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took up arms, moved, it was thought, by ambitious views not less than by zeal for the expiring superstition. A decisive battle was fought in the autumn of the year 1819, which, after continuing from morning till sunset, terminated in favour of Rihoriho, who was gratified by the intelligence that his enemy had fallen. This victory made him sole and undisputed monarch of the Sandwich Islands, the summit of his ambition and the consummation of his wishes, inasmuch as no member of the older branch of his family any longer remained who had power or inclination to dispute with him the ascendency to which he had attained.
The abolition of idolatry was now complete ; and for a time the whole country was without any outward or visible religion. In private, it is probable, the wonted demands of the ancient ceremonies were complied with; the statues thrown down in the light were replaced during the darkness; and the barbarian, bound by his fears to the power of the invisible god, practised when alone the rites of his deprecatory worship. At all events, a wide space was cleared for the exertions of the christian missionary before any of the brotherhood touched the shores; and whatever grounds of opposition the gospel had to encounter, we must not enumerate amongst them the jealousy of a bigoted government or the resistance of an established faith.
We have no intention of entering into a minute narrative of the proceedings which issued in the conversion of the natives throughout the wide archipelago where the American teachers thus obtained a footing. In due time, they received aid and encouragement from some English friends, whose experience in the Society Islands had qualified them to communicate useful directions to their fellow-labourers in the gospel. Mr Ellis, as formerly stated, accompanied thither the two commissioners sent out by the directors in London, and during his short stay, not only taught the anxious people the things which concerned their everlasting peace, but presided over arrangements which seemed calculated to secure to them a permanent ministry, as well as the means of instruction for their children.
In 1831, the Board at Boston issued a statement relative to the necessity and claims of similar institutions, in which they give an outline of their success during the period which had elapsed from the commencement of their operations. Ten years ago, say they, there were no books in the Sandwich Islands; now two presses cannot supply what is wanted, though more than twenty thousand volumes are annually thrown off. Ten years ago, reading and writing were unknown to all classes; now thousands write, and many thousands read. Ten years ago, there was not a single school in the whole group; now six hundred natives, instructed by the missionaries, are employed as teachers in the several islands. Ten years ago, the natives, without exception, were ignorant of God, his law, and his gospel ; they were pagans, addicted to infanticide, intemperance, and all the abominable vices of the lowest savage life; the whole mass, indeed, was so corrupt, that their numbers were rapidly diminishing in consequence of crimes injurious to the progress of population. Now the moral code contained in the ten commandments is the law of the land; the whole nation is at least professedly christian ; the order, decency, and comfort of civilized life are rapidly gaining ground; multitudes are exemplary in their conduct, and not a few are truly pious.
In Woahoo alone, there is a society of three thousand five hundred persons of both sexes, who meet weekly for prayer; and in the same island there is an association, amounting to a thousand, formed for the purpose of religious inquiry and the suppression of vice. All the members solemnly bind themselves not to distil, or buy, or sell, or drink any kind of ardent spirits ; not to offer them to their friends, nor to give them to their labourers. The great work of preparation, at least, has been accomplished. In most parts, a missionary can now enter sooner on his labours, and accomplish much more in the same time, and to greater advantage, than he could some years
ago. He has ampler facilities for learning the language, manners, customs, prejudices, and wants of the people. He can converse and preach much sooner ; and the press, aided by the desire of the natives to read, increases his power beyond calculation. Thus, there has been produced not only an increased demand for the services of such men, but also an augmented value in their exertions, whether in school or pulpit.
Much has no doubt been accomplished, but, in point of fact, the process of evangelizing the world has only commenced. The labourers as yet bear no proportion to the boundless extent of the harvest which will hereafter be reaped. In every quarter of the globe the old systems of false religion are losing their hold on the public mind, and the inhabitants are looking wistfully to Christendom for aid. The consecrated walls of China are falling into dust; no new temples of heathenism are building on the vast plains of India, and the old ones are crumbling into ruins. Of the Brahmins, formerly accounted so sacred that their curse or blessing was supposed to convey the wrath or the smile of heaven, many have deserted their profession, and betaken themselves to some secular employment. The rain-makers of Southern Africa can no longer maintain their influence; the system of witchcraft, so cunningly devised, and so sternly supported in that extensive continent, ceases to assail the fears of the Caffre or Hottentot; and the crude intellect of those barbarians, gradually matured by the light of knowledge, and the warmth of christian zeal, has at length begun to put forth its powers, and to vindicate for them a place among intelligent beings. Every where the ears of the faithful catch the sound of that inspiring voice, “ Behold, I make all things new.
* Memoirs of American Missionaries, with an Introductory Essay, by the Rev. Gavin Struthers, and a Dissertation on the Consolations of a Missionary, by the Rev. Levi Parsons, p. xxv. Glasgow, 1834. In this little volume are to be found some interesting notices relative to the settlement of missionaries in the Sandwich Islands.
It is not perhaps unworthy of notice, that Tamehameha II., who afterwards proved a pupil remarkable at once for his zeal and assiduity, was at first disposed to reject the services of the christian teachers. Some of the traders who frequented his ports excited his fears or jealousy, by representing to him that the missionaries would probably interfere with the government of the islands, and that the influence they would certainly gain over his people might be rendered dangerous to his power. After a short deliberation, however, he determined to admit them. His desire for obtaining knowledge in the worship and literature of Europeans overcame all other considerations ; besides, he recollected that their number was so small, that it would be easy to repress their insubordination should they manifest any symptom of misconduct. He gave them a piece of ground for a church near his own residence, assigning also houses and gardens sufficient for all their wants; while he himself, his queen, and other chiefs of both sexes, applied diligently to the task of learning to read and write. In this latter art their progress was so rapid that they were soon able to address letters to each other; an attainment which occasioned the greatest satisfaction, viewed simply as an amusement, but still more when regarded in the light of a convenience, political or commercial.*
* In reference to the suspicions entertained by the natives as to the motives of Europeans who visited their country, we quote a paragraph from Mr Ellis. When in Owhyhee, he entered into conversation with the people on the subject of missionaries. “ In general they approved, saying, they had dark minds and needed instruction. Some, however, seemed to doubt the propriety of foreigners coming to reside permanently among them. They said, they had heard that in several countries where foreigners had intermingled with the original natives, the latter had soon disappeared ; and should missionaries come to live at Waiakea, perhaps the land would ultimately become theirs, and the kanaka maore (aborigines) cease to be its occupiers. I told them that had been the case in some countries; but that the residence of missionaries among them, so far from producing it, was designed and eminently calculated to prevent a consequence so melancholy. At the close of this interview, some again repeated that would be good for missionaries to come ; others expressed doubt and hesitation.”—Vol. iv. p. 319. As the mind of the young king expanded under the lessons of his tutors, he became more deeply struck with the difference between his own subjects and the natives of a civilized country, and also with a desire to extend among the former the improvement which had merely begun. But in forming the resolution to visit England, he is supposed to have been partly influenced by the motives already mentioned, more especially the wish to protect his dominions against the designs of other nations who might attempt without his permission to establish settlements on the coast. Actuated by a sense of his own weakness, similar to that which led his father to make a formal cession of the whole islands to Great Britain, he conceived that a personal interview with the English monarch might still more effectually secure his protection, and even assist him in following out the plan he had formed for the advancement of his people in the elements of learning, as well as in the principles of true religion. The result of the voyage is known to every one. Rihoriho and his consort died of measles in July 1824, without having obtained the object for which they had left their distant home, a conference with George the Fourth. His majesty, however, conferred upon their official attendants the honour which he had not an opportunity of granting to the young sovereign. In the month of September he received them at Windsor; and though prepared for the magnificence of his court and the graciousness of his manner, they were not a little astonished at both. They were deeply affected by the kindness of his expressions when speaking of the death of their king, and of his wishes for the prosperity of their native islands ; but above all, their joy was great at the promises of protection to their government against all foreign designs.*
Lord Byron’s Voyage, p. 72. As the king had expressed a desire that the remains of himself and his queen should be conveyed to the Sandwich Islands, orders were issued to the Admiralty to prepare the Blonde frigate, commanded by the young nobleman just named, for this solemn duty. His lordship sailed