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It strongly supported the existing marriage law against the attacks of the clergy, who would have desired to treat as invalid all marriages except those performed by themselves. It brought to light the scandal of a European minister attempting by spiritual censures to punish a native magistrate for a decision given by him on the bench. It has condemned an attempt to extort money for missionary purposes; nor has the general tone adopted by it, while respectful to religion itself, been one of undue subservience to its ministers.
Even the quaint speech of Nacanaeli (Native Stipendiary Magistrate of Lakemba), on behalf of the Missionaries, shows a consciousness that their action was liable to censure :—
"If I speak in white men's proverbs you will probably deride me, but I have heard it said by white men that 'there is no evil but has some good.' For instance the whirlwind; does that only cause the fall of trees and destruction? No, it purifies the air, and clears the land of filth and what causes death. Smooth water is nice to look upon, but what sailor desires calms? I say we are under the government and providence of God, all of us, and in all the work we are engaged in here. Now, if we have received good from the missionaries, shall we not also receive evil? God's government of the world is good; but every now and then sudden and terrible things happen. Do we despise God in consequence?"
At the Bau meeting, in 1879, a letter was read from a Roman Catholic priest, complaining of interference with his converts by the chiefs. The letter gave rise to an animated discussion.
Roko Tui Ba said—
"Sometimes we see earnest men, following their own convictions, become Roman Catholics. If such be the case, and we interfere, are we wise? I think not. But, on the other hand, pretended conversions light-mindedly professed on account of some quarrel or dissatisfaction with a teacher or a chief should be strongly repressed, for division in a town is in itself evil. No one wishes to interfere with the free course of the individual people in their religion, but in all public work we are not individuals, we are communities."
Bull Kubumlau said that the Roman Catholics at the instigation of the priest had disregarded his town regulations.
"They continued to do what the whole of the town objected to, following the word of the priest. None of us wish to interfere with the people's religion on either side, but who is to yield when authority is defied? Are we to obey the priests,-or are the people to obey us, when we are defied by the priests? Religion is a good thing, but both the Catholic priests and the Protestant missionaries give us great trouble."
Bull Nambauwalu said that some of the Roman Catholics at Verata
caused a very great deal of trouble and annoyance to the rest of the
"After many attempts to remedy the matter, I went to the priest and explained and remonstrated with him. Of course he lectured me, told me that theirs was the only true religion, and that I ought to become a Catholic, and then I should be a good man, and a good chief. I told him that was my own affair; that I had come to speak to him on a public matter affecting the land and the people, and requested him to speak to his people, as otherwise I should be obliged to have them brought to court. Since then all things have gone smoothly, and in all township work, and such matters, the people help and obey. Now it has occurred to me that if Buli Nakelo had gone and spoken directly to the priest, a like good result might have followed. Priests are very irritable, and do not like us to tell them the truth; still, after one has gone away, they probably think of what has been said, and act more wisely."
Such emancipation from clerical control the Wesleyan Church in Fiji will not easily forgive. But let no one on this account venture to underrate, or lightly value, the services which that body has in times past rendered, and still renders, to Fiji. It may be true that its chiefs scarcely realize the fact that, instead of being now the apostles of a perilous mission, they are the rulers of a dominant and virtually established Church: it may be feared that, owing to the narrower field of selection involved in the transferrence to the Australian Conference of the entire control of the Fijian mission, an increasing difficulty will be felt in filling up with fit candidates the ranks of the European clergy: it may be thought that some of these, long accustomed to wield well-nigh absolute and wholly irresponsible power, regret its loss. But when allowance is made for every drawback, it is almost impossible to overrate the influence for good exercised by the Wesleyan Mission, or the salutary effects of its allpervading presence. That influence has seldom been employed in the furtherance of personal objects; and the ugly features of selfish ambition have been masked to the consciences even of those in whom the lust for power is most strongly developed, by a sincere belief that they are solely animated by a zeal for pure religion and the spiritual welfare of the Church.
The arguments brought against the continuance of the Bose vaka Turaga were they well founded, do not touch its principle, but only its outer details, and whatever may be said against it, its maintenance is a necessity if the system of government through natives is to be kept up. It acts as a safety-valve to many a grievance that might otherwise rankle and swell to dangerous proportions; it furnishes a touchstone of feeling of the utmost value in gauging the tendencies of the native mind, and is a most powerful auxiliary in carrying out the wishes of the Government. It may be worthy of consideration whether a somewhat similar system might not prove to be of utility in other localities, where large numbers of natives, possessed of a certain degree of civilization, are ruled by a small body of Englishmen.
JOHN RICHARD GREEN.
OF John Richard Green, the author of "A Short History of the English People," it is not easy for me to speak. And yet it is impossible for me not to speak.
From 1863 to ahout 1872, I was perhaps his most intimate friend; and although the paths by which we twain did go were destined to run in different directions from about the time that he formally withdrew from his career as a clergyman in the Church of England, our friendly intercourse was never interrupted, except by those spells of seTere illness, and enforced absence from England, the last of which closed his brief but brilliant life at Mentone, in March last, at the early age of forty-five.
I saw my poor friend for the last time in the autumn of 1882, at his house in Kensington Square. He then had before him my proofsheets of "Footprints in Rome, I.: Peter, Paul, and Nero," which appeared in Good Words, April, 1883.
I went down hoping to drive him out and chat over my proofs; but I was shocked at the change, and had no heart even to refer to the subject. His vivacity wore him out. The stream of callers seemed incessant. I left him with a feeling of intense depression. His vitality was amazing; for some time one lung had been entirely gone, and the other was badly affected. He soon afterwards left England. I felt no hope; and though inexpressibly shocked, was not surprised at his death in the following spring.
Before the publication of Mr. Green's "Short History," 86,000 copies of which have been sold in England alone, Mr. Green, although a voluminous essayist in the Saturday Review, was absolutely unknown by name to the general public. It is not true, as was asserted in a leading journal, that the success of his book surprised his friends. In 1863, the clergyman whom he followed at Holy Trinity, Hoxton, said to me, " I think we have a giant amongst us in Johnny Green." "I made up my mind about that," I replied, "the very first night I saw and spoke to him/' Mr. Freeman, Professor Stubbs, Dr. Stanley, and, I may say, Archbishop Tait, all knew of his powers before he became famous at a leap, and I venture to say not one of them was surprised at his success. I think he was more surprised himself.
He was filled with a great love of historical study, but was generally diffident about his own work. "I read it over," he said to me in the old days, when I was favoured with copious extracts; "and I write and re-write, and wonder after all whether it is worth much— whether any one else will read it I"
His own standard was so high, hi3 knowledge so great, and his critical friends, Freeman, Stubbs, Brewer, &c., so accomplished, that he was incliued to be generally very modest about his own rank as an historian, and at times even wavered in his general design.
When I first knew Mr. Green, he was revolving a work which should deal, I believe, with the Plantagenet period, illustrate the story of the Great Charter, and the making of the English political constitution. The first fragment he put into my hand in type was Stephen's Hide to London.
At the instance of Mr. Macmillan, the publisher, he abandoned the magnum opus for a season, and taking, in one wide sweep, the whole of English history, produced that unique and popular narrative which raised him immediately into the very first rank of historians.
I remember his anxiety to bring the book within the reach of the masses, to make it a cheap book, his battle with the publisher on that ground, and his final victory.
"They will not see," he said, " that by this horror of deadstock and constant issue of dear books, which means small profits and quick returns to them, they miss the bulk of the middle classes, who are the real readers—the upper classes and the very poor don't read—and you make your new books so dear, that your middle class, who do, can't buy. Look at America; you ought to bring literature to people's doors. If I were a publisher, I would have a vast hawkingsystem, and send round my travellers with cheap books to every alley and suburban district within ten miles of London."
This intense sympathy with the people, no doubt, had to do with those innate democratic and republican tendencies in Mr. Green which so alarmed the Quarterly Review, but they were immensely quickened by his many-sided experiences in the East End of London.
In those Hoxton and Stepney districts, where he was my fellowcurate, and my constant friend and companion for two years, he was learning to know the English people. He had read about them in books. In Stepney he rubbed elbows with them. He had a student's acquaintance with popular movements; but the people are their own best interpreter; and if you want to understand their ways in the past, you cannot do better than study our present poor-law guardian, navvy, artisan, East-end weaver, parish Bumble, clerk, publican, and City tradesman, in the nineteenth-century flesh.
Mr. Green never worked more vigorously at his History than when he was busy reading its turbulent popular movements, and mixed social influences, secular and religious, in the light of mechanics' institutes, poor-law difficulties, parochial squabbles, and dissenting jealousies. The postponement of his History until the harvest of this precious experience had been fully reaped, gave him that insight into the secret springs of popular enthusiasm, suffering, and achievement which makes his History alive with the heart-beats of our common humanity, instead of mouldy with the smell of motheaten MSS. and dead men's bones.
That slight nervous figure, below the medium height; that tall forehead, with the head prematurely bald; the quick but small eyes, rather close together j the thin mouth, with lips seldom at rest, but often closed tightly as though the teeth were clenched with an odd kind of latent energy beneath them; the slight, almost feminine hands; the little stoop; the quick alert step; the flashing exuberance of spirits; the sunny smile; the torrent of quick invective, scorn, or badinage, exchanged in a moment for a burst of sympathy or a delightful and prolonged flow of narrative—all this comes back to me, vividly! And what narrative, what anecdote, what glancing wit! What a talker! A man who shrank from society, and yet was so fitted to adorn and instruct every company he approached, from a parochial assembly to a statesman's reception!
But how enchanting were my walks with him in the Victoria Park, that one outlet of Stepney and Bethnal Green! I never in my life so lost count of time with any one before or since.
Emmanuel Deutsch was delightful; but he was more, with me at least, in flashes; versatile, but averse to any very prolonged discussion; always off at a tangent, and ready to end in a laugh.
Green would live through a period. Two hours on the Venetian Republic, with every conceivable branch of allied history, literature, and politics thrown in, yet willing to listen and gather up at any moment; infinite speculations at other times on theology, philosophy; schemes for the regeneration of mankind; minute plans for the management of our East-end districts; anecdotes of the poor; rarer veins of sentiment and personal criticism.
I have sometimes, after spending the evening with him at my lodgings, walked back to St. Philip's Parsonage, Stepney, towards midnight, talking; then he has walked back with me in the summer