December 1850

12 December 1850 • Thursday

This morning when we went on deck we were about three miles from Oahu sailing alongside, the Island looked very rough and craggy; but after rounding a point we came in sight of Honolulu and the shipping; the town is built upon an extensive flat of great fertility, groves of cocoa nut trees to be seen occasionally on the bottom;1 several canoes passed with natives in fishing; their canoes were fixed with outriggers on one side and seemed to be very light and easily managed. The Capt. had hoisted the signal for a pilot and we soon seen the pilot boat coming out to us, it was a Whale boat pulled with four oars, the pilot was sitting in the Stern sheets;2 he was a short Heavy built man about as broad as long, heavy featured; he was the personification of John Bull.3 His first questions when he struck the side were if Are you all well? Where are you from? Do you want to go into Port? By the time these were answered he was on deck and sung out in a Stentorian voice for the yards to be squared, they having been thrown back for him to come on board;4 the Capt. and all hands could not help smiling at the promptness with which he took command. He came on board at ½ past 10 and by noon we were anchored. The harbor is very difficult of access it being <a> very narrow passage between the reefs over which the sea breaks with a tremendous roar; we saw several parts of wrecks. We had a man in the chains throwing the lead [to measure the depth of the water] all the time coming in. The water was beautifully clear <and calm> enabling us to see the bottom distinctly. As soon as the anchor was dropped the vessel was crowded with natives some trying to sell fruit others anxious to take us ashore. Bananas, Oranges, Cocoa Nuts, melons, &c &c were here in profusion.

We went on shore and got our permits for which we paid $1.00. Bro. Clark hired a house at $10 pr. month.5

13 December 1850 • Friday

We moved on shore this morning. After breakfast we put on our best and started up on toward the mountains to have prayer on our way up the Nuuanu [Nu‘uanu] Valley6 we turned off to some falls [Kapena Falls] to the right to wash our bodies; it was a fine place to swim in and very deep; several Native boys from 10 to 15 amused themselves by jumping from the sides of the falls down between 30 and 40 feet; they would strike the water feet foremost in a crouching position and remain under a considerable time; they were the most expert swimmers I ever saw.7 We crossed the stream here and ascended the mountain to the right of the Valley when we got near to where we wanted to stop we picked up a stone apiece and carried up with us; we ascended a knob that rose up precipitously on all sides and formed a table of about thirty or thirty-five feet wide;8 we then made an altar of our stones <and sung a hymn> and then all spoke round what our desires were; & selected Bro. [Hiram] Clark to be mouth. We had the spirit with us I could feel it very sensibly. Our desires principally <were> that the Lord would make a speedy work here on these Islands and that an effectual door might be opened for the preaching of the gospel and that all opposers might be confounded and that our lives might be spared to get home again.9 After prayer we were <Bro. [John] Dixon> spoke in tongues and Bro. [James] Hawkins had the gift of interpretation but for he did not speak for awhile and lost <part of> it again. It was that the Lord would bless us with greater blessings than we had asked our could ask. It was getting rather late and <we> thought it best to strike homeward. We allowed it to be about 1000 ft above the level of the sea. The point running down from it on the right to a short distance below some falls in a small Valley.10

14 December 1850 • Saturday

We were introduced to a Mr. <& Mrs.> [Henry and Mary] Harris and by Bro. Clark; they came out in the Ship Brooklyn to California and they had moved to this place. Mrs. Harris belonged to the C. [Church] he did not; they kept a Store in town and Bro. Clark had found them and introduced himself to them. Bro. Clark went and seen the British Consul [William Miller] he had sent a request by Capt. [James I.] Riches that he would like to see some of us. He interrogated Bro. Clark about Salt Lake <and our difficulties,> &c. &c. and said that we would be protected here.11

This evening we got into conversation about staying here and going to the other Islands, some of Bro. [Thomas] Morris thought we had better stay here a week or two and try and get acquainted with the situation of things and the language this was overruled by the rest; their plea was that [we] were using up our means here and it would take just as long on the rest of the Islands to get acquainted with things as it would on this. Bro. Clark said we might go into pairing off this evening and selecting our Islands, this was unanimously agreed to; various plans were proposed as to the mode of selecting partners and islands; (Bro Clark in the mean time had chosen Bro. [Thomas] Whittle to stay with him on this island if we thought best, this was joyfully assented to) it was finally left to Bros. C & W. to select four and let them cast lots for the first second & third choice of the remaining four; we retired [withdrew] while they made choice; the four chosen were Bro. Hy. [Henry] Bigler, Bro. Hawkins, Bro. Dixon and myself I never in my life felt my weakness so sensibly as I [did] at this time my inability to do anything unless aided by the Spirit of the Lord. We cast lots for the first choice and it fell to me; the second to Bro. Bigler; Bro. D. third; and Bro. H. fourth. I was non-plussed for a minute or two not knowing scarcely <who to> take; the spirit dictated to me very plainly to take <choose> Bro. [James] Keeler, he said he was willing Bro. B. chose Bro. Morris; Bro. D. Bro. [William] Farrer; Bro. H. Bro. [Hiram] Blackwell. We then cast lots for the Islands; Maui fell to Bro. Keeler and me; Molokai [Moloka‘i] to <Bro> Bigler & M.; Kauai [Kaua‘i] to Bro. Dixon & F.; Hawaii [Hawai‘i] to Bro. Hawkins & B., I had a desire to go to Maui and I got my desire when it fell to my lot. After this business was got thro’ with we all felt better satisfied as we could each attend to getting off.12

15 December 1850 • Sunday

Bro. Clark wrote to Mr. [Rev. Samuel C.] Damon the minister at the Bethel Chapel requesting the privilege of preaching in his Chapel between his services as he did not use it in the afternoon13 he wrote back saying that he was only an Agent & could not do it unless by permission of the Directors. We attended the Native Chapel at 9 o’clock14 after we could not understand anything that was said; they had a Native choir which sung very well. There were present between five and seven hundred. After this we went to hear Mr. Damon preach, his text the last part of the 13 v. of the 9 chap. of Matt. His sermon was <written> and was as dry a concern as need be. His whole services lasted about an hour. In afternoon wrote a letter to Bro’s. [Addison] Pratt & [James S.] Brown Tahiti.15 In evening went to hear Mr. Damon <preach> again <from the> last part of the 30th verse of the 2 chap. of 1st Samuel. It sounded staler than the morning discourse I wished in my heart that one of the brethren had the privilege that he had they would have handled it differently.

16 December 1850 • Monday

Ascertained this morning that there was a vessel going to sail for Lahaina the principal town upon the Maui the island that we were for. Bro. Clark counselled Bro. Morris to go to work; Bro. B. [Bigler] concluded to go with us. Bro. C. was willing.

17 December 1850 • Tuesday

The thought of scattering made me feel lonely; we felt sorrowful at the thought of seperating but we consoled ourselves with the idea that we were taking the plan whereby we might reap more abundant joy. We set sail, the brethren coming with us to the Landing, about 5 o’clock P.M. We had scarcely got over [outside] the Reef before I was seasick very much and had to go below to my berth and lie down.

Bro. C. & W. had got the Room over the Market House to preach in next Sunday & until they <the Gov.> should want to use it.16

18 December 1850 • Wednesday

Sick all day could not eat anything wind had died away. Bro. Keeler sick <likewise.> as well.

19 December 1850 • Thursday

Arose this morning weak and debilitated from sea sickness not having eat anything since before starting and I had prespired very much which weakened me. Took our things ashore and left them in a Store until we found a house.17 We walked round considerable to find one but were unsuccessful in finding one to suit us. I got so weary and unwell that the brethren said I had better stop and rest me and they would look round. I did so, and while sitting waiting for them I felt more feelings of despondency than I had done since I left home. I felt that it was a great trial and cross to go to a foreign nation and preach the gospel. There were but few whites here not as many as we had been led to expect18 I suppose my feelings resulted from the weak state of my body. It was a lonely desolate feeling;—but I mastered it in a little while. Bros. Bigler and Keeler came back and we took our things up to a house, that we could get for $4 per week it was a high rent; but it suited [us] the best of any we could get. We felt better when we got into our house.19 We were busily engaged writing up our journals this afternoon and evening

20 December 185020 • Friday

We thought it best to go & see the American Consul [Charles Bunker] and get an introduction to the Governor [James Kanehoa].21 The Consul was not in his office but was expected in; we sat down (his vice was in) & introduced ourselves as Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints or Mormons as they were commonly called he had never heard the former, but was familiar with the latter name. He asked the origin of the name I told him of the discovery of the plates by Bro. Joseph [Smith] thro’ divine instrumentality &c. &c. He listened attentively and asked several questions whether we took the Bible as our text book? and believed in the atonement of the Savior? We answered in the affirmative. He then [said] there could not be a very wide difference between us [and] the rest of the religious world; but he thought that there might be considerable deception about revelation; he thought there was no need of it; the Bible was sufficient and the Lord had done his part and it only remained for us to do ours. Our conversation lasted about an hour; he thought that belief on the Lord Jesus was sufficient to save a man; and that the strongest evidence a Christian could have would be an assurance of hope that it could not amount to knowledge and that he might be mistaken. This we begged the privilege of dissenting from. We were interrupted by the entrance of the Consul apparently a very gentlemanly <man> said he was much pleased at our calling upon him; he had been much interested about Deseret &c.22 We told him that our business and that we wished to get an introduction to the Governor so that we might have the sanction of the authorities.23 This he consented very readily to; on our way we spoke about getting a public building. He said he did not know of any but the King’s Palace used now as a Court Room.24 We found the Gov. at home & got he our introduction to him; he is an old man half white his father was an Englishman, he seemed [a] pleasant Old man. He said we had his sanction to preach as much as we wanted. The Consul then told him that we were wanting to get a public building to hold forth in and spoke about the Palace; he said he would think about it and we might call to-morrow and he could tell us.

In evening several of the natives came in and the[y] told us names of many things and sung for us; we are in considerable better spirits about learning it [Hawaiian language].25

21 December 1850 • Saturday

Called upon the Governor this morning according to yesterdays request. He said that he could not let us have the building unless we26 got the consent of the minister at Honolulu he said we ought to have seen them while we were there; he would [write] to his brother [John Young] the Minister of the Interior about it by the packet this afternoon;27 he also advised [us] to write to Bro. C. and have him call upon Mr. Wylie [Robert C. Wyllie] the Min. of Foreign Affairs. He asked some questions about where we were from &c.[,] Which we answered and told about us being driven out &c. &c. Upon And also the cause &c for preaching the doctrine taught in the New Testament. He seemed to be careless about religion said that everyone thought they had the truth; that the missionaries had been among these natives so long and could not break them off their practices, that they said they had forsook their idolatry; but you talk with them and you would find that they had not.28 They prayed one another to death yet.29 Upon leaving I presented him with one of O [Orson] Pratts’ pamphlets on the discovery of the plates,30 He said he could not sp read English but he would have his Sheriff read it for him.

This afternoon wrote to Bro. Clark at Oahu [O‘ahu]; after which we called at the Bethel Chapel to see Mr. [Rev. Townsend E.] Taylor the Chaplain about getting his place to preach in after his morning service. He had gone home and he lived out in the country.

22 December 1850 • Sunday

This morning we called at Mr. Taylor’s Study and found him there. After a little conversation upon Cal. [California] and his asking a few questions about us, We broached the subject, he hesitated a little, but consented. he said he was an Agent for the [American Seamen’s Friend] Society and would not be justified in making a permanent arrangement of that kind. I wrote out a notice for him to give out, for a meeting in the afternoon.31

We went to the Native Chapel32 services had commenced when we got there. A Native was holding forth; we could not make out anything he said. The building was not as good a one as they had at Honolulu. There was a pretty good attendance. After this we went to the Bethel. There were about thirty males and one female present. Mr. T. read the 8 chap of Rom. and then commented upon it as he went along verse by verse. He then took the 6 & 7 verses for his text. I like his appearance much better than any minister I have seen on the Islands. After he gave out the notice, we could hear many speaking among themselves [that] they did not know us. He caused the bell to be tolled for us at the time. Bro. Bigler spoke upon the first principles of the Gospel and showed forth the New Testament plan of salvation. After Bro. B. got thro’ I arose and corroborated what he had said and added my testimony to his. I spoke upon the Holy Ghost what it would do for a man if he had it; that it would lead into all truth and not a part. That if a man had it upon the S. Islands it would reveal the same things to him that it would to a man upon the Continent of America and that if the world had this spirit they would not be split up the way they were &c. &c. After I had got thro’ there was a gentleman arose and wished to know what additional light we had to show he said the different churches had the spirit of the Lord that were around us and he wanted our evidence. Bro. B. arose and <said> the addition that we had was that man had the authority as they had anciently and that there were Apostles and Prophets and the gifts in the Church as they were in the days of <the> Savior; and that if he wanted evidence of its truth or falsity to take the <plan> the savior recommended ask the Father in the name of Jesus & he would give the necessary evidence. He had no more to say; it was nothing but the spirit of opposition that made him get up, for we had [been] showing [him] all the time what he desired to know. Bro. K. <bore his testimony> dismissed the meeting.33

23 December 1850 • Monday

This morning we had the pleasure of seeing Bro. Hawkins and Bro. Blackwell come along; their34 vessel had stopped in passing and would not leave till evening. They had not much <difficulty to find us> for we were beginning to be known. They had been seasick but were in good spirits. It reminded me of Solomon’s proverb as Iron sharpeneth iron &c.35 They left in afternoon again.

24 December 1850 • Tuesday

Busily engaged all day studying the language. I could not help smiling to see us last evening when a young man and his wife [Keala and Pau] dropped in our preceptors [teachers] to see us squat and lie <stretched out full length> on the mats round36 <the light.>

25 December 1850 • Wednesday

At Home all day occupied reading and studying the language. My thoughts naturally reverted to home and its attractions; to-day would be a fete day there and I thought that some of the family would <be> expressing themselves, wondering where George is to-day. I do not remember spending a Christmas Day so quietly.

26 December 1850 • Thursday

Occupied with studies. Called at the Custom House to see if there were any letters for us, but did not get any, the mail had arrived but no letter for us.37 The news was the French had blockaded the port of Honolulu on account of a demand they had made upon the Government for money paid by one of their citizens as duty upon spirits they had imported; they wanted this duty returned to them and because the Gov. was not willing to give it up they had blockaded the Port.38

27 December 185039 • Friday

Engaged in Studying all day. The Natives were very kind in rendering all the assistance they could to us. I feel a great anxiety to be able to talk with them and impart unto them the glorious truths of which we are the bearers, they seem to be bound down by the [Congregationalist] missionaries in Temporal as well as Spiritual Affairs. The Lord has blessed us with favor in their sight.40

28 December 1850 • Saturday

I called upon the Governor this evening to ascertain if he had received any intelligence from Honolulu. He was quite unwell, he had not received any in relation to the Palace he said they were in considerable confusion there on account of the Blockade.

29 December 1850 • Sunday

Attended services in Mr. Taylor’s Bethel. His sermon was a strong appeal to [the] consciences of his hearers, as it was the last Sunday in the year, and on the uncertainty of life, on Eternity &c. &c. He gave out Notice of Tuesday being appointed thanksgiving day by King [Kamehameha III] and Privy Council and that there would be services in his Chapel on that day.41

30 December 1850 • Monday

Wrote a letter by Keala and Pau his wife our teachers [who were going to Honolulu] to Bros. Clark & Whittle and sent for two vocabularys of the Native for Bro. K. & myself.

31 December 1850 • Tuesday

Attend meeting at the Bethel there were but very few in attendance.

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December 1850, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed April 18, 2024