An Old Heiau of Captain Cook…

Leaving Kailua early, in a canoe with four men, provided by the governor, Messrs. Thurston and Goodrich reached Kaavaroa about nine o’clock in the morning. Kamakau was waiting for them, and seemed to rejoice at their arrival. Shortly after, the missionaries passed over Kealakekua Bay, in a canoe, landed on the opposite side, and walked along the shore about a mile. Here, in a large house, they collected about three hundred people; to whom Mr. Thurston preached, and was pleased with the interest they manifested. Returning to the southern side of Kealakekua Bay, where they had left their canoe, they passed the ruins of an old heiau, the Heiau mentioned in Captain Cook’s voyage, where the observatory was erected. The remaining walls were one hundred feet long and fifteen high, and the space within was strewed with animal and human bones, the relics of the sacrifices once offered there; a scene truly affecting to a Christian mind. About sunset, Mr. Goodrich ascended a neighboring height, and visited the spot where the body of the unfortunate Captain Cook was cut to pieces, and the flesh, after being separated from the bones, was burnt. It is a small enclosure, about fifteen feet square, surrounded by a wall five feet high; within is a kind of hearth, raised about eighteen inches from the ground, and encircled by a curb of rude stones. Here the fire was kindled on the above occasion; and the place is still strewed with charcoal. The natives mention the interment of another foreigner on this spot; but could not tell to what country he belonged, or the name of the vessel in which he was brought. (Ellis)

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 (These are excerpts from a book by William Ellis that has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired.)

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