How the Morgan Report repudiates the Blount Report
The Morgan Report provides clear and convincing evidence that the Blount Report was wrong on the facts and provides reason to believe that Blount was motivated to provide a false history of the Hawaiian revolution of 1893. The Apology Resolution of 1993, and the Akaka bill based on it, are fruit of the poisonous Blount Report and are therefore also discredited by the evidence presented in the Morgan Report.
- 1 Overview of the evidence
- 2 Blount's ulterior motives
- 3 Cleveland's failed counter-coup(s)
- 4 Weighing credibility
- 5 Apology Resolution without review
- 6 Detailed evidence
- 6.1 President Grover Cleveland and his special, secret, emergency envoy James Blount probably conspired to destabilize the Provisional Government, to restore Liliuokalani to the throne, and to produce an intentionally one-sided report for use as a propaganda tool
- 6.2 The Blount Report's major conclusions and interpretations of events were wrong
- 6.3 Blount failed to seek or accept evidence contrary to his predetermined conclusions, strongly implicating him as a political hatchet-man
- 6.4 Blount's report actually twisted, distorted, or lied about what some people told him, as confirmed by their later testimony to the Morgan committee describing specific falsehoods Blount told in his report about what they had allegedly said to him.
Overview of the evidence
The Provisional Government, and Republic of Hawaii, were not U.S. puppets. They were the legitimate (albeit not entirely democratic) successors to the monarchy as governments of the continuing independent nation of Hawaii. The Republic of Hawaii was recognized by all the nations who had previously recognized the monarchial government. It was fully qualified to speak on behalf of Hawaii in international relations (including annexation to the U.S.), just as oligarchic or non-democratic regimes today have international recognition in the family of nations.
The Morgan Report confirms that the Hawaiian revolution of 1893 was planned and executed by local residents of Honolulu. Sworn testimony proves that many leaders of the revolution were native-born subjects of the Kingdom; had served in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Kingdom government; and/or were major figures in the scholarly and business communities. Thanks to the Morgan Report we know it is false to say that the United States played any part in planning or executing the overthrow of the monarchy. We know that the U.S. role was limited to sending about 160 peacekeepers ashore from a U.S. ship in Honolulu Harbor for the purpose of protecting lives and property, and preventing riots, arson, and mayhem -- a standard peacekeeping mission, as the U.S. (and Britain) had done on several previous occasions (including the Kalakaua election of 1874 and the Wilcox rebellion of 1889). Thanks to the Morgan Report we know that the revolution would have succeeded even if the U.S.S. Boston had not been present in Honolulu harbor.
Blount's ulterior motives
It may be enough to know that the Blount Report was wrong on the facts, and therefore President Cleveland's message to Congress and the century-later Apology Resolution were also wrong on the facts.
But it is also useful to analyze Blount's motives, and understand that his report was not just mistaken, but purposefully biased. A fair argument can be made that Blount's visit to Hawai'i was probably intended to undermine and destabilize the revolutionary Provisional Government; and to assist in restoring President Cleveland's friend Queen Liliuokalani to the throne. Blount's actions indicate that he was probably sent to Hawaii for the purpose of producing a one-sided report that could be used to put pressure on the Provisional Government to give up power in favor of the ex-queen, and to dampen the growing enthusiasm in Congress for the annexation of Hawaii.
This essay is intended to illustrate how the evidence of the Morgan Report discredits the Blount Report on moral grounds, by showing that:
- President Grover Cleveland and his special, secret, emergency envoy James Blount probably conspired to destabilize the Provisional Government, to restore Liliuokalani to the throne, and to produce an intentionally one-sided report for use as a propaganda tool;
- The Blount Report's major conclusions and interpretations of events were wrong;
- Blount failed to seek or accept evidence contrary to his predetermined conclusions, strongly implicating him as a political hatchet-man;
- Blount's report actually twisted, distorted, or lied about what some people told him, as confirmed by their later testimony to the Morgan committee describing specific falsehoods Blount told in his report about what they had allegedly said to him.
Evidence about each of those four points will be presented in later sections of this essay.
Cleveland's failed counter-coup(s)
Although President Cleveland tried his best to destabilize the Provisional Government and to restore Liliuokalani to the throne, he failed because the Provisional Government had the military strength to continue holding power and the moral courage to resist Cleveland's demands. President Cleveland enthusiastically accepted Blount's one-sided report and cited it as incontrovertible evidence when he sent a blistering message to Congress claiming the U.S. was at fault for overthrowing the government of a peaceful and friendly nation. But instead of the confirmation of his assertions Cleveland expected, the Morgan Report repudiated Blount, and as a result Cleveland changed his policy. He recognized the government of Hawaii President Sanford B. Dole as the legitimate successor to the monarchy, and negotiated with the Dole government to implement treaties signed with the previous monarchial government. For evidence of President Cleveland's change of policy, see The Rest of The Rest of The Story.
Although Cleveland, under pressure from the Senate, changed the way he officially conducted relations with the Dole government, he probably did not have a change of heart in his continuing sympathy for his friend Liliuokalani. Agents of the Cleveland regime may have been responsible for arranging safe passage of guns smuggled from San Francisco to Waikiki for the Wilcox attempted counter-revolution - certainly no effective action was taken to prevent the gun smuggling, despite specific warnings from Francis M. Hatch on November 10, 1894. And diplomats from the Dole government knew there was no point trying to submit a treaty of annexation to the U.S. since Cleveland would block it from going to the Senate.
Anyone who reads both the Blount Report and the Morgan Report must weigh their relative credibility. If the two documents, and the circumstances whereby they were created, were presented to an impartial jury, then by the standards used in today's courts the Morgan Report would easily win.
The Blount Report was written by one man with the aid of one stenographer. "Testimony" was taken in secret, without any oath to tell the truth, and without any cross-examination. There is strong circumstantial evidence that Blount was sent to Honolulu by President Cleveland specifically for the twin purposes of destabilizing the Dole government and of writing a one-sided report to be used as justification for Cleveland's efforts to restore the Queen and to block annexation. In Honolulu Blount lived at a hotel that was a hotbed of royalist activity. Blount took formal statements mostly from royalists, and actively twisted or falsely reported what some annexationists told him (as proved by their sworn testimony in Morgan regarding how Blount had treated them).
The Morgan Report was produced by a committee of the United States Senate with plenty of personnel and resources. Testimony was taken in open session. Live witnesses presented testimony under oath and were subjected to cross-examination, while those who did not appear in person sent affidavits sworn under oath in Honolulu. A nearly-even mix of Republicans and Democrats on the committee and in the Senate ensured that conflicting views would be debated and witnesses would be vigorously cross-examined. Certainly President Cleveland, a staunch supporter of the Queen, had every opportunity to ensure witnesses sympathetic to Blount's version of events gave testimony, yet no royalists came to be cross-examined. Perhaps Cleveland thought Blount's report was evidence enough, but when subjected to further analysis and additional testimony, it was found sorely lacking.
Apology Resolution without review
The Apology Resolution of 1993 was based entirely on the Blount Report. There were no hearings in either the Senate or House where opposing views could be considered. The resolution was passed in the House on a voice vote without any debate, while in the Senate there were no committee hearings and the resolution was debated for only one hour in a sparsely attended chamber immediately prior to the floor vote. During the Senate debate opponents of the resolution focused on the policy issues regarding the bad consequences that might flow from it, such as race-based reparations, communal land tenure, and eventual secession. Apparently nobody had read the Morgan Report, because even the strongest opponents of the resolution said they had no quarrel with the historical claims stated in the resolution's "whereas" clauses. Those historical claims were never debated, and are today being used to support demands for money, land, and political power as reparations for alleged U.S. misconduct in 1893.
Readers of the Morgan Report know the historical claims in the Apology Resolution are filled with error. If Senators Inouye and Akaka, the sponsors of the apology Resolution, are thought of as prosecutors accusing the U.S. of a crime, then they are clearly guilty of prosecutorial misconduct. They presented only trumped-up evidence from a century-old political hatchet job (Cleveland's message to Congress and the Blount Report). They failed to perform their prosecutorial duty to make defense attorneys and the jury aware of exculpatory evidence (the Morgan Report) -- evidence strong enough to force a change in President Cleveland's policy toward Hawaii.
The year 2009 might be a good time for Congress to repeal the Apology Resolution as part of a new commemorative resolution celebrating the golden anniversary of Hawaii statehood.
Now here is some evidence to support each of the four main points listed above.
President Grover Cleveland and his special, secret, emergency envoy James Blount probably conspired to destabilize the Provisional Government, to restore Liliuokalani to the throne, and to produce an intentionally one-sided report for use as a propaganda tool
On January 17, 1893, Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown, and replaced by a Provisional Government. This Provisional Government concluded an annexation treaty with the United States, that was submitted to the Senate on February 15, 1893 by President Benjamin Harrison. Grover Cleveland was inaugurated on March 4, 1893 (there was a longer lag between election and inauguration in 1893 than there is today, due to difficulties of travel and communication).
President Cleveland had a very crowded schedule, as any President has during his first week in office. Cleveland, a Democrat, was replacing Harrison, a Republican. All the heads of the executive departments needed to be replaced, a legislative package needed to be written and presented to Congress, foreign ambassadors needed to be appointed and confirmed, etc.
But despite an extremely crowded agenda, one of the first things Cleveland did was to withdraw the Hawaiian treaty of annexation from Congress, on March 9, 1893 (five days after taking office). Then, on March 10, 1893 Cleveland sent for James Blount, and on March 11, 1893 met with Blount in the White House and gave him the secret documents of his commission as Minister Plenipotentiary with paramount powers. Cleveland was in such a hurry and operated with such stealth that Cleveland kept Blount's appointment secret from the Senate and did not seek to have Blount confirmed by the Senate as foreign ambassadors must be. Blount went to Hawaii with powers greater than those of Minister Stevens, who had been confirmed by the Senate during the Harrison administration and who remained on duty in Honolulu as U.S. Minister plenipotentiary (but not with Blount's "paramount" powers) even after Blount arrived there. The dates and facts in this paragraph are proved by references provided at the beginning of the essay The Rest of The Rest of The Story.
Cleveland's haste, and the secrecy surrounding Blount's appointment and the instructions he was given, are strong, albeit circumstantial, evidence that Cleveland placed a high priority on preventing annexation and reversing the Hawaiian revolution.
The Hawaiian revolution was on January 17, 1893. Two weeks later Minister Stevens felt it was important to provide the people of Hawaii, and especially the resident foreigners, a visible symbol of American support and friendship, and evidence that interference from other nations (especially Japan) would not be tolerated.
The Dole government had already sent a treaty of annexation to the U.S., which the Harrison administration submitted to the Senate. It was therefore logical and natural that Dole and Stevens agreed to raise the U.S. flag alongside the Hawaiian flag on the government building (Aliiolani Hale) on February 1, 1893, and declared an American protectorate for Hawaii. The Morgan Report includes testimony that raising the flag and declaring the protectorate had the desired effect of calming the fears of resident foreign women and children and solidifying the confidence of business leaders. There is repeated testimony from many witnesses in the Morgan Report that there were racial threats of arson against the homes and businesses of whites who were resident Americans or who were Kingdom subjects of various European and American ancestries. Raising the flag and declaring the protectorate were successful in preventing such actions. For citations of testimony on this point, use the search window and put in the word "incendiarism".
According to testimony in the Morgan Report, raising the U.S. flag was also done to squelch an apparent plot by Liliuokalani and the Japanese legation to recruit 800 Japanese plantation workers who had previously served in the Japanese military forces, for the purpose of staging a counter-revolution. Under terms of that conspiracy the Queen would not only be restored to the throne but Japanese residents would be given the right to vote on the same basis as Europeans, Americans, and Hawaiians (Japanese population was about 12,000 in 1892 but was increasing very rapidly to 61,000 in 1900, nearly equal to the combined total of whites and Hawaiians). Testimony regarding the Japanese/Liliuokalani conspiracy is found in Stevens' statements on p. 901 and pp. 913-915; and a different aspect of it is corroborated by Young's statements on p. 702.
James Blount arrived in Honolulu on March 29, 1893. On April 1, 1893, while still recuperating from the rigors of traveling thousands of miles on a ship through rough weather, and without consulting Minister Stevens, Blount ordered the removal of the U.S. flag from the government building, the posting of a public proclamation abandoning the U.S. protectorate, and the return of the few remaining blue-jackets from their land base back to the ship in the harbor. The speed of this action is strong evidence that Blount was sent to Hawaii with orders to do those things. Furthermore, in his first few days in Honolulu Blount probably was told by Americans and other foreigners that the flag, the protectorate, and the blue-jackets were helping people feel safe and were squelching a possible conspiracy between Liliuokalani and the Japanese. It turned out that no harm was done by Blount's reckless actions. But it seems likely that Blount hoped his actions would destabilize the Provisional Government, and failed to accomplish that purpose only because that government was strong.
The testimony of several Navy officers makes clear that no matter how "paramount" or "plenipotentiary" Blount's powers may have been, he (and also Stevens) had no actual power to order any military commander to go ashore or return to ship -- requests from civilian ministers were merely requests and were within the complete discretion of military officers to obey or to ignore. For an extended discussion of this issue, see the testimony of Lucien Young especially pp. 706-709; and put the word "discretion" into the search box to find more testimony from other Navy officers.
After arriving in Honolulu Blount chose to live at a hotel that was a hotbed of royalist activism. He may have legitimately refused the free lodging that was offered by resident Americans and by the Dole government, but the alternative he chose was not neutral by any stretch of the imagination. He was surely aware that it would be very uncomfortable for annexationists to visit him at the hotel, or to give testimony about the events of the overthrow (and especially about their own individual actions) in view of their concern that if Liliuokalani got back on the throne the participants in the revolution could be tried and executed for treason. Liliuokalani later demonstrated why the annexationists were well justified in their fear -- she showed her overwhelming desire for revenge as being more important than her crown, by refusing a U.S. proposal to put her back on the throne when the only condition she had to meet was to promise amnesty (By the time she changed her mind and agreed to amnesty it was too late).
Blount was aware that the royalists were hoping the U.S. would do as Liliuokalani had requested and restore the monarchy. He knew that the furtive, secret manner in which he conducted himself would bolster royalist hopes and raise doubts among the Dole supporters. It must have been very emotionally wrenching for supporters of the Dole government to know that a secret agent of a powerful foreign nation was apparently conspiring with the monarch they had overthrown; and yet to refrain from protesting or interfering with that conspiracy because of hopes for eventual annexation with that nation.
Blount completed his report on July 17, 1893. Based on that report President Cleveland ordered Stevens' replacement, Minister Willis, to engage in secret negotiations with Liliuokalani with a view to restoring the monarchy. Rumors about restoration were swirling through Honolulu and in the newspapers over a protracted period, damaging public confidence and the business climate.
President Dole finally lost patience with U.S. attempts to undermine his government. On December 18, 1893 Dole sent a letter to Minister Willis (who had replaced Minister Stevens as the U.S. representative in Hawaii). Dole's letter clearly shows that neither Blount nor Willis had given him any courtesy or information about the conspiracy, or Blount's report.
- "Sir: I am informed that you are in communication with Liliuokalani, the ex-Queen, with a view of re-establishing the monarchy in the Hawaiian Islands and of supporting her pretensions to the sovereignty. Will you inform me if this report is true or if you are acting in any way hostile to this Government. I appreciate fully the fact that any such action upon your part in view of your official relations with this Government would seem impossible; but as the information has come to me from such sources that I am compelled to notice it, you will pardon me for pressing you for an immediate answer."
On December 19, 1893 Willis sent Dole a letter confirming that Blount had completed his report and that Willis had been negotiating with Liliuokalani. The letter informed Dole that President Cleveland has decided that Dole should step down and restore Liliuokalani to the throne. At midnight December 23, 1893 President Dole personally hand-delivered his lengthy, blistering letter of refusal to Minister Willis, including Dole's expressions of outrage at the secret plotting by Blount and Willis to undermine the government of Hawaii.
Meantime, unbeknownst to Dole or Willis or Liliuokalani, President Cleveland on December 18, 1893 had referred to Congress the matter of the U.S. role in the Hawaiian revolution, hoping that Congress would support Cleveland's demands for restoration of the monarchy.
The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, under Chairman Morgan, held hearings for two months, December 27, 1893 to February 26, 1894, and delivered the Morgan Report (as posted on this website) to the full Senate. On May 31, 1894, the U.S. Senate passed the Turpie resolution accepting the findings of the Morgan Report and closing the door on any further action regarding the Hawaiian revolution.
Editors of this website do not know whether there was a movement to impeach President Cleveland for his clear abuse of power in relation to Hawaii. But it is very clear that the Morgan Report forced Cleveland to immediately change course in his official policy toward Hawaii. He fully recognized the Dole government, and negotiated with Dole regarding the further implementation of treaties between the two nations. Willingly or unwillingly Cleveland accepted that the Morgan Report put to rest any concerns about alleged American impropriety in the Hawaiian revolution, and instead raised huge concerns about the Cleveland/Blount conspiracy to undermine the Dole government.
Interestingly, a fake Presidential Proclamation, apparently a joke, was apparently published in a newspaper on February 26, 1894. That joke-proclamation has President Cleveland declaring a national day of mourning on April 1 (April Fool's Day) for the overthrow of Liliuokalani. Editors of this website have been unable to confirm that the joke-proclamation was actually published, or who paid for its publication. Some Hawaiian sovereignty websites portray the proclamation as real, much to their discredit (no such proclamation can be found in the collected papers of Grover Cleveland at Project Gutenberg). If it was actually published, it seems logical the joke was sarcasm directed against President Cleveland for his reckless support for Liliuokalani, on the eve of publication of the much anticipated Morgan Report which everyone knew would discredit the Blount Report and discredit Cleveland's misguided undercover efforts to restore the Hawaiian monarchy.
The Republic of Hawaii was proclaimed on July 4, 1894 by President Dole from the steps of Iolani palace. On July 24 the Cleveland administration supported the recognition of the Provisional Government. On page 1342 of the extended Blount Report documents, Minister Willis clearly stated that despite the Queen's protests, the Provisional Government had been recognized by the United States, and "this was the final decision of the Senate". On page 1343 of the Blount material, the Republic of Hawaii, that was created by the Provisional Government, had been recognized by the Cleveland administration. On January 9, 1895, on page 1375 of the Blount material, the Cleveland administration made it clear that the Republic of Hawaii was the legitimate successor to the treaties formerly held by the Kingdom of Hawaii, and that plans for a British undersea cable must be negotiated in accord with the reciprocity treaty between Hawaii and the United States.
Although Cleveland had been forced by the Morgan Report to deal with the Dole government as the legitimate successor to the monarchy, Cleveland's heart probably remained committed to his friend Liliuokalani. There is no hard evidence whether Cleveland was involved in the Wilcox attempted counter-revolution of December 1894 to January 1895, but it is known that guns for Wilcox were smuggled from California to Oahu, and it is reasonable to imagine that agents of the U.S. government probably knew about the plot and made sure the U.S. Navy did not interfere with it either in California or in Hawaiian waters.
Gavan Daws, "Shoal of Time" on page 282 says:
- "Late in 1894 a shipload of contraband arms from San Francisco was transferred to a coastal steamer off windward Oahu, and the guns were brought ashore at Waikiki under cover of darkness. Bombs were made in downtown Honolulu, and caches of guns were planted in various places around the city, some of them ... in Liliuokalani's flower garden [at her private home "Washington Place" very near Iolani Palace]... The royalists meant to launch their attack on Monday, January 7. ..."
But the Dole government found out about the plot, confiscated what weapons they could find, and hunted down the Wilcox men.
For the remainer of President Cleveland's term in office, no further attempt was made by the Republic of Hawaii to offer a treaty of annexation, because Cleveland would not allow such a treaty to be sent to the Senate. But as soon as President McKinley (a Republican) took office, the Dole government immediately sent a treaty which McKinley promptly submitted for ratification. Southern sugar planters, and Democrats loyal to Cleveland's anti-expansionist policies, blocked the treaty. The U.S. finally accepted the Hawaiian treaty by a joint resolution of the Senate and House under the pressure for immediate action created by the Spanish American War.
The Blount Report's major conclusions and interpretations of events were wrong
Testimony of Peter Cushman Jones, p. 592
- Senator Frye. In Mr. Blount's report he speaks of the Queen having six or seven hundred troops and sixteen cannon, etc. Did the Queen have any such people there?
- Mr. Jones. No. There were about, as far as we were informed, fifty or sixty men down at the station house, and there were seventy or eighty troops at the barracks.
- Senator Frye. What are those Hawaiian troops—the Queen's Guard?
- Mr. Jones. Yes; around the palace; do palace duty, do the reviewing on state occasions, and things of that sort.
- Senator Frye. That Queen's Guard and the police at the police station made no attempt during all these proceedings against your meeting or toward taking possession of the Government building?
- Mr. Jones. No.
Testimony of Lucien Young, p. 706
- Senator Frye. You remember the situation of Arion Hall, the Government buildings, etc. Mr. Blount in his report—I do not know whether it was his opinion—says that it was impossible for the royalist troops to make any attempt to dislodge the people from the Government building without shooting your troops. Was that true at all?
- Mr. Young. They could have fought all they pleased out in Palace Square and out in the Government grounds without ever affecting us in the slightest. But I doubt if we would have allowed them to fight out on the street down below, from the way Capt. Wiltse spoke. This American property in front of us, the Opera House, is owned by Americans, and all the residences off to the left was American property and some to the right of the palace was American property.
The testimony of Professor W.D. Alexander
pp. 669-673 covers many disagreements with Blount's report, but also some agreements, especially on pp. 669-673, in a section titled "NOTES ON COL. BLOUNT'S REPORT." Here are portions of that testimony merely identifying a few of the main issues; readers should read the full content to see the depth of Alexander's criticism of Blount's report:
- Col. Blount's sketch of the causes of the late revolution on pp. 3-15 of his report betrays a total misconception of Hawaiian history and of the nature of the political contest that has been going on during the last fifteen years or more.
- E.g., on p. 5 he charges to the reciprocity treaty "a new labor system," which preceded it by twenty years, and the "alienation between the native and white races," which had shown itself long before, and the causes of which I have briefly explained in my second paper, and the "many so-called revolutions," which really had no relation to that treaty. On p. 6 is an extraordinary statement about the division of the lands in 1848, which for the first time in history is called "discreditable."
- His remarks about the descendants of missionaries seem to be borrowed from C. T. Gulick and Nordhoff. The sneering use of the term dates from the days of the "beach-combers" and Botany Bay convicts, who preceded the missionaries in those islands. The descendants of the latter are hated chiefly for their adherence to the principles of their fathers and their endeavors to preserve the constitutional lines on which the Government was administered under the Kamehameha dynasty.
- Col. Blount's total misapprehension of history is shown by his astonishing statement on page 7, that the ex-Mormon adventurer Gibson was "free from all suspicion of bribery."
- On page 8 he speaks of several criminal acts, proved in open court, as "alleged," and says that the "alleged corrupt action of the King Kalakaua could have been avoided by more careful legislation," when the whole difficulty lay in the autocratic power of the King, which enabled him to appoint the upper house and to pack the lower house of the Legislature. He ignores the fact that it was impossible for a white man to be naturalized unless he was a tool of the King.
- On page 10 he omits the vital change made in section 20, which struck at the root of the King's power to pack or bribe the Legislature.
- Col. Blount shows a singular hostility to the Portuguese, who form one of the most valuable elements in the islands, the most moral as shown by the reports of the attorney-general and chief justice, and perhaps the most industrious people in the country, and the most easily Americanized. He even goes so far as to say that they ought not to be classed as Europeans.
- On the other hand, his account of the native race is surprisingly incorrect and superficial, although ample statistics relating to lands, property, occupations, accounts of native character, etc., were before him. He says the "majority (of the common people) received nothing" in the way of land. The fact was that all heads of families received homesteads, if they applied for them, and the census shows that 10 per cent of the natives, counting women and children, are even now landowners. Between 1850 and 1860 a large proportion, 40 per cent, of the Government land was sold, mainly to natives, at nominal prices, and every effort was made to encourage habits of thrift among them. Many are now living on the rents of their lands.
- Accustomed from time immemorial to absolute despotism, they (the Kanakas) ought not to have been expected to become fit for self-government in one generation. Besides, they have been too much petted and pauperized by the Government and their white friends, to develop habits of self-reliance.
- E. g., about one-tenth of the native girls are in boarding schools, three-fourths of whom are supported by benevolent white people, with rather unsatisfactory results.
- The revival of heathen superstitions under the late dynasty for a political object, is ignored by the commissioner.
- If it was left to them, they might abolish segregation of lepers, and vote for the lottery and fiat paper money. Of course there are honorable exceptions.
Statement of Lorrin A. Thurston, Hawaiian Minister to the United States for the Provisional Government
November 21, 1893, pp. 956-962
Even at this late date Thurston has never seen a copy of the still-secret Blount Report, although numerous allegations against Thurston and his colleagues, presumably contained in the Blount Report, have been leaked and published in the newspapers. Personal attacks charging fraud and duplicity. Aside from the personal attacks, there are two main historical/political conclusions (apparently) reached by Blount, which Thurston spends many pages refuting.
- Blount charges that the American troops were landed under a prearranged agreement with the committee of safety that they should so land and assist in the overthrow of the Queen;
- Blount charges that the Queen had ample military force with which to have met the committee, and but for the support of the United States representatives and troops the establishment of the Provisional Government would have been impossible.
Blount failed to seek or accept evidence contrary to his predetermined conclusions, strongly implicating him as a political hatchet-man
Testimony of Peter Cushman Jones, page 561
"that he is acquainted with James H. Blount and knows the time when that gentleman came to Honolulu as special commissioner; that soon after his arrival he called upon him and said in effect as follows: "As I was intimately acquainted with the Government during the last two months of the monarchy I may be able to give some information in regard to our affairs, and I shall be pleased to give my statement if you desire it"; that Mr. Blount thanked him, said he would be pleased to have it, and would let him know when he would be ready to grant him an interview; that a careful statement was prepared by this affiant on the 25th day of May, A. D. 1893, from which this affidavit is taken, reciting all the important events connected with the Government from the 8th day of November, A. D. 1892, up to the 16th day of March, A. D. 1893, that period including the events of January 17, of which this affiant was fully cognizant; that the said James H. Blount never asked for this interview and this affiant never had any opportunity of presenting the statement, although he is informed and believes that other persons suggested to Mr. Blount that he secure the statement."
[And so Jones reads into the Morgan record the lengthy document he had prepared for Blount but which Blount never accepted]
Testimony of William De Witt Alexander, p. 642
- Senator Frye. Did you also prepare a constitutional history of that country since the beginning of the century?
- Mr. Alexander. Yes. That has not been published yet.
- Senator Frye. Did you give that to Mr. Blount?
- Mr. Alexander. I gave him a copy.
- Senator Frye. Has that been printed?
- Mr. Alexander. No.
- Senator Frye. Have you a copy of that constitutional history?
- Mr. Alexander. I have the original draft.
- Senator Frye. And will you furnish the committee that history?
- Mr. Alexander. I will.
[and that entire document is in the Morgan Report]
Affidavit of John Emmeluth, p 814
[Member of the committee of safety and of the advisory council of the Provisional Government.]
"I know James H. Blount from seeing him once when I called with other members of the advisory council. The visit was never returned. He never said anything to me about the country, its resources, or history, or asked me any questions about the revolution. I tendered my statement through Mr. S.M. Damon, and understood that I would be notified when Mr. Blount was ready, but never heard anything from him."
Affidavit of William R. Castle, p. 947-948
"I returned from Washington on the 7th of April upon the same steamer which brought Mr. Charles Nordhoff to Honolulu. Mr. Blount was already here and the flag had already been lowered. Although there was some solicitude in town, I found everything orderly and quiet. Within a few days I called on Commissioner Blount and had a pleasant conversation with him. I informed him that I had an intimate knowledge of what had taken place, and believing that he desired to obtain only the facts and all the facts, should be happy to furnish him all the information in my power; and also put him in the way of receiving information on all subjects connected with the islands. Although I saw Commissioner Blount several times after this, up to the time of his departure, he has never accorded me an interview, nor has he asked for any statement in regard to the matter. Owing to my intimate knowledge and acquaintance with the Hawaiian people, several deputations from other parts of the country came to me to procure interviews with Mr. Blount. I recollect particularly two instances in which I wrote a note, saying that the natives would like to interview him; that an interpreter would be furnished; that they were poor and wanted to return to their homes as soon as possible, and that a steamer would leave within three days after my note was dated, and requested an interview within such time. In each case, Mr. Blount fixed the interview after the departure of the steamer; in one case the natives remained at considerable expense, for another steamer did not go for ten days; in the other they were discontented and disgusted, and went home.
Affidavit of Edward D. Tenney , pp. 949-950
[founding member of the advisory council of the Provisional Government]
"The United States flag was subsequently raised because it was thought that the mere act would operate to secure quiet and prevent bloodshed. The Provisional Government had no doubt of its ability to put down any revolt and maintain its position. Although there was some opposition, it was deemed best on the whole to ask for protection, and it was done. Commissioner Blount arrived late in March, and pulled down the flag April 1. He wanted to do it the afternoon before, but it was deferred until the next day upon the Government's request to give time to have the town again patrolled and insure the maintenance of the peace. No disturbance followed, and the Government has been growing stronger and more secure every day since.
I called upon Commissioner Blount alone; was not with the advisory council when they called, but the commissioner knew that I was a member of the advisory council. Learning shortly after that he desired to see a sugar plantation, I was requested to take him to the Ewa plantation, of which our house are agents. I did so. Various matters were discussed, but no politics were talked of in any way. He has not asked me for any information at any time. I would have been glad to have furnished him with all in my power."
Blount's report actually twisted, distorted, or lied about what some people told him, as confirmed by their later testimony to the Morgan committee describing specific falsehoods Blount told in his report about what they had allegedly said to him.
Affidavit of J.H. Soper, pp. 810-811
"That he is colonel commanding the national guard of Hawaii; that he has read the published extracts from the report of Col. Jas. H. Blount, late commissioner of the United States in Hawaii, and American minister resident; that certain statements in said report are incorrect and not founded on fact; that it is not true that affiant left the meeting of the citizen's committee held at Mr. Waterhouse's house in Honolulu, on the evening of January 16, 1893, either alone or in conrpany with any other members of the committee until the meeting adjourned; that he did not visit Mr. Stevens, American minister, alone or in company with others at any time on that day; that he did not report to said committee that he had full assurance from said Stevens that he, the latter, would back up the movement, nor did he report any remarks as coming from said Stevens; that he did look for recognition by said Stevens in case a de facto government was successfully established, but he was well aware that no assistance would be given by the American minister in establishing such de facto government. And he further says that he furnished to Lieut. Bertollette, of the U.S.S. Boston, a full statement of the arms and ammunition surrendered by the Queen's followers to the Provisional Government, and also a statement of the arms and ammunition in the hands of the supporters of the Provisional Government prior to such surrender by the Queen; that the supporters of the Provisional Government had a larger number of effective rifles than had the Queen's followers; that at Mr. Blount's request he furnished to him a copy of said report on June 10, 1893; that Mr. Blount appears to have made no mention of the same in his findings; that the arms of the Provisional Government were in the hands of white men who knew how to use them, and about whose determination to use them there could be no question. That affiant informed Mr. Blount, as was the fact, that the chief reason for his hesitating to accept the appointment of colonel was that he had no previous military training. Dated Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, December 4, A.D. 1893. JNO. H. SOPER, Colonel Commanding N.G.H. Subscribed and sworn to before me this 4th day of December, A. D. 1893. [SEAL.] CHARLES F. PETERSON, Notary Public."
Affidavit of C. Bolte, p. 812
"That he was born in Bremen, in Germany, and is 41 years of age. That he resided in Germany until 1878, when he came to Honolulu, where he has ever since resided. ... That he was interviewed by Mr. James H. Blount, American minister resident in June, 1893. That during this interview, on several occasions, he objected to the method employed by said Blount, and he remonstrated with him that he did not put his questions fairly. That said Blount asked his questions in a very leading form, and that on several occasions when affiant attempted to more fully express his meaning said Blount would change the subject and proceed to other matters. That affiant, seeing that in his testimony the Queen, and the Government under the Queen, were being confounded, prepared a statement, a copy of which is as follows, and handed the same to said Blount in June last, and requested him to insert it in his report in the proper place; affiant at present being ignorant whether this was done or not. "The answers which I have given to Mr. Blount's questions, 'When was for the first time anything said about deposing or dethroning the Queen' might lead to misunderstanding in reading this report. I desire, therefore, to hereby declare as follows: Words to the effect that the Queen must be deposed or dethroned were not uttered to my knowledge at any meeting of the committee of safety until Monday evening, January 16, 1893; but at the very first meeting of citizens at W. O. Smith's office on Saturday, January 14, at about 2 p. m., or even before this meeting had come to order, Paul Neumann informed the arriving people that the Queen was about to promulgate a new constitution. The answer then given him by Mr. W. C. Wilder, by me, and by others, was: That is a very good thing and a splendid opportunity to get rid of the whole old rotten Government concern and now to get annexation to the United States. Paul Neumann thought that that might be going a little too far. "At the second meeting at W. O. Smith's, between 3 and 4 p. m. on Saturday afternoon, January 14, 1893, when the committee of safety was appointed, sentiments of the same nature, that this is a splendid opportunity to get rid of the old regime, and strong demands for annexation, or any kind of stable government under the supervision of the United States, were expressed "Therefore, even if the words that the Queen must be deposed or dethroned were not spoken, surely the sentiment that this must be done prevailed at or even before the very first meeting, on January 14, 1893. "Honolulu, June 1893. "C. Bolte." Dated Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, December 4,1893. C. Bolte. Subscribed and sworn to before me this 4th day of December, A. D. 1893. [SEAL.] Charles F. Peterson, Notary Public.
Testimony of Minister Stevens, pp. 915-920
The Chairman. Had you, before Mr. Blount arrived, received information from Mr. Secretary Foster that your act in establishing that protectorate had been disavowed?
Mr. Stevens. No; I understood his note as I understand it now. It is in exact accordance with the little document I have just read. In the liability of its being misunderstood, he thought it best to enlarge upon it and define how far our limited protectorate could go. I so understood it at the time. Secretary Foster went on to decide what we could do and what we could not; and what we could do was what we did.
The Chairman. When he disavowed what seemed to be a protectorate?
Did you understand that that disavowal reached the point or proposition that you were forbidden, as American minister, to preserve or protect the public peace?
Mr. Stevens. Not at all; but just the opposite, because the language of the dispatch is explicit on that point.
The Chairman. How long did you remain there after Mr. Blount arrived?
Mr. Stevens. I think he arrived the 28th of March, and I left the 24th of May.
The Chairman. Did you think, from Mr. Foster's dispatch, that you should haul down the flag and order the troops to go on board ship?
Mr. Stevens. Not in the slightest.
The Chairman. Is there anything which you can state except what you have already stated, about the Japanese, and foreign interference— any turbulence or danger that would require you to keep that flag flying and keep the protectorate in authority?
Mr. Stevens. My judgment was for its retention until there was an order to the contrary. The same reason that caused me to raise it, in my mind, continued. I do not know of any other than those I have stated.
Mr. Stevens. Admiral Skerrett might have arrived ten days or two weeks after. There might have been a day more or a day less, but it would not vary from several weeks between the arrival of Admiral Skerrett and the dispatch of Mr. Foster.
The Chairman. The flag was flying when Admiral Skerrett arrived.
Mr. Stevens. Yes.
The Chairman. Did Admiral Skerrett make any objection to it?
Mr. Stevens. Not the slightest.
The Chairman. Did he ever suggest to you that it was an improper attitude for the Government of the United States to maintain toward Hawaii?
Mr. Stevens. Not the slightest.
The Chairman. Or that he would refuse to maintain it with his troops on shore?
Mr. Stevens. Not the slightest.
The Chairman. Did you have conferences with Admiral Skerrett?
Mr. Stevens. Not on that specific point.
The Chairman. Were you in association with him?
Mr. Stevens. Yes; constantly.