No. 10.
Mr. Blount to Mr. Gresham.
No. 7.]

Sir: Recurring to the correspondence between President Dole and myself in relation to the article in the Hawaiian Star, I inclose herewith a copy of an additional letter which I wrote to him. (Inclosure No. 1.)

Subsequently Vice-President Damon called to see me in relation to the matter, and I said I should not ask the attention of the Government hereafter to any articles of an offensive character in that paper; that I would forward any offensive matter contained therein to the State Department, with the statement that it was the organ of the annexation club, and that the Government was unable to control its conduct. A similar statement was made by me to the Attorney-General, Mr. Smith. In the conversation with me he deplored the article and added that the editor had told the cabinet some days before that he had positive proof of two long interviews between myself and the Queen.

Since this correspondence with President Dole this paper has changed its tone into one of frequent compliment to myself. I presume the Annexation Club found that my reporting their offensive articles was not likely to advance their cause, and changed what had been the uniform course of the paper theretofore. The demeanor of this pamper was doubtless intended to impress the native population with the idea that they could not only dominate them, but could insult the representative of the United States with impunity. I shall prob ably have no more trouble in this direction.

More than 8,000 names have been signed to memorials by the Women’s Hawaiian Patriotic League, asking for the restoration of Queen Liliuokalani.

[Page 533]

Memorials have been signed against annexation by 7,500 native voters. The delegates of the latter organization report that the request for the restoration of the Queen was omitted because they feared that if inserted in their memorial they would be arrested for treason.

The Annexation Club inform me that they have on their books 5,180 names for annexation. This is signed generally by American citizens whether they have registered here as voters or not. Some natives have signed this last document, who are on the police force and occupy other government positions—doubtless in order to hold their places. Other natives who have signed are the hired laborers of sugar planters, having been systematically worked upon to do so, and, feeling largely dependent upon the planters for employment, fear discharge.

I have put this question to several leading annexationists, whose statements have been taken in writing and certified to by them: “If the question of annexation were submitted to the people of these Islands, who were qualified to vote for representatives under the Constitution of 1887, under the Australian ballot system, which has been adopted by your legislature, what would be the result?” They have almost without exception declared that annexation would certainly be defeated.

Threats to arrest the Queen and deport leading natives have been repeatedly urged in the annexation organs, and have caused the native people uneasiness and alarm. It has restrained outward manifestations of interest on their part. These threats were founded on charges that the Queen and these natives were engaged in treasonable conduct in urging the natives to vote against annexation.

There is not an annexationist in the islands, so far as I have been able to observe, who would be willing to submit the question of annexation to a popular vote. They have men at work in all of the islands urging the natives to sign petitions for annexation. They seek to impress them with the opinion that if annexed they will be allowed the right to vote. Quite a number of petitions have been signed by natives asking for annexation, provided they were allowed the right to vote. In other instances delegations made up of white men and natives have brought in small petitions signed by natives, and on being asked if the natives were in favor of annexation without the right to vote have always answered that they were not. While this is done I have never yet found an annexationist who did not insist that stable government could not be had without so large a restriction of the native vote as would leave political power in the hands of the whites.

I have had ample opportunity to observe the feeling of the native population on the question of annexation. There is no doubt that the whole race—men and women—are deeply concerned about the independence of their native land. Their mind is not turning to England or to any other country for protection. Their devotion to the United States is continually asserted. If the question of annexation by the United States should be made to depend upon the popular will in these islands the proposition had as well be abandoned at once. There are a great many whites here in addition to the natives who are opposed to annexation, and who are now preparing to sign memorials of this character to the President of the United States.

While I have presented these observations I wish here to assert that I have abstained from expressing any wish for or against annexation [Page 534] to any person in these islands. I have by no act of mine sought to influence opinion on this subject, either one way or the other.

Hereafter I shall discuss this matter from official data, and from the evidence of persons who have filed certified statements with me.

There frequently occurs in Mr. Stevens’ correspondence with the State Department the allegation that the Queen has for a paramour ex-Marshal Wilson. Ordinarily such scandalous statements would be unworthy of attention. Its use to prejudice the minds of the American people against her in connection with the question of annexation has caused me to make some inquiry into the subject. A number of reputable gentlemen have stated in writing their utter disbelief in this allegation. She has been received with apparent admiration through all the years of her reign in the most refined circles in this city. The white population have resorted eagerly to the palace to participate in its social enjoyments without any reserve on account of the Queen’s character.

On April 19, 1892, the American minister gave her a breakfast, to which a number of prominent persons were invited.

Wilson is ten years the junior of the ex-Queen. He married a girl who was reared by her and lived with her at the time of his marriage.

He has never lived in the palace. He lived in the palace grounds with his wife, in a building 75 yards from the palace, where the Queen resided. They were moved into this building after the death of the Queen’s husband at the instance of the Queen. Wilson is universally recognized as a brave man and loyal to the Queen. The frequent revolutions here on the part of the whites doubtless caused her to make him marshal, and put him at the head of the police force, which was the real military force of the Kingdom. Because of his marriage with a native woman, and her connection with the Queen, and her confidence in his courage and fidelity, she trusted him rather than any of the whites in this position.

I forbear any further statement on this subject at this time. Evidently this charge against the Queen has for its foundation the looseness which comes from passionate and vindictive partisan struggles in Honolulu.

On the 16th instant 1 published my instructions in full, accompanied by the following statement:

While I shall abstain from inteference between conflicting forces of whatever nationality for supremacy, I will protect American citizens not participating in such conflict.

I send you newspaper comments on the instructions and the foregoing declaration, in the nature of an interpretation of my instructions. (Inclosure No. 2).

From what I can learn many American citizens intensly active in the late revolution in these islands, and promoters of the cause of annexation, and supporters of the Provisional Government, took offense at the latter language. It seems very difficult for that class of persons to understand why they can not be permitted to participate in political and military movements on these islands with a guarantee of protection from opposing forces by the troops of the United States.

On the 19th instant I published your dispatch of May 9 in relation to my appointment as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States. I believed it calculated to produce an impression on the minds of the people claiming to be American citizens that under no false pretense of preserving order or protecting American [Page 535] citizens could they be allowed to command the services of American troops to promote political schemes here.

I invite your attention to a communication and plat from Admiral Skerrett, which I inclose herewith. (Inclosure No. 3.)

The plat should have shown Music Hall immediately on the corner of the block, and the side of Arion Hall next to the Music Hall nearly on a line with the front line of the Government building.

It is easy to see that any attack on the Government building by the Queen’s troops from the east would have exposed our men to their fire. Any attempt to occupy Music Hall and Arion Hall by the Queen’s troops for the purpose of taking the Government building would have encountered the American troops. Any attempt by the Queen’s troops from the direction of the palace would have exposed our troops to their fire.

In the insurrection of 1889, Music Hall was occupied by sharpshooters of the Government, who contributed more to the suppression of the insurrection than any other forces. This place Mr. Stevens sought to obtain for the United States troops on the 16th of January last, and failing in this, selected Arion Hall.

Admiral Skerrett well says that the place was well chosen if the design of Mr. Stevens and Capt. Wiltse was the support of the Provisional Government troops. It was certainly suggestive of this design to the Queen and her adherents.

I am, etc.,

James H. Blount,
Special Commissioner of the United States.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 7.]
Mr. Blount to Mr. Dole.

Hon. Sanford B. Dole,
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honolulu, H. I.

Sir: Your communication of the 9th instant, in reply to my letter of the same date, concerning a reflection upon myself as Commissioner of the United States, is acknowledged.

It gives me pleasure to be assured, of what I had previously believed, that a most cordial feeling on the part of your Government existed toward myself as the representative of the Government of the United States, and that the article referred to would not be approved of by your Government.

The disavowal in the Star of yesterday did not at all meet the situation. I shall not ask any further action in relation thereto, preferring to content myself with your communication rather than to expose my Government to the charge of ungenerous action in the present condition of affairs in these Islands, by insisting on further and fuller apology on the part of the managers of the Star.

With assurances of the highest consideration,

I am, etc.

James H. Blount,
Special Commissioner of the United States.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 7.—Hawaiian Star, May 16, 1893.]
Blount’s instructions.

Three mooted points were settled as follows by the text of the instructions given Commissioner Blount by Secretary Gresham:

The Commissioner brought with him no authority to restore the ex-Queen, nor to interfere in any way with the domestic policy of the Provisional Government.
The power of the United States will be exercised against foreign aggrandizement upon these islands.
The settlement of annexation does not fall within the scope of the Commissioner’s duty, hut is especially reserved to the President and Congress.

As to the announcement made by. Commissioner Blount that he will not interfere in any struggle that may arise locally for the possession of this Government, except to protect American citizens not participating in the conflict, and to keep foreign powers from taking a hand in it, we do not see why it should excite either surprise or indignation. It is not the business of the United States, except where the Monroe doctrine is threatened, to concern itself in the internal quarrels of any foreign country. Neither is it considered the right or privilege of any nation to shield its citizens who may be in the military or civil service or in the political activities of a foreign state from the legal consequences of their acts. America gave no protection to Americans who aided the Cuban revolutionists; and during the civil war Great Britain never raised a protest if an English-built blockade runner, commanded by a subject of the Queen, manned by British sailors, and loaded with Birmingham consignments, was shelled and sunk by the United States blockading fleets. By these examples it is easy to see that Mr. Blount merely expresses a principle of international law in the appendix to his instructions; and that the statement of his exact position, far from being a superfluous hint to the “abhorrent and forbidden forces” in Hawaiian politics to do their worst, was a proper recognition of his duty to his own Government and countrymen, serving a useful purpose here, in that it showed the annexation party its exact bearings and forewarned it that it might be forearmed.

By way of side comment, it may be well enough to say that in the remote event of a political émeute on these Islands, there will be no necessity for Commissioner Blount to land forces to protect any American’s property. No citizen of the United States worthy of the name will need to appeal to him for such assistance here. The Government is in American hands, and so long as the United States is pledged by its “consistent and established policy” to keep foreign powers from interfering with it, the existing administration may be relied upon to maintain its place against any and all comers, and to see that the homes and families of its citizens are held inviolate.

[Extract Hawaiian Daily Bulletin, May 16, 1893.]
Mr. Blount’s instructions.

“Hon. James H. Blount’s instructions from the Secretary of State of the United States, which the Bulletin had the honor of presenting for the first time to the public, contain nothing contrary to the opinions held, from the first until now, by the opponents of the revolutionary scheme of annexation regarding the Special Commissioner’s mission to these Islands. It was from the opposition side that the intimation came, in advance of any mention in the United States press, that a commission of investigation was to be sent here by President Cleveland. This news was contemptuously denied by the press of the party of violence, but next mail steamer brought its definite confirmation. Among other things to be investigated the instructions denominate “the causes of the revolution by which the Queen’s Government was overthrown.” This certainly includes the question of whether or not the United States diplomatic representative and the naval commander acting with him contributed aid to that revolution. An answer in the affirmative to this question returned by the Commissioner as a result of his investigation would lead inevitably to possibilities of the nature of those that the revolutionary press is in unwise haste to declare are beyond the scope of the Commissioner’s power.

“The instructions published are only the original ones, and they inform the Commissioner that he is expected to correspond with the Secretary of State, “communicating information or soliciting special instruction on such points as” he “may deem necessary.” As there will by to-morrow’s expected mail have been ample time for a reply to voluminous information communicated to Washington, doubtless coupled with the solicitation of special instructions based on the facts as reported, it is only the usual rashness of the revolutionary press from the beginning which seeks to impress its readers with the view that this, that, or the other thing is absurd and impossible. The fact stands out, more prominent than almost anything else, that the United States Government, contrary to the desires and in spite of the strenuous efforts of the Provisional Government and its agents, has with all respect received the protest of the deposed Queen, and will adjudicate thereupon strictly on the merits as well as in accordance with the traditional policy of fairness and friendliness toward weak and friendly neighbors which has hitherto been among the glories of the great Republic.

“Mr. Blount’s instructions bring out in high relief the policy of his Government in regard to the occasions when the landing of troops on Hawaiian territory is justifiable. [Page 537] There is small comfort in them for those who have been laboring to justify the fact and the manner of the investment of Honolulu by United States naval troops on the 16th of January. Until the facts on this point, as ascertained by the impartial investigation of Mr. Blount, see the light, however, assertion and comment, beyond what has been given already, would only be in the line of the example set by the Government organs, which have tiresomely asserted from the first that the Commissioner could find out nothing which had not been reported at Washington by the Provisional Government’s commissioners, supplemented by the prejudiced and well-stuffed communications of newspaper correspondents. More interesting, if not more important, than the contents of his instructions from the Secretary of State is the terse prescription given by the Commissioner himself, in his communication to the Hawaiian people, of the status of American citizens participating in any conflict between parties for supremacy on these Islands. This is in conformity with the law of nations in similar cases provided, with which citizens and subjects of different powers, who desire to know, were made acquainted at the crisis of 1887.

“To what extent American citizens who took up arms for overthrowing the Government of this country, friendly to their own, were encouraged to rely on the support of their nation’s strong arm, and by whom any such encouragement might have been proffered, are other questions that may as well be left to Mr. Blount’s inquiry for solution. In this, as in other respects, the opposition can afford to maintain its unvarying coolness and patience, joined with confidence that the United States will not uphold wrong committed in her name, and the subsidized and mercenary press might, with advantage to its feelings at a later stage, try to imitate the same condition of equanimity. Americans who are opposed to filibustering and violence will be prouder of their great nation than ever as they read the words in which President Cleveland’s representative assures the law-abiding and peace-loving of his fellow-citizens on this foreign strand that they will be protected in any emergency.

“While I shall refrain from interference between conflicting forces, of whatever nationality, for supremacy, I will protect American citizens not participating in such conflict.”

Political developments.

“At present it would be useless to speculate as to the causes which have determined Commissioner Blount to publish his instructions from the State Department at Washington under which he is acting. That he has reached a point in his investigations which justifies his action none will doubt. That there is more or less significance in the publication at the present state of affairs must be admitted by all accustomed to studying the course of international diplomacy. In any event the publication will serve to throw light upon many points doubtful heretofore and will dash some of the baseless hopes and wilder theories regarding Commissioner Blount’s intentions and alleged instructions which have passed current in royalist circles from the moment the United States steamer Rush entered the harbor.

“It is not our purpose to attempt an analysis of Commissioner Blount’s instructions. They are certainly plain enough to need no commentary, as they are full enough to exclude all doubts as to his future action. The fullest inquiry here and report to the United States Government will be made. In the meantime the existing treaty of annexation will be held in abeyance; but the United States will, pending investigation and settlement, give adequate protection to the life and property of citizens of the United States, and, if necessary, will repress any lawless and tumultuous acts threatening them.

“Commissioner Blount’s note at the end of his instructions corresponds fully with what he stated on his arrival to the Provisional Government, and seems to us the act of a wise and cautious diplomat, such as he is reported to be.

“There is one point deserving of notice in the document, and that is while the inquiry into Hawaiian affairs in detail is left to the wisdom and sound discretion of Commissioner Blount, final decision on the merits of the case is tacitly if not diretlyc reserved. The instructions, in fact, throw no special light upon the subject of annexation. Pending the settlement of the question, however, the document is decisive and outspoken. The United States will adhere to its consistent and established policy and will not acquiesce in domestic interference by foreign powers.

As to the effect which will be produced by the publication of the instructions there can be little or no doubt. Both the Provisional Government and Americans generally have fully and freely intrusted the annexation cause to Mr. Blount, subject to any investigations he might see fit to make under his instructions. At no time [Page 538] have they attempted to anticipate his action or lead him to prejudge the case. They have at all times rigidly adhered to the argument of facts and figures, coupled with evident national conditions and tendencies hacked by the moral and political forces of the community, which they believe to be irresistible for the establishment of stable government and the future welfare of the Islands. They hopefully retain this stand, and the text of Commissioner Blount’s instructions now gives them surer hope in doing so.

The publication of Commissioner Blount’s instructions is a severe blow to the political tactics of the ex-Queen’s following. For some time it has been known that the royalist cause has been bolstered principally by allegations made upon the Commissioner’s power and instructions to restore the monarchy. The whole mainstay of the royalist cause consequently falls to the ground with the publication of the document itself. Within the last fortnight the ex-Queen actually told a prominent native citizen of Maui to go home and continue to support her cause, as she would be restored to the throne by the middle of July. Just so long as the contents of the Commissioner’s instructions remained unknown the royalists were enabled to hold the natives to their cause with hopes and promises which they knew had no foundation in fact.

An incident of the raising of the American flag in California, similar to the raising of the flag in Honolulu, has been recalled by the early settlers there. In 1842 Commodore Jones of the U. S. Navy, under the impression that the United States were at war with Mexico, took forcible possession of Monterey, hoisted the Stars and Stripes, and proclaimed California a Territory of the United States. Discerning his mistake the following day he hauled down the flag and made such apology as the circumstances would admit. A few years later, however, the flag was raised again and remained up.”

[Inclosure 3 in No. 7.]
Admiral Skerrett to Mr. Blount.
No. 167.]

Sir: I have examined with a view of inspection the premises first occupied by the force landed from the U. S. S. Boston, and known as Arion Hall, situated on the west side of the Government building. The position of this location is in the rear of a large brick building known as Music Hall. The street it faces is comparatively a narrow one, the building itself facing the Government building. In my opinion it was unadvisable to locate the troops there, if they were landed for the protection of the United States citizens, being distantly removed from the business portion of the town, and generally far away from the United States legation and consulate-general, as well as being distant from the houses and residences of United States citizens. It will be seen from the accompanying sketch that had the Provisional Government troops been attacked from the east, such attack would have placed them in the line of fire.

Had Music Hall been seized by the Queen’s troops, they would have been under their fire, had such been their desire. It is for these reasons that I consider the position occupied as illy selected. Naturally, if they were landed with a view to support the Provisional Government troops, then occupying the Government building, it was a wise choice, as they could enfilade any troops attacking them from the palace grounds in front. There is nothing further for me to state with reference to this matter, and as has been called by you to my attention—all of which is submitted for your consideration.

Very respectfully,

J. S. Skerrett,
Rear Admiral U. S. Navy, Commanding U. S. Naval Force, Pacific Station.

Col. J. H. Blount,
U. S. Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary,
Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands.

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