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In the very heart of the Pacific, nearly Japan, China, and the Philippine Islequidistant from the Old and the New ands. They are designated, by the World, lies a group of islands, unsur- natives, the Hawaii-nei; a term synopassed for salubrity of climate, and nymous with Hawaiian Islands. equalled by few in fertility of soil. Of this group, we have now for the Uniting in their bosom the health-giving first time an authentic history. The breezes of a temperate clime, with the author of the volume referred to at the gorgeous splendors of tropical verdure, foot of this page, is already favorably Nature seems to have marked and known to us as the late editor and isolated them for the purpose of working publisher of the Polynesian, a weekly out there some great end, some won- journal of character and respectability, drous experiment, requiring a peculiar and an authority upon the commerce, sphere, and combining antagonistic religion, and general history of the elements; in short, a fitting battle- Pacific. From a residence at the ground for barbarism and civilisation. Sandwich Islands during some of the Any one who has paid attention to the most eventful periods of their history, history of the Pacific Ocean, for the and from the independent position oclast fifty years, will readily understand cupied by him there between the parties that we mean the Sandwich Islands; a by whose intrigues and rivalries they group of volcanic formation, extending have been for many years agitated, Mr. from 18° 50' to 22° 20' N. latitude, Jarves is unquestionably entitled to and from 154° 53' to 160° 15' longitude respect for his statements of opinion, west from Greenwich, embracing an and to confidence for his statements of area of 6100 square miles, nearly equi- facts positively within his own knowdistant from Central America, Mexico, ledge. Unconnected with the governCalifornia, and the North-West Coast, ment or with the American Missionaand also from the Russian dominions, ries, he as reliable a witness and histo
• History of the Hawaiian or Sandwich Islands; embracing their Antiquities, Mythology, Legends, Discovery by Europeans in the Sixteenth Century, Re-discovery by Cook, with their Civil, Religious, and Political History, from the earliest Traditionary Period to the Present Time. By James Jackson Jarves, Member of the American Oriental Society. Boston: Tappan & Dennett. 1843. 1 vol. 8vo. PP. 407.
The Polynesian, Vols. I. and II, Honolulu. 1840—41.
rian, as, in a dispute between American Kahoolawe, are still designated as the Protestantism on the one side, and, on foreign roads." the other, French Catholicism, in partial The profession of the bards, though alliance with English anti-Americanism, highly honorable, does not seem to have we could under any circumstances added much to the store of knowledge, expect to find in a zealous Ainerican and was rather confined to the exciteand vehement Protestant. If by an ment of religious enthusiasm, by wild expression thus guarded, we imply and imaginative songs and odes. Their some want of entire reliance on the historical labors were limited to lyrical impartial fidelity of the whole of our narrations of miraculous interpositions, author's narrative, we neither make to the battles of shadowy though bloodnor mean any other insinuation than he thirsty heroes, and to stirring relations is a man. For though personally our of more than uncertain events. Their selves both American and Protestant, men become gods, and their gods as we cannot claim for even the combina- suddenly relapse into men, each seemtion of those two attributes, that un- ing perplexed, prejudiced, unerring infallibility, which both Mr. Jarves, the American Mis- “incertus scamnum, facereine Priapum.” sionaries, and ourselves,would doubtless unite in denying to that Pope, whose re There is little doubt-indeed, nonepresentatives are alleged by him to have that the group were visited by Europebrought so much trouble and confusion, ans, probably by the Spaniards, previousreligious and political, into the before ly to the voyage of Captain Cook. That peaceful order and uniformity of doc- great navigator found the value of iron, trine prevailing in the Islands.
of which there existed no native speciWho were the ancient Hawaiians, mens, well known. On the return of the date of the first settlement of the the first visitors sent to examine Cook's group, the succession of kings, and the ships, the report of the great quantity increase of civilisation up to the time of iron seen on board the ships excited when they first became known to Eu- the cupidity of the chiefs, and one of ropeans--are questions to which we the warriors volunteered to seize it, look in vain for solution to the records saying, “I will go and take it, as it is or traditions of the Hawaiian Islands. my business to plunder.” He went, For an imaginative people, their tradi- and in the attempt was fired upon and tions are singularly barren and uninte- killed. Some fragments of iron hoop resting. It is, however, worthy of at- and of a sword-blade, in possession of tention, that, like most savage nations, the chiefs, were said to have been left they possess an account of a flood, said there by white men. Various traditions to have taken place at a remote period, remain of the visits of parties of white in which some of the inhabitants were men, either in vessels stopping at the saved by taking refuge in a canoe which Islands, or thrown on them by shiprested on the summit of Mauna-Kea, wreck. These were doubtless some the highest mountain in the Islands. of the earlier Spanish navigators of the Their origin, too, is accounted for by Pacific. As Mr. Jarves remarks, the the statement of an emigration from singularly “graceful form of the helTahiti, rendered probable by various mets, and the elegance of the feathered points of evidence, on which we need mantles, so unlike the usual rude arts not dwell. So vague and dinn, how- of the islanders, bearing as they did a ever, had become even the memory of striking resemblance in form to those this tradition, that though the name formerly worn among the Spaniards," Tahiti is still preserved in the Hawaiian together with other similar evidences language, it was applied to any foreign of a better taste and knowledge, probacountry, and to this day its actual sig- bly derived their origin from visitors of nification answers to the English terin that nation. A number of Hawaiian "abroad." A communication once ex words also exhibit a strong analogy isted with the other various Polynesian with the Spanish. One white indivigroups, by means of much larger vessels dual who thus landed alone on one of than the canoes, alone in existence the islands-either the sole survivor when first visited by Captain Cook; from a shipwreck, or perhaps some and certain points of departure, as the zealous priest landing from a passing southern extreinities of Hawaii and ship, in a solitary sublimity of self
devotion, as a missionary—is thus re nature, was the nearest approach to it. membered in tradition by the name of Superstition the most blind and besotted, Paao, as having brought with him a kept in continual and fearful operation large and a small idol, which by his by a wicked priesthood, knew no bounds persuasions were enrolled in the Ha- to its credulity. A multitude of cruel, waiian calendar of gods, and as having blood-loving, and licentious gods, and become a powerful and influential man; the universal terrors of witchcraft, enthat he was a humane one, too, would forced and retained a horrible power in appear from the tradition of his having the human sacrifices and obscene rites induced the king to spare the life of which they enjoined. Home had no one of his sons who had been ordered pleasant associations, and the natural to execution. The last of these visits love of kin had no existence. Cruelty can be referred to a period nearly a to the aged and infirm, and the more century and a half prior to Cook's arri- unnatural crime of infanticide, were so val (in 1778); a time quite sufficient, common as to pass unnoticed as the when coupled with their many bloody change of the seasons. Such friend wars and changes, to have dimmed the ship and hospitality as are practicable recollection of events, and thrown a without kindness, were not wanting. veil over the whole. “ Enough has The social virtues, which flow from the been preserved," says our author, relations of the sexes, found their only
acceptation in a frightful licentiousness "to establish the fact that centuries since, and a promiscuous concubinage. Wovessels visited these islands, and that man had no influence, as she was more several parties landed on them, and left degraded than her master. Thievishprogeny, whose descendants are distin
ness and drunkenness pervaded all guished even to this day, by their lighter ranks. The arbitrary tabu, issued by skin, and brown or red curly hair, called priest or chief, threw a fatal chain over ehu, and who highly esteem their origin. the common people, who, from ages of Kaikoewa, a celebrated warrior and late governor of Kauai, traced his ancestry to oppression and slavery, degenerated one of these strangers. A party of white till they became the fit tools of their men, called Hea, are said to have roamed masters, who ruled with an unsparing wild in the mountains, occasionally mak- rigor. Their wars were cruel, and ing inroads upon the more fertile districts, cannibalism was not the most revolting much to the terror of the inhabitants, feature. In short, a brutal fear was particularly the females.”
the holiest sentiment of their religion,
and an abuse of all the bountiful gifts But this fact is, after all, of no great of the Creator afforded the only proof importance, nor does it detract one leaf of their existence as free agents. from the hard-earned laurels of Captain It is needless to recapitulate the Cook. If others made the discovery, events of Cook's visit to the Hawaiian and chose for selfish purposes to conceal Islands. They are familiar to all their knowledge, it is obvious that the of us from childhood. His tragical real merit and honor will accrue to him fate furnished the natural termiwho first disclosed his information to nation of the interesting tale. Mr. the world. Captain Cook, if not the Jarves gives a spirited description of first at the islands, is nevertheless the that unfortunate mariner's death, from first who made known their existence which we should be pleased to quote, to civilized nations, and as such, must did our limits permit. He attributes be accounted their discoverer.
that untoward event to want of judgThe situation of the Hawaiian Isl- ment,-added to a line of conduct, in ands, in 1778, at the time of the arrival relation to the savages by whom he of this celebrated navigator, must be was received as a long expected diunderstood before we can comprehend vinity, but little creditable to him, the almost miraculous changes which either as a man of humanity, or of have taken place from their intercourse good faith and just dealing. As Cook with the more civilized white man. was treated as a God by the natives, Imagination can hardly present a more and hesitated not to take advantage of degraded picture of imbruted heathen- their superstition for his own selfish ism than was there exhibited. Virtue, ends, when they discovered their misas such, was not known; indolence, take, revenge, the first impulse of a which was supposed to be akin to good savage, as well for many other wrongs