750-751

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp750-751 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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Now, Mr. Chairman, there is one statement that this observation does not apply to, and as you have invited my attention to the matter I think it proper to say this. You will find a statement there in the form of a colloquy between W. O. Smith and Mr. Cooper and Mr. Cassell. The circumstances about that I wish to state. On one occasion I said to the President and members of his cabinet, "I would be very glad to have the statement of you gentlemen at any time if it is agreeable to you."

The Chairman. You are referring now to President Dole and his cabinet?

Mr. Blount. Yes. "I can conceive of reasons why you might not desire to do it." I did not state what they were, and they made no response and gave no indication of a desire to be examined. The attorney-general---

The Chairman. Who was he?

Mr. Blount. W. O. Smith. He came one day, as he did often, to the house where I stopped, and I said to him, "I would like to examine you." He agreed to it.

Senator Gray. He agreed to it.

Mr. Blount. He agreed to it. The time came for him to be examined and he said, "I would rather not be examined. I will bring you a paper, which is the history of the revolution, prepared by myself and some other gentlemen, and I will hand that to you." He brought this paper. He said it contained most of the history of the revolution, some unimportant matters only were omitted. I said, "Would you object to my seeing those?"

Senator Gray. Seeing what?

Mr. Blount. The unimportant matters. It was something left out. He hesitated and said, "Well, I will speak to Mr. Dole about it." I afterwards mentioned it to him again, and he answered he had not. I think that was about it. I did not pursue the matter further. You can readily understand my relations to the Provisional Government; they were of very great delicacy. Mr. Cooper, another gentleman in this colloquy, I invited to be examined. He came at a time when somebody else was being examined. I was a good deal crowded by lack of clerical force, and said to Judge Cooper, "Won't you sit down and write me out carefully a statement of the facts of this revolution?" He said, "Yes." Well, he apologized for not doing it once or twice on account of his court. But this paper never came. He never alluded to the matter again.

The Chairman. Did he not bring the paper to you or send it to you?

Mr. Blount. Mr. Smith brought a paper.

The Chairman. After that Judge Cooper never made any statement to you?

Mr. Blount. Never made any statement.

The Chairman. I want to ask you whether opportunity was accorded by you to all the members of that Provisional Government to make their statements of the history of the transaction?

Mr. Blount. As I have already stated on my own motion, I said to the President and cabinet together, I would be very glad to examine you gentlemen.

The Chairman. And what you have put in your report is all you have received in reply to that suggestion?

Mr. Blount. Everything in the world.

Senator Butler. I see in some criticisms of the testimony which you have taken, quite severe attacks upon the character of some of the witnesses. Did you adopt the usual method of ascertaining the quality

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of the testimony, if I may use that expression, examine such witnesses as were available?

Mr. Blount. Before I examined any witnesses I received everybody, heard what everybody said, and saw a good deal of the people, and judged as best I might as to the character of the witnesses. You can readily see that with this statement I could not pursue the methods that I would pursue here. If I were to go into the matter of the examination of the witness, say of the royalist side, and his statement was made known to the public immediately, you would find an outcry perhaps in the press about treasonable purposes, about opposing the Government, etc. There was an intense amount of feeling, and therefore I could not, on the ground of these attacks, do as suggested. If they had not been made in the press, I knew these feelings existed. Whom could I call on to say would you believe this man on his oath? I never allowed, so far as I could govern it, any one to know whom I had examined. I never allowed an annexationist to know I had examined a royalist, and never allowed a royalist to know I had examined an annexationist. The secrecy of my examination was the only way in which I could make a full investigation.

Senator Butler. In other words, you availed yourself of the best testimony you could get under the circumstances?

Mr. Blount. I did.

The Chairman. The communications that were made to you, I understand from your statements, you kept entirely secret?

Mr. Blount. Nobody saw them until they were seen in this country, in this Capitol, besides myself and my stenographer.

The Chairman. I will ask you, in the disturbed state of affairs in Hawaii, whether it would or would not have been impracticable to have obtained a full statement, frank statement, about the participation of these men in the revolution on the one side or the other, because of an apprehension in certain events they might be held responsible by whichever Government proved to be the permanent Government?

Mr. Blount. Possibly so. I am quite sure that that was true in reference to the people who were not in power, and I rather think the President and cabinet preferred not to be examined, because of the changes that might occur. But I could not say that I could give you tangible, substantial reasons for it. It was that I had in mind—I did not tell them so—when I said, "I should like to have your testimony; I can conceive of reasons why you might not want to testify."

Senator Gray. Your feelings and theirs both were ones of delicacy?

Mr. Blount. Yes.

The Chairman. And on the other hand there might be apprehension in the change of government of criminal prosecutions, because of the information they might give to you?

Mr. Blount. What their reason was I might conjecture, and it would not, perhaps, be the correct one.

The Chairman. I was asking you what your conjecture was—an opinion was—on that proposition, and whether that made it necessary, in your judgment, that you should observe this very conservative course.

Mr. Blount. That is what guided me in my approaches to the subject.

The Chairman. When you got to Hawaii, to whom did you report, to what Government?

Mr. Blount. To the Provisional Government.

The Chairman. Did you exhibit your letter of authority to the Provisional Government?

Mr. Blount. No.

The Chairman. Did you inform the Provisional Government of the


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