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“A chiel's amang ye takin' notes,
And, faith, he'll prent it."
“ Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see,
Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be.
IF you go to the crest of the Rocky Mountains, you will see the clouds—the great white warships of the sky-sailing majestically along beneath, and settling down into the valleys and gorges ; and you will be awed by the thunder of heaven's cannonade and the rapid play of the lightning. But you will see the birds flying through and above it all, to sing their songs in the clear blue ether!
It was not my intention when I went to Hawaii to write at all about the country, excepting in my private correspondence. My work was of another kind, and was very engrossing and laborious, leaving me nor time nor strength for anything of the sort. When the season of rest and leisure came to me, after seven years, I determined to recollect scenes and incidents, and to put them into book form-but certainly not with the hope of fame or wealth, but partly with the "pure intention" of speaking an unselfish, an honest, and a truthful word for those along whose road during my long stay, I saw no flowers strewed or garlands thrown, nor even stones removed.
You know the old story, perhaps, where the lovely face of a woman is being criticised by her friends (?). As one after another points to some blemish or defect in feature, line, or color, one said, finally: “I am sure she could never be called beautiful, her mouth is so ugly.” Then one honest heart came late to the rescue: “I don't know; I never see below her eyes.”
In Hawaii superstition abounds—the wildest savagery of heathen superstition is still there, hydra-headed. The hula-hula is there—the old savage, heathen national dance. The savage himself is there—the heathen in all his war-paint and feathers, if you look only far enough below the eyes-look low enough. Leprosy, with its tainted breath and marred and hideous form is there-yes, God help and stay it! for I tell you it is there. Vice is there, with as dreadful complexion and conditions as can be found in London or New York. You can find it-it all depends upon your own strength of vision, and the seeking. Indolence is there, colossal in size-the natives' true heritage, fostered by the sun, and coaxed and flattered by the very air, by the blue, rippling waves, by the glistening white sands of the beach, by Mother Nature in her every mood, to stay and scorn departure ! Enfin, the ills, and evils, and enemies of life-a pack of wolves—are all there; and if the fuel, the fagots be scanty, the fire is not strong enough to make them retreat. All there in this wondrous Land of the Sea-they are all there! It is not, however, for my pen to paint the short-comings of a friend I love, nor for “ears polite” to listen. For years I was the guest of this country, I shared her generous hospitality. During my long sojourn I did not come-doubt it not, my charitable friend,-face to face with a leper; although I did desire most earnestly to visit the Island of Molokai, the leper settlement.
The strains of music from that mocking, savage dance, I often heard in the distance—even not far from the Bishop's grounds-for they are most penetrating, monotonous and rythmical, as the steady trot of hoofs across a long bridge, or hard, firm course, tiresome and irritating in the extreme to a sensitive, cultivated ear, when dinned into it by the hour-far worse than “the boy's accordeon”! But one need not seek his satanic majesty—the savage, the heathen —the devil incarnate-in Hawaii more than in Dublin, Madrid or Rome, in Paris, Stockholm, Vienna or Canton, by the banks of the Arno, the River of the Nile, or on the shores of Galilee! He is to be found in all lands—continents or islands. He is “at home” among all peoples and in all climes. “I do not know; I can never see below her eyes.”.
San Francisco, February 22, 1893.
TELL me, what is this little book all about?
1 The Sandwich Islands; or, in other words, the Hawaiian — the Hawaiian Kingdom — Hawaii, the home of Kamehameha the Great and his successors.
These islands were re-discovered by Captain James Cook in 1778, and named by him in honor of his patron, Earl of Sandwich, who was then the first lord of the British Admiralty.
Captain Cook was born in Marton, Yorkshire, in 1728, and was killed by the natives on the island of Hawaii, 14th of February, 1779, while endeavoring to recover a boat which had been stolen. He was one of the most eminent among England's celebrated navigators. He is said, indeed, to have been the first scientific navigator, and his surveys and determinations of latitudes and longitudes are extremely correct. In 1776, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, and received the Copley medal for a paper on the methods used to preserve the health of his crews. The king of England, George III., granted his widow a pension of £200, and each of his children £25; while the Royal Society did honor to his name by having a gold medal struck in his commemoration. A statue in bronze has been placed on the spot where he met his death.
Kamehameha I., a man of shrewd sense and courage, chieftain of a part of the largest island (Hawaii) only, conquered and governed the whole group, and in 1810," when George III. was king,” caused them to be placed under British protection.
Kamehameha II. succeeded his father. He visited England in 1824; and he and his queen both died of the measles in London. Under his reign, strange to say, idolatry was abolished throughout the islands, and the way was paved for Christianity!
In 1840, Kamehameha III., called “The Good," brother of the last named, granted a constitution, consisting of king, assembly of nobles, and representative council. Prior to this the government was a despotism. In 1843, the independence of the Hawaiian kingdom was declared formally by England, the United States, and France.
Kamehameha IV. succeeded his uncle in 1854, and reigned nine years. He was a handsome, graceful, and accomplished gentleman, having traveled with his consort,“ the good Queen Emma” in the United States, England, and France. The cathedral church in Honolulu is his memorial; for to him is chiefly due the planting in the islands of a branch of the Anglican Church in the fullness of its organization. It was on St. Andrew's Day that he fell asleep. He translated the English Prayer-Book into the Hawaiian tongue. His queen outlived him by nearly a quarter of a century.