The Secretary of State to the agents of the Sandwich Islands.

Gentlemen: I have received the letter which you did me the honor to address to me, under date of the 14th instant, stating that you had been commissioned to represent in the United States the Government of the Hawaiian Islands, inviting the attention of this Government to the relations between the two countries, and intimating a desire for a recognition of the Hawaiian Government by that of the United States.

Your communication has been laid before the President, and by him considered.

The advantages of your country to the navigators in the Pacific, and in particular to the numerous vessels and vast tonnage of the United States frequenting that sea, are fully estimated; and just acknowledgments are due to the Government and inhabitants of the islands for their numerous acts of hospitality to the citizens of the United States.

The United States have regarded the existing authorities in the Sandwich Islands as a Government suited to the condition of the people, and resting on their own choice; and the President is of opinion that the interests of all the commercial nations require that that Government should not be interfered with by foreign powers. Of the vessels which visit the Islands, it is known that a great majority belong to the United States. The United States, therefore, are more interested in the fate of the islands, and of their Government, than any other nation can be; and this consideration induces the President to be quite willing to declare, as the sense of the Government of the United States, that the Government of the Sandwich Islands ought to be respected; that no power ought either to take possession of the islands as a conquest, or for the purpose of colonization, and that no power ought to seek for any undue control over the existing Government, or any exclusive privileges or preferences in matters of commerce.

Entertaining these sentiments, the President does not see any present necessity for the negotiation of a formal treaty, or the appointment or reception of diplomatic characters. A consul or agent from this [Page 45] Government will continue to reside in the islands. He will receive particular instructions to pay just and careful attention to any claims or complaints which may be brought against the Government or people of the islands by citizens of the United States, and he will also be instructed to receive any complaint which may be made by that Government for acts of individuals (citizens of the United States) on account of which the interference of this Government may be requested, and to transmit such complaint to this Department.

It is not improbable that this correspondence may be made the subject of a communication to Congress, and it will be officially made known to the governments of the principal commercial powers of Europe.

I have the honor to be, gentlemen, your obedient servant,

  • Daniel Webster.
  • Messrs. Timoteo Haalilio and William Richards,