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JOURNAL OF CIVILIZATION.
UNDER THE SUPERINTENDENCE OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF CIVILIZATION.
THE BLACK RACES OF POLYNESIA.
over the Pacific, arose a necessity for some sort THERE is a problem relating to the inhabitants of classification or division of the whole. We of the vast ocean situated between Asia and Ame- have thus the terms Eastern Archipelago, Ausrica, the solution of which is of great importance tralasia, Polynesia, and South-Sea Islands, applied in connexion with the subject of civilization. Do with very vague acceptations to the several parts these inhabitants belong to one nation? If not, of these groups. For the purpose, then, af fixing are they all equally disposed to receive Christian our ideas, we shall, in the following remarks, apply enlightenment ?
the term Polynesia, i.e. “Many Islands,” to the In the earlier stages of our geographical know- numerous groups of islands situated eastward of ledge, the islands near the south-east coast of Asia 170° E, lon. or thereabouts, and the term Australwere classed as belonging to that continent, while asia, i. e. “Southern Asia," to those situated bethose off the western coast of America—distant by tween that longitude and Asia. the whole breadth of the Pacific from the former The point to which we have to draw attention is, -were included in America. But with our know that the inhabitants of Papua and several adjacent ledge of the vast assemblage of islands scattered | islands in Australasia present, with few exceptions,
PART VI.-NO. XXIII.
marked features of person and character very dif- of hypotheses as to the origin of these islanders ; ferent from those of Polynesia. The late Rev. but before noticing these, it will be desirable to John Williams, who united with the pious zeal of refer to Mr. Williams's “Missionary Enterprises," the missionary a large measure of scientific and for the connexion between the two races. practical knowledge, was forcibly impressed with After drawing the distinction between the two this difference. The Papuas (or, as he terms races, Mr. Williams observes : “ Hitherto missionthem, the Western Polynesians) are allied to the ary labours have been entirely confined to the Negro, having an herculean frame, black skin, and copper-coloured natives ; we have now, however, woolly or rather crisped hair ; whereas the Poly- proceeded so far west as to reach the Negro race, nesians (the Eastern Polynesians of Williams) have and our next effort will be to impart the blessing bright, lank, and glossy hair, light copper-coloured to them. To this we are encouraged by the fact, skin, and countenance resembling that of the Ma- (and a fact more interesting can scarcely be found) lay. Papua or New Guinea, New Britain, New that nearly the whole nation of Polynesian Asiatics Ireland, New Caledonia, the New Hebrides, the is now converted to the Christian faith.” SupposLouisiade Archipelago, and Solomon's Isles, are in- ing the Malay group and the Polynesian groups to cluded by Mr. Williams in the former list ; while be one common race, then the Papua race is the Sandwich, Society, Friendly, Austral, Marque- situated between them in geographical position ; san, New Zealand, and some other groups of and it becomes a curious question how they came islands, are those in which the copper-coloured to those islands, and from what quarter. Mr. Wil. race dwells. This classification, and indeed every liams offered an hypothesis, that this Papua or other which we could adopt, would be liable to ob- Negro race inhabited the whole of the islands prior jection, because some of the islands contain both to the arrival of the Malay Polynesians ; that the races ; but it is of the races themselves that we latter, being a fierce and treacherous people, suchave here to speak.
ceeded in conquering and extirpating them from Dr. Forster, who accompanied Captain Cook in the smaller islands and groups, but were unable his second voyage round the globe, remarked this to effect this in the larger ones ; and that consedifference in the two races; but also remarked that quently they were left in quiet possession of the the two became in some instances combined, as it islands which their posterity still inhabit. were, into one. He says: “Each of these two Supposing this hypothesis to be conceded (and races of men is again divided into several varieties, we are not yet in possession of materials either which form the gradations towards the other race; for proving or denying it), the next point is, whence 80 that we find some of the first race almost as black and how did the copper-coloured natives reach the and slender as some of the second, and in this Polynesian islands ? Mr. Ellis, although he found second race are some strong athletic figures that great similarity between the Polynesians and the might almost vie with the first.” Dr. Prichard,– Malayans, also alludes to the resemblance between after alluding to the circumstance that the Negro- the former and the native Americans, and seems like inhabitants of New Guinea and the neighbour- inclined to the opinion that America is the country ing islands are called Pua-pua (blacks) by the whence the islands were peopled ; or rather, that Polynesians, and that our name Papuas has been while certain circumstances favour the opinion that thence derived,-proceeds to state that a third the islanders migrated from the west, other circlass or race seems to exist, including all those cumstances, such as the direction of the tradetribes found in New Holland, and in some islands winds, render such a proceeding inexplicable. If of the Indian Archipelago, who, in their savage they were peopled from the Malayan Islands, he character and destitute condition, as well as in the thinks the migrants must have possessed better complexion most prevalent among them, resemble vessels, and more accurate knowledge of the navithe Papuas; but differ from the latter in their hair, gation, than they now exhibit, to have made their which, instead of being crisp or woolly, is lank way against the constant trade-winds prevailing and straight, as well as in some other physical within the tropics, and blowing regularly, with but peculiarities.
transient and uncertain interruptions, from east to The Rev. William Ellis, in his “Polynesian Re- west. searches," drew attention to the many points of Mr. Williams, however, does not think these resemblance between the inhabitants of the Ma- objections forcible enough to overturn the strong layan peninsula and neighbouring islands, and probability of the Malayan origin of the Polynethose of the Polynesian islands generally (omitting sians. The distance from the Malayan coast to the islands of which New Guinea may be deemed Tahiti and other Polynesian islands, one of the the centre). He traces similarity in the domestic objections urged, he thinks is not insuperable ; for customs, the marriage ceremonies, the funeral although this distance is seven thousand miles, yet rites, the canoes, the languages, and the occupa- the intervening space is so bespangled with islands, tions, of all these islanders, although widely sepa- which might serve as resting-places, that the mirated by space. Mr. Ellis proceeds to offer a train gration might have consisted of several short voy
THE BLACK RACES OF POLYNESIA.
355 ages, instead of one very long one. Borneo, Cele- | Negroes, inhabiting the islands which lie northbes, Bessey, Ceram, New Guinea, New Hebrides, east of Australia ? The remark of poor Williams, Feejee Islands, Friendly Islands, Navigators', and that missionary labours “ have been entirely conHarvey Islands, furnish links of a chain, so nume- fined to the copper-coloured natives," was written rous, that the greatest water distance from one to five or six years ago ; and in a subsequent part of another is seven hundred miles. If, then, the his narrative, while speaking of the Polynesian Malayans could go seven hundred miles in canoes Negroes, who had not yet been visited by missioneastward, the difficulty vanishes by supposing the aries, he said, “To that people I shall, on my migration to have taken place by degrees. But return, direct my principal attention ; I trust that then comes the objection of the eastern trade- British Christians, encouraged by the result of their winds. To this objection Mr. Williams remarks, efforts on behalf of the other race, will be still that, not withstanding the general tendency of the more anxious for the conversion of this, and never eastern wind, there are, every two months, west- relax their efforts, or suspend their prayers, till all erly gales for a few days, and, in February, there are the islands that stud the vast Pacific shall be enwhat the natives call westerly twins, when the wind lightened and blessed with the Gospel of salvation." blows from the west several days, then veers round It was at one of the islands here spoken of that the compass, and in the course of twenty-four hours Mr. Williams lost a life which had been productive comes from this point again. “I have frequently of so much good to his fellow-creatures ; and by the seen it,” he adds,“ continue for eight or ten days; hands of those whom he was striving to benefit. and, on one occasion, for more than a fortnight ; so After Mr. Williams's return to England, he enthat the difficulty presented by the supposed uni- gaged, in conjunction with the London Missionary form prevalence of the easterly winds, is quite Society (whose agent he had been in the prosecuimaginary. In addition to this, as I have already tion of various plans for the furtherance of this shown, the longest stage in an easterly direction, object; and as he proposed to make frequent exploin performing a voyage from Sumatra to Tahiti, ratory voyages, from those islands where missions would be seven hundred miles ; and I myself, in were established to others which had not yet been my first voyage to the Navigators', sailed sixteen hun visited, it was deemed advisable to provide a misdred miles due east in a few days.” To the objection siopary ship, to be at the disposal of the Society for that the canoes now used by the Polynesians are missionary purposes. The necessary funds were not adequate to the performance of long voyages, speedily subscribed, and in the early part of the Mr. Williams brings forward numerous proofs that year 1838, the Camden, a vessel of 200 tons burden, the Malayan nations, in bygone times, were wont was purchased, and fitted out with everything to employ vessels very superior to the Polynesian which foresight and benevolence could devise. canoe of the present day; and he supposes that The control of the ship was vested in Mr. Wilin those superior vessels the navigation was made. liams, on behalf of the Society; Captain Morgan,
But whatever may have been the source whence with a crew of good character, being employed to the Polynesians reached the numerous clusters of navigate it. On the 11th of April, 1838, Mr. Wilislands which they now inhabit, we have the con- liains, with a party of missionaries and their wives, current testimony of Mr. Ellis, Mr. Williams, and destined for Polynesia, left London in the Camden, other intelligent men, that these copper-coloured and proceeded on their long voyage to a region far natives have a strong capacity for receiving the away from friends and country. seeds of Christian civilization, and an affectionate On the 8th of September the voyagers reached regard for those who labour among them to that Sydney in safety, after a voyage of five months ; end. On one occasion, when Mr. Williams was at and Mr. Williams, after staying there for a few Sydney, the captain of a ship, recently arrived from weeks to make arrangements conaected with the these islands, gave him an account of what he had Society, proceeded onwards towards the Navigaseen at the Navigators' and other groups, and told tors' Islands. On the 19th, Mr. Williams touched him that "it is of no use to take muskets and pow- at the island of Tanna, one of the New Hebrides, der to these groups; that nothing is demanded by included among the group to which his earnest the people but books, missionaries, pens, ink, slates, thoughts had been directed. The result of a brief and paper.” We may describe an immense triangle interview with the natives was satisfactory to in the Pacific ocean, the angles of which will be him; and he thence proceeded to the neighbourthe Sandwich Islands, the Dangerous Archipelago, ing island of Erromanga. Here he found a race and New Zealand; and between these limits we of people differing both in appearance and in lanshall find a large number of missionaries now en- guage from any whom he before encountered ; and gaged, in imparting to the copper-coloured natives after many ineffectual entreaties to them to come the truths of Christianity and the usages of civil- on board the vessel, he landed among them, accomized life.
panied by Mr. Harris. At first he had hopes of It may next be asked, however, whether anything acquiring their confidence ; but in a very short is now doing among the Papuas or Polynesian | time he was knocked down by a native with a club,
and in a few minutes pierced to the heart by can better show, in a style which the others can arrows. The details of this melancholy event we understand, the nature of the benefits which civili. do not propose to dwell upon here; but we men- zation confers on them. More recent accounts, tion it in relation to our present subject, viz., the received from the same quarter, tend to confirm civilization of the Papuas,-the first attempt at the idea that permanent benefit may be conferred which resulted in the sacrifice of the benevolent on these black natives. The islands we have man who undertook it.
named are at the eastern margin of this Polynesian But there is no reason for believing that the ato negro-land (if we may use the term); and if the tempt will continue to be met by insuperable diffi- margin can be influenced, the central body will be culties, although they may be formidable. The New pretty sure to share in the benefit by degrees. Hebrides were among those islands which Mr.
We think it necessary to speak in this place of Williams marked as being inhabited by Papuas, or the Wesleyan mission at the Feejee (Fiji) islands, by races nearly allied to them; and Tanna, one of because Mr. Williams includes these islands as these, presented a field which filled him with hope. part of the Polynesian negro-land. He says, after When the Camden conveyed the news of Mr. Wil- speaking of the copper-coloured race, “the former liams's death to the Navigators’ Islands, Mr. Heath, race, which we may designate the Polynesian negro, a missionary on that station, resolved to take up is found from the Fijis to the coast of New Holthe work which had been begun, and to convey land ;” and at the time when he was preparing the native teachers to such of the New Hebrides as materials for his narrative, the Fiji islands were would receive them ; that is, copper-coloured Poly ranked among those which he said had not yet nesians, who had been converted to Christianity, received Christian aid. But since then a mission were to act as teachers to the New Hebrideans, has been established there by the Wesleyan Soa remarkable instance of the agency by which civi- ciety; and the Rev. D. Cargill, who was at these lization may be effected. Mr. Heath, after describ- islands, sometimes alone, and at other times aided ing the first part of his voyage in the Camden, states: by brother missionaries, has given evidence in the “We thence proceeded to the New Hebrides, and successive letters which he forwarded to England, first to Tanna, at which island three teachers were of the capacity of the natives for receiving inplaced by Mr. Williams on the day before he was struction. killed. We had been recommended not to anchor We thus think, that there is little ground for there ; nor should we have done so but for the as- doubt as to the possibility of bringing the Polysurance of some of the chiefs, and one of the nesian blacks into the same scale as civilized beings teachers, who came out to meet us in the offing, with their copper-coloured brethren of the more that we might go in with safety; we therefore eastern districts. The single circumstance of the anchored, and remained in Resolution Bay for murder of poor Williams, sad as it is, proves nothing three nights.” Mr. Heath had considerable inter- in the matter; for in another part of the same course with the people, and found that from thirty island teachers have been since received. It is to forty attended worship with the teachers whom impossible now to say what momentary fit of Mr. Williams had left there. After making some apprehension or suspicion may have influenced presents, and purchasing articles from the natives, their conduct ; but that such should continue to Mr. Heath left two additional teachers, natives of influence them, there is no ground for believing. the Navigators' Islands, and proceeded to another If the agents of Christian civilization are now island, named Immer, accompanied by a Tanna labouring at the Feejee or Fiji islands, and at other chief, who acted as interpreter. After a little nego- islands very much nearer to New Guinea, and conciation, one of the chiefs of Immer agreed to receive nected with it by a close chain of islands, the western native teachers on the island, and these were ac- progress from the one to the other end of this cordingly left there. He then proceeded to the chain seems not more difficult than other moral fatal Erromanga, having on board his vessel two conquests which have been achieved within a few native teachers, who had expressly undertaken years. to go to the island where Mr. Williams had been Besides this, we may remark that the immense killed. Here again the negotiations succeeded; the country of Australia, peopled principally by a black chiefs (in a different part of the island from that race, now contains missionaries in various parts, at which Williams landed) agreed to receive the who from time to time report the progress which Dative teachers among them; as did also those in they are making. As these Australians possess the neighbouring island of New Caledonia. the black hue of the Papua race, with the smooth,
There thus appears to be a beginning—a break- sleek hair of the Polynesians, it would not pering of the ground-by which intercourse may perhaps be an irrational conjecture that they are a haps be established between the missionaries and mixed race, compounded of the other two. If we the Polynesian blacks. The copper-coloured na-adopt Williams's theory of the usurpation, by tives are the pioneers, who can, perhaps, better copper-coloured people, of islands belonging to prepare the way than whites themselves, since they | aboriginal Papuas, we may perhaps attribute
357 to the intermarriage of the two races, the produc
LIBERIA. tion of others which seem to belong in some respects to both. Blumenbach and Dr. Prichard both trace The attention of the intelligent and inquiring the existence of certain peculiarities throughout among all classes in this country has for many the inhabitants of the whole of this wide region, years past been directed, with more or less coneven from Madagascar to the coast of America ; stancy, towards the condition of the negro race, and Mr. Cargill has found a striking resemblance and the means which exist for their religious and between the language at Feejee, and that at the intellectual improvement. The question, whether Sandwich Islands.
one of the great branches of the family of man is We may affirm, then, that there is no peculiarity to remain for ever plunged in ignorance, vice, and in any of these islanders, which shuts them out misery, and to serve no other purpose than that of from the pale of Christianity and civilization. ministering to the wants and passions of their more
Map of Liberia. powerful brethren, has happily become a subject and supporting schools for the social and moral as which not only engages the thoughts of the philan- well as intellectual education of the young of either thropist, but which forces itself on the attention sex,-they would be apt to regard the whole relation even of those who can only be awakened to exer- as a chimera of the imagination, or at least as a tion by motives of a more interested character. romantic dream of the future, which had little Still, however, to the vast majority of persons the prospect of being realised. Yet such a community name of negro suggests no other ideas than those of does actually exist, and such results have, to some degradation and suffering, unless they be accom- extent at least, been achieved in the colony of panied (as they too often are) with a conviction of LIBERIA ; it is the purport of the present article to mental incapacity so great as to unfit the people of lay before our readers a brief statement of whero that race for ever rising to a condition much supe- and what Liberia is. rior to that which they now occupy; and if such It will be a sufficient explanation of the origin of persons were told of a community of black inen this colony to state, that an anxious desire on the submitting to a constitutional and legal form of part of many benevolent individuals in the United government, administered for the most part by States to provide the free negroes of that country officers chosen among themselves, engaging in the with some asylum, where they might exercise the usual commercial and social intercourse of civilized rights and privileges to which they are entitled, apart life, holding public meetings, discussing topics of from the influence of those degrading prejudices of importance, and passing resolutions expressive of caste which, in that continent, prevent the freedom their opinions upon them, contributing original of the black man from being anything more than articles to a literary periodical conducted—and nominal while in the socieiy of white communities, not unably conducted)—by one of their own race, led to the formation, in the year 1817, of a Society