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188

POMARE'S CHARACTER.

and he was more zealous in serving his gods than any other person in Tahiti. He had planted many trees, and built many houses and canoes, and had thus been very useful to his countrymen. He had been so much afraid of his gods, that he had not only built maraes, but had shed torrents of human blood to gain their favour. By these cruel deeds he had provoked his people: therefore he was neither beloved in life, nor lamented in death. Above all, he had lived and died an enemy to the true God. He had been delighted by the arrival of the missionaries, on account of the things they possessed, and the things they could do; but he had appeared to like them less, since they had been able to explain to him more fully, the message they brought ; and though he had always continued to behave in a friendly manner in their presence, behind their backs he had ridiculed them. As he had received so much kindness from them, this conduct was very ungrateful, as well as deceitful. It grieved the missionaries to think, that the things that belonged to his peace, were now for ever hid from his eyes.

Otu had now more power than during his father's lifetime. The missionaries were afraid lest the people should rise up against him, for he was more oppressive, and was more hated, than his father had been. However, through

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the mercy of God, the people made no resistance to Otu.

From this time, Otu took the name of his father, and styled himself his Majesty Pomare. The meaning of the word Pomare, is nightcough. The name was chosen by Pomare in a curious manner.

Once when making a journey, he slept on a bleak part of the mountains, and caught cold. His attendants, observing his cough next day, called that night the Pomare. The chief liked the sound of the word so much, that he chose it for his name.

Henceforth we shall speak of Otu by the name of Pomare.

CHAPTER XXII.

1803, 1804, 1805, 1806.

THE FIRST TAHITIAN WHO LEARNED TO WRITE,

Though Pomare II. was much less pleasing than his father, yet he was not so much set against the message the missionaries brought. For some time past, he had been a great deal with the brethren, and had occasionally listened to their sermons. One Sunday he sent to desire Idia to attend the preaching out of

190

KING'S DEPARTURE TO EIMEO.

doors; but when she came, she stood far enough off not to hear, for she was a great enemy to the gospel. Although Pomare spent the greater part of his time in eating, drinking, and romping with his attendants, yet, ever since the war, he had taken pains to learn to read and write. When absent from the missionaries, he had carried writing copies about with him, and practised by himself, and now he was able to write notes tolerably well. He remained, indeed, as wicked as before, but he grew more and more anxious to conceal his wickedness from the brethren.

The year after his father's death, Pomare left the brethren, and went to the island of Eimeo, taking with him his god Oro. The Atehurans were much grieved to lose the idol from their country, but they did not show their sorrow openly. The fame of Oro had become greater than ever, since the late Pomare's death, for it was declared that Oro had killed the chief by his power, to punish him for having once placed a sacred cloth of Oro

upon

his son Otu. The present King Pomare's power was also considered exceedingly great. It was said, that he could kill men by his prayers, and the following story was related as a proof of it.

Once while he was worshipping, a disturbed him by beating a drum. He sent to desire him to leave off, but the man continued

man

SEIZURE OF MUSKETS.

191

to annoy him. Pomare then said, “Let him alone,” and that same night the man expired.

But the king knew, that though the people feared him, there were many who hated him; and he was afraid of another war breaking out.

He wished to show the people in Tahiti, that he desired peace.

For this purpose, while he was at Eimeo, he sacrificed a man, and sent various bits of his body to different places in Tahiti. The top of a finger was sent to Matarai, and pieces of the hair, and of the feet and hands, to other places.

Still, he knew it was probable, that war would soon be declared, and therefore he tried to prepare himself for it, by collecting all the muskets he could find. He induced some of the people in Eimeo to exchange their muskets for gifts, but he forced away those of others. The people of Tahiti heard that he meant, when he returned, to take their muskets also, and they resolved to die sooner than to part from them. Thus the king's violent behaviour fanned the spark of anger in his subjects' breasts, and made it more probable that they would soon rebel.

When the missionaries heard of these disputes, they saw that it was too likely they might one day behold another war, which the thing they most dreaded, especially on account of the women and children in the family.

We will now give you a short account of the

was

192

THE MISSIONARIES' CHILDREN.

missionary family. There were six children that belonged to it. Mrs. Shelley had a baby named Charles : and Mrs. Henry had, in addition to Sarah and Samuel, a baby named Eleanor. Besides these four children of the missionaries, there were two they had adopted. Mrs. Henry still kept Nancy Connor, and Mrs. Eyre undertook the charge of little Joseph Hagerstein, the son of Peter the Swede. Peter was afflicted with the dropsy, and now lived at the other end of Tahiti.

His wife was a native, and would have brought up the child like a heathen, had he remained with her.

Mrs. Henry, although she had children of her own, was anxious to bring up Connor's youngest child, of three years old, whose mother

The child was given to her by Connor ; but one of the natives stole and hid it. When Mrs. Henry complained to the king, he pretended that he would command the man to restore it, while he really encouraged him to keep it. Thus the poor child lost the christian home prepared for it. The missionaries perceived with deep sorrow that the king continued as artful as ever, notwithstanding the continual instruction he received.

In September 12805, the brethren suffered a very severe loss. They had enclosed a piece of ground about a mile from their dwellings, and

was dead.

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