KING KAMEHAMEHA IV
HIS AUTOGRAPH TRANSLATION OF THE “PRAYER FOR ALL ESTATES OF MEN,” LIKELY A WORKING MANUSCRIPT FOR HIS 1862 SELF-TRANSLATED BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, THE FIRST IN THE HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE!
KAMEHAMEHA IV. (1834-1863). Fourth king of the united Kingdom of Hawaii (1855-1863). Exceedingly-rare Autograph Manuscript, in pencil, Unsigned. One page, full legal folio. [Approximately 8 ½ x 12 inches] No place [Hawaii] No date [circa 1862]. In about fine condition. The king’s translation reads:
“ He Kalate a Pula paha no kea no okanoho anon a kanaka a pan E hanaia I no wa a pan I helu Re ia I a ka Litain Eke Akua ka horkuma me ka mea matama I na Kanaka pan, Ke noe haahan aku mei hakoa la O, no na Ano a pa ma ka noho ana a pan a Kamaka, a I Ohioho hor oa ika horke ana I koa man asao ia lakorame ka haari mai hoi I kon hooha olia ohi ana I na lakuikanaka a pana Ake paha mon loa akin nei ane maken no ken oho ponisirai ana a kai Ekalisia Katohkai I alakai lai pia a hooponspono Is la kooi Uhane maikai, a pololei ho ka paa a pan halo pura ka I hoolla a papa iho ia loakon he pae Kerikians ma na la o ka Oiaio, a paa pono ia hoi ka manaoio, ihoko o ka lokahi a ka maoko, Ke Afoia I ka maluhia, a iloko hoi o ka pono o ka alo ana. A, ano poi ke waiko aken nei makon no kon nana karana mai, I ka pan a pan I kanmaha a pilikia paha ma ka na an, ke kino, a me ka hoho ana * poe I noi mai nei a poela I a no lakoin a I ohiohe hio oe I ka hoohioho me ke korua moir ia lakon, elike me ko lakon pelikoa, me kahaai aur mai hoi iko hoomananamoiiloko a ka ehaeha, a me ka hoopakala loa in hoi mai to lakon man Kanmaha. Oa keika makon a noi aku ne me a dio Kristo’la Amene. *Eoi loa naa hoi no ka Epule is reia man mua re noir a mai e kakahi ka pule ia ano lakon.”
Pen notation in another hand on verso reads: “translation of the Prayer ‘for all estates of men’ in King Kamaehmeha IV’s own handwriting. Additional three line notation on verso is illegible.
King Kamehameha IV and his wife, Emma, were Christian rulers who encouraged the building of Christian schools and hospitals, and whose work contributed greatly to the spread of Christianity among the Hawaiian people. Fearing American political influence, King Kamehameha IV turned away from American missionaries already in Hawaii during his reign, instead inviting the Church of England, whose services had impressed him while visiting England, to send missionaries to Hawaii.
While the King’s support of the Church of England was somewhat politically motivated, his Christian faith was unwavering. Both he and his wife, Emma, were religious people who devoted themselves to the material and spiritual welfare of the Hawaiian people. To this end, the King personally translated the Book of Common Prayer and much of the Hymnal into Hawaiian in preparation for the arrival of the Rev. Dr. Thomas Nettleship Staley, the first Bishop of Honolulu, in October of 1862. Producing a direct translation of the 1662 version of Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, Kamehameha IV’s work, with an introductory preface by the King in both English and Hawaiian, was first distributed just weeks after the Bishop’s arrival, marking the first time that “The Morning Prayer” appeared before a congregation of entirely native Hawaiians.
Our manuscript of “The Prayer for All Estates of Men” is most likely an early working draft of the prayer as it was to appear in the first Book of Common Prayer (1862-63) to be written in the Hawaiian language. In our many decades of dealing in the finest historical documents, we can recall no other item quite like this. Simply rare and wonderful!