960-961

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp960-961 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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"2. At 1 o'clock the same day I met all the members of the cabinet at the attorney-general's office. They had just come from an interview with the Queen, at which she had announced her intention of promulgating a constitution and demanded their support. They stated that she had threatened them with mob violence, whereupon they had immediately left the palace, each one going out by a separate entrance. While we were talking a messenger came from the Queen requesting them to immediately return to the palace. Peterson and Colburn positively refused to do so, stating that they did not consider their lives would be safe there. I shortly after left them and started down town. After I had gone about two blocks I was overtaken by a messenger from the cabinet asking me to return, which I did. They asked me to ascertain what support they could expect from citizens, and formally authorized me to state the condition of affairs to leading citizens and in their behalf to call for armed volunteers to resist the Queen. I immediately proceeded to comply with their request, and, with the assistance of others, within an hour or two thereafter about 80 leading citizens had signed a written agreement agreeing to support the cabinet against the Queen by force.

"3. Later the same afternoon Mr. Colburn informed me that they had finally gone to the palace and held a stormy interview with the Queen lasting for over two hours. He told me he had no confidence in his colleague, Mr. Peterson, who he believed was playing double with him, and told me to beware of telling Peterson anything further. As a reason for his distrust he said that he knew nothing of the intention to promulgate a constitution, but that, while they were discussing the matter with the Queen, she said, in reply to an objection made by Peterson: 'Why did you not make this objection before? You have had this constitution in your possession for a mouth and raised no objection to it.' Colburn said also that in reply to an objection made by Mr. Parker, minister of foreign affairs, she said: ' Why did you not tell me this last night when we were talking over the subject?' Colburn further stated to me that at a caucus of their party on the previous Friday night one of the members of the Legislature, Kaluna by name, had said that if he could establish the new constitution he would die happy if he could kill some other man before dying.

"4. The Queen was furiously angry at the refusal of the cabinet to join her in promulgating the constitution, and publicly denounced them therefor.

"5. When the Queen made announcement of her failure to promulgate the constitution, two of the leading royalist members of the Legislature, one in the throne room in the palace and one upon the steps of the building, addressed the assembled crowd, denounced the cabinet as traitors, and said that they wanted to shed blood. One of the committee included the Queen in his denunciations.

"6. During the entire time between noon of Saturday, the 14th, and the afternoon of Tuesday, the 17th, when the Provisional Government was proclaimed, the Queen's cabinet was without plan of action, and did practically nothing but rush about the city consulting with various foreign representatives or citizens of all parties as to what they had better do, begging the American minister for the support of the American troops against the committee of safety, and securing from the Queen a declaration that she would not again attempt to abrogate the constitution, which they hurried into print and distributed broadcast to try and appease the indignation of citizens and break up the proposed mass meeting.

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"In support of the fourth proposition that the committee and their supporters were united, had ample force to execute their purpose, and proceeded with deliberation and confidence to do so, I submit the following:

"An essential factor in judging whether the force of the committee was sufficient, and their confidence in themselves well founded, is to know what the same men under similar conditions have done upon previous occasions. Fortunately, there is no dispute as to the facts concerning two recent incidents in Hawaiian history in which the same parties who were brought into conflict in January, 1893, were arrayed against each other under similar circumstances:

"1 . In 1887 the King, by a manipulation of the electorate and the legislature, had encroached upon popular rights and obtained autocratic power over the people. In this course he was supported by practically the same persons who in January last, and now, constitute the Royalist party in Hawaii. The open bribery, corruption, and debauchery of the King and his supporters crystallized the opposition thereto into an organization of practically the same men who organized and now constitute the Provisional Government. Such organization was formed with the openly avowed intention of wresting from the King his autocratic powers or dethroning him. In preparation for the expected movement the King fortified the palace, loopholed its basement for sharpshooters, erected sandbag breastworks at the entrance of tbe building, mounted cannon and Gatling guns at all the approaches thereto, largely increased his regular military force, and defied the organization and public opinion.

The leaders of the revolutionary movement proceeded deliberately to collect such arms as were available and organized their plans. An executive committee of thirteen was appointed, who took entire control of the movement and called a mass meeting in the same building used for that purpose in January last. The King attempted to head off the meeting by sending a letter to it promising certain reforms. The letter had no effect. Resolutions were adopted denouncing the King and demanding the granting of a new constitution depriving the King of all personal power. The resolutions were forthwith presented to the King by the committee, who, unarmed and alone, proceeded direct from the meeting to the fortified palace with the ultimatum that he comply with the demands within twenty-four hours or take the consequences.

"The King was then in absolute control of the regular troops, the especial troops enlisted for the occasion, 4 companies of native militia, the police, all the artillery and Gatling guns, the government buildings, the palace, the barracks, and the station house, with full knowledge of, and weeks of preparation for, the action taken by the citizens. His military strength was greater and his control of the public buildings more complete than was that of the Queen in January last. He did not fire a shot; submitted to all demands; disbanded his troops and turned the whole control of the Government over to the revolutionary party, which, in consideration of his abject submission allowed him to continue on the throne in a figurehead capacity.

"2. In 1889, while the same men who now constitute the Provisional Government were in control of the King's Government, a conspiracy was organized among the royalist supporters by the King and Liliuokalani for the overthrow of the cabinet and the restoration of the old royal power and constitution. The conspirators took the cabinet by surprise, and on the night of July 29 took possession of the Government

S. Doc. 231, pt 6----61


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