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viii

PLATES IN VOL. II.

Idols worshipped by the Inhabitants of the South Sea Islands,

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POLYNESIAN RESEARCHES.

CHAP. I.

Voyage to Raiatea—Appearance of the coral reefs-Breaking of the surf—Islets near the passage to the harbours-Landing at Tipaemau- — Description of the islands-Arrival at Vaóaara-Singular receptionNative salutations—Improvement of the settlement-Traditionary connexion of Raiatea with the origin of the people-General account of the South Sea Islanders-Physical character, stature, colour, expression, &c.—Mental capacity, and habits-Aptness to receive instruction-Moral character-Hospitality-Extensive and affecting moral degradation-Its enervating influence-Longevity-Comparative numbers of the inhabitants-Indications and causes of depopulationBeneficial tendency of Christianity.

DURING the first years of our establishment in Huahine, frequent voyages were necessary; and, early in 1819, circumstances rendered it expedient that we should revisit Raiatea. As we expected to be absent for several weeks, Mrs. Barff and Mrs. Ellis accompanied us; Mr. Orsmond was returning to his station, and we embarked in his boat, although it was scarcely large enough to contain our party and half a dozen native rowers. The morning on which we sailed was fine; the sea gently rippled with the freshening breeze,

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