An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands, in the South Pacific Ocean. With an original grammar and vocabulary of their language. Compiled and arranged from the extensive communications of Mr. William Mariner, several years resident in those islands. John MARTIN.
An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands, in the South Pacific Ocean. With an original grammar and vocabulary of their language. Compiled and arranged from the extensive communications of Mr. William Mariner, several years resident in those islands.

An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands…
An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands, in the South Pacific Ocean. With an original grammar and vocabulary of their language. Compiled and arranged from the extensive communications of Mr. William Mariner, several years resident in those islands.

London: John Murray, 1818.

Two volumes, octavo, large folding map, engraved frontispiece of Mariner in Tongan dress, three leaves of native music; an attractive set in contemporary handsome green half calf, spine gilt with red labels.

"The best report of Tongan life and culture"

Second edition of Martin's important account of William Mariner's four years in Tonga between 1806 and 1810. Martin's account of Tonga - Cook's "Friendly Isles" - was first published in London in 1817; this second revised edition was issued the following year and contains a large folding map of the Tongan archipelago not present in the first edition. This detailed and finely engraved map shows outlying reefs and notes the exact point where Mariner was wrecked off the island of Lefooga (present day Lifuka in the Haapa'i group). The work is based on the life of William Mariner, who sailed on the Port au Prince, a privateer which attacked Spanish vessels in the Pacific. They landed at the Hapai Islands in Tonga in 1806, were attacked after a quarrel, and the ship was burnt and destroyed. Adopted by a Tongan chief, and given the name of the chief's dead son, he spent four years learning the language and customs of Tonga until, in 1810, he hitched a passage home on an English boat. His account of life on Tonga, prepared for the press by John Martin, is 'considered the best report of Tongan life and culture before the arrival of Christianity' (Hill).

Second edition of Martin's important account of William Mariner's four years in Tonga between 1806 and 1810. Martin's account of Tonga - Cook's "Friendly Isles" - was first published in London in 1817; this second revised edition was issued the following year and contains a large folding map of the Tongan archipelago not present in the first edition. This detailed and finely engraved map shows outlying reefs and notes the exact point where Mariner was wrecked off the island of Lefooga (present day Lifuka in the Haapa'i group). The work is based on the life of William Mariner, who sailed on the Port au Prince, a privateer which attacked Spanish vessels in the Pacific. They landed at the Hapai Islands in Tonga in 1806, were attacked after a quarrel, and the ship was burnt and destroyed. Adopted by a Tongan chief, and given the name of the chief's dead son, he spent four years learning the language and customs of Tonga until, in 1810, he hitched a passage home on an English boat. His account of life on Tonga, prepared for the press by John Martin, is 'considered the best report of Tongan life and culture before the arrival of Christianity' (Hill).

There is a significant passage in the Mariner/Martin account relating to the voyage of the Bounty when Mariner visits the grave of John Norton in Tofua. Norton had been quarter-master on the Bounty, and sailed with Bligh on the open-boat voyage; he died helping wrest the boat free where it had gone aground during an affray.

The preface to this second edition notes that the testimonial of William Mariner, here written up and edited for the public by John Martin, has been verified by one Jeremiah Higgins who served on the Port au Prince, survived the massacre and lived in Tonga for two years and eleven months. Significantly Higgins was not adopted into the Tongan aristocracy, and consequently his account lacks many of the privileged insights of William Mariner's. Any edition of this work is rare: the Kroepelien catalogue lists only the London and French second editions, although Rolf du Rietz's note otherwise mentions editions in Germany (1819), Boston (1820) and Edinburgh (1827).

This is an unusually fine set with half-titles present for both volumes, absent in the Kroepelien copy.

Ferguson, 684aa (first edition); Forbes, 'Hawaiian National Bibliography', 487; Hill, 1076; Kroepelien, 819.

Price (AUD): $1,550.00  other currencies Ref: #3902026