Summary of Young's Testimony

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Lucien Young is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy who was on duty on the Boston during its stay in Honolulu from August 24 1892 until after the revolution. His current job (1894) is compiling the Navy records related to that period.

The Boston only left Honolulu harbor twice; once in October to rescue Americans shipwrecked on the island of Hawaii, and then on the 4th of January the ship went to Hilo for target practice, returning to Honolulu on January 14. Minister Stevens' wife and one daughter stayed in Honolulu, while another daughter went along on the second cruise. That daughter stayed in Hilo after the Boston left to return to Honolulu, and drowned while trying to board an inter-island steamer to return to Honolulu, probably on January 18. Minister Stevens got news of her death while personnel from the Boston were on peacekeeping duty immediately after the revolution.

"The Chairman. Was there any evidence of a commotion or outbreak? Mr. Young. When we left none whatever, everything appeared to be settled. And that was the reason that justified us in leaving to get this target practice which we were in need of. ... everything was perfectly quiet when we left the harbor. ... The Chairman. Is there any telegraphic communication between those islands? Mr. Young. No; they attempted to construct an inter-island cable, but it soon corroded and was rendered useless. The Chairman. You have to depend on steamers for communication between the islands? Mr. Young. Yes, the inter-island steamers. They make their trips twice a week. One is the Widler Company and the other is the Inter- Island Steam Navigation Company.

"The Chairman. Had you been invited to attend the ceremonies of the prorogation of the Legislature? Mr. Young. We had been invited; yes. The Chairman. That is customary? Mr. Young. Yes. The Chairman. A matter of ceremony? Mr. Young. Yes. The Chairman. Did you attend the prorogation? Mr. Young. Yes. The Chairman. Were you with any troops? Mr. Young. There was no one but myself; I was in full-dress uniform. ... The Chairman. What was going on when you got there? ... Judge Hartwell, who was one of the leading lawyers of the place and minister under Kalakaua, informed me that the Queen contemplated the promulgation of a new constitution immediately after the adjournment of the Legislature ... I went in to speak of it to Consul-General Severance, and he laughed and said, "I do not believe a word of it." ... After waiting some little time they commenced, and I believe it was about the funniest affair I ever saw in my life—a circus. ... The procession was headed by two or three lackeys, and then followed the governor of Oahu, father to the heiress apparent, dressed in a gaudy uniform covered with gold and orders; the chamberlain with attendants all dressed up in uniform, and then came Her Majesty, with a long train, and four lackeys in knee breeches carrying the train, and then the two royal princesses, ladies in waiting, a staff, the four ministers, and other attendants. It was a very amusing scene. Afterwards the proclamation was handed to her in a portfolio, when she stepped to the front of the rostrum and began reading, first in English and then in Kanaka. I do not believe there were more than one or two white members of the Legislature present at the time. The Kanakas and every one were decorated with the various orders of Kamehameha I and Kalakaua, consisting of great big stars stretched out on the breast. It was quite a circus and very amusing. ...

"Queen ... passed into a large room on the left facing the rostrum; a large reception room about twice as large as this, where she held her reception. ... the Governor of Oahu, Mr. Cleghorn, stopped me at the door and talked to me in a nervous strain as though to retain me. I passed in and bowed to the Queen and her ministers standing on the right, her aids, and passed on through the door. The Queen looked at me rather savagely, and did not return my salutation with any cordiality at all. I noticed that she acted in a peculiar way. First when she was reading her proclamation I thought she had a little stage fright, but in this reception room I saw that she was under the influence of a stimulant, in fact she was drunk. There is no question in my mind about it at all. Then I passed out into the yard and started to go over into the palace, and I was advised not to go. Then I was told again on the outside that as soon as the Queen came over to the palace she was going to promulgate the new constitution. I was also informed that at the palace the night before there had been placed four or five pieces of artillery, enfilading the approaches to the palace, and that the Queen's household was said to be under arms. I thought affairs looked very serious, and that it was my duty to go immediately on board ship and inform my commanding officer, which I did. ... The Chairman. Did you see those brass pieces? Mr. Young. Yes. ... Down in the yard of the palace when I saw them. ...

"Senator Frye. The Wilcox you reter to was C. P. Wilcox? ... Mr. Young. He was a young man who was sent by Kalakaua to Italy to be educated in the military school there. The Queen asked him to take charge of these pieces in the palace, and he declined to do it, and they were then placed under the command of Nowlein, who was in charge of the Household Guards, and he took charge. He told me he had men stationed there all the time. ... a large meeting was in progress at W. O. Smith's office, on Fort street. I went in there and I made some inquiries, and I was told that two of the ministers had appealed for protection, and that the Queen had threatened to shoot them. Senator Frye. They were the Queen's present ministers? Mr. Young. Yes; Mr. Peterson and Mr. Colburn. Mr. Peterson and Mr. Colburn told me afterwards that they believed the Queen would have had them shot if they had not gone out...of the palace ... Senator Butler. Where were the troops located? Mr. Young. In the palace grounds, inside of this reservation, and the police were down at the police station. And there was quite a number of people in W. O. Smith's office, most of them white, a good many Kanakas; I should say there were three rooms packed and jammed with people. I could not get into the inner rooms from the crowd, and they appointed a committee of safety. ... I passed on down King street and went into the palace grounds after leaving Smith's office. I met several gentlemen, and asked them for information. When I went into the palace grounds there were two natives on the balcony of the palace haranguing the Kanakas, the overseer standing near them; and a man there, who interpreted what was said, stated that the Kanakas were stating to the crowd that the ministry, under the influence of the whites, had prevented the Queen giving them a new constitution, and they were appealing to the crowd and asking them to rise and shoot the crowd, whites and all.

"Senator Butler. This meeting at Smith's office was in sympathy with the Queen. Mr. Young. No; in sympathy with the old ministers. Coleburn and Peterson came down town and appealed to these people to protect them, stating that the Queen had threatened to shoot them, and it was threatened that they were to be locked up. A great many people, more people, came on in this place. The rooms were crowded; there were 250 to 300 persons there. Senator Butler. In Smith's office? Mr. Young. Yes, and gathered around the door. ... At night quiet crowds gathered arouud town and also in the club, and in the conversation all who had been the Queen's supporters were bitterly denouncing her acts, and there was nothing indicating anything but an effort to stop the Queen from promulgating her constitution. I met Chief Justice Judd, who stopped me and told me he had been in the palace some three or four hours, somewhere in that neighborhood, and he said that they had finally persuaded her not to promulgate the constitution that afternoon, but she insisted that she would do it in two or three days. But Chief Justice Judd said: "The trouble is over, and I think we may be able to stop it yet." ...He was not disturbed in his office? Mr. Young. No. The only officials removed were four of the cabinet and also the marshal, and also of the guards.

"Mr. Young. One part of the palace grounds was crowded. ... Kanakas and whites both, and also King street down facing Palace Square. ... the natives themselves even stopped these two Kanakas from speaking. They went up and tried to stop them. One of them, named White I think, they caught him and pulled him down from the balcony, and as they did he continued to screech, out and holler his remarks as they pulled him down from the balcony. ... he said, "I will not stop; I will continue until we get the constitution, or we will drive every white off the island." ...

"The Chairman. Did you state to Capt. Wiltse that peace could have been preserved without the intervention of the troops? Mr. Young. Yes; I told him there would be no trouble that day, but it would come; that from the temper of the people if the Queen attempted it there would be an uprising. I had heard conversations to that effect all over the city, even by her own adherents. ...

"The Chairman. Now, the instructions given by Admiral Brown? Mr. Young. Simply a memorandum of the instructions of a similar nature, and also to land the forces once a week for drill and exercise; that they had permission from the Government to land the men under arms for that purpose. The Chairman. At Honolulu? Mr. Young. Yes. The Chairman. Had there been drills of that kind? Mr. Young. Every week. We landed once a week on the permission of the Government and used the baseball grounds. They drilled there often, and a great many people came down to see them, it seemed to be a kind of pleasure to the inhabitants of the city when things were favorable. We had one of the best battalions I have ever seen. The Chairman. What is the strength? Mr. Young. Three companies of blue jackets, one of artillery, and one of marines, making 154 all told, and about 10 officers. Senator Butler. How many marines? Mr. Young. Thirty-two marines, I think.

"The Chairman. How far from the coast was the Boston at that time? Mr. Young. About a half mile. We were anchored, moored, at least, in what is known as the Naval row in the harbor. The Chairman. Did you change the position of the ship? Mr. Young. No, not at all: she remained in the same position all the time. The Chairman. Were the guns trained on the city in any way? Mr. Young. No. The Chairman. When you came out how many boats did it require to bring your men, the whole detachment? Mr. Young. We could have brought them in fewer boats; but we divided them in platoons, and each platoon took a boat. The Chairman. How many boats did it take? Mr. Young. Four companies making 8 platoons, and each platoon had a boat. ...

"Mr Young. ... We landed at Brewer's wharf, and marched up to the corner of Fort and Merchant streets, where the consul general's office was, and there left a marine company, which was to protect the American legation and consulate. The rest of the battalion turned and marched down King street in front of the palace, and as we passed the palace the Queen was standing on the balcony, when we gave her the royal salute by drooping the colors and four ruffles on the drums. We passed the palace 250 yards, and there waited until we could find some place to go into camp. We made an effort at first to get the old armory near the landing, so as to be near our base of supplies and throw out pickets in case of emergency. But we failed to get that, and then tried to get the opera house. They were the only two buildings near the center of the town, and not being able to get them we went to the yard of a white man named Atherton, and there we bivouacked under the trees in the rain until 9.30 p.m, when the aid to Capt. Wiltse reported they had secured a little hall in the rear of the opera house, known as Arion Hall, which is used as a Mormon temple now, I believe. We marched there and went into camp. Senator Gray. Inside the building? Mr. Young. Inside the building; yes. And the yard was turned over to us also. I was detailed as officer of the day, and stationed my pickets and guards around inside the inclosure and not out. ... There were 2 alarms during the night, fire alarms of an incendiary nature, and I called out the guards ready for action till I got information they were not needed. I sent off a courier to find out what this fire was, and finding it was not American property I made no further move, but returned the guard to their quarters.

"Mr. Young. I saw Capt. Wiltse in the evening... he was in uniform at all times. In conversation he intimated to me that he supposed he would have to follow out all other precedents in order to prevent any incendiarism, pilfering, injury to life and property, and would have to stop all fighting in the streets. The Chairman. Did Capt. Wiltse go back on shipboard that night? Mr. Young. Yes. The Chairman. Where did you remain on Tuesday? Mr. Young. In Arion Hall two days, and then we went down to the old Bishop building, on King street, not over 300 yards from there. Arion Hall was only a temporary affair, because we could not get anywhere else. ...

"Senator Butler. Did you send out a detachment to patrol over the city at any time? Mr. Young. No ... All the police duty was done by the Provisional troops; all our marines remained in the camp. ...They had 100 men under pay; they had an artillery company of 60 men, volunteers; they had two companies of volunteers, consisting of about 30 men to the company, and then they had what they called a home guard. That was composed of the leading citizens all around town, divided up into corporals' squads, and each squad had its rendezvous at different places in the city. The man in command of them showed me his books and he had 400 names on them. Senator Butler. That was the home guard? Mr. Young. Yes. The Chairman. Was the home guard armed? Mr. Young. Yes. The Chairman. Taking the whole mass together, what would be the whole number of the armed forces? Mr. Young. I should say, between 700 and 800. The Chairman. Was there any artillery? Mr. Young. Yes; four pieces of artillery, breech-loaders, and also four Austrian guns. The Chairman. Any others? Mr. Young. Two short Gatling. Senator Butler. No horses, I suppose, for the battery? Mr. Young. No. The large pieces were intended for horses, but they moved them by drag ropes. ...The Chairman. Did you take any charge of these troops? Mr. Young. No, not at all.

"The Chairman. During that period of time was there at any time any outbreak amongst the citizens? Mr. Young. There was no outbreak; but one evening there was a disturbance between some Japanese contractors and laborers. About 400 of them came into town one evening armed with their machetes from the plantation, and they were instigated to it by some of the adherents of the Queen, who told them that in case the United States had anything to do with these islands their contracts would be perpetual and they would be slaves the rest of time. Senator Butler. Who were they ? Mr. Young. Contractors and laborers on estates about 20 miles from Honolulu. And the people had a great deal of apprehension from these Japanese, and finally the Japanese minister sent a vessel down to Hawaii to put a stop to these movements. The Chairman. When you got back to Honolulu from this cruise to Hilo and Lahaina, what ships did you find in the bay—ships of war. Mr. Young. I do not think there was but one man-of-war, and that was the Japanese school ship Congo. The Chairman. Did any come in afterwards? Mr. Young. Yes, the Naniwa, a Japanese cruiser, came in afterward. That is the vessel whose model we took to build the Charleston by. It is exactly the same, except that the Charleston is a heavier beam, larger by an inch in beam. Senator Butler. A pretty formidable ship? Mr. Young. Yes. She was built by Armstrong, of England.

"Senator Butler. No other troops were landed from foreign vessels? Mr. Young. They made an effort to; but the Government declined to let them land—the Japanese and the English Governments—for the purpose of drilling; but they declined to allow them. The Chairman. You mean that the Provisional Government declined to allow them? Mr. Young. Yes. Senator Butler. When was that? Mr. Young. Along about the last of January or early in February. Senator Butler. Did they ask permission to land to drill? Mr. Young. Yes. The Chairman. And the Government declined to grant it? Mr. Young. Yes. Senator Butler. And they did not land? Mr. Young. No.

Senator Butler. I believe it is true that a naval officer is not bound to obey an illegal order. Is not that so under your regulations? Mr. Young. No; on the contrary, an officer is supposed to obey all orders emanating from an immediate military superior. Yet in doing so he has to exercise discretion and is held personally responsible for his own acts as to the results following the execution of the order. Admiral Worden in giving an interpretation of that at the Naval Academy told us that "whenever you receive an order, before executing it determine whether you will receive more punishment for obeying that order than you would by disobeying it. If you find that you will receive less punishment by obeying it, do so." I think the admiral was right. Senator Butler. What I want to get at is this: If you are in command of a ship at a foreign port with general instructions, as in this case, to protect treaty rights of this Government with the foreign government, and you are in doubt as to the propriety of landing troops, you solve that doubt in favor of landing? Mr. Young. I would try to find out the situation, weigh the matter all over, and I would have that doubt removed before I acted. Senator Butler. Suppose the condition were such that you could not have an absolute removal? Mr. Young. Then I would give the benefit of my judgment as to landing. Senator Butler. That is what I want. You would solve that doubt by landing for the purpose of preserving treaty rights? Mr. Young. Yes. Senator Butler. That would be the usual course of a naval officer where he was in doubt? Mr. Young. Yes. Senator Butler. And where there was no possibility of solving the doubt in his mind, he would land for the purpose of protecting life and property? Mr. Young. Yes. ...

"Senator Frye. When you landed the troops, did you land them with any intention to aid either party? Mr. Young. Not at all. Senator Frye. Were you invited to aid either party? Mr. Young. No. We were asked by President Dole. He sent over and asked Capt. Wiltse to recognize him. The Chairman. When was that? Mr. Young. After they formed the Government, and on the same day. The Chairman. When was it? Mr Young. The 17th. I was sent over with a message from Capt. Wiltse, with his compliments to President Dole, to ask him if he had absolute control of the Government, police force, and everything, and if he did not, he, Capt. Wiltse, would have nothing to do with them. I told Capt. Wiltse that Judge Dole had possession of the archives and Government building, but that President Dole said, "We have not control of the military forces and police, but we have a sufficient force to maintain us," and that I replied, "If you have not charge of the Government, I am requested to inform you that we can have nothing to do with you," and I returned and reported to Capt. Wiltse. Senator Frye. When you were taken to Arion Hall, that was the only place you could go? Mr. Young. Only for that evening. Senator Frye. It was only a temporary occupancy? Mr. Young. Yes. Senator Frye. Were any of your soldiers allowed outside of the hall to parade the square or anywhere else? Mr. Young. Not at all, confined exclusively to the camp. Senator Frye. You remember the situation of Arion Hall, the Government buildings, etc. Mr. Blount in his report—I do not know whether it was his opinion—says that it was impossible for the royalist troops to make any attempt to dislodge the people from the Government building without shooting your troops. Was that true at all? Mr. Young. They could have fought all they pleased out in Palace Square and out in the Government grounds without ever affecting us in the slightest. But I doubt if we would have allowed them to fight out on the street down below, from the way Capt. Wiltse spoke. This American property in front of us, the Opera House, is owned by Americans, and all the residences off to the left was American property and some to the right of the palace was American property. Senator Frye. From your observations when you were sent ashore for the purpose of observing, was not there a necessity, regardless of any request made by the Provisional Government or American minister, for the landing of the troops to protect American life and property? Mr. Young. It was absolutely necessary, and I thought it was so on Sunday evening.

"The Chairman. Allow me to ask you right there, had you ever been in Honolulu before? Mr. Young. No; this was my first visit there. But I have landed from the ship on a good many occasions, and we simply did here what we have done before in other places. The Chairman. In what other places? Mr. Young. In Panama and Venezuela; and I also landed in Nicaragua once. The Chairman. You speak now of occasions when you were present? Mr. Young. Yes.

Senator Frye. I do not know but that I misunderstood your language. You said in your testimony—I understood you to say—that Mr. Blount ordered Admiral Skerrett to haul down the flag? Mr. Young. And to return the troops on board the ship. Senator Frye. Did you mean that Mr. Blount gave an order to an Admiral of the United States Navy to do that? Mr. Young. He gave a written order to that effect. Senator Frye. Signed by himself? Mr. Young. Signed by himself, and Admiral Skerrett's order to the Boston was in obedience to the orders of Commissioner Blount— "You will return troops on board ship by 11 o'clock." Senator Frye. Signed by himself? Mr. Young. Signed by himself, and Admiral Skerrett's order to the Boston was in obedience to the orders of Commissioner Blount— "You will return troops on board ship by 11 o'clock." Senator Frye. In your experience did you ever know a minister of the United States with or without the authority of the Secretary of the Navy or officer of the Navy giving orders to an admiral? Mr. Young. No; I never heard of it before. A minister has no authority to give orders to an admiral while a ship is in any port. Senator Frye. Under the regulations of the Navy, if a ship is in Honolulu, the disposition of the ship and the landing of the troops is entirely with the discretion of the officer in command? Mr. Young. He is absolutely responsible for his own acts. Senator Frye. And he cannot be compelled to land troops by any one except a superior officer ? Mr. Young. A military superior. Senator Gray. I suppose if you got an order from the President of the United States. Mr. Young. He is commander in chief of all the military forces. The Chairman. Suppose that that order emanate from the minister plenipotentiary at a foreign port? Mr. Young. Then the commanding officer would be held absolutely responsible for his own act if he obeyed. ... Senator Butler. Do you mean to say that if the officer obeyed his orders through a civil officer, he would not be relieved of responsibility? Mr. Young. If it was a written order accompanied by the minister's direction, he would still exercise his own discretion. ... Senator Gray. When you receive an order by the Secretary of the Navy through the minister, do you not understand that the order is from the President of the United States? Mr. Young. Yes. Senator Gray. And yet you say receiving such order, direction, or instructions from the Secretary of the Navy in a given contingency, you are not bound to obey? Mr. Young. Of course we must obey the Secretary's order, but the channel through which it is received would question its authenticity; the officer in command is not freed of his responsibility.