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PUBLISHED BY W. B. GILLEY, NO. 92 BROADWAY.

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THE NEW YORK
PUBLIC LIBRARY
507314A
ASTOR, LENOX AND
TILDEN POUNDATIONS

R 1980

Southern District of New York, ss. forty-fourth year of the Independence of the United States of America, Jonathan Seymour, of the said District, hath deposited in this Office the title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit;

“The South Sea Islander, containing many interesting facts relative to the former and present state of society in the Island of Otaheite : with some Remarks on the best mode of civilizing the Heathen."

In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled "*An Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the time therein mentioned." And also to an Act, entitled " an Act supplementary to an Act, entitled An Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other pripts."

GILBERT LIVINGSTON THOMPSON,

Clerk of the Southern District of New-Yerk.

INTRODUCTION.

Of all the interesting subjects that have exercised the minds, and engaged the hearts, of the successive generations which have passed through life, perhaps that of civilizing the heathen has been one of the most prominent, as well as the most perplexing. It is so at this day; no duty appear's more imperative than to inforin and to discipline the uncultivated mind, and by introducing the courtesies of civilization, to eradicate the cruel and disgusting habits of savage life.

He who engages in the arduous undertaking, is honoured as an apostle and a philanthropist; and the feeblest effort at throwing light on the path of such a friend to the human race, will be received with approbation and indulgence by every feeling mind. In an age like the present, full of virtuous enterprise in the cause of humanity, the test of experience may be more safely and more clearly relied upon, than probably in any former age. We do not find that the mere introduction of letters, and agricultural knowledge, has had the desired effect. Early habits, rooted prejudices, national feelings, and not unfrequently the licentiousness of those who professed to teach civilization, have opposed barriers too strong for reason and persua

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sion to remove. In a nation of savages, many may be reformed, whilst the majority remain unaffected. Rare are the opportunities afforded to an attentive observer, for forming a correct estimate of the full effect of any system of reformation in a whole nation or country. In every society there will be found certain individuals, acting at times under the influence of some generous feelings ; but to meet with a whole community, manifesting a consistency of conduct, springing from principles always operative, virtuous, and permanent; and those principles inculcated upon them by men, who, from love of virtue, have patiently, steadily, for many years, and at the peril of their lives, remained with that community, teaching them, setting them a powerful example, and never leaving them until a society of Pagans, forsaking the brutalities of savage life, exbibit the mildness of Christianity itself, is to behold a change which exhilarates the human heart, and makes the astonished beholder involuntarily to exclaim," this land that was desolate, is become like the garden of Eden !"

If we review the effects produced, and the impressions naturally made on heathen nations by their intercourse with civilized adventurers, denominated Christian, no such cheering picture as we liave just drawn can be presented. America had her Cortes', her Pizarros; Asia her many oppressors, and Africa, bleeding Africa, her ten thousand tormentors. The untutored inhabitants of many savage climes, fell into the cunning snares of their conquerors, and often learned to participate in Eu

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