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The Cruise of the Mary Rose - Here and There in the Pacific
by William H. G. Kingston
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"Great as was the change, after all allowances are made, in the islands of which I have been speaking, that produced by the promulgation of the truth in Raratonga was still greater. You know how John Williams, after founding the church in Huahine, moved to Raiatea, in the Hervey group, and thence sailing forth, discovered the then savage Raratonga, where the devoted Papehia landed to commence the work which he was afterwards enabled to perfect. Papehia began his ministrations by telling the people about the power and purity of God, and His love to mankind, and contrasting His attributes with those of their idols. By teaching both old and young portions of Scripture, and the latter to read, they began to perceive the follies of heathenism.

"Thus the old religion was undermined, and a way prepared for the introduction of the new faith. The priests were the most inveterate opponents of Christianity, yet the first person who destroyed his idols was a priest. Several others followed his example. Soon another native teacher from Tahiti joined Papehia to aid in the work which so rapidly progressed. The first chief converted was Tinomana. After a lengthened conversation with Papehia, in spite of the expostulations of priests and people, saying, 'My heart has taken hold of the word of Jehovah,' he ordered a servant to set fire to his idol and his temple. The Christians now united, with Tinomana at their head, to live together in one community, numbering four or five thousand. Not fifteen months after Papehia landed, they erected a chapel three hundred feet long, with a pulpit at either end, from which each teacher addressed nearly fifteen hundred wild, naked savages at once, without inconvenience. This wonderful change had been effected, you must remember, by two native teachers alone, in less than two years and a half from the day of their landing in Raratonga, and who were themselves born heathens and trained in idolatry in an island nearly seven hundred miles away.

"Four years after the discovery of the island, John Williams took up his abode there with the Reverend C Pitman, they being afterwards joined by the Reverend A Buzacott. Laws were now formed, and the first Christian community divided into two separate villages. A chapel of a substantial character was next planned. A site was cleared, large trees were cut down, coral lime was burned, the timber was sawn, and in two months from the commencement an edifice an hundred and fifty feet long and fifty-six feet wide, the thatched roof supported on either side by seven iron-wood pillars twenty-five feet high, was erected. There were ten doors, three at each side and two at each end, and twenty windows, with large Venetian blinds. This chapel was a substantial proof of the zeal of the Christian converts; but the heathens were still numerous and powerful, and at length, hoping to overthrow the new faith, they attacked the settlement, and burned the chapel and many of the Christians' houses. A fearful storm and flood and a severe epidemic followed, carrying off hundreds of the natives. Though severely tried, the missionaries were not cast down. The heathen retired, the epidemic ceased, the damage caused by the storm was repaired, and the work of civilisation proceeded.

"It became expedient to form a new village for the immediate followers of Tinomana. A site was fixed on, the land was cleared, and in a few months the village was completed. It was nearly a mile and a half in length; a wide and straight road, gravelled with sea-side sand, was made from one extremity to the other, on either side of which were rows of the tall and beautiful tufted-top 'ti' trees. The houses were built of lime and wattle, each about forty feet long, twelve high, twenty wide, and divided into three or four rooms. They stood back some fifty yards from the road, and were that distance from one another. About the centre, on one side of the street, was the chapel, and on the other the school-house. A belt of trees protected the settlement on the sea-side, while inland rose ranges of picturesque mountains, the intervening space being occupied by pastures and fields cultivated or in the course of cultivation. I remember the scene well. It gave me an indescribable feeling of satisfaction when I first saw it, for it proved that a very great change must have been wrought in the habits of the people, and I trusted that their spiritual condition had likewise been much improved. This was the first on the same plan of many villages which were erected as Christianity spread among the people. At each village, or even where there was a chapel alone, a school-house was erected, where the elements of reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography, were taught to adults as well as to children, and only eight years after the landing of Papehia, two thousand children and one thousand six hundred adults were under instruction. Although many of the adults could never be taught to read, they learned portions of Scripture, and as they willingly listened to the teachers, the truth gradually spread among the whole population.

"A printing press was during this year of 1831 introduced into the island, and the first native Raratongan teacher went forth to carry the glad tidings of salvation to the people of the Samoan group, then lying in darkness. 'Teava' was one of the first converts made by Papehia, and a devoted imitator of the noble example he set. He wrote earnestly, praying to be allowed to go Samoa, thus expressing himself: 'My desire is very great to fulfil Christ's command when He said, "Go ye into all the world." My heart is compassionating the heathen, who know not the salvation which God has provided. Let me go. Why this delay?' He was conveyed to Samoa, and gained a position among its then savage people at Monono, where he has proved one of the most consistent pioneers to the European missionaries, and one of the best native assistants both in the schools and in translating the Bible and other works. A letter he wrote to his friends in Raratonga a few years afterwards is worthy of note. In it he says: 'When I left you, the good work had not taken much root, but now I hear it has spread over the land. All the people have received it. My friends, be diligent in the use of the means, in learning, in reading, in hearing, in prayer; search the word of God. But I will ask you, Do you expect to be saved by your works? No; no man can thus be saved. Salvation is obtained through Jesus. There are two kinds of scaffolding, one of banana stalks and the other of iron-wood: those who trust in their own works are resting on the banana stalks, and will fall; but let our minds be fixed on Jesus alone, and we shall be safe.' Such are nearly the exact words he used. They prove the soundness of his knowledge and faith. The glorious work progressed wonderfully in Raratonga. Churches and schools were built at all the settlements, and several works printed by natives, under the superintendence of the missionaries, issued from the press. I was present on the arrival of the Camden from England with an edition of five thousand copies of the New Testament in the language of the people, and several missionaries. Crowds came from morning till night to purchase the book, and for many days the missionaries house was more like a bazaar than a private dwelling.

"One day a messenger at full speed arrived from the old chief Tinomana. Seating himself cross-legged on the floor, he asked if a missionary had arrived for his part of the island. On one being pointed out to him as destined to labour in his settlement, he sprang up with an expression of joy, and hastened back at full speed with the intelligence to his chief. This was at Avarua, where a chapel had been erected worthy of description. It was built in a frame, a hundred and forty feet long and forty-five feet wide, filled up with wattle and lime plaster, white as snow. It was well floored, surrounded by a gallery, and had a pulpit and desk at one end. On the day I was there it was filled with sixteen hundred natives, mostly clothed in home-made cloth, the greater number really thirsting for religious knowledge. Next to the chapel stood the school-house filled in the morning with seven hundred children, each class of ten or twelve having its teacher. Near it was the missionaries' cottage, neat, clean, and commodious; and not far off that of the chief, which was large, well-built, and convenient. It was thoroughly furnished with chairs, sofas, tables, and beds, and the floors covered with mats; while on the tables were several books, which he could read with fluency. Ten years before this he and his people were naked savage cannibals. Missionary meetings were held in the island to assist in sending the gospel to other lands. Thus spoke an aged native at one of them to the young people: 'Exalt your voices high in praise of God. He has saved you from the pit of heathenism. We your fathers know the character of that pit; some of us were born there. The place on which we are now met was once a place of murder; spears and the sling and stone were our companions; we ate human flesh, we drank human blood. Let us do what we can to send the word of God to those who are as once we were.' That year three thousand pounds of arrowroot were subscribed for missionary purposes.

"More effectually to carry out this object, it was resolved to establish a missionary college. A piece of ground was purchased, a number of neat stone cottages for the students and a house for resident missionaries, and lecture-halls, one of which was for female classes, were erected. The latter were under the charge of the missionary's wife. Here one hundred men and women have been instructed, a considerable proportion of whom were married couples. Some have been employed on the home stations, and others have gone forth to the Western Islands to prepare the way for European teachers. A boarding-school was also established, where some forty boys have received instruction. At the college the students go through a course of theology, church history, Biblical exposition, biography, geography, grammar, and composition of essays and sermons. For three hours in the morning they are employed in the workshop, and in the afternoon in study, in class, or examination.

"In the Hervey group ten or more stations are well worked by these native teachers; in Samoa four of them have stations; they have introduced the gospel to the Maniiki group; and in Western Polynesia they have successfully preached the truth in the language of the inhabitants, and braved, and several have suffered, martyrdom for the gospel's sake. What should you suppose is the total expense of instructing, clothing, feeding, and lodging these most valuable missionaries? Only five pounds a year; while the entire outlay of their providing for twenty students does not amount to the sum of three pounds a week, or less than a hundred and fifty pounds per annum. Comparatively very few of those educated at the college have fallen away or proved unworthy of the confidence placed in them. Of course there, as elsewhere, the faith of the missionaries has been tried. Storms, and floods, and disease have visited the island; evil-disposed persons have come from other lands and endeavoured to introduce drunkenness, and to turn the unstable to their own bad courses. Still I may safely say, that there are not twenty persons in the island, and very few in the whole group, who do not attend Christian worship.

"A large edition of the whole Bible has been purchased by them; and I may also venture to assert that, in consistency of conduct, in civil and social propriety, in commercial industry and honesty, and in zeal and liberality, they are not behind any other community in the world. The gospel has been introduced and completely established in the Penrhyn Islands, or Maniiki group, as they are more properly called, entirely by native teachers from Raratonga. But I wish to describe to you the progress made by the gospel in Samoa. Before I do so, however, I will give you a sketch of the way in which some of the missionaries I have met, whose duties require them to be stationary, spend their time.

"The missionary in some instances attends the early morning adult service, those present having then to go forth to their daily duties in the field or on the water. In other instances he devotes the hour from six to seven o'clock in dispensing medicine to the sick; from eight to nine he is either at the children's general school in the village, or attending to private advanced classes at home, or discussing public matters with neighbouring chiefs. From nine to eleven he lectures in the class-room; thence till noon he is in the workshop, where the students or the boys at the boarding-school are learning the use of carpenters' tools. Until dinner time, at one, he is in the printing-office, where the natives have been composing, printing, and binding for several hours. During the next hour the students dine and read. From two to three the missionary holds private conversation with members of the church, candidates for church fellowship, or inquirers. Four days in the week Bible-classes are held, and at most stations public services take place three days in the week, from five to six. The missionary and his wife generally walk out from six to seven, visiting any who are sick or unable to come to them. For an hour afterwards he is in his study reading, translating, writing sermons, or looking over proof-sheets. The next half hour is occupied in family prayer, and the last in pleasant and instructive conversation with his family and the natives in his household; and thus closes his day of labour. The missionary's wife is as busy with the women and girls as is her husband with the men and boys, and her influence and example are calculated to produce a lasting effect on the rising generation. With this succession of occupations the missionaries have found time to write and to superintend the printing of numerous works in the language of Raratonga,—works which are eagerly sought for and read by all classes of the community,—the elder of whom were once naked cannibal savages. When you write home, mention this with your own experience, and ask whether they do not consider missionaries worthy of support, and the results they have produced an encouragement to perseverance.

"One remark more. You have often heard of the fearful decrease in the population of these islands. Raratonga has been no exception to the general rule, and yet its circumstances are very different from most others. Its climate is perfectly healthy; no foreigners reside on it; and, as it possesses no harbour, the crews of ships can never land on its shores, as they merely call off for supplies and proceed immediately on their voyage. Before the introduction of Christianity, when the islanders had not the slightest intercourse with Europeans,—were, indeed, entirely unknown,—the deaths must have been as six or eight to one in excess of the births. As Christianity spread, the deaths were as four to one, then as two to one, then but slightly in excess; and now I rejoice to say that the births slightly exceed the deaths. It is easy to account for their decrease while they were heathens,—their wars, and famine consequent on it,—disease, produced by immorality, and infanticide destroyed many, and prevented increase. Christianity at once mitigated these evils, but the effects of many of them still existed, and it has taken years before the population could gain that health and strength which is the reward in this world of virtuous and industrious lives.

"I find it stated that a hundred ships touch at the islands of the group annually, and receive produce of native labour for manufactured wares, amounting to not less than three thousand pounds. We have here a notable example of the way in which civilisation, industry, and commerce result from the establishment of Christianity. The commanders of many of those ships must remember the time when they dared not set foot on these shores, from which they now are sure to obtain the supplies on which the health of their crews and the success of their voyage so greatly depends, and will, I trust, be ready to bear witness that thousands on thousands of the once savages of Polynesia have become Christian in name and character, and truly and completely civilised."



CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

PASSING ON THE BLESSING.

"When describing missionary enterprise, we cannot dwell too much on the value of native agency, and should therefore endeavour to show the importance of establishing training colleges for native youths," continued Mr Bent, who, once having entered on the subject to which he had devoted his life, showed no desire to drop it. "Humanly speaking, not one-third part of the work which has been done could without native help have been accomplished. Mangaia is a notable example. That island is about twenty miles in circumference, and contains about three thousand inhabitants. When Williams visited them in 1822 with a few native married missionaries, who went on shore for the purpose of remaining, the latter were so barbarously treated by the savage people that they were compelled to return on board the mission ship, thankful to escape without loss of life. Two years afterwards, however, he returned with two zealous Tahitians, Davida and Tiere, who swimming on shore through the surf, as did Papehia at Raratonga, with their books and clothes in a cloth on their heads, landed among the fierce natives. God had so ordered it that their reception was very different from what they had expected. An epidemic had attacked the island, carrying off chiefs and people, the old and young alike: and believing that it was a punishment sent by the white man's God in consequence of the way they had treated the former missionaries, the inhabitants hoped to avert the evil by behaving in a more friendly manner to the new comers. The way was thus providentially prepared for Davida, who laboured on alone for fifteen years,—for Tiere was soon afterwards removed by death,—till assistance was sent him from Raratonga, itself lying in darkness when he commenced his ministrations. He received, however, occasional visits from the missionaries at Tahiti. Twenty years passed by before the Reverend William Gill arrived to spend some weeks among them. He found, with but few exceptions, that the whole population had renounced idolatry. Several large churches and schoolrooms had been built. In one school-room from eight hundred to nine hundred children and young persons were present, who, after singing and prayer, were led in classes to attend public worship. The church was very large, and really handsome. The numberless rafters of its roof, coloured with native paint, were supported by twelve or fourteen pillars of the finest wood, carved in cathedral style. It was crowded,—those unable to get in looking through the windows,—not less than two thousand being present. Still many at that time were very ignorant with regard to scriptural knowledge, though many even of the heathens could read.

"A few years have passed by, the heathens have one by one turned to the truth, and sound scriptural knowledge is possessed by the population generally. A European missionary lives among them. They have built a handsome stone church with a gallery, capable of seating two thousand persons. There exist two other large stone chapels and three stone school-houses, each about seventy feet long and thirty-five feet wide. But what is far more important, there are one thousand six hundred children and adults under daily instruction, besides five hundred members in consistent church communion, leaving but one-third of the population who, though educated and nominal Christians, must be looked on as yet not earnest in spiritual matters. Of the former, some seven or more are at the Raratonga training college, and several have gone forth as evangelists to the heathen many thousand miles away; while there are more than one hundred native teachers in the schools, gratuitously employing themselves in instructing the rising generation. The excess of births over the deaths is very considerable, so that the population, which at one time was diminishing, is rapidly on the increase. Davida is dead. He departed just twenty-five years after he commenced his missionary labours. 'Is it right,' he asked, in a humble tone, 'for me to say, in the language of Saint Paul, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course"? These people were wild beasts when I came among them; but the sword of the Spirit subdued them. It was not I, it was God who did it.' Davida and Papehia, and many other dark-skinned sons of these fair isles of the Pacific, themselves born in darkest heathenism, have gained their crowns of glory in the heavens, never to fade away, which the highly educated inhabitants of civilised Europe may have cause to envy.

"People in England are, I hear, astonished at the rapid progress made by Christianity in these islands, and assert that either the accounts are exaggerated, and that the great mass of the people remain heathens as before, or that if they have become nominal Christians, it is because they have been compelled by their chiefs to embrace the new faith. To this last objection I reply, first: You well know how slight is the influence exercised by the chiefs over the people, and in no island with which I am acquainted would a chief be able to compel his followers to abandon idolatry and embrace Christianity. In the greater number of instances by far, a considerable proportion of the people have become Christians before the chief has given up his idols. Pomare was still an idolater when many of his subjects had been converted. There were numerous Christians in Samoa before Malietoa became one; and services had been, held in Tongatabu before any of the chief men turned to the faith; and already numerous churches had been established in Fiji before Thakombau, the most despotic and fierce of the rulers of the isles of the Pacific, bowed his knee in worship to the true God. People who know how utterly savage and barbarous the natives had become will easily understand that numbers among them were pining for a purer faith, for some system which would relieve them from the intolerable burdens, from the utter misery under which they groaned. When Rihoriho overthrew his idols and burned his temples he knew nothing of Christianity; but he had discovered that his idols were no gods, and that the religion of his fathers was utterly abominable and foolish. In many islands, when a chief lotued before his subjects, he did so at the risk of being deposed by them; and in every direction there are instances of rebellions being raised by the heathens against the chiefs who had professed Christianity. For many years the fact, that whole communities of once cannibal savages had become civilised Christians was denied; and now that the fact can no longer be denied, certain so-called philosophers in Europe are at pains to invent explanations to suit their own theories. The natives might answer them as the blind man restored to sight by Jesus did the Pharisees of old: 'Why, herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence He is, and yet He hath opened mine eyes.' The explanation which should best satisfy Christians is, that God has worked with us. In His infinite compassion and love He has presented instruments exactly fitted for the work to be accomplished; and though He has thought fit in many instances to exercise the faith and patience of His servants, He has at length made the way clear before them.

"If I desired a particular proof that man has fallen from a high estate, and that he came forth pure and bright, and with a mind capable of rapidly acquiring knowledge, from the hands of his Maker, I should point to these savages, among whom, debased as they are, so many have a yearning after a better existence, a consciousness of sin, a desire to propitiate an offended deity, a weariness of their degraded condition, of the state of anarchy, of the bloodshed and immorality amid which they live. If these and other facts were known in England, though people might still wonder at the great change which has taken place in these islands, they would cease to disbelieve the statements which have been made by missionaries and others on the subject.

"But I must go on with my account. I was going to tell you how Christianity was introduced into Samoa,—and here the guiding hand of God can especially be traced.

"When John Williams sailed from Tahiti on his first long voyage in the Messenger of Peace, after visiting the Hervey group, and many other islands, he touched at the Tonga, or Friendly Islands, many of the inhabitants of which had already become Christian. The history of the group I will give you presently. At Tonga, a chief of the Navigator Islands, called Fanea, was met with, who had been eleven years away from home. His wife had become a Christian, and he himself was favourable to the new religion. He offered to accompany Mr Williams, and to introduce him to his brother chiefs. His account of himself being found correct, his offer was accepted, and he and his wife embarked. The voyage was prosperous, and Sapapalii, or Savaii, an island two hundred and fifty miles in circumference, was reached. Fanea now showed how especially fitted he was to assist the missionaries in their task. Calling them aside to a private part of the vessel, he requested them to desire the teachers not to commence their labours among their countrymen by condemning their canoe races, their dances, and other amusements, to which they were much attached, lest in the very onset they should conceive a dislike to the religion which imposed such restraints. 'Tell them,' said he, 'to be diligent in teaching the people, to make them wise, and they themselves will put away that which is evil. Let the "word" prevail, and get a firm hold upon them, and then we may with safety adopt measures which at first would prove injurious.' Fanea was related to Malietoa, one of the principal chiefs of the island, and was therefore, by his influence with his relatives, able to render great assistance to the work. He expressed, however, his fears that a powerful and perhaps an insuperable opposition would be offered by a still greater chief, who was besides a sort of pope or high priest, the head of such religious institution as they possessed. His name was Tamafaigna. Fanea asked after him in a trembling voice. 'He is dead,— killed ten days,—clubbed to death, as he deserved,' shouted the people, in evident delight, showing that they dreaded more than respected him. 'The devil is dead,—the devil is dead,' cried Fanea. 'There will now be no opposition to the lotu.' This was found to be the case. Had the event occurred a few days before, there would have been time to elect a successor. This man was supposed to have within him the spirit of one of the principal war-gods. The tithes of the two large islands had been given him, and in pride and profligacy he had become a pest and a proverb. He had, however, his supporters, who took up arms to avenge him, and among them were his relatives Malietoa and his brother Tamalelangi, who, although they rejoiced at his death, were compelled, according to the custom of the country, to endeavour to punish those who had killed him. Tamalelangi from the first showed himself a warm friend of the missionaries, and, while his brother was engaged in fighting, assisted them to land with their effects and stores, and to establish themselves on shore. Malietoa afterwards proved their warm friend, and four teachers were left with him, and four with Tamalelangi. Their people showed the teachers the greatest kindness, and, as a mark of it, each man who could get hold of a child carried it off to his own cottage, killed a pig for its food, and stuffed it to repletion before he carried it back to its anxious parents. Fanea, too, was unwearied in explaining the advantages of Christianity and the wonderful knowledge possessed by the missionaries, which enabled them to communicate their thoughts merely by making marks on a bit of paper. It is possible that he was somewhat influenced by ambitious motives, and the credit the introduction of Christianity would bring to him. His wife, however, appears to have been a sincere believer, and by her example and exhortations greatly to have forwarded the cause of truth. Malietoa, who inherited all Tamafaigna's political influence, exerted it to the end of his life in favour of the Christians. The truth was not, as it might be expected, to be established without opposition; and on one occasion a large heathen party approached the dwellings of the teachers, resolved on their destruction. Their friends turned out completely armed in native fashion, with clubs, and bows, and slings, and spears, for their defence, not unfrequently expressing in their tone and gesture the untamed ferocity of their nature by their appearance and loud shouts, even when kneeling in the attitude of devotion. Thus the night was spent in expectation every moment of an attack; but when the morning came it was discovered that their foes had disappeared. The native teachers, who could preach as well as instruct in school, made rapid progress. The people began to eat the fish and other creatures which they had formerly worshipped as gods, and dreaded to injure or even to touch. Some daringly devoured them, others cautiously put the dreaded morsels in their mouths, while the awestruck spectators waited as did the people of Melita when Saint Paul was bitten by a snake, expecting to see them swell or fall down dead. From this the natives concluded that Jehovah was indeed the true God, and were about to cast their war-god Popo, a block covered with a piece of matting, into the sea, and had tied a stone round it to sink it, when the teachers rescued the image, that they might present him as a trophy of the triumphs of the gospel.

"The Samoans, though not such gross idolaters, and certainly not so inhuman in their practices, as most of the other islanders in the Pacific, were much degraded both in mind and morals. They are perhaps the finest people in a physical point of view of any, yet they had more pharisaical pride and less consciousness of sin; and this, it is possible, prevented them from adopting some of those cruel practices prevalent among their neighbours.

"The teachers left by Williams laboured perseveringly. Still they could not persuade Malietoa to abandon the war. He went on one occasion to Upolu with all his fighting men, and three of the teachers resolved to follow him, hoping thus to influence him the more. He had allowed his son to join them. On their way they preached the word at several villages through which they passed, and the people heard them gladly. Malietoa was unmoved, and they had to return; but their journey had not been so bootless as they supposed. Scarcely had they reached home, than a messenger arrived from the chief of a village they had visited at Apolulu, begging them to return in haste, as he and his people were waiting to hear from their lips the truths of the gospel. Three of them set out for the settlement, where they were warmly welcomed by the chief and a thousand followers. After the usual salutations, the chief turned to the teachers and said, 'Have you brought a fish spear?' Surprised at this strange inquiry, they replied, 'No! why do you ask for that?' 'I want it,' he answered, 'to spear an eel. This is my etu—I will kill, cook, and eat it. I have resolved to become lotu.' He then added that he would afterwards spear and eat a fowl, as the spirit of his god was supposed to reside in that also. And these bold designs were no sooner formed than executed, though none of his followers supported him, nor was it till they saw that no evil results were the consequence, that they ventured to imitate his example. Numbers then declared that they wished to become Christians, and to be instructed in that faith. Returning from this expedition, they saw the stronghold of the heathen party in flames. Malietoa treated the conquered party with great leniency, and on one of their battle-fields erected a church to the service of the true God, while Popo, the god of war, was banished for ever. Many other chapels were built in different directions, and the new faith made great progress, though at that time, probably, many of the converts were very far from enlightened Christians. While these events were taking place in the larger islands, a large canoe with some Christians on board was driven on Tau, the most eastern island of the group, having embarked at Ravavai, one of the Austral group, two thousand miles distant, intending to proceed to some neighbouring island. Their lives and their health had been providentially preserved, and they received a friendly greeting from the natives, to whom they imparted a knowledge of the faith they professed. Several joined them, and the little congregation thus formed without a teacher, was looking forward to the arrival of a missionary ship, which they had heard would bring one, when Williams himself touched at their settlement. Soon after this three English missionaries visited the group, and one remained till the arrival of a considerable number, who came out direct from England for especial service in Samoa. The first care of this most efficient body of men was to master the language, and when this was done they lost no time in commencing a translation of the Bible. A printing-press was set up in 1839, and in July of that year printing was commenced in Samoa. The natives took a deep interest in it, and called it the fountain whence the word of God flowed to all Samoa. The native youths quickly learned to work it, and surrounded by numbers of their countrymen, standing as if riveted to the spot, and gazing with intense interest, now speechless with wonder, now shouting with delight, they endeavoured to show with what dexterity they could throw off the sheets. Numerous works were printed by them—sermons, catechisms, hymn-books, works on geography, astronomy, arithmetic, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and a native magazine. Upwards of 2,000 pounds was paid by the purchasers of the Scriptures and these books.

"In 1844, the 'Samoan Mission Seminary' was commenced. It was on a far larger scale than that I have described at Raratonga, though conducted on a very similar plan. It was for a group, it must be remembered, of considerable extent, containing not less than 34,000 inhabitants. Special attention is paid in the institution to the instruction of the wives of the students, and so highly are the labours of these female teachers prized in the islands, that inferior men are sometimes chosen on account of the high qualifications of their wives. I believe that nearly a hundred and fifty teachers have gone forth from the institution, some to labour in Samoa, and others in the Loyalty Islands, New Hebrides and Savage Island—many with their devoted wives having died from the effects of climate or fallen by the murderous hands of the savages to whom they carried the gospel. A high school is attached to the institution, as well as one for the children of the students. There are, I find, fifty boarding-schools in the group, having 800 scholars; 210 children's day-schools with 6,000 scholars, and 210 adult sabbath and day-schools with 7,000 scholars. When first Williams landed at Samoa, the natives wore no clothing except the most scanty of leaves or native cloth. Now I find it stated, that apart from all other articles of foreign manufacture, the demand for cotton goods alone amounts to 15,000 pounds per annum, and is every year increasing. [See Note 1.] I mention these facts because they are beyond dispute, and I beg that you will repeat them when you write home, as they may convince some who deny that the Polynesian savage can comprehend the spirit of the gospel, that at all events he has made considerable advances in civilisation, and that his connection is worth cultivating. You and I, and all who take the trouble of observing, know that he is as capable as the most highly educated European of understanding the whole scope of the gospel in all its beauty and holiness, and accepting it in all its fulness. We must never forget the saying of our blessed Lord, who knew what was in man, 'that many are called but few chosen,' and that this is true in Samoa as elsewhere. Of the many thousands who have become nominal Christians, we have every reason to hope that some—I might dare to say many—have accepted Christ to their eternal salvation. And Samoa forms but one group out of the many thousand isles of this ocean.

"Let us take a glance at Tonga, at which Williams called, as I told you, on that first voyage, so peculiarly blessed to Samoa. You have heard how a body of missionaries so far back as 1797 were landed at Tongatabu, from the ship Duffy by Captain Wilson. They were all ultimately compelled to leave the island, very much in consequence of the conduct of some white runaway seamen or convicts, who set the natives against them. Several were ultimately murdered, the rest escaped to New South Wales with the exception of one, who, sad to say, apostatised, and lived as a savage among the savages for some years. More than twenty years passed by, and the savage character of the wrongly named Friendly Islanders prevented any further attempt being made to offer them the gospel of peace; when God put it into the heart of the Reverend W Laury, a Wesleyan minister residing in New South Wales, who had been interested in the people by a widow of one of the early missionaries, to attempt their conversion. He sailed from Sydney in June, 1822, on board the Saint Michael, a merchant vessel, with his family, accompanied by a carpenter and blacksmith, both pious young men. He reached Tonga in safety, and remained for upwards of a year, gaining the language of the people, and protected by the chiefs, but without making any converts. On his return to Sydney he left the two young mechanics, and they were afterwards joined by the Reverend John Thomas, a young ardent missionary from England. They had indeed need of faith and patience. The chiefs who at first protected them proved themselves fickle and treacherous, robbing them of all they possessed, and it was evident that they valued their presence among them on account of the property they brought, not for the sake of the religious instruction they would afford. Just before Mr Thomas's arrival at Hihifo, on the west side of Tonga, two native teachers from Tahiti, on their way to Fiji, had landed at Nukualofa on the north coast. The preaching of these devoted men had awakened such a spirit of inquiry, that when Mr Thomas preached at Hihifo, numbers came over a distance of twelve miles to hear him. Tubou, the chief of Nukualofa, appeared convinced of the truths of Christianity, had a chapel built, and attended service; but tempted by his brother chiefs, who promised to make him king of the whole group if he would adhere to the old faith, he declined for the present to make a profession of Christianity. The work thus commenced at Nukualofa by the London Society's Tahitian teachers, was carried on in a spirit of brotherly love by the Reverend N Turner and William Cross and their devoted wives, sent out by the Wesleyan Missionary Society in 1828. They began schools there, which were well attended, while Mr Thomas opened one at Hihifo, at which, in spite of the opposition of the chief Ata, some twenty boys attended. In two years Mr Thomas could preach fluently in the language of the people, and congregations for public worship were formed and well attended. Mr Thomas had gone over to Nukualofa to preach, when the king Tubou, who had been absent for six months, attended, with two hundred of his subjects, the chapel which he himself had built, and where he now heard in his own tongue from the lips of an English minister the gospel clearly explained. Other chiefs from the two groups of islands to the north, Vavau and Haabai, in the course of the year sent to petition for teachers, or rather, one sent, being indifferent about the matter; the latter, Tui-Haabai, as he was called, came to Tonga in person. Though he earnestly pressed the point, there was no one to send; and so on his return home, finding an English sailor who could read and write, though sadly ignorant of the truths of religion, he made him his teacher. His perseverance and earnestness were to be rewarded. A sick lad, a step-son of Ata's, was the first convert at Hihifo, but on his death, the chief still more hardening his heart, it was agreed by the missionaries that Mr Thomas should remove from that station to Haabai. They however first sent one Peter, a native convert, to prepare the way, a plan which has been almost universally successful. The missionaries now spent some time together at Nukualofa, where the field appeared so promising. So indeed it proved; often so crowded was the chapel, that the missionaries went out amid the encampments of their visitors on the sea-side, that they might preach to them the words of eternal life under the free vault of heaven. It was at this time that King Tubou was baptised with his family and nearly thirty men and sixty women of his tribe. It was indeed a day to make the hearts of the long persevering and faithful missionaries rejoice."

To many readers of missionary reports these statements may not be new, but it was pleasant to have such testimony amidst the scenes themselves.

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Note 1. See Turner's "Nineteen Years in Polynesia."

"Of an evening," says Lieutenant Walpole, RN, writing of Samoa, "when, taking advantage of intervals of fine weather, we went for a ramble in the delightful woods, the quiet of the grove was often disturbed by a ruthless savage, who would rush out upon you, not armed with club or spear, but with slate and pencil, and thrusting them into your hands, make signs for you to finish his difficult exercise or sum."

Dr Coulter, surgeon of HMS Stratford, has given this testimony: "The power of religion has completely altered the naturally uncontrolled character of the natives, and effectually subdued barbarism. The former history of these islanders is well known to all readers. They were guilty of every bad and profane act. Infanticide and human sacrifices, in all their horrid shapes, were common occurrences. Utter abandonment and licentiousness prevailed over these islands (the Friendly Islands). What are they now? The query may be answered in a few words: They are far more decided Christians than the chief part of their civilised visitors."



CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

HOW THE LIGHT CAME TO FIJI.

"Tui-Haabai Tuafaahan, or George, the name he assumed when he became a Christian, the chief or king of the Haabai Islands, was no ordinary man. He possessed great influence over his people; and in this instance there can be no doubt that, in consequence of his embracing Christianity, great numbers of his subjects immediately professed it. So much was this the case, that out of eighteen inhabited islands of which the group consists, the people of all but two called themselves Christians when Mr Thomas arrived in 1830. Of course they were very ignorant of religious truths; but at the same time they were aware of their ignorance, and desired to be taught,—and what more could a missionary pray for? They consequently made great progress, though the work nearly wore out the missionary. A second, however, the Reverend Peter Turner, joined Mr Thomas the next year. Their wish at once was to extend the sphere of their labours.

"In April, 1831, King George, now himself well able to expound the gospel, with twenty-four sail of canoes, visited Finau, chief of Vavau, who had once sent for instruction to the missionaries at Tonga. With the king went the faithful missionary Peter, bearing a letter from Messrs. Thomas and Turner. King George, too, endeavoured to convince Finau of the truth, and at length he promised to join in worshipping the Lord on the next sabbath. This he did accompanied by several chiefs and others; and when Monday came he directed that seven of his principal idols should be placed in a row. He then addressed them: 'Listen to my words, that you may be without excuse. I have brought you here to prove you.' Commencing with the first, he said, 'If you are a god, run away, or you shall be burned in the fire which is ready for you.' The idol made no attempt to escape. In the same manner he addressed the next, and the next, till he came to the last. As none of them ran, he directed that their temples should be set on fire. The order was at once obeyed, and some eighteen or more with their idols were consumed. George and all his people capable of explaining the truths of Christianity, were employed in preaching and speaking night and day during their stay, so eager were the people to be instructed. All ordinary occupation was suspended. The reply to any expostulation was, 'We can labour when you are gone: let us while you stay learn how to worship God.' Afterwards two native teachers were sent to Vavau, till a missionary could be spared for them.

"Finau, who had himself once strongly opposed the Christians, now met with opposition from one of his own chiefs, who had been absent at Fiji. This chief threw himself into a strong fort; but it was surprised by the Christians, and the insurgents being brought out, it was burnt to the ground, without one person being killed. Mr Cross was soon afterwards appointed to Vavau, and on his voyage there from Tonga his canoe was wrecked, and his wife was drowned besides twenty other persons.

"It was about this time that the Reverend William Yate, of the Church Missionary Society, visited Tonga from New Zealand. He had heard much of the great change among the people, and was disposed to regard part at least as too strange and too good to be true. He therefore went much among the people, observing their domestic habits, and their attention to their religious duties, and he assured the missionaries that what he saw exceeded all that he had heard.

"Christianity was making progress in all the three groups, though in Tonga a powerful body of heathens, under Ata of Hihifo, still remained, when Finau, king of Vavau, died, leaving his government to King George of Haabai, who thus became sovereign of both groups. He and his wife gave full evidence soon after this that they were Christians not only in name, but in spirit and in truth. They were made class-leaders," and the king was appointed a local preacher. He did not presume on his high civil dignity, but always conducted himself in the house of God with becoming humility. One who heard him preach his first sermon told me that the great court-house, more than seventy feet long, could not contain the people who thronged to hear their king. Every chief on the island and all the local preachers were present. The king led the singing. He preached with great plainness and simplicity, and in strict accordance with the teaching of God's word; dwelling on the humility and love of the Saviour, the cleansing efficacy of His atoning blood, and the obligations under which we are laid to serve and glorify Him. But a few years before part of this very congregation might have been seen in this same house preparing guns, spears, and clubs, in order to slay their fellow-men, and waiting to be led forth to battle by the great warrior who was now the royal preacher. He proved his Christianity in another way. Hearing that the English had abolished slavery and that it is abhorrent to the character of the gospel, he that very day called all his slaves together and forthwith gave them their liberty. He next employed himself in building a church upwards of a hundred feet long and fifty wide, the largest building that had ever been erected in Tonga. He also exhibited his wisdom by framing a code of laws, by which all chiefs as well as people were to be equally bound. They were most judicious, and admirably fitted for the wants of the people. Not one professed heathen now remained in the two groups governed by King George, and the blessings he had received he was anxious to send to others. A missionary and several native teachers therefore went forth and established churches in Samoa, as well as in some small islands lying between the two groups. The missionaries were afterwards removed, it having been agreed between the Wesleyan and London Missionary Societies that Samoa should be left entirely under the charge of the London Missionary Society,—a wise resolve, the object of which does not appear to have been very clearly comprehended by the Samoan Christians, accustomed to the Wesleyan form, or by King George, who made a voyage to Samoa to consult about the matter. The reason of the arrangement was, that the Wesleyan Society might be able to devote all their means and energies to the promulgation of the gospel in the Fiji Islands, a work which they forthwith commenced and have carried on with unsurpassed vigour and success. I will describe it to you presently.

"Josiah Tubou, the king of Tonga proper, or Tongatabu though a consistent Christian, was a man every way inferior to King George in energy and talent, and the heathen chiefs and other ill-disposed persons set his power at defiance. They even went so far as to take up arms, in the hope of deposing him. In this, however, they were disappointed; for King George, with a large body of warriors, came to his assistance, and they were compelled to take refuge in certain strongly-built forts in their native districts, where they continued to hold out against his power. The war thus commenced and carried on for some years, proved a sad hindrance to religion and the advancement of civilisation. Two Roman Catholic priests were also landed from a French ship of war, and took up their residence with the heathens, whom they undoubtedly supported against their chief.

"It was while endeavouring to negotiate with the rebels in one of these forts that Captain Croker of HMS Favourite, who had with him a party of his ship's company, was shot at and killed. Another officer and several men fell on the occasion, while many were badly wounded. Several forts were taken or yielded, and the defenders pardoned; but the rebels were still holding out in the strongest, that of Bea, where the Romish priests resided, when Sir Everard Home, in the Calliope, arrived at Tonga. Several times the fort had been summoned to surrender, and Sir Everard Home had now the satisfaction of witnessing the way in which it was captured, and the leniency with which the rebels were treated, while he and King George himself were instrumental in saving the property of the Romish priests from destruction. From that time King George has been employed in consolidating his power, and in advancing the material as well as spiritual interests of his subjects.

"The success which attended the exertions of the missionaries at Tonga encouraged them to commence the work at Fiji, with which extensive group Tonga has for years been intimately connected, although the inhabitants are of a totally different race and character. I must go back again from the time of which I have just been speaking to the year 1835. Utterly debased and savage as were the people of Fiji at that period, the mission was commenced under peculiarly favourable circumstances. It was especially supported by King George of Tonga, who was much respected by the inhabitants of Lakemba, the spot which had been fixed on as the residence of the missionaries. Many Tongans also resided there, who could at once be addressed in their own language, which was also understood by the chief and many of the people of Lakemba. As many Fijians were living at Tonga, the missionaries were able likewise to prepare and print some books in Fijian. King George's introduction insured them a favourable reception from the chief of Lakemba, who at once gave them ground for the missionary premises. House-building is short work in Fiji, and a large body of natives, having prepared posts, spars, reeds, etcetera, assembled at the chosen site, and commenced operations. On the third day all the furniture, articles for barter, books, clothes, doors, windows, and various stores were landed, and carried to the two houses, of which the families took possession that evening. Lakemba is thirty miles in circumference, and contains, besides the king's town, eight other towns and three Tongan settlements. Many of the people inhabiting them, on their visits to head-quarters saw the mission premises, and went home to tell of what had excited their own admiration. Thus the number of visitors increased, and many becoming dissatisfied with their own gods, and tired with the exactions of the priests, came regularly on the sabbath to worship at the chapel. As they had to pass the king's town they were observed, and abused for presuming, though common people, to think for themselves in the matter of religion, and even daring to forsake their own gods for the new God of whom the strangers spoke. Threats were used, and the Christians would immediately have been persecuted, had not a chief from Tonga, who had come over to protect the Christians from the people of Mbau, himself adopted the new faith, letting it be known that he would protect his co-religionists. They did not escape altogether: their houses were pillaged, and many had to fly for their lives. They however went to other islands, carrying, as did the Christians of old, their religion with them, and were the means of spreading it to other parts of the group. Many of the Tongans heard the word gladly, though hitherto known for their evil doings, and returned home changed in heart and manners. The king of Lakemba even pretended that he wished to become a Christian, though his profession was not sincere, as he continued to persecute the converts. He at last said that he would lotu if some other powerful chiefs would do so; and suggested that the missionaries should go to Mbau and see what change they could effect in the rulers of that notorious cannibal island. Mr Cross took the king at his word, and with his wife and family embarked for Mbau. On his arrival there, he found that war had been raging, that two bodies were in the ovens, and that very little attention to his preaching could be expected. Though Thakombau, the king's son, promised him his protection and a spot of ground for a house, he considered it wiser to proceed to Rewa, a town about twelve miles away on the main island, where the chief promised to protect him, and to allow as many of his people to lotu as desired it. At first Mr Cross preached in the open air; but a chief of some rank and his wife becoming Christians, they opened their house for worship, and a hundred hearers would sometimes assemble there to listen.

"Off the island of Great Fiji is another small island, that of Viwa. The chief, Namosi, and his nephew, Verani, had captured a French brig and destroyed the crew. The captain, it was proved, had allowed his vessel to be used in the native wars, and had even suffered the body of an enemy to be cooked and eaten on board. To punish Namosi, two French men-of-war appeared off the coast, and the crews landing, burned down his town and destroyed his crops. This misfortune seems so to have affected him, that he begged a teacher might be sent to instruct him in the new religion; and to show his sincerity, he built a large chapel, where many of his people joined him in worshipping God. Thus were two centres formed in Fiji, where two men single-handed battled with almost incredible difficulties, cheered, however, by no inconsiderable success,—that is to say, Mr Cargill at Lakemba, and Mr Cross at Rewa.

"In 1838 three missionaries arrived from England. One of them was the devoted John Hunt, who at once volunteered to go to the assistance of Mr Cross, who was already breaking down with his labours at Rewa. With them also came a printer, a printing-press, and book-binding materials. Early in 1839 Saint Mark's Gospel and a catechism in Fijian were printed,—an important event in the history of a people who three years before had no written language, and who seemed sunk in the utter depths of darkness and moral degradation. Fiji was indebted for Mr Hunt to the Christian liberality of a lady—Mrs Brackenbury, of Raithbury Hall, Lincolnshire, who offered to pay all the expenses of his outfit and passage, and 50 pounds a year for three years, provided the committee would send another missionary, and thus raise the number to seven.

"The mission establishment at Rewa drew many visitors, especially the people from Mbau, who came to make inquiries about the lotu. To this place the printing-press was moved, and it was made the head-quarters of the Fijian mission. On an island off Vanua Levu, or the Great Land, was situated the town of Somosomo, the chief of which, who had considerable power, begged that missionaries might be sent to him.

"Accordingly Mr Hunt and Mr Lyth, with their families, went there, and took up their quarters in a large house provided by the chief. He showed clearly, however, that he only required their goods; and not only were the families neglected, but the most horrible cannibal practices took place close to them, encouraged by the chief. His son was wrecked on an enemy's shore, when he and his followers were killed and eaten. In consequence a number of women were murdered, in spite of the entreaties of the missionaries that their lives might be spared, while captives were constantly dragged before their windows to be killed and baked. Ultimately the station was abandoned, and the chief was murdered by one of his own sons, who was himself murdered by a brother; and such anarchy and confusion reigned, that Somosomo was laid almost desolate.

"After a time the remaining chiefs and people, brought low by distress, turned to the God of the strangers, and great numbers became Christians,—showing that the seed had been sown and taken root, though when the missionaries left the island they were disposed to fear that no good had been effected.

"The truth spread by a great variety of means. A chief named Wai, of the far-off island of Ono, tributary to Lakemba, came to that island to pay his dues. He there met with Takai, another Fijian chief, who had visited Sydney and Tahiti, and had become a Christian. With such knowledge as he could thus pick up he returned home. He there taught his people; and so great a thirst for further instruction sprang up among them, that a whaler calling at Ono for provisions, they engaged a passage in her for two messengers who were to beg the missionaries at Tonga to send them a teacher. A long time must have elapsed before one could have reached them; but the Lord knew the desire of their hearts, and took His own means for giving them the spiritual food after which they hungered.

"Early in 1836 a canoe, on board which was Josiah, a converted Tongan, with other Christians, sailed from Lakemba for Tonga, but was driven out of her course to Turtle Island, about fifty miles from Ono. Hearing when there that the people of Ono were seeking after religious instruction, Josiah hastened there to tell them all he could of the gospel. In a short time forty persons became worshippers of God, and a chapel was built to hold a hundred. In the meantime their two messengers reached Tonga, where they were told that as missionaries were now stationed at Lakemba they must apply there for the help they sought. A teacher was found, once a wild youth, who had been converted at Lakemba. Here he remained two years preparing for his work, till he had an opportunity of going to Ono. On his arrival he found that one hundred and twenty adults had become Christians. A strong heathen party was, however, formed against them, and they had more than once to fight for their lives. Even the king of Lakemba threatened to destroy them because they would not give up a young Christian girl who had in her infancy been betrothed to him. A gale drove back the king's canoe, and some of those of his followers were lost; so that he was persuaded that the God of the Christians frowned on his design. The island was visited several times by English missionaries, and at last one was appointed to reside there.

"All the people have now become Christians, and probably fifty agents have been raised up there to carry the gospel to other parts of Fiji. Christianity spread among the islands in the neighbourhood of Lakemba subject to Somosomo. This was in spite of the belief in a threat of the king, that he would kill and eat any of his subjects who should lotu. The king arrived, and hearing of the tale indignantly denied it. He ordered, however, that tribute should be paid to him on Sunday. This the Christians refused to do, but the following day they appeared with their offerings. This produced a favourable impression on the king, showing as it did, what was the genuine effect of Christianity when carried out. No one was punished, though unhappily the king seemed to remain as complete a heathen as before till his death.

"In Lakemba the Christians multiplied, and the whole population of one town, that of Yaudrana, lotued in one day. They had been ill-treated, and two of their number had been killed by the king or his people. Suddenly they came to the conclusion that their own gods could no longer protect them, and they resolved to pray to Jehovah the God of the Christians. They accordingly sent to Mr Calvert, the missionary. The chiefs of the town met him to speak on the matter, in the principal temple in the place, and after singing and prayer they bowed down to worship God. The following Sabbath the whole population, by agreement, openly abandoned idolatry. The king sent to forbid them, but his message arrived after the ceremony had been performed, and they replied that they would pay him lawful tribute, but would not abandon their new faith. After this movement of the larger number of his subjects, the king himself became a Christian.

"I can with difficulty recollect the numerous events connected with missionary work as they occurred in the wide extending group of Fiji. Of the most important I have not yet spoken. It is necessary to remember the names of three important places: Mbau, though a small island, contains the capital of the powerful chief Thakombau, now called the king of all Fiji. Twelve miles off, on the mainland, is Rewa; and on another small island two miles from Mbau, is Viwa, the residence of Namosimalua, who had become nominally Christian, or was at all events favourable to the Christians. Here Mr Cross took up his abode, when Thakombau refused him admission to Mbau. Thakombau was the son of Tanoa, the chief of Mbau. Mbau had obtained the influence it possessed over other parts of Fiji in consequence of its having become the abode of Charles Savage, a runaway seaman, a horrible ruffian, a Swede by birth, who managed to obtain a large supply of firearms and ammunition, and led her armies for many years against her neighbours of the larger islands, compelling them to become tributary to her. At length, being defeated in Viti Levu, by a party of natives against whom, in conjunction with the master of an English trading vessel, the Hunter, of Calcutta, he was carrying on a war for the sake of procuring a cargo of sandal-wood for the ship, he was, together with fourteen of the crew, put to death and eaten, his body being treated with every mark of detestation, and his bones converted into sail-needles, and distributed among the people as a remembrance of the victory. Namosimalua was looked upon as the Ulysses of those regions. He in conjunction with other chiefs, weary of the exactions of Tanoa, rebelled against him, and compelled him to fly, also advising that his young son Thakombau, whose talents he had discovered, should be put to death. This not having been done, he resolved to gain the friendship of Tanoa without committing himself. He therefore offered to go in pursuit of the king, but secretly sent a messenger to warn him of his danger. When Thakombau restored his father to his possessions, Tanoa saved Namosi's life, though the former never forgave him his intentions towards him.

"Among the greatest warriors and fiercest cannibals of Fiji was a nephew of Namosi's, called Verani, who was a firm friend of Thakombau's. At Rewa a mission had been established, but its chief Ratu Nggara remained a heathen, and was a powerful rival of Thakombau. Some time after the establishment of the missions at Viwa, Namosi its chief became a Christian; and as visitors from Mbau and other places visited the mission-house, the knowledge of the new faith spread in every direction around. The fierce warrior Verani even listened to what the missionary had to say, and hopes were entertained that he too might lotu; but his friend Thakombau urged him to remain firm to the old faith, and to join him as before in his wars. At first, Verani yielded to evil counsels; but, happily, again and again he visited the missionary, till he declared his conviction that Christianity was true; and from that day he became as resolute and bold in promulgating the truth, as he had before been in supporting the customs of heathenism. For several years he held a consistent Christian course of life, and his example had probably an influence on his friend Thakombau. His good influence was, however, opposed by some of the abandoned white men, resident on neighbouring islands, who dreaded, should the king turn Christian, that a stop would be put to their own evil doings. They even went so far, when they thought this possible, as to join the natives in carrying on war against him; and so successful were they that on every side he found his power decreasing. What force or persuasion could not effect, affliction accomplished. During the time of his greatest distress he received a letter from King George of Tonga, urging him to delay no longer, but to turn to the God of the Christians. This letter seems to have decided him.

"On the 30th April, 1854, at nine o'clock the death-drum was beaten—the signal for assembling in the great 'Strangers' House' for the worshipping of the true God. Ten days before, its sound had called people together to a cannibal feast. Three hundred persons were present in the ample lotu dress, before whom stood Thakombau, the chief, with his children and wives. The missionary, who had so long watched for this event, was deeply moved, and could scarcely proceed with the service. It was indeed a day to be remembered in the annals of Fiji. After worship, the people crowded round the missionaries, to ask for alphabets, and gathered in groups to learn forthwith to read. The king, after this, caused the Sabbath to be observed. His deportment was serious, and his own attendance at preaching and prayer-meetings was regular. His little boy, about seven years old, had already learnt to read, and he now became the instructor of his parents, who were both so eager to acquire knowledge, that their young teacher would often fall asleep in the midst of his lesson.

"Among the most implacable enemies of Thakombau was the king of Rewa. Elijah Verani undertook a mission to that chief, in the hopes of bringing about peace, when he and most of his companions were traitorously murdered and eaten. Not long after this the king of Rewa himself died, and his people sued for peace.

"Thakombau, the once cannibal and homicide, was not allowed to remain quiet. He had enemies on every side; some of them he conquered in war, but often his life was in danger from his own former associates and relations. The effect, however, was good, as it made him turn more and more to God for pardon through Jesus Christ and to the consolations of religion. At length he triumphed, and his enemies were subdued under him. He had from the first prohibited cannibalism; murder was now declared to be against the law. The first two murderers guilty of the crime before the law was promulgated were pardoned, but the next, though a chief, was tried, and being found guilty of the murder of his wife, was publicly executed by his countrymen at Mbau, the missionary wisely absenting himself at the time. In the same year three chiefs of rank were publicly married, each to one wife, a step afterwards taken by the king himself. Churches were now built in every direction, and thousands of the people of Fiji abandoned their horrible customs, put away their idols, and turned to the true God."



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

THE COURAGE OF KAPIOLANI.

"Although the change in Fiji is very great, much remains to be done. It is not more than we may justly say, that cannibalism and the more abominable crimes once common have ceased to exist wherever English missionaries reside, and in most places where native teachers have gained a footing. The kingdom of peace is making daily progress. The gospel has firmly established itself in the heart of Fiji. Thakombau remains firm and consistent in his profession of Christianity, and though certain chiefs rebelled against him, he has dealt as leniently with them as the maintenance of authority and order will allow, and has striven as far as possible to avoid bloodshed.

"It is satisfactory to see the way Captain Erskine, of HMS Havannah, speaks of those who have contributed to bring about this state of things. I cannot refrain from touching on a circumstance which he mentions, redounding as it does so greatly to the honour of the wives of two of the missionaries, Mrs Lyth and Mrs Calvert. It occurred while old Tanoa was still alive, and of course long before Thakombau became a Christian.

"A powerful tribe had sent a deputation to Mbau with tribute, and it was necessary to provide them with a banquet, a portion of which must, according to custom, be human flesh. The chief whose business it was to provide for the occasion, not having any enemies, set forth by night and captured a number of women belonging to a village along the coast, who had come down to pick shell-fish for food. Immediately Namosimalua, the Christian chief, heard of it, he hastened to the missionary station; but the missionaries' wives alone were at home. These heroic women, however, resolved to go themselves, and to endeavour at all risks to save the lives of the captives. Accompanied by the faithful Christian chief they embarked in a canoe for Mbau. Each carried a whale's tooth decorated with ribbons, a necessary offering on preferring a petition to a chief. As they landed near old Tanoa's house, the shrieks of two women then being slaughtered for the day's entertainment chilled their blood, but did not daunt their resolution. Ten had been killed; one had died of her wounds; the life of one girl had been begged by Thakombau's principal wife, to whom she was delivered as a slave, and three only remained. Regardless of the sanctity of the place, it being tabooed to women, they forced themselves into old Tanoa's chamber, who demanded, with astonishment at their temerity, what those women did there? The Christian chief, presenting the two whales' teeth, answered that they came to solicit the lives of the remaining prisoners.

"Tanoa, still full of wonder, took up one of these teeth, and turning to an attendant, desired him to carry it immediately to Navindi—the chief who had captured the prisoners—and ask, 'If it were good?'

"A few minutes were passed in anxious suspense. The messenger returned. Navindi's answer was, 'It is good.' The women's cause was gained, and old Tanoa thus pronounced his judgment: 'Those who are dead, are dead; those who are alive shall live.' The heroic ladies retired with their three rescued fellow-creatures, and had the satisfaction besides of discovering that their daring efforts had produced a more than hoped-for effect. A year or two ago, no voice but that of derision would have been raised towards them, but now returning to their canoe, they were followed by numbers of their own sex blessing them for their exertions, and urging them to persevere.

"Captain Erskine, who heard this account from the ladies themselves, and gives it much as I have done, adds, 'If anything could have increased our admiration of their heroism, it was the unaffected manner in which when pressed by us to relate the circumstances of their awful visit, they spoke of it as the simple performance of an ordinary duty.' He continues: 'I could not fail to admire the tolerant tone of the missionaries when speaking of these enormities. Accustomed for years to witness scenes such as few believe are to be seen on the face of the earth, and to combat the wildest errors step by step, with slow but almost certain success, these good men know well that a constant expression of indignation, such as must naturally arise in the mind of a stranger, would not produce the desired effect on the unhappy beings to whose loftiest interests they have with much self-sacrifice devoted themselves. Navindi, the cannibal chief of the fishermen, whose natural disposition they describe as kindly and confiding, was received quite on the footing of a friend, and Thakombau was also spoken of as a man of great energy and good intentions, by whose instrumentality much good might yet be effected among his numerous subjects or dependants. The wisdom of their conduct has been proved. These men have been won over to the truth. When our blessed Lord walked on earth He reproved in strongest language the scribes and Pharisees who knew the law, but not the publicans and sinners who knew it not. Captain Erskine describes the missionaries as engaged in the translation of the Scriptures and other religious works to be completed before a given time—a labour to be carried on in the midst of constant interruptions, to which the members of this mission and their families are liable at all hours of the day. Besides being referred to in cases of quarrels and disputes, the care of the sick and the distribution of medicines are duties which they have undertaken, and carry out with unremitting attention.'

"I wish that people in England knew of the efforts made by the priests of Rome to impede the progress of the pure gospel. Their mode of proceeding is very clearly described in a few words by Captain Erskine. He says, 'There are two French Roman Catholic missionaries stationed at Lakemba, but, as at Tongatabu, it is to be feared that their presence will tend rather to retard than advance the improvement of the natives. The practice of this (Roman Catholic) mission, in availing themselves of the pioneer-ship of men of a different sect, for the purpose of undermining their exertions, cannot be too severely reprobated. Being very irregularly furnished with supplies from their own country, these two are sometimes dependent for the common necessaries of life on the Wesleyans, for whom they entertain the strongest dislike, and who cannot be expected to treat them otherwise than as mischievous intruders; nor are their privations in any way compensated by success in their objects.' He describes a visit to the fortress of Bea, in Tonga, where two Roman Catholic priests reside, and which is inhabited partly by Roman Catholics and partly by heathens. 'The appearance of the people in this fortress was not such as to impress one favourably, compared with the others of their countrymen we had seen. They were more scantily clothed, and apparently less cleanly in their persons and houses, a natural consequence of living in a more confined space; and the absence of that cordiality which we everywhere met with from persons connected with the Protestant missions was very apparent. I heard also among the younger officers of pockets picked and handkerchiefs stolen, showing a more lawless state of life, and a retention of their old habits, which were so obnoxious to their early European visitors.' The priests complained to Captain Erskine of the way the missionaries spoke of them, on which he says, 'It is perhaps sufficient to remark that, even if the Wesleyans were guilty (which I do not believe) of all the improper conduct attributed to them by M Calinon, it has been occasioned entirely by the obtrusion of the Society to which he belongs into ground previously occupied by others, who would undoubtedly, had their efforts remained unopposed or unassisted, soon have numbered the whole of the population among their fellow-worshippers.'

"The priest also wrote to Captain Erskine, repeating his accusations of intolerance against the Wesleyans, and expressing his fears that their efforts to disparage him would be renewed on their departure, and the flight of the pope from Rome, of which they had heard, represented as the downfall of the Catholic Church.

"The captain says, 'I thought it right to answer his letter, as I could exonerate the missionaries from any charge of having attempted to prejudice us against the Roman Catholic priests, nor did I believe that they would make use of any unfair argument against their faith, founded on the political position of the pope.' I must also express my conviction that the charge against the Wesleyans made by the priests of adopting as proselytes all who offer without examination is quite unfounded. The putting away of all but one wife—no small sacrifice on the part of a people who have practised polygamy for ages—is always insisted on as a first step, and regular attendance on religious worship is also expected. Among the older Christians I saw every evidence of their having adopted the new faith from conscientious conviction, and the chiefs of the highest distinction are probably better read in the New Testament than any of the English met with among the islands.

"Captain Erskine also bears testimony to the character of other missionaries. Describing the work at Samoa, he says: 'The first circumstance which must strike a stranger on his arrival, and one which will come hourly under his notice during his stay, is the influence which all white men, but in particular the missionaries, exercise over the minds of the natives.

"'No unprejudiced person will fail to see that had this people acquired their knowledge of a more powerful and civilised race than their own, either from the abandoned and reckless characters who still continue to infest most of the islands of the Pacific, or even from a higher class engaged in purely mercantile pursuits, they must have fallen into a state of vice and degradation to which their old condition would have been infinitely superior. That they have been at least rescued from this state, is entirely owing to the missionaries; and should the few points of asceticism which these worthy men, conscientiously believing them necessary to the eradication of the old superstitions, have introduced among their converts, become softened by time and the absence of opposition, it is not easy to imagine a greater moral improvement than will then have taken place among a (once) savage people.

"'With respect to those gentlemen of the London Mission, whose acquaintance I had the satisfaction of making in Samoa, I will venture, at the risk of being considered presumptuous, to express my opinion, that in acquirements, general ability, and active energy, they would hold no undistinguished place among their Christian brethren at home. The impossibility of accumulating private property, both from the regulations of the Society and the circumstances surrounding them, ought to convince the most sceptical of their worldly disinterestedness, nor can the greatest scoffers at their exertions deny to them the possession of a virtue which every class of Englishman esteems above all others, the highest order of personal courage.' [See Note.]

"But I need not quote further from Captain Erskine, nor from other unprejudiced writers, to convince you, and through you your friends, of what has been accomplished through the instrumentality of missionaries. You will have many opportunities of judging for yourself. There is, however, another subject to which I would urge you to draw attention, that is, the attempts made by French priests of the Church of Rome to counteract the efforts of the missionaries. You know what has been done at Tahiti. You hear from Captain Erskine what is doing at Tonga and Fiji. The same attempts are being made at Samoa and elsewhere, wherever English missionaries have pioneered the way, and there are good harbours, but not otherwise. This almost looks as if their designs are political as well as religious, and that the object of those who send them is to establish French posts across the Pacific, so that in time of war they may have coaling stations and harbours of refuge in every direction. As they have by means of these priests a party in each group, they will never want an excuse for interfering in the affairs of the islands whenever they may have occasion to do so.

"But I must tell you more of many other islands brought under Christian instruction. Savage Island offers a notable example of what can be done in a short time. Captain Cook gave it that name, on account of the savage appearance of the inhabitants. When Williams first visited them in 1830, they appeared to be in no way improved. Several at length were induced to visit Samoa, where at the training college they gained so sound a knowledge of Christianity, that in 1846 two of them were well fitted to impart it to their long-benighted countrymen. They narrowly, however, escaped with their lives, and some time elapsed before they could gain the confidence of those they came to instruct. When visited by the Reverend A Murray in 1852, about two hundred converts had been made, and many others had learned to look at the teachers with affection. Unhappily that very year several of the natives were killed by the crew of a man-of-war which had called off the island, because one of them had stolen a carpenter's tool, and among them was the chief who had protected the missionaries on first landing. Still they were already too well instructed to wish to return evil for evil, and with simplicity complained that the punishment was rather severe, especially as the innocent suffered, though not altogether undeserved. From this time forward, under their native teachers, the people made great progress in their knowledge of religious truth, and so rapidly were numbers added to the Church, that in a few years not a heathen remained on the island. It was not indeed till quite lately that an English missionary was placed on the island, and he found five large churches built, one of which was capable of holding more than a thousand people; and many young men were anxious to be trained, that they might carry the gospel to other lands. I might give you a similar account of the way Christianity has been introduced into many other islands, and small groups of islands in this part of the Pacific; but I have a very different one to give of the western part, or of those islands which form what is called Melanesia. They consist of five groups, and not only do the inhabitants of each group speak different languages, but frequently those of neighbouring islands.

"We will begin with the large island of New Caledonia, on which the French have lately formed a convict establishment. To the south of it is the Isle of Pines, and to the east the three islands of Mare, Livu, and Uea, forming the Loyalty group. At Mare and Livu chiefly, Christianity has made progress, and Protestant missionaries have for some years been residing on them, while the people of Uea have gladly received the word; but the Isle of Pines has been stained with the blood of several native missionaries; and not only did the savage people reject the offer themselves, but they impeded its progress on New Caledonia, by threatening all who became Christians, till the French arrived and put a stop to the promulgation of Protestant truth among the people. Altogether, the influence of Romanism has been most pernicious in these islands.

"To the north-east of them are the New Hebrides, the most southern of which is Aneiteum; next Tanna, Eromanga, Fate, Malicolo, Espiritu Santo, and many others. The next group is that of Banks' Island, with Santa Maria, and many small isles. The Santa Cruz group is the fourth in the list; and to the north-west of them the Solomon Isles, consisting of many large islands, make the fifth group. The London Missionary Society have made every effort to carry the gospel to the inhabitants of the two first named groups, and in some instances successfully.

"It was at Eromanga that the devoted missionary John Williams fell, with his young companion Mr Harris, struck down by the club of a chief. This sad murder did not prevent the Society from making further efforts to send the gospel to the benighted inhabitants. Those efforts have been blessed, and among the converts was the chief who committed the deed, and who gave up to a missionary the very weapon with which the fatal blow was struck. On Aneiteum, English missionaries are located, Christian Churches have been established, and, with few exceptions, the whole of the population have in name become Christian.

"These five groups are now called Melanesia. They have for some years past been regularly visited by the energetic Bishop of New Zealand, who has induced young men from most of them to accompany him in his mission vessel to New Zealand, where at the Auckland training college they are prepared to carry back the gospel to their savage countrymen. A missionary bishop has lately been appointed to superintend the work, which, if carried on in the spirit with which it has been commenced, must with God's blessing prosper.

"These islands were long noted for the deeds of blood committed on their shores, for the number of vessels cut off, and both white and native missionaries murdered, and the natives have been looked on in consequence as of the most fierce and sanguinary character. That they deserved it in a degree there is no doubt; but at the same time it is very certain that their conduct towards foreigners was caused by the unjust, cruel way in which they were treated by the crews of vessels which came to procure sandal-wood on their shores. These men shot them down, cheated them, and ill-treated them in every possible way, sometimes carrying off chiefs and people from one place to exchange them as slaves for sandal-wood in another. Over and over again natives have been shot both on board vessels and on shore by the traders. Such was the cause of the death of the lamented John Williams and young Harris. A trading vessel had touched at Eromanga a short time before their arrival, her crew having shot several natives, among whom was the son of a chief, who afterwards confessed that it was in retaliation he had instigated his countrymen to the attack, and had himself struck the fatal blow.

"But time will not allow me to give a further description of this portion of the Pacific. I have as yet told you nothing of the Sandwich Islands, or, as they are now called, the Hawaiian Islands, with their capital Honolulu, in the isle of Oahu, and their late sovereign, King Kamehameha the Fourth. They consist of several large and beautiful islands: that of Hawaii (Owhyee), containing two mountains, Mouna Kea and Mouna Roa, said to be eighteen thousand feet in height, and by far the most lofty in the whole Pacific. The inhabitants are a fine and handsome race. Their religion was one of gross superstition, and so overloaded with restrictions, constantly increasing, and curtailing the liberty of all classes except the priests, that the chiefs and people at length became utterly weary of it. Even when visited by Captain Vancouver in 1793, some of the chiefs requested him to send them instructors in the Christian faith,—a prayer to which little attention appears to have been paid.

"It was not till the year 1820 that the young King Rihoriho, who had ascended the throne established by his victorious father, no longer believing in the power of his idols, and weary of the restraints of the old religion, at one stroke broke through the hitherto sacred taboo and the entire system of priestcraft.

"Just before this eventful time it had been put into the hearts of Christian men in the United States, who formed the American Board of Missions, to send missionaries to the long-known savage murderers of Captain Cook. A band of devoted men, admirably selected, arrived on the 30th March, 1820, in sight of Mouna Roa. They were received in a friendly way by the king and many of the chiefs, and three stations were soon occupied by them and their families.

"Two years afterwards, Mr Ellis, of the London Missionary Society, was invited to come from Tahiti to aid in the work, which he was happily enabled to do. He came accompanied by some native Tahitian teachers, who were of the greatest assistance to the missionaries. He remained until the ill-health of Mrs Ellis compelled him to return to England. The king of the Sandwich Islands and his excellent queen, after they had become Christians, paid a visit to England, where they soon died from the measles, which they caught on landing. King Rihoriho, who had assumed the title of Kamehameha the Second, was succeeded by his younger brother, the islands being well governed in the mean time by his mother and one of his chiefs.

"The missionary stations were increased in number, many schools were established, and the natives began to understand the truths of the gospel, and to accept its offers, when there came a rude interruption from an outbreak of heathen chiefs, set on by their priests. After some severe fighting the rebels were defeated, and the insurrection completely put down. Christianity and civilisation once more again made progress; but the missionaries had to contend with opposition not only from the heathen natives, but from so-called Christian strangers, who were furious at finding that they could no longer indulge in the gross licence in which in former days they had been accustomed to revel. Not only were they insulted by masters of whalers, but the American missionaries complain that they were ill-treated by the commander of one of their own men-of-war, and by all his subordinates. From such sources have arisen the numerous calumnies current against the missionaries in the South-Sea."

[See Note 2.]

"In about ten years from the landing of the first missionaries one-third of the population were under instruction, and there were no less than nine hundred native teachers; but even at that time, and much later, there were many heathens, and vice and immorality were very prevalent among professing Christians. Still among all classes there were notable examples of true piety, and ardent zeal for the propagation of the truth. The excellent queen-mother, Kaahumanu, by her precept and example did much to advance the cause of religion. I must tell you of another native lady, Kapiolani, the wife of Naike, the public orator of the kingdom, by whose courage and faith one of the most terrible of the old superstitions of Hawaii was overthrown. The old religion was coloured by the awful volcanic phenomena of which these islands are the theatre. The most fearful of all their deities was Pele, a goddess supposed to reside in the famous volcano of Kilauea. Here, with her attendant spirits, she revelled amid the fiery billows as they dashed against the sides of the crater. To the base of this volcano the old heathenism, driven from the rest of Hawaii, slowly retreated, though the priestesses of Pele several times ventured even into the presence of the king, to endeavour by threats of the vengeance of the goddess to induce him to support the faith of his fathers. These impostors still exercised considerable influence over the uneducated masses.

"Kapiolani, bold in the Christian faith, resolved practically to show how utterly powerless were these supposed fiery gods. After a journey of a hundred miles, as she neared the side of the mountain, a prophetess of the supposed goddess met her with warnings and denunciations of vengeance. But undauntedly she persevered, and as she stood on the black edge of the seething caldron she addressed, in words of perfect faith, the anxious bystanders watching for the effects of Pele's wrath: 'Jehovah is my God: He kindled these fires. I fear not Pele. If I perish, then you may believe that she exists, and dread her power. But if Jehovah saves me, then you must fear and serve Him.' As she spoke, she cast with untrembling hand the sacred berries into the burning crater, quietly waiting till the spectators should be convinced that no result was to follow. Thus she succeeded in breaking through the last lingering remnant of the long-dreaded taboo; and while the priests and priestesses were compelled to support themselves by honest labour, their votaries abandoned their heathen practices, and in many instances sought instruction in the new faith.

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