The following Extracts from the Bishop of Tasmania's Journal and Letters, published in the Church News of the Diocese of Tasmania will be read with interest.
They will be followed by other Extracts, and it is hoped that the Bishop will publish them in a collected form.
It will be observed that they are comparatively old, but as they were not published till January and February in Tasmania--and did not reach the Editor till May, they were held over till this number, which was delayed in order that it might contain the latest news of the 1st. Island Voyage of this year, just received.
Subscriptions and Donations may be sent to:
Rev. W. SELWYN,
Treasurer of the Mission,
The Editor hopes to publish these OCCASIONAL PAPERS from time to time as news reaches him. But communication is so uncertain, as he has pointed out before, that he cannot promise them at fixed periods. The expense of printing and forwarding them to the subscribers is a very serious charge on the Mission Funds. Hitherto, all publications by the Mission have been sent out without charge, and when only the Report and Island Voyage were sent the expense was trifling. But the addition of three or four Occasional Papers in the year is a serious matter. He would therefore be much obliged if all subscribers to the Mission would let him know:--
l. How many copies of the additional Occasional Papers they wish to receive:---and (2) whether they will be willing to pay a small sum say: 2d. or 3d. a copy for them.
His Address will be after October 1st:--
_____ Subjects for Prayer:
1.--That a Bishop may speedily be found.
2.--For Rev. H. P. Welchman Ordained Priest in June, that his work in Bugoto may be blessed.
3.--For Hugo Gorovaka and Sogovman, to be Ordained Deacons.
4.--For the European Workers in the Mission both Clergy and Lay.
5.--For the Native Clergy, and Teachers.
6.--For Marostamata, that God may indeed bring him back again to a right mind.
 "Light of Melanesia." GENERAL DETAILS TO BE REMEMBERED. I.
In the end of 1847, Bishop Selwyn (the elder), made his first journeys into Melanesia. In 1866, the settlement at Norfolk Island was formed under the supervision of the Rev. J. Palmer, who is still with the Mission. The area of the field of work, extends from a portion of the New Hebrides to the Solomon Islands. Formerly it included the Loyalty Islands, but these were surrendered to the London Missionary Society with chivalrous generosity by Bishop Selwyn, when that Society laid claim to prior occupation. The Bishop knew that there was more than enough unoccupied ground further north. The same spirit of Christian courtesy made Bishop Selwyn (the younger) give up the Island of Mae, in the New Hebrides, to the Presbyterians about 1880, though we had occupied it for some years. The Bishop followed in his father's steps, and wished to avoid all disputes. The Presbyterians had occupied Ambrym, which is to the north of Mae, and it was amicably arranged that Ambrym should be the northern boundary of the Presbyterian Mission. The Melanesian Mission works on only three islands in the New Hebrides--Auora, Pentecost, and Leper's Island. From this southern boundary it stretches its arms at present as far as Ysabel, in the Solomons, but soon, please God, Choiseul and Bougainville shall "hear the joyful sound," and be claimed for Christ's Kingdom. New Georgia also awaits conquest in the same Sacred Name.
_____ Early Days of the Melanesian Mission. PRINCIPLES AS LAID DOWN BY BISHOP SELWYN.
It is well known how it came about that the first Bishop Selwyn visited Melanesia. In his Letters Patent his jurisdiction was stated as extending as far as 34deg. north latitude. This, it is said, was an error of 34deg. south latitude. But the Bishop accepted the position and determined to explore, as soon as he could, islands utterly unknown to missionaries, and only visited by sandal wood traders and others, who bore, too often, the worst of reputations. Deeds done by white men to the blacks in these days are a disgrace to our nation. I believe an immense improvement has now been effected, therefore let us throw a veil over the past, and attempt rather to make what reparation we can in the name of Him who made of one blood all nations, and commanded us to preach His Gospel to all without distinction.
In 1847 the Bishop made his first attempts northward--six years after his arrival in New Zealand. Soon afterwards, after a cruise in dangerous and uncharted waters in a little yacht of 21 tons, "The Undine," he brought back his first Melanesian scholars, arriving with them, I think, in the middle of the night at his little house at Auckland. Thus, we come into contact with S. John's College, Auckland, a sort of school started by the Bishop for every one who [5/6] needed instruction. Here it was that the first Maori clergy were trained. Lady Martin, in her book on the Maoris, tells us of some of the earliest converts. Stephen, the Maori, was dying. He was asked, "What part have you chosen?" He answered, "Christ have I chosen." "Is your heart dark?" "No, it is all light." "Are you suffering much?" "No, no pain, no sadness. This is my desire, that I may go to God, and that my dwelling in this evil world may cease."
On another occasion Rota, the first Maori deacon, came back to S. John's College, after having been 18 months in charge of a school. On arriving at the college, he said--"I have come to fill my seed bags again, having sown all I took down with me last year."
To this Christian home and school in one the first Melanesians came. I suppose it was about the year 1849.
But it may be asked, why did the Bishop bring these people away from their own countries? Why did he not scatter white clergymen in the groups of islands at once, following the plan invariably adopted by most Missionary Societies. The question is natural, and the answer is of the utmost importance. For the Bishop's action gave a tone to the Mission which it has never lost. It holds a unique position among all the Missions to the heathen throughout the world.
The Bishop discovered that the islands untouched as yet by any Missions were numbered by dozens rather than by units. To supply them adequately with English clergy was an impossibility. The climate he also considered to be unfit for Europeans as permanent residences, since the groups with which he was concerned lay nearer the equator than any where work had yet been attempted in the South Seas. Then he rose to the conception which has been the constant ideal of the Mission ever since. The natives themselves must be made to become missionaries to their own people. This idea was to be fostered in every possible manner. The number of the English Clergy was to be more select than numerous. "They were to be the white floats to sustain the black net," which was to win the souls in the future in Christ's name. The first step, then, in this method was to obtain boys young enough to be instructed. And it required all the wonderful tact and patience and attractive qualities which the Bishop possessed to obtain the consent of parents to carry off one of their children to an unknown land in the company of a white man whom possibly they had only seen for a few minutes once or twice. It is indeed wonderful how the scholars were ever obtained in those early days. God was guiding the Mission, and manifestly helping with His Holy Spirit. Of course, it was essential from every point that the boys should leave their homes. Only thus could they be guarded from many evil influences--only thus could their language be learnt. And so to S. John's College came the first fruits of the Mission. And it is worth recording that the idea of a central school where Melanesians from many islands might live happily together was not obtained from books or from the example of any other Mission. It arose from what seemed a casual visit to the island of Anaiteum, in the New Hebrides. There he visited the farm of a sandal wood trader, a Captain Paddon--an excellent man, much [6/7] respected by the natives, and a kind master to his black labourers. The Bishop was so much struck with the order and success of the establishment, that he determined to try the experiment in the name of God and for the enlargement of the Kingdom of Christ. Ever afterwards he called Captain Paddon his "teacher."* [Footnote: See next paragraph.]
[* NOTE.--The facts here related rather differ from the story told by Bishop of Tasmania. It was at the Isle of Pines not Anaiteum, that the Bishop met Captain Paddon. It is thus told in Tuckers Life of Bishop Selwyn, Vol. I., pp. 25, 6, 7. "When at the Isle of Pines he met with unsuspected good fortune: the island bore an evil name, and Captain Maxwell demurred to allowing the Bishop to land. The Bishop was bent on entering the lagoon; in vain the officers dissuaded him; he borrowed a small boat and sculled himself inside, and no sooner had he entered the narrow passage than just round the corner in a sequestered nook, he saw an English trading schooner with one white man on deck, smoking his pipe and quite at his ease. He said to him "why how is this. This is one of the worst islands of the Pacific, here is a man of war afraid to enter, and yet you seem to be here in perfect contentment." The owner of the schooner--Captain Paddon--was on shore trafficking with the natives for sandal wood which he carried to China for use in their Joss-houses, but he came on board soon and explained to the Bishop the reason of his lying safely in the harbour he said "by kindness and fair dealing I have traded with these people for many years. They have cut many thousand feet of sandal wood for me, and brought it on board my schooner. I never cheated them, I never treated them badly--we thoroughly understand each other." Here then it was a valuable secret acquired, and the Bishop was always wont to speak of Captain Paddon as "My Tutor." In subsequent years we never went to those islands without first finding out where Captain Paddon was, and what islands were really dangerous at that time, and what crimes and offences had recently been perpetrated in those seas. Captain Paddon on his side had a great affection for the Bishop and called one of his schooners the BISHOP, and thus in turn got access readily to those islands on which the Bishop had effected a landing, but which were new to him." W. S.]
I know but little of the details of the early days at S. John's College. Ere many years passed it was felt that a separate establishment must be arranged for the Melanesians, with a clergyman specially attached to this work. It is now that the name of the Rev. John Coleridge Patteson appears. He was one of two men won by Bishop Selwyn in England in 1854. The other was Mackenzie, afterwards Bishop of Central Africa. It is remarkable that both men died as martyrs for the cause.
Close to S. John's College there is a quiet bay sheltered from cold winds, called Kohimarama. This was purchased chiefly by the profits arising from the sale of the "Daisy Chain," a gift to the Mission by Miss Yonge, the authoress. Here Patteson installed himself, and no one with his heart in Missions will ever visit Kohimarama without emotion. The very name was an omen of success. It means, "the gathering in of light."
 A few hundred yards below the house of Mr. Atkin, an old resident, and the father of the Rev. Joseph Atkin, martyred at Nukapu, a quiet bay with a curving shore lies at the feet of the visitor. Not 100 yards from the water's edge a few plain wooden buildings are visible, prosaic enough to the uninstructed, but eloquent with memories to the Christian heart. One of these is the dormitory where Patteson wrestled in prayer for his beloved Melanesians, and in company with Palmer and Pritt, and other devoted workers, nursed the Islanders through a fearful epidemic of dysentery. Six died, in spite of all possible care. God took them as the first fruits of Melanesia. There, too, stand the little dwellings of the clergy, and the school house. In the plain grass plot in front two Norfolk Island pines are flourishing. These were planted on the day of Bishop Patteson's consecration. May they live and expand their branches as apt emblems of the spread of Christ's Church in Melanesia! As I looked upon them on a still and beautiful afternoon, in company with a sympathetic friend, I bethought me of the island home of the Mission whence these trees came, and then of numberless coral fringed shores, which once echoed back the noise of incessant battles, but now have grown familiar with the sounds of Christian hymns, and with the aspect of men, unchanged, indeed, so far as native customs are concerned, but transformed by the Holy Spirit into men of peace. And as we lingered, and looked back again and again upon Kohimarama, the seed plot of the harvest already being reaped, my comrade spoke with deep emotion of Patteson, and of his saintly character. "He was a lovely man," he exclaimed. "He was like the Apostle John!" No Mission has ever been blessed with two men more remarkable than Selwyn and Patteson, and perhaps their very dissimilarity of character drew them together. Whole-hearted in their devotion to their Master, and gifted far above the mass of men, they can never be forgotten in the annals of Melanesia.
Delightful stories are told by Lady Martin of the first arrivals from the islands. When the Melanesians saw two Australian blacks, they looked at them in doubt, and shook their heads, saying, "No good--too black." When the first Melanesian girls arrived at Kohimarama, they knew only two English words,--"Ready about." It was not hard to detect the fact that they had been at sea. Soon they picked up a few more words, and were of course glad to make use of them. One day they came into the sitting-room before the lamp was lighted in the evening, and they said--"What, all in the dark, hurrah!"
A neighbour lived close by with a comfortable house, but he was unmarried. One day the girls came back from his house, saying--"Man, money, house, no wife!" They could not understand so strange a state of things.
I notice in the reports that during 1857-8 there were 32 Melanesians in New Zealand, speaking six languages. One day a boy pricked himself with an arrow, but said nothing to any one. After a week tetanus set in and he died.
 Principles Developed in the Education of the Scholars.
Both Selwyn and Patteson saw that the boys required delicate handling. There was in them all the strength of passionate uncontrolled natures. Yet they had delicate constitutions The problem to solve was, whether they were able to receive by education the energy and perseverance of inhabitants of more temperate climes. I believe the conclusion come to was that though they could be raised a great deal, yet it was impossible to make a black man into a white man. It was a revelation, however, to all, how much could be done by prayerful, godly men, wholly devoted to the work. All idea of the New Zealand school as being like an English school must be set aside. There were no long hours of study. Probably two and a-half hours was the utmost even attempted in a day-and this was divided into two parts. Indeed, there were more important lessons to be learnt at first than reading and writing. Perhaps the best method to make the problem really interesting is for my readers to suppose that they have had given into their charge a few untutored Melanesians straight from their heathen homes. Knowing only their heathen customs, what plan should be adopted? The wise founders of this Mission saw that the education of their charges lay more directly in their passage from idleness and dirt to cleanliness and diligence and method than by learning to read and write. The point aimed at was the general effect to be obtained affecting their habits and modes of life. It was a new delight to watch how, by degrees, a sense of something wanting in themselves was created. It was a great step when they first saw that there was something better than idling, and untidiness, and thoughtlessness. Every day the training, both in social and in religious advancement, continued. The great point to bear in mind was never to disassociate the two sides of education. Improvement in diligence and orderliness went hand in hand with knowledge of the Heavenly Father. Thus, when a lad first arrived at Kohimarama, he found a system with which all were content. Some were cooks; some were gardeners; all did something for the common good. Usually all employments were taken in turn by all, so that each lad knew habits which would be useful to him afterwards. Most of all, he discovered that the Bishop and the clergy were not his task-masters but his fellow-workers. No work was asked of a Melanesian that was not willingly done by one of the clergy--and if the Bishop did not spend the days in scrubbing or cooking they had the sense to know that it was because he could do many things they could not attempt, and devoted himself accordingly to these. The spirit of the establishment made the whites and blacks not only fellow-workers, but brothers. They were bound together by ties of affection. The private room of the clergyman was ever open to any Melanesian lad if he wished to be quiet or say his prayers. But above all they were taught that they were to be the teachers of their people. This was kept continually before them. They were receiving blessings which they, more than any, must take back to their villages. The following is a specimen of Patteson's teaching:--When God willed to teach Israel, what way did he take?--He sent [9/10] prophets to them one after the other. And when Saul, the persecutor, was struck blind at Damascus, how did God teach him?--By sending Ananias to him. And when Cornelius wished for teaching, who was sent to him?-Peter. Now, you are here receiving teaching about the Saviour of the world, who, do you suppose, must teach your people in the islands? Then they looked at each other, and said softly--"I suppose we must teach them." I have dwelt at length upon this point because it is the foundation principle upon which the work of the Mission is built. Only by realising it fully will those who are interested in this Mission be able to enter into the problems which I wish to state to them regarding the development of the Mission in the future. The creation of native teachers and of native clergy has been the effort from the first--not a matter to be looked forward to some day, but to be the instrument from the very beginning. For this reason the English clergy do not remain in the islands throughout the year; but as much responsibility as possible is thrown upon the natives, whilst the clergy return to the Central School to take part in the instruction of fresh bands of future teachers whom the Mission ship has landed. It is evident that too much care cannot be given to the training of those who are soon to stand by themselves. Possibly a boy on his return from Norfolk Island may be the only Christian in the village until he can influence others. The deepest spirituality, the most steady zeal, combined with affection and wisdom, are needed. And when a boy has advanced sufficiently in his studies, the question then arises whether he has the gift for teaching others. The only method for discovering this is to set him over portions of the Central School, and to watch and to direct him. It is not enough to have zeal and earnestness; a teacher must have capacity as well. How happy and peaceful those days at Kohimarama must have been to those scholars can be gathered from the stories told by the clergy of their charges as they took long walks into the country, or went into Auckland. They would sometimes say, "How pleasant this is"--"How quiet it is." They were contrasting their present life of freedom from dangers with the old homes, where no one dared move from his house without his arms, and even with them he would not trust himself more than a few hundred yards in the bush for fear of some concealed enemy.
_____ (I insert this article just as it was written, ED.) Norfolk Island, August 19th, 1892.
It is but six days since we landed on this most lovely island. But it seems as though I had known it for years. Every hour of each day, and of every evening, has been full to overflowing of new interest and most thrilling associations. Perhaps I had better give my readers a general account of each day's work in order. We landed on Saturday, August 13th, at 11 a.m., at the Cascades, after a passage from Auckland of five days. The only real discomfort upon our journey was the feeling that the ladies on board, who were coming back to the Mission, were suffering a good deal. There is, of course, no stewardess on the ship; nor upon a Mission vessel can you expect [10/11] aught but the simplest food; and I felt thankful when their troubles were over, and we reached the land. The beach was covered with the remains of whales, nor was it necessary to use the eyes to note the fact. The nose told us all that was needful. Most hearty were the greetings, both from the members of the Mission and from the Norfolk Islanders. The Revs. J. Palmer and A. Brittain, and Mr. Forrest, were there, and many ladies. Soon we were driving up through scenery more grateful to the eye than it is easy to express, after our five days at sea. The greenest of green grass stretched away on each side up the slopes of hills; and pines were dotted about in clumps, making the scene very like that of a well-kept English park. But there were shrubs at our side which told of warmer latitudes--bananas, wild tobacco, arum lilies, were in abundance. And in time we came to groves of lemons, covered with fruit, and tree ferns forming avenues right and left. Lemons ripen here all through the year, and are at the disposal of everybody. Guavas were not in season, but the trees formed part of the landscape, and with the handsome "white oaks" completed a glorious scene. It was a lovely day; there was blue sky overhead, and a balmy air, warm and invigorating, was just making itself felt. After three miles of such scenery we approached the Mission buildings, driving down the long pine avenue planted in convict days. Soon we were looking with eager eyes upon what we had heard so much of before--the houses of the clergy, the chapel, the barns and workshops, dining-hall, etc., and everywhere the Melanesians were watching the Bishop and taking note of his peculiarities, height, nose, etc. They seemed interested in many things. The chapel has three most striking features. Its painted glass is quite first-rate--at the east end four windows in the apse, the four evangelists, executed by Borne Jones, and Morris. At the west end a rose window, and underneath it, Philip baptising the eunuch. The floor is all marble throughout, and is a glorious piece of work, especially the richer part of it near the altar. The font is of Devonshire marble, and most striking in its warm, rich colours, beautifully blended. The reredos is of Mosaic, and quite lights up the church. That evening I attended the usual evening prayers in Mota, having first received the new member of the Mission--the Rev. C. W. Browning--by saying a few words to him from the altar steps, and then Mr. Palmer adapted the Ember collects, speaking in Mota. No one has ever failed to be thrilled by the first experience of service in S. Barnabas' Chapel. Behind me, playing the organ with vigour and much feeling, was John Pantutun, a Melanesian. All down the chapel, which is arranged as a college chapel, were some 170 Melanesians, reverent in demeanour, and singing and repeating responses as one body. English chants and tunes are used. A long solemn pause comes after prayers are finished, while every head is bowed in silent prayer. Then, as noiselessly as they come in, theyfile out--the girls first, then the mission party, then the boys. If you are not noticing you find the church full, which you saw empty just before, and it empties just as silently. The bare feet on the marble floor make no sound whatever. Every morning at 7 a.m., and every evening at 7 p.m., the whole family (for it is just a family) meets for worship--matins and evensong. Most helpful it is, and it [11/12] seems to impart that sober, devotional, soothing tone to the day which Churchmen love more and more, when it can be had. Meals are taken in the hall. The centre table is for the Mission party, including any Melanesian deacon or priest. The boys and girls sit at smaller tables all down each side. It may be as well to say here, once for all, that the terms boy and girl stand for Melanesians of any age. One of them here now is grey haired, and was with Patteson when he was killed. Many of the girls are married, and are mothers. The married couples live in little cottages composed of two rooms each. Each couple has one room only. All meals are taken in common in hall. The cooking is very well managed. At present the boys are divided into nine sets, and they take a day each in turn. There are some dozen boys in each gang. These sets sit together at separate tables and preserve their unity for other purposes--as, for instance, at drill--as sections of a company. I suppose they are little cooking brotherhoods in reality, and their sets are made up by mutual agreement. Every day at the common meal one of the tables is seen to be empty, because the cooks who sit there are at work for the day, When we enter at 7-30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 6 p.m. for meals, we see the food for the Melanesians all ready in their plates, and the table laid for us all. The Melanesians have great plates of rice with a pile of brown sugar in the middle, or else porridge; or at dinner, yams or sweet potatoes, and occasionally meat. As they have but one course it is an excellent plan adopted by the Mission Staff only to have their meat in hall. Then we adjourn to one or other of the houses, three times a week, for a pudding, or cake, or tea--all simple and homely. The cooks have to get up sometimes as early as 4 a.m. to get their work done. But this is of no consequence to Melanesians. They sleep on mats, which in the day time are rolled up and put on a shelf. Each set of cooks cuts its own firewood, and has it ready before its cooking day comes. At present it is once in every nine weeks. After breakfast the boys are told off to their different kinds of farm work and cleaning up. After dinner their is school till 3, when play begins, till 6; and after evening chapel, at 7 p.m., there is an hour more school. It will be seen that not much intellectual strain is put upon the boys. They learn to read, and write, and sum. And they learn how to keep houses clean, and how to farm, and milk, and feed cattle, etc. In fact they are taught to fill the place which a man reclaimed from heathenism and savagery ought to lead within the tropics. No one expects the vigour amongst them seen in white races in temperate regions. It would be absurd to expect it. The best and steadiest scholars become teachers with small salaries, and some are finally ordained. Everything is done to make them depend upon themselves, and not upon the white man. But the staff here, of course, supervise and help in everything. One is head cook; another farms, and looks after the roads. The roads near the Mission are kept in order by the Mission, and they are a credit to our community. The girls live in their rooms, attached to the houses of the married clergy. Where I am staying (at Mr. and Mrs. Palmer's) there are, I think, eleven. They are like members of the family, and help in all household matters. And, of course, they are taught sewing. I believe they are all betrothed, and in some cases their future husbands are here too. [12/13] But etiquette is very strict, and they seldom meet. Probably it is difficult to break down these customs here, even to a reasonable extent, because the parents might object. These girls very often slip past my window, which opens on to a verandah. They never seem to quarrel. Indeed, the whole community is a pattern in this respect. The boys sit in the rooms of the unmarried clergy and can go into their bedrooms at any time to be quiet. And, of course, the chapel doors stand open day and night. If a boy is ill you will find him generally stretched on the floor in one of the sitting rooms. As I am discoursing upon such details of ordinary life, perhaps this will be the best place to insert an account of a cricket match. On Tuesday, August 16, we had a cricket match, for be it known to all that it is always holidays while the Southern Cross is here. Holidays begin at the moment when the first luck boy espies the ship, and cries "Sail oh!" The cry is echoed most musically from farm to farm, and hill to hill, and soon the whole island knows that tidings from the great world outside can once more be expected. Happy island! Here, Ireland is hardly known by name. The wars and rumours of strife in Parliament, or battle field, are of little consequence here. The boy who first sees the ship gets a shilling, and the community storms down to the shore, watching first to see on which side of the island the ship can anchor. But to return to the cricket match. The sides were to be, those who were going back this voyage v. those who were staying here. My side had first innings, and I went in first, not expecting to see much science among the bowlers. I was, however, speedily undeceived. The first ball pitched well, broke from leg, and nearly took my off stump. The next was equally well pitched, and hit my thumb: the next took the middle finger. There was no doubt about it that the Melanesians could bowl really well, and at a great pace. I was soon caught in the outfield, and went away to bowl to my own side, and to practice catching in a corner of the ground, very much impressed with the capacity of my boys. They are not, as a rule, good bats, because they have had no training, and only a few catch well yet. But one or two showed capital form with the ball. One in particular--Samuel Sagler--timed some shooters in a style which was worthy of any eleven, and hit out at pitched up balls like a man. John Pantutun also, the organist, is a really good cricketer. I feel sure that they, and one or two others, could be trained up to good English county eleven standard. It was the first time that I had seen barefooted cricketers! One envied them their hold of the ground, and also I envied them the hardness of their shins. They did not seem to feel blows I should have strongly objected to--for the bowling was above medium pace. We all picnicked together on the grass, and then photographs were taken.
Let me now describe my first Sunday--a day never to be forgotten--filled to the full with deepest interest. In the morning, after Matins in Mota, there was a celebration of Holy Communion in English, and I celebrated. How full the Church seemed of sacred memories--of the work of Selwyn and Patteson, and of many (past and present) whose names are written in the book of life. Alter dinner I drove to the old township--the centre of the old convict settlement. We passed all along the pine avenue, which is on a kind [13/14] of plateau, and a mile broad; then, turning to the left, down a valley green with grass, we followed a road quite steep in places, till we came to the sea, passing the old watermill, which has unfortunately been permitted to tumble all to pieces. At length the prison buildings came into view. Of course, there is a general likeness between them and those at Port Arthur--the same massive walls and look of strength. But the resemblance is only general. The ground is more open here, and the buildings form a larger group. The commissariat store house, the barracks and officers' quarters are really fine buildings, and the Governor's house overlooks the prison buildings, which are now in complete ruin, though the outer walls are standing. As we have taken many photographs of all places of interest, I need not describe them further. In the old commissariat store we held our confirmation. The long room was packed with Norfolk Islanders, and I must have been dull indeed not to have felt strongly the interest of the scene, and not to have recalled a strange history as I read out the name of Nobbs and Quintal, and Christian and Buffet and Young. Thirty-seven were confirmed. Before I began my address I could not help referring to the connection which subsisted in old days between Tasmania and Norfolk Island, and that my own feelings were deeply stirred now that for the first time since the Norfolkers had arrived a Bishop of Tasmania stood among them. The welcome and the kindness which I have received from this community has been unbounded. The same evening (Sunday evening) I confirmed 15 Melanesians in their own church. I have not been so anxious for years about any service as I was on this occasion. I had to preach through an interpreter, and those who have not tried it hardly know how difficult it is. The interpreter also needs our sympathy! Mr. Palmer gallantly stood by me and supported me. But the most agitating part was still to come. I had to read the service in Mota. Even if I had learnt the language it would have been anxious work to speak before the Mission staff and all the boys and girls. But, considering I had not learnt the language, and that I wished to acquit myself well, it was for me a memorable occasion. It was a day to be remembered. It recalled to me the confirmation last March of our own halfcastes in the Furneaux Islands. But these were pure blooded Melanesians. On Tuesday morning, at 8 a.m., the church was again filled to overflowing, on the occasion of the ordination of William Moreton Vaget as a deacon. As the morning dawned we saw that it would be another lovely day, and soon parties on horseback were arriving from various parts, specially invited to take part in the service. Mr. Palmer preached the sermon, and found it all he could do to tell us in simple language, first in English, then in Mota, of his early days in Meralav, where William Vaget was brought up, and of his joy at seeing him stand there to become an ordained clergyman to his own people. Vaget has earned a good report as a thoroughly consistent and faithful Christian, and goes back with us to build up the Church in his own island. The offertory was given to him for his church. A sum of nearly £5 was collected, and he is going to spend it in lamps for the church. He answered the questions firmly, and then I laid my hands upon him. He read the Gospel and helped in the administration of Holy Communion. My second service in [14/15] Mota did not agitate me so much, and yet it was a great strain. The whole congregation breakfasted together afterwards, and on this day it was that we had our cricket match, William playing on my side. That evening William read the evening prayer in Church, another boy reading the lessons. How can I make my readers realise the happy home life here among the Mission staff? The many talks--the unity of purpose which makes all hearts one--the sense of reality of all one sees of simple Christian life--the thought that the scholars here are the raw material by which the multitude of the isles shall know Christ and become His disciples. This, and much more. The precincts of the buildings are so like a piece of beautiful England--shady trees, green grass, the church bell, the church clock, the sound of organ and many voices--make one think of a place much to be desired for one's soul's good. Yet this is but the centre of work for hundreds of islands. Here the clergy come to rest and still to work--worn, and often sick, after months of loneliness. Here, also, the wives wait for months without tidings from their husbands, drawn all the more closely together by their common anxieties, drawn closer to God, too, by the need for His all-loving care. They all did me the honour to ask me to address them specially in the church one evening; but how gladly would I have sat and learnt from them. On another evening they collected all the heads of families in the island to give me a welcome. And then I was asked to speak at a great meeting on the old township, and gladly did so, telling them of Tasmania. Last, not least, I inspected the schools and examined all the children, and then passed on to visit the aged Mrs. Nobbs, who still lives, much respected by all.
The Southern Cross starts in an hour, and I cannot leave this place without recording my thankfulness to God for having brought me here to help, in however little a degree, a work so blessed by God. I feel that if only our people knew what I now know, their hearts would open to help these workers in a degree which at present they have not realised. With all my heart I hope to try and make others form some conception of one of the noblest Missions of the Church of England. Not even does New Zealand realise this work, though the Bishop of Melanesia is in the New Zealand Province. I believe I shall have to tell my readers when I see them again that the money yearly given must increase by thousands if the area of the work is to be adequately covered. May God prosper the Southern Cross on her voyage, and bring back the workers to their homes here again in peace. Above all, may God put it into the hearts of those who are to choose the new Bishop to send the man best fitted to undertake one of the most inspiring posts in the world. Norfolk Island is, externally, a little Paradise. But to me there is a greater and more perfect loveliness enshrined in the work and aims and quiet Christian life of the friends among whom I have been living.
Thus had I written on the eve of my departure. It is with heartfelt sorrow that I have to record the death, a month or two after we sailed, of Mrs. Palmer, my kind hostess and friend. No one who knew her could fail to reverence her bright and noble nature. She was a blessing to her husband, to her children, and to the community; [15/16] a peacemaker, an inspirer of others to continue in well-doing. It was she who, at the last moment, implored her husband to accompany me. It was her hand that I shook last on embarking as she wished us Godspeed. Her husband returned full of happy anticipations as Norfolk Island rose upon the horizon; but only to find that his wife had been in her grave many weeks. Ah! me. It was a sad homecoming. And yet God spared me such a lot. I returned to hear no news of death or separation. (To be continued).
"The Light of Melanesia." LIFE ON BOARD THE "SOUTHERN CROSS." II.
A witty person in the early days of the Melanesian Mission made the remark that Bishop Selwyn was a man "fond of yachting."
The idea thus expressed is so ludicrous when applied to life on the mission ship that it cannot but provoke a smile. But if it seems absurd to myself, cognisant only with the details of the latest, and by far the most comfortable, of the ships that have been in use, what must have been the truth in the early days? Verily a man must have possessed a head and a stomach of some stout metallic substance to have braved the experiences of the Undine in Bishop Selwyn's early days. She was, I believe, a little vessel of about 21 tons. In this craft he cruised in unknown waters, chartless, and full of dangers. The shores everywhere contained people who had either never seen a white man, or only knew him as represented by the type of the too often brutal and merciless trader of old. To those who know what the heat of these regions is, and how welcome is a little space to permit of pure air, it will be a wonderful thing to remember that the Bishop sailed his own vessel, and came home with dozens of Melanesians packed into his little cabins. The Udine was succeeded by several vessels, until in 1891 the new Southern Cross was built in England, costing £10,000, and arranged specially for the work which she has to do. She is about 300 tons register, with an auxiliary engine which propels her at about six knots. She has also three masts, the foremast being rigged with square yards. The accomodation for the clergy is on deck; there is a saloon with a table about 12ft. long; along each side are three bunks; and just aft of the saloon are two little cabins. It will be seen, therefore, that eight people can be accommodated with berths. A mattress is provided in each of these, but nothing else. Each clergyman brings his own pillow and rug, and takes them with him when he lands, and of course he makes his own bed tidy every morning. We used to be highly amused with one of our number who had a good many possessions. He seemed to lie down first at night, and then he fitted round him in the remaining available space baskets, billys, bags, &c. Naturally we used to admire his ingenuity, though we were unable to imitate it. As regards meals, a cup of coffee is served at 6, breakfast at 8, lunch at 12, and dinner at 5. These meals were of the simplest. There was plenty of food in the shape of soup, tinned meat, rice, and yams, and tea and coffee to drink. Sometimes [16/17] we had fowls--ancient bipeds many of them were, who, without doubt, had tramped countless miles through this weary world; they were bought for a stick of tobacco, a price that is something less than a halfpenny. Were they really cheap? I am not quite sure that they were, except for soup. But who can tell the joy that was experienced by the community when someone furtively produced a bottle of lemon syrup! A present most likely from some of the ladies at Norfolk Island. Warm were the offers of friendship made to the lucky possessor. There were also days, of course, when ship's plum pudding--immense, globular, and spotted with raisins--made its triumphant entrance, and there were two sauces always at hand--hunger, and the laughter ready to greet jokes, which were ceaseless. But it would be invidious were I to indicate the special jesters. At 10 o'clock every morning daily prayers in Mota are said, usually in the large "schoolroom," as it is termed--that is, the space below the deck where the Melanesians ate and slept. There were three of these rooms--two for the boys forward, one for the girls aft--with separate staircases. Of course, all the clergy attend prayers, and the Canticles and Glorias are sung, as well as a hymn. At 7 p.m. English prayers are said in the saloon, attended by the crew who are not on watch, and by the clergy. Directly afterwards there followed Evensong for the Melanesians. On Sundays a morning service for Europeans at 10 o'clock was added. And whenever it was practicable there was a celebration of Holy Communion on Sundays at 6 a.m. in the saloon. But naturally, if we were at anchor, all services were ashore, except for the crew.
Let us imagine that we are approaching some island. It is arranged that one of the clergy shall take the boat in. The steer oar is always taken by one of the clergy. The boat's crew of Melanesians is ordered out, usually the same boys, and then the boat is lowered and rows away, whilst the captain hangs off and on waiting till the work is done. "The skipper," as he is familiarly termed, is a man of divine temper, otherwise this process of waiting and watching, often for hours after the time fixed, would have driven him distracted. Coral reefs appear on every hand, and constant care has to be exercised. It is very hard to fix a definite time for the return. Perhaps a boy has to be fetched; but first he has to say farewell to a whole village, or else he is at his garden a couple of miles off, and has to be sent for, or there would be a dozen other reasons for delay. It is to be noted, also, that the crews of boats going ashore are always Melanesians. On no single occasion did the white sailors go ashore during her trip. And the reason is obvious. First, they are wanted on board; secondly, they might do something or say something which might end in a serious quarrel. Upon the return of the boat there is a rush to the ropes, and twenty Melanesians soon bring her up to the davits. The actual landing often possesses interest. Sometimes it is a question of wading over fifty yards of sharp coral while the boat is held by men in a deep channel in the reef, as at Ureparapara. Sometimes it is necessary to wait for a big wave, and row right over the steep edge of a reef, and come fairly down on the flat portion, whilst the natives are there to pull the boat further up, and we all jump out--as, for example, at Te Motu, in Santa Cruz. More often there is a shallow shore. But woe betide those who have cuts or bruises on their legs [17/18] (and it is hard to prevent them coming), for this constant wading in salt water pickles the wounds, and prevents them from closing.
But there is one department of work on board the vessel which is most trying, and of which I had heard nothing till I saw it with my own eyes. It must be understood that the native teachers in the islands have to be paid their salaries once a year. Usually, for example, the Solomons are taken during one voyage, and the Banks in the next. Let me describe, then, what this process means. Months before the time of delivery the teachers have notified their wants, and the goods have been bought in Auckland and stored on the vessel. There the clergy work in the hold--hot with tropical sun and close contact with Melanesian bodies. At one of our stages I remember that we had to pay 35 teachers, a simple business if it meant a sum of money; but it becomes a serious business when it means payment in a multifarious collection of household necessities. The list of possible wants was portentously long. It included, I remember, shirts, axes, biscuits, soap, candles, tobacco, matches, calico, trousers, tinned meat, tea, pipes, saucepans, kettles, et hoc genus omne. (I always watched the bars of yellow soap going into the boat, with the secret hope that one might go overboard and be swallowed by a shark as a soothing pill). How often I have felt genuine sympathy for the clergy, as on a hot and sweltering day they have emerged from the hold, having in the last few hours acted the part of a grocer, ironmonger, draper, and tobacconist. Two articles are notably absent from the list. I believe the clergy would go into fits if they were asked for either boots or stockings. It is supposed that these do not exist anywhere in these latitudes. How often I have seen (also with sympathy) these same clergy throw themselves down in the saloon to get a quarter of an hour's nap after the process above mentioned. This is the yachting of which the clergy of the Melanesian Mission are so passionately fond. There were times, of course, when the day's work was done, and the sun had gone to rest, and the ship was at anchor in some quiet bay; then a sense of peace stole over our minds, and converse could be free, and range over many subjects. At such times it was permissible even to sit on deck in those suits, light and not inelegant, which men find useful as "garments of the night" in the tropics. I recall those happy evenings with genuine pleasure, spent in congenial society, and the discussion of many subjects, both grave and gay.
At certain places the Melanesians who are on board all go ashore, notably at the waterfall on Aurora. The women and girls then usually have a great washing-day, and all bathe in the numerous streams that branch out in various places. On board it is hardly possible to do anything in the way of instruction. The interruptions are so frequent and the space so limited that it has been found impracticable, even if there were leisure. The extraordinary good temper of these people is a remarkable fact. Collected from all sorts of islands, compelled to live in a small space, and to eat under difficulties sometimes, I believe there is no case on record of a quarrel amongst them. They are fearless climbers, and will go anywhere on the rigging. Sometimes a party is seen seated on the bowsprit, and a few more on the dolphin striker. At times one or two are stretched asleep on the rail, looking as if they must tumble into the sea. There are instances, indeed, [18/19] where this has occurred, but without loss of life. The Melanesians have their own cooking galleys, and appoint some of their number as cooks. Yams are plentifully supplied, and rice, and at times other delicacies. The boys come on board decorated with all sorts of earrings and nose rings, but by degrees these disappear. Before they reach Norfolk Island they have to put on shirts and trousers, and appropriate garments of English pattern are served out to the girls. I believe the scene in the boys' schoolroom is mirth-compelling when the clergy are seen distinguishing the front from the back of a garment, and explaining the use of buttons.
Every Melanesian is, of course, a perfect swimmer. Indeed, they say that the women are even better than the men. It used to be a recognised custom in old days for discontented wives in Mota to swim across to Vanua Lava, a distance of seven miles.
When the ship anchors the Melanesians are quickly over the side, jumping from the bulwarks on the rigging, with a glorious disregard of marine monsters. How we used to envy the manner in which they dried themselves! They simply became dry, their clothes being of the scantiest. The clergy, having a dread of sharks, do not often bathe in the sea. But in the tropical showers that descend so suddenly at intervals, one who ventured to brave the elements on the deck of the mission vessel might easily meet a reverend gentleman, nay, even a right reverend gentleman, clad in bathing costume, walking about in the rain in order to get the much-valued fresh water bath. I have purposely kept to the lighter details in this paper, but of course there is much time for study in the ship on the days when no land is in sight, and such opportunities are utilised to the full. Life in the mission has many trials, but the ship restores tone to the clergy by bringing congenial spirits together, and by breaking through the monotony of work on shore.
Now that my readers have gained some idea of the mission ship, I propose to embark on the story of the long cruise which the writer of these lines entered upon with such deep interest. Some nine hundred miles of water, however, intervene between Norfolk Island and the Northern Hebrides. It will not, therefore, be out of place to insert here a statement of the principles of the Mission in their island work.
In the early days it was the invariable custom for the Bishop to land first upon an unknown island, and, as a rule, unaccompanied. Usually the boat was stopped some few yards from the shore, and the Chief Pastor took a header into the sea and swam ashore, carrying with him a few presents in order to make friends with his flock. Above all, he was anxious to note the names of a few of the people, and to catch a few words of the language. Such discoveries were invaluable upon the occasion of a second visit; and obviously little more than a simple interchange of civilities could be effected at first. In this manner 78 islands were visited in 1857.
 I have asked myself what a stranger would expect to see if he were to land now at one of our stations in Melanesia. Those who have never read the records of our Mission would certainly expect to be met by a white clergyman, and to be conducted to a well-built house, with broad verandah, and a nicely kept garden, and all the signs of an arcadian existence--possibly he would expect to see a white lady smiling a welcome, with children at her knee. Nothing of the kind would meet his eye. Only one white lady has ever attempted the tour in the mission ship, namely, Mrs. Selwyn. Her appearance excited the greatest wonder, and the inquisitiveness of the natives must have been embarassing. But perhaps the greatest excitement of all was caused by the appearance of a white boy of eight years. Mr. Palmer took one of his children with him on one occasion The Melanesians could not make enough of this new and delightful specimen of humanity. A visitor to these islands would very likely meet no white clergyman, because there are so few of them, and they are constantly moving about in their whale boats. The ten islands of the Banks Group and the 42 schools are superintended by one white man. He carries all his worldly possessions, including his tinned meat and tea and biscuit, in his whale boat. In some groups the clergyman's boat, with its native crew, stretches away 40 miles in the open sea to gain the next island. A moonlight night is chosen, if possible, because it is cool, and though it seems pleasant to rush along before a steady sea breeze in this manner, it is by no means so delightful to be compelled to beat back against such a persistent wind in an open boat, and one that must be light enough to be easily pulled up upon a reef.
It will be obvious also that the large and comfortable house is also a myth. The clergy have no definite home in these islands. Each centre has a light bamboo erection, resembling a native house, which is kept for the clergyman. The sides are very open, in order to admit as much air as possible. There is a partition in the middle, which enables us to call one part the parlour, and the other the bedroom. There is a raised bamboo platform in one spot; this is the bed, and indicates the bedroom. There is nothing in the other partition; this tells you it is the parlour.
When the clergyman arrives, his people carry up his goods, and he camps out in his bamboo house, arranges his pots and pans, and cooks his food with the assistance of his boys, and also of a collection of all sorts and conditions of people. I used to note that these helpers were naturally wonderfully good assistants when the fragments of the feast were to be disposed of. Indeed, no Boaz was ever so prodigal in leaving sufficient for the gleaners as the clergy are in thinking of their retainers. It is, of course, a sort of family compact. A crew of boys will accompany the clergyman for a month in his tour; he will feed them; and at the end of the cruise they receive a little tobacco and some calico, and are content. On no other system could men of such limited incomes afford to live at all. The native food is for the most part supplied gratis by the people of the village.
After, as I looked round these simple little bamboo houses, I realised what a lonely feeling might come over a man when he was laid low with a touch of fever--no white faces--no comforts--no soft bed--no one who understood cooking; nothing but his own brave heart and his [20/21] trust in the Saviour, whose work he was doing so gallantly to sustain him in the hour of sickness or despondency. And yet it is hardly fair to say no more than this. There would generally be faithful Melanesians whose hearts have been won to Christ, and who love their clergy and would do anything for them.
What our visitor would first see would be a strip of coral strand overhung with trees of densest green foliage, interspersed with cocoanut palms and bananas, and a few natives standing about in island costume. Possibly a man clad in shirt and trousers would appear soon, and prove to be the native teacher, who would invite him to his house. A hundred yards of track would bring him to a cluster of native houses, with the school or church recognisable by its cross. And here he would obtain a visible proof of what I now proceed to relate--the principle of the mission in their endeavouring to avoid Anglicising the natives or bringing so much authority to bear upon them as to crush their sense of responsibility.
For instance, what are the relations between one of the clergy and a native chief? Does he destroy his power, or effect the prestige of the head man of the village? There could not be a more important principle to settle; fortunately Bishop Patteson laid down the lines of action in so truly liberal and wise a manner that they have never needed alteration.
There are some misconceptions on the part of a native which are hard to dissipate. For instance, he will persist in believing that a white man can cure every ailment and disease. Of course, experience soon decides this point, and proves the white man right in his assertions. At the same time the clergy do work marvels where they have time to superintend a sick case, for they have on their side that implicit trust in the doctor on the part of the patient which is so well recognised a cause of success.
Again, converts are apt to wish to transfer their allegiance from their chief to their clergyman, but the attempt is stoutly resisted. At the same time it is right to point out clearly that some laws are God's laws, not man's; and if a chief asks a Christian to break one of God's laws he must be resisted; in no other way can a standard of purity, for instance, be sustained.
Sometimes it is a terrible temptation to a clergyman to dictate to his people on many subjects where amendment is most needful, and to force better customs upon them by threats of withdrawal of spiritual privileges if his suggestions are not heeded. It requires great self-restraint to work more slowly, and in the end more surely; for if the teacher attempts to lord it over the people the day will certainly come when he is disliked. The best plan to adopt is to work, in all matters not absolutely essential, through the chief. It is a slower method, but more certain. Who, for instance, is to regulate the price of labour for work done for the white man? May it not be arranged by the clergyman? Ought he not to expect free labour in the building of his house since he has come to do these people good? No! the chief must be urged to make the regulations where there is a chief, and if the native Christians will not give free labour, then they should be cheerfully paid for it. I know that one clergyman, for instance, gives a [21/22] box of tobacco, weighing 401bs., for each of his little houses in his various centres. At the same time, whilst the chief is urged to take his right place, and whilst it is conclusively proved to him that his authority is not to be destroyed upon the advent of "the new teaching," yet, at the same time, he should be advised to consult with those who can give him the best advice.
Where such a line of conduct is not adopted, it is obvious that the chiefs of a neighbouring district would be most unwilling to accept a Christian teacher; indeed, the undermining of a chief's power often leads to the destruction of all authority. People end by obeying no one when they begin by disobeying their chief, and then see that the teacher is not competent to decide many of the questions which in time press for an answer.
There is also another principle which has far-reaching results. Well-meaning Englishmen, who have been brought up in a somewhat narrow circle of thought and opinion, are apt to make non-essentials into essentials to the grievous hurt of the great cause. The aim of all missions should be to show that Christ's religion is adapted to the circumstances and customs of all nations and every clime, and no established habits should be interfered with, unless they are directly contrary to the declared will of God. But because this has not been borne in mind the progress of the Gospel has been very much hindered. The impression has gained ground that natives must change many habits, which, as a matter of fact, are indifferent, neither right nor wrong, or wrong only to excess. Some white teachers in some mission fields, I am told, have a horror of smoking, and make abstinence from this habit virtually a condition of baptism. Others see harm in native dances, or in betel chewing, or in kava drinking. The Melanesian Mission has always taken a clear line in these questions. None of these things are wrong in themselves. Sometimes in the old days native Christians came to Bishop Patteson for an opinion upon such points (one of them referred to dances in secret societies), but he refused to give his opinion. He feared to lay a burden upon them which they were not called upon to bear, through ignorance of the precise facts, and he told them to be guided by their consciences. Our Mission again has no rules as to clothing, except that those who come to school must be decent from the native point of view. As to smoking, I have seen a little girl of eight with a black pipe stuck in her waist band. Betel chewing, and, so far as I know, kava drinking proceed as before. One great cause of rejoicing is that these islanders never seem to have made intoxicants from the palm; and, it is needless to say, that we have never attempted to instruct them in these arts.
 The Islands.
Rev. R. B. Comma sends the following very interesting letter, to which I append a few explanatory notes. (ED.)
May 13, 1893.
My dear Bishop,
You will be wanting to know how things are going on in the Solomon Islands. We had a nice passage down here, only there was scarcely any wind, and we had to steam most of the way. We left Forrest at Nelua on Friday at noon, and on Sunday before breakfast we were at anchor with Clement at Ulawa. We had to steam as it was quite calm--(1). The ship goes very nicely and the changes they have made in Auckland, raising the boiler, and providing more ventilation below are great improvements. Our cabin also is dry at last, they seemed to have caulked and painted it outside. Of course there was an outcry about painting over the teak, but there was no other way of keeping the water out. I daresay you will have heard of the famine following a hurricane in the New Hebrides as reported by the Scotch Missionaries. The Norfolkers put 87 bags of kumaras on board to be distributed at our discretion, but when we got there the famine was almost over, and the signs of the hurricane obliterated. We gave out a good many in Brittain's district, and the rest were brought on and put a bag here, and a bag there; everywhere we stopped, suggesting that they should use some for seed and perpetuate the crop.
There seemed to be good news everywhere. Of course you have heard of Wadrokals death--(2). Also that Maros had come round--(3).
In the Solomon Islands we heard no bad news, except that Johnson found his school dwindling at Port Adam. The young chief who formerly was devoted to the school has been beguiled away and persuaded to become a warrior and kill people.
Johnson had not been interfered with, but he was in low spirits about things. We put Luke Masuraa back there, and he is full of energy, and thinks he will soon bring the young chief to his senses.
Haarara is dead at Ulawa. Clement was quite well. He had got a new house put up which the people turned to and built for him very noon after the other was burnt. They have kept him going in food also, so he has not starved--(4). Throughout my district things are going on quietly. At Heuru the school keeps up and Gede is rejoicing at the birth of a daughter. The people there have collected together, all their old sacred bowls, &c., about a dozen, some of them curiously carved, and are sending them for your museum. I hope they will not crumble to pieces on the way. They will not stand much knocking about.
 There is a story here about a fleet of Malanta Canoes from Port Bongard and further north coming over to attack the Mata people in revenge for the slaughter on the Mata beach, 18 years ago in Irihaa's time--(5). They landed in Harou Bay beyond Ubuna, and being short of supplies they wandered about getting nuts, mummy apples, &c. The Roho people at Cape Recherche, although only about a dozen fighting men, waylaid them, and killed them by ones and twos until they established a panic, and they took to their canoes again to return home. Then a gale swamped several of the canoes, and two of them wandered as far as Heuru. Bo (the chief) and-party then went out to reconnoitre, and invited them ashore to rest and have some food, They were starving and exhausted and quite at Bo's mercy, but he told them that if they would not come ashore they had better go. Which they did before Dodomane and party arrived to attack them. I think it says something for the Heuru people that they took pity on starving foes, and let them go away unhurt.
Here in Florida I have arranged to spend two months, trusting to a passing trader to get to my own district.
The Southern Cross left me on Ascension Day. The laws made at the last Vaukolo have had 6 months trial. Several culprits were had up and fined and appointed to do some work at a stone wall round the church at Guba. There is a splendid wall there now the result of their labour. Confusion came however when a son of Tabukoro was found guilty, and he would not allow the work part of the sentence to be carried out. Several culprits have since then kicked at the work, and this is one of the questions which we shall have to settle forthwith. It appears that Tabukoro's son went wrong a year ago or more, and nothing was known of it, till he had a severe illness which he seemed to take as a judgment upon himself. He confessed his sin, and when he got better, he was judged by the Court. He is quite weak and rheumatic still, and, as Tabukoro says, it will kill him if he has to lift heavy stones, &c. It did not occur to them to find some lighter work for him suitable to his weakness, although his sickness might well be a reason for excusing him altogether. No one but Tabukoro thinks so, and it is looked upon as a piece of favouritism on his part. I shall have to have it out with them--(6).
Another matter which threatened to be serious was that Ben Bele at Olevuga trespassed on an Island which Dikea had "tapugoroed" years ago. Dikea came down on him for heavy payment and he offered a "talina" only. That was not enough, so Lipa joined Dikea in worrying Ben, and threatened to dun him. The Supreme Court was called together to decide the matter, and was to assemble on the spot, Reuben, Silas, and Joseph Havusi going in their canoe via Sandfly passage, but Tabukoro came the other way with a fleet of canoes all armed, and ready for a row. Dikea and Lipa called their people together, and it looked as if a fight was inevitable. Peace prevailed however. Reuben persuaded them to talk it over quietly and Ben paid up, money was exchanged on both sides and the tension was over. Tabukoro says he only meant to make a demonstration, but Reuben does not trust him. It is a pity Reuben and he cannot [24/25] work together, as it is they are nearly always at loggerheads. Tabukoro has only got Stephen Soni to advise him and he is most incompetent. I think of giving him Ben Bele instead, who cannot get on at Olevuga. There are a number of people preparing for Baptism, and there ought to be others for Confirmation.
Alfred is working up at a School among the heathen at Garahoho, by Barranago Point.
NOTES ON ABOVE LETTER. (1)--The use of the additional steam power is abundantly shewn by this letter. Thus, in the current year owing to the greater size and speed of the vessel it has been found possible to save one voyage. The vessel will lie up in Auckland for more than two months, and will make a large saving in wages and insurance.
(2)--The Rev. Mano Wadrokal was one of the earliest of Bishop Patteson's scholars. When his own Island of Nengone was given up to the London Mission he elected to follow him. He was ordained after his death, and worked with zeal, though not always with discretion, at Savo, Ysabel, and Santa Cruz. For the latter group he volunteered, beseeching most earnestly that he might be the first to stay on the Islands where his 'father' Bishop Patteson had been killed. Latterly his health broke down, and he retired on a small pension to his own home. Though in some ways he was unsatisfactory, yet his courage and faith were very notable.
(3)--Rev. Maros Tamata. Readers of the "Island Voyage" will remember how this man utterly broke away after years of faithful service. The Bishop, Mr. Palmer and his uncle George Sarawia did all they could to save him, but in vain. But God's grace has not failed him, and the earnest prayers of the friends of the mission are asked for him, that the good shepherd may indeed bring this lost sheep, quite home to His fold.
(4)--Rev. Clement Maraw's house was burnt down in the early part of the year, and he lost everything, books, clothes and food. But he never flinched, and this letter shows how his people have stood by him.
(5)--The Editor well remembers landing at Mata shortly after this massacre. The skulls of 18 men recently killed were on a rock over-hanging the little boat harbour, and he heard that all the bodies of the slain had been given out to those who helped to destroy them!
(6)--The Vaukolo was begun by Mr. Penny and firmly established by Mr. Plant. One of the principal subjects it has to deal with is immorality. In old days this was almost always visited with death--but as Christianity gained ground, and the chiefs shrank from killing the wrong-doers, the evil disposed naturally took advantage of the milder law. This was represented very strongly at the Vaukolo, and a tribunal was established and gradually strengthened to deal [25/26] with such matters, and as in the other case Mr. Comins mentions, with disputes about property. It is an interesting experiment, as it substitutes the will of the people enforced by constituted judges in place of the nearly arbitrary will of the petty chiefs. But these as far as possible sit as judges and their power is recognised.
The quiet power of Christianity is very strikingly shown. And also the power of this Court (if it may be so called), in the Olevuga case. There the Rev. Reuben Bula, who owes his influence entirely to his position as a Deacon mediated with success between the very strong Christian Chief Tabukoro, and the heathen chiefs Dikea and Lipa, both bitterly opposed to Christianity. Laus Deo. ED.
The Rev. John Palmer writes as follows of Norfolk Island matters. It will be noticed how very uncertain the communication is with the Mission, and the Editor hopes that this will be borne in mind when complaint is made of the scarcity of information. A pregnant fact will show this. Dr. Codrington left Auckland on December 15th, 1892, and he found there letters which had arrived the day after he sailed, when the Southern Cross brought him back in June, 1893:--
May 27th, 1893.
"We were never so much out of the world as we have been of late, or more unfortunate in the matter of mails. The Mary Ogilvie, after waiting a few days for the Southern Cross, sailed the day before she arrived, and we shall have no opportunity of writing before her return. We heard that the New Hebrides steamer was knocked off, but I hope that those on board the Southern Cross will be able to send you letters, or it will be a long time before you can hear of us. It is so long since I wrote, that I do not remember whether I told you of our plans for the Island work. We agreed to have only two voyages this year, in order to keep down expenses; the ship to lay up two months in Auckland. The whole party got on board very well, and they would have plenty of room. I saw them off, and they did not look at all crowded. Comins, Cullwick and Forrest, and 67 Melanesians. I was sorry that Browning did not go, but it was thought unwise to let him be away so long for a first visit, and Welchman not going to Bugoto made a difference. The latter stayed, hoping to be ordained Priest, and then to go down to stay some or all of the summer months. Codrington has now finished examining him, and is very much satisfied, so he will go in the Southern Cross, and the Bishop of Auckland will ordain him. There are a good number of communicants at Bugoto now; and the presence of a Priest is necessary. Codrington has been the greatest help to me, and I hate the thought of his leaving. ............ He has been working hard at the Mota dictionary, and has spent nearly all his leisure time about it. We have got some 7,000 words together, nearly all explained, only a few have to be sent [26/27] to Mota for explanation. I should not wonder though if a good many of the commonest words have not been noticed. We have both Hugo Goravaka (1) and Sopovman (2) up with a view to ordination.
(He then states that he is puzzled how to accomplish their ordination, as he is afraid to send them to spend two months in the cold at Auckland).
June 6th --Alas! the Southern Cross arrived a fortnight before her time, and I have been writing for bare life and amidst endless interruptions ever since yesterday. My day began at 5 a.m., and I knocked off at 2 a.m. this morning. I am so thankful Codrington is here, but oh! so sorry that he is going. He has been the greatest comfort and
help to me
I hope Codrington will go to Fiji. There are a lot of Malanta men there, and it would be worth a good deal to get hold of some of them, I am sure. (These are in Mr. Floyd's school at Levuka. ED.) You will hear the Island news from the others Maros, I don't know whether you will hear about. I have no time to write about him now, but he is at Maewo; and Brittain says he really thinks he is much changed. He and all look upon him as having been possessed. You will hear of the Duff Group having been visited by Forrest, and favourably. Welchman I hope will visit New Georgia this year. He has a scheme to do so. I would like to see the work growing outwards somewhat. I cannot help thinking that a really strong man might unite the New Guinea Mission to this
I don't know how we shall get on about funds. I am trying to reduce expenses as much as possible. I am afraid poor Dudley is much worried about it, but I trust all will be well.
I hope you will soon be able to find a good man for us. I should be so thankful. I thank you ever so much for sending Codrington."
1.--Hugo is a native of Guadalcanar, but has lived for many years at Ysabel, where he has worked as Head Teacher with the greatest devotion, courage, and success. He still longs to commence work at his own home in Guadalcanar.
2.--Sogovman is son-in-law of Rev. Henry Tagalad, of Ara. He is a very intelligent man, and a good musician. He has been of great assistance to his father-in-law.
The following translation of letters from two native Deacons may prove interesting:--
May 12th, 1893,
Rev. J. Selwyn.
"Father, I love you, I have received and read already your letter, and I read it with great joy--it was as if I saw your face again in that letter.
 Our ship has arrived, and I heard that you had recovered from that illness, but they said that one of your legs was short--they said that they had cut it off (eke mama, magarosa) Oh, father, I am sorry.
My wife Clara, and my children are all well, and my people here at Belaga are all quite well, and they are behaving well, and still come together for prayer and for school, and the people throughout Gela are all behaving well.
And this year I have been going about, and have seen all the schools here in Gela, they are all still satisfactory, and I have not heard of any quarrelling or divisions in this year, as in other years.
I am rejoicing over my son, who was born March 25th, and all the people here at Belaga are rejoicing over him. I baptised him, and called his name John Selwyn. That is all. Good-bye, father!"
Rev. REUBEN BULA.
(Deacon of Florida, Solomon Islands.)
From Merlav. May 23rd, 1893.
Rev. Bishop J. R. Selwyn.
LORD BISHOP,--This is my letter which I write in answer to your letter which you wrote me, and I read your handwriting with very great joy. And about that word that you thought of me at the Holy Communion I thank you for it. And also it comforts my heart, father, that you help me, for I am weak, and I am afraid about this office (his deaconship) that I am not worthy, but indeed father, God is able.
But this about this place in which I live. Yes, they are able to hear me about this word, and are better than before. I now go about at times, and see after them, and this year I have baptised thirty-four and eight children. Yes, father, this place is small, but the Word has not yet reached them all, for God Almighty has not yet allowed them; and Matthew Woben is still deficient, and has not given up that woman, so he still remains outside the Church of God.
And now father, I pray you to help me by prayer to our Lord Jesus Christ, that He may help me by sprinkling this His holy Word, and by making powerful this His Word which belongs to life eternal.
And now we are going to build a church this year. Joseph Qea and G. Bue, who are living inland, have already built a school-house, and the people come to learn well. And Luke Wesur has also built a school--now there are four schools.
Yes, father, as you helped us formerly by doing good, and by leading us right, help us now with your prayers, that we may be able to teach well, by speaking out well the Word of God Omnipotent.
Good-bye, Bishop, may God Almighty protect you, and bless your spirit always."
William Vaget wrote this with love.
(He is deacon at Merlav).
 The following statement has been issued by the Treasurer:-- The Melanesian Mission.
THIS SPECIAL work of the Churches of New Zealand and Australia is passing through a serious crisis.
THE DEATH of Mrs. Palmer, wife of the head of the Mission, is the last of a series of trials and bereavements. No suitable man has yet been found for the office of Bishop; and the income continues insufficient. But the late visit of the Bishop of Tasmania to the whole field, while it has cheered the workers and helped forward the work, has also served to bring out its unique and admirable character, and its strong claim to the support of the entire Church. Its present full staff includes eight European and nine Native clergymen; lay workers, male and female, and some 200 Native teachers. There are openings for more workers in the Santa Cruz and N. Solomon Islands. Last year's Report tells of:
1.--The ordination of the Rev. William Vaget.
2.--The confirmation of 216 Melanesians.
3.--697 persons baptised, the majority adults.
4.--Wonderful sagacity and enthusiasm on the part of Soga, chief of Bugoto.
5.--Restoration of a partly lapsed deacon, and signs of repentance in another.
6.-The hopeful planting out of Native teachers.
7.--The continuance of the munificent help of Bishop Selwyn and Archdeacon S. Williams.
8.--The visit of Dr. Codrington to Norfolk Island, and progress in translation and philological work.
9.--The splendid behaviour of the scholars at Norfolk Island through an unusually trying summer, with much sickness, and two deaths.
THE HAUNTING ANXIETY IS FINANCE.-Last year the bona fide income (£5,961, including £600 from Archdeacon S. Williams), was £575 less than the expenditure; and the Mission overdraft and liabilities are now more than £1,000, besides the overdraft in The Mission Trust Account. Before a Bishop is appointed, and the additional men whom the Bishop of Tasmania shows to be needed are employed, these liabilities should be cleared off, and the income increased; the only alternative is drastic retrenchment, and summary curtailment of a work on which there is every sign of GOD'S blessing, and which only wants the pecuniary help that it is man's share and privilege to contribute.
B. T. DUDLEY,
May 4, 1893. TREASURER, MELANESIAN MISSION.
The Southern Cross returned to Auckland from her first island voyage on the 17th June, having visited all the chief stations of the Mission, depositing at their respective homes some 70 scholars from Norfolk Island, and leaving the Rev. R. B. Comins at Florida, Rev. T. C. Cullwick in the Banks Island, and Mr. Forrest in the Santa Cruz group. The Rev. Arthur Brittain was picked up at Araga, having spent the summer between Aurora, Whitsuntide and Lepers, the three islands of the New Hebrides group still left to us. A quantity of kumeras were distributed here, a gift from the Norfolk Island people to sufferers by the hurricane; which fortunately has been found not to have been so severe in these parts as had been anticipated.
Mr. Brittain reports much interest in his work, especially at Araga. He received £2 in an interesting way; £1 from a returned laborer, a thankoffering for benefits formerly received through the Mission; and £1 from the crew of the Helena, of Bundabeil. David Malol, teacher at Mota, has passed away; so also has the Rev. Mano Wadrokal, native Deacon, associated with the Mission first as a scholar and then as a teacher, from the days of the Rev. William Nihill, at Nengone. For some time past he has been an invalid. He passed away peacefully at his own home, expressing his firm faith in Christ and his Saviour. The Rev. George Sarawia was suffering much from rheumatism at Mota; whither also Virsal and Quaratu had been brought in ill health from Gaua, for the sake of the change. The Rev. William Vaget had been doing good work at Meralava; thirty adults had been baptised, and the people were busy excavating a place on the side of the steep hill, as the site for a church. The "Pioneer Company" has given up work at Santa Maria; the promoters have departed, leaving behind their laborers from Lepers Island and the Torres Island, to shift for themselves. The Southern Cross took them to their homes. Maros, the lapsed Deacon, after some wild proceedings resembling those of a maniac, seems to have come to his right mind, and has written a letter to Mr. Palmer, expressing deep penitence for his past conduct.
The Rev. R. Codrington has returned from Norfolk Island, on his way to England, to the grief and loss of those who would gladly keep him. The Rev. Henry Welchman, M.R.C.S., has come up for Priests orders, and will probably occupy himself until the Southern Cross starts again in August in visiting different parts of New Zealand, and preaching and speaking (where invited to do so) on behalf of the urgent needs of the Mission.
DR. WELCHMAN was ordained Priest by the Bishop of Auckland on 25th June.