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have been particularly pleased with the islanders, for the strict observance of the sabbath. They rejoice in a knowledge that “not a fire is lighted, neither flesh nor fish is baked, not a tree is climbed, nor a canoe seen in the water, nor a journey by land performed on God's holy day; religion, religion alone is the business and deligbt of these simple minded people on the sabbath."*
This description applies to the islands in general in which the Christian faith has been received. Perhaps we could not better represent the flourishing state of the mission, than by quoting a few passages descriptive of the conduct and feelings of King Pomare, who, from his zeal in the cause, his intelligence and rank, may be taken as a fair specimen of the success of the missions in the Society Islands.
We have mentioned that the interference of this king greatly contributed to the establishment of Christianity in these islands. He learned to read and write in 1802, by the aid of the missionaries, and with unwearied diligence and perseverance. He never omitted an opportunity of promoting the conversion of his subjects, and though the deputation say but little of his warlike operations, it is quite certain that he led an army to battle, to serve, as he thought, the cause of Christianity. Whilst the deputation were at Tahiti, they had several interviews with Pomare and the royal family; they speak of his extraordinary zeal for the propagation of the Gospel; they notice with gratitude and admiration his liberal presents to the Missionary Society, of cocoa-nut oil, and other articles of native produce, and he received with delight the offer which was specially made to him by the deputation, of taking the missions under his protection. Moreover it is carefully noted by the deputation, that Pomare spent his evenings, in listening to "the words of eternal life,”-portions of the Scriptures, which he himself has essentially aided to translate into his own tongue, being read to him by the chiefs and other persons in attendance; and he has had sometimes around him
than twenty of these assistants, who took the verses in turn. The king was likewise wont to engage in extemporary prayer in his own family, and occasionally called upon one of his attendants to officiate; at all events, prayer was offered up twice a day beneath his roof, and no business whatever was permitted to prevent the regular discharge of this duty. Such was Pomare, the moral Pomare, as he appeared to the charitable view of the missionaries. The reader will be perhaps curious to know something of his person and character. We give the account of the first interview which the deputation had the honour of holding with him.
* As we approached the palace, if we may call it, the royal guards formed a long line on one side of the road, with their firelocks shouldered;
* " They stay the greater part of the Sunday in their houses, laying on their bellies reading the Bible, and howling aloud,"— KOTZEBUE.
some of these were dressed in English costume, and others in native cloth, without any regard to uniformity. This train of soldiers reached to the. bamboo fence surrounding the dwelling; when, by aid of stepping stones. on each side, we had surmounted this stockade, we were desired by an officer, in a scarlet coat, to halt; immediately he gave a signal, and a volley of musketry was fired; this we understand is the highest token of respect which the King ever confers
his visitors. * After waiting a few moments in this court, we were admitted into the house and introduced by Mr. Nott to Pomare. The King, after the first recognition of his visitors, pointed to some low stools, on his right hand, signifying that we should sit down upon them. He himself was seated on the ground immediately before the door, a large mat being spread over the long dry grass that covered the floor, and a calico sheet laid
that part of the mat which the King occupied. Several pillows were placed behind him against one of the pillars that supported the roof, and on these he leaned during the audience. He was handsomely arrayed in his best robes. He wore, on the upper part of his body, a white calico shirt, over which was thrown a beautiful tibuta, of native cloth, brilliantly coloured and ornamented; the ground being yellow, and various figures stained upon it in the Tahitian style. His lower limbs, as he reclined, were enveloped with the white sheeting, on which he was placed, gathered loosely about him. On a stool, at his left hand, sat the Queen, Taaroa Vahine, a young woman, about twenty-five years of age, with her son, a fine boy, not yet a year and a half old, and her sister, Taaraomaiturai, at her side. The Queen is a short good-looking person, and comparatively of a fair complexion. She and her sister were well dressed in the English fashion, with gowns, bonnets, and, what is very rare, shoes and stockings. The little prince had nothing on but a thin muslin vest, that reached below his knees. He is not yet weaned; the Queen, his mother, suckles him, and she performed that maternal duty several times in our presence. The boy's name is Tearütaria. Near this group sat the princess Aimata, a healthy girl, about ten years of age, by Pomare's former spouse. Her skin is of a darker tincture than her half-brother's. She was neatly clad in a blue-flowered frock, and wore a straw bonnet. Next to her were seated three ladies of honour, dressed in English cottons; two of these were very corpulent. To the Queen, her son, the princess, her sister, and these three female attendants, we were formally introduced, and had the honour to shake hands with each. On one side of the door, nearly in front of the King, sat Tati, his prime minister; and further off, ranged through the interior of the apartment, stood a great number of chiefs and servants of the household. Many other persons on the outside were permitted to look in upon the scene, through the interstices of the enclosure or walls, which were nothing more than purau-staves fixed in the ground in the usual manner. In a corner of the building stood the King's bed, screened by a curtain of native cloth, which formed a small recess, with space sufficient for a bedstead. The house was about sixty feet long by forty wide, without division of rooms; and besides the bed already mentioned, contained no furniture, except a few areoi stools, several mats, and some small articles of domestic convenience.
• When we were duly seated, we first inquired after his Majesty's health ; to which he replied that it was the same as it had been for some time, and
he was still suffering pain. We then announced the purpose of our visit to his dominions, and delivered to him the most respectful remembrance and regards of the Society which we represented, assuring him of the gratitude and esteem in which his protection and encouragement of the Misşionaries were held by the directors and officers. We then produced the letters which we had brought for himn from the Society, and stated that the presents, according to his own desire, were left at Tahiti. He returned a very gracious answer, expressing his pleasure at beholding us on his islands, as a deputation from the Society in England. We next thanked the King for his kindness towards our brethren, who were stationed here as preachers of the gospel, and cordially congratulated him on the glorious and peaceful triumphs of that blessed gospel over the ancient cruel and abominable idolatries that prevailed before Missionaries visited these shores ; triumphs in which, we were confident, he himself must heartily rejoice, since, under God, he had been eminently instrumental in promoting them.
Pomare now enquired concerning the operations of the Society in other regions of the earth, and seemed highly gratified with the glad tidings which we were enabled to bring him, respecting the progress of the gospel in Africa and the East and West Indies, and elsewhere.'
Pomare, so far as we could judge, for we only saw him sitting, has more of personal dignity than could be expected from one who had been so lately a rude and fierce barbarian. In stature, we are told, he reaches six feet two inches, with limbs and frame athletic in proportion. His countenance is far superior in comeliness, as well as in expression, to the engraved portrait which has been published in England, though that presents a general likeness. The visage is long, the features bold, the lips thick, and the nose broadset, according to the prevailing traits of the Tahitians; but his complexion is swarthier than ordinary among his countrymen. He wears his beard rather long on the upper lip, reserving also a small tuft between the lower lip and the chin. His hair is worn short round the front and sides of the head, with one long lock behind, which was rolled up
and fastened at the crown; his hands are considerably tattooed, particularly round the joints of the fingers. Ilis manner appeared courteous and affable, though grave, and he was occasionally languid from all health ; but, as we are informed, he is never loquacious. Every one speaks of him as a man of talents, judgment, and foresight, as well as possessed of far more general knowledge than could be expected, considering the few and imperfect means he has enjoyed of gaining instruction. His subjects look up to him as an oracle, and behave in his presence with profound veneration.'-vol. i. pp. 98—103.
Precisely the same report of Pomare's character and virtues is promulgated by Mr. Ellis, author of that able and valuable book, Polynesian Researches, who had been at the period of the visit by the deputation, a resident missionary in the Society Islands. Now what will the world think if, beneath all this plausible exterior, the ingenious barbarian carried a heart that was rotten with sensuality ? He was the most notorious drunkard in the whole of the islands--he literally lost his life by drinking; for the apoplexy that caused his death was the disease of drunkards. He was worse, he lived
in habitual incest; for when the daughter of a neighbouring king was sent to Pomare to be married, a sister accompanied her, to whom the royal convert in an instant surrendered his whole affections. He married, however, the woman to whom he was betrothed; but he kept her sister in the very same residence as his : mistress to the day of his death.* Messrs. Tyerman and Bennet, who paid such extraordinary court to the three savages, must have been well acquainted with the relation in which they stood ; but not a syllable transpires in these volumes which would lead us even to suspect the existence of such a gross system of hypocrisy as Pomare maintained. Two or three times, indeed, the deputation, by inuendo, suggest that their royal friend did not square his actions to his professions. They admitted that he was, by nature, inordinately fond of intoxicating liquors, and that he most heroically abstained from them when the ships did not bring any. Alas! exclaimed the deputies, it is a sad spectacle to see so promising a young neophyte addicted to such a vice, although he often laments, they write,' his own infirmity with vain remorse, and impotent resolution to shun the snare in future, but when the temptation again presents itself, again he falls.' But the good Christian always sees something to console him even in the most lamentable depravity; and the deputies declare that they have good reason to believe that the sad spectacle of their monarch, thus led captive by an enemy the most insidious, has made both young and old among his subjects more watchful against sensual indulgences, and more constant in prayer to be delivered from evil!'. Very well ; we shall see by-and-bye what truth there is in this allegation. In the mean time we cannot help directing attention, to the sensible observations which Captain Beechey applies to the situation of Mr. Ellis, as the eulogist of Pomare. They will furnish a key by which the most ordinary mind will be able to reconcile many of the inconsistencies which appear in the various evidence that relates to missionary proceedings. The captain states that Mr. Ellis, with a commendable feeling of charity, had glossed over the failings and dwelt on the better qualities of Pomare—that he pursued the same course throughout his book, giving the reader a higher idea of the civilization and moral condition of the inhabitants of Tahiti than was just, according to his (Captain Beechey's) observation.
“ There seems,” continues the latter, “ to be no doubt, that he has drawn the picture generally, as it was presented to him : but he has unconsciously fallen into an error almost inseparable from a person of his profession, who, when mixing with society, finds it under that restraint, which respect for his sacred office, and veneration for his character, create. As, in our intercourse with these people, they acted more from the impulse of their natural feelings, and expressed their opinions with greater freedom,
* This fact is unequivocally affirmed by Captain Beechey.
We were more likely to obtain a correct knowledge of their real disposition and habits.”-Beechey's Voyage, p. 197.
This is exactly what we repeat of the deputies--the decorum that was due to their presence restrained the ordinary conduct of the Tahitians, and thus the missionaries really mistook for a case of permanent morality, a mere momentary suspension of profligate conduct. As to the theory so fondly broached by the goodnatured deputies, that the spectacle which Pomare presented in his hours of intoxication, would, like the Spartan helot, move the spectators to a horror of the vice by which he was so degraded, we fear that they reckoned without a due consideration of all the circumstances that deserved their attention. For, let it be remembered that Pomare died just after the deputies had seen him—that a regency had been appointed, consisting of the queen and her incestuous sister, and that regency still subsisted when Captain Beechey arrived at Tahiti, full five years afterwards. The royal ladies of course interchanged civilities with the strangersmand we learn from the captain's account, that their attachment to rum, when he entertained them, was, for persons of the gentle sex, somewhat too cordial and importunate. In truth the two dames, by way of a parting salute, one evening while on board, finished half a bottle of neat rum between them, and the effect on the queen was such as very considerably to postpone the complete restoration of her judgment during the next day. If Captain Beechey is to be believed (and we presume that no one will think fit to question the honour of so distinguished an officer), the drunken revels of Pomare produced very little of that salutary horror which the duputies expected upon those persons who must have witnessed most of the disgraceful consequences of intoxication in the person of Pomare.
But, alas! we are not at liberty to stop here. Captain Beechey was entertained by the royal party in his turn. He states that he was treated, at the residence of the regent, with dancing, piping, and every sort of amusement, which the missionaries had supposed that they completely abolished from the land; but as the influence of the latter was at the time in its “high and palmy state,” and as the regent charged herself with acting as the religious fugleman to the rest of the savages, so did it become necessary that she should carry on her orgies in secret. In fact, the music was ordered to be pitched on the most delicate scale possible; and it is curious to find, that the royal family made every provision that was in their power to keep the heretical sounds of the party from the ears of a fierce policeman, who, armed and ferocious, walked in front of the
palace,” and was ready at any instant to execute the missionaries' general warrant against every man who dared to have a smile upon his countenance. Captain Beechey must take the responsibility of putting the climax to this system of hypocrisy. We quote his own words.