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rUHLISIIKI) WI3KKLY, AT HONOLULU, OAIIU, SANDWICH ISLANDS.
j J. JAUVES, Editor.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3, 18 10.
Vol. l.-IVo. 17.
COM M US I (' AT K II.
Xhc.Vi visitor's or $nnio:i En-
laiuk Their Maimers, Customs, and
Superstition. Iiy T. I loath, Muuono.
(Cmit ititicd from page (i1).)
Tli'1 erect ion of their houses exhibits
'I ....I.I, .1 ill lllwl t t.M1 I .tic! 4'
(YiHSlUi Tiii'iu i"iiu, ciimi i7 iihj i;ii.iiin..
onlv few families ; in other words, it is a
trade. Almost any body, indeed, can
cuiitniet a small cottage, such as the
poorer sort live in ; but the large houses
of t!ie chiefs, built for business ami for
tin? entertainment of traveling parties. &e.
arc the result of much skill, labor and ex
p,!K'. The form of the proper Samoan
lioiis'.'s is slightly oval ; those of an o!
o;u h;ije are built after the Tonga fash-
M'l 1 . L' 1 ..11 .1 . I i
io:i. iiiewoouoi neany an ineir oesi
lilies is bread fruit. A 'few posts are
r;,nl in the centre, which bear a consid
erate share in supporting the roof, and
arc from twenty to thirty feet high, but
t!n do not extend under the circular
fink only as far as the parallel sides. A
sciilnlding is then erected which serves
tin? place of ladders, nearly as high as the
limise is to be, and so shaped as to form,
in fact, a rough outline of the habitation.
1; serves for raising the different parts of
tin1 roof, and for the workmen to stand
wmI upon iu order to fasten them to
gether. The roof consists of a ridge
tree placed on the large upright posts, a
wall-plate which is to rest on minor posts
'bed all round, about a foot within the
eves-drop. Then there are sometimes
I'iree, sometimes four sets of cross beams
at ilillerent heights, tying the two oppo
se roofs together, and serving also as ad
ditional supports by being fixed to the
ii;r'dit centre-posts which they cross.
Tim e or four strong beams pass along the
Nil' at different distances lengthwise, to
which the cross-beams are fastened, and
parallel to these are several iesscr ones,
sitliat the distance between these is
ahnut a foot. Then come what serve
tlio place of the laths, only placed in the
contrary direction, namely, round slabs
ut two inches in circumference, which
crossing the cross-pieces, before described,
complete the wood work of the roof.
Hie whole is tied together with cinett,
a:"l with that also the thatch of sugar
C'tne is sei.ed on very neatly, having been
previously arranged on short lengths of
C:,I"N hy the women. During the pro
s""softhe work, the wall-plates or
filler that which stands in their stead,
propped wit It temporary props ; but
w 'en finished strong posts are placed un
'K -it distances of three or four feet, ami
a'" lied with cinett. Hut the greatest
11 is shown in constructing the roofs at
!'"' r"'nilar ends. A stranger wonders
"nv they contrived to turn the strong
,r,,:il fruit beams into so exact a crescent
lori11' The fact is, they arc composed of
s, Vf r:il short pieces, each of which bends
fnly di-htly, but are so neatly put togeth
er as to givo i,o appearance of being en
tin 'i' i
' I hey often have to piece also the
s,r;'lit beams, and they dove-tail them
seientilieally. Floor they have
l'yoiid the mats they spread on tho
""nd. As to iloors, sometimes they
"lr,"ind their sleeping houses with cane
Jw"h thatch, and then a coarse mat
for a door. The large houses have
1,11 r" piotcction at the sides; others
have mats so placed all round as to let
down or draw up at pleasure.
This also is a distinct trade, and one
in which no little skill is displayed ; even
more than in house building. Their fish
ing canoes, indeed, are only a single tree,
scooped out, to which an out-rigger is at
tached sufficient to balance them. Of
the large double canoes, such as are in
use; at the Fiji and Tonga blinds, they
have but few. The canoes treated of in
this section are single ones, of forty to six
ty feet long, but narrow, fitted to carry
from eight or ten to sixteen nersons.
They consist of several planks of wood,
so neatly fitted and sewed together, with
j cinett and cemented, as to be water proof.
the men who work them, sit two abreast,
one paddling on each side ; and they are
seldom made larger than can he worked
by thirteen men, the odd one being the
helmsman, who only dilfers from the rest
in having the after seat to himself, and a
None of the work appears on the out
side: that is so neat and, smooth that,
until you look narrowly, you imagine the
canoe has been carved out of an entire
block. The shape is that of an elegant,
very long but very narrow boat; When
you look inside you see that at the edge
of each plank of wood there is a ledge
or projection titled to a correspondent one
in the adjoining plank, and that these
ledges are literally sewed together. Hut
first a species of gum which oozes from
the bark of tin; bread fruit tree when cut,
is used to render the joints more compact
and waler tight. Jt is admirable to see
these men accomjjlish all this with onlv a
few small adze-shaped tools and a gimlet,
or what by patient labor accomplishes the
work of a gimlet, lie fore they obtained
iron tools they used to effect all this by
adzes made of a hard stone and by bones
of fish, i:c.
The out-rigger is not of difficult con
struction, but its weight and extent should
be so constructed as to balance the canoe
without materially hindering its speed.
The sail is eight or ten feet high, broad
at top, and tapering to a point at bottom ;
perhaps so made in order not to incom
mode the men paddling. It is made of
mats. When it is iu use, and the wind
a side one, no little skill and presence of
mind are required to balance; the canoe.
This is done by projecting a piece of
wood, strong enough to sustain a man's
weight, on the side of the canoe opposite
to the out-rigger. This is called the sna
il. It is watched by one man and the
out-rigger by another, and their weight is
thrown upon either, as the force of the
wind and action of the sea require
M AMJFACTUHR OF M.VTS, ClOTII, SlC.
This is the work of the women. They
make various sorts of mats ; some, of the
strong leaf of the pandanus, in nearly its
full breadth for spreading on floors; some
of the same leaf, split, into smaller shreds
for sleeping upon. These arc generally
six or seven feet long and three or four
wide. They wear a long time. A much
finer mat, the weaving of which will oc
cupy a woman twelve or eighteen months,
is woven with the same leaf, slit into very
narrow pieces, which are made tough and
durable by being baked in an oven and
then soaked in the sea. This mat is so
fine as to be almost as pliable as cotton.
These are their dresses on special occa
sions ; they look very elegant, especially
when fringed with red feathers. They
are the gold of Samoa. There is also a
durable mat, about the size of a sheep
skin, and much of the same appearance,
one side being shaggy. It is woven with
tlx? bark of the Fan.
The stalk of the arrow root is also a
useful material and is plaited for hats, &c.
Of some of the above materials thev also
weave very neat and useful baskets.
The bark of the Chinese paper mulber
For wounds received in war the burnt
bark of the chestnut is used.
As a laxative the oily juice expressed
from the pulp of the ripe cocoa nut.
Dose, half a pint or more. To check
leanness of the bowels tlic taro is said to
be very efficacious. lint query, whether
this would be the effect on those who cat
The following is a sample of their
quackery: If a man knew that an ab
sent relative or friend was sick, he would
take up some ashes into his hand, and
looking towards the place where the sick
man was residing, would drop the ashes
.i t . i i .:...!.,..! I 1 rpi :
ry is m tiiese islands, as elsewhere, neat !" "iner naim. j ms is a son oi
out into a coarse cloth, which is in exten-;eure all. Its alledged effect is ccitainly
sive use for clolhing, bed covering, etc. ' more wonderful than the mysteries of ani
They paint, or print some of it in neat'nial magnetism. They have, however,
patterns, and dye some pices idl black or many quacks by trade, who do not rely
all brown. Hut it docs not wear lorn:, ;on medicine, but on their interest with
especially if often wet. the aitus or spirits, and the prayers and
offerings made to them.
One of the most useful services which
science has to render to Polynesia is, for
hibiscus. Their construction is much the some medical botanist to point out the
same as that of a common fishing net in; medical properties of tlic plants and
jiiigiaim, wuii siones msicau 01 leaus, aim
bits of light wood instead of cork. Net
making is also a distinct trade.
These are made from the bark of the
herbs, in order that they may be applied
to the cure of the people's diseases.
Fishing and Bird catching.
The greater part of ihe people live on
the sea coast, and chiefly at these places
where there are reefs, because, in addition
to the facilities of landing, it is there that
fish most abound. It is within these in
i 'in .1... .
e mats, siapo and other property to the i nosu,(:s 01 M,i,llow WlIcr ,liat '"c varied
:fessor. It is unnecessary to describe !M(l J-f "it 1 1 nl beds of coral abound, which
lurmsli shelter lor the smaller fish. And
This is also a distinct trade, and a very
lucrative one ; for the family of the youth
jwho undergoes the operation are o.xpeet-
!ed to subscribe the best samples of their
the process, as it does not mateiially dif
fer from that practised in other groups.
It is eall;d here "ta-tatau." The males
only are tatoocd, and the only part of the
body thus ornamented is from the waist
to the knee. It is done very tastefully,
and one would imagine it to have been
adopted in imitation of breeches. It
does, in fact, somewhat abate the appear
ance of nakedness, ami thus gives an air
of decency. The people are extremely
fond of it ; imleed it is the ceremony of
; inauguration into the class of manhood.
Vet many young men among the Chris-
jliaii portion have the courage to grow up
without it, as they understood from the
Tahilian teachers it was forbidden.
Mr.nicixi: and Sl: nanny.
Tho same person is often a kind of
priest, and doctor, lie depends as much
or more on his incantations than his med
ical skill. Scarcely any thing is known
by the Samoans of surgery, but a few
adventurers from Tonga and the Fijis,
have found gnat practice. The latter
are in great repute. What is known at
Tonga is learnt from them. Mariner's
it may turn out, after all, that the fish are
the real coral builders. Why not other
fish, as well as shell-fish, construct their
habitations or places of shelter. The
principal materials arc alike, only the shell
is more compact and more lubricated.
Fish is an almost daily article of food
to those on the coast, and therefore many
of them are trained up to catching them.
They use the net, the spear, the hook,
and for lobsters, &c., a kind of trap bask
et. They often hook the shark, of whose
flesh they are fond, as they also aic of
his liver, although it sometimes half poi
sons a whole ullage. They construct
also a sort of pound, or inclosure, of mats
and cocoa nut branches, leaving one end
open. A party then spreads about and
drives the fish in that direction, and thus
oflen enclose a large number at once.
lint this can be done only in certain
spots, and at low water. At the com
mencement of the wet season, and again
on the sun returning to tho equator, im
mense shoals of very small fish make their
appearance, and on the wet season coming
in (October) shoals of a small long sea-
'Tonga Islands" may be consulted on worm also appear. These are joyous
this subject. The Samoans, howe ver, ' events with tho people; they take these
were not entirely destitute of skiil unci small creatures by thousands, and feast
resources. 31anv trees, Ccc. were m use upon them with avidity-".?
For burns, the ashes of the burnt bam
boo cane are said to be efficacious.
For the disease called the supa, which
has the appearance of a kind of leprosy,
the fruit of the tree called the auauri, was
taken. It is said to pioJucc a kind of sal
ivation. For a cutaneous disease of children,
called the Ha mca, a juico is expressed
from the fibres of the cocoa nut husk.
Tho fruit of the riosru h applied to
swellings called the fuu-fua.
There arc, however, some inland settle
ments, and the people there, being far
from the fish, are trained to climb tho
mountains and to catch birds. Thcro
game is abundant, and they have a great
er variety than there is in England. Tho
birds arc chiefly taken by means of nets,
but many can now, also, bring them down
with the gun.
To ho fnniirr.H'd.
Till: SMI' YAKll AT HONOLULU.
Dear Sir, Wc beg leave to call tho