846-847

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp846-847 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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should say that Arion Hall is as good as any other place. There were as many Americans on one side as on the other.

Senator Frye. So far as you know, in selecting Arion Hall there was no purpose had except the protection of American life and property?

Mr. Swinburne. That is my understanding. At the time we were glad of a place to lie down.

Senator Frye. One of the witnesses before Mr. Blount makes the statement that when the Provisional Government marched up and took possession of the Government building the United States marines were drawn up in array with their Gatling guns, and all that sort of thing, in sight of the Provisional Government's men who were taking possession.

Mr. Swinburne. I should say they were not in sight. The men were drawn up in their company parades, because I had the information before these men arrived that a policeman had been shot, and that the men were collecting on the street, and I supposed there would be a demonstration immediately. The arms were stacked and the men standing in company parades, and were ready to move.

Senator Frye. Where were they?

Mr. Swinburne. My idea was to keep them as much out of sight as possible. Indeed, I had great difficulty in keeping the men in the ranks; they would slip through to the other side of the building and look over the fence to see what was going on.

Senator Frye. In order to see what was going on they had to do that?

Mr. Swinburne. Had to do that, go to the front of the building— get on the porch, and look over.

Senator Gray. Where were the Gatling guns?

Mr. Swinburne. In the only position in which they could be parked. The 37 millimeters, as I remember, stood on the right, on the Government house side, and the Gatling on the other side of it. They stood together where they were parked, the first night we went in, and where they remained all the time we were there—the most convenient place we could get.

Senator Gray. Near the street?

Mr. Swinburne. Yes; 37 was nearest the street. It was a narrow yard. I should think that was not over 20 yards from the street; not over that.

Senator Frye. One witness before Mr. Blount stated that it would have been impossible for the Royalist troops to have made an attack upon the Provisional men that were taking possession of the Government building, without at the same time attacking the United States troops.

Mr. Swinburne. I thought of that condition. I thought at the time it was untenable in the event of a fight between the two factions. I expected to have to withdraw my men from that position. I thought I would have been between the two fires; at least I was not in a good position in the event of an outbreak. I had thought of that, and expected to have removed the men.

Senator Frye. Are you acquainted with Minister Stevens?

Mr. Swinburne. I had visited his house frequently while I was in Honolulu, nearly once a week.

Senator Frye. What estimate did you form of Minister Stevens' character?

Mr. Swinburne. I formed the idea that he was a man of the highest character.

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Senator Frye. Did you at any time know of his saying anything in favor of the overthrow of the Queen or the establishment of a provisional government?

Mr. Swinburne. He certainly never did in my presence, and I do not know of his having said anything of the kind.

Senator Frye. You were on board the ship when the ship went to Hilo, I suppose?

Mr. Swinburne. I was.

Senator Frye. Did Mr. Stevens have a conversation with you while on that trip?

Mr. Swinburne. Not on political questions.

Senator Frye. Did you hear of him having conversations with the officers in which he expressed the fact that he was glad peace had been accomplished and would remain for two years, as he could go home at the expiration of his term of office and leave it so?

Mr. Swinburne. I did not hear him say so then; but before we left the island I spoke of my reasons to Capt. Wiltse for a postponement of a trip for target practice. The captain said he was satisfied, and the minister said he was satisfied that the Wilcox-Jones ministry could not be voted out; that everything was as quiet as possible, and it was as good a time to go as could be.

The Chairman. I wish to read you some further extracts from Mr. Willis's communication to Secretary Gresham. He says: "There is, undoubtedly, in this Government a class of reckless, lawless men who, under the impression that they have the support of some of the better classes of citizens, may at any moment bring about a serious condition of affairs," but says that "the men at the head of the Provisional Government are of the highest integrity," etc.

Then he says what I have already quoted:

"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."

Does that conform with your opinion of the character of the men who formed the Provisional Government?

Mr. Swinburne. While I was there, I should say it is an exaggeration. While there were men in the Provisional Government who I knew were in favor of more aggressive measures against the late monarchy, that is, were in favor of deporting the Queen, and while there were a great many in favor of turning out all the people who had been holding office under the late government, I do not think they could be called people who would foment trouble. They were people who were more radical, as there are in all parties—some are more radical than others—but as the statement was read there it seems to me an exaggeration of the composition of the Provisional Government party at the time I was in the city of Honolulu.

The Chairman. You are speaking now, I suppose, of the class which Mr. Willis designates as reckless and lawless men?

Mr. Swinburne. Yes.

The Chairman. Now, the other part, and the one to which I want specially to direct your attention, where he speaks of the men at the head of the Provisional Government as men of the highest integrity and public spirit. Do you concur in that view?


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