840-841

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp840-841 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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Mr. Swinburne. No.

The Chairman. You mean you were not on shore?

Mr. Swinburne. I was not there at all. Mr. Stevens was still minister when I left, and Mr. Blount was there taking testimony. You see, I left there the 11th of May.

The Chairman. And this letter I have been reading from is dated December.

Mr. Swinburne. Yes.

The Chairman. I now read from Mr. Willis's letter:

"The President's attention had been called by you to the evidence contained in Mr. Blount's report showing the extraordinary complications and dangers surrounding this community, among which were the racial prejudices, the intense feeling consequent upon the dethronement of the constitutional sovereign, the presence of so many different nationalities—Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Americans, and English— in such large numbers and with such diverse traits and interests, the possibility that the Japanese, now numbering more than one-fifth of the male population of the islands, might take advantage of the condition of affairs to demand suffrage and through it to obtain control of the Government, together with the discontent of the native Hawaiians at the loss of their Government and of the rights secured under it.
"In addition to these facts I was fully apprised by you in your personal conversations of the presence here of many lawless and disorderly characters, owing allegiance to neither party, who would gladly take advantage of the excitement and general derangement of affairs to indulge in rapine and mob violence; and also of the conflict between the active responsible representatives of the Provisional Government and certain men who were not officially connected with it, but who had undertaken to dictate its policy. The danger from this last source I found upon arriving here was much greater than you had supposed. As I stated to you in my dispatch, No. 2, of November 10, the President and ministers of the Provisional Government and a large per cent of those who support them are men of high character and of large material interests in the islands. These men have been inclined to a conservative course toward the Hawaiians.
"They had placed in the police and fire departments, and also in many other more important offices, native Hawaiians, thus endeavoring to conciliate the friendship and support of the 40,000 natives of the country. The irresponsible element referred to were pressing for a change of this wise and patriotic policy and insisting that they should be invested with all power, thus intensifying and aggravating the racial feeling already too extreme. Many of these men were open in their threats against the life of the Queen. They have even gone as far in the public prints and elsewhere as to threaten the representatives of the Provisional Government in the event they should listen to the President's supposed policy of peaceful settlement, if it involved the restoration of the Queen.
"Besides this danger, which would have been precipitated by any premature announcement of the policy of our Government, there was another danger deserving serious attention.
"The native Hawaiians, under the wise advice of their best native leaders, supplemented by that of many sympathizing foreigners, have maintained the policy of peace during the settlement of this question. While, however, they have been always known as a peaceful and law-abiding people, the evidence of the most thoughtful men in these Islands, including Mr. Damon, the present minister of finance, called
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attention to the fact that under proper leadership they might collect quite an effective and aggressive following; hence his opinion given to Mr. Blount while here and to me since that a strong force should be retained by the Provisional Government or else trouble might result from a sudden attack on their part."

Now, I wish to ask whether or not during the period you were there Mr. Willis has, in your judgment, correctly described the attitude of the different elements in Hawaii—Honolulu—and also the state of feeling— the temper of the people during that time?

Mr. Swinburne. During the time that I was on shore there seemed to be most of the time—everything was perfectly quiet—I felt there did exist a class of irresponsible men who, in the event of an outbreak, might take advantage of that to plunder or burn or destroy property, and it was that element I feared I would have to cope with when I was sent ashore to protect American interests. Those were the people I expected to have trouble with. So far as the average natives themselves— the ordinary class of natives, not the members of the legislature or leaders—were concerned, they appeared to be perfectly indifferent; they were always interested in our drills, always collected in large numbers to watch them. I could not see that they had any feeling against us whatever; they never exhibited it in any way.

The policemen throughout the city while I was on shore were natives, the majority of them. I could not see that they had any feeling against us at all. I knew quite a number of young men, halfcaste young men, who were in public office. I rather thought they had a bitter feeling against our people. But I myself imagined that that came from some fancied feeling of loss of social rank through the change in the Government—such as annexation to the United States. They were half-castes; they were young men in society there (this is my own idea), and, of course, I always felt that they were more bitter at the fact of any change in the future of the islands—that the annexation of the islands to this country would change their position; they would not have as good social position as they had before.

The Chairman. Were they a respectable class of men?

Mr. Swinburne. Oh, perfectly so.

The Chairman. Well educated?

Mr. Swinburne. Well educated.

The Chairman. And might very justly entertain such expectations?

Mr. Swinburne. I think that was, perhaps, natural that they should feel that way, although these men were occupying positions under the Government at the time.

The Chairman. And were not removed?

Mr. Swinburne. And were not removed.

The Chairman. Now, taking the description given by Mr. Willis of the different factions, social, political, racial, etc., as he has described them in the extract I have just read to you, would you, in such a community as that, think it would be necessary to have some demonstration of military force in order to prevent the occurrence of outbreaks which at any other time might spring up.

Mr. Swinburne. Any government there would have to have a force capable of coping with the situation; they would have to keep a military force there, unquestionably.

Senator Gray. Do you think these people are capable of self-government, as we understand it in the States. Take the whole people of the islands.

Mr. Swinburne. Of course, so far as the Chinaman is concerned,


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