Starting in 1888, Robert Lewis Stevenson (born in Edinburgh Scotland on November 13th 1850,) the famous author of popular works such as ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,’ began a tour of the South Pacific, visiting Tahiti and the Marquesas.
For nearly ten years his health had been declining; he was told by his doctor to travel there because the climate was good for his bad health.
On January 24, 1889, he arrived in Honolulu and spent the first six months of that year in the Hawaiian Islands (he later settled and lived in Samoa.)
Here, the renowned author found time for writing, completing The Master of Ballantrae and The Wrong Box and starting others during his short stay.
Stevenson visited Kalaupapa (shortly after Damien’s death) and later wrote of the good work of Father Damien (now Saint Damien.) He also travelled to Kona on the Big Island (the setting for most of his short story “The Bottle Imp.”)
On Oʻahu, Stevenson was introduced to the King Kalākaua and others in the royal family by fellow Scotsman, Archibald Cleghorn. Stevenson established a fast friendship with the royal family and spent a lot of time with his good friend King Kalākaua.
In 1889, Stevenson wrote a poem, “To Kalakaua:”
“The Silver Ship, my King – that was her name
In the bright islands whence your fathers came –
The Silver Ship, at rest from winds and tides,
Below your palace in your harbour rides:
And the seafarers, sitting safe on shore,
Like eager merchants count their treasures o’er.
One gift they find, one strange and lovely thing,
Now doubly precious since it pleased a king.
The right, my liege, is ancient as the lyre
For bards to give to kings what kings admire.
‘Tis mine to offer for Apollo’s sake;
And since the gift is fitting, yours to take.
To golden hands the golden pearl I bring:
The ocean jewel to the island king.”
Stevenson also befriended Princess Kaʻiulani (daughter of Princess Likelike and Archibald Cleghorn – and the King’s niece) and was a frequent guest at her home, ʻĀinahau, in Waikīkī.
It was Stevenson who first referred to Kaʻiulani as “the island rose” in a poem he wrote for her and inscribed in her autograph book – Stevenson’s poem, “To Princess Kaiulani:”
“Forth from her land to mine she goes,
The Island maid, the Island rose;
Light of heart and bright of face:
The daughter of a double race.
Her islands here, in Southern sun,
Shall mourn their Kaiulani gone,
And I, in her dear banyan shade,
Look vainly for my little maid.
But our Scots islands far away
Shall glitter with unwonted day,
And cast for once their tempests by
To smile in Kaiulani’s eye.”
When Kaʻiulani left for boarding school in England at the age of 13, Stevenson had several of his books bound specially for her (she was away from the Islands for nine years.)
Later in 1889, he and his extended family traveled to Samoa where they decided to build a house and settle. He took the native name Tusitala (Samoan for “Teller of Tales”, i.e. a storyteller).
He returned to Hawaiʻi in 1893 for a short stay at the San Souci Hotel in Waikīkī (a beachfront resort that opened in 1884 offering private cottages.) It gained fame, after he wrote about staying there for five weeks.
Stevenson’s remarks in the guest book note: “If anyone desires such old-fashioned things as lovely scenery, quiet, pure air, clean sea water, good food, and heavenly sunsets hung out before their eyes over the Pacific and the distant hills of Waianae, I recommend him cordially to the Sans Souci.”
With turmoil at the time in the Hawaiian Islands and health concerns on his part, Stevenson returned to Samoa where on December 3, 1894, he passed away at the age of 44.
The image shows Robert Louis Stevenson with King Kalākaua. In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
A polymath (Greek, “having learned much,”) sometimes referred to as a Renaissance man, is a cultured man who is knowledgeable, educated or proficient in a wide range of fields.
Hawaiʻi’s last King, Kalākaua, has been referred to as a Renaissance man.
Concerned about the loss of native Hawaiian culture and traditions, Kalākaua encouraged the transcription of Hawaiian oral traditions, and supported the revival of and public performances of the hula.
He advocated a renewed sense of pride in such things as Hawaiian mythology, medicine, chant and hula. Ancient Hawaiians had no written language, but chant and hula served to record such things as genealogy, mythology, history and religion.
He is remembered as the “Merrie Monarch” because he was a patron of culture and arts, and enjoyed socializing and entertaining.
While seeking to revive many elements of Hawaiian culture that were slipping away, the King also promoted the advancement of modern sciences, art and literature.
King Kalākaua has also been described as a monarch with a technical and scientific bent and an insatiable curiosity for modern devices.
Kalākaua became king in 1874. Edison and others were still experimenting with electric lights at that time; Edison’s first patent was filed four years later in 1878. The first commercial installation of incandescent lamps (at the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company in New York City) happened in the fall of 1880, about six months after the Edison incandescent lamps had been installed on the steamer Columbia.
In Hawaiʻi, the cornerstone for ʻIolani Palace was laid on December 31, 1879. In an era of gas lamps, King Kalākaua was astute enough to recognize the potential of “electricity,” and helped pioneer its practice in the Hawaiian kingdom.
The king had heard and read about this revolutionary new form of energy, but he needed further evidence of its practical application. Kalākaua arranged to meet the inventor of the incandescent lamp, Thomas Edison, in New York in 1881, during his world tour.
Five years after Kalākaua and Edison met, Charles Otto Berger, a Honolulu-based insurance executive with mainland connections, organized a demonstration of “electric light” at ʻIolani Palace, on the night of July 26, 1886.
The Pacific Commercial Advertiser described the experience as, “Shortly after 7 o’clock last night, the electricity was turned on and, as soon as darkness decreased, the vicinity of Palace Square was flooded with a soft but brilliant light which turned darkness into day… by 8 o’clock an immense crowd had gathered. Before 9 o’clock, the Royal Hawaiian Military band commenced playing and the Military Companies soon marched into the square… a tea party was given under the auspices of the Society for the Education of Hawaiian Children organized by her Royal Highness the Princess Liliʻuokalani and Her Royal Highness, the Princess Likelike. The Palace was brightly illuminated, and the large crowd moving among the trees and tents made a pretty picture.”
Shortly after this event, David Bowers Smith, a North Carolinian businessman living in Hawaiʻi, persuaded Kalākaua to install an electrical system on the palace grounds. The plant consisted of a small steam engine and a dynamo for incandescent lamps. On November 16, 1886 – Kalākaua’s birthday – ʻIolani Palace was lit by electricity.
With the palace lit, the government began exploring ways to a provide power plant to light the streets of Honolulu. They turned to hydroelectric, using the energy of flowing water to drive the turbines of a power plant built in Nuʻuanu Valley.
On Friday, March 23, 1888, Princess Kaʻiulani, the king’s niece, threw the switch that illuminated the town’s streets for the first time. The Honolulu Gazette wrote of that moment: “At 7:30 p.m. the sound of excitement in the streets brought citizens, printers, policemen and all other nocturnal fry rushing outdoors to see what was up. And what they did see was Honolulu lighted by electricity. The long looked for and anxiously expected moment had arrived.”
A year later, the first of a handful of residences and business had electricity. By 1890, this luxury had been extended to 797 of Honolulu’s homes.
It’s interesting to note that the first electric lighting was installed in the White House in 1891 – after ʻIolani Palace. (Contrary to urban legend that it also pre-dated the British palace, Buckingham Palace had electricity prior to ʻIolani Palace. It was first installed in the Ball Room in 1883, and between 1883 and 1887 electricity was extended throughout Buckingham Palace.)
Some suggest ʻIolani Palace had telephones before the White House, too. However, the White House had a phone in 1879 (President Rutherford B. Hayes’ telephone number was “1”.) “By the fall of 1881 telephone instruments and electric bells were in place in the Palace.” (The Pacific Commercial, September 24, 1881)
“The first telephone ever used in Honolulu belonged to King Kalakaua. Having been presented to him by the American Bell Telephone Company.” (Daily Bulletin, December 4, 1894)
Kalākaua’s interest in modern astronomy is evidenced by his support for an astronomical expedition to Hawaiʻi in 1874 that came from England to observe a transit of Venus (a passage of Venus in front of the Sun – used to measure an ‘astronomical unit,’ the distance between the Earth and Sun.)
Kalākaua addressed those astronomers in 1874 stating, “It will afford me unfeigned satisfaction if my kingdom can add its quota toward the successful accomplishment of the most important astronomical observation of the present century and assist, however humbly, the enlightened nations of the earth in these costly enterprises…”
Later, in 1881, during his travels to the US, King Kalākaua visited the Lick Observatory in California and was the first to view through its new 12” telescope (which was temporarily set up for that purpose in the unfinished dome.)
It was not long after this that King Kalākaua expressed his interest in having an observatory in Hawaiʻi. Perhaps as a result of the King’s interest, a telescope was purchased from England in 1883 for Punahou School. The five-inch refractor was later installed in a dome constructed above Pauahi Hall on the school’s campus.
In 1891, while ill in bed, King Kalākaua recorded a message on a wax-type phonograph in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
According to an August 2, 1936 account in The Honolulu Advertiser, Kalākaua is recorded to say, “Aloha kaua — aloha kaua. Ke hoʻi nei no paha makou ma keia hope aku i Hawaiʻi, i Honolulu. A ilaila oe e haʻi aku ai ʻoe i ka lehulehu i kau mea e lohe ai ianei,” which translates to:
“We greet each other – we greet each other. We will very likely hereafter go to Hawaiʻi, to Honolulu. There you will tell my people what you have heard me say here.”
Kalākaua died in San Francisco a few days later (January 20, 1891.)
King Kalākaua’s desire for technology had an effect on all Hawaiʻi; technology changed the way the people of Hawaiʻi lived. King Kalākaua wanted Hawaiʻi to be seen as a modern place and not an isolated, primitive kingdom.
The image shows the last photograph of Kalākaua, taken in San Francisco by Thomas C. Marceau, in early January 1891. In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
Pīlahi Pākī’s translation of the meaning of aloha was the genesis of the Aloha Spirit Bill adopted by the Legislature in 1986.
The Aloha Spirit is codified in Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (the Hawai‘i Laws – HRS – Chapter 5 – Section 7.5)
[§5-7.5] “Aloha Spirit”
(a) “Aloha Spirit” is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others. In the contemplation and presence of the life force, “Aloha”, the following unuhi laula loa may be used:
“Akahai”, meaning kindness to be expressed with tenderness;
“Lokahi”, meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony;
“Oluolu”, meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;
“Haahaa”, meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;
“Ahonui”, meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.
These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii’s people. It was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaiʻi.
“Aloha” is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation.
“Aloha” means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return.
“Aloha” is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.
“Aloha” means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.
(b) In exercising their power on behalf of the people and in fulfillment of their responsibilities, obligations and service to the people, the legislature, governor, lieutenant governor, executive officers of each department, the chief justice, associate justices, and judges of the appellate, circuit, and district courts may contemplate and reside with the life force and give consideration to the “Aloha Spirit”.
“These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawai‘i’s people. It was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawai‘i,” said Pīlahi Pākī.
In 1917, after Queen Lili‘uokalani had seen the end of the Hawaiian monarchy, she said to her hānai daughter, Lydia K. Aholo,
“To gain the kingdom of heaven is to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen, and to know the unknowable – that is Aloha. All things in this world are two: in heaven there is but One.” (Queen Lili‘uokalani (1917))
“Aloha is the essence of God in man,” Pīlahi Pākī.
The Hawaiʻi State legislature convenes for another session tomorrow – hopefully, they heed their responsibilities, as called for in the law.
Remember, Aloha Spirit … it’s the law.
The Kuhina Nui was a unique position in the administration of Hawaiian government and had no equivalent in western governments of the day. It has been described in general terms as “Prime Minister,” “Premier” and “Regent.”
The Kuhina Nui held equal authority to the king in all matters of government, including the distribution of land, negotiating treaties and other agreements, and dispensing justice.
Kamehameha III established Hawai‘i’s first constitution, in 1840, where the office of Kuhina Nui was first codified.
The Kuhina Nui’s primary judicial responsibility over “life and death, condemnation and acquittal” became institutionalized in that constitution (1840.) The Kuhina Nui was also given the duty of presiding, with the King, over the Supreme Court.
Article 45 of the 1852 Constitution of Hawaiian Kingdom stated: “Art. 45. All important business of the kingdom which the King chooses to transact in person, he may do, but not without the approbation of the Kuhina Nui. The King and Kuhina Nui shall have a negative on each other’s public acts.”
The Constitution of 1852 further clarified some of the office’s responsibilities, including its authority in the event of the King’s death or minority of the heir to the throne. The office of Kuhina Nui functioned from 1819 to 1864, through the reigns of Kamehameha II, III, IV and V.
The following were Hawaiʻi’s Kuhina Nui.
Ka‘ahumanu, the favorite wife of Kamehameha I, created the office of Kuhina Nui. She ruled first with Kamehameha II until his departure for England in 1823 and then as regent for Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III).
Intelligent and shrewd, Ka‘ahumanu instigated the breaking of the ancient kapu system following Kamehameha I’s death in 1819. She converted to Christianity, supported the Protestant missionaries and proclaimed laws based on Christian principles.
Kaʻahumanu was such a powerful person and Kuhina Nui that subsequent female Kuhina Nui adopted her name, (Kaʻahumanu II, III & IV.)
Kīna‘u (Kaʻahumanu II) (1832-1839)
Kīna‘u became a Christian in 1830. She succeeded her aunt Ka‘ahumanu upon the latter’s death in 1832. She acted as the Regent for her brother Kauikeaouli when he became King Kamehameha III, from June 5, 1832 to March 15, 1833.
She would rule with him until her death. She was responsible for enforcing Hawaiʻi’s first penal code, proclaimed by the king in 1835.
Kekāuluohi (Kaʻahumanu III) (1839-1845)
Kekāuluohi succeeded her half-sister Kīna‘u as Kuhina Nui. Initially, she was considered something of a “place-holder” for Kīna‘u’s infant daughter Victoria Kamāmalu, who would later assume the office.
Kekāuluohi was a co-signer with Kamehameha III of Hawai‘i’s first Constitution in 1840, which provided for an elected representative body, a first step toward the common people gaining political power. The constitution also codified for the first time, the responsibilities and authority of the Kuhina Nui.
As the pressures of international diplomacy and economic development increased on the Hawaiian kingdom, it was necessary to structure the government for better administrative control. As her life came to a close, Kekāuluohi appointed Gerrit P. Judd as Minister of the Interior to administer on her behalf.
Keoni Ana (1845-1855)
Keoni Ana was appointed Kuhina Nui by Kamehameha III because Victoria Kamāmalu, the designated successor of her mother Kīna‘u, was still a minor.
Keoni Ana was a son of John Young, the English sailor who became a trusted adviser to Kamehameha I, and Young’s wife Ka‘ōanā‘eha. Keoni Ana held several government positions, including service in the House of Nobles and Privy Council, as a Supreme Court justice, and as chamberlain of Kamehameha III’s household.
Soon after Keoni Ana became Kuhina Nui in June 1845, the Legislative Assembly passed several acts that organized the executive ministries and departments of the government. This legislation provided that the Kuhina Nui serve dually as Minister of the Interior.
Victoria Kamāmalu (Kaʻahumanu IV) (1855-1863)
Only 17 years old, Victoria Kamāmalu was appointed Kuhina Nui by her brother Kamehameha IV soon after he ascended the throne in December 1854. As the daughter of Kīna‘u, the second Kuhina Nui, and as the highest ranking female chief of the day, it had long been her destiny to assume the responsibilities of the office.
As Kuhina Nui, Victoria Kamāmalu presided over the King’s Privy Council. Perhaps her most important contribution as Kuhina Nui was to proclaim her brother Lot Kamehameha V the rightful successor to Kamehameha IV when the latter died unexpectedly in 1863.
Mataio Kekūanāo‘a (1863-1864)
When Lot Kapuāiwa (Kamehameha V) succeeded his brother Kamehameha IV in 1863, he selected his father, Mataio Kekūanāo‘a to be the Kuhina Nui. Kekūanāo‘a had a long and active career in Hawaiian government affairs.
He accompanied Kamehameha II on his ill-fated journey to England in 1823, served in the House of Nobles and the Privy Council, was a governor of O‘ahu, the King’s chamberlain, and president of the Board of Public Instruction.
His marriage to Kīna‘u, a daughter of Kamehameha I, made him the father of two kings, Kamehameha IV and V.
As the last Kuhina Nui, Kekūanāo‘a essentially presided over the demise of the office. Kamehameha V proclaimed a constitution on August 20, 1864 in which there was no provision for a Kuhina Nui. It was “an unnecessary check upon the Legislative in giving to this Office an absolute control over the acts of a body of which he himself is a member and in which he has a vote.”
The image shows the six Kuhina Nui who ruled in Hawaiʻi, Ka‘ahumanu (1819-1832), Kīna‘u (1832-1839), Kekāuluohi (1839-1845), Keoni Ana (1845-1855), Victoria Kamāmalu (1855-1863), Mataio Kekūanāo‘a (1863-1864). In addition, I have posted individual images of each in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.