Page images
[blocks in formation]

would be expected, or seen, in America or England, and such as to make a deep impression on my own mind. Many took notes in pencil of the sermon delivered.

After worship we perceived a large portion of the men to remain in the chapel, while an equal proportion of the females repaired to the school-house. On inquiring the object of this, we learned that it was customary for the members of the church, and persons seriously disposed, to spend a half hour, or more, after service, in conversation on the subject of the discourse of the missionary, and in prayer for a blessing upon its truths to themselves and to all who heard it. The whole external observance of the day by the natives, in a suspension of all ordinary occupations, and amusements, was such as to be worthy, the imitation of older, and more enlightened christian nations.

Testimony of Captain Sandiland, of his Majesty's

sloop Comet, in a letter from him to the missionaries, in April 1831, after having succeeded, by his exertions united to theirs, in preventing war in Tahiti.

you are

It is a circumstance affording me the highest satisfaction, to observe the

great estimation all held in by the queen and her chiefs, which could not have been obtained but by a faithful discharge of your duties, as ministers of Christ, and teachers of our holy

[blocks in formation]

religion; and it will be peculiarly gratifying to me, to make these circumstances most fully known to those authorities, whom it is my duty to inform of this transaction. Gentlemen, I am joined by my officers, and Captain Walpole of H. M. 39th regiment, in offering to you every expression of our respect and esteem.


Testimony of Captain Fitzroy, of his Majesty's ship

Beagle, in a letter to Sir John Herschell.

The Beagle passed a part of last November (1835) at Tahiti. A more orderly, quiet, inoffensive community, I have not seen in any other part of the world. Every one of the Tahitians appeared anxious to oblige, and naturally good-tempered and cheerful. They showed great respect for, and thorough goodwill towards the missionaries; and most deserving of such a feeling did those persons appear to be, with whom I had the sincere pleasure of making acquaintance.

Mr. Wilson was at the landing-place, and welcomed us to his house. The free, cheerful manner of the natives, who gathered about the door, and unceremoniously took possession of vacant seats, either on the chairs, or on the floor, showed that they

[blocks in formation]

were at home with their instructor, and that churlish seclusion, or affected distance, formed no part of his system.

Extract from Captain Fitzroy's Journal. December 19th. At daylight, after their morning prayer, my companions prepared an excellent breakfast of bananas, and fish. Neither of them would taste food without saying a short grace. Those travellers, who hint that a Tahitian prays, only when the eyes of the missionary are fixed on him, might have profited by similar evidence,

At Mr. Pritchard's church in Papeete, we found an orderly, attentive, and decently dressed congregation, The church was quite full, and many were sitting outside.

It was evident that the children had not been treated with harshness, for they clustered about their minister so closely, that he could not move without pushing them aside.


No. II.



Referred to at



Two years after the London Missionary Society first sent out a company of missionaries with Captain Wilson in the Duff to the South Seas, they sent out another company to join their brethren. It consisted of thirty persons, ten of whom were married, and one of whom had two children.

They embarked in the Duff under the command of Captain Robson, and left the shores of England on December 20th, 1798.

As England was at this time at war with France and Spain, there was much danger of meeting with the ships of enemies in crossing the ocean.

Whenever a strange sail was seen, the missionaries felt alarmed, and had recourse to prayer; especially on one occasion when they thought a ship was pursuing them. Their prayers were always turned into praises by the deliverances that God afforded them.

It might have been supposed that a company of Christians, shut out from the world, would have found much happiness and improvement from the

[blocks in formation]

society of each other. This, however, was not the case with the brethren on board the Duff. Their various sins and infirmities disturbed their peace of mind, and made them feel that they were not yet fit for the heavenly inheritance.

God in his mercy brought those afflictions upon them which were necessary for their profit, and which were the means of preparing some of them for his service in heathen lands.

They had arrived near the coast of South America, and were eagerly hoping to touch at a Portuguese town, called Rio Janeiro, on the next day, when they beheld a small sail at a great distance. No one on board was alarmed at the sight, because the vessel appeared no more than a fishing-smack, and even seemed to be at anchor. The day was passed chiefly in catching dolphins, and in preparing for landing soon at the desired port : some washed their clothes, others wrote letters to their friends, and all indulged in the most pleasing hopes. No danger was feared, and no prayers for preservation were offered. At four o'clock that afternoon a fresh breeze sprang up, and the Duff spread its sails, and proceeded swiftly towards the port. The missionaries observed the distant vessel also sailing quickly in the same direction, but still no one imagined that it was chasing the Duff.

At ten o'clock some of the missionaries had retired to rest, and others were lingering upon deck, when the strange vessel, which had now almost overtaken the Duff, fired a shot. This was a signal to the Duff to heave to. A second shot was soon fired, and a man on board the strange vessel hallooed out in English,

« PreviousContinue »