Moderate Breezes and fair Weather with some Rain in the first part. Wind at E & ENE and the Thermometer from 79° to 80½°.
Unbent the Main Sail and Mizen Topsail and in the morning sent them on shore on point Venus and fixed two Tents. Employed cleaning ship and pickling Pork. As I have not encouraged the Natives to bring off for these three days such great supplies as they had done before, we have had only a few trading with us, however there had more than we were in need of.
This afternoon after having had Otoo and several other Cheifs to dine with me, I went on shore with Otoo to where Poeeno lived, and where I had got Mr. Nelson to sow some melon and cress seed. We found them all in a growing State and had been taken care of. In my way back I went to see Otoo's Father who he said was mattowed, that is affraid of me lest I should do them some mischeif. I found this Old Cheif, who I suppose is about 70 years of Age, lying under a Small Shed, and as soon as he saw me he seemed to be overjoyed, and particularly as I gave him every proof of my good will and kindness to all his people. He is a tall Man with weak Eyes and his skin is much shrivelled and Dryed by drinking of that pernicious root the Ava. In proportion as this root is made use of, it has the above effect to a greater or less degree. It is drank four or five times a day and the operation of making it, is as filthy as the use of it is pernicious.
This Ava is made from a Strong pungent root which few Cheifs ever go without—it is chewed by their servants in large mouthfulls at a time, which when it has collected a sufficiency of saliva is taken and put into a Cocoa nut shell. This is repeated untill there is enough chewed—it is then squeezed and given to the principall Men, each of them taking nearly a pint wine measure. What remains is mixt with water and again squeezed and strained, it is then delivered to the inferior Cheifs or those of the highest class if they prefer it diluted, and it frequently undergoes a second and third mixture if there is not enough to supply every one.
Having taken leave of the Old Cheif whose name is Otow, I went with Otoo to a Heivah, which he ordered to be performed to entertain me this Evening, but it was not equal to what I had seen before. The performers were three men and one young girl and the musick only two drums. Two of the Men performed a kind of interlude between the dances. The dress of the girl I think was realy becoming and pretty, it was all of white cloth the neck, shoulders and arms were only bare. The petticoat spreads with much elegance, and the waist is short on each side, tied in with the petticoat and falls over it, on the Hips, are many folds of Plaited cloth in the appearance of a Ruff. The Head was now only ornamented with a small Ruff of feathers. The motions of the Dance were in general lascivious and according to the horrid custom, the girl disfigured her countenance by making wry mouths, but the drawings of the Womens dress made by Mr. Webber is vastly superior to any description whatever.
In the morning having fixed on the spot for the Tents, I sent the Main sail, Mizen Topsail with other small sails, and a party under the Command of Mr. Christian. I went myself soon afterwards, and with Otoo, Moannah & Poeeno the Cheifs of Matavai I fixed a boundary within which none of the Natives were to enter without permission and were all cautioned against it. My reason for having Tents on shore was for a lodgement for the Plants, and I had now without asking it as a favor, got the Cheifs to consider I was doing them a kindness in carrying the Bread fruit plants as a present from them to their friend the Earee no Pretane.