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By John Williams

According 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 by way of exchange, set sail for the South Sea Islands in 1817 with the purpose of spreading the gospel and introducing glossy know-how to the quarter. in addition to recounting the common threats to his security from offended natives, struggle, traditional catastrophe and affliction, Williams offers specific surveys of the peoples, languages and common atmosphere he encountered and describes with nice exuberance and humour 'the influence made upon barbarous humans by means of their first sex with civilised man'. Made extra poignant by means of the author's demise by the hands of cannibals simply years after the book's e-book, this is often a rare account of the perseverance and ingenuity of a guy who grew to become a hero and martyr for the Protestant missionary circulate.

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Additional info 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

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Williams's health being much impaired, and suffering myself from the effects of a disease prevalent in the islands, it was deemed desirable to avail ourselves of an opportunity, which was then afforded, of visiting New South Wales. Desirous of making the affliction subservient to the one great object to which our lives were devoted, we determined to take with us two native Christians, and place them as teachers in the Island of Aitutaki. The captain of the vessel having kindly consented to convey them, without expense either to ourselves or the Society, we mentioned the circumstance to the members of the church, who were delighted with the proposition, and selected Papeiha, and Vahapata, two of their number, for the work.

The minds of our people had been awakened to the subject of extending the knowledge of the Gospel, by a peculiarly interesting circumstance that had just before occurred. 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.

Where, however, are there rivers of sufficient magnitude to impregnate such a body of water as that of which the Pacific Ocean is composed ? But, as in tropical climates, the process of evaporation is so much more rapid than in higher latitudes, and as this calcareous matter is separated by evaporation, may we not conclude that the innumerable myriads of these minute calcareous particles which are always floating about in the sea are thus produced ? The inference I draw, then, is this, that as there is carbonate of lime in salt water; that as corals are carbonate of lime ; and that they are found to exist principally in warm climates, where, by the process of evaporation, there is an abundance of material supplied for these insects to build with; instead of secreting the substance, or producing it in any other way, they are merely the wonderful architects which * Buckland's Bridgewater Treatiae.

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