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operation of those propensities, which heathenism had nurtured and matured, was restrained, almost universally, when the Islanders first professed Christianity, numbers were influ. enced only by the excitement of feeling, in favour of the new religion, which then appeared to pervade all classes, and have remained destitute of every thing connected with Christianity, excepting its name. These afterwards found, as might be expected, their former inclinations too strong to be restrained by the feeble resistance which public opinion interposed ; and though they did not revive the worship of the idols or the cruelties of human sacrifice, they returned, in a great degree, to their former indolence and vices. To enable a people, whose resources scarcely ever exceeded the demand for the supply of their daily wants, to obtain the means of realizing the conveniences and comforts of comparatively civilized life-to induce them to substitute kindness for the most relentless cruelty-integrity and virtue for the practice of every degree of iniquity and fraud—and habits of persevering application and industry, for a life of perpetual idleness and change—was part of the work which the missionaries attempted, and in which, though, as already noticed, in very many instances they have met with bitter disappointment, they have, in others, been cheered with the most encouraging success.
That a number of the natives are still ignorant and improvident, vicious and indolent, and consequently destitute of the means of personal and domestic comfort, and that some exhibit all the deformity of iniquity which European profligacy has ingrafted on their aboriginal vices, is not denied; and the fearful extent to which th s would have prevailed, but for the conservative influence of Christianity, cannot well be imagined. Yet the entire community is not composed of such individuals as some, who, in their claims to veracity, draw largely on the credulity of their readers, would have us believe; nor do they form the majority, any more than the most abandoned and profane may be said fairly to represent other communities in which Christianity is professed.
Indolence, from the force of habit, and the warmth of the climate, &c., is still one of the greatest barriers to the rapid improvement of their temporal circumstances; but it is not too much to affirm that the average amount of labour is double, and, in many instances, four times greater, than it was while they were heathens. More land is cultivated, and a number of articles, useful to the natives, and valuable in barter with foreigners, have been added to those formerly grown in the islands. Among these may be mentioned-without enumerating several kinds of edible roots, vegetables, and fruits-a superior sort of cotton, coffee, indigo, and Indian corn. The latter, it is true, has not been cultivated to any great extent, but is now to be found among the productions of the islands.
The attempts to introduce the manufacture of cotton have not succeeded so well as was anticipated ; neither have they entirely failed. A number of the natives, it is stated by the missionaries, are capable of spinning the cotton grown in the islands, and weaving it into cloth. The people at some of the stations have also been taught to make soap and salt, to prepare tobacco, and to manufacture sugar. Though these articles have as yet been produced only in small quantities, it is probable that, as the population increases, and their habits become more industrious, they will hereafter be furnished in far greater abundance, and may become valuable commodities of trade for articles of apparel, or other European manufactures.
Besides a knowledge of rope-making, turnery, carpentering, and the art of working in iron, in which a number have made a creditable proficiency-and some have been employed by European traders, and at regular monthly wages, as smiths--the preparation of lime, and the construction of more neat and comfortable dwellings, they have been instructed in the art of boat and ship-building, after the European manner. This, being a species of occupation peculiarly suited to their circumstances and taste, has been followed with great avidity ; and, though attended with some failures, as was to be apprehended from the paucity of materials for their construction and scanty means of keeping them in profitable employ, the natives have exhibited a degree of improvement that has excited the admiration of many, and convinced all, who have compared their present vessels with those which they formerly
used--that they possess abilities, and are capable of a measure of perseverance, which warrant the anticipation of very respectable attainments in this valuable branch of practical knowledge. The missionaries were the first to teach them this art, and to their enterprise, and the labours of those whom they have employed, they are chiefly, if not entirely, indebted for their means of subsequent improvement.
In order to increase their resources, useful animals have been taken to the islands, and some of them thrive well, especially goats and cattle. The latter were introduced and preserved by the missionaries, and for some time belonged exclusively to them, or those immediately connected with them ; but they are now possessed by the greater part, if not all, of the chiefs, and many of the people, who appear exceedingly fond of them, and render them remarkably tame. They are now so numerous that it is stated ships may be supplied with fresh meat at the moderate price of three pence per pound. This, while it will prove a great benefit to the natives, will be peculiarly advantageous to the masters of vessels visiting their ports for refreshments, on the obtaining of which the health of their crews, and the consequent success or failure of the voyage, so greatly depend. Horses have also been taken to the islands, and, though not numerous, are possessed by a number of the chiefs.
The difficulties that attended their improvement, by means of education, have been equal to those which have retarded their outward prosperity. The same natural indolence and restlessness of disposition which rendered them so averse to steady labour, with the spade, the saw, or the hammer, made the confinement and application requisite to acquire even the first rudiments of education equally irksome. These difficulties, the patience and perseverance of the missionaries have, in a great measure, overcome ; and, without entering into details, it may be confidently stated, that throughout the Georgian and Society Islands, with the exception of those who are in the early stages of childhood, and those who were far advanced in years when Christianity, was generally professed, and perhaps even without these exceptions, the majority of the inhabitants are able to read all the books that exist in their language. That language, it will be remembered, the missionaries had first to acquire, to construct its frame-work from the very foundation, arrange it in regular order, and present it in a written form to the people, with scarcely any aid besides what they derived from the frequently uncertain and perplexing oral explanations of the natives, to whom, at the time, the design and use of letters was utterly incomprehensible. The books in the Tahitian language do not afford much variety of subject, but they include some that contain the foundations of all profitable wisdom-viz., the whole of the New, and some parts of the Old, Testament; and though many, who formerly sought these with apparent eagerness, now neglect them, by multitudes they are highly prized.
The labours of the printing-presses in the islands are increased, and become every year more important. They are superintended by the missionaries at the stations in which they are established, but worked by native printers, who have been taught to perform, with credit and dispatch, the mechanical part of the operation. By these means the demand of the original mission is supplied ; and books are also furnished, with comparative facility, for the use of the inhabitants of the numerous and populous islands among which the native teachers are labouring. The extent to which this is done will appear from the circumstance that Mr. Darling, during a recent voyage to the islands in the south and east of Tahiti, distributed books to upwards of a thousand applicants in three islands only. And Mr. Barff observes, in communications recently received, that before commencing his voyage to the west he had printed 8000 copies of a small book in the Rarotoa dialect, a series of arithmetical tables for the use of the schools, and an edition of 13,000 copies of an elementary work for the use of the out-stations connected with the Leeward Islands. These had been completed during the year ending December, 1831.
Schools are still maintained, and regularly attended both by adults and children, though not so punctually as at first, especially by the latter. On the part of the adults, and many of the children, this arises from the necessity they now find of devoting a greater portion of
their time to the cultivation of their lands, or from their natural opposition to the moral principles inculcated in the instructions they receive. The irregular attendance of the latter is sometimes occasioned by their accompanying their parents to their plantations, but chiefly by their impatience of continuance at one occupation for any length of time, their love of rambling, their native indolence, fostered by the warmath of the climate, the facility with which the bare means of subsistence may be obtained, and the inclination numbers of them manifest towards the habits of dissipation which so many efforts have recently been made to revive in the islands. In allusion to this subject, Mr. Davies, in one of his recent letters, observes, “The schools and different meetings are well attended, though few of the youth seem seriously inclined, which is a source of grief both to their parents and myself; but means for their improvement are not neglected, and many prayers are offered in their behalf." **
It now only remains to notice the state of religion in the several charches and among the people generally. To undermine and destroy religion, the preservation of which, in its purity and efficacy, has been attended with the greatest difficulties, the enemies of the mission have put forth their most determined efforts. Hence the misrepresentations, tending to invalidate the evidence of its reality and effects, which have been most frequently and in. dustriously circulated. That attention to the observances of religion and a regard to its precepts, in the ordinary affairs of life, are not so general and conspicuous as they were im. mediately after the first reception of the gospel by the people, has been repeatedly stated. The profession of religion-endeavours to learn to read and the possession of a copy of such portions of the Scriptures as were printed in their language, were, at that time, with a few solitary exceptions, universal. Theft, licentiousness, drunkenness, and other crimes, were, for a time, either discontinued or carefully concealed. The habit of private prayer and domestic worship was uniform and generally maintained. On the Sabbath there was a total cessation from all kinds of secular employment, and an appropriation of the hours of the day to reading and religious services. Society appeared at the time in a state in which it is presumed it had seldom been seen, even in communities where far greater advantages have been enjoyed; but it would have been folly to suppose that all was what it appeared to be. Many, undoubtedly, from a variety of considerations and others without considering the subject at all, declared themselves Christians; numbers wore the mask of religion, professed what they did not feel, publicly abstained from vices, a desire for the gratification of which they still cherished, and practised observances, in which inwardly they felt no pleasure. But this state of things, to whatsoever anticipations it might give birth, could not last. Some hastily threw off the disguise ; others retained it for a longer time; until numbers have shown that their Christianity was nothing more than empty form. But, though all this has occurred, there were from the first a goodly number who acted from the firm conviction of their judgment, and the strong bias of their affections, who were moved by pure and scriptural mo: tives, and who, from the influence of that divine benediction to which they ascribe the first change in their minds, have, notwithstanding all the contempt and reproach that has been heaped upon them by the malice of ungodly mon, and all the violence of temptation by which they have been assailed, and all the natural imperfections of character, remained steadfast in the ways of religion, and have maintained their profession unshaken and unsullied by the heresies which have risen to perplex and the pollutions with which it has been sought to inundate the germs of virtue which Christianity had implanted in the bosoms of any of the people.
Those whose religion is, we have reason to believe, grounded in principle now form a distinct class; and, though they compose but a minority of the entire population, yet those who profess Christianity, and regard most of its outward observances, still constitute a great majority over those who have cast off all regard to its requirements and sanctions. The withdraw
* Extract from a letter to Mr. Ellis, dated June 1, 1831.
ment of the mere professor was to be expected, as Mr. Simpson remarks, in a letter dated Eimeo, Nov. 14, 1831, " That a separation has taken place between the righteous and the wicked can surely be no matter of surprise, and that there existed a cause for this separation need excite no astonishment.” The purity, 'prosperity, and stability, of the churches required such a separation, and the Christian faith could not be expected to become either firm or durable without it. It is not from the parties who remain in Christian fellowship, and manifest by their general deportment their attachment to the Gospel, that those who decry the religion of the islanders adduce their examples of defective Christian character, but from those who have cast off the wholesome restrains on vice which that Gospel imposes, and who are drawn together at the several ports visited by shipping. At these places, persons of the latter description abound more than in any other ; nothing, therefore, can be more unjust than to exhibit the proceedings, to which they are often incited and encouraged by their visiters, as a specimen, not only of the general conduct of the population, but of the members of the Christian churches.
One of the earliest causes of trial to the Christian communities in the South Seas, next to the outbreaking of vicious propensities but feebly restrained, was the appearance of the most absurd and injurious heresies. Visionaries pretended to be favoured with special revelations from heaven, not to supersede the Scriptures but to add to what they contained. It was not long before the secret of this delusion became apparent, by some of its leaders declaring that when they were under the influence of inspiration they were not accountable for their actions. A flood-gate for the practice of iniquity was thus opened, whilst the guilty perpetrators of vice sought, by these delusions, to persuade themselves that they were free from its penalty. Those who had no root in themselves fell away in this time of temptation; and several, whom a desire to possess the good opinion of others had induced professedly to regard the precepts of the Scriptures, now availed themselves of the pretext this afforded to return to the filthiness and sin of their former state. The churches were afflicted by a partial defection, and their enemies triumphed.
Within the last few years the people have been exposed to another great cause of demoralization; the importation of large quantities of spirituous liquors which have been retailed in the different settlements. The baneful effects of this, on a people among whom intoxication was formerly one of their most easily besetting sins, cannot be described, and we can conceive of few causes likely to occasion greater sorrow to the missionaries of distress to the churches. Those who have thus been induced to use ardent spirits, if they had departed from the paths of Christian virtue, were, under their influence, reckless of the criminal excesses into which they were hurried; while others who had hitherto maintained a consistency of conduct now exposed themselves to shame, and occasioned, even to those who were preserved, the deepest affiction. A number, on this account, have, during the last two or three years, been separated from the fellowship of the church ; and though some of them have continued the victims of the destructive habits thus induced, the greater part of them have been, after satisfactory indications of deep penitence, and a return to consistency of deportment, restored to the privileges which they had forfeited.
Lastly, the agitation and irregularities, inseparable from civil war, have, during the last year, prevailed in both clusters of the islands, and have not only excited painful apprehensions of outrage and violence, but have interrupted for a time, at some of the stations, the attendance on the schools, and on the means of public Christian instruction. These calamities have ceased, tranquillity was restored when the latest accounts from the islands were sent away, and the schools were again in regular operation in the wind ward islands. In the leeward, one of the missionaries, who had been obliged to leave his station for a time, was about to resume his labours ; although apprehensions were still entertained, with regard to these islands, that the peace there prevailing might again be disturbed. The majority of the church members, especially in the Westward Islands, had, through all these perils, remained steadfast]; many who had been separated had returned to their commu.
nion, and a number from time to time continued to seek admittance to its privileges, of whom it was not too much to hope that they were living in the exercise of repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
The annexed census of two of the stations, which is extracted from the recent communications of the missions, will show very nearly the proportion which those who have by baptism made a profession of religion, and those who are united in church-fellowship, bear to the entire population of the respective stations, and are, probably, not inapplicable to the other stations in the islands.
Men. Women. Boys. Girls. Total. In Church Fellowship
252 Children Of Parents, professing Christi
J23 124 247 anity, who have been Baptized Of Unbaptized Parents .
72 52 124 Total
The members of the churches, so far as information has been received, are intelligent, industrious, exemplary, and sincere. They have to contend against the sinful inclinations of their own hearts; they are exposed to the reproach of their own countrymen, whose conduct appears in humiliating contrast with their own; and many snares are laid for them ; they are also the objects of ridicule, contempt, and misrepresentation, from the irreligious by whom they are visited, and it is painful to be unable to resist the impression that the majority of those who visit them have no strong prepossession in favour of religion. Their preservation, under these circumstances, and notwithstanding the present immaturity of their Christian character, is of itself no unimportant cause for thanksgiving unto God. The numbers that are every year added to these churches shows also that the Lord hath not forsaken the work of his own hand.
The defections that have occurred have not, it is presumed, rendered the missionaries less circumspect in their proceedings, nor less careful in their endeavours to ascertain the suitableness of those thus received into Christian fellowship, yet, besides 216 individuals who were united to the churches in the out-stations among the Austral Islands during the past year, the accounts received within that period report the addition of 355 to the churches previously established at the several stations. The circumstances of the station at Haweis-Town, or Papara, as described by Mr. Davies, were probably those of other stations, though Papara has been less exposed than some nearer the harbours. After speaking of the lukewarmness that had prevailed “ though the means of grace, and the duties of religion were not neglected,” and referring to the measures which were adopted to promote a more serious state of feeling among the people, he observes, “These appear to have been blessed, and a greater degree of concern has taken place, especially among those who had not become communicants, and many are now pressing forward that they may be received as church members; but, still, I have my fears lest their present
goodness, like that of Ephraim of old, should prove to be as a morning cloud, and the early dew, vanishing away.” These feelings manifest an unwillingness to proceed with pre