Isaak Iselin in Hawaiʻi, 1807
The place names mentioned in the text are:
Kronstadt [Cronstadt]: an island near St. Petersburg, Russia, which contained a military harbour.
Northwest–Coast: the northwest coast of America, from today's California to Alaska.
Kodiak: an island on the southern shore of Alaska and capital of the Island.
Norfolk Sound: the area around Sitka, the centre of Russian–America Company interests.
The difference between the two versions is the replacement of the expression «where they killed many of the Natives» (original) with «where they have had serious affrays with the natives» (edited). It seems that whereas Iselin wrote down what he had heard in the original journal, he omitted a direct accusation of «killing natives» in the edited version.
Violence was endemic in Russian North America. Hostage taking and forced labour were part of a system applied by the Russian–American Company (established in 1799) in order to make the most profit from the labour of natives and migrant–workers from Russia. Killings and feuds between indigenous peoples and subjects of the Russian empire were common.
It is apparent that Iselin censored his observations in the edited journal. He not only shortened the original text but also had an eye on avoiding political and personal comments. He did not want to offend readers by revealing sensitive details, and did not want to offend members of EuroAmerican empires or governments with whom he might have future business relationships.
Comparing sources I – Comment
Transcript Friday 22.
Two russian vessels /from Cronstadt/ of 20 & 36 guns visited these islands about 2 years ago; a russian gent. /from Kodiak/ also lately came here from the coast of N.W.A., in an american brig to procure refreshm. for a party of russians that engatet abt. of the Americans were fish at hunting otters on the N.W. coast The russian settlers there are said to extend to Norfolk Sound where they killed many of the Natives.