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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp746-747 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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a telegram. I do not recollect its purport. I meant to give them to understand that I would come on to Washington.

The Chairman. When you came here you were informed of the place to which you were to be sent and the nature of your mission?

Mr. Blount. When I got here I went to see Mr. Hoke Smith, the Secretary of the Interior, and we went over to see the President, to pay my respects. I learned from Mr. Smith, not from the President, that the object in sending me over to the Hawaiian Islands was to make an investigation in regard to the revolution.

The Chairman. At that time did you have any prepossessions in regard to the condition of affairs in Hawaii?

Mr. Blount. No.

The Chairman. You had formed no fixed opinions about it?

Mr. Blount. No. Two years ago, when I was chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the House of Representatives, Mr. Thurston, with Mr. Mott Smith, came to the committee room and wanted to know if the Democratic party would consent to the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands. I said to him, without telling him my reasons, "You had better see the Secretary of State about it."

The Chairman. Was that while John W. Foster was Secretary of State?

Mr. Blount. I do not know. I think he was not at that time.

The Chairman. Blaine then was Secretary of State?

Mr. Blount. Blaine. Did I say Foster?

The Chairman. No; I asked if Foster was Secretary of State.

Mr. Blount. He said to me, "I am a member of the Legislature and I mean to endeavor to bring about the annexation of the islands." Mr. Smith heard it. I said nothing at all; I had no authority at all from anybody on the subject, and I did not think I ought to be talking, especially to a gentleman who came in there talking about a movement of that sort. I thought he was a pretty uppish sort of person, and thought no more about it. Mr. Foster sometime in the month of February showed me a letter from Mr. Stevens, of November 20.

Senator Gray. November 20, 1892?

Mr. Blount. I think that was the date. I saw the newspaper accounts, and I was a little apprehensive; I thought there might be something wrong. But I had no idea about the condition of things at all

The Chairman. Has that letter been printed ?

Mr. Blount. Yes. The opinion that I reached was developed by events after I got there.

The Chairman. Got to Hawaii?

Mr. Blount. Yes. I was never more determined to be careful and hear the truth than I was on that occasion. The situation I was in was rather painful to me. I met those people on one side and the other with a great deal of freedom. It was important for me not to take any position one way or the other, because the most simple thing I might say would be likely to be construed as significant; so that I was left without anybody to consult, and it made my progress very slow. For some weeks in my house there was not fifteen minutes interval that there was not somebody there, from the time I got my breakfast until bed time at night—people of the several political parties; all were as cordial and as courteous as they could be.

Senator GRAY. On both sides of this question?

Mr. Blount. Yes.

The Chairman. YOU were visited by the native population of Hawaii? I call them the Kanakas.


Mr. Blount. Yes. I was visited by all. I felt I was there to make an investigation, and I thought it was my duty to see the people.

The Chairman. Did they come there voluntarily to see you, or did you send out for them?

Mr. Blount. They came voluntarily. The truth of it is, it got to this point that I commenced to take testimony, and I was so much interrupted that I saw that it was necessary for me to fix a time for work and the time when I would see anybody. So that I refused to see anybody except the Government officials until after 2 o'clock each day.

The Chairman. We will get back to the starting point of this matter. When you saw the President did you have any conversation with him about the objects of your mission to Hawaii?

Mr. Blount. NO, not especially. He seemed to understand that I was there for the purpose of making the investigation.

The Chairman. My question referred to the President of the United States.

Mr. Blount. Repeat the question.

The question was read as follows:

"When you saw the President did you have any conversation with him about the objects of your mission to Hawaii?"

Mr. Blount. No.

The Chairman. Did the President undertake to inform you of his opinions in regard to the situation in Hawaii?

Mr. Blount. Not in the slightest degree. And I never had at that time nor after I left any intimation as to what the President thought about it or felt. I was impressed with the belief that he wanted information.

The Chairman. Did he intimate or indicate in any way whether he was in favor of or opposed to the annexation of the islands?

Mr. Blount. Not in the slightest. On the contrary, he said to me— just a casual thing—"I understand from Mr. Springer that the Democrats in the House of Representatives are inclined to favor annexation." Seemed to be an inquiry. I said "I think Mr. Springer is in error about that; my impression is that the feeling in the House is that the members are not satisfactorily informed." He seemed, then, as though he had made a mistake, and said, "I ought not to have mentioned that," and he never said anything more. The impression made on my mind was that he was afraid he might give me some impression of his opinion or inclination.

The Chairman. Was that impression changed in any communication that you had with him at any time before you went to Hawaii?

Mr. Blount. Never.

The Chairman. From whom did you receive your instructions as to the mission you were to perform?

Mr. Blount. From the Secretary of State.

The Chairman. Were the instructions in writing?

Mr. Blount. Yes.

The Chairman. Are they set forth in your report?

Mr. Blount. Yes.

The Chairman. Did you receive from the Secretary of State any instructions except those that are in writing?

Mr. Blount. I did not.

The Chairman. That, then, was the limit and the bound of your authority and course in Hawaii?

Mr. Blount. Yes. I might, perhaps, say that the Secretary of State expressed the opinion that there was no principle of international law

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