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in the Society Isles, and more especially in the Low Archipelago. Their sources of enjoyment are more scanty, but, in compensation, their crimes and sufferings are much fewer.
We owe our knowledge of their sequestered dwelling entirely to the exertions of the missionaries ; for, though the natives of the more northern groups had some faint notion of the existence of an island and a small people at a greater distance than themselves from the equator, they could give no such directions as would have led to a discovery. When Anura returned to his own country from Raiatea, he found there a number of the inhabitants of Rimatara, who, after receiving christian instruction, made haste to convey the same blessing to their kinsmen at home. In the month of June 1822, the brethren in Bolabola sent two of their body to assist them in this benevolent undertaking, and, besides the elements of religion, to teach the important arts of reading and writing. They applied themselves with diligence to the accomplishment of their object, and such was the success with which their endeavours were attended, that when the author of the Missionary Enterprises visited them, about fifteen months afterwards, he found that the people at large had renounced their idols, and were living in the utmost harmony. They had erected a building for divine worship, the walls of which were plastered, and the floor regularly boarded. The congregation, amounting to nearly three hundred, presented a most interesting sight. The females were neatly dressed in white cloth of their own manufacture, and all wearing bonnets which the wives of the teachers had taught them to make. “ Men who had grown old in the service of idolatry, and who had never met for worship but in a heathen temple, now assembled to render homage to the living God. The venerable figures, whose heads were gray with years, appeared in striking contrast with the youth and sprightliness of the children by whom they were surrounded.” During the service all were attentive and apparently deeply interested. At this
time the entire population were under instruction, including a hundred and thirty boys and girls.*
A great improvement has also been effected in their moral sentiments and social intercourse. The missionaries, on their first arrival, found great cause to lament that, though their habits were in many respects mild and humane, they subjected the women to the most humiliating drudgery. They were compelled to labour in the cultivation of the soil, while their husbands and brothers spent their hours in indolence or amusement; a practice which continued some time after the conversion of the whole people to the gospel, which sanctions no such disparity in the sexes. To remedy this evil, a meeting was held in the year 1825, when one of the preachers proposed a change in their usages as far as the employment of the females was concerned. No sooner was it explained than every chief present expressed his opinion in favour of the meditated reform; and their deliberations ended in a unanimous resolution that thenceforth “ the men should dig, plant, and prepare the food, and the women make cloth and bonnets, and attend to their household work.” The change thus introduced, by establishing a suitable division of labour, has proved favourable to domestic virtue and social happiness, while it has greatly augmented all the means of subsistence. Aware that their comfort depends essentially on a knowledge of the arts, they sent one of their number to Bolabola, a distance of nearly four hundred miles, to learn the trade of a carpenter and other branches, in order that on his return he might communicate his acquirements to others.
* Researches, vol. ii. p. 391. Mr Williams (Enterprises, p. 363) says, “I have not spoken of any of my visits to Rimatara, a beautiful little island, about seventy miles west of Rurutoo. We first heard of it from Anura ; and Christianity being established at Rurutoo, we succeeded in imparting the same blessing to the inhabitants of Rimatara. Messrs Thorlkeld and Orsmond were the first Europeans who visited it.”.
+ Missionary Chronicle, No. XLI. p. 271. Ellis, vol. iii.
About four years ago, notice was given to the public of the discovery of a group of islands in the Low Archi. pelago which do not appear in any map or chart. The Actæon, a ship of war, commanded by Lord Edward Russell, while on the passage from Otaheite to Pitcairn's Island, discovered land, and being within three miles of the most western island, bearing north-north-west, made out three low wooded ones, with a heavy surf on the beach, and no-appearance of anchorage. The most distant appeared to have a lagoon in the centre, with a reef extending about three quarters of a mile from its northwestern and south-eastern extremes. The names assigned to them, respectively, were Bedford, Minto, and Melbourne ; and from a chart made by the master of the Actæon, it appears that they stretch about thirteen miles from north-west to south-east. The middle one was conjectured to be about five miles in length, but there were no traces of inhabitants.
The positions were determined by means of three good chronometers, when seven days from Otaheite, and eight before arriving at Pitcairn's Island, so that it may be presumed there can be little doubt as to the correct situation of the group. It is in the same parallel and about sixty miles to the westward of Hood's Island. There is reason to believe that several others are known to the navigators in those remote seas, though they have not found their way into the compilation of any hydrographer. Of these may be mentioned the Amphitrite and Maria Islands, discovered by Mr Ebrill, the master of an Otaheitan merchantman; the latter being considered identical with one seen by M. Denis in the month of December 1835. Such discoveries, in truth, must from time to time continue to be made in that vast ocean, where volcanic agency, combined with the labours of the zoophyte, never ceases to stud the surface of the deep with points of new land. *
Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, vol. vii. p. 454. Bulletin de la Société de Géographie, August 1837; and Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. vi. p. 441.
Hervey or Cook's Islands.
Hervey Islands discovered by Cook-His Mistake as to Inhabit
ants, Their first Visit to the English Ship-Behaviour and Appearance-Number of Islands—A Chief goes on board at Mangaia-Population and Extent of it-Position of Atiu, and Number of Inhabitants-Singular Mistake as to the Animals in the Ship—Omai meets Natives of Society Islands - Account of their Voyage—Discovery of Aitutaki—Its Position and Appearance-Mauke discovered by two Missionaries—Mr Williams reaches Rarotonga-Gospel introduced into Aitutaki-Appearance of People—Visit of Missionaries to Mangaia—Their brutal Reception-Inhabitants converted to the Gospel-Success of the Teachers at Atiu, Mitiaro, and Mauke-Remarks by Captain Lord Byron-Rarotonga receives the Gospel from Papeiha, a native Teacher— Rapid Success of Christianity-Mr Williams again visits Rarotonga
- Introduction of sundry new Laws among the PeoplePolygamy and the Principle of Succession to PropertyHervey Islands exposed to Hurricanes—Epidemic Diseases --Numerous Deaths in 1831–Children greatly improved by Missionaries–Difficulties with the adult Pupils–Aversion to attend Church — Expedient adopted by the Preachers -Favourable Contrast as to Rarotonga-Continued Progress of Knowledge and Civilisation-Case of a Chief-Number of Persons in Congregations and Schools --Religion must precede all other Improvements.
The islands which form the subject of this chapter were discovered in 1773 by the renowned Cook, who named what he considered the principal one of the group in honour of Captain Hervey, at that time a Lord of the Admiralty, and afterwards Earl of Bristol. Upon approaching its shore, he found it to consist of two or three small islets connected together by breakers, like most of the same class in the South Sea, lying in a triangular form, and about six leagues in circumference. It was clothed with wood, among which were many cocoa-nut trees; but he saw no people, nor appearance of dwellings, and had reason to believe there were none. According to his observations, the latitude is 19° 18' south, and the longitude 158° 54' west. In 1823, when visited by a missionary, it was ascertained that in regard to occupation the great navigator had concluded too hastily. It was, no doubt, found that the miserable natives, by their frequent wars, had reduced their number to about sixty; and seven years later, this small remnant was, by the same cause, still farther diminished, to five men, three women, and two children, who were disturbed by a violent contest which of them should be king. Captain Cook, indeed, long before the period of missionary enterprise, had corrected his mistake in regard to the supposition just mentioned. On the 6th April 1777, when he again drew near it, he observed several canoes put off from the shore, and direct their course towards the ships. “ This was a sight that surprised me,” says he, “ as no signs of inhabitants were seen when the island was first discovered ; which might be owing to a pretty brisk wind that then blew, and prevented their canoes venturing out as the ships passed to leeward, whereas now we were to windward.” He describes his visiters as clamorous and disorderly in the extreme, having, at the same time, all the suspicion and thievish propensities of the Polynesian race. They attempted to take some oars out of the Discovery's boat, and struck a man who endeavoured to prevent them. They also cut away with a shell a net with meat which hung over the ship's side, and absolutely refused to restore it. Behaving in the most daring manner, they made a sort of hook of a long stick, with which they openly endeavoured to rob the crew of whatever came within their reach. They had a fierce surly aspect, resembling in features the natives of New Zealand, with strong black hair, which they wore either