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convince the people that the government would act according to the laws, and to deter others from their violation, he directed that his son should be tried. Taaroarii received the sentence with apparent indifference, but was so exasperated with his father, that he more than once threatened to murder him, or to cause his destruction.
Some months after this he broke a blood-vessel, it is supposed, with over-exertion at the public work appointed as a penalty for his crime. After this, he laid aside his labour; his people would at the first have performed the work for him, but he would not allow it, and appeared to identify himself with them, in the humiliating situation to which they had reduced themselves. In the conversations we sometimes had with him, he seemed to regret having connected himself with the party who now considered him as their leader.
Shortly after this event, symptoms of rapid consumption appeared, and assumed an alarming character. All available means were promptly employed, but without effect. His father frequently visited him, and his wife was his constant attendant. In order to try the effect of change of air, he was laid upon a litter, and brought on men's shoulders into the valley, where a temporary encampment had been erected near our dwelling. The chiefs of the island, with their guards, attended, and, when they reached the valley, fired three volleys of musketry, indicative of their sympathy.
While he remained here, we often saw him; he was generally communicative, and sometimes cheerful, excepting when the topic of religion was introduced, and then an evident change of feeling took place; he would attend to our observations,
but seldom utter a syllable in reply, and seemed unwilling to have the subject brought under consideration. This was the most distressing circumstance attending his illness, and to none more painfully affecting than to his aged father.
On the last day of his life, Mrs. Ellis and our two elder children, to whom he had always been partial, went to see him; he appeared comparatively cheerful, listened to all that was said, and shook the children by the hand very affectionately, when they said, Ia ora na, or, Farewell. I spent some time with him during the same afternoon, and it was the most affecting intercourse I ever had with a dying fellow-creature.
The encampment was fixed on an elevated part of the plain, near which the river, that flowed from the interior mountain to the sea, formed a considerable curvature. The adjacent parts of the valley were covered with shrubs, but the margin of the river was overgrown with slender branching purau, and ancient chesnut-trees, that reared their stately heads far above the rest, and shed their grateful shade on the waters, and on the shore. Near the edge of the cool stream that rippled over the pebbles, and at the root of one of these stately trees, I found the young chieftain, lying on a portable couch, surrounded by his sorrowing friends and attendants.
I asked why they had brought him there they said that he complained of heat or want of air, and they had brought him to that spot that he might enjoy the refreshing coolness of the stream and the shade. I could not but admire their choice as I sat beside him, and felt, after leaving the portions of the valley exposed to the sun's rays, as if I had entered another climate. The
gentle but elastic current of air swept along the course of the river, beneath foliage that often formed beautiful natural arches over the water, and through which a straggling sun-beam was here and there seen sparkling in the ripple of the
After mingling my sympathy with the friends around, I spoke at some length to the young man, whose visage had considerably altered since the preceding day. I endeavoured to direct his mind to God, for mercy through Christ, and affectionately urged a personal and immediate application, by faith, to him who is able to save even to the uttermost, and willing to receive even at the eleventh hour, &c.
All prospect of his recovery had ceased; our solicitude was therefore especially directed to his preparation for that state on which he was so soon to enter. This indeed had been our principal aim in all our intercourse with him. On this occasion he made no reply, (indeed I suppose he was unable, had he been disposed,) but he raised his head after I had done speaking, and gazed stedfastly upon me, with an expression of anguish in his whole countenance, which I never shall forget, and which is altogether indescribable. Whether it arose from bodily or mental agony, I am not able to say, but I never beheld so affecting a spectacle.
Before I left his couch, I again attempted to direct his mind to the compassionate Redeemer, and, I think, engaged in prayer with him. The evening was advancing when I took leave, and the conviction was strongly impressed on my mind, that it was the last day he would spend on earth. My eye lingered on him with intense and mingled
interest, as I stood at his feet, and watched his short and laborious respiration; his restless and feverish head had been long pillowed on the lap of his affectionate wife, whose face, with that of every other friend, was suffused with tears. His eye rolling its keen fitful glance on every object, but resting on none, spoke a state of feeling remote indeed from tranquillity and ease. I could not help supposing that his agitated soul was, through this her natural window, looking wishfully on all she then was leaving; and as I saw his eye rest on his wife, his father, his friends around, and then glancing to the green boughs that waved gently in the passing breeze, the bright and clear blue sky that appeared at intervals through the foliage, and the distant hills whose summits were burnished with the splendour of the retiring sunI almost imagined the intensity and rapidity of his glance indicated an impression that he would never gaze on them again. Such was the conviction of my own mind; and I reluctantly retired, more deeply than ever impressed with the necessity of early and habitual preparation for death.
O! how different would the scene have been, had this interesting youth, as earth with all its associations receded, experienced the consolations and the hopes of the gospel. I presume not to say that in his last hours, in those emotions of the soul which nature was too much exhausted to allow him to declare, and which were known only to God and to himself, he was not cheered by these anticipations. I would try to hope it was so for indications of such feelings, his sorrowing and surviving friends anxiously waited.
How striking the contrast between his last day
on earth, and that of Teivaiva, another youth of Huahine, and, like Taaroarii, an only son and an only child, who, when he saw his sorrowing parents weeping by the side of the couch on which he lay, collected his remaining strength, and, rousing himself, said "I am in pain, but I am not unhappy; Jesus Christ is with me, and he supports me: we must part, but we shall not be parted long; in heaven we shall meet, and never die. Father, don't weep for me. Mother, don't weep for me. We shall never die in heaven." But the latter of these, while in health and comfort, had been happy in the ways of religion, seeking the favour of God: the former had neglected and departed from those ways, and had lived in the practice of sin.
About nine o'clock in the evening, Mahine sent word that his son was worse. Mr. Barff and myself hastened to the encampment, and found him apparently dying, but quite sensible. We remained with them some time, endeavoured to administer a small portion of medicine, and then returned. A short time before midnight, on the 25th of October, 1821, he breathed his last.
When the messenger brought us the tidings of his death, we repaired to the tent, found his parents, his wife, and an aunt who was exceedingly fond of him, sobbing and weeping bitterly by the side of the corpse. The attendants joined in the lamentation; it was not the wild and frantic grief of paganism, formerly so universal on such occasions, but the expression of deep anguish, chastened by submission to the Divine will. We mingled our sympathies with the mourners, spent a considerable time with them, endeavouring to impart consolation to their minds, and then returned to rest, but not to sleep.