Page images



under God, he had been eminently instrumental in promoting them.

Pomare now enquired concerning the operations of the Society in other regions of the earth, and seemed highly gratified with the glad tidings which we were enabled to bring him, respecting the progress of the gospel in Africa, the East and West Indies, and elsewhere. We took this opportunity of recognizing the establishment of missionary associations, within his own dominions, and returned thanks, on behalf of the parent Society, for the munificent contributions of cocoa-nut oil, and other articles of native produce, which had been sent by himself and his subjects, and received by our treasurer. We further informed him, that we had brought another missionary and his wife, to be stationed among his people; also two artizans, the one a carpenter, the other well skilled in the manufacture of cotton cloth. These we recommended to his special protection; as it was the desire of the Directors of the Missionary Society to benefit him and his subjects, by teaching them (next to the lessons of eternal truth) useful arts and occupations, whereby, even in the comforts of this life, they might be raised far above their former state. In this he appeared cheerfully to concur.

The discourse then turned on European politics. He asked concerning the state of France since the restoration of the old family and government; and mentioned Buonaparte as being in safe custody. We told him that we had left France, England and all Europe at peace; that the King of the British Islands, George the Fourth, was in good health, and the country in a state of increasing prosperity in its commercial concerns ;-we laid particular stress on the benefits which England derived from the influence and example of his (Pomare's) late friend, George the



Third, in encouraging agricultural improvements, general industry, and education by means of schools, in which not only ordinary but Christian instruction was given to the children of the poor; we added, that our present enlightened Sovereign and many of the nobility, as well as the ministers of the Gospel, and a vast number of the professors of religion among us, were promoting the knowledge of the sacred Scriptures, in every quarter of the earth, to which access could be obtained, by sending to all people, in their own language, translations of the words of eternal life. We had not sat long, when he ordered wine to be brought, with glasses, which were placed on a low stool before us. We each, after the manner of our own country, drank to his Majesty's better health, with good wishes for the welfare of the queen, his son and daughter. Pomare himself took a small quantity of wine, mixed with water, in a large tumbler. Fearing that our presence and conversation might prove fatiguing to him, as he was evidently very much indisposed, we rose to depart, but he requested us to stay a little longer, and then we were conducted to the courtyard to view the presents which he had provided for us. These consisted of fourteen fine hogs, and five large heaps of bananas, mountain plantains, taro, bread-fruit, cocoanuts, &c., placed on frames, like hand-barrows, each as heavily loaded as two men could carry. We returned to acknowledge the royal bounty, manifested by these gifts, as well as those we had received in Tahiti, on Friday last, after which we took our leave, highly gratified with the circumstances of this audience.

Pomare, so far as we could judge, for we only saw him seated, has more of personal dignity than could be expected from one who had been so lately a rude and fierce barbarian. In stature, we are told, he reaches six feet two



inches, with limbs and frame athletic in proportion. His countenance is far superior in comeliness, as well as in expression, to the engraved portrait which has been published in England, though that presents a general likeness. The visage is long, the features bold, the lips thick, and the nose broad-set, according to the prevailing traits of the Tahitians; but his complexion is swarthier than ordinary among his countrymen. He wears his beard rather long on the upper lip, reserving also a small tuft between the lower lip and the chin. His hair is worn short round the front and sides of the head, with one long lock behind, which was rolled


and fastened at the crown. His hands are considerably tatooed, particularly round the joints of the fingers. His manner appeared courteous and affable, though grave, and he was occasionally languid from ill health ; but, as we are informed, he is never loquacious. Every one speaks of him as a man of talents, judgment and foresight; as well as possessed of far more general knowledge than could be expected, considering the few and imperfect means he has enjoyed of gaining instruction. His subjects look up to him as an oracle, and behave, in his presence, with profound veneration. When we remember how lately he was sole and despotic Arbiter of life and property throughout these islands, much credit is due to him for having exercised his authority with comparative mildness and equity; those instances of rapacity and sion, which occasionally occur, being in fact exceptions from the acknowledged forbearance and lenity of his usual government.

In the after part of the day, we proceeded to the place of worship, to meet the church and congregation of believers here, according to appointment. These were all


[blocks in formation]

assembled to meet us in their best apparel; and with looks of the most animated satisfaction, they welcomed us as we entered, and made our countenances to reflect corresponding delight, even as face answereth to face in water. Mr. Tyerman opened the meeting with prayer.

We were then conducted to that part of the chapel where the deacons and church-members, a hundred and three in number, were seated. To these we gave the right hand of fellowship, in the name of the Missionary Society, and all those Christian friends in England whom we represented on this occasion. We afterwards addressed the audience, and congratulated them on what God had done for them, since it had pleased Him to open the eyes, the ears, and the understandings of the population of these beautiful and sequestered isles, (long under the dominion of the prince of darkness) to see and hear and know the things that belonged to their peace. After expatiating at some length on the propagation of the gospel, in other parts of the world, by Missionary, Bible, Tract, and School Societies,—the word preached and taught being every where accompanied by signs following,-a hymn was sung, and Mr. Bennet closed the meeting with prayer. Nott was our interpreter. We then shook hands with all the baptized and candidates for baptism. Never had we witnessed more Christian affection and unity of spirit. The fruits of the gospel are the same every where, -love, joy, and peace, social as well as personal.

When we retired from this service to a neighbouring house, to partake of some refreshments, the kindness of the congregation was shewn to us, by the usual tokens,-a present of two hogs, a quantity of such fruits as were in season, and some roots of taro of prodigious




bulk. In the evening there was a meeting of a considerable number of females, among whom were the queen and her sister, at Mr. Henry's house, for the purpose


praying, reading, and conversing on religious topics. Similar means of grace are enjoyed weekly, and conduce much to the mental and spiritual improvement of those, who, under the despotism of idolatry, were the most degraded of slaves.

« EelmineJätka »