By John Williams
In response to John Williams' meticulous documentation of his travels, this 1837 quantity deals an perception into the perilous lifetime of a missionary within the early 19th century. the writer, an ironmonger through exchange, set sail for the South Sea Islands in 1817 with the goal of spreading the gospel and introducing glossy know-how to the quarter. in addition to recounting the common threats to his defense from offended natives, warfare, usual catastrophe and disorder, Williams offers specified surveys of the peoples, languages and usual surroundings he encountered and describes with nice exuberance and humour 'the impact made upon barbarous humans via their first sex with civilised man'. Made extra poignant by way of the author's loss of life by the hands of cannibals simply years after the book's e-book, this is often a unprecedented account of the perseverance and ingenuity of a guy who turned a hero and martyr for the Protestant missionary circulation.
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Additional resources for A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands: With Remarks Upon the Natural History of the Islands, Origin, Languages, Traditions, and Usages of the Inhabitants
These four islands differ from the Society Islands in the very important feature, that the surrounding reef joins the shore: there is consequently neither passage for boats, nor any safe anchorage for vessels. The sixth and most important island of the group is Rarotonga. This splendid island escaped the untiring researches of Captain Cook, and was discovered by myself, in 1823. It is a mass of mountains, which are high, and present a remarkably romantic appearance. It is situated lat. , 160° W.
Captain Beechy, of his majesty's ship the Blossom, in his voyage to the Pacific, supplied some valuable information calculated to correct this error. And here I may assert, that in all the range of my travels in the South Seas, I have perceived no animal agency at work adequate to the formation of a reef or island of any extent, within a period of many thousands of years. * Captain Beechy visited an island, supposed to be an elevated reef, eighty feet high; Mr. Stuchbury and myself have visited Rurutu, the rocks of which are of the same material, and are a hundred and fifty feet in height, and the calcareous rocks of Mangaia are about three hundred feet.
It is only by viewing the Tahitian Mission, as a fountain from whence the streams of salvation are to flow to the numerous islands, and clusters scattered over that extensive ocean, that we can perceive it to be worthy of the importance that has been attached to it, or of the labour and expense NEW GUINEA AND OTHER ISLANDS. 7 which the London Missionary Society has bestowed on it. To this Mission, however, considered in its relation to other islands, too much importance cannot be attached ; for, in addition to the numerous islands now professedly Christian, there are, within a comparatively small distance, many large and extensive groups of which little is known.