Monday last, the 31st July, was the twenty-second Anniversary of the Restoration of the Hawaiian Flag by Rear Admiral Thomas, and as such was celebrated with becoming joyousness.
The day opened warm and sultry, but by nine o’clock the trades set in and before noon were blowing half a gale. Salutes were fired morning, noon and night, and the shipping and town were gaily dressed with bunting. The grounds at Huehue were arranged for the feast and accompanying services, accomodations having been prepared for two thousand persons. His Excellency M. Kekuanaoa was President of the day. At the hour appointed a prayer was offered by the Rev. H. H. Parker, of the Kawaiahao church, which was followed by singing; after which the orator of the day, the Hon. David Kalakaua, delivered an oration in the Hawaiian language. After more music and singing, the guests were invited to partake of the dinner, when appropriate sentiments were propose, and responses made by Prince W. C. Lunalilo, Hon. E. H. Allen, Chancellor of the Kingdom; the Second Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, R. G. Davis, Esq.; W. L. Green, Esq., H. B. M. Acting Commissioner and Consul General; A. Caldwell, Esq., United StatesConsul; Attorney-General C. C. Harris, Esq.; Dr. G. P. Judd; S. N. Castle, Esq.; Messrs. Kamakau and Hassinger. Mr. W. P. Ragsdale translator and interpreter, acted in that capacity on this occasion, and acquitted himself in a very creditable manner.
After the dinner the company were entertained with native games. The spear-throwing was admirably done. This entertainment broke up between one and two o’clock.
During the afternoon boat and canoe races took place in the harbor, the result of which we have not obtained.
In the evening a grand ball and supper was given by the Committee of arrangements, at the New Hall, which was very generally attended, and passed off in a most happy manner. The Committee, the Hawaiian portion particularly, deserve great credit for their attention to their guests, and the general decoration of the hall and supper-room. We were struck particularly with the ease, grace and self-possession with which the native and half-caste guests acquitted themselves inthe dance.
We have space but for one speech, the one delivered in English by Prince William C. Lunalilo:
Ladies and Gentlemen:—To-day is the Anniversary of the Restoration of the Hawaiian Flag by Rear-Admiral Thomas. Twenty-two years have elapsed since that officer came to these shores to restore the flag to our King and nation. How our hearts were filled with joy on that ever memorable day, and how many tears were shed, not of sorrow, but of gladness; what a contrast, to the 25th of February proceeding. Well do I remember the scene when standing within the walls of the old fort with his present Majesty, and his two late brothers, we witnessed the lowering of our flag. On that day, the Islands were ceded to the Crown of Great Britain, and on that day the meteor flag of Albion waved triumphantly over the group. There are many, no doubt, here present, who heard the short address which his late Majesty Kamehameha III, on that occasion spoke:
“Where are you, chiefs, people and commons from my ancestors, and people from foreign lands! Hear ye! I make known to you that I am in perplexity by reasons of difficulties into which I have been brought without cause; therefore, I have given away the life of our land, hear ye! But my rule over you, my people, and your privileges, will continue, for I have hope that the life of the land will be restored when my conduct is justified.”
It was a short but impressive address of his Majesty to his people, it showed also the anxiety of mind he then experienced. There were tears of sadness in that day. Dark and gloomy indeed were those days; how the nation mourned during those few months of trial, thinking the government was gone perhaps forever in the hands of a foreign power. For five long lingering months, things remained as they then stood, until on the 31st day of July, the day we are now commemorating, we saw the flag that “had braved a thousand years the battle and the breeze” lowered by the hand of one of England’s sons.
As Dr. Gulick truly remarked, “American Independence was not an accident, not a mere bawble on the course of time. It was an event, which many centuries of time had been maturing, and which will affect all the coming ages.” So it is with respect to this our restoration day, it was not an accident; Admiral Thomas did not come here by accident and find matters as they then were; he had heard of the proceedings done between this Government and her subordinate through some one in high official standing; he had carefully considered and investigated the matter before he came here to restore the country to its rightful Sovereign. How careful, how considerate, and how cautious were those (I may say one) who were then in the service of the Government, lest by some inconsiderate words or deeds they would arouse the wrath of their opponents. It is a well known fact that during the existence of the commission, government property was not considered safe, books and documents of every description and of great value were transferred from the different offices to a secret place—they were even taken to the Royal tomb, there to be deposited amongst the silent occupants of that hallowed place. For days and nights business was transacted there, and the coffin of the good Kaahumanu was used as a writing desk.
But a brighter day dawned at last. Kauikeaouli, the good and kind-hearted, (you will not have forgotten his short and touching address to his people on the day the country was ceded to Great Britain, and his hope that, when his conduct was justified, his Kingdom would be restored to him as before,) had his hope fulfilled. We are now an independent and civilized nation; we are recognized as such, but yet we are just beginning to emerge from darkness into light; our condition has been and is steadily improving.
The several different nations of the world have each respectively their actions and deeds to boast of. England boasts of her mighty navy, of her colonial possessions all over the world; it is truly said the sun never sets on her domains. France has boasted of her Bonaparte, and how all Europe trembled once when that hero of a hundred battles sat on the French throne. The Roman Empire has once boasted of her strength and wealth. The United States of America has boasted that during her struggle for independence she had gained her freedom and during the few years past rebellion has been crushed and slavery no more exists. Have we anything to boast of? I must surely say we have; for the few years since the light of the Gospel has reached our shores, the tree of knowledge and of wisdom has been planted, it has taken root, its branches have spread, and we are now sending its seeds to be planted among the yet heathen nations of this vast Pacific Ocean; our light has been increasing in brightness day by day, and I am proud to say that we now take rank among the civilized and enlightened nations of the globe. This is what I call the true glory of Hawaii nei.
In conclusion I would say, let us give thanks unto Him, the Ruler of all things, for his unbounded mercy to us during our hours of affliction and of prosperity and happiness.
May God, in His infinite mercy, save the King!
(PCA, 8/5/1865, p. 2)