No. 612.
Mr. Merrill to Mr. Bayard.

No. 161.]

Sir: Regarding the question of the constitutional right of his majesty the King to exercise the veto power, submitted to the justices of the supreme court, and referred to in my dispatch No. 158, of the 15th instant, I have the honor to inform you that the four judges are equally [Page 850] divided in opinion, and have informed his majesty that they are unable to advise him in the matter, thus leaving the Legislature and the King directly opposed in the interpretation of the constitution regarding the veto power.

On yesterday, the 19th instant, the King, still adhering to his interpretation of the constitution, returned to the Legistature two more bills, with his objections thereto, which the Legislature decided to treat as only an attempt to veto, claiming that all bills returned unsigned without the consent of the cabinet ministers would become laws by virtue of not being legitimately returned to the Legislature within ten days after presentation to his majesty for approval.

There was no discussion on the subject yesterday, and the matter was quietly disposed of when the Legislature proceeded to consider other business.

Judging from information received, I am of the opinion that it is the purpose of the adherents of the doctrine promulgated by the Legislature to solve the constitutional problem by the appointment of a fifth judge, filling a vacancy caused by the death of Judge Fornander.

Although there is considerable feeling in the community concerning the differences between the King and the Legislature, yet at this time the indications are that a peaceful settlement through the courts will be obtained.

Every precaution possible is taken, by quietly providing for any emergency; but it is now believed that the special session of the Legislature will adjourn sine die to-night, or to-morrow at the latest, and when the vacancy in the supreme court is filled doubtless the legality of the acts vetoed by the King will be constitutionally tested.

I inclose herewith extracts of legislative proceedings of the 19th instant, giving in full the messages of the King accompanying the returned bills and legislative action thereon.

I have, etc,

Geo. W. Merrill.
[lnclosure in No. 161.]

Extract from legislative proceedings December 19, 1887.—More vetoed bills.

The president reported the following messages from the King:

The Hon. S. G. Wilder,

President of the Legislative Assembly of the Kingdom:

Sir: The “act to render unlawful the granting of license for the vending of spirituous liquors at retail in any district of the Hawaiian kingdom, other than Honolulu, in the island of Oahu,” I have returned without my signature, for the following reasons:

This measure is not calculated to prohibit or restrict the sale of spirituous liquors throughout the kingdom; it will simply re-establish the illicit traffic in such liquors which existed before the issuing of country lice uses, and impose on some sections of the country a restraint from which another is free.
Whatever evils may result from allowing such sales, legislation should not make a distinction between one place and another in any general measure, such as sanctioning the sale of liquor, but if it is deemed that the country will be benefited thereby, such sales should be prohibited throughout the kingdom, so that all appearance of class legislation may be avoided.
If the people of a district in this kingdom desire such legislation, provision should be made for them to signify that desire by a vote regularly cast as in other elections, and the will of the majority in such district should direct the policy of the Government as to the issuing or withholding a license.

In view of the foregoing we withhold our signature from this bill.

Kalakaua Rex.
[Page 851]

The Hon. S. G. Wilder,
President of the Legislative Assembly of the Kingdom:

Sir: The objection I have to “An act to provide for the regulation of the internal police of the kingdom “is as follows:

  • First. It is not particularly necessary that the attorney-general shall have the care, supervision, and control of the entire internal police of the kingdom further than is provided under the present statutes of the kingdom.
  • Second. Neither is it politic that the appointment of the marshal should be through so many ramifications of offices and place it under approval, first, of the executive, and finally the judiciary, instead of its proper place, the executive. A more serious objection to the bill is that of the power of dismissal given to the attorney-general, but no authority of appointment; such authority, being distributed, places the attorney-general and the execution of his power in this respect in an anomalous position, and renders the office of command over the police nugatory.
  • Third. The enjoyment of emoluments or fees by the marshal or sheriffs, other than their salaries, should have been discontinued.
  • Fourth. No provision is provided for the responsibility of the police under the attorney-general as a reponsible head; neither are there codes or regulations for a more perfect system of administration and discipline, as intended by the policy of the Government, expressed in the address from the throne.
  • Fifth. A more careful consideration is necessary to carry out the full intent and policy of the Government, and it is advisable that the bill should lie over for the next regular session of the Legislature, so as to give time for further and more ample deliberation upon a law of so much importance.

I have therefore withheld my signature from this bill.

Done at our palace at Iolani Hale this — day of December, A. D. 1887.

Kalakaua Rex.

The president read a further communication from his majesty, in which he stated that the constitutional question of his right to an absolute veto had been submitted to the supreme court, but that the justices had been unable to agree; that he still adhered to the terms of his former message of the 2d instant, and that the acts in question were again returned to the house to take such further action thereon as might be deemed advisable.

Noble Baldwin asked the ministers if the veto message was countersigned by a minister, or if the action taken by the King thereon was by and with the advice of the ministers.

Minister Green answered that the ministers had advised the signing of ail the bills passed; no minister’s name is countersigned on the veto; the ministers knew nothing about this veto and were not consulted.

Noble Castle regretted that the supreme court has not given a decision on this question. The house, however, had declared its opinion. He moved the following:

Resolved, That the message of the King accompanying the bills en itled respectively as below specified be laid upon the table; and that said bills, under the principle declared in the resolution adopted by this Legislature on Monday, 12th instant, do go upon their usual and ordinary course, becoming law at the expiration of ten days from the date of presentation to the King.

Specification.— An act to render unlawful the granting of licenses for the vending of spirituous liquors at retail in any district of the Hawaiian Kingdom other than Honolulu, in the island of Oahu; an act to provide for and regulate the internal police of the kingdom.

Representative G. Brown asked for a ruling of the chair if this mode of procedure is within the rules of the house, citing rule 70.

Noble Castle said that according to the resolution of Monday the message from the King is no veto.

The chair said that no rule of the house particularly applies to the position in which it is now placed. Rule 70 does not. It is in the power of the house to say what course shall be taken.

Noble Young moved that the resolution be adopted.

Representative Kamauoha moved indefinite postponement.

Noble Dole moved the previous question. Carried.

Indefinite postponement was put and lost.

The resolution was adopted.

order of the day.

Noble Castle moved the following:

Resolved, That the order of the day assigned for to-day, the same being the consideration of his majesty’s message relating to the bills entitled “An act to abolish the office of governor,” and “An act to provide for the discharge of certain duties [Page 852] heretofore performed by the governors of the different islands,” be laid upon the table, said matter having been disposed of by resolution adopted on Monday, the 12th instant, and that said bills do take their usual course, becoming law at the expiration of ten days from the date of presentation to the King.

Representative Paehaole moved that the vetoed bills be taken from the table and considered. Lost, 14 to 22.

Noble Castle’s motion was adopted.

another veto.

The president read the following message:

The Hon. S. G. Wilder,
President of the Legislative Assembly of the Kingdom:

Sir: My objection to an “act relating to the military forces of the kingdom” is as follows, viz:

  • First. The King being commander-in-chief of the army and navy under the constitution, he, with the advice and consent of his ministers, frames and creates the organization of the military force. What is required of the Legislature is to authorize the same. It can not be intended that the Legislature is to deprive the Executive of this special function.
  • Second. The present law, as passed by the assembly, is an anomaly in many respects. No provision is made for authorizing courts-martial; for the declaration of martial, law; and as many incongruities exist therein, it will render the law inoperative.
  • Third. Volunteer organizations are not an integral part of a government institution, and consequently can not be admitted as being within the purview of the constitution. Such organizations are better placed under the supervision of the governors than under the officers of the regular military organization.
  • Fourth. I do not deem it desirable or advisable that an organization of the military forces of the kingdom be done hastily and by direct organization of the Legislature without consultation or deliberation with the Executive, under whose charge the department belongs. It is advisable that this bill lie over for the next regular session of the Legislature. A measure of such importance should have careful consideration.

We therefore withhold our signature from this bill.

Done at our palace at Iolani Hale this 19th day of December, A. D. 1887.

Kalakaua Rex.

Noble Castle asked if the royal assent to this bill had been refused by and with the advice of the cabinet.

Minister Green said it was not. The cabinet had not been consulted in the matter.

Noble Castle then moved a resolution of precisely the same terms as the resolution on the veto messages in the forenoon.

The ayes and noes were called on the resolution, when there appeared:

Ayes—Green, Thurston, Ashford, Robinson, Young, Jaeger, Castle, Smith, Water-house, Foster, Wight, Notley, Wall, Townsend, Hitchcock, Baldwin, Bailey, G. N. Wilcox, Bertelmann, Dole, Hustace, Dowsett jr., Deacon, Kinney, Paris, Horner, Kawainui, A. S. Wilcox, Rice, Gay—30.

Noes—Luhiau, Naone, Kauhi, C. Brown, F. Brown, Maguire, Kamauoha, Daniels, Helekunihi, Paehaole—10.

The resolution was adopted.

The house adjourned to 10 o’clock Tuesday morning.