A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea by John Williams

By John Williams

In keeping with 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 via alternate, set sail for the South Sea Islands in 1817 with the goal of spreading the gospel and introducing smooth know-how to the quarter. in addition to recounting the common threats to his protection from indignant natives, conflict, traditional catastrophe and illness, Williams offers precise 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 means of the author's dying by the hands of cannibals simply years after the book's e-book, this can be a rare account of the perseverance and ingenuity of a guy who turned a hero and martyr for the Protestant missionary circulation.

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These various islands and clusters are inhabited by distinct tribes, diverse from each other in appearance and habits; but principally by those of the negro race. They are men of immense stature, with black complexion, spreading noses, and curly hair; decidedly distinct from those inhabiting all the islands to the eastward, who are distinguished by their light copper colour, Malay countenance, and straight hair. I sincerely hope that the Lon- 8 THE NUMBERS PROFESSING CHRISTIANITY. don, or some other Missionary Society, or the Societies unitedly, will adopt some effective measures, by which these extensive and inviting fields may be brought under moral culture.

159° 41' W. long. By this brief description of the Hervey Islands, the reader will be enabled, as we proceed, to refer in his mind to the relative importance of each island; he will also perceive that the whole group contains a population of from 14,000 to 16,000 persons. Of the Samoa Islands I shall hereafter give a more extended account. It will be expected that I should say something upon two most interesting subjects—both of which, however, are involved in much mystery—the formation of the islands, and the origin of the inhabitants.

Thomas, one of the Baptist missionaries, was returning to England. Mr. Wilson being still an infidel in principle, had frequent disputes with Mr. Thomas, who one day remarked to the chief officer of the vessel, that he should have much more hope of converting the Lascars to Christianity than Captain Wilson; so deeply mysterious, at times, are the ways of Providence. But things impossible to man are possible with God; for at length, by a series of most interesting incidents, he was induced to abandon his infidel principles, and became an eminent and devoted Christian.

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