No. 226.
Mr. Peirce to Mr. Fish.

No. 177.]

Sir: As the contest to elect a successor to the crown promises to be of an exciting character, I now give you the names and characteristics of those persons thought to possess the most right to be selected as candidates for election to the throne:

First, Prince William C. Lunalilo, who claims to be a grandson of Kamehameha I. He is about forty years of age, well educated, of literary tastes, and considerable mental ability, both natural and acquired.

* * * * * * *

The prince possesses considerable property under the care of guardians. He is said to be very liberal, even democratic, in political sentiments.

Inclosed herewith is a printed copy of an address or proclamation to the people, issued by the prince on yesterday, and wherein he calls for a vote by the people, or a plebiscitum, on the 1st of January ensuing, and thereby to manifest their sense of his claim to the vacant throne. He promises, if elected, to restore the constitution of 1852, illegally set aside by the late King for one of his own, that of 1864.

Second, Ruth Kaliiokalani; she is half-sister to His late Majesty and inherits his property.

* * * * * * *

Third, Col. David Kalakaua, a chief who is descendant of one of the former Kings of Hawaii; well educated, speaks English well, of polisheded manners and bearing, commandant of the royal guards.

* * * * * * *

Fourth, Bernice Paki; by descent of high rank, both on father and mother’s side, finely educated, and a perfect lady. She is the wife of Hon. Charles R. Bishop, a native of Sandy Hill, N. Y., and a noble of this kingdom, and banker in Honolulu by profession. A few hours previous to the death of the King, when urged to name his successor, she was sent for by him and to her he offered the crown, but she refused to accept it. It is therefore doubtful whether she will permit the use of her name as a candidate before the legislature. Mr. Phillips, a member of the cabinet, intends to urge her claim upon the legislature, she being the first choice of the late King. Mr. Phillips thinks the fact should be officially made known.

As all parties express a desire to preserve the peace during the canvass for election of a new King, I feel confident no disturbance will occur unless the legislative assembly should elect some one as sovereign other than Prince William.

In such case it is thought by his friends that he will not acquiesce in the choice, but place himself upon the throne by force if necessary.

I also inclose some extracts from the Commercial Advertiser, of the 17th instant, and the Hawaiian Gazette, of this morning, bearing on the subject-matter.

With respect, &c.,

[Page 487]
[Inclosure 1.]

to the hawaiian nation.

William C. Lunalilo, son of Kekauluohi, the daughter of Kamehameha I, to the Hawaiian people, greeting:

Whereas the throne of the kingdom has become vacant by the demise of His Majesty Kamehameha V on the 11th of December, 1872, without a successor appointed or proclaimed;

And whereas it is desirable that the wishes of the Hawaiian people be consulted as to a successor to the throne: Therefore,

Notwithstanding that, according to the law of inheritance, I am the rightful heir to the throne, in order to preserve peace, harmony, and good order, I desire to submit the decision of my claim to the voice of the people, to be freely and fairly expressed by a plebiscitum. The only pledge that I deem it necessary to offer is that I will restore the constitution of Kamehameha III, of happy memory, with only such changes as may be required to adapt it to present laws; and that I will govern the nation according to the principles of that constitution and a liberal constitutional monarchy, which, while it preserves the proper prerogatives of the Crown, shall fully maintain the rights and liberties of the people.

To the end proposed, I recommend the judges of the different election-districts throughout the islands (hereby appealing to their ancient allegiance to the family of the Kamehamehas) to give notice that a poll will be opened on Wednesday, the 1st day of January, A. D. 1873, at which all male subjects of the kingdom may, by their vote, peaceably and orderly express their free choice for a King of the Hawaiian Islands as successor of Kamehameha V; and that the said officers of the several election-districts do, on a count of the vote, make immediate certified return of the same to the legislative assembly, summoned to meet at Honolulu on the 8th day of January, 1873; that if any officer or officers of any election-district shall refuse to act in accordance herewith, or if there shall be a vacancy in said offices in any district, the people may choose others in their places, who may proceed, in conformity to law, in conducting the election.

Given under my hand, at Honolulu, this 16th day of December, 1872.

God protect Hawaii Nei!

[Inclosure 2.]

Extracts from Hawaiian Gazette of December 18, 1872.

Immediately upon receiving the intelligence of the demise of his late most lamented Majesty Kamehameha V a cabinet council was assembled at Iolani Palace on Wednesday, December 11, 1872, at 11 o’clock a.m., at which all the in embers were present, and after considering the provisions of the constitution of the kingdom, in such case made and provided, it was—

Ordered, That a meeting of the legislative assembly he caused to he holden, at the court-house in Honolulu, on Wednesday, which will lie the 8th day of January, A. D. 1873, at 12 o’clock noon; and of this order all members of the legislative assembly will take notice, and govern themselves accordingly.

    Minister of the Interior.
    Minister of Finance.

The attention of all officers of the government is respectfully invited to the impropriety of any official interference in determining the question of succession to the throne.

It is a question upon which every subject undoubtedly feels the deepest interest, and all have a right to express their views in an orderly manner, individually and collectively, and to suggest their wishes to the members of the legislative assembly, to whom, by the constitution, the right of choosing a successor belongs. But no officer of the government has any official right or duty in the matter, least of all in an official capacity, to hold or preside at any election for which the sanction of official authority is claimed.

    Minister of Interior.
    Minister of Finance.