The personal interference of the King in politics was carried to an extent unthought of before, while the constitutional precedents of former reigns were wholly disregarded. The Government was in danger of becoming an Asiatic despotism like that of Johore, when the revolution of 1887 took place and Kalakaua was compelled to sign and proclaim a new constitution July 6, 1887.
The Constitution of 1887.
The constitution of 1887, like that of 1864, was merely a revision, but for different objects, viz, to put an end to personal government by making the ministry responsible only to the people through the Legislature, and to widen the suffrage by extending it to foreigners, who were practically debarred from naturalization under the existing law.
The declaration of rights remained unchanged except an important addition to art. 20, viz: "and no executive or judicial officer, or any contractor or employe' of the Government, or any person in the receipt of salary or emolument from the Government, shall be eligible to election to the Legislature of the Hawaiian Kingdom. And no member of the Legislature shall, during the time for which he is elected, be appointed to any civil office under the Government except that of a member of the cabinet."
Article 39: "The King's private lands and other property are inviolable," was dropped.
A more important change was made in article 42. The minister, instead of holding office during His Majesty's pleasure, "shall be removed by him only upon a vote of want of confidence passed by a majority of all the elective members of the Legislature, or upon conviction of felony, and shall be subject to impeachment."
The cabinet were to hold seats, as before, in the Legislature, with the right to vote, "except on a question of want of confidence."
The time of meeting of the Legislature was changed from April to May. In article 48 the King's veto power was limited. If he disapproved of a bill, he was to return it to the Legislature, with his objections, within ten days, and if on reconsideration it should be approved by a two-thirds vote of all the elective members it shall become a law.
The number of nobles was increased from 20 to 40. Instead of being appointed by the King for life, the nobles were henceforth to be elected for six years, and serve without pay, one-third of them going out every two years. A candidate for the office of noble was required to own taxable property of the value of $3,000 over and above all incumbrances, or to have an income of not less than $600 per annum, and to have resided in this Kingdom three years.
The same property qualifications and term of residence were required of electors of nobles.
The number of representatives was fixed at 24. No change was made in the property qualification or term of residence of representatives. The compensation of representatives was increased to $250 for each biennial term.
Article 62, on the qualifications of voters, was altered by substituting for the words "male subject, etc.," the words "male resident of the Kingdom, of Hawaiian or European birth or descent, who shall have taken the oath to support this constitution and the laws."
The above provision excluded Asiatics from voting. The other conditions of one year's residence, and of knowing "how to read and
write either Hawaiian, English, or some European language," were waived for the first election in 1887, but have been enforced ever since.
No change was made in the articles relating to the judiciary. The privy council was retained, but was given even less power than before. Its chief remaining function is to act as a board of pardons.
A new and most important article was added as follows: "Art. 78. Wherever by this constitution any act is to be done or performed by the King or the Sovereign, it shall, unless otherwise expressed, mean that such act shall be done and performed by the Sovereign by and with the advice and consent of the cabinet."
The office of governor was abolished by the Legislature of 1888, and its duties divided between the sheriffs and tax collectors.
The number of judges in the supreme court has been since reduced to three.
Notwithstanding article 78, it was decided by a majority of the supreme court in 1888, that the King, under article 48, could exercise a personal right of veto, in opposition to his ministers.
After the death of Kalakaua, it was also decided by the Court, February 25, 1891, that the new sovereign had a right to demand the resignations of the former cabinet and to appoint a new one.
Most of the changes in the constitution made in 1887 are in strict accordance with the principles of representative constitutional government. That they could have been brought about by regular amendments of the constitution of 1864 is universally admitted to have been impossible.
As the constitution proposed to have been proclaimed January 14, 1893, has been sedulously concealed by its author, I am unable to give any exact information in regard to it.
W. D. Alexander.
Adjourned to meet on Tuesday, January 9,1894.
WASHINGTON, D. C, January 9,1894.
The subcommittee met pursuant to adjournment.
Present, the Chairman (Senator Morgan) and Senators Butler, Gray, and Frye.
Absent, Senator Sherman.
SWORN STATEMENT OF PROF. WILLIAM DE WITT ALEXANDER—Continued.
Mr. Alexander. I have taken some pains to make a correct estimate of the expenditures for education in the Hawaiian Islands for the biennial period 1890-'92. It is to be a part of my oral testimony given the first day. The total per annum is $284,000.
Senator Butler. I suggest that the statements be printed.
Mr. Alexander. Here is the petition for the lottery. [Producing paper.]
The Chairman. I will read it to the committee. It is as follows:
"THE PETITIONS FOR THE LOTTERY.
"Mr. Nordhoff has attempted to break the effect of the passage of the lottery bill and its signature by the Queen by referring to certain