Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/277

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
245
WORKING ON STONY GROUND.

Protectorate is merely nominal, and nothing in the way of improvement flourishes.

As I before mentioned, the first attempt of the London Mission to establish a footing here failed signally.

In 1797, two Englishmen—Messrs Crook and Harris—were sent out to try and establish a footing in the Marquesas. Harris found his heart fail at the dangers and horrors of the position, so he returned at once to Tahiti. Mr Crook worked alone for a year, and then returned to England in search of helpers. He does not seem to have resumed his dangerous post for some years, and then merely visited the group. Meanwhile Tahitian converts were sent out as teachers, but without much success, so they returned to Tahiti. Others took up the work, and also failed to maintain their ground.

In 1833, three American missionaries left the Sandwich Isles, accompanied by their wives, and contrived to endure eight months in Nukuheva, endeavouring to tame and Christianise its brutal savages; but they also had to give up the attempt.

In 1834, a fresh party of English missionaries renewed the effort, and struggled on till about 1840, when the London Mission finally abandoned the field.

But in 1853, a Marquesan chief, Matanui, came to the Sandwich Isles in a whale-ship, and requested that teachers should be sent to his people. Thereupon Mr Bicknell, an Englishman, accompanied by four Hawaiian teachers and their wives, agreed to return with him to his island, Fatuhiva. Five days after they arrived, a French brig anchored there, bringing a Catholic priest, who demanded that they should be at once sent away, and declared that the Marquesas belonged to France, and that no English teacher would be tolerated. This statement was at once denied by the chiefs, who refused to dismiss their teachers, though they by no means yielded implicit obedience to their lessons, or even treated them with uniform kindness. Nevertheless the Hawaiian teachers have held their ground, and though discouraged and oppressed, they have continued to work silently but steadily, training native teachers from among their converts, establishing boarding schools,