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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp848-849 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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Mr. Swinburne. Unquestionably. I think Mr. Dole, for instance, a man who was doing in the matter what he considered to be solely his duty.

The Chairman. Now, as to character.

Mr. Swinburne. I think that is correctly stated as to the character of the prominent men in the Provisional Government.

The Chairman. I notice on page 57 of Ex. Doc. No. 47 this communication from yourself to Mr. Blount. It is as follows:

"Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, May 3,1893.
"Hon. J. H. Blount,
"Special Commissioner of United States:
"Sir: In response to your verbal request for a written communication from me regarding certain facts connected with the recognition of the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States minister to that country on the afternoon of January 17,1893, I have to state as follows:
"On the afternoon in question I was present at an interview between Capt. Wiltse, commanding the Boston, who was at that time present in his official capacity with the battalion then landed in Honolulu, and Mr. Dole and other gentlemen representing the present Provisional Government, in the executive chamber of the Government building. During the interview we were informed that the party represented by the men there present was in complete possession of the Government building, the archives, and the treasury, and that a Provisional Government had been established by them.
"In answer Capt. Wiltse asked if their Government had possession of the police station and barracks. To this the reply was made that they had not possession then, but expected to hear of it in a few minutes, or very soon. To this Capt. Wiltse replied, 'Very well, gentlemen, I can not recognize you as a de facto Government until you have possession of the police station and are prepared to guarantee protection to life and property,' or words to that effect. Here our interview was interrupted by other visitors, and we withdrew and returned to the camp at Arion Hall. As far as I can recollect this must have been about 5 o'clock p. m. About half past 6 Capt. Wiltse left the camp, and as he did so he informed me that the U.S. minister to the Hawaiian Islands had recognized the Provisional Government established by the party in charge of the Government building as the de facto Government of the Hawaiian Islands. About half past 7 p.m. I was informed by telephone by Lieut. Draper, who was then in charge of a squad of marines at the U.S. consulate, that the citizen troops had taken possession of the police station, and that everything was quiet.
Very respectfully,
"Wm. Swinburne,
"Lieutenant-Commander, U. S. Navy."

You knew that?

Mr. Swinburne. Yes; that is practically the same as my testimony already given.

The Chairman. Have you any explanation to make in regard to that?

Mr. Swinburne. No; I think that is exactly the same as I have already given. Is it stated that I wrote that? I had forgotten. I thought I just gave that verbally. I wrote another communication, in which I gave distances. I would suggest that the replacing of the word "and" after "police station" and before "are prepared to guarantee


protection to life and property" by the conjunction "or," would more nearly convey the captain's idea as I then understood him.


Senator Gray. You were an officer on board the U.S.S. Boston in Honolulu on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of January, 1893?

Mr. Coffman. I joined the Boston on the 14th; I was on her on the 15th, and landed on the 16th.

Senator Gray. You were connected with the Boston?

Mr. Coffman. Yes.

Senator Gray. What was your position?

Mr. Coffman. Lieutenant and division officer on the Boston.

Senator Gray. Had you command of one of the companies of the battalion which landed on the 16th?

Mr. Coffman. Yes.

Senator Gray. Mr. Coffman, with whom I have had a conversation, agrees with all that has been said by Mr. Swinburne and the other gentlemen who preceded him in regard to the landing of the troops and the instructions of Capt. Wiltse. I only called him here for one purpose and one fact. You were captain of one of the companies of the battalion which landed?

Mr. Coffman. Yes.

Senator Gray. As such captain were you summoned to the cabin of Capt. Wiltse on Monday the 16th, before you landed?

Mr. Coffman. Yes.

Senator Gray. Who were present?

Mr. Coffman. Capt. Wiltse, Minister Stevens, Mr. Swinburne, Lieut. Laird, Lieut. Young, Lieut. Draper, of the Marine Corps, and I think those were all, unless there were some of the junior officers, whom I do not remember—some of the midshipmen.

Senator Gray. While you were there was there any communication received from shore and communicated by anyone to Capt. Wiltse?

Mr. Coffman. Yes.

Senator Gray. State what you know about it.

Mr. Coffman. While in the office, or rather in the captain's cabin, after the consultation, or rather after the instructions were given to the officers, and about the time we were about to leave the cabin----

The Chairman. This was on Monday?

Mr. Coffman. On Monday—Cadet Pringle came to the cabin----

Senator Gray. Who was Cadet Pringle?

Mr. Coffman. He was a cadet on the Boston, and was serving as an aid to Minister Stevens at the time. He came into the cabin and handed to Minister Stevens a communication, which Mr. Stevens afterward read. It was from Mr. Thurston. It stated that they were holding a mass meeting; that it was a success; that there was a great crowd present; that the natives had held a mass meeting, had ratified the proclamation, and had gone home quietly; and it stated if the troops are to be landed, "I advise that they be landed at once." We went ashore about an hour afterward.

Senator Frye. Have you read the testimony of Lieut. Young or Lieut. Laird?

Mr. Coffman. No; I have not seen Mr. Laird's testimony at all.

The Chairman. Do you mean before this committee?

S. Doc. 231, pt 6—---54

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