380-381

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp380-381 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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by another sovereign and independent power had no application to the facts and circumstances that attended the recent revolution in Hawaii; moreover, if the revolution there had been directed against the entire government and for the overthrow of the constitution of 1887, and all monarchic rule, if it was a sincere, strong, earnest and successful movement of the people for the recovery of their natural right to rule themselves, they should not be narrowly questioned and held to rigid account for a proper and discreet performance of every act necessary to their resumption of their natural rights, but all America must unite in the declaration that, under such circumstances, the presumptions of law should be favorable to such movements, rather than unfriendly to the establishment by the people of the foundations of their liberties, based upon their right to govern themselves.

The parliament of Hawaii had been prorogued by the Queen on the 14th day of January, and could not be again assembled under the constitution, except by the chief executive authority. Until that authority was supplied in some way, therefore, the Legislature could not be reconvened. It was the establishment of that authority, the chief executive head of the nation, which was the question at issue, and when that was decided, an appeal to the Legislature of Hawaii for its confirmation or ratification was not only unnecessary, but might have resulted in a counter revolution. It was, therefore, in the interest of peace, good order, and right government, that the people of Hawaii, who were unopposed in their process of organizing an executive head for the Government, should proceed to do so as they did, regularly and in an orderly, firm, and successful manner. Thus the abdication of Liliuokalani was confirmed and has so continued from that day to this. The Government of the United States has on various occasions recognized the succession to the executive authority as residing in the Provisional Government initiated at that public meeting at the arsenal and consummated on the 17th day of January by public proclamation. Then, on the 17th day of January, according to the recognition of the United States, from which there has been no dissent or departure, the interregnum ceased, and the executive head of the Government of Hawaii was established. Until this was completed, on the 17th day of January, by the proclamation of the Provisional Government, the United States was still charged, under every principle of law and justice and under the highest obligation of duty, to keep her forces in Honolulu, and to enforce, in virtue of her sovereign authority, the rights of her citizens under the treaty obligations and also under the laws of Hawaii, relating to the safety of person and property and the rights of industry, commerce, and hospitality in their free pursuit and enjoyment. And when the Provisional Government was thus established, it rested with the United States to determine whether the Government of Hawaii was so far rehabilitated and so safely established that these rights of her citizens could be intrusted to its keeping. The recognition of such a state of affairs, within a country whose executive department has been made vacant in consequence of domestic strife, is quite a separate and different proceeding, both in form and effect, from the recognition of the political independence of a government that is complete in its organization. In the latter case, the recognition excludes all right of interference in its domestic affairs, while in the former it is the right and duty of supplying the protection of law to the citizen that makes interference necessary as well as lawful.

The independence of Hawaii as a sovereign State had been long recognized by the United States, and this unhappy occasion did not

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suggest the need of renewing that declaration. The question presented in Honolulu on and after the 12th of January, 1893, was whether the Queen continued to be the executive head of the Government of Hawaii. That was a question of fact which her conduct and that of her people placed in perilous doubt until it was decided by the proclamation of a new executive. Pending that question there was no responsible executive government in Hawaii. On the 17th of January that doubt was resolved to the satisfaction of the American minister, and of all other representatives of foreign governments in Hawaii, in favor of the Provisional Government. This recognition did not give to the Government of Hawaii the legal or moral right to expel the troops of any government, stationed in Honolulu in the period of interregnum, until it had so firmly established its authority as to give to foreigners the security to provide for which these troops had been landed. Good faith and an honest respect for the rights of friendly nations would certainly require the withdrawal of all further interference with the domestic affairs of Hawaii as soon as that government had provided security that was reasonably sufficient for the protection of the citizens of the United States. But the Government of the United States had the right to keep its troops in Honolulu until these conditions were performed, and the Government of Hawaii could certainly acquiesce in such a policy without endangering its independence or detracting from its dignity. This was done, and the troops from the Boston camped on shore for several months. The precise hour when or the precise conditions under which the American minister recognized the Provisional Government is not a matter of material importance. It was his duty, at the earliest safe period, to assist by his recognition in the termination of the interregnum, so that citizens of the United States might be safely remitted to the care of that Government for the security of their rights. As soon as he was convinced that the Provisional Government was secure against overthrow it was his duty to recognize the rehabilitated State. Whether this was done an hour or two sooner or later could make no substantial difference as to his rights or duties, if he was satisfied that the movement was safe against reversal. If no question of the annexation of Hawaii to the United States had existed, the conduct of the American minister in giving official recognition to the Provisional Government would not have been the subject of adverse criticism. But the presence of that question and his anxious advocacy of annexation did not relieve him from the duty or abridge his right to call for the troops on the Boston to protect the citizens of the United States during an interregnum in the office of chief executive of Hawaii. They were not to be put into a state of outlawry and peril if the minister had been opposed to annexation, nor could his desire on that subject in anyway affect their rights or his duty. He gave to them the protection they had the right to demand, and, in respect of his action up to this point, so far as it related to Hawaii, his opinions as to annexation have not affected the attitude of the U. S. Government, and the committee find no cause of censure either against Minister Stevens or Capt. Wiltse, of the Boston.

Afterward, on the 1st day of February, 1893, the American minister caused the flag of the United States to be raised on the Government building in Honolulu, and assumed and declared a protectorate over that nation in the name of the United States. This act on the part of our minister was without authority, and was void for want of power. It was disavowed by Secretary Foster and rebuked by Secretary


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