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#27 Harpalien

The British steamship S.S. Harpalien is here with immigrants, 1476 men, women and children, garbed in garments of the Old World, imbued with old traditions, ideals and standards, crowded the decks of the S.S. Harpalien yesterday morning to view the beauty of the new world.

The Harpalien arrived off port at 8 o’clock yesterday morning and was in the hands of the Marine Hospital Corps and the Custom Officials until 4 o’clock yesterday when she was docked at the quarantine wharf and her big cargo of human beings turned over to the Territorial Board of Health.

The trip took 51 days from Gibraltar. During the trip, there were 110 cases of illness, from which 17 deaths resulted, but the law of compensation worked well and there were 9 births on the voyage. Although 1484 people left Gibraltar in Feb., and 17 did not survive the trip, there were 1476 newcomers on board the Harpalien when she arrived off port.

The mutiny of two Chinese crew created some diversion and nearly resulted in a tragedy. The Chinese picked a quarrel with the British engineers. Captain W.E. Pope went to the rescue of those from the engine room, was attacked by one Chinese with an iron bar, and by a timely shot from a revolver of Chief Officer Vine, was all that saved him from mutilation, and that stemmed the tide of rebellion.

Dr. Trotter, head of the Marine Hospital and Quarantine Service, said the S.S. Harpalien was clean; a great improvement over the other immigrant transports. There was enough room, light and air in this steamer.

There were really some splendid looking men and women on board the Harpalien; apparently of a better class who have come here before. The parents did not want to be separated from their offspring. The family bond which binds these people together is wonderful as I see it and it impresses me to deal with them. 49 of the patients had measles; 3 were afflicted with the mumps; one with scarlet fever, and one with diphtheria. The disposition of these cases are now in the hands of the Territorial Board of Health.

Armed with night-sticks, a squad of police, under Captain Baker, beat a hasty hotfoot to the waterfront and on to Fort Street wharf last evening, to dispel a mob of near rioters who were making the night hideous with calls to friends across the harbor on the immigration ship, Harpalien. It was dispelled and only a few voices could be heard from the ship. The Harpalien arrived off port in Honolulu on April 17, 1912.

Excerpts taken from the Pacific Commercial Advertiser, April 1912. State of Hawaii Library on microfilm, State of Hawaii Archives.

Thank you to Sandy Sakai for this contribution.
© 2003 Melody Lassalle

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