From TheMorganReport
Jump to: navigation, search
Previous Page Next Page

Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp808-809 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

Text Only


financially. The latter, because that the solid moneyed people of the country had lost all confidence in the Government, which was not then able to meet demands against it, particularly withdrawals from the postal Savings bank, which were increasing until there was almost a panic; and politically, because the course of the Queen during the whole course of the legislative session had been such as to cause a total loss of confidence of nearly the whole of the white portion of the Legislature and of the business people of the community.

For ten days prior to noon of Saturday, January 14, the day that the Queen attempted her revolutionary act, the U.S.S. Boston with Minister Stevens on board had not been in port. There had been no revolutionary meetings or conferences; such a thing had not been thought of. There had not been any consultation with Minister Stevens with regard to the matter, though of course he must have seen what a perilous condition the country was getting into. There were several meetings at the office of W.O. Smith, that day after the attempted promulgation of the new constitution. I was not present at the first impromptu gathering; at that meeting I was named as one of the committee of safety. A telephonic message was sent to me to meet the committee that evening, and again we met at his office. The only business done besides talking over matters was the appointment of the committee to canvass and report what arms and ammunition and how many men could be secured.

Another committee was appointed, of which I was a member, to call upon Minister Resident John L. Stevens to discuss the situation. We went at once and talked over the whole matter, and we asked what his course would be should we take possession of the Government and declare a Provisional Government. Mr. Stevens replied that if we obtained possession of the Government building and the archives and established a Government, and became in fact the Government, he should of course recognize us. The matter of landing the troops from the Boston was not mentioned at that meeting.

The next meeting of the committee of safety was held at W. R. Castle's house, where we were in session a good part of the day. We reported the result of our conference and received the report of the committee on arms and ammunition; after further discussion of the situation, we finally decided to call a mass meeting, and thereby ascertain the exact sentiment of the community.

The next meeting of the committee was at Thurston's office, Monday morning, at 9 o'clock. During its session Marshal Wilson came and warned us not to hold a mass meeting. Some negotiations had been going on between members of the Queen's cabinet and Mr. Thurston, on behalf of the committee of safety, of which I knew nothing except the fact of such conference; but at that meeting I was appointed one of a committee to wait on the cabinet to receive their communication in answer to the matter discussed by them with Thurston. We went to the government building and met the cabinet; they stated that they declined any further negotiations. I asked Minister Parker what was the meaning of their calling a mass meeting at the same hour at which ours was called; he replied to keep people from going to your meeting. The mass meeting called by the committee was held at 2 o'clock, and, in spite of threats and opposition, was an immense and overwhelming affair, with but one sentiment, and that was to resist further aggression ol the Queen.

At the request of many citizens, whose wives and families were helpless and in terror of an expected uprising of the mob, which would burn and destroy, a request was made and signed by all of the committee,


addressed to Minister Stevens, that troops might be landed to protect houses and private property. It was not presented until after the mass meeting. About 4 o'clock in the afternoon another meeting of the committee of safety was held, at which it was decided to make the attempt to overthrow the monarchy and establish a Provisional Government. Troops were landed about 5 p.m. from the Boston, about 150, 1 should think. A squad was stationed at the residence of the United States Minister, another at the consulate, and the remainder were lodged, after considerable delay in procuring suitable quarters, at Arion Hall. It seemed to be the only available building that night, and it was also a very central location without regard to any of the government buildings.

I was not present at the next meeting of the committee, which was held that Monday evening at the house of Henry Waterhouse. Another meeting of the committee of safety was held Tuesday morning, at which arangements were completed. The executive and advisory councils were appointed and the proclamation was prepared; it was well known through the town that we would attempt to take the Government that day; the plan was for the two councils to meet the volunteer forces at 3 p.m. at the Government building. We were assured of a force of at least 150 well-armed men at that time. At half past 2 o'clock a wagon loaded with guns and ammunition, on its way through the town to the point of rendezvous, was attacked by some policemen, who attempted to capture it. Our guard shot and wounded one of the police officers, whereupon they desisted and the arms and ammunition were duly delivered. The incident caused great excitement, during which the two councils proceeded to the Government building, getting there about twenty minutes ahead of our forces. On our arrival we asked for the cabinet, and were informed that they had gone to the station house.

We then took possession in the name of the Provisional Government, and the proclamation was then read at the front door. During the reading our forces began to arrive, and in a few minutes we had not less than 130 well-armed and determined men, and after that they continued to arrive all the rest of the day. We had been at the building but a short time when a messenger, Deputy Marshal Mehrtens, arrived from the station house. He asked President Dole to call on the cabinet at the station house for a conference. President Dole informed the messenger that he was at the headquarters of the Government, and if they wished any conference they would have to come there, and assured their messenger of their safety in coming, and stated that a military escort would be furnished if needed. Shortly after two of the ministers, Parker and Corwell I think, came up, followed soon by the other two. On learning that they had not read the proclamation, it was read to them, and a demand was made for the immediate surrender of the station house. It was then getting towards dark, and Parker said he would like to have the matter settled before night to avoid collisions in the street. He said, " I see you have a good many armed men here." He asked if, before giving the answer, they be allowed to confer with the Queen. President Dole said it would be allowed, provided representatives from the new Government were present, and Mr. Damon was sent with them.

Soon after reading the proclamation, notice was sent to all the foreign and diplomatic and other representatives stating the facts and asking that the new Government be recognized. Not very long after this, messengers from Minister Stevens came to see whether the new Government was actually in possession of the Government building,

Previous Page Next Page