The Friend. Honolulu January 1, 1857 – November 1, 1866 volumes XIV – XXIII

Honolulu, H. I., Printed by Henry M. Whitney, 1857-1866, quarto, bound volume of the issues of this Hawaiian periodical, encompassing the issues which comprise volumes XIV – XXIII, bound in contemporary ¼ black sheep and marbled boards, binding worn, rubbed and scuffed, some scattered foxing to text, a few tears into edges of several issues, otherwise a substantial, nearly ten year, run of this Hawaiian periodical, a monthly journal which has gained great importance for the historical articles and insights into American influence in Hawaii during the middle of the nineteenth century. Interspersed as these are with seaman's yarns and moralistic homilies dedicated to saving the whalers and sailors from the evil influences of drink and debauchery, the periodical evokes the essence of a Hawaii struggling between the influences of the West and the lures of Polynesia.

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This periodical commenced publishing in January 1843 under the title the Temperance Advocate. By the April issue it called itself the Temperance Advocate (and) Seamen’s Friend, the title it retained for the remainder of the year. In 1844 it was the Friend of Temperance and Seamen, but beginning with the January 1845 issue, its masthead read simply The Friend, the name under which it was published throughout the rest of the nineteenth century. The Rev. Samuel Chenery Damon, Seaman’s Chaplain for Honolulu, was its founder, proprietor, and editor.

The publication was suspended twice: first from May to September, 1849, during Damon’s visit to Oregon and California. Following the February 1851 issue, the Friend again suspended publication, due to the pending departure of editor Damon to the United States, after Damon’s return the periodical resumed May 1, 1852, with a new series and with the “reiterated assurances on the part of many, but especially of our sea-faring acquaintances, that they would cordially support the paper.” Damon also announced: “The good subject of Temperance will be duly considered, the welfare of seamen will never be forgotten, the interests of commerce will be made prominent, the spread of missionary, religious and general intelligence will occupy a proper position.” The anticipated press run was 1,000 copies.

As whaling decreased in the North Pacific, the Friend began to focus more on local church matters. Beginning in 1863 articles about the annual general meetings of the Hawaiian Evangelical Association appeared, usually in the June and July issues. Increased attention, however, was paid to church reports and the work of ordained native Hawaiian ministers.

Damon took a keen interest in the work of the Hawaiian Missionary Society (later the Hawaiian Board of Missions) and provided extensive coverage to the evangelical efforts of American, and particularly of native Hawaiian, missionaries stationed in various parts of the Pacific.

The Friend continued to publish secular news, and there was little of importance that Damon did not include or discuss in the pages of this journal. Increasingly he became interested in local history, reprinting portions of accounts about early voyages, and taking note of new books on Hawaii and Polynesia as soon as they were received in Honolulu.

Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography, 1388