This book is very largely about the work of Christian missionaries in the Pacific. There is a thin plot, but otherwise we are treated to lengthy texts extracted from the reports of various missionaries, and of Naval officers who had visited the area.
some public exhibitions, which I was told were religious. I cannot suppose that such performances are acceptable to our Lord and Master, or He would surely have ordered such. But it becomes not me, after so slight acquaintance with a people, to pass much censure on their customs, though I see not how to approve them.
Crossing the Line, we had a usual Father Neptune and his Tritons on board. Tony Hinks, our boatswain, was Neptune. He and his mates severely handled some of the men who had shown ill manners or bad tempers, tarring their faces, and shaving their chins with rusty hoops. Phineas vowed that he would not be so treated, but had to succumb, escaping with a thorough sousing from a dozen buckets. Phineas vows vengeance on the boatswain; but I warn him that Tony Hinks followed but the custom of the sea, and is not a man over whom it would be easy to get an advantage, for he boasts that he always sleeps with one eye open.
We have touched at Rio, the chief town in the Brazils. From what I saw
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