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ELLIS, William.

Polynesian Researches,

during a residence of nearly eight years in the Society and Sandwich Islands. Second edition, enlarged and improved.

London: Fisher, Son, & Jackson, 1831 Stock Code: 147083
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Revised and enlarged edition of Ellis's most important work.

William Ellis (1794-1872) joined the London Missionary Society in November 1814, and in early 1816 he sailed for the Society Islands. "Ellis's principal contribution to the Tahitian mission was the installation of the printing press on Moorea Island" (ODNB). In 1818 he moved to the island of Huahine where he gave his first sermon in Tahitian, becoming a skilled linguist and a chronicler of Polynesian life and natural history. Ellis's career "exemplified the main features of British Protestant missionary effort in the first half of the nineteenth century, when most agents were drawn from the artisan and labouring classes rather than from the educated élite. Beyond the frontiers of European political influence their success depended on their ability to sustain their own health, to provide for most of their own practical needs, to master unfamiliar languages, and to gain the confidence of local rulers. In all these respects Ellis was exceptionally successful" (ODNB). The first edition of this work was published in 1829.

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4 volumes, octavo (158 x 102 mm). Contemporary green half calf, marbled paper sides, spines elaborately tooled in gilt in compartments, titles in gilt to red calf spine labels, green coated endpapers, edges speckled red.


Engraved title pages and frontispieces, 3 folding maps, 4 engraved plates, and numerous woodcuts in the text.


Joints and board edges a little rubbed, touch of wear to tips, faint foxing to plates else contents clean and bright; a very good set.


Forbes 776.


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