On August 12, 1898, the Republic of Hawai‘i ceded sovereignty of the islands to the United States under the terms of the Joint Resolution of Annexation. As part of this cession, the republic also conveyed title to Hawai‘i’s public lands to the United States. The public lands, which included Government and Crown Lands, were “estimated to amount to almost 1.8 million acres, with a value of at least $5.5 million.” See Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, Historical Background, in Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise at n. 213 (Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie et al. eds., 2015). On this day, the Hawaiian flag was lowered and the United States flag was raised in its place.
August 8, 1839: Letter from J. Dudoit to Kauikeaouli
In the following letter from Jules Dudoit to Kauikeaouli, he raises some questions regarding the Laplace Treaty (to read more about this incident, please see this blog entry). Dudoit was the appointed consular agent for France. He was later conferred the title of Knight of the Legion of Honor, “one of the most coveted distinctions in the power of Napoleon to confer.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, July 28, 1866).
August 6, 1850: Granting to the Common People Allodial Titles
The Kuleana Act of August 6, 1850 is a foundational law relating to native tenant rights. It authorized the Land Commission to award fee-simple title to native tenants for their own plots of land or kuleana parcels. A kuleana parcel could originate from lands of the king, government, or chiefs. A portion of this law and a short transcription may be found below:
August 5, 1839: Instructions from Kauikeaouli and Kekāuluohi to Keaweamahi
In this letter dated August 5, 1839, certain instructions are directed to Emiri Keaweamahi, interim governor of Kauaʻi. The letter provides a fascinating look at governance, and the King’s concern that some makaʻāinana were being oppressed and mistreated. In the first paragraph, he and Kekāuluohi state that a father of three children should not be permitted to work on kōʻele labor days, and that he should cultivate for the children. The letter further instructs on the proper treatment of those who are weak and blind. The letter’s instructions provide in no uncertain terms the necessity of reading the laws. Below is a short excerpt from the two page letter, followed by a transcription.
Honolulu, Augate 5. 1839
Auhea oe e Emiri Keaweamahi, ke hoole aku nei au, a me ke Alii nui, i ka hele ana ona makua kane i a kolu keiki i na la koele o ke Alii, a me kona konohiki, aole lakou e hele i ka hana ia mau la; e mahiai oia na na keiki a laua, mai keakea wale aku ia mau makua, pelaaku ahiki i ka nui loa o na keiki, e like me ke kanawai.
Eia kekahi, o ka hele ana o ka poe nawaliwali, a me ka maka po i ua mau la koela la, a me ka hemo ana o ko lakou aina i keia manawa, a me ka hookaumaha wale aku i ka poe i manao e mahiai makahi i mahi oleia mamua; mai keakea wale ia lakou, o ka helehelu pinepine ole kekahi i ke kanawai o na konohiki, a me . . . .
As eloquently stated in Marie Alohalani Brown’s Facing the Spears of Change: The Life and Legacy of John Papa ʻĪʻī, the esteemed ʻĪʻī was born “in an age when highborn aliʻi were considered divine, when intrepid warriors performed feats that bordered on the superhuman, and when genealogy largely determined a Hawaiian’s lot in life.” Ioane Kaneiakama Papa ʻĪʻī estimated his birth as August 3, 1800. He first served in the household of Kamehameha I as an attendant in 1810. He later went on to become a prominent member of the Privy Council and the House of Nobles. He also served as superintendent of schools on Oʻahu, and treasurer for the Kingdom. On January 15, 1848, ʻĪʻī was named the second associate justice of the Hawaiʻi Superior Court. He then served as second associate justice of the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court from December 6, 1852 – February 16, 1864.
The image below comes from the State Archives card catalogue providing particular dates of interest relating to ʻĪʻī: