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Chap. 21 Revolution (Pages 582-650)
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Chapter 21

Revolution

THE PROXIMATE CAUSE of the Revolution of January 17, 1893, was the attempt by Queen Liliuokalani on the previous Saturday afternoon, January 14, to promulgate a new constitution which she had prepared. The hour or two immediately following the prorogation of the legislature was the time in which the queen planned to sign and proclaim the new constitution. To witness the historic event, she wrote, "The members of the diplomatic corps had been invited; also the members of the supreme bench and members of the legislature, besides a committee of the Hui Kalaiaina. The latter were invited to be present because it was through them that many petitions had been sent to me." In her statement to Commissioner Blount,1 from which the foregoing quotation is taken, the queen explained why she had decided to proclaim a new constitution2 (the faultiness of the existing constitution and the petitions she received from her native subjects) and how that document was constructed (by piecing together articles from the Constitutions of 1864 and 1887 with such changes as she wished to make; in this work she was assisted by two members of the legislature).*

For this momentous act — the grant of a new constitution — the queen wrote, "Mr. Parker and Mr. Cornwell had given me assurances of their support before their appointment as ministers, while Mr. Peterson understood that such was my intention, and although I had not mentioned it to Mr. Colburn, he had heard of it already from Mr. Peterson." There is corroborative evidence for the truth of this statement,3 although the ministers tried to make it appear that they did not know of the queen's

* Certain statements in the queen's diary, August 2, 1892, are believed to refer to this work: "10:30 AM. Went to Muolaulani — Met J.N. — S.N. — W.W. — and set to work on important measures — Worked until two P.M. . . . 4.30 P.M. Met again and discussed on the questions of the morning — our work is completed and only waits for the Prorogueing of the Legislature." The initials are believed to stand for Joseph Nawahi, Samuel Nowlein (captain of the royal guard), and William White.

582

 

REVOLUTION          583

intention until the morning of January 14. In her statement to Blount the queen also wrote that early in January she mentioned to Captain Nowlein of the Household Guards and to Marshal Wilson her intention to promulgate a new constitution and instructed them to prepare to quell any riot or outbreak from the opposition. "They assured me they would be ready, and I gave strict injunctions of secrecy." When, on January 14, she returned to the palace after proroguing the legislature she saw Wilson standing at the entrance of the Blue Room. "I went up to him and asked if all was ready. He replied, 'Yes.' "*

Of the occurrences of January 14 and the three following days, in which were involved the queen, the cabinet ministers, the diplomatic representatives of foreign governments, Captain Wiltse of the U.S.S. Boston, and various members of the civilian population, there are available, in print, accounts by nearly all of the more important participants.4 None of these is complete, and there are between and among them a large number of discrepancies, some irreconcilable differences, and a good many actual contradictions. But from a study and comparison of these accounts, supplemented by newspaper reports and other bits of evidence, it is possible to trace with reasonable assurance the main course of developments and to see how the several lines of action were interrelated. Upon such a study and comparison the following condensed narrative is based.

On the morning of January 14, before ten o'clock, the queen informed the cabinet ministers of her intention to proclaim a new constitution and instructed them to be present in the palace to sign the document with her after the prorogation of the legislature. The ministers, conferring among themselves, decided that they could not approve the queen's plan. Minister Colburn immediately went downtown to consult some of his friends there. He called first at the office of Henry Waterhouse, failed to see him but left a message about the queen's intended action; he then went to see former Associate Justice A. S. Hartwell. At Hartwell's suggestion,

* Marshal Wilson's account is different. He told Commissioner Blount that he first learned of the queen's purpose about January 8, "when we had some conversation on the subject, in which I objected to its suitability and feasibility at the time. . . . As nothing further was said until the 13th, I considered that the matter had dropped, but on that day, in talking over the matter of the new cabinet, which was to be appointed . . . the matter was brought up again; I again urged the objections which I felt to the step, and, as I thought, successfully." Blount's Report, pp. 560-562.

The queen, in her statement to Blount, wrote that Colburn "acted the part of a traitor."

 

584          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

L. A. Thurston and W. O. Smith were called in. Attorney General Peterson joined the group. The three civilian lawyers advised the two ministers to stand firm in opposition to the queen's project; if they did so, they would have full support from the community; under no circumstances should the ministers resign, for their resignations would enable the queen to appoint other ministers who would do her bidding. Colburn and Peterson then returned to the government building (Aliiolani Hale) for the prorogation of the legislature.

While this was going on, the U.S.S. Boston came into port, about ten-thirty or eleven o'clock, having returned from the trip to Hilo. Minister Stevens came ashore and went immediately to the United States legation. At Lahaina, the night before, news had reached the Boston about the passage of the lottery bill and the ouster of the Wilcox cabinet. By a messenger (H. E. Cooper), Judge Hartwell sent word to Captain Wiltse about the queen's intention regarding the constitution, a message that caused Wiltse to make preliminary arrangements for landing a military force if it should be needed to protect American lives and property. Hartwell himself went to the United States legation and urged Minister Stevens "to go at once to seek the cooperation of the English minister to dissuade the Queen from her design." Stevens called on Wodehouse and they went together to seek an audience of her. They could not see the queen, but immediately after the prorogation they had a meeting with the cabinet. After the preliminary explanations, Wodehouse, speaking for himself and his American colleague, said "the Queen must not promulgate a new constitution, and if she had any idea of it she must abandon it." Stevens supplemented Wodehouse's remarks with a strong protest against the queen's signing of the lottery bill.*

Stevens then returned to the legation. The cabinet ministers walked over to Iolani Palace to keep their appointment with the queen. The guests who had been invited by her gathered in the Throne Room of the palace and waited expectantly — waited for about two or three hours. The queen met her ministers in the Blue Room, explained her desire to grant a new constitution to her people, and requested them to sign it with her. They all with one accord demurred and a long debate ensued, in the

* Stevens' objection to the lottery bill was grounded in part on the fact that the establishment of a lottery in Hawaii would create a serious problem for the United States postal service since the American government had forbidden lottery literature to circulate through the mails. Blount's Report, p. 487 (statement of M. M. Scott).

 

REVOLUTION          585

course of which she said with some bitterness that they had encouraged her in this undertaking, had led her out to the edge of a precipice, and now left her to take the leap alone. Finally Colburn, Cornwell, and Peterson, leaving Parker with the queen, returned to Aliiolani Hale and immediately summoned all of the foreign diplomats who, when the situation was explained to them, strongly urged the ministers to return to the palace and inform Her Majesty that she must at once abandon her plan.

Just before, or possibly just after, this second conference with the representatives of foreign governments, Colburn made another visit downtown; he went to W. O. Smith's law office, and Smith and several prominent citizens (Hartwell, Thurston, F. W. Wundenberg, E. C. Macfarlane are mentioned, but no doubt there were others) went to the government building to talk over the situation with the ministers, who were again strongly advised not to yield to the queen's demand regarding the constitution.

The ministers being again summoned by the queen returned to the palace (about half-past two)5 to resume the debate in the Blue Room. At her request the ministers read her proposed new constitution. In her statement to Blount the queen wrote that Peterson objected to some points in it. "He begged that I should wait for two weeks; in the meantime they would be ready to present it to me. With these assurances I yielded and we adjourned to the Throne Room. I stated to the guests present my reasons for inviting their presence. It was to promulgate a new constitution at the request of my people; . . . I then informed the people assembled that under the advice of my ministers, I had yielded, as they had promised that, on some future day I could give them a new constitution." She then went up to the second-floor front veranda of the palace and from there spoke to the crowd gathered in the yard below, telling them "that their wishes for a new constitution could not be granted just then, but will be some future day."* There was an angry reaction from a few of the native leaders, notably William White, but this was soon quieted and the people left the palace and the palace grounds.

The queen's proposed new constitution consisted, in the main, of

* The queen spoke in Hawaiian. Chief Justice Judd heard her remarks in the Throne Room, and that evening wrote out from memory what she said, translated it into English, and this version of her speech was printed in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Jan. 16, 1893, and with two deletions in the Daily Bulletin the same day. An extra issued by Ka Leo o ka Lahui the same day gave in Hawaiian what purported to be the text of the queen's speech to the people outside the palace; in translation, she is quoted as telling the people to "go with good hope,

 

586          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

articles taken from the Constitutions of 1864 and 1887, many being the same in those two documents, but the changes introduced made the proposed constitution more like that of 1864. The most important changes were: (1) Cabinet ministers were to serve "during the queen's pleasure," but also subject to impeachment and to removal by legislative vote of want of confidence; (2) nobles were to be appointed for life by the queen instead of being elected for a term of years; (3) only male subjects (i.e., Hawaiian born or naturalized) were to be allowed to vote; (4) justices of the supreme court were to be appointed for a term of six years instead of for life; (5) article 78 of the Constitution of 1887 was dropped out; this was the article that required all official acts of the sovereign to be performed "with the advice and consent of the Cabinet." The effect of these changes would have been to give the queen more power and more influence over the government than had been possessed by Kalakaua at the beginning of his reign.6

In the meantime news of the queen's intended action spread through the community and caused people to gather in groups to discuss the situation. The law office of W. O. Smith near the corner of Fort and Merchant streets became the principal downtown center to which interested residents gravitated. At first and for several hours attention was concentrated on supporting the cabinet in its controversy with the queen, and a large number, seventy to one hundred persons, are said to have signed a paper pledging such support. It was suggested that the cabinet request the assistance of the United States minister and naval commander in resisting the queen's plan, but this idea was not followed up. About half-past three or four o'clock, Colburn and Peterson came again into Smith's office and they and others described the closing scene at the palace when the queen announced that she had yielded to the advice of her ministers and had postponed for a while the proclamation of a new constitution. From these reports it appeared that the queen had not abandoned the new constitution scheme, but had only deferred for a little while its fulfillment. In the uncertainty about what might happen, the men who had gathered in Smith's office organized themselves into a meeting, with H. E. Cooper as

and do not be disturbed or troubled in your minds, because within the next few days now coming I will proclaim the new constitution." Senate Reports, 53 Cong., 2 sess., No. 227, Vol. I, p. 37. In Neumann's version the queen regretted being unable to comply with the wishes of her people but advised them to, "Retire to your homes and maintain the peace, and leave matters hopefully to the future." Neumann to Foster, Feb. 21, 1893, USDS, Notes from Hawaiian Legation, Vol. IV.

 

REVOLUTION          587

chairman and W. O. Smith as secretary. According to Smith's account, "It was voted that a committee of thirteen be appointed to form plans for action and call meetings, report any time, at their discretion, and be called a committee of safety [sometimes referred to as committee of public safety]. At that time there was some serious apprehension, we could not tell what, that disorder might follow; what steps might be taken next; whether the constitution might not be promulgated that very afternoon or the next morning, or at any time; there was simply an intense feeling of uncertainty and a feeling that danger to the community was very imminent."7 From Thurston's account it appears that members of the Annexation Club saw in this situation an opportunity to promote their views; they seized the initiative8 and it is beyond question that they were the chief directors of the course of events during the next few days.

The committee of safety as first appointed was composed of the chairman H. E. Cooper, F. W. McChesney, T. F. Lansing and J. A. McCandless, who were Americans; W. O. Smith, L. A. Thurston, W. R. Castle and A. S. Wilcox, who were Hawaiian born of American parents; W. C. Wilder, American, C. Bolte, German, and Henry Waterhouse, Tasmanian, who were naturalized Hawaiian citizens, Andrew Brown, Scotchman, and H. F. Glade, German, who were not.9 After a day or two, Glade and Wilcox resigned, Glade because he was German consul and Wilcox because he had to return to Kauai; Ed. Suhr, a German, and John Emmeluth, an American, replaced them on the committee.

After the committee was appointed the other men present left the room and the committee held a meeting which lasted until after dark. The position taken by the committee was that the action of the queen was revolutionary, that she was likely to persist in her course, and that "the intelligent part of the community had got to take matters in their own hands and establish law and order." After discussion, the following motion offered by Thurston was approved: "That steps be taken at once to form and declare a provisional government."* In order to find out what the attitude of the American officials would be, a special committee (Thurston, Wilder, Glade) was appointed to call on Minister Stevens "and to inform him of the situation and ascertain from him what, if any,

* This is according to Smith's account in Blount's Report, pp. 496-497. W. D. Alexander (History of Later Years of the Hawaiian Monarchy and the Revolution of 1893, p. 37) gives the following as the wording of Thurston's motion: "That preliminary steps be taken at once to form and declare a Provisional Government with a view to annexation to the United States." Thurston (Memoirs, p. 250) says

 

588          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

protection or assistance could be afforded by the United States forces for the protection of life and property, the unanimous sentiment and feeling being that life and property were in imminent danger."10 The committee of safety then adjourned to meet on Sunday morning at the residence of W. R. Castle.

The special committee called immediately on Minister Stevens to "acquaint him with the situation, and ask him if he was going to support the Queen against the Cabinet and the citizens," as Thurston reported to Secretary of State Foster a few weeks later:

Mr. Stevens replied to us that on three occasions he had been applied to by those representing the Queen for support against those opposed to her, and that he had always given her assurance of such support as lay within his power; but that in this case he considered the position taken by the Cabinet and people a just and legal one, and the attempt made by the Queen a revolutionary one; and that if asked by her for his support he would not give it; and on the contrary he should recognize the Cabinet as the supporters of law and as possessing the authority of Government so long as they were supported by any respectable number of responsible citizens, and if they called on him he would give them the same assistance that had always been afforded to the Hawaiian Government by the United States Representatives.11

Later that Saturday evening, by invitation of Thurston, a small group met at his house; included were three members of the committee of safety (Smith, Castle, Thurston) and four other men (A. S. Hartwell, S. B. Dole, F. W. Wundenberg, C. L. Carter). To this group, Thurston gave an account of the meeting with Stevens, who

had said that the United States troops on board the Boston would be ready to land any moment to prevent the destruction of American life and property, and in regard to the matter of establishing a Provisional Government they of course would recognize the existing government whatever it might be.

Mr. Thurston stated to Mr. Stevens the proposition that was under consideration, of establishing a Provisional Government, and in case those steps were taken, he asked Mr. Stevens what his attitude would be, and Mr. Stevens had told him whatever government was established, and was actually in possession of the Government building, the executive departments and archives, and in possession of the city, that was a de facto government proclaiming itself as a government, would necessarily have to be recognized.12

In this meeting at Thurston's house "it was arranged that different ones of those present should begin drafting papers" that would be needed in connection with the establishment of a provisional government. "Judge

that his motion was "substantially as follows: 'I move that it is the sense of this meeting that the solution of the present situation is annexation to the United States.'" Lt. Lucien Young (The Boston at Hawaii, p. 175) gives the following version of the motion: "Resolved, That it is the sense of this committee that in view of the present unsatisfactory state of affairs, the proper course to pursue is to abolish the monarchy and apply for annexation to the United States."

 

REVOLUTION          589

Dole quietly stated that he was not prepared to take part in the movement, but that he would assist, at Mr. Thurston's request, in drafting the declaration."13

About half-past six the next morning (Sunday, January 15), Thurston called on Colburn and Peterson, gave them a brief account of the special committee's meeting with Stevens, and then "said to them, in effect as follows":

The Committee of Safety are not content to let matters rest as they are. The Queen has announced her intention, of promulgating the constitution when the opportunity presents itself, and they do not propose to sit over a volcano and wait for her to explode it when she chooses. We feel that there is no safety so long as she remains on the throne. We have acted with and supported you so far and desire to continue to do so if you are willing. Will you adopt the course which was discussed and agreed to by you yesterday,* (i.e., to declare the Queen in revolution against the Government, declare the throne vacant and call on the people for support). If so, well and good, you can take control of the situation; otherwise the Committee intends to proceed on the lines indicated without you.14

The accounts of this conference by the two ministers accord substantially with that given by Thurston, except in their reference to the American minister. Colburn and Peterson quote Thurston as saying that Stevens "would land his troops and support the movement, if a proclamation [deposing the queen and setting up a provisional government] was issued from any building in town." Thurston, in his letter to Foster, declared that this statement was incorrect. The two ministers, with the evident purpose of gaining time, said they would have to take the matter under advisement.15 From the foregoing it is clear that as early as Sunday morning the royal government was informed of the purpose of the committee of safety to dethrone the queen and set up a provisional government. But the authorities made no move to arrest these men who were engaged in what was from the standpoint of the government a treasonable enterprise.

The attempt of the committee of safety to divide the cabinet and induce two of the ministers to take the lead against the queen failed. Colburn and Peterson told Parker and Cornwell about the meeting with Thurston, and the four ministers decided to consult several "responsible and con-

* The other evidence gives no support to Thurston's statement that the two ministers had "agreed to" the course outlined.

In his statement to Blount, Marshal C. B. Wilson said that he was ready to swear out warrants for the arrest of the ringleaders of the plot, but the cabinet and particularly the attorney general (Peterson) objected. Blount's Report, pp. 1029, 1031, 1035, 1037.

 

590          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

servative business men of the community." A meeting was held at half-past one Sunday afternoon with the following men: F. A. Schaefer, J. O. Carter, S. M. Damon, W. M. Giffard, S. C. Allen, E. C. Macfarlane.* The whole situation was reviewed and since the constitution question appeared to be the crucial one, the consultants recommended and the ministers agreed that "the Queen and cabinet should issue a proclamation, giving the community the assurance that this matter was at an end." Such a proclamation was drafted during this meeting, but it was not signed by the queen until the following morning. Then, after the cabinet had informed the diplomatic corps (except Stevens, who was not present), the proclamation was printed, and about eleven o'clock on Monday morning it was posted and distributed throughout the city.16 The proclamation explained that "the position taken by Her Majesty in regard to the promulgation of a new Constitution, was under stress of Her native subjects. Authority is given for the assurance that any changes desired in the fundamental law of the land will be sought only by methods provided in the Constitution itself." But the issuance of this proclamation was insufficient to quiet the storm stirred up by the queen's action on Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday evening Parker and Peterson called upon Minister Stevens to find out, if possible, what stand he would take "in the event of an armed insurrection against the Queen's Government." The accounts by Peterson and Stevens disagree about the details of the conversation, but Stevens made it clear that in such a contingency he would not take sides with the queen; he afterwards testified, "I did not promise him [Peterson] anything."17 Later that same evening the cabinet met with a group said to have included Marshal Wilson, Paul Neumann, E. C. Macfarlane, R. W. Wilcox, C. T. Gulick, Dr. George Trousseau, A. Rosa, and others. Marshal Wilson made a report on the forces available to the government

* These men were described by Cornwell as "leading citizens of known loyalty to the Queen." Blount's Report, p. 28.

In the A. S. Cleghorn Collection in AH there is an original printed copy of the proclamation, on which Governor Cleghorn wrote two brief comments. Opposite the statement that the queen's action on Saturday "was under stress of her native subjects," he wrote the word "No"; and on the whole proclamation, his comment was "too late." Cleghorn took the overthrow of the queen very hard but felt he was in no way to blame. He wrote to Kaiulani on Jan. 28, 1893, "I have never given the Queen anything but good advice. If she had followed my advice, she would have been firm on the throne, and Hawaiian Independence safe, but she has turned out a very stubborn woman and was not satisfied to Reign but wished to Rule."

 

REVOLUTION          591

and "proposed that martial law be proclaimed, and that the Committee of Safety be arrested at once, but Messrs. Neumann and Peterson both opposed such action on the ground that it might precipitate a conflict, which they should at all hazards avoid." It was decided to call a mass meeting counter to that called by the committee of safety, and a committee was appointed to make necessary arrangements.18

The committee of safety, meanwhile, met for three hours on Sunday morning at W. R. Castle's residence. One of the first decisions was to hold a public mass meeting at two o'clock on Monday afternoon, and committees were appointed to make preparations for it. The organization of a provisional government was discussed. Someone suggested that Thurston should be the leader and the head of the government, but he objected on two grounds: "First he had business arrangements which might call him away, and on the further ground that he was considered such a radical mover that he believed it was wise to have some one who was more conservative. That was dropped right there. Mr. Dole's name was not mentioned at that meeting." A discouraging report was received about the prospect of obtaining arms.19 During the afternoon (Sunday) a notice calling for the Monday afternoon mass meeting "to consider the present critical situation" was printed and was posted up about town.20 Posters announcing the counter mass meeting sponsored by the cabinet were put up on Monday morning. After the Sunday morning meeting at Castle's residence, Thurston and Smith, as the latter reports,

called upon the American minister again and informed him of what was being done. Among other things we talked over with him what had better be done in case of our being arrested or extreme or violent measures being taken by the Monarchy in regard to us. We did not know what steps would be taken, and there was a feeling of great unrest and sense of danger in the community. Mr. Stevens gave assurances of his earnest purpose to afford all the protection that was in his power to protect life and property; he emphasized the fact that while he would call for the United States troops to protect life and property, he could not recognize any government until actually established. He repeated that the troops when landed would not take sides with either party, but would protect American life and property.21

There was another informal meeting at Thurston's residence on Sunday evening.

The next morning (Monday, January 16) the committee of safety met for about three hours in Thurston's office to complete arrangements for the mass meeting and attend to other matters. There were several interruptions, one of them being a visit from Marshal Wilson who called

 

592          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

Thurston into an adjoining office and told him the committee should call off the mass meeting and cease their plotting against the queen's government. According to some accounts, Wilson offered to guarantee that the queen would not renew her action against the constitution, even if he had to lock her up to prevent it. Thurston said this offer of guarantee was not sufficient and that the committee intended to settle the matter once and for all. At the request of the cabinet, a delegation from the committee of safety went over to the government building to talk with the ministers, but the conference was completely futile.22 Before the committee of safety adjourned, about noon, a letter to the American minister was drawn up and signed by the members of the committee, requesting the minister to land troops from the Boston. It was decided to deliver the letter to the minister "to be held by him but not to be acted upon until a further request was received from the committee."* Smith states that this letter was delivered to Minister Stevens before the mass meeting,23 but Stevens, in his testimony before a United States Senate committee in January, 1894, said that the letter came to him after the mass meeting.24

The great excitement throughout the city during the morning was intensified after 1:00 p.m., when by request all business establishments began to close. At 12:45 Governor Cleghorn went to be with the queen while the mass meetings were in session. Although he "was very angry with the trouble she had started," he did not think she realized her danger.25 The mass meeting called for 2:00 p.m. in the Honolulu Rifles' Armory (the "Skating Rink" to the Daily Bulletin) was underway by 2:30. Chair-manned by W. C. Wilder, it was composed of nearly all of the "male white foreign element in the city," in addition to some "Portuguese and half-castes," for a total of between 1,260 and 1,500 estimated attendance.

* Text of the letter was as follows: "We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Honolulu, respectfully represent that, in view of recent public events in this Kingdom, culminating in the revolutionary acts of Queen Liliuokalani on Saturday last, the public safety is menaced and lives and property are in peril, and we appeal to you and the United States forces at your command for assistance. The Queen, with the aid of armed force and accompanied by threats of violence and bloodshed from those with whom she was acting, attempted to proclaim a new constitution; and while prevented for the time from accomplishing her object, declared publicly that she would only defer her action. This conduct and action was upon an occasion and under circumstances which have created general alarm and terror. We are unable to protect ourselves without aid, and, therefore, pray for the protection of the United States forces." Printed in Blount's Report, pp. 118, 590, and in several other places.

The narrative by Professor Kuykendall ends here. The remainder of the chapter was written by Professor Charles H. Hunter, his colleague and friend.

 

REVOLUTION          593

After Wilder had stated that the reason for the meeting was the same as that of 1887, L. A. Thurston read the report of the committee of safety. He then recited the events leading up to the meeting, offered a resolution to condemn and denounce the action of the queen and her supporters, and asked the meeting to "ratify the appointment and endorse the action taken and report made by the said Committee of Safety and we do hereby further empower such committee to further consider the situation and further devise such ways and means as may be necessary to secure the permanent maintenance of law and order and the protection of life, liberty and property in Hawaii."

A half-dozen speakers followed Thurston, their language incendiary. H. P. Baldwin alone wanted to proceed by constitutional methods, but was shouted down. Emphasis was placed on the revolutionary nature of the queen's attempted coup. It was alleged that under the monarchy fear and uncertainty lay ahead because the queen's word could not be trusted. The resolution was passed without dissent, by a unanimous standing vote, and with loud and enthusiastic cheers. The committee of safety had been given power to do as it thought best. No mention had been made either of dethronement or abrogation of the monarchy but all apparently understood what was obviously intended. A petition along the foregoing lines had been prepared but the meeting was adjourned before attention could be called to it, and it was not circulated.26

At Palace Square, meanwhile, the royalist meeting called by the "Committee of Law and Order," to draw people away from the armory, achieved a shifting audience of between five hundred and a thousand natives, interspersed with knots of curious bystanders. A number of the queen's most vocal supporters, including Antone Rosa, R. W. Wilcox, J. F. Bush, J. Nawahi, and "Oily Bill" White, addressed the meeting to extol the virtues of the queen and support the monarchy. They had been coached to be extremely cautious lest they further inflame the opposition. The result was a notable lack of enthusiasm except when the attempted coup of Saturday was mentioned. At that time the queen had said that it was her subjects who had insisted on a new constitution. Now, by resolution, her subjects accepted her assurance that she would not change the fundamental law by revolutionary means. They then disbanded.27

The most controversial problem and the one which occasioned the most acrimonious future debate was the storm which swirled around the landing of the troops from the U.S.S. Boston late in the afternoon of

 

594          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

Monday, January 16. The testimony of the officers from the Boston before the Morgan Committee showed that Captain Wiltse had followed the situation closely from the time of the arrival of the Boston from Hilo on Saturday.* On that Monday morning, just before eleven o'clock, H. E. Cooper alerted the Boston at about the same time that the committee of safety's note asking for troops was delivered to Stevens. But Wiltse had anticipated the request and had given orders for the troops to be ready to land.28

Shortly before one o'clock, American Consul General Severance sent Wiltse a personal warning that the troops might be needed to preserve order and protect American property. Severance promised that if other means of communication were cut he would lower his flag to half mast. After their noon meal the troops were ordered to get their equipment ready to land.29

In less than a half-hour after the mass meeting, the committee of safety met in W. O. Smith's office. Although unsure of their next step, they agreed that a provisional government was clearly indicated, and that the support of the foreign community was assured. Then, as Smith wrote in his statement for Commissioner Blount, it was:

nearly four; our plans had not been perfected, papers had not been completed, and after a hasty discussion, the time being very short, it was decided it was impossible for us to take the necessary steps, and we should request that the troops be not landed until next morning, the hour in the morning being immaterial, . . . but we must have further time to prevent bloodshed, and Mr. Thurston and I were appointed to proceed at once to the American minister and inform him of our decision. We proceeded at once to Mr. Stevens' house, the United States legation, stated the case to him, and he said that as a precautionary measure, and to protect American life and property, he had ordered the troops to be landed at 5 o'clock, and that they would come.30

Blount had charged that the troops were landed under a prearranged agreement to assist in overthrowing the queen. Thurston contended that they "were landed to protect American citizens and property in the event of the impending and inevitable conflict between the Queen and the citizens, and not to cooperate with the committee in carrying out its plans. In fact, the troops did not cooperate with the committee, and the committee had no more knowledge than did the Queen's Government where the troops were going nor what they were going to do."31 Stevens had been besieged by nervous Americans most of the day and had made up his mind about two in the afternoon, just before the mass meetings were

* Wiltse died in the late spring, a few weeks after leaving his command.

 

REVOLUTION          595

held, to land the troops. At that time he made his decision known to J. B. Atherton, a leading American businessman. At three o'clock Stevens went aboard the Boston to hand Wiltse a written request for troops to protect the United States consulate and legation and to secure the safety of American life and property. But Wiltse had already composed his own order, in accordance with standard navy procedure and Secretary of State Bayard's instructions to the American minister in 1887. In addition to Stevens' orders, the Boston's executive officer was instructed by Wiltse to "assist in preserving public order," but was adjured to remain neutral in any conflict, and to use great prudence in any action taken. Stevens returned ashore immediately to secure shelter for the troops who were without tents. The landing was to be as close to five o'clock as possible.

The men were given an early evening meal and Lieutenant Commander Swinburne landed his fully equipped 162-man force on schedule from four boats near the foot of Nuuanu Avenue and marched them up Fort Street to Merchant. A few of the marines were left at the consulate on Merchant Street and the others were sent to protect the legation at Nuuanu and School streets. The bluejackets were marched past the palace on King Street and halted short of Punchbowl Street across from Kawaiahao Church. After a short wait, and just before dark, they continued about six hundred yards along King Street to the large J. B. Atherton estate at King and Alapai. Not until nearly ten in the evening did Stevens secure accommodations and return the troops to Arion Hall, a small building alongside the government building, out of sight from the palace and separated from it by the Music Hall on King Street. * Stevens later denied that his choice of Arion Hall had any significance. It was, he said, the only place he could find on short notice. He had failed to get the old armory on the waterfront or the Music Hall itself.32

The reaction of the queen's supporters to the landing of the troops, if judged by their later statements, was made to appear one of surprise. At the time, however, they seemed to have expected the landing but to hope

* Stevens' critics were to stress the placing of the troops between those of the queen and those of the committee of safety. Much was made later by Secretary Gresham of Admiral Skerrett's comments to Blount that "it was unadvisable to locate the troops there; if they were landed for the protection of the United States citizens, . . . if they were landed to support the Provisional Government troops, . . . it was a wise choice" (For. Rel., 1894, II, 538). Lt. Commander Swinburne also told the Morgan Committee that in the event of a fight between the two factions, Arion Hall would have been untenable and he would have withdrawn his men.

 

596          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

that it would not occur. When it did, Governor Cleghorn, with ministers Parker and Colburn, went "with all haste" to Stevens to protest. Parker insisted verbally that the queen's government could offer protection to everyone and suppress any rebellion. Colburn asked if Stevens intended to annex the country and was told "no," but that protection would be offered to the community at large. When told again that the queen's government did not want the troops ashore, Stevens told them to put it in writing, and if their protest was in a friendly spirit, he would answer the same way. Parker and Cleghorn did so, but Stevens' replies, dated the next day, January 17, were even more ambiguous and impractical than his oral replies of the evening before. As a result, Cleghorn concluded that the committee of safety had taken over, with the American minister at their back; "our independence was gone."33

At eight o'clock that Monday night the committee of safety met at the home of Henry Waterhouse, who was Stevens' neighbor. They were without Thurston, Castle, and Wilder who were ill, but had invited Alexander Young, J. H. Soper, Cecil Brown, J. B. Castle, H. P. Baldwin, and F. W. Wundenberg to be present. The advisory and executive councils for a provisional government were named along with a finance committee to secure additional arms.* Sanford B. Dole was to be asked to serve as president and J. H. Soper to command the military forces. Acceptance by the latter two was interrelated. Dole was at home when Bolte was sent to fetch him. He accompanied Bolte reluctantly because he had not yet made up his mind. Dole argued that the queen should go, but suggested that Kaiulani be named her successor under a regency. There was no support for this idea because the others present were tired of the monarchy and wanted nothing more to do with it. Soper, because he lacked military experience, was reluctant to accept. But he told Dole that if Dole would be president, he, Soper, would lead the military force to be raised or serve in any other capacity Dole saw fit. The two men stepped out-of-doors under the trees to talk it over. This move apparently gave rise to a later rumor that they had gone to ask Stevens if he would recog-

* The eight members of the advisory committee from the committee of safety — McChesney, Bolte, A. Brown, Waterhouse, Thurston, Emmeluth, Castle, and McCandless — were increased the next morning to 14 by adding J. B. Morgan, S. M. Damon, W. G. Ashley, E. D. Tenney, W. C. Wilder and F. J. Wilhelm. Cecil Brown refused to serve on the executive council which was reduced from five to four: W. O. Smith (attorney general), J. A. King (interior), P. C. Jones (finance), Sanford B. Dole (foreign affairs). McCandless, McChesney and J. B. Castle made up the finance committee.

 

REVOLUTION          597

nize and support a provisional government if it was in possession of the government building.34 Dole could not make up his mind but after considerable argument (which probably included predictions of support by Stevens), the judge went home to sleep on it and "passed a very unpleasant night." The next morning, before breakfast, Dole visited many of his friends, including L. A. Thurston, seeking advice. Nearly all of those he approached urged him to accept the offer to serve as the chief executive. It was well known he had the trust of the native Hawaiians. When Dole heard that S. M. Damon, who had been close to the queen and whom Dole "regarded as a very conservative man, was ready to join" if Dole did, he decided to accept. He later wrote, "At 10 o'clock I went downtown. I remembered a letter I had in my pocket which Thurston had given me that morning, addressed to Mr. Stevens, setting forth our intended movement, and proposing to ask his recognition, or something like that. I went in and handed the letter to him. He did not say much, but I remember that he said: 'I think you have a great opportunity.' " Shortly thereafter Dole appeared in W. O. Smith's office where the committee of safety was in session and accepted the position as president of the executive council. He had already sent his written resignation as associate justice of the supreme court to the queen's cabinet.35 At Dole's suggestion C. Bolte was dropped from the executive council but added to the advisory council along with S. M. Damon who had just joined the movement. Soper was confirmed as military chief, with the rank of colonel, and John Good was named ordnance officer. Wilder was sent to check on the availability of the Claudine for a quick trip to San Francisco; no interisland steamers were to be allowed to leave until the next day; recruitment and procurement of weapons were speeded up; and other minor details attended to in preparation for proclaiming the provisional government at three in the afternoon of January 17.

Throughout the night of the sixteenth, while the bluejackets in Arion Hall fought mosquitoes and could not sleep, Marshal Wilson's police force patrolled the city on the alert for incendiarism and to keep careful watch on all stores that sold arms and ammunition. After dark, munitions were stored in the office of the attorney general in the government building with a man to watch them. On the morning of the seventeenth the guard was removed at Attorney General Peterson's orders when everything appeared so quiet that Marshal Wilson even dismissed the extra guards at the police station. Yet by eleven o'clock the marshal, who later

 

598          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

claimed that he had full information about the activities of the committee of safety (including its time schedule), alerted Captain Nowlein, who commanded the queen's troops and Household Guards. Wilson needed authorization to act but was unable to get the cabinet together until after two o'clock, and even then he was refused permission to act.

Word of the recruiting activities of the committee of safety had reached the queen and cabinet early that Tuesday morning. Shortly before nine o'clock the queen sent for S. M. Damon, who told her that he had been asked to join the executive council and that he had refused. When he asked her what he should do, the queen advised him to join the advisory council where, as she was to tell Blount later, he might be of service to her.* She had no idea, she said, that they intended to establish a new government. Her ministers suffered from no such illusions, but any intent to resist on their part appeared much later, when all hope of resistance was in vain. They obviously believed their cause was not a good one and their hearts were not in it. W. D. Alexander, who observed the events that day, concluded: "To judge from their conduct, the Queen's Cabinet were overawed by the unanimity and determination of the foreign community, and probably had an exaggerated idea of the force at the command of the Committee of Safety. They shrank from the responsibility of causing fruitless bloodshed, and sought a valid excuse for inaction, which they thought they found in the presence of the United States troops on shore, and in the well known sympathy of the American Minister with the opposition."

The queen's cabinet did call the members of the diplomatic and consular corps for a conference at one in the afternoon from which Stevens, who pleaded illness, was conspicuously absent. He obviously expected an appeal for joint action in the queen's defense. Actually the queen's ministers were advised by the diplomats present not to resist by force. Obviously shaken by these developments, the queen followed with a note to Stevens in which solemn assurance was given that the "present constitution" would be upheld. When, shortly before two o'clock, no reply had been received, the entire cabinet drove to the American legation to appeal for aid to sustain the queen. Stevens, who was ill and lying on a couch in his office, saw only Peterson and Parker. Peterson attempted to argue the legality of their case, i.e., that inasmuch as they were the legal govern-

* The queen wrote in her diary: "I attribute the leniency of the [Advisory] Council to his interposition with them."

 

REVOLUTION          599

ment they could ask Stevens to use force to maintain the queen. The amiable Samuel Parker, touched by the American minister's illness, urged his colleague to be brief. Stevens bluntly told them in reply that the troops had been landed for one purpose only, a pacific purpose, and he could not use them to sustain the queen. According to Stevens, no mention was made of support for the queen's opponents. Peterson, on the other hand, told Blount that Stevens had not only refused to come to the assistance of the queen's government, but said that if the insurgents were attacked and arrested by the queen's forces, the United States troops would intervene. And, should a provisional government be established by responsible citizens, Stevens would recognize and support it on request. Parker, who was the only other person present when Peterson talked to Stevens, did not tell what, if anything, he remembered. Colburn, who waited outside, remembered that Stevens gave them no definite answer. At all events, the cabinet then hastened to the police station, their headquarters for the rest of the day, determined to find some way to get Stevens to commit himself in writing.36

The queen's ministers were so intent on Stevens that they paid little attention to the news that a proclamation was being read and other acts of treason committed. Though L. A. Thurston had been ill in bed since early Monday evening, on Tuesday morning he dictated to his law clerk the draft of the proclamation to be used in deposing the queen, abrogating the monarchy, and establishing a provisional government to exist until terms of annexation had been arranged with the United States. As the queen's cabinet returned to the police station, shortly before half-past two, the committee of safety had completed its preparations and all members had signed the proclamation. The volunteers had been ordered to assemble at the Honolulu Rifles' Armory and, after having had the government building reconnoitered to determine if it was guarded, the committee, with Dole at its head, prepared to leave W. O. Smith's office in two groups, one to proceed to the government building by way of Merchant Street, the other by way of Queen Street.

All morning John Good, the ordnance officer, and his assistants, while busily collecting arms and ammunitions from various stores, had been under surveillance by Marshal Wilson's police. It is not clear why the police chose this moment to interfere with a wagon loaded with ammunition that was leaving E. O. Hall & Son's store on King Street for the armory. But as the committee of safety emerged on Fort Street, a short

 

600          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

block away from King, a policeman grabbed for the reins of Good's team which was momentarily delayed by a passing Fort Street tram car. In the melee, a policeman* who tried to board the wagon was shot by Good and the final phase of the revolution began. At the sound of the shot, not only the police who had been watching Smith's office, but the people who had been awaiting developments, all ran toward Fort and King, thus enabling the committee of safety to proceed almost unobserved to the government building.37

Secretary of State Gresham was to take issue with the accuracy of Stevens' report to Secretary John W. Foster (and of Foster to Harrison) that no United States troops were present or took part in the proceedings. In fact, there was no dress parade or mustering of the bluejackets in Palace Square that day. Captain Wiltse's orders were that great care be exercised and strict impartiality observed in preserving order and protecting property. When C. L. Carter, who as representative of the committee of safety supplied the material needs of the American troops, reconnoitered the area earlier, he had warned Lieutenant Commander Swinburne to watch for Dole to take over the government building. Thus when Swineburne was alerted, after the shot that felled the policeman, he put his men at parade rest back of Arion Hall and, except for a lone sentry, out of sight from the front of the government building.38

As the committee of safety took over the government building, the queen's ministers, instead of preparing to resist, were engaged at the police station in supervising the drafting of the note to Stevens requesting assistance because they had "been informed that certain persons to them unknown, have issued proclamation declaring a Provisional Government, . . . and having pretended to depose the Queen, her Cabinet and marshall, and that certain treasonable persons at present occupy the Government building in Honolulu with an armed force, and pretending that your excellency, on behalf of the United States of America, has recognized such Provisional Government, Her Majesty's Cabinet asks respectfully, has your excellency recognized such Provisional Government, and, if not, Her Majesty's Government under the above existing circumstances respectfully

* The policeman, Leialoha, was shot in the shoulder, received immediate attention, and, on leaving the hospital several weeks later, was given a $200 purse raised by public subscription. His was the only blood shed during the revolution. Good's wagon proceeded up Fort to School Street and down Punchbowl to the armory — the police followed all the way. The officer sent to arrest Good reported that he was unable to locate him in the crowd at the armory.

 

REVOLUTION         601

requests the assistance of your Government in preserving the peace of the country."

The above note was delivered to the American legation by Charles L. Hopkins at about 2:45 p.m. It was received by Stevens's daughter who said her father was much too unwell to answer immediately and asked for an hour's delay. Hopkins insisted on an immediate reply and later testified that at about 3:10 p.m. he returned to the police station with a note addressed to Samuel Parker in which Stevens was held to have extended de facto recognition to the provisional government.*

The queen's ministers insisted later that they were all ready to repress the revolt but Stevens kept them waiting for a reply. Only after his note was received did the ministers conclude "to surrender, and yield to America." In the testimony on both sides inaccuracies and inconsistencies abound, depending on individual predilections. In their reports to Blount it was obvious that the queen's ministers wished to make the hour of recognition as early as possible and Stevens, before the Morgan committee, attempted to make it appear much later. A note by Stevens in the records of the American legation, if written at the time, would indicate that between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. he sent a short letter to the men he no longer regarded as ministers, informing them that he had recognized the provisional government. This was certainly before the note of recognition had been received by Dole. Stevens finally told the Morgan committee that he could not swear to the time although he "thought" it was close to 5:00 p.m. or later. As he said, "I prepared a note before; had it in readiness, because it was open as any railroad meeting would be in your city or mine; and I probably got the note ready without signature beforehand."39 Sometime between 4:20 and 5:00 p.m., before the queen had yielded and long before the police station was surrendered, a note from Minister Stevens to Dole announced that, "A Provisional Government having been duly constituted in the place of the recent Government of Queen Liliuokalani and said Provisional Government being in full possession of the Government Building, the Archives and the Treasury and in control of the capital of the Hawaiian Islands, I hereby recognize said Provisional Government as the de facto Government of the Hawaiian Islands." S. M. Damon believed that he was aware of this note when he went to advise the queen to surrender and that if she wished to do so

* Stevens's reply was said to have gone with the queen's agent, Paul Neumann, to Washington and been lost.

 

602          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

under protest, her protest would be accepted by the Provisional Government. Damon's testimony, along with others, placed the time of receipt of recognition at 5:00 p.m. or a few minutes after.40

In the meantime, Sanford B. Dole, who later called taking over the government building "somewhat dramatic," had been busily getting settled. We wrote his brother that "we found an almost deserted government building; we enquired for the Cabinet, they were absent then we demanded the possession of the building from Hassinger [Chief Clerk, Interior Department] who politely gave it up, the proclamation was then read at the front door to an increasing audience of Hawaiians and foreigners; we then moved into the Minister of Interiors office and began business, issuing notices, orders &c. Our soldiers began to arrive before the reading of the proclamation was over and before very long we had a strong force in and around the building. We proclaimed martial law on this Island, demanded the station house which they (the Royalists) held in force and by dark it was surrendered, the Queen giving up her authority under protest. Late in the evening Major Nowlein of the Barracks was sent for and came and acknowledged our authority."

As Henry E. Cooper completed the last act of the committee of safety, i.e., the reading of the proclamation on the steps of the government building, C. L. Carter was sent with a letter from Dole to Stevens announcing the action taken. The two councils of the provisional government then met in the office of the minister of the interior, after they had piled the cache of ammunition out in the hall. Orders one and two were issued (as prepared beforehand by Thurston), saloons were ordered closed, and the members of the diplomatic and consular corps were notified of the establishment of the provisional government and recognition requested. British Commissioner Wodehouse and British Vice-Consul T. R. Walker arrived almost immediately, followed by the Japanese Consul-General Saburo Fujii, to confirm the occupation. About 4 p.m. Stevens's aide arrived, looked around and left.41

Deputy Marshal Mehrtens came from the police station, and though refused entrance to the building he was given a copy of the proclamation and an invitation for the queen's ex-ministers to come in for a conference. They countered with a request for a meeting at the police station. When this was refused, Parker and Cornwell came to the government building and S. M. Damon and C. Bolte returned with them in an effort to get Marshal Wilson to surrender the police station. Though the services of

 

REVOLUTION         603

E. C. Macfarlane and others close to the queen were enlisted, Wilson refused to capitulate without a written order from her and her cabinet. The four ex-minsters then returned to the government building for a conference and, although they were urged to give up quietly to prevent bloodshed, they insisted that the queen must first be consulted. The four men went in a body, followed soon after by S. M. Damon and J. O. Carter, to tell the queen she had been deposed and to assist her in formulating any protest she should desire to make. Once more the evidence is in conflict. What transpired at the palace in this meeting with the queen?* In the end, she was advised to yield to superior force and not risk bloodshed but to appeal to the United States government in Washington for redress. Paul Neumann, perhaps with J. O. Carter's aid, drafted the protest and did it very shrewdly:

I. Liliuokalani, by the Grace of God and under the Constitution of the Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the constitutional Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a provisional government of and for this Kingdom.

That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America, whose minister plenipotentiary, His Excellency John L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landed at Honolulu and declared that he would support the said provisional government.

Now, to avoid any collision of armed forces and perhaps the loss of life, I do under this protest, and impelled by said force, yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon the facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representatives and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.

At about seven in the evening, Dole accepted the queen's protest, apparently without reading it and, unfortunately for the provisional government, without challenging the queen's assertion that she surrendered to the "superior force of the United States." Dole endorsed on the written protest, "Received by the hands of the late cabinet this 17th day of January A.D. 1893," and handed it back. The queen noted later in her diary that, "Things turned out better than I expected."42

Although the provisional government, shortly after three in the afternoon, had a goodly number of armed volunteers on hand, it was not convinced that they were sufficient to maintain order throughout the city

* Governor Cleghorn, who consistently blamed the "poor ministers, wretched men" for bad advice to the queen, admitted that she had to yield. As he wrote Kaiulani, to have resisted would only have cost a lot of lives, made things worse and have been wicked. But he said, he was ashamed to write his friends about "My poor country," and, "I worry all day, and dream all night over the situation all brought about in such a foolish and wicked way."

 

604          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

during the night. And since night was approaching, an appeal was made to Stevens: "We request the immediate support of the United States forces, and would request that the commander of the United States forces take command of our military forces, so that they may act together for the protection of the city." Stevens replied that he believed Captain Wiltse would endeavor to maintain order and protect life and property, but doubted if he would take command of the men of the provisional government.* Stevens' estimation of the situation was correct. After contacting Wiltse, Stevens endorsed on Dole's original request, "The above not complied with." Wiltse had been with the troops off and on during the day and, when approached by members of the provisional government, had asserted that recognition would not be forthcoming until the provisional government had control of the barracks and police station, as well as the government building. This must have been the way he had understood it from Stevens for the final act of recognition was for Stevens to decide. When Wiltse heard, belatedly, shortly before half-past six, that Stevens had acted, even though the police station had not been surrendered, Wiltse hurried off to the American legation.

Marshal C. B. Wilson continued to stubbornly insist that he had to have a written order signed by the queen and her cabinet before he would surrender the station house. After the meeting with the queen, the entire cabinet, accompanied by Neumann, Macfarlane and others, armed with a copy of the queen's protest and with a signed order, went to the police station to explain the situation to the marshal, who was still belligerent. When Wilson yielded, shortly before seven in the evening, the event marked the end of monarchy in Hawaii. Members of the provisional government were to profess surprise, later, at how quickly and quietly the queen's government yielded. Major Soper, accompanied by J. A. McCandless and members of Captain Ziegler's German Company, moved through streets jammed with the curious, to take over the police station from Wilson. Wundenberg became acting marshal and the Daily Bulletin next day (in seeming wonder) reported that, "Marshal Wilson turned over the Police Station without the slightest friction between him and his successor." On the other hand, Charles L. Hopkins had caught the spirit of the queen's followers. He listened to Wilson and Soper

* On June 28, 1893, Blount was to ask the provisional government for a copy of Stevens' reply to Dole's request for support, and the provisional government did not succeed in finding the note until July 20, 1893.

 

REVOLUTION          605

address the assembled police. After Soper returned to the marshal's office, Hopkins "shook hands with him and then took the 8 p.m. street car for home." The surrender of the barracks, with the entire Hawaiian "army" of 272 men commanded by Samuel Nowlein, was anticlimatic. No one on either side appeared to have taken the Hawaiian troops seriously.

The final act of the executive and advisory councils on the evening of January 17, 1893, was to hold a regular meeting during which they discussed the advisability of sending, commissioners to Washington at once to negotiate a treaty of political union between Hawaii and the United States. "It was moved and carried that the Steamer 'Claudine' should be chartered, and a committee of three, Messrs. L. A. Thurston, W. R. Castle, and W. C. Wilder, should go to Washington for the aforesaid purpose."43

THE HOME FRONT

The events of the eighteen months of the life of the provisional government were so closely related to the history of the revolution that failure to include them would leave the picture distorted and incomplete. Almost every major event stemmed from, or threw additional light on, the revolutionary period proper. The following pages carry a distillation from hundreds of documents. First, there was the home front, where painful readjustments were made and where the American flag was raised, and a protectorate proclaimed by the American minister. One commission had gone to Washington to negotiate a treaty of annexation and another to speak for delay on behalf of the queen. The queen's envoys were supplemented by two others who were there to speak for the Princess Kaiulani, in case the queen was no longer acceptable. After Cleveland and Gresham decided to withdraw Harrison's treaty of annexation from the Senate, off to Hawaii went "Paramount" Blount on a fact-finding mission for the president. After four months he returned home to find that public opinion and the press had not been kind to him or the Cleveland administration. Agents for the provisional government had done an effective job of explaining their case to the American people. But on the basis of Blount's "facts," the president sent A. S. Willis as the new minister to Hawaii with a quixotic scheme to restore the queen. When this plan failed, the whole problem was dumped into the lap of Congress which produced the so-called Morgan Report as a direct answer

 

606          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

to Blount. Morgan managed to exonerate from blame everyone save the queen. In the end, the provisional government decided to establish a republic and await a more friendly political climate in which to seek annexation to the United States.

On the morning of January 18, the number of commissioners to be sent to Washington was increased to five by adding Charles L. Carter and Joseph Marsden, an English citizen, to the list. Besides the instructions for the commission, many other interesting documents were composed in Honolulu that day. These included appeals from the queen and her supporters, notifications sent to Hawaiian representatives abroad, and reports to their home governments from nearly all of the agents of the seventeen foreign states having diplomatic or consular representation in Hawaii. The foreign representatives had been notified early in the evening of January 17 that the provisional government had been established and S. B. Dole believed, "We had replies from almost all of them before midnight, recognizing the Provisional Government." But the formal replies are all dated January 18 with the exception of the British and Japanese which bear the date of January 19.44

Until the wishes of the United States government were made known, the provisional government prepared to fend for itself. The opium and lottery laws were repealed and the Hawaii National Guard was activated to continue until a new police force was created and a force of military regulars recruited and drilled. By taking formal possession of the royal barracks and disbanding the Household Guards, who were paid off to February 1, it was possible to arm more and more recruits for Major Soper's command. The provisional government's approach was to be as lenient as possible while defending its actions. The royal standard was outlawed, the coat of arms over the "By Authority" columns in the newspapers was discontinued, the gold crown insignia was ordered removed from the caps of customs and other officials, and all former governmental employees had to take an oath of allegiance to the provisional government within twenty days. But by February 5 the order for martial law, with its 9:30 p.m. curfew, was rescinded and the writ of habeas corpus restored without either having been made an issue. Although Major Soper had closed the saloons on the evening of January 17 they reopened on January 20. As early as January 18, ladies were driving abroad unattended; Punahou School, many of whose students had joined the troops of the provisional government, reopened on January 19; and the following

 

REVOLUTION          607

Saturday afternoon, at Emma Square, the Royal Hawaiian Band gave a concert. Nevertheless, on February 1, all but sixteen members of the band were discharged when they refused to take the oath of allegiance. The Hawaiian members believed they were being asked to sign a contract which would compel them to play where and when ordered to do so, even at the lowering of the Hawaiian flag.45

The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, followed by the weekly Hawaiian Gazette, in speaking for the provisional government, assured its readers almost daily that the changes, while carried out by the foreign population, were not for white men only; not solely in the interest of any class, section, creed or nationality, but offered security for all. The monarchy was held to have perished through its own fault and in item after item the Advertiser endeavored to prove how much better the Hawaiian people would be under American rule. They would become an integral part of the Union and "this weary nation" would at length find peace, for there was no bitterness toward the Hawaiian people, only a feeling of Aloha. The Daily Bulletin on January 18 changed its editor, but not its policy, which continued to be highly critical of the government. C. W. Ashford, who edited the English section of the Liberal, was replaced early in February and turned to contributing "Brieflets" to Holomua, the queen's own organ from which, on the advice of John Ena and others, she soon divorced herself. Members of the provisional government quickly discovered that the English language pages of the bilingual newspapers were more obnoxious than those in Hawaiian.

In an editorial on January 18, the Daily Bulletin had found that, "Martial law in a situation of this kind is a ridiculous and absurd proceeding and does not reflect creditably on the part of those who designed it or who still keep it enforced. The late Ministry and their adherents surrendered everything peacefully and quietly. No one wants to attempt to change the state of affairs existing as everyone is content to await the decision of the United States and abide by it. The Hawaiians are eminently a peaceable people and no one is either exciting or endeavoring to excite them." Nevertheless, the city of Honolulu, always abounding in rumors and gossip, was particularly well supplied during the last ten days of January. According to Dole, a number of these "disquieting rumours" involved threats against the new government and "occasioned us some anxiety and caused us to strengthen our Guards." Also on alert, particularly from January 27 on, were the bluejackets who had been moved from

 

608          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

Arion Hall on January 19 to better quarters at "Camp Boston" on King Street near Fort. Not only that, at least three members of the two councils remained on duty at the government building each night, and others, including Dole and his wife, were afraid to sleep in their own home. Therefore, on January 31, the advisory council decided "to ask the American Minister to afford us protection during the pending of negotiations." Dole was not fully in sympathy, as "I felt doubtful about the need of it as well as the policy of it," but the vote was nearly unanimous. Thus the executive council tacitly admitted that the provisional government was "unable to satisfactorily protect life and property, and to prevent civil disorders," and asked Minister Stevens "for the time being," to raise the flag of the United States. Stevens promptly agreed, and at nine in the morning of February 1, as the volunteers joyfully marched out of the government building, the Boston's marines, who had been on duty at the consulate and legation, marched in. The move had taken W. D. Alexander by surprise. He was alerted by the salute to the flag from the Boston and upon reaching the scene he found the "ensign of Freedom floating over the tower of the Government Building, a glorious sight." While Alexander was sure the community generally was delighted and had experienced "a great sense of relief," he obviously was speaking for the foreign community only. The native reaction seemed to have been one of pained surprise. Alexander frankly hoped that the sight of the flag would encourage business men and "send up" government bonds and plantation stocks. "Minister Stevens," he wrote, "has been the right man for the crisis."

In his telegram of February 1 to Secretary of State Foster, Stevens assured him that the "Provisional Government of Hawaii gaining power and respect. Everything is quiet. Annexation sentiment is increasing." And then, "Today at 9 a.m., in accordance with the request of Provisional Government in Hawaii, I have placed Government of Hawaii under the United States protection during negotiations, not interfering with the execution of public affairs." Stevens' notice "To the Hawaiian People," a printed broadside of twelve by seventeen inches, and his formal note to the diplomatic and consular corps in Honolulu, said about the same thing as his telegram to Foster. But in his covering letter to Foster of the same date, he wrote that he and Captain Wiltse "are compelled to assume a grave responsibility." He justified his action on the grounds that the provisional government needed time to organize both the police and a small military force. He cited the presence of "renegade whites," "hood-

 

REVOLUTION          609

lum foreigners," and "vicious natives," as well as some "evil-disposed persons" who might stir some of the 40,000 Orientals to disorder. And, in addition, the arrival of a British warship was anticipated and the British Minister, "thus aided, might try to press unduly the Provisional Government," but would hardly interfere if the American flag flew over the government building.46

THE ANNEXATION TREATY

In Washington, D. C., the climate of opinion was temporarily favorable to Hawaiian annexation. Secretary of State John W. Foster had inherited Blaine's expansionist proclivities along with his office. He took Stevens' dispatches at their face value, approved his de facto recognition, as well as his protectorate, provided the latter did not go beyond preserving order and protecting American lives and property. But if the protectorate infringed on the sovereignty of the established government, it was disavowed. In the meantime, Stevens sent words of praise for the commissioners who promptly followed the dispatch to Washington.47

Contrary to the beliefs of some of the more superstitious Hawaiians, the Claudine did not sink nor did Thurston die before reaching San Francisco on January 28, 1893. The commissioners, enthusiastically received in California, left the next day for Washington. They were joined at Salt Lake City by W. A. Kinney and, upon arriving at the capital on February 3, by C. R. Bishop, W. N. Armstrong, Archibald Hopkins and the Hawaiian minister, Dr. John Mott Smith.* Secretary Foster was promptly informed, in a note written by Thurston, of the arrival and objectives of the mission and given a brief account of the revolution, made interesting by what Thurston did not say.

The provisional government had furnished their commissioners fairly precise instructions which called specifically for incorporation in any treaty of the point, "that the Government to be established in the Hawaiian Island shall be substantially that of a Territory of the United States, or that of the District of Columbia." As a last resort they would have accepted a protectorate but W. R. Castle, who prepared a brief on the subject, told anyone who would listen that "we have nothing whatsoever to do with a protectorate." On the other hand, C. R. Bishop wrote that,

* Charles M. Cooke was appointed "Special Commissioner" on January 31 by the executive council, and sent with some additional instructions, but he arrived too late to have any part in negotiating the treaty of annexation.

 

610          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

"Between annexation and protectorate opinion of our friends is divided. Some think the Treaty offers to give up too much to the U. S. and that a protectorate, keeping hands off our labor laws, would be best for us." And Thurston, after Cleveland withdrew the treaty, hoped to convince the new secretary of state, Walter Q. Gresham, that while a protectorate was inadvisable, "at the same time if we cannot secure annexation, a protectorate will be the next best thing." Dole agreed that, although annexation "pure and simple" was the objective, it would be well "to keep a retreat open by way of a protectorate" especially if it would "answer the purpose of insuring domestic tranquillity and inspiring business confidence." But there was always the possibility that the islands would be saddled with "political bummers" by presidential appointment.

At no time during the negotiation of the treaty of annexation with Foster was statehood for Hawaii mentioned or implied. All across the continent the commissioners denied that statehood was their goal. No mention was made of the form of government during the first meeting on the morning of February 4, 1893, but in the afternoon, at the secretary's request, the commissioners submitted in writing their proposals for a formal treaty. The commissioners hoped to retain for the proposed government all the rights and prerogatives that had been assumed from the monarchy. They, therefore, asked for the form of government "now existing in territories of the United States with such modifications, restrictions, and changes therein as the exigencies of the existing circumstances may require and as may be hereafter agreed upon." Thus, if the United States would accept the Hawaii plan, not only would the United States assume the Hawaiian national debt, while all government land and property remained in the possession of the local government, the planters would expect to share in any bounty on sugar. The United States would promise to improve and use Pearl Harbor, lay a submarine cable to the Pacific coast from Hawaii, and provide financially for the ex-queen and the Princess Kaiulani, heir to the throne. At the same time, the commissioners requested that all Hawaiian immigration and labor contract laws be kept inviolate, as well as all other laws not inconsistent with the proposed treaty or the Constitution of the United States.

For his part, Foster felt these points (among others) presented some "serious embarrassments." He found it difficult to reconcile them to the constitution and laws of the United States. On the question of how the islands were to be governed after annexation, Foster said that he inferred

 

HONOLULU WATERFRONT LOOKING TOWARD WAIKIKI AND DIAMOND HEAD

LILIUOKALANI AND ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

 

PRINCESS KAIULANI

 

Henry Poor's luau at Waikiki for R. L. Stevenson and the king

 

TRAMCAR ON KING STREET

HULA DANCERS, 1890'S

 

REVOLUTION          615

from both the written statements of the commissioners and from personal informal communications he had held with some of them (at least three with Thurston), that "the ordinary territorial form of government which exists in the Territories of the United States would not be considered by you as desirable. . . ." Foster then suggested a provisional government to exist for either a fixed or indefinite period, at the end of which time, Congress would determine the form of government for the islands. All island officials, including a legislative council, would be appointed from Washington, thereby avoiding the main objections of the comissioners to an elective system of government. The Hawaiian system of laws would continue in effect with the exception that the revenue, shipping, and postal laws of the United States would be extended to the islands. Although title to all public lands and property would be vested in the United States, the revenue therefrom would be reserved to the islands. The Chinese exclusion laws would be extended to the islands, "immediately upon annexation," but the contract labor system would be left otherwise intact. Foster's answer to the islander's fear of external control was that, so far as he could tell, there were no reasons that would make it necessary or desirable that the government in Hawaii should be controlled from without and that the plan proposed "would seem to make it desirable that the controlling influence should be from within." Although contrary to their instructions, these terms were accepted by the Hawaiian commissioners because they were the best they could hope to get. Foster, in private conversation with Thurston on February 9, had told him that the many commission requests should be dropped in order that there would be no controversial matters to hinder the treaty from quickly passing the Senate. Once annexed, Foster assured them, Hawaii need have no fear that there would be "any disposition to discriminate against that portion of the Union."

President Benjamin Harrison played little part in the treaty negotiations, but he had a good grasp of realities. He had written, privately, on February 3, that, "I am sorry the Hawaiian question did not come six months sooner or sixty days later, as it is embarrassing to begin without the time to finish. Still we may be able to mark out some policy that will be safe and that my successor will follow." Harrison had suggested a plebiscite in the islands in order to give the transaction the "semblance of having been the universal will of the people." But Foster appeared to have had little difficulty in persuading the president that such a vote was

 

616          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

unnecessary. Foster was also able to convince the commissioners that if they would omit the issues of the tariff and the bounty on sugar from the treaty, the major causes of opposition would be eliminated. Also removed were all references to coaling stations and oceanic cables, but Hawaii would be annexed as "an integral part of the territory of the United States" and the "existing labor system would continue until changed by positive legislation at Washington."

After a two-day delay, the treaty was completed on February 14 and sent by Harrison* to the Senate next day, with a message so worded that even Stevens would have approved, asking prompt and favorable action. Harrison's message and Foster's report denied that the United States was in any way responsible for the revolution. A Republican senator from New Hampshire, W. E. Chandler, already had introduced a concurrent resolution asking the president to negotiate with the provisional government to admit Hawaii as a territory of the United States, and on February 8, Senator John Tyler Morgan, "Hawaii's Senator," introduced a bill containing a plan to govern Hawaii. Now Morgan's committee of foreign relations, as Foster had predicted, promptly reported the treaty favorably to the Senate, but were never able to bring it to a vote. The president, meanwhile, had gone duck-hunting.48

THE QUEEN'S ENVOYS

Before the Claudine left Honolulu she was carefully searched to make certain that no royalist agent or envoy had secured himself aboard. The queen was allowed to send a written appeal to President Harrison asking that no conclusions be reached until her envoys could arrive. The next boat to leave Honolulu was on February 2. Before that date the queen named Paul Neumann and Prince David Kawananakoa to speak for her, while Archibald Cleghorn and "friends" paid to send E. C. Macfarlane to protect the interests of the Princess Kaiulani. Neumann was a lawyer, originally from California, who had arrived in Honolulu during the late

* When Hawaii was on the verge of annexation (May 20, 1898), Harrison told a reporter for the Indianapolis News, "I think we should have Hawaii because it has reached a point where it must be under some protection. It had reached that point when I was at Washington. To have recognized the monarchy there would have been to go back to barbarism. The elements that represented property rights and progressive ideas in the islands had reached the point where they needed protection. They appealed to us for it. If we had not given it to them, they would have appealed to England and rightly. I do not believe we should have sought Hawaii, but coming as it did, I think we were bound to afford the stable and civilized elements there security."

 

REVOLUTION          617

king's reign and, as a convivial figure, was often at the royal court. During the early part of 1893, he was undoubtedly the queen's most trusted adviser and, although he could have no official standing in Washington, he had been given a commission as minister plenipotentiary and a power of attorney from the queen that would have enabled him to do almost anything he wished in her name. Unfortunately for the queen, when this power of attorney became known, it was so worded that it could be made to appear that she was willing to sell her throne, provided the amount paid was satisfactory. Even Cleghorn wrote in his diary, "All is for money consideration. No mention of abdicating in favor of K or asking for a fixed sum for herself or K---N[eumann] to do the best he can." The young Prince David, who accompanied Neumann, was characterized by W. R. Castle as "a very pleasant fellow," but, "of course, [is] purely ornamental." Stevens apparently missed Macfarlane's departure so he was somewhat late in warning the new secretary of state, Walter Q. Gresham, to beware of Macfarlane who was neither an American nor an annexationist.49

When the queen's envoys reached Washington the treaty had already been sent to the Senate. Macfarlane, who carried the queen's autographed letter of appeal to President Cleveland asking for redress of the wrong done her, was unable to reach the president-elect in New York except through his secretary. As a result of Macfarlane's visit, however, the royalist version of the revolution appeared in the New York World, and in an interview in the March 1 issue he could again place the blame on Stevens. But, at the same time, he praised the provisional government and its individual members.

Neumann, as a private citizen, meanwhile, had seen Foster on February 21 and, in a conversation almost completely at variance with the petition presented to him on the queen's behalf, told Foster that many Hawaiians favored annexation but opposed the provisional government. The queen, according to Neumann, wanted a plebiscite, and, though he was bound to object to annexation in her name, he was speaking generally of the feelings of the people. He then asked that the queen be restored only under an American protectorate. The next best thing was annexation, provided adequate financial provision was made for the queen and the princess. He also asserted flatly that without Stevens and the troops from the Boston, the queen would not have been dethroned. Here, as elsewhere, efforts were obviously directed toward delaying any further action until

 

618          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

the Cleveland administration took office and, secondly, to creating sentiment for one or more investigative commissions. Both Neumann and Macfarlane often appeared to be speaking, not on behalf of the queen, but for the old Liberal Party members who had opposed her so often in the past.

In their appeals to American public opinion the royalist agents tried first to convince the country that the request for annexation had not come from the native Hawaiians. They made some capital out of the fact that the provisional government had tried to prevent the queen's side from being heard, and out of the charge that the revolutionists had stolen the Crown lands which were erroneously called the queen's personal property. And finally, they minimized the danger from Great Britain by insisting that even a British protectorate was not acceptable to the islanders. Under these circumstances, both Neumann and Macfarlane were surprised and annoyed to discover that Kaiulani was on her way to Washington, in the care of Theo. H. Davies, a British subject. Thurston and Carter, however, were jubilant that Davies was accompanying Kaiulani because she could now be made to appear as a potential English sovereign for Hawaii.50

KAIULANI

From the beginning of the revolution, a great many people in Hawaii, including Sanford B. Dole, would have been willing to replace Liliuokalani with Kaiulani, under a regency. According to Cleghorn's diary of January 17, 1893, a British sympathizer had even requested the queen to abdicate in favor of Kaiulani on the very afternoon that the rebels had moved on the government building. The following day, Cleghorn* wrote in his diary that Stevens sent for him and offered to have a lawyer "go by" the Claudine to protect Kaiulani's interests, provided the islands were annexed. Stevens would also recommend a liberal sum for her during her lifetime. Cleghorn did not record his reply.

When writing to his daughter on January 28, 1893, Cleghorn had advised Kaiulani to be guided by her friend and guardian in England, Theo. H. Davies. As one of the largest sugar-factors and mercantile firms

* At this point in his notes, Professor Kuykendall left a memo: "Governor Cleghorn's meager diary for the early part of 1893 suggests the picture of an anguished father frantically trying to save his beloved daughter from the unhappy fate which had befallen her through no fault of her own."

 

REVOLUTION          619

in Honolulu, Theo. H. Davies and Company could proceed in accord with the planters, even giving precedence to Kaiulani and a regency, because this seemed a reasonable solution to their problems. Even Charles R. Bishop, writing from San Francisco, said that since the Hawaiian outlook was cloudy, perhaps Davies knew how to clear it up, and he urged Thurston, "Let us be open for enlightenment." Davies indicated that it was only natural that his pecuniary interests in Hawaii would lead him to favor annexation by the United States but that this was overruled by his personal duty to the princess. For some time, Davies had concerned himself with island problems, but now he wrote letters to anyone who might have influence on his ward's behalf. In a letter to John Mott Smith, the Hawaiian minister in Washington, he even asked to have the Hawaiian commissioners substitute Kaiulani for annexation. He customarily sent copies of his correspondence on Kaiulani's behalf to Lord Rosebery, the British foreign secretary. On January 31, 1893, the British minister resident in Honolulu, Major Wodehouse, wrote the British Foreign Office that the natives would accept and welcome Kaiulani. Davies, who was in England and did not believe cabled assurances that his ward had been adequately provided for, wrote Kaiulani that there was only one thing that he could do for her and that she could do for her people, and that was to make the trip to Washington. He wrote later that she shrank from the ordeal but finally replied, "Perhaps some day the Hawaiians will say 'Kaiulani, you could have saved us, and you did not try.' I will go. . . ." The "letters" with which she "addressed" the American people during her stay in America were declamatory, sometimes grandiose, and school-girlish in tone. They were obviously not of Kaiulani's doing, for in her letters to her father and her aunt she wrote simply and without affectation.51

When Cleghorn gave E. C. Macfarlane his instructions, he had told him to join Neumann in fighting the queen's cause first. Only if there was no hope for Liliuokalani's cause was he to urge that of Kailuani. In a letter to Kaiulani her father told her to keep her eyes open, to talk as little as possible, and never to disparage her aunt. From the first, Macfarlane made Kaiulani his chief concern and he tried to minimize the pro-British aspects of her life and training. In the interview carried in the New York World on March 1, he insisted that "Her instincts are American." Moreover, when Davies, with Kaiulani in tow, gave his first press interview, he appeared to oppose the reinstatement of the queen, and

 

620          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

thereby created the impression of a three-cornered fight. Davies also refused to allow the princess to see any representatives of the provisional government. Macfarlane admitted that he and Davies worked well together, but he would have been much happier if the Britisher had not come to America. The New York Mail and Express of March 8 said that several senators believed the very presence of the princess was harmful to her cause. Others disagreed. Kaiulani did receive some attention, even from the president and his wife. Probably the publicity would have helped her cause, had she had one. Thurston thought that Davies and Kaiulani got nothing from their trip but sympathy for a pretty girl who was disappointed in her expectations. She left for New York on March 18 on her way back to England.52

CLEVELAND AND GRESHAM

After the treaty was signed, the members of the Hawaiian commission scattered. Marsden, Wilder and Cooke left for home; Thurston went to the Columbian Exposition in Chicago to oversee his exhibit of a cyclorama of the volcano at Kilauea. W. R. Castle reluctantly remained in Washington. C. L. Carter scouted New York, looking for people and newspapers to influence. He hoped to ascertain the views of the new secretary of state, Gresham, and to see Cleveland's former secretary, Thomas F. Bayard, who was supposed to have considerable influence with Cleveland and other party leaders. Carter's objective was to induce Bayard to advise Senate Democrats to consent to ratification of the Hawaiian treaty.

Bayard and Richard Olney were directly involved with Cleveland and Gresham in determining the new administration's policy toward Hawaii, but Gresham was given the final word. Here was a man who had hitherto voted the straight Republican ticket. Biographers of the men involved do not agree on the reasons why Cleveland begged Gresham to head his cabinet. But as a result, this "dark and vengeful man," as seen through the eyes of the Hawaiian commissioners, was in a position to undo the accomplishments of his bitter political opponent from Indiana, Benjamin Harrison. Whether Gresham was rescuing a lady in distress, responding to Cleveland's sense of political morality,* or was motivated

* In 1898 Cleveland said that from the time annexation was suggested he had "been utterly and constantly opposed to it" because it was not only opposed to national policy but perverted the mission of America. He denied that he withdrew

 

REVOLUTION          621

by one or more of the many other considerations, the Hawaiian treaty was withdrawn by Cleveland from the Senate at noon on March 9, allegedly "for the purpose of re-examination."

Castle and Thurston immediately called on Gresham, but because he had not had time to consider the treaty they were put off until after the cabinet met that afternoon. At that time, Gresham refused to commit himself to any course of action and told them, "All that I can say to you is that the whole subject of the treaty has been precipitated upon the administration upon such short notice, that, with the insufficient knowledge we have of the facts and detail we desire time for consideration of the subject, and it has been withdrawn for that purpose." Thereafter Cleveland was never available to the representatives of the provisional government and Gresham gave them nothing but an argument. In an effort to precipitate action, Thurston called Gresham's attention to the uncertainties in Hawaii generated by the McKinley tariff act, and spoke feelingly of capital withdrawals, commercial disasters and foreign intrigue. At the time, Gresham was either not yet certain of his course or was a consummate actor because he fooled Thurston into believing that he was "in sympathy with annexation proposition" and would do all he could to forward it. On the other hand, Cleveland, according to Thurston, was piqued at Harrison's haste and undecided between annexation and a protectorate. To justify recall of the treaty, Thurston thought Cleveland would seek to amend it, first to renounce a bounty, which Thurston said Hawaii could not get anyway, and second, to reduce the amounts to be paid to Liliuokalani and Kaiulani.

Lorrin A. Thurston, doubtless guilty of wishful thinking, was never more wrong in his life than when he estimated the treaty's chances. Nevertheless, from the first he realized that Gresham believed a "job" might have been involved and that Cleveland, because of his "suspicious nature," was sure the uprising in Hawaii had been a Republican plot. By March 22, C. L. Carter admitted the "apparent success of Mr. Neumann's mission" and told Dole that it was now clear that from the beginning Cleveland's influence had never been supporting "our course." He, too, decided that the president was cursed with a "suspicious disposition"

the treaty in order that he or his party could get the credit for annexation. He believed "our interference" in the Hawaiian Revolution of 1893 was disgraceful and on behalf of national honor and "our fair name" he would have repaired the wrong. After Hawaii was annexed he wrote Richard Olney, "I am ashamed of the whole affair."

 

622          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

which kept him stirred up and unhappy. As a result, the administration had decided to send James H. Blount as a special commissioner and Gresham refused to resume discussion of the treaty until Blount's report was received. When reminded that the native government could hardly be restored, the secretary replied that "it is not our business or purpose to restore anybody or impose any new forms."53

The provisional government had been warned by their commissioners to expect either a demand for a plebiscite or a visit from a senatorial commission. Instead they were "visited by" James H. Blount of Georgia who, until March 4, had been chairman of the House committee on foreign affairs and the man interviewed by Thurston during the latter's 1892 visit to Washington. In a letter dated March 6, 1893, Blount had told Gresham that he relied on the latter's friendship to get from Cleveland, "Some honorable recognition from him in an appointment of a temporary nature evincing his present confidence would be gratifying to my family and myself." Blount later told the Morgan committee that he was at first going to refuse the summons to Washington from Secretary of the Interior Hoke Smith. But when Blount's son told him it would add five years to Mrs. Blount's life to live in Honolulu he changed his mind. Blount saw Cleveland and the cabinet but did not discuss the Hawaiian question with them. The impression given Blount was that Cleveland wanted authentic information. His written instructions (dated March 11, 1893), came from Gresham and were printed in the final report. He was unable to recollect much of his interview with Gresham but he got the impression that if it was at all feasible, that Gresham wanted the United States flag lowered in Honolulu.

Because Blount's instructions were secret (and remained so), widespread speculation resulted throughout the country and in Hawaii. It became known in Washington that his authority was "paramount" in all matters concerning Americans and the American military and civilian representatives in the islands. Hence he became and remained "Paramount" Blount to the unfriendly. In reality, he was given a great deal of latitude, within the framework of his instructions, to secure trustworthy information. He was instructed to report fully on the causes of the revolution, with a hard look at the part played by Minister Stevens, and to discover the attitude of the people of Hawaii toward the provisional government. He was cautioned that the United States government had no right to interfere in purely local affairs and that it would

 

REVOLUTION          623

not allow interference by other powers. The United States Revenue Cutter Rush left San Francisco for Honolulu on March 20 with Blount, his ailing wife, and his stenographic clerk, Ellis Mills. They arrived March 29, much to the relief of Blount, who had been seasick all the way.54

THE BLOUNT REPORT

In Honolulu, both sides anxiously waited to see what the United States would do. Dole had been advised from Washington to, "Let Mr. Blount be well entertained" for, "It is the after dinner talk over the cigar, when one feels comfortable and well filled that effective work is done." Neither side needed such advice. The queen noted that, "This is a day of excitement and the town is decked with American flags and the girls went down to decorate the Commissioner & Lady." The Blounts accepted the floral tributes, but politely refused the services of the queen's chamberlain and the queen's carriage. The representatives of the provisional government fared no better; neither their transportation nor their furnished house was accepted. Instead the commissioner and his wife took a cottage on the grounds of the Hawaiian Hotel, a hostelry regarded by the provisional government as a hotbed of royalist sentiment. The Blounts were besieged by representatives of assorted organizations as well as individuals. There was even a spokesman for a new "Annexation Club" that was to claim over five thousand members, and to include as its vice-president the half-caste rabble-rouser Robert W. Wilcox who, at the moment, was advocating "Annexation or Republic? No monarchy."

Blount's intentions were unknown, but he impressed those who met him as being friendly and impartial in his outlook. When he discovered American troops were still ashore and doing military duty for the provisional government, he consulted with Dole, who assured him that the government could now maintain order. Thereupon Blount ordered Admiral Skerrett on April 1 to haul down the American flag and send the troops back to their ships. He later explained to the Morgan committee that he hurried the removal of the troops for fear people would think those clamoring to see him had forced him to do so. To Gresham he wrote that he was suspected of planning to restore the queen, but by removing the troops, he could freely deny any intent to interfere in island domestic affairs. This would end the uncertainty and would enable him to more readily pursue his inquiries. For the provisional govern-

 

624          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

ment he had yet a third explanation, i.e., he believed it necessary to make the government fully independent to enable it to negotiate. No other single incident so enraged the jingoes throughout the United States as the lowering of the flag, but in the islands it was of little significance. Admiral J. S. Skerrett had told Stevens as early as March 16 that he could see no reason for the further presence of the troops on shore,* but Stevens was adamant that they stay. Skerrett's advice obviously convinced Blount that their presence was unnecessary. W. D. Alexander thought the removal of the troops was a good thing in two ways: it showed the strength of the provisional government, and it revealed the intensity of American feeling that was likened to that which followed a previous order of Cleveland to restore the battle flags to the defeated Confederate states.

From the first, Blount had neither the authority nor the intent of restoring the queen. But his failure to make his instructions from Gresham known left the way open for gossip and conjecture. He was dubbed "Minister Reticent," and thus when he finally did drop hints or even made flat statements privately, no one believed him. As a result, rumors that the queen's friends were about to restore her to the throne led her supporters into unwise actions. On the other hand, these rumors could be used by the provisional government to rally support and maintain vigilance, though Dole confessed, "we as a rule do not attach much importance to them." And Admiral Skerrett, "because of the continued agitation among people of certain classes," kept two United States warships in port. Yet in late May he reported that the government was solidly and firmly established and bringing quiet and contentment to the people.55

In addition to his other problems, Blount had to contend with a number of American newsmen who reached Honolulu on April 7, aboard the same ship on which Paul Neumann and Prince David returned to the islands. Among them was Charles Nordhoff of the New York Herald, Dr. William S. Bowen of the New York World, Julius A. Palmer, Jr., of the Boston Transcript, and Harold M. Sewall, who con-

* Even after April 1, Skerrett kept his own office ashore as well as thirty-six bluejackets. Marines to guard the legation remained until Stevens was ready to leave on May 24. Skerrett's reports to the Navy Department need to be used with care. He was much more excitable and impressionable than Wiltse, who preceded him, or Admiral Irwin, who followed him. His dispatches take on the coloration of whichever faction he happened to be associating with at the moment.

 

REVOLUTION          625

tributed to the New York Sun and who later joined the ranks of the annexationists, became McKinley's minister, and then agent, in Hawaii. Bowen and Sewall, unable to fathom Blount's instructions, and in order to get some exclusive news, apparently concluded that annexation was impractical and that the queen could not be restored. They therefore used their shipboard friendship with Neumann to prevail upon him to convince the queen that she should give up her throne in return for a liberal pension from the provisional government. They approached Dole, who expressed interest in their plan, probably because the two men, by a complicated bit of maneuvering, created the impression of an official status equal to that of Blount.

Claus Spreckels warned Blount on April 21, 1893, that negotiations were underway. Spreckels, of course, had been studying the situation to decide how best to protect his own interests. He also urged the queen to withdraw her power of attorney from Neumann, which she did. Blount, too, called on the queen to determine how far things had progressed, to warn her to be careful because Bowen and Sewall had no official standing, and to exact from her a promise to take no action whatsoever, until the Cleveland government, after receiving the Blount report, had had time to reach a decision. Blount also promptly called on Dole to warn him not to trust the scheme or the schemers. Unlike the queen, who readily promised to abide by the president's decision, Dole assumed a noncommittal attitude. The efforts of the newsmen accomplished little, but they created a considerable stir among the queen's followers, and even Blount had to ask Gresham if either Bowen or Sewall had official standing. They had not.56

Supporters of the provisional government first thought that Blount had "sized up" the "Royalist gang," understood their use of the word "missionary," and would see that annexation was the only solution. But by the end of May it was felt that he had become more and more unfriendly. His reports to Gresham lent credence to such suspicions, and when, on July 17, he sent his final summation to the secretary, he had become the defender of the queen and an advocate of her restoration to the throne. During the passing weeks, "Minister Reticent" (Blount), who was not reticent but naturally gregarious, had become socially more and more involved with Charles Nordhoff of the New York Herald and his daughter, and with Major Wodehouse, the British minister resident, and his wife. Both Nordhoff and Wodehouse were ardent royalists.

 

626          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

Nordhoff arrived in Hawaii apparently predisposed to favor the queen. When copies of his articles began to return from New York and were reprinted in the local newspapers, Dr. J. S. McGrew, the "Father of Annexation" and former editor of the Hawaiian Star, wanted to tar and feather him. Stevens had reported that Nordhoff was conspiring with the royalists to oust the provisional government, and W. D. Alexander wrote to his son:

Nordhoff is more detested here than any man since Gibson's time. He has been compelled to retract and apologize to three gentlemen, whom he falsely accused in the 'Herald' of having signed a petition in favor of the Lottery. The truth is, that no member of the Provisional Councils ever signed such a petition. Nordhoff has associated chiefly with men of no character, members of the Opium and Lottery rings, like Neumann, and Peterson and Ed. Macfarlane, enemies of American interests. His letters are an ingenious mosaic of lies, half truths and rumors, while he ignores the main cardinal facts, on which everything turned. But he and Spreckels have now put themselves completely in the wrong by committing themselves in favor of a plutocracy based on semi-slave contract labor, and in favor of filling the country with Asiatics and crowding out free white farmers and mechanics. We want no better issue on which to appeal to the people of the United States. We prefer the Stars and Stripes to the rule of a Sugar King. We believe that the 'Herald' is hired by the Sugar Trust. I am sorry to say that Blount appears more and more unfriendly to us. We believe that Cleveland sent him here to make out a case against Stevens and Harrison. But we will appeal to the tribunal of the American people. Senator Morgan will be heard from again on the question.

In addition to threats of violence to his person and libel suits for his articles, Nordhoff was summoned before the provisional government to explain his assertion that "most of the members" of the advisory council had signed petitions on behalf of the lottery bill. Nordhoff had attempted to counteract the effect on American public opinion of the passage, and the queen's signing, of the lottery bill, by referring to petitions that were to be published, but undated, at the end of the Blount report. These petitions were not current but actually dated from the early part of 1892; the impression sought for was that the queen was influenced in signing the bill by the wishes of the people. Blount presented his credentials to Dole on May 23 as the American minister in place of Stevens, and one of his first official acts was to protest the treatment accorded Nordhoff and to argue that the latter could not be held liable in Hawaii for libel published in the United States. In the end, Nordhoff retracted his charges and apologized to the men he had named, but Blount charged the provisional government with "crushing out all opposing opinions by forceful methods."

The Honolulu newspapers speculated on the increasing intimacy be-

 

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tween Nordhoff and Blount until the former left the islands on June 21, 1893. The queen noted in her diary on June 11 that the Blounts and the Nordhoffs had returned from Spreckelsville (on Maui) where a large concourse of people had gathered to greet them, and had asked, "to have me restored, and wanted to know when." When the Blount report was made public, mainland newspapers noted the similarities between Blount's letters to Gresham and Nordhoff's dispatches to the Herald. The Herald of November 30, 1893, even bragged about the similarity. Nordhoff may not have seen any of the testimony sent periodically by Blount to Gresham, although he appears to have collected some of it. But he was close enough to Blount to have been able, had he been called upon to do so, to write much of the summation sent by Blount on July 17, 1893, to Gresham in Washington.

As Nordhoff prepared to leave Honolulu, the queen recorded that he had reached only one conclusion, "that the queen should be restored. The people wished it. They loved their sovereign and the whole had been a filibustering act." Spreckels had favored a republic, the queen wrote, but Nordhoff had talked him into advocating her restoration to the throne. In turn, the queen "thanked Mr. Nordhoff for the good he had done for my people by writing such favorable articles for our side and stating the whole truth." The next day (June 20) the ladies of the Hawaiian Patriotic League presented Nordhoff with a gold-headed kauwila cane and a memorial so "very prettily worded" that "tears filled his eyes." "We have won his sympathy . . . because we have done no wrong," the queen wrote in her diary.

Major Wodehouse, also, could have written the final summation in place of Blount. As early as June 4 he had written the British Foreign Office:

Although, as I have observed to Your Lordship, he Mr Blount is as a rule very reticent and reserved, he speaks very freely and openly to me, and I am able to inform Y L that the result of his investigation into the causes which led to the Revolution, and the overthrow of the Monarchy is, that Mr Stevens the Late American Minister is responsible for it of which he has given President Cleveland ample proofs.

I may here observe . . . that expression of my private views as to the best way of establishing a stable Govt in these Islands has been sought confidentially by Mr. Blount the U. S. Minister, Mr. Spreckles an American having the largest stake in the Islands, and Mr. Nordhoff the well-known correspondent, of 'the New York Herald,' who has been residing here for some time.

I have told them that I believe the only satisfactory solution of the question as far as the Natives, and a large proportion of the foreign element is concerned,

 

628          THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

would be a restoration of the Monarchy but with the same control vested in the American Minister as Lord Cramer has in Egypt — The advantages of this form of Govt would be that there would be the restoration of the Monarchy with an implied Protectorate as in Egypt, and no change of Flag.

I think that Mr. Blount inclines to this way of settling the question and would recommend it.

Mr. Spreckles was delighted with the idea, and said, why that would give us what we want without interfering with the Flag.

Mr. Nordhoff was equally pleased.

On July 19, Wodehouse informed the Foreign Office that he and his American colleague "meet frequently and discuss the 'situation' and he encouraged me to express my views on it, of course, 'unofficially.' " Wodehouse also reassured Liliuokalani, from time to time, that she had nothing to fear, and offered advice that could only have come as a result of close association with Blount. By September, Wodehouse happily announced that if the settlement rumored in the United States was true, then it was "in conformity with the suggestion made . . . by me" as reported on June 4. He actually predicted the tone and content of the Blount report to a large extent, and hoped it would be gratifying to Lord Rosebery to know, "how good an understanding has existed between the late Minister and the Representative of Her Majesty's Government in these Islands" — they had become "very cordial friends." Wodehouse did his best to impress the Foreign Office with his complete grasp of the situation and to let them know the nature of Blount's report before its publication. But "His Lordship's" reply was a simple expression of "satisfaction" with the "friendly relations between yourself and your United States colleague."57

Blount, meanwhile, had not wanted to be minister to Hawaii and, after receiving his credentials, had asked by return mail to be replaced. On August 9, without awaiting a replacement, he left Honolulu with an Advertiser editorial of the previous day which was very flowery in praise but which noted that he was leaving "with his mouth still shut." He had been accessible to anyone who wished to see him and through the use of interviews, letters, affidavits, memorials, and other documents, and without the power of subpoena, he had collected a formidable amount of testimony. Yet there were strange omissions. He did not interview members of the committee of safety or the officers of the Boston. In the private interviews there were complaints that his questions were slanted to build a case for the restoration of the queen, and that those testifying were not allowed to qualify their answers. Moreover,

 

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some of the materials, transferred at intervals by Blount to Gresham, did not appear in the finished report. Part of this testimony was highly unfavorable to the queen, and it would be difficult to say whether such material was held back as were some of Stevens' dispatches from Congress, because of its "personal" nature, or whether its publication would have been detrimental to the case being built up on behalf of restoration of the monarchy. Who can say how much of the final printed report was selected by Blount and how much by Gresham?

In regard to Stevens's dedication to annexation and his overeagerness to recognize the new government, there could be no doubt. Charles R. Bishop thought that the American minister was an "ardent annexationist because he believed that Hawaii was drifting into disorder, and into the hands of one or other of the great powers, and he wanted that power to be his own country — and he may have been more zealous and quick than was quite necessary or becoming." Bishop did not think Cleveland and Gresham had been given a true picture and felt that Blount "may have wished to make out a case against Mr. Stevens." But when Stevens later had a chance to reply to Blount, he was not particularly effective, and his arguments were rather ably refuted by Godkin's Evening Post. The Post recalled Stevens' long association with James G. Blaine, which caused the British minister in Washington, Lord Pauncefote, to remark, "It is unfortunate for him that a change of Administration should have taken place just after he had succeeded in carrying out the annexation Policy of the late Secretary of State, in regard to the Hawaiian Islands." Blount remained silent, even under attack by Stevens and Thurston, because, he told Gresham, it seemed the "dignified course to pursue." But, he added, "Poor old Mr. Stevens! His mendacity in his review of my report is pitiable."

What Blount did not show was that the Hawaiian monarchy had existed because the three great powers had so willed it. Now whatever the United States wished to do with Hawaii was a matter of indifference to the French government, and the British government was so eager for American good will that it would have complied with almost any American request except, perhaps, to promote annexation by opposing it. Blount did not realize that time had been running out for the monarchy for years. Without the presence of the Boston's troops the revolution might have been delayed, but only until the committee of safety had sufficient time to prepare, as the Hawaiian League had done in 1887.

 

630    THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

While Blount correctly believed that native sentiment was for the queen as opposed to the provisional government, he seemed not to have understood that there were large numbers of footloose whites, half-castes, and natives who favored neither side. Had these elements had a choice between annexation or rule by the oligarchy, annexation would have been their choice. Under universal manhood suffrage they would have controlled the government and the patronage which went with it. And finally, considering the temper of the revolutionists, the monarchy could only have been restored by force and the destruction of the American colony.

Blount could and did make use of the blind, almost fanatical, hatred of the queen for Stevens, without ever understanding the reason for her hostility. Stevens had been brusque, almost rude, with her from the first, and would never accord her the respect she believed was her due. He was the only one of all those about her who would stand in the way of her pet schemes, and it was not her nature to be brooked. When he gave her advice, she was certain not to follow it. When Stevens left Hawaii on May 24, 1893, the queen wrote in her diary, "May he be made to suffer as much as the many pangs he has caused amongst my people. He took back with him the remains of his daughter. Her death I consider a judgement from heaven." For her part, the queen was a strange mixture of humility and blind stubborn rages. She would listen to predictions from her native followers and more than half-way believe the prognostications of Fräulein Wolf, her German instructor, who exercised a strange influence over her. Yet she refused the services of kahunas, even one who claimed the power to free her from evil influence by prayer. The Bible, she said, was her only guide.

After receiving Blount's data, Gresham did not make his report to Cleveland until October 18, 1893. But in doing so, he laid the blame for the revolution directly on Stevens, advised against the resubmission of the treaty and, in the name of justice, asked whether a great wrong done a feeble state by the authority of the United States should not be undone by restoring the "legitimate Government." The annexationists were amazed that both the Blount report and Gresham's letter to Cleveland minimized and glossed over the queen's attempt to establish a "despotic constitution and government." The Advertiser reported that, "It was the one act which severed the last possible tie of confidence between her and the people, and made her further rule impossible." Her

 

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adopted brother-in-law, Charles R. Bishop,* saw the queen as the business community saw her and left this word picture:

Had the Queen been a law abiding and honest ruler — though her private character might not have been pure — the case would have been a different matter. A good many of the white men ("foreigners") in that Mass Meeting Jan'y 16th) who were not annexationists, were for displacing the Queen, and have not wished for her restoration. . . . The majority of the people did not care so much whether the sale of Opium were to be licensed or not. More of the foreigners were opposed to the Lottery. More has been said and written about Wilson's relations with the Queen than was warranted by any known facts. That she is deceitful and treacherous I believe. Her political acts — in scheming to get rid of the Wilcox-Jones Ministry, and then her purposes with regard to the Constitution, are the strongest points against her, and points which Congressmen and others will appreciate. No doubt she knew about and encouraged the Wilcox revolt! Those who know what the effect would be of being governed by such a Sovereign and a legislature largely made up of impecunious and scampish natives, look upon the situation very differently to those who are non-resident and have no property or family interests there.58

PUBLIC OPINION

The news of the fall of the Hawaiian queen was received by the mainland press, traditionally hostile to monarchy, with approval, But within a few days, when the British "menace" did not materialize, skepticism appeared in some quarters, and shortly thereafter fairly concrete alignments took place. In many cases party affiliation seem to dictate the predilections of the editors, but not always. In general, the big city newspapers, from the San Francisco Examiner and the Chronicle to New York's Tribune, consistently favored the rebels. Chicago papers were divided and New York papers like the Herald, the World and E. L. Godkin's Evening Post were among the most outspoken supporters of Cleveland and the queen. In Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D. C, the provisional government consistently got a favorable press. Aside from personalities and partisanship, the amount of attention given this first mild attack of imperialism was prophetic for the future. Between January 29 and March 19, the San Francisco Examiner, alone, carried over fifty different major items pertaining to Hawaii, a majority of which were editorials. The changed and changing attitudes all over the country were perhaps most apparent in the smaller and rural areas of California,

* Bishop had a rare opportunity to know and judge the queen. Liliuokalani had been adopted by the High Chief Paki and his wife Konia, who were the parents of Bernice Pauahi, Bishop's wife. They all lived at one time in the house at King and Fort streets, the "Camp Boston" of the revolution.

Ironically, the first stories from Hawaii appeared side by side with plans to bury "The Dead Chieftain, " James G. Blaine.

 

632    THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

where there was a good deal of interest in Hawaiian affairs. Newspapers there reacted in a manner similar to that of the Fresno Daily Evening Expositor, whose lead editorial on January 28, 1893, said: "The Hawaiians have 'revoluted' and dethroned the fat squaw they have hitherto chosen to call a queen. Although comical in many respects, the situation has its serious side. It may involve our own government in troublesome complications. This country cannot permit any other nation to take possession of the Hawaiian Islands; neither is it advisable from many points of view to annex them. Their population is hybrid, and for the most part of a very undesirable character, being composed mainly of thriftless and immoral kanakas and thrifty, but equally immoral Chinese. It may be necessary, however, to bring the islands under American jurisdiction to prevent them falling into the hands of another power."

But four days later the same editor felt that, "the more closely it is examined the more the so-called Hawaiian 'revolution' looks like a deliberate scheme on the part of a band of schemers to deliberately create a crisis in order to precipitate annexation to the United States." By February 23, the editor had read "A Queen's Appeal" in the San Francisco Examiner of February 9, and now used such terms as "rob, " "subverted, " "morally wrong, " and concluded that, "We have no more formidable obstacles than the objection of the native inhabitants and the commandment 'Thou shalt not steal, ' but they are enough." On March 10, the Expositor announced approvingly that, "Adventurers with stolen kingdoms to sell are not in high favor at Washington just now, " and on March 16, that Cleveland had withdrawn the treaty after discovering that the Hawaiian Revolution was, "the result of a plan formulated by the sugar producing element of the Islands, fathered in San Francisco."

The supporters of the provisional government were well aware of the necessity of courting public opinion. W. D. Alexander, the most scholarly member of the oligarchy, wrote a great many letters and articles, often to refute some specious claim or innuendoes contained in mainland periodicals. He was particularly annoyed by the "New York Democratic papers which show a most malicious spirit. It is not ignorance. The N. Y. Evening Post and World have refused to print articles written by our side. So did Harper's Weekly. They prejudged the case." And when Carl Schurz wrote an anti-imperialistic piece called "Manifest Destiny" for Harper's Monthly, Alexander called it, "Schurz's cold -blooded, un-American article."

 

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In the New York Nation, E. L. Godkin agreed heartily with Schurz and, until annexation was achieved, continued to ridicule the idea in every way possible. When Godkin thought of annexing the polyglot population of Hawaii he was reminded of the Arkansas man who said, "God knows I've got trouble enough without putting water in my whiskey." The idea that Hawaii could become a state was especially obnoxious to Godkin. On the other hand, Albert Shaw, in the Review of Reviews, as early as March, 1893 was strongly in favor of annexation and wrote reassuringly that, "The question of full fledged statehood is one that need not arise for many years to come, " and the leaders of the provisional government in Hawaii agreed with him.

Certainly the most prolific writer of things Hawaiian was the Reverend Sereno E. Bishop, editor of the Friend in Honolulu, who, from before the revolution, had written articles for a number of Eastern newspapers. Some of his articles were written at the suggestion of Minister Stevens as well as members of the advisory council. It was Bishop who furnished a great deal of the material for a series of articles and letters by Gorham D. Gilman contributed to Boston and New York newspapers, among others; Gilman was president of the Hawaii Club of Boston and later Hawaii's consul there. A letter by Bishop appeared at intervals in the Washington Evening Star over the signature, "Kamehameha." He also contributed regularly to a journal of opinion, the Congregational New York Independent, which perhaps accounts for some of the most un-Christlike language with which that religiously-oriented periodical supported the "missionary" element that had seized control in Hawaii. In a letter to Blount, which bears the notation "Mr. Blount requested that this be not printed, " Bishop said of the natives;

It is constantly urged that by the annexation of Hawaii without the full consent of the natives, the United States would be committing a robbery of their rights of sovereignty and independence, taking away their cherished Flag, etc. As intimated in the Star, such a weak and wasted people prove by their failure to save themselves from progressive extinction, and their incapacity to help or defend the denizens of Hawaii, their consequent lack of claim to continued sovereignty. Their only claim can be to the compassionate help and protection of their neighbors. Is it not an absurdity for the aborigines, who under most favorable conditions have dwindled to having less than one third, (now barely one fourth, probably) of the whole number of males in the Islands, and who are mentally and physically incapable of supporting, directing, or defending a government, nevertheless to claim sovereign rights? It would seem that the forty millions of property interests held by foreigners must be delivered from native misrule. Not to do that will be the wrong! Is not the only question of moral right for America to determine, 'What is best for all concerned.'59

 

634    THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

Letters from the public in the Harrison, Cleveland, Gresham, Dole, and other collections ranged from the profane and the ridiculous to the serious and the thought-provoking that showed rare insight. Occasionally even would-be "poets" pleaded Hawaii's cause.* Churchmen were concerned with the moral and ethical questions involved, and the number of correspondents who linked Hawaii with the "Mission of America" and "Manifest Destiny" was surprisingly large.

Throughout the period, unquestionably, the most ardent and proficient propagandist on behalf of the provisional government was Lorrin A. Thurston. He possessed an extensive and meaningful vocabulary from which terms like "scoundrelly demagogues" and "such carrion" were frequently used in private correspondence. Even the president found some of Thurston's efforts "extraordinary" and one of Thurston's favorite sayings was, "Don't fight the Devil with rose water instead of a club." From the very beginning, Thurston deftly prepared the case for "us missionary boys" and refuted every argument against annexation as it arose. The objections to Hawaiian annexation ranged from the leprosy problem, the nature of the Hawaiian population, and the proposed form of government, to Claus Spreckels and the sugar trust. Thurston admitted that the island population was not homogeneous and that a large proportion of it was unfit either for self-government or American citizenship. On the other hand, he argued that Hawaiians would make better citizens than the Mexicans in the territories of Arizona and New Mexico. Thurston was joined by moderates, such as W. D. Alexander and Charles R. Bishop, in giving a composite picture of the weaknesses of native rule. They frankly stated that "kanaka" rule, with its crazy and corrupt schemes, could not longer be tolerated by the white taxpayers. If Hawaii were left to stand alone, only a strong government based on a very limited franchise would be acceptable. They also readily admitted that racial antagonism had been a factor and that racial incompatibility had much to do with the breakdown of constitutional government in Hawaii.

* This "Valentine to Hawaii" came from Springfield, Massachusetts:

"You half-drowned chick in a waste of waters,
Poor fatherless, motherless thing,
Be one of Columbia's fair daughters,
And rest 'neath her ample wing.
Don't fly by yourself any longer,
A stranger outside our gates;
Resolve to be bigger, and better, and stronger,
And join the United States."

Unfortunately, most of his "salty" language was edited out of his Memoirs.

 

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As to the form of government desired, Thurston wrote: "Even though the proposition were made that Hawaii should come into the Union as a state the objections there to on the ground of the foreign character of the population are no greater than they are to the territories above referred to. But it is not proposed that they should come into the Union as a State. On the contrary that is precisely what we do not want, until we have a population which is fully qualified to be absolutely self-governing. What we desire is some form of a territorial government which will give an effective Executive, which will not be subject to the whims, caprices and dishonesty of an irresponsible legislative body; as well as maintain stable govt; make revolution impossible, encourage investment of capital and development of resources."

Thurston did some of his best work in refuting the widespread mainland assumption that "sugar"60 caused the revolution in Hawaii. Yet there were many people who continued to believe that had the price of Hawaiian sugar been higher in 1893 there would have been no revolution. This point of view was assiduously fostered by the queen's supporters. On the mainland, the question most often asked was, as the result of the McKinley tariff, did the sugar planters revolt for the bounty? Over and over again the statement is repeated in mainland newspapers, magazines, and private letters that "the so-called 'revolution' which generated the annexation fever was the result of the desire of Spreckels and the other Hawaiian sugar lords to get a whack at the bounty of two cents a pound that the United States pays on all sugar produced within its limits." It would have been reasonable to suppose that the planters who lost so heavily under the McKinley tariff act would have been rabid annexationists — but they were not. Thurston explained:

It is claimed that the entire movement is one instituted by sugar planters for their personal financial benefit. The answer to this is that until this movement was precipitated by the action of the Queen, among the strongest opponents of annexation at the Islands have been the sugar planters. They have opposed it on purely financial grounds, their argument being that any benefit which might accrue to them by reason of annexation to the United States would be more than offset by the inevitable rise in the price of wages which would be caused by the general prosperity of the country and by the inevitable abrogation of the contract system. An illustration of this feeling is shown by the fact that about three months ago the San Francisco Examiner sent a representative to Honolulu for the express purpose of ascertaining the feeling concerning annexation. He obtained interviews with some fifty or sixty of the leading citizens of the Islands, and almost without exception the sugar men opposed annexation on the grounds above set forth. Such financial objection on their part still exists, but by the recent revolutionary action of the Queen the planters have been brought into unity of thought with the other

 

636    THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

property owning members of the community by the greater danger of anarchy and a continued state of revolution ruinous to all business and property interests if it continues.

So far as Mr Spreckels individually is concerned the popular impression which seems to prevail in the United States that he owns all the sugar plantations in the Islands and in fact owns the Islands themselves, is about as well founded as are many other popular fictions. As a matter of fact he owns the whole or parts of the stock of six out of sixty sugar plantations at the Islands. Spreckels and the sugar trust now purchase all of the sugar crop of the Islands for the reason that there is no other purchaser in the United States.

It has been suggested that the revolutionary movement was a conspiracy in which Claus Spreckels had a hand. As the entire movement was precipitated by the Queen herself this involves the impossible hypothesis that the Queen was acting in collusion with Mr. Spreckels for the purpose of ousting herself from the throne.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Spreckels has all along been extremely friendly to the Monarchy, his bank in Honolulu having made the Government a large loan within the last four or five months.

And Claus Spreckels, who was not popular in Honolulu where he was regarded as the enemy of annexation, readily agreed with Thurston whenever asked. In an interview for an unnamed newspaper in New York in late March, 1893, his son C. A. Spreckels denied emphatically that Spreckels & Co. favored the overthrow of the Hawaiian Government or that it had had anything to do with precipitating the Revolution. He explained:

The sudden change of affairs, Spreckels said, was as much a surprise to his father and to other members of the big sugar firm as it was to anybody. 'We do not, ' he said, 'believe the sugar bounty is going to last much longer and nothing could be gained by annexation. We can do a more profitable business with our contract labor than we could under the laws of the United States, and for that reason we are opposed to a change. We would much prefer that Hawaii remain a kingdom and then we should know that our business would not be interfered with. A short time before the Queen was deposed the sugar firm made a large loan to the Government, and it is not likely that we should extend financial assistance to a nation and then take part in a movement to overthrow it.'

It appears clear that only a few persons in attendance at the mass meeting on January 16, 1893, had any direct interest in sugar. One planter, H. P. Baldwin, spoke at the meeting, threw cold water on the movement, and was shouted down. As a matter of fact, the planters, with large financial interests at stake, were conservatively inclined. They were not convinced that benefits from annexation would outweigh the harmful effects on wages, prices, and their labor supply, and they were aware that the very unpopular bounty system would in all probability be discontinued. They were not after the bounty. Even if they had the bounty, it would do them no good if they did not have the labor with which to produce the sugar. Even Spreckels, who at first favored annexa-

 

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tion, opposed it when he found that the proposed treaty did not provide for noninterference of the United States government with Asiatic immigation to Hawaii. W. R. Castle, after the failure at Washington, knowing that most of the planters opposed annexation because of changes bound to follow in the labor system, wrote Paul Isenberg in Bremen, Germany, "We tried very hard to protect the labor system and secure the bounty. It was utterly out of the question to do either. . . . With regard to the bounty, nothing is so obnoxious in the eyes of the American Congress and people as this thing." He could close on a comforting note, however, to the effect that, "No objection is made by the U. S. to the introduction of Japanese. . . ." In reply Isenberg expressed himself as strongly opposed to annexation because he preferred labor to annexation without labor. He said frankly that he wanted eight or ten thousand Chinese so that the "Chinese and Japanese had to work or be hungry." He considered a protectorate worse than annexation. He wanted independence and a monarchy with Kaiulani under a regency. This is what Sereno E. Bishop meant when he wrote that, "Our object is stable enlightened government and constitutional liberties against the caprices and corruptions of a reheathenized Monarchy." Because the sugar planters like S. T. Alexander urged that their aim should be at a good and stable government first, and only secondarily at the prosperity of the sugar interests, they regarded men like Isenberg and Spreckels as dangerous. When they discovered that Spreckels was "advising" the queen and dickering with some of the half-castes for an independent republic, which he would help run, their sentiment was, "Good Lord deliver us!" Thus the "bad press" which Spreckels received was in part fostered from Hawaii.

In the end, as their letters show, men such as H. P. Baldwin, S. T. Alexander, and other planters became mild annexationists only because they were convinced that annexation would secure a stable government and save Hawaii's credit abroad. They could tolerate native misrule no longer; palace corruption, royal usurpation, and legislative stupidity had abridged their rights. They frankly admitted that their property was at stake, but "so was every political and moral and social interest." To put their convictions before the American public they paid the way for men such as W. D. Alexander and W. B. Oleson, a local teacher, to write and lecture on the mainland.61

The most vocal part of American public opinion seemed to have favored the annexation of the islands from the start. Dole and the pro-

 

638    THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

visional government never elicited so much sympathy as when Cleveland seemed about to restore the queen. Letters to both Cleveland and Gresham came from dozens of American citizens on the mainland who cried, "Shame!" The letters preserved in the Dole Papers in the Hawaiian Archives, contain some references to "ol' Grover" the "ponderous autocrat of avoidupois, " that are both unsparing and unprintable. Dole was told in letter after letter to hold fast, that the American people were with him and that he was sure to win. Had the provisional government accepted all the offers to raise and lead "at least 500 men" against all comers — even ol' Grover — the population of the United States would have been seriously depleted. One ardent patriot wrote that, "Ohio is standing with Outstretched Arms to welcome Hawaii as a Sister State, " and one of the most clairvoyant of correspondents assured Dole in 1893, that McKinley would be the next president and "then all will be well."

MINISTER WILLIS AND THE QUEEN

There was a special session of Congress called from August 7 to November 3, but the Hawaiian matter, although discussed at length by the cabinet, was not submitted to it. Gresham does not say just when he made up his mind about Hawaii. But on September 14 he wrote Carl Schurz his ideas, and in reply he was told that he had unquestionably taken the correct position but, Schurz warned, Gresham had a very delicate task to undo the mischief that had been done. After a cabinet meeting, during which individual opinions had been solicited, Attorney General Richard Olney wrote a lengthy statement to Gresham because he did not think the latter fully realized the practical difficulties which might attend an attempt to restore the queen — an attempt that would be theoretically a laudable one, but practically "impossible." The "Stevens government, " wrote Olney, had been the legitimate government, recognized as such by the United States and other foreign powers, and to use force to oust it would be an act of war and beyond the constitutional powers of the president. Olney urged Gresham to remember that it "is our government; that it was set up by our Minister by the aid of our naval and military forces and was accorded the protection of our flag; and that whatever be the views of this administration, its predecessor practically sanctioned everything Minister Stevens took upon himself to do." The members of the provisional government could not be blamed; the United

 

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States could not allow them to be "hung or banished or dispoiled of their estates. . . ." Accordingly, Olney recommended: (1) that every diplomatic method possible be used to restore the status quo ante by peaceful means; (2) that if force became necessary, it must be sanctioned by act of Congress; (3) that the United States should provide for the queen's security, but she, in return, must give the United States full power and authority to restore her government on the terms and under the conditions the United States approved, including full amnesty for all those who had opposed the queen; and (4) that force would not be necessary, for Olney expected these suggestions to be acceptable to both sides because the power of the United States was known to be behind them. Most of these proposals must have been covered in the cabinet's discussion because they appeared in Gresham's instructions to the new minister to Hawaii, dictated as soon as the meeting had adjourned.

To find a minister to serve in Hawaii had not been easy. Albert S. Willis, whose credentials were dated September 27, was at best a second choice, and he was kept waiting until his instructions, dated October 18, could be agreed upon. These instructions were similar to those sent to Blount on May 22, 1893, but were supplemented by Blount's "facts" and the president's conclusions based thereon. Willis was to express to the queen, "sincere regret" for the "reprehensible conduct" of Stevens and for the use of the armed forces to abridge her sovereignty, and to ask her to rely on the justice of the United States government to undo the "flagrant wrong." When she was reinstated she would be expected to grant full amnesty to those who had moved against her and to assume all obligations created by the interim government. After he had secured the queen's agreement to these terms, Willis would inform the provisional government of the president's determination of the question. He would then ask that the queen's consitutional authority be promptly restored to her. Should either side refuse to abide by the president's decision, Willis would report the facts and await further instructions. Thus Gresham took a legalistic and an altruistic point of view, allotting to the president the role of arbiter in the dispute, a function which the provisional government had neither asked nor expected him to perform. Gresham's idea that a plebiscite could be held, or that the revolutionists would voluntarily restore the queen at the president's request, was to completely misjudge the temper of the annexationists. S. E. Bishop had written G. D. Gilman on September 25, 1893, that "They are not going to cut their own throats,

 

640    THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

nor submit the welfare of the country's civilization to the arbitrament of the ignr't, superstitious and haole hating natives."

When the instructions to Willis became known, the public reaction was one of amazement that the administration should have tried such a scheme, or even expected it to work. In a letter to Bayard on October 29, Gresham explained his private views. The Hawaiian people had not revolted; "on the contrary, the Queen was over-awed by the American Minister and the presence of a body of armed troops landed from one of our warships. Her submission was thus coerced. The affair was discreditable to all who engaged in it. It would lower our national standard to endorse a selfish and dishonorable scheme of a lot of adventurers. I am glad to say that the President endorsed without hesitation the decision which I took in the letter [of October 18] addressed to him."

Neither Gresham's letter to the president nor the Blount report were made public until it was assumed that Willis had completed his mission. On November 8, the New York Herald published a forecast that Willis, with the support of American naval forces, would attempt to restore the queen. At the same time, the rumor spread that the Pacific squadron had been ordered to rendezvous at Honolulu. But when Gresham's letter to Cleveland did appear in the eastern newspapers on November 10, there was a considerable furor because its tone was unexpected. Both sides assumed as fact that the queen was to be restored. Men such as Henry Watterson in Louisville, and Charles Francis Adams, Jr., in Quincy, might, with their minds, approve a "stand that was morally sound and dignified, " but a man such as H. A. Smith, who signed himself, "an old Democrat, " was not thinking, but only feeling, when he wrote "Mr. President, " and signed himself, "Yours in contempt": "Your Mr. Blount is a liar and worse Still you know it. Restore the Queen if you dare. You sent Blount instructed to report in that way. Now it is in order for that fraud Gresham and yourself to say that the declaration of independence was wrong and restore the U. S. to Great Brittain in conclusion let me Say put back the winch if you dare."

The interview of Lorrin A. Thurston with Gresham on November 14, 1893, in which Thurston was told that the secretary's letter was authentic, was in much the same spirit as the foregoing. When Thurston asked if the president intended to use force, Gresham replied that, "no action had or would be taken by our Minister, Mr. Willis, which would imperil the lives or property of the officers or supporters of the Provisional Government, and that if they suffered in any way it would be in consequence of

 

REVOLUTION    641

their own acts or attitude." Thurston, although annoyed by the vagueness of Gresham's answer, promptly reported to Dole that force would not be used. Willis believed that this information hindered his work in Honolulu. But Gresham told Carl Schurz that, "I have done my duty. When feeling that I am right, I am not sensitive to abuse." He seemed confident of the success of the plan entrusted to Willis, but the weeks went by and there was no word of any definite results.62

In Honolulu, where he arrived on November 4, Willis confessed himself under three or four fires but "not yet scorched." He had found "peculiar difficulties" surrounding the whole Hawaiian question. Although he had arrived on a Saturday, his baggage was delayed and he was unable to present his credentials until November 7, by which time it was too late to see both sides before the mail left. The excitement occasioned by his arrival was so intense that he decided to let it die down, as it did, after several uneventful days. That was why, he explained, it was November 13 before he could see the queen.

As a result of Willis' leisurely pace, both sides were completely confused. The queen's supporters, their hopes bolstered by rumor, expected her to be restored to the throne at once. S. M. Damon, speaking for the members of the provisional government, felt they had Willis' support and co-operation, and that "restoration is a dead issue." But S. B. Dole observed that the "royalists still talk hopefully of the restoration of the lily of Heaven by the United States." Dole believed the royalists were discouraged, although, he admitted, they "talked fight" and the marshal thought they meant it.

When he was finally ready to see the queen on November 13, Willis asked her to call on him at the American legation. All Honolulu seemed to think this suggestion improper and not according to protocol, but she went readily enough. This was the scene of the controversial interview in which the queen did, or did not, insist on beheading her enemies. It was also here that by her unyielding attitude she lost whatever hope she might have had to be restored to the throne. It was true that under Hawaiian law treason was punishable by death and confiscation of property. Later, Liliuokalani insisted that she could not have used the term "beheading" because this method had never been used in Hawaii. In her diary of that day she wrote her understanding of what transpired:

Minister Willis began by saying that Grover Cleveland the President of the U. States sends kind greetings to you. He wished me to express to you his deepest sympathy for you and regretted very much that through the wrong actions of

 

642    THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

the U. S. Minister to Hawaii I should have been made to suffer and also my people (I bowed).

The request he makes is, that should there be restoration, that you would show great magnanimity of spirit & of justice to those who have been the means of placing your country in this situation by granting to them their lives, their property, and all that belonged to them. I wish also to say that if you have anything to say, let it be open, from the heart without any hesitancy: that all that is spoken between us must be sacred for two or three days at least. Mrs. Willis is in the next room, and no one will enter to disturb us. (I suspect she must be taking down our conversation behind the curtain in writing) Mr Mills is in the room opposite to us with Mr R — and will not hear us. I said that in regard to his remarks about granting those people (P. Gs) their lives or any amnesty, I would have to consult my Cabinet. Min. Willis said I need not consult them but what would I do or my own decision be? I told him that our laws read that 'those who are guilty of treason shall suffer the penalty of death, and their property confiscated to the Government. If any amnesty was to be made, it was that they should leave the country forever — for if they were permitted to remain, they would commit the same offense over again, seeing that they had once caused a revolution in 1887 and this was a second offense and the next I feared would be more serious than this for our country and our people — He said that if such was my decision, that he would write to President Cleveland and inform him of the fact and await further instructions.

According to Willis' version of the interview, this is what happened. After he had asked her if she would receive the President's communications, "alone and in confidence":

I then made known to her the President's sincere regret that, through the unauthorized intervention of the United States, she had been obliged to surrender her sovereignty, and his hope that, with her consent and cooperation, the wrong done to her and to her people might be redressed. To this, she bowed her acknowledgements.

I then said to her, "The President expects and believes that when reinstated you will show forgiveness and magnanimity; that you will wish to be the Queen of all the people, both native and foreign born; that you will make haste to secure their love and loyalty and to establish peace, friendship, and good government." To this she made no reply. After waiting a moment, I continued: "The President not only tenders you his sympathy but wishes to help you. Before fully making known to you his purposes, I desire to know whether you are willing to answer certain questions which it is my duty to ask?" She answered, "I am willing." I then asked her, "Should you be restored to the throne, would you grant full amnesty as to life and property to all those persons who have been or who are now in the Provisional Government, or who have been instrumental in the overthrow of your government." She hesitated a moment and then slowly and calmly answered: "There are certain laws of my Government by which I shall abide. My decision would be, as the law directs, that such persons should be beheaded and their property confiscated to the Government." I then said, repeating very distinctly her words, "It is your feeling that these people should be beheaded and their property confiscated?" She replied, "It is." I then said to her, "Do you fully understand the meaning of every word which I have said to you, and of every word which you have said to me, and, if so, do you still have the same opinion?" Her answer was, "I have understood and mean all I have said, but I might leave the decision of this to my ministers." To this I replied, "Suppose it was necessary

 

REVOLUTION    643

to make a decision before you appointed any ministers, and that you were asked to issue a royal proclamation of general amnesty, would you do it?" She answered, "I have no legal right to do that, and I would not do it." Pausing a moment she continued, "These people were the cause of the revolution of 1887. There will never be any peace while they are here. They must be sent out of the country, or punished, and their property confiscated." I then said, "I have no further communication to make to you now, and will have none until I hear from my Government, which will probably be three or four weeks."

Willis was obviously not only "surprised and disappointed" at the outcome, he was also puzzled. He tried several times to get the queen to modify her stand, to no avail. He believed that neither the queen nor her advisers realized "that there was anything unusual in her demands, " and he got the impression that she could be persuaded to change her mind. He had not felt authorized to submit an ultimatum, and, as his instructions read, he awaited additional advice from Washington. But the brevity of his telegram of November 16 to Gresham that, "Views of first party so extreme as to require further instructions, " left the secretary confused and embarrassed. In his reply on November 24, Gresham repeated that amnesty and recognition of the obligations of the provisional government were essential conditions of restoration, and he urged Willis to faster action. On December 3, he enlarged upon previous instructions and told Willis to warn the queen that if she did not accept the terms offered, the president would cease his efforts on her behalf.

Although Thurston sent reassuring letters from Washington to the effect that Cleveland did not intend to use force, the provisional government, in the absence of facts, was alarmed by imaginary fears. On November 16, mail arrived from New Zealand containing an item by way of London that, "President Cleveland is drafting a message in favor of restoring the monarchy in Hawaii." On November 24, local newspapers published Gresham's letter of October 18 to Cleveland summarizing the Blount report. Thus new strength was given to the rumors that Cleveland would use force, and the immediate result was a mass meeting of the supporters of the provisional government and increased military preparation. The advisory council debated the issue of firing on United States troops and plans were made to hold the government buildings against all comers. A "security check" was made against all government employees, and those who were unwilling to fight for the provisional government were dismissed. Opposition to the queen was both frustrated and divided, and no one knew what Willis would do. He intimated that he had come

 

644    THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

to act and would do so at the proper time. But how, when and for whom, was the question.

The queen's supporters, on the other hand, were confident that blueprints were being prepared for the restoration of her government. At the same time, her close associates warned her that she might be assassinated, and afraid of attacks on her life, she appealed to both the British and American ministers for support. At different times the provisional government did discuss the advisability of her arrest and detention under certain conditions, but there was no thought of doing violence to her person. Samuel Parker wanted to demand of Willis what his instructions were so that proper plans could be drawn. The queen knew but had trouble controlling her "cabinet, " especially Parker who consistently spent her money and disobeyed her orders. By December 4, she had become aware, for the first time, of the part ("a great crime of treason") her cabinet members had played on January 14, 1893. On December 11, she asked Willis not to accept any statement from the ex-cabinet as coming from her, and he agreed not to do so. She now depended almost entirely on the advice of J. O. Carter and, to a lesser extent, E. C. Macfarlane.63

In his first annual message to the Congress on December 4, Cleveland had referred only briefly to the Hawaiian affair, failed to state a clear policy, and did little more than suggest that a plan of settlement had been formulated. When after further delay, no word came from Willis, the president literally dropped the whole problem into the lap of Congress, some of whose members were "even malevolent toward the President" and were becoming increasingly insistent in their demands for information. In his message of December 18 (a document apparently composed by Olney), Cleveland repeated the Blount-Gresham version of the revolution, called the landing of the troops an "act of war, " and related the conditions under which he had tried to restore the queen. Inasmuch as the queen had refused to co-operate, the subject was commended "to the extended powers and wide discretion of the Congress."

Gresham's instructions of November 24 were not received in Honolulu by Willis until December 14. Then followed a week of intense local excitement, with Willis as deliberate as before. He did not see the queen until she came in great secrecy to the legation on December 16. Asked if she adhered to her beliefs even after the president had asked her for clemency, the queen said she did because, "I feared the lives of myself

 

REVOLUTION    645

and people would be endangered and that if any clemency were shown it must be in sparing of their lives — but they must not be permitted to stay — they and their children — for I felt that if they remained they would still continue to be a disturbing element." J. O. Carter, at the queen's request, had been present at this interview with Willis. After two days and with some help, he convinced the queen that she would be very unwise not to accept the conditions offered her by the president. Thus on December 18, as Cleveland's message reached the Congress, and following a final session with Willis, the queen agreed to meet the demands made upon her.

By the time the queen capitulated, Willis was aware of the nature of the monarchy and of the lack of political ability, and even honesty, on the part of the queen's native advisers. He was convinced that, even if restored to the throne, the queen could not last. Thus, although his heart was not in it, Willis approached the provisional government with the president's proposition and asked immediate acceptance. As an honorable man who would do his duty, he had even thought of requesting all American citizens to withdraw from the controversy, which would have dispensed with over half of the armed forces of the provisional government. On the afternoon of December 19, the executive council was formally advised of the president's wishes. Told that the matter would be taken under consideration, Willis withdrew. At midnight, on December 23, 1893, the famous reply to the president's request was delivered to Willis by Dole in person. Thurston had arrived the day before and, along with several other noncouncil members, he probably contributed to the final form of this well-executed letter which, though courteous, made the altruistic schemes of the American government look ridiculous and unreasonable.

After expressing regret that the treaty of annexation had been rejected, Dole's reply accepted the rebuff as the policy of the Cleveland administration but not as the final decision of the United States government. With arguments based on international law, justice, equity, and the history of Hawaiian-American relations, Cleveland's points as made by Blount and Willis were demolished one by one. The right of the president to interfere in "our domestic affairs" was repudiated and denounced as contrary to America's traditional policies, and to Blount's instructions. Cleveland's claim to "adjudicate upon our right as a government to exist" was described as "astounding, " and the revolution was justified by a recital of

 

646    THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

the facts involved. Stevens was absolved from all blame. In conclusion, the letter upheld the provisional government's position as impregnable — legally, diplomatically, and ethically — and pointed out: "We have done your Government no wrong; no charge of discourtesy is or can be brought against us. Our only issue with your people has been that, because we revered its institutions of civil liberty, we have desired to have them extended to our distracted country, and because we honor its flag and deeming that its beneficient and authoritative presence would be for the best interests of all of our people, we have stood ready to add our country, a new star, to its glory, and to consummate a union which we believed would be as much for the benefit of your country as ours. If this is an offense, we plead guilty to it."

And, as a final thrust, the provisional government "respectfully and unhesitatingly declines to entertain the proposition of the President of the United States that it should surrender its authority to the ex-Queen."

The United States government was in no position to force the issue. Moreover, finding itself on sound footing, the provisional government composed more strident letters. On December 27, 1893, the president's message of December 18, and the full instructions given Blount and Willis, reached Honolulu for the first time. On December 26, even before seeing these documents, and in what President Cleveland called "a most extraordinary letter, " signed by Dole but apparently written by Thurston, the provisional government charged Willis with creating distress and anxiety by his secretiveness. The letter demanded to know if Willis had instructions to enforce his policy "with the use of arms in any event." Willis believed they had seen the documents in question and were baiting him. He asked for a retraction and set off an exchange of letters which lasted several weeks, aroused some heated arguments, but contained little that was new.

In the course of the charges and countercharges, Willis denied he had ever been unfriendly or ambiguous, or that he had threatened to use force to restore the queen. When the provisional government refused to withdraw its letter of December 27, Willis demanded and got a "Letter of Specifications, " a rather uncourteous monstrosity of fifty-one typewritten pages in Thurston's best style. This letter is the "official" answer not only to Willis but to Blount as well. Willis did not receive his copy until January 11, 1894, a deliberate delay to allow Thurston, who had left for Washington on January 5, to make good use of it with newsmen,

 

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congressmen, and others before Gresham saw it. These tactics, as well as the document itself, did not endear Thurston to Gresham. But long before he saw the document the secretary had officially given up. On January 12, 1894, Willis was told that his task was done. The president regretted that the provisional government had refused to accept the solution offered it as a "measure of justice." The matter was now in the "hands of Congress."64

CONGRESS TAKES OVER

Even before December 18, 1893, individual senators, especially George F. Hoar of Massachusetts, concerned themselves with Hawaiian affairs. On receipt of Cleveland's message, John Tyler Morgan of Alabama, Democrat, annexationist, and chairman of the Senate committee on foreign relations, asked that the message be referred to his committee with instructions to determine, "whether any, and if so, what irregularities have occurred in the diplomatic and other intercourse between the United States and Hawaii . . ." The resolution was adopted on December 20, and the committee was empowered to subpoena persons and papers and examine witnesses under oath. The Blount report had been a lawyer's brief, making the best possible case for the queen and against Stevens. The Morgan report, after two months of hearings and writings from December 27, 1893, to February 26, 1894, presented an equally effective case for the provisional government and Stevens, and against the queen.

Blount thought Morgan's investigating committee was an "outrage." Morgan "knows, " wrote Blount, that "he can reach the witnesses on one side only, and even these are deeply implicated in the so called revolution or holding offices under the new government." Yet Blount, as well as Stevens, was an important witness before the subcommittee which conducted the hearings. Senator George Gray of Delaware, who was the administration's chief spokesman on the subcommittee and on the Senate floor, said Morgan examined witnesses "in a very partial and unfair way . . . to aid the annexationists and injure the President." Gresham's reaction to Gray's comment and Morgan's activities was that Morgan was insincere and meant mischief.

Nevertheless, the Morgan hearings did put on record the testimony of many participants in the revolution who had been neglected by Blount. Those who testified also had the advantage of being able to answer the charges made against them by Blount; and Morgan, for the most part,

 

648    THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

saw that they did so. Cross-examinations by the "unfriendly" minority appeared inept. But Morgan had the advice and guidance of Thurston, F. P. Hastings, who was the Hawaiian chargé d'affaires, and, above all, W. D. Alexander, whose grasp of the whole situation was remarkable. In the end, the majority of the Senate committee on foreign relations found everyone "not guilty" save the queen, although only Morgan, who wrote the final report, agreed with all parts of it. The Democrats on the committee supported Blount and Willis, imputed the blame to Stevens for his "inopportune zeal, " and found him deserving of public censure. The Republicans on the committee also filed a report. They refused to censure Blount and Willis; they placed the blame higher up. And at the end, not a single item for future action was recommended in the report.

In the Congress, the "Hawaiian affair" was made a cause celebre by the Republicans, who could use it to make some really vicious attacks on the administration. The attacks in Congress, coupled with those of a goodly majority of the nation's press, made the president's lot a very unhappy one. Most of the newspapers were lukewarm about the December 18 message, but after the disclosure of the Willis imbroglio, even the Democratic newspapers, with the exception of the New York Herald, deserted the administration. Because of its partisan nature, the Hawaiian problem was debated intermittently throughout almost the entire second session of the Fifty-third Congress, which ended August 28, 1894. Terms like "military despotism, " "buccaneering, " "sugar ring, " and "Lord Paramount Commissioner Blount" were bandied about indiscriminately. It was more a display of domestic American political infighting than a discussion of the merits of annexation or of the culpability of the persons involved in overthrowing the queen. In the end, the House had censured Stevens and supported Gresham, but it did not authorize intervention against the provisional government. As late as May, 1894, the Senate, with all its talking, had yet to act.

In the islands, the members of the oligarchy had no illusions about their inability to continue to exist without the United States. As Thurston had written Dole, Hawaii had no market except the United States. Every move was therefore made with the intention of securing annexation as soon as possible. There were a few men who questioned this strategy but they were quickly overruled. Hawaii would "hang on" until annexation became possible. In the meantime, it would be wise to get rid of the "provisional" title for the government. Hence the Hawaiian chargé in

 

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Washington, Frank P. Hastings, had urged that a new government be formed because, "The very idea of a young Republic, no matter how formed is in itself a tower of strength in America, . . . the American people look for the star and not the crown."

The idea of a republic had been discussed for decades as a substitute for monarchy but its advocates had been given pause by contemplation of the population which was to compose it, "Hawaiians, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese, Americans, and Europeans, who have got to be governed mainly or partly by . . . the majority!" The provisional government, guided by Thurston, was equal to the task of finding a solution to the problem. A limited and qualified franchise, especially in the election of nobles, had been the practice in choosing a legislature under the monarchy. When the provisional government on March 15, 1894, called a convention to draft a constitution for the proposed "Republic of Hawaii, " they made certain that the revolutionary leaders would retain control. There would be thirty-seven members in the convention. Automatically named to the convention were the president and members of the executive and advisory councils of the provisional government. They numbered nineteen — a clear majority of one. The voters were then privileged to choose the minority of eighteen. But the oligarchy did not stop there. Even to allow the franchise to those who had voted before the revolution, under the limitations imposed by the Constitution of 1887, was considered dangerous. Therefore, those who were allowed to vote for a minority of the convention, besides possessing a certain amount of wealth, had to take an oath of allegiance to the provisional government and to oppose any attempt to re-establish the monarchy. In the finished constitution the qualifications for voting and holding office were so stringent that comparatively few natives, and no Orientals, could vote. Fewer still were eligible to serve in either house of the legislature.

With the adoption of the constitution for the Republic of Hawaii on July 4, 1894, they changed the name but not the substance. Thurston, who had favored a period of not less than five years before elections took place, admitted that there was much in a name, hence the "Republic of Hawaii, " although he admitted it was not a "full exponent of the republican principle."

Thus with an eye to the possible effect upon the United States, while securing a government with a more sound and permanent legal basis, the new constitution went into operation and was to give the islands six years

 

650    THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, 1874–1893

of comparative peace and prosperity. Article 32 empowered the republic's president, with the consent of the cabinet and the senate, to make a treaty of political and commercial union with the United States. But with the Wilson-Gorman tariff act of 1894, the Congress of the United States removed the bounty on domestic sugar, restored the duty on foreign sugar, and with the reciprocity treaty continuing in operation, the island planters enjoyed once more their preferential treatment in American markets. In addition, Congress, on February 7, 1894, in the House and May 31 in the Senate, had passed resolutions warning all foreign states that intervention in the political affairs of the islands would be considered an act unfriendly to the United States. Thus the ripe fruit was to be left dangling, but the United States had posted trespass notices and presumably would patrol the orchard.65

 


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