Pacific islanders who traveled returned with trinkets, western clothing, and often an increase in mana, or spirit with which to enhance their reputations among their communities. Similarly, islanders initially viewed the west through the eyes of these travelers.
Grounding a portion of this story in the Pape’ete calaboose and Honolulu bars, I plan to describe and assess the connections made among sailors on Pacific whaling vessels. The essential points to be made are that the sailors made contacts with each other that resulted in the formation of community as well as opportunities for employment, and that employment was still available despite records of imprisonment or excessive drunkenness. The fact that sailors came to understand this gave them a certain degree of independence over the harsh working and living conditions found aboard whaling vessels of the time.
Archival research for this project is based in work conducted at the Archives d’Outre Mer in Aix-en-Provence, France, the Newberry Library, the G.W. Blunt White Library at Mystic Seaport, and items contained in the nineteenth century Honolulu temperance newsletter, the Friend.
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