In 1840, a land dispute between Mr. Richard Charlton, the first British ambassador to Hawaiʻi, and the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi would spark the infamous “Paulet episode” which led to the forced cession of the Hawaiian Islands to Britain in 1843. (KSBE)
“The restoration of the Hawaiian Monarchy in July 1843 – ending the five-months-long illegal seizure and occupation by the Englishman, Lord George Paulet – created the chief, and indeed the only, notable site in Kulaokahu‘a.”
“The exact locale – the future Thomas Square – leaped into history with, literally, a bang. On the morning of July 31, two pavilions decorated with greens and a flagstaff stood on the plain east of town.”
“On the street line to the west, tents from warships in port punctuated their arid surroundings. A thick mat of rushes paved the line of march. Thousands waited for the ceremonies of the day.”
“At 9:30, Rear Admiral Richard Thomas of the British navy called on the King to sign official documents. A half hour later, several companies of English sailors and marines were drawn up on a line facing the sea, with an artillery corps on their right.”
“Admiral Thomas and his staff arrived in the King’s state carriage, while the Monarch himself came on horseback, accompanied by the household troops. The artillery honored His Majesty with a 21-gun salute.”
“At a given signal, the British flag officer bowed his colors; the British flag was then lowered and the Hawaiian flag raised amid salvos, first from Thomas’s HMS Carysfort, then from English and American warships, merchantmen and whalers, and finally from the Honolulu fort and the Punchbowl battery.”
“A great cheer arose as the wind caught the folds of the Hawaiian flag. Admiral Thomas read a long declaration, after which marines, sailors, and artillery passed in a review witnessed by Commodore Lawrence Kearney and officers of the USS Constellation.”
“Hawaii’s sovereignty had been restored.” (Greer)
“‘Her Majesty’s Government,’ we learn in a letter from the Earl of Aberdeen, ‘viewed with the highest approbation, the whole of his proceedings at the Sandwich Islands, as marked by a great propriety and an admirable judgment throughout …’”
“‘… and as calculated to raise the character of British authorities for justice, moderation, and courtesy of demeanor, in the estimation of the natives of those remote countries, and of the world.’” (Polynesian, August 3, 1850)
“Richard (Darton) Thomas was born at Saltash, county of Cornwall. … This officer entered the navy the 26th of May, 1790, on board the Cumberland 74, Captain John M. Brule, and sailed in the course of the same year with a squadron under Rear Admiral Cornish, for the West Indies”. (Polynesian, August 3, 1850)
“The King too, Kamehameha III, moved by gratitude, intimated a wish that the Rear Admiral would sit for his portrait in full uniform, that His Majesty ‘might have and preserve in his palace the likeness of a British officer who …’”
“‘… in restoring to him his kingdom, dared to act on his own sense of right, counting upon the approval of his magnanimous, Queen, in which he was not disappointed.’” (Polynesian, August 3, 1850)
“No nobler men ever touched those Islands, than some of the officers of the American and English navies.” (Richard Armstrong) Admiral Thomas died in Stonehouse, Devon on August 21, 1857.
“Our home ‘Stone House’ was named after the English residence of Admiral Thomas, of the British Navy, who restored the national flag which his subordinate, Lord George Paulet, had, in his absence, hauled down, taking possession of the Islands in the name of the Queen.”
“Lord George was compelled by the Admiral to restore the flag and salute it with his own guns. The day was thereafter kept as a national holiday, and the name of Admiral Thomas is held in grateful remembrance.” (Richard Armstrong)
Later, in 1881, the Sacred Hearts Father’s College of Ahuimanu moved from the windward side into the former Rev. Richard Armstrong’s home, “Stonehouse” on 91 Beretania Street adjoining Washington Place.
At that time, the name ‘College of St. Louis’ was given to the institution in honor of Bishop Louis Maigret’s patron Saint, Louis IX.
Then, on September 19, 1883, the Punahou Preparatory School was opened for the full term at Stone House “Three of the trustees were present at the opening exercises, together with many parents of the pupils, of whom there were 85 present, with a prospect of a larger attendance …”
“It is the design of the trustees to have no pupils at Punahou proper, except such as are qualified to proceed with the regular academic course.” (The Friend, October 4, 1883)
By the 1898-1899 school year, there were 247 students in grades 1-8 in the Punahou Preparatory School. Later, in 1902, the Preparatory School was moved to what is now known as the Punahou campus, where it occupied Charles R Bishop Hall.