Nov. 30 – Dek. 3: No ka Holo ʻana o Boki (Mahele 2)

November 30 – December 3, 1829:
Regarding Boki’s Expedition (Part 2)

As described in the previous post, Boki decided to embark on a sandalwood expedition to settle the chiefs’ debts. Preparations for two ships, the Kamehameha and the Keokoʻi (also known as Karemoku or Kalaimoku) commenced. The directions to the commander of the Keokoʻi were set forth in a letter signed by Boki and Kauikeaouli. It directed the ship to go to “certain islands” and “prevail on the inhabitants to Except[sic] of our protection by them taking the oath of alegiance[sic] and allowing our colours to be hoisted and for them to concider[sic] themselves under our protection . . . .” In short, this letter indicates that this was not a mere expedition—but rather a voyage of conquest.

Available in Foreign Office and Executive, Chronological File, 402-3, 1790 – 1849 1829 Nov 30.

The Kamehameha and Keokoʻi set sail on December 3, 1829. See Samuel M. Kamakau, No ka Noho alii ana o Kauikeaouli ma luna o ke Aupuni, a ua Kapa ia o Kamehameha III, Kūʻokoʻa (Jul. 18, 1868) reprinted in Ke Aupuni Mōʻī 59 (2001). Four clergymen and more than four-hundred people were on board for this voyage. See Sheldon Dibble, Ka Mooolelo Hawaii 116 (1838) (“O ka poe i holo aku eha haneri paha lakou a keu aku. . . . Eha mea ekalesia i holo pu aku me lakou.”). Noted historian Samuel Kamakau described the final moments when the ship left:

I ka lā 3 o Dēkēmaba, ʻo ka makahiki 1829, eʻe akula ʻo Manuia a me Kaʻupena, kāna wahine, ma luna o ka moku Keōkoʻi, a eʻe pū akula me nā kānaka i hiki aku ka nui i ka ʻelua haneri. Hoʻopuka akula ka moku i ka nuku o Māmala, a hālāwai akula me ka moku Kamehameha. Hāʻawi maila i kona aloha hope, ma ka hāʻawi aloha ʻana mai i ka ʻāina ma ke kī pū ʻana mai.

On December 3, 1829, Manuia and his wife Ka-ʻupena went on board the ship Ke-o-koʻi with two hundred others. They sailed out to Mamala to join the Kamehameha, and a final shot was fired as their last salute to the land they were leaving.

See Kamakau, Ke Aupuni Mōʻī, at 59; Samuel M. Kamakau, Ruling Chiefs of Hawaii 295 (Mary Kawena Pukui et al. trans., Kamehameha Schools Press 1961.

A few months later, the Keokoʻi returned to Honolulu with its flag at half-mast—only twelve Hawaiians and eight foreigners had returned.  M. Puakea Nogelmeier, Boki: The Challenges of a Ruling Chief 26 (n.d.) (unpublished M.A. thesis, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa) (on file at Mānoa’s ScholarSpace). The Kamehameha had failed to reach its intended destination and it was believed to have been entirely destroyed in a severe storm. Id. Moreover, those on board the Keokoʻi had suffered from fever and disease and over 180 people had died. In short, the expedition was an unmitigated failure. As described by Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier, “The immediate outcome was the loss of almost five hundred men of Hawaiʻi, most of them Hawaiians . . . . the dead and missing included the choicest and finest of Oʻahu’s young men. Ten percent of the sojourners had been chiefs.” Id. at 28. The great loss of life dealt a huge blow to the kingdom. It is said that the mourning went on for days. Id.

However, the kingdom also suffered the great loss of Boki, a celebrated chief, and “staunch supporter of his people and his nation.” Id.