Queen Victoria of Britain personally signed a two-page letter to President Sanford Dole, dated September 19, 1894, recognizing the Republic of Hawaii. She signed the letter “Your good friend” Victoria. The photographs show the original of that letter.
This letter is extremely significant because there had been very close relations between Britain and the Hawaiian monarchy dating from the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778 all the way to the reign of Liliuokalani. Kamehameha The Great could not have unified all the islands without the military expertise of John Young and the guns, cannons and ships he got from Britain. At the suggestion of British admiral George Vancouver, Kamehameha the Great designed the Hawaiian flag to include the British Union Jack, and Kamehameha informally ceded Hawaii Island to Britain. John Young (known by the Hawaiian name Olohana) was appointed Governor of Kamehameha’s home Island of Hawaii, and married into the family. His son John Young II (known as Keoni Ana) was Kuhina Nui (second in command to the King). The Constitution of 1852 was signed by only two people: Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III and Keoni Ana. Queen Emma (wife of Alexander Liholiho Kamehameha IV) was a granddaughter of John Young. British Queen Victoria was godmother to Queen Emma’s baby — heir apparent to the throne Prince Albert; Victoria sent a crib to Emma which remains on display at the Queen Emma Summer Palace. Emma founded St. Andrews Cathedral as an Anglican church, partly to serve as a British political counterweight to the American missionary church Kawaiahao. Archibald Cleghorn (Scottsman) was the father of Princess Kaiulani. Cleghorn’s wife, Miriam Likelike, was a sister of Liliuokalani. Princess Liliuokalani herself had attended Queen Victoria’s coronation in London as an honored guest. In June of 1881 King Kalakaua, while visiting England on his trip around the world, had personally awarded to Queen Victoria his highest Royal Order — the Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Kamehameha with collar. Thus it is especially significant and poignant when the monarchy of Queen Victoria gives formal recognition to the Republic whose leaders had overthrown another monarchy ruled by Victoria’s friend Liliuokalani, and when Victoria calls herself a “good friend” of President Sanford B. Dole.
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