Page images
PDF
EPUB

pastoral care of the church in the absence of Mr. Richards, and the medical department for Maui. A building has been erected, and an upper room finished for a chapel, by the contributions of shipmasters and foreigners at Lahaina.

During one year, the Rev. Lorrin Andrews, for some years a missionary of the American Board, now in the employ of government, was engaged by the residents here to supply the desk. Two hundred and forty dollars were contributed by shipmasters and residents for his support. He labored, however, only on the Sabbath, and preached once the same day in a school-house to a little congregation of natives, in a remote part of Lahaina.

A man was needed to labor daily among the residents and seamen, who might come into personal rencontre, and employ what Dr. Beecher used to call the short-sword and dagger of personal conversation and Tract-giving. Through the providence of the American Seamen's Friend Society, such a laborer is now supplied in the person of Rev. Mr. Taylor, who has been stationed here since the year 1848 as the local seamen's chaplain. It will be in his power, through God's blessing, to preclude much sin and suffering on the part of those otherwise unfriended seamen, who, having no man to care for their souls, are likely to care little for themselves, except how they may secure the pleasures of sin for a season.

It was painful to go out among them here about sundown, when their liberty expires, and, drunk or sober,

HUMILIATING SCENES AT LAHAINA.

65

they must be off to their ships, or into the fort. Liquor and lust had by that time done their best to inflame many of them, and your ears would be shocked by ribald oaths, and the language of lewdness, caught up and repeated by native boys; and you would see some reeling to and fro at their wit's end, and hustled along by some less drunken comrade; and others without shame, caressed and hung upon by native girls, who flock here in the ship season, from other parts, to get the ready wages of sin. The populace of both sexes were out to see what was a-going, and to catch the contagion and cant of vice. It was a scene of vileness, disgust, and abomination, which no virtuous man, if possible, would see but once.

You seemed to behold busy devils scouting about one of the breathing-holes of hell, running into the drunken herd, and chuckling with Satanic glee over the human victims which they were making ten-fold more the children of hell than themselves. It was a sight to make a missionary weep, and any foreigner in whom virtue and shame have not become extinct,

To blush,
And hang his head to think himself a man ;

a countryman, perhaps, of those who were making themselves and the recent heathen so vile.

It ought to be added to this picture now, that, just after my visit at Lahaina, the sale of ardent spirits was prevented, and a great deal of mischief and vice stopped. The only license for its sale (which government deemed itself under the humiliating obligation to grant in consideration of the forced French treaty) was bid off at auction to a temperance man, with the tacit understanding that he should not be a loser, for the sum of $1500. In a riot just before, and a fight of the seamen with the native constables, the rioters for a time held the town, and it was found absolutely necessary for the safety of life and limb, and to preclude similar or worse scenes of riot and noise, that the one great mischief-breeder should be bound and rendered impotent. This port and Hilo are now probably the only two places in all the Pacific Ocean frequented by ships, where a sailor cannot get drunk. May the honorable difference never be lost through any fault of theirs !

It is highly amusing to a stranger to go out into the south part of this town, some day when the sea is rolling in heavily over the reef, and to observe there the evolutions and rapid career of a company of surf-players. The sport is so attractive and full of wild excitement to Hawaiians, and withal so healthful, that I cannot but hope it will be many years before civilization shall look it out of countenance, or make it disreputable to indulge in this manly, though it be dangerous, exercise.

Many a man from abroad who has witnessed this exhilarating play, has no doubt inly wished that he were free and able to share in it himself. For my

DIVERSIONS WITH THE SURF-BOARD.

67

part, I should like nothing better, if I could do it, than to get balanced on a board just before a great rushing wave, and so be hurried in half or quarter of a mile landward with the speed of a race-horse, all the time enveloped in foam and spray, but without letting the roller break and tumble over my head.

In this consists the strength of muscle and sleight-ofhand, to keep the head and shoulders just ahead and clear of the great crested wall that is every moment impending over one, and threatening to bury the bold surf-rider in its watery ruin. The natives do this with admirable intrepidity and skill, riding in, as it were, upon the neck and mane of their furious charger; and when you look to see them, their swift race run, dashed upon the rocks or sand, behold, they have slipped under the belly of the wave they rode, and are away outside, waiting for a cruise upon another.

Both men and women, girls and boys, have their times for this diversion. Even the huge Premier (Auhea) has been known to commit her bulky person to a surf-board; and the chiefs generally, when they visit Lahaina, take a turn or two at this invigorating sport with billows and board. For a more accurate idea of it than can be conveyed by any description, the reader is referred to the engraving.

I have no doubt it would run away with dyspepsia from many a bather at Rockaway or Easthampton, if they would learn, and dare to use a surf-board on those great Atlantic rollers, as the Hawaiians do on the waves of the Pacific. But there is wanting on the Atlantic sea-board that delicious, bland temperature of the water, which within the tropics, while it makes sea-bathing equally a tonic, renders it always safe.

The missionaries at these Islands, and foreigners generally, are greatly at fault in that they do not avail theinselves more of this easy and unequalled means of retaining health, or of restoring it when enfeebled. Bathing in fresh water, in a close bath-house, is not to be compared to it as an invigorating and remedial agent; and it is unwise, not to say criminal, in such a climate, to neglect so natural a way of preserving health, as washing and swimming in the sea. In those who live close to the water, and on the leeward side of the Islands, it is the more inexcusable, for it could be enjoyed without exposure in the dewless evenings; or in some places, a small house might be built on stone abutments over the water, and facilities so contrived that both sexes could enjoy this great luxury of a life within the tropics.

But we come back to Lahaina, to speak of a charming grove of young cocoanut-trees in the northwestern part of the town, planted by the excellent chief Hoapili, or Hoapiliwahine. They are not the tall, lank, ghostly-looking things which the full-grown tree is, that becomes at these Islands, from the places in which you most often see it, a synonym of desolation and sterility, but a luxuriant, youthful growth, more beautiful than

« PreviousContinue »