Though less superstitious than the Tahitians, the idolatry of the Sandwich Islanders was equally barbarous and sanguinary, as, in addition to the chief objects of worship included in the mythology of the other islands, the supernatural beings supposed to reside in the volcanoes and direct the action of subterranean fires rendered the gods objects of peculiar terror.
Among the Tahitians he was regarded as " the first and principal god, uncreated and existing from the beginning, or from the time he emerged from po, or the world of darkness.
The Tahitians, 150,000 in 1774, fell from 17,000 in 1880 to 10,300 in 1899; and in this group, while the pure stock appears to be dying out, there is a small increase amongst the half-breeds.
If such be indeed the case, perhaps the noblest of all primitive races may yet be saved from what at one time seemed inevitable extinction; and the Maori, the Samoans, and Tahitians may, like the Hawaiians, take their place beside the Europeans as free citizens of the various states of which they are now subjects.
As among their kinsfolk the Tahitians, debauchery was systematized and infanticide an organized institution.