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The Missionaries and their assistants, who have laboured at these stations ever since their commencement, have not only steadily and diligently applied to the study of the language, which is a dialect of that spoken in all the eastern portion of the Pacific, established schools for the instruction of the natives, and endeavoured to unfold to them the great truths of revelation, but have from the beginning, by the establishment of forges for working iron, saw-pits, carpenters' shops, &c. laboured to introduce among the natives habits of industry, a taste for the mechanic arts, and a desire to follow the peaceful occupations of husbandry; thereby aiming to promote their advancement in civilization, and improve their present condition, while they were pursuing the more important objects of their mission.
Success indeed has not been according to their desires, but it has not been altogether withheld; the general character of the people, in the neighbourhood of the settlements, is improved, pleasing instances of piety among the natives have been afforded; a number have been baptized, and the Missionaries are enabled to continue their exertions, under circumstances which are daily assuming a more pleasing aspect. We rejoice to know, that the report of the change which Christianity has effected in the Georgian Islands, appears to have exerted a favourable influence here. This has been manifested on several occasions. The following is one of the most recent instances.
Writing under date of May 22, 1829, the Rev. W. Williams, one of the Missionaries of the Church Missionary Society, in describing a visit, made in company with Mr. Davies, to Kauakaua, observes, "In the evening, we were much interested by an
account given by a chief, who has lately visited Tahiti. He simply confirmed the testimony given by others before, that the natives of that island have undergone a very great change. I asked if they never fought now? "Fight!" said he," they are all become Missionaries." The natives who listened to him, said, they should like to go there, and live at Tahiti, but that their own island would never leave off its present customs."*
It was a favourable circumstance attending the change that has taken place both in the Society and Sandwich Islands, that each island had its chief; and that in some instances several adjacent islands were under the government of a principal chief or king, whose authority was supreme, and whose influence, in uniting the people under one head, predisposed them, as a nation, to receive the instructions imparted by individuals countenanced and protected by their chief or king. Persons of the highest authority not only patronized the Missionaries, but frequently added to their instructions, their commendation, and the influence of their own example in having already received them.
In New Zealand there is no king over the whole, or even over one of the larger islands. The people are generally governed by a number of chieftains, each indeed a king over his narrow territory. A desire to enlarge their territory, augment their property, increase their power, or satisfy revenge, leads to frequent and destructive wars, strengthens jealousy, and cherishes treachery, keeps them without any common bond of union, and prevents any deep or extensive impression being made upon them as a people. This necessarily circumscribes * Missionary Record, Oct. 1830.
the influence of the Missionaries, and is, in a great degree, the cause which led the Wesleyan Missionaries for a time to suspend altogether their efforts, and which has recently so painfully disturbed those of their brethren in connexion with the Church Missionary Society.
The labours of the mechanic and the artisan are valuable accompaniments to those of the Misionary; but Christianity must precede civilization. Little hope is to be entertained of the natives following to any extent the useful arts, cultivating habits of industry, or realizing the enjoyments of social and domestic life, until they are brought under the influence of those principles inculcated in the word of God. And notwithstanding the discouragements to be encountered, this happy result should be steadily and confidently anticipated by those engaged on the spot, as well as by their friends at home. Their prospect of success is daily becoming more encouraging. They have not yet laboured in hope, so long as their predecessors did in the South Sea Islands; where nearly fifteen years elapsed before they knew of one true convert. The recollection of this circumstance is adapted to inspire those employed in New Zealand with courage, and stimulate to perseverance, as there is every reason to conclude, that when the New Zealanders shall by the blessing of God become a Christian people, they will assume and maintain no secondary rank among the nations of the Pacific.
Situation, extent, and productions of RAPA-Singularity of its structure-Appearance of the inhabitants-Violent proceedings on board-Remarkable interposition of Providence-Visit of some natives to Tahiti-Introduction of Christianity into Rapa-RAIVAVAI-Accounts of its inhabitants-Visit of Capt. Henry-Establishment of a native mission-Fatal ravages of a contagious disease TUBUAI-Notice of the mutineers of the Bounty-Origin of the inhabitants-Prevention of war-Establishment of salutary laws-RIMATARA-Productions-Circumstances of the inhabitants-Abolition of idolatry-General improvement-RURUTU-Geological characterPopulation-Auura-His voyage to Maurua-Return to his native island-Destruction of the idols-Visit to Rurutu-Advancement of the people in knowledge, industry, and comfort-Unjust conduct of visitors-Treatment of the shipwrecked by the natives-Progress of Christianity.
ABOUT Seven degrees nearer the equator than New Zealand, and thirty-six farther to the eastward, the lofty and many-peaked island of RAPA is situated. The first account of this island is given by Vancouver, who discovered it in his passage from New Zealand to Tahiti, on the 22d of December. 1791. According to the observation made at the time, it was found to be situated in lat. 27. 36. S.
The mingled emotions of astonishment and fear, with which the natives regarded every thing on board Vancouver's ship, prevented their replying very distinctly to the queries he proposed; and be observes, "Their answers to
and long. 144. 11.W. The mountains are craggy and picturesque, and the summits of those forming the high land in the centre, singularly broken, so as to resemble, in no small degree, a range of irregularly inclined cones, or cylindrical columns, which their discoverer supposed to be towers, or fortifications, manned with natives.
It is the furthest from the equator of a number of scattered islands, which lie to the south of the Tonga, Navigators' and Society Islands, and are designated by Multe Brun, The Austral Islands.*
Rapa is about twenty miles in circumference, is tolerably well wooded and watered, especially on the eastern side. The taro, or arum, is the most valuable article of food the natives possess, and, with the fish taken on their coast, forms their chief subsistence. The breadfruit, mountain plantain, banana, cocoa-nut, and fruits, have been brought from Tahiti, but they do not appear to thrive. The eastern coasts appear the most fertile. On this side of the island the fine harbour of Aurai is situated. The entrance is intricate, but the interior capacious, extending several miles inland. The landing on the beach is good, and fresh water convenient.
almost every question were in the affirmative, and our inquiries as to the name of their island, &c. were continually interrupted by incessant invitations to go on shore. At length, I had reason to believe the name of the island was Oparo, and that of their chief Korie. Although I could not positively state that their names were correctly ascertained, yet, as there was a probability of their being so, I distinguished the island by the name of Oparo, until it might be found more properly entitled to another." The explicit declarations of the natives, made under more favourable circumstances, have now determined Rapa to be the proper name of this island.
* System of Geography, vol. ii. p. 647.