Monarchy In Hawaii


The placation of foreigners in whatever demands they made was perhaps the major issue confronting every Hawaiian monarch after the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778. The encroachment of strangers and the introduction of their ways forced the native rulers to pay attention to drastic changes being wrought upon the rich, once splendidly isolated island kingdom by these ambitious interlopers. Warships of France, Britain, Russia, and the United States, made frequent appearances in Hawaiian waters. By their presence Hawaiians were made patently aware that military power was readily available to foreigners who wished to press for satisfaction of their demands. Two American warships visited Honolulu in 1826 for the express purpose of bullying chiefs to pay debts incurred during the most frenzied and exploitive period of the sandalwood trade. Lord Pauler's forced cession of island rule to Great Britain in 1843, and Admiral de Tromelin's attack in 1849 on the Fort of Honolulu to force acceptance of demands made by an irresponsible French consul are but two other examples of the extreme readiness of world powers to intimidate the tiny island kingdom.

Hawaiian cultural and political autonomy was doomed with the arrival of the great British explorer whom the Hawaiians thought to be their god Lono. From thereon the unique position of the island kingdom in the Pacific scene would make it an important port of call for whalers and those engaged in the China trade. Western mores were introduced with each succeeding wave of foreigners who visited or began to settle in the islands, much to the native people and their institutions. A disturbed new society began to shape itself upon the ruins of the old one, giving greater advantages to white settlers and foreign commerce. As the new order formed, the indigenous culture suffered almost total disintegration. The sad result of this cultural revolution was the almost total disappearance of the native owners of the soil who perished of newly introduced diseases, of famine, or of deep despair. A sustained aggression .. for the most part covert .. was practiced by white foreigners against the native rulers during all of the 19th century. The history of monarchy in Hawaii dramatically reflects certain aspects of this onset beginning with the accession of Kamehameha II and ending with the dethronement of Queen Liliuokalani in 1893.

KING KAMEHAMEHA I, The Founder, consolidated rule of all the Hawaiian Islands under a single ruler. Watercolor by Ludwig Choris. Owned by Jean Charlot.

Roots of Hawaiian monarchy go down into the native soil of past centuries. Shaped by historical process into a society which maintained rigid class distinctions, the Hawaiian culture was contained largely by the prohibiting authority of an abstract law: the kapu. Within the framework of this authority the highest ranking alii, the tabu pio chiefs, were given sacred roles. A carefully bred aristocracy who emerged through centuries played out these roles. The two ruling dynasties of the years of Hawaiian monarchy (European style) could claim unbroken genealogical roots to the original royal pair Wakea and Papa who appear as the somewhat mythic progenitors of the ranking alii of old Hawaii in all versions of the Kumulipo: the Hawaiian Creation Chant. Proof of rank was kept in the heroic chants of ancient times: the mele inoa, the kuauhau and the moolelo. Although not subjected to writing until the 19th century, there is ample reason to believe the accuracy of data contained in these chants. Hawaiians had for centuries entrusted the substance of their history to the memorizing faculties of court historians, usually junior members of a chiefly line. 

Kamehameha's consolidation of rule of the Hawaiian Islands under a single alii nui became an established fact in the last years of the 18th century. Before this each island had been ruled by its own reigning high chief, or a group of chiefs who ruled sections of each island. By and large, these chiefs could trace their descent from the royal lines which had been long established in Hawaiian society. All the great chiefs had become, to one degree or another, blood related. From Niihau to Hawaii Island, chiefly lineage had been diffused through marriages or liaisons to provide heirs to those families who occupied the topmost heights of Hawaiian aristocracy. For instance, Kaumualii of Kauai; Kalanikupule and Peleioholani of Oahu; and Kaahumanu. Kuakini, Boki, and Kalanimolu of Maui, were all grandchildren of King Kekaulike who ruled Maui Island until about 1736. The hereditary ruling class with its stratifications of blood royal, high ranking and low ranking nobles, had existed for God only knows how many generations. Proof of one's royal rank was lodged in the context of the great genealogical chants, memorized and chanted generation after generation by the court historians. There was no other record. In their writings (post arrival of missionaries) Kepelino, Malo, Kamakau, Ii, and Fornader have made the best attempts to clarify the couple's genealogies of chiefly families, working on evidence obtained from the oral histories which celebrated the matings of the hereditary alii. I have used the above named writers as chief sources of information for material to be found in passages which follow immediately.   

QUEEN KAAHUMANU ... One of Kamehameha I's wives. Her influence in destruction of the ancient ai kapu laws was considerable. She was encouraged by Americans to assume the position of a "Christian" Queen - a strong figure in whom power was centralized. Her willing assumption of this role throughout the 1820's greatly aided Protestant missionaries in establishing a foothold in Hawaii. An oligarchic enclave of their descendants controlled the political and economic life of Hawaii for generations to come.

It was believed that nobles of the highest rank descended from the gods. Functionally the kapu arrived to put this belief into practice. In his mele inoa (name chant) a chief of Hawaii is honored.

Kane, the Earth Shaker.
The chief Keawe from the thundercloud.
The heavenly one who joined together the island.

Here the chief Keawe is associated with Kane, one of the four most important Hawaiian gods. In fact, such chiefs were referred to as nalani: the heavenly ones. Alii were shown degrees of veneration prescribed by rigid kapu in relation to their rank. If the chiefs were the children of the gods, then obeisance must be performed accordingly. The gesture performed in the kapu moe: the prostrating taboo, suggests an act of sacerdotal veneration. Chiefs of naba rank (the products of half-brother and sister marriages) were sometimes granted the kapu moe. Kapa moe, or a variant, is found throughout the old courts of Asia. It is not original with the Hawaiians. The rare and stringently enforced tapu wela: the burning fire tabook was given to chiefs of pio rank - that is, those born of brother and sister marriages, one of whose parents was also the product of a sibling mating. So sacred were such persons they travelled at night only, for to be looked upon could mean death to commoners who had been so foolish as to let their gaze wander. In further deference to their sanctity such alii were transported by manele: the Hawaiian sedan chair, for their very footsteps could make the earth they trod upon forbidden. The supreme alii were given the kapu moe by alii of lesser rank if and when they were permitted to be in their presence. 

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Under the king all classes performed various functions in support of the economy with a sense of duty to divine authority. The Kapu, with its mass of inhibitory mechanisms, ruled the life of the land. The gods dictated their will through the person of the alii, and the kabana (priest) class performed the ritual of a theocratic raison d'erre in order to keep the strength of the kapu intact. The kapu ruled alii kabuna, makaainana (the commoners), and kauwa (the contaminated salve class), alike. The alii embodied sanctity - through him the gods walked the earth. this was clearly established in the philosophic aspects of kapu. The alii of all ranks were subject to kapu dictates, as were the priests and commoners. The kapu also determined the social and economic nexus on which the commoner had his relationship with the ruling class. It established the ritual connected with the veneration shown the alii by the makaainana. As for the kauwa, his segregation from the mainstream of life was due to a kapu of defilement, and fortunately his numbers were few.

IOLANI LLIHOLIHO, King Kamehameha II, who with his wife Queen Kamamalu in 1824 made an ill-fated journey to London where they both perished from an attack of measles. Drawn on stone from original painting by John Hayter in London. Owned by the H.A.A.

Under the king and his immediate family there were the alii who formed the elite society of each court. The kalaimoku (the chief executive of prime minister under the direction of the king) was almost invariably a ranking noble trained for the position. Under the alii of high rank, (children of niau pio or naha unions) the chiefs of lesser tank served as administrators. The kabana class included men of aristocratic birth, as did the mahi (military leaders) and the haku (artists), all of whom performed important rules in support of the life of the land. Artists, scientists, and fine craftsmen assumed a special place in the court. Poets (haku mele,) hula dancers, genealogists, astronomers, were in abundance at the courts of every alii wai. The must have been granted unusual latitude in their creative efforts if the large body of mele and moolelo which came down from ancient times, and was put into writing in the 19th century, are reflections of their achievements. that poetry and the dance were brought to high perfection is strongly verified in Dr. Emerson's new classic monograph:. The Unwritten Literature of Hawaii

Carpentry, farming, fishing, the manufacture of utensils and tapa cloth were widely developed. Even the endlessly varied types of fishhooks are enviable works of art. Early European observers were moved to write with admiration of much that they saw of Hawaiian life. Cook, Vncouver, archibald Menzies, a voyager called Shaler who visited Hawaii early in the 19th century, and Archibald Campbell, observed Hawaiians to be skilled and proficient in industry, gracious and civilized in their manners, and profoundly respectful of their numerous gods. In short, they observed a people who were culturally intact, whose ways were in superb harmony with the land on which they dwell. Contrary to this, much has been written even as late as our times thoughtlessly describing the Hawaiian culture (pre-Cook) as feudalistic, cruel, and barbarian. Such epithets as "licentiousness", "evils of idolatry", "avaracious greed of chiefs", and the like, were used extravagantly by Protestant missionary observers to sum up the worth of the Hawaiian culture. Little did these unctuous and often inaccurate zealots realize (one hopes) that irreparable harm they were doing to Hawaiian self-esteem by these wanton attacks upon the way of life of their ancestors.

QUEEN KAMAMALU, or Kamehamalu as she was called in the early days of Hawaiian monarchy, this six foot seven inch tall chiefess attracted much attention in London because of her regal bearing and great height. Original painting by John Hayter. Print owned by the H.A.A.

Hawaiians to this day struggle to find a suitable image of the past which is commensurate with reality in order to effect survival, even in the meanest sense. Some contemporary writers have allowed themselves to be trapped with the image of the early Hawaiians as it was promulgated by ecclesiastical propagandists. They do not go back to writings of the earliest foreign visitors to find valuable sources of data from which the culture can be judged on its own terms and not in comparison with other ways of life stemming from utterly different ecological and ethnic circumstances. Kalaniopuu summoned a meeting of the Council of Chiefs in Kohala Hawaii around the year 1780 or which time he declared his son Kiwalao to be his heir as king of Hawaii Island and his nephew Kamehameha to be the guardian of the powerful family god Kukailimoku. From standpoint of rank by birth - an all-important factor in Hawaiian heritage--Kiwalao could claim superior lineage by virtue of his mother Kalola's pio birth. In his temporal qualifications however, he lagged far behind his gifted cousin. this is the gist established in native tradition.

One a tempted to speculate on the deeper motivations lying under Kalaniopuu's act: if, in fact, he did not anticipate the struggle for power that led to the Wars of Conquest after his death, and astutely perceived that whatever mana (spiritual power) the feathered god head could lend to the embattled, it would be best put to use by his strong and able nephew Kamehameha. The capable old chief may have sensed in his nephew a talent for leadership and a firmness of character that he had not observed in his son. After Kamehameha had boldly declared himself to be ambitious for power during dedication rites of a heiau (temple), newly constructed to celebrate Kiwalao's being declared heir apparent, Kataniopuu is alleged to have said to his nephew: "I have left you the god, there is your wealth." In giving Kamehameha custody of Kukailimoku, the family god head, there seems to be no precedent established to indicate the political or social significance of such an act, but for some reason it captured the imagination of chiefs and populace alike, seeming to bear out the portentous signs which had appeared on the night of Kamehameha's birth, for his custody of Kukailimoku as a fact carefully preserved in the moolelo which came down through the years to be eventually recorded in Kamakau's historic writings for the newspaper, Kuokoa, in the 1860's, and in Fornander's great work, An Account of the Polynesian Race.

HIGH CHIEF BOKI and his wife the High Chiefess Kuini Liliha, who both strongly opposed the efforts of American Protestant missionaries to superimpose their views on Hawaiians. Boki was Governor of Oahu and guardian of the young king. Kauikeouli to the year 1828. Original painting by John Hayter. Print owned by the H.A.A.

Kamehameha had attended Kalaniopuu on the old king's visit to The Discovery honoring with all the pomp and ceremony to his neolithic kingdom, the English sea captain to whom had been given the extraordinary identity of a returning god. Kalaniopuu's visit to Captain Cook on The Discovery was a state affair of the most august character, for it was believed among the Hawaiians that the god Lono, a fair-skinned creature, had sailed from Hawaii at Kelakekua Bay some centuries before, promising to return someday during the time of Makahiki, a harvest festival of which Lono was the patron deity. The Makahiki was generally observed in the winter months of the year. cook could not have timed his arrival at Kelakekua Bayh more propitiously in the light of his having unwittingly stepped into the role of a god; he had brought his ships to anchor in Kealakekua Bay in January of 1779. This reference to Cook's arrival is made to illustrate the noteworthy significance given the event by the Hawaiians, and that, on the occasion of Kalaniopuu's visit to The Discovery, not only one of his sons, but his nephew Kamehameha, as well, attended him. Kamehameha's attendance to his uncle at such an event as this strongly indicates his rank and most certainly the fact that the young chief was held in the highest esteem by his uncle. Kamehameha's assumption of rule after the Wars of Conquest was not the result of victory alone. He was certainly performing years before these bloody wars (if the occasion cited and the writings of Kamakau are to be considered valid enough evidence) as one of the most important alii of Hawaii Island. 

Feelings of rivalry must have existed for many years - if only at the subconscious level - before Kiwaloa and Kamehameha engaged in open conflict and bloodshed under the direct influence of the new king's power hungry cohorts. It was the expressed hostility of Keawemauhili and Keoua Kuahuula, uncle and younger brother of Kiwalao, against Kamehameha (particularly after the division of rule of the island among the brothers and their cousin) that led finally to war and Kiwalao's death. There is no doubt of Kemehameha's ability to assume the role of Hawaii's first king of all the islands. In terms of birth, he was as eligible as any of the chiefs after Kiwalao's death. this point has often been hotly debated among purists in the Hawaiian community, their contention being that only the products of pio marriages were fit to be called king. Even in Kamehameha's times such people were scarce, perhaps non existent. Keopulani, considered the highest ranking alii of her time, was only of naha rank and not the product of a full brother-sister union. Kamehameha's strict adherence to the terms of his uncle's legacy, shown succinctly by his loyalty to Kiwalao, was a demonstration of his lacking the lawless tendencies of the parvenu. His assumption of power after Kiwalao's death seemed natural in light of the high esteem in which he had been held by Kalaniopuu and the patent fact that he was probably the most capable and most esteemed of surviving chiefs. He was certainly one of the most talented leaders of his times, showing the rare combination in his makeup of the soldier and the statesman. His training (as a youth and young man in the exacting regimen followed by alii of his time) he fulfilled with the abilities of a man of exceptional promise. Of his physical endowment, John Ii has written: 

"Kamehameha ate sparingly at times, so he was healthy, and his body properly developed. Because his physique was perfect and his features well formed and admirable, the women took a great fancy to him, as they did also to his younger brother, Kalaimamahu. They were the handsomest men of those days and the chiefesses gave them many gifts."

Ii's contention is in direct contrast to Lt. King's of Cook's company, who found Kamehameha to have not only an ugly but one of the fiercest countenances the British sailor had seen in his travels through the South Seas. Lt. King wrote:

"(It) by no means seemed an emblem of his disposition, which was good-natured and humorous although his manner shrewd somewhat of an overbearing spirit, and he seemed to be the principal director of this interview."

The aesthetic criterion established for the appreciation of human beauty varies so from people to people; and, so far as John Ii was concerned, he had been told that Kamehameha and his brother were the handsomest men of their time and that was proof enough for him. It ends his comment with an enigmatic, almost vindictive note: "This beautiful physiques and handsome faces earned them a livelihood." The intent of John Ii's moralistic comment escapes me. Ii Himself was an extremely handsome, well built man, who "did well," as the saying goes.

Kamehameha apparently respected the old reverence for lineage, as he did for all things traditional. He took for one of his wives Kiwalao's sacred blooded daughtger Keopuolani. She was the child of Kiwalao and his half-sister Kekuiapoiwa. Both had been children of the pio chiefess Kalola of Maui, but of different fathers. Keopuolani, the product of a naha marriage, was granted the burning fire taboo as well as the kapu moe. She was more closely connected to the niau pio lines of old Hawaii than any oth4r alii of her generation. But Kamehameha's own lineage, although he was not even of naha birth, was unquestionably royal. His father was Keoua I, half-brother of Kalaniopuu, and his mother was the blooded chiefess Kekuiapoiw II. Keoua was also the father of Kekuiapoiwa Liliha who became the mother of Keopuolani. Kamehameha was Kekuiapoiwa Liliha's half-brother, which made him an uncle of Keopolani whom he took as a bride to produce the royal line of his dynasty. According to ancient practice, Kamehameha called his sons and the daughter born to him and Keipuolani, his grandchildren. The children of nieces and nephews were collectively grandchildren among the older generations of true grandparents and their siblings.

KAUIKEAOULI as a child. Painted by Robert Dampier in 1825. Owned by the H.A.A.

Keopuolani's lineage, by virtue of her parents' naha marriage and her connection with the highest ranking families of Maui as well as Hawaii, through her descent from Keawe, was in classic tradition more sacred than that of her uncle-husband. It is said that Kamehameha must uncover the top part of his body when coming into the presence of his youthful and very high ranking wife. this was especially to be noted at night, according to Kamakau, which suggests the Tapu wela veneration. With the rich experience in chiefly intrigues gained by his long and close association with Kalaniopuu's court, the bitter lessons won from close observance of greed for power as manifested among rivalling alii in the bloody Wars of conquest, a seasoned will hardened and set into his personality by the caution and patience he had had to practice during the years preceding his uncle's death, and with profound reverence for the gods of his ancestors. Kamehameha settled into the role of king of all the islands-except for distant Kauai - in the last years of the 18th century. 

Although the guns and military naauao of foreigners had helped him reach his high place, he must now face the overwhelming truth of his islands being forever exposed to all the influences of foreign intrusion. The old way of life held together by the kapu was not equipped to meet this onslaught. Ralph Kuykendall has written significantly:

Unfortunately, none of the foreigners who came to Hawaii in the early period, or the missionaries who followed soon after, had any adequate understanding or appreciation of the native culture or considered it, any important part of it, worth preserving. None of them had the knowledge or the training that would have fitted them to help the native find a new way of life based upon the old culture but reconciled with the new. The strange new ideas and practices broke the force of the old kapus, weakened the relationship between the common people and the alii (their leaders from time immemorial), and set the Hawaiians adrift on a competitive sea whose winds and currents baffled them for many years.

Already Kamehameha had seen the marvelous aid to decadence - to the dissolution of will and sense of purpose in life- that came with the reckless use of alcohol. According to native lore Kiwalao quickly became addicted to rum. The sensation of alcoholically induced drunkenness - the kind of euphoria which was a new and exhilarating experience among the chiefs - was so pleasantly different from the semi-paralysis brought on with the drinking of awa. Warmly disposed to the love of physical pleasure, the enjoyment of which had been brought to great refinement in the old culture, the Hawaiians took to alcohol with a fatal and giddy determination. New thoughts, new ways of doing things (a revolution in carpentry alone brought on with the introduction of hammer and nails) swept into the land. Venereal disease, the common cold, and other scourges began to show their destructive results. Archibald Menzies found Kalanikapule, King of Oahu, suffering from tuberculosis in 1793 and wrote about it as follows:

A chair was lowered down for him in which he came into the ship, and appeared very weak and emaciated from a pulmonary complaint that now produced hectic symptoms for which I have him some medicines, accompanied with some general directions how to manage his complaint.

The story of the lightning quick spread of venereal disease throughout the islands was sadly noted in cook's Journals. Between the time of his visit to Kauai (his first contact with the islands when the disease was introduced) and his stay at Kealakekua Bay in Hawaii a year or so later, the destructive scourge hand already begun to infect the population of that island. For an elaboration of this unfortunate consequence of the celebrated arrival of the first white men in Hawaii see Furnas, An Anatomy of Paradise. The great push of foreign influx was slowly but with vigor getting underway in the first years of Kamehameha's role. But during his reign this influence was negligible by comparison with what happened a few years after the death. He ruled the kingdom aristocratically but kept the goodwill and respect of his people. In their trade-hungry wanderings between China, Europe, and the North American Continent, foreigners stopped frequently at the Sandwich Island, and to them Kamehameha was indisputably the leading figure of the island kingdom. It was to him that they must make all trade overtures or seek approval if they wished to settle in the islands. He managed to rule along the ways of his ancestors, his word alone shaping the destiny of problems both great and small which rose up from the daily life of the people.

HARIETA NAHIENNAENA, sister of Kamehameha II and III. They were the children of Keopuolani, highest ranking chiefess of her generation. Painted by R.D. in 1825. Owned by the H.A.A.

the vast legal systems, the laws and constitutions establishing property and civil rights among the monarchies and republics of the Western World did not become infused in the life of the land in the reign of the Great Warrior Chief. Somehow he held his miniature kingdom intact along traditional lines for the whole period of his rule. The kapu laws governed. The kahuna and the heiau did not lose their functions under Kamehameha I. Kamehameha II, known also as Liholiho Iolani, submitted to an act which served dramatically, and so quickly, to begin the dissolution of the age-old kapu system. Kamakau has written with some pathos: God alone knows what brought about this abolition of the old and the introduction of the new form of worship. Even as a Christianized Hawaiian, in his feelings Kamakau was close enough to neolithic times to know the enormous importance of the kapu system in maintaining the familiar and traditional way of life.

Immediately following his father's death pressure was put upon Liholiho to end the kapu with respect to eating. this included the separation of sexes in eating and the denial of certain specified foods such as bananas or turtle flesh to women. It is well known that Kaahumanu, a widow of Kamehameha I, exerted all her influence toward the destruction of this kapu, thee last one rigidly adhered to and which, in Kamakau's estimation was of greater importance than the kapu determining the rank of chiefs, for he wrote:

The tabu eating was a fixed law for chiefs and commoners, not because they would die by eating tabu things, but in order to keep a distinction between things permissible to all people and those dedicated to the gods. The tabu of the chief and the eating were different in character. The eating tabu belonged to tabus of the gods. The tabu of the chief had to do with his birth as a niau pio or naha, or some other rank and included many tabus within the tabu of the chief.

Kamakau was obviously attempting to declare a subtle distinction underlying demonstration of these kapu patterns. In observing the eating kapu, one practiced veneration in an abstract fashion. It was psychic law at work at the very base of existence - a profound act of submission to the will of the gods. In observation of the kapu relating to the lineage of a chief, one obeyed, in a sense, a kapu that was somehow closer to the earth and to the politics of the time than it was to the more direct showing of obeisance to the great body of ruling forces dominating the unseen, as was certainly done in the eating tabu ritual. From this we may assume that in the critical period of Liholiho's assession, the eating kapu was the last bulwark holding together the traditional way of life. In his brilliant monography, Cultural Revolution in Hawaii, Hr Handy has produced a definitive statement with respect to the kapu and the predominating role it played in the life of the old Hawaiian culture:

...Of the dynasty of Kamehameha, the great Moi, who until his death maintained the kapu with an iron hand, no direct or even closely related collateral descendant lives today. The decadence, which began when his son Liholiho weakly submitted to the strong-willed and ambitious Kaahumanuy, has swept away all of his descendants and four-fifths of his people....

Once faction of the chiefs rigorously attempted to dissuade Liholiho from giving sanction to free eating during those days of Kaihua Kona soon after the kapu period necessary for the cleaning of Kamehameha's bones had passed. Keluaokalani, son of a younger brother of Kamehameha, and other chiefs stayed close to Liholiho and strongly opposed Kaahumanu's plans. this wilful, autocratic, power-hungry chiefess had won the support of the Queen Mother Keopuolani. Having gained so powerful an ally as this naha chiefess who was a living symbol of the gods on earth, Kaahumanu ruthlessly pushed on her plans. The role which alcohol played in the triumph of Kaahumanu's design is clearly displayed in what Kamakau has written:

It was clear to him (Liholiho) what was going on at Kailua. He accordingly sent his messengers to fetch rum from Kailua, and for two days he and his chiefs sailed about the Kona Waters in his two masted canoe, sending every little while for rum...

...When the wind died down and the canoe could no longer move, the kabu (that is, Kaahumanu) sent a double canoe and paddlers and towed the boat to Kailua... Then Liholiho, on the first night of his arrival are some of the tabu dog meat free only to chiefesses; he entered the lauhala house, free only to them; whatever he he desired he reached out for, everything was supplied, even those things generally to be found only in a tabu house. The people saw the men drinking rum with the women kahu and smoking tobacco, and thought it was to mark the ending of the tabu of the chief... The kahu (that is, Kaahumanu) said to the chief, "Make eating free over the whole kingdom from Hawaii to Oahu and let it be extended to Kauai!" and Liholiho consented.

Professor Alexander wrote significantly of this final touch of the great apostatic act. "Kaumualii (King of Kauai) gladly consented and a general jubilee pervaded the islands, attended with revelry and license."

What followed is ell known to all who have concerned themselves with the history of Hawaii. The sustaining pinion of the pre-European way of life: the kapu, was cast into the void of extinction, determining conclusively the end of the old ways. After this there was holocaust and death, and survival for the chief and commoner alike was determined by the degree they could accept the modus operandi of the invading foreigner. The struggle for existence took shape rapidly along Western lines, and for each succeeding monarch up to the dethronement of Queen Liliuokalani, she battle to stay the power of the encroaching foreigner became a cause celebre. Liholiho and his favorite wife, Kamamalu (theirs had been a naha marriage, she being also a child of Kamehameha) made their celebrated trip to England in the fifth year of his reign. After enjoying some of the delights of London and being granted royal honors, the king and queen took sick and died. Elaboration of this interesting event in Hawaiian history cannot be included in this paper. The previously mentioned event was of greater significance to Hawaiian monarchy, and as such it was treated as the high light of the reign of this Hawaiian king.

KING KAMEHAMEHA III. Portrait painted in 1967 by Fredda Burwell Holt from a photograph taken of the king in his final, ailing years. Owned by her husband, John Dominis Holt as are the following paintings.

Kauikeouli, Kamehameha III, died in 1853, at the age of forty. He had reigned for over twenty years during perhaps the most disheartening period the Hawaiian people had ever known. During his reign, epidemics and the okuu phenomenon (on which I will dwell presently) contributed to the spectacular reduction of the native people occurring before 1850. Internal affairs grew ever more complicated as foreigners established their foothold in the kingdom. Bewildering new laws were demanded by them to secure property rights and to facilitate the conduct of business. Ever haunted by the spectacle of a people whose traditional mores differed in kind from the puritanical restraints of New Englanders, the mission pleaded for laws that would miraculously reshape native mortality - especially in its libidinous aspects. I refer to the moe kolobe (which means literally, mischievous sleeping) law that oppressively attempted to regulate the sex life of natives which had grown increasingly erratic in the confusion of those first decades after the death of Kamehameha I.

The history of Kauikeouli's reign is rife with struggle between the island kingdom and foreign nations. Entanglements grew from several new developments involving aliens and their demands. Property rights had a different ethnic and moral value to the foreigner. Complaints stemming from trade regulations created trouble for the kingdom. Laura Fish Judd (the wife of an American missionary) commented regarding Admiral de Tromelin's attack on the Hawaiian fort as follows: "In order to appreciate the necessity of this manifestation of French prowess, one must know the magnitude of French interests in these islands. Aside from the priests and their missions, there are twelve French subjects, one of whom is a merchant, who transacts about one-thousanth part of the commercial business of the place. The introduction of Catholicism which resulted in a situation involving the expulsion of Catholic priests would alone constitute subject matter for a large volume. The imperious attitudes held toward the Catholics by Kaahumanu and later Kinau, Kamehameha III's half-sister, each of whom had expelled Catholic missionaries from the islands influenced by the indomitable Hiram Bingham, caused trouble with 'France which haunted the Hawaiian government for many years to come.

In its pious attempts to bring the civilization of the West to the Hawaiian people in their hour of need, the Protestant American mission (established since 1820) achieved little to stay the awful spread of death. Launching illogical and indefatigable attacks on almost the whole of native institutions, the mission destroyed the chance they might have had to help Hawaiians bridge the revolutionary gap that existed between the past and the present. With more humane understanding of the true needs of the Hawaiians the mission could have been more help to the native people. Instead, Hawaiians the mission could have been more help to the native people. Instead, Hawaiians were subject to thunderous denunciations of their traditional beliefs. They were told quite bluntly that they could not be themselves because their way of life was full of evil. They must denounce all aspects of their heritage and become overnight something of an American-New England variant.

Confused and weakened, the Hawaiian lost his resistance to death. Spiritually as well as physically, he was reduced to nothing. By thousands annually, the Hawaiian began to disappear from the face of the earth. They willingly gave up their souls and died, or as it was said among themselves, "Na kanaka okuu wale aku no i kau uhane," that is. "The people dismissed freely their souls and died. this is the okuu phenomenon mentioned earlier. Andrew Lind states in An Island Economy:

...the testimony of medical men in Hawaii would indicate that the native decline was hastened during the first half of the last century from what the French frequently called un miserere psychologique...the waning prestige of native institutions and of all the cultural elements that "gave interest to their lives."

The character of Kamehameha III's reign strongly reflected some of the best aspects of the philosophy of life practiced by his advisers. In the light of the democratic ideals by which they had been molded into adult human beings and which had made America a revolutionary force in the world scene, the influence of these men on the Hawaiian government was exemplary. Thus, with the direct help of such men as William Richard, William Armstrong, and Gerrit Judd-all men originally sent with one or another of the missionary companies - the Constitution of 1840 and the Great Mahele came into existence. Unfortunately these brilliant fears of political economy did very little to make the island land, the aina, a more liveable and better place for the majority of the Hawaiian people. They continued to die off at an astonishing rate; and even those who lived fell into a national state of torpor.

Those granted kuleana under the terms of the mahele land laws had literally to be prodded into seeking title for their land holdings. The rigorous demands upon personal initiative imposed upon them by the new order were completely foreign to the understanding of the makaaimana. The concept of fee simple ownership of land was a gross foreign invention to people who had used land for centuries only as a means of producing food and not as a commodity whose worth was established at the rate of so many dollars for so many acres, depending of course on the location. Andrew Lind has written: "...even the proclamation of the King himself was scarcely potent to destroy overnight the system which centuries of habit and tradition had established."

Discussing the result of the mahele, so far as the commoner was concerned, Dr. Lind writes:

One the conception of private property had permeated the masses and individual title had been secured, the sale of land to the more commercially minded foreigner was inevitable ... the choice kuleana lands were greatly desired for the rapidly expanding rice and sugar plantations, and prices which bedazzled the unsophisticated native soon led to another change in their control.

The old people of Lahaina petitioned Kauikeouli through their articulate representatives David Malo and Samuel Kamakau, in a strongly worded letter sent to the king on July 22, 1845. The people of Lahaina Maui had written:

The Hawaiian people will be trodden under foot by the foreigners. Perhaps not now, or perhaps it will not be long before we shall see it....Another thing, the dollar is become the government for the commoner and for the destitute. It will become a dish of relish and the foreign agents will suck it up. With so many foreign agents the dollar will be lost to the government ... and instead of good coming to the Hawaiian people, strangers will get the benefit from the wealth...

In August of the same year, the king sent his reply to Samuel Kamakau:

Kindly greeting go you with kindly greetings to the old men and women of my ancestor's (Kamehameha's) time. I desire all the good things of the past to remain...and to unite with them what is good under these new conditions in which we live. 'that is why I have appointed foreign officials, not out of contempt for the ancient wisdom of the land, but because my native helpers do not understand the laws of the great countries who ar4 working with us.

The old people of Lahana had expressed their feelings about the new laws in their communication to the king:

The laws of those governments will not do for our government. Those are good laws for them. Our laws are for us and are good laws for us, which we have made for ourselves. We are not slaves to serve them. When they talk in their clever way we know very well what is right and what is wrong...We don't believe that Kamehameha would put faith in the skill and cunning of strangers...It was never head that he followed completely the advice of foreigners, and he never made them members of his secret council to discuss good government.

It is possible to assume that these sentiments expressed by the old people of Lahaina were shared by a majority of Hawaiians who had any feelings at all regarding the devastation of their old way of life. It is difficult to appraise the true value of the political and economic changes that occurred during the reign of Kamehameha III so far as they affected the Hawaiian people themselves. It is not difficult however to understand why Kamehameha III in 1849 secretly instructed Dr. Judd to negotiate for cession of his kingdom to any great power that was ready to make a suitable financial offer for the purchase of the Hawaiian kingdom. The Little King, as he was sometimes called, had been hammered from all sides. Politically his islands had assumed a new dimension in the global scene. The development of trade brought increasing power to foreigners, and the carping of moralities unceasingly dinned into Hawaiian ears the propaganda of their culture being hopelessly evil and corrupt. what was left for Hawaiians? They could adjust to the new order (as a few did), or they could die (as thousands chose to do and thousands did) in the onrush of overwhelming change. The king was understandably ready to sell his nations to the highest bidder in the closing years of his reign.

ALEXANDER LIHOLIHO. King Kamehameha IV. The first Hawaiian monarch trained along western lines to rule with an understanding of foreign ruling techniques. His death at the age of twenty-nine in 1863 was a great loss to his people.

The future years of Hawaiian monarchy and each succeeding ruler's understanding of the world had a direct relationship so a little school and the missionary couple who conducted it for the nearly ten years of its existence. Strongly sensing a need for the alii children to be educated in the haole (white) manner, the chiefs agreed in 1839 to support a school which would provide education to these children exclusively. On June 1, 1839, Mr. and Mrs. Amos Cooke received a letter from the chiefs, delivered by Dr. Judd. It read in part:

Aloha oe o Me Kuke; Eia ko makou manao ia oe. E lilo oe i kumu ao no na keiki alii a makou ... (Greetings, Mr. Cook; Here is our thought to you that you become teachers for our royal children...) .

according to Mary A. Richards in her book The Chiefs' Childrens School. The letter was signed by Kekauluoh, mother of William Lunalilo; Hoapilikane, grandfather of Jane Loeau and Abigail Maheha, who were Liliha's daughters; Keohokalole, mother of James Kaliokalani, David Kalakaua and Lydia Kamakaeha; Hoapiliwahine, grandmother of Liliha's daughters; and finally Mataio Kekuanoa, father of the heir apparent Alexander Liholiho, his brothers Moses Kekuaiwa and Loe Kamehameha, and their sister Victoria Kamamalu.

Released from their duties to the mission by the general consent of their brethren, Mr. and Mrs. Cooke undertook the difficult job of subjecting the young chiefs to a regimen of New England-American styled schooling. On June 13th, Mr. Cook commenced in a letter to his family:

.....These children wear clothes similar to children at home, only they are sometimes of different texture, frequently of striped satin or some other costly material which they rub to pieces in a few days and then have something else. They come sometimes with thirty attendants who loll about the gate or play ball till school is out and then follow the little fellows or carry them in their arms, to their homes again.

Many strange and often trying experiences unfolded for both the alii children and their teachers. In the earliest, most formative years of their lives, the children had been raised in the atmosphere of their homes which in the 1830's combined some of the worst features of the old culture and those of the West, newly introduced to the islands. The presence of doting and scrupulously alert kabus by the score, within the periphery of the school, presented a serious problem to the Cookes. Servants appearing at windows and doors, waiting to indulge the every whim of their royal charges, continually hampered the teaching program. In time this problem was handled, but others developed. Fear of ghosts brought difficulties at nightfall. The children looked everywhere for signs portending trouble with the spirit world. Odd holes in the ground or a particular pattern of shadows on the ground, or some other manifestation, were looked upon as warning signs of demons. When the permanent school building was completed, the children were housed in rooms of their own but under the same roof with the Cooke family. A strict rule that kabus were not to sleep in the same room as the children was insisted upon by the Cookes. Before long the rule was broken. Even punitive measures, when taken, could not put an end to the crying that continued into the small hours of the morning. In time the burgeoning sexual surges of the older children presented the necessity of cautious surveillance of their after dark activities. The robust inclinations of Moses Kekuaiwa, elder brother of Lot and Alexander, became a great tax on Mr. Cooke's New En gland-endowed sense of sexual morality. Mathematics, history, philosophy, and music were embellished with interpolations of traditional lore superimposed upon the haole curriculum by eager kabus and the older generation at home. In time the question of their future activities, including marriage, became a paramount issue.    

In spite of the many challenging and often serious problems confronting Mr. and Mrs. Cooke in their operation of the little school, and despite many very human and understandable errors (if these may be evaluated within the context of the times and the limitations of their experience) their influence in preparing he future monarchs for roles of leadership was considerable. The Kula Keiki Alii educated Kings Kamehameha IV and V, King Lunalilo, King David Kalakaua, and Queen Liliuokalani. Monarchy during the reigns of Alexander Liholiho and his elder brother Lot Kamehameha was strongly colored by European influences. After his marriage to Emma Rooke, hapa-haole granddaughter of the chiefess Kaoanaeha and John Young (the English seaman who with seaman Isaac Davis aided Kamehameha in the Wars of Conquest), the little court of Kamehameha IV flourished with a busy whirl of social activities distinctly meant to declare the royal family as leaders of Honolulu's elite.

The palace staff included an English butler and a French chief. China service and silver were of the finest quality. Wines and liquors were served at small, exclusive dinner parties, which were usually followed by dancing on the lanai and in the throne room of the palace. The cottages occupied as living quarters by the royal family were remodeled and expanded. Handsome new buggies-notably Princess Kamamalu's pharton - were drawn by blooded horses bred on the ranch in Kahuku, once belonging to Charles Gordon Hopkins from London, who served the Hawaiian government as land agent, and later owned by the royal brothers. A retired sea captain, an Irishman named William Lane, managed the ranch at Kahuku. The journals of Captain Lane (in a privately owned collection) carefully register the breedings of the royal stock. His notes would indicate the intention of the Kamehameha brothers to produce horses of the finest blood lines.

Alexander and Lot visited Europe and America in their youth. They had accompanied Dr. Judd on his diplomatic mission abroad following Admiral de Tromelin's attack on the fort of Honolulu, the result of the pressing onward certain French claims stemming back twenty years to the expulsion of Catholic missionaries. contention had surrounded three issues: (1) regulations governing Catholic schools, (2) the high tax on French brandy, and (3) the use of French language in transactions with the consul and citizens of France. Although this struggle had gone on for many years, the Hawaiian king was finally driven to send Dr. Judd abroad to try for the second time to win a treaty from France. Previously Haalilio and William Richards had gone on the same mission. It was hoped that such a treaty would secure the islands against future attacks such as the one it had just suffered at the hands of Admiral de Tromelin. Despite the failure of their mission in diplomatic or political terms, the princes learned a great deal about the world as a result of this journey.

EMMA KALELEONALANI, Consort of Kamehameha IV and co-founder with him of the Queen's Medical Center. She along with the king personally solicited subscriptions from residents of the kingdom toward building of the first hospital of Hawaii.

Educated in the Western tradition at the Kula Keiki Alii far beyond any chiefs of the preceding generation, the Kamehameha brothers became great admirers of European institutions. They were handsomely entertained by French and English officials and were extended every courtesy due their rank. Unused to being accorded the respect of royalty at home by the "democratic" minded foreigners among them -- for color-conscious American would not easily show deference to a dark-skinned aristocracy -- the youths were amazed to be granted their royal status abroad. Even Dr. Judd seemed to sense this. He wrote his family from France:

Our young friends are very busy with their lessons (fencing and French), and really improve their time. They attract some attention, and are spoken of in the highest terms by General La Hitte and his daughters, whose soiries we attend. Sixteen year old Alexander Liholiho described a reception given at the Tuileries by Louis Napoleon:

...General La Hitte piloted us through the immense crowd that was pressing on from all sides, and finally we made our way u to the president...Mr. Judd was the first one taken notice of, and both of them made slight bows to each other. Lot and myself then bowed, to which the (Louis Napoleon) returned with a slight bend of the vertebras. he then advanced and said, "This is your first visit to Paris, to which we replied in the affirmative. He asked us if we liked Paris to which we replied, very much, indeed. He then said, I am very gratified to see you, you having come from so far a country, he then turned towards the doctor and said, I hope our little quarrel will be settled. to which the Doctor replied. "We put much confidence in the magnanimity and Justice of France."

In Dr. Judd's account of the same reception in a letter to Mrs. Judd, the tough Yankee surgeon-statesman wrote with a slight touch of humor:

.....We were all presented to the Grand Duchess of Baden, Aunt of the President, who was coveted with diamonds, and almost stout-enough for a Hawaiian beauty.

Failing to negotiate a treaty with France during the three months spent in Paris, the princes and Judd returned to England where they had stopped prior to their arrival at Paris. At this time they met Prince Albert, Lord Palmerston, and numerous other members of that island's aristocracy. In another letter to his family. Dr. Judd wrote of some of their activities:

Presented the princes to Lord Palmerston in his own library at Carlton Gardens... I went over all the grounds of dispute with France... Lord Palmerston said the French must give up their demands about the treaty, and we, our claims for indemnity ..... After this interview ..... we went to lunch with Admiral Seymour, where we met Lord George Paulet and Lieutenant Frere, of "cession" memory. both were very cordial, and had much to say about the islands. Soon after, the Hawaiian party were taken to Buckingham Palace for

an audience with Prince Albert, Queen Victoria having retired from public view, awaiting the birth of her seventh child, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught.

.....We all did our best to make a good impression (Dr. Judd wrote home). I told Prince Albert that the King of the Sandwich Islands (Kamehameha III) had sent me to Europe to obtain justice from France for injuries received, and that these young princes accompanied me in order to be benefited by foreign travel; that our visit to Paris had been unsuccessful, and we now sought the aid of the greatest diplomat in Europe designating Lord Palmerston. 

Prince Alexander Liholiho's account is more detailed:

When we entered, the prince was standing a little aside of the door, and bowed to each of us as we came in. He was a fine man, about as tall as I am, and had a very fine bust, and straight legs. We kept standing, Palmerston on my right, and the doctor on my left, and then Lot. The prince began the conversation by asking if we intended to make a long stay (in London) to which I answered by saying that we expected to leave in about a week and then Mr. Judd made a few remarks on his business.

Several days later the Hawaiian party dined with Lord and Lady Palmerston. "A very splendid affair," wrote Dr. Judd:

Prince Alexander led Lady Palmerston to the table, and Prince Lot Miss Seymour. In the course of the evening a gentleman inquired how long these young men had been in England; and on being told only a few weeks, remarked that they appeared to familiar with society as the best bred people in England. A lady inquired how they had learned to speak English. I told her they were educated in English. "And where did they acquire court manners," she asked. "We have a little court of our own," I said... the next day we dined at Brompton Park with Earl Talbot and lady. Sir George Seymour and Lord Sheffield, with many other distinguished gusts, were present. Went with Lady Sanford in Almack's where we saw all the aristocracy of rank, beauty, wealth and fashion.

How different are these descriptions of their activities from those the doctor had sent home from New York in December of the previous year when he wrote:  

The mayor paid us a visit with all the honors, and extended the hospitalities of the great city of Gotham to us. I am particularly gratified with this as you know Americans are not very partial to colored people.

Prince Alexander Liholiho described an incident that took place at the railroad station in Washington, D.C. which was to make a lasting impression. The prince had proceeded Dr. Judd and Prince Lot in occupying the compartment reserved for them for a return trip to New York. Someone had arrived at the door of the compartment and questioned Alexander's right to be there. In his journal he wrote:

.....I found he was the conductor, and took me for somebody's servant just because I had a darker skin than he had. Confounded fool; the first time that I have ever received such treatment, not in England or France or anywhere else.

The indignant young chief wrote on in his diary, arriving finally at a piece of insight remarkable for a sixteen year old of any culture or epoch: ... In England an African can pay his fare and sit along side Queen Victoria. The Americans talk and think a great deal about their liberty, and strangers often find that too many liberties are taken of their comfort just because his hosts are a free people.

At a dinner party to upstate New York, given in their honor by old friends of Dr. Judd, the princes wee again exposed to a distasteful incident arising from the color of their skin. Helen Kinau Wilder recalled in her memoirs: 

In Geneva (New York), visiting friends, the butler was very averse to serving "blacks" as he called them, and revenged himself by putting bibs at their places. Alexander unfolded his, saw the unusual shape, but as he had seen many strange things on his travels concluded that must be something new, so quietly fitted the place cut out for the neck to his waist. Their hostess was very angry when she found what a mean trick her servant had played on them.

Undoubtedly these displays of color prejudice in the United States and the overbearing, puritanical carpings of American missionaries to which Alexander had been exposed since the age of six helped to condition him in his mature years toward a slightly anti-American point of view. The same was true of his brother, Prince Lot.

Hawaii - Monarchy In Hawaii - Part 2

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Princess Kaiulani of Hawaii

Princess Kaiulani of Hawaii - Part 2

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