by Jeffrey Bingham Mead
In the summer of 1807 in the hills of Massachusetts, a group of Williams College student sought shelter from an oncoming thunderstorm in a haystack. As innocent as that sounds, this meeting would spark the beginnings of the American Foreign Mission Movement.
Half a world away, on the shores of Kelakekua Bay off the Kona coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, a young Hawaiian boy named Opukahaia would swim to an American ship, join its crew, see the world, end up converting to Christianity, receiving a New England education, and die in Cornwall, Connecticut. Opukahaia's death was the catalyst for missionaries to journey to the Hawaiian Islands in the heyday of the Second Great Awakening. History was changed.
The impulse to do good included our nineteenth century Mead ancestors. They participated in local and foreign mission enterprises, believing in perpetuating a Protestant commonwealth that, they hoped, would encompass the world. They founded churches, and corresponded with some of those that left the shores of New England who never returned to the land of their birth.
Perhaps no one in nineteenth-century Greenwich personified the fervor and dedication to that goal than Deacon Silas Hervery Mead of North Greenwich. He was born on December 12, 1796, and later married Harriet, the daughter of Jehiel Mead on January 2, 1816. Until his death on December 14, 1878, his adult life was consecrated to the North Greenwich Congregational Church, of which he was one of the founders and Life-Deacon. He was an ardent abolitionist, temperance man, and kept a keen interest in the cause of foreign missions from his farm near the church. The house he built still stands today.
One of the missionaries he kept in some contact with was Horton Owen Knapp. He was born on March 21, 1813 in the Round Hill section of town. Knapp expressed a desire to go to Hawaii, then known as the Sandwich Islands, on mission work as a teacher. His bride, a requirement of all missionaries, was Charlotte Close.
In Knapp's ‘autograph book’ in which family and friends expressed their farewells in writing, Silas Hervey Mead wrote the following, dated August 1836:
We have often met in the same prayer meeting and there united in prayer and praise to our Heavenly Father, and in the same Meeting House and there united in worshipping God, and around the same table there to commemorate the dying love of that Saviour who went about doing good, and has commanded his followers to imitate him in all his imitable perfections, who has commanded go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature and who is now risen and is at the right hand of God interceding that sinners may live.
This our meeting together and other things makes your countenance very familiar to me, and really binds you to me in the most tender ties of affection.
But the time is come when our spheres of action must be far distant. You are soon to leave for a heathen land where it seems that your room for labor will be greatly enlarged. And now brother be faithful to the heathen where you go, and do all that you can for their salvation. Be faithful to your own soul and to that God who has said "I will never leave you nor forsake you," and you will find by your own experience that promise verified.
Go Brother, determined to know nothing save Jesus Christ and Him crucified and you will find yourself paid an hundredfold in this life and in the world to come life everlasting.
Perhaps the missionary he kept in most contact with was Amos Starr Cooke. He was born in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1810. He was recruited for mission work by his borther-in-law, Rev. Chauncey Wilcox of the North Greenwich Church, to serve as a teacher. Cooke and his wife taught school in Honolulu for two years before being asked by the alii, or the Hawaiian royal family, to set up and serve as teachers in a special school reserved for the young royals. He was one of the founders of Castle & Cooke, one of Hawaii's "Big Five" conglomerates. Cooke died in 1871.
A letter from Silas Hervey Mead, dated June 8, 1840, was sent to Cooke in Honolulu
I have very unexpectedly received a letter from you, I say unexpectedly because you have been gone so long and I had not received any communication from you. I had given up the hopes of receiving any. But to my almost surprise last week I received your letter of Jan. 13th 1840. I was delighted to have this evidence that you had not forgotten an old friend. I read it over and thought I would sit right down and answer but business has put it off till now. And as I expect to go to New York tomorrow to get Brother Knapp's big fiddle I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to carry it to the Agent so I would now set about writing.
I did think that I would give you my opinion fully on all those questions you propounded but perhaps it is not best it may only make bad worse. You must not think that I am an idle spectator to what is going on in North Greenwich. Let me tell you that it is not easy to see that little church die and placed so that I cannot do anything to help it, that spirit that had commenced a very little before you left has increased ten fold so that now if anything is attempted to build up there is nothing to bad to report about the individual. Sometimes he is accused of boasting, sometimes of robbing God of the glory of the salvation of sinners, sometimes of being a hypocrite, and so on. I believe there is but two sins that Mr. Savage or myself or both of us has been accused of, the one of them is murder and the other drunkenness. I believe every other sin that can be thought on we have been charged with, so you will see that our influence at home is not much, yet I hope we are not idle.
We attended one meeting at Middle Patent and another at North Castle, the one at North Castle has been very interesting. For above a year the number that has attended has been never less than thirty. I should think it would average about fifty.
There has been as we believe one conversion and for the last four months I could spend as much time as I chose in religious conversion with the people in that tract District, there has been many I should think under conviction.
O! Brother you cannot tell how my heart has yearned over these dying souls. The field seemed to me to be already white to the harvest but nobody to reap. They have pretty much given up coming to the meeting house to meeting but now summer has come and we have decided to distribute no more tracts, what will become of them I don't know.
Brother, pray for us that God would teach us what to do and what to speak to that people. Mile Square has been abandoned for some time.
You asked if we forgotten to pray with the deepest humility, I would say that there was a secret prayer meeting held which I attended and in the revival that I mentioned in Brother Knapp's letter all our petitions were granted but one, or in other words all those who we made subjects of prayer were converted as we trust but one. And the last one that was converted I never see nor heard of a more particular answer for while he was determined not to yield nor would he allow that he felt on the subject of his soul salvation, yet some of his friends felt positive he would be converted. And thanks be to God he did not hear prayer and answer in spite of the fellow. So far as Mrs. Mead is concerned she told Mr. Wilcox at the outset she thought herself a Christian but she does not make a public profession of religion.
My class in the Sabbath School numbers five, all profess religion but one. Three were brought in last spring.
And now let me enquire how you are a getting along in the Sandwich Islands. It has seemed to me that you had nothing to trouble you, no professing Christian afraid you would do too much for Christ and so try to spoil what you was doing. But on the contrary each helping the other on in the great work and the best of all God pouring down his spirit and showing his power and goodness and mercy in bringing to repentance multitudes of those around you. What a sight, I almost wished for the wings of an eagle that I might fly to those happy seats. Perhaps you will it is not all (papping) here but you must admit it must be and is and ever will be happiness in the strictest and highest sense of the word to see mankind by tens and hundreds and thousands coming into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
And now Brother I want you should write just as particular to me about the Sandwich Islands as you want me to write about North Greenwich. Write just as though you had written to no one else. If I should read in another letter what you might write to me I should feel as proud of it as though I had never seen it before.
And now Brother Cooke I want you to know yes I feel anxious about the brandy & Roman Catholics, what is to be the result of the outrage committed on the Islands? It seems to me that you need great faith to very persevering in prayer and faithful to that God who is able to deliver, who is able to protect & defend at all time and who has promised to be with you unto the end.
To conclude, I must beg you to pray for me, pray that I may do just exactly what God would have me do, that my will may be wholly bound up in his will.
This from you friend and Brother, Silas H. Mead
On November 24, 1840, Cooke replied to Deacon Silas Hervey Mead:
You have replied so promptly to my first communication that I will improve the present opportunity to acknowledge the receipt of your (Dated June 8th) this day. Yours with one from my niece in New York are the only letters I have received by this opportunity. Mrs. C has received eight, it is generally in that proportion we receive letters from home: Just as our letters were sent to us, I went over to Bro. Knapp's & read your letter to him & one from Jared- also, heard, read four sheets from Sister Knapp's younger sister Sarah.
When others are getting so many letters & I so few I almost resolved I will not write anymore until I receive more returns.
But a convenient opportunity occurs to send & I think perhaps the next arrival will bring me many long communications, so down I sit & inflict a letter, or letters, upon someone. But as yet I have been disappointed, & the fact of your noticing my letter so soon compels me to write now this ( ) especially I am over run with cares: for on Saturday last (21st) Mrs. C. presented me with a little daughter, & I do her works in some things-nurse her & the two children, attend school with our family of twelve, and now getting some letters ready for a vessel that expects to sail this week for New York. We as a mission are much in the same condition that we were last week with the enemy in our midst sowing tones.
But blessed be God, that they were not sown until the wheat had something of a start, & in many cases, had produced good fruit. There has been quite a rush for the new religion, but in many places it is dying away & growing unpopular. In others, however, it is increasing & the issue we know not, except that it is smitten "He shall rule till he hath subdued all nations under his feet." Here at Hon. we mind but little about them, keep the work going, sowing beside all waters, particularly pressing children into schools, circulating the Scriptures. No regards myself I have never fallen with a priest nor with any of their disciples, neither am I anxious to do so, because it would be useless for as a general thing, I believe, those who go after such delusions are those who are given up to believe a lie that they be damned.
Brandy has had unlimited sway through the Islands & has produced its legitimate effects- converting men into demons & women into sluts (They were quite enough so before). But it has enriched the French Consul who has made a fine speck by importing brandy & scattering it all over the various islands- "but his mischief shall return upon his own head, & his violent dealing shall come down upon his own fate." He has been very mute since the arrival of the U.S. Exploring Squadron. Many of the Officers are strong temperance men, especially the two lieuts., Wilkes & Hudson, who have been troubled some with their men getting drunk. They charge it all upon the French Consul & he rather writhes under it.
Indeed, some who encouraged him once are now turned against him. What Louis Philip will say I know not. We are very anxious to hear from France. We hope the vessel now arrived from New York has papers to that effect or we shall expect some by way of Mexico, as a vessel from the Coast is daily expected. Since the arrival of the Squadron, say 10 or 12 weeks since, we have had more quiet times. These two men mentioned above used to go about the streets nights on purpose to see the influence of liquor among us. They were perfectly disgusted & have advised the King & Chiefs to suppress it. The Squadron leave us next week & we shall expect a riot again. We hope Catholicism & Brandy will work their own destruction, but we cannot tell. The King has passed a law prohibiting the manufacture of any vegetable into rum, & I understand the Frenchman's brandy is almost gone.
Perhaps however the Thos. Perkins has brought a new supply. As you remarked in your letter to Brother K., Catholicism & Brandy go nice together. The latter is a powerful Spirit to help in their work of deluding souls. The former was introduced among us in her real garb, under cover of Cannon & ball. But we use no such weapons, tho' ours are mighty through God to the pulling down of Strong holds. God has done great things for his people, & some realize it, but he is ready to do still greater things than these if we will go forward relying alone on his arm for success. He can save by many, or by few, & we hope he will still work a great work for this people, even tho opposed by the "man of sin."
The King has lately issued as law requiring children to go to school, & parents to assist in the support of native teachers.
We hope mush from this. These laws will affect Bro. K's schools more than the one in our hands, I refer to our School of Chief's Children. These children have now been in our family six months. They are happy & contented with us, & are very healthy, which goes far to render our establishment popular among the parents. Some of the parents are very much interested in our school. It is a severe trial to them, however, to be separated as they are from their children, but they are willing a trial should be made, & thus far the trial has exceeded their own most sanguine expectations. The children improve in manner & obedience & their acquisition of the English language, which is one great object in view of starting a school expressly for the children of the King & Chiefs. They are interesting children aside from the fact that they will be the future ( ) of this people. Tho' many of them never knew what it was to have a master, they submit to our authority much more readily than one would expect, brought us as they have been to have their word the law to those about them, tho' they were their parents. I have frequently seen one of the parents ask his son, five years old, if he should do this & that as obsequiously as the meanest servant & now that same boy is as obedient to us. At first he rebelled but when he found he must submit he did it cheerfully, & since he has been one of our most pleasant scholars. The common natives & in most cases the parents look on with astonishment at the authority we have gained over them but it has cost us much ( ) of effort. We were aware when we commenced that we must have their confidence & obedience, or all our efforts to do them good would be nothing. They all go to church twice every Sabbath & have not failed since coming into our family. This was a new thing to them. The great ( ) now is their conversion to God. None of them are pious, but they are daily learning something of God & their obligations to him from the Bible which they read every morning & evening & from which they commit a verse daily to recite in school.
Many of the preceding particulars I have communicated in my letters to S. but you said write as if I had written to no one else. Most of our other missionary operations are in a flourishing condition, especially our boarding schools. The high school at Lahainaluna, Female Seminary at Wailuku, Boarding School for boys at Hilo & a small female boarding school at the same place. Our other schools have been rather low, but the new laws will soon make them all wear a different aspect. O! let there be special prayer at monthly concerts & other places also, for our schools both here & at all missionary stations. Schools are a mighty machine to convert a heathen nation into a civilized & enlightened nation.
Ignorance is the matter of heathenism & all it concomitants evils, temporal & Spiritual. To enlighten a nation the children must be taught. In vain may you hope to enlighten a grown up heathen, or make him any interested in the education of his children. They know not, neither can they be made to know its value. But I must stop. Dear bro., press ahead in your efforts to save souls around you. My love to all who know me in Mile Square (today called Armonk, NY), North Castle, Middle Patent &c & all others.
Mead replied to Cooke on April 17, 1841:
It is not for want of affection, it is not because I have not thought of you, nor is it for want of respect to the cause in which you are engaged that I have not answered the letter that you sent so kindly favored me with, and which favors I should like to have often repeated. You must remember that I am a farmer, and my hands are clumsy, and my business is such that I write but little, and perhaps that is one reason and time flies very, very rapid so that that year is gone like a dream or a tale that is told so I have delayed until now. It has been a hard winter for old people, there has been many deaths among that eldest of persons. I believe as yet there has not been any deaths among our immediate friends, many of them however are not well. Uncle Calvin's health is good yet he is confined to the house pretty much on account of the failure of his limbs yet he comes to meeting some. Aunt Deborah is pretty much confined to her room on account of being worn out with old age.
Mr. Levi is pretty much confined to his room on account of a sore leg, and his wife also with the rheumatism, and so I might go on to mention others. Your father I believe is thought to have his last sickness, all must die, and well is it for those who has lived in preparation for this great event. This is a world of trials especially to the Christian who wants to see his redeemer's cause prosper.
It has seemed to me that you know what it was to be bothered in that respect, for the Lord it seems his (blessed be his name) come down in great power and might and caused your ____ to see his wonderful love and mercy in bringing sinners to repentance. It did seem ________from those islands as ______ only prepared the _______ but in wonderful _____ matters that there _______ the missionary going _______ but since the Brandy _____ are forced upon the Islands you have _______ , but you must remember in the word of God it is said that "when the enemy comes like a flood the Lord will lift up his standard against him" so you need not fear for if you stand by the Lord he will always stand by you. Such a thing is possible that the great goodness of God in bringing such a multitude of sinners to repentance has caused a little speck of pride to find its way into the breast of the missionary, and it was seen necessary that something should be done to remove it, or that joining God's people was so popular that it was necessary that something should be done to keep the church pure, or something else. God's ways are not our ways nor are Hs thoughts our thoughts. All I have got to say is go forward and do your duty with your might and God will be with you.
We have had in America perhaps the greatest commotion that ever existed or can exist without shedding blood in this or any other nation. We as a people felt that we were in the hands of spoilers, and a determination did exist to put them away.
I said in the hands of spoilers, judge for yourself the currency deranged so that it was almost impossible to do business and in four years was spent for the nation twenty eight millions of Dollars of surplus money and beside run the nation into debt forty million not only so but our liberties both civil and religious were at stake. So you see duty called the Christian as well as the Philanthropist into the campaign to give a history of the past year, truly to one that did not witness it is impossible.
There was the last part of last summer and fall meetings held what they called mass meetings where thousands would assemble together, the leading men of the nation would address the people and then appropriate songs would be sung with great effect. I will try to give a faint description of one of those meetings held at Mile Square. The people of Westchester County to prepare for the meeting built a long log cabin at the expense of some three hundred Dollars and also raised a liberty pole. They made seats in front of the cabin for the ladies that they calculated would hold seven hundred, which was filled. They built a scaffold or stand on the outside of the cabin for the music and the speakers.
They had a cannon on the hill south of the cabin which was built on the corner south of Mr. Sutton's where the road crosses Mile Square and ends in the north and south road. Thus prepared the day for the meeting arrived and what then. Astonishing to behold by the middle of the forenoon it was constant coming from all quarters and all directions, all sorts of people of sizes, sexes, politics, complexions, Ministers and people, saint and sinner but no drunkards.
I do not know but I am a little to fast, I believe I did see one person in the field that I thought might have a little liquor in his head and after I had got more than a mile towards home I seen another that is in the habit of getting too much. He did
not show he had too much at this time. This is all the drunkenness that I seen. There was no accident excepting one man had the shafts of his wagon broke while he was putting his horse before it, and that a mile from the cabin the side of the road from that to the cabin with little exception was line with horses and carriages besides fields full of horses and carriages.
Carriages came with banners hoisted, one came with a log cabin on it with many persons in it. When the speakers mounted the stand they had an attentive audience as thick as they could stand and as far as their voice would reach to speak to. The day was fine. They dispersed before night, such a scene I never before witnessed. I do not think there was less than twenty thousand persons present. And now think that there was a reason why such multitudes of the better class, the peaceable class of persons, for they must be of that class ____ have been improper conduct ____ the vanity of man ____ generally called or rather ____.
_____ was elected president by the largest majority ever known when there was no opposition worth naming. He was inaugurated the fourth of March, all was pleased he was the people's man. The fourth of April death seized upon him and he is no numbered with the dead, as what is future we know not. John Tyler now take the chair, if he carries out his principles it will be bad, but if he obeys the dying command of Harrison it will be well, but _______ of room. I must stop.
There is some revivals of religion. One in Hartford & vicinity. New Haven, in college and in other places. With us Darkness reigns. And now Brother Cooke write to me, don't wait for me to write often. This from a friend.
In a letter Cooke penned, dated March 29, 1842, he wrote:
Brother Mead: I have just closed a letter to Abigail & hasten, as I can catch time between schools, to reply to your long & interesting letter of April 17th '44 which came to hand in company with several others, the 5th Feb. Capt Spaulding, who brought your epistle, returns this week in another vessel. My time left for replying to those letters is very short & I must do it in the midst of cares, as you say, or not at all. Please accept them of my few & hasty lines. Your letter spoke of politics & as I was glad to hear of the peaceable meeting held at my old missionary station. You & bro. (S) must take a lesson from it to be as zealous as politicians in their endeavors to make a reformation. I am rejoiced to hear that you continue your meetings at North Castle. Go on, my bro & persevere in your efforts to do good. "The redemption of the soul is precious and it ceaseth forever."
May you be eminently successful in saving many a soul ready to perish. For what do we live, if not, to save souls! And souls are as precious with us as with you & with you as with us. The earth is filled with those who are going down to hell, & you
& I must do our part in reclaiming them. You have a hope that your two beloved children are safe in the ark. Oh may we also have the pleasure of seeing members of our family, bowing not with their bodies only, but with their spirits at our family shrine.
Evening. This far I wrote this noon, our family have now retired, & it is almost 10 o'clock; but I resume my pew to add a few lines. Last night I wrote till midnight & watched some with our sick son the rest of the night. Such a course is wearing.
How do you get along counting the congregation about these days? I have thought you would find it difficult to do so here, where we have more thousands than you do hundreds. By the way, have you got your new road through? And, if so, do you get any more people to meeting? I love, still, to think of you, the people of Mile Square, North Castle, Middle Patent, Round Hill, City, & Mrs. Lounsbury's neighborhood. Does the latter family still continue to come to meeting on the Ridge?
You will probably hear soon, if not already, the stand some of our brethren took, last Spring, on the Anti-Slavery Question.
You said but little in your last about that subject. I hope you are not growing cold in it. It is too important a subject to leave alone; and yet it must not be attended to to the neglect of its accompanying or similar subjects, which now agitate the Christian church. I see by papers &c that some of our good brethren at home are so zealous in the Anti-Slavery cause that it blinds their eyes to the interest of the A.B.C.F.M., A.B. Soc., A.F. Society & similar institutions. "The head" ought not to "say to the hand, I have no need of thee &c." They are all one, & the same thing, to overturn the kingdom of Satan. May you & your neighbors be always ready with your means & your prayers, to help on all the difficult objects of benevolence: as I have no doubt you are doing. Your influence & means are both great. May you become "ruler of ten cities."
A letter rec'd, by bro. Knapp, from you in Dec. gave me the first intelligence of my father's death. Since then I have rec'd particulars from your beloved pastor. A few days ago since bro. K sent me a paper containing an account of Mr. Darius Mead's in less than two months after the death of my aged parent. They both died in years, & in "hope of the glory of God."
May those their children "imitate their virtue & shame their errors." The majority of those we love are gathering on the opposite side of the river, you, & I are, soon, to cross. May we be welcomed by them, & be ready to unite in their song, "Upon Him that loved us," &c.
You spoke of "Catholicism & Brandy." They are doing execution & go, hand in hand, finely. They are Satan's most successful agents. By their agency, he can "transform himself into an angel of light. Light enough to make darkness visible." Some of our laborers are making efforts with the children to enlist them on the side of rejecting all that can intoxicate (Which of course includes tobacco, for it is a notorious fact that natives get drunk on the noxious weed & take it for that very purpose, "to make drunk come." At Honolulu the cold water army of children number 1000. Our new family scholars are about to sign the pledge, while all their patents, or most of them, are notorious drunkards. But I'm happy to mention that news has reached us, today, from Lahaina, on Maui, that the King, from being a beastly drunkard, has signed the tee-total pledge. It sends a thrill of joy through all our ranks. God grant that it may prove a reality which is almost too much to expect.
April 1- Yesterday another brig arrived from Mass. I got no letter. Sister Knapp told me today that she got some. Seven of our Scholars signed the temperance pledge on the 30th, all without knowing that the King had done it. I hope each will be benefited by the example of the other. Old laws on the subject of selling spirits have revised & none can sell without paying a license of $400 a year. Notwithstanding some will take out licenses. It will make Spirits so high that natives cannot afford to but it. The higher the price, the better. Let me hear from you soon. Please remember Mrs. C & myself to Mrs. M., to your children & family- to your Uncle Calvin's family & other neighbors, to the people of Mile Square & N.G. Your brother in Christ, Amos S. Cooke.
The last known letter penned by Silas H. Mead to Amos Starr Cooke is dated November 8, 1842:
Brother Cooke: I received your communication about a week since and thought I would now write you & you may tell Brother Knapp I shall write to him in the course of a month or two. I received his letter the same time I did yours.
You ask about our congregation. I think that it is full one third less than when you was with us, and those that do go to meeting go grumbling. And about the new road that seems to have stopped as well as everything else. You need not look for anything good from us and you will not get disappointed, and if there should be anything good then that will be clear gain.
For my part without change I am completely discouraged. You will say trust in the Lord, that will do, but to presume on God is another thing, but enough of this. I should think there was an appearance that some extra effort was about to be made and if there should be I would hope for the best.
Ever since the Meeting house has been closed against the prayer meeting for the slave we have been going down rapidly.
The subject of Abolition is gaining ground very fast, it was debated in Congress last session in spite of them, for when they put it out of one door the Lord would bring it in at another. For my part I and my family stand very near alone on that subject in our place. Old schoolism reigns with us and of course the customs of the fathers must not be departed from. Yes, I feel that we stand almost alone in almost everything.
Mr. Roys has moved to Berlin and bought him a farm and with others built a shop and works at his trade. Dea. Savage a first rate man has also gone back to Berlin. Mr. Selah Savage has removed his relation to a church in Berlin and I expect the first time I hear from him that he has bought him a place there, and Mr. Eliot Savage, the son of Dea. Savage, is now my help that goes with me to North Castle. He is a fine young man and I fear too much carelessed. His time of apprenticeship with Mr. Wilcox will be out sometime this winter and whether he will then go to Berlin or not I do not know.
I should think they will keep him if they can.
You speak about the Abolitionists. I will here just state that their enemies gave them the name of persons of one idea and I for one will respond to that name. I hope I never shall have any other idea only to do God's Will without distinguishing whether it is popular or not, and that I believe is true respecting the largest part of the Abolitionists that I am acquainted with. You say you are afraid some of the Abolitionists zeal for that object blinds their eyes to other benevolent objects, we often hear that said with us, so often, that it would be impossible for us to sleep. The truth is because we do not go and spend all our strength pushing the car where the most are pushing, then we are slandered. I tell you my friend in a general way show me an Abolitionist, and I will show you a strong Temperance man, and a strong man for keeping the Sabbath, and a strong man for God anyway and every way, a real go ahead Christian. There may be some exceptions, but I should think not many in proportion to the whole. You say you are afraid I am a getting cold on that subject: no my dear friend, nor shall I ever so long as I have the Bible to read, and my powers of reason left me. I have made up my mind not to foul my fingers with it anyway. I'll not vote for it, but against it, nor will I use the products of slave labor as a general thing neither for eating, or wearing, at home or abroad. I must say that (as I do by alcohol) that I am opposed to it at all times and places and for anything and everything. And I would say to you hold on against slavery, it does good. If Mr. Bingham does oppose and point the finger do not mind it, you must expect to be persecuted if you oppose the sin of slavery.
Long before your receiving this Mr. & Mrs. Smith will have reached you and you will of course hear from us and I would here say that we are all well. It makes me feel a little old to get those two little grandchildren in my lap to rock and sing for, but so it is. We are fast approaching the time when we must be called to give an account of all that we do.
And oh! that we may live just as God would have us live, and do just and all God would have us do.
Nov. 9th. The last part of last week our town was set in great commotion. Esbon Huested, Deacon of Horseneck church, failed in his business, perhaps he won't be able to pay one half his liabilities, and the worst of it all is he has used his neighbors names too freely, to what extent I do not exactly know. I should think he has been at it pretty much all summer.
Forge one note & then another take up the first and so on. Whether he meant to be dishonest or not there is a difference of opinion. I should think that he has no money now and I believe today he has given himself up and gone to jail. He commenced first by altering the date of a note from May to August, and there is separately the stile into the meadow as Bunyan says, and now must go into prison, and I doubt very much whether he has a key in his bosom that will unlock any door there. I am told he appears very penitent, says he did not mean to injure anyone, and is sorry he has done as he has.
All this looks well, but there is another side that does not look so well, and I am as yet rather pushed how to make up my opinion whether he is a Christian or hypocrite. I believe it is not best to call him Deacon anymore. I suppose before this his office is taken from him and he suspended from church privileges. Here we can see the propriety of the caution "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
And now Friend we can see what a fearful thing it is to step out of the path ever so little, for one hair's breath that makes way for more, only a little and he is gone for there seems to be no place to stop, and if he ever does stop it must be break off in the middle.
I wanted to ask a great many questions about your affairs or the affairs at the Islands. I should like to about the schools, about how you are all getting along whether Temperance, truth and every other good thing gets on, your laws, too, &c.
Our country looks dark and dreary. We are under the Chastning hand of the great ruler of the Universe, yet we will not improve by it, but on the contrary grow worse and worse. We as a nation it appears to me are determined to let God know that we van live without Him. And the worst of all, Christians that ought to be the salt of the earth are sanctioning this evil doing. They will say they are not. But is it so, so long as they vote men into office that regards not God. What do you think when the Christian part of the community will throw their influence and votes for a Duelist for Chief Magistrate? A murderer at the head of government, and put there by Christians, too? What must be expect but destruction? The locofoco's I think will gain the ascendancy again, and what then I don't know. And now to close. May the blessings of Our Almighty Father rest on you and yours. And God grant you health and strength and that of your consort and family and grace to do all He would have you do, and finally receive us all to dwell with Him
in glory. Silas H. Mead.
Our thanks to the Hawaiian Mission Children's Society in Honolulu for its cooperation. The original manuscripts of these and many other letters, journals, and other primary resource materials are preserved, and until several years ago had never been transcribed. Transcribed copies are kept in the William E. Finch Archives of the Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich at its Bush-Holley House headquarters in Connecticut.