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February 1851

1 February 1851 • Saturday

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2–8 February 1851 • Sunday to Saturday

This morning Bro. Blackwell called in from Hawaii on his way to Honolulu. He spoke very discouragingly thought it would take a year to learn the language to be able to do anything. and that he doubted that they would be able to do much as the people were very debased. He was going up to see what was to be done he spoke as though he would go home with Bro. Whittle if it was not contrary to counsel. He said that he had wanted Bro. Hawkins to come with him; but he said that he had been sent there and he would stay until further orders. Bro. B. stayed until evening and then started.

From Sunday until Saturday <evening> studying the language nothing of importance happened.

9 February 1851 • Sunday

Studying all day.

10 February 1851 • Monday

″ ″ ″ . This evening it was proposed that we fast and pray, to-morrow, to the Lord to give unto us the language.

11 February 1851 • Tuesday

Started early this morning on to the Mountain it was very difficult ascending and very high; we selected a grassy point and spent the day in singing and prayer. We arrived at home after dark.1

12 February 1851 • Wednesday

Considerably tired from the effects of yesterday’s travel. Engaged in studying all day.

13 February 1851 • Thursday

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14 February 1851 • Friday

″ ″ ″ ″ ″. Received a letter to-day from [Honolulu] Bros. Whittle, Dixon & Blackwell were all three going home and were to have started yesterday.

15 February 1851 • Saturday

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16–19 February 1851 • Sunday to Wednesday

Attended Native chapel to-day. until Wednesday Engaged studying.

20 February 1851 • Thursday

Bro. Bigler called this morning upon Mr. Taylor and he informed him that Bro. Clark was in town looking for us; this news surprised us.2 Bros. Keeler & Farrer started out to look for him. He was very glad to see us; his first thing to tell us was that he had was tired of Oahu and that he had a testimony from the Lord that there was nothing to be done there; he had fasted and prayed and told the Lord the kind of testimony he wanted and what he would take for a testimony that he did not want him to stay and the Lord gave him just what he had asked. He had baptized a man in Honolulu who was an Editor, Printer &c. who had formerly resided upon the Marquesan Islands;3 and from what he and Bro. [Ornan] Clifford (a merchant in Honolulu whom Bro. [Addison] Pratt had baptized on Tahiti and <who> had moved up here; he had also been at the Marquesan Islands) [had said], he had concluded to go down and this man (Blake by name) <he> was going to take with him and he was going <to> take a small box of type along and go to printing pamphlets &c. when they got there. Bro. Clark’s object in coming over here was to see and get us to go with him; if things were the same here as they <were> up to at Oahu, he thought it would be best for us to go down with him; Bro. Morris he had counselled to go with him and he had made up his mind to go with him. We felt upon thinking the matter over as though we could not leave this place uncondemned I considered that I would have been just as much as much justified in leaving the first day as I would now, that we had not given the people a trial whether they would receive it or reject it, and we had no such testimony as Bro. Clark in fact every time I had prayed to the Lord and thought that their might be a good work done here I had felt my bosom warm and felt the spirit continually whispering to me if I should persevere I should be blest, and to leave with these feelings would be for me to <go> directly in opposition to the manifestations of the spirit to me; and besides all this I had no authority to go to Marquesas; if <had> I done my duty here and no more could be done and the people <would not rec. the truth>, my first proceeding should be [to] start for home and report myself as having fulfilled my mission; my mission had only extended to these Islands, and I did not think that I should be justified in going there; it might be done by Bro. Clark with impunity, but I felt if I went any where from me <here> it would be towards home.4

22 February 1851 • Saturday5

This afternoon Bro. Clark started for Honolulu;6 he promised to write before he left and when he arrived at the Marquesas.

23 February 1851 • Sunday

Raining all day.

24 February–1 March 1851 • Monday to Saturday

This week has been blustry and attended with some rain; it felt cold and chilly; Bro. Bigler was quite unwell. Studying all week.


  1. [1]Farrer related that the missionaries “went onto a mountain about 4 or 5 miles from the City and there prayed to the Lord that he would assist us in spedily getting the language of this people that we might be enabled to declare unto them the fulness of the Everlasting Gospel and that he would open our way before us, and give us wisdom at all times, that we might be instruments of doing good and of bringing many to a knowledge of the truth” (Farrer diary, Feb. 11, 1851).

  2. [2]Bigler had gone to pick up the Voice of Warning that Cannon had lent the Reverend Taylor on January 19 (Farrer diary, Feb. 20, 1851).

  3. [3]The Marquesas are the northernmost island group in French Polynesia, located approximately eight hundred miles northeast of Tahiti and two thousand miles southeast of Hawai‘i.

  4. [4]The dilemma the missionaries faced during Clark’s visit was afterward explained by Cannon:

    “Our position, just then, was a peculiar one. Here was our president, the man who had been appointed to counsel and guide us, proposing to us to leave the field to which we had been appointed, and to take a journey of several hundred miles to another land to labor. What were we to do? How far did the obedience which we owed to him require us to go? This was an important question. To disobey a man in the rightful exercise of authority, was an act from which we naturally recoiled; and an act, too, of which we were not in the least disposed to be guilty. But we felt that it would not be right for us to leave that island then. . . . We had not been appointed by the authority, which called him and us, to go to the Marquesas Islands; we knew of no opening there, or of any reason why we should go there in preference to any other place on the earth. . . .

    “Fortunately we were relieved from the necessity of refusing to comply with his counsel. He felt plainly enough that his proposal did not strike us favorably. He had not been many hours with us until he found this out; and he told us that probably it would be better for us to remain where we were until we gave the people a fair trial; and then, if we could not do anything, we could follow him” (Cannon, My First Mission, 22–23).

  5. [5]Cannon wrote the date of this entry as February 22, 1850.

  6. [6]The spirit Clark brought with him caused the Maui missionaries “to feel very bad all the time that he was here” (Keeler journal, Feb. 23, 1851). For a discussion regarding Clark and the other elders who left the mission, see Shaffer, “Hiram Clark and the First LDS Hawaiian Mission.”