Thus We Were
Deprived Of Seeing The Whole Fleet Equipped On This Occasion; And Perhaps
Of Being Spectators Of A Sea-Fight, And By That Means, Gaining Some
Knowledge Of Their Manoeuvres.
I never could learn what number of vessels were to go on this expedition.
We knew of no more than two hundred and ten, besides smaller canoes to
serve as transports, &c. and the fleet of Tiarabou, the strength of which
we never learnt.
Nor could I ever learn the number of men necessary to man
this fleet; and whenever I asked the question, the answer was Warou,
warou, warou te Tata, that is, many, many, many, men; as if the number
far exceeded their arithmetic. If we allow forty men to each war-canoe, and
four to each of the others, which is thought a moderate computation, the
number will amount to nine thousand. An astonishing number to be raised in
four districts; and one of them, viz. Matavia, did not equip a fourth part
of its fleet. The fleet of Tiarabou is not included in this account; and
many other districts might be arming, which we knew nothing of. I however
believe, that the whole isle did not arm on this occasion; for we saw not
the least preparations making in Oparree. From what we saw and could learn,
I am clearly of opinion that the chief or chiefs of each district
superintended the equipping of the fleet belonging to that district; but
after they are equipped, they must pass in review before the king, and be
approved of by him.
Enter page number
Page 580 of 885
Words from 156649 to 156913