Falling are the Heavens, Part I



                                 Postcard of I’olani Palace, Honolulu

The high chiefess Kina’u, daughter of Kamehameha I and his wife Kaheiheimālie, bore five children of divine rank, including Lot Kapuaiwa and Alexander Liholiho. With the death of Kamehameha III in 1854, Alexander Liholiho became king (Kamehameha IV). His father was the high chief Mataio Kekūanāoʻa, governor of Oʻahu, but he had been raised as a hana’i (foster) child by Kamehameha II. Along with his wife, Emma Rooke, Liholiho was a student of Amos and Juliette Cook at the Chiefsʻ Childrenʻs School. The Cooks, while strict and austere, were known to be comparatively worldly in their views, and Liholiho dreamed of someday sending a son to Eton. As a young man, he traveled through Europe and Asia with his older brother, Prince Lot, and Dr. Gerrit P. Judd, a doctor and missionary turned government official, and he and his wife were the leaders of a young Honolulu set which included haole and Hawaiian grandees.


KIV and Lot with Gerrit P. on trip to US and Europe.jpg

              Dr. Gerrit P. Judd with King Kamehameha IV and his brother Lot Kapuaiwa (the future Kamehameha V) during their trip to the United States and Europe in 1850

Although Emma, who had been raised by her adoptive father, the Englishman Dr. Thomas Rooke, was educated by missionaries, as well as an English governess, and was one of the founders of the Episcopal Church in Hawaiʻi, she was extremely proud of her Hawaiian blood. In a letter to a cousin confined to a leper colony on Molokaʻi, she wrote that she wished her people to “become acquainted with ancient songs, their origin, object, composers, effects…for that is the way our Island history has been preserved — entirely oral.” As the queen and others encouraged the revival of Hawaiian culture, the once pervasive and often destructive influence of the missionaries from New England was simultaneously coming to an end — even the missionaries did not miss the irony when the beautiful Emma appeared at a masked ball as the pagan goddess Cybele.



                            “Cybele,” queen consort of Kamehameha IV

In 1863, Dr. Rufus Anderson of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (he who had once advised against the teaching of English to Hawaiians), realized that the work of the Mission was finished. The number of missionaries sent in twelve companies to seventeen stations on five of the Hawaiian Islands between 1830 and 1863 was one hundred seventy-eight, almost half of whom had been teachers, doctors, agents, and lay members. The clergymen who had served in Hawaii, many of whom were elderly, if not exhausted by their years of labor, were encouraged to put their pastorates in the hands of native students trained by them or at schools in the United States.



Miriam Likelike, 1851-1887.jpg

Princess Miriam Likelike (1851-1877), wife of W.’s great great grandfather, Archibald S. Cleghorn. Her early death was mysterious, and some believed that a death spell had fallen upon her.

The following is from the book Shoal of Time by Gavan Daws:

By the end of the sixties the retreat of the missionaries had turned into a rout. Their own children, confined to calisthenics (“Presbyterian dancing”) at Punahou, were quick to take up real dancing once they left school…At the opening of a skating rink at Honolulu Queen Emma sat in the royal box and watched the lancers, the quadrille and the grand march performed — all on skates; the elderly wife of the Reverend Lowell Smith…was seen swimming at Waikiki on a Sunday; and the children of missionaries were ‘dancing themselves silly’ at weekend parties in the country.

Alexander Liholihoʻs reign as Kamehameha IV (1854-1863) was marred by scandal, including the king’s own shooting of his private secretary, whom he wrongly suspected of dishonoring his wife. Dead by age twenty-nine, he was succeeded in 1863 by his brother Lot (Kamehameha V), who was the hanaʻi son of Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena.



Princess Nahi’ena’ena, sacred daughter of Kamehameha I, wearing a traditional ‘ahu ‘ula, or feathered cape (gowns ordered from Worth in Paris were not to be fashionable for another fifty years)

A fervent advocate of his people, Lot Kapuaiwa cared little what haoles thought of him. He encouraged the dancing of hula, chanting, and native healing, and repealed the laws that forbade what missionaries called “kahunaism.” He refused to sign a bill permitting the sale of alcohol to Hawaiians, however, as he saw drink as the cause of much death amongst them. He had been betrothed at birth to Princess Bernice Pauahi, but she married instead the American banker Charles Reed Bishop, and he did not speak to her for the rest of his life. A powerful female sorcerer said to be expert in healing and in prophecy lived with him, and was believed by many to be his mistress. Like his brother and cousins, he suffered from ill health, and from an addiction to drink, but despite his melancholia, his concerns were always those of his people. Those lined against him — American business interests, the Protestant church, and the educated, confident, acquisitive descendants of missionary families — had become too powerful. The Islands had become valuable both economically and as a military outpost. Hawaiʻi was no longer a sleepy tropical backwater.



Princess Ka’iulani, heir to Queen Liliu’okalani, the last queen of Hawai’i, daughter of Miriam Likelike and Archibald Cleghorn, who died of a lingering illness when she was twenty-three years old

Lotʻs cousin, William Charles Lunalilo, had been in love since childhood with Lotʻs sister, Princess Victoria Kamāmalu, who was a granddaughter of Kamehameha I, and heir to Kaʻahumanuʻs large estates. Lot, who wished Kamāmalu to be the consort of David Kalākaua, at last gave Lunalilo permission to marry her, despite her long intimacy with Marcus Monsarrat, a married haole auctioneer in Honolulu. Lunalilo surprisingly refused to marry her at the last moment, promising to arrive too drunk for any ceremony to be binding. He wrote the following poem, “The Princeʻs Words to the Princess.”

I loved you once, I believed you.

Even I thought you were true. You made me swear to be loyal and remember.

Remember your own oath and keep it true.

For this body, beloved, brims with my love.

At the thought of your mouth my heart leaps with love remembered in a magic pool.

Now as we climb a winding way at Maʻemaʻe, here where buds of Mauanaʻala shed the fragrance we knew from childhood only too well,

what flower will burn from your body if I, beloved, lie in your arms?


Kamehameha V reigned 1830-1872.jpg

                                                            Lot Kapuaiwa, King Kamehameha V  

During Lotʻs reign, the legislature fell into turmoil, with certain haole members refusing to speak Hawaiian, and Hawaiian senators refusing to speak English. In bad health for some time, he died without children on his fortieth birthday, marking the end of the Kamehameha line of kings. Among his possible successors were Lunalilo, a descendant of a half-brother of Kamehameha I, who was the favorite of both Hawaiian and American interests; and David Kalākaua, the ambitious son of a high chief of Maui (whose grandfather had been hanged for killing Kalākauaʻs mother). The legislature, which had been granted the right to choose a new king under the constitution of 1862, settled on Lunalilo. Isabella Bird somewhat condescendingly described the new king, who lived with his mistress, Eliza Meeks, the part-Hawaiian daughter of a harbor pilot:

The king is a very fine-looking man of thirty-eight, tall, well formed, broad-chested, with his head well set on his shoulders, and his feet and hands small. His appearance is decidedly commanding and aristocratic: he is certainly handsome even according to our notions. He has a fine open brow, significant at once of brains and straightforwardness, a straight, proportionate nose, and a good mouth. The slight tendency to Polynesian overfulness (sic) about his lips is concealed by a well-shaped moustache…His eyes are large, dark brown of course, and equally of course, he has a superb set of teeth…He is remarkably gentlemanly looking, and has the grace of movement which seems usual with Hawaiians.



   My childhood friend, a part-Hawaiian descendant of Dr. Gerrit P. Judd

6 thoughts on “Falling are the Heavens, Part I

  1. porterstoddard March 14, 2016 / 4:09 am


    Sent on the new Sprint Network from my Samsung Galaxy S®4.


  2. Toni Withington March 14, 2016 / 8:16 am

    Fascinating snippets from the lives of royalty strung together as lei. Waiting for Part 2.


  3. PunaAunty May 2, 2016 / 5:56 am

    I’ve been following your blog since it’s conception and I do hope you find the time to continue writing it as I’ve so enjoyed each posting. Thank you so much from a Puna Aunty.


  4. Ke'alohi January 3, 2017 / 3:55 am

    Princess Ka’iulani was 23 when she passed away


    • Susanna Moore January 3, 2017 / 4:59 am

      Thank you; just fixed. Don’t know how I made that mistake; I know better.


    • Susanna Moore January 3, 2017 / 9:45 pm

      I should especially have known better as her father was my husband’s great great grandfather.


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