DescriptionKing Kamehameha Autograph Letter Signed to a Protestant Missionary. One page with integral address leaf, 6.25" x 7.75", n.p, [Lahaina, Maui], n.d. Kamehameha was Hawaii's first Christian king and its longest- reigning monarch. Under his rule Hawaii transitioned from a pagan absolute monarchy to a Christian constitutional monarchy with the signing of not one but two of Hawaii's Constitutions in 1840 and 1852. In this brief letter to Reverend Baldwin - addressed to "Mr. Bolowina" - the King wishes to inform him "of several matters. Aikake, the name of the man, and Kekui, the name of the woman, want to marry. When they are to marry is your decision. Tomorrow is the child's funeral. Kamehameha." Written in pencil and moderate age toned. Somewhat fragile with small separations at fold.
Addressed to Protestant medical missionary Rev. Dwight D. Baldwin, who moved to Lahaina with his family in the mid-1830s, this letter is an important association exemplifying Hawaii's move to Christianity under Kamehameha's rule. Dr. Baldwin not only ministered to the locals, he also served as government physician for the islands of Maui, Moloka'i, and Lana'i. One of his most significant contributions to island society occurred when the smallpox epidemic of 1853 took hold in the Hawaiian Islands. Dr. Baldwin was able to get all of Lahaina quarantined and vaccinated, then set out on a mule to take care of people in the far reaches of Maui as well as on Lana'i. In all, there were 10,000 smallpox deaths in Hawaii, but thanks to Dr. Baldwin, there were only 250 reported deaths on Maui.
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