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USA - Hawaii 1849

Folded letter datelined Honolulu nov. 14 th 1849 to Wilbraham, Mass., carried by the merchant ship Montreal to the United States, where it entered the mails with blue "New Bedford, Ms./Apr 5" datestamps and matching "SHIP" handstamp, with ms. "7" due after a long voyage of 143 days via Cape Horn, fresh and very fine.

In his letter, Lowell Smith, who had been sent to the Sandwich Islands by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, writes on the comings and goings of the missionaries. That many will be returning the the U.S. on the merchant ship Montreal which is now loading and that: "A year ago this nation was visited with the measles & whooping cough, which proved to be a most distressing and fatal epidemic. It swept of I presume a least ten thousand of the poor natives, embracing nearly all the infants & young children." In closing he writes "In August the French came on shore here & took possession of the fort, spiked all the guns on the fort, broke open the magazine & destroyed all the muskets & powder. Smashed in the doors & windows of the Gov´s house. Took the Kings Yacht (Kamehameha) worth $10,000 & cleared out. And Dr. Judd & two young chiefs have gone to the U.S. & England, & France to get redress...The mail will be left at New Bedford."

This intrusion was the last by the French to force recognition of Catholicism and to lower tariff rates on French wines and trade in general with the French government. Up to 1839 Catholic missionaries had been ordered out of the islands by the Regent Kaahumanu and a majority of the chiefs. The King´s yacht was never returned.

Hawaii 1849

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