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COMMERCIAL VALUE OF CHRISTIANmr. 51
tianity there* which this wheelwright's first dollar helped to establish, Commerce, with all its boasted facilities, could never have returned him. the eighteen hundred. And the fact shows that, if men wish to invest their money where it will yield a dividend of eighteen hundred per cent., they had better put it into the treasury of Missions.
The religion of the Gospel is the only lever that can pry up the nations, and put them in the way of improvement by commerce and civilization. Christianity is itself the most perfect civilizer hitherto discovered. John Williams very truly remarks, that, until the peo
* The money-value of Christianity at the Sandwich Islands is further shown in these two facts. A plantation on the Island of Maui, which a few years ago cost less than $5000, has recently (in 1851) been sold for $30,000; and a small store-lot at Honolulu, purchased of a chief about the time of the arrival of the missionaries for a mere trifle, has lately sold for $10,000.
The gross domestic exports from the Islands in 1849 were valued at $103,743.74. In 1850, $380,323.63. Increase more than three-fold. Gross value [of imports in 1849, $729,730.44. In 1850, $1,053,053.70. Increase nearly two-fold. Number of vessels that visited the Islands in 1849 :—Merchant vessels, 180 ; whalers, 274; vessels of war, 13: total, 467. In 1850:—Merchant vessels, 469; whalers, 237; vessels of war, 14: total, 720. Value of supplies furnished these vessels in 1849, $81,340.00. In 1850, $140,000.00. Both the number of vessels and value of supplies nearly doubled in a year. The gross value of the supplies and exports for 1850 was $536,522.63. The exports of sugar increased from 653,820 lbs. in 1849, to 750,238 in 1850; of coffee, from 28,231 lbs. in 1849, to 208,428 in 1850; of Irish potatoes, from 858 bbls. in 1849, to 51,957 in 1850; of sweet potatoes, from 306 bbls. in 1849, to 9,631 in 1850.
The number of framed houses erected in Honolulu and vicinity during the year 1850 was three hundred and fifty.
pie are brought under the influence of religion, they have no desire for the arts and usages of civilized life; but that invariably creates it. While nations are under the power of their superstitions, tbey evince an inanity and torpor, from which no stimulus has proved powerful enough to arouse them, but the new ideas and new principles imparted by Christianity.
Was it that the savage Sandwich Islanders, in the days of Cook, did not discover God by the light of nature? Were not the invisible things of him from the creation of the world clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead?
Knew they not God ?—They might have seen
His beauty in the glorious green
Of these fair Isles, and heard his voice
In Nature's song, that bade Rejoice!
And witnessed in the soil they trod,
Heaved up in coral wonder—God!
And marked His footsteps, bathed in wrath,
On the volcano's fiery path.
But all in vain;—though every hill
Its Maker knew; each conscious rill,
Leaping and sparkling, told of Him;
Morn's blush, and Evening's twilight dim,
Proclaimed their God; though valleys rang,
And the blue-waved Pacific sang;
And mountain, mead, and rock replied,
"God! God!"—they heard not, raved, and died!—
God was not in all their thoughts until enthroned there by Christianity, brought in God's own providential time, and inaugurated in his own way in the Heart of the Pacific, so as best to answer the part to be fulfilled
by these Islands in the conquest of the entire Island World of the Pacific, and of the great continents that lie upon it, for the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is remarkable to notice how, in the providence of God, death to the first discoverer of the Sandwich Islands, and spiritual life to their depraved aborigines, should both issue instrumentally from the bosom of this Bay of Kealakekua. This was the birth-place of Opukahaia, or Obookiah, and it was his embarkation at this port, accidental as it seemed, in 1809, on board an American trader, that forged the important link in the chain of events which was finally completed in 1819, just ten years after, in the embarkation of the missionary band from Boston for Hawaii in the brig Thaddeus.
On board the American trader there was a pious student of Tale College, who took much pains on the voyage to America to instruct the tawny Hawaiian sailor in the rudiments of knowledge. Along with his companion, Thomas Hopu, he was taken, on their arrival, to New Haven, where the spark of missionary zeal may be said to have been first struck out, in the successful efforts of some of the students there, to initiate these youth into the elements of learning and Christianity. "The friends of Christ in New England were led to look upon these sons of Paganism, thus providentially brought to their doors, as having a claim for sympathy, care, and instruction in the Christian doctrine; and, in attempting to meet this claim, they cherished the reasonable hope that suitable efforts to enlighten and convert them would tend to the evangelization of their idolatrous nation."*
Aiming to secure the salvation of these strangers, and to make their agency available in disseminating the Gospel through heathen countries, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions established, in the year 1816, a trial school at Cornwall, Connecticut, for whatsoever sons of unevangelized barbarians they could gather together. Hereby was fanned the nascent flame of the Island Mission, which in due time was to irradiate the Heart of the Pacific with so wide a blaze.
Let us pause and mark here the hand of God. "The time of blessed visitation," says Hollis Read, "had come for the isles of the sea. The English churches had already taken of the spoil of their idols, and were rejoicing and being enriched by their conquests. The American Zion must participate in the honor and profit of the war. Hence Henry Obookiah, an obscure boy, without father or mother, kindred or tie, to bind him to . his native land, must be brought to our shores; be removed from place to place, from institution to institution, everywhere fanning into a flame the smoking flax of a missionary spirit, and giving it some definite direction; be made the occasion of rousing the slumbering energies of the Church on behalf of the heathen, and of kindling a spirit of prayer and benevolence in the hearts of God's people; and finally, and principally,
* Bingham's History of the Sandwich Islands, p. 57.
his short and interesting career, and perhaps, more than all, his widely lamented death, must originate and mature a scheme of missions to those Islands, the present aspect of which presents scenes of interest scarcely inferior to those of the apostolic age."*
The companion of Opukahaia, Thomas Hopu, I met at Kailua. He was then fifty-two years of age, and was the sixth man living of those that came from Cornwall, all but one of whom were then said to be in good standing in the church, although they had all been wayward and unstable.
He gave me a graphic account of sundry early adventures of his when a sailor, before he went to Cornwall: how he was the means of saving all on board the schooner he was in, when it was overset at sea, and the masts sprang out as she capsized. He dove under and bit off a rope that held the boat; then got it to the floating masts, and, freed of water, helped the crew into it, and rigged a sail out of the captain's shirt, through which, by a propitious Providence, they reached, just alive, one of the West Indies. Though a wicked sailor, he said he often prayed then to God in the Lord's Prayer, which he had learned while first going to America with Henry Opukahaia.
From the West Indies he shipped again to the United States; but it being the time of the last war with England, the brig was captured by a British cruiser not far from Newport, and carried into Tarpaulin Cove.
* Hand of God in History, by Hollis Read. Hartford, 1S49. P. 138.