1st Edition

An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands in the South Pacific Ocean

Edited By Nigel Statham, Ian C. Campbell Copyright 2023
    552 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    John Martin (1789-1869) was a London-based, Edinburgh-educated physician interested in anthropological matters. This is his only book. He was inspired to write it by a chance encounter with its subject, William Mariner (1791-1853) who spent four years (1806-1810) in Tonga, in the South Pacific, one of the earliest European residents at a time before European influence disturbance or modification society. Mariner, an extraordinarily mature and perceptive youth, became thoroughly imbued with Tongan language and culture as the adopted son of the most powerful chief in Tonga. Thanks to Martin’s intelligent engagement with Mariner resulted in a compelling narrative and a comprehensive account of Tongan society which became a classic. Often celebrated as an extraordinary real-life adventure story, it is a pioneering work of anthropology, and for 200 years it has been a primary and authoritative source for research into Tongan history and culture.

    List of Maps and Illustrations

    Preface and acknowledgements


    A Note on Tongan Language and Orthography.

    Selected Aspects of Tongan Culture

    Tongan Who Was Who in An Account

    Genealogical charts

    Historical Introduction

    An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands

    Dedication to Sir Joseph Banks

    Martin’s Preface

    Martin’s Introduction

    Chapter 1

    Chapter 2

    Chapter 3

    Chapter 4

    Chapter 5

    Chapter 6

    Chapter 7

    Chapter 8

    Chapter 9

    Chapter 10

    Chapter 11

    Chapter 12

    Chapter 13

    Chapter 14

    Chapter 15

    Chapter 16

    Chapter 17

    Chapter 18

    Chapter 19

    Chapter 20

    Chapter 21

    Chapter 22

    Chapter 23 Surgical Skill of the Tonga Islanders

    Appendix : A Grammar and Vocabulary

    Summary of Grammar Review




    Nigel Statham graduated BA in General Linguistics and Indonesian Languages (Australian National University), BTh (Hons), PhD (Melbourne) and studied field linguistics with the Summer Institute of Linguistics. Statham was for 40 years a translator and translation consultant in Pacific Island languages, and is fluent in Tongan. He was the general editor of the first Tongan Monolingual Dictionary (19,000 entries). His translations into Tongan include the explorers’ accounts of their visits to Tonga from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, the present work (‘Mariner’s Tonga’) and George Vason’s narrative of four years in Tonga. He also undertook the digitisation and editing of the diary of Rev. John Thomas, the pioneer missionary to Tonga, and a previously unpublished history of Tonga by Rev. E. E. Collocott, a later missionary. Ian C. Campbell graduated from the Universities of New England (BA (Hons)) and Adelaide (PhD). He was formerly Professor of History & Politics at the multinational University of the South Pacific in Fiji, and is the author of Worlds Apart: A History of the Pacific Islands, Island Kingdom: Tonga Ancient and Modern, and Tonga’s Path to Democracy, among other works, as well as numerous journal articles, book chapters and encyclopaedia entries on Tongan and other Pacific Islands topics.