No. 374.
Mr. Merrill to Mr. Bayard.

No. 135.]

Sir: In order that the important events in the late political commotion referred to in my dispatches may be more compact, I inclose herewith the demands of the citizens, expressed by resolution, the King’s reply to the resolutions, the new constitution* signed by His Majesty, and the official promulgation of the new constitution.

During the month of June there was evidently a quiet determination on the part of those one met in business houses, or on the streets of Honolulu, that sooner or later some change must be made in Government affairs.

This feeling seemed to be participated in and was most apparent among the American, British, and German residents.

It was believed, however, that no action would be taken until replies were received to the several petitions, and especially did I counsel Americans not to encourage or participate in any act whereby trade and commerce would be interrupted.

On June 28 I received information that Mr. Gibson and all the cabinet had resigned.

The news rapidly spread through the town, and many were doubtful, but hoped it was correct, while some of the extremists apparently hoped it might not be true.

Then began speculation as to who would be called to form a new ministry; but nothing definite was ascertained until the following day, June 29, when it was generally known that Mr. W. L. Green, the present premier, had been called upon.

On June 28, however, the steamer Australia arrived from San Francisco, having on board a large amount of arms and ammunition consigned to well-known firms in Honolulu.

The arms were delivered as consigned, and were soon thereafter distributed to various individuals. On Wednesday evening, June 29, there appeared a printed call for a mass-meeting, to be held at the armory building at 2 o’clock p.m., and in accordance with that call, a mass-meeting was held at the place and hour appointed.

During the day business houses were generally closed as by common consent.

[Page 583]

From June 30, day of the mass-meeting, to the 6th instant, the date of signing the new constitution, business was mostly suspended, although the mercantile establishments were generally open.

During the whole affair no violence has occurred.

Reports from other islands in the Kingdom indicate a general acquiescence in the change, while in Honolulu there is some dissatisfaction regarding the distribution of the offices, as well as concerning some of the provisions of the new constitution.

Mr. Gibson, who was arrested on a charge of embezzlement, was released and sailed for San Francisco on the 12th instant.

Business is now moving along in the usual course and affairs have a quiet appearance, yet I shall endeavor to exercise the strictest vigilance concerning events and report as promptly as possible. I have, etc.

Geo. W. Merrill.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 135.]

Resolutions of a public meeting held in Honolulu June 30, 1887

We, the citizens resident and tax-payers of Honolulu, acting, as we firmly believe, in sympathy with and in behalf of all right-minded citizens, residents, and tax-payers of this Kingdom, and being assembled in mass-meeting in the city of Honolulu on the 30th day of June, 1887, do resolve as follows:

That the administration of the Hawaiian Government has ceased, through corruption and incompetence, to perform the functions and afford the protection to personal and property rights for which all Governments exist.
That while some of the evils of which we complain can not be, at once adequately redressed and their recurrence prevented, and many others are incurable except by radical changes in the present constitution, yet there are some evils which we feel must be remedied at once, before a permanent reform movement can be inaugurated with any reasonable prospect of success.
Holding these views, we request of the King:
  • First. That he shall at once and unconditionally dismiss his present cabinet from office, and we ask that he shall call one of these persons, viz, William L. Green, Henry Waterhouse, Godfrey Brown, or Mark P. Robinson, to assist him in selecting a new cabinet, which shall be committed to the policy of securing a new constitution.
  • Second. That Walter M. Gibson shall be at once dismissed from each and every office held by him under the Government.
  • Third. In order, so far as possible, to remove the stain now resting on the throne, we request of the King that he shall cause immediate restitution to be made of the sum, to wit: Seventy-one thousand dollars ($71,000), recently obtained by him in violation of law and of his oath of office, under promises that the persons from whom the same was obtained should receive the license to sell opium, as provided by statute of the year 1888.
  • Fourth. Whereas one Junius Kaae was implicated in the obtaining of said $71,000, and has since been, and still is, retained in office as register of conveyances, we request, as a safeguard to the property interests of the country, that said Kaae be at once dismissed from said office, and that the records of our land titles be placed in the hands of one in whose integrity the people can safely confide.
  • Fifth. That we request a specific pledge from the King—
    That he will not in the future interfere either directly or indirectly with the election of representatives.
    That he will not interfere with or attempt to unduly influence legislation or legislators.
    That he will not interfere with the constitutional administration of his cabinet.
    That he will not use his official position or patronage for private ends.

Resolved, That Paul Isenberg, W. W. Hall, J. A. Kennedy, W. H. Rice, Capt. Jas. A. King, E. B. Thomas, H. C. Reed, John Vivas, W. P. A. Brewer, W. B. Oleson, Cecil Brown, Capt. John Ross, J. B. Atherton, are hereby appointed to present the foregoing resolutions and requests to the King; and said committee is hereby instructed to request of the King that a personal answer to the same be returned within twenty-four hours of the time when the same are presented j and to further inform [Page 584] the King that his neglect so to answer the same within said time will be construed as a refusal of the said requests.

Resolved, That said committee, in case of the King’s refusal to grant said requests, or in case of his neglect to reply to the same, is authorized to call another mass-meeting at this place on Saturday, July 2, at 2 p.m., to further consider the situation.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 135.]

the king’s reply.

To honorable Paul Isenberg and the gentlemen composing the committee of a meeting of subjects and citizens:

Gentlemen: In acknowledging the receipt of the resolutions adopted at a mass-meeting held yesterday and presented to us by you, we are pleased to convey through you to our loyal subjects as well as to the citizens of Honolulu our expression of good-will and our gratification that our people have taken the usual constitutional steps in presenting their grievances.

To the first proposition contained in the resolutions passed by the meeting whose action you represent, we reply that it has been substantially complied with by the formal resignation of the ministry, which took place on the 28th day of June, and was accepted on that date, and that we had already requested the Hon. W. L. Green to form a new cabinet on the day succeeding the resignation of the cabinet.

To the second proposition we reply that Mr. Walter M. Gibson has severed all his connections with the Hawaiian Government by resignation.

To the third proposition we reply that we do not admit the truth of the matters stated therein, but will submit the whole subject to our new cabinet, and will gladly act according to their advice, and will cause restitution to be made by the parties found responsible.

To the fourth proposition we reply that at our command Mr. Junius Knae resigned the office of registrar of conveyances on the 28th day of June, and his successor has been appointed.

To the fifth proposition we reply that the specific pledges required of us are each severally acceded to.

We are pleased to assure the members of the committee and our loyal subjects that we are, and shall at all times be, anxious and ready to co-operate with our counselors and advisers as well as with our intelligent and patriotic citizens in all matters touching the honor, welfare, and prosperity of our Kingdom.

Kalakaua Rex.
  1. Printed page 574, supra.
  2. Printed page 480, supra.