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January 1851


Events in George Q. Cannon’s journal for 1851

3 January

Reflected on receiving the gospel and his desire to later be a missionary

13 January

Nalimanui “offered her house to us”

25 January

Determined not to go home but rather to stay and do his “duty to this people” and preach to them “in their tongue”

20 February

Directed by the Spirit to stay in the Sandwich Islands rather than go to the Marquesas Islands with the mission president, Hiram Clark

4 March ff.

Made a trip around Maui to improve his Hawaiian language ability and to learn more about the island and the people

8 March

Met Jonathan Napela at Wailuku, Maui

9 March ff.

Encountered the Reverend Daniel T. Conde, who said he would rather believe “Mahomet than Joseph Smith”

20 March ff.

Taught Jonathan Napela the gospel

30 March

Countered Reverend Conde regarding falsehoods Conde had been preaching

6 April

Responded to Reverend Jonathan Green about the restored gospel

20 April

Read about, and theorized about, cretinism

11 May

Napela compelled by Reverend Conde to have Cannon no longer stay with him

13 May ff.

Moved to Kalepolepo, Maui; countered Reverend Jonathan Green

22 May ff.

Challenged Napela to hold to the truth and challenged members of Reverend Green’s congregation to see the truth of the church of Christ as found in the Bible

15 June ff.

Preached in a house Napela’s men had built; dreaded “the approach of the hour of execution”; later baptized several and strongly felt the Spirit of the Lord

26 June ff.

Was “destitute . . . of ideas and words,” but later “felt the spirit very powerfully upon me”

13 July

Baptized an adopted son of Napela

24 July ff.

Baptized a large number of natives

27 July ff.

“I never preached with such power as I did this morning.”

4 August

“A man of the name of Ka Pono” had a dream showing which church was right.

18 August

Organized four branches

20 August

Gathering of fellow missionaries in Lahaina, Maui

12 September

Watched natives thrash brush in a stream to kill the fish

1 October

Met newly baptized J. W. H. Kauwahi

6 October ff.

Unsuccessful efforts “to get a written privilege from the government to preach without being molested upon the Islands”

20 November

Dream of two pine chips that would get the furnace burning again; later believed it was fulfilled by two “chips” (carpenters) joining the church

7 December

Attendance at church dwindled because people “completely turned against the truth.” “If I did not know that it was true and the Lord’s work I should almost despair.”

12 December

Had a long conversation with Samuel Kamakau and others

26 December

Held belief that “a man holding the Priesthood and magnifying it could not be operated upon” (mesmerized)

1 January 1851 • Wednesday

The New Year was ushered in here with very little ceremony. We were busily engaged with our studies, we miss Keala & Wife much. Her mother [Nalimanui] and sister [Hoohuli] came in this evening.

2 January 1851 • Thursday

The same as yesterday.

3 January 1851 • Friday

Eleven Years to-day was the day that I saw the first Mormon. (Uncle) [John Taylor] Time is rolling on it seems as though it was only a few days ago since I was a child listening with, ears, mouth and eyes open to what the Elders had to say drinking it in greedily; when I think of it I can remember all my old feelings and anticipations. Then I used to wish that I was a man grown and had the Priesthood that I might have the privilege of preaching the gospel; this used to be then, my highest ambition; my feelings have not changed much in this respect only I find it is quite a cross to me I feel my weakness and unworthiness; it may be this is for the best that I may rely more upon the Spirit of the Lord.

I feel thankful that he has blessed me to the extent he has and permitted me to realise my hopes and wishes.

4 January 1851 • Saturday

Received a letter from Honolulu; they are well and write us very encourageingly, their counsel is to get the language as fast as possible.1 They had called upon Mr. Wylie and he said he thought it rested with the Governor, but advised them to call upon Mr. [Richard] Armstrong the superintendant of Public instruction he thought the same as Mr. W. & said he had no objections. They counselled Bro. Bigler to stay with us until he learned the language. We called this morning upon the Governor and told about the letter we had received. He said it was strange they had not wrote to him about it &c. &c. said he would write by the packet going to-morrow evening to Mr. Armstrong. The Governor does not know his rights or else he is a mere puppet in the hands of others, or he does not want us to preach here. He seems to be very much afraid of transcending the powers of his office. From what I have been able to observe I think the [Congregationalist] missionaries have all power here in the Government.2

5 January 1851 • Sunday

Attended Native Chapel Mr. [Rev. Dwight] Baldwin officiated. They administered the Sacrament. The singing was excellent.

6 January 1851 • Monday 3

Unwell with the dysentery studying all day.

7 Tuesday 1851 • January

Engaged as yesterday Our neighbors understood I was unwell and made me some Arrowroot or Pia as it is called by them.4 They are very kind and bring us in every day sugar Cane to eat, they are great very fond of it.

8 January 1851 • Wednesday

Studying all day.

9 January 1851 • Thursday

Engaged as yesterday.

10 January 1851 • Friday

do. do do.

11 January 1851 • Saturday

Our neighbor a Spaniard [Chilean] by the name of Hoke [Jose] who is married into the family of Kanakas [native Hawaiians] that live close by, she [Hoohuli] is a sister of Pau’s, sent in a plate of butter to us as a Makana or present. He has been very kind. Received a letter from Bro. Hawkins at Hawaii They were well and had preached twice to the foreigners on the Island but they did not seem to care much about it. They were going to start for Hilo in the morning after they wrote.

12 January 1851 • Sunday

Attended Native meeting A Native preached I never saw such gesticulations nor so many of them. I begin to understand some little of what is said. After dismassal [dismissal] attended Mr. Taylor’s Chapel.

13 January 1851 • Monday

This morning <as> our money was about gone. We thought it best to strike and try and get some of the Natives to take us in. We cast lots which direction each should take. Bro. Bigler drew South and Bro. Keeler East and myself North. I had told our cook [Jose] as well as I could our situation and he told it to Nalimanui the old lady that lived close by she came in but we were busy and did not talk to her; & she went away again. Bro. B. started and I thought I would go in and see the Old lady before I started and ask her w<h>ere we would find a man that would entertain strangers. Her daughter [Hoohuli] the Spaniard’s wife came up they told me that they did not know; but [Nalimanui] offered her house to us she said it was not good but we were welcome. Bro. K. had went with me to see her. We had a long talk with her and told her I would give her blankets or anything that we had that she wanted.—My heart swelled with in me and I could scarcely refrain from weeping. I blessed her she said she would fix things to-day and to-morrow night come in.5

14 January 1851 • Tuesday 6

Moved into the House they had cleaned and fixed it up as well as they could. She N. had moved out entirely with her family. We told them we only wanted room to sleep on the floor or any where they would hear nothing of this but made us occupy the places for beds. Hoohuli said her mother would sleep in her house. I gave the old lady a pair of new blankets and what money I had it was with much difficulty that I could get her to accept them.7

Received a letter from Bros. Clark <& Whittle> written by Bro. W. in which they stated that they had but poor success with the Whites in preaching to them. Bro. W. said it was discouraging but his wind was not half gone yet. I wrote a letter this evening to Bro. H. [Howard] Egan California.

15 January 1851 • Wednesday

Rained all day.

16 January 1851 • Thursday

Wrote a letter to-day to Oahu in which we joked about being half out of wind told them we were trying to regulate our wind to last three or four years. We tried to write encouragingly.

17 January 1851 • Friday

Unwell all day.

18 January 1851 • Saturday

Not very well. Called upon Gov. Young [James Kanehoa] to see about the Palace; he had received a letter from Mr. Armstrong from which he learned that it was his Brother [John Young] the Minister of the Interior that had the disposal of it; but he did not seem to wish to do anything more about it. I told him we could preach out of doors that was a consolation we had; he said that was the way the [Congregationalist] missionaries done at first. I felt to pray that he might live to be sorry for not letting us have the House. For I believe he has the power in himself.

19 January 1851 • Sunday

I called upon Mr. Taylor at his study and let him have a Voice of Warning to read,8 he seemed pleased to get it, said he should like us to call upon him.

20 January 1851 • Monday

Studying all day.9

21 January 1851 • Tuesday

do do do

22 January 1851 • Wednesday

Studying all day.

23 January 1851 • Thursday

Received a letter from Bros. C & W. In which we learned that Bro. Whittle was going to start home the 1st of Feby.; and that Bro. Bigler & Keeler [were to] stay together on this Island and that Bro. C. wanted me to go come to Oahu and stay with him. This news was rather unexpected we had hoped that Bro. W. would have stayed longer I felt very sorry to hear of his going as I thought he would do better to stay.—I was attached to this Island and had made calculations on it being the scene of my labors while I stayed & I was somewhat attached to the People.

24 January 1851 • Friday

This morning getting ready to go to Oahu. I felt reluctant to part with the brethren I felt as tho’ I was leaving home. The Ka Luna Schooner was going to Honolulu this evening and I took passage on her.10 Nalemanui [Nalimanui] our hostess went on the same vessel up to Honolulu on business. After getting on board I was soon taken sick and parted with all on my stomach. I turned in to bed as quick as night came, and felt considerably relieved.

25 January 1851 • Saturday

Our progress last night had been slow; but a breeze sprung up this morning favorable for us. I had not been up long before I was seasick and vomited quantities of bile it made me feel very sick and weak. Nalemanui was very kind to me and made me lie down on her mat on the deck and covered me with her blanket. We reached Honolulu about 3 o’clock p.m. I left my things and went to find the brethren. I found Bro. C. in the house they were in when I left this place he appeared glad to see me. From him I learned that Bros Dixon and Farrer were both here intending to go Home with Bro. Whittle this surprised me a little, for I thought if they felt as I did and as Bro. Bigler & Bro. Keeler felt about it, they would feel as tho’ they were not magnifying their office and calling by going home; for we felt that if we were to desert the islands now we should be under condemnation. I was glad to see the brethren although sorry to know their determination they were all well.

Bros Dixon and Farrer had been on the Island of Kauai and preached once or twice to the Whites there being but very few there but had not met with any encouragement and had thought there was no further use of preaching there and had wrote to Bro. C. to this effect and he had thought fit sent for them.11

I had some conversation with Bro. W. & the brethren about going home. I told them that if I were to go home under existing circumstances they Lord in my opinion would hold me accountable for not doing my duty to this people and the people would be apt to rise up in judgment against me for not giving them the privilege of hearing the truth; my prayer was and I supposed it was the prayer of all the brethren that the time might speedily come when all should know the Lord and when his knowledge would cover the earth as the waters would covered the deep;12 I said I believed in uniting works and faith;13 how would such prayers sound, ten elders sent out by Bro. [Charles C.] Rich to these Islands to preach and to act when we arrived as the spirit and circumstances dictated; and we found there were not whites that would receive us, turn round and go home and leave a whole nation to welter in ignorance because <Bro. R.> did not happen to tell us that we were to preach to them in their tongue I said that I believed it was every Elder’s privilege to have revelation to a certain extent himself and the testimony of the spirit to direct him at all times if he would <live> for it; and that the whisperings of the spirit to me were that if I should persevere and get the language & preach to this people I should be blessed and as an evidence of this I had been blessed in learning the language and the way opened before us to subsist and I had for myself more of the spirit of the Lord than I had ever enjoyed before.—This left me in this situation either to stay here and be blessed or go home under condemnation.14 I was as anxious to go home as anyone could be; but my priesthood and calling had to be magnified; I said these were my own feelings and I did not make myself <a standard> for others to be judged by; they had the spirit and testimony for themselves.

Bro. W. told me that he was doing no good here, nor he had done nothing since he had been here. The first Sunday they had meeting they had a tolerable congregation Bro. C. spoke to some length but did not touch on the first principles, and two-thirds of the congregation left the room before he had got thro.’ In the afternoon they had about half the number of the morning Bro. C. again preached did not do much better than before, the congregation sat until nearly thro.’ The next Sunday there were only five and four left while Bro. C. was praying and they had not been able to get any hearers <since> and Bro. W. had not a chance offered to bear his testimony and he did not feel that he was doing <any> good here, he could not feel to be united with him and as the General [Charles C. Rich] had given him the privilege of going home, he thought he would do so his dreams also led him to go home, he thought that Bro. C. course was an unwise one and not calculated to benefit but to injure the cause. I was little surprised at this recital and I began to think that it might be wisdom for Bro. W. to go home as he seemed <to think> that Bro. C. would not feel satisfied if he went any where else.

26 January 1851 • Sunday

After stating the circumstances <& situation of things> on Maui they thought it best for me to return there as they thought I could learn the language faster; Bro. C’s object in sending for me was to be with me him and write articles for the press &c. &c.; but upon taking every thing into consideration it was thought best for me to stay on Maui. I felt myself that I could do more good upon that Island than I could upon this Oahu looking at things as they were here.15

27 January 1851 • Monday

This morning Bro. C. told me he wanted me to write a letter to the First Presidency [for him] giving them a statement of things on the islands I accordingly wrote one giving a full description of things.16

28 January 1851 • Tuesday

Busy variously all day

29 January 1851 • Wednesday

I took my passage back to Lahaina this afternoon. Bro. Farrer concluded to stay and asked Bro. C. if he might go with me to Bro. Bigler as a partner to him, to which he consented Bro. Dixon still continued in his determination to go home with Bro. Whittle. I bade the brethren farewell with regret as I had hoped to have had their company until we all went home.17 We started for Maui in the afternoon and were towed out to the mouth of the harbor;18 after we got out of the harbor the wind was tolerably favorable; I was inclined to be seasick but by lying down I kept from vomiting; we made pretty good progress tonight.

30 January 1851 • Thursday

Got up this morning in the sight of Lahaina, our passage had been tolerably quick one. I found the brethren all well and was glad to see them.19

31 January 1851 • Friday

Studying all day.