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*So the missionaries now write the word. It appears, therefore, that Bougainville's ear was more accurate than that of our navigators, for he wrote Taite; and Forster, his translator, altered it to Otaheite.

 

 

*It is remarkable that the expedition in which Taheite was first discovered sailed under not less curious colours; two crucifixes in a field gules, supported by our Lady of Loretto and St. Peter. Torquemada, 1. 5, c. 64. This is said supposing Taheite to be the Sagittaria of Quiros, which the tradition related by Tupia, and the authority of Capt. Burney, seem sufficiently to establish.

 

 

*How much of this mythology might be explained by a good vocabulary of their language it is impossible to say, but evidently it is in the main pure polytheism and not allegory.

 

 

*This practice of sacrificing the son to save the lift of the father prevailed also among the Peruvians.

 

 

*This fact is worthy of being remarked. The Greeks ascribed the origin of medicine to their Gods. It may always be traced to superstition. This science as well as others we owe to priestcraft, which has done much evil in the world, but far greater good, for by no other means has any country which had sunk into barbarism been reclaimed from it.

 

 

*It has been said that the priests have a peculiar language; according to the missionaries this is a mistake, and the obscurity arises merely from their manner of utterance. Yet we believe Omai asserted that it was a peculiar language, that he himself could repeat some of their language, though he did not understand it, and that some words of it were taken down from his pronunciation by one of Capt. Cook's companions, to whom the public are indebted for a most able History of the Discoveries in the Pacific.

 

 

*The crooked-back, according to the missionaries, is the effect of a disease called hotatte, (which however they have not explained) and the natives say that when the back breaks, the person recovers.

 

 

*An account of this mission is printed with the Descripcion Historial de la Provincia y Archipielago de Chiloe; &c. por el P. F. Pedro Gonzalez de Agueros. Madrid. 1791. It was sent from Peru in 1774, and two missionaries were left on the island, who remained there only a few months, and have communicated nothing worthy of notice in their journal.

 

 

*The Directors have transcribed this passage from the journals, ' because,' they say, 'others will feel it with sensations of delight as we do.'

 

 

*A poem of great merit upon this melancholy story appeared in the Monthly Magazine for December, 1808. Some of the stanzas are exceedingly beautiful.

I taught my constant white love
         To play upon the wave,
To turn the storm to pleasure,
         And the curling surge to brave;
How pleasant was our sporting
         Like dolphins on the tide;
To dive beneath the billow,
         Or the rolling surf to ride.

To summer groves I led him
         Where fruit hangs in the sun,
We lingered by the fountains
         That murmur as they run:
By the verdant islands sailing
         Where the crested sea-birds go;
We heard the dash of the distant spray,
         And saw thro' the deep the sunbeams play
In the coral bowers below.

The whole poem (though not free from faults) is so beautiful that we should gladly have transcribed it had our limits permitted its insertion.

 

 

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Published @ RC

September 2006