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Explorers of the Pacific: European and American Discoveries in Polynesia



1826 to 1829

The voyage of Duhaut-Cilly was a commercial enterprise which originated in a peculiar manner. A Frenchman named Rives accompanied the suite of King Liholiho, or Kamehameha II, from Hawaii to London in 1824 in the position of interpreter. When the king and his queen both died from measles, Rives remained in London, where he tried to interest business men in a commercial expedition to the Hawaiian Islands. The English turned the proposition down, so Rives went to Paris, where his family lived. The Messrs. Javal, bankers, and Martin and Jacques Laffitte, businessmen, became interested and acquired a 370-ton ship at Bordeaux which they named the Héros. The command of the expedition was given to Captain A. Duhaut-Cilly. The Minister of Marine promised to supply scientific instruments for the expedition, but they failed to materialize.

The Héros sailed from Havre on April 10, 1826, and went round Cape Horn, to arrive at California in October 1826. The rest of the year and January page 85to October 1827 were spent in California and along the coast of Mexico. November and December and January and February of 1828 were spent at Peruvian ports. March to May were spent in the Galapagos Islands, and June to September back on the California coast. During July, Rives, probably realizing the failure of the expedition as a commercial enterprise, disappeared.

On September 27, 1828, the Héros sailed from California for Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands and anchored at Anaroura (Honolulu). Duhaut-Cilly, who met the King, Taméha-meha (Kamehameha) III and the regent Boki, had various observations to make on the Sandwich Islands. The Héros sailed for Canton on November 15 and reached Macao on December 25.

In 1829 the months of January and February were spent at Macao-Canton and, on March 26, the Héros sailed for Java on the way home via the Cape of Good Hope. She arrived at Havre on July 19, 1829, after having made a tour round the world during which little of interest was added to Polynesian history beyond what emanated from the short stay in Hawaii.