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26. CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX
KING MEHEVI--ALLUSION TO HIS HAWIIAN MAJESTY--CONDUCT OF MARHEYO AND MEHEVI IN CERTAIN DELICATE MATTERS--PECULIAR SYSTEM OF MARRIAGE--NUMBER OF POPULATION--UNIFORMITY--EMBALMING--PLACES OF SEPULTURE--FUNERAL OBSEQUIES AT NUKUHEVA-NUMBER OF INHABITANTS IN TYPEE--LOCATION OF THE DWELLINGS--HAPPINESS ENJOYED IN THE VALLEY--A WARNING--SOME IDEAS WITH REGARD TO THE PRESENT STATE OF THE HAWIIANS--STORY OF A MISSIONARY'S WIFE--FASHIONABLE EQUIPAGES AT OAHU--REFLECTIONS
KING MEHEVI!--A goodly sounding title--and why should I not bestow it upon the foremost man in the valley of Typee? The republican missionaries of Oahu cause to be gazetted in the Court Journal, published at Honolulu, the most trivial movement of 'his gracious majesty' King Kammehammaha III, and 'their highnesses the princes of the blood royal'.* And who is his 'gracious majesty', and what the quality of this blood royal'?--His 'gracious majesty' is a fat, lazy, negro-looking blockhead, with as little character as power. He has lost the noble traits of the barbarian, without acquiring the redeeming graces of a civilized being; and, although a member of the Hawiian Temperance Society, is a most inveterate dram-drinker.
*Accounts like these are sometimes copied into English and American journals. They lead the reader to infer that the arts and customs of civilized life are rapidly refining the natives of the Sandwich Islands. But let no one be deceived by these accounts. The chiefs swagger about in gold lace and broadcloth, while the great mass of the common people are nearly as primitive in their appearance as in the days of Cook. In the progress of events at these islands, the two classes are receding from each other; the chiefs are daily becoming more luxurious and extravagant in their style of living, and the common people more and more destitute of the necessaries and decencies of life. But the end to which both will arrive at last will be the same: the one are fast destroying themselves by sensual indulgences, and the other are fast being destroyed by a complication of disorders, and the want of wholesome food. The resources of the domineering chiefs are wrung from the starving serfs, and every additional bauble with which they bedeck themselves is purchased by the sufferings of their bondsmen; so that the measure of gew-gaw refinement attained by the chiefs is only an index to the actual state in which the greater portion of the population lie grovelling.
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