The Hawaiian Flag and James Auld and Capt. Alexander Adams…

It is interesting to note that newspaperman, James Auld, who was responsible for the Kuokoa 1/1/1862 color image of the Hawaiian Flag was the son of Andrew Auld, who arrived from Scotland in 1816. And that this Andrew Auld was apparently dear friends with none other than fellow Scot, Capt. Alexander Adams, who captained the Kaahumanu (formerly named Forrester) for Kamehameha I. Adams is traditionally credited for designing the the Hawaiian Flag.

[Andrew Auld and Alexander Adams lay side by side at Oahu Cemetery, their single gravestone reads: "Twa croanies frae the land of heather / Are sleepin' here in death th'gether."Two close friends from the land of heather (Scotland) are sleeping here in death together.

And James' brother, William, who we spoke of earlier as the engraver of James' wife's (Uwinihepa's) tombstone, was perhaps more importantly one of the four men sent to take the Anti-Annexation Petitions to Washington D. C. Oh! and William marries one of the daughters of Capt. Alexander Adams, Mary (9/21/1859). Both James and William seem to also go by the last name Andrew/Andrews.]

History of the Hawaiian Flag. 1862.

“The Beautiful Flag of Hawaii,
Let it forever wave.”

The Hawaiian Flag

We are pleased and happy about the Hawaiian Flag printed above, and the people subscribing to Ka Nupepa Kuokoa will be delighted to see it. We display the Flag, urged to do so by our great aloha for our King, Queen, and Ka Haku o Hawaii, their son, as well as for our Nation. The love by the people for their flag of their country is customary, and when they see her fluttering, it fills their hearts with joy.

The printing of the Flag in a Newspaper is something new, along with the displaying of its colors*. This is something not done previously here, as well as in some foreign countries. Perhaps our friends will inquire as to who did this work. Some Hawaiians did the work, people from this Archipelago, and they were taught to do this in our Printing Office. Here is how it was done: Woodblocks were carved in the fashion of the flag using two blocks. When it was printed, first the blue was printed, allowed to set, then the red was printed. This printing was done solely by Hawaiians. Such is the intelligence of the kanaka maoli, and that is how we recognize it. If we are instructed to do any task under the sun, Hawaiians can do the same as the white-skinned people.

If you should want to see this, you should support Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, and urge your acquaintances and friends to pay the two dollars a year. If you would kindly help, you will see many things that will gladden and instruct you.

You, O fluttering Flag,
The proud blossom of Hawaii.
Established by Kamehameha the great,
With Spear in hand, with strength,
Flutter over Hawaii and Niihau, and give protection.
Beneath your wings,
So that the peace of Hawaii be known,
By her King and the people as well.
The cross on your crest that Britain holds dear,
The Nations of Europe also give acclaim,
You are the Flag of old,
The time of Kamehameha the great,
The bravest warrior of Hawaii,
He who joined the islands,
With unity from end to end,
Living as one in contentment,
Along with the Spear upon which he erected,
The steadfast Nation of Hawaii.
We rejoice, and rejoice for all time,
His famed accomplishments,
You wave there above,
The crown of Iolani, the king
While giving shelter,
To Emma, the Queen.
Along with Ka Haku o Hawaii.
The Royal child of Iolani and Emma,
And Kalohelani, the Regent, Victoria Kamamalu.
The loving aunt of the young lord, Prince Albert,
Do remember his His Highness, Lot Kapuaiwa,
Cleansing the fruit of the pandanus in the sea,
Your fluttering has garnered
The peace that allowed us to seek,
The knowledge that has come,
To the Hawaiian populace.
That year long ago.
You were taken from your proper place.
Not a year passed,
You were raised by the loving hands of Admiral Thomas.
The one you fondly recall,
On the day of his death when it approaches,
You will wave there, O beautiful Flag.
O symbol of Hawaii’s Independence ;
Here is your body, being brought.
Before your beloved people,
By the Newspaper called,
Ka Nupepa Kuokoa of Hawaii,
The Excellence of your Nation.
A garment that adorns the Hawaiian People,
Wave forever.
Over the beloved sea of Mamala,
We, Hawaii, will cherish always,
The eternal glory of thy name.
The Hawaiian Flag! The Hawaiian Flag!!
The Flag of the Islands of Kamehameha IV.

This Flag was first designed in the year 1816 for Kamehameha I.

The King, wanting a ship to sail to China to sell Sandalwood, searched along with John Young, Isaac Davis, and Captain Alexander Adams of Kalihi, who is still living, for a Flag for the ship. It was a man-o-war, called the Forrester, carrying sixteen guns. Kamehameha I owned the ship.

When the Flag was completed, the ship sailed to Macao. The Flag was puzzled over, and was not accepted as a National Flag. The ship was charged exorbitantly for harbor fees, the Sandalwood was sold for a loss, and the ship returned to Hawaii.

The King learned of this loss, and he said that a tax should be placed on the harbor of Honolulu like those of foreign lands. That is when duty was first charged for the harbor.

In 1843, the 25th of February, this Flag was taken down by Lord George Paulet [Lo Keoki], with the intent that this Archipelago be taken as a possession of Great Britain. The British flag was raised on flag poles all around the land, until the 31st of July of that year.

It was Admiral Thomas who restored the Flag, for he disputed the actions of Lord George Paulet.

[Notice the English column to the left, which gives a translation of the Hawaiian. It seems this issue of the Kuokoa was sent to home by many a missionary, to show the progress they were making...

*A word of clarification: This is not the first time color appears in a newspaper. For more on this topic, see Hana Hou Magazine, August/September 2011: "Read All About It!" by Ron Williams.]

(Kuokoa, 1/1/1862, p. 1)

"Ka Hae Nani o Hawaii...

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke I, Helu 6, Aoao 1. Ianuari 1, 1862.

History of the Hawaiian Flag. 1880.

In Thrum’s Hawaiian Almanac and Annual for 1880, pp. 24–26, appears this article:

THE HAWAIIAN FLAG.

We exceedingly regret to report an unsuccessful search for the History of the present Flag of these Islands, the time of its adoption and the parties interested in its formation; but after diligent inquiries and research through volumes of voyages, histories, periodicals and manuscript journals during the past three years, we have to acknowledge the main fact lost in oblivion, while references thereto in various voyages and histories are confusing and contradictory.

There is a general idea and belief among many of our old residents that the present Hawaiian Flag was made by the late Capt. Alexander Adams before his voyage to China in the brig “Kaahumana, [Kaahumanu]” in 1817, and was by him first flown, not only in the Chinese waters, but on the coast of California. Others again have the impression that a flag was brought from China by him; but we can gather no information corroborative as to who was authorized in Chinese waters to design a flag for this, even small kingdom, though the description given viz: a St. George and St. Andrew’s cross in the corner filled in with blue, with field consisting of red and white stripes, shows almost virtually the East India Flag. Refering to Capt. Adams’ Journal we find the following mention only, that touches upon the points in question: ” April, 1816, The King of these Islands having a strong passion to purchase the brig, (‘Forrester,’ of London) and expressing the same, myself and Capt. Ebbetts was accordingly deputed to treat with him, but he would not purchase her without I would enter his service as her commander. I resultingly acquiesced, the brig being given up to him at Kealakekua, and called by him Kaahumanu * * *. I was accordingly honored on taking command with the Flag of his Majesty and a salute of 11 guns.”

This certainly refutes the general belief that the flag was made by Capt. Adams, as his own narrative shows a flag to have been here before him ; but
whether the present one or some other we cannot gather, for it is evident that there have been more than one. In another portion of his journal is an allusion to a flag—but also without description—that has no doubt given rise to the idea of his making the flag; where at Waimea, Kauai, at which port he had touched from Honolulu for supplies, en route for China, he notes: “Mch. 12, 1817, * * * Gave the King our ensign to hoist in lieu of the Russian, who said it was on account of his having no other.”

It is to be borne in mind that the allusion here is to the king of Kauai, and not Kamehameha, as Kauai was under its own King till 1821, and his possession of a Russian flag while the principal town was occupied by a Russian colony was not strange.

Finding these theories of Capt. Adams’ authorship exploded by his own writings, search was made in other directions with the following result. Vancouver, in his last visit, (1793) when he assured Kamehameha of England’s friendship and protection, gave him an English flag, which we find by Archibald Campbell, in his “Voyage round the World, 1806-1812,” arriving at these Islands Dec. 1808, that the English colors were used, for he says: “The King’s residence, built close upon the shore, and surrounded by a palisade upon the land side, was distinguished by the British colors.”

Jarvis [Jarves] states, (pp. 96) describing the period of about 1816, speaks of the flag, as somewhat similiar to the present, viz: “English Union, with seven alternated red, white and blue stripes.” This however is not coroborated by Lord Byron, in his “Voyage of the Blonde,” in 1825, in which he describes the flag as follows: “On all days of ceremony the Sandwich flag is hoisted on the forts; it has seven white and red stripes with a Union Jack in the corner.” (P. 121.)

This is almost the East India flag before described, and confuses the searcher after truth as to when the several changes took place. If Jarvis is correct in the flag he describes, and he certainly was in a position to know whereof he wrote, it is a grave error in the recorder of the “Voyage of the Blonde” to give so different a one nine years later. The present flag has eight stripes representing the Islands of the group-white, red and blue, with Union Jack in the corner. Capt. Hunt, who was here in the Baselisk [Basilisk] in 1845, is said to have changed the relative position of the colors of the stripes by placing the white on top instead of at the bottom, though there is a possibility of this being the time of adding the eighth stripe, Jarvis and Byron mentioning only seven. Capt. Hunt is also accredited with designing the Royal Standard now in use.

We leave the above subject as here recorded, trusting it will meet the eye of some one whose knowledge and memory will be freshened thereby to account the true history of the Hawaiian Flag, its origin, and parties interested in its formation.

[The original of this article is downloadable here at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's EVOLS page! This publication is very useful for many random facts about Hawaii at the time. If you have not seen it before, you should go check it out!!]