DescriptionHawaiian King Kalakaua I Autograph Letter Signed, four pages, 4.25" x 7", on stationery with the embossed royal cipher in silver, August 9, 1882, Honolulu. The letter is an acknowledgement of a received letter and a circular requesting that the Kingdom of Hawaii send a representative. King Kalakaua accepts the invitation on behalf of his government and further tells his unnamed correspondent of his intention to send six young Hawaiian men to the United Kingdom. Four young men will serve an apprenticeship in civil engineering to a civil engineering firm in Glasgow. The king proposes that the other two men be sent to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, to learn military engineering. Kalakaua sent some young men to Italy for training, but "turned my mind to have these young men sent to England, and preferring Woolwich, having visited during my visit in England."
The year before, in 1881, King Kalakaua became the first Hawaiian king to travel around the world when he traveled to the United States, Japan, China, Siam, Burma, British India, Egypt, Italy, Belgium, the German Empire, Austria-Hungary, France, Spain, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. During his travels, Kalakaua met many crowned heads of state, including Queen Victoria.
The letter is tipped into a copy of Unwritten Literature of Hawaii: The Sacred Songs of the Hula by Nathaniel B. Emerson, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1909). The book is inscribed "S. Percy Smith from W. D. Alexander, 1910". All three men, Emerson, Smith, and Alexander, were actively involved in the debate over the morality of the hula dance. Under the reign of King Kalakaua , hula was revived, which had been banned by the missionaries in the 1820s after being deemed immoral. The king's love of joyful elements of life earned the nickname "the Merrie Monarch".
The book spine is weak, but the letter is near fine. A very interesting lot.
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