The Pioneer Company of American Protestant missionaries landed at Kailua-Kona on April 4, 1820. There were seven American couples sent by the ABCFM to convert the Hawaiians to Christianity in this first company.
(King Kaumuali‘i sent his son Humehume (George Prince) to America to be educated. Humehume, and Thomas Hopu, William Kanui and John Honoliʻi were four Hawaiian students from the Foreign Mission School that came with the missionaries in 1820.)
“While the question of our settlement was pending, we invited and received the royal family on board the brig to dine. They came off in their double canoe, with waving kahilis and a retinue of attendants. His majesty, according to the taste of the time, having a malo or narrow girdle around his waist, a green silken scarf over his shoulder”.
“Happy to show civilities to this company, at our own table, we placed the king at the head of it, and implored the blessing of the King of kings, upon our food, and on the interview. All assembled on the quarter-deck of the Thaddeus; and the mission family with the aid of a bass-viol, played by George P Kaumuali‘i, and of the voices of the captain and officers, sang hymns of praise.”
(The bass viol (sometimes called the ‘church bass’) is similar to the cello, and is played while seated with the stringed instrument is between the legs.) (In what circumstances he acquired this large instrument and learned to play it is not documented. (Spoehr))
“Apparently pleased with this exercise, and with their interview with the strangers, our royal visitors gave us a friendly parting aloha, and returned with favorable impressions of the singular group of newcomers, who were seeking among them an abode in their isolated territories.”
“On the 7th, several of the brethren and sisters visited the king and chiefs, endeavoring to make their acquaintance and secure their confidence. On the 8th, we felt it necessary to ask of the king that a part of our mission might disembark at Kailua, and the rest at Honolulu, believing that it would be far better than for us all to leave the king, and go to Oahu, or for all to remain with
him at Kailua, which he was proposing to leave ere long.” (Hiram Bingham)
“On the succeeding Sabbath, a similar opportunity occurred, when the songs of Zion, with the presence of Zion’s King, drew tears from a veteran resident, a self-expatriated American, who had not heard them before for twenty years, and who had a native wife, and a family of sons and daughters around him there, now to be taught the things of the world to come.”
“In these sacred songs, George P Kaumualii assisted both by his voice and the bass-viol. They appeared attractive to native ears, as well as to the naturalized foreigner, who had seen better days.” (Bingham)
“April 23 (1820) Sabbath. To day, for the first time, we have public worship on land. A considerable audience of European and American residents, masters and other officers of vessels, chiefs, sailors, and common natives assembled, in and about the house occupied by Mr. Bingham, to hear the sound of the gospel, for the first time on these long neglected heathen shores.”
“The discourse was from Luke ii. 10. ‘Fear not; fur behold I bring yon good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.’ The theme, the scene, the opening prospect, the dawning light of a brighter day, the incipient songs of Zion, conspire to animate out hearts, and to awaken an unusual joy in our soul …”
“… while we listened to the language of the messenger from heaven, and seemed to be favoured with the special presence of Him, who was born in the city of David, a Saviour, even Christ the Lord.”
“Our singing, aided by the bass viol, on which G. P. Tamoree (Prince George Kaumuali‘i) played, was pleasing to the natives, and will probably have a salutary influence in winning them to approve and to engage in Christian worship.” (Journal of the Mission, Missionary Herald, May, 1821)
“This George Tamoree (Kaumuali‘i,) a son of Tamoree (Kaumuali‘i,) king of Atooi (Kauai,) was for some time at the Foreign Mission School at Cornwall, Connecticut (he was one of the founding students, (Chappell,)) and went out with the first missionaries that sailed to the Sandwich Islands.”
“All the religion, however, which he ever appears to have possessed, consisted in his being able to play well on a bass viol.”
“The father of George, we are told by the missionaries, was much pleased with the return of his son, and said “he must know a great deal, in order to play so skilfully.” (The Reformer, January 1, 1826)
After the Thaddeus departed, George remained in Kailua-Kona and took Betty Davis, the half-Hawaiian daughter of Isaac Davis, as his wife, or his “rib” as he described her. In a short time they rejoined the missionary party in Honolulu, having obtained passage on the ship Neo.
George, his “rib,” and his bass viol then embarked on the Thaddeus for Kauai. Samuel Ruggles and Samuel Whitney escorted him home to his father. The Thaddeus anchored at Waimea, Kauai, opposite the fort on May 3, 1820. George kept himself concealed in the cabin until he was sure of his welcome.
The affecting, tender reunion with his father has been amply recorded. Kaumualii rewarded the missionaries and Captain Blanchard well. He supplied the Thaddeus with 50 large hogs and generous amounts of yams, coconuts, sugar cane, and other items. To the mission in Honolulu he sent mats, oranges, pineapples, and one pig to Bingham and one to Chamberlain. For George’s passage, he gave Captain Blanchard sandalwood.
In late July, Ruggles and Whitney with their wives and young Nathan Chamberlain returned to Kauai to establish the mission. (Spoehr)