Hawaii Official Stamps
The official stamps of Hawaii were printed at a quantity of only 10,000 for each denomination. Their purpose was to carry mail for government agencies. They were also sold to collectors at face value, and the remainder of the stamps not used were sold to a speculative buyer.
Lorrin Andrews Thurston
Lorrin Andrews Thurston was a descendent of American missionaries, and was raised on the island of Oahu. He was educated by missionaries in Hawaii, then went to America to earn his law degree at Columbia University. After receiving his degree, Thurston returned to Hawaii, and embarked on his long career in Hawaiian politics.
Originally a member of King David Kalakaua’s cabinet, Thurston came to dislike the king and his policies. An outspoken leader in the revolution of 1893 against Queen Liliuokalani, Thurston started an annexation club with other prominent businessmen in the Hawaiian community. The club was started in secret to avoid persecution from the existing monarchal government.
Following the queen’s announcement of a new constitution, the annexation club, which had since become the Committee of Safety, went into action. It obtained permission from the U.S. government to use U.S. forces to maintain control of the islands. The queen’s constitution was considered unreasonable by the committee, and the annexationists demanded immediate action. After U.S. troops landed in Honolulu, Thurston drafted a constitution for a provisional government modeled after that of the United States.
Thurston later went to the U.S., seeking support for the annexation of Hawaii. He was not well received by the Cleveland administration. While President Harrison had been in office, Thurston was promised support for annexation of the islands to the U.S. Undaunted, Thurston continued in his quest for Hawaiian statehood.
The provisional government lacked the appearance of stability longed for by Thurston and other businessmen on the islands. A republic was set up with Thurston and President S.B. Dole leading the way. Thurston helped to develop the constitution of the new republic.