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fest, and the improvement of the people encouraging. Twelve months after our departure, they were visited by Mr. Bourne. The numbers of houses were increased, and a general air of comfort pervaded the settlement. Though not very frequently visited prior to their intercourse with Raiatea, they were the victims of most unjust plunder, from those who resorted to their shores for the purposes of refreshment. A short time before the first European Missionaries visited them, an English ship hove-to off the island, and on the captain's intimating his wish to obtain pigs and vegetables, the natives took off a supply, including a number of large hogs, for which they were promised axes in return. Their canoe was attached to the vessel by a rope, while the hogs, &c. were hoisted upon the deck. As soon as their canoe was empty, the captain threw down a bundle of pieces of iron hoop, and useless pieces of iron, and, telling them that was their payment, cut the rope by which they held to the vessel, and sailed away. Indignant at the treachery and robbery of the white men, they returned to the shore, held a public council, related the conduct of their visitors, exhibited the payment they had received, and proposed that they should avenge themselves upon the next ship that might arrive. The proposal was received, and it was determined that, instead of taking off provisions, they should invite the captain on shore, and then murder him and his companions; while others should go off with supplies, with which they should gain admittance to the ship, and there murder the remainder of the crew, and seize the vessel. This was their purpose when the first Missionaries visited them. As soon
as Mr. Threlkeld was
acquainted with it, he dissuaded them from it, and recommended them to give him the articles they had received, assuring them he would write to the owners of the ship, who would remunerate them. The ship was afterwards wrecked and lost, and the captain no longer employed by his owners. Another ship, commanded by an individual, who was chief officer at the time of this unjust transaction, was also lost, and I have not heard of any recompense being made to the natives. They however, since they have embraced Christianity, have treated every foreigner by whom they have been visited with kindness. Nine months after our departure in 1824, a large American ship, the Falcon, Captain B. C. Chase, was wrecked here The chief officer and crew remained some time on the island. The captain proceeded to South America, but, before he left, he delivered the following testimony to the native teachers. "The natives gave us all the assistance in their power, from the time the ship struck till the present moment. The first day, while landing the things from the ship, they were put into the hands of the natives, and not a single article of clothing was taken from any man belonging to the ship, though they had it in their power to have plundered us of every thing. Since I have lived on shore, myself, officers, and people have received the kindest treatment from the natives, for which I shall ever feel thankful. Myself and officers have lived in the house of Puna, who, together with his wife, has paid every attention to make us comfortable, for which I return my sincere thanks, being the only compensation I can make them at present."The contrast between this conduct, and their purpose some years before, is decisive as to the
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