History of the Hawaiian or Sandwich Islands
by James Jackson Jarves


Kealekeakua Bay, Hawaii



Chapter 1:  Sandwich Islands True Name, Situation, Number and Extent – Harbors – General Appearance and Structure – Rain – Windward Sides – Leeward Sides – Minerals – Salt Lake – Soil – Vegetable Productions – Insects –  Animals – Fishes – Climate – Winds – Storms – Diseases – Earthquakes – Phenomena of Tides – Meteoric Showers of 1825 – Water Spouts

Chapter 2:  Early Hawaiian History – Former intercourse between the Hawaiian Islands and the Tahitian, Samoan and Marquesan groups – Superstition of "Youth-renewing Fountain"– Creation of first inhabitants – Flood Origin of the World – of Hawaii Traditions – Ancient Hawaiian Kings, Government, Common Law, Cruelties – Kingly power – Police Chiefs – Retinues – Rank – Orders of nobility – Homage – Public councils and meetings – Conduct of superiors towards inferiors – Litigation Ordeals – Praying to Death – Sorcery Soothsayers or Magicians – Character of Religion Notions of Future State – Hawaiian Hades – Ideas in regard to souls – Milu Idols – Different classes of male and female – God Lono – Goddess Pele and her family – Hawaiian Centaur – Fabrication of Idols – Temples or heiaus – Ceremonies attending consecration – Human sacrifices – Animal and vegetable offerings – Diviners – Priesthood Ranks – General character Taxes of priesthood – Remarkable privileges – Taboos Origin and meaning of the word – Present application – Penalties attached to violation of Cities of Refuge – Comparison between the religions and governments of the different groups

Chapter 3:  Warlike weapons – Armor – Feather cloaks and helmets – War – Preparation – Militia – Camps – Mode of fighting – Victors and vanquished – Truce – Peace – Festivals – Orators and Bards – Songs – Wailing – Games – Dances – Mourning ceremonies – Arts and Agriculture – Houses – Ceremonies before occupying – Clothing – Food – Fisheries – Commerce between different islands – Stated fairs – Method of computation – Knowledge and practice of medicine – Origin and cure of diseases – Modes of burial – Division of time – Hawaiian dialect

Chapter 4: 
Physical appearance of the Hawaiians – Chiefs – Habits of Common people – Women – Marriage – Affinities of blood – Friendships – Salutation – Cannibalism – Intemperance – Treatment of sick – Lunatics – Aged – Infanticide – Examples of Treatment of women – Taboos of food – General character of the Hawaiians previous to contact with the whites

Chapter 5:  Visits to the Hawaiian Islands previous to Cook – Anson's chart – Spaniards acquainted  –  Shipwreck at Kealakeakua Bay – Ships seen – First appearance of Cook – His reception – Astonishment of islanders – Effects of visit – War on Maui – Cook's re-appearance – First notice of Kamehameha – Cook's arrival at Kealakeakua Bay – His deification – Remarks – Native hospitality – Thefts – Cook's desecration of the temple – Growing dislike of natives – Ships sail – Return – Succeeding events – Cook's death – Ledyard's account –Native do – Review of proceedings – Recovery of bones – Peace – Departure of ships – Touch at Oahu – Arrive at Kauai – Wars – Attacked by natives – Visit Niihau – Final departure

Chapter 6:  1779 – Unfavorable opinion entertained of the islanders in consequence of the death of Cook – Death of Kalaniopuu – War of succession – Victories of Kamehameha – Kamehameha conquers Maui, Lanai and Molukai – Arrival of Captains Portlock and Dixon – Trade opened – Meare's visit – Trade – La Perouse visits Maui, 1786 – Maui, Lanai and Molokai rebel – Arrival of the Eleanora – Capture of boat and murder of a sailor – Metcali's bloody revenge – Fair American captured – John Young and Isaac Davis made prisoners – Difficulties between traders and the islanders – Kameharneha's indignation at the capture of the Fair American – Treatment of prisoners – Kaiana's ambitious views – Attempts on vessels – Vancouver's arrival – First notice of Kanmualii – Doedalus arrives at Oahu – Massacre of Lieutenant Hergest and Mr. Gooch – Avarice of chiefs – Intercourse with Vancouver – Kaahumanu – Princely hospitality – Jealousy of other chiefs – Cattle first introduced at Hawaii – Discipline of ships – Orders of the king – Widow of Kalaniopuu – Sham battle – Present to King George III – Transactions at Maui – Murderers executed at Oahu – Festival of Makahiki – Benevolent efforts of Vancouver – Theatrical entertainments – Cession of Hawaii – Departure of Vancouver – 1794

Chapter 7:  1794, Honolulu harbor discovered – Murder of Messrs. Brown and Gardner, January 1, 1795 – Capture and recapture of the Jackall and Prince Le Boo – Troubles in Kauai – Maui, Molokai and Lanai subdued, 1794 – Oahu invaded – Kaiana's defection, rebellion and death – Visit of H. B. M. ship Providence, Captain Brougkton – Marines slain at Niihau – Kamehameha’s proposed conquest of Tahiti – Completes his conquests – Kauai submits – Humane policy of the conqueror – Government – Courtly etiquette – Laws – Internal regulations – Foreign policy – Trade – Preparations for conquest of Kauai – 1802 – Great tality – Character of Kaumnalii – His preparations – Final settlement of difficulties – Arrival of Lisiansky – 1804 – Young, Governor of Hawaii – Attempt to convert Kamehameha – Sydney Bay convicts – Foreign settlers – Number – Campbell – Death of Davis, 1810 – Kamehameha's wealth – Queens – Liholilio, his heir – Birth – Character – King returns to Hawaii – Public works – Attempt of Russians in Kauai, 1814 – Kotzebue, 1816 – Birth  –  Kamehameha's desire to hear of the Christian religion – Death, May 8th, 1819 – Sacrifice of dog – Native account of his funeral obsequies

Chapter 8:  1819 Consequences of the death of Kamehameha – Scepticism – Occasion of – Abolition of idolatry – National  character – Rebellion of Kekuokalani – Defeat  and death  – 1820 – Arrival of American missionaries – Reception – Hostile intrigues – Kindness of Kaumualii – Of foreigners – Tyranny and dissipation of  Liholiho – Gradual improvement of Nation – Voyage of Liholiho to Kauai, July, 1821 – Kaumualii's hospitality – Treachery of Liholiho – Keeaumoku made governor of Kauai – Kaahumanu's marriage to Kaumualii and his son – First Church erected at Honolulu – Increased taxation – January, 1822 – First  printing at the islands – State of education – Arrival  of English deputation – Results – Present of armed  schooner – First Christian marriage – Hoapili appointed  governor of Maui – New missionaries – Increasing  favor of government – 1823 – Festival in  honor of Kamehameha – Illness and death of Keopuolani – Foreign hostility to missions – Marriage of  Hoapili – Liholiho and train embark for England, 1824 – Death of Kaumualii – Rebellion at Kauai – Final subjugation – Last heathen sacrifice performed by one of the royal family – 1824 – Conversion of Kalaimoku and Kaahumanu – Character of their administration – News of the death of the king – Arrival  of British Consul and family, April, 1825

Chapter 9:  Liholiho's passage to England – Attention shown to the party – Death of King and Queen – Boki's interview with George IV – Blonde frigate Arrival at Lahaina – Honolulu Funeral Obsequies – Council of State – Speeches – Kaahumanu and Kalaimoku proclaimed Regents – Idolatry existing in Hawaii – Courage of Kapiolani – Singular Creed – Outrages of foreign Captains at Lahaina – United States schooner Dolphin at Honolulu, 1826 – Triumph of the liberal party – U. S. ship Peacock – Origin and structure of parties – Character of English Consul – His policy – Death of Kalaimoku, 1827 – Laws enacted – Opposition of foreigners

Chapter 10:  1827 – Arrival of Roman Catholic Trusts – Their history – Reception – Policy Opinion of chiefs – Foreigners Spread of Protestantism – Boki's rebellion – 1829 – Conduct of the King – Legislation – Hostility of foreigners – Causes of Visit of U. S. ship Vincennes – Fatal expedition of Boki – Persecution of Papists – Liliha's attempt at revolution – Removal from office – Kuakini appointed Governor of Oahu – Jesuits sent away – Death of Kaahumanu, 1832 – Succeeded by Kinau – Kauikeouli assumes the government – His abolition of taboos – Effects – Reaction – 1834

Chapter 11:  1836 Political position of the Chiefs and Mission – Mr. Richards' agency to the United States Employment of foreigners – Further history of the Jesuits Arrival of the French sloop-of-war Bonite – H. B. M. S. Alteon – Lord Edward Russell – Diplomatic intercourse Treaties – Return of priests from California, 1837 – Ordered on board the Clementine – Abandoned to government – Burning of the flag by English consul –  Armed interference of Captains Belcher, of the Sulphur, and Du Petit Thouars, of the Venus frigate – Account of official intercourse – Treaty negotiated – Arrival of Imogene frigate – Another arrival of priests  – Sent away – Edict against Romanism – Further persecution –  Religious toleration proclaimed by the king, 17th June, 1839 – Proceeding of foreign residents at Honolulu – Admixture of religious and political movements of the French in the Pacific – Policy – Arrival of L'Artemise frigate, Laplace commander – Blockade of the port of Honolulu – Manifesto – Demands – Agreed to – History of commercial treaty Interview with king – Arrival of French bishop – Fresh difficulties incited, 1842 – Visit and demands of the corvette L'Embuscade, Captaia Mallet, September

Chapter 12:  Course of British Consul Appointment of Mr. Richards to office – 1838 – Political state of the nation – Constitution – 1840 – Code of Laws –  Temperance Societies – Diplomacy of Charlton – Courts – Sir George Simpson – Commissioners appointed to Europe – 1842 – Grant of lands to Ladd & Co. – Mr. Judd came into office – Reform in Treasury – Clandestine departure of Charlton – Letter to the King Alexander –  Simpson appointed Consul and rejected – Charlton dismissed – Simpson's intrigues and violence – Suit of Pelly vs. Charlton – Arrival of Lord George Paulet, February, 1843 – Demands – Cession of the Islands – British Commission – Troubles – Withdrawal of the King – U. S S. Constellation – Admiral Thomas – Restoration of the Kingdom – Remarks upon the Cession

Chapter 13:  Embassy to the United States and Europe – Acknowledgment of Independence at Washington – Diplomacy in London – Paris – Belgium  – Independence acknowledged by England, and France – Excitement in the United States – A. Simpson – Correspondence between Mr. Fox and Mr. Upshur – Claim of indemnification on England – Joint Guarantee of Great Britain and France – "Times" newspaper – Return to the United States – Death of Haalilio


Sandwich Islands True Name, Situation, Number and Extent – Harbors – General Appearance and Structure – Rain – Windward Sides – Leeward Sides – Minerals – Salt Lake – Soil – Vegetable Productions – Insects –  Animals – Fishes – Climate – Winds – Storms – Diseases – Earthquakes – Phenomena of Tides – Meteoric Showers of 1825 – Water Spouts

That important cluster of Islands, situated in the North Pacific Ocean, commonly known as the Sandwich Islands, were so named by Captain Cook, at the date of their discovery by him, in honor of his patron, the Earl of Sandwich, then first Lord of the Admiralty.

Their legitimate appellation, and the one by which they still continue to be distinguished by the aboriginal inhabitants, is "Hawaii nei pae aina" a collective term, synonymous with " these Hawaiian Islands.” This term is derived from the largest of the group, Hawaii, whence the reigning family originated, and is gradually taking the place of the former.

The central situation of the Hawaiian Islands in the vast North Pacific, is highly favorable to their commercial growth. Their extremes of latitude are from 18° 50’ to 22° 20’ north, and of longitude from 154° 53' to 160° 15’ west from Greenwich.

This position is nearly equidistant from Central America, Mexico, California, and the Northwest Coast on the one side, and the Russian dominions, Japan, China, and the Philippine Islands, on the other. When a civilized and enterprising population shall have developed the resources of those countries, these Islands will bear the same relative importance to them, in proportion to their extent, that the West Indies now do to North and South America. Including Bird Island, which was well known to the others prior to their discovery, in 1778, the group consists of twelve.

The inhabited Islands, eight in number, are of the following extent:

  miles long miles broad square miles




Bird Island is a barren rock, 129 miles to the northwest of Kauai.

Three of the others are equally unimportant; Molokini, an extinct crater of but slight elevation, with one side open to the sea, lies midway between Maui and Kahoolawe; Lehua, a mile to westward of Niihau, has an elevation of 1,000 feet, some slight vegetation, and an excellent spring of water; Kaula, seven miles southwest from Niihau, is of less extent, and, like Bird Island, abounds with wild fowl.

The whole embrace a superficial area of about sixty-one hundred miles, of which Hawaii includes two-thirds. But a small proportion of their coasts-, compared with the Southern groups, is bounded by coral reefs. These are of limited extent, and extend but a short distance from the shore, forming a barrier, over which the sea rolls in sheets of foam.

There are few harbors, though numerous channels occur in the reefs, affording entrance into basins, capable of accommodating coasters. With the exception of Honolulu, on the south side of Oahu, no really good harbour exists. At Ewa, ten to the west of Honolulu, there is one with twelve feet at low water on the bar. The basin within is sufficiently capacious to receive the entire commerce of the Pacific; but the adjoining land is barren and forbidding. At Koolau, on the north side of Oahu, there is another harbor, with however but nine feet water in the channel. The surrounding country is verdant, well watered, and the breeze directly from the ocean. By deepening these channels, should the commerce of the kingdom ever require it, fine sites for commercial towns would be formed.

Hilo Bay, on the north of Hawaii, commonly known as Byron's Bay, affords excellent anchorage; shipping are protected by a projecting reef, and the holding ground is good, but the surf breaks heavily upon the beach, and not unfrequently renders landing difficult. At all of the principal towns, with these exceptions, the roadsteads are exposed; but such is the nature of the prevailing winds, that vessels can frequent them in perfect safety during nine or ten months of the year. With good ground tackle there is little to be feared at any season. No dangers to navigation exist in the vicinity of the Islands, with the exception of a reef off the west coast of Kahoolawe. It is a little less than two miles from the shore, and with two fathoms of water on it at low tide. A few rocks, within a circumference of two hundred feet, comprise its whole extent.

The structure of the group is volcanic. On Hawaii is found the largest known active volcano, and several others of great size, partially or wholly quiescent. The mountains attain an elevation of fourteen thousand feet. They are of great extent and grandeur, and, throughout the group, present scenery of peculiar and beautiful character. To the north they slope somewhat precipitously to the sea, covered with a greensward at their base, and above with dense forests. Plains are broken by deep ravines, down whose steep sides cascades fall in bright and pretty sheets. Several; of these often unite, as at Kauai, and form rivers of considerable depth and size.

Palis, or precipices, in many parts, present stupendous walls of rock, from one thousand to three thousand feet perpendicular elevation, directly fronting the sea, the surging of which forms large caverns into which the sea rushes with stunning effect. To the windward, and on the highlands, there is abundance of rain, which keeps vegetation perennially verdant. The leeward portions, during most of the year, suffer from drought, and offer a cheerless aspect. Below the region of clouds, vast and rugged masses of broken lava spread themselves over the country.

Plains frequently occur with a soil formed of ashes and cinders, which, easily set in motion by violent gusts of wind, sweep over the land, and are carried to sea in dense clouds. During the winter months, when the trades are partially interrupted, showers often occur. When much rain falls the plains become covered with a species of coarse grass, which affords tolerable pasturage for cattle.

Extinct volcanoes are very common. They are of every age, size and shape; at places, crowning the summits of lofty hills and mountains; elsewhere rising precipitously from plains or projecting into the ocean, they form prominent landmarks for navigators. One of the most singular and well-known, is the promontory near Honolulu, called Leahi, better known as Diamond Head, from an idea once current that precious stones were to be found there.

The minerals are few and simple, consisting of the usual variety of the lavas, from the most solid and granular to the light pumice-stone. Ledges of compact lime-stone, a good material for building, are found on several of the Islands. These being elevated considerably above the sea, have caused much speculation as to how they were formed or arrived at their present situation. The most remarkable is at Kahuku, Oahu. No metals have been discovered. Four miles to the west of Honolulu, and within a mile of the ocean, is the famous salt lake of Alia-paakai, elevated only a few feet above the level of the sea. It is in the "heart of a crater, nearly oval in form, and about a mile in circumference. At certain seasons salt forms spontaneously and in the greatest abundance; at others but little is created, from its being overflowed by rains. Some have supposed it a mineral salt; but the general belief among the natives is, that it is formed by evaporation. The following facts favor the supposition. Its general depth is but eighteen inches; near the centre* a hole exists, five to six fathoms in circumference, which, as no bottom has been found to it, is supposed to connect with the ocean. Through this the lake is slightly affected by the tides, and at times it is crusted over with a stratum of salt sufficiently strong to- bear a man's weight.

The soil of the Islands is formed of decomposed volcanic rocks, sand, mud and ashes. To be made fertile it requires constant irrigation. Valleys which receive the debris and rains of the mountains, and for ages have been accumulating deposits of vegetable mould, are exceedingly rich and productive; but they are of limited extent. The soil generally is poor, better adapted for grazing than cultivation, though with labor and skill it can be made to produce good crops. Nature yields but little spontaneously and the inhabitants have always been obliged to exercise much industry and ingenuity in their farms.

The principle article of food is the well known kalo (arum esculentum). Great labor is necessary in raising it successfully and it requires a year or more to arrive at maturity.

The banana, yam, sweet potato, breadfruit, cocoanut, arrowroot, sugar-cane, strawberry, raspberry, ohelo, (a berry,) ohia, (a juicy, red apple, but of poor flavor,) are indigenous and plentiful. Many varieties of esculent fruits and vegetables have been successfully introduced, among which are melons, the delicious chirimoya from Peru, limes, oranges, guavas, pine-apples, grapes, peaches, figs, citrons, and tamarinds.

The vegetables of the temperate region have been acclimated to a considerable extent. The uplands of Maui produce excellent "Irish potatoes." Wheat of good quality thrives in the same region. An oil used in painting is extracted from the nut of the kukui tree (aleurites triloba). Sandal wood, suitable for exportation, is mostly exhausted, though the young wood is abundant.

Coffee, cotton, indigo, tobacco, sugarcane, mulberry, cocoa and most of the tropical plants can be successfully cultivated on the low grounds, while the uplands are suitable for the productions of more temperate regions.

Insects are few, though there are some of a destructive character. A species of caterpillar, the pelua, at certain seasons destroys vegetation to a great extent, eating even the grass to its very roots. A slug deposits its eggs in the cotton blossoms, which, when ripe, are pierced through by the young insects, and the staple entirely destroyed. Large spiders are very numerous and mischievous, weaving strong webs upon shrubs and young trees, in such quantities as to greatly injure them. A species of woodlouse, the ant-cow, is very annoying.

A sooty crust, firm, hard and stiff, like strong paper, forms upon many varieties of trees and plants, covering the bark and even the leaves, giving them the singular appearance of being clothed in mourning. Rats destroy the sugarcane to a considerable extent annually. Though the Hawaiian agriculturist escapes many of the evils incidental to other tropical climes, enough exist here to make his labors no sinecure. Noxious vermin, such as mosquitoes, fleas, cockroaches, scorpions and centipedes, are a modern importation and have extensively increased, Serpents, frogs or toads have not as yet reached the Islands. A small lizard is abundant.

The forests are usually very dense, broken by deep chasms, hidden ravines and deep conical-shaped pits, which appear to have once been active craters. The trees are overgrown with masses of ferns and parasitical vines, thickly interlaced and spreading their shoots in all directions, which render it a task of great difficulty to penetrate their recesses. There are but few birds to enliven these sylvan solitudes. Wild geese are found at Hawaii; snipe, plover and wild ducks on all the Islands. A variety of the owl is very common; but nature, inthe ornithological as well as the entomological tribe, has been chary of her gifts, and the traveler looks in vain for the endless varieties which the more favored intertropical countries afford. Dogs, swine, rats and domestic fowls are indigenous, and, beside the wild-fowl above mentioned, were the only varieties of animal food before the introduction of cattle.

Fish, of which there are a great variety, form one of the chief articles of diet. They consist chiefly of the albicore, bonita, flying-fish, shark, eel, and many species preserved in artificial ponds, which acquire a delicious flavor, and are highly prized. The best of these is the mullet. Edible shell-fish are also abundant, of which the pearl oyster, cuttle fish and prawn are the most palatable. Pearls are common, but of no great size or beauty. They formerly constituted a profitable branch of trade, and were monopolized by the king. The common oyster is not found.

The climate is salubrious, and possesses such remarkable evenness of temperature that the language has no word to express the general idea of weather. The tropical heat is mitigated by the trades, which blow over a wide expanse of ocean in the temperate zone. The shores on either side show but little difference in the results of the thermometer. Physiologists give a certain point of temperature as most conducive to health and longevity. The mean heat of these Islands approaches near to it, and is highly favorable to the full development .and perfection of animal economy.

By visiting the interior and ascending the mountains any desirable degree of temperature can be attained. On the highest mountains snow remains during much of the year, and in exposed situations on Mauna Kea throughout the whole. Snow storms occur on the highlands of Maui during the winter months.

On the upland region of Kauai, a uniform elevation of four thousand feet, both snow and hail occasionally occur. The temperature here is quite regular the year through, requiring warm garments and fires even in the month of July. The district is cold and wet, and of little value. A portion of it supports a heavy growth of timber and is frequented only by wood-cutters. The average temperature of Waimea, Hawaii, situated in the interior, at an elevation of about four thousand feet, is nearly 64° Fahrenheit 48° being the lowest extreme.

This place affords an excellent retreat for those whose constitutions have become enervated by too long a residence nearer the coast. Rains are frequent at this altitude, but the dryness of the soil seldom leaves the ground damp for any length of time. At Mountain Retreat, back of Lahaina, Maui, an elevation of three thousand feet, the temperature varies from 40° to 75°; but such situations afford few comforts for the sick and their dampness renders them otherwise objectionable.

Localities can be selected on the seashore which possess advantages for invalids, particularly those affected with pulmonary complaints. Many individuals by change of residence, have prolonged their lives for years, and others who in the less favored regions of the north were perpetual sufferers, live with scarcely an admonition of their disease. Lahaina, Kailua, Ewa and Honolulu have all a good reputation in this respect.

At the former, during ten years, the highest thermo-metrical elevation was 86°; the lowest 54°; an extreme difference of but 32°. During no day in this period was the range greater than 19°. June has the highest range January the lowest. But little rain falls and for successive months the sun is rarely obscured by clouds.

The common range of the thermometer at Honolulu is 12° per diem. The greatest degree of heat during twelve years in the shade was 90°, and 54° for the coldest; the mean about 75°. Kailua and Ewa vary but little from the above. At Koloa, Kauai, the thermometer varies from 50° to 88°; at Waioli, from 55° to 90°, with much rain. A change of wind affects the climate materially. During nine months of the year the northeast trade blows with great regularity and the temperature is very uniform.

Oahu and Kauai are the most influenced by it; Maui, which is larger, has in a few places to the leeward, including Lahaina, the regular land and sea breeze. Hawaii, from its size and height of mountains, neutralizes its influence, and enjoys an almost uninterrupted land and sea breeze. This occurs, in some degree, even on its northeast coast where the trade is usually freshest. The winds partake of the character of the sea breeze in the day, and during the night are so modified by the influence of the land, as to vary their course from off the shore, or become very light.

Where the mountain ranges are broken by steep defiles, as at Kawaihae and other bays on the west side, the wind rushes through with great violence, gathering strength as it descends until it passes off to sea in furious gusts. During the winter months the trades are interrupted, winds from the south and west often prevailing for several successive weeks; calms are also frequent and of long duration. The south wind brings rain and is usually loaded with a briny vapor injurious to vegetation. Its effects are equally unpleasant to the human system. Headaches, catarrhs, rheumatism, and kindred diseases, prevail during its continuance.

Upon foreigners its influence is very obvious, causing a compression about the head and an enervation which indisposes to mental or physical exertion; the atmosphere becomes oppressive and at times feels like the heated air of a furnace. The miasma arising from the lagoons to the southeast of Honolulu is blown back upon the land, infecting the town with an odor which but for its rarity would be insupportable. The natives call it the 'sick wind,' and with propriety. It sometimes occurs with sufficient force to destroy their frail habitations and do much damage to plantations and forests. Much of the weather at this season is however of the most delightful description; the sky becomes cloudless, the atmosphere dry, clear and bracing, and the whole system feels the invigorating influence of the change. Nothing can exceed the soft brilliancy of the moonlight nights. Thunder-storms are rare and light in their nature. No hurricanes have been known.

Epidemic diseases are few and of a light character. The mumps have prevailed very generally, and in some cases terminated fatally through mismanagement. The influenza occurs almost annually but is not often fatal unless added to other causes. The whooping-cough, a few years since, spread through the whole population, but soon entirely spent itself. Contagious diseases are scarcely known, excepting those of a cutaneous nature, which very generally prevail, owing to filthy habits and gross food. The small-pox has raged in the southern groups, but has never reached here. Vaccination is very generally practiced. The croup sometimes occurs. Hoapiliwahine, a chief woman of high rank, upwards of seventy years of age, died of this disease in January, 1842. Powerful volcanic eruptions, attended with disastrous effects, have occurred on Hawaii several times within the memory of the present generation. Some of the largest of the craters, such as those of Mauna Haleakala, (house of the sun,) on Maui, at an elevation of eleven thousand feet, have been quiescent from a period beyond the traditions of the inhabitants.

Earthquakes are chiefly confined to the largest island; the shocks felt at Maui are slight. The immense craters with which the former island abounds operate as safety-valves, by which the pent gases, generated by the vast subterranean fires, escape. Without them, the thin crusts of lava which constitute the foundation of the island, would be rent asunder, and it would become a terrific waste. Shocks are indeed frequent, but without sufficient strength to be very destructive. Trees are thrown down, rocks split, and the scene of action otherwise affected. At Hilo, in November, 1838, during the space of eight days, from forty to fifty shocks occurred.

Twelve distinct ones were counted in one night. For two days and nights the earth was in a state of continual agitation; the plants and flowers trembling like frightened animals. In some cases the motion was perpendicular, like that of a ship pitching, and attended by noises and sensations similar to those produced by heavy waves striking against her sides, and some degree of nausea was felt.

In others the action was lateral, easy and undulating, unaccompanied by any sounds. In April 1841, several more powerful shocks were experienced at the same place, one of which was quite severe. The houses were violently shaken, and had they not been constructed of yielding materials, would have been prostrated. The plastering was shattered, crockery-ware destroyed, milk thrown from pans, stone walls cast down, and other damage done. In March of the same year, several of a severe nature occurred at Kailua, which threw down much rock from the pali. These shocks were distinctly felt throughout Maui. On the 25th of September, 1825, a shower of meteoric stones occurred at Honolulu.

Reports like the firing of cannon and the repeated discharges of musketry were heard at about ten o'clock in the morning. At first the supposition was that a naval action was taking place in the immediate neighborhood; but the fall of many fragments of rock, weighing from ten to twenty pounds, accompanied by a whizzing sound, explained the nature of the noises. They struck with sufficient force to create cavities in the coral rock, and the pieces presented a grayish black exterior, with a yellowish appearance on the fractured portions. A remarkable oscillation of the ocean was observed in 1837 throughout the group. In 1819, one on a lesser scale and unattended with any fatal consequences occurred. It was considered by the natives as prognosticating some dire event to their nation, and the death of Kamehameha, which took place soon after, was supposed to be the consummation. Upon its recurrence in 1837, the death of his son Kauikeouli or some high chief was confidently predicted; but as no national calamity ensued, this superstition was materially weakened.

On the evening of the 7th of November, the commotion of the waters was first noticed at Honolulu. Neither the barometer nor thermometer indicated any unusual atmospherical changes. At five o'clock it was observed the sea was retiring. This it did with such rapidity as to cause much alarm among the foreigners, who were fearful its reaction would overwhelm the town, like the great wave which destroyed Callao in 1746; but hundreds of the native population, thoughtlessly shouting and frolicking, followed its retreat, picking up the stranded fish, and viewing the whole as a rare piece of fun. Some, however, seemed otherwise affected, and the dismal wail which was raised in the stillness of the evening, earned the news far inland.

The first recession was the greatest, being more than eight feet; the reefs were left entirely dry, and the fishes died. The vessels, not in the deepest water, grounded; but the sea quickly returned, and in twenty-eight minutes reached the ordinary height of the highest tides: it then commenced receding again and fell six feet. It rose a few inches higher on its third return and fell six and a half feet. This action continued, with a gradually diminishing force and extent, throughout that night and the forenoon of the ensuing day. The greatest rapidity with which it fell was twelve inches in thirty seconds.

On Hawaii and Maui the phenomenon was more powerful and occasioned considerable loss of property and lives. Its action increased to the windward, the northern sides of the islands being the most affected. At Maui the sea retired about twenty fathoms and returned with great speed in one immense wave, sweeping before it houses, trees, canoes and human beings. At Kahului the inhabitants, as at Honolulu, followed with rapturous delight the retreating wave, when suddenly it turned upon them, and rising like a steep wall, rushed forward to the shore, burying the natives in its foam and destroying the whole hamlet. The amphibious character of the islanders proved their safety, though they were obliged to mourn the loss of two of their number and the destruction of all their personal effects.

At Byron's Bay, Hawaii, the village was crowded with people, who had collected to attend a religious meeting. At half-past six o'clock the sea retired at the rate of five miles an hour, leaving a great portion of the harbor dry, and reducing the soundings in other places from five to three and a half fathoms. The wondering multitude, in their simplicity, eagerly rushed to the beach to witness the novel sight; quickly a gigantic wave came roaring towards them at a speed of seven to eight miles an hour, and rising twenty feet above high-water mark, dashed upon the coast with a stunning noise like a heavy crash of thunder. The people were buried in its flood; houses, canoes, fish-ponds, animals, in short, property of all kinds, were mingled in one common ruin. Cries of distress filled the air. Those in the water were struggling for their lives amid the wreck of houses or entangled among floating timber, while their relatives who had escaped the torrent, were loudly bewailing their situation. The wave which had rushed inland had in its way dashed over the deck of an English whaler at anchor in the bay.

As soon as the crew recovered from the shock, they lowered their boats and through their exertions many lives were saved. Not a canoe had escaped, and numbers of the people, stunned and insensible, were floating seaward. The destruction of property was universal; even the garnered food was swept off. In two hamlets alone, sixty-six habitations were destroyed and eleven lives lost. Other portions of the sea-coast suffered in like proportion. No shocks of earthquakes or any tremor of the earth were experienced, though the action of the crater of Kilauea, the night previous, was uncommonly furious. In some spots its fires were quenched; in others, chasms were opened with violent explosions. It would appear from the simultaneousness of the commotion throughout the group, that it originated at some distance. The wave struck the several islands from apparently the same direction.

May 17th, 1841, the same scene, though on a much less violent scale, and attended with no loss of life, recurred. At twenty minutes past five o'clock, P.M., the water in the harbor of Honolulu was observed to be suddenly discolored and breaking like a tide rip. It then rushed rapidly out, leaving a portion of the harbor and all the reef bare. This occurred twice in the space of forty minutes, when it resumed its ordinary appearance. The fall was estimated at three feet. Simultaneously, at Lahaina, a distance of one hundred miles, the rise and fall of the water was several feet, and occurred frequently, at intervals of four minutes each, rushing violently and with great noise over the reefs. At about this period a similar scene was noticed on the coast of Kamschatka.

An immense water-spout broke over the harbor of Honolulu in May, 1809. The atmosphere was clear and the day calm when it was first observed. A heavy, dark cloud hung over its body, which appeared to be of the size of a stout mast. As it advanced, its bulk increased, until it attained the thickness of a hogshead. Its progress was slow, accompanied with a violent ebullition of the water at its base. Upon touching the reefs, the column broke, causing a sudden rise of the sea of three feet on the beach. Great numbers of fish were destroyed by the weight of the mass of water which fell. A few years before, one broke on the north side of the island, washed away a number of houses, and drowned several of the inhabitants.


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