Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Pearl Harbor :: American History World War 2 WWII
Of the years following the arrival of Captain James Cook, Pearl Harbor was not considered a suitable harbor due to shallow water. The interest of the United States Government in the Sandwich Islands followed the adventurous voyages of its whaling and trading ships in the Pacific. As early as 1820, an "Agent of the United States for Commerce and Seamen" was appointed to look after American business in the Port of Honolulu. With the cementing of commercial ties with the American continent, another factor to be considered was the endeavors of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. This was particularly true when the American missionaries and their families became an integral part of the Hawaiian body politic. With the exception of a few episodes, American prestige tended to increase in the islands. One of these was the affair of Lieutenant John Percival in 1826 which illustrates some of the high-handed tactics of that time. When his ship, USS Dolphin, had arrived in Honolulu, an ordinance had just been passed, inspired by the missionaries, placing restrictions on the sale of alcoholic liquors and the taking of women aboard vessels in the Honolulu Harbor. Lieutenant Percival and members of his crew felt that the new vice laws were unfair and with more than a mere threat of force had them rescinded. This act, it must be said, was later renounced by the United States and resulted in the sending of an envoy to King Kauikeaouli. When Captain Thomas ap Catesby Jones arrived, in command of the USS Peacock, he was the first naval officer to visit Hawaii armed with instructions to discuss international affairs with the Hawaii King and Chiefs, and to conclude a trade treaty. In spite of the Percival incident, American influence in the islands was steadily increasing. Throughout the 1820's and 1830's, many American warships visited Honolulu. In most cases the commanding officers carried letters with them from the U.S. Government; all sympathetically friendly toward the Hawaiian sovereign and, as a rule, giving advice concerning the conduct of governmental affairs and of the relations of the island nation with foreign powers. In 1841, the weekly periodical, Polynesian, printed in Honolulu, advocated editorially that the U.S. establish a naval base in Hawaii. Its pretext was the protection of the interest of American citizens engaged in the whaling industry. The pro-British Hawaiian minister, R.C. Wyllie, remarked in 1840 that ". .