Project Canterbury










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



C. A. Partridge, Printer, 58, Broad Street,



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

[2] Subjects for Prayer:

For Mrs. Colenso's recovery.

For the Work in Queensland.

For the Southern Cross on her voyages.

For Rev. H. Welchman just settling at the new College of St. Luke, at Siota.


Letters concerning Mission Work, &c. Should be Addressed to the Secretary:--


Subscriptions, Donations and Offertories to the Treasurer:--


Orders and Subscriptions for Occasional Papers to:--


[3] Communications respecting the Mission are requested to be made--

In ENGLAND, to the
Rev. Wm. Selwyn, (Treasurer),
Bromfield Vicarage, R.S.O., Shropshire;

Or to the
Right Rev. Bishop Selwyn, (Secretary),
Master's Lodge, Selwyn College, Cambridge.

In NEW ZEALAND, to the
Ven. Archdeacon Dudley,

Rev. H. Wallace Mort, M.A.,
All Saints', Woolahra, Sydney.

W. T. Lazenby, Esq.,
Stapleton, Caroline Street, South Yarra,

Augustus Stürcke, Esq.,
Church Office, Adelaide.

Rev. Canon David,
Bishopsbourne, Milton, Brisbane.

In TASMANIA, to the
Ven. Archdeacon Hales,

Right Rev. the Bishop of Perth.

[4] Letter from the Bishop.

JUNE 6TH, 1895.

I returned safe and sound last Saturday, the Admiral kindly giving me a passage in the "Orlando."

He and I came ashore and an eleven of Officers and then the Band, and very soon we were all at cricket; Norfolk Island playing the ship. The band soon brought the Norfolkers, Brittain fetched the boys, and we had a very gay and lively afternoon, we of the Island defeating the Ship pretty easily, but having excellent fun.

The boys marvelled at the band, having of course never heard one before. The Admiral stayed with us over Sunday. I took Service on board in the morning, and two of the Officers, the Commander and first Lieutenant made an unasked for offertory to supply a new boat for the Islands.

Many came ashore from the Ship, the Norfolkers mounted them and they enjoyed the Island scenery.

It is delightful to be back again. After wandering about through New Zealand and Eastern Australia, living in other people's houses, it is pleasant to settle down in my own.

There has been much sickness and sadness. The complaint has been influenza and inflamation following. Many boys look fearfully pulled down by it. Then we lost a boy named Peter who was drowned off the rocks.* [* See Archdeacon Palmer's account of this in Notes. Ed.] All the sickness has kept back the schooling a good deal. However the outlook here is very hopeful. We have now 9 men to teach 160 boys, whilst 4 more, Comins, Cullwick, Welchman and Wilson have gone to the Islands. We are so many here, because Robins and Ivens are to be ordained Priests on Trinity Sunday, and most of the other men remaining are new hands, working at Mota.

It is a great delight to me to see nine classes with English Teachers. I have a great idea that we can teach the boys a great deal more than we have been doing lately. Patteson seemed to consider they had any amount of ability. With this large staff I hope to bring it out if it is there. Buchanan is a trained Schoolmaster and so should be a great help. To-morrow we have an examination and then shall arrange all classes and settle down for a good spell of work.

Percy Williams is a farmer to some extent, and I have set him to look after the live stock from horses to poultry. Heathcote Williams gave us 30 sheep, these and the 180 beasts will give him work at once.

I forget if I have told you that a very nice young squatter from Newcastle, named Flett, who has been reading for orders with the Bishop of Newcastle is going to join us in September. His charge will be the farm all the year round. His present bishop will ordain him, and he will join us as a Deacon.

[5] We had a grand meeting in the Y.M.C.A. Hall, Sydney, the night before I sailed. The Hall was filled with about 1200 people, and the collection brought in £90.

He then speaks again of the two men who were hung at Brisbane,

"I visited them in gaol two days before their execution. Marascima knew no English at all, but I believe he had been in Queensland for 6 years at least.

Miori had schooled for 3 months during his 6 years in Queensland, but he knew so little English that it took me a long time to explain and teach him to say "O God I have done wrong, forgive me for Jesus Christ's Sake." Both knelt and prayed this little prayer with me. Miori was as loveable as any boy here, and might have been as good as anyone if he had been schooled.

But the schools are few, and it is only the keen earnest ones, who will walk 6 or 7 miles to one after 10 or 11 hours work. So that the large majority of our men, are going uneducated.

The Malanta boys are much feared and as there are 1200 of them at least in Queensland, they hang together, and are mostly as wild as hawks, and pride themselves on their nationality, and will not ordinarily mix with others as they must do in the few schools existing. They are to some extent a danger to the community, but this is the country's fault, they do not educate them, and some planters discourage education. Yet they are expected to keep the law, and if they kill they are hanged. There had been many undiscovered murders committed before that of the old man, and it was really necessary to make an example. Perhaps now they will try to prevent crime by education.

I have not yet had a talk with the Staff about Queensland. It seems to me that the traffic cannot last three years more, and that we should make a great effort to win the boys before it is all stopped."


Robins and Ivens were ordained Priests this morning. It was a most remarkable service; you know how the chapel looks when arranged for a function. I never saw anything so beautiful. At 7-30 the service began. We went in procession from the old chapel; 9 senior boys in surplices, the rest following. The processional was A. and M. 215, but we sang it in Mota, the Norfolkers in English. The two languages did not clash much, or perhaps there was a reality about it all, that no one noticed it. Browning read Matins in Mota. Brittain preached in Mota and English. Rono, Rono, Rono followed. Then I said the Litany in English, after which we sang "Manasag." You remember it, "Tell it out among the Heathen that the Lord is King." I celebrated and ordained in English up to the end of the Nicene Creed, when we went back to Mota, ending with the Nunc Dimittis as Recessional. The Service was over at 10.

[6] June 12th.--We had a very happy St. Barnabas yesterday. Mota Mattins at 7; Celebration in English at 8, when about 130 Norfolkers communicated with our own party about 180 altogether. I had invited the chief magistrate and others, and a good many came, so we sat down to breakfast well over 200. Palmer, Brittain, Robins and I spoke for the Mission. Dr. Metcalfe, Rev. T. P. Thorman and Francis Nobbs for the Norfolkers. It rained hard and prevented cricket, so we enjoyed ourselves quietly. We had a bright evensong. I preached, Palmer interpreting. Afterwards I entertained in the new girls' school room; just the mission party with Archdeacon and Mrs. Farr (who arrived on the 9th) and a few others.

This gave me an opportunity of publishing what I had done and seen in Queensland. We must now decide upon some scheme.

To-day we have commenced a second half-year's work. I drew up a curriculum as .I used to see my schoolmaster do at home, and promised an examination at Christmas.

The New Zealand tour had a very remarkable effect on the boys. They saw that the Maori boys were much better educated than they, and they are asking why they may not be taught as much. This keeness to learn is very encouraging. It seems to be common to the Melanesian race just now, for the boys in Queensland evinced the same astounding desire for knowledge.

You must forgive me if I have written little during the last six months. It was the busiest time I have ever had. I read nothing and I wrote nothing. Nothing but an endless string of speeches, 95 in all! But it did good. We have St. Barnabas Associations throughout New Zealand now. We have also the "Cycle" of Prayer and the "Log;" and more than all we have five new men of a very good sort."

He then mentions the trouble which the Southern Cross has given and anticipates with dread the further heavy expense which will be necessary to make her quite sound.

June 17th.--In a subsequent letter dated June 17th, the Bishop ' adds:--

We have discussed the Queensland question amongst ourselves. Eyes rather turned upon Brittain. If he wished to go, and we could spare him, he was evidently the one to be sent. However he told us that he felt no decided call to Queensland, but that he would regard as such any expressed wish of mine that he should go. I could not take such a responsibility as that. You know how valuable he is here. When he is here, everything goes well. He understands the boys and they him. Moreover I have no one to take his place in the New Hebrides. Yet some one must go, at any rate to put things into working order; and he seemed the only available man.

It was necessary however that some one should go soon, as the Colonial Sugar Co., and some planters have promised support if work is commenced soon, and if their subscriptions are met by those of other [6/7] employers. But Brittain is expected in the New Hebrides and is much wanted. The only thing was for me to go to Queensland, instead of to the Banks for three months. It is an awful grind to contemplate. But still I can get men to fill new places better than anyone else could, and the planters will listen to me better perhaps than to anyone else. So it is settled that unless anything new happens, I shall retrace my steps in September, making for the Herbert and Johnstone rivers in Sydney, and working down to Bundaberg and the Brisbane districts in November and December.

Compared with the Island work, that in Queensland is uninteresting and terribly hard. I think eventually it will be best to have a separate staff of men over there altogether, and one of us must each year pay all the schools a visit.

A rough sketch of the Plantations may help you.

This is a rough outline of E. Australia, showing Plantations and number of boys on them very roughly.

The men whom I employ are to be under my jurisdiction, but are to hold also their Diocesan's License, which he promises not to withdraw except for grave moral reasons.

[8] We give a further letter from Bishop Wilson, dated Norfolk Island, July 12th, in which he sums up the news from the Islands during the first voyage of the Southern Cross.

"The Southern Cross returned yesterday, bringing Wilson back and a good supply of yams, cocoanuts, etc. Sogovman comes to be ordained; Luke and Clement from Malanta to be married; the young Chief of Port Adam coming up to see the marriage between Luke and his sister. They bring good and bad news. Cullwick reports that a good stone Church was begun at Easter, at Ra, at Vureas also they are hard at work building themselves a new one. Welchman and Comins spent St. Barnabas Day in Florida--Welchman celebrating at Belaga with A. Lobu; Comins at Boromoli with Forrest, who was going the round of the Solomons with them. There were 114 communicants. Forrest was picked up at Nelua. He had a most troublesome time, of which you will read in the enclosed epitome of a letter, which Buchanan has been making for you, with a view to the Occasional Paper. Forrest is much drawn to his people by the serious troubles he had had and I believe is not so anxious to leave them now. He wishes me to send a Priest to take the spiritual charge of the work, while he will pioneer and manage the secular. The two Williams want to be allowed to work in Santa Cruz. I have promised to let them go there, but Forrest's change of plans will have to be considered with them.

Welchman found Louisa well at Savulei, Guadalcanar, but George Basilei her husband was away. Three Queensland boys who had been here for some months were put down there, but wept copiously at being left amongst their rather dirty relations. They declared they would not stay if George were taken away. It seems that poor old George has made no visible headway at Savulei. He has no school, and certain bush people objected to his quiet godly life. But further down the coast, at a place we anchored at last year, Vaturana, he has made friends, and he intends to try and start a Christian settlement there.

At Bugotu and throughout the Islands there has been much influenza. Hundreds of children, and a good many adults have been carried off. The Florida boys looked very depressed this morning when the death roll came to their ears. One had lost his father, another his mother, or brother and so on. Poor old Soga writes to me:

"My father I cannot write a long letter to you, because grief has come to me, for my child is dead with me, and I continue wretched. Wa inau gate ge o Sava mun God.--(I have not done anything against God.)"

The faith of many of the Islanders must have been much shaken.

At Mota there had been serious trouble. Maros, the Deacon, courted a young engaged girl, and persuaded her to send back her real lovers gifts, and accept his in their place. All the people were angry about it, and then it came out that he had sinned with her. They were furious and made an armed demonstration to drive him out of Mota. He has not gone yet, but I believe he will shortly. 'The worst of it is that G. Sarawia has been treating him, as though he had been readmitted to the Diaconate, instead of only to prayers and the Holy Communion.

[9] Cullwick is much troubled about Mota. We knew it was a weak spot, and I had intended to make a stay there during the 3rd voyage, but there is no one except myself to return to Queensland to bring pressure upon the Government for the necessary alterations in the Labour Traffic. They are making new regulations this year, and they will affect all the Islands, and there is no one else who can get men to take up work in the Sugar Plantations. I am grieved to get no sight of the Islands this year, but if we are to look after our own people in the mainland, we must give the work a proper start. Eyo. Cullwick must put in a time at Mota if possible.

Comins has put down the materials for his house at Siotu, and when last seen was digging a well there

I leave at the end of September for Queensland for two months, and then possibly Tasmania for one, returning for Christmas. (It will be seen that the Bishop has given up this. ED.) Next year I hope to spend three months here, then put down all the new men in their new homes, return and do two months in Australia, in Melbourne, Ballaarat, and other places, going down the 3rd voyage for Confirmations, etc. If I can get through all this I shall consider that I have made a good year.

The farm looks grand. Hardy Rossiter, our Bailiff, tells me that we shall not have to buy Kumaras for 12 months, and really the fields seem to confirm his promise.

We are going to build a new house in the "Vanua" to hold two men and 30 or 40 boys. There is an outcry for teachers all round, and it is recognised that we must turn them out faster. Yet if you saw how small some of our boys are, you would not see much chance of it. I believe the men have been bringing up smaller boys lately than they used to do. I am quite in favour of getting them as youngsters.


Rev. T. C. Cullwick sends a long letter about his work, dated July 1st, of which we give Extracts.

He tells the sad story of Maros again and I need not repeat it.

He then speaks of the plan for raising money by the Sale of Copra.

"I am rather afraid that the plan for raising money for Church purposes by the sale of Copra will not work very successfully this year. The trader for one thing is so very uncertain, and seems to have been doing comparatively little this year.

Simon Qalges, for instance, took ten bags from him in January and made enough to fill them, towards his harmonium, but he has never been near any time since, and the Copra has perished in one way or another.

Sogovman has made his first instalment for another harmonium. They are to raise £10 each, as the Trader is to pay the market price in English money. The Mota people have been slack in beginning to make for their iron roof, but they blame the Trader. They have now [9/10] got 70 sacks from him and have divided them among the villages round Mota to begin at once, but unfortunately Copra is now very much down in the market, and this is exceedingly hard lines in our first attempt.

My three days at Motalava were very successful.

The sight of the large congregation in the new Church at Nerenigman was very inspiring, and the Children's service in the afternoon was a great success.

The Ra people have had very stirring times building their new Church. It is after the same style as the Motalava one only smaller. They began to pull down the old one after Easter, and now the new one is well on the way to completion, and will, I hope, be consecrated by the Bishop on his third voyage.

Things are fairly bright at Vureas (Vanualava), and the people have kept up their enthusiasm towards the new Church. It is a big undertaking and includes a great deal of work still left undone. The roof I suppose is on by now, and there is a chance of its being ready for consecration this year. Benjamin Virsal, is quite young again, notwithstanding the fact of his having been taken back to Mota two or three times to die! Perhaps you do not remember Reuben of Paolwar. He was one of the first to receive Baptism after the School was started, but lapsed into heathendom. He has come round to the joy of us all, and I admitted him back during my last stay. He spoke up very well before all the people, and confessed his sin as if he really meant what he said."


Mr. Comins writes of his start at Siota.

St. Luke's, Siota,
18th July, 1895.

It is the first time I have written to you from the above address, and I hope this will be followed by many more such letters. It is some years now since Plant and I talked things over with a view to establishing a Melanesian Mission head quarters in Florida. He had two or three places in view which he asked me to look at, and which for various reason I decided against. I tried to secure an island off Baranago Point on the same side of Florida as the traders are, but a strong heathen party from Hogo put great difficulties in the way, and this had to be given up. Then Reuben Bula came forward and offered us Siota, which occupies the whole east side of Boli harbour; he and his people wished to make a present of it, but I found out that those who had at any time planted cocoanuts, sago, palms, or any trees upon it, still claimed possession of them. So I had to buy them out, and this cost me £10.

On St. Luke's Day, 1893, at the Vankolu gathering at Belaga, I got them to sign a deed making over the whole property, with everything standing on it. We thought the name of St. Luke's the most appropriate, as hearing in mind this date. Palmer did not see his way to recognise my purchase, but when Bishop Wilson came he was asked [10/11] to decide upon the future of the place. He was in favour of it, and at a Synod we had at Norfolk Island last Christmas, the Mission formally adopted it. I was asked to start the work and carry it on. This involved giving up my own district, but the Bishop promised me men to take my place there.

I propose coming down each Easter and taking charge here till the Southern Cross makes a third trip to the Solomons to fetch me in November. This will give me about six months here. When I go away Welchman arranges to take my place and stay each summer. He marries next year and brings his wife here, and this will probably be the beginning of a little colony of white people. It is a healthy place and ought to do very well. We are bringing down calves and poultry, and hope soon to have a farmyard going. The Southern Cross brought down a house--timber with iron roof--and landed it here last month. When she comes again she brings the rest of the things wanted, and four Norfolk Island lads who have volunteered to help me to put the house up. She comes again in November to take us back to Norfolk Island. I am spending a month here clearing ground and getting things ready, and then I go down to my own district, and work there till the Southern Cross picks me up in September. I had a peep at them on the way down. Clement was well and had started a fine stone church. At Saa everything was quiet. Dakaia, from Port Adam, Oikata's son and successor, has taken a trip to Norfolk Island, as Luke Masuraa has gone up to marry and bring his wife home. Johnson also is to marry and do the same. I hope to have my first adult baptism at Heuru, where Bo the chief is among the candidates.




After a short trip to Bugotu, where we found Dr. Welchman on Ascension Day, apparently none the worse for his summer in the Solomon Islands, the Southern Cross landed me at Boromoli, Boli Harbour, on May 7th, for my first long season in Florida. Naturally, my first object, as an indispensable preliminary to all other work, was to make friends with the people and gain some practical acquaintance with the language. There were Baptismal Classes under instruction at most of the schools, and I was anxious to organise Confirmation Classes wherever possible, in view of the expected arrival of the Bishop at the end of the season.

I spent some days at Boromoli, where one of my first tasks was to paint my boat, which had been kindly lent me by Mr. Comins, and having already spent the summer with Clement Marau at Ulawa, was considerably in need of paint. This was a new occupation for me, but, aided by a goodly company of boys, who erected a shelter of palm-branches on the beach to screen me from the burning sun, while I worked away with brush and pot, it was successfully accomplished.

During my stay at Boromoli, I was favourably impressed on the whole with the work of the school. The singing especially was remarkably good, and I was much struck by Clement Berebere's way [11/12] of teaching to sing by note. The Baptismal Class was decidedly backward as yet. I started a Confirmation Class, and began their instruction, and I also started Confirmation Classes at the neighbouring villages of Tulagi and Polomohu.

On Saturday, May 12th, I crossed to Belaga, where I had invited all the confirmed persons within reach to assemble for Holy Communion on Whitsunday. Before leaving Boromoli, I married with the Church Service a baptised couple who had already been living together as husband and wife according to the old custom. I had noticed last year the strange reluctance of even baptised people to be married publicly with the Church Service as one of the difficulties to be dealt with in Florida. This year I was glad to notice signs of an improved feeling on the subject.

On Whitsunday, May 13th, I celebrated Holy Communion early, the communicants being 29. After breakfast I walked along the beach to Arulagia for Matins. Stephen Vokoa, the head teacher there, had returned with us from Norfolk Island, where he and his family had been spending the summer. He found that a most unhappy state of things had come about in his absence. Six persons, three of them baptised and three preparing for Baptism, had fallen into grievous sin, and of course had to be excluded from school and prayers, or rather, they anticipated the sentence by withdrawing. Owing to the scandal thus caused, the school had become sadly disorganised, some giving up attendance altogether, and some transferring their attendance to Belaga. I took the opportunity of the day to speak to the people of the Holy Spirit as our only source of strength in temptation, and exhorted them not to become faithless because others had fallen. I returned for Evensong at Belaga. The attendance there was not at all what it ought to have been, and Reuben Bula, our native deacon, complained that the people were growing slack and indifferent, in spite of all his efforts to arouse them. The ground has been cleared for the site of a new church, which I hope will be fully completed and dedicated next year. I trust that the era of the new church may also be the era of a spiritual awaking.

On Tuesday, May 15th, I visited Salisapa, where I found a new building begun, to serve for both school and church, the old one being very dilapidated. James Hagesi, the second teacher here, has had a small harmonium given him by the congregation of S. John Baptist's, Ashfield, Sydney, who supported him at Norfolk Island. If it can withstand the climate and the ants, it will be a valuable help in the services. Stopping for the night at Arulagia, I found the school next morning very thinly attended, things being evidently in a most unsatisfactory state. The junior teacher had been very negligent and irregular during Stephen's absence, and needed a severe reprimand.

Returning to Belaga and Boromoli, I started on May 17th, accompanied by Reuben Bula, for the tour of the northern part of the district. Our first boat journey was to Halavo, through the Utuha, the great river-like channel which parts the southern and middle islands. On the way we landed at Alfred's village, Gavuhoho. As he was away at work, we did not see him, but saw the beginnings of what promised to be a very nice schoolhouse, a sign that the work only lately [12/13] begun here was prospering. At Mr. Neilson's island, Gavutu, a schooner from Sydney was just anchoring, and the captain, to my great delight, handed me letters and papers from England, posted only two months and a half before. We found Halavo almost entirely deserted, as the people had gone off in a body to a great feast on the other side of the island; so the next day we went on to Binu, one of the last survivors of the old hill villages, beautifully situated in pure air, high above a long swampy creek. I found the school here not so prosperous as could be wished. Louis Siro, the head teacher, is evidently wanting in energy, and the real mainstay of the school is Peter Nelesi, the second, who, however, has not had the benefit of a Norfolk Island education. I returned to Halavo for Trinity Sunday, May 20th, leaving Reuben to conduct the services at Binu. A few teachers from the neighbourhood assembled for the early celebration; we had seven communicants in all. I endeavoured, though not with ultimate success, to start a Confirmation Class at Halavo. Tom Passamate, the head teacher, though conscientious and hard-working, has hardly the knowledge and teaching power required to prepare candidates for Confirmation.

We left Halavo on May 22nd for Olevuga, which I was anxious to visit as soon as possible, having heard a bad account of the state of things there. On the way we called at Haleta, where William Keda began a school last year in a hitherto heathen place. The people at first mostly held aloof, but they have since come to a better mind, and the attendance is good. At Olevuga I found matters in a very bad state. School had virtually ceased, and the attendance at prayers was disgracefully small. A large number of baptised persons had evidently relapsed into practical heathenism. I believe the chief blame is due to the head teacher, Silas Kema, who never threw himself heartily into the work here, and latterly I found had been in the habit of leaving the place altogether to make prolonged stays at his old home, Vura. It is lamentable that a clever man, and one who has been highly thought of, should have proved such a failure, so far at least as concerns Olevuga. Understanding that the defection of the people was partly due to the fact that one of the junior teachers, Renata (or Leonard) Kokounu had been suspended from teaching, I allowed this teacher to resume teaching on probation, as he had been suspended for remissness, not for any moral offence. I urged the teachers to exert themselves at once to recover the ground lost, and said that I should return in about two months' time to see if matters had improved. Mr. Plant's old house at Olevuga was in a ruinous condition, and I passed the night with the rain pouring in upon me through the shattered roof. I felt the state of the clergy-house to be a fit type of the state of religion in the place. Before leaving, Reuben and I visited the heathen chief Lipa. He was very friendly, and I was quite satisfied, from the admissions of the teachers themselves, that the collapse of the school is not in any way due to his influence. On the contrary, I believe that if the school were efficiently carried on, and a proper spirit shown among the Christians of the place, he would soon put himself under instruction.

Our next visit was to Nago, a place situated in a frightfully unhealthy position, among the black swamps which line the southern shore of Sandfly Passage. The old village occupied a nice airy site [13/14] upon the hills, but recently the people have followed the universal fashion of getting as near the sea as possible, without any regard to sanitary considerations. Formally, they were afraid to live on shore, for fear of hostile attacks, and this general migration has been the result of the peace and security which Christianity has brought. The people who dwell in this unattractive place have embraced Christianity with great earnestness. Troops of them came to Evensong, winding their way with torches through the miry bogs amid which their straggling hamlets lie. I was well pleased with all I saw of the school and its working. The present building is a poor one, but they have begun one on a much grander scale on the driest piece of ground to be found in the place. Here I had my first experience of a night in the kiala, the large canoe-house which in every Florida village affords quarters, not only for single men, but for young married couples and families who are not equal to the expense of a private residence. These tenant apartments well wattled off within the building. Altogether we were a wonderful collection of men, women, children, pigs, dogs, fowls, and Cockatoos, under the same roof; knots of men sat round fires and talked, smoked, and slept at intervals. Notwithstanding, I passed a very fairly comfortable night.

From Nago we went to Ravu, where I was not well satisfied with the school or the baptismal candidates. On Saturday, May 26th, we rowed southwards to Vura, where I administered Holy Communion on the Sunday to a few teachers of the place and neighbouring villages. Whilst staying here I paid a short visit to Rara, a small school across the bay southwards, where both teachers and scholars are somewhat sleepy, I fear. I also spent two days at Tumoligohu, a short distance to the north of Vura. A great sensation has been caused in this place, and indeed in all Florida, by the re-appearance of Puko, the only hitherto undiscovered member of the gang who murdered lieutenant Bower and his boat's crew in 1881 at Madoliana, a small island between Hogo and Gaeta. Puko is brother of Matthew Modi, the teacher at Tumoligohu, and was hidden in the bush for twelve years, until last year, when he emerged and made himself known to his brother. For eight years he held no intercourse with any human being, and subsisted on nuts and what other food he could find in the bush. After a time the search for him was abandoned, and he was generally supposed to have died in some hiding place. But about five years ago some relations of his at Nago discovered him to be still alive, and from that time regularly supplied him with food. The secret was well kept until about August, 1893, Puko made himself known to his brother at Tumoligohu. Matthew assured me most positively that he had not the least suspicion that his brother was still alive until this occurred. He then wrote to Bishop Selwyn, relating the affair and asking his advice. He received an answer assuring him that the men-of-war would do nothing to his brother, after such a lapse of time and all the sufferings he had already undergone. So Puko, who at first lived in continual fear of a man-of-war, took heart. He is a fine strong man, apparently none the worse for the hardships he has endured. He must have been very young when he took part in the massacre. His disposition appears now to be most [14/15] amiable, and he was evidently anxious, by his attentions to me, to do what he could to make up for his crime in the past. He is now under Christian instruction, and very attentive, so I trust that in due time the sins of byegone days will be washed away in Baptism, and a new life begun in Christ.

On Saturday, June 2nd, I walked across the island to spend Sunday at Gumulagi, a village situated among the swamps that border a long creek on the western coast-line, but remarkably tidy and well kept, the people, under the leadership of John Takisi, the head teacher, evidently taking a pride in their village and church. I proposed to have the church here dedicated and set apart for purposes of worship only on the Bishop's arrival. John entered readily into this plan, and particularly requested that it might have S. Matthew for its patron saint, as the congregation of S. Matthew's Auckland, had supported him at Norfolk Island. June 4th, a day associated with festivity in the minds of all Eton men, was a holiday and day of great feasting at Gumulagi. I married two couples, one of the brides being John Takisi's sister. The church was thronged, and afterwards we all sat down together to the wedding breakfast in the big canoe-house. This custom of feasting together, instead of merely distributing parcels of food for the guests to take away, has been introduced by John, and is really an important step in the development of social life. In the afternoon I walked back to Vura, a boy carrying a basket full of good things as my portion of the 'wedding cake.'

On June 6th I returned to Boromoli, where I had invited all teachers and communicants who could do so to assemble on S. Barnabas' Day, to celebrate the consecration of our new Bishop. Meanwhile I devoted myself as much as possible to Baptismal and Confirmation Classes. Going over on a visit to Belaga, I found that Joseph Havusi, the chief, a communicant and a member of the Supreme Council, had died that morning. He had been much out of health of late, but I had not imagined him to be so near death. An immense concourse of people were assembled about his house, their chief interest seeming to be the masses of half-burnt pig which are cut up and distributed on these occasions. At sunset we had the funeral, and I took the opportunity to speak to the crowd who attended it about the Christian idea of death and the hope of immortality.

At this time I had an attack of fever, which lasted about a week, and made me almost incapable of doing any work. In consequence of this, S. Barnabas' Day did not bring me so much enjoyment as I had anticipated, but I was thankful to be able, though with difficulty, to celebrate Holy Communion. We had 39 communicants. The same afternoon I crossed to Belaga, where I should find airier and more comfortable quarters, and was able to speak to the people at Evensong about the grand event of the day. I continued ill for some days at Belaga, only able to do a little Baptismal and Confirmation work. On June 15th, Reuben Bula and a boat's crew took me through the Utuha to Gavutu, an island near Halavo belonging to Mr. Neilson, trader, by whose kindness and hospitality I was soon enabled to regain health in a pure air. I found the state of things at Halavo to be unsatisfactory. [15/16] The people had been so taken up with going about to dances that no regular Baptismal or Confirmation Classes had as yet been started, and I was obliged to decide that no Baptisms or Confirmations could take place there this year. There was evidently a general want of zeal, Tom Pasamate, the head teacher, is conscientious, but not a strong personality, and seems to have little influence with the people.

From Halavo I took my way southward on June 19th, visiting first the Hogo district. At Vonuha, in the northern part of this district, I found the people erecting an excellent, large schoolhouse for Ben Bele, who had been removed from Birseleni, near Olevuga. the previous year, in consequence of troubles with the heathen chief Dikea, in which it appeared that Bele was to blame. He has the prospect of a fine opening here if he will put his heart into the work, and a considerable district which has hitherto remained entirely heathen ought to be brought within the reach of Christian teaching, At Guba, the principal village of Hogo, I found things in a more satisfactory state than last year. Gilbert Pae, the head teacher, has had a very trying time, being a stranger sent there to replace a teacher who disgraced himself, and who still lives in the place. The Hogo people are very difficult to manage. Of old they were concerned, under Tabukoro's leadership, in many a dark deed, and they are still suspicious of strangers and by no means given to hospitality. Last year things seemed to have come to a deadlock, owing to the determined opposition offered by a large party in the place to Pae. The art of boycotting is pretty well understood in Florida, and was rigorously applied in this case, though there was no serious ground of complaint against Pae, except that he was a Gaeta man. He wished himself, however, to stay on for another year at least, and endeavour to carry on his work and live down opposition. This year I was rejoiced to find that things had altered considerably for the better. Gilbert had gained Tabukoro's confidence, and was consulted by him about everything. His relations with the people had much improved, though still not so happy as could be wished. He was still desirous of continuing at his post, to which, of course, I readily assented. Tabukoro seemed to be discharging his duties as chief in a highly satisfactory manner. He has quite given up bullying the people, and is really anxious to be directed as to everything that he ought to do in order to fill his position properly and order the community rightly. He and his wife presented themselves as candidates for Confirmation, and in due time received that holy rite from the Bishop. Considering Tabukoro's antecedents, I should say one could hardly find a more notable instance of a man changed by the grace of GOD. I was pleased with the school work at Guba, but the large preponderance of girls brought forcibly to my notice a feature which is more or less conspicuous everywhere, viz., the draining away of young men by the labour traffic. It is plain that if the present state of things continues, nothing much short of complete depopulation can result. As one of the teachers said to me, 'We shall soon have only females to teach.' The Confirmation and Baptismal Classes seemed to be well taught, and were at least very attentive to my instructions; it is almost impossible, I fear, for a stranger and a white man to elicit knowledge from a class of natives by question and answer, supposing them to possess it. [16/17] Of course, my knowledge of the Florida language being at present very slight, I had in all my teaching and preaching to use Mota, and employ a teacher as my interpreter. But I felt more every day the unsatisfactoriness of instruction conveyed through this medium, and the prime importance of qualifying myself as soon as possible to make a start in speaking to the people in their own tongue. I am inclined to think that very imperfect Florida spoken straight to the people would be more effective than any interpreted discourse.

On S. John Baptist's Day, being Sunday, we had an early celebration at Guba, with 14 communicants. On June 27th I continued my southward course to the Gaeta district. It was a stormy day, and we reached Vunanimala drenched with sea and rain. Here and at Lonapolo, the other school village on the coast, I found Confirmation and Baptismal Classes at work, the former going up to the old village in the hills, Lago, four times a week, including Sunday, to receive instruction from Patrick Parapolo and Herbert Kulai; the latter every Sunday. On S. Peter's Day I had a lovely walk up to Lago, and was very glad of the opportunity offered by the day to speak at Evensong, in this cradle of Florida Christianity, about the Apostolic Commission in special connection with the consecration of our own Bishop, and his expected arrival among us. I learnt afterwards that by a happy coincidence this was the day of the Bishop's installation at Norfolk Island.

On Saturday, June 30th, a party of us visited the wonderful cavern or tunnel under the rocks, high up in the hills above Logo, first traversed by Bishop Selwyn, and since become one of those excursions which no visitor to Gaeta should omit, as the Murray of the future will doubtless remark. It is a magnificent sight, this vaulted passage from which the river rushes fresh and clear, to hurl itself over precipitous rocks. Holford Burunia and I together went through it from end to end, he holding a candle. The water was so high that in some places we had to swim from point to point of rock, Holford keeping his candle up all the time. Unfortunately, I took a severe chill, which laid me up for some days, but I was thankful that before giving in to it I was able to get through the Sunday duties. We had 36 communicants at the early celebration, and the Baptismal and Confirmation Classes also assembled from the neighbouring villages.

On July 8th I reached Vuturua, where I found a new school-church being built in a more central position for the straggling hamlets which here line the shore than the old one. I found that the whole of the first class had been carried away by labour vessels! Rounding the southermost point of Florida, I then turned north again, spending a Sunday at Gole and more time than I had intended at Salisapa, owing to my being unwell and not able to do much. At Salisapa, again, an excellent new school church was being built. Finally I reached Belaga on July 13th, thus completing my circuit of the southern island.

About this time Reuben Bula with three canoes manned by Belaga men, and David Tuokeri the Gaeta chief, went across to Guadalcanar to rescue some people who were threatened with [17/18] destruction by a hostile chief, the threatened people being of the same kema or clan as the Belaga and Gaeta men. In due time 48 refugees were landed in the south of Florida. They seemed quite unable to realize their altered conditions, that they were in a land where people could come and go and live where they chose, without fear of harm. They hung jealously together, flatly refusing to disperse themselves among different villages, as would be most convenient for their entertainers. I hope, however, that before their stay in Florida comes to an end they will have learnt in some measure to appreciate the blessings which Christianity has brought to a place once as full of feuds and bloodshed as their own country, and that good seed may yet be sown which will bear fruit in heathen Guadalcanar.

On July 19th I left Belaga for my second northern circuit, making my first stay at Bagekama, a small school village on the Utuha, next visiting Gumulagi, Binu, Gavuhoho where Alfred Lobu has recently begun school. Daring the first part of this round I was very unwell, and painfully conscious of been unable to do the work I wanted to do. At Gumulagi I had to lie up altogether for two or three days, John Takisi and his wife being most assiduous in their attentions to me, and eagerly sacrificing their fowls to provide me with chicken broth. I was much delighted with Alfred's work at Gavuhoho, and the evidence of systematic and intelligent teaching shown by his school. These people are among the latest reclaimed from heathenism, and they once had a very bad character for violence and treachery. Now they are full of zeal for the new teaching; I trust they may have grace to continue faithful and steadfast. Alfred wisely refrained from presenting any candidates for Baptism this year, preferring to be slow but sure in laying the foundation.

Leaving Gavuhoho on August 2nd, I turned northward with an anxious heart for my second visit to Olevuga, stopping a night on the way at Haleta, where William Keda started a new school last year. It is at present in a small way, but progress is so far satisfactory, for whereas last year the natives held aloof for fear of the wrath of their tindalos, leaving William only a few Christian immigrants from Ravu to teach, they are now beginning to come in, and to send their children to school. At Olevuga I could not see much that betokened improvement, though the teachers professed to have made something of a fresh start. Certainly a few children had been coming to school, and some persons had resumed attendance at prayers; but there was no such revival as some would have had me expect from removing Kohounu's grievance. Silas had gone on business to Savo, and a contrary wind had already delayed his return for a week, so I did not see him. He had immediately after my last visit spent a whole week at Vura, which showed plainly that he had no serious purpose of exerting himself to mend matters. Not having seen Silas, I was obliged to put off deciding what was to be done until the Southern Cross should arrive at the end of the season. I baptised five infants just before leaving, which gave me a pleasant memory of something like a renewal of Church life to carry away with me amid many sad and perplexing thoughts.

[19] My next visit was to Mage, on the northern shore of Sandfly Passage, opposite Nago. I spent Sunday between these two places, going to Nago for Matins, preaching and examining Ellison Gura's catechumens, and returning for Evensong at Mage, the voyage both ways being by canoe. The Baptismal Class at Nago had evidently had careful teaching from Ellison Gura, but I thought it advisable that they should have some more before receiving Baptism, as this would be the first Baptism in the place. So I postponed Baptism until the arrival of the Southern Cross. I paid them one more visit on Monday, August 6th. and shall long remember my return canoe trip across Sandfly Passage by moonlight. It was a lovely scene indeed.

I spent several days at Ravu, where I wished to give as much personal instruction as I could to the Baptismal candidates, as I had perceived on my first visit that they were not being efficiently taught. I had also a Confirmation Class attended by candidates from Nago and Mage, as well as from Vura, At other times they assembled at Nago, to be taught by Ellison Gura. I was obliged to put off the Baptism of all the candidates except one for this year, as they evidently did not understand the rudiments of Christian faith and duty; but I could not blame them much, and I felt that a change must be speedily made at Ravu. The one whom I baptised was an old woman who could not be expected to take in much head knowledge, but evidently sincere and eager in her desire to become one of Christ's people.

On August 11th I went to Tumoligohu, and spent a few days teaching the Baptismal and Confirmation Classes. On August 14th I had an adult Baptism of six males and five females. I then proceeded to Vura, where the same routine of Baptismal and Confirmation Classes went on, though with some difficulty, as I was again seriously unwell; but on Sunday, August 19th, I baptised eight males and nine females. I was much pleased both with the knowledge and general tone of the candidates. Frank Soro is an able teacher.

During the ensuing week I had the largest Baptism of the year at Polomohu, 35 of Polomohu, and 12 of Tulagi. Before the end of the week I was engaged with Baptismal and Confirmation Classes at Boromoli. Sunday, August 26th, was a most enjoyable day. At Matins I baptised 23 adults, and was much pleased to mark the devout and reverent behaviour of all who took part in the service. While I was at tea that evening, David, the Boromoli chief, came in and delivered me a parcel containing letters and newspapers from New Zealand and England. The former gave me a full account of the glorious S. Barnabas' Day at Auckland. This was something to be thankful for indeed, after being so long without news of home or of the world outside Florida, just when I was feeling exhausted by the labours of this season of Baptisms and the doubts and anxieties which could not fail to weigh heavily upon one but little acquainted as yet with the language and character of the people, in deciding upon the fitness of such numbers for the great gifts and responsibilities which they were seeking in Baptism and Confirmation. I was able to read up the account of the Bishop's Consecration and give the people some description of it at Evensong.

[20] My next round of Baptismal and Confirmation Classes was at Belaga, where I received invaluable help from Reuben Bula. On August 29th I baptised 17. Visiting Arulagia and Salisapa, where there are no candidates for Baptism this year, nearly all the adults being already baptised, I continued southwards to Gole, where on September 7th I baptised ten males and eight females. We had had a long spell of dry weather; streams were drying up, and the want of water in this part of Florida was beginning to be serious. I found it best for my peace of mind not to inquire too curiously into the sources from which my tea was brewed, but to rest in the belief that after boiling it could not do me much harm. After this it was a treat to reach Vuturua with its lovely river, and enjoy a good bathe. Here I found the Baptismal Class fairly well prepared, and on September 10th I baptised 6 males and 14 females. On September 14th I baptised at Lonapolo 12 males and 4 females from the Gaeta district. Next I visited Hogo to make arrangements for the public reception of the Bishop when he should arrive, for which Reuben and I had already sent letters of invitation to all the Florida schools. Tabukoro entered zealously into the plans, and the Gaeta and Hogo people agreed to provide food between them for the large concourse.

It was now near the time when I expected the Southern Cross, and I returned to Vuturua to look out for her. She did not appear, however, till October 6th, having been delayed at Auckland and Norfolk Island. I had by that time returned to Belaga, and great was my delight, after three weeks' watching, when she hove in sight that Saturday morning, and I soon was on board and found our new Bishop and Mr. Comins there. I have no space left to describe fully the Bishop's visit, but doubtless he will give his own impressions of Florida. The Bishop held five Confirmations at Boromoli, Hogo, Ravu, Belaga, and Gumulugi. At Hogo we had a great gathering of teachers and chiefs from all parts of Florida to welcome him, and marched in procession to the church, where we held a festival service. To my great joy, the Bishop took this opportunity of publicly restoring Alfred Lobu to his functions as deacon. Alfred had given most satisfactory proof of sincere repentance for his fall, and has been doing excellent work at Gavuhoho. I trust he may now have grace given him by work in a wider sphere to retrieve his past error, and to labour for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. The ceremony was most affecting, and poor Alfred was quite overcome. The remaining Baptisms took place at Hogo, Gumulagi, Bagekama and Nago. The Vaukolu, or Florida Parliament, was held at Boromoli on October 19th. At the early celebration which preceded it, 49 communicated. The meeting was a very good one on the whole, and several matters affecting the whole people of Florida were discussed, and various regulations agreed to. There certainly seemed to me to be a distinct advance upon last year in the interest shown by the people in the management of their affairs. We visited Olevuga, with no very satisfactory results. The school was still practically in abeyance. The Bishop went on shore with me for Evensong, and afterwards we got as many of the baptised as possible to meet us in the schoolhouse and discuss the causes of this terrible falling away. [20/21] The people professed themselves still desirous of a good school, and blamed the remissness of the teachers. No doubt there was great fault on both sides. In the end, with the Bishop's sanction, I decided to remove Silas Kema, leaving the junior teachers to do what they could until next year, when I trust a suitable head teacher will be found. Silas is to take charge for the present at Ravu, with Ellis Kerikeri for his second. This will test whether he means to retrieve his faults at Olevuga. This was all that could be settled before we left for Norfolk Island. I feel the whole condition of this part of Florida to be a source of grave anxiety.

On Sunday, October 21st, we had a delightful day at Gumulagi, when the Bishop dedicated the Church of S. Matthew, the only building at present in Florida set apart solely for purposes of worship. He confirmed and I baptised.

On October 22nd we sailed far Guadalcanar, where we set down George Vasilei and his wife at Savulei on the western side, to begin work in a land at present entirely heathen. Coasting down that side of the island, never before visited by the Southern Cross, we took our course southward. There was much work for the Bishop to do before we reached Norfolk Island, but at length we arrived safely on the evening of the First Sunday in Advent, December 2nd.




October 6th.--We left Florida in the afternoon, having just put down Mr. Comins and Mr. Browning, and the same evening we reached Vatilau, where Ralph Kinogi was waiting for us. It was a little doubtful whether we should be well received, but that point was soon settled. A neat and even tastily-decorated schoolhouse met the eye in a moment, and told its own tale, while the smiling presence of Herbert Dei, Soga's brother, and two or three other Christian chiefs of Bugotu, showed that the minds of the people had not been unsettled by the recent death of Sogamola. I had a warm welcome, and learnt with joy that his last injunctions to his people had been to impress on them the wisdom of their attendance at school, and, poor old heathen though he was, freeing it from all blame in connection with his approaching death. It was a matter of regret to him that he had not received a teacher sooner; he reproached himself publicly with the fact, and it was a regret to me that Ralph did not baptize him before his death; but it is certain that He who came to seek and save that which was lost will know how to judge mercifully one who came to Him though at the eleventh hour. He gave orders that he was to be buried as a Christian, and that no heathen customs at all should be followed; even the Savo and Guadalcanar people insisted on it. Soga, fearing trouble for the little colony from them, sent a contingent of Bugotu people strong both in numbers and quality, and their presence served to overawe the heathen visitors and to prevent any annoyance. William Mike succeeds his brother in the property and headship, and announced his intention of leaving Mavealu and of settling down permanently at Kolona. the true name of the village. During the night we sailed quietly on, and early in the morning of

[22] October 7th we arrived at Sepi, and, taking counsel with Soga, Rodi, and Basile, we arranged for a trip to New Georgia. I wanted volunteers for interpreters, and in a very few minutes we had more than were necessary, Soga himself undertaking to escort the party. Then we went to Pirihadi to accomplish the usual watering and take in wood. Here I paid a visit to Oliver Mano, whom I found to my sorrow in the last stage of consumption. He had hung on at Doveli as long as possible, and at last had to give in and was carried down here among his own people, leaving Doveli in charge of Elton Keakera, a willing but incompetent teacher, but the only one available.

At Pirihadi a letter awaited me from the Governor of German New Guinea, couched in polite terms, and expressing goodwill towards the mission, but complaining of the interference of the teachers, who had opposed the recruiting of labour. It was a matter of some moment, and threatened trouble and ill-feeling, so I went carefully into the matter, and entered into correspondence with His Excellency, to whom I felt bound to apologise for acts of personal rudeness towards him by one teacher at least. The fear of strangers, natural to Bugotu people, also led them to use the name of the mission in an improper manner, and the result of interpretation by persons probably unskilled in the language led to a series of mistakes and misunderstandings difficult to disentangle. I may here say that the result of the correspondence has been most satisfactory. His Excellency was good enough to accept my apology and explanations, and to speak in kind and high terms of his estimation of the work of the mission in Ysabel, and so, under God's blessing, ends happily a condition of affairs which might have had serious consequences.

October 10th.--We called at Savo, where we were somewhat shyly received, though the people were not unfriendly. We could get no promises of boys, and no more than an undertaking to think about a school. It is very evident they do not care about Christianity here, and it was only Soga's presence that induced them to relax so far.

October 11th.--Reached Guadalcanar, and after some difficulty we discovered Savule where Kukuru lives, the uncle of George Basile. We landed under the pretence of merely bringing George to see his relations, and could not approach the subject of a school or of getting boys. They are too steadfastly opposed to all such ideas, and would have fled or requested us to leave had we touched the subject. I made friends with Kukuru by a present, and he promised to take me in when I went there again, and accepted George's offer of a prolonged visit. I was sufficiently contented with this for a first attempt, and we steamed down the coast to find another village where lived friends of Soga, but night came on before we got near there, and we were reluctantly compelled to return.

October 12th.-We reached Lauba (Russell Island), a curious place consisting of a high mountain surrounded by scores of islets. It was dangerous navigation on entering the group, and exercised all the powers of our captain to keep out of danger. This is the first visit ever paid to this island, and we had some difficulty in finding the inhabitants. We landed at the village, and caught sight of two [22/23] figures in the bush, but they immediately disappeared, and no amount of coaxing could make them reappear. My men shouted out that they were friends from Bugotu, and even called out the names of the party, but to no purpose. The village was deserted, and we did not know where to go. While we were waiting I was astonished to see two of our men coolly ascend a cocoanut tree and throw down cocoanuts wholesale. I asked one of the party if they were going to buy them, at which they all broke into a loud laugh, and said, 'Why, they are our own--this tree is mine--and this mine--and this mine; we planted them years ago.' I had no idea that they had been there on any but lighting or trading expeditions; but it was quite true that they were only taking their own property. On looking at the trees, I could see they were full of fruit, while those around had only a moderate quantity. The people respected the rights of property, and only touched what fell of themselves. In the canoe house were a few human skulls hanging from the roof, most probably the heads of invaders, for I do not think these folk do much fighting themselves, except in defence; they are too timid, and their neighbours too warlike. After a fruitless search on one or two islets, we came across a canoe, from which we learnt that our friends were on still another island whither they had gone to gather nuts. We went after them, and I spent an hour or two ashore with the chief, who was, very friendly and exhibited with pride an organette which he had bought from a trader, and requested me to perform, which I did, grinding out "Midshipmite" and "Blue Danube" for the gratification of these very slightly-clad heathen. He promised me a boy, who would have come with me, but his father was not at home. Next visit, I hope to get him altogether.

October 14th.-We reached Narovo and dropped anchor in the harbour, and then I found that Mulemata's village was on the other side of the island. Readers of the "Island Voyage" will remember his visit to Bugotu some three years ago. I sent two men to tell him I was here, and then we invited the people to come on board, having first inspected their canoes to see that they carried no weapons. We had about seventy on board at once, trading with the Bugotu people, and it was a good sign that there were quite a lot of children among them. My two boys were so long returning that I began to be a little anxious, but at last they came, and Mulemata just after them. With him was Belangona, a huge man, very fat, with a boyish chubby face. I was told he was a worse ruffian than the truculent-looking Mulemata. We sat in the cabin of the Southern Cross, and, with the help of two interpreters, carried on some sort of conversation. They were a little puzzled with our visit, but said they would give a boy if I would come again. I doubt if they will, for they asked Soga to give them one of his men. Soga waxed eloquent, and told them what good had accrued to his country since they accepted Christianity, and begged them to give up head-hunting and to have a school. The two men listened with somewhat stolid indifference, but invited me to spend a night with them. I was obliged to decline, for our time was restricted, and I did not like leaving the vessel at anchor out of sight. These people are some of the worst in the group. I promised to come again, on which occasion I hope to get to their own side of [23/24] the island, and then the ship can stand off out of harm's way. We had planned a visit further up the group, but we had now to return to keep our appointment in Florida, and we called at Sepi on our way, to take up a boat's crew. We reached Boli on October 21st, and here I agreed to take with me Gilbert Meta, the man who killed his wife a few months before, for transportation to New Guinea, Tabukoro consenting to the arrangement.

October 24th.--We rowed away from the Southern Cross to Gavutu, where we waited till the moon rose, and then continued our journey towards Vatilau. We rested at a small island half-way, and here in the darkness Meta escaped, returning to his own village. We hunted for him for some time, but had to leave without him, and on arriving at Vatilau I sent a message to Tabukoro requesting his re-delivery at Bugotu. After about a week he was brought there, and worried my life out complaining of his hard treatment by the Florida people, and announcing his intention of escaping again at the first opportunity. He tried to get more than one party to take him to Vatilau in their canoes, and after much talking my patience was wearied out and I gave him a good scolding. I explained the situation to Soga and the teachers, and they came to my aid, and gave him a very long paternal lecture, after which he behaved much better, and gradually became reconciled to his fate. The labour vessel never came, and he was with me always during the first month, helping me most assiduously; and then I made him over to Soga's care while I was absent from Sepi. Always when I returned Meta came and looked after my personal luggage, and was most trustworthy, making my bed at night, and bringing me tea early in the morning. I never had such a henchman before, and we became firm friends. He is really a gentle, quiet man, and I do believe he was simply goaded into madness by his wife's incessant nagging, and never meant really to kill her or do more than give her a blow which should make her keep quiet. At present he remains in Bugotu working for Soga, and it is likely that he will settle down there altogether.

At Kolona there was a very interesting class of catechumens, of whom I selected four men and three women for baptism. Their preparation did credit to Ralph's teaching, and they will, I think, be a useful nucleus around which to gather the Church of Kolona now in its infancy. There is little doubt about their earnestness. I meant to stay here for a week, but as the wind was fair, we started on

October 31st for Sepi, but not so early as we intended, as one of my boat's crew was busy searching for three pigs, for whom he wanted a passage; happily, he could not find them, for we had a ten hours' journey, the boat was leaky, and half way the wind veered dead ahead. We had some difficulty in finding the entrance to the reef, as it was pitch dark when we reached it; however, a friendly fire gave us a lead, and I was glad to get into my house, lumbered up though it was with boxes and goods deposited at our last call. Next morning we went down to Opi to see Mano, who is still alive, but rapidly declining, and whom I had scarcely expected to see alive again. At this time I heard of a raid by Vulega people on Gao, when some ten men were killed, These Vulega folk are as great a scourge [24/25] as the New Georgia men. The next few days were spent in fixing plans and getting information about the schools. It was a great disappointment to find that Hugo Hebala during the holidays had taken to himself a wife. He would have been all the better for another turn at Norfolk Island; but they seem to be so devoted to each other that perhaps it is as well. Then, to counterbalance that trouble, Soga brought me 150 fish teeth which Parako had paid in against the goods which he embezzled a year or two ago. It looks like a return to better ways.

November 5th, Sunday.--Oliver Mano died to-day, and after morning service I went down in a canoe and buried him at Vulavu. Quite a large number of people came to the funeral from the villages round about, showing how much he was beloved. He will be much missed, for he was a favourite from his gentle ways and good influence.

November 8th.--We started for Pahua, but spent this night at Reisapa, where I found a capital school under Stephen Papa and about 50 catechumens. News from Gao is not re-assuring. Gabili says he will allow a school to be built, but it is clear he does not mean to assist it in any way, as it is against his will, and only from fear of Soga.

At Pahua I found, as usual, a good school, well worked, and I had the great pleasure of administering Holy Communion to the people for the first time. There were 14 communicants, some of whom had been baptised several years, but from various reasons had not been confirmed before. It has been a great loss to them that it did not take place sooner, but it could not be helped, and now I hope for more regular confirmations here.

November 14th.--At Sepi again, where there is some cause for anxiety. Rodi does not get on with the people, and the small school is inefficient; and I heard of trouble at Mavealu which required my immediate presence, and on November 15th we went there to inquire into it. I have not been contented with the time generally given for preparation for baptism, and shall increase it considerably; no less than three of last year's candidates have fallen into grievous sin. Now that I can talk more directly with them, I shall be able to learn more of their true state of mind, which is somewhat difficult to do through an interpreter, who would naturally put a more favourable colour on replies to questions than they really deserve.

While staying here, I went for the first time to the top of the ridge which runs at the back of the village. Here the people used to live, and there are many signs of their presence in the numerous burial-places, well built of large stones brought with great labour from the beach. Each of them contained many skulls, some of slain men, some of those who died a natural death.

November 18th.--Soga came over from Sepi by appointment, and we inquired into one of the cases about which there was some doubt. Soga investigated it very thoroughly, but being not quite satisfied with the accuracy of some of the statements, the case was adjourned to the following day, that he might make fresh inquiries from other people. However, in the end it was proved to be true, the parties [25/26] were all fined, and the man was sent away from the village with his wife. He adhered to his first tale of innocence till his guilt was incontestably proved, and his death a fortnight afterwards was considered a punishment for his perjury.

It is at this place that Frazer Nabe lives, who was so troublesome last year about James Paijura's wife, having claimed her as his slave. I tried to see him, but he always avoided me; he comes neither to school nor prayers, and is in either a sulk or ashamed of himself.

November 27th.--Paid a flying visit to Mede, where there are no Christians except the teachers. They have built a large school, and a good house for me. The people come freely to school, but say they do not want to be baptised, which is just as well, for several of them have a plurality of wives, and do not understand what is required of them.

November 30th.--A meeting of teachers took place to-day at Sepi. We began the day as usual with Holy Communion, and after breakfast twenty-three met in my house. I gave them a report on the condition in which I found their schools, and pointed out matters which required alteration. One was the procuring of sponsors for infants. It used often to happen that the teacher was the only person qualified to stand, and so it had become the custom for him always to answer for the infants. The next point was the marriage custom. Owing to the absence of printed matter and the lack of translations for the service, Christian marriage is rather the exception than the rule, and it is to be feared that some preferred the heathen style of marriage as being a looser tie than the Christian way. It had at least the advantage of showing how the people considered our marriage an indissoluble tie. The other custom having been allowed so long to the baptised, it becomes somewhat difficult to insist upon a law which would be new to them, but it will have to be done. After this we called in Soga, who explained to them the meaning of 'huguta,' which will be used in future for 'kingdom.' It is a word which can only be used by a chief, but as it is the nearest word that we can find to express a 'kingdom,' Soga has given us leave to use it; but no one seemed quite to know what it meant till he was told. After the meeting the usual dinner followed, very much assisted by a large contribution of pig from Soga.

December 5th.--Began a stay at Reisapa, where Stephen is working very steadily. He has a good large class of catechumens, who, however, were not up to the standard, with the exception of three, whom I baptised; the others must receive further instruction.

A girl here named Juo married and went to another village to live, but after a time she left her husband and returned home that she might attend school. Apulu sent for her again and again, but she refused to go, even when Stephen ordered her to do so. There is no school in their village, and it seemed rather hard to send her away, but it had to be done, as wives are rather too fond of going home to their mothers on slight pretexts. It is to be hoped that the husband will come and live nearer, and then both can receive instruction.

[27] December 17th.--Walked over to Vahoria to church, when there were four infants to baptise. The discussion about sponsors has borne fruit already. When I arrived there was evidently some difficulty to be arranged, and on inquiry I found that the elder boys in the school whom Devi had taken into council were not satisfied with committing the charge of the four little girls to the women, who they declared were themselves too ignorant to look after them properly. Consequently they offered themselves for the post. They are good boys, and I agreed to the arrangement; but when the time came for the baptisms I was not quite prepared to see these lusty youths march up to the font, each carrying a baby, all four of whom cried violently at being forcibly taken away from their mothers. As soon as they could be freed, I called out the mothers, and peace prevailed again.

Christmas Day was spent at Sepi. We had an early celebration with the five communicants in the village, all teachers, who came for the occasion. Immediately afterwards we had matins, so that the people might have a long day to themselves. A good many came to my verandah and looked at pictures--a very favourite practice of theirs. In the evening, after service, we had a magic-lantern exhibition, new to most of the people and consequently astonishing, but they were very quiet, and listened attentively to the story of the Nativity which was thus illustrated.

December 26th.--The holidays began, and the first great feature of the day was the marriage of Ellison Gito, the chief's second son, with Dora, the daughter of Hugo Goravaka. The church was quite full, many visitors having come to perform their dances in honour of the occasion. There were three sets, and they danced and turned all morning until about two o'clock when they broke off for refreshment. I had retired to my house, and my portion was sent to me--enough for fifty people or more, and comprising all kinds of fish, pudding, and vegetables, with the inevitable pig. After the dancers had rested they started again, and only desisted in time to get ready for prayers.

During this week dances were the order of the day, and I went to several. The weather was not good, and one afternoon some 200 of us were shut up for two or three hours in a boat-house measuring about 60 feet by 60, and during the whole time I did not hear a single angry word. The proceedings of the whole fortnight were characterised by a sociability and goodwill not often found in more civilised countries.

January 6th.--Started on a journey to Florida to give them their Christmas Communion. It was a scorching hot day, and the boys had to row nearly all the way. We were very glad to get ashore for the night at Kolona. We rowed very nearly all round Florida, and had three celebrations; but the weather was very bad, and we were all wet continually. We got back to Sepi three weeks later. From this time for a period of six weeks all school work was practically suspended, as the people were all wandering about fishing for bonitas. Sometimes a whole village would depart, only two or three old people or women remaining to look after the pigs; and of course no school [27/28] could be done. Next year I hope to make an arrangement by which the teachers may accompany these fishing parties and keep school going once a day at least. They always do manage to get some one to read prayers for them morning and evening, but we can do better yet than that.

While staying at Pirihadi I made an attempt to reach the Uta district, but the place was too much disturbed. A man of some consequence had died, and they were on the look out for a head. None but the heathen in Bugotu know the way there, and they declined running any risks, and refused point-blank to go. There is so little communication with the beach, and the roads are changed so often, that it is only the bush people themselves that can find the way out, and the beach people wait till they get a guide and companion. Next year I will be able to do better, I hope. When the principal danger was over, the heavy rains made the roads impassable. Pirihadi is about as sleepy as ever; there were some catechumens as usual, but the best of them were very ignorant, probably because their knowledge of Bugotu is small. One told me he thought he did know, but he had forgotten the answers.

On my return to Sepi I had a desire to see Parako, who I believed was penitent, but too much ashamed to come and see me. I sent for him and went to his house, but he always avoided me, leaving the village as soon as I arrived and going off to a distance. Unless I could see him I could do nothing and I appealed to Soga, who at my suggestion sent an armed party and brought him up to Sepi, and then deposited him in my house. It was rather an extreme measure but it answered as I expected it would. He made a full and unreserved confession of his crime, and acknowledged that he had spent all the goods on himself, and then lied about it to everyone. I was glad to hear his statement, as it cleared other people from blame, and I was glad to see that he was more humble and subdued than I have ever known him. May it continue. After such a long-continued obstinacy, I would not receive him back at once, but told him I should reserve his case for the Bishop's consideration, so that he might have a further time for reflection; but it was satisfactory to know that now he is on the right path instead of the wrong one.

I had a good deal of trouble with a few people over the fines for the marriage of widows--the jaee--but in each case I got the money returned, and the people are now understanding that the custom is at an end. Some have refused flatly to pay any fine; others have referred the decision to me, with the result that the demand has always collapsed before reaching me.

EASTER I spent at Pahua, and from there I paid two visits to Gao. On landing, I found all the males sitting on the beach doing nothing, and heard that Gabili was ill and not expected to recover. That he was ill was true, but it was not so bad as that, and I tried to see him. The people would not tell us which house he was in, nor give us any information about him; so Stephen and I returned to the canoe-house, where we spent the night. Next morning, I had a great audience there, the people coming to buy fish-hooks. I suddenly stopped selling, telling them that I had come to see the chief, and not to [28/29] trade. If I could not see him I would go away at once. In about ten minutes I was ushered into the great man's presence, or at least into his house: he lay behind a screen, and we talked across it. He pretended that he wanted a school, but that his people forbade it, but still that he would shortly arrange for a school to be begun. I knew he was not telling the truth, and the result showed I was right, for he went away as soon as he got well, and put off all school till an indefinite date.



Among the latest letters from the Islands brought back by the Southern Cross to Norfolk Island was one full of interest, written to the Bishop by Mr. A. E. Forrest. Mr. Forrest writes from Nelua, Santa Cruz, where he has been keeping his school in the midst of discouragements such as few men could bear up under. His letter, dated April 28th, 1895, speaks more eloquently than any comment. He first describes the state of his own village.

'I have had a hard time since Christmas. Until Christmas things went pretty well; since then I have not had a week's peace. All the Cruzians have gone mad, I think. It has been nothing but fighting. The day after Christmas Day the Taape people attacked us, thanks to some two or three returned labourers, who brought back guns with them; and that I was not shot simply means that the fellow who fired was in such a rage that he could not hold his gun still, and I dodged behind a tree in front of my house.'

A thrilling description follows of the struggle the writer had to prevent general bloodshed. On one occasion he had to knock down one of his own scholars to prevent him shooting an enemy. Eventually terms of peace were arranged, and the Taape people had to pay a heavy fine.

When the worst of the fighting was over, Mr. Forrest made the journey in an open boat to the Duff Group, distant 120 miles northward from Santa Cruz. Ho was favourably impressed by the people living on these islands, and hopes this year to open the first school there. On his return to Nelua he found everything in confusion. His head teacher, Mera, had been shot in the bush. He had come across a man misbehaving himself, and the fellow to save himself from the consequences let fly at Mera. The arrow was extracted, and it was hoped the sufferer would recover, but tentanus set in-as in the case of Joseph Aitkin and Stephen Taroniara, who were killed with Santa Cruzian arrows at the time of the murder of Bishop Patteson--and Mera died in great agony. Mera's people came down from the bush and demanded blood for blood. The murderer of their kinsman had fled to another island, therefore someone else must be [29/30] slain in his stead. Mr. Forrest interposed. In his own words: 'I sat there for some four or five hours trying to pacify them. I shall not forget it in a hurry. One fellow was simply perspiring with rage. At last they became more reasonable, and asked if I would give them one child to kill, and then they would be satisfied.' This could not be granted, but instead Mr. Forrest collected a large sum of money among his own scholars, and with this bribed the heathen to depart. They departed, only to come back again two days afterwards. A cry was raised in the middle of the night that the houses of teacher and scholars were surrounded by bushmen. Mr. Forrest was awakened by hearing something coming against his mosquito curtain. It was one of the enemy's arrows that had come in at the window and hit the curtain beside the sleeper's head.

Since then the Christians have been in a constant state of siege 'From that time till now,' says the writer, 'I have never had a decent night's rest. Some nights it is close on morning before we turn in and I am continually in a state of alarm. I am obliged to post people outside the church every night while we are at service. Any noise outside has the effect of an electric shock on the congregation. I cannot tell you half the anxiety and trouble it is.' To add to this discomfort the Reef Islanders came over in some fifteen canoes and picked a quarrel, which was only stopped by Mr. Forrest's intervention. Meanwhile the bushmen had stolen a woman, a relation of one of the teachers, and she had to be brought back at no small risk.

It is little wonder that the writer says, after relating these more than strange experiences: 'I must rest a little while when the Southern Cross comes, or else I shall collapse. The constant watching is telling on my nerves. I have sent Sagler and Masiaro--these are two native teachers--away to a safe place.' Yet amidst all these difficulties the seed sown in danger, and in the midst of heathen darkness, is bearing fruit. There is a flourishing school at Pileni, another at Nufiole, and the Duff people are only waiting for teachers to be sent to build schools among them; also a fine church has been built at Te Motu, and awaits consecration.

Besides his constant schoolwork, Mr. Forrest has been engaged in translating parts of the Old Testament into the extremely difficult language of the Santa Cruzians. All Santa Cruzians speak as though they had marbles in their mouths.

At the end of the letter the writer speaks of his plans for the future. He is going into the bush to try and pacify his besiegers. He says: 'I hope to go clean through the bush, from one end of the island to the other. The bush people are still threatening, and I want to stop it if I can. I shall go by myself, and I know it is a risk; - but should anything happen you will remember that nobody will be to blame but myself, and what I am doing is with my eyes open. I believe it is the right thing to do. If I arrive safely back I shall have some experiences to relate. If I do not come back--well, I'm not afraid of dying. The journey through will take me nearly a month.

[31] NOTES.

Archdeacon Palmer thus describes the sad accident by which one of the Malanta men whom Mr. Comins brought from Fiji lost his life.

On Saturday, May 25th, we had a very sad accident. One of the Malanta lads was lost at Anson's Bay. He was missed in the evening, and from enquiries we found he went alone to the Bay. The day was not rough and we could not understand that anything could have happened to him. Brittain and a party went out after Chapel to search for him. It was a pitch dark night. They found traces of him to a certain rock which runs out like a jetty, at the further end of the bay, but no traces of his return. At daylight the party went out again and Brittain went to town and got a boat to go round and search. On the rock to which they last traced him they found a fishing rod, bag, knife, and a fish. There was therefore no doubt whatever that he was lost, but how, is a mystery. He was a fine strong young fellow, and had he merely tumbled in, I should think he could easily have swam round and got ashore.

We think, he either fell, and struck the rocks in falling and was partially stunned, or that he was pulled in by a big fish. [Another account says, that this man had a bad habit, when he was fishing, of winding his line round his arm, and sometimes round his knee. ED.] He was a good earnest fellow, and liked by all. The last I saw of him was on Saturday morning when I gave him his money for the week, as he was a permanent cook. He was in the verandah of the kitchen, with his English prayer book in his hand learning the Collect for Whitsunday. The sad affair cast a gloom over the School. On Monday we had a very solemn memorial service in the Chapel. John Pantutun chose the Hymn,--"Jesu! lover of my soul"--most appropriate!


Archdeacon Palmer also tells of the death of Alice, the lame daughter of Rev. Hugo Gorovaka and his wife Isabella. They had left her behind at the Archdeacon's special request, as she was a bright intelligent child and he thought might be trained into a useful teacher. It will be a grievous blow to them, poor people, especially to the father, as nothing could exceed the tenderness and love with which he watched over his crippled child. "She liked to be read to and prayed with," says the Archdeacon, "and was quite ready to go home to her Father in heaven."


Mrs. Wilson and the Bishop's family have raised a fund for presenting the Mission with a new Printing Press. The S.P.C.K, with their usual generosity have made a grant towards this of £30. Messrs. Harrild, of the Fleet Works, are therefore sending out a very perfect Bremner Machine, which prints with rollers, and is capable of turning out 1300 impressions an hour if worked by hand, or 2500 by steam. There goes with it a Guillotine for cutting paper, &c. Those who have had the task, as the Editor has had, of cutting paper for the Press with a jack knife will appreciate the value of this last gift.


The September number of the Auckland Church Gazette just to hand states:--That Bishop Wilson had started for the Islands, on the third voyage of the "Southern Cross." It also mentions that Mrs. Colenso was seriously ill. This will be read with great regret by all who know how long and faithfully she has served the Mission.


Dr. Codrington's Mota Dictionary is almost finished, and part has already we believe gone to press.


The Editor has received a long letter from Captain Meryon, H.M.S. Katoomba giving an account of his visit to the Banks' Islands, and his satisfaction at the work he saw going on there.


The Editor hoped to have got out another Paper before the end of the year, but he was so occupied with the Dedication of the New Chapel at Selwyn College, that he was unable to attend to it. He hopes to publish the next paper early in January, and thereafter as near quarter day as the news from Melanesia will permit.




ALMIGHTY GOD, for whom the Isles do wait, send down Thy blessing on the Bishop and Clergy of the Melanesian Mission and all who teach or are taught in its Schools, that they may set forth Thy Name upon earth, Thy saving health among their people. Comfort them, O Lord, in every sorrow, protect them in every danger, strengthen them in every temptation, and give them such a sure trust and confidence in Thee that they may serve Thee without fear.

O Lord of the Harvest, send forth Thy labourers into Thine Harvest. Guide by Thy Holy Spirit those who are fitted for this work, that they may willingly offer themselves unto Thee--and by Thee may be enabled to set forth Thy glory, through JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. Amen.

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