Had he not been a madman, Captain Samuel Hill would likely be remembered as one of the great maritime adventurers of the early nineteenth century. He was the first American to live in Japan, and was in the Columbia River basin at the same time as Lewis & Clark. He rescued men held captive by Indians and pirates, met King Kamehameha of Hawaii and the missionaries who arrived soon after the King's death, was captured as a privateer during the War of 1812, witnessed firsthand the events of the Chilean Revolution, and wrote about all this persuasively. He was also a rapist and murderer. In all his contradictions and complexities, Samuel Hill represented the fledgling United States during its first wave of expansion. At home he appeared civilized and sensible, but as he sailed into the Pacific Ocean the mask slipped away to reveal the recklessness, ambition, and violence that propelled the United States from coast to coast and around the world.