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Charles Martin Newell.

Kaméhaméha, the conquering king: the mystery of his birth, loves and conquests; online

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KAM E H AM E H A



THE CONQUERING KING



THE MYSTERY OF HIS BIRTH, LOVES, AND CONQUESTS



A ROMANCE OF HAWAII




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KNIGHT COMPANION OF THE ROYAL ORDER OF KAPIOLANI ; AUTHOR OF
" KALANI OF OAHU," " PEHE NU-E," ETC.



NEW YORK & LONDON

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS



1885.




COPYRIGHT BY

C. M. NEWELL

1885

All rights reserved



Press of

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
New York



Bancroft Library




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TO

HER MAJESTY
QUEEN KAPIOLANI

THIS ROMANCE OF THE RENOWNED KING IS DEDICATED
BY ROYAL PERMISSION, WITH KIND

ALOHA /

TO HERSELF AND HER SUNNY ISLES
BY THE AUTHOR



PREFACE.



THE greater part of this Romance is a truthful narra-
tion of the real history of this most remarkable of Poly-
nesian kings. The account of the destruction of Keoua's
army by means of Pele's volcanic eruption is trust-
worthy, both as to the number destroyed and as to the
terrible circumstances of their death ; and equally his-
torical are the dramatic incidents of the assassination of
the brave king, together with seven of his royal chiefs.
Truly, history repeats itself, for this was a repetition of
Pompey's death on the Egyptian shore.

None of the battles described, or of the personal com-
bats of Kamehameha, are fictitious, though the historian
has depended for his details upon the traditions of the
priests and the chants and meles of the ancient bards,
each of whom seized upon the most dramatic epochs of
his theme, to the exclusion of all intermediate incidents
these being left for the modern narrator to conceive.

Thus, while we have freely romanced with one of the
many legendary stories of Kamehameha's birth and boy-
hood, we have held strictly to all known records of
history, making a connective narrative as best we could.
What the still unknown secret of the " Iron Mask " was
to the reign of Louis XIV., the romantic and yet un-
solved mystery of our hero's birth fathered by a trio of
kings was to the contemporary historians of Hawaii.
For half a century prior to his birth prophets had pre-
dicted the coming of a great chief, and bards had sung



vi Preface.

of a renowned warrior who should conquer the "Eight
Isles," and forever end the cruel wars between the six
kingdoms.

Of the several traditional birth-stories related to us by
the bards and chiefs forty years ago, we have chosen
the most romantic, if the least authentic. Our chosen
version of this long-disputed question has the merit of
showing why Kalaniopuu, the ruling king, came to divide
his kingdom between his known and his unknown heirs
Kiwalao and Kamehameha.

It is but fair to state that the legend which found most
favor half a century ago was told in this wise : One
stormy night a famous chiefess gave birth, in the war-camp
of King Alapai's army, to a lusty boy. Priests, prophets,
and bards at once pronounced the young Alii to be the
coming man. Tempted by this belief, Naeole, a great
chief, stole the babe that night from the sleeping mother's
side, and secreted him for five years. Then Alapai
ordered the chief to bring the boy to court. In fear lest
the king meant to kill him, Naeole delivered the wrong
child, still keeping the real one secreted until he was
twenty years old. Some years after Alapai secretly
killed prince Keoua. This led Kalaniopuu to think the
king would soon make away with the boy, and he made
an attempt by force of arms to take the youth from
court. A severe battle was fought, and Kalaniopuu was
beaten without rescuing the boy. This " wrong boy "
gave rise to the erroneous story that the high-born Kame-
hameha was of low origin.

A glossary of Hawaiian names and phrases will be
found at the close of the book.

THE AUTHOR.

BOSTON, May, 1884.



CONTENTS.



PAGE

I WAIMANU VALLEY I

II WAILELE I THE ROMANCE OF HER BIRTH . 9

III THE MYSTERY OF A HUNDRED YEARS . 14

IV THE PERILOUS DESCENT INTO WAIMANU . 24

V PRIEST-GIRLS ANOINTING THE DOGS . 34

VI HOW TO WOO A PROUD WOMAN . . 47

VII MYSTERIOUS SACRIFICE BY MOONLIGHT . 60

VIII MOON-SPIRITS IN THE VALLEY . 66

IX LAST INTERVIEW OF THE LOVERS . . 70

X WOOED AND WON, AND PARTED FOREVER, 75

XI UMI, THE GOD-BORN CHIEF ... 86

XII BOYHOOD DAYS OF UMI, NOW KAM^HA-

MEHA ....... 95

XIII HUMAN SACRIFICE IN THE TEMPLE . . 105

XIV MIDNIGHT INCANTATIONS AMONG THE

GHOSTS Il6

XV KAMEHAME"HA'S PILGRIMAGE TO THE GODS, 126

XVI THE KING AND HIS COURT AT WAIPIO . 141

XVII THE FEAST OF THE WARLIKE KINGS . . 150
XVIII THE MAN-KILLERS ON THE CHIEF-BOY's

TRACK ....... l6l

XIX PEPEHI REBUKED BY THE GODDESS OF

MUK1NI 172

XX KAME*HAME"HA VISITS WAIPIO TO CLAIM

HIS BIRTHRIGHT ..... l8o

XXI COMMOTION AT WAIPIO .... 187
vii



viii Contents*

PACK

XXII LIFE OR DEATH FOR THE KING'S SON . igi

XXIII COMBAT WITH SPEARS BETWEEN THE

PRINCES ...... 197

XXIV THE COURT AT WAIPIO . . . 203

XXV QUEEN NAMAHANA'S TRAGIC STORY . 209

XXVI VIEW OF WAIPIO VALLEY FROM THE

PALI . . . . . .215

XXVII SATAN CONFRONTING THE YOUNG

PRINCE 222

XXVIII KAAHUMANU INTRIGUES FOR A

THRONE ...... 233

XXIX THE WAR WITH MAUI .... 240

XXX THE COMING AND DEATH OF CAP-
TAIN COOK 251

XXXI THE QUARREL OF THE PRINCES . . 268

XXXII HAWAII'S NEW KINGS . . . 273

XXXIII ROYAL LOVERS ON THE MOONLIT

SHORE 285

XXXIV WAR WITH THE KINGS OF HILO AND

KAU 292

XXXV THE CONQUEST OF MAUI . . . 302

XXXVI BRILLIANT NAVAL VICTORY OF KO-

HALA 315

XXXVII THE TRAGEDY OF KEOUA AND HIS

ARMY ...... 321

XXXVIII THE TIME OF THE GOOD VANCOUVER . 334

XXXIX THE INVASION OF OAHU . . . 347

XL THE BATTLE OF NUUANU : KAIANA

SLAIN 353

XLI BATTLE OF THE PALI AND DEATH OF

KALANI 367

XLII CONCLUSION 378



KAMEHAMEHA THE GREAT.



I.

WAIMANU VALLEY.

WHEN approaching the great island of Hawaii
from the sea, one is enchanted by the mystery
and majestic beauty of its three gigantic mountains, one
of which often bursts upon the delighted vision of the
weary wanderer while yet he is a hundred and fifty miles
away. Thus they appeared to their discoverer, Juan
Gaetano, when approaching " La Mesa Islas " from New
Spain.

Coming from the eastward, bowling down before the
strong trade-wind, with every white-breasted sail exulting
in the breeze, the coast line is usually shut out from view
by dark nimbus .clouds, until the vessel sails quite near
in to the land. But the nimbus is an earth-loving cloud,
which never rises even to a mile's height, and one must
look for the mountain tops above even the fleecy-white
cumuli, which often creep joyfully up the mountain side
two and a half miles high, and there lie slumbering in the
sun, like sheep in a fold.

Mauna Kea is generally the first of the trio of moun-
tains to appear. How impatiently we wait the joyful cry
of " Land O ! " on that eventful day ! With what thrills



2 Kamthamtha the Great.

of delight we at length behold the snow-crowned moun-
tains, looming clear and distinct above a sheeny-white
cumulus, and glowing like the silver dome of some temple
of the gods in the morning sun !

Silently we gaze upon the mountain crest, awed by its
vastness and sublimity, and made humble and prayerful
by its look of majestic repose.

How softly the hoary-headed monarch lies pillowed
against the exquisite turquoise of the tranquil sky, brood-
ing like some fabled god of the enchanted isle in divine
reverie !

Drawing near to the windward shores of Hawaii, one is
amazed at the countless streams, cascades, and gigantic
waterfalls that tumble seaward ; threading the evergreen
slopes, leaping the cliffs, and supplied by the exhaustless
reservoirs of mountain snows. The tiny rivulets blend in
streams ; these seek companionship in torrents, and they
in turn become formidable rivers. One and all run
wildly upon devious courses, seeking outlet through the
numerous ravines that are riven deeply in these rock-
bound shores.

These deep, dark gorges, originally rent by earthquakes
through the enormous cliffs of the iron-bound coast,
have widened with time, and deepened by the constant
attrition of floods, until some of them have become beauti-
ful valleys.

One of these, the charming valley of Waipio, or " Cap-
tive Waters," had been the seat of empire for the ruling
chiefs and kings for a thousand years. It is still the
garden-land of this ever fruitful island of Hawaii, where
flowers and fruits blossom and ripen throughout the year.

But it is not to the Eden-land of Waipio that I would
now draw the reader's attention. There is another val-



The Stupendous Pdli. 3

ley, deeper, darker, and more inaccessible, which we
must see : the Valley of Waimanu, where the heroic sub-
ject of our story came upon the scene and passed his
boyhood days. There he acquired from the old war-
chiefs of the valley such mastery of weapons as to aston-
ish the island world. Very few of its people had ever
heard of such a person as Kamehameha* until he stalked
proudly into their midst at a mighty tournament of
kings, and took rank as a knight-errant against all com-
petitors of his own age.

This romantic and inaccessible valley of Waimanu
the opening scene of our story is one of the numerous
river-washed ravines on the windward coast of Hawaii,
and is undoubtedly the most remarkable human abode
in the knowledge of man ; the deepest, greenest, weird-
est valley in the world. It is one of the sixty profound
chasms originally rent by the primal earthquakes during
the parturient throes of the embryo island. An amazing
fissure, cleft into the basalt a half mile deep, extend-
ing three miles back into the coast-flank of Mauna.
Kea. Walled in as it is on three sides by a stupendous
pdli (precipice) of gray lava-rock grown gray by the
fret of ages with a perpendicular height of from two to
three thousand feet above the valley, surely none but
winged creatures, or some desperate adventurer, would
seek to pass its barriers, either from the land above, or
from the vale below.

Yet these rocky battlements are not bereft of vegeta-
tion, for, strange to say, from every chink spring hardy
grasses and tender ferns, while from out the deeper clefts
in the precipitous walls grow stunted shrubs, and occa-

* This name, often mispronounced, is to be sounded Kah-may-hah-
may-hah : it is thus pronounced by the islanders themselves.



4 Kame'hame'ha the Great.

sionally stout trees, like the silvery kilkiii or candle-nut
tree, and the gnarled pandanus or screw-pine, whose
hundred aerial roots serve well to brace and support the
venturesome tree. It grows where no other plant of its
size could cling.

The narrow water-front of Waimanu Valley opens
through gigantic crags upon the blue Pacific. Here its
scant mile of pebbly beach and frequent boulders is
strongly barricaded by sharp black lava rocks, threaten-
ing destruction to all comers from the sea. And as if to
make the strong valley doubly secure, the most gigantic
surf of the whole rock-bound coast thunders angrily
against these caverned cliffs, its billows floundering like
hungry demons on the black-pebbled shore.

It is indeed a strange habitation for man ; it is a darkly
beautiful sight, whether we look down from its highest
pdii, four thousand feet above its numerous villages of
neat grass houses, showing small as beehives from the
cliff, and built along the flowery banks of the smooth-
flowing river or embowered among the shrubbery, or
whether we peer into the deep cool valley from the hot
sunshine of the wave-rocked ocean.

From the sea how cool and inviting are the dark
shadows of the /#'/// Looking through the long, droop-
ing fronds of the palms that grow thickly along the
shingly beach, the reedy banks of the shallow river are
seen clothed in brightest verdure. The rich meadow-
lands and thrifty taro patches reach back to the cliff.
The river-houses are embowered among dark-leaved
bread-fruit, the red-leaved ohia and flowering hau trees ;
the houses back in the fields are almost hidden from
view by the dense growth of bananas, guavas, and
sugar-cane. And still other houses of the lordly chiefs



Waimdnu from the Sea. 5

are surrounded with clusters of palms, and groves of
fruit-laden orange and papaya trees, the last two being
exotics brought hither a century since by Spanish voya-
gers from other tropic lands.

Seen thus from the sea, the profile view of the towering
precipice along the valley sides seems everywhere green
with tenacious grasses and hardy shrubs ; while tough
vines, strong as cables, hang pendent over the cliff,
swaying in the wind five hundred feet from where they
are rooted deep in the crevices, for a century's growth.
It is but an unsatisfying glimpse one catches while thus
sailing by this enticing solitude, but it is all-sufficient to
arouse one's deepest curiosity in the weird, wild mysteries
of by-gone ages which have been enacted here ! It now
becomes our province to search out the most romantic
of these old histories, and impart them to the world.

With reference to the narrative, a knowledge of the
extreme upper valley of Waimanu, with its marvellous
surroundings, is most needful for a clear understanding
of coming events.

Standing on the mountain side three miles inland, we
look down upon five stupendous cataracts, leaping over
the black pdli into the wooded vale below, three thou-
sand feet of unimpeded fall. So high are these magnifi-
cent falls, that they seem rather to burst headlong from
the clear blue sky, than to flow from the snows above
that veil the seven eternal snow-crests of Mauna Kea.

Waimanu is the scene of the first Spanish wreck upon
these islands. Many a wreck strewed the rock-bound
shores of Hawaii when adventurous men began their
traffic between the gold mines of Mexico and the spice
isles of the East Indies.

Here the old Spanish priest, Paao, was shipwrecked



6 Kamtkamtka the Great.

on Waimdnu rocks, during the stormy year of 1527,* and
was the only survivor of a numerous crew. The quaint
galleon had belonged to the famed navy of Spain, and
was one of three stout vessels selected to bear the costly
shrines, images, and cathedral decorations of gold sent
from Acapulco to Manila. Two of the three treasure
vessels were lost upon these yet unknown islands.

Finding himself the sole survivor with the exception
of several hogs and dogs, which, not being weighted with
bullion, reached the river mouth in safety the wise old
priest set about making himself popular with the hospi-
table people of this unknown land. His first act of im-
portance was to induce his followers to build a strong-
walled heidu, the first heathen temple of its kind built on
Hawaii. f

This temple, called Mukini, was of great strength. It
had walls twenty feet thick, and was built ostensibly for
a " City of Refuge " in times of war and when was not
war raging in this turbulent land ?

Assuming control of this sacerdotal castle from the
first, and daily increasing his authority over the super-
stitious people by a display of occult arts and by
foretelling astronomical events, Paao gave his own glit-
tering shrines, altars, and sacred images to the fabulous
gods of the Hawaiians.

Thus, with artful dissembling from the outset, this
crafty old priest also adopted the vile Tabii rule of the
country then too revolting to bear description by a

* The Hawaiian Islands were subsequently discovered in 1555 by-
Juan Gaetano, of Spain. The vessel wrecked in 1527 was the " Santa
lago," one of Don Alvaro de Saavedra's fleet. See " Spanish
Archives."

\ The more ancient Heiaus were flat-topped pyramids, not walled
enclosures.



P&do the Spanish Priest. 7

Christian pen.* Modifying its lustful tenets, and enno-
bling its heathenish rites, Paao restrained the frightful
practice of kdpu kdne or human sacrifices. And, as much
as a foreigner dared, he endeavored to bring the chiefs
to use greater humanity toward their inferiors, and more
courteous language and affability of manner among
themselves. And that Paao attained to a considerable
degree of success in all these delicate innovations, shows
that he was of no common order of man.

Marrying a royal chiefess of great rank among her
people, and of rare wisdom and beauty, Paao, the cleri-
cal celibate in his own country, begot children as famous
as himself. Among the most noted of his progeny was
Opili, whose descendants have ever since presided over
the Mukmi,\ and many other heidus in distant parts of
the island.

It was this noble line of chief-priests that eventually
ennobled their class. They raised it from the standing
of the vile magicians and sorcerers who ranked below

* The antiquity of the Tabu system is coeval with the superstitions
of Polynesia. A more cogent religious despotism could not have been
devised by heathen ingenuity. Unless powerful friends interfered,
the slightest breach of these ecclesiastical restrictions was punished
with death. Some were burned, strangled, or despatched with clubs
or stones ; others were sacrificed in a more dreadful manner by scoop-
ing out the eyes, breaking their limbs, or other exquisite torture, in-
flicted for days before the final stroke was given. Jarves' " History,"
p. 57 ; Ellis' " History," p. 367.

f While traditions agree that Paao landed on Hawaii before the
reign of Umi, they differ as to where he was wrecked. Some native
historians assert that he first landed in Puna ; but while the majority
agree that the wreck occurred on Kohala coast, they differ as to the
exact spot. Most authorities fix it at Puuepa, rather than Waimanu.
But we have assumed the author's right in matters that are indiffer-
ent, and have chosen the latter place as best answering the purpose
of our story.



8 Kame'hame'ha the Great.

the petty chiefs, to the high caste of the Alii Kapu, or
tabii chiefs, who were second only to the members of
the royal family. Among the most famous of all this
long line of kahiina maole high-caste priests none
were ever more deservedly popular than Wailele, the
beautiful Priestess of Mukini, the prophetess and spir-
itual adviser of wise old kings from all the islands.



II.

WAIL^LE THE ROMANCE OF HER BIRTH.

WAIL^LE, the Priestess of this famous temple of
Hawaii, was the child of her father's old age.
Born an Alii pio nui y she was of the highest possible rank,
with one exception. Only an Alii Niaupio 2. e., one born
of a married brother and sister who were themselves of
the highest rank, was yet more exalted. Wailele was
reared in pious seclusion and with the utmost tenderness
during her adolescent years.

The story of the Priestess' birth is a romance in itself,
and so well illustrates the strange customs of the times
that it is well worth relating. So exalted was the rank of
this tabued chiefess, that the sun was never permitted to
shine upon her. Nor was she allowed to wander in the
fields, unless the sun was too low to touch her sacred
head, lest its beams should blemish her exquisite com-
plexion.

Though the real mystery of Wailele's birth was known
to but few in her day, yet the most famous bards of her
time learned enough of her history to compose chants
and weave charming legends about her wisdom and
beauty. One of these enthusiastic poets has given her
a euphonious name in one of his melodious me/es, a name
containing as many letters as the English alphabet.*

* Before Kalola became the wife of Keoua, and the queen of Kalani-

9



io Kamthamtka the Great.

Wailele's father, Wahupu, the great High-Priest of the
temple of Mukini, was a lineal descendant of Paao, and
the highest high-caste priest of Hawaii. His prophecies
were much sought after by old and young throughout
the islands. Kings, chiefs, and most noble chiefesses
made frequent pilgrimages to Waimanu, seeking some
divination from Wahupu's auguries, or marvellous pre-
diction from his occult art ; for he alone of all the land
could predict the coming occultation of a star, or an
eclipse of the sweet-faced moon.

It was an age of great gallantry at all the island courts.
Blood-rank was esteemed above all other worldly posses-
sions. The noble-born of both sexes visited from court
to court, accompanied by their household bards to chant
their family Ndne, or pedigree, seeking to secure the
noblest mate, thus to exalt their children a degree higher
in rank. For it was an irrevocable rule of the great Ahu
Alii " Council of Nobles," that a chief, whatever sta-
tion in life he might acquire by meritorious deeds, could
assume no higher rank among them than that to which
he was born. But the most singular feature of the
Hawaiian system was the following : A child took rank
from its mother, rather than its father. A chiefess was
therefore privileged to pay court to whomsoever she
would. It was by no means deemed indelicate for a
noble lady of royal family to " prospect " for a husband
in a foreign court.

The most beautiful princess of her time was Kalola,
the highest tabd chiefess of the Maui court. She was a
descendant, through her mother, of a long line of Ha-

opuu, she became mother of a girl (no parentage given) named
Kalanikauikikilokalaniakua, one of the highest tabii chiefesses, on
whom the sun was not permitted to shine. Fornander's " Polynesian
Races," vol. II., p. 212.



The Romantic Marriage. 1 1

waiian queens, chiefesses who ruled in their own right,
or were coordinate with a king of less rank than them-
selves. Kalola's father was the great king Kekaulike ;
her mother was Queen Kekuiapoiwa Nui, a daughter of
Keawe, of Hawaii. The princess was also sister to the
famous Kahekili.

Her father's court was thus much frequented by gal-
lants from the other islands, who came to seek her hand.
Being of a religious turn of mind, and having scruples
about marrying either of her brothers the usual method
of imparting exalted rank to the progeny, Kalola left
Maui and came to Waimanu, seeking a wandna or proph-
ecy from the venerable Wahupu of Mukini.

Wise and beautiful, Kalola wished a good husband,
that she might rear a chieftain imbued with her own
noble qualities ; one who could redeem his country from
useless wars and the cruel persecution of the people.

Solemnly entering upon his auguries, after profound
deliberation with the princess, Wahupu uttered this
divination :

" The chiefs of Maui are brave and warlike, but they
are far too treacherous and cruel ever to better the con-
dition of their country. Alas! I foresee that the dynasty
of Maui will end within the memory of living men.
Wed not with the princes of the doomed house of your
father. There are noble chiefs of Hawaii with whom
Kalola may beget children. In the second generation,
their progeny shall rule over all the Eight Isles ; and
their posterity shall rule for a century of time."

In further talk with Kalola, the priest advocated
Kalaniopuu and his handsome brother Keoua as suitors
offering the best qualifications for good husbands, as
princes by whom it were possible to bear children that
the gods would bless with redeeming qualities.



12 Kamthamtha the Great.

It is well known that in her ardor for a hero Kalola.did
subsequently marry each and both of these royal chiefs.
Many days passed in these pious deliberations at the
great heidu of Mukini. The marvellous beauties of the
historic valley of Waimanu, together with the saintlike
gentleness and purity of Wahupu's holy life at the
temple, completely captivated this high-born princess,
until, most strange to tell, she lost her young heart to the
priest, and demanded as was her birthright that the
holy man should himself take her to wife, and beget the
child of promise which she so ardently desired.

The result of this romantic marriage was a high-born
girl, afterwards a tabu chiefess, named Kekuiapoiwa
after Kalola's queen mother, Kekuiapoiwa. The Chris-
tian name, Wailele (water-fall), was subsequently added
to the family name because of the proximity to the vast
cataracts, which Kalola loved so well.

So great were Kalola's regrets that her pious marriage
had not been blessed with a chief, that with the tenderest
affection, Wahupu admonished his loved young wife to
leave the temple and seek in the gay court of the bril-
liant Alapai Nui a husband more fitted to be her mate.
There Keoiia and Kalaniopuu had been established from
their youth. Alapai married their mother, and usurped
their kingdom ; and having killed Keoria's father in
battle, a weakling king, not hardy and warlike enough
for the rough-handed times in which he lived, the mon-



Online LibraryCharles Martin NewellKaméhaméha, the conquering king: the mystery of his birth, loves and conquests; → online text (page 1 of 27)