The Missionaries Voyage to Kailua…

TAUMUARII, the friendly king of Kauai, having generously offered the missionaries, chosen to make the tour of Hawaii, (Owhyhee,) a passage in one of his vessels bound from Oahu to Kailua; Messrs. Thurston, Bishop, and Goodrich, repaired on board in the afternoon of June 24, 1823. They were accompanied by Mr. Harwood, an ingenious mechanic, whom curiosity, and a desire to assist them, had induced to join their party. The indisposition of Mrs. Ellis prevented my proceeding in the same vessel, but I hoped to follow in a few days. At 4 P.M. the brig was under weigh, standing to the S. E. Having cleared the bar, and the reefs at the entrance of the harbor, the trade-wind blowing fresh from the N. E. they were soon out of sight of Honorary. They passed the islands of Molokai, Lanai, and the principal part of Maui (Mowee) during the night, and at daybreak on the 25th were off Kaho’olawe, a small island on the south side of Maui. The Haaheo Hawaii, (Pride of Hawaii,) another native vessel, formerly the Cleopatra’s barge, soon after hove in sight; she did not, however, come up with them, but tacked, and stood for Lahaina. In the evening, the wind, usually fresh in the channel between Maui and Hawaii, blew so strong, …that they were obliged to lay-to for about three hours; when it abated, and allowed them to proceed. (Ellis)

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(These are excerpts from a book by William Ellis that has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired.)

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The Arrival of Missionaries in the Sandwich Islands…

In the month of March 1822 we reached the Sandwich Islands, and received a cordial welcome from the king and chiefs, to whom the generous present of the British government was peculiarly acceptable. Shortly after our arrival, a public council of the king and chiefs of Hawaii was held at Oahu. Auna and his companion, from Huahine, were invited to attend, and had an opportunity of answering the inquiries of the king and chiefs relative to the events which had transpired in the Society Islands, and of testifying to the feelings of friendship and esteem entertained by Pomare, and the rulers of those islands, much to the satisfaction of the latter; who were convinced that the reports which had been circulated among them respecting the hostile intentions of the southern islanders, and the dangerous influence of Christian missions there, were totally groundless. We did not expect, when we first arrived, to spend more than a fortnight or three weeks in the Sandwich Islands; but circumstances unforeseen, and entirely beyond our control, detained us four months in Oahu. In two months I was enabled to converse with facility, and preach to the people in their own language, which I soon perceived was only a dialect of that spoken by the natives of Tahiti, and the neighboring islands. Auna and his companion were at the same time diligently and acceptably employed in teaching some chiefs of distinction in Hawaii, who requested that he would relinquish his voyage to the Marquesas, and fix his residence among them; to which he cheerfully consented. Several of the principal chiefs also expressed a wish that I should associate with the teachers already engaged in their instruction. The American missionaries at the same time affectionately inviting me to join them, and the measure meeting the approbation of the deputation, it appeared my duty to comply with their request.

Early in February, 1823, I returned to Oahu with my family, experienced a kind reception from the king and chiefs, and was privileged to commence my missionary pursuits in harmonious co-operation with my predecessors, the American missionaries, who were diligently employed in their benevolent exertions for the spiritual well-being of the nation; avoiding, as they have uniformly done ever since, all interference with the civil, commercial, and political concerns of the people, and attending solely to their instruction in useful knowledge and religious truth. (Ellis)

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(These are excerpts from a book by William Ellis that has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired.)

A Present from the British Government…

In the years 1792 and 1793, Captain Vancouver, while engaged in a voyage of discovery in the North Pacific, spent several months at the Sandwich Islands; and notwithstanding the melancholy catastrophe which had terminated the life of Captain Cook, whom he had accompanied, and the treacherous designs of the warlike and ambitious chiefs towards several of his predecessors, he met with the most friendly treatment from all parties, and received the strongest expressions of confidence from Kamehameha, sovereign of the whole group, who had been wounded in the skirmish that followed the death of their discoverer, but who had ever lamented with deepest regret that melancholy event. He alone had prevented the murderous intentions of his chieftains towards former vessels from being carried into effect; and it was his uniform endeavor to shew every mark of friendship to those who visited his dominions. His attachment to the English induced him, during the stay of Captain Vancouver, to cede the island of Hawaii to the British crown, and to place himself and his dominions under British protection; an act which was repeated by his son, the late king, on his accession to the sovereignty of all the islands. The natives received many advantages from the visit of Captain Vancouver; a breed of cattle, and a variety of useful seeds, had been given. Generous and disinterested in his whole behavior, he secured their friendship and attachment, and many still retain grateful recollections of his visit. After his departure, the islands were seldom resorted to, except by traders from the United States of America, who, having discovered among them the sandal-wood, conveyed large quantities of it to Canton, where it is readily purchased by the Chinese, manufactured into incense, and burnt in their idol temples. Subsequently, the South Sea whalers began to fish in the North Pacific, when the Sandwich Islands afforded a convenient rendezvous for refitting and procuring refreshments during their protracted voyages, particularly since they have found the sperm whale on the coast of Japan, where of late years the greater parts of their cargoes have been procured. (Ellis)

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(These are excerpts from a book by William Ellis that has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired.)

The Capture of the Fair American…

The island of Maui was visited about the same time by the unfortunate La Perouse. After this period the islands were frequently visited by vessels engaged in the fur trade. Captain Douglas, of the Iphigenia, and Captain Metcalf, of the Eleanor, an American snow, were nearly cut off by the turbulent chiefs, who were desirous to procure the guns and ammunition belonging to their vessels, to aid them in carrying their purposes of conquest into effect. The son of the latter, a youth of sixteen, who commanded a schooner, called the Fair American, which accompanied the Eleanor from Canton, when close in with the land off Mouna Huararai, was becalmed; the natives thronged on board, threw young Metcalf overboard, seized and plundered the vessel, and murdered all the crew, excepting the mate, whose name was Isaac Davis. He resided many years with Kamehameha, who very severely censured the chief under whose direction this outrage had been committed. A seaman whose name is Young, belonging to the Eleanor, who was on shore at the time, was prevented from gaining his vessel, but was kindly treated by the king, and is still living at Towaihae. (Ellis)

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(These are excerpts from a book by William Ellis that has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired.)

The Importance of the local Situation of the Sandwich Islands…

The local situation of the Sandwich Islands is important, and highly advantageous for purposes of commerce. On the north are the Russian settlements in Kamchatka, and the neighboring coast; to the north-west the islands of Japan; due west the Marian islands, Manilla in the Philippines, and Canton in China; and on the east the coast of California and Mexico. Hence they are so frequently resorted to by vessels navigating the northern Pacific. The establishment of the independent states of South America has greatly increased their importance, as they lie in the track of vessels passing from thence to China, or Calcutta and other parts of India, and are not only visited by these, but by those who trade for skins, with the natives of the north-west coast of America. From the time of their discovery, the Sandwich Islands were unvisited until 1786, when Captains Dixon and Portlock, in a trading voyage to the north-west coast for furs and sea-otter skins, anchored, and procured refreshments in the island of Oahu.(Ellis)

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(These are excerpts from a book by William Ellis that has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired.)

The Natural History, of the Sandwich Islands…

The natural history of the islands, as it regards the animal kingdom, is exceedingly circumscribed. The only quadrupeds originally found inhabiting them, were a small species of hogs, with long heads and small erect ears; dogs, lizards, and an animal larger than a mouse, but smaller than a rat. There were no beasts of prey, nor any ferocious animals, except the hogs, which were sometimes found wild in the mountains. There are now large herds of cattle in Hawaii, and some tame ones in most of the islands, together with flocks of goats, and a few horses and sheep, which have been taken there at different times. Horses, cattle, and goats, thrive well, but the climate appears too warm for sheep, unless they are kept on the mountains. Birds, excepting those which are aquatic, and a species of owl that preys upon mice, are seldom seen near the shores, in the mountains they are numerous. Several are remarkably beautiful, among which may be reckoned a small kind of parquet of a glossy purple, and a species of red, yellow, and green woodpecker, with: whose feathers the gods were dressed, and the helmets and handsome cloaks of the chiefs are ornamented. There are wild geese in the mountains, and ducks near the lagoons or ponds in the vicinity of the sea shore. They are entirely free from every noxious and poisonous reptile, excepting centipedes, which are neither large nor numerous. Fish are not so abundant on their shores as around many of the other islands; they have, however, several varieties, and the inhabitants procure a tolerable supply. The vegetable productions, though less valuable and abundant than in some of the islands are found in no small variety, and the most serviceable are cultivated with facility. The natives subsist principally on the roots of the taro, on the sweet potato, called by them uāra, and uhi, or yam. The principal indigenous fruits are the bread-fruit; the cocoa-nut; the plantain and the strawberry and raspberry. Oranges, limes, citrons, grapes, pine-apples, papaw-apples, cucumbers, and water melons, have been introduced, and, excepting the pine-apples, thrive well. Sugar-cane is indigenous though it is not much cultivated. Large tracts of fertile land lie waste in most of the islands; and sugar-cane, together with cotton, coffee, and other valuable intertropical productions, might be easily raised in considerable quantities, which will, probably, be the case when the natives become more industrious and civilized. (Ellis)

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(These are excerpts from a book by William Ellis that has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired.)

A Missionary View of the Population of the Sandwich Islands…

The natives are in general rather above the middle stature, well formed, with fine muscular limbs, open countenances, and features frequently resembling those of Europeans. Their gait is graceful, and sometimes stately. The chiefs in particular are tall and stout, and their personal appearance is so much superior to that of the common people, that some have imagined them a distinct race. This, however, is not the fact; the great care taken of them in childhood, and their better living, have probably occasioned the difference. Their hair is black or brown, strong, and frequently curly; their complexion is neither yellow like the Malays, nor red like the American Indians, but a kind of olive, and sometimes reddish-brown. Their arms, and other parts of the body, are tattooed; but, except in one of the islands, this is by no means so common as in many parts of the Southern sea. Compared with the inhabitants of other islands, they may be termed numerous.  

They were estimated by their discoverers at 400,000. There is reason to believe this was somewhat above the actual population at that time, though traces of deserted villages, and numerous enclosures formerly cultivated, but now abandoned, are everywhere to be met with. At present it does not exceed 130,000 or 150,000, of which 85,000 inhabit the island of Hawaii. The rapid depopulation which has most certainly taken place within the last fifty years, is to be attributed to the frequent and desolating wars which marked the early part of Kamehameha’s reign; the ravages of a pestilence brought in the first instance by foreign vessels, which has twice, during the above period, swept through the islands; the awful prevalence of infanticide; and the melancholy increase and destructive consequences of depravity and vice. (Ellis)

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(These are excerpts from a book by William Ellis that has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired.)