No. 167.
Mr. Peirce to Mr. Evarts.

No. 393.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith two official printed copies of a proclamation of neutrality on the part of this kingdom in regard to the war existing or impending in Europe. It was published in the Hawaiian Gazette of yesterday, May 30. A copy in manuscript was forwarded to me by the minister of foreign affairs on the 26th instant, with a request for my opinion on the proclamation.

In my reply, under date of the 28th instant, I said to Minister Garter that the measure proposed seemed to me legal, wise, and judicious, and I suggested that, in view of the fact of the large number of vessels sailing under the Hawaiian flag and register, this government should take the present occasion to again proclaim its adhesion to the humane [Page 299]and enlightened principles and rules of war and neutrality agreed to by the convention of July 22, 1854, between the United States and Russia; that His late Majesty Kamehameha IV, by advice and consent of his cabinet and council, adopted said rules on the 26th March, 1855, but that no action had since been taken by this government to make those principles and rules permanent and immutable by a convention.

The publication of the King’s proclamation was no doubt hastened by the fact of the arrival here, since the 29th instant, of the Russian admiral Pouzino, with three ships of war under his command, and others are expected to follow. They are from San Francisco, and to sail in a few days for the Occident.

Admiral Pouzino called upon me yesterday and I shall return his visit to-morrow.

With great respect, &c.,



[Coat of arms.]

Kalakaua, by the grace of God, of the Hawaiian Islands, King:

Whereas a state of war unhappily exists or may be pending between certain European powers; and whereas the kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands is on terms of friendship with all nations, and its laws impose upon all persons who may be within its territory and jurisdiction the duty of an impartial neutrality in time of war:

Now, therefore, we, Kalakaua, by the grace of God King of the Hawaiian Islands, do hereby declare and proclaim the neutrality of this kingdom, its subjects, and of all persons within its territory and jurisdiction, in the war now existing or impending between the great powers of Europe; that the neutrality is to be respected by all belligerents to the full extent of our jurisdiction, including not less than one marine league from the low-water mark on the respective coasts of the islands composing this kingdom, and also all its ports, harbors, bays, gulfs, estuaries, and arms of the sea cut off by lines drawn from one headland to another; and that all captures and seizures, enlistments, or other acts, in violation of our neutrality, within our jurisdiction, are unlawful.

We do hereby further declare and proclaim that our subjects and all persons within the territory and jurisdiction of this kingdom, and all vessels registered or sailing under the flag thereof, are hereby strictly enjoined to take no part, directly or indirectly, in said war, and that whatever privileges shall be accorded to the vessels of one belligerent within the ports of this kingdom shall be in like manner accorded to the vessels of the others.


By the King:
Henry A. P. Carter,
Minister of Foreign Affairs.