Critique on Conditions at Kalaupapa, 1866.

The Lepers on Molokai.

To the Editor of the Commercial Advertiser:

Sir:—One of those strange scenes, which show how petty and mean are all the doings of this life, struck me on my last trip to the leprosy village of Molokai. Indeed the beautiful and picturesque view presented by the perpendicular rock that surrounds the place—this awful precipice of from two to five thousand feet in height—was truly grand, and the perfect quietness of that isolated spot gave deepness to the impression received on my visit. It would indeed be a fit paradise in which these poor sick wretches, stamped forever by a fatal destiny, might end the rest of their days in peace, though banished far from home, friends and kindred. Not only do natives, but human cupidity seems to persecute them.

The condition of these poor and unhappy wretches does not seem to be too low a subject for the most selfish intrigues and speculations.

Interested by the study of that disease which has afflicted mankind for so many centuries, I descended the nearly perpendicular pali, to witness the lepers, accompanied by Mr. Myers of Molokai, and Mr. King, the photographer of Lahaina, who were anxious to share with me the fatigues and pleasures of the trip.

But how was I disappointed, and what terrible lesson had I yet to learn of human infamy, and official neglect! How indignant was I when I heard the cries of the emaciated and ghastly inhabitants of this place, like the wailing of damned souls in hopeless hate, “Pilikia, aole ai, aole ai!” Their forms still seem before me, asking God as well as the Government, “what they have done to deserve such a punishment?”

It is true that Mr. Louis, the superintendent of the place, wrote to the Board of Health at Honolulu for provisions. The answer came back, “Let them work.” Yes! Let them be driven out of human society, and be compelled to work! Let them work with their sore limbs and swollen toes, while exposed by every change of temperature to the most painful exacerbations of the disease. Let them work, so that we may have our share of the products of their labor.

The Board of Health could hardly avoid sending a barrel of salt beef; (fresh meat is here a sight good for sore eyes;) but it smelt so horribly, that only a famine could persuade these poor wretches to eat it.

For the benefit of humanity, please to publish this letter.  Sic itur ad astra.

(Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 12/29/1866, p. 3)

The Lepers on Molokai.

The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Volume XI, Number 26, Page 3. December 29, 1866.

Critique of Government Policy to Isolate Leprosy Patients, 1867.

[Found under: “English Column.: Island News.”]

The Lepers on Molokai.—We are rejoiced that the Commercial Advertiser has drawn the public attention to the lepers on Molokai. The whole scheme of placing these miserable beings in so remote and inaccessible locality has proved itself worse than a failure. Let there be some isolation—some separation—but none so extreme is necessary. The Board of Health had, we doubt not, none other than good intentions, but we trust they will revise the whole subject.

[This article comes out soon after the policy to isolate the patients in Kalawao and Kalaupapa. It is a response to articles appearing in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser (predecessor of the Honolulu Advertiser). See following two posts.]

(Kuokoa, 1/19/1867, p. 2)

The Lepers on Molokai...

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke VI, Helu 3, Aoao 2. Ianuari 19, 1867.

Mockery? by the Pacific Commercial Advertiser over personal ads in the Hawaiian-Language Newspapers, 1862.

NATIVE LITERATURE—Some of the notices and communications published in the native newspapers are curious specimens. Here is one from the Star of the Pacific [Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika]:

NOTICE.—Know all men, chiefs, and common people, white men and Chinamen, stopping between Hawaii and Niihau [residing from Hawaii to Niihau], who have seen my husband “Lima,” this that I make know to you in the most public manner that you may know his ways and the nature of the relations existing between husband and wife, and by this notice you will all understand that Lima has forsaken me and our bed and our children, and he has taken all our property and only left my body, the children and the bed. To sustain myself and the children, I have been prosecuting with vigor the selling of tobacco at the corners of the streets in the Honorable town of Honolulu.

Here is another thing that I have to tell all of you who may see Lima, this husband of mine. Do not buy my hand cart from Lima my husband, because the right in the cart belongs to me, and I now make know my right in the cart, so that you may all understand. The right in the cart is in me, for I made salt, and sold the salt and with the money received from the salt I bought the cart, consequently I forbid you all to purchase or you may lose [or it will be your loss]; wait till i consent, then the sale will be effectual [only should I consent will the sale be effectual], for the property is really mine. Look in Genesis 3:19—”In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread; till thou return into the ground.” That is the first part of that verse. Look again to the last part of the 17th verse of the same chapter, “In sorrow shalt thou eat all the days of the [thy] life.” This “Lima,” husband of mine, causes my eyes to weep [It is because of this Lima that I waste the sweat of my face], he has left me and our bed, consequently all of you look for the good (propriety) of these proceedings of a husband to his wife [so all of you, look at the treatment by this man of his wife], and i now call upon God to bless this all [and I call out to him to return to our bed, and may God bless us all].


W. B. Nahakualii,


[The bracketed inserts are what I felt might be closer interpretations of the original…]

(Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 2/23/1862, p. ?)

Native Literature.

The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, ????. January 23, 1862.

Subscription for a Hawaiian-Language Newspaper in an English paper, 1912.

[Here is an interesting advertisement appearing a hundred years ago in what was until just recently the Honolulu Advertiser. It is a cut out and mail in subscription form for Ka Nupepa Kuokoa!]


Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Vol. LIV, No. 9175, p. 2. January 3, 1912.