Archive:The Whitney Family of Connecticut, page 255

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The Whitney Family of Connecticut

by S. Whitney Phoenix
(New York: 1878)

Transcribed by Robert L. Ward.

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Whitney Family.
255
save his life, it should be henceforth devoted to his service. His prayer was heard, his life was preserved, and the bench on which he supported himself during his peril is still at Waimea, his late residence, where it has ever borne the title Mr. Whitney's life-boat.
"On the 4th of April, 1820, he, with the rest of the missionary band, went on shore at Kailua, Hawaii, where the rulers of the land were assembled, and after about a week's delay, they obtained permission to prosecute their labors on these shores.
"In the distribution of this little band, Messrs. Whitney and Ruggles were located on the island of Kauai, where they were allowed the distinguished privilege of scattering the first rays of Gospel light among the benighted people. Their trials, physical and spiritual, can never be fully appreciated by their successors. The whole population were sunk in the lowest abyss of licentiousness, and besotted with drunkenness, ignorant of the true God and of every sentiment that ennobles man. The new teachers were treated with indifference, and often with scorn and contempt. At one time, when the subject of this article was riding not far from Koloa, at evening twilight, two robbers suddenly sprang to his side and seized his horse by the bridle, but being sharply spurred he broke from their grasp and carried his rider with such speed, that, though pursued, he was not overtaken. One of them; finding pursuit in vain, threw a spear at him but missed his aim. Thus was he rescued from the robbers by the same hand that had pulled him out of the deep waters.
"On the 28th of February, 1823, he was licensed by the Hawaiian association to preach the Gospel, a work ever dear to his heart.
"The acquisition of the language by the pioneers was a great work, and a work not accomplished suddenly. The language had never been reduced to writing. Close attention to what seemed to be unintelligible jargon, was the only means of access. All was crude chaos, and it was nearly three years before our departed friend and brother had so reduced his observations to order and mastered the intricacies of the language, as to be able to preach his first sermon in the Hawaiian tongue. Meanwhile, he, in common with his fellow-laborers, had been engaged in teaching the English language to such as he could induce to attend on his instructions, and in preaching through the medium of such interpreters as he could employ.
"The death of Kamualii, the king of Kauai, in 1824, was followed by a rebellion of the people against the Kamehameha dynasty, and it was found necessary for their safety that the missionaries and their families should flee from the field of battle. They accordingly embraced an opportunity that offered, and sailed to Honolulu. The rebellion was soon quelled, and Mr. Whitney returned to his post, and with renewed zeal sought to bring the late warlike inhabitants to bow to the Prince of peace.
"On the 30th of Nov., 1825, he was ordained to the office of the Gospel Ministry, at Kailua, Hawaii, by the Hawaiian association. Not long after this event, several who had attended on his instructions, giving cheering
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