“I, John Steel, collector of the District of Philadelphia, do hereby certify that Nathaniel Savory an American seaman aged twenty three years or thereabouts, of the height of five feet six inches, Dark Complexion, black Hair, gray Eyes, has a small scar on the upper lip, a natural reddish mark on his right wrist …”
“… Is a native of Essex County in the state of Massachusetts — has this day produced to me proof, in the manner directed in the Act entitled ‘An Act for the relief and protection of American Seamen’ …”
“… and pursuant to the said Act, I do hereby certify that the said Nathaniel Savory is a citizen of the United States of America. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal of office this fifteenth day of September 1817.”
He was born, in 1802, in the old Brook house at Byefield and “in his adventurous life, went from the cabin to the throne. He always had a desire for the sea, and embarked on his first voyage in a washtub, with a fire-shovel for his propelling apparatus, and nearly lost his life by going over a dam.”
“He was saved for greater things, however, and, after several years of successful voyaging, he made his first most notable appearance before Kamehameha III of the Sandwich Islands. He made a favorable impression on his majesty”. (Boston Transcript, August 30, 1887; Daily Bulletin, October 31, 1887)
Savory had served in some capacity on an English merchantman which in the year 1829 put in at Honolulu. He lost a finger in his right hand during the firing of a cannon salute. Having to undergo surgical treatment, his vessel left him behind at the port of Oahu.
Nathaniel Savory was serving in some capacity on an English merchantman which in the year 1829 put in at Honolulu. (Cholmondeley, Tokyo Metropolitan University) Savory had many acquaintances among the storekeepers in Honolulu, and many friends among the captains of whalers and small trading vessels to the South Seas.
From all accounts, the islands were fruitful; fish and turtle abounded; the climate was warm and genial; and the prospects of opening out some lucrative trade seemed altogether promising.
Word of the Bonin Islands had reached Hawaii, and there were already one or two of the chance residents in Oahu who were entertaining the idea of going to these newly-discovered islands and trying their fortune there as colonists. Savory, on his recovery, threw himself warmly into the project.
Plans took shape, the scheme being furthered in every way by Mr. Richard Charlton, at that time British Consul in Honolulu; and a schooner was fitted out which eventually set sail in the month of May, 1830, with Savory, Aldin Chapin, John Millinchamp, Charles Johnson, and Matteo Mazarro; they arrived on June 26, 1830. (Cholmondeley, Tokyo Metropolitan University)
Nathaniel Savory, an American citizen — but none the less under English auspices — was one of the founders of the first colony, of which he subsequently became chief, on the Bonin Islands. (Cholmondeley, Tokyo Metropolitan University)
“He described the little settlement as flourishing, stated that he had hogs and goats in abundance, and a few cattle; that he grew Indian corn and many vegetables, and had all kinds of tropical fruits; that, in fact, he could supply fresh provisions and vegetables to forty vessels annually.” (Alex Simpson, Acting British Consul for the Sandwich Islands)
After Savory established himself on the Bonin Islands, captains of whalers and trading vessels came along to see him; take news of him back to his family; become bearers of their letters to him; and it is with him that Savory’s store-keeper friends want to transact business.
Commander-in-Chief US Naval Forces, MC Perry, appointed Savory “to look after and take charge of certain live stock landed from the ship for the purpose of improving the breed of animals useful in husbandry, the pasturage of this and the neighbouring islands being abundant.”
“I also appoint you agent for the United States Squadron under my command at the Bonin Islands to look after the comfort and interests of anyone who may land at the Islands from the said Squadron and to take charge of all property belonging to said Squadron or to the United States — and you are invested with authority to act accordingly”
“One man John Smith belonging to the US Naval Service will be landed from this ship to assist you in the duties entrusted to your charge and he will have orders to refer to you for advice and instructions. I have caused your name to be placed upon the books of this ship for pay and provisions and you are consequently attached to the Navy of the United States and possessed of all the privileges and immunities to be derived therefrom.” (Perry to Savory, June 15, 1853; Cholmondeley)
“In 1854 I was elected Chief Magistrate of this Island for two years which period I served and was re-elected for three years more. I served my term and declined. Since that time we had no form of government until the present regulations published by the Commissioner the Representative of the Japanese Government.” (Savory; Cholmondeley)
“I have had the pleasure of Mr. Nathaniel Savory’s acquaintance for two months and a half during the time my vessel the Lady Lee, now condemned here, has been in this port and I can truly say that only through his kindness and influence with the other inhabitants have I been enabled to leave these Islands by having presented to me and others the vessel we trust will a take us to China.”
“He has always been ready to assist us with anything when at a loss; my wishes are that he may prosper and be happy, he is, I firmly believe, a strictly honest and upright man who will treat anyone in want of things the Islands can supply (with) strict honesty;” (William Shields, December 20, 1863)
With Walter M. Gibson, the late minister of Kalākaua, he attempted a confederation of all the Pacific islands, and failed. Returning to his kingdom, he found it had been devastated by Malay pirates, and his wife and three of his children taken prisoners. He searched the seas in vain for them, but they were not found, and he died in 1879. (Boston Transcript, August 30, 1887; Daily Bulletin, October 31, 1887)