In 1843, there was what diplomats call an “incident” in the Kingdom of Hawaii. A rogue captain, Lord George Paulet, in charge of the HMS Carysfort, sought to protect the rights of British citizens in Hawaii by demanding the cession of the Hawaiian Islands to British rule, which was granted at the barrel of his cannons on February 25th. As might readily be imagined, this was protested by the Hawaiian king, Kamehameha III, who appealed to Paulet’s superior officer, and even more ominously, by the United States, which sent a few warships to challenge the British over dominance of these islands, which would be annexed a little more than 50 years later after a pro-American coup overthrew the native monarchy in favor of American interests. The British, no doubt a bit chagrined by Paulet’s activities and not interested in a naval confrontation with the United States and with a restive local Hawaiian population, decided to respect Hawaiian sovereignty and the independence of the islands as, at that point, confirmed, on July 31st. In his public speech to his people upon being restored to his throne after the brief British takeover, King Kamehameha III uttered the words which would become Hawaii’s state motto over one hundred years later, “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Aina I ka Pono.” This phrase can be translated various ways, most commonly “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness,” or perhaps more accurately in the context it was given, “The sovereignty of the land is preserved through righteousness .”
What did the Hawaiian king mean by this statement? We know, for example, that this phrase is used in a contemporary fashion by the Hawaiian sovereignty movement to seek the restoration of freedom for Hawaii from American rule, although demography would appear to doom any such attempts, given that the native Polynesian population of Hawaii has been swamped by East Asian and North American migrants. As much as we may decry the loss of freedom that results from such massive migration, and seek to regulate it in an orderly fashion elsewhere, a commitment to republican government requires that the opinions of the people on the ground be considered, and not only those who were original inhabitants of an empty land. The perpetuation of sovereignty, after all, requires attention paid to demography and numbers, and while it is fashionable not to remember the earliest commands of mankind, one of them was for mankind to be fruitful and multiply, something which some of us (myself included) are not particularly skilled at, and which those peoples who neglect to pay attention to it, like the native Hawaiians, find out to their great discontent the repercussions of that neglect. It was just for the British to return sovereignty back to the Hawaiian king, and right for that same Hawaiian king to make sure that British citizens’ rights and safety were guaranteed, but the response of Hawaii to seek cheap foreign agricultural labor from foreign countries and the resulting loss of sovereignty that ensued ought to be a warning to others that the desire to perpetuate unequal power simply because of original presence in the absence of the numbers to back up that power is likely to end in failure.
Aside from these issues, there is a point in which King Kamehameha III was certainly correct, and that was that for one’s realm to continue, righteousness is required. We should note, as a point of fact, that the righteousness was clearly absent in Hawaii’s royal court during the course of the 19th century, for which anecdotal evidence abounds. One part-Hawaiian chieftess, Elizabeth Keawepo’o’ole Sumner, a child of an adulterous punalua  relationship that her father had with his wife’s sister, married a wealthy but polygamous Chinese merchant who had a previous marriage dissolved due to her adultery, and this same chieftess co-wrote a love song with the future Queen of Hawaii Lili’uakalani called Sanoe, about a married woman who carries on an adulterous affair with an unknown man. Numerous female students of the Royal School during the 19th century were expelled and put into hasty shotgun marriages due to pregnancies during their studies, never a good sign of public virtue . Another king, an alcoholic, died of TB after a short reign, leading to instability in the royal succession. King Kamehameha III, it should be noted, was certainly not an upright and moral man. He had first wanted to marry a half-sister, like his older brother had, but this incestuous union was condemned by the growing influence of advisers and missionaries, and he had a couple of illegitimate children himself with a mistress who happened to be the daughter of one of his father’s advisers. And this is not even to mention the other aspects of royal immorality. Suffice it to say that if righteousness was required for sovereignty to endure, that the royal family and elite of Hawaii clearly lacked the moral excellence to preserve their rule in the face of continual pressure from imperial powers like Great Britain and the United States.
Yet let us not pick on the Hawaiian monarchy, as if this was not a general problem. The monarchy of many nations, and the political leadership of nations, whether monarchical or not, are full of evidence that righteousness is lacking. Nor is there a great deal of room for the ordinary people of the world to mock their elites as corrupt without also pointing the finger at ourselves. Where is there righteousness for any realm to endure in our present society in any segment of society? To be sure, we may find that people emphasize some aspects of righteousness and downplay or ignore or are downright hostile to other aspects of righteousness. Someone may point to godly principles of justice in dealings with others, while another may point at areas of personal morality, or the demand to respect authority, but where do we find any sort of widespread call to demonstrate love for God and love for fellow man through obedience to the whole standard. As it is written in James 2:8-13: “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” As children of the Most High, we are all royalty, and we all deserve to be treated with respect and honor accordingly. Let us behave worthy of our station, so that our lands and our sovereignty may endure.
 A more detailed discussion of this matter can be found here:
 A punalua marriage is one in which all of the brothers of a given family marry all of the sisters of a given family in what amounts to a polyamorous relationship.
 See, for example:
Amos Starr Cooke and Juliette Montague Cooke (1970). Mary Atherton Richards, ed. The Hawaiian Chiefs’ Children’s School: a record compiled from the diary and letters of Amos Starr Cooke and Juliette Montague Cooke by their granddaughter. C. E. Tuttle Co. p. 279.