Emma H. (Emma Hildreth) Adams.

Two cannibal archipelagoes : New Hebrides and Solomon groups online

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(J^aQQibal ^pcl;ip^la^ce^

Jottings from the Pacific, No. 3.





Aulliui ul "Fiji and Snmoa," "Ti'inja Islands and Other
Gii^nips," " Amoni; liie Nuitlu'in
Icebergs," Etc.



San Francisco, New York ami Lou<lon.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1890, by

Pacific Press Puhlisiiing Company,

In the Office of tlie Librarian of Cont^ress, at Washington, I). C.


A ?l




Our Brothers in the New Hebrides - - - - 9


Teacliing, Preaching, and Martyrdom - - - - 25


A Brief Run about Fate 39


Still Sailing— Aneitium, Aniwa, Fotuna - - - - 5S


Api, Anibryni, Espiritu Santo 71


The Great Volcano on Tanna 81


3 Away to the Solomon Islands 93


9 The Island of Guadalcanar 105



■* Island of New Georgia — The Rubiana Lagoon - - 116
Bougainville, the Shortlands, and Treasury Island - 126


" 441040




In Bougainville Strait - 138


St. Christoval and the Taboo-houses of the Solomon

Archipelago - 148



Canoe-house - - - - - - * Frontispiece

Mission Premises - - - - 43

Mission Chapel - - - - 4^

A Village under Heatlienisni - - - - - 90

The Same under Christianity - - - gi


7^0 (?ar)r)ibal /^pcl)ip^la^o^s.


vOM K two months ago the reader
and the author of this Httle vol-
^ lime were studying the won-
derful stone images on Easter
Island, which lies in what is
*J^ known as Humboldt's Cold
TjM, Current, twent}'-three huntlred
miles west of Chile, South
America. From that little pearl in the Pacific to
the Solomon Archipelago, which adorns the ocean
some five hundred miles east of New Guinea, is a
long distance. We propose to make the trip, how-
ever, and shall again be glad of x'our compan)'.
But having accomplished it, we shall be farther
than ever from the California coast. .\s nou are
aware, the journey will in\-ol\e several changes of
craft. The last change will be made at Gloa Bay,
island of Kand.uu, k'iji.

I'rom k'iji tt) the Solomon Isles our course will



be toward the northwest. The route hes directly
through the New Hebrides, a group of islands in
which, for several reasons, we have been great!}- in-
terested. It best meets the object we have in \iew
to be set down uponTanna, the southernmost large
island of the group except Ancitium. To call
there will compel our captain to depart considera-
bly from his course, but he delights to be obliging,
and we may, therefore, conclude that we shall enter
the New Hebrides at Tanna. Our object is not
only to see these beautiful islands, but also to learn
how their so recently cannibalistic inhabitants live.

A week's sailing, n)'ing along before the brisk
trade wind, will show us Tanna rising grandly out
of the sea. While we are speeding on our way, we
can take time to gain some general facts pertaining
to the group.

Speaking not xcr)- exactly, the New Hebrides
lie between five and six hundred miles west of Fiji.
They form a chain of twelve large islands, with some
twenty smaller ones scattered about irregularly, as
if the hand which dropped them were not x'cry par-
ticular just where the little gems might fill. The
archi[)eiago extends from southeast to northwest, a
distance of o\er six hundred miles, and in remarka-
bly regular order as to the larger islands. The best
known of the group are Api, Efate, Tanna, Am-
br\'m, Santa Cruz, Aneitium, Erromanga, and Es-
piritu .Santo.

The total area of the New Hebrides is about


thirty-five hundred square miles. Nearly three
hundred years ago, De Quires, a bold Spanish sailor,
discovered Espiritu Santo, the largest, and to-day
least known, of the group, and described it as a
country "rich in gold, sil\cr, and fragrant trees."
In 1777, nearl)' two hundred }-ears after De Quiros,
came Captain Cook, who discovered ICfate or Fate,
as it is usuall)' written. U[)on this beautiful island
he bestowed the ra.sping name of Sandwich, because
a man of that name was then lord of the English
Board of Admiralty. Efate is the fourth large
islantl from the southern end of the Xew Hebrides.
The names of other islands, as Santa Cruz, I^spiritu
Santo, and perhajjs W'hitsun (Whitsuntide), intlicate
that the acKenturous S[)aniar(ls ha\c visited the
group since De Quiros' da)'.

The total poi)ulati(>n of the Xew Hebrides is es-
timateil to be nearly two hundred and fift)' thousand.
The Spaniards represented the islands as fiirls'
teeming with people when discovered by them. The
inhabitants arc reported to be now rapidly d}ing off
This is but a repetition of the melancholy stor)'
which we ha\e heard throughout all Polynesia.
Tribal wars, the introduction of new and fatal dis-
eases, and the prevailing labor traffic of the Pacific,
are the three causes assigned for the large death
rate in the New I lebrides. The possession of modern
fire-arms may be given as a fourth reason for their
thinned ranks. A Snider rifle and a revolver loadetl
with six bullets are more effecti\e weapons for de-


stroying people than are a single bow and a quiver
of arrows.

Fifty )'ears ago the inhabitants of the New Heb-
rides were all greedy cannibals, and from that time
to the present they have banqueted more or less
upon human flesh. However, on some of the isl-
ands missionary influence has greatly modified the
horrible practice. Still, if all the tales we have
heard are true, before the appetite for human flesh
will cease, more than one generation of the Heb-
rideans must pass away.

In form of government the New Hebrides are in-
dependent, not being a colonial possession of any
countiy. Neither are they ruled by a native king,
as are the Tongan and Samoan groups. Many of
the tribes are governed by their own chieftains, who
are either hereditary rulers, or have acquired au-
thority by their own prowess. For some years past
France and England have been rivals in their ef-
forts to obtain supremac)' in this group. France
has been anxious to anne.x the islands to her penal
colony. New Caledonia, and, through the New Heb-
rides Conimercial Conip.un', has put forth great
endeavors to secure a business foothold on several
of them. She regards this as the most effectixe
step toward political control. On these islands the
New Hebrides Company has established large
houses f )r the manufacture of copra, and thus has
developed the only trade with the outside world
which the)' now possess. This is confined to the


exportation of copra aiul arrowroot, the manufact-
ure of whicli forms the chief pursuit of the people.
In exchanije for these articles the natives obtain the
tobacco which they so much prize, and the few
other simple articles they require.

England has gained her strength in the islands in
quite another way. Nearly half a century ago,
English missionaries from Nov^a Scotia began to
labor in the group. Step by step they have ac-
quired other influence than that of mere religious
teachers. While probably not at all aiming at a
union of Church and State, or at the exercise of buth
civil and religious authority, they have naturally
taken a lively interest in whatever concerns the wel-
fare of the people — simply wild children of nature
— under their charge. Consequently they care
much which nation gets the upper hand in the
group. Fortunately for their hoj)cs, the mission
stations of the Nova Scotians are as numerous as
are the copra establishments of the French. Ikit
while the latter apjjear lo lea\e the teachers wholly-
undisturbed in their work, the missionaries cxteiul
no welcome to the Franks, lest the tloing so should
invite Romish priests — the Marist Fathers — to the

Meanwhile, vigorous annexation schemes are
brewing in both countries, and each is plaxing for
the good-will of the nati\es. Not long ago a test
of the annexation sentiment was matle on se\-eral
of the principal islands, through an emissary sent


thither lis a representative of an Austrahan news-
paper. He was a man of \ery pleasing address,
and an accompHshed diplomat. We cannot here
enter into the details of his mission. Let it suffice
to say that he managed to have the leading chiefs
called together at various points, and then explained
to them the situation of affairs in the islands, with
resj^ect to France and England, and invited them to
express their preferences in the case.

As he hoped, probably, almost to a man they
preferred the sovereignty of "Big Lady" — Queen
Victoria — to the sway of the polite "Man-a-wce-
wee" — the man who says " oui, oui" — meaning the
president of the French. As a matter of course, the
envoy returned to Australia firmly convinced that a
closer union of the New Hebrides with Her Majes-
ty's colonial possessions in the South Pacific would
be a very good thing for the former. Thus matters
now stand, both nations continuing to respect the in-
cic[)cndence of the islands. Meanwhile, on several c;f
the group, the natives improve opportunities of kill-
ing and eating their fellow-men, whether white or

In structure, the New Hebrides are both vol-
canic and coralline. Living volcanoes exist on Api,
Tanna, and perhaps other islands of the group.
Lieutenant Meade, of the Ro\al Navy, who was at
Api in 1861, claims that there are no true barrier
reefs in the New Hebrides, all the labor of the busy
coral insect beint?; devoted to buildinLf narrow fring-


ing reefs. A distinj^uishing feature of these reefs is
their extreme flatness. This indicates that, in the
New Hebrides, at least, the httlc toilers build, not
upward, as in most portions of the Pacific, but out-
ward into the water. This course is supposed to be
owing to the shallowness of the water over the
foundations upon which they rear their wonderful
structures. In the xolume entitled "I'iji and Sa-
moa," a chapter is devoted to the work of these
curious architects, therefore it need not here be
considered. W'e may refer to it incidentalK', as we
write of the separate islands.

"How does Tanna look?" is a question }-ou have
asked frequently during our long voyage. Your
query may now be answered, for the land which
you sec a little to the southwest of us is Tanna.
Mark how its mountains lift their heads. The
great mass of earth, and stone, and trees seems to
rest only upon water, so directl}' does the island
rise from the surface of the ocean. The whole isl-
and, you observe, seems to be girdled w ith foam.
That column of smoke curling upward over a sin-
gle cone issues from Tanna's great volcano,
Yasur. Were we approaching the island by night,
the lurid light of Yasur, reflected against the sky,
would, in a sense, render both chart and c<»mpass
useless. The vivid glow would tell us where we
are. Should this obliging breeze continue, we shall
soon learn w hether there is much to admire in the
Tannese branch of our race.


Happily the sun is still in the east. Notice how
it lights up the deep ravines and gorges, how it
brings out the wa\ ing palms, liow it re\'eals the
wealth of vegetation over the liills and in the val-
leys. We are somewhat familiar with the forest gar-
niture of the Pacific, yet in Melanesia we shall find
some new and strange vines and trees.

It has been said that Tanna contains scarcely a
mile of sandy beach which has not been stained
with the blood of \\hite men slain b\' its inhabitants.
Man}- of them have been killed solely to be eaten,
and a few of them because they became great fa-
vorites of the dusk}' natives, who could not bear to
see them sail out of their sight forever. All such
persons they kindl}- buried, and in due form mourned
over them. Let us hope we shall escape the af-
fection which can find satisfaction only in taking our
lives. Our captain asserts that more white men
have lost their lives on Tanna than on any other
island of the South Pacific. This is a strong state-
ment, which we ha\c no means of verif}ing.

Mr. Julian Thomas, who, with e\er}' ficulty wide-
awake, s[)ent some weeks upon the island in 1885,
thus wrote of the savage Tamiese. We gi\e but
the substance of his words: Plantations had to be
given up, trading and missionary stations had to be
abandoned, on account of the ferocity of the peo-
ple. Captain McLeod had, at onetime, a plantation
near l-51ack Heath. He ^\cll understood the ways
of the natives. Being obstinate and courageous,


he was not easily frightened, yet the Tannese were
too much for him. lioth himself an^ his hands
carried rifles as they went to plow, to frighten the
natives. Otherwise the latter would have over-
powered them by sheer force of numbers. The
life finally became too perilous, and he gave it up.
In those days the Tannese were di\ided into scores
of small tribes. They were jealous, revengeful,
lovers of blood, always quarreling, and had less
regard for human life than any other people of the
South Pacific. I'.ach tribe gave all the others credit
for being cannibals.

But here we are trjing to twist into Port Resolu-
tion. It was in the good ship Resolution that Cap-
tain Cook cruised over all these seas one hundred
and thirteen j'cars ago. You now perceive how
this harbor got its name. The captain brought his
ship into this port — eas)- of entrance then — and gave
the place the name of the vessel in which he made
the circuit of the world.

In 1878 a great earthquake occurred in this re-
gion, which was followed by a might)' tidal wave.
The shore of Tanna was then uplifted, as were also
the rocks on one sitle of the passage leading into
this harbor. These were once wholly submerged,
but now they stantl from fort\' to fifty feet out of
the water. A san<i bar then began to form, and
ever)' )'ear the entrance to Port Resolution becomes
more difficult. That earthquake is said to ha\c"
been caused by an unusu.il cjuietness on the part of


YasLir, which is supposed to act as a vent to fires in
tile licart fif the earth. If so, some future shunber-
ing of the volcano ma)- close the harbor altogether.

Port Resolution is very unlike the noble harbor
of Vanua-Levu, Fiji, yet it is an attractive anchorage.
It is in the form of a half-circle. The ricli vegeta-
tion of the island crowds down to the very edge of
the water. Beyond this rise the graceful hills.
Hut o\er the entire scene spreads the smoke of Va-
sur, itself an object of interest to every visitor to
the group. As we glide in and come to anchor,
canoes dart out from the shore on each side. There
are rifles in every one of them. That means that
the natives know how to use fire-arms as well as
oars, and will use them should occasion arise. The
men are naked except a baiul aljout the loins. The
paint on their faces adds to their savage aspect.
Some of the canoes swept out from the little village
just below the mission premises, which appear amid
the green trees. " Many of the men," the captain re-
marks, "have worked in Fiji and Australia, and are
regarded as among the best laborers of the south

But wh}- does e\ery man come with his rifle
loaded? We can think of but two reasons for the
ste[). h'irst, the labor-recruiting business, carried ( )n
extensively in these seas, is not alwa\'s conducted
strictl}' in accordance with the principles of the
golden rule. In the estimation of some recruit-
ing agents, the lives of these men are of no account


beyond their mere nionc}- \ aluc. For this reason it
has sometimes been necessary for them to defend
themselves. Formerly they had not the means to
do so. But now, with a rifle in his hand, the Tanna
man is protected. Second, these laborers are usually
emploxx'd for a term of three years. That lcni:[th of
time, under the circumstances, is hardly sufficient
to chan<^e their sa\age nature, e\cn if it h.as been
spent in Queensland, or in beautiful I'iji, itself now
barely emerged from cannibalism. No sooner,
therefore, do they return to their native shores than
most of them resume their heathen customs and
their tribal dislikes. Their old feuds are revived,
and again their fire-arms become useful to them. A
Snider rifle, therefore, is an article the Tannese la-
borer is sure to possess on comi)lcting liis term of
service. Moreover, a Tanna man is by nature a
fighter. It is a pleasure to him to snuff out human
lives. That has been iiis pastime for centuries.

But we ha\e stra)ed from Port Resolution. A
half dozen native villages grace the curving shore.
We make our landing in the morning, meeting with
no such welcome as upon some islands in the Her-
vey group. The men gather about, armed with
rifle and cartridge-box, and gaze at us wonderingly.
Even young lads have weajions in their hands. The
women, who watch us silently, are motlestly clad in
skirts of grass, thickly woven, and reaching to the
ankles. They are heavy-looking garments, and
must impede walking. Those worn by the young


girls are shorter and more comfortable. Of these
people a traveler has written : They impress me as
persons whose chests are contracted. Even the
youth and boys have a consumptive look. One very
decent-looking man, a striking exception to all tlie
others, came on board our vessel, desiring to ship
to Noumea. Both he and his wife had served
in Queensland. The latter was now very ill, and
wished to li\e where better food could be obtained.
After the excellent fare in the colonies, neither of
them could subsist solely on yams and taro. The
man was engaged by the captain, at three pounds a
month, and a passage for his wife to Noumea.

The domestic animals in Tanna are the cat, dog,
and pig. The natives are not only kind to these
creatures, but arc ver)- fond of ihcm. Next to hu-
man llcsh, i)ork is the Tanna man's choice of meats.
Dog flesh follows, and he has no objection to that
of "i)ussi," the ranncsc name for cat. The native
women tend pigs as fondly as they do babies.
Cats and dogs also are petted and nursed by them.
Some time ago the trader who owns this dilapi-
dated dwelling which we thought looked so prett)-
from the deck of the vessel, j^aid ten cocoanuts for
a "pussi." Immediately there ensued a iiot dispute
between his four "hantls" as to which should have
guardianship over the little (luailruped. To settle
the matter "pussi" was deli\eretl to the cook, a
woman whose homeliness was fearful, but whose
tenderness of heart led her to sleep every night


with the furry treasure in her arnis. Afterward
each of the four youn<^ men became the owner of a
kitten, of the bright qualities of which they were as
proud as are mothers of their babies.

None of these youni; nun were Tanncse, but
were from other islands of the group. Their em-
phn'cr was an unusually kind master, and they
were remarkably faithful laborers. They were
working out their first three )ears in a copra-
making establishment, and did their work well,
willingly, and obligingl)-. They were ne\er over-
worked, were plentifully fed on jams and taro,
their native diet, and were also supplied with rice, for
its strength-giving quality. Moreover, working as
they did all d.iy among the cocoanuts, hunger was
out of the (piestion, as, also, was thirst, since the
thousands of ct)Coanuts broken b\- them furnislud
an abundance of delicious drink. It lueil h.irdly
be remarked that these young men seldom drank
other beverages. It occurs to us that making
copra must be moral!)' a much more wholes(»me
occupation than brewing beer or distilling uhiskw

Copra is saitl to be the only article exported
from Tanna, except sulphur, which is shi|)peil in
limited quantities from the deposits around the
volcano. An energetic laborer can jjrepare one
ton of copra in a month. Copra manufacture is a
profitable cmploNiiunt, if the trader be steady and
enterprising. But the life a white man li\es on
any of these wikl iskuuls is most unen\iable.


Fevers are ever on the watch to make him their
victim, and the natives are on the alert to do the
same thing. A deadly weapon must be his con-
stant companion. Sometimes he does not meet a
w^hite person for months. Unless he guards him-
self ceaselessly, constant trading with his inferiors
hardens his nature. His only compensations are
the money he makes and the easy life he leads.

In the little volume on Fiji and Samoa will be
found a description of copra, its manufacture, uses,
and markets, and we take space here only to say
that copra is simply dried cocoanut, and that from
copra is manufactured a lubricating oil which is a
valuabje article of commerce. The drj-ing of the
cocoanut is effected in two ways. The usual
mode is to remove the husk, break the nut in
halves, throw out the water, and place the halves in
the sun to dry. If the weather be favorable, the
process is accomplished in three days, but each
night the fruit must be placed under shelter. A
better method is to dry the nut without breaking,
stacking them in sheds erected for the purpose, and
upon a staging raised slightly above the ground,
to prevent their growing. In three months the
milk will be evaporated and the nut will then keep
forever, in an\' climate.

We append an abbreviated sketch, from another
pen, of a )-oung Norwegian who, not long ago, set-
tled upon Tanna, to trade in copra. We fear tiiat
not all t)f his class have been blessed with so excel-


lent an carl)- training. " The young man was twenty-
five, perhaps. He had first been a sailor, and then
the mate of a Norwegian ship. Four years before he
came to Tanna he had been laid up for weeks in a
hospital at Sydney, having been injured on board
his ship. Thence he drifted to New Caledonia,
where he became the mate of a vessel, and en-
gaged in the labor traffic of the Western Pacific.
Finally he settled upon Tanna.

" He was a handsome Norwegian, well-bred, and
had been carefully nurtured by a Christian mother.
One would hardly have expected to find a Bible
and a prayer book in the home of a bachelor copra
trader, yet here they were, near the cot on which
he slept. He often talked of his early home in
the valley near Christiania, of the merry winter
evenings spent in the country homes, and of the
long sleigh rides homeward. The young man was
just in his dealings with the natives, and for his
soul's sake I hoped he would continue to be so,
aiul that the desire for profit woukl not enter his
heart, tempting him to pay less for cocoanuts, and
thus opening the way for fiery disputes and a bullet
through his brain."

Now it is night. Every detail of the landscape
on Tanna is hidden from our view. The hills,
vales, and palm groves are toned down to an e\en,
dull green. Xow turn your CN^es towartl \'asui.
Its curling column of smoke glows like fire, not
steadily, but fitfully, like the variable stars in the


heavens, now blazing brilliantly, and again gleam-
ing softly for a while. You hear a muffled explo-
sion in its profound depths. A suppressed roar
follows. Then into the air leap flames and red-hot
stones. The latter usually drop back heavily into
the fiery crater.

The sight is magnificent, and never to be for-
gotten. Were we in the direction from which the
wind blows, we should perceive a strong odor of
sulphur, and not unlikely should be .sprinkled
thickly with fine ashes. One has the feeling that
here the earth has not cooled off to so f^reat a
depth as in our chillier latitude, and not very great
would be our surprise should the crust open and
let us drop into the fiery abyss from which come
the hot stones. We are thankful that a grand
safety-valve, like Yasur, exists in the New Heb-

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Online LibraryEmma H. (Emma Hildreth) AdamsTwo cannibal archipelagoes : New Hebrides and Solomon groups → online text (page 1 of 9)