Keopuolani, Queen of the Islands…

At day-break, on July 4th, 1823 we found ourselves within about four miles of Lahaina, which is the principal district in Maui, on account of its being the general residence of the chiefs, and the common resort of ships that touch at the island for refreshments. The appearance of Lahaina from the anchorage is singularly romantic and beautiful. A fine sandy beach stretches along the margin of the sea, lined for a considerable distance with houses, and adorned with shady clumps of koa trees, or waving groves of cocoa-nuts.  

Shortly after coming to anchor, a boat came from the barge, for the chiefs on board, and I accompanied them to the shore. On landing, I was kindly greeted by Keoua, governor of the place; and shortly afterwards met and welcomed by Mr. Stewart, who was just returning from morning worship with Keopuolani and her husband. We waited on the king Liholiho, in his tent. He was, as usual, neatly and respectably dressed, having on a suit of superfine blue, made after the European fashion. We were courteously received, and after spending a few minutes in conversation respecting my journey to Hawaii, and answering his inquiries relative to Oahu, we walked together about half a mile, through groves of plantain and sugar cane, over a well-cultivated tract of land, to Mr. Butler’s establishment, in one of whose houses the missionaries were comfortably accommodated, until their own could be erected, and where I was kindly received by all the members of the mission family. After breakfast I walked down to the beach, and there learned that the king had sailed for Molokai, and that Kalakua intended to follow in the schooner in which she had come from Oahu. This obliged me to wait for the Ainoa, another native vessel, hourly expected at Lahaina, on her way to Hawaii. The fore noon was spent in conversation with Keopuolani, queen of Maui, and mother of Liholiho, king of all the islands. She, as well as the other chiefs present, appeared gratified with an account of the attention given to the means of instruction at Oahu, and desirous that the people of Lahaina might enjoy all the advantages of Christian education. Kaua, the native teacher from Lahaina, appeared diligently employed among Keopuolani’s people, many of whom were his scholars; and I was happy to learn from Messrs. Stewart and Richards, that he was vigilant and faithful in his work. (Ellis)

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(These are excerpts from a book by William Ellis that has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired.)


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