An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands, in the South Pacific Ocean
In November 1806, the damaged Port-au-Prince arrived at what Captain Cook had called the Friendly Islands. William Charles Mariner (1791–1853) was among the few crew members spared by the native inhabitants. He lived there for four years. Published in 1818, this two-volume second edition offers an important early insight into Tongan customs and language. As editor John Martin (1789–1869) explains, the structure of a nation's language is vital to the consideration of its history. So successful was the first edition of 1817 – expanded upon here to include 'generally corroborative, and in a few instances somewhat corrective' information from another erstwhile inhabitant – that within months of its publication a French translation appeared; German and American editions soon followed. Volume 2 covers diverse aspects of Tongan society, from its music to notions of the soul, and includes a detailed grammar of the language and 2,000 words of vocabulary.