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benefit Christianity has conferred, while the testimony of Captain Chase is as honourable to himself as it is just to the people, and satisfactory to their friends. The last intelligence from this interesting island, dated 1829, is highly satisfactory. At this time, Mr. Williams visited them, opened a new chapel, sixty feet long, and forty feet wide, inspected both the stations, and found, in one, scarcely an adult who could not read, and was gratified with the hospitality of the people, their industry, improvement, and comfort; about eighty natives were united in Christian fellowship.
Westward from the Society Islands, and northwest from Rurutu, a number of important and populous islands and clusters are situated. Some of them were visited by Cook, Bougainville, La Perouse, and other early navigators, others have been recently discovered by the Missionaries, or masters of vessels conveying native Missionaries to the different islands. To the inhabitants of most of these, a knowledge of the gospel has been conveyed by Christians from the Society Islands, and by many tribes it has been cordially received. During the summer of 1830, Messrs. Williams and Barff visited most of these islands, including the Hervey, Tonga, Hapai, and Samoa, or Navigators' groups. They have since transmitted a very copious and interesting journal of their voyage, with historical and general notices of the islands and their inhabitants, and an account of the introduction of Christianity, and its influence on the people. This, we have reason to believe, will soon be published; our additional notices must therefore be brief and general.
It would appear that, although much has been
done for the natives of these distant islands, yet much still remains to be accomplished. In a letter written by Mr. Williams, to the late foreign secretary of the London Missionary Society, dated October 21, 1830, he states the following particulars.
"We visited the Hervey Islands, and found all our stations in a state of considerable prosperity." -And after narrating an unsuccessful attempt to land at Savage Island, and describing the pleasure a visit to the Friendly Islands afforded, and the reasons which induced them to decline visiting the Fijis, to which they sent native teachers, Mr. Williams continues:
"Leaving Tognatabu, we proceeded to the Hapai Islands, where we met Finau, the king of Vavau, who, with many of his chiefs, had come to attend a marriage ceremony: this saved us a voyage, as we had a teacher from Borabora for that island. We attended his majesty, and made our propositions to him, Mr. Cross and Mr. Thomas kindly interpreting for us. He replied, that we might leave the teacher and his wife, if we pleased; but it was his determination not to embrace Christianity yet, neither to suffer any of his people to do so; and that he would kill the first that did. Treating us at the same time with the greatest respect, he said he looked upon the change as a matter of importance, and he did not think it well to use deceit on such an occasion, his mind being made up on the subject. Several of the Vavau chiefs have left wives, lands, servants, yam plantations, and all they possess, and choose to live in a state of poverty at Lefuga, under the instruction of Mr. Thomas, rather than return to their own possessions at Vavau, and renounce
Christianity, which they must do if they return, as Finau threatens all with death who do not abandon their new religion.
"Leaving the Hapai group, we steered direct for the Samoa group, when we experienced a severe gale of wind, which afflicted us all with violent catarrh. One died, and several were reduced to the point of death. The wind however abating, by making the land and getting into warmer weather, we soon recovered.
"Very providentially, a chief of the Samoas, being at Togna, with his wife and family, wished much to return, and applied to us for that purpose. We were glad of the opportunity of conveying him home, and he proved an invaluable acquisition to us; and we sincerely hope, and fully expect, he will prove equally valuable to the teachers we placed there.
"The Samoa Islands are eight in number, four in the windward group, and four in the leeward group; two of which are much larger than Tahiti, and all are full of inhabitants. War raging at two of the principal islands, we thought it best to commence our labours on one only, which was not the seat of war, and to which the chief we had brought from Togna belonged. We used our utmost endeavours to induce the chiefs to give up the war they promised they would terminate it as speedily as possible, and come and learn from the teachers the lotu, or word of the great God. We placed eight teachers on the large island of Savai; four under the protection of the king, Malietoa, and four under the protection of his brother. Mr. Barff and I went on shore, and remained there two nights and three days, during which time (although probably no European had
been on shore before) we were treated with the utmost respect and kindness. A commodious dwelling was given up, by the chiefs, for our people to worship and teach in, with four good dwelling-houses for themselves and families. We promised the chiefs and people, in the large public meeting we held, when we exchanged our presents, &c., to visit them in ten or twelve months' time, and that, if they had attended to the instructions of the teachers, we would then assure them that European Missionaries would come and settle with them as soon as possible. One thing affected us much the two largest of the islands, Upolu and Savai, are about ten miles distant from each other; war was raging between them; they were actually fighting on the shore of Upolu while we were landing the teachers on the opposite shore of Savai; the houses and plantations were blazing at that very time."
On taking an impartial retrospect of Polynesia, and surveying man under the influence of his ferocious passions and unregenerate propensities, we find ourselves constrained to admit, that the power of God accompanying his gospel, is the only antidote in existence for the moral maladies of the human race. Nothing but this can induce the fallen sons of Adam to "beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks;" and when its universal diffusion shall take place, we feel assured that "the nations of the earth will learn war no more."
END OF VOL. III.
London: Fisher, Son, and Jackson, Printers...