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STRANGERS IN TAHITI.
their visit should not be regarded as an indication of hostility, but if eight or ten came together, evil intentions should be suspected, and their landing resisted. Thus the treaty, simple in its object, and plain in its conditions, was ratified at once, and the issue promises to be happy; there being little probability that the contracting parties will be otherwise excited by their neighbours than to love and good works, wars having ceased throughout the other dominions of Pomare, ever since Christianity became paramount in Tahiti and Eimeo.
Near the king's two residences, a number of persons were living in small hovels, natives of a distant island, who had been driven by a storm on this coast, and received with the hospitality which their pitiable circumstances needed. Though of the same colour as the Tahitians, these strangers differ considerably from the latter in language and manners. They are not tatooed, and in all respects seem an inferior cast of savages. We could not find that they either profess any form of idolatry, or have any idea of a Supreme Being. They are now learning the Tahitian dialect, both to speak and to read it; they regularly attend public worship; and should any of them be made rightly acquainted with the gospel, they may become teachers of it to their countrymen when they shall be returned to their homes. As by the agency of storms population had been carried to remote islands of these seas, in ages past, so, in the wisdom of Divine Providence, storms have been occasionally made instrumental in extending the knowledge of the gospel, by casting heathen barks upon coasts already evangelized, as well as by diverting European Missionaries or Gentile converts from their course on temporary voyages, and detaining them on barbarous shores, where, in the sequel, they have planted churches of Christ.
In the progress of our walk along the beach we came to the house of Repaparu, the chief who had engaged Mr. Tyerman to be his tayo, or friend. He is related to the royal family, and is, moreover, secretary to the Tahitian Missionary Society. When we entered, he and his wife, a young woman about seventeen
and several of his attendants—the chiefs always having a number of such in their train-immediately seated themselves crosslegged on the floor. The house was about a hundred and twenty feet in length, having one side separated from the other, and partitioned into small bed-rooms for the use of the family. The remaining half formed an open court from end to end. Many of the neighbours, having flocked in after us, to gratify their curiosity by looking at the visitors, seated themselves without ceremony, as though they were at home. At our request, Repaparu's attendants fetched their New Testaments, out of which they read sundry portions, verse by verse, alternately, with fluency and emphasis; answering also with great readiness such questions, arising out of the context, as Mr. Nott put to them. We addressed a few sentences to them through the latter, as our interpreter, on the great love of God manifested towards them, in sending the gospel of his Son to their islands. A dish of popoi, a preparation of bananas, mixed with cocoa-nut water, something like pudding, was now handed to us, in clean cocoa-shells. Though a favourite kind of food here, we did not much relish it, having yet to learn to like the luxuries of the South Seas.
We afterwards prolonged our ramble nearly two miles towards the extremity of the district of Matavai, accompanied by groups of natives, who joined us from time to time, eager to have the pleasure of carrying our umbrellas, or doing any kind office in their power. Being thirsty, we
requested some pape-haari, or cocoa-nut water, whereupon two or three of them ran to the nearest trees, which they climbed with surprising facility, by clasping the stems with their arms, and pressing their naked feet against the bark ; and thus these tall and branchless stems were apparently ascended with almost as much ease as they walked on level ground. Presently several fine nuts were brought to us, the husks of which the men tore off with their teeth; then, having punctured one end of the shell, we were each presented with a draught of this most delicate beverage for appeasing thirst in a tropical climate. On our return, we passed through a rich grove of orange, lime, tamarind, and other fruit-trees, planted five-and-twenty years ago by the first missionaries, and now in their prime. Here stood the house which they built after their landing, and occupied for some time, while they were sowing in tears the precious seed of the word, apparently on the barren and unimprovable rock alone; that structure was afterwards burnt, during one of the frequent wars, and no other has been since reared on its site.
All the remainder of the day, Mr. Nott's dwelling was thronged by the natives, who came to see and welcome us with their national salutation-Ia-ora-na—every blessing be upon you! Without hesitation, and in the most affable manner, many came in and seated themselves cross-legged upon the floor, while others stood at the door, or peeped through the window at us. This, it seems, is the custom of the country, and considered no way obtrusive. We asked them to sing one of their hymns, which they did very harmoniously, to a tune familiar to our ears. When they had gratified their curiosity, and not less manifested their good will, they quietly went away, one by one, others in succession supplying their places till evening.
DRESS OF THE NATIVES.
Most of the men wore no other dress than a piece of native cloth wound about the loins, and passed between the legs. Some had a loose mantle of the same thrown over their shoulders ;, and a few were more closely covered with an upper garment called a tibuta, which is a length of similar stuff, with a hole cut in the middle, through which the head appears, while the two ends hang down before and behind as low as the mid-leg, the sides being loose and open.
The women were clad much in the same style, with a girdle sufficiently broad to serve for a petticoat, a shawl-like cloth gracefully gathered round the shoulders, and in general a bonnet, made after the English fashion, of platted grass.
Mr. Nott, among other curiosities, shewed us a manuscript copy of the translated Gospel of St. Luke, executed by King Pomare in a very neat, small hand. It was from this copy that the first edition of that Evangelist was printed. Mr. Nott stated that he had been greatly aided by Pomare in making that version, the king being better acquainted with the Tahitian language, and its capabilities, than most of his subjects. This is probably an unparallelled instance of a prince—and that no mean one, for he had the power of life and death, and his will was law in all cases throughout his dominions-devoting time and talents to the slow and painful labour of translating the sacred Scriptures, and copying out the work for the press with his own hand, that he might be the means of bestowing upon his people the greatest earthly boon which God has bestowed upon man. The Gospel of St. Luke was indeed the first volume ever printed in any language of the South Sea Islands, except a small spelling-book, necessary to prepare the way for it by teaching the natives to read their own tongue.
MEETING WITH MISSIONARIES.
Sept. 27. We all sailed to Papeete in the Tuscan, where our property was landed, and lodged on the premises of Mr. Crook, at that station. This day we had the satisfaction to meet several of the Missionaries, with their partners and children, namely, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis, and their family, from Huahine; Mr. and Mrs. Williams, and their infant, from Raiatea; also Messrs. Bourne and Darling, from Bunaauia. A meeting being specially appointed for the purpose of receiving the deputation, and the persons accompanying us, we delivered our official credentials, and declared, each in a few words, our joy and gratitude on having, by the blessing of God, arrived safely at the scene of their labours, after our long voyage.
The brethren then passed a resolution, recording their pleasure in beholding us as the representatives of the Society at home; also expressing their hope that beneficial effects, to the cause of the gospel here, would be the result of our embassy. They passed another resolution of cordial thanks to the directors, for the very seasonable and valuable supplies, &c., which had been sent out to them through us. We soon felt ourselves truly happy and at home among these pious and devoted servants of the Lord, who, possessing a remarkable diversity of gifts and dispositions, appear to us well qualified to promote the cause of the gospel in this new and interesting field.
Mr. and Mrs. Crook have nine children; yet the comfort of their habitation, the order in it in-doors, and the behaviour of every member of their family, reflect the highest credit on their prudence and economy. We have here had a good opportunity of remarking how much the skill and ingenuity of Missionaries are called into exercise, to supply the lack of many European conveniencies and accommodations. But though we had perceived much admirable