Kosrae Mission 1852 to 1857

The following is transcribed from a copy of a copy of an original. The source is folder number four in the Lydia Vose Buck Snow collection of the Congregational Library, 14 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02108; phone: 617-523-0470. Permission to post and link this transcription was granted, all errors, however, are that of the transcriber. In mid-2005 the guide catalog was located at http://www.14beacon.org/fguides/snow.htm.

The narrative is a secondary source, a compilation of sources noted in the first paragraph. Numbers in square brackets indicate an estimated number of illegible words. Double square brackets are editorial insertions, some intended to aid those searching for modern transliterations of terms. Spelling errors that existed in the original document were not corrected.

The narrative of missionary events on Kusaie [[Kosrae]] is one of a surpassing interest as reported by Mr. [[Benjamin Galen]] Snow's graphic [hand] and by his kind permission we freely avail ourselves of letters and journals published in the Missionary Herald and Journal of Missions, and Friend of Honolulu. Though so many circumstances transpired to render the first days of this mission among the most blessed of any commenced, minor discomforts are thus alluded just after the departure of the Caroline. "Such a mingling together of hogs, pigs, cats, rats, lizards, old barrels, old boxes, ropes, paddles, bottles, guns, rags, old bits of canvas, musquitoes and so on, as there were in the house we were never before accustomed to. And then that [4] latitude under a leaky roof. So that [3] be obliged to get up and move our table to a less [drinc?]ing spot, and while sleeping (or trying to sleep) we would move our pillows to the other end of the bed that they might be kept a little drier, and let our feet take the shower bath.

Add to this the necessity of boxing up {page 2} everything eatable, or tying it in a napkin, to keep it from the legions of ants and insects; and that all the baking was in a little dutch oven over a fire of green wood made on the ground, when at times you would have to wedge your way through a set of lazy, dirty, lousy Kanakas. Some may think it strange that, under our circumstances, we could find a daily cup of pleasure and have hearts to thank God that we were brought to such a place and think it a goodly privilege to be among such a people. But so we found it.

On the 13th of November. though it was rainy and windy day, the missionary families moved into their own house on Dove Island. It was built by the natives after the general model of a Kusaien chief's house with such modifications as Mr. Snow's direction and assistance could effect, and proved, to say the least, waterproof. It was large and airy with a veranda at each end. A large room fourteen feet by twenty-six running the middle of the house was used for dining room, sitting room, schoolroom, meeting house, &c. The islet on which the house was, though only about two hundred feet in diameter, proved to be most pleasantly situated for securing the slightest breeze, a luxury of no slight importance, where the thermometer stands at about 80° night and day. Being on the eastern point of Lela island, {page 3} the residence of the King and chiefs, access was easily had to a considerable part of the population of the island. "Upon one side of our islet is a beautiful sand beach or reef," says Mrs. Snow, "which affords an excellent place for bathing at high water, and for a walk at low tide. On another side, within a rod or so of my south door, I can sit on a wall of stone and catch fish with a pole at high tide. A good sized vessel can float a rod or two further out.

Religious services had been held on one or another of the eight vessels that had visited the harbor on six of the first eight sabbaths after the Caroline sailed which were attended by the King [[Togusrai]] and his people, and on the 12th of December public worship was commenced on shore for natives alone in Mr. Snow's capacious hall. The dialect used was that pleasantly termed "King George's or Strong's Island English, - a broken sailors "lingo" of no small power when skillfully wielded."

"The most important achievement of the day," writes Mr. Snow, "was to induce them to stand erect when I pronounce the benediction, the like of which had not been seen on the island before, perhaps, for it is contrary to their custom that any of the common people, or even of the chiefs, should stand erect in the presence of of the King and Queen. I requested it however, hardly considering {page 4} what I was doing; but after it was undertaken I thought it of some importance to carry it through especially as the King and Queen cordially seconded the movement. I did not put the request on the ground of a personal wish, but, as the messenger of the Lord, I asked them in this act to forget the King, forget the Queen, and think only of God. It was really, therefore, a great religious victory, and it was not obtained without a severe struggle. I waited until they were all up, though some secreted themselves in my entries and others turned their back towards me, covering their faces as best they could. In some respects it was a very ludicrous affair. I had less difficulty the following sabbath; but there was for several weeks more or less giggling about it till the King talked to them quite at length; after which they not only stood very readily but faced me like a civilized audience."

Their position in prayer is certainly very devotional to a looker on. As they sit on the floor, the males having both legs upon one side, doubled under them in part, and the females having a leg on each side, with their feet so turned out as not to sit on them but to rest entirely on the floor. They lean forward, and bow quite to the ground, and thus exclude all chance of looking about; which makes them the more outwardly devout and the stillest audience I have {page 5} seen."

The subject of this first discourse on Kusaie was the fourth commandment and the very gratifying result was that before another sacred day arrived, labor on the sabbath was prohibited.

The next sabbath, immediately after worship, much to Mr. Snow's surprise, the people, after scattering, hastened back with many more bringing in coconut leaf baskets the materials of a considerable feast of coconuts and breadfruit, - a very decided expression of respect though it puzzled the missionary to know how to receive it. He finally distributed it among the donors; one of the chiefs, at the King's call, acting as steward.

Each sabbath's labors it was reported "seemed to leave its mark of advancement." After preaching on the first sabbath in 1853 about Jesus Christ, the King came back to inquire more particularly about him. On the 9th of January says Mr. Snow: - "I spoke strongly on the importance of keeping their women from the sailors; to which they gave a very cordial and hearty response, as though they had long been thinking to take such a stand, but had not sufficient courage to do it. The fourth and seventh commandments we have found this isle waiting to receive. Your heart would sicken and you would be ashamed of your race, if you could know {page 6} into what a loathsome brothel the seagoing world have made many of these beautiful islands. The King has spoken to me several times of the first ship and the particular officer who introduced the disease to these natives that has so wasted them that only a remnant of a noble people is left to tell their former glory. But of those who followed them in this hellish work, who but God can write the deeds, or paint the woes they have occasioned? Yet these deeds are written above and below, and the panorama is painted by an infinite artist, every shade of every character in all their dark doings true to the life and it is to be exhibited hereafter to the universe.

It was for what I had said on this point, the old King came to me after service, before the audience had left, and with tears in his eyes grasped my hand and said, "We thank you, Mr. Snow, plenty thank you; very much thank you!" In which the Queen joined, with equal warmth, to Mrs. Snow, not only for herself, but in behalf of the native women, "Every woman, every gal like plenty hear Mr. Snow talk all same!" And I have received similar expressions from several of the chiefs and others, though I am sorry to say that all do not feel so. A few seem to see that in this way one source of their gains [2-3]. {Page 7} Public prostitution on board of vessels was soon after prohibited by the King, and for a time it was apparently effectual.

On the 16th of January the missionary band had a communion season; during which they felt that "Jesus drew near" and "made himself known in the breaking of bread. The King was the only native present; and a more wonder stricken spectator I never saw. It enabled me to present the Saviour in a light altogether new to him; and I think he felt that it was "amazing" love to die such a death for his enemies."

January 23d, the place for public worship was changed to the King's large feast or cook-house near his own dwelling. "He sent his boat in good season for us; and we found all things in readiness. My position was at one end of the apartment. I had no desk, and my place for sitting was on a large native tub turned upside down and covered with a good plaid blanket shawl. Mrs. Snow had an old, low rocking chair at my right, the one on the island I think, and covered with a dingy white blanket. Opunui and his wife had a chest at my left. Just at Mrs. Snow's right sat the King and Queen [line(s) missing] {page 8} audience of men, women, children, numbering some one hundred and seventy-five. Mrs. Snow counted some twenty-five women, who had each a clean calico dress resembling a shirt without sleeves or collar. This dress contrasted with the approximate nakedness of others, gives them quite an air of civilization. None of the females allow themselves to attend meeting without at least so much of a garment. The King has said to me several times, "Plenty gal like too much come see missionary Sunday, but he no have skirt, no shirt. He too much shamed see Mr. Snow."

"On this same Sabbath, the King's youngest son came to live with us. He is about ten years old, a fine looking fellow, bright and active, and withal very well behaved. He sits at our table with us, uses his knife and fork like the rest of us. But instead of tea and coffee or cold water, he drinks the water or milk of a young cocoanut. When his father and mother, with his little brother and sister, went away in their boat after service, he could not suppress his tears, though it is not ten minutes walk to his father's house. But we were not sorry to see such proofs of affection. He is a sort of guardian angel to us, for no one will dare to meddle with anything of ours while he's near. {page 9}

A school had been opened for teaching English in December. During the first term of twelve weeks there were "some forty-five" pupils, differing in age from seven or eight years to thirty or thirty-five," and had there been room and books double or triple the number might have been secured. The attendance was irregular - the average number being less than twenty. "I had not attempted," says Mr. Snow, "to introduce such regulations as would be necessary at home, but I have only sought to make the school as pleasant as possible. I have tried to get them together by ten o'clock in the morning, and have dismissed them from twelve to one; then I have taught them till three. I had no school Saturdays. Those who have attended school most regularly have not averaged more than two hours per day of schooling; and yes; some of them can read and spell quite well in words of one syllable; and a few can do it in words of two syllables and are beginning to write a little."

On the 28th of March, a second term was commenced and their teacher was pleased to find that they had lost nothing of knowledge or interest by their vacation. Several new scholars came; and Mr. Snow was surprised was surprised to find that they already knew the alphabet. The former scholars had [1?] {page 10} in the habit of getting together and tracing the letters with a stick on the beach in the same order that they found them in the book, and then teaching those who did not attend school; so I suppose, most of the little boys and girls in this part of the kingdom can 'say their letters'."

"Several vessels entered the harbor during the first six months and many material favors had been received from them which are publicly acknowledged in the Herald; especially medicines from Capt. Barton, an English whaler1, and a boat from Capt. Hammet of the English sloop-of-war Serpent.2

There were however sad experiences connected with an English schooner from the Sandwich Is. that entered on the 12th of March brought a large quantity of spirituous liquors. These occasioned trouble among even the officers of the vessels, and their influences were not unfelt for evil among those on shore who were beginning to know if not to practice, the better way. Of the Sabbath succeeding her arrival Mr. Snow writes: - "When we went to public service, the King came in, being rather late, emitting an odor like a brandy cask, with a face and general appearance showing too plainly where and what the trouble was though all the time using the utmost of the skill and wit he had left to conceal his condition. The climax of his efforts in this direction was his interrupting me in the midst of my discourse with a speech to his people on temperance. The gist of it all was, that rum and tobacco were bad things, but that water and cocoanuts were good; that men made the former, but God made the later. I do not know how he would have come out, if the Queen had not checked him."

"His conscience and better nature were on the right side; but the temptation had been too strong for him. From all that I can learn, his earlier life had been a dissipated one; and he is only the wreck of what he otherwise would have been. I hardly know of blacker wickedness than that which would drag him down again to his former habits."

On sabbath the 22d of March, the fine whale ship Paragon,3 of Nantucket Capt. Thos. Nelson, was most unfortunately wrecked on the lee point of the entrance to the harbor while attempting to get out. It being calm [[she]] was towed by five boats. When just fairly not an Eastern breeze struck her, which with the heave[...?] wind [[swell soon but her?]] [2 lines unreadable] {page 12} left. For kind sympathy from Mr. and Mrs. Snow he publicly tendered his thanks in the Friend of Honolulu. The greater part of the Paragon's officers and crew left in the course of a few months, Mr. Covert, the 2nd mate, alone becoming a resident, who a few years after, we shall find sadly involved in most unfortunate opposition to and reprehensible designs upon Kusaien peace and order.

An incident connected with the wreck shows the first movements of Kusaien conscience on Sabbath breaking. Though the missionary purposely avoided alluding to her Sabbath sailing, when she fell into the breakers, a native said, "No good, sail Sunday; 'Spose sail nother day, all right!"

With the close of the Northeast tradewind season in April the shipping departed and left Kusaie to her usual quiet and the missionaries to an undivided attention to their great work. Sabbath worship was continued in the feast house & the King with his wife and all his family were always present unless very specially prevented. The school was continued with an attendance of about thirty boys and girls, who made very gratifying progress in reading English and singing, their teacher reporting that he never met with children so interested in learning to read and spell everything they can get hold of. At the commencement for third term {page 13} Mr. Snow adopted the rule that anyone absent three days must leave the school unless detained by sickness, the requirements of parents, or high chiefs. The step caused a very thorough reformation in the school and most marked improvement in its progress. Only two were obliged to leave the school; & one of those I was very glad to be rid of. During one of the visits of the King, he made some remarks to the children that would have done credit to the head or heart of any man. I care not what may have been his advantages. He most thoroughly sustains me in the matter of discipline and he is more severe with the improprieties of his children than with any others.

In August Daniel Opunui4 died to the inexpressible sorrow of his fellow missionaries. He had made himself very useful during his short missionary life and labor about the mission premises; and prospects [1] more direct efficiency were opening before him as he should acquire the Kusaien dialect. His christianity had won the hearts of his American associates and human wisdom would have advised that he cont[end?] long to assist in enlightening Micronesia. The readers heart will be mellowed and elevated by Mr. Snow's narrative of his death and burial.

"I will not describe his sickness. It was {page 14} not long, but it was severe. He left us at the lovely hour of sunset, Thursday, August 4th. His was that happy sleep which the righteous have while passing through the dark valley. And oh, what waking was his tomorrow. How glorious the morning of that eternal day!"

"Not so was the sleep of those he left behind, nor yet their morrow. An hour or two before he died, his wife and little babe, Mrs. Snow and myself, were with him alone in his house. We called in our little red children and bowed together before our Father's throne, and wept out a prayer to Him who alone could grant me sympathy. Not long after, the King called; and presently came Mr. Covert who has resided on the island for a few months. They remained till he died, and helped me to lay him out. As I closed his eyes, the King perceived that his head was not properly adjusted, and changed it with the greatest propriety and gentleness."

"Poor Doreka's (Opunui's wife's) grief was nearly inconsolable. I was almost obliged to force her away from the dead body, as she lay wailing out her grief upon it. And then she clung to me with an almost convulsive grasp. Her condition was most trying, with a little boy four or five months old, no Hawaiian on the island, and speaking but little English. After [1][line(s) missing] {page 15} for the pleasantness of his countenance would breathe quiet into the most troubled heart. Surely that must be a happy sleep! As she walked between us, leaning her arms upon ours, little was said, except that immoderate grief was not well on such an occasion, for our Father had done it. She heeded my admonition; for she appeared like a subdued but deeply affected child. That walk from my house to hers, in the evening, suggested thoughts of sad Gethsemane and of Emmaus; & I doubt not that Jesus drew near and walked with us."

"Of the remainder of the evening, it is hard by meet that I should speak. Not much was done or said; but that little was like the things of the inner sanctuary, under the mercy-seat, with the cloudy pillar above; for the pillar of fire could hardly be seen that night. My answer to, 'Watchman, what of the night?' would have been, 'Turn aside and tarry till the morrow dawns.' I had lost friends at home, and dear ones; but never had the fountains of feeling been so deeply moved. My only brother was taken, most faithful and affectionate. There was no one to come and fill his place. Our little church had lost its only deacon. Is this God's way of lengthening [line(s) missing] {page 16} according to human wisdom. But it was pleasant to think our little church so soon had a representative in heaven. And not only the best prepared was taken but as it appeared to us, the one we could best spare, was taken. His life had been an excellent sermon; and his death gave me a most impressive text. Many circumstances connected with his life, his sickness and his death, afford me material for the best of illustrations; so that though dead, he will speak for a long time."

"But the sorrowing, weeping night at length brought the morning. And happily for us, the duties were so arduous that we hardly had time for reflection. At daylight, I found myself at work upon the coffin. But I was early relieved of that service by the kindness of a carpenter5 residing on the island. The place of burial was next to be considered. I had fixed upon that in the night, provided the King should be willing. It was a hill upon a small island [[probably Yenyen]] on the reefs, not far from our dwelling. It is a most lovely spot 'beneath the cocoa's shade'."

"It was exceedingly difficult to speak and more to sing & pray at the funeral of an only brother. But there was such solemn and perfect [line(s) missing] {page 17} feel that we were bearing our griefs alone; though they could not understand the depth of our loss."

"How kind that our Father should have sent us a pleasant day! It looked dark and lowering in the morning. Fit emblem of the feeling within. But it brightened up; not to a burning sun, for nature kept a veil for us; and the wind hardly rippled the waters. Between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, the remains of Opunui were passed gently into a boat, accompanied by several natives and three foreigners. Then followed our bereaved sister, leaning upon our arms, as on the evening before, observing the Hawaiian custom in wearing white rather than black. And here was the dress of her bridal eve. How unlike were the scenes! And yet again how like! We took another boat with our family of little children, with the King and few natives to the boat. Hardly a whisper was heard; and the paddles scarcely stirred the the quiet waters with their gentle touch, as we passed along the resting place of the dead. We climbed the hill, saw the sacred trust deposited, breathed out the burial prayer, spoke cheerfully of the beautiful place. Mrs. Snow speaking to the thing [line(s) missing] {page 18} should love to have just such a spot for my last home" While returning, she remarked in the words of another, 'The peace of the scene passed into my heart', and turned to wipe away her tear."

"After my return, I found myself completely exhausted; so were we all. Our deeply bereaved sister expressed it best, when she said, 'Sleep a little here, but no sleep here', placing her had first on her head, then on her heart. And the repose of that night was not much better. But though the morrow brought with a new round of duties, the arranging of many of our household affairs, to suit the unexpected change that came so suddenly upon us, a few incidents in the morning helped to give a happy turn to our thoughts through the day. One was to see our sister, almost unconscious of all that was going on about her, seated on the floor, and pouring over her Hawaiian Bible, that overflowing fountain of consolation, with her little babe lying near her. Then as I was about my work, one of my little boys was going here & there, singing very pleasantly,

There is a happy land,
Far, far away;

which was all he seemed to remember of the {page 19} 'happy land'; for he kept repeating it. One of our cooks had caught another strain, and went about singing,

There we shall happy be,
When from sin & sorrow free

"This was 'God send', surely, of the happiest sort, to have our minds turned to the 'saints rest' by these 'heathen children'. If we forgot our 'song in the night,' God gave us one in the morning. He would compel us to believe and rejoice; as Christ compelled Thomas. One view after another was opened to us, till we were permitted to see a great deal of the infinite wisdom of God in dealing with us, as he has, in this deeply trying providence.

In October four American whalers with one English merchant man6 entered the harbor, and with them came the most distressing revivals of licentiousness on shore and on some of the ships themselves together with a very few pleasing incidents connected with some from other lands who stood faithful.

Public and private influence was exerted against the heathenism from civilized lands, but Mr. Snow speaks of facts "Which sent cold iron to [line(s) missing] {page 20} have we had such feelings of perfect loneliness" In a private interview with the King, which he for a time avoided, "He confirmed the report about the captains but he said that the white residents aided them. He laid most of the blame upon his two sons, high chiefs. They are ambitiously anxious to please white men, particularly captains and officers of ships. He said that Kanakas were not like white men, as they were not like white men; as they did not know how to say 'No'; that the white men were most importunate in their demands, &c. You see by this the tide they have to stem. I proposed an interview with him and all his chiefs, at their earliest convenience; and he fixed upon Saturday. He then took breakfast with us, during which Mrs. Snow expressed with tears her feelings of loneliness during the week. This also had its softening influences upon him." The same day, the King called together all of his chiefs, talked with them on the subject, approving what the missionaries had said and advised and issued his edict for them to put an entire stop to the business. Thus was good done, but as we shall see, it is the work done no one day or year, or life, to even daunt this hideous monster.

It is more pleasing to notice the visit of [half line missing] spent the most of her {page 21} time with Mrs. Snow, being the first white woman the latter had seen for nearly a year. "It was truly an angels visit & we enjoyed every moment of it."

A number of natives of different islands in the Pacific from on board the ships, one evening called at the mission house. The most of them were from Rarotonga, and added another to the innumerable instances of the renovating and elevating power of the gospel, by songs & prayers in their native tongue that most opportunely sustained the hearts oppressed by the horrors of foreign wickedness.

"I invited them to sing. It was a real treat in more ways than one, to see those hale-looking, well-dressed natives seated in our cottage, and to hear their deep & strong voices blending finely in songs of praise to our & their Lord and Saviour. After they had sung awhile, one of them asked if they might pray; when we all bowed together, and an old Hawaiian led our devotions in Rarotongan. After they had sung a little longer, one of the Rarotongans pulled out his native Testament, read the first chapter in Hebrews, and then led in prayer. I expressed to them through the old Hawaiian, who spoke a little English, the great pleasure their visit had [on us and] counseled them christian steadfastness {page 22} and fidelity, and craved an interest in their prayers for us and people. I read Isaiah 42:1..12, which one of the natives read after me in his Rarotonga Bible. We then sung our evening hymn; & I led in prayer. Thus closed an interview, which was one of the happiest mount of vision we had stood upon since we left the Sandwich Islands. Think of the contrast between a visit from those natives and one from wicked white men!

1854 opened with most interesting exercises connected with the dedication of a large meeting house erected by the King for the worship of Jehovah. It had been completed several years before, but its dedication had been delayed from the King's hope that he should be well enough to attend, - a hope that was disappointed.

Mrs. Snow thus writes of the exercises on Sabbath the 1st of January; - "The day was the first fine one we had seen for a long time. December was emphatically a month of storms, - 'real Strong's I. weather', according to the Queen. Mr. Snow spoke to the natives of the New Year, of his wish to begin the first Sabbath of it in this new house which they had built for God, of the houses they had built in [line missing] {page 22} a house for the true God, after they had heard of him. He told them how churches were consecrated to God in christian lands, & that God would accept such offerings, and meet his people at the place he dedicated to him. He then asked the people if they would like to give this house to God, and desired them, if they would, to raise their hands. They did not at first understand, & but one hand was raised. On further explaining the matter and again putting the question, a majority of the men put up their hands. Mr. Snow with his little choir of native boys chanted a piece for dedication - 'Arise, O Lord into thy rest.' This was followed by a dedicatory prayer, & by a discourse concerning Solomon's temple & its dedication, closing with an appeal that they should personally dedicate themselves as living temples. After the close of this service, the children with a few adults remained until attend the Sabbath School, which had for a long time been as regularly observed as the more public services, but which must have been now of more than usual interest that is could be held in God's own house.

On the thirteenth 13th of January, by the King's invitation, the missionaries attended one of [line missing] {page 24} ceremonies & which had taken place but once before since the establishment of the mission. Fifteen men from the main island, one of whom in particular was the priest, familiar with the incantations, came to perform their magic arts at the residence of each of the high chiefs in the islet of Lela. The following description of the ceremonies performed at one of the chief's houses is valuable as giving a glimpse of Kusaien worship of their spiritual deities, - in this case of those termed Sinlarker [[Sinlaku]] & supposed to have their residence in a species of fresh water eel, abundant in the mountain streams.

The leader or priest came first, having a wreath of bright flowers on his head & what looked like a stick with flower on the end, covered with two differently colored strips of bark, and stuck up in the hair at the crown of the head. He was without clothing save the Strong's I. sash or maro, & his body was besmeared with oil. Others had similar ornaments, though less showy. He performed the principal part of the ceremony, one other assisting in parts. The King, Queen, chiefs, and all were without any covering save the native. The first thing done was to place an old cocoanut just beginning to grow, before the chiefish {page 25} individuals. 2nd a large couch shell (Triton) is produced containing cocoanut oil and strip of cocoanut leaf to tie around the neck; also a wreath of 'paksik' and some green leaves of the arrow root plant. 3dly, Some strings of the arrowroot leaf dyed, oiled and twisted are tied around the wrists of the chief & his wife by the priest & his attendants; after which they hold on the wrists while both repeat together something which the chief himself said he did not understand. 4th, the priest takes the shell containing the oil, holds it up before the man & woman & offers a prayer. 5th, the shell is passed to the man who passes it to the woman. She took out some of the strings of cocoanut leaves to on her neck and little oil to rub on her body, and passes it back to the man who does the same. 6th, Little baskets, long as my finger perhaps, containing fish &c are placed, turned and variously replaced, while the whole is interspersed with talk closing with a sort of prayer. 7th, an ava plant is placed before the door. The chief and his wife sit on mats inside and the Sinlarker men outside. The priest held the plant erect with his left hand while he broke off the branches with the other and threw them behind him. He then broke the stalk in four pieces, which he passed around him & over his head, then [line missing, contains 8th midline] {page 26} a very labored noise.

After the ceremony ended a compensation of the services was given, consisting of native mats, Kusaien belts, tobacco, and ava. The day closed with feasting when 'everybody gave to everybody.'"

February & March, as in the year before, brought several whalers who, according to their wont, recruited here preparatory to their summer's cruise. Some of them, directly from the Sandwich Is. kindly brought letters & supplies. One of the brought the smallpox from Honolulu where it had been awful rife. Such precaution was however taken that most happily it was not communicated to the islanders, so saving them from the miserable disaster that this year overtook Ponapi [[Pohnpei]]

Though each of the members of the mission family were in March down with an epidemic fever, they soon recovered & labors in teaching & preaching were unremittingly pursued through the whole year. The school numbered thirty eight pupils, "who attend with about as much regularity as children at home; and are making as good progress as would be expected." The attendance on sabbath services averaged an hundred. The missionaries were longing for the arrival of a medical [line missing] {page 27} a christian friend, and new voice in prayer, would do our souls and our bodies good."

Is is sad to report the death of a son and a brother of the King, the first on the 21st of June, the other on the 7th of November. But saddest of all was the death of the King himself on the 9th of September. The reader will be glad of the following particulars regarding the last days of this very interesting ruler, to whom so much of the early prosperity of the mission must be attributed, and whom we could not but wish might have long been spared.

"Though he was from the first deeply interested in religious truth, he utterly failed to see that he was a lost sinner till just one month before he died. I had never been so sensible of this defect before, I was led to illustrate my views in a variety of way, such as he could most easily understand. To be told that he was lost, when apparently so near his end, evidently awakened his solicitude; for I suspect he regarded himself as doing very well, having led a life of prayer for some time. At family worship that evening my heart was drawn out to plead for him with [_ _ winted] ernestness and importunity. My feelings were, 'I cannot let thee go, except if [line missing] {page 28} their souls weeping for the King. The next morning I called to see him again, but found him sleeping. I called again after school in a drenching rain, & found him in much pain and weak. But the interview I had with him was more satisfactory than any previous one. In my journal for that day, I wrote, "The King says he felt 'no all same as before.' He thinks he had given everything over to Christ & that Christ has accepted him. At evening worship all our little church led in prayer not from any intention to do so when we bowed, but being led by Christ, as I trust. It was a dear little meeting for the disciples. Ah how glorious it would be to see this people turning unto the Lord, and rejoicing in the glory of God! O Lord, hasten it in thy time.

"The following sabbath, the King sent three men to the three most important places on the large island to see no work was done. This looked like a hopeful beginning of a religious life, though he had done something of that sort before. When I went to hold a religious service with him, I found him in great bodily distress. I prepared some black pepper tea for him, which soon relieved him, so that he was able to sit up. He was quite unwilling to have me leave until I had prayed & talked with him. Before I left, I inquired in [line missing] {page 29} me feel first rate; last night all same." I thought it became me to walk softly, when the spirit was thus teaching, lest I should quench the smoking flar[e]. On the 20th of August, he told me that when he had been in great pain, as soon as he could fix his thoughts on Christ, he was quite unconscious of his sufferings; for the joy he felt in thinking of Christ. He thought his sickness was not unto death, for he was not an old man yet, but felt himself to be in the prime of life. He seemed much interested in that idea of old Aphrian, I think it was, 'Christ is a ladder to climb to God on.' On the 27th of August, I spoke to him of baptism and the Lord's supper. He expressed a strong wish to be baptised, as soon as it should be proper; but he preferred to wait till he could do it in the church, that his people might see the act. He was also desirous to partake of the Holy Supper. There was no unfavorable change in his feelings, subsequently, that I am aware of. At one time he seemed delighted with the thought that, by & by, some of his people would be able to go to other islands to tell them of Christ as we were doing among his people.

From all these things, it may be wondered why I should a moments doubt of the genuiness of [line missing] {page 30} long and very intimate acquaintance with him, I have felt obliged to look with much suspicion upon all his acts. His passion & his weakness were to please every body, especially those whom he loved. I do not know, however, that he acted this double part in any of this last month's experience. But I greatly desired to see the genuineness of his hope put to the test of a practical life. Yet my confidence was so strong in him that if I had thought his end was near, I should have felt it my duty & my privilege to administer baptism and the holy supper, ere he left us.

Much of deep interest to us has been left unsaid. The morning we learned of his death and for a day or two before, the moistened eyes about the missionary's house seemed as when a beloved father is leaving for a better home. He was faithful to his promise, 'I will be all same father to missionary.' His dying charge to his son & the other chiefs was, 'Take good care of the missionary.'

King George's eldest son, named Kanker7 became king after him. Though not malignant toward the missionary, he was very different from his father & openly opposed the abolition of heathenism. The barriers against foreign iniquity that seemed to [line missing] {page 30} The observance of the Sabbath became less general, and the attendance on the sabbath services and on the day & sabbath schools greatly decreased.

This condition of things extended into 1855; and a severe influenza came with the trade winds of the winter season that affected each member of the mission family & probably every native on the island, sweeping several scores to the final home, & inexpressibly saddening the hearts of those who would fain save them both from temporal and spiritual death.

The great event of this year was the arrival of Rev. Dr. Pierson & wife from America via Honolulu, which port they reached on the 21st of March.8

Difficulty was experienced at that season of the year in getting a passage from Honolulu to Kusaie. But says Dr. Pierson; - "In conversation with a man, I happened to ask him if he knew of any opportunities by which we could reach Strong's I. during the summer. He replied there was a vessel in port, engaged in sperm-whaling and procuring cocoanut oil; and as the Kingsmill Group is [[in]] the region for the oil, possibly he would cruise [line missing] {page 32} this suggestion I went to see the Captain, and asked him where he intended to cruise. He replied, 'Amongst the Kingsmill Islands.' I requested if he would visit the Caroline Islands. He said 'No'. I told him I wished to find a vessel that would go to Strong's I. He said that he was not going to that region. he said that the best he could do would be to take me to the Kingsmill Is. & leave me there and probably in a few months I should find a passage to Strong's I.

He then turned & looked at me very closely and asked, 'In what capacity do you go?' I replied, 'As a missionary.' He looked at me very seriously for a minute or more, without saying a word; after which he said, 'I have a mind to take you to Strong's I., for I love the missionary work. I want missionaries to be placed on every island in the ocean; & I am willing to do what I can for the cause. Whalers have a been a curse to these islands long enough; and I am determined to do what I can for their good, so as to have righteousness & justice established upon them.' After talking with him sometime, he said that if we were disposed to take a passage with him, & cruise along through the Kingsmill [line missing] {page 33} or more of these islands, he would take us to Strong's I.; but it would be three or four months before we should arrive at the end of our journey.

This opportunity proved to be a very favorable one. Capt. Handy had for many years been engaged in the cocoanut oil trade among the Gilbert (Kingsmill) and Marshall Is. His officers and crew were equally willing with himself to take the missionary passengers. 'The first mate said, 'I for one am glad of it. We need a missionary among us; and I am willing to take them.' Another said, 'Whalers have done so much evil to the people on those islands, that I will do anything I can for their good. I like the plan, & I want the missionaries to go with us.' The other said that he was very much pleased with the proposition. And the steward said that nothing should be wanting on his part to make us comfortable. The captain said that he would give me his stateroom; & the first mate said that he would give his to the native helper who is to go with us.

On the evening of the 23rd of May at a farewell meeting held in the Honolulu Seaman's Bethel, several addresses were made, one by his excellency the Governor of Oahu, and, another by Kanoa [line missing] {page 34} accompany Dr. Pierson as missionary to Micronesia. The following is a translation of Kanoa's remarks:-

"Resident fathers of this nation & princes who have come into this assembly, great is my love to you.

I declare to you that the former condition of this nation was that of ignorance, nakedness and extreme brutishness & poverty. Now we are changed, we have knowledge, we are greatly enlightened.

"I also declare to you that the cause of my going out on this mission is on account of my exceeding great debt to the Kingdom of God. I have land & cattle, & horses, & parents, & brethren, & I have looked on all these things, but they will not cancel my debt, therefore I give my whole body & should without reserve, for this salvation, because this treasure was freely given to us, therefore we freely give without murmuring.

And we ask if you ye fathers of this people, to pray earnestly to God for us, as we sail to strange lands; for we know not the thoughts of that people; but our God is a very present help in times of distress.

The sovereign of this nation has declared [line missing] {page 35} but that the man who goes in the way of unrighteousness is none of his; therefore O Hawaiian people let our love gush forth at this word of our King.

"Farewell my dear friends, from Hawaii to Kauai. Let us not be sundered, let us cleave to one another for we have all one Father. And when we are gone do not cut the rope that unites us but hold on to us still. Again, farewell."

The bark Belle, Capt. Handy, with her missionary passengers sailed from Honolulu May 24th. Everything was done for the comfort of the passengers and every facility was given them for exerting religious influence. It was not long before "all were found very ready to converse on the subject of personal religion, & spiritual things seemed to be taking a strong hold of their minds." This interest continued to deepen till several it was hoped became true christians.

On the 25th of June they reached Nukunau (Byron's I.) of the Gilberts Archipellago, & from there passed northward touching at Peru, Taputiowea, Nonouti, Apermama, & Apaiang. On the last mentioned island Dr. & Mrs. Pierson lived ten days among [line missing] {page 35} were treated with such great kindness that it lead to the establishment of the Rev. Mr. Bingham & Ranoa there in 1857. Dr. Pierson's explorations among Gilberts Is. added much to our knowledge of that group, but as it would break the continuity of our narrative, we defer a further notice of them till they can be mentioned in connection with explorations in 1860.

August 17th, they reached Mille of the Marshall Islands, - the most southern of the Radak chain, receiving very favorable impressions regarding the island & its inhabitants. From thence they passed over to Ailinglaplap of the Ralik chain. Here they found Kaibuki [[Kabua]], the principal chief of those islands, who was ready to receive & protect missionaries, and was desirous that Dr. Pierson should at once stop with him. In the fall of 1852 two vessels were cut off by the Ralik islanders, but the people said that Kaibuki had forbidden their attacking any more vessels; & the time was palpably approaching when the missionary would find an interesting field among these dreaded savages. Kaibuki's native interpreter said, "King want missionaries all same Strong's Island."

The Kings' sister named Naimair, {page 37} accompanied Capt. Handy to Ebon & Namerik, to give orders for the manufacture of oil & that any one left with 'trade' should be protected. She is spoken of as behaving with the greatest propriety, & as wearing dresses given her with as much ease as though she had used them all her life. Her conduct at table & during devotional exercises was most pleasing. She became much attached to Mrs. Pierson & this friendship, together with those which Dr. Pierson himself made, did, as was much hoped, prove of great service to the good cause, & two years after brought Dr. & Mrs. Pierson themselves as missionaries to Ebon.

Thus briefly noticing these very interesting events, that are fully reported in The Missionary Herald for March 1858, we arrive with them at Kusaie on the 6th of October 1855; and the reader will with ourselves be glad there is no alternative but to give Mr. Snow's own report of the arrival of their long expected and longer wish for associates.

In a letter to Rev. E. W. Clark, he writes: - "Come with me a few moments & rejoice with those that do rejoice.'

Last Saturday morning October 6th, report came of a 'ship outside.' 'O dear, more trouble? {page 38} 'When will our sorrows have an end?' Still for some un-explained reason, I had an usual flow of happy feelings; so much so that I spoke of them to Mrs. Snow, & remarked that I was to have a greater trial with that ship's company that usual, or there was something very good coming of it.

The busy work of Saturday was going on till the ship made her appearance at the entrance of the harbor. My glass was in instant requisition to see what could be made of her. The survey was not continued long before I discovered a man not in sailor's rig. And presently I saw him helping a lady up the side of the ship to look out. The distance being great, I judged from the movement that it was Dr. Gulick and wife. Instantly Dove Island rung with the shout of their names. Soon there was an alternate eying of each other with our glasses, & answering each others swing of the hat. But as I met Mrs. Snow about her work I found her eyes looked red & watery, and her voice seemed failing her. In due time my boat was manned with boys, and I got nearer the ship, I found I had mistaken the man. Dr. Gulick was not Dr. Gulick, but somebody else. Yet they looked earnestly [line missing] {page 39} ordinarily interested in me, and as soon as I struck the desk, the greeting answered to a missionary's and the name, to one we had long been looking for. So many thousand questions crowd upon the mind that nothing seems to be asked, nor much answered, and yet in a few minutes we know a good deal of each other. But this won't do, we must go ashore. 'Where's the mail?' The bag & little packages are soon found, and on our way ashore I learned they had been having a blessed revival on board. The three mates had been born again, and a temperance society had been formed in the forecastle. We are getting near the little stone wharf, and the company are reported at suitable speaking distance.

But your imagination must fill up the scene whee Dove Island received the feet of him that bringeth good tidings & publisheth peace. Let us enter the cottage - the lone missionary's home those 'whose hearts & hopes are one,' are not very formal in their introductions, for you would think it be the meeting of old friends; yet it would seem they had been long separated, else why do the sisters hang upon each others necks with weeping. 'Well, talk on awhile, while I look at the letter-bag, - and [4-5] knife to cut the strings. {page 40) But the 'not yet' of my wife brings the prodigal to himself, & the knife is laid by, the Bible is sought - the family are all together - it look like family worship, except that the family is suddenly enlarged & we sit less formally than usual. The 103rd Psalm is read; I then stop to look at those whom God had sent us, remarking that I had frequently said I should want to spend the first hour in sitting and looking at them. But their faces are already familiar, so brother Pierson reads the hymn,

'Tis by the faith of joy to come
We walk through deserts dark a night,
Till we arrive at heaven our home,
Faith is our guide, & faith our light.

Then to the tune of old Heebrew [Hebron?] we sing how faith brings heaven close to us, as we tread our desert journey, & how the look of the promised land can 'fire our zeal along the .' As we bowed together to pour out our gratitude - our overflowing hearts, to our covenant keeping God, it seemed that our faith had almost reached fruition.

But now the mail bag. Of course you will not want me to its contents, except that I first learn that my dear & aged parents are yet left to [line missing] {page 41} making them the humble instruments of raising up a son to be a missionary, & that they felt it to be one of their greatest blessing, that their son had it put into his heart to go to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ to a benighted people.

After tea, the Doctor and I went on board to alter the arrangements I had made for the morrow; for the most I had dared to ask of Capt. Handy was that his ship's company, more or less, would attend our English service at my house sabbath afternoon; also that he would not furnish our King with liquor.

My dear brother, I wish you could have been with us at their accustomed evening service on deck that evening. Israel's shepherd was there, feeding his sheep & nursing his lambs. O what a mount of vision, to see the sons of the ocean, becoming the sons of the God. I had almost said, 'Now let thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.'

"At 8 o'clock in the forenoon of the next day, the boat is ashore for brother Pierson to attend his usual Sabbath morning service on board the bark Belle. My Lydia goes with them, that she may hear again the word of life from a new voice. My native service it [line missing] {page 42} had got back among us, both as to the number present and the interest manifested.

"While Mrs. Snow is attending to her sabbath school, Ketuka, a native of whom I have some hope that he is a child of grace, usually walks over to my house with me. I can hardly tell what to make of what he told me on this sabbath. He said yesterday morning he was off some way from home, on quite urgent business, but as soon as he saw this ship he dropped everything & hastened with all speed to the pilot's place; for, said he, 'me think missionary stop board that ship, me want go 'long pilot look quick.' There had been three other ships here but a few weeks before & no such interest was felt. 'Me no care nothing 'bout 'nother ship come before, but me think missionary in this ship, that what for I want go look plenty.' He was the first one up the ship's side from the pilot's boat; and seemed overjoyed at the fact that his presentiment had not deceived him.

At 2½ o'clock, in the afternoon, a very goodly number of the Belle's company are seated in the missionaries dwelling for our accustomed English service when ships are in harbor. God knows how cheering [line missing] {page 42] and encourage us in our work. I have an English service every sabbath afternoon, on the large island, at the house of the pilot Mr. Covert9, which most of the foreign residents attend, & good attention is given. The Doctor went with me to attend this service at four o'clock.

At the hour of evening prayers on board the Belle, Albert H. White, the third mate (who, when he left the Sandwich Islands, was a poor Roman Catholic Portuguese) called to excuse us as we had had so much to do during the day; but said the captain wished us to come. I asked him about their prayer meetings - what they did? He said, 'Well, we asked the Lord to strengthen us.' 'And of course he did,' I said, or made some such reply. Looking very thoughtfully, he replied, 'But we want a leader.' 'Ah, but God will lead you, & help you too; only go on.' 'Why, Doctor,' said he, 'I can pray better when you aren't with us.' 'Yes,' said I, 'you can get along better without these stuck up missionaries, can't you?' 'Well,' said he, 'I used to think missionaries was stuck up folks. I used to think they wanted to injure my appetite, but I don't think so now. I didn't think I could talk good enough for them; but I find this small simple [Belle?] is just what we want [line missing] {page 44} 'I, I can't make you seem like strangers. I feel acquainted with you now.' Dear fellow, he will know what the means when he studies John, & learns what Christ says about love.

Instead of our evening service on board, a very goodly number of the ships company came to our family worship. One of the first evenings they kept their sitting, as though waiting for something further. I then explained our mode of conducting family worship morning & evening. As they were rising to go, Mr. White remarked, 'I was in hopes we were going to have some more of that good talk.' Another incident interested me much, as showing the artless simplicity of this brother. He was their sexton on board ship, and during their religious services the big Bible used to lie on the harness cask, and that was the Doctor's desk. One day something was tumbling about deck, & someone took it up & threw it on the harness cask. White came along, as though his feelings were injured saying, 'I don't like to see that; its too sacred a place & then laid it in another part of the ship."

1856 opened with another reunion that made hearts vibrate delightfully & promoted our Micronesia work. The Rev. Messrs. Sturges & Doane, with Mrs. [line missing] {page 45} a friendly whaling captain for Kusaie, and arrived there by the 1st of January.10

Mr. Sturges write: "Just as the first sun of 1856 went to rest in a restless ocean, we found ourselves near the mouth of the weather harbor, Strong's Island. The 'trades' had been for weeks doing their utmost to make the Pacific as rough as possible; and our captain did not consent till the last moment to lower a boat to land us. Committing ourselves to the God of the sea, we were let down into its angry bosom. In less than an hour we were quietly approaching a spot on which our thoughts had loved to rest for three long years; & now what hopes! What a rush of thoughts. Shall we find our dear friends are all safe; or has death done its sad work? As we thought of the changes which twelve months often bring, of the exposure of lone families among a passionate people, we could hardly keep our throbbing hearts in their place!

A little farther along and a bright lamp is seen shining though the darkness of the night. This assures us that civilization is here. How pleasant the sight! Soon we hear, 'Who's there?' in a familiar voice. 'That's the voice I love to hear,' the stranger replies. But the father of the group again asks, [line missing] {page 46} the boat is fast approaching.

'The few moments of suspense are soon over, and the parted friends are one again. They are in each other's arms, & the long years of separation are forgotten. Two brother & a sister (Dr. & Mrs. Pierson & Mr. Doane) strangers to us when we parted, are reciprocally welcomed to the open arms of the Micronesian Mission.

Four days were spent in a business discussion of the various interests of the mission. The succeeding sabbath was a day of refreshing. And the next day they "bade farewell to the dear friends on Strong's Island, with thankful hearts & trustful hopes, having a stronger love for the missionary work and a deeper sympathy with Christ."

On the return to Ponape they touched at Pingelap (MacAskill's Island) which is but 150 miles northwest of Kusaie & Mr. Sturges report of their visit will be in place in this connection.

This group of three small coral islets around a closed lagoon only about 15 miles in circumference, was [line missing, last word might be Sugar] {page 47} Cane.11 His report of the longitude was more than ninety miles too far west. On the 29th of October 1809, Capt. MacAskill of the ship Lady Barlow reported the group in very nearly its true position.12 Till since the establishment of our mission it was supposed there might be two groups in the same latitude, & the name MacAskill has therefore been the common designation of the group, though Musgrave has certainly the priority, for there is no other island in this vicinity.

Capt. Duperrey passed the island June 17, 1824, doing however but little more than confirming Capt. MacAskill's reports & charting the results of a hasty survey.13

In 1849 & 1850 whalers were just beginning to lay off & on as they passed, to secure slight recruits & as a matter of course two sailors immediately found their paradise among them. In 1850 Capt. Obed Luce of the whaleship Roy, Warren, Rhode Island, touched & and had some slight business dealing with the natives for cocoanut oil. January 18th, 1857, he again arrived at the island on his way from Sydney to Ponape, and went on shore intending to spend the night. While he was unsuspiciously reveling in sin in the house of the foreigners, the natives came in the darkness & killed him together with the only one of the white residents who {page 48} that night happened to be on shore. It is not yet certainly known what the motives were on the part of the natives. It has been surmised that there were business difficulties; & it is still more probably that there were jealousies connected with the captain's lust, & that it was a combination of various emotions that prompted this excitable people to a deed that does not, alone, represent their true character.14

For six years this island had now been entirely avoided by ships as a dangerous place, and had been free from even 'beach-combing' influence. The missionary explorers therefore approached it in the afternoon of January 9th, with great interest. 15

Mr. Sturges writes: - "These islands, seen at a distance, appear much like other low islands, not unlike the narrow edge of a cloud on the western sky, just after sunset. The long line of breakers is the next object of interest; & surely few sights are more beautiful, especially if seen under an evening sky, after the sea has been lashed to a fury for successive weeks.

"As we approached within a few miles, the long white beach seemed alive with human beings, most of whom were carrying some object, apparently for trade. As came nearer, & saw the swarms of islanders, especially when we saw them launching {page 49} their canoes & making toward us, we must confess that our feelings were not a little peculiar. Here were the very people, that a few years ago killed a captain. They were savages, & perhaps they had not seen a white face from the date their deed of violence. But we are the servants of God, and he will give us protection. As we were surveying the fleet of canoes, our hearts went out to the degraded ones, and we could not but look around, & see if some white man was not among them, through whom we could deliver our messages of love. Imagine then our pleasure, when we found the strangers using a familiar language; & conceive, if you can, their surprise in hearing us speak in their own tongue! - (the Ponapean)

From seventy five to one hundred natives were soon on our decks, all apparently with the kindest feelings. They soon invited us ashore, & we went. As our boat struck the beach, some four hundred of the strongest natives I ever saw, gathered around us; & as many as could do so, laid hold of the boat, & placed it on dry land. The King was then introduced to us. He threw his great greasy arm around my neck, & and gave me the 'rub-nose' welcome. We all went a few steps forward, & sat down upon clean mats, under a house having no sides like all the houses which we saw. Such gazing and such buzzing are known only among a wild people, excited by the sudden appearance of mysterious beings. To a proposition to hold a short religious service, affirmative responses were given from every quarter. The commands of the King & the requests of the missionary were alike unavailing to produce silence; but as the voice of prayer arose, not a whisper was heard! We told them who missionaries are & what they do; almost all expressed a repeated wish to have on to settle among them.

We took a short walk inland, & were all captivated with the scene. Extensive cocoanut groves, breadfruit, a great variety of trees, some the new to us, and very large, greeted us. The soil in many places is good. On passing a turn in the road, we surprised a company of females, who ran away, screaming as if shot! Nearly all of any age, carried a small child. These were the only females we saw, till we had left the shore, when quite a company came down to the beach. I think I never say a people where the proportion of children was larger; we also found many very aged people. What a fact this is to urge the speedy occupancy of these islands! Our hearts ached to think of such a people falling into the hands of abandoned 'beach-combers.' Who will come to occupy that [line missing] {page 50} vessel, and seemed to be pleased with what he & and heard. We parted just as the night was closing upon us; and an earnest prayer went up that a new day many soon dawn upon this people.

We return to Kusaie. In April a fleet of more than ten Ralik proas lost their way in trying to the passage from Jaluit to Ebon. Finding it impossible to regain any of the islands of their own chain, they bore away for Kusaie, full three hundred & fifty miles distant, to which one of their number had many years before been drifted; and, strange to say, simply guided by the sun & stars they made the island! They were however so reduced by starvation, that but five canoes were able to effect a landing before they were again drifted off. Three of these ultimately landed on Pingelap, & two on Mokil.

The company that landed on Kusaie numbered about one hundred men, women, & children, several of whom died soon after their arrival, from their sufferings on the ocean. The missionaries were able to render them many material kindnesses their safety on the island depending on the missionaries from the day of their arrival. Dr. Pierson was most providentially [half line missing possibly ending with the words "with instructors"] in the dialect to which he had so {page 52} recently been designated. Several of the company were among the very highest chiefs of the Ralik chain, & their important friendship was most effectually secured. They invited him to the the Ralik Is. and were highly that he intended to settle among them.

Mr. Snow gives an amusing account of a sabbath service held near where they were living and which that day was attended mostly by Ralik natives & their King among the rest. "Not being able to understand the letter, they went through the form to perfection; for when I put out my hands to pronounce the benediction, out went their hands as gracefully as those of an experienced parson, so we had a full benediction that day."

During the summer they built one of the largest class of proas, named it Mwatalik after the islet on which it was built, and on the 18th of August, embarked in four proas for their own islands, heavily laden with all the cuttery & old iron that industry & prostitution and thieving could procure them and taking with them several who had at different times drifted in from Ralik to Kusaie. Those who reached Pingelap during the same summer also built a proa & started for their home, with an opportunity of consultation with the Kusaien party. These all, as was afterwards ascertained, reached their destination; and it [line missing] missionaries {page 53} who next year went to them.

In April Mr. Snow felt the need of a new house, that one erected by King George in 1852 having already passed its prime, and it being economy to build something more substantial than the first, several months were spent in its erection, during which the English day school was discontinued. The sabbath school and Bible class were continued without interruption and two services were held with the natives each sabbath, one at the station, and another about three miles distant, on the main island & in the very stronghold of their superstitions. The native tongue itself was the vehicle for these instructions during the greater part of this year.

Very much opposition was made by one another to the service at the second place. In the latter part of May the head man of the place, named Pose, "was out fishing, & a sword-fish struck him, leaving a part of his sword in his shoulder, which a native drew out with his teeth. This was regarded as a clear indication of the displeasure of their anut [[inut]] for allowing me to come and preach at his house. The second sabbath I found him in the greatest of suffering, groaning, writhing, grinding his teeth. He refused to let me do anything for him. There [line missing] {page 54} [would?] die. I learned that an anut - the general name of the spirits which they worship - had been there the night before & told them that Sinlarker was angry with him for allowing me to come & preach or hold meetings among them, and for breaking a tabu in cutting come breadfruit, & he would die.

"His wife told me that God had not taken care of him, as I had led them to hope he would; & now Sinlarker was killing him. I went on with my service as usual, all attending who could. After service I went back to talk with Pose. He came out most violently against God & all my instructions; said it had all proved a failure; Sinlarker was angry with him & he should die. After he had given vent to his fears and his anger, I gave him a good religious talk, assuring him both of the folly and falsehood of his religion, & telling him I had no idea he would die, unless it were through fear. I urged him to put confidence in no one but God; assured him their anut was all a lie; that Jesus Christ could save his soul, which was the great thing to be desired, as our bodies would soon fail us at best. He his attention & his outward assent, but how much heart there was in it I cannot say.

The following sabbath my reception was very cool. When I asked if it [1] to have [meeting?][a][King?] {page 55} Pose's wife, replied 'Spose me & Pose come to small island, very good for us to go to meeting; but no good have meeting on big island. Too much fraid Sinlarker. Sinlarker he no like.'"

Pose recovered his health, in spite of his sad anticipations, & a brother of his who had been sick was about again, & the sabbath services "went on as usual with tolerably good attendance, & sometimes very good & interested attention," till in October a server influenza created another panic, which did not however seriously interrupt the meetings.

The sabbath audiences at the station are spoken of as giving encouraging attention, though unattended by saving results, unless in the case of Ketuka & his wife, who have been before mentioned. Says Mr. Snow: - "If what has been true of them at times had been permanently so, we should probably have received them into our church fellowship ere this. They are a man & his wife, of middle age, and of much character. The man has been my teacher in the language during the past year. They have already subjected themselves to much ridicule & reproach, on account of their adherence to the missionaries & their faithful attendance on the means of grace."

On the 8th of September the first of the fall fleet {page 56} of sperm whalers entered the harbor, & by the fifth of October the unprecedented number of twenty whalers lay in port at once! A sentence from The Friend of Honolulu will give the reader a glimpse of the painful scenes that now opened within sight of the missionary's house on board of vessels owned in christian lands, and some of them by professing christians: - "When the first ship of this fall fleet came into the harbor, Mrs. Snow & I were making the tour of the island. Our first news from it was at day break the next morning, of men passing us in post-haste, by order of a chief, to get women to go on board ship!"

Though Mr. Snow thankfully acknowledges that there were vessels whose cases are exceptions, he writes with reference to the arrival of a certain vessel & the scenes which followed "I have hardly ever had a more sinking feeling of utter despair for our people & our cause, that I experienced that morning. All the trying experiences of the past four years came rushing in with such force as to quite unnerve me. My writing would have looked like 'Stephen Hopkins' of Revolutionary memory. But I finally took my Bible & went by the side of a noble breadfruit tree, & there read over & over the Psalm, 'How amiable are thy tabernacles, &c, and then had a sweet & melting season in prayer to the God of Jacob, with whom I felt it was safe to leave my people myself [1] all. The wicked may have [their] {page 57} season, but Jehovah reigns. Blessed, glorious truth! 'O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.'"

The general outward deportment of the sailors on shore is spoken of as orderly from the absence of grog shops. A number however deserted from one vessel, and in securing one of them he was badly wounded by the native. This produced a mob of sailors who demanded that one or two natives should be given up to them, in default of which two large houses were burned. The prompt action of the captains in getting their several crews on board before dark prevented sadder deeds.

Though sabbath service with the resident foreigners had by the own request been discontinued in the spring, whenever ships were in port Dr. Pierson preached, & Mr. Snow says:- "You may be assured there is no untempered mortar used at these services. The sober, earnest truth, the practical christianity, is presented in a sober and earnest way. To hear these things in a place so completely out of the world as this, may cause them to be remembered, when the same truths at home would be forgotten. And how different may be the future state of things here from what it would be with no such restraining influence. The native race may soon pass away but the island is here, & will be occupied and be [possible missing line] {page 58} it, and among whom it is prosecuted that a christian should be prepared for the most dreadful of responsibilities before he ventures to send his property into the business or in any capacity to take any personal part in it.

It is the saddest problem before the age how this floating world of mischief is to be met & amended; and its completion should not prove a quietus to the conscience of any. Though very many of the best of men are in every capacity from owners to men before the mast thus engaged, wealth gotten by it after they shall have realized the facts regarding it, will prove only less tolerable than the molten brimstone of hell in their pockets. Let on one deprecate the vehemence of our words, for a coming age will more than sustain them - that not that remote year when the aborigines of this whole island-world shall like the Ladrone Islands be unable to show a single pure-blooded native. Calm words & moderate, may find their place in this cause, and so must the unflinching exposure, and the thunders of denunciation, & the shouts of entreaty, & the shrieks of despair. And we beg each one to take to himself only just those words best adapted to his own case, for while we know there are some for whom firely judgments must be in reservation, there are many; - many to whom it might not at first be credited - many captains [line missing] {page 59} the horrors of the business in which they are engaged, - who are unconscious of its deleterious effects upon themselves, & all but ignorant of its destructive effects on the native race.

The population had within a year decreased from 1100 to 975. The most noted instance of mortality was that of Kanker, the King, who had reigned only about two years. "He died as he lived," says Mr. Snow, "in dissipation. He adopted & carried out his old father's principle of not allowing any liquor to be made or trafficked in upon the island; but the first question he put to every ship-master was, 'Have you any liquor?' and so long as there was any hope of getting it for his own use, there was incessant begging. The first of the ships now in the harbor indulged him quite freely, notwithstanding I saw each of the captains and urged them not to do ti. He has now closed his eyes upon us forever. "Sad end of a sad!" He was quietly succeeded by King George's half brother commonly called Caesar, whose kingship, like Kanker's was only about two years long.

Dr. Pierson writes:- "This race is rapidly passing away, and it will not be many years before the aborigine of Strong's I. will have faded from the earth. Upon this enfeebled race, one of the great scourges of the human family has been entailed, & is annually increased [line missing] {page 60} new destroyer, combining as it does with all their other diseases and aggravating them, they are fast sinking and there no human power able to save them.

Mr. Snow's own warm and affecting works on this subject, written while the fleet of this year yet lay at his door, will we may hope reach some who yet sleep over this distressing subject:- "Is it to be wondered at that our people are gone, and the race ruined?" Rather is it a wonder that any are left! At the rate of diminishing for the last year, in less than ten years the sod will cover the last of the Kusaien race! Who care? Who weeps for a lost race? Surely not the destroyers, except it be that there is no longer a work of death for them!

And with such facts, what shall we hope for in our efforts to elevate and save the native race in the Pacific? It is time the difficulties were laid open to the Christian world, and the true state of things looked at, face to face. There is darkness on the face of the deep. We need the Spirit of God to move upon the face of the waters. God says now, as he said at the beginning, 'Let there be Light!'


End Notes

1 Bark LORD DUNCAN of London, Capt Barton, in at Kosrae on Jan 5, 1853. [ABCFM 1852-1909: II, B.G. Snow to Dole, July 1855]

2 British man-of-war HMS SERPENT, Cmdr L.U. Hammet, put in at Kosrae on Jan 11, 1853, to obtain provisions and find information on fate of Waverly. Serpent remained two days. Learned details of burning of the Waverly & Harriet some years before. Received information on several whites who formerly lived in Kosrae. Fair description of the island. Notes the presence of syphilis among natives. [Hammet 1854: 62-5; Hammet 1853]

3 Whaling bark PARAGON of Nantucket, Capt Thomas Nelson, was wrecked on Mar 20, 1853, when the ship drifted onto a reef at Kosrae. [Ward 1967: III, 589, 593]

4An outline of Kosraen history by Walter Scott Wilson places Opunui's death in 1855, but the narrative above implies Daniel died in August 1853. References exist to the arrival of the Hawaiian missionary couple in 1852, and there are sources that mention Daniel Opunui and his wife Doreka. Someone with actual access to the Missionary Herald or the Friend of Honolulu, which may exist in the Bishop collection at the University of Hawaii, might be able to follow up on this matter.

5The failure by Snow to mention the name of a carpenter capable of making a coffin is curious. Local burial customs at this point apparently did not include coffins, thus one might surmise a foreigner assisted Snow, but Snow neglects to mention his name. Louis Becke wrote in his 1897 Pacific Tales in the chapter In the Old, Beach-combing Days, of a ship's carpenter who had lived on Kosrae for forty years. Louis Beck was writing travel/adventure fiction and the names and specifics of events were likely fictitious and sensationalized, yet his works were based in his real travels and encounters in the region. Becke had traveled with Bully Hayes on the Leonora in 1874, and is recorded as having left Kosrae on the HMS Rosario commanded by A.E. Dupuis in the first week of October 1874. Beck refers to the carpenter as Charles Westall, although this is surely a pseudonym. In the story Westall opposes the "mission'ries" as "hungry beggars" who "drives every other white man away from where they settles down." In the story Westall outmanuevers a one Reverend Gilead Bawl, possibly a cipher for Reverend Benjamin Galen Snow. A one Charles Ellis had deserted ship in 1832. Although there is no further information, forty years would overlap Snow's time on Kosrae and would jibe with Beck being able to observe in 1874 that Westall had left for Pohnpei after forty years on Kosrae. There exists the possibility that Snow was opposed on Kosrae by a fellow foreigner but that the death of Opunui created a temporary truce, death bringing together the small expatriate community for a moment?

6 Whaleship CANTON II of NB, Capt Henry Folger, in at Kosrae on Oct 8. Sailed on Oct 14. [Ward 1967: III, 597; Terry 1854]
British ship DUKE OF CORNWALL, bound for Sydney, in at Kosrae about Oct 10. Made for sea on Oct 15. [Terry 1854]

7Possibly another transliteration of Kanka. The son of King George, while not likely the same Kanka as in the 1828 drawing, possibly the names are the same.

8American whaleship BELLE of Fairhaven, Capt Handy, arrived in Kosrae on Oct 6 with the Piersons and a Hawaiian. Missionaries were landed at Kosrae. Ship remained at the island for some months trading in coconut oil. [Ward 1967: III, 598; IV, 365-6, 423-8; Pierson 1858: 91-2]

9William D. Covert Kosrae (1853-1857). William Covert was a whaleman from Nantucket. [The Friend, Jan 1854, 5; Nautical Magazine, 27 (1858), 451-3] He came to Kosrae in March 1853 when whaling bark PARAGON of Nantucket, Capt. Thomas Nelson, was wrecked on March 20 when the ship drifted onto a reef at Kosrae. [Ward 1967: III, 589, 593]. The second mate of the whaleship HERALD of Fairhaven, captained by Alex Harlow, was drowned in attempting to reach the Paragon when it struck the reef. The Herald had anchored at Kosrae on March 4. [Terry 1854; Ward 1967: III, 597]. The drift of the Paragon onto the reef might have been the result of an intoxicated boat pilot. The whaleship CHARLES CARROLL of SF, under the command of Capt Hunting, was reported in at Kosrae in February, 1855. In connection with this 1855 visit is the note that it was apparently Capt Hunting who reputedly gave liquor to the native who piloted the Paragon in just before the Paragon went aground two years earlier. [ABCFM 1852-1909: II, B.G. Snow to Dole, July 1855]

10Whaleship OROZIMBO of NB, Capt Lafayette Rowley, put in at Kosrae on Jan 1. Brought Rev Sturges and Doane for mission meeting. Left for Ponpae on Jan 8. [Chase 1859; ABCFM 1852-1909: II, A.A. Sturges to Anderson, 14 Jan 1856]

11 British ship SUGAR CANE, Capt Musgrave, on a passage from Australia to China (1793). Sighted two islets at 6 1/4° V, 159 1/2'E. Named them "Musgrave Is" -Pingelap. Sighted another cluster of seven islets at 6° N, 157 1/2'E. Called them "Seven Islands" --Ngatik. [Sharp 1960: 175-6]

12 LADY BARLOW, Capt MacAskill. en route from Sydney to Canton. Oct 29, 1809: Sighted three small islands at 6° 12'N, 158° 32'E -- almost certainly Pingelap. [Kramer 1932: II, 5; Duperrey 1827: 229; Horsburgh 1817: II, 521]

13 French corvette COQUILLE, Capt Louis Duperrey, on a scientific expedition to the Pacific. June 17, 1824: Stood off Pingelap for a day. Several canoes came alongside and natives traded food and loinclothes for iron. [Lesson 1839: II, 523-8; Dumont d'Urville 1825: 302-3]

14 Whaleship BOY of Warren, Capt Obed Luce, put in at Pingelap on Jan 23, 1850. Capt Luce and a boat crew of five landed despite warnings from two men living on the island not to go ashore. When another boat went ashore two days later to search for the captain, it was attacked by the natives. They escaped to the ship, but learned from the beachcomber that the captain and boat crew had been murdered the day before. Reason for the attack was purportedly retaliation against the captain for failing to pay natives for provisions he received a year before. [Ward 1967: V, 537; VI, 160, 166; Jones 1861: 155; Hammet 1854: 62-5]

15 Whaleship OROZIMBO of NB, Capt Lafeyette Rowley, in at Pohnpei in Nov. Left Dec 24, bringing Rev Doane & Sturges to Kosrae for mission meeting. Returned to Pohnpei on Jan 11, 1856, after laying off Pingelap for a day. [ABCFM 1852-1909: A.A. Sturges to Anderson, 14 Jan 1856]

Endnote on Snow's actual arrival date in Kosrae

Early on the morning of August 20, 1852, five men and five women, thousands of miles from their homes, stood at the railing of the brig Caroline, gazing at the distant outline of the island of Kosrae. They knew it as "Strong's Island" or "Kusaie," the destination they had long hoped to reach. It appeared rugged and mysterious, a gray silhouette against the horizon. Together they bowed their heads in a prayer of thanksgiving for the safe and sure leading of God.

For hours the small group remained on watch, joined at times by the other three passengers, as well as by various members of the 11-man crew. Voices were sparked with the enthusiasm of youth. The eagerness of these young people to land, however, seemed unappreciated by the sailing vessel. With little wind, progress was exasperatingly slow.

It was mid-afternoon by the time they could see breakers foam-etched along the encircling reef. Some of the men climbed into the rigging for a better look and shouted their observations down to their companions. The sun, blazing through a cloudless sky, was reflected on the water and shimmered from the metallic-green top of the mangrove swamp which bordered the shore in a thick, luxuriant fringe.

But it was not until dawn the next day that the Caroline stood off the narrow channel marking a natural passage through the reef into the harbor on the east side of the island. The passengers, their weariness eclipsed by anticipation, had remained on deck most of the night, talking softly to one another or standing silently, eyes straining toward the looming shadow. Now they were rewarded as the ribbon of coral sand that traced the harbor's entrance dazzled in the rising sun. Profuse coconut palms trimming the beach, their bursts of fronds high atop stark classic trunks, bowed outward. To the sea-weary voyagers it was a gesture of welcome.

The ship had been seen, for it was only a short time before the travelers noticed a whaleboat being rowed through the swells toward them. Six men were straining at the oars, three men of the island and three unkempt white men.

Pulling alongside, these strangers labored to synchronize the wild heaving of their boat with the pitching of the ship. The oldest of the white men grabbed his chance and clambered aboard by way of the rope ladder lowered to him. He shook hands with Capt. H. J. Holdsworth, introducing himself as David Kirtland of Baltimore, Maryland. He had been on Kosrae working as a trader since deserting a whaling ship two years before. He explained that the other two white men had jumped their ships only a few weeks earlier. The three of them were the only foreign residents on the island.

For a fee of five dollars, Mr. Kirtland offered his assistance to Capt. Holdsworth in piloting the ship safely to anchorage. Tensely the passengers watched as he barked sharp, minute directions to the mate at the wheel. The ship inched its way between the great coral heads, those craggy sentinels of the reef that pinched the channel just below the surface. Everyone on board was aware that this reef-monumental and powerful but deceptive in the luminous turquoise water-had already ripped open the hulls of at least a dozen ships.

Once inside the snug, secluded harbor that had made this island famous with seamen throughout the Pacific, the passengers relaxed in wide-eyed admiration of the beauty surrounding them. Two miles long and half a mile wide, the harbor centered a new and lovely world. Mountains rose sharply on three sides. Lush tropical foliage clung to slopes, which in places were perpendicular. With the highest peaks, the forest stabbed at the sky.

People could be seen running to and fro on the beaches, some gesturing toward the ship as the Caroline dropped anchor a quarter of a mile from the north shore. Outrigger canoes were pushed from their sheds by some who, like the group at the rail, were anxious for a closer look. But the day was Sunday, and the passengers were missionaries. There would be no landing that day. Word was sent with Capt. Holdsworth to Kosrae's high chief, King Lupalik I-known around the Pacific and beyond as "Good King George"-that the visitors would come ashore the next morning to greet him. The curious in the canoes, a few with shirts covering portions of their shiny brown bodies, paddled silently in the vicinity of the vessel. They gazed intently at those seated in a circle on the quarter deck, sheltered from the sun by a large awning stretched on the rigging. They watched as one of the strangers stood to read to the others from a large book. Then, with open mouths and necks stretched forward, they listened for the first time to hymns of the Christian faith.

The Rev. Ephraim W. Clark, pastor of Kawaiaha'o Church in Honolulu and the oldest man aboard the Caroline, led the worship service. Mr. Clark was the executive secretary of the sponsoring mission organization in Hawai'i. On this voyage he was accompanying five missionary couples to their newly assigned field of service.

Benjamin and Lydia Snow, married less than a year, were from Maine. Benjamin, 34-known as Galen to his wife and close associates-was the oldest of the five young missionary men. He had come to the islands against the wishes of his father, for whom he had been named, after graduating from Bowdoin College and Bangor Seminary. Benjamin Snow was a tall, sensitive-looking man with a short beard. His eyes were deeply set, penetrating and unswerving in their gaze, their blue magnified by the square, rimless glasses he wore.

Lydia Buck Snow was a foot shorter than her husband and three years his junior. She had already been teaching school for 15 years when she married him in September 1851. Robust and energetic, she wore her long brown hair gathered in a net at the back of her neck. Lydia had withstood well the rigors of the many weeks at sea, though at times she found herself longing for her mother, and seven brothers and sisters, in Robbinston, Maine. They had become an especially close-knit family after her father, Ebenezer Buck, had drowned when the children were young.

Another bride and groom, Luther and Louisa Gulick, sat with the Snows on the deck of the Caroline that Sunday in Kosrae's jade and emerald harbor. Luther, born and reared in the Hawaiian Islands by missionary parents, had been to Massachusetts to study theology and medicine. Now the 24-year-old doctor was anxious to begin putting his knowledge to work. Luther's teenage brother, John Gulick, and a recently married couple from Ohio, Albert and Susan Sturges, completed the American group on board.

Joining the Americans in worship were two dedicated Hawai'ian missionary couples, Daniel and Doreka Opunui and Berita and Deborah Kaaikaula, sent by the Church in Hawai'i to be coworkers in the Micronesia Mission. They looked handsome but uncomfortable in the tight, dark, voluminous clothing which they, like their American colleagues, wore.

In the harbor at Kosrae, after breakfast on Monday morning, August 22, the missionary men helped their wives into the ship's boat, anxious now to make the acquaintance of Good King George and to meet the Kosraean people. Those brave and curious islanders who had ventured into the proximity of the Caroline seemed to the missionaries to be more lithe and gentle than the people they had seen on Butaritari in the Gilberts a week and a half before. Certainly they were not the wild-eyed, hostile savages described in stories. The newcomers could not help being encouraged by the smiles, however tentative, on the faces of the Kosraeans already glimpsed.

- Elden Buck, Island of Angels, Watermark Publishing, 1088 Bishop Street, Honolulu Hawaii 96813, ©2005.

Please send corrections, emendations, additions, or further relevant information on dleeling@comfsm.fm

Kosrae