Letters concerning Mission Work, &c. Should be Addressed to the Secretary:--
Subscriptions, Donations and Offertories to the Treasurer:--
Rev. W. SELWYN,
Orders and Subscriptions for Occasional Papers to:--
FEBRUARY 5TH, 1896
MY DEAR BISHOP,
Considering the time of year we are a very small party here now. Welchman, Forrest and Robin are in the islands; Cullwick is in Australia with his newly-married wife; P. Williams has gone on a flying visit to Townsville, to explain what we are ready to do for the Melanesians in Queensland; and to-morrow we shall lose Brittain, whom I am sending away to New Zealand for a rest. The Archdeacon, Comins, Browning, Wilson, Ivens, Dr. Williams, and Buchanan, with myself, are left in possession. We have 160 boys and 50 girls to look after with the help of the ladies. Mrs. Colenso, Miss Rossiter and Miss Simcox are away in New Zealand, and expect to return by the Southern Cross. In a month or two I shall be able to let Buchanan avail himself of the Bishop of Salisbury's kind offer to him when they met in New Zealand, and shall send him home to the Salisbury Theological College for further training before receiving Holy Orders. It is impossible for him to read as he should here, with so many duties and distractions to call him from his books.
I was very anxious as you know to do as much as I could for our poor fellows in Queensland. No one denies that it is the duty of the Queensland Church to attend to their spiritual needs, they lie like Lazarus at her door, waiting for the crumbs. But the Church is not like the rich man; it is exceedingly poor, and it is largely owing to this that our people come off so badly in Queensland, and their spiritual needs apparently receive so little attention. In many cases they are carried away from their Schools in the islands to districts where there are no schools within many miles of them, and if they return home after three years or more they are no use to the cause of civilization progress, but rather a hindrance. At one time, when in Queensland, I believed we might take up the old Curtis Island scheme in a very much modified form, and have a branch College in Australia, in which the best 'boys,' when their terms of service was finished, might be trained and taught so that they might minister to their own people both Queensland and the Islands. But the obstacles were insuperable. First of all the heathen at Mackay, who had promised us a house, land, and £100 a year, had a previous offer accepted that they had made to the Presbyterians a month before my arrival, and the door to Mackay, the chief centre of the sugar industry was closed against us. This virtually settled the whole matter. Before this, as I told you before, I was much exercised to know which of the Staff I could send to Queensland to act as my oculus. It would be most difficult to spare anyone notwithstanding the immense importance to us of further Christian work amongst the 'labourers.' However the prospect of carrying on a vigorous work from Mackay as a centre now no longer exists, and our only course seemed to be to give up at any rate for the present the idea of [3/4] extending the Mission's work at Norfolk Island to Queensland. My record scheme, which Williams has gone to consult with the Bishop of North Queensland about, is that we should make Grants out of a special fund raised for the purpose, to schools recommended by the Bishop of the Diocese, following very much the methods of the S.P.G.
We have been parched up by a six months drought, and supplies have been very short in the island. However, the heavens have opened at last, and about eight inches of rain have fallen in the last four days.
I think I have told you my plans for the year (D.V.). I shall go down to the islands in April with Comins, Brittain, Browning, Wilson, two Williamses; shall go all round the north paying the teachers; shall stay in Florida and as many other islands as possible (north), and examine the schools; shall install the Williamses on some branch in Guadalcanar, and Wilson in San Cristoval. Ivens will come down to Saa by the Southern Cross on her second voyage, and I shall try to get there to spend a few days with him before he returns to his head-quarters at Ulawa. There will be Confirmations at Vara and in the Banks Islands on my way back by the second voyage. Palmer and I will then go to Australia and Tasmania to speak and preach for the Mission, after which I shall be free to go home for the Lambeth Conference.
The dates fixed for the Voyages from and to Norfolk Island are as follows:--I. April 8th-June 15th; II. July 6th-October 1st; III. October 2nd- -November 25th.
Welshman comes up for his Marriage by the ship on her first Voyage.
A new house is being built for the Williamses and Ivens in the paddock just above my house. It will hold when finished 60 boys. It is hoped that they will come largely from Guadalcanar, Malanta.
2nd Sunday in Lent.
"I must make a beginning of a letter in good time now, as a steamer is expected on Tuesday from Sydney. Cullwick and his wife (Palmer's niece) will come in her, and possibly a visitor or two, so we are quite excited about her arrival. The Cullwicks will live in my 'country' house, as I live only in the vanua now. We are having a new roof put on, and making all smart for them. We are showing signs of going ahead; a big new house is being built just outside the vanua, about fifty yards above mine, and is destined to be the home of the Williamses and Ivens with 60 boys, when they have secured them; after a year or two perhaps, we shall have over 200 boys, and perhaps an increased supply of girls. Teachers are wanted everywhere, and we are not supplying them nearly fast enough. At the same time, however, as we increase our numbers we have to aim at [4/5] keeping up the old standard of simple Christian life, with an advance in our standard of education. I am delighted to hear of the success of the 'scheme.' It is good news indeed that you have received £407. We shall want every penny of it and more perhaps to save us from debt; this last year expenses have been tremendous. The new press marks an epoch I am sure. Books are so fearfully scarce everywhere. During the past year we got 10,000 Gospels printed in Auckland for £120. We have had printed here 3,000 Mota hymn-books, and now we are going to strike off some thousands of Prayer Books and Old Testaments. Besides these we are drawing up three small text books to teach reading, arithmetic and English from. We shall want large numbers of these too.
March 23rd,--I am staying for a week with Dr. Metcalfe. I came for a rest only and not as a patient; however, I had a little ague about me and the doctor's care has stopped it, and I feel fit and well and jolly again now. I go back the day after to-morrow and put the School through an examination. I have also to write a Mota leading article for the first number of the Melanesian News, which is a Mota newspaper we are going to publish in future once or twice a year. It will contain a summary of news of Norfolk Island, and the Islands, a 'boy's' diary in New Zealand, some notes on various subjects, and a chapter of Ephesians explained verse by verse."
Rev. H. WELCHMAN'S account of the start at Siota gives a good picture of the "day of small things" which must be gone through before the School gets into thorough working order.
S. Luke's, Siota,
7th December, 1895.
My dear Bishop,
Here I am settled in with 18 boys, mostly loloqons from Bugotu, and Comins' district. They are nearly all small, but I secured one or two good boys from Bugotu who are very helpful, Harry Samo is at the head of the cooking department. He is a good willing boy, with a head like a windbag and a voice like a saw--but I have no fault to find with him really. I wanted to get a good substantial married Mota boy for my right hand man, but one could not be laid hold of quickly, and we must wait. Meanwhile I have a tower of strength for 6 months in George Basile and his wife Louisa, who with two Guadalcanar returned labourers are very useful. Ben and David were baptised in Queensland, and came to Norfolk Island a year ago; then they were put down (with a third boy, Simon) at Savule, in Guadalcanar. When I visited them last October I found them all hopelessly doing nothing, and being bullied by a truculent chief, at the instigation, I fear, of a trader. I took them all away, except Simon, who could not leave, having to stay and work out a fine imposed upon him for being absent in Queensland when his "father" died. Next June, I hope to put them down at Vaturana, where, please God, we shall have better success. In the meantime I am glad of them here.
 We have a good house, 20 by 30 feet, surrounded on all sides by a verandah 10 feet wide. You may imagine the blessing it is. One half of the house is a large room in which we all sit, and the other half is divided into two bedrooms.
We dine on the verandah, and school in the sitting-room and on the verandah. There also most of the boys sleep, as outside they can cover up from the mosquitoes, which are intolerable; it would be too hot in the house, indeed there is not room for them all. I have just been laying the floor of our temporary Chapel, built by Bugotu boys, but we floored it with hard wood palings, and as soon as I can get them I shall cover it with Bugotu mats. We have enclosed a hill and turned it into a cow-paddock, our herd consisting of a bull calf and a heifer. We had a third cow, which calved a month ago, but she never took kindly to the place, and died before the calf was old enough to find its own living, so we had to kill it as well. I had hoped for a supply of milk, but that is at end for some time to come. We are very early folks, and are up before daybreak, about 4-45, we generally turn out, and then we have a cup of tea and a biscuit, with family prayers; after which, soon after sunrise, we go out to work for three hours or so. At 9-30 we stop, and come home and get our breakfast at 10. About eleven we have school for an hour-and-a-half, and then go about our business till tea-time, at 5-30. There is generally something for the boys to do, but it is small jobs that will not take them out in the sun too much. After tea, we have school three-quarters of an hour, and then prayers. At 9 the bell rings, but most of the boys are already in bed.
After Christmas, I shall begin matins, which will come just before morning school. At present so few know their Prayer books, that Evening Prayer is all we can get through. By that time, too, being more settled down, we shall be able to add, I hope, an hour to school, which is in our plan. The mosquitoes are just awful, and I must go outside and get a respite.
December 8th.--We got no peace last night. The boys were walking about all night long, and we are all more or less sleepy this morning. I forgot yesterday to serve out clean clothes to them, so had to do it to-day, but it was only a fathom of white calico. We are not going to attempt rigging them out in full dress. They have a dark coloured male, (i.e. loin cloth) to work in, and a white one for school and prayers, at least on Sundays, while the elder ones blossom out in trowsers. We have an idea of keeping a distinct dress for Siota, but there has been some mischance over it, and instead of shirts or cinglets, &c., I am reduced to Horrocks, and some very unpleasant looking fancy print, which was not in the programme. We feed them as much as possible on native food and make bananas serve for a meal, but food is very scarce just now, and we have to fall back very much on our rice and biscuits.
 Archdeacon PALMER writes to Bishop Selwyn from Norfolk Island as follows:--
April 15th, 1896.
The "Southern Cross" has come and gone, and as Garth has called in on his way to Sydney I will send you a line by him. "Southern Cross" came in on Maundy Thursday from Auckland. I went off and met her at the Cascades. Mrs. Colenso was amongst the passengers. She looked all the better for her trip and is wonderfully active, but she suffers much from rheumatism. Captain Bongard was not looking quite his old self, but was much better than when he left Auckland. He has not been able to shake off the ague, but I think and hope he will be better at sea. We had splendid weather for the week the ship was here, and she lay at anchor all the time at the Cascades, and each watch had a run on shore, which they much enjoyed--one on Easter Sunday, and the other on Easter Monday.
On Palm Sunday, Simon Qalges was ordained Deacon. He is a worthy fellow, and has done good work, and I hope will do still more now. On Easter Eve, we had a Baptism of 13 boys and girls and on Easter Sunday 9 were confirmed. It was a very happy time, our Chapel was beautiful, and the services as you know, most solemn and impressive. On Easter Monday we had four Weddings--Joe Atkin, Joe Wate, Nicholas Love, and Samuel Ipo were the young men. They were all to have gone in the Southern Cross, but Joe's young bride, a delicate looking girl, began to spit blood the day before the ship sailed, and the Doctor thought she had better remain. It is not clear whether it is anything serious or not. We had cricket matches on Monday and Tuesday, when we beat the Norfolk Island club. One of our boys almost excelled your famous hit into the Kumara field, and another hit a ball up into the Pine tree where it lodged. Query, could they have run it out? The ball was not lost, for we could see it plainly enough, and had it been caught, would it have been out? To avoid disputes, we took 6 as a lost ball, but I think we might have run it out, and had the ball been caught when it was knocked out of the trees, it would have been given out. What should you have said as Umpire? The Bishop played well and put courage into our team, and they ran up 99, a big score now-a-days for us. By the way, we have got £20 odd for the Memorial window in Selwyn Chapel; a little more will probably come in but I am sending our present contribution to Auckland, with something more to follow.
The Rev. CLEMENT MARAU describes the building of a stone Church at Ulawa. It shows vividly the change which has come over the people under his charge.
TO BISHOP SELWYN,
Father, I have received your letter and I hear with pleasure that you are quite well again; but that you are permanently lame. I am very sorry for you on that account. I, Susie (his wife) and all my children are quite well. This place still remains in peace. All the people in the school are quite well. We number 166 here at Matoa, where I teach them, there is not a single loloqon (i.e., person still in darkness, ED.) they all come to be taught.
 Twenty of my people are seeking Baptism. I am waiting for Comins about them. An epidemic struck us all over Ulawa, not one escaped that illness, but all of us at the School have recovered. Many of the heathen around us died, those at Norarora in great numbers. This was about six months ago. And about this country of Ulawa. They still want to learn. Four places have spoken out about it to me that I should teach them--Haraina, and 2 Repo, and 3 Apia, and 4 Monta--but there are no teachers available. And this also would be a great thing for me that I should see your face and hear your voice again--but that cannot be, as we are so far separated.
We are all working at a New Church, a stone building. This house is 12 fathoms long and 5 fathoms broad--and the roof tree will be 5 fathoms high.
For three months past we have been preparing stones--and have already finished the two side walls. One is quite finished, and the other one nearly. But the two walls at the front and back of the Church still remain. But the work is very heavy. I only rest on Sunday.
My people of the School work splendidly. I do not pay them for this work. I do not even find their food. We all work freely, just drinking some young cocoa-nuts. Nevertheless they dont grumble and dont get sulky--and you know what their nature was formerly, like a shark with every evil nature among them. But now it seems that God has somewhat softened their nature, so that they work with gentle hearts. But I do not quite know about their nature what it will be in the end.
We all work at the Church, the chiefs down to the humblest, men and women, old and young. This is the exact truth, Father: I wonder with joy at them. Thank God our Father (the father of us two) that He is thus able to help hard hearts: as you always used to comfort me in old days, when I cried and was tired out when they would not listen. I still think every day about your words of comfort to me. My son, Martin, has been to Norfolk Island, but he has returned, and I am delighted to see that he likes to take pains about learning, unlike me formerly, he will surpass me most likely in the future. Good-bye, Father, I, your son, Clement Marau, have written this with constant remembrance of you.
The following letter is the last received from the Bishop, and gives a most cheering account of Siota. It is addressed to the Bishop of Newcastle.
Southern Cross, PIRIHADI,
MAY 13TH, 1896.
Amidst all your hurry and rush of work, I know you will be glad to get a letter from me with a little news. We left Norfolk Island on April 8th, and so have had about five weeks knocking about in the ship. Generally speaking I think the Mission work is going on well, and we are making progress. At Pentecost, in the New Hebrides, the island Bishop Patteson found such a difficulty, the advance is most marked, 10 villages having built themselves [8/9] school-houses in the last eighteen months, so that we number now 17 schools instead of 7, in that island. Malanta is also beginning to change its ways. Two years ago there were only 2 schools, now there are 6. It is no light thing to get a new school in an island like that. Saa and its neighbour, Aulu, have had schools for some years, but only these existed after 20 years of work. Two years ago, Roas, 5 miles beyond Saa, gave us two naked boys, out of its stark naked population, and then asked for a teacher. Johnson Telegsem went, and soon had a school of 70 persons. The young chief of Paloto wanted to give us a boy two years ago, but his old men dared any boy to get into our boat. This year we went ashore again, and found that one of our Norfolk Island boys had just commenced a school among these people. Port Adam school was smashed up by the heathen a few years ago; this has begun work again and the young chief, Fakaia, has given in his name for Baptism. But the strangest thing is the commencement of work in the bush behind Port Adam.
There a man dreamed dreams, and told them to the villagers until he had a large following. A man returned from the Figi sugar fields with a smattering of the Faith and seeing no chance of getting a hearing, he joined himself to the dreamer. The infusion of Christian ideas led to the banning of bloodshed, &c. The people were taught daily, and baptised too every day in the stream, and Sunday together with Wednesday was made holy. Our teacher at Port Adam visited the place, and began to explain to the chief what was really the Faith. In the middle, the Southern Cross hove in sight. The teacher cut short his explanation saying "Here's the Southern Cross; Comins is on board; he'll tell you all about it," and bolted. He was sent back to start a school in the place, and the people are beginning to go to it. The Figi man being one of the first to join. The dreamer holds out against it. Our new College at Siota, Florida, is a great success. There are 35 youngsters there now, and very happy they are. It is an ideal spot. A big reef makes Boli Harbour, and all down one side of it is Siota. You can dash at any time into the sea, the first plunge being into what is like a hot bath, a stroke or two carries you into deep water, quite cool. No one thinks of sharks or crocodiles, although there are many in the neighbourhood, but not in the habit of coming into our corner of the harbour. Two nights ago, as we went into a harbour on this coast, we slid gracefully on to a reef, and for five hours we rested thus, until it seemed likely that our ship was going to spend the rest of her days there. However, at high tide she came off. We had fortunately gone on at dead low water. It was almost a new place to our skipper. We had shoals and reefs all round us; night was coming on, and it was not safe to stay outside. Just as we were going in, it came on to rain in torrents, whitening all the sea in front of us, and hiding the discoloured water which always marks a reef. Before anything could be done we were aground in about 11 feet of water, with a smooth sea and no wind. Just before midnight we were off again and put to sea, steaming slowly up and down all night--not a very comfortable time for us.
May 15th.--We were steaming all Ascension Day, after 8-30 a.m. At 7 p.m. we had a Celebration on board, whilst lying at anchor at Pirihadi, Ysabel; 37 communicants. This morning we reached [9/10] Guadalcanar, the north end, and put down Hugo Gorovaka, a deacon, George Basile, his brother, and David, a returned Queensland labourer, at a place called Vaturanga. George and David made some slight headway with some bush people here last year--with the help of Hugo, they are to try again, and possibly in six months time, we may really have got a foothold on this island. It is a wonderful place, 100 miles long, mountains 8000 feet high, a large population, but not a single school. Produce a book there and you can scatter a village, so superstitious are they. We put the three boys ashore with their boxes, and they were to go up into the bush to fetch the people to help to carry them up. They hope to induce the bush people to come down to the beach, and start building a school village. We are now steaming back to Siota under a scorching sun, and a wind following us. To-morrow the Southern Cross will commence her journey to Norfolk Island, leaving me at Siota, Florida. There I mean to stay for a month, learning Florida, and helping in the school. After that, I hope to visit all the 30 schools in this Island, examining and giving prizes. After that, I shall perhaps get a trader to take me to Ulawa, where I shall meet the Southern Cross on her return, and plant Wilson at San Christoval, and Ivens at Malanta. Then I shall get back to Norfolk Island, doing a good bit of work on the way up, confirming and dedicating churches.
The Rev. L. P. Robin in a letter to the Editor, dated July 15th, reports having returned to Norfolk Island in good health from his long sojourn at Lo, in the Torres Islands.
He had one attack of Influenza, of which there was an epidemic in the Island about Christmas. Many died, and among them, Nesta, wife of William Wulenew, the senior teacher.
She was brought up by Mrs. Kaye and afterwards by Mrs. Selwyn, and was a very loveable woman. Her loss is a great one as she was the only woman teacher at Lo.
Mr. Robin says: "You will rejoice to hear that Lo is now practically entirely Christian. That is all have been baptised except the School children, who were too big to baptise as infants, and not sufficiently instructed to baptise as adults.
At Tegua (the next Island to the Northward) I baptised about 45 this year. There is a splendid new Church there, with Ernest (Tughuru) in charge till Christmas, to establish a good tone in the place.
Toga (the Southern Island) is coming round. The people on the Northern half are keen for a school. I hope to start one next year. But the Southern Tribe are still very unfriendly and have been threatening many things.
Hiw is friendly but resolute in refusing us a footing there as yet. As usual, the head men are against us. All the younger ones would gladly hear us. I shall try again next year.
MY voyage to the islands this year was a short but interesting one. I had intended to visit Santa Cruz and Siota in Florida; but the Southern Cross returned after her second voyage so late that I could have made no stay at Siota, and a mere visit would have done little good. The news she brought from Santa Cruz moreover was good, and so there was no special reason for me to go there. I decided therefore to break the journey by going ashore at Mota, where a visit was much needed, and to spend three weeks in the Banks Islands whilst the ship went north without me. I need not describe the actual voyage. It was interesting to us because we were leaving Norfolk Island as late in the year as October 26th, much later than usual, and we had only six tons of coal on board; that is enough to give us four days steaming on our journey of 3000 miles. It was a question if we should get back by Christmas. As it turned out, a fair wind carried the ship to Florida (1500 miles) in a fortnight. There and at Vanua Lava on her way home she picked up coal, and she was back at Norfolk Island on December 10th, only two days over six weeks from the date of her departure. The reason for our hurry was that in some unaccountable way the captain and all the crew except the engineer caught Island fever, and it was not safe to remain in these waters so late in the year without skilled hands to work the ship. Merelava, for the second time, Gaua, Rowa, and many other islands were either missed altogether or merely touched at in a hasty fashion at one village instead of at several. It was a sad ending to a very prosperous year. Many new boys carefully chosen for Norfolk Island were left behind, and many scholars at home for their holidays living in islands to windward of us, to which, in our condition we could not beat and had no power to steam, had to be given up, to remain with their friends for six or seven months more until we could fetch them. Island fever is the scourge of all who live any time in these islands, but so far as I can hear it has never before attacked our crew or those who have remained on the vessel. That it did so this year must perhaps be considered to point to the fact that the year was a particularly unhealthy one in the islands, probably owing to the long drought.
I went ashore at Mota on November 5th. We had picked up Mr. Cullwick at Lakona in the early morning, and we now proposed to spend three weeks together, visiting as many schools as we could in the time in Mota, Motalava, and Vanua Lava. The Revs. George Sarawia and Robert Pantutun met us at the landing place. They were both well, and gave a fairly good account of the people. George has married Minnie, who seems to make him an excellent wife. Robert and his wife and family were only awaiting the return of the vessel from the north to take up new work in Gaua, where a strong man is much wanted. I examined George Sarawia's school at [11/12] Kohimarama. The three upper classes could read fairly well; the two lower were mastering their letters. As I went on I found that there is no very good school in Mota. I examined six--Kohimarama, Nav Qoe, Patou Memea, Salite, Tasmate and Parira. All were fair. The great majority of the people profess to go to school every day. The older ones, who have little hope of ever learning to read by themselves, school in the evening; the children and adults who can, read in the morning immediately after morning prayer. One finds in almost every school a first class of grown men and women who read very fairly, write a little, answer questions intelligently up to a certain point, and know their catechism; a second class of young men and maidens who are not quite so forward; and lower classes in various stages down to pretty little mites who sit on the floor round a teacher's wife and learn their letters. When I visited Motalava I found a really good school at Ra, the Rev. Henry Tagalad's village. The first three classes read very well indeed, answered questions on what they had read, wrote well and did dictation, and were perfect in their catechism. The schools at Togalad, Milwoe, and Wole were better than the Mota schools; those at Gatava and Nerignigman about equal to them. At Vanua Lava they were very fair. Of course everything in a school depends upon the teachers. At Mota they are all good and loveable men. No breath of suspicion is ever breathed against their characters. But they have become rusty in their learning, having taught in some cases for twenty years without acquiring much fresh knowledge themselves, and many of their people seem to have learnt all they know. They have much to contend with--bad attendance, indifference, and reaction to old customs, which take the people from school. Being what they are they find it hard to hold their ground, and the people of Mota are suffering for want of stronger leaders on the side of good. Yet this condition of things is plainly merely temporary, and in the course of a few years I hope to see Mota as full of Christian life and earnestness as ever it was.
Leaving Patou Memea one day we heard that one of the many Tamates or Secret Societies had made for itself an enclosure hard by, and was preparing for the feast and dance which mark the completion of the rites of initiation of a candidate for membership. We followed a guide, and soon found ourselves outside a palisade of bushes and leaves rising to about twenty feet, decorated with bright-coloured crotons and flowers, with a very narrow entrance between the overlapping walls. Inside was a gamal (club house) in which the candidate for initiation was passing his time until sufficient money and food could be raised for the dance and feast which all were now expecting. Outside lying about were some forty men resting under the shade of a large tree after practising their steps for the dance. They made us welcome, and we found out that the candidate was a school boy, who had now been confined ten days, missing school, prayers, washing, and everything else which he believed to be right, whilst he lived sooty and begrimed with filth in the dark gamal until all the money should be forthcoming. We sat down and began to argue the matter with the men beneath the tree. They had promised to keep their Tamate rites within bounds, and not to let them interfere with their Christian duties. Long ago they had agreed with Bishop [12/13] Selwyn that no one should be kept for more than three days from school; now they had broken their promise. This boy had been here ten days already, and he might be kept another three weeks. It was interesting to watch the effect of our words upon the group of men. First of all those near to us consented to what we said, and they reasoned with those seated just beyond them. Now and again a teacher, Nimnimqoe, threw in a word generally reminding them of their promise. At last, after nearly two hours, all had been persuaded that they were making a mistake in going back to the strict rule of the Tamate when it caused them to neglect their religion, and they agreed that so far as they were concerned the boy might come out at once and begin schooling once more, the feast following as soon as all were ready for it. But there was an Upper House to be considered as well as a Lower. There were a number of men within the gamal who had heard very little of what we had said, and when they were told what the men outside proposed to do, they disagreed to it, and said the rule of the Tamate could not be broken. We waited patiently for another hour, and then a message came from inside that they agreed to the boy being set at liberty. All then seemed settled. However, an unexpected difficulty arose: the candidate refused to be set free. Possibly he thought that his initiation would be afterwards considered void, and all would have to be gone through again if he were to break the rule, and so he declined to come out. This new difficulty Cullwick settled summarily by going inside and fetching him out. Then all fell into their places for a dance, the boy in the midst, black as a coal and dazed by the sun after his long confinement, and the steps which are customary on such an occasion were gone through. This finished, the whole party sang at the top of their voices a rather dolefully sounding song to the uninitiated living outside the fence; to inform them that the dance had been completed and the boy had come out. This ended the proceedings. It was a long business, but it had to be gone through, as this was one of those old customs the teachers are now fighting against, which are carrying the people of Mota away from their first love. We called all the head men any teachers together a few days afterwards, and it was agreed once more that no one should be kept from the school by tamates or anything else for more than three days.
We left Mota on November 12th, in Cullwick's whale-bowl. That boat was a study. It was ballasted up to the gunwale with everything calculated to be useful to a man who lives for seven months by himself in the islands, with no fixed home, and with little hope of spending more than a week or a fortnight in any one place. All his possessions for the time being were in the boat, packed in about twenty boxes and bundles of all shapes and sizes. One box contained biscuits, another tinned meat, another books, another kettles and saucepan, another tobacco for 'trade,' a waterproof bundle held blankets and bedding, a leather case carried carpenter's tools. Extra lamps and small goods filled up the corners. On the top of all sit the three native men who formed his boat's crew. Bright companionable fellows they were, pulling away at their oars merrily when the wind was light, though the sun blazed down on the still oily sea, singing at times their canoe [13/14] songs, and making the heavy boat fly through the water as the oars kept time with the song, managing the sails or chatting or sleeping whilst the white man sat at the helm. With a fair breeze we sailed across to Motalava, reaching Ra before six o'clock. We received a very hearty welcome, and I felt it a great pleasure to be amongst these people again. Evensong brought all the Ra people together, and the service was extraordinarily hearty. Mota services are not so. I was struck at once by the difference. At Ra the responses are so well taken up, both in the Psalms and Versicles. The fact is that Henry Tagalad is a perfect native clergyman. He lives a priest and patriarch amongst his people. In him one sees what a Melanesian may become. In his school one sees what a Melanesian teacher can do, and the kind of education that can be given in the islands. He is unaffected, intelligent, excellent company, with fondness for a joke; yet with a serious tone which affects all round him. He and his people had worked very hard indeed since Easter, and had built a new church with stone walls and concrete floor. This I consecrated on November 17th, dedicating it to S. Columba. In the evening Tagalad preached an excellent little sermon, which brought the tears to the eyes of many of his people. His subject was 'God is Good,' and everything that is good is so because it comes from Him.
My life at Motalava was, I am told, the ordinary life of a Melanesian Missionary. We rose at sunrise, and as soon as possible said prayers in the church or school. Service over, I examined the school for an hour. The white missionary in the islands necessarily holds the office of school inspector, and one of his chief duties is to exercise his office. Soon after school was over we breakfasted; at what time exactly it would be difficult to say, because the first thing one's watch does in these hot damp islands is to stop. Every engagement is timed by the height of the sun. Things take place when it reaches "the top of that tree" or "that hill." After breakfast we started on foot, or in the boat, for a journey down the coast to visit schools. Sometimes walking, sometimes rowing, we passed from village to village, at every place, by an address to the people in the church or a discussion of some local difficulty that has arisen, or by some other means, trying to quicken the Christian life of the people. Cullwick was always at work. Often the teachers had difficulties, and needed advice and encouragement. Sometimes death or sickness had removed a teacher, and his place had to be supplied, no easy matter to arrange where teachers are far too few. School materials had to be given out; promising boys selected for Norfolk Island; congregations to be taught a new hymn or practised in an old one; baptism classes to be examined or instructed; the sick to be visited; medicine to be made up; the plans for a church to be drawn out, or a difficulty in building it to be overcome; and in spare moments the elders of the village to be gathered together and chatted with. A Melanesian missionary life is no idle one, and by nine or ten o'clock, after evening prayers had been said, he is glad to find his way to the schoolroom or teacher's house, where an impromptu bed will have been made up for him of reeds laid upon two forms, or upon stakes stuck into the ground for the purpose.
We spent a week at Motalava, and here as at Mota I could not help noticing the effect the labour traffic has had upon the people. [14/15] There were many grown-up men and women over 35 or 40 years of age. In most of the villages there were large numbers of children. But between the two generations of old and young there was one missing. There were scarcely any young men. Their absence can only be accounted for by the labour traffic between Queensland, Fiji, and these islands. Sixteen years is the lowest limit of age at which a boy can be recruited for the sugar plantations, and as they reach this age the promise of £6 a year wages for labour, and the prospect of freedom from home restraints and a sight of the world carries them away in the first labour ship that calls to a land from which they will probably never return. It might be asking too much to demand that on humane grounds this traffic in the souls of men be stopped altogether, but we certainly might ask that islands where the population is already thin be protected against thoughtless depopulation of a character which is now exceedingly common. No race could long survive such a reckless deportation of its young men as is now going on in Melanesia. Altogether the work of the labour traders saddens anyone who has the good of these islands at all at heart. Not only does it thin out the population until none are left to do the necessary work, but it carries husbands away from their wives, and wives from their husbands, young men from the girls to whom they are betrothed leaving them for years without the power to marry anyone else, and exposed to constant temptations to sin. Whole classes of boys are taken away from the native schools just as they are coming to an age when they might be beginning to civilize and influence their fellow-islanders for good, The loss of them would be easier to bear if we knew that they were going to a land where they would be able in their spare hours to attend better schools than ours, and where the work began in them would be continued. Such, however, is generally not the case, for schools for men of their colour are few and far between in the colonies, and the experience of all our missionaries is that the majority of those who return are the worse for their sojourn in the white man's land. They have learnt his vices and very few of his virtues, and they have acquired a swaggering independence which makes them impatient of restraint. None are so difficult both for chiefs and teachers to deal with as these "returns" from the labour fields. Here and there are bright exceptions to the rule; men who have attended school in the foreign country returning to their people with a real desire to teach them and to bring them to religion and to civilization. Such men there are, but they are few, the majority of those who become Christians whilst from home choosing to stay where they can have the benefit of further teaching and of means of grace, which they might be without if they returned to their homes.
Much is being done nowadays to provide good churches in the islands, and the people are doing it themselves. I saw a church being built at Vureas in Vanua Lava. Large stones had been carried by the men in their little canoes from the other side of the bay, probably at the rate of two or three stones at a voyage. They had been borne on the shoulder from the beach to the site of the church. With the roughest tools the timbers and beams for the support of the heavy thatch roof had been cut and squared. This had to be made and put up first to shelter from the sun those working at the walls. Then [15/16] two pits had been dug beneath it in which coral cut out of the reef had been burnt into lime for mortar and concrete. Then the walls of the floor were commenced, the men laying on the mortar with their hands for want of trowels, and working the concrete for the floor with hand and wooden spades for lack of better tools. There was one iron spade and one iron saw; everything else had to be manufactured on the spot. It was a pretty sight to see the people at work. The women and children ran backwards and forwards like ants to the beach, carrying sand in native baskets and water in green bamboos, whilst the men carried and fitted the heavy stones into the wall, or worked the concrete into a level flooring. People from all the villages round were taking part in the building of the church, each village having a portion allotted to it to do.
Vureas Church will have a large congregation when it is built, for there are a great many little villages scattered about on the side of the hill above it. One night ten years ago one of these was swept away by a flood. The people migrated to Vureas and lived there until their village was rebuilt. Whilst there they were allowed by the people to go to church, and the custom then begun continued on their return to their hill village: Sunday by Sunday they came down to service. There was no school in their village, and they could not read or write. But as years went by they had all come to believe, and they begged that they might be baptised. Ben Virsal and his wife taught them orally, and they learnt the catechism in the same fashion so perfectly that they astonished us by their answers. There could be no reason for postponing their baptism, and so on Sunday, November 25, under a big tree on the beach I admitted them by families--seventy-two persons in all, into the Church of Christ. I shall never forget that scene: the deep bay land-locked and blue and still as a lake; the yellow beach with the big spreading tree reaching far down towards the water's edge; the crowds of brown-skinned natives grouped together beneath its shade; the ample font in the centre richly decorated with flowers; the persons to be baptised, clothed in white, standing by families around it; the village half hidden in trees behind, with the little white stone church, where they had received their first lessons in the faith of Christ, too small now to hold so great a multitude. One's thoughts travelled back to other crowds that stood by the seashore many hundred years ago and heard One speak as never man spake; whose words have at last reached to the ends of the earth. The ofttold tale of Jesus and His Love is told anew to ears that have never heard it, and each year sees many thousands of souls profess themselves obedient to His Name.
A cause for thankfulness is to be found in the effort being made in many islands to make the work of the Mission self-supporting. Offerings, not of money, but of dried cocoanuts are made on fixed Sundays, the adults bringing their strings of twenty or thirty half nuts, the children down to the babies their four or five or more. Everyone brings a few, and they are piled up upon either side of the west door, the act of offering being made with a few taken from them. The people enter into this system, and are glad to be able to help. The nuts are sold to a trader at eight shillings a bag, making the value of a collection about sixteen shillings. The one difficulty lies [16/17] in the irregularity of the trader's visits. Should he delay, the cocoanuts rot in the bags, and this actually leads to discouragement. However at present there is nothing but enthusiasm for a system which gives an opportunity of taking a part in the support of the work of the Mission.
Rev. H. WELCHMAN writes from Bugotu, June 12th, 1895.
We called at Kolona on our way down, and found that the junior teacher had betaken himself to Port Mackay, having had a quarrel with his father who is the chief of the place. A labour ship unluckily came in just when the rupture took place, otherwise matters might have settled themselves satisfactorily. By this time Hadibau is probably regretting the change of life, and wishing himself back again. Ralph has the School to himself, but owing to death and emigration it is not too large for him to manage with the help of his wife. From here we went on to put down three boys at Savulei, in Guadalcanar, where George Basile was settled last year in hopes of making a beginning of a school. The boys are returned labourers who have been taught and baptised in Queensland, and who have spent a few months with us on Norfolk Island. When we landed we found Louisa there, but George was further down the coast on a visit. I was sorry for the three boys, as they stood with their possessions in the middle of an unsympathetic crowd, who were looking with hungry eyes at their boxes and bundles. It was very evident that they would not long have much to call their own, and the contrast between the squalid village and their late comfortable home was too much for them. One sat down and wept, and another said, in reply to some speech of the dirty old chief, 'If George is not going to stop here, I shan't stay.' I had promised to take George and Lousia to spend a couple of months in Bugotu when I came down, but it was evident I should have to alter my plans, the boys were so sad at the thought of being left alone there. We committed them to God's care, and with a promise to arrange with George to look after them we left them, taking Louisa with us. We failed to reach him that night, but next morning early he came on board. He gave us a doleful account of his experiences at Savulei. The people would not even be friends with him. He had to buy all his food, and had parted with nearly every saleable article he possessed, and was reduced to the most scanty of wardrobes. As to teaching, nothing could be done there at present. The people were forbidden to listen to anything, and most gladly obeyed the order. He told me, however, that at Vaturana there were some bush people who would receive him, and who had promised to come down to the beach and make a settlement there if he would come and live with them. With his habitual unselfishness he consented to stay and look [17/18] after the three boys, and it was agreed that he should leave Savulei as soon as possible and begin to make a village on the shore, taking our boys with him, and that the bush people should come down to him as soon as they could arrange to leave their gardens, and start new ones nearer their proposed home. When we had supplied him with the means to purchase food we left him, taking Louisa with us to see her relations in Bugotu.
June I3.--Landed at Vulavu, and there heard a sad tale of sickness and death in Bugotu. I had a very sorrowful letter from Soga about the death of his only little girl, Agnes, a nice little child, and a general pet. Nearly all the teachers have lost children; some of them have lost two. This epidemic of whopping-cough was brought by returned labourers to Florida, and came through Savo to Bugotu. The mortality has been very great. In Sepi alone, a village of some 300 people, 27 have died already, and others are on the point of death. Not a single place has escaped, and even the bush people, who live in something like isolation, have been attacked by it.
June 14.--The Southern Cross left me on her homeward journey, and I settled in at Sepi; and as soon as things were a bit straight in the house I went to call on Soga and his wife. Poor things! they are in great sorrow, and Anika could not speak for weeping. It was hard work to comfort them at all. In the face of deep grief words seem so little, and perhaps even hereditary Christians do not always realize that their little dead ones have only gone to the Children's Friend. Agnes' grave was a piteous sight. On the paling fence which had been carefully set up around it, were hung all her childish possessions--the little net bag with its lime-box, a mirror, and even a card of buttons, were hanging among the fragments of her clothes. But this year, alas! there are far too many such exhibitions. By way of mourning, Soga and his wife have left their house and are camping in the kiala, or canoe-house. They are wearing only the oldest rags of garments, and have not cut their hair since the child's death.
He relaxed his mourning so far as to come and sit with me in the evening, and I heard all the news about the district. So much sickness has had a bad effect on the schools, and in one or two cases they have been closed altogether for a few weeks. While we were sitting on the verandah, we heard a canoe coming along in the darkness, and were much puzzled as to its purpose. All our people were home long ago, and no one would venture out on such a dark night unless it was on very urgent business. While we were discussing it a man appeared, and coming up to Soga, sat down in front of him and deliberately began to chew betel. Then, after an interval, he put his hand in his bag and brought out a piece of red money, which he laid at Soga's feet. All this in dead silence. 'What is this for?' asked Soga. 'Bahi is dead,' was the reply. Soga then explained. When a chief dies it is the custom for all the neighbouring chiefs to pounce down upon the relatives and constitute themselves his legatees, previously to driving them, if strangers, out of the place, with, of course, the loss of a head or two; but the people may avert this if they are sharp enough to send round quickly and buy off their antagonists with presents of money. Bahi, was the chief of Mede, and the head of a tribe of people from Jajao, a good way down the coast. They have been living for some [18/19] years under Soga's protection, but now that their great man was dead they expected to be raided and driven out of the place. They have only had a school among them quite lately, and are still all but heathen. They had packed up all their traps, and were ready, we were told, for a start at midnight if Soga's reply was unfavourable. It was a treat to hear Soga's fatherly tone as he gave the messenger words of comfort to take back to Mede, and he assured them he was quite another man to the old Soga, and only wanted to do good to them as a Christian should. They might stay where they were, and on the morrow he would come down to them, and give them personal assurance of their safety both in person and property. The next day he did so. He found that they had only partially believed his message to be true. It was enough to make them delay their departure for a day, but they were still making preparations, which, however were never completed, for now they could believe that he meant what he said.
June 18.--Was a day of thankfulness, for I received again Lonsdale Bofi into the Church. It will be remembered that he was excommunicated and fined for misbehaviour, and some difficulty was made about the fine. This has been paid a long time ago, and now he publicly acknowledged his fault, and was publicly re-admitted. He has behaved very well over it, and has had a lesson which he has probably taken well to heart. Afterwards I went over to Mavealu to stay a week. The school is all to pieces, both actually and metaphorically; but there are so few children in the village it is scarcely to be wondered at that the people think it is not worth while to build a new one. The church is new and in good condition, quite sufficient for the needs of the population.
June 19.--Breakfast was just over when a messenger appeared from Hugo, the deacon, saying that Mudo was at the point of death, and had sent to him asking for baptism. Mudo lived only a little over a mile along the beach from Mavealu, so I sent word that I would go myself. No canoe being available, James Paijura showed me the way, which was almost impassable to white people from the huge boulders which lay scattered about. Even the natives never go by land if they can by any means get a canoe; but Mudo was an important character, the last of the wind and rain makers in Bugotu--the very last, I think, of true Bugotu people. He had stood out against Christianity until quite recently, and had actively opposed it since he saw that the hope of his gains was lost. Even now he was not more than a hearer. He was an old man, and though weak did not present signs of immediate dissolution, and said he was feeling better, and had not sent for Hugo. This was the result of the energy of his friends, who much desired his baptism. He said he would like to be baptised, so I sounded him as to his motives. He was very talkative, and opened his mind more freely than is the custom of natives, who generally wait to be questioned on each point. He told me that he had long given up his faith in the Spirits of the place, and had thrown away all his charms (this I knew already); that now he believed in one God, and in Jesus Christ the Saviour of the World. This was the subject of his voluntary confession, and as he has never attended a catechumen class it showed that he had listened to and had profited by [19/20] the Sunday sermons which he had attended for a couple of years with exemplary regularity. The road to Vahoria, his church, is as bad as is that to Mavealu. He thought he might be able to get conveyed to Mavelau on the following Sunday for Baptism, and so it was left. He never was able to come after all.
June 22.--*Monilaws [*(i.e., Soga, Ed.)] arrived with a large following, among whom was Hugo, and we all proceeded to Beubelu to try a case which had been reported. It was really very horrible. Charles Vou, a man of some standing in former days, and Amelia, his wife, were charged with having brought about the death of a slave, or domestic servant, whom they possessed. Raju was an elderly woman, and was accused by Amelia of having purloined some food. Very probably the accusation was true, for they did not feed her properly and the poor thing was often very hungry. On this particular occasion, Raju had been left alone in the house for the whole day without any food being served out to her, and on the return of the family, food was missing. She denied having taken it, and Amelia who has a very violent temper, beat the woman with a stick about the body, breaking as was alleged several of her ribs. Vou looked quietly on, and attempted no interference; he was afraid of his wife. The poor woman got outside the house and crawled to the next village, arriving at midnight, and begging to be taken in at the house of an acquaintance. They did what they could for her, and kept her with them that night; but they were too afraid of Amelia's resentment falling on them, and at daylight took Raju to a cave, where they hid and tended her till she died a fortnight afterwards. The evidence was all perfectly clear, and Amelia attempted a very feeble justification, but did not deny the offence. Soga's sentence was severe--a fine of 500 fish teeth and one piece of red money to be paid by Amelia, 200 fish teeth and one piece of red money to be paid by Charles Vou, and both to be outlawed. Any one who lent them any assistance was liable to have his garden destroyed, and this was to continue during the chief's pleasure. When sentence was declared everyone got up and left the house, leaving the two wretched culprits alone. Years ago Charles Vou had a considerable following, but his wife's temper has driven them away one by one, and this old slave was the last of them all to stay by them. I returned with Hugo, and had a little talk with them; but they were too much overwhelmed with shame, and could not listen to much.
June 23.--We had an early celebration of Holy Communion; three of the four present attended for the first time. At morning service four persons were re-admitted to the Church, one of them being an old S. Barnabas' boy who had gone wrong under great temptation, and then, as so many do after one offence, had regularly run-amuck. For a long time he absolutely refused to be approached at all, but at last, thank God, he came to himself and publicly confessed his misdoings. Five adults were baptised--three women and two men.
The next day, Monday, 24th, I returned to Sepi, Soga sending his boat for me, as I was not very well. He was very kind and thoughtful, leaving the boat and a crew to be at my disposal to take me to Reisapa whenever I felt well enough to go. He himself was going [20/21] with a large party to get bark to make Bugotu cloth, and he would have taken the boat himself, but my own boat was still at Norfolk Island, and he thought I should not be so comfortable going about in a canoe. He even offered to postpone his journey to stay and look after me. Of course I could not allow him to do that.
On Thursday, 27th, I was able to get away to Reisapa. There was a canoe here which had just been brought from Gao, and as Soga recommended it, and it appeared to be suitable, I bought it for the use of the mission with the fine which Lonsdale had paid. There is a new chapel here, a great improvement on the former one; and better still, it is well attended, and the congregation join heartily in the services, though but few of them have books.
On Sunday 30th, after a private examination, I admitted again to the Church two penitents, a man and his wife who had separated, and had both become involved in matrimonial and monetary complications which at one time made it seem utterly impossible ever to get straight again. By steadfastly adhering to the one prominent fact that they were man and wife before God, and that all side issues must be put on one side altogether, we were able to compel them to see and acknowledge the truth. They did so at last, and have repented of their error. For the last two years they have been living together in peace and quietness, and it is to be hoped have learned a good lesson by some very bitter experience. As to their present sincerity, it is worthy of remark that at the interview, at which both were present, neither of them attempted to make any self-justification, nor did they indulge in any mutual recriminations; the opportunity for either was simply unbounded. At the same morning service five adults were baptised, and one man received into the Church who had been very near death a few weeks ago and was then baptised by the teacher.
July 2.--Paid a visit to Lageba, but two days was all I could spare there. They are very much in earnest at the present about their school, which twenty-four persons of all ages attended. There are under sixty all told in the village. From the register it was evident that this was the normal attendance. The chief does not attend himself, but receives private instruction. Half-a-mile further in the bay is a settlement of the restless people of Bitaama. They came from Doveli, for no reason at all except that after two years residence there they have tired of the place, and for the third time in ten years they have shifted their quarters. Kusukui, the chief, came and complained of their having no teacher, and begged for one to be sent at once to him. This was an impossibility, and moreover it would not have been wise to grant the request, otherwise we should be having to plant teachers at every little division of two or three houses, so numerous are the removals and breaking up of villages. He had to be content with the recommendation to make use of Hugo's services at Lageba.
July 4.--Went to Saile, a village on the top of a hill in the outskirts of the bush district, and inhabited by bush people. By mistake the boys took me to the wrong landing-place, and we had to wait two hours before the people could be got down from the village to carry the luggage. In consequence, I missed the glory of a flight of [21/22] seventy and odd steps, with a double hand-rail, which Nathaniel had thoughtfully made to render easier the last very steep portion of the ascent. He was much disappointed that I had come by the back way, which is chiefly inhabited by the heathen portion of the population, and which is rather dirty, and had not entered at once into the Christian side, which is clean and nicely kept. Christian it can scarcely be called yet, for there are but seven in the place, and they are all importations from other places, though they belong to the tribe; but there are about fifty under instruction, and this in spite of the fact that the chief Regigau still holds aloof and follows the old heathen customs. He lives with his wives and immediate dependents at some distance from the village, while his heir and his son live in the village itself, and have joined the school. Nathaniel has been very ill, but has stuck manfully to his school, and only left it for a fortnight when he was too weak to do anything. He had very uphill work in the beginning. He is one of the tribe, and nephew to Vage, the chief, but at first people would have nothing to do with him. Regigau said he did not want a school, and gave as his reason that he was afraid of the letters which were continually passing between the teachers. While staying here I wanted to speak to Benere, and asked the boys to take a note to him. I noticed a considerable hesitation, until Nati took the note and made a long harangue, when two boys took it from him and departed. Anxious to know by what means he had succeeded, I asked him what he had said. 'I only told him what the letter was about; not even the school boys will take one unless l first tell them the contents.' The day after my arrival we heard conches on the opposite hill, but knew nothing more than that it betokened a succesful raid. Before long the news arrived. Regigau had sent a party into the bush, and they had killed a man, a boy, and a girl, and had taken captive three women. Only one man escaped out of the house which was attacked, and he was the origin of the trouble, for he had a private grudge against the chief of very old standing, and which he paid in a not altogether unusual manner. Professing to be on friendly terms with Regigau, he went to live with him, and after a short interval married the chief's sister. One night he murdered his wife and fled to his own place. Regigau was naturally very angry about it, and more so when he heard that Sahali was meditating further ill against him, and that the best pig in the village was being fattened to make a feast when Regigau should be killed. All this happened some two or three years ago, and the pig was still enjoying his happy existence when the old chief, who had kept quiet as to his intentions, fell upon them and broke up the plot.
The following day, July 7th, I paid Regigau a visit, when he explained that the necessity of taking his revenge had stood in the way of his welcoming a teacher. This was to be his last act of violence, and now he would move to Saile with all his belongings and hear what the teacher had to say. To his surprise, I pointed out that Christians did not withhold forgiveness from their enemies until they had killed them all, and that he would do well to wait quietly in retirement before he joined the village, and in the meantime we would see how he behaved. Sahali still lived, and had many friends in the bush who would help to accomplish his purpose yet. He pooh-poohed [22/23] the idea, and seemed to consider that all was at an end. That is not quite so certain as he fancies. The old man is one of the dirtiest old ruffians I know, and the house was filthy; but he has a great idea of himself, and has told Nati that he does not care to come to worship in the school chapel, and will wait until the church is finished which the Saile people are now about to build. There were no baptisms here, the school being much too recently established, but the attendance and the knowledge shown were satisfactory.
July 8.--We started in good time for a trip down the coast to Timaga, which had been visited before. As soon as we had landed at the canoe-house we prepared to start for the village, but were confidently assured by some men whom we meet there that it was too far for us to go that day, and if we attempted it we should find ourselves benighted in the path. From previous information I had reason to doubt this statement, but there was nothing for it but to stay where we were. A man had been sent off privately to announce our arrival, and before the sun had well set he was back again with a message from Juu, the principal chief. 'He was sorry not to be there to meet us, but he was not very well. He would be down to-morrow, and in the meantime requested that we would make ourselves at home in his canoe-house.' The message was accompanied with a liberal supply of food. It is to be feared that some of his people went hungry to bed that night, for their evening meal had already been brought from the gardens when we arrived, and we were a party of eleven. We sent word again to Juu that we were much obliged; that as he was not well we would not trouble him to come down, but would go up the first thing in the morning. Puloka, a petty chief, and a man of prowess, whose name is feared far up and down the coast, spent the evening with us, probably to take stock of us. We had intended extending our journey, and had already marked out an island as a suitable camping-place; but he told us we should have our trouble for nothing, that we should not even find a canoe-house further down, and there was no village anywhere. There are plenty of people living in the bush, hidden away in nooks--here a house and there a house, nowhere more than two together, and a day's journey between the coast and the nearest of them, so great is their fear of the head-hunters. As my time was limited this part had to be postponed.
July 9---Before we had well packed up our traps our messenger was back from Juu. On no account were we to think of going to him; the road was too bad, and besides, he was already on the way down, feeling very grieved that he had so few things to offer. He was a long time coming; it was quite noon before we heard a loud voice shouting out Juu had arrived, that he brought neither axe nor spear nor shield, but came in peace and good-fellow-ship, with a poor offering in his hand. As he entered at the front, several of his wives and children filed in quietly at the back of the house and set about preparing food. Until now no women or children had appeared, and only one of the petty chiefs Naja, who told us a tale that accounted for Juu's unwillingness for us to go to his village. Regigau, rank old mischief maker that he was, sent word to Jun that I had accused him of being about to slaughter us on the occasion of our previous visit, and that I had gone away to fetch a man-of-war and take my revenge upon him. [23/24] This was quite enough for Juu, who at once broke up his village, and is now living almost by himself, his people all being scattered among the hills. He was in a great state of alarm, and evidently did not very much believe my repudiation of all evil intentions, for he asked one of the boys how many rifles there were wrapped up in 'that' bundle, pointing to my roll of blankets in their waterproof. He made us a large present of food, which I was unwilling to take as it was due to his fear that it was so liberal. On my asking for boys, he sent off to order two to come down, but the young rascals were as much afraid as himself, and hid in the bush; a second messenger also failed to produce them. He and his family stayed in the canoe-house all that night, but I understand that someone was on the watch the whole night. The following morning he regretted that he must return at once to his home, and begged us to stay as long as we liked, and to send for more food if we wanted, or to help ourselves to anything we fancied. We did not fancy spending another day there, and we departed, though we could see it was very rough outside the reef, and our canoe was dancing about for nearly an hour before we could get through the surf at all. We got to Pahua the same evening. Here, as in every other village, there have been many deaths. Joseph Benere has lost both his little ones, and there are many still very ill. During my stay here I learned that we had a narrow escape at Timaga. A party of head-hunters were encamped on the very island we intended to visit, and three days after we left they crossed to the mainland. Puloka and two men had been up the coast on a visit, and on their return one of them suggested that they should go ashore to bathe before going home. They paddled in. The canoe had barely touched the sand before a shot was fired from behind a tree, and Puloka fell dead in the canoe; a crowd of men rushed out from the ambush, and in spite of their struggles bound them and carried them off to the island. During the night one prisoner managed to break his bonds, and swam to the mainland, but the other was carried off to Bilowa.
The school is the largest we have. There are over sixty names on the books, and the average attendance is large. I am sorry to have to take Benere away even for a time, but it is his turn to go to Norfolk Island, and he deserves a change. The teachers who will succeed him are not very competent, but they are very willing, and no doubt all will profit by his extra knowledge when he returns. There is the usual talk about moving to another place. They have lived here for five years and are tired of it. We had the usual discussion about the advisability of the move, and it was decided to remain. Probably another six months will see them in a new place.
We had twenty-nine communicants on Sunday, July 21, a good proportion when it is remembered that there are not 300 people altogether in the place.
July 23--Arrived at Pirihadi. There being no sign of abatement of the epidemic, we fixed a day for fasting and prayer, which took place on Friday, 26th. It was very well kept throughout Bugotu, only the heathen keeping aloof. The usual morning and evening services were well attended, proper prayers, lessons, and psalms being used at each; and about noon a special service was held, praying for the removal of the sickness. Sermons were preached in all the [24/25] churches showing how God visits man with trouble in order to drive him into His arms, and a collection was made for missions. The churches were all crowded at this service. The fast being on Thursday evening, and was kept rigidly till darkness had set in on Friday. Not only did the people abstain from all food and tobacco, but they voluntarily included water and betel-chewing, no slight deprivation to a Solomon Islander. Even the children had only small portions served out to them. It will take some time to change the native money into current coin, but when that is done there will be about £10 to keep the heathen in other parts of the world. It may seem a small sum, but Bugotu is very poor. Our prayers were speedily answered. After this day not a single fresh case occurred, and many of those who were already stricken recovered; the few who died were moribund when the prayer was being offered up.
There were no catechumens here fit for baptism. Rodi has been ill for some time, and has not been able to prepare them sufficiently.
From this place we made a journey up country to visit the Kakatio people, whose acquaintance I had made some four years ago. There was a good deal of difficulty in getting a crew; as the recent raid from Bilowa made people afraid of going to a distance.
On July 29 we started, a party of fifteen, in fine weather, and paddled along the coast for about ten miles; then we went a couple of miles up the river, after which we housed the canoe under some trees and began our march. It had begun to rain before we left the salt water, and continued until far into the night. The river was in flood, and we repeatedly crossed the strong current nearly to our waists in water before the guide would allow us to halt. When we had reached a spot sufficiently above the still rising water, we built our houses of fresh-cut sticks and wild banana leaves. We carpeted the ground with the leaves, which were very wet; but we lit our fires, and did full justice to a rough meal. We were in some doubt as to whether we should be able to get on next morning or not, for we could see the river rising rapidly, but the weather was kind, and next morning we went on. It was a rough walk, and we never rested till we were close to the village, which we reached late in the afternoon. We were not at all warmly welcomed. A party of armed men came out of the foot of the hill with the intention, as we afterwards learned, of resisting our entrance. However, they did us no harm, and we were escorted to Figirima's house, who was at first very sulky, as the head-hunter had killed two of his men only a day or two before. Next morning he made himself more pleasant. At first he refused to give us any boys, but later in the day he changed his mind and gave me two. Next morning we left early, and as the river had fallen a little we managed to get home to Pirihadi after midnight.
August 2.--Mede was my next place of call, and the school is progressing favourably. There is a strong band of catechumens, but they were not sufficiently advanced for baptism. The chief is an aged man, and it is to be feared that he will not attain to any reasonable ideas of Christianity before he dies. When his brother Bahi died (the day of my arrival at Sepi) Pogo took his brother's six wives in addition to his own, and cannot understand that there is anything [25/26] to make a fuss about. Two or three other polygamists consider that there is nothing to prevent them attending prayers, but otherwise the people are living quiet lives. The school is small as far as intelligence goes, but there is a very large class who, it is to be feared, consider the recitation of a reading-card to be the whole duty of man. It has been very hard to find anyone to help Oka; the people are so different from the rest of Bugotu. I prevailed on a man and his wife from Bupa, two miles away, to go and live there. In a few months they had left again. They had no friends there, and felt they were living in a foreign country.
Bupa itself is under a cloud. There is an accusation against the teacher, which is not proved but is dangerously strong; and because of that, and for other reasons, it became advisable to suspend the school for a time. At Vulavu, work goes on very quietly, and in a very small way. Several people have lately left the village, but in spite of that the rest of the people have built themselves a fine church, which does credit to the builders. There were only four or five concerned in it--Patteson Boto, the teacher; Parako, who has given good evidence of the reality of his repentance; and John Rogihi, the squire and local preacher of the place, without whose steadfast influence the village must have gone to ruin a long time ago. On Sunday, August 11, the church was opened. Holy Communion was first celebrated, with eighteen communicants. Before morning service there was a wedding, and during service two adults and one infant were baptised.
Next day I returned to Sepi to wait for the arrival of the Southern Cross.
Taken altogether, there was good reason to be contented with the progress that has been made in Bugotu, but after a few days a terrible blow fell on us all. Stephen Papa was accused and convicted of incontinence, and had to be removed at once from Reisapa. He was a great favourite everywhere--perhaps to that he owed his downfall--and had been almost a son to Soga. When the truth was known Soga wept for grief, but in spite of his sorrow he judged him truly as if he had been a stranger. When it was known that Stephen must leave, the whole village turned out on the shore and cried aloud at his departure, and many said that they would receive no other teacher. To their credit be it said that when Paijura went to fill the vacancy he was received civilly, at any rate, and most of the children continued to attend school. No doubt before long the others too will return.
VATILAU.--The little school at Kolona is smaller than ever, for several people have left this little community during the past year, among them the junior teacher. He quarrelled with his father, the chief, and went off suddenly into a labour ship which happened to come in at the very time. William Miki has in consequence cut him off from the succession and out of his will, and has appointed a small child, the son of Cyril Putu, to be his successor and heir. This will mean that Putu will have the practical direction of affairs for some years to come, which will probably be a good thing, for he is a man very much in earnest, and will do far better for the people than Ruddock Hadibau either would or could do. The attendance at [26/27] school is very good; those who come, rarely miss an attendance. Seven adults and two infants were baptised. The usual discussion took place about moving to another island, and they decided to stay.
GUADALCANAR.--I intended spending a week at Savulei with George Basile and the three Queensland boys, but it turned out otherwise. I found George at Vaturana, and on the way to Savulei. I had news from him which decided me to take them all away, at any rate for a time. On their first settling down there Kukuru was very friendly, and promised great things, none of which I found fulfilled on my call there last June; still relations were not strained. Now he has completely turned round, and makes all the boys work for him while he will not only not allow them to have school, but threatened to burn their books if they would not desist from having prayers together. He alleges that he is forbidden to have school by a neighbouring chief, but as he is himself the superior that is simply nonsense, and meant to hide his real reason, which is that the old superstitions are too strong for him. I landed there and called for the Queensland boys. Only Ben was there, and he came off with me at once. David and Simon were working in different directions, but not one was allowed to go for them, nor would anyone hire out his canoe. We sent the boat for Simon, but David was working in the bush, and they would not tell us where. Next morning a young man who had been fishing all night volunteered to guide George to the place. He did not know of the taboo, but on going to fetch his axe and shield out of the house he was forbidden to return, and George and Ben had to go by themselves and find the way as best they could. They did not return till nightfall. While they were gone Simon told me that he was sick of the place and very miserable there, but could not leave for he was in debt some £3, and if he did not pay it he could never return to any place in the neighbourhood, and he wanted to settle by-and-by with George at Vaturana. While he was away in Queensland his father (probably his chief, for he was a slave) had died, and not being present at his death he had to pay fine to all the relations. He had been stripped of everything he possessed, and still owed this money, which he hoped some day to be able to pay. His mother also was now in feeble health, and he dreaded having to pay a similar fine if he was absent when she died. So we decided that he should stay, and next morning George and the two other boys came with me to stay at Siota till next year, when it is hoped they will all be able to settle quietly down at Vaturana, where the people at the present time seem much more fairly disposed, from George's account. If he has not opened school he has not been idle, for he has visited most of the bush villages within reach, and has found several persons who are likely to make the nucleus of a school in
NEW GEORGIA, ETC.--I paid a hurried visit to Muda, but could not see Higava, as he was ill. His son came on board and was civil, but held out no hopes of either boys or a school.
At Sibo I spent the day with Belagona and my old friend Mulemata, but I could get no boys. They were friendly and promised me two lads, but as usual 'they were all afraid.'
 At Bilowa the people all fled ashore as soon as the Southern Cross drew near. We could see a dozen canoes out fishing, and saw them scuttle and hide them in the bush. I went ashore, and for some time not a soul appeared, and at last about ten men staggered up, but the chief would not come out. I left him a friendly message, but could do nothing of course without him.
We returned to the west end of Bugotu, and I paid a visit to Rona at his village of Vulega. It is strongly fortified on the top of a steep ridge, and is inhabited by about as an unprincipled set of ruffians as there are anywhere in the neighbourhood. They spoke pleasantly enough to me, and complained of the troublesomeness of their neighbours--most of whom they had killed--and disclaimed all intention of head-hunting, their canoes being actually out at the very time slaughtering men sixty miles down the coast. Needless to say I got no boys.
Rev. H. Welchman writes further from Port Patteson. Banks' Island.
May 26th, 1896.
At Christmas I went to two or three places in Florida to celebrate for them, and one of them was Hogo. We took my big canoe, manned by ten boys and started early in the morning so as to avoid paddling in the heat of the day. We don't go out to sea, but by a passage between two islands through which the tide runs at times like a mill race and we always have to calculate the hour of tide so as not to be met by ebb tide going, or a flood tide returning to Siota. In some places it is only a couple of hundred yards wide; at one spot scarcely a hundred, but in others it is a mile or more across. It is a pleasant journey, and we are always in great spirits, but it is ten miles there and by the time we are half-way back the way seems very wearisome, and we are not very lively, perhaps a little bit inclined to be cross. On this occasion we went to Gavutu first and spent three or four hours there, as I was in want of a lot of things, some for the house, some for Xmas presents for the boys. Milson is always very hospitable and I had my dinner with him and afterwards turned over his stores in search of likely goods. We did not take them at once but I arranged to go back on the morrow and take them straight to Siota. Then we got into our vehicle and paddled away to Hogo. We were, none of us, quite sure of the situation of the place, but we knew it could not be far off and as it was on the beach, though partly hidden by an island, we made sure of seeing it. On our way we passed a village where there is a school and the Xmas decorations were hanging out. Not merely the interior of the church, but the whole village was decorated; a little spasmodically perhaps, but evidently done with a purpose. Festoons of grass hung between tall poles; banana leaves cut into narrow strips and festooned in the same way along the beach, across the reef and between the houses, and here and there flowers and crotons stuck into prominent places. But what amused me most was something white floating a little distance from the shore. We puzzled over it and made shots as to what it could be, and we were all wrong, for when we came up we found it was the model of an English house cut out of sago palm wood and floating on [28/29] a little raft, which was anchored by a stone to the reef below. It was really very well done, but was of course a board house with a verandah. We were so long getting to Hogo that we thought we must have passed it, but as sunset drew near we came in sight of it. Then there was the reef to negotiate, and the tide was out, so that it was rather a business to get a passage without knocking the bottom of the canoe to pieces. I was glad to get ashore for I was stiff with sitting, and my boys had had about enough of it too.
We were met with a warm welcome from Gilbert Pai, who busied himself to get our traps safely housed and supplied us with food though we had brought biscuits with us. At this season food is not very plentiful, in fact it is very scarce and I did not expect the people to have more than was enough for themselves, but they found some without trouble, apparently, and fed us. The house has two rooms; one I made over to the boys and I appropriated the other, and while I had my dinner Pai came in and gave me all the news. He is a very good fellow, and one of the best teachers, I should think, in Florida. After dinner the bell rang for prayers and a fair congregation assembled: I left the service to Pai and afterwards the communicants remained, and I gave them a preparation for their Xmas communion. The principal chief of Florida was there.
During the night I was waked by loud groans, and went to see what was the matter. I found one of my crew was bad--he is a greedy boy and had stuffed himself--was paying the penalty. As I had only come out for a night I had not brought my medicine chest, so I had nothing I could give him, and had to leave him to repent of his folly, but he kept me awake the greater part of the night.
Next morning we had our early communion having dismissed the general congregation directly after mattins. There were not as many as I had expected, for by some mistake the folks from the next village had not been told in time.
Breakfast over I wandered round about the village for a time, picking plants from which I cut slips or which I dug up entire to plant in our garden at Siota. A good many came to nothing.
Then we made preparations for our departure. We got to Gavutu in time for dinner again, when I left my letters for the steamer, and picked up my parcels and then we made our way back to Siota.
We had got two or three miles on our way when my two passengers I had with me desired to be set down. Asking where they were to be put ashore they pointed to a place right across the passage which is very wide there, and we had to paddle across and go a couple of miles out of our way.
It was latish by the time we landed again at Siota, and we had prayers while the cook boiled the kettle to get us some tea. All those who had stopped at home were very anxious to know what we had got in all those parcels, but we observed a discreet silence and left it all to their imaginations. Only one thing did I allow them to see and that because I wanted it for immediate use--a nickel alarm clock which cost me 5/-. Our only clock had gone hopelessly to the bad, though a new one, and as I had no watch we had to make shots at the time---not always very successful ones. This little clock served me very well and by and bye I was able to set up a clock with [29/30] a large dial to hang on the wall. That was rather a joke. Some time after this visit I went again to Gavutu and saw, hanging on the wall of the store, a clock such as I wanted, I had seen it before, and Nielson said he could not sell it because it belonged to the Narovo, and if he sold the vessel, as he hoped he would, the clock must go with it. You may remember that the. Narovo was the ill-fated vessel in which Atkinson lost his life, whose murderers I picked up in a boat off Pirihadi.
Seeing the clock again I made some remark about it and Nielson said "I'll give you that clock now," "for it won't go--it will do for you to teach your boys the time, you said you wanted a dial for that purpose." It was quite true and I tried to buy it for a small sum, but he would not hear of it and made me a present of it as a worthless thing. When I got home I thought I would like to look at its interior, and as it seemed all right, but the oil was very thick I set to work and cleaned as much as I could reach with a feather, then I dosed it well with kerosene, wiped it up, and put some good sperm oil in the works and it went beautifully, so now I had two clocks and was able to keep some check on the time.
I had arranged to go to a place further north on the following day, conditionally on their coming to fetch me,--that is they were to send a sufficient boat's crew who were also to bring me back in my own boat to Siota. Two men and a boy came but I was very doubtful about their capabilities and took one of my own boys to help. They ought to have sent five or six, for it was a good way off and most of the journey open sea. The large boat was no good, the crew was much too feeble, so we took the dinghey as being lighter. The wind was heavy against us and we seemed to be very long on the way and we did not work matters very well. At any rate, we did not get out of the harbour in a hurry; we had still a long way to go, the sun was beginning to get low and the point we were bound for looked very misty still and I came to the conclusion that we should never got there before sunset; besides it was evident that the wind was blowing harder and the waves were bigger outside, so we put the boat about, hoisted the sail and got back ashore in a quarter of the time we had taken to go. I gave up my journey and sent the men back--they could keep much closer in shore in their small canoe than we could in the boat and so would not feel the wind so much. I was sorry not to give the people their Xmas communion, but they should have sent me a crew adequate for the journey.
On the last day of the year I went to Belaga for Communion. They sent a crew overland and we took the biabina and went by sea. There is a very nice church here, with an unusual sanctuary, raised up a couple or three steps and each step possible to walk upon. As a rule these steps are very awkward to negotiate, even with empty hands and with a paten or chalice it is simply torture to walk along them. The reredos is of plaited bamboo work, black and white with more or less pattern, but it does not look at all amiss. There were a good number of communicants here, and a large gathering of teachers. They were mostly come to change money. All the offertories in Florida are put together, and once a year any man who has English money can come and buy native money--otherwise exchange,--at a fixed price. This is generally done earlier, about October, but this year it had to be postponed till the end of the year. It enabled me [30/31] to see a lot of teachers, with many of whom I had some talk; but you must understand that I have no direct relations with them. Siota is quite distinct from Florida, Browning is the head of the Florida district, and Comins the head of Siota, neither having jurisdiction over the territory of the other. The teachers are often coming to Siota and making a call; sometimes they will spend a day or two.
After the service at Belaga I went about picking plants for Siota. I want to make a good garden there and we had a great planting when I got back. I had gone to Belaga alone, and left the boys in charge of a native teacher; when I began to enquire about things in my absence I found the little rascals had spent the whole night fishing on the reef, led by a man who ought to have known better. I had to make up my mind on the spot that I would never sleep another night away.
January 2nd.--To-day we began to say mattins in our little chapel. Hitherto we had only a sort of family prayer early in the morning, and evensong. At first short,--mostly the prayers, but gradually expanding to its proper length. We had no prayer books for the boys owing to a mistake at Norfolk Island, and the boys could not understand Mota at first, while many of them could not read. I borrowed books from the Florida teachers as far as I could. I only got five or six and gave them to the boys who knew how to read a little and we had regular practice in the prayerbook until they knew how to follow. Then we taught viva voce all the others till they could take their parts in the service and sing the canticles. It was rather hard work but it paid, for it not only enabled them to join in our worship, but it taught them a good deal of Mota. We have no instrument but we managed to sing at each service a hymn and two canticles. At first I would not allow anything but the melody to be sung and then I picked out a few boys who seemed to be capable and taught them the tenor and the bass. They would often forget their parts and at practice I had to keep dodging about singing their parts to them, now a bit of tenor, then a snatch of bass and going back to sustain the trebles who would be wandering anywhere in the gamut. They did not do badly on the whole, but sometimes I got rather in despair. I need not say we did not change the chants every week.
Only three of my people were communicants, George Basile and his wife (teachers) and one boy who had been baptized and confirmed at a mission station in Queensland--a returned labourer. I wanted to get more frequent celebrations and so I arranged for two in each month, and invited the Florida teachers to come and join us, giving them leave to bring some of their people with them if they felt inclined. At the first about a dozen came, but after that many more. One Sunday I had 60--the chapel was just cramful. The people came mostly by water--a few by land, brought their own provisions and camped out at the boat houses at the beach, and gave me no trouble at all. Sometimes they brought us presents of food. On these Sundays I had a busy time. Celebrations was about 7; at 9 we had mattins in Mota and school followed; then the Florida people had their mattins in their own language and I would preach to them. In the evening we had our own Mota evensong and sermon. In the afternoon the strangers went home if that was not far away, or if it were they would start to spend the night half-way, so as to be back in good time for school on Monday. (To be continued).
Mr. Raymond Gosling in sending to Mr. Tuck his own and his sister's subscription to the Eton St. Barnabas Association, makes the following appeal which will I hope find some hearers who may be able to help the Mission in the way he proposes.
He says: "What I want to know is if I could get a notice or advertisement put in the Mission papers, asking friends of the Mission. (especially those in the Colonies) to send us all the Postage Stamps they can lay their hands on.
My stock is very low, and of the commonest quality. I mean to peg on, but a few ancient and high value stamps, English, Foreign, or Colonial, would be like sweet smelling balm to my Collector buyers. I cannot help thinking that many of the Mission's friends could help as well in this way, and for my part I am always ready to receive gratefully and send out cheerfully to my Collector friends all such stamps. If only we could manage to let the former know of the omniferous appetite in Beckenham." His address is--Raymond Gosling, Esq., Cheverells, Beckenham, Kent.
RAYMOND GOSLING, ESQ., Cheverells, Beckenham, Kent, has kindly offered to receive and dispose of for the benefit of the Mission, any STAMPS, English, Colonial, or Foreign, which may be sent him. Rare and high-value Stamps more especially wanted.
Mrs. J. R. Selwyn will be glad to receive at the Lodge, Selwyn College, Cambridge, anything in the way of Fancy or plain work, for the annual Sale of Work, held in London each April.
Any Ladies who find themselves able to have a Sale of Work for Melanesia, can obtain help towards their sale from the things sent.
A great trouble has befallen the Mission. The Bishop has been compelled to dismiss Mr. Forrest from his work at Santa Cruz under circumstances which left him no option in the matter.
I write this with a grave sense of responsibility, but the Mission has never kept back anything, and it ought not to do so now. A man who has done such work as Mr. Forrest has done, cannot disappear from that work without cause assigned. And I feel sure that the friends of the Mission will learn from this sad ending of a career which not only had promised, but had done so much, how very great is the need for more earnest prayer that God may protect his servants, not only in all bodily dangers but especially in those which assault and hurt the soul, and that He will in His good providence over-rule for good even this which seems so terribly to hinder and mar our work.
Dr. Williams has taken charge of Santa Cruz, and I most earnestly commend him to the prayers of all in his uphill and most difficult task. Need I say I commend Mr. Forrest also.
J. R. SELWYN, BISHOP.