Project Canterbury






MARCH, 1894.



Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge, and late Bishop of Melanesia.






Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of the Province of Melanesia, 2007


The Friends of the Mission are earnestly requested to read the Special Appeal and to distribute these Papers which may be had from MR. PARTRIDGE, Ludlow, at the rate of a single copy 3d., 12 copies for 2/6, 25 copies for 5/-; 50 copies for 7/6' or 100 for 12/6.

The Editor hopes to publish these OCCASIONAL PAPERS from time to time as news reaches him. But communication is so uncertain, as he has pointed out before, that he cannot promise them at fixed periods. The expense of printing and forwarding them to the subscribers is a very serious charge on the Mission Funds. Hitherto, all publications by the Mission have been sent out without charge, and when only the Report and Island Voyage were sent the expense was trifling. But the addition of three or four Occasional Papers in the year is a serious matter. He would therefore be much obliged if all subscribers to the Mission would let him know:--

1. How many copies of the additional Occasional Papers they wish to receive:--and (2) whether they will be willing to pay a small sum say: 2d. or 3d. a copy for them.




Subscriptions and Donations may be sent to:

Treasurer of the Mission,

[3] Our New Bishop.


The papers have long ago given notice that at last a new Bishop has been found for Melanesia, and it is with great thankfulness to Almighty God that I now as it were introduce him to the friends of the Mission, and beg them to continue to him that warm sympathy and support, which I have always experienced and now most gratefully acknowledge.

Cecil Wilson was educated at Tonbridge School where he was a prefect and Captain of the Eleven, and afterwards at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he took his degree in 1882. Alter having been Tutor in the family of Lord Londesborough for a couple of years, he was with Dean Vaughan for a year, and there won the love and esteem of the man who has trained so many men to he true servants of Our Lord. The Dean commended him to the work whereunto he is now called with the warmest God-speed, and tells us that we shall find him "as true as steel" to do whatever lies before him. After his ordination he was Curate for five years with Canon Jacob, at Portsea, and learnt in that vast parish of 35,000 souls, habits of organization and work which cannot but stand him in good stead in his new Diocese. And his former Vicar also commends him to us with words of special love and trust. Thence he was sent by the Bishop of Winchester to take charge of the important Parish of Moordown, the working man's suburb of Bournemouth.

Here also he has made good proof of his ministry, and the crowded meeting in which his people met me to hear about his new work, though they freely and willingly gave him up to it, showed unmistakable signs of their affection and trust in him.

It may be thought that being barely 33, he is young for such a post, but all those who know the Mission well are convinced, that the work is so hard, and requires such activity and endurance, that the man must be young who undertakes it. And indeed this is following the traditions of the Mission. Bishop Selwyn was 32 when he was consecrated, Bishop Patteson 34, Bishop John Selwyn 32 3/4, so that Mr. Wilson just keeps up the average.

It only remains to add that the Archbishop of Canterbury, as one of the nominators received him most kindly when I presented him on January 5th, and sent him forth from the Chapel at Addington with the fulness of prayers and blessing; so that Mr. Wilson goes out with the Mission of the Head of the English Church, and the full sanction of his own Diocesan the Bishop of Winchester, to be consecrated by the New Zealand Bishops to the work unto "which he is called."


By the kind permission of the Editor of Church Bells we are able to give the Portrait of MR. WILSON, which appeared in that Paper.

[5] Special Notice.


Mr. Wilson intends to sail for New Zealand in the Austral, on April 20th, which will, it is hoped, enable him to be consecrated on St. Barnabas' Day, June 11th. Most of our readers will be aware that this is the day on which ever since 1842 the friends of the Bishop of New Zealand and of the Mission have met to hear news of the work, and pray for its success.

It is intended to hold a Meeting in London, (D.V.) on April 5th, (Bishop G. A. Selwyn's birthday), at 3 p.m. at the Church House. We earnestly hope that all friends of the Mission in and about London will be able to attend, to greet the new Bishop.

I now venture to make a SPECIAL APPEAL to the friends of the Mission. It will have been noticed that the funds for the last two years have been at a very low ebb, and there is now an overdraft at the Bank of £700 or £800. This deficit has arisen from two main causes. (1)--Extra expenses connected with the sending out the New Ship: and (2)--the great financial crisis which has swept over Australia.

I do not think that there has been any waste or extravagance on the part of the Mission. The expenses have been cut down to the lowest possible point. The staff have subscribed out of their scanty incomes, a sum of £150 to send the ship to the Church Congress at Hobart, in hopes of stirring up further interest in the Australian Church. An effort is being made in New Zealand to reduce the deficit. My people in Melanesia still look to me as de facto, though not de jure, their Bishop to help them in this strait. May I then, as the last act which I shall do in that capacity, ask those who read this to make a great effort to raise a thousand pounds--£1,000; so that on the 5th April I may resign my charge free and unencumbered into Mr. Wilson's hands. I ask your prayers that this may be accomplished.

Towards this the promises stand as follows:--

Mrs. Balston £25.
Bishop and Mrs. Selwyn £50.
A Lady if £975 is raised £25.
Earl of Powis £10.
Rev. E. Peek £20.
[Total] £130.

Donations may be sent to me, or to:--


Selwyn College, Cambridge.

[6] We continue the Extracts from the Bishop of Tasmania's Journal and Letters, published in the Church News of the Diocese of Tasmania.

They will be followed by other Extracts, and it is hoped that the Bishop will publish them in a collected form.


"The Light of Melanesia."



(42 schools; 2,652 baptised persons; 3,682 attending services; about 3,000 heathens.)

Directly north of the New Hebrides, and at no great distance, a cluster of coral islands appears on the horizon. There are nine of these, excluding some that are very small. Formerly they were inhabited by as savage natives as any in these seas: but the Mission has taken so great a hold here that it is only in Santa Maria and Vanua Lava that any heathens can be said to remain, and these are the two largest islands. Wondrous are the shapes of the masses piled up in this region. Volcanic originally, the old craters are now fringed, where it is possible, with coral rocks which afford in only too many places no safe anchorage even for a boat. Meralava is an extinct volcano 3,000 feet high, without a foot of level ground to all appearance. The steep incline plunges on all sides into the sea depths, and the "Southern Cross" has never found any spot where she can drop her anchor. Vanua Lava still smokes in places, the hot sulphurous steam telling of the fire that used to blaze but is now extinguished. Rowa is a recent coral island almost level with the ocean surface; the shallow lagoons swarm with fish inside the barrier reef. Ureparapara presents an unique spectacle, for the old crater has broken out at one side, and the ship sails for a mile and a half into the heart of the mountain, finding no soundings until she has reached a little patch at the very end of this huge lake-like expanse. All around the precipitous sides, once a wall of scoria and lava, are now clothed from top to bottom with all the varied hues of tropical vegetation and gardens of cocoanuts and bananas. To the uninitiated eye, such slopes seem incapable of cultivation; but to the native they are his special delight for this purpose.

It is in such scenery as this that the Mission is doing its work. And it is the object of the following papers to take each island by itself, and to tell all that is known of its history and of the dawn of better days, when Christ's Gospel has banished the constant wars and murders which obtained of old, substituting the life hid with Christ in God; but, at the same time, interfering as little as possible with the customs of the natives.

[7] THE ISLAND OF MOTA (Banks Group).

(7 schools; 720 baptised persons; 178 scholars; 40 unbaptised; no heathens.)

This island, though by no means the largest in the group, merit the first place. No spot in the whole extent of the Mission has so settled a Christian life, and its language has virtually from the first been made the form of speech for Mission teaching at Norfolk Island. I have enquired whether this action was taken after definite deliberation. But I am told that hardly so much as that can be alleged in its favour. Indeed, in the early days at S. John's College, Auckland, there was a short period during which a Solomon Island dialect was likely to be taken as the basis of communication. But in a short while Mota boys arrived in considerable numbers; their language commended itself by its richness in particles and prepositions, and gradually it established itself as worthy of the first place. Mota is really a volcano, long ago extinct, rising out of a plain of flat land round its base. Possibly a mile or two of level plain girdles the original hill, and I suspect that masses of coral reef, upraised in the course of centuries, are answerable for this level surface, carrying the old volcano with it in its upward trend. There is one great drawback to life here: there is no water except what may be found in holes in the coral, or saved after rain. It has been no uncommon thing for the clergyman in charge, whilst he has been staying here, to take the clothes that needed washing, and also every available cask and braker, and transport himself in his boat to Vanua Lava, a distance of seven miles, in order to provide himself with clean garments and a sufficiency of pure liquid for his tea for the next few days to be spent in Mota. The natives, of course, subsist at such times on cocoanut milk: they can even drink brackish water: but neither of these have been found to brew good tea or coffee. To those who know the island as it is now it is hardly possible to credit the history of this spot 35 years ago.

In 1857 Bishop Selwyn took off from Port Patteson in Vanua Lava, seven miles off, two lads who ventured on board and were willing to stay. One of these was George Sarawia, a name known now to all who have heard of the Mission as the most faithful and consistent of all the native clergy. George, who was a Mota boy, relates how when the sun went down that night a great fear fell on him as he looked round the strange craft and unfamiliar faces. He thought his last hour was come. When evening prayers began he believed that after this religious ceremony he would be killed. He was down below and could not find his way upon deck: but the evening passed without mishap, and his doubts were dissipated. The next eight months he spent in New Zealand: then he returned to a school that had been started at Lifu. After this he remained under the care of Patteson, who helped to instill into him some of that sweetness of disposition which was his, and which is discernible in George--partly natural, and partly, I doubt not, the work of grace under the striking personality of his beloved master, the future Bishop. It is strange to those who know George now, to hear that at this time for one season he went home and was engaged in a fight and was wounded. He was the first baptised convert from the Banks Group, his baptism dating 1863. In 1865 he was confirmed and became a communicant. [7/8] He was ordained deacon in 1868, and priest in 1873. He has always been the chief influence for good in Mota. His hair is now turning gray; no one who has met him can help calling him "dear George." His goodness and consistency appear in all he says and does.

It is not unfitting that I should dwell at some length on one who was the first fruits of the Banks Islands, and a native of Mota. Bishop Selwyn says that on the day George came on board in 1857 he thought it advisable not to land as the people were so wild; but many swam out to the ship, and so they exchanged presents.

Five years passed, and in 1862 Bishop Patteson relates what the natives supposed him to be when he first landed. They knew he was not a man like themselves: he was the ghost of a man named Porisris come back to life again. This was clear, because as soon as Patteson had landed he walked in to the house of the deceased man quite naturally. This belief that the white man is a ghost accounts for some of the attacks made upon the clergy in old days; for the natives fired their arrows, alleging that no such missiles could really injure a spirit returned from the unseen world. Soon after these days a school was formed at Mota on the same principle as one already mentioned at Lifu, and probably the choice of Mota was influenced by the fact that such a harbour as Port Patteson was so near. Scholars from other islands were brought here and were cared for by Patteson, assisted by Dudley and Pritt, two of the early staff, in place of sailing all the way to New Zealand. Some of the boys had been trained partly in New Zealand; and Patteson relates how the heathen boys looked on in silent wonder whilst these maturer scholars cooked the food for all, washed up the utensils, and worked happily and methodically. Patteson says emphatically that these boys of his on this still savage island were acquiring insensibly the tone of a good English public school; they would of themselves put down lying, and stealing, and impurity. Thus the first island school took its rise. Yet the island was by no means full of Christians. No one stirred without bows and arrows. It was in these early days that a man used to say to Patteson, "May I walk with you to-day?" They accompanied him perhaps for two miles, and then confessed that they had never dared to travel so far before from their doors. On another occasion a boy lost his way entirely three-quarters of a mile from his home, for he had never left his village to go such a distance before. Patteson had noticed how, when a woman went a distance of 150 yards to get water in a bamboo from a hole in the rock, her husband followed her with his bow and arrows, to cover her retreat in case she were attacked. Such details will not be thought unnecessary. They help us to bring vividly before our eyes the life of uncertainty and danger from which Christ's Gospel has freed these people for ever.

Have my readers ever attempted to realise the difficulty met with by those who have to speak of ideas common enough to our apprehension, but lying far outside the ken of a native's life?

The figure of God as a loving Shepherd--how can it be brought home to one who has seen no four-footed animal except a pig? How can the phraise "the Lamb of God," with all its profound lessons, be explained? Patteson gives us a forcible illustration of these difficulties by telling us that one day he began to teach a very able lad [8/9] named Henry Qaratu, a native of Mota, the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven. He began to read the first words in the Gospel narrative--"The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto"--then it flashed upon him how little knowledge such a lad could possess of what a kingdom meant--a lad who knew no area larger than his little village. The Bishop relates how it took him one and a-half hours a day for a fortnight to explain the new ideas which were implied in a term which opened up so infinitely larger a conception of the world, and of the unseen future, and its duties and ideals. It was not wasted time, let us be sure. It had far-reaching results, and established a basis for that higher teaching which revealed the world as potentially a great family--not at war, but living in peace and goodwill under the sheltering care of the Heavenly Father. Nine more years passed. It was now the beginning of 1871, a year never to be forgotten in the Mission. Work had been steadily proceeding; and now a great awakening was at hand. Many in Mota said--so writes the Bishop--"I see it all, and don't doubt it at all. I see that Jesus, whom the Father sent to be our Saviour, appointed baptism for the remission of sins, for gathering us into the body of the Faithful. But it is so great a thing--it is so weighty that I fear lest I should break my promise, lest I should go back to my old ways." The Bishop was there to give them comfort, and the early months of that year saw the baptism in Mota of 293 persons: 17 were boys from George Sarawia's school; 41 were grown-up men and women; the rest were infants, whom the parents had promised to bring up as Christian children. We can see how God had sent this best of all encouragements to his servant, already worn with sickness, and prematurely old. The Bishop knew not, however, how soon the call would come to summon him to lay down his task on earth. It was but a few weeks after he had seen the fruits of his labours at Mota, ere he met a martyr's death at the hands of men for whom, as the inscription upon his memorial cross says so well--"For whom he would have gladly given his life."

And what was the effect at Mota of the Bishop's death? Consternation and doubt. They were among the first to hear the news. The vessel stood away from Nukapu for the Banks Islands, and not far from Mota, Joseph Atkin and Stephen Taromara died of tetanus, and were committed to the deep.

Some said now that the Bishop was dead the mission would come to an end. The boys that were at Norfolk Island would never return. At the peril of his life, George Sarawia went from island to island in the group, and explained that the work was God's work and that it would continue. When they threatened him with death, he said: "If you have any other reason for killing me, do so, but your boys are safe at Mota and at Norfolk Island."

The martyr death of the Bishop had, indeed, the usual results. It strengthened, and did not in the end weaken the Church. That very year 53 more adults were baptised at Mota and at a general muster of the schools in the island there were found to be 333 scholars, with 21 teachers.

The history, however, of Christian life is never without its recurring trials for the faith of God's children. Hardly two years elapsed when, in 1873, disease swept through the island. In three months 70 [9/10] baptised Christians died, and those who know natives best will realise how easily they suspect in these visitations the working of charms and spells. The deaths of those who were still heathens would quickly be laid at the doors of the Christians, and vengeance vowed against "the new teaching." Added to this, during the same year, or within a few months, a hurricane devastated the island and destroyed the crops and blew down the houses. It was a hard trial for the native deacon, George Sarawia. But he bore it well; and in the same year he was called to the priesthood, "having used the office of a deacon well, being found blameless."

Throughout these years, and indeed ever since, the Rev. J. Palmer was in charge of the schools in the Banks Group. He has many stories about his Mota people. At times he used to hold school in the open air. This had its advantages, but also its drawbacks. On one occasion he began his lesson thus--"I cannot begin, for I see some one smoking!" On another occasion he asked a child why he washed himself, expecting a very obvious answer; but the child replied, "To come to school." So Palmer ventured on another question--" I suppose you do not wash on Saturdays then" (when there is no school)? "No," said the child, readily, and the answer was received with a burst of laughter from his companions.

The whole island is now Christian. George Sarawia does not lord it over his people, and therefore it comes to pass that he is sent for to compose quarrels, and is the valued adviser of all. In 1891 the Rev. T. G. Cullwick inaugurated a fresh advance in common, corporate life. On the festival of S. Philip and S. James there was a great meeting at the central place. The day began with a celebration of the Holy Communion, then followed the election of a sort of parliament of head men in each centre, and to this body were delegated powers for the benefit of the community. It is difficult to realise a greater change than such a scene presents from that state of things of which I have already spoken in 1857. In some 30 years the power of the Holy Spirit has transformed this island so that were the old inhabitants to rise from the graves they would not recognise their old homes. It is not because the people have been Anglicised, or made the slaves of the white man, or dress very differently, for they are unchanged in this, but because those who were once heathens are now Christians.

One of the teachers whom I met had a strange adventure with a shark at Mota. He was fishing in his canoe with his foot in the water. Suddenly a shark appeared, and pressed his nose against his foot. The boy sat still and with the point of his paddle gently pressed down the shark's head; but in a moment he re-appeared, and again began rubbing against the canoe apparently in a sportive vein. But the boy did not enjoy the fun; and by degrees he edged away, and finally slipped into the water at the approach of another canoe, and escaped in that whilst the shark proceeded to tumble his old canoe over and over in play until it was broken to pieces.

I spent a very happy Sunday at Mota holding a large confirmation in the open air. The altar was erected under a palm tree, and some 400 or 500 people were present. I slept in the house built by the Rev. J. Palmer; and though the rats scampered about at night they did not nibble at my feet, though Mr. Palmer was not so fortunate. I shall not easily forget the merry dances of the children on the [10/11] Saturday evening in the moonlight, singing songs the while; and I wish the tunes could have been taken down, for they were full of beauty, whilst they differed in character from English music. On all sides there was friendliness. On one occasion, as I was standing conversing with some of the people (through an interpreter), I received a message to ask if I would walk over to a group of men .who had come from the other end of the island for, so the message ran, "they wish to look at you." I gladly obeyed, and I trust I was able to contribute to their amusement and edification. A few weeks afterwards, on the return of the Southern Cross from the north, I spent another night here; and on this occasion I was fortunate enough to see a sight of which I had heard much, but never hoped to behold. At 9 o'clock in the evening, George Sarawia came to say--"They expect the "Un" to come in to-morrow morning at about 3 o'clock, when the moon is above the trees." Let me explain for the benefit of my readers that I was about to witness one of the most curious phenomena in nature, at least so it seems to be in my opinion. In the South Seas, along the coral reefs, there appears on certain special occasions a sort of sea worm which is born in the interstices of the coral. It is a long thread-like thing, sometimes a foot in length, white in colour, and so thin that it often breaks in the hands when lifted up. These creatures make their appearance on only two or three occasions in the year. These visits can be calculated with great exactness; they come at a certain phase of the moon, and at night; a month elapses, and again they appear at the same time, to the very day and hour. This happens on only three nights in the year, and in the Banks Group it is during October or November.

At 2 a.m. we were stumbling over rough coral in the bush; the coral was strewn with leaves and rendered invisible, thereby a most painful sort of roadway. By the help of a lantern we made our way to the shore, from which already shouts were heard in all directions.

Far along to the right and left, lights were twinkling along the reefs; these were torches made of dry brushwood, which burnt with great brilliancy, and lighted up the waves as they broke upon the shore. We hurried up to a group of men and women, who were standing up to their knees in water lining the sides of the deep channels in the coral reef. These channels are in themselves full of interest; often not more than five or six feet wide, they are as much as ten and twelve feet deep, and transparently clear, so that one feels as if it were a precipice more than a channel of water. As the fishers waved their torches and held them up over their heads we could see that the water was full of myriads of long thread-like creatures, twisting and turning in all directions and carried backwards and forwards in the wash of the waves. Some men had large flat nets made of a sort of rough muslin, with which they skimmed off hundreds of the worms and transferred them to pots; others simply dipped their hands among these creatures and took them out. Now and again they would burst into a native song, which would be taken up by the others, and the sound would float away until it mingled with the voices of others who were plying their strange task further along these shores. I was given to understand that the same scene was being enacted on all the shores of the Banks Islands on this night. When daylight comes these coral worms vanish, nor do they appear again for a month, returning with such regularity when the [11/12] moon is right for them, that it seems as if I were telling a fairy tale, rather than recounting an actual adventure. Under another name the "un" is known well in Fiji, and, I suppose, in all the coral islands of these seas. I ought to have mentioned that in walking quickly along the sandy beach we had passed what looked like a number of mats thrown carelessly about. In reality these were the coverings drawn over men and women and children, who were asleep in the holes which they had made in the sand. The whole population seemed to have streamed down to the shore to aid in this strange annual harvest of worms, and though the mats were lying level with the ground, the appearance of a toe here and there peeping out at one corner revealed the fact of sleeping occupants, and fortunately prevented us from treading upon our friends, who were sleeping the sleep of the just. We returned in due time to our beds, and in the morning at breakfast time I gave one of the most signal proofs of courage that I can remember. I asked if I might taste the "un" caught that morning. I asked thoughtlessly, and in a short time a little green bundle of leaves was brought in. I opened it, and saw inside what looked like a little heap of green lobworms. It was too late to retract; my honour was at stake. Therefore, closing my eyes, I boldly took a mouthful and swallowed it. The taste was not unpleasant, resembling shell fish in the shape of vermicelli. I may mention here, that one of the regular signs of Christian life, and one of the most delightful to contemplate, is the daily gathering of the whole community for their morning and evening prayer in their Church. At about 7 a.m. the church is filled; each man and women kneels on entering; nor during the service is such a thing so much as heard of that any one should sit during prayer. A hymn is sung, together with one of the canticles; one of the daily lessons is read, and a shortened form of daily prayer is said by the clergyman or teacher in charge. The same obtains at about 7 o'clock every evening. Such a custom is universal among all the hundreds of schools in Melanesia, carrying out the Church's rule of daily prayer in a manner which would astonish many of our own church people who have never known such a rule for themselves. Every custom has of course it dangers, I imagine that such regular united worship twice a day may easily check in some cases the spontaneous outpouring of the soul in individual private devotion. But this tendency is well known, and can be counteracted. No one can fail to be touched and to be deeply thankful to hear, as one sails along the shores of one of these islands, say, at sunset, the call to prayer in some village hidden among the cocoanuts: it may be the tinkling of a small bell or the boom of a native conch shell. It proclaims that family prayer is about to begin, and that the Heavenly Father is not so forgotten ere the people retire to slumber. The number of the baptised at Mota at this time is 720. The actual scholars in school are 178. There are but 40 left who are as yet uubaptised in Mota. It should be stated also that holy baptism is preceded by a most careful examination: at the service itself each adult candidate answers each of the four questions singly by himself, no matter how great the numbers are. With regard to Mota, be it recorded to its honour, the people have always been ready to go out in the true missionary spirit as teachers to other islands. At the present time there are 13 Mota teachers engaged in other islands, some of them as far away as the Solomons. (To be continued).

[13] "The Light of Melanesia."




11 schools; 500 baptised Christians; 226 scholars in school; 1,017 attending services; 1,833 heathens).

Santa Maria is one of the largest of the Banks Group, sharing the distinction of size with Vanua Lava. Its name suggests, what is the fact, that the Spaniards named it at the same time that they discovered Spiritu Santo, one of the Hebrides, which adjoins it. It is some 12 miles in length, and at the northern end there are two volcanic peaks about six miles apart. Between these two summits there is now a large and deep lake, which is supposed to be the ancient crater, or, perhaps, it may be two craters burst into one vast chasm.

The larger islands in Melanesia have been as a rule the most difficult for the Mission. The four of the Banks Group, which are entirely Christian, are among the four smallest, but on Santa Maria there are still 1,833 heathens. Thirty years ago the Mission gained a hold on this island by obtaining a few boys for instruction; these have now become 500, and these figures may be more than doubled if all who attend the services, and are soon to be baptised, are taken into account, and let it be remembered that this work has been done principally by native Christians themselves: this the glory of the Mission. Having reached in these papers one of the larger islands, it is fitting to call attention, at once, to the difficulties which beset mission work in such places. The superintending clergyman is acquainted with the whole island, and, therefore, it is possible to give accurate statistics. But his difficulty is connected with the language. It is hard for English people to realise that the natives live in such an isolated manner in their villages that a dialect spoken in one village is unintelligible in another two miles off. They are of course dialects, but so diverse that they are practically a bar to communication. Santa Maria has three distinct districts marked by differences of speech and manners. On the N.E. Gaua, on the west Lakona, and Koro on the south. Lakona is the best known to traders and labour vessels, because there is a watering-place on this side: and it is common to hear them speak of the island of Lakona. To the Mission the east coast is the most inaccessible. It feels the full force of the trade wind, and hardly presents any anchorage or harbour, even for a whaleboat. It is a most serious drawback, and it is not surprising that this is the side where schools are most difficult to plant. Of course the elder Selwyn landed on Santa Maria. I do not find that he ever passed any of these islands without going ashore. It must have been about 1855, that he was at Lakona, where there is now a flourishing school. Just to the north of the landing-place there is a rock jutting out into the sea, called now "Cock Sparrow Point." The Spaniards tell us that from this point they were fired at by the natives, and it is remarkable that they treated Selwyn in the same manner from the same spot. He had succeeded in landing safely lower down, but, on returning, the young sparks had rushed on ahead, burning to kill the intruders.

[14] In the same year Bishop Selwyn landed at Gaua (on the N.E.) for the first time, and was met by an excited crowd of natives, all armed, who rushed down to meet the white man. Selwyn took a bow out of a man's hand and drew with it a line upon the sand, and explained by signs that he and they should severally keep upon opposite sides of it. Those who were present say that by the innate dignity of his presence, and his calm and courteous bearing, he entirely succeeded in his overcoming their suspicions. Patteson, who was present, gave a fish-hook to one of the natives. Years afterwards Marauvelav, a teacher, told the future Bishop that it was he who had received the present.

There are no natives in the group so quarrelsome as the Santa Maria folk, especially at Gaua, the eastern section. Murders have been very common here. As I was standing on the beach at Gaua, I was told how Qaratu, one of our teachers, was an eye-witness, on that very spot, of a death under peculiar distressing circumstances. A man a little way inland had killed another. The relatives of the murdered man, of course, vowed vengeance, but as they were unable to capture the actual offender they determined to attack some relative. Just after this a brother of the offender returned from Brisbane, where he had been labouring for some time, and was, of course, absolutely ignorant of what had happened at Gaua. He had just landed, and was standing on the beach beside his box, Baratu being close to him, when the latter heard some one say, "Stand firm." Instantly there was a report of a gun, and the poor returned labourer fell dead where he had been standing. Shocking as these cases are, much as they remind us of the death of Bishop Patteson, let us at least remember that for these poor savages there is no regular court of justice. The only reparation possible is that which is enforced by private individuals, and an "eye for an eye" is the rule. The people at Lakona, on the western side, seem to be as fond of a fight as the proverbial Irishman. On such occasions they go to work systematically, and mark out a definite fighting ground; sometimes they will break off by consent and arrange to begin again on a specified day. What is still more curious, is that when such a battle is announced the young men of a neighbouring village, who have nothing to do with the quarrel, will take their bows and arrows and start off to take part in the conflict. Strangest of all, is the fact that such a party, who go from sheer love of fighting, usually divide into two parties, and choose to oppose each other. The division is made by the two sides of the house according to the native marriage laws, both sides being always of necessity represented in every village; and an explanation of this custom will be given in another place. If one of these light-hearted warriors kills one of his own people he never returns again to his village.

It may be of interest also to describe a method of dunning unwilling debtors at Lakona; civilised nations might well take a hint and adopt the same process. If payment cannot be obtained from a man, the people who are interested make up a party and quietly encircle the debtor's house at night, sleeping all round it. In the morning they commence living upon the man's substance, and they continue to billet themselves upon him till he pays the debt. The food consumed during these raids is not considered in the payment of the sum owed. I am told also that throughout the Banks Group when a man borrows a sum [14/15] of money he pays the interest beforehand, and it is conceivable that he may be unable to borrow altogether if he has not sufficient to pay the interest before anything is entrusted to him.

When I landed at Lakona the boat was still in the water, and a man came forward and offered to carry me ashore. I discovered afterwards that this individual was an interesting character. The people of Lakona and Koro had a fight a few years ago: the man I alluded to, a native of Koro, happened to kill a man. The Lakona men sent a message to Koro to say that there were only two courses open to the individual who had taken their friend's life. He would either be killed in revenge some day, however long they might have to wait; or else he might, if he chose, come over to them, give up Koro, and become a Lakona man, taking the place of the deceased, marrying his wife, adopting his children, and accepting his property. Accordingly, knowing that there was really no alternative, he came and took up all the privileges of his opponent, and I saw him happy and contented on the day of which I speak. The death of the fortunate might in our day become too common if the murderer were always rewarded with the goods of his victim.

There is one native custom which has to some degree held its own since the introduction of the "New Teaching." Dr. Codrington says:--"It was a matter of principle with Bishop Patteson not to interfere in an arbitrary manner with the institutions of the people, but to leave it to their own sense of right and wrong, and their own knowledge of the character of what they did, to condemn or to tolerate what their growing enlightenment would call in question. So there arose among his early pupils the doubt whether it would be right for them as Christians to continue members of the 'Tamate' societies, to seek admission into them, and frequent their lodges. The Bishop put it to them that they should enquire and consult among themselves about the real character of the societies: Did they offer worship and prayer to ghosts and spirits? Were they required to take part in anything indecent or atrocious? Did membership involve any profession or belief or practice of superstition peculiar to the members? After consultation, they reported to him that they could not discover anything wrong in itself, except the pretence of association with ghosts which had already ceased to be serious, and the beating and robbing of the uninitiated, which it was quite possible for them to refuse to take part in and to oppose. The Bishop therefore would not condemn the societies." This extract is given to show the principles of the Mission in such matters. The "Tamate" is the secret society which exists in some form in many groups of these islands. No women or children are ever permitted to be initiated, or to watch any of the details of its working. The members dress up in grotesque head-pieces, and in a kind of petticoat of banana fibre. They have their house, which is approached by paths, guarded with signs, denoting that none but members may approach. From time to time uncouth figures, clad in masks, issue forth and dance, and sometimes beat and rob those they meet. The house of the Tamate is called the Salogoro. Here persons are initiated, and sometimes they are compelled to remain within the house for periods varying from six to a hundred days. In the absence of people with authority in these islands, such a secret society has a [15/16] salutary effect. For instance, one day a man had been wounded; next morning the cry went forth that the Tamate were out. The society had made it a rule that bows and fighting arrows were not to be used, following the teaching of Bishop Patteson. Thus a rude justice was maintained, which would seem impossible otherwise, for in the Banks Group, there never have been chiefs who are invested with any real power. A boy is at an early age independent of all authority, and protects himself with his own bow and arrow. The Salogoro of the Tamate is used as a kind of club-house for the members. Here they can live if they choose, and cook their food and pass their time. Of late it appears that these rites have injured the schools by the length of time over which they extend. A meeting of the Christians was held in order so to modify their customs as to make them innocent. I believe the course proposed by the teachers was adopted readily.

I have presented a complete Tamate dress to the museum at Hobart. It was given me by the Rev. T. C. Cullwick.

The schools in Santa Maria now number eleven. They are pretty evenly distributed, except upon the eastern side. Here the coral reef presents no boat harbour, and the trade wind brings a heavy surf up. The people, however, have asked for a teacher, which means that they definitely desire to become Christians. On the north-east shore of this island there is a barrier reef, through which there is a channel with a safe anchorage inside it. It is always a treat to watch the captain of the Southern Cross bringing his vessel to anchorage here and taking her out. It requires considerable skill, but it is always effected with ease. I have already mentioned feats of swimming on the part of natives; here is another story. A story is told of a woman of Mota, who was displeased with the treatment she received from her husband; she took to the sea and probably intended reaching Vanua Lava, which is only seven miles off, and has often been reached by persecuted wives. But in this case the tide drifted the woman away, helped by a strong sea breeze, and she landed on Santa Maria, near Lakona, having accomplished a distance of 20 miles. She took up her residence at Lakona, and her descendants record her exploit to this day. On the morning that I landed at Lakona, there was to be a solemn service of baptism. Some twenty-six adults were baptised by the Rev. T. C. Cullwick. The church was crowded, and afterwards the enclosure in front of the building was filled with picturesque groups of Christians, whilst from the little plateau where the church and school stand, lovely views are to be obtained over the bay and forest-clad cliffs, and the blue sea beyond. At Koro we visited the school, and there met Baratu, whose name has already been mentioned. The next day we entered the reef at Gaua and visited the North-Eastern schools. Some weeks afterwards we were off these shores again and watered the ship at "Black Beach": the scene is depicted in one of the best photographs we took during the tour. Several of the clergy have made expeditions to the lake on the plateau, near the old volcanic peaks, and when I come to discourse upon the doings of the mythical personage named Qat, the lake in question will take a prominent place in the story of that remarkable individual. The waters of the lake discharge themselves into the sea by a magnificent waterfall. I think it will be granted that such an island is a field in itself for a white clergyman. [16/17] But it is only one of a large group under one white member of the Mission. It is a heavy responsibility, and indeed there is not one of these workers who does not need our earnest prayers for health and strength and zeal to break down all barriers and bring all under the yoke of Christ.



(3 schools; 140 baptised persons; 84 scholars; 170 listeners; 392 heathens. The Rev. William Vaget, a Deacon, is in charge).

For strangeness of form, Merelava and Ureparapara divide the honours in this Banks Group of islands. No one who has sailed close by these two places is ever likely to forget them. Merelava is the most southern of the group, and not more than 20 miles from Aurora, the most northern of the New Hebrides. On the occasion when I first approached it, I had been busy writing in the cabin, and had not observed that we were approaching this old volcano. It was as well that it was so. On coming on deck I found myself within a couple of miles of one of the most striking objects I have ever witnessed. Before my eyes there towered a precipitous mass, sloping sharply up to a height of 3,000 feet, straight from the sea level. There appeared to be not a single yard of level ground. There was no break in the precipitous ascent up to the summit. The whole of this vast mass was coated with the greenest of vegetation up to the old crater. Just a patch of bare earth (scoria and lava) was visible up in the clouds. I had no time to ascend to the top, but I am informed that a deep crater, with perpendicular walls on one side still exists; or rather there is a crater within a crater, the inner one being complete in shape. It is the habit of boys to run races round this vast basin.

The ship gradually approached the mountain, and then I discovered that there was no anchorage whatever. The steep slope of the hill is apparently continued under the surface of the sea. At any rate, there are no practicable soundings anywhere, and the ship hangs on and off till the boat returns. Au old lava stream, stiffened into a mass of sharp edges and contorted edges, serves as a landing-stage. And on this dark ledge, reminding me of the general shape of the Giants Causeway in Ireland (though one is mere lava and the other crystallised basalt), the greater part of the population usually assembles, clad in bright colours, so far as they are clad at all. It forms a beautiful picture in the tropical sunlight, framed in blue sea on one side, and green forest on the other. It is all the more pleasant to visit Merelava, because the people are so warm-hearted and affectionate. They have ever borne this character, and the work of the Mission is bright with hope for the future. I have not mentioned before that on every island in these parts there are returned labourers. I learnt that from this mere speck in the ocean, for instance, there were at the time of my landing fifty-five labourers absent, chiefly working in Fiji. I met many who could talk English, and a friend who could talk Fijian found no difficulty in discoursing with a great many of the people. One idea may safely be banished for ever, namely, that these islanders do not understand what the labour traffic means. I have no hesitation in [17/18] saying that every one understands all that it means. But the subject of the labour traffic demands an article to itself, and I return to the history of Merelava. The first boys were taken to Kohimarama about the year 1864. In 1866, when the settlement at Norfolk Island was commenced, a pair of twins were among those who were permitted to leave Merelava, and were among the first who settled in the new Mission school But, in 1867, just a year after the happy opening of the new venture in that lovely Paradise of the southern ocean, typhoid fever broke out in the Mission. I believe the disease was traced without any doubt to the Norfolk Islanders. During the course of the fever these twins from Merelava both died. They had endeared themselves to all who knew them, and great was the sorrow when it pleased God to take them to Himself. The news had to be carried to their island home. When it had been told, a younger brother in the same family, Marau by name, jumped into the boat, seated himself by the Bishop, took his hand, and could not be induced to leave him. The uncle of the boy, grieved at the death of the two others, and believing that the Bishop had made the first move in desiring to take away another member of the same family, became very angry, and would have attacked the boat, possibly with very serious consequences, had not the rest of the people, seeing how matters were, and perceiving that it was the boy's own expressed wish, held back the infuriated relative. Marau was brought to Norfolk Island. In due time he was baptised as Clement, and at this time he is known as the Rev. Clement Marau, the ablest of all the native clergy, a beautiful musician, playing both upon the organ and the violin. Clement also has shown the true missionary spirit. He has gone to Ulaua in the Solomon Islands, there we shall hear of him again.

But the first school on Merelava was begun by those willing teachers, the natives of Mota and Motlav. They continued the work until a boy named William Vaget returned from Norfolk Island. It was my privilege to ordain William Vaget a deacon at Norfolk Island in the Mission Chapel; and to bring him to Merelava and introduce him to his own people as their first ordained clergyman; and afterwards I returned, after an absence of a few weeks, and confirmed ten of his people. There are now 3 schools on the island; 140 people are baptised; the schools contain 84 young scholars, though the total of those who are under some amount of instruction is 170. There are, however, still 392 heathens. But I believe these will soon be won to acknowledge the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as their God and Lord. There has always existed a kindly spirit among these people. We are told that some 40 years ago a whaleboat, with a crew of five men, landed here, and on this still heathen island they were kindly received, and were eventually taken off by another ship.

The school village where William Vaget lives is reached by a lovely path which ascends through glades of forest trees and palms until the visitor is landed on a small flat spot dug out of the mountain. The prospect is magnificent, overlooking the sea, with the islands of this group and of the Hebrides dotted over its surface. The gardens of the natives, steep enough in most islands, seem here to be almost perpendicular against the sides of this magnificent old volcano. I have written this article, feeling that there is a romance about this spot [18/19] which appeals strongly to my feelings; and I should be glad if my words have helped the friends of the Mission to realise this particular centre of our work. Merelava is indeed a worthy warder, standing guard over the Banks Islands as the Mission ship sails north after leaving the New Hebrides. It is remarkable that the northernmost point of the same group should be another solitary volcano even more remarkable, namely, Ureparapara. Some weeks afterwards, when I was passing a few hours on a labour vessel in Vila Harbour, in the New Hebrides, I met several Merelava men and one or two women also. They were perfectly happy, having engaged themselves with a complete knowledge of the work that was expected of them. The ship was taking them to Queensland, though as a rule the Merelava people have chosen Fiji as their usual wage-earning centre. The ship had come into port in search of a doctor, for the Government Agent had been stabbed by one of the labourers. Of course the first thought was that it was a case of revenge upon one who had been kidnapping an unsuspecting man. But it was nothing of the kind. The man was mad; and after handing the Agent £2 to keep for him, he drew his knife and struck him. The rest of the labourers were so indignant that it was with difficulty they were prevented from throwing him at once into the sea. Nothing could have been happier than the relations between the Captain and the Agent and all who were on board.



(1 school; 3 baptised persons; 22 scholars; 35 Church attendants; no heathens).

Merig is a miniature Mota. Indeed, if report says true, a former captain of the Southern Cross once insisted that Merig was not itself but Mota, and was much confounded when he discovered his error. It is needless to say that the present captain of the Mission ship is incapable of such a mistake. But it is a fact that Merig is a miniature Mota. It has the same sort of extinct volcano as a centre; then, in place of exhibiting precipitous slopes descending into the sea, such as at Merelava, it has a fair margin of level land on all sides, probably a coral reef raised gradually in the course of centuries. I suppose the entire length of the island cannot be more than a mile-and-a-half. When the ship is some 10 miles distant, Merelava and Merig present a strange contrast (they are only separated by about 12 miles of water). Merelava towers into the sky like a huge monster, visible for 60 miles on each side. Merig at even 10 miles distance shows none of its flat land, and looks like a solitary point of rock set up by itself in the ocean. There is no more inaccessible spot than this little island. There is nothing approaching even to a boat harbour. All around, the coral ridges descend steep into the sea, and the surf thunders perpetually on them as the trade wind and current drive past this islet on to the shores of Santa Maria westward. There is not even a spot where the clergyman's whaleboat can be drawn up for the night. It is but rarely, therefore, that he can pay a visit here of more than a few hours' duration. To anchor a boat in deep water off such reefs as these, [19/20] causes so much anxiety to the owner when he ought to be asleep, that is hardly a practicable suggestion. Often no attempt can be made to effect a landing, even on the lee side. In such cases the people do not hesitate to jump off their rocks and to swim out to the boat; and it is a merry and amusing scene to converse with people perfectly at home in the water who bring yams for sale and ask for gifts in return. The first teaching ever given here, was through the instrumentality of a returned labourer. It was about the year 1886, that he swam off to the boat, and asked if he could have a book with which to teach the people to read. Cards, with letters of the alphabet, and a few books, were given him, and holding them over his head he swam back in triumph and commenced his school. I am glad to be able to record here the willingness of a returned labourer to help his people in the best of ways. It is no uncommon thing; a good many of them are teachers under the Mission; and the majority of them, in many islands, take their places among their fellows again and attend school with the rest, and are indistinguishable from the others, except that they know a few words of English. They bear a good character, and appear not to have been injured by their residence in Queensland or Fiji. It is remarkable indeed that in such an inaccessible spot as Merig the labour traffic should be thoroughly understood. I met several on shore at this place, when I had the good fortune to effect a landing. The boat was brought up to the reef, which presented its usual precipitous descent into the surf. The swell rose and fell, at one moment raising the boat high above the edge, whilst the waves broke in foam over the coast; but the next moment the boat had fallen several feet below the ridge. Watching our opportunity, we had to jump from the boat whilst a native kept the boat from grounding on the reef ; and no worse fate attended us than wet trousers up to the knees, and a most slippery walk over the submerged coral. Just at the usual landing stage there is a curious crevice in the coral rock, which sobs and sighs as the wind from a cavern below rushes up through it. The natives pour mud into it in order to see it blown away, when a wave below forces the air upward. In days gone by the Mission folk discovered that there were only 18 persons living on Merig, and these 18 were at enmity and not on speaking terms! This state of things has passed away. The whole island is now under Christian influences. A teacher and his wife, both from Merelava, are doing a good work. Only three are as yet baptised; but there are 22 young scholars in the school, and the whole of the 35 people who live on Merig are at present under instruction.

H. H. T

(To be continued).

[21] From REV. R. B. COMINS:--

We have no very late letters from Rev. R. B. Comins, probably because he returned in such ill health, but the extracts which we give from the two last letters received from him, will show the anxiety and danger he has been in.

He writes to Dr. Codrington from Wano, 7th September, 1893:--

I have had a busy time in the Islands this year being the only representative of the Mission Staff in the Solomon Islands. I spent about 2 months at Florida, and baptized over 300 people, mostly adults. The people are groaning under the infliction of 8 or 9 "Gavae tonas"--(dancing parties) who have come round this season and have cleared them out of food and money.

It would seem as if there was a conspiracy amongst the Guadalcanar and Savo people to make this raid upon our Schools. It is something like a run upon a Bank. I dont know whether the heathen expect that soon the Florida people will repudiate all their "Gavae tona" obligations from past years. The "Gavae tona" proper has almost ceased to exist. I saw several of these when there was no music or dancing at all. In some cases it was a small canoe, with only three or four men who carry about a spear or a tomahawk much ornamented, which they exhibit as a sign of the dunning business they are engaged in.

It is understood that the Florida people refuse to listen to the obscene songs of the old "Garae tona," so the music has dropped out of the entertainment, and it is very flat in consequence.

Reuben Bula is working away quietly. He has not enough go in him, to take the lead here. He is nothing like such a good head as poor Alfred. The latter is teaching at a small heathen village near Baranago Point, and is doing good work there. He takes no airs on himself but is deeply impressed with his unworthiness. He went so far as to send for another man to come and baptize a sick man he had staying with him who is likely to die, and who had been under instruction elsewhere for some time.

Just when I was ready to come away from Florida and was wondering how I was to find my way to my own district, H.M.S. Curaçoa arrived, proclaiming the British Protectorate over the Solomon Islands.

They kindly gave me a passage to Wano. I am sorry to find that the Protectorate does not extend to Santa Cruz.

Old Taki (the chief at Wano) was frantic with delight when the Curaçoa anchored here, and a firing party came ashore, and hoisted the Union Jack on the beach, then the big guns of the man of war thundered out a salute of 21 guns. He considers himself the Queen's representative here, and if he sees a vessel anywhere in sight on the horizen, he walks about with the Union Jack under his arm, ready to hoist at a moment's notice.

At Heuru the school is flourishing and there are only about a dozen people in the village who decline to join it. At Wano and Haani stagnation reigns. The present set of teachers seem utterly unable to lead the people any further. When I stay at any of these places the schools are well attended but otherwise there is not much done.

I spent a week at Saa, and baptized 38 persons, but it was a rather anxious time, for the village was besieged by the heathens from down the coast, and we had to keep watch every night, and send out [21/22] skirmishers every morning to see if it was safe to go about the village. Four days after I left they were attacked, and a man clubbed and his wife speared. Joe Wate is very sad, and says the heathen will not be satisfied, until they have done more destruction than this. One of the grievances against them is that they furnished interpreters to the men of war. I have not been at all well the last few weeks. I think it is my liver, but it is making me quite dyspectic in my old age.

In a previous letter to Bishop Selwyn, written a few weeks earlier, he enters more into the detail of the same circumstances.

After expressing his warm gratitude to Captain Gibson, of the Curaçoa, for the interest he displayed in the Mission, and narrating certain incidents connected with the hoisting of the flag at various places, he describes the event at Port Adam and Saa--

"At Port Adam we anchored for the night. The next morning we proclaimed the Protectorate here and fired a royal salute of 21 guns. We heard afterwards how all Maramasiki were sorry for the poor Port Adam people who were apparently being severely punished by the man-of-war! The Union Jack was duly hoisted and left in charge of Fakaia and Luke Masuraa. The heathen have been troublesome here, and Johnson was glad to come away with us for a change. I heard that some months ago the caught a very large turtle there, cooked, and ate it, and everyone in the school who ate it, was ill and 12 people died. This was looked on as a terrible judgment, and the school has been in disgrace ever since."

He then describes the state of affairs at Saa and Aulu as in his letter to Dr. Codrington.

He adds--"The men who murdered Fred Howard are leading the hostile party, as a counter demonstration to the efforts of the man-of-war to get hold of them. Captain Davis of the Royalist who employed Paipai, Joe, Dora, and Watehou, promised them that if the heathens molested them for so doing, they should be protected in some way. I put it before Captain Gibson that he should do something in the matter, but as he says, "what can he do? It is no use burning deserted villages, and cutting down solitary cocoanut palms. If he could get hold of the enemy he would soon make an example of them, but they take care to keep out of his reach. The only practical thing seemed to be to lend our people a dozen old rifles with ammunition, with which they could put on a bold front and keep the enemy at bay. Unfortunately this is not exactly legal--you may not supply the natives with arms in a general way . . . . . . . . . even if it were there were no arms to spare--and so the matter rests. There are large villages on that side of Malanta, beyond Port Adam where they can muster 150 or 200 Snider rifles. Where they got them from, no one seems to know, I am afraid it means there is a great deal of underhand work somewhere, amongst recruiting and trading vessels. Now that the Protectorate is proclaimed perhaps we shall have some permanent authority here, some resident Deputy Commissioner who will deal with these cases. At present the flying visits of the men of war accomplish very little I am sorry to say there has been a recent outrage at Ubuna. A Bugotu man working on board a trading schooner has been shot there. The case has not been properly investigated yet. Captain Gibson has kindly given me a passage to Wano. I cannot speak too highly of his goodness."

[23] REV. H. P. WELCHMAN writes on his voyage north to Bugotu, where he purposes to stay during the summer:--

He is delighted with an altar cloth, &c., which Miss Goslings have sent out to him. This was made of coloured linen which we hope will be able to stand the climate and insects, better than the usual woollen fabrics.

He says "I am quite happy to be able to take so much to adorn the fine Church which I hear they have built at Sepi, and look forward to administering the bread of life to my people."

"Being at Pek on September 20th, we had a celebration on shore in memory of Bishop Patteson and his companions. There were 42 native communicants."

He talks of a Bugotu lad he had left at Mota.

"The Rev. G. Sarawia and his wife have been very good to Barere, a lad of mine whom I left at Mota to learn the language preparatory to going up to North Island. The lad has been very happy, and they give a good account of him so it has been a fortunate venture. I propose keeping a likely subject there year by year, instead of taking big boys to Norfolk Island direct.

We have on board a Rockhampton Clergyman who has been at work among Melanesians in his Parish and hopes to be able to devote himself to it entirely at Bandaberg. He wanted to see the Melanesians at home.

I have been able to introduce him to a good many specimens of the genus" returned labourer "exhibiting how much or how little," civilization, minus, Christianity influences their bearing and character."

We called at Nengone, having heard that Wadrokal was dead, and we found the report was true. But I could learn nothing about his end, for his wife and daughter were away planting yams, and chief as well. He died last December, and all I could gather was that he knew his end was come, and was quite ready to go."

From Wano he writes:--

We have got through our work satisfactorily so far. We left Robin at Vava, with a large number of boxes and two or three tanks so he ought to be well set up. The people seemed very glad to have him back. We picked up Comins to-day at Wano, looking very thin, and not at all well. He has been escorting the man of war through the group on the occasion of announcing the Protectorate which seems to have been more or less well received. Old Taki, at Wano was delighted; the people at Malanta would not take the flag nor touch the Proclamation. At Guadalcanar they took back the presents, and flag, and proclamation, and left them at Aolu. At Rubiana the people cleared out altogether, so the Captain hoisted the flag, and left the proclamation in a bottle at the foot of the mast, and when the people returned after his departure they cut up the flag into malos (loin cloths) and tried to drink the proclamation with indifferent success. Since then several men have died in the neighbouring village, and this is all put down to the man of war. At the North End of Malanta I am told, that a Government Agent of a Labour Vessel, has told the people that if they admit a man of war or a missionary, they will all die; hence the fear at that place. Saa was regularly besieged by (it is said) 80 men with fire-arms, while Comins was in the village. [23/24] Of course, night was the dangerous time, and one man, Iho's Father, was killed, but no one else. However, it was a critical time, and the danger is not over, for a price is on Paipai's head for having acted as interpreter for the man of war who was hunting for Fred Howards murderers. Altogether I do not wonder that Comins was ill, though he has nevertheless not allowed it to stand in the way of his work. To-morrow week will, I suppose see me in Bugotu, from whence I take the ship for a round of visits which I hope to make to Savo, Guadalcanar, and New Georgia.

Bugotu, October 10th.--We are now on our way for Savo, and I must close this letter, as we shall have all our work cut out for the next ten days. Things are going on quietly and well here, the most serious offence being that Samuel Devi has been paying too much attention to his garden, and too little to the school. It is a slack stage with him, as all his people, except half a dozen veterans, and the small fry are baptized, and he has lost the incentive to stick to work. My principal grief is that my friend Oliver Mano is at the point of death. He is in the last stage of consumption, and may not be alive on my return. Poor lad, he was little more than a child, and knew very little, but he was very much loved by his people, and led them very carefully and gently. I think he is utterly guileless, simple he certainly is, and he has done his best. A man cannot do more. Soga is flourishing and is on board during this trip at my invitation. He has brought 4 or 5 men to interpret and shew passages, and is in a great state of glory and excitement about it. He has been up at Gao urging Gabili to have a school, and this year I very much hope to send Stephen Papa, and Dorothy Maüa there. I meet with the usual affectionate greeting, and was glad a lot of my small friends had not forgotten me.


Norfolk Island,
November 30th, 1893.

A. C. FORREST, Santa Cruz.

After a stay of nearly six months in the islands we have arrived back here safely.

I found the work had been carried on fairly well during the summer, although there had been a lot of fighting at Te Motu. It has been a very busy year. We have cleared a large piece of bush at Nelua, and built a new church. How I wish you could see it! It is very large, with a double pitched roof, and seats comfortably 300 people. It is a little longer than the Hall here, somewhat wider, and quite as high. A large verandah runs all round except at the east end. There is a large chancel, and the altar is approached by five steps. I have given the fittings in memory of my mother, and kind friends have supplied altar cloths, etc. All the white people are delighted with it, though somewhat envious. The numbers in the school increased, and that in spite of a good many deaths. I am truly glad to be able to say that this year I really saw signs of better things. One little story may interest you. One night, about 11-30 p.m., James came to me and said a sick man wanted to see be at Nelua. I got up and went to him, [24/25] having to cross the river, which was above one's waist, there having been a flood. When I got to the man, after some little talk he said "Has anyone been telling you that I have been following the 'ghosts' again? because it is not the truth. I believe all that you have taught me, and while I am lying here I think of it all the time." I had a long talk with him, and assured him that nobody had been to me about him, and then he asked me if he could be baptised. He said, "I want to lie with the others in the burying-ground, I don't want to be buried here." I stayed with him some time, promising to visit him next day. I went back the following evening, and saw the end was not far off, so I asked him if he would like to be baptised, and if so to raise his hand as a sign. He did so, and I baptised him, and in another hour he passed quietly away. He was an elderly man, and had not been with us long, but was always willing to help. A case like this is such an encouragement, and on more than one occasion this year I found the Word had taken root and was growing. On Sundays we have a congregation of about 140, and they are beginning to join in the service, heartily. At Te Motu things are most promising. The scholars number 100, and still they come, and are as energetic as they can be. They are now building a large church, a school for the women, rebuilding the men's school, and are fencing a piece of ground for the cemetery. Our neighbours have been rather noisy, but one expects that. The great thing about the work at Te Motu is that the school people are doing it themselves. I am always urging them to go out into the byeways and hedges, and they go, and the result is excellent. Although the people of Te Motu are a quarrelsome crowd, yet there is really more affection and a desire to help one another than I have found in other places. By the bye, there is one thing in connection with the building of the church at Nelua, which I have not mentioned. Many of the children were too young to help in any way, but their relations, many of whom were not school people, came and did work for them. I was very much touched by it. A man would come to me and say that his child attended school, but was too small to work, and he would ask if he might do the child's work. Natei (the chief at Nelua) has now two children in the school, and be worked as hard as anybody. He did some very good carving for the font pedestal, and some of the pillars. I am very glad to say we are now on very friendly terms. It has been a hard fight, far harder than you are aware of, but I think things are now on a good footing, and he will be the better friend to us in years to come, now that he sees we mean no harm to him or his position, but that as far as the school is concerned we allow no interference.

In July there was a big row at Te Motu. It commenced one evening after prayers; I ran off with Daniel Melamakaule, and we got between the parties. It was rather a nasty time, just at dusk, and one could not see the arrows properly. However, after a time, we got them apart, and I went to the enemy and got properly abused, but hard words break no bones, and threats don't count. All that night we had a time of it. First the enemy would collect, and say all the insulting things they could think of, then the other party would do the same, and when that was all settled, our side found another grievance--viz., that I had been insulted. It was in vain that I said that I did not care. When morning came, I congratulated myself that affairs had [25/26] quieted down, but it was not to be. They began again, and for two hours I was dashing frantically over the rocks, trying to get order, which eventually was obtained. Next day it was my turn, and I abused everyone in the most impartial way. In September I had a whole week like that, it rather took the go out of me. An Austrian man-of-war came through the Group on the Saturday. I went on board and enjoyed myself fairly well, considering how little we understood one another. Thirteen men were baptised at Te Motu, and a more promising set I have not had yet. Three men and five women were baptised at Nelua.

I paid a very interesting visit to the. Duff Group this year, and received quite an ovation, but the noise I cannot describe. The big island is a pretty looking place, but nobody lives on it; the houses are all built on the rocks, which stretch out into the sea. There is no anchorage.

The language is that of Pileni and Nukapu, so we understood one another. One young fellow came back with me to Nelua and schooled until I left. It is a start. Next year I hope to spend a fortnight with them. All being well, we start a school at Pileni next year--they have begun to build a house for me. I have finished the Vavae Vatogo in Santa Cruz, and the Prayer Book, except the Ordination Services and some of the Psalms. It was a grind. I shall send them to you as soon as they are printed . . . . . . . . . . . . Comins has kindly given us a new boat at Santa Cruz, and I have a fixed boom. I suppose if I were a wise person I should not have had it, but knowing very little, or nothing at all about boating, I am able to perform the most wonderful feats, whereas, if I knew all about it, I should have to be careful--so taking it all round, I rather rejoice in being an ignorant person . . . . . . . . . . . . Now I am going to ask two favours of you--and one is that you will be kind enough to ask for a grant of old altar cloths, etc., from the Kilburn sisters, or some one else, for the Te Motu church. I do not want new ones, because I can easily alter things. I will willingly pay the freight. The other thing is, will you give us four lamps, in memory of that first visit we paid to Te Motu together. I need hardly say that we want nothing expensive; the commoner the better, provided they give a good light. I am going to give the table and desks, etc., in memory of the martyrs of Santa Cruz. I would not trouble you, but these days everyone is doing what they can to lessen expenses, and we ask as little from the Mission for our districts as we can possibly do. If you know of anyone who has a harmonium that they are desirous of getting rid of, the Cruzians would receive it with acclamations . . . . . . . . I have a good many boys up here, four new women, Fanny Itamia and her child. Fanny has been very ill, and the doctor said the only thing that might save her was a complete change. She is still unattached, I am sorry to say. Complications arose, and it is thought it will be well if she remains a widow. James Goodenough and Monika are going on well, and are very helpful. Daniel Melamakaule has turned over a new leaf, and is also doing his best. There are now over fifty women in the school at Te Motu. Taape is about the same, holding its own, but that is all. Samuel Sagler went with me this year. He has taken to the work, and wishes when he is married to settle down and work at Santa Cruz. He is a very good boy, and I shall be only too glad to have him.

[27] St. Barnabas, Norfolk Island,
1st, December, 1893.


We have had a delightfully long stay in the Islands this year, altogether I was twenty seven weeks ashore on the Banks and with the exception of Comins it has agreed with everybody. I was nearly three weeks ashore on Merelava. We had a heavy job digging out the site for the new Church, it was however pretty equally divided, as the two other schools took their turn following one another on until completion. We have started a new style of architecture in the Banks! a . . . . . . . pitched roof, something like the Hall here--the upper roof is supported by small tursanas (1) resting on the cross pieces which are carried by heavy timbers on either side of the nave with aisles if you please extending from these, so:--

NOTE.--(1)--i.e., Main poles supporting Roof.

This does away with those horrid tursanas in the middle obstructing the view of the Altar. They were very chary of this new style, but they were eventually convinced of its practicability and have acquitted themselves exceedingly well everywhere where the building is going on.

William Vaget has waxed very enthusiastic about it, and I expect to find his Church finished, on going down next year.

He is going on very well in his usual steady, sure way, but he receives a certain amount of opposition from Wopen, indirectly given, who is still in his sins.

Joseph Qea and his wife Annie have made a splendid start at Uta, a very good School House has been built, and the 1st class can read the Vavae Vatogo fairly well. This is very good work for 6 months only.

Merig (2) is no longer impregnable. We hauled the boat up and gave her a very snug little berth which had been cleared by the good people there, while awaiting my return from Meralava. We stayed there for 5 or 6 days. You will be interested to know that the first Baptism of adults took place during my stay. We were full of rejoicing on that account, and I know that you would have rejoiced with us, had you been there.

I have laid myself out to improve the buildings, especially the Churches, and now I must tell you of the grand Cathedral that is being erected at Nerenigman, Motalava, It will be a really very fine building when completed; quite large enough to hold the aggregate numbers of the different schools on that side of Motalava. There is also a belfry and vestry combined, which sets off the exterior to great advantage, the people want a bell to put in it, to make as much noise as the one at Ra over the water.

You will be sorry to hear that many of the Motlav teachers have failed this year, some seriously, and among them Esnun. The work, as far as concerns the people, is very prosperous. Henry Tagalad has got a systematic way of doing his work, which is not found elsewhere, and it tells.

[28] Joseph Velmeren volunteered to help John Qil, at Lakona, and has commenced very well at the inland school from Leqat. The Koru people are full of enthusiasm, and the other day I had a great sale of prayer books on the beach. All those who could read crowded round me with their yams and money, eagerly pressing their kits forward, fearful lest the stock of books should fail.

Benjamin Virsal is very shaky. He went back to Vureas this time. It was his own choice, and I think a wise one, for they will look after him better there than at Mota. Tugleo is dead, and there has been a great deal of sickness everywhere, especially at Motlav.

Gaua still remains unsatisfactory, but a little more life is visible at Tarasag. Lakona is much brighter. The schools are pulling themselves together, and all the bush villages are very warm for schools. I have made this known to everyone who is available to go, but I am sorry to say that several promises have been retracted, Joseph Velmeren being the only one who has made any willing response. Maros at Maewo looked much more like himself when I last saw him, but he has not as yet gained much confidence.

Mota is very, very sleepy, notwithstanding my three stays there this year,--when I hunted them down in their gamals and houses. There was a general awakening for a time, and things looked more cheerful, but the Teachers dont appear to be equal to following it up. George Sarawia has been very lame, and unable to get about. His son Simon might do a great deal more, but is so shy and reserved.

NOTE.--(2)--Merig, is a little Island with about 30 souls, about half way between Gaua and Meralava. It is very difficult of access, as the boat usually lies off, while the visitor gets ashore as best be can. Mr. Cullwick apparently has surmounted the difficulty.

The following letter from Joseph Wate, at Saa, on the Island of Malanta is most interesting. But I confess it raises a feeling of shame in my mind that men who have served the English Government in a place which is now under the "protection" of the British Crown, should be exposed to danger because they have assisted it, and should be utterly unprotected by it.

The Melanesian Mission has never invoked what the Duke of Somerset once called "the inevitable gun-boat" to protect its members.

It has always recognised that in going among these Islands, its members went at their own risk, and neither had or desired the protection of the State. But it is a different matter when the State uses the members of the Mission for the purposes of its own policy. The men of war who were employed to punish the murderers of Fred Howard on the Island of Malanta employed these native teachers to give the names of the actual murderers and to point out their villages. The Mission consented to this, believing that it was their duty to show if possible who were the actual murderers, and thus to save possibly innocent people from attack. This plan was pursued on the Island of Florida in 1881 with the greatest success.

But having employed these men it appears to me that the Government is bound in honour to protect them. It has no right to use men, and then leave them to the vengeance of their enemies, [28/29] with the excuse of a "non possumus". If England protects at all, she is bound to "protect" those who serve her. As it is, these men are left almost at the mercy of their foes, with the result that Wate describes; and the English name is humbled in the dust before a party of murderers, who openly proclaim that she is powerless either to punish or to protect. J. R. SELWYN, BISHOP.


Saa, October 17th, 1893.


Father, I will write to you again, and I will tell you of the things which now assail us here, how heavy they now are on me--alas! for me--Father.

Already one man has been killed belonging to the School here at Saa. And the woman, the wife of that man is still alive now, a spear has broken off in her back, and she has been lying now for 2 months and 3 weeks.

But there is now this great pressure because the people of Laloisuu paddled over to Ugi and killed that Fred who used to live at Ugi: after that the men of war people came here enquiring into the matter, and took up Comins at Wano, and then came here and took A Dora, and Stephen Tara and I Paipai and Watehou Tanolili, and they went to Tawaniahia and took Qaroni to shew them the village of Laloisuu; for that Qaroni had gone over with the men of Laloisuu to the murder at Ugi. But that man was probably frightened for he jumped over into the sea and died.

But because of this the men of Laloisuu are enemies with us of the School here at Saa and at Aulu, because we sided with those of the men of war, and they said thus: "That the men of war could not (word left out probably "kill") them of Laloisuu, but that they would kill us of Saa."

In this month two canoes from Laloisuu have come again here, seeking to murder some of us at Saa and Aulu. But we are very much afraid of them, because they have a great many guns, and they go about with them secretly in the woods, to assassinate anyone they see. But we have no guns, and therefore none of us can stand up against them.

And therefore we are considering how we can help ourselves. And therefore we the chiefs here, have said that we should ask you to furnish us with guns, to remain with us, that we may await the enemy with them.

But this is because of the fighting of the English, it did not begin with us of Saa; but alas they are killing us for nothing.

This place is excessively disturbed at this time about this fighting. But what are we to do Father? I do not know in the least. Therefore help us by thinking about this, and by that true spiritual help, prayer.

That is all. I do not know what will happen to me, our Father in heaven alone knows, and He knows how to save in such matters.

Good-bye Father, your true son Joseph Wate, writes to you with his love, and in sorrow, but also with joy, and with a good will also.

[30] REV. J. PALMER, writes from Norfolk Island:--

"I am thankful you are stirring about the Protectorate" and I trust they will make it real. Joe's (J. Wate) letters are most pathetic. He has sent little lame Mabel down so as to feel more free, if they have to run for it . . . . . . . .

The white folk have come back looking seedy on the whole. Comins is far from well, out of sorts altogether and has got his blood out of order. I hope when we return from Hobart that he will be able to go to Figi. I think that an interview with Sir J. Thurston will be important. He may help to push on things with regard to the better protectorate of people in the Solomon Islands, and also the Malanta people should be got hold of. (1).

Here we have had a sad accident. Rosgil, a girl from Merig set fire to her dress and is very badly burnt. This is the thirteenth day, and I hope as she has got on wonderfully well hitherto that she will pull through. She is a good little patient, and has a good constitution or she would have succumbed at once.

We have George Sarawia (Rev.) and William Qasvoran here for the Hobart Trip. The latter has been away 22 years. I hope that trip will succeed. (2). I rather tremble about the whole thing, but I think it is right to go. We must have faith. Brittain goes with me.

NOTE.--1. These Malanta people are labourers at Figi who have been admirably taught by Mr. Floyd, at Leouka, and Mr. Jones, at Suva. It is hoped that some of these may be induced to work at their own homes.

2. The Mission Staff at their Meeting guaranteed £150 out of their scanty incomes to meet this expense. It was felt that it ought not to be borne by the General Fund in its present exhausted condition, but it was also deemed most desirable that the Mission Ship should be present at the Church Congress at Hobart, to stir up further interest in the work. About £350 is needed.


REV. CHARLES BROWNING, writes from the Southern Cross of Anaiteum, November 16th, 1893, describing the visit to Florida, of which he is now in charge:--

"There has been a very great demand for books. The whole stock of Gospels and Prayer Books at Norfolk Island is now sold out . . . . .

More than 400 have been baptized this year adults and infants, so you may imagine how the demand for books increases.

I have paid my first visit to my district, and though I had only just over a fortnight I managed to see superficially most of the school villages. Comins escorted me round, and was invaluable as a guide and introducer. There is on the whole, immense reason for thankfulness and hopefulness in such a district where Christianity has advanced by leaps and bounds.

But I forsee that there is a work still to be done, requiring such a combination of discretion, patience and firmness as appals me to think of, before Christian principles can be firmly rooted in the lives of these people."

[31] NOTE.--Of these difficulties the primary is marriage, the always recurring problem which in some form or other besets the path of Christianity. He finds that there is a reluctance among many of the younger converts to come forward for Christian Marriage, because they thereby bind themselves to better treatment of their wives, than they would under their old marriage customs. It means that it is difficult for them to rise to the idea that the wife is a helpmeet and an equal. The long interval that has elapsed since Mr. Plants death, has no doubt helped to encourage this, but I have no doubt that Mr. Browning will be able to meet this, and that his presence among them will enable him to guide the tone of public opinion, among the Christian communities.

In common with all Missionaries, we have always found that marriage customs, and marriage questions, are the most difficult problems with which we have to deal, and our readers will pray that Mr. Browning may have grace and wisdom to deal with this aright.

J. R. S. BP.


Letters to Dr. Codrington.


From PELHAM TUTUNWAR, at Ureparapara:--

Let me tell you of the condition of this island this year. Those who have been baptized here are 23, but on the other side of the island there are some who are still in ignorance with no school yet amongst them Some are still in doubt and say that this religion is a deceit, they still think a great deal of the power of charms, and they have spoken angrily to me about the matter. They have made plans to kill me because of this religion, but I have still stayed among them, I told them they might do what they wished, I should do what I came here for. As Jesus came to redeem us and laid down His life for us, so I said I will lay down my life for you. I am always sorry for the sin I committed, I am always thinking of it, and it would be a good thing for me to die among those who are still heathen.


From CLEMENT WERUR, at Gaua:--

I shall give you news of Gaua, and much better than before, we all go unarmed. Cullwick has established peace here in Gaua; he has set judges, five of them to look after everything in the school. They judge about bows and fighting arrows and guns and stealing women; and if one of the judges sees anyone with bow and fighting arrows in his hand, or a gun, that man has to kill a pig for the bow or the gun he has had in his hand; he can't say anything against the judge's decision, he has to kill a pig without fail. And now all the bows and guns are put aside and men go unarmed, carrying nothing but a knife, right round Gaua; from one end of Gaua to the other end of Gaua no one can carry a bow, and very good it is. And with regard to [31/32] women, if any man steals a man's wife and carries her off the judge will decide upon the case, and the woman will be taken back to her husband, and the man who stole her will have to kill a pig for the judges, and also give a pig to make it up with the husband, and now things are very well in Gaua.


From JOHNSON TELEGSEM, at Falelei, (Malanta).:--

Indeed the people here are very good, they love a visitor very much. When I came here, oh! it was wonderful, they thought of me as if I were a native of the place. At first one man took charge of me, then they all said to him, "you are not to feed him all by yourself, we will all do it." They all of them took care of me accordingly. Those who belong to the school are already 30; but they live in fear of the enemies who are harassing them, they can't live in quiet and are scattered away. Part of this year I stayed here by myself, and Sur's father made an oath by his head to protect me lest anyone should kill me. My brother they are always disturbing this place wanting to kill us, and all the people are in fear of them. Some of the school people said to me that we had better go away from this place, but I said "not so; don't be afraid, we have a Helper, and I am not afraid for myself."

NOTE.--It will be remembered how Johnson volunteered to help at Malanta: and it must be borne in mind that he is working on the same Island as Joseph Wate, whose letter we have already given, and 12 miles nearer the enemy.

It will thus be seen how bravely and faithfully this lad, a pure Missionary, if ever there was one, is facing the danger and holding on.


From REV. REUBEN BULA, at Belaga, (Florida).:--

I can't write to you at length because I am so much occupied with affairs, with this Vankolu (Parliament), which has met here at Belaga this year. We came together in pretty good numbers, about 400 I suppose. We have decided about certain things which are not right. Now we shall go on, and we have decided about selling land. We of Belaga have given up a piece of land to sale, a huge piece, and Comins and the others have bought it for £10. And we have also condemned a man who killed his wife . . . . . . we determined that a canoe should take him to another country where he is to stay for ever, and never come back to this island so long as he lives.



Those men who have been living in Fiji have not come back yet.

Your letter reached me on October 6th, and some Mala men arrived here on October 9th. I asked them whether those men who had been living in Fiji had come back, and they said no. And I said to them, if they come back I shall go and stay with you; I said to them. And thus they said to me "But what will the inland people do? Said [32/33] they to me, and. I said you will be enlightened first, and afterwards the people inland"; so I said to them. My brother, if they come back I shall go and try what I can do for them; nor that it is for me to do anything for them of my own power; let our Father help me and lengthen my days and I will go to them, my brother. I don't know whether I shall go back to Ravu or not; what I desire is only to help those people who are still heathen. My brother I was exceedingly rejoiced to see the letter you wrote to me; and when I read it I thought thus, we two are looking at one another's face. My friend, my brother, I shall never rest from writing to you whatever may happen, to you and Selwyn, I shall write to you two for ever, every year. Friend, you don't know my wife yet, but she saw you when you came to Ravu, Anna Butu is her name; and four are my children that are alive, and three that are dead, seven are my children, friend, I have done. My brother let us two beg of our Father above to let me go and see our brothers in Mala.

NOTE.--There are a number of men from Malanta who are being taught Christianity at Fiji. Dr. Codrington saw some of them in Fiji last year, and it was thought that some of them might return and begin work among their own people. Dr. Codrington therefore wrote to Ellison Gura, bidding him look out for them and if possible visit them at their own homes, which lie about 20 miles off across the Strait. Hence this letter.


"Cuttings" relating to the Mission.


From "Bishop of Tasmania's Address to his Synod,"--May, 1893.

One Sunday-school has this year set us all a good example. Campbell Town Sunday-school has voluntarily given up their yearly prizes that the money may be sent to Melanesia. May the example of self-denial set by the little ones be taken up by their elders for the cause of Christ so plainly laid upon His Church.


From "Ballaarat Church Chronicle."--November, 1893.

A most touching incident is recorded in connection with the visit of the Rev. Charles Bice, of Melanesia, to this diocese. A gentleman and his wife were greatly interested in Mr. Bice's description of the work being done among the young in the schools at Norfolk Island; soon after Mr. Bice had left, their young child, "Hedley Victor," died quite suddenly, and they have decided to adopt a Melanesian boy in his stead, and train him in the Christian faith. He is to bear the name of the son whom God hath translated. Truly the child, though dead, like Abel, yet speaketh.

[34] A very interesting autobiography of Rev. Clement Maraw, of Merelava and Ulawa, edited and translated by Rev. Dr. Codrington, in now being published by S.P.C.K. It gives a full insight into the way in which one of our native Clergy has been trained, and the spirit with which he regards his work. It can be procured from the S.P.C.K., or from the Editor of this paper, price 6d.



Subjects for Prayer:

1.--For Cecil Wilson, Bishop Designate of Melanesia.

2.--For Joseph Wate and the Teachers at Saa that God may protect them.

3.--For the Special Fund, that if it be God's good purpose, it may be raised.

4.--For the work of the Mission generally, that those who believe may be made steadfast in the faith; and that new openings may be found in the Islands still heathen, and that especially Malanta and Guadalcanar may be won.

Project Canterbury