- supposition of this vacancy, both houses came to this resolution: 'That King James II, having endeavored to subvert the constitution of the Kingdom by breaking the original contract between King and people; and, by the advice of Jesuits and other wicked persons, having violated the fundamental law and having withdrawn himself out of this Kingdom has abdicated the Government, and that the throne is hereby vacant.'"
Proceeding further, this eminent jurist says:
- "For whenever a question arises between the society at large and any magistrate vested with powers originally delegated by that society it must be decided by the voice of the society itself; there is not upon earth any other tribunal to resort to. And that these consequences were fairly deduced from these facts our ancestors have solemnly determined in a full parliamentary convention representing the whole society."
Further quoting from Blackstone, he says:
- "They held that this misconduct of King James amounted to an endeavor to subvert the constitution and not to an actual subversion or total dissolution of the Government, according to the principles of Mr. Locke, which would have reduced the society almost to a state of nature; would have leveled all distinctions of honor, rank, offices, and property; would have annihilated the sovereign power, and in consequence have repealed all positive laws, and would have left the people at liberty to have erected a new system of State upon a new foundation of polity. They therefore very prudently voted it to amount to no more than an abdication of the Government and a consequent vacancy of the throne, whereby the Government was allowed to subsist though the executive magistrate was gone, and the kingly office to remain though King James was no longer King. And thus the constitution was kept entire, which upon every sound principle of government must otherwise have fallen to pieces had so principal and constituent a part as the royal authority been abolished or even suspended.
- "This single postulatum, the vacancy of the throne, being once established the rest that was then done followed almost of course. For, if the throne be at any time vacant (which may happen by other means besides that of abdication, as if all the blood-royal should fail, without any successor appointed by Parliament)-if, I say, a vacancy, by any means whatsoever, should happen, the right of disposing of this vacancy seems naturally to result to the Lords and Commons, the trustees and representatives of the nation. For there are no other hands in which it can so properly be intrusted; and there is a necessity of its being intrusted somewhere, else the whole frame of government must be dissolved and perish."
The principle on which this decision in regard to the abdication of King James II rests is still stronger when it is applied to persons who are citizens of the United States but who reside in Hawaii, and by the constitution and laws of Hawaii are admitted into an active participation in the conduct of government, both as officeholders and as qualified electors. If they, in connection with the native or naturalized subjects of the Kingdom of Hawaii, unite in demanding the preservation of their constitutional rights, there should be no captious or
technical objections taken to the assertion of that right, or to the manner of its exercise.
In reference to all citizens of the United States residing in Hawaii and not actual members or officers of that Government, the spirit of our laws, in accordance with the principles of the Constitution and the traditions of the people, should be applied to their protection, when it is the duty of the United States to protect them, and especially are they entitled to the full advantage of the protection that is afforded under that doctrine of personal liberty and security which upholds the authority of governments de facto. When such a government arises out of alleged abuses and grievances and is set up in good faith by the intelligent classes to succeed a monarchy in a state that is the only monarchy in a sisterhood of many republics, the rules governing its recognition are not those that seem to control in cases where the state is a sole republic surrounded by an environment of monarchies.
In Europe, where governmental successions have no relation to the will of the people, every presumption that can be made to support the regal system is adopted and enforced with rigid care. The old conditions are presumed to exist in a regal government until the new government has accomplished a complete revolution and until nothing remains to be done to secure an uninterrupted and unembarrassed installation of its authority. Those presumptions are all in favor of the crown and are easily applied in practical use, as the crown is a political unit and acts with certainty in the assertion of its claims. When the rights asserted against the crown are set up by the people, or for the people, the act is necessarily a representative act, and the authority of the alleged representative is severely questioned. Indeed, it is not considered as existing in European countries until, through bloodshed or an overwhelming exhibition of forces, its acknowledgment is literally compelled. The reverse of this rule should obtain in that part of the world where it is held, universally, that the right to govern depends upon the consent of the governed and not upon a divine inheritance of power. In a controversy like that in Hawaii the presumption is in favor of those who unite to assert the constitutional rights of the people, that they are acting in good faith, and that they are not seeking personal aggrandizement, but the good of the people. When such a popular movement engages the evident support of those whom the people have trusted for their integrity to an extent that inspires a just confidence of success a sufficient foundation exists, at least, for a government de facto; and it is no more necessary to its validity that every possible obstacle to its final success has been removed than it would be necessary, on the other hand, to the permanency of the crown that every rebellious subject of the Queen had been slain or banished and their estates had been confiscated.
The supporters of Liliuokalani seem to be forced into the attitude of claiming that it is of no consequence that she may have forfeited her right to the Crown and had placed it in the power of the people lawfully to claim that this was an abdication, unless the people had overcome and removed every vestige of her power before they proclaimed the Provisional Government. Her known purpose to press the absolute powers claimed by her in the new constitution to the extent of the banishment or death of the white population seems not to be permitted to excuse the action of the people in displacing her, if they had not captured her small force of policemen and soldiers before the American minister had recognized the Provisional Government.