“King of the Cannibal Islands,” 1830 / 1872.

By 1830 at least, there was a mocking ballad called “King of the Cannibal Islands” that was popular in the United Kingdom (as seen in newspaper advertisements for various concerts). Click here for lyrics printed on a broadside in 1858. By many accounts this was written in response to Kamehameha II going to England in 1824.

As a result of another famous trip taken by a Hawaiian monarch in 1874, the lyrics are adapted in America (the original song popular there much earlier).

THE KING OF THE CANNIBAL ISLANDS.

[From the N. Y. Graphic.]

Tam? Tam! Kalakaua the great
Is booming through the Golden Gate;
The Polynesian potentate,
The King of the Cannibal Islands.

Chorus—Hunki-dori-doodle-dum,
Ministers all upon a bum;
Honolulu! How they come
With the King of the Cannibal Islands.

From sugar-coated Hawaii
He comes strange countries for to see;
And ‘Frisco greets him: “How are ye?
O King of the Cannibal Islands.
Hunki-dori, etc.

I’ve come with half my population
To seal us to the Yankee nation;
‘Tis surely almost annexation,
Says the Kin of the Cannibal Islands!
Hunki-dori, etc.

I am here to tell your General Grant
That all this crazy cannibal cant
Is rotten as the third-term rant,
Says the King of the Cannibal Islands!
Hunki-dori, etc.

You think our ministers and staff
Are fed on missionaries; chaff!
Or Union Bibles bound in calf!
Says the King of the Cannibal Islands!
Hunki-dori, etc.

Ah! what we need are institutions,
Fresh democratic revolutions,
Evolved from Tydall’s evolutions,
Says the King of the Cannibal Islands.
Hunki-dori, etc.

Since Captain Cook our island struck
Our population’s ran a muck,
Our ten per cent survives by luck,
Says the King of the Cannibal Islands!
Hunki-dori, etc.

Of railroads bonds in Minnesota
I’ve bought of Gould, perhaps my quota,
Still holding something in Dakota,
Says the King of the Cannibal Islands!
Hunki-dori, etc.

Oh, tell me! would the sale be slack
Of railroad bonds, a double track—
From Honolulu here and back?
Says the King of the Cannibal Islands.
Hunki-dori, etc.

Give us a patent Yankee ring,
A feathered sachem kind of thing,
To run sheebangs without a king,
Says the King of the Cannibal Islands!
Hunki-dori, etc.

(Indiana State Sentinel, 12/15/1874, p. 6)

THE KING OF THE CANNIBAL ISLANDS.

The Indiana State Sentinel, Volume XXIV, Number 19, Page 6. December 15, 1874.

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