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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp824-825 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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months. Minister Stevens was anxious to visit Hilo and other places on the islands, and would not have another opportunity, as he expected to go home in April, and he thought that would be a good opportunity to visit Hawaii, which he had not seen.

The Chairman. You mean the island of Hawaii?

Mr. Swinburne. The island of Hawaii. I said to the captain: "It seems to me it is rather risky for us to leave the island at this time; the legislature will hardly remain in session more than two or three weeks longer, and we have stayed here now four months; it seems to me it is not worth while to go just now." The captain said: "The Wilcox-Jones ministry can not be voted out; I am certain of that; I have looked at the situation, and I am satisfied the Queen can not get votes enough to bring in a vote of want of confidence; besides that, the minister has looked into the situation, and you do not think he would leave the island if the Wilcox-Jones ministry could be ousted?" I said nothing more about it. We sailed to Hilo on the 4th of January, and finished up our target practice in Lahaina on the evening of the 13th.

The Chairman. There was no appearance of agitation at that time?

Mr. Swinburne. Not the slightest; everything looked perfectly safe. On the evening of the 13th we anchored off Lahaina, intending to get under way at midnight and return to Honolulu. I went to bed early, because I had to be up at midnight, and when I got up at midnight I heard that a steamer had arrived from Honolulu and brought some papers. I picked them up and, much to my surprise, found that the lottery and opium bills had been passed and the Wilcox-Jones ministry voted out. Of course everybody was quite taken aback; still we did not anticipate any particular trouble.

The Chairman. Before you got this intelligence from the little island steamer were you aware of the existence of any plot, scheme, conspiracy, or combination for the purpose of dethroning the Queen or for the purpose of annexing the islands to the United States?

Mr. Swinburne. None at all.

The Chairman. It never occurred to you?

Mr. Swinburne. It never occurred to me. If that ministry had remained in, or an equally responsible ministry had been put in, everything could have remained as it was. Of course there was an immense opposition on the part of the foreign population to this lottery bill.

The Chairman. By foreign population do you mean the white population?

Mr. Swinburne. The white population.

The Chairman. Whether they were citizens or not?

Mr. Swinburne. Citizens or not.

The Chairman. They were all called foreigners?

Mr. Swinburne. Yes. Those born in the islands are spoken of as Hawaiians, as a rule. In fact, an enormous petition was sent to the Queen, signed by the white ladies of the island, which petition was spoken of as the "mothers' petition." It was against this lottery bill.

The Chairman. When you got back to Honolulu—got into the harbor— how long did Minister Stevens remain aboard the vessel?

Mr. Swinburne. He could not have remained aboard more than an hour. In fact, so soon as it was convenient to get a boat off, he left. I do not think it could have been an hour.

The Chairman. Do you know whether Minister Stevens' daughter came out for him?


Mr. Swinburne. Yes; his daughter came out; and my impression is Mr. Severance came on board.

The Chairman. He is the consul-general?

Mr. Swinburne. He is the consul-general.

The Chairman. Did the young lady, Miss Stevens, come on board?

Mr. Swinburne. No.

The Chairman. You are sure Mr. Severance did?

Mr. Swinburne. I am pretty sure he did. Mr. Stevens went on shore in the captain's gig, and very shortly afterward Lieut. Young went ashore to represent the ship at the prorogation of the Parliament, which took place at noon.

The Chairman. That is the ceremony which the ship's officers were expected to participate in in conformity with the customs of Hawaii?

Mr. Swinburne. Yes. Mr. Young was detailed to that duty by Capt. Wiltse.

The Chairman. Do you know how long it was after Mr. Stevens left the Boston on Saturday morning until he returned to the ship?

Mr. Swinburne. I do not remember to have seen him on board again until Monday afternoon, about 2 o'clock.

The Chairman. Being the executive officer of the ship, if Mr. Stevens had come on board, would you have known it?

Mr. Swinburne. Without a doubt, unless he should have come when I was on shore, and then Mr. Moore would have known it.

The Chairman. At the time he left the Boston, had you heard of any outbreak or hostile demonstration of any kind amongst the people in Honolulu?

Mr. Swinburne. None at all. But I knew from all the conversation during all these many months that the Legislature had been in session, about the passage of the lottery bill and the character of the new ministry, the people must be very much excited. They were a perfectly irresponsible set of men as ministers.

The Chairman. Do you remember whether any messengers came back to the ship from Lieut. Young, bearing messages to Capt. Wiltse in regard to the situation of affairs in Honolulu on Saturday?

Mr. Swinburne. I do not. I was very busy Saturday morning mooring the ship, getting her settled, and I do not recall now exactly what time Mr. Young returned, nor exactly what time he went ashore; but it was sometime before lunch, before 12 o'clock.

The Chairman. At what time did you commence making military preparations on board the Boston for the landing of troops?

Mr. Swinburne. On Saturday afternoon, at the usual time for making out the liberty lists. It is customary while in port to make out liberty lists before 12 o'clock on Saturday; that was their best day and I was so busy I could not attend to it; but immediately after lunch I went to the cabin to speak to the captain about the liberty list. He said, "Don't let any men go ashore at all; everything is in a chaotic state; I do not know when we will be called upon to protect property, and I do not want the men to leave the ship. Notify all the officers to return on board ship when a gun is fired." I was not very much surprised, because we had been there for months to protect property and American citizens.

The Chairman. You understood that was your purpose in the harbor there?

Mr. Swinburne. Yes.

The Chairman. For months?

Mr. Swinburne. For months; yes

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