Images de page

seen a very few times in Hawaiians, is the planting of trees. Ask them why they don't do it more in a land where shade is such a blessing, and they will answer, it will do them no good; they would never enjoy them; it is a mea lapuwale for them. But such improvidence is not at all to be wondered at, when we consider the uncertain tenure upon which they have hitherto held their lands. Any improvements made by a common man would have been only a premium to covetousness and injustice on the part of his chief, and would be likely to insure the alienation of property whose enhanced value made it a Naboth's vineyard to some Hawaiian Ahab.

The planting of trees anywhere indicates the possession of a freehold, and the beginning of a prosperous and sound state, in which the rights of property are respected, and justice is rendered between man and man. It is what Washington Irving, speaking of the English fondness for trees, calls "the heroic line of husbandry, worthy of liberal, free-born, and aspiring men. He who plants an oak looks forward to future ages, and plants for posterity. He cannot expect to sit in its shade, nor enjoy its shelter; but he exults in the idea that the acorn he has buried in the earth shall grow up into a lofty pile, and shall keep on flourishing, and increasing, and benefiting mankind, long after he shall have ceased to tread his paternal hills.".

The laws framed within three or four years nominally secure the right of property to Hawaiians; but in their administration justice was far from being even, espe



cially on the Island of Hawaii, under the management of Governor Adams, who was averse to quitting the ancient régime, or waiving any of the privileges of the chiefs. But liberty and law are everywhere gaining force, and a revolution is in progress which will insure good government and equal rights, if the people only survive to enjoy them. The philanthropist and Christian cannot help ardently desiring it, and deprecating as most melancholy the decay of the race, just as it might be beginning to enjoy the liberty and all the benign ameliorations of the Gospel.

But if, in the all-wise providence of God, the event be contrary to what we naturally desire, they who have been laboring sincerely to save the nation will not lose their reward. They are laying the foundations for many generations, and the good of their labors shall redound for ages. Their reward is with them, and their work before them. The church they have planted shall continue so long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. The Lord shall have here a seed to serve him to the end of time.

And though the nation's blood run out, and there be left a mongrel race of self-glorifying Anglo-Americans and other foreigners, that like the Jews of Nehemiah's day, "married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab, and their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod," yet it shall be not less a people to serve God, to reap the benefit of, and to be moulded by, the institutions of the Gospel planted now. Meanwhile, although the Hawaiians melt away, and it be sad to see a nation

dying out, we will take the consolation given by the chorus in Milton's Samson Agonistes

All is best, though we oft doubt,
What the unsearchable dispose
Of highest wisdom brings about,

And ever best found in its close.

Lahaina is one of those places which you like much better as you approach or recede from it, than when you are actually in it. A little way off it seems sweetly embosomed in bread-fruit trees, and all fresh and lovely with sunshine and verdure, calmly inclosed seaward within a fence of foam, made by the sea breaking upon the coral reef. Ride over the rollers in a whale-boat or native canoe, get to the sun-burnt, dusty land, walk up a few rods, perhaps with white pantaloons, to the mission-houses, and make acquaintance on the way to your heart's content with Lahaina dust and caloric, and you will probably by that time be saying to yourself—

'Twas distance lent enchantment to the view.

However, dirt, fleas, mosquitoes, and heat to the contrary notwithstanding, Lahaina has so salubrious and dry a climate, and advantages for healthful seabathing all the year round, that one who is any thing of an invalid likes to be there, or, what is better, two miles above, at the seminary of Lahainaluna. It is said that the greatest observed elevation of the mercury here in Fahrenheit's thermometer, for ten years, was 86 deg.; the lowest, 54 deg. The wind is the alter



nating land and sea breeze. A steep mountainous ridge in the rear entirely breaks off the trades, and, receiving all their rain, carries it distilled below in a fertilizing stream that irrigates all the valley and vega of Lahaina, and is spent before it reaches the sea.

Two or three times in a year the trades whirl over the mountain, and then woe to the man's eyes that are so luckless as to be found in it. From hill and plain there are caught up great, suffocating volumes of red dust, that envelop all the town, and even roll off to ships in the roadstead, and redden the sea. Closed doors and windows are as mere lattice-work for it. It traverses stone walls and adobes, human lungs and ears, and I know not but livers, and permeates every thing. If a man's eyes only escape being filled and getting the ophthalmia, he is well off. But the blow over, all is well again. The sea or the translucent Lahainaluna water is there to wash in, and, merrily making your ablutions within and without, you'll sing—

Cold water for me, cold water for me!

But wine for the tremulous debauchee!

The mission-house here, being the first built, and (until his embassy abroad) occupied by Mr. Richards, and the one now occupied by Mr. Baldwin, are situated in the very busiest and dirtiest part of the town. Probably it was a retired spot, surrounded by kalo patches, when selected and given by Keopuolani, in 1824. But the concourse of business and ships have so increased both the population and noise, that the place has be

come a most undesirable one for residence, and especially for rearing children. Juvenal's caution can hardly be kept there:

Nil dictu fœdum, visu que hæc limina tangat

Intra quæ puer est

Maxima debetur puero reverentia.*

Somewhat more than a quarter of a mile to the southeast, within a verdant and shaded inclosure, is the large galleried Stone Church and burying-ground. It is the first stone meeting-house built at the Islands, and does credit to its architect, the Rev. Mr. Richards. When he found its steeple to have settled away a little from the main body of the house, so as to threaten a fall, he cleverly made it fast by iron clamps and chains. It will accommodate two thousand people.

The Gospel preached there has been sometimes quick and powerful, and full of edification and life to good old chiefs and common kanakas. The veteran Hoapili, when unable to sit up but a few minutes, had himself carried there only ten days before his death in 1840, to be once more blessed by the ordinances of God's house. No serious blot, say the missionaries, is known to have attached to the Christian character of this chief while living, and now that he is gone, his memory is sweet. Those who saw and conversed with him while he was waiting the summons of death, were much affected with

* Let nothing foul to eye or ear be ever seen or heard about those doors which inclose your boy. To eager and imitating childhood we

owe a scrupulous reverence and care.

« PrécédentContinuer »