On September 10, 1859, King Alexander Liholiho shot his friend and personal secretary, Henry Neilson. The motive for this scandalous shooting? Liholiho had heard unfounded gossip that Neilson had engaged in improper relations with his wife, Queen Emma. After some time, Liholiho realized his grave error and determined that it was best to submit himself to a trial and abdicate the throne. It would appear, however, that the public was quick to denounce this proposed plan. As reported in one paper, “The Course which His Majesty has pursued . . . in seeking to make the utmost reparation in his power–the feelings of self-condemnation which have since possessed him–show him to be a MAN in every sense of the word . . . and worthy of the position he holds.” See Pacific Commercial Advertiser (pg. 2, Sept. 28, 1859). However, it was felt that Liholiho’s course of action would “create a deep feeling of regret in the bosom of everyone who cherishes the honor of our Sovereign Kamehameha, or desires the prosperity of his Kingdom.” Id. The article went on to state:
There is not a person in his realm who will not vehemently protest against his resigning his high and responsible position, or consent to his doing it . . . The interests of the kingdom–the interests of every subject or resident, demand that the King banish forever the idea from his mind, and maintain the position which the God of nations has decreed to him, and in which every subject will loyally support and defend him.
These sentiments were echoed by the Privy Council and House of Nobles. Indeed, as documented in the ministerial cabinet conference minutes dated September 27, 1859, the Privy Council strongly advised against abdication. Below are excerpts from the minutes, followed by a transcription.
September 26, 1887: Letter to C.W. Ashford – Attorney General
Below is a letter from J.M. Lydgate to C.W. Ashford, Attorney General, issuing a complaint about a local judge. This particular letter is of interest because it provides, in painful detail, varying types of misconduct, ineptitude and overall incompetency. One particular statement Lydgate makes is quite memorable. In the letter, he references the judge’s propensity for tardiness “in opening court” which results in a “serious inconvenience to those who have something more to do than hang round coffee shops.”
Some excerpts and transcriptions are provided below.
In our previous blog posting, we examined a petition submitted by residents of Kalaupapa and Kalawao requesting to retain David Kalauokalani as their district judge. That particular petition, which was buried in the Numbered Files of the Foreign Office and Executive department, was found in close proximity (i.e., the next folder) to a report that had been issued to the Chairman of the Executive and Advisory Councils of the Republic of Hawaiʻi. This report provides some insight as to how pro-annexationists sought to examine the loyalty of government employees–an issue that Kalauokalani probably encountered given his ardent support of sovereign independence.
A copy of this report, followed by a brief transcription, may be found below.
In Punawaiola’s previous blog entry, we discussed Kalauokalani’s long-time service as the leader of the Home Rule party. But prior to this, he served as a district magistrate for Molokaʻi. According to the Biennial Report of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court covering the years from 1892 to 1893, Kalauokalani’s term as district magistrate for Molokaʻi was set to expire on June 2, 1894. After the illegal overthrow in 1893, however, a law was immediately passed requiring all persons holding office or working for the government to swear an oath of allegiance:
David Kalauokalani, as described below in an article published in The San Francisco Call, was the President of the Hawaiian Political Association. In this article, he endorses a statement issued by James Keauiluna Kaulia which reads:
I honestly assert from an intimate knowledge of the Hawaiian people that they, men and women, as a race and nation, are emphatically opposed to the annexation of Hawaii to the United States of America or to any other nation. We love our independence too dearly.
Kalauokalani had been the president of Hui Kālaiʻāina, and Kaulia the president of Hui Aloha ʻĀina. In 1900, the two groups joined together as a political party called the Independent Home Rule Party. Noenoe K. Silva, Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism 161 (2004). For nearly ten years, Kalauokalani served as their President. See “Kalauokalani No More Leads Home Rulers,” Hawaiian Gazette (Sept. 26, 1905), pg. 1.
Prior to Kalauokalani’s leadership in the Home Rule party, he was a district court judge. In the next blog entry, we examine this in more detail.
September 23, 1876: Pardoning of Kepelino Kahōʻāliʻi
On September 23, 1876, the Privy Council met to recommend to his majesty, King Kalākaua, to pardon a number of prisoners. Of those prisoners listed for consideration was “Kahoalii,” who had been sentenced to death for treason. “Kahoalii,” formally known as Zepherin “Kepelino” Kahōʻāliʻi Keauokalani was a Native Hawaiian cultural historian famous for authoring Kepelino’s Traditions of Hawaii. Kepelino’s treason case was connected to Queen Emma and his support for her candidacy for the throne in the 1874 monarchical election against Kalākaua. Rioting immediately ensued. After the queen’s loss, Kepelino became involved in an unsuccessful plot to overthrow Kalākaua. Continue reading “Kepakemapa 23: Kalahala ʻana ʻo Kepelino Kahōʻāliʻi”
Below is a letter from Piia to Kuakini. Piia was formerly a wife of Kamehameha, and later the wife of Laʻanui, who was the only son of the Waimea chief Nuhi. The beautiful script of Piia contrasts with the somewhat terse style of writing. It provides an interesting glimpse at the earliest aliʻi letters contained in government records.
Oahu Sept. 17. 1824
Aroha oe e Tuatini eia ta u vahi olelo ia oe eiae oe ia Lanai ina wahi waa liilii hoolana e haavi ae na mitaeleiti i waa hali na na i Peletane pau ta u olelo ia oe. Aroha wale olua enoho maila i Hawaii a me Lanai a me keone ototo.
In this letter, W.P. Lunaheihei, the deputy sheriff of Honokaʻa, wrote to apologize to the the Attorney General, C.W. Ashford, for his delayed response. Ashford had apparently previously written about the provision of commissions to certain police officers. However, Lunaheihei’s letter references an issue with providing these commissions as proposed by Ashford–namely, that these police officers refuse to obey Lunaheihei’s orders. The explanation for their insubordination seems to be based on politics.
Below is a short excerpt of the letter followed by a transcription.
September 13, 1824: Letter from Hoapili to Liholiho
Below is a fascinating account of a battle that occurred on Kauaʻi in August of 1824. Governor Hoapili of Maui, who had been a counselor of Kamehameha, was sent to Kauaʻi to organize an attack against Prince George P. Kaumualiʻi’s rebel forces. As described in the letter, a large number of people were killed in the battle. In James Jarves’s account, History of the Hawaiian Islands, he estimated that about 130 people were killed. (Available on Punawaiola here) see pg. 246).
An attempt at transcribing a portion of Hoapili’s letter may be found below. The letter, like many from this period, are difficult to read (due to obscured/blurred text, age of document etc.) , and as such, are difficult to translate.
September 13, 2007: Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
On September 13, 2007, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. G.A. Res. 61/295, U.N. Doc. A/RES/61/295 (Sept. 13, 2007). After years of advocacy, the right of self-determination was finally extended to indigenous peoples. At the time, four states voted against the Declaration: the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. I heartily encourage our readers to look at Professor Melody MacKenzie’s insightful article entitled, “The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Part I,” contained in Ka Huli Ao’s newsletter, Ka Moaʻe.