Project Canterbury






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Melanesian Mission of the Bishop of New Zealand,
















Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of the Province of Melanesia, 2006

Great New Street and Fetter Lane.

[3] A  L E T T E R,



HAVING lately returned from a trip to Australia and New Zealand, in the course of which I could not but feel, from what I saw and heard, that there is great and pressing need for more energetic efforts on the part of the Church at home to aid our Australasian brethren in working the two mission-fields which more immediately fall within their province, viz. the aborigines of Australia and the South-Sea islanders, I am anxious to do what I can, respectfully but earnestly, to call the attention of your Grace, and of the members of the Church in general, to both these points; for I feel sure, that if I could but convey to others a like impression to that which I have received from actual sight and hearsay on the spot, a lively interest would be roused, and those who are so devotedly and successfully labouring in these fields would receive a fair share of the support which mission work throughout the world does largely draw from England. The warm interest your Grace is well known to take in church work in general, and the special interest your present official position gives you in all that concerns the Church in the colonies, have emboldened me to request your Grace's particular attention to this subject, for I cannot doubt that your influence may, under God's blessing, powerfully tend to forward the cause I have ventured to bring before you. First, I may mention that both these missions have the hearty sanction and support of the whole Australasian branch of our Church, as is shown by the notice issued by the Bishops of the six dioceses when assembled in Sydney in October 1850, calling "A public meeting of the Bishops, Clergy, and Laity of the Church of England, for the purpose of establishing an Australasian Board of Missions from the six Dioceses of Sydney, New Zealand, Tasmania, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Newcastle, having for its object the propagation [3/4] of the Gospel among the heathen races in the provinces of Australia, New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands, the New Hebrides, the Solomon Islands, New Hanover, New Britain, and the other islands in the Western Pacific." The above-named islands, which are the scene of the Bishop of New Zealand's Melanesian Mission, include the groups lying between the meridian of the East Cape of New Zealand, or nearly 180°, and the meridian of Cape York, and the eastern coast of Australia, about 140° E.; the nearest of them lying about 1000 miles north of New Zealand. Those who may wish to see how eloquently all the assembled bishops, well aided by zealous and influential laymen, pleaded the cause of these missions, will find an interesting report of the proceedings of that meeting, extracted from the Sydney Herald, and published by Bell, Fleet Street, and Hatchard, Piccadilly, which furnishes a store both of arguments and facts shewing the need of mission efforts; and also proving, by many cheering instances, that there is reasonable and good ground for feeling assured that, under God's blessing, both these fields may be, and ought to be, successfully worked.

Many interesting details connected with these missions, more especially of the Bishop of New Zealand's labours amongst the islands, have since, from time to time, appeared in the publications of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and in letters from the Bishop of New Zealand, and other friends, printed for private circulation by the Rev. Edward Coleridge, Eton College. But for the information of those who have not fallen in with any of these previous notices, I ought to state, that two years before the Sydney meeting took place, the Bishop of New Zealand commenced his mission to the South Seas Islands (no light addition to the burden of a diocese which, if limited to New Zealand alone would heavily task the energies of most men, from the great amount of walking through the bush, and voyaging along the coast, required for the proper oversight of it) "because," to use his own words, "the venerable primate at whose hands I received my episcopal consecration charged me, in the name of the Archbishops and Bishops of the mother Church, not to confine my efforts to New Zealand, but to watch over the progress of the Gospel throughout the coasts and islands of the Pacific." In his island visits his Lordship's course is first to make the natives understand that he does not come as a trader; then to try and give them some idea of his real object in coming amongst them; and after friendly and confidential intercourse is fairly established, to induce them to intrust him [4/5] with some of their youths, whom he carries to St. John's College, Auckland, where they are instructed in Christian truths, taught English, and trained in industrial pursuits and useful arts of life during the eight warmer months of the year. On the approach of winter, which in New Zealand is too severe for tropical constitutions, the Bishop takes them back to their own homes. By this means a knowledge of what they have learnt is spread amongst their friends, and kindly intercourse between the white missionaries and native races is greatly extended. On several islands the Bishop has found native missionary teachers, chiefly Samoans, from the Navigators' Group. These men are the fruit of the remarkable labours of John Williams, at Rarotonga, and his successors of the London Missionary Society, through whose happy influence a great number of natives, after embracing Christianity, went forth, and in their turn spread to neighbouring islands a knowledge of the truths they have received. So great has been the zeal of these men, and their willingness to lay down their lives for Christ's sake--frequently at long distances from their own homes--that Archdeacon Abraham, the Bishop's chaplain at St. John's, in one of his letters says, "The Bishop knows of forty within the last eight years who have either been murdered or fallen victims to the fever of these islands; every fresh set of boys that comes here has a story to tell of murdered Samoans, who came to preach to them of 'Jesus up above, and Satan down below.'" With these native teachers the Bishop is able heartily to co-operate, as will be seen in the extracts appended to this letter from a journal of Rev. W. Nihill, kindly furnished to me by his father, Rev. Daniel Nihill, rector of Fitz, Salop. Mr. William Nihill accompanied the Bishop on his cruise last year, and was stationed on the island of Maré three months, while the Bishop touched at forty or fifty other islands, coming up within 10° of the line. Mr. Nihill's remarkable facility in mastering the Polynesian dialects enables him to render invaluable help to the Bishop in this branch of his Lordship's wide-spreading mission-labours--labours which, from their vast extent, and from the devoted and untiring energy displayed by the Bishop in the prosecution of them, have so nobly won for him his fitting and hard-earned title of "the Apostle of the Pacific."

I would now venture to urge that the Bishop's success thus far in this Melanesian Mission gives it a strong claim for greatly increased support; for, through God's blessing on his past efforts, a remarkable opening now appears to exist for the Church of England (especially in contradistinction to the Church of [5/6] Rome) influentially to occupy a large field in that quarter of the globe. Year by year, since the Bishop took back the first youths intrusted to his care, and with happy tact won the confidence of the parents, while yet unable freely to speak with them, by contrasting the condition of the then half-starved islanders with that of the well-fed returned boys,--putting his fist into the hollow cheek of the one, and pinching out the plump round cheek of the other; on which the parents (at once catching the Bishop's meaning) clapped their hands, and danced with delight, and readily put more boys into his hands, his Lordship has been welcomed, and his influence felt through a widening sphere. On his return to Auckland last October, when I had the pleasure of being present at St. John's College, no less than twenty-five youths of various ages, and two young Polynesian females, accompanied him (and these, be it remembered, were carefully selected from a much greater number offered); and a gladdening sight it was to see them neatly dressed in European clothing, with quiet cheerful faces, and also to see the kindly way in which the New Zealand youths at the college welcomed them. I may mention, by the way, that the dresses in which the two young island maidens arrived might well be kept in some of our mission museums, in token of the Bishop's manual skill; for, since the days when St. Paul plied his needle, few missionaries, I fancy, have more happily turned their handicraft skill to account than his Lordship, when he managed, with his own hands, to convert a patch-work bed-quilt into becoming garments for these damsels, hitherto unaccustomed to encumber themselves with many additions to Nature's garb.

The fact of the young women returning is, in the Bishop's eyes, of no small importance. One of the youths, Siapo, whose touching death a few weeks after his return to New Zealand has since been recorded, and who for three successive years had accompanied the Bishop, last year came forward, and modestly announced his wish to take back one of these girls, whom he hoped, poor fellow, one day to make his wife; but he said he should like her first to have the benefit of the Bishop's training; and thus a prospect was opened that civilising influences would gradually be brought to bear at the foundation-head; for when civilised wives can be found for civilised men, there is good hope that, when settled in their own homes, they will be able to withstand the influence of old native habits and tribe associations, which otherwise cling round them as a chain too strong to be broken where either husband or wife only has been improved. As a proof of the [6/7] increasing welcome the Bishop meets with, I may mention, that on the last visit but one his Lordship was roughly handled, and his life and the lives of his companions periled, by a party of heathen natives on the island of Mallicolo; last year the ringleader of that attacking party, on the Bishop's return to the island, swam off and carried him ashore on his shoulders; and one of the most influential young chiefs gladly accompanied the Bishop to New Zealand--a noble-looking fellow--whose finely developed head might form a model for a sculptor. This striking change in the disposition of the Mallicolo man was (as far as the Bishop's imperfect power of communicating with them enabled him to judge,) owing to the fact, that during the interval between his visits intestine war had prevailed amongst them to a great extent, and eight or nine men of that attacking party had fallen in tribe-fights; and the survivors had come to the conclusion, that this loss was a visitation consequent upon the ill-treatment of the white Christian teacher. Such a conviction in their minds is of course steadily paving the way for the extension of the Bishop's influence. A young man from the Solomon's Islands was also pointed out to us in the College Hall, who, during the Bishop's absence, had put himself of board a whaler bound for Sydney, thence run down to Auckland, and walked out to the College, to beg, on behalf of his countrymen, that the Bishop would either come or send them a white teacher, so much were they impressed with the reports they had heard of his good influence among neighbouring Islands. Shall we then be backward to hold out a helping hand to the Bishop, when we see him, in the orderings of God's Providence, plainly called by occurrences like this, to press forward in this work? Can we not picture him to ourselves standing with eye intently fixed on, and heart yearning over, the vast expense of heathen darkness lying outstretched before him; "pressed in the spirit," as he longs to lift the veil, and bring to the distant isles "life and immortality to light through the Gospel;" and then see him beckoned onward by the advancing form of this poor heathen native, coming out from the darkness, and earnestly crying to him for aid? Does it not vividly recall to mind St. Paul at Troas, when, in the visions of the night, a form appeared and stood by him; and he recognised in the supernatural visitant "a man of Macedonia" come to plead the spiritual wants of his country? And must not the Bishop on hearing this cry, "Come over and help us," follow the example of the Apostle, "and immediately endeavour to go . Assuredly gathering that the Lord hath called him for to preach the Gospel unto them?" [7/8] And shall our supineness disable him from effectually doing this? Surely not. It is worth notice that the young man above mentioned came from an island where Romish missionaries were close at hand, a clear proof of what I before asserted, that the Church of England has a remarkable opening in these Islands as distinct from the Church of Rome, and that she has nothing to fear from the efforts of Rome, if she will but fairly work the field into which Providence appears to be calling her. Indeed, I was struck with the forcible manner in which the Bishop dwelt upon this view of the Mission. His Lordship testifies to the spirit of devotion and ready obedience to the call of the Church of Rome, which has drawn numbers both of male and female labourers to this Mission-field. Our own whalers and sandal-wood traders have, he says, not unfrequently remarked to him, that great as may be the errors of Romish teaching, none can deny the earnest spirit and good intention which prompt these missionaries to station themselves on a scanty pittance in these far-off isles. And yet, with all this, from some cause or other, whether the form in which their teaching is presented be less suited to the native mind than our own, which offers, as we believe, so much larger a portion of pure and simple scriptural truth; or whether as Frenchmen (from whom the bulk of these Romish missionaries are drawn,) they have less natural tact than the English in sympathising with and winning the confidence of the natives; the result, in a marked degree, appears to be that they do fail in many instances to gain a lasting hold; and station after station the Bishop finds gradually abandoned after years of trial; and his Lordship's own expression is, "I believe, as regards mission-work in this field, that Lord Nelson's saying will hold strictly true--'That one Englishman is worth three Frenchmen.'" Can we wonder then, that when, in that distant diocese, they hear much of resistance to Papal aggression at home, they earnestly call for their hands to be strengthened on a field where, if they had but means and men, they feel assured that, under God's blessing, the efforts of Rome may be fairly met and overcome?

On the score also of having made the most of the means at hand, the Bishop surely deserves support. He has managed to work this Mission, including the maintenance of his vessel* [Footnote: * Since the Bishop's return from his last year's cruise he has been obliged to part with his vessel, as his present scanty funds will not suffice to meet the great rise in seamen's wages, consequent upon the Australian gold-discoveries. This inconvenience, experienced in greater or less degree by all in the Australian [8n/9n] colonies who are connected with shipping, will, I trust, prove to his Lordship but temporary. We need not, I am sure, take it as a type that the ark of the Church will sink in the new found sea of gold.] (which was bought for him by contributions [8/9] from the Australian dioceses), and the expense of keeping the Island youths for eight months out of twelve in his College for some 500l. a-year, a sum not greatly exceeding the annual expenditure upon a single Mission station in New Zealand. Yet last year his Lordship touched upon the outskirts of a population which, judging from the present imperfect data, cannot number less than 200,000 souls,--a number double that of the News Zealanders, on whose behalf (and with a wise liberality, as I believe from what I saw,) not less than 10,000l. of Mission funds have long been annually spent. I may add too, in order to remove misconceptions I have found existing, that the Bishop fully recognises the importance of using the native languages as the surest means of touching the hearts of the people, whilst, at the same time, he is trying gradually to introduce English as a general medium of communication amid the Babel of dialects that prevail. He is also establishing permanent mission work in these islands. Last year, as will be seen by the extracts from Mr. Nihill's Journal, a great step was taken in this direction.

While the Bishop cruised to some forty or fifty islands within ten degrees of the line, Mr. Nihill was stationed on the Island of Maré, where his daily occupation was school-keeping with young and old, with the aid of native teachers. Frequently one hundred and thirty scholars were gathered in a coral cavern on the shore, whose blackened walls, once lighted up by the fires of cannibal feasts, now flash back the harmless glare of a huge evening-school fire, and resound with prayer, and praise, and useful instruction; so great has been the transforming peaceful influence of that better light which has reached the inmates from above. Mr. Nihill also spent much time in translating, with the aid of native teachers, the Lord's Prayer, simple portions of Scripture, and of our own Liturgy, that the natives might join in Common Prayer, which they gladly did in large numbers daily. In addition to these labours he took a census of the chief part of the island, visited the heathen districts, and prepared the way for the Bishop's favourable reception by the most influential heathen chief on his Lordship's return from his cruise; and so well did matters progress, that Mr. Nihill is probably at this time again at Maré with the view of remaining, with Mrs. Nihill, for a longer period; and the Bishop expressed a strong hope of being able, after a short time, permanently to establish a [9/10] Central Mission School on an adjoining island for the benefit of a considerable district. Mr. Nihill was throughout most zealously aided by the Samoan teachers who first introduced Christianity to the island; and he was greatly delighted and impressed with their simple unaffected earnestness in frankly yet kindly delivering their message in the heathen and once hostile districts through which they accompanied him.

It may serve as a proof of the friendly relations existing between his Lordship and other missionaries in these islands, that while he last year carried, as a sharer in his cabin, Mr. Inglis, a Presbyterian missionary, with Mrs. Inglis, to be stationed on the Island of Anaiteum, which he is sharing with Mr. Geddie, who (as I understand) directs the missions in connection with the Nova Scotia Presbyterian Missionary Society in those seas; Mr. Geddie gave the Bishop the interesting letter inserted in the Appendix, directing the Maré teachers heartily to work with the Bishop and Mr. Nihill, which they did. His Lordship holds much friendly intercourse with the other Protestant missionaries amongst these islands; his rule is not to join in their public services, but otherwise to afford them such aid in the way of advice and encouragement as his own experience suggests; and his desire, as he has expressed it, is, that their work my run, not in opposite, but in parallel lines, where it cannot be in conjunction. His feeling indeed appears to be that there is ample scope throughout these island for the Church of England, of Rome, and other religious communions fairly to try their respective mission systems; and confident as he is that our own system brings the largest amount of truth to bear, he has no fear that its results will fall short of what ought consequently to be expected from it. No one indeed, I think, could fail to share the Bishop's confident hope who saw, as we had the privilege of seeing, the striking scene in St. John's College Chapel on the Sunday evening after the Bishop's return, when, at the "Unity Service,"* [Footnote: * The Unity Service above alluded to consists of a short selection of Psalms and Collects, bearing upon Unity, with the Versicles and Preface in the Communion Service, the Prayers for Unity, a Prayer for the College, and one for the Bishop, when absent. It was drawn up by the Bishop for use on Sunday evening, when those members of the College who have been ordained, and placed in charge of the pensioner villages and native settlements in the neighbourhood of the College, reassemble and unite in this short service, which is chiefly choral, and forms a cheerful conclusion to the labours of the day. It is conducted in English, and the natives were not required to attend; but the object of it was explained to them, and their fondness for and aptitude in English chanting and singing have given them great interest in it. Two or three of the clergy are now settled on their cures, but near enough to admit of their occasionally joining in [10n/11n] this service; after which the Bishop delights in gathering round him as many of the party as his room will hold, at a cheerful evening meal, when his Lordship's conversational powers come out in great force. Might not some similar service be beneficially adopted in many of our large parish churches to which districts and a staff of clergy are attached?] were gathered together representatives of [10/11] eight different island dialects, two native Australians, a large body of New Zealanders, and a body of Europeans, eleven different "nations, people, and tongues"--many doubtless, to a great degree, dark in mind as well as body, yet all, I believe, so far intelligent and instructed as to know that we were met to pray to one Father, to lead us on, through one Saviour, to our common home above. I will only add, with reference to these Melanesians, that though time may have been when their remote position may have seemed to render their claim on mission efforts less urgent than that of others in more immediate contact with Christian nations, that time must surely now have passed away. The gold-fields of Australia, the fountain-head, it would seem of one of the mightest streams of influence which Providence has yet brought to bear upon the destinies of the southern hemisphere and of the globe, must rapidly cause the route by Panama through these islands to be the highway of communication between our Australasian colonies and home; for good or for evil, a vastly increased intercourse between Polynesian and European races must take place; surely then we ought to lose no time in bringing Christianity and civilisation to bear upon them hand in hand, lest, by our neglect now, we add another to the sad instances which unhappily abound, in which the influence of the white man and professing Christian, instead of raising, as it ought to raise, our fellow-men of different hue to our own higher standard in the world, has tended only to sweep off the dark races from the face of the earth.

I trust I may not be trespassing too long upon your Grace's patience, whilst I venture briefly to press the not less urgent--indeed, I think, still more urgent--case of the aborigines of Australia. What I have last said with reference to the islanders unhappily applies, and for years past has been applying, with tenfold force to them. Their country, not merely visited, but occupied by Englishmen--their native sources of food in great measure dried up by the advancing flocks of the white man--themselves, in many instances, in the early days of the colonies, through fear, or misunderstanding, or thoughtlessness, cruelly wronged, though, thank God, I fully believe a far different spirit now generally pervades the settlers, and they, as well as the government in each colony, are earnestly [11/12] desirous to spare the remnant that is left; and could they but see practical results springing from mission efforts, they would, I believe, thankfully support them. The Government indeed have throughout shown, and are showing, the greatest anxiety to forward, by grants of land and other aid, any well-devised schemes that may be brought to bear for Christianising and civilising the natives.

But can we rest satisfied that the Church of England is doing what she ought, so long as one single successful mission (that of Archdeacon Hale at Port Lincoln, South Australia) is the only manifestation of her desire to reclaim these wandering tribes of the wild? True that many attempts have been made by the Government, and through other agencies, at no small cost, and that the measure of success which has hitherto attended them is, when compared with other missions, but very small, though quite sufficient results have been, and are being produced, to shew that the minds of the natives are fully capable of receiving instruction, and that their hearts are as open to good influences, when rightly brought to bear, as our own. I might again refer, if proof of this were needed, to the speeches delivered at the meeting in Sydney above alluded to, especially to the instances brought forward by the Bishop of Adelaide in moving the resolution, "That it is the duty of the Church to use its unceasing endeavours, by direct missionary agency, as well as by educational institutions, to bring the Australian natives under the teaching of the Gospel; and that sufficient evidences of God's blessing upon the past work have been afforded, to encourage us to expect more enlarged success for the future." These two points are also thoroughly borne out by the recorded experience of such men as Sir George Grey and Mr. Eyre, who, from their constant intercourse with natives during their arduous explorations of the country, and afterwards from their official positions, the former as Governor of South Australia, the latter as resident magistrate (for the especial benefit of the natives) on the Murray for some years, have spoken, with authority that none can gainsay, upon all points connected with the character and capabilities of the natives. To Sir George Grey the natives of South Australia are deeply indebted for the energetic efforts he made to carry out his designs for their improvement, by the establishment of Industrial Training Schools, in which his Excellency took constant and deep personal interest during his residence in Adelaide. It is, as I understand, to the all-important point of keeping up and promoting the growth of the Christian and civilising influences under which [12/13] the youths and girls in those schools have been trained, that the zealous Archdeacon at Adelaide has successfully directed his mission efforts at Port Lincoln. There (at Poomindie, on the River Tod), separated from the strong influence of old tribe habits and associations, several married couples are reaping the benefit of their previous training, and are making good progress in the useful arts of life.* [Footnote: * This mission now consists of fifty-four natives, comprising eleven married couples, the rest children of either sex; for full details of it see a very interesting letter of the Bishop of Adelaide just published by the Society for Promoting Christianity.] The same satisfactory results attended the efforts of the Rev. George King (now of St. Andrew's, Sydney), who for several years with great success worked a mission in West Australia, until unfortunately compelled, by failure of health, to resign it. Mr. King's plan was similar to that of Archdeacon Hale, and also to that which the Bishop of New Zealand is carrying out for the Melanesians, viz. training the natives when young, and affording facilities for marriage, when both husband and wife had been improved. The Bishop of Adelaide on one occasion, during his stay at that station, married four couples of the native race; and testified that he had never seen more complete attention to the service, or a more perfect comprehension of its sacredness, than was exhibited by those people. The newly-married couples also all subscribed their names to the parish register; writing, the Bishop declared, far more legibly than very many of those to whose marriages he had been a party in England. No one indeed, I think, could hear, as I had the pleasure of hearing, Mr. King's own simple and unpretending account of his efforts in that Mission, and not feel convinced that, if it please God to raise up such men as he is for the work, a considerable measure of success may, with patience and perseverance, reasonably be looked for. I may add one instance, which fell under my own observation, in which a native showed a sound mind and a good heart; and that in a way that I could not but feel was deeply humbling to ourselves. On my way up the country I stayed a night at a roadside inn, not far from Mount Alexander; a labourer, who had been working in the innkeeper's harvest-field, came drunk to the bar, and frantic for more drink, which was refused him. His wife vainly tried to drag him away, when a native quietly came up, and with imperturbable temper carried him off, despite all his kicking and swearing, to the hut half a mile from the house; and the innkeeper's remark was, "That native has done the same thing for that man not once nor twice only; and, as far as lies [13/14] in him, is doing his best to save him: and," he added, "I have known him, when at work with a band of white men in the harvest-field, quietly turn round to them when swearing, and say, 'Why you curse so?--Jesus Christ might strike you dead.'" The native afterwards came back, and seeing I was a clergyman, asked me for some books; and I was delighted to find how well he understood English, and what a thoughtful man he appeared. He had gained his knowledge of reading while serving in the Native Mounted Police; a school which perhaps at first one would hardly have expected to produce such a scholar, but which has, in many instances, remarkably brought out the good points in the native character; and shown how thoroughly it is capable, under proper management, of becoming orderly and disciplined. My own short experience, indeed, during a stay of a few months in Port Philip and New South Wales, in the course of which I twice visited, and spent several weeks at my brother's station on the River Murray, where the natives are numerous, and present a favourable specimen of their race, greatly raised my own estimation of their powers, both mental and bodily; and I feel sure that any one, who had a like opportunity of intercourse with them, would, in like manner, find that the impressions which too generally prevail amongst us as to the inferiority of this race, and their incapability of improvement, would be greatly modified. The great difficulty, no doubt, in dealing with these blacks, is their innate love of a wandering life. Love of fixity of tenure in any shape, except that of tenaciously keeping their tribe boundaries, seems alien to their nature; and consequently it must be far more difficult to gain a lasting hold upon these mere skimmers of the soil, then upon tribes like the New Zealanders, who, from force of circumstances, had been driven through the preliminary stage of civilisation, and were tillers of land, and dwellers in settled houses, before the white man came in contact with them. Yet I trust the few instances I have given my serve as cheering tokens that good may be looked for from earnest mission efforts; and even were such instances fewer and less hopeful than they are, it would be no excuse for our neglecting to do all that lies in our power to discharge what is but a bare debt of justice to those whose country we have been called, in the orderings of God's Providence, to fill. Ought we then to rest satisfied, that while of late years such vigorous and successful efforts have been made to plant the Church in its fulness in the colonies of Australia, that we now have four bishops (a metropolitan and three suffragans) on the mainland, with a [14/15] speedy prospect of a fifth, one only of these dioceses should be effectively working a portion of the vast extent of its heathen mission field? Beyond the northernmost limits of New South Wales, and of the Diocese of Newcastle, the settlers are fast pushing on stations to the tropical districts, where the natives are numerous and dangerous, and frequent conflicts are taking place. Yet no attempt, I believe, is being made to bring them under subjection to the law of Christ, however rapidly they may be brought to succumb to our own rule. In the more thickly-settled districts of New South Wales and Port Philip, so speedily have the natives disappeared, that around Sydney the native names of various spots form the only memorial of their race; and though seventeen years have barely passed since the first colonists set foot on the present site of Melbourne, then held by wandering tribes, now a city of 80,000 souls, but a few wretchedly degraded specimens are left in the neighbourhood of the city, and not a child is to be seen. Of one tribe, along the course of the River Loddon, not far from the present gold-fields round Mount Alexander, which came under the observation of a brother of my own some ten or twelve years since, and was then believed to number 300 souls, scarcely an individual is now left. Diseases and vicious habits, contracted from the white men, when added to their own wretched superstitions, which alone must always have greatly tended to keep down their numbers, have rapidly done, and are doing, their grievous work of destruction. Yet, in the more remote districts of these provinces, and especially along the course of their boundary river, the Murray, a considerable number are left, quite sufficient to justify earnest mission efforts. And were such efforts fairly started from home, they would, I believe, be more largely supported on the spot than missions planted in almost any other field to which we have directed attention.

The Diocesan Society of Melbourne, just before the discovery of gold, sent home for two missionaries, to whom they guaranteed a maintenance; and though they withdrew their proposal when the vastly-increased tide of emigrants threatened (as it still does) to tax their efforts to the utmost, yet it will be seen from the appended letter of the Bishop of Melbourne, with whom I had the pleasure of conversing on the subject, that the earnest Churchmen, as well as the government in his diocese, would no doubt heartily co-operate in the work. The attempts made by the government protectors in that colony to improve the condition of the aborigines, have, it must be owned with regret, almost entirely failed. Yet I was thankful to find on the station of Mr. Parker, one of the [15/16] most intelligent and influential protectors, that a few young men were settling on small government allotments of land, and giving good hope of being fairly reclaimed from savage life. At Lake Boga, on the Murray, not far from Swan Hill, two German Moravian Missionaries are stationed, simple, earnest-minded men they appeared; but they had been but a short time there when I visited them, and no natives had joined them.

Since the gold discoveries, and the consequent scarcity of labour, the Murray natives, as well as those in other districts, have been more generally employed by settlers than before; though, to a certain extent, they have for some time been found very useful, in sheep-washing especially, as they delight in the excitement of plunging the sheep into the river, and the work does not last long enough to make them weary of it. They would be first-rate shepherds if they would steadily continue at work, as their extreme keenness of sight and wonderful power of tracking, enable them to let their flocks wander almost at will, without fear of loss. On the whole, there is certainly an increasing tendency at this time amongst them to betake themselves to settled work; and this, as far as it goes, is an important point. One station I heard of on the Murray, which for two years has been entirely shepherded by blacks; and they are reported to be making good progress in settled habits. Since my return home I have had the pleasure of meeting a zealous, warm-hearted person., Mrs. Richard Heaver, who, with her husband, has just returned to their station at Albury on the Murray, about 300 miles above the Moravian missionaries. Mrs. Heaver was born in New South Wales, and from her earliest days has been accustomed to the natives, and understands their language. She and Mr. Heaver are very anxious to do all they can to aid in establishing a native school in their own neighbourhood. (I may add, as a proof of Mr. Heaver's earnestness in a good cause, that he gave up 160l., his share of a reward granted for the discovery of a gold-field, for the purpose of building a Church in the township of Albury.)

I cannot but hope and trust that sufficient means might be raised, if suitable persons could be found, to start a native school in that neighbourhood, on the same principles that have already been found to answer in South and Western Australia. It is, of course, with the greatest diffidence that I venture to suggest any particular locality as the site of mission efforts; but I think that such an indication as the desire of a settler to begin and help on the work should not be lost sight of; and no step, of course, would be taken without the advice [16/17] and sanction of the Metropolitan, who is about to be appointed as successor to the late lamented Bishop of Sydney. As Albury is on the frontier line between Sydney and Melbourne, probably arrangements would be made by which, if an efficient school were started, it would receive the joint support of the two dioceses, and do doubt these would speedily render it independent of aid from home.

To one other point I will, in conclusion, venture to call the special attention of the supporters of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and that is the great desirableness of resuming the mission which (as I have already mentioned) that Society formerly supported in Western Australia. The past success which attended the efforts of the late Rev. George King on that mission is the best warrant for the beneficial results that might reasonably be hoped for from its resumption. I will add only one reason--but that, to my mind, no light one--why it ought to be started anew without delay. Amongst our fellow-passengers home from Australia was the Roman Catholic Bishop, who is Vicar Apostolic of Western Australia, and in the course of much interesting conversation with him, he spoke of the Native Mission which he is working with the aid of Sisters of Mercy; and though he dwelt with great moderation on its success at present, yet it was quite clear that the mission is beginning fairly to tell upon some of the tribes in that district. Deeply as I regretted, while the Bishop told me this, the unavoidable abandonment of Mr. King's efforts to bring the purer scriptural teaching of our own Church to bear, I could not but feel very thankful to learn that Sisters of Mercy were found willing to devote themselves to a work so befitting their name, as well as to learn that the Wesleyan Mission was making progress also. But one fact the bishop mentioned which, I thought, ought to startle us, as Englishmen and Churchmen. Some two years since, a body of Spaniards, twenty in number, came out to join him, with a free passage granted by the Spanish government. Four or five were in holy orders, the rest useful artisans and labourers of different kinds, sent for the purpose of forming a large Industrial Mission Station for the natives, which they are proceeding to do. They have five years' probation allowed them, during which time any one who grows faint-hearted may withdraw from the work; and a few have betaken themselves to work at their trades, &c. on their own account, but the bishop hopes that half will remain stedfast. Now is it not a hard case that these poor natives, whose country we are gradually occupying, and who, if neglected [17/18] as they have been, will quickly fade away before us, should be driven, through our neglect, to look up to Romanists and to foreigners as their best friends, not only for this world, but also for that to come?

With many apologies for the length to which these remarks have run, but with earnest hope and prayer that they may help to stir the sympathies of your Grace, and of the many in England who are able and willing to forward a good cause, I respectfully subscribe myself,

Your Grace's obliged and faithful servant,

 September 20, 1853



The Bishop of Melbourne kindly gave me leave to make known the contents of the following letter, in furtherance of mission efforts amongst the aborigines of his diocese:

The Rev. Septimus L. Chase (an old college friend of mine), to whom it is addressed, is incumbent of St. Paul's Church, Melbourne. Mr. Chase takes a deep interest in the aborigines; and when in England two years ago he was deputed by the Melbourne Diocesan Society to engage two missionaries; but the influx of the digging population, as I have above mentioned, led the Society to withdraw their offer at that time. The letter was written as a consequence of conversations on the subject which Mr. Chase and I held with the bishop just before I left Melbourne.

MY DEAR MR. CHASE, Bishopscourt, Feb. 10, 1853.

If the Lord put into the heart of any Christian clergyman or layman in England to come and devote himself to missionary work among the aborigines, I feel confident that the earnest members of our Church in this colony would heartily co-operate with him in his undertaking; nor have I any doubt that the government would assist in promoting his object, by granting him a location, and otherwise, consistently with their regulations. It is not in my power to guarantee a missionary any definite sum; but I have not the slightest fear of his obtaining, if he be really qualified for the work, and willing to endure the privations necessarily connected with it, that with which the Apostle teaches us we ought to be content, viz. "food and raiment."

I am, my dear Mr. Chase,

Your faithful brother in the Lord,


[19] The following extracts from the Rev. William Nihill's Journal principally relate to his residence on the Island of Maré.

On January 19th, 1852, the Bishop and Mr. Nihill embarked with twelve out of thirteen island boys, who had been brought to New Zealand in Nov. 1851, one little fellow, Thol, had died. Three New Zealanders accompanied the party, one of whom, Henaré, or Henry, stayed with Mr. Nihill and aided in his mission work--frequent mention of him is made in the journal. It is, indeed, one of the most cheering tokens of good resulting from this mission, that it is beginning to raise a missionary spirit amongst the New Zealanders themselves. They have begun to devote their substance to its support; and a few have volunteered to accompany the Bishop, and act as missionaries themselves. One man I saw, at Mr. Ashwell's mission station, on the Waikato river, who had accompanied the Bishop for this purpose in 1851, and had gone down to Auckland to join the party again last year; but he had been disappointed as, owing to the illness of one of the island boys, the Bishop was obliged to start before the time fixed for this man to join the vessel. There is no lack of useful employment for every one on board during these cruises. One day we find the Europeans all employed in learning from the Bishop to take lunar observations--for his Lordship is as much at home in navigating his own vessel as in his episcopal work ashore; plenty of school-work goes on. On another day "lots of scrubbing and cleansing above and below deck," for promotion of health and cleanliness; the boys wash their own clothes. Mr. Nihill notes the amusing contrast between this and the preceding return voyage from the islands, brought about by English clothing and language, which seem to have quite changed the same individuals. Yet as they draw nearer home, their native traits naturally reappear, "they seem to get wilder again; tie on handkerchiefs in room of native head-dresses; talk more of their own tongue, and in louder tones."

On July 1st comes the welcome cry of "Land ahead!" and Anaiteum is reached. Here they land Mr. Inglis (coadjutor of Mr. Geddie, the zealous Presbyterian missionary on Anaiteum), with Mrs. Inglis, and their live stock; and "with good hope that the friendly relations between the bishop and these missionaries will continue."

A quiet Sunday was spent off this island; all comfortable, with clean decks, and the boys in white frocks and trousers, with red neckerchiefs. Tanna and its volcano, and Futuna, in shape of a frustrated cone, in sight. An old Tanna chief was on board, a fine specimen of a fighting man, with one eye knocked out, and divers other scars; every lock of his hair, as their custom is, twisted round with grass; tortoise-shell earrings, armlets of shells, &c., and a white plume, some two feet long, of which the old man was spe-[19/20]cially proud. On July 5th they reached Futuna, where the Bishop landed with two boys, "very different in appearance from what they were when first brought on board eleven months ago. Though they had made less progress in school-work than others, yet their thoughtful and gentle expression of face would, Mr. N. thought, point them out to a stranger as having been under instruction." Again, guided through the night by the light of the volcano of Tanna, they reached that island next morning, where the Bishop landed, and left the old chief with all his treasures.

On July 7th they touched at Erromango--the savage island where the missionary Williams was murdered. Here the Bishop took ashore one little fellow, Tom, and brought off Bob, who had been left last time, and two other nice little boys. A very friendly feeling is growing up towards the Bishop at this place. In the evening they stood away to the southward, with a fair breeze for Maré, which they reached the next morning, July 8th, being the day that the Bishop, in his list of "agenda," had set down for arrival at this island. On their leaving Anaiteum, Mr. Geddie had kindly furnished them with the following letter to the native teachers on Maré:

(Translation) Anaiteum, July 3d, 1852.

"This is my letter to you teachers at Maré, to Maka, Mita, and Paripoa. The chief minister from New Zealand arrived here yesterday; we have held a consultation about the thing of which Mr. Murray and Mr. Sunderland told you. This, then, is my speech to you, teachers at Maré: it is right that a clergyman, Mr. Nihill, and an English teacher, should live at Maré. Do you all be kind to them, and help them, and labour together with them in the work of God in Maré

"Peace be with you all in God!

"From MR. GEDDIE."

This letter proved a very satisfactory introduction; but we must now leave Mr. Nihill to speak for himself.

"We hove-to," he says, "off Guama, to wait for a canoe that was coming off to us (Guama and Siwarcko are two Christian settlements at opposite extremities of the island). When they came alongside, we recognised Bula the young chief, Narsilini, and others, all old acquaintances. They brought most encouraging accounts of the progress of religion in the island. When we were here before there were five teachers on the island--three Samoan and two from Rarotonga. Since then one Samoan, Fili, has died; and another, Solia, is gone to live on a small island to the north, called Toka. For the next two months, there will be a good deal in my journal about the teachers Solia, Maka, Mita, and Paripoa, and the chiefs Narsilini and Bula. Maka, or Mark, is a fine tall Rarotonga man, about [20/21] twenty-six; was a child when Williams was at Rarotonga, but remembers him, and had the place where the "Messenger of Peace" was built pointed out to him by his father. He has had a very good education; but does not write as well, nor possess as much information as the college boys. He and Paripoa are both good carpenters, and handy men in every way.

Mita, the Samoan teacher, is a dear old man. He is neither a good scholar nor a good workman, but he is an honest, upright teacher. His wife talks villainous Nengone, but seems to be beloved by them all.

We hear that we shall only find Maka at Guama, Paripoa having gone to Siwarcko to help Mita to put up a house.

Narsilini the elder, one of the chiefs, is a quiet, amiable man, who, in his father's lifetime, withstood all the attempts of a brother, younger in years but superior in rank (since dead), to cut off boats coming ashore from vessels. It is principally owing to him that the teachers have been allowed to pursue their labours among the people in peace.

Hezekiah, the younger Narsilini, was, when a heathen, always foremost in fighting and all sorts of evil. He is now one of the steadiest friends of the teachers. Bula, a younger brother of the two others, is the principal chief here, and receives tribute from a large part of the island. He is a young man about seventeen, and has put away seven wives (only retaining the eighth), because he wishes to become a Christian, at an age when no other youth would be allowed to think of marrying. He is superior to the two Narsilinis and all the rest of his elder brothers, men old enough to be his fathers; and the only reason I have ever heard is, that his father chose him out of the rest of his sons to be the chief.

July 9. I am now in the teacher's house. The three chiefs and one of the teachers came on board this morning and had a very satisfactory conversation with the Bishop; and the whole party shook hands with me, and expressed their readiness to be kind to me, and work together with me.

July 10. The Bishop came on shore this morning, and stayed four or five hours with us. He said that he had made up his mind to baptise the four eldest boys (who had been in New Zealand), Siapo, Napai, Kaiwhat, and Cho; and asked me to explain to Katiengo that he had better wait another year, and go on conducting himself properly. He had not been recommended by the teachers the year before, because, on returning to the island from their first year's schooling, he had gone off with his companion Uriete to follow their own devices, and had not stayed with the Christian party, or come to church regularly.

Sunday, July 11. The Bishop came on shore after breakfast; and soon after we went to the church. The service was very interesting. The baptismal service was in English, with the exception of the particular words accompanying the act of baptism, which [21/22] were in Nengone. Although the prayers and exhortations were in English, the meaning of them was explained by the teachers in the language of the people; and the extempore prayers of the teachers, and the address given by one of them to the young men, were of the same purport as those in the Prayer-book. Nothing here is so wonderful to me as the people's singing; there is all the Maori correctness of time without any thing flat; the boys' and women's voices keep up the pitch wonderfully--it is quite deafening. There were at least 1000 people in the church, and, I suppose, every one of them singing with the whole strength of his voice.

Siapo was called George, after the Bishop; Napai, Charles after Mr. Abraham; Kaiwhat, Mark, after the teacher; and Cho, Solomon, a name of his own choice. After the service the Bishop left us and sailed away.

The Bishop took Cho and Siapo with him, intending to call at a good many places on the island of Lifu, and to land them again on the north shore of this island. They can both talk Lifu well, and were with poor Apalé when he died.

We are living amongst a most interesting set of people. There are perhaps 2000 in our immediate neighbourhood (Guama), and 500 or 600 at the other end of the island, who have had no other teachers than men from Rarotonga and Samoa. The two with whom we are living are both young, unmarried men, who have been working steadily here for the last six years, a great part of which time they were without any resources but their own. They have gained the respect and attention of all the natives; and from these two places, Guama and Siwarcko, converted natives are constantly going out every Saturday morning to preach at other settlements, where the people have not yet decided in favour of Christianity, thus extending the knowledge of the Gospel through the whole island by little and little.

The early morning we spend in school and church. After breakfast we devote two hours and a half to instructing the young men who act as teachers. During this time, Henry writes out lessons, &c.; in the afternoon, he teaches, I print. On Thursday and Friday evenings there are classes in the church. Every night we translate for about an hour and a half. The natives supply us with food in abundance. They treat us as they do their own chiefs; and their teachableness is shown by the congregation on Sunday amounting to 1000, and by Henry and myself receiving each a regular daily attendance of about 25, who spend two hours most patiently and attentively in being instructed by us; having already been two hours in the church, either teaching or being taught. I wrote down the names of all the people at every village I visit, and find it of the greatest use. I collect seeds, ferns, leaves, shells, &c. as I walk though the woods and on the beach. I find all these things are so many pegs to hang words on. The children have [22/23] found out my propensity, and they bring me insects and flowers to bottle up and write down. I am afraid my notes are getting unintelligible; for I am writing in public. I counted the row of faces just opposite to me a short time ago, and they amounted to forty-five. I have no table, and cannot write so well without as with one. The light is not very good, although a little maiden takes her place at the fire, in the centre of the room, as soon as it is dark, and keeps feeding the flame with the dry stalks of the cocoa-nut-tree, which she splits up with her teeth. She never moves from her place, and never speaks till she is relieved by another. These people spend more time in worship and religious exercises than any I have ever known. I do not know what time monks in religious houses are supposed to spend in common worship; but every Sunday these people devote seven or eight hours to it. During the whole time, broken up into five parts, they are either hearing prayer, or reading, or being catechised, or singing. Every thing is conducted with the greatest solemnity and decorum; and I am quite anxious and perplexed, because I fear that this cannot last, and that, unless God gives these simple converts a greater share of grace to keep them steadfast than is usually vouchsafed to men, there must be a falling away. Religion has become the business of their lives; and unless something is given them to do, they cannot, I fear, withstand the temptations which their easy mode of life must continually expose them to when the novelty is worn off. The interest seems likely to be kept up at present by their missionary efforts among the neighbouring wild tribes; for every week six or eight poor missionaries set on a long and weary path, with no other dress than a bundle of leaves round their waist, and no better stock of knowledge than they have been able to pick up from the Samoan teachers--broken Nengone. These Samoan teachers, themselves the fountain of instruction, having had no other help to draw upon than the portions of Scripture translated into their own language. But can one doubt that the Spirit of God goes with them? Most of the teachers scattered through these islands were young men when they came; and, with very few exceptions, they have been enabled to keep their own good name, and to raise their hearers from the deepest heathenism to a state of professed Christianity. The two things that seem to have been wanting in New Zealand are now in a great measure supplied there by the recent introduction of missionary efforts for the benefit of the other islands, and by the establishment of children's schools. The Waikato tribe have regular missionary meetings, and have contributed both men and money to the work. The Sunday before we left, my own little congregation at Orakie, entirely of their own accord, subscribed nearly 4l. at the offertory. I wish I could introduce something of the kind here; for the spirit of contribution is very powerful. The people frequently bring us presents of pigs, fowls, fish, yams, &c.; and little children, whom I pass in the woods with bundles of sugar-canes on their backs, while [23/24] they draw up in a line on one side of the path amongst the bushes, half frightened at the unwonted appearance of a white man, whisper, as I pass, "Waca" (sugar-cane), or "waum" (cocoa-nut); "give him some sugar-cane," and hand me a present, or if I have been too quick for them, run after me with it. Truly, they deserve to be taught; and the little which Henry and I are able to do for them in our short stay, is repaid over and over again every day by substantial marks of gratitude, and a thousand little attentions and kindnesses from young and old,--from Old Sarai, who creeps into the house while we are away to shake the mats; and Cho's mother, who follows me into the canoe, to ask where she shall bring some cocoa-nuts which she has been keeping for me, and then jumps up to her shoulders in the sea, the canoe having set sail while she has been talking, down to little Téwéné, who brings me a live mouse, and then crouches down at my feet to see whether I will eat it up, or skin it, or put it in a box, "bane hue New Zealand" (to take to New Zealand).

This evening, in taking my usual walk (to the top of the hill, from whence one gets a good view of the sea), I met three children carrying firewood. They stood aside, as all the people here do, to let me pass, the path through the wood being narrow; but instead of going on quietly, as they generally do, they began to talk to me like the little New Zealand children, with their white teeth and laughing eyes, instead of showing the gravity and thoughtfulness which seems to weigh the Nengone children down; but perhaps it is only excessive respect after all. "Lengenge re bua?" "Where are you going to, sir?" for they are all very ceremonious, and I am never addressed with the common expression of "Huenge?" "Where are you going to?" "I am going for a walk." "May I go with you to New Zealand?" "What for?" "To learn to read." "What is your name?" "Keddine; you wrote it down in your book yesterday." I shall keep an eye on Keddine, for he seemed an intelligent-looking little fellow.

These people are certainly willing to support their ministers. They bring presents of yams, taro, kumara, every day; and to-day our little friend Katiengo and our old reprobate scholar, Uriete, brought me a present of half a pig. I met a party of young men this evening; and as I was sitting down to rest, they made me a present of cocoa-nuts, each one contributing a cocoa-nut.

The native teachers have a very good standing here, and they seem to behave with so much good sense and circumspection, that I can quite safely take them as a guide in all intercourse with the natives.

One day a canoe arrived form Lifu with some Tonga people from this place on board. One of the Tonga men, Samuela, said that 5700 people at Lifu had embraced the Gospel (Elenia afi epta lau). I hardly know how much of this is likely to be true till I can form some more correct idea of the number of people on this [24/25] island. Samuela is a Tonga man, the son of old Sarai, who was one of a party of Tonga people, who drifted away from their own island some fifty years ago. He makes his arrangements about his work so as to accompany me on every journey. I always find him ready to go, and am glad of his company. He talks the Elzeri, Nengone, New Caledonia, Samoan, and Lifu languages, none of which, as far as I know, have any affinity, equally well. He is a vigorous-minded, zealous man, was the first in this island to put away his numerous wives, is always first in good. God grant he may never be foremost in evil, like many relapsed New Zealanders of his character whom I have known!

Saturday, July 17. This is a working day amongst the scholars here, as it is in New Zealand. Part of them are away, bringing food from the plantations, some are washing clothes, &c. This morning I occupied myself in putting up the little printing-press and two cases of type, which we brought from the college.

Monday, July 19. Set up the Lord's Prayer in Nengone, and took off two or three proofs.

Applications for admission to the school in New Zealand are crowding in every day.

All my spare time I employ in learning the language. The translation of the Scriptures gets on very slowly at present. There are never less than three of us employed at a time; and as we have two different languages to consult before it is turned into Nengone, each verse takes about a quarter of an hour.

Aug. 1. This evening I went to see Kelesiano's father, who is ill. I find a fine, white-haired old man lying on the ground, with his head resting on his son's arms and knees. One hand of Kelesiano's was supporting the old man's head; with the other, he every now and then broke off a leaf from a branch which he had lying by him, and wiped the old man's lips. I found that he was not an Isle of Maré man, but that he belonged to Lifu. They spoke to him in Lifu, and told him I wanted to know how he was. He pressed my hand, and said, "It is very good of you to come and see me." He used to live at some distance; but now he lives in this settlement, his sons representing to him that he was too old to take a long journey backwards and forwards to church every day. I found that his son Kelesiano, and a young Tonga man, born on this island, had been his instructors.

Some twelve miles to the windward, a canoe laden with Monte Kurabi people has been upset. All the people were drowned but one woman, who swam ashore; but it was to an enemy's country (a tribe at war with the Monte Kurabi), and she was killed. The others preferred remaining in the canoe to attempting to gain the shore. Oh, may God in His mercy speedily enlighten the hearts of these people, and make every little coral reef and inlet what he seems to have intended them for--places where shipwrecked strangers may "be minded if possible to thrust in the ship!" And I [25/26] have no doubt that in a few years the whole island will have become what this place is now--a settlement of quiet, peaceable Christians, having had light vouchsafed to them, and endeavouring to impart it to others.

Aug. 18. Went to Aaitcheue with Siapo, to see a poor dying man. He was one of their best warriors, but was reduced to a mere skeleton when I saw him. Finding it difficult to make him hear me, I asked Siapo to speak to him; and he bent over him, and spoke in his ear such words of consolation as could be offered to a man who had never during his lifetime taken any interest in religion, but who, in his last moments, knew enough to be able to answer the question of "Who is alone able to save sinners?" by "Jesu Mesia."

Aug. 22. The native missionary teachers, on their return from Liguresaba, said that a sick man had been buried alive there, that is to say, put in a deep coral hole, where if he lives, they will supply him with food, and pull him up again if he recovers. It was a very common practice here before the people became Christians, and I have heard some horrible stories about it.

Aug. 24. Started on a visit to some of the heathen parts of the island; Narsilini and Bula, Samuela and others, accompanying us. We were very well received, and Narsilini and Bula were introduced by one or two others who happened to know them, for the chiefs rarely venture amongst hostile tribes, except to fight in war time. I never saw a greater contrast than the wild heathen tribe presented to our quiet-looking, dressed Liguama. The chief received us very well; listened to old Narsilini's introduction of himself and Bula, and the two messengers, and said, much in the same was as an English gentleman would beg one to make his house one's home, "My country is at your disposal, and if you are thirsty take the cocoa-nuts, if you are hungry take yams, and kill fowls--all is yours." We then introduced the subject of our visit, and dear old Narsilini spoke out boldly, but with the greatest courtesy, contrasting the way in which they used to come, with spears and clubs, and hundreds of people at their feet, with our present peaceful visit; and again contrasting even the way in which we now come, not boldly, and assured of a friendly reception, but rather throwing ourselves on their good feeling and sense of hospitality, with what might be the case were the whole island Christianised.

The chief listened to us all with the greatest courtesy, and said that all his people wished to hear the Gospel, and would willingly embrace it if it was taught to them. We then proposed to take two young men back with us to be instructed, and he promised to choose out two for us. We then said we were going on to Cherrethei next day, and if he would collect his people in the meantime, we would speak to them on our return.

Aug. 25. Started early for Cherrethei, passing though several villages of the Sihmedda (or inhabitants of Himedda), in each of which one of the chiefs stepped out, and handed Narsilini and Bula [26/27] a spear or a long strip of native cloth, or a pipe, as token of amity. In the largest of these villages an old spokesman, called Tabuama, made an excellent speech, saying, he had heard of our arrival, and had ordered his young men to lay aside their spears and clubs, and to meet us as friends. "I have seen some of you before in war," he added, "but now I have a good view of your faces; this is as it should be. Stay with us; tell us of the new doctrine you have embraced; let us all be friends; let the chiefs of both people act together in peace." On hearing that we were going to Cherrethei, he asked us when we intended to return. We told him we thought the next day, but could not be sure. He interrupted us by saying, "Never mind; why should you name a day? Go wherever you will; return when you like; be as free in our country as in your own."

In the evening all the heathen party assembled for a native dance, at least most of the young men; the elder ones stayed with Maka, Narsilini, Samuele, and myself, in friendly conversation. The principal difficulties in the way of embracing Christianity seemed to be, first, the fear of the neighbouring tribes if they gave up war; and second, a dislike to part with their supernumerary wives.

The dance was suddenly broken up by the chief giving a shrill whistle, and saying, in clear, calm tones, which made me wonder why he countenanced the whooping and screaming which had just been deafening us all, "Let two men go to the villages of the Sigure-wotocha and Li and Si, and invite them all to come tomorrow to see the Liguama chiefs, and hear the words of the two messengers; and let each man bring some food for the strangers." A voice from the crowd cried out, "When are we to go?" "Now." In five minutes the whole circus was cleared; the fire scattered in all directions, each little party of men taking a stick to light them home. For a quarter of an hour one could hear a shrill whistle or cry from the numerous paths in the neighbourhood, and for the rest of the night all was still and orderly.

Aug. 26. Towards the middle of the day a large number of people from the neighbourhood had assembled, and we had a good deal of talk with the old men, the chiefs not giving any answer themselves, but putting forward the old "men of words."

I have not time to give an abstract of their speeches; but old Waga declared it was easy to give an opinion about the different sorts of food, or different trees, their good and bad qualities; but this was a thing that required thought and consideration, and he could not tell which course to pursue till he had learnt more about it. We then tried to press the point of their sending men with us to learn our religion at Guama; and they all agreed that it was a good plan, but none of the youths would venture. The conference was very friendly; and if no other good had resulted from it than my obtaining the names of the people of three of the principal tribes, and making the acquaintance of their chiefs, I could not call it lost time.

[28] We started our return in the evening. At a place where a cross road turns off to Guama we all set down, and a serious consultation was held whether Bula and a larger part of our company should no go straightway home, instead of accompanying us to a hostile tribe. We remained perfectly quiet while the pros and cons were discussed, till Narsilini and Samuela, and one or two others said, "Bahu" (Let us go on). "We carry the word of God. Why should we fear? Let us go with the 'rue natta.'" This night we slept in the wood, just within the country of the Sihmeddu. The next morning we met old Tehuma and all his tribe, the chiefs, and the old "men of words," and nothing could be more friendly than our reception.

I have just forgotten to say, that at our sleeping-place last night we hailed an unexpected addition to our party, a young lad from Cherrethei, who had followed in our track to go to Guama, and "ienno ié tusi" (learn to read book). This step he had taken with the usual independence of savage life, not staying to ask his friends to give their consent. I need not say he was joyfully received.

Dear old Narsilini, I cannot express the respect I feel for him. He is not at all cut out for active exercise, but for the last three days he has toiled along in front of us, stopping in places where he has been half afraid for his life, and trying to persuade savage cannibals, very lately determined enemies, to open their eyes to the truth which has dawned on him. I do believe our little trip has been productive of good effects; if we have brought back no scholars, or only one, there must at least have arisen a great deal of good feeling between the chiefs of the respective tribes, which is one of the principal things wanted.

Sunday, Sept. 5. Preached twice. Catechised Napai's and Cho's class of 133 boys, who assemble directly after morning and evening service to be questioned about the sermon. The schoolroom is a cavern in the face of the limestone rock. The boys sit on the broad ledge of rock which forms the floor, and the teachers sit on the broad projecting ledges of the side. In the evening we had a large fire, blackened by the smoke of fires ages ago, when the assembly probably did not consist of innocent children, but of savage cannibals. I wish you could see us. Cho and Siapo in their white frocks and trousers, and the 130 children repeating the Lord's Prayer, almost for the first time in their lives, congregational prayer never having been introduced by the teachers, and the Lord's Prayer not translated. Under the cocoa-nut trees, at a little distance, Mita's wife had assembled her class of young girls, and all around us, in front of every house, was a little company of 30 or 40 people, with their teacher, all hidden from us by the thick cocoa-nut palms, but the whereabouts of each class was quite evident from the hymn that began and finished the school.

[29] Sept. 13. Started to Siwarcko, bearing in mind what the Bishop said one day, that if missionaries of the present day were to act more up to the spirit of the instructions which our Lord gave his disciples, to take neither bread, nor scrip, nor money, nor two coats a-piece, they would be able to go into places where now they dare not venture: we did not even take a blanket with us.

Sept. 14. Started early to Titi, Buama's place, our little party of carefully selected "eligibles" for a visit to a hostile tribe being increased by the addition of two men from Nungode, and two highly eligible companions from the Monte Rurube, fine tall fellows, in Adam's costume. To this place two men from Siguamba and Siwarcko stations go alternately every week to meet a congregation of five, amongst at least one thousand; but they keep on steadily, drawing upon as slender a stock of information as a Christian teacher can well be supposed to possess.

The "Titi" is a high, steep crag, rising like a comb from the surface of the island. Buama is a perfect "refuge for the destitute;" and small tribes and families have assembled round him from all quarters, besides single men who join him, as David's followers did.

We had to wait a long time before he honoured us with his presence, but when he did, I was agreeably surprised with his appearance. He is a middle-sized, thoughtful, intelligent-looking man. He was very civil, and listened attentively to all we had to say. I could not help admiring the boldness and clearness with which Maka and the Nengone and Tonga Christians stated the reason of our visit.

Sept. 25. This evening the joyful cry of "Koi ni Bishop" sounded from one end of the village to the other; and at night I had the satisfaction of receiving a note from the Bishop, brought by one of our boys, who had pulled off to the vessel as soon as she came near. Thank God, they are all safe and well, and had suffered nothing but influenza, which seems to have been felt far and near. We heard that they had been to Futuna, Tanna, and Anaiteum, and that there were two Mallicolo men on board.

Sept. 26. The Bishop came on shore this morning, with a boatful of boys under the care of Nelson. The two Mallicolo men were the only new ones, as we had already seen the four little Erromango boys before we were left at Maré. In service this morning, sixteen adults and ten children were baptised.

Sept. 27. This morning we chose out the five boys from this place who are to go to New Zealand, the Bishop having allowed us to take this number. The candidates were many; but with the usual good sense and proper feeling of the people of this place, they made no difficulty whatever about abiding by our choice. This time we have ventured upon taking two young ladies, one of whom is to be Mrs. Siapo.

[30] Sept. 28. Landed at Siwarcko; and having left all the boys and girls under the care of Mita and his wife, we set off for the Titi, to pay a long-promised visit to Buama, the Bishop having sent a message to him by three young men who came on board the last time we were here.

Davida and one of our boys went on as messengers, and towards evening we found Buama at a place about two miles short of his own village. The Bishop introduced the reason of his visit, that if he had found that the southern side of the island was the only one on which there were yams and cocoa-nuts, he would have gone off in the vessel to bring all sorts of food from Tanna and Anaiteum, to be planted here for the benefit of the Siguresaba; but that he had found there was plenty of all sorts of food, and only one tree wanting--the tree of the Gospel; which had been planted at Guama, and had spread and borne fruit among the Siguamba, but had not yet been planted among the Siguresaba. To plant this tree was the reason of his visit. Buama listened with great attention; and in the course of the evening gave his consent to two out of three points which the Bishop proposed to him. 1st. That Davida should be allowed to visit his tribe, and teach them as well as the Cherrethei people, with whom they are at war, 2d. That we should send two of his young men with us to New Zealand to be taught. 3d. That on our return, in six months, the chiefs would meet the chiefs of the other tribes, either on board our vessel, or at one of their own villages. To this we could get no decisive answer, as it was, perhaps, not very much to be expected we should.

29th. One lad came with us; and it was with very great pleasure that I afterwards welcomed an old man who brought off his son, a boy whom the Bishop chose last year, but who was kept back by his mother. The poor old man placed him in our hands, saying, "I have brought you Thamma, he is my only son; take care of him." As his canoe pulled off, he kept shouting out, "Thamma, good-by. Take care of Thamma."

Oct. 4th. This is the day of the Ladies Stitchery at Auckland, and we have had an opposition one on board. Our twenty-three boys all want clothes; and to-day we commenced our tailoring in good earnest. I wish you could have seen the sempsters. First, the Bishop, with Tol and two other Lifu boys, basting, felling, sewing, stitching, &c. Each of us takes two boys to instruct and superintend; and with the very few raw materials, like the Mallicolo boys, who do nothing but gape and stare about for some months, one has to make the clothes. My two are a couple of little bright-eyed Doka boys, one of whom made very fair button-holes at the end of this our first day's sewing-school. Sydney had the two Lifu men, steady, slow-going old fellows, between twenty and thirty. Every sailor is also by profession a tailor; so that we had the four men and the two boys all at work, besides Champion. Our whole party at work amounted to nineteen.

[31] 8th. Once more safe back again; all our friends, thank God, quite well, and glad to see us. There is nothing in this life like a warm welcome home again, and nothing to which I look forward with greater pleasure than the kindly greetings that always await us on our return, when we march up with our new scholars, and some old ones too, to settle down again at the College.

1853. In January last, the Melanesian School sustained a severe loss in the death of another of the earliest pupils, George Siapo. Siapo was a noble specimen of his race. His handsome, thoughtful countenance was a true index to his mind.

The Bishop made his acquaintance four years before, when he went down to the bottom of one of the coral-pits in his own island, to draw water for the strange white man. The Bishop, who is an accomplished physiognomist, was struck with his expression as he looked up at him from the bottom of the pit, and resolved, if possible, to induce him to come to New Zealand. He came with two companions; and from that time till his death continued to be a steady friend and helper to the cause of Christianity, using his influence (which was considerable, from his being a near relation and the intimate friend of the young chief) always in the best way, both among his school-fellows in New Zealand and his friends the young men at home. At Mallicolo he risked his life on shore with the watering-party, when the Bishop and his companions were in danger. Before returning to the College for his last visit, he had said to one of the chiefs, who had adopted him when a boy, "I am afraid I shall die some day in New Zealand." And his friend replied, "Even if you do, it is better that you should go." So he came, bowing meekly to the decision of the chief of his tribe, and of the Bishop, his English father. This is the spirit in which he always acted. In danger, and difficulty, and disappointment, his ready, cheerful, unquestioning obedience could always be counted on.

On his death-bed he was very anxious that his younger brother should be brought from Maré on the Bishop's next visit. For an hour or two before he breathed his last, he was constantly giving kind messages by the boys to his friends at home on Mr. Nihill's behalf: "Wadokala, take care of Mr. Nihill when I am gone. Poor Mr. Nihill, you and I have gone together, and now I die, and you go alone!"


Persons wishing to aid the Bishop of New Zealand in his Melanesian Mission, may send their contributions to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, 79 Pall Mall; or to the New Zealand fund at Messrs. Herries, Farquhar, and Co., St. James Street; or [31/32] to the Rev. Edward Coleridge, Eton College, who will also gratefully receive and forward to the Bishop, books, scripture prints, cloth, linen, or any other article likely to prove useful or instructive to the natives.

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel will also gladly receive contributions for Missions to the Australian Aborigines, and will transmit them to the metropolitan at Sydney, on behalf of this object of the Australasian Board of Missions; or, if specially requested, will transmit them to the Bishop of any one of the Australian Dioceses in which Mission work may be attempted.




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