« AnteriorContinuar »
T H E KAME HAME HAS.
HE Sandwich Islands or in other words the Hawaiian — the Hawaiian Kingdom—Hawaii— the Home of the Kamehamehas. Kamehameha I, a man of shrewd sense and courage, formed the islands into one kingdom, and in 1810 caused them to be placed under British protection. Under Kamehameha II idolatry was abolished throughout the islands. Kamehameha III granted a constitution, consisting of King, Assembly of nobles, and representative council. In 1843 the independence of the Hawaiian Kingdom was declared. Kamehameha IV came on in 1854, and after a brief and useful reign of nine years, was succeeded by his brother, Kamehameha V. Lunalilo was elected in 1873, Kalakaua in 1874. On the death of Kalakaua I, January 20th, 1891, his sister, Princess Liliuokalani, became Queen of Hawaii. The first missionaries came in 1820. In forty years the entire Hawaiian nation was taught Christianity, besides learning to read and write, to cipher and to sew. But there was good material to work with— never the like in any known heathen land,-and the finest climate the sun ever shone upon A guileless, happy, laughter-loving, flower-loving, Songloving, willing-to-be-taught race, with hands and feet and heart eager to help on the work! No dearth of fruit in the valleys and on the hill-sides—no scarcity of fish, no lack of water!
This chain of islands runs from southeast to northwest, and lies in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. While the largest of the group, Hawaii, has an area of nearly 5000 square miles, the next largest, Kauai, has but 780, Maui 750, Oahu 600, Niihau, the smallest of the seven, 110. There are a few islets. The entire population is about 90,000.
These islands are of volcanic origin, and contain the largest volcanoes, both active and quiescent, in the world. The most prominent physical features of the group are the two lofty mountain peaks of Hawaii, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, each of which is 14,000 feet in height.
Kilauea, on the Mauna Loa mountain, the largest active volcano in the world, has a crater nine miles in circumference, and is 6000 feet above sea-level. On Maui, the crater of Hale-a-ka-la (House of the Sun,) by far the largest extinct crater known, is nearly thirty miles in circumference, and stands 10,000 feet above sea-level. The channels between the islands are very rough, and there are few good harbors, Honolulu being the chief one.
The climate is never too hot nor too cold, never much below 70° nor above 90°, the year round. They are not close to the Equator, but just inside the Tropical belt, between the 19th and 23d parallels of latitude, and extend from longitude 155° to 161°. They are about 2000 miles from Tahiti and twice that from the Colonies; two thousand miles from San Francisco, one week's sail by steamer, and two by sailing. vessel. They are alone, in mid-ocean, with a climate all their own, and none exactly like it on the face of the earth !
To be overcome by the heat, sun-struck, is a thing unknown. It is not perfectly dry all summer, nor perfectly wet all winter! It is simply “Fairyland ”— a land of perfect rest and repose—a land of magnificent hills, cloud-topped, of thousand valleys and ravines, of streams and waterfalls, of glorious sea and sky, “Where the new comer, in deathless summer dreams away troubles.”
It will rain in summer time if it choose, gentle, filmy, sunshiny showers, light enough for a new baby's uncovered head to bear! Or, it will storm (but never cold)—a beating, tearing, threshing wild storm of wind, with perfect torrents of water, when all the clouds, from mountain and horizon will meet, and form in solid ranks, to pour their contents down In a few hours streams will become rivers, cataracts will go dashing down into the valleys, and native huts will spin and whirl, with trees and branches for their companions, “adown the brimming river”! Thunder and
lightning will be heard, all night, from every point of the heavens, and all nature will be in an uproar! But, lo! the clouds are parted, and, swiftly, the warships of the sky retreat to the hills again, and back down to the horizon. The cannonading has ceased; and they are silent and satisfied, looking down approvingly at their world, whose face they have washed so clean' The sun marches grandly on, smiling to see how soon all is dry once more! And, when the moon steps softly up, at night, with all the smaller starshaped moons and twinkling children, in her train, they, too, delight in this wonderful work of the storm—and think it is the fairest, freshest, daintiest world their eyes ever beheld in all their wanderings! And how does it rain, in winter? Well, it rains for matins, and for evensong, great splashing drops, with masses of white, fluffy clouds—sunshine, and magnificent rainbows! In the east, and in the west, they span the sky, morning and night, day by day! It rains all night, and never a drop by day; and it rains all day, and never a drop by night. “King Kona” comes, a few times, before and after Christmas, and may be there will be a “spell of weather” when, for days and days, not a drop can be squeezed or wrung from the sky, and “the oldest inhabitant” never recollected anything like it! Never was there a better sugar-producing country— 120,000 tons shipped to San Francisco in the four months, from December to April, 1891. The plantations are confined to the four larger islands, Hawaii, Kauai, Maui and Oahu. These absorb all the great business interests of the kingdom. There is splendid pasturage; and herds of wild cattle, branded, roam over the plains and up into the valleys and ravines. At night they gather down, toward the sea,and “cattle views” can then be seen that are worth one's while. Fancy nearly all the sugar made on these islands being handled by natives, in bags, passed from hand to hand, into the small boats, thence on to the steamers. They are so expert, patient, and faithful, that almost never is there an accident to passengers, goods nor to the sugar. And so rough are the breakers, often, it seems a fearful thing to try to make a landing. It is not uncommon for the stearners to have to leave one or more untouched, on a trip, for the sea is so heavy that no boat could make the shore, and no passenger would risk it. So they land where they can, and then take horses. There are quite good carriage roads here and there, but, in traveling around these islands, a good, stout, native horse with saddle-bags is the better reliance, for one is sure to meet many steep hills, ruts, gulches, streams, ferries, and shaky bridges. You can travel from one plantation to the next, by taking a steameras it comes along. But in going across country, on horseback, there is much to be enjoyed if one be a good traveler. There are magnificent sunrises and sunsets, glorious moonlight nights, when one wishes never to go indoors, immense pasture for herds of wild cattle, turf which is agreeable to ride over, and infrequently a human habitation; stretches of