536-537

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp536-537 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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The Chairman. Improve the matter?

Mr. Emerson. Improve the situation. The matter of annexation to this country was not plain; the matter of establishing a republic seemed to be a questionable thing.

Senator Gray. If you were a sincere royalist, as you say, it was because you believed the best interests of the islands would be subserved by that form of government?

Mr. Emerson. Yes, I did so believe to the last.

Senator Frye. On or about January 14 you changed your opinion as to the propriety of continuing the Queen in power?

Mr. Emerson. I think it was associated first with the action of the House of Representatives, when there was a departure of some of the gentlemen, some of the white men who were members of the Legislature, to their homes—when there was a minority of those who were for reform measures, for good government, and there was a majority— claimed to be a majority—of those who were for spoils—for lottery, opium, and so on.

Senator Gray. If those who favored reform measures had remained would there have been a majority that way?

Mr. Emerson. Yes; there would have been a majority. I do not think the lottery bill could have been carried through. I saw how things were working. This Legislature was bribed, evidently it was bribed. It was the common talk of the natives that it was being bribed, and the Queen began to disclose her thorough sympathy with that party. The passage of the distillery bill and the opium bill, which are destructive bills, would have killed off the natives. Then there was the passage of the lottery bill, and afterwards the discharge of the good cabinet, the Wilcox-Jones cabinet, and the putting in a most irresponsible cabinet. Then there was the proclamation, or an attempt to put into execution a new constitution.

Senator Sherman. State what was the nature of that proposed change.

Mr. Emerson. You mean of the constitution?

Senator Sherman. Yes.

Mr. Emerson. The constitution, it is said, was destroyed by the Queen, and some have said that the constitution was one that would disfranchise the white men. Those who were not married to native women would have had the vote taken from them. It was a constitution that would have taken away the ballot from me. It would have taken from the people the power to elect the nobles and put it into the hands of the Queen. By the restricted ballot we were enabled, so far at least as the Legislature is concerned, to elect men of character who stood out against these measures of corruption.

Senator Gray. By a restricted ballot?

Mr. Emerson. Yes; by a restricted ballot.

The Chairman. You spoke of the Wilcox-Jones cabinet. What was the successor cabinet called ?

Mr. Emerson. The Parker-Cornwell cabinet—Colburn and Peterson. I believe it was Peterson—Cornwell or Peterson—who made the cabinet. They were the ones who made the cabinet.

The Chairman. Who was premier in tlie last cabinet?

Mr. Emerson. Wilcox was the one previously to that—I do not know—I think it was Cornwell. I am not sure whether it was Cornwell or Peterson.

Senator Frye. What was the distillery bill of which you spoke?

Mr. Emerson. As I understood it the idea was that there would be

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great opportunity for making rum, making alcoholic drinks there from sugar-cane juice and other products, that it might be a means of revenue or wealth to the islands—enlarge the business.

Senator Frye. Encourage the opening of saloons?

Mr. Emerson. It would have probably supplied cheaper drinks to the saloons.

Senator Frye. What was the opium bill?

Mr. Emerson. It was a bill that legalized the sale of opium. I do not know just the nature of the bill, but it was one that made it legal to sell opium.

Senator Frye. Have you been troubled there from the use of opium?

Mr. Emerson. We have had a good deal of trouble. It has been smuggled into the country. There have been opium rings, and some of the men connected with the Government were connected with the rings, no doubt. There is no doubt that the chief marshal of the Kingdom was.

Senator Frye. Whom do you mean; Wilson?

Mr. Emerson. Wilson. There is no doubt about that. It is common talk—was common. You can hear it out on the street from every other person almost.

Senator Gray. Hear what?

Mr. Emerson. That Wilson was connected with the opium ring, and that he was hand and glove in with Capt. Whalen, who was captain of a yacht.

Senator Frye. A yacht used for smuggling?

Mr. Emerson. Yes. And there were also men who had come there as smugglers and whom Mr. Wilson had handled gently. He had pounced upon Chinamen to keep up a show of maintaining the law— some little Chinamen; but the great sinners were let go.

Senator Frye. Did those bills all pass that Legislature?

Mr. Emerson. Yes.

Senator Frye. By what majority?

Mr. Emerson. I am not sure of the majority.

Senator Frye. But they did pass, and the Qaeen approved them.

Mr. Emerson. The Queen signed them.

Senator Sherman. In that week?

Mr. Emerson. That week, as I remember.

Senator Frye. And they were approved?

Mr. Emerson. And they were approved. Protests were sent in by leading ladies of the city who had tried to stand between the Queen and temptation. We recognized her as our Queen, and we tried to stand between her and temptation. And I would like to say here that a good deal of what has been said of how the Queen was received is true. She was received in our houses. She was on the throne, and we thought we must do so, to try to keep her from evil. I went with native pastors to tell her we would support her, remember her in our prayers, and try to help her. Again and again that was done, not as a proof of her character, but to get as good a Queen as we could in the country.

Senator Gray. How did the Queen receive you?

Mr. Emerson. As she is very capable of receiving—in the most courteous and kindly way. And she also reciprocated our sentiments in a spirit not only enlightened but in seeming sympathy with us, as she did the ladies who waited upon her. And the very next move she made was to sign the lottery bill.


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