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95 During his weeklong voyage from Honolulu to San Francisco onboard the steamer Zealandia, Celso had time to brood over his defeat and humiliation at the hands of the “missionary element.” Living up to his warning that “whosoever tries to play a mean dirty trick on me does so at his own peril,”1 he plotted his revenge. Italy was his final destination, but first he had important business in the United States. He regarded General Comly as the chief architect of his downfall, and Moreno sought his removal as the U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Hawaii. He avoided acquaintances in San Francisco.2 Instead, he headed directly for Ohio and sought an audience with president-elect James Garfield. The meeting, which took place in West Mentor, on the shores of Lake Erie, was not satisfying. Charles Foster, the governor of Ohio, who had known Moreno in Washington as “a pleasing and intelligent gentleman,” attested that Moreno was acquainted with Garfield, as he had claimed. Continuing on to Washington, Moreno secured a letter of introduction from Secretary of the Treasury John Sherman, another acquaintance, to Secretary of State William M. Evarts. After a “patient” wait of several days, Moreno, along with his “three young Hawaiian gentlemen,” was c h a p t e r 6 Celso’s Vendetta 96 Celso’s Vendetta admitted to speak to Evarts. Moreno asked that “the gross wrong done to me by Minister Comly be righted.” Evarts knew that Kalakaua had rescinded Moreno’s commission as envoy to the United States. He did not meet Moreno in the “diplomatic room” but in his private residence, and he declined to accept any official communication. Furthermore, Evarts claimed he was completely satisfied with Ambassador Comly’s work. Moreno, however , did not leave Washington empty-handed. Relying on his talents as a publicist, he printed and distributed his own version of the “Moreno affair,” finding a sympathetic ear in certain quarters.3 Moreno’s party left for the French port of Cherbourg and there continued to Paris. He was charged with the education of the three Hawaiian students: Robert William Wilcox, twenty-five; Robert Napu’uako Boyd, sixteen; and James Kaneholo Booth, seventeen. Moreno seems to have taken the responsibility very seriously, behaving like “a conscientious travel guide” who introduced them to “some of the world’s most celebrated leaders .”4 In Washington, they met with Carl Schurz, a German American statesman, and with Frederick Douglass. Their grand tour of European capitals began in early 1881 and was undertaken like a state visit. Moreno occupied himself with finding the best military academies for the youths and demonstrated a great attention to ceremony. Although William L. Green, the new Hawaiian Minister of Foreign Affairs, had tried to rescind his diplomatic credentials, Moreno displayed documents with the king’s signature. The three “princes” (Moreno implied that they were the king’s “natural sons,” a “rumor” Kalakaua vigorously and repeatedly denied), proceeded undisturbed from one reception to another. The “three youths with bronzed faces and quick, white eyes like porcelain in a blackened pipe,” as Faldella described them,5 worked wonders to open the doors of Europe’s palaces and salons. In Paris, the group met Léon Gambetta, the president of the French Chamber of Deputies; Victor Hugo, the author of Les Misérables; and Count Ferdinand de Lesseps, the architect of the Suez Canal.6 Kalakaua wrote to the emperor of Germany asking to enroll his students in Prussian military schools. He received an encouraging response, and the group headed to Berlin. Moreno thought about enrolling them in the military academy in Potsdam and the naval school at Kiel.7 Once in Germany , however, Moreno realized that the youths were not “adequately prepared for the rigorous Prussian schools.” Moreover, they would could do little in an environment in which they were obliged to know German, a language that none of them knew.8 Booth wrote a long letter to his father relating the complicated and vaguely Kafkaesque situation that was King Kalakaua’s education abroad Celso’s Vendetta 97 program, a program that King’s governing circle firmly opposed. An incredible portrait emerges in which it seems the government’s aim was to obstruct Moreno above all, even if it meant sinking the program. At this point, the young Hawaiians were clearly on the Italian’s side. They testified to his commitment, showing that the Capitano Marittimo corresponded a great deal with...


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