At Daylight, after their morning prayer, my friends prepared an excellent breakfast in the same manner as in the evening. — They themselves certainly partook of it largely; indeed I never saw any men eat anything nearly so much in quantity. They did not, however, over eat themselves, that is their activity was anything but impaired. — I should suppose such capacious stomachs must be the result of a large part of their diet consisting of fruits & vegetables which do not contain in a given bulk very much nutriment. — Unwittingly I was the means of my companions breaking one of their own laws & resolutions. — I took with me a flask of spirits, which they could not resolve to refuse, but as often as they drank a little, they put their fingers before their mouths & uttered the word "Missionary". — About two years ago, although the use of the Ava was prevented, drunkedness from the introduction of spirits became very prevalent. The Missionaries prevailed on a few good men, who saw their country rapidly going to ruin, to join with them in a Temperance Society. — From good sense & shame all the chiefs & Queen were thus at last united. — Immediately a law was passed that no spirits should be allowed to be introduced into the island & that he who sold & he who bought the forbidden article should be punished by a fine. — With remarkable justice a certain period was allowed for stock in hand to be sold before the law came in effect. — On that day a general search was made in which even the houses of the Missionaries were not exempted, & all the Ava (as the natives call all ardent spirits) was poured out on the ground. — When one reflects on the effect of intemperance on the aboriginals of the two Americas, I think it will be acknowledged that every well wisher of Tahiti owes no common debt of gratitude to the Missionaries.
After breakfast we proceeded on our journey: as my object was merely to see a little of the interior scenery, we returned by another track, which descended into the main valley lower down. For some distance we wound along the side of the mountain which formed the valley; the track was extraordinarily intricate; in the less precipitous parts it passed through very extensive groves of the wild Banana. — The Tahitians with their naked tattooed bodies, their heads ornamented with flowers, & seen in the dark shade of the woods, would have formed a fine picture of Man inhabiting some primeval forest. — In our descent we followed the line of ridges; these were exceedingly narrow, & for considerable lengths steep as the inclination of a ladder, but all clothed by Vegetation. The extreme care necessary in poising each step, rendered the walking fatiguing. — I am not weary of expressing my astonishment at these ravines & precipices. — The mountains may be almost described as merely rent by so many crevices. — When viewing the surrounding country from the knife edged ridges, the point of support was so small that the effect was nearly the same as would, I imagine, be observed from a balloon. In this descent we only had need of using the ropes once, at the point where we entered the main valley. — Proceeding downwards we slept under the same ledge of rocks where we had before dined. — The night was fine, but from the depth and narrowness of the gorge profoundly dark. — Before actually seeing this country, I had difficulty in understanding two facts mentioned by Ellis. Namely, that after the murderous battles, the survivors on the conquered side retired into the mountains, where a handful of men could resist a multitude. — Certainly half a dozen men at the spot where the Indians reared the old tree could easily have repelled thousands. — Secondly that after the introduction of Christianity, there were wild men who lived in the mountains, & whose retreats were unknown to the more civilized inhabitants.
Captain Fitzroy’s Journal
We weighed anchor, and went into the little cove of Papawa, for the sake of watering quickly, without exposing the men and boats to a heavy surf. It is easy to avoid the numerous rocky patches, while there is a breeze, and the sun shining on either side, or astern; but if the sun is a-head, it is almost impossible to distinguish the reefs, by the colour, or relative smoothness of the water. Walking to the house of Mr. Nott, I saw an elderly native writing in a cottage, and apparently very intent upon his employment. He showed me what had engaged his attention, an Otaheitan version of the book of Jeremiah, in Mr. Nott's writing, which he was copying in a very distinct, good hand.
Mr. Nott, the senior missionary upon the island, had then almost completed a great work, the translation of the Bible. When we consider the judgment and persevering industry required to translate the Bible from one written language into another, it becomes easier to obtain a fair conception of the labour necessary to fix, and make proper use of an unwritten, and very peculiar language, in order to effect such a work, a work worthy of the fathers of our church. I paid my respects to the author of this immense undertaking, and asked his advice and opinion respecting the affairs in which I was instructed to take a part, while on the island.
In the course of another visit to Papiete, I again met the titular king of Nuhahiva, and told him my suspicions, so plainly, that he said he should appeal to the governor of New South Wales, to the Admiralty, and to the king of England himself, against the unjust suspicions and improper conduct of the captain of the Beagle!
Since the 17th the weather had been too cloudy, by night and by day, to admit of astronomical observations. Instead of fine clear weather, there was a thickly overcast sky, and only light and variable wind. From the latter end of December to the beginning of March cloudy weather (with much rain, and westerly winds) is usual at Otaheite. Singular interruptions to the regularity of the trade-wind occur among all the tropical islands of this ocean. One instance has already been given of the uncertain and changeable state of the weather among the Low Islands, and many more may be found in the narratives of voyages in the Pacific between the tropics.