1002-1003

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp1002-1003 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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Senator Gray. Where were the guns?

Mr. Coffman. My recollection is that one gun was here [indicating], pointed toward the building; the other gun here [indicating,] pointing out here. But my impression is that you can see the palace from this street here [indicating].

Senator Gray. Is this a street [indicating]?

Mr. Coffman. Yes; it comes out onto the street. There is a fence along there, where my men used to come from this yard here [indicating].

Senator Gray. Is there a gate at that point [indicating]?

Mr. Coffman. Yes.

Senator Gray. You say that the next day these gentlemen provided for your comfort-Mr. Carter and others who seemed to be of the Provisional Government.

Mr. Coffman. I got the impression that everybody seemed on our side of the question, seemed to be in sympathy with them, and seemed naturally to look to those people for anything that was wanted done, no matter what it was.

Senator Gray. You say that you were somewhat familiar with the people of that city and with the condition of things there. From your observation of matters about this time, and what you knew of those people, what is your military opinion as to whether that Provisional Government could have been established at that time in the way it was if the United States troops had not been landed in Honolulu?

Mr. Coffman. I do not think it would have been.

Senator Gray. Did or did not that seem to be the accepted opinion in Honolulu?

Senator Frye. Mr. Coffman has not laid the foundation for such an opinion as that.

Senator Gray. No; I freely confess that all this examination has been outside of the rules that govern the courts, but the latitude here is greater than in court practice. Still, I think that is a proper question. I will ask you if you had the opportunity, after as well as before you landed, in your contact with the people of Honolulu, to get an impression and form an opinion as to what their sentiments were in regard to the matter I have just mentioned?

Mr. Coffman. I think so.

Senator Gray. Did you meet the people?

Mr. Coffman. Yes.

Senator Gray. Where?

Mr. Coffman. At their private houses.

Senator Gray. Did you go to the club?

Mr. Coffman. Yes; and at the hotel and on the streets.

Senator Gray. Have you extensive acquaintances in Honolulu?

Mr. Coffman. I think I know almost everybody in Honolulu; while not intimately, I know them pretty well.

Senator Gray. Was the revolution and proclamation of the Provisional Government a topic of conversation?

Mr. Coffman. Yes; but not until after we landed.

Senator Gray. You heard it frequently spoken of?

Mr. Coffman. Very frequently.

Senator Gray. I will ask you whether you gathered from the opportunities which you have described a definite opinion as to what the impression was in regard to the matter which I have just asked you about?

Mr. Coffman. My opinion is that everybody believed that the entire

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American force and American minister were in accord and sympathy with the movement, and I do not think the movement would have been undertaken had they not thought so beforehand.

Senator Gray. Do you think that is the opinion?

Mr. Coffman. I think that is the opinion. If you say to them, "Would you have taken possession of that building had you not known that the sympathy of the United States troops and minister was with you," some of them will say, "Well, perhaps not: but they were there."

The Chairman. You say they would say that?

Mr. Coffman. I heard Mr. McCandless say so, and I heard Mr. Gunn.

Senator Gray. Have you heard other people say so?

Mr. Coffman. Yes; I have heard other people say so; and in my mind I am thoroughly convinced that those men thought and felt if there was necessity our troops would aid them. I do not say they would have done so by firing or anything of that sort. At the time the thing came on me so suddenly I did not give it much attention; but after that time, after it simmered down, I came to that conclusion.

The Chairman. How could you aid them except by firing?

Mr. Coffman. The moral presence of the troops, which is very great on an occasion of that kind, and the position in which they were placed.

Senator Gray. Your position is, that while these troops were there to protect life and property there was a general impression in Honolulu that carried the purpose of their presence far beyond that.

Mr. Coffman. Yes; I believe that.

Senator Gray. I will ask you whether the people of the Queen's party did not to your knowledge generally (and if you do not know say you do not know) entertain the opinion that the presence of the United States troops was in sympathy with the movement?

Mr. Coffman. They did; and I have heard them say such things after the thing was over.

The Chairman. Did they include you amongst the sympathizers with the Provisional Government?

Mr. Coffman. Yes.

The Chairman. Was that an improper estimate of your attitude?

Mr. Coffman. No.

The Chairman. You were in sympathy with them?

Mr. Coffman. Yes. I was there to do whatever I was ordered to do, so long as it was a legitimate order from my commanding officer, and if it was I would have carried it out.

The Chairman. After you had been there sometime you had the same feeling?

Mr. Coffman. Yes; right straight through.

The Chairman. So that you have been ready at any time heartily to enter into the movement to overthrow the Queen?

Mr. Coffman. I would have entered into any order that was given me properly.

The Chairman. I am talking of your preferences?

Mr. Coffman. Yes. While we have no sympathy with the Queen, I have contended with my shipmates that the manner in which it was done was the only question. That is the only question I ever brought up.

The Chairman. Did you express your views there as being favorable to annexation?

Mr. Coffman. Oh, yes.

The Chairman. You have expressed them openly?

Mr. Coffman. Yes; to everyone.


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