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The Honolulu Republican
“If you see it in the Republican it’s so,” boasted the editors of the Honolulu Republican, Hawai‘i’s first daily with a Sunday edition. The eight-to-twelve page paper was published in English by the Robert Grieve Publishing Company every day except Monday from June 14, 1900 to January 25, 1902. Edited by Edwin S. Gill and C.R. Buckland, the Republican included local, national, and international news and was available for subscription rates ranging from 75 cents per month to $8 per year. The paper featured detailed coverage of shipping news and promoted itself as “the most complete news service of the waterfront ever furnished the reading public of Hawai‘i.”
The first issue of the Republican was published the day Hawai‘i’s Organic Act went into effect and Sanford B. Dole was inaugurated the first governor of the Territory of Hawai‘i. Although Hawai‘i’s annexation had been formalized two years earlier, the day marked a major transition as the reins of government were formally transferred from what had been the Republic of Hawai‘i to the Territory of Hawai‘i and citizens of the Republic became citizens of the Territory--and therefore of the United States. The effect at the polls was that native Hawaiians carried an absolute majority, giving their Home Rule Party enough votes to win majorities in the territorial House and Senate in the 1900 election. The party also garnered enough votes to elect Robert Wilcox--a native Hawaiian who from 1889 to 1895 had led a series of rebellions against encroaching American power in the islands--as Hawai‘i’s delegate to Congress. True to its name, the Honolulu Republican campaigned vigorously against Wilcox, Home Rule, and the Home Rule Party--despite an opening editorial that declared the paper would “not be the party nor [sic] personal organ of any man, faction or clique but, a broad-minded, patriotic newspaper, run as a legitimate purveyor of news.”
As the first newspaper in the islands to publish on Sundays, the Republican stirred up some controversy. A member of the Episcopalian clergy insisted that the sanctity of the day warranted outlawing the Sunday edition all together. Other readers voiced strong disagreement: “God has never said that the fact of a paper’s appearing on Sunday, or any other secularization of that day, is dishonoring to him.” Ultimately, the Republican was the first of many newspapers in the Islands with a Sunday edition.
Eighteen months after its appearance, Editor Edwin S. Gill announced his retirement on December 15, 1901, and was succeeded two days later by C.R. Buckland. It seems the Republican was in trouble, however: after only eleven days under Buckland’s leadership, subscription rates dropped to 50 cents per month and $5.50 per year. For reasons unknown, the paper ceased publication just a month later.
Provided by: University of Hawaii at Manoa; Honolulu, HI