South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, Canada, USA
November 4th, 1897
My Beloved Angee,
We are now within about 12 hours of the above place and one week from Vancouver so that our voyage is closing up and will soon be a matter of history like many others I have had. Some of the dear brethren came down to the wharf at Sydney to give me a parting greeting and I do feel very thankful to the Lord for the loving greetings I have had from them in every place it has been our mutual joy to meet and for their hearty prayers to God for His mercies in moving round the world which have been abundantly answered I am sure. It was a special mercy to meet dear Mr Ellis on board the Warrimoo as well as my dear German friend we had many happy readings and conversations together and often bowed the knee together in prayer – we were greatly cheered one morning to find that the Lieut. opened his mouth for the first time in utterances of thanksgiving and prayer for others which he has continued ever since whenever we have come together in my cabin. Our stay in Wellington was from 7am to noon on a Friday. The wind was very fresh and the Captain having choice of the East & West Coast chose the former so that we were sheltered from the force of a strong Westerly breeze – on rounding[?] the extreme northerly part of N.Z. we had it pretty rough on Saturday night and Sunday but soon ran out of it into tropical regions where the water was smooth and the heat between 80 & 90. You have recently had a taste of hot weather and will know what this temperature means for the body. The only thing we could do was to keep still and sit in the breeze but even then the moisture flowed freely from the body and a dry shirt every morning was wet through before breakfast. Our cabins were not bearable so we had to lay on the seats in the Social Hall – I had no idea the Fiji group was so extensive as I found it they cover 250 miles in diameter – the scenery in the early morning as we steamed through the Islands was very fine – our port of call Suva is one of the chief places the other port is called Levuka. We dropped anchor at about 8 am on the Friday one week from Wellington – we had breakfasted at 7 – it was like being in the Appledore pool only the scenery around was very different to Appledore & Instow - Cocoanut[sic] trees abounded & bamboo huts and the merchants offices and stores all along the beach. They are very careful in the inspection of every sail arriving and we were all ordered to appear in the Social Hall before the inspector who had a sheet with names of all the passengers in his hand and the ship's doctor at his side to point out each person. This form having been gone through and pratique[?] granted the next thing was to see the boats with Fijians come alongside to take us ashore. They are very fine men but their heads were enough to frighten you – the hair is trained to stand upright about 3 or 4 inches and some kind of wash used to stiffen it – this gives them rather a fierce look and many are tall – quite 6 feet. I soon got to work having taken a few samples with me and I had a promise from the leading firm that they would send P.F. an order by the next mail – other passengers took a carriage and drove out to some of the villages but I kept about Suva & after I had finished the business I was standing at the corner of one of the streets when a fine intelligent looking native came up & spoke – he seemed interested and I spoke about the Lord Jesus and read a few verses from John III – he asked several questions about Noah, Adam, Simon and seeing that I was reading out of the New Testament wanted to know if I believed in the Old Testament too. The simple conversation with this man soon attracted others so that I had what my heart really desired an opportunity of speaking a few words of simple gospel to them. The man who at first spoke to me went somewhere near and brought me a nice orange and came on board the Warrimoo subsequently where we bid each other farewell. I had hoped that he was a true believer but a few words he uttered with regard to the serpent's work in the garden of Eden rather shook my confidence in him but I may not have understood his meaning. We had quite a Royal party who came on board to see our ship – two chiefs of other islands of the Fiji group and the wife of one who was a very handsome and fine looking lady – there were about 10 in the party and it was not difficult to see their superiority over the other natives. Our Captain who escorted them over the ship was telling me that there was very nearly a tribal war on account of this lady as two chiefs fell in love with her and wanted to marry her – war was only prevented by our Government stepping in. On their leaving the ship I raised my hat to them all and had a gracious bow of recognition and a smile from the lady. I was rather short of samples or should have made them a present of some. Altogether I very much enjoyed the little stay at Suva. We left dear Mr Ellis there who waits the arrival of Mr Arundel in about a week so that I missed the anticipated pleasure of meeting him.
One of our passengers by the "kiakouri" called Stewart left us at Cape Town on the outward voyage from England – he is the only surviving son of a very wealthy gentleman in Glasgow recently deceased – proprietor of the Glasgow Iron Works – his estate was valued at about 3 millions. Mrs Stewart is still living and there are three daughters all married to persons of high position – three sons are dead prematurely all turning out drunkards and the son now with us has been on the same road. At Sydney I was surprised to see them on board the Warimoo going to Vancouver – Mr Stewart being accompanied by a servant who holds a good position with Mrs Stewart and is sent specially by her to take charge of this poor fellow – on our voyage to the Cape he gave way terribly to drink mainly thro' the influence of Dr Campbell – I had many talks with him then when he was sober – he is not more than about 30 years of age. His servant is called Shaw and is a superior man, both of them used to come to the gospel on board the "Kiakouri". Well last Lord's day evening we had a good meeting in the Social Hall – the Captain and most of the officers were present and many from the Second Class – 6 Mormon missionaries among them – Mr Shaw came but could not get Mr Stewart to come. I spoke from John III. 14, 15 & 16 and never felt happier in delivering the message of God's love to sinners. On Monday I heard there had been blessing and Mr Shaw came and spent some time with me in my cabin and confessed that God had blessed the Word to the saving of his soul. He has been exercised for a few years past. There are some few scoffers on board and I was thankful to find that my young German friend and Mr Shaw has confessed Christ to these men and Shaw that the Lord had opened his blind eyes on Sunday night. It has been very encouraging and now Shaw is praying and others too that Mr Stewart might be saved. We sat on the deck for a couple of hours last night and on asking him (Mr Stewart) if he did not sometimes thinks of these things – his reply to me was "Yes, a good deal more than people give me credit for". Mr Shaw has a brother in Glasgow with Brethren but I do not know what company – he says now he understands what his brother has been talking to him about for years past and is longing to see him. I don't think I ever saw a more distinct work of God in a soul.
At Sea, Nov. 6th 1897
We landed at Honolulo[sic] y'day morning at 9 and left again at 6 pm. The place has wonderfully improved since my last visit and is practically now ruled by the Americans. I had an introduction to the leading merchants by Mr Ellis and was very kindly received by them – to my surprise I found it easy work to kindle some interest in my goods in their minds. The custom house would not have allowed me to take a small bag of sample ashore without first paying £10 – so the merchants sent their manager to the ship with me and I am very very thankful to the Lord for disposing them to buy a good shipment of biscuits and also a good line for my Leeds house.
The population of Hawaii has greatly increased of late years and there are a variety of nationalities – English, American, German, Chinese, Japanese & Portuguese – my business being through in the morning I got a carriage and had a nice drive in the afternoon which was very cool and refreshing as I visited a place called the punch bowl, a very high hill commanding a bird's eye view of Honolulo and the whole country around and the sea – it was very grand and a nice change after 3 weeks on the ocean. The Lieut. & Mr Shaw have just been in my cabin for reading and this is refreshment of another character to feed them – it is all of His mercy to be able to eat that which is good and to delight in it.
November 8 – Monday afternoon
We are certainly highly favoured in getting such beautiful weather – today is simply perfect – bright, cool and a smooth sea and I have just put on a waistcoat for the first time since leaving the New Zealand coast. We have had a strong head wind and high sea since leaving Honolulo until y'day afternoon when it moderated. This was a mercy as the social hall was filled at 8pm for the gospel and the Lord gave me liberty in speaking. All the Mormons came in again – also the Captain and most of the officers. The Captain is a believer and a very nice young man and appears to be very thankful for the preachings – he always comes in with his Bible in hand. My little company came in my cabin for a reading mornings and appear to enjoy the pasture the good shepherd has given to feed them. Mr Shaw is moving on nicely and it is most refreshing to hear both him and the Lieut. Pour out their hearts in prayer. Mr Shaw was showing me one of Mrs Stewart's letters y'day – he appears to be highly esteemed as a trustworthy servant. They have a fine mansion in Glasgow and a London house where he expects to see her on reaching England. Mr Stewart came to the gospel last night and Shaw was telling me this morning that he had a nice talk with him last night in his cabin. We hope to reach Victoria on Saturday and I shall be glad to get some letters once more as it seems a long time since leaving Sydney.
At Sea, Nov. 12
The transition from Summer to Winter has been very sudden for us – hardly two day – so that today we are all wearing Winter clothing and feeling the cold – our steamer has been making good runs every day and we are not more than about 30 hours now from Victoria – I purpose staying at that place 3 or 4 days, then to Vancouver 90 miles further where I may also stay a day or two. Thro' mercy we have had a good voyage and fine weather so far. Shall get a across to New York quickly as possible so as to get the Cunard boat to Liverpool by not later than Dec. 11 or I may take one of the White Star or American boats on the previous Wednesday. I must now close this scrappy letter and hoping soon to see your dear face with much love to you and all our dear children believe me my dearest Angee.
Being very affectionate Husband