Present from the British government to the king of the Sandwich Islands—Voyage to Hawaii—Appearance of the island—Intercourse with the people—Kearakakua bay—Visit to Kuakini the governor—Voyage to Oahu—Welcome from the American Missionaries—Detention in Oahu—Journeys and endeavours to instruct the people—Invitation to reside among them—Detention in Oahu—Journeys and endeavours to instruct the people—Labours of Auna and native teachers—Destruction of idols—Observance of the sabbath by the king and chiefs—Attention to religion—Karaimoku—Religious services in the families of the principal chiefs—Effects of our visit—Departure for the Society Islands—Return to Oahu—Arrival of Missionaries—Objects of the projected tour of Hawaii—Remarks on the orthography of native words.
Tamehameha, who had governed the islands thirty years, and whose decease had taken place less than twelve months before the arrival of the Missionaries, had invariably rendered the most prompt and acceptable aid to those English vessels which had touched at the islands. In return for the friendship so uniformly manifested, the British government instructed the governor of New South Wales to order a schooner to be built at Port Jackson, and sent as a present to the king of the Sandwich Islands. In the month of February, 1822, his majesty's colonial cutter, Mermaid, having in charge the vessel designed for the king of Hawaii, put into the harbour of Huahine for refreshments. The captain of the page 34 Mermaid offered a passage either to the deputation from the London Missionary Society, then at Huahiue, or to any of the Missionaries who might wish to visit the Sandwich Islands. We had long been anxious to establish a mission among the Marquesas; and as he intended touching at those islands on his return, it appeared a very favourable opportunity for accomplishing it, and at the same time for visiting the American Missionaries, the intelligence of whose embarkation for Hawaii had been previously received. Two pious natives, members of the church, and one of them a chief of some rank in the islands, were selected for the Marquesas; and I accompanied the deputation on their visit to Hawaii, for the purpose of aiding in the establishment of the native teachers in the former islands, observing how the people were disposed to receive instructors, and obtaining such other information as might be serviceable in directing our future endeavours to maintain permanent Missionary stations among them.
An account of the designation of the native teachers, and our embarkation, has been given in the preceding volume. On the 27th of March we came in sight of Hawaii, and were so near the land during the night, as to perceive the fires on the hills. The next morning, when the sun appeared, and the mists, which for some time enveloped the land, had cleared away, the island spread before us in all its sublimity and romantic beauty. The summits of the central mountains were concealed among the clouds. The coast was lofty, and broken towards the northern extremity. In many parts the high grounds appeared clothed with verdure, and waterfalls were numerous along the coast. As we sailed along parallel page 35 with the shore, I could sometimes observe from the ship's deck above twenty beautiful cascades, of varied elevation and breadth. Passing the straits between Hawaii and Maui, we reached Towaihai. The same evening I accompanied the captain towards the shore, where, near the land, we were met by a little boat with five persons on board, who were the first Hawaiians that welcomed us to their countrymen. As our boats approached, one of the natives hailed us with “Aroha,” peace, or attachment. We returned the salutation in Tahitian. Having inquired the name of the place, we asked where Tamehameha was? they replied, “He is dead.” Who is king now? was our next inquiry: they answered, “His son Rihoriho.” We then asked, “Is it peace?” they answered, “It is peace; the king is at Oahu—he has Missionaries there to teach the people.” The chief then asked, “Are you from America?” We answered, “From Britain.” He then said, “By way of Tahiti?” and, when answered in the affirmative, observed, “There are a number of Tahitians on shore.” This conversation had been carried on as the boats lay alongside of each other; but as the chief proposed to visit the ship, we returned on board. There was a great degree of native dignity about this chief, who appeared to be about five and twenty years of age, tall, stout, well made, and remarkably handsome. He told us his name was Kuakini; that his sister was the queen-dowager, his brother governor of the adjacent island of Maui, and himself governor of Hawaii. He entered very freely into conversation with Auna, and the other Tahitians on board, and expressed his desire to learn to read and write. From the facility with which we page 36 could understand the speech of our guests, and make ourselves understood, we perceived that the Sandwich Islanders and Tahitians were members of one great family, and spoke the same language with but slight variations: a fact which we regarded as of great importance in the intercourse we might have with the people. The next morning at sun-rise, the chief and his party joined us at our morning devotions, but they did not kneel in prayer. During the day we were astonished and delighted with the appearance of the country: the lofty Mounakea, whose summit was covered with snow, impressed very powerfully the minds of our Tahitians. So pleased were they with the sight of the snow, of which we had often endeavoured in vain to give them a correct description, that they proposed, as soon as they should land, to take a journey to the top of the mountain, for the purpose of obtaining some of the white hard water. The signs of recent, vigorous, and extensive volcanic action, in the wide, and often winding streams of black indurated lava, which covered the greater part of the coast, were not less strange and wonderful to us. During the forenoon of the following day, when we were opposite Kairauea, Kuakini left us, accompanied, agreeably to his urgent request, by Auna, towards whom he manifested much attachment. The next day was the Sabbath: by daylight we found ourselves opposite Kearakekua bay, in which a number of ships appeared lying at anchor. Early in the forenoon we entered the harbour, and were soon boarded by the captains of the ships, and surrounded by natives from the shore. We were scarcely able to hold public worship on deck in the afternoon, on account of page 37 the noise and crowds of natives. The striking contrast between the state of the people of the place, their flagrant cheating in barter, &c., and the tranquillity and religious occupations of those we had left at Huahine, deeply affected them; and I endeavoured to excite gratitude to God, and sympathy for the strangers, in the minds of our Tahitian companions, by an address from the words of the apostle, “And such were some of you,” &c. The smallness and confinement of the births below, and the heat of the weather, &c. did not appear to occasion so much unpleasantness to our Tahitian voyagers, as the loss of the luxury of bathing, to which they had been accustomed on shore, two or three times every day, in the cool and flowing streams of their native islands; and nothing, during the voyage, had been more grateful to them than a copious shower. At such seasons, they stripped off the greater part of their clothes, and, under the refreshing influence of the rain, could scarcely refrain from dancing about the deck for joy. Early, therefore, on the morning after our arrival in Kearakekua bay, a party of our natives went on shore to bathe. Soon after breakfast, we landed on the north side of the bay, surprised at the striking and decisively volcanic aspect of the shore; the whole of that part of the coast seemed one extensive mass of barren lava, with here and there a straggling bush growing between the crevices, or in places where a partial decomposition had taken place. In one of the first houses which we entered, a man and a boy, apparently father and son, entertained us with a hura ta raau, singing to the beating of a stick: we could not comprehend very distinctly the burden page 38 of his song; but, the name of Rihoriho occurring repeatedly, we presumed that it referred to the new king. Conducted by an old man, whom we induced to be our guide, we visited the spot where Captain Cook was killed; and afterwards entered into conversation with the natives, who crowded around us. These all united in confirming the statement of those we first met, that their gods were thrown away, and their temples overturned. In the afternoon, Auna joined our party, and related his proceedings at Kairua, where he had met with Toteta, a native of Eimeo, and where the governor had expressed his desire to embrace the new religion. On the following day a ship arrived, which brought us tidings from England of the coronation of his late Majesty George IV. and of the death of his queen.
On the 2d of April, Mr. Tyerman and myself visited the governor, at Kairua, his residence. As we approached we were met by Mr. Young: he conducted us to the governor, who cordially welcomed us, entertained us hospitably, and expressed a wish that I would come and reside at Hawaii. We visited a large temple in ruins, and spent the evening very pleasantly in conversation with the strangers. Mr. Young gave us a full account of the abolition of the tabu, and the overthrow of the former system of idolatry, by the king, on the occasion of a public festival, at which he was present. After we had retired to rest, the governor came with his slate, and sat down by the side of the mat on which we were lying, and requested we would teach him to write; and also made an attempt to read, stating that he had a great desire to learn. It was near two o'clock in the morning before he page 39 left us. The next day the governor returned with us to the ship, and we remained nearly a week longer, waiting for the schooner, from which we had parted company soon after leaving Huahine. During this time we had frequent interviews with Kuakini; and though, in consequence of his frequent visits on board the vessels in harbour, we often saw him in a state of inebriation, there was a frankness and apparent sincerity, in his expressions of desire after knowledge and improvement, that could not fail to interest us in his behalf.
On the 9th of April we weighed anchor, and sailed for Oahu; through the day we enjoyed the most delightful views of the sublime and magnificent mountains of Hawaii, as we sailed slowly along its shores. We did not enter the harbour in Oahu until the 15th, when we found ourselves at day-break near the reef, and learned from some fishermen in a canoe, that the schooner was at anchor in the bay. We were afterwards boarded by Keeaumoku, the governor of Maui, and brother of Kuakini, and soon received a pilot, who conducted our little cutter through the intricacies of the channel to the anchorage. We were not long before we proceeded to the shore. On our way, we met a canoe, in which the wife of Auna recognized a brother, who had left the Society Islands in the Bounty, when the mutineers took possession of the ship; we were also met by a boat, in which were the American consul, and a Frenchman of the name of Rives, who acted as secretary for the king. Messrs. Thurston, Chamberlain, and Loomis, American Missionaries, to whom I had written from Hawaii, were also in the boat, and cordially welcomed us.page 40
In a large native house near the shore, we were introduced to the king, his queens, the queen-dowager, and what might be regarded as the Hawaiian court. We were struck with the portly form and gigantic size of the royal party, and many of the chiefs by whom they were attended. The captain delivered the letter from the governor of New South Wales to the king; and, after wine had been introduced, Messrs. Bennet, Tyerman, and myself, accompanied the American Missionaries to their habitation, where we received a pressing invitation, from the whole family, to partake of their hospitality, and such accommodations as their establishment would afford, so long as we might remain in the island—a proposal with which we cheerfully complied. Different lands had given us birth; we had never seen each other before; but we spoke one language, embraced one faith, had devoted our lives to the accomplishment of one object, which we mutually felt more important than any other, and found that the influence of Christian and Missionary feeling so united our hearts, that we were as happy in the society of our friends, as if we had been intimate from childhood. We were afterwards joined by Mr. and Mrs. Bingham, and the Missionaries from Tauai; and the pleasure I derived from their society, during the four months that we were detained in Oahu, is still among the most grateful of my recollections.
The day after our arrival we waited on the chiefs, and in the evening called on Kaahumanu. Through the influence of the individual whom we met on our way from the ship yesterday Auna and his wife had been invited to take up their abode in the establishment of Kaahumanu, page 41 who, next to the king and Karaimoku, was considered the person of greatest influence in the island. When we called, the greater part of the inmates of the dwelling were sitting crosslegged on the ground, playing at cards. Ludicrous spectacles of this kind were not unfrequently exhibited during our stay: sometimes we saw a party of large chiefs and chief women sitting on their mats, or on the grass, under the shade of a tree, but very partially clothed, playing at cards, with one or two large pet hogs lying close by them; not small and cleanly things, that they might take under their arms, but full-grown, and in a condition, under proper management, to have made good bacon. Auna informed us, that his wife and himself had been treated with kindness; that on the preceding night they read together, in a retired corner of the house, a portion of the scriptures, and engaged in prayer; and that this morning, when Kaahumanu perceived that they were about to do the same, she requested them to come near, that she and her people might join. I asked her if she did not desire to learn to read, to know and serve the true God; and she answered yes; but said, we cannot, unless the king does. If he embraces the new religion, we shall all follow. In the evening of this day we were present when Auna read the scripture, and offered family prayers publicly in Kaahumanu's house: we united with no ordinary feelings, for the first time, in the worship of the true God with the people around us.
The next day, the 17th of April, being the day on which our American friends held the weekly religious service, I had an opportunity of preaching in the Tahitian language. Soon after four in page 42 the afternoon, we went together to the little chapel which stood in the midst of the plain of Honoruru, not far from the dwelling of the Missionaries. It was partly filled with natives. While we were singing a Tahitian hymn, the king and queen entered, and seated themselves in the middle of the place. The singing of the natives, who had come with us, appeared to surprise and please them; and they occasionally whispered to each other, as it proceeded. I then read the third chapter of the Gospel of St. John, and offered an extempore prayer, during which the king and Sandwich Islanders remained sitting. I then delivered a short discourse from the sixteenth verse of the chapter I had read. The audience was attentive, and at the close of the service rose and departed. On being asked, as they went out, whether they understood what had been said, they answered yes; though it is probable that they understood but imperfectly, as the whole was in the Tahitian language.
While on board the Mermaid, with the king and several of the chiefs, on the day following, the captain informed me that he was going to make a voyage to some other part of the Pacific, before he returned to Huahine, and that probably it would be two months before he could take us back. This was distressing intelligence, not on our own account, so much as that of Mrs. Ellis and our friends, who had been distinctly informed by the captain, that before a period so remote, our return might be confidently expected. I communicated the tidings to the deputation, who were not less surprised than I had been, and who, while they expressed their regret on Mrs. Ellis's account, observed, “Perhaps the Lord has page 43 thoughts of mercy towards this people, and has work for us to do here, that we are deprived for the present of the means of returning.”
On the 10th of May, Auna came up to the Mission-house, and informed me that Kaahumanu, and Taumuarii, the king of Tauai, had requested him and his wife to take up their abode with them in the Sandwich Islands, and had desired that I would return to Huahine for my family, and then come and dwell with them. As soon as the intelligence was made known to Messrs. Tyerman and Bennet, we unitedly communicated it to our friends the American Missionaries, who unanimously expressed their desires that we should comply with the wishes of the chiefs, and expressed their opinion that it would facilitate the introduction of Christianity among the people. Other chiefs afterwards expressed a corresponding desire; the king also said it would be well; and as it appeared that our coming would strengthen the hands of our American brethren, facilitate their acquisition of the language, and aid the accomplishment of an object equally desired by us all, we assured the chiefs of our willingness to comply with their wishes. Shortly after this, Auna accompanied Kaahumanu and Taumuarii, to Maui, and Messrs, Tyerman, Bennet, Bingham, and myself, made a tour of Oahu, which, while it made us acquainted with the number and circumstances of the people, excited our sympathies on their behalf, and enabled us, as opportunity offered, to address them on the subject of religion, favoured us also with the means of observing the extent and varied appearance of the country. In company with Captains Lewis and Brown, and Messrs. Jones, Dix, and Moxley, we sailed as far as page 44 the district of Eva or Pearl river, and travelled on foot the rest of the way. Religious services were continued regularly in the little chapel; but after the effects of their novelty had subsided, few of the natives attended: we had also frequent occasions to lament the inebriation of the king, and many of the chiefs, as well as the extensive prevalence, and disastrous effects, of intoxication among the people; but were encouraged by the diligence and perseverance of Kaahumanu, his favourite queen. In the mean time we were acquiring the language, and were enabled more distinctly to communicate our instructions to the people.
After some weeks' absence, Auna returned, and informed us that they had been to different parts of Hawaii, that the governor was diligently learning to read and write, and that a young chief, whose name was Lanui, was anxiously desiring to know the word of the true God; that one Sabbath-day, when there were great crowds of people around, and Auna proposed to retire to a secret place among the bushes for prayer, he said, No, let us read and pray in my house; the place was crowded with people, who listened attentively to the reading and prayer. Kaahumanu directed them to fetch the gods that were lying hid in the holes of the rocks and caves, at a distance from the shore. They brought forth great numbers, and in one day burnt no fewer than one hundred and two idols.
Our friends had a small school of fifteen children, whom they were industriously endeavouring to instruct. The king and queen, and several of the principal persons, had become our pupils, and we spent part of every day, either in teaching them to read and write, or in conversation on the page 45 subject of religion. They were, as might be expected, extremely ignorant; but they were in general willing, and often expressed themselves desirous to be informed. We endeavoured familiarly, and with the utmost plainness, to exhibit, not the subtleties of theology, or the dogmas of any particular sect, but the great facts and principles of revelation, and were pleased to perceive that they appeared to have obtained an outline of the leading truths of Christianity. On the evening of the 7th of July, which was the Sabbath, when Mr. Bingham and myself went to the king's house, he informed us that he would never again neglect the observance of the Sabbath, but would worship Jehovah; and that he did not intend to drink rum. Our number of hearers now frequently amounted to three hundred persons, to whom we preached twice on the Sabbath, and once during the week: our meetings were enlivened by the introduction of hymns in the native language. A spirit of inquiry was excited among the chiefs and people, and several seemed earnestly desirous to know and serve the living God. Among them, Keeaumoku was conspicuous; he not only attended public worship, but collected the people together by ringing a large bell every evening, and invited us to attend and preach to them.
Among the strangers now at Oahu, was Mr. Matheson, a gentleman who came as passenger on board an American ship, from South America to Canton. In his “Narrative of a Visit to Brazil Chili, Peru, and the Sandwich Islands, in the yea. 1821 and 1822,” he gives the following account of a visit to the establishment of Keeaumoku, who was also called Cox, by the foreigners:—page 46
“August 5.—This morning I went to Cox, intending to purchase some goats. I expected to find him, as usual, either sleeping or smoking, or drinking, or busy trafficking, like myself. The door of his hut was half open, and I was about to enter unceremoniously, when a scene, too striking ever to be forgotten, and which would require the hand of a master painter to do it justice, suddenly arrested my whole attention.
“About a dozen natives, of both sexes, were seated in a circle, on the matted floor of the apartment, and in the midst of them sat John Honoree, the Hawaiian catechist. All eyes were bent upon him; and the variously expressive features of each individual marked the degree of interest excited by what was passing in his mind. So absorbed, indeed, were they in their reflections, that my abrupt appearance at the door created for some time neither interruption nor remark. The speaker held in his hand the Gospel of St. John, as published at Otaheite, and was endeavouring, by signs and familiar illustrations, to render its contents easy of comprehension. His simple yet energetic manner added weight to his opinions, and proved that he spoke, from personal conviction, the sincere and unpremeditated language of the heart.
“The chief himself stood in the back-ground, a little apart from the rest, leaning upon the shoulder of an attendant. A gleam of light suddenly fell upon his countenance, and disclosed features, on which wonder, anxiety, and seriousness, were imprinted in the strongest characters. He wore no other dress than the maro round the waist; but his tall athletic form, and bust, seen bending over the other's shoulders, and dignified page 47 demeanour, marked at one glance his rank and superiority over all around. One hand was raised instinctively to his head, in a pensive attitude. His knitted brows bespoke intense thought; and his piercing black eyes were fixed upon the speaker with an inquiring, penetrating look, as much as to say, “Can what you tell us be really true?” I gazed for some minutes with mute astonishment, turning my regards from one to the other, and dreading to intrude upon the privacy of persons whose time was so usefully employed. At last the chief turned round, and motioned with his hand, in a dignified manner, for me to withdraw. I did so; but carried away in my heart the remembrance of a scene, to which the place, the people, and the occasion, united in attaching a peculiar interest.
“I learnt afterwards, that Cox had promised to build a school-house, and present it to the Missionaries for their use; a donation, which, considering his acknowledged love of money, affords no mean proof that his inquiries into the truth of the new religion had not been altogether fruitless.”
The chiefs prohibited their people from working on the Lord's day; and Keeaumoku, Karaimoku, Kauikeouli, the young prince, Kaahumanu, Taumuarii, Piia, Naihe, and almost every chief of rank and influence, were numbered among our pupils, or regular worshippers of the true God. Astonished and gratified by the wonderful change we had been permitted to witness during the period of our detention, and having received every expression of attachment, and desire for our return, from the Missionaries and chiefs, we took leave of them on the 22d of August, and sailed page 48 for Huahine in the Mermaid, which had returned about three weeks before.
Shortly after our arrival, a public council of the king and chiefs of Hawaii had been held at Oahu. Auna and his companion, from Huahine, were invited to attend, and had an opportunity of answering the inquiries of the king and chiefs relative to the events which had transpired in the Society Islands, and of testifying to the feelings of friendship and esteem entertained by Pomare, and the rulers of those islands, much to the satisfaction of the latter; who were convinced that the reports which had been circulated among them respecting the hostile intentions of the southern islanders, and the dangerous influence of Christian Missions there, were totally groundless. The complete removal of those prejudices, which had been excited and nurtured by these means, was one great advantage of our visit. On our return, we conveyed friendly letters from the king and chiefs of Hawaii, to those of the Society Islands, and an agreeable correspondence has been ever since maintained.
Early in February, 1823, I returned to Oahu with my family, experienced a kind reception from the king and chiefs, and was privileged to commence my Missionary pursuits in harmonious cooperation with my predecessors, the American Missionaries, who were diligently employed in their benevolent exertions for the spiritual well-being of the nation; avoiding, as they have uniformly done ever since, all interference with the civil, commercial, and political concerns of the people, and attending solely to their instruction in useful knowledge and religious truth.
The difficulties attending the acquisition of the page 49 language, and other circumstances, had hitherto confined the labours of the Missionaries almost entirely to the islands of Oahu and Tauai; but in April, 1823, a reinforcement arriving from America, enabled them to extend their efforts, particularly towards Maui and Hawaii. In order that arrangements for the establishment and permanent maintenance of Missionary stations in the latter—the largest, most important, and populous island of the group—might be made with all the advantages of local knowledge, it was agreed that three of the American Missionaries and myself should visit and explore that interesting island, to investigate the religious and moral condition of the people, communicate to them the knowledge of Christ, unfold the benevolent objects of the Mission, inquire whether they were willing to receive Christian teachers, and select the most eligible places for Missionary stations. These, though the principal, were not the only objects that occupied our attention during the tour. We availed ourselves of the opportunities it afforded, to make observations on the structure of the island, its geographical character, natural scenery, productions, and objects of curiosity; and to become more fully acquainted with the peculiar features of the system of idolatry, the traditions manners, and customs of the inhabitants,—detailed account of which is given in the following narrative.
Before entering upon the tour, a few remarks on the orthography of the Hawaiian names which are occasionally introduced, explaining the reasons for its adoption, and assisting in the pronunciation of native words, will probably be acceptable to most of our readers.page 50
The visits which most foreigners have paid to the Sandwich, and other islands of the Pacific, have been too transient to allow them, however well qualified they may have been, to obtain any thing beyond an exceedingly superficial acquaintance with the words in most common use among the natives, and certainly insufficient to enable them to discern the nice distinctions of vowel sounds, and peculiar structure, of the aboriginal languages of the islands; and those individuals whom purposes of commerce have induced to remain a longer period among them, whatever facility they may have acquired in speaking it, have not attended to its orthographical construction, but have adopted that method of spelling names of persons and places which happen to have been used by those of their predecessors, with whose printed accounts they were most familiar.
The want of a standard orthography cannot be better illustrated, than by noticing the mistakes, often of a singularly ludicrous, and occasionally of an important kind, which occur even in the present day, or by glancing at the great variety of methods adopted by different voyagers to represent the same word. We have seen the name of Tamehameha, the late king, spelt in various publications twelve or fourteen different ways; and the same variety has also prevailed in other popular names, though perhaps not to an equal extent. The above word is a reduplication of the word meha, (lonely, or solitary,) with the definite article Ta prefixed, which is a part of the name; though rejected in Cook's Voyages, where he is called Maihamaiha. Captain Vancouver calls him Tamaahmaah, which is somewhat nearer.page 51
This disagreement in different writers arises, in the first place, from the deficiency in the vowel characters, as used in the English language, for expressing the native vowel sounds. The English language has but one sign, or letter, for the vowel sound in the first syllable of father and fable, or the words tart and tale; but in Hawaiian, the sense of these sounds, which frequently occur unconnected with any other, is so different, that a distinct character is essential. The first sound is often a distinct word, and frequently marks the past tense of the verb, while the second sound distinguishes the future, and is also a distinct word. These two sounds often occur together, forming two distinct syllables, as in the interrogation e-a? what? and the word he-a, to call. In the English language, two letters, called double vowels, are used to lengthen the same sound, as ee in thee, or to express one totally different, as oo in pool; but in Hawaiian there is often a repetition of the vowel sound, without any intervening consonant, or other vowel sound, as in a-a, a bag or pocket, e-e, to embark, i-i, a name of a bird, o-o, an agricultural instrument; which must be sounded as two distinct syllables. Hence, when the ee is employed to express a lengthened sound of e, as in Owhyhee, and oo to signify the sound of u in rule, as in Karakakooa, which is generally done by European visitors, it is not possible to express by any signs those native words in which the double vowels occur, which are invariably two distinct syllables.
Another cause of the incorrectness of the orthography of early voyagers to these islands, has been a want of better acquaintance with the structure of the language, which would have prevented page 52 their substituting a compound for a single word. This is the case in the words Otaheite, Otaha, and Owhyhee, which ought to be Tahiti, Tahaa, and Hawaii. The O is no part of these words, but is the preposition of, or belonging to; or it is the sign of the case, denoting it to be the nominative, answering to the question who or what, which would be O wai? The sign of the case being prefixed to the interrogation, the answer uniformly corresponds, as,
Nom. O wai ia aina?—What that land?
Pos. No hea oe?—Of whence you?
Ans. No Hawaii:—Of or belonging to Hawaii.
Obj. Hoe oe i hea?—Sailing you to where?
Ans. I Hawaii:—To Hawaii.
Mai hea mai oe?—From whence you?
Ans. Mai Hawai mai:—From Hawaii.
Any one of these, or other similar combinations, in which the word Ha-wai-i occurs, might have been given as the name of the island, with as much correctness as that which commences with the O, which appears sometimes to be a contraction of the pronoun, and is never used excepting when the word begins a sentence, and consequently is, even as a combination, not of frequent occurrence. The natives are certainly most likely to know the name of their own island: the designation they give it we have adopted, and believe, that in so doing, we have the approbation of all unprejudiced men, more than we should have had in perpetuating an error, which their discoverer, had he possessed the means of so doing, would very cheerfully have corrected.
In pronouncing the word Ha-wai-i, the Ha is sounded short as in Hah, the wai as wye, and the final i as e in me.page 53
Atooi in Cook's Voyages, Atowai in Vancouver's, and Atoui in one of his contemporaries, is also a compound of two words, a Tauai, literally and Tauai. The meaning of the word tauai is, to light upon, or to dry in the sun; and the name, according to the account of the late king, was derived from the long droughts which sometimes prevailed, or the large pieces of timber which have been occasionally washed upon its shores. Being the most leeward island of importance, it was probably the last inquired of, or the last name repeated by the people to the first visitors. For, should the natives be pointed to the group, and asked the names of the different islands, beginning with that farthest to windward, and proceeding west, they would say, O Hawaii, Maui, Ranai, Morotai, Oahu, a (and) Tauai: the copulative conjunction, preceding the last member of the sentence, would be placed immediately before Tauai; and hence, in all probability, it has been attached to the name of that island, which has usually been written, after Cook's orthography, Atooi, or Atowai, after Vancouver.
The more intelligent among the natives, particularly the chiefs, frequently smile at the manner of spelling the names of places and persons, in published accounts of the islands, which they occasionally see.
The orthography employed in the native names which occur in the succeeding narrative, is in accordance with the power or sound of the letters composing the Hawaiian alphabet, and the words are represented as nearly as possible to the manner in which they are pronounced by the natives. A is always as a in father, or shorter as a in the first syllable of aha, e as a in hate, i as i in machine, page 54 or ee in thee, o as o in note, u as oo in food, or short, as in bull, and the diphthong ai as i in wine or mine. The consonants are sounded as in English.
The native words may be correctly pronounced by attending to the above sounds of the vowels. The following list of the principal names will likewise assist in the proper pronunciation of Hawaiian words. The h is inserted after the a, only to secure that vowel's being sounded as in the exclamation ah!
|Ha-wai-i pronounced as||Ha-wye-e|
|Tau-ai||Tow-i, or Tow-eye|
|Mou-na Ro-a||Mow-nah Ro-ah|
|Mou-na Ke-a||Mow-nah Kay-ah|