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AN APPEAL FROM THE OLD WORLD TO THE NEW WORLD.
“Thy towering spirit now is broke,
Thy neck is bended to the yoke."-SMOLLET. “We must not sequester into Atlantic and Eutopean schemes of government,” says Milton, speaking against visionary forms of policy; but if we may be allowed a little play upon his words, we should maintain that at the present moment we must carry our thoughts to the American shores of that ocean in which Plato placed his Atlantis, if we wish to see any realization of Sir Thomas More's Eutopia. The philanthropist and the friend of human advancement need no: despond even when he contemplates the miserable condition of Spain, (the experimental farm of the Holy Alliance, as it has been so happily denominated,) or the degrading subjugation of Italy, both of which are so utterly contrary to the spirit of the age that they cannot possibly endure; but let him extend his view across the Atlantic, and he will find that the numbers who have liberated themselves in that quarter infinitely exceed those who have been enslaved in Europe. It has been said that you cannot put your hand in the sea at Brighton without raising its waters, however imperceptibly, in the other hemisphere; and it is unquestionably the pressure of despotism in Europe that has occasioned the rising of liberty in South America. Tyrants produce freemen, and in this view Ferdinand has been the greatest friend to human regeneration that ever existed. The dragon's teeth he has sewn in one hemisphere came up armed men in another; his brutal misrule made Old Spain so hideous, that it fairly frightened New Spain into successive fits of revolution ; and his unfortunate subjects have given freedom to their transatlantic brethren, by wearing a double weight of chains upon their own necks. The Americans, in short, have taken their revenge upon the Spaniards, and have given over their masters to misery and thraldom, while they themselves are regenerated and happy.
But perhaps the most exhilarating point of view in which we can contemplate the New World, is in the prodigious expansion of knowledge and activity of the press, displayed in regions bitherto plunged in a Cimmerian darkness. We speak not of the new republics, though their intellectual energies are developing themselves with an inconceivable rapidity, so much as of those remote islands and colonies, which within our own recollection were plunged in the lowest depths of savage ignorance, and are now, by their civilization and literary progress, affording a gratisying testimony to the general advancement of the human race. We have before us at this moment the first book ever printed at Van Diemen's land, and a not less pleasing literary curiosity-the Reports of the Missionary Stations in Tahiti and Eimeo for three successive years, printed at Tahiti. Let the reader recollect the state of Otaheite in Captain Cook's time, and he will be able to appreciate the importance of the few words which we have put in italics. That he may form a more comprehensive estimate of what has been accomplished for civilization in those unpromising regions, we propose making a few extracts from the pamphlets, which will, we think, satisfy the most sceptical that the labours of the Missionaries have been productive of incalculable good, although we are of opinion that they have
An Appeal from the Old World to the New World. 161 hitherto done very little for rational Christianity beyond a breaking up and preparation of the soil for its future reception. From less questionable authority than their own, from captains in the navy who have touched at the Georgian islands, we have learnt that the natives, since the establishment of the missionaries, have abandoned their ferocious habits to become a humane and trustworthy race; and the papers have lately informed us, that on the same spot in New Zealand, where the crew of the Boyd, amounting to nearly one hundred persons, were not long since cut off and devoured by the cannibal natives, the crew of another British vessel, in an unfortunate squabble with the same people, who had gone so far as to sing their war-songs, and prepare for attack, found effectual protection by sending to the Wesleyan Missionary establishment about twelve miles distant, and getting two of the brethren to remain on board during their stay. These are facts which should for ever avert all sarcasm and ridicule ; for though these hordes may not have been converted into rational Christians, they have been at least prevented from continuing to be savages and cannibals, which is a good step towards it. Even in Madagascar such progress has been made from utter darkness and ferocity, that the king has sent a deputation of young men to the Cape of Good Hope “for the purpose of being instructed in the useful sciences.” If a knowledge of good government be one of them, we trust they will not apply to Lord Charles Somerset. But we proceed to our extracts, by which it will be seen that the worthy missionaries are high in the royal favour,—the most efficient mode in such countries of disseminating their doctrine.
“ Wilks's Harbour.—The queen lay in at this place and was delivered of a son, June 25th. The infant, named Teriitaria, his sister Aimata, the queen and her sister Pomare Vahine, were baptised at Papaoa, Sept. 10th, by the brethren Nott and Crook"
Immediately after we are favoured with a piece of intelligence which savours somewhat of the bathos, though we observe similar notices in all the reports, as if such occurrences were quite as well worth transmitting to Europe as the births and baptisms of legitimate royalty.
“ April 10th. Sister Crook was safely delivered of her eighth daughter and ninth child. These are all, through the goodness of God, in good health with their parents."
The report for May 1823, aster stating that the whole inhabitants of the islands are already professors of Christianity, gives the following account of the annual meeting.
“ The deputation, accompanied by the bretliren Barff, Orsmond and Platt, having arrived at Tahiti on Monday last from the Leeward Islands, we the brethren on Tahiti bad the pleasure of meeting with them this morning at the Royal Mission chapel, Papaoa, where the king, governors, and the various officers and members of the Tahitian Missionary Society had assembled in order to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Society. About ten o'clock the people entered the chapel in number about 4000. After service the deputation and the missionaries dined with the queen, Pomare Vahine, the young king, the king's brother-in-law, and some of the principal chiefs, at the king's house near the royal chapel, present also several officers of the French corvette, belonging to the King of France."
Here is a very goodly beginning of the church and state union, which in process of time, if the press should be restrained and the march of Vol. X. No. 56.-1823.
knowledge arrested by come Tahitian Czar or Austrian satrap, may, with the aid of an oriflamme, a Sainte Ampoule, and the holy Chrism, ripen into as much ecclesiastical wealth and gorgeousness as have lately dazzled the eyes of the royal and pious at the French coronation. Religious architecture has already begun in the islands, for not only do the natives build for cach of the brethren a dwelling-house furnished with conveniencies hitherto unknown, but we are told that
“On the 20th of February the brethren had the pleasure to lay the foundation stone of a new chapel, which is to be of an octagonal form, and built with hewo coral rock. The people are carrying on the building with spirit, observing that it will be the first house of stone erected in these islands."
Perhaps a distinguishing characteristic of all our missionary societies is the indefatigable industry, the ingenuity, the innumerable devices with which they solicit contributions. The aggregate amount of the money thus raised would, we apprehend, startle the uninitiated reader, and puzzle him not a little as to its appropriation. In the latter amazement we have ourselves participated, when we find from these reports that the South-Sea Islands, so far from being a burthen to the parent society, are making large remittances and shipments to England. Indeed the good missionaries appear to have set about the work of contribution at Tahiti with a zeal quite as conspicuous and successful as that of their European brethren. After the Secretary of Eimeo had read the report of donations for 1822,
“ Ahuriro of Pare, rose and made some remarks on the reports, lamenting the smallness of the subscriptions, and exciting to fresh exertions. Where,' said he, 'do we lay out our strength? Is it for God, or the devil ? for this world, or for the next?' He moved that the reports be received. Vara of Eimeo seconded the motion, and spoke in a very able manner. The King, he observed, had kept his promise, and supported the Society to the last ; 'and now,' said he, let us not let it go, but hold it fast till death. The reports being received, and ordered to be printed; Tati moved, that the Society's oil be collected for the future into one place, and sold on the spot, to any merchant that would send for it, and give the best price; and that the money received be forwarded by the treasurer to the treas surer of the parent society in London. Haapae, the chief of Toahotu in Taiarabu, seconded the motion, which was put and carried as before by show of hands."
On account of their very primitive appearance, we give a list of the contributions for 1823, which for Tahiti alone "amounted to 10,804 bamboos of oil, 192 balls of arrow root, 105 baskets of cotton wool, and 17 pigs, being 1578 bamboos of oil more than last year's report. Brother Crook exhorted them to do still more, and for this purpose recommended that female and juvenile societies be forned, as is advised by the parent society."
Several instances of backsliding having occurred among the subscribers, whose goods were not forthcoming after they had been promised.
" Brother Nott rose to move, that the property subscribed be collected from those districts where there are no harbours, and that it shall be left at those stations or places, where ships can safely anchor to receive it: he also moved, that the collectors shall receive the property from the subscribers, at the time their names are given in, and not to leave it in their hands until a ship shall come to receive it, as has been done in past years. Tati, the governor of Papara, supported the proposition, observing that many evils had arisen from the oil having been left with the persons subscribing it,”
After all, it is perhaps impossible to estimate or pay too highly the services of the industrious brethren, who, besides printing and distributing ten of the Epistles of Paul, have sent books to all the neighbouring islands, established schools for boys and girls in different districts, and finally inform us, that “about one hundred sofas or long chairs, and nearly the same number of tables, have been made this year at this station, (Burder's Point): they are all made of good hard wood, and some of them very neatly executed.”-We place full confidence in their report, and we can hardly over-rate the merit of those who have operated the improvement, when they assure us that
“ The work of civilization is also progressive. This is evident when we compare the country and people with what they formerly were. We can refer to the public roads and buildings; the large well-built boats; the decent appearance of the females in European dresses, cut out and made by themselves : and bonnets to imitate English straw which they themselves have manufactured. These, and many other things we might mention, prove a change for the better."
It is natural that we should attach the most consequence to that which is nearest to us; but if we take a more enlarged view of the globe, and reflect that nearly the whole South American continent is starting upon a new career of improvement, under the powerful stimulus of free institutions, that the extensive regions of New South Wales, the island of Madagascar, and all those with which the Southern Ocean is studded, are following the progress of knowledge and civilization, we may be well assured that the Holy Alliance, though they may have darkened their own domains, have not prevented the sun from shining upon others; and when we feel any desponding apprehensions for the cause of human nature, on account of certain benighted portions of Europe, we may pleasantly dispel them by looking out beyond our own immediate horizon, and console ourselves for the fate of the Old World by appealing to the New.
THE CIVIC SQUIRE.
" And you, ye poor, who still lament your fate,
Fear waits on guilt, and danger shakes the brave."--CRABBE. When I retired from the turmoil and anxiety of business and Bishopsgate-street, to an estate which I purchased in Bedfordshire, 1 looked forward with not less pleasure than confidence to the enjoyment of rural tranquillity. An extensive manor and well-stocked preserves unfortunately formed a portion of my property, which speedily undeceived me as to the serenity I had anticipated. Although I was no sportsman myself, nor ever meant to be, I became presently embroiled in that civil war which is perpetually carrying on between the Squirearchy and the poachers, and was tormented by the bitterness, wrangling, litigation, trespassing, scuffling, maiming, and murdering, eternally bubbling up from that rural Pandora's box, at the bottom of which the bloody volume of the Game Laws supplies the place of Hope. It was
expected that I should distress my feelings by prosecuting every offence against enactments which I felt to be as sanguinary as they were ineffcacious. It was thought that I should be inhuman enough to set guns and engines for the chance trapping of my own legs, or the certain destruction of my fellow-creatures ; but as I was simple enough to think the lives of intelligent beings more valuable than those of partridges and pheasants, I resolved to free myself from the terror and misery of game, by extirpating it from my manor as rapidly as I could. I found that proprietors of preserves might as well be living in a bornet's nest or a hyæna's den, a sort of lodging for which I felt no penchant, even could I sit in it and be shooting partridges all day long. My remedial measures were prompt and vigorous. Wherever my predecessor had struck up a notice of spring guns and steel traps, l substituted the following uncustomary announcement—" Any body may shoot over this manor. I gave public notice that I should use no precautions against poachers, nor prosecute them if they were apprehended by others upon my grounds ; I converted my game-keepers into game destroyers and sent all my other servants into the preserves with orders to kill what they liked, and permission to give away or sell what they killed. As much of the game as was not destroyed by this hostile coalition, was scared away to the neighbouring estates; in a few weeks I was enabled to thank heaven that there was not a hare or a pheasant upon my grounds; I repaired the fences broken down by the poachers and others, who quickly abandoned the territory where there was nothing further to be got; and at length sate down in peace without having before my eyes the fear of midnight gunpowder, morning prosecution, and perpetual hostility.
All this, however, was deemed flagrant and outrageous, high treason against the royalty of the ramrod, by the neighbouring tyrants of the trigger, who after many loud and indignant confabulations among themselves, and one or two individual remonstrances with the offender, appointed a deputation to wait upon me, and expose to me all the horrors which, like a second Catiline, I was about to bring down upon my unhappy country. Taking therefore an affectionate leave of their pointers, whose cause they felt themselves about to advocate as well as their own, some four or five sure shots presented themselves to me one morning, and very pathetically set forth the necessity of encouraging country gentlemen to reside upon their estates, the dangers of innovation in these radical times, and the enormity of departing from the wise practices of our venerable ancestors, &c. &c. &c., according to the established formula in all such cases made and provided.
“I am a very poor speechifier, gentleman," said I, “but I have been looking a little into this matter lately, and I'll tell you in as few words as possible what I think about it. It appears to me that by the law of nature all men are equally entitled to pursue and seize such wild animals of the earth, or birds of the air, as cannot be proved to be particular property, with no other restriction than that of not trespassing on private grounds without the owner's leave. And so it was once held; but when the Normans came in, they discovered, by a monstrous fiction, that the right and property in all game vested exclusively in the king, who might, however, authorise others by licence to pursue and destroy it; and this is the precious origin of our present most sapient.