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Minister Pierce, in 1871, wrote the following to Secretary Fish:
"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 United States 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 native population is fast disappearing. The number existing is now estimated at 45,000, having decreased about 15,000 since the census of 1860. The number of foreigners in addition is between 5,000 and 6,000, two-thirds of whom are from the United States, and they own more than that proportion of foreign capital, as represented in the agriculture, commerce, navigation, and whale fisheries of the Kingdom.
"I now proceed to state some points of a more general character which should influence the United States Government in their decision of the policy of acquiring possession of this archipelago, their geographical position, occupying, as it does, an important central strategical point in the North Pacific Ocean, valuable, perhaps necessary, to the United States for a naval depot and coaling station, and to shelter and protect our commerce and navigation, which in this hemisphere is destined to increase enormously from our intercourse with the 500,000,000 population of China, Japan, and Australia. Humboldt predicted that the commerce on the Pacific would in time rival that of the Atlantic. A future generation, no doubt, will see the prophecy fulfilled.
"The immense injury inflicted on American navigation and commerce by Great Britain in the war of 1812-1814 through her possession of Bermuda and other West India Islands, as also that suffered by the English from French privateers from the Isle of France during the wars between those two nations, are instances in proof of the necessity of anticipating and preventing, if we can, similar evils that may issue from these islands if held by other powers.
"Their proximity to the Pacific States of the Union, fine climate and soil, and tropical productions of sugar, coffee, rice, fruits, hides, goatskins, salt, cotton, fine wool, etc., required in the West, in exchange for flour, grain, lumber, shooks, and manufactures of cotton, wool, iron, and other articles, are evidence of the commercial value of one to the other region. Is it probable that any European power who may hereafter be at war with the United States will refrain from taking possession of this weak Kingdom in view of the great injury that could be done to our commerce through their acquisition to them?"
Secretary Fish, in a letter of instruction of March, 1873, used the following language:
"The position of the Sandwich Islands as an outpost, fronting and commanding the whole of our possessions on the Pacific Ocean, gives to the future of those islands a peculiar interest to the Government and people of the United States. It is very clear that this Government can not be expected to assent to their transfer from their present control to that of any powerful maritime or commercial nation. Such transfer to a maritime power would threaten a military surveillance in the Pacific similar to that which Bermuda has afforded in the Atlantic. The latter
has been submitted to from necessity, inasmuch as it was congenital with our Government, but we desire no additional similar outposts in the hands of those who may at some future time use them to our disadvantage."
Gen. Schofield, in May, 1873, under confidential instructions from the Secretary of War, made a full report upon the value of Pearl Harbor as a coaling and repair station, recommending its acquisition, and later he appeared before a committee of the House of Representatives to urge the importance of some measure looking to the control of the Sandwich Islands by the United States.
Now, the desired and desirable opportunity has arrived. The Provisional Goverment proposes a treaty of annexation, and the so-called Queen is ready to part with such rights as she has for a comparatively small sum.
The whites of the island desire earnestly to join us, and the natives certainly are not violently opposed.
This is shown by the fact that when the American flag was lowered in Hawaii, by order of Commissioner Blount, although it created some excitement in this country, it caused no rejoicing there, according to Mr. Blount's report.
"Inspired with such feelings, and confident no disorder would ensue, I directed the removal of the flag of the United States from the Government building, and the return of the American troops to their vessels. This was accomplished without any demonstration of joy or grief on the part of the populace."
Capt. Hooper says:
"There were no demonstrations of any kind as the American flag came down, and not a single cheer greeted the Hawaiian flag as it was raised aloft. The native men stood around in groups, or singly, smoking and chatting and nodding familiarly to passing friends, or leaning idly against the trees and fences, while the women and children, which formed a large proportion of the assemblage, were talking and laughing good-naturedly. As the hour for hauling down the American flag approached, many people, men, women, and children could be seen approaching the Government square in a most leisurely manner, and showing more interest in the gala-day appearance of the crowd than in the restoration of their national flag. The air of good-natured indifference and idle curiosity with which the native men regarded the proceedings, and the presence of the women and children in their white or bright-colored dresses was more suggestive of a country "fair" or horse race than the sequel of a 'revolution.'"
Even the presence of the "armed forces" of the Provisional Government, numbering, perhaps, 200, parading the corridors of the Government house, failed to elicit any sign of a feeling of anger or resentment.
Mr. John F. Colburn, one of the Queen's cabinet, in describing the revolution, says:
"The next day (Monday) the proclamation dictated by these gentlemen was printed and posted and distributed all over town. Later on in the day two mass meetings were held, one by the native element and the other by the foreign element. At the former the natives accepted the proclamation, though it was directly contrary to what they wanted (a new constitution), and the latter denounced the Queen and left everything in the hands of the committee of safety spoken about."
S. Doc. 231, pt 6----32
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