Author: Hammatt, Charles H.
Charles H. Hammatt arrived in Honolulu in 1823 anxious to do business, not to save souls. Young, confident, and ambitious, Hammatt had been entrusted by a mercantile firm in Boston with the delicate task of negotiating trade agreements with Hawaiian royalty to secure sandalwood for the China Trade. “We have no fears of your falling into any of the vices you will find at the Islands”, his employers wrote in their detailed instructions, but it may be well to reflect on them, to be better prepared to reside in a Society where indolence, intemperance, debauchery, and gambling are so fashionable.
Hammatt remained in Hawaii long enough to form his own opinion about native society and the odd mix of miscreants and missionaries that populated the largest port in the Pacific. His personal and business dealings brought him into close contact with a wide range of people, from king Liholiho (Kamehameha 2), and his wary ministers to unscrupulous harbor merchants and sea captains and other Yankee rogues. From time to time Hammatt also found himself among polite missionary society. He diligently recorded his encounters and observations in his journal, which, published here for the first time, provides an unexpected and intimate glimpse of life in frontier Hawaii less than half a century after Cooks arrival.