MARINER, William. 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, by John Martin, M.D. … Second Edition, with Additions. London, John Murray 1818.
Two volumes, 8vo. Contemporary half calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spines with raised bands, contrasting lettering pieces, blind-stamped ornamental borders around covers, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, with restorations; pp. lvi, 444; [iv], 344, [76, A Grammar of the Tonga Language]; engraved portrait of Mariner to vol. I, one folding map; foxing to frontispiece, as usual, and a little spotting to map, else a very clean, fresh and attractive set, contemporary armorial bookplates.
In February 1805, Mariner set sail aboard the Port au Prince for South America and the South Seas in search of whales and Spanish shipping. Following a mutiny by the crew in the Tonga Islands and their subsequent deaths at the hands of natives, Mariner was emprisoned but eventually adopted as the King of Tonga's son. His residence on the islands gave him privileged access to the islanders' culture and language, later related to and transcribed by John Martin. This book contains the first substantial publication of Tongan texts and a very good and detailed vocabulary.
Hill p.191 ('considered the best report of Tongan life and culture before the arrival of Christianity').