764-765

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp764-765 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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Mr. Blount. That is amongst your papers.

Senator Dolph. I saw the letter at the time. I suppose it was shown to you in confidence because you were on the Committee on Foreign Relations of the House.

Mr. Blount. Very largely so.

Senator Dolph. Did you form any opinion at that time about Hawaiian affairs and as to the fitness of Mr. Stevens for the position he occupied?

Mr. Blount. I did not. I did not like the looks of the letter; but I think they did not make much impression on me. I went off home; I did not think much about it.

The Chairman. You had then declared your determination of retiring from Congress?

Mr. Blount. I did not intend to hold any place when I went away from here. I did not even pay my respects to the President.

The Chairman. You had determined to retire from public life?

Mr. Blount. Oh, yes.

Senator Dolph. You did not consider there was any impropriety in such a letter coming from a minister of the United States?

Mr. Blount. No. Perhaps I misunderstood what you said.

Senator Gray. Mr. Blount did not speak about the impropriety; he spoke of the impression.

Mr. Blount. Oh, I rather had an impression—it was a vague one— that it manifested some passing beyond the proprieties for an American representative in a foreign country.

Senator Dolph. That was not long before the news arrived in the United States in reference to the revolution in Hawaii, was it?

Mr. Blount. My impression is that the treaty had been negotiated at the time. The Secretary of State sent for me and expressed a desire that I would endeavor to bring the Democratic party to the point of supporting the ratification of the treaty and acceptance of annexation.

Senator Dolph. Then you saw that letter after the news of the revolution had arrived here?

Mr. Blount. That is my impression. I think I am correct.

Senator Dolph. Did you express any opinion concerning the revolution, or the part which it was alleged had been taken by Minister Stevens in connection with the same, shortly after the news arrived and while Congress was still in session?

Mr. Blount. My impression is that I avoided the subject. I recollect saying once to a newspaper correspondent when the announcement was made of the establishing of an American protectorate by the American minister that "it looked a little lively." I did not think much about it at the time; I did not care much about it; I was going away.

Senator Dolph. Have you stated what the expression was you used?

Mr. Blount. I said, " It looked a little lively." That I believe to be it.

Senator Dolph. Did you express any opinion concerning the landing of the naval forces upon the island?

Mr. Blount. No. I say that because my recollection of it is that I did not know anything about the particulars at all.

Senator Dolph. Did you form any opinion shortly after the receipt of the news of the revolution, or after the treaty had been negotiated and sent to Congress, concerning the question of annexation?

Mr. Blount. I did not form any opinion.

Senator Dolph. Or express any?

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Mr. Blount. I had some apprehension that there might have been something imprudent done there; I had no opinion.

Senator Dolph. Did you not have conversations with various persons about the affair?

Mr. Blount. Very little. I was authorized to show that paper. It was given to me in manuscript—the letter of November. I was authorized to show it to some persons, in my discretion.

Senator Dolph. The letter of Minister Stevens to the Secretary of State?

Mr. Blount. Yes.

Senator Dolph. And you were furnished a copy?

Mr. Blount. Certainly, with a view of conferring with certain persons.

Senator Dolph. Did you show it to members of the House?

Mr. Blount. I showed it to Governor MeCreary and, possibly, Mr. Hitt, and possibly some others. I do not know now.

Senator Dolph. Did you have any conversations with those people about the subject of the annexation of Hawaii?

Mr. Blount. I can not remember that I did, other than showing that paper.

Senator Dolph. Did you undertake to secure the approval of your colleagues on that committee or in the House of annexation?

Mr. Blount. No.

Senator Dolph. Did you express any opinion in favor of annexation?

Mr. Blount. I think not.

Senator Dolph. Or against it?

Mr. Blount. I think not.

Senator Dolph. You think you simply handed that persons named, and possibly others, without any conversation or suggestions with regard to that?

Mr. Blount. Oh, I have not said that.

Senator Dolph. That is what I am trying to get at.

The Chairman. Allow me to ask if that is the letter to which you refer, and of which Mr. Foster gave you a copy (referring to Executive Document of the House of Representatives No. 74, page 111 of the Report.)

Mr. Blount. I think it is.

Senator Dolph. What did you say to Mr. Foster you would do concerning his request?

Mr. Blount. I did not say to Mr. Foster that I would do anything. He showed me that letter and expressed a desire that I would endeavor to bring the Democratic party to the support of the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands.

Senator Dolph. Mr. Foster gave you a copy of that letter and made that request, and you made no response to it?

Mr. Blount. Oh, yes, I did.

Senator Dolph. I would like to know what you said to him.

Mr. Blount. I said to him, "I do not know anything about it." The paper was handed to me. He did not expect any answer. The whole thing was new to me.

Senator Dolph. You did not read it in Mr. Foster's presence?

Mr. Blount. No. He handed it to me to be read, and I said, "You have given me this paper; I can not converse with the Democrats without this paper." I had not seen the paper. Mr. Foster said, "I will leave that to your discretion."

Senator Dolph. I am asking if you expressed any opinion in the


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