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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.


  1. [1]Honolulu literally translates as “protected bay” (Pukui, Elbert, and Mookini, Place Names of Hawaii, 49–50). A January 1847 census reported more than 1,400 structures in town, the vast majority of which were native-style thatch houses. The Polynesian declared that few of Honolulu’s buildings had “any pretensions to taste or elegance,” while the Sandwich Islands News complained that they showed “the world’s worst taste, or lack of it” (Honolulu Polynesian, Jan. 9, 1847; Honolulu Sandwich Islands News, Nov. 4, 1847). Honolulu’s population in 1850 was reportedly between fourteen and fifteen thousand (Schmitt, Demographic Statistics of Hawaii, 70). Latter-day Saint missionary Simpson Molen noted that from the sea Honolulu “presented a most charming and magnificent aspect, far more so, than it does on arriving at it and travling through it. . . . The City is not laid out with much regard to the points of compass” (Molen journal, Sept. 27–28, 1854). One visitor to Honolulu in 1853 observed that the “town can boast of few well-laid-out streets. The only good one is that running up from the Custom-house into the Nuuanu Valley” (Sandwich Island Notes, 83). Upon his arrival in February 1853, missionary Nathan Tanner described Honolulu as having “a very singler apearance to those coming from a cold climit & . . . seeing the markets full of garden vegatbls squashes melons green beans tomatoes letice & all kinds of flours in the gardens & sum of the most beutiful shades & walks that you can a magin & from that to sum of the most disgustin little huts you can a magin” (Tanner journal, n.d., 47–48). For overviews of Honolulu during the mid-nineteenth century, see Baker, Honolulu in 1853; Greer, “Honolulu in 1847”; Daws, “Honolulu in the 19th Century”; Sandwich Island Notes, 31–37, 59–104.

  2. [2]A whaleboat is a small, open boat, pointed at both ends, and designed for use in hunting whales. The stern sheets are the portion of an open boat behind the built-in seats.

  3. [3]John Bull is the title character representing England in John Arbuthnot’s 1712 satirical work, The History of John Bull, which condemns Great Britain’s role in the War of Spanish Succession. Eventually the popular press came to portray Bull as a short, middle-aged, paunchy country gentleman.

  4. [4]To “square the yards,” sails were brought parallel to each other and perpendicular to the length of the ship.

  5. [5]Keeler provided additional details of the missionaries’ first day in Hawai‘i: “The captain went on shore this afterknoon and reported the ship and sent word to us that we had to go on shore and get our pasport before fore a clock this afterknoon or we could not get them to day so this afterknoon we all went on shore except Father Morace we walked about the Town awhile got something to eat went to the custom house and got our pasport for which they charged us one dollar per man stayed on shore un[til] about dark this evening then went on board of the ship” (Keeler journal, Dec. 12, 1850).

  6. [6]Nu‘uanu literally translates as “cool height” (Pukui, Elbert, and Mookini, Place Names of Hawaii, 167). One visitor to Honolulu in 1853 wrote of the Nu‘uanu Valley: “It is located immediately at the back of the town, from which place it has a gradual ascent until it reaches the famous Pali [cliff] of the same name. . . . Its formation is of a mixed character: its lower part is open; its upper is inclosed between two heavy ridges” (Sandwich Island Notes, 90).

  7. [7]Benjamin F. Johnson later provided a more detailed description of Kapena Falls: “The pond . . . is Surrounded on three sides by High Rocks the watter pouring of[f] the Rock about fifteen feet forming a Basin perhaps fifty Rods in surcumference, the Senter of which i[s] verry deep I have often witnessed the native[s] jumping into it from Rocks Elevated Some fifty feet above the watter” (Johnson diary, Dec. 31, 1853).

  8. [8]Keeler reported that the missionaries traveled “about one mile from the falles” in a “northeasterly direction” (Keeler journal, Dec. 13, 1850).

  9. [9]According to Keeler, Clark asked each missionary to “tell what he most desired that we should prey for” (Keeler journal, Dec. 13, 1850). Farrer wrote that Clark “offered up a prayer to the Lord that he would open the way that we might be enabled to preach the Gospel on these Islands, and that we might have his Spirit to be with us at all times to guide us in the way of truth and be preserved from the powers of the adversary and from every evil, and that the honest in heart might embrace the truth when they heard it” (Farrer diary, Dec. 13, 1850).

  10. [10]Cannon later recalled concerning the meeting, “The spirit of the Lord rested powerfully upon us, and we were filled with exceeding great joy” (Cannon, My First Mission, 9). When Cannon returned to Hawai‘i in 1900, he tried unsuccessfully to find the spot where the missionaries met and dedicated the islands, which was then a portion of Honolulu known as Pacific Heights: “I could not locate the exact spot where we built the altar as the face of the ground has been much changed by attempted improvements” (Cannon journal, Dec. 17, 1900; spelling standardized).

  11. [11]The “difficulties” may refer to the persecution suffered by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which resulted in their expulsion from Missouri (1838–1839) and Illinois (1846). These events contributed to the Saints settling the Salt Lake Valley. The Sandwich Islands constitution guaranteed a degree of religious freedom, upholding Christianity but not the native Hawaiian religion. In 1845 King Kamehameha III told the Hawaiian legislature, “We consider it the first of our duties to protect Religion, and promote good morals and general education.” While the king would continue to stress this ideal, reality was often different for minority religions. Shortly after Cannon arrived in Hawai‘i, the king addressed the 1851 legislature regarding inequalities faced by Catholics: “It is . . . my wish that, by careful investigation and consideration of facts, you place yourselves in a position to decide if the equality between the Catholics and Protestants, under the protection of the Constitution and the laws, does not still require something for its perfect application” (Lydecker, Legislatures of Hawaii, 9, 17, 30).

  12. [12]Cannon later provided a more extensive account of their casting lots:

    “The president did not like to pair us off, nor to say which of the islands we should go to; but he consented, with his partner, to select four out of the eight to preside, one on each of the islands. . . .

    “. . . My mind had not rested on any one as my choice for partner, and I was at a loss for a few moments whom to select. Then the spirit of the Lord plainly told me to choose Bro. J. K. I did so. I was both surprised and pleased at the manner in which he received my choice; for I, being so young, and he so much my senior, had thought that he would prefer a partner of more mature years and experience. He afterwards told me that when the four were chosen, and he found that I was one of them, he had slipped out and prayed to the Lord that I might be led to elect him to go with me. His prayer was heard and answered, and we both were gratified.

    “In casting lots for islands, Maui fell to us. When we were sailing past it my feelings were drawn towards that island, and I felt that I would like that to be my field of labor. I knew not why this should have been so, except that the Lord gave me the feeling. . . . My joy was very great that evening, because of these precious manifestations of God’s goodness. I felt that he was near at hand to hear and answer prayer, and to grant the righteous desires of our hearts” (Cannon, My First Mission, 10–11).

  13. [13]A bethel is a place of worship established specifically for seamen. The Bethel Union Church, located on the corner of King and Bethel streets, was dedicated by the American Seamen’s Friend Society in 1833. It was later opened to the permanent English-speaking population (Baker, Honolulu in 1853, 17). For additional information, see Sandwich Island Notes, 62–63.

  14. [14]Bigler identified the building as “the Kings chapel” (Bigler autobiography, “Book A,” Dec. 15, 1850). Formally known as the Kawaiahao Church, the edifice was also called the “Stone Church” to differentiate it from the other Hawaiian-language church in Honolulu at the time, the Kaumakapili Church, popularly referred to as the “Native Church.” Begun in 1836 under the direction of Kamehameha III and dedicated in 1842, Kawaiahao Church was built of giant coral slabs hewn from ocean reefs. Within the building, royal coronations, weddings, christenings, and funerals were held. Kawaiahao Church is still in use today (Baker, Honolulu in 1853, 16–17; Sandwich Island Notes, 59–61). Additional information about Kaumakapili Church can be found in Baker, Honolulu in 1853, 18–19.

  15. [15]In May 1843, Addison Pratt, Knowlton F. Hanks, Noah Rogers, and Benjamin F. Grouard were called on missions to the Sandwich Islands. These missionaries, however, never reached Hawai‘i. During the voyage from New Bedford, Massachusetts, on a whaler bound for the Pacific, Hanks died and was buried at sea. On April 30, 1844, Pratt, Rogers, and Grouard arrived at the island of Tubuai, four hundred miles south of Tahiti. Having found a people receptive to the gospel message, Pratt remained on Tubuai while Rogers and Grouard continued on to Tahiti. Pratt and Rogers subsequently returned to the United States, but Grouard remained on the Society Islands, having married a local Polynesian woman. In October 1849, Pratt, James S. Brown, and Hiram Blackwell were called on missions to the Society Islands to assist Grouard. They traveled to California at the same time Cannon and others were bound for the gold fields. While Pratt and Brown sailed for Tahiti, arriving in May 1850, Blackwell remained in California until he was called to the Hawaiian Islands (Ellsworth and Perrin, Seasons of Faith and Courage, 3–5, 10, 12, 17–18; Cannon “Twenty Years Ago,” 22). For overviews of Latter-day Saint missionary work in French Polynesia, see Ellsworth and Perrin, Seasons of Faith and Courage; Ellsworth, Journals of Addison Pratt; Ellsworth, History of Louisa Barnes Pratt, 110–91; Britsch, Unto the Islands of the Sea, 3–90.

  16. [16]Built in 1850 and located on Queen Street, the Market House brought together in one location many vendors previously scattered throughout the city. The Market House was closed to commercial endeavors on Sundays (Baker, Honolulu in 1853, 13–14).

  17. [17]Cannon later wrote of Lahaina: “Looking from the sea at the town, it is not very imposing. It lies on a level strip of land, and is stretched along the beach, and the houses are almost hidden by the foliage” (Cannon, My First Mission, 12). One 1853 visitor observed, “Viewed from the anchorage, Lahaina is the most picturesque town on the Hawaiian group,” largely because “the background of the picture is the most impressive and grand. The [West Maui] mountains rise to a height of rather more than six thousand one hundred feet above the sea, and are cleft asunder by precipices thousands of feet in depth. To come and gaze on these splendid footprints of the Almighty, it is worth a journey of thousands of miles.” This same visitor concluded that “Lahaina has a very different appearance to a stranger when ashore. It is a difference as great as that which exists between dream-life and life that is real. It has but one principal street, intersected by a few others running at right angles. They are all too narrow, and without any regular grading. . . . Their surface is composed chiefly of a red tufaceous lava-dust, deep, hot, and dry during a very large portion of the year, and very obnoxious to pedestrians. But all these features are relieved by a various and extensive foliage” (Sandwich Island Notes, 290–93). Reddick Allred found Lahaina “butifuly situated on the lee side of Maui and . . . well ornimented with shades of different kinds, fig trees, bread fruit, banana, orringes &c &c, which is the principle orniment of the place as there was but few good houses” (Reddick Allred journal, Mar. 17, 1853). King Kamehameha I made Lahaina his residence following the capture of Maui by his forces in 1795. Lahaina continued to serve as the seat of government for the Hawaiian Kingdom until King Kamehameha III designated Honolulu as the capital by 1845 (Kuykendall, Hawaiian Kingdom, 1:47, 257; Lahaina Restoration Foundation, Story of Lahaina, 5). Throughout the 1840s and during Cannon’s time in Hawai‘i, Lahaina served as “the principal anchorage for America’s Pacific whaling fleet.” In 1846, Lahaina was visited by more than four hundred whaling ships, while Honolulu could boast fewer than two hundred, although more merchant ships visited Honolulu. Instead of anchoring in a harbor with docks, vessels anchored in an open roadstead (Maui Historical Society, Lahaina Historical Guide, 7). In 1846 Lahaina comprised 3,445 natives, 112 foreigners, 528 dogs, 882 grass houses, 155 adobe houses, 59 stone and wooden houses, two churches (one for seamen and foreigners, the other for natives), and numerous businesses catering to the sailing industry (Schmitt, Missionary Censuses of Hawaii, 44–45). Lahaina literally means “cruel sun,” a likely reference to the infrequent rain it receives (Pukui, Elbert, and Mookini, Place Names of Hawaii, 127). Further information concerning Lahaina can be found in Lahaina Restoration Foundation, Story of Lahaina; Maui Historical Society, Lahaina Historical Guide; Nickerson, Lahaina: Royal Capital of Hawaii.

  18. [18]On December 21 Cannon wrote to Clark that there were two white families in Lahaina and no more than thirty or forty white men total, including sailors (cited in Hiram Clark and Thomas Whittle to John Dixon and William Farrer, Jan. 2, 1851, WFC). Cannon later noted with some understatement, “The white people were not numerous at Lahaina, and there were but very few at any other place on the island of Maui” (Cannon, My First Mission, 14). In 1850 Hawai‘i’s population exceeded 84,000, of which approximately 1,600 were haole [non-native Hawaiians regardless of race] (Kuykendall, Hawaiian Kingdom, 1:336). In December 1853 another census was conducted following a devastating smallpox epidemic. At that time the population of the islands had fallen to 73,137, of which 2,118 were nonnatives. Out of a total Maui population of 17,574, the 1853 census identified only 244 foreigners (“Report of the Minister of Public Instruction to the Legislature of 1854,” Honolulu Polynesian, Apr. 15, 1854).

  19. [19]Cannon afterward related additional information about the missionaries’ house hunting and provided insight into the Hawaiian way of life at the time:

    “We had considerable difficulty in procuring a suitable place to stop. There was a hotel and boarding houses; but we could not live at any of them very long, for our funds were low. We secured a native house of one room. . . . These native houses are built by putting posts in the ground, on which a board is laid as a plate for the rafters to rest upon. When the frame of posts and rafters is built, poles, about the size of hoop-poles, are lashed horizontally, about six inches apart, on to the posts and rafters. The house is then thatched by fastening a durable grass, which they have in that country, on to the poles. When finished, a house looks, in shape and size, like a well built hay stack. Such houses are only suited to a warm country where they never have frost. Inside the house they have no board floors. The ground is covered with grass, on which mats are laid. . . . the mats answer the purpose of beds, tables and chairs. They sit upon them; when they eat, their food is placed upon them, and they form their bed, though in many houses they have the place of sleeping raised above the ordinary floor; but even then, they have mats spread out, upon which to sleep.

    “In consideration of our being white men, the man of whom we rented the house procured a table and three chairs for us. We employed him to cook our food, which consisted principally of sweet potatoes and fish, or meat” (Cannon, My First Mission, 12–13).

  20. [20]Cannon originally wrote the date as December 19 but changed it to December 20.

  21. [21]The Hawaiian Islands had four governors appointed by the king—one each for the islands of O‘ahu and Hawai‘i, one for Kaua‘i and the nearby island of Ni‘ihau, and one for the islands of Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, and Kaho‘olawe. The 1840 Hawaiian constitution declared that these governors not only had “charge of all the King’s business on the island” but also had “power to decide all questions, and transact all island business which is not by law assigned to others” (Lydecker, Legislatures of Hawaii, 11–12).

  22. [22]Deseret, a Book of Mormon term meaning “honey bee” (Ether 2:3), was the collective name the Mormon pioneers gave to their settlements in the intermountain west. In 1849, Latter-day Saint leaders petitioned the United States Congress to create the state of Deseret, which was to encompass the Great Basin and the Colorado River drainage areas (embracing either all or part of present-day Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and California) as well as a link to the Pacific Ocean that included the area from Los Angeles to San Diego, California. Instead, in September 1850 Congress granted California’s request for statehood and created a much smaller Territory of Utah (For additional information on the State of Deseret, see Morgan, State of Deseret; Leonard, “Mormon Boundary Question”).

  23. [23]Cannon subsequently explained the missionaries’ desire to meet the governor:

    “Our mission we felt to be of such importance that we wished to introduce it to the highest authority we could find. I made it a rule on those islands never to go into a place without waiting upon the leading and prominent men, stating my business, testifying to the work which God had commenced and asking their aid to enable me to lay the proclamation of which I was the bearer before the people. In this way I had interviews with princes, nobles, governors, officers of the government, missionaries and the leading men in every locality where I visited. This course might not be a wise one in every nation and under all circumstances; but I was led to take it there and the effects were good. I had a fearlessness and a strength given me which I would not have had if I had kept myself in a corner, and acted as though I was ashamed of my mission. I gained influence also with the people, and they learned to respect me; for, however much men may differ in their views about religion and other matters, they generally respect sincerity and courage” (Cannon, My First Mission, 13).

  24. [24]During the 1830s, construction began on Hale Piula, or the “house of the tin roof,” to serve as a palace for Kamehameha III. The king, however, preferring the traditional Hawaiian way of life, chose instead to live in a nearby small thatched hut, and the large two-story stone structure was never finished. After the seat of government was moved from Lahaina to Honolulu in the 1840s, the building became home to the district court at Lahaina and continued in that capacity until it was badly damaged by a storm in 1858 (Bartholomew and Bailey, Maui Remembers, 17; Maui Historical Society, Lahaina Historical Guide, 22; Kuykendall, Hawaiian Kingdom, 1:257).

  25. [25]Cannon later explained the missionaries’ decision to learn Hawaiian:

    “We soon became satisfied that if we confined our labors to the whites, our mission to those islands would be a short one. . . .

    “. . . The question arose directly, ‘Shall we confine our labors to the white people?’ It is true that we had not been particularly told to preach to the natives of the islands, but we were in their midst. . . . For my part I felt it to be clearly my duty to warn all men, white and red; and no sooner did I learn the condition of the population than I made up my mind to acquire the language, preach the gospel to the natives and to the whites whenever I could obtain an opportunity, and thus fill my mission. I felt resolved to stay there, master the language and warn the people of those islands, if I had to do it alone; for I felt that I could not do otherwise and be free from condemnation; the spirit of it was upon me. Elders Bigler and Keeler felt the same” (Cannon, My First Mission, 14).

    In 1822 the Protestant missionaries published a Hawaiian alphabet, consisting of seventeen letters. Four years later, five letters were dropped (b, d, r, t, and v), reducing it to its current twelve letters (a, e, i, o, u, h, k, 1, m, n, p, and w). As a result of having one of the smallest alphabets, “Hawaiian has more words with multiple meanings than almost any other language” (Pukui and Elbert, Hawaiian Dictionary, [xiii]; Missionary Album, 101, 165).

  26. [26]Written over he.

  27. [27]The 1845 Organic Act, establishing the executive ministry, created the position of minister of the interior and stipulated that he was to fulfill the position of premier, or kuhina-nui. While the king remained “technically and ceremonially” the highest officer in the land, the premier took the more active part in the routine administration of the kingdom (Kuykendall, Hawaiian Kingdom, 1:64, 262–63). Created in 1819 following the death of Kamehameha I, the office of premier was described in the 1840 Hawaiian constitution: “All business connected with the special interests of the kingdom, which the King wishes to transact, shall be done by the Premier under the authority of the King. . . . The King shall not act without the knowledge of the Premier, nor shall the Premier act without the knowledge of the King” (Lydecker, Legislatures of Hawaii, 11; Kuykendall, Hawaiian Kingdom, 1:63–64). As promised, Governor Young did write his brother:

    “I wish to inform you about some new minister of the church, they are Mormons, and they asked me for permission to hold services; I did not consent; neither did I refuse. Then they again asked me for Halepiula as a place for them to worship, and I refused, that it was not for me to give out the Government’s place, that it was with the Minister of the Interior, that I was only the caretaker.

    “They told me that there were some of their ministers there, and they informed me that they had been allowed to hold services over the market there. But, I did not grant it until I have heard from you” (Kanehoa to Ana Keoni, Dec. 21, 1850).

  28. [28]Hawaiians anciently worshipped numerous objects, including four great gods—Kane, Kanaloa, Ku, and Lono—that were frequently depicted as statues. Ancient Hawaiians also worshipped deceased ancestors and the mysterious and terrible powers of nature, such as volcanoes and sharks. For discussions of ancient Hawaiian gods and religious practices, see Malo, Hawaiian Antiquities; Alexander, Brief History of the Hawaiian People, 35–79. The native religion was abolished following the death of King Kamehameha I in 1819. While Christianity filled much of the religious void, Reddick Allred reported in 1854 that some natives continued to worship “the smallest vegetable to the largest animal, bird fish, or pele [volcano], and even the spirts of their dead friends” (Reddick Allred journal, May 12, 1854).

  29. [29]Regarding the practice of praying people to death, Reddick Allred noted that “their faith were so founded that all that was required to Kill a man was to turn his enemy, and go thro. a cirten performence with prayr” (Reddick Allred journal, June 8, 1853). John Woodbury reported that when a man wished to pray his enemy to death, he “engages a Kahuna [priest] who understands the operation (if he does not understand it himself or has not the power to do it) to act for him. he then by some means obtains a peace of his enimies clotheing and spittle &c. &c. the Kahuna takes them and goes through sertain ordenances and prayers and if the person hears he is praying him to death he believes it and frequently dies, unless he can get an other Kahuna (docter) to operate against the other, and save his life” (Woodbury diary, Apr. 21, 1854).

  30. [30]Orson Pratt, Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions. First printed in 1840 and then revised and republished in 1848 with the shortened title Remarkable Visions, this pamphlet presents an overview of the beginnings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For additional information, see Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:127–29, 160–61, 191–92; 2:63–64, 262–65; Flake and Draper, Mormon Bibliography, 2:105–6, 108–11.

  31. [31]Keeler reported the meeting this way: “[Mr. Taylor] said that he had now [no] objections to our havin the Chapel to preach in this afterknoon at half past three o clock Bro C then asked him if he would give out [t]he apointment at this survice he said that he would he thought that it would bee best for him Br C to write it out and that he would read it off at his survice” (Keeler journal, Dec. 22, 1850).

  32. [32]Begun in 1828 and completed in 1832, the Waine‘e Church was the first stone meeting house built in the Islands. The building was originally “two stories high with galleries to seat 3,000 people in the native manner, close together on the floor.” In 1848 the galleries were reframed, a sixty-foot steeple was added, and the building was made to conform “to the general style of churches in the United States.” The church was destroyed twice by storms and twice by fire between 1858 and 1951 (Maui Historical Society, Lahaina Historical Guide, 25–27).

  33. [33]Keeler provided additional details regarding the meeting: “[We] waited untill half past three o clock then we went to our apointment there was but a small congregation as there was but few inhabitents in the plase whites as the natives could not understand inglish generaly we opened our meating Br C wread a hymn in the seamans hymn book he then [a]sked if there was any one that could sing it Mr Taylor spoke and said that there was none[,] except some one off [of] us could lead C told him that we was not singers then Br B got up and told them that He would read a chapter in the acts of the apostles 2 chapter then preyed then spoke (Keeler journal, Dec. 22, 1850). Bigler noted the reason he preached the sermon: “The brethren said as I was the oldest that I must lead out and speak first” (Bigler autobiography, “Book A,” Dec. 22, 1850). Approximately the same number attended the missionaries’ meeting as attended the Reverend Taylor’s service (Clark and Whittle to Dixon and Farrer, Jan. 2, 1851, WFC).

  34. [34]Corrected in pencil from there.

  35. [35]Proverbs 27:17: “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

  36. [36]Two undecipherable words have been crossed out at this point.

  37. [37]On December 20, 1850, the Hawaiian government established a postal system that included regular schedules for interisland and transoceanic mail delivery. Letters would be sent from Honolulu to San Francisco weekly and received from San Francisco approximately twice a month. Interisland mail would be “once a week, or as often as opportunity for sending offers” (“Decree Establishing a Post Office in Honolulu,” Honolulu Polynesian, Dec. 21, 1850; “Honolulu Post Office,” Honolulu Polynesian, Dec. 28, 1850; Cahill, Hawaiian Stamps, 4–5). The custom house at Lahaina also served as the local post office.

  38. [38]The arrival of the French warship La Serieuse at Honolulu harbor on December 13, 1850, immediately raised concerns in the islands because of difficulties that had existed between France and the Sandwich Islands for more than a decade. After the Hawaiian government passed laws banishing all Catholic teachers from the kingdom and making the teaching of Catholicism illegal—and placing a heavy duty upon imported liquor in an attempt to encourage temperance—France dispatched a man-of-war to Honolulu in 1839 in response to what was seen as a direct attack upon its religion and products. Under this threat of bombardment of Honolulu, the anti-Catholic edicts were removed. Following complaints from the French consul about the continued duty on imported liquors and inequalities between the Catholic and Protestant school systems, Honolulu was again besieged by two French warships in August 1849. With the ships’ guns aimed at the city, French troops marched ashore, sacked the fort and disabled its cannons, and seized the customhouse. The guns remained pointed at the city for a week before the vessels withdrew.

    Concerning this latest episode, Richard Armstrong, Hawaiian Islands minister of public instruction, wrote in his journal: “This is a week of some apprehension, the French commissioner, M. Perrin having arrived a few days since in the corvette ‘Seriuse’ & no salute having as yet been fired. It is impossible to tell what to expect from such a people as the French” (Armstrong journal, Dec. 20, 1850). Finally, on Christmas day, sailors from La Serieuse went ashore, marching peacefully to attend Mass. On December 31, representatives of the Hawaiian government were finally invited on board ship to meet with Perrin, beginning discussions that led to a resolution of the difficulties in March 1851 (Armstrong journal, Dec. 20, 25, 31, 1850; Kuykendall, Hawaiian Kingdom, 1:399–403). There is no indication that the La Serieuse actually blockaded the harbor. For an overview of the relationship between Hawai‘i and France, see Kuykendall, Hawaiian Kingdom, 1:161–67, 388–407.

  39. [39]Cannon originally wrote the date as December 26 but changed it in pencil to December 27.

  40. [40]Cannon later reported that the Hawaiians took an interest in the Latter-day Saint missionaries because of their conduct: “White men who go to the Sandwich Islands do not always behave themselves as they should. We saw some who acted most disgracefully. They seemed to think that, because they were among the natives, they could abandon all decency. The natives are very close observers. They soon saw that we were not like many of the whites whom they had seen, and they began to take an interest in us. They readily helped us to pronounce and read their language” (Cannon, My First Mission, 15). The attitude of many visitors to the islands is captured in a saying popular among sailors of the time: “No God west of [Cape] Horn” (Story of Lahaina, 9).

  41. [41]An annual day of thanksgiving was observed in the islands during November or December (see “Thanksgiving—Order in Council,” Honolulu Polynesian, Dec. 28, 1850; “Thanksgiving,” Honolulu Polynesian, Dec. 13, 1851; “Thanksgiving,” Honolulu Friend, Nov. 1852). A privy council is a body of government officials and dignitaries chosen by a monarch to serve as advisors to the crown. Formally constituted as part of the Hawaiian government in 1845, and similar to the British Privy Council, the Privy Council of the Hawaiian government was a continuation of the old council of chiefs first established in 1780 and later modified and strengthened by Kamehameha I. The Privy Council consisted of the five ministers who had charge of the five executive departments of government (ministers of the interior, foreign relations, finance, and public instruction, and the attorney general), the four governors, and other appointees (Kuykendall, Hawaiian Kingdom, 1:32, 263).