The Marquesas Islands are a cluster in the South Pacific Ocean, five in number, lying between the Sandwich and the Society Islands, about 2,500 miles south-east of the former, and 1,000 north-east of the latter.
Though some attempts have been made to send the Gospel to these Islands, they still remain in all the guilt and darkness of
heathenism. In the year 1796, the London Missionary Society instructed Capt. Wilson, who carried the missionaries to the
Society Islands, to establish a mission at the Marquesas, if he thought it "practicable and expedient." Accordingly he reserved
two missionaries, and in June, 1797, they arrived at the Islands, but only one of the missionaries, Mr. Cook, was willing
to stay. He continued there a year, and suffered considerably, often from hunger. At the end of the year, while on board
a ship which had touched at the Island, he was driven off by a fresh
wind, and was unable to regain the shore. He ultimately returned to England, and the Mission was abandoned.
In 1822 the same Society sent the Rev. Messrs. Tyerman and Bennett to visit and examine their Missionary stations at the Society Islands. These gentlemen, some months after their arrival, selected two pious Taheitian chiefs, with their wives, with a view of establishing a mission at the Marquesas. On visiting those Islands, however, and seeing the situation of the American mission there, they thought it expedient to have the natives, whom they brought with them, remain there, and thus relinquished the mission at the Marquesas for the present.
Besides the subject of the following Memoir, two other natives of these Islands have been found in our country, and placed at the Mission School at Cornwall, but having feeble health on entering it, soon died.
THOMAS HAMITAH PATOO was born about the year 1804. His father seems to have been one of the principle men of the Island on which he resided, as he had servants and property to a considerable amount. His mother died while he was young, leaving four children: Thomas, a younger brother, and two sisters.
As he grew up he became acquainted with Americans, who occasionally called at the Island, and whose conversation created in him a strong desire to visit America, and especially Boston. His father had now married a second wife. Thomas asked his permission to go to America, and on being refused determined to run away. About the year 1818 an American ship lay off the shore ready to sail, and he now resolved to put his design into execution. He accordingly went, accompanied by his little brother, down to the beach, under pretence of fishing. He then sent his little brother home, jumped into a boat with some companions, and paddled for the ship. Before they had reached her, he saw his father following in another boat to bring him back; but he was soon on board—the ship spread her sails—and Thomas saw his afflicted father at some distance give up his pursuit as hopeless, wave his handkerchief as a signal of farewell, and slowly return toward the shore—never more to behold his son.
Thomas first landed at Hawaii, where he was employed for several months as one of the king's guards. He was much flattered
by Rihoriho, who gave him the name of "Tahumanu," as an honorary title. Being occasionally treated with severity and abuse
by the king in his
fits of intoxication, he became dissatisfied, and asked permission to leave the service. This was refused, but good treatment and wages were promised in future. But a favorable opportunity soon offering, and having previously concerted measures with his companions who had obtained leave to stand sentinels, under cover of night he escaped to Oahu. Being pursued, he escaped in a ship bound to Canton, in China. Here he remained for some time, and then sailed for America, and arrived at Boston toward the close of the year 1819, being not far from 15 years of age.
In May, 1820, as a missionary in the employment of the "Boston Female Society for Missionary purposes" was passing through Hamilton-street, he noticed Thomas standing at the gate of the house at which he resided. He had stopped with a pail of water, having his attention arrested by boys at play in the street. He was then boarding at the house of a friend of the captain with whom he had arrived.
The missionary obtained his consent to be introduced into a Sabbath-school, and on the Sabbath following he was received as
a pupil by one of the doctors. Here he manifested a strong disposition to learn, and a good capacity;
for although he did not know a letter at his entrace into the school, yet he was able, at the close of the first Sabbath, to repeat the entire alphabet. He had, however, previously fallen into the company of vicious boys, who had made him impatient of restraint; and in a few weeks he was engaged on board a ship bound on a sealing voyage to the new South Shetland Islands. From that voyage he returned in the year 1821.
On the homeward passage of this voyage Thomas narrowly escaped death. While employed aloft the shrouds gave way, and he was precipitated into the water. Before it was discovered, and the ship could put about, he was left two miles behind. He had the presence of mind to take a knife from his pocket, cut open, and take off his boots, and throw off his coat, that he might the more easily keep himself above the water. He was taken on board as soon as possible, but was nearly exhasuted.
Soon after his return he met his former Sabbath-school teacher with evident marks of joy, and promised soon to call on him.
He was not to be found, however, until the close of the succeeding winter, when the same instructer saw him, as he was going
to his school on the Sabbath. Thomas endeavored, at first, to avoid his
teacher, conscious that he had not kept his word. He had been sick for several months in the Marine Hospital, and now lived in the family of the gentleman in whose employment he had performed the late voyage.
This sickness prevented his returning to his native country, which he had intended to do immediately after his arrival, in a ship then ready to sail.
As it had become evident that nothing could conveniently be done for his instruction while he remained in Boston, in compliance with his own wishes, and with the approbation of the gentleman with whom he lived, he was carried to Coventry, Connecticut, and placed in the family of a valuable member of the church in the North Society. This was in May, 1822. At the suggestion of his new friend, the pastor and his church were requested to act as his supervisors. Thus he was left particularly in the charge of one family, but was commended to the prayers and christian kindness of the pastor and the whole church.
This heathen youth of eighteen was now standing among them, and belonged to them. His manly form and open countenance—the
flush of health playing upon his dark, South-sea face—an amiable and peculiarly docile de-
portment—a tongue just beginning to articulate his scanty ideas—an understanding buried in the darkness of ignorance, and still clinging to the idolatry of his childhood—a being lost by nature—born among a people to whom no herald of mercy had proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus, as in neighboring Islands—all these associations, together with a fresh remembrance of Obookiah, united to interest the feelings of christians in his behalf.
Thomas thus became the subject of their special labors and prayers. He received daily instruction in the rudiments of learning, as well as on moral and religious subjects; and on the Sabbath attended the Sabbath-school. He appeared to derive much satisfaction from his studies, and readily committed hymns and passages of Scripture to memory, by hearing others repeat them. On his arrival at Coventry in the spring, he could scarcely repeat his alphabet; but, by fall, he could read in the Testament. He had also great facility in learning to perform manual labor.
The family in which he resided, and other christian friends, made many exertions, during the summer, to explain to him the
nature of sin; but all their efforts were unavailing. The moral darkness of his mind—his apparent want
of conscience, and his partial acquaintance with our language, were obstacles seemingly insuperable. And many who were witnesses of these exertions, and who had before given the subject but a hasty glance, now ceased to wonder that the good effcts of missionary labors among the heathen are no sooner visible.
But in the midst of all this darkness of mind, and even while christian friends were concluding that Thomas must remain a heathen, unaffected by the Gospel until his understanding was further enlightened, God, by his Spirit, taught him what man could not.
In the autumn of 1822, a revival of religion commenced in Coventry. Some weeks after it began, at a social meeting for prayer, at sunrise, it was observed that Thomas was much affected, and wept bitterly. Christians, at that time, felt deeply anxious for the salvation of souls, and were unusually interested for Thomas, and he was made a subject of special prayer, as he had been frequently on similar occasions. At the close of the meeting, in conversation with the pastor of the church, it appeared evident, by his tears and broken accents of alarm, that he felt some of the anguish of a convicted sinner.
But his mind was easily diverted from spiritual things. At the meetings of inquiry, as they were called, which he frequently attended—meetings in which those who were seriously inquiring, "what must I do to be saved?" Acts, 16: 30, met their pastor to receive religious instruction—when he came, he would appear cheerful and happy; but before they closed he would generally be seen downcast and dejected, and often weeping.
For nearly two months he continued in this fluctuating state of mind; though he added much to his scanty stock of knowledge on religious subjects during that period.
He was unusually affected with his condition as a sinner, at a meeting of Inquiry on Saturday evening, Oct. 26. At this meeting,
after the pastor had made many searching and pungent remarks, such as that the conditions of salvation are immutably fixed,
and that no man can hope to be growing better while he retains a rebellious heart, he conversed with each person present,
in a low voice, and "besought" them to be "reconciled to God." The work of repentence, he told them, admits of no delay—God
would accept no excuse for deferring it—every moment they put it off their sin and danger increased—there was no way for them,
no hope, but in fleeing to the cross of Christ, and accepting of mercy as it is offered through him. Before the meeting was closed the pastor found that a young man, who sat near Thomas, had evidently relinquished the grasp which his affections had held upon this world, and was enjoying the consolations of religion. Thomas was told that J. B. it was hoped had given his heart to God, and asked with great urgency why he would not give up his heart also? Thomas felt that he was without excuse—he wept—and made no reply.
The Tuesday following, oppressed by a sense of his wretchedness and ruin as a sinner, he went to visit a friend, in hope of obtaining some relief. It was very rainy, yet he proceeded, though with a trembling step and a cheerless countenance. Finding his friend absent, he next resolved to visit the pastor.
On his way, being unable to proceed by reason of anxiety for his soul, he turned aside, and under the covert of a rock, gave vent to his feelings in prayer. This rock was apparently separated from two others by some convulsion of the earth, and in the fissure between them did this heathen plead for mercy before Christ his Redeemer.
From this place he proceeded to the house of
his pastor; but before entering it he went into the barn, and again knelt before God in prayer. With some reluctance he entered the house, drenched by the rain, and with tears falling from his face, which he vainly endeavored to conceal. He was directed to the study; and of this interview his pastor observes, "He was indeed a picture of distress, and his presence was peculiarly calculated to excite compassion for heathen youth. The Rev. Mr. P. was with me. Thomas, in his native simplicity, made known to us the distress of his soul. He was again reminded of the hopeful conversion of J. B., but this produced poignant grief, and called forth the opposition of his heart to the government of God. He could not endure the thought that others should be made the subjects of grace while he remained under the dominion of sin. Never had so good an opportunity been offered for exhibiting before him the depravity of his heart and his desert of hell. Truth appeared to have its desired effect. After being assured, in various ways, that mere unwillingness kept him from Christ, and that he ought to rejoice that J. B. had obtained a new heart, and after prayer had been offered on his behalf, he returned home with a spirit deeply wounded."
Through the ensuing night he was unable to
obtain rest, and on the day following his anxiety continued unabated. He was employed with another boy on some light labor in a barn, but his distress was such that he could do but little.
The light of the Gospel, which had begun to shine into his benighted mind, was still dim; yet it was sufficient to exhibit
the wickedness of his heart, and the requisitions of the law of God. In the course of the afternoon, having spent frequent
seasons in prayer, his burdened conscience was relieved, and he found peace in believing. At once it became his delight to
pray, and to think of Christ. He was now disposed to thank God for the conversion which had occasioned him so much pain,
and to pray for the salvation of all men, particularly for his father and countrymen. Without communicating the change in
his feelings to the family where he resided, he early set out, the same evening, to attend a religious meeting in the neighborhood.
The interval of time was spent by him at a barn in prayer. During the meeting his bright eyes, his almost smiling countenance,
and his fixed attention, indicated something unusual in Thomas's feelings. "This man receiveth sinners" was the text; and
in this character he was willing to come to Christ. At the close of the meeting he took his pastor and the brethren by
the hand, and by a cordial shake expressed the joy and love which he felt while committing his everlasting all into the hands of the "man Christ Jesus," who "receiveth sinners."
At a subsequent religious meeting in a remote part of the parish Thomas was permitted to speak a few words to the audience. They were very animating to christians, and contained a powerful appeal to the hearts and consciences of sinners, and were the means of fixing impressions on the minds of some, which issued, as it is hoped, in true conversion to God. At the close of this meeting Thomas found there was a decided difference of feeling exercised towards him by christians and impenitent sinners. The latter did not greet him with the cordiality, nor were they ready to take his hand with the affection of the former. "Christian," said he, "shake hard hand—his hand feel warm—the sinner no shake hand."
It may add to the interest in the above account of his religious exercises to give it in his own words. It was principally committed to writing at the time of his giving the relation, his own idiom being generally preserved.
Question. Thomas, what was the state of your mind after the commencement of the revival in Coventry?
Answer. Christians talk to me great deal about my bad heart. Me think my heart good enough.
Q. Did you then endeavor to pray?
A. Mrs. T. teach me to say Lord's prayer. I think me got no mother, no father, no sister, no brother here—and Mrs. T. good to me, so I do as she tell me. Then I kneel down before I go to bed, and say prayer.
Q. Did you occasionally omit this duty?
A. Sometimes. Then Deacon T. say you must say your prayers, Thomas, every night. Then me go to pray mad, [i.e. angry, or cross.]
Q. Had you any different feelings at the morning prayer-meeting, at which you wept?
A. Then me feel heavy—feel afraid to die—feel sorry for my sin. Me try to pray, "Our Father." Me go home, think what minister say, then I pray. Next day forget it all—then feel light.
Q. When you went to the inquiring meetings how did you feel.
A. I feel good some—then I feel heavy again, When minister say all about poor sinner—then I feel sorry.
Q. What were your feelings at the meeting for inquiry on the Sabbath evening?
A. Heart feel hard. Somebody tell me J. B. got a new heart. I feel angry.
Q. How did you feel the Tuesday following?
A. Me want to see minister. I set out—go part way, feel so bad can go no further—then kneel down by a great rock and pray. Me say, O Lord, have mercy on poor Thomas, poor heathen—give him new heart—take away his old heart—O give him new heart now. Then I go on. Go in minister's barn—'fraid to go in house—then I pray again. Then look round and say, God make this hay—this grain—all these things—why can't God make me new heart. Me wipe tears off my cheeks, but they come again. Then go in house. Mrs. C. say, what the matter Thomas, you hurt you? I so 'shamed, me say, O it rains out doors. Want to have her think it rain on my face.
Q. What did you say to the ministers in the study?
A. Me say, got that bad heart yet.
Q. Did you feel glad when told that J. B. had a new heart?
A. No sir, me feel bad—me feel very heavy—me want to come first, before any body get in. When me go away, hope me come to be like J. B.
Q. How did you feel that night and the day following?
A. That night me feel heavy—heavy all over. Eyes all tears—could not sleep. Next day feel so all time. Afternoon go work in barn with W.—could not work. Feel me want to pray. Tell W. we kneel down. Then me say, O Lord have mercy on poor Thomas, poor W.—give us new hearts. Then me think about Jesus Christ, and about christian folks. Me never feel so before. Heavy all gone. Then me love to pray, and say, "Our Father," and thank great God he give J. B. a new heart. Then me think me feel to love Christ—me want to shake hand with him—me go up hay mow to find him—pray to him. Then me think Christ every where. Then come down.
Q. What were your feelings during the meeting in the evening?
A. Me want to shake hand with the minister, then feel to love all christians.
Q. What do you mean by a new heart?
A. A heart that feel to love good thought.
Q. How do you know your heart to be soft now?
A. Why, me no feel mad to any body; if man strike me, I no want to strike him back again.
After his conversion his advancement in di-
vine knowledge was rapid. The Holy Spirit seemed to teach him to understand the truths of God, and as far as understood they evidently produced the fruits of holiness. His religious feelings were continually becoming more steady and substantial, yet always of the most ardent kind. He learned to apply the simple doctrines of the Gospel in their proper place, both for his own good and that of others.
At the time that Thomas indulged a hope, John Paru, (now Samual J. Mills,) a native of Oahu, one of the Sandwich Islands, was residing in the same town. With him his exertions were unremitted, that he too might become a disciple of Christ. They often conversed and prayed together, and both soon rejoiced in hope. His conversations with John, while under the strivings of the Spirit, were of the most persuasive and affectionate kind, and were probably the principal means of bringing him to the light and liberty of the Gospel.
He had a great desire to unite with the church in Coventry at the approaching communion in January, when several, who with
him had often attended the meeting for inquiry and the circle of prayer, were to make a profession of religion. After deliberation,
it was thought proper that he should be propounded with others for admission
into the church, though it was not fully determined to receive him at that time. Before the day arrived, at the suggestion of a friend and patron at a distance, in view of all circumstances, it was thought best that his admission be deferred for a time.
This delay seemed a severe trial to Thomas. Though willing to be under the direction of his patron and christian friends, yet it evidently cost him many struggles before he could bring his mind cordially to submit. When told by his pastor that it was judged expedient for him to delay uniting with the church, till he had obtained more knowledge on the subject of religion, he replied with great feeling. "If, sir, you think best, then me wait; but may be me die soon—then me never own Christ before men!"
The christian character of Thomas was highly exemplary. A few additional circumstances, illustrating his character, will here be introduced.
Once, on being asked what he did when he felt conscious of having done wrong, he replied, "I go kneel down before the great
God, just as me would come to you, and ask him to have mercy on poor Thomas, poor heathen, and for-
give him his sin." It was his delight to spell and study out the truths of the Bible. On opening it one day, he read, "O praise the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever:" then closing it, with a countenance full of expression he said, "O this—how good." Of those who were not christians, he would say—"what! have Bible so long, and no christians yet!"
He loved, as he expressed it, animate and inanimate objects, simply because God made them. Often has he been seen gazing at a stone, and saying, "this good, because God make it." While descending a steep hill once, his companion remarked, "This is a bad hill." Thomas replied, "Why say bad hill? This no bad. God make this hill. All God make, good."
He was ever affected when thinking on the danger of the impenitent. One day, during the winter following his conversion,
while at school, he was observed to be weeping. Being asked what was the matter, he cast his eyes round the school, with
tears still dropping from his face, and exclaimed, "O these poor children!" and he spake with a feeling that might reprove
thousands who have always had the Gospel, and yet manifest a cold indifference to those who never heard it. He would improve
all proper occasions in endeavoring to persuade the impenitent to
give Christ the affections of their hearts; and in many instances his simple and affectionate exhortations would find a way to the heart where the exertions of ministers and private christians had seemed to be in vain.
Thomas was frequent and importunate in prayer. Often, while he resided at Coventry, was he overheard praying in the most earnest manner for the heathen, and for sinners generally. He was sometimes asked to lead in the devotions of a family, which he did with great propriety. Here, too, his petitions were principally for the heathen, particularly for his own relatives and countrymen, and for the impenitent in christian lands. He would often go aside with the lads of the neighborhood, and, after an affectionate exhortation, would kneel with them before God, and supplicate mercy for their souls.
The following was communicated by a young lady, who, at the time alluded to, had long been under convictions for sin, and was then cherishing a rebellious heart. A younger sister had been, a short time previous, hopefully converted to Christ.
"After our friend Thomas was brought to indulge a hope in the renewing grace of God, I
endeavored to avoid him as much as possible, and it was not until after C. had expressed a hope, that Thomas addressed me on the concerns of my soul. After conversing with her, and expressing much joy because 'she got a new heart,' he turned to me and said, 'N—, why you no give up that bad heart—why you no come with C. and be a christian? Me want you be a christian too.' In order to evade what he said, and prevent his saying more, I replied to him, 'Thomas, why did you never speak to me about these things before? Perhaps had you been as faithful in talking to me as you have been to C. I too should have had a new heart.' With the deepest sorrow depicted on his countenance, he replied, 'N—, me very sorry me no talk to you before. Me pray for you before, and now me talk to you.' After this Thomas embraced every opportunity of urging upon me immediate submission to Christ, and that, too, in the most affectionate manner. Among the many interviews which I had with Thomas, I will mention one, the impression of which will continue so long as memory retains her powers. It was in the height of the revival, when a number of christian friends were spending the day at our house, and others were calling. Feeling no disposition to mingle with them, I retired
to another room, and there staid meditating on my helpless and hopeless condition. It was not long before some one rapped at the door, and who was it but Thomas! He immediately began, in the most feeling manner, to entreat me to submit to Christ without delay. 'Christ ready to receive you—all the good christians want you to come—angel in heaven ready to rejoice over you—why you no come?' After conversing in this manner for some minutes, he was silent. At length, looking at me most expressively, he said, 'me sorry me no converse with you before. Me pray for you; me want to pray with you.' He knelt, and fervently poured forth the feelings of his pious soul in language like this: 'O mercy, Father, have mercy on us sinners. Have mercy on this friend. Pray this friend may now give up that bad heart to Christ, and not go to hell,' &c. This was the burden of his prayer, that I might then submit to Christ. I will leave others to judge what were my feelings to have this heathen, who had but just learned there was a God, on his knees pleading for mercy on me, a stubborn sinner, hardened under the meridian light of the Gospel."
Thomas expressed great joy on being told from time to time of the conversion of particu-
lar individuals of his acquaintance. Among others he had become much interested in behalf of a young gentleman from a neighboring town, who was engaged in teaching a school. Speaking of him, Thomas said, "That schoolmaster feel very bad. Me talk with him yesterday. Me say, how you feel to-day, Sa? He say, 'I feel I am a great sinner. Thomas, will you pray for me?' I say, I will pray for you, Sa, but you must go to Jesus Christ, and give him your bad heart. Me did pray for him—me so sorry for him—he feel so heavy. Me think he will give up that bad heart pretty soon."
Being afterwards told on the same day, that this individual was rejoicing in hope, he broke out in raptures of joy; "me so glad, me so glad, me thought he would come," and added to the expressiveness of his words by his looks and gestures.
In March, 1823, after making good proficiency in a Common School in Coventry, and giving increasing evidence of piety, Thomas,
in company with John Paru, was removed to the Foreign Missions School in Cornwall. He parted with his friends with reluctance,
and not without the warmest mutual expressions of christian affection. But he now indulged the hope of
being one day prepared to carry the Gospel to his heathen countrymen; and this consideration raised him above all the trials of separating from his dearest friends. On the journey he received many kind attentions from christian friends, and one evening, at their request, addressed a respectable audience in a conference-room, with great propriety. As he passed near the residence of the Rev. S. J. Mills, of Torringford, he expressed a wish to see this father of Henry Obookiah. This short interview was spent principally in listening with deep interest to the story which this aged father repeated of that lamented heathen convert.
Previously to his entering the village of Cornwall Thomas visited the grave of Obookiah. While he stood with the most fixed silent attention, the inscription on the monument was read to him. He then pointed to its side, with apparently deep thought, and said—"May be I lie here too!"
When asked if he was willing to die and sleep with Obookiah, he submitted all to the pleasure of God, thought it seemed his ardent desire to tell his countrymen about the Savior; still he wished to leave all in the hands of God, assured that he would certainly do right.
He entered the school at Cornwall on the 8th
of March. On the 30th he directed his first and only letter to a friend in Coventry, of which the following is an extract. The person who assisted Thomas in writing the letter was an Anglo-American, and a member of the School. He states that the ideas of the letter are entirely those of Thomas, as are also the words, as nearly as they could be expressed and make good sense.
"My dear Christian Friend,
"I have received your very kind letter, and am now happy to answer it. I have employed one of my brothers here to write for me, because I can't write quite well enough yet. I tell him what to write, so the word be some like Thomas. I very glad the great God in heaven make the Conventry people pray for poor heathen where there is no Savior. I think they pray for me too, that I be prepared to tell the heathen all about the great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ. I rejoice a great deal to hear about sinner come to Christ, and get a new heart. I hope the good work continue always among you, so I rejoice always. The folks here have no revival—no pray enough. I sorry; I hope we pray enough by-by. We have good many meetings, but no feel.
"I hope I go home by-by, and have sinner
come to God in my country. Yes, my dear Mr. ——, I go, if I live to be ready. We have some scholars no love the Savior. I tell them they must be born again or go to hell. I talk to some sinner all about they no come to Christ. I tell them I come away from heathen land, and find a good Savior—they been here so long, and no come to Christ.
"You must pray a great deal for poor sinners in Cornwall School. May be we have a revival here, and when they come and learn to love God, they go to their friends, and tell how to be saved by the Lord Jesus Christ.
"I must close now. I think I pray every day for you and all my friends. O may God bless you and make you do good while you live, and when you and I die may we meet and shake hand in the heavens, and we stay always with our Savior and all his good friends.
"I remain your true friend,
"THOMAS H. PATOO."
Thomas soon became much attached to the person who assisted him to write the above, and from him the following extract was received, dated October 10, 1823.
"Thomas came to this place, as you well know, with his heart warmly engaged in the cause of Christ. I soon entered into a
acquaintance with him, which was cemented by the bond of christian affection, mutually cherished while he was permitted to dwell among us. From a conviction that I would go to the Marquesas, he wished to be with me frequently, and finding it difficult to speak my name, he would substitute 'my Missionary.' I made several visits with him, that he might become acquainted with the people here. His conversation was always on the subject of religion, and his heart apparently set on doing good. He would talk with much feeling to any one who had no hope in Christ. He would relate to them the story of his salvation with christian simplicity, and urge the willingness of Christ to save other sinners as a reason why sinners here should come to him. Whenever he saw any one, he had a desire to know whether that person loved God and trusted in Christ. He frequently spoke of the wretched condition of the heathen. He firmly believed that they would be lost for ever without the Gospel of Christ. He wished to be prepared to teach his ignorant countrymen the way to heaven. Often have I heard speak of the crooked course he had pursued to come to this Gospel land, and he would always subjoin, 'the Lord brought me over so many seas and mountains to find the Savior.' He was a member of this
School a little more than three months; was very attentive to his studies while in health, and made good progress for the short time he was permitted to enjoy the means of instruction.
"From personal and critical observation, I can say that his walk, both in public and private, was worthy of the christian name. He had a high respect for the Sabbath, and would modestly reprove those who asked him questions on worldly subjects, while he refused to answer them on that holy day.
"His temper was amiable. Though at times he suffered some ill-treatment in consequence of being importunate in private exhortation, still he maintained christian fortitude and dignity. Instead of its abating his zeal, it increased his anxiety for the salvation of souls.
"But I hasten to mention the circumstances attending his last illness and death. He was first taken sick about two weeks
previous to our annual exhibition in May, but recovered so that at that time he was thought to be gaining. But he was soon
taken down again, and continued to decline fast, I attended him daily, from this time, until he died. I never witnessed a
person so much composed and comforted in the hour of distress, from the consideration that the Lord reigneth. He had learned
cheering doctrine that God would be glorified let what would take place, sickness or health, life or death. He conversed freely with his friends who called to see him, and would often say, 'God make sick, and he make well. He do right—he always do good.' At times he was rather inclined to look at the dark side of things. 'I want to live and go to Marquesas, and tell my poor father, and all my poor countrymen, about Christ. They no hear about good things. O what become of my poor countrymen when I die!' He soon, however, turned his thoughts on God, and said, 'God do right. We no understand all he do now, but we understand hereafter.'
"About two weeks before his death he was confined to his bed, and gave up all hope of living more than a few days. He frequently
wished me and others to pray with him, and he prayed much himself. But his prayers were not generally for his own wants.
In his anxiety for sinners, and especially for the heathen, he would seem to forget his own situation. His pain of body at
times was extreme, and he would think himself near his end; yet he appeared prepared to meet his God. He felt such confidence
in his Savior that he was willing to launch into the eternal world, leaning on the bosom of this Almighty friend. He prayed
almost every time I left him alone. At one time I overheard him praying partly in his own language and partly in English. He was interceding for his father and countrymen. He stopped two or three times, and exclaimed, 'who go teach my poor father when I die?—He no hear about Christ; what become of his poor soul? Who go teach my countrymen who ignorant, and no hear about God and the Savior?'
"These words sunk deep into my heart. Those solemn moments, and more solemn considerations, will never be forgotten. To hear a poor heathen pleading for the salvation of his pagan brethren, and, from the confines of the grave and the eternal world, ask God who would go and carry to them the glad tidings of salvation, was truly affecting. Can the friends of Jesus hear the questions and not answer? Will not their prayers ascend with those of Thomas to the Father of mercies, and will not their exertions correspond with these prayers?
"As soon as prudent I entered the room. Thomas seized my hand, and said, 'what you do when I die? You go teach my countrymen
about Christ?' I replied that I could not promise that I would go, but waved the subject by saying, some one will go. He
quickly added, 'find my father, and tell him all about Christ.
His name is Tyer, and he lives at a place called Hah-nah-tel-ah-pah.' He made the same request of Samuel J. Mills, and would not be satisfied until he had promised that, should God permit him to return, he would comply with his wishes. This was two days before his death. On the next morning he conversed with a friend respecting his situation. He said, 'my body very sick, in great distress; but my soul rejoice all the time, very happy.' Soon after, with a happy expression of countenance, he exclaimed, 'O I want to die, I want to go to heaven!' He sat up on the side of his bed several times during the day, supporting himself with one arm around my neck. He spoke frequently of his friends in Boston and Conventry, and wished me to write to them after his death, and remember him to all his friends, many of whom he mentioned by name. At evening his eyesight failed, so that he could distinguish one person from another only by their voices, yet his reason appeared unimpaired. S. J. Mills came to the bed-side, to sympathize with him in his sufferings. Thomas remarked, 'hard to lie here so sick, but I die to-night or in the morning, then God make my bed in heaven.'
"About nine o'clock a young man came in to see him. On being told who had come, he shook
hands and said, 'I hope we meet in heaven.' He continued to talk and pray at intervals until between one and two, and to breathe until five o'clock in the morning of June 9th, when he took his long farewell of these mortal shores, we trust to dwell with Jesus in glory. Thus lived and thus died our dear brother Thomas."
His funeral was attended on the succeeding day in the morning. Some remarks were made, accompanied with an address to the
members of the school, from these words: "the Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice." It was said that notwithstanding the
event which had called them together was dark and mysterious, still there was no less cause for every christian to rejoice
that the Lord reigns. "The Providence is mysterious, because this is the third Marquesian which has been removed from this
school by death. Now none remain. Must we then conclude that God designs to leave all the inhabitants of the Marquesas to
perish without the Gospel? By no means. From the conversion and prayers of this youth, as well as from the promises of God,
his people have every encouragement to hope that there is still mercy in store for these benighted people. Let them awake
to more vigorous exertions, and to more ardent and persevering prayer that God would
influence and prepare others, and open to them a way of entrance, that the Gospel of Jesus may be proclaimed to the relatives of our departed friend, and to those 50,000 immortal beings who are now perishing in their sins. Then may we hope that there, too, cruel superstitions will be abolished, idols destroyed, and a nation be born to God in a day."
The remains of Thomas were committed to the grave near those of his two countrymen and Obookiah. Over them a plain monument is now erected, with this inscription:
IN MEMORY OF
"He was hopefully pious, and had a great desire to be qualified to become a missionary to his ignorant countrymen. But he
died in hope of a better country. This stone is erected by the
liberality of his friends in N. Conventry, Conn. among whom he first found the Savior of sinners."
Such was the life, and such the character of THOMAS HAMITAH PATOO; a pattern of christian exertion in health, of calm resignation in sickness, and of triumph in death. Let the foregoing, narrative encourage the benevolent to search out and instruct in christianity, such heathen natives as may be cast on our shores, that, by the blessing of God, they may be prepared to return to their countrymen, bearing the tidings of salvation by Christ to those who are sitting in the region and shadow of death. Let the reader pause, and inquire if it be not a privilege to contribute of his substance to spread a religion that could thus make this poor heathen live and die so happy; and especially let him inquire whether this blessed religion is his own—whether he has himself submitted to that Savior who was so precious to this heathen convert—whether his own heart has indeed been renewed by the Holy Spirit; so that, through Divine grace, he can look forward to the hour of death with the hope of finding a death as peaceful and as full of joy as that of THOMAS HAMITAH PATOO!