Still drifting at Kawaihae, Kalanimōku comes to visit the missionaries and brings them gifts.
April 1, 1820 – Today Crymokoo and the two widows of Tamh., several other chief women, decently dressed came on board the Brig, having sent before them a present to Capt. B. of 3 hogs and 3 or 4 large bundles of sweet potatoes. This noble chief, after being introduced to the Mission family individually, and after the mutual salutations of shaking hands with the compliment, “Alloah,” sat down with us to dine, and appeared with great civility. His appearance was much more interesting than we expected. His dress was a neat dimity jacket, black silk vest, mankin pantaloons, white cotton stockings, and shoes, plaid cravat and a neat English hat. He sometimes however wears the native dress. He manifested peculiar fondness for the children of Capt. C. When we made known to him something of our objects and wishes, he listened with attention and said he must see the King, and they must consult together about it and then let us know what they would say. As a token of friendship he presented to Brother Bingham a curiously wrought spear, which may serve for a pruning hook or for a curiosity to gratify our American friends. They were pleased to find we could speak easy phrases in their language, made themselves more agreeable that we could have expected, and then left us with apparently kind sentiments. We are encouraged to hope that we shall be allowed soon to take possession of these Islands for the church and for Christ, even without a contest with the priests of Idolatry, now reduced to a level with the lowest class. It appears today that in settling the affairs of government that the chief – who chose not to destroy his Gods, with a powerful party, resisted till he lost about 40 men and his own life – Crymokoo with the loss of 6 men, was victorious. (Thaddeus Journal)
“At 5 a.m.” [April 1st], he continued, “I left the brig in the whale-boat for Koai at 8 am. I landed, and heard the report confirmed of the great revolution, and found two of the late queens here. I visited the spot where the morai lately stood; not a vestige of their wooden gods, save the ashes, was to be seen.” Meanwhile the brig had drifted out of the bay and he started for her, “without being able to accomplish my errand,” he wrote, and found her “about 15 miles S. E. by S. from the village” [Towaihae]. “Two or three canoes were off to the brig in the course of the day.” During the next, more canoes came, with chiefs, their wives and people, Kalanimōku confirming the former reports and agreeing “to go to-morrow with us to Kailua, the place of residence of Liholiho.” (James Hunnewell)
This morning received a present from the Great Chief, Krimakoo; cocoanuts. bananas. plantains. breadfruit, sweet-potatoes, tarrow and 2 hogs. About 11 Oc. the same day – arrived at our Brig in a large double canoe covered with an awning-a part of the Royal family consisting of the high Chief, his wife, Tamahamaah’ s 2 widows with their attendants and servants, about 30 in all.
Krimakoo was well dressed, in the English style; his wife was dressed in Chinese silk and tapper [tapa], one of the Queens in striped calico, and the other in black velvet trimmed round the bottom with an elegant gilt ribband, and each an elegant wreath of yellow feathers curiously wrought around their heads, and all barefoot. Their gowns were made in the old continental style, with a long tight waist reaching to the bottom of their waists which did not exceed 3/4 of a yd.
The attendants were dressed in Tapper, a sort of cloth of their own manufacture, made of the bark of a certain plant called the Kowoca [ka wauke] plant. It is coloured and printed with various figures, and some of it very handsome. This cloth they fold into 10 thicknesses, then wind it about the middle of their bodies (the females) two or three turns around – which in all makes 20 or 30 thicknesses about their bodies – their
shoulders, arms, &c entirely naked. The servants wear nothing but a small strip of cloth tied around their waist. Their office is, to spread their mats when they want to sit or lie down, roll and unroll them their Tapper, which they change 3 or 4 times a day, merely for show-hold their wash and spitting bowl, scratch their heads and backs, and brush off the flies, which generally requires 2 or 3 and sometimes more, according to the dignity of the person.
We had the company of this honorable Group, from Sabbath till Tuesday evening. I will now give you a brief description of their manners while with us.
The first salutation was similar to our manner of introduction, that of giving the hand and Alohah, i.e., how do you do, or good morning. They took seats and began to admire the Ladies, asking if they had any children, calling us “piccaninny” (too little). The larger and fatter the women in Owhyhee, the better. One of the old Queens weighs 350. She got me into her lap, and felt me from head to foot and said I must cow-cow and be nooe-nooe. i.e . I must eat more and grow larger. She admired my hair very much. and wished me to take out my combs, and let her see how long it was. She then wanted to see how I rolled it up. Not being accustomed to sitting upon seats, they began to be very uneasy. and ordering their servants to spread their mats, they flung themselves down, and rolled about the deck like so many hogs. requesting us to lie with them.
They eat when hunger suggests, without any regard to time or place – indeed they make no account of time – they eat and sleep, and eat again, frequently 8 or 10 times in the course of 24 hours.
They call for their food wherever they happen to be sitting or lying, which is brought to them in Calabashes. All eat out of one dish, and they suck their fingers and smack their lips as if it was all the better for it. They have a kind of pudding which they call poa, made of Tarrow, and which answers the purpose of bread for them. They have one kind which they eat with one finger, which is about as thick as hasty pudding; another, which is made thinner, and requires 2 fingers. and a third, 3. The Chief’s wife and two queens formed one circle, and the attendants (nobility), another. If a servant who sits squatted behind to brush off the flies, can slip his finger into the dish of poa slyly it is all his gain, but if he happens to be caught, another takes his place.
They dined, and sometimes breakfasted with us in the Cabin, but found great inconvenience in sitting to our table and using a knife and fork.
Finally I know not how to describe their manners, for should I make use of language as indelicate and uncouth as they really appear, which I must do to give you any correct idea of their manners, you must be disgusted. They were told that, there were ladies on board that would be offended to see them come naked, else they would have come in their native style, with only a piece of tapper wound about their waists; altho they have the richest clothes in abundance. The sight of their wretched situation without firm confidence and faith in Jehovah, is enough to dishearten anyone in their attempts to reform them. But the Lord has already done great things for this people. It appears that, he has already begun to put down the strong holds of Satan – thus preparing a high way for his people. The most powerful obstacle which was anticipated could stand in the way of planting the standard of the cross upon these shores (the abolishment of Idolatry) is done away – and not by any human means either, but ‘it is truly the Lord’s doings and marvellous in our eyes.’ (Lucia Ruggles Holman)
April 1st. Had a visit from the chief, his two wives, and two widows of Tamahamaha, with a numerous train of attendants. The name of heathen has long been familiar to my ears, but half of their read wretchedness was never told me, O my dear Christian friends, you who enjoy the exalted privileges of the Gospel & civilization, I entreat you to think of the heathen and remember that you must shortly meet them at the bar of Jehovah; and answer for the feelings and conduct which you now exercise toward them. The chief was dressed, in English and appeared well. His wives and the Queens were clothed in China dresses on account of our being on board. They generally go almost naked. The Queens are monstrous women, judged to weigh about 400 pounds each. Their heads were both crowned with a wreath of yellow feathers. The sight of white females was a novelty to them. They expressed a desire to become acquainted with our customs were much pleased with the idea of writing, tried themselves, and succeeded very well. The Chief dined with the mission family, but the Queens chose to eat by themselves. Their provision was raw fish and poe. They ate with all the simplicity-of untaught barbarians, without any politeness or even decency. (Nancy Ruggles)
April 1. Crymakoo (Kalanimōku) the principal chief, with his wife, Tamaahmaah us two widows and a great number of attendants have visited us. Crymakoo is a man of a pleasant countenance. He was dressed in a short dimity coat, a silk vest, nankeen pantaloons, with a hat, cravat, stockings & shoes. His wife and the Queens were dressed in loose gowns, without stockings, shoes, or bonnets. Those who were with them were almost naked. Some had nothing but a small strip of cloth round their middle, others had a piece loosely thrown over their shoulders. The site of these wretches would have made my heart sink within me, had I not had previous information respecting them. I think the Queens in size surpass any females I ever saw. It is judged one will weigh 400. I do not think however she will weigh quite so much. (Mercy Partridge Whitney Journal)
April 1. – This morning the chief (Kalanimōku) came together with his wife, & two wives of the former king. Brought off presents of hogs, potatoes, coconuts, bananas, sugar-cane, tarro &c. He is a shrewd, active looking man expressed his good wishes to us all, but choose not to say much about our settlement. (Samuel Whitney Journal)