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ATTEMPT TO PREVENT INFANT MURDER.
In January six missionaries went to a feast, where the king and chiefs were expected to attend, hoping to read the speech to them; they waited all day in a great empty house in Pare, called the Nanu; but could find no opportunity of speaking in quiet, on account of the absurd antics and the barbarous shouts of the people, and especially of the dancers, who frequently passed round the house.
On the first day of February a more favourable opportunity for delivering the address occurred.
A great assembly was held at a place very near the missionaries' dwelling. Some of the brethren went to invite the chiefs to come to their house that afternoon, and obtained their consent. Pomare, Otu, Temari, and Manemane, with many chiefs, arrived at five o'clock at the place agreed upon. They stood outside the house, while Peter the Swede delivered the address that had been prepared. The chiefs listened attentively, and, at the conclusion of the speech, promised that no more infants should be destroyed. But they spoke deceitfully, for they did not abandon their cruel practices.
The missionaries continued very anxious to learn the language of the country, for of course
of so important a nature would be sincerely made from such a consideration ?
they found it very unpleasant to employ Peter as their interpreter. They found that nothing improved them so much as conversing with the natives. On this account Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Cock expressed a desire to go and live with a chief who had invited them. The other missionaries did not like to spare them, because they were afraid of being attacked some day by the natives. There was another great objection to the plan.
There was danger, lest living constantly with wicked people, should be a temptation to those missionaries who should leave their brethren.
However, Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Cock determined to go, though against the wishes of the greater part of the brethren. The boat in which they went was upset by the way, and their books and papers much hurt. This accident appeared, as if intended by God, to reprove them for their conduct.
At the end of a few months Mr. Cock began to think of marrying a heathen woman. When he consulted the brethren, they told him that it would be a sinful act, and invited him to come back to their house. Mr. Cock wisely consented to return, and Mr. Jefferson remained alone among the heathens.
The missionaries had been engaged in many useful labours with their hands for some time past. As their house could not comfortably
BUILDING A NEW HOUSE.
accommodate all, Mr. Main had built himself a little house near it. The missionaries had also begun to build a large and convenient house for their whole number on the other side of the river. It was not to consist only of one floor like their present habitation, but to have an upper story. In the middle there was to be a large dining-room, and over it a chapel, and at each end there were to be bed-rooms for the brethren- both up stairs and down stairs-and a balcony was to be placed along the upper story. The brethren engaged to work at this building from six till half-past ten every morning, and from three till sunset, leaving the heat of the day for in-door employments.
The king and chiefs assisted them with presents of wood, as they were anxious the house should be finished. Their reason for this desire was, that the missionaries had promised to build them a ship when the house was completed.
Before this house was finished, a very important event occurred of an unexpected nature; at the beginning joyful, in the end trying and distressing.
A VERY GREAT AND UNEXPECTED CHANGE.
Exactly one year had passed away since the day that the ship Duff had brought the missionaries to Tahiti, when another ship appeared in sight.
It was eight in the morning of March 6th, when some of the brethren first beheld the ship. Three of them were appointed by the rest to go on board. They found that the ship was called the Nautilus; that it belonged to some Englishmen who lived in China, and that it traded in furs and skins. It had been so long detained at sea by storms that it needed repairs, and was much distressed for provisions.
When the brethren returned to the shore, they consulted with the rest on the subject of supplying the ship with food.
They said to each other, “ What a dreadful thing it would be, if the king and chiefs should exchange food for guns and powder ! and yet these are all that the captain can give in ex
change—for he has very little besides. Then the natives would go to war with each other, and perhaps murder us."
They determined, therefore, to buy food themselves of the natives for the crew, and to engage the captain not to let the Tahitians obtain any guns or ammunition in exchange for food. The same evening some of the brethren went to make this agreement with the captain, who readily consented to it.
But the consequences of this plan were such as might have been foreseen. The natives visited the ship, and soon observed with contempt and pleasure its empty condition, counting upon obtaining abundance of fire-arms in exchange for provisions. It might have been expected that their anger would be great, when they found that the missionaries had contrived to disappoint their hopes. None were so angry as Otu, who was at this time anxious to obtain guns, for the wicked purpose of fighting against his own father and his younger brother, who had more power than he liked. Otu did not, however, show his anger for some time afterwards.
There were in the ship five savages, natives of some very distant islands, called the Sandwich Islands. These men escaped from the ship. The captain was very anxious to find them again, because he wanted their help