386-387

From TheMorganReport
Jump to: navigation, search
Previous Page Next Page

Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp386-387 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

Text Only


-p386-

The fact cannot be ignored that this revolutionary movement of Liliuokalani, which had its development in the selection of a new cabinet to supplant one which had the support of all the conservative elements in the islands, was set on foot and accomplished during the absence of the American minister on board the ship Boston during the ten days which preceded the prorogation of the Legislature. The astonishment with which this movement was received by the American emigrants and other white people residing in Hawaii, and its inauguration in the absence of the Boston and of the American minister, show that those people, with great anxiety, recognized the fact that it was directed against them and their interests and welfare and that when it was completed they would become its victims. These convictions excited the serious apprehensions of all the white people in those islands that a crisis was brought about in which not only their rights in Hawaii, and under the constitution, were to be injuriously affected, but that the ultimate result would be that they wouid be driven from the islands or, remaining there, would be put at the mercy of those who chose to prey upon their property. This class of people, who were intended to be ostracised, supply nine-tenths of the entire tax receipts of the Kingdom; and they were conscious that the purpose was to inflict taxation upon them without representation, or else to confiscate their estates and drive them out of the country. This produced alarm and agitation, which resulted in the counter movement set on foot by the people to meet and overcome the revolution which Lilioukalani had projected and had endeavored to accomplish. Her ministers were conscious of the fact that any serious resistance to her revolutionary movement (of which they had full knowledge before they were inducted into office) would disappoint the expectations of the Queen and would result in the overthrow of the executive government; and, while they had evidently promised the Queen that they would support here in her effort to abolish the constitution of 1887 and substitute one which they had secretly assisted in preparing, when the moment of the trial came they abandoned her—they broke faith with her. The Queen's ministers took fright and gave information to the people of the existence of the movements and concealed purposes of the Queen and of her demands upon them to join her in the promulgation of the constitution, and they appealed to the committee of safety for protection, and continued in that attitude until they saw that the kindled wrath of the people would not take the direction of violence and bloodshed without the provocation of a serious necessity. Being satisfied that they could trust to the forbearance of the people, who were looking to the protection of their interests and had no desire for strife and bloodshed, they began to finesse in a political way to effect a compromise between the people and the Queen, and they induced her to make the proclamation of her intentions to postpone the completion of her revolutionary purposes, which was circulated in Honolulu on Monday morning. These men, whose conduct can not be characterized as anything less than perfidious, hastened to give to the President of the United States false and misleading statements of the facts leading up to, attending, and succeeding this revolution. To do this they made deceptive and misleading statements to Mr. Blount. Upon them must rest the odium of having encouraged the Queen in her revolutionary intentions; of having then abandoned her in a moment of apparent danger; of having thrown themselves upon the mercy of the people, and then of making an attempt, through falsehood and misrepresentation,

-p387-

to regain power in the Government of Hawaii, which the people would, naturally, forever deny to them.

A question has been made as to the right of the President of the United States to dispatch Mr. Blount to Hawaii as his personal representative for the purpose of seeking the further information which the President believed was necessary in order to arrive at a just conclusion regarding the state of affairs in Hawaii. Many precedents could be quoted to show that such power has been exercised by the President on various occasions without dissent on the part of Congress or the people of the United States. The employment of such agencies is a necessary part of the proper exercise of the diplomatic power which is intrusted by the Constitution with the President. Without such authority our foreign relations would be so embarrassed with difficulties that it would be impossible to conduct them with safety or success. These precedents also show that the Senate of the United States, though in session, need not be consulted as to the appointment of such agents, or as to the instructions which the President may give them.

An authority was intrusted to Mr. Blount to remove the American flag from the Government building in Hawaii, and to disclaim openly and practically the protectorate which had been announced in that country by Minister Stevens, and also to remove the troops from Honolulu to the steamer Boston. This particular delegation of authority to Mr. Blount was paramount over the authority of Mr. Stevens, who was continued as minister resident of the United States at Honolulu, and it raised the question whether the Government of the United States can have at the same foreign capital two ministers, each of whom shall exercise separate and special powers.

There seems to be no reason why the Government of the United States can not, in conducting its diplomatic intercourse with other countries, exercise powers as broad and general, or as limited and peculiar, or special, as any other government. Other governments have been for many years, and even centuries, in the habit of intrusting special and particular missions to one man representing them at a foreign court, and to several men in combination when that was found to be desirable. In fact, there has been no limit placed upon the use of a power of this kind, except the discretion of the sovereign or ruler of the country. The committee fail to see that there is any irregularity in such a course as that, or that the power given to Mr. Blount to withdraw the troops from Honolulu or to lower the flag of the United States was to any extent either dangerous or interrupting to any other lawful authority existing there in any diplomatic or naval officer. There may be a question as to the particular wording of the order which Mr. Blount gave to Admiral Skerrett for the lowering of the flag and the withdrawal of the troops, but that is a hypercriticism, because the substantial fact was that Mr. Blount executed the command of the President in communicating to Admiral Skerrett such order, as the order of the President of the United States. Mr. Blount's authority had been made known to Admiral Skerrett; his instructions had been exhibited to Admiral Skerrett; and they both understood that what Mr. Blount was then doing had received the sanction of the President of the United States before Mr. Blount had entered upon the discharge of his ministerial functions, and that his act would receive the unqualified approval of the President of the United States. That being so, the mere form in which the order was addressed to Admiral Skerrett seems to be a matter of no serious consequence.


Previous Page Next Page