Transcribed Morgan Report
[See p. 189, Vol. VII.]
FIFTY-THIRD CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION.
February 26, 1894.
[Senate Report No. 227.]
Mr. Morgan submitted the following report from the Committee on Foreign Relations:
The following resolution of the Senate defines the limits of the authority of the committee in the investigation and report it is required to make:
- "Resolved, That the Committee on Foreign Relations shall inquire and report whether any, and, if so, what irregularities have occurred in the diplomatic or other intercourse between the United States and Hawaii in relation to the recent political revolution in Hawaii, and to this end said committee is authorized to send for persons and papers and to administer oaths to witnesses."
The witnesses were examined under oath when it was possible to secure their appearance before the committee, though in some instances affidavits were taken in Hawaii and other places, and papers of a scientific and historic character will be appended to this report and presented to the Senate for its consideration.
The committee did not call the Secretary of State, or any person connected with the Hawaiian Legation, to give testimony. It was not thought to be proper to question the diplomatic authorities of either government on matters that are, or have been, the subject of negotiation between them, and no power exists to authorize the examination of the minister of a foreign government in any proceeding without his consent.
The resolutions include an inquiry only into the intercourse between the two governments, and regard the conduct of the officers of the United States as a matter for domestic consideration in which Hawaii is not concerned, unless it be that their conduct had some unjust and improper influence upon the action of the people or Government of that country in relation to the revolution.
The future policy of the two governments as to annexation, or in respect of any other matter, is excluded by the resolutions from the consideration of the committee, and such matters are alluded to only as being incidental to the investigation which was ordered by the Senate.
The inquiry as to irregularities that may have occurred in our diplomatic or other intercourse with Hawaii must relate, first, to the conduct of the Government as shown in its official acts and correspondence; and, second, the conduct of its civil and military officers while they were engaged in the discharge of their public duties and functions.
As a Government dealing with Hawaii and with any form of government in that country, whether de facto or de jure, the United States can have no separation or break in its line of policy corresponding to
any change in the incumbency of the office of President. It is in all respects as much the same Government in every right and responsibility as if it had been under the same President during the entire period covered by the recent revolution in Hawaii and the succeeding events.
This view of the situation will enable us to examine more dispassionately the conduct of our Government, and to ascertain whether it has been such that it can be safely drawn into precedent in any future questions that may arise in our intercourse with this or other American governments.
The right of the President of the United States to change his opinions and conduct respecting a course of diplomatic correspondence with a foreign government is no more to be questioned than his right to institute such correspondence; and it can not be assumed that the opinions of one President, differing from those of his predecessor, has any other effect upon the attitude of the Government than would follow a change of opinion in the mind of the same person if there had been no change in the incumbency of the office. This is a view of the situation in which all foreign nations may have an interest, under the usages of independent powers and the international laws. But the question now under consideration is regarded as being peculiar to what we may term the American system. It may be true that Hawaii can not be considered as a separate and independent power in respect of all its relations with the United States, yet the acts of successive Presidents of the United States which affect it must be regarded as the acts of one President. But there are many good reasons and a long and consistent course of dealing between the United States and Hawaii that materially affect, if they do not entirely change, the actual relations between Hawaii and the United States and make them exceptional. When we claim the right to interfere in the domestic affairs of Hawaii, as we would not interfere with those of a European nation, we must also admit her right to whatever advantages there may be in the closeness and interdependence of our relations, and her right to question us as to any conflicts of policy between Mr. Harrison and Mr. Cleveland that may be justly said to work a disadvantage to the interests of Hawaii, if there are any.
And another principle which does not apply in our dealings with European powers comes into application in this case to influence the rights of Hawaii in her intercourse with the United States.
Hawaii is an American state, and is embraced in the American commercial and military system. This fact has been frequently and firmly stated by our Government, and is the ground on which is rested that peculiar and far-reaching declaration so often and so earnestly made, that the United States will not admit the right of any foreign government to acquire any interest or control in the Hawaiian Islands that is in any way prejudicial or even threatening toward the interests of the United States or her people. This is at least a moral suzerainty over Hawaii. In this attitude of the two Governments, Hawaii must be entitled to demand of the United States an indulgent consideration, if not an active sympathy, when she is endeavoring to accomplish what every other American state has achieved-the release of her people from the odious antirepublican regime which denies to the people the right to govern themselves, and subordinates them to the supposed divine right of a monarch, whose title to such divinity originated in the most slavish conditions of pagan barbarity.
The point at which it is alleged that there was a questionable interference
by our minister and our Navy with the affairs of Hawaii was the landing of troops from the ship Boston in Honolulu on the 16th day of January, 1893, at 5 o'clock in the afternoon. That ship, on which the minister was a passenger, had been off on a practice cruise at Hilo, a distance of nearly 100 miles, since the 4th day of January. On her return to the harbor a condition of affairs existed in Honolulu which led naturally to the apprehension that violence or civil commotion would ensue, in which the peace and security of American citizens residing in that city would be put in peril, as had been done on three or more separate occasions previously when changes occurred or were about to occur in the government of Hawaii. Whatever we may conclude were the real causes of the situation then present in Honolulu, the fact is that there was a complete paralysis of executive government in Hawaii. The action of the Queen in an effort to overturn the constitution of 1887, to which she had sworn obedience and support, had been accepted and treated by a large and powerful body of the people as a violation of her constitutional obligations, revolutionary in its character and purposes and that it amounted to an act of abdication on her part, so far as her powers and the rights of the people under the constitution of 1887 were concerned. This state of opinion and this condition of the executive head of the Hawaiian Government neutralized its power to protect American citizens and other foreigners in their treaty rights, and also their rights under the laws of Hawaii. There was not in Honolulu at that time any efficient executive power through which the rights of American citizens residing there could be protected in accordance with the local laws. It is evident that the Queen's Government at that time had no power to prevent the landing of troops from any quarter, no power to protect itself against invasion, no power to conduct civil government, so far as the executive was concerned, if the effort to exert such power was antagonized by any opposing body of people in considerable numbers. Indeed, no effort seems to have been made to exert the civil authority except through the presence of a small and inefficient body of policemen. The authority of the Queen was not respected by the people; it was opposed, and no force appeared to be used for the purpose of overcoming the opposition. It yielded to a silent but ominous opposition. Without reference to the question whether, in strict law, the action of the Queen in her effort to overturn the constitution of 1887, and to substitute one by a proclamation which she had prepared, was a revolution in government, or an effort at revolution, or amounted to an actual abdication, the result was that an interregnum existed.
If we give full effect to the contention that this interregnum occurred because of the apprehensions of the Queen that force would be used by the United States to compel her abdication, those apprehensions could not have occurred before the landing of the troops from the Boston, or, if they existed, they were idle, unfounded, and unjust toward the United States. It was her conduct, opposed by her people, or a large portion of them, that paralyzed the executive authority and left the citizens of the United States in Honolulu without the protection of any law, unless it was such as should be extended to them by the American minister, in conjunction with the arms of the United States then on board the Boston.
It will appear hereafter in this report that there is well-settled authority for the position that at the moment when the Queen made public her decision to absolve herself from her oath to support the constitution of 1887 her abdication was complete, if the people chose so to regard it. That constitution and the Queen's oath to support it was the only
foundation for her regal authority and, when she announced that her oath was annulled in its effect upon her own conscience, she could no longer rightfully hold office under that constitution. In such matters the word of the Queen, once sedately uttered, fixes a condition that is irrevocable unless by the consent of those whose condition or rights would be injuriously affected by its subsequent withdrawal; as in the case of a voluntary abdication in favor of a named successor; or of a pardon granted to person accused or, convicted of crime; or the signature to a legislative act, or declaration of war. The official act of the chief executive of a nation is uniformly regarded as creating a condition or status which can not be altered or revoked at pleasure. Indeed, in every case, the word of the king that works a change in existing conditions is the final act of the king. In the crime of treason and the misprision of treason, the word that is spoken by the culprit, though quickly repented of or recalled, has completed the crime and placed the offender beyond the reach of all mercy except that of the sovereign power. In this instance the sovereign power to pardon or condone the Queen's offense resided in the people, and they have so far decided and have adhered to the decision that her abdication was complete. The recantation was two days later than the completed crime and was temporary and conditional, and, in the meantime, popular sovereignty had risen to the assertion of its rights, an indignant resentment had aroused the people, and a large body of citizens claiming to represent them had inaugurated a government of the people and for the people. Whether the people opposing the Queen were strengthened in their purpose to accept and act upon this abandonment by the Queen of her obligations to keep her oath to support and obey the constitution by the presence of the troops of the United States, or whether the Queen was dismayed by their presence and was deterred from supporting her criminal act by the employment of her household soldiery, did not alter the fact that she had openly renounced the constitution of 1887 before the troops were landed or any preparation was made or any order was issued to land them, and the people were preparing to substitute the monarchy, which was still existing in the constitution, by a ruler of their own choice before any troops left the Boston.
Whether the people would permit the restoration of the Queen, or whether they would constitute a new executive head of the Government of Hawaii, was a matter then undetermined, and as to that the Government of the United States had but one concern, and that was that the interregnum should be ended, the executive head of the Government should be supplied, and the laws of Hawaii and the treaty rights of American citizens should have full effect, peacefully, in the protection of their rights and interests. When the Queen found that her Government was opposed by a strong body of the people she did not attempt to reassemble the Legislature, but left the public safety in charge of a committee of thirteen men, organized by those who were endeavoring to preserve the peace and to restore the Government to its full constitutional powers by choosing an executive head. This condition of things continued from Saturday until the succeeding Tuesday, during all of which time the citizens of the United States residing in Honolulu had no protection of law, except such as was guarantied to them by the presence of the Boston in the bay of Honolulu, or the moral influence of the American legation and consulate.
When the Kamehameha dynasty ended, the monarchy in Hawaii was doomed to a necessary dissolution. The five kings of that family, assisted by their premiers, who were Kanaka women, and by such missionaries as Judd, Bingham, Chamberlain, Coan, Goodrich, and Damon
maintained the progress of civilization and prosperity, but when Kalakaua was elected king, the most surprising and disgraceful corruptions infected the Government. Without detailing in this report the constant decline from bad to worse, which the evidence discloses, without contradiction or explanation, when Liliuokalani was enthroned the monarchy was a mere shell and was in condition to crumble on the slightest touch of firm opposition. Under her brief rule, it was kept alive by the care and forbearing tolerance of the conservative white people, who owned $50,000,000 of the property in Hawaii, until they saw that the Queen and her party had determined to grasp absolute power and destroy the constitution and the rights of the white people. When they were compelled to act in self-defense the monarchy disappeared. It required nothing but the determined action of what was called the missionary party to prostrate the monarchy, and that action had been taken before the troops from the Boston landed.
There was then no executive head of the Government of Hawaii; it had perished.
In landing the troops from the Boston there was no demonstration of actual hostilities, and their conduct was as quiet and as respectful as it had been on many previous occasions when they were landed for the purpose of drill and practice. In passing the palace on their way to the point at which they were halted, the Queen appeared upon the balcony and the troops respectfully saluted her by presenting arms and dipping the flag, and made no demonstration of any hostile intent. Her attitude at that time was that of helplessness, because she found no active or courageous support in her isolated position, which was self-imposed and was regretted by few of her former subjects. In this condition of Hawaii the laws for the protection of life and property were, in fact, suspended so far as the executive power was concerned, and the citizens of the United States in Honolulu and all the islands, and their property rights, were virtually outlawed. The citizens of Honolulu were not held amenable to the civil authorities, but were treated by the Queen, as well as by the people, as if the country was in a state of war. A policeman was shot down on the streets by a person who was conducting a wagon loaded with arms to the place of rendezvous where the people had assembled, and no action was taken for the purpose of arresting or putting on trial the man who did the shooting.
In a country where there is no power of the law to protect the citizens of the United States there can be no law of nations nor any rule of comity that can rightfully prevent our flag from giving shelter to them under the protection of our arms, and this without reference to any distress it may give to the Queen who generated the confusion, or any advantage it might give to the people who are disputing her right to resume or to hold her regal powers. In every country where there is no effective chief executive authority, whether it is a newly-discovered island where only savage government prevails, or one where the government is paralyzed by internal feuds, it is the right, claimed and exercised by all civilized nations, to enter such a country with sovereign authority to assert and protect the rights of its citizens and their property, and to remain there without the invitation of anybody until civil government shall have been established that is adequate, in a satisfactory sense, for their protection.
The committee agree that such was the condition of the Hawaiian Government at the time that the troops were landed in Honolulu from the steam warship Boston; that there was then an interregnum in Hawaii as respects the executive office; that there was no executive power to enforce the laws of Hawaii, and that it was the right of the
United States to land troops upon those islands at any place where it was necessary in the opinion of our minister to protect our citizens.
In what occurred in landing the troops at Honolulu there may have been an invasion, but it was not an act of war, nor did it create that condition of the public law in Hawaii.
In the period of reconstruction, as it is called, which followed the civil war of 1861-'65 in the United States, a very similar condition existed, or was assumed to exist, which caused Congress to provide for vacating the gubernatorial offices in several of the Southern States and filling them by appointments of the President.
In these States strong military bodies were stationed and general officers of the Army took command and enforced the laws found on their statute books and also the laws of the United States. All the civil officers in those sovereign States were required to obey the commands of those Army officers, and they did so, often under protest, but with entire submission to the military power and authority of the President, exerted through the instrumentality of the Army. That was not war. Yet it was the presence of military force, employed actively in the enforcement of the civil laws, and in full supremacy over the civil authority.
The only reason that could justify this invasion of sovereign states by the armies of the United States was the declaration by Congress that the executive governments in those states were not in the lawful possession of the incumbents; that there was an interregnum in those states as to the office of governor.
If the Queen, or the people, or both acting in conjunction, had opposed the landing of the troops from the Boston with armed resistance, their invasion would have been an act of war. But when their landing was not opposed by any objection, protest, or resistance the state of war did not supervene, and there was no irregularity or want of authority to place the troops on shore.
In this view of the facts there is no necessity for inquiring whether Minister Stevens or Capt. Wiltse, in arranging for the landing of the troops, had any purpose either to aid the popular movement against the Queen that was then taking a definite and decisive shape, or to promote the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States. But justice to these gentlemen requires that we should say that the troops from the Boston were not sent into Honolulu for any other purpose than that set forth fully and fairly in the following order from Capt. Wiltse to the officer in command of the detachment:
- U.S.S. Boston (Second Rate)
- Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, January 16, 1893.
- Lieut. Commander W.T. Swinburne, U.S. Navy,
- Executive Officer, U.S.S. Boston:
- Sir: You will take command of the battalion and land in Honolulu for the purpose of protecting our legation, consulate, and the lives and property of American citizens, and to assist in preserving public order.
- Great prudence must be exercised by both officers and men, and no action taken that is not fully warranted by the condition of affairs and by the conduct of those who may be inimical to the treaty rights of American citizens.
- You will inform me at the earliest practicable moment of any change in the situation.
- Very respectfully,
- G.C. Wiltse,
- Captain, U.S. Navy, Commanding U.S.S. Boston.
As between the United States and Hawaii, as separate and independent governments, that order defines the full liability of the Government of the United States in respect of landing the troops at Honolulu. As between the Government of the United States and its officers, the question may arise whether that order was issued in good faith and for the purposes declared upon its face, or whether it was a pretext used for the purpose of assisting in the overthrow of the Queen's Government and the ultimate annexation of Hawaii to the United States.
In reference to this last suggestion, the committee, upon the evidence as it appears in their report (which they believe is a full, fair, and impartial statement of the facts attending and precedent to the landing of the troops), agree that the purposes of Capt. Wiltse and of Minister Stevens were only those which were legitimate, viz, the preservation of law and order to the extent of preventing a disturbance of the public peace which might, in the absence of the troops, injuriously affect the rights of the American citizens resident in Honolulu.
The troops from the Boston having rightfully and lawfully entered Honolulu, and having carried with them the protection of the laws of the United States for their citizens who otherwise were left without the protection of law, it was the right of the United States that they should remain there until a competent chief executive of Hawaii should have been installed in authority to take upon himself the civil power and to execute the necessary authority to provide for the protection of all the rights of citizens of the United States then in Honolulu, whether such rights were secured by treaty or were due to them under the laws of Hawaii. It was the further right of the officers representing the United States in Hawaii to remain there with the troops until all the conditions were present to give full assurance of security to the rights of all the citizens of the United States then in Honolulu.
Before the landing of the troops a committee of safety had been organized that sent a request to the commander of the Boston that troops should be landed for the purpose of preserving the public peace. To this request no response was made, and later in the day the commander of the Boston was informed that the committee of safety had withdrawn its request and then desired that no troops should be landed. But, disregarding all the action of the committee of safety and acting only upon his sense of duty to the people of the United States who were in Honolulu, Capt. Wiltse came to the conclusion that the troops should be landed, and he put them in a state of preparation for that purpose by lowering the boats, filling the cartridge belts of the men, and supplying them with proper accouterments for a stay on shore. After these preparations had been completed Minister Stevens went on board the ship (on Monday), and had an interview with Capt. Wiltse. The evidence shows that this interview related alone to the question of the preservation of law and order in Hawaii and the protection of Americans in their treaty rights. It seems that neither Minister Stevens nor Capt. Wiltse then fully comprehended the fact that the United States had the right, of its own authority, to send the troops on shore for the purpose of supplying to American citizens resident there the protection of law, which had been withdrawn or annulled, because of the fact that there was then an interregnum in the executive department of the Government of Hawaii. The rights of the United States at that moment were greater than they were supposed to be by Minister Stevens or Capt. Wiltse, and they were not the result of treaty rights or obligations, but of that unfailing right to give protection to citizens of the
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United States in any country where they may be found when the local authorities have through their own mismanagement or contrivance, rendered nugatory the power of the government to perform its proper duties in the protection of their lives, property, and peace.
A further statement of ascertained facts may be necessary in order to bring out more clearly the situation in Hawaii on Saturday, the 14th day of January, and to render more conspicuous the justification of the United States in entering with its troops upon the soil of Hawaii for the protection of all the rights of its citizens.
On Saturday afternoon and Sunday earnest and decisive steps were being taken by the people of Honolulu who were most prominent in social influence and in commerce and the professions to arm the people who resented the disloyalty of the Queen to the constitution and to install a new executive head of the Government. This movement had resulted in the organization of a committee of safety that proposed a programme for the purpose of inaugurating a provisional government. This was an open, public movement, which the Queen took no steps to suppress. No arrests were made, and even the apprehension of arrests seems to have been almost entirely absent from the minds of the people engaged in this movement. An effort was made to divert those people from their purpose, on Monday morning, by the Queen and her ministers, who caused the following notice to be posted on the streets of Honolulu:
- "BY AUTHORITY.
- "Her Majesty's ministers desire to express their appreciation for the quiet and order which have prevailed in this community since the events of Saturday, and are authorized to say that the position taken by Her Majesty in regard to the promulgation of a new constitution was under the stress of her native subjects.
- "Authority is given for the assurance that any changes desired in the fundamental law of the land will be sought only by the methods provided in the constitution itself.
- "Her Majesty's ministers request all citizens to accept the assurance of Her Majesty in the same spirit in which it is given."
This paper purported to be signed by the Queen and her ministers, Samuel Parker, minister of foreign affairs; W. H. Cornwell, minister of finance; John F. Colburn, minster of the interior; and A. P. Peterson, attorney-general.
The Queen did not sign it in her official character by affixing the letter R to her name, and the tenor of the paper indicates that it was, in fact, the act of her ministers, to which she had not given her royal assent and pledge. This paper in itself contains undeniable evidence that the Queen had instituted a coup d'etat on Saturday by the promulgation of "a new constitution," as far, at least, as she could bind herself by such an act, and that she offered the excuse for this revolt against the existing constitution which she had sworn to support, that she acted "under stress of her native subjects."
Passing by the fact that the existence of this "stress" is not established by any satisfactory evidence, the reference to it in this proclamation discloses her willing connection with the purpose to disfranchise her foreign-born subjects, that being the effect of the provisions of the "new constitution" that she in fact promulgated, so far as she could but hesitated to swear to for the want of sufficient support from "her native subjects." The assurance given that future efforts "to change"
the constitution of 1887 should be conducted only in the method therein prescribed, was no assurance that her foreign-born subjects should be protected in their vital liberties. To the reverse, it was a continuing threat that they should be disfranchised and placed at the mercy of racial aggression, backed by the power of the crown. The declarations of the Queen made in person to Minister Willis, on three occasions, and at long intervals of time after the lapse of nine months of sedate reflection, show that this assurance, given in fact by her ministers, was only a thin disguise of her real purpose to drive out the white population and confiscate their property, and, if need be, to destroy their lives. The people made no mistake as to her animosity toward them, and proceeded in the same orderly manner, for which the ministers gave them thanks in this proclamation, to designate an executive head of the Government in place of the abdicated Queen, the abdication being completed and confirmed by the only authentic expression of the popular will, and by the recognition of the supreme court of Hawaii.
Another fact of importance connected with the situation at that time is that a committee of law and order, consisting of supporters of the Queen, had on Monday morning posted in public places in Honolulu the following call for a public meeting and explanation of the purposes of the Queen in abrogating the constitution of 1887 and in substituting one which she desired and attempted to promulgate by their authority as the organic law of the land. This proclamation was printed in the Hawaiian language, and a translation of it is appended to this report. It was printed in an extra edition of a newspaper called the Ka Leo 0 Ka Lahui, published in Honolulu in the Hawaiian language. "The stress of her native subjects," which is mentioned by the Queen in the proclamation which was posted in English on the morning of January 16, is evidently expressed in the terms of this announcement and call, and it shows that it was based upon racial distinction and prejudice entirely, and indicates the feeling of resentment and controversy which, if carried into effect as the Queen proposed to carry it into effect under the constitution which she intended to proclaim, would have resulted in the destruction of the rights of property and lives of those persons who were styled "missionaries" and their posterity, from whom Hawaii had derived her enlightened civilization, Christianity, constitution, laws, progress, wealth and position amongst the nations of the earth. This was a threat of dangerous significance, and it shows the spirit of the controversy that was then pervading the minds of the people of Honolulu, and illustrates how easy it was to foment strife that would result in the worst of evils, in a community thus divided and thus excited. The abuse of the missionaries, and missionary party in this call shows that the Queen and her immediate followers had concentrated their efforts upon the disfranchisement of all white people in Hawaii, and the return of the Government to that condition of debasement from which these very people and their fathers had relieved it.
The second paragraph in this call is as follows:
- "THE VOICE OF THE CHIEF.
- "On the afternoon of Saturday last the voice of the Sacred Chief of Hawaii, Liliuokalani, the tabued one, speaking as follows:
- "'O, ye people who love the Chief, I hereby say to you, I am now ready to proclaim the new constitution for my Kingdom, thinking that it would be successful, but behold obstacles have arisen! Therefore
- I say unto you, loving people, go with good hope and do not be disturbed or troubled in your minds. Because, within the next few days now coming, I will proclaim the new constitution.
- "'The executive officers of the law (the cabinet) knew the errors in this new constitution, but they said nothing.
- "'Therefore, I hope that the thing which you, my people, so much want will be accomplished; it also is my strong desire.'"
Here is a direct accusation by the Queen against her cabinet, all of whom, with one exception, were white men, that they had misled her as to the eftect of the constitution, and had failed to point out errors in it which, as a pretext, led to its rejection by them, causing them to refuse at the last moment to join with her in its promulgation. This call was, in fact, a new promise which was made by the Queen, with the evident consent of her immediate native followers, that within the next few days now coming she would proclaim the new constitution, notwithstanding her failure to give it a successful promulgation on the preceding Saturday. The intensity of the Queen's opposition to the missionaries and the white people was caused by her intention that the Kingdom should return to its former absolute character, and that the best results of civilization in Hawaii should be obliterated.
Civilization and constitutional government in Hawaii are the foster children of the American Christian missionaries. It can not be justly charged to the men and women who inaugurated this era of humanity, light, and justice in those islands that either they or their posterity or their followers, whether native or foreign, have faltered in their devotion to their exalted purposes. They have not pursued any devious course in their conduct, nor have they done any wrong or harm to the Hawaiian people or their native rulers. They have not betrayed any trust confided to them, nor have they encouraged any vice or pandered to any degrading sentiment or practice among those people. Among the native Hawaiians, where they found paganism in the most abhorrent forms of idolatry, debauchery, disease, ignorance and cruelty 75 years ago, they planted and established, with the free consent and eager encouragement of those natives and without the shedding of blood, the Christian ordinance of marriage, supplanting polygamy; a reverence for the character of women and a respect for their rights; the Christian Sabbath and freedom of religious faith and worship, as foundations of society and of the state; universal education, including the kings and the peasantry; temperance in place of the orgies of drunkenness that were all-pervading; and the separate holdings of lands upon which the people built their homes. In doing these benevolent works the American missionary did not attempt to assume the powers and functions of political government. As education, enlightenment, and the evident benefits of civilization revealed to those in authority the necessity of wise and faithful counsels in building up and regulating the government to meet those new conditions, the kings invited some of the best qualified and most trusted of these worthy men to aid them in developing and conducting the civil government. As a predicate for this work they freely consented to and even suggested the giving up of some of their absolute powers and to place others under the constraint of constitutional limitations. They created an advisory council and a legislature and converted Hawaii from an absolute despotism into a land of law. The. cabinet ministers thus chosen from the missionary element were retained in office during very long periods, thus establishing the confidence of the kings and the people in their integrity,
wisdom, and loyalty to the Government. No charge of defection or dishonesty was ever made against any of these public servants during the reign of the Kamehamehas, nor indeed at any time. They acquired property in moderate values by honest means, and labored to exhibit to the people the advantages of industry, frugality, economy, and thrift.
The progressive elevation of the country and of the people from the very depravity of paganism into an enlightened and educated commonwealth and the growth of their industries and wealth will be seen at a glance in the statements of the most important events and in the tables showing the most important results of their work and influence, which are set forth in the evidence accompanying this report. This array of undisputed facts shows that, with Christianity and education as the basis, there has come over Hawaii the most rapid and successful improvement in political, industrial, and commercial conditions that has marked the course of any people in Christendom.
In the message of President Tyler to Congress he says:
- "The condition of those islands has excited a good deal of interest, which is increasing by every successive proof that their inhabitants are making progress in civilization and becoming more and more competent to maintain regular and orderly government. They lie in the Pacific Ocean, much nearer to this continent than the other, and have become an important place for the refitment and provisioning of American and European vessels.
- "'Owing to their locality and to the course of the winds which prevail in this quarter of the world the Sandwich Islands are the stopping place for almost all vessels passing from continent to continent across the Pacific Ocean. They are especially resorted to by the great numbers of vessels of the United States which are engaged in the whale fishery in those seas. The number of vessels of all sorts and the amount of property owned by citizens of the United States which are found in those islands in the course of a year are stated probably with sufficient accuracy in the letter of the agents.
- "'Just emerging from a state of barbarism, the Government of the islands is as yet feeble; but its dispositions appear to be just and pacific, and it seems anxious to improve the condition or its people by the introduction of knowledge, of religious and moral institutions, means of education, and the arts of civilized life.'"
In the House of Representatives this subject was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Hon. John Q. Adams, in concluding his report upon the subject, says:
- "It is a subject of cheering contemplation to the friends of human improvement and virtue that, by the mild and gentle influence of Christian charity, dispensed by humble missionaries of the gospel, unarmed with secular power, within the last quarter of a century the people of this group of islands have been converted from the lowest debasement of idolatry to the blessings of the Christian gospel; united under one balanced government; rallied to the fold of civilization by a written language and constitution, providing security for the rights of persons, property, and mind, and invested with all the elements of right and power which can entitle them to be acknowledged by their brethren of the human race as a separate and independent community. To the consummation of their acknowledgment the people of the North
- American Union are urged by an interest of their own deeper than that of any other portion of the inhabitants of the earth-by a virtual right of conquest, not over the freedom of their brother man by the brutal arm of physical power, but over the mind and heart by the celestial panoply of the gospel of peace and love."
It can not be other than a proud reflection of the American people that the free institutions of the United States gave origin and impulsive zeal, as well as guidance, to the good men who laid these foundations of civil government in Hawaii upon written constitutions, supported by the oaths of those in authority and loyally sustained by those of the people who are virtuous and intelligent. Nor can the American people condemn the firm adhesion of those whose rights are guaranteed by constitutional law in Hawaii to the demand that is now made for the maintenance of its permanent integrity. If nothing but a decent respect for our national example was in question, if there was no question in Hawaii that concerned the people of the United States except that of a relapse of that Government into absolute monarchy, if there was no degradation of society involved in this falling away, no destruction of property and liberty in contemplation, there would still be enough in the conditions now presented there to excite the most anxious interest of our people. Citizens of the United States with wisdom, charity, Christian faith, and a love of constitutional government, have patiently, laboriously, and honestly built up Hawaii into a civilized power under a written constitution, and they can justly claim the sympathy and assistance of all civilized people in resisting its destruction, either to gratify a wanton lust of absolute power on the part of the Queen, or the abuse of its authority in fostering vice and rewarding crime. The facts of recent history present broadly and distinctly the question between an absolute and corrupt monarchy in Hawaii, and a government in which the rights and liberties guaranteed by a written constitution shall be respected and preserved. The facts do not show that the people who built up this constitutional system and have based upon it wholesome laws and a well balanced and well guarded plan of administration have had any desire to abrogate the organic laws, corrupt the statute laws, or to dethrone the Queen. In every phase of their dealings with these questions their course has been conservative, and the defense of their lives, liberty, and property, and the honest administration of the government has been the real motive of their actions. They are not, therefore, to be justly classed as conspirators against the Government. That they turn their thoughts toward the United States and desire annexation to this country could not be denied without imputing to them the loss of the sentiment of love and reverence for this Republic that is utterly unknown to our people.
On Monday, the 16th of January, 1893, Hawaii was passing through the severe ordeal of a trial which was conducted by the people who arrayed themselves on the side of the Queen and those who were organized in opposition to her revolutionary purposes. The Queen seems to have abandoned the controversy into the hands of the people, and made no effort to suppress the meeting of the citizens opposed to her revolutiouary proceedings by calling out her troops to disperse the meeting or to arrest its leaders. Both the meetings were quiet and orderly but the meeting at the arsenal was intensely earnest, and men were heard to express their opinions freely and without interruption at both meetings, and they came to their resolutions without disturbance. When
these meetings dispersed, the Queen's effort to reject the constitution of 1887 had been approved by the one meeting held on the palace grounds and composed almost entirely of native Kanakas; the other meeting had resolved to establish a provisional government, and formed a committee to proceed with its organization. The Queen, though thus strongly indorsed by her native-born subjects, as she calls them, did not venture any arrests of the alleged revolutionists, but, evidently conscious that the revolution which she had endeavored to set on foot had failed of efficient support, she did not use her troops or the police or any other power in the direction of asserting her royal authority. The meeting of the people at the arsenal was followed by organization, the arming of the citizens, the strong array of forces, and a determined spirit of success which has materialized into an established government that has continued to exist for more than a year, practically without any opposition in Hawaii, and with the recognition of many great powers, including the United States. These events show, beyond reasonable dispute, the acceptance by the people of Hawaii of the judgment and determination of the meeting at the arsenal that the Queen had abdicated, that her authority had departed, that she and her ministers had submitted to the inevitable, and that they retained no longer any substantial ground of hope or expectation that the Queen would be restored to her former office.
The question whether such a state of affairs as is shown by the undisputed facts in this case constitute an abdication and created an interregnum was passed upon in England with more care, because of the serious results that followed the decision, than seems to have been bestowed upon a like controversy in any other country.
The people of Great Britain have many liberties that are firmly established in the traditions of that country, and on many occasions they have asserted their rights, as the basis of governmental power, with great determination and success. In 1688, when James II was on the throne, his severe conduct, exercised through the judiciary of the Kingdom and in other ways, and a strong adhesion to the Catholic religion, caused the people of Great Britain to accuse him of an intention to violate their unwritten constitution. He was a great and powerful king, and had accomplished very much for the glory and honor of England. But the people of England held him to an observance of the spirit of his oath of loyalty to the constitution of that country, and, when they became satisfied that he had made an effort to subvert it, they in their Parliament passed upon the question of his abdication and held that his intention and effort to violate the constitution robbed him of his title to the crown and opened the door to the establishment of a new dynasty. Blackstone, in speaking of these events, says:
- "King James II succeeded to the throne of his ancestors, and might have enjoyed it during the remainder of his life but for his own infatuated conduct which, with other concurring circumstances, brought on the revolution in 1688.
- "The true ground and principle upon which that memorable event proceeded was an entirely new case in politics, which had never before happened in our history-the abdication of the reigning monarch and the vacancy of the throne thereupon. It was not a defeasance of the right of succession and a new limitation of the crown by the King and both Houses of Parliament; it was the act of the nation alone upon the conviction that there was no king in being. For, in a full assembly of the lords and commons, met in a convention upon the