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Efforts of the natives to propagate Christianity-Amount of early contributions-Effect of annual meetingsExertions of the first converts-Description of the Paumotus, or Dangerous Archipelago-Visits of the people to Tahiti―Their reception of Christianity-The number and situation of the Marquesas-Their appearance and productions-Population, dress, and figure of the natives -Tatauing-Disposition-Government-War and cannibalism-Attempts to introduce Christianity among their inhabitants-Pitcairn's Island-Descendants of the mutineers of the Bounty-Waihu or Easter IslandCape Horn-Juan Fernandez-Alexander Selkirk.
CHRISTIANITY universally received, and, we have reason to believe, firmly established in the Georgian and Society Islands, having overcome the combined opposition of idolatry, priestcraft, interest, and pride, with the barriers of depravity and abomination, which so long despised its authority, and resisted its appeals-and having survived the more fatal treachery of the enemies that have adopted its name, and assumed its garb -has not been confined to those islands.
Acknowledging the command of Christ to teach all nations, and preach the gospel to every creature," to be obligatory on all his disciples imbibing somewhat of the true spirit of Chris
tianity, which is not restrictive and selfish, but expansive and communicative-animated by the spirit of the primitive Christians, and, imitating their example the members of the first Polynesian churches no sooner enjoyed the advantages of religion themselves, than they adopted vigorous measures for imparting them to others.
Some notice of their efforts to communicate a knowledge of Christianity to other tribes in the Pacific, of the islands to which they have sent their Missionaries, and others more or less connected with these, will, it is presumed, not be unacceptable, as presenting a more distinct view of the relation these islands bear to Tahiti and the adjacent group.
An account has already been given of the formation of Missionary societies in Tahiti, Eimeo, and Huahine. Others were afterwards established. Their first remittance to London was in 1821, and amounted to nearly £1900. The Raiatean society, besides maintaining at its own expense six native Missionaries, sent to England, in 1827, £300. This sum, and the liberal contributions from other associations, would have been greatly increased, could the productions, in which the native subscriptions were furnished, have been disposed of to the best advantage.
The anniversaries of the native societies, and their public Missionary meetings, continue to prove to the inhabitants seasons of delightful satisfaction. At these meetings their pleasure has been heightened by the details of native Missionaries who have returned from distant islands, and the exhibition of rejected idols from countries where formerly they had been worshipped. Inhabitants of remote islands have appeared at their meetings,
as ambassadors from the tribes to which they belonged, requesting that books and teachers might be sent to their native land; and chiefs and kings have also at these periods publicly, with gratitude to the true God, returned the native churches their acknowledgments for sending them instructors.
At the Missionary anniversary held at Raiatea, in 1828, the king of Rarotoa, an island seven hundred miles distant, and containing six or seven thousand people, stood up, and, in his native dialect, thanked the Raiatean Christians for sending the gospel to his island, and delivering him and his people from the bondage of idolatry, and sin, and death.
The native churches are daily extending the range of their benevolent operations; their vessels penetrate where no ships ever went before, and their Missionaries land where no foreigner has dared to set his foot on shore. Yet, wherever they have been, the merchant or the sailor may now safely follow, and he will meet with hospitality and kindness. The following account will appropriately illustrate this remark.
On his passage from Tahiti to New South Wales, in 1825, in the brig Brutus, Mr. Nott touched at Aitutake, (the Whylootakie of Cook.) Native teachers had been there above three years. The inhabitants were Christians. The passengers landed; and when the natives found a Missionary among them, they requested he would preach to them, and about 1000 soon assembled. The islanders shewed their visitors every possible kindness, accompanied them to the ship when they embarked, and carried a number of supplies as a present to the captain. After stating these
facts, Mr. Nott, in a letter, dated May, 1825, continues
"The next island we called at was one of the Friendly Islands, Eooa, as written by Cook, and as we have it written on the charts, but which should be Ua. At this island, also, as there is no anchorage, we were obliged to stand off and on while the boat went on shore. Here a circumstance took place, which, among many others, might be brought forward, to show the value of Missionary establishments. The boat reached the land with Capt. Forbes, the chief mate, and Mr. Torrance. They began to barter with the natives, and obtained several pigs, some plantains, cocoa-nuts, &c., but suddenly they were seized, and every thing was taken from them, without any offence being given. Axes were held over their heads, and knives applied to their throats; a rope was also brought, and formed with a noose, and hung over their heads, to signify to them what they must expect, if they offered to escape or resist. A ransom was then demanded, before they would let them return to us on board the brig, and the chief mate was sent off in the boat to fetch the property. But as it was dark when the boat reached the brig, it was not proper that she should return to the shore until morning. During the night, the prisoners, Capt. Forbes, Mr. Torrance, and another of the boat's crew, were kept in the greatest terror, with a strict guard, and continual threats. In the morning, the boat was sent on shore with muskets, (or rather fowling-pieces of considerable value,) powder, and cloth, to the amount of £30 or £40, and a New Zealander, who was on board with us, was sent, to negotiate the affair, the people being afraid to venture on shore
again. The chief received the property, and Capt. Forbes was permitted to come on board the brig, but Mr. Torrance was detained till more property should be sent on shore, which was done by the boat, and taken on shore by the New Zealander. Mr. Torrance was then permitted to come off to us. At this instant Captain Forbes exclaimed, 'O, Mr. Nott! we see now, more than ever, what has been done by you and the Missionaries on the islands where you have resided, and the trouble you have had in bringing the natives, from what they were, to what they are
We have already noticed Pomare, the first convert in the islands, visiting the different districts for the purpose of persuading its inhabitants to renounce their idols, and embrace the Christian faith. We have seen Mahine, the king of Huahine, sending his messenger to that island for the same purpose; and we have seen Tapa, and the chiefs of Raiatea, prosecuting, in 1816, the work commenced by Mr. Nott and his companion in 1814, and engaged in subverting idolatry and preparing his people to receive Christianity, before any European Missionary had taken up his abode on their islands. Mai and Tefaora not only distinguished themselves by their zeal in the destruction of the idols and temples of Borabora, but the latter sailed over to Maurua, and induced the chief and people of that island to follow his example, and discontinue the worship of their idols.
It is not probable that all who thus distinguished themselves were fully acquainted with the gospel, or entirely under the influence of the high and sacred motives it inspires, but they are convinced