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Two years slipped *Way, brimful of interest, and each "ith made me feel "more ‘At Home in Fiji' more fascinated with its lovely *ry, more content to linger among its
of Samoa, to enable him to visit all the most remote portions "his diocese. Already this Warlike mission-ship had peacefully touched at Imany points of exceeding beauty and interest, and our Visitors had no sooner recognised my keen
appreciation of scenery, and inveterate love of sketching, than they formally and most cordially invited me to complete le tour de la mission, and so fill fresh portfolios with reminders of the beautiful scenes which the vessel was about to visit. Being duly imbued with a British conviction that such an invitation could not possibly be a bond fide one, I at first treated it merely as a polite form; but when it was again and again renewed, in such terms as to leave no possible doubt of its sincerity, and when, moreover, we learnt that the most comfortable cabin in the ship had actually been prepared for the invited guest, and that its owner was thoroughly in earnest in his share of the invitation, then indeed we agreed that the chance was too unique to be lost; and so it came to pass that on the 5th September 1877 I started on the cruise in a French man-of-war, which proved one of the most delightful episodes in many years of travel.
NOTE TO THE FIRST EDITION,
THE KEY TO THE PANAMA CANAL.
WHILE these pages were passing through the press, I have received details from various sources, which prove that the policy referred to at p. 241 is being actively carried out. Not content with holding the Marquesas, the Paumotus, Tahiti, and the Gambier Isles, France seems resolved to annex every desirable island lying to the east of Samoa, thus securing possession of every good harbour and coaling-station lying between New Zealand and the coast of South America; and also, diverting all the trade of these isles, from Britain's Australian colonies, to a French centre, which shall command the great commercial highway of the future, when the Panama Canal shall be completed. Raiatea in the Society Isles has recently been formally annexed, and the independence of Huahine and Bora-Bora threatened. Now a further step is contemplated. The Austral and Hervey groups still remain free. They are self-governed, and Christianity is firmly established among their people. According to the latest information, a French man-of-war visited their principal isles last August, to command the inhabitants to divert their present trade from New Zealand to Tahiti, assuring them that Great Britain had undertaken not to interfere with French action anywhere to the east of Samoa. The islanders, who had at first received the French vessel with all honour, no sooner got an inkling of the true object of its visit than they became alarmed, and returned all presents which had been made to them by the captain; who thereupon assured them that the French admiral was on his way thither, and would soon bring them to their bearings, and that they would have to accept a French protectorate.