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LIFE IN THE SANDWICH ISLANDS.
LOCAL TRADITIONS OP CAPTAIN COOK, AND GLIMPSES OF OLD
Gliding through Magellan's Straits,
A notable wonder—Curious fancies of the Natives respecting the first Ship—They venture nigh in Canoes—They recognize their god Lone—They pay divine worship to Captain Cook—They grow familiar with the Hatiles—They smart under indignities and exactions—The bent bow snaps—They are undeceived—The denouement—He groans—He is not a god—The fight—The fall—The retreat—The burning of the navigator's body—The exploits of Phillips—The narrative of Ledyard—The revenge —The providence—We stand where Cook fall—We visit the. spot where his body was burned—Monumental inscription—Natural reflection upon his end—Forms of the old idolatry—Pagan notions respecting the soul—The realms of Wakea and Milu —Providence and Grace in the Heart of the Pacific.
Thkeescoke and thirteen years ago there appeared in the serene waters of a far island in the Pacific a notable wonder, which has been succeeded by a greater wonder still. Two ships, significantly called the Resolution and Discovery, cast anchor in an unknown bay, called by its aborigines Kaawaroa, or Kealakekua. They were commanded by an intrepid navigator, of the most intrepid and daring race that has ever ploughed the seas. Their prows had ventured into strange oceans, and had broken the primeval stillness of bays and roadsteads which are now whitened with the wings of Commerce, and struck by the propellers of mighty Steamers, then an idea all unknown but to the Creative Mind who has since given the steamboat, through Fulton, as a be nignant boon to our race.
These adventurous ships had anchored in the night, as upon the coast of an undiscovered country, with thoughts, perhaps, like those which a navigator in a balloon would now have, whose anchor should catch at midnight on some floating island of the great ocean of air. In the morning, when the natives on shore first beheld the strange sight, they were wild with amazement and conjecture. Unable to tell whence the wonder came, or what it was, or how to express their astonishment at the sight, they cried out, "Moku! moku!" the Hawaiian word for island, as if it were a moving island; and that is their name for a ship to the present day.
Then, as they gazed from a distance at the ship's towering masts and branching spars, they exclaimed, "It is a forest that has moved into the sea!" Soon the chiefs commanded some of their men to go in canoes and find out what this wonderful thing, this new moku, might be. They approached so near as to survey, with curious dread, the different parts of the ship and the men on board; and then they returned, all wild with excitement, and with the vain effort of their undisciplined minds, to describe what they had seen.
They had beheld the strangers as they looked over the ship's sides eating something red, (being watermelon from Monterey,) and to their imagination it was STRANGE FANCIES OF THE NATIVES.
the raw flesh of men: they had seen fire and smoke about their mouths from cigars, and they reported them, therefore, to be Fire-gods—gods of the Volcano. They told in an exaggerated manner of the whiteness of their skin, the brightness of their eyes, their garments rough and strange, their heads horned like the moon, and their speech all unintelligible gibberish—" A hikapalale, hikapalale—hioluai, oalakai."
The fire, they said, burns at their mouths like Pele— the Volcano. They have doors in their sides for property; openings going far down into their bodies, where they thrust their hands, and draw knives, and iron, and beads, and cloth, and nails, and every thing else, for their bodies are full of treasure. Then a warrior by the name of Kapupuu, hearing of the great quantity of iron about the ships, (which they had learned the value of by what had occasionally drifted ashore in strange pieces of wood,) at once said, "I will go and seize the iron, for plunder is my business." He boldly went, according to his boast, but while in the act of purloining was shot. Then the cluster of canoes with him fled, and reported that Kapupuu was slain by a fire-ball, a pu from the volcano—the pu being the only instrument like a gun which they were acquainted with.
The succeeding night there was a discharge of cannon from on board the ships, and a display of fire-works that filled up the measure of wonder and dread in the minds of those rude barbarians. Unable to believe any thing else than that the new-comers were supernatural beings, they called the Captain Lono, that being the name of a fabled god of theirs who had gone into a foreign land, and now they supposed had come back.
It was a tabu-week with them, when canoes were ordinarily forbidden from being on the sea, and it was death to be seen in one at such a time. But when they saw Lono's moku there—the moving island of their god—they were not afraid to use their canoes, because their god had come to them, and his ship must be a heiau, a temple. When they observed the seamen calking the sides of the vessels, they called them Mckualii's company, Mokualii being the god of canoemakers. Those who had fire at their mouths they denominated Lono-pele-poe, or Lono's volcano-company.
But every wonder has its day and its end, and familiarity with the hadle, as they called the strangers, at length began to breed dislike, if not contempt, on the part of the eager natives. They found the foreigners to be like themselves- in lusts and covetousness, if superior in power. At length the unwarranted act of the great Lono in breaking down the wooden fence of their sacred morai, or heiau, and loading his boats with it, in order to supply his ships with wood, provoked their indignation beyond the power of their superstitious dread of the gods to restrain.
Thefts, reprisals, insults, and bloodshed followed quick upon one another, until a deep, uncontrollable resentment was kindled among the natives. But Captain Cook—for he was the Lono, even according to the narrative of Ledyard, one of his men, who landed with him on the morning of his death, and was near him