網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

ever obliged to consent, and took him on shore to a place where I knew a piece large enough was lying; for I was well known on the Island, and had some authority: but he was a stranger; and it was very dangerous for perfect strangers, ignorant of their language and customs, to trust them. selves far from the shore. We had arrived at the log, and, having measured it, and found it not quite so large as was agreed upon, were talking about our bargain, when an old woman, well known to me, appeared with a large basket upon her shoulders. She came up to us, and, without addressing me as was usual, exclaimed in a dismal tone, War, war, war. I immediately knew that some thing was wrong, and that all was not safe. The man that was with me would have fled to the boat; but I advised him to stay by me, who was known, and could speak the language; whereas, if he were seen by himself running to his boat, there was a probability of his being killed. He remained therefore with me, and when we had waited some time, a native acquaintance came up. I enquired of him the meaning of the old woman's expression; when he informed me that they had been at war; that they had killed the Chief of Hyparcar; that they bad had the good fortune to seize upon his body and that they would feast upon it to-morrow; inviting me to be of the party.

To enable me to have so intimate an intercourse with these people, I had to encounter many dangers, and to conform to many of their disgusting customs. This horrible custom, however, of eating human flesh I had hitherto been able to avoid; but it was necessary that I should seem to acquiesce even in this, and, as the natives did, take a delight in it. To the native's invitation, therefore, I gave a ready assent, seemed to rejoice at the circumstance, and explained to him that, as I had just arrived from a cruise, and had not tasted of fresh food for some time, it would be particularly welcome to me. I then went about my other concerns; and in an hour or two the native that had accosted me in the morning came up to me, and, as if by accident, led me to the log of sandel wood we had been bargaining for. The body of the captive had been laid beside it.

It was that of a man above six feet high, there was a large wound across the forehead, and another at the top of the head, as if from the blows of a club. I started back at the sight, and the native exclaimed with emphasis; Are you afraid? Sanga, sanga, said I (no, no); I hope to feast on him to

morrow.

The people of these Islands always eat human flesh cold: they roast it one day, and eat it the next; and before the body is cut to pieces, the caloo performs a long ceremony. I went with my native friend to the priest's house; he was then about to perform the usual incantation. He had a long staff in his hands; and having placed one end of it on the ground, he exercised himself violently in reeling to and fro with it, till, overcome with the exercise, he fell down, and the attendants carried him into his house. He then said something in the manner of an oracle, which, as it was explained to me, meant that they would succeed in what they were about to undertake, referring to a battle that was intended.

The

The multitude then went down to their dead enemy, and with pieces of wood or bambo, made very sharp, cut off his hands at the wrists, his feet at the ankles, his legs at the knees, and his thighs near the middle, dividing the bone with an axe, which they had purchased from one of the vessels that had been at the Island. head was cut off very low toward the breast, and they placed it on some hot ashes that had previously been prepared in a hole dug for the purpose; and when it had remained there a sufficient time, they rubbed off the hair with shells, and replaced it with the other parts of the body in the hole, surrounding it on all sides with stones that had been made very hot. They then covered it up till it was completely roasted. I told the natives that I expected they would allow me my share of it; that I was then going on board, but that I should not fail to come on shore on the morrow; but that, if I should be prevented, I desired they would send my share on board the brig. The men of Hylai (for that was the name of the place) promised that I should not be disappointed, and I then left them.

On my going on board, I told my mate what was going forward, and

desired

desired that, when the human flesh should be brought on-board for me, he should say, I was gone on shore; and that when they should tell him what they had brought, he should seem disgusted, and refuse to receive it on board; that he should say, that although the Captain was fond of it, yet that he hated it, and that they might carry it on-shore again, for he would not receive it. On the following day it was done as I desired; they brought the roasted buman flesh along-side, and the mate refused to admit it on board, at the same time exclaiming violently against the custom. They at length went on shore with it, very much disappointed, and threatening that, if they met with him, they would kill him.

Two days after this I went among them again. I thought I might turn the circumstance of the human flesh to my advantage. I pretended to be very gry with them, said that they had deceived me; that they had not sent me my share of the human flesh. They persisted in affirming that they had sent it along-side, and that the mate would not receive it. I enquired, I told them, when I went on board, and that no one had seen or beard of it, and, added I, I have been greatly disappointed. Finding it therefore in vain to persuade me that they had sent it to me; they railed against the mate, and repeated that if they met him on shore they would kill him.

Carrying on the deception, immediately went to the mother of Riccammong. I told her that I was very angry that I had been disappointed and deceived. She spoke respectfully to me, as chiefs generally do when they address each other. In a very low submissive voice she said (for even here there is prevalent a great portion of Eastern bombast), if you are angry, me shall die. She then demanded what could be done to pacify me? I told her I must have a certain quantity of sandel wood. She therefore immediately sent some of her servants to collect it for me; which appeased me, and I returned on board.

Soon after this, having collected my cargo, I left the place, and have heard no more of these people. They are a dangerous race to go among and I was the only person of five ves

sels who had any authority among them, and was permitted to live on shore.

One of the most extraordinary circumstances among them is, the excessive value they set upon large teeth, such as those of the whale or sea elephant. So that persons going to procure sandel wood from them generally take with them as many of these teeth as they can procure.

The principal things they barter for are axes, knives, or razors; but they will give as much wood for one large tooth, as for five or six axes. This regard they put upon large teeth is the more extraordinary, as they do not seem to make any use of them, except as ornaments.

When a native, by purchase or any other means, becomes possessed of a large tooth, he hangs it up in his house, and for the first few days scarcely ceases looking upon it and admiring it. He frequently takes it down, and rubs it with a particular kind of leaf, and polishes it; some of them almost for a month continue to labour upon it.

The vessels from Port Jackson usually carried the teeth of the whale or sea elephant; but some vessels from India carried elephants' teeth, which they cut into pieces, and made in the shape of other teeth. These, being very large, were considered of the greatest value, and procured vast quantities of sandel wood. So great an account was set upon them, that some chiefs actually came from islands more than an hundred miles distant to see them.

They set no value on money. A ship called the Eliza, with several thousand dollars on board, was wrecked on a reef near one of these islands. The master of her put about four thousand of them in the jolly-boat, and made for the island that was most frequented, where he found a vessel from Port Jackson, and got on board of her. The jolly-boat was left towing a-stern, and some hours had passed before the master of the shipwrecked vessel mentioned the dollars being left in the boat. It happened that this was done in the presence of the male, who reported it to one of the sailors, and they removed them by stealth. Some of them they concealed in their cabins, and others the accomplice took on shore, and buried.

Some of the natives, however, saw him covering something up, and when he went away they dug up the dollars. On the following morning they were widely distributed among the natives, who parted with them for the merest trifles, such as nails, pins, or small pieces of iron.

A man called Savage, who had been some time among the natives at Tongataboo, about this time came to the Island, and hearing where the wreck was, went to the place, and found the dollars lying in heaps upon the beach.

Such is the account given me by Mr. Siddons; I cannot vouch for the truth of it, but am inclined to believe that it is mostly true. To many it may appear to be too much allied to the voyages of Sinbad the Sailor, but I would not disbelieve it on that account. From many persons I have heard similar accounts, but very few have had the opportunity of seeing so much of these people as Siddons. There is a possibility also of some of the circumstances that I have mentioned in this account having been published before, especially in the Missionary Voyage; which being the case, one account may be set against the other; and may either confirm the truth of it, or render it doubtful. Siddons lived on the Island, I believe, several years, and had house and lands: perhaps wives. If he be not the Missionary himself mentioned in Pinkerton's Geography, as having forsaken the original purpose of his visiting the Islands, namely, that of propagating the Gospel, for the more sensual gratifications of life; at least it is probable that the one may have been known by the other, and may be mentioned accordingly. This account I heard from Siddons himself, and I thought it worth while to commit it to paper.

Torre's Straits, Aug. 5, 1815.

[blocks in formation]

Arms (taken from their Seals) with the one in your Correspondent's possession, I am inclined to think they are descendants of the same Sir Francis South; and shall be much obliged to your Correspondent for his opinion thereon, and any further elucidation upon the subject.

The three brothers are men of respectability; the eldest lives upon his fortune, the second holds a situation in one of the Public Offices under the Lord Chancellor, and the youngest is an Officer in the Army; and I have frequently heard them mention that their father was born at a place near Brigg (Glanford Bridge) in Lincolnshire.

The eldest brother imagines they are descendants of the celebrated Dr. South; and jocosely observes, when any piece of wit flows from them, that it is a remnant of the "old Doctor;" but I cannot think they belong to his family, as their arms do not correspond, and from a little publication which came under your Review* (and which I sent him) it appeared the Doctor was not born in Lincolnshire; but there is much greater probability of their being related to Sir Francis South, who, it appears, belonged to that county. Yours, &c.

Mr. URBAN,

MENTOR.

March 3.

AMONG the different schemes for

bettering the condition of the poor, it does not appear, according to the knowledge of the present writer, to have entered into the calculation, what method the poor themselves take to amelioriate their situation. What they do to injure themselves is well-known, and therefore nothing shall be said upon that head; but where evils are only to be corrected by education, there was something impolitic in making the question so prominent. It has largely contributed to the support of Radicalism, a folly indeed but to be expected, among the poor in a luxurious nation, where ambition, not of honour, fame, or character, but of indulgence and idleness falls in, by the course of events, where a drunken

* It was, if I recollect right, the Beauties of Dr. South and another Reverend

Divine.

manu

manufacturer or a foppish footman wishes to ape the manners of superiors.

The poor, in the Western parts of England, where there are no manufactures, know nothing whatever of politicks. Their wages are commonly 18. per day, with their food. The methods which they take to supply deficiency of income are application to the Overseers, aud surreptitious enclosures of wastes.

As to the first, much of that evil is alleviated by amending the parish apprentice system as follows. In stead of taking the children off their hands, and thus enuring them to luxury, and disqualifying them for outdoor agricultural employments, a weekly allowance of 2s. or 2s. 6d. is given to the child, who is employed by the master, but he boards and sleeps at home. The stipend goes into hotch-potch; and the larger the family the more the amount in aid of the weekly income of the parents.

As to the second, every cottage should have a garden at least large enough to produce vegetables, sufficient to pay the rent. It is quite dubious, in many cases, whether more than the fee-simple of a purchased estate is not, by taking in wastes, consumed in loss of time; for the following account is well authenticated. A man purchased a quantum of waste land for thirty-five pounds. He was seen perpetually labouring upon it. A neighbouring gentleman made a particular enquiry, concerning the expenditure of labour which he had bestowed upon the ground, and the amount of the proceeds. These, as the ground was barren woodland, amounted only to very scanty crops of potatoes. The value of the labour expended was equal to 607.-This, added to the purchase, 357. made 957. an acre, given for land, not worth 78. an acre rent per ann. or at thirty years purchase ten guineas.-Arable land without stock (which the poor have not), cannot be kept in a high state of production; but the poor waste their time in assorting and cleaning it, to their great loss; and how unjustly they are subject to envy, for gaining a loss (as the honest Hibernian said) must be well known to those who have made large sacrifices under bills of inclosure.

The subsistence of the poor manu

facturers in the Western counties consists of dumplings of barley-flour, potatoes, red herrings, and once a week perhaps a joint of meat. The wiser sort substitute an excellent twice-aweek dinner of grey peas.

The agriculturists in the same counties have a better plan. They keep a pig, which they kill in the winter time for bacon for the year, after fattening it to the amount of fourteen or fifteen score. The net profit of such a pig is often not less than six or seven pounds. They rear also a large quantity of potatoes, and some poultry for sale. Their costume is the old Anglo-Saxon, the smockfrock; the best for husbandry purposes, as it does not heat like woollen, leaves the arms at liberty, does not rend like cloth, and can be washed. The Sunday clothing is as various as a rag-fair exhibition; but is preserved like a heir-loom.-In all countries, the poor get drunk whenever they are able; but the wiser part, only when they are treated.

From the preceding statements, therefore, it appears that, taking the conduct of the poor themselves as a basis, the remedies of want are among themselves. 1. A large garden, or potatoe ground.-2. Grey peas.-3. A pig.

it is evident that a dinner of potatoes, with a rasher of fat bacon, is much cheaper than one of bread and cheese: and in the Royal Navy, peas boiled in the broth were, I believe, doled to the men twice a week, as a vegetable diet, to controul the effects of the scurvy from salted viands. It requires very few peas indeed to furnish a sufficient meal.

Gentlemen, therefore, disposed to have their peasantry healthy and well fed, would do well to encourage the annexation of large gardens to cottages, a certain growth of peas in their parishes, and the custom of keeping pigs. In Herefordshire it is universal, so far as regards villages. Every housekeeper has one, if not more pigs; and it is considered au act of folly not to have one. A pigclub would be just as beneficial, as one for watches, leather-breeches, &c.; and philanthropic gentlemen, where the population has been small, have been known to present their poor with money for buying pigs. Yours, &c.

R. E. Extract

Estract of a Leller from James
Ducarel, Esq. to his Brother Dr.
Ducarel, dated Caen, Jan. 25, 1764.

66

YESTERDAY I went to exa

Yine with a curious and learn

ed Antiquary the Guard-room and Barons'-hall at the Abbey of St. Stephen's, which for 400 years past has been changed to a granary for wheat, and had the good luck to find it quite empty of every thing what ever, and clean swept, in order to receive new wheat this day. Consequently I could see those coats of arms of Norman nobility you have asked after, and which few of the people, even of the monks, have ever heard of; they are perfect and entire, in eight rows, from East to West, as near as I could guess; the pavement as fresh as if it had been laid down but yesterday, because the squares, which may be about four inches every way, and an inch English thick, had been burned even to vitrification. I have obtained one of the pavez with a coat of arms, which had been taken up in order to make a hole through, which, by means of a tube, they shift the wheat into the room underneath. This pavement I propose to give you -there are amongst the arms, some that are repeated, but which may have been of two or three brothers-the spaces between each row are a kind of tesselated pavement-in the middle are others in a circle, to make a maze which people were to tread, so that in the circumference of perhaps ten feet, you must have walked a mile before you had gone through every part-in other places are draught boards in the pavement, such as are used to this day, where I suppose they played at chess-the two end windows were roses, part of the fine painted glass is still to be seen, though stopped up in the rose part with lime and plaister; the two great chimneys remain as you will see in your draught when I can get it-the arched ceiling is supported by most light and ele gant wood-work-the door itself, though of old carved wood, is as old as the building.

"To the left is the room, or hall of the Barons; round which were hung their arms in the shields which I suppose they then bore.

The place where they hung, at about 18 feet from the ground, is evident

by the colour, but some shields still remain. We measured its length, 64 feet 9 inches French measure, but I believe we lost the 3 inches by inaccuracy; the width about 27 feet; the height, by guess, about 24 feet; it had a like fine chimney, now destroyed, and a like pavement with the other room, only that instead of arms, there windows, and the entry to it through are stags and dogs in full chase, good the guard-room, which it joins at right angles. My friend further shewed me the original picture of the Duke William, from whence that in the Sale de Compagnie (which you took for Henry the VIII.) was drawn-it lays neglected in the porter's-lodge, up one pair of stairs, as big as the life, and no ways resembles those we have of Harry-it is still in good condition, and I dare say I could purchase it for five guineas-the Sub-prior attended me and my friend, who further shewed me the round point of the Church internally, and the art of the architect, who has ordered matters so, that from the centre you see 7 chappels with their 14 windows, as if made to answer to that centre, though every window is in an oblique direction-this centre is behind the great altar, and made half of a great circle. We went up stairs in the superb galleries - he shewed me that, to avoid the enorthe inside work of the upper parts is mous weight, the stone, which make of a porous and much lighter composition than the rest of the Church; of which stone I have also got a piece for you- there are five stories, or galleries one above the other-I went only two story high, for the small stair-cases are dark, and the ways higher, dangerous to a short-sighted man-the design was to be able to repair every where without scaffolding. I am clearly of opinion that there were as sure grounds of architecture then as in the time of the RomansI am told the name of the builder is behind the great altar-I will go and see for it when I have leisure, for I did not think of it yesterday, and indeed it was almost dark before I had done. The new Sub-prior, my friend, tells me that at Freeamp and Jumiege, there are two great curiosities, one the picture of Duke Richard, well preserved the other, a Guard-room, wider than this of Caen is long. I cannot conceive why, instead of build

« 上一頁繼續 »