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A Missionary Cruise in the South Pacific

Date: 1871
Overall: 201 mm, 0.042 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00018159
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    A book by Samuel James Whitmee titled 'A Missionary Cruise in the South Pacific: being the report of a voyage amongst the Tokelau, Ellice, and the Gilbert islands, in the missionary barque JOHN WILLIAMS during 1870. With two engravings'. Whitmee worked with the London Missionary Socity and was based in Samoa from 1863 - 1877.

    SignificanceThis book reveals something about the activities of the London Missionary Society in the South Pacific region during the late nineteenth century.
    HistoryThe Reverend Samuel James Whitmee (1838 - 1925) worked for the London Missionary Society and was based at Samoa from 1863. Although his wife died only six months after arriving, Whitmee remained there until 1877 when he returned to the United Kingdom.
    Whilst in Samoa, Whitmee learnt the Samoan language and being a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and contributing author to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, he compiled an extensive collection of natural flora and fauna, much of which was sent back to the Kew Gardens in London. Many missionaries at this time undertook some form of ethnographic or natural research and their findings were of great interest back home. In his obituary in the London Times, 14 December 1925 it states;
    "While in the Pacific he did a considerable amount of original scientific research work, and presented over 1,000 natural history specimens to the British Museum and some important plants to Kew Gardens."

    Whitmee however, will probably best be remembered for his friendship with the author Robert Louis Stevenson who lived on Samoa for the later part of his life. Whitmee taught the local language to Stevenson and corresponded with him after Whitmee's return to London after a second sojourn in Samoa from 1891 - 1894.
    Although Stevenson had reservations about missionaries work, he did come to see some positives through his friendship with Whitmee.

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