No. 19.
Mr. Blount to Mr. Gresham.
No. 15.]

Sir: On the 28th ultimo I forwarded to you a copy of a letter from President Dole to Mr. Stevens. On it was the entry, “The above request not complied with. Stevens.”

On the same day I addressed a communication to Mr. Dole, asking for Mr. Stevens’s reply to this letter.

On the 20th instant Mr. Dole inclosed me the communication annexed hereto, (Inclosure No. 1).

This reply of Mr. Stevens is nowhere to be found in the legation records or files.

I inclose also a communication (Inclosure No. 2) containing information from the archives of the Hawaiian Islands, sent me by Mr. W. D. Alexander, at my request, thinking it might be of some historical value.

The public in the United States has been led to believe that Mr. Marcy had shown great individuality and sagacity as secretary of state in his well-nigh consummated treaty of annexation of these islands.

These Hawaiian papers disclose that the project originated with the King of the Hawaiian Islands from fears of the loss of their independence through various causes.

I am, etc.,

James H. Blount,
Special Commissioner of the United States.
[Page 607]
[Inclosure 1 in No. 15.]
Mr. Dole to Mr. Blount.

Sir: Your communication of June 28, requesting a copy of Mr. Stevens’s reply to a letter addressed to him by me, as chairman of the executive council, on the 17th of January last, in which I request the immediate support of the United States forces and that the commander of these forces take command of our forces, so that they may act together for the protection of the city has been received. My delay in replying has been in consequence of my failure to find the letter mentioned and my hope of eventually procuring it. To-day I have succeeded in finding this letter and herewith forward you a copy thereof.

I have, etc.,

Sanford B. Dole,
Minister of Foreign Affairs.

His Excellency James H. Blount,
United States Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, Honolulu.

[Inclosure in inclosure 1 in No. 15.]
Mr. Stevens to Mr. Dole.

Think Capt. Wiltse will endeavor to maintain order and protect life and property, but do not think he would take command of the men of the Provisional Government.

Will have him come to the legation soon as possible and take his opinion and inform you as soon as possible.

Yours, truly,

John L. Stevens.
[Inclosure 2 to No. 15.]
W. D. Alexander to Mr. Blount.

Sir: I have the honor to submit to you the following account of the circumstances attending the uncompleted treaty of annexation, negotiated in 1854 between Hon. D. L. Gregg, representing the United States, and his excellency, R. C. Wyllie, representing the King of the Hawaiian Islands.

I will first briefly mention some of the causes which led to the application made by Kamehameha III and his cabinet in 1854 for annexation to the United States.

the application for a protectorate in 1851.

The subject of annexation to the United States was first seriously considered in the islands in 1851. M. Em. Perrin had been sent to Honolulu as commissioner of France, in the corvese Serieuse, which arrived at Honolulu December 13, 1850, and remained in port three months without exchanging salutes with the fort.

He persisted, in pressing again the famous ten demands, presented by Admiral De Tromelin in 1849, and his attitude was so menacing that the King and privy council were finally driven to seek protection from the United States.

As is stated in my “Brief History of the Hawaiian People,” p. 270, they passed a proclamation, March 10, 1851, placing the islands provisionally under the protection of the United States.

On the next day a conditional deed of cession of the Kingdom to the United States was drawn up, signed, and delivered in a sealed envelope to Hon. L. Severance, the commissioner of the United States, by two of the King’s ministers. This was to be opened and acted upon only in case of an emergency, the signal of which was to be the raising of the flag of the United States above that of Hawaii over the fort. In that case the sovereignty of the islands was to be ceded to the United States, to be held in trust until a settlement of their relations with France, “compatible with the King’s rights as an independent sovereign,” could be made, and if this should be found to be impracticable the said protectorate was to be declared perpetual.

[Page 608]

The U. S. S. Vandalia, Capt. Gardner, was in port at the time. The deed of cession was accepted by Mr. Severance provisionally, and referred to his Government. Mr. W. C. Park, the marshal, was directed to have the Hawaiian and American flags sewed together, and kept in readiness to be hoisted at a moment’s notice. He remained in the fort night and day, on the watch, during the 15th and 16th of March. By some means, the British consul-general learned of what had been done, and informed M. Perrin, who thereupon withdrew the most obnoxious of his demands; and a joint declaration, comprising four articles, was signed by both parties March 25.

It appears, however, that M. Perrin used language in his later dispatches which threatened to reopen questions that had been supposed to be closed. An appeal to; the President of the United States was therefore drawn up and presented to Mr. Severance, which was taken to Washington by Hon. E. H. Allen, then United States consul, who sailed on this mission April 4. M. Perrin left for Paris May 24 to obtain fresh instructions, and did not return until January 8, 1853. Nothing more was ever heard of the rest of the ten demands. Mr. Webster, the United States Secretary of State, made strong representations to the French Government on the subject, but directed Mr. Severance to return to the Hawaiian Government the deed of cession, which had been placed in his keeping.

A joint resolution was passed by both houses of the Hawaiian Legislature June 21, 1851, confirming the action of the privy council, and empowering the King and privy council to place the Kingdom under the protection of some friendly power, if necessary, “to shield it from insult and oppression.”

In the following year, in framing the new constitution, a clause was inserted in Article 39, which empowered the King, by and with the approval of his cabinet and privy council, to even alienate his Kingdom “if indispensable to free it from the insult and oppression of any foreign power.” This shows that the apprehension of some impending danger was still present to the minds of the King and his advisers.


The discovery of gold in California in 1848, which led to the speedy settlement of that State and to the opening of new routes across the American continent, ushered in a new era in the history of the Hawaiian Islands. It opened a new market for their productions, and brought them into closer commercial relations with the United States. Communication became frequent between them and California, and American capital began to be largely invested here.

At that time California was resorted to by numerous lawless adventurers, who planned a number of raids or filibustering expeditions into the neighboring countries. The notorious Gen. Walker headed a raid of this kind into Lower California in 1853, and others into Nicaragua in 1855 and in 1861, in the last of which he was taken prisoner and shot.

The Hawaiian Government received many warnings in the fall of 1851 that a band of filibusters was being organized to invade this Kingdom. At the request of the cabinet the U. S. S. Vandalia, Capt. Gardner, was kept at Honolulu ready to seize any suspicious vessel, and a body of 100 native troops was drilled for several months by Lieut. Read of the Vandalia.

About 25 suspicious characters, headed by Sam Brannan, came down from San Francisco in November 1851, in the ship Game Cock. During the voyage the mail bag was rifled by members of the party and the letters thrown overboard. They were under the false impression that this country was ripe for revolution, and that the King was ready to sell his Kingdom and to retire from the cares of state. But they soon found that they had been deceived in regard to the feeling of the natives, and that the officers and men of the whaling fleet were also hostile to them. They were closely watched; the King declined to see them, and the expedition ended in a fiasco.

During the years 1853–’54 the country was disquieted by frequent rumors of filibustering expeditions being fitted out, and British and American ships of war were kept in port much of the time as a safeguard. Mr. Wyllie strongly advocated the plan of organizing a force of 5,000 militia, to consist of natives armed with pikes, and a small contingent of cavalry, together with 100 regular troops, for defense against filibusters, but it was rejected by the privy council.

the political agitation of 1853.

During the years 1851–’54 a considerable immigration from California took place. It embraced many restless, ambitious spirits, some of whom came for the purpose of exciting revolution. They found the foreign community already split into factions, between which bitter feuds existed of long standing. Many of the newcomers naturally joined the opposition party, which claimed to be the liberal and progressive element in the country.

[Page 609]

The plan of the leaders of the new movement seems to have been to reconstruct the Government, and then to turn it over to the United States. A secret committee of thirteen was appointed to carry out their designs. Their first object was to bring about the removal of two of the ministers, viz: Messrs. Armstrong and Judd. The unsuccessful attempt to make political capital out of the smallpox epidemic of 1853 was disgraceful to all engaged in it. At the same time an active agitation was commenced in favor of annexation, and the two obnoxious ministers were accused of being an obstacle in the way of it.

Threats were freely used to intimidate the King and chiefs into dismissing them.

In August a memorial in favor of annexation was presented to the King, which was signed by seventeen respectable residents, who were supporters of the cabinet. This called out a card, published September 10, signed by Revs. E. W. Clark and P. J. Gulick, declaring that “the Protestant missionaries at the islands have never engaged in any scheme of annexation. It has been their cherished wish that the Government may remain independent under the present constitution and rulers. Whatever may have been done by merchants, planters, and others, the Protestant clergymen at the islands have neither advised nor signed any memorial to the King touching annexation.” In a letter published in August, 1864, Mr. Clark stated that at the annual convocation in May, 1853, he had frequent conversations with other missionaries on this engrossing subject. “Not one of them expressed an opinion in its favor, but on the contrary, they did express doubts as to its expediency, and grave apprehensions of disaster to the natives from the influx of lawless and unprincipled foreigners.” With this agreed the known views of the French Catholic priests.

The memorial created no little excitement among the British and French residents. The representatives of Great Britain and France solicited an audience with the King and privy council, which was granted September 1, when they presented a joint address to the King, protesting against any attempt to annex the islands to any foreign power as in contravention of existing treaties, as well as unconstitutional. This was replied to in an able dispatch addressed to the minister of foreign affairs by the United States commissioner, September 3.

A few days later the whole Cabinet resigned, but were all reappointed, with the exception of Dr. Judd, who was succeeded by Hon. E. H. Allen, whose appointment gave general satisfaction, and caused no change in the policy of the cabinet. The result was a virtual defeat of the schemes of the “thirteen.”

growth of annexation sentiment, 1854.

Hon. L. Severance, the United States commissioner, returned to the United States in December, 1853, and was succeeded by Hon. D. L. Gregg, of Illinois, who arrived in Honolulu January 6, 1854.

Meanwhile the sentiment in favor of annexation seems to have been growing in strength. There were strong commercial reasons in its favor. Three-fourths of the business was in the hands of Americans, and the chief market of the islands was then, as now, the Pacific coast of the United States. The hope of it stimulated speculation, and led to new enterprises, some of which were afterwards abandoned.

The fearful decrease of the native population (several thousands of whom had been carried off by the fatal epidemic of 1853), the rapid extinction of the order of chiefs, who were the natural leaders of their race, the relapse of the King into habits of gross intemperance, and the perils from without overhanging the feeble Government disheartened many true friends of the nation and led them to favor the preliminary steps then taken towards annexation. The objections of the missionaries to that measure have already been stated. They feared that the rights of the natives might be trampled upon and their interests sacrificed. A new and liberal constitution had just been adopted (in 1852) and they fondly hoped that the natives would soon learn how to use their newly-granted lands and political rights.

The ministry, as a whole, favored annexation, but Mr. Wyllie acquiesced in it unwillingly and only as a last resort in the case of an emergency. During the two following reigns he developed a decided antipathy to American influence and American ideas.

The King, however, strongly favored annexation. He had long been harassed by the threats of foreign powers; he had once been dethroned by a British naval force; he had repeatedly been compelled to make humiliating concessions at the cannon’s mouth; he had recently seen his fort dismantled and his beautiful yacht carried off, and his difficulties with France still remained unsettled. At the same time he was kept in a state of alarm by rumors of filibusters from abroad and threats of conspirators at home to overturn his Government. He was deeply grateful for the constant and generous friendship of the United States and for the benefits which his people had received from American citizens. Besides, he had reason to expect for himself and his chiefs a sum equal to the revenue of his Kingdom and for his people all the rights of a free State in the Union. As far as is known, most of the high chiefs agreed with him.

[Page 610]

The heir apparent, Prince Alexander Liholiho, however, was at heart opposed to the treaty, and interposed every possible delay to its completion. It is said that he and his brother, Lot Kamehameha, never forgave some incivility which they had experienced on account of their color when traveling in America. He was also moved by a laudable pride of country, a natural desire to reign, and a partiality to England and her institutions.

The mass of the native population was never consulted, and was indifferent on the subject. Race antagonism had not yet been developed to any extent. A newspaper in the Hawaiian language, called the Nuhou, edited by a Mr. Marsh, was started in February, 1854, to prepare the native mind for annexation, and was continued for six months. Another memorial on the subject, numerously signed, was presented to the King in January, 1854. It is singular that hardly an allusion to the subject can be found in the Honolulu papers of the time, and none in any of the official reports of the minister of foreign affairs.

negotiation of the treaty.

In February, 1854, the matter took a more definite shape. On the 6th of that month, in view of danger from filibusters and conspirators, the King commanded Mr. Wyllie to ascertain on what terms a treaty of annexation could be negotiated to be used as a safeguard to meet any sudden danger that might arise. Every proposition was to be considered by the cabinet and Prince Liholiho, and the treaty as a whole was to be submitted to His Majesty for his approval, modification, or rejection.

The negotiations were carried on between Mr. Wyllie and Mr. Gregg with the utmost secrecy. At the second meeting, February 11, Mr. Gregg agreed to proceed with a negotiation ad referendum, and wrote to the United States Secretary of State for instructions.

A basis for negotiations, framed by Judge Lee and approved by the King and his ministers/was afterwards presented to Mr. Gregg, guarantying to Hawaiian subjects all the rights of American citizens, providing for the admission of the Hawaiian Islands as a State into the Union, for a due compensation to the King and chiefs, and a liberal sum for the support of schools. The amount of compensation to be asked for had been referred to a committee, who recommended that a lump sum, viz, $300,000, be distributed in the form of annuities by the King and his council. At their sixth meeting, June 1, Mr. Gregg stated that he had received full powers and instructions from his own Government. At Mr. Wyllie’s request he then proceeded to draft an outline of the treaty. He was furnished with detailed statements of the property owned by the Hawaiian Government and of the salaries paid by it. An interval of two months followed, during which the treaty made very little progress.

In a private letter from Mr. Wyllie to Judge Lee, dated June 23, he says: “The treaty is now before Prince Liholiho, with all the amendments suggested by you. To be able to save the King and chiefs and people at a moment’s warning it is desirable that the treaty should be concluded diplomatically—I mean signed by the plenipotentiaries, but subject to future ratification.” Again, July 11, Mr. Wyllie writes to Judge Lee as follows: “Liholiho keeps out of the way, and he has not returned the treaties, though I have often asked him for them. Of my draft I have no copy.”

The Fourth of July was celebrated at Honolulu this year with unusual enthusiasm, and in Mr. Gregg’s oration allusion was made to the prospect that a new star would soon be added to the constellation of States.

On the 17th of July a combined British and French fleet of eight vessels arrived from Callao, on their way to attack the Russian fortress of Petropaulovski. The two admirals and their officers had a reception at the palace, at which the French admiral said, at M. Perrin’s suggestion, that he hoped there was no thought of alienating the sovereignty of the Kingdom, as that would lead to difficulties with France and England, which it would be wise to avoid. The King made no reply.

In a letter from Mr. Gregg to the United States Secretary of State, dated July 26, he states that “a meeting was held on the 17th, at which Prince Alexander was present, when it was agreed that the minister of foreign affairs should immediately proceed, if possible, to arrange and sign a treaty to be submitted to the King for ratification. Mr. Wyllie called on me the next day and we had several conferences, but without as yet arriving at any definite result. Prince Alexander is responsible for all past delay and he will not hesitate to incur the responsibility of still more, unless his mind is brought to the conviction that it is impossible for him ever to wear a crown.* * * If a treaty is once signed he will not oppose its ratification directly and openly, but strive to postpone it to the last moment compatible with safety.”

The two principal difficulties were, first, the objection of the Hawaiian authorities to a territorial form of government, and, secondly, the question as to the amount of the annuities to be paid, the Hawaiian Government insisting on $300,000 as a sine [Page 611] qua non. One article provided for the payment of $75,000 per annum for ten years for educational purposes, one-third of which was to be capitalized for the support of a college or university.

Judge Lee expressed his views in regard to the treaty in a letter to Mr. Wyllie, dated August 29, in which he stated that it was “the wish of the King and chiefs to be admitted as a State, and they must not be deceived by any ambiguity in the phraseology of the treaty. They wish by this article to shield the nation from slavery, and it would be dishonorable to leave so vital a question involved in any doubt.” At that time the repeal of the Missouri compromise had begun to be agitated in Congress and party feeling was intense. It is said that Senator Sumner wrote to an influential missionary in the islands warning the King and natives against annexation on the ground that it would lead to the introduction of slavery into their country. An article to this effect appeared in the New York Tribune of July 20, 1854, and caused much excitement at the islands.

Mr. Gregg conceded the two disputed points, “ad referendum;” and a copy of the treaty as completed was laid before the King in cabinet council September 4 and fully explained to him in all its details. He fully approved of it, but wished to consult a few of his chiefs before taking final action. Near the close of the legislative session of 1854, August 4, Mr. Kaholeku offered a resolution in the house of representatives requesting the minister of foreign affairs to inform the house whether the King had applied for annexation to the United States on account of trouble with France and England, as reported in the New York Herald. The subject was referred to the committee on foreign relations, who never reported on it.

On the 26th of August Prince Liholiho, in the house of nobles, asked the minister of foreign affairs whether it was true that England and France were making trouble, so as to force the King to annex his Kingdom to the United States.

In reply, Mr. Wyllie denied the statement; asserting that those powers were anxious to maintain the independence of the islands, but he said that in the internal condition of the Kingdom there was danger, and there was no saying what changes that danger might lead the King to submit to.

procrastination and failure of the treaty.

On the 18th of September Gen. Miller, the consul-general of Great Britain, had an audience of the King, when he delivered a tirade of more than an hour in length against annexation and in denunciation of the Government and people of the United States.

He read in full the article in the New York Tribune of July 20, to show that the designs of the United States were unfriendly to Hawaiian interests. The King in his reply said that he much preferred that such communications should be made in writing, in order to prevent misunderstandings.

Meanwhile the Crown Prince Alexander remained at Hawaii to avoid signing the treaty. Weary of the delay, Mr. Gregg wrote, September 12, complaining of the procrastination and threatening to withdraw from further negotiations and to declare those which had already taken place to be at an end. The prince was sent for, but did not come.

Mr. Gregg wrote again November 1, remonstrating against further delay in the conclusion of the treaty. He used the following language: “The strong arm of the United States has been solicited for your protection. It has been kindly extended and held out until at length self-respect must soon dictate its withdrawal.” This was regarded as a menace and gave much offense.

The U. S. S. Portsmouth, Capt. Dornin, and the St. Mary’s, Capt. Bailey, were in fact detained in port during the fall of 1854, awaiting the result of the negotiations. The United States frigates Susquehannah and Mississippi also called on their way home from Japan, in the latter part of October, 1854, and remained a week off the port of Honolulu.

It would seem that an attempt was now made to intimidate the King into signing the treaty at once. Mr. Wyllie afterwards stated that on the 12th of November he was informed that there was imminent danger of a revolution; “that there were dangerous men from California, well armed, who insisted on the King’s immediate sanction of annexation to the United States, without waiting for the arrival of the Crown Prince or the consent of the Legislature; that they would be joined by 300 or more of the American residents here; that, if unsuccessful then, they would be joined by 300 men of the same dangerous character, who were to arrive from California by the America, and 50 who would arrive by the Ianthe; that if we attempted to resist a force so determined, the King’s Government would be upset, private and public property plundered, and perhaps the town set on fire.” “That three individuals should have a private conference with the King instantly, so as to convince His Majesty of the truth of these dangers, and that he could only avoid them by annexation to the United States.” A cabinet council was then called, at which Mr. [Page 612] Wyllie was ordered to make these threats known to the representatives of the three great maritime powers. Mr. Gregg had already written to Mr. Wyllie to assure him that the forces of the United States were ready to coöperate “in repressing any unlawful attempts of reckless adventurers, claiming to be American citizens, against the peace and dignity of His Majesty’s Government.” Mr. Wyllie immediately applied to the representatives of France, Great Britain, and the United States, and was promised the aid of 200 men from the United States ships Portsmouth and St. Mary’s, of 100 men from Her Brittanic Majesty’s ship Trincomalee, and of 500 men from the French frigate Artemise.

He further improved the opportunity to declare that “negotiations should be suspended until they could be honorably resumed after every trace of coercion had been removed.” (See his letter of November 26, to Judge Lee.) On the 13th of December he issued a proclamation in the King’s name, declaring that His Majesty bad accepted the assistance of the three powers named above, and that his “independence was more firmly established than ever before.” This called out from Mr. Gregg a dispatch denying that the United States had any intention of entering into any tripartite protectorate of the King’s Government, or that his and Capt. Dornin’s offers should be taken as equivalent to a permanent guaranty of its independence.

The expected filibusters never appeared. The Crown Prince Alexander Liholiho arrived at last from Hawaii December 1, and it is stated on good authority that he agreed to sign the treaty and that a day was set for the ceremony.

The King is said by Mrs. Judd to have been “more eager than ever” to complete the business, when he was suddenly taken ill, and expired in five or six days, on the 15th of December, 1854, in the forty-second year of his age. His untimely death was undoubtedly hastened by excessive intemperance towards the last. Aside from this unfortunate failing he had many noble traits.

As Mr. Severance truly said, “his partiality to Americans has always been strong, and it will be universally conceded that by his death they have lost a faithful and honorable friend.”

His adopted son and heir, Alexander Liholiho, was immediately proclaimed King, under the title of Kamehameha IV. Soon afterwards he expressed his wish that the negotiations that had been begun with Mr. Gregg should be broken off, which was done.

As Mr. Marcy afterwards stated, in his letter to Mr. Gregg of January 31, 1855, the President would never have approved of a treaty admitting the islands into the Union as a State, to say nothing of other objections of minor importance. In fact, the whole movement, as we now look back upon it, seems to have been premature and unnecessary. But, as I have elsewhere said of Kamehameha III, “his purpose, though it happily fell through, yet insured to his successor a more secure possession of their inheritance.”

W. D. Alexander.


protectorate proclamation.

We, Kamehameha III; by the grace of God, of the Hawaiian Islands King:

By and with the advice and consent of our Kuhina Nui and council of native chiefs, finding our relations with France so oppressive to our Kingdom, so inconsistent with its rights as an independent state, and so obstructive of all our endeavors to administer the government of our islands with equal justice to all nations and equal independence of all foreign control, and despairing of equity and justice from France:

Hereby proclaim as our royal will and pleasure that all our islands, and all our rights as a sovereign over them, are from the date hereof placed under the protection and safeguard of the United States of America until some arrangements can be made to place our said relations with France upon a footing compatible with our rights as an independent sovereign under the law of nations and compatible with our treaty engagements with other foreign nations; or, if such arrangements should be found impracticable, then it is our wish and pleasure that the protection aforesaid under the United States of America be perpetual.

And we further proclaim as aforesaid, that from the date of the publication hereof the flag of the United States of America shall be hoisted above the national ensign on all our forts and places and vessels navigating with Hawaiian registers.

Signed by the King and Kuhina Nui
[Page 613]
Resolution about the joint declaration March 20, 1851.


Whereas in view of the declaration of the commissioner of France in his memorandum of Feb. 1st, and in his dispatch No. 12 of Feb. 27th, that the difficulties with France are reduced to two, viz, the liberty of Catholic worship and the trade in spirits; and

Whereas the joint declaration sanctioned comprises a settlement of these two questions in the view of the King and council:

Resolved, That the minister of foreign relations is authorized and instructed to sign the four articles of the said declaration, and to refer to the sole decision of the President of the French Republic the question of indemnity to the King, as transmitted to Mr. Perrin in Mr. Wyllie’s despatch No. 21, on the understanding that this reference is to be acted upon only after the President shall have admitted that all pending difiiculties are thus settled.

Joint declaration.


The President of the French Republic and the King of the Hawaiian Islands, animated by an equal desire to terminate the adjustment of pending difficulties between the two countries, and to prevent their return for the future by assuring the just and complete execution of the convention of the 26th of March, 1846, in regard to the points in controversy, through a new official act, destined to interpret it, have chosen for this purpose the undersigned commissioner of the French Republic and the minister of foreign affairs of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the signers of the treaty above mentioned, who, after having exchanged their full powers, found in good form, have agreed to the terms of the following declaration:

The treaty of the 26th of March, 1846, will be faithfully adopted and interpreted in the two texts, French and Hawaiian, the only ones officially signed. It remains agreed in all the cases where the foreign judges not understanding French have to decide the text of the English treaty, officially declared identical, under reserve of the III article, shall be considered as an exact translation.
Without admitting that by the establishment of a custom-house duty of $5 per gallon upon spirits the Hawaiian Government have gone beyond the exclusive power which France herself has granted to them, through the means of the wording of the VI article of the treaty above mentioned (an assertion in regard to which the undersigned French commissioner makes all reserves.), and after having proved that the effects of that duty have been profitable to France and hurtful to the English and American trade inspirits, the King of the Sandwich Islands declares himself disposed to submit the question of the reduction of duty to $2.50 per gallon, as a maximum to the legislature, which is to assemble next month, as a measure of political economy, which the chamber of commerce of Honolulu have recommended on strong grounds.
The Government of the King can not recognize, on the part of any foreign nation, the right of dictating or prescribing laws to them on matters which affect only the religious belief or secular education of the native subjects of the King. Nevertheless, disposed to admit the third of the demands presented by M. Perrin, on the 1st of February last, as a friendly suggestion, destined for the examination of the Legislature which is to assemble this year, the Hawaiian Government will place these assemblies in a position to decide whether the equality between the Protestants and the Catholics, under the protection of the constitution and the laws, of which numerous proofs have been furnished, does not yet require something for its perfect application.
Documents presented by French citizens, in their own language, will be received in all the cases in which documents in the English language are received; but in the cases where the employees whose duty it is to make use of these documents do not understand French it shall be incumbent, provisionally, on the party interested to furnish a translation of the document produced, which, to prevent all error and discussion, shall be certified by him as true.

R. C. Wyllie,
Minister of Foreign Relations.

La Commissaire de la République Française, Em. Perrin.

[Page 614]
Appeal to the President of the United States.


The undersigned, minister of foreign relations of His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands (having), unavoidably produced to the undersigned, commissioner of the United States, an imperative order, under the great seal of the Hawaiian Kingdom, in Hawaiian and English, signed both by His Majesty and sealed by the royal signet and countersigned by His Highness Keoni Ana, the “Kuhina Nui,” and both dated the 28th of this month, proceeded to make the following statement to the undersigned commissioner:

That the King and chiefs, remembering the events of 1839 and 1849, distrust France and fear her.

That they consider that France has not kept her engagement with Great Britain of the 28th November, 1843, and does not mean to treat this Kingdom as under the protection of international law.

That their fears had been abated, but were again revived by Monsieur Perrin’s despatch No. 18, of the 22d inst., and his “verbal note” of the 15th, to the undersigned minister, which were laid before His Majesty and his cabinet on the 28th.

That the King from a conversation with Her Britannic Majesty’s consul-general, believes that Great Britain is so fettered with France that she can afford him no certain hope of present relief.

That the King, therefore, unable to protect the large American and other national interests in this Kingdom, appealed in his helplessness to the Commissioner of the United States, and now solemnly appeals to the President.

The King would prefer the following alternatives in the order in which they are placed:

To secure those large interests equally against all possible danger from foreign powers, under the safeguard of the Republic of the United States, and (if it can be arranged by the President of the United States, without unsafe delay), under the safeguard of Great Britain, also, and of France.
Unless the last conform with the other two, then under the protection of the United States and England only.
If England do not consent, then of the United States only.

The King would prefer that this Kingdom be received as an independent state, under protection merely from foreign aggression.

If that can not be done, rather than continue to be the victim of foreign aggression, the mere shadow of a King without the power, but with responsibilities measured out by the arbitrary rule of the strong, we will resign the sovereignty of these islands into the hands of the United States, under their guaranty of his private rights and hereditaments, a due provision for himself, his Queen, the heir apparent, his chiefs, his high officers, all private property and rights, and of all engagements of whatsoever kind lawfully incumbent upon him to fulfill and discharge.

The King desires that a secret arrangement be made with the authority and consent of the United States on the basis of one or other of these alternatives, to be instantly acted upon on the emergency of any sudden danger, and not to be acted upon or even mentioned, if through the good offices of the President of the United States, France and other maritime powers will engage to let him alone, with power to govern and seek the protection of his people in his own way, and to protect foreign residents and their interests, without persisting in exacting of him greater responsibilities than can be required of any sovereign under the laws of nations.
The King, with the full experience of Capt. Laplace in 1839 and of Admiral de Tromelin in 1849, acknowledges his utter want of power to protect the citizens of the United States and their large interests in his islands under a repetition of such lawless invasions; and as he has no confidence that they will not be repeated on the most trifling complaint against his Government, His Majesty would be glad to see such a provisional occupation of his islands by the armed forces of the United States, as may in the judgment of the President be adequate to the protection of all citizens of the United States and their interests, until time be afforded to mature some permanent arrangement in one or other of the ways hereinbefore mentioned.

The undersigned, Commissioner of the United States, having heard and considered these solemn proposals made in the name and by imperative order of His Majesty King Kamehameha III, agrees to transmit a copy thereof immediately to the Government of the United States, asking for full power and authority how to act, and that in the meanwhile the utmost possible secrecy shall be observed, and that he will contiuue to do all in his power for the protection of American interests and to uphold the King’s dignity and rights as an independent sovereign in friendly relations with the United States and appealing to them for protection.

[His official seal.]
Luther Severance.

[Seal of foreign office.]
R. C. Wyllie,
Minister of Foreign Relations.
[Page 615]
Joint resolution.


Be It resolved by the Nobles and Representatives of the Hawaiian Islands in legislative council assembled, That in the sense of this House the demands of France are so clearly unjust and contrary to the laws of nations and to treaty, and the course pursued by her so incompatible with the existence of a regular independent government in these islands, if France should persist in such a course it will be the duty of the King to shield himself and his Kingdom from insult and oppression by placing this Kingdom under the protection of some friendly state; and that should such emergency be so urgent as not to admit of the legislative council being convened, it shall be left to His Majesty by and with the advice of his privy council, under such emergency, to consult the honor and safety of his Kingdom according to his Majesty’s best judgment; and that whatever he may do will be binding upon the nation.

  • W. L. Lee,
    Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  • Keoni Ana,
    President of the House of Nobles.

Approved by the King August 4, 1851.

  • Kamehameha.
  • Keoni Ana.
Order of the King to Mr. Wyllie, February 6, 1854.


Whereas it has come to our knowledge through the communications made to us by divers discreet men, who we have reason to believe are true friends to the Hawaiian nation, and through various other sources, that plans are on foot inimical to the peace of our Kingdom and the welfare of our people, and such as if carried out would be wholly subversive of our sovereignty, and would reduce us to the most deplorable of all states, a state of anarchy; and

Whereas exigencies may arise of such a nature as to render-it imperative upon us for the security of the just rights of our chiefs and people that we should seek the alliance of the United States of America:

We do hereby command you, our minister of foreign relations, to take such immediate steps as may be necessary and proper, by negotiation or otherwise, to ascertain the views of the United States in relation to the annexation thereto of these islands, and also the terms and conditions upon which the same can be effected, with the object of being fairy prepared to meet any sudden danger that may arise threatening the existence or independence of our Kingdom.

  • Kamehameha III.
  • John Young.

Liholiho consents to the above royal command.

Approved by Wm. L. Lee.

Extract from instructions of February 21, 1854.


You will immediately enter upon a negotiation ad referendum with the Commissioners of the United States, the object of which is the annexation of our Kingdom to the United States of America, in case of necessity, and which shall fully secure our rights and the rights of our chiefs and people, being assured by the protocol No. 2, submitted to us, of the willingness of the Commissioner of the United States to enter upon such negotiation. The constitution of our Kingdom has made our ministers special advisers in the executive affairs of the Kingdom, and therefore you will submit to their consideration every proposal and every proposition that may be interchanged between you and the Commissioner of the United States, and your conduct will be governed by their decision.

Prince Liholiho will join in the deliberations of the cabinet council, vote therein, and make his views, known to us. When the treaty ad referendum, as aforesaid, is [Page 616] completed, yon will submit the same to us, which will be subject to our approval, modification, or rejection, and, in case we shall deem it wise and necessary, to submit it to the representatives of our people, subject also to their approval.

Kamehameha III.

I hereby approve of the above instructions.


Signed by
Keone Ana,

and all the ministers.


Protocol No. 1.

The undersigned met this day at 12 noon in the house of the commissioner of the United States. Mr. Wyllie submitted the written commands of the King to him of the 6th instant, also the letter of same date from the Hon. Wm. L. Lee, chancellor of the Kingdom, and invited Mr. Gregg to exchange powers with him, with a view to the objects expressed in the King’s command aforesaid.

Mr. Wyllie further submitted to Mr. Gregg the appeal to the President of the United States of March 31st, 1851, signed by him and the late commissioner, Mr. Severance.

Mr. Gregg stated to Mr. Wyllie that he was in possession of no formal powers to negotiate or declare the views of the Government of the United States upon the matter submitted for his consideration; that from the peculiar circumstances of the case it was impossible for the Government of the United States to anticipate the necessity of special replies to such questions, or the existence of a state of affairs making it desirable on the part of the King to bring up for discussion with him (Gregg) a subject of such magnitude and interest to both nations, without an opportunity of referring to the authorities at Washington, which he trusted could readily be done without prejudice. But if the exigencies of the present or future should demand it, he was willing to negotiate ad referendumon the subject embraced in the commands of the King, but not otherwise.

Mr. Gregg further stated, that having been verbally informed yesterday by Mr. Wyllie of this matter, he had written to the State Department at Washington relative thereto, with the expectation of obtaining the views and instructions of his Government as early as might be practicable. Mr. Wyllie begged Mr. Gregg to send a duplicate of his letter and to enclose copy of the commands of the King, that the President might understand exactly what His Majesty desired, for which purpose he left a certified copy with Mr. Gregg. Mr. Wyllie also left with Mr. Gregg the appeal of 31st March, 1851, before alluded to, for Mr. Gregg’s fuller information.

The undersigned, on behalf of their respective Governments, agreed to consider the protocol as the initiation of a negotiation with the Government of the United States for the purpose expressed in the King’s command to his minister of foreign affairs.

The undersigned agreed to adjourn till they should have occasion to meet again.

  • D. L. Gregg, etc., etc.
  • R. C. Wyllie, etc., etc.
Protocol No. 2.

The undersigned met in the house of the Commissioner of the United States. Mr. Wyllie stated that he had, by the advice of Prince Liholiho and the cabinet, to add to the King’s orders of the 6th instant the signatures of His Majesty’s chief justice and of his ministers approving thereof.

Mr. Gregg, with reference to what he said in protocol No. 1, stated that in view of his declaration therein contained, and the matters contained in the preamble to the King’s commands to Mr. Wyllie, bearing date on the 6th instant, he felt himself justified in declaring explicitly that if it was the wish of His Majesty’s Government to negotiate ad referendum he was willing to enter upon such negotiation at any time that might be agreed on for that purpose.

He also said that although he had no formal powers to that effect, yet from his knowledge of the views and policy of his Government, derived from the highest sources, he considered himself warranted, under the state of facts expressed in said preamble and by the exigency of the case, to discuss for reference, the terms of an [Page 617] arrangement between the two powers of the character indicated in such commands. Mr. Gregg further remarked to Mr. Wyllie that after careful consideration he had deemed it advisable to make this specific declaration in order that no wrong impression might exist as to the nature of the authority with which he regarded himself invested on the part of his Government, to act ad referendum, in regard to the exigencies contemplated in His Majesty’s commands to Mr. Wyllie.

R. C. Wyllie.

D. L. Gregg.

Additional instructions.

Honolulu, February 21st, 1854.

Sir: We have examined the protocols, numbers 1 and 2, executed by our minister of foreign affairs and the Commissioner of the United States initiated by our minister, in pursuance of our commands of the 6th of February; and more fully to carry out the purposes and intentions thereof, we hereby give you the following instructions additional. You will immediately enter upon a negotiation with the Commissioner of the United States of a treaty ad referendum, the object of which is the annexation of our Kingdom to the United States of America, in case of necessity, and which fully secure our rights and the rights of our chiefs and people, being assured, by the protocol No. 2, submitted to us, of the willingness of the Commissioner of the United States to enter upon such negotiation.

The constitution of our Kingdom has made our ministers special advisers in the executive affairs of the Kingdom, and therefore you will submit to their consideration every proposal and every proposition which may be interchanged between you and the Commissioner of the United States, and your conduct will be governed by their decision.

Prince Liholiho will join in the deliberations of the cabinet council, vote therein, and make its views known to me.

When the treaty ad referendum, as aforesaid, is completed, you will submit the same to us, which will be subject to our approval, modification, or rejection, and in case we shall deem it wise and necessary to submit it to the representatives of our people, subject also to their approval.


Approved by
Liholiho, W. L. Lee
, and the cabinet.
Protocol No. 3.

The undersigned met at the house of the Commissioner of the United States, and after comparing the two originals of Protocol No. 2 of the date of February 11th, 1854, which since that time had been in the hands of His Majesty the King for consideration and approval, respectively, signed and exchanged the same.

Mr. Wyllie at the same time communicated to Mr. Gregg the further orders of the King to him (Mr. Wyllie), bearing date on the 21st day of February last, but signed by His Majesty yesterday, and countersigned by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, His Highness the Kuhina Nui, the chief justice, and by His Majesty’s minister of state.

Mr. Gregg having heard the same, expressed a wish to have a copy thereof for transmission to his Government on account of the close relation of such instructions to the royal commands of the 6th of February last, a copy of which he had already transmitted.

The undersigned then adjourned to meet again as occasion might require.

  • R. C. Wyllie.
  • D. L. Gregg.
Protocol No. 4.

The undersigned met at the house of the Commissioner of the United States, and after comparing the originals of protocol No. 3, respectively signed and exchanged the same.

Mr. Wyllie, in accordance with Mr. Gregg’s request as expressed in protocol No. 3 produced the King’s additional orders of the 22nd of February last, of which a copy was taken for Mr. Gregg’s use, and duly verified by comparison with the original [Page 618] Mr. Wyllie then read the following brief memorandum, submitted to him yesterday by Mr. Gregg, for consideration, viz:

  • “1. The cession of the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States.
  • “2. The most ample guarantee of all the personal and private rights of the King, the chiefs, and people, securing to them the footing of citizens of the United States, on terms of perfect equality with all other American citizens.
  • “3. As a consideration in part for such cession, a suitable provision for the King, the Queen, the Crown Prince, those declared next in succession, the chiefs, etc.
  • “4. A provision for the support of schools and education.
  • “5. A provision for the fulfilment of all engagements lawfully incumbent upon the King’s Government to fulfil or discharge. Mr. Gregg said he had submitted the preceding brief memorandum for Mr. Wyllie’s consideration in order to elicit his views on the subject and as a very general basis of the discussions between them, which must necessarily arise in providing for the objects expressed in the King’s commands of the 6th and 21st of February last.

“Mr. Wyllie then presented and read a memorandum, which he proposed as a basis for negotiation in the following terms:

  • “1. The admission of the Hawaiian Islands as a sovereign State into the American Union, subject to the Federal Government, the same as the State of Massachusetts, and extending to the King and chiefs, and all his subjects, the same rights, civil, political, and religious, as are enjoyed by that State.
  • “2. A due provision to be made for the King, the Queen, the proclaimed heir to the throne, those declared next in succession by the King’s will, the high chiefs enjoying salaries, all the salaried officers of the King, with some regard to the length of service, and for the exercise of the King’s bounty in those cases where he may wish to exercise it.
  • “3. All rights of possession, inheritance, or expectancy to be respected and provided for.
  • “4. All engagements, of whatever kind, lawfully incumbent upon the King or the nation to discharge, to be religiously fulfilled.
  • “5. The existing constitution to be maintained, subject only to those alterations without which the islands could not be admitted as a sovereign State into the Union.”

  • R. C. Wyllie.
  • D. L. Gregg.
Protocol No. 5.

The undersigned met in the house of the commissioner of the United States, and signed protocol No. 4.

Mr. Wyllie submitted the following bases of arrangement which had been framed by the King’s chief justice and had been approved of by the Princes of the blood, the Kuhina Nui, and the members of the King’s cabinet, viz:

  • “1. The admission of the Hawaiian Islands into the American Union as a sovereign State, subject to the Federal Government, the same as any other State of the Union.
  • “2. The most ample guarantee of all the rights of the King, the chiefs, and the people, whether civil, political, or religious, and securing to them all the privileges of citizens of the United States, on terms of perfect equality with other American citizens.
  • “3. A suitable provision to be made for the King, the Queen, the proclaimed heir to the throne, those declared next in succession by the King’s will, the chiefs, and all other persons for whom provision should be made.
  • “4. A provision for the faithful fulfillment of all engagements of whatsoever kind lawfully incumbent upon the King’s government or the Hawaiian nation to discharge.
  • “5. A provision for the support of schools and education.”

Mr. Wyllie stated that the members of the King’s cabinet on the 29th of March had agreed to refer the amount of compensation to be determined by a select committee composed of the two Princes of the blood, the Kuhina Nui, and the King’s chancellor and chief justice, the Hon. W. L. Lee, who had reported yesterday as follows:

“The undersigned, a committee appointed to fix upon the amounts to be asked for compensation to the King and chiefs, under the new treaty contemplated with the United States, beg to report: That they have found great difficulty in every attempt they have made to fix a just compensation for the several chiefs, who, including the second class, number upwards of thirty persons; and therefore they would respectfully recommend that a gross sum, say three hundred thousand dollars, be asked for, to be distributed among the King and chiefs, in the form of annuities, as they may determine, it being expressly understood that from the above sum of three hundred [Page 619] thousand dollars no deduction whatever shall he made on the plea of any claim or claims alleged against the Hawaiian Government or authorities by any American citizen, or on any other pretense whatever.

“Signed by Liholiho, Lot Kamehameha, Keoni Ana, and W. L. Lee.”

Mr. Gregg remarked to Mr. Wyllie that, so far as the basis of arrangements just submitted was concerned, he had then no objection to interpose, unless it might be to the first clause, which he thought was capable of a construction inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States (act 4, section 3). But if, as he supposed probable, its intention was simply to provide for the admission of the Hawaiian Islands into the American Union as a State, as soon as might be consistent with the principles of the American Constitution, it was free from the difficulty suggested. For the purpose, however, of removing all cause of doubt, he would propose as a substitute for such clause the following:

“The incorporation of the Hawaiian Islands into the American Union, and their admission, as soon as may be consistent with the principles of the Federal Constitution, to all the rights, privileges, and immunities of a sovereign State, the same as any other State of the Union.”

Mr. Gregg further remarked that, although the amount fixed by the committee as a compensation was considerably higher than he had anticipated, and more, he feared, than would be regarded reasonable by his Government, yet he would for the present assent to it as the basis for the formation of a treaty ad referendum, reserving to himself the right, however, of submitting a counter proposition, if he should deem it incumbent upon him so to do, at any time before the final arrangement of the terms of such treaty.

For the purpose of enabling him to form a satisfactory opinion on this subject of compensation, he begged Mr. Wyllie to cause him to be informed as to the names and ages of the parties to whom annuities were proposed to be paid, the quantity and character of the public land and other public property, the resources and capacities of the islands, &c., &c. The undersigned adjourned to meet as occasion might require.

  • R. C. Wyllie.
  • D. L. Gregg.
Protocol No. 6.

The undersigned met at the house of the Commissioner of the United States at 2 p.m. on the 1st of June. The undersigned compared the two originals of Protocol No. 5, but agreed not to sign it till the King’s pleasure thereon be made known to them. Mr. Gregg stated that since the date of Protocol No. 5 he had been advised of the views of his Government in regard to the King’s orders of the 6th of February last, and had received full powers, which he now produced in exchange for those previously presented by Mr. Wyllie. The undersigned proceeded to verify and compare their respective powers and exchange the same. Mr. Gregg stated to Mr. Wyllie that, under the powers now conferred upon him, he was ready to proceed immediately to the discussion of the measure contemplated alike in the powers held by him and in the powers held by Mr. Wyllie, and to conclude the same in conformity with the wish of the two high contracting parties.

Mr. Wyllie replied that so soon as he could obtain the data requested by Mr. Gregg in protocol No. 5, he would be prepared to enter upon the negotiation, and with a view to save time suggested that Mr. Gregg should draft the outline of a treaty, leaving blanks for the details which were wanting, so as that Mr. Wyllie, knowing Mr. Gregg’s views, might carefully consider them with the assistance of his colleagues, of the princes of the blood, and of the King’s chief justice, for submission to His Majesty the King, along with proctol No. 5, to which his sanction was still to be obtained.

  • R. C. Wyllie.
  • David L. Gregg.
Protocol No. 7.

The undersigned met in the house of the Commissioner of the United States on Wednesday, the 7th of June, at 1 p.m.

The undersigned compared and executed protocol No. 6, leaving it and protocol No. 5 still unsigned, until after the approval of the King shall have been obtained.

Mr. Wyllie stated that the King’s chief justice and the other ministers of the King, on the 2nd of June, had concurred in the view that the powers of Mr. Gregg and Mr. Wyllie, which they had exchanged on the 1st of June, were equal and sufficient [Page 620] for the formation of a treaty ad referendum for the annexation of the Hawaiian Kingdom to the United States of America, agreeable to the King’s instructions to Mr. Wyllie of the 21st of February, 1854, approved by the Crown Prince, by the Kuhina Nui, by the King’s chancellor and chief justice, and by all of His Majesty’s ministers on the 22nd of March, 1854.

With a view to enable Mr. Gregg to proceed in the preparation of the draft of such a treaty, so as that the transfer of sovereignty may be beneficial to the King and all his subjects, and if possible, not prejudice “the interests of any of such subjects, Mr. Wyllie with the full approval of the Kuhina Nui and of his colleagues, delivered to Mr. Gregg the following, viz:

No. 1. Civil list $32,900.00
2. List district justices 9,550.00
3. List circuit judges 4,800.00
4. List clerks of governors 1,200.00
5. List tax collectors 7,000.00
Total 55,450.00

Also No. 6, a statement of Government houses,-forts, lands, bonds, &c., transferable to the sovereignty of the islands, amounting to $1,522,379.

No. 7. Claims on France $462,372.73
8. Claims on Great Britain 32,101.61
Total of Nos. 6, 7, and 8 2,016,853.34

Mr. Wyllie begged Mr. Gregg to understand distinctly that he could neither make himself nor the Hawaiian Government responsible for the correctness of the items forming the above sum of $2,016,853.34.

Mr. Wyllie further delivered to Mr. Gregg No. 9, being a list of annuities payable by this Government, amounting to $2,040.00 per annum; and stated that he had still to receive and deliver to Mr. Gregg a list of natives employed in the department of public instruction, who would lose the amounts of their respective salaries under a surrecder of the native sovereignty. To save time Mr. Wyllie delivered all these documents in the original requesting Mr. Gregg to return them after making the use of them intended in protocol No. 6.

  • R. C. Wyllie.
  • David L. Gregg.
Protocol No. 8.

The undersigned met at the house of the Commissioner of the United States on Thursday, the 17th day of August, 1854.

Mr. Wyllie begged to make known to Mr. Gregg the following agenda founded on instructions from his colleagues and the Crown Prince, viz:

That a treaty should be forthwith concluded according to diplomatic usage, and submitted to the King.
That the second article of Mr. Wyllie’s draft of a treaty should be adopted with the addition of the following words, viz: “But the King of the Hawaiian Islands reserves to himself the power to ratify it, in any moment of danger.” Such article also to express in clear and specific terms, the admission of said islands, as a sovereign State in the usual sense of State sovereignty.
The payment of seventy-five thousand dollars per annum, for a period of ten years, for the benefit of schools, one-third of which to be capitalized, and the interest annually applied to the support of a college or university, and fifty thousand dollars appropriated to the use of common schools, in the discretion of the legislative authority of the Hawaiian Islands, when admitted into the Union as a State.

The substitution in Article VIII of the words “and all others whom the King may wish to compensate or reward,” in place of the words “and other persons now in the service of the Hawaiian Government or formerly in such service.”

Mr. Gregg thereupon stated that he would take into consideration the different points contained in such agenda, and submit his remarks and conclusions thereon with the least possible delay. The undersigned then adjourned, to meet as occasion might require.

  • R. C. Wyllie,
  • D. L. Gregg.
[Page 621]
Protocol No. 9.

The undersigned met at the house of the Commissioner of the United States on the 18th of August, 1854, at 9 a.m. Mr. Gregg read a memorandum on Mr. Wyllie’s agenda, which he had submitted to Mr. Wyllie yesterday afternoon, as follows viz:

“Mr. Gregg has carefully considered the agenda submitted to him by Mr. Wyllie, this day as expressing the views of the Hawaiian cabinet and of the Crown Prince upon the drafts of a treaty of annexation under consideration. From conversations with Mr. Wyllie and other members of the cabinet he fully understands and appreciates the object proposed to be accomplished by the addition of the following words, viz: “But the King of the Hawaiian Islands reserves to himself the power to ratify it in any moment of danger.” There are grave and serious objections, as he believes, not only to the article as originally drawn up, but to the vagueness and indefiniteness of the additional clause. In regard to the former he has already taken occasion to indicate to Mr. Wyllie his views.

He is convinced that the President and Senate of the United States would regard it as so objectionable that any treaty containing it would be rejected on that account, and he can not, therefore, assent to it. He suggests that the object pointed at in the clause proposed to be added could be better reached by the protocols of the negotiation, or by a separate and perhaps secret article, and he submits to Mr. Wyllie a proposition to that effect, and also a modification of said article No. II, as follows, viz:

“The Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands shall be incorporated into the American Union as soon as, in the judgment of Congress, it can be done in consistency with the principles and requirements of the Federal Constitution, with all the rights, privileges, and sovereignty of a State, the same as, and on terms of perfect equality with, the other States of the United States.” To this part of Mr. Gregg’s memorandum Mr. Wyllie replied that no disrespect or distrust whatever was intended to apply to the United States in the words which the colleagues and the Crown Prince had agreed should be added to the second article of his draft of the treaty. The intention was to provide instantly and effectually for the sudden danger contemplated in the preamble. He admitted that that great object could be as well or better effected by a separate and secret article; but he added that his instructions having been precise as to the addition of these ipsissims verba, he could not take upon himself to make any change without a further reference to his colleagues and to the Crown Prince. Mr. Gregg then continued his memorandum as follows, viz:

Mr. Gregg has no hesitation in assenting to the substitution in Article VIII of the words “and all others whom the King may wish to compensate or reward,” in place of the words “and other persons now in the service of the Hawaiian Government, or formerly in such service.” In order to approach more nearly to the views of Mr. Wyllie, the cabinet, and the Crown Prince he (Mr. Gregg) is willing to modify the latter part of said article so as to make it read as follows:

As a further consideration for the session herein made, and in order to place within the reach of the inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands the means of education, present and future, so as to enable them the more perfectly to enjoy and discharge the rights and duties consequent upon a change from monarchial to republican institutions, the United States agree to set apart and pay over the sum of $75,000 per annum, one-third of which shall be applied to constitute the principal of a fund for the benefit of a college or university, or colleges and universities, as the case may be, and the balance for the support of common schools to be invested, secured, or applied as may be determined by the legislative authority of the Hawaiian Islands, when admitted into the Union as aforesaid.”

Mr. Gregg thinks the term of five years ample to secure an adequate provision for schools, especially in connection with the appropriation of lands to a similar object. But few states are as well provided for in this respect. He can not recognize the propriety of limiting the proceeds of this college or university fund to a single institution, but he is willing to leave their appropriation open to legislative discretion. So far as other questions were concerned, Mr. Wyllie was in possession of his views already, and he did not deem it necessary to enter upon their discussion at present. Aug, 17, 1854.

The undersigned then adjourned to meet again when Mr. Wyllie had consulted his colleagues and the Crown Prince in regard to the foregoing views of Mr. Gregg.

Protocol No. 10.

The undersigned resumed their meeting at the house of the commissioner of the United States on the 18th of August 1854, at 4 p.m. Mr. Wyllie stated that, having conferred with his colleagues on the subject of Mr. Gregg’s observations in Protocol No. 9, he had to make known their views as follows, viz: [Page 622]

That the amount of seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000) for schools must he for ten instead of five years.
That his colleagues and the Crown Prince decline to admit Mr. Gregg’s proposed substitute for Mr. Wyllie’s recent article, and propose the following amendment to stand in its place, viz:

“The Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands shall be incorporated into the American Union as a sovereign State and admitted as such as soon as it can be done in consistency with the principles and requirements of the Federal Constitution to all the rights, privileges, and immunities of a State, as aforesaid, and perfect equality with the other States of the Confederation.”

Mr. Gregg expressed dissatisfaction with the phraseology of the proposed amendment, but promised to take the subject into early consideration and to advise Mr. Wyllie fully of his views thereon. Mr. Wyllie then stated that Protocols 5, 6, and 7 had been submitted to the King, and they were therefore signed in accordance with Protocol No. 6. The undersigned thereafter adjourned to meet again as soon as Mr. Gregg has maturely considered the amendment proposed to the second article.

  • R. C. Wyllie.
  • D. L. Gregg.
Protocol No. 11.

The undersigned met at the office of the minister of foreign affairs at 10 a.m., on August 19th, 1854, and proceeded to settle the terms of the treaty of annexation referred to and discussed at the preceding conferences.

Mr. Gregg expressed himself still dissatisfied with the terms of the amendment submitted to him yesterday as the agreement of the cabinet and Crown Prince for the second article of the treaty. He did not object to the omission of the words “in the judgment of. Congress,” as contained in his original draft and the one Mr. Wyllie had proposed, as it was well understood and agreed by all the parties to the negotiation that the power of admitting new States into the Union is vested by the Constitution solely in the Congress, and it was not intended to attach to the article any other sense.

He thought the expression “sovereign State” inaccurate and exceptional. The states were, it is true, sovereign in a limited sense; they had full jurisdiction and control over their own local and domestic affairs. But the national sovereignty was vested in the General Government alone, and he thought it improper to designate a State, in a public treaty, by terms not strictly applicable in the sense of the Federal Constitution. He also objected to the word “confederation,” as being at least of doubtful propriety, and proposed “union” as a substitute. The following was finally agreed upon and adopted, as being within the meaning of and subordinate to section III of Article IV of the Constitution of the United States, viz:

“The kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands shall be incorported into the American Union as a State, enjoying the same degree of sovereignty as other States; and admitted as such, as soon as it can be done, in consistency with the principles and requirements of the Federal Constitution, to all the rights, privileges, and immunities of a State, as aforesaid, with the other States of the Union.”

When Article VIII came up for consideration, Mr. Gregg renewed the proposal heretofore made by him to insert $100,000 instead of $300,000 as a suitable amount to be paid in annuities. Mr. Wyllie stated in reply that the revenue of the Kingdom was in rapid augmentation; from $48,842 in 1843, it had increased in only 8 years to $315,735 in 1851; that in 1853, notwithstanding the fearful ravages of the smallpox, it was $326,620; that this increase had taken place without any development of the agricultural resources of the country worthy of the name; that only capital and labor were wanted to develop them to a great extent whereby the revenue would be proportionately increased, and that he (Mr. Wyllie) saw no reason to doubt that in ten years from this date the revenue of the islands would exceed $1,000,000 annually.

Mr. Wyllie added that for this reason he did not consider $300,000 an extravagant demand for compensation, considering the present and prospective value of the islands intrinsically, and much less in view of their political value to any great naval and commercial power, since the treaty effected with Japan. Mr. Wyllie added his belief that this value was fully understood, and that a higher compensation for thirty years might be procured by a surrender of the sovereignty to another great nation. Besides the $300,000 had been fully agreed upon by the King’s cabinet and the crown prince, and further $75,000 for the purpose of education, to be continued for 10 years, and he (Mr. Wyllie) did not think they would recede from these terms.

Mr. Gregg said that, as the negotiation was ad referendum, he felt himself, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, authorized to assent, although he did [Page 623] it with reluctance, to the insertion of the sums proposed by Mr. Wyllie, leaving his Government to consider and determine whether they were responsible and proper or not; The same-consideration would lead him to agree to the time fixed by the cabinet and Crown Prince for the continuance of the payment for the benefit of schools, etc.

But he objected to the phraseology of the the first paragraph of this Article VIII, which he thought did not express clearly and definitely enough the idea which was in the mind of all parties, viz, that the aggregate amount of annuities should be apportioned once for all by the King and privy council and to remain apportioned forever—each annuity falling off on the death of the party entitled to it and the aggregate sum being diminished to the extent of such annuity or as each life falls in. Any other construction would be different from that intended and lead to misunderstanding and difficulties, which should be clearly provided against.

Mr. Wyllie stated that it undoubtedly was the understanding that the annuities were to be strictly life annuities, terminable with the life of each annuitant, although he himself would have preferred that the annuities should have been for a given period of time, so as that in the probable case of the early death of any annuitant, the benefit of his or her annuity might go to his or her children or other heirs for the years or period of time that the annuity might still have to run. But as his colleagues and the Crown Prince had waived the point, Mr. Wyllie had yielded to the general sense that the annuities were to be life annuities only, with the sole exception of that of the immediate heir to the throne which is specially provided for.

The article was finally, after some amendments, assented to by Mr. Gregg.

The draft of a treaty having been completed to the mutual satisfaction of the undersigned, it was agreed that three copies should be made in English and three in Hawaiian, and that the same should be signed and sealed as soon as convenient in the presence of the Crown Prince and members of the cabinet, and if possible, with the approval of the chief justice. The said treaty having been negotiated and drawn up in the English language, it was understood and agreed that all disputes arising under it, should be decided by the English text.

The undersigned further agreed that a separate and secret article should be framed and added to the treaty, providing effectually for the prevention of anarchy and the preservation of peace and order, in case the emergency contemplated in the preamble should suddenly occur, without which the treaty itself would fail in one of its main objects.

  • R. C. Wyllie,
  • D. L. Gregg.
Protocol No. 12.

The undersigned met in the office of the minister of foreign affairs at 2 p.m. on Monday, September 4th. The undersigned compared their respective copies of the treaty, which they had agreed to, subject to the King’s approval on the 19th of August.

Immediately afterwards they discussed and agreed to the separate and secret article provided for in Protocol No. 11, and added the same to the said copies of the treaty.

Whereupon the undersigned agreed that the treaty was completed for submission to the King, in conformity with His Majesty’s instructions to Mr. Wyllie of the 21st of February, 1854, and they adjourned to meet again as occasion may require.


Honolulu, September 27, 1854.

From appendix to Protocol 7, containing civil list, as follows:

[Page 624]
The King $10,000
The Queen 1,000
H. R. H. Liholiho 2,000
Prince Lot Kamehameha 800
C. Kanaina 800
K. Kopaakea 800
B. Namakeha 800
I. Kaeo 800
A. Paki (chamberlain) 1,000
John Young (minister of interior) 4,000
M. Kekuanaoa (governor of Oahu) 2,500
P. Nahaolelua (governor of Maui) 1,500
G. L. Kapeau (governor of Hawaii) $1,200
P. Kanoa (governor or Kauai) 1,200
John Li (second associate justice supreme court) 2,000
J. Kekaulahao (second associate justice supreme court) 1,500
J. Piikoi (clerk Honolulu Market) 1,000


Letter from Wyllie to Lee of March 8, 1854.

At the last privy council on the 6th I announced the fact that the consul-general Miller and Mr. Perrin had received by last mail dispatches from their respective Governments fully approving of their joint address of the 1st of September, stating that each Government had written to the United States Government on the subject, inviting the latter to join Great Britain and France in a tripartite treaty to support the independence and neutrality of this Kingdom, and ordering the consul-general and Mr. Perrin to act in concert.

Mr. Wyllie then speaks of an alleged conspiracy of Government clerks in the legislature to oust him from office, of which C. C. Harris was said to be the leader. He adds: “I think a feeling is being industriously propagated that I am the only bar to annexation. Upon that point, I believe, my opinion and sense of duty agree fully with your own, and, as far as I can judge, Prince Liholiho and all my colleagues agree with us.”

Wyllie to Lee, June 23, 1854.

The treaty is now before Liholiho, with all the amendments suggested by you. To be able to save the King and chiefs and people at a moment’s warning, it is desirable that the treaty should be concluded diplomatically, I mean signed by the plenipotentiaries, but subject to future ratification. Armstrong’s zeal presses the letter with indiscreet haste, and I fear makes everything known to J. and B. Armstrong’s grand idea is that you and I should go to Washington with the treaty ratified here, to have it ratified there.

It would, no doubt, be very convenient to some people to get rid both of you, me, and of Allen, too; but the question is, would the King’s honor and the rights of the natives be as safe in other hands, or when a treaty is made as a safeguard against sudden treason or rebellion, is there any place so proper for the King’s ratification as his own court, where the danger would first be felt, or any form more proper or decorous than that the act of ratification should be witnessed and signed by all who have signed the powers and protocols from the first by the King’s own desire. To my mind the treaty admits of no dispute whatever, but I should like to know yours.

Lee to Wyllie, July 5, 1854.

The treaty should be concluded at once, so that we may be prepared for emergeneies. but I agree with you about the final ratification.

Wyllie to Lee, July 11, 1854.

Liholiho keeps out of the way and has not returned the treaties, though I have often asked for them. Of my draft I have no copy. Unless I perform the duty which on the 6th of February was imposed on me imperatively, if any sudden emergency were to occur, I would be subject to blame. Therefore one of two things; [Page 625] either I must perform that duty or the royal order must be withdrawn. The final ratification is quite another matter. That I would be as unwilling to press on the King, except in the presence of an immediate emergency, as you would be.

Under such a clear necessity colonial subjection to any European power would not be so favorable to the interests of the islands as their admission as a sovereign State of the United States. There are no markets in Europe likely to afford such a consumption of island produce at high prices as those of California and Oregon.

Besides, contiguity and the superior magnitude of present interests in the islands are considerations not to be overlooked. This view of mine I made known to the consul-general fully and frankly in 1851 or 1852. In judging of such abstract questions I know of no nationality whatever. Under a pressing necessity I would advise the King to annex himself and his Kingdom to Japan if I thought that it would be best for him, the prince, the chiefs, the Hawaiians generally, and the future interests of the islands as an agricultural and mercantile state.

But to the treasonable creation of a necessity for the extinction of the native sovereignty I never will be a party. As the house of representatives is going on it appears to me that they will bring on the necessity soon enough, although all we ministers remain faithful to our oaths up to the very moment of its supervention.

Such are my views, and from what I can recollect of our confidential conference at Rosebank, in January last, I think you will not be far different. Hoping soon to hear that you are better or to see you here, I remain, my dear Lee,

Yours, truly,

R. C. Wyllie.

P. S.—Before the 6th of February last my idea of saving the King from sudden treason and rebellion was always to hoist the united flags of the United States, Great Britain, and France. But our dangers are internal, and a tripartite treaty would fail to keep the King permanently on his throne unless each of the powers were to consent to keep up a permanent garrison of, say, 100 men, in all 300.

Wyllie to Lee, August 23, 1854.

My dear Lee: * * * I am anxious to have your approval before I sign. Reflecting upon the matter, it is a most deplorable thing that we should be driven to give up at the time when our means of governing independently, and that well, too, are so much greater than they were in 1843, our revenue being increased from $18,842 yearly to $326,620.

Our constitution, our laws, and our land tenure are vastly improved since you have been the King’s chief justice. The administration of justice compares favorably with that of California or any of the Southwestern States. Education is more generally diffused than it is in many old nations of great civilization, and the King’s rights of sovereignty and neutrality are fully acknowledged by the great powers of the earth.

Yet all these advantages and ameliorations go for nothing against the secret machinations and agitation of wretches whose loyalty, whose conscience, and whose religion are at the bottom of their pockets, instigated by some half dozen traitors that one month of a strong, energetic government would clear the country of forever. Yet, looking to the King’s safety, and the absence of all physical force to insure it, we have yet to take things as they are, not as they ought to be.

Mem.—Letter about annexation in the New York Tribune July 20, 1854. Gen. Miller and Mr. Perrin much excited by it.

From the King to Wyllie, August 29, 1854.

Sir: Referring you to my orders and instructions relating to the treaty with Mr. Gregg, hearing that it is nearly completed, I order you to send me a copy in native, and a copy of all the protocols in native, that I may consider what amendments and suggestions I may have to make before you sign the treaty.

Kamehameha III.
[Page 626]
Lee to Wyllie, August 29, 1854. Torbertville. (Ulupalakua, Mani.)

My Dear Wyllie: Mr. Ii has just touched here on his way to Hilo, leaving me your notes of August 20 and 23, with a copy of the treaty. You wish, before signing, to have my views of the treaty, and I will give them to you, though I have very little time for reflection. They are briefly as follows: I see no objection to the treaty, except the second article, which strikes me as being indefinite, ambiguous, and, to a certain extent, contradictory. This article is intended to secure a very important point, the most important, in my opinion, involved in the whole treaty, and, as it is now framed, it seems to me to dodge the question, or at least to leave room for future controversy.

It is the wish of the King and chiefs, so far as they have spoken on the subject, to be admitted as a State and not as a Territory, and they must not be deceived by any uncertainty of expression in the treaty. They wish by this article to shield the nation from slavery, and it would be as dishonorable to us as unjust to them to leave so vital a question involved in doubt.

I may not rightly understand this article, but, as I read it, it is left to the American Congress to say when we may be admitted as a State, and that may be one, ten, or twenty years hence. Much as I am in favor of a treaty of this kind, yet knowing as I do the views of the King, chiefs, and people on this subject, it would be treacherous and criminal in me to let this point pass unnoticed. In my opinion the article should read that the Hawaiian Islands shall be incorporated into the American Union, not as Territory, but as a State, etc., and omitting the clause “and admitted as such as soon,” etc.

The conditions and requirements precedent to our admission as a State, if any, should be distinctly specified. In my opinion, as the article now stands, it leaves room for any amount of delay and double dealing, and does not meet the wishes of the King and chiefs.

In what I have said I mean no reflection whatever on Mr. Gregg, who doubtless intended and understands this article in a sense fair and just to the Hawaiian nation, but it may be left to others, perhaps less honorable than himself, to give it a construction. I can not tell you how much I should regret throwing the slightest obstacle in the way of the conclusion of this treaty, but I should be false to my own conscience and to the nation I serve, to keep silence.

The treaty has been greatly modified since I saw it, and perhaps for the better in all respects, except the article above mentioned. I am sorry you did not send me a copy of it at an earlier date. I shall write to Liholiho, giving him authority to act as my proxy, and referring him to this letter for my views. I shall return to Honolulu in two or three weeks, and if there is no pressing emergency, why not postpone the matter until I can make my views more fully known? Of course I write you this in confidence, but I wish you to show it to Mr. Allen, Mr. Armstrong, Liholiho, and Mr. Young. I should not say “in confidence,” if I had not heard from several sources that the doings of the cabinet and Mr. Gregg in this matter were town talk.

Wyllie to Lee, November 14, 1854.

We seek from the United States some other remedy than revolvers at our ears and bowie knives at our breasts. If the United States authorities can not protect us from such comforters before annexation, what hope we reasonably after annexation? This is the common-sense view of the case, and I wonder that Gregg and Dornin don’t see it.

Wyllie to Lee, November 15, 1854.

My Dear Lee: While in the middle of my preceding note of this same date Mr. Young brought down a fresh order from the King dated yesterday, suggesting certain amendments in the treaty. We had a meeting of the cabinet upon the order, and have requested Armstrong to prepare a careful translation of it, to be considered to-morrow at 10 a.m.

The effect will be to justify Mr. Gregg in assuming that if the amendments suggested by the King be adopted he virtually pledges himself to ratify the treaty.

Now, are we prepared for this, after the new phase given to things by Mr. Gregg and Capt. Dorrin themselves, Well known to you—commented on in my accompanying note, especially after the alternative, put to us by Mr. Gregg himself in the [Page 627] separate dispatch of the 22d September (which you saw), to be either off or on with the treaty?

How otherwise can we understand the following:

“I am authorized to insist upon the conclusion of such negotiations according to diplomatic usage. The alternative seems to me plain and imperative. This result must be consummated or I shall feel myself obliged to withdraw from any further negotiations, and to declare those which have already taken place at an end.”

And still more objectionable is the following, because it seems to imply a threat and license for the fillibusters to overthrow us: “The strong arm of the United States has been solicited for your protection. It has been kindly extended and held out, until at length self-respect must soon dictate its withdrawal.” What think you of that? I must confess that I regret that the King has sent me the order (which, however, with the consent of my colleagues, I will respectfully obey) before we had all in presence of the King, Liholiho, and yourself, considered whether “self-respect” after undisguised intimidation attempted, does not require us to do something very different to what they would drive us to by intimidation.

We never in this world will have such an opportunity to take dignified ground. We can take it now with absolute safety to the King and national sovereignty. But good has arisen out of intended evil. Are we to miss the opportunity or turn it to the King’s advantage? I have no time to write to Liholiho, but you will inform him of everything. Let me know as soon as possible what you think. Mr. Young and I unite in begging you not to attempt so much labor in one day. Calculate carefully your strength, and measure your work accordingly.

Yours, truly,

R. C. Wyllie.

P. S.—Yesterday Consul-General Miller and Perrin promised to send instantly, when required, all the disposable force of the Trincomalee and Artemise, and to-day Mr. Gregg handed to me a note from Capt. Dornin, promising to land 200 men, fully armed.

Wyllie to Lee, November 26, 1854.

The effect of the application authorized by the cabinet and by the King for assistance, when the danger threatened, has been to elicit from the commissioners of France and the United States and the consul-general of Great Britain such assurances as to amount virtually to a tripartite military protectorate of the King, if His Majesty should be pleased so to understand the official offers severally made.

Would it not be well for the King to take that ground, to proclaim the fact, to make the treaty public (which Mr. Gregg, it appears, has already submitted, to the cognizance of the United States officers here, of American residents here, and even of filibusters from California), and to advise as to his present and future policy with the Governments of the three great naval powers of the world? If we take this ground we sacrifice no right of the King, we do not necessarily lose the treaty, we free ourselves effectually from all violence and threatenings of violence, and we obtain another and, I think, a very good chance of preserving the King and the native dynasty in the enjoyment of their natural rights as the sovereign rulers of this land.

After the threats made and the ridicule thrown upon our means of resistance, we have agreed to make something of a military demonstration on the anniversary of the28th.

There is not one of us who doubts our present perfect safety, and the promises officially made to us. We now stand on strong ground; we can breathe freely; we can efficiently put down all filibusters, rebels, and traitors. Are we to show ourselves equal to the emergency or not? This is for you and the privy council to consider, and for us all to consider. * * *

If the negotiation is to go on with Mr. Gregg one thing I must insist upon, which is, that pending the negotiation he, as Commissioner of the United States, must bind himself to keep American citizens quiet. No treaty can be made under duress. If made so it is not valid.

R. C. Wyllie.
Letter from Mr. Gregg of September 12.

Complaining of procrastination in regard to the treaty which he said was completed August 19 satisfactorily.

Remonstrates again November 1 as above.

[Page 628]
Wyllie to Capt. Dornin, November 27, 1854.

My Dear Sir: It was only this day that I heard that you were to leave us so soon. I am sorry that your departure has become necessary, and having the utmost regard for you personally I am anxious that you should not retire under a wrong impression of my feeling in-consequence of the communications made to me on the 11th and 12th instant.

The one hundred and fifty-seventh section of Vattel, chapter 12, book 2, is as follows:

“A treaty is valid if there be no defect in the manner in which it has been concluded; and for this purpose nothing more can be required than a sufficient power in the contracting parties and their mutual consent sufficiently declared.”

Therefore, by international law the highly confidential and delicate negotiation between Mr. Gregg and me, in progress since the 6th of February, became suspended under the coercion made known on the 11th and 12th instant.

Who is it who has seen the proclamation of the President against filibustering to Cuba, his proclamation of the 18th of January, 1854, against unlawful expeditions in the Pacific, his inaugural message, and the official declarations of preceding administrations relating to these islands in particular, that could doubt for one moment that if the President, had he heard what I heard on the 11th and 12th, he would not instantly have ordered that all negotiations should be suspended until they could be honorably resumed after every trace of coercion had been removed and the King’s liberty to consent or not to consent fully and unquestionably reestablished.

The only course that I could pursue under circumstances, the parallel of which, as far as I know, is not to be found in the history of any other nation, and certainly never in the past experience of this humble Kingdom, is unmistakably designated in the above quotation of Vattel, and in Chapter xviii, sections 200, 201, 202.

Respect to the United States Government, duty to the King and to my colleagues, and, I may add, to myself, all alike required, in the most imperative manner, that the unlawful threats of foreign intruders should be instantly met by the most determined resistance.

In less than forty-eight hours we were prepared, effectually and certainly to put down the insurrectionary attempt that was threatened, even had it come upon us in the formidable shape in which it was represented. With the assistance kindly promised by yourself, through the Hon. David Gregg, and that which was promptly promised by others, the result of a struggle could not have been doubtful, the rights of the King would have been vindicated, and from all I have seen of the generous and merciful character of His Majesty I would venture to say that the prisoners would have experienced at his hands a clemency so much beyond what the law and usage of nations allow in such cases as would have filled them with remorse for having ever attempted and conspired to overturn his throne.

I speak in the supposition that such men can be susceptible of generous and ennobling sentiments, which, considering the designs imputed to them where they neither had suffered nor could have suffered any wrong whatever, may be very doubtful. Ever since I have been on these islands I have welcomed the ingress of American citizens; I have made it a rule, even in political debate, never to be wanting in personal respect to those who held diplomatic or consular commissions from the President; but I have no such feeling of respect or consideration for filibusters; and if for that I am to be blamed, then let the censure commence with the President himself, for my sentiments correspond with his proclamations, and so, I hope, will ever my acts.

In a private note like this I am forced to speak of myself only; I have no right to put words in the mouths of my colleagues, but I know them to be at heart gentlemen and men of honor, and if you believed them to be such in every point of their official duty to the King, you can foretell precisely what course they will pursue. I am quite sure that you, whose prompt and energetic conduct in the Peninsula of “Bassa California” will be recorded in history as one of the brightest pages, in a moral sense, of the annals of the brave American navy, can never blame those gentlemen born in your own country, who act with me as the joint depositaries of the confidence of King Kamehameha III, for uniting their efforts with mine, with the protection of God and of all the friends whom the Almighty had given to us to repel with loathing, disgust, and indignation all filibusters who may come among us with the insolent pretension of throwing the weight of their revolvers into the balance of our honorable deliberations.

Since the 12th you have several times remarked that I was too much excited. I beg to assure you that neither then nor since have I known any excitement whatever, beyond that of a strong indignation. As for fear, I never had one particle of it: but I can assure you that, had I yielded to such an unworthy impulse and debased myself to the degree of surrendering the King’s rights under the threats of filibusters, and in accordance with the advice of those residents, seemingly acting [Page 629] in connivance with them, my own dearest relations in Scotland would have shunned me as a filthy thing, and if my American-born colleagues had permitted me to make that ignominious surrender, more plainly to perpetrate the treason, the stigma of Arnold would have clung to them and to me in every part of the United States during life.

I hope negotiations will soon be resumed on the honorable basis on which they were commenced, and free from the influence or control of parties who never ought to have known anything about them. It was to you only that I approved of cognizance being given.

I remain, my dear sir, yours ever truly,

R. C. Wyllie.
Gregg to Wyllie, January 26, 1856.

Sir; It is my duty to inclose to you a copy of a letter addressed to me yesterday by Commander Bailey, of U. S. S. St. Mary’s, relative to the proclamation of the late King, issued on the 8th of December last. I can not suppose that there is any misunderstanding on the part of the Hawaiian Government as to the precise extent and meaning of Capt. Dornin’s offer of aid. It had reference to the special emergency apprehended about the middle of November, and, of course, fell to the ground with the dangers which it was designed to ward off. Neither he nor I had any authority to enter into an arrangement looking beyond the crisis then supposed to be immediately impending.

Our action was strictly pro hac vice and to that extent alone. Popular construction gives to the proclamation a sense which could never have been officially intended. It bears date long after the apprehensions of violence had ceased to exist, and when the independence of the Islands was supposed to be “more firmly established than ever before.” The formal acceptance of offers of assistance made three weeks previously could only have been designed as an act of courtesy and acknowledgment to the powers whose friendly intentions had been manifested on an occasion when they were peculiarly acceptable.

Such was my view of it, founded, as I supposed, upon a just appreciation of facts. Had I thought that the existence of a permanent tripartite protection was designed to be intimated, my protest against such an inference would have been prompt, imperative, and unqualified. Such a thing was never thought of on my part, and could not have been understood from any circumstance which transpired, officially or otherwise. As the proclamation is still kept standing in the columns of the “Polynesian” newspaper, I must beg to inquire how far it is to be understood as assuming an existing guaranty of protection by the United States of America. I am anxious to remove all occasion of misapprehension and to preserve unimpaired not only the substance but the semblance of entire good faith and perfect concord, etc.

David L. Gregg.

Capt. Bailey wrote as follows:

“It would appear from the proclamation that England, France, and the United States had agreed to a joint protectorate of the late King. Such an agreement would have been directly opposed to the policy that has ever been maintained by the United States, and would be in direct violation of the course adopted in refusing to unite with England and France in securing the possession of Cuba to Spain. * * *.”


Whereas it has come to my knowledge from the highest official sources that my Government has been recently threatened with overthrow by lawless violence, and whereas the representatives at my court of the United States, Great Britain, and France, being cognizant of these threats, have offered me the prompt assistance of the naval forces of their respective countries, I hereby proclaim my acceptance of the aid thus proffered in support of my sovereignty. My independence is more firmly established than ever before.

Keoni Ana.
Palace, December 8, 1854.

Kamehameha III.

R. C. Wyllie.
[Page 630]
Extract from an address delivered by Judge Lee before the Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society in August, 1850.

Until within the last year the Hawaiian held his land as a mere tenant at sufferance subject to be dispossessed at any time it might suit the will or caprice of his chief or that of his oppressive luna. Of what avail was it to the common people to raise more than enough to supply the immediate wants of their subsistence? Would the surplus belong to them, or furnish the means of future independence! Far from it.

It would go to add to the stores of their despotic lords, who claimed an absolute right in all their property, and who periodically sent forth their hordes of lunas to scour the country and plunder the people, without the shadow of right or mercy. Often did these ravagers, these land-pirates, leave the poor makaainana (peasant) with little else than his maro (breechcloth), his digger, and his calabash. I thank God that these things are now at an end, and that the poor Kanaka may now stand on the border of his little taro patch, and, holding his fee-simple title in his hand, bid defiance to the world. Yes, I thank God that He has moved the hearts of the King and chiefs of these islands to let the oppressed go free.