908-909

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp908-909 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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The Chairman. You received only one at a time?

Mr. Stevens. I received two—Mr. Parker first. Mr. Parker was more of a gentleman, and he wanted to know if Mr. Peterson could come in. Mr. Peterson was the leader.

The Chairman. During your interviews with these two ex-ministers of Liliuokalani did they give you any intimation as to the proclamation of the Provisional Government?

Mr. Stevens. Their only errand was this---

The Chairman. What did they say to you? Did they give you any intimation that the Provisional Government had been proclaimed?

Mr. Stevens. Not so far as I remember.

The Chairman. What did they communicate to you?

Mr. Stevens. I will make that clear. Before I had this violent attack, say about 1 o'clock, I received this note from the Queen asking me to come to the palace, and I received it about fifteen minutes before the time appointed. There were two reasons for not responding. I declined the Sunday before to go into a tripartite, especially with Mr. Wodehouse. After I received that note, probably forty-five minutes or an hour, these ministers arrived, and their message was this: whether I could not properly ask the aid of Capt. Wiltse's forces to sustain the Queen. Mr. Peterson went into a legal argument, while his associate, Mr. Parker, was silent. Mr. Parker said to Peterson: "You must make this very brief;" and the only answer I made was: "Gentlemen, these men were landed for one purpose only, a pacific purpose; I can not use this force for sustaining the Queen." Now, they say that they put the other alternative—"assist the Provisional Government." There was no alternative spoken of or hinted. I said: "These men were landed for a pacific purpose, and I can not use them to sustain the Queen."

The Chairman. A pacific purpose?

Mr. Stevens. Yes; what I have just stated is the substance of what occurred.

The Chairman. Was that the substance of what occurred?

Mr. Stevens. Yes. And that was argued by Mr. Peterson on a legal point. I ought to state the reason for that. In 1874 Kalakaua was elected, and the natives were opposed to it, as history will show. The American forces from the ship were landed to suppress the mob, and the suppression of that mob was practically the putting of Kalakaua on the throne. But that was not the specific intention; but, inasmuch as he had been elected and his opponents had control of the city and had driven the Legislature out, it resulted that way.

Now, in putting down the riot in 1874, which put Kalakaua on the throne, from that time on the Kalakaua family got the idea that the United States would do the same; that the minister was obliged to do it. I received formerly several times messengers from the Queen; whenever they called I would, as a matter of duty, use that force to sustain them, and in this belief Mr. Peterson made the argument that they were the legally constituted Government, and that I could properly do as he suggested—he knew that I did not claim to be a lawyer, and he thought he knew more about law than I did—that I could properly use the force. I made as brief an answer as possible—"that these men were on shore for a pacific purpose, and we can not take any part in any contest; can not use the force to sustain the Queen or anybody else."

The Chairman. Now, at that that time it seems, from what occurred and the argument that was addressed to you by these gentlemen, that

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the question arose as between the Provisional Government and the Queen's Government?

Mr. Stevens. His whole argument was on the point whether I could properly use the force. At the suggestion of Mr. Parker, because of my condition of health, he made it brief.

The Chairman. But you were simply contemplating the question at that time whether you could sustain the Queen's Government or the Provisional Government ?

Mr. Stevens. No; the other alternative was not put by him at all.

The Chairman. At the time that conversation occurred were you aware of the fact that the Provisional Government had been proclaimed?

Mr. Stevens. Probably I was. That was in the course of two or three hours recognized. I can not recognize the precise hour at which they took possession of the Government building and issued their proclamation.

The Chairman. Did you at that time know that it related to a controversy between the Queen's Government and the Provisional Government?

Mr. Stevens. I knew from the conversation that they called upon me from the Queen—to save her.

The Chairman. To save her against dethronement?

Mr. Stevens. Against anybody—that their only hope for possession of that Government by the Queen was by my assistance.

The Chairman. Was there any suggestion made by these ministers when they came to the legation that the Queen's person or the person of any member of her cabinet was in any danger?

Mr. Stevens. Not the slightest.

The Chairman. So that, what you had to say in regard to it had no reference to the preservation of the life or security of the Queen or her ministers?

Mr. Stevens. Nothing whatever.

The Chairman. But it had reference to whether the Government of the United States would recognize---

Mr. Stevens. Put her in possession of the Government which she had lost.

The Chairman. How long was it after that interview with the Queen's ministers before you sent this note of recognition by Mr. Pringle to the Provisional Government?

Mr. Stevens. I could not tell.

The Chairman. About how long?

Mr. Stevens. I would suppose it might have been two hours; might have been three.

The Chairman. That is your recollection—two or three hours?

Mr. Stevens. Yes; two or three hours. Probably it might have been—most likely was, two hours and a half; but that I would not swear to—whether it was two, two forty-five or three, because I had no record or watch at the time.

The Chairman. On that day, which was Tuesday, had you visited the Government building?

Mr. Stevens. I did not leave the legation from Monday evening until several days after—remained constantly in the legation.

The Chairman. Had you any conferences with members of the Provisional Government during that interval and while you remained at the legation?

Mr. Stevens. No.

The Chairman. Had no conferences with any of them?


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