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The British ship, the Ravenscrag sometimes spelled “Ravenscraig”, arrived from Madeira to the port of Honolulu on Saturday, August 23, 1879, from Madeira Islands. She brought a total of 423 souls - 135 men, 115 women, and 178 children.

The immigrants are all healthy, hearty-looking people and will prove a valuable acquisition to our population, a “real hoonui lanui”, (a big important day) for they have come to stay. During the passage, 5 children were born and 3 children died. We understand that about all the male immigrants have been engaged as laborers on the plantations or otherwise.

The Board of Immigration, of which the Minister of the Interior is President, has had its time and attention quite fully occupied during the past week, in providing for the wants of these people and in arranging for their future settlement.

It will be noticed that considerable more than the stipulated proportion of women and children (40 per cent) composed this lot of immigrants. This may be somewhat embarrassing in the contract, but will be in the end, we are persuaded, prove advantageous to the country. The people are nearly all poor, but thrifty. We have reason to doubt the tales that are told of the $7000.00 and $4000.00 solid cash men, amongst them. Such men would not readily leave Madeira.

The immigrants of the S.S. Ravenscrag are engaged readily as house servants and plantation hands, generally for 2 years, with wages averaging $12.00 per month for men, and $6.00 per month for women, and with advances varying from 2 to 4 months wages.

*****On board this ship a musical instrument known in Madeira as the braguinha, better known as the ‘ukulele’ was brought to Hawaii.

Excerpts from the Pacific Hawaii State Archives and the Hawaii State Library, on microfilm. Commercial Advertiser, August 1879.

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

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