He was a school teacher under Thomas Charles of Bala at Llanwyddelan in 1800 and afterwards missionary for fifty-four years under the London Missionary Society in the South Sea Islands; born 11 July 1772 at Pendugwm, a little farm, in the parish of Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa, Montgomeryshire. He was a weaver's son, and after a little education in Madam Bevan's schools he himself set up a school at Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant. He joined the Methodists and used to worship at a private house called Penllys. When a call went out for teachers for the island of Tahiti, he volunteered for the work, was accepted, and, with his wife, set sail, 5 May 1800. Elizabeth Davis records a visit which she paid him in Tahiti.
He came from the same neighbourhood as the hymnist Ann Griffiths [some of his work is included in the edition of her hymns published by Owen M. Edwards ] and wrote frequently to her brother, John. There is also still extant a great deal of correspondence addressed by him to John Hughes (1775 - 1854), of Pont Robert.
He was the author of a dictionary and grammar of the Tahitian language and translated into that language the Pilgrim's Progress, substantial portions of the New Testament and Psalms, Brown's catechism, the Westminster catechism, and a number of smaller works. His History of the Tahitian Mission, 1799-1830, ed. C.W. Newbury (Cambridge), was published in 1962.
Although he was blind for the last ten years of his life he continued his devoted labours; he died 19 August 1855 after having served abroad for an unbroken period of fifty-five years.
Published date: 1959
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