Mr. Calhoun to Mr. Brown.
Washington, January 20, 1845.
Sir: Your dispatches to No. 16, inclusive, have been received. It is to be regretted that a case like that of Mr. John Wiley, to which the last principally relates, should have occurred so soon after the recognition of the Hawaiian Government by that of the United States, Your course in regard to it is approved by the President, who concurs in the views which you express. Notwithstanding the United States have no treaty stipulation with the Government of the islands, they can not, under the circumstances, consent that the privilege of being tried by a jury of foreigners shall be withheld from our citizens while it is accorded [Page 68] to the subjects of Great Britain and Prance. We have every reason to expect our citizens shall have, in the dominions of that Government, the same privileges as the citizens or subjects of the most favored nation. You will accordingly communicate these views to the minister for foreign affairs and repeat, in the name of the Government of the United States, your firm protest against the proceedings of the Hawaiian authorities in regard to Mr. Wiley, assuring him in the strongest terms that the United States will not submit to discrimination so unjust in their nature and so unfriendly in spirit as respects their citizens, and that the Government of the islands will be held responsible for all damages which may have been sustained in this case, or which may hereafter be sustained by citizens of the United States under similar circumstances.
The United States, if it be desired by the Hawaiian Government, are willing to enter into treaty stipulations on the basis of those now existing between it and Great Britain, and I herewith transmit to you full powers to conclude such a convention. But it is to be understood that the treaty is not to bar the claim for damages in the case of Mr. Wiley (if any have been sustained), nor of any citizen or citizens of the United States for injuries accruing prior to its ‘adoption, should it be made. I have further to say that if Great Britain or France should hereafter consent, in cases involving the rights of their respective citizens, to a trial by jury de mediatate lingua, the United States would be willing to make the same concession. But, whether there be or be not treaty stipulations between us and the Islands, the United States can never consent that their citizens should be put on any other footing than those of the most favored nations.
I have the honor to be, with highest respect, sir, your obedient servant,