Kamehameha III commissioned and dispatched three Ministers – an American, Briton and a trusted childhood friend – William Richards, Sir George Simpson and Timoteo Haʻalilio, to secure the recognition of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s independence and protection of public international law that accompanied recognition. (Hawaiian Journal of Law & Politics)
In April 1842, Simpson left soon for England; Haʻalilio and Richards departed in July for the US. By December 1842, the US had recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom; shortly thereafter they secured formal recognition from Great Britain and France.
However, for about five months in 1843 the islands were under the rule of the British commission set up by Lord George Paulet. Queen Victoria, on learning these activities, immediately sent an envoy to the islands to restore sovereignty to its rightful rulers.
Finally, Admiral Richard Thomas arrived in the Islands on July 26, 1843 to restore the kingdom to Kamehameha III. Then, on July 31, 1843, Thomas declared the end of the Provisional Cession and recognized Kamehameha III as King of the Hawaiian Islands.
“The Commander-in-Chief confidently hopes that this act of restoration to the free exercise of his sovereign authority, will be received by the King of the Sandwich Islands as a most powerful and convincing proof not only of the responsibility he is under to render immediate reparation for real wrongs committed upon British subjects or their property …”
“… but also of the importance which attaches to the maintenance of those friendly and reciprocally advantageous relations which have for so many years subsisted between the two nations …”
“… and he further hopes that neither His Majesty nor his successors will ever forget that to the illustrious circumnavigator Captain Cook, as the first discoverer, the inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands owe their admission into the great family of civilized man, and from the lips of Vancouver (another Englishman) Kamehameha I heard mention for the first time of the true God …”
“… which ultimately led to the abrogation of a false worship, idolatry, and human sacrifices, and by the well directed energies, the ceaseless perseverance of the American Missionaries to the establishment of a religion pure and undefiled …”
“… accompanied by the advantages of instruction and civilization, the which combined and duly cultivated, bring in their train, security of life and property, social order, mental and moral improvement, internal prosperity, and the respect as well as good will of other nations more advanced in the knowledge of the true faith, and the science of good government.” (Admiral Richard Thomas)
“A parade of several hundred English marines appeared on the plain of Honolulu, with their officers, their banners waving proudly and their arms glittering in the sunbeams. Admiral Thomas and the suspended king proceeded thither in a carriage, attended by the chiefs and a vast multitude of people.” (Bingham)
“Kauikeaouli emerged from the grounds of Kanaina; he and Kekuanaoa, Paki, Keoniana, Kanoa, Kivini, and some foreigners on horseback, and they rode for Kulaokahua.”
“Admiral Thomas was there with his troops and mounted guns in all his grandeur, and also there were the young chiefs, and a crowd of natives and foreigners awaiting the arrival of the King.”
“When he arrived, Admiral Thomas came to him holding the Hawaiian flag in his hands. The King and all his people dismounted and the Admiral came and opened the flag to the wind, and then gave it to Kauikeaouli’s flag bearer.”
“Right then, 21 mounted guns fired as a salute to the Flag, and the British flag was lowered on Puowaina (Punchbowl), while the Hawaiian flag was drawn up again, whereupon 21 guns of Puowaina sounded.”
“Then the British flag was pulled down at the Fort and the Hawaiian flag was raised, so the Fort fired a 21 gun salute, followed by 21 guns from the ship Carysfort, 21 from the Dublin, 21 more from the Hazzard, and then the American ship Constellation fired a 21-gun salute. When that was over, the 21 mounted guns fired a salute in honor of the King.”
“The British soldiers stood in a circle saluting the King, and when that was done the King returned to the palace. At 1 o’clock the King, his soldiers and the crowd of people all went to the church of Kawaiaha’o and gave thanks to God for his grace in restoring the sovereignty of the Nation.”
“At three o’clock, the King went aboard the ship Dublin to a dinner hosted by the Admiral, and when the Carysfort saw the King’s flag on the launches, a 21-gun salute was fired, followed by 21 guns from the Hazzard, then the Dublin, and then a final 21 gun salute came from the Constellation.”
“When the dinner on board the ship was finished, the King and his retinue came ashore and the Dublin fired a salute, followed by the Carysfort, then the Hazzard and the Constellation, 21 guns each.”
“The next day the great feast at Luakaha was held for the Admiral, and Kauikeaouli decided that the 31st of July would become a holiday for the Nation and the people.” (Judd, 1865; Nogelmeier; SCS)
The Kulaokahu‘a, the plains, was the comparatively level ground below Makiki Valley (between the mauka fertile valleys and the makai wetlands.) This included areas such as Kaka‘ako, Kewalo, Makiki, Pawaʻa and Mōʻiliʻili.
“It was so empty that after Punahou School opened in July 1842, mothers upstairs in the mission house could see children leave that institution and begin their trek across the barren waste. Trees shunned the place; only straggling livestock inhabited it.” (Greer)
This flat plain would be a favorable place to play maika, a Hawaiian sport which uses a disc-shaped stone, called an ‘ulu maika, for a bowling type of game.
In the 1840s, it was described as “nothing but a most exceedingly dreary parcel of land with here and there a horse trail as path-way.” (Gilman) The flat plains were also perfect for horse racing, and the area between present-day Piʻikoi and Makiki Streets was a race track.
The Plains were described as dry and dusty, without a shrub to relieve its barrenness. There was enough water around Makiki Stream to grow taro in lo‘i (irrigated fields,) and there was at least one major ʻauwai, or irrigation ditch.
The area of the restoration celebration was at an area that was not yet a park, but ultimately became the first public park in the Islands – Thomas Square – in 1850.
The Privy Council records for January 22, 1850 noted the approval of “Wyllie’s suggestion to set apart a day for marking out the boundaries of the square on the Plains of Waikiki, to be called by the name of Admiral Thomas.” The square remained unimproved until 1873, when plans to fence the area and plant trees were announced. (Schmitt)
“(I)t will be highly pleasing to him, to know that he has not been forgotten on this occasion. I will take care to communicate to him that he has not been forgotten. The Act of Restoration, commemorated on this day, will associate his name indelibly with the history of this young nation …”
“… in which, I can assure you, the Admiral takes the most lively interest. It was a source of great gratification to him, after performing that act, to find that he had judged correctly of the just and liberal views of HBM’s Government towards these Islands.” (Wyllie at First Anniversary)
“(T)he example and influence of Admiral Thomas of the British, and of Commodore Jones of the U. S. Navy, strengthened and encouraged both the native population and the missionaries.”
“Following the misrule and licentiousness consequent upon wresting the government out of the hands of the legitimate rulers, their counsels and aid were most opportune for the restoration of things to order, and a healthful moral state.” (ABCFM)
“During these struggles of the Hawaiian government to settle their relations with foreign powers on a proper basis without subjugation, the American Board, with the co-operation of the American Bible and Tract Societies, and the agency of their missionaries, used their endeavors to urge the nation forward to a state of independence in respect to foreign missionary aid.”
“Messrs. Richards, Andrews, Green, and Judd, of our mission, having resigned as missionaries and been discharged, with the expectation of contributing to the stability of Hawaiian institutions, took, with other foreigners, the oath of allegiance to His Hawaiian Majesty, and became his adopted naturalized subjects.” (Bingham)
“The king being restored to the free use of his sovereignty under the constitution, and once more regarding himself as the head of the people, took the lead again by example and influence, and by such means as were in his power, to favor the cause of temperance and order.” (Bingham)