Mr. Willis to Mr. Gresham.

No. 84.]

Sir: I confirm my telegram of this day’s date.1

The principal half-white Hawaiian rebels, Nowlein, Bert elm aim, Warren, and others, upon the promise of the Government to spare their lives, have undertaken to disclose everything connected with the recent revolt. Their evidence before the military commission now in session is that the original plans were submitted by Nowlein to Maj. Charles T. Gulick, Maj. W. T. Seward, and W. H. Ricard. Major Gulick was twice a cabinet minister under the Monarchy. Major Seward has been for many years the business agent of John A. Cummins, one of the three representatives of the ex-Queen, recently at Washington. Messrs. Gulick and Seward claim never to have renounced their allegiance to the United States Government. Mr. Ricard was an officeholder under the Monarchy and is an Englishman. His family, consisting of wife and 16 children, reside in the Island of Hawaii, where he once had large sugar interests.

The plan said to have been submitted to these persons by Nowlein was to march toward the palace in separate squads, occupying the adjoining streets and preventing the assembling of the citizens’ guard. It seemed to be the opinion of Mr. Nowlein that the troops in charge of the executive building would thereupon surrender. For the above purpose, two boxes containing 80 revolvers, together with 288 Winchester carbines, .44 caliber, with a range of 800 yards, had been landed. The guns were concealed in the sand and bushes about 5 miles from this city, near Waikiki. The Government had no information of the landing of these arms until January 6. The inarch upon the city, as finally determined upon, was to begin at 1 o’clock on the morning of Monday the 7th. The police raid upon Bertelmann’s house at Waikiki, when Mr. Carter was killed, disconcerted the plans of the revolutionists. After the skirmish there a retreat was made to the adjoining mountains. The prompt and vigorous measures taken by the Government, coupled with the failure of any sympathetic demonstration in the city, caused an immediate abandonment of the whole scheme. After Monday the main effort of the rebels seems to have been to find some one to whom they could safely surrender. The desultory firing on Monday and Tuesday was without fatal results to either side.

The feature of the rebellion which has caused most bitterness was the discovery of some iron and cement bombs. The evidence showed that 20 of these, of iron, about 2½ inches in diameter, were manufactured, of which about 16 were available. Twenty-one made of cement are claimed [Page 819] to have been found at the residence of the ex-Queen. The only evidence which has been presented as to these latter is that of Walker, who filled them, and who stated that they had been there for the past year or more, and were intended for the protection of the ex-Queen’s residence during that period, she fearing mob violence. The iron bombs were, he stated, to be used for military purposes, in effecting a landing of the arms, if an attempt had been made to prevent it, or in dislodging the troops from the station house and executive building. In 1889, during the native revolt, headed by Wilcox, when they succeeded in reaching the palace grounds, and when the efforts of the sharpshooters, consisting of the leading white citizens, had failed, Wilcox and his band were dislodged by dynamite bombs thrown from a distance into the palace yard. The report that the bombs in the present rebellion were to be thrown into private dwellings and churches for the indiscriminate slaughter of noncombatants, including women and children, naturally excited the greatest horror and indignation, and is largely responsible for the excited condition of affairs here. The absence of any direct evidence on the subject, the infamous savagery of such an attack, so inconsistent with the humane and civilized conditions resulting from half a century of enlightened religious teaching, have caused the more conservative and thoughtful citizens to discredit the extreme views of this subject, and to believe that the use of these bombs was for legitimate warfare, and probably prompted by the recollection of the effective service rendered by them in 1889. These are also the views of the foreign representatives.

A military commission, consisting of seven members, was convened on the 17th instant. The president is the Hon. W. A. Whiting, who was attorney-general under the Monarchy, and is now one of the circuit judges. The others are officers of the national guard. Up to this date 38 persons have been tried, of whom five claim to be citizens of the United States, one is an Englishman, and the others are half whites and Hawaiians.

On the afternoon of the 26th instant, upon invitation, I attended a cabinet meeting, consisting of President Dole, Mr. Smith, attorney-general and minister of foreign affairs ad interim; Mr. Damon, minister of finance, and Mr. King, minister of the interior. The British commissioner was also present by invitation. The President read the findings and sentences of the military commission in the cases of Messrs. Gulick, Seward, Ricard, and Walker. They were found guilty upon all the charges, and the sentence of death was pronounced upon the first three. Mr. Walker was sentenced to imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of $5,000. Mr. Walker married a daughter of Hon. John A. Cummins. The President stated these findings and sentences were now before him for final action, and asked the British commissioner and myself whether we desired to be heard upon the questions involved. As these questions are yet pending, and will I hope be soon submitted to the consideration of our Government, I will hot now repeat what further occurred. I requested that copies of the record be furnished to our Government, that it might determine its duty in the premises. The President suggested that I submit the request in writing, which I did on the 28th, a copy of which I inclose. To this no reply has yet been received.

The excitement has been very great both among the friends and opponents of the Government. The threats of mob violence became so open and the resolutions of many of the squads of soldiers were so urgent that I felt it to be my duty to call the attention of the Government [Page 820] to them. Its reply was that it was cognizant of the situation and had taken due steps to prevent any outbreak. The arrival of the Philadelphia will, of course, have a good effect, as this Government, if it so desired, would have the aid of our Government under proper conditions. I have been in daily attendance upon the military commission and will continue to attend until all who are or who claim to be citizens of the United States have been tried.

On the 16th instant the ex-Queen was arrested and is a prisoner in the executive building, formerly the palace. On the 24th instant she sent to this Government a letter, which I inclose, surrendering whatever claims, political or otherwise, she possessed. The reply of the Government, a copy of which I inclose, was sent to her yesterday.

With renewed assurances, etc.,

Albert S. Willis.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 84.]

Mr. Willis to Mr. Batch.

Sir: I have the honor to request of your Government copies of the record in the cases of United States citizens tried, and to be tried, before the military commission now in session. I do this in order that before final sentence is pronounced, my Government may have an opportunity to consider the questions of law and facts involved and determine its duty in the premises.

On submitting this request, permit me to congratulate you upon the speedy reestablishment of internal peace to the country, and to express the friendly hope and belief that by its magnanimity in triumph, and by its wise and conservative action upon the solemn problems yet pending, your Government will still further establish its claim to a high place among the humane, stable, and civilized nations of the world.

Availing, etc.,

Albert S. Willis.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 84.]

Liliuokalani Dominis to President Bole.

Sir: After full and free consultation with my personal friends and with my legal advisers, both before and since my detention by military order in the executive building, and acting in conformity with their advice and also upon my own free volition, and in pursuance of my unalterable belief and understanding of my duty to the people of Hawaii and to their highest and best interests, and also for the sake of those misguided Hawaiians and others who have recently engaged in rebellion against the Republic and in an attempt to restore me to the position of Queen, which I held prior to the 17th day of January, A. I). 1893, and without any claim that I shall become entitled, by reason of anything that I may now say or do, to any other or different treatment or consideration at the hands of the Government than I otherwise could and might legally receive, I now desire to express and make known to yourself, as the only lawful and recognized head of the Government, and to all the people of the Hawaiian Islands, whether or not [Page 821] they have yet become citizens of the Republic or are or have been adherents of the late Monarchy, and also to all diplomatic and other foreign representatives in the Hawaiian Islands, to all of whom I respectfully request you to cause this statement and action of mine to be made known as soon as may be, as follows, namely:

  • First. In order to avoid any possibility of doubt or misunderstanding on the subject, although I do not think that any doubt or misunderstanding is either proper or possible, I hereby do fully and unequivocally admit and declare that the Government of the Republic of Hawaii is the only lawful Government of the Hawaiian Islands, and that the late Hawaiian Monarchy is finally and forever ended, and no longer of any legal or actual validity, force, or effect whatsoever; and I do hereby forever absolve all persons whomsoever, whether in the Hawaiian Islands or elsewhere, from all and every manner of allegiance, or official obligation or duty, to me and my heirs and successors forever, and I hereby declare to all such persons in the Hawaiian Islands that I consider them as bound in duty and honor henceforth to support and sustain the Government of the Republic of Hawaii.
  • Second. For myself, my heirs and successors, I do hereby and without any mental reservation or modification, and fully, finally, unequivocally, irrevocably, and forever abdicate, renounce, and release unto the Government of the Republic of Hawaii and its legitimate successors forever all claims or pretensions whatsoever to the late throne of Hawaii, or to the late Monarchy of Hawaii, or to any past, or to the existing, or to any future Government of Hawaii, or under or by reason of any present or formerly existing constitution, statute, law, position, right, or claim of any and every kind, name, or nature whatsoever, and whether the same consist of pecuniary or property considerations, or of personal status, hereby forever renouncing, disowning, and disclaiming all rights, claims, demands, privileges, honors, emoluments, titles, and prerogatives whatsoever, under or by virtue of any former or the existing Government, constitution, statute, law, or custom of the Hawaiian Islands whatsoever, save and excepting only such rights and privileges as belong to me in common with all private citizens of or residents in the Republic of Hawaii.
  • Third. I do hereby respectfully implore for such misguided Hawaiians and others as have been concerned in the late rebellion against the Republic of Hawaii such degree of executive clemency as the Government may deem to be consistent with its duty to the community, and such as a due regard for its violated laws may permit.
  • Fourth. It is my sincere desire henceforth to live in absolute privacy and retirement from all publicity, or even appearance of being concerned in the public affairs of the Hawaiian Islands, further than to express, as I now do and shall always continue to do, my most sincere hope for the welfare and prosperity of its people, under and subject to the Government of the Republic of Hawaii.
  • Fifth. I hereby offer and present my duly certified oath of allegiance to the Republic of Hawaii.
  • Sixth. I have caused the foregoing statement to be prepared and drawn, and have signed the same without having received the slightest suggestion from the President of Hawaii, or from any member of the Government of Hawaii, concerning the same or any part thereof, or concerning any action or course of my own in the premises.

Relying upon the magnanimity of the Government of the Republic and upon its protection,

I have the honor to be, Mr. President, your most obedient servant,

Liliuokalani Dominis.

[Page 822]

On the 24th day of January, A. D. 1895, the foregoing was in our presence read over and considered carefully and deliberately by Liliuokalani Dominis, and she, the said Liliuokalani Dominis, thereupon in our presence declared the same to be her free act and deed, in witness whereof we have at the request of the said Liliuokalani Dominis, and in her presence, hereunto subscribed our names as attesting witnesses, at the executive building, in Honolulu, on the Island of Oahu, this 24th day of January, A. D. 1895.

  • Wm. G. Irwin.
  • H. A. Widemann.
  • Samuel Parker.
  • J. Kalua Kahookano.
  • C. B. Wilson.
  • Paul Neumann.

Honolulu, Island of Oahu, ss:

On this 24th day of January, A. D. 1895, personally appeared before me Liliuokalani Dominis, known to me to be the person described in and who executed the foregoing instrument, who acknowledged to me that she executed the same freely and voluntarily, and for the uses and purposes therein set forth.

[seal.] W. L. Stanley,
Notary Public.

Honolulu, Island of Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, ss:

I, Liliuokalani Dominis, do solemnly swear, in the presence of Almighty God, that I will support the constitution, laws, and Government of the Republic of Hawaii, and will not, either directly or indirectly, encourage or assist in the restoration or establishment of a monarchical form of government in the Hawaiian Islands.

W. L. Stanley,
Notary Public.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 84]

Mr. Smith to Liliuokalani Dominis.

Madam: A document executed by you, purporting to contain an abdication and renunciation of all sovereign rights heretofore claimed by you, has been delivered on your behalf to the President.

As you were under arrest at the time this instrument was signed, it is desired, before accepting and placing the same on file, to make clear to you, in order that no misunderstanding may hereafter arise, the views of the Government in this matter:

The execution of this document can not be taken to exempt you in the slightest degree from personal and individual liability for such complicity as due investigation and trial may show that you had in the late conspiracy against the Government and the consequent loss of life; which position is recognized by you in your letter.
It can not be conceded that such rights and claims as you now voluntarily relinquish have had any legal existence since January 14, 1893, when by your public announcement that you no longer considered yourself bound by the fundamental law of the land under which you took office, and by your acts in attempting by the mere exercise of your own will to establish a new system of government, the contract existing between you and the people was dissolved, and all sovereign rights theretofore vested in you were lost. The statement by members of your then cabinet that they could not control your proposed action and their appeal to citizens of Honolulu for assistance was the next step which led to a resumption by the people of the rights of government.
So far as your communication may be taken as a notice to the disaffected that it is your desire that the Republic shall be recognized by them as the sole and lawful Government of the country it is fully appreciated. In this connection your unselfish appeal for clemency for those who took part in the late insurrection will receive full consideration.

By order of the executive council:

William O. Smith,
Attorney General.