7. OS X
On money #
While a bit dense (paragraphs were evidently doled out stintingly, if at all, in the 1800s), this passage from John Martin's An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands, in the South Pacific Ocean is worth the effort. For those who prefer the tl;dr version, check out the last few sentences - that's where the meat is.
Whilst Finow was yet at the Hapai islands, he often held conversations at his cava parties with Filimoeatoo, respecting the state of affairs at Tonga. Among other things, this chief related, that a ship from Botany Bay had touched there about a week before he arrived, on board of which there was a Tonga chief, Paloo Mata Moigna, and his wife, Fatafehi, both of whom had left Tonga before the death of Toogoo Ahoo, and had resided some years at the Fiji islands, from which place they afterwards went along with one Selly (as they pronounced it), or, probably, Selby, an Englishman, in a vessel belonging to Botany Bay, to reside there. At this latter place he and his wife remained about two years, and now, on their return to Tonga, finding the island in such an unsettled state, they chose rather (notwithstanding the earnest entreaties of their friends) to go back again to Botany Bay. The account they gave of the English customs at this place, and the treatment they at first met with, it may be worth while to relate. The first thing that he and his wife had to do, when they arrived at the governor's house, where they went to reside, was to sweep out a large court yard, and clean down a great pair of stairs. In vain they endeavoured to explain, that in their own country they were chiefs, and, being accustomed to be waited on, were quite unused to such employments. Their expostulations were taken no notice of, and work they must. At first their life was so uncomfortable, that they wished to die ; no one seemed to protect them ; all the houses were shut against them ; if they saw any body eating, they were not invited to partake. Nothing was to be got without money, of which they could not comprehend the value, nor how this same money was to be obtained in any quantity. If they asked for it, nobody would give them any, unless they worked for it ; and then it was so small in quantity, that they could not get with it one-tenth part of what they wanted. One day, whilst sauntering about, the chief fixed his eyes upon a cook's shop, and seeing several people enter, and others again coming out with victuals, he made sure that they were sharing out food, according to the old Tonga fashion; and in he went, glad enough of the occasion. After waiting some time with anxiety to be helped to his share, the master of the shop asked him what he wanted, and, being answered in an unknown language, straightway kicked him out, taking him for a thief, that only wanted an opportunity to steal. Thus, he said, even being a chief did not prevent him being used ill, for, when he told them he was a chief, they gave him to understand, that money made a man a chief. After a time, however, he acknowledged that he got better used, in proportion as he became acquainted with the customs and language. He expressed his astonishment at the perseverance with which the white people worked from morning till night, to get money ; nor could he conceive how they were able to endure so much labour.
/misc | Apr 21, 2012
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