Page images
PDF

would not, probably, tolerate a measure that a mere word would have executed in 1824.

With written laws, and more of civil liberty and religion, there is less of personal restraint, and more freedom on the part of the governed, to practise wicked works with them that work iniquity. Houses of infamy are winked at and allowed at Honolulu, on the plea that they have become a necessary evil just as in all other countries, and the arm of government, in which both law and religion have vested the authority to suppress vice, bears the sword in vain as to this species of immorality, provided only it be not caught openly.

This ought not to be, either here or in any other State where there are good laws relative to lewdness. For it is not one of those things of which Milton says, "The law must needs be frivolous which goes to restrain things uncertainly, and yet equally, working to good and evil; and were I the chooser, a dram of well-doing should be preferred before many times as much the forcible hindrance of evil-doing: For God surely esteemeth the growth and perfection of one virtuous person, more than the restraint of ten vicious." But it is a palpable and positive evil, unmixed with good. It is evil only continually. And they, in any community, who, having the administration of law in their hands, do not execute it, but suffer houses that are the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death, to entertain the harlot and the young man void of understanding, they are responsible for the wreck of morals, and the ruin of souls there made. It is They who will have to

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

answer for the many wounded, yea, the strong men slain there, and those guests in the depths of hell!

The plea of virtue and humanity in respect to what is called a "necessary evil" like this, is, that the prevalence of an acknowledged vice, and the consequent lucrativeness of pandering to it in seaport towns, are no good reason for letting off or lightly punishing one found guilty of it. If a crime were of such a nature that nobody would ever be tempted to repeat it, that circumstance might fairly be urged in bar of any severe or exemplary punishment therefor; but to hold the proneness of depraved humanity to any vice an excuse for those, who deliberately devote their lives to its extension and facilitation, making it a source of affluence, as many do in cities, and living in luxury upon its filthy profits; or to argue gravely that brothels are a necessary consequence of the growth of cities, and cannot therefore be suppressed, this is a perversion of equity and good policy little short of monstrous.

Such reasoning would subvert all morality and virtue whatever, and would excuse any crime, let it be but common, fashionable, and well fortified. Yea, 'twould "sugar o'er the devil himself," and all his devices.

We commend to honorable magistrates at Honolulu and elsewhere the reasonings of the Duke in the moral play called Measure for Measure:

We have strict statutes, and most biting laws,
Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep;
Even, like an overgrown lion in a cave,
That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,

Having bound up the threatening twigs of birch,

Only to stick it in their children's sight

For terror, not for use; in time the rod

Becomes more mocked than feared: So our decreet,

Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead,

And liberty plucks justice by the nose;

The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart

Goes all decorum.

Correction And Instruction Must Both Work,

Ekk TUIS RUDE BEAST WILL PROFIT.

[merged small][ocr errors]

CHAPTER XIII.

RETROSPECTIVE VIEW OF A QUARTER CENTURY IN THE HEART OF THE PACIFIC.

God be with thee, gladsome Ocean!

How gladly greet I thee once more—
Ships and waves, and ceaseless motion,

And men rejoicing on thy shore!
O ye hopes, that stir within me,

Health comes with you from above!
God is with me, God is in me!

I cannot die, if life be love.

S. T. Coleridge.

We join ship and weigh anchor—Life and the world seen from below and from aloft— Differences in the view made by differences in the position and persona] estate of the beholder—Light from eternity colored by the stained glass of the mind—Hope for the convalescent—Holding a telescope to the past—The great landmarks—Astonishing statistics of progress—Consecutive review of civilization and Christianity in the Heart of the Pacific—Detail of results and fruits, economic, literary, and religiousWork to be done projected—True relation and uses of the Sandwich Islands to America—Necessary leaning of the one upon the other for years to come—Disastrous effects to be apprehended if the prop should be withdrawn—The true policy of the Christian Church in the missionary enterprise—Purposes of Providence in the Island World—Chain of events—Outlook upon the future—Probable type of society—Transplanted Puritanism—Strict Sabbath-keeping—Anecdote of the governor of Oahu— Facts illustrative of national habits—First law the Decalogue—A change too greet to be credited—To whom and what the people ascribe it—Unbounded confidence reposed in their religious teachers—First experiments by the chiefs—Fruits of the trial—Unparalleled instance of amoral ascendency—Illustrative anecdote of the present king—Traducers silenced and put to shame—Position of dignity and eminence— How attained and the ends to be answered by it—Relations of the Hawaiian Islands to China, California, Mexico, and South America—Vista of futurity opened—Conjectures ventured—Ground of their fulfilment—Falsehoods met—Shafts of calumny repelled—Counter testimony—Historians noticed—Volume concluded.

He who has had much experience of suffering and sorrow,' who has walked thoughtfully a while in the valley of humiliation and adversity, after treading with eager hope and ambition the heights of prosperity, or the broad table-land of ordinary success, has learned how differently human life and the world look, from the contrasted points of elevation and depression.

The difference is not greater between a wide midsummer landscape, viewed from some commanding eminence, stretching away on one side into the distant mellow haze of noon-tide, and on the other half hidden, but its beauty not marred, by interposing drifts of vapor; and a part of that landscape seen close at hand from some exposed nook in the same, where the clouds are dropping a drizzling rain, where distance, that lent to the view its enchantment, has passed into plain reality, and things appear barren and bare as they are, under all the circumstances of discomfort and disadvantage that invest the place of the beholder.

There are few thinking men who have lived long, that are so happy as not to know what a change is made in the aspect of things outward, by changing spirits, feelings, health, and moods of mind. There are few who have not sojourned a while both in the lights and shades of human life. Invisibilia non decipiunt / but the things of time and sense, plans and prospects of life, the aspects and colors of the world, all the dear objects of human pursuit, continually change and delude.

Even the best of men, whose faith in eternal realities is constant, whose hope is steadfast in God, who have learned to put under feet the lying vanities of time, and to walk by a light from eternity, whose eye is cast up

« PreviousContinue »