has always been regarded by the ruling power in Hawaii as a coveted and secure retreat—a sort of house of refuge—whenever the exigencies of fate might compel Hawaii to make her choice between home rule and foreign domination, either in the form of a protectorate, or of submission to some foreign sovereign.
Hawaii has always desired an escape to a freer government, when she has to be forced to the point where the surrender of racial pride and her standing as a nation would be the severe penalty of her weakness. Hawaiians prefer citizenship in a great republic to the slavery of subjection to any foreign monarchy. Annexation to the United States has never been regarded with aversion, or with a sense of national degradation, by the Hawaiian people. On the contrary, it has been adopted as a feature of political action by those who have attempted to recommend themselves to the support of the people in times of danger.
In the revolution of January, 1893, those who assumed the sovereign power, declaring that there was an interregnum, made it a conspicuous part of their avowed purpose to remain in authority until Hawaii should be annexed to the United States. This was stated as an argument for the creation of a provisional government, without which there would be less advantage in the change of the situation. Annexation was an avowed purpose of the Provisional Government, because it would popularize the movement. No one could project a revolution in Hawaii for the overthrow of the monarchy, that would not raise the question among the people of annexation to the United States.
In the diplomatic correspondence of the United States with our ministers to Hawaii, frequent and favorable allusion is made to this subject as a matter of friendly consideration for the advantage of that country and people, and not as a result that would enhance the wealth or power of the United States. This treatment of the subject began very early in the history of Hawaiian civilization, and it was taken up and discussed by the people of the islands as a topic of patriotic inspiration. It was their habit to celebrate the anniversary of the independence of the United States as a national fete day. So that, there was no thought of conspiracy against the monarchy in openly favoring the project of annexation. Whether annexation is wise and beneficial to both countries is a question that must receive the consideration of both governments before it can be safely settled.
The testimony taken by the committee discloses the well-considered opinion of several of our most eminent naval and military officers, that the annexation of Hawaii is a fact indispensable to the proper defense and protection of our Western coast and cities. But this is a matter with which the committee is not especially charged, and reference is made to these opinions as supporting the statement that all intelligent men in Hawaii and in the United States, who have taken pains to consider the subject, are convinced that the question is one deserving of thorough investigation and a correct and friendly decision. The question of annexation, however, is distinctly presented in the proclamation of the Provisional Government as one to be settled by the action of the Government of the United States.
Commissioners to treat with the United States for the annexation of Hawaii were sent to Washington immediately upon the adoption and promulgation of the Provisional Government, and they negotiated and signed a treaty in conjunction with Mr. Secretary Foster, which was submitted to the Senate of the United States and was subsequently withdrawn by the present administration. Accompanying that treaty
was a paper signed by Liliuokalani, in which she stated no objection to the project of annexation to the United States, but in which she protested earnestly against her dethronement, and alleged that the United States, through the abuse by its diplomatic and naval officers of the powers entrusted to them, had virtually compelled her abdication. The President of the United States, after a further examination of the subject, concluded that it was his duty to withdraw this annexation treaty from the Senate for further consideration, and so notified the Provisional Government through Mr. Willis, our present minister.
The recognition of the Provisional Government was lawful and authoritative, and has continued without interruption or modification up to the present time. It may be justly claimed for this act of recognition that it has contributed greatly to the maintenance of peace and order in Hawaii and to the promotion of the establishment of free, permanent, constitutional government in Hawaii, based upon the consent of the people.
The complaint by Liliuokalani in the protest that she sent to the President of the United States and dated the 18th day of January, is not, in the opinion of the committee, well founded in fact or in justice. It appears from the evidence submitted with this report that she was in fact the author and promoter of a revolution in Hawaii which involved the destruction of the entire constitution, and a breach of her solemn oath to observe and support it, and it was only after she had ascertained that she had made a demand upon her native subjects for support in this movement which they would not give to her, that she, for the time, postponed her determination to carry this revolution into effect, and made known her determination to do so as soon as she could feel that she had the power to sustain the movement.
But the President of the United States, giving attention to Liliuokalani's claim that this Government had alarmed her by the presence of its troops into the abdication of her crown, believed that it was proper and necessary in vindication of the honor of the United States to appoint a commissioner to Hawaii who would make a careful investigation into the facts and send the facts and his conclusions to the President, for his information. The commissioner, Mr. Blount, went to Hawaii under circumstances of extreme embarrassment and executed his instructions with impartial care to arrive at the truth, and he presented a sincere and instructive report to the President of the United States, touching the facts, the knowledge of which he thus acquired. In the agitated state of opinion and feeling in Hawaii at that time, it was next to impossible to obtain a full, fair, and free declaration in respect of the facts which attended this revolution, and particularly was this difficult to obtain from the persons who actively participated in that movement.
The evidence submitted by the committee, in addition to that which was presented by Mr. Blount, having been taken under circumstances more favorable to the development of the whole truth with regard to the situation, has, in the opinion of the committee, established the fact that the revolutionary movement in Hawaii originated with Liliuokalani, and was promoted, provided for, and, as she believed, secured by the passage of the opium bill and the lottery bill through the Legislature, from which she expected to derive a revenue sufficient to secure the ultimate success of her purpose, which was distinctly and maturely devised to abolish the constitution of 1887, and to assume to herself absolute power, free from constitutional restraint of any serious character.
S. Doc. 231, pt 6----25