834-835

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp834-835 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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company of 36 men was withdrawn, and that, with the casualties that occurred, left the force on shore about 90 men; I think less than that.

Senator Gray. What do you mean by casualties?

Mr. Swinburne. Some men sent on board ship for punishment, and quite a number sent onboard sick. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 to 90 men left, including the drum corps and color guard.

The Chairman. At what time did Admiral Skerrett come into the harbor?

Mr. Swinburne. I forget the date of his arrival; but it was after the flag was hoisted.

The Chairman. On what ship did he come?

Mr. Swinburne. The Mohican.

The Chairman. Is that his flagship?

Mr. Swinburne. Yes.

The Chairman. What was Admiral Skerrett's command?

Mr. Swinburne. The Pacific Station.

The Chairman. That included Hawaii?

Mr. Swinburne. That included Hawaii; yes.

The Chairman. How long did Capt. Wiltse remain on the Boston after Admiral Skerrett's arrival?

Mr. Swinburne. My impression is that he remained until about the 5th of March, when he was relieved by Capt. B. F. Day.

The Chairman. Did he leave on account of sickness?

Mr. Swinburne. He left because of the termination of his cruise. He was there a little longer than the termination of his cruise. Two years is now the ordinary term of a captain at sea; that had expired in February, and in the ordinary course of routine Capt. Day was sent out to relieve him.

The Chairman. How long did Capt. Wiltse live after that?

Mr. Swinburne. I have forgotten the date of his death—probably six weeks or two months.

The Chairman. After he arrived in the United States?

Mr. Swinburne. After he arrived in the United States. He had been apparently in good health; but he had one stroke of apoplexy while he was attached to the ship. I was not surprised.

The Chairman. Are those the orders under which you left the ship with that detachment (exhibiting paper)?

Mr. Swinburne. Yes.

The Chairman. They are as follows:

U. S. S. Boston, Second-rate,
Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, January 16,1893.
Lieut. Commander W. T. Swinburne,
U. S. Navy, Executive Officer U.S.S. Boston:
Sir: You will take command of the battalion and land in Honolulu for the purpose of protecting our legation, consulate, and the lives and property of American citizens, and to assist in preserving public order.
Great prudence must be exercised by both officers and men, and no action taken that is not fully warranted by the condition of affairs and by the conduct of those who may be inimical to the treaty rights of American citizens.
You will inform me at the earliest practicable moment of any change in the situation.
Very respectfully,
G. C. Wiltse,
Captain, U. S. Navy, Commanding U.S.S. Boston.
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What time of day were these orders delivered to you?

Mr. Swinburne. About half past 4 on the afternoon of the 16th.

The Chairman. When you received these orders did you receive any personal or private instructions from Capt. Wiltse in addition?

Mr. Swinburne. None at all, except what I have stated in regard to where we were to go.

The Chairman. Did you at that time know of the formation of a provisional government in Hawaii?

Mr. Swinburne. No; not at all. In fact I knew nothing about that until Mr. Carter spoke of it on Tuesday afternoon.

The Chairman. That was the first knowledge you had?

Mr. Swinburne. That was the first knowledge I had.

The Chairman. So that, in landing with those troops you were not landed for the purpose of protecting the Provisional Government.

Mr. Swinburne. Not the slightest.

The Chairman. Or inaugurating a provisional government?

Mr. Swinburne. Not at all.

The Chairman. You were not certain that you were to do anything more than to protect the----

Mr. Swinburne. Protect American property and the lives of citizens— particularly the property. There had been always a feeling during the time we were there that we were there to look out, in the event of any domestic disturbance in the islands, that no harm came to the Americans or their property in any way.

The Chairman. You are not certain whether that order to assist in preserving public order related to the Queen's Government or any other government?

Mr. Swinburne. I supposed it to mean the Queen's Government; that was my interpretation. There was no other government when I landed.

The Chairman. So that, if the Queen had addressed to you a request to preserve the public order, or if you had found that the public order was being disturbed by opposition to her, you would have felt required to respond?

Mr. Swinburne. That request would have come through the minister to me, merely to preserve order. I did not know that I was there to fight her battles any more than anybody else's. I was there to preserve order; protect the peaceful rights of citizens in the town. I should have been ready if called upon to lend a hand.

Senator Gray. You were going to prevent fighting?

Mr. Swinburne. I was going to prevent any fighting that endangered peaceable American citizens in the town.

Senator Gray. Did Capt. Wiltse say anything to you, or in your presence say anything about preventing any fighting in the town, or not allowing any fighting in the town?

Mr. Swinburne. No; not at all.

Senator Gray. Never did?

Mr. Swinburne. No.

Senator Gray. That if they wanted to fight they would have to go outside?

Mr. Swinburne. The order said, I thought, no more than to see that peaceable citizens were not interfered with.

Senator Gray. Did Capt. Wiltse say that if there was to be any fighting it should be out of town?

Mr. Swinburne. No; he said nothing to me about fighting at all. We had no discussion of the orders.


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