With apologies, last week’s blog postings were temporarily halted due to closures related to our preparations for Hurricane Lane. Our servers were shut down for four days as we prepared for an incoming category 5 hurricane. The storm drenched parts of our state with an estimated 3-4 feet of rainfall. The National Weather Service reported that the rain associated with Hurricane Lane produced the “third highest storm total rainfall from a tropical cyclone in the United States since 1950.” We are back on schedule this week and we thank you for your patience!
August 28, 1838: “Law Respecting Alcoholic Drinks and Duties on Wine”
In 1838, a law was enacted which prohibited the importation of distilled liquors. Importantly, the law imposed a duty of “one half dollar per gallon” on “all wines imported into the Sandwich Islands.” It would appear that this is the first import duty levied by the Hawaiian Kingdom. The law references an “inspector of wines” who served to collect import duties for the port of Honolulu. The introductory paragraph of this law is referenced below. A brief transcription follows.
August 22-26: Māhele 3 – Letter from Admiral de Tromelin to “Mr. the Consul”
Below are a few excerpts from a letter from Admiral de Tromelin to the Consul for Chile. In the letter, which is translated in The Polynesian, Tromelin apprises the Chilean consul that if Tromelin is not completely satisfied with the response from King Kauikeaouli, “it will only remain for me to reclaim by force, what I have demanded . . . . ” (The Polynesian, September 15, 1849, pg. 70). Tromelin continues, “In informing you, Mr. the Consul, of these dispositions, I ought to give you, here, the assurance that the French Republic has no view either to an occupation or a protectorate of the Hawaiian Archipelago, but only to a complete reparation. I shall give the necessary orders in order that, in the case of hostilities taking place, Chilean commerce and properties be respected, as ought to be those of a friendly nation.” Id.
Finally, Tromelin advises, “to carry these dispositions to the cognizance of your compatriots, that they may take, from to-day, the measures necessary to place themselves on their side, under cover (abri) from all the hazards which may result from the operations which I may be in the case of ordering against Honolulu.” Id. Below are a few snapshots from Tromelin’s letter.
August 22-26, 1849: Part 2 – Admiral de Tromelin’s Broadside
Jean Charlot’s article, An 1849 Hawaiian Broadside, describes the events leading up to the French invasion of Honolulu. Of particular interest is his description of a broadside that was circulated in Hawaiian:
On a Sunday morning, August 26, 1849, this broadside was posted extensively–against the laws of the Kingdom–on the walls of Honolulu. The circumstances were tense. Offshore, French warships were poised menacingly. On the 25th, French marines had landed and occupied the Fort. They were now busy dismantling it and spiking its guns. Huddled inside the Palace, the king and cabinet expected worse to come.
The broadside, composed by Admiral de Tromelin, was purportedly translated into Hawaiian by Bishop Louis Maigret, Apostolic Vicar for the Sandwich Islands. Below is a full transcription of this broadside:
August 22-26, 1849: Part 1 – The Ten Demands of Admiral de Tromelin
Historically, diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and France had been tenuous at best. For example, the Laplace Affair was concluded just ten years prior–after King Kauikeaouli issued the Edict of Toleration on July 17, 1839, and paid $20,000 as a guarantee of “his future conduct towards France.”
On March 26, 1846, France and Hawaiʻi entered into a Treaty and convention of mutual agreement. The ratification and exchanges were concluded on March 6, 1848. But just one year later, Honolulu was invaded by the French, led by Admiral de Tromelin and his flagship La Poursuivante.
As explained in Jean Charlot’s article, An 1849 Hawaiian Broadside, “throughout the nineteenth century, relations between France and Hawaii hinged on two matters, indeed dissimilar, yet indissolubly linked. Jealous of its traditional title of ʻeldest daughter of the Church’, France upheld with filial care the spread and preservation of Catholic missions. As a wine-grower and a wine-merchant, France searched for expanding markets. Both aims were at odds with those of the Protestant missionaries, first to evangelize Hawaii, and who dreamt of an archipelago bone-dry.”
Below are snippets from a government document that summarizes de Tromelin’s list of ten demands in the left column and the Kingdom’s response to these demands in the right column. The first two demands are transcribed below.
In Eleanor Nordyke and Y. Scott Matsumoto’s article, “The Japanese in Hawaii: A Historical and Demographic Perspective,” they explain that the growth of the sugar industry resulted in an increased demand for cheap labor (pg. 162-63). However, Western recruitment of Japanese contract laborers was not permitted until 1868, when Eugene Van Reed, “the Hawaiian consul general in Yokohama, solicited the first group of 148 Japanese immigrants (140 men, six women, and two children).” Id. at 163. This group was known as the Gannen Mono, the “First-Year People.” Id. Shortly thereafter, complaints were received alleging that the workers’ contracts had been violated, and that they had been subject to abuse and poor treatment.
Against this backdrop, a treaty between Hawaiʻi and Japan commenced. Negotiations took quite some time, but it was finally concluded on August 19, 1871. The introductory paragraph contained in the 1871 Treaty between Japan and Hawaiʻi states as follows: “WHEREAS, a Treaty of Amity and Commerce between His Majesty the King, and His Imperial Majesty the Tenno of Japan, was concluded at Yeddo, on the 19th day of August, 1871, which has been ratified by His Majesty the King, and His Imperial Majesty, the Tenno of Japan, and the ratifications duly exchanged . . . .”
Below are a few images related to the correspondence leading up to the conclusion of this treaty, including an envelope and seal addressed to “His Excellency John M. Kapena, His Hawaiian Majesty’s Minister for Foreign Affair[s].”
A treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States was concluded and signed by their Plenipotentiaries on December 20, 1849. The treaty was ratified on August 19, 1850, by his majesty Kauikeaouli, the Premier, Keoni Ana, and the Minister of Foreign Relations, R.C. Wyllie. Below is a snippet from the Hawaiian language version of the ratification:
King Kalākaua along with his plenipotentiaries Elisha H. Allen and Henry A. P. Carter, visited Washington and successfully concluded negotiations to enter into a Convention with the United States on January 30, 1875. In sum, it established close economic and political relations between the two nations, “allowing certain products, including sugar, to be imported into the United States without a tariff and prohibiting the kingdom from allowing another nation similar privileges or any lease to Hawaiian harbors and ports.” See Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, Historical Background, in Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise at n. 152 (Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie et al. eds., 2015).
The convention was set to take effect once duly ratified by both governments, and after it obtained Congressional approval. See Convention Between the United States and His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands, 19 Stat. 625 (1875) (image below).
The enabling act for the treaty went into effect, and was signed by President Grant on August 15, 1876 (image below). Thus, it took a full year for the Reciprocity Treaty to go into effect.
August 20, 1864: Constitution Granted by King Kamehameha V
As explained in Chapter 1 of Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise, the 1864 Constitution was established amidst contentious circumstances. See Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, Historical Background, in Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise at n. 138 (Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie et al. eds., 2015). Indeed, due to a dispute over universal male suffrage, the Kingdom was without a Constitution for a week:
When Alexander Liholiho, Kamehameha IV, took the throne in 1855, he felt that the Constitution of 1852 placed unacceptable limitations on his royal authority. Lot Kapuāiwa, Kamehameha V, who came to the throne in 1863, refused to take an oath to maintain the constitution. Instead, a constitutional convention was convened. When the convention became deadlocked over the question of universal male suffrage, which the king opposed, the convention was dissolved and the constitution abolished. For a week, Hawai‘i was without a constitution, until Kamehameha V signed the Constitution of 1864, which reasserted the monarch’s powers.
Below is a transcript for the first three paragraphs of the 1864 Constitution:
August 14, 1843: Regarding the Appointment of Elia as Head Policeman
Below is an official letter authored by Kekūanāoʻa regarding his appointment of Elia Kuhia as “Luna kaiko” for “Honolulu uka.” Elia, along with his deputy police officers, were authorized to arrest those who violated laws. As such, all law breakers–aliʻi, kānaka, or foreigner–were subject to arrest by Elia and his subordinates. A transcription of this letter is below.