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few friends, and some speculation as to when a change might come, how it would be forced and who would do it, nothing was done; there was no organization, nor any plans made. During the last week of the Legislature the air was filled with rumors, and the prospect looked very dark. Still, nothing was done, and when the Queen, on the 14th of January, actually attempted her revolutionary act—so far as any preparation was concerned—we were actually taken by surprise.
I was intimately acquainted with Minister Stevens and Capt. Wiltse, with both of whom I often talked over the political situation. We all felt that trouble was impending, but I do not think that anything was more strongly impressed upon my mind by what either of these men said than the thought that if trouble came and our rights, our liberties, and property were threatened, we must help ourselves, for we could have no outside help, unless, indeed, such things should occur as might ensue from a state of anarchy, when, as I understood, Americans might expect assistance to the extent of personal protection and the protection of property against mob violence. Knowing what a Hawaiian mob meant from the illustration given in 1874, considerable uneasiness was felt in Honolulu when the Boston, with Minister Stevens, left Honolulu a week or ten days before the prorogation of the Legislature, and her return was observed with great relief upon the morning of the 14th.
Several days before the prorogation, things were in a very precarious condition. Corruption was open and flagrant in the Legislature; the lottery and opium bills were suddenly taken up and passed, and the same combination immediately ousted the Wilcox cabinet, which was the only one since the session opened which had the entire confidence of the community. Upon this, the Reform members of the Legislature, by way of protest, hoping to prevent the obtaining of a quorum, with which any more outrageous legislation could be enacted, absented themselves from the House. Upon Saturday morning, however, the day set for the prorogation, they succeeded in getting a quorum, a new ministry was immediately anuounced, and the opium and lottery bills, to the consternation and surprise of the community, were returned signed.
After seeing personally what took place I returned to my business and remained at my office closely occupied until nearly 2 o'clock. As I was about to return to my home I heard that the Queen was trying to abrogate the constitution, and at once went to the street in front of the palace, where I could see what was going on. Natives were the favored ones, being allowed ingress and egress, and from them I learned what was taking place. I saw the Queen come out on the veranda and speak to the crowd of natives who assembled below. After speaking some little time a native came and told me that she had said that owing to unexpected opposition and difficulties over which she had no control she would not then promulgate the new constitution, but she stated that the matter was merely deferred for a few days.
Immediately after this I saw William White, the native member for Lahaina, come out of the palace, run part way down the steps where he stood, and began a loud and furious harangue. Twice I observed Maj. Boyd, who was in full uniform, come down the steps and, touching his shoulders, apparently say something to him, but he was furiously shaken off. Upon inquiry from another native who came out I learned that he was making a most incendiary speech; that he was saying that their hope of a new constitution was defeated by tne interference of whites, and he urged them to rush into the palace and kill
such persons as were opposing this plan. I expected to see another such riot as that of 1874, but learned afterwards that someone else counseled them to wait a few days, when they would get all they desired.
Returning down town I went to the office of W. O. Smith, where an impromptu meeting of foreign residents had assembled. A paper was lying upon the table, which had been extensively signed, in which the signers pledged themselves to oppose to any extent the revolutionary plans of the Queen, and to sustain the cabinet, which was trying to fight her off. If I recollect right, Paul Neumann, Peterson, Colburn, and others who have subsequently come out strongly in favor of the Queen, were then present. I heard Colburn state the situation to the meeting, saying how the lives of members of the cabinet had been threatened in the palace on account of their opposition to the Queen's plans, and Mr. Colburn then called upon the community to support them in this opposition. We were not informed and did not then learn that the Queen had expressed surprise at Peterson's opposition, he having had a month to consider this proposed new constitution and not having made any objections.
The community was now thoroughly aroused; it was felt that life, property, and liberty were seriously imperiled, and the meeting immediately elected a chairman and secretary, and a committee of public safety of thirteen members was at once appointed, of which I was a member. Subcommittees were at once appointed, which went about their business immediately, and the meeting adjourned to meet at my house on Sunday morning. That evening a number of us met at Mr. Thurston's residence to talk over the situation and attempt to make some plans for a provisional government in case the radical measures of overthrowing the Queen should finally be deemed necessary as the only available course. During the evening Mr. Fred. Wundenburg came in and reported on what success he had met in a two or three hours' search for arms and men to oppose the Queen. So far as I can now recollect, he stated that he had not been able to find more than 60, although it was believed that a very much larger number could be obtained as soon as the community should know that it was required.
I think that after Mr. Wundenburg left a messenger came from the Drei Hundred, a well-known organization of Germans, offering the services of their men, numbering, to my recollection now, about 80, and their arms. The next morning the committee of public safety met at my residence and remained in session a considerable part of the day. It was finally decided that the proper method was to ascertain public feeling, for which purpose a mass meeting was called. We felt that if a representative meeting should demand the deposition of the Queen and the establishment of another government which the members of the meeting would back up, the time had come to make the attempt. The question was one of force sufficient to carry out the intention.
The meeting was called for Monday, and its voice was so unmistakable that preparations were concluded as rapidly as possible to take possession of the Government by force, establish a Provisional Government, and ask for annexation to the United States, which was also the almost unanimous desire of the meeting. From the close of the meeting till the final movement preparations were conducted openly and notoriously. The offer of arms, ammunition, and men came in from all sides; the thing lacking was a disciplined force, but there was no doubt as to the enthusiasm and determination of the respectable, conservative
S. Doc. 231, pt 6----60
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