Mr. Merrill to Mr. Blaine.
Honolulu, August 6, 1889.
Sir: Realizing that the Department is desirous of being in posession of the latest information regarding affairs here, and availing myself of an opportunity offered by the departure of a sailing vessel for San Francisco, I have the honor to inform you that on Saturday, the 3d instant, in compliance with a request from the minister of foreign affairs, received on the preceding day, I attended a meeting of His Majesty’s ministers at which meeting were also present the British, French, Portuguese, and Japanese commissioners.
On assembling, the ministers stated that in a few hours a cabinet council would be held, and that they desired to fully inform us of the propositions they intended submitting and insisting upon to His Majesty the King.[Page 285]
This information they desired to communicate in order that we might not be misled by false rumors in the event His Majesty declined acceding to their proposed demands.
They stated that they were convinced the time had arrived when, in the interest of peace and good government, the powers and responsibility of the ministers and His Majesty should be clearly understood and precisely defined. As the “Advertiser” daily, published here, in its issue of the 5th and 6th instants, authoritatively and correctly states, the demands of the cabinet and the termination of the controversy, I inclose clippings from that paper for the information of the Department. After being informed of the demands, the foreign representatives withdrew.
The cabinet met the King at noon of the 3d instant, and soon after the adjournment of the council I was informed that no settlement had been effected.
About 5 o’clock p.m. of the same day I was informed His Majesty wished to meet the British commissioner and myself, and at once we held an interview with him, in which he stated as his opinion that until the supreme court decided otherwise he had a constitutional right to exercise his discretion and withhold his approval of any of the acts embraced in the demands presented by his ministers; but, in reply to my question, he distinctly stated he would be governed by whatever decision the judges of the supreme court might make.
This gave confidence that a final and favorable termination could be reached.
On Monday, the 5th instant, it became known that His Majesty was to meet his ministers at noon when the opinion of the judges would be presented.
I, having previously learned the tenor of the opinion, did not have doubts about the amicable settlement of the matter, but as the news of the difference between His Majesty and the cabinet spread, a feeling of unrest, aggravated by many false rumors, pervaded the community, and, at the request? of a prominent American resident here, I, in company with the British commissioner who chanced to be at the legation, after first stating our purpose to and obtaining the consent and cordial approval of the ministers, proceeded to the palace for the purpose of interviewing the King before he met the ministers in council.
His Majesty received us with much cordiality, and, upon his reference to the disagreement between himself and cabinet, I embraced the opportunity to assure him that the people felt great interest and much anxiety regarding the settlement of the matter, and it was hoped an amicable and honorable settlement of the controversy would be effected, which was certain to restore permanent confidence among the people.
Similar views were expressed by the British commissioner. His Majesty at once assured us he had decided to yield the points and consent to the requests of his ministers.
At the present time appearances indicate a cessation of disquietude.
Since my No. 255 of the 1st instant, a report has gained credence that the object of the leaders of the insurrection was not so much for the purpose of dethroning the King as to obtain from him the promulgation of a new constitution and the dismissal of the present ministry.
However, the purpose of the insurgents and all the parties, directly and indirectly, connected with the insurrection are not yet known, but the whole affair is being investigated, and probably 1 may be able to inform the Department more fully by the next regular mail.
I have, etc.,