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sionary proposed that he should receive a teacher, the savage said, that
as to receiving the new teacher, he would speak his sentiments freely, and not deceive us. If he was placed at Vavau, he would protect him, but he would neither embrace Christianity himself, nor allow his people : for he would put to death the very first person, man, woman, or child, who did so.”
Such was the spirit that ruled in the breast of many a ferocious chief, and that spirit must be quelled before free churches and free governments could be established in Polynesia. Matetau and Finau adopted and acted upon the same principle, they only differed in its practical application ; the former said he would "make" his people attend to the religion of the Son of God; the latter declared that he would put to death the very first person who “ embraced” it. Englishmen there are, of worth and learning, who hold this principle with a tenacious grasp, while they deprecate the employment of the
power of the magistrate to uphold error, and would have it wielded only on the side of truth. They appear not to be rightly apprised of the difficulty, contradiction, and perplexity inseparable from their theory. Some such there are who actually ascribe the progress of Christianity, in the South Sea Islands, to the aid which it derived from the civil power, the power of such men as Matetau and Finau ! Mr. Williams has most happily, as well as instructively, settled this point. “ Now this statement is not founded in truth. Having witnessed the introduction of Christianity into a greater number of islands than any other Missionary, I can safely affirm, that, in no single instance, has the civil power been employed in its propagation. It is true that the moral influence of the chiefs has, in many instances, been most beneficially exerted in behalf of Christianity ; but never, to my knowledge, have they
* Williams, p. 82.
employed coercion to induce their subjects to embrace it. And I feel satisfied, that in few cases has the beautiful prediction been more strikingly accomplished • And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers.' Had the Missionaries desired the exercise of that power, the chiefs were not in a condition to gratify them; for they had to defend themselves against the fury of a large portion of their own subjects, by whom they were so fiercely attacked. I am, moreover, happy, in being able to contradict the assertion of Dr. Lee, because, were it true, it would have detracted from the honour of Christ, by the interposition of whose providence the great work has been effected : ' His own.arm hath gotten him the victory." "* Dr. Lee and those who adopt his views would do well to ponder such passages as the following relative to regal interference. When the introduction of ardent spirits threatened the ruin of Otaheite, the parliament or representative body which Christianity had called into existence, assembled to consider the case ; and, as it was new, they sent a message to the queen to know upon what principles they were to act. What was her reply? As head not of the church but of the state, she returned a copy of the New Testament with this injunction, “ Let the principles contained in that book be the foundation of all your proceedings.” In Otaheite the laws were framed according to Christianity ; in Europe, Christianity has been moulded according to the laws.
But the wonders wrought by the gospel of Christ are not confined to the moral and political economy of the several islands considered apart. The best principles of international law are fully brought to bear upon many of them.
What Africa has long been to the impious and cruel nations of Europe, Manua was to the
* Williams, p. 50.
group of which it formed a part. “ The inhabitants of Manua are regarded as a conquered people, and are, in consequence, despised and oppressed by the other islanders. Indeed, in most of the groups of the Pacific, one island was subject to peculiar oppression, and supplied the others with human sacrifices and es : and in single islands, particular districts were thus subjected. This was the case with the district of Arorangi at Rarotonga, the chief and people of which dwelt in the mountains." * The demon of cruelty that reigned in those regions retired at the sound of the footsteps of the servants of Christ. Those principles which excited abhorrence in the breasts of the islanders against human sacrifices, were equally efficient in the destruction of slavery. Indeed the Christian islanders discovered what the nations of Europe, and the republics of America have still to learn, namely, that human sacrifice and slavery are but two sides of the same object—two degrees of the same crime-- in the one case the murder is immediate, in the other it is prolonged-in both, the end is death! How reproachful to the slaveholding states both of the Old World and the New, is the example of the chief of the Friendly Islands ! On hearing that “Slavery was inconsistent with Christianity,” he immediately emancipated all his slaves. Surely this man will rise in judgment against the inhuman planters of America, whose fields are watered with tears and blood, and whose groves are vocal with the groans of oppressed millions !
The laws which provide for life and liberty always suffice to secure property. In former letters we have heard the grateful testimony of the people to their emancipation from the thraldom in which they were held by the chiefs, and to the accompanying security of personal property which they enjoyed. Formerly in
* Williams, p. 125.
many instances the chief claimed a right in every thing that was acquired by his people, and the people, in their turn, seized as their own whatever belonged to strangers. The gospel put an end to this system of rapine. How striking and valuable, as illustrative of this and other points, is the language of Malietoa to Mr. Williams, when he inquired if the chief would protect the wives and property of English Missionaries in the event of their arrival. Why," said the indignant chief, “• Why do you ask that question ? have I not fulfilled my promises ? I assured you that I would terminate the war as soon as possible ; this I did, and there has been no war since. I gave you my word that I would assist in erecting a chapel ; it is finished. I told you I would place myself under instruction, and I have done so. Twenty moons ago you committed your people, with their wives and children, and property, to my care ; now inquire if, in any case, they have suffered injury. And do you ask me whether I will protect English Missionaries, the very persons we are so anxious to have ? Why do you propose such a question ?' Feeling at once that I had committed myself, I instantly replied, You cannot suppose that I ask for my own conviction : the faithful performance of your promises is perfectly satisfactory to my own mind; but you know that the English are a very wise people, and one of their first questions, in reply to my application for Missionaries, will be, Who is Malietoa ? and what guarantee
for the safety of our people ? And I wish to carry home your words, which will be far more satisfactory than my own.' 'Oh!'he exclaimed, * that is what you wish, is it ?' and significantly moving his hand from his mouth towards me, he said, "Here they are, take them ; here they are, take them ; go, and procure for us as many Missionaries as you can, and tell them to come with confidence ; for, if they bring property enough to reach from the top of yonder high
mountain down to the sea-beach, and leave it exposed from one year's end to another, not a particle of it shall be touched.'”*
Young men of England ! in what light does the Martyr of Erromanga appear to you as he works out a constitution for these benighted and enslave inhabitants of the South Seas ? Can you conceive of a human being more gloriously occupied ?
How little as compared with him, have been the heroes of all times, and of all lands! When did warriors go forth, good faith, inaking war upon the rulers of enslaved nations in order to emancipate those nations and to give them a free constitution ? The one or two seeming instances have been less real than collusive, The common result has been the succession of one despot to another. Gunpowder has no moral power ; the bayonet and the battle-axe are slow reformers. Truly does Johnson remark, that “ The wars of civilized nations make very slow changes in the system of empire. The public perceives scarcely any alteration, but an increase of debt ; and the few individuals who are benefited, are not supposed to have the clearest right to their advantages. If he that shared the danger, enjoyed the profit ; if he that bled in the battle grew rich by victory; he might show his gains without envy.
But, at the conclusion of a long war, how are we recompensed for the death of multitudes, and the expense of millions ; but by contemplating the sudden glories of pay-masters and agents, contractors and commissioners, whose equipages shine like meteors, and whose palaces rise like exhalations !”—Is this all the gain of war even among civilized nations ? What then must be the result among nations still buried in the depths of barbarisın ! Oh, compare these results with the achievements of the Missionary! Who can estimate his services, even in
* Williams, p. 112.