The Church Historian's Press

January 1854

Events in George Q. Cannon’s journal for 1854

31 January

Finished reading the Book of Mormon through. Grateful for “this great privilege, that of translating this precious book into this language”

8 February

Description of travel and scenery in the Wailua River area on the island of Kauai

13 March

Detailed description of native houses

26 March

“I gave them a short sketch . . . of the sacrifices we had made to bring this gospel to them.”

29 March

Legal persecution and imprisonment of J. W. H. Kauwahi

4 April

“During my travels on the different islands I have been surprised at my own notoriety.”

6 April ff.

Conference in which Cannon “spoke on the coming forth of the messenger to prepare the way of the Lord” and on “the joy experienced in preaching the gospel of Jesus and in living pure before the Lord”

20 April

Comments on “strong delusions . . . being sent among the people by Satan to harden their hearts”

26 April

Description of a canoe on which he set sail

7 May

Comments on the “squalid and degraded condition” of many of “this people”

10 May ff.

Visited the crater of Kīlauea, on island of Hawaii

28 May

Spoke on obedience and priesthood authority

3 June ff.

Description of eating at a feast; participated in a series of meetings

10 June

Reflections on “the appearance of Bros. Joseph and Hyrum” after the resolution on 10 June 1844 to destroy the Nauvoo Expositor

15 June

Cannon observes “a very great change” in Brother Kalawaia; “now he is as bold as a lion.”

19 July ff.

Conference at Kāneʻohe on the island of Oahu

25 July

The “first five” elders were honorably released from their mission

27 July

A “blessing meeting” was held in which “I received a powerful blessing.”

29 July

Cannon’s poignant feelings on departing; bore his “last testimony”

12 August

Landed in San Francisco

14 August

Asked by Parley P. Pratt to “copy and help him revise his history ready for press”

30 September

Arrived in San Bernardino, California; stayed at the home of Charles C. Rich

1 January 1854 • Sunday

Another year has dawned and I pray that I may be enabled to increase in knowledge, obedience and every good work. A Stormy morning; the river overflowed its banks leaving puddles and ponds in the low places. Not many at meeting; two meetings, Bros. Farrer, Kauwahi and myself preached, I enjoyed it much.1 One man confirmed who was baptized yesterday.

2 January 18542 • Monday

Received two letters from Bro. Johnson & also two papers containing news and warm expressions & friendship; a letter from Bro. [James] Lawson detailing his success; a letter from Bro. [James] Keeler giving an account of the persecution they have met with there—there meeting house had been torn down, and the children of our church who went to the government school had been fined for not packing sand and timber to build the Calvinist meeting house.3 Bro. R. [Reddin] A. Allred wrote in favor of Bro. McB. going.

3 January 1854 • Tuesday

Stormy. Reading manuscript. Wrote a long letter to Uncle [John Taylor] in answer to his, and also one to Mary Ann which I enclosed in his.

4 January 1854 • Wednesday

Raining &c. Reading manuscript.

5 January 1854 • Thursday

Fast day, but so stormy we could not assemble. Reading manuscript.

6 January 1854 • Friday

do. do.

7 January 1854 • Saturday

do. do. We are progressing tolerably well in this work. It is as free from mistakes as I could expect considering the circumstances under which I was placed—calls for preaching to attend to, and very frequently interrupted to attend and administer to the sick, & often having to translate and copy in the midst of conversations which very often distracted my attention, caused me to expect upon a careful reperusal to find many mistakes. In the first few chapters I had <to> make a good many corrections as I had translated it without recopying or reading.

8 January 1854 • Sunday

We have had a good deal of rain this week or two and it was very bad walking this morning. We met in morning up the valley; Bro. Wm. Farrer preached and I followed in a few remarks. We had a good meeting. In afternoon we met in our (prison) house and we attended to the Lord’s sacrament. We had an excellent meeting and every body seemed to rejoice, I spoke on the nature of the Lord’s supper and on the object of our coming to the islands, that it was not merely to preach <faith,> repentance and baptism but that it was to teach them the principles of temporal salvation that they might be exalted temporally and spiritually. Bro. Kauwahi spoke also and with power and Bro. Wm. spoke. Bro. K. spoke on the Book of Mormon.4 Commenced a letter this evening to Bro. Joseph Cain.

9–14 January 1854 • Monday to Saturday

Cold stormy weather. Engaged with Bros. Kauwahi & Wm. in <reading &> correcting the manuscript of the Book of Mormon—comparing it with the English translation. Attended meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

15 January 1854 • Sunday

Bro. Kauwahi preached this morning and spoke well, I followed and made a few observations. Bro. Wm. went to meeting at Hanapepe. <Confirmed one during intermission.> In afternoon I preached on the prophecies, on the necessity, in order to fulfill the word of God, of a precursor one being sent forth as a precursor to the Savior previous to his second coming, and on the nature of this work and the motives that ought to actuate us to action in joining this church of Jesus, that if we had the love of the truth in us and [were] actuated by the spirit of the Lord, nothing would be dear in comparison with this not even life itself we would forsake all, as did the ancients, to possess it. I was filled with the spirit and spoke with power and liberty. A young man, Koakanu, was baptised this evening by me, he is of noble family and has been educated at the [Lahainaluna] High School. He is capable of doing much good and I pray that he may be kept faithful.

16 January 1854 • Monday

Variously engaged. Reading manuscript.

17 January 1854 • Tuesday

Received several letters one from Bro. McBride, two from Bro. [Jonathan] Napela, one long letter and a note directed to Bro. Lewis and me from Bro. Johnson, and a letter from Bro. Bigler to Bro. Farrer and me. Bro. McBride was to have sailed last Friday to the coast—Bro. Johnson had got the $500 from Haalelea that we spoke to him about; he charged interest from the time we spoke to him about it as he had laid it aside for that purpose. May he <be> blessed according to his works. We are comparative strangers to him yet he has not hesitated to trust us. They had not received Bro. Lewis’ letter counselling Bro. McB. to stay. They state that the Bros. [Reddick and Reddin] Allred had written that they were not in favor of it—I received by the last mail a small note written <by> Bro. R. A. Allred in which he spoke in favor of the project and of it being done soon; I cannot account for this sudden change in his views.5 Bro. N. wrote encouragingly of the progress of the work and of his desire to be with me. He wrote me some extracts of a conversation he had with Mr. [Rev. Jonathan] Green, the missionary, only part of which I have received, in which I see he tells Mr. Green that his (Napela’s) wife, Kitty [Napela], had told him that a Calvinist member, a female, had tried to get her to coax me to lie with her <(Kitty)> and that she (Kitty) had told her that it would be useless, as I was reserved & that my works and conduct corresponded with my teaching. In conversation one evening with Bro. Napela on the many false reports and lies propagated by the [Congregationalist] missionaries in regard to us, Kitty told us that they had been questioning her to know whether I had taken or attempted any liberties with her. I do not think them any too good to employ an agent like the woman referred to above to ensnare a servant of God, if they could think it the least possible. May the Lord reward <them> according to their works and for their evil surmisings.

Bro. Johnson writes that Bro. [Edward] Dennis is anxious to sell out his shop and tools and stock to the Committee—he has been doing a good business as a tinman, and as Bro. Lewis is a good tinman they thought that the concern might be a source of profit by employing hands and having apprentices &c. and still not detract any from the dignity of the mission. Bro. D. was willing to have Bro. Lewis price every thing; and he would then deduct 50 percent from the whole and wait until the committee could pay him. Bro. Lewis acquiesced when he read the letter and commenced making arrangements to start on the morrow to Koloa and from there to Honolulu.6 I wrote this evening to Bro. Johnson telling him that they had liberty to use my name, (as one of the Committee) in any arrangement he and Bro. Lewis might think wisdom to make.

I have felt unusually depressed and sad to day after receiving these letters, and could not refrain from tears, I regretted much that there had been anything done that give the least cause for feelings among the brethren. I pray that the Lord will order all for the best and will bless us with the spirit of unity. The committee took the shop &c. from Bro. Dennis and gave their note to him for $500 to be due on demand.7

18 January 1854 • Wednesday

Bro. Lewis left this morning for Koloa. Reading. Attended meeting.

19–21 January 1854 • Thursday to Saturday

Attended early morning meetings; enjoyed the spirit. During day variously engaged—generally reading.8

22 January 1854 • Sunday

Attended early morning meeting. Rode to Hanapepe, about 7 miles, and held two meetings; returned in evening.

23 January 1854 • Monday

Reading &c.

24–28 January 1854 • Tuesday to Saturday

Reading &c. Received a letter from Bro. R. A. Allred, and Bro. Wm. received a letter from Bro. Bigler stating that Bro. Mc. had not gone having received Bro. Lewis’ letter a day or two before the time of sailing. Bro. Tanner was in Honolulu from Lahaina. From Wednesday until Saturday evening engaged reading. Stormy all week.

29 January 1854 • Sunday

A Fine day. I preached in morning and Bro. Wm. followed.9 In afternoon attended to the Lord’s supper. Bros. Kauwahi, Wm. & I spoke. I spoke on the object of my mission to Kauai and set before the people the necessity of using every exertion in their power. Cut off one and ordained Bro. Koakanu, an elder.

30 January 1854 • Monday

Went to see Mr. [Richard] Armstrong at the house of Mr. [Rev. George B.] Rowell, the Calvinist missionary of this place, in relation to a school which has been kept by one of our brethren, <Hosea,> a young high school scholar, he has kept it several months without pay and the school superintendent told him that he would give him, when he returned from Niihau, a license as a teacher of a government school and he would draw pay. When Aka, the school superintendant returned he would not give it, he having been told, he said, by Rowell, the missionary, that it was not right. We afterwards saw him and he said that he had written to the Minister of Public Instruction, Armstrong, on the subject. In our conversation with Armstrong we told him we wanted nothing more than rights and these we wanted our people to have in common with other citizens of the kingdom. We were not aware that the law warranted the choice of Calvinist teachers altogether for government <schools> to the utter exclusion of Mormons &c. He said it did not, the necessary qualifications were capacity to teach and a good, moral character. He said he would inquire into the matter. He afterwards met with the teachers and we were told that he asked Aka his reasons for refusing Hosea; he assigned some frivolous reasons among the reason <rest> that we believed in a plurality of wives &c. Armstrong slipped off before we saw him again; we met with Aka and I eased my mind pretty well to him. I told him that he had paid no regard to law and justice, and had used subterfuge and that he was not fit for the office &c. This same fellow that makes an objection of this kind against us, has a kept mistress, so say the people, and I do not doubt it. I got a horse with the intention of meeting A. & him face to face at Hanapepe, as I did not feel satisfied. They had left when I arrived there and I returned without effecting anything. They are determined not to do us justice, Armstrong, I believe, is doing all he can against <us> but he does it behind the curtain. We heard that he said no Mormon teacher from Hawaii to Niihau would get pay for teaching school. He evaded this in our conversation with him.10

31 January 1854 • Tuesday

We finished reading the Book of Mormon thro’ this evening, and I feel full of gratitude to the Lord for granting unto me this great privilege, that of translating this precious book into this language. I pray that the way may be opened for it to be printed speedily that it may go forth on its mission of life. I have read it thro’ twice with the exception of a few pages; once to Bro. Wm. he looking at the English version to see that there were no words or sentences dropped; and then read again to Bro. Kauwahi, he also looking at the English, of which he has a slight knowledge, and all inaccuracies and idiomatic expressions corrected.11 Met with officers and gave much good instruction.12

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January 1854, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed July 23, 2024