Light Winds and Cloudy Weather EBN & SBE and the Thermometer from 80° to 82½°. Payed the sides with Turpentine and Tar. Sick list as yesterday and the Carpenters still employed making the Railing for the sky light in the Cabbin. I ordered an Awning for the Large Cutter to be made to prevent the men from being exposed to the Sun as they are generally employed the whole day.
A few Hogs bought and sufficient supplies. The most interesting part of my remarks to day was concerning the Morais. I had Moannah and Poeeno to accompany me in a walk to those places professedly to give me information about them.
Those places or repositories for the Dead are conspicuous by being walled round with stones and paved on the inside. The Wall does not exceed breast high and within it or close by is erected on four posts, a stand which is called Attahrow, where Offerings of Food are placed for the Gods in favor of the deceased. These morais I am now speaking of are the private burying grounds of the People as low as a Towtow, but those being of the lowest class they have no Morais belonging to them. Opposite and close to the Morais of all the principal Cheifs, is a compact Pile of Stones of nearly the same size and height of the Walls, but this is not the repository of the dead. The Priest only performs his devotions and other necessary ceremonies on it and is called Terrooee. The lower Order of the Cheifs have sometimes nothing but the Walled Morai which they called Farreeray, however Morai seemed to be the general name for the whole.
As those places and many other things have been described by distinguished people, concerning Otaheite I do not wish that any account of mine may be supposed to be given with greater certainty and with a View to supersede such descriptions. I only do it as my duty, having so much time before me, as perhaps many circumstances may occur that may lead to facts which otherwise may never be known.
The Morais are therefore according to Moannah and Poeeno's information places where only those who are killed in battle are buried. If a person dies a natural death they assured me he was not buried there but was placed in a Toopapow, and their expression was, that the Toopapows never were brought to the Morai.
To each of these Morais belongs a priest who is called Taowah, and these men at particular times perform certain ceremonies and prayer to the Gods, the Act of which is called Ooray or Pooray which literally means praying.
The Toopapow is a neat light shed raised about five or seven feet from the ground and supported by Posts. It is allways railed in, and the size and goodness of the structure is according to the Rank of the deceased. Within the Railing, as I have described before in the morai, are places where the offerings to the Gods are placed, which consists of small hogs Plantains &c. Under the shed the dead person is put, and the Body and Head being raised it is so placed as to be conveniently removed from under it, and brought out to publick view during the middle of the day. The superior class of people have generally a person who attends the Body, but the inferior sort give only their attendance as it is necessary to move the body in and out, for it appears that the sole cause for moving it at all is for the heat of the Sun to render it less offensive. I cannot yet say with certainty whether or not there is any practice of embowelling, it is however very disagreeable to come near to any of the Corpses. Many of the Houses are nevertheless near to the Toopapows, but the Natives feel nothing unpleasant from their Situation.
Tynah with his wife and many of his friends as usual, dined with me to day, and took a very good share of my Wine. He asked me if I was to have the Bullock from Teppahoo, and what I intended to give for it, and on hearing the terms I was to have it on; he exclaimed against it and desired me to give only a small Toey, that he said was enough. I was sorry to hear him put such a light value on it, but I hope it was only jealousy, for he cannot bear the Idea that any one should get any thing but himself.
I am now anxiously looking every day to the welfare of the Plants some of them appear to be dying, but the greatest part seem to have taken root.