'I think it has the evil which attends all secret societies, that it tends to produce invidious distinctions and castes. An instinct impels men to form themselves into associations; but then Christ has satisfied that instinct legitimately in the Church.
'Christianity does meet a human instinct; as, e.g., the Lord's Supper, whatever higher and deeper feelings it may have, has this simple, but most significant meaning to the primitive convert, of feasting as a child with his brethren and sisters at the Father's Board.
'The significance of this to people living as more than half the human beings in the world are living still, is such as we have lost the power of conceiving; the Lord's Supper has so long had, so to say, other meanings for many of us. Yet to be admitted a member of God's family, and then solemnly at stated times to use this privilege of membership, strengthening the tie, and familiarising oneself more and more with the customs of that heavenly family, this surely is a very great deal of what human instinct, as exhibited in almost universal customs, requires.
'There are depths for those who can dive into them; but I really think that in some of these theological questions we view the matter solely from our state of civilisation and thought, and forget the multitudes of uneducated, rude, unrefined people to whom all below the simple meaning is unmeaning. May I not say to Robert Pantatun, "Christ, you know, gave His Body and Blood for us on the Cross, He gives them to you now, for all purposes of saving you and strengthening your spiritual life, while you eat and drink as an adopted child at your Father's Table"?
'It is the keeping alive the consciousness of the relation of all children to God through Christ that is needed so much. And with these actual sights before me, and you have them among you in the hundreds of thousands of poor ignorant creatures, I almost wonder that men should spend so much time in refining upon points which never can have a practical meaning for any persons not trained to habits of accurate thought and unusual devotion. But here I am very likely wrong, and committing the very fault of generalizing from my own particular position.
'June 4th.—I was greatly pleased, on Friday evening last which George Sarawia spent here with me, to hear from him that he had been talking with the Banks Islanders at Norfolk Island, and on board ship, about a plan which he now proposed to me. I had indeed thought of it, but scarcely saw my way. It is a new proof of his real earnestness, and of his seeking the good of his people here. The plan is this:—
'G. S. "Bishop, we have been talking together about your buying some land here, near your present place, where we all can live together, where we can let the people see what our mode of life is, what our customs are, which we have learnt from you."
'J. C. P. "Capital, George, but are you all willing to give up your living in villages among your own particular relations? "
'G. S. "Yes, we all agreed about it. You see, sir, if we live scattered about we are not strong enough to hold our ground, and some of the younger ones fall back into their old ways. The temptations are great, and what can be expected of one or two boys among eighty or ninety heathen people?"
'J. C. P. "Of course you know what I think about it. It is the very thing I have always longed for. I did have a general school here, as you know."
'G. S. "Yes, but things are different now. People are making enquiries. Many young fellows want to understand our teaching, and follow it. If we have a good large place of our own there, we can carry on our own mode of living without interfering with other people."
'J. G. P. "Yes, and so we can, actually in the midst of them, let them see a Christian village, where none of the strange practices which are inconsistent with Christianity will be allowed, and where the comforts and advantages of our customs may be actually seen."
'G. S. "By-and-by it will be a large village, and many will wish to live there, and not from many parts of Mota only."
'Well, I have told you, I suppose, of the fertility of this island, and how it is far more than sufficient to supply the wants of the people. Food is wasted on all sides. This very day I have plucked ten large bread-fruits, and might have plucked forty now nearly ripe, simply that the bats may not get them. I gave them away, as I can't eat more than a third part of one at a meal.
'So I went with George on Saturday, and we chose such a beautiful property, between Veverao and Maligo, I dare say about ten acres. Then I spoke to the people here, explaining my wishes and motives. To-day we have been over it with a large party, that all might be done publicly and everybody might hear and know. The land belongs to sixteen different owners; the cocoa-nut trees, breadfruit, almond, and other fruit-trees are bought separately.
'They all agree; indeed, as they have abundance of space of spare land just as good all about, and they will get a good stock of hatchets, pigs, &c., from me, for this land, there is not much doubt about that. But it is pleasant to hear some of them say, "No, no, that is mine and my son's, and he is your boy. You can have that for nothing."
'I shan't take it; it is safer to buy, but it is pleasant to see the kind feeling.
'If it be God's will to prosper this undertaking, we should begin next year with about fifteen of our own scholars, and a goodly number of half-scholars, viz., those who are now our regular scholars here, but have not been taken to New Zealand.
'Fencing, clearing, &c., could go on rapidly. Many would help, and small payments of beads and fish-hooks can always secure a man's services.
'I should build the houses with the material of the island, save only windows, but adopt of course a different shape and style for them. The idea would be to have everything native fashion, but improved, so as to be clearly suitable for the wants of people sufficiently civilised. All that a Christian finds helpful and expedient we ought to have, but to adopt English notions and habits would defeat my object. The people could not adopt them, there would be no teaching for them. I want to be able to say: "Well, you see, there is nothing to prevent you from having this and that, and your doing this and that."
'We must have some simple rules about cleanliness, working hours, &c., but all that is already familiar to those who have been with us at Kohimarama and Norfolk Island. Above all, I rejoice in the thought that the people understand that very soon this plan is to be worked by George Sarawia. He is to be the, so to say, head of the Christian village. I shall be a kind of Visitor. Palmer will, of course, be wanted at first, but must avoid the fault of letting the people, our own pupils as well as others, become dependent upon us. The Paraguay Mission produced docile good-natured fags for the missionaries, but the natives had learnt no self-respect, manliness, nor positive strength of character. They fought well, and showed pluck when the missionaries armed them, but they seem to have had no power of perpetuating their newly-learnt customs, without the continual guidance of the missionaries. It may be that such supervision is necessary; but I do not think it is so, and I should be sorry to think it is so.'
As usual, the Mota climate told on the health of the party, there was general influenza, and the Bishop had a swelling under his left arm; but on Whitsunday the 'Southern Cross,' which had been to set down the Solomon Islanders, returned, and carried him off. Vanua Lava was touched at, and a stone, carved by John Adams, put up at Fisher Young's grave, which was found, as before, well kept in order. Then the round of the New Hebrides was made; but new volunteers were refused, or told to wait ten moons, as it was an object to spend the first season in the new locality with tried scholars.
At 'the grand island, miscalled Leper's,' the Bishop slept ashore for the first time, and so also at Whitsuntide.
At Espiritu Santo much friendliness was shown, and a man would not take a present Mr. Atkin offered, because he had nothing, to pay for it. Santa Cruz, as usual, was disappointing, as, Mr. Atkin says, the only word in their mouths, the only thought in their heads, was 'iron;' they clamoured for this, and would not listen; moreover, their own pronunciation of their language was very indistinct, owing to their teeth being destroyed by the use of the betel-nut, so that they all spoke like a man with a hot potato in his mouth.
'So again we leave this fine island without any advance, as far as we can see, having been made. I may live to think these islanders very wild, and their speech very difficult, yet I know no more of them now than I did years ago. Yet I hope that some unforeseen means for "entering in among" them may be given some day. Their time is to come, sooner or later, when He knows it to be the right time.'
Savo was then touched at; and the Bishop slept ashore at Florida, and left Mr. Brooke there to the hospitality of three old scholars for a few days, by way of making a beginning. The observations on the plan show a strange sense of ageing at only forty:—
'He speaks the language fairly; and his visit will, I hope, do good. Of course he will be tired, and will enjoy the quiet of the schooner after it. I know what that is pretty well, and it takes something to make one prefer the little vessel at sea to any kind of shore life. However, he has youth and cheery spirits at command, and that makes life on an island. A man whose tastes naturally are for books, &c., rather than for small talk, and who can't take much interest in the very trifling matters that engage the attention of these poor fellows, such a man finds it very tiring indeed sometimes, when a merry bright good-natured fellow would amuse himself and the natives too.
'In these introductory visits, scarcely anything is done or said that resembles Mission work as invented in stories, and described by the very vivid imagination, of sensational writers. The crowd is great, the noise greater, the heat, the dirt, the inquisitiveness, the endless repetition of the same questions and remarks, the continual requests for a fish-hook, for beads, &c.—this is somewhat unlike the interesting pictures, in a Missionary Magazine, of an amiable individual very correctly got up in a white tie and black tailed coat, and a group of very attentive, decently-clothed and nicely- washed natives. They are wild with excitement, not to hear "the good news," but to hear how the trading went on: "How many axes did they sell? How many bits of iron?"
'You say, "Why do you trade at all?" Answer: In the first visits that we make we should at once alienate all the goodwill of the people from us unless we so far complied with their desire to get iron tools, or to trade more or less with them. As soon as I can I give presents to three or four leading men, and then let the buying curiosities be carried on by the crew and others; but not to trade at all would be equivalent to giving up hope of establishing any intercourse with the people.
'But in new islands, and upon our first visits, if we do get a chance of saying something amid the uproar, what can we say about religion that will be intelligible to men whose language has never been used to express any thought of ours that we long to communicate, and whose minds are pre-occupied by the visit of the vessel, and the longing for our articles of trade? Sometimes we do try to say a few words; sometimes we do a little better, we get a hearing, some persons listen with some interest; but usually, if we can merely explain that we don't come to trade, though we trade to please them, that we wish to take lads and teach them, we are obliged to be satisfied. "Teach them! teach them what?" think the natives. Why, one old hatchet would outweigh in their minds all that boy or man can gain from any teaching. What appreciable value can reading, writing, wearing clothes, &c., have in their eyes? So we must in first visits (of which I am now thinking) be thankful that we can in safety sleep on shore at all, and regard the merely making friends with the people as a small beginning of Mission work.
'Poor fellows! they think it very strange! As you lie down in the dark and try to sleep, you presently feel hands stroking your arms and legs, and feeling you about to make sure that the stranger has the same allowance of arms and legs that they have; and you overhear such quaint remarks as you lie still, afraid to let them know that you are awake, lest they should oblige you to begin talking over again the same things that you have already said twenty times.'
Mr. Brooke stayed four days at Florida; and came away with three former pupils, and four new ones, one of them grown up, a relative of the leading man of the island. Taroniara was the only Bauro scholar brought away this time; but so many were taken from Mota that the whole party numbered thirty-seven, seven of them girls, all betrothed to one or other of the lads. The entire colony at St. Barnabas, including English, was thus raised to seventy, when the 'Southern Cross' returned thither in August. On the 23rd, Bishop Patteson writes:—
'I wish you could see this place and the view from this room. I have only got into it within this hour. The carpenters are just out of it. You know that I left Palmer here about eleven months ago, on the return from that island voyage. He had sixteen lads with him, of whom eleven were good stout fellows.
'He did work wonderfully. The place I chose for the site of the station is about three miles from the settlement—the town, as the people call it. If you have a map of the island, you will see Longridge on the western part of it. Follow on the principal road, which goes on beyond Longridge in a N. and NW. direction, and about a mile beyond Longridge is our station. The top of Mount Pitt is nearly opposite our houses, of which two are now habitable, though not finished. The third, which is the house at Kohimarama which I had for one year, and in which Sir W. and Lady Martin spent ten days, will be begun on Monday next, I hope. The labour of getting all these things from New Zealand and then landing them (for there is no harbour), and then carting them up here (for there are no really good horses here, but the two I bought and sent down), was very considerable. Palmer and his boys worked admirably. He was industrious indeed. He and they lived at first in a little cottage, about three-quarters of a mile from our place, i.e., about a quarter of a mile from Longridge. During the first month, while they had no cart or horses as yet (for I had to send them down from Auckland), they fenced in some lands (the wire for which I had bought at Sydney, and a man-of-war brought it hither), planted yams (which grow excellently, such a crop never was seen here) and sweet potatoes, melons, vegetables, &c. Meanwhile, the timber for the houses was being sent as I had opportunity, a large quantity having been already taken to Norfolk Island in a man-of-war. Luckily, timber was selling very cheap at Auckland.
'After this first month, Palmer set to work at house building. He built entirely by himself, save the chimney and some part of the shingling (wooden roofing). As yet, no rooms have any ceiling or lining; they might by innocent people be thought to resemble barns, but they are weather-proof, strong, and answer all present purposes. The verandah, about 8 feet broad, is another great room really.
'I am still buying and sending down bricks, timber, &c. Two Auckland carpenters, thoroughly steady men, left Norfolk Island, about three weeks after we left it, for the Melanesian islands. They have been putting up my special building. We have no doors like hall doors, as all the rooms open with glass doors on to the verandah, and they are the doors for going in and out. Comprenez-vous? The ground slopes away from these two houses for some 200 yards or more to a little stream; and this slope is all covered with sweet potatoes and vegetables, and Codrington and Palmer have planted any number of trees, bushes, flowers, &c. Everything grows, and grows luxuriantly. Such soil, such a climate!
'By-and-by I shall have, I hope, such myrtles and azaleas, kalmias and crotons, and pine-apples and almond trees, bananas and tree- ferns, and magnolias and camellias, &c., all in the open air.
'The ground slopes up beyond the little stream, a beautiful wooded bank, wooded with many kinds of trees and bushes, large Norfolk Island pines; cattle and sheep stray about. Oh! how very pretty it is! And then beyond and above this first slope, the eye travels along the slopes of the Pitt to its summit, about 1,000 feet, a pretty little hill. It is, indeed, a calm peaceful scene, away from noise and bustle, plenty of pleasant sounds of merry boys working in the gardens, and employing themselves in divers ways. The prospect is (D. Gr.) a very happy one. It is some pleasure to work here, where the land gives "her increase" indeed.
'All seem very happy and well pleased with the place. I don't see how it can be otherwise, and yet to the young people there may be something attractive in society. But the young ones must occasionally go to Auckland or Sydney, or whithersoever they please, for a two or three months' holiday. For me, what can I desire more than this place affords? More than half of each year spent here if I live, and quietly, with any amount of work, uninterrupted work, time for quiet reading and thought. This room of mine in which I now am sitting is magnifique, my dear Joan; seriously, a very good room. You see it will be full of boys and girls; and I must have in it many things, not books only, for the general use of all here, so that I determined to make it a nice place at once.
'This room then, nicely lined, looking rather like a wooden box, it is true, but clean and airy, is 22 feet x 14 feet 6 in., and the wall plates 9 feet 6 in. high, the ceiling coved a little, so as to be nearly 14 feet high in the centre. What do you think of that for a room? It has a fire-place, and wide verandah, which is nearly 6 feet above the ground, so that I am high and dry, and have all the better view too, quite a grand flight of steps—a broad ladder—up into my house. The Mahaga lads and I call it my tree-house.
'Then I have one great luxury. I thought I would have it, and it is so nice. My room opens into the Chapel by red baize swinging doors; my private entrance, for there is a regular porch where the rest go in.
'Service at 7 A.M. and 8 P.M. But it is always open, boys come in of a morning to say their private prayers, for sleeping together in one room they have little privacy there. And I can go in at all hours. Soon it will become a sacred spot to us. It is really like a Chapel.
'August 27th.—Your birthday, my dear old Fan! God bless you, and grant you all true happiness, and the sense of being led onwards to the eternal peace and joy above. The parting here is a long one; and likely to be a parting for good, as far as this world is concerned.
'Last night was the coldest night that they have had during the whole winter; the thermometer touched 43—Codrington has regular registering thermometers, so you see what a charming climate this is for us. Palmer was here all the summer, and he says that the heat, though great as marked by thermometer, was never trying, relaxing, and unfitting for work, as at Kohimarama.'
Thus began the first period of the residence in Norfolk Island; where Mr. Codrington's account of the way of life shall supplement the above:—
'When the Bishop returned in August 1867, our party consisted of himself, Mr. Palmer in Deacon's orders, and myself, Mr. Atkin and Mr. Brooke already experienced in the work, and Mr. Bice, who had with myself lately arrived from England. The whole number of Melanesians was about sixty; among the eldest of these the most intelligent and advanced of the few then baptized, George, Henry, B——, Robert and Edward. There were then, I think, thirteen baptized, and two Communicants. To this elder class, the Bishop, as far as I can recollect, devoted the greater part of his time. He said that now for the first time he was able without interruption to set to work to teach them, and he certainly made great progress in those months. I remember that every evening they used to sit in Chapel after prayers, and consider what difficulty or question they should propound to him; and he would come in after a time, and, after hearing the question, discuss the subject, discourse upon it, and end with prayer. They were at the time, I remember, much impressed by this; and those who were the most advanced took in a great deal of an elevated strain of doctrine which, no doubt, passed over the heads of the greater number, but not without stirring up their hearts.
'It became a regular custom on the evening before the Communion Sunday, i.e., every other Sunday, to give the Communicants instruction and preparation after the Chapel service. At this time there was no Sunday sermon in Chapel. The Bishop used to say that the preaching was done in the school; but much of his school was of a hortatory kind in the Chapel, and often without taking off the surplice.
'At this time I should add that he used from time to time to have other boys with him to school, and particularly Solomon Islanders, whose languages he alone could generally speak. He had also a good deal with him the second set of eight Banks Islanders, who were by this time recognised Catechumens.
'There were other occupations of the Bishop's time, besides his school with Melanesians. The hour from 12 to 1 was devoted to instruction given to the two young men, one from New Zealand and one a son of Mr. Nobbs, who were working with the Mission; and on alternate days to the younger members of the Mission, who were being prepared for Ordination.
'The reading with the younger clergy continued to be to the last one of the most regular and most fruitful of the Bishop's engagements. The education which Mr. Atkin had for many years received from the Bishop had set him considerably above the average of young English clergy, not only in scholarship and information, but also in habits of literary industry. The Bishop, with his own great interest in Hebrew, enjoyed very much his Hebrew reading with Mr. Atkin and Mr. Bice.
'The Bishop also began as soon as he could to pay attention to the teaching of the young Norfolk Islanders. He preached very often in their Church, and went down on Wednesdays to take a class of candidates for Confirmation. He said, and I believe with truth, that he wasted a great deal of time in preparing his lessons with the candidates for Ordination or younger clergy; that is, he looked up the subject in some book, and read on and on till he had gone far beyond the point in search of which he started, and had no time left to take up the other points which belonged to the subject he had in view. I should say he was always a desultory scholar, reading very much and to very great purpose, but being led continually from one subject or one book to another long before coming to an end of the first. He was always so dissatisfied with what he did, that whereas there are remaining several beginnings of one or two pages on one subject or another, there is no paper of his which is more than a fragment—that is, in English. There is one series of Notes on the Catechism in Mota complete. In those days I was not myself able to converse sufficiently in Mota to learn much from the elder boys about the teaching they were receiving; but it was evident that they were much impressed and stirred up, they spent much time with their books by themselves, and one could not fail to form a high estimate of the work that was going on. Now they say they never had school like that before or since. The Bishop was, in fact, luxuriating in the unbroken opportunity of pouring out instruction to intelligent and interested scholars. I think it was altogether a happy time to him; he enjoyed the solitude, the advantages of the move to the island were apparent in the school work, and were anticipated in the farm, and the hope of doing something for the Pitcairn people, which I believe had much to do with fixing the Mission here, was fresh.'
This judgment is thoroughly borne out by the Bishop's own letter to his sisters of October 27, wherein it appears how considerable an element of his enjoyment and comfort was Mr. Codrington's own companionship, partly as a link with the younger members of the little community:—
'Do I feel doubtful about an early Communion Service, Codrington, when I broach the matter, takes it up more eagerly almost than I do; and then I leave him to talk with the others, who could hardly differ from me on such a point if they wished to do so, but will speak freely to him. Not that, mind, I am aware of there being anything like a feeling of distance between me and them, but necessarily they must just feel that I am forty and their Bishop, and so I might perhaps influence them too much, which would be undesirable.
'Then I can talk with him on matters which of course have special interest for me, for somehow I find that I scarcely ever read or think on any points which do not concern directly my work as clergyman or language-monger. It is very seldom that I touch a book which is not a commentary on the Bible or a theological treatise, scarcely ever, and of course one likes to talk about those things of which one's mind is full. That made the talks with the Judge so delightful. Now young people, of course, have their heads full (as I used to have mine) of other things, and so my talk would be dull and heavy to them.
'No doubt, if you had me at home you would find that I am pretty full of thoughts on some points, but not very well able to express myself, and to put my thoughts into shape. It is partly want of habit, because, except as one speaks somewhat dictatorially to pupils, I do not arrange my ideas by conversing with others—to a great extent, from want of inclination, i.e., indolence, and also I have not the brains to think out a really difficult subject. I am amused occasionally to see what a false estimate others form of me in that way. You see it has pleased God to give me one faculty in rather an unusual degree, that of learning languages, but in every other respect my abilities are very moderate indeed. Distance exaggerates of course, and I get credit with some folks for what if I had it would simply be a gift and no virtue in me; but I attain anything I work at with very considerable labour, and my mind moves very sluggishly, and I am often very dull and stupid. You may judge, therefore, of the great advantage of having a bright, cheery, intelligent, well-informed man among us, without whom every meal would be heavy and silent, and we should (by my fault) get into a mechanical grind....
'As for your own worthy Brother, I don't think I knew what rest meant till I got here. I work, in one sense, as hard as before, i.e., from early morn till 10 P.M., with perhaps the intermission of a hour and a half for exercise, besides the twenty minutes for each of the three meals; and did my eyes allow it, I could go on devouring books much later. But then I am not interrupted and distracted by the endless occupation of the New Zealand life. Oh! how utterly distasteful to me were all those trustee meetings, those English duties of all kinds, and most of all, those invasions of Kohimarama by persons for whom I could get up no interest. I am not defending these idiosyncrasies as if they were all right, but stating what I felt and what I feel. I am indeed very happy here; I trust not less useful in my way. School of course flourishes. You would be surprised at the subjects that I and my first class work at. No lack of brains! Perhaps I can express it briefly by saying that I have felt for a year or more the need of giving them the Gospel of St. John. Because they were ready, thank God, for those marvellous discourses and arguments in that blessed Gospel, following upon the record of miracles wrought or events that happened.
'Of course the knowledge of the facts must come first, but there was always in school with me—either they have it as a natural gift, or my teaching takes naturally that line—a tendency to go deeper than the mere apprehension of a fact, a miracle wrought, or a statement made. The moral meaning of the miracle, the principle involved in the less important expression of it, or particular manifestation of it, these points always of late I am able to talk about as to intelligent and interested listeners. I have these last six weeks been translating St. John; it is nearly done. Think, Fan, of reading, as I did last night, to a class of fifteen Melanesian Christians, the very words of St. John vi. for the first time in their ears! They had heard me paraphrase much of it at different times. I don't notice these things, unless (as now) I chance to write about them. After 6 P.M. Chapel, I remain with some of the lads, the first class of boys, men, and women, every night, and in addition, the second class every other night (not on the nights when I have had them from 7 to 8). I used to catechise them at first, starting the subject myself. Now, I rejoice to say, half goes very quickly in answering questions, of which they bring me plenty.
Then, at about 8.50 or 9, I leave them alone in the Chapel (which opens, as you know, into my sitting-room), and there they stay till past 10, talking over points among themselves, often two or three coming in to me, "Bishop, we can't quite make out this." What do they know and ask? Well, take such a subject as the second Psalm, and they will answer you, if you ask them, about prophecy and the prophetic state. Test them as to the idea they form of a spiritual vision of something seen, but not with the fleshly eye, and they will say, "Yes, our minds have that power of seeing things. I speak of Mota, it is far off, but as I speak of it, I see my father and my mother and the whole place. My mind has travelled to it in an instant. I am there. Yes, I see. So David, so Moses, so St. Peter on the housetop, so St. Paul, caught up into the third heaven, so with his mind."
'"But was it like one of our dreams?"
'"Yes and No—Yes, because they were hardly like waking-men. No, because it was a real true vision which God made them see."
'Ask them about the object of prophecy, and they will say, in quaint expression, it is true, what is tantamount to this—it was not only a prediction of things to come, but a chief means of keeping before the minds of the Jews the knowledge of God's true character as the moral Governor of their nation, and gradually the knowledge was given of His being the Lord and Ruler of all men. The Prophet was the teacher of the present generation as well as the utterer of truths that, when fulfilled in after ages, would teach future ages.
'I mention these fragmentary sentiments, merely to show you how I can carry these fellows into a region where something more than memory must be exercised. The recurrence of the same principles upon which God deals with us is an illustration of what I mean; e.g., the Redemption out of Egypt from the Captivity and the Redemption involve the same principle. So the principle of Mediation runs through the Bible, the Prophet, Priest, King, &c. Then go into the particular Psalm, ask the meaning of the words, Anointed, Prophet, Priest, King- -how our Lord discharged and discharges these offices. What was the decree? The Anointed is His Son. "This day have I begotten Thee"— the Eternal Generation—the Birth from the grave. His continual Intercession. Take up Psalm cx., the Priest, the Priest for ever, not after the order of Aaron. Go into the Aaronical Priesthood. Sacrifices, the idea of sacrifice, the Mosaic ritual, its fulfilment; the principle of obedience, as a consequence of Faith, common to Old and New Testaments, as, indeed, God's Moral Law is unchangeable, but the object of faith clearly revealed in the New Testament for the first time, &c., &c.
'Christ's Mediatorial reign, His annihilation of all opposition in the appointed time, the practical Lesson the Wrath of the Lamb.
'Often you would find that pupils who can be taught these things seem and are very ignorant of much simpler things; but they have no knowledge of books, as you are aware, and my object is to teach them pretty fully those matters which are really of the greatest importance, while I may fill up the intervening spaces some day, if I live. To spend such energy as they and I have upon the details of Jewish history, e.g., would be unwise. The great lessons must be taught, as, e.g., St. Paul in 1 Cor. x. uses Jewish history.
'October 15, I finished my last chapter of St. John's Gospel in the Mota language; we have also a good many of the Collects and Gospels translated, and some printed. What is better than to follow the Church's selection of passages of Scripture, and then to teach them devotionally in connection with the Collects?
'Brooke works away hard at his singing class in the afternoon. We sing the Venite, Magnificat, Nunc dimittis, &c., in parts, to single and double chants, my old favourite "Jacob's" for the Venite, also a fine chant of G. Elvey's. They don't sing at all well, but nevertheless, though apt to get flat, and without good voices, there is a certain body of sound, and I like it. Brooke plays the harmonium nicely.
'The Norfolk Island people, two or three only, have been here at evening service, and are extremely struck with the reverence of the Melanesians.
'I work away with my Confirmation class, liking them personally, but finding no indication of their having been taught to think in the least. It is a relief to get back to the Melanesians.'
The visit of the Bishop of New Zealand which had been hoped for, had been prevented by the invitation to attend the Synod of the Church held at Lambeth, in the autumn of 1867, and instead of himself welcoming his friends, Bishop Patteson was picturing them to himself staying with his sisters at Torquay, and joining in the Consecration Services of the Church of All Saints, at Babbicombe, where the altar stood, fragrant with the sandal wood of the Pacific isles. The letters sent off by an opportunity in November were to family and friends, both in England. The one to his sister Joanna narrates one of those incidents that touched the Bishop most deeply:—
'On Friday last we had such a very, very solemn service in our little Chapel. Walter Hotaswol, from Matlavo Island, is dying—he has long been dying, I may say—of consumption. For two winters past he has remained with us rather than in his own island, as he well knew that without good food and care he would sink at once. Years ago he was baptized, and after much time spent in preparation, Tuesday, at 7.30 A.M., was the day when we met in Chapel. Walter leant back in a chair. The whole service was in the Mota language, and I administered the Holy Communion to eleven of our Melanesian scholars, and last of all to him. Three others I trust I may receive to Holy Communion Sunday next. Is not this a blessed thing? I think of it with thankfulness and fear. My old text comes into my mind—"Your heart shall fear and be enlarged." I think there is good hope that I may baptize soon seven or eight catechumens.'
The letter to Bishop Selwyn despatched by the same vessel on November 16, gives the first hint of that 'labour traffic' which soon became the chief obstacle to the Mission.
After describing an interview with an American captain, he continues:—'Reports are rife of a semi-legalised slave-trading between the South Sea Islands and New Caledonia and the white settlers in Fiji. I have made a little move in the matter. I wrote to a Wesleyan Missionary in Fiji (Ovalau) who sent me some books. I am told that Government sanctions natives being brought upon agreement to work for pay, &c., and passage home in two years. We know the impossibility of making contracts with New Hebrides or Solomon natives. It is a mere sham, an evasion of some law, passed, I dare say, without any dishonourable intention, to procure colonial labour. If necessary I will go to Fiji or anywhere to obtain information. But I saw a letter in a Sydney paper which spoke strongly and properly of the necessity of the most stringent rules to prevent the white settlers from injuring the coloured men.'
So first loomed the cloud that was to become so fatal a darkening of the hopes of the Mission, all the more sad because it was caused by Christian men, or men who ought to have been Christian. It will be seen, however, that Bishop Patteson did not indiscriminately set his face against all employment of natives. Occupation and training in civilised customs were the very things he desired for them, but the whole question lay in the manner of the thing. However, to him as yet it was but a report, and this Advent and Christmas of 1867 were a very happy time. A letter to me describes the crowning joy.
'Norfolk Island: Christmas Day, 1867.
'My dear Cousin,—One line to you to-day of Christmas feelings and blessings. Indeed, you are daily in my thoughts and prayers. You would have rejoiced could you have seen us last Sunday or this morning at 7 A.M. Our fourteen Melanesian Communicants so reverent, and (apparently) earnest. On Sunday I ordained Mr. Palmer Priest, Mr. Atkin and Mr. Brooke Deacons.
'The service was a solemn one, in the Norfolk Island Church, the people joining heartily in the first ordination they had seen; Codrington's sermon excellent, the singing good and thoroughly congregational, and the whole body of confirmed persons remaining to receive the Holy Communion. Our own little Chapel is very well decorated (Codrington again the leader) with fronds of tree-ferns, arums, and lilies; "Emmanuel, God amemina" (with us), in large letters over the altar.
'And now (9.30P.M.) they are practising Christmas hymns in Mota for our 11 A.M. service. Then we have a regular feast, and make the day a really memorable one for them. The change from the old to the new state of things, as far as our Banks Islanders are concerned, is indeed most thankworthy. I feel that there is great probability of George Sarawia's ordination before long. This next year he will be left alone (as far as we whites are concerned) at Mota, and I shall be able to judge, I hope, of his fitness for carrying on the work there. If it be God's will to give him health of body and the will and power to serve Him, then he ought to be ordained. He is an excellent fellow, thoughtful, sensible, and my right hand among the Melanesians for years. His wife, Sara Irotaviro, a nice gentle creature, with now a fine little boy some seven months old. She is not at all equal to George in intelligence, and is more native in habits, &c. But I think that she will do her best.
'You know I have long felt that there is almost harm done by trying to make these islanders like English people. All that is needful for decency and propriety in the arrangement of houses, in dress, &c., we must get them to adopt, but they are to be Melanesian, not English Christians. We are so far removed from them in matters not at all necessarily connected with Christianity, that unless we can denationalise ourselves and eliminate all that belongs to us as English, and not as Christians, we cannot be to them what a well- instructed fellow-countryman may be. He is nearer to them. They understand him. He brings the teaching to them in a practical and intelligible form.
'I hope and pray that dear old George may be the first of such a band of fellow-workers. Others—Henry Tagalana, who is, I suppose, about eighteen, Fisher Pantatun, about twenty-one, Edward Wogale (George's own brother), about sixteen, Robert Pantatun, about eighteen—are excellent, all that I could wish; and many younger ones are coming up. They stay with us voluntarily two or three years now without any going home, and the little ones read and write surprisingly well. They come to me very often and say, " Bishop, I wish to stop here again this winter."
'They come for help of the best kind. They have their little printed private prayers, but some are not content with this. Marosgagalo came last week with a slip of paper—
'"Well, Maros, what is it?"
'He is a shy little fellow who has been crippled with rheumatism.
'"Please write me my prayer."
'And as my room opens into the Chapel, and they are told to use that at all times (their sleeping-rooms not allowing much privacy), I know how they habitually come into it early (at 5 A.M.) and late at night for their private prayers. You cannot go into the Chapel between 5 and 6.30 A.M. without seeing two or three kneeling about in different corners. As for their intelligence, I ought to find time to send you a full account of them, translations of their answers, papers, &c., but you must be content to know that I am sure they can reason well upon facts and statements, that they are (the first class) quite able to understand all the simpler theological teaching which you would expect Communicants and (I pray) future clergymen to understand. Of some six or seven I can thus speak with great confidence, but I think that the little fellows may be better educated still, for they are with us before they have so much lee-way to make up—jolly little fellows, bright and sharp. The whole of the third Banks Island class (eight of them) have been with me for eighteen months, and they have all volunteered to stay for eighteen months more. They ought to know a great deal at the end of that time, then they will go home almost to a certainty only for two or three months, and come back again for another long spell.
'All this is hopeful, and we have much to be thankful for indeed; but I see no immediate prospect of anything like this in the other islands at present. We know very many of the islanders and more or less of their languages; we have scholars who read and write, and stop here with us, and who are learning a good deal individually, but I have as yet no sense of any hold gained upon the people generally. We are good friends, they like us, trust young people with us, but they don't understand our object in coming among them properly. The trade and the excitement of our visit has a good deal to do with their willingness to receive us and to give us children and young men. They behave very well when here, and their people treat us well when we are with them. But as yet I see no religious feeling, no apprehension of the reality of the teaching: they know in one sense, and they answer questions about the meaning of the Creed, &c., but they would soon fall again into heathen ways, and their people show no disposition to abandon heathen ways. In all this there is nothing to surprise or discourage us. It must be slow work, carried on without observation amidst many failures and losses and disappointments. If I wished to attribute to secondary causes any of the results we notice, I might say that our having lived at Mota two or three months each year has had a great deal to do with the difference between the Banks and the other islanders.
'It may be that, could we manage to live in Bauro, or Anudha, or Mahaga, or Whitsuntide, or Lepers' Island, or Espiritu Santo, we might see soon some such change take place as we notice in Mota; but all that is uncertain, and such thoughts are useless. We must indeed live in those other islands as soon as we can, but it is hard to find men able to do so, and only a few of the islands are ripe for the attempt.
'I feel often like a horse going his regular rounds, almost mechanically. Every part of the day is occupied, and I am too tired at night to think freshly. So that I am often like one in a dream, and scarcely realise what I am about. Then comes a time when I wish to write, e.g. (as to you now) about the Mission, and it seems so hard to myself to see my way, and so impossible to make others see what is in my mind about it. Sometimes I think these Banks Islanders may be evangelists beyond the limits of their own islands. So many of the natives of other islands live here with them, and speak the language of Mota, and then they have so much more in common with them than with us, and the climate and food and mode of life generally are familiar to them alike. I think this may come to pass some day; I feel almost sure that I had better work on with promising islanders than attempt to train up English boys, of which I once thought. I am more and more confirmed in my belief that what one wants is a few right-minded, well-educated English clergymen, and then for all the rest trust to native agency.
'When I think of Mr. Robertson and such men, and think how they work on, it encourages me. And so, where do I hear of men who have so many comforts, so great immunity from hardship and danger as we enjoy? This is nothing to the case of a London parish.
'Fanny has sent me out my old engravings, which I like to look at once more, although there is only one really good one among them, and yet I don't like to think of her no longer having them. I have also a nice selection of photographs just sent out, among which the cartoons from Hampton Court are especially good. That grand figure of St. Paul at Athens, which Raphael copied from Masaccio's fresco, always was a favourite of mine.
'I feel at home here, more so than in any place since I left England; but I hope that I may be able to spend longer intervals in the islands than the mere sixteen or eighteen weeks of the voyage, if I have still my health and strength. But I think sometimes that I can't last always; I unconsciously leave off doing things, and wake up to find that I am shirking work.
'Holy Innocents' Day.—I don't think I have sufficiently considered your feelings in suffering the change of name in the Mission School that took place, and I am rather troubled about it. I came back from the last voyage to find that as I had selected a site for the buildings on St. Barnabas Day, which was, by a coincidence, the day I spent here on my outward voyage in 1866, the people had all named the place St. Barnabas. Then came the thought of the meetings on St. Barnabas, and the appropriateness of the Missionary Apostle's name, and I, without thinking enough about it, acquiesced in the change of name. I should have consulted you,—not that you will feel yourself injured, I well know; but for all that, I ought to have done it. It was the more due to you, because you won't claim any right to be consulted. I am really sorry for it, and somewhat troubled in mind. (Footnote: 'He need not have been sorry. I give this to show his kind, scrupulous consideration; but I, like everyone else, could not help feeling that it was more fitting that the germ of a missionary theological college should not bear a name even in allusion to a work of fiction.)
'The occasional notices of Mr. and Mrs. Keble in your letters, and the full account of him and her as their end drew nigh, is very touching. How much, how very much there is that I should like to ask him now! How I could sit at his feet and listen to him! These are great subjects that I have neither time nor brains to deal with, and there is no one here who can give me all the help I want. I think a good deal about Ritualism, more about Union, most about the Eucharistic question; but I need some one with whom to talk out these matters. When I have worked out the mind of Hooker, Bull, Waterland, &c., and read Freeman's "Principles," and Pusey's books, and Mr. Keble's, &c., then I want to think it out with the aid of a really well-read man. It is clearly better not to view such holy subjects in connection with controversy; but then comes the thought—"How is Christendom to be united when this diversity exists on so great a point?" And then one must know what the diversity really amounts to, and then the study becomes a very laborious and intricate enquiry into the ecclesiastical literature of centuries. Curiously enough, I am still waiting for the book I so much want, Mr. Keble's book on "Eucharistic Adoration." I had a copy, of course, but I lent it to some one. I lose a good many books in that way.
'The extraordinary change in the last thirty years will of course mark this time hereafter as one of the most noticeable periods in the history of the Church, indeed one can't fail to see it, which is not always the case with persons living in the time of great events. The bold, outspoken conduct of earnest men, the searching deeply into principles, the comparative rejection of conventionalities, local prejudices, exclusive forms of thought and practice, must strike everyone. But one misses the guiding, restraining hand...the man in the Church corresponding to "the Duke" at one time in the State, the authority.
'One thing I do think, that the being conversant only with thoughtful educated Christians may result in a person ignoring the simpler idea of the Eucharist which does not in the least divest it of its mysterious character, but rather, recognising the mystery, seeks for no solution of it. How can I teach my fifteen Melanesian Communicants the points which I suppose an advanced Ritualist would regard as most essential? But I can give them the actual words of some of the ancient, really ancient, Liturgies, and teach them what Christ said, and St. Paul said, and the Church of England says, and bid them acquiesce in the mystery.
'Yet I would fain know more. I quite long for a talk with Mr. Keble. Predisposed on every account to think that he must be right, I am not sure that I know what he held to be the truth, nor am I quite sure that I would see it without much explanation; but to these holy men so much is revealed that one has no right to expect to know. What he held was in him at all events combined with all that a man may have of humility, and learning, and eagerness for union with God.'
This letter was sent with these:—
'Norfolk Island: December 16, 1867.
'My dear Mr. Atkin,—The "Pacific" arrived on Friday after a quick passage. All our things came safely. She leaves to-morrow for Sydney, and we are in a great hurry. For (1) we have three mails all at once, and I have my full share of letters, public and private; and (2) we have had last week our first fall of rain for some three and a half months, and we are doing our best to plant kumaras, &c., which grow here wonderfully, if only they get anything like a fair chance.
'Joe as usual is foremost at all work; fencing, well-sinking, &c. And he proves the truth of the old saying, that "the head does not suffer by the work of the hand." His knowledge of Scripture truth, of what I may fairly call the beginning of theological studies, gives me great comfort. I am quite sure that in all essentials, in all which by God's blessing tends to qualify a man for teaching faithfully, and with sufficient learning and knowledge of the Word of God, he is above the average of candidates for ordination in England.
'I don't say that he would pass the kind of examination before an English Bishop so well as a great many—they insist a good deal on technical points of historical knowledge, &c.—but in all things really essential—in his clear perception of the unity of the teaching of the Bible; in his knowledge of the Greek Testament, in his reading with me the Articles, Prayer Book, &c., I am convinced that he is well fitted to do his work well and truly. We have had more than one talk on deeper matters still, on inward feelings and thoughts, on prayer and the devotional study of God's Word, and divinity in general. I feel the greatest possible thankfulness and happiness as I think of his ordination, and of what, by the grace of God, he may become to very many both heathens and Christians, if his life be spared.
'Once again, my dear friends, I thank you for giving him to this work. He is the greatest conceivable comfort and help to me. I always feel when he is walking or working with others, that there is one on whose steadiness and strong sense of duty I can always rely. May God bless him with His richest blessings....
'On Sunday next (D.V.) we shall not forget you, as I well know your thoughts and prayers will be with us; and we sing "Before JEHOVAH'S awful Throne" to the Old Hundredth; 2nd, No. 144 of the Hymnal, after third Collect; and before sermon, 3rd, No. 143; after sermon, 4th, No. 19; after Litany, 5th, Veni Creator to All Saints.
The ordination will be in the Norfolk Island Church. —My kind regards to Mrs. Atkin and Mary.
'Always, my dear friend, very truly yours,
'J. C. PATTESON.'
'December 16, 1867.
'My dear Miss Mackenzie,—Your brother's pedometer reached me safely three days ago. I feel most truly unworthy to receive such gifts. I have now his sextant, his pedometer, and, most precious of all, his "Thomas a Kempis"; they ought to help me to think more of him, and his holy example. Your letter commenting on the published life makes me know him pretty well. He was one to love and honour; indeed, the thorough humility and truthfulness, the single-mindedness of the man, the simple sense of duty and unwearied patience, energy, and gentleness—indeed you must love to dwell on the memory of such a brother, and look forward with hope and joy to the reunion.
'We are fast settling ourselves into our headquarters here. Our buildings already sufficient to house eighty or one hundred Melanesians. We are fencing, planting, &c., &c., vigorously, and the soil here repays our labours well. The yam and sweet potatoes grow excellently, and the banana, orange, lemon, and nearly all semi- tropical fruits and vegetables. I think that our commissariat expenditure will soon be very small, and we ought to have an export before long.
'Two things seem to be pretty clear: that there is no lack of capacity in the Melanesian, and no probability of any large supply of English teachers and clergymen, even if it were desirable to work the Mission with foreign rather than native clergymen. My own mind is, and has long been in favour of the native pastorate; but it needs much time to work up to such a result.
'All our party are well in health, save one good fellow, Walter Hotaswol, who is dying of consumption, in faith and hope. "Better," he says, "to die here with a bright heart than to live in my own land with a dark one." It is a solemn Ember week for us.
'I remain, dear Miss Mackenzie, very truly yours,
'J. C. PATTESON.
'I quite agree with you that you cannot educate tropical and semi- tropical people in England; and you don't want to make them English Christians, you know.'
Walter's history is here completed:—
'January 22, 1868.
'My dear Cousin,—I write you a line: I have not time for more in addition to my other epistle, to tell you that I purpose to baptize, on Sunday next, eight Melanesian youths and one girl. You will, I know, thank God for this. Indeed I hope (though I say it with a kind of trembling and wonder) that a succession of scholars is now regularly established from the Banks Islands.
'These nine are being closely followed by some ten or twelve more, younger than they, averaging from seven to eleven years, who all read and write and know the elements of Christian teaching, but you should see them, bright merry little fellows, and the girls too, full of play and fun. Yet so docile, and obedient, and good-tempered. They all volunteer to stay here again this winter, though they have not been at home since they first left it, in July and August 1866. They have a generation of Christians—I mean one of our generations—some two dozen or more, to help them; they have not the brunt of the battle to bear, like dear George and Henry and others; and because, either here or there, they will be living with Christians; I need not, I think, subject them to a probation. Next year (D.V.) they may be baptized, and so the ranks are being filled up.
'I would call the girl Charlotte were she a favourite of mine, but I wait in hopes that a nicer girl (though this one is good and nice too) may be baptized by your and Mrs. Keble's name. You may well believe that my heart and mind are very full of this. May God grant that they may continue His for ever!
'I confirm on the same day fourteen Norfolk Islanders.
'Walter Hotaswol, from Matlavo, the southern part of Saddle Island, died on the evening of the Epiphany: a true Epiphany to him, I trust. He was remarkably gentle and innocent for one born in a heathen land. His confession, very fully made to me before his first Communion, was very touching, simply given, and, thank God, he had been wonderfully kept from the sins of heathenism. With us, his life for years was blameless. He died almost without pain, after many weeks of lingering in consumption, I verily believe in full faith in his Saviour and his God.
'During his last illness, and for a short time before he actually took to his bed, he frequently received the Holy Communion. And very remarkable were his words to me the day after his first Communion. I was sitting by him, when he said, apropos of nothing, "Very good!"
'"What is very good, Walter?"
'"The Lord's Supper."
'"Why do you think so?"
'"I can't talk about it. I feel it here (touching his heart), I don't feel as I did!"
'"But you have long believed in Him."
'"Yes, but I feel different from that; I don't feel afraid for death. My heart is calm (me masur kal, of a calm following a gale)." His look was very earnest as he added: "I do believe that I am going to Him." Presently, "Bishop!"
'"Last night—no, the night before I received the Lord's Supper, I saw a man standing there, a tanum liana (a man of rank, or authority). He said Your breath is bad, I will give you a new breath.'"
'"I thought it meant, I will give you a new life. I thought it must be JESUS."
'He was weak, but not wandering. "Yes, better to die here with a bright heart than to live in my old home with a dark one."
'January 28th.—The nine young Christians were baptized on Sunday evening; a very touching and solemn service it was, very full of comfort. It may be that now, in full swing of work, I am too sanguine, but I try to be sober-minded, thankful, and hopeful. I try, I say—it is not easy.
'God bless you, my dear Cousin, and as I pray for you, so I know you pray for us.
'Your affectionate Cousin,
'J. C. PATTESON.'
A long letter to James Patteson, which was begun a few days later, goes into the man's retrospect of the boy's career:—
'March 3rd.—I think often of your boys. Jack, in two or three years, will be old enough for school, and I suppose it must make you anxious sometimes. I look back on my early days, and see so much, so very much to regret and grieve over, such loss of opportunities, idleness, &c., that I think much of the way to make lessons attractive to boys and girls. I think a good deal may be done simply by the lessons being given by the persons the children love most, and hence (where it can be done) the mother first, and the father too (if he can) are the best people. They know the ways of the child, they can take it at the right times. Of course, at first it is the memory, not the reasoning power, that must be brought into exercise. Young children must learn by heart, learn miles which they can't understand, or understand but very imperfectly. I think I forget this sometimes, and talk to my young Melanesians as I should to older persons. But I feel almost sure that children can follow a simple, lively account of the meaning and reasons of things much more than one is apt to fancy. And I don't know how anything can be really learnt that is not understood. A great secret of success here is an easy and accurate use of illustration—parabolic teaching.
'Every day of my life I groan over the sad loss I daily experience in not having been grounded properly in Latin and Greek. I have gone on with my education in these things more than many persons, but I can never be a good scholar; I don't know what I would not give to have been well taught as a boy. And then at Eton, any little taste one might have had for languages, &c., was never called out.
My fault again, but I can't help thinking that it was partly because the reason of a rule was never explained. Who ever taught in school the difference between an aorist and a perfect, e.g.? And at college I was never taught it, because it was assumed that I knew it. I know that at ten, fifteen, or twenty, I should not in any case have gone into languages as I do now. But I might have learnt a good deal, I think. A thoroughly good preparatory school is, I dare say, very difficult to find. I would make a great point, I think, to send a boy to a good one; not to cram him or make a prig of him, but simply to give him the advantage which will make his whole career in life different from what it will be if his opening days pass by unimproved. Cool of me, Jem, to write all this; but I think of this boy, and my boyish days, and what I might have been, and am not.
'I was always shallow, learned things imperfectly, thought I knew a thing when I knew scarce any part of it, scrawling off common-place verses at Eton, and, unfortunately, getting sent up for them. I had a character which passed at school and at home for that of a fair scholar. Thence came my disgrace at being turned out of the select, my bad examination for the Balliol scholarship, my taking only a second, &c. Nothing was really known! Pretty quick in seizing upon a superficial view of a matter, I had little patience or deter- mination to thoroughly master it. The fault follows me through life. I shall never, I fear, be really accurate and able to think out a matter fully. The same fault I see in my inner life. But it is not right to talk perhaps too much of that, only I know that I get credit for much that I don't do, and for qualities which I don't possess. This is simple truth, not false humility. Some gifts I have, which, I thank God, I have been now taught to employ with more or less of poverty in the service.'
The vessel that took away the above despatches brought the tidings of New Zealand's beloved Primate being appointed to the See of Lichfield. It was another great wrench to the affectionate heart, as will be seen in this filial reply to the intelligence:—
'2nd Sunday in Lent, 10 P.M.
'My dear, dear Bishop,—I don't think I ever quite felt till now what you have been to me for many a long year. Indeed, I do thank God that I have been taught to know and dearly love you; and much I reproach myself (not now for the first time) that I have been wilful, and pained you much sometimes by choosing for myself when I ought to have followed your choice. I could say much, but I can't say it now, and you don't desire it. You know what I think and feel. Your letter of the 3rd reached me last night. I don't yet realise what it is to me, but I think much more still of those dear people at Taurarua. It is perfectly clear to my mind that you could not have acted otherwise. I don't grudge you to the Mother Church one atom!
'I write at this time because I think you may possibly be soon beginning your first Ordination Service in your Cathedral. It was almost my first thought when I began to think quietly after our 8 P.M. prayers. And I pray for those whom you may be leading to their work, as so often you have laid your hands on me. I understand Bishop Andrewes' [Greek text] now.
'What it must have been to you and still is!...
'This move to Norfolk Island does make a great difference, no doubt. And full well I know that your prayers will be around us; and that you will do all that mortal man can do for us and for the islands. Indeed, you must not trouble yourself about me too much. I shall often need you, often sadly miss you, a just return for having undervalued the blessing of your presence. But I do feel that it is right. I humbly pray and trust that God's blessing may be on us all, and that a portion of your spirit may be with us.
'More than ever affectionately yours,
'J. C. PATTESON.'
The tidings had come simultaneously with the history of the Consecration of All Saints, Babbicombe, for indeed the Bishop and Mrs. Selwyn were staying with Joanna and Fanny Patteson for the Octave Services when the first offer arrived. So that the two mails whose contents were transported together to Norfolk Island contained matter almost overwhelming for the brother and friend, and he had only one day in which to write his answers. To the sisters the assurance is, 'Only be quite comforted about me!' and then again, 'No, I don't grudge him one bit. There is no room for small personal considerations when these great issues are at stake.'
'I don't think I quite know yet what it is to me. I can't look at his photograph with quite dry eyes yet. But I don't feel at all sad or unhappy. You know the separation, if God, in His mercy, spare me at last, can't be long; and his prayers are always around us, and he is with us in spirit continually, and then it will be such joy and delight to me to watch his work.
'I think with such thankfulness of the last Holy Week; the last Easter Sunday spent wholly with him. I think too, and that sadly enough, of having pained him sometimes by being self-willed, and doing just what he has not done, viz., chosen for myself when I ought to have followed him.
'Do you remember when, on the morning of Mamma's death, we came into the study where Uncle and Aunt Frank were, and our dear Father in his great faith and resignation said, with broken voice, "I thank God, who spared her to me so long"? Surely I may with far greater ease say, "I thank God for the blessing for now thirteen, years of his example and loving care of me." Had he been taken away by death we must have borne it, and we can bear this now by His grace.'
The thought engrossed him most completely. It is plain in all his letters that it was quite an effort to turn his mind to anything but the approaching change. His Primate had truly been a 'Father in God' to him. His affections had wound themselves about him and Mrs. Selwyn, and the society that they formed together with Sir William and Lady Martin had become the next thing to his home and family. Above all, the loneliness of sole responsibility was not complete while the Primate was near to be consulted. There had been an almost visible loss of youth and playfulness ever since the voyages had been made without the leader often literally at the helm; and though Bishop Patteson had followed his own judgment in two decided points— the removal to Norfolk Island, and the use of Mota language instead of English, and did not repent having done so, yet still the being left with none to whom to look up as an authority was a heavy trial and strain on mind and body, and brought on another stage in that premature age that the climate and constant toil were bringing upon him when most men are still in the fulness of their strength.
The next letter spoke the trouble that was to mark the early part of the year 1868 as one of sickness and sorrow.
'Our two Ambrym boys are coming out; and I am hopeful as to some more decided connection with the north face of the Island. Mahaga lads very promising, but at present Banks Islanders much ahead of the rest. Indeed, of some of them, I may say that while they have no knowledge of many things that an English lad ought to know, yet they have a very fair share of intelligence concentrated on the most important subject, and know a good deal about it. They think.'
Then follows a working out of one of the difficult questions that always beset missionaries respecting the heathen notions—or no notions—about wedlock. Speaking of the persons concerned, the journal continues:—
'They were not able to understand—and how can a man and woman, or rather a girl and boy, understand—what we understand by marriage. They always saw men and women exchanging husbands and wives when they pleased, and grew up in the midst of such ideas and practices, so that there never was a regular contract, nor a regularly well- conceived and clearly-understood notion of living together till "death us do part" in their minds. You will say, "And yet they were baptized." Yes, but I did not know so much about heathen ways then, and, besides, read St. Paul to the Corinthians, and see how the idea of sanctity of marriage, and of chastity in general is about the last idea that the heathen mind comprehends. Long after the heathen know that to break the sixth, eighth, even the ninth and tenth Commandments is wrong, and can understand and practically recognise it to be so, the seventh is a puzzle to them. At the best they only believe it because we say that it is a Commandment of God. Look at the Canons of the early Church on the question; look how Luther sanctioned the polygamy, the double marriage, of the Landgrave of Hesse! So that although now, thank God, our scholars understand more of what is meant by living with a woman, and the relation of husband and wife is not altogether strange to them, yet it was not so at first, and is not likely to be so with any but our well-trained scholars for a long time.'
'Norfolk Island: March 26, 1868. 'My dearest Sisters,—How you are thinking of me this anniversary? Thirteen years since I saw your dear faces and his face. Oh! how thankful I am that it is so long ago. It was very hard to bear for a long long time. Last night as I lay awake I thought of that last Sunday, the words I said in church (how absurdly consequential they seem to me now), the walk home, calling to see C. L., parting with the Vicar and M., the last evening—hearts too full to say what was in them, the sitting up at night and writing notes. And then black Monday! Well, I look back now and see that it was very hard at first, and I don't deny that I found the mere bodily roughnesses very trying at first, but that has long past. My present mode of life is agreeable to me altogether now. Servants and company would be a very great bore indeed. So even in smaller ways, you see, I have all that I can desire. I always try to remember that I may miss these things, and specially miss you if it should please God to send any heavy sickness upon me. I dare say I should be very impatient, and need kind soothing nurses. But I must hope for the best.
'Just now we have some anxiety. There has been and is a bad typhoid fever among the Pitcairners: want of cleanliness, no sewerage, or very bad draining, crowded rooms, no ventilation, the large drain choked up, a dry season, so that the swampy ground near the settlement has been dry, these are secondary causes. For two months it has been going on. I never anticipated such a disease here.
'But the fever is bad. Last night two died, both young women of about twenty. Two, one a married man of thirty, with five children, the other a girl of twelve, had died before. I have been backwards and forwards, but no one else of the party. The poor people like to see me. For three weeks I have felt some anxiety about four or five of our lads, and they have been with me in my room. I don't like the symptoms of one or two of them. But it is not yet a clear case of the fever.'
'Easter Eve.—Dear Sisters, once more I write out of a sick hospital. This typhoid fever, strongly marked, as described in Dr. Watson's books, Graye's edition of Hooper's "Vade Mecum," and, as a very solemn lesson of Lent and Holy Week, seven Pitcairners have died. For many weeks the disease did not touch us; we established a regular quarantine, and used all precautions. We had, I think, none of the predisposing causes of fever at our place. It is high, well-drained, clean, no dirt near, excellent water, and an abundant supply of it; but I suppose the whole air is impregnated with it. Anyhow, the fever is here.
'April 23rd.—My house consists, you know, of Chapel, my rooms, and hospital. This is the abode of the sick and suspected. The hospital is a large, lofty, well-ventilated room; a partition, 6 feet high, only divides it into two; on one side are the sick, on the other side sleep those who are sickening.
'As yet twenty have been in my quarters. Of these seven are now in Codrington's house, half-way between hospital and ordinary school life. They are convalescents, real convalescents. You know how much so-called convalescents need care in recovering from fever, but these seven have had the fever very slightly indeed, thank God; the type of the disease is much less severe than it was at first. One lad of about sixteen, Hofe from Ysabel Island, died last Friday morning. The fever came on him with power from the first. He was very delirious for some days, restless, sleepless, then comatose. The symptoms are so very clearly marked, and my books are so clear in detail of treatment, that we don't feel much difficulty now about the treatment, and the nursery and hospital work we are pretty well used to.
'Barasu, from Ysabel Island, who was near dying on Thursday week, a fortnight ago to-day, has hovered between life and death. I baptized him at 9 P.M. on Holy Thursday (the anniversary of Mr. Keble's death). John Keble: rather presumptuous to give such a name, but I thought he would not have been named here by it for many hours. He is now sitting by the hospital fire. I have just fed him with some rice and milk; and he is well enough to ask for a bit of sweet potato, which he cannot yet hold, nor guide his hand to his mouth. He has had the regular fever, and is now, thank God, becoming convalescent. No other patient is at present in a dangerous state; all have the fever signs more or less doubtful. No one is at present in a precarious state. It has been very severe in the town, and there are many cases yet. Partly it is owing to the utter ignorance or neglect of the most ordinary rules of caution and nursing. Children and men and women all lie on the ground together in the fever or out of it. The contagion fastens upon one after another. In Isaac Christian's house, the mother and five children were all at one time in a dangerous state, wandering, delirious, comatose. Yet the mortality has been small. Only seven have died; some few are still very ill, yet the character of the fever is less severe now. We had some sharp hospital work for a few days and nights, all the accompaniments of the decay of our frail bodies. Now we have a respite. Codrington, Palmer, and I take the nursing; better that the younger ones, always more liable to take fever, should be kept out of contagion; to no one but I have gone among the sick in town, or to town at all. We are all quite well.
'Beef tea, chicken broth, mutton broth, wine, brandy, milk to any extent, rice, &c.—Palmer manufactures all. The Pitcairners, most improvident people, are short of all necessary stores. I give what I can, but I must be stingy, as I tell them, for I never anticipated an attack of typhus here. They will, I trust, learn a lesson from it, and not provoke a recurrence of it by going on in their old ways.
'I don't deny that at times I have been a good deal depressed: about Holy Week and Easter Week was the worst time. Things are much brighter now; though I fully expect that several others, perhaps many others, will yet have the attack, but I trust and fancy it may be only in a modified form. We have regular Chapel and school, but the school is a mild affair now; I who am only in bed from 12.30 or 1 to 5, and in the hospital all day, cannot be very bright in school. I just open a little bit of my red baize door into Chapel, so that the sick in my room join in the service. Nice, is it not?
'This will greatly unsettle plans for the voyage. The "Southern Cross" is expected here about May 10; but I can't leave any sick that may want my care then, and I can't take back to the islands any that are only just convalescent, or indeed any of the apparently healthy who may yet have the seeds of the fever in them. It would be fearful if it broke out on the islands. I must run no risk of that; so I think that very likely I may keep the whole party here another year, and make myself a short visitation. I suppose that the Bishop will come to New Zealand, and I must try to meet him; I should like to see his face once more; but if he doesn't come, or if I can't (by reason of this sickness) go to meet him—well, I shall be spared the parting if I don't have the joy of the meeting, and these things are not now what they once were.
'April 28th.—Barasu (John Keble) died this morning as I read the Commendatory Prayer by his side. He had a relapse some five days ago, how we cannot say, he was always watched day and night. I had much comfort in him, he was a dear lad, and our most hopeful Ysabel scholar. His peaceful death, for it was very peaceful at the last, may work more than his life would have done; some twenty others convalescent, or ailing, or sick. At this moment another comes to say that he feels out of sorts; you know that sensation, and how one's heart seems to stop for a minute, and then one tries to look and speak cheerfully.
'April 29th.—I read the Service over another child to-day, son of James and Priscilla Quintall, the second child they have lost within a few days, and Priscilla herself is lying ill of the fever. Poor people, I did what little I could to comfort them; the poor fellow is laid up too with a bad foot; a great many others are very ill, some young ones especially.
'May 5th.—Jemima Young sent for me yesterday morning. I was with her the day before, and she was very ill. I reached the room at 11.45, and she died at noon. [Jemima Young had been particularly bright, pleasant, and helpful when Mrs. Selwyn was on the island].
'May 7th.—The sick ones doing pretty well. You must not think it is all gloom, far from it, there is much to cheer and comfort us. The hearty co-operation of these excellent fellow-workers is such a support, and is brought out at such times.
'We are going on with divers works, but not very vigorously just now. We are sawing the timber for our large hall: the building still to be put up, and then our arrangements will be complete for the present.
'Then our fencing goes on. We have one large field of some ninety or one hundred acres enclosed, the sea and a stream bounding two sides, and two other fields of about forty and twenty acres. I have good cart mares and one cart horse, a riding mare which I bought of Mr. Pritt, and Atkin has one also, eleven cows, and as many calves, poultry (sadly destroyed by wild cats) and pigs, and two breeding sows, and a flock of fifty well-bred sheep imported. These cost me 4. 10s. a head; I hope they are the progenitors of a fine flock. The ram cost 12. We have plenty of work, and must go on fencing and subdividing our fields. Most of the land is wooded; but a considerable quantity can easily be cleared. Indeed 200 or 300 acres are clear now of all but some smaller stuff that can easily be removed. A thick couch-grass covers all. It is not so nutritious as the ordinary English grasses; but cattle, sheep, and horses like it, only a larger quantity is needed by each animal. It gives trouble when one wants to break it up, it is such a network of roots; but once out of the ground and the soil clear, and it will grow anything. Our crops of sweet potatoes are excellent. The ordinary potato does very well too; and maize, vegetables of all sorts, many fruit trees, all the semi-tropical things, capitally; guavas by the thousand, and very soon I hope oranges; lemons now by thousands, melons almost a weed, bananas abundant; by-and-by coffee, sugar-cane, pineapples (these last but small), arrowroot of excellent quality. Violets from my bed, and mignonette from Palmer's, scent my room at this minute. The gardeners, Codrington, Palmer, and Atkin, are so kind in making me tidy, devising little arrangements for my little plot of ground, and my comfort and pleasure generally. Well, that is a nice little chat with you. Now it is past 8 P.M., and the mutton broth for Clement and Mary is come. I must feed my chicks. Excellent patients they are, as good as can be. They don't make the fuss that I did in my low fever when I was so savage with your doves that would go on cooing at my window, don't you remember?
'My dear Bishop will be touched by the confidence in him shown by his late Diocesan Synod in entrusting to him the nomination of his successor. It was clearly the right thing to do. As for me, no one who knows anything about it or me would dream of removing me from Melanesia, as long as I have health and strength, and still less of putting me into another diocese. When I break down, or give up, it will not be to hold any other office, as I think.
'May 8th.—All going on pretty well, thank God. Mary is weak, but I think better; did not wander last night. Clement, with strong typhoid symptoms, yet, at all events, not worse. But he is a very powerful, thickset fellow, not a good subject for fever. I feel that I am beginning to recover my interest in things in general, books, &c. For two months I was entirely occupied with hospital work, and with visiting daily the sick Pitcairners, and I was weary and somewhat worn out. Now I am better in mind and body; some spring in me again. This may be to fit me for more trials in store; but I think that the sunshine has come again.'
There were, however, two more deaths—the twins of Mwerlau. Clement died on the 24th of May; the other brother, Richard, followed him a fortnight later. They were about seventeen, strong and thick-set; Clement had made considerable progress during his two years of training, and had been a Communicant since Christmas. Before passing to the other topics with which, as the Bishop said, he could again be occupied, here is Mr. Codrington's account of this period of trouble:—
'A great break in the first year was caused by the visitation of typhus fever in the earlier part of 1868. This disease, brought as I always believed by infection from a vessel that touched here, first attacked a Norfolk Islander who did not live in the town. He was ill in the middle of February, others of the Pitcairn people soon after. The Bishop began at once to visit the sick very diligently, and continued to visit them throughout, though after a time our own hospital was full. Our first case was on the llth of March, and our last convalescents did not go out until near the end of June. For some time there was hard work to be done with nursing the sick. The Bishop had the anxiety and the charge of medically treating the sick. Mr. Nobbs, as always, was most kind in giving the benefit of his experience, but he was too fully occupied with the care of his own flock to be able to help us much. It was agreed, as soon as we saw the disease was among us, that the three elder members of the Mission should alone come into communication with the sick. We kept watch in turns, but the Bishop insisted on taking a double share, i.e., he allowed us only to take regular watches in the night, undertaking the whole of the day's work, except during the afternoon when he was away with the Pitcairn people. He seemed quite at home in the hospital, almost always cheerful, always very tender, and generally very decided as to what was to be done. He was fond of doctoring, read a good deal of medical books, and knew a good deal of medical practice; but the weight of such a responsibility as belonged to the charge of many patients in a fever of this kind was certainly heavy upon him. The daily visit to the Pitcairn people on foot or on horseback was no doubt a relief, though hard work in itself. Of the four lads we lost, two, twins, had been some time christened, one was baptized before his death, the first who died had not been long with the Mission. It is characteristic of Bishop Patteson that I never heard him say a word that I remember of religion to one of the sick. On such things he would not, unless he was obliged, speak except with the patient alone.