A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 768 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16.

[Footnote 3:  We may have occasion hereafter to make mention of several subsequent visits to this island, on the part of our countrymen.  It is evident, that Captain Cook was far from being well pleased with the consequences which had already resulted to its inhabitants from their intercourse with Europeans.  Unfortunately, it is impracticable to give a more agreeable picture of the condition of the island as influenced by future visits.  Cook’s solicitude, in behalf of these people, is extremely commendable, and it is to this we must ascribe his opinion of the impolicy of attempting settlements amongst them.  Is it wonderful, that to a man of his humanity and discernment, any other effect should seem likely to proceed from the undertaking, than what would augment his concern that ever Otaheite felt the necessity of being obliged to his countrymen?  One motive alone, perhaps, not contemplated by him in reasoning on the purposes which might induce to such an attempt, gave some promise of compensating for former evils, without being likely to entail others, which would still leave the balance of good and bad consequences a subject of regret.  We allude to the intentions of the missionaries, who projected a settlement on the island in 1796, &c.  But the friends of humanity have not hitherto had cause to rejoice at the amount of the new benefits conferred.  The advocates for such labours, indeed, require to arm themselves with patience, unless they can satisfy themselves with the conviction of having willed a good work.  Besides, even they ought to anticipate the certainty, that, were their intentions realized, intruders of very different principles, and with very different motives, would speedily mar the fruits of their benevolence.  Such reflections, it may be said, are discouraging.  What opinion, then, ought we to entertain of the wisdom of labours, which had been undertaken without a full view of obvious causes threatening their ultimate failure?  It would little alleviate the mortification of disappointment, to exclaim, as is often done on such occasions, “Who could have thought it?” But the most enlightened judges of such undertakings, will not only advert to the probable occurrence of such mischief, but also be well aware of the existence of other untoward circumstances, extremely well calculated to render any fears of subsequent deterioration altogether superfluous!—­E.]

I have already mentioned the visit that I had from one of the two natives of this island, who had been carried by the Spaniards to Lima.  I never saw him afterward, which I rather wondered at, as I had received him with uncommon civility.  I believe, however, that Omai had kept him at a distance from me, by some rough usage; jealous that there should be another traveller upon the island who might vie with himself.  Our touching at Teneriffe was a fortunate circumstance for Omai; as he prided himself in having visited a place belonging to Spain as well

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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