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should be undertaken under the direction of Mr Williams, in which they were invited to take a part. This project met with no encouragement in the first instance; the missionaries being assured that the Rarotongans were a most ferocious class of men, avowed cannibals, and moreover exceedingly treacherous.
After a fruitless search of eight days, without discovering any symptom of land in the direction indicated, the party steered their course for Mangaia. Their reception in that island was by no means flattering. The natives, uncertain as to their purpose in visiting their solitary residence, attempted to repel them by menaces, and even by a more hostile demonstration; nor was it until they saw the teachers resolved to set foot amongst them, that they conceded a reluctant permission. But no sooner did the zealous missionaries reach the shore, than a general attack was made upon their persons and properties. One of them had a saw, which the savages seized, broke into three pieces, and tied to their ears as ornaments. There were also two pigs, animals which they had never before seen ; and these were appropriated by a chief, who, decorating them in his own official robes, sent the unclean quadrupeds into the presence of his gods. But their conduct to the teachers' wives was still more offensive. They carried them by force into the adjoining woods, and were proceeding to treat them with great brutality, when, terrified by the report of a gun fired from the ship, they betook themselves to flight. The chief, informed of this violence, expressed the deepest regret; but stated, that in his island, “ all heads being of an equal height,” he was not able to protect them, and, therefore, much as he wished them to stay, he would rather that they did not go ashore again.
Unpromising as this commencement was, not more than a few months elapsed before the gospel obtained an ardent acceptation in Mangaia. Soon after the visit just described, a disease broke out which proved exceedingly fatal ; and ascribing this calamity to the anger excited
in the mind of the “ strangers' god,” by their recent atrocities, they made a vow, that if he would suspend the farther execution of his vengeance, they would receive his worshippers kindly, and give them food to eat. Hence, when two teachers, sent by the church at Tahaa, appeared on their coast, they were conducted to the principal village with the most lively congratulation, and encouraged to begin without delay their benevolent exertions for enlightening the people.
The next scene in which the labours of christian truth were undertaken was Atiu, whither some agents had been previously sent. When the deputation from London arrived, they found the teachers in a miserable condition, having been stripped of every article of property, suffering exceedingly from hunger, and much disheartened by their want of success. But Romatane, the chief, being induced to visit the ship, had the good fortune to hear a sermon against idolatry, founded on the words of Isaiah, “ with part thereof he roasteth meat, and is satisfied; and the residue thereof he maketh a god, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, deliver me, for thou art my god.” The idea for the first time darted with irresistible force into his mind; and he perceived at once the excessive folly of making a god and cooking food from the same tree. He appeared for some time lost in deep reflection; and at length he expressed his determination never again to worship idols, saying, 6 eyes it is true they have, but wood cannot see ; ears they have, but wood cannot hear.”
After this profession on his own part, he accompanied the missionaries to Mitiaro, to propagate the same belief, and to introduce a similar reformation. Using an authority which belonged to him as the ruling chief, he commanded the people to burn their temples, and to place themselves under the guidance of the persons whom he was about to leave, who would instruct them in the worship of Jehovah. Similar success attended his exertions at Mauke, of which he was likewise the sovereign. Tararo, the chief, with a number of the in
habitants, was waiting to receive him, to whom he communicated, without delay or reserve, the object of his visit ; announcing that they were to abandon those decorated pieces of wood called gods, and all the infamous customs connected with their worship; and, in the next place, to prepare their minds for the reception of the “ good word which taught salvation.” Having recommended the teachers to the kindness of his vassals, he put them in possession of a new house which had been erected for himself, and shaking hands with them most affectionately, he returned on board the ship. *
This conversion, though sudden, and arising from a feeling of loyalty rather than from the weight of evidence, appears to have taken root in the hearts of the people, and to have produced the usual happy results. Lord Byron, who touched at Mauke, or, as he writes it, Manti, in the year 1825, relates, that after he came to anchor, two persons, who, by their dress and appearance seemed to be of some importance, stepped on board ; and, to his great surprise, produced a written document from that branch of the London Missionary Society which
tive teachers in the island. They were, he adds, finelooking men, dressed in cotton shirts, cloth jackets, and a sort of petticoat of very fine mat, instead of trousers. Having accompanied them ashore, he saw on a beautiful green lawn, “ two of the prettiest washed cottages imaginable,” the dwellings of the missionaries; and the inside corresponded with their exterior neatness. The floors were boarded ; there were a sofa and some chairs of native workmanship; and windows with Venetian shutters, which rendered the apartments cool and agreeable. The rooms were divided from each other by
* Missionary Enterprises, p. 90. Lord Byron, in allusion to this change, remarks : “ thus in one day, and that the first in which a vessel from the civilized world touched them, the superstitions of ages were overturned, and the knowledge of the true God brought among a docile, and, generally speaking, innocent people.
screens; in one there was a bed of white tapa, and the floor was covered with the same material, coloured and varnished, which bore a great resemblance to oil-cloth. He was exceedingly struck with the appearance of cleanliness, and even of elegance, as well as with the decorous behaviour of the people, especially the women; contrasting strongly with the less reserved manners of the sex in the Sandwich Islands. He next accompanied the brethren to their church, which stands on a rising ground, about four hundred yards from the cottages. A fence, composed of the trunks of cocoa-nut trees, surrounds the area in which it is erected. Its form is oval, and the roof is supported by four pillars, which bear up the ridge. It is capable of containing four hundred persons. Two doors and twelve windows give it light and air; the pulpit and reading-desk are neatly carved, and painted with a variety of pretty designs; and the benches for the people are arranged neatly around. Close to this structure is the burial-place, which is a mound of earth covered with greensward ; and the whole has an air of modest simplicity which delighted not less than surprised the gallant strangers.*
Rarotonga was at length discovered by the indefatigable missionaries, who, reflecting that there was stillone island to which they had not conveyed the elements of improvement and religious knowledge, gave themselves no rest until they found it. From the king they received a most cordial welcome; and after narrating to him the circumstances which had attended the renunciation of idolatry in other places, they made known
* Voyage of H. M. S. Blonde to the Sandwich Islands, in the years 1824, 1825, Captain the Right Honourable Lord Byron, commander (4to, London, 1826) p. 210. “On our return to the beach, one of the missionaries attended us. As we retraced our steps through the wood, the warbling of the birds, whose plumage was as rich as it was new to us,-the various-tinted butterflies that fluttered across our path-the delicious climate-the magnificent forest treesmand, above all, the perfect union and harmony existing among the natives-presented a succession of agreeable pictures which could not fail to delight us.”—P. 212.
their desire to extend the benefits of the gospel to his subjects, through the medium of native teachers. Various difficulties were encountered by the two brethren who landed under the auspices of Makea, the ruling chief; and as there was no immediate prospect that the demoralized state of society among the Rarotongans could be so much reformed as to justify the residence of married men, they resolved to transfer their services to some less savage tribe. One alone, the courageous Papeiha, determined to brave all danger rather than desert a station to which Divine Providence seemed to call him; and accordingly with no property besides the clothes he wore, his Testament in the native language, and a few elementary books, he advanced into the crowd of heathens, determined, through the help of his Maker, to wean their minds from the degrading superstition of which they had long been the victims. His zeal was rewarded with the success for which he so earnestly laboured and prayed. About a year after he began his task, the London deputation, already noticed, consisting of Mr Bennet and the Rev. Daniel Tyerman, visited the domains of Makea, and found the inhabitants, already converted to the truth, busily employed in erecting a place of christian worship six hundred feet in length.
One of the missionaries remarks, that “much has been said in Europe concerning the success of the gospel in Otaheite and the Society Islands, but it is not to be compared with its progress in Rarotonga. In the former, teachers laboured fifteen long years before any fruit appeared. But two years ago, Rarotonga was hardly known to exist, was not marked in any of the charts, and we spent much time in traversing the ocean in search of it. Two years ago, the Rarotongans did not know that there was such good news as the gospel : and now I scruple not to say that their attention to the means of grace, their regard to family and private prayer, equals whatever has been witnessed in Otaheite and the neighbouring islands. And when we look at the means, it becomes more astonishing. Two native teachers, not particularly