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bishop russell : surf-riding prohibition, 1836 

Bishop Russell : Notes  on Surf-riding Prohibition, 1836.
Russell, Michael:
Polynesia: A History of the South Sea Islands,
including New Zealand; with narrative of the introduction of Christianity, & c.

 
T. Nelson,
London,1845-1849.

Hathi Trust
https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015063735362
Hathi Trust
https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.b3967328

Introduction
Russell, Michael, 1781-1848.


Page 402

A similar remark may be applied to the Sandwich Islands, where the improving influence of commerce has been added to the
elements of literature and of christian knowledge.*

 *We have had the good fortune to obtain a manuscript Diary or Note-book, kept by a distinguished officer who spent some
time in the Sandwich Islands, as well as in those of the Society group.
His information comes down to the year 1836, since which period there has not been any material alteration either at Otaheite or Woahoo.

Page 404

Some visiters lament that the missionaries, while they have improved the morals of the people, have so far broken in upon innocent habits, as to render them less cheerful and less attentive to personal cleanliness.
Formerly they had numerous games, such as running, wrestling, and throwing the spear; but these have been generally discontinued, as being either too nearly allied to their idolatrous usages, or tending to encourage a spirit of gambling.
The consequence is, that their manly sports have ceased; even swimming and bathing are in a great measure prohibited; and hence, it is alleged, whatever the Sandwich Islanders may have gained in the way of religious improvement, they have certainly lost much of their personal neatness, masculine character, and, more especially, of that dexterity in bodily exercise which formerly distinguished them.
...
"Too much cannot be said in favour of the missionaries, for the successful efforts they have made to civilize and educate the natives; but it is to be regretted, that their zeal too often carries them into extremes, the result rather of sectarian prejudice than of true religion.
Hence a native is punished if he should be seen on horse-back, or making a fire, or cooking a pig on Sunday.
The late attempts to prevent foreign residents from drinking wine and spirituous liquors at their own tables, to close the billiard-room, and to take away the horses of those

Page 405

who rode out on Sunday for innocent recreation, appear to me vexatious and despotic, and to emanate rather from enthusiasm than from justice or sound policy."*

* We ought perhaps to mention, that the author of the journal now before us addressed the missionaries themselves on the
subjects noticed above, and received from one of them the following reply:
" I received your kind note last evening, together with the accompanying memorandum, for all of which 1 beg you will accept my very grateful acknowledgments.
"For the frank and friendly manner in which you have expressed your views with respect to our work and the state of the people, for the valuable hints you have given relative to the improvement of the nation, as well as for the uniform gentlemanly deportment you have exhibited to the gentlemen with whom I have the happiness to be associated in the missionary work, my brethren join with me in tendering you our cordial thanks, and the assurance of our kind wishes for your best prosperity.

"We ought not perhaps, however, to conceal our apprehension that you may have been materially misled with reference to the
prohibition, by authority, of the innocent amusements of the people.
We certainly are not aware that the healthful exercises of swimming, riding on the surf-board, or on horseback, or any athletic exercises to which the people are attached, disconnected with immorality, are prohibited.
In these exercises we would allow and encourage our own children, and certainly we would not have force employed to restrain the people.



Russell, (Rev.) Michael :
Polynesia: A History of the South Sea Islands,
including New Zealand;
with narrative of the introduction of Christianity, & c.

  T. Nelson, London,1844.

Hathi Trust
https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015063735362

Russell, (Bishop) Michael :
Polynesia: A History of the South Sea Islands,
including New Zealand;
with narrative of the introduction of Christianity, & c.

  T. Nelson, London,1849.

Hathi Trust
 https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.b3967328

 
 


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Geoff Cater (2017) : Bishop Russell : Surf-riding Prohibition, 1836.
http://www.surfresearch.com.au/1849_Russell_Polynesia_History.html