'Mr. Thurston, late Acting Consul at Fiji, was with me the day before yesterday. He has taken a very proper view of this labour question; and he assures me that the great majority of the Fiji planters are very anxious that there should be no kidnapping, no unfair treatment of the islanders. I have engaged to go to Fiji (D.V.) at the end of my island work, i.e., on my return to Norfolk Island, probably about the end of September. I shall go there in the "Southern Cross," send her on to her summer quarters in New Zealand, and get from Fiji to New Zealand, after six or eight weeks in Fiji, in some vessel or other. There are about 4,000 or 5,000 white people in Fiji, mostly Church of England people, but (as I suppose) not very clearly understanding what is really meant by that designation. It is assumed that I am to act as their Bishop; and I ought to have been there before. But really a competent man might work these islands into a Bishopric before long.
'We must try to follow these islanders into Fiji or Queensland. But how to do it? On a plantation of, say, one hundred labourers, you may find natives of eight or ten islands. How can we supply teachers at the rate of one for every fifteen or twenty people? And there are some 6,000 or 7,000 islanders already on the Fiji plantations, and I suppose as many in Queensland.
'Some one knowing several languages, and continually itinerating from one plantation to another, might do something; but I don't think a native clergyman could do that. He must move about among white people continually in the boats, &c. I ought to do it; but I think my day has gone by for that kind of thing.
'I hope to judge of all this by-and-by. It might end in my dividing my year into Melanesian work as of old, and Melanesian work in Fiji, combined with the attempt to organise the white Church of England community, and only a month or two's work in Norfolk Island. To do this I must be in pretty good health. I may soon find out the limit of my powers of work, and then confine myself to whatever I find I can do with some degree of usefulness. We ought to make no attempt to proselytise among the Fiji natives, who have been evangelised by the Wesleyans. But there is work among our Western Pacific imported islanders and the white people.
'Norfolk Island could be quite well managed without me. Mr. Codrington could take that entirely into his own hands. I might spend a month or two there, and confirm Melanesians and Norfolk Islanders, and quietly fall into a less responsible position and be a moveable clergyman in Fiji or anywhere else, as long as my strength lasts.
'Norfolk Island certainly was rather my resting-place. But I think I am becoming more and more indifferent to that kind of thing. A tropical climate suits me, and Fiji is healthy—no ague. Dysentery is the chief trouble there. These are notions, flying thoughts, most likely never to be fully realised. Indeed, who can say what may befall me?'
Never to be fully realised! No. He, who in broken health so freely and simply sacrificed in will his cherished nook of rest on earth for a life so trying and distasteful, was very near the 'Rest that remaineth for the people of God.'
On June 26, the first public baptism in Mota took place, of one man, the Bishop and Sarawia in surplices in front of their verandah, the people standing round; but unfortunately it was a very wet day, and the rush of rain drowned the voices, as the Bishop made his convert Wilgan renounce individually and by name individual evil fashions of heathenism, just as St. Boniface made the Germans forsake Thor and Odin by name. There were twenty-five more nearly ready, and a coral-lime building was finished, 'like a cob wall, only white plaster instead of red mud,' says the Devonshire man. It was the first Church of Mota, again reminding us of the many 'white churches' of our ancestors; and on the 25th of June at 7 A.M., the first Holy Eucharist was celebrated there. It is also the place of private prayer for the Christians and Catechumens of Kohimarama.
The weather was exceedingly bad, drenching rain continually, yet the Bishop continued unusually well. His heart might well be cheered, when, on that Sunday evening in the dark, he was thus accosted:—
'I have for days been watching for a chance of speaking to you alone! Always so many people about you. My heart is so full, so hot every word goes into it, deep deep. The old life seems a dream. Everything seems to be new. When a month ago I followed you out of the Said Goro, you said that if I wanted to know the meaning and power of this teaching, I must pray! And I tried to pray, and it becomes easier as every day I pray as I go about, and in the morning and evening; and I don't know how to pray as I ought, but my heart is light, and I know it's all true, and my mind is made up, and I have been wanting to tell you, and so is Sogoivnowut, and we four talk together, and all want to be baptized.'
This man had spent one season at St. John's, seven years before; but on his return home had gone back to the ordinary island life, until at last the good seed was beginning to take root.
The next Sunday, the 2nd of July, ninety-seven children were baptized, at four villages, chosen as centres to which the adjacent ones could bring their children. It was again a wet day, but the rain held up at the first two places. The people stood or sat in a great half-circle, from which the eldest children, four or five years old, walked out in a most orderly manner, the lesser ones were carried up by their parents, and out of the whole ninety-seven only four cried! The people all behaved admirably, and made not a sound. At the last two places there was a deluge of rain; but as sickness prevailed in them, it was not thought well to defer the Baptism.
'It was a day full of thankful and anxious feelings. I was too tired, and too much concerned with details of arrangements, new names, &c., to feel the more contemplative devotional part of the whole day's services till the evening. Then, for I could not sleep for some hours, it came on me; and I thought of the old times too, the dear Bishop's early visits, my own fourteen years' acquaintance with this place, the care taken by many friends, past and present members of the Mission. The Sunday Collects as we call them, St. Michael's, All Saints', Saint Simon and St. Jude's calmed me, and my Sunday prayer, (that beautiful prayer in the Ordination of Priests, 'Almighty God and Heavenly Father,' slightly altered) was very full of meaning. So, thank God, one great step has been taken, a great responsibility indeed, but I trust not rashly undertaken.'
On July 4 the 'Southern Cross' returned, and the cruise among the New Hebrides was commenced. Mr. Bice was left to make a fortnight's visit at Leper's Island; and the Bishop, going on to Mai, found only three men on the beach, where there used to be hundreds, and was advised not to go to Tariko, as there had been fighting.
At Ambrym there was a schooner with Mr. Thurston on board, and fifty- five natives for Fiji. On the north coast was the 'Isabella,' with twenty-five for Queensland. The master gave Captain Jacob his credentials to show to the Bishop, and said the Bishop might come on board and talk to the people, so as to be convinced they came willingly, but weighed anchor immediately after, and gave no opportunity; and one man who stood on the rail calling out 'Pishopa, Pishopa,' was dragged back.
Mr. Bice was picked up again on the 17th, having been unmolested during his visit; but two of the 'Lepers,' who had been at Espiritu Santo, had brought back a fearful story that a small two-masted vessel had there been mastered by the natives, and the crew killed and eaten in revenge for the slaughter of some men of their own by another ship's company some time back.
On the voyage he wrote to the Bishop of Lichfield:—
'Off Tariko. Sloop: July 8, 1871.
'My dear Bishop,—Towards the end of April I left Norfolk Island, and after a six days' passage reached Mota. I called at Ambrym (dropping three boys) at three places; at Whitsuntide; at Leper's Island, dropping seven boys; Aurora, two places; Santa Maria, where I left B——, and so to Mota on the day before Ascension Day, and sent the vessel back at once to Norfolk Island for the Solomon Island scholars. All our Aroa and Matlavo party wished to spend Ascension Day with us; and after Holy Communion they went across with Commodore William Pasvorang in a good whale boat, which I brought down on the deck of the schooner, and which Willy looks after at Aroa. We want it for keeping up a visitation of the group.
'Bice, ordained Priest last Christmas, was with me. We found George and all well, George very steady and much respected. Charles Woleg, Benjamin Vassil and James Neropa, all going on well. The wives have done less than I hoped; true, they all had children to look after, yet they might have done more with the women. [Then as before about the movement.]
'After a week I went off in the boat, leaving Bice at Kohimarama, the Mota station. I went to B—— first at the north-east part of the island; back to Tarasagi (north-east point); sailed round to Lakona, our old Cock Sparrow Point, where B—— and I selected one or two boys to stay with him at Tarasagi. Thence we sailed to Avreas Bay, the great bay of Vanua Lava, B—— going back to Tarasagi by land. Heavy sea and rain; reached land in the dark 8 P.M., thankful to be safe on shore.
'On to Aroa, where I spent two days; Willie and Edwin doing what they can. Twenty children at school; but the island is almost depopulated, some seven hundred gone to Brisbane and Fiji. I did not go to Uvaparapara; the weather was bad, I was not well, and I expected the "Southern Cross" from Norfolk Island. Next day, after just a week's trip in the boat, I got to Mota; and the next day the "Southern Cross" arrived with Joe Atkin and Brooke and some twenty- four Solomon Islanders, many of them pressing to stay at Norfolk Island, where about eighty scholars in all are under the charge of Codrington, Palmer, and Jackson.
'I sent Bice on in the "Southern Cross," as he ought to see something of his brethren's work in the north and west. I had just a month at Mota, very interesting.
'I hope to spend three weeks more at Mota, if this New Hebrides trip is safely accomplished, and to baptize the rest of the children, and probably some ten or fifteen adults. All seem thoroughly in earnest. Some of the first scholars, who for years have seemed indifferent, are now among my class of thirty-three adults. It would be too long a story to tell you of their frequent private conversations, their stories, their private prayers, their expressions of earnest thankfulness that they are being led into the light.
'Some of the women, wives of the men, are hopeful. George's old mother said to me, "My boys are gone; George, Woleg, Wogale—Lehna died a Christian; Wowetaraka (the first-born) is going. I must follow. I listen to it all, and believe it all. When you think fit, I must join you," i.e. be baptized.
'It is very comforting that all the old party from the beginning are directly (of course indirectly also) connected with this movement. Some of those most in earnest now came under the influence of the early workers, Dudley, Mr. Pritt, &c.
'We need this comfort.
'From Mota some thirty or more have gone or been taken away, but the other islands are almost depopulated. Mr. Thurston, late Acting Consul in Fiji, was at Mota the other day seeking labourers. He says that about 3,000 natives from Tanna and Uvaparapara are now in Fiji, and Queensland has almost as many.
'He admits that much kidnapping goes on. He, with all his advantages of personal acquaintance with the people and with native interpreters on board, could only get about thirty. Another, Captain Weston, a respectable man who would not kidnap, cruised for some weeks, and left for Fiji without a single native on board. How then do others obtain seventy or one hundred more?
'But the majority of the Fiji settlers, I am assured, do not like these kidnapping practices, and would prefer some honest way of obtaining men. Indeed, many natives go voluntarily.
'In the Solomon Isles a steamer has been at Savo and other places, trying to get men.
'Three or four of these vessels called at Mota while I was there. On one day three were in sight. They told me they were shot at at Whitsuntide, Sta. Maria, Vanua Lava, &c. And, indeed, I am obliged to be very careful, more so than at any time; and here, in the North Hebrides, I never know what may happen, though of course in many places they know me.
'We are now at our maximum point of dispersion: Brooke at Anudha, J. Atkin at or near San Cristoval, Gr. Sarawia at Mota, B—— at Santa Maria, Bice at Leper's Island, Codrington at Norfolk Island, I on board "Southern Cross."
'Leper's Island is very pleasant; I longed to stay there. All the people wanting to come with us, and already discriminating between us and the other white visitors, who seem to have had little or no success there.
'July 21st.—At anchor, Lakona, west side of Santa Maria. Pleasant to be quietly at anchor on our old "shooting ground." We anchored for a day and a night at Ambrym, near the east point, very safe and comfortable place. Nine lads from five villages are on board. I bought about three and a half tons of yams there. Anchored again at the end of Whitsuntide, where I am thankful to say we have at last received two lads, one a very pleasant-looking fellow. That sad year of the dysentery, 1862, when Tanau died and Tarivai was so ill, two out of only three scholars from the island, made them always unwilling to give up lads.
'Next day at Leper's Island. Anchored a night off Wehurigi, the east end of the high land, the centre part of the island.
'Bice was quite feted by the people. We brought away three old and twelve new scholars, refusing the unpromising old scholars. There is, I hope, a sufficient opening now at Ambrym and Leper's Island to justify my assigning these islands to Jackson and Bice respectively.
'Our plan now is to take very few people indeed from the Banks Islands to Norfolk Island, as they have a permanent school and resident clergyman at Mota. The lads who may turn out clever and competent teachers are taken to Norfolk Island, none others.
'We must take our large parties from islands where there is as yet no permanent teacher: Ambrym, Leper's Island, the Solomon Islands.
'Meanwhile the traders are infesting these islands, as Captain Jacobs says, "like mosquitoes." Three vessels anchored at Mai during the day I was there. Three different vessels were at Ambrym. To-day I saw four, three anchored together near the north-east side of Santa Maria. B—— saw six yesterday.
'The people now refuse to go in them, they are much exasperated at their people being kept away so long. Sad scenes are occurring. Several white men have been killed, boats' crews cut off, vessels wrecked,
'We shall hear more of such doings; and really I can't blame the islanders. They are perfectly friendly to friends; though there is much suspicion shown even towards us, where we are not well known.
'As far as I can speak of my own plans, I hope to stay at Mota for a time, till the "Southern Cross" returns from Norfolk Island; then go to the Solomon Islands; return by way of Santa Cruz and probably Tikopia, to Mota; thence to Norfolk Island; thence probably to New Zealand, to take the steamer for Fiji. We have no chart on board of Fiji; and I don't think it right to run the risk of getting somehow to Levuka with only the general chart of the South Pacific, so I must go, as I think, to New Zealand, and either take the steamer or procure charts, and perhaps take Mr. Tilly as pilot. I don't like it; it will be very cold; but then I shall (D.V.) see our dear Taurarua friends, the good Bishop and others, and get advice about my Fiji movements. The Church of England folk there regard me as their Bishop, I understand; and the Bishops of Sydney and Melbourne assume this to be the fitting course. A really able energetic man might do much there, and, in five years, would be Bishop of Levuka.
'This is all of Melanesia and myself; but you will like to have this scrawl read to you.
'How I think of you as I cruise about the old familiar places, and think that you would like to have another trip, and see the old scenes with here and there, thank God, some little changes for the better. Best love, my dear dear Bishop, to Mrs. Selwyn, William and John.
'Your very affectionate
'J. C. PATTESON.'
About forty, old scholars and new, had been collected and brought back to Mota; where, after landing the Bishop, Captain Jacobs sailed back to Norfolk Island, carrying with him the last letters that were to be received and read as from a living man. All that follow only came in after the telegram which announced that the hand that had written them was resting beneath the Pacific waters. But this was not until it had been granted to him to gather in his harvest in Mota, as will be seen:—
'Mota: July 31, 1871.
'My dearest Sisters,—You will be glad to know that on my return hither after three weeks' absence, I found no diminution of strong earnest feeling among the people. George Sarawia had, indeed, been unable to do very much in the way of teaching 60 or 90 men and women, but he had done his best, and the 100 younger people were going on with their schooling regularly. I at once told the people that those who wished to be baptized must let me know; and out of some 30 or 40 who are all, I think, in earnest, 15, and some few women are to be baptized next Sunday. These will be the first grown-up people, save John Wilgan, baptized in Mota, except a few when in an almost dying state. They think and speak much of the fact that so many of their children have been baptized, they wish to belong to the same set. But I believe them all to be fairly well instructed in the great elementary truths. They can't read; all the teaching is oral, no objection in my eyes. It may be dangerous to admit it, but I am convinced that all that we can do is to elevate some few of the most intelligent islanders well, so that they can teach others, and be content with careful oral teaching for the rest. How few persons even among ourselves know how to use a book! And these poor fellows, for I can only except a percentage of our scholars, have not so completely mastered the mechanical difficulty of reading as to leave their minds free for examination of the meaning and sense of what they read. I don't undervalue a good education, as you know. But I feel that but few of these islanders can ever be book-learned; and I would sooner see them content to be taught plain truths by qualified persons than puzzling themselves to no purpose by the doubtful use of their little learning. You know that I don't want to act the Romish Priest amongst them. I don't want to domineer at all. And I do teach reading and writing to all who come into our regular school, and I make them read passages to verify my teaching. At the same time, I feel that the Protestant complaint of "shutting up the Bible from the laity," is the complaint of educated persons, able to read, think, and reflect.
'The main difficulty is, of course, to secure a supply of really competent teachers. George, Edward, Henry, Robert, and some three or four others are trustworthy. I comfort myself by thinking that a great many of the mediaeval Clergy certainly did not know as much nor teach as well.
'Yesterday I baptized 41 more children and infants on again an unpropitious day. I was obliged to leave 42 to be baptized at some future time. The rain poured down. The people will bring them over to-morrow. The whole number of infants and children will amount to 230 or more, of adults to perhaps 25 or 30. You will pray earnestly for them that they may lead the rest of their lives "according to this beginning."
'There is much talk, something more than talk, I think, about putting up a large church-house here, on this side of the island (north-west side) and of a school-house, for church also, on the south-east side.
'We have all heavy coughs and colds; and I have had two or three very disturbed nights, owing to the illness of one of the many babies. The little thing howls all night.
'All our means of housing people are exhausted. People flock here for the sake of being taught. Four new houses have been built, three are being built. We shall have a large Christian village here soon, I hope and trust. At present every place is crammed, and 25 or 30 sleep on the verandah. The little cooking house holds somehow or other about 24 boys; they pack close, not being burdened with clothes and four-posters. I sleep on a table, people under and around it. I am very well, barring this heavy cold and almost total loss of voice for a few hours in the morning and evening.
'August 1st.—Very tired 7 A.M., Prayers 7.20-8.20, school 8.20-10; baptized 55 infants and young children. Now it is past 1; a boisterous day, though as yet no rain. I had a cup of cocoa at 6.30, and at 10.30 a plate of rice and a couple of eggs, nice clean fare. The weather is against me, so cold, wet, and so boisterous. I got a good night though, for I sent Mrs. Rhoda and her squalling baby to another house, and so slept quietly.
'I am sorry that teaching is so irksome to me. I am, in a sense, at it all day. But there is so much to be done, and the people, worthy souls, have no idea that one can ever be tired. After I was laid down on my table, with my air-pillow under my head and my plaid over me, I woke up from a doze to find the worthy Tanoagnene sitting with his face towards me, waiting for a talk about the rather comprehensive subject of Baptism.
'And at all odd times I ought to be teaching George and others how to teach, the hardest work of all. I think what a life a real pedagogue must have of it. There is so much variety with me, so much change and holiday, and so much that has its special interest.
'The "Southern Cross" has been gone a week. I hope they have not this kind of weather. If they have, they are getting a good knocking about, and they number about 55 on board.
'August 6th.—To-day there is no rain, for the first time for weeks. It blew a heavy gale all night, and had done so with heavy rain for some days before.
'At 8 A.M. to-day I baptized 14 grown men, one an old bald man, and another with a son of sixteen or so, five women and six lads, taught entirely in George's school. Afterwards, at a different service, 7 infants and little children were baptized. 238 + 5 who have died have now been baptized since the beginning of July. To-day's service was very comforting. I pray and trust that these grown-up men and women may be kept steadfast to their profession. It is a great blessing that I could think it right to take this step. You will, I know, pray for them; their position is necessarily a difficult one.
'It is 2 P.M., and I feel tired: the crowds are gone, though little fellows are as usual sitting all round one. I tell them I can't talk; I must sit quietly, with Charlotte Yonge's "Pupils of St. John the Divine." Dear me, what advantage young folks have nowadays, though indeed the dangers of these times far outweigh those of our young days.
'I suppose Lightfoot's "Commentaries" hardly come in your way. They are critical and learned on the Greek of St. Paul's Epistles. But there are dissertations which may be read by the English reader. He seems to me to be a very valuable man, well fitted by his learning, and moderation, and impartiality, and uncontroversial temper to do much good. His sympathies with the modern school of thought are, I fancy, beyond me.
'There is no doubt that Matthew Arnold says much that is true of the narrowness, bigotry, and jealous un-Christian temper of Puritanism; and I suppose no one doubts that they do misrepresent the true doctrine of Christianity, both by their exclusive devotion to one side only of the teaching of the Bible, and by their misconception of their own favourite portions of Scripture. The doctrine of the Atonement was never in ancient times, I believe, drawn out in the form in which Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and others have lately stated it.
'The fact of the Atonement through the Death of Christ was always clearly stated; the manner, the "why," the "how" man's Redemption and Reconciliation to God is thus brought about, was not taught, if at all, after the Protestant fashion.
'Oxenham's "History of the Catholic Doctrine of the Atonement" is a fairly-written statement of what was formerly held and taught. Such words as "substitution," "satisfaction," with all the ideas introduced into the subject from the use of illustrations, e.g. of criminals acquitted, debts discharged, have perplexed it perhaps, rather than explained, what must be beyond explanation.
'The ultra-Calvinistic view becomes in the mind and language of the hot-headed ignorant fanatic a denial of God's Unity. "The merciful Son appeasing the wrath of the angry Father" is language which implies two Wills, two Counsels in the Divine Mind (compare with this John iii. 16).
I suppose that an irreverent man, being partly disgusted with the popular theology, having no scruples about putting aside Inspiration, &c., and conceiving that he himself is an adequate representative of the nineteenth century's intelligence, and that the nineteenth century's intelligence is most profound and infallible, sets to work to demolish what is distasteful to himself, and what the unerring criticism of the day rejects, correcting St. Paul's mistakes, patronising him whenever he is fortunate enough to receive the approbation of the great thinkers of our day, and so constructs a vague "human" religion out of the Christianity which he criticises, eliminating all that lies beyond the speculative range of the mind, and that demands assent by its own authority as God's Revelation. I don't know how to state briefly what I mean.
'I think I can understand that this temper of mind is very prevalent in England now, and that I can partly trace the growth of it. Moreover, I feel that to ignore, despise, or denounce it, will do no good.
'As a matter of fact, thousands of educated men are thinking on these great matters as our fathers did not think of them. Simplicity of belief is a great gift; but then the teaching submitted to such simple believers ought to be true, otherwise the simple belief leads them into error. How much that common Protestant writers and preachers teach is not true! Perhaps some of their teaching is untrue absolutely, but it is certainly untrue relatively, because they do not hold the "proportion of the faith," and by excluding some truths and presenting others in an extravagant form they distort the whole body of truth.
'But when a man not only points out some of the popular errors, but claims to correct St. Paul when he Judaizes, and to do a little judicious Hellenizing for an inspired Apostle, one may well distrust the nineteenth century tone and spirit.
'I do really and seriously think that a great and reverently-minded man, conscious of the limits of human reason—a man like Butler— would find his true and proper task now in presenting Christian teaching in an unconventional form, stripped of much error that the terms which we all employ when speaking doctrine seem unavoidably to carry with them.
'Such a man might ask, "What do you mean by your theory of Substitution, Satisfaction, &c.?" "Where do you find it?" "Prove it logically from the Bible." "Show that the early Church held it."
'Butler, as you know, reproved the curiosity of men who sought to find out the manner of the Atonement. "I do not find," he says, "that it is declared in the Scriptures." He believed the fact, of course, as his very soul's treasure. "Our ignorance," he says, "is the proper answer to such enquiries."
'At the same time, no one now can do, it seems, what another Butler might do, viz., deal with the Bible as the best of the nineteenth- century men wish to hear a divine deal with it. He would never make mere assertions. He would never state as a proved truth, to be presented to a congregation's acceptance, a statement or a doctrine which really equalled only an opinion of Wesley or any other human teacher. He would never make arbitrary quotations from Scripture, and try to prove points by illogical reasoning, and unduly pressing texts which a more careful collation of MSS. has shown to be at least doubtful. And by fairness and learning he would win or conciliate right-minded men of the critical school. What offends these men is the cool reckless way in which so many preachers make the most audacious statements, wholly unsupported by any sound learning and logical reasoning. A man makes a statement, quotes a text or two, which he doesn't even know to be capable of at least one inter- pretation different from that which he gives to it; and so the critical hearer is disgusted, and no wonder.
'One gain of this critical spirit is, that it makes all of us Clergy more circumspect in what we say, and many a man looks at his Greek Testament nowadays, and at a good Commentary too, before he ventures to quote a text which formerly would have done duty in its English dress and passed muster among an uncritical congregation. Nowadays every clergyman knows that there are probably men in his congregation who know their Bible better than he does, and as practical lawyers, men of business, &c., are more than his match at an argument. It offends such men to have a shallow-minded preacher taking for granted the very points that he ought to prove, giving a sentence from some divine of his school as if it settled the question without further reference even to the Bible.
'This critical spirit becomes very easily captious; and a man needn't be unbelieving because he doesn't like to be credulous. Campbell's book on the Atonement is very hard, chiefly because the man writes such unintelligible English. I think Shairp in his "Essays," gives a good critique as far as it goes on the philosophical and religious manner of our day.
'Alexander Knox says somewhere in his correspondence with Bishop Jebb that he couldn't understand the Protestant theory of Justification. And it does seem to be often stated as if the terms employed in describing a mere transaction could adequately convey the true power and meaning of a Divine mystery.
'But I only puzzle you, I dare say, and certainly I am liable to the charge of not writing intelligible English. I can tell you I am glad enough that I am not called on to preach on these subjects after the fashion that a preacher in England must go to work.
'It is a cool thing to say, but I do believe that what half our English congregations want is just the plain simple teaching that our Melanesians get, only the English congregations wouldn't stand it.'
A letter to Arthur Coleridge is of the same date:—
'Mota Island: August 6, 1871-
'My dear Arthur,—I have had a busy day, having baptized thirty-two persons, of whom twenty-five are adults; and then the crowd, the incessant talking, teaching, and the anxious feeling which attend any step of so much importance as the Baptism from heathenism. Fourteen of the men are married, two are elderly, several are middle-aged, five women are among the number. I believe that God's spirit is indeed working in the hearts of these people. Some twelve or thirteen years have passed, and only now have I felt that I could take the step of baptizing the infants and young children here, the parents promising that they shall be sent to school as they grow up. About 200 young children have during the past month been baptized: things seem hopeful. It is very happy work; and I get on pretty well, often very tired, but that doesn't matter.
'I could wish all my good friends were here, that those who have been enabled to contribute to this end might see for themselves something of the long hoped for beginning of a new state of things in this little island.
'August 11.—In a little more than a month 248 persons have been baptized here, twenty-five of them adults, the rest infants and young children. I am very sorry to think that I must leave them soon, for I expect the "Southern Cross" in a few days; and I must go to the Solomon Islands, from them to Santa Cruz Island, and so to Norfolk Island, calling here on the way. Then I am off to the Fiji Islands for, I suppose, a month or six weeks. There are some 6,000 or 7,000 white people there, and it is assumed by them and the Church people in this part of the world that I must be regarded as their Bishop. Very soon a separate Bishop ought to be at work there, and I shall probably have to make some arrangement with the settlers. Then, on the other hand, I want to look into the question of South Sea Islanders who are taken to the Fiji plantations.
'How far I can really examine into the matter, I hardly know. But many of the settlers invite me to consider the matter with them.
'I believe that for the most part the islanders receive good treatment when on the plantations, but I know that many of them are taken away from their islands by unfair means.
'The settlers are only indirectly responsible for this. The traders and sailing masters of the vessels who take away the islanders are the most culpable. But the demand creates the supply.
'Among all my multifarious occupations here, I have not much time for reading; I am never alone night or day. I sleep on a table, with some twelve or more fellows around me; and all day long people are about me, in and out of school hours. But I have read, for the third time I think, Lightfoot's "Galatians"—and I am looking forward to receiving his book on the Ephesians. He doesn't lay himself out to do exactly the work that Bishop Ellicott has done so excellently, and his dissertations are perhaps the most valuable part of his work. He will gain the ear of the men of this generation, rather than Ellicott; he sympathises more with modern modes of thought, and is less rigid than Ellicott. But he seems very firm on all the most essential and primary points, and I am indeed thankful for such a man. I don't find much time for difficult reading; I go on quietly, Hebrew, &c. I have many good books on both Old and New Testaments, English and German, and some French, e.g. Keuss and Guizot.
'I like to hear something of what this restless speculative scientific generation is thinking and doing. But I can't read with much pleasure the fragmentary review literature of the day. The "Cornhill" and that class of books I can't stand, and sketchy writings. The best specimens of light reading I have seen of late are Charlotte Yonge's "Pupils of St. John the Divine," and Guizot's "St. Louis," excellent.
'I did read, for it was put on board, Disraeli's novel. I was on my back sea-sick for four days; what utter rubbish! clever nonsense! And I have read Mr. Arnold's "St. Paul and Protestantism." He says some clever things about the Puritan mind, no doubt. But what a painful book it is: can't he see that he is reducing all that the spirit of a man must needs rest on to the level of human criticism? simply eliminating from the writings of the Apostles, and I suppose from the words of the Saviour, all that is properly and strictly Divine.—[Then follows much that has been before given.]—How [winding up thus] thankful I am that I am far away from the noise and worry of this sceptical yet earnest age!
'There is something hazy about your friend Davis's writings. I know some of his publications, and sympathise to a very considerable extent with him. But I can't be sure that I always understand him: that school has a language of its own, and I am not so far initiated as to follow.
'I can't understand Maurice, much as I respect him. It is simply wasting my time and my brains to attempt to read him; he has great thoughts, and he makes them intelligible to people less stupid than me, and many writers whom I like and understand have taken their ideas from him; but I cannot understand him. And I think many of his men have his faults. At least I am so conceited as to think it is not all my fault.
'Do you know two little books by Norris, Canon of Bristol, "Key to the Gospel History," and a Manual on the Catechism?
'They are well worth reading, indeed I should almost say studying, so as to mould the teaching of your young ones upon them.
'How you would be amused could you see the figures and scenes which surround me here! To-day about 140 men, women, lads and girls are working voluntarily here, clearing and fencing the gardens, and digging the holes for the yams, and they do this to help us in the school; we have two pigs killed, and give them a bit of a feast. The feeling is very friendly. A sculptor might study them to great advantage, though clothing is becoming common here now. Our thirty- four baptized adults and our sixteen or twenty old scholars wear decent clothing, of course.
'Well, I must leave off.
'I think very often of you, your wife and children, and, indeed, of you all. It would be very nice to spend a few weeks with you, but I should not get on well in your climate.
'The heat seems to suit me better, and I am pretty well here. Indeed I am better than I have been for more than a year, though I have a good deal of discomfort.
'Good-bye, dear Arthur. How often I think of your dear dear Father.
'Your affectionate Cousin,
'J. C. PATTESON.'
To the sisters, the journal continues—recording, on August 14, the Baptism of twelve men and women the day before, the Communion of sixteen at 7 A.M., the presence of fifty-six baptized persons at morning service. More than 100 were working away the ensuing day in preparing yam gardens for Kohimarama, while two pigs were stewing in native ovens to feast them afterwards; and the Bishop was planting cocoa-nut trees and sowing flower seeds, or trying experiments with a machine for condensing water, in his moments of relaxation, which were few, though he was fairly well, and very happy, as no one can doubt on reading this:—
'Lots of jolly little children, and many of them know me quite well and are not a bit shy. They are often very sad-looking objects, and as they don't get regularly washed, they often have large sores and abscesses, poor little things. But there are many others—clean- skinned, reddish brown, black-eyed, merry little souls among them. The colour of the people is just what Titian and the Venetian painters delighted in, the colour of their own weather-beaten Venetian boatmen, glowing warm rich colour. White folks look as if they were bleached and had all the colour washed out of them.
'Some of the Solomon Islanders are black, and some of the New Hebrides people glossy and smooth and strong-looking; but here you seldom see any very dark people, and there are some who have the yellow, almost olive complexion of the South European. Many of the women are tattooed from head to foot, a regular network of a bluish inlaid pattern. It is not so common with the men, rather I ought to say very unusual with them, though many have their bodies marked pretty freely.'
On the 17th sixteen more adults were baptized, elderly men, whose sons had been baptized in New Zealand coming in, and enemies resigning deadly feuds.
The work in Mota is best summed up in this last letter to Bishop Abraham, begun the day after what proved the final farewell to the flock there, for the 'Southern Cross' came in on the 19th, and the last voyage was at once commenced:—
"'Southern Cross": Sunday, August 20, 1871.
'My dear dear Friends,—Yesterday the "Southern Cross" came to me at Mota, twenty-seven days after leaving that island for Norfolk Island with some fifty Melanesians on board under charge of Bice.
'Into what a new world your many kind affectionate letters take me! And how good it must be for me to be taught to think more than I, alas! usually do, about the trials and sorrows of others.
'I have had such a seven weeks at Mota, broken by a three weeks' course in the New Hebrides, into two portions of three and four weeks.
'Last year we said in our Report, that the time seemed to be come when we should seek to move the people in Mota to do more than assent to the truth of our words and the blessings promised in the Gospel, when we should urge them to appropriate to themselves those blessings, by abandoning their ignorant heathen ways, and embracing Christianity.
'That time has come in the good Providence of God, in answer to His all-prevailing Intercession, and hastened (who can doubt it?) by the prayers of the faithful everywhere—your Whit-Sunday thoughts and prayers, your daily thoughts and prayers, all contributing to bring about a blessed change indeed in the little island.
'In these two months I have baptized 289 persons in Mota, 231 children and infants, seventeen of the lads and boys at Kohimarama, George Sarawia's school, and forty-one grown and almost all married men and women.
'I have tried to proceed cautiously and to act only when I had every human probability of a personal conviction and sincere desire to embrace Christian teaching and to lead a Christian life. I think the adult candidates were all competently instructed in the great truths.
'I feel satisfied of their earnestness, and I think it looks like a stable, permanent work. Yet I need not tell you how my old text is ever in my mind, "Thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged." Now more than ever are your prayers needed for dear old George Sarawia and his infant Church.
'I never had such an experience before. It is something quite new to me. Classes regularly, morning and evening, and all day parties coming to talk and ask questions, some bringing a wife or child, some a brother, some a friend. We were 150 sleeping on the Mission premises, houses being put up all round by people coming from a distance.
'Scarce a moment's rest, but the work so interesting and absorbing, that I could scarcely feel weariness. The weather for six out of the seven weeks was very rainy and bad generally; but I am and was well, very well—not very strong, yet walking to Gatava and back, five or six miles, on slippery and wet paths, and schooling and talking all day.
'The actual services were somewhat striking. The behaviour of the people reverent and quiet during the infants' and children's baptisms; and remarkably so during the baptisms of adults.
'You can understand the drift of my teaching: trying to keep to the great main truths, so as not to perplex their minds with a multiplicity of new thoughts.
'I think that I shall have to stay a few days at Mota on my return (D.V.) from Solomon and Santa Cruz Islands, as there are still many Catechumens.
'I am half disposed to ordain George Priest on my return (D.V.) Yet on the whole I think it may be better to wait till another year. But I am balancing considerations. Should any delay occur from my incapacity to go to Mota, which I don't at all anticipate, it would be a serious thing to leave such a work in the hands of a Deacon, e.g. ten communicants are permanent dwellers now in Mota; and I really believe that George, though not learned, is in all essentials quite a fit person to be ordained Priest. This growth of the work, owing, no doubt, much to him, is a proof of God's blessing on him.
'I pray God that this may be a little gleam of light to cheer you, dear friends, on your far more toilsome and darksome path. It is a little indeed in one sense; yet to me, who know the insufficiency of the human agency, it is a proof indeed that the Gospel is dunamis Theou eis soterian.
'I can hardly realize it all yet. It is good to be called away from it for a month or two. I often wished that Codrington, Palmer, and the rest could be with me: it seemed selfish to be witnessing by myself all this great happiness—that almost visible victory over powers of darkness.
'There is little excitement, no impulsive vehement outpouring of feeling. People come and say, "I do see the evil of the old life; I do believe in what you teach us. I feel in my heart new desires, new wishes, new hopes. The old life has become hateful to me; the new life is full of joy. But it is so mawa (weighty), I am afraid. What if after making these promises I go back?"
"What do you doubt—God's power and love, or your own weakness?"
'"I don't doubt His power and love; but I am afraid."
'"Afraid of what?" '"Of falling away."
'"Doesn't He promise His help to those who need it?"
'"Yes, I know that." '"Do you pray?"
'"I don't know how to pray properly, but I and my wife say—God, make our hearts light. Take away the darkness. We believe that you love us because you sent JESUS to become a Man and die for us, but we can't understand it all. Make us fit to be baptized."
'"If you really long to lead a new life, and pray to God to strengthen you, come in faith, without doubting."
'Evening by evening my school with the baptized men and women is the saying by heart (at first sentence by sentence after me, now they know them well) the General Confession, which they are taught to use in the singular number, as a private prayer, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the ten Commandments (a short version). They are learning the Te Deum. They use a short prayer for grace to keep their baptismal vows.
'I think that they know fairly well the simpler meaning of these various compendiums of Prayer, Faith and Duty. But why enter into details? You know all about it. And, indeed, you have all had your large share, so to say, in bringing about this happy change.
'And then I turn from all this little secluded work to the thoughts of England and France, the Church at home, &c....
'I have now read the "Guardian's" account of the civil war in France. There is nothing like it to be read of, except in the Old Testament perhaps. It is like the taking of Jerusalem.
'It is an awful thing! most awful! I never read anything like it. Will they ever learn to be humble? I don't suppose that even now they admit their sins to have brought this chastening on them. It is hard to say this without indulging a Pharisaic spirit, but I don't mean to palliate our national sins by exaggerating theirs. Yet I hardly think any mob but a French or Irish mob could have done what these men did.
'And what will be the result? Will it check the tendency to Republicanism? Will Governments unite to put down the many-headed monster? Will they take a lesson from the fate of Paris and France? Of course Republicanism is not the same thing as Communism. But where are we to look for the good effects of Republicanism?
'August 22nd.—The seventh anniversary of dear Fisher's death. May God grant us this year a blessing at Santa Cruz!
'J. C. PATTESON.'
The last letter to the beloved sister Fanny opened with the date of her never-forgotten birthday, the 27th of August, though it was carried on during the following weeks; and in the meantime Mr. Atkin, Stephen, Joseph and the rest were called for from Wango, in Bauro, where they had had a fairly peaceable stay, in spite of a visit from a labour traffic vessel, called the 'Emma Bell,' with twenty-nine natives under hatches, and, alas! on her way for more. After picking the Bauro party up, the Bishop wrote to the elder Mr. Atkin:—
'Wango Bay (at anchor): August 25, 1871.
'My dear Mr. Atkin,—You may imagine my joy at finding Joe looking really well when we reached this part of the world on the 23rd. I thought him looking unwell when he spent an hour or two with me at Mota, about ten weeks since, and I begged him to be careful, to use quinine freely, &c. He is certainly looking now far better than he was then, and he says that he feels quite well and strong. There is the more reason to be thankful for this, because the weather has been very rough, and rain has been falling continually. I had the same weather in the Banks Islands; scarcely a day for weeks without heavy rain. Here the sandy soil soon becomes dry again, it does not retain the moisture, and so far it has the advantage over the very tenacious clayey soil of Mota.
'Nearly all the time of the people here has been spent—wasted, perhaps, we should say—in making preparations for a great feast: so that Joe found it very hard to gain the attention of the people, when he tried to point out to them better things to think of than pigs, native money, tobacco and pipes. Such advance as has been made is rather in the direction of gaining the confidence and good-will of the people all about, and in becoming very popular among all the young folks. Nearly all the young people would come away with him, if the elders would allow them to do so. I have no doubt that much more has been really effected than is apparent to us now. Words have been said that have not been lost, and seed sown that will spring up some day. Just as at Mota, now, after some twelve or thirteen years, we first see the result in the movement now going on there, so it will be, by God's goodness, some day here. There at Mota the good example of George Sarawia, the collective result of the teaching of many years, and the steady conduct, with one exception, of the returned scholars, have now been blessed by God to the conversion of many of the people. We no longer hesitate to baptize infants and young children, for the parents engage to send them to school when they grow up, and are themselves receiving instruction in a really earnest spirit.
'Many, too, of those who have for some time abandoned the old ways, but yet did not distinctly accept the new teaching, have now felt the "power of the Gospel;" and though many candidates are still under probation, and I sought to act with caution, and to do all that lay in my power to make them perceive the exceeding solemnity of being baptized, the weighty promises, the great responsibility, yet I thought it right to baptize not less than forty-one grown men and women, besides seventeen lads of George's school, about whom there could be no hesitation. It has, indeed, been a very remarkable season there. I spent seven weeks broken by a New Hebrides trip of three weeks' duration into two periods of three and four weeks. Bice was with me for the first three weeks; and with a good many of our scholars turned into teachers here, we three (Bice, George, and I) kept up very vigorous school: a continual talking, questioning, &c., about religion, were always going on day and night. Many young children and infants were baptized, about 240 in all + 41 + 17.
'You will, I am sure, pray more than ever for George and all these converts to Christianity, that they may be strengthened and guarded against all evil, and live lives worthy of their profession. We hope to spend two or three days there on our return (D.V.); and if so, Joe will write you his impressions. Meanwhile, I tell him what I fully believe, that no one hearty effort of his to benefit these poor people is thrown away. Already they allow us to take boys, and perhaps this very day we may go off with two young girls also. And all this will result in some great change for the better some day.
'You will want to hear a word about myself. I am much better, partly I confess owing to the warmth of the climate, which certainly agrees with me. I may feel less well as we draw by-and-by to the south once more.
'I can't take strong exercise, and that is a privation. It did me good, and I feel the want of it; but I am much better than I was a year or ten months ago, and I do my work very fairly, and get about better than I expected. Remember me kindly to Mrs. Atkin and Mary, and believe me to be
'Your very sincere Friend,
'J. C. PATTESON.'
Mr. Brooke and Edward Wogale had had a far more trying sojourn at Florida.
'Wogale suffered much from his eyes; and the labour ships were frequently on the coast—all the three varieties: the fairly conducted one with a Government agent on board; the "Snatch-snatch," which only inveigled, but did not kill without necessity; and the "Kill-kill," which absolutely came head-hunting. It was a dreary eleven weeks.
'On July 11, a "Sydney vessel," as the natives called it, was on the west of the island, and nine natives were reported to Mr Brooke as having been killed, and with so much evidence that he had no doubt on the subject.
'On the 13th Takua came to him to say the "Kill-kill" vessel had anchored four miles off. What was he to do?
'"How was it you and Bisope came first, and then these slaughterers? Do you send them?"
'Mr. Brooke advised them to remain on shore; but if the strangers landed and wanted to kill or burn them, to fight for their lives. "Your words are the words of a chief," said Takua.
'This ship, however, sailed away; but on August 13 another came, much like the "Southern Cross," and canoes went out to her, in one of them Dudley Lankona. These returned safely, but without selling their fruit; and Dudley related that the men said, "Bishop and Brooke were bad, but they themselves were good, and had pipes and tobacco for those who would go with them."
'These, however, went away without doing them harm, only warning them that another vessel which was becalmed near at hand was a "killer," and the people were so uneasy about her that Mr. Brooke went on board, and was taken by the captain for a maker of cocoa-nut oil. He was a Scotchman, from Tanna, where he had settled, and was in search of labourers; a good-natured friendly kind of person on the whole, though regarding natives as creatures for capture.
'"If I get a chance to carry a lot of them off," he said, "I'll do it; but killing is not my creed."
'Mr. Brooke hinted that the natives might attack him, and he pointed to six muskets. "That's only a few of them. Let them come. We'll give it them pretty strong."
'He was rather taken aback when he found that he was talking to a clergyman. "Well, wherever you go nowadays there's missionaries. Who would have thought you'd got so far down?"
'And he looked with regret at Mr. Brooke's party of natives in their canoes, and observed, "Ah! my fine fellows, if your friend was not here I'd have the whole lot of you: what a haul!"
'He said the other ship was from Queensland, and had a Government agent on board, of whom he spoke with evident awe.
'On Mr. Brooke's return, Takua and Dikea were furbishing up old guns which some incautious person on board the "Curacoa" had given them, and they were disappointed to find that there could be no attack on the vessel.'
She, however, was scarcely gone before, at the other end of the island, Vara, four out of five men were killed by a boat's crew. The survivor, Sorova, told Mr. Brooke that he and one companion had gone out in one canoe, and three more in another, to a vessel that lay near the shore. He saw four blacks in her, as he thought Ysabel men. A white man came down from the boat, and sat in the bow of Sorova's canoe, but presently stood up and capsized both canoes, catching at Sorova's belt, which broke, and the poor fellow was thus enabled to get away, and shelter himself under the stern of the canoe, till he could strike out for land; but he saw a boat come round from the other side of the ship, with four men—whether whites or light- coloured islanders was not clear—but they proceeded to beat his companions with oars, then to fall on them with tomahawks, and finally cut off their heads, which were taken on board, and their bodies thrown to the sharks.
These men evidently belonged to that lowest and most horrible class of men-stealers, who propitiate the chiefs by assisting them in head- hunting.
Of course the island was full of rage, and on the 26th again another brig was in sight. Spite of warning, desire to trade induced five men to put off in a canoe. Two boats came down, and placed themselves on either side. Mr. Brooke could not watch, but a fierce shout arose from the crowd on shore, they rushed to the great canoe house, and a war fleet was launched, Dikea standing up in the foremost, with a long ebony spear in his hand. Fortunately they were too late: the boats were hauled up, and the brig went off at full sail. Whether the five were killed or carried captive is not clear.
The whole place was full of wailing. Revenge was all the cry. 'Let not their pigs be killed,' said Takua; 'we will give them to Bisope, he shall avenge us.' His brother Dikea broke out: 'My humour is bad because Bisope does not take us about in his vessel to kill-kill these people!'
When, two days later, the 'Southern Cross' was unmistakeably in sight, Takua said, 'Let Bisope only bring a man-of-war, and get me vengeance on my adversaries, and I shall be exalted like—like—like our Father above!'
The residence of Mr. Brooke in the island, and the testimony of their own countrymen to the way of life in Norfolk Island, had taught the Floridians to separate the Bishop from their foes; but it could scarcely be thus in places where confidence in him had not been established.
The Bishop meanwhile wrote on:—
'The New Zealand Bishops have sent me a kind letter, a round robin, urging me to go to England; but they are ignorant of two things:— 1st, that I am already much better; 2nd, that I should not derive the benefit generally to my spirits, &c. from a visit to England as they would, and take it for granted that I should do so.
'They use only one other argument, viz., that I must rest after some years' work. That is not so. I don't feel the pressure of work for a very simple reason, viz., that I don't attempt to work as I used to do.
'But just now, it is quite clear that I must not go, unless there were a very obvious necessity for it. For, 1st, Mota needs all the help we can give; 2nd, several Melanesians are coming on rapidly to the state when they ought to be ordained; 3rd, we are about to start (D.V.) new stations at Ambrym, Leper's Island, and Savo; 4th, the school is so large that we want "all hands" to work it; 5th, I must go to Fiji, and watch both Fiji and Queensland; 6th, after the 1872 voyage, we shall need, as I think, to sell this vessel, and have another new one built in Auckland. The funds will need careful nursing for this. But I will really not be foolish. If I have a return of the bad symptoms, I will go to Dr. Goldsboro', and if he advises it strongly, will go to England.
'The deportation of natives is going on to a very great extent here, as in the New Hebrides and Banks Islands. Means of all kinds are employed: sinking canoes and capturing the natives, enticing men on board, and getting them below, and then securing hatches and imprisoning them. Natives are retaliating. Lately, two or three vessels have been taken and all hands killed, besides boats' crews shot at continually. A man called on me at Mota the other day, who said that five out of seven in the boat were struck by arrows a few days before. The arrows were not poisoned, but one man was very ill. It makes even our work rather hazardous, except where we are thoroughly well known. I hear that a vessel has gone to Santa Cruz, and I must be very cautious there, for there has been some disturbance almost to a certainty.
'Whatever regulations the Government of Queensland or the Consul of Fiji may make, they can't restrain the traders from employing unlawful means to get hold of the natives. And I know that many of these men are utterly unscrupulous. But I can't get proofs that are sufficient to obtain a verdict in a court of law.
'Some islands are almost depopulated; and I dread the return of these "labourers," when they are brought back. They bring guns and other things, which enable them to carry out with impunity all kinds of rascality. They learn nothing that can influence them for good. They are like squatters in the bush, coming into the town to have their fling. These poor fellows come back to run riot, steal men's wives, shoot, fight, and use their newly acquired possessions to carry out more vigorously all heathen practices.
'September 3rd.—At anchor: Savo Island: Sunday. The experiment of anchoring at Sara (Florida) and this place answers well. The decks were crowded and crammed; but the people behaved very well, barring the picking up of everything they could lay hands upon, as is natural to many persons whose education has been neglected.
'Yesterday I took Wadrokala (of Nengone) to the village here, where he is to live with some of our old scholars from these parts, and try to begin a good work among the people. He has four baptized friends, a married couple being two, and three other very good lads, to start with. It was a long and very hot walk. A year ago I could not have got through it. I was tired, but not over-tired.
'And now we have had Holy Communion; and this afternoon we take our party on shore: Wadrokala's wife Carry, and Jemima, their daughter of eight or nine. There is no fighting or quarrelling here now. I know all the people, so I leave them with good hope.'
On the 7th, Joseph Atkin began a letter as follows:—
'Our Bishop is much improved in health and strength. His stay at Mota has put new life into him again; the whole island is becoming Christian.
'The Bishop is now very strong and clear about establishing permanent schools on the islands; I fear in almost too great a hurry. The great requisite for a school is a native teacher; and generally, if not always, a teacher ought, as George was at Mota, to be well supported by a little band of native converts, who, if their teaching, in the common use of the word, is not much, can, by their consistent lives, preach a continual sermon, that all who see may understand. What is the use of preaching an eloquent sermon on truth to a people who do not know what it means, or purity of which they have never dreamt? Their ears take in the words, they sound very pleasant, and they go away again to their sin; and the preacher is surprised that they can do so. I do not forget the power of the Spirit to change men's hearts, but do not expect the Holy Spirit to work with you as He never worked with anyone else, but rather as He always has worked with others.... If in looking into the history of Missions, you find no heathen people has been even nominally and professionally Christianised within, say, ten or fifteen years, why not be content to set to work to try that the conversion of those to whom you are sent may be as thorough and real as possible in that time, and not to fret at being unable to hurry the work some years?'....
This letter too was destined never to be finished, though it was continued later, as will be seen.
The Bishop's next letter is dated—
'September 16th.—Off the Santa Cruz group, some twenty miles distant. To-morrow, being Sunday, we stay quietly some way off the islands; and on Monday (D.V.) we go to Nukapu, and perhaps to Piteni too, wind permitting. You can enter into my thoughts, how I pray God that if it be His will, and if it be the appointed time, He may enable us in His own way to begin some little work among these very wild but vigorous energetic islanders. I am fully alive to the probability that some outrage has been committed here by one or more vessels. The master of the vessel that Atkin saw did not deny his intention of taking away from these or from any other islands any men or boys he could induce to come on board. I am quite aware that we may be exposed to considerable risk on this account. I trust that all may be well; that if it be His will that any trouble should come upon us, dear Joseph Atkin, his father and mother's only son, may be spared. But I don't think there is very much cause for fear; first, because at these small reef islands they know me pretty well, though they don't understand as yet our object in coming to them, and they may very easily connect us white people with the other white people who have been ill-using them; second, last year I was on shore at Nukapu and Piteni for some time, and I can talk somewhat with the people; third, I think that if any violence has been used to the natives of the north face of the large island, Santa Cruz, I shall hear of it from these inhabitants of the small islets to the north, Nukapu, and Piteni, and so be forewarned.
'If any violence has been used, it will make it impossible for us to go thither now. It would simply be provoking retaliation. One must say, as Newman of the New Dogma, that the progress of truth and religion is delayed, no one can say how long. It is very sad. But the Evil One everywhere and always stirs up opposition and hindrance to every attempt to do good. And we are not so sorely tried in this way as many others.'
Contrary winds—or rather a calm, with such light wind as there was, contrary—kept the vessel from approaching the island for four days more, while the volcano made every night brilliant, and the untiring pen ran on with affectionate responses to all that the last home packet had contained, and then proceeded to public interests:—
'Then the great matters you write about—the great social and religious crisis in England now. Moreover, who can estimate the effect of this German and French war upon the social state of Europe? Possibly a temporary violent suppression in North Germany of Republican principles, a reaction, an attempt to use the neutrality of England as a focus for political agitation. And then the extravagant luxury side by side with degrading poverty! It is a sad picture; and you who have to contemplate it have many trials and troubles that are in one sense far away from me.
'September 19th.—Here we are becalmed; for three days we have scarcely made ten miles in the direction we want to go. It is not prudent to go near the large island, unless we have a good breeze, and can get away from the fleets of canoes if we see reason for so doing. We may have one hundred and fifty canoes around us, and perhaps sixty or eighty strong men on deck, as we had last year; and this year we have good reason for fearing that labour vessels have been here. Many of the people here would distinguish between us and them; but it is quite uncertain, for we can't talk to the people of the large island, and can't therefore explain our object in so doing. 'Yesterday, being becalmed, a large canoe, passing (for there was occasionally a light air from the north) from Nupani to Santa Cruz, came near us. It could not get away, and the "Southern Cross" could not get near it. So we went to it in the boat. I can talk to these Nupani people, and we had a pleasant visit. They knew my name directly, and were quite at ease the moment they were satisfied it was the Bishop. They will advertise us, I dare say, and say a good word for us, and we gave them presents, &c.
'I shall be thankful if this visit ends favourably, and oh! how thankful if we obtain any lads. It seems so sad to leave this fine people year after year in ignorance and darkness, but He knows and cares for them more than we do. 'The sun is nearly vertical; thermometer 91, and 88 at night; I am lazy, but not otherwise affected by it, and spend my day having some, about an hour's, school, and in writing and reading.
'I think that the Education question has been more satisfactorily settled than I dared to hope a year ago. A religious, as opposed to an irreligious education has been advisedly chosen by the country, and denominationalism (what a word!) as against secularism. Well, that's not much from a Christian country; but it isn't the choice of an anti-Christian, or even of a country indifferent to Christianity.
'Mrs. Abraham and Pena have sent me Shairp's little book on "Religion and Culture." It is capital; and if you knew the man you would not wonder at his writing such sensible, thoughtful books. He is one of the most "loveable" beings I ever knew. His good wholesome teaching is about the best antidote I have seen to much of the poison circulating about in magazines and alluring ignorant, unsound people with the specious name of philosophy. And he is always fair, and credits his opponents with all that can possibly be imagined to extenuate the injury they are doing by their false and faithless teaching.'
Here the letter suddenly ceases. No doubt this last sentence had given the last impulse towards addressing the old Balliol friend above named, now Principal of St. Andrew's, in the following:—
'"Southern Cross" Mission Schooner,
'In the Santa Cruz Group, S.W. Pacific: September 19.
'My dear Principal,—You won't remember my name, and it is not likely that you can know anything about me, but I must write you a line and thank you for writing your two books (for I have but two) on "Studies on Poetry and Philosophy," and "Religion and Culture."
'The "Moral Dynamic " and the latter book are indeed the very books I have longed to see; books that one can put with confidence and satisfaction into the hands of men, young and old, in these stirring and dangerous times.
'Then it did me good to be recalled to old scenes and to dream of old faces.
'I was almost a freshman when you came up to keep your M.A. term; and as I knew some of the men you knew, you kindly, as I well remember, gave me the benefit of it. As John Coleridge's cousin and the acquaintance of John Keate, Cumin, Palmer, and dear James Eiddell, I came to know men whom otherwise I could not have known, and of these how many there still are that I have thought of and cared for ever since!
'You must have thought of Riddell, dear James Riddell, when you wrote the words in p. 76 of your book on "Religion and Culture": "We have known such." Yes, there was indeed about him a beauty of character that is very very rare. Sellar is in the north somewhere, I think I have seen Essays by him on Lucretius.
'I think that he is Professor at some University. I am ashamed to know so little about him. Should you see him, pray remember me most kindly to him. As year after year passes on, it is very pleasant to think there are men on the other side of the world that I can with a certainty count upon as friends.
'I find it difficult to read much of what is worth reading nowadays, and I have little taste for magazines, &c., I confess.
'But I know enough of what is working in men's minds in Europe to be heartily thankful for such thoughtful wholesome teaching as yours.
'Indeed, you are doing a good work, and I pray God it may be abundantly blessed.
'I remain, my dear Friend,
'Very sincerely yours,
'J. C. PATTESON.'
This is the last letter apparently finished and signed!
To the Bishop of Lichfield the long journal-letter says:—
'Tenakulu (the volcano) was fine last night, but not so fine as on that night we saw it together. But it was very solemn to look at it, and think how puny all man's works are in comparison with this little volcano. What is all the bombardment of Paris to those masses of fire and hundreds of tons of rock cast out into the sea? "If He do but touch the hills, they shall smoke."
'And now what will the next few days bring forth? It may be God's will that the opening for the Gospel may be given to us now. Sometimes I feel as if I were almost too importunate in my longings for some beginning here; and I try not to be impatient, and to wait His good time, knowing that it will come when it is the fulness of time. Then, again, I am tempted to think, "If not soon, if not now, the trading vessels will make it almost impossible, as men think, to obtain any opening here." But I am on the whole hopeful, though sometimes faint-hearted.
'To day's First Lesson has a good verse: Haggai, ii. 4;l and there is Psalm xci. also.'
Then follows a good deal about further plans, and need of men; ending with the decision that the present 'Southern Cross' ought to be sold, and that a new one could be built at Auckland for 2,000, which the Bishop thought he could obtain in New Zealand and Australia.
'Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts.'
A much smaller additional vessel would be useful; and he merrily says:—
'You don't know an amiable millionaire, with a nice quick yacht from 70 to 120 tons, to be given away, and sent out to Auckland free of expense, I suppose.
'We must give up all idea of our Chapel for a time, but we can do without it. And a vessel is necessary.'
The last of this letter is on Delitzsch and Biblical criticism, but too much mixed up with other persons' private affairs for quotation.
Reading Hebrew with Mr. Atkin, or studying Isaiah alone, had been the special recreation throughout the voyage.
His scholar Edward Wogale has given a touch of that last morning of the 20th:—
'And as we were going to that island where he died, but were still in the open sea, he schooled us continually upon Luke ii. iii. up to vi., but he left off with us with his death. And he preached to us continually at Prayers in the morning, every day, and every evening on the Acts of the Apostles, and he spoke as far as to the seventh chapter, and then we reached that island. And he had spoken admirably and very strongly indeed to us, about the death of Stephen, and then he went up ashore on that island Nukapu.'
That island Nukapu lay with the blue waves breaking over the circling reef, the white line of coral sand, the trees coming down to it; and in the glowing sun of September 20, the equatorial midsummer eve, four canoes were seen hovering about the reef, as the 'Southern Cross' tried to make for the islet.
Mr. Brooke says that this lingering had seemed to intensify the Bishop's prayer and anxiety for these poor people; and, thinking that the unusual movements of the vessel puzzled the people in the canoes, and that they might be afraid to approach, he desired that at 11.30 A.M. the boat should be lowered, and entered it with Mr. Atkin, Stephen Taroniara, James Minipa, and John Nonono. He sat in the stern sheets, and called back to Mr. Brooke: 'Tell the captain I may have to go ashore.' Then he waited to collect more things as presents to take on shore, and pulled towards the canoes; But they did not come to meet the boat, and seemed undecided whether to pull away or not. The people recognized the Bishop; and when he offered to go on shore they assented, and the boat went on to a part of the reef about two miles from the island, and there met two more canoes, making six in all. The natives were very anxious that they should haul the boat up on the reef, the tide being too low for her to cross it, but, when this was not consented to, two men proposed to take the Bishop into their boat.
It will be remembered that he had always found the entering one of their canoes a sure way of disarming suspicion, and he at once complied. Mr. Atkin afterwards said he thought he caught the word 'Tabu,' as if in warning, and saw a basket with yams and other fruits presented; and those acquainted with the customs of the Polynesians - -the race to which these islanders belonged—say that this is sometimes done that an intended victim may unconsciously touch something tabu, and thus may become a lawful subject for a blow, and someone may have tried to warn him.
There was a delay of about twenty minutes; and then two canoes went with the one containing the Bishop, the two chiefs, Moto and Taula, who had before been so friendly to him, being in them. The tide was so low that it was necessary to wade over the reef, and drag the canoes across to the deeper lagoon within. The boat's crew could not follow; but they could see the Bishop land on the beach, and there lost sight of him.
The boat had been about half-an-hour drifting about in company with the canoes, and there had been some attempt at talk, when suddenly, at about ten yards off, without any warning, a man stood up in one of them, and calling out, 'Have you anything like this?' shot off one of the yard-long arrows, and his companions in the other two canoes began shooting as quickly as possible, calling out, as they aimed, 'This for New Zealand man! This for Bauro man! This for Mota man!' The boat was pulled back rapidly, and was soon out of range, but not before three out of the four had been struck; James only escaped by throwing himself back on the seat, while an arrow had nailed John's cap to his head, Mr. Atkin had one in his left shoulder, and poor Stephen lay in the bottom of the boat, 'trussed,' as Mr. Brooke described it, with six arrows in the chest and shoulders.
It was about two hours since they had left the ship when they reached it again: and Mr. Atkin said, 'We are all hurt? as they were helped on board; but no sooner had the arrow-head, formed of human bone, and acutely sharp, been extracted, than he insisted on going back to find his Bishop. He alone knew the way by which the reef could be crossed in the now rising tide, so that his presence was necessary. Meantime Mr. Brooke extracted as best he might the arrows from poor Stephen.
'We two Bisope,' said the poor fellow, meaning that he shared the same fate as the Bishop.
As Joseph Wate, a lad of fifteen, Mr. Atkin's Malanta godson and pupil, wrote afterwards, 'Joe said to me and Sapi, "We are going to look for the Bishop, are you two afraid?"
'"No, why should I be afraid?"
'"Very well, you two go and get food for yourselves, and bring a beaker full of water for us all, for we shall have to lie on our oars a long time to-day."'
The others who pulled the boat were Charles Sapinamba, a sailor, and Mr. Bongarde, the mate, who carried a pistol, for the first time in the records of the 'Southern Cross.'
They had long to wait till the tide was high enough to carry them across the reef, and they could see people on shore, at whom they gazed anxiously with a glass.
About half-past four it became possible to cross the reef, and then two canoes rowed towards them: one cast off the other and went back; the other, with a heap in the middle, drifted towards them, and they rowed towards it.
'But' (says Wate), 'when we came near we two were afraid, and I said to Joe, "If there is a man inside to attack us, when he rises up, we shall see him."'
Then the mate took up his pistol, but the sailor said, 'Those are the Bishop's shoes.'
As they came up with it, and lifted the bundle wrapped in matting into the boat, a shout or yell arose from the shore. Wate says four canoes put off in pursuit; but the others think their only object was to secure the now empty canoe as it drifted away. The boat came alongside, and two words passed, 'The body!' Then it was lifted up, and laid across the skylight, rolled in the native mat, which was secured at the head and feet. The placid smile was still on the face; there was a palm leaf fastened over the breast, and when the mat was opened there were five wounds, no more.
The strange mysterious beauty, as it may be called, of these circumstances almost makes one feel as if this were the legend of a martyr of the Primitive Church; but the fact is literally true, and can be interpreted, though probably no account will ever be obtained from the actors in the scene.
The wounds were, one evidently given with a club, which had shattered the right side of the skull at the back, and probably was the first, and had destroyed life instantly, and almost painlessly; another stroke of some sharp weapon had cloven the top of the head; the body was also pierced in one place; and there were two arrow wounds in the legs, but apparently not shot at the living man, but stuck in after his fall, and after he had been stripped, for the clothing was gone, all but the boots and socks. In the front of the cocoa-nut palm, there were five knots made in the long leaflets. All this is an almost certain indication that his death was the vengeance for five of the natives. 'Blood for blood' is a sacred law, almost of nature, wherever Christianity has not prevailed, and a whole tribe is held responsible for the crime of one. Five men in Fiji are known to have been stolen from Nukapu; and probably their families believed them to have been killed, and believed themselves to be performing a sacred duty when they dipped their weapons in the blood of the Bisope, whom they did not know well enough to understand that he was their protector. Nay, it is likely that there had been some such discussion as had saved him before at Mai from suffering for Petere's death; and, indeed, one party seem to have wished to keep him from landing, and to have thus solemnly and reverently treated his body.
Even when the tidings came in the brief uncircumstantial telegram, there were none of those who loved and revered him who did not feel that such was the death he always looked for, and that he had willingly given his life. There was peace in the thought even while hearts trembled with dread of hearing of accompanying horrors; and when the full story arrived, showing how far more painless his death had been than had he lived on to suffer from his broken health, and how wonderfully the unconscious heathen had marked him with emblems so sacred in our eyes, there was thankfulness and joy even to the bereaved at home.
The sweet calm smile preached peace to the mourners who had lost his guiding spirit, but they could not look on it long. The next morning, St. Matthew's Day, the body of John Coleridge Patteson was committed to the waters of the Pacific, his 'son after the faith,' Joseph Atkin, reading the Burial Service.
Mr. Atkin afterwards wrote to his mother. He had written to his father the day before; but the substance of his letter has been given in the narrative:—
'September 21, 1871.
'My dear Mother,—We have had a terrible loss, such a blow that we cannot at all realise it. Our Bishop is dead; killed by the natives at Nukapu yesterday. We got the body, and buried it this morning. He was alone on shore, and none of us saw it done. We were attacked in the boat too, and Stephen so badly wounded that I am afraid there is small hope of his recovery. John and I have arrow wounds, but not severe. Our poor boys seem quite awe-stricken. Captain Jacobs is very much cut up. Brooke, although not at all well, has quite devoted himself to the wounded, and so has less time to think about it all.
'It would only be selfish to wish him back. He has gone to his rest, dying, as he lived, in his Master's service.
It seems a shocking way to die; but I can say from experience that it is far more to hear of than to suffer. In whatever way so peaceful a life as his is ended, his end is peace. There was no sign of fear or pain on his face—just the look that he used to have when asleep, patient and a little wearied. "What a stroke his death will be to hundreds!" What his Mission will do without him, God only knows Who has taken him away. His ways are not as our ways. Seeing people taken away, when, as we think, they are almost necessary to do God's work on earth, makes one think that we often think and talk too much about Christian work. What God requires is Christian men. He does not need the work, only gives it to form or perfect the character of the men whom He sends to do it.
'Stephen is in great pain at times to-night; one of the arrows seems to have entered his lungs, and it is broken in, too deep to be got out. John is wounded in the right shoulder, I in the left. We are both maimed for the time; but, if it were not for the fear of poison, the wounds would not be worth noticing. I do not expect any bad consequences, but they are possible. What would make me cling to life more than anything else is the thought of you at home; but if it be God's will that I am to die, I know He will enable you to bear it, and bring good for you out of it.
'Saturday, 23rd.—We are all doing well. Stephen keeps up his strength, sleeps well, and has no long attacks of pain. We have had good breezes yesterday and to-day—very welcome it is, but the motion makes writing too much labour. Brooke and Edward Wogale are both unwell—ague, I believe, with both of them; and Brooke's nerves are upset. He has slept most of to-day, and will probably be the better for it.'....
His private journal adds:—
'September 21st.—Buried the Bishop in the morning. The wounded all doing well, but Stephen in pain occasionally. Calm day, passed over a reef in the morning, about eighteen miles north of Nukapu, nine fathoms on it. Thermometer ninety-one degrees yesterday and to-day. Began writing home at night. Began reading Miss Yonge's "Chaplet of Pearls."
'Friday, 22nd.—A light breeze came up in the evening, which freshened through the night, and carried us past Tenakulu. Stephen doing very well, had a good night, and has very little pain to-day. A breeze through the day, much cooler. I am dressing my shoulder with brine. Read some sermons of Vaughan's, preached at Doncaster during Passion Week.
'Saturday, 23rd.—Breeze through the day. A few showers of rain. Brooke and Wogale down with ague; gave Wogale ipecacuanha and quinine afterwards. Read Mota prayers in evening. All wounds going on well. Finished "Chaplet of Pearls," and wrote a little.
'Sunday, 24th.—This morning the wind went round to N.E. and N. and then died away. We were 55 miles W. of the Torres Islands at noon. Brooke took English and Mota morning Prayers. I celebrated Holy Communion afterwards. John came into cabin; I went out to Stephen.
'Brooke and Wogale both better, but B—— quite weak.'
During that Celebration, while administering the Sacred Elements, Mr. Atkin's tongue stumbled and hesitated over some of the words.
Then the Mota men looked at one another, and knew what would follow.
He knew it himself too, and called to Joseph Wate, his own special pupil, saying (as the lad wrote to Mr. Atkin the elder), 'Stephen and I again are going to follow the Bishop, and they of your country—! Who is to speak to them?'
'I do not know.'
Then he said again, 'It is all right. Don't grieve about it, because they did not do this thing of themselves, but God allowed them to do it. It is very good, because God would have it so, because He only looks after us, and He understands about us, and now He wills to take away us two, and it is well.'
There was much more for that strong young frame to undergo before the vigorous life could depart. The loss was to be borne. The head of the Mission, who had gone through long sickness, and lain at the gates of the grave so long, died almost painlessly: his followers had deeply to drink of the cup of agony. The night between the 26th and 27th was terrible, the whole nervous system being jerked and strained to pieces, and he wandered too much to send any message home; 'I lost my wits since they shot me,' he said. Towards morning he almost leapt from his berth on the floor, crying 'Good-bye.'
Mr. Brooke asked if he would have a little Sal volatile.
'A little brandy?'
'Do you want anything?'
'I want nothing but to die.'
Those were his last words. He lay convulsed on a mattress on the floor for about an hour longer, and was released on the morning of the 29th.
Stephen, with an arrow wound in the lungs, and several more of these wounds in the chest, could hardly have lived, even without the terrible tetanus. He had spent his time in reading his Mota Gospel and Prayer-book, praying and speaking earnestly to the other men on board, before the full agony came on. He was a tall, large, powerfully framed man; and the struggles were violent before he too sank into rest on the morning of the 28th, all the time most assiduously nursed by Joseph Wate. On St. Michael's Day, these two teachers of poor Bauro received at the same time their funeral at sea.