Mr. Gresham to Mr. Willis.
Washington, February 25, 1895.
With reference to your telegram of the 17th instant, touching the imprisonment or condemnation of numerous persons in connection with the recent disturbance in Hawaii, I observe your statement that 13 American citizens are still in prison without charges and without trial. This Government has no disposition to be exacting with that of Hawaii, especially under present circumstances, but it owes a duty to its citizens to see to it that they are not wantonly subjected to arbitrary treatment. Though martial law has been proclaimed, it does not follow that aliens innocent of participation in the acts which gave rise to its proclamation may be arrested and indefinitely imprisoned without charges and without trial. The existence of martial law, while it may imply the suspension of the methods and guaranties by which justice is ordinarily secured, does not imply a suspension of justice itself. You are instructed to insist to the Hawaiian Government that the American citizens still imprisoned without charges and without trial shall be promptly tried or promptly released.