Strong Breezes and fair Weather but the sky much Streaked and threatens more dirt. In the Night Calm. Wind at ENE and ESE. Thermometer 79° to 82°.
Completed overhauling the Bread and from the Master reporting to me that seventeen hundred and fifty four pounds were unfit for use, I ordered a Survey thereon and the whole quantity was condemned.
Sick list six Venereals. Sufficient supplies.
Tynah agreeable to his promise in the afternoon took the Tabboo off. This was performed by a prayer to the Eatua, and a Plantain Leaf which when laid at the Morai the Eatua was no longer displeased, and the People might resort to the House as usual.
I should have reasoned that People strongly impressed with superstitious notions or Ideas would be equally affected at the sacred Rites attending them, but it is powerfully the reverse here—laughing, ridiculous gentures, and the strongest proofs of inattention in all the ceremonies I have met with, convince me to the contrary, and I do beleive that whatever their sacred ceremonies are, they are followed up with very little reverential awe and with no respect.
This perhaps may be accounted for. Their Ideas appear (to me) to be of their Eatua or God, that he is a Being capable of all power subject to violent passions which may be either turned to their advantage or destruction. That either their success in an enterprize or mitigation of an offense may be acquired by the same means, the addressing of the Deity and making an accustomed offering suitable to the Occasion. It therefore happens that they apply to their Eatua as a Roman Catholick would to a confessor, and having Idealy discharged their duties to him in this manner, they have no others moral or divine on their minds, but what they easily get rid of in the same way.
Poeeno left me to day & went to Matavai, and in the Evening I had a message from him that the sheep I had left with him was killed by a Dog, but that I might not be angry with him he had sent the Dog to suffer for his offence with a particular request I would kill him, as he could not do it himself without giving great displeasure to the Owner which he wished to avoid. The Messenger being desirous to have the animal destroyed, and myself sensible that they tend to no one good in the Island, I told him to do what he liked, which was a sufficient sentence.
I am still buoyed up with promises that the Bull which is at Itteeah will be brought to me. I have offered a great premium, but all I can do has as yet had no effect because the People here care little about it. If therefore it was in my power to bring all the Cattle from Imeo I would not do it. I consider them safe there and I dare say they will do very well, Disease had taken hold of this poor animal that is dead, and I doubt much if the dog had even touched or seen him, but was sent as a sarifice for fear of my displeasure.
I have every day besides Tynah some of his Freinds to dine with me as it suits their convenience. They are always carried to and from the ship in the Boat which is what they look on as a great mark of confidence and esteem and are highly pleased with it. The supplies from the Cheifs as presents are now very trifling, but I have no need of them, as Mr. Peckover gets me three and four Hogs a day without any trouble at a market price of a Toey or two according to the size. Breadfruit altho not so plenty yet we have more than can be used. Four and five being purchased for a Two or three Inch nail, and so in proportion for Cocoa nutts. These we have in great abundance being the height of the season for them, so that I beleive not a pint of water is drank in the 24 Hours, or has been since I have been at the Island. Yams or Tarro are not offered to sale altho enquired after. The Plantations of the latter are here in more plenty than at Matavai, but not sufficient for a great consumption. The yams being cultivated in the High grounds I know little about them more than they are not yet in season, however on the whole I do not beleive the ground provisions are cultivated with much care & industry any more than is absolutely necessary.