James Jackson Jarves.

Scenes and scenery in the Sandwich Islands, and a trip through Central America: being observations from my note-book during the years 1837-1842 online

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Online LibraryJames Jackson JarvesScenes and scenery in the Sandwich Islands, and a trip through Central America: being observations from my note-book during the years 1837-1842 → online text (page 1 of 24)
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Member of the Am. Oriental Society.

With Maps and Plates.


134 Washington-Street, Boston.

The book is carefully prepared and furnishes a highly attractive
narrative. The ground over which the author has passed has been
almost entirely untrod before him, and the history will be quite
new, we believe, to almost all readers. It is a history full of its
passages of romance, for these islands have not been exempted
from the stirring excitements of larger communities. Boston
Daily Advertiser.

The work bears the marks of great attention and patient research ;
the narrative is easy, flowing, and spirited, in a style adapted to the
subject. Philadelphia Christian Observer.

Mr. J. has produced an excellent and permanently valuable book.
Boston Recorder.

It supplies a deficiency in our literature, and is finished in such
a manner that it will not have to be done again. This work will
be a favorite; it affords information not easily found elsewhere, and
if attainable at all, only to be collected by great labor, and from a
variety of sources. Baptist Memorial and Monthly Chronicle.

There is always something intensely interesting in watching the
gradual development of civilization in any country, and we know
of none of the little green spots of earth rising out of the bosom of
the ocean for the habitations of man, where this is more true than
of the Sandwich Islands. Considered as bearing upon the interests
of France, England, and America, these islands are of vast political
importance, yet to the eye of the philanthropist and the philosopher,
they furnish other material of abundant speculation and contem
plation ; and the history Mr. Jas. J. Jarves has here given us is as
really interesting in its arrangement and management as in its ma
terial. Writing from personal observation, we have a faithful de
scription from the best means of its attainments, since no hearsay
evidence can equal that of the bodily organs ; and while the present
is displayed in the colors of existing truth, the past has been nar
rowly investigated to furnish its own history. Thus, Mr. Jarves has
produced a really capable and interesting work, into which is
crowded a vast mass of information, of which,, perhaps, the most
important feature is the theology of the land, though its domestic
usages might seem to rival such a preference. London Metropolitan


The history before us is drawn up with a philosophic spirit,
and is ably written from authentic materials. Polytechnic Review.

The book is cleverly written, and we have read it with interest.
It has merit of an enduring kind, and commends itself 10 attention
on general grounds. London Examiner.

The volume abounds in valuable information. London Inquirer.

This book possesses merit, and is of both value and interest, as
a fresh and faithful picture of a group of the human family placed
under very peculiar circumstances. TaiCs Edinburgh Magazine.

1 The work may be recommended to the reader as a well-told his
torical and personal narrative, relating to the most important clus
ter in the Pacific. Westminster Review.

An able and interesting work, of which we cannot but speak in
terms of the highest commendation. London Atlas.

VVe hardly know when we have read a more interesting work
of its kind. National Intelligencer.

1 A highly interesting and valuable work. Democratic Review.

Mr. Jarves gives us a volume of four hundred pages, got up in a
style as far ahead of the trashy publications of the day. as his per
formance is superior to them. The book contains intrinsic evi
dence of his qualifications for the task, in addition to the fact that
he spent four years among the Hawaiian group, and devoted himself
most diligently to the study of all matters concerning it. The re
sult is truly refreshing. Hitherto we have thought that the med
dling of missionaries with the affairs of the native government was
improper, impertinent, and injudicious ; but Mr. Jarves has set the
matter in another light, and satisfied us, as he will every one who
reads the book, that not to have interfered as they have done would
have been wanting to their duty, not only as apostles of the cro?s,
but as men. We never read a book more exactly what it should
be. Hunt s Merchants Magazine.

His book bears many signs of diligence in collecting materials,
and he appears to have used them with judgment. The details,
which he gives of the intrigues and petty quarrels of the chief per
sonages in this microcosm of a hundred thousand inhabitants, are
singularly minute for a country without any records except songs
and traditions. The language is clear and energetic ; the intro
ductory chapters, especially, are excellent specimens of descriptive

There is much, also, suggestive of new ideas to any one of a
speculative mind, in his sketches of the rapid civilization of the
people of this small cluster of islands, of the working of their
feudal system and constitutional monarchy, and of the management
of their House of Representatives and their double Executive.

Its literary merits, however, apart from the political importance
of the information which it contains, will gain for it many readers.*
North American Review.


; IT was designed to interweave, with the civil and
political account of the nation, a series of sketches,
illustrative of their present life and condition, and
other interesting points, which would have enlivened
a bare narrative of facts ; also, to have pictured the
wondrous natural phenomena of that prolific poriion
of the Pacific, the great volcanic eruption of 1840 ;
and a full account of the mightiest of craters, the
gigantic Lua Pele, or Kilauea, in Hawaii. But it
would have swelled the volume to an unwieldy size.
4 At an early period will be presented an additional
volume, which, without being connected with the
present, will give in detail all that is necessary to
form a correct view of the Hawaiian Islands, their
condition, prospects, the every-day concerns of the
people, and missionary life as it now exists ; the two
to form a succinct whole, illustrating each other.
From Preface to History of the Hawaiian or Sand
wich Islands?



This volume is in fulfilment of that pledge. In
it, I have attempted to delineate that which came
within my immediate observation, during a residence
of four years on the Group. As a description of the
familiar life of a people, in a novel and interesting
position, one which may with propriety be termed a
state of transition from barbarism to civilization, it
may attract the attention, and interest the sympa
thies, of readers of all classes.

A portion of these sketches have been previously
published in journals, and had some circulation, both
in Europe and the United States. Such, though re
vised, will readily be recognized by the reader who
has met with them elsewhere.




Land, Ho ! Hawaii in the Distance. Reflections upon visit
ing for the first time the Isles of the Pacific. Coast Scenery.
Oahu. Its Capital, Honolulu. Harbor. Prevailing Winds.
Former Town. Present Streets. Puahi, or Punch-bowl Hill.
Battery View from. Whirlwinds. Fort. Governor Keku-
anaoa. Militia Drill. Palace. Residence of the Premier Ke-
kauluohi. Her Sister, Kinau Burial of. Churches. Lit
erary and Benevolent Institutions. Schools. Annual Festivals
and Holydays. Population of Honolulu. Society, foreign and
native. Groggeries. Sailor Dissipation. Police. Climate.
Commerce. A Stranger s first Impressions. Native Manners.
Mission Buildings. Street Scenes. Dog Feast. Saturday
Afternoon. Nuuanu Valley. Taro Plant. Country Resi
dences. Scenery of the Valley. Battle. Pali, or Precipice. 13


Village of Waikiki. Ruined House. Diamond Head. Ruin
ed Temple. Manoa Valley. Singular Crater. White Man
turned Savage. Little Old Man Anecdote of. Chief hung.
Forgery. Sunday at Honolulu. At Tahiti. Fashions. Re
markable disappearance of Dresses after Religious Service.
Corsets in use Out of use. Chiefs Entertainments. Extra
ordinary Preparations in honor of Captain Finch, U. S. N.
Children of Missionaries. Danger to their Morals. Painful
instances of Degradation at Tahiti. Boarding-School Estab-


lished at Oahu. Sports of Native Youth. Musical Kites.
Pearl River. Ewa. Church and Station. Waialua. Manual
Labor School. Its Success. Ruins of a Temple, and Site of
a Tribe of Cannibals. North Side of Oahu. Legends. Love
of the Marvellous. Poetry. Example of Modern Style.
Shipwrecked Japanese Account of. System of Numerals. 59


Koloa Packet. Voyage. Companions. Devotions of Ha-
waiian Crew. Appearance of Kauai. Its Situation. Harbors.
Koloa Scenery. Sugar Plantations History of. Paper Money.
Counterfeit do. Sugar-cane. Quality of Soil. Profits of
Sugar. Probable Success in its Culture. Effect of Foreign
Capital and Enterprise upon Natives. Old System of Labor.
Present. A Novel Race. Market Day. Trading. Culture of
Silk. Rapidity of Growth of the Mulberry. Different Species
of Silk-worms. Cross-breeds. Loss of Capital invested in Silk-
business at Koloa. Fatality of the Tre^s and Worms. Causes.
A Beautiful, but Secluded Spot. News from Home. A Cov
etous Governess. A Singular Excursion. Mouna Kahili. A
Legend. A Predatory Chieftain. Reflections upon his Fate.
Valley of Hanapepe. Surf-swimming. Remarkable Freaks of
Nature. A Cataract. Great Mortality at Hanapepe. A Ne
cessary though Sudden Marriage. Good Condition of Roads.
Who keeps them so. Town of W T aimea. Capital of the Island.
Amelia, the Governess. Mission Houses. Residences of the
Rulers. A Straw Palace. A Fine Canoe. Fort. Niihau.
First Introduction of Fleas. Soil of Kauai. Geological Fea
tures. Mountains. Uplands and Lowlands. Pali. Remark
able Caves. Spouting- Horn. Rivers. Great Body of Arable
Land. Trades. Climate. Storms. Minerals, &c. . . 87


Travelling in Kauai. Horse and Equipments. Crazy Guide.
Stuttering Jim. Cruelty of a Chief. Narrow Escape of a Mis
sionary. Gov. Kaikoewa s Embryo City. His Harbor. Brig
in trouble. Desire of Natives to display their Knowledge of


English. Wailua River and Village. An Ex-queen. Her
History. Hospitality. Large Cattle. A Disappointed Sports
man. Celebrated Falls of Wailua. Singular Freak of a Chief.
Two Hawaiian Sam Patches. Inland Scenery. Mauna Waia-
leale. Wild Swine. Dogs. Degradation of Kauaian Women.
Obtain some Crania, and a New Title in consequence. Hos
pitality of Common People. Offices and Titles. Anahola.
A Veteran of Kamehameha. Prince of Laziness. Lomi-lomi.
A Temple of God s own building. A Dangerous Ford. Roads
to Waioli. A Labor of Love. Valley of Kalihiwai. Hala
Forest. Waioli. River and Mountains. Residents. Agricul
tural Operations. Silk Plantation. A Chronological Wood
Pile. . 139


Island of Maui. Its Capital. Seat of Government. Pal
ace. His Majesty, Kamehameha III. His Spouse. Products
of Maui. House of the Sun. Female Seminary at Wailuku.
High School at Lahainaluna. Native Historical Society. Re
flective and Perceptive Powers of the Hawaiians. Influence
of the American Missionaries over the Common People. Dis
crepant Statements of Travellers Causes of. State of Re
ligion, as compared with the United States. Statistics. Ac
tual Condition. Death Scenes. Comparison of the Relative
Influence of Spanish Padres and American Missionaries, over
their Converts. Different Phases of National Character. Ad
mitting to the Church. Moral Sentiments Actual Recog
nition of. Truth and Falsehood. Criminal Statistics. Style
of Living among American Missionaries. Their Houses, Cost,
&c. Their Advantages and Disadvantages. Enemies and
Friends. Objectionable Biography. Privations of the Earlier
Missionaries. Qualifications for a Missionary. Examples.
Their Hospitalities. Labors for the Literary and Commercial
World. Faults. Hostility to Roman Catholics. Extent.
Anecdotes. Discontinuing Connection with the American
Board. Independent Missionaries. Tendency of the Present
Times. Ill Health of Females. Causes and Remedy. . 170



Embark for Hawaii. Companions. A Roman Catholic
Priest and Protestant Missionary. A Disputation. Coast of
Hawaii. Port of Kailua. Billy Pitt the Younger. Landing.
Strife among Porters. Many Call, Few are Paid. Gov. Ad
ams His Bulk and Character. Palace. Church. Blue
Laws revived. Cotton Factory. House of Gods. House
of Audience. Manufacture of Idols. Battery. Cave of Lan-
iakea. Mullet for Supper. Kapiolani. Cook s Monument.
Embark for Kawaihae. Parting Respects and Wail. Mauna
Hualalai Eruption from. Roadstead of Kawaihae. Heiau
or Temple. Walk to Waimea. Fire. Weather. Productions
of Waimea. Men Procured. Start for Mauna Kea. Camp
among Fleas. Remarkable Crater. Minerals. Wild Cattle.
Horses give out Men also. Reach the Summit. Wonderful
View. A Rocky Lodging-Place. Descend. Height of the
Mountain. A Snow-Balling in July. Reach the Base of the
Mountain. A Bullock Catcher s Hut. Clinkers. Rebellion
among Men. A Bed in the Rain, and a Smoky Cave. A Cold
Morning. Mammoth Raspberries. Effects of a Tornado or
Earthquake. Volcano of Kilauea. A Dangerous Lodging-
Place. Storm and Eruption at Night.. Steam Fissures. Sul
phur Beds and Bath. Extent of Crater Shape Age Ele
vation Interior. Descent. Black Ledge Walk around.
Burning Lakes and Cones. Gases. Beautiful Appearance of
Lava. Great Heat. A Perilous Climb. Dangers of Explo
ration. Appearance of Crater at Different Times. Volcanic
Action throughout the Group. Hawaii a Crust of Lava, with
Fire beneath. Another Mutiny. Provisions gone. Mauna
Loa, the Great Mountain Douglas s Description of Its
Errors and Inconsistencies. Leave for Hilo. An over-sharp
Landlord. Leave in a Pet. A Guide s Trick. Arrival at Hilo.
Situation and Natural Beauties. Its Resources, Climate, Pop
ulation, Exports, &c. Mission House. Schools. A New Jaunt.
The Late Eruption. Immense Stream of Lava Its Devasta
tions. Burning Forests, Smoke, Fires, Gases, &c. Appear
ance at the Sea. Three Hills and New Coast formed. Salts.
Steam. An Account of its First Outbreak, and Subsequent
History. A Sublime Spectacle. The Ocean and Volcano in


Strife, Eccentric Course of the Stream Effects. Return to
Hilo. Primitive State of the Inhabitants. Sunday. A New
Way of Preaching. Feats in Swimming. A Shipwreck and
Wonderful Escape 206


Different Routes. Difficulties. Embarkation for Panama,
Fellow Passengers. Acapulco. Trouble. Imprisonment and
Release. Admiral Du Petit Thouars. Mexican Hospitality.
Gulf of Tecuantepec. Phosphorescence. Volcanoes of Guati-
mala. Arrival at Acajutla. Brigantine at Anchor. Shore.
Roadstead of Acajutla. Surf. Boats Capsized. Custom House.
A Hospitable Lady. Leave the Brig. Road to Zonzonate.
Sugar and Indigo Plantations. Ruins. Age of Zonzonate,
Population. A Kind Hostess. Carnival. Man Killed. A
Benefit from a Thespian Corps. Country Cousins. News
from Guatimala. Wars in the Interior. A Dilemma. Con
clude to Go-ahead. Preparations. An Auxiliary. Leave
Zonzonate. Cordilleras. Volcano of Itzalco. Dry and Wet
Seasons. An Indian Village. A Meditated Attack. Change
of Route. An Indian Hamlet. A Submerged Town. An Es
cape. A Fresh Alarm. Village of St. Helena. Bad News.
A Council. A Night March. Pass through Chiquimula. Ef
forts to capture us. A Hard Road, and a Thirsty Party. Pass
Zacapa. A Dilemma. San Pablo. A Halt. Slumbers Inter
rupted. Captured. An Unexpected Friend. Release. Gua-
lan. A Surly Landlady. Mico Mountain. Isabel. Trade.
Scenery of the Gulf of Dulce. Boat Navigation. Chills and
Fever, Balize. Arrive Home. 283


Land, Ho ! Hawaii in the Distance. Reflections upon visiting for
the first time the Isles of the Pacific. Coast Scenery. Oahu.
Its Capital, Honolulu. Harbor. Prevailing Winds. Former
Town. Present Streets. Puahi, or Punch-bowl Hill. Bat
tery. View from. Whirlwinds. Fort. Governor Keku-
anaoa. Militia Drill. Palace. Residence of the Premier
Kekauluohi. Her Sister, Kinau. Burial of. Churches.
Literary and Benevolent Institutions. Schools. Annual Fes
tivals and Holydays. Population of Honolulu. Society, for
eign and native. Groggeries. Sailor Dissipation. Police.
Climate. Commerce. A Stranger s first Impressions.
Native Manners. Mission Buildings. Street Scenes. Dog
Feast. Saturday Afternoon. Nuuanu Valley. Taro Plant.
Country Residences. Scenery of the Valley. Battle.
Pali, or Precipice.

LAND, Ho ! cried a full, clear voice from the fore
top-gallant yard of a fast-sailing brigantine, which,
but a few years since, had worn out five weary
months, on her way from Boston to the Hawaiian
Islands. During that time, several of the South
American ports had been visited, and a more than
usually rough passage encountered in weathering
Cape Horn. For forty days, in the most inclement
season of that boisterous and inhospitable latitude,
the little bark had contended against adverse gales,
until it seemed to the exhausted patience of the crew,
as if the wind could blow but from one quarter, and
that ever dead ahead. But before the sunny skies


and fairy -like evenings of the tropical Pacific, all recol
lection of the tempests of the south, and the long and
dark and almost continuous nights, had vanished as
fleetingly as a rain-squall before a driving trade/
The sun shone out as brightly, and the sky was as
blue, as if the ocean had never roughened its surface
before a furious blast ; the brigantine had donned her
fair-weather suit, and royal yard and studding.sail boom
were strained by the freshening breeze ; while crew
and passengers wore as smiling faces, the reflection
of as many joyous hearts, as if life had ever been to
them all sunshine. In the every day concerns of
life, there are few sounds that send a more quickened
thrill through the frame, than the cry of land, ho !
to the voyager, who has spent months pent in the
narrow confines of a small vessel, and whose heart
yearns to greet old friends or new faces ashore, and
to exchange the hard deck and his coffin-like bed, for
the green fields and ample households of mother-

To a novice in voyaging, the bright islands of
Polynesia, celebrated in song and story, the newest
and most fascinating field of maritime discovery, the
themes of praise alike to the man of piety and the
worldling, have a peculiar attraction. To the young
American, the lands of old Europe are fields of
storied interest ; of high and noble deeds of
dark and sanguinary passions. In them he sees
enshrined the monuments of the proudest genius,
records of glory and shame, worth and wickedness,
arts and sciences, of the past and the present. In
mingling with the living generation, he is every-


where reminded of the vices or virtues of the de

In perspective, far different are the groups of the
South Seas. They seem as the garden-spots of the
earth, and distance paints them as redolent with the
fragrance and luxuriance of nature. Cocoa-nut
groves, uplifting their slim but stately trunks, form a
clear greensward, such as fairies might delight to
dance upon ; their graceful tops waving gently as the
sea-breeze murmurs and sighs through them ; coral
reefs, as beautiful in form and as bright in colors as
the dense and flowering forests inland ; scenery rich
and varied ; luscious fruits waiting but for the hand
to pluck them ; the useful and ornamental of the ani
mal and feathered kingdoms to administer to the ne
cessities or please the eye of man ; an absence of the
noxious or disagreeable, and above all, peopled with
the fairest race of savages, all combined, form a pan
orama so fascinating that the fancy loves to linger long
upon it. Imagination, warmed and invigorated by
the sunniest and healthiest of all climates, continu
ally presents an undefined yet pleasing image of a
perpetual juvenescence ; nature retaining a pristine
vigor and perennial green. But all their varied nat
ural attractions, and the fictitious charms ascribed to
the race whose homes they have been from time im
memorial, sink into insignificance in the eye of the
sober truth-seeker, who visits them not to gloat over
their physical allurements, which have been so often
depicted as the ease and innocency of mankind in
their aboriginal state, by those who would create an
Eden where only a Cythera existed, but faithfully to


examine the wondrous changes which a Christian
benevolence has wrought upon them. Whatever
may be his nation, tastes, or pursuits, no one has ever
approached their shores without sentiments of more
than common interest or curiosity.

The land which was seen from aloft soon became
visible from the deck. It appeared more like a white
cloud, upon a dark base, resting in ether, than bond
fide land. As the vessel drew nearer, the outline
of a mountain was clearly distinguished, with a
dense bed of snow upon its summit. It proved to
be Mauna Kea on Hawaii, the loftiest peak of Poly
nesia, and discernible at sea to the distance of one
hundred miles and more. Vessels bound to Oahu
generally pass to the windward of the other islands, to
avoid the calms which prevail more or less to the lee
ward. In drawing in with the land, the breeze
usually freshens and becomes more squally with
slight showers of rain. From the boldness of the
shores, vessels can pass close along them, enabling
the traveller to scan their general features as he is
rapidly hurried by. Rising as they do, from out the
central portion of the great North Pacific, midway
between the continents of Asia and America, and
several thousand miles distant from any lands except
the barren, diminutive, and uninhabited coral islands
which are sparsely scattered over its surface, mostly
within the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, these
islands appear like giant guardians of the ocean.
They break at once upon the voyager with a sudden
ness and grandeur that excites his surprise and admi
ration. Providence seems just so to have placed


them, that they shall serve as a great ocean-hotel
an oasis in the boundless waste of waters a spot
where men of all races can meet on a neutral and
hospitable ground, and there raise their anthem of
praise for deliverance from the dangers of the treach
erous deep, and petition for protection for the future.
By day, the huge volcano of Kilauea throw up
its heavy columns of smoke, and by night illumin
ates them by the reflection of its flames ; at either
time a beacon to the approaching mariner; a light
house tended by God s own hand.

Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa tower to a height of
fourteen thousand feet. The coast affords a mingled
scene of precipices, some craggy, barren, and abrupt,
others sloping somewhat gently, green and pictu
resque. Along their ravines or over their brinks leap
many cataracts and cascades, bright and silvery in
the sunlight ; these, mingling their streams atthe base
of the hills, pour their limpid floods into the briny foam,
which whitens and roars along the sea-shore. Plains
covered with grass, or dotted with luxuriant groves,
with here and there a native-hut partly hid in their shade,
incline gradually towards the coast. The eye roving
ahead perceives jutting promontories of black volcanic
rock pierced with wave-worn caves, or a strip of sand
beach edged by a shallow coral reef, over which the
surf tumbles madly or playfully, according to the
violence or lightness of the wind. Canoes are seen
shooting through them, their crews balancing their
totlish boats on the crests of the largest rollers, with
all the skill of a circus-rider upon his steed; now
they dart rapidly inland, at times appearing as if


they would be cast end over end as they are pitched
along ; or else they paddle seaward and ply their
nets and fishing-lines. Drawing nearer, clusters of
trees are discovered ; a hamlet is seen, scattered up
and down the bank of a river, and when abreast of
its mouth a valley is disclosed, reaching far inland,
until it terminates in a narrow and wooded dell or
gorge. It gradually rises from the sea-side, teeming
with little plantations, until its further extremity is

Online LibraryJames Jackson JarvesScenes and scenery in the Sandwich Islands, and a trip through Central America: being observations from my note-book during the years 1837-1842 → online text (page 1 of 24)