Mr. Olney to Mr. Willis.

No. 98.]

Sir: The Department’s instruction to you, No. 83, of the 14th ultimo, briefly reviewed certain complaints presented by persons claiming American citizenship and alleging wrongful treatment by the Hawaiian Government during and following the recent disturbances at Honolulu.

As to certain of these persons you were instructed in the Department’s No. 83 to submit further information in the direction indicated for guidance here in determining whether they were entitled to the protection of this Government.

The case of James Dureell is not embarrassed by any such preliminary question. I herewith inclose a copy of his affidavit received here with your dispatch, No. 100, of April 11 last, from which it appears that Dureell was born in the State of Louisiana in 1858, and resided in the United States until September 14, 1894. He then went to Honolulu and obtained temporary employment as a cook at the Arlington Hotel, in that city. On November 8, 1894, he purchased the lease and good will of a cigar store and soda-water and fruit stand, and gradually built up a lucrative business. On the 9th of January last, while quietly seated in his store, he was arrested without explanation or information of any charge against him, confined in jail on common prison fare until the 27th of February following—a period of seven weeks—and then discharged without any trial, charges, explanation, or opportunity of defense; nor has he since his release been informed of the cause of his arrest.

He declares that he has never by word or deed forfeited his allegiance to and his right to protection by this Government; that he has neither done nor spoken anything directly or indirectly against the Government of Hawaii or it laws; that he has never expressed sentiments antagonistic to that Government or in any manner counseled, encouraged, aided, or abetted its enemies either in armed rebellion or secret plotting; and that he never possessed any information which under existing laws it was his duty to report to that Government.

These statements establish, in the opinion of the President, a prima facie claim for substantial indemnity from the Hawaiian Government to Mr. Dureell. You will bring the case to the attention of the Hawaiian authorities, leaving no doubt in their minds of the confidence here felt that the Government of Hawaii will not refuse to tender adequate reparation to this injured citizen of the United States, nor hesitate to take prompt measures to exonorate him from the imputation which this arbitrary treatment has left upon his good name.

I am, etc.,

Richard Olney.
[Page 860]
[Inclosure in No. 98.]

Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, ss:

I, James Dureell, being duly sworn, depose and say, that I am an American citizen, having been born in the city of New Orleans, State of Louisiana, United States of America, in the year 1858. That when 9 years of age I left the said State to reside at Seattle, in the State, then the Territory, of Washington, in which State I resided for about twenty years, and for the six years last past previous to my arrival at Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, on board the Canadian-Australian steamer Warrimoo in September, 1894. Being a cook by profession, I worked for about six weeks at the Arlington Hotel, Honolulu, at my occupation. On November 8 of that year I purchased the lease and good will of a cigar store and soda-water and fruit stand in a good location at the corner of Beretania and Nunnuu streets, Honolulu, and was gradually building up a lucrative business. On the morning of Wednesday, January 9, 1895, while quietly seated in my store attending to my business, I was arrested, martial law having been established on the 7th instant, by armed officers or special policemen, one of whom is known as “Dicky” Davis. I was not informed of any ground for my arrest, and no explanation or information in connection therewith was given to me. I was taken to the police station, no questions being asked of me, and kept in confinement there from 11 a.m. until about 4 p.m., when I was escorted by armed guards through the public streets to Oahu Prison, where I was thrown into a cell without any blankets until 1 p.m. on the next day. In this prison I was confined for forty-nine days, or until my discharge on Wednesday, the 27th of February—confined to my cell, living on common prison fare, and allowed only four hours a day for exercise. During the whole of this period I was kept in absolute ignorance of the cause of my arrest. No questions were asked of me, no charges were made against me, and no explanations were accorded to me; nor since my release have I been enabled to obtain any explanation of my unjust and causeless arrest and confinement. My sufferings were great, and the moral effect of the imprisonment, as an unconvicted criminal, combined with the aspersions of the public press on myself and other prisoners released after long imprisonment, without trial or explanation, has been disastrous to my business interests and prejudicial to my future career, for I have no document to prove to inquirers that I was innocently imprisoned or honorably discharged, while the fact will ever remain that my reputation can always be attacked for having served forty-nine days in criminal confinement and on criminals’ food in Oahu Prison. I have lost the good will and lease of my business, and in ill health and under every discouragement and opposing conditions have to make another start in life, while the stigma and reproach of my imprisonment will prejudicially attach to me throughout life. I affirm most solemnly and sincerely that upon no occasion have I by word, act, or deed forfeited my allegiance to and my right of protection by the Government of the United States of America, nor have I by any act or word acted directly or indirectly in opposition to the Government of the Republic of Hawaii or its laws, or expressed sentiments detrimental to said Government, or in any manner counseled, encouraged, aided, or abetted its enemies, whether in armed rebellion or secret plotting. I have never possessed any information which under the existing laws it was my duty to report to the Government, and consequently have not made myself amenable to said laws. Under laws recently enacted I am, so far as practical results may be assumed, debarred from obtaining any satisfaction or redress through the courts of the Republic, and am consequently compelled to appeal for the assistance and protection of my native country and my flag for justification and redress. I therefore humbly, but with all confidence in the justice of my cause and the wisdom and firmness of the Government of the United States, ask that due investigation and examination be made as to the truth of this my statement, and that such redress for my false imprisonment be obtained from the Government of the Republic of Hawaii, and such damages be accorded to me as may meet the justice of my complaint. I place the estimate of such damages at the sum of $25,000, in addition to a full vindication of my character and an apology for the wrongful injury done to me.

James Dureell.

Ellis Mills.