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ERRATA, VOLUME I.
PAGE 35, 2d line from the top, for “hardness” read "harshness."
54, 1st line, for “monstrous," read “ monotonous.."
quire," read “P. Birkhead, Esquire."
The circumstances which compelled me to bid a reluctant farewell to the Sandwich Islands, in the year 1825, are known to the public. A partial restoration of the health of Mrs. Stewart was effected by the residence of a year in the United States; but all medical advisers interdicted a return to a tropical climate,and any future exposure to the privations of a missionary life. It became desirable, therefore, that I should select some sphere for the exercise of the duties of my profession, other than the field of my first choice.
Familiarity with the sea; long intercourse with seamen; close observation of their character; and strong attachment to individuals of their number, had implanted a lively interest in my heart for them, as a class of my fellows; and led me, in connection with circumstances which it is unnecessary to explain, to direct my attention to the UNITED STATES NAVAL SERVICE. As early as the spring of 1827, I communicated my views on this subject to the gentlemen then at the head of that department of our government, with an application for a chaplainship, when the relation existing between myself and the American Board of Foreign Missions should
It was subsequently arranged, that my connection with that body should not be dissolved till November, 1828. A few weeks previous to this period, I was incidentally apprised, by the Secretary of the Navy, of an opportunity of communicating with any friends at the Sandwich Islands, through a government vessel—the United States' ships Guerriere and St. Louis having been ordered to relieve the
public squadron in the Pacific Ocean, one vessel from which, the corvette Vincennes, would visit the Islands, and return to America by the Cape of Good Hope.
The idea at once suggested itself, of commencing the duties of my proposed new station, by making the voyage. It was with deep regret that I had relinquished the hope of returning to reside permanently at the Islands; and I felt, that the visit of a few weeks to them, while discharging the duties of the office I had selected, would soften the necessity of a permanent separation from my former associates, and from the enterprise in which they are engaged. Others, in whose judgment I confided, strongly urged the measure; and, ascertaining that the commission of a chaplain could be secured, with the privilege of a transfer from the Guerriere to the Vincennes, I determined to perform the voyage.
The resolution necessarily involved a painful sacrifice to myself and to those most deeply interested in me, in the separation requisite to its accomplishment--a sacrifice, which could be mitigated to those left behind, only by the minuteness of the detail, I should furnish, of the incidents and scenes through which I might pass. To insure this, as far as practicable, the manuscript from which the letters contained in these volumes are drawn, was filled up, and transmitted to the person to whom they are addressed.
A thought of making the contents public was never entertained by me, till the cruise in the South Seas was in part accomplished; and the whole voyage was nearly at its close, before I became satisfied of the propriety of hazarding a second appearance in print. It was not my intention, when this point was determined, to present the matter in its original, familiar, and confidential form. But circumstances awaiting my arrival in the United States, and an event of sorrow, that has since occurred, made the review of the manuscript too unwelcome a task to admit of any material alteration either in its arrangement or style; and, with the exception of erasures, the whole remains, almost word for word, as originally penned at the common mess-table of a