Their Genius and Temper being before discribed I shall now describe their Manner of Making War.
War in this Country often happens from mere trifles; however what we may think a trifle may seem to them of Great Consequence—The Districts have all a parting or Boundary line, frequently a river, which separates their lands from each other. If any dispute happens the party Who happens to be the Occasion of it are Calld upon to make good any damage or defeciency which if they refuse to do war is declared in this Manner—The Priests and the head Men of the Contending Party being Assembled near their Bounds,and having consulted the Preists—if they give a Favourable answer War is then the Word and the party who think themselves most Injured send out a Slinger to the Boundary line, where having Charged the Sling he discharges it over the Heads of the Opposite party Crying out 'W'affwa te Vye ay O' which Signifies the War is declared but litterally 'The Water has borne down its banks'. This is answerd by a Slinger from the other side who slings a Stone and Calls out in the same manner; they then Cry out to each other 'Yowrye t'Eatooa te Tamye ra'—'God save you in your War'—they then return home seemingly in peace, and make a War Feast, killing a Number of Hogs for the Warriors, and sometimes make a human Sacrifice & Next morning repair to the Appointed Ground. They are always attended by inspired priests who before they come to the Charge encourage them to Fight manfully and there is no fear of Victory and Spirits them up by blowing their Conch Shells which they always use on these Occasions having a bamboo tube which they blow through like a Trumpet. They always send or offer conditions of Peace to those which are deemd the weakest party which if they refuse & they are Worsted they are drove from their posessions and the Conquering Chief puts a Subordinate Chief of his own in to Command the Conquered Country and if the Vanquishd people will promise to pay obedience to the New Chief they are permitted to remain and enjoy their lands as before, but this they seldom will do, they having so great an affection for their Chiefs that they had rather partake of his disgrace and loose their Estates then enjoy their property under another. Should they act otherwise they would be very meanly lookd on, be made a by word among their Countrymen, and their lives be a torment to them afterwards.
They take No Captives nor give any quarter, unless a man falls in with one who has formerly been His adopted friend, a breach of which they were never known to make—they are not forced to Fight any longer then they please, and a man never obtains the Name of a Warrior tho he kills his Man, should he receive any wound himself, as they think that a Man Who suffers himself to be wounded does not know how to defend himself, and tis more Honor to return with whole bones then broken ones. Tho they are not Imediately under the Authority of the Chief in Battle, yet they Fight furiously knowing that in case of being Vanquishd they loose all their posessions. Yet tho this seems of small account where it is but ask and have, yet they all prefer the having
to give then being forced to receive—and when they make a present, it is so freely done and so graceful that Christianity may blush at the action and be ashamed to be surpass'd by those whom we Call Savages—This is the Chief reason that a Taheitean has to Fight for and in Some of their Sea Actions Much blood has been shed as they Frequently lassh Bow to bow & fight it out, when the Strongest party generally get the day and the Weaker are forced to save themselves by Jumping Overboard.
Their Weapons are Spears of 12 or 14 feet long pointed with the Stings of the Sting Ray—Clubs of 7 or 8 feet, both of which are Made of Toa a hard heavy wood, Slings made of the Platted fibers of the Cocoa Nut; they have bows and Javlins for Sport but never use them in War.
Some of their War Canoes are very large, and carry from one to Three Hundred Men; they have often one Hundred paddlers all of which have heaps of Stones and each man a Sling besides Spears & Clubbs, and when the one party becomes too strong for the Others they are forced to Fly and the Conquerors Carry off their prize in Triumph— Such was mostly the Fate of o'Toos Fleet after Captain Cook left him, and since that time his Navy has gone almost to ruin, tho he has still been lucky, and often Conqueror yet he always prefers peace to War.
They always bring off the Dead if they can, by any means, as all that they leave are Carried to the Morai where the body being offered as a Sacrafice, the lower Jaw bone being Cut out and placed in the Morai as a Trophie and the Body is interrd in the Morai. The Man who killd him now takes his Name. This being the only Method by which they attain to the Charracter of a Warrior they must bring off their dead which is often severely disputed by the living and especially the Friends of the Fallen Warrior who fight more furious to protect the body when dead then they did to assist him while living—If the Conqueror Should prevail and Maintain his conquest he takes the Name of His Adversary as a Title of Honor—after the Peace is made the relations of the Deceased Warriors soon find out the Men who killd them and each Family send a present to the Man by Who their Freind or Relation was killd & hire a Set of Urre Heiva or a Sort of People somthing similar to our Morris Dancers and a Principal part is acted by the Daughter or Nearest Female relation of the Deceased Warrior in a Dance at the House of the Man who killd him. The Dance being Finished the Cloth, Matting & Dresses are all presented to Him and He Now entertains all the Deceaseds Relations, sumptuosly for Several days and they Declare that they [do not] Owe him any Grudge or animosity for killing their Relation and their Sorrow is now turnd to Joy and evry thing is most amicably Settled and the Conqueror, to Make the Friendship more Firm on his part, adopts the Nearest relation of the Deceased as his Friend, and by bearing his Name becomes one of the Family and is ever after Treated as such and is as much beloved in the Family as if he had been born in it.