Source Documents
captain bruce : imogene  in hawaii, 1838 

Captain 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.

Hathi Trust

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 royal households.
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.

Henry William Bruce
HMS Imogene (1831)

Page 577
and Visit to the Marquesas Islands, by Her Majesty's Ship Imogene


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 setting in.
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.

Page 653

[At Honolulu]
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 are for
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,

Page 654

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 own.
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 with us.

The Nautical Magazine
and Naval Chronicle for 1838.
A Journal of Papers
Simpkin, Marshall and Co., London.
Volume 7, 1838.

Hathi Trust


Geoff Cater (2017) : Captain Bruce : Imogene in Hawaii,1838.