By John Williams
In response to John Williams' meticulous documentation of his travels, this 1837 quantity bargains an perception into the perilous lifetime of a missionary within the early 19th century. the writer, an ironmonger via alternate, set sail for the South Sea Islands in 1817 with the purpose of spreading the gospel and introducing smooth expertise to the area. in addition to recounting the widespread threats to his defense from indignant natives, warfare, typical catastrophe and ailment, Williams presents unique surveys of the peoples, languages and typical surroundings he encountered and describes with nice exuberance and humour 'the effect made upon barbarous humans through their first sex with civilised man'. Made extra poignant by way of the author's demise by the hands of cannibals simply years after the book's 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 circulate.
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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
An island called Rurutu, about 350 miles to the south of Raiatea, was visited by an epidemic, which appears to have been exceedingly fatal. As the natives regard every such calamity to be the infliction of some angry deity, two chiefs of enterprising spirit, determined to build each a large canoe, and, with as many of their people as could be conveyed, to launch upon the mighty deep, committing themselves to the winds and the waves, in search of some happier isle. They felt convinced, that, if they remained, they would certainly be " devoured by the gods," whose anger they had in vain endeavoured to appease; and that should they not succeed in reaching any other land, they could but perish in the billows of the ocean.
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. long. It has several good boat harbours, is about thirty miles in circumference, and is surrounded by a reef. The population is about 6,000 or 7,000. CLASSIFICATION OF THE ISLANDS. 19 The seventh and last island is Aitutaki, which was discovered by Captain Cook. Like most of its companions in the group, its landscapes are rich and variegated; it is hilly rather than mountainous, and surrounded by a reef, which extends a very considerable distance from the shore.
Ure, in his admirable work on Geology, appears to assign by far too great importance to this species of coral. * And now for a few words upon the substance of which coral is composed, or whence do the insects obtain the material with which they build ? Three distinct theories appear to be entertained upon this subject. f The second, that it is a secretion from the animal. Buckland says, " that the gelatinous bodies of these polypes are furnished with the power * See Ure's Geology, p. 469. t Forster's Voyages.