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BURNING OF THE PLANTATION.
planted in it six hundred cocoa-nut trees, orange trees, and lemon trees.
They had watched over these trees for two years, when in one night, the precious plantation was almost all burnt. They suspected that some envious persons had set fire to the long grass that grew on the outside of the fence.
None of the natives took any pains to discover how the trees had been destroyed, or appeared to feel sorrow for the loss. The brethren met together to consider whether they should inform the king of the affair, but they agreed not to complain, for fear blood might be shed on their account.
The brethren would have found it hard indeed to continue to labour for the souls of these ungrateful people, had they not remembered Him, who, when we were enemies, delivered up his Son for our sins. This thought enabled them to bear their injuries meekly, and to continue unwearied in their work of love.
The king remained in Eimeo one year and a half. In January 1806 he returned to Tahiti.
The brethren went to Pare (where the king landed) to meet him. The queen, who was with him, appeared to be extremely ill. The king seemed pleased to see the brethren, and told them that he should come in a few days to Matavai, and should wish them to build a small plastered house for him, close to their own
THE KING'S VISIT UP STAIRS.
in which he might write without being disturbed. He also expressed a wish that some presents might be made him.
A week afterwards, he arrived at Matavai, accompanied by the queen and Idia, bringing with him in his canoes, the god Oro and three human sacrifices. The idol was placed in the marae for one night, and the putrid bodies were hung on the surrounding trees.
The next day the idol was again placed in the ark in his sacred canoe, and four other gods were placed in four other canoes, ready to sail to Taiarabu, where more human sacrifices were to be slain in honour of the king's arrival in Tahiti.
Although the king continued obstinate in wickedness, he appeared anxious to be more than ever with the brethren. One day he requested them to ask his mother whether he might enter the new missionary house, as he
desirous to go into the upper rooms, never having seen any rooms raised above the ground floor.
It appears that Idia had power to set aside the Tahitian law, which made all houses that kings entered, belong to them. Idia gave the desired permission, and the king gratified his curiosity by walking through the upper rooms, but he did not go into the lower rooms, or into the other houses of the missionaries.
THE KING'S REQUEST.
In March, 1806, the brethren endured a loss, not of property, but of one of their own selves. Mr. Shelley set sail with his wife and child in a ship that touched at the island.
I cannot tell you for what reason he forsook his brethren and the work of the Lord in these islands. Henceforth he traded in the seas, by carrying goods in ships from one land to another.
Mr. Shelley's room, which was up stairs, was given to Mr. Tessier. The missionaries were soon afterwards surprised at receiving the following note from the king. It was, of course, written in the Tahitian language. This is the translation of it.
“ FRIENDS, “ Give me the room above, the room that belonged to Mr. Shelley-give to me for a writing-place. Let the room below be for Tessier, and that above for me.
If all agreed to by you, make up this my speech; if agreed by you, write that I may know your speech.
The missionaries consulted together about what answer, they should send to this note. They did not like to let Pomare have the room, for several reasons. One was, that Mr. Tessier wanted it, and had come into it the day before.
Another was, that if the king lived there, the brethren would be much disturbed: people would often be coming to speak to the king upon business, would eat messes of food in the house and around it, and would make the place very unneat; would trample the garden under foot, and beg for the fruit growing upon the trees, or even take it without leave. The brethren, therefore, determined to propose helping to build the king a small house near them, as the king had once expressed a wish for such a house. Still they were afraid that the king had set his heart upon living with them in their large house. They sent him a kind note to tell him,—that they would have allowed him to have
had it not been for the noise and litter that his people would make.
In a few days they were pleased at receiving the following answer from the king.
“ FRIENDS, “Thus my speech continueth, and this is my desire. Do you stand to my wish, and turn not away your hearing, but hear you my speech. Give you Mr. Nott and Mr. Bicknell for workmen to do my room towards the sea, in the new house; for there it will be made, if agreed well by you. Friends, give also a saw, a plane, chisels, and other small things for the work. Agree you well to it? Is it agreed?
THE KING'S STUDY.
Perhaps not. Write you your speech, that I may know. This is all. The speech is ended. May it be well with you, friends.
“ POMARE, KING.”
The brethren readily agreed to help the king, to build this little room, and sent the following
“ May you live, O king! “The speech you have written we agree to. We will give the saw, augers, gimlets, and nails to work your work.
The room was soon finished. The king spent many hours in it writing. He never sat down to write, but used to lie upon the floor, leaning on his chest. He also learned to read English a little. But still he continued to work iniquity.
This spring his queen Tetua had an infant. Pomare told the missionaries that it had died, and pretended to be sorry for its death, though he himself had allowed it to be killed. The queen,
who had been ill for some time, now grew much worse. The king sent for a man to cure her, who, it was said, had the spirit of Mane-mane, dwelling in him. You remember that that old priest was considered very powerful. However, the queen was not cured.