John Paton, missionary to the New Hebrides Islands in the South Seas was ordained on this date in 1857

The ‘Reformed Church,’ by which John Paton was ordained, had already a single missionary, the Rev. John Inglis, at Aneityum, the southernmost of the New Hebrides Islands in the South Seas; and the elders of the church were seeking somewhat vainly for volunteers to join in that hazardous enterprise. Paton offered himself, and was accepted. On 1 December 1857 he was licensed as a preacher, in his thirty-third year, and on 23 March following he was ordained. With his newly married young wife, Mary Ann Robson, he reached the mission station at Aneityum on 30 August, and the pair were soon sent on to establish a new station in the island of Tanna, the natives of which were then entirely untouched by Western civilisation, except in so far as they had from time to time been irritated by aggression on the part of sandalwood traders. The young Scotchman and his wife, without any experience of the world outside the small body to which they belonged, were thus the first white residents in an island full of naked and painted wildmen, cannibals, utterly regardless of the value of even their own lives, and without any sense of mutual kindness and obligation. A few months later, in March 1859, a child was born to this strangely placed couple, and in a few days more wife and child were both dead.

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