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forcibly, that he immediately pronounced the second of these pre-
tended miracles to be a pure fiction.

Accounts of these miracles appeared originally in the "I5m-e-
jehan-Namfi;" but they were subsequently inserted in all the Urdu
papers in Calcutta, and were much talked of, the Mussulmans firmly
believing that two notable miracles had been performed in their behalf,
and to the confusion of the Christians. As soon as I became aware
of the circulation of these fictions, and the ready credence given to
them (for the Mussulmans are a people of vast capabilities of belief,
when the honour of Islam is concerned), I wrote to the editor of the
" lam-e-jehan-Nama" on 'the subject. My letter was merely a pre-
liminary one, asking for further information as to names, places, and
such matters. After a silence of some days, the editor has sent me
a very civil answer, referring me to the editor of the " lam-ul-
Akhbar" (a Madras paper), and furnishing me with a copy of the
number in which the account of the Kallykuram miracle is given.
In reference to his own article detailing the Entally miracle, he in-
forms me that the Moulvie Mahummed Yassin is, he believes, to be
found somewhere in Burdwan ; and regrets that he, the editor, cannot
furnish me with the name of the Missionary who consented to the test
mentioned in the account of the miracle. He states also that he is
only a chronicler of events; but that if I have anything to say on the
subject of these miracles, he will insert my article in his paper. Of
this permission I shall certainly avail myself, and report progress in
my next communication.

I have to mention that the Mission has lately been strengthened
by the appointment of the Rev. R. T. Blake, who joined us in April


We have been favoured with the following very interesting
extract from a private letter, which we gladly insert : —

Barque, Early Bird, 14. 88 N. Lat., 149. 24 E. Long.


We intended to go, by the September steamer, from Sidney to
Sincapore, thence on to Calcutta, and I home. But when the steamer
came, she had altered her route, and went straight to Ceylon, so missing
Java, Sincapore, Penang, &c. ; and, moreover, she was a very mise-
rable, small, and crowded vessel. We found this^ vessel just starting



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378 Polynesian Islands.

for some of the South Sea Islands and Chilian and detennined at once
to take our passage in her.

We have spent seventeen days at two of the islands, — ^the isle of
Pines, and Taona. We have seen natives of the islands of Lifu, Mare,
Uea, New Caledonia, Anaiteum, Erromango, Erranan, Cherrj Island,
and Pleasant Island ; and have passed near several of them. We are
now drawing neax the Ladrones, some of which we hope to see,
having passed through the Caroline group. It has been very in-

We saw a great deal of the Isle of Pines, spending three days at
the king's village, where we camped with a party of the officers of
H. M. S. Herald, whom we found surveying there. A few years
ago, the natives would attack any white man who came near the
island. They are now quite changed; and we wandared all about
the island without the least hesitation. Sandal-wood has brought
traders there; and there are three stations where Europeans live on
the island. We have no Missionaries there, neither are there any
Dissenting Missionai'ies.

The French have sent a Mission there from Tahiti, consisting of
two priests and several laymen. They have built a good house, and
laid out a garden, and erected a saw-mill. I went to try to see them,
but both the priests were out. I had some talk, however, with one
of the laymen. He said none of the natives were baptized yet. It is
said that they have done nothing yet, but they have so far influenced
Aliki Wendigo, the king, that he kneels and says a prayer befojre
going to bed, and crosses himself carefully before meals, and wears
one of their little tokens of the Sacre Cceur. It is thought to have
a political more than, or as well as, a spiritual aim.

That there is some truth in this, is shown by their attempts to set
the people against the English, and to prevent the king from having
any intercourse with the man-of-war. A French steamer had arrived
there a few days before we did^ and, after waiting a day or two, went
away again, saying that she was going to New Zealand to get coal.
However, she was seen to bear up in the offing, and steer north
instead of south; and the Herald wondered what she had come for,
and where she was gone.

While we were lying at Tanna the following week, a schooner
came in, and brought word from New Caledonia, where she had been,
that a French steamer had come there, and plsmted the French flag,
and taken possession of the island in the name of Napoleon Emperor ;
and, after leaving a lieutenant and boat's crew to build a fort, had
gone on to repeat the same at the Isle of Pines. So they had been
defeated, by finding an English man-of-war there. However, the
" We-we'ss,'' as the natives call the French, are not at all popular
among the islands, and the English are.

The Isle of Pines is a beautiful island. It is about thirty miles in
circumference, covered with a peculiar pine, from which it got its
name. It is surrounded by a coral reef, within which there is a
harbour, both at the south side, where we were, and at the north, the


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Polynesian Islands. 379

entrances to which are a single narrow passage through the reef in
both places. All round the greater island are small, low, green
islands, one within another, especially on the north side. The bay
close by Gudgi, the royal residence, which forms the north harbour,
is most lovely. Fancy a pretty bay with palm-trees and rich tropical
foliage down to the water's edge, with coral rocks, and the bottom,
which is quite visible through the clear water, covered with coral
groves ; shut in by one island behind another from the open sea, and
dotted abo£it with small coral islets, each with its palm-tree, or few

The natives are a nice set They do not number above 500 or
600, and are ruled mercifiilly at present by their young king, King
Jemmy, aa he is commonly called ; his native title is AUki Wendigo.
They are still cannibals, but only in time of war. The womcA seem
well treated, and are always merry and apparently happy, — ^not the
slaves they are in some Islands. They have some curious customs,
such as at their usual morning bathe, drinking the salt water, which,
I believe, gathers some medicinal virtues from the leaves with which
they dip it up. Like most of the natives of the western islands, they
practise circumcision. They are afnud to move about much at night.
They talk of a spirit which comes out of the sea and harms tli^m.
They seem to have no religious rites that we could hear of. Their
dances and songs are connected with impurity, I fear.

We reached the island of Tanna a few days after leaving the Pines,
and spent twelve days there. We had been warned of the fierceness
of the natives, and the danger of going ashore, and so were almost
sorry to find we should be detained so long ; but we managed to make
ourselves very much at home amongst them, and even made two
expeditions, some of us, some dbtance into the island.

It is a large island, how large I cannot say, — ^none of these islands
are at all explored. We were told that we went further inland than
any white man had ever been before. And they are so badly sur«
veyed, that it was with some difficulty we found the island at all.
Perhaps it may be about eighty miles in circumference. On the island
is an active volcano, and they have repeated earthquakes ; we felt
several very slight shocks while we were there. The shore of the bay
on which we lay had several hot springs running into the sea, — so
hot that the natives who live near cook their food always in them ;
the only instance I know of their boiling their food.

The Tannese are very different from the natives of the Pines. The
men do nothing but plait their hair, and saunter about through the
day, fully equipped with spear, bow and arrows, and clubs. They are
too idle even to carve or make their own clubs, but get them princi-
pally from the neighbouring island of Erromango. Their women do
all the work. A girl is married when she is about fourteen, and
immediately becomes a slave. She has to cook, and carry wood, and
dig the ground, and plant yams, &c Consequently, poor things ! they
are very ill-favoured. Moreover, they are not allowed common inter-
course with the men of the village, as in the Isle of Pines. Th^ are



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380 Polynesian Islands,

always by themselves, and obliged to keep out of sight. So much
jealousy is there, that married women hardly dare speak to their
own brothers, we were told.

At sunset the men assemble in their villages, and a very curious
performance takes place. The men sit in companies of six or seven
on the ground, or, if v/et, in a public building, in the centre generally
of the open space in the village. Certain young boys, then, generally
two to each set, take the roots of a plant called Caroa, and chew them
in their mouths, till they are reduced to a pulp. This is fhen placed
in a small wooden vessel, shaped just like a canoe; water is poured
on, and the pulp mashed with the hands in the water, and perhaps
chewed a second time, and then strained through the water. Each
man then comes forward, and receives his share of the liquor in a cup
made extempore out of a banana leaf, which he drinks very solemnly,
and sits down again. Not a word is then said by or to any of the
party, who in a short time exhibit signs of stupefaction and intoxica-
tion, rolling their head, and rocking themselves about. The white of
the eye grows darker and the face slightly flushed, the eye sparkles,
&c. This state lasts for some time, perhaps an hour, during which
they sit where they were, and then creep off to their huts^ind sleep.
If the drinkers talk and are interrupted with noise while in this state,
they get sick. After the effects are gone off, they feel none of the bad
consequences of intoxication, — ^no head-ache, nor discomfort. They
consider it most wholesome.

I never tasted the drink — I did not fancy the mode of preparation ;
but I have brought some of the root away with me. Some English
on the island said, they made it into tea sometimes, and thought it
very wholesome.

Tanna is one of the richest islands in the Pacific. They call it
<< the garden of the Pacific." It has a fine rich black volcanic soil,
which in many places is formed into a natural hot-bed by the hot
steam, which seems to burst out of the ground almost every where.
It is covered with trees and vegetation, and every tree and bush bears
fruit of some sort or other. They have cocoa-nuts, bread-fruit,
bananas, yams, plantains, bandanas, (?) and sweet potatoes, all the
year round. Most of the trees are a species of banyan^ and beair
abundance of figs, which, though not particularly sweet or nice, are
palatable when roasted in the fire, the way they eat them. There is
a good deal of low fever and ague on^ the island, in consequence of the
richness of the soil; and lately, I am sorry to say, the small-pox has
been introduced by a party of native Missionaries, or teachers, sent
from the Society Islands by the London Missionary Society's agents
there. All these native teachers died, except one, who got away
again. A Captain Paddon, who has a sandal-wood station there,
buried the dead, and burnt the houses down, and indeed nursed the
sick, preventing the natives from going near them. But we found
while there, that though no case had since appeared where we were^
it had made its appearance in the interior of the island, to the north ;
so that it had apparently travelled on the wind. Tanna is within


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Polynesian Islands. 381

the S. E. trade, and the constant steady wind (I suppose the epithet
" ventosus " would not do in the trade regions) had carried the
infection with it. ' -

Cannibalism still is quite common at Tanna. The week only
before we got there, a native of a neighbouring tribe had been caught
on the beach of the very bay in which we lay, and had been clubbed
and devoured. A few months ago, the natives attacked a boat at
the entrance of the bay, and killed and ate a white man. S. K. and
I were very anxious to climb a high mountain, which appeared
to be about five miles inland (we found it much further); and Captain
Paddon, who has been living on the island only three or four months,
though he has traded backwards and forwards from a neighbouring
island for a long time, said he had for some time wished much to go
there. He wanted to examine the country geologically, and hoped to
find gold. One of his little trading vessels had just come in from
New Caledonia, and brought word that gold had been discovered
there, and of course he was all anxiety to see if he could find any
here. So we agreed to go. The rest of our party declined the

We three accordingly started ; and Captain Paddon desired two of
his men to follow us. We had not got far, before we fell in with some
islanders, who wanted to know where we were going ; and on hearing
" To the high hill," said we could not go. They made all sorts of
objections, but we insisted on going, and went on. They followed us,
and gradually our train increased. It is impossible to go far in Tanna
without falling in with natives, it is so thickly populated. We had
great difficulty in getting on, but at last some of them said they would
show us the way. We had by this time some thirty fellows or more
with us, all armed to the teeth. They led us on some way, and then
suddenly brought us out upon the shore, where there was a village.
Captain Paddon at once sat down, and said he should not go that
way, — they had led us wrong. They pressed us to go to the village,
and said, we could not go to the mountain. Captain Paddon said, he
had tried once or twice to go to this mountain, and they never would
let him ; and he had asked the only white man who ever had stayed
on the island before, and he never had been allowed to go inland at all.
He did not know what the cause of it was. Sometimes they said
there was danger on the mountain. Whether they had a superstitious
dread of a spirit there, or whether the neighbouring tribes would
attack them, he did not know.

Just then a native ran up, saying, two white men were coming ;
and, in a minute, Captain Paddon's two white men came.

We then insisted on going, and said, if they were afraid to go, we
could go without them. The chief of the tribe said. Well, we should
be killed. But one of the men said, " Englishmen were not afraid of
black fellows, and if they fought we would fight ; we had got plenty
of musket." " Where ? " they asked, seeing none. On which he
produced a revolver from his pocket, and fired off a barrel. That
quite settled the business. " It was a small musket, but it shoot


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883 Polynesian Islands.

plenty." So away we went, and some forty of the naked savages
with us.

This man had been among the islands a long time, and he insisted
on all these fellows going before us. If you allow them to walk
behind you, they may tap you on the head with their club, before you
know they are going to attack you. And it was a thing we noticed
again and again, that they always crept in behind you if they could,
and never liked walking in front.

. Well, I have told you all this, in order to bring you to a large
village we passed through after this. In the centre stood a large
oblong hut, open at the ends thus, a , which they urged us to go to.
We went to the entrance, and they kept gesticulating and pressing us
to go inside. They kept on r^eating the word, " woman, woman."
At last. Captain Paddon said, " Oh, let us go in and see, ihej won't
be satisfied if we don't." We went in, and almost ran against
something hanging from the middle of the roof. They took hold of
this, and pointed to it, shouting again, " Woman Tanna ! Woman
Tanna !" We looked then, and saw with horror that it was part of
the body of a woman. They had eaten part, and hung the rest up,
I suppose for another feast

On seeing us draw back with disgust, they seemed delighted, and
laughed, and shouted. We could not learn what she bad been killed
for, or anything about it. It did not increase our feelings of safety.
But having got thus far, we determined to push on, our train always
increasing at every village we came to.

We got up a high spur of the mountain, but could not reach the top.
But we were amply repaid by the view we got, and the idea of the
nature of the country. We found ourselves at the back of the volcano
which we had already visited, with a rich valley or plain between us
and it, and in this valley a lake ; the natives said it was sweet water.

I was half afraid we were going to have trouble on our way back.
At the villages crowds had assembled, and came out to see us ; and it
was hard work sometimes to get through them. And a quarrel might
have been picked at any moment, when, notwithstanding the revolver,
we should have been completely in their hands. I was not sorry when
we got near the bay again, and our long tail began to decrease.

I have mentioned Captain Paddon. He has been some years
amongst the islands, and says that he shall live and die among them.
He is a very clever, shrewd fellow, — a bit of a chemist and geologist,
&c. ; and, to my surprise, for I expected the reverse, very kind to
the islanders. All these years, he says, he has never had any real
trouble amongst them, while people with him and in his employ have
repeatedly been killed. The natives there seem very fond of him ;
and several natives of other islands whom he has brought to him,
seem very much attached to him. He came on board to service the
two Sundays we were there, and I had a good deal of talk with him
about the natives and Missionary work.

He seemed to think that there was little real work done by the
agents of the London Missionary Society; and said that the Mis-


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Polynesian' Islands. 883^

sionaries, being partly Independents, and partly Weslejans, were
much divided among themselves..

I asked him about the Bishop of New Zealand. He said much in
his praise. He seemed to esteem him much, and said he had done
more than all the rest put together. " But mind," he said, " I didn't
like him at firsts" He had met him by accident at one of the islands,
and the Bishop had carried him by storm.

He^ (Captain Paddon) thinks very highly of the whole race, or
I should say, of the two races, eastern and western, of the South Sea
Islanders. They are quite distinct, but have now got mixed geogra-
phically. As the population of an island has grown too lai^e, a party
have gone off in a canoe, and have been dri^ed away to some other
island, where they have lived and multiplied. There is no scarcity
of means of life among the islands : fish in the sea, and cocoa-nuts
ashore, — which last are both meat and drink, besides other things.

The eastern race are distinguished by straight instead of curly
hair, and are a magnificent set, — ^fine,. tall, well made, with open,
honesty and often very beautiful faces. But I like them all. I never
saw people who, with all their savageness, attach you so much. One
could not but feel strongly being amongst these people, and then
going away, and leaving them to their fate. I was continually ashore
and with them. We had to give up landing on one side of the bay.
Some of our people were attacked one day, and had to make off in the
boat as fast as they could, amongst a shower of arrows and stones.
But on the side where Captain Paddon's house and buildings were,
we seemed quite safe; and we used to go up to the two villages
near, and sit among the people, and go about with them. Our ship
was crowded with them all day ; and several times I went out in a
canoe with one or more natives all about the bay. There were^
numbers of young fellows one would have given anything to be able
to remove.

The thing to be done is to take a good step at once. It is hopeless
to think of the Bishop of New Zealand governing New Zealand,
natives and Europeans, and Polynesia as well. Let a Bishop be
appointed at present for Polynesia.^ One will not do long. Or let
Bishop Selwyn take the diocese himself. I think he would be better
here solely, than solely at New 2^ealand. Let there at any rate be
some Bishop, who shall fix his head-quarters on some convenient
island ; and then and there let there be a general college, at which
natives should be gathered from all the neighbouring islands. This
is merely the Bishop of New Zealand's plan ; but it has failed in New
Zealand, because the climate kills the boys. Let there be also a
college for girls as welL And to support all this, there must be men
and women from England, both lay and cleric.

Then, on the islands place bodies of men, — ^not one solitary clergy-
man ; such are useless. A solitary man would be in danger in many

> This suggestion corresponds with the Bishop's own view. Bee his ''Pastoral"
published in the last numY)er of the Colonial Church Chronicle.


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384 Polynesian Islands.

places, and what could he do ? Let there be at least one priest, with
two or three (or more if possible) laymen, and with them, as they
were fitted for it, associate the trained boys from the college. Captaia
Paddon says, " Don't waste time in learning the languages, but teach
the natives English."

No language is used or understood by more than 1,000, or perhaps
1,500 people. Even on the same island diflTerent languages are
used, and these are totally different, — so much so that the different
tribes can hold no communication with each other. At Tanna, there
are certainly five languages, all totally different, — not patois of the
same language, but I am afraid quite different. The very numerals
are different words. There may be more languages, for five is the
highest number they can count there. And it is a curious thing to
hear natives from different islands communicating with each other in
broken English, — ^the only way they can understand each other.
They are very anxious to learn, and very quick. I suspect they
would learn English well, much quicker than we -should a native
language. And then, remember that a dozen languages may be
necessary on one island. Besides, all over these islands, English is
the language which they hear on board nearly all the ships. French
they know, but they much dislike the ** We-wes," as they call them.

1 am sure, that to keep those trained or instructed in the college, as
well as for a help to instruct others, it would be necessary to have such
a body of men on each island as could still keep in charge the young
natives from the school.

Finally, let the Bishop be such a man as Bishop Selwyn, essentially
a Missionary, who would gladly be continually at sea, going from one
island to another. Such perpetual visitation and comfort would be
very necessary. 1 think too it would be a great thing if the men
settled on the islands could continually revisit the college for a

I do not like the careless ways that some of the New Zealand
Clergy have fallen into, as regards the native services. It struck me
as a great mistake ; for the Maories, in common with all the natives
of these parts, are especially fond naturally df ceremony. It prevails
in every thing they do. I should like to avoid this mistake in my
scheme for the islands. Fancy the Church at Otaki in New Zealand,
built by the natives themselves, and finished inside most gorgeously,
— I cannot use any othfer word, — coloured and carved from floor to
ridge-beam, and from one end to the other. Here at the east end
stood a bare table with nothing on it, and a clergyman in coat and
grey trowsers, without a surplice, at the north side of it, conducted
the service, consisting of a hymn in regular dissenting twang in
Maori, followed by a Ijcsson from the New Testament, the Confession,
and some Collects, with the Lord's Prayer. Contrast this with the
superior solemnity of the priest and choir in the chancel, chanting the
legitimate office of praise, the Psalms, with their grand manly voices.
They all sing, and very finely, and the Maori is a very musical
language. They are very fond of singing.


Online LibraryKansasThe Colonial church chronicle and missionary journal, Volume 7 → online text (page 49 of 62)