Summary of Nicholas B. Delamater's statement

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Nicholas B. Delamater is a physician, age 47, resident of Chicago, who was on vacation in Hawaii August 1892 to June 1893. He wrote a statement about the events of January 1893. Senator Frye read Delamater's statement to the Morgan committee, in the presence of Mr. Delamater, with interruptions for questions and expanded commentary. Sugar is the most profitable crop, but coffee is of high quality. Discussion of income requirements for voters, and official relations among representatives, nobles, cabinet ministers, and Queen. "There was no apparent attempt at concealment of the purchase of members of the Legislature.

"On a Saturday morning following the Queen prorogued the Legislature on notice from that body. She appeared in person in state and with her retinue. I was present. Her speech was one of peace and of the ordinary kind. Her guards, about 75 in number, marched over to the palace yard. ... Right across the street, drawn up in line, a native society, according to prearrangement, immediately appeared and presented to the Queen a new constitution, demanding its immediate promulgation. ... She at once called on her cabinet to sign it. Part of them refused and went down town and notified the prominent and leading citizens. ... Up to this time the plan of those who are now the Provisional Government was to get control through, constitutional measures and the ballot, by compelling the Queen to recognize the right of a majority of the Legislature to name the cabinet ministers. That is, that the Queen should call on a member of the majority to form a cabinet, whom she would appoint. The outlines of the new constitution, it is claimed, were such as to give the reigning monarch absolute power.

"Excitement ran very high. Threats were freely made against anyone interfering with her plans, both by herself and her adherents. The leading men and members of previously opposite parties at once united, and felt that life and property demanded immediate action, instead of ordinary political methods.

"The Boston, with Minister Stevens, came into port about this time in total ignorance of what had occurred. Up to this time I had not called on Mr. Stevens and did not know him by sight. Excitement ran high Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday. Steps were immediately taken to organize a volunteer military force for protection of property, and to my certain knowledge a very respectable force, composed of leading and prominent men---- merchants, capitalists, planters, lawyers, professional men of all kinds, and others---- was organized before Monday. A signal was decided on that would call them together very quickly should any emergency arise. The leaders as yet had no plan, and did not know what to look for.

"On Monday afternoon two large mass meetings were held, one by the present Provisional Government people, and the other by the Royalists. I was at the Royalists' meeting. Excitement was at high tension, rumors of intention and threats of burning houses and stores were rife.

"I heard many Royalists say they desired Mr. Stevens to land troops from the Boston to save property. I also heard a number of quite prominent Royalists say they had asked Mr. Stevens to land troops to save property and prevent bloodshed. At 5 this Monday afternoon the troops were landed. Many of the radical hotheads were not in favor of landing the troops, feeling that they could overthrow the Queen, and realizing that if they were landed it would prevent a fight.

"I talked with a number of the leaders, and also with several very intimate friends, who were very near and supposed to be in the confidence of the leaders, among them being Dr. F. R. Day, the attending family physician of Chief Justice Judd; Vice-President Damson, Mr. W. R. Cassel, and five or six other members of the committee of safety, and who attended Mr Thurston on the voyage, in company with the other commissioners, coming to present their case to the United States. Not one of the persons seemed to know what Minister Stevens would do. They all claimed that they could get no expression from him as to what course he would pursue in case of revolution further than that he would protect the lives and property of noncombatant American citizens. ...

"The next morning, Tuesday, I learned that at some time during the day a signal would be given which would call the volunteers together at a building (really an open shed) near the palace, and that the committee of safety would take possession and declare monarchy at an end. ... no help was expected from the United States forces, and that they expected to fight a battle and win before Mr. Stevens would interfere. I know the general impression was that Mr. Stevens and Capt. Wiltse would not interfere until they had positively placed themselves in position, and that they failed to get any encouragement from him, even as to interference, any further than that he would protect all noncombatant American citizens who should apply to him and go to a place designated by him. ...

"That afternoon, Tuesday, I was driving in a buggy and came near what is known as the old armory, on Beretania street, I saw, all at once, men coining at full speed in all sorts of conveyances and on foot, in full run toward the armory. Every one carrying a gun, I concluded the signal had been given. I learned later that a wagon had started from a large wholesale hardware store down town loaded with ammunition to come to the armory, and that the Queen's police had stopped it, and being shot at by the driver, had run away. There were three policemen, and all ran. This was within a block of the police station, and the citizens had taken this shot as a signal and gathered at once. Inside of fifteen minutes there were in the neighborhood of 200 citizens---- clerks, lawyers, doctors, merchants, and capitalists---- each with a rifle and double belt of cartridges around them, formed in line and ready for action."

Senator FRYE ... when that proclamation was read were any United States troops in sight of the building? Mr. DELAMATER: Yes, Arion Hall. Senator FRYE: Standing at the Government building, could you see the United States troops? Mr. DELAMATER. I think you could; I am not sure about that. I was out in the yard of the Government building, and could see them. Senator FRYE: Could you see more than two sentries anywhere? Mr. DELAMATER: There were no troops drawn up in line. From the yard I saw the troops leaning on the fence. Senator FRYE: They were inside the fence? Mr. DELAMATER: Inside the fence and standing on the grass, looking on. Senator FRYE: But not outside at the Government building? Mr. DELAMATER: No; not outside their own yard. ...

"I was at the police station and saw that the Provisional Government had placed it with a small force of the Queen's defenders in a state of siege, with ample force to capture it and a fixed determination to do so, and an hour later I was there again and found it in possession of the new Government. I then learned that Minister Stevens, after the Provisional Government had shown him that they were in actual possession of the Government building and all public offices and the police station and had the Queen's guards cooped in their own armory, recognized it as the de facto Government, and immediately a number of the representatives of other governments did the same. England and two or three others did not till the next day."

"...many who began to feel that Mr. Blount was opposed to the Provisionals and favoring the Queen. And finally, before coming away, I was compelled to admit that Mr. Blount's conduct was certainly very singular; that he was not conducting his intercourse just as I would expect a gentleman to do, and that his treatment of Mr. Stevens seemed very ungentlemanly, to say the least. Mr. Stevens and I never mentioned his name in either of our conversations.

"For a long time there was no American flag at his headquarters, and, inasmuch as the Stars and Stripes were floating everywhere else in Honolulu, this became a subject of marked comment. Finally the wife of one of the naval officers bantered him pretty strongly on the subject, and offered to, and did, present him with a flag which was draped on his front porch. Later Mr. Blount issued, by publication in the press of the city, a proclamation defining the protection he was authorized to give American citizens. The last clause of this proclamation relating to the loss of all claim on the American minister for property, or family, as well as personal protection, by those who took active part in internal affairs of the country, while probably good law, seemed to me unwise, unnecessary, and not at all diplomatic. Its effect was to cause a great deal of uncertainty as to whether he was not contemplating at that moment, as the Royalists positively and confidently asserted, the immediate restoration of the Queen.

"In fact, Mr. Blount's course was such that, justly or unjustly, the Royalists were encouraged and the Provisionals were discouraged. "Whether the Royalists received from him information as to what was the final intention I do not know, but they guessed exceedingly well, for in April, May, and June I heard from the lips of Royalists there the most positive declarations that they knew that President Cleveland would do certain things. Those things the President has since done.

"As to the sentiment of the nation, Hawaiians of Hawaiian parents, the Queen is certainly not popular. There is, I believe, a much stronger feeling in favor of Princess Kaiulani. I talked with a large number of them who were decidedly in favor of annexation also.

"The royalist party there is not made up of or led by natives, but largely by English residents. The motive seems fairly clear. Mr. Davis has had complete control over Kaiulani and her education. The near approach of her reign would give him large advantages in a financial way. He would probably be in fact, if not in name, prime minister. He would have the placing of Government loans (probably) and the inside track in many contracts, etc. Then, socially, his family and that of Mr. Walker, his partner, who are the leaders of the English society, would be very close to the court social world. Mr. Cleghorn, the father of Kaiulani, is Scotch. A son of Mr. Wodehouse, the English minister, is married to a half-sister of Kaiulani. When the native women undertook to have a large mass meeting and present to Mr. Blount a petition they split on the question whether it should be Lilioukalani or Kaiulani." ...

Senator GRAY: Was there any sentiment of annexation prevailing there during the few months you were there that you could discover? Mr. DELAMATER: Yes. Senator GRAY: Among what classes? Mr. DELAMATER: Among the Americans. Senator GRAY: Among the Kanakas? Mr. DELAMATER: I should say yes. It seemed to me, taking it under a form of government like that, the expressions in favor of annexation to this country were quite pronounced. Senator GRAY: General? Mr. DELAMATER: I should say quite general. The object, it seemed to me, so far as I could judge, was mainly to get better commercial relations. ... Business depression. ... the McKinley bill. Senator GRAY: That that the McKinley bill made sugar free? Mr. DELAMATER: Yes. Senator GRAY: And deprived the grower of the advantage that he had when there was a tax? Mr. DELAMATER: Yes. ... Senator GRAY: Were the sugar growers Annexationists, with the exception of Mr. Spreckles? Mr. DELAMATER: I judge that before I came away they were. But I got the impression very strongly in my mind that the sugar growers were opposed to it at the start. I did not talk with a great many of them; but I got that impression at the start.,Senator GRAY: What impression did you finally get? Mr. DELAMATER: My final impression was, that, in common with others, they were in favor of it.