They are twelve in number, but
only eight are inhabited, and these vary in size from Hawaii, which
is 4000 square miles in extent, and 88 miles long by 73 broad, to
Kahoolawe, which is only 11 miles long and 8 broad.
superficial area is about 6,100 miles. They are to some extent
bounded by barrier reefs of coral, and have few safe harbours.
Their formation is altogether volcanic, and they possess the largest
perpetually active volcano and the largest extinct crater in the
world. They are very mountainous, and two mountain summits on
Hawaii are nearly 14,000 feet in height. Their climate for
salubrity and general equability is reputed the finest on earth. It
is almost absolutely equable, and a man may take his choice between
broiling all the year round on the sea level on the leeward side of
the islands at a temperature of 80 degrees, and enjoying the charms
of a fireside at an altitude where there is frost every night of the
year. There is no sickly season, and there are no diseases of
locality. The trade winds blow for nine months of the year, and on
the windward coasts there is an abundance of rain, and a perennial
luxuriance of vegetation.
The Sandwich Islands are not the same as Otaheite nor as the Fijis,
from which they are distant about 4,000 miles, nor are their people
of the same race. The natives are not cannibals, and it is doubtful
if they ever were so.
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