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foundation for her regal authority and, when she announced that her oath was annulled in its effect upon her own conscience, she could no longer rightfully hold office under that constitution. In such matters the word of the Queen, once sedately uttered, fixes a condition that is irrevocable unless by the consent of those whose condition or rights would be injuriously affected by its subsequent withdrawal; as in the case of a voluntary abdication in favor of a named successor; or of a pardon granted to person accused or, convicted of crime; or the signature to a legislative act, or declaration of war. The official act of the chief executive of a nation is uniformly regarded as creating a condition or status which can not be altered or revoked at pleasure. Indeed, in every case, the word of the king that works a change in existing conditions is the final act of the king. In the crime of treason and the misprision of treason, the word that is spoken by the culprit, though quickly repented of or recalled, has completed the crime and placed the offender beyond the reach of all mercy except that of the sovereign power. In this instance the sovereign power to pardon or condone the Queen's offense resided in the people, and they have so far decided and have adhered to the decision that her abdication was complete. The recantation was two days later than the completed crime and was temporary and conditional, and, in the meantime, popular sovereignty had risen to the assertion of its rights, an indignant resentment had aroused the people, and a large body of citizens claiming to represent them had inaugurated a government of the people and for the people. Whether the people opposing the Queen were strengthened in their purpose to accept and act upon this abandonment by the Queen of her obligations to keep her oath to support and obey the constitution by the presence of the troops of the United States, or whether the Queen was dismayed by their presence and was deterred from supporting her criminal act by the employment of her household soldiery, did not alter the fact that she had openly renounced the constitution of 1887 before the troops were landed or any preparation was made or any order was issued to land them, and the people were preparing to substitute the monarchy, which was still existing in the constitution, by a ruler of their own choice before any troops left the Boston.
Whether the people would permit the restoration of the Queen, or whether they would constitute a new executive head of the Government of Hawaii, was a matter then undetermined, and as to that the Government of the United States had but one concern, and that was that the interregnum should be ended, the executive head of the Government should be supplied, and the laws of Hawaii and the treaty rights of American citizens should have full effect, peacefully, in the protection of their rights and interests. When the Queen found that her Government was opposed by a strong body of the people she did not attempt to reassemble the Legislature, but left the public safety in charge of a committee of thirteen men, organized by those who were endeavoring to preserve the peace and to restore the Government to its full constitutional powers by choosing an executive head. This condition of things continued from Saturday until the succeeding Tuesday, during all of which time the citizens of the United States residing in Honolulu had no protection of law, except such as was guarantied to them by the presence of the Boston in the bay of Honolulu, or the moral influence of the American legation and consulate.
When the Kamehameha dynasty ended, the monarchy in Hawaii was doomed to a necessary dissolution. The five kings of that family, assisted by their premiers, who were Kanaka women, and by such missionaries as Judd, Bingham, Chamberlain, Coan, Goodrich, and Damon
maintained the progress of civilization and prosperity, but when Kalakaua was elected king, the most surprising and disgraceful corruptions infected the Government. Without detailing in this report the constant decline from bad to worse, which the evidence discloses, without contradiction or explanation, when Liliuokalani was enthroned the monarchy was a mere shell and was in condition to crumble on the slightest touch of firm opposition. Under her brief rule, it was kept alive by the care and forbearing tolerance of the conservative white people, who owned $50,000,000 of the property in Hawaii, until they saw that the Queen and her party had determined to grasp absolute power and destroy the constitution and the rights of the white people. When they were compelled to act in self-defense the monarchy disappeared. It required nothing but the determined action of what was called the missionary party to prostrate the monarchy, and that action had been taken before the troops from the Boston landed.
There was then no executive head of the Government of Hawaii; it had perished.
In landing the troops from the Boston there was no demonstration of actual hostilities, and their conduct was as quiet and as respectful as it had been on many previous occasions when they were landed for the purpose of drill and practice. In passing the palace on their way to the point at which they were halted, the Queen appeared upon the balcony and the troops respectfully saluted her by presenting arms and dipping the flag, and made no demonstration of any hostile intent. Her attitude at that time was that of helplessness, because she found no active or courageous support in her isolated position, which was self-imposed and was regretted by few of her former subjects. In this condition of Hawaii the laws for the protection of life and property were, in fact, suspended so far as the executive power was concerned, and the citizens of the United States in Honolulu and all the islands, and their property rights, were virtually outlawed. The citizens of Honolulu were not held amenable to the civil authorities, but were treated by the Queen, as well as by the people, as if the country was in a state of war. A policeman was shot down on the streets by a person who was conducting a wagon loaded with arms to the place of rendezvous where the people had assembled, and no action was taken for the purpose of arresting or putting on trial the man who did the shooting.
In a country where there is no power of the law to protect the citizens of the United States there can be no law of nations nor any rule of comity that can rightfully prevent our flag from giving shelter to them under the protection of our arms, and this without reference to any distress it may give to the Queen who generated the confusion, or any advantage it might give to the people who are disputing her right to resume or to hold her regal powers. In every country where there is no effective chief executive authority, whether it is a newly-discovered island where only savage government prevails, or one where the government is paralyzed by internal feuds, it is the right, claimed and exercised by all civilized nations, to enter such a country with sovereign authority to assert and protect the rights of its citizens and their property, and to remain there without the invitation of anybody until civil government shall have been established that is adequate, in a satisfactory sense, for their protection.
The committee agree that such was the condition of the Hawaiian Government at the time that the troops were landed in Honolulu from the steam warship Boston; that there was then an interregnum in Hawaii as respects the executive office; that there was no executive power to enforce the laws of Hawaii, and that it was the right of the
United States to land troops upon those islands at any place where it was necessary in the opinion of our minister to protect our citizens.
In what occurred in landing the troops at Honolulu there may have been an invasion, but it was not an act of war, nor did it create that condition of the public law in Hawaii.
In the period of reconstruction, as it is called, which followed the civil war of 1861-'65 in the United States, a very similar condition existed, or was assumed to exist, which caused Congress to provide for vacating the gubernatorial offices in several of the Southern States and filling them by appointments of the President.
In these States strong military bodies were stationed and general officers of the Army took command and enforced the laws found on their statute books and also the laws of the United States. All the civil officers in those sovereign States were required to obey the commands of those Army officers, and they did so, often under protest, but with entire submission to the military power and authority of the President, exerted through the instrumentality of the Army. That was not war. Yet it was the presence of military force, employed actively in the enforcement of the civil laws, and in full supremacy over the civil authority.
The only reason that could justify this invasion of sovereign states by the armies of the United States was the declaration by Congress that the executive governments in those states were not in the lawful possession of the incumbents; that there was an interregnum in those states as to the office of governor.
If the Queen, or the people, or both acting in conjunction, had opposed the landing of the troops from the Boston with armed resistance, their invasion would have been an act of war. But when their landing was not opposed by any objection, protest, or resistance the state of war did not supervene, and there was no irregularity or want of authority to place the troops on shore.
In this view of the facts there is no necessity for inquiring whether Minister Stevens or Capt. Wiltse, in arranging for the landing of the troops, had any purpose either to aid the popular movement against the Queen that was then taking a definite and decisive shape, or to promote the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States. But justice to these gentlemen requires that we should say that the troops from the Boston were not sent into Honolulu for any other purpose than that set forth fully and fairly in the following order from Capt. Wiltse to the officer in command of the detachment:
- U.S.S. Boston (Second Rate)
- Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, January 16, 1893.
- Lieut. Commander W.T. Swinburne, U.S. Navy,
- Executive Officer, U.S.S. Boston:
- Sir: You will take command of the battalion and land in Honolulu for the purpose of protecting our legation, consulate, and the lives and property of American citizens, and to assist in preserving public order.
- Great prudence must be exercised by both officers and men, and no action taken that is not fully warranted by the condition of affairs and by the conduct of those who may be inimical to the treaty rights of American citizens.
- You will inform me at the earliest practicable moment of any change in the situation.
- Very respectfully,
- G.C. Wiltse,
- Captain, U.S. Navy, Commanding U.S.S. Boston.
As between the United States and Hawaii, as separate and independent governments, that order defines the full liability of the Government of the United States in respect of landing the troops at Honolulu. As between the Government of the United States and its officers, the question may arise whether that order was issued in good faith and for the purposes declared upon its face, or whether it was a pretext used for the purpose of assisting in the overthrow of the Queen's Government and the ultimate annexation of Hawaii to the United States.
In reference to this last suggestion, the committee, upon the evidence as it appears in their report (which they believe is a full, fair, and impartial statement of the facts attending and precedent to the landing of the troops), agree that the purposes of Capt. Wiltse and of Minister Stevens were only those which were legitimate, viz, the preservation of law and order to the extent of preventing a disturbance of the public peace which might, in the absence of the troops, injuriously affect the rights of the American citizens resident in Honolulu.
The troops from the Boston having rightfully and lawfully entered Honolulu, and having carried with them the protection of the laws of the United States for their citizens who otherwise were left without the protection of law, it was the right of the United States that they should remain there until a competent chief executive of Hawaii should have been installed in authority to take upon himself the civil power and to execute the necessary authority to provide for the protection of all the rights of citizens of the United States then in Honolulu, whether such rights were secured by treaty or were due to them under the laws of Hawaii. It was the further right of the officers representing the United States in Hawaii to remain there with the troops until all the conditions were present to give full assurance of security to the rights of all the citizens of the United States then in Honolulu.
Before the landing of the troops a committee of safety had been organized that sent a request to the commander of the Boston that troops should be landed for the purpose of preserving the public peace. To this request no response was made, and later in the day the commander of the Boston was informed that the committee of safety had withdrawn its request and then desired that no troops should be landed. But, disregarding all the action of the committee of safety and acting only upon his sense of duty to the people of the United States who were in Honolulu, Capt. Wiltse came to the conclusion that the troops should be landed, and he put them in a state of preparation for that purpose by lowering the boats, filling the cartridge belts of the men, and supplying them with proper accouterments for a stay on shore. After these preparations had been completed Minister Stevens went on board the ship (on Monday), and had an interview with Capt. Wiltse. The evidence shows that this interview related alone to the question of the preservation of law and order in Hawaii and the protection of Americans in their treaty rights. It seems that neither Minister Stevens nor Capt. Wiltse then fully comprehended the fact that the United States had the right, of its own authority, to send the troops on shore for the purpose of supplying to American citizens resident there the protection of law, which had been withdrawn or annulled, because of the fact that there was then an interregnum in the executive department of the Government of Hawaii. The rights of the United States at that moment were greater than they were supposed to be by Minister Stevens or Capt. Wiltse, and they were not the result of treaty rights or obligations, but of that unfailing right to give protection to citizens of the
S. Doc. 231, pt 6----24
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