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are thatched with palmetto-leaves, sun-bleached to a dazzling whiteness. They resemble the Tahitian native houses, but are built on oblong platforms of raised stones, such as those which form the foundation of Fijian houses, and which are a necessary protection against the damp of these isles, whose excessive verdure tells of a heavy rainfall. The chief wealth of the people lies in their pigs, which were introduced by the Spaniards, who consequently were venerated as gods. Cats and rats are also foreign importations. The group has literally no indigenous mammalia, and indeed very few birds. In former years the women manufactured native cloth, as in the other groups, but now a considerable amount of gay calico lends colour to brighten the scene. Here, however, as in other countries, the French prove themselves bad colonists. In most respects the Protectorate is merely nominal, and nothing in the way of improvement flourishes. As I before mentioned, the first attempt of the London Mission to establish a footing here failed signally. In 1797, two Englishmen—Messrs Crook and Harris—were sent out to try and establish a footing in the Marquesas. Harris found his heart fail at the dangers and horrors of the position, so he returned at once to Tahiti. Mr Crook worked
WORKING ON STONY GROUND. 107
alone for a year, and then returned to England in search of helpers. He does not seem to have resumed his dangerous post for some years, and then merely visited the group. Meanwhile Tahitian converts were sent out as teachers, but without much success, so they returned to Tahiti. Others took up the work, and also failed to maintain their ground. In 1833, three American missionaries left the Sandwich Isles, accompanied by their wives, and contrived to endure eight months in Nukuheva, endeavouring to tame and Christianise its brutal savages; but they also had to give up the attempt. In 1834, a fresh party of English missionaries renewed the effort, and struggled on till about 1840, when the London Mission finally abandoned the field. But in 1853, a Marquesan chief, Matanui, came to the Sandwich Isles in a whale-ship, and requested that teachers should be sent to his people. Thereupon Mr Bicknell, an Englishman, accompanied by four Hawaiian teachers and their wives, agreed to return with him to his island, Fatuhiva. Five days after they arrived, a French brig anchored there, bringing a Catholic priest, who demanded that they should be at once sent away, and declared that the Marquesas belonged to France, and that no English teacher would be tolerated. This statement was at once denied by the chiefs, who refused to dismiss their teachers, though they by no means yielded implicit obedience to their lessons, or even treated them with uniform kindness. Nevertheless the Hawaiian teachers have held their ground, and though discouraged and oppressed, they have continued to work silently but steadily, training native teachers from among their converts, establishing boarding-schools, whereby to separate their scholars from evil influence at home, organising churches, and, in short, doing all in their power to advance the good cause. It was felt that a great step had been gained when the oppressive system of tabu had received its first blow by many of the high chiefs coming to a feast at the mission, in company with their wives, as heretofore it had been forbidden for father, mother, or grown-up child to eat one with another —all had to feed apart; and the same senseless prohibitions extended in endless ramifications through all actions of life. Now the system of tabu has fallen into neglect, and the Hawaiian Mission has gained ground, notwithstanding much hindrance from the opposition and interference of the Roman Catholic priests. Nevertheless, to all intents and purposes, the majority of the people are still savages, and the
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present mission of the Seignelay is to inquire into recent cases of alleged cannibalism, said to have occurred in the interior of Dominica, where the hill-tribes and fisher-tribes still live at constant enmity. It is said to be the most fertile island in the group, and to have the largest population. The French governor is supported by sundry officials, and a detachment of about sixty soldiers, a dozen gens d'armes, and a few native police."
* Although the French have had possession of the group for so many years, the natives of some of the islands have never been really in subjection to the authorities until last year, when Admiral Bergasse du Petit Thouars visited the group, and with the aid of volunteers, natives of Tahiti, and of the friendly isles of Marquesas, succeeded in disarming and bringing into subjection the hostile tribes, and that without firing a shot. The admiral himself headed the troops across the mountains from village to village, arriving one night on the coast about midnight, having been conducted by natives who knew the passes: these passes were lighted up by the electric light from the frigate, which was anchored in the bay. The French took 600 muskets from the natives of the two islands, Hiva-oa and Fatuhiva. They say that the natives are really not a bad sort of people, but their curse, like that of all the islands, is “drink.” This, and the conduct of unprincipled foreigners, has been the real cause of all the trouble. I affix a note which I copy from the ‘Messager de Tahiti' for 30th of July 1880, which is all that has appeared in the paper on the subject:“Le Contre-Amiral commandant en chef le corps expéditionnaire aux Marquises, témoigne aux volontaires Tahitiens, aux volontaires Marquisiens, aux militaires de toutes armes, ainsi qu'aux marins qui ont pris part à l'expédition des Marquises, toute sa satisfaction. “Grâce à leur esprit militaire, à leur dévouement et à leur discipline, l'île de Hiva-oa et celle de Fatuhiva ont été rapidement soumises et désarmés, et la paix régne partout aux Marquises.”
The Catholic Mission consists of a bishop, with a considerable number of priests, and a sisterhood like those on Tonga, Samoa, and Tahiti. The priests work hard, but apparently with small result. It is whispered that the presence of a large number of very irreligious white men has a highly demoralising influence on the natives—as we can well understand; and even the French Government, which took such a lively interest in the introduction of Catholicism to Tahiti, seems to take none in the progress of the mission in the Marquesas.
In the matter of stone and mortar a good deal has been done, well-built churches having been erected in all the principal valleys, in the proportion of one church to every 150 inhabitants. Unfortunately, however, the people show small disposition to adopt any form of Christianity. The queen Viakehu and a few of her household are devout Catholics; and a little flock, who profess to be Christians, rally round each of the missionaries, but the majority continue heathen, with a deeply rooted belief in their old superstitions. I have just received a photograph of one of the Marquesan stone idols, with two of its worshippers. It is singularly hideous, and the head is crowned with a circular cap-stone, resembling on a small scale the crowns of Easter Island.
But if the Catholic Mission has hitherto failed