Aloha mai kakou bloggers,
As we move toward the anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy, we find that history begins to repeat itself in ways that are on levels both spiritual and physical. Hawaiian philosophy believes that our physical entities in the present always co-exist between past, present, and future.
This belief in moving through this lifetime in a timeless manner makes our efforts in this lifetime so important and evident that your existence must be pono. It must be righteous in order to move beyond the mistakes of our ancestors, progress into the future, and stand right here, right now. It is a path we are all on, whether our choices as human beings in this experience guide us along that path or not, history will guide us to do so.
In reflecting on the words of our great Queen Liliu'okalani, we understand her experience and struggle as an indigenous woman of great motive and endeavor to not only save her people, but to save a way of existence, a way of life. I note this in the kaona of her expression of the domesticated 'O'o birds that were brought to Kaua'i, being raised with the efforts of Mr. Gay. The kaona of what it means for that bird to no longer have freedom to suckle off the sweet lehua blossoms that flourished where they came from on the island of Hawai'i; having to instead thrive upon the mimosa shrub and the care of Mr. Gay.
I wonder what the 'O'o really represents, and what kind of song it sings. The 'O'o bird carrying the yellow feather representing ali'i class so far away from his true home. Being forced into domestication and adaptation of their environment. In essence maybe lost, but with hope.
I start with one of the darkest chapter's in my rich history as a kanaka maoli, because without moving through the darkness in comfort, we never see the light. I struggle with reading her words sometimes because it makes me question my own faith in escaping this cycle of wrongdoing that has been laid upon my people, the kanaka maoli, na pua o Hawai'i. The flowers and children of Hawai'i.
I leave you now with an 'olelo no'eau, in the hopes that my readers will be moved to tell their own mo'olelo or story, and comment on Queen Lili'uokalani's great 'ike or knowledge in relation to themselves, and a battle for freedom we have had to endure. We all hold ourselves within our own prison at times, so let's take this time to release ourselves of all Earthly possession, walk in the shoes of our ancestors, and write on the walls to express ourselves in her name.
I ka noho pu ana a 'ike i ke aloha.
It is only when one has lived with another
that one knows the meaning of love.
And with that 'olelo no'eau, in living through our Queen's words of the experience of her history I present to you the first chapter of her historical voice of aloha as Queen.
Our Dearly Beloved Queen: Part I
THE KING THREATENED AND OPPRESSED
AFTER all, the anticipated trip was never taken. I am at a loss to explain the causes of its failure, but I understood that there was some friction in the cabinet. That body was now the absolute monarch of the kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands. Its members, Messrs. Austin, Damon, C. W. Ashford, with L. A. Thurston as its chief, defied the king to his face, and openly insulted him in his own palace. In one of their official documents they use to him the following language: –
"The government in all its departments must be conducted by the cabinet. Your Majesty shall, in future, sign all documents and do all acts which, under the laws of the constitution, require the signature or act of the sovereign, when advised so to do by the cabinet, the cabinet being solely and absolutely responsible for any signature of any document or act so done or performed by their advice."
As His Majesty very naturally demurred to such construction of even their own constitution, the cabinet appealed to the supreme court, who to the number of five justices, the first named being Albert F. Judd, and the last Sanford B. Dole, very consistently with the public record of these gentlemen, declared that the king was wrong, and that all power was placed in the hands of the cabinet. It was by such acts as this that the missionary party sought to humiliate my brother in the estimation of his own people; so that it has well been said by those conversant with the history of these days, that His Majesty Kalakaua died in reality of a broken heart, – broken by the base ingratitude of the very persons whose fortunes he had made.
On the 10th of May, 1889, the Princess Kaiulani, being then in her fourteenth year, left Honolulu under the charge of Mrs. Thomas Rain Walker, wife of the British vice-counsul, for England. It was the intention of her father, Hon. A. S. Cleghorn, that she should remain abroad a short time for educational advantages; but owing to the changes which have taken place since her departure, she is still living with him in Europe.
In June, 1889, grand preparations were made for the celebration, on the eleventh, of Kamehameha Day. All who were interested in the races turned their steps in the direction of Kapiolani Park. Twelve o'clock was the hour appointed for the salutes to be fired, and all was to be done to make the day one of enjoyment. But a special invitation had been sent to me by the committee of the Sunday-school of the Congregational church to attend a picnic of the Sunday-school children, who were to assemble at the house and grounds of Mr. John Thomas Waterhouse, Jr., up the Nuuanu Valley; so after the salute, or soon after twelve, I left the gay company at Kapiolani Park, and with two lady companions went up to the picnic, where I found myself most cordially welcomed, and made the guest of honor of the pleasant occasion. Young and old seemed to be very much gratified that I had willingly excused myself from other scenes of social enjoyment, to be present at the reunion of these interesting classes of children; and as for myself, I enjoyed the company, as I always take pleasure with children and in educational gatherings.
In the early part of July, 1889, I made a trip to Kauai; but before speaking of this journey, on which I was absent about a fortnight, I find it is necessary to go back a little, and give an account of my connection with Mr. Robert W. Wilcox.
Mr. Wilcox, in early youth, was sent abroad by King Kalakaua to be educated for future service to the state. But the revolution of 1887 compelled the king to cut off his income; and so he was recalled, arriving at Honolulu about the date of our return from the Victorian Jubilee. During his absence, however, he had met and married an Italian lady, the Countess Sobrero; and the young wife accompanied him on his return. For a while they were domiciled at the Arlington Hotel; but their means were nearly exhausted, and the party in power resolved to do nothing for them. Aware of the facts, in pity for their situation I offered them quarters under my roof until they could provide for themselves.
They were very glad to accept my proposal, and I gave them comfortable rooms in the long building attached to the main house at my Palama residence. I tried to make it as pleasant for them as I could, and devoted my attention especially to the newly married wife. She was excessively homesick, and was constantly making efforts to get together money sufficient to enable them to leave the Islands. Through the kind assistance of Mr. F. A. Schaefer, the Italian consul, and a few others, after residing with me for two months, they were at last able to leave Honolulu, and reached the city of San Francisco. From thence I heard from her that they were comfortably settled, that she had found pupils in foreign languages, and that her husband had also secured employment as a surveyor of lands. But early in the year 1889 I received word from Mr. Wilcox that he was again making up his mind to come to Honolulu; that he intended to enter the political arena, and run as a candidate for the legislature.
I wrote him at once, using all my influence to dissuade him from the very thought of it, telling him plainly that he was far better off where he was. I trusted that he had listened to my advice, but what was my astonishment when he appeared at Honolulu. As the rooms formerly occupied by him and Mrs. Wilcox were not at that time used, and I was then living in Washington Place, I told him that he was welcome to go to Palama, and remain there until such time as he should be able to provide for himself elsewhere. I could not foresee that my kindness and hospitality to these persons in need would be used by suspicious parties to connect my name with a foolish and ill-organized attempt subsequently made by Mr. Wilcox to restore some part of the authority of which the missionary party had deprived the king. All unconscious of any such scheme, I started on my journey to visit friends in Kauai.
It was midsummer in 1889 when I arrived at the island of Kauai, and at first took up my residence with Governor Kanoa. He was one of the few chiefs of the olden times and earlier manners who had not yet passed away from earth. Although of lesser grade than some of those mentioned in these memoirs, yet he was conversant with all forms of his duty, and observant of that etiquette handed down from ancient days towards the chiefs of rank superior to his own. It was, therefore, natural to him to open his house to me, and to receive my suite with that generous hospitality and cordiality typical of the Hawaiian of high birth. After spending a few days at his estate, he provided horses and carriages for my party, and accompanied by his wife, a good Hawaiian lady, we proceeded to "Eleele," where I had received an invitation from a young couple to be their guest. From a brief but pleasant visit there, we went on to Waimea, and took up our abode with Mr. and Mrs. Levi Kauai. When it was known that the heir to the throne was at their house, many people of that district called, and during my stay we received numerous pleasant attentions. From here we made preparations for retracing our steps, but stopped on our return to visit at a pretty little estate, situated in a quiet valley just outside of Waimea, where resided Mrs. Gay and her daughters. Mr. Robinson and Mr. Francis Gay also made their home with this amiable lady. All of these had ever been noted for their patriotic attentions to any of the chiefs who from time to time visited the district. This reputation was ably sustained, and I retain the most pleasing recollections of their courtesy and kindness on this occasion. My regard for this family extended even one generation farther back, their grandmother, Mrs. Sinclair of the island of Niihau, being also one of my warm friends.
On this visit I made careful inquiries as to the success of Mr. Gay's efforts to raise the "Oo" bird on this island. This is a bird about the size of a robin, under whose wings may be found the choice yellow feathers used in the manufacture of cloaks or collars exclusively pertaining to the Hawaiian chiefs of high rank. It is not the mamo bird, from which also feather capes and cloaks are made.
I had succeeded in getting from Hawaii, the largest island, some specimens expressly for their island. Twenty pairs had been brought as far as the island of Oahu. Of these, three pairs originally were sent to Kauai, but on making inquiry I found that only one pair was now known to be living there. These seemed to be thriving. Perhaps one cause of their content was a shrub or bush of the mimosa family growing near to the house, which bore fragrant blossoms very similar to those of the lehua, from which, in its own native island, this bird sucks the honey on which it subsists. They are true Hawaiians; flowers are necessary for their very life. This single pair of birds kept near to the house, and were often seen on this fragrant mimosa-tree. Ten years have flown by since I had the pleasure of looking at them there; but it is to be trusted that they have been thriving, laying their eggs year by year, and have by this time a flourishing colony. There is a bird on Kauai very similar in some points to the Oo, but they have a white feather under the wing instead of the much-prized yellow tip from which the celebrated leis and cloaks are made.
After the parting with this agreeable family we turned our steps toward Niumalu, the residence of the governor; and having also exchanged with him our greetings and farewells, we took passage on the schooner James Makee for Honolulu. I arrived in due time, refreshed by the journey, and with my party also delighted with the manifestations of kindly interest and loyal love which we had received throughout our trip.
NEXT WEEK: Our Dearly Beloved Queen Part II: CHAPTER XXXII ATTEMPTED REVOLUTION