Newspaper Image 25 of The journal (New York [N.Y.]), March 29, 1896
Pages 25 to 40.
SUNDAY, MARCH 29, 1896.?40 PAGES.
f\ QdEEff U/fiO Wf\K53 50 JOIff Jj^ UfHSED $5/*5EJ.
Queei? (T\amea, DusKy 5ouerei^9 of
5?eiety I5lai7d5 ii? 5out^
paeifie U/apts j^er I^ii^dom
/^d/ryitted as a JNfeuy ^tate.
The craze for annexation to the United
States has at last reached the cannibal
islands of the Pacific Ocean.
Queen Mamea, the dusky ruler of the
?Society Islands, has sent word to this
Government that she desires to have her
kingdom admitted to the Union as a new
State. Her Royal Highness and her bar
barian subjects are anxious to become
American citizens, and will bring along
with them a fine collection of idols, war
gods and cannibalistic religious rituals.
Queen Mamea and her warriors are just
ndw biding in the interior of their island
home. French gunboats have shelled the
native villages along the shore, but are
unable to subdue the islanders. This is
the second time the French have bom
barded the Society Islands, and Queen
Mamea is getting tired of it.
No official document from her Royal
Highness has yet been sent to the De
partment of State at Washington. In fact,
Queen Mamea doesn't read or write, and
her I'rime Minister is also unable to con
duct diplomatic correspondence beyond the
reach of his own voice. Her Majesty has,
however, entrusted her negotiations to an
American sea captain.
These cannibals hate the French, who
control the adjoining island of Tahiti, and
they say they love the Americans. They
have loved some American missionaries in
times past iu tbpir own peculiar way, but
now say tliey liave given up cannibalism
Queen Mamea's kingdom includes the
Islands of Raiatea and Huahine, whose soil
is rich and productive. There is on these
Islands a large population of sleek-bodied,
light-compiexioned natives, who spend most
of their time asleep and at play, and do
very little work.
Raiatea is thirty miles north of Tahiti.
Being thus in close proximity to the French
possessions, it would seem an easy matter
for the latter to capture the Queen and
extend the benefits of French civilization
to her subjects. The French, however,
have tried this once before and failed.
ATTACKED BY GUNBOATS.
During the year 1890 French gunboats
bombarded Raiatea and they drove Queen
Mamea into the canyons. Then they kept
the Queen and her warlike followers under
siege for several months.
Finally the French had'to ret'ire. The
natives, with their gallant Queen, had on
the hills provisions enough to last for sev
eral years. Bread fruit trees, moreover,
were producing fresh loaves for them right
All of this discouraged the French troops,
whose provisions were rapidly running out.
The gunboats wasted large quantities of
ammunition firing into the beach, which the
natives had long since abandoned.
This time, however, the French hope to
be more successful. The barkentine Tropic
Bird arrived at San Francisco a few days
ago, bringing the latest news about the
funny war that has broken out again be
tween the French and this dusky Queen of
the Society Islands.
The Captain of the Tropic Bird told how
Mamea had again defied the French, when
Queen Mamea insisted that she did not
want to fall into the hands of the British.
She expressed great admiration for the
United States, and begged the captain of
the Tropic Bird to present her case to
the American people and stir up a senti
ment for annexation. As to what was to
be donte with her throne and royal prerog
atives if the Society Islands became a new
State in the Union, the Queen did not dis
The Queen then took to the woods. This
was only a few weeks ago. She retired
to the hills with all of her followers.
The French gunboats hurried from Ta
hiti and began to shell the native villages
along the beach of Raiatea and Huahine.
A native village in a South Sea island is
worth about $18, and can be built in a
few days. The loss of their houses is no
hardship to the people of the Society Is
This name, by the way, is somewhat mis
leading. The society there, according to
the accounts of veracious mariners, who
have lived long among these people, is
While the aristocracy and even the Sov
ereign are of a social disposition, and will
take a drink with almost anybody who
opens a bottle, yet society, as such, does
not exist upon any elaborate scale of organ
ization. The Society Islanders are not so
There is no such thing as getting into or
out of society, except ih the case of people
who are eaten, and these get right into
"the midst" of the local 400 in a way not
to be equalled here. The islands derive
their peculiar name from the Royal So
ciety, which in 17G7 sent an expedition
there under Captain Cook for the purpose
of observing the transit of Venus. It is
said that the astronomers in several cases
had a narrow escape from being eaten by
Just now, however, the natives are liv
ing on bread fruit and other palatable arti
cles which a generous climate yields in
abundance without the necessity of their
not have to be distilled or stored to gather
age. This drink is called kava.
It is obtained by 'tappi'ig a plant, and the
Society Islanders indulge in fngnlful orgies
lasting several days by drinking tnis stuff
on special idolatrous feasts and during a
war. It is suspected that a large number
of them are now intoxicated in the moun
THE QUEEN'S FLIGHT.
The enemy has now blown up every one
of the Queen's villages that faces the sea.
The French expected to catch her napping.
But a South Sea queen has not many things
to pack up before retiring from her capital.
Queen Mamea did not have an elaborate
wardrobe, with Saratoga trunks, crown
jewels, tea gowns, etc., to take with her.
Her "palace" did not differ much from the
houses of the other natives, except in size,
and is not believed to have contained any
thing of great value.
All the Queen had to do was to blow her
whistle, lift her skirts and seek the moun
tain paths to escape the vengeance of the
French. Even her skirts did not greatly
interfere with her progress, for the Queen
dresses decolette, both above and below,
and does not trouble herself much with an
elaborate arrangement of skirts, petticoats,
Her principal garment is a gown made of
white strips of bark. She dresses her hair
in a fantastic manner, making it stand out
in an imposing way all about her head.
Her features are strong and her arms mus
This Queen is a notorious fighter. She
is not black, but very light complexioned,
of a pale chocolate or saffron color. The
natives, of the Society Islands are among
the lightest colored people in the Pacific.
The Society Islanders, who now for some
mysterious cause express a desire to come
into the United States, are among the most
brutally ignorant idolatrous people on
earth. Their favorite god, Tane, for whom
an imposing temple has been erected of
coral rock on the island of Huahine, one
of Mamea's possessions, is modelled after
The H^micvn 5aGr^*ce
A 1)6*5erlecl "Viffag e
they sought by covert efforts to get her to
give up her self-governing rights. It was
known in Tahiti that the English had been
manoeuvring with the purpose of annex
ing the Islands If a favorable* QDDortunity
being cooked. The natives can sit on the
hills and amuse themselves listening to the
dull roar of the exploding French bomb
shell, while Nature does all the work.
Even the local whiskey of these people
comes right up out of the ground and docs
a huge comet which they saw in the heav
ens some generations back.
This comet scared the Society Islanders
so that they immediately built their finest
god In imitation of its shape. This god is
a hideous irnuge mada of bark, feathers
and leaves, all grotesqat'v painted, and
terminating in a tail over lorly feet in
One man's duty is to look after this goc.,
and a singular thing about him is that he
is the only man on the islands who is not
allowed to get married. The other island
ers marry early and often.
A man's social position there ?s pro
claimed by the number of his wives, who
are changed as often as suits the will of.
their master. These cu/ious social customs
have not been materially affected by the
work of the missionaries.
The Society Islanders are now believed
to have carried their god, Tane, with them
up into the mountains, where they have
followed Queen Mamea. Wherever is Tane
they believe no harm can come to them.
Tane has a special hpuse as well as n
special keeper. This house is on top of
tall posts, and the keeper sleeps there v. iih
The idol is occasionally taken out for
exorcise. Any tree that is touched by the
long tail of Tane becomcs at once tapu or
sacred in the eyes of the islanders. Such
trees must not be touched bj profane
The god-bearer is the only man allowed
to lift the idol. He carries the great
wooden image upon bis back, and thus
climbs into its lofty house.
The god Is stuffed with feathers and is
C_m e F rAotil'nei"
annually given a new dress. At these
times the old feathers are taken* off and
given to devotees, who hold them as sacred
The head tribesmen, under the guidance
of the priests, then give the god a new
dress and at once proceed to drink huge
quantities of kava. No woman is permit
ted to be present at these feasts, and if
one is caught within a specified distance of
the wood where they occur she is at once
killed, even her own brothers and male
relatives being among the first to accuse
A WELL-FED GOD.
Food of all kinds is presented to Tane,
the idol of the Society Islanders. He gets
the earliest fruits, the tenderest kids, the
freshest fish, and indeed the best of ev
erything, from which his keeper and the
high priests are supposed to profit. The
god has also an elegant canoe in case he
should wish to take a trip upon the water.
Besides the idol gods of the Society Isl
anders, there are gods which are symbol
ized by living creatures, of which the shark
is the chief, being worshipped on account
of it? destructive power. In one bay the
sharks used to bs regularly fed by the
Sometimes a living man has been elected
to the rank of q god by the Society Isl
anders and worshipped as such during his
lifetime. This was done at Raiatea, where
a forn er king, Tomato by name, was reck
oned among the gods. He was consulted
as an oracle, and prayers a?jd sacrifices
were offered to hire, and he was treated as
reverently as if be had been Tane himself.
A. singular thing about K.lng Tomato is
that h? afterward became a Christian and
helped the missionaries on the islands.
But perhaps the most extraordinary in
dividual on the Society Islands is the chief
mourner at a funeral. Got up In his ofiicial
dress, he presents a spectacle ttat is start
lingly novel and grotesque.
No funeral of a chieK can properly take
place oil the Islands without his presence.
The dress he wears Is composed In the
most ingenious manner of mother-of-pearl,
shells, feathers, hark, cloth and similar ma
This costume?several specimens of which
are to be seen in museums of this country
and Europe?is surmounted by an enormous
head dress. This man, entirely encased in
barbaric South Sea splendor, stands in the
presence of the corpse of a chief, which is
placed under cover on posts about twenty
A CURIOUS FUNERAL, CUSTOM.
Captain Cook relates how he saw the
corpse of such a chief which had been ex
posed for several months without suffering
an apparent change. This result is ob
tained by the Society Islanders removing
the interior of a body and filling it with
cloth soaked in cocoanut oil, the whole
body then being repeatedly anointed with
the same substance.
At the funerals of great ehiefs human
sacrifices are made. Fortunately for the i
victim, he knows nothing about his fate.
He is suddenly struck to the ground by
an assassin, who comes stealthily upon
The body is placed in a canoe h?J.f in
and half out of the water. Young plantain
trees are laid upon the sacrifice. Two bun
dles of cloth are also placed in the canoe,
and a priest pu'iis some hair ofl! the head
of thff dead man, while his left eye is
The onlookers at these times seem to
have some grievances against the dpad
man and ask him questions. Thfaae cere
monies take place upon the bcack.
The corpse of the sacrifice is then lifted
from the canoe and carried to a wood,
where it is buried with red feathers-, pieces
of cloth, carved shells and other barbarous
offerings. The killing of a dog by twisting
$$Ifeturvj oj* jihe Idol
lis neck is likewise a part of this cere
mony and the skulls of previous human
sacrifices are placed on exhibition.
J,he natives of these islands formerly
pad a sort of masonic brotherhood called
-he Areois. They worshipped the god Oro
d*se!" CaVen the "Fr?t,'rant I'aru
that ^?rih?S thlng about this religion
mL\\l ^preached^bv A T
of'1 self de'nia^rt ti In<ftead o/ IcadS a'llf*
the AreoisTai glebyto%eIe^fonari^. ^d
death ?Th}meir theorles was to "ignore"
was attained oy taktno- ?ii
?i<-k people and burying them alive
are IfrT J8"""5"* ?W P??M 4,r
ti 0 tiie m<>st accomp'ished
t: 'oss is discovered the firs* n?
Queen Mamea and he -folKrfl, W'hklu'r
5sas,'fet"?"? ,<Sf-rS>?a'i?sr .r;
IU. djty is 81111 occasionally indulged
J he natives are so secretive ard cunning
is ^Possible to know what ihov
actually do when thcv retire to th?
i',?eyanrou?wrerithan susPected of maintain!
and ChristtSl ?embl^nce nf civilisation
V ,}lbtianlty for the practical n <nif?
ol/l'OMi ln inte?-course with white men
1.? Mariners of the South Pacific who
know these people well say thev 3on!d tir>?
eminent in the world, and that this wit'i
ooS-d0?; thi;;";8V"" ",cs"
iHere is one striding: and nowtl nn?
time of these people which tliev nrartic* f>>
common with those of the ^awaUan rl
KuVriding. PeCUHUr t0 tbe Pacific. That
A tremendous surf bents nnnn tt,0
beach of the Society Islands? cXing^far
-tend the breakers, the native siu
or stands upon a board of stout wood
which supports him in the water
'"Pis In ^ril biK incoming wave,
uipiV U, fc y a dexterous move
ment, and is carried onward to the henrh
with great speed. The wave rushes im
)veti^a0h wl,1i tliG surf-flder. who is tina?
thrown on dry land, and goes back int
nne ?hnr to,repeat <hr' performance It Is
an exhilarating and exciting spectacle to
see a group of islanders practising thi2
surf-riding, which\few Europet s have ever
been able to master. e c>tr
Sucli are the people who are now fight
ing with the trench by making a masterly
retreat to the woods Midcr the leadeishii?
of Queen Mamea. fhe, think thev woud
like to be American citizens, having ?d
mircd out men-of-war that, frequent those
waters. It Is not impossible, indeed that
Mamea may have already opened corre
spondence on the.subject with Secretary
OIneyv but the history of the Hawaiian ne^
got.ations is not encouraging. At any rate
it is believed she will hold out for a kmc
About This Newspaper
- The journal (New York [N.Y.]), March 29, 1896
- Contributor Names
- Library of Congress
- Place of Publication
- New York [N.Y.]
- Created / Published
- New York [N.Y.], March 29, 1896
- Subject Headings
- - New York (N.Y.)--Newspapers
- - New York County (N.Y.)--Newspapers
- - New York (State)--New York
- - New York (State)--New York County
- - United States--New York--New York--New York
- - Daily
- - No. 4,739 (Nov. 7, 1895)-no. 4,993 (July 18, 1896).
- - Also issued on microfilm from Recordak Corp., Eastmak Kokak Co.
- - Also available in digital format on the Library of Congress website.
- - New York journal (New York, N.Y. : 1896 : Morning ed.) (DLC)sn 84024350 (OCoLC)11223851
- 40 pages
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- Library of Congress Control Number
- Online Format
- online text
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The Journal. [New York N.Y] (New York, NY) 29 Mar. 1896, p. 25. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/sn84031792/1896-03-29/ed-1/.