WE must now return, from the digression in the last chapter, to the beginning of the year 1861, when a most important event for Melanesia took place.
Ever since Bishop Selwyn's visit to England, it had been in contemplation that, at some future time, the islands of Melanesia might require a Bishop of their own; and he had then collected funds towards the endowment of such a Bishopric, when the time should come for its formation. In 1860, Bishop Selwyn had written to the Government, to ask for the requisite permission, with the view of consecrating Mr. Patteson to this high office.
Few persons could have been found so eminently qualified as Mr. Patteson for his peculiar work. Bishop Selwyn, in this year, wrote of him, "I look upon myself now as only an occasional volunteer in the cause, and that the real work and responsibility rests with him. For a short time I considered, rather than doubted, whether I should resign New Zealand, and undertake Melanesia; but now that I have had five years' experience of Mr. Patteson's [188/189] greater fitness for the island duties, in respect of youth and facility in acquiring foreign languages, added to a peculiar gentleness combined with firmness--the suaviter in modo, fortiter in re, which is specially required in dealing with native races--I have cast away every shade of doubt; and have written in all confidence to the Duke of Newcastle, to request him to procure the sanction of the Crown and the Archbishop to the consecration, in New Zealand, of the Rev. J. C. Patteson, as Bishop of the Western Isles.
"A most valuable coadjutor has just joined the Mission--Mr. Kerr, formerly Master in H.M. Surveying Brig "Pandora;" so, as I am resigning my spiritual functions to Mr. Patteson, I shall also abdicate my nautical office in favour of Mr. Kerr; retiring myself into a field still spacious enough for powers which must become day by day more and more inadequate for the work. You will not accuse me of desertion, when you consider that I have not withdrawn from the duty until it pleased God to supply fitter men. All my feelings now lead me to put myself on the shelf, and to point to Mr. Patteson as my adopted successor, and as the special object of your future interest, of your alms, and of your prayers. I wish that you could all see him in the midst of his thirty-eight scholars, at Kohimarama, with thirteen dialects buzzing round him, with a [189/190] cheerful look and a cheerful word for every one teaching A B C with as much gusto as if they were the X Y Z of some deep problem; or marshalling a field of black cricketers as if he were still the captain of the eleven in the upper shooting fields at Eton; and, when school and play are over, conducting his polyglot service in the Mission chapel."
Mr. Patteson, a little later, writes: "For myself, how can I ever be sufficiently thankful for the unusual opportunities that I have enjoyed of learning from the Bishop his method of commencing and carrying on this peculiar work. It is, indeed, a great privilege to have lived with him so long; but it is because I do know him so well, and can tell better than any man what he has been to this Mission and to me--it is because I know that, under God, everything has depended upon his wisdom and energy, and personal character--that I am full of anxious thoughts now, when I must go forth without him who is like a father to me.
"The more immediate management of the Mission devolves, therefore, upon me, but the Primate will really be almost as closely connected with it as he has been of late. He will not, indeed, make voyages so frequently to the islands, but he will always be ready to give his advice, to suggest plans, to point out my mistakes and the remedies for them; and the fact that he has trained me, and accustomed me to [190/191] understand and act upon his method of carrying out the Mission, gives, I trust, some ground for hoping that there will be no real alteration in the character of the work, though he cannot personally superintend it, as he has done hitherto.
"The general principles upon which he has proceeded have so entirely approved themselves to us all, as thoroughly wise and practical, that it is very unlikely that any alteration should take place. It is a remarkable proof of the foresight and careful consideration which he employed, that up to the present time no departure has been made from the original plan proposed by him for the conduct of the Mission: all that has been done, has been but the fulfilment and natural expression of the idea entertained by him at the first.
"But, in the working out these principles, I, who best know the feeling of confidence which his presence on board the schooner or in the boat infused into us all, can but tell how sadly we shall miss him. So much depends upon the individual judgment and decision of character, even upon the physical qualifications which the leader should possess. It was not only the cool calculation which planned the operation of a voyage, but the experience of sea-life which enabled him to take the wheel in a gale of wind, or to be the first to detect a coral patch from his perch on the fore-yard, and the long practice which had [191/192] taught him to handle his boat in a heavy sea-way or in a rolling surf; and the quick eye which detected the natives lurking in the bush, or secretly snatching up bow or spear; and the strong arm, which could wrench their hands off the boat. These are some of the comparatively small matters, as they may seem, which assume a considerable magnitude in such a work as this, and these qualifications he possessed in an extraordinary degree; and who possesses them now?
"Not a day but I shall feel 'How different it would be if the Bishop were here now! he would not have been undecided, as I am: he would have seen what was the right thing to do, and have done it.'"
Surely no two fellow-labourers in the same field ever had more love and reverence for each other than George Augustus Selwyn and John Coleridge Patteson.
The Feast of St. Matthias (which falls, be it remembered, in the New Zealand summer) was as bright and glorious a day as could be wished for.
At three o'clock in the afternoon the service was held in St. Paul's Church, Auckland, which was crowded. This church has no chancel, and within the rail were the three Bishops of New Zealand, Wellington, and Nelson: Mr. Patteson seated in a chair in front, with ten of his island boys near him. [192/193] Bishop Selwyn preached the sermon, taken from the Epistle for the day: "And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two Thou hast chosen."
"This," he said, "was a season of special prayer, even as it was with the Apostles before the election of St. Matthias to fill the place of Judas. First, for the consecrating Bishops. The office of the Apostles was in these days laid upon men who did not possess the special gifts and graces of the Apostolic age. What were they, that they should have power to carry on the Lord's Word in obedience to His commandment?
"Is the promise yet fulfilled," he asked, "that in Abraham and his seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed? Has Christ already received all the heathen for His inheritance, and all the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession? Is there no wilderness which has still to blossom as the rose? No islands that still wait for the Lord? No kingdoms that must become His? Are all idols utterly abolished? The vastness of the scope of the prophetic visions at once humbles and enlarges the mind. However little our work may be, it is part of that purpose of God which can never fail. We pray for our little one in fear and humility, and while we pray it becomes a thousand: it is but a drop in the ocean; but that ocean is the fulness of God."
 In this case, too, the Bishop went on to say, a new cause of fear arose, lest their partial love should deceive them in their choice. "We were all," he said, as his eye glanced round on Bishop Abraham and Bishop Hobhouse, and centred on Mr. Patteson--all his fellow-Etonians: "we were all trained in the same place of education; united in the same circle of friends; in boyhood, in youth, in manhood, we have shared the same sorrows, and joys, and fears. I received this my son in the ministry of Christ Jesus from the hands of a father, of whose old age he was the comfort; he sent him forth without a murmur, nay, rather with joy and thankfulness, to these distant parts of the earth. He never asked even to see him again; but gave him up without reserve for the Lord's work. Pray, dear brethren, for your Bishops, that our partial love may not deceive us in this choice; for we cannot so strive against natural affection as to be quite impartial.
"And yet," the Bishop went on, "nothing in their own conscience had ever warned any of them to forbear making this choice; and, after much conference and much prayer, they had become more and more resolved to go forward in the name of God, and in the full belief that this was indeed His work, and this His chosen servant."
Next, he asked their prayers for him who was to be consecrated: not only because he would, like [194/195] others of his brethren, have the care of many churches, the stewardship of the mysteries of Christ but especially "because he will go forth to sow beside many waters; to cultivate an unknown field; to range from island to island, himself unknown, and coming in the name of an unknown God. He will have to land alone and unarmed among heathen tribes, where every man's hand is against his neighbour; and bid them lay down their spears and arrows, and meet him as the messenger of peace. He will have to persuade them, by the language of signs, to give up their children to his care; and while he teaches them the simplest elements which are taught in our infant schools, to learn from them a new language for every new island. Surely then, dear brethren, we must pray earnestly that this our brother may have a large measure of the Apostolic' gifts; a power to acquire divers languages; and also boldness, with fervent zeal, constantly to preach the Gospel to all the nations now to be committed to his charge.
"One duty," the Bishop went on, "yet remains: to commend our dear brother to the work to which we believe God has called him.
"It was the privilege of the Apostles to elect Matthias out of the number of those 'who had companied with them all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among them, beginning from the [195/196] baptism of John unto the same day that he was taken up.' Our privilege, though different in degree, may be the same in kind; for faith supplies what is denied to sight.
"So may every step of thy life, dear brother, be in company with the Lord Jesus.
"May the baptism of John be in thee, to fill thee with that godly sorrow which worketh repentance not to be repented of: a foretaste of that comfort which will be given to them that mourn, by the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire.
"May Christ be with thee, as a light to lighten the Gentiles; may He work out in thee his spiritual miracles; may He, through thee, give sight to the blind, to see the glories of the God invisible; and open the ears of the deaf, to hear and receive the preaching of His word; and loose the tongues of the dumb, to sing His praise; and raise to new life the dead in trespasses and sins.
"May Christ be with you, when you go forth in His name and for His sake to those poor and needy people; to those 'strangers destitute of help'--to those mingled races who still show forth the curse of Babel, and wait for the coming of another Pentecost: poor alike in all worldly and spiritual goods, naked to be clothed, prisoners to be loosed, lepers to be cleansed. To you is committed Christ's own ministry, to seek for His sheep that are dispersed abroad; to [196/197] hold up the weak, to heal the sick, to bind up the broken, to bring again the outcasts, to seek the lost. Your office is, in the widest sense, to preach the Gospel to the poor.
"May Christ be ever with you; may you feel His presence in the lonely wilderness, on the mountain top, on the troubled sea. May He go before you, with His fan in His hand, to purge His floor. He will not stay His hand till the idols are utterly abolished.
"May Christ be ever with thee to give thee utterance, to open thy mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the Gospel. Dwelling in the midst of a people of unclean lips, thou wilt feel Him present with thee, to touch thy lips with a live coal from His own altar, that many strangers of every race may hear in their own tongue the wonderful work of God.
"May Christ be ever with you; may you sorrow with Him in His agony, and be crucified with Him in His death, be buried with Him in His grave, rise with Him to newness of life, and ascend with Him in heart to the same place whither He has gone before, and feel that He ever liveth to make intercession for thee, 'that thy faith fail not.'"
"It was most touching and thrilling," said a spectator of the scene, writing to friends at home; "but I cannot make you see the two countenances--[197/198] the look of heart-felt confidence and love and joy with which the Metropolitan gazed upon Mr. Patteson as he spoke these deep words of counsel and encouragement, and committed him in his loneliness to the Lord and Master who had promised to be with him always; nor that upward, answering glance which ever and anon was cast, with steadfast, earnest eye, upon his 'Father in God,' as though he would drink in the fullest meaning of those words, which assured one that he could bear it all in the strength of quietness and confidence."
Then followed the actual moment of consecration. The Metropolitan stood in the midst, with the Bishops of Wellington and Nelson on either side. The ten island boys, under the leadership of Mr. Kerr, were just in front of the rails, and one of them, Tagalava, was sent to hold up the great Prayer Book for the Bishop to read from, making a living lectern for the occasion. Afterwards the Holy Communion was administered to 220 persons, ten of the bishops and clergy officiating.
A day or two later Bishop Patteson was duly installed in the little chapel of St. Andrew's College, Kohimarama; and, after the service, he and Bishop Selwyn planted a Norfolk Island pine in memory of the occasion: to be, they hoped, typical of "the tree planted by the waterside to bring forth fruit in due season."
 In the year 1861, the loss of the Southern Cross not having been repaired, Bishop Patteson chartered the schooner Sea Breeze. The party was two months later than usual in starting, owing to the difficulty of finding a vessel suitable for the voyage; but at last the search was successful, and the schooner started on her way.
The voyage of 1861 had few events to show. The sojourn at Mota in this year has been already described; but, perhaps, our readers may like to hear Bishop Patteson's own Robinson Crusoe-like description of his temporary home there.
"We think little here of cutting down banana leaves, four feet long and twenty inches wide, of a bright pale green, just to wrap up a cooked yam or two. Then, through the branches of a mighty banyan--thirty-five of my paces round close to the, trunk--and through the branches of the bread-fruit and almond trees, I look out to the N.N.W. upon Valua, due west upon Vanua Lava; and Umparapara is seen in the distance between the two. The ground, sloping gradually down to the sea, dotted with breadfruit trees, is just steep enough to admit of being thrown into terraces for garden and kitchen garden. Our pine apples and vines have struck well; oranges and cotton we shall plant to-day, most likely.
"Our first step was to land the frame of our house, which is twenty feet in length by eleven in [199/200] breadth; then we carried it up the ascent from the beach to the level land, which constitutes the habitable part of the island, between the central sugar-loaf hill and the fringing coral beach. We soon got it all up, and Dudley, who has had some apprenticeship at this kind of thing, soon managed to get this frame up. The heavy posts on which the plates were laid I cut with the Loyalty islanders at Vanua Lava, and brought them over in our boat on Monday morning; then we got natives to thatch in the roof. They take a cocoa-nut leaf and bind the small separate parts of the leaf together, and arrange them very neatly so as to form a very waterproof roof. The rain has been excessively heavy since we have been here, and we have tested it well. The next thing was to get a lot of bamboo canes: some I had brought from Vanua Lava, but was really driven away from the bamboo grove there by the swarms of mosquitoes; we had some trouble in getting them. Your notion of a bamboo may connect itself with a walking-stick, but these canes are sometimes forty feet high and pretty heavy; many of them are dragged for a mile or so through the tangled bush or along native paths. In three days natives have been placing split bamboos in and out between the upright slips of bamboo which they have tied up against the upright canes. This makes a cross work of narrow strips of bamboo, which is a good protection against the rain; the peeled strips [200/201] are put together for five or six layers, on them come as many layers of green strips, so that it makes a pattern rather pretty, and the whole thing is sufficiently strong. We had many things to stow away, for our party consisted of thirteen, and each of these fellows had his own treasures: besides, we had flour, sugar, coffee, biscuit, &c. The next day we made a kind of frame over a part of the rooms--for house it could hardly be called--and so we stored the biscuit, flour, &c., out of the way; then we put hooks and nails all round the wall plates, and on these we hung our kits, knapsacks, &c., so that the whole floor, with the exception of the space occupied by some boxes, was available for sleeping.
"This small island is abundantly supplied with food; this morning I sent a boy up one of the breadfruit trees standing almost over the house; he shook down four or five, laid them on the ashes, and there was our breakfast in a short time. The island is full of this beautiful tree, with its large, deeply digitated leaves, the next to the cocoa-nut among all God's gifts to the Melanesians.
"I am just returned from a village one and a-half miles off, called Tamate, where one of their religious ceremonies took place this morning. The village contains upwards of twenty houses, built at the edge of the bush, which consists here almost exclusively of fruit-bearing trees-cocoa-nuts, bananas, bread-fruit [201/202] and large almond trees are everywhere the most conspicuous. The sea-view, looking south, is very beautiful, and may be seen by any one sitting in the village. I walked thither alone, having heard that a feast was to be held there. As I came close to the spot I heard the hum of many voices, and the dull booming sound of the native drum, which is struck by wooden mallets. Some few people ran off as we appeared, but many of them had seen me before. The women, about thirty in number, were sitting on the ground together in front of one of the houses, which enclose an open circular space; in front of another house were many children and young people. In the long narrow house which forms the general cookery and lounging rooms of the men of each village, and the sleeping room of the bachelors, were many people preparing large messes of grated yam and cocoa-nut in flat wooden dishes. At the long oblong-shaped drum sat three performers: two young men each with two short sticks to perform the kettledrum part of the business, and an older man in the centre whose art consisted in bringing out deep hollow tones from his wooden instrument. Around them stood some thirty men, two of whom I noticed especially decked out with red leaves and feathers in their hair. Near this party, and close to the long narrow house at the end of which I stood, was a newly-raised platform of, earth supported on stones; [202/203] on the corner stone were laid six or eight pigs' jaws with the large curling tusks left in them: this was a sacred stone. In front of the platform were three poles covered with flowers, red leaves, &c. For about an hour and a-half the men at and around the drum kept up an almost incessant shouting, screaming, and whistling, moving their arms and legs in time; not with any wild gesticulations, but occasionally with some little violence, the drums all the time being struck incessantly. About the middle of the ceremony an old, tall, thin man, with a red handkerchief (our gift at some time) round his waist, stuck full of long red leaves, began ambling round the open space in the middle of the houses, carrying a boar's skull in his hand; this performance he repeated three times. Then a man jumped up upon the platform, and, moving quickly about on it and gesticulating wildly, delivered a short speech, after which the drum and the shouting were louder than ever. Then came another speech from the same man; and then--the rain evidently hastening matters to an end--the whole thing ended without any ceremony of consecrating the stone, as I had expected. In the long room, afterwards, I had the opportunity of saying quietly what I had said to those about me during the ceremony: the same story of the love of God, in giving Jesus Christ to turn men from darkness to light."
 One or two new islands were visited this year, as well as many of the old ones, which had of late been dropped out of reckoning by the press of business.
"I think you would be pleased," wrote Bishop Patteson, on his return from this voyage, "if you could see our present party at school and chapel. More than half our party (thirty in all) read and write their own language well, to the extent of taking my MS. questions and making out and writing the answers, day by day, as a regular part of their school work. I can catechise my first Banks Island class much as I could and do catechise an intelligent class in an ordinary Sunday-school They can't quote texts as well, because very few have been taught them, but their practical application of the facts taught to their own circumstances is very hopeful. I feel very sanguine about the next winter's work, if it so please God."
One of the cleverest and most promising of the Loyalty Islanders was Harper Malo, from Nengonè. A young man from Santa Maria, in the Banks group, was put under his charge, and in a short time Harper had acquired enough of his language to be able to translate one of the elementary books into it, so as to need but very few corrections from Bishop Patteson. Any one who will consider how he would set to work to reduce an unknown language to writing, will feel some respect for the intellectual power of this quondam "Melanesian savage."
 Harper brought back with him a young girl to be educated, hereafter, he hoped, to become his wife. On Christmas Day, little Mary, who was only fourteen, was baptized; two days after she and Harper were married; in March she died of consumption; another hopeful blossom cut off.
One of the boys from the Banks Islands, Utagilava, had shown signs of great promise the year before this: he was the boy who had acted as lectern during Bishop Patteson's consecration, and they thought very well of him, but the influences of his old heathenism were too strong for him, even though the Bishop was at this time residing at Mota; and, though not without apparent struggle, he left them, and did not return to New Zealand. His place, however, was supplied by a young man from Vanua Lava, named Sarawia, who had once before been to New Zealand, and had made great progress there, but had since held aloof, and, as they feared, relapsed into heathenism. This last year, however, he had come to see the Bishop, and had explained his conduct to him; and since then he had gone on more than usually well. He built himself a house of two storeys, the first ever seen in Vanua Lava; the upper storey he inhabited with his wife, while in the lower he regularly assembled the lads of his village for school. When the party returned to New Zealand he regularly took an oar in the boat during the voyage back, and evidently took [205/206] an interest in the whole work, trying by signs and by scraps which he had picked up of the various dialects, to induce other lads to join them. These were the sort of arguments he would use: "Very good; you, me, go New Zealand; you see ship there, very good; no fight; Bishop here, very good; plenty moons me stop with him; suppose you like to go to New Zealand, seven, eight moons me come back here. What for you afraid? you see me stop with them; they no fight me; they give me clothes, plenty food, hatchets, plenty good things; come along."
One lad from Mota, named Baratu, brought his little wife with him, a girl of ten years old, named Irotuvag. She was extremely bright and anxious to learn, but more like a boy than a girl, not much subdued by her matronly dignity. However, in six months she was able to read and write her own language readily--a considerable feat, as any one will acknowledge who has tried to teach a neglected child of the same age or older in England.
"Our first Mota class," wrote Mr. Dudley, "is a very pleasant one; it now numbers seven, but will, I hope, be increased. We find it difficult to supply them fast enough with books at present. Now that they have learnt to read with tolerable ease, nothing escapes them; if only a piece of manuscript with a few Mota sentences written by some of us is found lying about, it is seized on at once as a great [206/207] treasure, and read through and through again until, almost known by heart. They are now beginning to learn to read English, and to translate it into their own language."
In June, 1862, the Sea Breeze was again chartered for four months. Of this voyage Bishop. Patteson wrote afterwards, "I never remember so remarkable a voyage as this last. I do not mean that any new method was adopted in visiting islands, or communicating with the natives. God gave to the Bishop of New Zealand wisdom to see and carry out, from the first, the plan which more and more approves itself as the best and perhaps the only feasible plan for such peculiar work. But all through this voyage, both in re-visiting islands well known to us, and in recommencing the work in other islands, where, amidst the multitude of the Primate's engagements, it had been impossible to keep up our acquaintance with the people; and in opening the way in islands now visited for the first time; from the beginning to the end, it pleased God to prosper us, beyond our hopes. I was not only able to land on many places where, as far as I know, no white man had set foot before, but to go inland, to inspect the houses, canoes, &c., in crowded villages (as at Santa Cruz), or to sit for two hours alone amidst a crowd of people (as at Pentecost Island), or to walk two and a-half miles inland (as at Tasiko or Apec). [207/208] From no less than eight islands have we, for the first time, received young people for our school here; and fifty-one Melanesian men, women, and young lads, are now with us, gathered from twenty-four islands, exclusive of the Loyalty Group. When you remember that at Santa Cruz, for example, I had never landed before, and that this voyage I was permitted to go ashore at seven different places in one day, during which I saw about 1,200 men; that in all these islands the inhabitants are, to look at, wild, naked, armed with spears and clubs, or bows and poisoned arrows; that every man's hand is against his neighbour, and scenes of violence and bloodshed among themselves of frequent occurrence; and that throughout this voyage (during which I landed between seventy and eighty times) not one hand was lifted up against me, not one sign of ill-will exhibited; you will see why I speak and think with real amazement and thankfulness of a voyage accompanied with results so wholly unexpected. I say results--for the effecting a safe landing on an island, and, much more, the receiving a native lad from it, is in this sense a result that the great step has been made of commencing an acquaintance with the people. If I live to make another voyage, I shall no longer go ashore as a stranger. I know the names of some of the men; I can, by signs, remind them of some little present made, some little occurrence which [208/209] took place; we have already something in common, and, as far as they know me at all, they know me as a friend. Then some lad is given up to us, the language learned, and a real hold on the island obtained."
It may be remembered, that from one of the islands in the New Hebrides, called Mai, Bishop Patteson had at one time brought away two lads named Petere and Laure. They had been returned to their island, and had since been always friendly to the Mission party; and since that time their place had been supplied by other scholars, several of whom had learnt to read and write.
This year Bishop Patteson landed here, as usual, among a large number of old acquaintances, but missed Petere's face, generally the first to welcome him. On asking for him, he was told that Petere was not well; and, a little while after, that he was dead of dysentery. Still the Bishop thought that there was something strange in their manner, but what was the cause he could not make out; so he walked on with them till he reached Petere's village, where a large party had assembled, and were lamenting and crying before it. When a pause came in the noise, the Bishop spoke, and told them how sorry he was to hear of Petere's death, but they still looked suspicious and wary, and one of the party who was unused to the kind of work, did not like the look of [209/210] the people, or the bows and spears. At last one, an old scholar, came forward and said, "The people here do not wish to deceive you; they know that you loved Petere, and they will not hide the truth. Petere was killed by a man in a ship--a white man, who shot him in the forehead. The Bishop made minute inquiries as to the ship, the number of masts, the appearance of the crew, &c., but the same story was told by all.
Meanwhile Mr. Dudley and Wadokal had been sitting in the boat, at a short distance from the beach: they, too, suspected, from the manner of the people, that something unusual had occurred. Presently they saw some men rush down to the beach, from the village where the assembly had been held, and distribute "kava" to the people, who immediately became friendly, changed their manner, and soon dispersed. A discussion had evidently taken place in-shore as to the treatment which the Mission party were to receive; and it had been decided, in consequence of old friendship, not to revenge the death of Petere upon them. Had they been strangers, they would have been killed at once.
After this, Bishop Patteson, wishing to restore mutual confidence, went back and slept ashore in Petere's village, happily without ill effects. Trust often succeeds, where suspicion fails.
Many pleasant little incidents took place on this [210/211] voyage. In one place a lad came out to the Bishop in his canoe, without giving him the trouble of swimming ashore at all. In another, he was allowed to pick out two lads from a party of thirty-six going on a fighting expedition in a grand war-canoe. In another, the young chief came on board with a white cockatoo instead of a hawk on his wrist, which he gracefully presented to Bishop Patteson. Above all was the joy of watching the progress of the work in Mota, already described, which was much owing to the efforts of the new member of the Mission, Mr. Pritt.
Mr. Pritt had been used to deal with boys before he came to Kohimarama, and turned his knowledge of boy-character to good account. He had a great genius for industrial management, and set to work immediately to try to reduce the expenses of the College, by making it, as far as possible, self-supporting: dispensing with all hired labour, both in the College and farm. In order to do this, it was necessary to make the boys clearly understand that there was nothing derogatory to their dignity in doing menial work; and, as the readiest way to prove it, Bishop Patteson and Mr. Pritt, and the other clergy of the Mission, took it in turn to help in the cooking, shoe-cleaning, &c., lest the lads should fancy that they were merely to be fags to the white men. "Most of the failures," said Bishop Patteson, "that [211/212] had occurred in the attempt to improve the native races, had arisen from not treating the black race just like the white. Why should the chief of a Melanesian island be told that he is to be the fag of an English boy?"
At length the long inconvenience caused by the want of a Mission vessel came to an end. The necessary funds had been raised in England, and a new schooner, rather larger than the old one, built under the Bishop's directions and sent over. On the 28th February, 1863, on a dark, rainy morning, as Bishop Patteson dismissed the boys after early school, himself remaining to finish something he had to do, he heard them saying, "There is a vessel--like ours, perhaps." The Bishop took his glass, and said, "It must be the schooner!" whereat rose polyglot cries of delight from fifty Melanesians. "It is everything to us," wrote the Bishop--"home, means of communication with the islands, floating-school--to say nothing of its being like a pet child of our own. No more anxiety about boys pining in the cold climate, as winter draws on, and there is no vessel for charter; no more divided authority between master and owner; no more bad example for the boys."
The Bishop was far too much delighted with the sight of the new Southern Cross to remain ashore, and notwithstanding a heavy surf and drenching rain [212/213] he launched his boat, and, unincumbered with anything more than shirt and trousers, reached the ship wet through. She answered all his expectations, being fast, dry, and safe, and able to carry a large number of Melanesians.
Except the loss of Mr. Dudley, whose health had given way under his work, and who was obliged to return to a more bracing climate, there seemed at this time to be no drawback to the prosperity of the Mission. One of Bishop Patteson's friends wrote at this time: "It is pleasant to see how completely all is blessed to him, and how these Melanesians really are everything to him: the promise fulfilled, father, and sisters, and brothers, a hundred-fold-a continual halo of hope brightening all! He tells us wonderful things about the capabilities and progress of the boys; wonderful things of their reception and comprehension of Christian doctrine. Certain it is, I should suppose, that few people in such a stage have ever been so taught before--I mean in these later days, judging by all that we have seen and known of ordinary teaching. Thus, they have two first-rate men always working upon them. It is time only that can test these things--the first stages of a Mission are so different from the second: one almost sees and feels the special outpouring of the Spirit. Afterwards, when it settles into the ordinary condition of all works done by Him, the trial comes--[213/214] slackness, and lukewarmness, and all things that choke the good seed. It is the beauty of early childhood, in the first instance--the love, and reverence, and confidingness, and docility which make it so picturesque and pleasant."