Westward by Sea: A Maritime Perspective on American Expansion, 1820-1890
Log of Mystic Seaport: Four Essays
Honolulu-No. 9 Sad Accident "
by Mark Twain
Reprinted in the Log of the Mystic Seaport
At the age of thirty-one, the American writer Mark Twain was hired to work as a traveling journalist for the Sacramento Daily Union. In 1866, he was assigned to the Sandwich Islands (now the Hawaiian Islands) to determine why Honolulu was more successful than San Francisco as a whaling port. Twain observes the seafarers' dialects with humor and accuracy and provides a list of terms and definitions that explains common seafaring language of the day.
in a Foreign Land..."
by Richard C. Malley
Reproduced with kind permission of the author
In a series of letters written to her eleven-year-old daughter, Mary Elizabeth Rathbun Stark offers a rare glimpse of Honolulu during the crucial decade of the 1850s. Stark was presented with the opportunity to journey to the Hawaiian Islands when her husband, Henry S. Stark, was given command of the medium clipper B.F. Hoxie, newly built at Mystic by Maxson, Fish and Company. Throughout her journey, Stark's attitude remains refreshingly open and she makes keen observations about the islands' flora, fauna, and people
Fourth of July"
by Charles Schultz
Reproduced with kind permission from the author
The California gold-seekers of 1849, also known as the Forty-Niners, abandoned the seafaring tradition of not celebrating holidays at sea. This article describes their observance of holidays, particularly American holidays such as the Fourth of July. The boisterous festivities included toasts, special meals, the firing of salutes, dances, and a cheerful racket of musical instruments.
Decency and Order: Women and Whalemen in the Pacific"
by Joan Druett
Reproduced with kind permission from the author.
Cultures clashed when whaling ships from the Eastern Seaboard of the United States visited the South Pacific islands in the mid-nineteenth century. There, American seamen encountered cultures that seemed to them to have social mores considerably less strict than their own. Through correspondence and journal entries of the era, this article explores the influence that seamen's wives had on the behavior of men at sea. Wives of captains who accompanied their husbands to sea were likely to observe cultural practices very alien to their own. The nineteenth-century belief in women's moral superiority was tested and reaffirmed by men such as Charles W. Morgan, who concluded, "There is more decency on board when there is a woman."