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use of the society, and entitled “ Extracts from the Letters and Journals of Daniel Wheeler, now engaged in a religious visit to some of the Islands of the Pacific Ocean,” &c. This novel enterprize having been referred to in the last Report of the London Missionary Society, and considerable interest having been excited by it amongst the friends of that institution, we have felt it right, as the pamphlets are not on sale, to present our readers with a series of quotations, which appear most likely to inform and gratify them on this subject.
We have not room for the details of their long and very dangerous passage, during which their principles as Friends, and their faith as Christians, were often brought to a severe test, but we make the following extracts from the Journal, as they illustrate the spirit in which they met the threatened hostility of a piratical vessel, and the readiness with which they acknowledged the hand of God in their remarkable deliverance from the violence of the storm.
“ 5th mo. 10th. This afternoon, at sunset, a brig was seen upon our lee quarter, steering the same course as ourselves, perhaps three or four miles distant from us; she was soon covered up by the night, and no more thought of. Being upon the deck, (an usual practice with me the fore part of the night,) between 9 and 10 o'clock, the carpenter suddenly exclaimed, Why, here's this brig!' Upon looking, I saw the vessel at a considerable distance from us, but soon perceived by the stars that she was approaching with uncommon rapidity in a most suspicious direction, as if intending to cross our fore-foot, and cut us off, We watched her very narrowly, expecting every minute she would open a fire upon us. She continued to haul directly across our head at a very short distance from us, but we steadily kept our course, without the slightest variation, or manifesting any symptoms of hurry or fear, or noticing her in any way. I felt our situation to be at the moment very critical, knowing that these latitudes, and particularly this neighbourhood, are exceedingly infested with piratical vessels, which find shelter in the Brazilian harbours as traders, where they fit out occasionally for Africa with merchandize, and return with whole cargoes of oppressed Africans for sale, landing them on private parts of the Brazil coast; at other times they act as pirates, when it suits their convenience, or are in want of stores. This was indeed a trial of faith of no common kind; but my mind was stayed upon the Lord, feeling a good degree of resignation to His Holy Will, whatever might be permitted to befal us. After watching the vessel with anxiety for some time, she passed away, without making the least apparent stop. On considering the matter, we concluded that when she saw us at sunset, we were taken for a Dutch galiot, that might fall an easy prey to her, but when she came to us in the dark, near enough to examine with telescopes the real shape of our vessel, we were found of such a suspicious build of a non-descript kind, not seen before in these seas, as might lead to the supposition that we were intended as a decoy, and though very tame-looking without, yet perhaps fiery hot within, if meddled with. From the position she took, there is no doubt she expected to throw us into confusion by firing into us, and then in the midst of it to have boarded us on the weather side. There was not the least glimmer ou light to be seen on board of her, whilst the Ilenry Freeling' was well lighted up in both cabins and the binnacle, and the reflection from our sky-lights was well calculated to puzzle and intimidate her crew, as this circumstance would be sufficient at once to show that we were not a common merchant vessel. The captain, cook, steward, Charles and myself were all additional persous upon the deck besides the regular watch, which would give an idea of strength to them, unusual in so small a vessel as the “Henry Freeling. Every thing was conducted with great quietness, not the least bint given to any one on board to prepare for an attack : the watch below was not even informed of what seemed to
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await us upon the deck. The Lord only was our deliverer, for she was restrained from laying a hand upon our little bark; and to Ilim alone our preservation is with gratitude and thankfulness ascribed. The crews of these pirates consist in general of desperadoes of all nations, who frequently commit the most dreadful atrocities on board the ships they seize upon, in putting to death all those who oppose their boarding them; they are mostly crowded with men amply sufficient in number to take and destroy some of our large armed traders. This vessel was doubtless a selected one for the work; we thought she actually sailed twice as fast as the · Henry Freeling,' which is far from being a slow vessel. We saw no more of her, but after midnight I partook of some refreshing sleep.”
“ 6th mo. 22d. Lying to' as yesterday, the storm still raging with unabated violence, squalls, heavy rain and lightning through the night. The sea having risen to a fearful height, has frequently inundated the deck of the vessel, and from the continual working of her whole frame, our bed places have been unfit to sleep in, the water having found its way through numerous chinks. This morning early a heavy sea broke into us, bringing a larger quantity of water upon the deck than at any time before. To myself a very remarkable and striking event took place this morning. Shortly after the vessel had shipped a heavy body of water, I went up the hatchway to look round for a short interval; at that moment the sea was running in mountainous succession, and I observed that some of the loftiest of the waves were very nearly prevailing against our little vessel ; it seemed as if she could not much longer escape being overwhelmed by them altogether. I made no remark to any one, but soon after we tried to get some breakfast; whilst so occupied, one of the men called down to inform us that there was a sight worth looking at on deck, it was a large collection of a small species of the whale, close by the ship; I thought I should like to see them; there were perhaps more than two hundred of these animals close to us, about twelve feet long each. When I went upon deck after breakfast they were still close to our bows, and the man at the helm said, that they served as a breakwater for us : their being so was afterwards mentioned by some other person. At last my eyes were open to discover the protection they were affording our little struggling vessel; they occupied a considerable portion of the surface of the sea, in the exact direction between the vessel and the wind and waves, reaching so near to us that some of them might have been struck with a harpoon; they remained constantly swimming in gentle and steady order, as if to maintain the position of a regular phalanx, and I suggested that nothing should be done to frighten them away. It was openly remarked by some, that not one sea had broken on board us whilst they occupied their useful post, and when they at last retired, it was perceived that the waves did not rage with the same violence as before they came to our relief. I give this wonderful circumstance just as it occurred, and if any should be disposed to view it as a thing of chance, I do not, for I believe it to be one of the great and marvellous works of the Lord God Almighty. These friends in need, and friends indeed, filled up a sufficiently wide space upon two of the large swells of the ocean as completely to obstruct the approach of each succeeding wave opposed to the vessel, so that if the third wave from us was coming in lofty foam towards us, by the time it had rolled over and become the second wave, its foaming threatening aspect was destroyed entirely, reaching us at last in the form of a dead and harmless swell. They are a very oily fish, and seldom larger than to yield about two barrels of oil; they are commonly called Black Fish."
After a most harassing voyage of thirteen months, in the course of which the “ Henry Freeling" visited Rio de Janiero, Hobart Town, Van Dieman's Land, and Port Jackson, New South Wales, the mountains of the long looked-for Tahiti were discovered through the gloom that overhung the deep, and at noon on the 30th of April, 1834, they passed in safety through Matiava bay.
“ A canoe with four of the natives came off to us, bringing oranges, guavas, and other kinds of fruit, which we purchased, after much bargaining, for a hank of thread, and three small needles to each individual, although the price they first asked was a dollar for each basket; there were five baskets of fruit, perhaps the greater part of a cwt, and the baskets included in the purchase. We were all pleased with the openness and simplicity of these people. At 2 P. M. we took Jemmy the pilot on board, and immediately entered the channel within the reefs, but after getting through the most dangerous part, it fell calm, which obliged us to drop an anchor for the night directly opposite the house of George Bignal, so close to the shore that a mooring hawser was made fast to one of his cocoa-nut trees. By this time our deck was covered with the natives. Just as we were ready to go on shore to take tea at George Bignal's, (to whom, as deputy consul, the mail brought from New South Wales had been delivered,) the young king, (or perhaps it is more correct to say, the husband of the queen) came on board, with his younger brother and uncle, and several others; they behaved with great openness and cheerfulness, and seemed highly pleased to see us. Our captain was personally known to them already. They soon looked round the vessel apparently delighted, left us a basket of oranges, and said they would come again to-morrow. To my great rejoicing, the pilot soon after coming on board, informed us (officially) of the disuse of ardent spirits altogether, by saying, Rum is no good here. The total abolition of spirituous liquors has been so strongly enforced, that they have taken them out of private houses, without exception, and thrown them away; and the natives have carried it to the length of smelling the breath of people to ascertain whether it had been used, and, if found to be the case, a severe fine was imposed; so that a person well known to lead a thoroughly sober life was not allowed to have such a thing in his possession, and liable at any time to undergo a search."
The following account of Friend Wheeler's first ministerial interview with the missionaries and converted natives will be read with interest.
“ Having understood that on the present occasion, the principal chiefs from all parts of the island would be there, (a: Papawa) and a large muster of the inhabitants residing in this district, it occurred to my mind that it would be a favourable medium, through which my arrival might be publicly announced to all the distant districts, if at a suitable time my certificates should be read. On mentioning this to George Pritchard, and showing him the translation so kindly made before I left London, by William Ellis, he at once saw the propriety, but said, it would be necessary to consult Henry Nott, the senior missionary resident at Papawa, G. P. himself being a junior; this was a matter of course, and had I been aware of the distinction, I should myself have proposed it. From the wind having sprang up a fresh breeze against us, we were rather late in reaching our destination, and Henry Nott had taken his seat in the meeting before we got to it. We followed G. Pritchard through a large number of people that were already assembled, until we got up to H. Nott, who, on being consulted, immediately consented that it should be done, when their service was over. We then took our seats, having kept on our hats until that moment; but the heat of the climate renders it too oppressive to keep them on for any great length of time. We heard of no remark however having been made on this head, whatever might have been thought. They commenced by G. Pritchard giving out a hymn, then part of the Epistle to the Ephesians was read, after which G. P. kneeled down and prayed; another hymn was then sung, after this Charles Wilson preached a long sermon from a text out of the same epistle; when this was finished another hymn was given out, at his request, and he afterwards finished with prayer. Some business then came on relating to the affairs of the Missionary Society, when the island queen took her seat as its president. We merely sat as silent spectators through the whole of this, which from beginning to end, was conducted in the Tahitian language. As only G. Pritchard sat between myself and the queen, I observed that she was employed in reading my certificates, which had been previously laid upon the table. The whole of my certificates were then audibly read in the Tabitian language, by G. Pritchard, who took great pains to give ample explanation whenever needful. The marked attention and solidity of countenance manifested by the wondering Tahitians, was both striking and comforting; and the solemnity which spread over this large assembly, had previously covered my mind as with a mantle, contriting my spirit under a sense, that the great Master himself was there. After the reading of the certificates was gone through, profound silence reigned. I asked if I might say a few words, which was at once permitted, and George Pritchard agreed to interpret between me and the people. I requested him just to repeat what I said, and I have reason to believe this was faithfully done; and was, to the best of my recollection after this manner. "I have no wish to trespass upon the time of this meeting. I was desirous that these documents or certificates might be read, which would account for a stranger being present, and inform them that I came not there in my own will, but in the will of my Lord and Master, whose I am, and whom I desire to serve to my latest breath; and I would also let them know that I came with the full unity, and consent of that branch of the christian church in England, of which I am a member. And now grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, be multiplied upon all the inhabitants of this land; and may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, keeps our hearts and minds, &c. &c.'
“ After I sat down, a solemn silence again prevailed, until one of the natives, a supreme judge, broke it by addressing me by name, which he had caught from the certificates, and then declared on behalf of himself and the islanders, that the manner of my coming among them was very satisfactory, because what had been read and said, was in accordance with the gospel, which they had been taught and were acquainted with. lle also, at considerable length, touched upon the great distance I had come over the deep waters to see them, and to do them good, that, in return, their hearts and arms, and habitations, in effect, were open to receive me; duly appreciating the purity and disinterestedness of the motive that had induced the step; having no trade, nor other object in view. lle hoped I should visit all their schools, and stroke the heads of the children; that he should now deliver them all to my hands. I told G. Pritchard to say that the dear children would always have a strong hold, and a strong claim upon my heart. Much more transpired that was truly consoling and comforting : and the missionaries who spoke on the occasion, I truly believe, most fully and cordially co-operated in endeavouring to explain my views to the people, in terms of strong approbation.
“Although the above may not be exactly verbatim, it is the substance of what passed. When it was all over, Henry Nott kneeled down and concluded the meeting with prayer in the Tahitian. The natives then generally rose from their seats, and began to flock around us, and to shake hands with Charles and myself in a very hearty manner, and without regard to order, age, or sex, from the humble peasant to the bronze coloured queen, her two aunts, and the numerous chiefs, who, I think, are the stoutest, most giant like men I ever saw assembled together. About 800 persons were collected at this meeting ; but the house was so extensive, that it seemed impossible to make any accurate estimate; for my own part, I should have supposed the number not less than a thousand. The judge before spoken of, in one of his speeches, (for he spoke three times,) hinted, that they perceived I was not exactly of the same description of Christians that had hitherto come amongst them, or I belonged to a different body."
It is probably known to most of our readers, that a French inissionary ship, with a company of Romish priests, was dispatched by Charles the Tenth, to visit the Islands of the Pacific,
The subjoined passages will illustrate the policy both of our missionaries and their interesting converts towards the emissaries of Rome, who must be, indeed, blind with bigotry, or infatuated by envy, to attempt the conversion of a people already subjugated to the laws of Christ, while in various parts of the world so many nations of uncivilized idolaters, in all the degradation of their savage nature, are still entirely destitute of religious instruction.
“ Yesterday morning, a native of Dundalk, in Ireland, by name Murphy, lately arrived in the Peruvian,' from Valparaiso, came on board. He stated, that his coming here is solely for the purpose of procuring a passage to the Sandwich islands, but that he is not suffered to remain here, for want of proper credentials, which are required of such as come to reside on shore. It is one of those cases in which I could not render any assistance, there being a decided law in this country that prevents strangers, under such circumstances, from coming amongst the people, and which applies to all foreigners. At the same time, it is pretty evident, that a fear of his introducing the Roman Catholic religion greatly operates against him ; for which, it is probable, there may be some ground. Murphy acknowledges to have been six years at a college in Ireland, training for a priest ; but that he never was ordained. He is now come from the Gambier islands, where, he says, there are six French Roman Catholic priests, and one English ; but whatever may be the real cause of his coming here, his present situation renders him an object of pity, which we cannot relieve.'
" 10th. This morning received information that a public meeting of the principal chiefs and people of the island was about to take place, to consider ihe case of the supposed Roman Catholic. Although I had not been invited to a missionary conference which had taken place on this subject, yet I felt my way more than usually opened to attend the council of the Tahitians, then about to meet. Accordingly myself and Charles bastened to the shore, and landed opposite the building where the people were assembling.
“The queen, with her mother and attendants, were seated, or squatted upon the floor, surrounded by the chiefs of seven districts. The sister of the principal chief or King of Roratonga, was one of the party. The business commenced with the examination of the Irish Roman Catholic; the place was Dow crowded with people, but the examination proceeded very slowly and unsatisfactorily; which I could not help perceiving, was entirely for want of an able interpreter, who thoroughly understood the English language as well as the Tahitian. The people were restless and unsettled from this circumstance, the most part, not seeming to know for what they had come together. None of the missionaries appeared willing (from sufficient reasons) to have any hand in the business; and seeing the real cause of the dilemma they had got into was still undiscovered, it seemed best for me to step forward, at a suitable moment, and state plainly to the heads of the meeting that it was impossible for the business to proceed satisfactorily without a competent interpreter was appointed ; and turning to Captain Henry, who stood near me, requested him to inform the chiefs what I had said. This being done, the council agreed that Captain Henry should be chosen; and he having consented, things began to move more readily forward, until the Catholic made some assertions highly injurious to the missionary cause, and offensive to the queen and all her chiefs, who felt very indignant on the occasion; and which I knew to be incorrect. There did not seem any other part for me to act, however unpleasant, but publicly to contradict what he had said, and to declare that some of the language he had used had never been expressed by the person he was charging with having done it. This for a time caused considerable altercation ; but having three witnesses on my side, this difficulty was soon got over, and order again restored. The examination continued, until the Catholic, unable to prove the statements he had made on first coming to Tahiti, and finding himself foiled on every side,