734-735

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp734-735 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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-p734-

Mr. Laird. Yes; very large wealth; next to Mr. Spreckels the wealthiest man on the islands.

Senator Frye. What business has he there?

Mr. Laird. A large commercial business, and also president of the bank.

Senator Frye. Which bank?

Mr. Laird. Spreckels's bank.

The Chairman. So that at the time yon left there you had no apprehensions of a civil outbreak or political disturbance?

Mr. Laird. None whatever. The first intimation we had was after we got back to Lahaina, on the 13th.

The Chairman. What did you hear there?

Mr. Laird. Lahaina is about 85 miles from Honolulu. One of the inter-island steamers came in, and the purser and Mr. Wilder, now Hawaiian consul at San Francisco, came over and brought the latest paper, which gave the information that the Wilcox cabinet had been turned out and a new cabinet appointed, and that the Legislature was to be prorogued the next morning. This information was communicated to the captain and also to Mr. Stevens; the orders had been already given for sailing the next morning, and no change was made; we sailed at the time set, and went over very leisurely, half-steam power. On the way over a pet dog fell overboard, and we lowered the lifeboat and consumed about two hours looking for the dog. We arrived in the harbor the next morning about 11 o'clock. I did not finish mooring the ship until after 12. Mr. Young was the only one who went ashore to visit the Legislature.

The Chairman. And participated in the ceremony?

Mr. Laird. An invitation had been sent to the ship for the officers to attend the prorogation. But all the other officers were engaged that morning, or were taking their midday meal, and did not care to go, Mr. Young was the only one who went. Whether or not he was detailed by the captain I do not know.

The Chairman. Do you know whether Mr. Stevens or Mr. Young left the ship first?

Mr. Laird. I think Mr. Stevens left first; I am quite sure he did. As we came into the harbor his daughter was in a small pull-away boat with some gentlemen. They, pulled off to the ship, and Mr. Stevens went ashore probably a half hour before Mr. Young went.

The Chairman. This was the practice cruise that you made down on the coast at Hilo, the island at Hilo ?

Mr. Laird. Yes. Target practice had been delayed on account of the unsettled state of affairs in the harbor, and the captain decided to go to Hilo for target practice. During the time that we were there Mr. Stevens and his daughter went up to the volcano with some of the officers. We found the sea too rough at Hilo for target practice, and the captain decided to go to Lahaina aud hold target practice in the channel between the two islands, where we could get smooth water; we went back there and finished our practice on the afternoon of the 13th.

The Chairman. After your arrival at Honolulu, what time did you go ashore?

Mr. Laird. I did not go until Monday, when I landed with the troops. My duties were such that I could uot go ashore; we are not allowed to leave the ship whilst on duty, and I therefore did not go ashore.

The Chairman. Did you have command?

-p735-

Mr. Laird. I did.

The Chairman. What command?

Mr. Laird. The color company.

The Chairman. Describe what you saw.

Mr. Laird. I was on duty Monday afternoon when preparations were being made for landing. Mr. Stevens came on board during the afternoon. At half-past 3, Lieut. Commander Swinburne, the executive officer, came and told me that he would send a relief for me, one of the junior officers, and that I should see that my company was equipped in heavy marching order, and see that all the accouterments were in good condition. I did so. Shortly after that, probably about 4 o'clock, all the officers who were to land were called into the cabin by Captain Wiltse and his instructions were read to the officers.

The Chairman. Before getting to the instructions I will ask, were any preparations made for sending detachments ashore before Mr. Stevens's arrival on board ship that afternoon?

Mr. Laird. They had been. Mr. Young had gone ashore, and he brought back certain rumors on Saturday. Time was consumed in getting the ammunition out of the ammunition room, the gun carriages into the boats, and ammunition in the belts. Each man had 80 rounds of ammunition, and each one of these had to be placed in the belt separately, the magazines had to be filled in anticipation of having to land; these preparations were made.

The Chairman. Before Mr. Stevens' arrival?

Mr. Laird. Yes.

Senator Frye. And in consequence of the various rumors?

Mr. Laird. The rumors that were passing around Saturday afternoon, Sunday, and Monday morning.

The Chairman. Do you mean that Mr. Young communicated these rumors to the captain?

Mr. Laird. He did communicate some; and other officers brought back such information as they found.

The Chairman. Do you know who they were.

Mr. Laird. I do not know.

The Chairman. Did any citizens come aboard ship before Mr. Stevens?

Mr. Laird. Not that I recollect.

The Chairman. Do you think you would have been aware of their presence if they had come?

Mr. Laird. I was officer of the deck. You mean Saturday.

The Chairman. On Monday morning. Mr. Stevens did not return until Monday afternoon?

Mr. Laird. He did not return until Monday afternoon.

The Chairman. I want to know if any citizen came aboad ship before Mr. Stevens came aboard.

Mr. Laird. That I can not state.

The Chairman. You were not officer of the deck?

Mr. Laird. I was officer of the deck in the afternoon, and I am quite sure none came.

The Chairman. What time did you go on duty?

Mr. Laird. At half past 12, and I was relieved at half past 3. If any citizens did come I did not see them. If any civilians came over the side and the quartermaster did not report to me he did not perform his duty. My duties would take me from the quarter-deck, and it would be the quartermaster's duty to report to me.

The Chairman. You were in charge of the color company?


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