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Story of the MORNING STAR

Date: 1866
Overall: 164 x 110 mm, 5 mm, 0.06 kg
Medium: Paper, ink, cloth covered boards
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00037903
Place Manufactured:United States

User Terms

    This book entitled 'Story of the MORNING STAR' was written by the Reverend Hiram Bingham Jr in 1866. Bingham Jr worked as a missionary for the American Board of Missions during the 19th century. The book contains illustrations and charts on the Carolinas, Marshall and Gilbert islands.
    SignificanceThe influence of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions upon the indigenous people in the Pacific was immense. Although many of the missionaries failed in their first attempts to convert the Pacific Islanders missionaries led the way in opening up the Pacific Island to the 'fatal impact' of European culture and religion.
    HistoryHiram Bingham II wrote this book as an account of the voyage of the MORNING STAR and the Bingham's work as missionaries. It was published as part of a subscription drive to raise money for the construction of a missionary vessel to replace the first MORNING STAR.

    Hiram Bingham II was the son of Bingham I and Sybil Moseley (1792-1848) who were sent by the American Board of Missions to found the first Protestant mission in the Hawaiian Islands. Bingham (1789-1869) adapted the Hawaiian language to writing, published Elementary Lessons in Hawaiian (1822) and with his associates translated the bible into Hawaiian.

    After graduation he taught school in Northampton, Massachusetts and became principal of the Northampton High School, where his future wife Minerva Clarissa Brewster was a teacher. In 1856 he received an MA from Yale and was ordained a Minister at New Haven on 9 November 1856. Nine days later he married Minerva, and two weeks later they sailed from Boston as missionaries to Micronesia on the brig MORNING STAR. They arrived on the Atoll of Apaiang in the Gilbert Islands (now part of Kiribati) on 18 November 1857, where they established a Christian mission, in spite of difficulties. They stayed in the Islands for seven years until ill health made it necessary to return to Honolulu and eventually to Boston.

    In 1866 Hiram Bingham II was put in charge as captain of the second missionary brig to be called MORNING STAR which sailed to the Marquesas Islands, the Gilberts, and 16 different islands in Micronesia in 1867 before returning to Honolulu in 1868. Five years later, in 1873, Bingham and his wife went again to preach the gospel in the Gilberts and to stay on Apaiang Island. Part of his work there was a compilation of a Gilbertese-English dictionary. Illness in 1875 forced the Binghams to leave Apaiang for the last time in 1875. He continued scholarly work in Honolulu until his death in October 1908.

    The MORNING STAR (II) replaced the MORNING STAR (I), also a missionary vessel, which was built by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Inspired by the London Missionary Society who had built their own ship the JOHN WILLIAMS, the American Board proposed that they invite the children of the United States of America to purchase ten cent shares of joint ownership in such a missionary vessel, to be called MORNING STAR (II).

    MORNING STAR (II) also a hermaphrodite brig, was built at East Boston. It cost $23,406, and was launched on 22 September 1866. It sailed from Boston under Capt. Rev. Hiram Bingham, Jr., on 13 November 1866 and reached Honolulu on 15 March 1867, after 122 days. Some sources state (Baker, 1945) that over "2,000 Hawaiian Sunday School children marched to the wharf to see 'their ship.' " It sailed from Honolulu on 28 March 1867, the plan for its yearly trips being that it should go first to the Gilbert Islands to take advantage of prevailing winds and currents, and then 1,000 miles northwest to Ponape, visiting other mission islands on the way.

    The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) began informally with the 1806 'Haystack Prayer Meeting' of 'the Brethren', a group of Congregational ministers and students at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts. In 1810 Samuel Mills, one of the students, spoke with the General Association of Congregational Ministers of Massachusetts about missionary work in India and with Native Americans in the western United States.

    Commissioners were appointed to look into the matter, a method of operation common at that time. The Board was officially chartered 20 June 1812 in the Commonwealth of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. As stated in its original Constitution, the Board's purpose was to "devise, adopt, and prosecute, ways and means for propagating the gospel among those who are destitute of the knowledge of Christianity."

    The first missionaries of the American Board sailed for Calcutta in 1812. Missions opened in Sri Lanka in 1816, in Madura in 1834, and in Madras in 1836. The Board's first missions in Turkey were established in 1819, in Greece and China in 1830,
    and in Africa in 1834. Under Hiram Bingham Snr the Board also established missions in the Pacific including Hawaii and the Gilbert Islands.

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