752-753

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp752-753 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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nature and purposes and extent of the commission and powers which you had been entrusted with in visiting the islands?

Mr. Blount. I did not.

The Chairman. What information did you give to President Dole?

Senator Gray. They were confidential, were they not?

Mr. Blount. They were confidential. You will see what the President communicated to me in the papers.

The Chairman. You gave no information to that Government of your instructions?

Mr. Blount. No, not for some time.

The Chairman. After a while we will get at what you did. But what you did then was, I suppose, to deliver the letter of the President of the United States to the President of the Provisional Government?

Mr. Blount. Yes. Well, I got to meeting them in a casual way, and there would be references to the examination, but no discussion of it. My time was taken up in making examinations.

The Chairman. How far did you put the Provisional Government in possession of knowledge of your authority as commissioner to the Hawaiian Islands?

Mr. Blount. I never gave them any information in reference to the matter—I mean direct, official communication—until I published the instructions that I was acting under.

The Chairman. When did you publish those instructions?

Mr. Blount: That appears in the correspondence with the State Department. I have not seen it for six months.

The Chairman. Did you publish them in the newspapers?

Mr. Blount. All the newspapers of Honolulu.

The Chairman. What was your object in making public those instructions?

Mr. Blount. All sorts of conjectures as to what my powers were and the purposes of the Administration through me. For instance, there would be a claim on the part of the royalists that I was going to restore the Queen at a certain time; and on the other hand there would be a declaration on the part of the annexationists after the troops were ordered back to the vessel, on the appearance of any disorder I would bring them back for the purpose of suppressing it. The impression was that I would not allow a move of any political party there looking to a change of the Government, and I felt it to be my duty to inform those people, both sides, that I was not there to take any part either with one party or the other with reference to their affairs; that I should protect American citizens in their lives and property while they were observing the laws of the land and not participating in the conflict.

The Chairman. In order to give confidence and assurance to the people of Hawaii in the midst of these conjectures that were being made, you thought it was best to publish your instructions?

Mr. Blount. I ought to say that I had corresponded with the Secretary of State about these misapprehensions, and he authorized me in my discretion to publish them, and I did it promptly.

The Chairman. In what way were you received by the Provisional Government, in a friendly or in a reluctant way?

Mr. Blount. As friendly as I could desire or anybody could desire.

The Chairman. Did the President of the Provisional Government indicate to you that you were welcome in Hawaii as the representative of the United States Government?

Mr. Blount. Oh, yes.

The Chairman. Did you report to or have any official correspondence

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with Liliuokalani or her cabinet, or the cabinet that existed at the time of her abdication?

Mr. Blount. I never had any communication with her in any way until certain persons appeared there and were reputed to be authorized by the President to negotiate for her abdication. I think that is all printed.

Senator Gray. What is it?

Mr. Blount. Certain persons there claiming to have authority from the President of the United States to negotiate for the Queen's abdication.

The Chairman. Who were those persons?

Mr. Blount. I think their names appear in the printed papers—Dr. Bowen, correspondent of the New York World, and a Mr. Sewell.

The Chairman. It turned out that they had no such authority?

Mr. Blount. Yes. I thought the President of the Provisional Government and the Queen herself both ought to be informed that this was not true. I sent to Mr. Dole. I asked him to come to my house, which he did. I told him the circumstances, and that these gentlemen had no such authority. He said, "Well, would you object to its being stated you think the Queen's abdication would simplify the situation?" I said I would. I feel that I am authorized in saying that the Government of the United States has nothing to do with this matter one way or the other, and I had nothing to say for or against the measure. I had no authority from the Government, and until I had, did not want the name of the United States Government connected with it.

Senator Gray. If it could be brought about by the intervention of those gentlemen, without the United States Government having anything to do with it, you would have nothing to say about it?

Mr. Blount. No. Some hours after I called on Mr. Dole and said I have never called on the Queen; never called because I was afraid it would be misapprehended, misconstrued; because it was not proper conduct considering my relations to your Government. But I feel now that I ought to go to see her and say to her in connection with this matter what I have said to you. He said he could not see any impropriety in it. I went and stayed two or three minutes, making the same representation that I did to President Dole.

Senator Gray. The Queen speaks English?

Mr. Blount. She speaks English; but she evidently was very wary. She did not know what to make of me or the Government, and said very little. I left her. I did ask a member of her cabinet to inquire of her if she would not be willing to furnish me a copy of the constitution she proposed to proclaim.

Senator Butler. The one which was supposed to have been promulgated?

The Chairman. Promulgated and destroyed?

Mr. Blount. The one she proposed to promulgate. The answer was made she would do so. It was not done for a long while. I do not know why, but finally the paper was brought to me by some person, I do not know whom now. I sent for the members of the cabinet.

The Chairman. The Queen's cabinet?

Mr. Blount. Her cabinet. To see if they recognized that paper, and they agreed to all except one proposition. It contained a property qualification on voters for the legislative body, not nobles, but representatives, and they disagreed with her as to that.

The Chairman. Said that was not part of the paper as they understood?

Mr. Blount. Yes. They did not think there was any property

S. Doc. 231, pt 6----48


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