Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1880s – Kalākaua goes on his world tour, Matson acquires his first vessel, Pauahi dies, Bayonet Constitution and Pearl Harbor is leased by US Navy. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world.
John Lota Kaulukou was speaker of the House of Representative of the Kingdom of Hawaii of the district of Honolulu from 1880 to 1886 and also served in many posts including Postmaster General, Attorney General (October 13, 1886 – October 23, 1886) and Marshal of the Kingdom. Kaulukou was the leading native lawyer in Honolulu, a man of strong native sense and force, with much combativeness and insistence, but genial manner.
As an ardent Royalist, he’d been a strong supporter of Kalākaua and was outspoken in his opposition to the ‘Bayonet Constitution’ of 1887, which weakened Kalākaua’s power to rule. While a Royalist, he appears to appreciate the actual political situation of Hawai‘i better than a majority of the natives, and seems likely to be of service to his countrymen. (Bishop) He “regard(ed) Annexation as the best thing that could happen for Hawai‘i, both native and foreign population. I have advocated it ever since it became an issue in political politics and I rejoice heartily that it has come.” (Kaulukou)
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated by Grover Cleveland on October 28, 1886. That year, John Pemberton began selling a mixture of cocaine and caffeine at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia; it was called Coca Cola. From 1850 to 1886 Geronimo joined with members of three other Chiricahua Apache bands to carry out numerous raids as well as resistance to US and Mexican military campaigns in the northern Mexico. The National Geographic Society was founded on January 27, 1888. In 1888, George Eastman introduced the Kodak No 1, a simple Box Camera. That year, Scottish Inventor John Boyd Dunlop patented the first practical inflatable tire. The Eiffel Tower was opened on March 31, 1889.
On June 21, 1887, Britain celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, Queen Kapiʻolani and Princess Lili‘uokalani attended. They left the Islands under stress. Liliʻuokalani and Kalākaua’s sister, Miriam Likelike, wife of Archibald Cleghorn and mother of Princess Kaʻiulani, died on February 2, 1887. On June 30, 1887, the Honolulu Rifles demanded that King Kalākaua dismiss his cabinet and the Hawaiian League presented King Kalākaua with a new constitution. Kalākaua signed the constitution under threat of use of force, The Bayonet Constitution. On July 30, 1889, Robert William Wilcox led a rebellion to restore the rights of the monarchy, two years after the Bayonet Constitution had left King Kalākaua a mere ﬁgurehead.
Celso Caesar Moreno, a professional lobbyist well known in Sacramento and Washington, DC, arrived in Honolulu on the China Merchant Steam Navigation Company’s ship ‘Ho-chung’ in November 1879. “He won the entire confidence and admiration of the King by endorsing as sound wisdom all the royal views and theories of government. … He filled the King’s mind with dreams of navies and forts and armies and power.”
He was later found to be “abusing the confidence of (Kalakaua) and people by false pretense … (and that) he was a false pretende(r) and a dangerous adventurer — that is all.” After much controversy, on August 17, 1880, Kalākaua stated, “‘Mr Moreno has resigned his portfolio and I have accepted his resignation.’” Some suggest Moreno helped ignite the flame of ambition in Kalākaua’s quest in forming a Polynesia Confederacy, a failed effort launched by Walter Murray Gibson for Kalākaua.
During the spring of 1887, mounting dissatisfaction with government policies and private acts of officials led to the formation of the Hawaiian League, a group of Honolulu businessmen (largely, but not exclusively, haole (Caucasian.)) One issue they were particularly incensed by was the opium franchise bribery case, in which the King was implicated.
An opium bill was passed providing for a license for four years, to be granted by the minister of the interior with the consent of the King. “Early in November, 1886, Junius Kaae, (who has access to the King,) informed a Chinese rice planter named Tong Kee, alias Aki, that he could have the opium license granted to him if he would pay the sum of $60,000 to the King’s private purse …” The Aki scandal was one of the events that mobilized many of the haole residents to organize and establish an armed body, and the “Bayonet Constitution of 1887” was adopted.