The Voyage of the Royal Brothers: Lot and Alexander’s journey to Europe and the US

#188 in the Moʻolelo series

In 1849 – 1850, the brothers Lot Kapuaiwa and Alexander Liholiho, heir to the throne, accompanied Gerrit Judd on a trip to Europe and the United States (Alexander Liholiho, 1967, p. x). Judd arrived with the third company of missionaries in 1828 and left the mission to become a “full time adviser to the King” (Alexander Liholiho, 1967, p. ix).  He was charged with gaining a $100,000 indemnity payment from France, and guaranties of independence from France, Britain and the United States (Alexander Liholiho, 1967, p. ix). The teenage brothers were sent to accompany Judd on the trip in order to expose the future monarchs to international affairs. On their diplomatic trip to the US, Alexander Liholiho and Lot Kapuäiwa were treated as if they were African American. This was during the era of slavery. The brothers visited the White House, in Washington D.C. (Alexander Liholiho, 1967, p. xii), where slavery still existed only a few miles away. In New York, Alexander was asked by the conductor to leave his first-class seat on the train. He demanded an explanation, and when the conductor was told who Alexander was, he told him to keep his seat (Alexander Liholiho, 1967, p. 108). Alexander had never been treated this way, and held anti-American sentiments long after.
“Judd sitting with Hawaiian Princes” (Source: wikimedia commons)
Alexander Liholiho, aged 15, wrote the following account in his journal:

New York, 5thJune/50 [1850]

We arrived in this city yesterday afternoon about 10 o’clock from Philadelphia. We left Washington on Tuesday morning at 9 o’clock. The train was some time getting in to the station.

 We bade adieu to our friends in Washington [Capt. Wilkes and Mr. Drayton] the day before. 

            The next morning, while at the station waiting for the baggage to be checked, Mr. Judd told me to get in & secure seats. While I was looking out of the window, a man came to me & told me to get out of the carriage rather unceremoniously, saying that I was in the wrong carriage. I immediately asked him what he meant. He continued his request, finally he came around by the door and I went out to meet him. Just as he was coming in, somebody whispered a word into his ears—by this time I came up to him, and asked him his reasons for telling me to get out of the carriage. He then told me to keep my seat.

            I took hold of his arm, and asked him his reasons, and what right he had in turning me out, but he took care to be out of my way after that. I found that he was the conductor, and probably had taken me for somebodys servant, just because I had a darker skin than he had. Confounded fool.

            [That was] the first time that I ever received such treatment, not in England or France or anywhere else. But in this country I must be treated like a dog to go & come at an Americans bidding.

            Here I must state that I am di[s]appointed at the Americans. They have no manners, no politeness, not even common civilities, to a Stranger. And not only in this single case, but almost every body that one meets in traveling in the United States are saucy. Even the waiters in their hotels in

answering a bell, instead of coming and knocking at the door, they stalk in to the room as if they were paying one a visit, and after one has giving an order for something they pretend not to hear—and give a grunt which cannot be exactly imitated by pen & paper, but would [go] something like—hu!

            In England an African can pay his fare for the cars, and he can sit alongside Queen Victoria. The Americans talk and they think a great deal of their liberty, and strangers often find that to many liberties are taken of their comfort, just because his hosts are a free people.

            To be sure there are many exceptions, and these a most often generally found among those that have traveled in foreign Countries and learnt better manners than their own raw, Course bearing in their own Country.

Alexander Liholiho, 1967, p. 107 – 109

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