Ellis, William

Ellis, William an English Congregationalist minister, was born at Wisbeach, August 29, 1794. Being converted when quite young, he offered his services to the London Missionary Society; was educated for mission work at Gosport, and, in January 1816, was sent to Tahiti, the largest of the Society Islands. In 1822 he went to the Sandwich Islands, and greatly assisted in establishing Christianity there, preaching frequently in Hawaiian; he assisted in the arrangement of the alphabet; wrote the first hymns; baptized the first convert, the queen-mother, Keo-puo-lani; and shortly afterwards preached her funeral sermon. In 1824 his wife's health gave way and compelled their return to England. He went by way of Boston, and. spent three months in the northern states, rendering great service to the American Foreign Mission Board by telling the story of the Hawaii mission. For six years after his arrival in England, Mr. Ellis was agent of the London Missionary Society among the county auxiliaries. In 1841 broken health compelled him to resign official life, and he settled at Hoddesdon to the quiet duties of a country pastor. In 1862 he went to Madagascar, reorganized the mission which had been nearly ruined by the persecutions of the late queen, saw the native church and its agencies resettled on a healthy system, the schools reopened and the press at work, and in 1865 returned to Hoddesdon, where he died, July 9, 1872. Mr. Ellis published, Missionary Narrative of a Tour through Hawaii, or Owhyhee (Lond. 1826, 8vo; 4th ed. 1827, 8vo): — Polynesian Researches (1829, 2 volumes, 8vo; last ed. 1853, 4 volumes, 12mo): — Vindication of the South Sea Missions (1831, 8vo): — History of Madagascar (1832, 2 volumes, 8vo): — History of the London Missionary Society (1844, 8vo), and other valuable works. See (Lond.) Cong. Year-book, 1873, page 325; Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v.; Life, by his son (Lond. 1873).

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