Thomas Prestwood Lucas.

Cries from Fiji and sighings from the South Seas. Crush out the British slave trade. Being a review of the social, political, and religious relations of the Fijians online

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Online LibraryThomas Prestwood LucasCries from Fiji and sighings from the South Seas. Crush out the British slave trade. Being a review of the social, political, and religious relations of the Fijians → online text (page 7 of 9)
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they visited his station. One day a larger party came,
to feast and make merry. He gave them four or five
bullocks. After the feast they became extremely excited,
and appeared as if possessed with demons. They rushed
forth and wantonly speared 150 head of cattle ; and for
no purpose, as they simply left them dead where struck
down. The issue of civilization, under such circumstances,
is that the whites too often become so exasperated, that
Lhey kill off these savages whenever they can ; and,
consequently, the Australian blacks are fast disappearing.

In fact, the only successful Tnethod that could be
adopted by pioneers, simply as civilized, would be the
rifle and the sword.

It is a well-known fact that the rifle and the sword may
strike terror for the time, and in the immediate district ;
but they will not prevent revenge, and revenge in the
nature of the savage is the strongest passion, and means
blood for blood ; and revenge, without power and
courage, means cunning and snake-in-the-grass scheming
and treachery. Hence, the only way for civilization com-
pletely to subdue uncivilized thousands, is to spread terror


everywhere by fire and sword, and to tyrannically hold the
residue in bondage and slavery.

On the other hand, it has been proved again and again
that the Gospel of Christianity can and does transform
the savages. There are present no selfish commercial
interests to thwart the magic power of the forces of love.
The great secret of love's success is self-sacrifice, and in
heralding the Gospel of Christianity men and women have
to sacrifice self, while they proclaim and lead the intel-
ligences to a higher and heavenly Sacrifice. And thus
fortified, they go invincible as a host, until the heathen
yield to the power of the lotu, and give up their vile customs
and their debasing national sins.

And this is not mere assertion. In Fiji the power of
love, as manifested under the banner of the Christian cross,
has ridded the islands of murder and cannibalism, and
transformed the lowest villains into a peaceable. God-fearing
people. Rotumah, Samoa, Tonga, all prove the wonderful
power of this invincible, irresistible, heaven-born agency ;
and, wherever, in the Pacific, Christian missions have been
established in philosophic, self-sacrificing philanthropy, the
same results have invariably followed.

But note the contrary in New Zealand. There, as in
other groups of islands. Missionaries of the Gospel of
Peace were the first permanent visitors and settlers.
Success attended their efforts. Hundreds of the natives
were beginning to lotu, and as a proof of their sincerity
may be narrated an incident as experienced by the Rev.
S. Ironside, one of the pioneer missionaries to New
Zealand. At a certain village, where he was the pioneer,


and the first wliite man to penetrate inland, the people
in large numbers joined the Church. More than three
hundred were admitted in a single year, and that after
several months on trial as catechumens. The British
and Foreign Bible Society sent out the first issue of
New Testaments, printed in the Maori language. Mr.
Ironside distributed them among the natives.

One morning, some short time after, he was awakened
early by a native urging his presence. Having dressed,
he went to see why he was wanted. The man took
him outside, and pointed to the hills. There he beheld
a stream of people making towards the settlement.
Again the native bade him look towards the sea, and,
from a distant part of the coast, he beheld a number
of canoes also making for the settlement. His astonish-
ment and curiosity were aroused, but the native simply
bade him to wait in patience. After a time the different
parties arrived, laden with foods, pigs, potatoes, and
other articles of commerce. They proceeded to the
Mission premises, and there deposited their loads. Then,
getting their missionary, Mr. Ironside, to come and
inspect them, they told him that they wished to pay the
good and thoughtful men in England, who had sent out
to them the Word of Life, and so they had brought
the goods, that he might sell them and send the money
to London. The goods were sold, and realized £35,
a sum more than sufficient to pay for all the 500
Testaments. And this was the spontaneous offering of
newly-reformed cannibal barbarians. Love begat love.
Love created gratitude. Love vitalized the intelligence.


Love kindled in the hearts of these rescued savages a
fire which burst into hallowed flame, reaching unto
heaven. And to produce such a glorious result, civilization
would strive for ever and in vain.

Too early, civilization did come to New Zealand — too
early because before the people (excepting in a small
minority, and in favoured localities) were Christianized.
And what was the issue ? Selfish interests warred, and
eventually civilization had recourse to power of arms.
And in the two ISTew Zealand wars the civilized man, as
the stronger, crushed the weaker, and from that period
to the present, difficulties have been continuously arising
between the two peoples. And the Maoris were not
conquered by love, but simply kept in subjection
by fear. Civilization here had the most favourable
opportunities to transform the Maoris into a peaceable,
civilized people. And how miserable the failure ! And
how more apparent the failure, after the previous
successes of Christianizing effort !

And in the islands of the Pacific, civilization is power-
less to reform the cannibal, the murderer, the thief, and
the vicious ; and if civilization have to accomplish the
work of transforming, it can only succeed by the aid of
physical force, and by a transformation from the
barbarian and free to that of the bond and slave. And
such will not tend to elevate. Civilization may by such
means gain the power to insti-uct and give knowledge, but
knowledge with oppression and discontent is dangerous.
And civihzation without the Gospel of Christianity means
a wider latitude for selfishness and villany, than would


eveu be decent at home, and a substituting the civiliza-
tion polite vices, for the ruder and coarser barbarian evils.
Witness French civilization in New Caledonia, where
are evils unfit to mention, and where the national
ting is disgraced by encouraging the natives to capture
and destroy Frenchmen — escaped convicts ! Since then,
it is to the interests of a common humanity that murder,
cannibalism, and internecine wars should cease. It
behoves England to see if it be in her power to
prevent or mitigate such evils. Civilization alone
is too feeble to reform these fallen races,
therefore, before civilization be allowed to lay hold on
these islands, the Gospel of Christianity should be
heralded from shore to shore, and from island to island,
and this as a matter of expediency as well as of righteous-
ness. Whether England believe in Christianity or not,
facts are facts, and wise men and able politicians will
accept facts as such, and frame their actions accordingly.
And since Christianity can and does tame the wild
savage, and thus renders him harmless and humane,
while civihzation is powerless to reform or to better his
condition, therefore it is wisdom and philosophy to apply
the restorative for this human woe. But it may be
answered : how does the matter affect England, and what
right has she to interfere? It does affect her, and that in
many ways. As the leading Christian nation, it is her
duty to use her best endeavours to raise fallen humanity,
and to prevent war and massacre. As the home of
freedom and philanthropy, it behoves her to spread her
wings of protection and goodwill over the weak and


oppressed. As a commercial nation, it behoves her to rid
the South Seas of pirates and man-stealers, rogues, and
vagabonds. As a nation of colonies, it behoves her,
in the true interests of her Australian possessions, and
through them her own interests, to throw a protectorate
over all the islands of the South Pacific. This is
necessary to the preventing other nations officiously
interfering, and introducing all the evils of a mere
civilization. It is also necessary to prevent the unjust,
rapacious dealings of many so-called traders, and the
unrighteous acts of the labour traffickers. Look at the
effects of a mere civilization. Look at the sensual vices of
Noumea, the Sodom of the South Pacific. Is it any
wonder that within the last fifty years the native
inhabitants of New Caledonia have decreased fifty per
cent ? And wherefore this French colonization — not for
the national honour, not for the national advancement of
France, but as a cesspool wherein to throw all her
abominations and villany, and that close to the doors of
England's largest colonies — Australian, Tasmanian, and
New Zealand colonies. And as contiguity to a seething
cesspool means an exposure to deadly disease germs,
so the contiguity of the Australian colonies, to this abode
of vices and crime, must mean the inoculating the
healthy atmosphere of these southern climes with noxious
germs. And hence we see English adventurers growing
rich by popularizing vice, and seducing simple-minded
unsuspicious girls, from the colonies, to the lusts and
villanies of these Frenchmen ; while the criminal classes
of the colonies are augmented and vilified by the addition


of numbers of escaped convicts and libe'res. If, then,
one civilized spot already cause so much evil by its
foulness, what would be the effect of a multiplication of
similar evils, and under the ordering of different nations,
and this evil augmented by the intricate workings of the
slave trade ? Further, the English being the true
colonizers, have the trade with New Caledonia mostly in
their hands. The mining and other enterprizing com-
panies are English or Colonial. This gives rise to great
jealousy and bad feeling on the part of the French. Only
a few weeks ago, the Governor who has just left, tore down
from the wall of a native hut, the portrait of the Queen of
England, as presented in the " Graphic" newspaper. And
this he did, with words and acts unfit to mention in con-
nection wath such dealing.

The wrongs committed by the slave hunters and
too often unscrupulous traders, upon the various
islanders have, in too many instances, led these people
to seek redress by vengeance upon the innocent.
Whites committed the wrong, whites must be punished
— blood for blood ; and thus often such retribution
has led to further complications. A man-of-war, looking
at the matter one-sidedly, has punished the peoples for
exercising, as they believed, righteous revenge ; and this
is going on until now it is uncertain whether the natives,
on many a coast in the different groups, will be friendly
or hostile to any visiting whites. Thus matters are
continuously becoming more complicated, the savages are
being rendered more savage, commercial deahngs more
hazardous, the reforming these islanders a more difficult


matter, and the safety of life and property more uncertain
in these Seas ; and in the future, unless the evils be
crushed in the bud, and especially if other nations come
in, serious complications must arise affecting the
Australian colonies, and, through them, indirectly or
otherwise — even directly — England herself. Americahadto
learn the lesson of humanity through a baptism of blood ;
England, through her West Indian colonies, had to pay
the price for the same by a score of millions of pounds.
Will she need another lesson, or will she now in wisdom
crush the evils in the bud, stop the slave trade altogether,
throw a protectorate over the South Sea islands, and in
boldness and righteousness declare to all nations, for once
and all, the fundamental basis of a peace-preserving and
unselfish foreign policy ? Annexation, without previously
taming the wild men, would incur endless difficulties.
In fact, as shown, it is impossible to tame and elevate the
islanders, by a mere civilization annexation ; but let
missions be established under a British protection ; let
the heathen lands be flooded with native teachers from
Fiji, Tonga, and other Christianized groups. And such
men and true can be found, and willing to face death and
danger, in seeking to take the Gospel of Christianity to
heathens and camiibals.

And these men can be fitted out and sent for the
small sum of £20 each per annum.

To show the true heroism resulting, even in native

character, from the revealed and taught philosophy of

the Gospel of Christianity, I may relate the following :

In one of the heathen islands, a chief wishing to


embrace Christianity sent for a teacher. The greater
part of the people were opposed to the change, and
declared the teacher, when sent, should not land alive.
In Lakemba the superintendent minister laid the state
of affairs before the quarterly (one of the Church's)
meetings. He depicted the terrors of the heathenism
and its surroundings, and then asked specially for a
volunteer to carry the Gospel to the village where the would-
be murderers lived. A man named Moses got up and,
with his eyes full of tears, cried, " send me." He
was urged to reconsider his decision. It was pointed
out to him that the going almost meant certain death
— that he would need to bid farewell to his country and
his friends. But remonstrance was useless, and, with
the tears now streaming down his face, as he spoke of
the love of his Saviour to himself, and his desire to
give his life, even to the death, in sacrifice to Him,
he declared that he must and would go. He went.
As the ship neared the shore and cast anchor a boat
was lowered. But the boat had to be kept back. The
shore was lined with natives in hostile attitude, and,
from their gestures and screams, together with the goodly
array of spears and clubs, and bows and arrows, there
could be no mistaking their feelings and intentions.
Word was given to sail away, and express command not
to allow Moses to go on shore. Moses pleaded in vain :
the captain would not risk his life nor the lives of the
crew. But Moses was not to be done, and so, holding
up a New Testament in one hand for the natives to see,
and having wrapped his garment about his waist, he


sprang thus defended, and yet defenceless, into the sea
and swam for the shore. The natives were awed — an
unseen influence rendered them helpless — a mighty power
preserved Moses from harm. And thus, armed and yet
unarmed, mighty yet weak, feeble in culture and educa-
tion, yet strong in faith and valorous by grace, he over-
came a multitude, and by the forces of love conquered the
terrors of evil. Moses conquered. What heroism !
What valour ! What a halo of glory appears to descend
upon his noble brow, as we see him struggling with the
waves and swimming for the shore !

Yes, Christianity, even through the instrumentality of
an unrefined, uncultured Fijian, can work wonders ; and
wonders, such as civilization could never effect^a complete
and a bloodless victory.

In the beautiful island of Viwa, the most horrible canni-
balism prevailed. The Kev. John Hunt and others wrought
and lived continuously for the moral elevation of this people.
But they seemed hardened as hard as stone. Revolting
scenes were continuously enacted before his very door,
and the lives of himself and wife were often in jeopardy
and danger. But the heathen, although so depraved and
fallen, were keen judges of character. They could not
but perceive the self-denying character of the mission
families' lives and works. And at last a mighty power
came over them. The strong nxen fainted when they
beheld in the hght of heaven the heinousness of their sins.
For a time they were prostrate, overwhelmed in
physical weakness. Whole towns were laid low in sorrow
and anguish. But at last there came a mighty peace — a


calm trust on the full efficacy of the sacrificial atone-
ment. And from that time heathenism ceased. What a
wondrous power, this manifestation of love, as preached
to the cannibals in the lives of the mission families, and
as manifested to them direct from heaven ! It rooted out
the degrading vices of heathenism. It tamed the wild
men of Viwa. And in all history the same experiences
are repeated. Christianity can subdue by the powers of
love ; but civilization can only hold in check by fear, and
crush by force of arms and bloodshed.

If England then act wisely, philosophically, and philan-
thropically, she will send missionary agencies to all the
islands in the Pacific, and in such numbers as soon to
thoroughly Christianize and evangelize all the populations.

Then, and only then, excepting by recourse to arms^
and in continued danger of loss of life, will communication
and intercourse with these peoples be safe.

Let Christianity first tame the savage, and then civiliza-
tion under, a righteous government, may safely follow in its

But further, civilization, as understood by Europeans, or
the training the South Sea island natives into European
ways, is dangerous, even if preceded by the teachings of
Christianity. These natives have only capacity equal to
the public schoolboy, and to lift them up to the ways of
EngUsh refinement, is to deteriorate from their moral worth.
A native squats on the matting on the floor, but put him
on a chair and he at once manifests the faults of a spoilt
child. He becomes too big for himself or for anyone else.


Put him iu European clothes and he is simply beside him-
self. Give him a knife and fork to eat witli, and lie becomes
superior to you, and allows impudence and foppishness
to drive away good manners and self-respect. His boy-
like capacities cannot bear the too sudden exaltation or
excited strain. His brain becomes turned with foolish pride
and the man becomes offensive, impudent, and useless.
And even as too much learning may make the physically
weak European mad, so too much civilization makes the
Polynesian morally and socially mad. Such a one com-
pletely loses his head, and becomes a fool. He cannot bear
the (to him) too sudden elevation.

To succeed, then, the truest philosophic and philan-
thropic policy is first to tame the wild man by means of the
forces innate to the Christian Gospel, next to give him
the simplicities only, or the alphabet of civilization, raise
him from the stone age to the iron age, give him knives,
hatchets, spades, and other simple implements for agricul-
ture or the minor arts. Teach him reading and writing
in his own language, as well as the elements of arithmetic,
history, and geography. On no account teach him
English. The knowledge makes him too uppish and
disagreeable. Discourage European clothing, excepting
a light shirt for the men, for the Sabbath and festivals,
and a light bodice for the women on like occasions. And
it is astonising how becoming the natives look, simply
wearing the sulu round the middle on ordinary occasions
and working days, and with a light shirt or bodice on
extra occasions — worship or festival. In a word, without
interfering with harmless native customs, elevate them


spiritually, but put them in a position so as to raise
themselves in civilization by natural efforts from within —
efforts growing from necessity, or as the outcome of
increasing knowledge and developing capacities — efforts
entirely created within their own native community, and
thus natural, gradual, and stable. It should be always
remembered that civilization, as matured and refined
amongst the English, is a dangerous thing for Fijians or
Polynesians, until generations of experience shall have
reframed their characters, and developed various mental
capacities. But, in the meantime, let England throw a
protectorate over the groups of South Sea islands, for various
reasons —

1. For staying the so-called labour traffic, or, in its

true term, the slave trade.

2. For giving a certain amount of moral protection to

the missionary pioneers and agents.

3. For preventing tribal wars and systematic invasions,

devastation, and cannibalism.

4. For restricting white settlement, excepting judici-

ously, and when to the advantage of both peoples.

5. For seeking to establish central governments, with

more or less nominal power, sufficient to prevent
or punish massacres, murder, and rapine.

6. For seeking to regulate trade and preventing piracy

and marauding.

A Pacific commissionate should be over the whole, with
ships of war cruising between the various islands, with
power to punish offenders and redress grievances.

In the above recommendations I have simply named a


protectorate. Of course, circumstances might arise in
which it might be desirable in the interests of peace and
mutual advantage, where annexation would be the wiser
policy ; but such must depend upon the circumstances.
Each plan has its advantages. In a protectorate the
native government would necessarily be patriarchal, and
thus the advance of the people slower, while difficulties
might arise from time to time, which would not occur
under annexation.

Annexation would demand an increased outlay. It
would, however, enable the gradual undermining of the
patriarchal system and a raising of the people by
encouraging individual efforts, and by establishing and
protecting individual rights. It would make the position
of the peoples safer fr'-m the attack or caprices of foreign
nations or evil-disposed whites. But, to secure all the
benefits, it would need to be preceded by Christianizing
the people generally, and this could be the better brought
about under a protectorate. To annex the islands with-
out previously taming the wild man, and to seek to civilize
under such conditions, would lead to endless difficulties
and troubles, and would necessitate the use of arms and
a greater or less loss of life and concomitant evils. A
nominal annexation, without allowing; white settlement —
excepting official — or colonization, would be a step in
advance of a protectorate. But to make it successful,
it should be worked harmoniously with the Christianizing
missions — the savage taming agencies.

Most assuredly, the labour traffic, as it is politely
called — but, in truth, the slave trade — should be put a


■toi? to at once, and England should be true to her
colours and keep to her former proclamation and flag
— to sweep the seas of such traffic, no matter under what
national flag, or however fictitious the colours under
which the traffic exists. The natives have not the
wisdom and understanding, to be in a position, to engage
as hired servants. The Government cannot^ by laws
or regulations, ivash a black spot ivhite. They cannot,
with ignorance on the part of the blacks, and with self
interests and unscrupulous cunning on the part of the
traffickers, prevent injustice, man-stealing, man-buying,
rapine, and murder. Therefore, the sooner they put a
stop to the whole system, the better for all parties,
though, in doing so, present interests should be respected;
and, at the expiration of the period of service, the
Polynesians should be free to return home or re-engage
as they pleased. But how is labour to be obtained ?
The Government are bringing in a number of Indian
coolies, but, unfortunately, the agents are not careful
to hire respectable men, and hence many bad characters
and most immoral, are turned loose in Fiji. It can,
doubtless, be easily proved that the Chinese are better
workers than the coolies. But there are two draw-
backs with John and his followers — his opium
smoking and his open immorality — to say nothing of
his uncleanly domestic habits. But, as Fiji is a Crown
colony, a law could be framed forbidding the use of
opium to the Chinaman. Reliable agents in China
could engage married men, and men not addicted to


opium smoking, and with the knowledge that opium
would be a thing forbidden in Fiji.

And, as regards the domestic arrangements, the
difficulty occurs also with the coolies, many of whom
are terribly slovenly and uncleanly ; but the giving
them commodious houses, and the general supervision of
their domestic arrangements, would quickly and largely
mitigate this evil. Too often the coolie is not only
slovenly, but lazy, and will feign illness — screaming,
doubling up, and by other manoeuvres seeking to deceive the

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Online LibraryThomas Prestwood LucasCries from Fiji and sighings from the South Seas. Crush out the British slave trade. Being a review of the social, political, and religious relations of the Fijians → online text (page 7 of 9)