Senator Frye. That was composed of respectable men?
Mr. Hoes. Highly.
Senator Frye. Having the confidence of the people?
Mr. Hoes. Having the confidence of the better class of the people, but not having the confidence of the class of the people led by unscrupulous adventurers like C. W. Ashford and others like him, totally devoid of character.
Senator Frye. Was there an attempt being made to oust that cabinet?
Mr. Hoes. Yes.
The Chairman. Were those attempts made for the purpose of personal aggrandizement of power or for questions that were up?
Mr. Hoes. My understanding was, and I think the understanding of most of the honest men there was, that it was a fight between so-called royal prerogative on the one hand and honest government on the other—a contest between the Queen and her desire for personal and autocratic power on the one hand, and the better and higher interests of the Hawaiian people on the other.
The Chairman. That is a very general statement and I want to inquire of you whether this political controversy had reference to any particular legislation or executive action in reference to changes in the constitution, or any other thing—whether there was any real question.
Mr. Hoes. I think at last it had primary reference to the passage of the so-called "lottery bill."
Senator Frye. Do you remember when the Boston left the harbor and went down to Hilo?
Mr. Hoes. Yes; very well.
Senator Frye. At that time the Jones-Wilcox cabinet was in power, was it not?
Mr. Hoes. It was.
Senator Frye. State whether or not at that time there was a feeling of security that it would remain in power and that the thing was settled.
Mr. Hoes. Yes; and I know, moreover, that it was the prevalent opinion among the best classes there that the lottery bill and lottery agitation would not be introduced again. It was the belief at that time that it had received its death blow at an earlier stage of the legislative proceedings, and, resting upon that belief, several of the legislators who would have voted against it, believing that all important legislation had already been transacted, left for their homes. This so weakened the numerical strength of the party of good order and the anti-lottery element in the legislature, that those who were in favor of the lottery saw that their chance had come, and, in the absence of the members referred to, and especially in the absence of the Boston and Mr. Stevens, the American minister, sprung the lottery bill very suddenly upon the legislature, and carried it through.
Senator Frye. And they overturned the Jones-Wilcox cabinet?
Mr. Hoes. Yes. I do not think I make any mistake in stating, in order to show with what haste the whole thing was managed, that the official announcement to the Legislature that the Queen had signed that lottery bill was made to the Legislature the very same morning that the Queen prorogued that body.
Senator Frye. So that when the Boston actually sailed there was a feeling of security that the conditions of peace were to last until the end of that Legislature?
Mr. Hoes. I believe that was the general feeling and belief.
Senator Frye. When the Boston sailed there commenced a struggle
in the Legislature? Did that end in the enactment of the lottery and opium bills?
Mr. Hoes. It did of the lottery bill; I am not clear in my mind as to the opium bill, because everybody was so concerned in the fate of the lottery bill that its discussion overshadowed everything else.
Senator Frye. Did that not result in the displacement of the Jones-Wilcox cabinet?
Mr. Hoes. It did.
Senator Frye. Do you remember the return of the Boston on Saturday the 14th?
Mr. Hoes. Yes.
Senator Frye. Were you present and a spectator of most of the things that took place on the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th of January, 1893?
Mr. Hoes. Most all of them.
Senator Frye. Will you state day after day what was going on?
The Chairman. Commencing, I suppose, with the arrival of the Boston in the port of Honolulu?
Mr. Hoes. When the Queen prorogued the Legislature I saw her leave the building in her state carriage and go to the palace. A few minutes subsequently I went home. Not long thereafter, I learned by telephone that the Queen had promulgated, or was about to promulgate, a new constitution. I went at once to the palace grounds, and found collected there a large crowd of natives listening to a harangue by a member of the late Legislature and friend of the Queen, named White, who spoke from the front steps of the palace. The action of the Queen created a great deal of excitement in the community—a suppressed, but at the same time a determined excitement.
The Chairman. State what came under your personal observation.
Mr. Hoes. The next day was Sunday. The excitement continued. Everyone wondered what was to come next, and what was to be done next. Monday came and a poster was seen upon the street.
Senator Frye. Was that the poster [exhibiting paper]?
Mr. Hoes. It was a poster similar to this. I got this from the printing office.
Senator Frye. How was it seen upon the streets? Was it posted?
Mr. Hoes. Posted about the streets.
The Chairman. You mean on the houses?
Mr. Hoes. Publicly posted, in the usual manner.
Senator Frye. Calling for a meeting on Monday afternoon?
Mr. Hoes. Yes. Shall I read this?
Senator Frye. You may.
Mr. Hoes. The poster is as follows:
- "Mass meeting. A mass meeting of citizens will be held at the Beretania Street armory on Monday, January 16, at 2 p.m., to consider the present critical situation. Let all business places be closed. Per order of committee of safety. Honolulu, January 14, 1893."
Senator Frye. Well?
Mr. Hoes. I attended the meeting at the armory Monday afternoon, January 16. I was told that it was a larger and more enthusiastic meeting than gathered in the same place at the time of the revolution of 1887. I am informed that it was the most enthusiastic and unanimous meeting—I mean unanimous in the sentiments which seemed to pervade the people—of any state or political meeting ever held in Honolulu. That meeting appointed a committee of safety.