Page images



rested upon his church here, while so goodly a company was added to its members. In the evening we took an affectionate leave of our Christian brethren and sisters gathered from among the heathen, as well as their excellent teachers, by whom we have been hospitably entertained.


Deputation arrive at Tahaa — Appearance of the Natives--Water-spouts

Public Religious Services-Duties of a Missionary– Teachableness of the Natives--An Ex-high-priest-Battle and Reconciliation between Fenuapeho and Tamatoa-An old Custom Description of Tahaa-Extraordinary Rock-Religious Address by the King-Equality of Justice - Marriage in Former Times-Remarkable Coral-reef-Coast-indentations-Motus-Ants-Large Draught of Fishes—Thievish Instinct of Hogs Baptism of One Hundred and Ninety-eight Persons Proper Names-Punishment for scandalous Crimes.

[ocr errors]

Dec. 23. We left Raiatea in a boat, at eight o'clock in the morning, and before noon were landed at the Missionary station in Tahaa, where Mr. Bourne resides, and has assembled round him a considerable number of native dwellings. For himself he has built a commodious house-a palace for this small island-sixty feet long, containing a double suite of rooms, seven in all, with a handsome veranda in front, commanding a most enchanting view of Raiatea across the smooth lagoon, and Huahine, more distant, towering in mountain grandeur from the deep, and breathing, it might seem, the atmosphere of the upper sky, so aërial are the eminences, and so exquisitely harmonizing with the blue firmament and white clouds that surround them. Several pretty villages adjacent to the Missionary's abode adorn the



openings between the steep hills, that come down almost to the beach. A patu or pier, of huge unwrought stones, has been built to facilitate the landing of boats and canoes here, as in other islands which we have visited. This connects with another structure of the same kind, crossing a small arm of the sea, and forming a chain of communication with the various groups of houses scattered along the strand. The present place of worship is in the obsolete native style-purau-stakes supporting a long roof; but a new square pier is now in the course of being laid down in shoal water, which reaches a hundred and forty feet in length beyond the shore; and on this stable foundation, according to the favourite practice in other places, a substantial chapel, well walled and plastered, is to be erected with all convenient dispatch.

We were much struck with the personal appearance and dress of the natives of Tahaa, in which they seem superior to all their neighbours. They were assembled, indeed, in their best attire to welcome us, in the chapel, when their countenances not only expressed unfeigned pleasure on beholding us as their visitors, but shewed remarkable signs of health, intelligence and good-nature.

Dec. 25. Two water-spouts were observed gradually forming, and majestically passing between this island, Raiatea, and Borabora. The general phenomena of these resembled what we had previously seen, and have described at length elsewhere. But one circumstance, incident to the second of the two that appeared to-day, deserves notice. This spout was projected from the same mass of cloud, hanging over Raiatea, out of which the first had descended. It lengthened rapidly, and became well-defined along the edges, having a bright streak running vertically through the whole tube, which appeared to reach half way down from the cloud



towards the sea, the surface of which, though so far below, was considerably agitated, and presented the appearance of a small black vapour rising from the water, and spreading as it rose, till it became as diffused and not more opaque than a fleece of white fog. This followed the lower extremity of the water-spout in its course, but the distance between our eyes and the spectacle being, probably, seven miles, we could not discern whether the water were drawn upward from the sea, or discharged upon the latter from the tube. All that we could plainly ascertain was that there must be some connection between the moving column above and the floating ebullition beneath, because they accompanied each other, but there was no visible contact-indeed they seemed quite disparted, having a considerable space between.

Dec. 28. We visited the sacred ground occupied by a royal marae, a mile westward of the station. This deserted pile, which belonged exclusively to the king, and was dedicated to Oro and his two daughters, was upheld for the convenience of finding a pretext to get rid, from time to time, of obnoxious persons, of both sexes; the men slain by assassination, or in war, being presented to the male idol, and the women to his female progeny, who were held to be as cruelly delighted with blood as their parent. But the human sacrifices brought hither were not allowed to remain and infect the atmosphere. When they had lain upon the altar till they became offensive, the carcases were transported to Oro's metropolitan temple at Opoa, in Raiatea, which was the common Golgotha of his victims.

Dec. 29. At the public services four hundred adults and two hundred children were computed to be present, amounting to nearly the whole population of the district. Nothing is seen throughout this neighbourhood, from dawn till



nightfall, unbecoming of Christian conduct, on the Sabbath. Young and old appear, at least, and we doubt not many of them are, “ in the spirit on the Lord's day.” All go to and return from the house of prayer, quietly, seriously, and yet cheerfully. In their dwellings they read and sing, teach their children, conduct their family devotions, and enjoy their temperate meals which have been prepared on the Saturday. This is the more remarkable, because the people have not enjoyed the benefit of a resident Missionary's labours among them for more than nine months, and previously they were not either often, or for any long time, visited by teachers. But they love the gospel. “ Thy words were found and I did eat them,” said one of old; and so say these simple savages, who are just beginning to live upon the bread that came down from heaven, and to feel its nourishing and transforming effects. In their exhortations to one another, they have been heard

6. Let us not be like the hog which greedily devours its offal, and thinks no more about it; but let us be like the goat, which carefully collects its food, and then goes home, and chews the cud in silence."

A Missionary's usefulness in these insular regions—so remote from continental intercourse, so separated into small communities —extends to every thing that concerns life or godliness. He has not only to instruct his charge in the principles of the Christian faith—the nature of gospel ordinances-ecclesiastical discipline-personal, relative, and social duties; but he must teach them how to act in all the stations and relations which they sustain; he must shew them in what manner they may build better houses, construct more effective canoes, manufacture domestic furniture, cultivate new crops upon their waste grounds, prepare oil, sugar, tobacco, cotton, &c. &c., for use, or for

to say,

« EelmineJätka »