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Wahine o Hawai`i
1999 Kawika Sands

Bishop, Kaiulani

Beginning of the End:
A great water sports enthusiast, King Kalakaua helped to popularize outrigger canoe racing. With a Hawaiian renaissance was underway, Kalakaua wrote songs, poetry, commissioned the building of I`olani Palace, and revived the hula. He loved to play poker and indulged in spirits now and again. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote of him "...He is intelligent with and astounding capacity for alcohol...." Kalakaua would often walk the streets of Honolulu cheerfully greeting everyone he met. His happy disposition made him known as "The Merrie Monarch," the name of the hula competition given each year on Hawai`i. Kalakaua urged Hawaiians to "increase the race" while appointing Hawaiians to posts in the government.

However, American businessmen changed the Hawaiian constitution reducing him to a mere puppet. By 1876, they ratified a treaty giving Pearl Harbor to the U.S. in return for the removal of the tariff on their sugar exports. By the end of the 19th century, Haole people owned 4 acres for every one owned by a Hawaiian. Some Westerners wanted more security which could only be accomplished by American annexation. In 1887, American and other Haole business leaders, backed by their own armed militia, imposed on Kalakaua the "Bayonet Constitution" severely limiting his power. It also placed new restrictions on voting rights, requiring voters to have a yearly income of $600 or own property worth $3,000 which disenfranchised about 3/4 of Hawaiian voters. Asian immigrants could not vote at all, but American and European males could vote even if they were not Hawaiian citizens.

In 1891, Kalakaua went to San Francisco for a much needed rest. Hawaiian ali`i often stayed at the old Palace Hotel (now the Sheraton Palace Hotel on Market Street) when they traveled to or through California. While there, he was awarded the "33rd Level" from Scottish Rites in San Francisco, the highest Masonic award bestowed on an individual. A few days later, Kalakaua became ill and died of a stroke leaving his sister, Liliuokalani, to carry on. Outrigger canoe racing, again, went into a decline.

There was growth and progress for everyone in Hawai`i at this time except for the Hawaiians. Poverty, before unknown in Hawaiian culture, was now commonplace. Children lived in ramshackle houses, ate poorly, and died too young. It was not enough for the Hawaiian to adopt the dress, language, and ways of the foreigner. While other children were being taught arts, and letters to prepare them for positions of leadership, Hawaiian children could not hope for so much.

As great-granddaughter of Kamehameha the Great (last direct descendant) High Chiefess Pauahi inherited ali`i lands, and helped the Hawaiian people readjust to new ways by example. She even turned down the thrown twice. Her parents did not approve of young Charles R. Bishop, a New Yorker, instead they would have chosen one of the Kamehamehas for her. Nevertheless, she married him.

She was charming and cultured, having been taught with other royal children by the Cookes. They say she had a modest and retiring disposition with ladylike manners and a light complexion, but she was Hawaiian to the core. Before her death, she saw the poverty and despair that enveloped the Hawaiian culture and it's children. Mrs. Bishop knew the answer was education. She wrote her will with a provision that read:

Thirteenth. I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate real and personal, wherever situated unto the trustees below named, their heirs and assigns forever, to hold upon the following trusts, namely: to erect and maintain in the Hawaiian Islands two schools, each for boarding and day scholars, one for boys and one for girls, to be known as, and called the Kamehameha Schools.

Thus beginning the Bishop Estate. Following his wife's wishes, Charles founded the famous Bishop Museum with his own funds.

Well cared for and happy as a little girl, she was brought up on her estate in Waikiki called Ainahau. Her father was a Scot, Archibald Cleghorn, and her mother was a Hawaiian princess, Miriam Likelike (pronounced "lee-keh-lee-keh, NOT "like-like"). She had her own peacocks which she often fed by hand. The pikake lei she wore was actually made of flowers called Chinese jasmine. "Pikake" is a Hawaiian word that came from her title "Princess of the Peacocks."

When her mother died at age 12, she was told she would have to attend school in England. Her friend, Robert Louis Stevenson, comforted her beneath her favorite banyan tree as she wept. While in England, she traveled, and was taught arts and letters. Though she never married she almost became betrothed to a Japanese prince.

While she was still in school, Queen Liliuokalani was deposed. She went to Washington D.C. to plead her case for the fallen monarchy. Her guardian, Theopolis Davies, acted as her advisor and issued her appeals. Together they attempted to rouse sympathy to restore control of Hawai`i to the Hawaiians. Though Davies would have benefitted from the provisional government's actions, he nevertheless felt Kaiulani should rule her own land. They met with President Cleveland and his wife, but the President was charmed, and that was all.

She went back to Hawai`i to spend her days as a figurehead. Officiating at ceremonies and presiding at charitable events. After having lost her land, her mother and her lover, some say she had no more will to live. She died at twenty-four, having never ruled. In a going-away poem to her, written not long after Kaiulani went to England, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote:

Fourth from her land to mine she goes,
The island maid, the island rose,
Light of heart and bright of face,
The daughter of a double race,

Her islands here in southern sun,
Shall mourn their Kaiulani gone,
and I, in her dear banyan's shade,
Look vainly for my little maid,

But our Scots islands far away,
Shall glitter with unwonted day,
and cast for once their tempest by,
to smile in Kaiulani's eye.

King Kalakaua

The "Bayonet" Constitution (1887)

Bernice Pauahi Bishop

Princess Kaiulani

Hawaiian Historical Chronology

Part 33<< -|- Index -|- >> Part 35

Hele on to Canoe Club News

Last Modified: Saturday - 19991113.15:22 EST
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