The Chiefs’ Children’s School and its beginnings. 1844.

Schools and Seminaries.—In the very important point of providing instruction for all classes, as in every other duty connected with their sacred calling, the missionaries stand prominent. With them, I believe, resides the merit of having excited the chiefs to desire a school for the systematic education of their children of both sexes. With the concurrence of the king and chiefs, in 1839, the American mission selected for that purpose Mr. & Mrs. Cooke, who were assistant missionaries. Having lately at the request of Dr. Judd, visited the school daily, to watch the progress of a disease, bearing more resemblance to the “typhus mitior” of “Cullen,” than any other known types of fever, I have been an eye-witness to the anxious and parental-like care of Mr. & Mrs. Cooke, both of the sick and healthy children of the chiefs; and I am prepared to state from observation, that a more proper selection could not have been made.

The school-room is very commodiously arranged. Strict order and obedience are observed, without any exertion of authority approaching to harshness. Books, maps, stationery, gloves (terrestrial and celestial,) are at all times within the access of the scholars, and there is an excellent apparatus to illustrate the movements of the planets which compose our solar system.

(Friend, August 1, 1844, p. 35)

37. Schools and Seminaries.

The Friend, Volume II, Number VIII, Page 35. August 1, 1844.

The following is a list of the young chiefs at present in the school of Mr. and Mrs. Cooke:

NAMES. WHEN BORN FATHER MOTHER ADOPTED BY
*Alexander Liholiho, 9 Feb. 1834. Kekuanaoa. Kinau. Kamehameha III.
†Moses Kekuaiwa, 20 July 1829. ditto. ditto. Kaieoewa [Kaikioewa].
‡Lot Kamehameha, 11 Dec. 1830. ditto. ditto. Hoapili.
‖William Charles Lunalilo, 31 Jan. 1835. Kanaina. **Kekauluohi.
Peter Young Kaeo, 4 March 1836. Kaeo. Lahilahi. John Young.
James Kaliokalani, 29 May 1835. Pakea [Kapaakea]. Keohokalole. Aikanaka.
David Kalakaua, 16 Nov. 1836. ditto. ditto. Haaheo Kania [Kaniu].
§Victoria Kamamalu, 4 Nov. 1838. Kekuanaoa. Kinau.
Bernice Pauahi, 19 Dec. 1831. Paki. Konia. Kinau.
Abigail [Lanihau] Maheha, 10 July 1832. Namaile. Liliha. Kekauonohi.
¶Jane Loeau, 5 Dec. 1828. Kalaiulumoku [Kalaniulumoku] [Liliha.] Kaukualii.
Elizabeth Kekaniau [Kekaaniau], 11  Sept. 1834. Laanui. Oana.
Emma Rooke, 2 Jan. 1836. Naea. Kekela. T. C. B. Rooke, M. D.
Lydia Makaeha [Kamakaeha], 2 Sept. 1838. Pakea [Kapaakea]. Keohokalole. Paki & Konia.
Polly Paaaina, 1833. Henry Lewis. Kekala [Kekela]. John Ii.

*Heir apparent to the crown. (The king having no children.)
†Governor presumptive of Kauai.
‡Gov. presumpt. of maui. (Now convalescing from fever.)
‖Convalescing from fever—(25th May.)
§Heir apparent to the premiership.
¶Half-sister of Abigail.
**The premier.

Nor do Mr. & Mrs. Cooke neglect to impress upon their pupils that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and religion the basis of all private and public worth. A portion of scripture is read morning and evening, with singing and prayer, in the presbyterian form of family worship.

On Sundays, the pupils regularly attend two services in native, by the Rev. Mr. Armstrong, and one in English, by the Rev. Mr. Damon.

Mr. and Mrs. Cooke, both by precept and the example of their own well regulated family, enforce the utmost propriety of moral deportment, and every punctilio of cleanliness, dress, manner and address, calculated to add the polish of refinement to more solid and useful attainments.

The pupils rise with the sun, breakfast at 7 A. M., dine at 1 o’clock, take tea at 6 P. M., and retire early to rest. At table, Mr. and Mrs. Cooke always preside, and there is an abundant supply of good and substantial food.¹

The school hours are from 9 to 12 A. M., and from 2 to 5 P. M.

The medical care of the pupils has devolved upon Dr. G. P. Judd, who not withstanding his onerous and multifarious duties as secretary of state for foreign affairs, head of the financial department, &c., &c., always finds time to attend, when wanted. i myself have been an eye-witness of the extreme anxiety and tenderness with which he watched the progress of the fever of little William, whose symptoms were, for several weeks, very alarming. And it is but right I should add that his good and exemplary lady was a frequent visitor at the bed-side of the sick child.

It is impossible, in any part of the world, that sick children could have been better looked after, than were William, Lot and Jane, by Dr. Judd, and Mr. and Mrs. Cooke, whether as regards the curative or nursing department.

Amongst other things pleasing to observe, was the great concern and affection of the parents, especially in the case of William, who was the only one in real danger.

The pupils are encouraged in the gymnastical exercises which tend to develop the physical powers and fortify the constitution. Among these are playing ball, flying kites, cultivation of flowers, swinging, see-sawing, walking, and riding on horseback.

To me it is a most pleasing scene to see them all, boys and girls, well attired and well mounted, merry and good humored, curvetting, galloping and turning round their horses with great dexterity. This pleasure I have, almost every evening during my rides, as I seldom fail to meet and ride on part of my way with them.

When Admiral Thomas was here, he was always glad to see them at his house, and to encourage them to go out to tea-parties at the houses of respectable foreign residents here. I have thus met the young chiefs often in society, and I have always found that they support their part in the conversation, in English, with much decorum and propriety. In fact, there is nothing perceptible in their manner or habits that could strike a stranger as differing much from the manners and habits of young English or Americans of the same age.

Each child or pupil has from two to six native attendants, namely: tailors, washers, grooms, &c., according to the age, rank and sex of each; and these are all under the direction of John Ii and his wife, both most respectable natives, who cooperate with Mr. and Mrs. Cooke in excluding these attendants from any intercourse of intimacy with the young chiefs that could communicate to them their own vices, prejudices and superstitions.

Mr. Cooke assures me that in every department of education, they show a readiness and docility quite equal to any other children, of the same ages, and under the same circumstances.

If is evident that under his and Mrs. Cooke’s tuition, these young chiefs will go forth into the world and assume their respective stations, having a fund of general knowledge vastly superior to what is sometimes found in the riders of extensive provinces, and even some republics in Spanish America. It is equally obvious that the administration of these future rulers must be immeasurably more enlightened than any that has ever before existed in these islands; and when they come into power, a new and better order of things may be expected.

This most useful institution, fraught with so many blessings present and prospective, temporal and spiritual, is supported at an expense to the government of about $2000 yearly. This is all that is allowed to Mr. and Mrs. Cooke, for their own salaries, for finding the table, domestics and all incidental expenses. To me it is incomprehensible how they can do so much, with so little.

The clothing is found by the parents or guardians of the pupils. It is supplied in abundance and good taste.

Separate rooms are provided for every two of the pupils; and the apartments are clean, well furnished and well ventilated. There are in all 17 rooms of various dimensions, opening into a court 36 feet square, with windows on the outside, which is 76 feet square. The whole building cost originally little more than $2000, though it is solidly constructed with sun-dried bricks (adobes) with a well thatched roof. But the furniture must have cost a great deal, as no comfort, in that respect, that can be imagined, is wanting.

The Rev. Mr. Dibble says that the king, when surveying the happy group, and noticing their improvement, remarked: “I wish my lot had been like yours; I deeply regret the foolish manner in which I spent the years of my youth;” and I would venture to add, that the king has more reason to be proud of this chiefs’ school than of any thing within his dominion.

(Friend, August 1, 1844, p. 36)

The following is a list...

The Friend, Volume II, Number VIII, Page 36. August 1, 1844.

¹This comment about the abundance of food reminded me of something Liliuokalani said in Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen. “…our instructors were especially particular to teach us the proper use of the English language; but when I recall the instances in which we were sent hungry to bed, it seems to me that they failed to remember that we were growing children. A thick slice of bread covered with molasses was usually the sole article of our supper, and we were sometimes ingenious, if not over honest, in our search for food: if we could beg something of the cook it was the easier way; but if not, anything eatable left within our reach was surely confiscated. As a last resort, we were not above searching the gardens for any esculent root or leaf, which (having inherited the art of igniting a fire from the friction of sticks), we could cook and consume without the knowledge of our preceptors.”

Speaking of Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen, i was expecting the new much-awaited edition to be available already, but hopefully it will be out in bookstores soon! I am thinking of putting up related articles like this one (mostly from the Hawaiian-Language Newspapers) to perhaps give a fuller picture of topics covered in the Queen’s book.

[This is written by Robert Crichton Wyllie, and is found in a very enlightening treatise describing many aspects of life in Honolulu in the 1840s. “NOTE On the Shipping, Trade, Agriculture, Climate, Diseases, Religious Institutions, Civil and Social Conditions, Mercantile and Financial Policy of the Sandwich or Hawaiian Islands, viewed in relation to other groups of islands, and to the natural and acquired advantages of the Sandwich or Hawaiian Islands.” Friend, June 1–September 24, 1844.]

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