In 1789, Congress created three Executive Departments: Foreign Affairs (later in the same year renamed State), Treasury, and War. It also provided for an Attorney General and a Postmaster General. Domestic matters were apportioned by Congress among these departments. (DOI)
In the decade of the 1840s the cry of Manifest Destiny expanded the vision of Americans to continental dimensions. In quick succession came the annexation of Texas in 1845, the resolution of the Oregon boundary dispute with Britain in 1846, and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo concluding the Mexican War in February 1848.
In three years the United States enlarged its domain by more than a million square miles, reaching nearly its present size between Canada and Mexico. Widely applauded, this remarkable national aggrandizement also prompted sectional controversy over the extension of slavery. (NPS)
The idea of setting up a separate department to handle domestic matters was put forward on numerous occasions. It wasn’t until March 3, 1849, the last day of the 30th Congress, that a bill was passed to create the Department of the Interior to take charge of the Nation’s internal affairs.
Creation of the Home Department consolidated the General Land Office (Department of the Treasury), the Patent Office (Department of State), the Indian Affairs Office (War Department) and the military pension offices (War and Navy Departments).
Subsequently, Interior functions expand to include the census, regulation of territorial governments, exploration of the western wilderness, and management of the D.C. jail and water system. (DOI)
“Everything upon the face of God’s earth will go into the Home Department,” US Senator John O. Calhoun had prophesied. Later, it became known as the Department of Interior.
As Interior took shape under its early leaders and in response to congressional mandates, it came more and more to deserve the appelation of “Great Miscellany” often given it. Some suggested it was the Department of Everything Else. (NPS)
In the Islands …
French Invasion of Honolulu – 1849
On August 12, 1849, French admiral Louis Tromelin arrived in Honolulu Harbor on the corvette Gassendi with the frigate La Poursuivante. Upon arrival, de Tromelin met with French Consul Dillon.
Dillon immediately initiated a systematic and irritating interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom, arising largely out of personal hostility to RC Wyllie, minister of foreign affairs, picking flaws and making matters of extended diplomatic correspondence over circumstances of trifling importance.
This continued until the French Admiral Tromelin arrived, and after a conference with Dillon the celebrated “ten demands” were formulated and presented to the Hawaiian Government with the commanding request for immediate action.
Sensing disaster, King Kamehameha III issued orders: “Make no resistance if the French fire on the town, land under arms, or take possession of the Fort; but keep the flag flying ‘till the French take it down. … Strict orders to all native inhabitants to offer no insult to any French officer, soldier or sailor, or afford them any pretext whatever for acts of violence.”
The marines broke the coastal guns, threw kegs of powder into the harbor and destroyed all the other weapons they found (mainly muskets and ammunition). They raided government buildings and general property in Honolulu, including destruction of furniture, calabashes and ornaments in the governor’s house. After these raids, the invasion force withdrew to the fort.
On the 30th, the admiral issued a proclamation, declaring that by way of “reprisal” the fort had been dismantled, and the king’s yacht, “Kamehameha III,” confiscated (and then sailed to Tahiti,) but that private property would be restored. He also declared the treaty of 1846 to be annulled, and replaced by the Laplace Convention of 1839. This last act, however, was promptly disavowed by the French Government.
Alexander Liholiho and Lot Kamehameha travel abroad – 1849
Alexander Liholiho and Lot Kapuaiwa, grandsons of Kamehameha I through his daughter Kīnaʻu, later ruled Hawai’i as Kamehameha IV and V. While still teenagers, 9n 1849, they traveled to the United States and Europe accompanied by their guardian Dr. Gerritt Judd.
Alexander Liholiho celebrated his 16th birthday in Paris where he learned to fence and speak French. He and Lot met with French President Louis-Napoleon, with Prince Albert in London, and with President Zachary Taylor and Vice President Millard Fillmore in Washington, DC.
Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation and Extradition with US – 1849
On December 20, 1849, the US and the Kingdom of Hawaii signed a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation and Extradition. The treaty, negotiated by US Secretary of State John M. Clayton and the Hawaiian special Commissioner to the Government of the United States James Jackson Jarves, was signed in Washington, D.C. (US State Department)
H Hackfeld & Co and BF Ehlers (Amfac and Liberty House) started – 1849
On September 26, 1849, sea captain Heinrich (Henry) Hackfeld arrived in Honolulu with his wife, Marie, her 16-year-old brother Johann Carl Pflueger and a nephew BF Ehlers. Having purchased an assorted cargo at Hamburg, Germany, Hackfeld opened a general merchandise business (dry goods, crockery, hardware and stationery,) wholesale, as well as retail store on Queen Street.
In 1850 he moved to a larger location on Fort Street. This store was so popular, it became known as “Hale Kilika” – the House of Silk (because it sold the finest goods available.) As business grew, the nephew took over management of the store while Hackfeld traveled the world for merchandise. The company took BF Ehlers’ name in 1862.
By 1855, Hackfeld operated two stores, served as agent for two sugar plantations, and represented the governments of Russia, Sweden and Norway. (Later the firm or its principals also represented Austro-Hungary, Belgium and Germany.) When Hackfeld left on a two-year business trip to Germany and Pflueger took charge in his absence. (Greaney)
In 1881, Hackfeld and Paul Isenberg became partners. Isenberg, who had arrived in Hawaiʻi in 1858, had extensive experience in the sugar industry, previously working under Judge Duncan McBryde and Rev. William Harrison Rice in Kōloa and Līhu‘e.
From that time on Mr. Isenberg was a factor in the development of the Hackfeld business, which became one of the largest in Hawaiʻi. When the partnership was incorporated in 1897, a new building was erected at the corner of Fort and Queen Streets; it stood there for 70-years.
A few years later, with the advent of the US involvement in World War I, things changed significantly for the worst for the folks at H Hackfeld & Co. and BT Ehlers.
In 1918, using the terms of the Trading with the Enemy Act and its amendments, the US government seized H Hackfeld & Company and ordered the sale of German-owned shares. (Jung)
The patriotic sounding “American Factors, Ltd,” the newly-formed Hawaiʻi-based corporation, whose largest shareholders included Alexander & Baldwin, C Brewer & Company, Castle & Cooke, HP Baldwin Ltd, Matson Navigation Company and Welch & Company, bought the H Hackfeld stock. (Jung)
At that same time, the BF Ehlers dry goods store also took the patriotic “Liberty House” name. In 1937 a second store was opened in the Waikiki area. Eventually there would be seven stores on Oahu, and several more on the other islands.
Judd Trail – 1849 – 1859
At its May 23, 1849 meeting, the Privy Council of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi (a private committee of the King’s closest advisors to give confidential advice on affairs of state) sought to “facilitate communication between Kailua, the seat of the local government, and Hilo, the principal port.”
They resolved “that GP Judd and Kinimaka proceed to Kailua, Hawaiʻi, to explore a route from that place to Hilo direct, and make a road, if practicable, by employing the prisoners on that island and if necessary taking the prisoners from this island (Oʻahu) to assist; the government to bear all expenses”. (Privy Council Minutes, Punawaiola)
(In 1828, Dr Gerrit Parmele Judd came with the Third Company of missionaries to Hawaiʻi. A medical missionary, Judd had originally come to the islands to serve as the missionary physician; by 1842, he left the mission and served in the Hawaiian government.)
In planning the road, the words of the Privy Council’s resolution were taken literally, and the route selected ran to the high saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on a practically straight line between the terminal points.
What became known as the “Judd Road” (or “Judd Trail”) was constructed between 1849 and 1859; construction began at the government road in Kailua (what is now known as Aliʻi Drive) and traversed through a general corridor between Hualālai and Mauna Loa. (Remnants of perimeter walls can still be seen at Aliʻi Drive.)
When the road had been built about 12-miles from Kailua into the saddle between Hualālai and Mauna Loa, the project was abandoned – an 1859 pāhoehoe lava flow from the 11,000 foot-level of Mauna Loa crossed its path. Though incomplete (it never reached its final destination in Hilo,) people did use the Judd Road to get into Kona’s mauka countryside.
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