Patteson of the South Sea Islands

Norman James Davidson [1860-1936], Patteson of the South Sea IslandsThis book for children tells the story of the life of the missionary John Coleridge Patteson (1 April 1827 – 20 September 1871), the first bishop of Melanesia, who died a martyr’s death on the Solomons Islands. My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing a copy of this book for digitisation. The title is in the Public Domain. There is a brief article about Bishop Patteson on Wikipedia.

Norman James Davidson [1860-1936], Patteson of the South Sea Islands. London: Seeley, Service & Co. Ltd., 1931. Hbk. pp.64. [Click to download in PDF]


  1. Coley Patteson’s Childhood
  2. Schooldays at Eton – at Oxford – on the Continent
  3. Decides to go to New Zealand
  4. Getting to Know the Moaris
  5. First Voyage Among the Islands
  6. Patteson and His Black Boys
  7. The Winter School at Mota
  8. The First Bishop of Melanesia
  9. Pestilence and Bloodshed
  10. Moving to Norfolk Islands – Tree Houses – Feasts
  11. “Kill-Kill” Ships

Chapter 1

On the first of April in the year 1827 a baby boy was born at No. 9 Gower Street, near Bedford Square, London. His father was Sir John Patteson, a very clever barrister who was a few years later made a judge. The baby was baptized John Coleridge, and by the name of Coley he was known all his life. His father and mother were religious and kind but were firm without being stern. He had two sisters and one brother, and so they were able to join in many games, and their father and mother did all they could to make life happy for them. Indeed, it would have been strange if this had not been so, with the kindest of parents, brother and sisters, and plenty of money to buy pleasures and things needful.

But now I will tell you something about Coley which may surprise you when you have read about the noble, brave, unselfish life he led. Although he was accounted worthy at the end of his life to be placed on the roll of the noble Army of Martyrs he began his career as a very ordinary little boy with a strong and obstinate will, and a quick and sometimes very naughty temper. He used to throw himself on the ground and kick and scream and scratch when he did not get his own way.

But his mother was wise and never gave in to him until she saw that he was sorry for what he had done and ashamed for the scratches, slaps and kicks he had bestowed in his rage on his brother, sisters and playfellows, and then he would make an effort not to lose his temper so badly again. [Continue reading]

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