special commissioners to Mr. Foster.
Sir: We have the honor to hereby inform you that by order of his excellency Sanford B. Dole, president and minister of foreign affairs of the executive council of the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands and of the executive council of such Government, Messrs. L. A. Thurston, W. C. Wilder, W. R. Castle, J. Marsden, and C. L. Carter have been constituted and appointed special commissioners to the President of the United States, with instructions to proceed forthwith to Washington and there to represent to the President and Government of the United States of America the facts leading up to and concerning the establishment of the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands, and to request from such Government of the United States of America that the acknowledgment and recognition of such Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands heretofore given to such Provisional Government by his excellency John L. Stevens, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America at Hawaii, may be confirmed by the President and Government of the United States of America.
And also the said commissioners are instructed and fully authorized and empowered by the said Provisional Government to negotiate a treaty between the said Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands and the Government of the United States of America, by the terms of which full and complete political union may be secured between the United States of America and the Hawaiian Islands.
In accordance with such instructions we hereby present for your consideration a brief statement of the principal facts leading up to and concerning the establishment of the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands, as follows:
On Saturday, the 14th of January, ultimo, Her Majesty Liliuokalani Queen of the Hawaiian Kingdom, attempted with force to abrogate the existing constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom and promulgate a new constitution. Such attempt was resisted by her cabinet, whom she threatened with violence. She finally desisted from her attempt to immediately promulgate the proposed constitution, announcing in two public speeches, however, that she had not abandoned such project, but would carry the same into effect “within a few days.”
All of the military and police forces of the Kingdom being directly under the control of the personal adherents of the Queen, the cabinet appealed to citizens for protection and support against the proposed aggression. The citizens rallied in opposition to the project of the Queen, and at a public meeting appointed a committee of public safety, [Page 225] of thirteen members, to consider the situation and devise ways and means for the maintenance of the public peace and the protection of life and property.
After considering the situation, such committee called a public meeting of citizens on Monday, the 16th of said January. Such meeting was duly held, to the number of about fifteen hundred of the leading citizens. A report by such committee was submitted to such meeting, recommending the adoption of certain resolutions. Such resolutions were unanimously adopted. A copy of such report and resolutions, marked Inclosure A, is herewith submitted.
A few hours before such meeting a proclamation was issued by the Queen and cabinet, a copy of which is inclosed herewith and marked Inclosure B.
On the afternoon of the same day, the Queen then having about four hundred men under arms and the people being in open preparation for dethroning her, with every indication of a conflict, the United States troops landed and a guard was stationed at the American consulate and legation and the remainder were quartered in a public hall hired for that purpose.
They neither then nor at any time since have taken any part either for or against the Queen or the Provisional Government.
After full consideration by the said committee and consultation with leading citizens of all nationalities, it was the unanimous opinion of such committee and citizens that the statements of fact in such proclamation did not detract from the necessity for action, and the undertaking therein contained was deemed unreliable; and for the reasons briefly set forth in such above-mentioned report of the committee of safety and resolutions, and also in the proclamation hereunder referred to, there was no longer any possibility of efficiently and permanently maintaining the public peace and the protection of life, liberty, and property in Hawaii under the existing system of government, and that the only method of maintaining such permanent peace and security was by securing the assistance and support of the Government of the United States, or some other foreign power possessed of sufficient force to prevent the future possibility of revolution or despotic assumption of power in derogation of the rights of the people.
In accordance with such conclusion, such committee, representing almost the entire property and intelligence of the Hawaiian Islands, on the 17th day of said January issued a proclamation abrogating the monarchy, deposing Queen Liliuokalani, and establishing a Provisional Government, “to exist until terms of union with the United States of America have been negotiated and agreed upon,” a copy of which proclamation, marked Inclosure C, is submitted herewith.
Immediately after such proclamation such Provisional Government took possession of the city of Honolulu, including the Government buildings, the archives and the treasury, and within a few hours thereafter received surrender of all the military and police forces, thereby coming into full possession of the Kingdom.
Immediately after such possession had been obtained notification thereof was given to the representatives of all foreign countries represented at Honolulu, accompanied by the request that such representatives extend to said Provisional Government their recognition.
In reply to such request the representative of the United States of America accorded such recognition upon the same day that it was requested, to wit, the 17th of said January, and oh the following day recognition of such Provisional Government was made by the representatives [Page 226] of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Russia, Spain, Norway and Sweden, The Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Mexico, Chile, Peru, and China; and on the following day, to wit, the 19th of said January, recognition of such Provisional Government was extended by the representatives of France and Portugal. Copies of the acknowledgments of the said representatives of foreign Governments, with the exception of those of the representatives of Portugal and France, which were received too late to obtain copies thereof, are inclosed herewith, marked Inclosure D.
In further pursuance of such instructions we hereby request that the acknowledgment and recognition of the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands by the representative of the United States of America at Hawaii may be confirmed by the Government of the United States of America.
And also in farther pursuance of such instructions we herewith present a communication from the said executive council of the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands to Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States of America, informing him of the appointment of the above-named L. A. Thurston, W. C. Wilder, W. R. Castle, J. Marsden, and C. L. Carter as special commissioners with full power and authority to negotiate and agree upon the terms of a union of the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands and the Government of the United States of America, the original of which is inclosed herewith and marked Inclosure E.
The commissions of the said above-named gentlemen, as such special commissioners for the purpose aforesaid, are also inclosed herewith for inspection, and marked Inclosure F.
In further pursuance of such instructions, we also hereby request that a treaty may be concluded between the Government of the United States of America and the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands, by the terms of which full and complete political union may be secured between the United States of America and the Hawaiian Islands, and for that purpose we hereby request that negotiations may be opened between the representatives of the Government of the United States of America and the said special commissioners on behalf of the Provisional Government.
In further pursuance of such instructions, we also herewith submit a copy of a protest made by her ex-majesty Queen Liliuokalani against the action of the said Provisional Government, which is marked Inclosure G.
We have the honor, etc.,
- L. A. Thurston,
- W. C. Wilder,
- Wm. R. Castle,
- J. Marsden,
- Charles L. Carter,
Special Commissioners of the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands.