On November 27, 1823, L’Aigle, an English whaling ship under the command of Captain Valentine Starbuck, on which Kamehameha II (Liholiho), Kamāmalu, and their entourage traveled to England to gain firsthand experience in European ways.
The king and his chiefs agreed that Liholiho needed a competent interpreter to travel with him, and they asked Starbuck to permit the Englishman William Ellis and his family to join the royal suite. Starbuck adamantly and persistently refused. Frenchman John Rives went as interpreter.
Liholiho’s chosen party were Governor Boki and his wife, Liliha, Kapihe, Chief Kekuanaoa, steward Manuia, Naukana (Noukana), Kauluhaimalama, servant Na‘aiweuweu, and James Kanehoa Young. (Corley)
Boki was the son of Kekuamanoha, a chief of Maui (but it was rumored that he was the son of Kahekili II.) His original name was Kamaʻuleʻule; his nickname came from a variation on Boss, the name of the favorite dog of Kamehameha I.
His older brother, Kalanimōkū, was prime minister and formerly Kamehameha’s most influential advisor. His aunt was the powerful Kaʻahumanu, queen regent and Kamehameha’s favorite wife.
King Kamehameha II appointed Boki as governor of Oʻahu and chief of the Waiʻanae district. John Dominis Holt III said Boki was “a man of great charisma who left his mark everywhere he went.”
Boki married Chiefess Kuini Liliha; Liliha was the daughter of Kalaniulumoku II (some say Koakanu was her father) and Loeau, who were themselves full blooded brother and sister (children of Kalaniulumoku I and his own mother the venerable kapu chiefess Kalanikuiokikilo.)
This makes Liliha a niaupio child, a chiefess of the highest possible princely rank in the system of Hawaiian chiefs. She was hānai (adopted) daughter of Ulumāheihei (Hoapili). (Kekoolani)
Ulumāheihei’s father, High Chief Kameʻeiamoku, was one of the “royal twins” who helped Kamehameha I come to power – the twins are on the Islands’ coat of arms – Kameʻeiamoku is on the right (bearing a kahili,) his brother, Kamanawa is on the left, holding a spear.
Kapihe (Naihekukui) “was very intelligent, had an excellent memory, and spoke English tolerably. He was remarkably skillful in the game of draughts (Kōnane,) which he played with uniform success.” (Byron)
He was son of the chief Hanakāhi and also known as Jack the Pilot or Captain Jack. He had been the pilot for the Russian explorer Golovnin in 1818 and piloted Freycinet from Kailua Bay to Kawaihae in August 1819. (Birkett) Lord Byron referred to him as ‘Admiral.’
Kekūanāoʻa’s name (literally, the standing projections) is said to refer to ships’ masts seen in the harbor when Kekūanāoʻa was born. (Pukui) (Some claim Kekūanāoʻa to be the son of Ki‘ilaweau, the grandson of Alapaʻi, King of Hawai‘i, and the Chiefess Kaho‘owaha of Moana. (Kapi‘ikauinamoku))
“As a young man he was a favorite and attendant of the declining years of Kamehameha I. With Liholiho he was a punahele, or intimate attendant and friend, and in that capacity accompanied the Royal party to England”.
Kekūanāoʻa married Pauahi, formerly a wife of Liholiho. They had a daughter, Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani. In 1827, Kīnaʻu, daughter of Kamehameha, became Kekūanāoʻa’s wife. Kīnaʻu and Kekūanāoʻa had five children: Prince David Kamehameha (who died as a child;) Prince Moses Kekūāiwa (who died in 1848;) Prince Lot Kapuāiwa (Kamehameha V); Prince Alexander Liholiho (Kamehamhea IV) and Princess Victoria Kamāmalu.
Boki’s younger cousin, Manuia, was in command of Fort Kekuanohu, of the fortified hill of Punchbowl and the harbor of Kou, and Boki made him Chief Marshall with power over life and death. He an Boki later set up grog shops at Honolulu.
Naukana (Noukana) was son of Kamanawa (one of the twins on the Islands’ coat of arms – and one of Kamehameha’s four Kona Uncles who helped him rise to control all of the Islands.)
Kauluhaimalama was son of Kekūhaupiʻo. Hawai‘i Island ruling chief Kalaniʻōpuʻu instructed Kekūhaupiʻo to teach Kamehameha the ancient martial arts of the land. Kekūhaupiʻo was determined to give all his knowledge to his chiefly pupil, and he indeed did so. This brought about the firm bond between Kekūhaupiʻo and the young Kamehameha.
Kekūhaupiʻo is arguably the one man most closely connected to Kamehameha I during Kamehameha’s formative years, while he developed his skills as a warrior, and through the early period of Kamehameha’s conquests.
“Kanehoa Young, the second son of John Young, was about the same age as Liholiho, had traveled widely throughout the world, and spoke English.” (Corley)
John Young, a boatswain on the British fur trading vessel, Eleanora, was stranded on the Island of Hawai‘i in 1790. Kamehameha brought Young to Kawaihae, where he was building the massive temple, Pu’ukoholā Heiau.
For the next several years, John Young, and another British sailor, Isaac Davis, went on to assist Kamehameha in his unification of the Hawaiian Islands.
Because of his knowledge of European warfare, Young is said to have trained Kamehameha and his men in the use of muskets and cannons. In addition, both Young and Davis fought alongside Kamehameha in his many battles.
With these powerful new weapons and associated war strategy, Kamehameha eventually brought all of the Hawaiian Islands under his rule.
In London, Liholiho and Kamāmalu became ill. It is believed they probably contracted the measles on their visit to the Royal Military Asylum (now the Duke of York’s Royal Military School.) Virtually the entire royal party developed measles within weeks of arrival, 7 to 10 days after visiting the Royal Military Asylum housing hundreds of soldiers’ children.
Kamāmalu (aged 22) died on July 8, 1824. The grief-stricken Kamehameha II (age 27) died six days later, on July 14, 1824. Prior to his death he asked to return and be buried in Hawai‘i.
Kapihe was the only one of the followers who had suffered from the disorder in a degree at all equal to the king and queen. Boki and Kekūanāoʻa rapidly recovered; and Kapihe soon grew better.
Shortly thereafter, the British Government dispatched HMS Blonde to convey the bodies of Liholiho and Kamāmalu back to Hawaii, along with the entourage. The Captain of the Blonde, a newly commissioned 46-gun frigate, was Lord Byron (a cousin of the poet.) The Blonde arrived back in Honolulu on May 6, 1825.