The S.S. Victoria
The British steamship Victoria, took 65 days from Funchal, Madeira to the port of Honolulu. She arrived on Wednesday, September 13, 1899 late in the afternoon, and was anchored off the lighthouse in Naval row. She embarked from Funchal, Madeira with 343 Portuguese immigrants, sailing from Madeira on 8 Jul 1899 and Captain John E. Blakey reports that a good passage with all well aboard. The immigrants looked healthy and will be distributed among the different plantations as soon as possible. There were 14 stow-aways on board. In all my experience of the immigration station, which was extended over a number of years, I never met a more peaceable, orderly, and better dispositioned lot of people than those that came on the S.S. Victoria.
It was rumored that there were many conflicts on the trip from Funchal. There has been absolutely no trouble with them at all, they appeared to be satisfied with everything, their quarters and their food furnished. There was no attempt to escape, an over zealous guard imagined that 2 men had escaped and were missing. Upon checking all men that were present, I consider this the finest lot of people and laborers who ever came to this country, and it is a pity we can’t get more like them instead of so many Japanese. Those stow-aways who came to Honolulu on the steamer Victoria, claimed that they boarded the steamer on recommendation of one of the engineers on reaching the islands. They are now detained at the Police Station and will be returned to their native home, in Madeira, unless someone here gives them security and employment.
Two of the Portuguese immigrants that came on the Victoria at the Quarantine Station, escaped from the guards between 7 and 8 o’clock last night and waded to the mainland. The police was notified by telephone but in spite of the efforts of a number of quarantine guards and waterfront police, they were still at large at 1:00 a.m. A short time later, the escapees were back with the rest of the immigrants.
Consul General Caravarro is taking much interest in these immigrants and spends a great deal of his time with them. Yesterday, 15 Sep 1899, he asked to be allowed to take his dinner with them, to be served just as they were. He did so, and expressed his great surprise at the quality and abundance of the food served. Merriment reigned among the Portuguese and visitors at the Quarantine Station last night, there was music by the Portuguese Band and any amount of singing, which was kept up to late hours. The cause of all this, was the 5 weddings, the result of courtship on the voyage out of Funchal, Madeira to Honolulu, Hawaii. Father Valentin was the officiating clergyman, while Mr. Caravarro, Consul General to the Portuguese immigrants, lent his official dignities to the occasion. It is presumed that Mr. J.D. McVeigh gave all the brides away, but no evidence has come to land as to whether he kissed them all or not. The following is the apportionment of the Portuguese laborers that arrived on the S.S. Victoria to the different Plantations, subject to slight changes as follows:
Makee Plantation Company – 12 men, 4 women.
Waialua Agricultural Company – 18 men, 6 women.
Olowalu Plantation – 7 men, 3 women.
Honolulu – 16 men, 5 women.
Hakalau Plantation, Hawaii – 12 men 2 women.
Honomu Sugar Company – 6 men, 1 woman.
Hawaiian Commercial Sugar Company – 26 men and 6 women.
Pepeekeo Sugar Company – 9 men, 2 women.
Wainaku, Hilo Sugar Company – 12 men, 2 women.
Waiakea Sugar Company – 14 men, 4 women.
Oahu Sugar Company – 12 men, 4 women.
Ewa Sugar Company – 21 men, 5 women.
Makaweli Plantation – 10 men and 3 women.
Excerpts from the Pacific Commercial Advertiser – 13 Sep 1899. Hawaii State Library – microfilm; Hawaii State Archives
Thank you to Sandy Sakai for this contribution.
© 2003 Melody Lassalle