Account of Mouna Huararai and the Volcanic Phenomena…

The varied and strongly marked volcanic surface of the higher parts of the mountain was called Mouna Huararai, (Mauna Hualalai) in the immediate neighborhood of Kailua, and the numerous feathered tribes inhabiting them, rendered it an interesting object, and induced the travelers to commence its ascent. About eight o’clock in the morning of the July 9th, 1823, they left Kailua, accompanied by three men, whom they had engaged to conduct them to the summit. Having travelled about twelve miles in a northerly direction, they arrived at the last house on the western side of the mountain. Leaving the path, the party began to ascend in a S. E. direction, and travelled about six miles, sometimes across streams of hard lava, full of fissures and chasms, at other times through thick brushwood, or high ferns, so closely interwoven as almost to arrest their progress. Arriving at a convenient place, a temporary hut was erected for the night. Between nine and ten in the forenoon they arrived at a large extinguished crater, about a mile in circumference, and apparently 400 feet deep, probably the same that was visited by some of Vancouver’s people, in 1792. The sides sloped regularly, and at the bottom was a small mound, with an aperture in its centre. By the side of this large crater, divided from it by a narrow ridge of volcanic rocks, was another, 56 feet in circumference, from which volumes of sulphuroeus smoke and vapor continually ascended. After spending some time there, they walked along the ridge between three and four miles, and examined sixteen different craters, similar in construction to the first they had met with, though generally of smaller dimensions. The whole ridge, along which they walked, appeared little else than a continued line of craters, which, in different ages, had deluged the valleys below with floods of lava, or showers of burning cinders. Some of these craters appeared to have reposed for ages, as trees of considerable size were growing on their sides, and many of them were covered with earth, and clothed with verdure. They continued ascending till three P. M. when, having suffered much from thirst, and finding they should not be able to reach the highest peak before dark, they judged it best to return to Kailua, without having reached the summit of Mouna Huararai. On their return they found the aid of their pocket compass necessary to enable them to regain the path by which they had ascended in the morning. After travelling some time, they beheld with gladness the sun breaking through the fog in which they had been so long enveloped, and, at the setting of the sun, in a tropical climate, the party viewed with delight the magnificent yet transient glories of the closing day. (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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An Old Heiau of Captain Cook…

Leaving Kailua early, in a canoe with four men, provided by the governor, Messrs. Thurston and Goodrich reached Kaavaroa about nine o’clock in the morning. Kamakau was waiting for them, and seemed to rejoice at their arrival. Shortly after, the missionaries passed over Kealakekua Bay, in a canoe, landed on the opposite side, and walked along the shore about a mile. Here, in a large house, they collected about three hundred people; to whom Mr. Thurston preached, and was pleased with the interest they manifested. Returning to the southern side of Kealakekua Bay, where they had left their canoe, they passed the ruins of an old heiau, the Heiau mentioned in Captain Cook’s voyage, where the observatory was erected. The remaining walls were one hundred feet long and fifteen high, and the space within was strewed with animal and human bones, the relics of the sacrifices once offered there; a scene truly affecting to a Christian mind. About sunset, Mr. Goodrich ascended a neighboring height, and visited the spot where the body of the unfortunate Captain Cook was cut to pieces, and the flesh, after being separated from the bones, was burnt. It is a small enclosure, about fifteen feet square, surrounded by a wall five feet high; within is a kind of hearth, raised about eighteen inches from the ground, and encircled by a curb of rude stones. Here the fire was kindled on the above occasion; and the place is still strewed with charcoal. The natives mention the interment of another foreigner on this spot; but could not tell to what country he belonged, or the name of the vessel in which he was brought. (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.)

We meet a local Prophet…

In the forenoon of the first of July, two posts of observation were fixed, and a base line of 200 feet was measured, in order to ascertain the height of Mouna Huararai; but the summit being covered with clouds, they were obliged to defer their observation. In the afternoon they walked through the S. E. part of the town to select a spot in which to dig for fresh water. After an accurate investigation of the places adjacent, in which they thought it might be found, they chose a valley, about half a mile from the residence of the governor, and near the entrance of Raniakea, as the spot where they were most likely to meet with success. The 4th of July being the anniversary of the American independence, guns were fired at the fort, the colors hoisted, and a hospitable entertainment given at the governor’s table. The missionaries employed the greater part of the day at the well, which early in the morning they had commenced. In the evening, while at tea, considerable attention was attracted by a slender man, with a downcast look, in conversation with the governor. It afterwards appeared, that this was a stranger, from Maui, who wished to be thought a prophet, affirming that he was inspired by a shark that enabled him to tell future events. The governor said, many of the people believed in him, and from them he obtained a living. The excavations of the well proceeded but slowly during the next day. Hard and closely imbedded lava rendered the work difficult. But as the governor promises assistance, they are encouraged to proceed. (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.)

The Christian Zeal of a Chief…

On the 29th of June, 1823, the Sabbath morning dawned upon the missionaries at Kailua under circumstances unusually animating, and they prepared to spend this holy day in extending, their labors among the people around them. Mr. Bishop and Thomas Hopu proceeded early in the morning to Kaavaroa, a village about fourteen miles distant, on the north side of Karakakooa, (Kealakekua) where they arrived at 11 A.M. Kamakau, chief of the place, received them with many expressions of gladness, led them to his house, and provided some refreshments; after which, they walked together to a Heiau, (house of cocoa-nut leaves,) which he had some time ago erected for the public worship of Jehovah. Here they found about a hundred of his people assembled, and waiting their arrival. Mr. Bishop, with the aid of Thomas, preached to them from John iii. 16., and endeavored in the most Towards the latter part of the discourse, the preacher was interrupted by Kamakau, who, anxious that his people might receive the greatest possible benefit by the word spoken, began earnestly to exhort them to listen and regard, telling them, their salvation depended on their attention to the truths which they heard. After the service was concluded, he again addressed them, affectionately recommending them to consider these things. Kamakau wished them to meet with the people again, but as the day was far spent, they thought it best to return. He then told them, that after their departure he should assemble his people, and repeat to them what they had heard. He asked many questions on religious subjects, several respecting the heavenly state; and appeared interested in the answers that were given; especially when informed that heaven was a holy place, into which nothing sinful could enter. familiar manner to set before them the great love of God in sending his Son to die for sinners, and the necessity of forsaking sin, and believing on him, in order to eternal life.

Kamakau is a chief of considerable rank and influence in Hawaii, though not immediately connected with any of the reigning family. He is cousin to Naihe, the friend and companion of Kamehameha, and the principal national orator of the Sandwich Islands. His person, like that of the chiefs in general, is noble and engaging. He is about six feet high, stout, well-proportioned, and more intelligent and enterprising than the people around him. For some time past he has established family worship in his house, and the observance of the Sabbath throughout his district; having erected a place for the public worship of the true God, in which, every Lord’s Day, he assembles his people for the purpose of exhortation and prayer, which he conducts himself. He is able to read, writes an easy and legible hand, has a general knowledge of the first principles of Christianity, and, what is infinitely better, appears to feel their power on his heart, and evince, their purity in his general conduct. He appears, indeed, a modern Cornelius, and is a striking manifestation of the sovereignty of that grace of which we trust he has been made a partaker; and we rejoice in the pleasing hope that He who has “begun a good work, will perform it until the day of Christ.”  (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.)

An Excursion to the Plantations…

The next morning, on the 28th, 1823, Messrs. Thurston, Goodrich, and Harwood, walked towards the mountains, to visit the high and cultivated parts of the district. After travelling over the lava for about a mile, the hollows in the rocks began to be filled with a light brown soil; and about half a mile further, the surface was entirely covered with a rich mold, formed by decayed vegetable matter and decomposed lava. Here they enjoyed the agreeable shade of bread-fruit and Ohia. The trees are elegant in form, and grow to the height of twenty or thirty feet. The path now lay through a beautiful part of the country, quite a garden compared with that through which they had passed on first leaving the town. It was generally divided into small fields, about fifteen rods square, fenced with low stone walls, built with fragments of lava gathered from the surface of the enclosures. These fields were planted with bananas, sweet potatoes, mountain taro, paper mulberry plants, melons, and sugar-cane, which flourished luxuriantly in every direction. Having travelled about three or four miles through this delightful region, and passed several valuable pools of fresh water, they arrived at the thick woods, which extend several miles up the sides of the lofty mountain that rises immediately behind Kailua. Among the various plants and trees that now presented themselves, they were much pleased with a species of tree ferns, whose stipes were about five feet long, and the stem about fourteen feet high, and one foot in diameter. A smart shower of rain (a frequent occurrence in the mountains) arrested their further progress, and obliged them to return to their lodgings, where they arrived about five in the afternoon, gratified, though fatigued, by their excursion. (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.)

A Curious natural Phenomenon…

On the 27th in the afternoon, Messrs. Thurston and Bishop walked out in a N. W. direction, till they reached the point that forms the northern boundary of the bay, on the eastern side of which Kailua is situated. It runs three or four miles into the sea; is composed entirely of lava; and was formed by an eruption from one of the large craters on the top of Mouna Huararai, (Mount Hualalai,) which, about twenty-three years ago, inundated several villages, destroyed a number of plantations and extensive fish-ponds, filled up a deep bay twenty miles in length, and formed the present Coast. An Englishman, who has resided thirty-eight years in the islands, and who witnessed the above eruption, has frequently told us he was astonished at the irresistible impetuosity of the torrent. Stone walls, trees, and houses, all gave way before it; even large masses or rocks of hard ancient lava, when surrounded by the fiery stream, soon split into small fragments, and falling into the burning mass, appeared to melt again, as borne by it down the mountain’s side. Numerous offerings were presented, and many hogs thrown alive into the stream, to appease the anger of the gods, by whom they supposed it was directed, and to stay its devastating course. All seemed unavailing, until one day the king Kamehameha went, attended by a large retinue of chiefs and priests, and, as the most valuable offering he could make, cut off part of his own hair, which was always considered sacred, and threw it into the torrent. A day or two after, the lava ceased to flow. The gods, it was thought, were satisfied; and the king acquired no small degree of influence over the minds of the people, who, from this circumstance, attributed their escape from threatened destruction to his supposed interest with the deities of the volcanoes. In several places they observed that the sea rushes with violence twenty or thirty yards along the cavities beneath the lava, and then, forcing its waters through the apertures in the surface, forms a number of beautiful jets, which falling again on the rocks, roll rapidly back to the ocean. They enjoyed a fine view of the town and adjacent country. (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.)

A Description of an extensive Cavern…

On the 26th, 1823 our party walked through the district in a south-east direction, to examine the ground, with a view to discover the most eligible place for digging a well. The whole face of the country marked decisively its volcanic origin; and in the course of their excursion they entered several hollows in the lava, formed by its having cooled and hardened on the surface, while, in a liquid state underneath, it had continued to flow towards the sea, leaving a crust in the shape of a tunnel, or arched vault, of varied thickness and extent. Before we returned, we also explored a celebrated cavern in the vicinity, called Raniakea. After entering it by a small aperture, we passed on in a direction nearly parallel with the surface; sometimes along a spacious arched way, not less than twenty-five feet high and twenty wide; at other times, by a passages narrow, that they could with difficulty press through, till they had proceeded about 1200 feet; here our progress was arrested by a pool of water, wide, deep, and as salt as that found in the hollows of the lava within a few yards of the sea. This latter circumstance, in a great degree, damped our hopes of finding fresh water by digging through the lava. More than thirty natives, most of them carrying torches, accompanied us in our descent; and on arriving at the water, simultaneously plunged in, extending their torches with one hand, and swimming about with the other. The partially illuminated heads of the natives, splashing about in this subterranean lake; the reflection of the torch-light on its agitated surface; the frowning sides and lofty arch of the black vault, hung with lava, that had cooled in every imaginable shape; the deep gloom of the cavern beyond the water; the hollow sound of their footsteps; and the varied reverberations of their voices, produced a singular effect; and it would have required but little aid from the fancy, to have imagined a resemblance between this scene and the fabled Stygian lake of the poets. The mouth of the cave is about half a mile from the sea, and the perpendicular depth to the water probably not less than fifty or sixty feet. The pool is occasionally visited by the natives, for the purpose of bathing, as its water is cool and refreshing. From its ebbing and flowing with the tide, it has probably a direct communication with the sea. (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.)