imogene in hawaii, 1838
H.W. Bruce : Imogene
in Hawaii, 1838.Bruce, Captain
H.W.: Imogene in Hawaii, 1838. The Nautical Magazine
and Naval Chronicle for 1838. A Journal
of Papers Simpkin,
Marshall and Co., London.
Volume 7, 1838.
Introduction In December 1837, H.M.S Imogene sailed from Montevideo, Uruguay,
and after provisioning at Cape Horn, voyaged throughout the
Pacific, visiting the Marquesas,
Hawaii and Pitcairn Island. Captain Bruce found the English missionaries had little
success in the Marquesas,whereas those from America had a significant
impact in the Hawaiian Islands, converting many from the
However, the initial imposition of a rigorous Christian
moral code appeared to have been moderated, Bruce noting
that bathing, and the surf-board are now again
indulged in by the natives.
At Pitcairn, Captain Bruce, following a public inquiry held on board H.M.S.Actaeon
in 1837, removed Joshua Hill to
Valparaiso in November,1838. Hill had had arrived
from Tahiti in 1832 and, becoming increasingly mentally
unbalanced, exercised a dictatorial rule over the islanders
until he was overthrown in 1834, no longer exercising
any power.until his removal in 1838.
ORIGINAL PAPERS. SEPTEMBER,
1838. A WINTER PASSAGE ROUND CAPE HORN,
and Visit to the Marquesas Islands, by Her Majesty's
Ship Imogene CAPTAIN H. W.
ON the 27th December last, we rode out a heavy "Pampero,"
or S.W. gale, off Monte Video, between the two bower
anchors, moored with the swivel, 50 fathoms on each cable,
in 18 feet water; topmasts struck, and a very heavy sea
The ship rode easy; and H.M.S. "Fly," which was close to
us, appeared to do so too.
The strength of the gale lasted about eight hours, and was
succeeded by fine weather.
The Christian religion is now generally
prevalent among them, the marriage state is respected, and
infanticide is unknown; yet the decrease in population is
very great, there are about thirty-four births to ninety
deaths, the sum-total of the islands being now estimated at
108,000, while in 1832 it was 129,000.
The impure disorders originally brought here by civilized
people are found, though not in so virulent a state, as at
the Marquesas; and that most prevalent at Oahu, is of the
least pernicious kind of the two.
There are few English residents, but a number of disorderly
seamen from the whale-ships that frequent the islands, who
the most part dissolute and uncontrolable, and would require
the constant vigilance of a ship of war to do justice,
between the native government and them; frequently
endeavouring to desert from their ships, and being a source
of continual trouble.
The Americans who are still more numerous, bear their share
in these disorders.
There are no English missionaries on these islands, but 140
Americans with their families.
The native church has a large congregation,
about 3000; and the Bethel
chapel, where the Rev. John Diel of the American independant
(sic) church officiates, is well attended. The
labours of these missionaries have been eminently
successful, as is evinced by the advanced state of religion
which prevails; they seem to be men whose lives are
dedicated to that object, and if they conceived, a rigid
system of inculcating religious pursuit to have been
originally indispensible, they now encourage as inseparable
from true religion, the acquirement of habits of industry,
and they teach general knowledge and the arts, and are
desirous that the royal family and chiefs should have the
advantage of instruction in political economy, which they so
much require, to regulate their intercourse with the nations
of the world, as well as to improve the condition of their
Bathing, and the surf-board are now again
indulged in by the natives.
The schools are in a flourishing state; 150 girls and 80
boys are regular in their attendance at the missonary school
where religion, science, history and geography are taught,
and the chiefs have also schools in their enclosures for
those who cannot attend the former; and another school
independent of the mission, has from sixty to one hundred
scholars, instructed with great judgment and care, as well
in religion, as in every useful acquirement.
The king Tamehameha the third, by Kanikeaouli, as also,
Kinau, queen dowager his half sister are strongly attached
to the English; they are professing christians, and the king
attended divine service on board
the Imogene, the only Sunday that he was in port
The Nautical Magazine
and Naval Chronicle for 1838.
A Journal of Papers Simpkin, Marshall and Co., London.
Volume 7, 1838.