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Vol. IV.---No. 1.
ART. I.-JOURNAL OF VOYAGES AND TRAVels.
Journal of Voyages and Travels, by the Rev. DANIEL TYERMAN and GEORGE BENNET, Esq. deputed from the London Missionary Society, to visit their various stations in the South Sea Islands, China, India, &c., between the years 1821 and 1829. Compiled from Original Documents by JAMES MONTGOMERY, author of the World before the Flood, the Christian Psalmist, and other Poems. In three volumes; from the first London edition. Revised by an American Editor. Boston; published by Crocker & Brewster: New York; Jonathan Leavitt. 1832.
We took up this work with raised expectations, and we are constrained to say, they have been more than realized. The original journals of Messrs. Tyerman and Bennet, some extracts from which have already reached the public, were extensive and multifarious, and were left somewhat in the form of rough memoranda. Mr. Montgomery, to whom the task of preparing them for the press was assigned, found it necessary, therefore, in order to present the important information which they contain, in its proper place and order, to re-write the whole. This task he has executed in a manner calculated to give still greater celebrity to his fascinating pen. These volumes now present the most complete, authentic, and connected account of Polynesian missions, which has ever been published; and aside from their missionary character, they are highly valuable as containing a great variety of information respecting almost every branch of science, many beautiful and glowing descriptions of picturesque scenery, and details of the customs, manners, rites, ceremonies, &c. of most heathen and pagan nations. The information they contain is, in fact, so various and interesting, relating to such an extensive portion of the globe, that we recommend to every family in the country to add them forthwith to their family library.
It was in 1797, that missionaries were first sent by the London Missionary Society to the islands of the Pacific. After seventeen years of labor and discouragement, their efforts began to be attended with very great success. Since then, the work of the Lord in the destruction of idolatry and the conversion of the heathen, has been spreading from island to island with such rapidity, and under circumstances of such thrilling interest, that the reports of it, from time to time, have been received with a degree of incredulity.
In the year 1821, the society deputed the Rev. Daniel Tyerman, of the Isle of Wight, and George Bennet, Esq. of Sheffield, -men whose characters would afford a perfect guaranty for the correctness of their statements-to visit all the missionary stations in those distant regions. The object of their visit was, to cheer and encourage the missionaries, to witness and report the state of things at the different islands, and generally, according to their wisdom, observation, and experience, to devise such plans and adopt such measures, as would be likely to further the missionary enterprise at the several places they were to visit. They were subsequently instructed to proceed on the same errand of benevolence to Java, the East Indies, Madagascar, and other places in the East.
By the generosity of an individual, they were provided with a passage free of expense, on board the Tuscan, a South Sea whaler, in which they set sail from London, May 2d, 1821. The journal kept during their voyage to Tahiti, is enriched with much curious and valuable information respecting a great variety of fishes and seafowls; and with graphic descriptions of the ever-varying phenomena of the sea, the atmosphere, and the skies. We have strong temptations to extract largely from various portions of their journal, but must content ourselves with giving here and there a sketch, with the hope that our readers will be satisfied with nothing short of the whole work. The following description of a scene often witnessed on ship-board, may not be uninteresting, as it exhibits some of the perils, to which mariners are exposed.
Having requested the captain to inform us whenever any thing novel or striking was to be seen from deck, by day or by night, he sent for us early this morning to witness the approach of a tremendous squall. Sky and ocean, indeed, wore an aspect so wild and menacing, that we landsmen might well have been excused if we had felt greatly appalled. From overwhelming fear, however, we were graciously preserved by Him whose strength is made perfect in weakness. To us it was intensely interesting to observe the vigilant care which marked the countenance of our commander, whose rapid glances seemed to take in, at once, every part of the ship, and the whole surrounding hemisphere of horrors and perils; especially eyeing, with instinctive jealousy, the quarter from which the instant storm was coming down in its fury, and prepared in a moment to meet it with all the resources of his skill, and the capabilitics of his vessel; to see also