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- Life of John Coleridge Patteson - 140/144 -


'And then I turn from all this little secluded work to the thoughts of England and France, the Church at home, &c....

'I have now read the "Guardian's" account of the civil war in France. There is nothing like it to be read of, except in the Old Testament perhaps. It is like the taking of Jerusalem.

'It is an awful thing! most awful! I never read anything like it. Will they ever learn to be humble? I don't suppose that even now they admit their sins to have brought this chastening on them. It is hard to say this without indulging a Pharisaic spirit, but I don't mean to palliate our national sins by exaggerating theirs. Yet I hardly think any mob but a French or Irish mob could have done what these men did.

'And what will be the result? Will it check the tendency to Republicanism? Will Governments unite to put down the many-headed monster? Will they take a lesson from the fate of Paris and France? Of course Republicanism is not the same thing as Communism. But where are we to look for the good effects of Republicanism?

'August 22nd.--The seventh anniversary of dear Fisher's death. May God grant us this year a blessing at Santa Cruz!

'Your affectionate

'J. C. PATTESON.'

The last letter to the beloved sister Fanny opened with the date of her never-forgotten birthday, the 27th of August, though it was carried on during the following weeks; and in the meantime Mr. Atkin, Stephen, Joseph and the rest were called for from Wango, in Bauro, where they had had a fairly peaceable stay, in spite of a visit from a labour traffic vessel, called the 'Emma Bell,' with twenty-nine natives under hatches, and, alas! on her way for more. After picking the Bauro party up, the Bishop wrote to the elder Mr. Atkin:--

'Wango Bay (at anchor): August 25, 1871.

'My dear Mr. Atkin,--You may imagine my joy at finding Joe looking really well when we reached this part of the world on the 23rd. I thought him looking unwell when he spent an hour or two with me at Mota, about ten weeks since, and I begged him to be careful, to use quinine freely, &c. He is certainly looking now far better than he was then, and he says that he feels quite well and strong. There is the more reason to be thankful for this, because the weather has been very rough, and rain has been falling continually. I had the same weather in the Banks Islands; scarcely a day for weeks without heavy rain. Here the sandy soil soon becomes dry again, it does not retain the moisture, and so far it has the advantage over the very tenacious clayey soil of Mota.

'Nearly all the time of the people here has been spent--wasted, perhaps, we should say--in making preparations for a great feast: so that Joe found it very hard to gain the attention of the people, when he tried to point out to them better things to think of than pigs, native money, tobacco and pipes. Such advance as has been made is rather in the direction of gaining the confidence and good-will of the people all about, and in becoming very popular among all the young folks. Nearly all the young people would come away with him, if the elders would allow them to do so. I have no doubt that much more has been really effected than is apparent to us now. Words have been said that have not been lost, and seed sown that will spring up some day. Just as at Mota, now, after some twelve or thirteen years, we first see the result in the movement now going on there, so it will be, by God's goodness, some day here. There at Mota the good example of George Sarawia, the collective result of the teaching of many years, and the steady conduct, with one exception, of the returned scholars, have now been blessed by God to the conversion of many of the people. We no longer hesitate to baptize infants and young children, for the parents engage to send them to school when they grow up, and are themselves receiving instruction in a really earnest spirit.

'Many, too, of those who have for some time abandoned the old ways, but yet did not distinctly accept the new teaching, have now felt the "power of the Gospel;" and though many candidates are still under probation, and I sought to act with caution, and to do all that lay in my power to make them perceive the exceeding solemnity of being baptized, the weighty promises, the great responsibility, yet I thought it right to baptize not less than forty-one grown men and women, besides seventeen lads of George's school, about whom there could be no hesitation. It has, indeed, been a very remarkable season there. I spent seven weeks broken by a New Hebrides trip of three weeks' duration into two periods of three and four weeks. Bice was with me for the first three weeks; and with a good many of our scholars turned into teachers here, we three (Bice, George, and I) kept up very vigorous school: a continual talking, questioning, &c., about religion, were always going on day and night. Many young children and infants were baptized, about 240 in all + 41 + 17.

'You will, I am sure, pray more than ever for George and all these converts to Christianity, that they may be strengthened and guarded against all evil, and live lives worthy of their profession. We hope to spend two or three days there on our return (D.V.); and if so, Joe will write you his impressions. Meanwhile, I tell him what I fully believe, that no one hearty effort of his to benefit these poor people is thrown away. Already they allow us to take boys, and perhaps this very day we may go off with two young girls also. And all this will result in some great change for the better some day.

'You will want to hear a word about myself. I am much better, partly I confess owing to the warmth of the climate, which certainly agrees with me. I may feel less well as we draw by-and-by to the south once more.

'I can't take strong exercise, and that is a privation. It did me good, and I feel the want of it; but I am much better than I was a year or ten months ago, and I do my work very fairly, and get about better than I expected. Remember me kindly to Mrs. Atkin and Mary, and believe me to be

'Your very sincere Friend,

'J. C. PATTESON.'

Mr. Brooke and Edward Wogale had had a far more trying sojourn at Florida.

'Wogale suffered much from his eyes; and the labour ships were frequently on the coast--all the three varieties: the fairly conducted one with a Government agent on board; the "Snatch-snatch," which only inveigled, but did not kill without necessity; and the "Kill-kill," which absolutely came head-hunting. It was a dreary eleven weeks.

'On July 11, a "Sydney vessel," as the natives called it, was on the west of the island, and nine natives were reported to Mr Brooke as having been killed, and with so much evidence that he had no doubt on the subject.

'On the 13th Takua came to him to say the "Kill-kill" vessel had anchored four miles off. What was he to do?

'"How was it you and Bisope came first, and then these slaughterers? Do you send them?"

'Mr. Brooke advised them to remain on shore; but if the strangers landed and wanted to kill or burn them, to fight for their lives. "Your words are the words of a chief," said Takua.

'This ship, however, sailed away; but on August 13 another came, much like the "Southern Cross," and canoes went out to her, in one of them Dudley Lankona. These returned safely, but without selling their fruit; and Dudley related that the men said, "Bishop and Brooke were bad, but they themselves were good, and had pipes and tobacco for those who would go with them."

'These, however, went away without doing them harm, only warning them that another vessel which was becalmed near at hand was a "killer," and the people were so uneasy about her that Mr. Brooke went on board, and was taken by the captain for a maker of cocoa-nut oil. He was a Scotchman, from Tanna, where he had settled, and was in search of labourers; a good-natured friendly kind of person on the whole, though regarding natives as creatures for capture.

'"If I get a chance to carry a lot of them off," he said, "I'll do it; but killing is not my creed."

'Mr. Brooke hinted that the natives might attack him, and he pointed to six muskets. "That's only a few of them. Let them come. We'll give it them pretty strong."

'He was rather taken aback when he found that he was talking to a clergyman. "Well, wherever you go nowadays there's missionaries. Who would have thought you'd got so far down?"

'And he looked with regret at Mr. Brooke's party of natives in their canoes, and observed, "Ah! my fine fellows, if your friend was not here I'd have the whole lot of you: what a haul!"

'He said the other ship was from Queensland, and had a Government agent on board, of whom he spoke with evident awe.

'On Mr. Brooke's return, Takua and Dikea were furbishing up old guns which some incautious person on board the "Curacoa" had given them, and they were disappointed to find that there could be no attack on the vessel.'

She, however, was scarcely gone before, at the other end of the island, Vara, four out of five men were killed by a boat's crew. The survivor, Sorova, told Mr. Brooke that he and one companion had gone out in one canoe, and three more in another, to a vessel that lay near the shore. He saw four blacks in her, as he thought Ysabel men. A white man came down from the boat, and sat in the bow of Sorova's canoe, but presently stood up and capsized both canoes, catching at Sorova's belt, which broke, and the poor fellow was thus enabled to get away, and shelter himself under the stern of the canoe, till he could strike out for land; but he saw a boat come round from the other side of the ship, with four men--whether whites or light- coloured islanders was not clear--but they proceeded to beat his companions with oars, then to fall on them with tomahawks, and finally cut off their heads, which were taken on board, and their bodies thrown to the sharks.

These men evidently belonged to that lowest and most horrible class


Life of John Coleridge Patteson - 140/144

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