Mortality, longevity, diseases, and the treatment of the sick, will now form the subject of a few observations; and here we begin with -

Infants. - Before the introduction of Christianity probably not less than two-thirds of the Samoan race died in infancy and childhood. This mortality arose principally from carelessness and mismanagement in nursing; evils which still prevail to a great extent. Even now, perhaps, one-half of them die before they reach their second year. The poor little things are often carried about with their bare heads exposed to the scorching rays of a vertical sun. Exposure to the night-damps also, and above all stuffing them with improper food, are evils which often make us wonder that the mortality among them is not greater than it is. The Samoans were always fond of their children, and would have done anything for them when ill; but, with the exception of external applications for skin diseases, they had no proper remedies for the numerous disorders of children. Were their care in preventing disease equal to their anxiety to observe a cure when the child is really ill, there would probably be less sickness among them, and fewer deaths.

Adults. - The universal opinion of the natives is that the mortality is now greater among young and middle-aged people than it was formerly. "It was common," they say, "to see three or four old men in a house, whereas you rarely see more than one now." Among a people destitute of statistics or records of any kind, it is difficult to speak correctly of an earlier date than 1830. Since that time, however, the population has been remarkably stationary. We have not observed any marked disproportion in the deaths of adults of any particular age compared with other parts of the world. A person died in 1847 who was present at the massacre of M. de Langle and others connected with the exploring expedition of La Perouse in 1787, and who was then a youth of about fourteen years of age. Judging from his appearance, we may suppose that there are some in every village who must be sixty, seventy, and even eighty years of age.

They have stories of a giant race, and tell particularly of one called Tafai. He was very tall and strong, but not cruel to any one. He could throw a long cocoa-nut tree at the rocks as if he were but hurling a thin spear. He plucked up by the roots a great Malili tree, eighty feet high, carried it off on his shoulder, branches and all, and could throw it up and catch it again as if he were playing with a small crab. It is said, too, that so great was his weight, if he put his foot on a rock it left a footprint as if the rock had been soft sand.

Diseases. - Pulmonary affections, paralysis, diseases of the spine producing humpback, ophthalmia, skin diseases, scrofulous, and other ulcers, elephantiasis, and a species of leprosy, are among the principal diseases with which they were afflicted. Ophthalmia and various diseases of the eye were very prevalent. There were few cases of total blindness; but many had one of the organs of vision destroyed. Connected with diseases of the eye, pterygium is common; not only single, but double, triple, and even quadruple are occasionally met with. The leprosy of which we speak has greatly abated. The natives say that formerly many had it, and suffered from its ulcerous sores until all the fingers of a hand or the toes of a foot had fallen off. Elephantiasis, producing great enlargement of the legs and arms, has, they think, somewhat abated too; only, they say, it prevails among the young men more now than it did formerly. Insanity is occasionally met with. It was invariably traced in former times to the immediate presence of an evil spirit. If furious, the party was tied hand to hand and foot to foot until a change for the better appeared. Idiots are not common. Consumption they call "Moomoo;" and there were certain native doctors who were supposed to be successful in spearing the disease, or rather the spirit causing it. The doctor when sent for would come in, sit down before the patient, and chant as follows: -

    "Moomoo e! Moomoo e! 
    O le a ou velosia atu oe;"

which in English is -

    "O Moomoo! O Moomoo! 
    I'm on the eve of spearing you."

Then he would rise up, flourish about with his spear over the head of the patient, and leave the house. No one dared speak or smile during the ceremony. Influenza is a new disease to the natives. They say that the first attack of it ever known in Samoa was during the Aana war in 1830, just as the missionaries Williams and Barff, with Tahitian teachers, first reached their shores. The natives at once traced the disease to the foreigners and the new religion; the same opinion spread through these seas, and especially among the islands of the New Hebrides. Ever since there have been returns of the disease almost annually. It is generally preceded by unsettled weather, and westerly or southerly winds. Its course is generally from east to west. It lasts for about a month, and passes off as fine weather and steady trade-winds set in. In many cases it is fatal to old people and those who have been previously weakened by pulmonary diseases. There was an attack in May 1837, and another in November 1846, both of which were unusually severe and fatal. They have a tradition of an epidemic, answering the description of cholera, which raged with fearful violence probably about eighty years ago. In 1849 hooping-cough made its appearance, and prevailed for several months, among adults as well as children. A good many of the children died. In 1851 another new disease surprised the natives - viz. the mumps. It was traced to a vessel from California collecting pigs, and soon spread all over the group. Scarcely a native escaped. It answered the usual description of the attack given in medical works, and passed off in ten days or a fortnight. Hitherto they have been exempt from small-pox. Some years ago the missionaries vaccinated all the natives, and continue to do so as often as a supply of vaccine lymph is obtained.

Medicine. - The Samoans in their heathenism seldom had recourse to any internal remedy except an emetic, which they used after having eaten a poisonous fish. Sometimes juices from the bush were tried; at other times the patient drank on at water until it was rejected; and, on some occasions, mud, and even the most unmentionable filth, was mixed up and taken as an emetic draught. Latterly, as their intercourse with Tongans, Fijians, Tahitians, and Sandwich Islanders increased, they made additions to their pharmacopoeia of juices from the bush. Each disease had its particular physician. Shampooing and anointing the affected part of the body with scented oil by the native doctors was common; and to this charms were frequently added, consisting of some flowers from the bush done up in a piece of native cloth and put in a conspicuous place in the thatch over the patient.

The advocates of kinnesipathy would be interested in finding, were they to visit the South Seas, that most of their friction, percussion, and other manipulations, were in vogue there ages ago, and are still practised. Now, however, European medicines are eagerly sought after; so much so, that every missionary is obliged to have a dispensary, and to set apart a certain hour every day to give advice and medicine to the sick.

As the Samoans supposed disease to be occasioned by the wrath of some particular deity, their principal desire, in any difficult case, was not for medicine, but to ascertain the cause of the calamity. The friends of the sick went to the high priest of the village. He was sure to assign some cause; and, whatever that was, they were all anxiety to have it removed, as the means of restoration. If he said they were to give up a canoe to the god, it was given up. If a piece of land was asked, it was passed over at once. Or, if he did not wish anything particular from the party, he would probably tell them to assemble the family, "confess, and throw out." In this ceremony each member of the family confessed his crimes and any judgments which, in anger, he had invoked on the family or upon the particular member of it then ill; and, as a proof that he revoked all such imprecations, he took a little water in his mouth, and spurted it out towards the person who was sick.

In surgery, they lanced ulcers with a shell or a shark's tooth, and, in a similar way, bled from the arm. For inflammatory swellings they sometimes tried local bleeding; but shampooing and rubbing with oil were the more common remedies in such cases. Cuts they washed in the sea, and bound up with a leaf. Into wounds in the scalp they blew the smoke of burnt chestnut wood. To take a barbed spear from the arm or leg they cut into the limb from the opposite side and pushed it right through. Amputation they never attempted.

The treatment of the sick was invariably humane, and all that could be expected. They wanted for no kind of food which they might desire, night or day, if it was at all in the power of their friends to procure it. In the event of the disease assuming a dangerous form, messengers were despatched to friends at a distance that they might have an opportunity of being in time to see and say farewell to a departing relative. The greater the rank the greater the stir and muster about the sick of friends from the neighbourhood and from a distance. Every one who went to visit a sick friend supposed to be near death took with him a present of a fine mat, or some other kind of valuable property, as a farewell expression of regard, to aid in paying native doctors or conjurors, and to help also in the cost of pigs, etc., with which to entertain the friends who were assembled. The following story illustrates the ideas and doings of the people at such a time: -

Tuitopetope and Tuioleole were two brother conjurors belonging to Upolu who had been on a visit to Tutuila. On their return they landed at night at Aleipata just as messengers were running from place to place to inform the friends of the dangerous illness of the chief Puepuemai. The two looked into the house, and there they saw a number of gods from the mountain called Fiso sitting in the doorway. They were handing from one to another the soul of the dying chief. It was wrapped up in a leaf, and had been passed by the gods inside the house to those sitting in the doorway. One of them said to Tuitopetope, "You take this," and handed the soul to him. He took it. The god mistook him in the dark for another of their god party. Then all the gods went off, but Tuitopetope remained in the village and kept the soul of the chief.

Next morning some women of the family were sent off with a present of fine mats to fetch a noted priest doctor. Tuitopetope and his brother, who were sitting on the beach as they passed along, asked where they were going with that bundle of property. "To fetch a doctor to Puepuemai," was the reply. "Leave it here," said they, "and take us." "Lads! you are joking," said the women. "No, we are not; we can heal him." The women went back to the house to consult again with the friends assembled around the dying man. All agreed to let the young men come and do what they could.

Tuitopetope and his brother were accordingly sent for. The chief was very ill, his jaw hanging down, and apparently breathing his last. They undid the leaf, let the soul into him again, and immediately he brightened up and lived. It was blazed abroad that Puepuemai was brought to life again by Tuitopetope and his brother, and they gained a wonderful celebrity. It was supposed they knew everything and could do anything; and so they were sent for by chiefs all over the group to heal the sick and find out the guilty in thieving and other criminalities.