ʻOkatoba 1: No ka Hopu ʻia ʻana o Kekahi Kanaka Kālepa ʻOpiuma aku ma Maui

October 1, 1887: Regarding the Capture of an Opium Dealer in Maui

In this letter, addressed to C.W. Ashford from Sam Chillingworth, Deputy Sheriff for Makawao, the capture of an unlicensed opium dealer is described with some interesting details. This letter was written a few months after the Bayonet Constitution was instituted, and shortly before a new law was passed reenacting the Prohibitory Act of 1874, as amended (Mokuna XX, Na Kanawai o ka Moi Kalakau i Kau ia e ka Hale Ahaolelo Kau Kanawai i ke Kau Ahaolelo Kuikawa, 1887).

The history of opium and its regulation during the Kingdom era in Hawaiʻi is fascinating. For those interested in learning more about this part of our history, please see the following article: Lily Lim-Chong and Harry V. Ball, “Opium and the Law: Hawaii, 1856-1900,” Chinese America: History & Perspectives – The Journal of the Chines Historical Society of America (San Francisco: Chinese Historical Society of America with UCLA Asian American Studies Center, 2010), pages 61-74.

Available in Attorney General Records 1887, October.

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Kepakemapa 26: Leka iā C.W. Ashford – Loio Kuhina

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.

Available in Attorney General Records 1887, September.

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Kepakemapa 15: Leka a W.P. Lunaheihei iā C.W. Ashford

September 15, 1887: Letter from W.P. Lunaheihei to C.W. Ashford

On Monday September 17, 2018, it was announced that Katherine Kealoha “resigned as a deputy city prosecutor, almost one year after she was indicted by a federal grand jury along with her husband, Honolulu’s former police chief, on more than 20 counts.” Lynn Kawano, “Ex-police Chief’s Deputy Prosecutor Wife Resigns as Corruption Trial Nears,” (Sept. 17, 2018). Sadly, such stories of police corruption and political intrigue date back to the Kingdom era. Indeed, we recently wrote about an attorney general record that detailed certain fraudulent activities and shortages in the accounts that were occurring at the police station house in Honolulu. Below is a different kind of letter discussing police officers and politically driven insubordination.

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.

Available in Attorney General Records 1887, September.

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Kepakemapa n.d.: Nalowale ke Kala

September 1887 (n.d.): Missing Money

The following excerpt was “filed” at the front of the folder containing Attorney General records from September 1887. The letter intimates that certain fraudulent activities were occurring at the police station house in Honolulu. Specifically, that there were shortages in the accounts at the station house. The letter explains that this has become a regular occurrence since the “unceremonious dismissal of  “the old faithful servant McKeage [McKeague].” Officer Sam McKeague was the station house keeper for Honolulu, prior to the events referenced in this letter. See Richard A. Greer, “Sweet and Clean”: The Chinatown Fire of 1886,” 10 Haw. J. Hist. 33 (1976) (available here).  The author of this letter is unknown (it contains no signature or address). The attorney general at this time was Clarence Ashford, who replaced Antone Rosa just a few months prior.

A brief transcription is provided below for this short excerpt.

Available in Attorney General Records 1887, September.

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Iulai 22: Leka iā A.F. Judd, Lunakānāwai Nui

July 22, 1886: Letter to A.F. Judd, Chief Justice

Below is a letter from Kealoha Kaikuahine to Chief Justice A.F. Judd. The letter requests advice in regards to a previous case that had been heard by the district court in North Kohala. The matter, which involved a “horse dispute” was referred to the Attorney General. Below is an excerpt from this rather lengthy letter:

Available in Attorney General Records 1886, July – December.

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Mei 20: No ka Hoʻohiki ʻana o ka Loio Kuhina – Edward Preston

May 20, 1882: Regarding an Oath to Serve as Attorney General – Edward Preston

Available in Attorney General Records, 1880-1883

[in pencil: 5-20-82]

Hawaiian islands to wit

I Edward Preston do solemnly and make oath and say that I will well and truly support the Constitution and laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom and will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of my office as Attorney General of the Kingdom

So help me Lord
Edward Preston

Subscribed and Sworn this twentieth day of May 1882
Before me: A. Francis Judd, Chief Justice