Summary of Commander Ludlow's Testimony
Nicoll Ludlow's first visit to Hawaii was as commander of the U.S.S. Mohican, the flagship of Admiral Skerrett, which arrived in Honolulu on February 10, 1893 (24 days after the revolution) and remained until May 1. In Honolulu Commander Ludlow served as Admiral Skerrett's chief of staff. "I was ashore every day. I was brought in contact with everybody in town of every position. As the admiral's chief of staff, I returned a great many calls with him, and made a great many social calls. ... I have been around in different parts of the world, and I thought that Honolulu was as quiet a community as you could find; everybody's doors and windows were unlocked. It was so night and day; as quiet a community as exists on the face of the earth.
"The CHAIRMAN. Would you describe it as a community satisfied with the existing government? Mr. LUDLOW. The Provisional Government? The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Mr. LUDLOW. A great many were dissatisfied with it; thought that it ought not to be there; thought that it was not the legitimate government of the islands. The CHAIRMAN. Were they satisfied with the administration of the affairs of the Government? Mr. LUDLOW. Oh, yes; I heard nothing said about their honesty and proper administration of the affairs of the Government; never heard any question raised as to what disposition was made of the money and so on. The men who were in the Provisional Government were recognized as as good men as were in the islands. ... rather an inefficient police force; never had a call for one while I was there. There were some scraps down in the lower part of the town among the sailors; but I never knew of a blow being struck except by two lawyers, who got into some dispute over some politics, when one struck the other over the face.
"A few days after Mr. Blount arrived, and got the American flag down from off the Government building, he asked me what I thought of the state of public opinion; whether it was any quieter after the flag came down than before. I told him there was a change. I told him that it seemed to put the responsibility where it belonged, and the people seemed to go on about their business; there was not so much talk about it as there had been; they simply accepted the thing, while formerly, while our flag was flying, it made us responsible for everything that took place. We were responsible, in a measure. I was very much surprised to see that flag up there.
"The CHAIRMAN. Did the Provisional Government make any habitual display of soldiery? Mr. LUDLOW. Oh, no. They were recruiting. I do not think at any time up to the time I left there they had to exceed a hundred men. And there was nobody who could drill them or get them in shape. They had to send to Cleveland, Ohio, to get uniforms. ... they had two barracks, one was the Government building, that the Provisional Government occupied, south of it; then there was another old barracks, the artillery barracks, north of the Queen's palace. There may have been other posts. They had a review ground just opposite the Government building. I have seen them drill there.
The CHAIRMAN. What is your opinion of the advantage that the Hawaiian group of islands would be to the United States as a military base in time of war? Mr. LUDLOW. As a military base for a country like this it is too far away---- 2,000 and odd miles. If it were Great Britain, it would be another thing. But with a country like this, with our ideas of a standing army and a navy, an outpost 2,000 miles away would not be the thing. ... The CHAIRMAN. If you were stationed with a fleet at Honolulu, and the American coast were to be assailed by any great European power with steamships---- and they would have to use that class of vessels to make anything like an effective assault---- would you not consider that you had an advantage over an advancing or attacking power by having that position? Mr. LUDLOW. No. The Pacific is a very large ocean. You can not keep the track of your enemy on the ocean as you can on land; they could pass you, get in behind you, and you would never know it in the world. ...
[Considerable discussion of the steaming radius of various warships, and whether the U.S., Britain, or any other power would find it advantageous to use Hawaii for getting coal and provisions. The availability and military advantages to various nations of various ports in North and South America, Japan, and China. Ludlow generally says Hawaii is not particularly useful for Naval warfare.]
[Senator Gray was absent for the first day of Ludlow's testimony but was present and an active participant on the second day, dueling with Senators Morgan and Frye to elicit testimony from Ludlow to the effect thatthe revolution's success depended on U.S. forces.]
"Senator GRAY. Did you, with reference to the revolution of January 17, 1893, form any opinion from these sources of observation and information as to whether or not that revolution would have been accomplished when it was accomplished and as it was accomplished if it had not been for the presence on shore of the United States troops? Senator FRYE. Do you consider that a legitimate question? Senator GRAY. I do. The CHAIRMAN. I expect Mr. Ludlow had better answer that question. Mr. LUDLOW. I would like to call attention to a fact in the question. The CHAIRMAN. State your opinion about it. Mr. LUDLOW. The troops were not on shore at the commencement of the revolution; that is, something had been done in the way of the revolution before the men got ashore. The CHAIRMAN. You do not know that of your own knowledge? Mr. LUDLOW. No. The tenor of the Senator's question is what I heard and what I learned and saw. The CHAIRMAN. I do not understand that you are asked for all you heard and learned; but the question is based upon a hypothesis.
"Senator GRAY. There is no hypothesis about the fact that the revolution, so-called, occurred on the 17th of January, and, when Capt. Ludlow arrived there, it was still a matter of exceeding and absorbing interest and a topic of conversation among those people. The captain was ashore and met all classes of people. I now ask him whether he formed any idea as to whether that revolution would have occurred as it did but for the presence of those United States troops? The CHAIRMAN. State whether you think it would have occurred or not, and then you may give your sources of information. Senator GRAY. State categorically one way or the other. The CHAIRMAN. It is a matter of opinion. You are asked to state whether you formed an opinion. Did you form an opinion about it? Mr. LUDLOW. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. Very good. State what it was. Mr. LUDLOW. My opinion is that the revolution would not have occurred in the way it did, and at the time it did, if the people who were the revolutionary party, had not been assured of the protection and assistance of the United States forces there.
"The CHAIRMAN. Is that opinion of yours based upon what you heard said in and about Honolulu after you arrived there, or is it an independent opinion based upon what you suppose to be the facts as you derived them from the reports and publications and your own reflections? Mr. LUDLOW. It is an opinion that I formed after I had been there perhaps a week or two, sufficiently long to get acquainted with the people. I had never been there before. I could hear them talk, as they were all talking politics. I did not talk with them, but I heard what they said. ...
"The CHAIRMAN. ... I simply want to know the names of the persons who were the supporters of the Queen's cause with whom you had social relations. Mr. LUDLOW. Mr. Robinson, the Queen's chamberlain, and wife, a very charming lady, a daughter of Mr. Cleghorn, and Mr. Cleghorn himself. When I arrived he was the governor of Oahu; afterward his title was abolished. But all these people made very little impression on me. I met Mr. and Mrs. Robinson; Mr. Neuman, who was the lawyer to the Queen, and his family. Those I saw the most of; perhaps called a half dozen times at Mr. Robinson's house and Mr. Neuman's house. I would go down in the evening and sit on the piazza with them. Mr. Neuman was not there most of the time, however. But I have a list of the people here, and mixed with them the monarchists, and so on. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Cleghorn married into the royal family, did he not? Mr. LUDLOW. He married the Princess Likelike. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Robinson was also connected by marriage with the royal family? Mr. LUDLOW. No; not with the royal family. The CHAIRMAN. With a Hawaiian family? Mr. LUDLOW. Yes. Mr. Cleghorn's first wife was a Hawaiian woman, but not of the royal blood. After her death he married the Princess Likelike, and it is her daughter who is now in England, this princess. The CHAIRMAN. Kaiulani? Mr. LUDLOW. Kaiulani, who comes after Liliuokalani. ...
"Senator GRAY. When you arrived there on the 10th of February, the flag had been raised on the Government building, had it not? Mr. LUDLOW. We found the flag flying when we came in. Senator GRAY. After you had been there some time, as an officer of the Navy did you form any opinion as to the necessity or propriety of that flag being there. I suppose as such officer you were bound to consider matters of international propriety? Mr. LUDLOW. Yes. Senator GRAY. What opinion did you form? Mr. LUDLOW. That the flag should never have been hoisted there; there was no authority for it. Senator GRAY. What did you think as to the propriety, if you formed an opinion in respect to that, of Mr. Blount's requesting Admiral Skerrett to have the flag hauled down? Mr. LUDLOW. I think it was a perfectly proper course to take; in fact, the only course to take.
"The CHAIRMAN. Would you think that the hoisting of a flag on the invitation of a government for the protection of the peace of the country and its tranquillity was an act not to be performed by a naval officer in a foreign port? Mr. LUDLOW. There is no authority for that. We are authorized to defend American lives and property; we are intrenching on the prerogatives of Congress when we do that. The CHAIRMAN. You can go ashore with your troops? Mr. LUDLOW. Yes; when called upon. The CHAIRMAN. Very good. When you go ashore do you take your flag? Mr. LUDLOW. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. For what purpose? Mr. LUDLOW. As an insignia of who we are. The CHAIRMAN. As an emblem of authority? Mr. LUDLOW. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. Is there any difference between holding it on a pole in your hand, or hoisting it at a post? Mr. LUDLOW. Yes; there is a difference. The CHAIRMAN. What is the difference? Mr. LUDLOW. The difference in this case is that there was no post established where that flag was.
The CHAIRMAN. Where was it [The U.S. flag]? Mr. LUDLOW. Over the Government building. The CHAIRMAN. But the Hawaiian flag was with our flag? Mr. LUDLOW. No; the American flag was not hoisted until the Hawaiian flag was hauled down. The CHAIRMAN. In that particular your testimony is different from that of other witnesses who have appeared here. Mr. LUDLOW. There was but one flag flying there. It was visible from the harbor. It was flying from the cupola---- the steeple. The CHAIRMAN. Was there a Hawaiian flag displayed about the Government building at the time the United States flag was there? Mr. LUDLOW. I did not see any. The CHAIRMAN. Are you certain it was not so? A number of witnesses have testified it was so. Mr. LUDLOW. Then they had it hidden somewhere. It was not in a prominent place---- that is, a prominent place, similar to the flag that is flying over the Senate wing of the Capitol. The CHAIRMAN. Can you tell how many flags are flying on this Capitol now? Mr. LUDLOW. I suppose there are two. The CHAIRMAN. Suppose you were told that there were four, would you not be surprised? Mr. LUDLOW. Two are all that I have noticed. The CHAIRMAN. There are four, and you have noticed only two. ...