Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/138

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condition as Captain Cook found them, when they rushed on his men "like savage boars," which was their invariable reception of all outsiders—not of white men only (though these were invariably repulsed), but also of men whose canoes chanced to drift from Tonga or Samoa, or even of their own countrymen who had left the island and returned. All such were invariably killed, chiefly from a dread lest they should introduce foreign diseases. So great was this fear, that even when they did venture to begin trading, they would not use anything obtained from ships till it had been hung in quarantine in the bush for weeks.

For sixty years after Captain Cook's visit, these 4000 very exclusive savages adhered to their determination that no stranger should ever live on their isle. At the end of that time they agreed to allow Samoan teachers to settle among them; and so successful has been the work of these men, that the island is now peopled with model Christians. No more wars, no fightings, no thefts, but a peaceful and happy community (sufficiently) "clothed and in their right mind;" living in good houses of the Samoan type, instead of filthy huts; assembling for school and worship in large suitable buildings, and with abundant leisure to cultivate the soil and prepare the arrowroot and other produce, with which to purchase not only calico, hatchets, knives, &c., but also copies of the Scriptures, hymns, and commentaries, translated into the Savage Island dialect by the Samoan teachers, and printed at Apia.

Like the Tongans, these very sensible savages have discovered a means of making criminals really useful to the community. For theft and all other offences, the chief sentences the offender to make so many fathoms of road of neatly laid blocks of coral, filled in with small stones, and covered with a level layer of earth. Thus a good road, shaded by a double row of cocoa-palms, now encircles the isle—a circuit of perhaps fifty miles.

Do you think that Captain Cook would now recognise his "wild boars"?

In like manner, when Dr Turner first visited the Loyalty Isles, of which New Caledonia is the principal isle, he found hideous