736-737

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp736-737 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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-p736-

Mr. Laird. Yes.

The Chairman. Bluejackets or marines?

Mr. Laird. Blue jackets.

The Chairman. Did you carry the national colors?

Mr. Laird. Yes.

The Chairman. You say that the officers were assembled in the cabin, and that Capt. Wiltse read his orders?

Mr. Laird. Yes, read the orders and instructions that were given to Mr. Swinburn. Mr. Stevens was sitting there at the time of this conference; and after a general discussion, into which I did not enter, I turned to Capt. Wiltse and asked him, "Now, Captain, how far will these orders and instructions which you have read, carry me in case I am detached from the main command and sent off to some other part of the city?" Capt. Wiltse turned to me and said, "My desire is that you remain neutral; you are to protect the lives and property of American citizens; you have been in Honolulu four months and have been going ashore and meeting the people and I must depend a great deal upon the discretion of my officers."

The Chairman. Was there anything in the orders or instructions you received that looked to the establishment of any government different from that of the Queen?

Mr. Laird. None. The burden of the orders was to look out for the lives and property of American citizens.

Senator Frye. And that order of Capt. Wiltse was given in the presence of Mr. Stevens?

Mr. Laird. It was.

The Chairman. Did Capt. Wiltse on that occasion read any order from the Secretary of the Navy or admiral of the fleet?

Mr. Laird. No; I do not think he had any communication from the admiral of the fleet.

The Chairman. Did he read any orders to him?

Mr. Laird. I think he read an extract. I do not know what the extracts were made from. I understood one of the extracts was taken from his letter of instructions from the Department; but I can not say where they were taken from.

The Chairman. The authority and the intervention he made there were discussed?

Mr. Laird. No; we did not discuss; we had not the right.

The Chairman. I mean, they were explained by him.

Mr. Laird. Yes. His explanation, after reading over these instructions, was general—that we were sent ashore for the protection of life and property of American citizens. That was the burden of it. The instructions were contained on a piece of paper the size of that (indicating an ordinary note sheet).

The Chairman. At the time you left the ship, had you any knowledge of the existence of a committee of safety in Honolulu?

Mr. Laird. I knew by hearsay that such a committee had been formed.

The Chairman. Did you know anything about the Provisional Government having been established ?

Mr. Young. No.

The Chairman. Your information was that there had been a committee of safety organized?

Mr. Laird. Yes.

The Chairman. Proceed and state how you landed and what you did over there.

-p737-

Mr. Laird. The boats landed at Brewer's wharf at about quarter to 5. The battalion was formed on Queen street, marched up Queen to Fort street. On Fort street the battalion was halted in front of the U. S. consulate. Here the marines under command of Lieut. Draper were detached with instructions to protect the U. S. consulate and the U. S. legation.

The Chairman. Up what streets did you march?

Mr. Laird. Queen, Fort, Merchant, and King streets.

The Chairman. Abreast of the consulate, and there the detachment was made?

Mr. Laird. Yes, and there Mr. Draper was given orders to guard the consulate and to send part of his force up the valley to the minister's residence. About one-fifth of the whole command was detached.

The Chairman. So that the consulate was left in the hands of that officer?

Mr. Laird. Left in the hands of Mr. Draper.

The Chairman. Well?

Mr. Laird. The main body marched up Fort to Merchant, from Merchant to King, and out the King street road. The Queen was standing on the balcony of the palace as we passed. We gave the royal salute by drooping the colors and a blast from the trumpet. We went a half mile beyond the palace and came to the halt. There I went to Lieut. Commander Swinburne and said that something should be done to house the men, as the weather was threatening.

The Chairman. What time was that?

Mr. Laird. About half past 5 o'clock.

The Chairman. Was it dark?

Mr. Laird. It was not dark.

Senator Frye. Whom did you go to?

Mr. Laird. Lieut. Commander Swinburne; and he turned over the command of the infantry to me and went to see some of the citizens. Mr. Gunn was in the neighborhood, on horseback, and I think Mr. Charles Carter was there. Lieut. Commander Swinburne told me that Capt. Wiltse was down the street seeing if he could not find some covering for the men that night. When we went ashore we did not expect to remain more than a day or two at the most. We then marched up to Mr. Atherton's place, we stacked arms, and the men bivouacked there until 10 o'clock before a place was found.

Senator Frye. Did it rain?

Mr. Laird. It did; there were casual showers; quite a number of light showers passed over during the time we were there. We got under way about 10 o'clock and started down the street. In order not to make any disturbance, the music was stopped. We halted in front of Arion Hall. I did not know before that there was such a place. It is situated immediately back of the opera house on Palace Square. It was used as a Mormon church, and all the chairs and all the paraphernalia were on the floor. A detachment was sent in and the hall prepared for occupancy; the men spread their blankets on the floor and on the front and back verandas.

The Chairman. As you marched up the street during your progress there, did you see any bodies of people assembled anywhere?

Mr. Laird. No, not more than usual. Natives were grouped around, and there was quite a group around the palace gate. But I would not call it a body of people. They were immediately around the palace gate and Government building gate.

The Chairman. You speak of lolani Palace?

S. Doc. 231, pt 6----47


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