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FORMER HEATHEN ENTERTAINMENTS.
home with them, and renew the feast another day, in their family circles. The residue of our own messes (which were as large as Benjamin's when Joseph entertained his brethren) our servants took care of, as their customary perquisite. It is hardly necessary to say that, in such an assembly, when all the dishes had been placed, before any were touched, the blessing of God was asked upon the bounty of his Providence. After the meal, several of the chiefs, the Missionaries, and ourselves, successively addressed the company on such topics as the occasion suggested. In conclusion, a hymn of praise was sung, and one of the chiefs returned thanks for this day's mercies, and offered up earnest supplication that goodness and mercy might follow his country-people and their teachers, all the days of their lives. The people afterwards quietly dispersed, and in their peaceful dwellings presented their evening sacrifices at the family altar.
Feasts were frequent in the times of ignorance, but they were only for the men; the women never being allowed, either publicly or privately, to sit down with their tyrants, or eat of the same food. Surfeiting, drunkenness, debauchery, quarrelling, and murder were the usual felicities and excesses on such occasions. Here there was no riot, no intoxication, no evil-speaking, but in their place temperate refreshment, cheerful converse, and universal harmony. Yet it would be impossible to express the conflict of emotions, hardly reconcileable, with which we looked round upon this great assembly,—remembering what they had been, and beholding what they were ; and reflecting that the mere wisdom of man, employed to its utmost power, and with its utmost charity, through an equal number of years, by agents a hundred fold more gifted in worldly policy than the humble Missionaries who had brought the
NEW CHARACTER OF THE PEOPLE.
gospel hither, could have done little towards transforming such a people from savage to civilized society,--nothing, in fact, compared with what has been done by “the foolishness of preaching." We could only resolve the moral miracle before our eyes by the declaration of our Saviour, “ The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” We will not disturb the hallowed pleasure which we trust this brief account of a day in a thousand, in the Pacific isles, will communicate, however imperfectly, to those who may read it, by exhibiting in contrast the characters of many that sat at meat with us there, in their heathen and in their Christian states ; lest the horror which the former must awaken might convert the deep delight inspired by a contemplation of the latter, as exemplified at the late baptismal sacrament, and at the present innocent festival, into an undefinable feeling of doubt and fear, lest faith, and hope, and charity had mistaken the nature or the reality of the change-the new birth, we must call it, and we will-of many of these children of the devil, now children of God. Those, however, who willingly doubt and fear in this manner, may question whether their faith, hope, and charity come up to the standard of Scripture. Till it can be demonstrated, that “ with God these things are impossible," we must continue to believe, upon such evidence as hitherto has convinced us, that they are not possible only but realized among the Polynesian people.
This feast was given by the voluntary contributions of many persons, and designed, as we were informed, among other things, particularly to express their happiness in having us (the Deputation) among them. One of the speakers said, in the fulness and simplicity of his heart, that he had been praying to the Lord not to let us go away, but keep us here as long as we lived. Feasts were formerly
FORM OF ROYAL MESSAGES.
made in this manner by the taniau. The niau is a message of royal authority, issued sometimes to a single district, and sometimes throughout the whole island. The king's messenger, in such case, took one of the feather-like branches of the cocoa-nut tree upon his shoulder, or a bundle of the side leaves in his hand. Thus, charged with his dispatches, he went from chief to chief, putting into the hands of each a piece of cocoa-leaf, four or five inches in length, and delivering with it the royal commands. Each principal chief, in like manner, communicated the message to those in rank below him, these to raatiras, they to neir inferiors, and the latter to the people at large. By this simple process the whole island was put in motion in the course of a few hours, all classes promptly contributing their quota of provisions towards the great entertainment, or towards carrying into effect the sovereign's wishes whatever they might be. Business done thus is called taniau, or by message. Whoever accepts the bit of cocoa-leaf offered by the messenger thereby signifies his compliance with the royal mandate. Whoever should refuse to accept it would run great risk of being banished to some remote island for his contumacy; disobedience, under such circumstances, being “ constructive treason.”
Two Vessels in the Offing-Tarouarii - Proje Visit to the Marquesas
Islands—Auna, Mattatore, and their Wives, set apart as Native Missionaries to the MarquesasBirth of Tarouarii's Daughter-Two BrigsEmbarkation for the Marquesas---Amphibious Dexterity of the Islanders --Nocturnal Amenity of the Sea— Cockroaches—Towaihae Bay, Sandwich Islands-Motley Appearance of Natives.
Feb. 16. Two vessels appeared in the offing, at daybreak. They proved to be the Mermaid, sixty-one tons burthen, Captain Kent, a small sloop, and the Prince Regent, Captain Brown, a schooner. The latter, seventy tons burthen, had been built at Port Jackson, was a neat copper-bottomed bark, carrying six guns, and was now on its way as a present from the King of England to the sovereign of Owhyhee (Hawaii), under the convoy of Captain Kent. In the course of the afternoon we went on board, and were very politely received by the captains of both vessels.
Feb. 17. We accompanied Mr. Ellis on a visit to Tarouarii, King Mahine's daughter-in-law, who expects soon to be the mother of a posthumous child, which, if spared to live, will be the future sovereign of Huahine ; its deceased father having been heir-presumptive to the reigning queen. We were surprised to find this great lady, on whom the hopes of the nation are placed, in a small shed, about seven feet square, separated from a larger dwelling, for her
special convenience on the august occasion of giving birth to a prince. She was reposing upon grass spread over the floor, and there was no other furniture in the apartment but a lamp made of a cocoa-nut shell, glimmering with its faint beams upon the ground, and on the posts and rafters which formed the walls and roof, presenting to the eye their deep intersecting shadows, strongly contrasted with the flickering lines and spots of feeble light between. The queen of the island, Hautia, and Hautia Vahine, her father and mother, with another female, were her attendants. The shed stood within a few paces of the sea, and had been purposely chosen, according to the approved custom, for the benefit of free air, and to afford her an opportunity, as soon as she should be delivered, to plunge into the sea, and there sit in the water for half an hour. This strange, and we might deem perilous practice, to a woman in such delicate circumstances, is common here; and we are assured that, in most instances, it is the means of restoring strength and animation to the exhausted mother, who frequently goes about her ordinary household business an hour or two after she has come out of the purifying flood.
Feb. 21. During the last few days we have made an engagement with Captain Kent to carry Mr. Ellis, ourselves, and some native teachers (whom it has been determined by the church here to send thither) to the Marquesan Islands, about a thousand miles distant from these groups. The captain promises to land our little Missionary band of volunteers there, on his way to the Sandwich Islands, or, if he cannot beat so far to the windward now, to carry us with him to the latter, and leave those appointed to the former on his return to New South Wales.--This day was fixed for holding a full religious assembly, to set apart two natives