Summary of Swinburne's Testimony

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"The CHAIRMAN. When you got back to Honolulu—got into the harbor— how long did Minister Stevens remain aboard the vessel? Mr. SWINBURNE. He could not have remained aboard more than an hour. In fact, so soon as it was convenient to get a boat off, he left. I do not think it could have been an hour. ... Mr. Stevens went on shore in the captain's gig, and very shortly afterward Lieut. Young went ashore to represent the ship at the prorogation of the Parliament, which took place at noon. The CHAIRMAN. That is the ceremony which the ship's officers were expected to participate in in conformity with the customs of Hawaii? Mr. SWINBURNE. Yes. Mr. Young was detailed to that duty by Capt. Wiltse.

"The CHAIRMAN. At what time did you commence making military preparations on board the Boston for the landing of troops? ... Mr. SWINBURNE. On Saturday afternoon, at the usual time for making out the liberty lists. It is customary while in port to make out liberty lists before 12 o'clock on Saturday; that was their best day and I was so busy I could not attend to it; but immediately after lunch I went to the cabin to speak to the captain about the liberty list. He said, "Don't let any men go ashore at all; everything is in a chaotic state; I do not know when we will be called upon to protect property...

"On Sunday afternoon I went on shore myself. I went to the club, and I found that there was an immense amount of feeling, that there was a very distinct race feeling grown up ... I did not know what that new constitution was; nobody knew exactly; but it was freely talked of there that one clause disfranchised all white people not married to native women, and also that it gave the Queen complete and entire control of the ministry—to make it and unmake it as she saw fit. Those two clauses were talked about, and the Queen's manner in talking to the natives from the balcony showed that she was ready to fan into a flame every race prejudice she could. ... Some gentlemen I had not known to talk much about political subjects before that said to me, "You fellows got back here entirely too soon; if you had stayed away we could have settled this matter." They seemed to think our coming back prevented them. They said, " We could have settled this matter before you came back." I regarded the situation as very grave; that is, under the circumstances, with the Queen's attitude toward the foreigners and the manner of her own people as they were turned away from the palace that morning, and her stating to them that she would not give them the constitution, but would hold it until some better opportunity. i could see that the people were afraid of outbreaks, rioting. ...

"The CHAIRMAN. What meaning did you understand to be conveyed by that statement made by citizens, "If you had not gotten back so soon we would have settled the matter?" Mr. SWINBURNE. Why, that they would have deposed the Queen and had the whole business settled before we got there, as they were capable of doing. ... Sunday afternoon. There was a distinct feeling of tension in the town; no doubt about it. In fact I know several gentlemen who moved their families from the town to Waikiki in the event of trouble. Mr. Hopper, who is an American, I think, and who lives within a block or two of the Queen's palace, he moved his family to Waikiki. ...To a place of greater security...

"The CHAIRMAN. You did not know how long you would be detained on shore? Mr. SWINBURNE. Not the slightest idea. The minister came on board at half past 2, or thereabouts. I knew there was to be a mass meeting of the citizens at half past 2, and I knew there was to be a counter mass meeting called by the Queen's party. My impression was, when I heard that in the morning, that the two meetings would probably bring the matter to a crisis. Senator TURPIE. You spoke of going to the club. What club was it? Mr. SWINBURNE. It is known as the British Club. It is the foreign club of the place there. The first time I saw Mr. Cooper, I recollect now, was on Saturday. He came aboard to see the captain. My recollection is he came from Judge Hartwell to bring the news of the Queen's attempt to promulgate this new constitution. When this attempt was made and after the ministry had refused to aid her, two of them took the news to Judge Hartwell's office. ...

"Mr. Stevens came aboard. He arrived at about half past 2. I met him at the gangway with the captain, and walked as far as the cabin door. I did not go in. In about three-quarters of an hour or an hour afterwards the captain sent for me and said, " I want you to land with the battalion at 5 o'clock; as near 5 o'clock as possible." I suggested it would be a good idea to have supper before we went on shore; we could not get anything to eat afterward. The captain said, "Let the men have supper at 4 o'clock, and take some biscuits for the night." We had supper at 4 o'clock, and at half past 4 the men were organized in heavy marching order with a change of clothes and 80 rounds of ammunition—no baggage at all. ...

"Mr. Stevens was present. I asked where we were to go. Mr. Stevens said he did not know where we would be able to go; that he had not thought the matter over; that he would have to have some large building somewhere, and he thought the opera house would be a good place if we could get it. ... Mr. Stevens said he did not know of any building around the water front, but he thought we could get the opera house. Then be said: "By the way, there is a Mr. Atherton, an American, who lives down on King street; suppose you let the troops go on there." That was to the captain. So that that was finally decided upon in an unofficial sort of way. The captain said: "You can stop at the consulate and send half the marines to the minister's; detail an orderly sergeant in charge of the squad you send to the minister's; leave the other half in charge of Lieut. Draper at the consulate and march on, and by that time we will be able to tell you where you are to go." I said: " In the event of not getting any orders"—I wanted to get the men off the street so soon as possible—"I will go to Mr. Atherton's." The captain said: "Yes."

"At 5 o'clock we landed. There was no demonstration, but there were a great many people about, the same as usual when we landed to drill, as we had done once a week. We arrived and marched up to the consulate; marched up King street past the palace. I was told afterward the Queen was standing on the balcony. We gave the salute. It was always the custom to give the royal salute on passing the palace, and we did on this occasion—the men at port arms, four flourishes of the trumpet, and the flag lowered—ordinary marching salute. We marched on a block beyond there, and then I halted and went into the house of Mr. Hopper and asked the privilege of using his telephone. I telephoned to the captain and asked if they had decided where we were to go. He said he had not. I then marched on to Mr. Atherton's, fully three blocks further, quite a distance down the street. Mr. Atherton said he had no objection to our coming in there—he had large grounds—and we marched in, stacked arms, established sentries, and settled down. I telephoned the captain two or three times when it got dark. It was a new experiment to me. I did not know how the men would behave. I wanted to get them under cover. We had found no place. At 9 o'clock the captain's aid came down and told me to go up to Arion Hall. I did not know the place and the aid marched on ahead. We marched down (it was late) without any drum, in order not to attract attention. We got to Arion Hall, which is a long, narrow building in the rear of the opera house. It has a very narrow yard on the street side—the street which separates it from the Government building—and yards on tho other three sides. Arion Hall is a 1-room building, with a veranda on the two sides. The guns were parked, the men turned in, and sentries posted. ...

"I did not sleep any; no one slept any, the mosquitoes were so bad. About 12 o'clock there was an alarm of fire. I went out and met Mr. Castle, an American, coming along on his bicycle, and he said: "That fire is out beyond my house, on the plains—some distance—I can get there and back in a short time on my bicycle, and bring you the news." He came back—he was not gone more than ten minutes—and said it was an unoccupied barn. It was an incendiary fire, but there was no trouble. At 3 o'clock there was another alarm. I turned out for that. It appeared to be in the direction of the Hawaiian Hotel. It made a big blaze. I went up to that. It was discovered to be an arbor in Emma Square, with a tree growing over it. That was also an incendiary fire, unquestionably; but it was put out without any trouble. ...

"About 1 o'clock Tuesday afternoon Mr. Charles Carter ...came in and stayed some time, this afternoon, and said: "It is the intention of the committee of safety to take possession of the Government building. You will recognize them by Mr. Dole; you know Mr. Dole; he is the tallest man in the party; if you see him in the party you will know what he is doing. They are going to take possession of the Government building." He said: "Have you any objection to my seeing your orders?" I said I had not. I called his attention to the orders lying on the table. As he handed them back to me I said: "You see my orders are to protect the legation, the consulate, and the lives and property of American citizens, and to assist in preserving order; I do not know how to interpret that; I can do it in but one way. If the Queen calls upon me to preserve order I am going to do it." He said nothing further to me about that, and went off. The men were just coming in from drill. ...

"It was, perhaps, half past 2 or a quarter to 3 when a man rushed up to the gate, an American, with a Winchester and belt of cartridges, quite excited, and said: "The police have attempted to stop our ammunition wagon; it was necessary for it to go on, and the policeman was shot and killed, and that there was a large crowd collected on Merchant street" (Merchant street is where the police station is), "and I was ordered to come and tell you." I said: "Who are you, and what is 'our ammunition wagon?'" He said: "I belong to one of the companies raised by the committee of safety, and our ammunition, which has been loading all day outside of Hall's store, was stopped by the policeman, and he was shot." He said: "After Mr. Good warned the policeman off he dropped his whip and fired on him." ... I suppose that was naturally the beginning of the riot. The crowd collected, and I had the signal sounded, got the companies in the rear of the building out of sight to stack arms, and had the men kept at their company parades, so that they would not lounge about or expose themselves. Three or 4 o'clock ... On Tuesday. Then I stood at the gate to see what would happen. The next thing was the arrival of Mr. Dole at the building. The proclamation was read. At the time they commenced to read the proclamation the companies commenced to come in, one at a time. This was about half-past 4 o'clock. So far as time is concerned, however, it is all guesswork; these events happened without my knowing what was coming, and 1 have simply to judge from the routine of the camp. About half-past 4 or 5 o'clock I got a note from President Dole asking me if I would come to see him in the Government building. The captain arrived at the time these people entered the Government building and he took command. I showed the note to the captain and said: "I will go over and tell Mr. Dole you are here and will see him." The captain said: "I have no objection to seeing him." I went over and told Mr. Dole that the captain had arrived, and if he (Mr. Dole) had any propositions to submit the captain would see them. I took a note from Mr. Dole to the captain, asking if he could come over. I asked to be present at the meeting and the captain said yes. I went over, and in the office of the minister of the interior was Mr. Dole, Mr. Jones, W.O. Smith, and a number of other gentlemen.

"A large number of arms was piled up in the room, a large quantity of ammunition stacked in the hall, and there was at least 100 men under arms. There was an armed sentry at every gate; the whole place had the appearance of being well guarded. We went in and Mr. Dole greeted the captain. My impression is that W.O. Smith and Mr. Jones did the most of the talking. They announced to the captain that they had formed themselves into a provisional government. A proclamation had been read declaring the Queen dethroned and the ministry dissolved; that they had possession of the archives, the Government building, and the treasury, and that they were a de facto government. They asked the captain if he was prepared to recognize them as such. The captain said: "Have you charge of the police station and the barracks, and are you prepared to guarantee the safety of life and property?" Mr. Dole said: "We have not charge of the police station at present, but it is a mere matter of time; it is bound to be given up in a few minutes; I expect to hear that it is given up at any time." The captain said: "Until you are prepared to guarantee that you can give protection to life and property I can not recognize you as the de facto government," or words to that effect. ... At half-past 6 o'clock the captain said "I must go up to the minister's; before I go I want to state to you that the minister has recognized the Provisional Government as the de facto Government of the islands; you will consider them as such." ... I had a telephone put in that day—I had a call from central that said "the citizen troops had taken charge of tbe armory." Then I got a call from the marine officer, who was right near and could see the building from where he was. ... Then I got a message from Mr. Draper, tbe marine officer, stating the same thing—that the police station had surrendered to the forces. The central simply notified me that the citizen troops had taken charge of the police station, and that was followed by a communication from Mr. Draper, at the consulate, that tbe troops had taken possession of the police station. ... At 11 that night it was perfectly quiet—no disturbance of any kind. The next morning about 11 o'clock, while standing outside the camp, the English minister and the Portuguese minister came along. ... The English minister stopped and notified me that he had just been to notify the Provisional Government that he would recognize them as the de facto Government, pending advice from his Government ... The Queen surrendered the palace that day; the Royal standard was hauled down, and she retired to Washington Place. She was allowed a guard of half her former troops, household guards—a force of 15 or 16 men. ... Hawaiian troops—the rest were disbanded, paid to the end of the month, and they left pretty cheerfully. ...

...the 1st of February. He ordered me to take charge of the Government building, the flag to be hoisted at 9 o'clock. I marched down with the battalion. At the Government building I found all tbe members of tbe advisory council and the members of tbe cabinet of tbe Provisional Government. The three companies of troops were drawn up on tbe three sides of tbe square. We marched in and were drawn up in front of the building, and then by direction of tbe captain the adjutant read the proclamation of the minister establishing a protectorate over the islands pending negotiations with tbe United States. As I understand, tbat was at the request of the Provisional Government. Then the American flag was hoisted and saluted. After the American flag was hoisted the Hawaiian flag was hoisted. ... So two days passed, when President Dole came to me and said he would like to have the Government building opened that the court might be held, and to that end he would like to have the sentry removed from the front gate during the hours from 9 till 4. ... I suggested that it would be better to go further than that, to remove all sentries for the time so as not to have the appearance of keeping anybody away, which was done. All the sentries were taken from the public building from 9 to 4, all tbe gates were opened, and tbe court held its sessions. A short time afterwards one company of 36 men was sent on board ship (Mr. Young's company), reducing the force on shore to 120 men. Then, on the 20th of March, by direction of Rear-Admiral Skerrett, another company of 36 men was withdrawn, and that... left the force on shore about 90 men; I think less than that. ...

"The CHAIRMAN. So that, in landing with those troops you were not landed for the purpose of protecting the Provisional Government. Mr. SWINBURNE. Not the slightest. The CHAIRMAN. Or inaugurating a provisional government? Mr. SWINBURNE. Not at all. ...

"The CHAIRMAN. You are not certain whether that order to assist in preserving public order related to the Queen's Government or any other government? Mr. SWINBURNE. I supposed it to mean the Queen's Government; that was my interpretation. There was no other government when I landed. The CHAIRMAN. So that, if the Queen had addressed to you a request to preserve the public order, or if you had found that the public order was being disturbed by opposition to her, you would have felt required to respond? Mr. SWINBURNE. That request would have come through the minister to me, merely to preserve order. I did not know that I was there to fight her battles any more than anybody else's. I was there to preserve order; protect the peaceful rights of citizens in the town. I should have been ready if called upon to lend a hand. Senator GRAY. You were going to prevent fighting? Mr. SWINBURNE. I was going to prevent any fighting that endangered peaceable American citizens in the town.

"Senator GRAY. Did Capt. Wiltse say anything to you, or in your presence say anything about preventing any fighting in the town, or not allowing any fighting in the town? Mr. SWINBURNE. No; not at all. Senator GRAY. Never did? Mr. SWINBURNE. No.

"Senator FRYE. I understand that under the rules and regulations of the U. S. Navy, naval officers in foreign ports are required to protect the lives and property of American citizens. Now, do you not understand that, so far as this order related to the preservation of order, that you were to preserve order so as to render safe the lives and property of American citizens? Mr. SWINBURNE. Precisely. Senator FRYE. You would not have felt called upon to stop it if the Queen's troops had fired into the Provisional troops. Mr. SWINBURNE. Oh, no. Senator FRYE. Your idea was that the order was for you to protect the lives and property of American citizens?

"Mr. SWINBURNE. Yes. The evening we landed it was reported, and the next morning Mr. Draper said the Chinese consul came to him at the consulate after the consul general had left and reported that his people were very much disturbed, and he did not know what was going to happen, and he wanted to know from Mr. Draper what they were to do. Mr. Draper said: "If your people behave themselves, go to their houses, and keep out of trouble I will see that they are protected." So that he notified me of that the next morning, and I said, "Certainly; in such a case as that there is no reason why we should not protect any man's life, when he is simply behaving himself and attending to his own business." That was the only question that ever came up. My idea was that I was to look out for American property. Of course, there was some American property there then in danger, and I was going to see that that property and the lives of the owners were looked out for.

"The CHAIRMAN. Did you understand when you left the ship that you were going ashore for the purpose of sustaining the Provisional Government then in process of organization or in expectation of organization, or for the purpose of sustaining any government? Mr. SWINBURNE. Not at all. I had never heard of the Provisional Government. I did not know, even, that there was such a movement on foot. I knew there was a movement of some kind on foot on the part of the citizens, and my idea was that it was to get some absolute assurances from the Queen that they could depend upon in the future. The CHAIRMAN. Your idea was that the movement was to get some assurances from the Queen? Mr. SWINBURNE. Yes. I did not expect it would ever come to the point of dethroning her. You will notice in my testimony given before that I had called Mr. Carter's attention to that part of my orders which referred to preserving order in the town. Before Mr. Carter had asked me if he could see my orders, when he told me that certain men were going to take the Government building, in calling attention to that part of my orders, I purposely exaggerated my orders, lest he should get an idea that as these men were Americans I would give them support, since I was there to protect American interests. I called his attention to the clause which directed me to assist in preserving order. I said, "My understanding of that is that l am to assist the Queen's Government in preserving order." Of course, a request from the Queen to assist in preserving order would have to come through the minister, but I thought it was proper to exaggerate that, so that he would go away with a complete understanding of how I stood with regard to the matter. That was the purpose of that statement.

"The CHAIRMAN. Had you any purpose, or did you suspect any purpose on the part of any person concerned in this movement, either the United States minister, the United States consul, Capt. Wiltse, or any other official to establish a provisional government, or to dethrone the Queen? Mr. SWINBURNE. Not at all. The CHAIRMAN. You were not aware of any such purpose existing at all? Mr. SWINBURNE. No. ...

"The CHAIRMAN. Did Mr. Stevens interfere in any way with the management of the troops on shore? Mr. SWINBURNE. Not at all. The CHAIRMAN. Did he give any directions as to what they should or should not do? Mr. SWINBURNE. All the directions that came to me were given to me by the captain.

"The CHAIRMAN. I want to call your attention to some remarks made by Mr. Willis in his reports or letters. In his letter of December 20, 1893, to Mr. Gresham, Mr. Willis says: "... As I understood from the President and from you, the sole connection with our Government had with the settlement of the Hawaiian question was the undoing of what, from an international standpoint, was considered by the President to have been a wrong to a feeble, defenseless, and friendly power. In undoing this wrong I was, however, instructed first of all to see that proper safeguards were thrown around those who had been probably misled as to the position of our Government and the wishes of our people." I understand that the protection Mr. Willis speaks of here has reference to those persons who were of the party of the Queen. Now, I wish to ask you whether, while you stayed upon that island, you saw or was informed of any demonstration whatever of a hostile character toward the person of the Queen or any of her supporters? Mr. SWINBURNE. Not that I ever heard of, any further than the dethronement of the Queen—no attempt of a personal nature against the Queen or her followers. The CHAIRMAN. Of course, I am speaking of their personal safety and protection. Mr. SWINBURNE. Not at all; they had the same protection that any other person had. Senator FRYE. Did they not have more; did not the Provisional Government furnish the Queen with half her guard? Mr. SWINBURNE. Yes. Senator FRYE. And did they not pay off the guard to the first of the month, when they were discharged? Mr. SWINBURNE. Yes; she had more protection than anyone else during the revolution. I never heard of a revolution carried on in that style.

"The CHAIRMAN. Here is a statement in Mr. Willis's letter to the effect that the Japanese and English legations were guarded by the marines of their respective vessels, "and no American soldier has been stationed here and none will be." Do you recollect whether the Japanese and English legations were guarded during the time you were there? Mr. SWINBURNE. Not at all. The Japanese asked permission to land a guard at the legation, and the Provisional Government, while they did not refuse, informed the minister that they were perfectly able to give them all necessary protection; and it was currently reported that the Provisional Government had given the Japanese minister permission to have a guard on shore if he wished it, but none were landed. ...

"Mr. SWINBURNE. During the time that I was on shore there seemed to be most of the time—everything was perfectly quiet—I felt there did exist a class of irresponsible men who, in the event of an outbreak, might take advantage of that to plunder or burn or destroy property, and it was that element I feared I would have to cope with when I was sent ashore to protect American interests. Those were the people I expected to have trouble with. So far as the average natives themselves— the ordinary class of natives, not the members of the legislature or leaders—were concerned, they appeared to be perfectly indifferent; they were always interested in our drills, always collected in large numbers to watch them. I could not see that they had any feeling against us whatever; they never exhibited it in any way.

"The policemen throughout the city while I was on shore were natives, the majority of them. I could not see that they had any feeling against us at all. I knew quite a number of young men, halfcaste young men, who were in public office. I rather thought they had a bitter feeling against our people. But I myself imagined that that came from some fancied feeling of loss of social rank through the change in the Government—such as annexation to the United States. They were half-castes; they were young men in society there (this is my own idea), and, of course, I always felt that they were more bitter at the fact of any change in the future of the islands—that the annexation of the islands to this country would change their position; they would not have as good social position as they had before. The CHAIRMAN. Were they a respectable class of men? Mr. SWINBURNE. Oh, perfectly so. The CHAIRMAN. Well educated? Mr. SWINBURNE. Well educated. The CHAIRMAN. And might very justly entertain such expectations? Mr. SWINBURNE. I think that was, perhaps, natural that they should feel that way, although these men were occupying positions under the Government at the time. The CHAIRMAN. And were not removed? Mr. SWINBURNE. And were not removed.

"The CHAIRMAN. Now, taking the description given by Mr. Willis of the different factions, social, political, racial, etc., as he has described them in the extract I have just read to you, would you, in such a community as that, think it would be necessary to have some demonstration of military force in order to prevent the occurrence of outbreaks which at any other time might spring up. Mr. SWINBURNE. Any government there would have to have a force capable of coping with the situation; they would have to keep a military force there, unquestionably.

'Senator GRAY. Do you think these people are capable of self-government, as we understand it in the States. Take the whole people of the islands. Mr. SWINBURNE. Of course, so far as the Chinaman is concerned, he would not occupy any different position there from what he would in the States;

"the Japanese are a restless, turbulent class of people; they are very tenacious of what they consider to be their rights; very prompt to take part in strikes. There is a plantation near Honolulu, at Ewa, where they seem to be constantly having trouble with their laborers. The Japanese would at a fancied slight quit work and come over to Honolulu. Another point was, the Japanese Government was very anxious that their citizens should have the right to vote. There was an impression, at least that Government contended that there was an agreement, when the first contract laws were passed, that their people should have the right to vote. Of course, the laborers come there under contract, I forget now the length of time, but it could not have been more than five years; I could not see how they should have the right to vote for five years. They were looked out for by the commissioners; their rights were protected by the Japanese commissioners; although contract laborers, they are in no sense slaves; they come there under a contract for a certain length of time, and the Japanese Government sees that the contract is kept in its entirety. And moreover, they have money kept for them until their time is up. ...

"Senator FRYE. One of the witnesses before Mr. Blount makes the statement that when the Provisional Government marched up and took possession of the Government building the United States marines were drawn up in array with their Gatling guns, and all that sort of thing, in sight of the Provisional Government's men who were taking possession. Mr. SWINBURNE. I should say they were not in sight. The men were drawn up in their company parades, because I had the information before these men arrived that a policeman had been shot, and that the men were collecting on the street, and I supposed there would be a demonstration immediately. The arms were stacked and the men standing in company parades, and were ready to move. Senator FRYE. Where were they? Mr. SWINBURNE. My idea was to keep them as much out of sight as possible. Indeed, I had great difficulty in keeping the men in the ranks; they would slip through to the other side of the building and look over the fence to see what was going on. Senator FRYE. In order to see what was going on they had to do that? Mr. SWINBURNE. Had to do that, go to the front of the building— get on the porch, and look over.