Excerpt from A Visit to the South Seas, in the U. S. Ship Vincennes, During the Years 1829 and 1830: With Notices of Brazil, Peru, Manilla, the Cape of Good Hope, and St. Helena
South Sea Islands, the present volume will be pecu liarly acceptable, as furnishing much additiona... l and satisfactory evidence, that the reports which have been recently circulated of the injurious conse quences of missionary exertions among the islanders, from the crude fictions of Kotzebue, to the insinua tions and inferences of the anonymous writer of the account of the Bounty, are altogether untrue. The geographical knowledge of the latter writer appears to be much upon a par with that of the former; the name and position seems to be all he knows about Tahiti; though he quotes Captain Waldegrave as his authority, when he states, that the depopulation of the island has been so great, that, according to a census taken by the missionaries, Tahiti only con tains 5000 persons. Did the writer, when he made this statement, for the purpose of insinuating that the change effected by the missionaries had occa sioned or accelerated the depopulation of the island, not know that Tahiti consists Of two peninsulas, joined by an isthmus; and that, in the census Of the missionaries, which Captain Waldegrave saw, the population of only one of these peninsulas was 5000? If he did not know this, ought he not first to have ascertained that he was correct, before he thus recklessly published his criminating charge? And if he did know it, I leave my readers to deter mine the degree of credit to which he is entitled.
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