Summary of Hobbs' Testimony

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I. Goodwin Hobbs was paymaster on the Boston in January 1893. He went on the target-practice trip to Hilo, returning to Honolulu on January 13. Hobbs had also been present in Honolulu as a crewmember on the Tuscarora in 1874, when Kalakaua was elected King and rioting broke out. Hobbs says the landing of troops in 1893 was for the same purpose as in 1874 -- protection of lives and property without intervening in political struggles. Hobbs also had high priase for the Provisional Government, and criticism for the administration of the Kalakaua dynasty. He says there is no way the Queen, in January 1893 or now in 1894, could muster enough political or military power to overcome the Provisional Government.

"The Chairman. The Hawaiians, as a rule, are not a very riotous people? Mr. Hobbs. No; they are very docile. The Chairman. Have you been amongst them enough to form an estimate of their general characteristics? Mr. Hobbs. So far as I know, they do not care very much for work, so long as they have plenty of poi and fish. They let matters go on so long as the have their poi and fish. The Chairman. They are not an industrious, enterprising people? Mr. Hobbs. No; not so in my opinion. Senator Frye. You are speaking now of the Kanakas? Mr. Hobbs. Yes. ...

The Chairman. And more recently, when you were there on the Boston, and before the time you went out to Hilo, what was the condition of the popular mind as to peacefulness and quietude? Mr. Hobbs. All through that time there appeared to be a good deal of uneasiness among the people, due to the change in the ministry— rather unsettled; did not know what to do. They could not make any engagements ahead. They did not know what was going to happen until what was known as the Wilcox ministry came into power. After that ministry was installed the people had great faith and reliance that their troubles were over, and that that ministry would probably hold over for two years following the adjournment of the Legislature, which was expected soon; and on the way to Hilo I got that impression from Mr. Stevens, in the conversations which I had with him from time to time, that the present ministry would not be voted out. ...

Senator Frye. I would like to ask another question. You saw considerable of Mr. Stevens while you were there? Mr. Hobbs. Yes, a good deal of him. ... I regarded him as an able man in every way. I became very much attached to him, and was at his house frequently. ... The Chairman. I was going to ask you whether you heard anything from Mr. Stevens in the discussion of Hawaiian affairs that led you to suppose he was trying to disrupt that Government, dethrone the Queen, or accomplish the annexation of those islands to the United States? Mr. Hobbs. No. The Chairman. Nothing that he remarked led you to understand that he had any such purpose? Mr. Hobbs. No. ...

"The Chairman. And Monday you were detained on board? Mr. Hobbs. Yes; not allowed to leave the ship. The Chairman. What time did you get orders to remain aboard ship? Mr. Hobbs. I think Monday morning. ... At half-past 9, I think, word was passed that we would not be allowed to visit the shore. ... If my recollection serves me correctly it was not until Monday afternoon, until 1 o'clock, after the men had their dinners, that arrangements were made in case they were to land to get their belongings together, their equipments. ... They did not go on shore until after they had their supper that night, and they did not carry any provisions except some hardtack, which was taken, and then Mr. Moore and I were left on board ship to send provisions to them the next morning. ... The Chairman. Are those unusual orders when a vessel is in port? Mr. Hobbs. Yes, I should say so. But it happened on one or two occasions after the revolution, while Admiral Skerrett was there. I think there were one or two days when we were not allowed to visit the shore. The Chairman. It created the expectation that there was to be some need for the troops? Mr. Hobbs. It did.

"The Chairman. Then you went in on Tuesday morning? Mr. Hobbs. At l o'clock Tuesday morning I went ashore on duty. The Chairman. Where were the United States troops then? Mr. Hobbs. They were in a hall called Arion hall, in the rear of the opera house. The Chairman. Quartered there? Mr. Hobbs. Took up their quarters there at 8 o'clock the evening before. The Chairman. How long did they remain there before going to Camp Boston? Mr. Hobbs. About a week; Capt. Wiltse directed me to find the agent of the building and pay for its occupancy while our people were quartered there, which I did. ... The Chairman. When the troops were at Camp Boston, did they put up tents? Mr. Hobbs. No; they occupied a large house which belonged to Mr. Bishop, with large, extensive grounds. For that establishment I paid at the rate $75 per month. Mr. Damon, the agent, stated he had rented it for that purpose. That was since we were there. They rented at that rate, and we paid the same rate. The Chairman. When you got off on Monday were all the troops at Arion Hall, or at different places? Mr. Hobbs. A large portion of the marines were at the consul-general's office and about 12 at Mr. Stevens's house.

The Chairman. After the establishment of the Provisional Government, how long did you remain in Honolulu or Hawaii? ... Mr. Hobbs. Until—I think we left there on the 26th of September last. ... The Chairman. During that period of time, from the establishment of this Provisional Government until the time you left there, state whether peace and quietude and order prevailed in Honolulu, or were there outbreaks, public agitations? Mr. Hobbs. Peace and quiet obtained all the time. ... The Chairman. At any time that you have been in Hawaii, have you seen any government that you thought was better than that? Mr. Hobbs. No.

The Chairman. State whether you believe that the resources in command of that Provisional Government, after it had been established by men and money and arms and the support of the people, were such that the Queen, with what she had at her command and without assistance from foreign powers, could have overcome that government. Mr. Hobbs. In my opinion she never could, never. ... The Chairman. Do you think now, without the assistance of foreign governments, the Queen could break down the Provisional Goveminent? Mr. Hobbs. I do not. The Chairman. So that, as to these limits on power and authority, would you consider that the Provisional Government is a more permanent government than a royal government could be at this time? Mr. Hobbs. I should say so—was at the time I left Honolulu. The Chairman. And even up to now? Mr. Hobbs. Yes; my confidence is stronger now. They are better able to defend themselves than they were when I left. ...

"The Chairman. What is the general character for intelligence and good conduct and good motives and good purposes of those persons who are now engaged in the effort to govern Hawaii under the present organization called the "Provisional Government"? Mr. Hobbs. I think it is a desire to have a good strong government, which they have not had during this dynasty. They have been in an unsettled state during the whole time of this reign. They have had revolutions about every year or two, and they have never felt that they have had good, substantial government. The Chairman. Are you speaking of the reign of Kalakaua and Liliuokalani? Mr. Hobbs. Yes. The Chairman. You are not speaking of the Kamehameha reigns? Mr. Hobbs. No. ...

"The Chairman. Have you ever seen any disposition on the part of the ruling authorities there—the white people—to wrong or bear down upon the native Kanaka population? Mr. Hobbs. No. The Chairman. Is the reverse of that proposition true? Mr. Hobbs. I should say so. The Chairman. What seems to be the state of feeling between the Kanaka population and the white people, taking them at large—taking the different classes—whether it is friendly, agreeable, or hostile? Mr. Hobbs. So far as I was able to observe that point I should say that it is favorable. The Chairman. I suppose necessarily there must be some race jealousies there? Mr. Hobbs. I think that is so, more particularly among the half whites than among the pure natives. The Chairman. Would you say that there was a stronger condition of race jealously existing in Hawaii between the whites and the native Kanakas than there is in these States, Southern States, Washington— I will say between the whites and negroes? Mr. Hobbs. Not so much. The Chairman. Is it considered disreputable for a white man to marry a Kanaka woman? Mr. Hobbs. No; many have done so. The Chairman. But it is quite disreputable for a white man to marry a negro woman here. Mr. Hobbs. Oh, certainly.

"The Chairman. Take them in their churches, schools, business erlations, agricultural occupations and associations—take the whole thing together, does there seem to be any real hostility between these different races? Mr. Hobbs. I should say not. The Chairman. Do they live on amicable terms? Mr. Hobbs. Yes. The Chairman. And have good will and encouragement for each other? Mr. Hobbs. I should say so, as a rule; yes. ... In the social gatherings there you will see half castes and pure natives in society all together. ... I only know about Honolulu, and the society there is a delightful one. It is quite as refined as you would find in any town in the United States, go where you will. ...

"The Chairman. Had you ever heard from Captain Wiltse any observations at all that led you to think that he was disposed to participate in Hawaiian politics, Hawaiian affairs? Mr. Hobbs. No. ... Senator Frye. Ss far as you know Captain Wiltse's purpose in landing troops was to protect the lives and property of Americans? Mr. Hobbs. Yes. The Chairman. Was that the understanding when the troops left the ship? Mr. Hobbs. Yes. The Chairman. To protect life and property? Mr. Hobbs. The troops were ordered to take no side, but to remain passive in the troubles that were occurring—political troubles.

"The Chairman. Could you detect any difference between the movement of the troops ashore from the Boston and the movement that took place twenty years ago, in 1874, when you were there, as to its purposes, objects, and motives? Mr. Hobbs. I should say it was for the same reason. ... The Chairman. The preservation of life and property? Mr. Hobbs. Exactly. The Chairman. Did you have any suspicion or conjecture that those troops were sent there for the purpose of breaking up one government and erecting another? Mr. Hobbs. Not the slightest.