Summary and Info
Based on John Williams' meticulous documentation of his travels, this 1837 volume offers an insight into the perilous life of a missionary in the early nineteenth century. The author, an ironmonger by trade, set sail for the South Sea Islands in 1817 with the intention of spreading the gospel and introducing modern technology to the region. As well as recounting the frequent threats to his safety from angry natives, war, natural disaster and disease, Williams provides detailed surveys of the peoples, languages and natural environment he encountered and describes with great exuberance and humour 'the impression made upon barbarous people by their first intercourse with civilised man'. Made more poignant by the author's death at the hands of cannibals just two years after the book's publication, this is an extraordinary account of the perseverance and ingenuity of a man who became a hero and martyr for the Protestant missionary movement.