“The number of foreigners residing at the islands is far greater than I supposed. Four American mercantile houses – two of Boston, one of New York, and one of Bristol, Rhode Island – have establishments at this port, to which agents and clerks are attached.”
“Their storehouses are abundantly furnished with goods in demand by the islanders; and, at them, most articles contained in common retail shops and groceries, in America, may be purchased.”
“There is another class, consisting of fifteen or twenty individuals, who have dropped all connexion with their native countries, and become permanent residents on different islands; and who hold plantations and other property under the king awl various chiefs.”
“Of these, Marini (Don Francisco de Paula y Marin) a Spaniard, interpreter for the government; … “Marini (has) been at the islands more than thirty years; and (was a companion and counsellor) of Tamehameha.”
Marin “accumulated much property, holds many plantations, and owns extensive flocks of goats, and herds of cattle; and is said to have money in fund, both in the United States and in England.”
“He has introduced the grape, orange, lemon, pine-apple, fig, and tamarind trees, but to a very limited extent; and seemingly from a motive entirely selfish: for he has perseveringly denied the seeds, and every means of propagation, to others, and been known even secretly to destroy a growth that had been secured from them without his knowledge.”
“A considerable quantity of wine is yearly made from his vineyard; and his lemons and pines, by sales to ships and in the town, bring quite an income.”
“He has a numerous breed of mules; and several horses, some twenty or thirty of which have within a few years been brought from the coast of California, and are now rapidly increasing.”
“Flocks of beautiful doves, also an importation, are domiciliated at his establishment; and some few miles from the town, along the coast, there is an islet, covered with the burrows of English hares, belonging to him.” (CS Stewart.)
Don Francisco de Paula Marin (known to the Hawaiian as “Manini”) was a Spaniard who arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in 1793 or 1794 (at about the age of 20.) Manini’s nickname appears to be the closest way that the Hawaiians could pronounce his name.
His knowledge of Western military weapons brought him to the attention of Kamehameha, who was engaged in the conquest of O‘ahu. Marin almost immediately became a trusted advisor to Kamehameha I.
Marin spoke four languages (he arrived fluent in Spanish, French and English, and learned Hawaiian) and was employed by Kamehameha as Interpreter, Bookkeeper and part time Physician (although he had no formal medical training, he had some basic medical knowledge.) He also served as purchasing agent for the arms that proved decisive to Kamehameha’s victory of the Battle of Nu‘uanu (1795.)
Kamehameha granted Marin a couple acres of land Ewa of the King’s compound on the Honolulu waterfront (near Nu‘uanu Stream.)
Marin then proceeded over the next several years to erect the first stone house built in Hawai‘i on the property, pre-fabricated wooden houses imported from New England, a cut coral breakwater wall, a wharf, storehouses, bullock pen and stone perimeter fencing.
Kamehameha also rewarded him with large tracts of land, including Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, which Marin used to raise cattle.
He was known for his interest in plant collecting and brought in a wide variety of new plants to Hawai‘i. His gardens were filled with trees, vines and shrubs.
He turned this hobby into a “ship supply” business and provided fresh fruits and vegetables to the crews of ships docked at Honolulu Harbor.
Marin was responsible for introducing and cultivating many of the plants commonly associated with the Islands. To name only a few, here are some of the plants he introduced and/or cultivated in Hawai‘i: pineapple, coffee, avocado, mango and grape vines.
He also successfully cultivated and raised oranges, figs, roses, beans, melons, turnips, tobacco, wheat, barley, cloves, tomatoes, saffron and cherries.
Marin also planted lots of potatoes, yams, breadfruit, melons, cabbage, onions, celery, and garlic, as well as wheat, rice and Indian corn. He made castor oil, soap, molasses, pickles, sugar, butter, cigars, coconut oil, candles and hay.
Hawai‘i’s first accommodations for transients were established sometime after 1810, when Marin “opened his home and table to visitors on a commercial basis … Closely arranged around the Marin home were the grass houses of his workers and the ‘guest houses’ of the ship captains who boarded with him while their vessels were in port.”
He fermented the first wine in Hawai‘i and distilled brandy. He also made rum from sugarcane and brewed beer, all of which he sold at his boarding house-saloon near the waterfront.
Marin Street near Honolulu Harbor was named for him and the Marin Tower, built in 1994, occupies the site of his boarding house.
His “New Vineyard” grapevines were located Waikiki side of Nu‘uanu Stream and makai of Vineyard Street; when a road was cut through its mauka boundary, it became known as Vineyard Street.
In April of 1819, Marin was summoned to the Big Island of Hawai‘i to assist Kamehameha, who had become ill. Marin was not able to improve the condition of Kamehameha, and on May 8, 1819, King Kamehameha I died. Marin died in Honolulu on October 30, 1837.
Marin’s contributions are best noted by Robert C. Wyllie, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, when addressing the Royal Agricultural Society of Hawai‘i in 1850, saying:
“From the brief accounts of the life and works of the don in 1809 to 1820, few of you will doubt that most of the present wealth of these islands is owing to the seeds, roots and plants introduced by Francisco de Paula Marin, and to whom the Hawaiian people are so greatly indebted.”