1886-87 - USA, Canada, Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Egypt


January 22nd, 1887

Oceanic Steamship Co. San Francisco
Pacific Ocean, Saturday

This is on seventh day from San Francisco and we have had experiences that some of us at any rate did not expect, nor was there any prospect of our getting, as we steamed out of the harbour and Golden Gate last Sunday afternoon, amid some of the grandest scenery it is possible to conceive and weather like an English summer. I am never likely to forget last Lord's Day. We had a most blessed morning in remembering the Lord and after the breaking of bread - the dear brethren commended me to God and His gracious care on my voyage – our Steamer's time for leaving was 2 and before the meeting I had arranged everything at the Hotel so that I was free to go straight to the ship. Dear S.S and his wife and his boys came down to see me off and I then found when at the dock that nearly all the meeting had come too. There must have been a score or more and they all came on board and stood by my State room until about 3, when the whistle sounded for the start. There was a general departure of some hundreds then who had come on board to see their friends off. They then stood on the wharf and we waved our handkerchiefs as long as we could see anything in human form and our ship steamed away and was soon passing out of the Golden Gate into this vast ocean called Pacific.

Our expectations were to find it answering to its name in some measure at least but a very few hours steaming brought us into troubled waters and it began to roll heavily and to blow hard - a few hours had changed everything that was changeable and sickness prevailed among us all - our breeze increased to a gale that lasted 3 days and nights - one of which was so violent that I did not feel comfortable in being on the deck and slept in the saloon that night - on Thursday it began to clear up and this morning we are in the weather we expected at the start. It is simply magnificent above and below and we expect to reach the Sandwich Islands tomorrow Lord's Day morning at daybreak and will leave there again in the afternoon. This is rather bad for me as I wanted to see one of the merchants for business and now I shall not be able to do so without staying there over a month which I do not feel free to do. I have met many nice Christians on board, some of them are going to New Zealand and Australia and some are leaving us at Honolulu tomorrow. We have two Mormon missionaries on board too and I had a pretty sharp encounter with one of them yesterday which became a matter of interest for the whole ship very quickly. These men belong to the "Seventy" sent out fully ordained with apostolic hands to forgive sins through baptism. I asked him if he was a Christian to which he replied that he hoped he was - I then asked him if he was washed in the blood of Christ which he could not answer and wanted to know what I meant - he stood about 7 ft high and wanted to know what authority I had to preach - I replied the same the woman of Samaria had when she went into the city and said "come, and see a man that told me all things that ever I did" – he attempted to terrorise over me with his assumed power, but I continued to press the question - are you washed from your sins in the blood of Christ which seemed to madden him and at length he laughed at it and said that what was written by Paul and others eighteen hundred years ago was out of date and had no authority now that the Angel had made a fresh revelation to Mr Smith. They have been very active on board but I believe God has thoroughly nullified their power. We have another missionary on board with his wife and children - a very dear and godly man who is going to Honolulu for a few weeks and will then labour among the Pacific Islands - we have had a very enjoyable time together over the work which he evidently loves - what a variety of characters one meets on board a steamer - it is a little world in one sense.

Sitting near me at the table is a very stately lady whose husband is a sea captain - she seemed disposed to converse a little one evening and found she is an aunt of Mr. De'Wolfs who used to live in Ilfracombe. Also discovered she is a great believer in spiritualism and speaks of the communication she is constantly receiving from her mother who is dead, she carries a double slate and puts a bit of pencil between the slates upon which these communications are written when the opportunity for a medium offers. On speaking to her of the Lord and His truth, I found she refuses the scriptures now, in the light of what science has discovered. How real a mark it is of our adversary's work when the authority of the Word of God is set aside - "He that is of God heareth us" I have a Californian farmer for my state room companion who is going to Honolulu - a plain but a nice gentleman - have had a nice conversation with him this morning and I think there is a true love for each other in our hearts and we know the grace that plants this, does not leave the soul in darkness as to the fountain of it all in God as manifested in the person and work of His beloved Son and Lord Jesus Christ. I propose finishing this at Honolulu tomorrow and shall be writing next from Auckland I expect, I did not tell you at the commencement of this letter that the merchant I did business with at San Francisco sent down 3 bottles of old Irish whisky to my cabin as a present, thinking it might be useful on the voyage and also came on board on Sunday with his wife to say goodbye - was it not very kind.

Honolulu Lord's Day

All our dreams of the Pacific waters and tropics are realised now - we arrived here at 7 this morning and should want a day to write you all the details of the interesting place and people but have only a few moments to spare so shall have to do it in my next. We sail again this afternoon, weather is intensely hot, dare say it will be cooler when we get out to sea again – it is indeed a sea of glass now. Am feeling well through mercy and trust you are all the same - now with very much love to you all my dear ones believe me my dearest Angee.

Being very affectionate Husband.

<<< Previous | Top of page | Next >>>