Such were the achievements which could be thankfully recounted by the end of 1869.
The last eighteen months. 1870-1871.
The prosperous days of every life pass away at last. Suffering and sorrow, failure and reverse are sure to await all who live out anything like their term of years, and the missionary is perhaps more liable than other men to meet with a great disappointment. ’Success but signifies vicissitude,’ and looking at the history of the growth of the Church, it is impossible not to observe that almost in all cases, immediately upon any extensive progress, there has followed what seems like a strong effort of the Evil One at its frustration, either by external persecution, reaction of heathenism, or, most fatally and frequently during the last 300 years, from the reckless misdoings of unscrupulous sailors and colonists. The West Indies, Japan, America, all have the same shameful tale to tell—what wonder if the same shadow were to be cast over the Isles of the South?
It is one of the misfortunes, perhaps the temptations of this modern world, that two of its chief necessaries, sugar and cotton, require a climate too hot for the labour of men who have intelligence enough to grow and export them on a large scale, and who are therefore compelled, as they consider, to employ the forced toil of races able to endure heat. The Australian colony of Queensland is unfit to produce wheat, but well able to grow sugar, and the islands of Fiji, which the natives have implored England to annex, have become the resort of numerous planters and speculators. There were 300 white inhabitants in the latter at the time of the visit of the ‘Curacoa’ in 1865. In 1871 the numbers were from 5,000 to 6,000. Large sheep farms have been laid out, and sugar plantations established.
South Sea Islanders are found to have much of the negro toughness and docility, and, as has been seen, when away from their homes they are easily amenable, and generally pleasant in manner, and intelligent. Often too they have a spirit of enterprise, which makes them willing to leave home, or some feud with a neighbour renders it convenient. Thus the earlier planters did not find it difficult to procure willing labourers, chiefly from those southern New Hebrides, Anaiteum, Tanna, Erromango, &c., which were already accustomed to intercourse with sandal-wood traders, had resident Scottish or London missionaries, and might have a fair understanding of what they were undertaking.