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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-06-07 01:40 AM
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A bit of history...

A. First White Residents of Hawai'i

1. Kamehameha Detains Two Foreigners

The first known westerners to have remained in the Hawaiian Islands, and certainly among the most influential individuals in terms of their impact on Hawaii's development, were an Englishman, John Young, and a Welshman, Isaac Davis. Both men were detained in Hawai'i unwillingly as the result of rather strange and interrelated circumstances. As mentioned, during the 1790s an increasing volume of trade had evolved between Hawaiian chiefs offering food, firewood, and fresh water, and foreign sea captains pedalling cargoes of metal, firearms, gunpowder, and cloth. The Hawaiian ali'i avidly desired such foreign goods, for through them they gained status and power over their rivals.

Isaac Davis served as mate on a small schooner, the Fair American, commanded by Thomas Metcalf, the son of Captain Simon Metcalf of the American snow Eleanor out of New York. Both vessels were bound on a northwest fur-trading voyage, which included a rendezvous in the Hawaiian Islands if they became separated. Reaching the islands, the elder Metcalf traded off the coast of Hawai'i during the winter of 1789, ultimately moving over to Maui. Metcalf was, by all accounts, an irascible, harsh individual, who believed in strong and immediate punishment for infractions of his rules. When natives stole a small boat he was towing and killed its watchman, he sought a secret, murderous revenge. Sailing to the village of the suspected thieves, he waited until the trusting inhabitants had gathered in their canoes around his ship, eager for trade, and then opened fire, indiscriminately killing more than 100 natives and wounding several hundred more. Avenged of his losses, Metcalf weighed anchor and returned to the island of Hawai'i where he initiated a seemingly friendly intercourse with the natives at Kealakekua Bay.

Kame'eiamoku, one of the North Kona chiefs on Hawai'i, however, had previously been insulted by Metcalf and vowed revenge on the next ship that passed his way. By coincidence, it happened to be the Fair American, seeking land near Kawaihae Bay. The opportunity to avenge his insult by foreigners, the defenseless state of the vessel due to its small crew and inexperienced commander, and the value of the muskets and other iron implements on board sealed the vessel's doom. Metcalf and his crew were either killed or drowned. The only survivor was Isaac Davis, who, although wounded, jumped overboard and managed to reach a native canoe, whose occupant clubbed him into submission but for some reason spared his life. The Fair American was hauled ashore and Kamehameha later appropriated it, its guns, ammunition, and other articles of trade, as well as Davis himself.

During this event, the Eleanor remained anchored at Kealakekua. John Young, a native of Liverpool, England (Illustration 20), serving as boatswain, went on shore one day with some of his shipmates to see the country, and, venturing far inland, returned alone to the beach too late to reboard the vessel. In addition, he discovered that Kamehameha had instituted a kapu on all canoes and was prohibiting the population from further contact with the Eleanor. A combination of reasons probably influenced that action. First, having just been informed of the capture of the Fair American, Kamehameha undoubtedly feared retribution from Captain Metcalf. Second, Kamehameha was still involved in warfare both with other chiefs on Hawai'i and with the rulers of the other islands. Because he was slowly amassing a quantity of arms and ammunition to combat these threats, he may have felt in dire need of knowledgeable foreigners with the expertise to handle those items, care for and repair them, and train his warriors in their use. Puzzled by the sudden lack of activity in the bay, the crew of the Eleanor remained offshore for two days, firing guns and awaiting Young's return. Finally, puzzled by the sudden disruption of trading, frustrated by his broken contact with the Fair American, and probably thinking Young had deserted, Metcalf set sail for China. <1>
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