Malu Malu Kauai
March 29th 1855
My dear brother
You must not be surprised at receiving letters, which denote either an unsettled and changeable state of mind; for such is the precise condition which I have been fluctuating for many months past.
Had a purchaser for this place appeared a week to two since. I should have sold out, and have accompanied my friends, Judge Lee & Mr. Bond to the U.S.: the opportunity of such pleasing company, would have been irresistible. Left much, too much, to my own thoughts here, without occupation, my mind has dwelt greatly upon home, and I long to see you all once more, and to let Becky and her father be together again while he yet can enjoy her presence. But this very last week, we have had a slight cold spell, which obliged me to wear two coats indoors, and three, out! To keep warm enough; since then. I think it would be imprudent in me to encounter San Francisco neither in April, or perhaps at any season--and that I had best content myself here a while longer.
I shall however sell, when an opportunity may offer and remove to Honolulu for the sake of more society, as I am now sure of means enough to live open for a year to come. I have, as I advised you the other day drawn upon your in from Judy Lee, for $800 -- which will be sufficient to maintain us here, with my pay of $600 for a twelve month. And should we remove to Honolulu, with the addition of the interest of the purchase money of Malu Malu I could manage to live there comfortably, until next spring, without, perhaps, drawing on you for the other $200 -- but of this I am not so certain as I should not wish to be crippled for incomes there. Granting that I am to survive, to that time, our future movements will have to be decided by affairs as they may then stand.
As I therefore consider myself provided for, for a year to come I have this day written to Field, "that if you have any money on hand, on my acct., whether it be one, two or three thousand dolls"--of which I confess to being in utter ignorance -- "and if he deems it advisable to have & invest the same, in merchandise for Honolulu, on our joint acct., as understood between us, he has my authority to procure such money from you' and please consider this an authority for you to pay it over to him.
If I have any money in your hands, I have no doubt that you have it well invested; but the lowest rate here is 12 p/c pr an. -- and therefore I can do better with it here. If it is invested in merchandise, it will be transmitted in the most advantageous way. Should Field not call for it, we can then see what shall be done. But I would give my head to know whether I have any or not? as it is the height of inconvenience and folly to be making plans in the dark. Sometimes I think you are letting me have some of your money -- as you did not mention that I could draw for any of my own.
I have had a third kind letter from Com. Smith who had again seen the Secy., without success as to the Naval Store keeper ship at Honolulu, or any duty there. But the Secy. offered me the command of the Store Ship at Valparaiso or duty at San Francisco -- neither of which I can accept on account of the climate, or I would gladly take one or the other.
Stamm (?) said he would have me put all right -- and I have no doubt that he won't try hard. If you and he fail, why I must remain as I am for the present -- and I am much more content to do so, since I know, that I have enough money, to live on here for a year to come -- sufficient for the day, is the evil thereof.
I have written you since, about Putnam -- that if my first article is published, you should lend him the remainder all at once -- and suppose you will have attended to this By this mail. I send to San Francisco for publication in Nugents(?) paper the Herald, I think. "Some notice of Gen. Millers Speech against the annexation of the Islands: and I requested Peachy to enclose you a slip in an envelope -- should you receive it, I wish you to show it to Mr. Buchanan if he comes home this summer -- & if he doesn't I wish you to send it to him in England -- do not forget this.
My general health continues, about the same Mr. Bond thinks I look much better, that I did when at Boston. And as Dr. Grotton, after examining my lungs, pronounce them [ ], I suppose I must certainly have gained ground coming here, when I did. I do not for regret having come here, and although I am now anxious to quit Malu Malu, beautiful as it still is in my eyes & charming as is the climate, it is only because I can not find agreeable or profitable occupation in farming, and because having lost our old neighbors, we should find more society in Honolulu.
I have just read an article in the Culture of Aaron [ ] at the Islds. Which lays down the law; quite to suit me "That there is no crop, until the second year from planting and that the ground must be let along -- not needed or cultivated meanwhile". I have not put any labor on mine since August and I had come to the same decision that I would see no crop this season.
If I remain at Malu Malu and if there shall be a crop next January. I will prepare it for market. We have made some very nice for our own use, lately.
Should Judge Lee come to Lancaster, I hope you will take him to the house, and show him every attention & hospitality. Entirely uninspiring, in manner, or appearance, he is the foremost man of these Islands -- and the main prop. to the government. He and Mrs. Lee have been very kind to us and we staid at their house on our last visit to Honolulu. AS I advised you in our last letter. Mr. Marshall expected a reply to his note, from you, and it is a matter of regret to me, that you did not favor him so far. He was kind enough to suggest that you have not received it. These little matters are yet too essential to be neglected.
With much love to you all, Your affectionate brother
James L. Reynolds Esq.
[Archives & Special Collections Dept., Franklin and Marshall College, MS6 2/6]