November 21, 1829: Letter from Captain Finch to Kauikeaouli
Captain W. B. Finch of the USS Vincennes departed for the Pacific on September 3, 1826. Thomas Truxtun Moebs, America’s Naval Heritage: A Catalog of Early Imprints from the Navy Department Library 104 (2000). It returned on June 8, 1830, successfully completing the first circumnavigation of the globe by a U.S. warship. Id.
Upon Finch’s arrival to Hawaiʻi, he paid a diplomatic visit to King Kauikeaouli. He presented gifts to the king and communicated a letter written in English and Hawaiian. See Foreign Office & Executive – Chronological File, 1790 – 1849 1829 Nov 21. In that letter, Finch made a number of suggestions to the king, including to consider promulgating laws in consultation with all of the foreign residents with whom he had confidence. He further suggested that Kauikeaouli conduct a semi-annual or annual meeting of the great chiefs, to attend to state affairs. Id. The letter also stresses the importance of learning the English language. A side-by-side presentation of this portion of the letter is provided below.
O kahi o kou aina ma ka honua, he wahi maikai no ia, aole ike pono ia ka pono nui o ia wahi ma ia hope aku, i keia makahiki aku, a i kela makahiki aku mahuahua ka maopopo ia oe ka pono o kou wahi, no laila ke olelo hou aku nei au ia oe e ao oe i ka olelo English, malaila weheia ke kula nui loa o ka ike, a i ko hana pono ana me ia naauao, e hookumu oe i inoa kaulana, aole e make i ka wa e pau ai ko Hawaii nei pae aina.
The geographical position of your inheritance is so peculiarly favorable that no one can foresee the degree of importance it is to attain; every year its additional consequence will be apparent to you; therefore I again repeat, acquire the English language, which will open an unlimited field of knowledge to you; in the right use of which, you may found a name more imperishable and enduring than the Islands of Hawaii.