THE SANDWICH ISLANDS.*
THERE is scarcely another country in the world to which so much intrinsic interest attaches as to those little spots of earth, in the midst of the vast Pacific sea, known as the Sandwich Islands. Lifted up by volcanic agencies from the ocean bed, with but a thin crust of soil, or lava, between the living air and the ever- lasting fires of the globe, the very existence of these isles is full of marvel and of mystery, and their aspect like a glance into an un- finished world. Lofty peaks, capped with perpetual snow, hide Hawaii; the Past, Present, and Future of its Island Kingdom. By Manley Hop- kins, Harridan Consul-General. London: Longrnans. 1866.
their heads in the clouds, and immense craters, more gigantic than any on the planet, vomit forth eternal fires ; while at the side of all this terrible grandeur there are smiling valleys, thick with flowers, with palm groves, with herds of cattle, and with such crowds of boisterous, merry, and altogether childlike human beings as have not their like among the races of the earth. The study of the physical character of the Sandwich Islands is wonderfully in- teresting, but far more so is that of the strange fragment of humanity dwelling there, and to all appearance destined soon to perish. It offers a wonderful miniature field for scientific flights of imagination as to the rise and decay of races. There is a flavour of ancient Greece about the handful of people of the Sandwich Islands, who twine garlands round their brows and seem lost in the worship of beauty ; but there is also on them the stamp of the African savage, only a step above the brute creation. It is impossible not to follow with deep interest the grave ques- tions started by the Hawaian Consul-General. " How has this people arrived at its present status ? Has it been by progression or retrogression ? Have they advanced from a somewhat gorilla condition, such as still holds the Earthmen of Africa, or have de- grading influences been at work, and marred gradually the goodly image which the Creator formed? Are we to hold with Mon- boddo, the Vestiges, and Darwin, or with the more glowing belief of South, that Aristotle was but the ruin of an Adam, and Athens only the rudiments of Eden ?"
Mr. Manley Hopkins furnishes a striking reply to these questions, as far as the people of the Sandwich Islands are concerned. In his work on Hawaii—a far better name, we think, than the horrible "Sandwich," bestowed by Captain Cook, in honour of a noble patron—he sketches, in the most attractive manner and with singular clearness of view, the history of the little island group, from the time that Europeans first set foot thereon to the present clay, and arrives at some remarkable con- clusions. " Christianity," he says, has now been on its trial in Hawaii for forty years ; during all that time its exponents have been United States missionaries of the Congregational or Inde- pendent denomination." "Forty years," be adds, " afford a fair opportunity of observing what life and potentiality there may be in the largest and most forcible form of dissent, unimpeded for the greater part of that time by any rival or antagonist, and unfettered by any open connection with the State." The net result, expressed in facts and figures, has been that the Hawaian population has declined from 400,000, at which number they were estimated by Captain Cook, to less than 70,000, with the high probability that at the end of another generation there will not be a single native left. Mr. Manley Hopkins is far from attributing to " Chris- tianity "this frightful decay of a fine race, endowed with many ami- able qualities, but he adduces strong facts and arguments to prove that the peculiar " exponents" of our faith have a large share of blame to bear, inasmuch as they succeeded to " missionarize " the Hawaian Government, and thus became the political rulers of the country, as well as its religious teachers. The charges made by Mr. Manley Hopkins against the American missionaries are summed up in these words :—" They have not truly Christianized or regenerated the nation. Their proceedings have been attended with grave and obvious faults. They have been wrong iu their presentment of Christianity to the native mind. They have presented Christianity as a severe, legal, Jewish religion, deprived of its dignity, beauty, tenderness, and amiability. They have not made the people love religion. Like the Jewish Law, their system has been the office of a pedagogue leading children to the school of Christ ; but the scholars have attended His porch reluctantly, and have gladly escaped from His teaching. In their rigorous sabba- tarian view of the Lord's Day, in their desire to inforce a Maine liquor law, and in some other matters, they have attempted to infringe on the natural rights of men. They have been wrong in their hot-house plan of forcing Christianity on an unprepared people, endeavouring to make them run before they could walk, or even stand alone ; pouring water out of buckets on small- mouthed phials ; and by using the means of secular punishments and espionage, converting the nation into hypocrites instead of Christians." This seems strong language ; but the Hawaian Consul-General thoroughly justifies it in the account he gives of the rise and progress of that peculiar form of the religion of Christ preached by American missionaries. The tale of these missionary doings is very striking, and the more important, as it forms the modern history of the people of the Sandwich Islands.
Hawaii was a wonderfully good field for missionary enterprise when the messengers from the United States arrived there for the first time, early in 1820. The natives had just destroyed their last set of idols ; the priests themselves, in want of a holiday, had shut up their temples, and helped to barn the gods ; and for the time being the people of the fairy islands were absolutely without any religion. The pioneers of Christianity, men of Boston, Mas- sachusetts, accompanied bytheir wives, were received with the great- est kindness, and even the chief of the old religion, temporarily sus- pended, greeted them cordially as "brother priests." The only thing objected to by the tasteful Hawaians was the dress of the Chris- tian women. Their poke bonnets, described by the people as " hats with spouts," looked decidedly nkly at the side of the beau- tiful wreaths of flowers with which the wives and maidens of the islands ornamented their heads, and their stiff-starched gowns had the effect of almost frightening the natives. However, they showed themselves most eager to profit by the teaching of the aries," says Mr. Manley Hopkins, "seem at once to have announced the deepest metaphysical mysteries that are the objects of our faith, to a race whose language was peculiarly deficient in words expressing abstract ideas, who had not even a name for gratitude, and whose poor earth-bound faculties could only see things in a very direct aspect. When therefore the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was enlarged upon by the American ministers, we do not wonder that sad confusion was induced in respect to the Hypos- tasis, and that no nearer approach to the truth could be reached by the people than that the whites worshipped three separate Gods, to whom were given the names of three of their own discarded deities." The old truth, that mere education, unaccompanied by moral improvement, is not always a benefit, either to in- dividuals or nations, was once more shown in Hawaii. The missionaries taught every man, woman, and child to read and write, in fact got outward education to be as perfect as in Prussia, yet, as soon became apparent, did thereby not at all raise the character of the people, bat rather debased it by making it more cunning and hypocritical, and less affectionate. The Prussian 'functionary system indeed was pushed so far that attempts were perseveringly carried out to make the natives not only learned and clever, but wise and virtuous, by police regulations. " The American missionaries, and the native Government actuated by the missionaries, threw themselves uninquiringly and at once into a crusade against the prevailing licentiousness of the people. Fines, imprisonment, severe labour, and informers were the weapons of their warfare. A great apparent change was rapidly effected. They clothed and converted the natives, and they produced not, alas ! a regenerated people, but a nation of hypocrites. It is no difficulty to-the Hawaians to dissemble ; simulation and dissimula- tion are dramatic costumes they readily assume. They not only seemed to do what the missionaries required, but they imitated the manner, tones, and the very appearance of the missionaries them- selves, in fact they were admirable mimics. The missionaries' gesture and intonation, their soft feline style of approach, their very seat in the saddle, the sun-burnt black suit, all were exactly counterfeited ; nothing escaped them." For years the conversion of the Sandwich islanders was considered the triumph of mis- sionary enterprise, until the fatal fact became known that the new Christians were a doomed race—doomed to perish by what is called civilization.
The statistics of the decline of the Hawaian race are positively frightful, and we believe almost unparalleled in modern history. In 1823, three years after the arrival of the American missionaries, the population of the islands was estimated at from 130,000 to 150,000 souls, while twenty-five years later, in 1848, there were not more than 80,000 inhabitants. The census of 1853 gave the total population at but 73,137, of whom 2,118 were foreigners, while the enumeration of 1860 showed a further decline to 69,800, namely, 67,084 natives and 2,716 foreigners. Thus there was a decrease of 3,337 individuals, or nearly 5 per cent., in the course of seven years. What increases the terrible meaning of these figures is, that the women are dying out much faster than the men, the excess of males over females amounting at the census of 1860 to not less than 6,198. It seems but too probable therefore that, as prophesied by Mr. Manley Hopkins, " the unmixed Hawaian race will follow the Dodo, and be extinguished within the term of our own generation." The missionaries appear yet to entertain a hope of regeneration by means of police and hard work. But what on earth can ever induce a people to work in a country where, as stated by Mr. Hopkins, "a taro pit, having the area of an ordinary dressing-room, will keep a man in food the whole year." Even a London sub-editor would go on strike under these condi- tions. Mr. Hopkins seems inclined to look upon the prostitution of the women as one of the great causes of the decline of the race, but it appears very doubtful whether this• is not rather a consequence than a cause. However, he quotes a passage from a pamphlet by
Mr. A. Simpson which sums up the whole of this painful question. " Many will attribute," says Mr. Simpson, " this decrease entirely to the intercourse with men from civilized lands, and that doubt- less has had much effect in one respect—the introduction of disease, which, from the universal licentiousness of the people, haw
been widely disseminated But the oppressive system of government, the discontinuance of ancient sports and consequent change in the habits of the people, have been powerful agents in this work of depopulation, and the ill-judged enforcement of cruel punishments and heavy penalties for breaches of chastity have much aided it, by giving an additional stimulus to the practice, always too common among Polynesian females, of causing abortion, of which practice sterility is the natural result." What seems almost incredi- strangers, wild as it sounded to untutored ears. " The mission- I ble—incredible at least to all who do not know the Record—is that the missionary party in Hawaii even oppose measures for put- ting a stop to prostitution and effecting a cure of the terrible disease above alluded to, by means of municipal regulations and hospitals. The Missionary Journal, says Mr. Manley Hopkins, " can see no distinction between regulating a vicious condition of society and the open encouragement and legislation of vice. It views the syphilitic ward of the Queen's Hospital as a direct premium for the continuance of a state of things which the legislature ought, in its opinion, to have made vauish with a magician's wand, or to have exorcised with an apostle's power. It shuts its eyes to the absolute benefits which the community has already received from medical treatment of the disease, in its terrible and destructive effects. It. demands war to the knife against sin and the siuner—uninquiring condemnation and unpitying punishment." It is like an echo of well known voices, this Missionary Journal of the Pacific, which, curiously enough, does not call itself the Sandwich Record, but the Commercial Advertiser. Who would have recognized an old friend in such disguise ?
The modern history of the Sandwich Islands, as graphically written by Mr. Manley Hopkins, throws a strong light upon not a few of the social and political movements witnessed in these days. among so-called barbaric nations, in all quarters of the world, from New Zealand to India, and from the Cape of Good Hope to Japan. There is not a thing that requires closer watching on the part of all true Liberals, than the many curious manifestations of ambition and intolerance put forth as Missionary enterprise.