910-911

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp910-911 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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Mr. Stevens. No. AS an individual, some member of the Provisional Government may have called. But the Provisional Government leaders were intelligent, and they would not embarrass me with questions I could not answer—they were better posted men than their opponents. They kept their plans from me for reasons of their own.

The Chairman. I suppose you are not speaking of the official communications between you and the members of the Provisional Government— that they did not make any official communication?

Mr. Stevens. I presume they sent a communication asking recognition, and I presume that note is at the legation in Honolulu.

The Chairman. Beside that?

Mr. Stevens. Beside that I did not see one of them—they did not call; they probably sent their messenger, because they kept coming to the legation, representative men on both sides, constantly, and it would be impossible to make a record of every one. The whole town had been in excitement for days.

The Chairman. Was it your purpose in anything you did, from the time you left the Boston on Saturday up to the time of your making an official recognition in writing, to use the forces or the flag or the authority of the United States Government for the purpose of dethroning the Queen?

Mr. Stevens. Not the slightest—absolute noninterference was my purpose.

The Chairman. Was it your policy in any of these things that you had done to aid any plan or purpose of the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States?

Mr. Stevens. Not at all. That was not the plan.

The Chairman. Since your residence in Hawaii as a minister have you personally—I do not speak of your ministerial character—favored the annexation of Hawaii to the United States? Have you been in favor of that movement?

Mr. Stevens. After I had been in Honolulu one year I came to the conclusion that the annexation of those islands was inevitable, or something else; that the then condition of things could not last very long, and therefore my official communications to our Government disclose just what my views were. But in my calculations for annexation I never supposed, nor was it expected by the friends of annexation, that it would be by revolution, but through negotiation, legislative action, and the assent of the Queen on the lines of the treaty of '54. That was the only plan thought of.

In that time I kept my own counsel, and nobody except the United States Government knew what my real view was. In that time I may have chatted with individuals and given an opinion when talking of the situation of the islands—with Judge Hartwell or Rev. Dr. Hyde, and I may have agreed with them that that would be the inevitable, sooner or later, because that had been the form of expression, as the records will show, for forty years. But that was merely an academic opinion privately expressed.

The Chairman. As a matter of interest to the people of Hawaii, and also the people of the United States and the Government of the United States, were your personal wishes or inclinations in favor of or against annexation?

Mr. Stevens. In the first twelve months I supposed something like a protectorate would be preferable.

The Chairman. After that what?

Mr. Stevens. I came to the conclusion that while a protectorate

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would be possible, annexation was the only logical and practical solution.

The Chairman. Did you favor it?

Mr. Stevens. Only as I reported to the Department.

The Chairman. I do not mean whether you advocated it, but whether, in your own mind, you favored it.

Mr. Stevens. In my own mind I came to the conclusion that annexation was better than protectorate, or something like what they have in Sweden and Norway. I know that there were some men when I first went there who have had the idea that it would be better to have the foreign relations managed at Washington and have an independent kingdom like Norway.

The Chairman. During this period of time in Hawaii, did you believe that it would be advantageous to the Government of the United States, in a commercial sense, to acquire the ownership of the islands?

Mr. Stevens. Most emphatically. I came to that conclusion after a study of the future of the Pacific.

The Chairman. You believed that the future of the islands lay in that direction?

Mr. Stevens. Exactly. I followed Mr. Seward for 25 years; I am a believer in his philosophy as to the future of America in the Pacific, and, of course, my investigations after I went to the islands confirmed me.

The Chairman. Having such an opinion and such a belief and such a trend of judgment about this important serious matter, have you in any way, at any time, or on any occasion employed your power as a minister of this Government for the purpose of promoting or accelerating that movement?

Mr. Stevens. Not the slightest, except in writing to Washington, and that was marked confidential. There I expressed my views of the situation. When I suggested a customs' union, I pointed out in that that the customs union had more difficulties than annexation, and that the protectorate system was a system which I could not see would work with the American system.

The Chairman. Was it your observation of the condition of feeling and sentiment amongst the Hawaiians, the native Kanaka population, that they felt friendly toward and grateful to what was termed the missionary element for their education and civilization in building up their institutions and towns and other things that have occurred, or were they possessed of a feeling of hostility toward the missionary element? By the missionary element I mean not all who are classed now as missionaries, but those men and their descendants who went to the islands for true missionary purposes?

Mr. Stevens. I would say in answer to that, that nearly all, if not all, the responsible natives of the islands (I mean the men of education and standing) are nearly all Americans, and the representative men would be the four members of the Legislature who resisted the threats and bribes in the struggle about the lottery bill, led by Mr. Kauhana, who had been a member of the Legislature for fifteen years. He is a man of character, and his three associates said, "The United States is our mother; let her take our children."

The Chairman. I want to know whether it was a custom amongst the Hawaiians with the white people there to celebrate our anniversaries, such as the Fourth of July?

Mr. Stevens. The 4th of July on all the four principal islands is celebrated with more uniformity and earnestness than in any part of the


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