The Queen’s Sentence and Return Home
The queen asked America and Great Britain for help. She explained that her rights had been taken away by unfair means and that nothing was being done about her pleas. Then, during that summer and fall, island friends of the queen made plans. The group was led by an American named Robert Wilcox and included Hawaiian Jonah Kūhiō as well. They collected guns and secretly planned to rise up in favor of Hawaiian rule. The other side heard about the plan. There was an exchange of gunfire. The queen’s supporters, called the “Royalists,” were put under arrest. Among the over one hundred arrested was the queen herself. Lili‘uokalani was held in an upstairs bedroom of ‘Iolani Palace, made a prisoner in the very palace where she had been queen.
Lili‘uokalani sent word to President Dole that she meant to give up the throne and live quietly as a citizen of the new Republic. However, the matter was not settled as simply as that. A trial was held to see how she was to be punished. She entered the courtroom dressed in a black dress and hat. In her hand she carried a lauhala fan. She told the court that she had done no wrong. She was given a sentence of five years hard labor and a fine of 5,000 dollars. This harsh sentence was converted to imprisonment in the upstairs bedroom of ‘Iolani Palace. She was told that she could never take part in the government again. She could have no political meetings in her home. After about nine months in her prison room, she was allowed to return to her home, Washington Place.
After Lili‘uokalani received a full pardon, she visited America. In Washington, D.C., she wished to live quietly while pleading her cause, but people by the hundreds visited her. So great was their interest that she said flowers, fruits, and tokens of love came daily. No matter what anyone said, she spoke no unkind words about those who she thought had done wrong. She wrote the book, Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen, the history of her life, her rule, her overthrow by the American government, and her work to get her kingdom back. After a time in the United States, she returned to spend the rest of her life in the islands. The queen who had no throne came back to live among her people. An ancient culture had become an independent kingdom. Now the United States would make Hawai‘i one of its territories.