Privy Council Records

This collection, which was digitized in its entirety, contains a total of 34 files with 11,375 individual images spanning a time period from 1845 to 1894. Materials in this collection include the minutes of the Privy Council in 14 volumes (1845-1892), attendance books (1850-56), resolutions (1851-62), special committee records (1847), letters (1886-1894) and memoranda of the Privy Council (various dates). Some of the materials are the original manuscripts, and some are the typescript version of the manuscripts. Some materials are in Hawaiian, and some materials are in English. All of the original documents may be found using the Hawaiʻi State Archives Foreign Office and Executive Finding Aid (Series 421).

In 1845, the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi’s Privy Council, which served to advise the King, was a body comprised of five ministers and four governors along with other appointed members. While the first official record of the Privy Council begins in July 1845, the body existed previously as the council of chiefs. It bears noting that the House of Nobles was similarly comprised of the members of the council of chiefs. After 1845, the council was formally constituted by law. Article 41 of the 1864 Constitution, issued during the reign of Kamehameha V, reasserted the continuing need for a Council of State “for advising the King in all matters for the good of the State . . . and for assisting him in administering the Executive affairs of the Government." The King’s "Privy Council of State," and its members were appointed by the King. Article 42 of the 1864 Constitution specified that the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Interior, and Finance and the Attorney General would serve as ex officio members of the Privy Council. The documents contained in the Privy Council collection are significant in helping us better understand more about Hawaiʻi's legal history.

Please click on the following links to access this digitized collection.

  • Privy Council Minutes, Manuscript
  • Privy Council Minutes, Typescript