It is suggested that the overthrow of the Hawai‘i constitution monarchy was neither unexpected nor sudden.
Dissatisfaction with the rule of Kalākaua, and then Lili‘uokalani, initially led to the ‘Bayonet Constitution;’ then, the overthrow. Mounting dissatisfaction with government policies and private acts of officials led to the formation of the Hawaiian League, a group of Honolulu businessmen.
Over the course of a little over 40-years (1820-1863 – the “Missionary Period”,) about 184-men and women in twelve Companies served in Hawaiʻi to carry out the mission of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) in the Hawaiian Islands.
There were no missionaries in the Islands after 1863 (the Missionary Period ended 30-years – a generation – before the overthrow).
At its General Meeting from June 3, 1863 to July 1, 1863, the Sandwich Islands Mission of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission (ABCFM) met to discuss the future of the Mission. They formed the “Board of the Hawaiian Evangelical Association.” (Missionary Papers, 1867)
“After twenty-one days of debate, the result was reached with perfect unanimity, and the Association agreed to assume the responsibility hitherto sustained by the Board (ABCFM).”
“This measure was consummated by the Board in the autumn following, and those stations no longer look to the American churches for management and control.” (Missionary Papers, 1867)
“The mission, having accomplished, through the blessing of God, the work specially appropriate to it as a mission, has been, as such, disbanded, and merged in the community.” (Rufus Anderson, Foreign Secretary of the ABCFM, 1863)
Rufus Anderson, Foreign Secretary of the ABCFM, wrote to inform Kamehameha IV of the Hawaiian Evangelical actions and dissolution of the mission in his July 6, 1863 letter, noting, in part:
“I may perhaps be permitted, in view of my peculiar relations to a very large body of the best friends and benefactors of this nation, not to leave without my most respectful aloha to both your Majesties.”
“The important steps lately taken in this direction are perhaps sufficiently indicated in the printed Address …. I am happy to inform your Majesty that the plan there indicated has since been adopted, and is now going into effect, — with the best influence, as I cannot doubt, upon the religious welfare of your people.”
“My visit to these Islands has impressed me, not only with the strength, but also with the beneficent and paternal character of your government. In no nation in Christendom is there greater security of person and property, or more of civil and religious liberty.”
“As to the progress of the nation in Christian civilization, I am persuaded, and shall confidently affirm on my return home, that the history of the Christian church and of nations affords nothing equal to it.”
“And now the Hawaiian Christian community is so far formed and matured, that the American Board ceases to act any longer as principal, and becomes an auxiliary, – merely affording grants in aid of the several departments of labor in building up the kingdom of Christ in these Islands, and also in the Islands of Micronesia.”
“Praying God to grant long life and prosperity to your Majesties, I am, with profound respect, Your Majesty’s obedient, humble servant, R. Anderson”
Some suggest there was a ‘Missionary Party’ – suggesting it was made up of missionaries. That is not true; there was no formal ‘Missionary Party’ – in fact, in part, “(native Hawaiians) sarcastically termed Americans ‘the Missionary Party.’” (LaFeber)
“By Missionary party is not meant that the members of it are missionaries, but that they are descendants of the early missionaries who went to the islands … The descendants are not missionaries, but are mostly politicians and business men.” (Honolulu Republican, Sept 19, 1901)
“An attempt has been made to try and call the Anglo-Saxon party, or better the commercial and agricultural party, the Missionary party, and papers abroad have been weak enough to be taken in by the claptrap.” (Hawaiian Gazette, August 23, 1882)
The Committee of Safety was made up of 6-Hawaiian citizens (naturalized or by birth,) 5-Americans, 1-Scotsman and 1-German. (They were all residents of Hawai‘i and registered voters. None were missionaries; only 3 of the 13 had any link to the American Protestant missionaries – one was grandson, 2 were sons of missionaries.)
One more correction to the many misconceptions … on January 17, 1893, the Hawai‘i constitutional monarchy was overthrown, not the Hawaiian race.