|Previous Page||Next Page|
- excitement was created about the whole city, and all were ready to take measures to prevent it. This seemed to be the public feeling with men as they met and discussed the matter on the street corners. About 3 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, January 14, an informal meeting was held at the office of W. O. Smith, on Fort street, to consider the situation, and a committee of safety, consisting of thirteen men representing different trades and professions, was appointed. On Monday, January 16, the mass meeting was held at the armory at 2 o'clock. Mr. E. C. Macfarlane and others arranged for a similar meeting at the same hour at Palace Square, hoping to draw away the crowd from the other. I attended the meeting at the armory but took no active part. I observed the men present, and as I was chairman of the mass meeting held in 1887 I can say that not only was the audience larger at the January 10 meeting but seemed to be more determined and resolved. I was at home on Monday afternoon at 5 o'clock, when one of our residents rode into my yard and said that the troops from the U. S. S. Boston had just landed to protect life and property, and though there had been no outbreak yet there was great excitement in the city, and it was a great relief to me and my family to know that we had the protection of the only warship in port, as I anticipated trouble, and I believe the presence of sailors and marines on shore was all that prevented riot and possibly bloodshed.
- On Tuesday morning, January 17, Mr. C. L. Carter called at my house before breakfast and informed me that after breakfast he would call upon me with Mr. Bolte, they having been appointed for that purpose, and invite me to take a place in the executive council of the Provisional Government which was to be formed that day. I was surprised to know that my name had been mentioned. I told Mr. Carter that I was not fitted for such a position, and that my experience for the last two months had made me heartily sick of politics; that it might look as if I was going in for revenge for having been put out of the last cabinet, and I could not see any reason why I should accept the position. I told him, however, that I would carefully consider the matter and give him an answer when he called later with Mr. Bolte. I placed the matter before my wife to get her opinion, and presented all the arguments I could think of against taking the position. Among other thing's, I said, "It is more than probable that the Queen's party will not submit without fighting, and the chances are that I will get shot." She said in reply, "If you do get shot I can give you up, for I feel it to be your duty to take part in this move. The country needs you at this time, and if you lose your life it will be in the discharge of your duty."
- After breakfast Messrs. Carter and Bolte called and I agreed to accept the position of minister of finance provided Mr. S. B. Dole would consent to take the position of President. It was arranged that I should remain at my house and when needed would receive a telephone message and was to meet the others at the office of W. O. Smith. During the time between breakfast and noon I remained at home, feeling all the time that there was great danger to my life, and this feeling seemed to grow upon me during the day. On the way from W. O. Smith's office to the Government building I thought surely we would be shot down, for when the shot was fired just as we left Smith's office for the building it looked to us as if the shooting would be general. I had fears there also of an attack while the proclamation was being read, for it was reported that there was a force in the building under command of C. J. McCarthy, and I was not rid of these fears until I saw a sufficient number of our men in the building to afford us protection.
- I was wondering how others were, but my own thought was that we could not come out of it without loss of life, and my chances for getting shot were above the average on account of my relations with the Government only a few days before. I had no arms of any kind with me.
- During the month I thought over the situation carefully and I was fully convinced that if ever it was necessary to take a decided stand for representative and responsible government it was at this time. While the Queen had professed to take back all she had said and done about a new constitution I felt it was only to gain time to make better preparations to carry out her designs, and while I fully realized the step we were taking was revolutionary I felt it was my duty as a man to do what I could to assist in putting down a form of government that was oppressive and corrupt, and I was conscious that I was doing my duty in accepting office under the Provisional Government. The telephone message came to me about 1 o'clock, and I went immediately to the appointed place. The proclamation was read and after we had all signed it we started for the Government building at 2:35 p. m. all in a body. Just as we came out of Smith's office a shot was fired up street near E. O. Hall & Sons' store and thus diverted the crowd, so when we arrived at the Government building there were only a few persons present. After the surrender of the building and the reading of the proclamation I at once took possession of the finance office which contained many of the Government records and the treasury vaults. It was a surprise to us to find that there was no force at the Government building to protect it when we arrived there.
- As soon as we could, after getting possession of the building, the councils assembled and appointed Col. Soper the commander of the Provisional Government forces and attended to other matters that required prompt action. About 6 o'clock Capt. Wiltse, of the Boston, called upon us and said that we could not be recognized as a de facto Government until we had possession of the station house and barracks. We expected that resistance would be made at the station house, but soon after Wiltse's visit the deputy marshal called upon us with a request that we go to the station house and confer with the late cabinet. This we refused to do, but sent word back that if the old cabinet desired to meet us they could come to the building and would be guaranteed safe entrance and exit. Soon after two members came and had a conference, and later all four came and agreed to turn over the station house and barracks to the Provisional Government, which was done about 7 o'clock. It was a surprise to us to see how quickly and quietly they yielded, and it is an evidence of the rottenness of the monarchy which fell as soon as any resistance was made. And during the evening many of our best citizens who had taken no active part in this move called and gave their congratulations, assuring us of their support. Martial law was proclaimed and the city guarded by volunteers during the night. Many threats were made, and many rumors were in circulation every day that caused much anxiety and constant watching.
- The strain was very great all these days, and so many threats were made we consulted with the advisory council and decided that to bring about a state of quiet we would ask the protection of the American minister, and suggested that the American flag be hoisted on the Government building, which he consented to do, and the flag was raised on the morning of February 1. The strain was at once removed, not only from the members of the council but of all good citizens of Honolulu, and in fact all over the islands. During my term of office there
|Previous Page||Next Page|