Isaak Iselin in Hawaiʻi, 1807

Iselin private archive Basel, § 103 (bag), envelope I, Journal of a trading voyage.

Comparing sources I

In the Iselin family archive in Basel, three sources record Isaak Iselin's stay in Hawaiʻi:

  • the journal of the voyage
  • a letter to Isaak's brother, Dietrich Iselin, from 22th August 1807
  • a list of sales and purchases in Hawaiʻi

Furthermore, there are three versions of the journal:

  • the original journal, written on the voyage in four notebooks with 323 pages
  • a handwritten, cleaned–up copy of the journal, probably intended for publication,
    79 pages long
  • the published version of the voyage, printed by Isaak's son Adrian Georg Iselin
    (1818–1905) in 1897 in New York, identical to the cleaned–up, handwritten copy

A comparison of the three versions of the journal reveals something about the intentions of the author. While in the edited version Iselin seemed to write for an imagined general audience, leaving aside political observations or personal opinions, the original journal is more a record of what Iselin saw and heard during the voyage.

In this exercise, you will compare the different versions of a paragraph about the Russian presence in the Pacific.