Over the course of a little over 40-years (1820-1863 – the “Missionary Period”), about 180-men and women in twelve Companies served in Hawaiʻi to carry out the mission of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) in the Hawaiian Islands.
A few of the missionaries left the mission and ultimately worked for the Hawaiian Government; for the most part, they left the mission because the King asked for their assistance working directly for the Kingdom. These included William Richards, Gerritt P Judd, Lorrin Andrews and Richard Armstrong.
On October 30, 1822, William Richards married Clarissa, daughter of Levi Lyman, of Northampton, Massachusetts. On November 19, he, with his wife, joined the Second Company of American Protestant missionaries to Hawai‘i. After five months at sea they reached Honolulu on Sunday, April 27, 1823.
In May 1823, Richards and others escorted Keōpūolani (wife of Kamehameha I and mother of King Kamehameha II & III) and her husband Hoapili to Lahaina and set up the Lahaina Mission Station there.
In 1837, after fourteen years of labor, he made a visit to the US, accompanied by his wife and the six oldest children. The health of himself and his wife made such a change desirable, and he wished to provide for the education of his children there. On his return to his post in the spring of 1838, the king and chiefs, asked Richards to work directly with them.
Richards translated Dr Francis Wayland’s ‘Elements of Political Economy’ into Hawaiian and organized discussions with the Chiefs on constitutional governance. Richards was instrumental in helping to transform Hawai‘i into a modern constitutional state with a bill of rights (1839) and a constitution (1840.)
In 1842 he went abroad with Timoteo Haʻalilio as a diplomat seeking British, French and US acknowledgment of Hawaiian independence. William Richards later became the Minister of Public Instruction in 1846, an office which gave him a seat in the King’s Privy Council. and worked with the legislature to make education a legal mandate.
As a member of the Cabinet, he had a larger influence with the young king, probably, than any other persons. In addition to the discharge of the ordinary duties of a Cabinet officer, he preached regularly at the palace on Sunday evening.
On July 18, 1847, while he was at the palace he was suddenly attacked by illness which was brought on by overwork and which led to his of death (November 7, 1847 – at the age of 54.) “Perhaps no man has ever shared more largely in the affections of the Hawaiian people than did Mr. Richards.”
Gerritt P Judd
Judd was a medical missionary, part of the Third Company of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission (ABCFM.) Dr. Judd was sent to replace Dr. Abraham Blatchely, who, because of poor health, had left Hawaiʻi the previous year.
Judd had originally come to the islands to serve as the missionary physician, intending to treat native Hawaiians for the growing number of diseases introduced by foreigners. He immersed himself in the Hawaiian community, becoming a fluent speaker of Hawaiian.
By letter dated May 15, 1842, Kamehameha III and Kekauluohi stated, “Salutations to you, GP Judd. You have been appointed Translator and Recorder for the Government, and for your support and that of your family, we consent that you be paid out of the Government money seven hundred and sixty dollars per annum, to commence from this day.”
As chairman of the treasury board Judd not only organized a system, he also helped to pay off a large public indebtedness and placed the government on a firm financial footing. In November 1843, Judd was appointed secretary of state for foreign affairs, with the full responsibility of dealing with the foreign representatives. He was succeeded by Mr. RC Wyllie, in March 1845, and was then appointed minister of the interior.
In 1846, Judd was transferred from the post of minister of the interior to that of minister of finance (which he held until 1853, when by resignation, he terminated his service with the government.)
In 1852, Judd served with Chief Justice Lee and Judge John Ii on a commission to draft a new constitution. He wrote the first medical book in the Hawaiian language. Later, Judd formed the first Medical School in the Islands (the school had a Hawaiians-only admissions policy.) Judd participated in a pivotal role in Medicine, Finance, Law, Sovereignty, Land Tenure and Governance in the Islands. Gerrit P Judd died in Honolulu on July 12, 1873.
In November of 1827, Andrews and his wife of three months, Mary Ann, set sail for the Sandwich Islands in the Third Company of missionaries sent to Hawaii by the ABCFM; after a long and unpleasant journey, the party arrived in Maui in March of 1828. Lorrin Andrews became the assistant to Rev. William Richards at Lāhainā and began teaching.
In 1831, the General Meeting of the ABCFM recognized the need for an institution of higher education to train native teachers and other workers to assist in their missionary efforts, resulting in the establishment of the Lahainaluna Seminary.
The seminary was literally built from the ground up by its founding group of twenty-five scholars and Lorrin Andrews became its first principal. In 1834, Andrews had established a printing operation onsite at Lahainaluna. Ultimately, printing was done in Hale Pa‘i (which still stands today.) Lorrin Andrews is credited as the man most responsible for the development of engraving done at Lahianaluna.
Andrews wrote ‘A Vocabulary of Words in the Hawaiian Language.’ “At a general meeting of the Mission in June, 1834, it was voted, ‘That Mr. Andrews prepare a Vocabulary of the Hawaiian Language.
Andrews left the mission in 1842. He left the mission as a matter of conscience because the board in New England had accepted funds from slave owners. Also, in part, it was due to his concern for education of his children.
“On September 19, 1845, Governor Kekūanāo’a appointed former missionary Lorrin Andrews to be judge of foreign cases. Andrews had taught at the mission school at Lahainaluna and was an accomplished scholar of the Hawaiian language. He was not trained in law but was a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.”
“His role in the courts was to initiate internal procedural uniformity. He began by issuing a “Lex Forti” containing twenty-one rules of practice. Although there were only three lawyers at this time practicing besides Attorney General John Ricord, who undoubtedly drafted the rules, this was the beginning of the internal regulation of the courts. Andrews handled his duties carefully and quietly and did not become notorious or a subject of diplomatic correspondence.”
Richard Armstrong was with the Fifth Company of missionaries; they arrived on May 17, 1832. Armstrong was stationed for a year at the mission in Marquesas Islands; he then replaced the Reverend Green as pastor of Kaʻahumanu Church (Wailuku) in 1836, supervised the construction of two stone meeting houses one at Haiku, and the other at Wailuku. Reverend Green returned to replace Armstrong in 1840.
Between 1836 and 1842, Kawaiahaʻo Church was constructed. Revered as the Protestant “mother church” and often called “the Westminster Abbey of Hawai‘i” this structure is an outgrowth of the original Mission Church founded in Boston and is the first foreign church on O‘ahu (1820.)
Kawaiahaʻo Church was designed and founded by its first pastor, Hiram Bingham. Bingham left the islands on August 3, 1840 and never saw the completed church. Reverend Richard Armstrong replaced Bingham as pastor of Kawaiahaʻo.
Armstrong was pastor of Kawaiahaʻo Church from 1840 to 1848. In 1848 Armstrong left the mission and became Minister of Public Instruction on June 7, 1848, following the death of William Richards. Armstrong was to serve the government for the remainder of his life. He was a member of the Privy Council and the House of Nobles and acted as the royal chaplain.
He set up the Board of Education under the kingdom in 1855 and was its president until his death. Armstrong is known as the “the father of American education in Hawaiʻi.” The government-sponsored education system in Hawaiʻi is the longest running public school system west of the Mississippi River. To this day, Hawaiʻi is the only state to have a completely-centralized State public school system.
Armstrong helped bring better textbooks, qualified teachers and better school buildings. Students were taught in Hawaiian how to read, write, math, geography, singing and to be “God-fearing” citizens. (By 1863, three years after Armstrong’s death, the missionaries stopped being a part of Hawaiʻi’s education system.)