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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The American Frontier in Hawaii: The Pioneers, 1789-1843.
By Harold W. Bradley. Stanford University, Calif. (Stan-
ford University Press), 1942. Pp. xi+488. $4.50.
The author might as appropriately have entitled this book
Hawaii: The Crossroads of the Pacific, for his theme is a dual
one, showing the early realization of the importance of Ha-
waii's location and making clear that Hawaii was the farthest
American frontier as early as 1800.
Yankee traders, seeking new routes of trade in the period
after the Revolution, did not need a "Pearl Harbor" to convince
them of Hawaii's strategic location. A brief reference in the
official account of Captain Cook's last voyage of 1784 that the
"Chinese merchants of Canton had shown more than a casual
interest in furs" was enough to take these enterprising New
England shipmasters to the North Pacific; they did not fail
to take advantage of the Sandwich Islands as a port of call
for supplies and possible trade. The first ship flying the Amer-
ican flag, the Columbia, touched at these islands in August,
1789; within ten years the majority of vessels found in Ha-
waiian ports flew the flag of the United States. Only a global
map will show the reader what these early sea captains knew:
that ships from the east coast of the United States, bound for
California, Oregon, Alaska, Japan, or China, must pass within
calling distance of Hawaii.
Whalers, traders, and adventurers were not the only New
Englanders to discover quickly and take advantage of the op-
portunities which these islands offered. The first group of
Calvinist missionaries was sent out by the American Board and
arrived on March 30, 1820, under the leadership of Hiram
Bingham and Asa Thurston. They arrived at a propitious
time, for contact with foreigners had broken down the kapus of
the native religion. With characteristic zeal these pioneer
preachers set about to transplant Puritan blue laws to the land
of the hula. In this they had to contend with not only the
pleasure-loving nature of the Hawaiians but also the bitter
enmity of the foreign business men who resented the soon pow-
erful influence of the missionaries. "Although few in number,
they were destined, by precept and example, to mold the char-
acter and habits of thousands of Hawaiians and to play a
major role in the evolution of the political and social institutions
of the islands."

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146054/. Accessed September 30, 2014.