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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp652-653 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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The Chairman. Were these lottery and opium bills passed in the House before the change of the ministry?

Mr. Alexander. Before the change. I remember Wilcox and Bush said they voted for it in order to compel the ministry to step out.

Senator Frye. The old ministry?

Mr. Alexander. Yes. The old ministry could not remain in oflice and execute that law. However, they did not resign, and within a day or two a vote of want of confidence was had. There was great difficulty in getting a vote of want of confidence; it required 25 votes. At last the Queen labored with different members, and Berger, a German member, who married a daughter of Mr. , having been assured that his father-in-law could have the naming of the new cabinet— although he had promised his friends that he would not vote for the bill—went over and made the twenty-fith vote. And Mr. , who had opposed the latter bill, was won over. He came in with a wreath of flowers around his neck, half drunk, and made the motion, and he and another native gave their reasons: "How can we trust this cabinet to carry out the lottery bill? How do we know that they will favor the change, the new constitution—carry out the wishes of the Queen in regard to the new constitution?" I remember that, because that alarmed the people.

The Chairman. Was that the first declaration you heard in regard to the new constitution?

Mr. Alexander. I had not dreamed of such a thing as a coup d'etat. The constitutional convention had been talked of and voted down in convention. Then this speech was made; that sounded menacing.

The Chairman. Were these bills, the lottery bill and the opium bill, signed by the Queen and any of her cabinet before the change of her ministry?

Mr. Alexander. I think not. The lottery bill passed on the 12th, the ministry was voted out the next day, the following day the new cabinet was formed. I suppose the volume of the laws of 1892 will show which minister countersigned the bill.

The Chairman. It was not the ministry that was voted out on the 13th that signed the bill?

Mr. Alexander. No. Some little time passed, because I remember petitions were carried to the Queen in the interim, begging her not to sign it. The ladies of Honolulu went to her with a petition begging her not to sign it. She received them cordially, answered their prayers, I believe, but she did not lose any time in signing the bill.

The Chairman. "The coup d'etat, which was sprung upon the country by the Queen on the following day, took the community by surprise, and found it entirely unprepared."

Do you mean by that the prorogation of the Legislature and attempt to promulgate the new constitution?

Mr. Alexander. I mean by that the promulgation of the new constitution. That was a surprise.

The Chairman. "Undoubtedly the plot had been deeply laid long before, to be executed at the close of the legislative session."

What reason have you for stating that?

Mr. Alexander. One reason is that at the trial of Robert Wilcox and Bush, particularly Wilcox, they brought in evidence to show that Sam Parker had made overtures to them on the part of the Queen to join with her to do away with the new constitution. They claimed that that had been done by a coup d'etat before the Legislature met.


The Chairman. It was before that evidence came out, which informed the people that there was an existing purpose or plot to dispense with or overthrow the constitution of 1887.

Mr. Alexander. There was sworn evidence. The Queen, I presume, denied it.

The Chairman. That was the cause of the public belief?

Mr. Alexander. That was one cause. It was known, came out afterward, that the Queen signed the constitution very reluctantly, indeed.

Senator Frye. The old constitution?

Mr. Alexander. Yes. She said so in her statement. She was taken by surprise. The King's dead body arrived, and she was called upon to sign it. She did it very unwillingly, and with a mental reservation.

Senator Gray. Did she say "with a mental reservation?"

Mr. Alexander. She did not say so.

The Chairman. Then you go on to say: "The lottery was expected by the Queen to be a source of revenue; to render her independent of loans. It was also expected that the lottery company, being outlaws in the United States, could be relied upon to oppose any movement looking towards annexation." "The story of the revolution, which followed, will form the subject of a separate paper." Have you a separate paper?

Mr. Alexander. I did not think there was in sufficient evidence to make a judicial summary of the evidence.

The Chairman. As to the story of the revolution which resulted in the present Government?

Mr. Alexander. It is a very tangled story, and there is not enough evidence in from both sides to make a judicial story.

The Chairman. "The pains taken by the Queen to destroy all known copies of her proposed constitution show how much she dreaded the effect of its publication, but its main points are well known."

How did they become known?

Mr. Alexander. By statements of Mr. Colburn, Paul Neumann, and Ned Bush, which do not entirely agree with one another.

Senator Frye. Paul Neumann is supposed to have drafted it; that is, it is so rumored?

Mr. Alexander. Yes.

Senator Gray. Who was Paul Neumann?

Mr. Alexander. He was a German by birth. I do not know his early life. He was a lawyer in California, a member of the legislature from Sacramento. He ran for Congress and was defeated—defeated by his record, which was scandalous. He was charged with doing things for which he should have been disbarred. Soon after that he went down to the islands and became Attorney-General with Gibson, in 1883. He is supposed to have been a Spreckels man at tha time.

Senator Frye. Bright man, is he not?

Mr. Alexander. Bright, but unscrupulous—a Bohemian, and with it a bonhomie which pleases the people. They did not take him seriously. He has done things which were condoned—things which would surprise you. He is not taken seriously.

The Chairman. "Its success would have realized her dream of reestablishing a barbaric despotism in the islands, and it was to have been followed by a clear sweep of all the offices. An unfortunate feature of the easels that the lower class of the natives, from race prejudice, would prefer such a despotism to a civilized government controlled by white men."

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