March 30, 1820 – Let us thank God and take courage. Early this morning the long looked for Owahyee and the cloud capt and snow spt Mauna Keah appear full in view to the joy of the animated multitude on board (11 o’clock A.M.) We are now coasting along the noth-east part of the Island, so near the shore as to see the numerous habitations, cultivated fields, smoke rising in different parts, fresh vegetation, rocks, rivulets, cascades, trees &c. and with the help of glasses men and women, immortal beings purchased with redeeming blood. We are much pleased, not to say delighted with the scene and long to be on shore. (4 o’clock – P.M.) Pass Mowe on the right. Having turned the Northern extremity of O. Capt. B. this afternoon sent off a boat to make inquiries respecting the king &c. Mr. Hunnewell, a mate, Thos. Hopoo, J. Tamoree and others, went nearly to the shore and fell in with 10 or 12 native fishermen in their canoes, who readily gave the important information that the aged King Tameamaah is dead – that Reehoreeho his son succeeds him – that the images of his Gods are burned – that the men eat with the women in all the Islands, – that one chief only was killed in settling the affirs of government, and he for refusing to destroy his Gods. – that Reehoreeho the young king, and Kiimokoo the first chief, sometimes called Billy Pitt, both reside at Owhyhee. If these are facts they are interesting facts, and seem to show that Christ is overturning in order to take possession and that these Isles are waiting for his law, while the old and decaying pillars of idolatry are falling to the ground. The moment seems favorable for the introduction of Christianity and the customs of civilized life, and our hopes are strengthened that there will be welcome. Whatever be the moral character and habits of the young king, we believe that these important particulars may with some confidence be rested on ; 1st that he is specially desirous for improvement in learning; 2nd that he has long been indifferent to Idol worship, that he is not unfriendly to the whites. Our hearts do rejoice, though we are disappointed in not being allowed to preach Christ to that venerable Chief, – and tho’ we believe we shall have trials enough to give exercise to faith and patience, yet our hearts do rejoice to hear the voices of one crying, “In the wilderness prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for your God”. (Thaddeus Journal)
March 30 – … at early morning, March 30th, to the joy of our expectin little company, the long looked for Hawaii appeared in the West. The lofty Mauna Kea lifted its snow crowned summit above the dark and heavy clouds that begirt its waist.
Our natives eagerly watching, had descried it in the night, at the distance of eighty miles. As we approached, we had a fine view of about sixty. miles of the N. E. coast of the island-the districts of Hilo, Hamakua, and part of Kohala; and as the sun shining in his strength dissipated the clouds, we had a more impressive view of the stupendous pyramidal Mauna Kea, having a base of some thirty miles, and a height of nearly three miles.
Its several terminal peaks rise so near each other, as scarcely to be distinguished at a distance. These, resting on the shoulders of this vast Atlas of the Pacific, prove their great elevation by having their bases environed with ice, and their summits covered with snow, in this tropical region, and heighten the grandeur and beauty of the scene, by exhibiting in miniature, a northern winter, in contrast with the perpetual summer of the temperate and torrid zones below the snow and ice. The shores along this coast
appeared very bold, rising almost perpendicularly, several hundred feet, being furrowed with many ravines and streams.
From these bluffs, the country rises gradually, for a few miles presenting a grassy appearance, with a sprinkling of trees and shrubs. Then, midway from the sea to the summit of the mountain, appeared a dark forest, principally of the koa and ohia, forming a sort of belt, some ten miles in breadth – the temperate zone of the mountain.
As we approached the northern extremity of Hawaii, we gazed successively, upon the verdant hills, and deep ravines, the habitations of the islanders, the rising columns of smoke, the streams, cascades, trees, and vestiges of volcanic agency: then, with glasses, stretching our vision, we descried the objects of our solicitude, moving along the shore-immortal beings, purchased with redeeming blood, and here and there, the monuments of their superstition. Animated with the novel and changeful scene, we longed to spring. on shore, to shake hands with the people, and commence our work by telling them of the great salvation by Jesus Christ. As we passed round the northern extremity of Hawaii, Maui rose on our right, at the distance of twenty-five or thirty miles.
Having gained the lee, or western side of Kohala, an officer with Hopu and Honolii, was sent by a boat, at 4 P. M., to make inquiry of the inhabitants respecting the state of the islands, and the residence of the king. Waiting nearly three hours, we hailed their return, eager to catch the sound of the first intelligence; and how were our ears astonished to hear, as it were, the voice divine, proclaiming on their hills and plains,
‘In the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord,
Make straight in the desert, a highway for our God.’
How were our hearts surprised, agitated, and encouraged beyond every expectation, to hear the report ‘ ‘Kamehameha is dead – His son Liholiko is king – the tabus are abolished – the images are destroyed, – the heiaus of idolatrous worship are burned, and the party that attempted to restore them by force of arms has recently been vanquished!’ The hand of God! how visible in thus beginning to answer the prayer of his people, for the Hawaiian race! (Hiram Bingham)
March 30th, 1820. —–Memorable day—a day which brings us in full view of that dark pagan land so long the object of our most interested thoughts. Between twelve and one this morning, the word was from Thomas who was up watching, ‘land appears*. When the watch at four was called, Honoree came down saying, ‘Owhyhee sight!’ There was but little sleep. When the day afforded more light than the moon we were all out, and judge you, if possible, what sensation filled our breasts as we fixed our eyes upon the lofty mountains of Owhyhee!I O! it would be in vain to paint them. I attempt it not. A fair wind carried us by different parts of the island near enough to discern its verdure, here and there a cataract rushing down the bold precipice—some huts, natives and smoke. I would I could put my feelings, for a little season, into your bosoms. Fo boats coming off as usual, Capt. B— thought it advisable to send ashore to inquire into the state of things, and where he might find the king. Our good Thomas and Honoree, with Mr. Hunnewell and a few hands, set off. Our hearts beat high, and each countenance spoke the deep interest felt as we crowded around our messengers at their return. With almost breathless impatience to make the communication, they leap on board and say, Tamaahmaah is dead! The government is settled in the hands of his son Keehoreeho-Krimokoo is principal chief—the taboo system is no more–men and women eat together;—the idol gods are burned!! How did we listen! What could we say? The Lord has gone before us and we wait to see what He has for us to do. (Sybil Bingham)
March 30. Lat. 20d Long. 155 W. The long wished for Owhyhee is now in full view on our left. We made the snow topt mountain of Mauna-Noa about 2 Oc. this morning. You may well suppose that after a voyage of 160 days, we were not a little glad. Our feelings cannot be realized but by those in like situation. The joy manifested by the native youth, is such as we should any of us feel to behold the land of our birth, after so long an absence.
9 Oc. We are now 8 miles from shore, and can see streams and rivulets of fresh water issuing from the mountain. Empty themselves into the sea. The country before us is beautiful, wearing the appearance of a cultivated place – with houses and huts. and plantations of sugar cane and Tarrow.
2 Oc. Sent off a boat to make discoveries. and hope they will return bearing an ‘Olive branch in their mouth.’
4 Oc .P.M . boat returned with news of King Tamahamaah’s death; that the worship of Idolatry and other heathenish customs are entirely abolished. Such glad news we were not prepared to receive. Truly the Lord hath gone before us in mercy.
We have not yet ascertained whether we may be permitted to land. (Lucia Ruggles Holman)
March 30th. Last night about 1 o’clock brother Hopoo came to my room almost in an ecstasy of joy and told me to get up and see Owhyhee (Hawaii); I-went on deck and by the bright moonlight could just discover it 60 miles from us. At daylight we could see plainly the high mountain Mahoon- ah Kaah (Mauna Kea) clothed in a thick mantle of snow. I will leave it to my friends to imagine what our feelings are at the sight of land, that land which we have long wished to see, and in which we hope to plant the standard of the cross and labour for Christ.
This afternoon we sent a boat for the shore, but it was met by some canoes of natives, who gave us information that Tamahamaha (Kamehameha) the King* was dead; Oreoreo (Li ho liho) his eldest son succeeded him to the throne. They also informed, us that their Taboos were all broken their Harais burnt to ashes and their idols destroyed. They had been at war, but now, all was peace and prosperity; and the men and women ate together and enjoyed equal privileges.’ We could, hardly credit all this, but were constrained to exclaim in the language of our hearts, “What hath God wrought.” (Samuel Ruggles)
After sailing one hundred and fifty-seven days, we beheld, looming up before us, March 30, 1820, the long looked-for island of Hawaii. As we approached the northern shore, joy sparkled in every eye, gratitude and hope seemed to fill every heart. The native youths were all animation, scarcely seeking the refreshment of either sleep or food. Hopu, though he was up all night that he might enjoy a glimmering view of Mauna Kea, after eating half a meal at breakfast table, begged to be excused, that he might go and see where his father lived.
Thursday Noon. We are now approaching the shores, & are permitted to gaze on the island of Owhyhee. Joy sparkles in every eye, gratitude & animating hopes seem to fill every heart. The dear native youth particularly Thomas & Honora are all animation, scarcely seeking the refreshment either of sleep or food. Good brother Thomas, although he sat up all night that he might enjoy a glimmering view of his native country, at breakfast after eating half a meal, begged to be excused “that he might go & see where his father lived.” We have now a full view of Mount Mowno Roa. Its top being covered with snow produces a novel appearance in this equatorial region. It is some of the highest land in the world, & can be seen forty or fifty leagues at sea, in clear weather. It is a volcano, which sometimes burns with incredible fury. — As we have been pleasantly sailing, round within two or three miles of the northern shores of the island, with mingled emotions & an inexpressible interest, have we gazed on their villages & fields.
At Night. This afternoon the Captain sent ashore to learn where the king was. The messengers soon returned, bringing the following interesting facts; that Tammahamaah was dead; that the idols of the Sandwich islands were no more; that men & women ate together. (Lucy Goodale Thurston)
March 30th. I awoke this morning at an early hour, and heard one of the officers say, “Owhyhee is to be seen.” I arose though but half past 2, & by moonlight could plainly see the Island. It was about 40 miles distant. When the morning came and the sun dispelled the shades of night, we saw the mountain of which you have heard much said. Its appearance was truly sublime reaching even above the clouds. Streams of water were seen running from it in torrents while its top was covered with perpetual snow. This mountain is Volcanic. As we sailed along and came near to the shore, green grass and cultivated land appeared. About 12 o’clock we saw several persons on the shore and not far distant a Morai, or Idol Temple.
4 o’clock. We have been sailing today within a few miles of the Island expecting to see the natives come paddling in their canoes; but none have yet visited us. Thomas Hopoo and John Honoree with several of the ship’s crew, have been near the shore in a boat, but did not land. Several of the natives were out a fishing, of whom they enquired for King Tamaahamaaha, who informed them he was dead, and his son Rehoreho had succeeded him and burnt all his Father’s idols. They likewise informed them that they had now no Taboos or religious laws, & that men & women eat together. I understand that a few years since it was thought such a disgrace for a man to eat with a woman, no one would ever eat with him afterwards; and for the woman the punishment was death. Well may we exclaim “what hath God wrought.” It seems as if the Lord had verily gone before us, and that the Isles are even now waiting for his law. Have we not occasion to rejoice we do indeed rejoice, but it is with trembling. Though the idols of Owhyhee are burnt we do not expect that idolatry is utterly abolished. We probably shall have to struggle with many difficulties and meet with much opposition before the standard of the cross will be erected in this heathen land. I am much fatigued with the labors of packing my things today and must bid you good night. (Mercy Partridge Whitney Journal)
30. – Last night at 3 o’clock I was awakened to look at the long expected island of Owhyhee. Joy again fills my heart. At 9 we were opposite Mouna-Keah said to be one of the highest mountains and the world. Its top is covered with snow which descends apparently about half of the way. Beautiful cascades are seen poring over its cliffs, & the clouds float along its sides. At 12 we were off the northern point. This is said to be the pleasantest part of the island. The boat was has now gone ashore & we are waiting to hear the news. 4 o’clock. The boat has returned. King Tamaamaha is dead, his son Rehoreho has succeeded to the throne, idolatry is destroyed & both sexes eat together. We are now about 50 miles farther to go in order to see the King. Eternal thanks to God the Lord of the whole universe. He hath broken down with his own hand the greatest barriers to our work. (Samuel Whitney Journal)