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The Oahu College at the Sandwich Islands   By:

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In the year 1841, a school was commenced, for the children of missionaries, at Punahou, near Honolulu, Sandwich Islands. Five year ago, it was opened to others besides the children of missionaries. The number of pupils has varied from thirty to sixty, and the whole number of pupils, up to September, 1854, was one hundred and twenty two. In May, 1853, the Hawaiian Government incorporated twelve persons, all of them except one either then or formerly connected with the mission, as a corporate body by the name of " The Trustees of the Punahou School and Oahu College ." It is probable that the legal name of the institution will be shortened, and that it will be called simply the " Oahu College ."

The charter recognizes the design of the institution to be "the training of youth in the various branches of a Christian education, teaching them sound and useful knowledge." It further states, that, "as it is reasonable that the Christian education should be in conformity to the general views of the founders and patrons of the institution, no course of instruction shall be deemed lawful in said institution, which is not accordant with the principles of Protestant Evangelical Christianity, as held by that body of Protestant Christians in the United States of America, which originated the Christian mission to the Islands, and to whose labors and benevolent contributions the people of these Islands are so greatly indebted." There is also an additional security for the institution in the following article, namely, "Whenever a vacancy shall occur in said corporation, it shall be the duty of the Trustees to fill the same with all reasonable and convenient dispatch. And every new election shall be immediately made known to the Prudential Committee of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and be subject to their approval or rejection, and this power of revision shall be continued to the American Board for twenty years from the date of this charter."

The Sandwich Islands Christianized.

The effort to christianize the Sandwich Islands was begun in the year 1820, and has succeeded beyond any similar efforts recorded in history. In the year 1853, a little more than thirty years from the commencement of the mission, the Board was able to make proclamation in the Annual Report, that the people of the Sandwich Islands had become a Christian nation. The proofs then adduced of this fact were beyond all controversy; such as entitled the Hawaiian nation to the Christian name, if any people on earth might claim it; though without that intellectual development and social culture, which enter so deeply into the modern idea of civilization. But even in respect to these things a vast work had been accomplished.

It was evident to the Prudential Committee, as early as the year 1848, that the time had come for a change of some sort in the relations of the missionaries to the people of the Islands and to the Board. They saw that new and additional motives must be presented to induce the married missionaries to remain at the Islands, or the greater part of them might feel constrained to return to this country within a few years, to make provision for their children. This was not owing simply, nor chiefly, to the number and age of their children, (for such a result was nowhere seen in the older missions elsewhere,) but to the novel and remarkable relations, at that time, of the mission to the people of the Sandwich Islands.

The problem, as then presented, was, how to give scope to the parental feelings in missionaries, without increasing burdens and expenses that could not be borne; though it soon appeared that there was really a higher problem to be solved, and one that was novel in missions, namely, how to bring the mission itself, as such, to a termination, dissolving its relations to the Board, and merging its members in the newly created Christian community... Continue reading book >>

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