Isaak Iselin in Hawaiʻi, 1807
In the first sentence, a kahuna acts as broker of knowledge by allowing Iselin's party to cross prohibited ground, kapu being a central concept in early–nineteenth century Hawaiian society. Iselin seems to be familiar with the concepts, probably from his previous experience and reading.
The second sentence links Iselin's stay directly to the material legacies of fellow EuroAmerican travellers (here James Cook). What is significant is that just as Cook had built structures on Native Hawaiian ground, so Hawaiians had subsequently built upon Cook's «spot». But Iselin overlooks this dual layering of knowledge: Cook's constructions are described with the scientific language of «observatories,» while Hawaiian constructions are denigrated as «rude stone images.» Yet both evidently framed Iselin's own observation of this site of knowledge.
In the next passage, a messenger sent by John Young brings Iselin some newspapers. Both the messenger and John Young, as well as the newspapers themselves, serve as brokers of knowledge. Because newspapers are most rare, they are a welcome present, and their content is even discussed in the journal. News from Europe, where the political landscape was changing rapidly under the campaigns of Napoleon, are of high interest. Iselin's exclamation mark may record as much his delight at receiving any news of his homeland as his own feelings about Swiss politics (in fact, this prediction about Switzerland's future did not come to pass).
Francisco de Miranda's (1750–1816) Venezuela campaign of 1806 stands in another context. It was an unsuccessful attempt to liberate Venezuela from Spanish hegemony. Miranda used for his coup the US ship Leander.
Intertextuality II – Comment
«The chief priest, a fine young man, has allowed us to pass over the taboo ground, (a great favor). I observed the spot whereon Cooks and others observatories were erected. Some of their rude stone images are on it. A messenger, sent by Mr. Young to Toehigh, brought us some Am(e)r(ican). newspapers; they are up to july 1806 only, but still afford much interest. Notice Miranda's expedition in Mr. Ogden's ship Leander. Switzerland to become a kingdom! Prussia joins France against England. No prospect of peace.»