Mr. Merrill to Mr. Blaine.

No. 253.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that, on the 15th instant, I received confidential information to the effect that a few half-caste native Hawaiians were organizing a scheme whereby they contemplated deposing His Majesty the King, installing his sister, Her Royal Highness the Princess Liliuokalani, in his place, and proclaiming a new constitution.

On the following day, in an interview with His Majesty’s minister of foreign affairs, I learned that he had recently heard similar disquieting rumors, and further that the contemplated change was to be attempted after the departure of the U. S. S. Adams, which was then intending leaving forthwith for Samoa, and before the return to this port of H. B. M.’s. S. Espiegle, then on a ten days’ cruise among the islands.

While the minister of foreign affairs did not place much credence in such a change being attempted, and expressed a confidence in the ability of the regular authorities of the kingdom to defeat any such attempt, yet he thought if the Adams would remain until the return of the Espiegle, so as not to leave the harbor without a naval vessel, the probability of any riotous action would be greatly reduced.

I informed him that if he would make a written request in regard to the matter, I would communicate the same to the commander of the Adams and ask him if possible to remain a few days.

Accordingly, on the 17th instant, I received an unofficial note from the minister of foreign affairs, a copy of which I at once transmitted to the commander of the Adams, accompanied by one from myself. Copies of the correspondence I inclose herewith.

Commander Woodward, of the Adams, being also detained on account of the sickness of his surgeon, determined to defer his departure, and on the 23d instant H. B. M.’s. S. Espiegle returned to port.

[Page 281]

No disturbance, however, has occurred, nor does it now appear that there is a probability of any in the immediate future.

Although this place is very prolific in political rumors, yet I have never deemed it advisable to ignore them as without possible foundation, believing it better to be deceived by discovering their falsity than their truth.

In this instance I have quietly investigated the matter and am led to conclude that the disquieting reports arose in a large degree from a desire on the part of the leaders of the opposition to the present administration to excite and annoy, if possible, the leaders of the reform party and the official incumbents.

Doubtless these disquieting reports will become more frequent, while political excitement will increase and animosities be engendered in a greater or less degree, until after the election for members of the legislature in February next.

I am, etc.,

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

Mr. Austin to Mr. Merrill.


My Dear Mr. Merrill:

In view of the fact that there are rumors of intention on the part of certain individuals to create disturbances if the harbor should be left without the presence of a warship, and of the fact that the U. S. S. Adams, the only one now here, is under orders to proceed to Samoa, I suggest that if her departure could be delayed until the return of H. B. M.’s Espiegle, or until some other naval vessel shall arrive, the probability of riotous action would be greatly reduced. The passive presence of a man of war in the harbor is sure to have a quieting influence, and I trust that you will feel that it is best that there be no interval without one.

Very truly, yours,

Jona. Austin.
[Inclosure No. 2.]

Mr. Merrill to Mr. Woodward.

Sir: I inclose copy of an unofficial note, just at hand from Mr. Austin, His Hawaiian Majesty’s minister of foreign affairs, respecting rumors of disturbance in Honolulu and the advisability of the presence of a naval vessel in the harbor at the present time.

If possible to comply with the request of Mr. Austin, I hope you may deem it advisable to delay your contemplated departure for a few days at least.

Very respectfully,

Geo. W. Merrill.

Commander E. T. Woodward,
Commanding U. S. S. Adams, Honolulu.