The mission compound at Kawaiaha‘o was always a bustling place. There were many duties to attend to by the mission women: cooking cleaning teaching, entertaining guests and visitors, and raising their own children to name just a few.
These many domestic labors were hard on the mission women, so many of them hired for wages, Native Hawaiians to aid them in this domestic work. This interface between Native Hawaiians and Missionaries, and the women in particular was a major one, as it occurred on a daily basis, and occurred within the 1821 Mission House. (Mission Houses)
Then, they invited the leading chiefs to a tea …
“On Tuesday of last week (December 11, 1827,) Mrs. Bingham & Mrs. Richards, undertook to make a ‘tea party’ to bring all the chiefs in the place & the members of the mission family together to join in a friendly & social cup of tea, to shew Christian kindness & civility to our Sandwich Island neighbors and to promote kind feelings among the chiefs themselves now assembled from the different Islands.”
“The two sisters with their native domestics spent most of today in preparing biscuit, cakes &c. & making such arrangements as seemed to them desirable.”
“We sent out our billets in due form in the morning to the king & Ka‘ahumanu, and all the chiefs of the first & second rank and to some others connected with them by marriage. As soon as Kaahumanu received her invitation she sent over a supply of good white sugar for the occasion.”
Those in attendance included, Ka‘ahumanu, Kalākua, Pi‘ia, Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III,) Nahienaena, Kuakini, Naihe, Kapi‘olani, Hoapili, Kaikioewa, Keaweamahi, Kapule, Kaiu, Kekāuluohi, Kīna’u, Kekauōnohi, La‘anui, Keli‘iahonui, Kana‘ina, Leleiōhoku and Kamanele.
“But look, for a few moments, at the present group: twenty-one chiefs of the Sandwich islands mingling in friendly, courteous and Christian conversation with seven of the mission family, whom you have employed among them. Contemplate their former and their present habits, their former and their present hopes. They have laid aside their vices and excesses, and their love of noise and war.”
“(T)o this interesting group we should have been happy to have introduced you, or any of our Christian friends; and I doubt not you would have been highly gratified with the interview. …”
“Listen, and you will not only hear the expressions of gratitude to us and to God for the privileges they now enjoy, but you will hear these old warriors lamenting that their former kings, their fathers, and their companions in arms, had been slain in battle, or carried off by the hand of time, before the blessed gospel of Christ had been proclaimed on these benighted shores.”
“Your heart would have glowed with devout gratitude to God for the evidence that, while our simple food was passing round the social circle for their present gratification, the minds of some of these children of pagans enjoyed a feast of better things; and your thoughts, no doubt, like ours, would have glanced at a happier meeting of the friends of God in the world of glory.”
“When our thanks were returned at the close of our humble repast, though you might not have been familiar with the language, you would have lifted up your heart in thank-fulness for what had already appeared as the fruits of your efforts here, and for the prospect of still greater things than these.” (Bingham, December 15, 1827)
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