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TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
By Your MAJESTY's gracious permission, the Directors of the London Missionary Society, with profound sentiments of loyalty and respect, have the honour to present to Your MAJESTY the following “ Journal of Voyages and Travels,” performed by a Deputation from the Society commissioned to visit its Missionary Stations, in the South Pacific Ocean and various other parts of the World.
More than thirty years have elapsed since the Founders of the Society dedicated to Your MAJESTY's August Father “ The Missionary Voyage of the Ship Duff ;" undertaken to convey to the inhabitants of Otaheite, and other islands in that part of the Pacific, the Missionaries whose persevering labours, in conjunction with those of others who have followed them in the same benevolent
career, have, by the blessing of the Almighty, led to the happy change of which Your MAJESTY will in these volumes find an Authentic Narrative.
That the Knowledge of the Divine Author of our Holy Religion is thus diffused amongst Mankind cannot fail to afford high satisfaction to Your MAJESTY, as a Philanthropist; that any portion of the Subjects of your
Realm should be rendered the instruments of promoting that Object will increase the happiness enjoyed by Your MAJESTY, as the Father of your People.
That Your MAJESTY may long reign over a free, loyal, religious, and happy People, and may at last receive the Crown of Immortal Life, is the devout prayer of
The Missionary Society,* founded on the Catholic principle of union among Christians of various denominations, was established in the autumn of 1795. The first undertaking of its founders and patrons was to send the Gospel to the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Accordingly, in the year following, the ship Duff, commanded by Captain Wilson, sailed with twenty-nine Missionaries (of whom several were married, and had their wives and children with them) on board, and arrived, in March 1797, at Tahiti, then, and still, by some reputable writers, miscalled Otaheite, where the greater part of the company took up their residence. Others were settled at St. Christina and Tongatabu. For nearly seventeen years, under many adverse and discouraging circumstances, the work (thus begun) was continued with apparently little success. It afterwards pleased God, in his own good time and way, to display his power and glory among the people who there sat in darkness and the shadow of death; nor hath his word, since that time, ceased to grow and prevail : island after island
* Now known by the name of the London Missionary Society, to distinguish it from similar institutions of later date, and which are confined principally to the particular bodies of Christians to which hey are respectively attached.
has abandoned idolatry, and, while multitudes of the inhabitants have professed obedience to the faith, many have given satisfactory evidence of genuine conversion. All the principal events contributing towards this great change, or accompanying and following it, are touched upon in the volumes here submitted to the public, with sufficient clearness, it is hoped, to render any explanations unnecessary in this place.
In the year 1821, the Rev. Daniel Tyerman, of the Isle of Wight, and George Bennet, Esq. of Sheffield, were deputed by the Parent Society to visit the various stations in those uttermost parts of the sea, both for the purpose of cheering the hearts and strengthening the hands of the Missionaries, and, as representatives of the Christian community at home, to witness and report what great things the Lord had done for the heathen there. The following quotations from a circular, issued by the Directors, in 1820, will more particularly show their intentions in making the appointment which, at first, embraced the South Sea Islands only, though, in the sequel, it included the Stations in the other quarters of the world :-“ The great objects of the Deputation will be, to make themselves thoroughly acquainted with the state of the Missions, and of the islands; and to suggest, and, if possible, carry into effect, such plans as shall appear to be requisite for the furtherance of the gospel, and for introducing among the natives the occupations and habits of civilized life. In order to the attainment of these objects, it is proposed to form such arrangements as shall tend to the introduction of Christian Churches; the establishment and improvement of schools for the children of the Missionaries and of the natives, and, eventually, of