Monday, August 27, 2012

2011: Hawaii Civil War Roundtable at Hawaiian Mission Houses

In 2011 the Hawaii Civil War Roundtable held an Independence Day re-enactment at the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historical Site and Archives. Go to this YouTube link and enjoy!

Friday, August 17, 2012

1846: Editorial in The Polynesian

Source: The Polynesian. Honolulu: July 4, 1846, page 26.

The birthday of American Independence has again returned to gladden the hearts of the millions who claim Columbia as their native land. Who among the number in this far-distant land does not recall with emotions of joy the hilarity and glee with which the glorious Fourth was passed in childhood-the toys-the picture books-the sweet cake and sweeter looks? –and who does not remember the pleasure with which he looked forward to the return of this day when a boy-the thousand wishes for benignant sky, and the eagerness with which he joined the happy thong to usher in the morn with all the pomp and circumstance of war-pistols, guns and cannon chiming in with the deep, rich tones of the village bell. The reminiscences of these olden times would almost make one wish he “were a boy again.”

And then again in manhood-only think of the drive, the sails, and the pic-nic parties ‘neath the shady grove-the bright and glancing eyes, the music, and the merry dance, upon the green lawn-these are scenes which the return of this day involuntarily calls to the mind of many.

It is pleasing to see that in this far-off island of the sea, the day is observed with much the same demonstrations as at home; and we are happy to see so many of the other nations take part in the festivities of the day. This is as it should be. It affords us pleasure to see that more enlarged and liberal views on the subject of nationality are beginning to develop themselves in our community. The jealousy and animosity which has hitherto existed here on this point has caused much discord and contention. It has prejudiced Americans against their fellow countrymen, who have taken the oath of allegiance to His Majesty, and led them to regard their former friends as sworn enemies of the interests of their native country. Political differences and national distinctions have been carried into the social circle, poisoning the fountain of human kindness and tearing asunder the ties of friendship. But we perceive a different state of feeling begins to pervade our community, and cannot but hope for a better state of things in future.

Seventy years ago, to-day, was signed the Declaration of American Independence. Dark indeed was the prospect of the then feeble colony; but the valor of our forefathers, with the blessing of Heaven, maintained their independence.

From this beginning a mighty nation has arose, whose commerce whitens ever sea, and the benevolence of whose citizens have sent the gospel to the dark and benighted portions of our globe. This nation has been and still is a large recipient of American benevolence. It is in a great measure American philanthropy and enterprise that have raised this nation to the station it now occupies, and it will be gratifying to Americans to know that this people are not ungrateful for the many favors they have received.

No one thing grieved His Majesty so much as to be thought ungrateful for the many favors received from the government and citizens of America.

We cannot refrain from congratulating the nation upon its present pacific relations and future flattering prospects.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

1845: July 4 at Honolulu

Source: The Polynesian. Honolulu: July, 1845, page 29.

The morn of this day of American Independence was ushered in, as an Irishman might say, the evening before, for a most generous discharge of crackers, squibs, and other fire missiles, commenced then, and was continued by the lovers of noise and smoke, through much of the night.

At midnight more pleasing strains broke in upon the ears; the band drowned all other sounds by the vigor and excellence with which they played and replayed ‘Yankee Doodle,’ ‘Hail Columbia,’ and ‘The Star Spangled Banner,’ and other airs.

At daybreak 28 guns were fired, and bang, bang, crack, crack, went guns, pistols and crackers. In truth the day came in with all the accompaniments of a country celebratioin in the States. No preceding “glorious 4th” that we have been witness to in this town, ever saw quite so patriotic a stir among the American residents. Could the merry peals of bells been added, and the tramp and glitter of “volunteer military corps,” the shade of even the elder Adams might have rejoiced in the display.

Salutes were again fired at noon and sunset, the band played, flags waved, and the whole town was kept alive by the enthusiasm of the day; while various dinner and evening parties, with a show of fireworks from Punch-bowl and other places, served to prolong the general gratification until a late hour in the evening.

It is both gratifying and edifying to see the ardor with which the Americans at this distance celebrate their country’s freedom, and the generous rivalry which the subjects of other nations display in promoting the festivities of that auspicious day.

When men of different races unite in commemorating an event of great moment to mankind at large, as the Declaration of American Independence undoubtedly is, it serves to break down invidious national distinctions and false prejudices. He who would narrow the bounds of national intercourse to promote selfish designs, is the common enemy of mankind, and deserves himself that pernicious isolation to which he would doom others.

But it is gratifying to know that in this place, the general feeling of that of open conviviality, which has ever attended this fete, of all nations without distinction, in these islands.

1866: The Fourth of July at Hanalei, Kauai

The Fourth of July at Hanalei
Source: Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Honolulu, Saturday, July 14, 1866.  

That portion of the citizens of Kauai who reside on the Princeville Plantation and in the vicinity of Hanalei, celebrated the Fourth in a manner worthy of the occasion, as the following graphic description will verify:

Ninetieth Anniversary of American Independence
HANALEI, (Kauai), July 5, 1866.

Editor Commercial Advertiser: -I communicate to you the pleasing fact that our little community did their utmost yesterday to commemorate the Natal day of American’s Independence. The ample store-house of the Princeville Plantation had been placed at the disposal of the Committee of Arrangements, by Mr. J.S. Low, and every facility was afforded, by both foreigners and natives, that could in the least conduce to the success of the celebration. We cannot refrain here from giving the names of those who composed the energetic and patriotic Committee: They were: Capt. Hatfield, of the schooner Prince; Mr. J.W. Markle, planter; Captain White, Collector of the Port of Hanalei and District Postmaster; Capt. J. Morse, rice planter; and a numerous corps of volunteer assistants. I must say that the energy displayed by these gentlemen resulted in one of the most creditable patriotic reunions I ever assisted in. But before I proceed to describe the celebration proper, let me show you how, at Princeville,

The Fourth was Ushered in.
It was my good fortune to be a guest at the plantation mansion, and to witness as picturesque a scene of Hawaiian compliment to the Birthday of our Republic as could well be imagined. As the last vibration of the midnight bell proclaimed the presence of the jubilant day, the sound of fife and drum broke on the silent air. “Hail Columbia,” coupled with the firing of guns, the sharp, loud crack of powder-charged anvil, and the glad cheers of hilarious voices. On came the music, and our hearts beat quicker as we beheld, borne in front of a band of Hawaiians, the glorious banner of the free. They formed a half circle –standard in centre- at the entrance of the house, and did honor to the new-born day with a series of well-executed American airs. Need I tell you that “Marching through Georgia,” with all its intrepid vim, and “Tramp, tramp, tramp!” with all its enlivening hope, were included in the pieces of the extemporized band? And, as the drum roulade to the hearty cheers of we of the balcony expired, we were greeted with another surprise. The anvillers with “Vulcan’s stithy,” all ablaze, arrived upon the scene. These, amid the glare of furnace and the flash of powder, let their “cyclops’ hammers fall,” as if the Fourth were made of “proof eternal;” whilst the lurid light reflecting on the faces of the native band and us, produced a quaint but unique picture of beaming, patriotic joy and satisfaction blithe. Thirty-nine rounds were fired for all the States (including the good measure for Colorado –non ad.); thirty-nice rounds of cheers, (with irreplaceable “tiger!”) were lustily vociferated; and thirty-nine toasts for the Union were heartily swallowed-before any sleep was had in the house that night. But daylight brought the most wearied votary of Morpheus to his (and her) feet, and we saw

The Fourth by Daylight
I shall bring your readers at once from Princeville to the store-house at Hanalei, and speak to them of the decorations, accommodations and the good cheer on the sideboards. As I said before the inside of the spacious building was gracefully adorned with evergreens. The Committee, with the tasteful assistance of James Robinson, jr., had really succeeded in combining art with nature, and setting off the interior of the establishment with the refreshing picturesqueness of a bower in verdure clad. The Hawaiian and the American flags tacked together, floated in front of the Chairman’s stand. Here and there, appropriately placed and intermingled were such flags as could be gathered. On either side of the store-house, long tables bending beneath an ample weight of provender- a sumptuous board it was indeed, and varied withal, -and at the extreme end a steward’s counter strewed with delicious viands- argued the capacity of Hanalei to do things comme il faut, whist rosy cheeks and buoyant forms which filled the intervening seats, gave assurance that “good digestion” would “wait on appetite, and health on both.” The front of the storehouse was stuccoed with wreaths and from the flagstaff floated a multiple of banners, surmounted by the American ensign. At two o’clock the invited guests and all who desired to participate, had arrived, and mr. John S. Low, President of the Day, announced that

The Celebration
Would commence with prayer. An eloquent appeal to the Divine Throne for the protection of our country, her future prosperity and greatness, and an acknowledgment for the blessings of the past, was offered up by the Rev. Mr. Johnson.

The “Declaration of Independence” was then read I a clear and well-toned voice by Capt. Johnson, late of the United States Army.

The Oration
An oration was then pronounced by Mr. James J. Ayers, which was handsomely received and frequently applauded. I cannot refrain from giving you the introductory passage, as it will show you at once the delicacy and taste with which this gentleman introduced himself to a strange and foreign audience. I quote from his notes:

“I hesitantly accepted the honor your Committee have conferred on me to address you today. I consider the first duty a man owes, on an occasion like this, is to fully acknowledge the hospitalities of the country in which he sojourns-to strictly conform to its laws, and to feel grateful for its protection and its shelter. Indeed, such would be the recognition due to the host who shares his home with you-and how much more should such recognition be vouchsafed to the nation which admits you to her shores, welcomes you to the protection of her laws and the enjoyment of her domains, and permits you to avail yourself of her resources. In this spirit, I offer my sincerest hoes for the prosperity of the Hawaiian Government, and condole with the people of these islands in their recent severe bereavements. I do this not only from the motive of natural feeling, but from the more enlarged consciousness that the chiefs of a nation are the surest arms of defence from without, and the safest guides to the people who look up to them from within. Thus, with the most disinterested wish for the prosperity of the Hawaiian race, I cannot, both as a philosopher and a philanthropist, but desire that their leaders may perpetuate their patriarchal lines.”

You will, I hope, agree with me, Mr. Editor, that the sentiments enunciated above are distinguished by an exalted liberality of thought and a nice sensitivity of the relations which should subsist between man and man-and men and nations. I would ne happy to give you the entire oration, were it not that it might be too great an encroachment on the space of your valuable columns. But I can assure you, if the manner in which the audience received it, be a proper criterion of its merit, it was an effort well worthy of the occasion.

When Mr. Ayers had concluded, the President of the Day announced that a recess of a few minutes, would be had for the purpose of arranging seats at the tables.

The Dinner
One hundred and fifty ladies and gentlemen, in round numbers, were accommodated at the two tables; and when all had been seated, the President called upon the Rev. Mr. Johnson who delivered grace. The edibles were discussed by appetites sharped, doubtless by the exercise of long rides and early breakfasts. But as there must be an end even to an appetite, however vigorous, the next order of the day was at length reached, namely,

The Toasts
I shall give these in as condensed a form as possible, as follows:

1st-His Majesty, Kamehameha Fifth. Responded to by Mr. Ayers.
2nd-The President of the United States. Responded to by Mr. Neva (in Hawaiian, and interpreted by President Low).
3rd- Queen Victoria. Responded to by Capt. A. White.
4th-To the Memory of Winfield Scott, the veteran soldier of America; and to R.C. Wyllie, the Hawaiian statesman and patriot. (Drank standing and in silence)
5th-The Day we Celebrate. Responded to by Mr. J.S. Low. [This was, indeed, one of the most humorous, entertaining and effective efforts of the occasion. I shall not anticipate the pleasure which your readers may derive from its perusal, by attempting to synoptize it. Suffice it to say that Mr. Low adopted the Yankee dialect throughout, and that, too, with a pungency and appropriateness that set “the table on a roar.” It was full of piquant hits and characteristic illustrations, -commencing in a high vein of good nature which was fully sustained to the end. If I had a copy of this most excellent piece of post-prandial humor, I should send it you; but of course Mr. Low’s friends are not so selfish as ot keep so good a thing all to themselves.]

A few volunteer toasts were given, and the company rose and dispersed.

In the Evening
The room was lit up and the floor cleared for a ball. Some fifty couples assembled, and the band, enlarged by the accession of a good cornet-a-piston, gave terpsichorean sentiment to flying feet. Polkas, quadrilles, schottisches, reels and hilts brought to a pause one of the most pleasing days I ever passed.

I have been thus elaborate, Mr. Editor, in my description of “Fourth of July” at Hanalei, for the reason that we are not a numerous people, and that I believe the successful exertions made by us, and the good effect and social feeling produced by our reunion, will exemplify the fact that no community however small, -if they really revere the land of Washington and the day that gave birth to Freedom’s Empire, can fall to exercise a beneficial influence in their immediate circle by properly celebrating the Natal day of America’s Independence.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

1848 4th of July: "...more by the spirit called ardent than by a patriotic spirit."

Source: The Polynesian. Honolulu: July 8, 1848, page 30.

The 4th of July was pretty generally observed by the native born Americans. Some we regret to say were prompted to festivities more by the spirit called ardent than by a patriotic spirit. Too many display their love of liberty by making themselves slaves to the debasing passion for strong drink. No serious disturbance occurred although we understand several waxing valiant under the influence of too many potations, received as trophies black eyes and bloody noses. One of an ardent temperament was planned by his comrades in a well for the purpose of cooling his excited imagination. The scenes presented were many of the ludicrous, but painful. When will mankind learn to use the blessings of life without abusing them, and to participate in a rational manner in the amusement of life?

1846: Fourth of July Salute by the U.S. Store Ship Erie

Source: The Polynesian. Honolulu: July 11, 1846, page 31.

The U.S. store ship Erie fired a salute at 12 o’clock, which was returned by the fort. The day passed off very pleasantly, and order and quiet prevailed throughout the town. –A degree of enthusiasm was displayed, diversified by the various tastes which abound in our community. We notice one turn-out with an ensign hoisted on the carriage, the driver quietly smoking his cigar, and his compatriot making the town resound with the shrill notes of the bugle. 

1844: Fourth of July Accident, and a Mysterious Disappearance

Source: The Polynesian. Honolulu: July 13, 1844, page 30.

An accident-lucky we-and a fourth of July one- really that reads as if we were still in the land of Yankeedom. But to the accident. A friend of ours had his arm badly burnt by a blue-light while engaged in illuminating in honor of the day, and it gives us the greatest satisfaction to state, that there is every prospect of the arm being in a condition to burn or be burnt again long before another 4th comes around again.

On the afternoon of the 4th, a young American was seen going down toward the sea-side. The last that was observed of him was near evening; he was near one of the wharves. –Since then he has not been found. 

1840: 4th of July at the House of Haalilio, Manoa Valley

JULY 4, 1840
Source: The Polynesian. Honolulu: July 11, 1840, page 18.

The 4th of July was celebrated by a large number of the American residents here, who gave a dinner at the house of Haalilio, in the valley of Manoa. The King and his suite, with many other invited guests were present. The party left town together, forming a strong cavalcade, and as they rode along the plain, presented a gay and cheerful appearance. The dinner was cooked in native style, and the manner of partaking nearly so. The dishes were placed upon mats on the floor, and the party arranged themselves around this primitive table in such attitudes as best suited their ease or convenience.

Many toasts were drank, and the festivities were enlivened by a variety of fine songs.

Nothing occurred to interrupt the harmony of the scene, and although not confined exclusively to Americans, every one appeared to be united in the celebration of the day.

Salutes were fired at morning, noon and sunset, from the fort and from some of the vessels in the harbor.