« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
on the other. Remove the possibility of resistance, and even the wildest savages will respect the hero who trusts himself among them unarmed and undaunted. The Wesleyans in the Fiji group have now dwelt for years among the most sanguinary barbarians of the earth, wholly defenceless, and as yet, says Mr. Lawry, no injury whatever has been committed on them. In one instance, recorded by Captain Erskine, two ladies, wives of these missionaries, went in a canoe, in their husbands' absence, to an adjoining island, having received information that a party of captured native women were being slaughtered and eaten. Ten had already been consumed at the feast-three alone remained, and the ladies entered the scene of these cannibal orgies, and boldly demanded that the survivors should be spared. The presiding chief, filled with wonder at their temerity, granted the request, saying, “Those who are dead are dead, those who are alive shall live. The Bishop of New Zealand (we are told by Captain Erskine) will not allow a weapon of any kind to be taken on board the little vessel which carries him on his
voyages of conversion; and, although his life has been once or twice in danger from outbursts of unpremeditated violence, he has as yet incurred no malicious hostility.
Captain Erskine charges the missionaries at Tonga with the exhibition of a rather dictatorial spirit' towards the chiefs and people. “The missionaries seemed to live much more apart from the natives than at Samoa, where free access is allowed to them at all times.' Nor must we permit ourselves to exaggerate the benefits which their instruction has imparted; proud as they may justly be of their victories over heathenism, the work is as yet essentially incomplete. It has been hitherto a defect in the Methodist training, that it cultivates the spiritual to the neglect of the intellectual part man; that it encourages the dreamy indolence and self-abandonment of the savage; that, except in religion, the Tongans are scarcely at all advanced beyond their heathen fathers, and show neither aptitude nor desire for civilisation. They can subsist upon very little,' says Mr. Lawry, and prefer idleness and poverty to labour and plenty.' He laments the fault, ascribes it to the heat of the climate, and thinks that wants will gradually spring up which will give a stimulus to exertion. The chance of a change should not be left to the course of events, but every effort should be made to combat a propensity which must prove the canker of Christianity.
* Very little progress,'Mr. Lawry elsewhere admits, has been hitherto made in the civilisation of the South Sea tribes, in the Friendly Islands and Feejee: nor are the signs at all encouraging in that matter. The
expectations entertained in England are by no means realised on the spot; at least not with the rapidity which hope had painted, but left experience to correct. I am of opinion that the probable working out of the problem will be this :--That the Gospel preached by our devoted countrymen will save the souls of multitudes in these isles; that this grace will soften their hearts, and change their national character from warriors to men of love and peace; that the tide of emigration will sooner or later flow to their shores, and that a fine new race of civilised, mixed people, will cover this part of the earth. Thus, while a remnant of them shall be saved, God will show mercy to all who will accept it; and his retributive providence will be seen in the extinction of a nation (as such) that has been so deeply stained with the orgies of idolatry and with blood.'— First Visit, p. 136.
Education, he acknowledges in his second visit, had been too long neglected, and that the utmost exertion must be made to supply it. We augur the best results from the confession. Every fresh progress brings new duties, and nowhere is it so necessary as in Polynesia to forget the conquests achieved, and grapple boldly and speedily with the evils which survive.
In one respect the Wesleyan system accommodates itself remarkably well to the tendencies of Polynesian converts : namely, in the ready provision which it inakes for receiving them into the active service of the Church. These islands swarm with local preachers,' of which there are now 487, besides 726 day-school teachers. The attire of the inhabitants is a garment which reaches from the loins downwards, leaving the upper part of the body uncovered, but many of the preachers add a shirt, which they carry on their arm during the warm walk to chapel, regarding it exclusively as an official robe and not as an article of dress. They sometimes forget to put it on before ascending the pulpit, and then they perform the operation in the presence of the congregation, without its being thought to derogate in the least from the dignity of the preacher, or the solemnity of the occasion. Simple, however, as are the notions and requirements of the auditors, the easy admission to the office of religious teaching is an advantage not unattended with danger: for it flatters not only the vanity of the natives, but that addiction to loose and exaggerated talk which is one of their besetting sins. The missionaries themselves complain of the difficulty of distinguishing between true earnestness and a child-like ambition for exhibiting an intense interest in matters into which they do not really enter, and playing, as it were, at being religious. They find that too many of their most specious converts resemble Mr. Talkative, the son of one Saywell, of Prating Row: all he hath lieth in his tongue, and his religion is to make a noise therewith.' This fluency is a characteristic of the race in other matters besides
religion. We have already alluded to the Samoan taste for political oratory; in New Zealand Sir George Grey has informed us that the first result of general education among the chiefs was found to be a passion for letter-writing, and that they were constantly engaged in correspondence on trifling or imaginary subjects. In the same country the endless discussions between High Church and Low Church natives became at one time almost an obstacle to improvement, and the arguments occasionally ended, we believe, in an appeal to the old club-law.
It is another and a more serious question, whether the tendency to asceticism which has distinguished the training of Protestant missionaries among these nations, and of the Wesley
more especially, has or has not been productive on the whole of benefit. Common opinion is undoubtedly against it. The ordinary complaint of casual visitors is, that the religious instructors of these reclaimed savages have endeavoured to strain the bow too far in the new direction ; that they have destroyed the elements of manliness and cheerfulness in their national character, and substituted for them a slavish spirit of submission, or, at best, a hopeless apathy. Nor are the arguments used by many of the missionaries themselves in this controversy calculated to attract impartial judges to their side of the question.—“To be happy, a man must be solemn; and the difference is small between mirth and madness!' Not so, good Walter Lawry, and, if it were so, what are we to think of various anecdotes distinguished chiefly for their quiet drollery which agreeably diversify your demure pages ? But the missionaries have far stronger grounds to rest on, when they point to the peculiarities of native life and habits with which they had to contend. In this warfare, they say, there can be no compromise between light and darkness, Christ and Belial.
The savage must break wholly and without reserve the chains which attach him to his former creed, or he must remain for ever a slave to it. Now the force of association is such, that what is in itself harmless or even commendable, becomes most mischievous, as being inseparably nected with what is evil. His case is that of St. Augustine's friend, the fiery neophyte Alypius, when one glance into the amphitheatre roused up again his fierce Pagan propensities, and extinguished the work of grace. The manly games of the warriors are inspiriting and invigorating, but the slightest indulgence in them is enough to awaken the slumbering Até in the soul of the chief. Sweet are the moonlight dance and song under the cocoa-nut grove, but the feelings which they recall are but a bad preservative for the island maiden against the seduc
tions which encompass her Christian career. The savage can no more be reclaimed from his idolatries to a course of decorous and temperate worldly enjoyment than the confirmed drunkard to moderate indulgence. In such cases one line only is freeresist the evil one, and he will flee from you ; negotiate and make terms with him, and he is your master for ever.
This is the logic of Puritanism ; and although Puritanism has long ceased to exhibit itself on a great scale, as formerly, among the nations of Western Europe, we must not therefore deceive ourselves as to the real power or value of this awful agent, for grinding to powder old and tottering institutions, for rending in pieces the crust of prejudices and inert habits which accumulate round the human heart, for re-invigorating a stationary age with new and sometimes perilous spirit. It is still among us and around us, and performing wonders which seem only to prefigure greater events to come, before which the petty and balanced agitation of our ordinary religious and political parties becomes as nothing. In America the people of Massachusetts, the most sagacious in the world, have just submitted themselves to the yoke of the Maine law,' which makes the sale of fermented liquors an indictable offence, and this with the marked assent of public opinion. Do we suppose that their legislators were ignorant of the maxims, common to triviality, about the danger of re-action, and the danger of hypocrisy? Do they believe that the ordinary propensities of man can be controlled by the enactment of a republic, any more than by the ukase of a Czar? Not so; but they see all around them the devastations of an enemy who threatens not only to corrupt their society, but the very physical constitution of their race. They know that against such an antagonist half measures are of no earthly avail—that it must either be left unopposed, or grappled with as a mortal foe; and while numbers content themselves with the firm conviction that this is an immediate and pressing duty, and purposely refuse to look further, the more far-seeing are disposed to agree, though with doubt and trembling, because they believe that, although
abuse will doubtless recur in its own time, the temporary shock may suffice to turn back thousands who are now on the high road to destruction. Thus is Puritanism acting now, in the commonwealth of the old Blue Laws and witch
persecutions, and with more or less energy over the whole of the vast continent which that little commonwealth has leavened. And the great movement now in progress in China, whatever other elements it may possess, is assuredly in part a phenomenon of the same order—a fierce blaze of Puritan zeal, not chiefly against effete idolatries, but against that dominion of
monstrous profligacy which signalizes the decline of a nation. Amidst events of such magnitude, the theocratic development of society in Polynesia sinks into insignificance. But it must be taken into account with other symptoms of the re-appearance, in this world's affairs, of that mighty influence which modern philosophy had imagined buried with the desecrated corpses of Cromwell and Vane, and which is destined perhaps to play no ordinary part in the next great stir of the elements of society among ourselves.
Here we take our leave of the Eastern Archipelago of the Pacific, or Polynesia Proper, unless the questionable Fiji group is still to be ranked as part of it. Melanesia lies before us, the youngest quarter of the world, and as yet the least visited, but likely soon to add contributions of no common interest to the history of Christian enterprise. It is in this region that the Bishop of New Zealand, interpreting, as we have been told, into a kind of call from above, a singular official mistake, by which his episcopal diocese was made to spread over some thousand leagues of ocean, has commenced his most remarkable career of missionary activity. To these subjects, and to the still more important topics afforded by the religious progress of New Zealand itself, we trust to take an early opportunity of introducing our readers.
Art. IV.-1. Biographie de M. Guizot. Par E. Pascallet.
Paris, 1841. 8vo. 2. Notice Biographique sur la Vie et sur les Travaux de M. Guizot.
Par Felix Droüin. Paris, 1841. 8vo. 3. Biographie de M. Guizot. Par Th. Deschères. Paris, 1842.
8vo. 4. M. Guizot. Par un Homme de Rien. Paris (sans date). 8vo.
GUIZOT has shared the usual fate of eminent persons in W. France, where it is much more common than with us to publish biographies of living men, in being made the hero of numerous narratives, not one of which gives a tolerable account of his motives and actions. Such ephemeral productions are below criticism, and even where they have a temporary life they may be safely left to perish from their inherent feebleness. It is with a far more important purpose than to rescue M. Guizot from the vapid perversions of bad biographers that we are about to attempt a review of his distinguished career. From the hour that he entered into public life he has been an influential actor in the great events which were passing around him, and for many years he was, in power as well as reputation, the leading statesman of