United States Seaports

The Sandwich Islands (Hawaii)

° Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) ° The Hawaiian Archipelago (Isabella Bird) ° Captain Cook in Hawaii ° Joaquin Miller ° Missionaries ° Mark Twain

September 9, 1848, Californian

The Gold Fever Abroad.

At the date of departure of the last vessels from the Sandwich Islands and Oregon, the all absorbing topic was the gold mines of California. Two vessels, crowded with passengers, have already arrived from the former place, and others may be daily expected; and from the latter place, one vessel has arrived and three more are on their way.

In the Polynesian of July 15th, only three columns are devoted to "that which was at first regarded as dubious "but" has lately been confirmed, and all the restless spirits which the little Kingdom of Hawaii had collected from the four quarters of the world were on the qui vive for a start." By the operation of a law recently promulgated in the Sandwich Islands, no foreign resident can leave the kingdom without obtaining a passport and giving public notice by advertisement and handbills of his intention so to leave.

The Polynesian says

"There has been a perfect rush upon our office for notices of intention to depart the kingdom during the past week. The mania has invaded our sanctum our imp is in arms and from present appearances, it is doubtful whether we shall be able to retain enough of the members of the 'art preservative of all arts,' to present our readers with a further record of events. Our printers think picking up type nothing compared to picking up gold; but they are sensible fellows, and we entertain hopes of pacifying them.

"The little city of Honolulu has probably never before witnessed such an excitement as the gold fever has created. Probably not less than 200 will leave for California in the course of two months, if passages can be procured. There will many mechanics and good citizens, doubtless, leave; but at the same time we shall rid the community of some whose presence is not particularly desirable. 'It's an ill wind that blows no good.' If we suffer the lost of some good citizens, we .-hall also get rid of many bad ones. We doubt not many will better their worldly condition; but it is impossible to foretell the final result.

Gold mines have never yet made a country prosperous or its inhabitants happy. The love of it arouses all the baser passions of man's nature, and we fear the gold regions of California will be the theatre of tragic events the scene of bloodshed and strife. The sun never yet shone upon a more motley crowd than will be assembled there. We hope for the sake of humanity, peace and order will be preserved, but we confess We tremble for the result upon the morals of the people and the peace of the country. In the confusion which must prevail there for the next twelve months, the law will be powerless rights will be disregarded reason dethroned and brute force will reign triumphant To the love of gold will be added the maddening influence of the intoxicating bowl. It is idle to speculate upon the result; time alone can show whether these discoveries will prove a blessing or a curse to the inhabitants of California."

As to the fears the editor of the Polynesian expresses, that "the gold region of California will be the theatre of tragic events, the scene of bloodshed and strife," we can assure him that they are perfectly groundless, though very natural at that distance. We can state from personal experience (and we take pleasure in doing so,) that, for number of people gathered together at one place, we never saw a more orderly and generally temperate population than may be found at either of the principal "diggings." The rights of individuals have never, to our knowledge, been infringed in single instance, and this, too, in a region where the only law was public opinion, and among men engaged in a pursuit which of all others, is most exciting that of gold-hunting.

We know of but one instance where decorum was outraged this was in the person of a negro, who insulted a white woman. The offender was promptly seized and a guard placed over him with loaded rifles with orders to shoot him if he attempted to escape. A court was formed, a jury impanelled and sworn, and the culprit brought before them and tried with all the order and regularity which might be supposed to characterise a regularly constituted court. Witnesses were examined, the defence heard, the jury charged, and a verdict returned of guilty. The prisoner was then sentenced to receive thirty-nine lashes on the bare back, which sentence was executed by the self-appointed sheriff with great apparent gusto. Three days provisions were given to the negro, with the warning that if he was seen again within three miles of the "diggins," a rifle ball would be the penalty. All this might sound rather strange to "ears polite," but when the circumstances are taken into consideration, it will be conceded that it was the voice of the people, in the absence of their regularly authorized agents, and, us a celebrated politician once remarked, the "second sober thought of the people is always right and never wrong."

That "gold mines have never yet made a country prosperous or its people happy," we readily admit, and the experiment with regard to California is in process of being tried. So far, we believe it has appeared that those of our citizens who have been successful in the gold mines, are very competent to bear prosperity nothing "tragic" or of a nature calculated to make us "tremble" has yet transpired, and we can assure our friend of the Polynesian, that he may with perfect safety trust himself amongst the "motley crowd" at the California gold mines.

January 10, 1849, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California

From the Sandwich Islands

By the arrival of the French frigate Poursevante, Admiral Tremelin, we have received advices from Honolulu to the 6th inst. The news is of importance, but we have only room for a summary of the strange events which have lately transpired there. M. Dillon, the French consul, has for some time been at loggerheads with the government upon the subject of Catholic rights and brandy.

About the 15th of August, the Poursevante and a war steamer arrived, when M. Dillon made certain demands upon the government, threatening them with "great guns," in case of non-compliance. The demands, as near as we can learn, were, 1st, a reduction of duties on brandies and liquors of one-half, and the return of one-half of all such duties as have been collected since 1846; 2d, the same rights to Catholics and their schools as are granted to Protestants; 3d. the repeal of a law which compels whaleships, importing liquor for sale, to pay port charges; 4, the remission of a fine imposed upon some captain of a whaleship. There were some minor demands relative to "redress" and "satisfaction" for indignities and insults offered to the "grand republic." These demands were made, and three days allowed for the government to comply or refuse. The King being absent, the Admiral waited until his return, when tie government refusing to comply with the demands, the French troops landed and took possession of the fort.

No resistance being offered, the gallant fellows spiked and threw from the ramparts the guns of the fort, destroyed the ammunition and public stores and took all the Hawaiian vessels that were in port. The Hawaiian flag was lowered, and the French hoisted, After the quiet possession of the fort for three days, the French abandoned it, and retired on board their vessels. The King's yacht, Kamehameha III, was manned with Frenchmen, and dispatched, it is supposed, to Valparaiso, the steamer sailed for Tahiti, and the Poursevante with M. Dillon and family, sailed for this place, where she arrived Tuesday evening. M. Dillon and family have taken passage for Panama in the steamer Oregon, from which place he goes to France, via New York. The British Consul General and the American Consul protested against the against the action of the French forces. The British Consul General offered his service as mediator, but was refused. It is uncertain what the result of all this will be; but the general impression is that M. Dillon has exceeded his powers, and that his acts will be denounced by his government. This belief is strengthened by his sudden departure, and his anxiety to be the first to represent the matter to his own government.

Saturday, September 10, 1858, New York Daily Times, New York City, New York


Dates from the Sandwich Islands are to the 16th of July. Dramatic entertainments are given regularly at the Hawaiian Theatre. Messrs. Bing Ram, Simpson, Ranlowe and Mrs. Ray, are mentioned as part of the company.

There are two volunteer companies in Honolulu: The First Hawaiian Guard and a Cavalry Corps. A lot was sold on Britannia Street for a church for $21,0000. The population of the Islands is supposed to be 84,165. Deaths during the past year, 4,320. Birth, 1,422 or nearly three deaths to a birth. The measles and whooping couch are supposed to have taken off 10,000 in 1847 and '48, and it is thought the small-pox will now take off 5,000 more. The natives are fast falling away. The fearful ravages of the small-pox have created great alarm in Honolulu; 1,670 cases have been reported, and 573 deaths.

Sandwich Islands, with the rowers maskedSandwich Islands. Rowers are masked.

A canoe of the Sandwich Islands, with the rowers masked.

It is expected that the whaling fleet will not dare to touch at that place in the Fall.

The report of the Board of Health, however, states the disease is diminishing in the city proper, though extending into the country.

A great meeting of the foreign residents in favor of the dismissal of Messrs. G.P. Juno and Richard Armstrong, Ministers of Finance and Public Instruction, was to be held on the 20th of July.

Coronation of the King of the Sandwich Islands.

Kamehameha V reigned from 1863 to 1872. On January 23, 1873, an election was held in all the Hawaiian Islands to determine who should be king in place of Kamehameha V. There was but one vote cast against the lereditary heir, W. C. Lunalilo, a name which signifies "above all." By popular choice, Lunalilo became King of Hawaii ; and his coronation only waited on the confirmatory vote of the Legislative Assembly.

Queen Liliuokalani.Sandwidh Islands, Hawaii, Hawaiian Island History. Hawaii's Story by 
Hawaii's Queen Liliuokalani
Sandwidh Islands, Hawaii, Hawaiian Island History.

Queen Liliuokalani, born as Lydia Liliu Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamakaeha, was the last reigning monarch of the kingdom of Hawaii. She ascended the throne in January of 1892, upon the death of her brother, King David Kalakaua. The Queen's desire to restore traditional powers to the sovereign threatened the power of the group of prominent businessmen known as the Missionary Party. With the support of armed U.S. Marines, this group overthrew the Queen in January 1893. For years after her overthrow, the Queen sought redress in the Congress and courts of the United States, but her efforts failed.

In July 1898, Hawaii was annexed as a territory to the United States of America.

November 30, 1896, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

An Artist in Sunny Hawaii
Hugo Fisher's Impressions of the Beautiful Islands.
Sketching Under Difficulties in a Surf Canoe and in a Whirlwind
The Painter Was Enamored of the Tropical Scenery in Which He Worked for a Year.

Hugo Fisher, the well-known artist, has returned from the Hawaiian islands, where he spent a year sketching and enjoying the dreamy life of the tropics. While the temptation to take things easy was strong enough, Mr. Fisher never forgot his work; but on the contrary, he sketched and painted incessantly and studied nature in her fairest and sunniest moods, that are to be seen or felt only in Hawaii. Wherever there was any peculiarly interesting scene, or any characteristic bit of island landscape or bay, he visited that spot and recorded his impressions in color sketches, so that Mr. I Fisher returns with a bulging portfolio of beautiful subjects for pictures. And now admirers of his work may look for tropical paintings from his brush a decided change from the snowclad Sierra pictures which he liked so well to paint. In more than one place he had to work under great difficulties. Sketching in a Kanaka canoe in the surf, and at another place, where a man could not stand against the whirlwind, caused him to imagine that all was not dreamy in the island of dreams." However he found Hawaii a better place for artists than San Francisco, and he did not object to the risk of being blown over a precipice or toppled out of a canoe when making sketches for pictures ordered by wealthy men in the islands.

"I bought back with me but one painting," said Mr. Fisher. "All the rest I left behind in Hawaii. I sold them. If I had twenty-five more painted I could have sold them also."

In his studio at 319 Sutter street Mr. Fisher is busy arranging his sketches and painting pictures, as he intends to have some of the most attractive island 'scenes on exhibition at au early date. He likes to go back over the paths he traveled in the past twelve months and to tell now Hawaiian scenery, people, climate and natural curiosities impressed him.

"On approaching Hawaii, the first feature is Diamond Head, a bold, majestic mountain," he began. "Cocoa Head looms up next, and you find yourself near, a tropical country with a background of hish mountains all covered with verdure and the most beautiful cloud effects I ever saw. You pass Diamond Head and then come in full view of the celebrated Waikiki beach and Nuuanu Valley, beyond Honolulu, a wonderiu! background for the city. Mount Tantalus looms up in the far distance. Everything is green in the landscape palm trees, cocoanut trees in the foreground and dense vivid verdure beyond. The scene is most enchanting, the mountains veiled in a kind of purplish, bluish haze with beautiful clouds stretched along their tops, and a deep blue sky over all. At Waikiki beach the wonderful colors of the water are like the inside of the abalone shell, opalescent and constantly changing. The beach is a broken line of gray sand bordered with palms and cocoa trees waving and nodding, and beyond the scene is a mixture of blue, purple and emerald. For life there are the bathers and surf- riders, who go through the surf as fast as a locomotive.

Surfing. Sandwich Islands. 1800s.

"I had a novel experience in sketching there. Mr. Peacock of Honolulu gave me a commission to paint the beach. He wanted a view from the sea, so I had to go out in a native's little canoe and sketch in a high sea. The natives were naked and seemed quite at home, but I feared the canoe would turn over.

While I was sketching one of the boatmen dived into the water. He stayed down for a long time and then came up with a sort of starfish, with spikes like a porcupine. The two men had a great feast and offered me some of the star-fish, which tasted like an oyster. When I world say go ashore the boatmen would let the boat go on on of a big wave and we would shoot through the surf at such a terrific rate it made my hair stand on end, but I clung to the canoe and landed safely each time.

"I had a novel experience in sketching there. Mr. Peacock of Honolulu gave me a commission to paint the beach. He wanted a view from the sea, so I had to go out in a native's little canoe and sketch in a high sea. The natives were naked and seemed quite at home, but I feared the canoe would turn over. While I was sketching one of the boatmen dived into the water. He stayed down for a long time and then came up with a sort of starfish, with spikes like a porcupine. The two men had a great feast and offered me some of the star-fish, which tasted like an oyster. When I world say go ashore the boatmen would let the boat go on on of a big wave and we would shoot through the surf at such a terrific rate it made my hair stand on end, but I clung to the canoe and landed safely each time.

"One of the most entrancing views is that at Pali at the end of Nuuanu Valley, about four miles from Honolulu, There are great mountains to the right and left and through an opening you get one enchanting view of a valley covered with sugar plantations and bananas and in the far distance a range of mountains and still farther off the blue Pacific looking like a painted sea. Pali is over 1400 feet high. I painted a picture of the Pali, which was bought by Mr. Peacock. At the summit where I had to paint there is a whirlwind blowing at the rate of fifty miles an hour, sometimes more than that. A native on horseback was blown over the cliff. When I first went there my paints, paper and traps were blown into the air far above my head. Before I could get a good sketch I had to go six or eight times to the same spot. Even then I could use only a small bit of paper and had to take in the scene on separate pieces in the face of the gale. An easel was cut of the question, and it was hard work to hold the paints down.

"On the trip to the island of Hawaii I was treated to a most magnificent sunset; it was tropical and glorious. The ride to the volcano, or mountain of fire, I found to be one of the most interesting expositions, the trail passing through the virgin forest and every turn in the road finding a new scene. All about us were wild bananas, palm trees, fern trees, creeping plants a picture of tropical glory, with here and there a coffee plantation peeping through ttie forest, each vista a beautiful sight. Farther up the mountain the flora takes on the character of the temperate zone, and at last there is nothing but lava. My party took no guide to the crater. As we stood beside the cavern of fire i felt the ground tremble and a sickening sensation came upon me. 'For heaven's sake let us get. out of this,' I said, and we walked back from the verge ot the cliff. One minute later the spot where we were standing crumbled away and fell into the fire with a roar; one minute later and had we remained there would be no more artist.

"There is a strange bird that makes its home at this volcano, the boatswain bird. It has its young about the cliffs and flies to the sea a distance of Iwenty or thirty miles for fish to feed them.

"The coffee and sugar plantations make pretty landscapes with a background ol purple mountains, an intense blue sky and some touches of bright green palms and banana trees. The harbor of Waienai, at which are many of these plantations, reminds one of the bay of Naples, and is certainly worthy of a visit by tourists."

The waterfalls of Hawaii, where a hundred streams tumole down the mountains and eventually over a cliff into the ocean, were seen and sketched by Mr. Fisher; and also the famous rainbow falls, where the prismatic arch dances eternally in the sunshine. The natural bridge at Onemca was not missed, for it appears in the portfolio as a wall of purple rock jutting into the sea and clad with tropical shrubs. It has a picturesque appearance, this bit of island coast scenery, thoueh the colors to one who has' never seen Hawaii are certainly startling.

May 18, 1898, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.


Fate of Thirteen Ships From Honolulu Causes Anxiety. 
May Have Been Captured by the Spaniards on Their Way to New York.  Loss of the Vessels and Cargoes Would Fall Entirely Upon the Underwriters.

Special Dispatch to The Call.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 17. The Australian steamship Paroo, which arrived here to-day with sixty passengers for the Klondike, brings news from Honolulu that grave fears are entertained, owing to the war, for a sugar fleet which left there three weeks ago. The Paroo left the islands on May 7, and big ship-owners and underwriters were then anxiously awaiting news of the fleet. The thirteen vessels composing it are dandy American clipper ships, and they have an aggregate cargo of nearly 50,000 tons. The vessels cost on an average $100,000 each, and should Spain capture them, as is feared, the loss would be in the neighborhood of $5,000,000. The Hawaiian firms would not be great sufferers from the capture of the sugar cargoes, as they are insured for their full value.

The brunt of the enormous loss which would be incurred would fall on the underwriters. The fleet, it is stated, was last sighted around the Horn, proceeding up the Atlantic coast to New York, its destination. It is composed of the following vessels:

  • Nuuanu, carrying 1710 tons;
  • Tillie E. Starbuck, 5206;
  • Adam W. Spies, 1834;
  • W. F. Babcock, 3426:
  • S. P. Hitchcock, 3543;
  • H. B. Hyde, 4034;
  • Iroquois, 3350;
  • George Stebon, 2800;
  • Kenilworth, 3900;
  • Luzon, 2000;
  • A. J. Fuller, 4850;
  • George Curtis, 4000;
  • Ayrian, 4338.

The Nuuanu carries the Hawaiian flag, which should prove a protection. It is reported along the coast that the Luzon, fearing capture, put in somewhere south of Los Angeles. It is rather a singular coincidence, and one that superstitious underwriters laid stress on in Honolulu, that the sugar fleet consists of thirteen vessels. All except one fly the American flag, and nearly all left together. Passengers say the war excitement is intense on the islands.

June 19, 1898, San Francisco Call, San Francisco

Does Not Fear Spanish Ships

Honolulu, June 9 (via Victoria, B. C. June 18) -- The American ship, A. J. Fuller, Captain Nichols, sailed for New York on teh 2d. It carries a cargo of sugar valued at more than $200,000. It will call at Delaware Breakwater for orders. The danger of Spanish cruisers in the Atlantic daunts neither captain nor owners.

July 31, 1898, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California


Reasons Why the Ship Kenilworth Was Lost
Captain Baker Had Trouble With His Men Before Leaving Hawaii. Had Them in Jail

SAN FRANCISCO, July 30. That there was foul play in the loss of the full-rigged American ship Kenilworth and Captain John G. Baker, First officer A. B. Piper and Cabin Boy Hobson on the high seas is plainly suggested by a story of a mutinous crew related by a man who saw the sugar-laden ship at Hilo, Hawaii, the night before she sailed for New York.

H. M. Thompson, who arrived here Thursday in the schooner Campbell, was a shore merchant in Hilo, and a close friend of Captain Baker. In view of his knowledge of the Kenilworth's crew he is strongly of the opinion that Captain Baker, his mate and cabin boy, met with foul play at the hands of the crew.

"When the Kenilworth came into Hilo," he said, "Captain Baker remarked to me, as I met him on the wharf: 'I have a stinking crew this time; had trouble with them all the way out from New York.'

"I knew Captain Baker well. It was a mixed crew that he had shipped In New York in a hurry. They refused to work at the time they were at Hilo. They complained that the food was not good enough. Captain Baker took the ringleaders to jail. There were twelve of them.

Some of the imprisoned men had openly remarked that they would fix the captain when they got out to sea. They hated him and the first mate. I heard no complaint on their part about the second mate. I don't know whether he stood in with the men or not.

"I told Captain Baker of the remarks I had heard, for I thought he ought to be warned. They had said: 'We will do the captain and mate up; settle with them when we get out to sea.'

"Captain Baker replied: 'Well, I'll attend to them myself when I get out."

"It was about the 1st of June when the Kenilworth sailed from Hilo. She was loaded only with sugar, which is not combustible. She had 50,000 bags, valued at $200,000."

For more than thirty years Captaln Baker had been in command of different ships and was a mariner of remarkable success.

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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