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Chapter XVIII


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Chapter XVIII (continued)

grand daughter was the most intimate friend of Aimata, the Queen. Of course, the new dangers were common to them all.

Fifty years ago, everyone in the civilised world knew that, in 1836, two French missionaries landed at Tahiti to convert, not pagans but Protestant Christians, to the faith of Rome. The missionaries who ruled Tahiti, indignant at this interference, invoked the aid of the British Consul Pritchard, who caused the Queen to order their arrest and expulsion. The order was executed Dec. 12, 1836.

The two French missionaries made a protest to their government, and King Louis Philippe sent a frigate to Papeete with the usual message of great powers to little ones,-- an ultimatum, to which the Queen naturally acceded, as small powers always have done, and always must do, before great ones.

Then began a struggle on the part of Consul Pritchard and the London missionaries to recover their ground, which led to a letter from Queen Pomare to Queen Victoria suggesting a British protectorate, whereupon the French government sent another frigate to Tahiti, in 1839, and made Aimata repeat her submission.

As the British government had at that time very little sentiment about missionaries, and Sir Robert Peel had a very precise knowledge of the value of unclaimed islands all over the world, Queen Victoria did not accept the advance made by Pomare, and the missionaries were again thrown on their own resources. Then the chiefs broke loose from the missionaries, and in September, 1841, decided that, between such masters as England and France, they could not hope to maintain independence or even a good understanding; and since England would not undertake to protect them, they Would try to obtain protection from France. So they drew up the necessary papers for the Queen to approve; but a British frigate arrived at that moment, and this reinforcement of the British interest decided Aimata to refuse to sign.

The next August another French squadron arrived, and the chiefs

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© Derived from the revised Paris edition of 1901 page 179, 2004
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