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We desire, at the same time, to revive the memory, and to renew and strengthen the feeling, of that fraternal union which subsisted between our predecessors now gone to their rest, and the Founders of your Institution; and while we continue to remember and highly to esteem the latter, and the Missionaries whom they were instrumental in sending forth to the islands of the Southern Pacific, as some of the earliest and most honoured of our fellowlabourers in the field of the heathen world, to assure you, that we have not only shared the encouragements, and rejoiced at the success, vouchsafed to your Society and its messengers, but have also sympathised deeply in your occasional disappointments, difficulties, and trials.
At the present crisis, we feel especially called upon to offer you the assurance of our heartfelt participation in the distress and anxiety, which the intelligence lately received from Tahiti has caused the members of your Board, and the whole body of well-wishers to that Mission, embracing, as we rejoice to know, persons of every class of society, and of every religious denomination in these realms. Most ferrently do we unite our supplications with your own, and with those of all our dear Christian brethren, that that gracious Saviour, to whom all power is given both in heaven and on earth, and who is the sure refuge of his people, and their helper in time of need, may be pleased to interpose for the protection, the coinfort, and the spiritual refreshment, of the members of the Tahitian churches, to avert, or, if this be inconsistent with his wise and merciful purpose, to sanctify the trial, which appears to be impending over them; and to make it evident to all men that," he who toucheth His servants, toucheth the apple of His eye.”
We salute you, with cordial affection and esteem, and remain, dear brethren, in the fellowship of our only Lord and Master,
Your faithful brethren and fellow-servants,
W. ELLIS, Chairman,
The Committee of the Church Missionary Society, have also expressed on the painful occasion their cordial Christian sympathy and regard in the following appropriate Resolution
That the Committee have received with extreme regret, the tidings of the
aggression of the French on the Island of Tahiti, and of the forcible introduction of Romish Priests into one of the most flourishing fields of Protestant Missionary enterprise ; that the Committee are desirous of expressing their deep sympathy with the Directors and Supporters of the London Missionary Society, under the present discouraging aspect of a Mission in which their labours have been hitherto crowned with so large a measure of success, and which has been the centre for the diffusion of Evangelical truth into many of the surrounding groups of Islands; and that they would at the same time express their earnest hope and prayer that the light of Christianity, which has by the good providence of God been kindled on the distant shores of Tahiti, may yet be preserved from the corruptions of an apostate church.
Extracted from the Minutes, April 10, 1843,
D. COATES, Secretary, C.M.S.
It will doubtless increase the pleasure of the Members of our Society to learn that, in addition to the preceding expressions of regard from the different sections of the Missionary Church in our own country, the subjoined com
munications have been received from our brethren on the Continent : the first from the Paris MissioNARY SOCIETY; the second from the EvaNGELICAL SOCIETY OF Geneva.
Paris, 23rd March, 1843. HONOURED BRETHREN IN Jesus Christ,– You cannot doubt the sentiments of genuine and lively sympathy with which we have received the intelligence of the events which present so threatening an aspect towards your missions in the Pacific. Our alarms have not been less sensible, nor our grief less profound, than if these proceedings affected the interests of a mission founded by ourselves. feel anxious to avail ourselves of the earliest opportunity, to testify the sincere interest we take in the novel position in which you are placed in reference to these islands, where your missionaries have expended, during so many years, and with so much success, their strength and their lives. We are so weak and insig. nificant, that our influence could not be of much use to you ; but, if you judge that under existing circumstances, our Society could render you the slightest assistance, we are at your service. We should be happy to show, otherwise than by words of condolence, that your labours have ever been dear to us, and what an especial value we attach to them at the present moment.
In this assurance, we remain,
In the name of the Committee,
Oratory, April 15, 1843.
TO THE DIRECTORS OF THE LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
Dear BRETHREN.- We have keenly felt the blow which the Papacy has struck at the interesting missions of Otaheite, and, through them, at the whole Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. You do not suffer alone, dear brethren : we, your brethren throughout the Continent, all suffer with you.
In this unprecedented transaction we see not only a fearful blow levelled against Missions, but likewise the first victory of the modern Papacy united anew with the powers of the earth.
We have just printed a letter addressed to every Missionary Society, and the Evangelical Institutions of the Continent, which you will receive within a few days.
The letter concludes with these words :
“ We propose, then, dear brethren, thal you and your friends set apart a day for prayer, in order that earnest supplications may be presented to the Head of the Church :
“1. To deliver our brethren in the South Sea Islands, and the whole Church, from the attempts of the Papacy.
“ 2. To pour his Holy Spirit from on high on all the Evangelical Churches, and to unite them by a living faith.
“ 3. To endow all Christians, and particularly Pastors and Evangelists, with decision and courage to resist Rome, and to advance the glorious reign of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God.
“4. To speedily consume by the Spirit of his mouth' (2 Thess. ij. 8) the deadly errors of the Papacy; to break the yoke which she has imposed upon the necks of so many people ; and to lead by his counsel the souls whom she would estrange from Christ, and who ought to be dear unto us, into the glorious liberty of the children of God."
“ We invite you at the same time to recommend these objects and these prayers to those who, in connexion with you, may, during the ensuing six months, preside at the Monthly Missionary Prayer Meetings, on the first Monday in the month ; or any other day established among you.
“ Finally, we ask if the present would not be the right time to form a Society -a confederation-for the purpose of prayer, similar to those formerly foundedin Holland, for South Africa—in England, for the Society Isles; and which were attended with extraordinary conversions in those distant lands ? We can do every thing by prayer."
Will you, then, dear brethren, appoint a day, (perhaps in the second half of May,) which might be set apart for these special objects of prayer? We thought it devolved rather upon you than us to arrange the time. In drawing down the Divine benediction upon our work, and upon the Church, this prayer-meeting would also serve, we may hope, to unite more intimately all the members of the body of Christ upon the Continent, and in the British Isles.
You have done quite right, so far as we can judge, in bringing the matter before Parliament. But do not let us forget that our strength is in God, by humiliation, faith, prayer, in union with all sincere Christians. Especially, we do not doubt that you will enjoy the sympathy, on this occasion, of evangelical members and ministers of the Church of England. Inferior considerations ought no longer to separate us. May all who glory alone in Jesus Christ be united against the Papacy!
Receive, dear brethren, the expression of our affectionate regards, and may
CHARLES GAUTIER, President.
On receiving this interesting proposal, the Directors, after deliberation, cordially adopted the following Resolution, in the earnest hope that it will receive the cheerful concurrence of all the friends of Protestant Christian Missions, to whom it is addressed :
“ That, in accordance with the invitation of their Christian brethren in Genera, the Directors hereby recommend to the different sections of the Protestant Christian Church in Britain, and on the Continent of Europe ; and to the Members of this Society in particular, to set apart MONDAY JUNE 5TH, as a season of united and solemn prayer to the God of all grace for his special blessing, to ensure the accomplishment of the important object proposed in the address of the Evangelical Society of Geneva ; namely,
“ 1. To deliver our brethren in the South Sea Islands, and the whole Church, from the attempts of the Papacy.
“2. To pour his Holy Spirit from on high on all the Evangelical Churches, and to unite them by a living faith.
"3. To endow all Christians, and particularly Pastors and Evangelists, with decision and courage to resist Rome, and to advance the glorious reign of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God.
" 4. To speedily consume by the Spirit of his mouth' (2 Thess. ii. 8) the deadly errors of the Papacy ; to break the yoke which she has imposed upon the necks of so many people ; and to lead by his counsel the souls whom she would estrange from Christ, and who ought to be dear unto us, into the glorious liberty of the children of God."
PUBLIC MEETING, EXETER HALL, April 12, 1843.
FRENCH USURPATION IN TAHITI. The Directors have already communicated, to their friends throughout the country, the leading features of the recent intelligence respecting the arbitrary and flagitious proceedings of the French naval force, prompted by Popish intolerance and ambition, in the Island of Tahiti. Since the arrival of these deeply painful tidings, the subject has almost wholly engrossed the attention of the Directors; and, in dependence on the Most High, they have adopted every practicable measure which, in their judgment, appeared likely to operate as a means of rescuing this fair portion of their Polynesian Mission from the fearful calamity which has befallen it. With the co-operation of other Missionary bodies, they have communicated, by deputation and otherwise, with members of Government and of the Legislature, in the strong hope of securing the attainment of their object. Among other means suggested by the exigencies of the case, a Public Meeting of the friends of Protestant Missions was held at Exeter Hall, on Wednesday, April 12, for the purpose, as previously announced, “ of adopting measures urgently required by the recent aggressions of the French on Tahiti, and for securing the general interests of British Missions in the Islands of the South Pacific.” The following Report of that Meeting we have great satisfaction in presenting to our readers, in the full assurance that it will exercise a powerful influence on their minds in favour of the object for which it was convened, and tend effectully to engage their active and benevolent sympathies on behalf of a cause so closely identified with the universal interests of truth and righteous
Charles Hindley, Esq., M.P., presided. The services were commenced by singing a hymn, after which the Rev. John Beecham, Secretary of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, engaged in prayer.
The CAAIRMAN then rose and said, - Tahiti was one of the first scenes of MisSince I consented to take the chair, I bave, sionary exertion. For eighteen years, the so far as I had the opportunity, made my- Agents of the London Missionary Society self acquainted with the topics now to laboured there without seeing much fruit ; engage your attention. You are aware that but suddenly the blossom and the fruit we are convened in consequence of the appeared together, and we were honoured recent aggression by the French on the to behold an exemplification of the fulfilisland of Tahiti. This is partly a political, ment of the prophecy that a nation should and partly a religious subject; and I beg be born in a day. I am sure that the inthat, as this is a meeting of the friends of telligence from Tahiti, from 1815, gave deProtestant Missions, you will allow me, as light not only to the London Missionary a British citizen, and as a human being, to Society, but to every bosom rightly imbued express my opinions, either as it regards the with the love of Christ. We have rejoiced general interests of mankind, and the rights in the success of their labours. All Chris. of citizenship whether in England, France, tendom has rejoiced to see that tbis Soor Tahiti, or as it regards the interests of ciety was planting the standard of the Cross religion. You are aware that the island of there, and that both princes and peasants
were gradually becoming, not only nominally, but practically Christians.
After reading an account of the successive aggressions of the French on Tabiti, from 1830 to 1842, as published in the Missionary Magazine for April, and the pamphlet recently issued by the Directors, the Chairman continued :
This statement I believe to be correct; and, of course, any observations which i make will be founded upon my conviction of its truth. Now then, for what
we met here? We cannot speaking now as an English citizen, and as a man desirous to see the principles of justice maintained-we cannot object to the Queen of Tahiti placing herself, if she chooses, under French protection ; but we have a right to ask, whether the Queen has been allowed the exercise of her free-will in making this choice? We have not a right to say that she shall be under one influence or another; but we have a right, as an independent country, to say that she shall not be placed under French domination. It may be in the recollection of the meeting, that an application was formerly made by the late Kiog Pomare, to be placed under British protection, and for that purpose to be allowed to use the British flag. Mr. Canning replied, that the King of England could not allow him to use the English flag, but that he would be happy to afford him all the protection which could be granted to an island situated at so great a distance from our country. I contend, therefore, we were in a kind of alliance with the Queen of tbe island, and on that ground we are bouod to afford her our protection. The principles of justice it is desirable for all nations to recognise. We shall be told, perhaps, not to trouble ourselves with the matter-your Missionaries, it may be said, will still be respected, and allowed to ful. fil the duties of their station. It is true that we have a right to demand protection, notwithstanding what has happened; but what I wish to know is, whether this is a just mode of taking possession of the island. We have a right to ask our Government to press that point upon the attention of the Government of France. We have a right to ask them, whether they have properly respected the freedom of judgment in this matter. An application like this might be safely made to any Government. I think we might refer the matter to the mediation of any friendly power-I think we might confidently appeal even to the French Government itself. Can it be consistent with the honour of such a country as France, that she should exercise her power in committing such injustice as this? Certainly not.
We should not, by any means, wish to draw our Government into war, or any
difficulties of this kind. The Missionaries have preached the Gospel of peace in the islands, and we maintain the principles of peace at home. While we are extremely desirous that our Government should show that firmness and determination which always characterise a people who hold peace. ful principles, yet we do not desire them to threaten the French in any way whatever. I know that there is a jealousy on the part of the French as to our Colonies. They may think that we who have planted our standard in almost every isle and continent of the whole world, ought to be the last to object to French colonization. Do not let us be misunderstood. The French may colonize wherever they legitimately can do it; all we say is, Do not deal unjustly with the Queen of Tahiti; do not take ber islands by force, and then misrepresent the facts. If Queen Pomare desires to be under your protection, then we must abandon our point; but if, on the contrary, she has been induced by threats and intimidation to ask for your protection, it cannot be to the interest or the honour of France to possess a colony at such a great moral expense.
The Rev. Dr. VAUGHAN said, 1 rise to move the following resolution
"That this meeting, representing different sections of the Protestant Christian Church of Britain, has received, with feelings of the deepest sorrow and the strongest reprehension, the intelligence of the unjust assumption of sovereignty by the French Power in the island of Tahiti, and the establishment by force of the system of Popery in that island; that it regards the Treaty by which the Native Government was constrained to sacrifice its independence as the result solely of extortion and violence-means no less at variance with the character of a brave and gallant nation than with the principles of political and social justice. And alThough this meeting, confiding in the omnipotence of truth, and the sure support of its Divine Author, utterly repudiates the principle of restriction and coercion towards other systems of religious belie! for the purpose of upholding exclusively the interests of Protestantism, it cannot but regard the imposition of Popery by the arms of France on the christianized natives of Polynesia, as the grossest violation of religious liberty, and as evincing a spirit of proselytism rather than the power of Christian benevolence. That against these acts of violence and injustice, this meeting hereby records its decided and solemn protest; while it still indulges the hope that no motive will induce the Government of France to compromise its honour by confirming the aggression of its Admiral upon a defenceless people--a proceeding which could not fail greatly to weaken those feelings of sincere good-will and amity, which are cherished towards France by the best classes of the English people, and to awaken throughout the Protestant world astonishment, grief, and indignation." It is well known that nearly half a century ago the first Protestant Missionary planted his foot upon the soil of Poly. nesia, and that during that interval a large space of the country there has been recovered from the lowest conceivable state of barbarism, and raised to a high state of comparative civilization; and that in effect