Imágenes de páginas

waii. They touched at Kealakekua Bay; but the natives here, who had not forgotten their experiences with Cook and his men, did not give the new-comers a hearty welcome. The commanders of the vessels were doubtless recognized by the villagers, for both had been with Cook's party. They touched at other points in the Islands, however, purchasing supplies of fresh water, paying therefor in sixpenny nails, at the rate of one nail for a two-gallon calabash of water. At another spot on the coast they bought yams, and then sailed

In the autumn of the same year they were again among the Islands, purchasing supplies of the natives, and paying therefor with nails, beads, and pieces of hoopiron. In the following year, also, these navigators paid a brief visit on their way to China.

In May, 1786, the French explorer La Pérouse, with two frigates, touched at the Islands; but his stay was but for a day. The experiences of these expeditions encouraged others to make the Hawaiian Islands a place of call; and during the next few years many vessels engaged in the fur-trade with the


coasts at the northward stopped here, especially in the winter season. One of these birds of passage, the Nootka, Captain Meares, took one of the great chiefs, Kaiana, as a passenger to China, where he obtained firearms.

In the latter part of the year 1789 the first recorded connection of America with the Hawaiian Islands was made; and this, unhappily, is an incident which the people of the United States might well be glad to forget. An armed trading vessel, or “snow,”: a rig now obsolete, — called the Eleanor, commanded by Captain Metcalf, an American fur-trader, visited the Islands on a voyage to China. The Eleanor was accompanied by a smaller vessel called the Fair American, commanded by the son of Captain Metcalf, a youth of eighteen. While the Eleanor, which had been separated from her consort, was lying at anchor off the coast of Maui, a boat was stolen by natives, and broken up for the sake of its nails and iron. Captain Metcalf planned a fearful revenge for this depredation. A few days later, when the water about the vessel was full of canoes,

crowded with natives who had come off for the purpose of trade, suddenly a broadside of cannon and musketry was fired from the ship. The water was instantly covered with dead and dying men and women, mingled with broken fragments of their canoes. More than one hundred innocent persons were killed in this wanton massacre, and many more than that number were wounded.

After the perpetration of this act of gross cruelty, Captain Metcalf sailed away, and dropped anchor at Kealakekua Bay. Here he awaited the coming of his consort, which in the mean time had been detained by Spaniards at Nootka Sound. The Fair American, however, was surprised and captured by the natives, in revenge for the massacre; and the captain and all but one of the crew were killed. The mate, Isaac Davis, was captured and detained on shore, together with the boatswain of the Eleanor, John Young, who happened to be on board the smaller ship. These two men were retained in captivity, but were treated with great kindness, and at length became contented with their lot. They were raised

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

to the rank of chiefs, took to themselves native wives, and became exceedingly useful to the people by teaching them many of the arts of civilization. Their memories are still cherished by the Hawaiians.

The natives were now in possession of a small cannon captured with the Fair American, and a similar piece presented to Prince Kamehameha by Captain Douglas, of the British ship Iphigenia, which touched at the Islands in December, 1788. They owned a number of small arms, some of which had been brought from China by Kaiana, and others doubtless taken from the Fair American. They learned the use of these weapons from Davis and Young, and a trained body of troops was formed.

Kamehameha, accordingly, resolved to renew his attempt to conquer the island Maui, and raised a large force of warriors for that purpose.

He crossed the channel from Hawaii in the summer of 1790, and advanced upon the villages of Maui.

He was met by a great force of brave warriors, but their primitive weapons were no match for his own cannon and muskets and the trained forces


led by Davis and Young. The defeated were driven mercilessly through the valleys and over the lofty precipices of the island, great numbers being slain.

Kamehameha returned to Hawaii, to quell an uprising of the rival chiefs of that island which had occurred during his absence. After several hard-fought battles, this was accomplished; and he became master of the great island Hawaii, the first step in the consolidation of the group under one government. He then began and carried to successful completion the conquest of the remaining islands. His great armada is said to have consisted of hundreds of canoes, sufficient to stretch along a beach for the distance of four miles. The great battle of Nuanuu Valley, upon the island Oahu, was the decisive engagement of his war of conquest. Kamehameha, who was assisted by his brother Nahiolea, landed upon the shore of this island with a large army, and marched up Nuanuu Valley. Here he was met by a force under the command of Kalanikupule and Kaiana. A desperate battle ensued, his opponents making a brave resistance against

« AnteriorContinuar »