I'm wading through my sources to put together the "evidence" for a chapter. Today I'm sifting through the 1821 journal from the Sandwich Islands mission. Here's an entry from April 27 1821:

27. Today we received as a present from Capt. Davis, who arrived in the brig Arab, a barrel of bread, about 90 pounds of rice, and a small box of soap.

Among the things I am tracking for the dissertation is the relationship between ship captains,(whaling and merchant) and the mission. I am interested in the kinds of interactions that these groups engaged in and how long they managed to keep cordial relations. For example ships brought the mission letters, news, books and supplies from New England. They also brought missionary reinforcements (their term for new arrivals) and carried members of the mission family between stations on Kauai (Atooi), Oahu, Maui (Mowee) and later on Hawai'i. Ship captains also gave presents to the missionaries as the above entry reveals. In addition to these gifts, the missionaries also received 25lbs of butter, a keg of soap, and a small quantity of seed corn and wheat to make April 1821 a very satisfying month.

The big "so wot?" for the dissertation is breaking up this idea that all haole were uniform and united. 1821 marks a honeymoon of sorts between foreign shipping and the missionaries. A few years later missionary, merchant relations would be strained by the mission's increasingly strident stance against "trade" and their critique of the sandalwood debt the chiefs owed to New England merchants which some of the missionaries deemed unfair and excessive. In addition to this strain, missionaries and ship crews and captains argued and at times came to blows over sailors' access to Hawaiian women after the ali'i placed a kapu on all women visiting ships for the purpose of prostitution. For the "so wot, WOT?" about how and why this deterioration in relations affected Hawaiians you might want to pick up my dissertation....you know when it's completed....finally.

In April the missionaries also met frequently with the officers and captain of the Russian ships Discovery (Otkrytie) and Good Intention for the duration of their visit from April 2 - April 18. On the 12th the missionaries had dinner on board the ship Discovery, where "they were treated with much politeness and attention." After dinner they were "shown a great variety of articles of curiosity which the Commodore had procured at the different countries he visited."

Imagine my surprise when i read the rest of the entry for April 27th 1821:

In digging our cellar today, we discovered the skeleton of a human being.

Hmmmm. Unfortunately the missionaries don't say how they dealt with the remains. Wow 1821: building improvements, skeletons in the cellar, does this sound familiar to anyone?

maluhia a'e,

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Comment by Noelani on October 28, 2008 at 10:41am
Thanks for the comments and thanks for the cit on Thomas. Ya, the stuff about sailors is interesting I admit, but right now I'm working on 1820s, not so many whalers, (they arrived just before the missionaries did though they got there in 1819) and certainly very little documentation regarding how sailors lives affected families. Although by the 1840s Kauikeaouli passes a law that restricts Hawaiians from moving away and makes ship captains sign contracts promising to bring Hawaiian sailors back home after their work is done. Psychological? You may need a cellar to store stuffs, easier to protect property from theft I should think.
Comment by Kaleponi on October 28, 2008 at 7:20am
Hoihoi loa kau hana, e Noelani!
Comment by Kea on October 16, 2008 at 9:47am
Hey Noelani,

Have you read Nicholas Thomas' stuff in Colonialism's Culture about the opposing colonial cultures operating in ways that support and counter each other? If not, it sounds like it might be useful in tying stuff together.

As for the how it affected Hawaiians, when I read that I was wondering how it affected Hawaiians signing on to whalers and traders as seamen. When they come back, how does it affect relations with their families etc, especially if their families converted while they were away?

Also, the part with the iwi, it's interesting that it's the psychological need for a proper New England house wit cellar that leads to uncovering them.


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