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claim to the government, and, after several battles, had made good his pretensions by force of arms.
Captain Wilson took an early opportunity of informing the young king, through Peter who acted as interpreter, that the only inducement for leaving Britain to pay him this visit, was to do his subjects good by instructing them in the best and most useful things, and that for an end so important, some pious men intended to settle among them. On their part, he requested the gift of a piece of land sufficiently stocked with breadfruit and cocoa-nut trees, and so large as to contain a garden, and admit of houses being built upon it. He stated, that they would not, on any account, intermeddle in wars, nor employ their arms but for self-defence; and, if permitted to live unmolested on such terms, they would remain on the island, if not, they would forthwith take their departure to another station. His majesty, whose comprehension seemed not fully to embrace the terms in which these proposals were expressed, assured them that they should have a house on shore, and as much ground as their necessities or even their pleasures might require.*
After the Duff left the island, the missionaries devoted themselves in earnest to their appointed work; arranging their plans for constant and persevering labour. In their first endeavours, they were encouraged by the king and queen, and even by the high-priest Hamanemane, who generously supplied their wants, so far as the productions of their country could afford the means. The daily occupations of the teachers, those of them especially who followed some mechanical trade, kept the curiosity of the natives in a high state of excitement. The erection of a sawpit, and the cutting of a tree into a number of boards, filled them with delight. But when the forge was erected, and the anvil first employed, their gratification was only equalled by their wonder. The whole process of working iron, the flying of the sparks, the hissing when plunged into water, created astonishment in their simple minds. Nor were they less pleased than surprised at the facility with which a bar of iron was converted into adzes, hatchets, spears, and fishing-hooks.
Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific Oce Ship Duff, p. 63.
It is related that Pomare went into the shop one day when the smith was at work, and after gazing with ecstasy for some time, was so overcome with wonder and delight, that he caught up the artisan in his arms, and disregarding the soiled state of his person and clothes, most cordially embraced him, even to the extent of rubbing noses. But the missionaries did not devote all their time to such pursuits, however beneficial. While the labours of the sawyer, the carpenter, and smith, were gradually raising them in the estimation of the people, they failed not to consecrate several hours every day to the acquisition of the native languages. At stated times they met together for the purpose of comparing the knowledge they had collected from their professional communications with the inhabitants, and of assisting one another in their arduous undertaking. The importance of their object encouraged them to persevere, and the difficulties became less formidable as they advanced, though for many years these were so great as to require the most sedulous application. One of them, who at length succeeded in making considerable acquirements in the various tongues of the Pacific, has frequently acknowledged that he was ten years in Otaheite before he understood the precise meaning of some of the words, even of the most frequent occurrence.
While their familiar intercourse with the people augmented their knowledge of vocables, it added likewise to the perception of the formidable obstacles which they had to encounter in their attempt to reform their manners or improve their religious sentiments.t
Missionary Records (12mo, London), p. 97. + It may be proper to mention, that the missionaries, upon A few days after Captain Wilson set sail, Pomare sent for the high-priest to offer a human sacrifice at a great convocation of the chiefs. Hamanemane pretended some reluctance, but said, he feared the anger of the king if he should refuse obedience, and requested that some of the missionaries should accompany him ; suggesting that his majesty would not insist upon it in the presence of those to whom he had solemnly promised to abolish the custom. As this was considered a favourable opportunity for bearing their testimony in the name of the true God against the frequent murders which were perpetrated in the name of religion, two of the Englishmen consented to go with the priest. On their journey they spent a Sunday in the district of Atahuru, where one of them read an address in the native language, which, he remarks, the audience seemed to understand, but did not show any desire to be instructed in the gospel. In reference to what he observed when amongst them, he says, " the more I see of the temper, customs, and conduct of this people, the more I am confirmed in the opinion that I have some time formed, that our success will not be speedy. The Lord, however, can remove all obstacles, but we are not to expect it out of the ordinary way."*
On this occasion the brethren appear to have succeeded in preventing a sacrifice being offered to the demon of superstition. Towards the close of the year, however, the high-priest gave them notice that Pomare had killed a man contrary to his promise, but that as he had refused to offer the victim to his god, the corpse was decently interred instead of being cut in pieces, after the usual fashion. The reason of this atrocious barbarity was a dream in the night, when, it was said, the divinity presenting himself to the king, commanded him to immolate a human being on the pain of his greatest displeasure. Resolved to obey this supernatural injunction, his majesty seized the first person he saw in the morning suitable for his purpose, and without hesitation deprived him of life.
approaching the scene of their future labours, divided them-
John Eyre. J. A. Gillham. J. Puckey.
Wm. Smith, Mr H. Bicknell. R. Hassall. To these were added five B. Bromhall. E. Main.
women and two chilJ. Cock.
dren, making in all 25
individuals. Missionary Records, p. 99.
In the beginning of 1798, intelligence reached the missionaries that a general assembly of the natives was about to be held in the contiguous district of Pare. Considering it a fit opportunity for laying before the chiefs certain matters of great importance to the object of their enterprise, as christian ministers among the heathen, they despatched six of their number to the meeting, with authority to urge upon the leaders the necessity of paying attention to the sacred instruction now communicated to their people, and to point out to them the benefit that would result to the community from a knowledge of the mechanical arts. They were farther desired to inform them, that in all countries where the word of God is known, the worship of idols, as well as the offering of human sacrifices, are altogether abolished, and that murder, with other crimes equally heinous, are punished with death. It was also suggested that they should entreat the chiefs to use their utmost endeavour to put a stop to the horrible practice of infanticide, which, while it offended Jehovah, tended to the final extirpation of their race; assuring them that the missionaries would fulfil the promises formerly made, to build a house for the reception of all the children who should be saved from destruction, and confer upon them the blessings of a European education.
On the 10th of January, the deputies proceeded on their errand of mercy ; but soon found that the riotous festivity of the scene was quite incompatible with the discharge of any religious duty or pious remonstrance. They were afterwards more successful at a meeting held in the vicinity of Matavai, where, through the medium of Peter the Swede, they made known their wishes to the chief counsellors, who promised that no more infants should be destroyed. But such concessions were too frequently made with no other view than to deceive the christian teachers or to abate their importunity, and were remembered no longer than suited the convenience of the rulers. A similar remark may be applied to the facility with which they granted land and other property. When, for example, the application already noticed was addressed to Pomare and his son for a piece of ground, the wishes of the strangers were met to the fullest extent. The whole district of Matavai was ceded to them, though all that they ever desired was the secure occupation of the land on which their houses and gardens were situated. But, in point of fact, the territory was never held as belonging to the mission; it was claimed and even possessed by the original owners; and no portion was yielded to the visiters except the sandy spot on which their buildings were erected.*
After spending ten months in Otaheite, the missionaries could say, “thus are we brought to the conclusion of another year, the principal part of which was spent among rude and barbarous heathen; and notwithstanding the fears which are inseparable from our situation, and the dangers that surround us, hitherto our God has not suffered any one to do us any real hurt.” event was now at hand which put their faith and steadfastness to a more severe trial than they had yet endured. On the 6th March, the anniversary of the day on which the Duff had arrived at Matavai, a ship was announced to be approaching the shore. On reaching the mouth of the harbour her progress was stopped, when it was
* See Ellis, vol. ii. p. 8. The house which Pomare bestowed upon the missionaries was the large one called by the natives the Fare Beritane (British House), which they had built for Captain Bligh.