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The Kingdom and the Republic

In The Kingdom and the Republic, Noelani Arista uncovers a trove of previously unused Hawaiian language documents to chronicle Hawaiians' experience of encounter and colonialism in the nineteenth century, reconfiguring familiar histories of trade, proselytization, and negotiations over law and governance in Hawai‘i.

The Kingdom and the Republic
Sovereign Hawai‘i and the Early United States

Noelani Arista

2019 | 312 pages | Cloth $45.00 | Paper $24.95
American History / Native American Studies
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Table of Contents

Introduction. He Ao ‘OÝlelo: A World of Words
Chapter 1. The Political Economy of Mana: Obligation, Debt, and Trade
Chapter 2. Creating an Island Imaginary: Hawai‘i's American Origins
Chapter 3. The Isles Shall Wait for His Law: Planting the American Congregational Mission
Chapter 4. Hawaiian Women, Kapu, and the Emergence of Kānāwai
Chapter 5. Libel, Law, and Justice Before the ‘Aha ‘ōlelo

Appendix. Textual Sources and Research Methods


Excerpt [uncorrected, not for citation]

Introduction. He Ao ‘OÝlelo: A World of Words
Chapter 1. The Political Economy of Mana: Obligation, Debt, and Trade
Chapter 2. Creating an Island Imaginary: Hawai‘i's American Origins
Chapter 3. The Isles Shall Wait for His Law: Planting the American Congregational Mission
Chapter 4. Hawaiian Women, Kapu, and the Emergence of Kānāwai
Chapter 5. Libel, Law, and Justice Before the ‘Aha ‘ōlelo

Appendix. Textual Sources and Research Methods


* * * * *

He Ao ‘OÝlelo: A World of Words

I ka ‘ōlelo nō ke ola, i ka ‘ōlelo nō ka make
In speech there is life, in speech death.
—On the mana that inheres in chiefly oral pronouncement
This is a study of a world of words, world-making words, and how historians have written—or not—about them. We begin right in the middle of a dramatic expansion of this world. It is December 1827. An ‘aha ‘ōlelo, a Hawaiian chiefly council, has met for several days on the matter of an American missionary, Rev. William Richards, accused of libel by a British whaleship captain, William Buckle, and the British consul, Richard Charlton. Rev. William Richards, according to the British men, had libeled Captain Buckle when he wrote back to the home office of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) in Boston, Massachusetts, describing the captain's "purchase" in 1825 of a Hawaiian woman named Leoiki. This letter and others like it were then published in various American newspapers as a public airing of the violations of Christian morality occurring between American and European sailors and Hawaiian women.

It wasn't Christian morality that had British consul Charlton and Captain Buckle concerned. It was, instead, the accusation that Captain Buckle had bought the Hawaiian woman, Leoiki. Such a claim opened Captain Buckle to charges of trading in slaves, a violation of Britain's 1807 Slave Trade Act. Thus, words about a Hawaiian woman, written in a letter from Hawai‘i, edited and rewritten in New England, printed in American newspapers, and read in England, brought the British, American, and Hawaiian legal worlds into collision.

On this day in 1827, a group of American Congregationalist missionaries was summoned from their new settlements across the archipelago by the ali‘i (chiefs) to appear before them on O‘ahu. In this ‘aha ‘ōlelo, spoken words carried the force of law. And words were the central issue in this dispute. While the British men chose to focus on the parts of Richards' letter that told of Leoiki's sale, for Richards, what was far more important about the letter and other reports like it from the mission were their detailed accounts of the "outrages" or attacks on mission stations by British sailors and whalers over a kapu (chiefly legal pronouncement) that prohibited Hawaiian women from traveling to ships. Serving as his own defense, Rev. Richards gave a verbal performance illustrating his already ripe capacity for political expression in the Hawaiian language, though he had lived in the islands a mere four years: "It is for you to deliver us over to such hands as you see proper, for you are our chiefs. We have left our own country and can not now receive the protection of its laws. . . . If I am a bad man or have broken the laws of your country, it is for you to try, and acquit or condemn me—you alone are my judges—it is for you to send me from your shores, or protect me here. With you is my life, and with you is my death. The whole is with you."

Richards' speech is striking because of the forcefulness with which it recognizes Hawaiian structures of legal authority, although "laws," "acquit," and "condemn" were concepts that Richards imported from other legal traditions. Richards begins by recognizing the political authority of the ali‘i, repeatedly stating that the American missionaries stationed in the island were now subjects of the ali‘i—"for you are our chiefs." He then emphasizes the distance of New England and its laws from Hawai‘i. He asserts that his behavior and words should be judged by Hawaiian law, posing it thus: if I have broken the laws of your country, "you alone are my judges." British and American laws had no primacy in this matter, for Hawaiian chiefly authority was the only rule of law in the islands.

Richards made clear to the ‘aha ‘ōlelo and any outside observers that he considered himself subject to the rule of the chiefs, but a more important aspect of his verbal performance gives us insight into how persuasive Richards might have appeared, and how his precise choice of words may have moved the ali‘i. Although Richards wrote about these proceedings in English, his speech cannot be understood or interpreted only in English. A correct apprehension of Richards' words as a performance within a chiefly parliament requires that one also have an ear for the kinds of Hawaiian phrases and terms that were native to Hawaiian law and politics before the arrival of foreigners in the islands and into the nineteenth century. With such an ear, we can hear a phrase that clamors for chiefly attention: "It is for you to send me from your shores, or protect me here. With you is my life, and with you is my death. The whole is with you."

With these words, Richards revealed an aptitude for understanding Hawaiian political discourse that had thus far not been widely evinced among his missionary counterparts. The Hawaiian phrase I ka ‘ōlelo nō ke ola, i ka ‘ōlelo nō ka make (In speech there is life, in speech there is death) may appear to indicate Richards' abject submission to the chiefs. But instead, his repurposing of the phrase and its cadence demonstrated his cultural intelligence, as he played a rhetorical game of power in Hawaiian. The Hawaiian phrase is a precept descriptive of the authority of chiefly speech, which could determine the life or death of a person according to the degree to which a kapu had been flouted. By taking this Hawaiian precept and turning it slightly to point toward his own life, Richards attempted a moment of Hawaiian political theater. He chose the perfect moment to invoke the mana (power) inherent in chiefly speech. And he deftly reminded the ali‘i that it was their responsibility as pronouncers of kapu to judge the words he wrote about Leoiki in relationship to precedent, to past chiefly judgments of similar behavior.

Richards' rhetorical and political performance at the ‘aha ‘ōlelo of late 1827 pushes us to rethink many aspects of writing a history of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Hawaiian law and governance. First, his condition at that moment—when a British consul and sea captain demanded that he, an American, face British justice for writing about an incident that happened in the Hawaiian Islands—foregrounds the fact that early nineteenth-century Hawai‘i was not a colony of either America or Britain. Second, that an ‘aha ‘ōlelo was called to deliberate what to do with Richards in the face of British demands reminds us that Hawaiian governance and legal practices were strong and viable; the ali‘i were asked to deliberate about how to deal with foreigners in the islands. And finally, the rhetorical skill with which Richards asserted Hawaiian rule and jurisdiction over his body and conduct not only gives us insight into an important evolution in Hawaiian governance (is he a foreign or domestic subject?). In Richards' speech, we can also observe how languages and epistemes might engage one another deeply. When systems of meaning-making intersect, we see not a "missionary perspective" or a "native perspective." Instead, we find a coalescence of different worlds of words, expanding their reach and salience. And Richards offers us a window into what one must be able to hear, to know, and to interpret to be a successful teller of how meanings and histories are made at the confluence of languages and cultures.

This book is about Hawaiian governance and law at the moment of this coalescence, about the forces both internal and external that contributed to this coalescence, and about how we correct the imbalance in the historiography of Hawai‘i by revealing what colonial histories of Hawai‘i have left out: a story of continuing and evolving Hawaiian governance and law conducted in the Hawaiian language.

* * *

Readers of past historical narratives of Hawai‘i may feel kama‘āina (familiar, at ease) with a history that starts in 1778 and ends in 1898. In these accounts, Hawaiian historical time begins with Captain Cook's "discovery" of the Hawaiian Islands, the remotest place in the vast northern Pacific Ocean. Many histories relate that Hawaiians lived isolated and unknowing of the greater world outside their islands, amazed at the foreigners with large ships they called floating islands. Cook's deification was inevitable, yet the natives killed him when he did not live up to that status—or so the story goes. After this initial contact with the British, the islands were laid open to visitors from across the globe. A young chief from the island of Hawai‘i named Kamehameha used foreign advisers and weapons to aid in his quest to conquer all the archipelago's islands. His wars succeeded in consolidating a unified kingdom. But tragically, mere months after his death in 1819, his two closest wives and his heir, Liholiho, struck down an entire system of laws and regulations called the ‘ai kapu, ordering temples destroyed and images burned. This historical narrative leads us to a conclusion: the old religion is cast down, and in its wake is left a vacuum—no law, no religion—that begged to be filled by civilization.

This narrative continues. Serendipitously, mere months after this cataclysmic break with the past, a new kind of haole arrived in the islands. American missionaries from southern New England brought Christianity and implements for planting a new civilization. They brought the Bible, printing presses, and the religious traditions and teachings of their God. Upon landing, these missionaries viewed Hawaiian governance structures in terms of the feudal lordships and social relations that their own Old World English ancestors had escaped.

The story usually told of the 1820s in Hawai‘i begins with this missionary settlement as the primary stimulus of a decade of radical transformations in Hawaiian life, especially in governance and law. Now-cemented relationships between Boston merchants and certain Hawaiian ali‘i produced the first large-scale harvest and export of ‘iliahi (sandalwood). This sandalwood trade with China, according to the narrative, fed avaricious chiefs who tyrannically exploited their maka‘āinana (non-ali‘i) subjects. As the maka‘āinana were forced to go to the mountains to harvest a tree for outsiders, they had to leave their agricultural work; without growing more food for the people to eat, maka‘āinana were pushed along a path of disease and malnourishment that had begun with the introduction of diseases by sailors a generation before. With sex and sandalwood threatening Hawaiian maka‘āinana, the American missionaries tried to intervene, seeking to redirect Hawaiians away from vices like drinking and engaging in sex with foreigners. This narrative codifies the missionaries' role in the 1820s as the bringers of law and order, the champions of enlightened civilization and salvation—both physical and spiritual—on behalf of the Hawaiian people. And this role continues to unfold in histories of Hawaiian governance, as the Christian conversion of ruling ali‘i like Ka‘ahumanu and Kauikeaouli, and of King Kamehameha III result in a missionary-driven move to a Western system of land use, laws, and constitutional monarchy in the 1830s and 1840s. The emergence of a modern Hawaiian nation-state, designed and impelled through the guidance of men like Rev. William Richards, drew upon the examples of America and Britain. It signaled that civilization and Christianity had surely taken root in Hawaiian soil, banishing any memory of the void that had come before. Thus the start of Hawaiian history is its discovery by British foreigners, and Hawaiian governance and law arise from American missionaries' settlement.

Most historical studies of Hawai‘i are profoundly shaped by this narrative. And they rely upon two premises: one, that Hawaiian leaders and their people were incapable of self-governance, and two, that the 1819 abolition of the 'ai kapu left kānaka maoli (Hawaiian people) without law, government, and religion. The errors of both these premises and the narrative of American colonization as the history of governance and law in Hawai‘i are what this book corrects. For while historians have rightly identified the 1820s as a crucial period of political, legal, and social change in Hawaiian history, the nature of that transformation merits further study.

This dominant version of Hawai‘i's history has not gone unchallenged, and revisionist narratives have attempted to address this problem from the contact period through annexation. These interventions have sought to rebalance the unequal measure of Hawaiian history by illuminating possible Hawaiian worldviews, made visible through abundant Hawaiian oral and written texts, and by focusing on the agency of native Hawaiian historical actors. Indeed, Hawai‘i may arguably have the largest native-language historical and literature archive in the Pacific, and perhaps all of native North America, exceeding one million pages of printed text, a staggering 125,000 of which were Hawaiian-language newspapers published between 1834 and 1948. It is because of Hawai'i's relatively late Western "discovery" toward the end of the eighteenth century that the textual legacies of cross-cultural relationships in the islands are markedly different from those of other indigenous peoples in North and South America, Africa, and the Pacific. Due to the missionary introduction of printing presses to early nineteenth-century Hawai'i and chiefly commands to their people that they become educated and literate, Hawaiians began to write and publish Hawaiian histories, genealogies, and "traditions" during the 1820s. As a result, continuity in the transmission of Hawaiian oral, historical, and cultural "traditions" into writing and print may be unparalleled in the historiography of native peoples.

In the first real attempt to correct the historiography through Hawaiian-language sources, Hawaiian historian Lilikalā Kame‘eleihiwa illustrated the power of metaphors framed out of deep literacy in Hawaiian language. Using these metaphors to expand our understanding of Hawaiian governance through the concept of pono (correctness), her work provided an important corrective to the argument that avaricious ali‘i facilitated the spread of western institutions to the detriment of their native subjects. At the same time, Hawaiian-language expert Puakea Nogelmeier forcefully argued that generations of scholarly work on Hawai‘i were profoundly limited by the sole use of English translations of four major nineteenth-century Hawaiian intellectuals and writers. Nogelmeier challenged this four-text canon, calling its enshrinement a "discourse of sufficiency." Thus Nogelmeier put the onus on scholars to go beyond an impoverished canon of sources and draw upon the numerous extant sources in Hawaiian.

Political scientist Noenoe Silva has continued Kame‘eleihiwa's work with Hawaiian-language sources, arguing that kānaka maoli were not passive victims of colonialism; instead, her work restored the leo o ka lāhui (the voice of the people) to Hawaiian histories of the Overthrow and Annexation periods. To do so, Silva presents, translates, and interprets numerous late nineteenth-century written protests against American seizure of Hawai‘i. Petitions, newspaper editorials, and chanted and sung protestations against the overthrow and annexation counterbalance the unequal settler colonial histories of this critical moment. The most recent works by geographer Kamanamaikalani Beamer and literary scholar Marie Alohalani Brown illustrate that new scholarship on nineteenth-century Hawaiian history is no longer apologetic about engaging Hawaiian-language source material. Beamer's work rejects the "fatal impact" thesis that imagined a passive native capitulation to foreign influence. In his historical narrative of Hawaiian governance, the ali‘i are portrayed through ‘ōiwi (native) optics as having "agency" in selectively appropriating western ideas and technologies to augment traditional Hawaiian governance.

In these attempts to rebalance the unequal measure of colonial histories of Hawai‘i with a native history of Hawai‘i grounded in the Hawaiian-language archive, these scholars have made essential interventions, especially in their attempts to illuminate Hawaiian historiographic concepts, paradigms, and tropes through culturally literate interpretation of Hawaiian-language sources. But this revisionist work's emphasis on restoring "agency" to Hawaiian historical actors carries another risk: the unreflective use of Western historiographical paradigms, tropes, and plots in telling histories of culturally Othered peoples. As the historical anthropologist Marshall Sahlins argues, any history of first contact in Hawai‘i, let alone a history of contemporary Hawai‘i, can easily be trapped in its own Western cultural paradigms unless we rigorously recognize how "our" paradigms and tropes replicate them, working instead to respect and seek the cultural differences that make all the difference.

Revisionist projects' use of "agency," then, is an effect of the historiographic distortion introduced into Hawaiian histories as part of a colonial historical narrative, fundamentally based in Enlightenment definitions of places and peoples, of modern political subjects defined by their self-agency, and of primitive naturals with passive natures. In other words, natives with agency have been created out of necessity to combat historiographic narratives that have made natives historical objects rather than subjects. But this revisionist work has left uncritiqued the fundamental binarism embedded in settler colonial historiography.

This book takes seriously Sahlins' warning, critiquing the premises to which colonial historiography of Hawai‘i has bound us by deepening the revisionist dive into Hawaiian-language sources to reveal and employ Hawaiian-language-based "ideas, actions, and ontologies" in historical interpretation. Different languages let us see different historiographies. This is the heart of correcting histories of unequal measure: we must seek an understanding of a multilingual and epistemologically diverse Pacific World, full of many kinds of exchanges. We need to attempt an integration of the methodological and intellectual practices of both Hawaiian and American histories. And the foundation of this necessary correction to imbalanced power and priorities in our distinct and converging historiographies is an unwavering insistence upon including disparate worlds of words that met in early nineteenth-century Hawai‘i.

From this perspective, the political and legal transformations of the 1820s—transformations of vital importance to Hawai‘i's modern history—were Hawaiian responses to "colonial" disorder, rather than well-organized colonial impositions upon Hawaiian disorder. This work maps the political, economic, and religious intercourse between Hawaiians and foreigners from 1810 to 1828. In doing so, I argue that Hawaiian governance and law enter into a moment of global modernity, marked by the expansion of chiefly governance to now include kānāwai, or printed laws. This legal change in the 1820s marks a clearer distinction between Hawaiian political subjects under chiefly kapu, American and British political subjects, and foreigners who sought political existence under the chiefs. This mixed world of words came together in a Hawai‘i still ruled by the ali‘i and governed by long-standing council and legal practices. From this view, we can see a new Hawaiian history.

In this new history, Hawaiians were not waiting to be civilized, rather they were experiencing a series of dramatic social and political upheavals marked most significantly by Kamehameha's unification of the islands. This long-term military campaign flattened the political structure of rule by eradicating rival ali‘i, collapsing lines of genealogical succession, and subsuming religious leadership under his rule. Unification was aided by the incorporation of haole expertise and munitions, and hastened by new diseases that struck warring factions indiscriminately. It was this complex religio-political contest that American merchants and missionaries encountered. Thus Hawai‘i in the 1820s was shaped by a heterogeneity of value systems, in which each group of people brought their own ways of making decisions to their engagements with each other. The entry of Hawai‘i into the global sandalwood trade occurred through an alliance between certain chiefs and American merchants. In this alliance, different ideas of obligation and debt held by chiefs and merchants made for a necessary evolution of economic thinking in Hawai‘i and laid the foundation for a modern Hawaiian national debt in the mid-nineteenth century. As increasing numbers of whalers arrived in the islands, sexual encounters between Hawaiian women and foreign men brought the ali‘i, foreign sailors, ship captains, merchants, and American missionaries into serious conflict beginning in 1825, resulting in the pronouncement of legal restrictions (kapu) by the ali‘i that sought to regulate foreigners' access to Hawaiian women. Disturbances escalated, driven by foreign sailors' refusal to accept this kapu, and this phenomenon, I argue, caused Hawaiian law to evolve a new written form; the first kānāwai were issued by the ali‘i, printed and distributed in 1823 and 1825. This book highlights the political deliberations between ali‘i over the sale of a Hawaiian woman to a British ship captain in 1825, and the fallout from three attacks on mission stations by whalers and sailors angered over the ban. The misplaced blame of the sailors further illustrates their mistaken apprehension that missionaries rather than Hawaiian chiefs were the source of law. This new history also reconsiders the arrival of American Christian missionaries in 1820 by looking back at the experiences and narrative productions of Hawaiians in New England. By looking at the continuity of missionary contact with Hawai‘i through the production of narratives of native converts, before their actual arrival in the islands, this book illuminates New England missionaries' discursive preparations and justifications for their settlement project.

* * *

My view of missionary work in 1820s Hawai'i argues against previous historians' insistence that the ABCFM missionaries brought a vigorous colonial endeavor to the islands. In this respect it is both inspired by and in dialogue with important new work in native and indigenous studies, most importantly Jean M. O'Brien's Firsting and Lasting. O'Brien has written a history of the birth of a new American discourse, a proliferation of local histories that firmly fixed non-Indian settlers and their descendants in the landscape of the new nation by repeatedly pronouncing the absence of Indians from early nineteenth-century America. Her work focuses specifically on the local histories written and circulated in southern New England, the same region from which the Sandwich Island Mission came. These southern New England histories "made the boldest claims to 'firsting,'" which O'Brien describes as an assertion by non-Indians that they were "the first people to erect the proper institutions of a social order worthy of notice." In order for that narrative to address the obvious pre-existence of Indians on the land that became southern New England, those histories also had to assert that the last of those Indians had come and gone. Indian disappearance left the land unencumbered of past names and meaningfulness; the histories of non-Indians' new nation could be built upon clean ground.

Even though the Sandwich Island Mission emerged from this same home, such a discourse of "firsting" and "lasting" could find no purchase in the Hawaiian Islands of the 1820s. Instead, missionary letters and publications circulated throughout America and beyond were full of descriptions of Hawai‘i and Hawaiians, made for foreign consumption. This textual production of Hawai‘i far exceeded the writings of explorers, "discoverers," ship captains, and merchants combined. But it did not perhaps exceed the writings and oral literature of kānaka maoli themselves, written and published ma ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i (in the Hawaiian language) over the next century after the mission arrived. The 1820s is an important period when, for kānaka maoli, the production of the history of Hawai‘i was moving between oral/aural production and performance, writing, and print, while at the same time the creation and circulation of non-Hawaiian views of Hawai‘i and its natives was increasing in volume.

This book is also in conversation with histories of encounter, especially those written about Indian and non-Indian, maoli (Hawaiian, indigenous) and haole first contacts. Encounters are important points of engagement, meeting, and coming together. But the paradigm of encounter tends to reify a homogeneity of "encounter culture," which the parties encountering each other must unequivocally represent. Thus histories of encounter tend to emphasize fatal impacts, worlds colliding, with contention and conflict defining the interpretations of events. This book seeks a different approach, one more akin to the confluence of worlds, where the mixing of numerous languages, social practices, and ways of defining life works fluidly. It highlights what occurs when people from different meaning-making systems engage with one another; moments of understanding and misunderstanding become constitutive of historical outcomes. Concentrating on negotiations and deliberations at the confluence of worlds of words, rather than always emphasizing conflict and clashing, helps us see Hawaiian governing practices and transformations in Hawaiian law in context, a critical correction of previous histories' characterization of Hawaiian rule through distant and deeply ideological concepts like feudalism, despotism, and tyranny.

Early chapters examine little-known interactions between the ali‘i, merchants, and ship captains in the sandalwood trade, who each have their own, often differing concepts of debt and obligation, as well as important moments in New England missionary efforts to plan and plant a mission in the Hawaiian Islands. Highlighting these moments reveals the ubiquity of Hawaiian self-governance in the 1820s, as well as its characteristics and underlying principles. Later chapters on changes in Hawaiian law during this period examine the critical addition of written laws (kānāwai) to enhance chiefly kapu. These chapters also argue that the unruly behavior of foreigners in the islands—men who were not subjects of kapu—forced the chiefs to extend their jurisdiction over foreigners. As increasing numbers of whalers arrived at the islands, sexual encounters between Hawaiian women and foreign men would bring the ali‘i, foreign sailors, ship captains, merchants, and American missionaries into serious conflict beginning in 1825, resulting in the pronouncement of kapu by the ali‘i that sought to limit foreigners' access to Hawaiian women. I follow the discussions that ali‘i had in the 'aha 'ōlelo, or chiefly council, over whether their pronouncements should also apply to foreigners or to Hawaiian people exclusively. The result is a more accurate history of Hawaiian politics, the evolution of Hawaiian law, and the extension of chiefly rule over foreigners.

My research seeks to clear a space for understanding different value systems borne by different groups in my history. By incorporating different approaches, methods, and ways of reading sources in Hawaiian and English, I seek to narrate a more nuanced account of the story of settlement, one that illustrates the centrality of indigenous-language sources to writing histories of encounter. The challenge in writing this history has been communicating a robust Hawaiian language and sign base during the moment when these sources were just beginning to be produced, making room for Hawaiian disciplinary paradigms of historical thinking and praxis alongside powerful legitimated Euro-American narratives. Thus this work utilizes methodological and interpretive techniques that may be applied in other histories of colonial settlement, especially where native-language sources are available.

The distance between Hawai‘i and the American and European worlds was not just one of nautical miles; it was an imaginative space enlarged by the projection and production of Hawai‘i and Hawaiians as objects of knowledge by New England merchants, missionaries, visiting transient explorers, and ship captains. Alongside that production of Hawai‘i, this book deliberately places the actions and words of maoli and haole in cultural contexts in ways that resonate with how Hawaiians of this period deliberated and acted in relation to their own constructions of the past. Numerous histories have been written detailing the background of the missionaries and merchants that came to Hawai‘i, mapping the historical trajectory of their journeys. This work argues that the actions and choices of Hawaiians cannot be interpreted unless scholars take into account Hawaiian understandings of the past and their material (embodied) relationships to that past. Hawaiians in this period under study were people to whom the past mattered. And like other people who had rigorous criteria, pedagogies, and rules for the "scripting," maintenance, and use of that past, they made decisions—especially political and legal decisions—in reference to that past. Framing present actions with historical thought and justification ensured that the past gave meaning and a sense of order and continuity to governance in the present.

In his theoretical piece on "the concept of language" in the historian's work, J. G. A. Pocock warned historians seeking to study "languages of political thought" that "we wish to study the languages in which utterances were performed, rather than the utterances which were performed in them." While Pocock addressed historians working with languages of political thought in early modern Europe, his theoretical piece is vital for informing this study. Like early modern European historians, Hawai‘i and Pacific historians, especially Māori and Maoli historians, are engaged in the deep study of "idioms, rhetorics, specialized vocabularies and grammars, modes of discourse or ways of talking about politics which have been created and diffused, but far more importantly employed in political discourse " in native languages. How to identify these hallmarks of authoritative speech—the idioms, rhetorics, and so forth, that Pocock wrote of—is one of many challenges facing scholars who read and interpret non-Western language sources that have yet to be valued as sound evidence in Western historiography.By uncovering Hawaiian modalities of political discourse, this work also aims to "find language as context, and not text."

To do so, this book pays close attention to the writings of chiefs and chiefly advisers, studying the usage of particular words or rhetorical turns of phrase that arose when the ali‘i or their advisers were engaged in political discussions. I do this so that I can get closer to understanding the fabric of Hawaiian political discourse and how power was shaped by the performance of words in these situations. Understanding of early nineteenth-century Hawaiian political thought can be found not only in important concepts, such as kapu and mana, but also by paying attention to the language that historical actors used in their interactions with one another. Speech is the primary mode through which the ali‘i secured rule and governed, as it was also central to the construction and maintenance of mo‘olelo (history and past-history as precedent) and the proclamation of kapu (oral law) and kānāwai (published law). Rather than being elusive, authoritative speech and Hawaiian patterns of discourse can be tracked across numerous written and published sources in Hawaiian, in translation, and even when transferred by fluent Hawaiian speakers into English.

To accomplish this kind of recovery of Hawaiian political language and thought, this book must alleviate the tensions between orality and text as well as speech and writing. This project illustrates how people in this history moved between orality and writing, choosing in different instances to draw on the authority of written legal instruments, oaths sworn verbally, chiefly pronouncement (kapu), or the word of God, depending on their situation. Casting aside the colonial privileging of written texts over oral genres not only opens the door to a fuller Hawaiian-language source-base; it also reminds us that British and American historical actors in this period brought with them oral genres and rhetorical performances that structured their interactions with people at home as well as with Hawaiians.

The use of a term like "oral tradition" is problematic. I use the phrase sparingly to refer to genres in Hawaiian that were performed and passed on via networks and institutions that rigorously trained people to memorize materials, maintain their form and genre, and pass them on. A prevailing assumption in the use of "oral tradition" is that it predates the introduction of literacy to native communities and that orally expressed information represents "authentic, traditional knowledge's, legends and tales." Categorically, such traditions are relegated to "memory"—a body of knowledge reproduced uncritically and without analysis. The turn to the textual, in contrast, demarcates the inauguration of history, where texted materials are considered valid and "true." At the inception of the written production of Hawaiian history, minister and professor Sheldon Dibble denigrated Hawaiian traditions as unverifiable because they were oral and not written. There is no compelling equivalent in our scholarly discourse for the way that print reproduces consensus arguments, research questions, and tropes uncritically as part of Euro-American discursive "written traditions," and yet it is possible now using sorting search engines to reproduce the way discourse reproduces itself across scholarly works for generations.

How to construct rules for formulating contexts and deciding what evidence is applicable is one of the challenges this book offers; it suggests several avenues to continue the Hawaiian practice of mobilizing "precedent" from oral texts, as well as aids to their proper interpretation. Thus this book juxtaposes diverse worlds of words and the histories they carry to illustrate the vital importance of oral, oral-to-textual, and textual sources, especially in Hawaiian but also in American and British accounts of 1820s Hawai‘i.

This book also draws upon a wide range of source material generated by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). The mission was a quintessential record keeping and generating enterprise that produced written and published works to convert native peoples and to promote its good works in order to fund future missionary endeavors in the islands and in other mission fields. The ABCFM corpus includes letters of candidacy, personal correspondence between missionaries in the field and families at home, official mission station reports, and journals, as well as the letters and official pronouncements to the Sandwich Islands missionaries from the Boston headquarters. The Missionary Herald was the monthly official magazine that kept home-based supporters apprised of the various foreign and domestic missions.

Missionaries also generated a lot of published material directed at native Hawaiians, including language materials to teach them how to read and write and translations of the Bible in the Hawaiian language. The mission also published other religious tracts while working to publish the Bible in Hawaiian as a means to further Christian instruction. In considering the relations between Hawaiian women and foreign men, as well as the ali‘i and transient and settled foreigners, I have used a previously untapped corpus of legal documents written in Hawaiian: published laws and depositions and firsthand accounts of the "outrages" that were generated during the investigation of Leoiki's sale to Captain William Buckle.

Although many of these mission sources were composed in the Hawaiian language, it is important to note for our purposes that textual correspondence and mission reports in English incorporated quotes and glosses of Hawaiian words and phrases designated for an Atlantic audience. In order to identify important Hawaiian phrases in English-language sources, or in an English translation of a Hawaiian-language text, scholars need to be familiar with Hawaiian generic conventions—with Hawaiian modes of memorializing and representing the past.

These Hawaiian genres constitutive of Hawaiian historical thinking go beyond what has been labeled mo‘olelo. What kinds of historical paradigms and historiographic methods must we consider in a world of chant and oral "texts"? Narratives structured by chronological time are most at home in worlds of writing and print. Hawaiian historical paradigms before and during this period demand a different approach to writing this history than our usual orientation toward modern, strict chronological ordering of events and source uses. What kinds of historical thought emerge from a fundamental intellectual organizing genre/practice like the helu—the stacking or listing words and texts?

Recognizing the helu's centrality in Hawaiian conceptual structures pushes us to recognize its role in constructing historical contexts, which make possible interpretations of events or other texts. Because words and certain rhetorical phrases gain power from their repetition and reiteration in particular contexts (ka mea i ‘ōlelo mua ‘ia), these phrases and words can be researched in chronologically later writings to offer clues to past, multiple meanings. In addition, when they are used and by whom also provides clues to the weight of those key phrases and terms. Hawaiians who wrote and published also recorded older oral texts in writing. Even as I consult materials that were published later, events and concepts found in these sources may predate their recording. To write this kind of history, I draw upon a vast corpus of writings produced by Hawaiians writing after 1825 in Hawaiian-language newspapers, personal manuscripts, letters and correspondence, and legal documents.

What kind of history is conceived in mo‘okū‘auhau (genealogies) or koihonua, the chanted Hawaiian genealogies that entwined lineages of ali‘i with the birth or appearance of islands? The koihonua's contents are often structured as name lists of ancestors that sometimes offer descriptions of their importance, such as the kind of kapu each chief bore and the mana exemplified in their words and deeds. While sometimes the helu or list serves simply as a mnemonic device for the chanter that opens out to other avenues of story and song, that only one trained to knowing could recapitulate. Some koihonua were also constructed as chants of emergence and navigation between the islands. A close-reading of an excerpt of a koihonua give us access to fundamental definitions of places and people and their relationships in time.

The chant "Ea Mai Hawai‘inuiākea" narrates the emergence of islands as seen from the ocean.

Ea mai Hawai‘inuiākea, Eia mai loko mai o ka pō
Puka mai ka moku, ka ‘āina
ka lālani ‘āina ‘o Nu‘umea
ka pae ‘āina o i kūkulu o Tahiti

Here is Hawai‘inuiākea,
There it is come from the deep, dark ocean
The island emerges, the land
the string of islands of Nu'umea
the Archipelago, the border of this edge of Tahiti.

The Hawaiian islands appear out of the darkness () of the ocean depths. This pō is most likely connected to lipo, the blue-black oceanic band stretching to the horizon, marking out the extremity of the ocean south at Kahiki moe. The pō of this chant brings to mind the Kumulipo, or origin in deep darkness—a Hawaiian genealogical chant in which all creatures and plants in existence are born. First among all things born in the world is the coral polyp, spawning in the ocean. The chant moves through successive generations of plants and animals, gods, chiefs, and people, ending with the naming of stars and the genealogies' penultimate chief, Lonoikamakahiki. This darkness of origin, this pō, especially when connected to chiefs in Hawaiian and Polynesian conceptualization, is a positive, profound, and sacred expression of the ancient origin of a chief's lineage and mana.

As each island appears over the curve of the horizon, the sight of the islands set out in a row (lālani) becomes clear to the navigator: an archipelago set out as one border of the known world—Hawai‘inuiākea, large, widespread, and fertile Hawai‘i. The word, lālani, that describes the position of islands set out in a row is a word also used to describe ranks of soldiers, as well as lines of ali‘i (chiefs) arrayed by kapu and rank, perhaps while assembled for heiau (temple) ritual, or on formal speaking occasions or other public gatherings, including celebrations, folding both island and people into one evocative word image.

From Kahiki in the south to Hawai‘i in the north, future Hawaiians followed an oceanic map traversed by stars. Hawaiian ancestors preserved the way between island homes in oral genealogical chants and verbal maps linking seemingly isolated islands and people across vast ocean spaces. The chant's orientation toward Hawai‘i binds together the emergence of islands in a line of sight—out of the deep ocean—with the emergence of genealogical lines of chiefs, grounded in language for emphasis.

Hānau ‘o Maui, he moku, he ‘āina, Na Kama o Kamalalawalu e noho,
Born is Maui, an island, that Kama of Kamalalawalu ruled.
It is not a random set of islands, nor a random set of chiefs; rather, it is an intertwined genealogy, a history relating the emergence of islands to lineages of chiefs. In this discourse, we see the inextricable interconnection of island home and generations of Hawaiian people. Perhaps more than anything, this genre of chant and maoli interpretations of it provide us with one kind of textual example that tracks closest to what a kānaka maoli formulation would be for the English language term native—one that is not predicated upon concepts of "firsting" or blood discourse, but upon bone, birth, movement, and deep knowledge of home place: of islands, stars, and seas.

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