The Rev. William Richards came to Hawai‘i in 1823 as a member of the second company of missionaries sent to the Islands by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. It was a time of transition. when the Hawaiian people were faced with the difficult task of adjusting themselves to changing conditions. They turned to their teachers, the American missionaries, for guidance. They asked Mr. Richards to become their teacher, chaplain and interpreter. Richards accepted this appointment, beginning his service on July 3, 1838 (he resigned from the Mission to serve the Hawaiians).
He gave classes on political economy. “According to those engagements, l was to devote my time at my discretion to the instruction of the King & chiefs … As soon as the arrangements were completed, l commenced the compilation and translation of a work on political economy, following the general plan of Wayland, but consulting Lay, Newman and others, and translating considerable portions from the 1st mentioned work.” These classes laid the foundation for the political reforms started soon after; Richards had a profound, influence on Hawaii’s evolution towards a constitution form of government.