Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Feast

271 hogs, 482 large calabashes of poi, 602 chickens, 3 whole oxen, 2 barrels salt pork, 2 barrels biscuit, 3,125 salt fish, 1,820 fresh fish, 12 barrels luau and cabbages, 4 barrels onions, 80 bunches bananas, 55 pineapples, 10 barrels potatoes, 55 ducks, 82 turkeys, 2,245 coconuts, 4,000 heads of taro, 180 squid, oranges, limes, grapes and various fruits.

But we are already getting ahead of ourselves, let’s look back.

On April 25, 1825, Richard Charlton arrived in the Islands to serve as the first British consul. A former sea captain and trader, he was already familiar with the islands of the Pacific and had promoted them in England for their commercial potential (he worked for the East India Company in the Pacific as early as 1821.)

Charlton had been in London during Kamehameha II’s visit in 1824 and secured an introduction to the king and his entourage.  By the time he arrived in Hawai‘i in 1825, instructions had already arrived from Kamehameha II that Charlton was to be allowed to build a house, or houses, any place he wished and should be made comfortable.  This apparently was due to favors Charlton had done for the royal party.  (Hawaiʻi State Archives)

In 1840, Charlton made a claim for several parcels of land in Honolulu. To substantiate his claim, Charlton produced a 299-year lease for the land in question, granted by Kalanimōku.  There was no disagreement over the parcel, Wailele, on which Charlton lived, but the adjoining parcel he claimed, Pūlaholaho, had been occupied since 1826 by retainers and heirs of Kaʻahumanu.

In rejecting Charlton’s claim, Kamehameha III cited the fact that Kalanimōku did not have the authority to grant the lease.  At the time the lease was made, Kaʻahumanu was Kuhina Nui, and only she and the king could make such grants.  The land was Kaʻahumanu's in the first place, and Kalanimōku certainly could not give it away.  (Hawaiʻi State Archives)  The dispute dragged on for years.

This, and other grievances purported by Charlton and the British community in Hawai‘i, led to the landing of George Paulet on February 11, 1843 "for the purpose of affording protection to British subjects, as likewise to support the position of Her Britannic Majesty's representative here".

On February 25, the King acceded to his demands and noted, "In consequence of the difficulties in which we find ourselves involved, and our opinion of the impossibility of complying with the demands in the manner in which they are made ... "

"... we do hereby cede the group of islands known as the Hawaiian (or Sandwich) Islands, unto the Right Honorable Lord George Paulet ... the said cession being made with the reservation that it is subject to any arrangement that may have been entered into by the Representatives appointed by us to treat with the Government of Her Britannic Majesty..."

Under the terms of the new government the King and his advisers continued to administer the affairs of the Hawaiian population.  For business dealing with foreigners, a commission was created, consisting of the King (or his representative,) Paulet and two officers from Paulet’s ship.  Judd served as the representative of the King.  (Daws)

On April 1, 1843, Lord Aberdeen, on behalf of Her Britannic Majesty Queen Victoria, assured the Hawaiian delegation that: “Her Majesty's Government was willing and had determined to recognize the independence of the Sandwich Islands under their present sovereign."

On November 28, 1843, the British and French Governments united in a joint declaration and entered into a formal agreement recognizing Hawaiian independence (Lord Aberdeen signed on behalf of Britain, French ambassador Louis Saint-Aulaire signed on behalf of France.)

After five months of British rule, Queen Victoria, on learning the injustice done, immediately sent Rear Admiral Richard Darton Thomas to the islands to restore sovereignty to its rightful rulers. On July 31, 1843 the Hawaiian flag was raised.  The ceremony was held in area known as Kulaokahuʻa; the site of the ceremony was turned into a park Thomas Square.  After five-months of occupation, the Hawaiian Kingdom was restored.

July 31, 1843 is now referred to as Ka La Hoʻihoʻi Ea, Sovereignty Restoration Day, and it is celebrated each year in the approximate site of the 1843 ceremonies.  The plot of land on which the ceremonies took place was known as Thomas Square. Kamehameha III later officially gave this name to the area and dedicated it as a public park.

“In the afternoon Kamehameha III went in a solemn procession with his chiefs to Kawaiahaʻo Church ...A ten-day celebration of Restoration Day followed, and was annually observed. The last of the Restoration Day celebrations came in 1847.”  A thousand special riders, five abreast ... were followed by 2,500 regular horsemen ...” (Helena G Allen)

As the procession crossed Beretania street on Nuʻuanu royal salutes were fired from the fort and the king's yacht, the Kamehameha III. They were headed to Kaniakapūpū, Kamehameha III’s summer home.  (Thrum)

Kaniakapūpū (translated roughly as “sound (or song) of the land shells” sits on land in the Luakaha area of Nuʻuanu Valley.  The structure at Kaniakapūpū (modeled on an Irish stone cottage) was completed in 1845 and is reportedly built on top or in the vicinity of an ancient heiau.  It was a simple cottage, a square with four straight walls.

The royal party reached the picnic grounds at about 11 o'clock in a pouring rain; in fact it rained in occasional showers throughout the day … A man stationed at the first bridge for the express purpose, counted 4,000 horses going up the valley and 4,600 returning-visitors from Koʻolau making the difference in numbers.  (Thrum)

Before dinner, which was set for 2 pm, the guests were entertained with some of the ancient games - a mock fight with spears ; the lua, hand to hand combat, and the hakoko, or wrestling match.

The dinner - the feeding of the immense crowd of men, women and children - was a sight to be remembered. Henry St John, the king's steward, had the care of this department, and he well understood his business.

For the foreign guests, who were not supposed to squat on the mats with natives, tables were provided in the cottage, where was an abundant supply of food cooked in foreign style, but the multitude were fed in the long lanais, at the far end of which was seated the royal party, the ministers and chiefs.

First there was singing of hymns by a choir of native school children, led by Messrs. Marshall and Frank Johnson, to airs that sounded sweetly to New England ears. Grace before meat was solemnly said by John Ii, and then, on a signal from the king, the assembly went vigorously to work on the immense stores of food before them.

While the feast was going on, several old women in the immediate neighborhood of where the king sat, kept up a constant chanting of metes - native poems - in his honor and that of his ancestors, accompanying the chant with gyrations and motions of the arms. And in the evening, after the most of the company had departed, a company of hula girls gave a "concert" with their attendant drum and calabash beaters.  (Thrum)

In the evening there were religious services at Kawaiahaʻo church, which was filled to overflowing, the king and queen being present. A sermon apropos of the occasion was preached by Rev. Richard Armstrong, the text being taken from Psalms 37, 3 – ‘Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.’ There could have been no question but that his hearers had been fed on that day.  (Lots here from Thrum)

The image shows ruins of Kaniakapūpū, the summer home of Kamehameha III and site of the luau for 10,000.   In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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