The fact of Queen Pomare having been engaged in a troublesome civil war at the time of the visit of the islanders, places her kindness and attention to them in a still more pleasing light.
This is the Queen Pomare, who, early in 1843, complained to her Majesty Queen Victoria of the proceedings of the French, in threatening her peace and government. There is much pathos and simplicity in the Otaheitan Queen's mode of address to her "Sister and Friend." The following are extracts from her letter, literally translated:—
"TAHITI, January 23, 1843.
"My dear Friend and Sister, Queen Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, Health and peace to you! And saved may you be by Jehovah, the Foundation of our power as Queens of our respective countries. We dwell in peace by the arrangements made by our predecessors.
"This is my speech to you, my sister friend. Commiserate me in my affliction, in my helplessness, in which my nation is involved with France.
"The existing protectorate government of France in my dominions I do not acknowledge. I knew nothing of what my chiefs and the French Consul had done before I wrote to you by Captain Jones, I being absent at Raiaté."
After bemoaning the dependent state into which she had been thrown by French intervention, and the political movements of her chiefs, she proceeds:—
"And now, my friend, think of me, have compassion on me, and assist me; let it be powerful, let it be timely and saving, that I may be reinstated in my government.
"Have compassion on me in my present trouble, in my affliction, and great helplessness. Do not cast me away; assist me quickly, my friend. I run to you for refuge, to be covered under your great shadow, the same as afforded to my fathers by your fathers, who are now dead, and whose kingdoms have descended to us the weaker vessels. I renew that agreement. Let it be lasting and for ever. Let its continuance extend not only to ourselves and children, but to our children's children. My friend, do not by any means separate our friendship. This is my true wish.
"I now deliver up to you, my friend, my last effort. My only hope of being restored is in you. Be quick to help me, for I am nearly dead. I am like a captive pursued by a warrior and nearly taken, whose spear is close to me. The time is very nigh, when, I fear, I shall lose my government and my land.
"My friend, send quickly a large ship of war to assist me. A French ship of war is daily expected here. Speedily send a ship of war to protect me, and I shall be saved. It is my wish that the Admiral may speedily come to Tahiti. If he cannot speedily come, I wish a large ship of war may come just at this present time. Continually send here your ships of war. Let not one month pass away without one, until all my present difficulties are over.
"I have also at this time written a letter to your Admiral on the Spanish coast, to come to Tahiti and assist me. Health and peace to you! May you be blessed, my sister friend, Queen of Great Britain, &c.
"POMARE, Queen of Tahiti"
Queen Pomare, however, and her people soon felt the power of the French, who erected a fort, commanding the entrance to the harbour of Otaheite. They have a frigate and a war-steamer anchored there, and a military force on the island. The Queen is married, and has children. She adopted the late Reuben Nobbs, the Pastor's eldest son, but never removed him from the care of his parents.