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THE LAST GREAT DEFENDER OF THE HAWAIIAN GODS.



Photo: Ku'ialuaopuna



The Legends and Myths of Hawaii

The fables and folk-lore of a strange people

Author: David Kalakaua

Editor: Rollin Mallory Daggett

Release Date: February 18, 2018 [EBook #56597]


Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the Online Distributed

Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net/ for Project

Gutenberg (This file was produced from images generously

made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)

pgs 431-447

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/56597/56597-h/56597-h.htm#ch16


THE LAST GREAT DEFENDER OF THE HAWAIIAN GODS. [ On the 1st of October, 1819, a fleet of four canoes bearing the royal colors set sail from Kawaihae, in the district of Kohala, on the northwestern coast of Hawaii. The canoes were large and commodious, and were occupied by between sixty and seventy persons, a portion of whom were females. The most of the men were large, muscular and over six feet in height, while the dress and bearing of many of the women indicated that they were of the tabu and chiefly classes. The costumes of a number of those of both sexes who seemed to be of rank were a strange admixture of native and foreign fabric and fashion. American and European manufactures were beginning to find a market in the islands, and the persons of many were adorned with rich cloths, jewelry and other tokens of civilization. Their weapons and utensils were largely of metal, and a squad of ten warriors armed with muskets, in one of the canoes, showed that the white man’s methods of warfare had received the early and earnest attention of the Hawaiian chiefs and leaders. The canoe leading the little squadron was double, with covered apartments extending into and across the united decks of both, and the persons occupying it, with the exception of soldiers, sailors and servants, were distinguished alike for their gaudy trappings and a boisterous merriment infusing a feeling of jollity throughout the fleet. In this canoe was Liholiho, who, on the death of his distinguished father, Kamehameha I., something less than five months before, had become sole monarch of the Hawaiian group. In addition to two of his queens, he was accompanied by Kapihe, the commander of the royal vessels; Kekuanaoa, the royal treasurer, and a retinue of chiefly friends and personal attendants. On the 8th of the previous May his royal father had died at Kailua, leaving to Liholiho the kingdom his arms had won, with Kaahumanu as second in authority and guardian of the realm. The morning following the death of his father Liholiho left Kailua for Kohala to avoid defilement, and there remained for ten days, when he returned to Kailua and formally assumed the sceptre. At the end of the season of mourning, for superstitious reasons the young king again left for Kohala, and took up his residence for a time at Kawaihae. Remaining there until the 1st of October, on the advice of Kaahumanu he had started on his return to Kailua. Interior of an Ancient Temple. During the brief residence of Liholiho at Kawaihae, Kaahumanu inaugurated a vigorous conspiracy against the priesthood, and resolved to persuade the young king to repudiate the religion and tabus of his fathers. In this scheme she was assisted by Keopuolani, the mother of Liholiho; Kalaimoku, the prime minister, and Hewahewa, the high-priest, who claimed descent from the renowned Paao. In the latter part of the reign of the first Kamehameha the gods and tabus of the priesthood began to lose something of their sanctity in the estimation of the masses. Although the first Christian missionaries to the islands did not arrive until nearly a year after the death of Kamehameha I., many trading and war vessels had touched at Hawaiian ports during the two preceding decades. No very clear idea of the Christian religion had been imparted to the natives by the sailors and traders with whom they had been brought in contact; but it could not have escaped their observation that the foreigner’s disregard of the tabu brought with it no punishment, and they very naturally began to question the divinity of a religious code limited in its scope to the Hawaiian people. The results of this growing scepticism were frequent violations of the tabu. To check this seditious tendency summary punishments were inflicted. A woman was put to death for entering the eating apartment of her husband, and Jarvis relates that three men were sacrificed at Kealakeakua, a short time before the death of Kamehameha—one of them for putting on the maro of a chief, another for eating a forbidden article, and the third for leaving a house that was tabu and entering one that was not. Kamehameha had learned something of the religion of the foreigners, but not enough to impress him greatly in its favor; and when questioned concerning it during his last illness he replied that he should die in the faith of his fathers, although he thought it well that his successor should give the subject attention. Different motives influenced the leaders in this conspiracy against the religion and tabus of the group. Kaahumanu, the favorite wife of Kamehameha I., but the mother of none of his children, was bold, ambitious and unscrupulous. Left second in authority under the young king, she chafed at the restraints imposed by the tabu upon her sex. Many of the most palatable foods were denied her by custom, and in her intercourse with foreigners acts of courtesy were chilled and hampered by numerous and irksome tabu interdictions. To enable her to eat and drink of whatever her appetites craved, and to do so in the presence of males, Kaahumanu was prepared to strike at the roots of a religious system which had maintained her ancestors in place and power, even though she had no definite knowledge of the new faith with which she hoped to supplant it. Although the uncle of one of the wives of Liholiho—Kekauonohi—Kalaimoku was not of distinguished rank. He was a chief of decided ability, however, and had been by degrees advanced under the first Kamehameha, until he became the prime minister of the second. Not being a tabu chief by birth, he was easily persuaded by Kaahumanu to lend his assistance in depriving those of higher rank of their tabu prerogatives, and to this end he and his brother Boki were baptized by the Roman Catholic chaplain of the French corvette L’Uranie shortly after the assumption of the government by Liholiho. This was done while the young king was residing at Kawaihae, and without his knowledge. Keopuolani, the political wife of Kamehameha I., and the mother of Liholiho, Kauikeaouli and Nahienaena, was the daughter of Kiwalao, and of supreme tabu rank. So well was this recognized that her distinguished husband, it is related, always approached her with his face to the earth. She lacked decision of character, however, and her adhesion to the conspiracy against the tabu was doubtless due to the influence over her of the crafty Kaahumanu. Whatever may have been the motives of others, the apostasy of Hewahewa seems to have been the result of conviction. Being the high-priest of Hawaii, he had everything to lose and nothing to profit by the destruction of the religious system of which he was the supreme and honored head. Of an inquiring mind, the little knowledge he had gained of the new creed had convinced him of the inconsistency of his own, and when the time came to strike he acted boldly. His hand was the first to apply the torch to the temples. Had he hesitated the conspiracy would have failed, for the influence of the high-priest with the masses at that time was second only to that of the king. Liholiho was strong only in his attachments. Born in 1797, when the group had been consolidated under one government and further wars were not apprehended, he had not been given that austere and solid training in civil and military life imparted to the princes of the previous generation. He was attracted by the vices rather than the virtues of the foreigners at intervals visiting the islands, and, realizing that his future was secure, had devoted almost exclusively to pleasure the ripening years of his youth. Light-hearted, affectionate and gentle, he had shown so little taste for public affairs at the age of twenty-two that his dying father, in bequeathing to him the sceptre, deemed it prudent to accompany it with the condition that, should he wield it unworthily, the supreme power should devolve upon Kaahumanu. These were the prominent actors in the scheme for the destruction of the priesthood, and this the character of the young king who had been tarrying for some months at Kawaihae, and to whom a message had been sent by Kaahumanu, informing him that, on his return to Kailua, she would openly set the gods at defiance and declare against the tabu. This information did not greatly astonish Liholiho. He knew of the growing hostility to the tabu; had talked with Hewahewa on the subject; had learned that his mother had failed to respect it on late occasions, and had himself seen it violated without harm to the offender. Yet he feared the consequences of an open declaration against the priesthood. He remembered the fate of Hua, whose bones whitened in the sun. He knew that his arrival at Kailua would precipitate the crisis, and compel him either to renounce or defend the gods of his fathers; and after leaving Kawaihae, as we have seen, with a party occupying four canoes, he pursued his way very leisurely toward Kailua, seemingly in no haste to reach his destination. Moving southward, and passing the rocky point immediately north of Puako, sail was shortened in the royal fleet, and the canoes drifted slowly along the coast, taking just wind enough to hold their course. Carousings were heard in the royal quarters. Liholiho appeared, and, waving his hand to a group of men and women forward, a wild hula dance was soon in progress, to the accompaniment of drums and rattling calabashes. The king watched the dancers for some time with a vacant air, and then began to mark the drum-beats with his feet. The emphasis of the movement increased, until, dismissing his dignity, his voice finally rose above the rude music, and he began to dance with an enthusiasm which seemed to be almost frenzied. Others of the royal party joined in the revelry, and for half an hour or more the vessel was the scene of tumultuous merriment. Bottles and calabashes of intoxicating liquors were then passed from one to another of the companions of the king, and the hula was continued, followed by chants, meles and other methods of enjoyment. Drinking was frequent, and the humbler members of the party were sparingly supplied with gin, whiskey and other stimulants. Similar scenes were transpiring in the canoes following, and the debauch was the wildest ever witnessed on any one of the eight Hawaiian seas. “Let us make drunk the water-gods!” exclaimed the king. “Here, Kuula, is a taste for you; and here, Ukanipo, is your share!” And he tossed into the ocean two bottles of liquor. “Let us hope the gods may not be angered by the unusual sacrifice,” said Laanui, one of the favorite companions of the king. He spoke seriously, and Liholiho’s face wore a troubled expression for a moment as he replied: “Then you have not yet lost faith in the gods, Laanui?” “No,” was the prompt answer of Laanui. The king did not continue the conversation. Turning and beckoning to a servant, more liquor was brought, after which the revelry was continued all through the day and far into the night. Meanwhile, so little progress had been made that at noon the next day the fleet was off Kiholo. For another twenty-four hours the feasting, drinking and dancing continued, when the revelers were met by a double ]canoe sent by Kaahumanu from Kailua in search of the royal party. The messengers of his chief counselor were courteously received by Liholiho, and, hoisting all sail, he was escorted by them to Kailua, where he was warmly welcomed by Kaahumanu and the members of the royal family. Appearances of dissipation were plainly visible in the language and bearing of the king, and Kaahumanu regarded the moment as auspicious for committing him to some flagrant and public act of hostility to the tabu. Both she and Keopuolani, the queen-mother, had been secretly violating it, since the death of Kamehameha I., by eating of foods interdicted to their sex, and to screen themselves from exposure it was necessary that the religious system should be destroyed of which the tabu was the vital force. This could be accomplished only through the united efforts of the king and high-priest. Hewahewa was prepared to do his part as the religious head of the kingdom, but the young king, notwithstanding the pressure that had been brought to bear upon him by Kaahumanu and a few of the leading chiefs of his court, was still undecided. A feast was prepared in honor of the king’s return to Kailua. In accordance with native custom, separate tables for the sexes were spread, and a number of foreigners were present as the invited guests of Kaahumanu. During the afternoon Liholiho, in response to well-devised banters, had been induced to drink and smoke with the female members of his family. This was a favorable beginning, and, farther emboldened by his mother, who deliberately ate a banana in his presence and drank the milk of a cocoanut, he declared that he would openly set the tabu at defiance during the approaching feast. It was feared that his courage would fail, and he was not left to himself for a moment until he led the way to the feast. His step was unsteady, and his face wore a troubled expression as he proceeded to the pavilion, accompanied by Kaahumanu, Keopuolani and other members of the royal household. As they separated to take seats at their respective tables, the queen-mother gave Liholiho a look of encouragement, and Kaahumanu said to him in a low tone: “If you have the courage of your father, this will be a great day for Hawaii.” The king made no reply, for at that moment his eyes fell upon wooden images of Ku and Lono, on opposite sides of the entrance, and he stepped briskly past them and seated himself at the head of one of the tables. The sight of the idols almost unnerved him, and some of the guests observed that his hand trembled as he raised to his lips and drained a vessel of what seemed to be strong liquor. The guests were all seated. Hewahewa rose, and, glancing at the troubled face of the king, lifted his hands and said with firmness: “One and all, may we eat in peace, and in our hearts give thanks to the one and only god of all.” The words of the high-priest restored the sinking courage of the king. He rose from his seat, deliberately walked to one of the tables reserved for the women, and seated himself beside his mother. During the strange proceeding not a word was spoken, not a morsel touched. Some believed him to be intoxicated; others were sure that he was insane. Since the age of Wakea no one had so defied the gods and lived. Many natives rose from the tables, and horror took the place of astonishment when Liholiho, encouraged by his mother, began to freely partake of the food prepared for the women. Interdicted fish, meats and fruits were then brought to the tables of the women by order of the king, who ate from their plates and drank from their vessels. Now satisfied that the king was acting deliberately and with the approval of the most influential dignitaries of the kingdom, including the supreme high-priest, a majority of the chiefs present promptly followed the example of their sovereign, and an indescribable scene ensued. “The tabu is broken! the tabu is broken!” passed from lip to lip, swelling louder and louder as it went, until it reached beyond the pavilion. There it was taken up in shouts by the multitude, and was soon wafted on the winds to the remotest corners of Kona. Feasts were at once provided, and men and women ate together indiscriminately. The tabu foods of palace and temple were voraciously eaten by the masses, and thousands of women for the first time learned the taste of flesh and fruits which had tempted their mothers for centuries. At the conclusion of the royal feast a still greater surprise bewildered the people. “We have made a bold beginning,” said Hewahewa to the king, thus adroitly assuming a part of the responsibility; “but the gods and heiaus cannot survive the death of the tabu.” “Then let them perish with it!” exclaimed Liholiho, now nerved to desperation at what he had done. “If the gods can punish, we have done too much already to hope for grace. They can but kill, and we will test their powers by inviting the full measure of their wrath.” Ancient Temple by the Sea-Shore, 1793. To this resolution the high-priest gave his ready assent, and orders were issued at once for the destruction of the gods and temples throughout the kingdom. Resigning his office, Hewahewa was the first to apply the torch, and in the smoke of burning heiaus, images and other sacred property, beginning on Hawaii and ending at Niihau, suddenly passed away a religious system which for fifteen hundred years or more had shaped the faith, commanded the respect and received the profoundest reverence of the Hawaiian people. No creed was offered by the iconoclasts in lieu of the system destroyed by royal edict, and until the arrival of the first Christian missionaries, in March of the year following, the people of the archipelago were left without a shadow of religious restraint or guidance. While the abolition of the tabu system received the universal approval of the masses, the destruction of the gods and temples met with very considerable remonstrance and opposition. It was believed by many that the priesthood might be preserved without the tabu, and that the king had transcended his sovereign power in striking down both at a single blow. Hence many gods were saved from the burning temples, and thousands refused to relinquish the faith in which they had been reared. Deprived of their occupations, the priests denounced the destruction of the heiaus, and it was not long before a formidable conspiracy against the government was organized on Hawaii, under the leadership of Kekuaokalani, a chief of rare accomplishments and a cousin of the king. Defection appeared at the court, and several chiefs of distinction gave their support to the revolutionary movement. However it may be regarded in the light of its results, on the part of Kekuaokalani the rebellion was a brave and conscientious defence of the religion of his fathers. He raised the standard of revolt within a day’s march of Kailua, and invited to its support all who condemned the action of Liholiho in decreeing the destruction of the national religion. He scorned all compromises and concessions, and but for the firearms of the whites would doubtless have wrested the sceptre from his royal cousin. It has been asserted that Kekuaokalani was ambitious and availed himself of the discontent created by the anti-religious decrees of Liholiho as a possible means of seizing the reins of government. This assumption is not sustained either by the words or acts of the unfortunate chief. The ambassadors sent to him after the first skirmish of the conflict reported that he declined all terms of peaceful settlement. This, however, was not the case. What he demanded was that Liholiho should withdraw his edicts against the priesthood, permit the rebuilding of the temples, and dismiss Kalaimoku as prime minister and Kaahumanu as chief counselor of the government. These conditions were declined, and the ambassadors returned with the story that they had offered to leave the question of religion entirely with the people, but that Kekuaokalani would have nothing but war. A correct statement of what occurred at the interview would doubtless have weakened the royal cause, and was therefore withheld. After the resignation of Hewahewa as high-priest the position devolved upon Kekuaokalani by right of precedence, and, believing in the sanctity of his gods, as a brave man he could not do less than take up arms in their defence. No characters in Hawaiian history stand forth with a sadder prominence, or add a richer tint to the vanishing chivalry of the race, than Kekuaokalani and his courageous and devoted wife, Manono, the last defenders in arms of the Hawaiian gods. They saw all that the light around them presented, but the only gods known to them were those of their fathers, and they died in a futile effort to protect them. They were brave, noble and conscientious, and the cause in which they perished cannot detract from the grandeur or dim the glory of the sacrifice. In the veins of Kekuaokalani ran the best blood both of Hawaii and Oahu. He was a nephew of Kamehameha I., and his strain was even superior in rank to that of his distinguished uncle. His great-grandmother was Kamakaimoku, a princess of Oahu, who became the wife of Kalaninuiamamao, one of the sons of Keawe, king of Hawaii, and the mother of Kalaniopuu, grandfather of Keopuolani, mother of Liholiho. One of the full sisters of Kalaniopuu was Manona, the grandmother of Kekuaokalani. One of the early wives of Kamehameha I. was Kalola, a chiefess of Hawaii. She subsequently became the wife of Kekuamanoha, a younger brother of Kahekili, king of Maui, and the mother of Manono, wife of Kekuaokalani. As the mother of Manono was a daughter of Kumukoa, one of the sons of Keawe, king of Hawaii, and her father was a prince of Maui, she was not only of high rank, but was related in blood both to her husband and the reigning family. Kekuaokalani is referred to by tradition as one of the most imposing chiefs of his day. He was more than six and a half feet in height, perfect in form, handsome in feature and noble in bearing. Brave, sagacious and magnetic, he possessed the requirements of a successful military leader; but as war had practically ceased with the conquest of the group by Kamehameha I., and he had little taste for the frivolities of the court, where he might have worn out his life in honored idleness, he turned his attention to the priesthood. Beginning at the bottom, with patient application he passed through the intervening degrees until he stood beside the high-priest, fully his equal in learning, and more than his peer in devotion to his calling. He mastered the chronological meles of the higher priesthood and the esoteric lore and secret symbols of the temple, and with the death of Hewahewa it was the universal expectation that the duties of the high-priesthood would devolve upon him. In disposition he was humane, charitable and unselfish, and, appreciating the nobility of his character, his wife worshipped him almost as a god. In return he bestowed upon her the full measure of his affection, and the waters of their lives flowed peacefully on together until the grave engulfed them both. This was the character of the sturdy chief around whom the friends of the dethroned gods of Hawaii began to rally. He counseled peace and submission so long as he could find listeners among the disaffected, but in the end he was forced into the revolt and became the leader of the movement. He was present at the royal feast at Kailua when Liholiho publicly violated the tabu and decreed the destruction of the temples. He saw Hewahewa, the venerable high-priest, who had been to an extent his religious guide and instructor, cast the first brand upon the heiau where they had so often worshipped together and sought the counsels of the gods. At first all this [441]seemed to be a horrible dream, but the burning temples and frantic rejoicings of the populace soon convinced him that it was a bewildering reality, and he threw himself to the earth and prayed that his sight might be blasted, that he might witness no farther the sacrilegious acts of the people. “Liholiho’s brain is on fire with strong drink, and he may be urged to do anything,” thought Kekuaokalani; “but Hewahewa—it must be that he is insane, and it is my duty to speak with him.” He sought and found the high-priest, and learned to his great grief that Hewahewa was not only sound in mind, but was in thorough accord with the king in his determination to destroy the temples and repudiate the priesthood. “And you, a high-priest of the blood of Paao, advise this!” said Kekuaokalani, bitterly. “I advise it,” was the calm reply of Hewahewa; “but I am no longer the high-priest of Hawaii; the king has been so notified.” “Then here and now do I assume the vacant place,” returned Kekuaokalani, promptly. “By whose appointment?” inquired Hewahewa. “By the will of the outraged gods whose temples are turning to ashes around us!” replied Kekuaokalani, with energy. “They will teach me my duty, even should they fail to visit vengeance upon their betrayers!” With these words Kekuaokalani turned and walked away. His heart was filled with anguish, and the shouts of the people drove him almost to despair. Reaching the pavilion, he lifted and placed upon his shoulder the prostrate and mutilated image of Lono that had stood beside the entrance, and with the precious burden strode gloomily and defiantly past the palace and disappeared. For a month or more nothing was heard of Kekuaokalani at the court. Meantime, the work of destruction continued, and the smoke of burning temples rose everywhere throughout the group. At length word reached Kailua that some of the priesthood, sustained by a number of influential chiefs, were inciting a revolt in South Kono. Little attention was paid to the report until it was learned that Kekuaokalani had accepted the leadership of the movement. This alarmed the court, and a council of chiefs was called. Discussion developed the prevailing opinion that the threatened uprising was merely a local disturbance that could be quelled without difficulty, and Liholiho’s apprehensions were further relieved by the assurance of one of the chiefs that, with the assistance of forty warriors, he would undertake to bring Kekuaokalani a prisoner to Kailua within three days. “Not with forty times forty!” said Hewahewa, earnestly. Better than any one else he understood and appreciated the lofty courage of Kekuaokalani, and was too generous to listen to its disparagement without protest. “No, not with forty times forty!” he continued. “Without Kekuaokalani the revolt will amount to nothing; with him, it means war.” “Then war let it be, since he invites it!” exclaimed Kalaimoku. “But may he not be persuaded to peace?” inquired the king, addressing the question, apparently, to Hewahewa. “Undoubtedly,” replied the latter, “if we are prepared to accept his conditions.” “What, think you, would be the conditions?” returned the king. “The restoration of the tabu and the rebuilding of the temples,” was the deliberate answer of Hewahewa. The king was silent; but before the council dissolved it was understood that a force would be sent against the rebels at once, and for a week or more preparations for the campaign were in progress, under the supervision of Kalaimoku. Everything at length being in readiness, the royal army, numbering, it is presumed, not less than fifteen hundred warriors, some of them bearing firearms, moved southward from Kailua in the direction of Kaawaloa, where had been established the rebel headquarters. Having accepted the leadership of the rebellion, and regarding himself as a champion selected by the gods for their defence, Kekuaokalani vitalized the movement with an energy and enthusiasm which soon brought the people to its support in large numbers, and the winter solstice found him in command of an army large enough to inspire him with a reasonable hope of success. The five intercalated days between the winter solstice and the beginning of the new year had from time immemorial been set apart as a season of tabu, dedicated to festivities in honor of Lono, one of the Hawaiian trinity. In the midst of the general religious demoralization Kekuaokalani devoted to the season its customary observances—the last yearly festival ever authoritatively given to Lono in the group. The movements of the government were regularly and rapidly reported to Kekuaokalani, and when the royal troops left Kailua he was prepared to meet them. Through his efforts a heiau near Kaawaloa had escaped destruction. Thither he repaired, and, offering sacrifices to the gods, prayed that they would manifest their power by giving him victory. He did not await the assault of the royal forces. Leaving Kaawaloa, he attacked and defeated their advance not far north of that place, throwing the entire army into confusion. Satisfied with the success, he returned to Kaawaloa. News of the repulse reaching Kailua, a consultation was called by the king, and Kalaimoku urged the prompt advance of reinforcements by land and sea, and an immediate and overwhelming attack upon the rebels at Kaawaloa, rightly claiming that every day would add to the strength of the insurgents under the inspiration of the slight victory they had achieved. This advice was accepted, and every available force was immediately sent to the front, including a squadron of double canoes under the command of Kaahumanu and Kalakua, one of them carrying a mounted swivel in charge of a foreigner. Uncertain as to the strength of the rebels, and by no means confident of the results of a struggle which had opened in favor of his enemies, Liholiho advised a resort to peaceful negotiations before staking everything on the chances of battle. Hoapili, who stood in the capacity of husband to the queen-mother, and Naihe, hereditary national counselor and orator, were selected as ambassadors to confer with Kekuaokalani, and Keopuolani volunteered to accompany them. Reaching the camp of the insurgents, the ambassadors were graciously received by Kekuaokalani, and used every means to effect an amicable settlement of the difficulties that had brought two hostile armies face to face; but nothing satisfactory could be accomplished. They were not authorized to offer such terms as Kekuaokalani felt that he could consistently accept, inasmuch as they failed to embrace either the restoration of the tabu or the rebuilding of the temples. Naihe offered to leave the question of religion optional with the insurgents. To this proposal Kekuaokalani bitterly replied: “You offer the scales of the fish after you have picked the bones. As they are without temples, where would they worship? As they are without altars, where would they sacrifice? As they are without the tabu, what to them would be sacred and acceptable to the gods?” “Then must we take back the word that Kekuaokalani will have nothing but war?” said Keopuolani, sadly. “No, honored mother of princes,” replied Kekuaokalani, in a tone so solemn and impressive that his listeners stood awed in his presence. “Say, rather, that Kekuaokalani, the last high-priest, it may be, of Hawaii, is prepared to die in defence of the gods to whose service he has devoted his life. If they are omnipotent, as he believes them to be, their temples will rise again; if not, he is more than willing to hide his disappointment in the grave!” Naihe was his uncle; Kamakaimoku was the great-grandmother both of Keopuolani and himself, and the king was his cousin. As a condition of peace he demanded the recall of the edicts against the tabu and the temples. As this could not be conceded, the ambassadors appealed to his relationship with themselves and the royal family; but he could not be moved. “We are proud of our blood,” he said to Keopuolani, “but who but the gods made kings of our ancestors?” Finding that nothing could be effected, the ambassadors withdrew with tokens of mutual regret, and were safely and respectfully escorted beyond the rebel lines. The reports they allowed to be circulated on their return, that Kekuaokalani had refused to consider any terms of peace, and that they had narrowly escaped with their lives, were inventions employed to mislead and exasperate the royal army. With the departure of the ambassadors Manono sought her husband to learn the results of the conference. The information that no agreement had been reached did not surprise her. For weeks past all the auguries had indicated blood, and the night before the alae had screamed in the palms behind her hut. “Thank the gods for the omen!” said Kekuaokalani. “But the voice of the alae is a presage of evil,” suggested Manono. “Only to those who do evil,” replied the chief. “The fate of the gods, whose battles we fight, is shaped by themselves.” “Have you no fear of the result?” inquired Manono. “I fear nothing,” was the reply; “but the thought has sometimes come to me of late that the gods are reserving for Liholiho and his advisers a punishment greater than I may be able to inflict. Should that be so, I am obstructing with spears the path of their vengeance, and will be sacrificed.” “The will of the gods be done!” said Manono, devoutly. “But, whatever may be the fate of Kekuaokalani, Manono will share it.” “Brave Manono!” exclaimed the husband, with emotion. “If the gods so will it we will die together!” That night Kekuaokalani took up his line of march for Kailua, determined to give battle to the royal forces wherever he might encounter them. He moved near the coast, and the next morning the hostile armies met at Kuamoo. Arranging his forces in order of battle, Kekuaokalani sent to the front a number of newly-decorated gods in the charge of priests, and, in turn addressing the several divisions, conjured them in impassioned language to defend the gods of their fathers. Kalaimoku commanded the royal army in person. The battle opened in favor of the rebels, and with them would have been the victory but for the great superiority of the royalists in firearms. At a critical juncture a battalion of musketeers, some of whom were foreigners, charged the rebel centre, when the division gave way in something of a panic, and soon the entire rebel forces were in retreat. Retiring to the adjacent seaside, under cover of a stone wall they made a successful resistance for some time; but the squadron of double canoes already referred to, under the command of Kaahumanu and Kalakua, enfiladed the position with musketry and a mounted swivel, and the insurgents abandoned the unequal struggle, the most of them scattering and seeking shelter in the neighboring hills. Although wounded early in the action, Kekuaokalani gallantly kept the field. Everywhere was his tall form seen moving throughout the conflict, rallying and cheering his followers, while at his side fought the brave Manono. He finally fell with a musket-ball through his heart. With a wild scream of despair Manono sprang to his assistance, and the next moment a bullet pierced her temple, and she fell dead across the body of her dying husband. Kalaimoku was the first to approach, and gazing long upon the noble features of Kekuaokalani, grand even in death, turned to his followers and said: “Truly, since the days of Keawe a grander Hawaiian has not lived!” Thus died the last great defenders of the Hawaiian gods. They died as nobly as they had lived, and were buried together where they fell on the field of Kuamoo. Small bodies of religious malcontents were subdued at Waimea and one or two other points, but the hopes and struggles of the priesthood virtually ended with the death of Kekuaokalani.


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