Summary of Stevens' Testimony
John L. Stevens, age 73, was born in Maine. He was appointed by President Benjamin Harrison to be Minister of the United States to the Kingdom of Hawaii, and arrived in Honolulu in September 1899 while Kalakaua was King. It was Stevens' first visit to Hawai'i. He remained in Hawai'i as U.S. Minister until May 24, 1893.
"Mr. Stevens. The biennial Legislature assembled in May, 1892. The body very soon asserted its constitutional prerogative in voting out a ministry that had consented to the maladministration of the Queen and her favorite at the palace, who exercised dictatorial powers and rioted in official police corruption. ... Three successive ministers of this description were voted out by the Legislature, with the warm approval of all the best men of the islands. At last the Queen appeared to yield to the pressure of public opinion and consented to the appointment of four responsible men ... Known as the Wilcox-Jones ministry ... the United States minister and naval commander left Honolulu January 4, in the U. S. cruiser Boston, for Hilo and Volcano, the distance of nearly 300 miles. It was the first time for many months I had felt it safe for the United States minister and naval commander to be away from the Hawaiian capital. We were absent ten days. When we arrived in the harbor of Honolulu on our return from Hilo, in the forenoon of January 14, there came to us the startling news that the Queen and the ring of white adventurers who surrounded her had, by intrigue and bribery, carried the lottery and opium bills through the Legislature; had forced out the Wilcox and Jones ministry, had appointed in their places four of her palace retainers, two of whom the Legislature and the responsible public had recently and repeatedly rejected, headed by the man who had carried the lottery and opium bills through the Legislature.
"To fortify themselves in their schemes of usurpation and robbery they must have a new constitution. They were afraid the supreme court would decide their lottery bill unconstitutional. The supreme court must be reconstructed, so that the Queen could reappoint the judges and give the final appeal to the Queen herself. The new constitution was to be proclaimed in a way that the existing constitution expressly prohibits. Her four new ministers were in the plot.
"While the Boston was coming into the harbor of Honolulu, on the forenoon of January 14, the mob of hoodlums, at the call of the Queen and her retainers, were gathering in the palace grounds. ... The hour of proroguing the Legislature had arrived. The ceremony concluded, the Queen went immediately to the palace, around which the mob was gathering. It was too late for the American and English ministers even to attempt to reason with the maddened, misguided woman, who had already launched the revolution which could not be arrested, though her cowardly ministers of the lottery gang became alarmed and drew back. She scorned their cowardice and pushed on to her doom. ...
"The great mass meeting of January 16—worthy of the best American towns, of the best American days, was held. It was made up of the best and chief men of the country—the owners of property, the professional and educated citizens, merchants, bankers, clerks, mechanics, teachers, clergymen. This assemblage was a unit in opinion and purpose. It was stirred by a common sentiment, the love of country and the desire for public order and public security. It took its measures wisely and prudently. Its committee of public safety asked us to land the men of the Boston lest riot and incendiarism might burst out in the night, for no reliable police force longer existed, and whatever there was of this force was now in the control of the usurpers and the lottery gamblers who had initiated the revolution.
"As American representatives, 5,000 miles from our Government, we could not have escaped our responsibilities even had we desired to do so. Fortunately the commander of the Boston and those under his command had no desire to shirk their duty. They appreciated the obligations of American patriotism and the honor of the American Navy. The allurements of a semibarbaric court and palace had not blinded their eyes to the condition of things in Honolulu. On shore in perfect order, they stepped not an inch from the line of duty. They never lifted a finger in aid of the fallen monarchy.
"Three cabinets had been voted out in the course of a few weeks. Parker, Spencer, Wideman, and Paul Neuman voted out August 30,1892, by 31 yeas to 10 nays. Parker, Maefarlane, Gulick, and Paul Neuman appointed September 12, 1892, and voted out October 17, 1892, by 31 yeas and 15 nays. November 1, 1892, Queen appointed Cornwell, Nawahi, Gulick, and Creighton, who were voted out the same day by 26 yeas to 13 nays.
"Peter C. Jones, W. L. Wilcox, Mark P. Robinson, and Cecil Brown. Jones and Wilcox were two strong financial men, worth more than $200,000 each; were not politicians; but they accepted their offices as a matter of duty to the country. Mark P. Robinson was a prominent business man, and Cecil Brown was a lawyer. All four of this Cabinet are gentlemen of integrity, having the confidence of the financial public. ...
"In the Legislature before Liliuokalani came to the throne, Kalakaua was opposed by some persons, and he wanted to get his original power back. ... In order to accomplish that, in the winter of '90 he had delegations of natives from the islands to demand a new constitution ... Mr. Wodehouse [British Minister} strongly urged the King not to go into it, stating that it would be fatal to him. Then I followed, and went into it elaborately, stating that in my opinion he could not have gotten up a better scheme than that to overthrow the monarchy. I said, "If it is started, you do not know where it will end." The whites had made up their minds, if Kalakaua ever attempted that, they would break down the monarchy. It was hard for Kalakaua to take that advice. ... When he was dead, and Liliuokalani came to be the sovereign, she said to the chief justice, "What will be the consequence if I do not take the oath to that constitution?" The chief justice, who had been a supporter of the monarchy, said in his courteous way, "You could not be Queen." With this answer of the chief justice Liliuokalani took the oath to support the constitution.
"The Chairman. Ships of war of the United States had been kept in the harbor of Honolulu for some time? Mr. Stevens. Yes. The Chairman. How many years? Mr. Stevens. Probably thirty-five or forty. The Chairman. Was there ever a time during your residence there as minister of the United States when there was no ship of war in the harbor, no ship assigned to duty there? Mr. Stevens. I do not think there was any time when there was no ship of war there, unless the ship was out of the harbor for target practice, or gone to Hilo, a trip of a few days. ...
"The Chairman. What is the necessity of the United States keeping a ship of war in Honolulu, or in reach of the Hawaiian Islands? Mr. Stevens. Because of the liability to anarchy. And why? To illustrate that point, this was no new thing—the landing of troops. It was done at least three times prior to January, 1893, if not more. I remember three. Prior to this at different times the official representatives of the Queen came to me and asked me to be in readiness to land soldiers; that there were certain contingencies before them that they could not provide for; and more than that number of times the naval officers of the different ships got everything in readiness.
"Mr. Stevens. Jealous of Wilson, and that was the key to their action. For many months they were organized, my information was. It came in many ways, not only from those who were engaged in it, but from the Queen's Government. They contemplated her overthrow. That party was led by Mr. Wilcox, the same man who was in collusion with Liliuokalani in 1889, a few months before I arrived there, to change the constitution. Mr. Wilcox and several prominent white men of the adventurers class had organized what they called a Liberal Hawaiian League, and they had a military organization as well. Their constant fear was that we would not permit the Queen to be overthrown, and of course they always took occasion to find out what the naval officer and American minister would do if they undertook to overthrow the Queen. I could not make my instructions and intentions known. The Queen was anxious to have me informed of her danger, and the Wilcox faction was anxious to know whether I would interfere in defense of the Queen. Of course, I had to keep noncommittal. That party would have dethroned the Queen if they had had the help of the white people. But the whites said, "No; we can not accept the Government from their hands." Consequently, there was a state of uneasiness, of uncertainty, all the time, as there had been months before I arrived there. Mr. Merrill had an experience with it for two years,, beginning with the revolution of 1887. After they got in the cabinet of 1887 they had a peaceful time up to the Wilcox outbreak, a few weeks before I arrived in the country. ...
"And only those present in Honolulu could know how thoroughly the monarchy was dead after the Queen's revolutionary attempt to proclaim a new constitution on the afternoon of July 14. I have already given account of the mass meeting, mostly of white citizens, of the appointment of a committee of safety, and of their request of us to land the naval force. The Chairman. You say "us." Whom do you mean? Mr. Stevens. Myself and Capt. Wiltse. ... The Chairman. In what form is that request made? Mr. Stevens. In a note. The Chairman. By whom? Mr. Stevens. The committee of public safety. ... The Chairman. Was there any reason for making the request for the landing of the troops? Mr. Stevens. Only the fears of the citizens. The Chairman. I want to know whether any request had been made upon you before that time? Mr. Stevens. No, only so far as individual citizens made representations of the danger. The Chairman. Individual citizens did appear before you to represent the danger? Mr. Stevens. Yes. Especially did I have a note from Rev. Mr. Bishop, a man 65 years of age, born on the islands. He has everybody's confidence. He informed me on Sunday that the Kahunas of the Queen, the sorcerers, were evidently around the Queen, and there were serious times ahead. He did not ask me, but he stated that that I might know the danger. I learned from other sources, of persons who knew perfectly well, if I did not do so, the legation would be crowded with many people fearing what might happen during the night. The Chairman. They would come there for protection? Mr. Stevens. Yes. ...
"The Chairman. Were there other persons who came to talk with you? Mr. Stevens. I came in contact with a good many persons. The Chairman. At the legation? Mr. Stevens. At the legation, where I kept myself except for two or three hours that I was at the Government buildings, for the new ministers had got frightened and they sent to me. They sent to Mr. Wodehouse and the other diplomatic representatives to come to the Government building, and we went there and waited two hours. The Chairman. What ministers do you speak of? Mr. Stevens. Foreign ministers. The Chairman. Representatives of foreign governments. Mr. Stevens. Yes. The Chairman. Were they all invited? Mr. Stevens. They all came over to the Government building while all this wrangling was going on about the Queen's constitution. ... The Chairman. Was any representative of a foreign government missing on that occasion ? Mr. Stevens. I do not remember any.
The Chairman. You spoke of a mob about the palace. Do you mean a disorganized body of men? Mr. Stevens. Disorganized body of natives; retainers who had been dressed up respectably, and their leader had a constitution on a velvet cushion. ...
"The Chairman. Are you able to state from information that came to you, beside that from the committee of safety, that you would be willing and found yourself authorized, and, of course, compelled as a matter of public duty, to ask Capt. Wiltse to land troops? Mr. Stevens. I would have felt it necessary if the committee of safety had not made any request. The Chairman. Based upon your judgment of the situation? Mr. Stevens. Upon my judgment of the situation. My only fear was that I delayed it twenty-four hours too long. Had anything happened Sunday night it would have been my risk. The landing of troops is something serious. I had previously discouraged it. When I did request it, I said it must be solely for the protection of American life and property. I used the old formula.... Perhaps I will put in here that when I went on board to Captain Wiltse with my request, which said only for the protection of life and property, I found that he had his order to the officers already drawn. I found it was copied from the naval order, standing order, which covered more than mine did. He said to me, "If you think it better to strike that out, I will do so." I said, "Inasmuch as it is in the naval order and Mr. Bayard's instructions, I have no right to ask you to strike it out. ...
"Mr. Stevens. I should think not far from 4 o'clock; he landed about 5 and it may have been 4 o'clock. ... The Chairman. When Capt. Wiltse landed where? Mr. Stevens. Landed from the Boston on shore. ... The Chairman. And when you got on board Capt. Wiltse had his orders already drawn up? Mr. Stevens. Yes. The Chairman. In writing? Mr. Stevens. Yes. The Chairman. And they were submitted to you? Mr. Stevens. Submitted to me. The Chairman. In what form? Mr. Stevens. One that had been in the Navy for years. ...
"My request to Capt. Wiltse is the following: "United States Legation, "Honolulu, January 16, 1893. "Sir: In view of the existing critical circumstances in Honolulu, indicating an inadequate legal force, I request you to land marines and sailors from the ship under your command for the protection of the United States Legation and United States consulate, and to secure the safety of American life and property. "Very truly, yours, "John L. Stevens, "Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States. "Capt. G. C. Wiltse, "Commander of the U. S. S. Boston." The order of Capt. Wiltse, as read by him to me when I went on board the Boston, goes farther than mine. It not only requires the protection of American life and property, but the preservation af public order. That goes considerably further than my request went.
"The Chairman. Here is the order of Capt. Wiltse under which the troops were landed from the Boston. "U. S. S. Boston, Second Rate, "Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, January 16, 1893. "Lieut. Commander W. T. Swinburne "U. S. navy, Executive Officer U. S. S. Boston:" "Sir: You will take command of the battalion, and land in Honolulu, for the purpose of protecting our legation, consulate, and the lives and property of American citizens, and to assist in preserving public order. "Great prudence must be exercised by both officers and men, and no action taken that is not fully warranted by the condition of affairs, and by the conduct of those who may be inimical to the treaty rights of American citizens.
"The Chairman. Upon what precedent had you formulated the order which you took with you on board the ship? Mr. Stevens. I had been in a revolutionary country before as minister, and I had gotten used to the formula, and the request that I carried to Capt. Wiltse was the formula I was then familiar with. The files of the legation show that. I knew that Mr. Bayard's instructions went further; but they had passed out of my recollection. When I saw Capt. Wiltse's order, I remembered that Mr. Bayard's went further than mine. The Chairman. Where were you a minister before? Mr. Stevens. In 1867,1870,1871, and 1873 in Paraguay and Uruguay. Uruguay was in civil war nearly all the time. The Chairman. You were minister there? Mr. Stevens. Had charge of the legation. The Chairman. How long did you stay there? Mr. Stevens. Three years. Paraguay had just gotten through that struggle with Brazil, and Uruguay was in a state of war for two years and a half, which was settled during my residence there. The Chairman. So that you had gotten familiar with the duties of U. S. minister under the circumstances you have given? Mr. Stevens. Yes; and the responsibilities of a naval commander, which made me exceedingly careful on every point.
"The Chairman. Did you give any orders or advice as to the manner of landing the troops, the streets through which the troops were to proceed or march, the place at which they were to be posted, or the place where they were to be encamped? Mr. Stevens. At first we arranged that a portion should go to the United States consulate. ... but we could not encamp more than 15 or 18. I assumed that the marines had their camp utensils, and I then learned that they needed a hall for the first time---The Chairman. Why did you request that any troops be sent to the legation? Mr. Stevens. Why did I? The Chairman. Yes. Mr. Stevens. For the reason that the state of anarchy in which the city was, and knowing that the only government which existed there was that committee of safety and the citizens back of it, and the military force that we had—knowing that the legation is the one of all other places around which there should be some men, and that was a more important part of the city where a dozen men could be sent this way or that way to take care of the contingencies of fires. By stating a little more in this connection you will understand it better. The only two things that were new to me on the part of the request of the naval officers was this: So soon as we found that they were to land I learned from Capt. Wiltse and his officers that they must have a hall no stay in and maps of the city for use in case of fires. So that from the time I struck the legation, at 4 o'clock, up to nearly 10 o'clock, my entire time was consumed in finding maps and a hall for the officers and men for the night.
"The Chairman. When these troops were so disposed as to place a detachment at the consulate and another at the legation, was it the honest and bona fide intention of yourself, and, so far as you know, of Capt. Wiltse, to give protection to those American establishments, or was it the intention and purpose to make a display of the American forces at these respective points under the assurance of the American flag, or was it because of the movement of a popular character which you knew to be on foot for the purpose of overthrowing the Queen and the establishment of a new government? Mr. Stevens. It had sole relation to the protection of American life and property and, if you wish to cover it by Mr. Bayard's order, for the preservation of public order, I did not feel like going so far as that.
"The Chairman. Did you know of a programme, or whatever it was, before you went on board the ship, for the establishment of the new Government? Mr. Stevens. I could not help but know it; it was all the talk Sunday and Monday. I knew it by the general appearance of things and the talk; the leaders did not communicate their plans to me. ... The Chairman. But you knew at the time you went on board the ship that the state of public feeling there would culminate in an effort to overthrow the Queen's Government and establish a government in place of it? Mr. Stevens. I understood that the Queen's government was at an end. The Queen's government ended on Saturday afternoon. There was no government of the Queen's for more than forty-eight hours; from 4 o'clock Saturday afternoon, the 14th of January, the Queen's government was absolutely dead, as much so as was that of Louis Phillipe's government was after he left the city of Paris in 1848. The Chairman. From the time you spoke of going on board ship and conferring with Capt. Wiltse about troops going on shore, was there any government in Honolulu which could have issued any authentic order which the people would have respected? Mr. Stevens. There was none. As I stated before, the only government was the thousand white citizens who were acting as a unit; they were absolutely masters of the situation, and their unity and self-possession and the presence of the Boston kept the city as it was. The Chairman. The period of time from Saturday afternoon to Monday afternoon you regard as an interregnum? Mr. Stevens. Absolutely an interregnum—theoretically and practically. ... The Chairman. So that, as a part of the interregnum during these days, between Saturday noon and Monday afternoon, there was no display of military force on the part of the Queen's government? Mr. Stevens. None whatever that I was made cognizant of. ...
Senator Frye. Mr. Stevens stated that he requested certain of the troops to be sent to the consulate, and certain of them to be sent to the legation; but he did not give any account of the disposition of the balance of the troops. Now, Mr. Stevens, answer my questions, and answer them only. You say you thought when the troops came ashore they would bring their tents with them? ... When the troops came to the shore, you found they had no tents? Mr. Stevens. And they had to have a hall. Senator Frye. Up to that time did you ever know that there was such a hall in Honolulu as Arion Hall? Mr. Stevens. Never, until the time the Opera House was refused. ... Senator Frye. Did you send a man for a place? Mr. Stevens. Yes. Senator Frye. What did you send him after? Mr. Stevens. The Opera House. ... Senator Frye. Why did you send for the Opera House. Mr. Stevens. Because I knew of that hall, and I knew of its capacity. .. Senator Frye. Your man returned? Mr. Stevens. He had to go 3 miles to find the man in charge, and returned with a negative—that the owner of the hall was not on the island and he would not like to have the hall used for that purpose. I found out that he was an Englishman and against the Americans. Senator Frye. Then you heard of Arion Hall? Mr. Stevens. I sent the same messenger, the same man. Senator Frye. How far did you send him? Mr. Stevens. About a mile, to a man known to be a royalist—Kalakaua's minister. Mr. Walker had been a minister, and had been all through these troubles. He said he would be very glad to let us have the hall. He gave me the name of the manager. I sent a third man to the one who had the management of the hall, and he granted the right to use it. It was then well on to 10 o'clock. Consequently the men had to stay in the street that night to that hour. Senator Frye. At Mr. Atherton's house? Mr. Stevens. Yes; he had extensive grounds... Senator Frye. Had anyone made any suggestion to you on behalf of the Queen or the Provisional Government that Arion Hall should be selected on account of its location near the Government building? Mr. Stevens. Never. Senator Frye. The only purpose you had was to place the troops where they could be protected during the night? Mr. Stevens. Yes; and where they would be useful in case of fire.
The Chairman. Proceeding from this period when you say there was an interregnum to the time when you ordered the American flag to be hoisted in Hawaii, I will ask you what was the condition of the people as to order and quietude and the conduct of their ordinary vocations? ... Mr. Stevens. I will say that the people were generally at their avocations, except that the citizens had constituted themselves soldiers— the men from stores, the banks, and the workshops, responsible men— were constituted the military force for the time being. ... 400 to 600 men ...The Chairman. Were they under the control of the Provisional Government? Mr. Stevens. Yes. Those volunteers would never be called upon except in an emergency. They had a military force which was disciplined, and they had this force from the workshops. ...
The Chairman. Did you believe that there was a general public apprehension in that time, covering the period that I have just referred to, of any armed demonstration against the Provisional Government, or any incendiarism, or any mob violence? Mr. Stevens. Yes; very strong; so strong they got information that they barricaded the Government building and got ready for anything. ...
The Chairman. During this period of time where was the Queen? Mr. Stevens. The Queen was in her Washington house. That was the house left to her by her husband, and by the husband's mother left to him. It is the Washington house; well-known place, close to the palace. The Chairman. Did the Queen have any guards about her? Mr. Stevens. As nearly as I remember the Provisional Government allowed her a guard. The Chairman. Of how many? What was your information on that subject? Mr. Stevens. I think 12. The Chairman. Armed men? Mr. Stevens. I presume so; I never went to see.
The Chairman. Were the troops taken from the organization under the authority of the Provisional Government? Mr. Stevens. As nearly, as I remember at first they allowed her 12 of her own guards. But, of course, the Government kept an eye on them, and subsequently they were changed to men of the Provisional Government. ...
The Chairman. Was there any interruption of the relations between the Provisional Government and the American Government or between the Provisional Government and any foreign government during this period of time after the proclamation of the Provisional Government and up to the time of the raising the flag? Mr. Stevens. I should say no interruptions; but I would have to give the facts ...
The Chairman. What Governments had recognized the Provisional Government before the time of the raising of this flag? Mr. Stevens. Every one represented there. The Chairman. Which were—--Mr. Stevens. The English Government, the German Government, the Austro-Hungary the Portuguese, the Japanese. The Chinese are only represented by a commercial agent. I think he recognized the Provisional Government in some form. ... They did not call upon me to notify me; but they authorized the publication of their recognition in the paper of the next morning. ... I understood that they were duly signed by the officials, and I learned that evening they were recognized by all in thirty minutes except by the English minister; he did not do it until the next morning. But he got ahead of me in calling on the Provisional Government. I was too ill, and did not call for several days; and he called within forty minutes after they were constituted. The Chairman. What time did you make official recognition of this Government. Mr. Stevens. I could not say positively, because the legation was thronged all the afternoon, and I was sick on the couch; but probably not far from 5 o'clock. My wife and daughter think it was a little later. The Chairman. What day? Mr. Stevens. The day they were constituted—perhaps three hours after they were sworn in and took possession of the buildings and were conducting the Government. ... There was a complete want of government, an interregnum, from Saturday afternoon, and my purpose was to recognize the first real government that was constituted; and if Mr. Wilson had gone forward and shown any force and organized a government I should have recognized that.
The Chairman. During that afternoon, while you were still on the couch sick, as you say, some members of the recent cabinet of Liliuokalani came in to see you? Mr. Stevens. Yes. ... The Chairman. What did they communicate to you? Mr. Stevens. ... their message was this: whether I could not properly ask the aid of Capt. Wiltse's forces to sustain the Queen. Mr. Peterson went into a legal argument, while his associate, Mr. Parker, was silent. Mr. Parker said to Peterson: "You must make this very brief;" and the only answer I made was: "Gentlemen, these men were landed for one purpose only, a pacific purpose; I can not use this force for sustaining the Queen." Now, they say that they put the other alternative—"assist the Provisional Government." There was no alternative spoken of or hinted. I said: "These men were landed for a pacific purpose, and I can not use them to sustain the Queen." ... And that was argued by Mr. Peterson on a legal point. I ought to state the reason for that.
"In 1874 Kalakaua was elected, and the natives were opposed to it, as history will show. The American forces from the ship were landed to suppress the mob, and the suppression of that mob was practically the putting of Kalakaua on the throne. But that was not the specific intention; but, inasmuch as he had been elected and his opponents had control of the city and had driven the Legislature out, it resulted that way.
Now, in putting down the riot in 1874, which put Kalakaua on the throne, from that time on the Kalakaua family got the idea that the United States would do the same; that the minister was obliged to do it. I received formerly several times messengers from the Queen; whenever they called I would, as a matter of duty, use that force to sustain them, and in this belief Mr. Peterson made the argument that they were the legally constituted Government, and that I could properly do as he suggested—he knew that I did not claim to be a lawyer, and he thought he knew more about law than I did—that I could properly use the force. I made as brief an answer as possible—"that these men were on shore for a pacific purpose, and we can not take any part in any contest; can not use the force to sustain the Queen or anybody else." ... Mr. Stevens. I knew from the conversation that they called upon me from the Queen—to save her. ... Put her in possession of the Government which she had lost. The Chairman. How long was it after that interview with the Queen's ministers before you sent this note of recognition by Mr. Pringle to the Provisional Government? Mr. Stevens. I could not tell. The Chairman. About how long? Mr. Stevens. I would suppose it might have been two hours; might have been three.
The Chairman. Since your residence in Hawaii as a minister have you personally—I do not speak of your ministerial character—favored the annexation of Hawaii to the United States? Have you been in favor of that movement? Mr. Stevens. After I had been in Honolulu one year I came to the conclusion that the annexation of those islands was inevitable, or something else; that the then condition of things could not last very long, and therefore my official communications to our Government disclose just what my views were. But in my calculations for annexation I never supposed, nor was it expected by the friends of annexation, that it would be by revolution, but through negotiation, legislative action, and the assent of the Queen on the lines of the treaty of '54. That was the only plan thought of.... In the first twelve months I supposed something like a protectorate would be preferable. ... In my own mind I came to the conclusion that annexation was better than protectorate, or something like what they have in Sweden and Norway. I know that there were some men when I first went there who have had the idea that it would be better to have the foreign relations managed at Washington and have an independent kingdom like Norway.
Mr. Stevens. The 4th of July on all the four principal islands is celebrated with more uniformity and earnestness than in any part of the United States. I am familiar with the celebration of the 4th of July in my country fifty years ago, when they celebrated as they now do in Hawaii. The Chairman. Is it regarded as a fete day? Mr. Stevens. As a fete day. The Chairman. Are you aware of the existence of a similar state of feeling on the part of the Hawaiian people, the Kanakas, toward any other foreign government? Mr. Stevens. No.
"The Chairman. Considering the condition that Honolulu is in, and considering all the facts that you have been commenting upon, what was your reason for requesting or directing the raising of the flag and the establishment of a protectorate in Honolulu? ...
"Mr. Stevens. In answer to the question of the chairman put a few moments ago I will proceed to state: These volunteer troops had been taken from their business for two weeks. The Japanese Government had a powerful ironclad that was soon expected. They had one ship there, but they had sent it off to Hilo, and of that visit to Hilo we got information, which I sent to the Department, that the Japanese were testing the sentiment of the men upon the plantations as to whether they would aid the Japanese. Now, right here, it is important that I should be specific. The Japanese Commissioner had but recently arrived. He came to me prior to my going to Hilo and prior to the fall of the Queen and said that he wanted the same rights of suffrage for the Japanese that other nationalities had. He wanted to get my encouragement, to find out what I was about. That was before I went to Hilo. Of course I had to be very diplomatic and did not make him any pledges or any signs.
"At about the same time he had made this demand on the Queen's Government, which was before the overthrow, and which was followed up immediately on the Provisional Government—to give them the right of suffrage. On the island of Oahu, as the reports came to me, they had 700 or 800 Japanese who had been in the Japanese army. Information came to the Provisional Government and came to me that the adherents of the Queen, in a revolutionary attempt to replace her just at this time before the flag was put up, might call upon the Japanese laborers and residents, and that the Queen would promise them, for the sake of their aid, that they should have the right of suffrage. There was a good opportunity for the Japanese and the Queen's supporters. The commissioner had sent a request to Tokio by the Claudine, which I found out afterwards, following the Japanese training ship which had arrived from San Francisco, and in the meantime the training ship had gone up to Hilo. We found out from what appeared to be a reliable source that some political action in concert with natives was in view. There was no proof of that except as this messenger conveyed it to us in writing and the manner he had gained the information. That might not be so, but there were outward signs of it.
The Chairman. After that flag was raised and that protectorate was declared, did you, as the American minister, or in any other capacity, take any control or direction of any of the affairs of the Provisional Government, or any control or direction of the people there in any way? Mr. Stevens. Not in the remotest degree. ... The Chairman. To prevent other governments from coming in there to interfere? Mr. Stevens. That is it exactly. ...
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. In the course which you took in maintaining the protectorate and in maintaining the flag over Hawaiian soil, did you understand that you were violating in any sense any order of the United States Government given through the State Department? Mr. Stevens. No. I stated in my dispatch the serious responsibility I was under; that there was a contingency I knew no other way to meet than the method in which I met it....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. ... Mr. Stevens. I think after Admiral Skerrett had been there a certain length of time he said he would rather a portion of the troops would be on board ship. We conferred with the Provisional Government, and we reduced the number all around. The Chairman. The number was reduced under Admiral Skerrett's suggestion and order, and with your assent? Mr. Stevens. Yes. ... The Chairman. But Admiral Skerrett reduced the force on shore? Mr. Stevens. After conference with me and the Provisional Government. We thought it was safe to do it. The Chairman. That was while the flag was up? Mr. Stevens. Yes. The Chairman. Did Admiral Skerrett ever state to you before the arrival of Mr. Blount that he thought it his duty as the admiral in command to withdraw his entire force from the shore and haul down that flag? Mr. Stevens. No; he never even spoke to me that it was bad policy to have it up—nothing of the kind. ...
The Chairman. When Mr. Blount arrived, did he communicate to you any of the special instructions that he had received? Mr. Stevens. Not his instructions; but he gave me a copy of the instructions from Washington, by which his authority was paramount over mine, and that I should keep on with the ordinary duties of the legation. But he never showed me his instructions nor gave me a hint as to what they were.
Mr. Stevens. ... I knew that he came with a great deal of prejudice, and I was careful---The Chairman. How do you know that he came with prejudice? Mr. Stevens. By his conduct. It was very brusque with me in the start. It was brusque in his refusal to accept the offer of the American citizens that he should take a house rather than go the royalist hotel. The Chairman. That offer was made by whom? ... Was it the committee of safety? Mr. Stevens. They were not members of it. The chairman of it was Judge Hartwell, who had nothing to do with the revolution whatever, and the next member was Mr. Scott, a Kentucky gentleman, who has had charge of the high school for many years—not connected with the Government or even with politics.
The Chairman. How came the citizens to provide a house for Mr. Blount any more than for you as minister? Mr. Stevens. For the reason that they knew that the Hawaiian Hotel was organized in the interest of the Queen's supporters and organized in a very corrupt way. The Chairman. Was there no other hotel there except the one at which Mr. Blount stopped? Mr. Stevens. That was the principal hotel. There were other good hotels. ...
Senator Gray. Mr. Blount says he went there because it was the leading hotel, and that he never saw its proprietor to speak to him for many weeks after he had been there, and he saw no men who were royalists, except they came for the purposes of examination. Do you know anything to the contrary? Mr. Stevens. I know altogether to the contrary. The Hawaiian Hotel had been for many months as complete a lodge for all the Queen's supporters, to the extent that they watched every boarder who was brought there. The man who kept that hotel was of a firm that cheated the Government out of $80,000. One of the firm was sent to Washington as Kaiulani's counsel. The active manager of that hotel at the time is a graduate from the Oxford University, England. He was divorced from his wife in the United States. He wrote those vile letters in behalf of the Queen attacking me and Judge Dole. ... Mr. Stevens. Mr. Peterson was one. You asked me why these citizens made this offer. It was because while he was at the hotel he would be under espionage of the royalists.
The Chairman. Now, as I understand your statement, this body of citizens undertook to provide quarters for Mr. Blount in order to prevent him from falling under what they conceived to be and you conceived to be evil influences? Mr. Stevens. I will state it my own way. These citizens were of the highest respectability. This lady offered it because it was more convenient to the legation, and where both parties would have access without espionage, as the American citizens knew that they could not go to the royalists hotel without espionage. And I had to caution Mr. Blount that his papers would be seen by the representatives of the royalists. I think he regarded that caution.
Senator Gray. After Mr. Blount's arrival there, and after he was established at his headquarters, did he ask any information of you about the situation of affairs in Hawaii? Mr. Stevens. Not the slightest. The Chairman. Did he ask you whether it would be politic or safe or unsafe to haul down the flag and order the troops on board ship? Mr. Stevens. Not the least—not a word; never a hint of what he was going to do. ...
The Chairman. What is your information in regard to the power of Liliuokalani, as Queen of Hawaii, to organize and conduct any enterprise, political or military, for the purpose of displacing the Government that exists there now? Mr. Stevens. I think she would have very little power. But I think there are parties who might in her name do it; but I do not think it probable. ... But I think it possible that an expedition organized in California or Vancouver might attempt it, if they could obtain the money to do it. ... The Chairman. I understand you, then, that without assistance from foreign governments any enterprise of the character that I have just asked about would be a failure? ... Mr. Stevens. An utter failure. There is not the least danger of any attempt being made except by outside aid. That is my opinion.
The Chairman. Suppose that Liliuokalani had the undivided support of the native born, of the Kanaka population, with all the resources at their command, do you believe that she would be powerful enough with that support to overturn the existing civil government in those islands? Mr. Stevens. I think one-fourth of the force of the Provisional Government could resist all the native force on the islands. ... The Chairman. How would they compare with the American born? Mr. Stevens. I should say that a native Kanaka force of 2,000, two hundred United States soldiers would more than equal. The Chairman. So that you do not think the Provisional Government is in any danger from the Hawaiian population? Mr. Stevens. Not the least. From the native population? It would be the whites from whom the organized opposition would come.
The Chairman. Did you ascertain before you left Hawaii, and after the declaration of the Provisional Government, that there was any white organization being attempted against the Provisional Government? Mr. Stevens. My information was to the effect that the same men who put the lottery bill through, what they called the lottery and opium men, had been acting together for a good while. The Chairman. Did you hear of any attempt at organization amongst these, people, or any other white people, to overthrow or dislodge the Provisional Government, or impair it? Mr. Stevens. Those rumors of attempt to overthrow the Provisional Government? They were constantly getting information of attempts to do it. ... The Chairman. I will try to get back to the question whether you know or had any information of the existence of an organization amongst the white people in Hawaii against the Provisional Government? Mr. Stevens. Yes. The Chairman. What was it? Mr. Stevens. I have forgotten the name of it; I think it is "Liberty League." But they had so many names that I can not remember; but I think it was "Liberty League." The Chairman. Who was the leader of that organization, if it had any? Mr. Stevens. It was understood that Mr. Colburn and Mr. Peterson were in it. ...
The Chairman. Is there now in existence, or was there at any time while you were in Hawaii, any political organization of white men for the purpose of antagonizing and breaking down that Provisional Government. Can you answer that? ... Mr. Stevens. My information is that the men who controlled the Queen's Government mainly, and ever since she was in, have acted together so often that that is virtually an organization. The Chairman. Do you understand that there is such an organization existing in Hawaii to-day? Mr. Stevens. I have no doubt that it exists to-day. ... The Chairman. When you were there did it exist? Mr. Stevens. It existed. The Chairman. Who were the leaders of it? Mr. Stevens. The reason I referred to Mr. Blount's report is this: You will find the committee, of which Mr. Cummings was one—I have understood that he was; he was one of the leading members. That was one organization. Then another organization is the one that Nawahi was at the head of. When I was there he was one of the leaders of a political organization under Kalakaua, and it is possibly in existence to-day, for it has been in existence for years.
The Chairman. I want to know now whether any of these foreign people who are not Americans had any organization or association, within your knowledge, to oppose the Provisional Government of Hawaii, with a view to diverting Hawaii from the control or influence of the United States, either in the conduct of its current affairs or in the ultimate purpose of annexation ? ... I have understood that some Germans are for us and some against us? Mr. Stevens. As you have asked the question, let me answer it in a way that will enlighten it. Senator Gray. The question is, whether you have any knowledge or information of any such association or combination?
Mr. Stevens. I will begin with the Portuguese, which were far the more numerous Caucasian population there; the Germans and English were smaller in numbers. The Portuguese number from 9,000 to 10,000. They are nearly, if not quite, a unit for America and for annexation. Why is it so? The young men have been educated in American schools, which are as positive in their American character as you can find in any of our American cities. Nearly all these Portuguese came from the Azores and Madeira poor. They saw the energy and vim of the Americans, and are largely employed by Americans. Then there is some antagonism between the Portuguese and the natives. I have stated the principal causes, and the Portuguese are a unit with us. When you come to the Germans, a very large majority is with us, except such Germans as may (and they are not very many) gather around Claus Spreckels. I will mention two German houses, at the head of which are men who have been there a long time. Their children were born there, and they expect to die there. Both those houses, and they are heavy houses, are with America, just as the English merchant is in New York—they know that their business and their future interests are entirely with us. They all talk English, and they are like Americans.
Take the English. A majority of the English affiliate with us. Why? For the reason that they do all their business with California, Washington, and Oregon. They go to American schools, and many of them have married in American families. There is Mr. Davies. He is one of the heaviest merchants, but is opposed to us having Pearl Harbor, and is very hostile to American predominance in Hawaii. With the exception of what gathers around Mr. Davies and Mr. Wodehouse (which is a very marked minority of the English), the English are with us as much as the Portuguese. When you come to the Norwegians, whose number is small, you may say it is a unit for us. Reduce the opposition to the Provisional Government to the white population, and you have the men whom the lottery and opium rings have had in their power, and who will respond to the beat of the political drum. Any one familiar with the political organizations in the cities of the United States knows what that is. They have what is called the hoodlum element in Honolulu. Pay them and you will have them. But what are called the missionary people are not persons to bribe voters, and if a man were to throw in $50,000 to carry a project against the missionary element, he could buy up the hoodlums, just as they bought the votes in the Legislature with lottery stock, and those who would not have lottery stock got cash down.
The Chairman. You have made that statement. Do you know anything of the payment of lottery stock or money to carry through the lottery scheme?
Mr. Stevens. I will answer the best I can. The facts are as notorious as they would be in any American capital where anything of the kind had been going on for years. I will give you this fact, and I will give you the name. Mr. Emuleuth, who is a native of Ohio, but who has been out there fifteen years, an enterprising and respectable man so far as I know. He is a member if the Provisional Government. The day before the lottery cabinet was appointed, which must have been the day before the coming back of the Boston, Emuleuth went into a commercial house in Honolulu, and as he was going upstairs, he heard Peterson and Colburn talking. Peterson did not want to put Colburn in the cabinet. Colburn had been the man who raised the money; and Emuleuth heard this as he stopped on the stairs. Colburn wanted to go into the cabinet, and Peterson was trying to reason him out of going in. Peterson knew Colburn was a hard man to carry, and it ran in this way: "Peterson, I paid this money, and if you don't put me in the cabinet, I will join the other side and blow you to hell."
The Chairman. Emuleuth gave you this information? Mr. Stevens. Emuleuth. The Chairman. When ? Mr. Stevens. He gave that to me some days after the overthrow of the Government. The Chairman. When? Mr. Stevens. A week or ten days after the overthrow; merely as a historical fact, he gave it to me. ... Colburn knew his power. Then Peterson said, "if we put you in, will you agree to the constitution which the Queen is going to promulgate?" Colburn was opposed to it, but he answered, "damn, it, Pete; whatever you sign I will sign." Emuleuth said, "those four men were going in that cabinet for sure." They laughed at him; but when the cabinet was constituted they went in.
The Chairman. Had you been possessed of any information that Liliuokalani, after the prorogation of the Legislature, would promulgate this new constitution upon her own authority, would you have left Honolulu? Mr. Stevens. No; I would have stayed there. I considered it settled when those four men went in, because of their character and their means, and the information that the Queen's favorite had reason to think he should remain marshal. The Chairman. You speak of the Wilcox-Jones cabinet? Mr. Stevens. Yes; I considered that those men would be the Government for the next eighteen months.
Senator Frye. Mr. Wundenburg in his testimony says that the overthrow of the monarchy could not have been accomplished had it not been the general understanding that the American minister would make use of the troops. In your opinion, did the American troops have any effect on the overthrow of the monarchy? Mr. Stevens. Not the slightest. Senator Frye. And whether the troops were on shore or not, your opinion is that the monarchy would have been overthrown? Mr. Stevens. Certainly.
Senator Frye. Cornwall stated that Mr. Hopkins insisted upon knowing whether or not you intended to recognize the lawful Government or the revolutionary Government, and that you said that you should recognize the Provisional Government, because they were in possession of the Government building, and that you intended to support them? Mr. Stevens. I am very glad you asked that question. I had no conversation with Mr. Hopkins whatever. I did not even know him. Mr. Hopkins brought me a note, and I sent an answer. Senator Frye. Did you say that to anybody? Mr. Stevens. Never. I want to say that Mr. Hopkins brought the note—they said it was Hopkins; I never had any conversation with Hopkins at any time.
Senator Frye. John F. Colburn testified that Thurston had an interview with them (him and Peterson) January 15, at 6 o'clock a. m., Sunday, and desired him and Peterson to depose the Queen; that in the course of the conversation he said that he could inform us that Mr. Stevens had given the committee of safety the assurance that if we two signed a request to land the troops of the Boston, he would immediately comply and have them landed to assist in carrying out this work. Mr. Stevens. Who put that question? Senator Frye. John F. Colburn testifies that Thurston in an interview with him and Peterson said that Stevens had given the committee of safety the assurance that if we two (that is, Colburn and Peterson) would sign a request to land the troops of the Boston he would immediately comply and have them landed to assist in carrying out this work. Mr. Stevens. Nothing of the kind; as perfectly romantic as if born of another age. I am sure Mr. Thurston never said anything about it; he is a man of too much sense.
Senator Frye. Mr. Colburn says further that immediately on the landing of the troops he and Parker had an interview with you. Mr. Stevens. Parker is the one who came with Mr. Cleghorn to protest.
Senator Frye. And he says that he (Colburn) had an interview with you; that in the course of that interview you said that there were a number of women and old men in town besides children, who were alarmed at the rumors of a revolution, and you wanted to offer them protection; whereupon Colburn said, "You want to annex the country," and you replied, "No, those troops are ashore to preserve the Queen on the throne, you gentlemen in your office, and to offer protection to the community at large." Mr. Stevens. That is absolute, pure fiction.
Senator Frye. Mr. Colburn says further: "We had under arms 600 men with rifles, 30,000 rounds of ammunition, 8 brass Austrian field cannon, and 2 Catling guns." Mr. Stevens. Why did they not use them? Senator Frye. Did they have such a force?
Mr. Stevens No; they would have used it on Sunday and Monday, if they had had any such force. You have to look at the facts. I have answered that before. There was a complete collapse of the Queen's Government from Saturday afternoon of January 14. There was only one attempt at an exhibition of authority, which was by a policeman attempting to prevent two men carrying arms and ammunition up to the Government building. They had two men only. That is the only resistance they dared to make. Wilson knew every step that was taken, knew that the Provisional Government was being organized, just as you gentlemen would know of a railroad meeting in your town.
The Chairman. If there had been any force of 600 men under arms and under the control of the Queen would you have known it? Mr. Stevens. There was nothing of the kind, or I should have known it. The royalists party had two or three factions, one made up with the Robert Wilcox element. So far as it was possible for me to know—I used all the judgment and experience I had—I was kept posted of the purposes and intentions of the various organizations that were opposed to the Queen and those in her favor; and just as I have stated before, there were two distinctive parties amongst the natives about the Queen.
The Chairman. I wanted to know whether your sources of information and the diligence of your inquiries made in regard to the actual situation in the islands gave you an opportunity to know satisfactorily to yourself whether they had as many as 600 armed force, or whether they had any organization of a military character that was considered dangerous?
Mr. Stevens. My information was directly the contrary; the only force that I understood they had was the native police force under the marshal and the Queen's guard of 70, men made up of native boys, not equal to 10 white soldiers. Ten American soldiers were equivalent to the whole of them. They never made any resistance, and did not dare.
Senator Frye. The Queen's ministers delivered an address which is given by Mr. Blount in his report, in which they stated that Mr. Colburn and Mr. Peterson reported that a committee of safety had been formed at the house of Mr. L. A. Thurston and had made overtures to them to assist in dethroning the Queen, and they intended to go ahead, and that your assistance, together with that of the United States Government, had been guaranteed to them. Is there any truth in that?
Mr. Stevens. None; I never knew of it until I saw it in that report. I never heard of it before. I never heard of it until I saw it in that report, as also that other inquiry about my promising Soper. You might ask me if that is in there.
[Senator Frye proceeds to quote from prior testimony of Mr. Wundenburg, Paul Neumann, Charles Gulick, John Kaulukou, Dr. G. Trousseau and others to vigorously cross-examine Stevens regarding alleged actions by Stevens to pledge support for the revolution before it occurred, and Stevens strongly denies all the allegations.]
Senator Gray. What did you say when I asked you in regard to the fact that it was notorious that there was an interregnum and it was not necessary to have the information? Mr. Stevens. I do not put it in that form. I say that the collapse of all government on the islands took place on the attempted coup d'etat of the Queen on the 14th, and from that time up to the time the Provisional Government took possession of the Government buildings the only government was the 1,000 citizens who called the mass meeting, and the presence of ship Boston in the harbor. I had got information that I deemed reliable that a government springing out of that condition of things had become a de facto government, and by the invariable usage of the world I was bound to recognize it. Senator Gray. Did you judge that that was the de facto Government upon the information that came to you that a Provisional Government had been proclaimed? Mr. Stevens. Only in part. I judged it from the condition of the town and all the circumstances. I knew that the Provisional Government had been talked of for sixty hours, and I had it from many persons. I was living on the principal street, and they would hear it on the street and tell my daughter about it, and would come by in a carriage and tell me. Senator Gray. Had you any knowledge of any other fact in regard to the transactions of that afternoon that bore upon the question at all, except the fact that the Provisional Government had been proclaimed? Mr. Stevens. I knew the fact an hour and a half before. You will see how importantly this fact bears on the situation, the efforts of the Provisional Government to transfer the arms from the store, and the abortive attempt of one of Mr. Wilson's policemen to interfere, and that was all the resistance for sixty hours—--Senator Gray. Who told you that? Mr. Stevens. I learned it probably from twenty different sources. I heard the shot. Senator Gray. Tell me the names of some who told you? Mr. Stevens. I guess my own daughter told me first. Senator Gray. Who told you afterward? Mr. Stevens. That I could not tell, because events passing so rapidly like that, and a hundred men calling on me, it would be impossible to remember who the individual was. But there were many.