On November 15, 1865, the French inhabitants of New Caledonia gathered together with a number of the island's natives to celebrate the lighting of the lighthouse. It was scheduled to coincide with the saint day of the Empress Eugénie, and the imperial vision rang loudly through Governor Guillain's inaugural address that evening
If, transporting ourselves in thought into the different regions of the civilized world, we examine the events transpiring there, the most magnificent panorama is unrobed before our eyes. Everywhere,—and this will be the glory of our epoch,—everywhere, great works are being executed to bring the peoples together, to multiply their relations, to prepare, in a word, that universal brotherhood, destined and reserved by Providence for future generations.
Universal brotherhood may seem like a tall order for a lighthouse, but Guillain was a man who liked to dream big. He had arrived in 1862 as governor of New Caledonia and director of the prison France hoped to establish there, but he really envisioned himself as an enlightened technocrat engineering a perfect society on his unspoiled island paradise.