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rectors and reformers of mankind, persecuting with their enmity, the humble attempts of a body of Christians to ameliorate the state of a neglected portion of their fellow-men, by means of that gospel which its Divine Author designed for the “ healing of the nations.
Vindication, pp. 160—162. With regard to the Russian Captain, Otto Von Kotzebue, his enmity against Christian Missions had long been known to us; and it seems only to have become the more inveterate with time and disappointed malignity. Ten years ago, the publication of his first voyage of discovery, (performed in the years 1815–1818, made us acquainted with his sentiments on this point. In that work, he deprecated any attempt to convert the amiable, virtuous, and gentle Islanders of the Pacific, affirming that the Missionaries, by the religious hatred which they excited, had destroyed whole nations. * Not that they had as yet excited any religious hatred at Hawaii; for no missionaries had then set foot on the Sandwich Islands; and in truth', remarked Dr. Chamisso, (the naturalist who accompanied the expedition, they could promise themselves but little fruit among * this sensual people. Christianity cannot be established in
Eastern Polynesia, but on the overthrow of every thing existing. We do not doubt the events at Otaheite', added the learned Naturalist, but we cannot conceive of them.' The Russian expedition did not visit the Islands of the Southern Pacific. In reference to the existing religion of Hawaii, or Owhyhee, the same Dr. Chamisso gives us the following particulars. The human victims who are here killed at the death
of the king, princes, and distinguished chiefs, and buried with ' their remains, are of the lowest class. In certain families of • this caste, the fate of dying with the different members of
such and such a noble family, is hereditary, so that it is • known at the birth of a child, at whose death he is to be sa'crificed. The victims know their destination, and their lot does not seem to have any terrors for them. . . Human sacrifices still take place, but it would be unjust to upbraid 'the Owhyeeans for them. They sacrifice culprits to the
gods, as we sacrifice them in Europe to justice. Every land • has its peculiar customs. What were the Cliristians when * auto da fes were celebrated, and how long have they ceased?'t This ingenious apology for the last atrocities of superstition, which confounds all shades of crime under the specious name of customs, and compares the rites of Moloch and the infernal barbarities of the Spanish Inquisition, with the sanctions of
• Eclectic Review, 2d Series, Vol. XVIII. p. 30.
penal justice,-is in admirable harmony with Captain Kotzebue's panegyric upon the precepts of pure morality interwoven
with the ceremonies' practised by these same Owhyheans. In illustration of which we need only cite two facts. Such was the sanctity imparted for the time to any individual who performed a tabu-pori, (a sort of vigil, during which he was supposed to be in communion with the gods,) that, if he accidentally touched a woman, she must have been immediately put to death; and had he entered a woman's house, it must instantly have been doomed to the flames. This was the religion of these people! So late as about the year 1806, the old King Tamehameha, of whose enlightened religious views, Captain Kotzebue was the panegyrist, offered three men in sacrifice when his queen was ill, because the priests declared that her illness was occasioned by the anger of the gods, and that nothing else would remove it. Ten men, we are informed, were secured; and had not symptoms of amendment appeared in the queen, would all have been massacred. Every land has its peculiar customs ! Again, as to their pure morality: M. Arago, who visited Hawaii not long after the death of Tamehameha, in 1819, describes the women of that island as shameless beyond all that is usually to be met with among the most degraded savages. This Traveller goes so far as to complain that the English had not already interfered to liberate the people from the absurd superstitions and barbarous customs which still prevailed, and to abolish the tyranny of the priests *. We know not what right the English or any other nation could have had forcibly to interfere in this business; but it is precisely for effecting the emancipation of the people from the yoke of a sanguinary superstition, and the unspeakable pollution of their morals, by the milder means of Christian instruction, that the Missionaries have provoked the malignant abuse of Captain Kotzebue and his coadjutors. These destroyers
of nations', as the Russian Captain would designate them, have been trying the effect of introducing the light of Christianity among this sensual people, and with a success that has lessened the gains of those traders who profited by their vices, and thrown the most provoking obstacles in the way of European visiters, who were accustomed to riot there in the most unbridled licentiousness. And for this they are stigmatised as fanatics, tyrants, ignorant dogmatists, murderers.
Of the present state of things in the Sandwich Islands, the following extracts from an official document addressed to the Secretary of the Navy of the United States, by Captain Finch,
* See Eclectic Review, 2d Series, Vol. XX. p. 79.
of the American frigate Vincennes, will supply the most recent and distinct account. The vessel remained among the Islands from the 2d of October to the 24th of November, 1829.
“The very advanced stage of the people of the Sandwich Islands, in the points involving civilization, religion, and learning, is so well established, so generally known and admitted, that I forbore to give statements of them equally minute with those I had made respecting Nukuhiva, Tahiti, and Raiatea. Their civilities, letters of correspondence, and transaction of business with me, place them in a just light, and will enable our Government to appreciate and judge them properly, without my saying a word in their favour, beyond the simple declaration, that they are much in advance of the Society Islanders, cheeringly and agreeably enlightened, acquainted limitedly with their own interests, capable of extending them, and sensible of the value of character as a nation. Their indolence of habit, and amiability of disposition, misled the judgement of persons who deny their pretensions to intelligence and capacity for self-management or government. The first being overcome, and their knowledge fully aroused to the ad-, vantages which their locality affords, the latter objection will manifest itself to be erroneous. To aid in every way to elevate and instruct them, and increase their self-pride and confidence, ought to be a source of pleasure, as well as the policy of those foreigners who are amongst them; but such, I am satisfied, is neither the design nor practice of those persons: they pursue, on the contrary, a short-sighted course, watchful of their own immediate gains or advantages, apparently regardless and thoughtless of those who are to succeed them, and whose security, comfort, and prosperity, may be increased or diminished, by the judicious or unwise plans they at present or may hereafter adopt. The gentlemen now at the Sandwich Islands forget that the natives are not the same naked, uninstructed creatures which they were when they first went among them ; and in this forgetfulness, intentional or not, it is immaterial, treat them almost precisely as they did formerly, and contemn their pretensions to knowledge and improved condition. Human nature cannot, nor will the chiefs much longer bear or tolerate such arrogance and injustice. The more the respectability and importance of the chiefs and people are increased by voluntary and generous attentions from foreigners, the greater will be the security insured to themselves. Why will they continue to enjoy the hospitality of the natives, contract engagements to large amounts with them, with full reliance upon their integrity, and yet treat them in a contumelious manner, or with indifference? Such is, nevertheless, the inconsistency I observed.
«“I am at a loss to decide wherein the foreign residents have just cause to complain of, or to contemn the government of the Sandwich Islands. They affect to believe, that all its measures are dictated by the Missionaries. I really do not think so: they doubtless, in their station as teachers, have influence; but I rather believe, it is confined as closely as is practicable or possible to that relation, and no other. Unless it was perceived by them, that the Government was about committing an act of indiscretion, or gross blunder, I doubt if their voice
would be heard. It is a most lamentable fact, that the dislike of the Missionaries by the foreign residents, has a tendency, as yet, to paralyze the efforts which the natives are so laudably making, to render themselves worthy of the support and confidence of enlightened Christian and other nations; and this one circumstance will render, for some time to come, the visits by our ships disagreeable to the officers who have to make them. The constant complaining against the Missionaries is irksome in the extreme, and in such contrast with the conduct of the Missionaries themselves, that I could not but remark their circumspection and reserve with admiration : the latter never obtruded upon my attention the grounds or causes they might have to complain; nor did they advert to the opposition they experienced, unless expressly invited thereto by me.
«“ If the understandings of the natives are imposed upon by the religious injunctions of the Missionaries, the evil will ultimately correct itself, by the very tuition which they afford the inhabitants, more certainly and effectually than by the denunciation and declamation of foreigners, who are interested and temporary sojourners, without other than moneyed transactions to engage the confidence of the natives, whereas the Missionaries have adventured their families among them, and stand pledged as to the issue of their undertaking before not only the American public, but the world at large.
• “ So great was the friendship and correctness of deportment of the chief islanders, that I could scarcely suppose myself to be among a people once and so recently heathen.' Variance of language and complexion alone reminded me of it. These views may very widely vary from the opinions of those who have preceded me only a year or two; I can well believe that we do not keep pace (by means of our inter-. course) with their improvements. Intervals of three years make wonderful changes, and for the better ; careful and recorded observations only will assure us of the reality of them. The present king, as he advances in years, will, feel pretty well persuaded, be a blessing to his people; his usefulness will, however, depend, in a great measure, upon the choice which he may make in a companion of his power and the cares inseparable. A doubt and difficulty rests upon this interesting point, which cannot too early be removed.
“ By the diffusion of knowledge among the islanders at large, I can readily suppose that the influence of the resident whites, and the abject and slavish adulation and distinction heretofore paid to them, have been diminished in some degree. Will not this circumstance, to a limited extent, serve to explain the sourness and bitterness which the whites cherish, and, on many occasions, display towards the chiefs as well as the Missionaries?” Vindication, pp. 131-135.
In the Islands of the Northern Pacific, however, the moral revolution which has taken place, is not only more recent, but far less complete and more partial in extent, than in the Southern Islands. It was not till the year 1819, that idolatry was suppressed by the enlightened policy of King Rihoriho; soon after which, the first American Missionaries landed on the shores of Hawaii. But, long after the suppression of the in. fernal worship, the idols were secretly preserved, the priests cherishing the hope of a counter-revolution. When Messrs. . Tyerman and Bennet visited the island in 1822, the moral improvement which had taken place, was very slight and partial, and the manners of the natives presented a disgusting contrast to those of the Christianised islands of the Southern Pacific. The Deputation found the American Missionaries struggling with great difficulties and disadvantages. They had not as yet acquired the language sufficiently to be able to address the natives without an interpreter; and the most injurious misrepresentations had been industriously propagated by the enemies of Christian Missions, respecting the state of things in the Southern Islands, with a view to prejudice the minds of the king, chiefs, and people of Hawaii against both the Gospel and its ministers. The arrival of the English Deputation, with Mr. Ellis, was singularly opportune, and indeed providential. A short time before, the Ainerican Missionaries had actually projected a voyage to Tahiti, in company with some of the native chiefs, for the express purpose of ascertaining the real state of things there; but the foreigners opposed to them, had, by their influence, prevented the vessel from sailing. At the time of our arrival', say Messrs. Tyerman and Bennet, the people were labouring under the influence of the prejudices which the foreigners had produced among them. But our testimony to the wonderful work of God in the South Sea Islands, together with that of the people who accompanied us, appears to have confounded the opposers, and confirmed the king, and chiefs, and people, in the confidence that the prejudices which had been excited were false and unfounded. We had no idea that this important object was to be answered by our voyage.' Journal, Vol. I. p. 407.
This will explain the origin of the fabrications and calumnies transmitted to this country from the Sandwich Islands, where the report of the revolution in morals that had taken place in the Southern archipelago, had spread jealousy and alarm among the foreign adventurers, heathenized Christians from Great Britain and America. This will account too for the peculiar anxiety which is shewn to depreciate and misrepresent the proceedings of the Missionaries in the South Sea Islands. It is, accordingly, in reference to Tahiti chiefly, that Captain Kotzebue has set himself to compose his elaborate and malicious slanders. Tahiti is, from the very completeness of the triumph which the Gospel has there signalised,—from the perplexing, inexplicable change which has banished its voluptuous dances, its Eleusinian orgies, its Paphian abandonment, and naturalised there the simple worship and puritanized morality of the New