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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 64

Inlands still retaining Old Customs

Inlands still retaining Old Customs.

The following are those islands which still follow their old forms of government, or rather old customs:—In the North Pacific, the Caroline, Marshall, and Gilbert or Kingsmill Groups; a few islands in Eastern Polynesia: the Phœnix and Ellice Groups in Central Polynesia; all the isles of Western Polynesia, with the exception of New Caledonia; and the numerous small islands which lie scattered amongst all the principal page 78 groups. In most of these islands the missionary clergyman alone represents the bright side of modern civilization, and tempers the savage habits of the chiefs. In Western Polynesia, however, it is hardly yet safe for a missionary to land, or a trader to leave his vessel. New Guinea is a terra incognita, and its inhabitants are but little known. New Britain and New Ireland, the Admiralty and the Louisade Islands are almost in a similar position.

From some of these islands the principal portion of the labour employed in Queensland and the Pacific was, and still is, obtained. Possessing no government, nor any power which the whites could respect, the simple inhabitants were at the mercy of those who resorted to their shores. Luckily, our cruisers will now be some protection to them.