Nobles and Representatives—
A great calamity has befallen the Island of Hawaii. My duty to my subjects has called me away from my Capital, and I have delegated a Royal Commission, presided over by my well-beloved father, to open the regular session of the legislature.
Until the last few weeks of my Kingdom had enjoyed uninterrupted prosperity. Peace, quiet and abundance had prevailed. Let us bow humbly to the will of God Almighty, whose hand is now heavy upon us, and let us, with brave heart and well-timed charity, relieve the distress of those of our countrymen who have been thus suddenly and severely afflicted.
Our relations with Foreign Powers continue to be most satisfactory. The important Treaty with the United States of America, which was considered at the last extraordinary Session of the Legislature, has not yet received the ratification of the President. My Minister of Foreign Affairs will furnish you with such intelligence of the progress of the negotiation asmay be, from timeto time, received.
Preliminary steps have been taken by my Government to secure the conclusion of a Treaty with the Confederation of Northern Germany, to be substituted for our present treaties with Bremen and Hamburg. Some of our treaties have been denounced; changes are contemplated in our stipulations with England and France, and I confidently hope that the result of these various negotiations will increase our intercourse with Europe, to the anticipated conclusion of our Convention of Reciprocity will develop our trade with the great republic of the United States.
Our negotiations with Japan have, so far, been successful. Important and favorable results may be expected from the opening of trade with, and immigration from, that Kingdom.
My Minister of the Interior will inform you of the steps taken by the Bureau of Immigration towards securing valuable additions to our population and laborers for our fields. An increase appropriation is applied for, to enable my Government to solve, by practical experiment, the question of immigration, whose importance to the Kingdom will not escape your attention. You will be duly advised of the measures adopted by the Board of Health during the last two years. Owing, in a great measure, to the exertions of the Board, the spread of the disease of leprosy has been checked.
As soon as practicable, my Government will inform you of the extent of the damage done on Hawaii by the last volcanic eruption. It is hoped that it will not prove so extensive as to require say considerable curtailment from the appropriation for public improvements in other islands.
Our finances are in a most prosperous condition. The report of my acting Minister of Finance will furnish you all the necessary information on the state of the treasury. Our credit stands high, our public debt is greatly reduced, and a considerable surplus is on hand. Should the Treaty of Reciprocity acquire the force of law, some further legislation may be necessary.
It may be well for the Legislature to inquire how far the prosperity of this Kingdom,and the development of its resources, may be promoted by judicious assistance to the line of steamers plying between this port and California, as well as to our inter-island steam navigation.
The administration of justice has been conducted with fidelity and impartiality.
It is thought that the public convenience will be promoted by changes in the time of holding certain terms of the Court. My Attorney General will submit to you the necessary bill for the accomplishment of that measure.
I refer you to the report of the President of the Board of Public Instruction for the details of the work performed by that Board. Liberal and intelligent assistance has been granted, on application, to all those who devote their labors to the education of the people. New school houses have been built—in many places the sexes have been separated, and a system of impartially, combined with a healthy competition, has contributed largely to the cause of intellectual improvement.
Nobles and Representatives—
I rely upon your enlightened patriotism and upon your loyalty to our institutions. You will co-operate with me in seeking the welfare of the nation, and in providing for its wants. I pray God Almighty, the Ruler of Kingdoms, to relieve us in our troubles, to guide us in prosperity, and to help me in maintaining inviolate the dignity of my Crown and our national independence—and
We do now declare the Lgislature of the Kingdom opened.
(PCA, 4/25/1868, p. 1)