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recognized rights of the Provisional Government, there is no reason for withholding approval of the conduct of the President of the United States in thus accepting and executing a function which he was entitled to perform, in submitting the question, in due and final form, to the contending parties or factions in Hawaii, whether they preferred to maintain the authority of the Provisional Government, with whatever results may follow from that, or a return to the monarchy under Liliuokalani.
Therefore your committee conclude to report that the President of the United States has not, in this particular, in any wise been a party to any irregularity or any impropriety of conduct in his high office.
The committee find nothing worthy of criticism in the negotiation of the treaty of annexation with the Provisional Government of Hawaii.
The revolution in Hawaii had the effect of displacing one chief of the executive department and substituting another. Except the Queen and her cabinet, no officer of the Government was removed. The legislative body, including the house of nobles and house of representatives and their presiding officers, remained in commission. The supreme court and all other judicial magistracies and the officers of the courts were left undisturbed, and, when the interregnum ended, they pursued their duties without change or interruption; commerce with foreign countries and between the islands was not in any way prevented, and the commercial and banking houses were open for business, which resumed activity when the executive head of the Government was again in the exercise of lawful authority.
The Government had not been displaced and another substituted, but only a department which was left vacant had been rehabilitated.
When this was done and the fact was recognized, the Government of Hawaii was as competent to treat of annexation to the United States as it had ever been, or as it ever will be, until the United States shall decide that it will annex no more territory unless with the consent of the people to be annexed, to be ascertained by a plebiscite.
Complaint is made also that this project of annexation was attempted to be consummated in too great haste.
That raises a question of due consideration; for, if the people of both countries desired it, or if, according to every precedent to be found in the various annexations of countries and States to the United States, the respective governments desired it, speedy action in completing the cession was desirable for many obvious reasons, among which the injurious disturbance of commerce and danger to the public peace growing out of a protracted agitation of so grave a matter, are conspicuous.
But this is a question of long standing, which has been under favorable consideration by the kings and people of Hawaii and the Government and people of the United States for more than fifty years.
It is well understood, and its importance increases with every new event of any consequence in Hawaii, and with the falling-in of every island in the Pacific Ocean that is captured by the great maritime powers of Europe. The committee have copied, in the Appendix to this report, portions of the remarks of Hon. William. P. Draper in the House of Representatives on the 4th of February, 1894, which refer in a very clear and concise way to the progress of foreign intervention in the Pacific Ocean by European powers. The committee also present the following message of President Grant to the Senate, with the accompanying letter of Hon. Henry A. Peirce, then our minister to
Hawaii, which shows that the subject of cession and annexation have been on several occasions carefully considered by the governments of Hawaii and the United States.
- [Confidential.—Executive B.—Forty-second Congress, first session.]
- Message of the President of the United States, transmitting a copy of a dispatch relative to the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands, addressed to the Department of State by Henry A. Pierce, minister resident of the United States at Honolulu.
- April 7, 1871.—Read and, with the dispatch referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, ordered to be printed in confidence for the use of the Senate.
- To the Senate of the United States:
- I transmit confidentially, for the information and consideration of the Senate, a copy of a dispatch of the 25th of February last, relative to the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands, addressed to the Department of State by Henry A. Pierce, minister resident of the United States at Honolulu. Although I do not deem it advisable to express any opinion or to make any recommendation in regard to the subject at this juncture, the views of the Senate, if it should be deemed proper to express them, would be very acceptable with reference to any future course which there might be a disposition to adopt.
- U.S. Grant.
- Washington, April 5,1871.
- Mr. Pierce to Mr. Fish.
- No. 101.] Legation of the United State of America,
- Honolulu, February 25, 1871.
- Sir: Impressed with the importance of the subject now presented for consideration, I beg leave to suggest the inquiry whether the period has not arrived making it proper, wise, and sagacious for the U. S. Government to again consider the project of annexing the Hawaiian Islands to the territory of the Republic. That such is to be the political destiny of this archipelago seems a foregone conclusion in the opinion of all who have given attention to the subject in this country, the United States, England, France, and Germany.
- A majority of the aborigines, Creoles, and naturalized foreigners of this country, as I am credibly informed, are favorable, even anxious for the consummation of the measure named.
- The event of the decease of the present sovereign of Hawaii, leaving no heirs or successor to the throne, and the consequent election to be made by the legislative assembly of a king, and new stirps for a royal family, will produce a crisis in political affairs which, it is thought, will be availed of as a propitious occasion to inaugurate measures for annexation of the islands to the United States, the same to be effected as the manifest will and choice of the majority of the Hawaiian people, and through means proper, peaceful, and honorable.
- It is evident, however, no steps will be taken to accomplish the object named without the proper sanction or approbation of the U. S. Government in approval thereof.
- The Hawaiian people for fifty years have been under educational instruction of American missionaries, and the civilizing influences of
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