A Narrative of Five Youth from the Sandwich Islands, Now Receiving an Education in This Country. Published by Order of the Agents Appointed to Establish a School for Heathen Youth. New York: printed by J. Seymour, 1816
8vo (8 3/4 x 5 5/8 in.; 223 x 142 mm). Browned, some wear at edges and coirners. Printed wrappers; soiled and browned, extremities chipped with loss of approximately 1/4 in of right margin of front cover, staples at spine not present. Half calf folding-case, red morocco spine label, marbled sides.
First edition of the publication which "aroused all New England to the plight of the natives 'suffering in ignorance of Christianity'" (Forbes). The impact of this publication was so tremendous that it rallied the public to support of the Foreign Mission School. Beginning in 1819, missionaries set out for the islands and changed the course of history there forever. This 32-page pamphlet includes biographies of the five boys, Obookiah, Hopoo, Tennooe, Honooree, and Prince Tamoree. A selection of their letters is included here, as is a description of the Foreigh Mission School.
The text on the back cover of the wrappers makes an ominous prediction: "… the population of all the islands may be stated at from three to five hundred thousand. The islands, however, are capable of sustaining a much greater population than this, and probably will, as soon as Christianity shall have abolished their cruelties, and civilization increased the facilities of living." As to the inhabitants of the islands: "They are enslaved by the horrid rites of idolatry; they worship blocks of wood and stone, and not unfrequently stain their cruel altars with human blood."
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