Liliuokalani’s Tahitian Suitor
The former de facto ruler of Easter Island, Salmon (sometimes spelled “Salman”) has visited Honolulu years ago, making a “very fine impression” on the royal family and local society in general. The royal family hung his portraits for years.
The San Francisco Call said Salmon was a “mountain of flesh” at six feet and two inches and 300 pounds: “He stands erect as any soldier, and, notwithstanding his great bulk, gets about as actively as a healthy youth of 18.”
He was”known as a ‘good fellow’ and probably the most easy going of all the big chieftains of the islands” and owned an “abundance of riches” and owned “extensive lands.”
Six months before the news, Liliuokalani prepared to host Salmon with a reception and entertainment. She renovated her Waikiki beach villa, repainting it and improving the grounds at the cost of over two-thousand dollars.
But Salmon’s arrival time was unclear. Several times, Liliuokalani learned about his supposed arrivals and wait for a ship from San Francisco, but never saw him.
Half a year later, the news of their supposed engagement spread around the world. When asked to confirm, Salmon smiled broadly, his eyes “filled with love,” and his mind, “pleasant thoughts of the queen.” Playing with a piece of twine, the Tahitian prince said, “Now, really, I don’t like to discuss the matter. It is not for me to say. Affairs of the heart are not for the public. Do you think so?”
When the San Francisco Call said people were very interested about the news, he “thought for a moment again, and with a merry little twinkle in his eye, slowly responded, ‘Time alone will tell.'”
Two days later, through a cable message signed by her secretary, Queen Liliuokalani responded, “No.” Salmon said that before this, he sent multiple cable messages to her without getting a response and that Liliuokalani invited him to Hawaii to accept his proposal.
Failing to find a benefactor, Salmon landed in jail for not paying for his car rentals and hotel stays.
– Alice Kim
Articles from Chronicling America
Pacific commercial advertiser, March 3, 1907, Page 12
“The Queen’s Tahitian Suitor: Col. Baker Writes from Pepeete of His Royal Lineage”
Hawaiian gazette, September 24, 1907, Image 1
“The Prince Who Will Wed Queen Lil: Tahiti and Hawaii Will Be Linked…”
The San Francisco call, September 29, 1907, Page 1
“Queen Lil’s Refusal Adds to Pangs of Gout: Prince Salman of Tahiti Finds Torture Doubled by Curt ‘No'”
The San Francisco call, October 1, 1907, Page 16
“Refusal of Prince Will Shock His Tahitian Friends”
Hawaiian gazette, October 15, 1907, Page 6
“Tahitians Lose Cash as Prince Fails to Marry: Subjects of Arii Pola A. Salmon Give Funds to Aid Hunt for Bride”
The San Francisco call, November 11, 1907, Page 1
“Royal Suitor Languishing in a Prison Cell: Tahitian Prince Who Would Marry Hawaii’s Queen Goes to Jail”
Pacific commercial advertiser, November 22, 1907, Image 1