This is an independent blog. Please note that I am nowhere near fluent, and that these are not translations, but merely works in progress. Please do comment if you come across misreads or anything else you think is important.
Runaway Native Boys.–We have before us a letter from a Hawaiian named G. W. S. Keamohuli, dated Port Gamble, Sept. 26th, from which we learn that there are now at that place, five Hawaiian boys who left Honolulu by stowing themselves away on the barks Atlanta and Victor, when those vessels were at this port. Three of these boys–named Nakai, Kikau and Kanahele–left by the Atlanta, and two–named Keliikipi and Kaaoaouila–by the Victor. These adventurous youngsters being too small to earn their living at such labor as offers at Port Gamble, the writer of the letter has taken them in charge until such time as other arrangements can be made.
I send off my bundle to you, having the right time to do so. For I see that you are one of the shooting stars of the nation of Hawaii, flying from where the sun rises to where the sun sets, shooting all the way here to North America.
The words placed above is what grows in my conscience. Might you be patient and accept the contents of my bundle. For I have seen you and how you have patience to accept what is sent to you. Its contents are here below:–
Five Hawaiian boys were abducted by the lumber transporting ships Atlanta and Victor. Three boys on the Atlanta; these are their names, Nakai, Kikau, and Kanahele. And aboard the Victor, two boys; these are their names, Keliikipi and Kaaoaouila. That is my baggage that I entrust to you, and it is for you to call out loudly to the parents of these boys, as they may be left feeling aloha for their children abducted by the Captains of these ships who break the law of the Nation of Hawaii and King Kalakaua. When these boys arrived here at Port Gamble, the Captains abandoned them. We believe that if there were no Hawaiians here, the boys’ health would have been danger, and they would have had no place to rest their heads.
The place they were hid was in a skiff that had its opening turned over atop the Forward House* of the sailors in the bow. That is where they hid when the ship carrying lumber left Honolulu, that is what they told us. These children are very little, perhaps ten or so years old; not fit to work at the lumber mills here in Puget Sound.
To the Parents–O Parents, watch your children closely, and do not let them wander about the docks, or go aboard the ships, and enjoy feasting on barrel meats, lest they be abducted by the ship Captains like these children. You have heard that Kalakaua’s is a “Lahui increasing nation” and there is a Hawaiian government law that forbids Hawaiians from going abroad unless their contract is approved by the governor of the island on which they live; only with the governor’s approval can they leave; also the Governor must command the ship Captain to care for and return the man or men that he takes away. And if the Captain or Captains do not return the man or men that they take away, then they will be fined $300 for each man. That is the law for the Captains who secretly take away Hawaiians.
To the Governors.–O Governors, do your job conscientiously, and so too your subordinates, be vigilant of your duties, search the trading ships of all types which leave Honolulu, for there are many Hawaiians who leave Honolulu and live abroad for long periods without it being known that they left, and they have been living here in these foreign lands for many years.
But here is my question pertaining to that. Who is at fault? The ship Captain perhaps? The children perhaps? In my opinion, it is the ship captain’s fault, if I am not mistaken. That is according to what the children told us when we questioned them, and they said that they were brought because of the desire of the captain that they come here. If that is true, it would be best if the captains return the boys to Honolulu when the ships go once again, or it would be better if they were tried so that it is made clear if the captains are at fault or if it is the children. As for the names of these ships, I do not know them [Atlanta and Victor??], but the agents of this company and some haole of Honolulu should know, should it be thought to ask about the two.
I have nothing more to talk about at this time, but I ask for your kindness, if I am wrong about this, excuse me, and if I am correct before you and them as well, then place it in your bureau of love, and it will be for you to spread it before the public so that our many friends will know, they who live from Kumukahi where the sun rises to Lehua where the sun sets.
To you goes my warm aloha, and to the type-setting boys of the Press goes my expression of aloha, and to your Editor goes my loving right-handed handshake.
G. W. E. Kawaiulaomaleka, Puget Sound, Kitsap County, Sep. 28, 1877.
*Lana House. Not sure where this phrase comes from. I could not find it used in any other article. It was suggested by http://www.maritimehawaii.com that this likely refers to the Forward House.