Voyage to Borabora—Appearance of the settlement—Description of the island—Geology—Opening of the new place of worship—Visit of the Dauntless—Arrival of the Mermaid—Designation of native Missionaries—Voyage to the Sandwich Islands—Interview between the prince of Tahaa and the princess of Tahiti—Marriage of Pomare and Aimata—Dress of the parties and appearance of the attendants—Christian marriage—Advantageous results—Female occupations—Embarkation for England—Visit to Fare—Improvement of the settlement—Visit to Rurutu and Raivavai—Final departure from the South Sea Islands.
Mr. Orsmond, who removed to Raiatea in the close of the year 1818, was accompanied by Mrs. Orsmond, who, in the communication of useful instruction to her own sex, and in every other department of female Missionary labour, was indefatigable, until her decease, which took place very soon after her removal from Huahine.
In November 1820, nearly two years after this, Mr. Orsmond, in compliance with the urgent request of the chiefs and people, removed to the island of Borabora, where he established a mission, and continued his valuable labours till required, by the united voice of the Missionaries, in the Windward and Leeward Islands to take charge of the Academy found at Eimeo in 1824 page 277 During the year 1821, the inhabitants of Borabora erected a substantial place of worship; and in the beginning of 1822, according to a previous engagement with Mr. Orsmond, I visited the island, for the purpose of preaching at the opening of the new Chapel. Indisposition detained Mr. Bennet at Huahine, but the late Rev. D. Tyerman, his colleague, kindly accompanied me.
On the 24th of January we repaired to the beach soon after ten, but heavy rains detained us until nearly two, when we embarked for Raiatea. The afternoon was calm, but about sun-set a light breeze came from the south-west. It soon however died away, while a heavy swell running in a north-easterly direction, continuing, not only rendered rowing more laborious, but materially impeded our progress. Soon after ten at night we entered within the reefs at Tipaemau, having rowed nearly thirty miles. Landing at Avera, the shore opposite the opening, our people climbed some cocoa-nut trees, and, having taken refreshment, we held on our way within the reefs. The land-breeze gently filling our sails, Mr. Tyerman and myself fell asleep in the boat: and I suppose several of the people did the same, for soon after midnight we were awoke by the boat's being aground near the Avapiti. It was soon pushed into deeper water; and as the wind was light, the oars were manned, and, about an hour before daybreak, we landed at the settlement, and entered Mr. Threlkeld's house, the doors of which were unfastened. We were shortly afterwards welcomed by our friends, who prepared us an early breakfast, by no means unacceptable, as we had taken no refreshment since leaving Huahine on the preceding day. Here we spent the Sabbath, page 278 pleased with the numbers and attention of the assemblies for worship. At the close of the native services, Mr. Tyerman preached in English, after which we spent a pleasant evening with the Missionaries and people.
On the following day we sailed for Borabora, accompanied by Tamatoa, the king of Raiatea, and Faariri, one of the principal chiefs. Two ships were sailing in the straits between Tahaa and Raiatea, and appeared bound to the former. At five in the afternoon we saw the settlement at Borabora; but the entrance to the harbour is so circuitous, that it was sunset before we reached the shore. At the extremity of a pier built in the sea, to the edge of the deep water, we were met by Mr. Orsmond, who cordially welcoming our arrival, led the way to his own dwelling. The sides of the road along which we passed, was thronged with healthy-looking children, whom curiosity had brought to gaze at the strangers.
On the following day we viewed the settlement, to which the people had given the appellation of Beulah, gratified no less with the reception we experienced, than with the evident improvement among the inhabitants. The school was regularly attended, and many were well informed in the great truths of revelation; the observance of the Sabbath, we learned, was strictly regarded. There was a road about eight feet wide, extending nearly a mile and a half; four or five neat plastered houses were finished, others were in progress. Three causeways, upwards of six feet wide, and elevated two or three feet above the water, extended about three hundred and sixty feet into the sea, and united at the extremity. The chapel, which was one of the best that had been erected in page 279 the islands, was part of a large building one hundred and sixty feet by forty-eight, comprising a place of worship, school, and court-house.
On the 1st of February, the chapel, which is capable of holding 1,100 persons, was opened for public worship. The floor was elevated at the extremities of the building. The pulpit was supported by a single pillar, and approached by a winding staircase of neat workmanship. About ten in the forenoon we repaired to the chapel, which we were pleased to see nearly filled with a decently clothed native congregation. After I had finished the sermon, Mr. Tyerman addressed the people, Mr. Orsmond interpreted his address, and concluded the services with prayer. In the afternoon a discourse on the advantages of affection and harmony was preached by Mr. Orsmond; and a sermon in English by Mr. Tyerman, in the evening, terminated the interesting engagements of the day. On the 3d, which was the Sabbath, I preached in the new chapel at sunrise. In the forenoon Mr. Orsmond preached to a numerous audience. Mr. Tyerman and myself afterwards united with the little church, consisting of fifteen members, in partaking of the sacrament commemorative of the Saviour's death.
Violent and contrary winds detained us some time in the pleasant settlement at the head of Vaitape bay, on the west side of the island, which is situated in 16° 32' S. Lat. and nearly 152° W. Long. Borabora, as well as the other islands of the group, is surrounded by a reef rising to the water's edge, at unequal distances from the shore. On this reef there are three low coral islands covered with trees and verdure, equal to that which adorns those around Raiatea and Tahaa. There are also four page 280 other islands separated from the main land, which is about sixteen miles in circumference. These islands, like Papeorea in Huahine, are not of coral formation, but resemble in structure the promontories on the adjacent shore. Tobua, the principal, forming the south or west side of Vaitape bay, is not less than three or four hundred feet above the sea.
In the geology of Borabora, the only peculiarity is the existence of a species of feldspar and quartz, but the appearance and shape of the island is singular and imposing. The high land in the interior is not broken into a number of small mountain ridges, but, uniting in one stupendous mass, rears its magnificent form, which resembles a double-peaked mountain, to an elevation perhaps little below 3000 feet above the water. The lower hills and small islands are not seen at a distance, so that when viewed from the sea or the other islands, especially Huahine, (from the north and western parts of which it is generally visible,) it appears like a solitary gigantic obelisk or pyramid rising from the ocean and reaching to the clouds.
The settlement at the head of Vaitape bay commands a view of every diversity in scenery. The lofty interior mountain clothed with verdure, and the deep glens that indent its sides, stand in pleasing contrast with the hilly or coralline islands that appear in the west, while the uniformity and nakedness of the distant horizon is broken by the appearance of the conical or circular summits of the mountains of Maupiti or Maurua, upwards of thirty miles distant. This island was frequently visible from Borabora, during our visit at this time.
Maupiti is but circumscribed in extent, and its mountains are less broken and romantic than those page 281 of others in the group; it has, however, some peculiarities. It is the only place in the Georgian or Society Islands, in which rocks of apparently primitive formation are found.
After remaining some time at Borabaro, we took leave of our friends, and sailed for Huahine.
On our way we touched at Raiatea, and were gratified with the prosperous appearance of the station. It was then at Vaóaara, but since that period Mr. Williams, the only remaining Missionary, has removed to Utumaoro, a fine extensive district near the northern extremity of the island, and adjacent to the opening in the reef called the Avapiti, or double entrance. This station was commenced in 1823; and, in consequence of the extent of land by which it is surrounded, and the proximity of the harbour, has been found much more convenient than that formerly occupied. The only incovenience is that which arises from the lowness, and consequent moisture, of the soil. The improvement has been rapid, and the transformation so astonishing, that in a short period, three hundred enclosures for the culture of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, with other kinds of produce, were completed; a substantial place of worship, schools, and a house for the Missionaries, had been finished, and the neat plastered dwellings of the natives extended for two miles along the beach. The scenery of this district of the island is much less picturesque than in many other parts; yet it is impossible to behold the neat and extensive settlement, with its gardens, quays, schools, capacious chapel, and cottages, stretching along the shore, which but a few years before was covered with brushwood and trees, without astonishment and delight.page 282
On the twentieth of January, shortly after our return from Borabora, his Majesty's ship Dauntless, commanded by Captain G. C. Gambier, touched at Huahine. We were happy to introduce the commander of the Dauntless, Capt. R. Elliot, and the officers of the vessel, to the governor and chiefs of the island, and to welcome them to our humble dwellings, as well as to experience their hospitality on board. The recollection of the polite and kind attentions of Captain Gambier, Captain Elliot, and other gentlemen of the ship, is still grateful to the Missionaries and the inhabitants of Huahine.
In a week or two after the departure of the Dauntless, the colonial government-cutter Mermaid arrived in Fare harbour, on her way to the Sandwich Islands, with a small schooner, the Prince Regent, as a present from the British government to the king of those islands. The captain intimated his intention of touching at the Marquesas on his return from Hawaii, and politely offered a passage to any of us who might be desirous of visiting these islands. We had long been anxious to attempt the establishment of Christianity among the inhabitants of the former, and as the present appeared a favourable opportunity, we communicated the same to the deputation, and it appeared to them desirable to visit these places.
It was on the 18th of February, that the deputation informed the captain of their acceptance of his offer, and also requested Mr. Barff and myself to arrange as to which of us would accompany the teachers, whom it was proposed to send. This having been fixed, we sent a letter to one of the deacons, requesting him to invite page 283 the members of the church, and those who were baptized, to assemble in the place of worship in the evening. When they were convened, we met them, and after singing, and imploring in prayer the Divine guidance, I acquainted them with the object of our meeting—the opportunity afforded for sending two of our number to the Marquesas, on board the ship in harbour,—and interrogated them as to whether we should do so or not. Hautia the governor, Auna, Taua, Pato, and Utu, all persons of influence among those assembled, expressed their joy at the proposal, and the whole lifted up their hands to signify their assent. I then said, “Whom shall we send?” and mentioned the name of Matatore, one of the deacons of the church, a man in the prime of life, and one of the most sensible and useful men in the station, asking the members of the church if they thought he and his wife suitable persons. An answer was returned in the affirmative, and the hands of the assembly were lifted up. They were both present, and I asked them if it was agreeable to them to go. They both answered before the whole congregation, “Yes, it is agreeable.” Mr. Barff then addressed them, and mentioned Tiori, a valuable teacher in one of our schools; but some of the members objected, because he was an unmarried man. Mr. Barff next proposed Puna, but the same objection was urged. He then named Auna. The church immediately replied, “It is agreed.” Auna was then asked if it was agreed to by himself; he immediately replied. “It has been agreed to long ago.” We had often talked on the subject: two years before this, in an interesting conversation, which I held with Auna, page 284 he said he was exceedingly desirous to go as a Missionary to some of the islands around; stating, that their inhabitants frequently appeared to his mind like persons standing on the verge of a precipice over a chasm, falling backwards into it, but stretching out their hands as they fell, and calling for assistance.
After the assembly had testified its approbation of the two men and their wives, who had been proposed, and had expressed their readiness to go, Mr. Tyerman addressed the persons present, expressing the pleasure he experienced at their decision, and offering them suitable encouragement. Mr. Barff interpreted his speech, Mr. Bennet also tendered them his congratulations, and exhorted them to vigilance. When I had interpreted his address, the meeting was closed with prayer.
On the evening of the 21st, we again assembled in the chapel. Mr. Bourne, who had arrived on the preceding day, commenced the services by prayer, and addressed the people on the duty and advantages of sending out teachers of Christianity. I then inquired, of those who had been selected, the grounds of their readiness to engage in the enterprise, and the manner in which they desired and designed to prosecute their work. Auna replied, “From a sense of the love of God, and his goodness, and a regard to the direction, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’” His companion said, “Our desire is to engage in this work with humbleness of mind, with prayer, with gentleness and dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ.” Mr. Barff then offered up a prayer at their designation, and afterwards exhibited the nature and duties of their office, in an address from, “Behold, I send you forth as lambs in the page 285 midst of wolves,”∗ and concluded the service in the usual manner.
∗Matt. x. 16.
The arrangements for the voyage being completed, we assembled at the chapel about ten o'clock on the forenoon of the 25th of February: the native Christians were animated by kind and appropriate addresses from the church, and were affectionately encouraged by Mr. Barff and Mr. Orsmond, the latter being on a visit with us. The native Missionaries then took leave of their fellow-Christians in a most solemn and impressive manner; and, as it had been arranged by Mr. Barff and myself that I should accompany them, to aid in the commencement of their labours, I addressed the people, and, recommending Mrs. Ellis and our dear children to their kind attentions under God, I also bade them farewell. The meeting was peculiarly impressive and affecting; and, after mutually committing each other, under deep intensity of feeling, to the guidance and the keeping of the God of all our mercies, the whole congregation walked from the chapel to the sea-shore, where we exchanged our last salutations. The deputation, the two native Missionaries and their wives, five other natives and myself, now embarked, and the Mermaid stood out to sea.
The weather was on the whole pleasant, and we reached the Sandwich Islands in about a month after our departure from Huahine.
While supping at our table, on the night previous to our embarkation, the captain had, in answer to Mrs. Ellis's inquiries, assured her that he expected to return in three months; but seven months passed without any appearance of our vessel. In the mean time, a piratical ship touched page 286 at Huahine; some of the pirates absconded, and remained on shore. It was found that they knew something of our vessels; but as they refused to say what they knew, surmises arose, and reports were spread that they had met us at sea, and either sunk our vessel or murdered the passengers. Such was the influence of this report when first circulated, that it was necessary to protect the deserters from the indignation of the populace. The whole of their statement was invested with a degree of mystery, which, together with the very protracted period of our absence, augmented the distress of Mrs. Ellis and our friends in Huahine. From this painful state of anxious uncertainty, they were however relieved by the appearance of the Mermaid off Fare harbour early in the month of October, and by our landing in health and safety in the evening of the same day. The pirates had fallen in with the schooner, which had been separated from us during the early part of the voyage; they by this means heard of our destination, &c. and this partial information accounted for the vagueness of their reports. In the close of the same month, the invitation I had received from the chiefs in the Sandwich Islands, and the American Missionaries, to remove thither, was submitted to the consideration of the Missionaries in the Leeward Islands, and they, with the deputation, were unanimous in opinion, that we ought to proceed to that important station by the earliest opportunity. The details of the first voyage to Hawaii, and some account of our proceedings there, will be given in the succeeding volume.
The Active, a small schooner, commanded by Captain Charlton, arriving at Huahine soon after, page 287 was engaged to convey us to the Sandwich Islands While we were preparing for our departure, viz. in the month of December, 1822, a marriage took place between Pomare, the young chief of Tahaa, and Aimata, the only daughter of the late king of Tahiti. The parties met at Huahine, which was midway between the residence of the families to which they respectively belonged. Young Pomare had received his name, as a mark of special favour, from the king of Tahiti.
More than a week before his intended bride arrived from Tahiti, Pomare sailed from Tahaa, and landed at Fare, where he was entertained with the attention and respect suited to his rank and prospects, by the chiefs of Huahine. It was not, however, at that time supposed that his consort would become the queen of Tahiti, as her brother, with whom her father had left the government, was then living.
In the month of December, Aimata, accompanied by her mother and aunt, arrived at Huahine, on board the Queen Charlotte, a brig belonging to the king. The afternoon of the day on which the vessel anchored was fixed on for her landing, and introduction to her future husband. We walked down to the settlement, to witness the meeting of the youthful pair. A small open house, belonging to the governor, was the place appointed for their first interview. When we reached the spot, we beheld the young chieftain, who, for his age, was remarkably stout, dressed in full native costume, with a large purau, and a flowing tiputa; he wore, also, an English beaver hat. He was seated at one end of the building on an iri, or native seat, waiting with gravity of appearance the arrival of Aimata.page 288
About a quarter of an hour after we had reached the place, two or three boats from the vessel rowed towards the shore. Several of the attendants of the young princess arrived in the first; and the queen and her sister, with the youthful Aimata, landed from the second. The visitors were met on the beach by the governor of the island, and a number of chief women, who conducted Aimata to the house where Pomare and his friends were waiting. They entered, and, after greeting the friends present, took their seats near where the young chief was sitting.
Pomare continued motionless, neither rising to welcome his guests, nor uncovering his head. Aimata sat close by her mother's side, occasionally glancing at the individual who was to be her husband, and who sat like a statue before her.
This was the first time either Pomare or Aimata had seen each other, and the interview was certainly a singular one; for, after sitting together for about twenty minutes, the queen and her companions rose, and repaired to the house provided for their accommodation, and Pomare and his friends returned to their encampment. During the whole of the time they had been in each other's company, they had not exchanged a single word.
Shortly after this meeting, they were publicly married, and afterwards removed to the island of Tahiti, which has ever since been their principal residence. Pomare was about sixteen years of age, and his consort but little, if any, younger. Since the death of her brother, which took place in 1827, she has been considered queen of Tahiti, Eimeo, &c., though the regency, appointed to govern the islands during the minority of the late king, still manages the political affairs, acting, page 289 however, in the name of Aimata, instead of that of her brother.
Pomare was very young when the inhabitants of his native island embraced Christianity; the first time we saw him was in 1819, when he appeared nine or ten years of age. His establishment, however, was at that time nearly as large as it has been since. He possessed a number of houses in different parts of Raiatea and Tahaa, and was surrounded by a numerous train of attendants; one or two chiefs, of rank and influence, acting as his guardians, usually accompanied him. During the early parts of his life, he was frequently carried about on men's shoulders, according to the ancient custom of the kings of the Society Islands. When the king of Tahiti embraced Christianity, this, with other practices connected with idolatry, was laid aside in the Windward Isles. It was occasionally adopted by the young chief of Tahaa, more, perhaps, to gratify the pride of some of his attendants, than to afford any satisfaction to his own mind. By him it has now been discontinued for a number of years; and young Pomare is probably the last Tahitian chieftain that will ever ride in state on the necks of his people.
Aimata, the only surviving child of the king of Tahiti, although about the same age, appeared in perfect contrast to her husband. Her form was neither athletic nor corpulent, her countenance open and lively, her jet-black eye sparkling and intelligent, her manners and address engaging, her disposition volatile, and her conversation cheerful. In these respects she was the very opposite to Pomare, who was taciturn and forbidding.
She gave early indications of superior intellectual endowments; and, had her mental faculties page 290 been properly cultivated, she would probably have excelled most of her own sex in the society in which she was destined to exert the highest influence. The restraint and application, however, which this required, were ill suited to her lively disposition, and uncontrolled habits of life. She has, nevertheless, been a frequent, and, while she continued, a promising pupil of the Missionaries, having, in a short time, made a pleasing progress in the acquisition of knowledge. She has for some time made a profession of Christianity. To the Missionaries she has invariably proved friendly; and, since she has been the queen of Tahiti, has patronized and encouraged their efforts.
Pomare and Aimata had been, by their respective families, betrothed to each other for some time prior to their meeting in Huahine. Considerable preparations had been made for the celebration of the marriage, and as the parties were nearly related to the reigning families in the Windward and Leeward Islands, arrangements were made for entertainments corresponding with the rank and dignity of the bridegroom and his bride.
About noon on the day appointed, the young chieftain with his guardian and friends reached the chapel, where we were waiting to receive them. Aimata, attended by her mother-in-law, the queen of Tahiti, her sister, and the wife of Mahine, chief of Huahine, arrived shortly after. The royal party were attended by the dependents of Hautia, the governor of the island. In honour of the distinguished guest, these dependents or guards were not only arrayed in their best apparel, which was certainly any thing rather than uniform, but they also marched under arms. Many of the raatiras of Huahine attended, out of respect to the reigning family.page 291
When the ceremony commenced, Mr. Barff and myself took our station near the communion table in front of the pulpit; Pomare and his friends standing on our right, and Aimata with her relatives on the left. The raatiras formed a semicircle three or four deep immediately behind the bride and bridegroom, while the body of the chapel was filled with spectators. Most of the chiefs appeared in European dresses, some of which being large loose gowns of highly glazed chintz of a brilliant red and yellow colour, intermixed with dresses of black and blue broad cloth, presented a novel spectacle.
The principal part of Pomare's dress was manufactured in the islands, and worn after the ancient fashion. Aimata wore a white English gown, a light pink scarf, and a finely platted hibiscus bonnet, trimmed with white ribands. The queen, Pomare-vahine, and all the females of the royal party, appeared in white dresses of foreign manufacture. The raatiras wore the native costume peculiar to their rank and station, while the dress of the multitude behind them presented almost every variety of European and native clothing.
The rich and showy colours exhibited in the apparel of the chiefs, the uniform white raiment of the queen and her companions, in striking contrast with their olive-coloured complexions and dark glossy curling hair, presented an unusual appearance. The picturesque dress of the raatiras, who wore the purau or beautifully fine white matting tiputa, bordered round the neck and the edges with a most elegant fringe, and bore in the right hand a highly polished staff, or kind of halbert, of black iron-wood, together with the diversified appearance of the spectators, greatly increased the novel and imposing effect of the whole.page 292
During the ceremony, I observed a tear moistening the eye of the youthful bride. Agitation of feeling, perhaps, produced it, as I have every reason to believe no cloud of anticipated evil overshadowed her prospects; and she is reported to have said, that had she not been betrothed, but free to choose her future partner, she should have selected the individual her friends had chosen for her.
When the service was over, the registry made, and the necessary signatures affixed, the parties returned, to partake of the entertainment provided. We were invited to join them, but declined the honour; yet walked down to see the preparation, and, among other articles of dessert, noticed two barrels full of pine-apples. As soon as the ceremony was concluded, the governor's guards, who were drawn up on the outside of the chapel, fired several volleys of musketry, and a British vessel, lying in the harbour, saluted them with twenty-one guns.
With the abolition of idolatry, all the ceremonies originally performed at the temple, and which have been already described, were discontinued, and, shortly after the reception of Christianity by the nation, Christian marriage was instituted, and it is now universally observed. From this moral revolution some perplexing questions relative to polygamy have naturally arisen, but, for the principal difficulties, the code of laws inserted in a preceding chapter has made suitable provisions
In the marriage ceremony, the use of the ring has not been introduced, and the only distinction that prevails in society, in reference to married and unmarried females, is, that the wife ceases to be called by her original name, and is designated by that of her husband; excepting where the name page 293 of the wife was also an hereditary title of rank or honour, in which case it is retained.
No change in their customs or usages has taken place, in connexion with the introduction of the religion of the Bible, more extensive or beneficial in its influence on every class in society, than the institution of Christian marriage. Instances of unfaithfulness are not indeed unknown, but, considering their former habits of life, the partial influence of regard to character, and the slight inconvenience in reference to the means of support, by which they would probably be followed, they have but seldom occurred. The solemn and indissoluble obligations of the marriage vow are recognised by all who profess to be Christians; and the domestic, social, and elevated happiness it has imparted, is readily acknowledged. It has entirely altered the tone of feelings, and imparted new principles of conduct in regard to the conjugal relation.
Originating from the institution of marriage, and nurtured by its influence, domestic happiness, though formerly unknown even in name, is now sedulously cultivated, and spreads around their abodes of order and comfort its choicest blessings. The husband and the wife, instead of promiscuously mingling with the multitude, or dwelling in the houses of their chiefs, live together in the neat little cottages reared by their own industry, and find satisfaction and comfort in each other's society. Every household virtue adorns their families; the children grow up the objects of their mutual affection, and call into exercise new solicitudes and unwonted emotions of delight. Often they appear sitting together reading the scriptures, walking in company to the house of God, or surrounding, not page 294 indeed the family hearth, or the domestic fireside, which in their warm climate would be no addition to their comfort, but the family board, spread with the liberal gifts of divine bounty. The father, at times, may also be seen nursing his little child at the door of his cottage, and the mother sitting at needle-work by his side, or engaged in other domestic employments. These are the delights it has imparted to the present race—while the rising generation are trained under the influence of the principles of Christianity, and these examples of social and domestic virtue.
Marriages frequently take place at an early age among the people; they do not, however, appear to be less happy than those celebrated when the parties are further advanced in life. In former times the men were often cruel in their treatment of the women, and considered them as their slaves; but the husbands now treat their wives with respect, and often cherish for them the most sincere affection. The female character is elevated in society; the husbands perform the labours of the plantation or the fishery, recognizing it as their duty to provide the means of subsistence for the family; while the preparation of their food, (especially where the European mode of living has been adopted by them,) together with attention to the children, and the making of clothing, native or foreign, for themselves and the other members of the family, is now considered the proper department of the females. They occasionally accompany their husbands and elder children to work in the plantation or garden, at particular seasons of the year; but it is a matter of choice, and not from fear of cruel treatment, as formerly. They go to assist their husbands in planting and gathering in the crops, instead of page 295 undertaking alone these labours, while the men were idling away the noon-day hours in heedless slumbers, or spending them in songs or other amusements.
The establishment of schools has in some degree overcome the love of wandering, and habituated them to regularity and perseverance in their occupations, although at first found irksome and difficult. Desire of mental improvement, general acquaintance with writing, and fondness for epistolary correspondence, furnish new and agreeable occupations for their leisure hours. The introduction of needlework, the universal desire for European clothing, together with the preservation of these articles of dress, having increased their domestic duties, occupies a great portion of their time.
With the close of the year 1822, we terminated our regular labours in the South Sea Islands; and on the 31st of December, soon after the marriage of Pomare and Aimata, accompanied by two native teachers, Taua and his family, and Taamotu, a female who had been a member of the church, a teacher in the school, and an affectionate and valuable companion and assistant to Mrs. Ellis during my voyage to Hawaii, we embarked in the Active, and reached Oahu on the 5th of the following February. Towards the close of 1824, an afflictive dispensation of Divine providence removed us from these islands. This was, the severe and protracted illness of Mrs. Ellis; the only hope of whose life was derived from the effects of a voyage to England. On our return we visited Huahine, anchored in Fa-re harbour, and had the high satisfaction of spending a fortnight in delightful intercourse with our Missionary friends, and the kind people of the settlement.page 296
Early in the month of November we again took leave of our friends and fellow-labourers, hoping to revisit them when we should return to the Pacific; feeling, at the same time, that, with regard to some, perhaps many, we should not meet again in this world, but cheered with the anticipation of meeting in a region where parting would be unknown. When our anchor was raised, and our sails spread, the vessel moved slowly out of the harbour. The day was remarkably fine, and the wind light, and both these afforded opportunities of leisurely surveying the receding shore. As the different sections of the bay opened and receded from my view, I could not forbear contrasting the appearance of the district at this time, with that presented on my first arrival in 1818.
There was the same rich and diversified scenery, but, instead of a few rustic huts, a fine town, two miles in length, now spread itself along the margin of the bay; a good road extended through the settlement; nearly four hundred white, plastered, native cottages appeared, some on the margin of the sea, others enclosed in neat and well-cultivated gardens. A number of quays were erected along the shore; the schools were conspicuous; and, prominent above the rest, was seen their spacious chapel, since rebuilt, and now capable of accommodating 2000 worshippers. The same individuals who, on the former occasion, had appeared uncivilized and almost unclothed islanders, now stood in crowds upon the beach, arrayed in decent apparel, wearing hats and bonnets of their own manufacture; while, beyond the settlement, their plantations and their gardens adorned the mountain's side. These were but indications of a greater change among the people. All were professing page 297 Christians. Most of them could read the Bible, and between four and five hundred had been united in church-fellowship. This number has been increased to five hundred, who are walking in the ordinances and commandments of the Lord blameless. Agriculture has since increased, and some acres are now planted, or preparing for the culture of coffee.
Such was the state of general improvement in Huahine, when we paid our last visit, in the close of the year 1824; and although the subsequent accounts have been at times of a chequered complexion, they have not been more so than might be expected, and have, upon the whole, been such as to afford matter for sincere gratitude to the Most High, and encouragement to all interested in the moral and spiritual improvement of mankind.