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Adams, Memoirs of Arii TaimaiIndigenous Histories
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Chapter XIV


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Chapter XIV

Meanwhile Europe had totally lost its first keen interest in Tahiti. Like an old fashion, the South Seas fell into the hands of unfashionable people such as missionaries and whaling-captains; the glamour vanished, and the worn-out excitement faded away. When Cook returned from his second voyage, he brought with him a young native from Raiatea named Omai, and rather apologetically explained that he was not a fair specimen of the islanders either in birth or appearance. He seemed surprised to find that this specimen of "the middling class of people" proved to be a social success in London. "Soon after his arrival the Earl of Sandwich the first Lord of the Admiralty, introduced him to his Majesty at Kew, when he met with a most gracious reception, and imbibed the strongest impression of duty and gratitude to that great and amiable prince, which I am persuaded he will preserve to the latest moment of his life". He remained two years in England, 1775-1776, "caressed by many of the principal nobility" and attained even the great distinction of approval from Doctor Johnson as was recorded by Boswell, whose sense of humor seems to have been in no way stirred by the characteristic remarks of Johnson on the subject of polite manners in England and elsewhere.

"He (Johnson) had been in company with Omai, a native of one of the South Sea Islands, after he had been some time in this country. He was struck with the elegance of his behavior, and accounted for it

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© Derived from the revised Paris edition of 1901 page 134, 2004
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