The famous expression – “the three Rs—reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic”- is credited to Sir William Curtis (born January 25, 1752,) son of a British baker; the family made ships’ biscuits. He proposed it as a toast at a dinner given by the Board of Education in the days when folks were pleading for increased educational advantages for the poor. It was received with great applause and drunk amid much merriment.
Curtis was one of the principal financiers for the ‘Butterworth Squadron,’ a British commercial fleet of three vessels, the Butterworth, the Jackal, and the Prince Lee Boo. The Butterworth squadron first wintered at the Hawaiian Islands in February 1793; it was during this period that the Butterworth squadron became the first European vessels that entered the inner Honolulu Harbor.