748-749

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp748-749 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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that he thought justified the hoisting of the American flag—the establishment of an American protectorate there, and his idea was that it ought not to be continued.

Senator Dolph. That it ought not to be continued?

Mr. Blount. Ought not to be continued. But I understood from him that that was a matter largely in my discretion. There was no desire to make any change if it involved bloodshed. I took the impression generally that the opinion of the Secretary of State was that the flag had better be removed, if it was feasible to do it.

The Chairman. Did you receive, from the Secretary of State any orders or directions based upon his view of the merits or demerits of the revolution which was alleged to have taken place in Hawaii?

Mr. Blount. No.

The Chairman. The opinions he expressed to you, as I understand, had reference to the matter of raising the flag and removing the protectorate over the islands?

Mr. Blount. Yes; that was the extent of it.

The Chairman. That your commission—did you have a regular commission?

Mr. Blount. I think that appears in the President's communication.

Senator Gray. Your letter of appointment?

Mr. Blount. Yes.

Senator Gray. It was not a regular commission, was it?

The Chairman. Was there anything beside that letter?

Mr. Blount. Let us see what paper was there?

Senator Gray. The paper will speak for itself.

The Chairman. I did not know that it had gotten in the report.

Senator Gray. It will speak for itself, if there be nothing beside that.

Mr. Blount (referring to his report). This recites that on the 11th of March, 1893, I was appointed special commissioner to the Hawaiian Islands with instructions. These are the papers, and I guess you have the instructions in there.

The Chairman. Had you any commission independently of this?

Mr. Blount. No.

The Chairman. Did you take any oath of office?

Mr. Blount. I do not think I did—not as commissioner; I took the oath of office as minister.

The Chairman. That was later?

Mr. Blount. Yes.

The Chairman. I will come to that after awhile. Now, at the time you left here the Senate was in session, what we call executive session, rather at the time you got your appointment?

Senator Gray. We know that. It was in session from the 4th of March or 5th of March, was it not?

The Chairman. Yes. Now, state whether it was your purpose to confine yourself in your operations in Hawaii in the execution of this commission of the President to the instructions you received, having reference, of course, to the discretion which was confided to you in respect to those orders.

Mr. Blount. It was not only my purpose, but I did it as rigidly as I ever did anything in my life.

The Chairman. Was your judgment, which you have given, your opinion here in your report in regard to the situation of affairs in Hawaii, and the regularities or irregularities that attended the conduct of the minister of the United States in connection with that revolution in any wise influenced by your desire either to promote or to prevent or retard the annexation of Hawaii to the United States?

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Mr. Blount. I would hate to think so. I had the idea that I was to conduct myself in decency and pursue the inquiry with fidelity.

The Chairman. The question is asked you to enable you to give an affirmative answer.

Mr. Blount. Well, I will say no. What is the question?

The question was read as follows:

"Was your judgment which you have given, your opinion—your report in regard to the situation of affairs in Hawaii and the regularities or irregularities that had attended the conduct of the minister of the United States in connection with that revolution—in any wise influenced by your desire either to promote or to prevent or retard the annexation of Hawaii to the United States?"

Mr. Blount. I am not conscious of any such feeling. On the contrary, I was impressed when I came to the investigation with the conviction that I had very much at stake. I had confidence in the integrity and high purposes of the President, and felt that I could give him no higher offense than to misinform him. I felt that any other than a truthful, an exhaustive, and impartial examination would bring about the contempt of the American people. I was, therefore, timid— over cautious, perhaps, in all my conduct in reference to it. I kept from their social life. I did not intimate any opinion to these people one way or the other. When I left those islands nobody had any idea, so far as I could gather, what my report was. Each side claimed in the newspaper that I was in favor of it. I studiously avoided communicating anything to anybody, and I turned the facts over and over again in my mind. I felt that I was alone, without anybody on earth to consult with, counsel with, and I often felt the need of somebody to advise with. But there was no impartial person to whom I could talk at all, and so the responsibility I felt the greater, and went on in that groove to the end.

Senator Gray. Was party feeling running high there?

Mr. Blount. Very high, very high.

The Chairman. You seem to have taken some of the testimony submitted to you upon oath, and other parts are without being sworn to. Did you administer the oaths to these witnesses yourself or did you have it done by the authorities of the islands?

Mr. Blount. I had no authority to administer an oath. It was a very delicate thing for an American to call upon those people to take an oath, especially members of the Provisional Government, and wherever I had the time I would take the testimony down in shorthand, and had the stenographer write out the shorthand and the witness certify to its correctness. I used him, the stenographer, all I could in that way. The communications would come in; some of them I did not think much of, and some I did. There was no opportunity to cross-examine.

Senator Gray. Any written statements?

Mr. Blount. Written statements, yes. I did not like very much to take them. It occurred to me, I am down here, I can take these things and weigh them; I shall know all about the parties and topics and if they are not pertinent I can discard them; and when I came to make up my report I said, all these things have been here with me; I will put them in this testimony and let all go along. The statements were sometimes from one side and sometimes from another.

The Chairman. Not being authorized to administer an oath yon received such statements as they brought to you?

Mr. Blount. They would hand them to me, and I would take them and look at them.


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