Give ear Hawaii o Keawe! Maui o Kama! Oahu o Kuihewa! Kauai o Mano!
In the providence of God, and by the will of his late Majesty Kamehameha III, this day read in your hearing, I have been called to the high and responsible position of the Chief Ruler of this nation. I am deeply sensible of the importance and sacredness of the great trust committed to my hands, and, in the discharge of this trust I shall abide by the Constitution and laws which I have just sworn to maintain and support. It is not my wish to entertain you on the present occasion with pleasant promises for the future; but I trust the close of my career will show that I have not been raised to the head of this nation to oppress it and curse it, but on the contrary to cheer and bless it, and that when I come to my end I may, like the beloved chief whose funeral we yesterday celebrated, pass from earth amid the bitter lamentation of my people.
The good, the generous, the kind hearted Kamehameha is now no more. Our great Chief has fallen! But though dead he still lives. He lives in the hearts of his people! He lives in the liberal, the just, and the beneficent measures which it was always his pleasure to adopt. His monuments rise to greet us on every side. This may be seen in the church, the school house, and the hall of justice; in the security of our persons and property; in the peace, the law, the order, and general prosperity that prevail throughout the islands. He was the friend of the Makaainana, the father of his people, and so long as a Hawaiian lives, his memory will be cherished!
By the death of Kamehameha III, the chain that carried us back to the ancient days of Kamehameha I. has been broken. He was the last child of that great chieftain, but how unlike the father from he sprung. Kamehameha I. was born for the age in which he live, the age of war and conquest. Nobly did he fulfill the destiny for which he was created, that of reducing the islands from a state of anarchy and constant warfare to one of peace and unity under the rule of one King.—With the assession of Kamehameha II to the throne the tabus were broken, the wild orgies of heathenism abolished, the idols thrown down, and in their place was set up the worship of the one only living and true God.—His was the era of the introduction of Christianity and all its peaceful influences. He was born to commence the great moral revolution which began with his reign, and he performed his cycle. The age of Kamehameha III. was that of progress and of liberty—of schools and of civilization. He gave us a Constitution and fixed laws; he secured the people in the title to their lands, and removed the last chain of oppression. He gave them a voice in his councils and in the making of the laws by which they are governed. He was a great national benefactor, and has left the impress of his mild and amiable disposition on the age for which he was born.
To-day we begin a new era. Let it be one of increased civilization—one of decided progress, industry, temperance, morality and all those virtues which mark a nation’s advance. This is beyond doubt a critical period in the history of our country, but I see no reason to despair. We have seen the tome close over our Sovereign, but it does not bury our hopes. If wee are united as one individual in seeking the peace, the prosperity, and independence of our country, we shall not be overthrown. The importance of this unity is what I most wish to impress upon your minds. Let us be one and we shall not fall!
On my part I shall endeavour to give you a mild and liberal government, but at the same time one sufficiently vigorous to maintain the laws, secure you in all your rights of persons and property, and not too feeble to withstand the assaults of faction. On your part I shall expect you to contribute your best endeavours to aid me in maintaining the Constitution, supporting the laws, and upholding our independence.
[This speech of the king of Hawaii reached all the way to New South Wales, Australia.]
(Sydney Morning Herald, 6/25/1855, p. 2)