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November 1853

1 November 1853 • Tuesday

Bros. Lewis, Johnson, Tanner, and McBride and I went to see Haalelea in relation to his land on Molokai and Lanai,—the terms that he would let his us have it in case it should be suitable, and other subjects connected with our plans and intentions, were talked over, and he expressed a desire to aid us in this thing; he said, that <if> any of his lands were suitable we could settle on them without any charge on his part, and that after they got well started and liberated from the immediate embarrassments of settling &c., they had could then come to an equitable arrangement in regard to the rent &c.1 Afterwards went and had my portrait taken, with the intention of sending it to Elizabeth.2 Then went and made inquiries about Printing press, type, &c.3 Afterwards went and saw Bro. [Phillip] Wert, a Frenchman who had been baptized; and had a long talk with him; he was unwell and low spirited; we left him feeling better. Attending meeting in afternoon.

2 November 18534 • Wednesday

Variously engaged.

3 November 1853 • Thursday

Fast day. Bro. Lewis and I went to prosecute farther inquiries in regard to procuring a press etc. in San Francisco.5 Attended meeting and preached and enjoyed the meeting.

4 November 1853 • Friday

Writing home, and engaged in drafting a letter for Pres. Lewis to send to the [First] Presidency, giving them an account of our trip to the crater and the situation and prospects of the work.6

5 November 1853 • Saturday

Sent by the mail a letter to Elizabeth, one to Uncle and Aunt [John and Leonora Taylor], and one to Bro. [Joseph] Cain, with the portrait, soldered in a tin case made by Bro. Dennis, which I directed to Elizabeth.

6 November 1853 • Sunday

I preached this morning on the Book of Mormon; a tolerable attendance only. Five <Seven> baptised. Haalelea attended meeting and paid good attention. In afternoon administered the Lord’s supper, and chose and ordained several to the lesser priesthood and offices.

7 November 1853 • Monday

This evening attended a meeting in the Court House where Mr. [Rev. Benjamin] Parker gave an account of his trip to the Fatuhiwa [Fatu Hiwa], Marquesas Islands, with the intention of establishing a mission of two ordained native reverends with their families, and two teachers, and a white layman named Bicknell. They went to Tahiti and got permission from the French Governor, who is also Governor of the Marquesian Group, to establish a mission. They make a poor statement of the state of “true religion” on the Society Islands. From there they sailed for Fatuhiwa; they found the natives observing their ancient system of Kapus or taboos and were polygamists; they questioned them (the missionaries) very closely upon these things, what their belief was &c., which they evaded by saying that they would teach the Bible. (?) They number, probably, from two to three thousand on that island, being divided under many chiefs living in seperate vallies, who occasionally have a fight one with another. The chiefs do not have the authority among them that they used to have here. They are a more athletic race, and, apparently, more free from disease than this people. The languages are somewhat similar.

8 November 1853 • Tuesday

Talking over the best measures to adopt to get the press, &c. In evening afternoon went with Bros. Bigler and Farrer about three miles, to Kalihi; to hold meeting; but in consequence of a misunderstanding, it failed.7

9 November 1853 • Wednesday

Haalelea was here to-day and I had quite a conversation with him. He gave us encouragement to think that we might effect a loan from him for the first installment on the Press

10 November 1853 • Thursday

We were gladdened to-day by the arrival of nine numbers of the “Seer,” Bro. O. [Orson] Pratt’s publication, filled with excellent reasoning and unanswerable arguments in favor of celestial marriage and pre-existence of spirits.8 It is the most fearless, and preaches the strongest doctrines, denunciations and warnings, of any publication ever printed by our people. It will be apt to cause thinking, honest men to pause and reflect, while hypocrites will fear, tremble and rage at the truths which it preaches in tones of thunder to the inhabitants of the United States and of all the world. Attending meeting and preached. Wrote to Bro. [J. W. H.] Kauwahi, Kauai, and Bro. Napela, Maui, long letters.

11 November 1853 • Friday

Attended meeting up the [Nu‘uanu] Valley in company with Bro. Farrer. I preached.

12 November 1853 • Saturday

Wrote to Bros. Winchester, Hammond, &c. Met to-day according to the order.

13 November 1853 • Sunday

Bible Class and afterwards preached. Three baptised during intermission. Met again in afternoon and spoke.9

14 November 1853 • Monday

Bro. Johnson and I went to-day to see the Minister of Finance [Elisha Allen] in relation to relieving our native officers from taxes.10 He was not in his office; his clerk and us had quite a conversation on the subject of religion; he was very bigoted but treated us with courtesy. There were a good many listeners in the offices of the different departments, among the rest I saw Mr. [Richard] Armstrong, the Minister of Public Instruction, who took the pains to come out of his office and see who we were. It lasted over and an hour; we talked very plainly to him; he got quite warm toward the last. We found Mr. Allen at his house, who told us he would do all he could, consistently with his duty, for us. He desired us to call at his office on Wednesday.

15 November 1853 • Tuesday

Officer meeting and instructed them on their duties.

16 November 1853 • Wednesday

Went to see Mr. Allen, the minister of Finance. He treated us courteously and told us that we were all exempted from taxes and had the privilege of exempting two native servants each from taxes. Our native elders who are actively engaged, will, probably, be released also.11

17 November 1853 • Thursday

Went in company with Bro. Johnson to see Haalelea about getting the loan of $500 from him to be repayed by us when collected, to which he cheerfully assented. Our object was, to write to Bro. [John] Horner, Cal., requesting him to make the necessary purchases of press, &c. for us, telling him that we had $600 and upwards on hand to his order, and we would pledge ourselves to him for the balance.12 Our object was to get the Book of Mormon in press as quickly as possible. At the printing office and had a long conversation with the editor of the “New Era and Argus,” Mr. [Abraham] Fornander, and with Mr. Sheldon and others who were at work in the office. Bros. Lewis, McBride and Farrer sailed this afternoon for Kauai.13 [John] Davis that had been appointed to go to Kauai with Bro. McB. has arrived and again “backed out,” being filled with the spirit of the evil one. Attended meeting this afternoon in company with Bro. J., we being the only ones left in Honolulu.

18 November 1853 • Friday

At Printing Office again this morning. Mr. Sheldon made out a bill of the necessary amount of articles, sufficient to establish an a Book Office large enough to print the Book of Mormon. Writing letters home.

19 November 1853 • Saturday

Writing &c.

20 November 1853 • Sunday

Bible Class and afterwards preached. [blank] baptised. Meeting again in afternoon. The people seem to be dull and indifferent, and the[y] do not feel the interest they should; I am anxious to have them understand they nature of the work and act accordingly.

21 November 1853 • Monday

Sat up all night writing in company with Bro. Johnson. I copied a letter that Bro. J. had written to Bro. Horner; we signed it as a Committee pledging ourselves to him for the balance that it would cost over and above what we already had on hand. The bill of materials was sent along, and we requested him, if it could not be filled, to send to New York and have <it all> forwarded here. I wrote a letter to Bro. Brigham,14 one to Angus &c. &c., a short note to Elizabeth, and one to Chas. & Mary A. [Lambert] & Orin & Anne [Woodbury]. The mail left to-day.

22 November 1853 • Tuesday

Variously engaged. Attended <officer> meeting.

23 November 1853 • Wednesday

do. do. Attending meeting up the valley; Bro. Johnson went along.

24 November 1853 • Thursday

Reading Stephen’s [John Lloyd Stephens’s] travels in Central American and in Yucatan.15 What mighty works the ancients have left in those countries, exciting the wonder and admiration of all travelers and <all> who read the account of their travels. These things are unanswerable arguments in favor of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Attended meeting <in> afternoon.

25 November 1853 • Friday

Variously engaged. Stormy.

26 November 1853 • Saturday

do. do do. also. I have been thinking of going to a general meeting, to be held in Kaneohe, Koolau, on the <other> side of the island, of the saints, but could <can> not it is so stormy

27 November 1853 • Sunday

Bible Class, as usual, in morning; then preached. baptised. In afternoon Bro. Uaua spoke, and I followed. It rained very heavily last night and this morning.

28 November 1853 • Monday

Bros. Bigler and Hawkins arrived from the other side of the island; they were both well and had been blessed, there had been 22 baptised over there during their absence, that is, <during> the time they had been laboring there. The small pox had made sad havoc among the people, and many of the saints had been carried off; some two or three branches had been nearly all swept off, a few only remaining.

29 November 1853 • Tuesday

Variously occupied. Attending Officer meeting and counselled in regard to building a meeting house, &c., &c. Bros. [Charles] White & [John] Pemberton, two brethren that had been baptised by Bro. Hy., made us a visit this evening.

30 November 1853 • Wednesday

We had an eclipse of the sun this morning—it was not quite total, and lasted about an hour. Attended meeting up the valley in company with Bro. Johnson.


  1. [1]Johnson noted that Haalelea “told us that we should have all the land that we wished at a price & condition that would suit us” (Johnson diary, Nov. 1, 1853). Lewis observed that Haalelea “seemed to take a good deal of interest in the matter and offered us his land for nothing as it would be improved by cultivation” (Lewis journal, Oct. 31, 1853). On November 7 Hammond wrote that “Halelea is a firm friend to our cause, but does not wish to be known publicly as such. He says he diseres the wellfare of his people and wishes us to go ahead and locate them and teach them the art of husbandry &c.” (Hammond journal, Nov. 7, 1853). Two days later Johnson reported that Haalelea “tells us that he feels to be one with us altho he has not yet bin baptized” (Johnson diary, Nov. 9, 1853).

  2. [2]Woodbury noted that the image “looked very natural” (Woodbury diary, Nov. 1, 1853).

  3. [3]“Bro’s Lewis, Johnson, & Cannon were out today making enquiries about the price &c of a printing press, & of the Practiccability of obtaining one here or at San Francisco” (Farrer diary, Nov. 1, 1853).

  4. [4]Cannon originally wrote the day as Friday but corrected it in pen to Wednesday.

  5. [5]Farrer recounted that they “found that there was no prospect of procuring a suitable one in this place, but would have to send to San Francisco where there is a probability of procuring a press & material for about two thousand dollars” (Farrer diary, Nov. 3, 1853).

  6. [6]See Appendix 2, Item 18.

  7. [7]The meeting was not held “owing to a misunderstanding in giving out of the appointment” (Farrer diary, Nov. 9, 1853).

  8. [8]At the August 1852 conference where he announced the Latter-day Saint practice of plural marriage, Orson Pratt was called on a mission to the eastern United States and asked to publish a periodical explaining the principles of the gospel, especially the doctrine of plural marriage. In January 1853, Pratt published the first issue of the Seer in Washington, D.C. This monthly periodical was published until August 1854. For additional information, see Flake and Draper, Mormon Bibliography, 2:244; England, Orson Pratt, 174–93.

  9. [9]Farrer described the meetings in greater detail: “Had school this morning, afterwhich we held meeting elder Cannon addressed the people on the subject of the Lords making a new covenant with Israel in the last days & shewing that the gospel had been restored & the Kingdom of God set up to fulfil the same &c I made a few remarks, encourageing them to come forward & assist in the printing press. . . . Today Bro. C opened the subscription book when the Brethre[n] subscribed 6 ¼ dollars towards the printing press” (Farrer diary, Nov. 13, 1853). Lewis reported that in the afternoon Cannon also preached upon the press (Lewis journal, Nov. 13, 1853).

  10. [10]The taxes referred to consisted of both time and money. No tax, however, was of greater concern than the “road tax,” which required all males between the ages of sixteen and fifty to work a specified number of days on “roads, bridges, and the like public works.” The law did exempt some from the road tax, including clergymen (“An Act Relating to the Road Tax,” Polynesian, July 2, 1853). By June 1853 the missionaries on O‘ahu had selected “some persons as servants for us to do our washing &[c] & get clear of the road & some other taxes, as the law granted to Missionaries the privelege of two such servants” (Farrer diary, June 17, 1853). Cannon’s and Johnson’s visit to the minister of finance was prompted by the arrest of a local Church member who refused to pay taxes following his ordination (Farrer diary, Nov. 12, 1853).

  11. [11]Shortly after Cannon completed his mission, the Hawaiian government removed the exemption for local missionaries due to the large number that had been called to assist in the work (Johnson diary, Aug. 2, 1854).

  12. [12]Reddick Allred later wrote of receiving a letter from Cannon “in which he requested me to write immediately & give him the amount of means on hand for the ‘Press,’ as they wished to forward all the means posable to Bro. Horner, by the 12th ult. [of November] but my information was too late for complyence” (Reddick Allred journal, Dec. 3, 1853).

  13. [13]Farrer explained why he left for Kaua‘i: “It is thought best for me to go as soon as possible & wake the saints up on the subject of the Book of Mormon & prepare them to assist in this thing & not stay at present to assist in revising the translation of the Book of Mormon as before concluded best, but to raise means first & to attend to that afterwards” (Farrer diary, Nov. 7, 1853).

  14. [14]See Appendix 2, Item 20. Young made reference to this letter in the eleventh general epistle: “By advices received from brs. Lewis and Cannon, dated Honolulu, Nov. 20th, 1853, we learn that over three thousand had been baptized, and that native Elders were now engaged, heart and hand, in publishing the glad tidings, which is unto all people. The mission, it is expected, will establish a press, and publish in the native language, the Book of Mormon being translated and ready for publication” (First Presidency, “Eleventh General Epistle,” Apr. 10, 1854, in Deseret News, Apr. 13, 1854).

  15. [15]In 1841 John Lloyd Stephens published Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan, one of the first major works on Mesoamerica. In 1843 he published a second study, titled Incidents of Travel in Yucatan. For an overview of Stephens’s writings, see Preston, “America’s Egypt.”