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September 1851

1 September 1851 • Monday

Engaged variously.1

2 September 1851 • Tuesday

This morning started to Keanae [Ke‘anae]—they wished me to stay until the last of the week and sometime of the brethren would accompany me—but I felt impressed to go and started. I travelled until after dark and stopped upon the road at a house and slept for the night.

3 September 1851 • Wednesday

Started and arrived at Honomanu where I stopped awhile. I learned that they were in trouble at Keanae they had enemies from all hands. Mr. [Rev. Eliphalet W.] Whittlesey the Calvinistic minister had been and had done his best to raise a fuss and some had turned after him. There had also been two French [Catholic] Priests at Bro. [James] Keeler also Mr. [Rev. Jonathan S.] Green had sent a deputy of his Daniela Ii here to endeavor to turn them back—the Devil had set all his instruments to work to stop the progress of the work here and turn the saints from the truth by telling all the lies that could be brought to bear against us. I arrived at Keanae Bro. Keeler had been considerably troubled for the want of the language—the French Priests had said we ought to be driven out & had told all the stories about us that they knew—The Calvin Priest had done his best and had been round to the houses of all who ever had been in the church.2 The Saints were very many of them doubting and they had been praying to the Lord for me to return.3 I preached this afternoon and had a good flow of the spirit.

4 September 1851 • Thursday

Went to the woods to help get out timber for the meeting house. Rained and got very wet. <Before starting> baptised four

5 September 1851 • Friday

Raining all day.

6 September 1851 • Saturday

Rode to Wailua and preached a funeral sermon upon for the wife of Bro. Kapapu. And remained until afternoon and held meeting.4 Upon riding back to Keanae I found our host Bro. Namakaiona had met with an accident in returning Bro. K. [Keeler] and him in company with several others from Wailua he had been thrown from his horse and had dislocated his elbow joint.

7 September 1851 • Sunday

I preached this morning and felt a good deal of the spirit. In afternoon held meeting and was likewise blest with the spirit. I feel to pray that the knowledge of the saints may be increased and their faith—they do not seem to see the difference and realise it as I would like to see them. The luna here of the Calvin order told the constables to take us up if we attempted to baptise any today as we would be breaking the sabbath!!!5 He was full of the spirit of mobocracy and of the devil—he came on Thursday evening and abused us and called us false teachers, deceivers &c. &c. and wanted us to be driven off I reasoned with him and his folly was made manifest before all around I kept very mild the Lord giving me strength to curb my temper under his insulting remarks. He seemed ashamed at leaving and I understood that he told in their meeting the next morning that he repented of what he had done—but he did not come to us to tell us—but still kept his persecuting spirit.

8 September 1851 • Monday

Engaged variously.

9 September 1851 • Tuesday

do. do.

10 September 1851 • Wednesday

Preached this afternoon exhorting the Saints6 I feel very anxious to see the brethren get the language and Bro. Keeler especially I felt the weight of burthen very sensibly especially when they were a little wavering they leaned entirely upon me it seemed as though I could scarcely stand under it sometimes; The Lord is able to support me and enable me to stand firm to the end, and to him I therefore trust. My patience has been a good deal tried since I came here I have seen their weakness.

11 September 1851 • Thursday

I went to Wailua to stay until Saturday evening. In afternoon married a couple [Kahomaeha and Kamaka], and held meeting.

12 September 1851 • Friday

Spoke in meeting in morning and held went with them about two miles to fish. They gathered a quantity of brush which is called by them Au huhu7 and made two piles of it in the bed of the creek they then surrounded these piles men and women with a stick apiece about five <or six> feet long and at a given signal by one of the party they all commenced thrashing the brush—great care had to be taken in using their sticks or they would be apt to hurt their neighbor—they were very dexterous in using their flails—turning they the pile over and over repeatedly and pounding it well the substance when mixed with the water killing all the fish and they floated upon the surface of the water and they gathered the fish. It was picturesque to watch them the women had garlands of green leaves and flowers entwined in their hair and round their bodies and the men were stripped many of them to the waist and had also garlands twisted around them. The women excited my admiration by diving they are certainly the nearast amphibious of any thing I ever seen that could not be called so.—After returning held meeting.

13 September 1851 • Saturday

Held meeting in morning and baptised two and afterwards held meeting in afternoon and confirmed them. I returned this afternoon to Keanae Last evening Bro. [H. K.] Kaleohano [came] from the Kula Keanae to see me. he arrived at Keanae upon Thursday evening. He brought a letter from a young man a member of the Calvinistic church to go <come> and baptise his people.

14 September 1851 • Sunday

I preached and made a longer discourse than I ever done before and was blessed with plenty of thoughts and words and the spirit.—Afternoon held meeting and confirmed four that I baptised in the intermission8 two men and two women—and upon the testimony of the teachers cut off ten who thro’ the influences of their friends had left us and joined the other Church. Upon the officers asking them their reasons they said they did not know any error but their friends had threatened to turn them out and have nothing to do with them if they persisted in meeting with us and for this reason they had turned.9

15 September 1851 • Monday

Bro. Keeler and myself with some boys ascended to the woods and gathered a lot of fruit to send to the folks at Lahaina by a canoe.10 I also wrote a long letter to them urging upon them the necessity of seeing the king [Kamehameha III] and putting a stop to this cry used against us that we have come into this nation without getting permission of the authorities.11

16 September 1851 • Tuesday

I thought of leaving to-day but they (the Calvinistic party) had written to Mr. Whittlesey the Calvinistic minister desiring him to come and as there was a prospect of his coming I thought it best to stay and give him to <a> chance to show forth our errors before the congregation if we had any but he did not come and sent word that he could not come.

17 September 1851 • Wednesday

We started for Kula, Bro. Kaleohano and me this morning12 we stayed at the House of Mr. Fern and eat dinner stayed about two hours there—he was kind gave me three pair [of] socks and a lot of writing paper and pens—we left and arrived at Waiakoa in evening.

18 September 1851 • Thursday

Engaged writing a letter to Uncle [John Taylor].

19 September 1851 • Friday

do. do.

20 September 1851 • Saturday

Variously engaged.

21 September 1851 • Sunday

Preached this morning upon the first principles; there was a white man present by the name of Freeman who is reported to have an excellent knowledge of Native; after meeting he came and requested to be baptised.—We went up and I baptised him and [blank] others. In afternoon attended to the confirming and gave the brethren the privilege of expressing their feelings.

22 September 1851 • Monday

Started to-day for Honuaula [Honua‘ula], arrived there in evening.

23 September 1851 • Tuesday

Held several meetings explaining the nature of our doctrine and baptised 30 throughout the day.

24 September 1851 • Wednesday

Held meeting this morning and then prepared to return. Making an appointment to return next Monday as I had to attend to the sacrament next Sunday at Waiakoa.

25 September 1851 • Thursday

I had a long interview with Mr. Napela last evening conversing upon the principles of the doctrine. He did not advance any objection to any thing I advanced. This morning I was somewhat surprised by seeing Bro. Keeler walk up.—After asking him the state of his health &c. I asked him where he was going, or what had brought him here. He said he was on his way to Lahaina; they had stopped all the meetings at Koolau [Ko‘olau] and threatened them if they met again until we had authority from the king they would bind them and send them to Lahaina or to Honolulu. This was done by the Konohiki who called them out individually and made them promise the greater part of them that they would not meet again, using persausions and threats to force compliance to their desires. There were some that were determined to meet if Bro. Keeler said so despite the threats and said if they would show our errors they would leave us but not without. They professed to have the authority to do this from the Queen [Kalama] thro’ Kuakamauna the man who holds these lands under the king and over the Konohikis. Bro. K. said we could do nothing more there until we had this thing settled and therefore had come over to see me and for us to see the king, as he was expected to be at Lahaina, and have this affair settled.—I told Bro. Keeler I could not possibly go as I had appointments out for these two ensuing Sundays and I could not with justice leave—but I thought that one of us would be all sufficient and therefore I thought it would be almost useless for me to go. He concluded to stay here to-day and rest himself. It was proposed this evening By Bro. Kaleohano that I should go and he thought that they could get along by helping Bro. Keeler until I returned; this seemed to meet Bro. Keeler’s feelings better than for him to go alone as my knowledge of the Native might be very useful.13

26 September 1851 • Friday

I started this morning on one of Bro. Kaleohano’s horses and arrived in Lahaina a little before sundown. I forgot to mention that yesterday Bro. K. brought a lot of letters that he had received from Lahaina stating that Bro. Lewis had gone to Honolulu to reside and that Bro. Hammond and lady were living with Mr. Treat—Sister [Mary Jane] Hammond doing the cooking &c. for their board.—I found them all well and found Mr. [James] Kipp transformed into Bro. Kipp having been baptised by Bro. H. Bro. Kipp took my horse up to his place and took care of him and came down after supper and invited me up to stay at his house. I accordingly went there and slept. The king was not in Lahaina and it was thought best for me to go to Oahu [O‘ahu].

27 September 1851 • Saturday

Bro. H. and myself went and seen Kuakamauna the man that the Konohikis said had commanded <them> to do as they had done under pain of losing their office. He was so very deaf that we had to do all the talking through his wife, who pitch[ed] her voice to the right key to suit him. He denied having commanded them to do so but said that one of them from Wailua had said that he did not want them to meet upon his land and asked him if he should stop their meetings and he had said Yes without un- scarcely understanding what was meant. We talked about half an hour and frightened them pretty well and then left him. Wrote out some notices for Bro. Kipp to stick round town for meeting to-morrow at his house.

28 September 1851 • Sunday

Held meeting this morning very few in attendance. I preached but had not as good a delivery as I would have wished; I spoke upon the necessity and consistency of new revelation these days as well as any other. In afternoon a great many Natives assembled outside of the house, Bro. K. proposed that I should sit out under the verandah and give them a talk. I talked about two hours to them they seemed very much pleased—they were from Molokai [Moloka‘i] the majority of them.

29 September 1851 • Monday

Engaged variously.

30 September 1851 • Tuesday

A vessel was going to Honolulu this evening I accordingly made preparations to go. Bro. H. let me have $5. as also to Bro. K. $5. to pay my passage I was very sick all evening and night scarcely able to lift my head without vomiting.


  1. [1]Two undecipherable letters have been crossed out following this sentence.

  2. [2]Upon returning to Ke‘anae, Keeler found Rev. Whittlesey “trying to turn the people back again to his doctrine by telling them that we preached false doctrine and that the Lord was done speaking to the people.” The following day Keeler visited Whittlesey but “soo[n] discovered that it was useless to contend with him . . . bore my testimoney to him of the Truth of the work and left him.” On August 25 two Catholic priests visited Keeler “to Inquire what doctrine we Taut I told them that I was so hemahema in the Language that i could not talk with them so they comenced to preach to the Natives” (Keeler journal, Aug. 23–25, 1851).

  3. [3]Keeler reported his joy at Cannon’s return: “We was glad to see him as we was in conciderable trouble with the Natives in this plase on acount of opisition” (Keeler journal, Sept. 3, 1851). Cannon subsequently described the situation at Ke‘anae in greater detail:

    “The adversary was not idle at Keanae. . . . No sooner had we gone to Lahaina, to meet the newly arrived Elders, than the enemy began his operations. After spending a few days in Lahaina, I returned to Kula and remained a short time there. I felt impressed to go from there to Keanae. Some of the native brethren wished me to stop till the end of the week, and they would accompany me; but I could not stop, I felt that I was needed for some cause at Keanae. My impressions were correct. The people of Keanae were in great trouble. They had been assailed by enemies from every side, and those who were weak in the faith were in perplexity. Some had turned away, not being able to withstand the pressure. . . . It seemed as if the devil had set all his agencies into operation to destroy the work of God, and they told all the lies that could be brought to bear against us. The French priest had said that we ought to be driven out of the place and off the island, and had circulated many false reports about us. The Presbyterian missionary had visited the houses of the people, and had brought all his influence to bear upon them. Brother Keeler had been there part of the time; but his want of the language troubled him greatly, as he had not acquired it sufficiently at the time to enable him to counteract these lies or to make full explanations concerning them. I learned that many of the Saints were doubting, and they had been praying to the Lord for me to return. This was the cause of my anxiety to get back” (Cannon, My First Mission, 39).

  4. [4]Keeler provided additional details regarding the day’s events: “Bro C delivered a short discourse to them on being prepared for death at all times, the brethren wanted bro C to stop and meet with them this eavning acordingly he consented to stop the rest of us started back” (Keeler journal, Sept. 6, 1851).

  5. [5]A common ploy used against the Latter-day Saints in Hawai‘i during this time was to threaten them with imprisonment for baptizing on Sunday. This intimidation was inspired both by the method of baptism and the large number of converts being baptized. In May 1853 Nathan Tanner wrote: “The report is that we shall not babtise on the sabeth unless we sprinkle. They see that emurshen is takeing & there must be sum way of stoping it, they dont mind our babtiseing a few but we babtise someny that it makes so much work it brakes the sabeth” (Tanner journal, May 7, 1853). The only known instance when the threat of imprisonment was carried out occurred in May 1853 when W. H. Uaua, a local native elder, was briefly jailed in Honolulu (Hammond journal, May 22, 1853). Cannon recalled that “the news of what was being done . . .—the new religion as it was called—the new method of baptism—for up to that time the people had been sprinkled,—and the doctrine, so strange to them, that God has spoken again to man, and sent His holy angels to minister unto him, was noised about, and there began to be a great curiosity felt by many of the people to hear” (Cannon, My First Mission, 35–36).

  6. [6]Cannon preached on “being firm and steadfast in the doctrine of Christ” (Keeler journal, Sept. 10, 1851). Keeler previously reported “a great falling away of the brethren and sisters in this vicinity on the acount of percicution by the Sects of the day” (Keeler journal, Sept. 7, 1851).

  7. [7]Commonly referred to as the fish poison plant, ‘auhuhu is found throughout Polynesia and tropical Asia. The leaves contain tephrosin, a substance poisonous to fish that has no known effect on mammals (see Pope, Manual of Wayside Plants of Hawaii, 96–97; Neal, In Gardens of Hawaii, 448–49).

  8. [8]Corrected from intercession in pencil.

  9. [9]During the morning meeting Cannon spoke “on the principal of faith Spoke to conciderable Length,” and in the afternoon the missionaries administered the sacrament to “about Two hundred members of the Church that reside in this vicinity” (Keeler journal, Sept. 14, 1851).

  10. [10]The fruit was probably the ‘ohi‘a ‘ai, or mountain apple, which Keeler feasted upon on September 11. ‘Ohi‘a ‘ai grows in shady valleys at altitudes up to 1,500 feet, and while lacking a distinct taste, it is very juicy (see Krauss, Plants in Hawaiian Culture, 264).

  11. [11]Word had reached Ke‘anae by September 11 that the king was going to visit Maui (Keeler journal, Sept. 11, 1851).

  12. [12]Cannon expected to be gone about three weeks (Keeler journal, Sept. 17, 1851).

  13. [13]Keeler left a detailed account of the problems at Ke‘anae. On September 20 the local konohiki had returned from Lahaina with instructions from “the Lord of the Soil” that the Latter-day Saint meetings were to be stopped. The following day Keeler held a meeting as usual, during which the konohiki showed up, but finding “that the people would not mind him,” he stated that he would “take the Names of those that would not stop going to the meeting and take them to Lahaina.” On September 24 the konohiki “held an Inqusition over the Later day Saints and threatened them with severe punishment if they went to meeting any more by sending them Bound to Oahu he tok them one by one and made them promise to Leave the meeting they all promised to Leave but four they they [sic] would do as i said if they tok their Lives” (Keeler journal, Sept. 20–22, 24, 1851). Immediately following this meeting Keeler left on foot to find Cannon, arriving the following morning at Waiakoa after a hard night’s march. Cannon later expanded upon his journal: “Not satisfied with bringing religious influences to bear against us, the missionaries . . . stirred up the owners of the land and the officer having it in charge to stop the meetings and to threaten the people with punishment if they persisted in holding them. . . . In consequence of these interruptions and persecutions, of which Elder Keeler brought me word, at Kula, where I then was, it was deemed best for me to go to Honolulu, and, if possible see the king, or some members of the government” (Cannon, My First Mission, 41).