John Williams – Martyr Missionary of Polynesia

James Joseph Ellis [1853-1924?], John Williams. The Martyr Missionary of Polynesia

John Williams (27 June 1796 – 20 November 1839) served with the London Missionary Society in the South Pacific. In order to expand his work to the Samoa and the Society Islands he build a missionary Ship – The Messenger of Peace – at Rarotonga. Following his death at the hands of cannibals in the New Hebrides, the London Missionary Society named seven of their missionary ships after him, the last of these being decommissioned in 1968.

This biography was digitised using a copy from the Library at Spurgeon’s College. This title is in the public domain.

James Joseph Ellis [1853-1924?], John Williams. The Martyr Missionary of Polynesia. London: S.W. Partridge & Co., n.d. Hbk. pp.160. [Click here to visit the download page for this title]


  • Preface
  1. A Words with Many Echoes, 1796-1816
  2. A Stranger with Many Friends, 1816-1822
  3. A Voyage with Many Discoveries, 1823-1827
  4. A Trouble with Many Blessings, 1827-1830
  5. A Sowing with Many Harvests, 1830-1832
  6. A Wanderer with Many Homes, 1832-1834
  7. A Champion with Many Trophies, 1834-1838
  8. A Stephen with Many a Paul, 1838-1839

Pearls of the Pacific: Samoa and Other Islands of the South Seas

Victor Arthur Barradale [1874-1947], Pearls of the Pacific. Being Sketches of Missionary Life and Work in Samoa and other Islands in the South Seas

Victor Arnold Barradale wrote two books that drew on his three years of missionary service in Samoa. Both had very similar titles. This is the earlier and more heavily illustrated of the two. My thanks to Redcliffe College for making a copy of this public domain title available for digitisation.

Victor Arthur Barradale [1874-1947], Pearls of the Pacific. Being Sketches of Missionary Life and Work in Samoa and other Islands in the South Seas. London: London Missionary Society, 1907. Hbk. pp.192. [Click to the Victor Barradale page where you will find the download links to his books]


  • Preface
  1. Samoa and Other Pearls
  2. The First Missionary Ships
  3. More Missionary Ships
  4. Samoa: As it Was
  5. Hoisting the Flag
  6. People, Houses and Food
  7. Play
  8. Climate, Clothing, Animals and Insects
  9. Seasons and Souls
  10. Trades and Employments
  11. Samoa: As it is—Home Life and Industries
  12. School Life
  13. The Malua Institution
  14. Churches
  15. Sunday Schools
  16. The Foreign Mission Work of the South Seas Churches
  17. More Foreign Missionary Work

Twelve Mighty Missionaries by Esthme Ethelind Enock [1874-1947]

Esthme Ethelind Enock [1874-1947], Twelve Mighty MissionariesEsthme Enock’s biographical sketches of 12 famous missionaries has just entered the public domain. This copy was kindly provided by Book Aid for digitisation.

In the table of contents below I have linked to the bibligraphy pages on, where you will find further material on each missionary.

Esthme Ethelind Enock [1874-1947], Twelve Mighty Missionaries. London: Pickering & Inglis, Ltd., 1936. Hbk. pp.95. [Click to visit the download page]


  1. Pastor Hsi, China
  2. James Chalmers, New Guinea
  3. Alexander Mackay, Uganda
  4. Anthony Norris Groves, India
  5. Alexander Duff, India
  6. John Williams, Erromanga
  7. Samuel Marsden, Maoriland
  8. Samuel Pollard, China
  9. Hudson Taylor, China
  10. C.T. Studd, Central Africa
  11. Dan Crawford, Central Africa
  12. Dr Richard Williams, Tierra Del Fuego

Chapter 1. Pastor Hsi, China

The exact date of Pastor Hsi’s birthday does not seem to be recorded, but he was born probably in the Autumn of 1836. Till he was seven years old the little Hsi lived the usual free life of the son of a Chinese scholar, and was encouraged in every way to be overbearing and self-willed. Then he was sent to school, a school where a shrine of Confucius occupied the place of honour. Here the boy begins the studies which, it is hoped, will make him a “Princely Man.”

But, favourable though circumstances are, they do not satisfy the heart of this boy. At the early age of eight years, as he wandered through the incense-filled Temple and gazed at the hideous idols and vivid representations of punishments and terrors beyond the grave, he would ask himself, what was the use of living. “Men find no good, and in the end—?” he said to himself….

Past and Present in Samoa

The following four articles describing the progress of the Gospel in Samoa are now available on-line in PDF.

A Coastal Scene in Samoa
A Coastal Scene in Samoa

George Cousins, “The Past and Present in Samoa,” Sunday at Home 36 No. 1832 (June 8th 1889): 360-364. [Click here to download]

George Cousins, “The Past and Present in Samoa. II – Samoa Casting Off Idolotry,” Sunday at Home 35 No. 1833 (June 15th 1889): 373-376. [Click here to download]

George Cousins, “The Past and Present in Samoa. III – Samoa Under Missionary Pupilage,” Sunday at Home 36 No. 1834 (June 22nd 1889): 393-397. [Click here to download]

George Cousins, “The Past and Present in Samoa. IV – Samoa in Touch With the Great Outside World,” Sunday at Home 36 No. 1835 (June 29th 1889): 407-411. [Click here to download]

The Past and Present in Samoa

George Cousins

Fifty years ago missions to the South Seas were in their glory. Islands previously unknown were emerging into the light of day. John Williams and his noble compeers were sailing from island to island, from group to group, stationing missionaries or native teachers as they went. And marvellous to relate, where-ever they did this, the idolatry that had hitherto held undisputed sway, succumbed almost without a struggle. The gospel triumphed, and the natives placed themselves under Christian instruction forthwith.

Surprised and delighted as our fathers and grandfathers were at the changes thus wrought, it was after all not so much to be surprised at. The mere presence of white men in their midst filled the childish savages with awe. Coming from a world they knew nothing of, borne across the sea in strange vessels so unlike their own canoes, the missionaries were looked up to as gods rather than men, and their influence was supreme. Added to which, the paltry fetichism and superstitions of the Polynesians lacked all force and vitality. They fell like a house of cards before a gust of wind. The islanders were in gross moral and spiritual darkness. Light came streaming in upon them; the darkness fled; and for the time their eyes were completely dazzled with the brightness. No sooner had their foreign visitors mastered the grammatical construction of the dialect and acquired a sufficient knowledge of their vocabulary than at once they proceeded to give them a translation of the Word of God. Without a written language or any knowledge of letters hitherto, they were initiated into the mysteries of reading in order that they might at once become acquainted with the best of all books: from the lowest depths of mental destitution they passed at a step into the possession of rich stores of wealth. No wonder that their joy was intense; no wonder that the story of the work carried on among them reads like a romance.

Click here to continue reading part 1.