Tag Archives: kuleana act

Privatizing ʻĀina: Issues that Matter with Lynette Cruz

Mahalo to Pono Kealoha for “Ponosizing” me, Lynette and Nanette Napoleon. This will air on ʻOlelo Community Television in a few weeks, but Pono made a version that could be posted more quickly. More of Pono’s videos can be seen on his You Tube channel Ponosize.

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June 12, 2014 · 6:10 pm

Kuleana: A Genealogy of Native Tenant Rights

This is a presentation of my dissertation research on Hawaiian land tenure from my Hawaiʻi Politics course.


April 29, 2014 · 11:12 pm

Abstract for Kuleana: A Genealogy of Native Tenant Rights

This may be the shortest post yet, but Iʻve purposely avoided posting any of my dissertation here on the umiverse. As Iʻm basically done now, I thought Iʻd at least post the abstract here for you r consideration. I plan to convert it to a book as soon as humanly possible.

During the period of the privatization of land in Hawaiʻi (1840 – 1855), kuleana, usually translated as “native tenant rights,” constituted both a right to, and responsibility over, land for Hawaiians. The 1850 Kuleana Act provided a means for makaʻāinana to divide out these rights and gain a fee simple title to the lands under their cultivation. Using a hybrid genealogical method, I argue that these rights were elided by gathering rights in the period since the 1890s. By debating the extent of gathering rights, courts have been able to appear liberal, while obscuring the profound rights of Kānaka Maoli embedded in Hawaiʻi’s land tenure system. The 1850 Kuleana Act was a continuation of the process begun with the 1848 Māhele, which I contend was misconstrued by twentieth century scholars. This contributes to the confusion over native tenant rights. I examine both the foundations of the introduced system of land law (the ideas of dominium, eminent domain and property itself), and responses to kuleana rights – the Land Court, 1895 Land Act, and legal cases such as Dowsett v. Maukeala. In examining its foundations, I use a concept I call theoretical encounter, which attempts to apprehend the meeting of ideas. In analyzing the responses to kuleana, I use the framework of legal pluralism, which acknowledges the simultaneous existence of multiple legal regimes. In examining the question of the alienation of Hawaiians from land, I find that a technique called erasure allowed for a radical forgetting of place. Central to the debate over kuleana lands is the notion of a deadline on claims to such lands. I problematize the idea of a deadline on claims, opening questions over the continued existence of kuleana in the present day.


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Deep into final edits on my dissertation, I found this response from my comps, thought it was surprisingly well-done, and decided to post it. For serious Hawaiian history wonks only, consider it a guide to research. I plan to submit it for publication at some point.

Merry (2000, 43) describes the context around the development of a capitalist system in Hawaiʻi based on law and property:

Rev. William Richards

The transformation in economic, social and legal systems in nineteenth-century Hawaiʻi has sometimes been portrayed as gradual and voluntary … It appears that the Hawaiian government simply invited New England missionaries and jurists to transform the legal system of the sovereign nation. Many facts support this story. In 1838 Hoapili, governor of Maui, along with the mōʻī and the kuhina nui (premier), Kīnaʻu, invited William Richards, a New England missionary resident on the islands since 1823 with no legal training, to teach the aliʻi political economy and government. He was released by the American missionary society and initiated instruction in the summer of 1838. Under Richards’s direction, and probably with his help, a bill of rights was passed in 1839 and a constitution in 1840, followed by a succession of laws in the early 1840s. In 1842 the aliʻi hired Gerrit Judd, a missionary doctor from New York state who had arrive in 1828, to help manage the finances of the kingdom. In 1844 a trained American lawyer, John Ricord, arrived in Honolulu on his way elsewhere and was quickly hired by Judd to serve as attorney general. He stayed in the islands only three years but during this period he prepared two organic acts that fundamentally restructured the government. He departed in 1847 but was replaced by William Little Lee who … was the chief legal advisor until his death in 1857.

While this history is well-known, less well-known are the chiefs who constituted an “inner circle,” particularly around the figure of William Richards. These inner circle members seemed to have spread the set of ideas Richards called Kālaiʻāina, or Political Economy, through the society. I provide here an annotated biography of sorts of overlapping, if not concentric, circles of chiefs and foreigners involved in constructing a political economy that would attempt to bridge Hawaiian and Western ideas and integrate Hawaiʻi into the globalizing world.

Merry (2000, 78-79) offers a description of Anglo-American and Hawaiian influence in the creation of the early laws:

Some [of the laws] were suggested by foreign visitors, commanders of warships, foreign residents, and foreign consuls, but the greatest proportion were not. Some were written by David Malo, some by John Papa IʻI and other Hawaiians. All were fully discussed and modified by the House of Nobles and the House of Representatives at their annual council and approved unanimously before being signed by the king and the premier, the kuhina nui. Thus, the Declaration of Rights, the 1840 Constitution, and the laws of 1841 and 1842, although Anglo-American in some of their inspiration, were joined with Hawaiian systems of law.

My research so far on the topic of the Mōʻī’s circle who designed the Māhele system has consisted of nearly all of the secondary sources available and an overview of most of the primary sources. I include a bibliography in this response rather than a list of works cited, as a reference to the sources I intend to consult. A short list of secondary sources includes: Kameʻeleihiwa’s Native Land and Foreign Desires; Linnekin’s Sacred Queens and Women of Consequence; Merry’s Colonizing Hawaiʻi; Cannelora’s Origin of Hawaii Land Titles and of the Rights of Native Tenants; Chinen’s The Great Māhele; Schweizer’s Turning Tide: the Ebb and Flow of Hawaiian Nationality; and Arista’s M.A. Thesis “Davida Malo: Ke Kanaka o ka Huliau.” Primary sources I have consulted include: Privy Council minutes (1845 – 50); Hawaiian Laws: 1841-42; and Hawaiian language newspapers (mainly on ulukau.org). I have also consulted David Forbes’s (2000) Hawaiian National Bibliography, mainly volumes two and three. I note where I have found references to those historical figures covered in this response, and where archival documents are located, which suggests directions for future research. I use the following abbreviations to denote the various archives (Mykānnen, 2003; Forbes, 2000):

AH                  Archives of Hawaiʻi

BPBM             Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum

HHS                Hawaiian Historical Society

HMCS                        Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society

Sources for which locations are not cited are available at the Hamilton Hawaiʻi-Pacific collection, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.


In this response, I will weave an admittedly skeletal story as I see it emerging from these and other sources with the intention of contextualizing and situating historically these primary actors in the design and execution of the post 1845 land tenure system and political economy in the Hawaiian Kingdom. While secondary sources are scarce on background information on these figures, when combined for each historical figure, a clearer picture begins to form. And when combined with primary source records, such as the Privy Council minutes, and Richards’s translation of Wayland’s Elements of Political Economy, more detail begins to fill in the gaps. Because I am providing context, I utilize extended quotes – some in Hawaiian are left untranslated – and divide the paper into sections, including sections for each inner circle member.

In the design of the post 1845 land tenure system I see at least two inner circles. One is simply the members of the Board of Commissioners to Quiet Land Titles, the other the students of William Richards. The first group operated at the level of ideology and economic reform, the second implemented the new system.  A third overlapping circle appears, consisting of those who were architects of the system in some capacity, but not in either of the groups I have named above. For some members of the groups there is far too much information even to summarize here, for others, there is very little.



Primary and secondary sources seem to have more material on William Richards than on any of the other “inner circle” members. Richards was both the teacher of the inner circle and a member of the Land Commission, i.e., he was in two circles, and the center of one. Richards was educated at Williams College, Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1819, trained at Andover Theological Seminary and ordained in 1822 (Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society, 1969, 162). Kamakau (1992, 343) wrote of his regard for Richards:

… He served as delegate for the king to the great countries of the world to confer upon the independence of the Hawaiian kingdom; he was minister of education and president of the Land Grants commission until his death, Is this not a glorious record?  Upon his appointment as instructor to the king Mr. Richards at once started a school of political economy among the chiefs and favorites of the king. He translated the writings on political economy of … France, Great Britain, and America, those of Washington, Newton, and a number of persons expert in increasing the wealth of a country.

Kamakau (1992, 344) notes, however, that

Mr. Richards did not translate the whole of such books … [but Richards] never ceased teaching the principles of government to the king. By means of these lessons in political economy with the chiefs he was educating them to confer together as leaders of other governments did, to compare the constitutional forms of government with governments which had no constitution, and to see that the constitutional form of government belonged to those governments which were most famous and …most advanced. Such governments excelled in knowledge and wealth and represented progress in the search after wealth and trade. Thus the minds of the chiefs became enlightened. ʻSo this is it! [said they] Here is the way to gain wealth and honor.’

According to Kamakau (1992, 342-343), Maui governor

Hoapili … requested that Richards become instructor for the king and his court … he explained how the law was a thing to bring good government and peace to the land for both the chiefs and commoners, and how the chiefs should stop laying burdens upon the poor. The older men such as Hoa-pili, Kalai-koa, Pikanele, Puaʻa Kaʻohana, Daniel IʻI, David Malo, Oneʻoa, and others gathered to learn of Mr. Richards … Kaʻahumanu thought highly of the Maui chiefs [like Hoapili]. They were not influenced by the hope of gain or favor; they did not discriminate between the chief and the lowliest citizen; the law must punish all alike.

Here we see the members of the first circle, though this may not constitute a complete list, as Nupepa Kuokoa of Aug. 1, 1868 (Reprinted in Kamakau’s Ke Aupuni Mōʻī, 2001) reads:

I ka holo ana o naʻlii a paa i Lahaina, a hui pu me naʻlii haipule o Maui, a me na hoahanau ekalesia o Lahaina. O Lahaina, ke kulanakauhale o Maui a me Hawaii nei. Nolaila ka poe kaulana iloko o ia mau la no ka naauao a me ka haipule. Eia ka ke kumu o ia kaulana, no ka piha i na’lii, a i ka noho makaainana ana o ka aina, e like me ko keia wa, alaila, puka mai ka olelo a ka poe kahiko, ʻO Lahaina lau ulu.’ Aole no naʻlii wale no o Lahaina ke kaulana, no kekahi poe koikoi malalo iho, a ua hapaia e ka haipule. O D. Malo, Daniela Ii, o Oneo, Kalaikoa, Pikanele, Puaa kaohana, a me Kau-a ke kumu o Borabola, a me na hoahanau ekalesia a pau; a o Batamia Puaaiki ka oi ae, he makapo ia, a oia nae ka hua mua o ka ekalesia o Lahaina. Pela no hoi na hoahanau wahine o Lahaina.

Thus, Kamakau’s phrase “and others” may have included Batamia Puaʻaʻiki. I provide a sketch of Puaʻaʻiki below. Schweizer (1999, 138) relates Richards’s account of teaching the chiefs:

The lectures themselves were outlines of general principles of political economy, which of course could not have been understood except by full illustration drawn from Hawaiian custom and Hawaiian circumstances. In these illustrations I endeavored as much as possible to draw their minds to the defects in the Hawaiian government, and Hawaiian practices, and often contrasted them with the government and practices of enlightened nations. The conversation frequently took so wide a range that there was abundant opportunity to refer to any and to every fault of the present system of government. But when the faults of the present system were pointed out & the chiefs felt them & then pressed me with the question, ʻPehea la e pono ai’ [“What is the right thing to do?”], I have often felt that it is much easier to point out the defects of an old system than it is to devise a new one, suitable to take its place.

Schweizer (1999, 141) also notes that the subtitle of Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa’s book, “recalls the one question closest to the chiefs’ hearts, namely how to find the proper way of doing things” – pehea lā e pono ai – and that this shows “why this land reform was not in the best interest of the indigenous population.” My project problematizes this widely-held notion. According to the footnotes in Kamakau’s Ruling Chiefs of Hawaiʻi, “the book of political economy translated for the mission is entitled No ke Kalaiaina” (Kamakau, 1992, 344). I examine this book and its translation below.

According to Kykendall (1938, 153), the Hawaiian government asked “their friends in America” to send a “teacher of the chiefs in what pertains to the land, according to the practice of enlightened countries” as “… the need for a competent foreign adviser for the rulers of the nation [had become evident]”. According to Kuykendall (1938, 154), “P.A. Brinsmade, an American businessman very friendly to the government, suggested to the chiefs the institution of a school ʻfor the instruction of the King and chiefs in the science of political economy and law.’” After a failed attempt to recruit a teacher from the United States, Richards (in Kuykendall, 1938, 154) accepted the position as “ʻChaplain, Teacher and Translator’ for the king.”

Richards (in Kuykendall, 1938, 155) described his duties: “I lecture to the chiefs on political economy, everyday at 10 oʻclock, making use of the Waylands [sic] system as the foundation … I endeavor to propose some practical subject everyday.” Kuykendall (1938, 155) notes that “the question uppermost in the minds of the chiefs … was that relating to the land and fixed property in the possession of foreigners ,” and the transfer of this land. Richards (in Schweizer, 1999, 138) had this to say on the value of land:

No ke kumuwaiwai hoonui a me ke kumuwaiwai hoonui ole. He kukuwaiwai ka aina. Aka, ina waiho wale ia ka aina, aohe kanaka, aole mahiia, alaila, he kumuwaiwai hoonui ole ia. Aole loaa hou mai ka waiwai ma kela aina mahi ole ia. Peal no ke kala. He kumuwaiwai ia. Aka, ina e waiho wale ia ke kala iloko o ka pahu, aohe waiwai e loaa I kela kala. Ua lilo kela kala kukmuwaiwai hoonui ole, e like me ka aina I mahi ole ia.

Schweizer (1999, 138) translates:

How to increase capital, and how not to increase capital. Land is capital. But if land is left alone, if there is no man, nobody to cultivate it, then the capital is not increased. No new wealth is gained from that land which is not cultivated. It is the same with money. It is wealth. But, if money is simply left in the box, no wealth is gained from this money. Such money then becomes capital, which is not being increased, just like land which is not being cultivated.

For further research on Richards, I intend to consult, among other resources, Samuel Williston’s 1938 book William Richards.


Ulumaheihei Hoapili was the son of “Kona uncle” of Kamehameha, Kameʻeiamoku and Keliʻiokahekili, the daughter of Kanekapolei. Hoapili “inherited his father’s position on the Mōʻī’s council, as well as his ʻĀina, and had become a close confidant of Kamehameha” (Kameʻeleihiwa, 1992, 100). Kamakau (1992, 352) describes Hoapili  in his “younger years” as “something of an athlete, tall and robust with strong arms, light clear skin, a large high nose, eyes against dark cheeks, his body well built, altogether a handsome man in those days, given to pleasure-seeking and licentious ways and a great liquor drinker.” Kamakau (1992, 354) goes on to note that

Ulumaheihei was a learned man skilled in debate and in the history of the old chiefs and the way in which they governed. He belonged to the priesthood of Nahulu and was an expert in priestly knowledge. He had been taught astronomy and all the ancient lore.  Richards would bring him any question about the ancient customs or tabus, and he could explain them all. He was proficient in the genealogies of the chiefs even where they were obscure; David Malo and others would go to him with puzzling questions and he was able to explain them.

As the son of Kameʻeiamoku, he was given the honor by Kamehameha of Keōpūolani as a wife, in order to preserve the family bloodline (Kamakau, 1992, 352). Kamakau (1992, 280) states that Hoapili “and his wife … had become converted [to Christianity] and looked upon Mr. Richards as a father.” He thus took Richards’s advice regarding the prohibition of “prostitution” and made laws “against these practices for the protection of the land” (Kamakau, 1992, 280). According to Kamakau (1992, 353), “the persons who helped Ulumaheihei [Hoapili] in making the laws were the Rev. William Richards, Kalai-koa, Ka-ʻohana Puaʻa, Kua, Kamauna, Daniel IʻI, and at times David Malo,” i.e., essentially the same group taught by Richards. Forbes (2000, 226) lists three references for Hoapili, including his obituary in the newspaper Sandwich Island Mirror.


In the December 24, 1834 issue of Ka Lama Hawaiʻi, the following notice was in the obituaries (Make) section: “Lahaina, Novemaba 23. Ma ka la kapu, ua make o Rutia Inaina, ka wahine a Kalaikoa, ka lunakanawai o Lahaina.” Nothing from Kalaikoa is available in the OCRed newpapers until 1861, when the following announcement, protesting the marriage of Wahinepiʻo was in Ka Hae Hawaii:


UA hoopii o Kalaikoa kue i kana wahine o Wahinepio, no Kona Hema Hawaii mamua, e hooki i ko laua mare ana no ka haalele wale ana no na makahiki umikumamaha o Wahinepio i kana kane. E hanaia keia hoopii imua o ka mea Hanohano G. M. Robertson ka Lunakanawai o ka Aha Kiekie, o ka poalima oia ka la 17 o Ianuari 1862, i ka hora 9 o kakahiaka, aia ma ka Hale Hookolokolo ma Honolulu, Oahu.  JNO E. BARNARD.
 Kakauolelo o ka Aha Kiekie. Honolulu, Dekemaba 10, 1861


All Kamakau (1992, ) notes of Puaʻa Kaʻohana was a he was a companion of Ulumaheihei and assisted with writing laws. Kamakau (1992, 302) lists Kaʻohana as accompanying Ulumaheihei [Hoapili] to Oʻahu in 1830 during rumors of war with Liliha, along with Pikanele, Kapahuwai, Kahoahaka, Tau-a (form Borabora), Keaweamahi and others.


In the March 19, 1844 issue of Ka Nonanona  the article “Batimea Puaaiki,” mentions Daniela ʻĪʻī as “kekahi punahele o Liholiho, he hoapaani, hoainu rama ona; i keia manawa, he hoahanau ekalesia, he lunakanawai, a he kanaka hooponopono ma Maui Hikina.” A short article entitled “Haiku,” from August 31, 1841, which seems to have been written by “Haleole”(likely Steven Haleʻole), mentions that Daniela ʻĪʻī worked (probably taught) at a school there with Haleʻole (na maua me Daniela ʻĪʻī e hana nei), and that he lived there for a long time. Forbes (2000, 318 – 319) lists one reference to Daniela ʻĪʻī in the 1842 Constitution and Laws, noting that Daniela ʻĪʻī wrote some of the laws. This source also mentions another possible inner circle member, Timothy Keaweiwi.


More can be said about Malo than there is space for here, just between the introductions to Emerson’s and Chun’s versions of his writings. Arista (1998, 46), describes Malo’s first meeting with Richards:

Malo and Richards met when Keōpūolani took Richards as her teacher. It seemed that both men received the best education that their societies could offer: that was a religious education. Malo would find himself working with Richards when the two turned their knowledge, wisdom and experience to serving the aliʻi and the emerging nation.

Malo was one of the chiefs (kaukaualiʻi) who studied under Richards. However, while it is often claimed that Williams was Malo’s teacher, Arista (1998, 47) notes that “Richards refers variously to Malo in his letters of this time, as ʻmy teacher, my interpreter,’ and later ʻmy assistant.’” In an article in The Polynesian, Malo is described as “a talented and excellent Hawaiian, for a long time the able and devoted teacher of the late Mr. Richards.” Thus, there was clearly a reciprocal relationship, a theoretical encounter of sorts between the two men.

This may be seen in Malo’s description of the political structure of traditional Hawaiian society, translated by Emerson as “the civil polity” (Malo, 1958, 187), was originally entitled “No Kalaimoku” (Malo, 2006, 103). Mykännen (2003, 139-144) provides an extended discussion of the interchangeability of the words kalaiʻāina –

Richards’s choice of words for political economy – and kālaimoku. I suspect that the two words are linked – some evidence suggests that the students of Richards were encouraged to prosthelytize, and spread the “gospel” of the new political economy. The timing works, if one is to believe Chun (2006, xviii), that Malo may have “commenced with his monumental work, entitled ʻMoʻolelo Hawaiʻi’ (Hawaiian Traditions or Hawaiian History)” around 1847. Chun disputes notions that Malo wrote what Emerson called Hawaiian Antiquities between 1839 and 1840, noting that his newspaper publications suggest the later date. Forbes (2000, 80) notes that “communications from David Malo appear with some frequency” in Ka Elele.



Of Oneʻoa, Kamakau only mentions his becoming “among the most proficient in letters” along with Malo and Daniela ʻĪʻī,  and prominent in church work, along with several fellow students of Richards, and the Borabora teacher, Tauʻa. In fact, the list of those students of Political Economy is nearly identical to that of those who had become prominent in church work. Kamakau (2001, 141) contains the following passage, which expands our understanding of the members of the inner circle, and gives some remarks on Hoapili’s [Ulumaheihei’s] character, and the in which Oneoʻa was involved:

I kekahi Manawa, ua nui loan ā kānāwai liʻiliʻI ma nā hono a Piʻilani. ʻO ke puhi paka, ʻo ka mōlī, of ke kuʻI niho a me kēlā kānāwai liʻiliʻI, kēia kānāwai liʻiliʻI me ka ʻuku hoʻopiʻI ma ka hanaʻoʻoleʻa. ʻAʻole e hiki I ka mana o ka mōʻī ke hoʻopau. O ka poʻe kōkua iā Ulumaheihei ma ka hana ʻana I nā kānāwai, Rev. W. Rikeke, ʻo Kalaikoa, ʻo Kaʻohanapuaʻa, ʻo Pikanele, ʻo Kuakamauna, ʻo Daniela ʻĪʻī, a ʻo Davida Malo I kekahi Manawa. ʻO ke kumu o ko Ulumaheihei kau ʻana I nā kānāwai ʻoʻoleʻa no nā mokupuni o Maui. Penei ke kumu:

He kanaka manaʻoiʻo me ka hilinaʻI I ka pono o ka ʻōlelo akua.

At one point, there were many little laws on Maui. Some regarding smoking tobacco, regarding tattoo needles, regarding false teeth, and this little law, [and] that little law … and the slapping of strict fines regarding work.

The power of the king was not able to complete [the work]. The people who helped Ulumaheihei [Hoapili] with the work of the laws were: the Rev. William Richards, Kalaikoa, Kaʻohanapuaʻa, Kuakamauna, Daniel ʻĪʻī, and David Malo at times. There was a reason for Ulumaheihei’s placing of harsh laws on Maui. Here is the reason: He was a faithful man with trust in the word of God (my translation).


About Puaʻaʻiki Batamia (Bartimeus, Batimea), what can be gained from Kamakau (2001) is that he was blind, a “hoa kūkā” of Kaʻahumanu, and that he was baptized around 1825. In an article in Ka Nonanona of 1844, Daniela ʻĪʻī makes several comments about Puaʻaiki’s dedication to Christianity and his work ethic. It is not clear whether this is written post-mortem. The following excerpt from the article is biographical, and concerns, among other his involvement with Malo:

Ua noho oia i Lahaina e mahuahua ana kona alohaia mai a me kona ike ana’ku i ka Haku, a hiki i ka makahiki, 1839, alaila, ua holo pu me Kekauonohi ma i Hilo ma Hawaii. Malaila, ua komo Batimea iloko o ke kula palahalaha. Ma Lahaina, he nui no kana hana, aka, malaila, he mau hoahanau no, ia manawa o Davida Malo ma, a o Kaua, ka hoahanau no Bolabola mai; no ia mea, aole nui ka pouli e like me ia ma Hilo. Aia no na’lii o Hoapili ma e kokua ana mamuli o ka pono ma Lahaina; aole alii haipule ma Hilo. No ia mea, ua nui ka hemahema ma ia wahi. Ua naaupo loa na kanaka. Ua hihiu no hoi. A hiki o Batimea ilaila, ua nui kana hana e pono ai kolaila poe ilihune, a me ka naaupo. No ka nui o ka hemahema o ia aina, ua koiia o Batimea e noho mau malaila, aole e hoi i Maui.

In 1865 J.S. Gelina wrote He Wahi Mooolelo no Baitmea Puaaiki. While the bulk of the book consists of Puaʻaʻiki’s spiritual journey to Christianity, it contains one passage concerning his association with Richards, and supports ʻĪʻī’s praise for his work ethic:

Eia ka mea e maopopo ai ke ano maikai o Batimea: He kanaka molowa ole … Ua ike pinepine au ia ia e halihali ana I ke uwala maoli ia Mi. Rikeke, I kana kumu. Ninau aku au ia ia, “Mahea I loaa ia Batimea na uwala ana i lawe pinepine mai a haawi aku oe? Nawai I kokooua ia ia I kona noho makapo ana?” I nei o Mi. Rikeke iaʻu “Ua oi aku ko Batimea haawina i kana kumu, mamua o kekahi poe waiwai i loko o ke ekalesia, a oluolu loa oia i keia hana.”

Malo has this to say of Puaʻaʻiki’s work in his Wailuku church: “Nui koʻu mahalo i koʻu hoahele ia Batimea I kou lohe ana ia ia e hooikaika pinepine ana I na kanaka o Maui Hikina, I ko lakou hoakoakoa ana ma ko lakou mau kulanakauhale, e hoolohe ke olelo a ke akua ma kona waha.” Forbes lists six references to Puaʻaʻiki, including Edwin Holt’s Anecdotes of the Christian Mission  (1837), which includes a conversation with Richards.


Another possible inner circle member was Boas Mahune. William Richards’s report to “the mission” from May 1, 1839, reprinted in the Fifty-First Annual Report of the Hawaiian Historical Society (1942), describes his acceptance of the position of teacher of political economy, and mentions that “a system of laws has been written out by Boas Mahune, a graduate of [Lahainaluna] High School, [who] was directed by the King to conform them to the principles of Political Economy which they had learned.” Osorio (2002, 160) disputes this claim, noting that

when the rights and laws (kānāwai) of 1839 was drafted [The Polynesian] claimed chief credit was to Lāhaināluna graduates and undergraduates… yet the editorial was misleading … the kumukānāwai … was composed and drafted by William Richards, with Lāhaināluna graduate Boas Mahune merely assisting. Still the editorial was not meant to praise Mahune. It was trying to make several important points: first about the importance of Western education, and second, that there was nothing inherently superior about ʻthe rulers’ that could not be outstripped by lesser ranks armed with that Western education.

Osorio does not cite Richards’s report to the mission, but cites Kamakau who states that Richards wrote the laws of 1839. Osorio (2002, 262-263) notes that “the king selected Boas Mahune to represent him and Jonah Kapena to represent Kinau in drawing it up,” and that “the native scholars Malo and Boas Mahune acted as translators and mediators with the Mōʻī.” Mahune, writing as “Boaza Mahune” authored an article in Ke Kumu Hawaii on 19 December 1838 entitled “KA PILIKIA O KE LII,” which covers some difficultlies experienced by Kauikeaouli on a trip to Hawaiʻi island with his “hoaholo.”


            As for Kuakamauna, another possible member in Richards’s inner circle: in Ka Nonanona of April 26, 1842, under the heading “KA AHAOLELO O NA LII A ME KA POE I KOHOIA” (The council of chiefs [Nobles] and the people elected [as representatives]) is the following passage, which mentions Malo and others, and some topics covered in the daily meetings of the ʻahaolelo:

Ma ka ahaolelo ana, ua kaawale na ‘lii maoli, a me ka poe i kohoia. Iloko o ka ahaolelo alii, aia no o Kauikeaouli, Kekauluohi, o Kekauonohi, o Paki, o Keohokalole, o Leleiohoku, o Kealiiahonui, o Kanaina, o Ii, o Keoniana, a me Haalililo. Iloko o ka ahaolelo o ka poe i Kohoia, aia no o Malo laua o Kapae no Hawaii; o Davida Malo, laua o Kamakau no Maui; o Halai no Oahu, a o Davida Papohaku no Kauai. I ko’u ike ana, maikai ka ahaolelo ana; ke imi pu nei i na mea pono ai ke aupuni. Mai ka hora 9 o ke kakahiaka a hiki i ka hora 12 ka manawa e ahaolelo ai, i kela la i keia la.

Aperila 18. I ka iwa o ka hora halawai na ‘lii, a kamailio i ka hihia, no ka hopu ole o na Makai i ka poe e ku wale ana ma ke alanui, a kii ia o Kuakamauna a kauohaia’ku la oia e hana.

In this report the elite of Hawaiian society begins to look smaller, as familiar names appear, such as Kanaina, Keliʻiahonui, Leleiohoku, Kamakau and Haʻalilio alongside inner circle members Malo and Kuakamauna. This suggests that the chiefs under Richards’s tutelage were from this very small circle of Hawaiʻi’s elite.

As these brief sketches of the members of Richards’s inner circle are quite skeletal, a richer understanding of the inner circle’s studies may provide a sharper picture of the theoretical encounter taking shape in the 1840s. For this understanding Francis Wayland can be looked to, as his text (or a translation of it) was the basis of their study. Below I offer a biographical portrait of Wayland, including some of his intellectual and personal traits, which may deepen the understanding of this transition period.


Some biographical information on Francis Wayland may shed light on the inner circle, as his writing formed the basis of their study. At the beginning of his book Elements of Political Economy, Francis Wayland, president of Brown University and moral philosopher, states: “the principles of Political Economy are so closely analogous to those of Moral Philosophy, that almost every question in the one, may be argued on grounds belonging to the other.” Wayland claims to have not, however, “thought it proper, in general, to intermingle them, but … argued economical questions on economical grounds.”

Francis Wayland was born in New York in 1796 of English parents, and attended Union College, studying medicine. After practicing for a few years, he joined the Baptist church and “devoted himself to the ministry” (Moulton, 1910, 447). Wayland studied theology for a year at Andover, and was pastor at Baptist churches in Boston and Providence, which holding positions at Union College. He was considered “highly distinguished as a pulpit orator” (Moulton, 1910, 447). Elements of Political Economy  was originally a series of lectures to the senior class at Brown University, a fact that evokes images of the pastor-president sermonizing the soon-to-graduate.

Wayland appears to have had a near-obsession with thrift. It is noted that “during many years he gave away more than half his income … [but] it was by economy that he was able to practice benevolence. He was never wealthy” (Moulton, 1910, 447). This obsession with thrift – which must have been considerable to be noted by the already-thrifty New England protestant community – may have been projected, through his writing, onto Hawaiian chiefs. According to Francis Bowen (in Moulton, 1910, 449) Wayland “avows that he has not aspired to originality, and of course the leading opinions are those maintained in the ablest works of the English Economists.” Ely (1997) however, notes that Wayland never mentions Thomas Malthus, which suggests his possible views on population. Wayland’s sympathy toward the mission is reflected in his later publication of a “Sermon on the Moral Dignity of the Missionary Enterprise” in 1862 (Moulton, 1910, 450). Wayland’s moral interest was reflected in his book The Elements of Moral Science.

Ely (1997, 223) notes:

The new Jacksonian majority believed the people should be able to worship, think, and manage their affairs with minimal state interference. That view became the principal economic and moral message of the leading democratic political econmist of the Jacksonian period, Francis Wayland. Wayland was raised a New York Baptist, but learned Scottish Realism at Congregational Andover Seminary in Massachusetts. He became one of Americaʻs leading proponents of the philosophy in the 1830s and 1840s as President of Brown University.

On education he saw critical thinking and devotion to Christianity as compatible. He wrote that “the purpose of education, said Wayland, is ʻto render the mind the fittest possible instrument for DISCOVERING, APPLYING and OBEYING the laws under which God has placed the universe’” (emphasis original, Wayland in Ely, 1997, 225). Ely (1997, 225) notes Wayland’s views on utilitarianism:

In the United States, utilitarianism was viewed not so much as a fundamental assumption of economic theory, but as a moral view of the world in competition with Protestant orthodoxy. As a result, it was unacceptable to many political economists, such as Wayland, on religious of moral grounds, economic objections notwithstanding.


Equally as important as Wayland’s source text is Richards’s translation of it. Richards described his translation as “compiling a work on Political Economy of which Waylandʻs is the basis” (Mykännen, 2003, 136) Wayland (1837, 3) beings his introduction, “Political Economy is the Science of Wealth. [emphasis original] It is sometimes defined the Science of National Wealth.” Richards begins: “ua haawi mai ke akua I mea e waiwai ai na kanaka apau.” Tokishi translates this back into English as “God gave to us things that are valuable to all men.”

Richards replaces Wayland’s (1837, 4) examples of objects “having the power of gratifying human desire, which as capable of being appropriated [emphasis mine].” Wayland’s examples include bituminous coal, money, wood, and iron.

Richards (1839, 18) [Tokishi translation] writes “the land where man farms is wealth. The sea, the place where one fishes, is wealth. Bought goods, they are wealth. The ability to carve canoes, it is wealth. The ability to build a house, it is wealth. Each and everything that has value for most men, these things are called, wealth.” Here Richards is introducing the idea of services, in addition to goods, as a category of wealth.

Richards adds a point not made in the original (and directed at Hawaiians): “In that way men lived poorly during the period of ignorance. They did not know the places valuables could be gotten” (Tokishi 1). It is interesting that Richard’s felt the need to translate explicitly what it means to be rich. Where Wayland writes “He who possesses many of these objects in abundance, is termed rich,” Richards translates it to “Ina he nui ke kala o kekahi kanaka, ua oleloia, ua nui kona waiwai, “ and Tokishi back to “If a man had a lot of maney [sic], it was said, he’s rich.” A further clarification holds “Money is the measure that can measure the beneficiality and the amount of the valuable.” On intrinsic value, Richards renders “O kekahi waiwai, aole nui kona maikai iho, ua nui loa ke kala iloko,” which Tokishi translates back to “some valuables donʻt have a lot of intrinsic value, but the monetary value is great.” I might translate the last portion of Richards’ line as “there was much money inside them [the valuables].”

Richards introduces the notion of intrinsic value by illustrating that objects contain money or perhaps “capital,” though it is difficult to say whether he would have used this word. Richards (1839, 30) also introduces a Smithian concept of the division of labor: “Ina hui pu na kanaka he nui, hiki wawe ia lakou ke hoonui I ke waiwai, aole hiki wawe ke hana pakahi na kanaka.” Tokishi retranslates this to “If many men join together, they can quickly produce the valuable, (they) could not do so quickly if the man worked individually.” Where Richards (1839, 31) writes “O koa ka uku o kekahi paahana, o koa ka uku o kekahi paahana. No laila he mea nui ke puunaue pono,” Tokishi puts it “The pay of some workers is different, the pay of some workers is different. Therefore, the proper distribution [division or share, (Pukui)] is a difficult thing.” The word nui here may mean “important.”

Richards (1839, 19-20) writes “He mea maikai ka hao, a ua oi loa aku kama maikai mamau o ke gula. Ua nui loa nae ke kala i loko o ka gula no ka mea, e hiki no ke kuai aku, a nui ka loaa mai,” which Tokishi translates to “Iron is a beneficial item, and its beneficiality is much greater than that of gold. But the amount of money inside of the gold is very great, because (one) can sell (it) and get a lot (for it).” In her footnotes on the text and translation, Tokishi clarifies the  “translation of ʻaina’ as ʻwealth.’” Later in the footnotes, she states that  “at first Richards’ use of ʻwaiwai’ seems to be exactly the same as ʻaina’ meaning wealth. However, as the paragraph goes on, and more examples are used, it becomes clear that he is referring to ʻthe particular quality in any substance that renders it capable of gratifying human desire’, that is, ʻvalue.’”

Richards promoted the Smithian idea of competitive advantage, comparing American and Hawaiian examples:

If a[n American] man makes a great effort to grow wheat, he obtains perhaps forty barrels of wheat. The money in these barrels is four hundred. In Hawaiʻi Nei, if a man makes a great effort to plant sugar cane, he obtains perhaps four tons in one year. In these four tons there are four hundred dollars. But if he makes a great effort to plant wheat, and he is fortunate, he obtains three barrels, and in the barrels ther are only thirty dollars. Therefore it is understood what is good for that man of America and that man of Hawaiʻi Nei … and then those men barter…

Schweizer (1999) concludes:

Employing such examples couched in easily intelligible language, Richards taught his skeptical scholars how land could create wealth and how an efficient trade with the United States could be developed. And in this fashion he laid the foundation for the Great Māhele … which in turn made possible the subsequent rise of the sugar industry.


The original members of the land commission were: William Richards, John Ricord (Attorney General), James Young Kanehoa (Maui governor), John Papa IʻI, and Zorobabela Kaʻauwai. In 1847, William Little Lee was appointed president of the Land Commission (Merry, 2000, 3). In the minutes of the Privy Council, the following is recorded regarding the creation of the Land Commission:

Privy Council

To administer the Oath to Minister of the Interior, and to choose commissioner to settle claims to land


9th Feb 1846

Persons present

His Majesty Kamehameha III , His Highness the Premier A Paki , wm P. Leleiohoku , John Ii, J. Kaeo, G. P. Judd, John Ricord, Wm Richards

It was proposed to consider the appointment of five

Commissioners, the Attorney General being the fifth one of them – to hear, consider and decide upon confirm or reject all claims of natives or foreigners to lands obtained by them previous to the 10th day of December 1845 agreeably with part 4th Chapter 7th of the first part of an to organise the Ministry of the Hawaiian Islands

Later, the oaths of office were administered:

Meeting of the Privy Council Palace, 10th February, 1846

To administer the Oath to J . Ricord, Wm . Richards , J . Ii , J . Y . Kanehoa as members of ‘the Board of Commissioners to quiet land titles.’


We and each of us solemnly swear that we will carefully and impartially investigate all claims to lands submitted to us by private parties against the Government of the Hawaiian Islands; and that we will equitably adjudge upon the title , tenure, duration and quantity thereof, according to the terms of the first part of an act entitle “An act to organize the executive departments of the Hawaiian Islands”. Passed at Honolulu on the 10th day of December, 1845.

As I have done with Richard’s inner circle of students, I now briefly historicize the members of the Land Commission (other than Richards).


According to Kamakau (1992, 402), Ricord believed:

the laws of Rome … could not be used for Hawaiʻi, nor could those of England, France, or any other country. The Hawaiian people must have laws adapted to their mode of living. But it is right to study the laws of other peoples, and fitting that those who conduct law offices in Hawaii should understand these other laws and compare them to see which are adapted to our way of living and which are not.

In response to an impending crisis in foreign relations, John Ricord (Hawaiʻi Privy Council, 1845) recommended the following books to Kauikeaouli in 1845: Elements of International Law, by Wheaton (1836); The American Diplomatic Code, Vol 2, by Jonathan Elliott (1834); The Principles and Affairs Applied to the conduct of Nations and Sovereigns, by M.D. Vattel (1820); Commentaries on the Laws of England, by William Blackstone (1838); Commentaries on American Law, by Kent (1826); Commentaries on the constitution of the United States, by Story (1833); and The Spirit of Laws, by Montesquieu (1823). This small selection of books is notable in three respects: first, the books were remarkably up-to-date, particularly considering the standards of the time and the speed with which texts could reach as remote a place as Hawaiʻi; second, several authors and texts on the list are still considered “classic” texts in international and British legal theory, including Vattel, Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, which incorporated Locke’s theory of state (Epstein, 1985, 16); third, the book list is distinctly theoretical, rather than “legalistic” in a technical sense – this is especially true of Montesquieu, who deals with the ethos underlying law, rather than its mere application. Montesquieu “coined the phrase ʻseparation of powers’ and justified the doctrine” in The Spirit of Laws (Epstein, 1985, 17). This suggests a theoretical, rather than, or in addition to, a technical approach by the inner circle to the law and governance.


Kamakau (1992, 256) notes that “James [Young] Kanehoa… son of John Young,” having accompanied Liholiho on his trip to England, “went ashore in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, got drunk, and did not get back to the ship before she sailed.” He later showed up on a coal ship with the letters of introduction needed for George IV to know that Liholiho was indeed the king of the Hawaiian Islands. Kanehoa was “on the ship returning from England [where Liholiho died]” and is listed as one of “Boki’s four younger relatives.”

Osorio (2002, 45) notes his presence, along with his brother Keoni Ana (John Young Jr.) in the house of nobles in 1848, and an argument, possibly over the rank of another member of the Nobles. Osorio (2002, 82) cites a later  “evaluation” of the Nobles by Charles Reed Bishop in 1851: “James Young [Kānehoa] the Govr of Maui, died last week; and has no successor appointed, yet.” Forbes (2000, 450) lists Kanehoa as a correspondent for Maui for Ka Elele.


Much is known about John Papa ʻĪʻī –  more than can be summarized here. Kamakau (1992) notes that he studied English and was appointed treasurer and Speaker of the House of Nobles. The introduction to his book Fragments of Hawaiian History paints a very impressive picture of ʻĪʻī – the author describes his knowledge of ancient combat skill and overall striking appearance and demeanor. Forbes lists five references to John Papa ʻĪʻī,  including the laws of 1842, and ʻĪʻī’s article “He Mooolelo no Kinau” in Ke Kumu of May 22, 1839.


Osorio (2002, 35) notes that Kaʻauwai had a Maui lineage, and was in the House of Representatives in 1848, at the time of the Māhele. Meanwhile, of the Land Commissioners, Keoni Ana, Wyllie, and Ricord were also on the Legislative Council. He was in the House of Representatives from 1851 until 1855, but not consecutively. He was not in the House for the term of 1852-1853. He was Second Circuit Court judge in 1855 (Osorio, 2002, 72). Osorio (2002, 76) calls Kaʻauwai “an entrupreneur and former member of the Land Commission who had nearly succeeded in purchasing the island of Kahoʻolawe from the Mōʻī and the Land Commission in 1849. The following court summons appears in Ka Hae HawaiʻI of April 30, 1856:

UA NOIIA mai kekahi o na L. K. Kaapuni, e Poli, ka wahine a Mumuku, no ka Hooponopono ana i ka waiwai, o Mumuku, ka mea i make aku nei ma Puako, i Lahaina, Maui.
 Nolaila, ua kauoha ia’ku lakou, na kanaka a pau i pili, o ka la e 5 o Iulai e hiki mai ana, oia ka Poano, i ka hora 10 o ke kakahiaka, oia ka wa e hana, ma ka Hale Hookolokolo ma Lahaina, Maui.
7-3t Z. KAAUWAI, L. K. Kaapuni.

For Kaʻauwai, Forbes only mentions a Land Commission report called “Principle adapted by the Board of Commissioners to Quiet Land Titles, To which are added Several Awards” (1847), which is available at HMCS.


Merry (2000, 3) considers William Little Lee archetypical enough to begin her book with a description of his position as a joint architect (along with several others) of Hawaiʻi’s legal system:

In October 1846 William Little Lee arrived in Hawaiʻi  … Lee was twenty-five years old and a lawyer. Trained at Harvard University under judge Joseph Story and Professor Simon Greenleaf, Lee had practiced law in Troy, New York, for a year and had been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Scarcely a month after his his ship docked in Honolulu, Kamehameha III, the king of HawaiʻI, had persuaded Lee to stay on in the independent kingdom and become a judge in the Honolulu court. By 1847 he had helped to draft legislation creating a new Superior Court of Law and Equality; he was immediately elected its chief justice. In the same year he was appointed to the Privy Council and appointed president of the Board of Commissioners to Quiet Land Titles … Lee … invested in one of the earliest sugar plantations with his friend [Charles Reed] Bishop … By 1850 Lee had penned a new criminal code for the islands, modeled after a Massachusetts prototype, and by 1852 a new constitution.

Lee’s attitude and approach toward working with Hawaiians is apparent in a letter Lee wrote to a friend in 1851:

Certainly they are a kind and peaceable people, with a superabundance of generous hospitality; but with all their good traits, they lack the elements necessary to perpetuate their existence. Living without exertion, & contented with enough to eat and drink, they give themselves no care for the future, and mope away life without spirit, ambition or hope. Now & then we meet an enterprising native, climbing up in the world, and I feel like crying bravo! my good fellow! bravo! but the mass of the people, where are they? I consider the doom of this nation as sealed, though I will labor on without ceasing, hoping for the blessing of heaven to bring some change (Merry, 2000, 5).

Lee was not alone in his sentiments on the “protestant work ethic.” This idea was so ingrained in the inner circle, that “several laws enacted in 1839 and 1840, and later compiled in the Laws of 1842, permit[ing] the extinguishment of tenant rights in limited circumstances,” including the “dispossession of tenants because of idleness, where such idleness is proven at trial,” public purposes and road building (PASH v. Hawaiʻi County Planning Commission, 1995). Forbes lists 16 references to Lee, including two addresses to The Oahu Temperance Society in 1847 and 1848, available at HHS and HMCS. Forbes (2000, 7) notes that Lee was chosen for a committee of three that would revise the constitution in 1850-51 – this record is available at AH and BPBM. Also available at AH and BPBM is Lee’s First Annual Report of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court To the Nobles and Representatives of the Hawaiian Islands (1853) (Forbes, 2000, 67).


While the following people are not part of either Richards’s inner circle or the Land Commission, they appear to be central to the formation of the overall political-economic system.


Robert Crichton Wyllie replaced Dr. Gerrit Judd as minister of foreign relations on March 26th, 1845 (Kuykendall, 1938, 248). According to Kuykendall (1938, 249), Wyllie was “a Scotchman, born in 1798 and educated for the medical profession, who had resided for many years in Spanish America as physician and merchant.” Wyllie arrived from London via China and “served as honorary secretary to the [British] consul general [Miller] at the signing of the convention of February 12, 1844 [?]. He was later appointed pro-consul, representing the British government in Miller’s absence. Kuykendall (1938, 249) notes that

Wyllie himself said that one of his reasons for accepting the office was a hope entertained by him that he might be able to effect a reconciliation between the American commissioner and the king’s government. But the breach was too wide to be closed. Wyllie not only failed as a peacemaker, but almost immediately found himself drawn into the battle, dealing heavy verbal blows on behalf of his adopted sovereign.

Forbes lists seventeen references to Wyllie, including a broadside of “Commerical, Meteorological, and Missionary Statistics” in The Friend, which is available at HMCS. Also available are multiple reports of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, including one that mentions Britain’s recognition of Hawaiʻi’s independence and Lord Aberdeen (Forbes, 200, 443), and the broadside for the “Order of Procession” at Wyllie’s funeral, available at AH (Forbes, 2000, 406).


Mataio Kekūanaoʻa may be viewed as an “ambitious” chief, who “worked his way up” from kaukaualiʻi status and, through Boki, was able to marry Kinaʻu. It is difficult, however, to determine notions of ambition in a Hawaiian context, so I leave these notions in quotes. In the Privy Council minutes from August 17, 1850, Kekuanaoʻa’s “ambition” for lands at the expense of makaʻāinana is visible:

Governor Kekuanaoa proposed that the Government accept the division of lands proposed by the chiefs without the question of the rights of natives entering into the calculation for the present. Governor Kekuanaoa said he thought there was a mistake.. They (the Chiefs) proposed to take the whole of their lands as they now hold them in Fee Simple, and give the people their rights to fire wood etc. as specified in Mr. Lee’s resolution. This he said was right in law. Mr. Wyllie made some remarks at considerable length, concluding by seconding the motion of Kekuanaoa, if all parties agreed in honor to take up the question of native rights, at some future meeting.

            Forbes lists five references to Kekuanaoʻa, including “Laws and Regulations” made at Lahaina on April 29, 1837, called “E na malihini a pau mai na aina e mai, e noho ana ma koʻu pae aina nei, o ka poe hou mai mei ke hoike aku nei au kuu olelo ia oukou a pau loa I ike oukou I kaʻu olelo,” signed by Kamehameha III, but authored by Kekuanaoʻa, and pertaining to Catholics in Hawaiʻi.


Kameʻeleihiwa (1992, 191) relates Sheldon’s description of John Young II, known as Keoni Ana, as “a half-white, one of the handsomest men ever seen, genial and good-natured, a great favorite with the King, but uneducated beyond the bare elements of reading and writing.” Osorio (2002, 27) relates an instance that illustrates both Richards’ influence and the rising status of the hybrid subject epitomized by Keoni Ana:

The nobles were unanimous for for making Kakauʻonohi, a granddaughter of Kamehameha, the governor of Maui, when Lāhaina was still the capital and residence of the king. John Young Jr. (Keoniana) did have a high chiefess mother and his father had been the respected American military advisor to Kamehameha, but Kekauʻonohi clearly outranked him, and she was related to the Mōʻī. So they voted to send Keoniana to Kauaʻi. But Richards objected, saying that Keoniana understood English better and would ʻmake a better escort for the king and represent him better before the officers of the battleships and with the delegates from foreign lands.’ Kamakau was astonished when the nobles gave up and John Young became governor of Maui: ʻ…for I had believed that the ballot was really to determine the election according to the will of the greater number, but here the chiefs had given up their will to that of a single person.’”

This astonishment is reminiscent of that held by Malo at the charge leveled at Richards of slander against Captain Buckle (Kamakau, 1992, 280-283), but suggests that expertise was contesting “democratic” process during this transition period. As Kauikeaouli noted in response to protests over the appointment of foreigners in the government (notably, Richards himself), and Kamakau’s (1992, 401) admonition that “we do not believe that Kamehameha [the first] would put faith in the skill and cunning of strangers:”

I have appointed foreign officials, not out of contempt for the ancient wisdom of the land, but because my native helpers do not understand the laws of the great countries who are working with us. That is why I have dismissed them. I see that I must have new officials to help with the new system under which I am working for the good of the country and of the old men and women of the country [referred to by Kamakau as the subjects of Mamalahoe Kanawai] (Kamakau, 1992, 401).

Kauikeaouli proceeds to name several native officials who were retained, including John Young [II], and notes that “as soon as the young chiefs are sufficiently trained I plan to give them the places” (Kamakau, 1992, 402). Thus, it was the “new system” that constituted the justification for abandoning traditional practices, ostensibly temporarily, while a generation of hybrid Hawaiian subjects was prepared for the encounter with the west. Kamakau’s assertion that Kamehameha I would not trust foreign advisors was, at least on the face of it, counterfactual, as seen in the example of John Young I. And the new system was, in reality, at least two new systems (and likely more): international law and western property law.

Forbes lists four references to Keoni Ana, including excerpts from a circular when he was Acting Minister of Public Instruction, the subject of which was “Weighty Suggestions to all School Inspectors and Teachers on the Hawaiian Islands” – available at AH. There is also a report of the Minister of Interior regarding commerce and laws, which mentions the establishment of an anti-government newspaper, the Sandwich Island News (Forbes, 2000, 501).


            This annotated biography of the inner circle(s) was meant as both a guide to my own dissertation research, and a skeletal story in itself. Themes that emerge from this exercise include: an understanding that many or all of these “historical figures” had multiple roles in addition to their parts as students of, and ostensibly proselytizers for, Richards’s Political Economy; a perspective on the relatively small size of the Hawaiian (and foreign) elite, in which each engaged in personal relationships with the others; and the personal dimension, in addition to the professional, religious and political dimensions, in which lives, marriages, births and deaths go on amidst theoretical acts of creation. This project also sheds light on the relative amount of archival information available for Hawaiians as opposed to foreigners, at least as catalogued by a foreigner such as Forbes. On that note, it should be mentioned that Forbes did not have full access to the University of HawaiʻI at Mānoa Hawaiʻi-Pacific Collection, and thus did not list it as a holder for some sources that are, in fact, in that collection.

For further research, the archives I mention above will be accessed, and background gathered for other potential inner circle members, such as privy Council members Pakī and Kaeo, and Timothy Keaweiwi. Noelani Arista, in Kanalu Young’s Review of Hawaiian Literature course (Spring, 2008), enumerated the various types of primary sources that can be consulted in research, these are listed below:

–               Diaries

–               Manuscripts

–               Newspapers

–               Obituaries/kanikau

–               Birth/death certificates

–               Marriage certificates

–               Census records

–               Probate records

–               Land records

These types of sources can provide contextual information that can enrich analyses of the design and construction of the “kālaiʻāina” or political economy in general, and the Hawaiian land tenure system specifically, by situating its architects in their historical context.


Alexander, W.D. (1891). A Brief History of Land Titles in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Hawaiian Annual, Honolulu: Thos. Thrum.


An Act Confirming certain Resolutions of the King and Privy Council, Passed on the

21st Day, A.D. 1849, Granting to the Common People Allodial Titles for their Own Lands and House Lots, and Certain Other Privileges.

An Act to Organize the Executive Departments, Article IV —of the Board of

Commissioners to Quiet Land Titles, 1845.

Arista, D.N.M. (1998). “Davida Malo: Ke Kanaka o ka Huliau (David Malo: A Hawaiian of the Time of Change).” M.A. Thesis, University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa.

Chinen, J.J. (1958). The Great Mahele: Hawaiiʻs Land Division of 1848. Honolulu: The

University Press of Hawaii.

Ely, J.W. (1997). Property Rights in the Age of Enterprise. Taylor and Francis.

Forbes, D.W. (2000). Hawaiian National Bibliography, vol. 2. Honolulu: University of

HawaiʻI Press.

Forbes, D.W. (2000). Hawaiian National Bibliography, vol. 3. Honolulu: University of

HawaiʻI Press.

Hawaiʻi. Privy Council. (1845 – 1850). Minutes.

Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society. (1969). Missionary Album: Protraits and

Biographical Sketches of the American Protestant Missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu: Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society.

Kamakau, S.M. (2001). Ke Aupuni Mōʻī. Honolulu: Kamehameha Schools Press.

Kamakau, S.M. (1992). Ruling Chiefs of Hawaiʻi. Honolulu: Kamehameha Schools


Kame‘eleihiwa, L. (1992). Native Land and Foreign Desires: Pehea Lā E Pono Ai?

Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press. [TKT and JO]

Kelly, M. (1956). Changes in Land Tenure in Hawaii, 1778-1850. M.A. Thesis,

University of Hawaiʻi.

Kuykendall, R.S. (1938). The Hawaiian Kingdom, vol. 1. Honolulu: University of

Hawaiʻi Press.

Malo, D. (1951). Hawaiian Antiquities: Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi (tr. Emerson). Honolulu:

Bishop Museum Press.

Malo, D. (2006). Ka Moolelo Hawaii. (tr. Chun). Honolulu: First People’s Productions.

Merry, S. E. (2000). Colonizing Hawaiʻi: The Cultural Power of Law. Princeton:

Princeton University Press. [MS]

Moulton, C.W. (1910). The Library of Literary Criticism of English and American Authors, vol IV (1855-1874). New York: Henry Malkin.

Mykännen, J. (2003). Inventing Politics: A New Political Anthropology of the Hawaiian

Kingdom. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press. [TKT and MS]

NeSmith, R.K. (n.d.). Translation of William Richards’ No ke Kalaiaina. Unpublished


Osorio, J. K. (2002). Dismembering Lāhui: a History of the Hawaiian Nation to 1887. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press.

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