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Engagements of a Week - Plan for an Insurrection - Native Carpentry
The Bread-fruit Tree - Aromatic Grass -- Mountain Prospect— The Cocoa-nut Tree.
Dec. 17. The following weekly course of public and private services here, will shew the great pains which are taken by the Missionaries for the improvement of their congregations.—On the Sabbath there is an early prayermeeting, conducted by the natives themselves; and in the fore and afternoon sermons are preached by the Missionaries. The Sunday-schools for both sexes are opened twice in the intervals of public worship. All the children attend the latter, and sit in the chapel, in a quarter specially allotted to them, under the superintendence of their teachers. They are also regularly catechized.—Every other morning, (except Saturday, provision-day), at sun-rise, and again at noon, schools are held for an hour, which are attended by adults as well as children. In these, which are under the immediate direction of the Missionaries, reading, writing, arithmetic, &c., are taught.-On Monday afternoon is a meeting, at the chapel, for free conversation on all kinds of useful topics, connected with religion and the means of ameliorating the condition of the people at large. The Missionaries attend to answer such questions as may be put by all who desire information on these subjects; and there
ENGAGEMENTS OF A WEEK.
are seldom fewer than from four to five hundred present.On Tuesday afternoon the female communicants and candidates for the communion assemble for instruction, alternately at the houses of Mr. Ellis and Mr. Barff. The pious and intelligent wives of the Missionaries preside over these class-meetings; in which several native women pray extemporaneously, as well as devoutly read the Scriptures to the rest.—On Wednesday afternoon Mr. Ellis or Mr. Barff delivers a lecture or homily in the chapel to audiences of from seven to eight hundred persons.-On Thursday afternoon the baptized and candidates for baptism are convened to receive admonition and exhortation by the Missionaries on their respective duties and privileges.-On Friday there is a catechetical meeting, for both children and adults, which is found to be exceedingly beneficial as well to those who ask as those who answer enquiries. The kings and chiefs come to these various services, without parade of rank, as humble hearers and diligent learners.-On the first Tuesday in every month a Missionary prayermeeting is held for the spread of the gospel throughout all the world; and on the last Friday, previous to the sacramental Sunday, there is a preparation-meeting for the communicants.
The daily occupations of these islanders are household affairs, providing food, building their houses, constructing canoes, sailing, fishing, planting their grounds, making fences, manufacturing cloth, hats, bonnets, all kinds of apparel, &c. Before Christianity found them, the principal part of their time was spent in eating, sleeping, and profligacy; but now their hours are generally employed in honest and profitable labour, or useful and pleasant engagements, among which school-learning and tasks at home are highly prized. Few indulge themselves in unnecessary
sleep, even in the middle of the day. The kings, queens, and chiefs, of both sexes, take the lead, and love to excel in all sorts of work. Though they have many persons at their command, and ready to execute all their wishes, they are not ashamed to labour with their own hands, both for example’s sake, and for the delight they take in doing every thing well-yea, better than others. If any of their dependents should leave them behind in carpentry, boat-building, or other handicraft, the highest among them would be mortified. In the same spirit, if any of the female servants of a principal woman could make finer cloth, or devise more elegant patterns wherewith to ornament it, than she, the mistress would feel herself humbled.
Dec. 18. About half a year ago, a spirit of insubordination manifested itself in Huahine. There were upwards of a hundred of the most headstrong young men in the island, who, being dissatisfied with the strictness of Christian discipline, determined to restore-or at least among themselves to practise, the old habits of licentiousness. They had conspired to take away the life of Hautia, the regent; and hoping that the raatiras would join them against the Bue Arii (royal family) and the Christians, they actually took up arms,-though their array was not very formidable, a few muskets, clubs, and spears being all the weapons they could collect. The civil authority mustered its forces promptly, and coming suddenly upon the rebels demanded their immediate, unconditional surrender. They acquiesced, and the ringleaders were brought to justice. It was found that they had tatooed themselves, which, though harmless in itself, is now contrary to law, as associated with obsolete abominations ; by them it was used as a symbol of their dissatisfaction with the better order of things, and a signal for revolt against the existing government. Many
PLAN FOR AN INSURRECTION.
of these mal-contents proved to be refugees from other islands, who had resorted hither that they might return to their heathen freedom from religious restraint. These aliens were all sent home, and the natives were condemned to hard labour on the public works, such as roads, piers, &c. Their chief, a youth of high rank, was equally degraded and punished with the rest. It is remarkable that, about the same time, there were similar insurrections in Tahiti and Raiatea, but in both those islands the projects of the factions were detected and frustrated.
The Bue Arii here, having just now received a communication from Tahiti, requesting their attendance at that metropolitan station, to consent to the accession to his late father's sovereignty, Mahine came to consult the Missionaries; for the confidence which all ranks place in their teachers leads them to ask their advice on any thing of importance; and truly these excellent men are worthy of the esteem and confidence reposed in them. Mahine, being King of Eimeo, and chief of a large district in Tahiti, it was necessary that he at least should make the voyage. But mark the active piety of this venerable man. Recollecting that his other island, Maioiti, was not yet fully supplied with copies of all the translated portions of the Scriptures, he requested to have a hundred copies of the Gospel of St. John, which is only just printed, that he might call and distribute them among his subjects there, on
Dec. 19. The Deputation agreed to address a letter of condolence to the Queen of Tahiti, on the death of her husband, Pomare, which was done, and entrusted to the care of Mahine, at whose house we spent a pleasant afternoon In the evening he and several chiefs, with their suite, between seventy and eighty persons in all, embarked in a
large boat, with a favourable breeze, hoping to reach Tahiti in twenty-four hours.
We took the dimensions of the chapel here, and found them a hundred feet by sixty. One end of this spacious structure was built by King Mahine, the other by Hautia, the regent, and the middle by the raatiras. The pews were put up by the different chiefs, according to their respective taste and fancy, yet following a general plan laid down for them. The workmanship was executed by hands which had never done any thing of the kind before. When this is considered, and also that they had scarcely any tools (those which they had being indifferent ones), it must be confessed that the result of their labours was very creditable to their skill and industry; though, being unaccustomed to square and line, some parts lean one way and some another; while the whole, of course, is more compact than symmetrical. The pulpit, however, is a fair piece of carpentry. One ingenious workman, who had made a sofa for his seat in the chapel, to his utter astonishment, when he placed it there, discovered that it would not stand upon its legs, though it had six substantial ones. When he sat down at one end the other tilted up no small height in the air, and when he rose, down came that which had been in the ascendant, according to the laws of gravitation. Not discouraged by this ill-omened beginning, he addressed himself to construct another, on more geometrical principles. This perfectly answered his hopes, and very quietly bears both its own weight and his. Such pieces of furniture are now made, with great neatness and accurate adjustment, for private houses.
Dec. 21. The bread-fruit trees are at this season in full bearing, and grow to the highest perfection in this island. The Linnæan name is artocarpus. This tree being well