Page images
PDF
EPUB

Have no religion, but some faint idea of a future existence, thinking they shall return to the clouds from whence they fell. They live in families or tribes, the senior being styled father. 857. Manners and Customs. One numerous and powerful tribe has the singular prerogative of exacting a tooth from young men of another tribe ; this is the only token of dominion on the one hand, and subjection on the other. Their huts are of bark, shaped like an over, with the fire at the mouth. Fish are taken by the females, with lines of bark, and hooks made of the mother of pearl oyster, or they are killed with a kind of prong, and are broiled often over a fire kindled on sand in a canoe. Fish is the principal food, but vermin are also devoured, and some eat squirrels and opossums. These savages are not very ceremonious in procuring wives. When a wife is wanted, the girl selected is knocked down and led to her intended husband. They are very superstitious, believing in witchcraft and ghosts, and using spells against thunder and lightning. Young people when they die are buried, but the elderly are burnt. 858. Animals. New Holland affords new species of animals, among which are some of the opossum kind. The largest of these is the kangaroo, which has short paws, but moves by leaping with his hind legs only. The native dogs are of the chacal or jackall kind, and never bark. They are black or red, and some of them handsome. The platypus has jaws elongated like the bill of a bird. Here is also a new species of cassowary, seven feet in length, whose flesh tastes like beef. The black swan, larger than the white, with a bill of a rich scarlet, has a plumage of the most intense black, except the primaries and secondaries, which are white, and exhibits all the graceful actions of the white swan. 859. New Guinea, or Pashua. Papua, a large island situated between New Holland and the equator, was discovered by a Spaniard in 1528, but it contains no European settlement. The inhabitants on the sea coast seem to be of African or Malay origin, and it is said a race of men in the interior live on trees, which they ascend by means of notched poles. The Papuans, on the coast,

[ocr errors]

live in huts, on stages in water, like other natives of the Asiatic Isles. They are stout, black, ugly men, often disfigured by marks, their eyes large, noses flat, and mouths from ear to ear, with lips amazingly thick, and woolly hair painted red, dressed into a bush like a mop, from two to three fect round. In this they wear a comb with diverging teeth, and sometimes fethers of the bird

of paradise. To add to these embellishments, they

wear rings, pieces of bone, or wood, in the nose, and

females wear a brass ring in the left car.
860. Animals and Productions. The Papua Isles,
and especially Arroo, are the seats of the beautiful bird
of paradise, of which there are several species. They
migrate in flocks of 30 or 40, crying in flight like the En-
glish starling, but when surprised with a strong gale,
they rise high in air, and croak like ravens. These isles.
also abound with elegant parrots, and the crowned pi-
geon, nearly as large as a turky. The productions are
cocoa-nut, plantain, bread fruit trees. and sago, the latter
being a chief article of food. The females make pots of
clay, which they burn with grass or brush wood. The
Papuans export to China birds, small pearls, tortoise
shells, and ambergris, receiving in return instruments
and utensils.
861. Now Britain. East of Papua lie New Britain,
New Ireland, and the Solomon Isles. The nutmeg
tree is found there in abundance, with cocoanuts, yams
and ginger. The inhabitants of New Ireland were
found to carry iances headed with slint, and to be very
hostile. They are black, with faces streaked with white,
and powdered hair. Some of their canoes are 90 feet in
length, formed of a single tree. The inhabitants of the
Solomon Isles are either black or copper colored, and
wear little beads of gold about the neck. Some of their
canoes are small, two being fastened together, and they
make baskets of palm leaves. -
862. JWeav Caledonia and JWew Hebudes. New Cale-
donia, discovered by capt. Cook in 1774, lies east of New
Holland, between 19 and 22 degrees of south latitude.
The inhabitants are an active, muscular race, with a deep
brown complexion, with black frizzled hair, but not

[graphic]

woolly. Like all the natives of the tropical climates, their clothing is a wrapper about the waiste. They cultivate the soil, but subsist chiefly on yams, other roots and fish. Their houses are circular, in form of a beehive, constructed of small spars or reeds, covered with long coarse grass. They bury the dead, and ornament the graves of their chiefs with spears, darts and paddles stuck about them in the earth. 863. JVew Zealand. The islands of New Zealand were discovered by Tasman, a Dutch navigator in 1642. In 1770, capt. Cook sailed round them, and discovered a strait which divides them. The length of each island is nearly 600 miles, but the medial bredth about 150. Their situation is south east from New Holland, between 34 and 48 degrees of south latitude. The southern island is the most mountainous, the northern one the most fertile, and both are clothed with wood. The climate is temperate, producing many valuable tree; and plants, and, in particular, flax which grows without culture. 864. Inhabitants. The inhabitants are tall and well made, with a brown complexion, and in features somewhat resembling Europeans. They inter the dead, and believe that after the third day, the heart separates from the corpse, and a spirit, hovering over the grave, approaches at the signal of a breeze of wind, and bears it to the clouds. Their divisions of time are the revolutions of the moon. Their dress is an oblong garment, made of silky flax, their ears are ornamented with beads, and their face besmeared with a red paint. Females wear necklaces of shark’s teeth, or bunches of beads made of bones or shells. Their huts are poor, and their furniture and utensils little more than baskets, fish hooks, and a few other trifles. They believe in a supreme being, but have no place of worship, and living in hostility, they are cruel and revengeful to enemies. In combat they distort their features into hideous forms, and they devour the flesh of their captives. 865. Van Diemen's Land. Separated from the southern point of New Holland, and distant 90 leagues, is an island called Van Diemen’s Land, about 160 miles in

length. The natives are like those of New Holland, without clothing, black, of common stature, with woolly hair, like the blacks of Africa, but with more pleasing features. Their hair and faces are smeared with red paint. Their habitations are miserable hovels, and in some instances a hollow tree. Their food consists chiefly of birds and fish, but they eat the kangaroo. The only quadrupeds which capt. Cook saw on the island were the kangaroo and opossum. 866. The Pelew Isles. The Pelew Isles are a groop situated between the 5th and 10th degrees of north latitude, in the Pacific Ocean. These were discovered by capt. Wilson, who was shipwrecked on one of them in in 1783. The inhabitants are of a remarkably mild character, humane and peaceable. They are of a deep copper color, stout and well made, without clothing, except an apron or fringe made of the husk of the cocoa-nut, They have no appearance of religion, but some faint idea that the soul survives the body. Their houses are raised on large stones, about three feet from the ground, being constructed of timber and bamboo, and covered with bamboo and palm leaves. They subsist chiefly on yams and cocoa nuts, and the milk of the latter is their drink. Their knives are made of the mother of pearl oyster; their combs of orange tree, with wooden teeth inserted ; their fish hooks of tortoise shell, twine and nets of the fibers of the cocoanut; large bamboos form their buckets ; their beds and plates are mats of plaintain leaves. Both sexes tatoo their skins, and stain their teeth black, while a bone, worn as a bracelet round the wrist, is the badge of nobility. 867. The Ladrones. Northward of the Pelew Isles are the Ladrones, or Isles of Thieves, a name given them by Magellan, on account of the disposition of the inhabitants to pilfer. They are called also the Marian Isles. They are 12 or 14 in number, and occupy the space of 150 leagues. The inhabitants resemble those of Pelew in color and manners. Before they saw the Spaniards, they regarded themselves as the only people in the World, believing the first man to be formed of a rock, or * others supposed, of earth, in one of their isles. Their

vessels or proas are constructed with wonderful ingenuity. The nobles are treated with great respect, and it is a crime for them to marry a girl of common rank.— Their houses are divided in four apartments by partitions of palm leaves. Each man avenges his own quarrel, but their wars are not very sanguinary. Their magicians invoke the dead, whose sculls are preserved in the house, and they appear solicitous that a ghost should not disturb their nocturnal repose. 868. The Carolines. East of Pelew, are the Carolines, a groop of about 30 isles, most of which are inhabited. They were discovered by the Spaniards in 1686, and a few Spaniards are said to have been left on one of them, but none of them have any European colony. The inhabitants live chiefly on fish, and cocoa-nuts. They believe in celestial spirits, and think these spirits descend to bathe in a sacred lake ; but they have neither temples, idols, nor worship. The dead are interred or thrown into the sea. Polygamy is allowed, and criminals are banished from one isle to another. They have no instruments of music, but their dances are accompanied with songs. Their only weapon is a lance armed with a bone. In 1733, Cantova, a Jesuit missionary, with eight Spaniards, was massacred on Mogmog, one of the Carolines, but late navigators seldom visit these isles. 869. Sandwish Isles. The Sandwish isles lie in the Pacific, nearly under the tropic of Cancer. They were discovered and named by Capt. Cook, in gratitude to the earl of Sandwich, the patron of his voyage. The natives are of a dark olive complexion, with pleasing seatures, long or curled hair, but the nose is spread at the point. The beard is worn, and both sexes tatoo their bodies, as females do the tip of their tongues. A narrow strip of cloth about the loins is the principal dress; but in battle the men throw over their shoulders a cloth or mat. On solemn occasions, the chiefs wear dresses ingeniously formed of fethers, and both sexes use a fan to drive away flies, made of the fibers of the cocoanut or of long fethers. The chief, called Eree Taboo, has absolute command, and when he dies, his funeral is celebrated by the sacrifice of two or more servants. Y

« PreviousContinue »