« ForrigeFortsæt »
shall be taken and bound, and be fined for every such offence as the judge shall determine."
It is not difficult to perceive the dictation of the missionaries in most of the laws, as well as in the pains and penalties. Every person convicted of selling ardent spirits shall pay a fine to the king of twenty-five dollars, and be liable to have the liquor taken from him. In the case of a man, either living ashore or from on shipboard, being drunk and causing disturbance, he shall be imprisoned ; and for the first offence pay a fine of eight dollars, to be doubled if the misdemeanour be repeated. Should a person living on shore entice a seaman to leave his vessel, he shall pay a fine of eight dollars ; and should any one know of such desertion or seducement, and not give notice, he also shall be fined according to the nature of the offence. Should a man leave his wife and refuse to return, she shall claim his plantations, and whatever other property he may have possessed : and in case a woman forsake her husband, she shall be brought back to him, and should she decline to remain, it shall not be lawful for her to marry so long as he lives. Penalties are also enacted against tattooing and other idolatrous ceremonies ; against leaving the island in a clandestine manner; against the attempt to enslave or sell any individual ; and, finally, against cutting down timber without liberty so to do.
Addressing his chiefs, the sovereign of Vavaoo reminds them, that it is his desire his subjects should live in peace, and serve God in sincerity. “Therefore, I wish you to allow to your people some time for the purpose of working for themselves, and that you divide to each of them land for their own use, that they may have means of living, and of contributing to the cause of God.” It is further enacted, that, in case of an Englishman or any other foreigner wishing to remain in the land, he shall be expected to obey the laws, and give aid, in whatever way
may have the means, towards the support of the government; and, in return, he is promised ample protection both of person and property. It is decreed by the same authority, that no one shall be put to death except by the express command of the king ; a prerogative which is not extended to any of the inferior chiefs, from whose number the ordinary judges are selected.
Such arrangements, spiritual and secular, denote a considerable advancement in civilisation, and are, not without reason, regarded as a triumph gained by the cause of humanity and of divine truth. A similar remark may be applied to the Sandwich Islands, where the improving influence of commerce has been added to the elements of literature and of christian knowledge.
From the source indicated below, we are enabled to give some account of Boki, the chief who accompanied the king and queen to England, and who had the honour to obtain an audience of George the Fourth at Windsor. On the 2d December 1829, he sailed for the island of Erromango, one of the New Hebrides, having under his command the two national brigs, Tamehameha and Karaimoku, with crews of 285 and 100 respectively. The object of the expedition was to establish a colony, after lading the vessels with sandalwood for the China market. It is known, that in the course of his voyage he touched at the island of Rotumah, situated in lat. 12° 29' south, and long. 176° 57' east, whence he carried away a hundred and eighty of the natives, with the view of augmenting the number of his settlers. He was never afterwards heard of; and it is believed that his ship blew up at sea, owing to the quantity of powder she had on board, and the extreme carelessness of the sailors, who seem quite insensible to such danger. The Karaimoku reached Erromango; but the warriors who landed suffered so much from sickness and the hostility of the inhabitants, that they speedily re-embarked, and directed their course to
* We have had the good fortune to obtain a manuscript Diary or Note-book, kept by a distinguished officer who spent some time in the Sandwich Islands, as well as in those of the Society group. His information comes down to the year 1836, since which period there has not been any material alteration either at Otaheite or Woahoo.
Honoruru. Their evil destiny continued to pursue them; for of the whole armament, only twelve men, a woman, and a boy, returned to their native shore. The reader will not require to have the inference suggested to him, that such an undertaking evinces a considerable degree of enterprise on the part of the Sandwich Islanders, who know how to estimate the importance of a mercantile marine, trade, and colonies. Boki, who was much devoted to the English, seems to have imbibed their spirit. He was the most popular of all the leaders; and hence, during several years after his loss, his countrymen cherished the hope that he was still alive, and would at length appear amongst them crowned with success.
It is remarked, that the men of Woahoo and Owhyhee make excellent seamen, numbers of whom find constant employment on board whale-ships. Many of them have made voyages to the United States, the Spanish Main, and other distant parts of the world; and usually return to spend their earnings among their relations, where food still bears a low price, estimated in the currency of civilized nations. In former times, like all tribes at the same stage of social life, they were much addicted to pilfering. But this propensity, we are assured, no longer exists; and it is even asserted, that there is not a more honest people on the face of the earth. It is perfectly safe to leave the doors of the houses occupied by Europėans open at all hours of the day and night; and if any lost article is picked up in the streets, notice is immediately given, that the owner may recover his property. This salutary and important reformation is due to the laborious exertions of the missionaries, who have acquired a powerful influence over the public mind.
66 One day,” says the journalist to whom we have referred, “I met at Honoruru a kanaka or slave, carrying a long pole with a silk handkerchief at the top of it; and upon being asked why he was thus parading the streets, he replied, that he was trying to find the person to whom the article belonged.”—“Another instance, amongst many
of the same description that might be adduced, will show the
moral influence exercised by Christianity upon the natives. The captain of a whale-ship related to me, that he received a visit from an old kanaka, who brought on board with him two sacks of potatoes, which he presented to him, saying, that he had come to relieve his conscience by discharging a debt which he owed ; having, before he became a Christian, delivered to him but eighteen sacks of potatoes, and received payment for twenty."
Some visiters lament that the missionaries, while they have improved the morals of the people, have so far broken in upon innocent habits, as to render them less cheerful and less attentive to personal cleanliness. Formerly they had numerous games, such as running, wrestling, and throwing the spear; but these have been generally discontinued, as being either too nearly allied to their idolatrous usages, or tending to encourage a spirit of gambling. The consequence is, that their manly sports have ceased ; even swimming and bathing are in a great measure prohibited ; and hence, it is alleged, whatever the Sandwich Islanders may have gained in the way
of religious improvement, they have certainly lost much of their personal neatness, masculine character, and, more especially, of that dexterity in bodily exercise which formerly distinguished them. They are evidently becoming more timid; even the tone of voice and expression of countenance have in many cases undergone a manifest change, arising, it is imagined, from the subdued manner and serious look which they are taught to as
“ Too much cannot be said in favour of the missionaries, for the successful efforts they have made to civilize and educate the natives; but it is to be regretted, that their zeal too often carries them into extremes, the result rather of sectarian prejudice than of true religion. Hence a native is punished if he should be seen on horseback, or making a fire, or cooking a pig on Sunday. The late attempts to prevent foreign residents from drinking wine and spirituous liquors at their own tables, to close the billiard-room, and to take away the horses of those
who rode out on Sunday for innocent recreation, appear to me vexatious and despotic, and to emanate rather from enthusiasm than from justice or sound policy.”*
* We ought perhaps to mention, that the author of the journal now before us addressed the missionaries themselves on the subjects noticed above, and received from one of them the following reply:-“ I received your kind note last evening, together with the accompanying memorandum, for all of which I beg you will accept my very grateful acknowledgments.
For the frank and friendly manner in which you have expressed your views with respect to our work and the state of the people, for the valuable hints you have given relative to the improvement of the nation, as well as for the uniform gentlemanly deportment you have exhibited to the gentlemen with whom I have the happiness to be associated in the missionary work, my brethren join with me in tendering you our cordial thanks, and the assurance of our kind wishes for your best prosperity.
We ought not perhaps, however, to conceal our apprehension that you may have been materially misled with reference to the prohibition, by authority, of the innocent amusements of the people. We certainly are not aware that the healthful exercises of swimming, riding on the surf-board, or on horseback, or any athletic exercises to which the people are attached, disconnected with immorality, are prohibited. In these exercises we would allow and encourage our own children, and certainly we would not have force employed to restrain the people.
“We do not think the people are becoming more filthy. There certainly is an increase of attention to their dress and habitations in some respects ; though, perhaps, their eating and sleeping in the same houses, may give in some instances the appearance of less neatness in their dwellings. As to the degree of time and attention which the people devote, or are requested to devote, to evangelical pursuits, your views may perhaps be corrected, if I assure you that we maintain unswervingly, that all attention to religion should be voluntary, that no compulsion can force the human mind to offer acceptable worship or service to God; and that as to matter of fact, we do not think the people generally connected with our schools, or who attend our meetings, spend on an average more than one hour a-day in the school, and one hour a-day in devotional exercises.
“It is true that many persons of leisure spend more time in amusing themselves with a book, a pen, or a slate, and thus beguile some hours which would otherwise perhaps have been devoted to very unprofitable enjoyments. The mistakes and errors of the government must not be charged on us, nor must the adoption of good laws be put to our account, unless these result from the diffusion of the divine truths of the christian religion, the light of which shines in the inspired Bible, and the examples of those who attempt to follow its dictates.