Lot 133 of 338:
Hawaiian monarchy critiqued by rich white merchant, rare imprint  

Click image to enlarge
Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$840
$600 - $900

Hawaiian elite merchant hints of coming revolt against the monarchy – rare printed “open letter” to a few fellow economic grandees

Waterhouse, John Thomas

San Francisco




1pg.+ stamped address leaf. Printed Letter Signed in type. Undated, but postmarked March 16, 1886.  “Open Letter” for his daughter, Mary (Mrs. W. H. Rice), mailed in San Francisco to Charles Brewer of Boston, who owned one of the “Big Five” Honolulu companies.

Very rare imprint, no copy appearing in WorldCat or the Hawaiian National Bibliography.

Agreeing with his daughter’s complaint that new taxes imposed by the Hawaiian King’s Legislature “reduces the property owners to mere serfs…”, the British-born Waterhouse, on his way to visit England, printed this diatribe for distribution to a few fellow rich merchants:  "...the wrongs of Hawaii makes my blood boil. I will not tolerate or permit any of my offspring to be driven (as long as I live) into foreign lands, by a wicked Government, overturning the Constitution…the coming gin Legislature.. elected for the Government ticket by a small majority… by debauching the natives with gin, bribery, corruption and intimidation…as these men now holding the reins of Government have…wronged us all, I shall… in due time demand my rights…It was such a grievance as brought about the independence of the United States.”

Waterhouse, like other rich planters and merchants, the sons of Protestant Yankee missionaries, was disaffected from King Kalakaua and his Prime Minister, adventurer Walter Gibson. When the 1886 elections resulted in a pro-Gibson Legislature, voters having been allegedly bribed with “bad gin”, the Yankee grandees forced the King to sign a new constitution that made him little more than a figurehead, meanwhile secretly plotting to overthrow the monarchy entirely and annex the islands to the United States. Seven years later, Waterhouse was not notably among the insurrectionists who launched the violent revolt to establish a republic, but in this earlier letter, he already gives warning of what was to come, by allusion to the American Revolution.

Lot Amendments

Very good.

Item number:
Shipping info:

We have a full service shipping department to ensure proper packing and safe delivery of purchases at reasonable cost. We are specialists at packing and shipping books and works on paper.   All lots purchased by the same client are combined for shipping in order to keep the cost as economical as possible.  Our preferred method for domestic shipments is UPS Ground but we can also ship via FedEx or USPS Priority Mail. We do NOT ship USPS Media Mail under any circumstances.For international orders we select the most appropriate carrier depending on the value and weight of the items purchased.  We are happy to accommodate special arrangements by request.

Invoices are sent out the day following the auction and include a minimum $10 handling fee plus actual shipping and insurance charges.

Shipping estimates can be obtained  by contacting [email protected] prior to the auction.


Terms and conditions


All accepted bids are contracts and are considered final and non withdrawable.


A buyer's premium of 20% will be applied to all purchases.


The person posting the bids online has to be the person who has registered for the auction.