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In relation to the royal couple, it is remarked, that, young as they were, untrained by scholarship or by example, they had broken down the barriers of superstition, paved the way for laws, literature, and true religion ; and, in the hope of securing the protection of the state which they deemed most likely and most able to guard them, they had completed a voyage round one-half of the globe, and died in a foreign land, feeling less regret at the loss of life than that they had not fully accomplished the object of their heroic expedition. “Perhaps," says Lord Byron," the perfect faith reposed in the English by the people of the islands, is the strongest proof that ever could be given by a whole nation of simple-mindedness and freedom from guile. There was not a moment's irritation, not a moment's suspicion that unfair means had been used to shorten their days; and we were received as brothers who would sympathize with their grief, and as friends who would be glad to heal their wounds."
The various facts stated in this chapter must remove all doubt from the mind of the reader as to the extent of the revolution effected in the Sandwich Islands dur
from Spithead on the 29th September 1824, and the bodies were landed at Honoruru on the 11th May following.
* Voyage, p. 125. Mr Ellis writes of Rihoriho as follows :“ His general knowledge of the world was much greater than could have been expected. I have heard him entertain a party of chiefs for hours together with accounts of different parts of the earth, describing the extensive lakes, the mountains, and mines of North and South America ; the elephants and inhabitants of India, the houses and manufactures of England, with no small accuracy, considering that he had never seen them. He had a great thirst for knowledge, and was diligent in his studies. I recollect his remarking one day, when he opened his writingdesk, that he expected more advantage from that desk than from a fine brig belonging to him, lying at anchor opposite the house wherein we were sitting. Mr Bingham and myself were his daily teachers, and have often been surprised at his unwearied perseverance. I have sat beside him at his desk sometimes from nine or ten o'clock in the morning till nearly sunset, during which period his pen or his book has not been out of his hand more than three quarters of an hour, while he was at dinner.”—Vol. iv. p. 446.
ing the five years which preceded the demise of Tamehameha the Second Opinion has been less determined in regard to the moral improvement of the people ; their knowledge of the religion which they now profess to hold; and the depth to which it has descended in their affections. The reports of the missionary have been called in question, both because he may be suspected of a wish to magnify the fruits of his labour, and because, in his intercourse with his converts, he may be deceived by appearances which require a closer inspection than he is willing to bestow. Like a good-natured teacher, he gives his pupil credit for greater progress than he has really made, thereby gratifying at once a certain vanity in himself, and in the other a love of praise, which is not a stranger even to the least cultivated mind. Aware of these sources of error, we think ourselves entitled to make a due allowance, both when we read the narratives of nautical adventurers, who view things through an unfavourable medium, and when we peruse the records of the christian teacher, who stands too near his object to see it distinctly.
For example, the author of a “New Voyage round the World” writes under a manifest bias, and with the purpose, it should seem, of affording merriment to his readers rather than sound instruction. The view exhibited by him of the character of Rihoriho is at once inconsistent and unjust. That the prince was occasionally addicted to strong drink is not concealed by the missionaries themselves, who enjoyed his protection, and who were proud of him as a convert ; but that he wasted his time and his health in orgies, frequently emptying a bottle of rum at a draught, will not be readily believed by those who have marked his conduct in the national reformation he accomplished, or who could appreciate the motives which carried him to England. To supply us with a reason for such bold measures, we are simply informed that he wished to distinguish himself by some effort in favour of his people; that he was a freethinker in a bad sense ; and that he hated the religion of his country because it laid some restraints upon his inclinations, and therefore he determined to overthrow it. This he did, we are assured, not for the purpose of introducing a better,--a task to which his feeble mind was unequal,—but to relieve himself and his subjects from ceremonies that he considered useless, and to throw aside those precepts of morality interwoven with them, for the sake of which his father had conscientiously observed the ancient usages."
We are ready to admit that there is too much ground for the dark colouring applied by this author to the picture which he draws of the inhabitants, who have unquestionably lost much of the simplicity and innocence which formerly distinguished them. The profligate habits of the settlers from all nations, and of the numerous sailors with whom they constantly associate, have had a most prejudicial effect upon their morals. Many public houses are opened, where the means of intoxication can be procured; the keepers, in many cases, being runaway seamen, who, in order to increase their own profits, have
A New Voyage round the World in the Years 1823, 1824, 1825, and 1826, by Otto Von Kotzebue, Post-captain in the Russian Imperial Navy (2 vols 8vo, Lond. 1830), vol. ii. p. 197. In Lord Byron's narrative it is mentioned, that during the residence of the Sandwich Islanders in London,“ the decorum of their behaviour was admirable. Not one instance occurred of their overstepping the bounds of decency or civility in their intercourse with the different persons appointed to wait on them; not a suspicion that any one of the chiefs had offered the slightest insult to any woman; nor was there any of that gluttony and drunkenness with which those islanders, and especially the king, had been wantonly charged by some who ought to have known better. Perhaps the strongest proof of this is, that the charge at Osborne's, during their residence there, amounted to no greater an average than seventeen shillings a-head per day for their table. As they ate little or no butcher's meat, but lived chiefly on poultry, vegetables, and fruit, by no means the cheapest articles in London, their gluttony could not have been great. So far from their always preferring the strongest liquors, their favourite beverage was some cider, with which they had been presented by Mr Canning.".
But that justice may not be withheld from the Russian commander, we must refer to Stewart's Journal (pp. 107, 108), where the frailties of the king occupy a conspicuous place.
recourse to every means which may tempt the people to excess. Luxury, too, has made great advances. Even among the lowest class of the people, some article of European clothing is universal. The females especially set their hearts upon the most fashionable mode of dress ; whatever the queen wears is their model, which they imitate to the utmost of their power. The domestic utensils formerly in use have entirely disappeared even from the poorest huts; and Chinese porcelain has superseded the manufactures from the gourd and the cocoanut. The love of foreign wares is, in many cases, a fertile source of crime ; debt is incurred, fraud is practised, and positive violence is not altogether unknown between buyer and seller. In a society just emerged from barbarism, such disorders ought not to excite any surprise. All rude nations are addicted to theft, lavishing their highest praises upon the culprit if he escape detection, and blaming nothing in the act but the want of ingenuity. The chiefs of Owhyhee were formerly great adepts in this art; nor was it till they found such a mode of appropriation to be held disgraceful by Europeans, that they left the practice of it to their attendants, who accompanied them in their visits for the express purpose. One of the teachers laments, that in this manner they are constantly losing the most valuable articles. In two or three instances, clothes to a very considerable amount were taken from trunks, the locks of which were broken by the depredator while sitting upon them, and apparently taking a deep interest in conversation with some of the family. In these cases, however, the thief was dressed in a large cloak, which concealed his movements, and afforded a cover for the booty in his retreat.*
Captain Beechey, who visited Woahoo soon after the Russian ship had left the Sandwich group, bears testimony to the altered state of society, as well as to the temptations which now assail the half-confirmed principles of the natives. He remarks, that nothing more strikingly proves the superiority of the country of Tamehameha over the Society Islands than the number of wooden houses, the regularity of the town laid out in squares, intersected by streets properly fenced, and the many notices which appeared right and left on pieces of board, announcing “an Ordinary at one o'clock, Billiards, the Britannia, the Jolly Tar, the Good Woman,” and similar designations. At the same period, there were in Woahoo several respectable merchants, in whose stores were to be found all the necessary articles of American and European manufacture, the productions of the China market, wines, and almost every other commodity required for luxury or comfort. There were also two hotels, at which a person might board comfortably for a dollar a-day, and two billiard-rooms, one of which belonged to the brother of the prime minister. The houses of the chiefs were furnished with tables and chairs, and those belonging to Kahumanu were decorated with sofas, having silk or velvet cushions. The same personage, who had filled several chests with the most costly tissues of China, is said to have expended four thousand dollars upon the purchase of a single cargo. One of the king's ministers paid three thousand dollars for a service of plate which he presented to his master, though he had other services in his possession, one of which, consisting of beautifully cut glass, was furnished by a distinguished manufacturer in London.
* Stewart's Journal, p. 144.
Nor was the change less striking which had taken place in the civil and political institutions of the country. The king was now regularly attended by a guard under arms; a sentinel presented his musket whenever an officer entered the threshold of the royal abode; and a body of troops regularly paraded on the ramparts, which already mounted forty guns. In the spring and autumn, the harbour was crowded with foreign vessels ; as many as fifty being seen there at one time. Five thousand stand of arms were said to be distributed over the island; three hundred men were embodied and dressed in regimentals; and the national flag was daily