Project Canterbury


MARCH, 1896.








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] 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:--


Subscriptions and information concerning the Island Scheme, to:



The Secretary hopes that the friends of the Mission will make a note of the persons to whom to send their various subscriptions. If sent to him, he has to write two letters, and the Treasurers have also to acknowledge the receipts to him and to the Donors, thus necessitating four letters instead of one.


BISHOP.--The Right Rev. Cecil Wilson, M.A., Jesus College, Cambridge, consecrated S. Barnabas' Day, 1894.


The Ven. John Palmer, B.D., Archdeacon of South Melanesia, 1894 (joined Mission 1863).

The Rev. Charles Bice, S.A.C., 1867, Organising Secretary, Australia.

The Rev. Arthur Brittain, S.A.C., 1881.
" Chas. Wm. Browning, M.A., 1892.
" Rich. Blundell Comins, L.T., Dunelm, 1877.
" T. C. Cullwick, 1877.
" Walter George Ivens, M.A., 1895.
" Leonard P. Robin, Hertford College, Oxon, 1892.
" Henry Welchman, M.R.C.S., Eng.,.1892.
" Percy Temple Williams, M.A., 1895.
" Richard Paley Wilson, B.A., L.T.C., 1895.
" Reuben Bula, 1891.
" Hugo Gorovaka, 1894.
" Alfred Lobu, 1883.
" Clement Marau, 1890.
" Robert Pantutun, 1872.
" Sogorman, 1895.
" George Sarawia, Deacon 1868, Priest 1870.
" Henry Tagalad, Deacon 1872, Priest 1883.
" William Vaget, 1892.
" Walter Woser, 1886.

LAY WORKERS, European--

Mr. Edgar S. Buchanan, M.A., B.Sc., 1895.
" A. E. C. Forrest, 1886.
" John William Williams, M.B., M.R.C.S., 1895.


Three hundred and eighty-one Native Teachers.

The Bishop's Commissaries in England are--

THE RIGHT REV. BISHOP SELWYN, Master's Lodge, Selwyn College, Cambridge.


[4] 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.

[5] From the Bishop's Letter to Southern Cross Log.--November, 1895.

As usual, Malanta is fighting. There is seldom peace on that island, except at Saa and the other mission stations. The prosperity of these arouses different feelings in the minds of those around. Some are envious of it, and attack them out of very malice; but others are longing for the same peace that these enjoy. A message from a distant tribe reached young Fakaia, the chief of Port Adam, a school village: "Tell us what it would cost us to buy this new teaching which gives peace." Even in Malanta, therefore, there is "a voice, a shaking of the bones."

In Santa Cruz there has been continual trouble since Christmas. Mr. Forrest writes: "Until Christmas things went pretty well; since then I have not had a week's peace. The day after Christmas the Taape people attacked us, thanks to some two or three returned labourers, who had 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 the tree in front of my house. I can safely state that if I had not been here very few of the Taape people would have escaped. We of the school were a good deal too strong, and they had cut off the enemy completely; but we did not fire an arrow in return, though it was hard work to prevent it. . . . . . . . I put a heavy fine on Taape, and two months afterwards it was paid. . . . . . . . . From that time until now (April 28), fighting has been going on all around." Meva, one of the teachers, a bushman, was shot by a man whom he discovered doing wrong; thereupon Meva's bush friends demanded a life in revenge. Night after night they surrounded Mr. Forrest's village--Nelua. He was away in the Duff Group at the time, starting a new school. On his return, he went straight off into the bush, and met the enemy in the big bay. Such a day! raining in torrents and blowing a gale of wind. "I sat there for four or five hours trying to pacify them. I shall not forget it in a hurry. At last they became more reasonable, and asked if I would give them one child to kill, and they would be satisfied, whereupon I got excited. At last they promised not to attack us yet, so as to allow me to tell the people around us to see if we could raise a large sum of money which they demanded." Meva's murderer returned, and the bushmen heard of it and surrounded the village. Night after night again they were besieged. "I went to bed," Mr. F. writes, "and was awakened by something coming against my mosquito curtain; however, I was very tired, and I turned over and went to sleep again. In the morning, I found it was an arrow that had come in by the window. I felt rather more uncomfortable than before, and from that time until now I have never had a decent night's rest. . . . . . . . I am obliged to post people outside the church every night while we are at service." Yet with all this trouble he finds things to be thankful for. New schools have been started, and are flourishing in the Reef Islands, at Pileni, Nufiloli, and the Duff Group.

On June 28 Mr. Forrest wrote: "Many thanks for your kind letter and victuals. The "Southern Cross" being so late I was very short of food; I often wished I could get at your cupboard; what a clearance there would have been. . . . . . . . I have been worried to [5/6] death to know what to do at times. I am so thankful I was here, because I have been able to prevent bloodshed, if I have done nothing else, but I hope I have been the means of showing the people that there is One who has protected us, and is able to do so without the help of guns, bows and arrows. . . . . . . . We have started a new school at Pileni and re-opened Nufiloli. I went to the Duff Group in February and started one there. It is a long journey, nearly 100 miles from here; but I am glad I went. I like the people, but they are very superstitious. I know of no people to equal them in that respect. However, before I came away, the youngsters came readily to me, and the old people thawed considerably. . . . . . . . There is a new church at Te Motu (Santa Cruz) which will seat 300 people. Take it round, it is wonderful how firm the school-people have remained in all their troubles. Certainly it is not the work of man. I have realised more than I ever did before how utterly helpless we should be were God not with us." The latest news of Mr. Forrest is that in May influenza broke out and carried off hundreds, and that as our ship called just about the time it broke out, it was attributed to her visit, and consequently to us.

On July 22nd, the Admiral of the Australian station called at the Mission station. The influenza epidemic was at its height, and Mr. Forrest was unable to accept the Admiral's invitation to leave his work for a time. However, he stayed for two days on H.M.S. "Orlando" and enjoyed the company of the warm-hearted English officers and men he met there. His people were dying all round, and he writes: "I do not know what to do; please God, it will all come right in the end. I am getting ready for my journey into the bush. We have started the school in the Duff Group, and when I left things were looking very bright. . . . . . . . My house has been full of sick people for a fortnight past; it is the same everywhere; I am feeding them up and doing all I can, but it is very little. Please do not forget us. These people have been so kind on board (the 'Orlando'). It is a great temptation to go away, but I cannot go, the people are depending on me so much." The Admiral seems to have gone ashore and made friends with the people, and Mr. Forrest believed that things would now quieten down. Our readers will, we know, find a place in their prayers for this man of God in Santa Cruz.


Letter from Bishop Wilson.

Southern Cross at sea, 300 miles North of Norfolk Island,
December 7th, 1895.

We expect to reach Norfolk Island within the next 48 hours, and as the ship must go on at once, I will write you a letter at once giving you the news that you will most wish to hear.

The year just closing has been one to be thankful for: I say nothing about the increase of our numbers by the addition of five new men: of the ordination of Robin and Ivens to the Priesthood, and of Sogorman to the Diaconate. All this you know about. I will merely tell you the result of the year's work in the Islands, so far as I know it myself.

[7] St. Luke's, Siota, has been started, and there are now 25 scholars there under Comins during the winter months and Welchman during the summer. Comins and his four Norfolk Island boys have had tremendous work in building it, but it seems there was no difficulty at all in filling it with scholars. Many parents gladly allowed their sons to go there, who would not allow them to go to Norfolk Island. There are 5 S. Cristoval, 3 Ulawa, 3 Malanta, 4 Guadalcanar, and 8 Bugotu boys now in residence there. It is a venture of faith, which calls out the enthusiasm of Comins and Welchman, and gives us a headquarters in the Solomons. As many of the new men will work in that group, it will be a good thing to have a man of Comins' experience in the midst of them, at a fixed centre. It should moreover help to bring Florida forward; and at the same time help Norfolk Island to provide sufficient teachers for the group. It is the venture of the year, and Comins is very hopeful for its success. It has cost us this year about £350, but I do not grudge the money to it at all, as I believe that it is a step forward.

We have made little progress in Guadalcanar, none in Rubiana. In Malanta there are two new schools, at Roas and Quo; Saa has had peace, but there have been rumours of war constantly, so that even now some of our boys at Port Adam could not leave to go with us to Norfolk Island without being considered cowards.

Forrest has had a terribly trying year in Santa Cruz, but he has peace at last. Schools have been started at Pileni and Nufiloli and in the Duff group, one in each.

Robin has only just returned to the Torres Islands having been ill ever since last year. He sends me word that all is well there except that 15 boys have left in a labour-ship, 11 from Toga and 4 from Lo. When I was in Queensland I made an effort to get the Islands "protected," and thought that I had succeeded. However they came, and sold the young fellows goods, and having nothing to pay with they shipped themselves. The French have taken the women to Noumea, until there are no wives for the men; the English then come and take the young men, and so the desolation goes on.

I stayed for three weeks in the Banks' Islands and examined the schools in Mota, Motalava, and Vanua Lava. The work seemed to be going on very well. Mota is fairly satisfactory, the teachers are very steady, but have no great enterprise about them. The schools in Motalava were a good deal more advanced than those in Mota and Vanua Lava. I enjoyed my stay amongst the people, and Cullwick was an admirable companion. The most startling event was the baptism of 72 people from the neighbourhood of Vureas. I baptized them on November 25th in the big pakwar tree on the beach there.

The ship reached us on November 26th. Nearly all the hands were ill with ague and fever besides the Captain and Mate. We could not have worked the vessel had it come on to blow. As the season was late, and strong winds might be expected, Bongard was very anxious and fretted to get away. It seemed risking much to stay. W e had this fever on board which some believed to be influenza, and we neither liked to bring boys on board to take their chance of taking it, nor to visit islands and leave it with them. Accordingly we [7/8] only visited. Ureparapara, Motalava, and Lakona, and cleared out. None of the boys have sickened, but the crew are still prostrated. We are longing to reach Norfolk Island and to get Metcalfe on board. We have a very light wind and we can scarcely expect to arrive until the 10th.

The four Norfolk Island boys whom Comins took to Siota worked well there, but were knocked over by the sun and climate, and they have been sick all the way up, adding to our list of invalids.

This is rather a miserable ending to the year's work, but no doubt it will work out for good in the end. One can only regard it as a visitation of God.

Norfolk Island, December 11th.--Arrived on the 10th, all the crew, except mate, second mate, and two boys, down with fever. The Captain very bad. She goes on to-day, all hands a bit better.


Rev. C. W. BROWNING writes:--

Southern Cross,
Watering-place, Maewo,
December 1st (Advent Sunday), 1895.


We have reached the last stage of our homeward voyage for this year, and it will be a happy thing for everyone when it is safely accomplished, for we are in rather dismal state just now, the whole ships company from the skipper to the boy, being more or less sick, not a hand on board really fit for work. The Captain has been very bad indeed, but is now getting better, and on duty again the much shaken. The cook is still prostrate (Pratt, who sailed in the old ship), and Cullwick taking his place, with great satisfaction to the consumers, tho' with frightful labour to himself. Comins has his hands full as ship's doctor. Altogether most of the patients are on the mend, and I hope this quiet Sunday, with the prospect of being homeward bound in earnest, will have a generally reviving effect. Whether we encountered a wandering wave of influenza, or whether malarial fever attacked everyone at once, I don't know. Happily the Melanesians have not been affected as yet, and I hope we may reach Norfolk Island without illness among them.

I have had a short stay in Florida this year, between 9 and 10 weeks altogether, not time enough to do the work that I ought to have done, and the ship surprised me with a considerable piece of my programme still unaccomplished. Indeed so unexpectedly quick was her return that I was at Ravu and she had been two days at Boli before I knew of it. Of course they ought to have brought me news at once, but they chose to content themselves with passing it along from village to village.

I had a scramble to get back to Boromoli, as quickly as possible, as I had told all the teachers and chiefs to assemble at Belaga to meet the Bishop and hold the Vankolu, on the first news of the ship's arrival, without waiting for further summons, as she was only to come [8/9] to Siota and go straight homeward again, without going on to Bugotu. I reached Boli about 4 a.m. by boat, and found troops of people assembled, and the Southern Cross, but no Bishop! This was of course a very great disappointment to us all; however they had been short of fuel (a stock was sent for us to coal up at Gavutu, Neilson's place) and the season being so late the Bishop thought it best to stay in the Banks'.

In the end, as everything was so hurried, we did not have any formal Vankolu for political business, but we had the "Vankolu te Tabu," for which 141 of us met in the nice new Church they have been building at Belaga--not quite finished yet.

I have enjoyed my time in Florida very much this year, I am thankful to say that I have been very well most of the time, and seem to have become quite accomodated to the island life.

I seemed to know and understand the people and they me, much better than last year, and this was a great help and encouragement, and made me feel that much time which seemed to have been almost thrown away last year was not really wasted. Of course I always feel what a long way I am from having reached the real selves of the natives, and I suppose after many years one would feel the same quite as much. There does seem to be an impassable barrier, in fact, between black and white, however we may try to ignore it in practice. Florida is certainly suffering now from a reaction after the pace at which they went ahead some years ago. Christianity was much more extensively adopted in outward profession than in principles, and now people, having all the while retained their old ideas and motives have come to a standstill, and are becoming indifferent. I sometimes think it would be much easier if one could deal with a considerable part of them as heathens, and evangelize them over again. The great difficulty is that they think they know already as much about Christianity as they want to know. However, it is not all like this, there are hopeful signs in some quarters as well; and I certainly get to like the Florida people better, the more I know them. I see that what is wanted is patient steady work year after year, enabling one to learn more and more of the people, their language customs and ways of thinking. This I trust I may be allowed to continue doing. We have some unhappy events on our record this year. Oliver Vuria is in disgrace. He made an improper proposal to a woman, though it was not successful. Then he betook himself off to the bush, and lived an outcast life for some months. I have had a good deal of talk with him, and I hoped he might have been re-admitted to prayers, but he is on bad terms with his wife, and as long as this continued I could not feel satisfied that his penitence was satisfactory. Daniel Gotu at Boromoli has gone wrong, and off to Queensland in a labour vessel. Philip Ragevia at Vunanimala grievously offended the native idea of propriety and was driven out of the place. It will be of no use attempting to put him there again.

Ben Bele, one of our ablest teachers, has, I grieve to say, become impracticable, and leads a heathenish sort of life in the neighbourhood of Olevuga, neither teaching nor attending any Church Services.

[10] So much for the shadows in Florida, but there are bright spots as well. Alfred Lobu restored to his functions as deacon, is doing an admirable work at Gavuhoho, transforming what used to be one of the worst nests of ruffians into quite a model village. I suppose he will have to be moved into a larger sphere before long, but I am in no hurry for it, as he is doing a splendid work of a thoroughly missionary character at Gavuhoho, and I doubt very much the effect of transferring it to other hands in its present stage. Ellison Gura is carrying on an excellent work at Nago, which is now the largest school in Florida. Things are still in a depressed state at Olevuga, but Ralph Baumate, the son of Lipa, has come out well, and been quite the prop of the Church there, and prevented a general collapse. Poor old Tabukoro is becoming very shaky, though he still gets about, and his natural force is not quite abated. He has certainly improved very much even within the time that I have known him. According to his lights I think he honestly tries to do his duty, and considering what he has been he is much to be wondered at and respected. I gave him his first Communion this year. Comins and the four Norfolker boys who volunteered have been working very hard at putting up the house at Siota, indeed too hard for their health, and they are all returning in a more or less dilapidated state. Welchman remains in charge for the summer, with about 20 boys. No doubt you hear all about Siota from other sources. The present tendency is to keep it quite distinct from the Florida district, of which I am in charge, so I am not able to say anything about it, except as an outsider; and as nothing is yet distinctly settled as to the lines on which it is to be carried on, so far as I know, it will be best not to make observations about it, which may turn out afterwards to be wide of the mark. I am looking forward to an immense amount of translation work. We are really terribly behindhand; no old Testament in print as yet, no Epistles, except those in Brooke's book, which is becoming scarce, and the teachers say it is unintelligible to the present generation They always tell me that Plant had a large amount of translation in manuscript, but I can never make out what became of it. There is no trace of it at Norfolk Island. Unfortunately, too, the last Florida Prayer Book, printed by the S.P.C.K. left out all the occasional offices, except Adult Baptism, though these had been already printed in the former edition, issued by the Mission, but which is now scarce. They also left out the Saints' Day Collects. These are deficiencies which I shall have to remedy as best I can by separate fly-leaves whenever I can get a turn in the possession of the Printing House. Patrick Parapolo is going up with us this time; I am afraid he will not be so efficient a help in translations as John Takisi was last year, and he was most excellent, and a capital fellow he is, a man one can really make a friend of, at least that is how I always feel about him.


[11] Rev. H. WELCHMAN writes from Bugotu, 6th August, 1895:--

It cannot be very long before the Southern Cross arrives to carry me off to Siota; and I must begin my letter to you at once or I shall not get in half that I ought to tell you. The time has been all too short scarcely enough for visiting all the schools as I should like to do, and in addition I felt a strong necessity of getting further afield and re-visiting some of the more distant places, where we have not yet a footing. I arranged for a visit both on the north and south sides of the Islands, and accomplished both. I allotted a week for each visit but did not occupy the whole time, as you shall hear.

When I arrived at Sepi I was boatless; all the davits of the Southern Cross, and the top of the galley were occupied with boats, which were more absolutely necessary for other districts than my own which is mostly coasting, and for comparatively short distances, so mine was left at Norfolk Island. Then you will remember that I had fined Soga's son for misconduct, when I was last here; and though there was some stumbling about it, I carried my point, the fine was paid, it was waiting for me in Hugo's box at Sepi, This I determined to lay out in the purchase of a binabina,* [* Large Canoe.] which would be of considerable use in the district and I hope may ultimately save the Mission the cost of one boat. The teachers ought to have provided one against my arrival, but they had not done so and I had to look about me for one. For the first ten days of my stay, Soga was good enough to volunteer the use of his little boat; and then by his assistance and advice I got hold of a new and very nice binabina for twelve men. My usual crew is six or eight men, according to distance, the other spaces being filled with me and my luggage. There are many advantages with it: in the first place, I am never at a loss for a crew, though I was often in a strait for one with the boat. Everybody knows how to paddle, and in calm weather I can go with a crew of quite small boys. Then they are perfectly at home in a canoe, and I have no such worry as I had in a boat, as to what they were likely to do next. There is no bother about drawing up the boat and housing it safely, for eight of them (six at a pinch) can lift it up and carry it to the Kiala. The chief disadvantage is that I can't keep so dry in it as in a boat, but for that one can arrange. I bought it after its first journey, and gave for it 200 radi, 10 terebutos and 1 vilihai, adding the usual complement of a fathom of calico, a handful of tobacco and a few pipes. Between £5 and £6 altogether. The usual haggle took place, without which no purchase can be completed, we had already fixed amicably upon the price, and had arranged a day for the payment as I had to send home for the money. I was busy counting it out, when Namkeru, whom I called to receive the money, sent me word by the teacher that 'they' wanted another 100 radi. I said the price was fixed, and I would give no more. Who were 'they'? 'They were 'they' and would not let the canoe go, they liked it so much.' 'I was sorry for them, but he had promised me the canoe.' ' He was sorry he had misled me, but he had one of his own not quite new, but rather the better for that, which he would let me have for the same money.' 'I was not going to have a second [11/12] hand canoe, and I would not give any more: if he did not mean to sell the new canoe I would go and buy one at Pahua.' All this conversation took place through a messenger; and while it was going on I was busy displaying the money on the floor. Then I said I would have no more messages, he must come in and speak face to face, and we would settle the point. He came in after a little delay, and sat down in a corner half turned away, but I saw he was eyeing the money, and the beautiful blue calico. I went over the negotiations again, and said he must make up his mind to take it or leave it, and as I spoke I casually dropped a gimlet on the top of the pile. That was the last straw, 'give it me,' he said--and the canoe was mine, and poor 'they' who probably never existed had to do without their canoe. That afternoon my boys paddled it home from Namkeru's little island with shouts of triumph. They feel a sort of vested interest in it, I think, I have named it "Soleana" the Bugotu equivalent for "Peace." There is a sort of farewell, which they occasionally use, "Taviti soleana," "Go in peace." All the binabina's have names and even some of the smaller canoes. So far she has done justice to her name, for we have been on our travels in her without a mishap.

During my stay at Lageba and Saile, I made arrangements for a trip to Timaga and as much further as I could get. I wanted very much to reach Marini and Hofi where I hoped to strike quite new ground: but this God wisely overruled.

One morning we started early from the mountain, and in the harbour I found my crew of ten good fellows, all Christians, collected. Among thorn were Joseph Benere and Hugo Hebala who went to help me out when my Bugotu failed. We had fine weather, passed Gao in good time and reached the kiala at Timaga early in the afternoon. The village is on the mountain, and as I was told, was not a great distance away. However at the beach we fell in with a petty chief Puloka and some of his men, who told us that we could not possibly get there that day, and that nightfall would find us still in the path. I objected, but he was positive, though I am quite sure he was not telling the truth, and there was nothing for it but to make the best of the dirty canoe house. He never left us till quite night, and it is evident that his intention was to prevent us going to the chief's house. He exaggerated the difficulties of the way, and told us there was no village, that the houses were scattered all round about, in no place more than three together. He was externally quite friendly and talked freely. He told me that there were no houses all the way down the island as far as Vulega at the extreme end, and the people all lived far inland, none less than a long day's journey. When I spoke of Hofi he laughed loudly and said it was quite deserted, and if I went inland I should find the people all living at distances of a mile apart. At Marini there was not a soul. Further down the coast no one here ever knew the way to the interior. He further told us that after my previous visit a report had reached them that I was about to return with a man of war, and destroy their village, which was then in existence, and they had been so much alarmed that they had deserted that spot, and now were living scattered hither and thither. This accounted for a good deal. As far as I could learn [12/13] Gabïli of Gao was the author of this libel. Just before nightfall a man arrived, who it seems had been to the chief's house and back since our arrival; he brought a message from Juu the chief: we were to make ourselves comfortable, he had sent us some food and he himself would be down in the morning. He would have come before but he was not well. Early in the morning I sent his messenger back to tell him not to trouble himself to come down, I was coming up to him. Before I had finished breakfast the man came back much agitated; the road was so very bad, and so very long, we were on no account to trouble ourselves; in fact it would be no use, for Juu was already on his way. Then I gave in and waited. Naja, a petty chief, arrived and brought a small offering of lime boxes and net bags, and a few pieces of native cloth. Several men, all armed, came with him, and were very communicative. The whole country was on the qui vive,--what had we come for, and how long did we mean to stop. Would 1 sell tobacco? or fishhooks? Manusibe sent his compliments and apologies; he would have come down, but he had hurt his foot; another would have come, but he was obliged to go into the country on urgent business. Would we please to take care not to sit on a white stone just inside the kiala, it was a "Tindalo" and we might get hurt. They told us that while they were building the kiala and had just got the roof on, a ghost came and toppled the house over, and they could not set it straight until they had sacrificed and eaten a pig. Yes, there was a heavy wind blowing at the time, and the posts of the house were very tall and not very well set, and the roof was unusually heavy, but that had nothing whatever to do with it.

I would not tell my business except that I had come in friendship, nor would I trade till Juu came; and he was a very long time about it. I was sick of sitting in the house watching the rain outside, and going out for short strolls outside between the showers, and so were the boys. We went to sleep at intervals. It was long past mid-day when I heard a stentorian voice outside, at which all conversation was hushed, and everybody looked at me. Nobody appeared and I asked what it all meant. Juu was coming! That was all, but he was announcing that he was coming without weapons and with a present, and we were not to be afraid? More food was on its way (we had already had two or three large kits of hot queta sent to us) and he had told his women to look after us. In a few more minutes half-a-dozen women laden with stuff filed quietly in at the lower end of the house, and set to work to make fires in the ovens, while three or four children who accompanied them scattered themselves among the men on the opposite side of the house. In about half-an-hour the great man suddenly appeared. I made him come and sit down by me which he did in evident trepidation, and at the same time a man separated himself from the crowd and sat down just beyond with his axe and shield. This was his body-guard and was posted in case I meditated foul play. Behind us was my bundle of rugs and clothes, and Juu asked Joseph in a low voice how many guns I had wrapped up in it. I don't think he at all credited the denial of the possession of arms of any sort. It was very unfortunate that I did not know of this at the time, so that I could have given him ocular demonstration, but Joseph thought the question so absurd that [13/14] he would not tell me then. I gave Juu and Naja a ship biscuit apiece. Naja nibbled a tiny little corner of his and deposited the rest in his bag; Juu ate a somewhat larger piece, but distributed the rest among his men, to neutralize or minimize its evil effects. Then we talked, and I tried to persuade him to have a teacher, and to give me two boys to train. He was in too great a fright to refuse, and offered me a man of about thirty. As he was too old he was in despair, and was afraid he could not give me anyone, but he would send and see. He did send for two lads, but they went and hid in the bush, and he told me he was very sorry, but they would not listen to him, and he did not know of any others likely to suit. He told me he had been so afraid since my last visit that he had not even dared to send his men to Bugotu. That old rascal Gabili must have piled up the agony. After a little while he went outside and then called me; and there was a pig tied up and a huge pile of all sorts of food, lime boxes, 15 pieces of native cloth, and some net bags; he made me a very long speech. He was a poor man and had nothing worthy of my acceptance, but there it was, such as it was, if I would accept it and remember he was not a great chief. He had wished to give me two pigs, but one was unfortunately killed in the catching and he was afraid I should be angry at their carelessness. If I thought he had worked a charm on the food, I was not to touch it, but he could assure me it is innocent of mischief. Then he turned and soundly rated his subordinate chief for not having also provided a pig, and whose offering though considerable was only a quarter the size of his. There was a plentiful use of "Tokita," which he thought was my name.

I was much ashamed to take it, and would have given it all and more to get one boy: but it could not be arranged. It was evident that all this apparent good will was only the result of his fears, either of the white man or of his teaching. These heathen fear their own spirits, but they much more fear Christ, and the idea of a God of love is quite beyond their comprehension. One of the New Georgia chiefs once said to me when I spoke to him of God, "me no like him, he kill plenty fellow boy," and thus too when he himself was engaged in an expedition with wholesale murder for its object. It seems almost a mockery to speak of sacred subjects among such surroundings; but one can only hope that the frequent hearing may remove their dread and pray that God's grace may quicken the seed dropped on the very stoniest of soil. Nothing but continual dropping can wear away such stones. I have a scheme in hand which may some day be profitable, of getting some of the bush people to leave Pahua and settle among some of these tribes, but I do not know whether or not it will be practicable.

All that day and that night the wind blew in and the surf was very high, so much so that it was very uncertain if we should be able to return. Juu stayed with us all the night, but was very quiet, and in the morning expressed his intention of returning home. He was anxious to be rid of us too, but saw we could not leave, and he told us to make ourselves comfortable, if the food was not sufficient, we were to send for more, and whatever we asked for should be sent. I [14/15] talked it over with the boys, and as there was no hope of getting boys, nor of getting up to the village, and no use in going further north, we decided to get away as soon as possible and go home; and on a second talk we thought we would risk the surf. Nearly all my "trade" was disposed of, there was nothing of any account to get hurt by a wetting, and if we upset we could all swim. So we got our traps packed into the canoe, not forgetting the remains of the pig, and we started. At first we got on very nicely inside the reef, but when we reached the so called passage matters changed considerably: an ugly surf was running in continually, and two attempts to pass only resulted in deluging the canoe. Then two of our friends on shore got out a smaller canoe apiece, and with great dexterity got through the surf somehow and lay outside the breakers, to give us the signal when to start. We lay tossing about just out of reach of the break for the better part of an hour, and at last came a shout, when we all laid to our paddles and went for our lives; the steersman was a cool dexterous hand, Hugo Hebala, and we got through with no worse than a good ducking, which everyone took in good part; out of the surf we were all right; the canoe danced over the waves, and the wind did not trouble us much, and we got home to Pahua in time for afternoon school.

I stayed a week at Pahua, and before I left, news came that the enemy were in hiding at Merini while we were at Timaga. Had we gone north, that would have been one of our resting places, and we should have walked straight into their jaws. I don't suppose they would have intentionally done me any harm, but I trembled to think of the danger into which I had nearly led my boys, and thanked God for preventing the journey. As it was, the day after I left Puloka and two of his men came to Reisapa on some business and stayed one day on their return home, they were close there, when one of them suggested that they might go on shore and bathe and smoke, before finally landing. They went, a shot came from behind a tree, Puloka fell dead in the canoe, a band of ruffians rushed out and seized the two other men, and in spite of a desperate resistance, bound them and carried them off to Marini whence it is supposed they returned to Bilua. One of the two captives managed to break his bonds during the night and swimming ashore carried the news home, but the other man was not so fortunate and remained a captive.

It remains to be seen whether Juu and his people will connect my visit with that of the head hunters, and drawing their own conclusions, become only more inaccessible; or whether it may not prompt him to seek a refuge with Him who alone can guard and save His creatures. Pray for these poor people.

I am, my dear Bishop,

Yours very sincerely,


[16] Melanesia.--(From a Correspondent.)--Auckland, October 17th, 1895.--Our latest news of the Mission comes by way of Tasmania. Admiral Bridge had written to express his high opinion of Mr. Forrest's pluck and self-reliance at Santa Cruz. The Orlando arrived off Te Motu on July 23rd and found Mr. Forrest there, having come across from Nelua a day or two before in consequence of disquieting rumours demanding his presence (Te Motu is a small island swarming with people at the north-west point of Santa Cruz) at Nelua a short while previously. Mr. Forrest had completely out-generalled an attacking party of hostile natives. First, with strategic skill, he occupied the paths in their rear with his party; then, after showing them the helplessness of their position and rebuking them, he let them go home. This had increased his prestige immensely; but, notwithstanding this, various irritating attempts had been made on him and his teachers. Natei, the chief of Nelua, had behaved well, and the admiral had publicly thanked him and had given him a present. Nitevo, the chief of Taape, had also behaved well; but he is not a man of much power. Although worn with the strain of a trying time, Mr. Forrest steadily refused the Admiral's kind and pressing invitation to come away with him. So the admiral most considerately arranged for the Royalist to visit Santa Cruz at the end of August. We trust that ere this the Bishop (who has postponed his visit to Australia until next year) has found Mr. Forrest safe and well. At date of writing Mr. Forrest had a Vanikoro man with him, and was hoping soon to visit that island, hitherto closed to us.

We have news from Florida to September 8th. Mr. Comins, writing from Siota station, says that he has had some difficulties in consequence of the non-delivery in New Zealand of an order for public and private stores, timber and tools; but progress had been made notwithstanding. Four Norfolk Island young men were with him, and ten lads from his own district, and he was expecting ten more lads with Dr. Welchman from Bugotu. He had had a busy time in his own district, having baptised ninety-nine converts, including some old friends--old Taki of Wano is now "John Still,"* [* NOTE--This is a touching proof of the influence a man may gain over such a man as Taki, even though he does not actually convert him. Mr. Still left the Mission in 1879 or 80, and now in 1895, the old warrior Taki takes his name, as he enters the Christian fold. Ed.] and Simarua is "Peter." The latter claims to remember distinctly Captain Tilly's daughter, and to have nursed her as a baby, when with Bishop Patteson in New Zealand in the old days.

Our readers who have shared our anxiety about Mr. Forrest at Santa Cruz, will be glad to hear that when the Southern Cross arrived at Norfolk Island she reported that she had left Mr. Forrest at Santa Cruz alive and well, and that all things were quiet. Thank God.

Mrs. Selwyn has received a private letter from him, from which we give a few extracts. He mentions having sent by the same mail a voluminous report to the Editor; but alas! all that has been received is the cover. We are writing to the Post Office in hopes of recovering [16/17] this, but meanwhile all that can be done is to piece together information received from various sources. They necessarily repeat some parts of the story, but together they convey a clear account of what has taken place.

It is very gratifying to find how strongly Admiral Bridge approves of Mr. Forrest's action, and his strategic move to the rear of the Taipe people. To hold back his own people when they occupied such a vantage ground is perhaps the highest proof of Mr. Forrest's influence.

It will be noticed that both he and Dr. Welchman have had to sustain their people under a terrible attack of Influenza. This is perhaps the hardest trial that a Missionary has to endure. An open enemy in the field at least causes some excitement, and stimulates even while he causes anxiety. But to be in the midst of a whole population suddenly stricken down, with but scanty means of doctoring them, and an almost utter inability to make them attend to the simplest precautions, these things wear out the strongest and stoutest heart. And there is superadded to this the constant haunting fear lest they should attribute to Christianity or at least to the Mission the pestilence that is attacking them. It will be noticed that the latter was the case at Santa Cruz. The people there attributed the epidemic to the "Southern Cross;" and in Bugotu Soga's faith was sorely tried. "I have done nothing against God--and yet my child is dead!" We feel sure that all our readers will join in heart at least in Dr. Welchman's day of supplication and fasting and pray for both teachers and converts alike "that their faith fail not." ED.


As we go to press, the following short note arrives from Mr. Forrest, in which he tells that he has accomplished his venturous journey among the people on the weather side of Santa Cruz and had made peace with them. He sums it up in two lines, in which the only danger mentioned is the "vile landing." But we hope our readers will bear in mind that the visit which he disposes of in this summary fashion, was made to the very men who for six long months had been besieging him in Nelua, and whose one object was to avenge the death of Mera, for which they held him responsible.--ED.

Santa Cruz,
Nov. 8th, 1895.


The Southern Cross is again near so I will get a line ready for you. Things on the whole are looking much brighter again with the exception of Taape, which is very much at a standstill. Te Motu is really going ahead under the new teacher and the Church is A 1. There are also good reports from the Duff Group, the Southern Cross will leave me there and I shall sail back. I cannot tell you how glad I am we have made a start there. I hear of some islands to the N.E. about 60 miles, if I get a chance I shall try and pay them a visit during the summer, I am also going to have a shot at Utoupia and Vanikoro. I am glad to say that at last I have been able to get poor Mera's affair settled, it involved visits to some 6 villages on the [17/18] weather side and such vile landing. However I do not regret it, I found the people somewhat different from these, but I could understand what they said and rather a "vasasa" (miracle) 3 of them came back with me to Nelua in the boat, see what it is to have a wily tongue. Of course I had to lay myself out a bit.

The Schools in the Reef Islands are going on well. I spend the summer here and then return to Norfolk Island, whether I shall return again or not is a question for the future.

I have undoubtedly mistaken my vocation, but the new man will be awfully out of it, if I clear off before he comes. I have now been ashore for 14 months and have not yet had an attack of ague. I am well, but late affairs have tried my nerves a great deal, and I shall be glad of a change.



The Rev. T. C. CULLWICK writes from:--

Pek, Vanua Lava,
September 15th, 1895.

I am now making my stay at Pek and will also put in some more time later on. At this morning's celebration there were sixty communicants.

Palmer is not coming down again this year so I am staying on to the last voyage, and on the return of the Southern Cross from the North, I shall go ashore for the second time at Merelava and make my way back to Lakona. I am very glad of the extra time, it is none too, much; the Southern Cross tripped me up at Lakona, I happened to be away at Koru and had to come away without doing what was wanted.

I am getting dreadfully sick of copra. I am doing my best to inaugurate a system of self-support and collections are being made in copra; the best way of collecting such bulky stuff we have not as yet determined, at first we tried to collect it in the proper place and at the proper time during the service but it proved too formidable an affair. You can imagine a sturdy Churchwarden or sidesman struggling up with a big basket of copra? The collections for the Sunday at Lakona amounted to over 4 bags = £1:12:0 cash which I shall get from the trader. The people here (Pek) have got about 8 bags ready for the trader's next visit which will mean about £3:4:0. The Mota people took 70 bags but nothing much has been done, when I was there last they were all down with influenza so I could not rouse them up.

At Merelava they haven't the opportunity as the trader does not go there but old William gave me six golden sovereigns which had been exchanged for the collections in native money. There is any amount of English money knocking about there and the collections are bespoken before they have been made.

[19] Joseph Qea and Annie are doing exceedingly well at Uta, he will certainly be one of the lights of the future. He carries on his work systematically and thoroughly in the quiet steady sort of way that tells so effectively. I have got Clement to do some inlaying work for the Church there. He was rather sad at his own people forgetting him and his work at Ulawa, as it appears no Merelava yams have reached him lately, but he has helped us nevertheless very handsomely by inlaying the re-table which looks very effective indeed, and he has now got some panels to fill in with the same work.

Poor Taqas at Meriz appears pretty contented on the whole with his extreme isolation; he has his troubles however, the chief of which are the unregenerate nature of the Gaua element in his schools and the irregularity of the mail service. His last year's letters have only just got away as the gale of last year, which very nearly sent us ashore at Lakona, put all hopes of landing at Meriz out of the question.

I am afraid I cannot say much of the Gaua work. You know the nature of the people there, they will do anything for you while you are there and follow you anywhere but when one moves on they go their own way very much, both teachers and people. Robert Pantutun is going to try and revive the work and will live at Ver. I quite believe they will raise enough copra to be self-supporting, and that will be a good mark in their favour.

The Tarasag people must be quite overwhelmed with grief. Old Wetaka with a party of five, including Carrie Rolal, who showed up so badly in the Vagalo trouble, have been lost between Merelav and Meriz. Joe Qat's daughter, Lizzie, was among them. They started for Gaua soon after I left Merelav, and had I not given three of them a passage in the boat, the whole party would have been lost.

September 22nd.--I am just back from a visit to the Valuwa side and I expect to leave to-morrow or the next day for Ureparapara to wait for the Southern Cross. Collections in copra have been started to-day at all the gatherings throughout the Island. At Ra and Nerenigman the sum total was 1795 nuts which represents about £1:12:0 in cash; the results of the other places have not yet come in. A mat was placed on either side of the door and as the people went in they deposited their string of nuts on either side. A couple of trays were placed on the credence and at the appointed time two of the head men received them, marched down to the entrance, collected a small quantity from either heap which was duly presented at the altar.

The people here at Ra have worked splendidly at their new Church. It will be a dear little building when completed, the sacrarium has just been laid down in concrete, and the pedestal for the font is ready for the large clam shell from the Solomons.

Walter is disappointing in many ways. I am afraid that without Henry he would get things into a tangle, and if he is to go up to Norfolk Island his connection with the suqe must cease. My late visit to the Valuwa side shows its necessity, I am simply tired out of mind with those people over the suqe in keeping them up to their promises.

[20] We have been putting our backs into the new Church in building at Vureas; the people are brimful of life and will soon see the happy result of their labours. The people some little distance up the coast are coming in and on my last visit I found 70 who, up to quite recently, had only been Sunday attendants, preparing for Baptism and attending very regularly. I told them they had better have a temporary school of their own and thus ensure the requisite amount of preparation.

We came across Captain Meryon in H.M.S. Katoomba in Port Patteson on the return of the Southern Cross from Norfolk Island. He and a party came on board to go over to Mota. The people there were all down with sickness so did not show up as they generally do. Very few of the teachers turned up for their bundles of trade so the poor fellows were really bad. We got back to Port Patteson and in the evening went in for a dissipation; the anchorage resounded with the choruses of patriotic songs which must very much have astonished the few natives still remaining.

On the following day we went over to Motalava which appeared to interest Captain Meryon much more than Mota as a big crowd of people rolled up. I was very glad to get him ashore at two of the places where there is something to be seen. Naval men are very much disappointed with the Banks' and the Islands generally as there is very little to be seen at the places where they land. You know that at the anchorages in the Banks' there is very little to be seen, in fact nothing as a rule. At Port Patteson there are no people. At Motalava they go ashore and see a small school house and a very untidy vanua, and there is nothing more natural than that the whole work on that Island should be judged by what is to be seen at the only place where they land.

I am finishing your letter at Ureparapara. That wretched suqe is again rampant and kept some of the people imprisoned for twenty days from school. That Pelham Tutun managed to get them out of it at that, shows some advance on the efforts of others in recent times, and the advance on the old custom is represented by 100 to 80, as to keep the suqe for less than 100 days appears sacrilege in the eyes of some of the old people.

On the other side of Leha they have behaved very well of late in this respect, but the whole thing is a great drag on the work even when stripped of its objectionable practices. We shall have to try hard to get some one for the outside of the crater (the weather side) as they appear to influence the people here (Tekel) in favour of the old customs. The boy who could have helped us disgraced himself some two years ago and departed to the labour fields, and another to take his place is not forthcoming.



Norfolk Island,
December 19th, 1895.

The Southern Cross came in a week or more before the time we expected, the reason being that they had to scamp the southern work, all the crew being ill. No one knows the cause of it, but the Captain and most of the crew were down with fever and ague. One story was that they felt more or less ailing when anchored at Santa Cruz and fancied they got into a sort of cloud of malaria there: the second mate, who was only slightly ill for a day or so, told me he thought it was from some water they took in at Bugotu, for it was after drinking that water they became ill. Not knowing what ague is like they seemed to get a scare, and thought they were all going to die straight away. They certainly were very bad when they came in and only the mate and second mate and engineer were fit for duty. Fortunately they had fine weather, for there was no one to handle the sails. Comins and Cullwick with some boys took the work in the galley, for the cook was amongst the sick. Having so many sick, they ran short of soups and milk, two things they especially needed They got on better when we supplied these wants as far as we could, but we had to send a crew of Norfolk Island folk to help them up to Auckland. The skipper was looking very shakey indeed, but he picked up and was better, and we got a laugh out of him before he left.

The Melanesian boys were all well and looked a healthy lot, but the four Norfolk Island boys who had been working with Comins look quite ill. I doubt if they have taken any care of themselves, besides I know from old experience that they get knocked over very quickly with fever and ague. It was by no means a joyful home coming. The Bishop and Cullwick looked uncommonly well and fit.

The former had three weeks in the Banks' Islands, a week each at Mota, Motlav, and Vanua Lava, Mosina and Vureas. Pek was reached the same day, or the day before the Southern Cross appeared. Alas! the Banks' Islands work had to be left to some extent. The ship did not call at Mota or Merlav. At the latter place there was a Church to consecrate and people to be confirmed. I am very sorry about that, for they were ready for confirmation last year.

We are a large party here, about 210 all told. The worst of it is that we are having such dry weather nothing will grow, neither can we plant. We shall have to import an extra quantity of food to keep ourselves going. I am disappointed for I hoped we should get on well in the food line The cattle and horses will suffer. The former are beginning to look very poor though we do what we can to feed them.

Walter Woser has come up with his wife and children. He has been getting very slack with regard to school work; the attendance has been very irregular without any apparent reason. It was thought that a visit here would stir him up. I did hope he would have been advanced to the Priesthood, but that is impossible as yet.

[22] The Ra School is excellent. They brought news that Sogorman was very ill and spitting blood, a very poor account was given of him and I am very anxious about him. Simon Qalges will I hope be ordained Deacon and return in April. I daresay you will get the Islands news from those who have been there.

The Bishop is thinking of encouraging boys to stay three years at a time instead of two, both with a view to their better education and also to relieve the ship of such numbers. I think a good many of the better and more earnest ones would do so willingly.

Our new men are capital fellows, all hard workers and a great help to us. It is a pleasure to get men who like to go out and work and take an interest in the place. Ivens is doing Thorman's work and doing it well, and he does it in addition to his work here at the Mission. At the Thanksgiving Service after the whaling season the collection was £17, besides £1:7:0 in the Missionary Box. They are going to put more seats in the Church, which is a good sign.

We have a school examination here, but it was too hurried to see what each individual boy can do. We shall do better next year, I hope. It is a good thing though and helps as a spur to both boys and girls. One funny answer was given by one of the Fiji boys. Williams asked him what was one of the plagues of Egypt? His answer was "Loquats." So much for his knowledge of English.

Those Malanta fellows are fine fellows, but what between Malanta, English, Fiji and Mota their education is a difficulty. I should almost think the solution of the Island difficulty would be to get a strong Christian settlement of returned Christian Labourers. They go back to their own homes now and are swamped amidst the heathen population. If they could be kept together they might prove a power.


The following Paper by Rev. L. P. ROBIN on Native Customs in the Torres Islands, is interesting:--

Native Customs and Obstacles in Missionary Work.

Observe now the contrast to this in the way in which a similar resignation was performed by the chiefs of the Island of Tegua, next northward. It must be remembered that we never attempted to treat the Suqe custom itself as wrong-doing. All were invited and encouraged to come as often as they would or could to school for instruction; only it was taught them why the observance of the Suqe law prevented entrance into Christ's Holy Church. For four years we worked under considerable difficulties at Tegua, through lack of teachers; and, though thoroughly friendly, chiefs and people alike at first firmly refused to have anything to do with giving up the Suqe. However, during that time, I was fortunate in persuading the principal chief to allow his son to go to Norfolk Island, and I am inclined to think that this boy's influence during his holiday last year had much to do with bringing about the wonderful result. For, when I went over there last year to prepare the first class of Catechumens for Holy Baptism, I found among the number two of the three principal chiefs and their wives. The chiefs were prepared to throw up the Suqe at once, but in their own way. Of the striking manner in which they had decided to do it, I have already, written at some length in the Island Voyage. But the glorious thing was that here were two chiefs, not only throwing up their own rank, not only bravely [22/23] humiliating themselves, but themselves leading their own people in the acceptance of Christianity, and entirely regardless of what the chiefs at Lo and elsewhere might say or do. No doubt the baptism of these chiefs, which took place at Lo, in the beautiful church there, did much to influence the chief of that place, and then the, to his eyes, wonderfully impressive spectacle of the reception of Bishop Wilson, seemed to convince him that he was being left behind, and no longer stood in the path of Christianity--that God's cause had simply swept over him and gone on.

Another difficulty with which we have had to contend at Torres is the customs connected with death. The natives pay much respect in their own way to the dead. Immediately after death the body is washed, covered with a clean mat, and decorated with flowers. It lies in state for two or three hours, while the wailing goes on. It is then placed upon a stage near the centre of the village, about five feet from the ground, and partially screened by heads of sugar canes and crotons which are fastened upright to the stage. For ten days the people all stay in the village, except a few who fetch in wood for the death feast on the fifth and tenth days, and a few others whose duty it is to clear the wide path, known as the "way of the dead," which runs from the village to the sea. During this time, or the greater portion of it, it may be understood that the atmosphere of the village is something unspeakable; and I believe that one of the chief reasons why the Torres Islanders pierce the cartilage of the nose is that they may insert a very strong-smelling herb therein to counteract the awful stench which pervades the whole place during the process of decay. On the fifth day the first funeral feast is held; pigs are killed and cooked with large quantities of yams, tomagos, and other vegetables; and gea root is brought in in plenty for the drinking bout which follows the feast. On the eighth or ninth day, the head man, after having had his hands carefully bound up with leaves and ferns, to avoid being poisoned, proceeds with the nearest male relatives of the deceased to the stage on which the body lies, and, removing the head from the trunk, places it in a bag specially made for the purpose. The rest of the people meanwhile precede them by the "way of the dead" to the sea shore. Presently, the chief, carrying the head, and with two of the relations on each side of him, the rest following, proceed by the same road to the shore, chanting a funeral dirge. Having reached the shore, a sort of short ceremony is gone through, during which the chief washes the head in the sea, removing everything till the skull alone remains. When this is effected the whole party returns, following the chief with the skull to the village. As soon as the gamal is reached, the chief alone enters, and takes the skull up to the highest space, and puts it down in the place allotted to it. It is noticeable that no matter what the rank of the deceased may be, the skull is taken to the highest place in the gamal. But in the case of a woman, it would only be allowed that the skull of a chief's wife, or some very distinguished person, could be placed in the gamal. Otherwise the skulls of women are taken to a small place beyond and outside the top end of the gamal. The skull having been duly installed, the relations then take the remains from the stage, and remove them to a small enclosure of stones, where they lie, only covered by mats, until such time as nothing but dry bones remain. The leg and arm bones are then taken by the natives and made into arrow heads. As soon as the trunk has been placed in the "Qar," or enclosure, the stage on which it lay is burnt, and every one takes of the ashes and blackens his brow and chest with them. A funeral dance follows. On the tenth day is the second feast, and after that is the dance, conducted near the enclosure where the remains lie. On the fifteenth day there is another feast, and this concludes the obsequies. But the memory of the deceased is celebrated by feasts on the 50th, 100th, 200th days, and so on till, in cases of persons of great importance, a feast may even be held on the 1,000th day, i.e., nearly three years after the death. On these death days the people stay in the village. In dealing with these rites we had to be very careful, and my object was to convince them that we Christians shew as much respect in our own way to the dead as they do. We first persuaded them in counting their death days, and holding the feasts, to consider Sunday a dies non, i.e., if the feast would have fallen on the Sunday, to postpone it till the Monday or some other week day. The interment of the body was a more difficult thing to introduce. But by careful teaching and gentle persuasion, they were gradually led to allow it in persons of low rank. A small [23/24] thing which occurred on one occasion did more to convince them that we intended no disrespect than volumes of words. I happened one day in visiting some strange villages to come to one where a death had just lately occurred. The body was placed as usual on the stage or platform. The path wound close by it, and sitting on the ground, with her head covered, was the poor old mother of the dead man, wailing. I raised my hat, as one naturally would do in the presence of the dead, and dropping a small present in the poor woman's lap, we passed on through the village, not stopping for the usual chat and barter. It was asked about afterwards, and the people were much struck by the little act of reverence which I had almost mechanically done. This shows that they are thoroughly able to appreciate a little courtesy.

By degrees we abolished altogether the exposure of the dead at Lo--the custom is I think left off now at Tegua. At all events it is the exception there, if it is still done. The next point was to get a cemetery. And to this there was the greatest opposition of all. All manner of reasons were brought forward against the sale to me of every suitable piece of land I inquired about. The idea of the dead being left all alone "in a common field" as they called it, was quite naturally repugnant to them. Also they were afraid that the ghosts would haunt the neighbouring paths; and that it would be unhealthy to the gardens near at hand, to have the dead buried close to them. I had begun to give up all hope last year of securing a piece of ground when two of my teachers came to me and nobly offered a garden of their own as a free gift for the purpose. I very gladly accepted it for the Church, and we proceeded to get it in order, cleared off rubbish and fenced. On the last day of the work a Christian boy died very suddenly. I determined, if possible, to have him buried in the new cemetery. But his poor old father was hard to persuade. It was touching to hear him plead to have his son laid near the gamal in the village, and it seemed ruthless to persuade him to allow us to carry him away to "the mere field" as he called it. But I felt if ever the old way of interment in the village was to be got over, one must make a beginning as soon as the cemetery was ready. After a long talk, the old man was at last persuaded, since I was able to convince him that when the Bishop came and consecrated the place, it would be holy, and no one would be allowed to play about there, and the place would be kept tidy and looked after. The bishop did consecrate it on his first visitation and henceforth all Christians of that neighbourhood will be buried there. The death-feasts and dances still remain, but will, I think, shortly be discontinued, especially the dances which are connected with the Suqe, and will, therefore, die a natural death before long, since that has been given up. The other islands will follow suit when the time is ripe with them. The great thing is to be able to show how it is going on elsewhere; they then see for themselves that no harm has come of the innovation. It is hardly necessary to say that the teaching about the Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Life is instilled gradually and carefully and of course does more than anything else to reconcile them to the new custom. The translation and use of the beautiful and impressive Church of England service for the Burial of the Dead is powerful to impress upon the native mind the wondrous hope which is set before a Christian.

Very different from the Suqe and Death Customs was another which it was necessary strenuously to oppose and if possible to eradicate from the outset. Charming, that is, at least the intention to inflict death or disease upon an enemy I found to be rife in Torres. The manner in which it is done is briefly this. A quarrels with B. A makes a charm. He takes a piece of a certain kind of wood, about two inches long. On each side of it he places a piece of a human rib. He binds the three tightly together; then he goes out and conceals it very carefully in a path along which he knows his enemy is coming. B comes along and unsuspectingly passes over the hidden charm. A, who has concealed himself in the bush near at hand, comes out as soon as B has gone by, takes up the charm and goes home. He then waits for an opportunity of sending the charm away to a Wizard. He is careful to send it to one on another island. An opportunity occurs and A sends the charm to the Wizard C telling him to inflict death or disease upon B. C sets to work; fasts almost entirely from food for 40 days, drinks nothing, and conducts his actual operations on the charm with the utmost [24/25] secrecy. The process differs, of course, according to the punishment desired to be inflicted. But there are two main divisions, those meant to inflict death, and those meant to inflict disease. The disease charm is carried on uninterruptedly, and consists in winding the charm up in numerous layers of coarse cobwebs, leaves of particular plants, and here and there the long sharp thorns of the Tomago, which are fastened in with intention to inflict pains in particular parts of the victim's body, according to their position in the charm and the special incantations used in their insertion. The death charm, on the other hand, is worked on more slowly and at regular intervals; the object being apparently not to cause death too quickly, but to waste the victim away by two or three attacks upon his health first. This charm is also made with greater care. Only the very finest cobwebs are used; it is never allowed to get cold; in the intervals of working it is placed in a small piece of bamboo together with some powdered human bone, and hung over a fire which is never allowed to go out. Did the charm once get cold, the power in it would be lost. There are various stages in the working of the charm which it would take much too long to enumerate and detail in this paper, and of which also I am myself not very well informed; the whole business being carried on with such secrecy that even where it is discontinued, it is excessively difficult to hear anything about it. As to whether there is a power exercised by these men, I give my own opinion for what it is worth; reminding you of what I said at the beginning of this paper, that many years are necessary to gain a definite knowledge of the intricate customs of the natives; also that it is extremely difficult to ascertain and certify given dates and coincidences. Yet I will say there is something quite incomprehensible to me in the Charming, and quite irreconcileable with any theory of the death or illness being caused by fear. I see no cause to disbelieve, in fact it seems to me reasonable, that Satan, in whose bond they are as heathen, should be able to bestow a hurtful power upon some of them. And I am emboldened to say this, since I heard Mr. Baring Gould say publicly in a lecture in England that the powers of the Zulu wizards are utterly inexplicable on any other theory than that of diabolical possession, or the co-operation of evil spirits. In any case the practice is on the face of it, a wicked one; and it is at least suggestive and hopeful that it does not seem difficult to convince the natives that it is so. It is now entirely discontinued at Lo, and I think at Tegua also. The other two islands are comparatively untouched as yet.

In conclusion let me say that it is, I feel sure, most necessary to realise that these customs constitute the religion of the natives and of their forefathers. In endeavouring, therefore to eradicate or supplant them, one should try to deal gently, gradually, and with tact, concerning them. The more delicately one handles such subjects, the more sympathetically one treats those whose manners and customs they are, the sooner will the natives learn to trust one, and the more easy will it be to persuade them in time to give up all those things which are either directly contrary to God's Law, or obstacles in the way of a consistent following of it.



The following letter from one of our girls describing the state of things in Santa Cruz, will help to show what a Christian woman's life is like in times of trouble. ED.

June 19th, 1895,


This is my little letter to you, lest you should think I forget you, but no.

But now I must tell you the news about this place at Nelua. This year it is not well with us, for the enemies are wanting to shoot us of the school, because Moris Meva is dead; so those his brothers want to shoot us. But oh, mother, all of us stay here terrified altogether about the enemies. And alas for Meva, for he might not [25/26] be dead now perhaps, only a man shot him and killed him for no reason. But that man has given some money because of Meva, but it is not ended properly yet. The people want to dwell in safety again, and perhaps by and bye it will be well, but they trouble us of the school very much, because we go to prayers. The men carry their bows; when they go into the church the bows stand outside, then when they go out they take them again. But Forrest spoke strongly to them about it. He said: "All of you, do not think much about the bows; God is taking care of us all. If you think altogether about the bows, that cannot save you, for you are thinking only of yourselves. You are not trusting God, but you are trusting ourselves." That is done.

But now are you quite well. Some days I am well, and some days not. There is a little bag for you, put with Mrs. Colenso's. She will give it to you.

Good-bye. I, Monika Ipue, have written. Help me with your prayers to God.


Norfolk Island Letter.

From Ballarat "Churchman."

Some time ago I wrote you a letter chiefly about our mission work at Saa and Port Adam, in the southern part of the lame island of Malaita. It is scarcely two months since our mission ship came back from her first island voyage for 1895, bringing us further news about this and other places. The Christian villages and schools in this neighbourhood are still much troubled by the heathen. Luke Masuraa, who has been teaching lately at Aulu, one of the school villages, came up in the Southern Cross to be married, bringing with him the latest news. "The heathen are always threatening us; they come with their bows and arrows again and again, and say they will kill us all and burn the school, but it is mostly words; they say they want three lives, Johnson's, mine, and John's (these are the three teachers). We do not go to meet them with arms, Mr. Comins has told us to seek peace with them, so we give them food and goods, and we try not to get angry with them." Mr. Comins sent up to us on a short visit the great lion of the district, Fakaia, the young Chief of Port Adam, a notable head hunter and great warrior, as Johnson informed me one night as this man of war was quietly drinking tea with Mr. Comins. Mr. Comins had warned us that he was rather a savage, friendly to the school, and attending it at times, but, as Johnson said, "he will not join us yet, he does not wish to give up his old ways." We were asked to take every care of him, for should he fall ill, and die here, Mr. Comins said he could not tell what would be the result at Saa. Fakaia told the Bishop of how some inland town had lately sent a message to him asking what sum it would take to buy this new teaching, which brought peace to the land--they were tired of fighting. Luke was betrothed to Fakaia's sister, who had been here at Norfolk Island for the past two-and-a-half years, and Johnson was to marry Elizabeth Siakulu, a young Port [26/27] Adam girl, given to him when he was teacher there. The wedding day was fixed, and all settled, when Johnson announced that his could not come off, Fakaia had said it must not be. The school in Lize's village had been removed elsewhere because of the malevolence of the heathen, and it seems Lize's heathen relatives had said Johnson should not claim his bride to take her away. "If I marry her they will kill me, they say," so Johnson begged to return alone to face the storm. But Lize was broken-hearted at this decision. Unlike most Melanesian girls, she is devotedly attached to her lover. "Ah, I know my people better than he--they are very bad; if he goes home without me, they will be very angry, they will kill him." So earnestly did she beg to go with him, pleading "that we two may die together, if it be God's will; but if he goes alone and gets killed, I will never marry another man--there is no one equal here or there. God will take care of us; let us go together." Her request was granted, and she has gone down unmarried to Mr. Comins' care. She, with three other girls, was confirmed on the Sunday before the ship sailed. We shall anxiously await news as to how matters have been settled at Saa.

The following extract, translated from a letter written by a young man who went down last voyage to take Luke's place at Aulu, may interest you:--The heathen worry very greatly those of the school here, saying they will kill them and then destroy the village; but now I have arrived, and if they come here to destroy the school, I must die first, then they may burn it." The writer goes on to wonder when he will see our faces again, and adds: "Help me with your prayers to God, that He may take care of me, and that I may stand firm here in the midst of the heathen." The number of scholars attending these schools still keeps up, and Mr. Comics writes cheerfully in spite of all.


From Auckland "Church Gazette," December 2nd, 1895.--Referring to the work in the Torres Islands, Archdeacon Palmer is most anxious that nothing should be said whereby the work of such men as the late Rev. Edward Wogale should seem to be belittled. He says, "there are seldom many visible signs of success accorded to the pioneers who bear the burden and heat of the day. They toil on amid endless discouragements, and oftentimes amid threatenings and dangers, and, as in the case of dear old Edward Wogale, sicken and die at their posts, refusing to give up, even when they know they will die there, and in spite of the want of any great visible success; and then the successor reaps the benefit of all their toil and faithful labour, and they are put in the background. It is my greatest comfort to know that the success of the Melanesian Mission is so largely owing to the faithful work of the Melanesian teachers and clergy, who work on year after year with only (it may be) a few days' visit from their white overseers and fellow-labourers, as pioneers preparing the way for future workers; and upon whose faithfulness and earnestness the future success of the Mission must so largely depend. Why not give them full credit for the laborious work they do?


Women's Work in the Melanesian Mission.



Now I think you have an outline of what woman's work at S. Barnabas' College is at present. It is very earnestly considered whether it will not be well to extend our work further, sending us down to the islands to live amongst the women in their own homes, as our clergy do. We feel terribly our own ignorance of the temptations, and even occupations of these people in their natural state, and how hard it is to fit them for their future lives in consequence. But of course, there are many difficulties in the way of such a step, and we can but patiently wait God's guidance, believing, that should He open to us this larger field of work, He will also fit us for it.

There is one more thing I would not like to have omitted--that we never ask a Melanesian to do work we will not share; therefore we all have to be willing and able to turn our hands to any work, be it cooking, washing, cleaning, or anything else; this takes away all feeling that the work is infra dig, and makes the girls willing to relieve us of the heaviest parts.

It is not easy to realise what a Melanesian girl's life is like in her own island home. As a rule, they do not talk much about their past to us, but now and then you get an exception. The following little story, gathered from various chats with one of the elder girls, may give you a glimpse beyond the darkness. When the girls go out into the bush to gather faggots, one of us white women will very often go with them and sit under a tree sewing, whilst the girls collect their sticks; and then, perhaps, one or another will get her bundle finished, or say she does not want any, and sit beside one to talk. Lizzie Liakulu is a Port Adam (Malanta) girl: her brother Joseph Leo, and her future husband Johnson Telegsem, are both at Norfolk Island now. This is what she told me:--"My mother and father are both dead; my father died first, and my mother was done to death by power of Satan (i.e. bewitched); the bad people did this because my father was a great man. Soon after this Joseph came away to Norfolk Island, and I began to go to school down there. I liked the teaching, it was very good; I liked it very much. My grandfather used to love me, but he hated the school, and when I went to school he hated me, and tried to stop me." Johnson is a Motalava man, but at that time he was teaching at Port Adam, and Joseph and Lizzie's other relatives gave her to him for his wife. "I was not sold," she said emphatically, "I was given; there was no money paid for me. I do not like that custom of selling us like pigs; we are not pigs, we are women. They do not sell you, why should they sell us?" Then she told me about another woman, the mother of Alice Alite, one of our present scholars. "Alice's mother was very good and very beautiful; she did not go to school, but all her children did, and she loved the school. She was so white, too; she loved and cared for all the widows and orphans, the sick and the blind, and all who were miserable; many of them dwelt with her. She loved Luke Masuraa (another teacher) because of his teaching, and she gave [28/29] Alice to him for his wife; she would not take money; now she is dead too." Then she talked of her brother, whom she is very fond of. "Everyone in our place loves him; he helps everyone, and does everything so readily."

Another time she described to me a Sunday at Port Adam. I had asked her, "Which day of the week do you like best?"

"Oh, Sunday."

"How did you spend it?"

"We had school and prayers as we have here; then we ate our food, and after that we talked of holy things. The teachers would say, "If any of you want to ask about holy things come to me to-day." Then we would gather together at the door of one of the houses and send for him, and he (Johnson) would come with his sacred pictures, and tell us about the things we wanted to know. All the people loved him very much. He has a soft voice, and never got angry; we loved to hear him talk, and in the evening we would have prayers and hymns."

This picture of so peaceful a Sunday in the little Christian village struck me as in strange contrast with all the heathen darkness around it. Since Lizzie has left her home the little band of Christians have been scattered by persecution, and obliged to collect elsewhere for religious instruction.

Lizzie is to be married before long, and go down with her brave husband next voyage to start a school at Roas, not far from her old home. She is very proud and fond of Johnson, and, unlike most Melanesian girls, is not ashamed to own it; indeed, she was being very much teased only the other day because she had given vent to her feelings, and told the other girls "he was good and handsome, and she liked him."

I have also kept a record of a talk I had with another of our girls, little Alice Diadika, daughter of the Rev. Hugo Gorovaka, of Bugotu. Little Alice died on Trinity Sunday, after a long, weary illness. Before then she was the pet of the Mission--so bright, clever, and eager, in spite of her sadly deformed feet. You could not have found a more promising scholar, and her loss has been keenly felt. She and Mabel Wate, a cripple girl, were sitting by me in the bush one day, and began chatting together about their homes. Alice had been talking about the heathen in the neighbourhood, and how they troubled the Christians.

"Are you frightened of the heathen?" I asked.

"Oh, no; we are not frightened: my father tells us not to fear. My father goes out into that bad country seeking the people there. He says, 'I want very much to teach those people but they are bad. I must seek them always, you must stay here and I must go and look for them.' But my mother said, 'No, we will go together.' Then Dr. Welchman came down and said he, too, must go to that bad land, so we let him go. My father went in the boat with him, and put him ashore all alone. Then he returned to us and said, 'Dont fear for him; don't pity him, he is good, he follows the voice of God.' Then when he did not come again my father said 'I shall go and seek him;' but then we heard he had safely reached another place, and we rejoiced."

[30] I have given as literal a translation as I can of the Mota, but it needs the gestures and the eager little face and voice of the child to impress you, as it impressed me, with the spirit of quiet faith and self-devotion that seems to pervade this truly Christian family of the Melanesian deacon, with his loving, helpful wife and clever, bright child. Poor Hugo! he will sorely feel the loss of his little Alice.

Since writing this the ship has come and gone, carrying back to the Islands over forty of our boys and girls, leaving some of our homes and the cottages, where the married people live, very desolate and empty.


Litany of the Melanesian Mission.

(The following Litany is used in the Mission every Friday evening. We are keeping this in type for a few weeks in case anyone would like to have a separate copy. They will be supplied by MR. PARTRIDGE, at 1d. each).

O GOD the Father, Creator of the world,
Have mercy upon us.
O God the Son, Redeemer of mankind,
Have mercy upon us.
O God the Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful,
Have mercy upon us.

Remember not, O Lord, our offences; but spare us, good Lord; and by the mystery of Thy Holy Incarnation, and by Thy Cross and Passion,
Good Lord, deliver us.

We sinners do beseech Thee to hear us, O Lord; for Thy Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church dispersed throughout the world; that Thou wouldst give to all her members a large portion of Thy Holy Spirit; that Thou wouldst heal all her divisions, giving her peace within her borders and victory over all her foes,
We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord.

For all Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, that they may both by their life and doctrine, set forth Thy true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer Thy Holy Sacraments,
We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord.

For all missions to the heathen, and missionaries: that Thou wouldest grant them the abundance of Thy blessing; that in all their labours and necessities they may have grace and help, so that Thy name may be for ever glorified, and Thy blessed kingdom enlarged,
We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord.

That thou wouldest bless, guide and inspire the Melanesian Mission, moving with it over the face of the waters, that Thy Church may be built up in the islands of the sea,
We beseech Thee to hear us good Lord.

For its Bishop, Clergy, and Teachers: that Thy grace may dwell in their hearts, that they may do their work faithfully and joyfully to Thy glory,
We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord.

[31] For the School at Norfolk Island: that those who teach may have faith, wisdom, and patience; and those who learn, perseverance and humility; that well-instructed teachers may be sent forth to labour in Thy vineyard,
We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord.

For the converts to the faith of Christ in the New Hebrides Islands: that Thou wouldest guide and strengthen them with the fulness of Thy grace, preserving them faultless in the midst of many temptations,
We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord.

For all Thy servants in the Banks' Islands: that they may increase in Thy Heavenly Grace more and more, going on from strength to strength, abhoring that which is evil, and cleaving to that which is good, until they come to Thy Heavenly kingdom,
We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord.

For the converts to the faith in the Torres Islands: that they may serve Thee with a quiet mind, and by their life and good example bring many to the knowledge and love of Thee,
We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord.

For the Church in Santa Cruz and the Reef Islands: that the blood of Thy faithful martyrs may bring forth a plenteous harvest, and that those who labour for Thee may be filled with Thy Spirit, comforted in every sorrow, and preserved in every danger,
We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord.

For the Church in the Solomon Islands: that the faithful may be preserved and strengthened both in body and soul; that their numbers may be increased; that the gross darkness may in Thy time be dispelled; that all Thy chosen servants may faithfully proclaim the Gospel in the ends of the earth with the Holy Ghost, and with power,
We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord.

For all Melanesians working upon the sugar plantations of Queensland and Fiji: that they may there be brought to the knowledge of Christ their Saviour; that they may be protected and preserved from all evil; and that the Labour Traffic may be overruled by Thy Power, that it may help to bring life and light to the Islands,
We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord.

For all wives and children of missionaries: that they may rejoice that they are counted worthy to suffer for Christ's sake; for all who have laboured hitherto in spreading the knowledge of the Gospel amongst the Islands; for all whom Thou art now calling, preparing, or sending to this work,
We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord.

For the S. Barnabas Association, and for all friends and helpers of the Mission in all parts of the world: that Thy people may earnestly desire the extension of Thy Kingdom, and labour to give liberally both by prayers and alms according as Thou hast given unto them,
We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord.

O Christ, hear us.
O Christ hear us.
Lord have mercy upon us.
Christ have mercy upon us. '
Lord have mercy upon us.


Our Father . . . . but deliver us from evil. Amen.

O GOD, we have heard with our ears, and our fathers have declared unto us, the noble works that Thou didst in their days, and in the old time before them.
O Lord, arise, help us, and deliver us for Thine honour.
Glory be the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, etc.
Let us pray for-(then follow special subjects for prayer, followed by)--

Let us pray.

O Thou who didst command Thy holy Apostles to make disciples of all nations, we beseech Thee to look down in mercy on Thy Church. Bless all our endeavours to spread the knowledge of Thee and of Thy Gospel throughout the world. Send forth more labourers into Thy vineyard, and pour out Thy Holy Spirit upon all who are sent. Give them lively faith and earnest zeal. Defend them in every danger; strengthen them against temptation. Give them wisdom and power, that they may turn many to righteousness. Do Thou bring the nations into Thy fold, and add the heathen to Thine inheritance, till the whole earth shall be filled with Thy glory. Hear us, O Lord and Saviour, for Thy mercies' sake. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and that we may obtain that which Thou dost promise, make us to love that which Thou dost command, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.


Dr. Codrington asks that the following sums may be acknowledged in the Occasional Paper:--


September 4th, Miss B. Marchant, Matfield House, Staplehurst, from her collection for Melanesia. £1 0s. 0d.
September 4th, Captain Marx, R.N., and Mrs. J. L. Marx £1 1s. 0d.
September 6th, Thankoffering from E. W., Cheltenham £5 0s. 0d.
September 17th, Rev. A. T. Coore, Sheffield £1 0s. 0d.
November 5th, Anonymous, Rugeley £5 0s. 0d.
[Total] £13 1s. 0d.


The Editor apologises for once more delaying the issue of this number, but when he had culled everything he could obtain, he had not enough copy, and he had to wait until he received the accounts of the last voyage.

Project Canterbury