Hawaii Holomua's Role in the 1895 Counter-Revolution of Hawaii

'Sans Souci Forever'
If you were aiding in a plot to overthrow a government, wouldn't you try to keep it a secret? Edmund Norrie, the colorful editor of the English version of the newspaper Hawaii Holomua (1893-1895), didn't. He participated in a conspiracy plotting to overthrow the Provisional Government in Hawai'i and restore the Hawaiian Monarchy in Fall 1894.

The conspirators tried to work secretly, but Norrie indiscreetly publicized their activities in the paper. For example, as the meetings were held at Sans Souci hotel, the slogan "San Souci Forever" with announcements of the meetings appeared in a few issues.

Norrie even publicized the shipping of arms for the counter-revolution. On Saturday, December 1, 1894; Major William T. Seward, one of the counter-revolution planners, arrived in Hawai'i on the ship Australia, likely landing on Waikiki Beach. Earlier, at Sausalito, California, he oversaw the loading of arms and munitions onto the schooner H.C. Wahlburg, which sailed to Rabbit Island, an islet off the windward coast of the island of O'ahu.

The Australia was known to carry smuggled opium, and smugglers said they could smuggle arms. The December 3, 1894 issue mentioned the Australia's arrival: "The police were very numerous at Waikiki last Saturday. Evidently they expected that the Australia would stop at Sans Souci, and land the often promised arms or--opium."

Norrie's involvement in the counter-revolution and criticisms about the Provisional Government would abruptly end Hawaii Holomua. The paper's last issue published on January 5, 1895, as, the next day, a three-day counter-revolution broke out. Rebels attempted to restore the Hawaiian monarchy, but failed.

As a result, the government arrested Norrie and other nationalist journalists and put them to jail. The government offered the Caucasian journalists the option of going into exile from Hawai'i, but Norrie refused, choosing to instead stay and serve his sentence. Afterwards, Norrie edited The Independent from June 1895 to 1902 and continued to criticize the Provisional Government.

- Alice Kim

Links to the relevant articles:

Mentions of the phrase "San Souci Forever"
Hawaii Holomua = Progress., November 12, 1894, Image 3
Hawaii Holomua = Progress., December 19, 1894, Image 3

The article that mentions the Australia's arrival
Hawaii Holomua = Progress. (Honolulu) 1893-1895, December 03, 1894, Image 3


Chapin, Helen Geracimos. Shaping History: the Role of Newspapers in Hawaii. Honolulu, Hawaiʻi: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 1996. Print.

Loomis, Albertine. For Whom are the Stars? Honolulu, Hawaiʻi: University Press of Hawaii, 1976. Print.