A Visit to the South Seas, in the U.S. Ship Vincennes, During the years 1829 and 1830; with Scenes in Brazil, Peru, Manila, the Cape of Good Hope, and St. Helena.

Stewart was in effect the missionary narrator of this somewhat odd circumnavigation in that it didn’t intend circling the globe until it was already on the Pacific Coast. He began on a different ship and then joined the round the world cruise aboard the Vincennes at Callao, Peru, on July 29th. [Note: there are variant editions of this work, with differing dates and paginations. The Google version of Vol. I does not indicate date but maybe 1832 rather than the first.

Volume I:

p. 28-29, aboard Guerrier, March 16, 1829, at sea out of Hampton Roads, Virginia: Since entering the northeast trades, our passage, as regards every thing external, has been more than ordinarily devoid of interest. Even the monsters of the deep have so studiously secreted themselves from observation, that I have seen neither whale, shark, nor dolphin, and scarce a porpoise or bonetta….

For the first fortnight out, it was impossible to write, and most of my time was occupied in reading. There is a large and good collection of books on board. Besides several private libraries, a public one of many hundred well chosen volumes, purchased by a subscription of the ship’s company, is arranged in the dining cabin under the direction of a librarian: a provision for the recreation and improvement of the crew, of which no public ship bound on a long cruise should be destitute. Irving’s Life of Columbus, Scott’s Napoleon, The Lady of the Manor, Erskine’s Freeness of the Gospel, Weddell’s Voyages, Payson’s Sermons, and Martyn’s Life, are the volumes which have thus far principally occupied my attention. The last has long been a kind of text book with me; and I have now finished it for the fourth time since its publication, in the devoutest prayer that my life might partake some little of the character of his, and my death be blest with the spirit which dictated the last paragraph he ever penned.

Volume II:

There are many references to reading in this volume, but they are exclusively dealing with training in scriptures and the word of God.

p. 23-25, in Tahiti, August 20, 1829, reports on a Tahitian Sabbath, in the Sabbath school where catechism answers were repeated by the group, recitations from the Bible, morning prayer meetings, and where “Almost every individual had in his hand a copy of the portions of the scripture, translated into the language of the group and a book of hymns” (p. 25). Stewart sees it all as illustrating the civilizing results of Christianity.

p. 135, in Honolulu, October 16th, 1829, visiting the drawing room in the home of an Hawaiian chieftain’s wife: On that opposite [side of the room], a curtain or screen of handsome chintz, looped up a foot or two at the bottom, partially disclosed, as it waved with the wind, the boudoir of Madam Kekuanoa, a principle article of its furniture being an elegant writing table, with papers and books in the language of the country. From this she appeared to have risen when we entered the farther door. Her dress, manner, and whole deportment in receiving us, were those of a lady. A neatly bound copy of the Gospel of Luke, in the Hawaiian version, the first I had seen, was found lying on the sofa, with a blank book in which she had been writing.

p. 287, Dec. 30th, 1819 at sea in Chinese Sea; The early part of our voyage from Oahu was most uninteresting, characterized chiefly by light and variable winds, an excess of heat, and slow progress;, and but for the blandness and serenity of nights,… and the irresistibly soothing associations connected with their loveliness, both on land and at sea, we should all have become a prey to ennui and the mal du pays. [Stewart himself comes across as a most sanctimonious character who must have caused other ennui among his fellow passengers.