach round it, and at its head a fresh-water river, having a bar across its mouth, which makes it navigable only for boats. He mentions also the height of the land which forms its sides. All these particulars are noticed by Cook. Even the name given to it by the natives, as reported by the one, is not so entirely unlike that stated by the other, as to make it quite improbable that the two are merely the same word differently misrepresented. Cook writes it Taoneroa, and Rutherford Takomardo. The slightest examination of the vocabularies of barbarous tongues, which have been collected by voyagers and travellers, will convince every one of the extremely imperfect manner in which the ear catches sounds to which it is unaccustomed, and of the mistakes to which this and other causes give rise, in every attempt which is made to take down the words of a language from the native pronunciation, by a person who does not understand it.
Reluctant as the captain was to enter this bay, from his ignorance of the coast, and the doubts he consequently felt as to the disposition of the inhabitants, they at last determined to stand in for it, as they had great need of water, and did not know when the wind might permit them to get to the Bay of Islands.
They came to anchor, accordingly, off the termination of a reef of rocks, immediately under some elevated land, which formed one of the sides of the bay. As soon as they had dropped anchor, a great many canoes came off to the ship from every part of the bay, each containing about thirty women, by whom it was paddled. Very few men made their appearance that day; but many of the women remained on board all night, employing themselves chiefly in stealing whatever they could lay their hands on. Their conduct greatly alarmed the captain, and a strict watch was kept during the night.
The next morning one of the chiefs came on board, whose name they were told was Aimy, in a large war-canoe, about sixty feet long, and carrying above a hundred of the natives, all provided with quantities of mats and fishing-lines, made of the strong white flax[F] of the country, with which they professed to be anxious to trade with the crew.
After this chief had been for some time on board, it was agreed that he should return to the land, with some others of his tribe, in the ship's boat, to procure a supply of water. This arrangement the captain was very anxious to make, as he was averse from allowing any of the crew to go on shore, wishing to keep them all on board for the protection of the ship.
In due time the boat returned, laden with water, which was immediately hoisted on board; and the chief and his men were despatched a second time on the same errand. Meanwhile, the rest of the natives continued to take pigs to the ship in considerable numbers; and by the close of the day about two hundred had been purchased, together with a quantity of fern-root to feed them on.
Up to this time, therefore, no hostile disposition had been manifested by the savages; and their intercourse with the ship had been carried on with every appearance of friendship and cordiality, if we except the propensity they had shown to pilfer a few of the tempting rarities exhibited to them by their civilised visitors. Their conduct as to this matter ought perhaps to be taken rather as an evidence that they had not as yet formed any design of attacking the vessel, as they would, in that case, scarcely have taken the trouble of stealing a small part of what they meant immediately to seize upon altogether. On the other hand, such an infraction of the rules of hospitality would not have accorded with that system of insidious kindness by which it is their practice to lull the suspicions of those whom they are on the watch to destroy.
During the night, however, the thieving was renewed, and carried to a more alarming extent, inasmuch as it was found in the morning that some of the natives had not only stolen the lead off the ship's stern, but had also cut away many of the ropes, and carried them off in their canoes. It was not till daybreak, too, that the chief returned with his second cargo of water; and it was then observed that the ship's boat he had taken with him leaked a great deal; on which the carpenter examined her, and found that a great many of the nails had been drawn out of her planks.
About the same time, Rutherford detected one of the natives in the act of stealing the dipson lead,—"which, when I took it from him," says he, "he grinded his teeth and shook his tomahawk at me."
"The captain," he continues, "now paid the chief for fetching the water, giving him two muskets, and a quantity of powder and shot, arms and ammunition being the only articles these people will trade for.
"There were at this time about three hundred of the natives on the deck, with Aimy, the chief, in the midst of them; every man was armed with a green stone, slung with a string around his waist. This weapon they call a 'mery,'[G] the stone being about a foot long, flat, and of an oblong shape, having both edges sharp, and a handle at the end. They use it for the purpose of killing their enemies, by striking them on the head.
"Smoke was now observed rising from several of the hills; and the natives appearing to be mustering on the beach from every part of the bay, the captain grew much afraid, and desired us to loosen the sails, and make haste down to get our dinners, as he intended to put to sea immediately. As soon as we had dined, we went aloft, and I proceeded to loosen the jib. At this time, none of the crew was on deck except the captain and the cook, the chief mate being employed in loading some pistols at the cabin table.
"The natives seized this opportunity of commencing an attack upon the ship. First, the chief threw off the mat which he wore as a cloak, and, brandishing a tomahawk in his hand, began a war-song, when all the rest immediately threw off their mats likewise, and, being entirely naked, began to dance with such violence that I thought they would have stove in the ship's deck.
"The captain, in the meantime, was leaning against the companion, when one of the natives went unperceived behind him, and struck him three or four blows on the head with a tomahawk, which instantly killed him. The cook, on seeing him attacked, ran to his assistance, but was immediately murdered in the same manner.
"I now sat down on the jib-boom, with tears in my eyes, and trembling with terror.
"Here I next saw the chief mate come running up the companion ladder, but before he reached the deck he was struck on the back of the neck in the same manner as the captain and the cook had been. He fell with the blow, but did not die immediately.
"A number of the natives now rushed in at the cabin door, while others jumped down through the skylight, and others were employed in cutting the lanyards of the rigging of the stays. At the same time, four of our crew jumped overboard off the foreyard, but were picked up by some canoes that were coming from the shore, and immediately bound hand and foot.
"The natives now mounted the rigging, and drove the rest of the crew down, all of whom were made prisoners. One of the chiefs beckoned to me to come to him, which I immediately did, and surrendered myself. We were then put all together into a large canoe, our hands being tied; and the New Zealanders, searching us, took from us our knives, pipes, tobacco-boxes, and various other articles. The two dead bodies, and the wounded mate, were thrown into the canoe along with us. The mate groaned terribly, and seemed in great agony, the tomahawk having cut two inches deep into the back of his neck; and all the while one of the natives, who sat in the canoe with us, kept licking the blood from the wound with his tongue. Meantime, a number of women who had been left in the ship had jumped overboard, and were swimming to the shore, after having cut her cable, so that she drifted, and ran aground on the bar near the mouth of the river. The natives had not sense to shake the reefs out of the sails, but had chopped them off along the yards with their tomahawks, leaving the reefed part behind.
"The pigs, which we had bought from them, were, many of them, killed on board, and carried ashore dead in the canoes, and others were thrown overboard alive, and attempted to swim to the land; but many of them were killed in the water by the natives, who got astride on their backs, and then struck them on the head with their merys. Many of the canoes came to the land loaded with plunder from the ship; and numbers of the natives quarrelled about the division of the spoil, and fought and slew each other. I observed, too, that they broke up our water-casks for the sake of the iron hoops.
"While all this was going on, we were detained in the canoe; but at last, when the sun was set, they conveyed us on shore to one of the villages, where they tied us by the hands to several small trees. The mate had expired before we got on shore, so that there now remained only twelve of us alive. The three dead bodies were then brought forward, and hung up by the heels to the branch of a tree, in order that the dogs might not get at them. A number of large fires were also kindled on the beach, for the purpose of giving light to the canoes, which were employed all night in going backward and forward between the shore and the ship, although it rained the greater part of the time.
"Gentle reader," Rutherford continues, "we will now consider the sad situation we were in; our ship lost, three of our companions already killed, and the rest of us tied each to a tree, starving with hunger, wet, and cold, and knowing that we were in the hands of cannibals.
"The next morning, I observed that the surf had driven the ship over the bar, and she was now in the mouth of the river, and aground near the end of the village. Everything being now out of her, about ten o'clock in the morning they set fire to her; after which they all mustered together on an unoccupied piece of ground near the village, where they remained standing for some time; but at last they all sat down except five, who were chiefs, for whom a large ring was left vacant in the middle. The five chiefs, of whom Aimy was one, then approached the place where we were, and after they had stood consulting for some time, Aimy released me and another, and, taking us into the middle of the ring, made signs for us to sit down, which we did. In a few minutes, the other four chiefs came also into the ring, bringing along with them four more of our men, who were made to sit down beside us.
"The chiefs now walked backward and forward in the ring with their merys in their hands, and continued talking together for some time, but we understood nothing of what they said. The rest of the natives were all the while very silent, and seemed to listen to them with great attention. At length, one of the chiefs spoke to one of the natives who was seated on the ground, and the latter immediately rose, and, taking his tomahawk in his hand, went and killed the other six men who were tied to the trees. They groaned several times as they were struggling in the agonies of death, and at every groan the natives burst out in great fits of laughter.
"We could not refrain from weeping for the sad fate of our comrades, not knowing, at the same time, whose turn it might be next. Many of the natives, on seeing our tears, laughed aloud, and brandished their merys at us.
"Some of them now proceeded to dig eight large round holes, each about a foot deep, into which they afterwards put a great quantity of dry wood, and covered it over with a number of stones. They then set fire to the wood, which continued burning till the stones became red hot. In the meantime, some of them were employed in stripping the bodies of my deceased shipmates, which they afterwards cut up, for the purpose of cooking them, having first washed them in the river, and then brought them and laid them down on several green boughs which had been broken off the trees and spread on the ground, near the fires, for that purpose.
"The stones being now red hot, the largest pieces of the burning wood were pulled from under them and thrown away, and some green bushes, having been first dipped in water, were laid round their edges, while they were at the same time covered over with a few green leaves. The mangled bodies were then laid upon the top of the leaves, with a quantity of leaves also strewed over them; and after this a straw mat was spread over the top of each hole. Lastly, about three pints of water were poured upon each mat, which, running through to the stones, caused a great steam, and then the whole was instantly covered with earth.
"They afterwards gave us some roasted fish to eat, and three women were employed in roasting fern-root for us. When they had roasted it, they laid it on a stone, and beat it with a piece of wood, until it became soft like dough. When cold again, however, it becomes hard, and snaps like gingerbread. We ate but sparingly of what they gave us. After this they took us to a house, and gave each of us a mat and some dried grass to sleep upon. Here we spent the night, two of the chiefs sleeping along with us.
"We got up next morning as soon as it was daylight, as did also the two chiefs, and went and sat down outside the house. Here we found a number of women busy in making baskets of green flax, into some of which, when they were finished, the bodies of our messmates, which had been cooking all night, were put, while others were filled with potatoes, which had been prepared by a similar process.
"I observed some of the children tearing the flesh from the bones of our comrades, before they were taken from the fires. A short time after this the chiefs assembled, and, having seated themselves on the ground, the baskets were placed before them and they proceeded to divide the flesh among the multitude, at the rate of a basket among so many. They also sent us a basket of potatoes and some of the flesh, which resembled pork; but instead of partaking of it we shuddered at the very idea of such an unnatural and horrid custom, and made a present of it to one of the natives."
According to this account, the editor says, the attack made upon the "Agnes" would seem to have been altogether unprovoked by the conduct either of the captain or any of the crew; but we must not, in matters of this kind, assume that we are in possession of the whole truth, when we have heard the statement of only one of the parties. What may have been the exact nature of the offence given to the natives in the present case, the narrative we have just transcribed hardly gives us any data even for conjecturing; unless we are to suppose that their vindictive feelings were called forth by the manner in which their pilfering may have been resented or punished, about which, however, nothing is said in the account. But perhaps, after all, it is not necessary to refer their hostility to any immediate cause of this kind. These savages had probably many old injuries, sustained from former European visitors, yet unrevenged; and, according to their notions, therefore, they had reason enough to hold every ship that approached their coast an enemy, and a fair subject for spoliation. It is lamentable that the conduct of Europeans should have offered them an excuse for such conduct.
Collection of clubs. Christchurch Museum.
The wanton cruelties committed upon these people by the commanders and crews of many of the vessels that have been of late years in the habit of resorting to their shores, are testified to, by too many evidences, to allow us to doubt the enormous extent to which they have been carried; and they are, at the same time, too much in the spirit of that systematic aggression and violence, which even British sailors are apt to conceive themselves entitled to practise upon naked and unarmed savages, to make the fact of their perpetration a matter of surprise to us. We must refer to Mr. Nicholas's book[H] for many specific instances of such atrocities; but we may merely mention here that the conduct in question is distinctly noticed and denounced in the strongest terms, both in a proclamation by Governor Macquarie, dated the 9th of November, 1814, and also in another by Sir Thomas Brisbane, dated the 17th of May, 1824. So strong a feeling, indeed, had been excited upon this subject among the more respectable inhabitants of the English colony, that, in the year 1814, a society was formed in Sydney Town, with the Governor at its head, for the especial protection of the natives of the South Sea Islands against the oppressions practised upon them by the crews of European vessels.
The reports of the missionaries likewise abound in notices of the flagrant barbarities by which, in New Zealand, as well as elsewhere, the white man has signalised his superiority over his darker-complexioned brother. But it may be enough to quote one of their statements, namely, that within the first two or three years after the establishment of the society's settlement at the Bay of Islands, not less than a hundred at least of the natives had been murdered by Europeans in their immediate neighbourhood. With such facts on record, it ought indeed to excite but little of our surprise, that the sight of the white man's ship in their horizon should be to these injured people in every district the signal for a general muster, to meet the universal foe, and, if it may be accomplished by force or cunning, to gratify the great passion of savage life—revenge.
The circumstances of this attack are all illustrative of the New Zealand character; and, indeed, the whole narrative is strikingly accordant with the accounts we have from other sources of the manner in which these savages are wont to act on such occasions, although there certainly never has before appeared so minute and complete a detail of any similar transaction. The gathering of the inland population by fires lighted on the hills, the previous crowding and almost complete occupation of the vessel, the sly and patient watching for the moment of opportunity, the instant seizure of it when it came, the management of the whole with such precision and skill, as in the case of the "Boyd,"[I] and indeed in every other known instance, while the success of the movement was perfect—this result was obtained without the expense of so much as a drop of blood on the part of the assailants—all these things are the uniform accompaniments of New Zealand treachery when displayed in such enterprises.
The rule of military tactics among this people is, in the first place, if possible, to surprise their enemies; and, in the second, to endeavour to alarm and confound them. This latter is doubtless partly the purpose of the song and dance, which form with them the constant prelude to the assault, although these vehement expressions of passion operate also powerfully as excitements to their own sanguinary valour and contempt of death.
Rutherford's description of the violence with which they danced on board the ship in the present case, immediately before commencing their attack on the crew, reminds us strikingly, even by its expression, of the account Crozet gives us, in his narrative of the voyage of M. Marion, of their exhibitions of a similar sort even when they were only in sport. "They would often dance," says he "with such fury when on board the ship that we feared they would drive in our deck."
The alleged cannibalism of the New Zealanders is a subject that has given rise to a good deal of controversy; and it has been even very recently contended that the imputation, if not altogether unfounded, is very nearly so, and that the horrid practice in question, if it does exist among these people at all, has certainly never been carried beyond the mere act of tasting human flesh, in obedience to some feeling of superstition or frantic revenge, and even that perpetrated only rarely and with repugnance.
Without attempting to theorise as to such a matter on the ground of such narrow views as ordinary experience would suggest, we may here state what the evidence is which we really have for the cannibalism of the New Zealanders.
Cook was the first who discovered the fact, which he did in his first visit to the country. The strongest proof of all was that which was obtained in Queen Charlotte Sound. Captain Cook having one day gone ashore here, accompanied by Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, Tupia, and other persons belonging to the ship, found a family of the natives employed in dressing some provisions.
"The body of a dog," says Cook, "was at this time buried in their oven, and many provision baskets stood near it. Having cast our eyes carelessly into one of these as we passed it, we saw two bones pretty cleanly picked, which did not seem to be the bones of a dog, and which, upon a nearer examination, we discovered to be those of a human body. At this sight we were struck with horror, though it was only a confirmation of what we had heard many times since we arrived upon this coast. As we could have no doubt but the bones were human, neither could we have any doubt that the flesh which covered them had been eaten. They were found in a provision-basket; the flesh that remained appeared manifestly to have been dressed by fire, and in the gristles at the end were the marks of the teeth which had gnawed them.
"To put an end, however, to conjecture founded upon circumstances and appearances, we directed Tupia to ask what bones they were; and the Indians, without the least hesitation, answered, the bones of a man. They were then asked what was become of the flesh, and they replied that they had eaten it; 'but,' said Tupia, 'why did you not eat the body of the woman we saw floating upon the water?' 'The woman,' said they, 'died of disease; besides, she was our relation, and we eat only the bodies of our enemies, who are killed in battle.'
"Upon inquiry who the man was whose bones we had found, they told us that, about five days before, a boat belonging to their enemies came into the bay, with many persons on board, and that this man was one of seven whom they had killed.
"Though stronger evidence of this horrid practice prevailing among the inhabitants of this coast will scarcely be required, we have still stronger to give. One of us asked if they had any human bones with the flesh remaining upon them; and upon their answering us that all had been eaten, we affected to disbelieve that the bones were human, and said that they were the bones of a dog; upon which one of the Indians, with some eagerness, took hold of his own forearm, and thrusting it towards us, said that the bone which Mr. Banks held in his hand had belonged to that part of a human body; at the same time, to convince us that the flesh had been eaten, he took hold of his own arm with his teeth, and made a show of eating. He also bit and gnawed the bone which Mr. Banks had taken, drawing it through his mouth, and showing by signs that it had afforded a delicious repast. Some others of them, in a conversation with Tupia next day, confirmed all this in the fullest manner; and they were afterwards in the habit of bringing human bones, the flesh of which they had eaten, and offering them to the English for sale."
When Cook was at the same place in November, 1773, in the course of his second voyage, he obtained still stronger evidence of what he expressly calls their "great liking for this kind of food," his former account of their indulgence in which had been discredited, he tells us, by many. Some of the officers of the ship having gone one afternoon on shore, observed the head and bowels of a youth, who had been lately killed, lying on the beach; and one of them, having purchased the head, brought it on board. A piece of the flesh having then been broiled and given to one of the natives, he ate it immediately in the presence of all the officers and most of the men. Nothing is said of any aversion he seemed to feel to the shocking repast. Nay, when, upon Cook's return on board, for he had been at this time absent on shore, another piece of the flesh was broiled and brought to the quarter-deck, that he also might be an eye-witness of what his officers had already seen, one of the New Zealanders, he tells us, "ate it with surprising avidity. This," he adds, "had such an effect on some of our people as to make them sick."
Of the persons who sailed with Cook, no one seems eventually to have retained a doubt as to the prevalence of cannibalism among these savages. Mr. Burney, who had been long sceptical, was at last convinced of the fact, by what he observed when he went to look after the crew of the "Adventure's" boat who had been killed in Grass Cove; and both the elder and the younger Forster, who accompanied Cook on his second voyage, express their participation in the general belief. John Ledyard, who was afterwards distinguished as an adventurous African traveller, but who sailed with Cook in the capacity of a corporal of marines, bears testimony to the same fact.
It thus appears that the testimony of those who have actually visited New Zealand, in so far as it has been recorded, is unanimous upon this head.
To the authorities that have been already adduced, may be now added that of Rutherford, whose evidence, both in the extract from his journal that has been already given, and in other passages to which we shall afterwards have occasion to refer, is in perfect accordance with the statements of all preceding reporters entitled to speak upon the subject. The facts that have been quoted would seem to show that the eating of human flesh among this people is not merely an occasional excess, prompted only by the phrenzy of revenge, but that it is actually resorted to as a gratification of appetite, as well as of passion.
It is very probable, however, that the practice may have had its origin in those vindictive feelings which mix, to so remarkable a degree, in all the enmities and wars of these savages. This is a much more likely supposition than that it originated in the difficulty of procuring other food, in which case, as has been remarked, it could not well have, at any time, sprung up either in New Zealand or in almost any other of the countries in which it is known to prevail. Certain superstitious notions, besides, which are connected with it among this people, sufficiently indicate the motives which must have first led to it; for they believe that, by eating their enemies, they not only dishonour their bodies, but consign their souls to perpetual misery. This is stated by Cook.
Other accounts, which we have from more recent authorities, concur in showing that the person who eats any part of the body of another whom he has slain in battle, fancies he secures to himself thereby a portion of the valour or good fortune which had hitherto belonged to his dead enemy. The most common occasion, too, on which slaves are slain and eaten is by way of an offering to the "mana" of a chief or any of his family who may have been cut off in battle.
All this would go to prove that the cannibalism of the New Zealanders had, on its first introduction, been intimately associated with certain feelings or notions which seemed to demand the act as a duty, and not at all with any circumstances of distress or famine which compelled a resort to it as a dire necessity. There is too much reason for apprehending, however, that the unnatural repast, having ceased in this way to be regarded with that disgust with which it is turned from by every unpolluted appetite, has now become an enjoyment in which they not unfrequently indulge without any reference to the considerations which originally tempted them to partake of it. Indeed, such a result, instead of being incredible or improbable, would appear to be almost an inevitable consequence of the general and systematic perpetration, under any pretext, of so daring an outrage upon Nature as that of which these savages are, on all hands, allowed to be guilty.
The practice of cannibalism, which has prevailed among other nations as well as the New Zealanders, has probably not had always exactly the same origin. According to Mr. Mariner, it is of very recent introduction among the people of Tonga, having been unknown among them till it was imported about fifty or sixty years ago, along with other warlike tastes, by their neighbours of the Fiji Islands, whose assistance had been called in by one of the parties in a civil struggle. Here is an instance of the practice having originated purely in the ferocity engendered by the habit of war. In other cases it has, perhaps, arisen out of the kindred practice of offering up human beings as sacrifices to the gods.
Humboldt, in his work on the indigenous inhabitants of South America, gives us an interesting account of the introduction of this latter atrocity among the Aztecs, a people of Mexico, whose annals record its first perpetration to have taken place so late as the year 1317.
But the most extraordinary instance of cannibalism which is known to exist in the world is that practised by the Battas, an extensive and populous nation of Sumatra. These people, according to Sir Stamford Raffles, have a regular government, and deliberative assemblies; they possess a peculiar language and written character, can generally write, and have a talent for eloquence; they acknowledge a God, are fair and honourable in their dealings, and crimes amongst them are few; their country is highly cultivated. Yet this people, so far advanced in civilization, are cannibals upon principle and system. Mr. Marsden,[J] in his "History of Sumatra," seems to confine their cannibalism to the accustomed cases of prisoners taken in war and to other gratifications of revenge. But it is stated by Sir Stamford Raffles, upon testimony which is unimpeachable, that criminals and prisoners are not only eaten according to the law of the land, but that the same law permits their being mangled and eaten while alive. The following extraordinary account, which we extract from a letter of Sir Stamford Raffles to Mr. Marsden himself, dated February 27, 1820, is sufficiently revolting; but it is important as showing the wonderful influence of ancient customs in hardening the hearts of an otherwise mild and respectable people, and is therefore calculated to make us look with less severity upon the practices of the more ignorant New Zealanders. The progress of knowledge and of true religion can alone eradicate such fearful relics of a tremendous superstition—the offering, in another shape, toMoloch, horrid king, besmear'd with blood
Of human sacrifice.
I have found all you say on the subject of cannibalism more than confirmed. I do not think you have even gone far enough. You might have broadly stated, that it is the practice, not only to eat the victim, but to eat him alive. I shall pass over the particulars of all previous information which I have received, and endeavour to give you, in a few words, the result of a deliberate inquiry from the Batta chiefs of Tappanooly. I caused the most intelligent to be assembled; and in the presence of Mr. Prince and Dr. Jack, obtained the following information, of the truth of which none of us have the least doubt. It is the universal and standing law of the Battas, that death by eating shall be inflicted in the following cases:—Adultery; midnight robbery; wars of importance, that is to say, one district against another, the prisoners are sacrificed; intermarrying in the same tribe, which is forbidden from the circumstance of their having ancestors in common; treacherous attacks on a house, village, or person. In all the above cases it is lawful for the victims to be eaten, and they are eaten alive, that is to say, they are not previously put to death. The victim is tied to a stake, with his arms extended, the party collect in a circle around him, and the chief gives the order to commence eating. The chief enemy, when it is a prisoner, or the chief party injured in other cases, has the first selection; and after he has cut off his slice, others cut off pieces according to their taste and fancy, until all the flesh is devoured. It is either eaten raw or grilled, and generally dipped in sambul (a preparation of Chili pepper and salt), which is always in readiness. Rajah Bandaharra, a Batta, and one of the chiefs of Tappanooly, asserted that he was present at a festival of this kind about eight years ago, at the village of Subluan, on the other side of the bay, not nine miles distant, where the heads may still be seen.
When the party is a prisoner taken in war, he is eaten immediately, and on the spot. Whether dead or alive he is equally eaten, and it is usual even to drag the bodies from the graves, and, after disinterring them, to eat the flesh. This only in cases of war. From the clear and concurring testimony of all parties, it is certain that it is the practice not to kill the victim till the whole of the flesh cut off by the party is eaten, should he live so long; the chief or party injured then comes forward and cuts off the head, which he carries home as a trophy. Within the last three years there have been two instances of this kind of punishment within ten miles of Tappanooly, and the heads are still preserved. In cases of adultery the injured party usually takes the ear or ears; but the ceremony is not allowed to take place except the wife's relations are present and partake of it. In these and other cases where the criminal is directed to be eaten, he is secured and kept for two or three days, till every person (that is to say males) is assembled. He is then eaten quietly, and in cold blood, with as much ceremony, and perhaps more, than attends the execution of a capital sentence in Europe.
The bones are scattered abroad after the flesh has been eaten, and the head alone preserved. The brains belong to the chief, or injured party, who usually preserves them in a bottle, for purposes of witchcraft, &c. They do not eat the bowels, but like the heart; and many drink the blood from bamboos. The palms of the hands and the soles of the feet are the delicacies of epicures. Horrid and diabolical as these practices may appear, it is no less true that they are the result of much deliberation among the parties, and seldom, except in the case of prisoners in war, the effect of immediate and private revenge. In all cases of crimes, the party has a regular trial, and no punishment can be inflicted until sentence is regularly and formally passed in the public fair. Here the chiefs of the neighbouring kampong assemble, hear the evidence, and deliberate upon the crime and probable guilt of the party; when condemned, the sentence is ratified by the chiefs drinking the tuah, or toddy, which is final, and may be considered equivalent to signing and sealing with us.
I was very particular in my inquiries whether the assembly were intoxicated on the occasions of these punishments. I was assured it was never the case. The people take rice with them, and eat it with the meat, but no tuah is allowed. The punishment is always inflicted in public. The men alone are allowed to partake, as the flesh of man is prohibited to women (probably from an apprehension they might become too fond of it). The flesh is not allowed to be carried away from the spot, but must be consumed at the time. I am assured that the Battas are more attached to these laws than the Mahomedans are to the Koran, and that the number of the punishments is very considerable. My informants considered that there could be no less than fifty or sixty men eaten in a year, and this in times of peace; but they were unable to estimate the true extent, considering the great population of the country; they were confident, however, that these laws were strictly enforced wherever the name of Batta was known, and that it was only in the immediate vicinity of our settlements that they were modified and neglected. For proof, they referred me to every Batta in the vicinity, and to the number of skulls to be seen in every village, each of which was from a victim of the kind.
With regard to the relish with which the parties devour the flesh, it appeared that, independent of the desire of revenge which may be supposed to exist among the principals, about one-half of the people eat it with a relish, and speak of it with delight; the other half, though present, may not partake. Human flesh is, however, generally considered preferable to cow or buffalo beef, or hog, and was admitted to be so even by my informants. Adverting to the possible origin of this practice, it was observed that formerly they ate their parents when too old for work; this, however, is no longer the case, and thus a step has been gained in civilization. It is admitted that the parties may be redeemed for a pecuniary compensation, but this is entirely at the option of the chief enemy or injured party, who, after his sentence is passed, may either have his victim eaten, or he may sell him for a slave; but the law is that he shall be eaten, and the prisoner is entirely at the mercy of his prosecutor.
The laws by which these sentences are inflicted are too well known to require reference to books, but I am promised some MS. accounts which relate to the subject. These laws are called huhum pinang àn,—from depang àn, to eat—law or sentence to eat.
I could give you many more details, but the above may be sufficient to show that our friends the Battas are even worse than you have represented them, and that those who are still sceptical have yet more to learn. I have also a great deal to say on the other side of the character, for the Battas have many virtues. I prize them highly.
At the extreme north of the Philippine Islands.
Nicholas's "Voyage to New Zealand."
The transport "Boyd" was taken by Maoris and burned at Whangaroa Harbour in 1809. Most of the people on board were massacred, there being only four survivors out of seventy souls.
William Marsden, who was sent out from Dublin to Sumatra, about 1775, as a writer in the East India Company's service.
Rutherford and his comrades spent another night in the same manner as they had done the previous one; and on the following morning set out, in company with the five chiefs, on a journey into the interior.
When they left the coast, the ship was still burning. They were attended by about fifty natives, who were loaded with the plunder of the unfortunate vessel. That day, he calculates, they travelled only about ten miles, the journey being very fatiguing from the want of any regular roads, and the necessity for making their way through a succession of woods and swamps.
The village at which their walk terminated was the residence of one of the chiefs, whose name was Rangadi,[K] and who was received on his arrival by about two hundred of the inhabitants.
They came in a crowd, and, kneeling down around him, began to cry aloud and cut their arms, faces, and other parts of their bodies with pieces of sharp flint, of which each of them carried a number tied with a string about his neck, till the blood flowed copiously from their wounds.
Kororareka Beach, in the Bay of Islands, where some of Rutherford's adventures are supposed to have taken place.
These demonstrations of excited feeling, which Rutherford describes as merely their usual manner of receiving any of their friends who have been for some time absent, are rather more extravagant than seem to have been commonly observed to take place on such occasions in other parts of the island. Mr. Marsden,[L] however, states that on Korro-korro's[M] return from Port Jackson, many of the women of his tribe who came out to receive him "cut themselves in their faces, arms, and breasts with sharp shells or flints, till the blood streamed down." Some time after, when Duaterra[N] and Shungie[O] went on shore at the Bay of Islands, they met with a similar reception from the females of their tribes. Mr. Savage asserts that this cutting of their faces by the women always takes place on the meeting of friends who have been long separated; but that the ceremony consists only of embracing and crying, when the separation of the parties has been short. It may be remarked that the custom of receiving strangers with tears, by way of doing them honour, has prevailed with other savages. Among the native tribes of Brazil, according to Lafitau, it used to be the custom for the women, on the approach of any one to whom they wished to show especial fidelity, to crouch down on their heels, and, spreading their hands over their faces, to remain for a considerable time in that posture, howling in a sort of cadence, and shedding tears. Among the Sioux, again, it was the duty of the men to perform this ceremony of lamentation on such occasions, which they did standing, and laying their hands on the heads of their visitors.
In some cases, the wounds which the New Zealand women inflict on themselves are intended to express their grief for friends who have perished in war; and probably this may have been a reason for the strong exhibition of feeling in the instance just noticed by Rutherford, as the chiefs had then returned from an expedition. Such a mode of mourning has been often observed in New Zealand. During the time that Cruise was at the Bay of Islands, they found one day, upon going on shore, that a body of the natives had just returned from a war expedition, in which they had taken considerable numbers of prisoners, consisting of men, women, and children, some of the latter of whom were not two years old; and among the women was one, distinguished by her superior beauty, who sat apart from the rest upon the beach, and, though silent, seemed buried in affliction. They learned that her father, a chief of some consequence, had been killed by the man whose prisoner she now was, and who kept near her during the greater part of the day.
The officers remained on shore till the evening; "and as we were preparing to return to the ship," continues Cruise, "we were drawn to that part of the beach where the prisoners were, by the most doleful cries and lamentations. Here was the interesting young slave in a situation that ought to have softened the heart of the most unfeeling. The man who had slain her father, having cut off his head, and preserved it by a process peculiar to these islanders, took it out of a basket, where it had hitherto been concealed, and threw it into the lap of the unhappy daughter." At once she seized it with a degree of phrenzy not to be described; and subsequently, with a bit of sharp shell, disfigured her person in so shocking a manner that in a few minutes not a vestige of her former beauty remained. They afterwards learned that this fellow had married the very woman he had treated with such singular barbarity.
The crying, however, seems to be a ceremony that takes place universally on the meeting of friends who have been for some time parted. We may give, in illustration of this custom, Cruise's description of the reception by their relatives of the nine New Zealanders who came along with him in the "Dromedary" from Port Jackson.
"When their fathers, brothers, etc., were admitted into the ship," says he, "the scene exceeded description; the muskets were all laid aside, and every appearance of joy vanished. It is customary with these extraordinary people to go through the same ceremony upon meeting as upon taking leave of their friends. They join their noses together, and remain in this position for at least half-an-hour;[P] during which time they sob and howl in the most doleful manner. If there be many friends gathered around the person who has returned, the nearest relation takes possession of his nose, while the others hang upon his arms, shoulders, and legs, and keep perfect time with the chief mourner (if he may be so called) in the various expressions of his lamentation. This ended, they resume their wonted cheerfulness, and enter into a detail of all that has happened during their separation. As there were nine New Zealanders just returned, and more than three times that number to commemorate the event, the howl was quite tremendous, and so novel to almost every one in the ship that it was with difficulty our people's attention could be kept to matters at that moment more essential. Little Repero, who had frequently boasted, during the passage, that he was too much of an Englishman ever to cry again, made a strong effort when his father, Shungie, approached him, to keep his word; but his early habit soon got the better of his resolution, and he evinced, if possible, more distress than any of the others."
The sudden thawing of poor Repero's heroic resolves was an incident exactly similar to another which Mr. Nicholas had witnessed. Among the New Zealanders who, after having resided for some time in New South Wales, returned with him and Mr. Marsden to their native country, was one named Tooi,[Q] who prided himself greatly on being able to imitate European manners; and accordingly, declaring that he would not cry, but would behave like an Englishman, began, as the trying moment approached, to converse most manfully with Mr. Nicholas, evidently, however, forcing his spirits the whole time. But "his fortitude," continues Nicholas, "was very soon subdued; for being joined by a young chief about his own age, and one of his best friends, he flew to his arms, and, bursting into tears, indulged exactly the same emotions as the others."
Tooi was afterwards brought to England, and remained for some time in this country. He was in attendance upon his brother Korro-korro, one of the greatest chiefs in the neighbourhood of the Bay of Islands, and, as well as Shungie, who has just been mentioned, celebrated all over the country for his love of fighting, and the number of victories he had won.
Yet even this hardy warrior was no more proof than any one of his wives or children against this strange habit of emotion. The first person he met on his landing happened to be his aunt, whose appearance, as, bent to the earth with age and infirmities, she ascended a hill, supporting herself upon a long staff, Nicholas compares to that which we might conceive the Sibyl bore, when she presented herself to Tarquin. Yet, when she came up to Korro-korro, the chief, we are told, having fallen upon her neck, and applied his nose to hers, the two continued in this posture for some minutes, talking together in a low and mournful voice; and then disengaging themselves, they gave vent to their feelings by weeping bitterly, the chief remaining for about a quarter of an hour leaning on his musket, while the big drops continued to roll down his cheeks.
The old woman's daughter, who had come along with her, then made her approach, and another scene, if possible of still more tumultuous tenderness than the former, took place between the two cousins. The chief hung, as before, in an agony of affection, on the neck of his relation; and "as for the woman," says Nicholas, "she was so affected that the mat she wore was literally soaked through with her tears." A passionate attachment to friends is, indeed, one of the most prevailing feelings of the savage state. Dampier tells us of an Indian who recovered his friend unexpectedly on the island of Juan Fernandez, and who immediately prostrated himself on the ground at his feet. "We stood gazing in silence," says the manly sailor, "at this tender scene."
The house of the chief to which Rutherford and his comrades were taken was the largest in the village, being both long and wide, although very low, and having no other entrance than an aperture, which was shut by means of a sliding door, and was so much lower even than the roof that it was necessary to crawl upon the hands and knees to get through it.
Two large pigs and a quantity of potatoes were now cooked; and when they were ready, a portion having been allotted to the slaves, who are never permitted to eat along with the chiefs, the latter sat down to their repast, the white men taking their places beside them.
The feast was not held within the house, but in the open air; and the meat that was not consumed was hung up on posts for a future occasion. One of the strongest prejudices of the New Zealanders is an aversion to be where any article of food is suspended over their heads; and on this account, they never permit anything eatable to be brought within their huts, but take all their meals out of doors, in an open space adjoining to the house, which has been called by some writers the kitchen, it being there that the meal is cooked as well as eaten. Crozet says that every one of these kitchens has in it a cooking hole, dug in the ground, of about two feet in diameter, and between one and two feet deep. Even when the natives are confined to their beds by sickness, and, it may be, at the point of death, they must receive whatever food they take in this outer room, which, however, is sometimes provided with a shed, supported upon posts, although in no case does it appear to be enclosed by walls. It is here, accordingly, that those who are in so weak a state from illness as not to be able to bear removal from one place to another usually have their couches spread; as, were they to choose to recline inside the house, it would be necessary to leave them to die of want.
Nicholas, in the course of an excursion which he made in the neighbourhood of the Bay of Islands, was once not a little annoyed and put out of humour by this absurd superstition. It rained heavily when he and Marsden arrived very hungry at a village belonging to a chief of their acquaintance, where, although the chief was not at home, they were very hospitably received, their friends proceeding immediately to dress some potatoes to make them a dinner. But after they had prepared the meal, they insisted, as usual, that it should be eaten in the open air.
This condition, Nicholas, in the circumstances, naturally thought a somewhat hard one; but it was absolutely necessary either to comply with it, or to go without potatoes. To make matters worse, the dining-room had not even a shed. So they had no course left but to take shelter in the best way they could, under a projection from the roof of the house, extending about three feet; and here they contrived to take their repast, without being very much drenched. However, they were not allowed this indulgence without many anxious scruples on the part of their friends, who considered even their venturing so near to the house on such an occasion as an act of daring impiety. As they had got possession of the potatoes, their entertainers, though very much shocked and alarmed, did not proceed to such rudeness as to take these from them again; but whenever they wanted to drink out of the calabash that had been brought to them, they obliged them to thrust out their heads for it from under the covering, although the rain continued to fall in torrents.
Fatigued as he was, and vexed at being in this way kept out of the comfortable shelter he had expected, Nicholas at last commenced inveighing, he tells us, against the inhospitable custom, with much acrimony; and as Tooi, who was with them, had always shown so strong a predilection for European customs, he turned to him, and asked him if he did not think that these notions of his countrymen were all gammon. Tooi, however, replied sharply, that "it was no gammon at all"; adding, "New Zealand man say that Mr. Marsden's crackee crackee (preaching) of a Sunday is all gammon," in indignant retaliation for the insult that had been offered to his national customs.
But the worst part of the adventure was yet to come; for as the night was now fast approaching, and the rain still pouring down incessantly, it was impossible to think of returning to the ship; "and we were therefore," continues Nicholas, "obliged to resolve upon remaining where we were, although we had no bed to expect, nor even a comfortable floor to stretch upon. We wrapped ourselves up in our great coats, which by good fortune we had brought with us, and when the hour of rest came on, laid ourselves down under the projecting roof, choosing rather to remain here together, than to go into the house and mingle with its crowded inmates, which we knew would be very disagreeable. Mr. Marsden, who is blessed by nature with a strong constitution, and capable of enduring almost any fatigue, was very soon asleep; but I, who have not been cast in a Herculean mould, nor much accustomed to severe privations, felt all the misery of the situation, while the cold and wet to which I was unavoidably exposed, from the place being open, brought on a violent rheumatic headache, that prevented me from once closing my eyes, and kept me awake in the greatest anguish.
"Being at length driven from this wretched shelter by the rain, which was still beating against me, I crept into the house, through the narrow aperture that served for a door; and, stretching myself among my rude friends, I endeavoured to get some repose; but I found this equally impossible here as in the place I had left. The pain in my head still continued; and those around me, being all buried in profound sleep, played, during the whole night, such music through their noses, as effectually prevented me from being able to join in the same chorus."
On one occasion, in the course of his second visit, Marsden spent the night in the house of a chief, the entrance to which was of such narrow dimensions that he could not, he says, creep in without taking his coat off. The apartment altogether measured only about fourteen feet by ten; and when he looked into it he found a fire blazing on the centre of the floor, which made the place as hot as an oven, there being no vent for the smoke, except through the hole which served for a door. However, the fire, on his entreating it, was taken out, and then he and his friend, Butler, who was with him, crept in, and were followed by their entertainer, his wife and nephew. The hut was still extremely hot, and they perspired profusely when they lay down, but they were a little relieved by the New Zealanders consenting to allow the door to remain open during the night.
Another time he was thrust into a still closer dormitory. "The entrance," says he, "was just sufficient for a man to creep into. Being very cold, I was glad to occupy such a warm berth. I judged the hut to be about eight feet wide, and twelve long. It had a fire in the centre; and no vent either for smoke or heat. The chiefs who were with us threw off their mats and lay down close together in a state of perfect nudity. I had not been many minutes in this oven, before I found the heat and smoke, above, below, and on every side, to be insufferable. Though the night was cold, Mr. Kendall and myself were compelled to quit our habitation. I crept out, and walked in the village, to see if I could meet with a shed to keep me from the damp air till the morning. I found one empty, into which I entered. I had not been long under my present cover before I observed a chief, who came with us from the last village, come out of the hut which I had left, perfectly naked. The moon shone very bright. I saw him run from hut to hut, till at last he found me under my shed, and urged me to return. I told him I could not bear the heat, and requested him to allow me to remain where I was; to which he at length consented with reluctance. I was surprised at the little effect that heat or cold seemed to have upon him. He had come out of the hut smoking like a hot loaf drawn from the oven, walked about to find me, and then sat down, conversed some time, without any clothing, though the night was cold. Mr. Kendall remained sitting under his mat, in the open air, till morning."
The New Zealanders make only two meals in the day, one in the morning and another at sunset; but their voracity when they do eat is often very great. Nicholas remarks that the chiefs and their followers, with whom he made the voyage from Port Jackson, used, while in the ship, to seize upon every thing they could lay their hands upon in the shape of food. In consequence of this habit of consuming an extraordinary quantity of food, a New Zealander, with all his powers of endurance in other respects, suffers dreadfully when he has not the usual means of satisfying his hunger.
The huts of the common people are described as very wretched, and little better than sheds; but Nicholas mentions that those which he saw in the northern part of the country had uniformly well-cultivated gardens attached to them, which were stocked with turnips, and sweet and common potatoes. Crozet tells us that the only articles of furniture the French ever found in these huts, were fishing-hooks, nets, and lines, calabashes containing water, a few tools made of stone, and several cloaks and other garments suspended from the walls.
Amongst the tools, one resembling our adze is in the most common use; and it is remarkable that the handles of these implements are often composed of human bones. In the museum of the Church Missionary Society there are adzes, the handle of one of which is formed of the bone of a human arm, and another of that of a leg.
The common people generally sleep in the open air, in a sitting posture, and covered by their mats, all but the head; which has been described as giving them the appearance of so many hay-cocks or beehives.
The house of the chief is generally, as Rutherford found it to be in the present case, the largest in the village; but every village has, in addition to the dwelling-houses of which it consists, a public storehouse, or repository of the common stock of sweet potatoes, which is a still larger structure than the habitation of the chief. One which Cruise describes was erected upon several posts driven into the ground, which were floored over with deals at the height of about four feet, as a foundation. Both the sides and the roof were compactly formed of stakes intertwisted with grass; and a sliding doorway, scarcely large enough to admit a man, formed the entrance. The roof projected over this, and was ornamented with pieces of plank painted red, and having a variety of grotesque figures carved on them. The whole building was about twenty feet long, eight feet wide, and five feet high.
The residences of the chiefs are built upon the ground, and have generally the floor, and a small space in front, neatly paved; but they are so low that a man can stand upright in very few of them. The huts, as well as the storehouses, are adorned with carving over the door.
One of the arts in which the New Zealanders most excel is that of carving in wood. Some of their performances in this way are, no doubt, grotesque enough; but they often display both a taste and ingenuity which, especially when we consider their miserably imperfect tools, it is impossible to behold without admiration. This is one of the arts which, even in civilized countries, does not seem to flourish best in a highly advanced state of society. Even among ourselves, it certainly is not at present cultivated with so much success as it was a century or two ago.
Machinery, the monopolizing power of our age, is not well fitted to the production of striking effects in this particular branch of the arts. Fine carving is displayed, as in the works of Gibbons, by a rich and natural variety, altogether opposed to that faultless and inflexible regularity of operation which is the perfection of a machine. Hence the lathe, with all the miraculous capabilities it has been made to evolve, can never here come into successful competition with the chisel, in so far as the quality and spirit of the performance are concerned; but the former may, nevertheless, drive the latter out of the market, and seems in a great measure to have done so, by the infinitely superior facility and rapidity of its operation. Hence the gradual decay, and almost extinction among us, of this old art, of which former ages have left us so many beautiful specimens. It is said to survive now, if at all, not among our artists by profession, whose taste is expended upon higher objects, but among the common workmen of our villages, who have pursued it as an amusement, long after it has ceased to be profitable.
The New Zealand artist has no lathe to compete with; but neither has he even those ordinary hand-tools which every civilized country has always afforded. The only instruments he has to cut with are rudely fashioned of stone or bone. Yet even with these, his skill and patient perseverance contrive to grave the wood into any forms which his fancy may suggest. Many of the carvings thus produced are distinguished by both a grace and richness of design that would do no discredit even to European art.
The considerations by which the New Zealanders are directed in choosing the sites of their villages are the same which usually regulate that matter among other savages. The North American Indians, for example, generally build their huts on the sides of some moderately sized hill, that they may have the advantage of the ground in case of being attacked by their enemies, or on the bank of a river, which may, in such an emergency, serve them for a natural moat. A situation in which they are protected by the water on more sides than one is preferred; and, accordingly, both on this account, and for the sake of being near the sea, which supplies them with fish, the New Zealanders and other savage tribes are much accustomed to establish themselves at the mouths of rivers. Among the American Indians, as in New Zealand, a piece of ground is always left unoccupied in the middle of the village, or contiguous to it, for the holding of public assemblies. So, also, it used to be in our own country, almost every village in which had anciently its common and its central open space; the latter of which, after the introduction of Christianity, was generally decorated by the erection of a cross.
A door-lintel, showing Maori carving. Tourist Dept.
It is curious to remark how the genius of commerce—the predominating influence of a more civilized age—has seized upon more than one of these provisions of the old state of society, and converted them to its own purposes. The spacious area around the village cross, or the adjacent common, has been changed into the scene of the fair or the daily market; and the vicinity of the sea, or the navigable river, no longer needed as a protection against the attacks of surrounding enemies, has been taken advantage of to let in the wealth of many distant climes, and to metamorphose the straggling assemblage of mud cottages into a thronged and widespread city—the proud abode of industry, wealth, elegance, and letters.
Rutherford states that the baskets in which the provisions are served up are never used twice; and the same thing is remarked by Cruise. The calabash, Rutherford adds, is the only vessel they have for holding any kind of liquid; and when they drink out of it, they never permit it to touch their lips, but hold their face up, and pour the liquor into their mouth.
After dinner they place themselves for this purpose in a row, when a slave goes from one to another with the calabash, and each holds his hand under his chin as the liquor is poured by the slave into his mouth. They never drink anything hot or warm. Indeed, their only beverage appears to be water;[R] and their strong aversion to wine and spirits is noticed by almost all who have described their manners.
Tetoro, one of the chiefs who returned from Port Jackson in the "Dromedary," was sometimes admitted, during the passage, into the cabin, and asked by the officers to take a glass of wine, when he always tasted it, with perfect politeness, though his countenance strongly indicated how much he disliked it. George of Wangaroa, the chief who headed the attack on the "Boyd," was the only New Zealander that Cruise met with who could be induced to taste grog without reluctance; and he really liked it, though a very small quantity made him drunk, in which state he was quite outrageous. His natural habits had been vitiated by having served for some time in an English ship.
It is probable, however, that the sobriety of this people has been hitherto principally preserved by their ignorance of the mode of manufacturing any intoxicating beverage. Even the females, it would appear, have some of them of late years learned the habit of drinking grog from the English sailors; and Captain Dillon gives an account of a priestess, who visited him on board the "Besearch," and who, having among several other somewhat indecorous requests, demanded a tumbler of rum, quaffed off the whole at a draught as soon as it was set before her.
Probably Rangatai, although no chief of that name is known.
The Rev. Samuel Marsden, who was appointed chaplain to the convict settlement of New South Wales in 1793, and who held the first divine service in New Zealand, on Christmas Day, 1814.
Ruatara, a close friend of Mr. Marsden.
This is exaggerated.
Tui, in the accepted orthography.
The ancient Maoris were one of the very few races that had no intoxicating drinks.
Dinner being finished, Rutherford and his companions spent the evening seated around a large fire, while several of the women, whose countenances he describes as pleasing, amused themselves by playing with the fingers of the strangers, sometimes opening their shirts at the breasts, and at other times feeling the calves of their legs, "which made us think," says Rutherford, "that they were examining us to see if we were fat enough for eating.
"The large fire," he continues, "that had been made to warm the house, being now put out, we retired to rest in the usual manner; but although the fire had been extinguished, the house was still filled with smoke, the door being shut, and there being neither chimney nor window to let it out.
"In the morning, when we arose, the chief gave us back our knives and tobacco-boxes, which they had taken from us while in the canoe, on our first being made prisoners; and we then breakfasted on some potatoes and cockles, which had been cooked while we were at the sea-coast, and brought thence in baskets.
"Aimy's wife and two daughters now arrived, which occasioned another grand crying ceremony; and when it was over, the three ladies came to look at me and my companions. In a short time, they had taken a fancy to some small gilt buttons which I had on my waist-coat; and Aimy making a sign for me to cut them off, I immediately did so, and presented them for their acceptance. They received them very gladly, and, shaking hands with me, exclaimed, 'The white man is very good.'
"The whole of the natives having then seated themselves on the ground in a ring, we were brought into the middle and, being stripped of our clothes, and laid on our backs, we were each of us held down by five or six men, while two others commenced the operation of tattooing us.
"Having taken a piece of charcoal, and rubbed it upon a stone with a little water until they had produced a thickish liquid, they then dipped into it an instrument made of bone, having a sharp edge like a chisel, and shaped in the fashion of a garden-hoe, and immediately applied it to the skin, striking it twice or thrice with a small piece of wood. This made it cut into the flesh as a knife would have done, and caused a great deal of blood to flow, which they kept wiping off with the side of the hand, in order to see if the impression was sufficiently clear. When it was not, they applied the bone a second time to the same place. They employed, however, various instruments in the course of the operation; one which they sometimes used being made of a shark's tooth, and another having teeth like a saw. They had them also of different sizes, to suit the different parts of the work.
"While I was undergoing this operation, although the pain was most acute, I never either moved or uttered a sound; but my comrades moaned dreadfully. Although the operators were very quick and dexterous, I was four hours under their hands; and during the operation Aimy's eldest daughter several times wiped the blood from my face with some dressed flax. After it was over she led me to the river, that I might wash myself, for it had made me completely blind, and then conducted me to a great fire. They now returned us all our clothes, with the exception of our shirts, which the women kept for themselves, wearing them, as we observed, with the fronts behind.
"We were now not only tattooed, but what they called tabooed,[S] the meaning of which is, made sacred, or forbidden to touch any provisions of any kind with our hands. This state of things lasted for three days, during which time we were fed by the daughters of the chiefs, with the same victuals, and out of the same baskets, as the chiefs themselves, and the persons who had tattooed us. In three days, the swelling which had been produced by the operation had greatly subsided, and I began to recover my sight; but it was six weeks before I was completely well. I had no medical assistance of any kind during my illness; but Aimy's two daughters were very attentive to me, and would frequently sit beside me, and talk to me in their language, of which, as yet, however, I did not understand much."
The custom of marking the skin, called tattooing, is one of the most widely-diffused practices of savage life, having been found, even in modern times, to exist, in one modification or another, not only in most of the inhabited lands of the Pacific, from New Zealand as far north as the Sandwich Isles, but also among many of the aboriginal tribes both of Africa and America. In the ancient world it appears to have been at least equally prevalent. It is evidently alluded to, as well as the other practice that has just been noticed, of wounding the body by way of mourning, in the twenty-eighth verse of the nineteenth chapter of Leviticus, among the laws delivered to the Israelites through Moses:—"Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you," both of these being doubtless habits of the surrounding nations, which the chosen people, according to their usual propensity, had shown a disposition to imitate.
The few civilized communities of antiquity seem to have been all of them both singularly incurious as to the manners and conditions of the barbarous races by whom they were on all sides so closely encompassed, and, as might be expected, extremely ill-informed on the subject; so much so, as has been remarked by an author who has written on this topic with admirable learning and ability, that when Hanno, the Carthaginian, returned from his investigation of a small part of the west coast of Africa, he had no difficulty in making his countrymen believe that two hides, with the hair still on, which he brought back with him, and which he had taken from two large apes, were actually the skins of savage women, and deserving of being suspended in the temple of Juno as most uncommon curiosities.
But, little as these matters seem in general to have attracted the attention of the ancient writers, their works still contain many notices of the practice of tattooing. We may cite only one or two of a considerable number that have been collected by Lafitau,[T] although even his enumeration might be easily extended. Herodotus mentions it as prevailing among the Thracians, certain of whom, he says, exhibit such marks on their faces as an indication of their nobility. Other authors speak of it as a practice of the Scythians, the Agathyrses, and the Assyrians. Cæsar remarks it as prevailing among the Britons; and there can be no doubt that the term Picti was merely a name given to those more northerly tribes of our countrymen who retained this custom after it had fallen into decay among their southern brethren, who were in reality of the same race with themselves, under the ascendancy of the arts and manners of their Roman conquerors.
The Britons, according to Cæsar, painted their skins to make themselves objects of greater terror to their enemies; but it is not unlikely that the real object of these decorations was with them, as it appears to have been among the other barbarous nations of antiquity, to denote certain ranks of nobility or chieftainship; and thus to serve, in fact, nearly the same purpose with our modern coats of arms.
Pliny states that the dye with which the Britons stained themselves was that of a herb called glastum, which is understood to be the same with plantain. They introduced the juice of this herb into punctures previously made in the skin, so as to form permanent delineations of various animals, and other objects, on different parts of the body. The operation, which seems to have been performed by regular artists, is said to have been commonly undergone in boyhood; and a stoical endurance of the pain which it inflicted was considered one of the best proofs the sufferer could give of his resolution and manliness.
Among the Indians of America, some races are much more tattooed than others, and some scarcely at all. It it stated that, among the Iroquois only, a few of the women are in the habit of tracing a single row of this sort of embroidery along the jaw; and that merely with the intent of curing or preventing toothache, an effect which they conceive is produced by the punctures destroying certain nerves. It appears to be the general practice in America, first to finish the cutting, or graving of the lines, and afterwards to introduce the colouring, which is commonly made of pulverised charcoal. This last part of the operation occasions by far the greatest pain. Among the native tribes of Southern Africa, the fashion is merely to raise the epidermis by a slight pricking, which is described as affording rather a pleasurable excitement.
At the Society Isles these marks, according to Cook, were so general, that hardly anybody was to be seen without them. Persons of both sexes were commonly tattooed about the age of twelve or fourteen; and the decorations, which Cook imagined to vary according to the fancy, or perhaps, which is more likely, the rank of the individual, were liberally bestowed upon every part of the body, with the exception, however, of the face, which was generally left unmarked. They consisted not only of squares, circles, and other such figures, but frequently also of rude delineations of men, birds, dogs, and other animals. Banks saw the operation performed on a girl of about thirteen years of age, who was held down all the while by several women, and both struggled hard and made no little outcry as the artist proceeded with his labours. Yet it would seem that the process in use here is considerably more gentle than that practised in New Zealand; for the punctures, Cook affirms, could hardly be said to draw blood. Being afflicted by means of an instrument with small teeth, somewhat resembling a fine comb, the effect would be rather a pricking than a cutting, or carving, of the flesh. Unlike what we have seen to be the practice among the American savages, the tincture was here introduced by the same blow by which the skin was punctured. The substance employed was a species of lamp black, formed of the smoke of an oily nut which the natives burned to give them light.
The practice of tattooing is now, we believe, discontinued at Otaheite; but the progress of civilization has not yet altogether banished it at the Sandwich Islands. When Lord Byron was at Hawaii, in 1825, he found it used as a mark of mourning, though some still had themselves tattooed merely by way of ornament. On the death of one of the late kings of the island, it is stated that all the chiefs had his name and the date of his death engraved in this manner on their arms. The ladies here, it seems, follow the very singular practice of tattooing the tips of their tongues, in memory of their departed friends. In the Tonga, or Friendly Islands, it would appear from Mariner's very minute description of the operation as there practised, as at Otaheite and elsewhere, the instrument used is always a sort of comb, having from six up to fifty or sixty teeth. There are, Mariner tells us, certain patterns or forms of the tattoo, and the individual may choose which he likes. On the brown skins of the natives the marks, which are imprinted by means of a tincture made of soot, have a black appearance; but on that of a European, their colour is a fine blue. The women here are not tattooed, though a few of them have some marks on the inside of their fingers. At the Fiji Islands, on the contrary, in the neighbourhood of the Tonga group, the men are not tattooed, but the women are.
The term "tattoo" is not known in New Zealand, the name given to the marks, which are elsewhere so called, being in this country "Moko," or, as it has been more generally written, from a habit which the natives seem to have of prefixing the sound "a" to many of their words, "Amoco."[U]
The description which Rutherford gives of the process agrees entirely with what has been stated by other observers; although it certainly has been generally understood that, in no case, was the whole operation undergone at once, as it would, however, appear to have been in his. Both Cruise and Marsden expressly state, that, according to their information, it always required several months, and sometimes several years, to tattoo a chief perfectly; owing to the necessity for one part of the face or body being allowed to heal before commencing the decoration of another. Perhaps, however, this prolongation of the process may only be necessary when the moko is of a more intricate pattern, or extends over a larger portion of the person, than that which Rutherford received; or, in his peculiar circumstances, it may have been determined that he should have his powers of endurance put to still harder proof than a native would have been required to submit to in undergoing the same ceremony.
The portrait of Rutherford accurately represents the tattooing on his body. Cruise asserts that the tattooing in New Zealand is renewed occasionally, as the lines become fainter by time, to the latest period of life; and that one of the chiefs who returned home in the "Dromedary" was re-tattooed soon after his arrival.
From Rutherford's account, and he is corroborated as to that point by the other authorities, it will be perceived that the operation of tattooing is one of a still more severe and sanguinary description in New Zealand than it would seem to be in any of the other islands of the South Sea; for it is performed here, not merely by means of a sort of fine comb, which merely pricks the skin and draws from it a little serum slightly tinged with blood, but also by an instrument of the nature of a chisel, which at every application makes an incision into the flesh, and causes the blood to start forth in gushes. This chisel is sometimes nearly a quarter of an inch broad, although, for the more minute parts of the figure, a smaller instrument is used.
The stick with which the chisel is struck is occasionally formed into a broad blade at one end, which is applied to wipe away the blood. The tincture is said to be sometimes obtained from the juice of a particular tree.
Rutherford has forgotten to mention that, before the cutting has begun the figure is traced out upon the place; this appears to be always done in New Zealand as well as elsewhere, a piece of burnt stick or red earth being, according to Savage,[V] used for the purpose.
Some are tattooed at eight or ten years of age; but a young man is accounted very effeminate who reaches his twentieth year without having undergone the operation. Marsden told one of the chiefs, King George, as he was called, that he must not tattoo his nephew Racow,[W] who was a very fine-looking youth, with a dignified, open, and placid countenance, remarking that it would quite disfigure his face; "but he laughed at my advice," says Marsden, "and said he must be tattooed, as it would give him a noble, masculine, and warlike appearance; that he would not be fit for his successor with a smooth face; the New Zealanders would look on him merely as a woman if he was not tattooed."
Savage says that a small spiral figure on each side of the chin, a semi-circular figure over each eyebrow, and two, or sometimes three, lines on each lip, are all the tattooing the New Zealand women are required to submit to.
Rutherford's account is that they have a figure tattooed on the chin resembling a crown turned upside down; that the inside of their lips is also tattooed, the figures here appearing of a blue colour; and that they have also a mark on each side of the mouth resembling a candlestick, as well as two stripes about an inch long on the forehead, and one on each side of the nose. Their decorations of this description, as well as of the other sex, are no doubt different in different parts of the country.
"With respect to the amocos," says Cook in his First Voyage, "every different tribe seemed to have a different custom; for all the men in some canoes seemed to be almost covered with it, and those in others had scarcely a stain, except on the lips, which were black in all of them, without a single exception."
Rutherford states that in the part of the country where he was, the men were commonly tattooed on their face, hips, and bodies, and some as low as the knee. None were allowed to be tattooed on the forehead, chin, and upper lip, except the very greatest among the chiefs. The more they are tattooed, he adds, the more they are honoured. The priests, Savage says, have only a small square patch of tattooing over the right eye.
These stains, although their brilliancy may perhaps decay with time, being thus fixed in the flesh, are of course indelible, just as much as the marks of a similar nature which our own sailors frequently make on their arms and breasts, by introducing gunpowder under the skin. One effect, we are told, which they produce on the countenances of the New Zealanders, is to conceal the ravages of old age. Being thus permanent when once imprinted, each becomes also the peculiar distinction of the individual to whom it belongs, and is probably sometimes employed by him as his mark or sign manual. An officer belonging to the "Dromedary," who happened to have a coat of arms engraved on his seal, was frequently asked by the New Zealanders if the device was his "amoco." When the missionaries purchased a piece of land from one of the Bay of Islands chiefs, named Gunnah,[X] a copy of the tattooing on the face of the latter, being drawn by a brother chief, was affixed to the grant as his signature; while another native signed as a witness, by adding the "amoco" of one of his own cheeks.
Moko on woman's lips and chin. Moko on man's face.
This is certainly a more perfect substitute for a written name than that said to have been anciently in use in some parts of Europe. In Russia, for example, it is affirmed that in old times the way in which an individual generally gave his signature to a writing was by covering the palm of his hand with ink, and then laying it on the paper. Balbi, who states this, adds that the Russian language still retains an evidence of the practice in its phrase for signing a document, which is roukou prilojite, signifying, literally, to put the hand to it. It may be remarked, however, that this is a form of expression even in our own country; although there is certainly no trace of the singular custom in question having ever prevailed among our ancestors. Whatever may be the fact as to the Russian idiom, our own undoubtedly refers merely to the application of the hand with the pen in it. Each chief appears to be intimately acquainted with the peculiarities of his own "amoco."
There is also in the possession of the Church Missionary Society a bust of Shungie, cut in a very hard wood by himself, with a rude iron instrument of his own fabrication, on which the tattooing on his face is exactly copied.
The tattooing of the young New Zealander, before he takes his rank as one of the warriors of his tribe, is doubtless also intended to put his manhood to the proof; and may thus be regarded as having the same object with those ceremonies of initiation, as they have been called, which are practised among some other savage nations on the admission of an individual to any new degree of honour or chieftainship.
Among many nations of the American Indians, indeed, this cutting and marking of the person is one of the principal inflictions to which the aspirant is required to submit on such occasions. Thus, in the account which Rochefort, in his "History of the Antilles," gives us of the initiation of a warrior among the people of those islands, it is stated that the father of the young man, after a very rude flagellation of his son, used to proceed to scarify (as he expresses it) his whole body with a tooth of the animal called the "acouti"; and then, in order to heal the gashes thus made, he rubbed into them an infusion of pimento, which occasioned an agonizing pain to the poor patient; but it was indispensable that he should endure the whole, adds our author, without the least contortion of countenance or any other evidence of suffering.
Wherever, indeed, the spirit of war has entered largely into the institutions of a people, as it has almost always done among savage and imperfectly civilized nations, we find traces of similar observances. Something of the same object which has just been attributed to the tattooing of the New Zealanders, and the more complicated ceremonies of initiation practised among the American Indians, may be recognised even in certain of the rites of European chivalry, whether we take them as described in the learned volumes of Du Cange, or in the more amusing recitals of Cervantes.
The New Zealanders, like many other savages, are also in the habit of anointing themselves with a mixture of grease and red ochre. This sort of rouge is very much used by the women, and "being generally," says Cook, "fresh and wet upon their cheeks and foreheads, was easily transferred to the noses of those who thought fit to salute them; and that they were not wholly averse to such familiarity, the noses of several of our men strongly testified." "The faces of the men," he adds, "were not so generally painted; yet we saw one, whose whole body, and even his garments, were rubbed over with dry ochre, of which he kept a piece constantly in his hand, and was every minute renewing the decoration in one part or another, where he supposed it was become deficient."
It has been conjectured that this painting of the body, among its other uses, might also be intended, in some cases, as a protection against the weather, or, in other words, to serve the same purpose as clothing. Even where there is no plastering, the tattooing may be found to indurate the skin, and to render it less sensible to cold. This notion, perhaps, derives some confirmation from the appearance which these marks often assume.
Cook describes some of the New Zealanders, whom he saw on his first visit to the country, as having their thighs stained entirely black, with the exception of a few narrow lines, "so that at first sight," says he, "they appeared to wear striped breeches."
The Baron de Humboldt, too, informs us that the Indians of Guiana sometimes imitate, in the oddest manner, the clothes of Europeans in painting their skin. This observant traveller was much amused by seeing the body of a native painted to represent a blue jacket and black buttons. The missionaries also told him that the people of the Rio Caura paint themselves of a red ground, and then variegate the colour with transverse stripes of silver mica, so that they look most gallantly dressed. The painted cheeks that were once common in Europe, and are still occasionally seen, are relics of the same barbarism.
The "taboo," or "tapu," prevails also in many of the South Sea Islands, where it may be considered as the substitute for law; although its authority, in reality, rests on what we should rather call religious considerations, inasmuch as it appears to be obeyed entirely from the apprehension that its violation would bring down the anger of heaven.
It would require more space than we can afford to enumerate the various cases in which the "taboo" operates as a matter of course, even were we to say nothing of the numerous exigencies in which a resort to it seems to be at the option of the parties concerned. Among the former, we may merely mention that a person supposed to be dying seems to be uniformly placed under the "taboo"; and that the like consecration, if it may be so called, is always imposed for a certain space upon the individual who has undergone any part of the process of tattooing. But we are by no means fully informed either as to the exact rules that govern this matter, or even as to the peculiar description of persons to whom it belongs, on any occasion, to impose the "taboo." It is common in New Zealand for such of the chiefs as possess this power to separate, by means of the "taboo," any thing which they wish either to appropriate to themselves, or to protect, with any other object, from indiscriminate use.
When Tetoro was shown, in the "Dromedary," a double-barrelled fowling-piece, belonging to one of the officers, he "tabooed" it by tying a thread, pulled out of his cloak, round the guard of the trigger, and said that it must be his when he got to New Zealand, and that the owner should have thirty of his finest mats for it. But this, according to Cruise, any native may do with regard to an article for which he has bargained, in order to secure it till he has paid the price agreed upon.
On another occasion, Cruise found a number of people collected round an object which seemed to attract general attention, and which they told him was "tabooed." It turned out to be a plant of the common English pea, which was fenced round with little sticks, and had apparently been tended with very anxious care.
When the "Prince Regent" schooner, which accompanied the "Dromedary," lay at anchor in the river Shukehanga,[Y] a chief named Moodooi,[Z] greatly to the comfort of the captain, came one day on deck and "tabooed" the vessel, or made it a crime for any one to ascend the side without permission, which injunction was strictly attended to by the natives during his stay in the harbour.
So, when any land is purchased, it is secured to the purchaser by being "tabooed."
Marsden states that upon one occasion he found a great number of canoes employed in fishing, and all the fish which they took were immediately "tabooed," and could not be purchased. These fish were probably intended to be cured and preserved as part of the common stock of the tribe.
The principal inconveniences sustained by the person who is "tabooed" seem to be that he must have no communication with any who are not in the same condition as himself, and that in eating he must not help himself to his food with his hands. The chiefs are in such a case fed by their attendant; but the absurd prohibition is a serious punishment to the common people, who have nobody to assist them.
Nicholas relates an amusing incident illustrative of this. "On going into the town," says he, "in the course of the day, I beheld several of the natives sitting round some baskets of dressed potatoes; and being invited to join them in their meal, I mingled with the group, when I observed one man stoop down with his mouth for each morsel, and scrupulously careful in avoiding all contact between his hands and the food he was eating. From this I knew at once that he was 'tabooed;' and upon asking the reason of his being so, as he appeared in good health, and not afflicted with any complaint that could set him without the pale of ordinary intercourse, I found that it was because he was then building a house, and that he could not be released from the 'taboo' till he had it finished. Being only a "cookee,"[AA] he had no person to wait upon him, but was obliged to submit to the distressing operation of feeding himself in the manner proscribed by the superstitious ordinance; and he was told by the tohunga, or priest, that if he presumed to put one finger to his mouth before he had completed the work he was about, the atua (divinity) would certainly punish his impious contempt, by getting into his stomach before his time, and eating him out of the world. Of this premature destiny he seemed so apprehensive that he kept his hands as though they were never made for touching any article of diet; nor did he suffer them by even a single motion to show the least sympathy for his mouth, while that organ was obliged to use double exertions, and act for those members which superstition had paralysed.
"Sitting down by the side of this deluded being, whom credulity and ignorance had rendered hopeless," says Nicholas, "I undertook to feed him; and his appetite being quite voracious, I could hardly supply it as fast as he devoured. Without ever consulting his digestive powers, of which we cannot suppose he had any idea, he spared himself the trouble of mastication; and, to lose no time, swallowed down every lump as I put it into his mouth: and I speak within compass when I assert that he consumed more food than would have served any two ploughmen in England.
"Perfectly tired of administering to his insatiable gluttony, which was still as ravenous as when he commenced, I now wished for a little intermission; and taking advantage of his situation, I resolved to give him as much to do as would employ him for at least a few minutes, while, in the meantime, it would afford me some amusement for my trouble. I therefore thrust into his mouth the largest hot potato I could find, and this had exactly the intended effect; for the fellow, unwilling to drop it, and not daring to penetrate it before it should get cool, held it slightly compressed between his teeth, to the great enjoyment of his countrymen, who laughed heartily, as well as myself, at the wry faces he made, and the efforts he used with his tongue to moderate the heat of the potato, and bring it to the temperature of his gums, which were evidently smarting from the contact. But he bore this trick with the greatest possible good humour, and to make him amends for it, I took care to supply him plentifully, till he cried out, 'Nuee nuee kiki,'[AB] and could eat no more; an exclamation, however, which he did not make till there was no more in the baskets."[AC]
"Moeurs des Sauvages Ameriquains."
"Moko" is the accepted form of spelling the word.
"Account of New Zealand."
This is the name given in the deed of sale, dated February 24th, 1815, but the correct spelling is probably "Kuna" or "Kena."
Probably Muriwai, a celebrated Hokianga chief.
Mr. S. Percy Smith, of New Plymouth, states that this word was very common in New Zealand fifty or sixty years ago. It was applied to servants, and was derived from the English word "cook." In Maori it is "kuki."
This means "plenty of food," or "sufficient"; but it is European Maori. One Maori, speaking to another, would say "He nui te kai."
The best account of the operation of the law of tapu is given by Judge Maning in "Old New Zealand."
Rutherford remained at the village for about six months, together with the others who had been taken prisoners with him and who had not been put to death, all except one, John Watson, who, soon after their arrival there, was carried away by a chief named Nainy.[AD] A house was assigned for them to live in, and the natives gave them also an iron pot they had taken from the ship, in which to cook their victuals. This they found a very useful article. It was "tabooed," so that no slave was allowed to eat anything cooked in it; that, we suppose, being considered the surest way of preventing it from being stolen.
At last they set out in company with Aimy and another chief, to pursue their way further into the interior; one of them, however, whose name is not given, remaining with Rangadi.
Having come to another village, the chief of which was called Plama,[AE] another of them, whose name was John Smith, was left with him.
The number of those preserved alive, it will be recollected, was six; so that, three of them having been disposed of in the manner that has been stated, there were now, including Rutherford, as many more remaining together.
When they had travelled about twelve miles further, they stopped at a third village, and there they remained two days.
"We were treated very kindly," says Rutherford, "at this village by the natives. The chief, whose name was Ewanna,[AF] made us a present of a large pig, which we killed after our own country fashion, not a little to the surprise of the New Zealanders. I observed many of the children catch the flowing blood in their hands, and drink it with the greatest eagerness. Their own method of killing a pig is generally by drowning, in order that they may not lose the blood. The natives then singed off the hair for us, by holding the animal over a fire, and also gutted it, desiring nothing but the entrails for their trouble. We cooked it in our iron pot, which the slaves who followed us had brought along with the rest of the luggage belonging to our party.
"No person was allowed to take any part of the pig unless he received some from us; and not even then, if he did not belong to a chief's family.
"On taking our departure from this village, we left with Ewanna one of our comrades named Jefferson, who, on parting from us, pressed my hand in his, and with tears in his eyes, exclaimed, 'God bless you both! we shall never see each other again.'
"We proceeded on our journey, in company with Aimy and his family, and another chief; and having walked about two miles without one word being spoken by any of the party, we arrived at the side of a river. Here we stopped, and lighted a fire; and the natives who had charge of the luggage having come up in about an hour, bringing with them some potatoes and dried fish, we cooked a dinner for ourselves in the usual manner. We then crossed the river, which was only about knee deep, and immediately entered a wood, through which we continued to make our way till sunset. On getting out of it we found ourselves in the midst of some cultivated ground, on which we saw growing potatoes, turnips, cabbage, tara[AG] (which is a root resembling a yam), water-melons, and coomeras,[AH] or sweet potatoes.
"After a little while we arrived at another river, on the opposite side of which stood the village in which Aimy resided. Having got into a canoe, we crossed over to the village, in front of which many women were standing, who, waving their mats, exclaimed, as they saw us approaching, 'Arami, arami,' [AI] which means, 'Welcome home.'
"We were then taken to Aimy's house, which was the largest in the village, having the walls formed of large twigs covered with rushes, with which it was also thatched. A pig was now killed for us, and cooked with some coomeras, from which we supped; and, afterwards seating ourselves around the fire, we amused ourselves by listening to several of the women singing.
"In the meantime, a slave girl was killed, and put into a hole in the earth to roast in the manner already described in order to furnish a feast the following day, in honour of the chief's return home.
"We slept that night in the chief's house; but the next morning a number of the natives were set to work to build one for ourselves, of the same form with that in which the chief lived, and nearly of the same size.
"In the course of this day, many other chiefs arrived at the village, accompanied by their families and slaves, to welcome Aimy home, which they did in the usual manner. Some of them brought with them a quantity of water-melons, which they gave to me and my comrade. At last they all seated themselves upon the ground to have their feast; several large pigs, together with some scores of baskets of potatoes, tara, and water-melons, having first been brought forward by Aimy's people. The pigs, after being drowned in the river and dressed, had been laid to roast beside the potatoes. When these were eaten, the fire that had been made the night before was opened, and the body of the slave girl taken out of it, which they next proceeded to feast upon in the eagerest manner. We were not asked to partake of it, for Aimy knew that we had refused to eat human flesh before. After the feast was over, the fragments were collected, and carried home by the slaves of the different chiefs, according to the custom which is always observed on such occasions in New Zealand."
The house that had been ordered to be built for Rutherford and his companion was ready in about a week; and, having taken up their abode in it, they were permitted to live, as far as circumstances would allow, according to their own customs. As it was in this village that Rutherford continued to reside during the remainder of the time he spent in New Zealand, we may consider him as now fairly domesticated among his new associates, and may therefore conveniently take the present opportunity of completing our general picture of the country and its inhabitants, by adverting to a few matters which have not yet found a place in our narrative.
No doubt whatever can exist as to the relationship of the New Zealanders to the numerous other tribes of the same complexion, by whom nearly all the islands of the South Sea are peopled, and who, in physical conformation, language, religion, institutions, and habits, evidently constitute only one great family.
Recent investigations, likewise, must be considered to have sufficiently proved that the wave of population, which has spread itself over so large a portion of the surface of the globe, has flowed from the same central region, which all history points to as the cradle of our race, and which may be here described generally as the southern tract of the great continent of Asia. This prolific clime, while it has on the one hand sent out its successive detachments of emigrants to occupy the wide plains of Europe, has on the other discharged its overflowing numbers upon the islands of the Pacific, and, with the exception of New Holland[AJ] and a few other lands in its immediate vicinity, the population of which seems to be of African origin, has, in this way, gradually spread a race of common parentage over all of them, from those that constitute what has been called the great Indian Archipelago, in the immediate neighbourhood of China, to the Sandwich Islands and Easter Island, in the remotest east of that immense expanse of waters.
The Malay language is spoken, although in many different dialects and degrees of corruption, throughout the whole of this extensive range, which, measured in one direction, stretches over nearly half the equatorial circumference of the globe, and in another over at least seventy degrees of latitude. The people are all also of the same brown or copper complexion, by which the Malay is distinguished from the white man on the one hand, and the negro on the other.
In New Zealand, however, as, indeed, in most of the other seats of this race, the inhabitants are distinguished from each other by a very considerable diversity in the shades of what may be called the common hue. Crozet was so much struck with this circumstance that he does not hesitate to divide them into three classes—whites, browns, and blacks,—the last of whom he conceives to be a foreign admixture received from the neighbouring continent of New Holland, and who, by their union with the whites, the original inhabitants of the country, and still decidedly the prevalent race, have produced those of the intermediate colour.
Two Maori Chiefs—Te Puni, or "Greedy," and Wharepouri, or "Dark House."
Whatever may be thought of this hypothesis, it is certain that in some parts of New Zealand the natives are much fairer than in others. Cook remarks, in the account of his first voyage, that the people about the Bay of Islands seemed darker than those he had seen further to the south; and their colour generally is afterwards described as varying from a pretty deep black to a yellowish or olive tinge. In like manner, Marsden states that the people in the neighbourhood of the Shukehanga are much fairer than those on the east coast. It may also, perhaps, be considered some confirmation of Crozet's opinion as to the origin of the darkest coloured portion of the population, that those who come under this description are asserted to be characterized, in addition, by the other negro peculiarity of a diminutive stature.[AK]
In general, however, the New Zealanders are a tall race of men, many of the individuals belonging to the upper classes being six feet high and upwards. They are also described as strong, active, and almost uniformly well-shaped. Their hair is commonly straight, but sometimes curly; Crozet says he saw a few of them with red hair. Cook describes the females as far from attractive; but other observers give a more flattering account of them. Savage, for example, assures us that their features are regular and pleasing; and he seems to have been much struck by their "long black hair and dark penetrating eyes," as well as "their well-formed figure, the interesting cast of their countenance, and the sweet tone of their voice." Cruise's testimony is almost equally favourable.
The dress of the two sexes is exactly the same, and consists of an inner mat or tunic, fastened by a girdle round their waists, and an upper cloak, which is made of very coarse materials for ordinary wear, but is of a much finer fabric, and often, indeed, elaborately ornamented, when intended for occasions of display. Both these articles of attire are always made of the native flax. The New Zealanders wear no covering either for the head or the feet, the feathers with which both sexes ornament the head being excepted.
The food upon which they principally live is the root of the fern-plant, which grows all over the country.
Rutherford's account of the method of preparing it, which we have already transcribed, corresponds exactly with that given by Cook, Nicholas, and others. This root, sometimes swallowed entirely, and sometimes only masticated, and the fibres rejected after the juice has been extracted, serves the New Zealanders not only for bread, but even occasionally for a meal by itself. When fish are used, they do not appear, as in many other countries, to be eaten raw, but are always cooked, either by being fixed upon a stick stuck in the ground, and so exposed to the fire, or by being folded in green leaves, and then placed between heated stones to bake. But little of any other animal food is consumed, birds being killed chiefly for their feathers, and pigs being only produced on days of special festivity.
The first pigs were left in New Zealand by Cook, who made many attempts to stock the country both with this and other useful animals, most of whom, however, were so much neglected that they soon disappeared. Cook, likewise, introduced the potato into New Zealand; and that valuable root appears to be now pretty generally cultivated throughout the northern island.
The only agricultural implements, however, which the natives possess are of the rudest description; that with which they dig their potatoes being merely a wooden pole, with a cross-bar of the same material fixed to it about three feet from the ground. Marsden saw the wives of several of the chiefs toiling hard in the fields with no better spade than this; among others the head wife of the great Shungie, who, though quite blind, appeared to dig the ground, he says, as fast as those who had their sight, and as well, first pulling up the weeds as she went along with her hands, then setting her feet upon them that she might know where they were; and, finally, after she had broken the soil, throwing the mould over the weeds with her hands.
The labours of agriculture in New Zealand are, in this way, rendered exceedingly toilsome, by the imperfection of the only instruments which the natives possess. Hence, principally, their extreme desire for iron. Marsden, in the "Journal of his Second Visit," gives us some very interesting details touching the anxiety which the chiefs universally manifested to obtain agricultural tools of this metal. One morning, he tells us, a number of them arrived at the settlement, some having come twenty, others fifty miles. "They were ready to tear us to pieces," says he, "for hoes and axes. One of them said his heart would burst if he did not get a hoe."
They were told that a supply had been written for to England; but "they replied that many of them would be in their graves before the ship would come from England, and the hoes and axes would be of no advantage to them when dead. They wanted them now. They had no tools at present, but wooden ones to work their potato-grounds with; and requested that we would relieve their present distress."
When he returned from his visit to Shukehanga, many of the natives of that part of the country followed him, with a similar object, to the settlement. "When we left Patuona's village," says he, "we were more than fifty in number, most of them going for an axe or a hoe, or some small edge-tool. They would have to travel, by land and water, from a hundred to a hundred and forty miles, in some of the worst paths, through woods, that can be conceived, and to carry their provisions for their journey. A chief's wife came with us all the way, and I believe her load would not be less than one hundred pounds; and many carried much more." But, perhaps, the most importunate pleader the reverend gentleman encountered on this journey was an old chief, with a very long beard, and his face tattooed all over, who followed him during part of his progress among the villages of the western coast. "He wanted an axe," says Marsden, "very much; and at last he said that if we would give him an axe, he would give us his head. Nothing is held in so much veneration by the natives as the head of their chief. I asked him who should have the axe when I had got his head. At length he said, 'Perhaps you will trust me a little time; and, when I die, you shall have my head.' This venerable personage afterwards got his axe by sending a man for it to the settlement."
There is no "l" in the Maori orthography, and the name cannot be traced.
This is another case where Rutherford's pronunciation seems to have been at fault.
The kumera, a sweet potato, which was extensively cultivated by the ancient Maoris.
"Haere mai," "come here," the usual words of welcome.
That is, Australia.
The origin of the Maori is dealt with exhaustively by Mr. S Percy Smith in "Hawaiki"; by Mr. E. Tregear, in "The Maori Race"; and by Professor Macmillan Brown, in "Maori and Polynesian."
Taken altogether, New Zealand presents a great variety of landscape, although, even where the scenery is most subdued, it partakes of a bold and irregular character, derived not more from the aspect of undisturbed Nature, which still obtrudes itself everywhere among the traces of commencing cultivation, than from the confusion of hill and valley which marks the face of the soil, and the precipitous eminences, with their sides covered by forests, and their summits barren of all vegetation, or terminating perhaps in a naked rock, that often rise close beside the most sheltered spots of fertility and verdure.
If this brokenness and inequality of surface oppose difficulties in the way of agricultural improvement, the variety and striking contrasts thereby produced must be often at least highly picturesque; and all, accordingly, who have visited New Zealand, agree in extolling the mingled beauty and grandeur which are profusely spread over the more favoured parts of the country, and are not altogether wanting even where the general look of the coast is most desolate and uninviting.
The southern island, with the exception of a narrow strip along its northern shore, appears to be, in its interior, a mere chaos of mountains, and the region of perpetual winter; but even here, the declivities that slope down towards the sea are clothed, in many places to the water's edge, with gigantic and evergreen forests; and more protected nooks occasionally present themselves, overspread with the abundance of a teeming vegetation, and not to be surpassed in loveliness by what the land has anywhere else to show. The bleakness of the western coast of this southern island indeed does not arise so much from its latitude as from the tempestuous north-west winds which seem so much to prevail in this part of the world, and to the whole force of which it is, from its position, exposed.
The interior and eastern side of the northern island owe their fertility and their suitableness for the habitation of man principally to the intervention of a considerable extent of land, much of which is elevated, between them and the quarter from which these desolating gales blow. The more westerly portion of it seems only to be inhabited in places which are in a certain degree similarly defended by the surrounding high grounds. In these, as well as in the more populous districts to the east, the face of the country, generally speaking, offers to the eye a spread of luxuriant verdure, the freshness of which is preserved by continual depositions of moisture from the clouds that are attracted by the mountains, so that its hue, even in the heat of midsummer, is peculiarly vivid and lustrous.
Much of the land, both in the valleys and on the brows of the hills, is covered by groves of majestic pine, which are nearly impervious, from the thick underwood that has rushed up everywhere in the spaces between the trees; and where there is no wood, the prevailing plant is a fern, which rises generally to the height of six or seven feet.
Along the skirts of the woodlands flow numerous rivers, which intersect the country in all directions, and several of which are navigable for miles up by ships of considerable burthen. Various lines of communication are in this way established between the opposite coasts of the northern island; while some of the minor streams, that rush down to the sea through the more precipitous ravines, are interrupted in their course by magnificent cataracts, which give additional effect to the other features of sublimity and romantic beauty by which the country is so distinguished. Many of the rocks on the coast are perforated, a circumstance which proceeds from their formation.
The quality of the soil of this country may be best estimated from the profuse vegetation with which the greater part of it is clothed, and the extraordinary vigour which characterizes the growth of most of its productions. The botany of New Zealand has as yet been very imperfectly investigated, a very small portion of the native plants having been either classified or enumerated. From the partial researches, however, that have been made by the scientific gentlemen attached to Cook's expeditions, and subsequent visitors, there can be no doubt that the country is rich both in new and valuable herbs, plants, and trees as well as admirably adapted for the cultivation of many of the most useful among the vegetable possessions of other parts of the world.
Rutherford, we have seen, mentions the existence of cultivated land in the neighbourhood of the village to which he was last conveyed. The New Zealanders had made considerable advances in agriculture even before Cook visited the country; and that navigator mentions particularly, in the narrative of his first voyage, the numerous patches of ground which he observed all along the east coast in a state of cultivation. Speaking of the very neighbourhood of the place at which the crew of the "Agnes" were made prisoners, he says:—"Banks saw some of their plantations, where the ground was as well broken down and tilled as even in the gardens of the most curious people among us. In these spots were sweet potatoes, coccos or eddas, which are well known and much esteemed both in the East and West Indies, and some gourds. The sweet potatoes were placed in small hills, some ranged in rows, and others in quincunx, all laid by a line with the greatest regularity. The coccos were planted upon flat land, but none of them yet (it was about the end of October) appeared above ground; and the gourds were set in small hollows, or dishes, much as in England. These plantations were of different extent, from one or two acres to ten. Taken together, there appeared to be from one hundred and fifty to two hundred acres in cultivation in the whole bay, though we never saw a hundred people. Each district was fenced in, generally with reeds, which were placed so close together that there was scarcely room for a mouse to creep between."
Since the commencement of the intercourse of the New Zealanders with Europe, the sphere of their husbandry has been considerably enlarged by the introduction of several most precious articles which were formerly unknown to them. Cook, in the course of his several visits to the country, both deposited in the soil, and left with some of the most intelligent among the natives, quantities of such useful seeds as those of wheat, peas, cabbage, onions, carrots, turnips, and potatoes; but although he had sufficient proofs of the suitableness of the soil and climate to the growth of most of these articles, which he found that even the winter of New Zealand was too mild to injure, it appeared to him very unlikely that the inhabitants would be at the trouble to take care even of those whose value they in some degree appreciated. With the exception, in fact, of the turnips and potatoes, the vegetable productions which Cook took so much pains to introduce seem to have all perished. The potatoes, however, have been carefully preserved, and are said to have even improved in quality, being now greatly superior to those of the Cape of Good Hope, from which the seed they have sprung from was originally brought.
In more recent times, maize has been introduced into New Zealand; and the missionaries have sown many acres in the neighbourhood of the Bay of Islands, both on their own property and on that of the native chiefs, with English wheat, which has produced an abundant return.
Duaterra was the first person who actually reared a crop of this grain in his native country. On leaving Port Jackson the second time, to return home, he took with him a quantity of it, and much astonished his acquaintances by informing them that this was the very substance of which the Europeans made biscuits, such as they had seen and eaten on board their ships.
"He gave a portion of wheat," says Marsden, "to six chiefs, and also to some of his own common men, and directed them all how to sow it, reserving some for himself and his uncle Shungie, who is a very great chief, his dominion extending from the east to the west side of New Zealand.
"All the persons to whom Duaterra had given the seed-wheat put it into the ground, and it grew well; but before it was well ripe, many of them grew impatient for the produce; and as they expected to find the grain at the roots of the stems, similar to their potatoes, they examined the roots, and finding there was no wheat under the ground, they pulled it all up, and burned it, except Shungie.
"The chiefs ridiculed Duaterra much about the wheat, and told him, because he had been a great traveller, he thought he could easily impose upon their credulity by fine stories; and all he urged could not convince them that wheat would make bread. His own and Shungie's crops in time came to perfection, and were reaped and threshed; and though the natives were much astonished to find that the grain was produced at the top, and not at the bottom of the stem, yet they could not be persuaded that bread could be made of it."
Marsden afterwards sent Duaterra a steel mill to grind his wheat, which he received with no little joy. "He soon set to work," continues Marsden, "and ground some wheat before his countrymen, who danced and shouted for joy when they saw the meal. He told me that he made a cake and baked it in a frying-pan, and gave it to the people to eat, which fully satisfied them of the truth he had told them before, that wheat would make bread." The chiefs now begged some more seed, which they sowed; and such of it as was attended to grew up as strong a crop as could be desired.
In all countries the securing of a sufficient supply of food is the primary concern of society; and, accordingly, even among the rudest tribes who are in any degree dependent upon the fruits of the earth for their sustenance, the different operations of agriculture, as regulated by the seasons, have always excited especial interest. Theoretical writers are fond of talking of the natural progress of the species to the agricultural state, from and through the pastoral, as if the one were a condition at which it was nothing less than impossible for a people to arrive, except by first undergoing the other.
In countries circumstanced like New Zealand, at least, the course of things must have been somewhat different; inasmuch as here we find the agricultural state begun, where the pastoral could never have been known, there being no flocks to tend. Cook, as we have seen, found the inhabitants of this country extensive cultivators of land, and they, probably, had been so for many ages before. Although the fern-root is in most places the spontaneous produce of the soil, and enters largely into the consumption of the people, it would yet seem that they have not been wont to consider themselves independent of those other crops which they raise by regular cultivation. To these, accordingly, they pay the greatest attention, insomuch, that most of those who have visited the country have been struck by the extraordinary contrast between the neat and clean appearance of their fields, in which the plants rise in even rows, and not a weed is to be seen, and the universal air of rudeness, slovenliness, and discomfort which their huts present.
But we must remember that in the latter case we see merely a few of the personal accommodations of the savage, his neglect of which occasions him but very slight and temporary inconvenience; whereas in the former it is the very sustenance of his life which is concerned, his inattention to which might expose him to all the miseries of famine. The same care and neatness in the management of their fields has been remarked as characteristics of the North American Indians; and both they and the New Zealanders celebrate the seasons of planting and gathering in their harvests with festivities and religious observances, practices which have, indeed, prevailed in almost every nation, and may be regarded as among the most beautiful and becoming of the rites of natural religion.
The commencement of the coomera harvest in New Zealand is the signal for the suspension of all other occupations except that of gathering in the crop. First, the priest pronounces a blessing upon the unbroken ground; and then, when all its produce has been gathered in, he "taboos" or makes sacred, the public storehouse in which it is deposited.
Cruise states that this solemn dedication has sometimes saved these depositories from spoliation, even on occasion of a hostile attack by another tribe. "One of the gentlemen of the ship," this writer adds, "was present at the 'shackerie,'[AL] or harvest-home, if it may be so called, of Shungie's people. It was celebrated in a wood, where a square space had been cleared of trees, in the centre of which three very tall posts, driven into the ground in the form of a triangle, supported an immense pile of baskets of coomeras. The tribe of Teeperree[AM] of Wangarooa[AN] was invited to participate in the rejoicings, which consisted of a number of dances performed round the pole, succeeded by a very splendid feast; and when Teeperree's men were going away, they received a present of as many coomeras as they could carry with them." In New Zealand all the cultivated fields are strictly "tabooed," as well as the people employed in cultivating them, who live upon the spot while they proceed with their labours, and are not permitted to pass the boundary until they are terminated; nor are any others allowed to trespass upon the sacred enclosure.
We have already mentioned more than once the lofty forests of New Zealand. Of these, considered as a mere ornament to the country, all who have seen them speak in terms of the highest admiration. Anderson, the surgeon whom Cook took with him on board the "Resolution" in his third voyage, describes them as "flourishing with a vigour almost superior to anything that imagination can conceive, and affording an august prospect to those who are delighted with the grand and beautiful works of Nature."
"It is impossible," says Nicholas, "to imagine, in the wildest and most picturesque walks of Nature, a sight more sublime and majestic, or which can more forcibly challenge the admiration of the traveller, than a New Zealand forest."
And indeed, when we are told that the trees rise generally to the height of from eighty to a hundred feet, straight as a mast and without a branch, and are then crowned with tops of such umbrageous foliage that the rays of the sun, in endeavouring to pierce through them, can hardly make more than a dim twilight in the lonely recesses below, so that herbage cannot grow there, and the rank soil produces nothing but a thick spread of climbing and intertwisted underwood, we may conceive how imposing must be the gloomy grandeur of these gigantic and impenetrable groves.
Scene in a New Zealand forest.
In the woods in the neighbourhood of Poverty Bay, Cook says he found trees of above twenty different sorts, altogether unknown to anybody on board; and almost every new district which he visited afterwards presented to him a profusion of new varieties. But the trees that have as yet chiefly attracted the attention of Europeans are certain of those more lofty ones of which we have just spoken.
These trees had attracted Cook's attention in his first voyage, as likely to prove admirably adapted for masts, if the timber, which in its original state he considered rather too heavy for that purpose, could, like that of the European pitch-pine, be lightened by tapping; they would then, he says, be such masts as no country in Europe could produce. Crozet, however, asserts, in his account of Marion's voyage that they found what he calls the cedar of New Zealand to weigh no heavier than the best Riga fir.
Nicholas brought some of the seeds of the New Zealand phormium with him to England in 1815; but unfortunately they lost their vegetative properties during the voyage. It appears, however, that, some years before, it had been brought to blossom, though imperfectly, in the neighbourhood of London; and in France it is said to have been cultivated in the open air with great success, by Freycinet and Faujas St. Fond. Under the culture of the former of these gentlemen it grew, in 1813, to the height of seven feet six lines, the stalk being three inches and four lines in circumference at the base, and two inches and a half, half-way up. Upon one stalk he had a hundred and nine flowers, of a greenish yellow colour; and he had made some very strong ropes from the leaves, from which he had obtained the flax by a very simple process.
According to Rutherford, the natives, after having cut it down, and brought it home green in bundles, in which state it is called "koradee," scrape it with a large mussel-shell, and take the heart out of it, splitting it with the nails of their thumbs, which for that purpose they keep very long. It would seem, however, that the natives have made instruments for dressing this flax not very dissimilar from the tools of our own wool-combers. The outside they throw away, and the rest they spread out for several days in the sun to dry, which makes it as white as snow. In this prepared state it is, he says, called "mooka." They spin it, he adds, in a double thread, with the hand on the thigh, and then work it into mats, also by the hand: three women may work on one mat at a time.
Nicholas, on one occasion, saw Duaterra's head wife employed in weaving. The mat on which she was engaged was one of an open texture, and "she performed her work," says the author, "with wooden pegs stuck in the ground at equal distances from each other, to which having tied the threads that formed the woof, she took up six threads with the two composing the warp, knotting them carefully together." "It was astonishing," he says, "with what dexterity and quickness she handled the threads, and how well executed was her performance." He was assured that another mat which he saw, and which was woven with elaborate ingenuity and elegance, could not have been manufactured in less time than between two and three years.
Valuable, however, as is the phormium for the purposes to which alone it is applied in New Zealand, it would appear that the attempts which have been made to fabricate from it what is properly called cloth have not hitherto been attended with a favourable result. Some years ago, a quantity of hemp that had been manufactured from the plant at Sydney, was sent to be woven at Knaresborough; but "the trial," it is stated, "did not succeed to the full satisfaction of the parties."
We have been favoured with a communication upon this subject by a gentleman who has given much attention to it, which seems to explain, in a very satisfactory manner, the true reason of the failure that has been here experienced. "A friend of mine," says our correspondent, "a few years ago imported a quantity of the phormium, in the expectation that it would answer admirably for making cloth even of the finest fabric. But in this he was altogether disappointed. Although it is infinitely stronger in its raw state than any other flax or hemp, yet when boiled with potash it becomes so exceedingly weak as not to bear the operation of weaving but with the utmost difficulty. A gentleman once showed me a pair of trousers made of this material. They appeared quite rough and nearly worn out, though they had been used but for a few weeks.
"Although making cloth of it, however, is out of the question, it is admirably fitted for rope and twine of all descriptions. It will, therefore, prove highly valuable to our shipping and fishing interests. Another friend of mine made some rope of it, which, when proved by the breaking machine, bore, I think, nearly double the strain of a similar-sized rope made of Russian hemp. The great strength and tenacity of the New Zealand flax appears to me to be owing to the fibres, though naturally short, being firmly united by an elastic vegetable glue or gum, which the boiling process dissolves." Rutherford says the flax becomes black on being soaked, which may possibly be occasioned by its consequent loss of the gum here described.
We find it stated in the "Annual Register" for 1819, that about the beginning of that year a favourable report had been made of the suitableness of the phormium for the manufacture both of small and large ropes, after some experiments in the dockyard at Portsmouth. The ropes turned out strong, pliable, and very silky. The notice adds that the plant may be cut down in New Zealand three times a year; and that it may be imported to this country at the rate of about eight pounds per ton, or one-seventh of the cost of hemp.
Among the useful plants for which we are indebted to New Zealand, we must not forget their summer spinach (Tetragonia expansa—Murray), which was discovered on Cook's first voyage by Sir Joseph Banks, and was "boiled and eaten as greens" by the crew. It was afterwards seen by Forster at Tongataboo, though it was not used by the natives; but Thunberg found the Japanese acquainted with its value as a pot-herb. It was introduced into Kew Gardens in 1772; but the first account of it as a vegetable worthy of cultivation, was published by Count D'Auraches in the "Annales d'Agriculture" for 1809. Its chief advantage lies in the leaves being fit for use during the summer, even in the driest weather, up to the setting in of the frosts, when the common spinach is useless; but it is not reckoned of so fine a flavour as that plant. The Rev. J. Bransby says that the produce of three seeds, which must be reared by heat before planting out, supplied his own table and those of two of his friends from June till the frost killed it.
The hakari, or feast, a great function in former times.
This name is spelt wrongly. It might be Te Pahi, a famous chief, but it is reported that he died soon after the affair of the "Boyd," in 1809, some time before Rutherford's arrival in New Zealand. The tribe, however, may still have been known as Te Pahi's.
The native land animals of New Zealand are not numerous. The most common is said to be one resembling our fox-dog, which is sometimes eaten for food. It runs wild in the woods, and is described by Savage as usually of a black and white skin, with pricked up ears, and the hair rather long. But it may perhaps be doubted if even this quadruped is a native of the country.[AO]
According to Rutherford the pigs run wild in the woods, and are hunted by dogs. He also mentions that there are a few horned cattle in the interior, which have been bred from some left by the discovery ships. No other account, however, confirms this statement. There are in New Zealand a few rats, and bats; and the coasts are frequented by seals of different species. One of the natives told Cook that there was in the interior a lizard eight feet long, and as thick as a man's body, which burrowed in the ground, and sometimes seized and devoured men. This animal, of the existence of which we have the additional evidence of an exactly similar description given by one of the chiefs to Nicholas, is probably an alligator. The natives, as we learn from Cruise, have the greatest horror of a lizard, in the shape of which animal they believe it is that the atua (or demon) is wont to take possession of the dying, and to devour their entrails—a superstition which may not be unconnected with the dread the alligator has spread among them by its actual ravages, or the stories that have been propagated respecting it. They report that in the part of the country where it is found it makes great havoc among children, carrying them off and devouring them whenever they come in its way.[AP]
There are not many species of insects, those seen by Anderson, who accompanied Cook, being only a few dragonflies, butterflies, grasshoppers, spiders, and black ants, vast numbers of scorpion flies, and a sandfly, which is described as the only noxious insect in the country. It insinuates itself under the foot, and bites like a mosquito.
The birds of New Zealand are very numerous, and almost all are peculiar to the country. Among them are wild ducks, large wood-pigeons, seagulls, rails, parrots, and parrakeets. They are generally very tame.
Rutherford states that during his long residence he became very expert, after the manner of the natives, in catching birds with a noosed string, and that he has thus caught thousands of ground parrots with a line about fifty feet long. The most remarkable bird is one to which Cook's people gave the name of the mocking-bird, from the extraordinary variety of its notes.[AQ] There is also another which was called by the English the poe, or poi bird, from a little tuft of white curled feathers which it has under its throat, and which seemed to them to resemble certain white flowers worn as ornaments in the ears by the people of Otaheite, and known there by a similar name. This bird is also remarkable both for the beauty of its plumage and the sweetness of its note. Its power of song is the more remarkable as it belongs to the class of birds which feed on honey, whose notes are generally not melodious.[AR]
The enchanting music of the woods of New Zealand is dwelt upon with rapture by all who have had an opportunity of listening to it. Describing one of the first days he spent in Queen Charlotte Sound, Cook says:—"The ship lay at the distance of somewhat less than a quarter of a mile from the shore, and in the morning we were awakened by the singing of the birds. The number was incredible, and they seemed to strain their throats in emulation of each other. This wild melody was infinitely superior to any that we had ever heard of the same kind; it seemed to be like small bells, exquisitely tuned; and perhaps the distance and the water between might be no small advantage to the sound." Upon inquiry, they were informed that the birds here always begin to sing about two hours after midnight, and, continuing their music till sunrise, were silent the rest of the day.[AS]
One of the chief sources of natural wealth which New Zealand possesses consists in the abundance and variety of the fish which frequent its coasts. Wherever he went, Cook, in his different visits to the two islands, was amply supplied with this description of food, of which he says that six or eight men, with hooks and lines, would in some places catch daily enough to serve the whole ship's company. Among the different species which are described as being found, we may mention mackerel, crayfish, a sort called by the sailors colefish, which Cook says was both larger and finer than any he had seen before, and was, in the opinion of most on board, the highest luxury the sea afforded them; the herring, the flounder, and a fish resembling the salmon. To these may be added, besides, many other species of shell-fish, mussels, cockles, and oysters.
The seas in the neighbourhood of New Zealand, also, we ought not to forget to add, are much frequented by whales, which, besides the value of their blubber, are greatly prized by the natives for the sake of their flesh, which they consider a first-rate delicacy.
The New Zealanders are extremely expert in fishing. They are also admirable divers, and Rutherford states that they will bring up live fish from the deepest waters, with the greatest certainty.
Craik is correct in this surmise. The Maori dog, Canis familiaris, (Variety Maorium), which is now extinct, was introduced to New Zealand when the Maoris came at the time of their great migration, about 500 years ago.
The alligator is purely mythical. The only reptiles in New Zealand are lizards, and a lizard-like animal called Tuatara. It is about 18 inches long, and is allied to crocodiles and turtles, as well as lizards. It is the sole representative of an ancient reptilian order named Rhyncocephalia.
This is the bell-bird (Anthornis melanura).
The tui, or parson bird (Prosthemadera novæ zealandiæ.)
Large numbers of New Zealand birds unite in the spring in singing a magnificent Song of Dawn, which generally ceases when the sun has fairly risen, but individuals sing at intervals through the day.
The details we have thus given will enable the reader to form a conception of the state of society in the country in which Rutherford now found himself imprisoned.
The spot in the northern island of New Zealand, in which the village lay where his residence was eventually fixed, cannot be exactly ascertained, from the account which he gives of his journey to it from the coast. It is evident, however, from the narrative, that it was too far in the interior to permit the sea to be seen from it.
"For the first year after our arrival in Aimy's village," says Rutherford, "we spent our time chiefly in fishing and shooting; for the chief had a capital double-barrelled fowling piece, as well as plenty of powder and duck-shot, which he had brought from our vessel; and he used to entrust me with the fowling-piece whenever I had a mind to go a shooting, though he seldom accompanied me himself. We were generally fortunate enough to bring home a good many wood-pigeons, which are very plentiful in New Zealand.
"At last it happened that Aimy and his family went to a feast at another village a few miles distant from ours, and my comrade and I were left at home, with nobody but a few slaves, and the chief's mother, an old woman, who was sick, and attended by a physician. A physician in this country remains with his patients constantly both day and night, never leaving them till they either recover or die, in which latter case he is brought before a court of inquiry, composed of all the chiefs for many miles round.
"During the absence of the family at the feast, my comrade chanced to lend his knife to a slave for him to cut some rushes with, in order to repair a house; and when this was done he received it back again. Soon after he and I killed a pig, from which we cut a portion into small pieces, and put them into our iron pot, along with some potatoes which we had also peeled with our knives. When the potatoes were cooked, the old woman who was sick desired us to give her some, which we did in the presence of the doctor, and she ate them. Next morning she died, when the chief and the rest of his family immediately returned home.
"The corpse was first removed to an unoccupied piece of ground in the centre of the village, and there placed with a mat under it, in a sitting position against a post, being covered with another mat up to the chin. The head and face were anointed with shark oil, and a piece of green flax was also tied round the head, in which were stuck several white feathers, the sort of feathers which are here preferred to any other.
"They then constructed, around the corpse, an enclosure of twigs, something like a bird's cage, for the purpose of keeping the dogs, pigs, and children from it; and these operations being over, muskets continued to be occasionally fired during the remainder of the day to the memory of the old woman. Meanwhile, the chiefs and their families from miles around were making their appearance in our village, bringing with them their slaves loaded with provisions. On the third day after the death, they all, to the number of some hundreds, knelt down around the corpse, and, having thrown off their mats, proceeded to cry and cut themselves, in the same manner as we had seen done on occasions of the different chiefs of the villages through which we passed being welcomed home.
"After some time spent in this ceremony, they all sat down together to a great feast, made of their own provisions, which they had brought with them.
"The next morning, the men alone formed a circle round the dead body, armed with spears, muskets, tomahawks, and merys, and the doctor appeared, walking backwards and forwards in the ring. By this time, my companion and I had learned a good deal of their language; and, as we stood listening to what was said, we heard the doctor relate the particulars of the old woman's illness and death; after which, the chiefs began to inquire very closely into what she had eaten for the three days before she expired.
"At last, the doctor having retired from the ring, an old chief stepped forward, with three or four white feathers stuck in his hair; and, having walked several times up and down in the ring, addressed the meeting, and said that, in his opinion, the old woman's death had been occasioned by her having eaten potatoes that had been peeled with a white man's knife, after it had been used for cutting rushes to repair a house; on which account, he thought that the white man to whom the knife belonged should be killed, which would be a great honour conferred upon the memory of the dead woman.
"To this proposal many of the other chiefs expressed their assent, and it seemed about to be adopted by the court. Meanwhile, my companion stood trembling, and unable to speak from fear. I then went forward myself into the ring, and told them that if the white man had done wrong in lending his knife to the slave, he had done so ignorantly, from not knowing the customs of the country.
"I ventured at the same time to address myself to Aimy, beseeching him to spare my shipmate's life; but he continued to keep his seat on the ground, mourning for the loss of his mother, without answering me, or seeming to take any notice of what I said; and while I was yet speaking to him, the chief with the white feathers went and struck my comrade on the head with a mery, and killed him. Aimy, however, would not allow him to be eaten, though for what reason I never could learn.
"The slaves, therefore, having dug a grave for him, he was interred after my directions.
"As for the corpse of the old woman, it was now wrapt up in several mats, and carried away by Aimy and the doctor, no person being allowed to follow them. I learned, however, that they took her into a neighbouring wood, and there buried her. After this, the strangers all left our village, and returned to their respective homes. In about three months, the body of the woman was again taken up, and carried to the river side, where the bones were scraped and washed, and then inclosed in a box, which had been prepared for that purpose.
"The box was afterwards fastened on the top of a post, in the place where the body first lay in state; and a space of about thirty feet in circumference being railed in around it, a wooden image was erected, to signify that the ground was 'tabooed,' or sacred, and as a warning that no one should enter the inclosure. This is the regular manner of interment in New Zealand for any one belonging to a chief's family. When a slave dies, a hole is dug, and the body is thrown into it without any ceremony; nor is it ever disinterred again, or any further notice taken of it. They never eat any person who dies of disease, or in the course of nature."
Thus left alone among these savages, and taught by the murder of his comrade on how slight a tenure he held his own life, exposed as he was every moment to the chance of in some way or other provoking their capricious cruelty, Rutherford, it may be thought, must have felt his protracted detention growing every day more insupportable.
One of the greatest inconveniences which he now began to feel arose from the wearing out of his clothes, which he patched and tacked as well as he could for some time, but at last, after he had been about three years in the country, they would hold together no longer. All that he had to wear, therefore, was a white flax mat, which was given to him by the chief, and which, being thrown over his shoulders, came as low as his knees. This, he says, was his only garment, and he was compelled to go both bareheaded and barefooted, having neither hat, shoes, nor stockings.
His life, meanwhile, seems to have been varied by few incidents deserving of being recorded, and we are left to suppose that he spent his time principally in shooting and fishing, as before.
For the first sixteen months of his residence at the village, he kept a reckoning of days by notches on a stick; but when he afterwards moved about with the chiefs, he neglected this mode of tracing the progress of time.
Flute, made from the arm or thigh-bone of an enemy.
"At last, it happened one day," the narrative proceeds, "while we were all assembled at a feast in our village, that Aimy called me to him, in the presence of several more chiefs, and, having told them of my activity in shooting and fishing, concluded by saying that he wished to make me a chief, if I would give my consent.
"This I readily did: upon which my hair was immediately cut with an oyster shell in the front, in the same manner as the chiefs have theirs cut; and several of the chiefs made me a present of some mats, and promised to send me some pigs the next day. I now put on a mat covered over with red ochre and oil, such as was worn by the other chiefs; and my head and face were also anointed with the same composition by a chief's daughter, who was entirely a stranger to me. I received, at the same time, a handsome stone mery, which I afterwards always carried with me.
"Aimy now advised me to take two or three wives, it being the custom for the chiefs to have as many as they think proper; and I consented to take two. About sixty women were then brought up before me, none of whom, however, pleased me, and I refused to have any of them; on which Aimy told me that I was 'tabooed' for three days, at the expiration of which time he would take me with him to his brother's camp, where I should find plenty of women that would please me.
"Accordingly we went to his brother's at the time appointed, when several women were brought up before us; but, having cast my eyes upon Aimy's two daughters, who had followed us, and were sitting on the grass, I went up to the eldest, and said that I would choose her.
"On this she immediately screamed and ran away; but two of the natives, having thrown off their mats, pursued her, and soon brought her back, when, by the direction of Aimy, I went and took hold of her hand. The two natives then let her go, and she walked quietly with me to her father, but hung down her head, and continued laughing. Aimy now called his other daughter to him, who also came laughing; and he then advised me to take them both.
"I then turned to them, and asked them if they were willing to go with me, when they both answered, I pea, or I pair, which signifies, 'Yes, I believe so.'[AT]
"On this, Aimy told them they were 'tabooed' to me, and directed us all three to go home together, which we did, followed by several of the natives. We had not been many minutes at our own village, when Aimy, and his brother also, arrived; and in the evening, a great feast was given to the people by Aimy. During the greater part of the night, the women kept dancing a dance which is called 'Kane-Kane,'[AU] and is seldom performed, except when large parties are met together. While dancing it, they stood all in a row, several of them holding muskets over their heads; and their movements were accompanied by the singing of several of the men; for they have no kind of music in this country.
"My eldest wife's name was Eshou,[AV] and that of my youngest Epecka.[AW] They were both handsome, mild, and good-tempered. I was now always obliged to eat with them in the open air, as they would not eat under the roof of my house, that being contrary to the customs of their country. When away for any length of time, I used to take Epecka along with me, and leave Eshou at home.
"The chiefs' wives in New Zealand are never jealous of each other, but live together in great harmony; the only distinction among them being that the oldest is always considered the head wife. No other ceremony takes place on the occasion of a marriage, except what I have mentioned. Any child born of a slave woman, though the father should be a chief, is considered a slave, like its mother.
"A woman found guilty of adultery is immediately put to death. Many of the chiefs take wives from among their slaves; but any one else that marries a slave woman may be robbed with impunity; whereas he who marries a woman belonging to a chief's family is secure from being plundered, as the natives dare not steal from any person of that rank.
"With regard to stealing from others, the custom is that if any person has stolen anything, and kept it concealed for three days, it then becomes his own property, and the only way for the injured party to obtain satisfaction is to rob the thief in return. If the theft, however, be detected within three days, the thief has to return the article stolen; but, even in that case, he goes unpunished. The chiefs, also, although secure from the depredations of their inferiors, plunder one another, and this often occasions a war among them."
By music in this passage, Rutherford evidently means instrumental music, which, it would appear, was not known in the parts of New Zealand where he resided. Other authorities, however, speak of different wind-instruments, similar to our fifes or flutes, which are elsewhere in common use.
One which is frequently to be met with at the Bay of Islands consists, according to Savage, of a tube six or seven inches long, open at both extremities, and having three holes on one side, and one on the other. Another is formed of two pieces of wood bound together, so as to make a tube inflated at the middle, at which place there is a single hole. It is blown into at one extremity, while the other is stopped and opened, to produce different modifications of the sound.
Nicholas once saw an instrument like a flute, made of bone, very ingeniously carved, hanging at the breast of one of the natives; and when he asked what bone it was formed from, the possessor immediately told him that it was the bone of a man. It was a larger bone than any of the native animals could have supplied.
Vocal music is one of the favourite amusements of the New Zealanders. Destitute as they are of the art of writing, they have, nevertheless, their song poetry, part of which is traditionary, and part the produce of such passing events as strongly excite their feelings, and prompt their fancy to this only work of composition of which they have any knowledge.
Certain individuals among them are distinguished for their success in these effusions; but the people inhabiting the vicinity of the East Cape seem generally to enjoy the highest reputation for this species of talent. These tribes, indeed, are described as in many other respects decidedly superior to the rest of their countrymen. It is among them that all the arts known in New Zealand flourish in the greatest perfection; as, for example, the working of mats, and the making and polishing of the different instruments used in war.
Yet, although very numerous, they are themselves of a peaceful disposition. Their houses are said to be both larger and better built than those in any other part of the island; and their plantations are also more extensive. This seems, in short, to be the manufacturing district of New Zealand, the only part of the country in which anything like regular industry has found an abode. Hence the pre-eminence of its inhabitants, both in the useful and the elegant arts.
Nicholas has printed some specimens of the songs of the New Zealanders, which, when sung, are always accompanied, he informs us, by a great deal of action. As he has given merely the words, however, without either the music or a translation, it is needless to transcribe them. The airs he describes as in general melodious and agreeable, and as having a resemblance to our chanting.
One of the songs which he gives is that which is always sung at the feast which takes place when the planting of the potatoes commences. "It describes," he says, "the havoc occasioned by the violence of an east wind. Their potatoes are destroyed by it. They plant them again, and, being more successful, they express their joy while taking them out of the ground, with the words, ah kiki! ah kiki! ah kiki!—eat away! eat away! eat away! Which is the conclusion of the song." Of another, "the subject is a man carving a canoe, when his enemies approach the shore in a canoe to attack him; endeavouring to conceal himself, he runs in among the bushes, but is pursued, overtaken, and immediately put to death."
Every more remarkable occasion of their rude and turbulent life seems to have its appropriate song. The planting of their potatoes, the gathering in of the crop, the commencement of the battle, the interment of the dead, are all celebrated, each by its peculiar chorus, as well as, probably, most of their other customary excitements, both of mirth and of mourning.
The New Zealanders have a variety of national dances; but none of them have been minutely described. Some of them are said to display much grace of movement; others are chiefly remarkable for the extreme violence with which they are performed. As among the other South Sea tribes, when there are more dancers than one, the most perfect uniformity of step and attitude is preserved by all of them; and they do not consider it a dance at all when this rule is not attended to.
Captain Dillon very much amused some of those who came on board his ship by a sample of English dancing, which he made his men give them on deck. A company of soldiers going through their manual exercise would certainly have come much nearer their notions of what a dance ought to be.
Although there are no written laws in New Zealand, all these matters are, no doubt, regulated by certain universally understood rules, liberal enough in all probability, in the license which they allow to the tyranny of the privileged class, but still fixing some boundaries to its exercise, which will accordingly be but rarely overstepped. Thus, the power which the chief seems to enjoy of depriving any of his slaves of life may be limited to certain occasions only; as, for instance, the death of some member of the family, whose manes, it is conceived, demand to be propitiated by such an offering. That in such eases slaves are often sacrificed in New Zealand, we have abundant evidence.
Cruise even informs us that when a son of one of the chiefs died in Marsden's house, in New South Wales, it required the interposition of that gentleman's authority to prevent some of the boy's countrymen, who were with him, from killing a few of their slaves, in honour of their deceased friend. On other occasions, it is likely that the life of the slave can only be taken when he has been convicted of some delinquency; although, as the chief is the sole judge of his criminality, he will find this, it may be thought, but a slight protection. The domestic slaves of the chiefs, however, it is quite possible, and even likely, are much more completely at the mercy of their caprice and passion than the general body of the common people, whose vassalage may, after all, consist in little more than the obligation of following them to their wars, and rendering them obedience in such other matters of public concern.
Between the chiefs and the common people, who, as we have already mentioned, are called "cookees," there seems to be also a pretty numerous class, distinguished by the name of rungateedas, or, as it has been more recently written, rangatiras, which appears to answer nearly to the English term gentry.[AX] It consists of those who are connected by relationship with the families of the chiefs; and who, though not possessed of any territorial rights, are, as well as the chiefs themselves, looked upon as almost of a different species from the inferior orders, from whom they are probably as much separated in their political condition and privileges as they are in the general estimation of their rank and dignity. The term rangatira, indeed, in its widest signification, includes the chiefs themselves, just as our English epithet gentleman does the highest personages in the realm.
Although there is no general government in New Zealand, the chiefs differ from each other in power; and some of them seem even to exercise, in certain respects, a degree of authority over others. Those who are called areekees,[AY] in particular, are represented as of greatly superior rank to the common chiefs. It was, probably, a chief of this class of whom Cook heard at various places where he put in along the east coast of the northern island, on his first visit to the country. He calls him Teratu; and he found his authority to extend, he says, from Cape Turnagain to the neighbourhood of Mercury Bay. The eight districts, too, into which this island was divided by Toogee,[AZ] in the map of it which he drew for Captain King, were in all likelihood the nominal territories, or what we may call feudal domains, of so many areekees.
The account which Rutherford gives of the law, or custom, which prevails in New Zealand in regard to the crime of theft, may seem at first sight to be somewhat irreconcilable with the statements of other authorities, who tell us that this crime is regarded by the natives in so heinous a light that its usual punishment is death; whereas, according to him, it would seem scarcely to be considered by them as a crime at all.
This apparent disagreement, however, arises, in all probability, merely from that misapprehension, or imperfect conception, of the customs of a foreign people into which we are so apt to be misled by the tendency we have to mix up constantly our own previously acquired notions with the simple facts that present themselves to us, and to explain the latter by the former. With our habits and improved ideas of morality, we see in theft both a trespass upon the arbitrary enactments of society, which demands the correction of the civil magistrate, and a violation of that natural equity which is independent of all political arrangements, and would make it unfair and wrong for one man to take to himself what belongs to another, although there were no such thing as what is commonly called a government in existence.
But in the mind of the New Zealander these simple notions of right and wrong have been warped, and, as it were, suffocated, by a multitude of unnatural and monstrous inventions, which have grown up along with them from his very birth. How misapplied are the epithets, natural and artificial, when employed, as they often are, to characterise the savage and civilized state! It is the former, in truth, which is by far the most artificial; and much of civilization consists in the abolition of the numerous devices by which it has falsified and perverted the natural dispositions of the human heart and understanding, and in the reformation of society upon principles more accordant with their unsophisticated dictates.
Probably the only case in which the New Zealander looks upon theft as a crime is when it is accompanied by a breach of hospitality, or is committed upon those who have, in the customary and understood manner, entrusted themselves to his friendship and honour. In any other circumstances, he will scarcely hold himself disgraced by any act of depredation which he can contrive to accomplish without detection; however much the fear of not escaping with impunity may often deter him from making the attempt.
Then, as for the estimation in which the crime is politically held, this, we need not doubt, will be very much regulated by the relative situation in regard to rank of the two parties. Most of the European visitors who have hitherto given us an account of the country have mixed chiefly with the higher classes of its inhabitants, and consequently learned but little with regard to the condition of the great body of the population, except in so far as it affected, or was affected by, that of the chiefs. Hence the impression they have taken up that theft in New Zealand is looked upon as one of the worst of crimes, and always punished with death. It is so, we have no doubt, when committed by one of the common people upon any of the privileged class. In that case, the mean and despised condition of the delinquent, as compared with that of the person whose rights he has dared to invade, converts what might otherwise have scarcely been deemed a transgression at all into something little short of sacrilege. The thief is therefore knocked on the head at once, or strung up on a gallows; for that, too, seems to be one of the modes of public punishment for this species of crime in New Zealand. This severity is demanded by the necessity which is felt for upholding the social edifice in its integrity; and is also altogether in keeping with the slight regard in which the lives of the lower orders are universally held, and the love of bloodshed by which this ferocious people is distinguished.
But when one "cookee," or common man, pilfers from another, it is quite another matter. In this case, the act entirely wants those aggravations which, in the estimation of a New Zealander, give it all its criminality; and the parties, besides, are so insignificant, that the notion of avenging any injury which the one may have suffered from the other by the public execution of the offender would probably be deemed in that country nearly as unreasonable as we should hold a proposal for the application of such a scheme of government in correction of the quarrels and other irregularities of the lower animals.
It need not, therefore, surprise us to be told, especially when we consider also the trivial value of any articles of property they possess, that thieving among the common people there is regarded, not as a crime, but as an art, in which, as in other arts, the skilful and dexterous practitioner deserves reward rather than punishment; nearly as it was regarded among the Spartans, who punished the detected thief, indeed, but not so much for his attempt as for his failure; or more nearly still as it is said to have been among the ancient Egyptians, by whom such acts were, in all cases, allowed to be perpetrated with impunity.
This view will go far to explain various incidents which we find noticed in the different accounts of New Zealand. The reports of the missionaries, in particular, abound with notices of individuals put to death by the chiefs for alleged acts of theft; but in every case of this kind which is mentioned, the person punished is, we believe, a slave. We have observed no instance, noted, in which the crime in question was punished, either with death or in any other way, when committed by one "cookee" on the property of another; and it is abundantly evident, from many things which are stated, that the natives themselves really do not consider the act as implying, in ordinary cases, that moral turpitude which we generally impute to it.
In one case which Marsden mentions, the brother of a chief, named Ahoudee Ogunna,[BA] conceiving himself to have been improperly treated by one of the missionaries, stole two earthen pots from another of them; but the explanation which the chief gave of the matter was that his brother had not stolen the pots, but had only taken them away with an intention to bring on an explanation respecting the conduct which had given him offence. The man's expectation here evidently was that his theft (if it was to be so called) would merely have the effect of making the missionaries as angry as he himself was, and so of rendering both parties equally anxious for a full discussion of their differences. He had himself, as he conceived, been affronted in a manner not to be passed over; and his stealing of the pots he meant merely as a spirited act of retaliation, which would in some degree throw back the insult he had received upon those who had inflicted it, and make them in their turn feel mortified and on fire for satisfaction.
He certainly did not imagine for a moment that he was at all degrading himself by the method he adopted for attaining this end. The degradation, in his conception of the matter, would be all with the party robbed. He had, however, in his anger, forgotten one thing, which, according even to the notions of the New Zealanders, it was most material that he should have remembered, as his more considerate brother felt as soon as he heard of the transaction, and as even he himself was afterwards brought to acknowledge. The chief, besides having experienced much kindness from the missionaries, was the very person from whom they had purchased the ground on which their settlement was established, and on whose friendship, at least, they had therefore a fair right to count, if they were not even to regard themselves as in some degree under his special protection. That personage felt the force of these considerations so strongly that, in order to show how much he was vexed and ashamed at his brother's conduct, he burned his own house to the ground, and left his usual place of residence, with a determination never to return to it so long as his brother lived.
On the morning of his departure, the high-spirited chief came to take leave of the missionaries, when he told them that he had been on the spot where his house stood before he burned it, to weep with his friends, and showed them how much he had lacerated his face, arms, and other parts of his body, in which his friends had followed his example. His brother, too, at last came to them, quite penitent for his hasty conduct, and offered to restore the only one of the pots which he still had, the other having been already stolen from him by one of his countrymen. Accordingly, he soon after sent his son with the article; and the boy having been presented with six fish-hooks, he immediately brought them back, with a message, that his father would take nothing for the pot.
Such acts of retaliation as that to which the brother of Ahoudee Ogunna here had recourse are often resorted to by the chiefs with something of a similar design, to avenge themselves, namely, for injuries which they conceive they have sustained, or to bring about those ulterior measures by which they may obtain for their grievances complete atonement or redress. In this way, many wars arise. But it is a point of honour with a chief never to touch what belongs to those who have trusted themselves to his friendship, and against whom he has no claim for satisfaction on account of any old affront or outrage. To be supposed capable of doing so would be felt by any of them as an intolerable imputation.
A waist-mat. Christchurch Museum.
We find a striking instance of this, to pass over many others that might be quoted, in the conduct of Tetoro, who returned home to New Zealand from Port Jackson, along with Cruise, in the "Dromedary." It was thought necessary, during the passage, to take from this chief a box containing some gunpowder, which he had got with him, and to lodge it in the magazine until the ship arrived at New Zealand. "Though every exertion," says Cruise, "was used, to explain the reason why he was requested to give it up, and the strongest assurances made that it should be restored hereafter, he either could not or would not understand what was said to him. Upon parting with the property, which, next to his musket, was in his eyes the greatest treasure in the world, he fell into an agony of grief and despair which it was quite distressing to witness, repeatedly exclaiming, 'No good,' and, rolling himself up in his mat, he declined the conversation of every one. He remained in this state so long that the powder was at length brought back; but he refused to take it, saying, 'that they might again put it in the magazine, since they must now be aware that he had not stolen it.'"
Similar to that of Tetoro, was the conduct of a chief whom Marsden met with on his first visit to New Zealand, and who was so much grieved and ashamed at the circumstance of one of his dependents having stolen some trifle from that gentleman, that he sat for two days and nights on the deck of the ship, and could not be prevailed upon to enter the cabin.[BB]
I pea, "Of course."
Kanikani, to dance, as in the haka.
These words are not in accord with the present system of spelling, there being no "sh" and no "c" in the Maori orthography. The former name is probably Hau, and the latter Peka. The letter "E" placed in front of them is used by the Maoris to denote the vocative, and Rutherford has evidently taken it as part of the word. Sometimes the "E"—which is pronounced as "a" in "pay"—is placed both before and after the name of the person addressed, as "E Peka, e!"
These words are not in accord with the present system of spelling, there being no "sh" and no "c" in the Maori orthography. The former name is probably Hau, and the latter Peka. The letter "E" placed in front of them is used by the Maoris to denote the vocative, and Rutherford has evidently taken it as part of the word. Sometimes the "E"—which is pronounced as "a" in "pay"—is placed both before and after the name of the person addressed, as "E Peka, e!"
The latter word is correct.
This is the man referred to in a previous chapter, who signed a deed of sale to Marsden by the pattern of his tattoo.
Maning, in "Old New Zealand," gives a delightful account of the manner in which the law of muru, or plunder, ruled with an iron hand in the ancient Maoriland.
With regard to many of the other habits of the New Zealanders, Rutherford in general corroborates the testimony of other travellers.
He mentions particularly their extreme inattention to personal cleanliness, a circumstance which very much surprised Nicholas, as it seemed to present an unaccountable contrast to the neatness and order which were usually to be found both in their plantations and huts.
All the natives, Rutherford states, are overrun with vermin, which lodge not only in their heads, but in their mats. "Their way of destroying them in their mats," he adds, "is by making a fire, on which, having thrown a quantity of green bushes, they spread the mat over the whole, when the steam from the leaves compels the vermin to retreat to the surface: these the women are very active in catching on such occasions with both hands, and devouring greedily. Sometimes two or three will be catching them at the same mat."
The New Zealanders cure their fish, Rutherford tells us, by dipping them a great many times in salt water, and then drying them in the sun. The large mussels they first bake in the usual manner, and then, taking them out of the shell, string them together, and hang them up over the fire to dry in the smoke. Thus prepared, they eat like old cheese, and will keep for years. The coomeras, or sweet potatoes, are also cured in the same manner, which makes them eat like gingerbread. Their potatoes the natives pack in baskets made of green flax, and in this way preserve them for the winter. There are, however, three months in the year during which they live upon little except turnips, and at this time they do with almost no drink. The baskets in which they keep their provisions, and apply to other domestic purposes, are formed with considerable ingenuity, and with some taste, in their decorations.
Notwithstanding the stormy seas by which their islands are surrounded, and the woods, swamps, and rivers, which oppose such difficulties in the way of passing from one place to another through the heart of the country, the New Zealanders are known to be in the habit of making long journeys, both along the coasts in their canoes, and through the interior on foot.
Rutherford gives us some account of a journey which he once accomplished in company with the chief Aimy.
"I took," says he, "my wife Epecka with me, and we were attended by about twenty slave-women to carry our provisions, every one of whom bore on her back, besides a supply for her own consumption, about thirty pounds of potatoes, and drove before her at the same time a pig, which she held by a string tied to its fore-leg.
"The men never travel without being armed. Our journey was made sometimes by water and sometimes by land; and, proceeding in this manner, we arrived, in about a month, at a place called Taranake,[BC] on the coast of Cook Strait, where we were received by Otago,[BD] a great chief, who had come from near the South Cape. On meeting we saluted each other in the customary manner by touching noses, and there was also a great deal of crying, as usual.
"Here I saw an Englishman, named James Mowry, who told me that he had formerly been a boy belonging to a ship called the 'Sydney Cove,' which had put in near the South Cape, when a boat's crew, of which he was one, had been sent on shore for the purpose of trading with the natives. They were attacked, however, and every man of them killed except himself, he having been indebted for his preservation to his youth and the protection of Otago's daughter: this lady he had since married. He had now been eight years in the country, and had become so completely reconciled to the manners and way of life of the natives, that he had resolved never to leave it. He was twenty-four years of age, handsome, and of middle size, and had been well tattooed. He had also been made a chief, and had often accompanied the natives to their wars. He spoke their language, and had forgotten a great deal of his own. He told me he had heard of the capture of our ship, and gave me an account of the deaths of Smith and Watson, two of my unfortunate shipmates. I, in turn, related to him my story, and what I had gone through.[BE]
"The village of Taranake stands by the sea-side, and the manners and customs of the inhabitants are the same as prevail in other parts of the island.
"We remained here six weeks; and during this time I employed myself in looking out for a ship passing through the Straits, by which I might make my escape, but was never fortunate enough to see one. I kept my intention, however, a secret from Mowry, for he was too much attached to the natives for me to trust him.
"On leaving Taranake we took our way along the coast, and after a journey of six weeks arrived at the East Cape, where we met with a great chief, named Bomurry, belonging to the Bay of Islands. He told us that he resided in the neighbourhood of Kendal,[BF] the missionary. He had about five hundred warriors with him, and several war-canoes, in one of which I observed a trunk, having on it the name of Captain Brin, of the 'Asp,' South Seaman. These people had also with them a number of muskets, with polished barrels, and a few small kegs of powder, as well as a great quantity of potatoes and flax mats. They had plundered and murdered nearly every person that lived between the East Cape and the river Thames; and the whole country dreaded the name of Bomurry.
"This great warrior showed us several of the heads of chiefs whom he had killed on this expedition, and these, he said, he intended to carry back with him to the Bay of Islands, to sell for gunpowder to the ships that touched there. He and his followers having taken leave of us, and set sail in their canoes, we also left the East Cape the day following, and proceeded on our journey homewards, travelling during the day, and encamping at night in the woods, where we slept around large fires under the branches of the trees. In this way we arrived in four days at our own village, where I was received by Eshou, my eldest wife, with great joy. I was much fatigued by my journey, as was also my other wife, Epecka, who had accompanied me."
The person whom Rutherford here calls Bomurry is doubtless the chief described in most of the other recent accounts of New Zealand under the name of Pomaree, or Pomarree[BG], one of the most extraordinary characters in that country. He had taken this name instead of another by which he used to be called, Nicholas informs us, a short time before he first saw him in 1815, because he had heard that it was that of the king of Otaheite, according to the practice which prevails among his countrymen of frequently changing their names, and calling themselves after persons of whose power or rank they have conceived a high idea.
Pomaree is described by this gentleman as having been looked upon, even in his own country, as a monster of rapacity and cruelty, always involved in quarrels with his neighbours, and in the habit of stealing their property whenever he had an opportunity. Duaterra asserted that on a recent occasion he had made an incursion into his territory, and, without any provocation, murdered six of his people, the bodies of all of whom he afterwards devoured, not even their heads having escaped his gluttony, after he had stuck them upon a stick and roasted them at the fire.
The New Zealand chiefs, however, not excepting the most respectable among them, were found to be sadly given to calumniate one another by all sorts of fictions; and even Pomaree, bad as he really was, seems sometimes to have been worse reported of by the others than he deserved.
Upon another occasion Korro-korro told a long story about a design which he said had been formed to cut off the ship belonging to the missionaries, and of which he maintained that Pomaree was the principal instigator; but this was afterwards discovered to be a mere invention of that otherwise very honourable chief.
Notwithstanding Pomaree's bad reputation, indeed, it is remarkable that we do not find a single instance anywhere recorded in which any European had reason to complain of his conduct. Nicholas was once dreadfully alarmed by the apprehension that he had decoyed away his friend, Marsden, to murder him; but was very soon relieved by the return of the reverend gentleman from a friendly walk which he had been enjoying, in the company of his supposed assassin, through one of the woods on his territory.
Pomaree, in truth, was too thoroughly aware of the advantages to be derived from the visits of the Europeans to think of exercising his murderous propensities upon their persons, however fond he might have been of embruing his hands in the blood of his own countrymen.
"We found Pomaree," says Nicholas, "to be a very extraordinary character; he was of more service to us in procuring timber than all the other chiefs put together; and I never met, in any part of the world, with a man who showed so much impatient avidity for transacting business. His abilities, too, in this line were very great; he was an excellent judge of several articles, and could give his opinion of an axe as well as any European; while handling it with ecstasy the moment he got it in his possession, his eyes would still feast themselves on so valuable an acquisition."
He then relates an anecdote of him which strikingly corresponds with one of the circumstances which Rutherford mentions: his custom of trafficking in preserved heads.
"This man," continues Nicholas, "displayed upon every occasion a more uncomplying spirit of independence than any of the other chiefs. It is customary with the New Zealanders to preserve from putrefaction, by a curious method, the heads of the enemies they have slain in battle; and Pomaree had acquired so great a proficiency in this art that he was considered the most expert at it of any of his countrymen. The process, as I was informed, consists of taking out the brains, and drying the head in such a manner as to keep the flesh entire; but in doing this an uncommon degree of skill and experience is required. Marsden put some questions to Pomaree one day about the plan he pursued in this art that gave him so decided a superiority over the others; but he was not willing to make him a direct reply, as he knew it was a subject on which we reflected with horror, and one which in its detail must be shocking to our feelings. But my friend asking him if he could procure a head preserved in this manner, it occurred to him that he might receive an axe for his trouble; and this idea made the man of business not only enter into a copious explanation of his system, but induced him also to offer us a sample of his practice, by telling us he would go and shoot some people who had killed his son, if we would supply him with powder for the purpose; and then, bringing back their heads, would show us all we wished to know about his art of preserving them.
"It will easily be supposed that this sanguinary proposal immediately put an end to all further interrogatories; and Marsden, whose motive for questioning him on the subject was not to discover the nature of a practice so revolting to humanity, but to develop more fully the character of the individual, told him he must fight no more, and desired him, in positive terms, never to attempt to bring any sample of his art on board, as he had no intention of seeing it himself at the time he inquired about it, nor would he suffer any one in the ship to countenance such a shocking exhibition.
"This was a sad disappointment to Pomaree, who found himself deceived in the hopes he had formed of increasing his wealth by the addition of another axe; and I cannot help believing that, for so tempting a reward, he would not have hesitated to take the life of the first person that came in his way, provided he could have done it with impunity. This chief omitted no opportunity of setting forth his great personal qualifications, as likewise the extensive authority he possessed; and he was constantly boasting of his warlike achievements, despising his rivals, and extolling himself over all the other heroes of New Zealand."
Cruise has given us a short account of the manner of preserving heads; and we find it also detailed in Rutherford's journal, somewhat more minutely. According to him the skull is first completely emptied of its contents, the eyes and tongue being likewise extracted; after which the nostrils and entire inside of the skull are stuffed with flax. At the neck, where the head has been cut from the body, they draw the skin together like the mouth of a purse, leaving, however, an open space large enough to admit the hand.
They then wrap it up in a quantity of green leaves, and in this state expose it to the fire till it is well steamed; after which the leaves are taken off, and it is next hung up to dry in the smoke, which causes the flesh to become tough and hard. Both the hair and teeth are preserved, and the tattooing on the face remains as plain as when the person was alive. The head, when thus cured, will keep for ever, if it be preserved dry.
Cruise says that the heads are only exposed to a current of dry air; but it appears, from Rutherford's account, that they are hung in the smoke of a wood fire, and are thus, in fact, preserved from decaying principally by being impregnated with the pyroligneous acid. That the New Zealanders are well acquainted with the antiseptic powers of this extract is proved also by what was formerly stated as to their method of curing mussels. A French writer considers that this art of preserving heads is a proof of some original connection between the New Zealanders and the ancient world; as the process is as effective as that by which the Egyptians prepared their mummies.
In savage countries the spirit of war is very much a spirit of personal hostility; and both because of this, and from the state of society not admitting of the erection of expensive public memorials which elsewhere, or in another age, are employed to preserve the renown of military exploits, the barbarian victor generally celebrates his triumph on the body of his slain enemy, in disfiguring which he first exercises his ingenuity, and afterwards in converting it into a permanent trophy of his prowess.
The ancient Scythian warrior, Herodotus tells us, was wont to carry away the heads of all those whom he slew in battle, to present to his king; and the ancient Gauls, it is said, used to hang these bloody spoils around the necks of their horses. The Gauls are asserted also to have been in the practice of embalming the heads which they brought home from their wars, of which they had large collections, which they kept in chests. These they used to show with much exultation to the strangers who visited their country; boasting that neither they nor their ancestors had ever been known to dispose of such honourable heirlooms for any price that could be offered.
Among some races it has been the custom to preserve only the scalp; as, for instance, among the Indians of America. The taking of scalps, however, is also a practice of great antiquity. The Scythians used to hang the scalps of their enemies to the harness of their horses; and he was deemed the most distinguished warrior whose equipage was most plentifully decorated with these ornaments. Some were accustomed to sew numbers of scalps together, so as to form a cloak, in which they arrayed themselves. It was also usual for the warriors of this nation to tear off the skin from the right hands of their slain enemies, and to preserve it with the nails attached; and sometimes they flayed the whole body, and, after drying the skin, made use of it as a covering for their horses.
Some of the savage tribes of America are said to have been accustomed to practice the same barbarity, and to convert the skins of the hands into pouches for holding their tobacco.
The history of Scotland affords an instance, even in comparatively recent times, of a victorious party, in the bitterness of their contempt and hatred, employing the skin of a slain enemy in a somewhat similar manner. Hugh Cressingham, appointed by Edward I. Lord Chief Justice of Scotland, having been slain at Stirling Bridge in an attack by Wallace, the Scots flayed him, and made saddles and girths of his skin.
To recur to the practices of a higher state of civilization, our own custom, which existed as late as the last century, of exposing the heads of traitors, although meant as a warning, in the same way as hanging in chains, was perhaps a relic of those ferocious ages when it was not considered mean and brutal to carry revenge beyond the grave. The executions in London, after the rebellion of 1745, were followed by such a revolting display, useless for any object of salutary terror, and calculated only to excite a vulgar curiosity. Horace Walpole, in a very few words, describes the feelings with which the public crowded to this sight:—"I have been this morning at the Tower, and passed under the new heads of Temple Bar, where people make a trade of letting spying glasses at a halfpenny a look."
The New Zealanders have, therefore, in some degree, a justification for this custom in the somewhat similar acts of civilized communities. At any rate, in preserving, as they do, the heads of their enemies, they only follow a practice which has been common to many other barbarous tribes.
Although Pomaree, it would appear, made a merchandise of these heads when he had the opportunity, his countrymen, in general, are far from treating them with so much disrespect. It was with great reluctance that some of them were prevailed upon to sell one to Mr. Banks, when he was with Cook in Queen Charlotte Sound, in 1770; and nothing could induce them to part with a second. They are, in fact, preserved as spoils or trophies during the continuance of the war; and their restoration to the party from whom they have been taken is so indispensable a preliminary to the conclusion of a peace, that it is said no chief would dispose of them, unless it were his determination never to come to terms with his opponents; so that we may suppose this was what Pomaree had resolved upon.
The brain is eaten, like the rest of the body; and the eyes are also frequently devoured by the conqueror, especially the left eye, which, it is believed, ascends to heaven and becomes a star. Shungie is stated, upon one occasion, to have eaten the left eye of a great chief whom he had killed in battle, under the idea of thus increasing the glory and brightness of his own left eye, when it should be transferred to the firmament; for it is understood that when any one eats of the person he has killed, the dead man becomes a part of himself.
Stone implements used by Maoris for cutting hair.
Nicholas tells another amusing story of Pomaree's style of doing "business," which we shall also give in his own words. "This wily chief," says he, "had cast a longing eye upon a chisel belonging to one of the missionaries, and to obtain it he had brought some fish on board, which he presented to the owner of the chisel with so much apparent generosity and friendliness, that the other could not help considering it a gratuitous favour, and, receiving it as such, told him he felt very grateful for his kindness.
"But Pomaree had no idea of any such disinterested liberality, and as soon as the fish were eaten, he immediately demanded the chisel in return; which, however, was not granted, as it was a present much too valuable to be given away for so trifling a consideration. Incensed at the denial, the chief flew into a violent rage, and testified, by loud reproaches, how grievously he was provoked by the ill-success of his project. He told the person, who very properly refused to comply with his demand, that 'he was no good,' and that he would never again bring him anything more. He attempted the same crafty experiment upon another of our party also, but this proved equally abortive, the person being well aware of his character, and knowing he would require from him ten times more than the worth of his pretended favour."
Though so covetous and crafty himself, however, Pomaree had no mercy to show for the delinquencies of others. On one occasion, when a poor "cookee" had been detected in the commission of some petty theft about the vessel, he was loud in his exhortations to the captain to hang him up immediately. The man appears, indeed, to have been altogether divested even of those natural affections which scarcely any of his savage countrymen but himself were found to be without.
When Marsden and Nicholas left New Zealand, a number of the chiefs sent their sons with them to Port Jackson; and such a scene of anguish took place on the parting between the parents and their children that there was no European present, Nicholas says, not excepting the most obdurate sailor on board, who was not more or less affected. "But I cannot help noticing," he adds, "that in the general expression of inconsolable distress, Pomaree was the only person who showed no concern; he took leave of his son with all the indifference imaginable, and hurrying into his canoe, paddled back to the shore—a solitary exception to the affecting sensibility of his countrymen."
Even Pomaree, however, could weep on some occasions, as the following account which Marsden gives us of an interview he had with him four or five years after this will show. "He told me," says Marsden, "that he was very angry that I had not brought a blacksmith for him; and that when he heard that there was no blacksmith for him, he sat down and wept much, and also his wives. I assured him that he should have one, as soon as one could be got for him. He replied it would be of no use to him to send a blacksmith when he was dead; and that he was at present in the greatest distress: his wooden spades were all broke, and he had not an axe to make any more; his canoes were all broke, and he had not a nail or a gimlet to mend them with; his potato grounds were uncultivated, and he had not a hoe to break them up with, nor a tool to employ his people; and that, for want of cultivation, he and his people would have nothing to eat. He begged me to compare the land of Tippoonah,[BH] which belonged to the inhabitants of Ranghee-hoo[BI] and Shungie, with his; observing, that their land was already prepared for planting, because a smith was there, and they could get hoes, &c. I endeavoured to pacify his mind with promises, but he paid little attention to what I said in respect to sending him a smith at a future period."
Pomaree was by much too cunning to be cheated of his object in this way. He was evidently determined not to go without something in hand; and nothing accordingly would drive him from his point.
When Marsden tried to divert his attention to another subject by asking him if he should wish to go to England, he replied at once that he should not; adding, with his characteristic shrewdness, that he was a little man when at Port Jackson, and should be less in England; but in his own country he was a great king. The conference ended at last by an express promise that he should have immediately three hoes, an axe, a few nails, and a gimlet. This instantly put him in great good humour.
We have collected these notices in order to give a more complete illustration of so singular and interesting a character as that formed by the union of the rude and bloodthirsty barbarian with the bustling trafficker. It is an exhibition of the savage mind in a new guise. We have only to add, with regard to Pomaree, that it appears by other authorities, as well as by the notice we find in Rutherford, that he was in the habit of making very devastating excursions occasionally to the southern part of the island. When Cruise left New Zealand in 1820, he had been away on one of these expeditions nearly a year, nor was it known exactly where he had gone to. The people about the mouth of the Thames said they had seen him since he left home, but he had long ago left their district for one still farther south. The last notice we find of him, is in a letter from the Rev. H. Williams, in the "Missionary Register" for 1827, in which it is stated, that he had a short time before fallen in battle, having been cut to pieces, with many of his followers, by a tribe on whom he had made an attack.
This event, of the circumstances of which Dillon was furnished with a particular account by some of the near relations of the deceased chief, took place in the southern part of the island.
This is one of the discrepancies in Rutherford's narrative. Taranaki is a district on the West Coast of the North Island, and is about 150 miles from Cook Strait.
Otago is a large province in the southern part of the South Island, 300 miles from the Strait. Rutherford probably refers to Takou, a Wairarapa chief, who was connected with the Ngai-Tahu of Otago.
It is supposed that the man was "Jim the Maori," the latter word being wrongly spelt "Moury" in the manuscript of Rutherford's story. The man's real name was James Caddell. He was an Englishman by birth, and lived amongst the Maoris so long that he became one of them, adopting their customs and ideas. Those who have investigated his case believe that he belonged to the "Sydney Cove," a sealer, which sailed in New Zealand waters. Near the South Cape, a boat from a sealer was captured by the Maoris, and all the members of the crew except Caddell were killed and eaten. Caddell, according to his own account, was saved by running to a chief and touching his mat. He was sixteen years of age then. He married a chief's daughter, and became a Maori in all respects except colour. He was captured by Captain Edwardson, of the "Snapper," and was taken to Sydney, where he seems to have paraded as a savage chief. While he was with the Maoris, he almost forgot the English language, and found much difficulty in making himself understood by Captain Edwardson.
Mr. Kendal was one of the missionaries who went to New Zealand with Marsden when missionary work in the country was begun.
Te Puna, at that time the principal town in the Bay of Islands.
The New Zealanders, according to Rutherford, have neither priests, nor places of worship, nor any religion except their superstitious dread of the Atua.
To an uneducated man, coming from a Christian country, the entire absence of all regular religious observances among these savages would very naturally give such an impression. Cook ascertained that they had no "morais"[BJ] or temples, like some of the other tribes of the South Seas; but he met with persons who evidently bore what we should call the priestly character.
The New Zealanders are certainly not without some notions of religion; and, in many particulars, they are a remarkably superstitious people. During the whole course of their lives, the imagined presence of the unseen and supernatural crosses them at every step. What has been already stated respecting the "taboo" may give some idea of how submissive and habitual is their sense of the power of the Divinity, and how entirely they conceive themselves to be in his hands; as well as what a constant and prying superintendence they imagine him to exercise over their conduct.
It would be easy to enumerate many minor superstitions, all indicative of the extraordinary influence of the same belief. They think, for instance, that if they were to allow a fire to be lighted under a shed where there are provisions, their god would kill them.
They have many superstitions, also, with regard to cutting their hair. Cook speaks, in the account of his third voyage, of a young man he had taken on board the ship, who, having one day performed this ceremony, could not be prevailed upon to eat a morsel till night, insisting that the atua would most certainly kill him if he did.
Cruise tells us that Tetoro, on the voyage from Port Jackson, cut the hair of one of his companions, and continued to repeat prayers over him during the whole operation.
Nicholas, having one day found another chief busy in cutting his wife's hair with a piece of sharp stone, was going to take up the implement after it had been used, but was immediately charged by the chief not to touch it, as the deity of New Zealand would wreak his vengeance on him if he presumed to commit so daring a piece of impiety.
"Laughing at his superstition," continues Nicholas, "I began to exclaim against its absurdity, but like Tooi, on a former occasion, he retorted by ridiculing our preaching, yet at the same time asking me to sermonize over his wife, as if his object was to have her exorcised; and upon my refusing, he began himself, but could not proceed from involuntary bursts of laughter."
On this occasion, the chief, when he had cut off the hair, collected it all together, and, carrying it to the outskirts of the town, threw it away. Cook remarks that he used to see quantities of hair tied to the branches of the trees near the villages. It is stated, in a letter from one of the missionaries, that the hair, when cut, is carefully collected, and buried in a secret place.
Certain superstitions have been connected with the cutting of the hair, from the most ancient times. Many allusions are found in the Greek and Roman writers to the practice of cutting off the hair of the dead, and presenting it as an offering to the infernal gods, in order to secure a free passage to Elysium for the person to whom it belonged. The passage in the fourth book of the "Æneid," where Iris appears by the command of Juno to liberate the soul of the expiring Queen of Carthage, by thus severing from her head the fatal lock, will occur to many of our readers.
Whatever may have been the origin of this superstition, it is probable that most of the other notions and customs which have prevailed in regard to the cutting of the hair are connected with it. The act in this way naturally became significant of the separation from the living world of the person on whom it was performed. Of the antiquity of this practice, we have a proof in a command given by Moses to the Jews:—"Ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead." These were superstitious customs of the nations by whom they were surrounded.
The Gentiles used excessive lamentations, amounting to frenzy, at their funeral rites. According to Bruce, the Abyssinian woman, upon the death of a near relation, cuts the skin of both her temples with the nail of her little finger, which she leaves long on purpose; and thus every fair face throughout the country is disfigured with scars. The same notion of abstraction from the present life and its concerns is expressed by the clerical tonsure, so long known in the Christian church, and still retained among the Roman Catholics. It is still common, also, among ourselves, for widows, in the earlier period of their mourning, to cut off their hair, or to remove it back from the brow. Among all rude nations, besides, the hair has been held in peculiar estimation from its ornamental nature, and its capability of being formed into any shape, according to the fancy of its possessor, or the fashion of the country.
Amongst nations, especially, where the ordinary clothing of the people, from the materials of which it was formed, did not admit of being made very decorative, this consideration would be much regarded, and still more where no clothing was worn at all. In such cases, the hair, either of the head or of the beard, has usually been cherished with very affectionate care, and the mode of dressing it has been made matter of anxious regulation. Many of the barbarous nations of antiquity had each a method of cutting the hair peculiar to itself; and it was sometimes accounted the deepest mark of servitude which a conqueror could impose when he compelled the violation of this sacred rule of national manners.
We have a remnant of these old feelings in the reverence with which his beard is regarded by a Turk of the present day. It is recorded, too, that no reform which Peter the Great of Russia essayed to introduce among his semi-barbaric subjects was so pertinaciously resisted as his attempt to abbreviate their beards.
Marsden, on asking a New Zealander what he conceived the atua to be, was answered—"An immortal shadow." Although possessed, however, of the attributes of immortality, omni-presence, invisibility, and supreme power, he is universally believed to be in disposition merely a vindictive and malignant demon.
When one of the missionaries had one day been telling a number of them of the infinite goodness of God, they asked him if he was not joking with them. They believe that whenever any person is sick, his illness is occasioned by the atua, in the shape of a lizard, preying upon his entrails; and, accordingly, in such cases, they often address the most horrid imprecations and curses to the invisible cannibal, in the hope of thereby frightening him away. They imagine that at other times he amuses himself in entangling their nets and oversetting their canoes. Of late years they have suspected that he has been very angry with them for having allowed the white men to obtain a footing in their country, a proof of which they think they see in the greater mortality that has recently prevailed among them. This, however, they at other times attribute to the God of the Christians, whom they also denounce, accordingly, as a cruel being, at least to the New Zealander. Sometimes they more rationally assign as its cause the diseases that have been introduced among them by the whites. Until the whites came to their country, they say, young people did not die, but all lived to be so old as to be obliged to creep on their hands and knees.
The white man's God they believe to be altogether a different being from their own atua. Marsden, in one of his letters, relates a conversation he had upon this subject with some of the chiefs' sons who resided with him in New South Wales. When he told them that there was but one God, and that our God was also theirs, they asked him if our God had given us any sweet potatoes, and could with difficulty be made to see how one God should give these to the New Zealander and not equally to the white man; or, on the other hand, how he should have acted so partially as to give to the white man only such possessions as cattle, sheep, and horses, which the New Zealander as much required. The argument, however, upon which they seem most to have rested, was:—"But we are of a different colour from you; and if one God made us both, he would not have committed such a mistake as to make us of different colours." Even one of the chiefs, who had been a great deal with Marsden, and was disposed to acknowledge the absurdity both of the "taboo" and of many of his other native superstitions, could not be brought to admit that the same God who made the white men had also made the New Zealanders.
Among themselves, the New Zealanders appear to have a great variety of other gods, besides the one whom they call emphatically the atua. Crozet speaks of some feeble ideas which they have of subordinate divinities, to whom, he says, they are wont to pray for victory over their enemies. But Savage gives us a most particular account of their daily adoration of the sun, moon, and stars. Of the heavenly host, the moon, he says, is their favourite; though why he should think so, it is not easy to understand, seeing that, when addressing this luminary, they employ, he tells us, a mournful song, and seem as full of apprehension as of devotion; whereas "when paying their adoration to the rising sun, the arms are spread and the head bowed, with the appearance of much joy in their countenances, accompanied with a degree of elegant and reverential solemnity, and the song used upon the occasion is cheerful." It is strange that none of their other visitors have remarked the existence of this species of idolatry among these savages.
Yet two New Zealanders, who are now in this country, were in the habit of commencing the exhibition of their national customs with the ceremonies practised in their morning devotion to the sun.
The vocal part of the rite, according to the account we have received, consisted in a low monotonous chant; the manual, in keeping a ball about the size of an orange constantly whirling in a vertical circle. The whole was performed in a kneeling posture. Like most other rude nations, the New Zealanders have certain fancies with regard to several of the more remarkable constellations; and are not without some conception that the issues of human affairs are occasionally influenced, or at least indicated, by the movements of the stars. The Pleiades, for instance, they believe to be seven of their departed countrymen, fixed in the firmament; one eye of each of them appearing in the shape of a star, being the only part that is visible. But it is a common superstition among them, as we have already noticed, that the left eyes of their chiefs, after death, become stars.
This notion is far from being destitute of poetical beauty; and perhaps, indeed, exhibits the common mythological doctrine of the glittering host of heaven being merely an assemblage of the departed heroes of earth, in as ingenious a version as it ever has received. It would be easy to collect many proofs of the extensive diffusion of this ancient faith, traces of which are to be found in the primitive astronomy of every people. The classical reader will at once recollect, among many others of a similar kind, the stories of Castor and Pollux, and of Berenice's tresses, the latter of which has been so elegantly imitated by Pope, in telling us of the fate of the vanished lock of Belinda:—"But trust the muse—she saw it upward rise,
Though marked by none but quick poetic eyes;
(So Home's great founder to the heavens withdrew,
To Proculus alone confessed to view);
A sudden star it shot through liquid air,
And drew behind a radiant trail of hair."
The New Zealanders conceive, also, that what we call a shooting star is ominous of the approaching dissolution of any one of their great chiefs who may be unwell when it is seen. Like the vulgar among ourselves, too, they have their man in the moon; who, they say, is one of their countrymen named Rona, who was taken up long ago, one night when he went to the well to fetch water.
Nicholas has given us, on the authority of his friend Duaterra, the most particular account that has appeared of the inferior deities of New Zealand. Their number, according to him, is very great, and each of them has his distinct powers and functions; one being placed over the elements, another over the fowls and fishes, and so of the rest. Deifications of the different passions and affections, also, it seems, find a place in this extended mythology.
In another part of his work, Nicholas remarks, as corroborative of the Malay descent of the New Zealanders, the singular coincidence, in some respects, between their mythology and that of the ancient Malay tribe, the Battas of Sumatra, whose extraordinary cannibal practices we have already detailed; especially in the circumstance of the three principal divinities of the Battas having precisely the same functions assigned to them with the three that occupy the same rank in the system of the New Zealanders.[BK]
Marae. With Maoris and Samoans the word means an open space in a village; in the Tahitian, Mangaian, and Paumotan languages it means a temple, or a place where rites were performed.
The religion, and superstitions and legends of the Maoris are dealt with in Sir George Grey's "Polynesian Mythology," Mr. S. Percy Smith's "Hawaiki," articles by Mr. Elsdon Best in the "Transactions of the New Zealand Institute," articles by that author and by Mr. Percy Smith in the "Journal of the Polynesian Society," Mr. E. Tregear's "The Maori Race," and Mr. J.C. Andersen's "Maori Life in Ao-tea."
It is very remarkable that the New Zealanders attribute the creation of man to their three principal deities acting together; thus exhibiting in their barbarous theology something like a shadow of the Christian Trinity. What is still more extraordinary is their tradition respecting the formation of the first woman, who, they say, was made of one of the man's ribs; and their general term for bone is hevee, or, as Professor Lee gives it, iwi[BL] a sound bearing a singular resemblance to the Hebrew name of our first mother.
Particular individuals and places would also seem to have their own gods. When the "Active" was in the river Thames, a gale of wind, by which the ship was attacked, was attributed by the natives on board to the anger of the god of Shoupah,[BM] the Areekee who resided in the neighbourhood. Kórro-korro, who was among them said that as soon as he got on shore he would endeavour to prevail upon the Areekee to propitiate the offended deity. When Marsden asked the people of Kiperro[BN] if they
knew anything of their god, or ever had any communication with him, they replied that they often heard him whistle. The chiefs, too, are often called atuas, or gods, even while they are alive. The aged chief, Tarra,[BO] maintained to one of the missionaries that the god of thunder resided in his forehead; and Shungie and Okeda[BP] asserted that they were possessed by gods of the sea.
The part of the heavens in which the gods reside is represented as beautiful in the extreme. "When the clouds are beautifully chequered," writes Kendal, "the atua above, it is supposed, is planting sweet potatoes. At the season when these are planted in the ground, the planters dress themselves in their best raiment, and say that, as atuas on earth, they are imitating the atua in heaven."
The New Zealanders believe that the souls of the higher orders among them are immortal; but they hold that when the "cookees" die they perish for ever. The spirit, they think, leaves the body the third day after death, till which time it hovers round the corpse, and hears very well whatever is said to it. But they hold also, it would seem, that there is a separate immortality for each of the eyes of the dead person; the left, as before-mentioned, ascending to heaven and becoming a star, and the other, in the shape of a spirit, taking flight for the Reinga. Reinga signifies, properly, the place of flight; and is said, in some of the accounts, to be a rock or a mountain at the North Cape from which, according to others, the spirits descend into the next world through the sea. The notion which the New Zealanders really entertain as to this matter appears to be that the spirits first leap from the North Cape into the sea, and thence emerge into an Elysium situated in the islands of the Three Kings. The submarine path to the blissful region of the New Zealanders is less intricate than that of the Huron of America:—"To the country of the Dead,
Long and painful is thy way!
O'er rivers wide and deep
Lies the road that must be past,
By bridges narrow-wall'd,
When scarce the soul can force its way,
While the loose fabric totters under it."
In the heaven of the New Zealanders, as in that of the ancient Goths, the chief employment of the blessed is war, their old delight while on earth. The idea of any more tranquil happiness has no charms for them. Speaking of an assembly of them which he had been endeavouring to instruct in the doctrines of Christianity, one of the Wesleyan missionaries says: "On telling them about the two eternal states, as described in the Scriptures, an old chief began to protest against these things with all the vehemence imaginable, and said that he would not go to heaven, nor would he go to hell to have nothing but fire to eat; but he would go to the Reinga or Po, to eat coomeras, (sweet potatoes) with his friends who had gone before."
The slaves that are sacrificed upon the death of a chief, by his friends, are generally intended to prevent him from coming again to destroy them; but we find that on the occasion of a child having been drowned, the mother insisted upon a female slave being killed, to be a companion for it on its way to the Reinga.
Though the New Zealanders do not assemble together at stated times to worship their gods, they are in the habit of praying to them in all their emergencies. Thus, when Korro-korro met his aunt, as before related, his brother Tooi informed Nicholas that the ejaculations the old woman uttered as she approached were prayers to the divinity. When Korro-korro urged Marsden to take his son with him to Port Jackson, and was told by that gentleman that he was afraid to do so lest the boy should die, as so many of his countrymen had done when removed from their native island, the chief replied, that he would pray for his son during his absence, as he had done for his brother Tooi when he was in England, and then he would not die.
Tupee,[BQ] too, another of the Bay of Islands chiefs, Marsden tells us, used to pray frequently. When that gentleman lay sick in his cot, on the voyage home from his first visit to New Zealand, Tupee, who was with him, used to sit by his side, and, laying his hands on different parts of his body, addressed himself all the while with great devotion to his god, in intercession for his friend's recovery.
The priests, or tohungas, as they are called, are persons of great importance and authority in New Zealand, being esteemed almost the keepers and rulers of the gods themselves.
Many of the greatest of the chiefs and Areekees are also priests, as was, for example, Tupee, whom we have just mentioned. It is the priest who attends at the bedside of the dying chief, and regulates every part of the treatment of the patient. When the body of a chief who has been killed in battle is to be eaten, it is the priest who first gives the command for its being roasted. The first mouthfuls of the flesh, also, being regarded as the dues of the gods, are always eaten by the priest. In the case of any public calamity, it is the priest whose aid is invoked to obtain relief from heaven.
Marsden states that on occasion of the caterpillars one year making great ravages among the crops of sweet potatoes at Rangheehoo,[BR] the people of that place sent to Cowa-Cowa[BS] for a great priest to avert the heavy judgment; and that he came and remained with them for several months, during which he employed himself busily in the performance of prayers and ceremonies. The New Zealanders also
consider all their priests as a species of sorcerers, and believe they have the power to take the lives of whomsoever they choose by incantation. Themorangha,[BT] one of the most enlightened of the chiefs, came one day to Marsden, in great agitation, to inform him that a brother chief had threatened to employ a priest to destroy him in this manner, for not having sold to sufficient advantage an article which he had given him to dispose of. "I endeavoured," says Marsden, "to convince him of the absurdity of such a threat; but to no purpose; he still persisted that he should die, and that the priest possessed that power; and began to draw the lines of incantation on the ship's deck, in order to convince me how the operation was performed. He said that the messenger was waiting alongside, in a canoe, for his answer. Finding it of no use to argue with him, I gave him an axe, which he joyfully received, and delivered to the messenger, with a request that the chief would be satisfied, and not proceed against him."
Themorangha seems to have been particularly selected by these priests as a subject for their roguish practices, perhaps by way of revenge for the freedom with which he occasionally expressed himself in regard to their pretensions, when his fears were not excited. A short time before this, one of them had terrified him not a little by telling him that he had seen his ghost during the night, and had been informed, by the atua, that if he went to a certain place to which he was then about to proceed, he would die in a few days. He soon, however, got so far the better of his fears as, notwithstanding this alarming intimation, to venture to accompany Marsden to the forbidden district; and he expressed his feelings of contempt for the sacred order in no measured terms, when he found that at the expiration of the predicted period he was still alive.
He said that there were too many priests at New Zealand, and that they "tabooed" and prayed the people to death. Others, as well as the priests, however, are supposed sometimes to have the power of witchcraft.
Two of the missionaries, when one day about to land at a place a short distance from the settlement, were alarmed by nearly running the boat's head on three human bodies, which lay close together by the water's edge among some rushes; and upon inquiry they were informed that they were the bodies of three slaves who had been killed that morning for makootooing a chief, i.e. betwitching or praying evil prayers against him, which had caused his death.[BU]
A common method which the priests use of bewitching those whom they mean to destroy, is to curse them, which is universally believed to have a fatal effect. The curse seems usually to be uttered in the shape of a yell or song, so that the process is literally a species of incantation. Bishop Newton, in his commentary on the scriptural account of Balaam being sent for to curse the Israelites, says, "It was a superstitious ceremony in use among the heathens, to devote their enemies to destruction at the beginning of their wars; as if the gods would enter into their passions, and were as unjust and partial as themselves."
The demeanour of most of the New Zealand priests is something so entirely different from that observed by the ministers of religion in civilized countries that it is not surprising Rutherford should have failed to recognise them as belonging to that order.
Thus, we read of a priest who speaks of having killed, not by enchantment, but in the usual way, with his own hands, both a woman who had gone on board a ship contrary to his orders, and a man who had stolen some potatoes.
Another is mentioned as having one day introduced himself into the house of Mr. Williams, one of the missionaries, by springing over the fence, and then, when his rude conduct was reproved, stripping himself to fight with that gentleman. The same personage, who bore the venerable name of Towee Taboo,[BV] or Holy Towee, a short time after attempted to break Mr. Williams's door to pieces with a long pole; and when he could not accomplish that object, effected his entrance by leaping over the fence as before. What he now wanted, he said, was hootoo,[BW] or payment, for a hurt which he had given his foot in performing this exploit on the former occasion. When this strange demand was refused, he attempted to set the house on fire; and having collected a mob of his friends, would certainly have done so, had not another party of the natives come to the assistance of Mr. Williams and his family.
But one of the most remarkable among this order of men seems to be Tamanhena[BX], the priest of the head of the Shukehanga, who is believed to have absolute command over the winds and waves. Marsden met with this dignitary on his second visit to New Zealand; and found that, in addition to being a priest, he was in the habit of acting as a pilot, a profession with which the other suited very well, as by virtue of his sacred character he had the power of keeping the winds and waves quiet whenever he chose to put to sea.
Accordingly, Marsden went out with him in a canoe to examine the entrance of the river; Tamanhena assuring him, though it blew very fresh, that he would soon make both the wind and the waves fall.
"We were no sooner in the canoe," continues Marsden, "than the priest began to exert all his powers to still the gods, the winds, and the waves. He spake in an angry and commanding tone. However, I did not perceive either the winds or waves yield to his authority; and when we reached the head, I requested to go on shore."
Tamanhena wished very much to learn to pray like the Europeans, and said he should willingly give a farm to any missionary who would come to reside near him. He also promised that he would let Marsden hear his god speak to him; but when they got to the place where the conference was to be held, he discovered that the god was not there. Marsden, however, found him remarkably well informed on all subjects relating to his country and religion, and thought him, upon the whole, a very sensible man, making allowance for his theological opinions.
Cruise has, however, detailed some particulars of this venerable personage, whom he also met with a few months after Marsden had seen him, which grievously detract from his character for sanctity. He made the voyage with them in the "Dromedary" from the Bay of Islands to the mouth of the Shukehanga, but announced his intention of leaving them the day after their arrival.
"During his stay in the ship," says Cruise, "there certainly was nothing of a very sacred character about him; he was by far the wildest of his companions; and, unfortunately, on the morning fixed for his departure, a soldier having missed his jacket, there was so great a suspicion of the pilot's honesty, that the sentinel at the gangway took the liberty of lifting up his mat, as he prepared to go down the side, and discovered the stolen property under it.
"The jacket was of course taken from him; and as the only excuse he had to offer for his misconduct was that he had lost a shirt that had been given to him, and that he considered himself authorised to get remuneration in any way he could, he was dismissed without those presents which were given to the others. We were glad to see that his countrymen seemed to notice his conduct in the strongest terms of disapprobation; and the next day, when they were about to leave us, they seemed so determined to put him to death that they were requested not to do so, but to consider his having lost his presents, and his being forbidden ever to come near the ship, a sufficient punishment for his offence."
It is very remarkable, that, whenever a child is born in New Zealand, it is the invariable practice to take it to the tohunga, or priest, who sprinkles it on the face with water, from a leaf which he holds in his hand. It is believed that the neglect of this ceremony would be attended with the most baneful consequences to the child.
Much reverence is felt among the New Zealanders for dreams; and it is believed that the favoured of heaven often receive in this way the communications of the gods. We need hardly remark how universal this superstition has been. The reader of Homer will recollect the[Greek: kai gar t onar ek Dios estin]
of that poet, and the [Greek: oulos oneiros], or evil dream, which, in the second book of the Iliad, Jupiter sends down to Agamemnon, to lure him to give battle to the Trojans in the absence of Achilles.
We must refer to Lafitau's learned work on the savages of America for an account of the notions which prevail among them as to divination by dreams. Dillon tells us that he found no way so effectual of repressing the importunities of his New Zealand friends, in any case in which it was inconvenient to gratify them, as assuring them he had dreamed that the favour they requested would turn out a misfortune to them. When some of them, for example, entreated that he would take them with him to India, he told them that he had dreamed that if they went to that country they would die there; and this at once put an end to their solicitations.
The Maoris and Hawaiians use the word "iwi" for a bone; the Samoans, Tahitians, and other islanders say "ivi."
Rangihoua, in the Bay of Islands.
Kawa-kawa, in the same district.
Te Morenga, a chief of the Bay of Islands.
The maketu, which is correctly described here, was one of the most firmly established institutions in New Zealand in old times.
Utu. This is another great institution amongst the ancient Maoris. It represents the principle of payment, an equivalent, a return, compensation, or satisfaction for injuries.
For some time after his return from Cook Strait, Rutherford's life appears to have been unvaried by any incident of moment.
"At length," says he, "one day a messenger arrived from a neighbouring village, with the news that all the chiefs for miles round were about to set out, in three days, for a place called Kipara,[BY] near the source of the river Thames, and distant about two hundred miles from our village. The messenger brought also a request from the other chiefs to Aimy to join them along with his warriors; and he replied that he would meet them at Kipara at the time appointed. We understood that we were to be opposed at Kipara by a number of chiefs from the Bay of Islands and the river Thames, according to an appointment which had been made with the chiefs in our neighbourhood.
"Accordingly, everything was got ready for our journey as quickly as possible; and the women were immediately set to work to make a great number of new baskets, in which to carry our provisions. It is the custom for every person going on such an expedition to find his own arms and ammunition, as also provisions, and slaves to carry them. On the other hand, every family plunder for themselves, and give only what they think proper to the chief. The slaves are not required to fight, though they often run to the assistance of their masters while engaged.
"When the day was come for our departure, I started along with the rest, being armed with my mery, a brace of pistols, and a double-barrelled fowling-piece, and having also with me some powder and ball, and a great quantity of duck-shot, which I took for the purpose of killing game on our journey.
"I was accompanied by my wife Epecka, who carried three new mats to be a bed for us, which had been made by Eshou during my absence at Taranake.
"The warriors and slaves, whom we took with us, amounted in all to about five hundred; but the slaves, as they got rid of the provisions they carried, were sent home again, as we had no further use for them. While on our journey, if we came to a friendly village at night, we slept there; but, if not, we encamped in the woods. When the provisions we had brought with us were all consumed, we were compelled to plunder wherever we could find anything. Our journey, being made during the rainy season, was more than usually fatiguing. We were five weeks in reaching Kipara, where we found about eleven hundred more natives encamped by the side of a river. On our arrival, huts were immediately constructed for our party, and one was allotted to me and my wife. We had also two female slaves allowed us for the purpose of digging fern-root, gathering cockles, and catching fish, which articles were our only provisions while we remained here; unless now and then, when I went to the woods, and shot a few wood-pigeons or a wild pig."
A party of New Zealanders thus wandering through their country, with all the inconveniences attending the movement of large bodies of men, but without the combinations of foresight which are necessary for the safety of an army, or the management of supplies, must be occasionally exposed to great privations.
Their island, however, it would seem from Rutherford's narrative, abundantly supplied them with provisions, and their slaves were at hand to perform the office of cooks. Their method of procuring fire for culinary purposes and warmth is curious; and we may as well mention it somewhat fully here, before we proceed to the more busy parts of Rutherford's narrative.
When Nicholas was in New Zealand, he had an opportunity of seeing the process usually resorted to. "The place where we landed," says he, speaking of an excursion which he made with Marsden, and some of the chiefs, to a place a short distance from the Missionary Settlement, "was a small plantation of potatoes belonging to Shungie, and here our party intended to prepare their refreshments, seating themselves, along the ground for the purpose. Fire, however, was wanting; and to procure it, Shungie took my fowling-piece, and, stopping up the touch-hole, he put a small piece of linen into the pan, and endeavoured to excite a spark. But this expedient proved unsuccessful, as the lock had got rusted and would not go off; he then got some dry grass and a piece of rotten wood, and turning a small stick rapidly between his hands, in the same manner as we mill chocolate, the friction caused the touchwood, in which the point of the stick was inserted, to take fire; while, wrapping it up in the dry grass, and shaking it backward and forward, he very soon produced a flame, which he communicated to some dry sticks, and other fuel that our party had collected."
This was not, however, any sudden device of Shungie's, but merely the contrivance in general use in such emergencies among his countrymen.
"We have mentioned two New Zealanders, who are at present in this country, and have recently been exhibiting the dances and other customs of their native land, in several of our provincial towns. Among other things which they show is this method of kindling fire, and we extract from the letter of a correspondent who saw them at Birmingham, the following account of this part of their performance:—'A small board of well-dried pine was laid upon the floor, and the younger New Zealander took in his hand a wedge about nine inches long, and of the same material; then rubbing with this upon the board, in a direction parallel to the grain, he made a groove, about a quarter of an inch deep and six or seven inches long. The friction, of course, produced a quantity of what, had it been produced by another means, would have been called sawdust; and this he collected at the end of the groove farthest from that part of the board on which he was kneeling. He then continued his operation; and in a short time the wood began to smoke, the sides of the groove becoming completely charred. On this he stopped and gathered the tinder over that part of the groove which appeared to be most strongly heated. After a few moments, it became manifest that the sawdust or tinder was ignited; and a gentle application of the breath now drew forth a flame which rose to the height of several inches. This experiment did not always succeed the first time; whenever it was repeated, whether after failure or success, the operator took a new wedge and formed a new groove, and it was stated that this was absolutely necessary. The process was evidently one of very great labour; at the conclusion of it, the operator was steaming with perspiration, and his elder countryman stated that his own strength was unequal to the feat.'"
Greenstone axes, with carved wooden handles, and ornamented with dogs' hair and birds' feathers.
This method of procuring fire has, in fact, been in use from the most ancient times, and in all parts of the world. It was, as Lafitau remarks, the very method which was prescribed for rekindling the vestal fire at Rome, when it was accidentally extinguished. This writer describes it as in use also among several tribes of the Indians of South America. Among them, however, it is somewhat more artificially managed than it appears to be among the New Zealanders, inasmuch as their practice is first to make a hole in the wood with the tooth of the acouti, and then to insert in this an instrument resembling a wimble, by the rapid revolution of which the wood is set on fire.
The Baron Alexander de Humboldt gives a similar account of the manner in which the operation appears to have been performed among the ancient Mexicans, who adopted this method of rekindling their fires, on their general extinction at the end of every cycle of fifty-two years.
In a letter which Humboldt has printed at the conclusion of his work, from M. Visconti, it is remarked that we find mention made of this contrivance both in Homer's "Hymn to Mercury," and in the "Argonautics" of Apollonius Rhodius. The scholiast of the latter gives a description of the process, which exactly answers to the Mexican delineation.
"On the opposite side of the river," Rutherford proceeds, "which was about half a mile wide, and not more than four feet deep in any part, about four hundred of the enemy were encamped, waiting for reinforcements. Meanwhile messengers were continually passing from the one party to the other, with messages concerning the war.
"One of them informed us that there was a white man in his party who had heard of and wished to see me; and that the chiefs, who also wished to see me, would give me permission to cross the river to meet him, and I should return unmolested whenever I thought proper. With Aimy's consent, therefore, I went across the river; but I was not permitted to go armed, nor yet to take my wife with me. When I arrived on the opposite side, several of the chiefs saluted me in the usual manner by touching my nose with theirs; and I afterwards was seated in the midst of them by the side of the white man, who told me his name was John Mawman, that he was a native of Port Jackson, and that he had run away from the 'Tees' sloop of war while she lay at this island. He had since joined the natives, and was now living with a chief named Rawmatty;[BZ] whose daughter he had married, and whose residence was at a place called Sukyanna,[CA] on the west coast, within fifty miles of the Bay of Islands. He said that he had been at the Bay of Islands a short time before, and had seen several of the English missionaries. He also said that he had heard that the natives had lately taken a vessel at a place called Wangalore, which they had plundered and then turned adrift; but that the crew had escaped in their boats and put to sea. This is the same place where the crew of the ship 'Boyd' were murdered some years before.[CB]
"While I remained among these people, a slave was brought up before one of the chiefs, who immediately arose from the ground, and struck him with his mery and killed him. This mery was different from any of the rest, being made of steel. The heart was taken out of the slave as soon as he had fallen, and instantly devoured by the chief who slew him. I then inquired who this chief was, and was informed that his name was Shungie, one of the two chiefs who had been at England, and had been presented to many of the nobility there, from whom he received many valuable presents; among others, a double-barrelled gun and a suit of armour, which he has since worn in many battles. His reason, they told me, for killing the slave, who was one belonging to himself, was that he had stolen the suit of armour, and was running away with it to the enemy, when he was taken prisoner by a party stationed on the outskirts of the encampment. This was the only act of theft which I ever saw punished in New Zealand.
"Although Shungie has been two years among Europeans, I still consider him to be one of the most ferocious cannibals in his native country. He protects the missionaries who live on his ground entirely for the sake of what he can get from them.
"I now returned to my own party. Early the next morning the enemy retreated to a distance of about two miles from the river; upon observing which our party immediately threw off their mats, and got under arms. The two parties had altogether about two thousand muskets among them, chiefly purchased from the English and American South Sea ships which touch at the island. We now crossed the river; and, having arrived on the opposite side, I took my station on a rising ground, about a quarter of a mile distant from where our party halted, so that I had a full view of the engagement.
"I was not myself required to fight, but I loaded my double-barrelled gun, and, thus armed, remained at my post, my wife and the two slave girls having seated themselves at my feet.
"The commander-in-chief of each party now stepped forward a few yards, and, placing himself in front of his troops, commenced the war-song. When this was ended both parties danced a war-dance, singing at the same time as loud as they could, and brandishing their weapons in the air.
"Having finished their dance, each party formed into a line two-deep, the women and boys stationing themselves about ten yards to the rear.
"The two bodies then advanced to within about a hundred yards of each other, when they fired off their muskets. Few of them put the musket to the shoulder while firing it, but merely held it at the charge. They only fired once; and then, throwing their muskets behind them, where they were picked up by the women and boys, drew their merys and tomahawks out of their belts, when, the war-song being screamed by the whole of them together in a manner most dismal to be heard, the two parties rushed into close combat.
"They now took hold of the hair of each other's heads with their left hands, using the right to cut off the head. Meantime the women and boys followed close behind them, uttering the most shocking cries I ever heard. These last received the heads of the slain from those engaged in the battle as soon as they were cut off, after which the men went in among the enemy for the dead bodies; but many of them received bodies that did not belong to the heads they had cut off.
"The engagement had not lasted many minutes, when the enemy began to retreat, and were pursued by our party through the woods. Some of them, in their flight, crossed the hill on which I stood; and one threw a short jagged spear at me as he passed, which stuck in the inside of my left thigh. It was afterwards cut out by two women with an oyster-shell. The operation left a wound as large as a common-sized tea-cup; and after it had been performed I was carried across the river on a woman's back to my hut, where my wife applied some green herbs to the wound, which immediately stopped the bleeding, and also made the pain much less severe.
"In a short time our party returned victorious, bringing along with them many prisoners. Persons taken in battle, whether chiefs or not, become slaves to those who take them. One of our chiefs had been shot by Shungie, and the body was brought back, and laid upon some mats before the huts. Twenty heads, also, were placed upon long spears, which were stuck up around our huts; and nearly twice as many bodies were put to the fires, to be cooked in the accustomed way.
"Our party continued dancing and singing all night; and the next morning they had a grand feast on the dead bodies and fern-roots, in honour of the victory they had gained. The name of the chief whose body lay in front of our huts was Ewanna. He was one of those who were at the taking of our vessel. His body was now cut into several pieces, which, being packed into baskets, covered with black mats, were put into one of the canoes, to be taken along with us down the river. There were, besides Ewanna, five other chiefs killed on our side, whose names were Nainy, Ewarree, Tometooi, Ewarrehum, and Erow.[CC] On the other side, three chiefs were killed, namely, Charly, Shungie's eldest son, and two sons of Mootyi,[CD] a great chief of Sukyanna. Their heads were brought home by our people as trophies of war, and cured in the usual manner.
"We now left Kipara in a number of canoes, and proceeded down the river to a place called Shaurakke,[CE] where the mother of one of the chiefs who was killed resided.
"When we arrived in sight of this place, the canoes all closed together, and joined in singing a funeral song.
"By this time, several of the hills before us were crowded with women and children, who, having their faces painted with ochre, and their heads adorned with white feathers, were waving their mats, and calling out to us 'ara mi, ara mi,' the usual welcome home.
"When the funeral song was ended, we disembarked from our canoes, which we hauled up from the river, and our party then performed a dance, entirely naked; after which they were met by another party of warriors, from behind the hill, with whom they engaged in a sham fight, which lasted about twenty minutes. Both parties then seated themselves around the house belonging to the chief of the village, in front of which the baskets containing the dead body were at the same time placed. They were then all opened, and the head, being taken out and decorated with feathers, was placed on the top of one of the baskets; while the rest of the heads that had been taken at the battle were stuck on long spears, in various parts of the village. Meanwhile, the mother of the slain chief stood on the roof of the house, dressed in a feathered cloak and turban, continually turning herself round, wringing her hands, and crying for the loss of her son.
"The dead body having been in a few days buried with the usual ceremonies, we all prepared to return to our own village. Shaurakke is one of the most delightful spots in New Zealand, and has more cultivated land about it than I saw anywhere else. While I was here, I saw a slave-woman eat part of her own child, which had been killed by the chief, her master. I have known several instances of New Zealand women eating their children as soon as they were born."
Another rendition of Hokianga.
Mr. Craik adds a note stating that the place which Rutherford here calls Wangalore is Wangaroa. (The proper spelling is Whangaroa.) The ship, he says, was the "Mercury," of London, South Sea whaler, which put in at Wangaroa on March 5th, 1825, and was plundered of the greater part of her cargo by the natives. She was also so much disabled by the attack made upon her that, after a vain attempt to carry her round to the Bay of Islands, it was found necessary to abandon her, when she drove to sea, and asserted that no cause of offence whatever was given to the natives by the captain or crew of the "Mercury," while the conduct of the former was in all respects treacherous, unfeeling, and provoking.
All the names are spelt wrongly.
Probably Matui or Matohi.
Evidently Hauraki, which, however, is on the east coast, while Knipara is on the west.
This is, we believe, the most complete account, and, at the same time, the one most to be depended on, which has yet been given to the public, of a New Zealand battle. None of the other persons who have described to us the manners of these savages have seen them engaged with each other, except in a sham fight; although Nicholas, on one occasion, was very near being afforded an opportunity of witnessing a real combat. That gentleman and Marsden, however, have given us some very interesting details respecting the preliminaries to an actual engagement. They describe the debates which generally take place in the war-council of a tribe or district previous to any declaration of hostilities; and those conferences between the two opposing parties in which, even after they have met on the intended field of action, the matter of dispute is often made the subject of a war of argument and eloquence, and sometimes, it would seem, is even settled without any resort to more destructive weapons.
When Marsden visited the neighbourhood of the Shukehanga, in 1819, he found a quarrel just about to commence between two of the principal chiefs, whose lands lay contiguous, and who were also, it appeared, nearly related, in consequence of the pigs of the one having got into the sweet potato grounds of the other, who had retaliated by shooting several of them. The chief whose pigs had committed the trespass, and whom Marsden was now visiting, was an old man, apparently eighty years of age, named Warremaddoo,[CF] who had now resigned the supreme authority to his son Matanghee;[CG] yet this affair rekindled all the ancient enthusiasm of the venerable warrior. The other chief was called Moodewhy.[CH] The morning debate, at which several chiefs spoke with great force and dignity, had been suddenly interrupted; but it was resumed in the evening, when Marsden was again present.
On this occasion, old Warremaddoo threw off his mat, took his spear, and began to address his tribe and the chiefs. He made strong appeals to them against the injustice and ingratitude of Moodeewhy's conduct towards them, recited many injuries which he and his tribe had suffered from Moodeewhy for a long period, mentioned instances of his bad conduct at the time that his father's bones were removed from the Ahoodu Pa to their family vault, stated acts of kindness which he had shown to Moodeewhy at different times, and said that he had twice saved his tribe from total ruin. In the present instance, Moodeewhy had killed three of his hogs. Every time he mentioned his loss, the recollection seemed to nerve afresh his aged sinews: he shook his hoary beard, stamped with indignant rage, and poised his quivering spear.
He exhorted his tribe to be bold and courageous; and declared that he would head them in the morning against the enemy, and, rather than he would submit, he would be killed and eaten. All that they wanted was firmness and courage; he knew well the enemies they had to meet, their hearts did not lie deep; and, if they were resolutely opposed, they would yield.
His oration continued nearly an hour, and all listened to him with great attention.
This dispute, however, partly through Marsden's intercession, who offered to give each of the indignant leaders an adze if they would make peace, was at last amicably adjusted; and the two, as the natives expressed it, "were made both alike inside."
But Marsden was a good deal surprised on observing old Warremaddoo, immediately after he had rubbed noses with Moodeewhy in token of reconcilement, begin, with his slaves, to burn and destroy the fence of the enclosure in which they were assembled, belonging to Moodeewhy, who, however, took no notice of the destruction of his property thus going on before his face. Upon inquiry, he was told that this was done in satisfaction for a fence of the old man's which Moodeewhy had destroyed in the first instance, and the breaking down of which had, in fact, given rise to the trespass.
A New Zealander would hold himself to be guilty of a breach of the first principles of honour if he ever made up a quarrel without having exacted full compensation for what he might conceive to be his wrongs.
The battle which Nicholas expected to witness was to be fought between the tribe of an old chief named Henou,[CI] and that of another, named Wiveah,[CJ] who had seduced his wife. The two parties met in adjoining enclosures, and Nicholas took his station on the roof of a neighbouring hut to observe their proceedings. The conference was commenced by an old warrior on Henou's side, who, rising, amid the universal silence of both camps, addressed himself to Wiveah and his followers.
Nicholas describes the venerable orator as walking, or rather running, up and down a paling, which formed one side of the enclosure in which he was, uttering his words in a tone of violent resentment, and occasionally shaking his head and brandishing his spear. He was answered in a mild and conciliating manner by two of Wiveah's followers.
To them another warrior of Henou's party replied, in what Nicholas calls a masterly style of native eloquence. In easy dignity of manner he greatly excelled the other orators. "He spoke," says the author, "for a considerable time; and I could not behold, without admiration, the graceful elegance of his deportment, and the appropriate accordance of his action. Holding his pattoo-pattoo[CK] in his hand he walked up and down along the margin of the river with a firm and manly step."
The debate was carried on by other speakers for some time longer; but at last it appeared that conciliatory counsels had carried the day. The two parties satisfied themselves with a sham fight, Wiveah merely presenting the injured Henou with a quantity of potatoes.
The most singular part of the debate, however, was yet to come; for immediately after the sham fight, the old orator again rose, and, although vehement enough at the beginning of his harangue, became still more so as he proceeded, till at last he grew quite outrageous, and jumped about the field like a person out of his senses.
In the latter part of the debate, Wiveah and Henou themselves took up the discussion of the question, and seem, by the account given, to have handled it with more mildness and good temper than almost any of their less interested associates.
At the close of Wiveah's last address, however, "his three wives," says Nicholas, "now deemed it expedient to interpose their oratory, as confirming mediators between the parties, though there was no longer any enmity existing on either side. They spoke with great animation, and the warriors listened to their separate speeches in attentive silence. They assumed, I thought, a very determined tone, employing a great deal of impressive action, and looking towards the opposite chief with an asperity of countenance not warranted by the mild forbearance of his deportment. The expostulating harangues, as I should suppose they were, of these sturdy ladies completed the ceremonials of this singular conference; and the reconciliation being thus consummated, the parties now entertained no sentiments towards each other but those of reciprocal amity."
It would appear that the New Zealand women sometimes carry their martial propensities farther than they are stated to have done in the present case. Nicholas was once not a little surprised, while witnessing a sham fight, to observe Duaterra's wife, the Queen of Tippoonah,[CL] exerting himself, with most conspicuous courage, among the very thickest of the combatants.
Her majesty was dressed in a red gown and petticoat, which she had received as a present from Marsden, that reverend gentleman having been obliged himself, in the first instance, to assist in decorating her with these novel articles of attire; and, holding in her hand a large horse-pistol, always selected the most formidable hero she could find as her antagonist.
She was at last, however, fairly exhausted; and stood, at the conclusion of the exhibition, Nicholas tells us, panting for breath. "In this state," says he, "she was pleased to notice me with a distinguished mark of flattering condescension, by holding out her lips for me to kiss, an honour I could have very well dispensed with, but which, at the same time, I could not decline, without offering a slight to a person of such elevated consequence."
He saw, also, some other female warriors, who exposed themselves in the combat with great gallantry. Among them, Marsden tells us, was the widow of Tippahee, a woman apparently not much less than seventy years of age.
Cook also sometimes saw the women armed with spears.
The principal native war-instrument of the New Zealanders is the short thick club, which has been so often mentioned. This weapon they all constantly wear, either fastened in their girdle or held in the right hand and attached by a string to the wrist. It is in shape somewhat like a battledore, varying from ten to eighteen inches in length, including a short handle, and generally about four or five broad, thick in the middle, but worked down to a very sharp edge on both sides. It is most commonly formed of a species of green talc, which appears to be found only in the southern island, and with regard to which the New Zealanders have many superstitious notions. Some of them are made of a darker-coloured stone, susceptible of a high polish; some of whalebone; and Nicholas mentions one, which he saw in the possession of Tippoui, brother of the celebrated George of Wangarooa, and himself one of the leaders of the attack on the 'Boyd,' which, like that of Shungie, which Rutherford speaks of, was of iron, and also highly polished. It had been fabricated by the chief himself, with tools of the most imperfect description; and yet was, in Nicholas's opinion, as well-finished a piece of workmanship as could have been produced by any of our best mechanics. This instrument is employed in close combat, the head being generally the part aimed at; and one well-directed blow is quite enough to split the hardest skull. The name usually given to it, in the earlier accounts of New Zealand, is patoo-patoo. Anderson, in his general remarks on the people of Queen Charlotte Sound, says it is also called Emeeta. But its correct and distinctive name seems to be that by which Rutherford always designates it, the mery or mairy.
Long striking and thrusting weapons used by the Maoris
Savage tells us that when he took his friend, Moyhanger,[CM] to a shop in the Strand to purchase some tools, he was particularly struck with a common bill-hook, upon which he cast his eyes, as appearing to be a most admirable instrument of slaughter; and we find accordingly that since they have had so much intercourse with Europeans some of the New Zealand warriors have substituted the English bill-hook for their native battle-axe. Nicholas mentions one with which Duaterra was accustomed to arm himself.
Their only missile weapons, except stones, which they merely throw from the hand, are short spears, made of hard wood or whalebone, and pointed at one extremity. These they are very dexterous with, both in darting at a mark, and in receiving or turning aside with the blades of their battle-axes, which are the only shields they use, except the folds of their thick and flowing mats, which they raise on the left arm, and which are tough enough to impede the passage of a spear. They have other spears, however, varying from thirteen or fourteen to thirty feet in length, which they use as lances or bayonets. These, or rather the shorter sort, are also sometimes called by English writers patoos, or patoo-patoos. Lastly, they often carry an instrument somewhat like a sergeant's halbert, curiously carved, and adorned with bunches of parrot's feathers tied round the top of it.
The musket has now, however, in a great measure superseded these primitive weapons, although the New Zealanders are as yet far from being expert in the use of it.
By Rutherford's account, as we have just seen, they only fire off their guns once, and throw them away as soon as they have got fairly engaged, much as some of our own Highland regiments are said formerly to have been in the habit of doing.
Cruise, in like manner, states that they use their firelocks very awkwardly, lose an immense deal of time in looking for a rest and taking aim, and after all, seldom hit their object, unless close to it.
Muskets, however, are by far more prized and coveted by the New Zealander than any of the other commodities to which his intercourse with the civilized world has given him access. The ships that touch at the country always find it the readiest way of obtaining the supplies they want from the natives, to purchase them with arms or ammunition; and the missionaries, who have declined to traffic in these articles, have often scarcely been able to procure a single pig by the most tempting price they could offer in another shape. Although the arms which they have obtained in this way have generally been of the most trashy description, they have been sufficient to secure to the tribes that have been most plentifully provided with them a decided superiority over the rest; and the consequence has been that the people of the Bay of Islands, who have hitherto had most intercourse with European ships, have been of late years the terror of the whole country, and while they themselves have remained uninvaded, have repeatedly carried devastation into its remotest districts.
More recently, however, the River Thames, and the coasts to the south of it, have also been a good deal resorted to by vessels navigating those seas; and a great many muskets have in consequence also found their way into the hands of the inhabitants of that part of the island.
When Rutherford speaks of the two parties whom he saw engaged having had about two thousand stand of arms between them, it may be thought that his estimate is probably an exaggerated one; but it is completely borne out by other authorities. Thus, for example, Davis, one of the missionaries, writes, in 1827: "They have at this time many thousand stand of arms among them, both in the Bay and at the River Thames."
The method of fighting, which is described as being in use among the New Zealanders, in which, after the first onset, every man chooses his individual antagonist, and the field of battle presents merely the spectacle of a multitude of single combats, is the same which has, perhaps, everywhere prevailed, not only in the primitive wars of men, but up to a period of considerable refinement in the history of the military art.
The Greeks and Trojans, at the time of the siege of Troy, used both chariots and missiles; and yet it is evident from Homer that their battles and skirmishes usually resolved themselves in a great measure into a number of duels between heroes who seem to have sometimes paused by mutual consent to hold parley together, without at all minding the course of the general fight.
Exactly the same thing takes place in the battles of the American Indians, who are also possessed of bows and arrows. The New Zealanders have no weapons of this description, and, until their intercourse with Europeans had put muskets into their hands, were without any arms whatever by which one body could, by its combined strength, have made an impression upon another from a distance. Even the long spears which they sometimes used could evidently have been employed with effect only when each was directed with a particular aim. When two parties engaged, therefore, they necessarily always came to close combat, and every man singled out his adversary; a mode of fighting which was, besides, much more adapted to their tempers, and to the feelings of vehement animosity with which they came into the field, than any which would have kept them at a greater distance from each other.
The details of such personal conflicts amongst more refined nations always formed a principal ingredient in poetry and romance, from the times of Homer to those of Spenser. They are, indeed, always uninteresting and tiresome, although related with the highest descriptive power; and even in the splendid descriptions of Ariosto and Tasso there is something absolutely ludicrous in the minute representations of two champions in complete armour, hammering each other about with their maces like blacksmiths.
Still, the poets have clung to this love of individual prowess, wherever their subjects would admit of such descriptions; and, even to our own day, that habit which we derived from the times of chivalry, of describing personal bravery as the greatest of human virtues, is not altogether abandoned.
The realities of modern warfare are, however, very unfavourable to such stimulating representations. The military discipline in use among the more cultivated nations of antiquity, for example the Persians, the Macedonians, the Grecian states, and above all, the Romans, undoubtedly did much to give to their armies the power of united masses, controllable by one will, and not liable to be broken down and rendered comparatively inefficient by the irregular movements of individuals. But it is the introduction of fire-arms which has, most of all, contributed to change the original character of war, and the elements of the strength of armies. Where it is merely one field of artillery opposed to another, and the efficient value of every man on either side lies principally in the musket which he carries on his shoulder, individual strength and courage become alike of little account. The result depends, it may be almost said, entirely on the skill of the commander, not on the exertions of those over whom he exercises nearly as absolute an authority as a chess-player does over his pieces.
If this new system has not diminished the destructiveness of war, it has, at least, very much abated the rancorous feelings with which it was originally carried on. It has converted it from a contest of fierce and vindictive passions into an exercise of science. We have still, doubtless, to lament that the game of blood occasions, whenever it is played, so terrible a waste of human life and happiness; but even the displacement of that brute force, and those other merely animal impulses, by which it used to be mainly directed, and the substitution of regulating principles of a comparatively intellectual and unimpassioned nature, may be considered as indicating, even here, a triumph of civilization.
It is impossible that the business of war can be so corrupting to those engaged in it when it is chiefly a contest of skill, as when it is wholly a contest of passion. Nor is it calculated in the one form to occupy the imagination of a people, as it will do in the other. The evil is therefore mitigated by the introduction of those arts which to many may appear aggravations of this curse of mankind.
Rutherford does not take any notice of the pas, or as they have been called, eppas, or hippahs,[CN] which are found in so many of the New Zealand villages. These are forts, or strongholds, always erected on an eminence, and intended for the protection of the tribe and its most valuable possessions, when reduced by their enemies to the last extremity. These ancient places of refuge have also been very much abandoned since the introduction of fire-arms; but formerly, they were regarded as of great importance.
Cook describes one which he visited on the East Coast, and which was placed on a high point of land projecting into the sea, as wholly inaccessible on the three sides on which it was enclosed by the water; while it was defended on the land side by a ditch of fourteen feet deep, having a bank raised behind it, which added about eight feet more to the glacis. Both banks of the ditch are also, in general, surmounted by palisades, about ten or twelve feet high, formed of strong stakes bound together with withies, and driven very deep into the ground. Within the innermost palisade is usually a stage, supported by posts, from which the besieged throw down darts and stones upon their assailants; and in addition to this, the interior space, which is generally of considerable extent, is sometimes divided into numerous petty eminences, each surrounded by its palisade, and communicating with each other by narrow lanes, admitting of being easily stopped up, in case of the enemy having effected his entrance within the general enclosure. The only road to the strong-hold is by a single narrow and steep passage.
Cruise describes a fort at Wangarooa as situated on an insulated rock, about three hundred feet high, and presenting the most imposing appearance. These elevated palings were a subject of much speculation to those on board of Cook's vessel, when that navigator first approached the coast of New Zealand. Some, he tells us, supposed them to be inclosures for sheep and oxen, while others maintained they were parks of deer.
The New Zealanders may, in some degree, be considered as a warlike people upon the sea. We have no distinct account of any maritime engagements between one tribe and another carried on in their vessels of war; but as these belong to the state, if it may be so termed—that is, as the war canoes are the property of a particular community inhabiting a village or district, as distinguished from the fishing-boats of individuals—it is probable that their hostile encounters may occasionally be carried on upon the element with which a nation of islanders are generally familiar.
Rutherford has given a minute description of a war-canoe, which accords with the representation of such a large vessel in the plates to Cook's "Voyages":—
"Their canoes are made of the largest sized pine-trees, which generally run from 40 to 50 feet long, and are hollowed out, and lengthened about eight feet at each end, and raised about two feet on each side.
"They are built with a figure head; the stern-post extending about ten feet above the stern of the canoe, which is handsomely carved, as well as the figure-head, and the whole body of the canoe. The sides are ornamented with pearl shell, which is let into the carved work, and above that is a row of feathers. On both sides, fore and aft, they have seats in the inside, so that two men can sit abreast. They pull about fifty paddles on each side, and many of them will carry two hundred people. When paddling, the chief stands up and cheers them with a song, to which they all join in chorus. These canoes roll heavy, and go at the rate of seven knots an hour. Their sails are made of straw mats in the shape of a lateen sail. They cook in their canoes, but always go on shore to eat. They are frequently known to go three or four hundred miles along the coast."
The former word, "Pa," is correct.
We have noticed all the adventures which Rutherford records to have befallen him during his residence in New Zealand, and have now only to relate the manner in which he at last effected his escape from the country, which we shall do in his own words.
"A few days," says he, "after our return home from Showrackee, we were alarmed by observing smoke ascending in large quantities from several of the mountains, and by the natives running about the village in all directions, and singing out Kipoke,[CO] which signifies a ship on the coast. I was quite overjoyed to hear the news.
"Aimy and I, accompanied by several of the warriors, and followed by a number of slaves, loaded with mats and potatoes, and driving pigs before them for the purpose of trading with the ship, immediately set off for Tokamardo; and in two days we arrived at that place, the unfortunate scene of the capture of our ship and its crew on the 7th of March, 1816. I now perceived the ship under sail, at about twenty miles distance from the land, off which the wind was blowing strong, which prevented her nearing. Meanwhile, as it was drawing towards night, we encamped, and sat down to supper.
"I observed that several of the natives still wore round their necks and wrists many of the trinkets which they had taken out of our ship. As Aimy and I sat together at supper, a slave arrived with a new basket, which he placed before me, saying that it was a present from his master. I asked him what was in the basket, and he informed me that it was part of a slave girl's thigh, that had been killed three days before. It was cooked, he added, and was very nice. I then commanded him to open it, which he did, when it presented the appearance of a piece of pork which had been baked in the oven. I made a present of it to Aimy, who divided it among the chiefs.
"The chiefs now consulted together, and resolved that, if the ship came in, they would take her, and murder the crew. Next morning she was observed to be much nearer than she had been the night before; but the chiefs were still afraid she would not come in, and therefore agreed that I should be sent on board, on purpose to decoy her to the land, which I promised to do.
"I was then dressed in a feathered cloak, belt, and turban, and armed with a battle axe, the head of which was formed of a stone which, resembled green glass, but was so hard as to turn the heaviest blow of the hardest steel. The handle was of hard black wood, handsomely carved and adorned with feathers. In this attire I went off in a canoe, accompanied by a son of one of the chiefs, and four slaves. When we came alongside of the vessel, which turned out to be an American brig, commanded by Captain Jackson, employed in trading among the islands in the South Sea, and then bound for the coast of California, I immediately went on board, and presented myself to the captain, who, as soon as he saw me, exclaimed, 'Here is a white New Zealander.'
"I told him that I was not a New Zealander, but an Englishman; upon which he invited me into his cabin, where I gave him an account of my errand and of all my misfortunes.
"I informed him of the danger his ship would be exposed to if he put in at that part of the island; and therefore begged of him to stand off as quickly as possible, and take me along with him, as this was the only chance I had ever had of escaping.
"By this time the chief's son had begun stealing in the ship, on which the crew tied him up, and flogged him with the clue of one of their hammocks, and then sent him down into his canoe.
"They would have flogged the rest also had not I interceded for them, considering that there might be still some of my unfortunate shipmates living on shore, on whom they might avenge themselves.
"The captain now consented to take me along with him; and, the canoe having been set adrift, we stood off from the island. For the first sixteen months of my residence in New Zealand, I had counted the days by means of notches on a stick; but after that I had kept no reckoning. I now learned, however, that the day on which I was taken off the island was January 9th, 1826. I had, therefore, been a prisoner among these savages ten years, all but two months."
Captain Jackson now gave Rutherford such clothes as he stood in need of, in return for which the latter made him a present of his New Zealand dress and battle axe.
The ship then proceeded to the Society Islands, and anchored on February 10th off Otaheite.
Here Rutherford went into the service of the British consul, by whom he was employed in sawing wood. On May 26th he was married to a chief woman, whose name, he says, was Nowyrooa, by Mr. Pritchard, one of the English missionaries. While he resided here, he was also employed as an interpreter by Captain Peachy, of the "Blossom" sloop of war, then engaged in surveying those islands.
Still, however, longing very much to see his native country, he embarked on January 6th, 1827, on board the brig "Macquarie," commanded by Captain Hunter, and bound for Port Jackson. On taking leave of his wife and friends, he made them a promise to return to the island in two years, "which," says he, "I intend to keep, if it is in my power, and end my days there."
The "Macquarie" reached Port Jackson on February 19th, and Rutherford states that he met there a young woman who had been saved from the massacre of those on board the "Boyd," and who gave him an account of that event. This was probably the daughter of a woman whom Mr. Berry brought to Lima.
He also found at Port Jackson two vessels on their way back to England, with a body of persons who had attempted to form a settlement in New Zealand, but who had been compelled to abandon their design, as he understood, by the treacherous behaviour of the natives.
He now embarked on board the Sydney packet, commanded by Captain Tailor, which proceeded first for Hobart Town, in Van Diemen's Land,[CP] and after lying there for about a fortnight set sail again for Rio de Janeiro.
On his arrival there he went into the service of Mr. Harris, a Dutch gentleman. Mr. Harris, on learning his history, had him presented to the Emperor Don Pedro, who asked him many questions by an interpreter, and made him a present of eighty dollars. He also offered him employment in his navy; but this Rutherford refused, preferring to return to England in the "Blanche" frigate, then on the point of sailing, in which he obtained a passage by an application to the British consul. On the arrival of the ship at Spithead, he immediately left her, and proceeded to Manchester, his native town, which he had not seen since he first went to sea in the year 1806.
After his return to England Rutherford occasionally maintained himself by accompanying a travelling caravan of wonders, showing his tattooing, and telling something of his extraordinary adventures.
The publisher of this volume had many conversations with him in January, 1829, when he was exhibited in London. He was evidently a person of considerable quickness, and great powers of observation. He went over every part of his journal, which was read to him, with considerable care, explaining any difficulties, and communicating several points of information, of which we have availed ourselves in the course of this narrative.
His manners were mild and courteous; he was fond of children, to whom he appeared happy to explain the causes of his singular appearance and he was evidently a man of very sober habits. He was pleased with the idea of his adventures being published; and was delighted to have his portrait painted, though he suffered much inconvenience in sitting to the artist, with the upper part of his body uncovered, in a severe frost.
Upon the whole he seemed to have acquired a great deal of the frankness and easy confidence of the people with whom he had been living, and was somewhat out of his element amidst the constrained intercourse and unvarying occupations of England. He greatly disliked being shown for money, which he submitted to principally that he might acquire a sum, in addition to what he received for his manuscript, to return to Otaheite.
We have not heard of him since that time; and the probability is that he has accomplished his wishes. He said that he should have no hesitation in going to New Zealand; that his old companions would readily believe that he had been carried away by force; that from his knowledge of their customs, he could be most advantageously employed in trading with them; and that, above all, if he were to take back a blacksmith with him, and plenty of iron, he might acquire many of the most valuable productions of the country, particularly tortoiseshell,[CQ] which he considered the best object for an English commercial adventure.[CR]
Rutherford is not the only native of a civilized country whose fate it has been to become resident for some time among the savages of New Zealand. Besides his shipmates, who were taken prisoners along with him, he himself, indeed, as we have seen, mentions two other individuals whom he met with while in the country, one of whom had been eight years there, and did not seem to have any wish to leave it.
A Maori war canoe.
Savage gives a short notice of a European who was living in the neighbourhood of the Bay of Islands when he was there in 1805. This person, whose native country, or the circumstances that had induced him to take up his abode where he then was, Savage could not discover, shunned all intercourse with Europeans, and was wont to retire to the interior whenever a ship approached the coast. The natives, however, whose customs and manners he had adopted, spoke well of him; and Savage often saw a New Zealand woman who lived with him, and one of their children, which he represents as very far from exhibiting any superiority either in mind or person over his associates of unmixed breed. Its complexion was the same as that of the others, being distinguished from them only by its light flaxen hair.
Marsden, also, in a letter written in 1813 to the secretary of the Church Missionary Society, mentions a young man, a native of America, with whom he had conversed in New South Wales, and who had lived for above a year with the New Zealanders.
During all this time these savages, he said, had shown him the greatest attention, and he would have been very glad to return to live among them if he could have found any other Europeans to go with him.
Since the Bay of Islands has become so much the resort of shipping, many seamen have left their ships and taken up their residence of their own accord among the natives. The "Missionary Reports" state that, about the close of the year 1824, there were perhaps twenty men who had thus found their way into the country, and were living on plunder; and that within the year not less, it was supposed, than a hundred sailors had in the same manner taken refuge for a time in the island.
Although these men had all run away from their own ships, the captains of other vessels touching at any part of the coast did not hesitate to employ them when they wanted hands.
Mawman, whom Rutherford met with at Kiperra, had, it will be recollected, made his escape, according to his own account, from a sloop of war. These fugitives, however, it would appear, do not always succeed in establishing themselves among the natives. Cruise mentions one who, having run away from the "Anne" whaler, hid himself at first in the woods, but soon after came on board the "Dromedary" in a most miserable state, beseeching to be taken on the strength of the ship.
Convicts, too, occasionally make their escape to New Zealand, and attempt to secrete themselves in the interior of the country. When the "Active" was at the Bay of Islands in 1815, two men and a woman of this description were sent on board to be taken back to New South Wales. The woman, Nicholas says, was particularly dejected on being retaken; and it was found that while on shore she had done everything in her power to prevail upon one of the native females to assist her in her attempt to conceal herself. Her friend, however, resisted all her entreaties; and well knowing the hardships to which the poor creature would have exposed herself, only replied to her importunate solicitations, "Me would, Mary, but me got no tea, me got no sugar, no bed, no good things for you; me grieve to see you, you cannot live like New Zealand woman, you cannot sleep on the ground."
The Rev. Mr. Butler, in March, 1821, found two convicts who had escaped from a whaler, in the hands of one of the chiefs, who was just preparing to put them to death. On Butler interfering and begging that their lives might be spared, the New Zealanders replied: "They are nothing but slaves and thieves; they look like bad men, and are very ragged; they do not belong to you, and we think they are some of King George's bad cookees." After a great deal of discussion, however, they yielded so far to Butler's entreaties and arguments as to agree not to kill the two men; but the chief insisted that they should go home with him and work for him four months, after which he said that he would give them up to any ship that would take them to "King George's farm at Port Jackson."
When Nicholas was in New Zealand in 1815, he met with a Hindoo, who had made his escape from Captain Patterson's ship, the "City of Edinburgh," about five years before, and had been living among the natives ever since. Compared with the New Zealanders, he looked, Nicholas says, like a pigmy among giants. However, he had got so much attached to the manners of his new associates that he declared he would much rather remain where he was than return to his own country. He had married a native woman, and was treated, he said, in the kindest manner by the New Zealanders, who always supplied him with plenty of food without compelling him to do more work than he chose. Nicholas offered him some rice, but he intimated that he decidedly preferred fern-root.
The circumstances of Rutherford's capture and detention in New Zealand were but indifferently calculated to reconcile him to the new state of society in which he was there compelled to mix, notwithstanding the rank to which his superior intelligence and activity raised him.
Though a chief, he was still a prisoner; and even all the favour with which he had himself been treated could not make him forget the fate of his companions, or the warning which it afforded him to how sudden or slight an accident his own life might at any time fall a sacrifice. But it is certain that, where no such sense of constraint is felt, not only the notion, but even the reality, of savage life has a strong charm for many minds. The insecurity and privation which attend upon it are deemed but a slight counterbalance to the independence, the exemption from regular labour, and above all the variety of adventure, which it promises to ardent and reckless spirits.
Generally, however, the Europeans that have adopted the life of the savage have been men driven out from civilization, or disinclined to systematic industry. They have not chosen the imaginary freedom and security of barbarians, in contempt of the artificial restraints and legal oppressions of a refined state of society, in the way that the Greek did, whom Priscus found in the camp of Attila, declaring that he lived more happily amongst the wild Scythians than ever he did under the Roman government.
But if those who have been accustomed to the comforts of civilization have not infrequently felt the influence of the seductions which a barbarous condition offers to an excited imagination, it may well be conceived that, to the man who has been born a savage, and nurtured in all the feelings and habits of that state of society, they must address themselves with still more irresistible effect.
We have many examples, accordingly, of how difficult it is to extinguish, by any culture, either in an old or a young savage, his innate passion for the wild life of his fathers.
Tippahee's son, Matara, on his return from England, strove to regain an acquaintance with his native customs. Moyhanger, Savage's friend, might be quoted as another instance, in whom all the wonders and attractions of London would appear not to have excited a wish to see it again. Nor does any great preference for civilized life seem to have been produced in other cases, by even a much longer experience of its accommodations.
When Nicholas and Marsden visited New Zealand in 1815, they met at the North Cape, where they first put on shore, a native of Otaheite, who had been brought from his own country to Port Jackson when a boy of about eleven or twelve years old. Here he had lived for some years in the family of Mr. McArthur, where he had been treated with great kindness, and brought up in all respects as an English boy would have been. Having been sent to school he soon learned not only to speak English with fluency, but to read and write it with very superior ability; and he showed himself besides in everything remarkably tractable and obedient. Yet nothing could wean him from his partiality to his original condition; and he at last quitted the house of his protector, and contrived to find his way to New Zealand. Here he settled among a people even still more uncivilized than his own countrymen, and married the daughter of one of the chiefs, to whose territories he had succeeded when Nicholas met with him.
Jem (that was the name by which he had been known at Port Jackson) was then a young man of about twenty-three years of age. Unlike his brother chiefs, he was cleanly in his person; and his countenance not being tattooed, nor darker than that of a Spaniard, while his manners displayed a European polish, it was only his dress that betokened the savage.
"His hair," says Nicholas, "which had been very carefully combed, was tied up in a knot upon the crown of his head, and adorned with a long white feather fancifully stuck in it; in his ears were large bunches of the down of the gannet, white as the driven snow, and napping about his cheeks with every gale. Like the natives, he wore the mat thrown over his shoulders; but the one he had on was bordered with a deep Vandyke of different colours, and gaily bedizened with the feathers of parrots and other birds, reflecting at the same moment all the various shades in the rainbow. He carried a musket in his hand, and had a martial and imposing air about him, which was quite in character with the station he maintained."
He brought his wife with him in a canoe to the ship; and having known Marsden well in New South Wales, was delighted to see that gentleman, and proved of considerable use to him in his intercourse with the other New Zealanders. Although not accustomed to speak English in his new country, Jem had by no means forgotten that language. He had been on three warlike expeditions to the East Cape in the course of the past five years; but had gone, he said, only because he could not help it, and had never assisted in devouring the prisoners. Dillon met both Jem and the Hindoo, when he was at the Bay of Islands in July, 1827. The former had his son with him, a boy about twelve years of age.
These, and many other examples which might be added, exhibit the force of habit which governs the actions of all men, whether in a savage or civilized state. There are, of course, exceptions. When Cook left Omai,[CS] during his last voyage, at Huaheine, with every provision for his comfort, he earnestly begged to return to England. It was nothing that a grant of land was made to him at the interposition of his English friends, that a house was built and a garden planted for his use. He wept bitter tears; for he was naturally afraid that his new riches would make him an object of hatred to his countrymen. He was much caressed in England; and he took back many valuable possessions and some knowledge. But he was originally one of the common people; and he soon saw, although he was not sensible of it at first, that without rank he could obtain no authority. He forgot this, when he was away from the people with whom he was to end his days; but he seemed to feel that he should be insecure when his protector, Cook, had left their shores. He divided his presents with the chiefs; and the great navigator threatened them with his vengeance if Omai was molested. The reluctance of this man to return to his original conditions was principally derived from these considerations, which were to him of a strictly personal nature. The picture which a popular poet has drawn of the feelings of Omai is very beautiful, and in great part true as applied to him as an individual; but it is not true of the mass of savages.
The habits amidst which they were born may be modified by an intercourse with civilized men, but they cannot be eradicated. The following is the poetical passage to which we alluded. Omai had, altogether, a more distinguished destiny than any other savage—he was cherished by Cook, painted by Reynolds, and apostrophised by Cowper:—"The dream is past, and thou hast found again
Thy cocoas and bananas, palms and yams,
And homestall thatch'd with leaves. But hast thou found
Their former charms? And, having seen our state,
Our palaces, our ladies, and our pomp
Of equipage, our gardens, and our sports,
And heard our music, are thy simple friends,
Thy simple fare, and all thy plain delights,
As dear to thee as once? And have thy joys
Lost nothing by comparison with ours?
Rude as thou art (for we return'd thee rude
And ignorant, except of outward show)
I cannot think thee yet so dull of heart
And spiritless, as never to regret
Sweets tasted here, and left as soon as known.
Methinks I see thee straying on the beach,
And asking of the surge that bathes thy foot,
If ever it has wash'd our distant shore.
I see thee weep, and thine are honest tears,
A patriot's for his country: thou art sad
At thought of her forlorn and abject state,
From which no power of thine can raise her up."
Kaipuke, a ship.
That is, Tasmania.
There are no tortoises in New Zealand.
Rutherford did not return to New Zealand, and nothing more was heard of him. On December 5th, 1828, "The Australian," which 'was published in Sydney, stated that a man named Rutherford, who had been tattooed by the Maoris, and naturalized by them, was then in London, practising the trade of a pickpocket, in the character of a New Zealand chief, but that was before he supplied his story for "The New Zealanders."
Omai was an islander, who was taken to England, where he was lionized, and was afterwards taken back to the islands during Cook's last voyage.