Book Review: Damien the Leper by John Farrow


“Advice To Be Read on Shipboard

To find the good in a thing at once is a sign of good taste. Some seek the good in life, others the ill. There is nothing that has no good in it. But many have such a scent that amidst a thousand excellences they fix upon a single defect as if they were scavengers of men’s minds and hearts. So they draw up a balance sheet of defects which does more credit to their bad taste than to their intelligence. They lead a sad life, nourishing themselves on bitters and garbage. They have the luckier taste who amongst a thousand defects seize upon a single beauty that they may have hit upon by chance…

His hand lingered over the paper for a moment. From past experience he had found that young missionaries, newly ordained, full of the importance of their mission, were sometimes, in their zeal, overharsh to their charges. And intolerance was the last thing he wished.” (pages xvii-xviii)

Evidence this missionary leader:

Was aware some young missionaries he sent were not mature enough to be tolerant of other ways of living.

Did not care enough to figure out a way to teach tolerance to young missionaries.

Was blinded by religious zeal.

Did not care that some missionaries were overharsh.

Priest Damien, a Catholic missionary, went to Molokai. He committed his life to helping others suffering from leprosy. He got leprosy too. Appears he gained respect of Hawaiian royalty who visited him, the Bishop who sent him, sick ones he cared for, and many people around the world. Story offers insights into life of a missionary, island of Molokai, Hawaiian history, and history of leprosy.

Book Review : Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen by Queen Liliuokalani


“Lunalilo Home for aged and indigent Hawaiians… It is well managed, and its inmates are happy and contented, so much so, indeed, that they often conduct themselves as if youth and hope were still their portion, and from the sympathy of daily companionship they wish to enter the closer tie of matrimony. This they are permitted to do without severing their connection with the institution, and there is a separate department provided for those who have thus agreed to finish the journey of life together.” (page 42)

“This is an important page in Hawaiian history, because it shows how persistently, even at that date, the “missionary party” was at work to undermine at every point the authority of the constitutional rulers of the Hawaiian people.” (page 77-78)

Could it be possible, I thought, that a son of one of my early instructors, the child of such a lovely and amiable Christian mother, could so far forget the spirit of that religion his parents taught, and be so carried away with political passion, as to be guilty of murder? (page 183)

For while this was going on in the city, another missionary boy rode out to the country residence of Mr. Gibson, at Kapiolani Park, and entering abruptly into the presence of his daughter, Mrs. Hayselden, threw a lasso over her head… (page 183)

Queen Liliuokalani decided not to fight against the missionary party. They took away King Kalakaua on a boat, they returned with a dead body. Missionary churches and plantations owned by missionary party families still thrive on many islands. They betrayed her in many different ways. Queen Liliuokalani shares her perspective of worldly concerns and personal opinions of others, providing a detailed recollection of Hawaii.