A Daring Decision to Build a Missionary Ship
The Pitcairn was a vessel - built as a schooner and refitted as a brigantine - that was used by Seventh-day Adventists for transporting missionaries across the Pacific Ocean from 1890 to 1900. It is probably the best known of Seventh-day Adventist missionary vessels.
M. C. Wilcox, who was present at the Pitcairn’s dedication, described the schooner as follows: “The length of the ship is 100 feet, breadth of beam 27 feet, depth of hold 10 feet; and it is of about 120 tons burden. It is made of the very best timber, and the workmanship is of the best character. The ship has two masts, foremast and mainmast, each 79 feet long. She is capable of spreading to the breeze 1,576 square yards of canvass” (Review and Herald, Oct. 14, 1890, p. 636).
The decision to build a missionary ship was made at the General Conference session of October 1889, and construction began soon after. The ship was paid for by Sabbath school offerings. It was to have been named Glad Tidings, but on further consideration the Foreign Mission Board settled on the name Pitcairn.
Completed in the fall of 1890, the ship cost almost $12,000, and furnishings an additional $2,000; various expenses amounted to almost $5,000 and stocks of books for missionary purpose cost another $3,000. This made a grand total expenditure of about $22,000 by the time the ship sailed on her first voyage.
Dedication services for the Pitcairn were held Sept. 25, 1890, during the California camp meeting, and were attended by about 1,500 persons.
The schooner set sail from Oakland, California, Oct. 20, 1890, with the following crew: captain, J. M. Marsh; first mate, J. Christiansen; carpenter, J. I. Tay; sailors, G. A. Anderson, Peter Hansen, C. Kahlström; cook, Charles Turner; and cabin attendant, Nicholas Garthofner. The missionary work was under the supervision of E. H. Gates, who was accompanied by his wife. Other missionaries were A. J. Read and his wife, and J. I. Tay and his wife.
The ship sailed directly to Pitcairn Island, arriving there Nov. 25, 1890. During the next 10 years the Pitcairn made six missionary voyages with various crews and missionaries, who established missions in many of the islands of the South Pacific between 1890 and 1899. Because maintenance of the missionary ship was expensive, the Pitcairn was sold in 1900, by which time steamship connections with the islands had improved.
A model of the Pitcairn is a frequently visited object of interest in the Sabbath School Department of the General Conference in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Daily Observations and Notes
The following is a transcription of the handwritten diary of John Graham, the captain of the Pitcairn on its voyage into the South Pacific in the latter part of 1894. To retain the flavor of his comments and observations, no attempt has been made to edit the diary. As a result it reflects its social and historical context.
May 31, 1894
Having received the following recommendation from the Foreign Mission Board, “We recommend that Elder J.E. Graham of the North Pacific Conference take the general management of the ‘Pitcairn’ on her next voyage. I bade my family good-by Thursday at 6:00 p.m. May 31, 1894. Starting at our pleasant home in Portland, Oregon and took the train for Oakland, California to go with the ‘Pitcairn’ on a missionary cruise to the South Sea Islands to last about six months.
It was a great cross to leave my dear wife and children but believing that the call was from the Lord, I started trusting that “He who has promised to care for the widow and the fatherless” would care for my loved ones in my absence.
I reached Oakland at 10:00 a.m. June 2nd on the Sabbath and went to brother J.C. Kelley’s room near the Pacific Press Publishing Company. After changing my traveling clothing I attended church. After the Sabbath was passed I met Elder O.A. Olsen and C.H. Jones and learned from them that they were desirous of having me take the position of Captain or master of the ‘Pitcairn’ and that E.E Hicks should go as mate and sailing master and Mr. Variga as bosun. Or I should say that this arrangement had been made on a previous visit to Oakland.
June 13, 1894
I went on board the ‘Pitcairn’ and took up the new and perplexing duties of master and business manager of the ship ‘Pitcairn’. A brigantine rigged vessel, 90-foot keel, 112 feet overall, 27-foot beam, 10 foot hold, and 163 tons register. Two weeks were spent in fitting out the vessel purchasing necessary supplies etc.
June 17, 1894
With a crew of six men, a steward, and cabin boy making 9 in all to man the vessel and with 18 passengers we launch from San Francisco, Sunday at 11:10 a.m. A number of the friends from Oakland came out with us to see the vessel off. When abreast of San Francisco, the little tug backed alongside and took our passengers off. Then after towing us about five or six miles further, she cast off our line and we were soon out on the heaving ocean and as the vessel rolled with the sea our passengers caught their berths.
July 17, 1894
At 12 noon by observation we found that we were 28 miles from Pitcairn Island. At 1:15 the island was sighted away to the southwest. At 4:00 p.m. a boat came off to us and took our seasick passengers on shore after a voyage of 30 days from San Francisco. It may be of interest to record the principle events connected with the voyage from San Francisco to Pitcairn.
The first day out the wind held us till we got well off the Golden Gate. By 6:00 p.m. the winds had died out and we had the first experience of a calm at sea in a sailing vessel. The ship rolled and pitched in the heavy swell. The passengers were all sick and as the shades of night settled down over the great ocean a sense of the vastness of the great expanse of water and of our littleness and other insignificance came over. We felt that in God’s keeping alone we were safe as we remembered the words, “Isn’t God upon the water just as well as on the land.”
It having been previously arranged that E.E. Hicks was to be sailing master of the ship when out at sea. I therefore, lost of the feeling of responsibility having confidence that the sailing master and boatswain were capable of sailing and navigating the ship.
July 18, 1894
Monday morning we were headed southwest with a good strong breeze from the northwest. This wind held us for a week or ten days. So that the first week out we made over 1,000 miles of our course. By the first of the second week we took on the northeast trade wind, which continued for several days or until we got within about 800 or 900 miles of the equator when we reached the region of the equatorial calms. For eight or ten days the swells were variable and unsteady with occasional rains and wind. The sea was not exceedingly rough but enough to cause our passengers much sickness. We finally got the southeast trade winds when about 300 miles north of the equator.
July 18, 1894
We lay close in the wind, crossed the equator at 5-6:00 a.m. The wind continued in the southeast until we were within 40 or 50 miles of Pitcairn Island. In order to make the course we had to lay close on the wind. The vessel diving into the hard sea caused much sickness among our passengers. All looked and longed for the time when we could reach Pitcairn Island.
July 18, 1894
At 1:15 p.m. the Island was sighted but we did not get near enough for a boat to carry off to us till 3 or 4:00 when we saw a boat approaching us.
July 18, 1894
Last evening just as the shades of night were settling over the sea, I with several others landed on Pitcairn Island. As the Bounty Bay or regular landing place was so exposed to the heavy sea as to make a landing dangerous we landed at the one other landing place on the northwest side of the island. A little sheltered nook. We found that when we began to ascend the path leading to the village about one mile away that the first part of the path was very steep so that the passengers weakened by sickness had to be almost carried up the hill by the strong Islanders. To me the walk was a source of much pleasure as we passed over the high rocky cliff until we reached the top of the hill, which was nearly the highest point on the island.
We descended a path to the village winding down the hillside through orange and coconut palm groves. One little boy gathered a quantity of oranges and carried them in his shirt next to the bare hide. The oranges were delicious as I ate several on the way down.
We were conducted to the home of brother J.R. McCoy, governor of the island where we were most cordially entertained and where I have made my home during my stay on shore.
The surf was so heavy that we could not land the freight for several days. In the time of waiting I was kept busy, as Dr. Caldwell and I had two or three meetings each day during the week. Having prayer and social meetings at 6:00 a.m. and other meetings during the day. Then at 6:00 p.m., preaching services at which I spoke several times. The people are good Bible students and though not all are perfect yet the seemingly peaceful and contented lived as if by the peaceful religion of the Savior and the power of the Bible to influence.
July 26, 1894
From the 17th to the present time we have been trying to get our freight to shore. Some days we could get a boatload or two off. The wind being in the north made the landing place very rough as Bounty Bay affords but little shelter from the northerly winds and the wind has been in that quarter from the time we reached the island.
The people of the island, in taking a load in as they were making the landing were caught by a breaker and the rudder of the boat disabled. The boat swung around in the sea and struck one of the large rocks near the beach. People and goods were hurled into the foaming breakers and the boat dashed to pieces on the rocks. The natives were almost as much in their element in the water as on the land. Dr. Caldwell who was in the boat clung to the boat until it reached the shore. One or two of the strong young men stayed by him to rescue if necessary. The goods were saved in a dampened condition.
Having been directed by the foreign mission board to go to Oeno a small island about 75 miles northwest of Pitcairn to get some wreckage which had been saved by the Islanders from the English ship ‘Bawder’ which was wrecked on the island about one year ago.
July 26, 1894
We made ready to go to Oeno to see about the wreckage. Fourteen of the men and eight women and girls came on board to go with us. The men to assist in gathering from the shore to our vessel and the women to cook for the men on shore and to gather shells for our colleagues. We designed to take one of the boats from the island with us but found after swinging it up on the side davits that we could not get it swing in shipboard. So ran down under the lee of the island and the boat was taken to the shore. We launched our small boat and one of the islanders went in with it and brought the boat crew, six in number from the shore to the ship. We got underway about 4:45, most of the natives were soon sick, just the same as the other people.
July 29, 1894
We reached Oeno at 4:00 p.m. Sabbath July 28. We had a very pleasant passage up from Pitcairn. Wind the first night and day ahead. We were near Oeno the evening of July 27, but owing to the dangerous character of the island and the uncertainty of its exact location we did not deem it prudent to approach it in the night. As the wind was swell to the northwest we stood to the southwest. Though according to our calculations in the evening we were but 16 miles from the island. The morning of the 28th we were about 30 to 35 miles. With wind absence by noon the wind had hauled to the southwest and we were 10 to 15 miles from the island. At 4:00 p.m. we were abreast of the island but did not attempt a landing. Wind very light from the south.
At 7:00 a.m. we were about 6 or 7 miles to the southeast of Oeno. Made one of our lifeboats ready to launch. Having plenty of help, we took the new boat swung her from the yardarm and main mast. Though there was some swell running we got her into the water without injury.
At 8:45 we were loaded and ready to start for the island. The sea was very smooth, for the sea. As we approached the coral reef surrounding the island and which seemed to extend from the shore of the island from 3/4 to one mile from the shore clear around the island there seemed to be an impassable barrier of breakers.
But our guide or pilot told us there was an entrance or passage through the reef to the shore of the island. This we soon found to be true as we passed along the line of breakers seemed to rest and we glided safely into the smooth waters of the lagoon. The water is so clear that the coral on the bottom where the water is several feet deep appears to be but a foot or two beneath the surface.
As we were approaching the reef the beauty and grandeur of the water and the varied colors of the bottom with the pretty fishes swimming after us was grand. The water clear and clean that I almost felt like taking a plunge into it.
On reaching the shore and examining the (sails and lines) wreckage for which we had come to the island we found them all in very good condition, especially the sails. We soon got a load of the sails into our boat and were back to the ship by 12 noon. In the afternoon we got another load, quite good ropes, to the vessel. The Pitcairn Island brethren all went ashore to spend the night and are to bring off a load of sails in the morning.
I think that I will record in my journal some other matters. For some time and especially so since lying at Pitcairn the conduct of the sailing master has been such as to give me some serious thoughts. In some instances he seemed, or at any rate it appeared to me so that he was rather assuming more authority than belonged to him. And did not act as if he was in any respect subject to the captain of the vessel. Several little things seemed to indicate this. This morning as he had not yet arisen, I in conferring with the boatswain about it decided to launch the boat to the side of the vessel on which the davits were. The sailing master came along and was counter-manding my order, which caused me to speak in a very decided way that I had given the order and that was the boat we should launch. The matter caused us to reflect on some things, which had transpired recently.
This evening I called all the ship’s crew into the cabin except the cabin boy whom I sent to the wheel and read together the testimony, which the Lord by his servant had given to the ship’s crew. After the reading of the testimony, I spoke to the brethren about some points in it and then of my relation to the ship as chief officer and the necessity of recognizing and calling by the proper titles those who have been chosen to manage the ship on this present voyage.
I am much perplexed and disturbed as I am placed in a very embarrassing position. I desire to maintain order and manage affairs on the vessel in such a way as to have the blessing of the Lord with us in our work.
July 31, 1894
Oeno Island, South Pacific Ocean
I rolled my blankets and came on shore last evening to take a look at Oeno, a small island about three miles in circumference formed of coral and shells and surrounded by coral reef extending from the shore of the island three fourths to one mile wide.
There is an entrance or passage through the reef to the shore of the island on the northwest side. The island is very low and curved with low trees and shrubs and some grass. Water may be obtained from a well dug by the Pitcairn Islanders on a previous visit. There are ten or twelve coconut trees, which were well loaded with nuts in various stages of development.
After landing last evening, I took a walk around the island, gathered a basketful of shells on the way. The island is a favorite haunt of the sea birds, many of which are so tame that they will not fly from their nests. I saw great numbers of them sitting on their eggs or guarding their young.
I approached one sitting on a limb about one foot from the ground. I reached down very cautiously thinking to catch it by the beak. Just as I made a grab for the bird it appeared from its actions to have been thinking to do the same as I, for instead of my catching it by the beak, it caught me by the finger, and as I reached for it with the other hand, it flew away.
A few steps farther on was another bird guarding its nest. A little bare spot on the ground, one egg and one small bird. A little farther was an old bird guarding a young one, which was about one third grown. As I proceeded on my walk and darkness came on, great numbers of the birds congregated in their accustomed roosting places.
It was six o’clock when I reached the camp to find a good supper of boiled fish and sweet potatoes and a few sea biscuits from the ship. I relished the meal very much.
The company of islanders gathered about the campfire sang a few sacred songs, quoted some passages from the scripture, offered some fervent prayers and then it was time to seek a resting place for the night. I invited brother Alfred Young to share my bed with me. We place beneath a pandana palm tree the ground was thickly carpeted with the leaves from the palm, here we made our bed for the night.
The sea birds roosting just a few feet above our heads ceased their cries when our light was extinguished. The night was cool and pleasant and wearied with the work of the day and the evenings walk, I soon fell asleep.
August 1, 1894
This morning I was wakened early by the fluttering and cooing of the birds and soon heard the devotional songs from the natives of Pitcairn who had gathered for morning worship. I went to the waters edge and washed my face in the salt seawater. Afterwards visited the only grave on the island, which bore the following inscription on a marble slab at the head of the grave, “In memory of Captain Thomas Knowles of Brewster, Mass. Died April 2, 1852 aged 29 years. Captain Knowles remains were taken from San Francisco by his brother, Jeb Knowles in the ship Wild Wave, which was wrecked on this island Mar. 2nd 1853.
I am told by the Pitcairn Islanders that when Captain Jeb Knowles ship was wrecked on this dangerous island that he took some of the sea fowls from their nests with him to Pitcairn Island where after making a safe landing he tied a tag to them with a message from those he had left on Oeno. Turning them loose they returned to their nest after an absence of two or three days.
Unfortunately for Captain Knowles they came around in the night and the heavy sea dashed his boat to pieces against the rocks. As the islanders had all just been moved to Norfolk Island, he found the island like a dreary prison, but not disheartened by the loss of his boat he set to work and after two or three months he had another boat built with which he made his way to Tahiti where he was picked up by a whaler and returned to San Francisco after an absence of about one year to find his wife in a state of insanity caused by the suspense consequent on his long absence.
But that is not a record of the day’s incidents. Gathered shells, caught fish got started for Pitcairn by 5:15 p.m. As we were waiting for the Pitcairn brethren to get some lumber I and three of them took the small boat and went fishing just outside the reef. We cast our hooks about 20 rods from the reef in 25 or 30 fathoms of water.
My hook had no more than touched the bottom when I felt a strong pull on the line. I hauled in a large red fish almost 18-20 pounds called by the islanders a turrse. I soon caught another of the same kind. Just as we bag our fishing a large shark comes near the boat but not close enough for the lance.
The sharks were very troublesome biting our hooks at times and taking the bait hook and all. Then again when we would get a fish they would take it from us. But before losing all our hooks we caught a fine fish of all sizes kinds and colors.
August 2, 1894
We did not reach Pitcairn Island until Thursday evening the 2nd. As we neared the Island two boats came off to us to take our passengers to their homes. I went in with them and remained on the island during the night.
August 3, 1894
I tried this morning to get the men on the island to start early to get the things off the vessel. One boat’s crew were at the landing and ready to go to the ship at 7:00 a.m. but she was far away we waited until 8:30 before starting out. The landing was quite smooth. The boat rowed off at 8:30 and reached the ship at 9:15. By hurrying the Islanders as much as it was possible to do we got nearly all their launches off by 3:00 p.m. At that time we landed and sent word to our passengers that we would start out that evening.
They soon gathered up their luggage and were all ready to start out at 4:00 p.m. Some thought it being so near the beginning of the Sabbath that we ought to remain on the island till Sunday.
Dr. Caldwell expressed himself very emphatically saying that the influence would counteract all the good that had been done by our visit to the island. I managed to hold my peace and proceeded to get ready to go. And so we were off for the ship in a short time and all were on board and ready to start by 6:00 p.m. though it was growing dark and the Sabbath had begun. I felt that we must be on our way to Tahiti. The boats that brought the passengers off to the vessel cast off their line and as we were getting underway sang “God be with you till we meet again,” in a very impressive manner.
Our passengers were soon sick and sought their berths. The wind was north and the sea very smooth. We stood to the west on the south side of the island for Tahiti 1200 miles to west, northwest of Pitcairn. We greatly desire to reach there in time to send letters home by the mail which leaves the 12th or 15th.
August 11, 1894
We are this evening within 120 miles of the harbor of Papeete, Tahiti at 4:00 p.m. The island of Mateo 60 miles to the east of Tahiti was sighted about 30 miles ahead of us.
The first two days out of Pitcairn the wind was very light and partially ahead so that we did not make much, but since these first from the northeast and the past two days from the south have made good time all the way. Have had but one squall and settled into a good steady breeze from the south which has harkened to the southeast and is taking us along at a good rate of speed.
If the wind holds as it is we will get into Tahiti by 4 or 5 p.m. tomorrow. The weather has been very pleasant all the way except the squall and hard rain with it Wednesday. Temperature call about 75-78 degrees. I put on my flannel undershirt today and am none too warm with them.
August 12, 1894
Reached Papeete at 10:30 a.m., put up signal for pilot at 12, saw pilot boat coming off to us. Took pilot on board 12:30. Pilot ordered sails made on, stood out to go to upper or eastern channel. When we got almost to it the wind came from the opposite direction so we had to work back to the first or western passage. Papeete the main port of Tahiti is situated on the northwest side of the island.
August 13, 1894
At Papeete, Tahiti
The first thing this morning went to visit the U.S. consul. Left ship’s papers with him thence to Turner and Chapman’s office to engage them to attend to our shipbrokers business. Left manifests with them of ship’s cargo and stores. While at the U.S. consul he volunteered the information that I had been reported that in order to bring the disaffected districts at Raitia into submission to the French authority a blockade might be established there. That the natives who were holding out against the French would eventually be compelled to yield and submit to the French authorities.
From all the information I can gather I am convinced that it would be very unwise to make the disaffected district at Raitia a center for our work among these islands. Nor do I think it best to leave there even those who have been given recommendation to go there. If a number are located there we will at once be abused with the rebellious natives and our work and influence in the other islands be cut off.
In the afternoon I visited and took dinner with brother and sister Read who have charge of the work at Tahiti. After dinner, made a call on a native family who are now keeping the Sabbath. Saw much of the native trees and shrubs and breadfruit and cocoa trees.
In the evening went with brother Read to visit Captain Maigle of schooner. The captain is very friendly and as he lives at Rurutu, he gave us much information that will be a great help to us in our work. First that Rurutu is not at the place indicated on the charts of that group but is at least 25 to 30 miles east of it. That the true location is 150 46’ west latitude. Regarding a teacher said that there was a demand there for teachers. But that his mind would be for the ones who was left there to get permission to stop on the island for a time and gradually work into the teaching work. That they would find plenty to do.
August 18, 1894
The past five days have been very busy ones. Have learned some things that may be a help to us in our work. As near as I have been able to learn the Marquesas, Pomoto, Society and Tubnasa Islands are all under or subject to the French. Vessels entering from foreign countries are prohibited from trading therein. The trade being reserved to vessels carrying the French flag.
Goods taken to any of these islands by our missionary vessel is subject to duty.
Sabbath was spent in the following manner. At 9:00 a.m. went to the house in the village of brother Bambordgis who is a blacksmith and wagon maker, is a half cast as they are called. He has a team of horses and a very good coach rigged wagon, which will carry eight persons. Having an invitation to ride with him to the church I accepted.
Daily Observations and Notes
With a full load of our people, some from the village and some from the vessel we drove to the native church, which is 21/2 miles from Papeete on a piece of ground donated to the church by brother Paul Dean the native minister who accepted the truth since time ago but who at the time is at Raitia working in the district with brother Cady.
The church is a very neat structure made of Oregon and California lumber with corrugated iron roof. It is I think 30x60 feet with 18-foot posts, well seated and furnished for meeting brethren in the U.S. Gave $500.00 towards it.
Meetings began at 10:30 with about 30 natives and our ships crew and passengers present. It seems to be the custom with the natives to spend much time in preliminaries. They sang three times, read a chapter and prayed twice. I then spoke for 30 or 40 minutes through an interpreter. It seemed very awkward as I could speak but a few words and then wait for the interpreter to tell them what I said.
At the close of this meeting after a short intermission the sisters had a meeting while the brethren and children waited outside. This meeting lasted about one hour. Then the bell rang for Sabbath school. The native classes recited by themselves and the English and American speaking brethren in another class.
After the Sabbath school Dr. Caldwell spoke to the people through an interpreter. The meetings continued until 5:00 p.m. After giving the brethren an invitation to visit the ship the meeting closed. The same spirit of love and devotion seemed to characterize our brethren here that is in the other part of the field.
August 19, 1894
The native brethren made a native feast for the missionaries and brethren of the Pitcairn. The feast was near brother Reads and Chapman’s. At 3:00 p.m. we were invited to the grove by the shady bank of a clear brook. Here the food had been cooked. First a place about four feet in diameter had been scooped out on the ground 6-8 inches deep. In this was placed a lot of hot stones, which were covered with a thin layer of dirt, then a layer of leaves. Then the food of various kinds were placed on the layer of leaves, yams, taro, faye, sweet potato, fish and chicken. All cooked in the same pile by covering with a layer of green leaves and then with a thick covering of dirt. The fish and chicken were merely wrapped in leaves. All were well cooked.
Sticks and brush were cleared away under the shade of trees. Green leaves were spread upon the ground then another course of dry leaves on sort of wide bladed grass along both sides outside of the green leaves. The food was neatly spread on the green leaves. The foods, faye, (a kind of wild banana), taro (something of the nature of a potato), yams, sweet potatoes all cooked and placed on the “table” in their natural state.
Baked fish, chicken and a dish of raw fish cut in pieces about two inches square and covered with a salad or gravy of coconut milk seasoned with lemon juice and small pieces on onion. A coconut at each place and a large bunch of oranges. All were invited to places assigned to them around the table. I was given an honorary place about the center and opposite brother and sister Read.
After a speech by the local elder, which was interpreted by brother Read in which according to native custom he extended “welcome and greeting to the elder and Captain, to the second Captain, to the third Captain, to the missionaries, to the sailors, to the children, and to all the friends present. We now prepared you a native feast from native food from the ground and from the trees and the sea. Our fathers who lived before prepared their food in this way. And as in the beginning there were no dishes but those provided by nature so now you have the same. There were no knives and forks but you have a fork with five tines meaning the hand and fingers with this eat the food, which we consider a privilege to furnish you in token of our love and esteem.
After giving thanks we then sat down on the ground native style cross-legged and partook of the meal. I did not try the fish or chicken but took the testimony of those who did. All said they were good.
At the close of the repast I made a reply to the speech of welcome that had been made at the opening of the feast. I told them that we enjoyed the food so kindly prepared for us. But the spirit of love, which had prompted them to make us the feast, was more highly regarded.
I then told them that while we thanked them we together could thank our heavenly father for all the bounties of heaven. I wished all joy and peace and that together we might gather around the table in heaven and our Savior would then serve us.
At the close of the speech the natives gathered about the table and ate the remainder of the food. We then went to the house of brother Read and were treated to some of the native songs.
August 20, 1894
Has been a very busy day. We first went to see about cleaning the vessel as we wish to sail tomorrow for Rarotonga, touching at Huahine Raitia and Rurutu.
We find that the French authorities are watching our movements very closely and that they are disposed to require us to confirm strictly to their laws though other missionaries may be given a measure of freedom in their operations.
August 22, 1894
We cleared our vessel yesterday but did not sail as we had called on the governor Monday, and in an interview he had informed us that if we wished to call at the islands under the French flag we should give him notice of our intentions. In compliance with this request we wrote the governor that we intended to call at Huahine, Raitia, and Rurutu. We waited all day for a reply, but received none. Wednesday morning I went in to call on the U.S. consul, Mr. J. Hank. He said that the governor had sent his secretary to see him and that when he called, the governor refused to see the letter and request to visit Raitia and leave some missionaries there. Then he says the situation at Raitia is a very grave one and the natives of a large part of the island are not in subjugation to the French authorities.
I intend to visit them and try by peaceful measures if possible to induce them to submit to the authorities. If the Pitcairn goes there now it might encourage them in this position against the government. Therefore, I cannot give permission to anyone to land there at the present time. And though the Pitcairn might have a legal right to visit the port of entry there, I hope they will not do so.
I told the consul that the request from the governor’s point of view was reasonable and that we would comply with it. Later Elder Read and I called on the governor. Told him that we would comply with his request and keep away from Raitia with the vessel. So we must change our plans.
Started for Huahine at 3:30 p.m. Left Maude Young at Papeete. Elder Read and wife are with us. We will call at Huahine but do not know if we will leave anyone there. Wind is fair and a good breeze.
Reached Huahine at 8:00 a.m. A pilot came out to take us in. We got into the harbor all right and anchored in 20 fathoms of water at 10:30.
The native canoes came crowding around the vessel with shells to sell. One canoe had two bags of shells, asked 25 cents and 50 cents for each one. On the other side of the vessel is a canoe with three baskets of yams. The baskets contain about 3 pecks. They want one dollar per basket. I did not buy.
At 4:00 p.m. Elder Gates and wife, Dr. and Mrs. Caldwell and I went on shore to call first on the queen of the island, a young lady of 18-20 years whose father reigned as regent.
We landed near a large frame house, the queen’s residence. We passed several natives as we were going by the house, then a group of young people sitting on the ground native style. Elder Read led the way and we followed after up the steps and through the large folding doors into a large square room. At the left sat the regent and to his left the young queen. A row of chairs for visitors was arranged across the circle of one side of the center of the room.
After going forward and greeting the regent and queen we were invited to be seated after which we extended our greeting. After a few remarks through the interpreter we excused ourselves and went to call on the native missionary. The only preacher on the island, he is a fairly intelligent looking man. He and his wife came in and talked very cordially for 15 or 20 minutes, brother Read interpreting for us. I learned that there are eight native churches on the island with a membership of 500. There being about 100 people on the island and but one preacher. There are 11 Europeans on the island.
This is the first visit of the Pitcairn to this island and she is viewed with much curiosity. The people though professedly Christian are semi-heathen. In the front yard of the queen’s residence there sat a group of people who were being trained to sing at the expected visit of the governor. The trainer on our return from a call on the minister came staggering along the road half drunk and a young lady on his arm or rather the lady between two half drunken men. They were singing hymns. The people are now far below the European races and it is said much lower than they were 50 years ago. They are fast going back into heathenism.
August 25, 1894
Huahine, Sabbath day
Vessel lying in the quiet harbor of the island of Huahine. We deferred our Sabbath school until 10:30 so as to have some of the people from the shore.
All the while people of the village were out to the Sabbath school, though a little late. All remained for the preaching service which was conducted by Elder Read.
At 4:00 p.m. we gathered in the cabin for a social meeting. At 7:00 p.m. meeting on deck for the natives. Natives crowd the deck of the top of the cabin and galley. Several of the whites also present. Also the secretary of the native government official. The day has been pleasant and profitably spent.
August 26, 1894
This morning I rose early and went to see the man who I had engaged to take the letter to Elder Cady. He was preparing to go by 9:30. He started for Raitia a distance of 20 miles. The winds were blowing hard. After going out three or four miles from land he turned back and gave up going. We do not know what to do now.
This evening the French cutter came in from Bora Bora. They say that the governor and the resident are to be here Wednesday next, the 29th. I feel now that I must see Elder Cady. At 10:00 a.m. with all the passengers and officers of the vessel went to take breakfast with Mr. Mark Anthony.
We are given a warm welcome and a good breakfast of native food and canned food also. We have the goodwill of the people. At 2:00 p.m. went to the native church services. The church is very large and apparently quite old. The people gathered last evening and are here again this evening to hear the blessing of God. They surely show an interest to hear. Elder Read speaks to them in the native tongue. Oh, that the power of God might attend the word spoken and that souls might be converted to God. When, oh when, will the mighty power of God come to his people? Even among these who have been selected and sent out as missionaries there does not seem to be that depth of devotion and fullness of consecration that one would expect to see in those who go as ambassadors for Christ.
August 27, 1894
Failing to get a letter to brother Cady, I decided to go and see him. In the morning I ordered the lifeboat made ready. And at 11:00 a.m. I with John Chilton started to go to Raiatea, distance 20 miles by open sea. The wind was fair though light. We reached the place by 3:00 p.m. and passed safely up the channel through the reef into the quiet harbor. And ran up to Uturoa, the French village. The passage through the reef is between two wooden islands and is very direct into the harbor.
I steered direct for the French flag and went to the resident and customs official to report. He received me very pleasantly. I then went to the house of brother Henry Dean where I met for the first time Elder Paul Dean, the half cast who accepted the truth at Tahiti and a part of whose congregation have come into the truth with him.
I hired a native to take a letter out to brother Cady who lives at the native village some four or five miles down the island. I then went to my boat and Mr. Gooding who had kindly interpreted for me. The French resident asked me to put our things into his warehouse, which we did. And then stopped to supper with him and spent a part of the evening also with him. Later went to brother Deans to spend the night.
August 28, 1894
Brother and Sr. Cady arrived at 9:00 a.m. Spent the day with brother Cady in talking over the work and the situation in these islands. Elder Cady tells me that there are 40,000 people in the islands under the French flag who speak the Tahitian. Tahiti, Leeward group, Marquesas and Tuberian group of islands. We have barely begun the work among these schools. The laws are such that we cannot hope to be able to establish primary schools for children but religious schools may be established for the instruction of young married men and women and also older men who desire to engage in the work.
Among the natives it is not expected that young people will steady down until they are married. They are not admitted to church fellowship till then. Instead of sending so many Americans and others here to carry on the work we will have to educate men of ability among the natives. The native can get into the hearts and feelings of the people much more readily than that of the white man. Reading matter among the natives, they are not a thinking people and therefore will not be so greatly benefited by the publications as they may read and then lay aside.
September 1, 1894
Elder Read spoke to the ship’s company at 11:30. Two or three of the Europeans from the shore were present. There are on the island two Frenchmen, two English, and one Scandinavian. Those who are married have natives for wives. Most of the white men of these islands have little respect for themselves or others but here they treat us well and attend all the English services.
They have unanimously requested that the Dr. and his family be left here. They say that the regent and the deputy resident who are natives are in favor of the Dr. remaining but do not care to make it openly known. Some of the natives seem to be favorable to us.
Conditions of the people; they are kind-hearted and apparently generous but in a very low condition morally and in a spiritual sense seem like sheep without a shepherd. There is but one preacher on the island and he a native and of no great ability.
The field is claimed by the French Protestant missionaries. Mr. Veano who now resides at Raiatea comes once a year to receive the collections but they say does not give them anything in return.
Vice is very common and drunkenness also. There seems to be no restrictions placed on the sale of spirituous liquor. There are no schools and the children grow up with no education and little encouragement to improvement.
September 2, 1894
This morning in company with brother and Sr. Read, Dr. Caldwell and family and Mr. Barnfield, I took the ship’s lifeboat and came to the south end of the island; distance from ship about 10 miles.
We left the vessel at 9:00 a.m., wind ahead most of the way, one hard shower. Reached Mr. and Mrs. Shaw’s, a Chilean-Spaniard and American; Mrs. Shaw half cast Tahitian. At 2:00 p.m. they are instructed in the truth. Mr. Shaw having brought on previous voyage of the Pitcairn $25.00 worth of S.D.A books. They gave us a warm welcome and a good dinner was awaiting us.
After the dinner, we went out to look for shells. I did not succeed at first in finding any but little native girls who shop with Mrs. Shaw came to help me. I then found one very pretty shell and she found several which I have stowed away in a basket.
We have spent the evening quite pleasantly. Mr. Shaw has a coconut plantation from which he realizes quite a good living. Land on these islands cannot be bought, but it may be leased for a long term of years. Mr. Shaw pays $50.00 per year for a large tract.
The island is very hilly and but a small strip along the shore and in the bay is cultivated and the greater part of it is set out to coconut trees. Wheretofore sugar cane has been cultivated there having two sugar mills on the island, but there is none now. Cotton has also been raised and there is some grown on the island at the present time but I am told by a European, Mr. Barnfield that the natives will not work and as there is no other labor to depend on but little can be done in producing profitably.
The people are in a sad state. The children grow up with no instruction. Schools are needed very much. As it is true that Satan finds work for idle hands to do in civilized countries it is just as true in these islands where the people have but just engaged from heathen darkness.
Notes Regarding Islands Visited
Tahiti: situated in about 161/2 south latitude 1491/2 west longitude, is 32 miles long, oval in shape, surrounded by a coral reef. The island is of volcanic origin, Orohena the highest mountain peak rises 7,339 feet above the sea and in clear weather may be seen 45 miles distant. The hills are intersected by narrow and fertile valleys though the inhabitants dwell near the shores and the low lands only lying at the foot of the hills is cultivated and that is principally set to coconut trees.
Tropical fruits abound; banana, faye (a wild banana), oranges, guavas, taro, yams, breadfruit and coconuts are the principle foods of the natives with fish and shellfish.
The population in 1882 was placed at 10,000. Papeete, the port of entry has a population of 2,000. Rum drinking and dissipation is very common. Sugar cane is cultivated and chiefly made into rum, which is sold to the natives with no restrictions. It would appear that the French have adopted this method of killing off the natives.
A good carriage road runs the entire length of the island. The former King of the island passed a law punishing all drunkards by requiring them to pay a fine for being intoxicated by making a certain number of feet of road. Thus they soon built good roads.
Huahine: The second island we visited is about 80 miles to the northwest of Tahiti, is in the eastward of the group of islands discovered by Captain Cook in 1769 and called the Society Islands.
Huahine meaning Wahenie [woman] because of its peculiar shape. It like other islands of this group are of volcanic formation and mountainous having but a narrow strip of low fertile land set at the base of the hills and along the shore. Surrounded by a coral reef, which on the northeast side is overgrown with trees forming salt lakes. On the north and west side the reef forms a fine lagoon. Fish of various kinds abound and shells are plentiful. The population is about 1,000. Products are coconut, breadfruit, yams, taro, bananas, guavas, pineapple, oranges, lemons, limes, cotton, coffee, and cane have been grown with some profit. But since copra can be produced with much less labor and the natives can by this means get all the money they need they cannot be depended on for labor to care for other crops requiring more work. So planters have been obliged to abandon these industries.
Natives profess the Protestant religion, but are very low morally and the young people have but little regard for rules. Smoking and rum drinking is common. It is said that there could not be found a sufficient number of decent men to fill the office of deacon in the church which numbers five hundred. There are no schools and no means of educating the young.
Previous to 1889 the island was a French protectorate. At that time the French gunboat shelled the town and brought the island under the French flag.
September 6, 1894
Arose early after a restless night. Made ready to land with a boat at Papeete. Launched lifeboat, got early breakfast. Mr. and Mrs. Wellman, Miss White with their baggage, Elder Read, E.E. Hicks into the boat and sailed for the shore. Made the entrance to the harbor and sailed in safely with flag flying. Reported on landing to the customs official and was directed to the Captain of the port, who when I presented the paper from the official of Huahine said, “all right, go ahead.” We then went direct to the post office. Mailed letters. Then went to brother Stewarts and got a lot of mail for all on board. And three good letters from home.
Soon got our business done and took on Miss Maude Young and returned to the ship leaving landing at 12:45 and reaching ship at 2:00 p.m. Soon got our boat on board and stood along the north shore of the island toward the east with south wind. Feel content now to go on since learning that my family are well. We will go to Rurutu, thence to Rarotonga.
When at Papeete we called on the U.S. consul, Mr. Doty, who regarding the trouble at Raiatea said that he had heard that the natives who are not in sympathy with the French refused to recognize the governor or to have anything to do with him. Who said that he would give them till November to consider whether or not they would recognize the authority and if they then refused he would proceed at once to gather troops and would subdue them if it required the importation of troops from France. It is very evident that it would be unwise to try to establish our headquarters at Raiatea at the present time.
September 11, 1894
By 4:30 p.m. we were in our lifeboat and pulling for the island of Rurutu. At the Kings village is a landing for a small boat, for this we directed the boat. Had with me Elder and Sr. Read, Dr. Caldwell and family, Mr. and Mrs. Stringer, Maude and Sarah Young.
As we approached the opening in the narrow ledge or reef of coral that formed a small harbor for boat of 40-50 tons, another boat shot out from the shore and lay across our bow. They motioned for us to come alongside which we did and two of them got into our boat to pilot us into the harbor though we did not ask them to nor did we desire or need their service as pilot.
Yet before we got ashore they began to ask for pay. We told them to wait and we would settle with them. Later we referred the matter of the pilotage to the regent who after looking up the law said we could do as we pleased about paying it.
September 14, 1894
With Elder Read I passed the night at Avero. At 6:00 a.m. arose and after a short walk we were told that our breakfast was ready for us. We went to the dining room, one end of the native house where in native style we found spread on banana leaves, taro and in a dish a baked chicken.
As we were eating a messenger came from the governor’s house saying that we must eat with him also. We begged to be excused as we wished to go to the Kings village at as early an hour as possible.
So the old governor came over to see us and sat down cross-legged as we were and when Elder Read had eaten his breakfast placed some of the food on the same dish he had used and passed to the governor who ate it with apparent relish. Being happily released from breakfasting the second time we were soon galloping away over the hills towards the Kings village.
Upon our arrival we sought an interview with the Regent and told him that the Stringers wished to remain on the island. He said that he would read the law regarding such matters. After doing so, said that it would be necessary to convene the governors of the three or four districts and Mr. Stringer could tell them his desire and state his purpose about settling on the island. That if they could agree he might have permission to remain. This is in accordance with the law of the island.
Messengers were at once sent to the several governors who met with the Regent at 2:30 p.m. After two or three hours discussion they decided that he might remain.
We feel that the Lord has guided in this and has thus far given us the victory over the enemies of his work. I feel to praise his name for it.
September 15, 1894
Rurutu, Kings Village
I spent the Sabbath on shore as I stopped last night at the Kings house and in the village called the Kings village. After breakfasting at 9:30 in company with brother and Sr. Owen and children and a young Swiss, I went for a walk. As we started through the village a lot of little girls from 6-10 years of age came following after us and when they learned that we wished to go up on a high rocky cliff they volunteered their services as guides, which readily accepted as we saw that we could not get rid of them without offending.
We reached the hill and ascended part way when we came to a very steep rough place. Up it our little guides scrambled over the rough sharp stones with bare feet and legs, but motioned with their hands to us not to follow. This was unnecessary as the way was so rough and steep that the ladies would not think of attempting to climb it.
Though the little natives came with dresses and others with the pareu (sarong), all seemed to enjoy the wild climb and showed no signs of fear though for myself I did not know but we might have to report a guide or two fallen over the cliff and I breathed more freely when after they had sung two or three native songs and hymns as they clung to the rocks like bats or birds they returned to us.
On our return from the walk they took us by another way through gardens of taro and bananas. As I strolled leisurely along they motioned to us to come “this way” and ran chattering ahead.
As we approached a brook I heard the water splashing and dashing and as I came to a shaded pool about a rod square there were our guides in nature’s own attire diving, some head first, from rocks and roots of trees six to eight feet down, chuck chuck into the pool. Then the antics, standing on their heads in the water with just their feet above the surface then diving across like seals. Then again up on the bank and with outstretched arms plunging into the pool again.
As we came along out they came and switched their long black hair to dry it and donned their single garment, some the calico dress, smaller ones a shirt reaching to the knees and others the pareu (sarong) giving it a turn around the neck to partially cover the main parts of their brown skins.
They seem to be as free from care as the soft breezes that sweep over their island home. But two or three hours of school in the week and that but a few months of the year.
This evening I attended the singing class and though I might describe the singers I could not write the song. Seated native style on mats in an oblong circle three or four rows deep were women with their babies and younger ladies. The men who are the bass singers in a row on the outside, all singing with the spirit if not with understanding. They make very good music.
As one who could speak a few words of English said, “This like harmonium,” referring to the bass voices sustaining the organ or piano. This is indeed true. It has the sound of several organs all being played at once. The singing for the kind is very good.
September 16, 1894
At 9:00 a.m. took lifeboat and went out to the vessel. Then went around the island with the ship to the village where brother Stringer expects to locate. Thinking to make a landing but found the surf running in so that we did not attempt to land. We then went around to the lee of the island where the water was smooth and took the lifeboat aboard. Then turned the ship and stood out for the night.
September 17, 1894
This morning the wind was south southeast but a very heavy swell running from the southwest. We were about 8 or 10 miles from the island. Stood in by the south end and ran up along the west side to the village of Avero and lay the ship to. Went aloft to look at the passage through the reef.
The surf seemed to be breaking clear the entire length of the reef. We thought it useless to attempt a landing, so waited awhile to see if the natives would come with their boat.
Finally we saw a movement around the boat. Then they pulled toward the reef and came out through the line of breakers towards the ship. We then rounded the ship too and waited for them to come on board. It seemed altogether too rough to attempt to get the freight off so I and brother Viriga got into the boat to go with them to the shore.
As we were going in the boat it caught in the breakers and partly filled with water. The men jumped out of the boat into the water and pulled it through the breakers across the reef. They then bailed out the boat and pulled to the shore.
I found our people all at the village and waiting to go out on the vessel, but of course they could not go. The natives provided plenty of food for us. After we had finished our afternoon meal at 4:30 p.m. I was invited to go to another house to supper, which I did and ate quite heartily of boiled chicken and taro.
The next thing is to find a bed. Flies are very plentiful and seem to enjoy a change of diet the way they pitch into me. One of the natives is taking a lesson in navigation of Captain Viriga. The room I am in is a large one divided off by mats hung around and mats on the floor for carpets. Some of our people are sitting on the floor learning to make hats. I am sitting on a chair and the lamp on another; not a very comfortable position for writing.
As we are to land brother Stringer’s things before we can go from here it may be several days before we get started again on our way.
September 21, 1894
At 2:30 p.m. the 20th we set our course westward from Rurutu, which is in latitude 22 29’ south, longitude 151 201/2’ west for Rarotonga, which is 487 miles to the west of Rurutu.
The winds in this latitude blow almost continuously from the east-southeast, therefore it is very easy to go to the westward with a sailing vessel. I rejoice to see the blessings and favor shown.
September 22, 1894
In latitude 22 13’ south, longitude 155 west we are now 270 miles from Rarotonga. The wind during the day has been light and variable, the sea smooth and weather pleasant. Our passengers are getting out.
At 12:30 we held Sabbath school in the cabin and at 5:00 p.m. Elder Read preached to the passengers and crew gathered amid ship on the deck. I am having some difficulty with catarrh (inflammation of mucous membrane) (this term no longer in use) the warmish doses does not seem to be any great help to me.
September 23, 1894
We are 230 miles from Rarotonga. The wind has been light and variable for the past day. Weather quite agreeable, a few sprinkles of rain. I have spent the day in making out the manifest so as to be ready to enter vessel at Rarotonga if necessary. The sea has been smooth and our passage quite well.
September 25, 1894
A small storm at sea. The wind at 7:00 a.m. was quite moderate from the northeast. By 9:00 had hauled to the north and blowing hard. At 10:00 took in all upper sails. By 11:00 the wind had hauled to the west and a heavy sea running. Passengers all sick. By 4:00 the wind to southwest and sea settling down and by dark quite smooth for sea and wind moderate.
September 26, 1894
We reached Rarotonga this morning, launched the small boat and with Elder Read, Dr. Caldwell and brother Owen went ashore. First called on the English resident who received us so kindly and gave much information regarding the island, laws and customs of the people which is of value to us in our work.
There are no laws prohibiting faranji settling on the island. A 5% duty is imposed on all goods landed from any country. Pilotage and harbor dues are moderate and payable in Chilean cash.
We were told that for our vessel it would be about $15.00. Water may be obtained from wells. We called on the English missionary and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Watkins who received us but not as warmly or as freely as I thought they might have done. However, we had a very pleasant conversation with them regarding their mission work.
At the present time they have 17 men and their wives at the mission school, which is in connection with the mission house a solid appearing stone house said to have been built 50 years ago.
The natives remembered Mr. Read who had visited the mission on a former voyage of the Pitcairn three years ago. No great demand has been made for a doctor and we were told by the resident that plans were laid to have a doctor from America but that owing to lack of money and a suitable building for a hospital and residence for the doctor they did not think the plan could be put into operation for a year or so.
September 27, 1894
This morning we ran up our flag for a pilot as we stood in towards the shore and soon saw the pilot boat with 7 men pulling as the boat came alongside out towards us. The pilot, a native, came on board. As he could speak English quite readily we could easily understand his order.
As the wind was favorable we stood in for the harbor with foresail, upper and lower topsail, fore and main sail all set. Anchor made ready to let go at an instants notice.
The harbor is merely a small bay or opening in the barrier of coral that surrounds the island. The entrance is nearly as wide as any part of it. The harbor brings but two or three ships lengths and just wide enough for a ship of 125 or 130 feet keel to stern round in. We ran in to the mouth of the harbor and closed up all sails as rapidly as possible.
The momentum of the ship carried her well into the harbor when at just the right spot down goes the anchor and the vessel fetches up within a few fathoms of the coral bank.
The natives who assist the pilot then run lines first to the anchors, four of which have been loaded onto the coral as moorings for ships to which later forward anchor chains are run and to secure the stern of the ship. Chains from moorings near the shore are brought on board and fastened to our stern pasterns. Thus securely fastening the ship both fore and aft which is all very necessary as the harbor is not a safe one with west or northwest winds. However, we are assured by the residents of the village that storms from that quarter are almost unknown at this season, but may be expected later in the season.
This afternoon brother Read and I went to call on the judge of the island, a native who is the grandson of the noted chief who accepted the gospel under the labors of the first missionary, John Williams.
We had a very pleasant visit as we found that he could talk English quite fluently. He began telling us of his children and the death of a beloved daughter at a time when he was absent in New Zealand. When he returned on a vessel, which he charted to bring himself and a little sick daughter and a few others to Rarotonga. As the boat from the shore when they had reached Rarotonga approached the ship all were dressed in mourning.
He said that his heart beat fast and as the leading man from the boat came on board he asked him “what is the matter,” but he gave no reply only took his little daughter under his arm and jumped down into the boat. He followed and as they neared the shore all the people were clad as were those in the boat in deep mourning. Again said he “I asked what is it,” “who is dead?” but no reply. Then the queen came down the path to meet him. They all talked of other things but none could tell him of the death of his blood daughter who in his absence had been left with the queen at her earnest request though the child on her father’s departure for New Zealand went out to the ship and desired to accompany her father on a visit to that far off land but was not permitted to do so. And on his return he found her dead and buried. He told us this with much pathos and seemed to show the depth of affection for his daughter. The natives of these islands show much affection and tenderness for their relatives.
September 29, 1894
At 8:30 a.m. with most of the passengers and part of the crew went to attend the services in the native church. The church, a larger stone building, is situated in the midst of a well-filled cemetery. Just in front of the door is a monument of one of the old queens who favored the early missionaries.
We entered the church and were given seats near the speakers stand. The service was conducted by a native minister in the absence of Mr. Watkins, the English missionary who resides at this village and has charge of the mission work in this and other islands of the Cook Group.
The service consisted of two prayers, a very short sermon and four or five hymns. The children as is customary sat or shuffled about in the gallery with just a sprinkling apparently of grown people to preserve order. The older people occupied the lower partition of the house, which was quite well seated and the side wall filled with listeners who appeared to give more attention to the visitors than to the sermon.
The queen of the island and the English resident were present at the service. At the conclusion we all went to the queen’s residence near by to pay our respects to her and her husband. As we came up the steps on the veranda surrounding the house the queen came forward and greeted us kindly. When all were seated and a few words exchanged through Elder Read who acts as our interpreter, we were treated to oranges and bananas.
The queen’s residence is a very neat frame building, one story surrounded by a broad porch.
September 30, 1894
This morning I went ashore and got the use of a horse and buggy and Elder Read got a saddle horse. I took the doctor and together we started on a trip around the island. It was half past twelve by the time we got started. The distance around the island is about twenty miles. There are three villages: the first one about five miles distant. We found the road good passing along through the green shady woods.
October 2, 1894
Yesterday I received a petition signed by a large proportion of the European residents of the Avatiu Harbor village and also by the judge of the island, a native official of reputation asking that we leave Dr. Caldwell here. I told the one that brought the petition to me that if the people wanted the doctor to remain here that they make some proposition regarding the support of a doctor that we would consider it.
Therefore a meeting was called and convened this evening at the residence of the native judge. A very large proportion of the Europeans and several of the native chiefs were present. After a little discussion they made us the following proposition. That we request that the doctor be left to reside permanently on the island. That he be supported by charging a small or minimal fee for services rendered.
Judge Dupon guarantees at lot for the doctor a house, that in the meantime while the house is being built he would furnish a house for the doctor to live in. I told him that we would consider the proposition and give him a reply tomorrow.
I consider the call as an indication that the Lord is opening the way for us to leave the doctor here, while the field is not occupied by another doctor.
About five or six weeks ago the parliament held a meeting to discuss a proposition to try and get a physician from New Zealand. The result of the meeting was that the English resident was authorized to correspond with the medical board of New Zealand regarding terms for a doctor from there. Some correspondence has been had but not definite arrangements made, only that the parliament has asked the New Zealand faculty to send a physician to Rarotonga and not a definite reply has been given.
Therefore, the resident though in favor of Dr. Caldwell remaining here is not in a position to encourage it. We know that the English missionary is opposed to the doctor remaining. It is reported that the Catholics have bought a house and piece of land in this village and that they are expected here soon to open a mission.
Mrs. Hutchins, the wife of the resident missionary told Mrs. Read when asked if she would not rather have us locate here than the Catholics said “No, I would rather see the Catholics here than your people.”
October 4, 1894
The mail steamer “Richland” of Auckland, Captain Hutton arrived this morning from New Zealand on way to Tahiti. Sent mail by her. This steamer makes regular monthly trips from New Zealand to Tahiti calling at Rarotonga both ways for freight and mail. The fare to Tahiti is 6 L. replied to the proposition from the people of Rarotonga stating that we would leave the doctor here. They agree to subscribe 1.50 each per month and judge Dupon guarantees to furnish on lease a plot of land for a place for a house to live in till he can build one.
October 6, 1894
Attended service at the native mission church beginning at 8:30 a.m. by invitation of Mr. Hutchins, the Congregationalist minister-who has charge of the European mission. Elder Read preached to the native congregation and Mr. Hutchins interpreted for him. The meeting consists quite largely of songs and prayers, lasted until 10:40 a.m.
One amusing feature is the management of the children. They have a Sunday school in another building before the church service opens. At the opening of the church service the children with their teachers are marched into the church and up in the gallery. They crowd down to the edge of the gallery to see what is going on in the church below.
The teachers to keep order are stationed back of the children with long rods ten or twelve feet. If an urchin becomes too boisterous or fidgety or his conduct unbecoming the church, he gets a tap on the head with the rod. If one does not quiet him he gets it a little harder. Thus, though the service does not seem to be especially interesting or adapted to the children they are required to pay respectful attention to all the service, which is very lengthy.
Near the close of the service today the Lord’s Supper was administered: they, using the water from the coconut for wine and common light bread. The service though seemingly quite formal runs all very orderly.
After partaking of the bread and wine, exhortations or testimonies are given by the lay members.
English service is held at the church by Mr. Hutchins once or twice a month for the Europeans and Americans. Today, by invitation, I delivered the sermon. The following is the order of the service. 1st- short prayer, 2. hymn, 3. scripture responsive reading, 4. Lord’s Prayer, 5. hymn, 6. scripture reading, 7. hymn, 8. prayer, 9. hymn, 10. sermon, 11. hymn, 12. benediction.
With our passenger and crew from the ship we had a fair congregation. The church is constructed after the English style of 40 or 50 years ago. Pulpit elevated about 10 feet above the people.
October 7, 1894
This morning I went with Dr. Caldwell to see a house which arrangements had been made to rent by the people on shore. Thinking that the house was all secure having bargained to pay $10.00 Chilean cash per month we proceeded to get the freight off the vessel.
Brother Owen having secured a house for $6.00 Chilean per month we got his freight off and he got it hauled to the house and are there tonight.
We got the Dr’s. household freight off and he had it hauled to the house, but when he got it there the owner had changed her mind so she refused to allow him to put his things in the house. So he looked about and found another small house, which could be got for $8.00 per month. The natives are very fickle and liable to change at any time.
October 8, 1894
We have spent the day discharging freight for Dr. Caldwell and Owen. As it seems necessary to build a house for the Dr. and his work we have used some of the lumber here that was intended for use at Raiatea, therefore we have put some of it off.
This afternoon it rained some but did not hinder the work much. We hope to get all the freight off tomorrow and will soon be ready to sail again.
October 9, 1894
The day has been showery. Have discharged all the lumber except that for Dr. Willsman. After carefully considering the situation both here and at Raiatea and there brings but little prospect of our using the lumber there for several months to come. I decided to leave the lot here for Dr. Caldwell that we had intended for B.J. Cady of Raiatea. This will enable Caldwells to build soon and thus save rent.
Mr. Hutchins, the missionary in charge of the Congregational mission at this place came off to the vessel to see us this p.m. In the course of the visit he asked if Dr. Caldwell would remain for some time and the nature of his work.
I told him that he would work in this and other islands of this group. He then asked if we expected to build up a church here. I replied that we were seeking to do all the good we could and that if any adapting our views desired to unite with us we might receive them. He then says “I presume that you will follow the apostolic order and not build on another man’s foundation.” That there were plenty of needy fields. He further said that he regarded us as Christian brethren. It’s very evident to me that though he seems friendly he is quite uneasy and would much rather we would not remain here.
October 11, 1894
I spent part of the day looking for a lot for the Dr. to build a house on. We found a parcel of ground 75x320 feet fronting the main street or road in a very central location, which would be a very good place for the Dr.’s work on for mission purpose owned by judge Dupon, which can be got for 4 L per year. This seems to be about the only available place that is centrally located, and we may take it.
This morning Elder and Mrs. Read went up to Mrs. Owens to sing for the natives. As she sang some of the Tahitian hymns they were greatly delighted and said you teach us that so that we can sing it in church next Sunday. You stay here and be our teachers. Then they asked Mr. Read for a lot of the little books containing the hymns that were sung.
He said that he could not give them a lot but that he might give them one. Then they asked Mrs. Read to come tomorrow and teach them the hymns so that they could sing it at church service Sunday. So they arranged to teach them one hour tomorrow. At the close of the singing Elder Read prayed in the Tahitian language. At the close of the prayer they said “You stay here and be our minister.” “We can all understand the Tahitian.” “We won’t let you go, you must stay with us.”
October 12, 1894
We’ve spent some time in looking around the town and a little way out in the country for land for Dr. We have not yet found anything that seems as favorable as the lot offered by judge Dupon. I gave notice at the post office today that we would sail for Tahiti the 14th. Though there is a little more business to do I hope to get it all done and matters in shape to leave with the Dr. The people on shore have a meeting this evening to accept subscriptions from the Dr.
October 13, 1894
Hvatin, Rarotonga, Sabbath
At 11:00 we had service aboard the ship for the English-speaking people though there was some sea in the harbor, which made boarding the ship rather unpleasant. There were a good number of the people came out to attend the service, Elder Read speaking.
At 5:30 we went out for a walk on shore. We walked out to Captain Englekie’s farm about a mile distant from the village. Passed through coconut and orange groves. Bananas growing along either side of the road. We saw fields or patches of cotton and coffee bushes. Mr. Englekie has about 60 or 70 acres of land leased for a term of 50 years renegotiable at the expiration of the time. He raises pineapples, cotton, coconut, bananas and a few oranges.
Has a few cows, which are imported from New Zealand. Runs a milk wagon to the village, in fact his is the only dairy on the island. Milk sells for 10 cents Chilean per bottle of about one pint.
They have planted a larger area to coconuts as copra and coffee pay the best of any crop that is raised. Cotton yields well but labor is scarce and so high that cotton raising does not pay.
The land is held by chiefs or families or rather tribes and all belonging to that tribe or family have a share of the products of the land or a piece of the land to work or plant for their own use. Therefore they are not of the necessity of working for wages to gain a living so it is difficult to get laborers to do general farm work.
The land will produce sugar cane but sugar can be imported from New Zealand and islands west of here and sold for less than the cost of production here. In the Society Islands, rum is made from the molasses drained from the sugar, but there is a law here prohibiting the production of rum.
The cow’s cost imported from 15 to 18 L. This does not seem to be a very promising field for general farming, though coffee growing is said to be very profitable. Full-grown bushes producing $500.00 worth of coffee per acre yearly. It is now coffee picking time. The bushes are also in full bloom and the next crop will be ripe in a year from now. The crop is gathered but once a year.
October 14, 1894
Though nearly ready to sail, we have been kept in the harbor. The time though has not been unprofitably spent as I have been quite busy all day.
This morning we went up to close the bargain with judge Dupon for the lot, which he had told us we could have for 4 L per year. When we told him that we had decided to take the place he said that on account of the limes on it and the revenue received from them that his son objected to letting it go for that price. After talking with him for some time he said that he was willing to let us have it for 4 L. and that if his son would agree to that, we might have it. So we made an appointment to meet him again. He said that his son was not willing that we should have it, but that if we would give 6 L. per year that he would lease it to us
I told him that I did not know as we would give that much. He then asked how much we could give. I told him that I did not come to bicker over the price of the ground but to consider his propositions and that if we considered them favorable we might accept them.
He finally said that if we could give 5 L. per year that he would lease the ground to us for a term of 20 years. I then told him that we would take it at those figures. So he said that he would give the Dr. a letter of permission to move onto the ground and that the first of January, 1895 the lease would begin and that he would make out the papers and now state in them that the lease was to begin Jan. 1st. He then agreed to do that.
This seems like quite a high rent but it is the most favorable lease that we have been able to get.
The location of the lot which is 75x320 feet is as good as could be desired as is but a short distance from a site recently purchased by the Catholics who it is said are soon to open a mission here. I am sure it will be a great advantage to our work in these islands to have a place here that we can control and use as we deem best.
October 16, 1894
This morning the pilot came on board to take us out to sea. This wind at the time was fair to run out but it very soon died out and then breezed up from the north and was in that quarter all day, so that we did not get out.
I visited the customhouse man and got clearance papers and bill of health. He kindly remitted the fees for the clearance papers on account of our ship being a missionary vessel. The fees for bill of health was $2.40.
We cleared for Tahiti expecting to sail to that port and then as soon as we can will sail for San Francisco. After getting the clearance papers I visited judge Dupon and he kindly remitted the harbor dues, which were four dollars.
The pilotage is regulated by law the rate being 10 cents per ton for all vessels over 60 tons. I also secured the lease to the plot of land for the doctor for mission purposes. Consideration of five pounds per year payable on the first day of January yearly in advance. Terms of lease, 20 years with privilege of renewal. We feel that this is a step in the right direction.
The English resident told us as we called on him today that he was pleased to have us begin work here and expressed satisfaction when he learned that Mrs. Caldwell had opened a school. Mr. Nicholas the government interpreter told us today that the resident said that he would now cancel the negotiations for a doctor from New Zealand. We also learned that the Catholics are expected within two or three weeks to be here to open up a school. Mr. Hutchins, the missionary told us today that the latest advice from Raitia was that there would be trouble there before the matter between the natives and the government was settled.
October 17, 1894
We have been waiting all day but no breeze to take us out of the harbor. This evening the pilot thinks that we may get out early tomorrow morning. Today brother Owen returned from a walk around the island. He did not succeed in finding any land to rent. I fear that he will not get along very well here as he does not seem to know how to adapt himself to the native ways.
October 18, 1894
At 5:00 a.m. the pilot came on board or rather came alongside and began to cast off our mooring chains. The sea was quite smooth and a very little air stirring off shore but not sufficient wind to sail the ship out. When the moorings were cast off the pilot boat with six men and another boat with six or seven strong native oarsmen took our vessel in tow and soon rowed us out of the notch in the reef and out on the broad ocean again. By 8:00 we were out a mile from shore with a very light wind off the land.
Tautira River, Tahiti
I paid the extra boat 4.50 (Chilean coin) and the pilot the regular fees, 10 cents per ton which for our vessel made 16.50 in Chilean coin, value in U.S. coin including the extra boat $11.35. That was the pilotage both in and out which is a very low figure for the amount of work, as when we entered the harbor it took the pilot with five men nearly half a day to get the vessel moored.
They have two or three anchors loaded into the coral reef on each side of the harbor for head moorings and chains for stern moorings leading on shore and fastened to trees.
I will here insert a few lines regarding this beautiful island. From a distance it appears like a mass of rugged hills and mountains. The highest peaks towering above the sea, 2,900 feet and with few exceptions covered with trees and verdure to the very peaks.
The island is said to be about 30 miles in circumference and surrounded by a coral reef or ledge with no lagoon sufficiently large for a vessel anchorage. The harbor of Aviton, the best in the island is a mere notch in the reef and just wide enough for a vessel of 125 feet keel to turn around in.
There is a border of low level land at the base of the hills and mountains extending around the island and in places a mile or two wide mostly planted to coconut, bananas, oranges, limes and lemons. Cotton and coffee are also raised for export.
The climate is of course warm but apparently healthful the island being in latitude 21 11’ 058”, longitude 159 47’ west. It is said that the temperature seldom rises above 85 or 90. But the air being humid even that temperature seems oppressive when there is no breeze.
The products for export are oranges, copra, lime juice, coffee and cotton and a few pineapples are shipped to New Zealand. From 100200 tons of coffee is the average of that article. Large quantities of oranges are shipped to New Zealand by steamer. Lime juice is also exported by the barrel.
As coffee requires little attention except at gathering time and the quality being good the people have turned their attention to its cultivation. As the price of coffee advances it is not found profitable to grow cotton as the cost of production is too great. In fact labor cannot be secured on the island to pick the cotton. Some who have cotton fields say that they cannot get it picked if they give all to the natives for picking.
The land is held by the chiefs and royalty and cannot be sold. It is sometimes leased for a term of years. There are about 35 Europeans on the island, most of them have native wives though there are four or five white women on the island.
The government is a colonial protectorate, the New Zealand government having a resident or governor here. This and the other islands of the Cook Group have a parliament that meet at Avarua, Rarotonga. A native chief Mr. Dupon is the judge of this district court and also of the supreme court of all the islands. All goods entering the islands of the group must be entered at Avarua, Rarotonga and are subject to a 5% duty on the value of the goods. The only limitation to the sale of rum is the inability of the natives to procure money to get it with. The government has an officer whose duty it is to attend to the sale of liquor. It is said to be in bond.
Merchants having rum for sale must place it in bond and the customer will go to the government agent and ask for some mans rum which is sold and accounts kept by the agent, no other is permitted to sell it.
Many of the natives are much given to drink though there is some sentiment being worked up against it. Mr. Hutchins, the missionary, tells us that there are several “Bands of Hope” and that the members are total abstainers. There is a demand for schools in the English language. The resident, Mr. F.J. Moss is advocating and agitating the matter. The government has made an appropriation, which is being used by the mission for erection of a building and establishment of a school for the purpose of educating natives for teachers of the island in this group. Heretofore the missions have taught only in the Rarotonga language and the books, which have been translated into it are but few. The people have not made the progress they might have done if they had had access to books and English literature.
Beginning of our Work
Though the people at the last visit of the Pitcairn had asked that our mission provide a doctor for Rarotonga we found that on our arrival they had begun negotiations with the medical board of New Zealand to provide them a physician. When it was learned by the people on shore that we had a ship doctor he soon had as many cases as he could attend to. The Europeans and some of the leading natives petitioned us to leave our doctor with them which we decided to do and leased a plot of ground 75x120 feet for a residence for the doctor and which may also be used for a mission and school at some future time.
Mrs. Caldwell began school Monday for the English speaking children of the village using for the schoolroom the front porch with a thin cotton screen for a sidewall. The children seemed pleased with their teacher and the opportunity for doing good work is very great as the leading natives wish to send their children too.
This would be a good field for young married men and women to enter as teachers. The population of the island is about 2000 divided into three districts and there are four villages where most of the people live.
There is a queen for each district whose powers are somewhat limited since the adoption of European forms of law.
October 20, 1894
We are this evening by the log, 370 miles from Rarotonga with good breeze from the southeast. Though very close-hauled on the wind we are making good time and are nearly on the course for Tahiti, which is about northeast from Rarotonga and distant 600 miles.
We have but two passengers on board, Brother and sister Read. They are sick so that it seems very quiet on the vessel.
October 23, 1894
The past two days have been very stormy with rain squalls and wind southeast to east. Yesterday we had sail shortened to jib and fore staysail, lower topsail, main staysail. Mainsail slowed and storm sail set. Sea very heavy. Vessel diving jib boom under at times. We were not able to get an observation of the sun and therefore had to depend on D.R (dead reckoning) to determine our location.
We were near the Western Society Islands but as the weather was so thick and stormy we stood off to the south where there is sure sailing and no danger of islands. Today the wind has been east to east by north. Clear sky and sea seems smoother. Have all sail set except top gallant staysail, which was damaged in the storm and royal square sail.
Tahiti is by observation about 190 miles to the northeast, which is dead to windward. We are still standing on tack south and making good time.
October 24, 1894
Last night and today up to 4:00 a.m. we have been on the port tack with wind east by north standing southeast. The weather has been pleasant with steady wind. This forenoon we bent the new top gallant staysail in the place of the one that was torn a few days ago.
At 4:00 p.m. we were within 20 miles of Rurutu direct ahead. At first I thought of stopping to see brother Stringer but as a stop would have delayed us over night I decided to go on without making a call. So we put the ship about and are now standing north toward the direction of Tahiti with a good steady breeze.
October 30, 1894
Early this morning we were at Papeete Tahiti. Signaled for a pilot and got one at 8:00. As the wind was favorable we sailed into the harbor and came to anchor by 9:30 at the lower end of town. The health officer came alongside for the bill of health as we were sailing along quite fast he did not succeed in reaching the vessel so the pilot took the paper to him. Soon after we came to anchor, Brother Chapman appeared on the shore with our mail. We sent the boat in for him and soon received a good batch of letters. Some were disappointed. I got a good batch of letters, four of them from wife and children. After reading my letters I went on shore to learn the news.
At 3:00 p.m. Elder Read and I called on the governor who received us very kindly, inviting us in to his private office. He then asked where we had been since leaving here. I told him that we went first to Huahine and then to Rurutu and from there to Rarotonga and from there we had come in and passed near Raiatea having freight for there and desiring to call but did not wish to do so without first getting the permission of the governor.
He very readily gave us permission to go saying that it was our right to go to the port of entry there. I told him that I knew we had a legal right to go there but as we had promised him that we would comply with the request he made when we were here that we would not go there without first conferring with him about it. He seemed pleased and said to us to go to Uturoa the port of entry there and do as we wished.
I felt that the Lord had surely given us favor with him and that we had gained a great victory for the truth.
October 31, 1894
Today I untied the vessel and landed the Read and Chapman goods.
November 3, 1894
This morning I went out to Pera, about 2 1/2 miles from the city to our native church where meetings are held every Sabbath. Elder Read spoke to the natives, the service being all conducted in the native language was not very interesting as I have attended several and the nuances and novelty has worn off. The church is a very neat structure about 30x60 well seated and lighted with chandeliers. Being made of Oregon fir the interior is neatly painted. The roof forms the ceiling and is of corrugated iron. The building stands on land belonging to Paul Dean, the native minister
I am going to try to induce him to make a lease of the ground to the General Conference Association.
Later in the day we held meetings on the vessel, the brethren on the shore coming off to it. I tried to speak to them about the second coming of Christ and the judgment.
November 6, 1894
Papeete, Medical practice
This morning we visited a lawyer to ascertain the colonial laws regarding the practice of medicine. Foreigners with diplomas from medical boards or colleges are permitted to practice their profession, but first they must pass an examination of the French board of examiners for the Island colonies and their diplomas must have the seal of the French board.
I have obtained a copy of a part of the law regulating the practice of a physician in the colonies. In addition to the above a license fee of 50 francs equal to $10.00 a year must be paid.
November 7, 1894
Elder Read and I went to visit the director of the Interior to ascertain the requirements of the law governing medical practice in the French colonies. The Director was out but his private secretary read us the law, which states that a foreigner may exercise the profession of a physician or surgeon under the following regulations.
He must have a diploma from a medical college, which is recognized by the French government. This will be passed upon by the board or examiners of Tahiti and if satisfied of the applicants ability and his moral character, the official seal of the colonial government may be affixed to the document and he may then practice medicine. If the applicant have not a diploma from a medical college recognized by the French government he must pass an examination by the medical board of the colony before being permitted to practice.
November 8, 1894
The pilot came on board and we sailed out of the harbor of Papeete at 2:00 p.m. for Raiatea with brother and Sr. Wellman, Sr. White and brother Harry Dean as passengers. The wind is fair and the prospects good for making the distance before morning.
I have been very busy all the time we have been at Tahiti and am glad to get out to sea for a rest, but will have to enter into business at Raiatea to get our freight off.
November 9, 1894
We reached Raiatea and came to anchor in the harbor of Uturoa, the French village at 9:00 a.m. As I was here when the vessel was at Huahine I would not take a pilot but sailed the ship in myself. As we approached the entrance to the harbor I climbed up the fore rigging to the foreyard and directed the ship in just outside the entrance. The pilot boat with four or five men with the pilot came alongside. We gave them a line but did not take the pilot on board.
We sailed in and anchored off the French village in 20 fathoms of water. The native pilot then came on board and seemed quite disappointed because we did not take him.
Soon after we came to anhor we saw brother and Sr. Cady on the low boat wharf waiting for us to come in. As the harbormaster or health officer did not come off to the ship, after waiting half an hour I took the papers and went to the office of the resident to report our arrival. Then returned to the ship and brought brother and Sr. Cady out with me. We spent the rest of the day in looking after matters pertaining to the cargo.
November 10, 1894
At 10:30 a.m. we all went on shore to attend the meeting of the native brethren. It was held at the home of brother Hunter a half-cast who has a large family, 10 or 11 children. There were eight or nine grown people and 12 or 15 children besides our own crew and company. I spoke to them and brother Dean interpreted for me. The Lord gave me liberty in speaking.
The house was very neat and the room in which the meeting was held larger and airy a portion of the floor neatly carpeted with the native mats. A fine chandelier hung in the center of the room and a few photo pictures on the wall, a stand in two corners containing some pretty shells and curious specimens or coral. And another center table with mat spread and two or three Bibles on it. The walls were neatly painted and matted. At first glance I supposed they were wall papered but upon closer inspection I found that the painter had placed in regular order figurines of some flowers or shrubs giving them all a very checkered aspect.
The Work on Raiatea
This evening brother Cady spent some time in telling us of the schoolwork on Raiatea. He said that some months ago when they were about to open the school that Elder Read went to see the resident at Uturoa to get permission to open a school for the natives at Avero. And he gave them verbal permission provided they would have some French taught in the school. So they went ahead and opened with an attendance from 40 to 115, many irregular in attendance.
In speaking to Mr. Bodino (a resident of Avero and quite an intelligent man) about the school, the resident asked if they taught French. He was told that they taught some French, and the resident said that was all right. In order to have French taught in the school they had employed a German who could speak French to spend a little time teaching in the school.
Brother Cady says that from what the natives told him of the numbers of children they thought they could have a school of five or six hundred or a thousand. That after the school opened and the numbers seemed so small the leading people said, “Oh there will be three hundred after New Year.” But the school never has enrolled over 115 and the attendance was never up to that number.
As the working season came on, the children were scattered to the various districts and places so that the numbers were so reduced that they thought best to close the school for a time.
A month ago Brother Cady went to Tahiti and there for the first time learned the laws governing schools in the French Islands. On his return from Tahiti he went again to visit the resident and asked him about conducting a religious school or if there were any law that would prevent anyone from teaching religion. The resident said “No,” that the government had nothing to do with religion that way and was left free to choose their own religion. The resident then took occasion to say to brother Cady that in the school in Avero they had not done as he had directed them to do. That he told Mr. Read that before opening the school he must have the permission of the governor at Tahiti and that Mr. Read failing to get that or to go to the governor had gone to the U.S. consul and he had told him to go ahead and open the school. This all seems to be the way the resident is trying to shield himself if for giving permission to open the school and to throw the blame on us.
For the last month they have had a religious school with an attendance of from 12-15 using for a textbook translation of “Steps to Christ.” Brother Cady has told the people that the French government will not permit him to have a regular school and one of the governesses saw what has the French government to do with us. They can’t even come here. After talking over the matter they told Brother Cady that he might have a religious school and do, as he liked in it. Thus the school matter stands at present.
He has collected for tuition about 90.00 in Chilean cash, which at present rate of exchange is about $48.00. The natives have had schools free by the old missionaries, making a small donation once a year or so and providing the teachers with some native foods. So it will be very hard to get much of a support from the natives for schools. Much of the work must be done at a sacrifice. Brother Cady said that he did not know but if we had a training school for workers that it would have to be at Rarotonga or some other group of islands.
November 11, 1894
Mr. Gustave and John Bodine came on board to visit us today and is speaking of the customs of the natives said that one custom they had witnessed and taken a part in was the passing through the fire. It is in this manner.
A large quantity of wood and logs perhaps several cords or a pile 25-30 feet square is made and this is covered with stone some as large as a water pail or eight or ten inches in diameter. When all is arranged the wood is fired and left to burn for 24-30 hours. When the pile is flattened out and the stones are red hot or rather a white heat, then the native priest will come forth and chant a dirge and mutter something. Then striking the burning pile of stone with a tie plant or shrub will walk across the pile with bare feet followed by men, women and children. And although the heat from the pile of heated stone is intense, none are burned, not even their bare feet. Mr. Gustave and Mr. Bodine who are men of veracity tell me that they have passed over or through the pile at a slow deliberate pace with bare feet, stopping for a few seconds in the center of the pile.
The only sensation is a burning or heated feeling about the ears. After the people have passed through the fire the tie plant which has been gathered and made ready is piled upon the burning heap and covered with leaves and earth and left for several hours when it is taken out and eaten. Formerly rum or a kind of spirits were made from the plant in this way.
November 13, 1894
Last evening at 9 0’clock, Fred Tracy the cabin boy was sent to take brother and sister Cady and a lot of young natives to the short wharf on the shore but three or four minutes row from the ship. I was very busy making out accounts of freight we have to land here. At 9:40 or nearly that, brother Hicks the mate came to my room and asked if I knew that Fred had not yet returned to the vessel. As it has been Fred’s duty to watch the vessel since we have been in this part he should most surely have been back and on duty. After waiting a short time for him to come the mate and I took the other small boat and rowed into the wharf, but neither Fred nor the boat was there.
We then rowed along the shore about half a mile and looked at another landing, but the boat was not there. We then rowed out a little from the shore and as the night was very light, it being bright moonlight, we could see a long distance down the shore. Presently we saw a boat rowing out from the shore a quarter or a third of a mile beyond us. We waited until it came near enough for us to see that it was our ships’ with Fred. We then pulled back to the ship and got aboard.
Soon the other boat came up to the steps. I then asked Fred what his business was or what he had been set to do. He replied that he had done nothing wrong. I then began talking to him about going off as he did and asked where he had been. He replied that he had been to take some natives home. I then said that it seemed strange that he could not be trusted to do anything. That if we had to set a watch and then have someone watch the watch that we might as well have no such watch.
He then said again in a very burly manner that he had done nothing wrong. He then said “Where have you been?” I replied, “We have been looking for you.” He then straightened up in the boat and said in a very insulting way “Well, you found me didn’t you!” at the same time stepping to the bow of the boat and picking up the painlir or bowline to get aboard over the side of the ship. I stepped to the sail at the same instance and took the end of the line out of his hand and struck him over the back with it.
He then jumped back to the stern of the boat and caught up an oar and drew it back as though he would strike me if I went near him.
But as I had no intention of going into the boat after him, I ordered him out of the boat and to his room and told him that he must not go on shore again while we were in this port. He said that if I struck him again he would get revenge on me. I said I supposed he would try it as he seemed to be built that way but that I had no intention of striking him again if he behaved himself. He then said that he would report me as soon as we got to San Francisco. I then again ordered him out of the boat and to his room. He obeyed very reluctantly. I set another watch and went to bed.
November 16, 1894
As the wind was fair this morning for us to sail out of the northeast channel, I ordered the vessel made ready for sea. Went to the customhouse and gave notice that we would sail at 4:00 p.m. The official said that he would have our papers ready by 2:00 p.m. At 3:00 p.m. I went to the customhouse and got the clearance papers, bill of health and mail. We said good-by to our brethren and weighed anchor and sailed out of the port at 5:30 p.m. with a light northwest wind. As we are now well out to sea we have a good strong breeze and are standing on our course. All rejoicing to think that we are started on our homeward voyage with 3,650 miles of water between us and the homeport.
November 21, 1894
At 4:00 p.m. today we passed to the southward about 10 miles off La Madalena, the southern and eastern of the Marquesas Islands. This island is situated in latitude 10 30’ 40” south, longitude 138 41’ 45” west. The island is eight miles long and four wide extending in a north and south direction. Its appearance from the sea is very mountainous and rugged; the highest peak rises 3,670 feet above the sea. The whole island appears very high and hilly. The hills are cut with great seams like furrows as though it had been plowed. The top of the ridges seems barren but the valley and lower hills are covered with verdure.
The directory and chart give the population at from 350-500 and speak of them as in a very low condition. The prevailing vice, licentiousness. The island in years gone by was occasionally visited by whalers to procure water and fruits, but now is seldom visited except by local traders perhaps.
Here is a field for missionary operations. The directory states that the French after attempting for several years to civilize and govern the natives though many professing to be Christian are little or no further advanced than they were 100 years ago.
November 23, 1894
Latitude 9 15’ south, longitude 138 west at noon, the wind is north by east or northeast. Have passed 30 miles to the east of some of the Marquesas Islands this morning; have passed to the 38 north 45’ latitude. A large island lies to the west about 30 miles distant. This is probably the last land we shall see until we reach the coast of California, but that is a long, long way off.
Since starting for home the ship seems to move oh so slow. It seems as though I can’t wait to get home. It is now nearing the Sabbath. I have just been looking at my family group, wife and children the dearest beings on earth to me, but I hope soon to see them.
November 25, 1894
We are now within 300 miles of the equator, have been out 9 days. The past three days the wind has been very light and our progress towards the north slow. But at 2:00 p.m. today the breeze freshened and we are going along at a lively speed, 9 or 10 miles per hour. The weather is warm and pleasant with clear skies.
November 27, 1894
At noon today we were in latitude1 40’ north, longitude142 10’ west, wind east, temperature 83 degrees. We crossed the equator at about 1:30 a.m. The wind is quite good; at one watch last night we made nearly 10 miles an hour. The weather is pleasant being 83 degrees during the day. The nights are a little cooler. All are well on board.
November 29, 1894
We are now in latitude 7 north, longitude 141-1/2 west. We have been becalmed all day. Are in the equatorial calms called the doldrums. The vessel has been pitching and rolling in the sea, rain and sunshine is the order of the day.
December 1, 1894
We, at 12 noon today were in latitude 8 45’ north and longitude about 140 west. From dawn to dark there was scarcely sufficient wind to keep steerage way on the vessel, a heavy bumpy sea and the vessel rolling and pitching about with sails flapping and ropes writhing. A calm at sea is much more disagreeable than a storm.
At 5:00 p.m. rain began to fall and it came down thick and fast for two hours, but very little wind with it. We are nearly across the calm belt, which usually does not extend more than 10 north of the equator in this longitude.
December 2, 1894
Latitude 9 45’ north, longitude about 138 45’ west. Last night the wind was very light and the rain very heavy. This forenoon there was scarcely wind enough to keep steerage way on the vessel but about noon the wind came up from the east and to 8:00 p.m. has had all we could use. Our course is about north by east and the ship is plunging along at about 9 or 10 miles per hour. We have evidently passed the calm boundary and are now swiftly speeding on our way towards the home port.
Yesterday and last night the rain fell fast. We got our deck casks all full. This morning I did my washing consisting of coat, pants and vest, 2 white shirts, 2 night shirts, 1 drawers, 3 towels, 3 handkerchiefs, 3 pair of socks, but the day was so rainy that I did not get them dry.
December 3, 1894
At noon by dead reckoning we were in latitude 12 5’ west, longitude 138 35’ west. During last night much rain fell and the wind was quite strong from the east by north. We made very good time. During the day today there has been light rains and light wind. Our progress has not been rapid, but steady. All are well.
December 5, 1894
At noon today by observation we were in latitude 15 4’ north, longitude 141 19’ west. The wind the past 24 hours has been at northeast by north some of the time quite strong. Weather cloudy with occasional light showers. The sun came out today so that we got good observations in the morning for longitude and at noon for latitude. The weather seems a little cooler though. The thermometer stands at 77-78 degrees. For some time it has ranged about 80-82 degrees.
I have been studying navigation. Can take an observation of the sun and make out the latitude and can also get ships position by dead reckoning. And today for the first time I worked up the longitude. This is by far the most difficult part of the navigation. I think that with a little more practice I can soon get quite expert at getting the ships position at sea.
December 6, 1894
By observation we are at latitude 17 33’ north and longitude143 7’ west. The wind is strong from the northeast and at times to northeast by north. Sea quite heavy so that occasionally a part of a wave is scooped up by the bow of the ship.
I notice quite a perceptible difference in the temperature today, the thermometer stood at 74 degrees. The sea is so heavy that we cannot carry full sail, are making from 7-8 miles per hour.
December 8, 1894
At noon today we were in latitude 23 12’ north, longitude 145 50’ west. The trade wind from the northeast is good and strong and we are making good time.
The weather seems much cooler than 71 degrees. The days pass much more quickly than I thought they might. We hope that we will not have to spend more than one Sabbath before we reach San Francisco. Today we are within 600 miles of the Sandwich Islands. The distance from San Francisco to Honolulu, Sandwich Islands is 2,085 miles.
We head north to about the latitude of San Francisco before we get winds that will take us east, so that we have as much as 2000 miles yet to sail before we reach San Francisco.
December 12, 1894
We are now in latitude 30 22’ north, longitude 144 53’ west. With wind southeast by south and making good time towards San Francisco. For the past 36 hours there has been a long even rolling swell setting in from the northwest directly opposite to the wind. We are now above the latitude of the northeast trades for this season and so may have winds from the west or southwest to northwest. At time of observation we were about 1,100 miles from San Francisco. The course bring about northeast by east.
The weather seems much colder than it really is. The temperature being 69-70 degrees. I have taken an inventory of all the provisions and goods on board so as to have them ready to enter on manifest as we near the port.
December 13, 1894
By observation at noon we were in latitude 31 46’ north, longitude 143 14’ west. Temperature 69 degrees.
December 14, 1894
Latitude 32 02’ north, longitude 141 36’ west, winds north. At 4:00 a.m. the wind came from the north. The thermometer went down to 64 degrees. There was but little sea and at first the wind was not very strong, but it kept increasing till by 8 or 9 o’clock it was blowing a gale. As the wind increased the sea rose and we shortened sail. First down came the royal staysail, then the main topsail, next the flying jib. After sailing awhile we took in the middle or topgallant staysail, and then climbed up the topgallant yard, after awhile climbed up the foresail yard and sailed for a time. Then as the sea increased we took in the upper topsail.
From noon to 3:30 we have sailed with jib forestay sail, lower topsail, main staysail and mainsail. The sea is high and the wind strong and we are sailing as close on the wind as we can and making about east by north a little south of San Francisco.
There are frequent rain squalls or were in the forenoon this p.m., the sky has been quite clear for most of the time. Our old cat came near getting washed overboard. She happened some way to go out on the deck and a large wave came over the rail. She just saved herself by catching on the sails. Six or eight goonies or gulls are following the vessel. Three of them have been with us for three or four days.
As we are on the port tack the water gets into my room so that I have the cabin boy get it out often. I have my gum boots on and put on my heaviest undershirt this morning.
4:00 p.m. lowered away the mainsail and set the storm sail for the night. This is a small sail of strong canvas not much larger than a fish boat sail. The ship rides easy with this and the other sails we have set.
December 15, 1894
The wind has continued strong and the sea heavy. We have made but little or no progress as our course has been east by south and the leeway and compass variation takes us about southeast. At noon today we were in latitude 31 18’ and by dead reckoning longitude 140 14’ west.
We came around at noon and have been standing northwest this p.m. It has been a very lonely day, the vessel rolling and trembling in the sea. No comfort in reading or study. A few of us met for Sabbath school at 5:00 in the cabin but I am sorry to see so little interest in religious matters even among those who are on the missionary vessel. I fear that some are but hirelings.
December 16, 1894
At noon we were in latitude 31 57’ north, longitude 140 01’west. The wind is in the north and there are frequent squalls accompanied with sprinkles of rain. At 6:00 we stood about towards the east and our course during the 12 hours past has been east to northeast.
Our ship cat has found some kittens today. The gulls are still following the vessel but there is little beside to break the monotony as the days drag slowly by.
December 17, 1894
Latitude 32 32’ north, longitude 137 26’ west. Wind north by west. Sea very heavy. At 4:00 took in the jib and mainsail and set the storm sail for the night. All is safe but making slow progress. The wind seems to be a succession of squalls. We are now 830 miles from San Francisco to the west southwest.
December 18, 1894
Latitude 32 41’, longitude 136 9’ west. Wind light variable and at times calm with heavy seas, not much progress.
Condensed Report of Islands Visited
Latitude 25 3’ south, longitude 130 56’ west. Pitcairn Island is about 2-1/4 miles long and one mile across. The entire circuit of the island with but two or three exceptions is nearly perpendicular. The highest hills rising about 1,000 feet above the sea. There are two landings, the principle one at Bounty Bay on the northeast side and the other on the northwest side.
The settlement or village is on the northeast side on a plateau as the land gradually rises to the summit of the island. The soil is very rich producing large crops of sweet potatoes, two crops annually during June and November, yams, beans, sugar cane. Oranges and other tropical fruit are abundant. Oranges grow without cultivation or care. Thousands lie on the ground under the trees ungathered. Coconuts thrive but do not yield as well as at other islands in the tropics. The population are descendants of the mutineers of the Bounty and Tahitian mothers. At the time of our visit the number was 120 or 130. The people seem very kind and liberal. All can read and write and at the present time a school is being conducted by Miss Hattie Andrews assisted by native teachers. The only animals on the island are goats, dogs, cats, rats, chickens and ducks. Coffee and beans grow wild.
TAHITI - latitude about 17 31’ south, longitude 149 33’ west. This is the largest and most important island in this part of the Pacific, it being about 32 miles in length from northwest to southeast and 10 to 15 miles broad. From a low margin of seacoast the land rises to considerable mountains, which are cut, by deep gully and gorges, ridges extending in all directions but usually the gullies run towards the sea.
The highest peak is 7,339 feet. The island is evidently of volcanic origin. The low land about the shores are covered with coconut trees and tropical vegetation. There appears to be some quite extensive valleys in the interior, but the settlements and villages are all near the shore. A fine coral reef surrounds the island with occasional breaks, which form channels through which the largest ships may pass into the safe quiet harbor inside the reef.
The land produces yams, taro, sugar cane, bananas of several varieties, tropical fruit such as oranges, lemons, limes, mango, guava, custard apple, breadfruit, pineapples, coffee, cotton, manioc, arrowroot and coconut trees.
Papeete, the principle commercial center of this and the other outlying islands is the port of entry and is the center of trade. Numerous small vessels trading with leeward, Austral and Pomoto Islands make this their headquarters.
The population of Tahiti in 1881 was 9,380 and Papeete, 2,000. Tahiti is under the French government. The governor of the island colonies being appointed by the home government. Foreign, especially English and American influence are found.
Huahine in latitude 17 38’ 41” south, longitude 150 03’ is about 20 miles in circumference surrounded by a coral reef affording in the lagoon this formed fine harbors. Then near the shore a strip of low land covered with coconut trees and tropic fruit and vegetation. The center being broken and mountainous. Like Tahiti the island is nearly cut in two in the center and one part is called Huahine (Vahine) large and the smaller Huahine “Iti” (salt) population about 1,000 with six or eight Europeans.
Oranges are abundant and all shipped to New Zealand. The natives claim to be Protestant nearly all being connected to the church, but they are very low morally and the children growing up in ignorance.
Rurutu, one of the Austral group in Latitude 22 01’ south, longitude 151 20’ west. Mountainous or rather hilly in appearance, the highest hills rising to about 1,000 feet above the sea. It is about 5-7 miles northwest and southeast and two miles or so broad with a border of rich low land and a rim of coral which does not extend far from the shore except at the south end where the coral may be ¼ mile wide but there is no lagoon of any extent and no harbor for vessels except one small niche in the reef on the northeast side where one or two small vessels of 40-50 tons find shelter by being moored to the rocks.
There are three villages on the island nearly the entire population of 500 living in some one of the three. The people seem to be quite industrious and show some skill in shipbuilding. Many of the houses are made of stone and mortar made from the lime of coral neatly plastered both outside and in with floors of Oregon pine. The native villages are quite neat. There are no wheeled vehicles and the roads are only trails. Horses are plentiful and the climate being cooler the horses look stronger than the native horses at Tahiti.
There are large stone churches in each village, and but one preacher, a native, for the three. The island is under the French protectorate flag but the people make their own laws and govern themselves or rather by a king or at the present by a regent who is a very good man. Copra is the chief article of export. Taro, yams, bananas and oranges are plentiful and at times the natives capture a whale.
Rarotonga in the Cook group was the next point visited. This island is in latitude 21 11’ 35” south, longitude 159 48’ west. Is about 30 miles in circumference. It’s quite mountainous the highest peak being 2,900 feet. There is a border of low lands around the shore and a coral reef around the island and some harbors for small vessels but not safe.
The land is very productive producing the native fruits and vegetables. Cotton has been quite extensively cultivated, but owing to the low price of the article at the present time there is but little gathered. Coffee culture is quite exclusively carried on and from 150-200 tons of coffee are annually shipped from the island. Oranges and pineapples are shipped to New Zealand. The climate is quite healthful. Population numbers 1,500-2,000 with about 3035 Europeans and Americans.
Raiatea is about 130 miles to the northwest of Tahiti in Leeward Islands of the Society group. It is about 40 miles in circumference of a mountainous character and covered with vegetation. At a distance of from 1-2 miles from the shore the island is surrounded with a coral reef, which also goes around the island of Tahaa. It is as pleasantly situated as any island we visited.
The soil in the valleys and low lands is very fertile. There are some quite extensive coconut plantations owned by white men. The population numbers 1,000-2,000 perhaps. The larger number refuse to submit to the French authorities and though the island is claimed by the French and they maintain a resident and a few troops at Uluo, the natives have their own government and make and execute their own laws.
Tahaa an island of some extent is situated near the island of Raiatea, the same reef encircling both islands. It is about half the size of Raiatea and is not fertile. The population may be 500.
Though we did not visit Balbolo I will make a brief note of it. Situated northwest about eight miles from Tahaa enclosed by a reef, which has numerous little islets, which are said to be fertile and populous. Cotton is raised here quite extensively. Its population may be 400-500. Its earliest inhabitants are said to be malefactors banished from the neighboring islands.
Maupiti is the western most of the group, 40 miles to the west of Raiatea. It is but six or eight miles in circumference. In 1828 its population numbered 1,000.
The Poumoto or low islands (Poumoto signifies a cloud of islands) extend over 16 of longitude east and west about 130 - 148 west and from 24 to 15 south latitude. 78 in number or coral formation. The population numbers 8,000-10,000. In some of the lagoons are pearl fisheries.
The Protestant missionaries have not operated in these islands though in recent years the commons have been around them and have made many converts. The greater number of inhabitants are said to be Protestant though at the Gaubier group nearly all are Catholic.
These islands are low and navigation dangerous as there are strong currents and the southeast trade winds are by no means constant though trading vessels from Tahiti make regular trips among them.
Fiji Islands one of the largest and most beautiful archipelagos in the Pacific lies between 178’ west and 177 east longitude and between 16 and 20’ south latitude.
In 1881 the population was 125,000, 2,293 being Europeans. These islands are a British possession.
Samoa or Navigator Islands lie between 13-1/2 to 14-1/2 south latitude and 168 to 173 west longitude. The area is 2,650 square miles and the native population in 1882 was 31,300 with 300 Europeans. These groups as is well known are subject to violent hurricanes. The soil is fertile and productive.
Tongan Islands comprised of 100 islands small and great in latitude 16 to 22 south, longitude 174 176’ west. Vavo, the largest is 20 miles long. Seven others are from 5-7 miles in extent, most of them low. In 1876 the population was estimated at 30,000. The islands are governed by a king. Much rain falls and the climate is not healthful.
Marquesas in latitude 7 00’ to 10-1/2 south, longitude 138 to 140-1/2 west. Reported to be fertile and the climate healthful. Has a population of about 5,000 on 7 or 8 inhabited islands. The French claim the islands and have a resident or director on one of the most important. The Catholics are working among the people, they having some missions among them. It is reported that a species of leprosy is quite common. The people are very low morally and need true missionary workers among them.
December 19, 1894
Latitude 33 35’ north, longitude 134 28’ west. Temperature 56 degrees. A good steady breeze all night last night from north by west. During the day it has hauled more to the west so that by 4:00 p.m. it was west by north and a good strong breeze we are running north northeast with full sheets and making about 8 miles per hour. If wind holds we will reach port by Sunday. The distance at noon today was 630 miles.
December 20, 1894
Latitude 35 46’ north, longitude 131 24’ west, wind at northwest. Temperature 52 degrees. Distance to San Francisco 447 miles. During the 24 hours from 12 noon yesterday to 12 noon today we sailed 217 miles, averaging 9 miles per hour. During the night we had only square sails set. The ship rolled very heavily in the sea.
December 21, 1894
We were at noon in latitude 37 9’, longitude 128 47’ wind still holds in the north northwest and it gradually grows colder. This morning the temperature was down to 48 ½ degrees and we have no fire in our cabin. We eat with overcoats on. We are now 305 miles from San Francisco.
December 22, 1894
At noon our latitude 37 37’, and longitude 125 58’ the wind during the 24 hours past has been southwest but quite light though we averaged over 6 miles per hour. We are 175 miles from San Francisco and with the light winds we cannot expect to get in before Monday the 24th.
As I write this evening it’s almost a dead calm but a heavy rolling swell. The Sabbath has not been so pleasant as it might under more favorable conditions. We have no stove in our cabin and no fire. With the present chilly weather we must to keep warm either walk about with overcoats on or go to bed and cover up.
We had our worship and Sabbath school just as the sun was setting. This is the only time of day that we can have much attendance as at other times the sailors who are off duty are getting their sleep.
December 23, 1894
During the 24 hours past to noon we made but about 30 miles to the eastward. Were becalmed all night last night and all day. I have been busy making out accounts to send to W. H. Edwards. It seems like a long time to be lying here so near port and yet can’t get there.
December 24, 1894
At noon we were at latitude 37 21’, longitude 125 12’ distance to San Francisco 129 miles. Wind from 4:00 a.m. to noon east northeast very light. At 4:00 p.m. hauled a little to the north and at 5:00 we are heading nearly for San Francisco but unless the wind favors we will not get in for Christmas. I have spent the day writing letters to the F M board. The sea was the calmest it has been out in this voyage.
December 25, 1894
Latitude 37 52’ north, longitude 123 52’ west. Distance to San Francisco, 50 miles, wind east northeast. At 12:30 sighted land thought to be 40 miles north of San Francisco. Wind is east northeast, a good whole sale breeze. We stood north to 4:00 p.m. when we came around and stood to the south. Though we got the sun today the weather is hazy and this p.m. heavy bank in the south indicating southerly weather. We hope to get into the harbor before it comes on.
December 26, 1894
At daylight we were about 35 miles off shore 30 miles southwest of San Francisco. With strong east wind stood north and passed in sight of the Farallone Islands which are 25 to 30 miles just outside the Golden Gate and to the north 12 miles outside of Pt. Reyes. Came about at noon and the wind soon hauled a little so that we could not gain much by the tack. At dusk we were but a few miles to the east of the starting point in the morning. The barometer was falling and appearances indicated a blow from the south.
December 27, 1894
Last night was about as rough and disagreeable as we have had. The night was dark and rainy and the winds terrific from the east and for a time southeast and the short sharp sea came over our bows, but we weathered the gale all safely.
At daylight this morning the wind was blowing strong from the east directly ahead to the entrance to San Francisco bay. We set the main sail and upper and lower topsail and staysail and jibs except flying jib which blew to pieces last night and stood north passing a large barge and then about a mile inside the Farallone Islands and light. We stood across to Pt. Reyes, which is about 30 miles to the north of San Francisco, as there is a light house and signal station. Though we were five miles or so to the windward of it we ran down and signaled them that we wanted a steam tug, (P.N.) at 11:40 and at 2:25 the large tug “Active” came out to us and as they came near enough to speak to us they asked if we wanted a tug and that they would tow us in for $100.00. After a bantering we told them to hitch on. They then threw a line and we hauled their steel hawser aboard and were soon leaning against the wind toward San Francisco.
The wind was very strong but she yanked us along at 8 or 9 miles per hour. At 7:10 p.m. they dropped us in San Francisco harbor. We let our anchor go and felt thankful that our voyage had terminated so favorably. No accidents on the trip and have been brought safely back to the port we left June 17th having sailed about 12,000 miles and visited four groups of islands.
As we let go and anchor, the customhouse boat came along side and called for our manifest and crew list and store list, which we produced in short order. They looked over the vessel and sealed all the hatches leading below and gave us little bits of news about shipping that recently several vessels had been lost.
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