The Extraordinary Life of a King and
Hau‘oli Lā Hānau e Kalākaua!
On the occasion of his Majesty King Kalakaua’s birthday celebrations held annually at Iolani Palace, in an act of loyalty to his majesty’s memory, one often sees a contingency of Free Masons with their Masonic aprons paying their respects to one of their former Lodge Masters and benefactors.
In 1876, King David La’amea Kalakaua ascended to the position of Master of Lodge Le Progres de l’Oceanie which was formed in 1841 under dispensation from the Grand Lodge of France. Lodge Le Progres De l'Oceanie was inaugurated under the sponsorship of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of the Supreme Council of France by then French Consul, Captain Jules Dudoit in a ship refitting store house in Honolulu.
King Kalakaua retains the unusual prominence of being one of the few Monarchs in history to preside over a sovereign country and a Masonic Lodge simultaneously. His majesty, was one of the first 33° Masons in Hawaii, and his Masonic activities were no secret. The first event held at the newly constructed Iolani Palace was a formal Masonic dinner and portions of the Palace’s attic was converted into a Lodge meeting space and Masonic Temple. The ideas of the Masonic Order go hand in hand with the Ancient Hawaiian understanding of our origins as a species and our notions of The Creator or Grand Architect. It is why many Native Hawaiians became Free Masons, and His Majesty was no exception.
The Basic Principles of Freemasonry
- A moral code: Freemasonry teaches its members the principles of personal decency and personal responsibility.
- Charity: Freemasonry teaches its members that unselfishness is a duty and that it's not only more blessed to give than to receive, but also more rewarding.
- Education: It encourages its members to expand their knowledge of the world around them.
- Religious, not a religion: Freemasons believe in the brotherhood of man, under the fatherhood of God. It's not a sectarian organization and does not promote one religion over another. Masonic ceremonies describe a moral code, using basic principles that are common to all religions.
Social responsibility: Freemasonry stands for the reverence of God. It charges each of its members to be true and loyal to the government of the country to which he owes allegiance and to be obedient to the law of any state in which he may reside.
However, Masonry does philosophically oppose tyranny, dictatorship, and any destruction of human dignity, basic human rights, and the free exercise of religion.
- Nonpolitical, nonsectarian: Freemasonry forbids the discussion in Masonic meetings of religious matters and politics — topics likely to cause personal arguments. It's also against the fundamental principles of Freemasonry for Masonic organizations to take political action or attempt to influence elections or legislation.
- Equality among members: Freemasonry regards no man for his worldly wealth, social status, or outward appearance. Kings, princes, sultans, and potentates have been Masons. So have paperboys, sanitation workers, and fast-food employees.
After the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii* Most of the contents of Iolani Palace, to the dismay of the Native Hawaiian community, were auctioned off by the provisional government lead by Sanford Dole and others who had once held powerful positions as privy councilors and advisers to the Hawaiian Monarchs. Using their positions as trusted advisers to King Kalakaua and later Queen Lili'uokalani these, traitors to the crown, exploited and plotted their way to power. After getting their hearts desire, the ultimate control of a sovereign nation, a country that had already made them wealthy, they proceeded to nail the coffin shut on all the Hawaiian people with a systematic disenfranchisement that sought to humiliate and destroy the Hawaiian people entirely, all so that they could feel more secure in their "morally" justified treachery. Just about everything Hawaiian in nature became illegal, from speaking the language, to performing the hula, to symbols of Hawaiian Sovereignty and royalty.
It has been the mission of the Friends of Iolani Palace, a non-profit organization entrusted to find, purchase, restore and install these items back in Iolani Palace, the unofficial and widely regarded, symbol of the modern Hawaiian Sovereignty movement. On the occasion of King Kalakaua’s 167th birthday, in 2003 some Honolulu Masons procured, via a Sotheby's Auction in New York for a sum of $13,000, the Knights Templar Masonic sword that was made for his Majesty and presented it to Iolani Palace, where it now sits in an exhibit prominently featuring the King’s personal Masonic accouterments.
*Many people in the United States know very little about Hawai‘i's history and it's Monarchy and our form of government before the coup d'etat in 1891, orchestrated by mostly American business owners and a few descendants of the original missionary family's that arrived on our balmy shores in the early half of the 19th century. It is ironic that all the principles previously mentioned and ensconced by Freemasonry was held in complete disregard by the those participants in the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, who were not Freemasons but practiced religious relativism, self righteousness and the promotion of their poltical agenda over and against the best interests of the Hawaiian people.
The Beginning of the End, the Bayonet Constitution
In June 1887 a declaration of intent to kill was foisted upon the Hawaiian Monarchy by an opportunistic lot of American businessmen, sugar plantation owners, and non-native politicians. Using the threat of violence backed by the Honolulu Rifles, a paramilitary organization created to intimidate and threaten the Hawaiian people and their sovereign forced the dismissal of the cabinet of the honorable Walter M. Gibson and demanded the adoption of the 1887 Constitution by the Kingdom of Hawaii, known as the Bayonet Constitution. It’s racist overtones stripped voting rights from all Hawaiian citizens of Asian decent outright, and disenfranchised the majority of Native Hawaiians and other non-white citizens by raising income and wealth requirements for voting. It’s intent was to consolidate power with the wealthy non Hawaiian elites and the interests of foreign nationals residing in Hawaii and operating lucrative business's. More importantly it striped the power of the monarch and placed it in the hands of the American Business owners and those European supporters who's desire for wealth, and sense of moral superiority out bid their loyalty to the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Sanford Dole and other American lawyers drafted the document which became known as the "Bayonet Constitution".
The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy
In January 1893 the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii organized by the same conspirators involved in the 1887 armed revolt, enacted the second act of their quest for power and deposed Queen Lydia Liliuokalani with the help of the US Navy and the encampment of US Marines on the grounds of Iolani palace, with canon leveled on the palace with her majesty Queen Lili’uokalani residing inside. This deliberate act of war was initiated by then Minister of the Navy John L. Stevens under the pretense of protecting the lives and property of American citizens participating in the coup, without presidential or congressional awareness. King Kalakaua had passed away in 1891 in San Francisco and left as his heir, his sister Princess Liliuokalani, as Queen Regnant. In order to avoid the wholesale slaughter of a diminishing Hawaiian population, Queen Liliuokalani reluctantly submitted to the guns of the US Navy with hopes of appealing to the lawful nature of the United States Congress to right this deliberate act of aggression and unlawful provocation of war against the Kingdom of Hawai’i.
Sanford Dole, ignoring the illegal origins of his own government, refused President Cleveland's request that Lili`uokalani be restored to the throne. Instead, the Provisional Government declared itself the Republic of Hawai`i and in 1898 Dole went to Washington, D.C. to press for American annexation of the Islands.
Sanford Dole, a US Citizen employed by the Hawaiian Kingdom was named president of the Provisional Government of Hawaii that immediately stepped in to claim it’s prize after the coup, which mobilized quickly to secure the recognition, within 48 hours, by all nations with diplomatic ties to the Kingdom of Hawaii, with the exception of the United Kingdom. Queen Lili’uokalani was threatened with the murder of her family if she did not abdicate and was imprisoned under house arrest in Iolani Palace even as the self appointed provisional government “moved in” to the palace turning the seat of Hawaiian sovereignty into the offices of the so called provisional government. It’s first task was to request annexation of Hawai’i by the United States. Along with arresting the Royal Family and it's supporters. The organizers of the coup fashioned themselves revolutionary's despite the fact that their was little support for their effort outside of that of missionary descendants and foreign business owners. Hawaiian citizen's wanted no part in this deliberate act of self serving greed.
Self proclaimed revolutionary, Bayonet Conspirator, and entitled missionary descendant, Lorrin Thurston, believed his moral outrage at the indecency of Hawaiian Culture and traditions, as well as, his distaste for the Royals and their lifestyle was his mandate to become a traitorous usurper. However, his rapid rise to wealth was more than apparent when the US annexed Hawaii in 1898 and his Sugar interests profited from the obsolesces of US Tariffs.
It is often said that history lies in the hands of the victors and it is therefore no surprise that there are those that claim the current Hawaiian Sovereignty movement is a by product of revisionists discontent. The notion that Native Hawaiian's, by in large, wanted annexation and that any historical moral indignation to the act is a product of fiction, is a conjecture that only holds weight in this context; as all hope seemed to be lost for Native Hawaiian Sovereignty and the restoration of the Monarchy was seemingly impossible, some prominent Hawaiian's saw no better alternative but to support annexation as the only prospect of preserving the individual dignity of Native Hawaiian's, through US citizenship. Opposing the Republic and it's entitled sense of superiority meant ruin for any who dared contradict their self righteous "ends justifies the means" policy. Today Hawaiian's desire for self determination is still under attack by the benefactors of the overthrow, claiming that the Missionary sense of history is the correct understanding of a crime they refuse to acknowledge and the virtually universal understanding that a coup by a few non-citizens, is NOT a revolution. It is no surprise that the ramblings of the inheritors of conspirators who derived most of their success from the deposing of a Monarchy and a culture they felt morally superior to and wholly justified in destroying, denies any claim of Native Hawaiian's a right to self determination.
Other posts in this series: