July 15, 1907




Honolulu, H. I., July 15.--


If one be able to distract his mind from sociological conditions I know of no place where the surroundings are more ideal than the Hawaiian Islands. They were well named when they were called the "Paradise of the Pacific." It is all so essentially tropic in every aspect that one cannot remain here many days without sinking into that general state of lassitude which prevails among all the inhabitants, no matter what their race or coler [color]. The very air is conducive to rest and quiet, and while it is generally supposed by those who have never visited them that the tropics are hot and uncomfortable, such is not the case. In Honolulu it is always warm, the temperature varying but 8 degrees during the entire year. But this temperature is never above 84 nor below 76. There is considerable humidity in the air which, at times makes conditions oppressive, but the nights are always pleasant. Probably the most peculiar friek [freak?] of the climate is the rainfall, it rains nearly every day, and I have seen it raining on the upper porch of the hotel while not a drop fell on the street below, the moisture all being dissipated before it reached the ground.

Kona coffee is becoming a staple in nearly all grocery stores in the United States, but few people know that the word "kona" means a direction. "Kona" is "South," and kona coffee is coffee that is raised on the south coast of the islands. The kona wind is the south wind, and it is this south wind that is considered beneficial to the growth of the coffee. I have learned several things about coffee on the islands, and one of them are well worth remembering. Coffee should not be used until after it has been gathered three years, and if you can get coffee that is five years old so much the better. New coffee has a bitter taste which disappears as the [coffee?] grows older.

I took a trip yesterday to the Pali, that famous cliff over which one of the old time kings drove the natives when he came to conquer. The approach to this cliff, which rises sheer several sides more steep as one gets nearer the top. There is a wondrous view of the northern end of the island from the Pali, and one can well imagine the terrible scene which occurred when thousands of the natives were driven over the edge to the jagged rocks far below.

Just how savage the aborigines of these islands were can be understood by a visit to the Bishop museum, south of Honolulu, where all sorts of old relics are to be seen. Here we find bowls in which human bodies were served up at feasts, as well as enormous forks used by savage royalty when eating human flesh. This museum is a wonderful place to study anthropology, and one could well spend several days here. On the magnificent statue of King Kamehameha which stands in front of the old palace, is a representation of the wonderful feather robe of state made of yellow feathers. The original robe is in the museum, made of feathers so rare that but two of them are obtained from a single bird. One would have to do a lot of figuring to find out how many birds lost their lives to furnish the feathers for their royal robe.

In addition to the museum the city boasts one of the most wonderful aquariums in the world. It is a public institution, and contains specimens of the wonderful fish found in these waters[.] I have spent some time in the show places but must confess that there is more of interest to me in the fish market than in aquarium, but I shall tell about this fish market in a future letter, for I think it worth more space than mere mention.

While on the subject of royalty I may as well say that I have visited ex-Queen Lilioukalani, and found her an entertaining and highly educated lady. She is a skillful musician and fine composer, and is one of the most refined ladies that I have had the pleasure of meeting anywhere. As I sat in the plainly furnished parlor, out where the solf whispering of the waves of Waikiki beach kept up continued music, I could not help contrasting her with those ancestors whose savage implements I had been examining at the museum.


Source:  Crittenden Record-Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1907-1918, October 24, 1907, Image 6 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.


[My comments are in brackets.]