Summary of Stalker's Testimony
Mr. Stalker, age 52, is a professor in the agricultural college at Ames, Iowa. His only trip to Hawaii was a year-long vacation on Oahu and Hawaii Island (Hilo and Volcano), arriving Honolulu on January 17, 1892 and departing February 1, 1893.
After returning to Honolulu from Hilo, he became aware of great controversy among the politically active people over the lottery and opium bills, although the common people did not seem too interested. His first awareness of revolutionary fervor came on the weekend of January 14-15 as he saw an unusual number of men quietly buying ammunition in hardware stores. He was not aware of any talk of revolution, nor of mob or military activity, until Monday January 16, 1893 when he attended a mass meeting of about 1200-1400 men at 2 PM. Some in attendance were curious tourists like himself. Revolutionary fervor was high among the local residents at the meeting.
"It was rather a declamatory style of speaking, in which the existing Government was severely criticised, different speakers saying: "We are not here as revolutionists, but to talk about grievances." I can not recall a single speech where so much as a single word was said about changing the form of the Government. I can not recall anything of the kind. The CHAIRMAN. And yet you were conscious all the time that that would be the result? Mr. STALKER. Yes; when I went to my hotel immediately after the meeting I said to some of my friends, "There will be an attempt at revolution here inside of three days;" I was laughed at. ... I am not prepared to say I believed the Hawaiian citizens who were most enthusiastic in this meeting would of themselves conduct a successful revolution; but I had been led to believe by some remarks of citizens that the men were coming from the Boston. ... When I left the meeting at the barracks, held by the supposed revolutionists, I went to the meeting held by the natives—that is, mostly native people who were in attendance at this meeting around at the Government building. I walked in and out of that crowd and through it, and I saw no disturbance. ... this was an open-air meeting. I saw no demonstration. I could not understand what they were talking about. I saw no violence, no demonstration. I walked about the streets afterward, and I saw no disturbance, heard no loud talking, nor anything to indicate violence ...
[On Monday late afternoon, after the peacekeepers landed] "... There was quite a little talk about it. The question was very frequently asked: " Why are the Boston boys here?" Some of us walked over from the hotel, which was a block or two blocks away, heard their music, and saw the boys marched up the street. ... They had a drum corps. The CHAIRMAN. Did you witness anything of an exasperated or agitated feeling on the part of the natives as they were marching up through the streets? Mr. STALKER. In their faces I think there was a good deal of intense excitement manifested. They were comparatively quiet. That seems to be their disposition. They stood around in considerable numbers. A few hundred of them were out there when the Boston boys came to a halt in front of the palace, standing on the sidewalks and in the streets. But there was very little conversation going on, even amongst them. The CHAIRMAN. Was it a mixed assemblage of women and children? Mr. STALKER. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. Such as would attend a demonstration of that kind in towns here? Mr. STALKER. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. Was any clamor raised against them—hissing or resentment at their coming ashore? Mr. STALKER. No; nothing that I could recognize as a hiss. The CHAIRMAN. Did you witness any demonstration against the troops while they were ashore by any person of Hawaiian nativity? Mr. STALKER. I did not. ... The CHAIRMAN. It was not such as would accompany the Britishert if they were to land in Baltimore without invitation from the Presidens of the United States? Mr. STALKER. I think not.
"Senator GRAY. While you are on that subject of the landing of the troops, I will ask you a question. You have already said that (on Monday, I think it was) you heard expressions from a number of people that some revolution, indications of which you thought you had seen, would be supported by the troops from the Boston. When these troops landed did you gather from your contact with or observation of the people an impression as to how that landing was regarded, and what was the general opinion as to the purpose of that landing? Mr. STALKER. The feeling, so far as I was able to judge of it, from conversations with the citizens, was that they would at least not be in the way of any revolutionary effort that might come on. The CHAIRMAN. You mean the troops from the Boston would not be? Mr. STALKER. Yes. ... Their first halt was in a sort of plaza, or broad street, near what they call the royal palace and Government building. ... They were there several minutes. I should think they stood around there a quarter of an hour or more, possibly twice that long. Then they marched on past the palace down the street a few blocks beyond and turned into the grounds of a private citizen. A little later they marched back up the street to their same position, the palace being on the right side and the Government building on the left hand as they came back, and went into quarters for the night in a building that stands immediately at the end of the Government building and facing the palace on the opposite side of the street. ... Monday night. It was dark before all this was through with.
"Senator GRAY. What did you observe on Tuesday? Mr. STALKER. I walked out to the corner of the palace grounds, a plot of land possibly of 20 acres, cornering on the hotel grounds. I walked along on the west side of the court over to the street where the troops were quartered, and walked along immediately in front of where they were quartered, and everything was perfectly quiet. It was just in the gray of the dawn. Everything was perfectly quiet there. There were a few guards on duty; that was all that was visible so far as the troops were concerned. I then walked quite around the palace ground and passed the quarters of the native troops, which were immediately on the opposite side of the palace grounds on which the men of the Boston were quartered. The two were on almost directly opposite sides of the palace. Everything was quiet in the palace grounds. ... I went back to the hotel and had my breakfast as usual; a little later in the morning I went down town. ... business houses were open, men were buying and selling. I saw no demonstration; heard nothing said of an excitable character. I went to the public library for a time and returned to the hotel for my dinner.
"...possibly 1 o'clock, I should say; possibly a little after 1 o'clock when I came out from my dinner. I walked out from the dining hall on to a broad lani that runs around the three sides of the hotel; just as I came on to this veranda ... I heard a shot in the direction of the business part of the town. I stood waiting a moment to see whether it was a matter of any consequence. Possibly two or three minutes later a carriage came by at a very rapid pace, with a driver on the front seat and a man on the rear seat with a rifle. This was succeeded in pretty rapid succession by other carriages, being driven at a rapid rate, containing 1, 2, or 3 men with guns. These carriages were driven past the hotel in the opposite direction from the business portion of the city. These carriages came from the direction where the shot was fired, and came in front of the hotel. I walked down in front of the hotel, in the grounds, and asked a gentleman at the telephone station what this meant. He said, "The war has commenced; one man has been killed."
"... A number of carriages passed by in rapid succession, and occasionally a man on foot. I, with some friends, went to the top of the building, where there is a sort of outlook, an observatory. There is a view in every direction. We could see the palace grounds, the public building, and to some extent the town in other directions. We remained up there twenty minutes, probably thirty minutes; I could not tell the time exactly, and could see little or nothing that was indicative. So we came down, and I remarked to my friends, "Probably it will be uncomfortable for us on the front porch; we had better take the rear of the building if there is to be fighting on the campus." I thought I would go down and see if I could get some word from the seat of war. I walked past the side of the palace grounds and saw no excitement there until I came to the corner, came to the street that passes between the palace and the Government building. On going to the Government building I saw a crowd in the street, quite a number, and as soon as I reached a point of vantage where I could see well, I observed there were men inside the grounds with guns, and some few straggling citizens were in there unarmed. Guards were placed at the gates, and after that citizens were not allowed to go in without permission. About the time I arrived, or very soon after, a gentleman commenced reading a document which proved to be a revolutionary declaration and the announcement of the organization of a new government. ...
"... I stayed there and thereabout for probably half an hour, possibly longer. ... I was on the side facing the palace— the main entrance of the building. ... The Hawaiian flag was floating from the mast over on the ... Queen's palace. And I observed couriers or orderlies going back and forth. I did not know the significance of it, but observed individuals go from one building to the other; they passed the guards at both places, came in and went out, and this sort of thing was kept up certainly for a half hour or longer without any visible change taking place anywhere. ... After a little the flag on the palace came down, and there was a murmur through the crowd that the Queen had probably surrendered; that the flag was down. But a moment later it was pulled up again. It seems it was being adjusted. Then a cheer went through the crowd when the flag was pulled up; but a little later a native Hawaiian came out and lowered the flag, and pretty soon the word went through the crowd on the streets that the Queen had surrendered. A little later it was in print, what doubtless has been presented in evidence here a good many times, that the Queen had surrendered "To the superior military forces of the United States."
"The CHAIRMAN. I would like you to give the day and the time of day exactly when that occurred. Mr. STALKER. When the flag came down? Senator GRAY. Mr. Stalker has already said it was Tuesday, the 17th of January. Mr. STALKER. Yes; Tuesday, the 17th. And this was late in the afternoon. I could not say what time of day it was. I believe it was between 3 and 4, possibly as late as 4 o'clock, though I would not be positive as to the time of day. Senator GRAY. Was it not as late as 5? Mr. STALKER. That the flag came down? Senator GRAY. Yes. Mr. STALKER. It might have been. Let me see. About 2 the ball really opened over there, and it might possibly have been as late as 5. I should say it was as late as 5 when the flag came down. There was a good deal of delay, parleying back and forth, until pretty well along in the afternoon. ...
"Senator GRAY. Did you hear anything said during that afternoon and evening in regard to the presence of the United States troops? ... Mr. STALKER. Yes; I heard frequent remarks about their presence. ... This query came up, probably in some conversation with people sitting about in the hotel: "If the troops were there to protect property, why did they not protect that building, its offices and treasury, against parties who came there with arms in their hands, and nobody presumably knowing what they were going to do and what they were there for?"
"Senator GRAY. When you got back to the hotel after the proclamation of the new Government and the hauling down of the flag was everything quiet that evening? Mr. STALKER. Yes. ... A number of us was at the hotel, and a good many I did not know the names of. We engaged in miscellaneous conversation, and remarks were frequently made by persons whom I did not know. ... they were people who, like myself, were simply standing by. ... observers of matters with which they were not connected ... much as it would be with any other discussion of a current event by gentlemen looking on and observing without having any participation at all...
"Wednesday ... Matters were quiet. I was in and out of the hotel and on the streets around in front of the public buildings. I think on Wednesday I was in Mr. Severance's office. He was our consul at that time, and he gave me a pass or permit which entitled me to go to the building. I had been there a good many times; had a good many acquaintances in the office; and I went in and out and talked to them. ... there was no excitement on the street that I could detect. ... The next morning these matters were all in the public prints, and her ukase, or whatever she termed it, was printed, and in the morning papers. ... never while I was there did I hear anything to lead me to believe that there was any organized resistance in contemplation. ...
"I talked with Capt. Wiltse about the subject. ... I remember on one occasion we were driving up from Waikiki, which is a suburb, bathing resort, and the conversation turned on this matter. I was interrogating Capt. Wiltse as to whether the United States troops had not participated in this matter to rather an unjustifiable extent. ... This was a few days after; I can not state the day. ... I asked him this question, whether this was not a move to destroy the form of government that was the one preferred by the great mass of the people of the islands. ... as to whether our Government had not involved itself in what had been done. Capt. Wiltse made this remark to me: "All this talk about who has a right to vote and who has a right to govern in these islands is bosh; I do not care a cent about that; the only question is, does the United States want these islands? If it does, then take them." Those were his words. Senator GRAY. You say this was some days after the revolution? Mr. STALKER. Yes; some days. Senator GRAY. And after the circumstances which you have described? Mr. STALKER. Yes.
"Senator GRAY. Was or was not the movement which you have already described, and which resulted in the surrender, such as it was, of the Queen and the establishment of the Provisional Government on the terms of the proclamation, an annexation movement to the United States, as distinguished, I mean, from an ordinary revolution having for its object the displacement of one government by another? ... Mr. STALKER. My belief was that it was a movement intended to end in the annexation of those islands to this country. Senator GRAY. By that you mean that was the purpose which animated those who acted in the revolution? Mr. STALKER. Yes.
"The CHAIRMAN. Did you have any reason to know or believe that that movement was disconnected from any purpose on the part of the revolutionists to preserve and maintain their rights under the constitution of 1887? Mr. STALKER. I did not believe the revolution was inaugurated for the purpose of securing their rights under that constitution. ... I believed it from this fact, that one of the first items of information that came to us after the downfall of the existing government was that a boat would be dispatched immediately to make a tender of these islands to this Government. That was early the next morning. That was a matter of conversation everywhere. On making inquiry, I went down to Mr. Severance's office to ascertain whether I could get a permit to go home on that boat. I had stayed a little longer than I had intended, on account of the exciting events there, and I wanted to come over on the Claudine at the time she sailed with the commissioners. Mr. Severance told me that I would not be able to get on board that boat; and it was evident the following day that the preparations were active for annexing these islands to the United States.
"Senator GRAY. You were stating, in answer to a question by the chairman, what the grounds of your belief were. You stated one fact. I will ask whether you had any grounds for it in what you heard from those who were active in the revolution that annexation was their object? Mr. STALKER. Possibly simple disconnected remarks. I had no conversation with any active member of the revolutionary party containing statements to that effect; only incidental remarks dropped in my hearing, like these: "Soon we will all be Americans." ... The CHAIRMAN. To get at the nature of the belief on which you were forming these opinions, I will ask you whether any person officially connected with the Queen or the revolution came to you to inform you of the nature of the affairs or the progress of the affairs that were expected? Mr. STALKER. No. The CHAIRMAN. What you had learned was the common gossip on the street? Mr. STALKER. Yes; that is where I gathered practically all my information. ... THE CHAIRMAN. Did you gather from what you heard there and observed there in this way that these people who were promoting revolution would not have been satisfied to have continued the monarchy if they could have felt assured of the preservation of the rights which they held under the constitution of '87? Mr. STALKER. I certainly gathered the impression that they would not be satisfied with that. ... I gathered that impression first from the speeches made at the mass meeting. ...
"The CHAIRMAN. Amongst those objections that you have been speaking about here, did you hear any cries or expressions to the effect that the Queen was not to be trusted; that she intended to overthrow the constitution? Mr. STALKER. From the speakers; yes—that the Queen was revolutionary in her acts. The CHAIRMAN. Did the crowd deny that? Mr. STALKER. No. The CHAIRMAN. Did they not concur with the speakers on that proposition? Mr. STALKER. They did. It would be my impression that they did. The CHAIRMAN. So that, you would gather that the real pith of the movement was that they would no longer trust the Queen, because she had begun a revolution by overturning the constitution? Mr. STALKER. Yes; that was said, in effect, by the speakers.
"The CHAIRMAN. Can you say, on the Tuesday or Wednesday that you have mentioned, that the appearance of the Hawaiian Kanaka population was that of a people resentful at the invasion of a hostile power, and were awed into submission by a display of military force? ... Mr. STALKER. I believe that a large majority of the native Hawaiian population, so far as I was able to judge, was opposed to the action taken by the troops of the Boston, and regarded it as unfriendly toward their Government. The CHAIRMAN. Can you state any fact that will go to support that conclusion—any expression from any native Kanaka, or any movement of the Kanaka population that will support that proposition? Mr. STALKER. I would not be able to recall, probably, a statement of any native. There was a quiet, or rather sullen, expression on the faces of nearly all the native population, and a rather suppressed murmur in regard to the presence of these troops. But I can not recall any expression definitely used by individuals in the way of objection.
"The CHAIRMAN. Would you regard the overthrow of a constitution to which the Queen had made oath of allegiance and to which her title to the throne depended, and the substitution in place of that of a constitution of her own making, of her own will, which changed the rights and powers of the people of Hawaii, as being peaceful or revolutionary? Mr. STALKER. Certainly revolutionary.
"Senator GRAY. I will ask you in that connection: Considering that revolutionary, would you consider the fact that no such proclamation of a change of constitution was actually declared, though intended to be declared, coupled with the fact that there was a declaration from the Queen that she had abandoned all idea of changing the constitution, except in accordance with its terms and requirements, revolutionary? Mr. STALKER. The substitution of a constitution in any such way would be revolutionary.
"Senator GRAY. Read the question. The question was read as follows: "I will ask you in that connection: Considering that revolutionary, would you consider the fact that no such proclamation of a constitution was actually declared, though intended to be declared, coupled with the fact that there was a declaration from the Queen that she had abandoned all idea of changing the constitution, except in accordance with its terms and requirements, revolutionary?" Mr. STALKER. That would admit of a doubt, at least of its being revolutionary. Senator GRAY. You are asked not a hypothetical question, but a question as to conduct that occurred. The Queen did, according to the evidence, announce her intention of proclaiming, on her own authority, a new constitution; but she never actually did it, but told those who wanted her to do it, and those of the population who were disposed to favor it, that she would defer it. She afterwards issued a proclamation to her people why she abandoned all idea of changing the constitution, except in accordance with its terms and requirements. Taking all that conduct together, do you consider it revolutionary? Mr. STALKER. I should hardly think it was revolutionary. The CHAIRMAN. The latter part of that question you certainly would not; that is, you came to the conclusion that the Queen intended to amend it in accordance with existing law? Mr. STALKER. No; but to change it in accordance with existing law. The CHAIRMAN. Take the first part of the question, with reference to the methods provided in the constitution of '87, by which the Queen assumed the right to declare the new constitution. Would you regard that revolutionary or a regular proceeding? Senator GRAY. That is, if she had proclaimed it? The CHAIRMAN. I speak of her purpose. Mr. STALKER. Can I answer that in my own way? The CHAIRMAN. Yes; it is your own way we want; not anybody else's. Mr. STALKER. The act of imposing a constitution in such a way would certainly be irregular and revolutionary; if she had it in mind to do that thing, but did not do it, in my mind it would not be revolutionary. Have I answered that question?
"The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Suppose that the Queen had it in mind, and was prevented only by the fact of an opposing force which she was afraid would overturn her Government, would her motive and conduct be less revolutionary than they would have been had she gone on and accomplished it in the absence of such an opposing force? Mr. STALKER. The motive might be; the conduct would not be.
"Senator GRAY. Are you aware that this constitution of 1887 that the Queen had sworn to support, had been proclaimed by the King in precisely the same way that the Queen proposed to proclaim the new constitution? Mr. STALKER. Yes. Senator GRAY. Without any reference to the Legislative Assembly or to the people at large? Mr. STALKER. Yes.