No. 228.
Mr. Peirce to Mr. Fish.

No. 182.]

Sir: * * * * * * *

The assembly, thirteen nobles and twenty-eight representatives, met at noon of the 8th. Captain Clary and myself and other foreign representatives were present as spectators by invitation.

Inclosed herewith, marked No. 1, is an extra of the Pacific Commercial Advertiser, giving a full account of the doings of the assembly, by which you will see that His Royal Highness William Charles Lunalilo was unanimously elected by them sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands, and thereby confirming the unanimous choice of the people previously expressed.

* * * * * * *

The peace and good order which the people have exhibited throughout [Page 502] this exciting canvass for the election of a King speak volumes of praise in their behalf, and as showing the results of Puritan and republican teachings and education of the masses.

Yesterday, the 9th instant, at noon, according to arrangements previously made, Lunalilo took the oath of office as King of the Hawaiian Islands. He retains that name (Lunalilo) as his kingly title, the Kamehameha dynasty having ended by death of the late King. The new ministry will probably be announced soon.

Inclosed herewith, marked No. 2, is the Hawaiian Gazette extra of January 9th, containing a full account of the ceremonies installing Lunalilo sovereign of the realm.

Captain Clary deserves much praise for the cordial and handsome manner in which he co-operated to render the occasion alluded to impressive and complimentary, by causing a large number of his officers to accompany him to the church, (in full dress,) and by furnishing all the marines of the ship for performance of military duty on shore on that day, by invitation from the governor.

The King elect has forsworn the use hereafter of intoxicating drinks, and it is hoped and believed he will remain faithful thereto. No King ever appeared to better advantage than he did yesterday. He is well educated, of fine manners, and possesses a kind heart. Americans and American missionaries are delighted at Lunalilo’s accession to the throne, as he is partial to our people, and has ever looked upon them as his best and most sincere friends. In religion he is a Congregationalist, in politics democratic, though from necessity now a constitutional monarch.

With great respect,

[Inclosure 1.—Pacific Commercial Advertiser extra, January 8, 1873.]

meeting of the assembly—election of prince lunalilo as king—immense enthusiasm.

In accordance with the order of the cabinet ministers, the legislature met in the assembly chambers at 12 o’clock, noon, on Wednesday, January 8. During the whole of the morning the excitement in the street was kept up, and a large number of stores bore on their front large placards such as, “Long live William C. Lunalilo, our King;” “Lunalilo, the People’s King;” “W. C. Lunalilo, the King of Hearts.” Speeches were made by stump orators, and knots of enthusiastic Hawaiians cheered lustily for the prince.

Long before the hour for the opening of the house, the population of the town began to move down to the neighborhood of the court-house, and by 12 o’clock there was a dense crowd in front and around the approaches to the building, while up the stairs the lobby was jammed full of anxious spectators by 11 o’clock.

On the arrival of the prince, at 5 minutes before 12, the immense crowd outside the building sent up long and loud cheers, that spoke their loyal aspirations for the coming King. On his entrance into the hall, and taking his seat among the nobles, although the audience had been cautioned against making any demonstrations, every one, including the members, rose to their feet, and three rousing cheers were given for the prince, the people’s choice. The prince was looking in excellent health, and bowed repeatedly and with dignity in response to the marked demonstrations in his favor.

At noon precisely the president called the legislature to order, and after prayer by the Rev. A. Pali, the roll was called, and all were reported present but Hon. Mr. Kupakee (dead) and M. Kahananui. On motion of Hon. Mr. Carter, the house proceeded to ballot for acting clerk in place of Mr. Stanley, absent. Mr. H. Macfarlane was declared duly elected acting clerk—27 votes.

The certificate of the election of Hon. Mr. Nahinu, from S. Kona, in place of J. W. Kupakee, was referred to the committee on judiciary, with instructions to report immediately. The committee reported favorably, the report adopted, and the member-elect from S. Kona was duly sworn in.

[Page 503]

The following is a list of the members of the legislative assembly:

Nobles.—His Eoyal Highness W. C. Lunalilo; their excellencies, P. Nahaolelua, P. Kanoa, J. O. Domsnis; the Hons. C. Kanania, C. R. Bishop, P. Y. Kaeo, W. P. Kamakau, H. A. Kahanu, D. Kalakana; their excellencies F. W. Hutchison, S. H. Phillips, R. Sterling.

Representatives.—Messrs. D. H. Hitchcock, S. Kipi, J. Nawahi, W. T. Martin, D. H. Nahinu, S. K. Kaai, J. W. Naihe, G. W. D. Halemanu, L. Aholo, W. Hanaike, J. A. Kaukau, H. Kinhelani, J. W. Lonoaea, P. Nui, M. Kahananui, D. W. Kaiue, R. Newton, A. F. Judd, J. O. Carter, Z. Poli, E. Mikalemi, J. Komoikehuehu, J. N. Paikuli, E. Kekoa, C. H. Judd, D. Kaukaha, W. H. Rice, J. H. Kapuaiai.

All the members appended their names to the back of their ballots excepting the Hon. Messrs, Kanoa, Bishop, and Kanaina.

Members absent: His Royal Highness William C. Lunalilo, Governor Dominies, Hon. D. Kalakana, and Kahananui.

His excellency the attorney-general then read the following statement by the cabinet:

Mr. President, Nobles, and Representatives:

Documents delivered to your president contain official evidence of the decease of His late Majesty Kamehameha V. His earthly existence terminated at Iolani Palace, in Honolulu, in the Island of Oahu, upon the forty-second anniversary of his birth, being the eleventh day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-two.

His late Majesty left no heirs.

Her late Royal Highness the Princess Victoria Kamamalu Kaahumanu, to whom in the event of the death of His late Majesty without heirs the constitution declared that the throne should descend, died, also without heirs, on the twenty-ninth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six.

His late Majesty did not appoint any successor in the mode set forth in the constitution, with the consent of the nobles, or make proclamation thereof during his life. There having been no such appointment or proclamation, the throne became vacant, and the cabinet council immediately thereupon considered the form of the constitution in such case made and provided, and

Ordered, That a meeting of the legislative assembly be caused to be holden at the court-house in Honolulu, on Wednesday, which will be the eighth 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.

By virtue of this order you have been assembled to elect, by ballot, some native alii of this kingdom as successor to the throne. Your present authority is limited to this duty; but the newly elected sovereign may require your services after his accession.

The members of the cabinet devoutly ask the blessings of Heaven upon your deliberations and public acts. They have appreciated the responsibility resting upon them, and have striven to maintain tranquillity and order, and especially to guard your proceedings against improper interference.

Acknowledging the obligation to preserve all the rights, honors, and dignities appertaining to the throne, and to transmit them unimpaired to a new sovereign, it will become their duty, upon his accession, to surrender to him the authority conferred upon them by his late lamented predecessor.

Minister of the Interior.


Minister of Finance.

The address was accepted and ordered on file, together with the accompanying documents.

On motion, the house then proceeded to take up the main business of the session, the election of a successor to the throne, by ballot.

Each member upon taking his seat found the following circular upon his desk, accompanied with a neat ballot for the prince:

Nobles and Representatives: The voice of the people has instructed you to vote for the King they have chosen! More than ten thousand Hawaiians on the first of January said that Prince Lunalilo should be that King. Now the people hear that you have been asked to sell your vote to drown their voices. Show them to-day that you are true! Make Prince Lunalilo our King to-day!

Let every member write his name on his ballot, so that we may know that you are not traitors to the people, who ask that Lunalilo should be their King!


Honolulu, January 8, 1873.

[Page 504]

Hon. Mr. Kaai introduced a resolution to the effect that each member write his name on the back of his ballot. After some debate the resolution was adopted, and the members proceeded to ballot. All of the members present, as well as the cabinet, voted. While the tellers were calling the ballots, and reading the names of the members on the back, the greatest interest was evident in the audience. The people outside got the news as soon as a majority was reached, and the cheering was tremendous. At half-past 1 the vote was declared unanimous for Prince William C. Lunalilo. The news was received with enthusiastic cheering and shouts of applause. A committee of five, consisting of his excellency Governor Nahaolelua and Hon. Messrs. Martin, Bishop, A. F. Judd, and Naihes, were ordered to wait upon the King-elect and announce to him the result. The house then took a recess of half an hour.

House met again at 2 o’clock, and the report of the committee was read and accepted.

Hon. A. F. Judd moved that the secretary prepare an official announcement of the result of the election, and also a notice that the sovereign-elect will take the oath of allegiance at Kawaiahao church to-morrow at 12 o’clock noon.

Hon. Messrs. Bishop and Aholo presented resolutions of condolence to Ruth Keelikolani, the sister of the late King, which were adopted.

Upon motion, the house adjourned until to-morrow at 11 o’clock.

The following is the official announcement of the result, ordered by the assembly to be published:

To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting:

Know ye that the legislative assembly of the Hawaiian Islands has on this the 8th day of January, A. D. 1873, unanimously elected His Royal Highness Prince William Charles Lunalilo King of the Hawaiian Islands, and that he will be pleased to take the oath of office at 12 o’clock m. on Thursday, the 9th instant, at Kawaiahao church, in the city of Honolulu.

By order of the legislative assembly.


After the election of the King had been declared in the assembly, the immense concourse of people assembled in the court-house yard and in the street adjoining, remained anxiously waiting for a sight of their new King. In a few moments His Majesty appeared on the balcony, accompanied by the chancellor, when the cheers were deafening. The King addressed a few words to the eagerly-listening people, in which he thanked them heartily for the spontaneous expression of their loyalty and good will, and distinctly acknowledged his indebtedness to the people for the exalted position which he had just attained as their King. He added, that to-morrow he would address them more fully at Kawaiahao church, on the occasion of taking the oath of office. He then bowed and retired, amid the wildest cheers of the excited populace. Several carriages were in waiting to convey His Majesty to the palace, but he signified his pleasure to walk thither, and so, in most democratic style, the people’s King, accompanied by the chancellor, proceeded on foot to the palace, followed by crowds that thronged the street, and cheered as they marched.

God save the King!


We hear that it is proposed to illuminate the town this evening, and have a torchlight procession in honor of the great event of the day, the election of King of Hawaiinei.

[Inclosure 2.—Hawaiian Gazette Extra, January 9, 1873.]

His Majesty the King, in accordance with the announcement made yesterday, after his unanimous election as sovereign of this kingdom by the legislative assembly, in conformity with the constitution, took the oath of office prescribed at the Kawaiahao church, at 12 m. this day.

[Page 505]

At an early hour in the morning every available seat in the church, with the exception of those reserved for the aliis of the kingdom, the diplomatic and consular corps, and the captain and officers of the United States steamer Benicia, now in port, were occupied. The number of people in the church amounted to over two thousand, and the yard and King street far beyond the palace-gates were crowded with people, Hawaiian and foreign, who were unable to obtain entrance.

The Hawaiian cavalry, under command of Major Judd, were placed in line outside of the entrance to the church-yard; the household troops, under command of Major Mochonua; the marine corps of the United States steamer Benicia, under command of Lieutenant Ellsworth, U. S. N.; the artillery, under command of Captain Brown, and the Honolulu rifles, under command of Captain Gulick, being drawn up in line from the entrance of the yard to the steps leading into the church.

His Majesty’s approach was heralded to those inside the church by the cheering of the great throng without; and when he entered the church, attended by the chancellor of the kingdom, the cabinet ministers of His late Majesty, and the members of the staff, the assemblage rose to their feet, saluting him most enthusiastically, to which he graciously returned his recognition. Proceeding through the main aisle of the church, escorted as above, to the platform erected for the purpose, His Majesty was seated, when the proclamation of the president of the legislative assembly announcing his election as sovereign was read in Hawaiian by Colonel the honorable D. Kalakana, and by his honor the chancellor of the kingdom in English. His honor the chancellor of the kingdom then administered to His Majesty the oath of office prescribed by the constitution, when His Majesty was pleased to address the nobles and representatives, in Hawaiian and English, as follows:

Nobles and Representatives: This is the first time in this history of this kingdom that the legislative assembly has been convened for the purpose of electing a sovereign, and I tender you my thanks for the cordial unanimity and good will which have characterized your proceedings. But before adverting to any considerations of duty or responsibility, it is becoming, as well as in accordance with the promptings of our hearts, to express our sorrow at the sudden death of the illustrious chief whose successor I am. The late King had decided traits of character. He was enterprising, labored to develop the resources of the country, and extended his protecting hand to the Hawaiian people. While he was just to all his subjects, he was very naturally sensitive to the rights of the Hawaiians and desirous of promoting every project which would advance their interests and increase their numbers.

I sympathized deeply with the late King on the subject of the gradual diminution of the people, and I need no assurances from you that all reasonable measures to prevent it will meet your cordial approval. While we mourn this sudden bereavement, let us learn from his illustrious example to be faithful and true to the independence of the kingdom and anxious only to promote the general good.

This nation presents the most interesting example in history of the cordial co-operation of the native and foreign races in the administration of its government, and most happily, too, in all the relations in life there exists a feeling which every good man will strive to promote.

Government may be said to enter upon a new era on the accession to the throne of every sovereign. It will be my earnest endeavor to sustain the character of the government in its good repute with other nations, and in this connection it becomes us to cherish a cordial recollection of my lamented predecessors, as well as of the disinterested and patriotic men who aided them in enrolling this kingdom among the family of nations. It will be my endeavor, and in this I shall have the aid of all men who are true friends of the Hawaiians, to sustain the character of the government transmitted to us. The commencement of my reign is auspicious. Our relations with foreign governments are of the most friendly character, and I am satisfied will continue so if we faithfully discharge our duty in conformity to the principles of justice and comity recognized among nations.

At home there is peace and a reasonable prosperity, which it will be my earnest endeavor to promote.

The islands are capable of a far higher improvement than they have ever enjoyed. They have capacity enough to make a kingdom which shall command the respect of other nations, as well as to give greater comfort and happiness to a far larger population.

We are fortunately placed by nature on the great ocean highway of nations; the commerce of all flags should be attracted hither by the safety of our harbors, our abundant products, and the liberal laws and regulations of our ports. All legislation in the future, having in view the proper protection and promotion of our commercial relations, shall meet my hearty concurrence and approval.

There are circumstances attending my accession which arouse within me a very lively sense of gratitude to the whole people. They have tendered me their loyalty and their cordial support, and I accept the trust imposed upon me, feeling confidence in the expression so spontaneously made.

[Page 506]

May the blessing of our heavenly Father, without which there can be no permanent success, attend our efforts to promote the best interests of the government and people.

His Majesty then addressed the assemblage as follows:

To the Hawaiian people:

Soon after the death of His Majesty Kamehameha V, whose loss the nation mourns I issued an address to the people in which I stated that the throne had become vacant, and without a successor appointed or proclaimed, and that I desired to submit my claim to their consideration and suffrages. At numerous meetings held throughout the islands they have made known their views in a way most complimentary to myself and the election by the legislative assembly is in response to the popular will.

I need not assure you that my heart is filled with gratitude for this generous expression favorable to my claims, and I need not assure you that it will stimulate me to do everything in my power to promote your improvement, your interests, and your happiness. But to accomplish these purposes I must have your determined co-operation. From this day I hope to see an increased effort on the part of all the people to make themselves independent. History plainly teaches that no nation can improve in population and wealth without industry and good morals. It is a fact, which oppresses my heart, that the Hawaiian population has been gradually diminishing for years, and I appeal to every Hawaiian, whether here or at his quiet home, to arise in full strength and stay this desolation. It can be done, but it will require the efforts of all who love Hawaiinei. Industry, temperance, and virtue, with a moral and religious education, will accomplish it. Abandon all slothful habits, and strive for that standard of improvement which gives such advance to other nations.

In my address I alluded to some constitutional amendments, which could properly and usefully be made. I shall fake a legal course to accomplish this purpose.

It is evident that the popular expression so recently made, has drawn King and people nearer together. We know now that we sympathize in sentiment and opinion, and that we are in earnest and in mutual accord for the common good.

While my government is a constitutional monarchy, it is an auspicious circumstance that the popular will is in accord with the legal bestowment of the crown. It promises a harmonious administration of public affairs, which will give ample protection to all men, and secure to them the enjoyment of liberty regulated by law, which is the greatest blessing which government can bestow.

After taking the oath of office, as well as after the delivery of his addresses, His Majesty was greeted with applause by the assemblage present.

Upon His Majesty’s departure, escorted by the staff and high officials of the government, he was again enthusiastically saluted both inside and outside of the church. It will be observed that His Majesty walked to and from the church on the occasion of publicly assuming the high and responsible position to which he has been called.