Life in Hawaii, by Titus Coan
Copyright ©1882, 1997 (electronic edition by Edward J. Coan)
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Seedling Missions Hawaii sends out Missionaries Need of a Missionary Packet The Three "Morning Stars"
IN the prosecution of our work on the Hawaiian Islands, an active missionary spirit was developed in great strength. This was of course one of the legitimate fruits of a faithfully preached and truly accepted Gospel.
We sent a mission to the Marquesas Islands, which for years we conducted under great disadvantages. We had no packet to communicate with that group, but were obliged to charter small and uncomfortable vessels, at high prices, to carry out our missionaries with their supplies and to send out our annual delegates to look after and encourage them.
Then as our funds and men increased we thought that the Marquesan field was too small for our energies, and the idea sprang up in the minds of some of our brethren that we might "lengthen our cords’, by exploring among the numerous islands to the west, and establishing a mission in Micronesia in conjunction with the American Board.
This thought ripened into action, and American and Hawaiian missionaries were sent out. Still we had no vessel at command and were obliged to look to others to supply this want. Hence arose the thought of securing the needed packet.
I proposed that we should request the Board to call on the children of the United States to contribute in shares of ten cents for such a vessel, and that her name be the Day Star. This was agreed to, and the mission appointed me to write to the Board at Boston on the subject.
The proposal met with favor, with only one amendment, viz., that the name should be the Morning Star. The call on the children to take shares in this enterprise was popular, and it spread over many States. The needed sum was raised, and the Morning Star (No. 1) was built, manned, and provided. In due time she sailed from Boston with the prayers and benedictions of a multitude and with the old song,
"Waft, waft, ye winds, his story,
And you, ye waters, roll."
On the 24th of April, 1857, having braved the billows of the Atlantic, swept round the stormy Cape Horn, and sped half way over the Pacific, the beautifu1 schooner reached Honolulu. Thence she sailed for the Marquesas Islands with supplies; and on her return, early in July, she appeared off the entrance of Hilo harbor, dressed in all her white sails with her flag fluttering in the breeze and with her star shining in the center.
Hilo was jubilant. We had heard of her sailing, had counted on her time, and had been watching for her arrival. Arrangements had been made to give her a hearty welcome. Parents and children came hasting in from all quarters, winding over the hills and along their footpaths and filling our streets.
Captain Moore came on shore with his officers and passengers, and was met by the well-dressed and decorated children in double file, bearing a flag prepared for the occasion. With songs of welcome they were waited upon to the great church, which was soon filled to its entire capacity. Prayers were offered, hymns and an original ode to the Star were sung, addresses made, and all went off with a hearty goodwill. We were happy on this occasion to welcome the Rev. Hiram Bingham, Jr., with his young wife, bound to Micronesia, and little knowing what sufferings awaited them in those dark and distant islands.
Afterward the natives were invited on board the vessel, and as our children had given freely for the vessel, they inspected her with many expressions of admiration and delight, feeling their importance as joint owners of the beautiful packet. The people, old and young, brought liberal gifts of fruits and vegetables, fishes and fowls.
The Star remained two days and then sailed for Honolulu with the good wishes of all Hilo.
This packet, after years of service in the Pacific, was sold for a merchant vessel, fitted out and left the islands for China, but has never been heard from since her departure.
The Morning Star No. 2 was built by the funds received from the sale of the old one, supplemented by further gifts from the children. She was a larger, better built, and more convenient boat than the first and did good service. But her end came all too soon. After a successful cruise among the islands of Micronesia, and on leaving the little islet of Kusaie, or Strong’s Island, when all seemed propitious, she drifted upon the rocks and was broken in pieces. All on board escaped to the land to wait an opportunity to return to their homes.
This event seemed sad, and some of us have not ceased to think that we need, and ought to have, steam as an auxiliary motor to help our packet in calms, in adverse currents, and when in danger on entering and leaving dangerous harbors. All the important secular interests of the world employ steam and other discoveries and improvements in all the departments of science, art, and industry. We harness the lightning to our cars; our thoughts flash under deep oceans, over towering mountains, and through mid-air. The business of this world challenges all the forces of nature to its aid, and why should the Gospel move so slowly? Why should the angel that flies through the midst of heaven with the Gospel message move with clipped wings? The artillery of war moves on swift wheels to shake the nations and pour out human blood, while the old sails flap, and the lazy boom squeaks mournfully in the doldrums, as our vessels are driven hither and thither by the squalls and storms of capes that obstruct their way to the lost tribes of men. If the Lord will, I hope to hear the whistle of a missionary steamer in our waters before I go hence.
Two Stars have set in the West, and here comes the Morning Star No. 3, fairer and brighter than those which have disappeared, well built, larger and better than the other two.
The insurance money on No. 2, with another lift from the children, had soon brought her keel into the waters, raised her well-shaped spars, set up her standing, and arrayed her running rigging, clothed her with a white cloud of canvas, and run up her beautiful flag to wave in the breezes of heaven. Well furnished, with a well-appointed crew, with an excellent captain and good officers, she is now (1880) on her tenth voyage to Micronesia, taking out supplies to the laborers in that widening field, and a reinforcement, long waited for, for the Gilbert Islands.
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