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Senator Frye. You remember the situation of Arion Hall, the Government buildings, etc. Mr. Blount in his report—I do not know whether it was his opinion—says that it was impossible for the royalist troops to make any attempt to dislodge the people from the Government building without shooting your troops. Was that true at all?
Mr. Young. They could have fought all they pleased out in Palace Square and out in the Government grounds without ever affecting us in the slightest. But I doubt if we would have allowed them to fight out on the street down below, from the way Capt. Wiltse spoke. This American property in front of us, the Opera House, is owned by Americans, and all the residences off to the left was American property and some to the right of the palace was American property.
Senator Frye. From your observations when you were sent ashore for the purpose of observing, was not there a necessity, regardless of any request made by the Provisional Government or American minister, for the landing of the troops to protect American life and property?
Mr. Young. It was absolutely necessary, and I thought it was so on Sunday evening.
The Chairman. Allow me to ask you right there, had you ever been in Honolulu before?
Mr. Young. No; this was my first visit there. But I have landed from the ship on a good many occasions, and we simply did here what we have done before in other places.
The Chairman. In what other places?
Mr. Young. In Panama and Venezuela; and I also landed in Nicaragua once.
The Chairman. You speak now of occasions when you were present?
Mr. Young. Yes.
Senator Frye. I do not know but that I misunderstood your language. You said in your testimony—I understood you to say—that Mr. Blount ordered Admiral Skerrett to haul down the flag?
Mr. Young. And to return the troops on board the ship.
Senator Frye. Did you mean that Mr. Blount gave an order to an Admiral of the United States Navy to do that?
Mr. Young. He gave a written order to that effect.
Senator Frye. Signed by himself?
Mr. Young. Signed by himself, and Admiral Skerrett's order to the Boston was in obedience to the orders of Commissioner Blount— "You will return troops on board ship by 11 o'clock."
Senator Frye. In your experience did you ever know a minister of the United States with or without the authority of the Secretary of the Navy or officer of the Navy giving orders to an admiral?
Mr. Young. No; I never heard of it before. A minister has no authority to give orders to an admiral while a ship is in any port.
Senator Frye. Under the regulations of the Navy, if a ship is in Honolulu, the disposition of the ship and the landing of the troops is entirely with the discretion of the officer in command?
Mr. Young. He is absolutely responsible for his own acts.
Senator Frye. And he cannot be compelled to land troops by any one except a superior officer ?
Mr. Young. A military superior.
Senator Gray. I suppose if you got an order from the President of the United States.
Mr. Young. He is commander in chief of all the military forces.
The Chairman. Suppose that that order emanate from the minister plenipotentiary at a foreign port?
Mr. Young. Then the commanding officer would be held absolutely responsible for his own act if he obeyed.
Senator Gray. Suppose he receive instructions from the Secretary of the Navy in a given emergency, given time, to conform his action to the order, if you please, of a person holding diplomatic relations with the Government, would that relieve him of responsibility ?
Mr Young. No.
Senator Gray. It would not?
Senator Butler. Do you mean to say that if the officer obeyed his orders through a civil officer, he would not be relieved of responsibility?
Mr. Young. If it was a written order accompanied by the minister's direction, he would still exercise his own discretion.
Senator Gray. If he receive instructions from the Secretary of the Navy that he must act under the order, advice, whatever you might call it—of the diplomatic person on shore when that request, order, or advice come?
Mr. Young. Still I do not believe it would relieve him entirely.
Senator Gray. Then you do not believe that the President of the United States is commander-in-chief?
Mr. Young. Yes; and that the Secretary of the Navy is the immediate military head of the Navy.
Senator Gray. When you receive an order by the Secretary of the Navy through the minister, do you not understand that the order is from the President of the United States?
Mr. Young. Yes.
Senator Gray. And yet you say receiving such order, direction, or instructions from the Secretary of the Navy in a given contingency, you are not bound to obey?
Mr. Young. Of course we must obey the Secretary's order, but the channel through which it is received would question its authenticity; the officer in command is not freed of his responsibility.
Senator Gray. I mean, the Secretary of the Navy having in general directions sent to the commander of a ship instructing him when a certain contingency arises—not commanding through the usual channel, but through any channel through which the instructions come—would you consider that he should obey it?
Mr. Young. Yes; I would consider that he should obey it, so far as it does not involve the loss of life, the destruction of property, or precipitate war.
Senator Frye. Suppose the Secretary of the Navy should order Capt. Wiltse under any contingencies to follow the discretion and obey the orders of William P. Frye, who was then resident in the island of Hawaii, would Capt. Wiltse be bound by that order at all?
Mr. Young. He would be compelled to exercise a great deal of judgment in the matter, and would be still held responsible for his acts.
Senator Butler. I understand you to make this distinction—which, of course, any military man understands at once—that an order emanating from civil officers, whether diplomatic or any other civil branch of the Government, to a military or naval officer, that military or naval officer is not bound to obey it; and if he do, it would be on his own responsibility?
Mr. Young. Yes.
Senator Butler. On the other hand, if the Secretary of the Navy, who is the military head of the Navy, transmits an order to a naval officer, if he be on the ship, he would be bound to obey?
Mr. Young. He would be bound to obey it. At the same time, if he
order me to fire on the town, I should not obey any such order unless I was clearly informed of the necessity.
Senator Butler. That is an extreme case.
Mr. Young. But I would obey the order of any minister or civil officer of an ordinary nature to avoid friction where it would not involve the loss of life or destruction of property.
Senator Butler. If you should receive an order from the Secretary of the Navy to fire on a town?
Mr. Young. I would fire; I would not hesitate a minute, not the slightest; but if it were sent through an improper channel I would have to see it in writing and the signature to it as well as satisfied of the necessity for so doing.
Senator Butler. That is a matter of discretion.
Senator Gray. It would be the exercise of a good deal of discretion if the President of the United States, or the Secretary of the Navy, were to give him an order and he should refuse to obey it.
Mr. Young. Of course, if the President should give me an order to organize a body guard for his protection or move a ship, etc., I would undoubtedly obey it; yet should he order me to shoot an inoffensive citizen, I would disobey, for the reason that disobeying would involve dismissal only, whereas, if I shot the man, the civil courts would try me for murder, and being adjudged guilty I might be hanged, unless the President were in office to pardon me.
Senator Gray. About this instruction from Mr. Gresham to Mr. Blount: "To enable you to fulfill this charge." This is the language of the Secretary of State in his letter of instructions to Mr. Blount.
"To enable you to fulfill this charge your authority in all matters touching the relations of this Governmont to the existing or other Government of the islands, or protection ot our citizens therein, is paramount, and in you is vested full discretion and power to determine when such forces should be landed and withdrawn."
Now, suppose as commander-in-chief of a ship you got an instruction from the Secretary of the Navy in which you informed that such an instruction were given by the President to the minister, and that you were to conform yourself thereto, and the minister should request you to land the forces—ordered you; whatever you may call it—advised you, would you consider yourself bound to obey?
Mr. Young. I would do it, for the simple reason that it would not involve any loss of life or property, and if I disobeyed it I would receive a greater punishment than if I obeyed it.
Senator Frye. You would still hold that it was in your discretion?
Senator Gray. What discretion?
Mr. Young. Whether it involved any loss of life or destruction of property which would hold me accountable for my acts.
The Chairman. Suppose the orders came through the channel spoken of by Mr. Gray, and you were ordered to fire on Honolulu, would you doit?
Mr. Young. No.
Senator Gray. That is not what I have called for.
The Chairman. I did.
Senator Gray. Whether your punishment was greater if you obeyed or if you disobeyed?
The Chairman. What we are discussing here is a question of law, as to how far the President can delegate his authority to a private citizen to take command of troops on ships in the strict military sense, and to use them for the purpose of hostility.
Senator Gray. The question was raised not by me whether it be proper. I am anxious to find out what the opinion of representative naval officers may be. Lieut. Young is in that respect an important witness. I do not mean that this matter is to be settled by a naval officer, because it is a question of law. I did not introduce it, but I really want to know whether the lieutenant thinks, as a naval officer, that his discretion (which is a wide one under certain circumstances) extends so far as to disobey the instructions of the Secretary of the Navy where those instructions involve cooperation with a diplomatic officer on shore, or, taking the very language of these instructions to Commissioner Blount, whether he thinks he would be authorized, if he were in command of a ship, to disobey the request, order, or advice given to him after receiving notice from the Secretary of the Navy that he was to obey such instructions either to land or to withdraw troops.
Mr. Young. I would obey the order just the same as Admiral Skerrett did.
Senator Frye. And when you hauled down the flag, I suppose you would say, as Admiral Skerrett did, "I do it in obedience to Mr. Blount's orders?"
Mr. Young. That is what was done, I believe.
Senator Gray. And if you put the flag up, you would say, "I did it in obedience to Mr. Stevens' orders?"
Mr. Young. No.
Senator Gray. What did you do?
Mr. Young. We would not put it up under his orders.
Senator Gray. I understood you to say that the protectorate was established by a proclamation made by Mr. Stevens and approved by Captain Wiltse?
Mr. Young. Captain Wiltse approved and carried it out. The law requires a naval officer, immediately after arriving in a foreign port, to put himself in communication with the diplomatic representative in that port, and by intercourse, conversation, requests, or otherwise find out the absolute state of affairs and to act according to his own responsibility.
Senator Gray. That is the ordinary rule when you go into a foreign port?
Mr. Young. Yes.
Senator Gray. Where the circumstances are not exceptional, but where the commissioner is under special directions from your Government, and through the ordinary channels of communication you receive from the naval authorities, from the President through the proper naval channels, orders to conform your action to certain requests that may be made by the minister, do you not think you would be obliged to obey it?
Mr. Young. I would obey if it were an ordinary affair; but I would not consider it a legal order.
Senator Gray. Do you think your duty as a naval officer in command of a ship in a foreign port in which a United States protectorate had been established would require you to-day to obey orders conveyed to you from the Government at Washington as to the continuance or discontinuance of that protectorate?
Mr. Young. The continuance or discontinuance?
Senator Gray. Yes.
Mr. Young. Of course, I would have to obey the orders that were sent from the Department.
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