Ernest Andrade, Jr., "Unconquerable Rebel: Robert W. Wilcox and Hawaiian Politics, 1880-1903 (University Press of Colorado, 1996). 299 pages including extensive footnotes. ISBN: 0-87081-417-6.
This book is a fair, balanced, and heavily documented description of both the political activities of Robert W. Wilcox, and the tumultuous events in Hawaii, from 1880 to 1903. Andrade uses the word "demagogue" to describe Wilcox's flamboyant style. Andrade describes Wilcox as an arrogant, unprincipled zealot who frequently changed sides in the political struggles and whose only long-term allegiance was to his own quest for political power. Wilcox, who was half white and half Hawaiian, deliberately stirred up racial antagonism by Hawaiians against whites in order to build political support for himself. Wilcox collaborated with Lili'uokalani in a plot against Kalakaua; opposed Lili'uokalani while she was Queen; urged that the monarchy be overthrown in favor of a Republic; and supported annexation to the United States. But after the revolution he worked to restore the monarchy and opposed annexation. Wilcox led armed rebellions resulting in several deaths, including an attempted Palace coup in 1889 and an attempted counter-revolution in 1895. When annexation was achieved, Wilcox maneuvered to become leader of the race-focused Home Rule Party and won election as Hawaii's first Territorial Delegate to Congress. But his performance in Congress was so poor, and the Home Rule's performance as majority party in the Territorial legislature was so bad, that the party split into factions and soon ceased to exist. Prince Kuhio walked out of the Home Rule Party convention in 1902 in disgust, joined the Republican Party, and won election as Territorial Delegate where he served for 20 years. Aside from information about Wilcox, this book is especially valuable because of detailed objective information about political and diplomatic events related to the Constitution of 1887 (Bayonet Constitution), the revolution of 1893, and annexation; including analysis of the biased nature of the Blount Report and the role of President Grover Cleveland in opposing annexation and seeking to restore Lili'uokalani to the throne. The dust jacket says "Ernest Andrade, Jr. is a retired professor of history from the University of Colorado - Denver. He was born in Hawaii and received his bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Hawaii. His teaching was primarily in U.S. diplomatic and naval history, but he has always remained deeply interested in the history of his native islands."
Following are highlights of each chapter. The particular highlights mentioned here are selected because of their relevance to current historical and political issues related to Hawaiian sovereignty.
At the bottom of this webpage are a photo of Robert Wilcox; and 6 photos of Wilcox's grave showing how forlorn and forgotten it is. There is also a photo of the Wilcox statue in Fort Street Mall, and the contents of the text inscribed on the four bronze plaques affixed to the base of that statue.
CHAPTER 1: "THE NEW STYLE IN POLITICS." Walter Murray Gibson and Robert Wilcox are both described as power-hungry demagogues.
Asian subjects stripped of voting rights: The Constitution of 1964 (proclaimed unilaterally by Lot Kamehameha V) provided that male subjects of the Kingdom would have the right to vote for their district Representative in the Legislature, but only if they had property or income above a specified amount. At that point there was no racial restriction on voting. However, Andrade says on page 6: "[in 1874] an amendment to the constitution had allowed all adult males [subjects of the Kingdom] except Asians to vote for members of the House of Representatives." From this little-known historical tidbit we see that ethnic Hawaiians were the ones who first used race to prohibit Asians from voting (even if they were native-born or naturalized subjects of the Kingdom), long before the (Bayonet) Constitution of 1887 (which is often described as having been imposed by the whites).
Cost of 'Iolani Palace in relation to Kingdom government budget: A brochure given to tourists nowadays at 'Iolani palace says the Palace cost $360,000 (apparently not including the cost of its lavish furnishings and the cost of the coronation). On page 27 Andrade writes: "The 1880 legislature, under Gibson's guidance ... Efforts to find out the true cost were unsuccessful, but the $80,000 legislative appropriation certainly failed to cover the cost of the palace, and reliable estimates put the cost of the coronation in excess of $50,000. These were large sums for a country whose total government expenditure in 1880-1882 was slightly over $240,000 -- about $100,000 of which was emergency expenditure to suppress the 1881 smallpox epidemic."
CHAPTER 2: "THE GIBSON REGIME AND ITS UNDOING, 1882-1887."
Catalyst for revolt: Kalakaua had a wish to unify all the Polynesian nations under his own leadership. His minister, Walter Murray Gibson, engineered an attempted military intervention by Hawaii in the unstable government of Samoa, sending Hawaii's only naval vessel. John E. Bush, on behalf of Gibson, "sponsored a series of lavish entertainments [in Samoa] ... and, on February 17, 1887, King Malietoa, leader of the dominating faction in the civil war, signed a treaty of confederation recognizing Kalakaua as its guiding spirit in return for an annual payment of $6,000. ... Germany, Great Britain, and the United States all took offense ... closed ranks to oppose the Hawaiian overture. ... Germany went so far as to threaten war against Hawai'i." (pp. 42-43) Andrade says Gibson and Kalakaua suppressed news about these events, but if they had been known it might have been more of a spark to ignite revolution that the opium scandal (in which Kalakaua was bribed to give an opium license to a man who never received the license and then publicized both the bribe and Kalakaua's failure to deliver the license and refusal to repay the bribe).
Revolution of June 30, 1887 (Bayonet Constitution): Sentiment against Kalakaua and Gibson grew so strong that on June 28 the Gibson cabinet resigned. But the Hawaiian League and its armed militia, the Honolulu Rifles, went ahead with "plans to force the King's complete submission." (page 47). On June 29 a notice was published in the Bulletin [newspaper] of a mass meeting to be held the next day. On June 30 the mass meeting, at the armory building of the Honolulu Rifles, the mass meeting adopted a set of resolutions to be given to Kalakaua. For the next couple of days Kalakaua thought things over, as the Rifles patrolled the streets while the government police remained at the police station. On July 1 Kalakaua "called in the representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France, and Portugal and offered to turn over to them the management of his kingdom on behalf of their governments. It was nothing less than an attempt to extinguish the sovereignty of the nation, and the offer was quickly refused. He was advised to submit without further delay to the demands made upon him." (pages 47-48)
CHAPTER 3: "REFORM AND THE WILCOX REACTION"
In the 1887 [bayonet] constitution, for the first time, power was derived from the people, not from the King: "using the 1864 Constitution as a basis but eliminating from it the clauses that had been the sources of the king's power and adding to it clauses that placed the real ower of the government in other hands ... submitted the document to Kalakaua on July 6. ... the Constitution of 1887 changed completely the relationship of the sovereign to the rest of the government. That this constitution was wrested by force from the king shows the truly fundamental change it represented." (page 49) "... whereas all earlier constitutions had been granted to his subjects by the monarch, the new one went to considerable lengths to eliminate reference to the monarch's ultimate authority." (page 50) Nobles now to be elected, with a substantial amount of property or income required to vote; and foreigners were now allowed to vote. The Portuguese were strongly in support of the new constitution, and were a major factor in electing the reform government.
The new government recalled the three men who were being educated in Italy, including Robert Wilcox. Many Hawaiians were angry at Kalakaua for acquiescing in the Bayonet Constitution, and some were calling for Kalakaua to abdicate in favor of his sister Lili'uokalani. British Commissioner Wodehouse reported that Wilcox said the king had lost the confidence of the Hawaiians and therefore should give up the throne to Lili'uokalani. In December 1888 Wilcox began living in one of Lili'uokalani's homes, in Palama. "...the most important factor was the common contempt in which both Lili'uokalani and Robert Wilcox held Kalakaua."
The insurrection of July 30, 1889: "Concerning two objectives there seems little doubt. The immediate goal of the coup was the overthrow of the reform government, whereas the ultimate and most important objective was the replacement of the Constitution of 1887 with one more like that of 1864 to restore the sovereign's lost power. What was not so certain were the roles of Kalakaua and Lili'uokalani in events leading up to that bloody day, as well as on the day itself." (page 58) U.S. Minister Merrill, British Commissioner Wodehouse, and King Kalakaua all had information about the plot, and made that information available to the government. "Acting together and probably with the approval of the government, Merrill and Wodehouse agreed that the movements of British and U.S. warships would be coordinated so that at least one vessel would always be in Honolulu up to the end of July or early August." (page 59) "... On July 30 Wilcox and his group of 150 armed men arrived at the Hotel Street entrance to the palace -- Wilcox had in his pocket a new constitution for the King to sign. But Lieutenant Robert Waipa Parker of the Royal Guard refused to allow Wilcox inside; and it also became clear Kalakaua was not in the palace. Time passed, and 100-200 men of the Honolulu Rifles took up positions around the Palace. Somehow a shot was fired, and then general gunfire began. Wilcox men retreated to the bungalow. Some surrendered. Volney Ashford, in command of government forces, ordered the bungalow to be bombarded. Dynamite bombs thrown at the bungalow caused great damage, and Wilcox's remaining forces surrendered. The bungalow was so severely damaged it was later demolished. Martial law was declared. Marines from the U.S.S. Adams patrolled the streets and guarded government buildings. Both Kalakaua and Lili'uokalani disavowed any role in the Wilcox insurrection. 7 of Wilcox men had been killed, and 12 wounded. A Belgian, Albert Loomens, was put on trial for treason before a foreign jury, and was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged; but later his sentence was commuted to one year in prison followed by exile. Wilcox was put on trial before a native jury, which refused to convict him despite strong evidence (jury nullification).
*** Ken Conklin's side note: Further information about the Wilcox rebellion of 1889, and the dueling palace coup plots involving Lili'uokalani and Kalakaua, is available in pages 642-647 in the Morgan Report in the sworn testimony of W.D. Alexander, and on page 800 in the testimony of Hawai'i Supreme Court Chief Justice A.F. Judd who presided over the Wilcox trial. For a roundup of Morgan Report material on the Palace coup plots by Lili'uokalani and Kalakaua and Wilcox in 1889 and Wilcox testimony at his trial, see:
CHAPTER 4: "WILCOX AND THE DECLINE OF THE REFORM MOVEMENT"
1890 election campaign: "Minister Stevens ... speculated that ... Wilcox would run for elective office, would be elected, and would use his position to try to achieve the political ends originally established by the Gibson-Kalakaua coalition. He also noted that these preliminary political moves were stirring up the Hawaiian population and creating a volatile situation. He recommended that a U.S. warship be stationed in the islands for the next few months." (page 69)
"The demagogic aspect of the campaign got off to an ominous start as early as the NRP organizational rally on January 9, when several members of the party made speeches. When Wilcox spoke, he injected the theme of racial hatred into his remarks. He said he was not opposed to haoles, being partly one himself, but then went on to refer to them as 'strangers' who over the years had bent government policies to work only for their benefit. Hawaiians, he said, must stand up for their rights. A couple of weeks later Wilcox made a fiery speech that was quoted in full by the Honolulu newspapers. He continued the theme that the Hawaiians had been robbed of their country and must get it back." (page 71)
Wilcox's role in the 1890 legislature: "Wilcox ... had essentially gone on record as advocating further violent action by the Hawaiians, whom he would lead. He said the haoles were responsible for all the ills of the kingdom and that Hawaiians were in a state nearly synonymous with slavery. He went out of his way to declare his devotion to the king and the institution of absolute monarchy ..." (page 79)
CHAPTER 5: "A NEW SOVEREIGN, A NEW PARTY, AND NEW CRISES"
Planning for the election of 1892, Wilcox created a new political party, the National Liberal Party. Its slogan was "Hawaii for the Hawaiians." "In reporting on a Wilcox speech as published in the Ka Leo on October 9, the Advertiser caustically noted that the speech showed why Wilcox had shifted from a lover of monarchy to an advocate of a republic. The reason, it said, was that under Kalakaua Wilcox had found favor and had received benefits, whereas under the new sovereign and the earlier Reform government he had got nothing. It was purely a matter of pecuniary consideration and of status." (page 89) Regarding why Wilcox became an advocate of ending the monarchy and establishing a republic, Andrade says it " ... was a way for him to get back at his foes: to overthrow them and at the same time elevate himself to status and power in the new government. A republic might be created either through legal steps, involving a new constitution promulgated at a convention set up by legislative action, or by overturning the government by force. It did not matter to Wilcox. Either way he would be a leader whose moves into positions of power would probably be approved by the native Hawaiian majority. Or so he seemed to think." (pp. 95-96)
"At another Liberal rally on April 21, he said that for all practical purposes the monarchy had died with Kamehameha V. ... the queen had lost touch with her people. 'If we had known that she would disregard us, perhaps we would not have consented to her becoming our Queen.' In early May, at yet another party rally, Wilcox openly advocated an end to the monarchy. The queen, he said, was the Hawaiians' greatest enemy. ... the kind of republic he had in mind ... should be a federation ... with only Hawaiians eligible to be elected to the major offices. ... if that time came, Wilcox promised, 'I shall come forward and announce myself as a candidate for the Presidency.'" (page 97)
On May 20, 1892, following a particularly inflammatory speech, Wilcox and several others were arrested and charged with treason for planning the overthrow of the monarvhy and establishment of a republic. But when Volney Ashford, head of the militia, agreed to leave Hawaii, the attorney general declined to prosecute. Wilcox was released on June 27, and took his seat in the legislature (the 25th day of the session).
CHAPTER 6: "PRELUDE TO REVOLUTION: THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 1892"
"Convening on May 28 and adjourning on January 14, 1893, the legislature of 1892 was by far the longest in the history of the Hawaiian kingdom. In spite of its length, it produced little in the way of positive legislation, characterized as it was mainly by political infighting, parliamentary maneuvering, and a series of attempts to unseat the cabinet." (page 99) "The 1892 legislature was unique in its role in bringing about the downfall of several of the queen's ministries." (page 101)
"On July 9 Wilcox had introduced another resolution asking for a legislative commission to go to Washington (presumably he believed he would be a member) to negotiate for the repeal of the tariff's restrictions on Hawaiian sugar in exchange for an offer to cede Pearl Harbor to the United States, along with adequate compensation. Wilcox said Pearl Harbor was of no use to Hawai'i, so the kingdom might as well get something out of it by selling it." (page 103)
CHAPTER 7: "SELF-DESTRUCTION OF THE MONARCHY"
Detailed discussion of the events of the overthrow of the monarchy, the landing of U.S. sailors and where they were stationed; the actions of Minister Stevens, and the Committee of Safety, and the Queen. Andrade recalls that royalists had not shown very much support in previous crises -- for example, there was not much support for Kalakaua during the Wilcox attack on the palace in 1889; and many of those who had sustained the government then were now siding with the revolutionaries. Andrade concludes that it was unfortunate Stevens had sent U.S. sailors ashore, and had given premature recognition to the Provisional Government, because, says Andrade, the revolution would probably have succeeded even without U.S. presence (although with considerable bloodshed).
During the revolution, Wilcox played hardly any role. He was present at the palace on January 14 to support the monarchy, and he attended the mass meeting at the Palace on January 16 (500-1000 people) rather than the mass meeting of revolutionaries at the armory (1300 men, many armed).
But despite supporting the monarchy during those few days, he published a newspaper article on January 25 in which "he said the monarchy was dead through its own lack of vitality to carry it through a crisis of its own creation, 'or in more specific, though hardly less accurate language, the dekmise of the monarchy may be attributed to SUICIDE.' As for the rebels, he said, they were compelled to act because the queen had no right to impose a constitution upon the country; the leaders in the new provisional government were good men who so far were pursuing a generally wise and moderate course. As if this were not astounding enough, in a later issue Wilcox came out in favor of annexation to the United States. ... He defended the right of the government to expect loyalty from officeholders and to replace those who were not loyal ... Wilcox's support of the provisional government focused upon the question of supplanting royalist officeholders and to replace those who were not loyal. He hailed the appointmentof Carl Klemme, a leader of the Drei Hundert paramilitary organization of Germans that had supported the revolt, as marshal to replace Wilson ..." (page 125)
"On March 21 an Annexation Club was formed in Honolulu, partly to counter the creation of a royalist organization, the Hawaiian Patriotic League, which had been established about a week before. Wilcox appeared at the annexation group's organizational meeting, attended by about 800 people, and was greeted with enthusiastic applause. He was appointed one of six vice presidents of the organization and was asked to make some remarks. His speech was short, its main point being that the era of Hawaiian independence was over and the best way for native Hawaiians to assure their liberty in the future was to support annexation." (page 126)
But when Blount arrived, Wilcox once again switched sides and became a royalist. However, he had switched sides so many times that nobody would trust him.
Regarding the Blount report and President Cleveland's actions, Andrade notes that "... despite his misgivings, Cleveland did not take the one extreme measure that nations habitually took when they strongly disapproved of the actions of another government: he did not break off diplomatic relations nor even call home his minister to show his displeasure." (page 131)
Andrade describes the Morgan report, and the related resolutions passed by the U.S. Senate (which might be construed as a slap at Grover Cleveland's attempts to restore the monarchy). A few weeks after the Turpie resolution, the Senate passed its final resolution on the matter: "That of right it belongs wholly to the people of the Hawaiian Islands to establish and maintain their own form of government and domestic polity; that the United States ought in no wise to interfere therewith; and that any intervention in the political affairs of these islands by any other government will be regarded as an act unfriendly to the United States." (page 136)
*** Ken Conklin side note regarding Robert Wilcox support for the Provisional Government and for annexation, immediately following the revolution: The Morgan Report contains sworn testimony by an amateur historian including the content of an interview he did with Robert Wilcox:
The Morgan Report (testimony before U.S. Senate, under oath, 1894)
Pages 1119 - 1120
Senator Frye. You stated you were studying the people for historical purposes?
Mr. Hoes. Yes; and also to learn contemporary opinion.
Senator Frye. Do you know R. W. Wilcox?
Mr. Hoes. Fairly well.
Senator Frye. Who is he?
Mr. Hoes. He is the man who figured so prominently and conspicuously in the revolution of 1887, and has mingled in politics more or less ever since, and was a member of the last Hawaiian Legislature.
Senator Frye. Do you know whether he was a witness before Mr. Blount or not?
Mr. Hoes. I do not know.
Senator Frye. Did you have an interview with Wilcox?
Mr. Hoes. Yes.
Senator Frye. Is this the interview? [Exhibiting the paper.]
Mr. Hoes. Yes.
Senator Frye. You may state when that was.
Mr. Hoes. Shortly after the revolution.
"INTERVIEW OF R. W. WILCOX WITH R. R. HOES, HONOLULU, JANUARY 27, 1893.
"What are your views, Mr. Wilcox, in regard to the present situation in general?
"Queen Liliuokalani brought these evils upon herself and the country both by her personal corruption, and that of her Government. She surrounded herself with bad advisers, and seemed determined to drive the nation to destruction. Good people had no influence over her whatever, for she indignantly refused to listen to them. I believe that if we can be annexed to the United States, the rights of all of our citizens, and especially those of the native Hawaiians, will be protected more carefully than they have ever been under the monarchy.
"What, in your opinion, is the personal feeling of the native Hawaiian element in this community?
"My countrymen, with the exception of the most intelligent among them, do not understand much about these things. They need to be educated. They have so often been told by designing men that the United States was their enemy that they are naturally suspicious. Politicians who have sought to use the natives simply as so many tools have deceived them. When they understand from the lips of disinterested men and patriots what annexation means, and become acquainted with the benefits that it will bring them, they will be as much in favor of the movement as any of our other classes of citizens.
"Does the present Provisional Government command the respect of the native Hawaiians?
"They are naturally somewhat prejudiced against it, as monarchy is the only form of Government with which they are familiar, but this feeling will quickly wear away as the Hawaiians are led to see that the Government is friendly to them and their interests. They already have confidence in the integrity and patriotism of President Dole.
"You advocated annexation to the United States, I believe, several months ago, in your newspaper, 'The Liberal?'
"Yes, and I have repeatedly done so in public meetings held in this city.
"How long do you think it would be after hoisting the American flag before the natives would be entirely reconciled?
"Are you doing anything to instruct the natives so that they may have correct views in regard to these matters?
"Yes; but I am compelled to move cautiously or I shall lose my influence over them. I believe I am doing a good work by constantly conversing with them on the subject. I have told my countrymen that the monarchy is gone forever, and when they ask me what is the best thing to follow it I tell them annexation, and I firmly believe that in a very short time every Hawaiian will be in favor of that step. The great thing is to keep them from being influenced by the arguments of designing men who pretend to be their friends, but who are really their enemies-men who will try and use them as tools to accomplish their own corrupt and selfish plans. We have had too much of this and it is high time to call for a halt.
"Have you confidence in the integrity and patriotic intentions of the commission that has just been sent to Washington by the Provisional Government?
"It is made up of good men, and I believe they will endeavor to do what is for the best interests of the country.
"The above is correctly reported."
"R .W. Wilcox."
Senator Frye. That is signed by Mr. Wilcox?
Mr. Hoes. Signed by him personally, and read to him carefully before he signed it.
The Chairman. By whom?
Mr. Hoes. By me.
CHAPTER 8 "WAITING FOR ANNEXATION: A REPUBLIC IS BORN"
Andrade describes the transition from Provisional Government to Republic, with the convening of a constitutional convention and the election of a legislature. "A royalist mass meeting at Palace Square on April 9 , attended by about 2,000 people, confirmed the decision to boycot the election. ... It must be noted that Robert Wilcox was not present at the royalist meeting of April 9. Simply put, he was at the time out of the political scene for reasons we examined in Chapter 7. After a brief flirtation with the provisional government, he had come to the conclusion that he could not support that government because of its reluctance to give him an office. His logical alternative, which was to become a leader of the royalist opposition, was also denied him because of his strong earlier statements against Lili'uokalani and his stand favoring a republic. He had effectively burned his bridges and now had no place to go." (page 139)
Regarding the election of delegates to the constitutional convention: "The ethnic makeup of the elected delegates included two Portuguese and five Hawaiians, but all the others were haoles." (page 141)
"The draft constitution [for the Republic] proposed that anyone born in the islands or naturalized by the government was a citizen, as was anyone who had supported the revolution and took an oath to support the republic. The process of naturalization was subject to several requirements,the most important of which were that the applicant had to know the English language and had to be employed and possess some property. After considerable discussion the delegates approved the citizenship article almost exactly as proposed, the main change being a reduction of the residence requirement for naturalization from three years to two. It was an ingenious solution to a complex problem. By virtue of their support of the revolution, the local Portuguese were allowed to vote and to become citizens, even though most of them knew neither English nor Hawaiian. Similarly, the general requirement that a prospective citizen must know English effectively barred nearly all Japanese and most Chinese from becoming citizens, at least in the near future. Americans, British, and most other white men could easily become citizens either by already knowing English or, as in the case of many Germans, being able to meet the same exception as the Portuguese. The requirements for naturalization were carried over into the provisions concerning the qualifications of voters, which as expected was one of the most debated subjects in the convention. Some semblance of democracy had to be preserved, yet the franchise had to be kept away from the wrong sort. The Hawaiians and the haoles alike could agree, if they could agree on nothing else, that the growing Asian population must not be given the vote. Simply denying them the franchise outright would be too blatant, especially as the Chinese and Japanese governments were beginning to demand rights for their subjects living in Hawai'i." (pp. 142-143)
"In addition to demands for the franchise for Asians, the question of the enfranchisement of women received a great deal of attention. As early as April, when the convention and election of delegates were being arranged, woman suffrage was introduced into the debate on voting rights. In many places, including New Zealand and three U.S. states, women had full or nearly full voting rights, and the objections to suffrage for women were sounding more and more like outworn concepts. During a period of three days, the convention examined the question. After much discussion the assembly decided against granting the franchise to women. It was an idea still too far ahead of its time." (page 143)
"The provisions concerning voting as finally embodied in the Constitution of the Republic of Hawai'i were fully as ingenious as those pertaining to citizenship: (1) A person could vote for representative if he had already been qualified to vote prior to 1893. This excluded Asians but allowed foreigners such as the Portuguese as well as Hawaiian citizens to vote. (2) A voter had to take an oath to support the republic. This provision eliminated most Hawaiians, who refused to take the oath. (3) A voter had to know the English or Hawaiian language unless he had registered to vote in the election for convention delegates. The exception benefitted the Portuguese but reinforced the elimination of all Asians except the few who were already citizens. These provisions effectively barred from voting all the undesirable groups and allowed the favored groups the franchise, and it was all done without mentioning any specific group by name. Voters for senators had to meet the same requirements and in addition had to own property valued at more than $1,500 or had to earn an annual income of at least $600. Thus those who elected senators would effectively represent property holders in large part." (pp. 143-144)
"The nearest thing to a referendum to take place were two mass meetings, that perennial Hawaiian kind of referendum. One occurred on the evening of July 2 . The armory building was packed with over 1,000 people, with about 500 more outside. Several speakers voiced support for the new constitution, and a resolution approving the constitution was passed by acclamation. Most applauded of the speakers was John W. Kalua, a native Hawaiian who had been a supporter of the monarchy but now stood for the republic, having been a delegate to the convention. " (pp. 145-146)
"The position of the Republic of Hawai'i in the family of nations was not in jeapordy. The provisional government, whatever its faults, had had little difficulty in obtaining recognition, even from Cleveland, and it was not considered likely that the republic would have any foreign problems. Recognition came even more quickly than it had in 1893, for at least there was no question of a revolution's having taken place or of the government's control of the domestic situation. On the day of the inauguration of the new government, Foreign Minister Francis M. Hatch wrote to the representatives of the governments with which Hawai'i had diplomatic relations, informing them of the republic's existence and requesting extension of the recognition previously granted to the provisional government. Minister Willis, replying for the United States, said he was pleased to extend 'as far as I have the right so to do' the recognition previously given to the predecessor government. Willis' hedging meant little, for there was no question of final U.S. recognition as soon as the authorities in Washington received hatch's request. The French, Japanese, and Portuguese representatives quickly recognized the republic. The British, as usual, dragged their feet. The new British representative, Albert G.S. Hawes, saw Willis' equivocation as not representing official recognition and used it as an excuse to avoid an unofficial British commitment until official recognition by the United States. The delay this action caused, plus the difficulties of distance, meant that it was not until November that word rrived in Honolulu of the official extension of recognition by the British government." (page 147)
"The major tast to complete the structure of the new government of the republic was the election of a legislature. ... As reported by the Bulletin and confirmed by other newspapers, 1,917 voters registered for the election, of whom 509 were Hawaiians, 466 Americans, 274 British, 362 Portuguese, 175 Germans, and 131 of other nationality." (page 147)
"The Hawaiian Republican Club was founded in the summer, while the constitutional convention was taking place, by those relatively few Hawaiians who opposed the restoration of the monarchy and favored the republic. Among the early leaders of the club were J.L. Kaulukou, Kalua, and Sam Parker. These men, formerly strong royalists, had decided to make their peace with the republic and wanted others of their countrymen to do likewise. ... by the end of 1894 the Hawaiian Republican Club could muster a membership of only about seventy-five." (pp. 147-148)
*** Ken Conklin's side note regarding international recognition of the Provisional Government and, later, of the Republic of Hawai'i:
U.S. Minister Stevens when asked for the first time to recognize the Provisional Government inquired whether certain buildings were under their control; and when the answer was no, he refused to give recognition until that had been accomplished. Some testimony indicates he may have given diplomatic recognition prematurely, before full control was established. But when revolutions take place, nations favorable to them often give speedy, even premature recognition, while nations opposed often delay giving recognition (for example, U.S. refused for decades to recognize the Communist revolution in China, and still does not recognize the Castro regime in Cuba 50 years after the revolution!).
The Provisional Government, and subsequent Republic of Hawai'i, were internationally recognized by the same nations that had previously recognized the Kingdom. On January 19 and 20, only two or three days after the revolution, the daily Pacific Commercial Advertiser newspaper printed the official letters of recognition of the Provisional Government given by the local consuls of the following nations: Austro-Hungary, Belgium, Chile, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, United States. Several of these nations had treaties with the Kingdom of Hawai'i; and by recognizing the new Provisional Government they were thereby abrogating any treaty provisions that were specific to the monarchy and confirming that all other treaty provisions would be binding upon the new government. The speed with which these foreign nations gave recognition to the Provisional Government clearly shows that they had no doubts about the legitimacy of the revolution and they felt no desire to prop up the ex-queen or seek her reinstatement.
The British government delayed a day before giving written notice of recognition, although the Morgan Report testimony of Mr. Hoes indicates that the British consul informally gave recognition even before U.S. Minister Stevens did -- it happened when Mr. Wodehouse whispered into the ear of President Dole, and a few hours later told Mr. Hoes he had whispered his recognition of the Dole government. The written letters of recognition were published in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser -- Mr. Hoes newspaper clippings were presented to the Senate committee and are reprinted in the Morgan Report on pp. 1103-1111. See:
Some of today's sovereignty activists point out that most of those letters indicate only provisional recognition by local consuls, pending further instructions from their governments; and that most of those letters grant only "de facto" recognition. In response, it must be remembered that there was no internet, and no telephone or telegraph communication between Hawai'i and other nations in 1893. Thus, it would require several weeks, or even several months, before the local consuls would be able to send communications to their home governments and receive formal letters of full recognition. In addition, some nations might want to wait to be sure a provisional, revolutionary government is stable and fully in control.
But after the Provisional Government created a Constitution for a new Republic of Hawai'i, and held elections, that stability became clearer. Gavan Daws, "Shoal of Time", page 281 writes:
"Sanford Dole announced the inauguration of the republic and proclaimed himself president on July 4, 1894. This bow in the direction of the United States was rewarded when President Cleveland sent a letter of recognition to the new regime. Queen Victoria followed suit later in the year, just after the republic's first elections under the new constitution returned to office the newly formed American Union party, whose policy could be summed up in one word -- annexation." Daws provides documentation for the full recognition by the U.S. and Britain in two consecutive footnotes on page 461: "Cleveland sent a letter of recognition: Minutes of the Executive Council, Aug. 25, 27, 1894." and "Queen Victoria followed suit: Hawaiian Star, Nov. 15, 1894."
The full, de jure recognitions from the U.S. and Britain are singled out for comment because of the special relationships Hawai'i had with those two nations. It must be remembered that U.S. President Grover Cleveland had protested the overthrow of Lili'uokalani, and had withdrawn a treaty of annexation signed by his predecessor that was awaiting action in the senate. Cleveland had sent a political hatchet-man (Blount) to destabilize the Provisional Government, to try to restore the Queen, and to write a report blaming the U.S. for the overthrow. Cleveland had sent a blistering message to Congress based on the Blount Report. But then, after the Morgan Report discredited the Blount Report, and under political pressure, Cleveland changed his mind and gave full diplomatic recognition to the Republic of Hawai'i. To review the full story about Cleveland's change of mind, see "The Rest of the Rest of the Story" at:
The full diplomatic recognition from Queen Victoria is especially significant because Lili'uokalani had personally attended Victoria's coronation in London and considered herself a personal friend. Victoria had also agreed to be godmother to Prince Albert (son of Queen Emma, who died at age 4) and had sent a crib for Albert which remains today on view in the Queen Emma summer palace.
CHAPTER 9: "THE UPRISING OF 1895"
Royalists had suffered many blows. In December of 1894 the Provisional Government had "disobeyed" Grover Cleveland's "order" and refused to restore the Queen. Congress showed no interest in supporting Cleveland's interventions. "... then it was the passage of the resolutions in May 1894 in which Congress washed its hands of the mess in Hawai'i. At the time of the establishment of the republic in July, there had been the incident of the failure of Lili'uokalani's appeal to the British and the U.S. governments not to extend diplomatic recognition to the new regime. ..." (page 149) A trio of royalists went to see President Cleveland, but he "... refused to make any further effort on Lili'uokalani's behalf, saying he had ended his part when he committed the problem to Congress for further action." (pp. 149-150) "Widemann made one final effort when he went to Europe to try to involve other governments, notably great Britain. This was a forlorn hope. ... As a private citizen not representing any government, he was not accorded even the first step of an interview with anyone of importance at the Foreign Office. ..." (page 150)
A coup takes shape: "... in October  Major William J. Seward, an American and a Union army veteran who in some inexplicable way had become a royalist, volunteered to go to the mainland to buy weapons with money donated by a number of royalist supporters. (page 150) "...Nowlein, Charles T. Gulick (sometime cabinet member and advisor to both Kalakaua and Lili'uokalani), and William H. Rickard (a naturalized sugar planter of British parentage), were the key conspirators, along with Seward, Carl Widemann (son of the man who was in Europe), Henry Bertelmann, Thomas Beresford Walker, and John E. Bush. All were haoles or part Hawaiians. ... Through Nowlein and William Ka'ae, Nowlein's nephew and secretary to Lili'uokalani, the ex-queen was apprised of the plans. Wilcox was not at first involved in these plans. But ... he was evidently approached by the conspirators and asked to play a role as a commander in the field. ... Yet in spite of his being offered the post of minister of foreign affairs in a newly reestablished monarchy, he was unwilling to commit himself ... He probably did not like the idea of serving under Nowlein ... not becoming fully committed to the conspiracy until only a few days before it was due to be initiated." (page 151)
Andrade gives details of how the plot unfolded. Newspaper reporters discovered some information and published it; police broke up an early concentration of rebels in Kaka'ako on the night of January 3 . Marshal Hitchcock learned that people were gathering at Waikiki on January 5 and 6; police were sent with a search warrant to Bertelmann's house; shooting began; police were outnumbered; Wilcox had withdrawn his men back to Diamond Head to safeguard a weapons cache at Ka'alawai; more police and some armed civilians arrived at Bertelmann's house.
"... The fully mustered regulars of the National Guard numbered about 550, with a practical effective strength of about 480; the Citizens Guard could bring about 1,000 armed but poorly trained men into the field. Without counting the armed civilians, the government had enough troops to assure security against any uprising involving up to about 750 rebels, unless the uprising could gain the element of surprise ..." (page 157)
Nowlein went to see Wilcox at Diamond Head; then began his march to Honolulu, but stalled near Kaimuki and abandoned his plans. Government leaders brought up artillery pieces and bombarded Nowlein's men at Mau'umae while another gun on Waikiki Road dropped shells on Wilcox's men on Diamond Head. A third gun aboard a comandeered tug shelled Wilcox's main body from the sea. Nowlein's men surrendered; Wilcox and his men scattered and ran.
The trial described: On February 23  Nowlein, Bertelmann, Gulick, Seward, Rickard, and Wilcox were sentenced to death, commuted to 35 years in prison and $10,000 each. Sentences of Nowlein and Bertelmann were suspended because they had provided testimony to convict others, and they were freed. ... In September Lili'uokalani was freed; by Thanksgiving only eight rebels were still in prison. On New Years Day, 1896 President Dole paroled the remaining rebels.
CHAPTER 10: "TRANSITION TO ANNEXATION" -- a short description of how the Spanish-American War prompted Congress to pass the joint resolution accepting the treaty of annexation that had been offered by the Republic.
CHAPTER 11: "WILCOX AND THE RESTORATION OF HAWAIIAN INFLUENCE IN POLITICS" -- Discussion of the transition period between 1898 annexation and 1900 Organic Act. Some lobbying groups of native Hawaiians were organized, but seemed conflicted between whether to seek full rights for natives under the Territorial government or whether to seek restoration of independence.
"Wilcox had not yet accepted the annexation of Hawai'i to the United States. On September 12 [1898?] he spoke before a meeting of the Hui Kalai'aina and said the U.S. flag had come down once before and would do so again. He claimed the Hawaiians had been robbed of their country and would gain no benefit from annexation." (page 184) Princess Ka'iulani died March 6, 1899.
The most significant problem "was probably the issue of continued immigration of Asian plantation laborers ... the State Department, after some delay, indicated that the laws of the United States [prohibiting immigration of contract labor] should be enforced ... On January 6, 1899 the Hawai'i supreme Court held that the specific provision in the resolution of annexation regarding prohiition of Chinese immigration did supersede the provision about Hawaiian laws remaining in effect. The decision eliminated Chinese immigration but not Japanese immigration, which continued as an issue until the specific prohibition of contract labor under the Organic Act." (page 185)
The Organic Act was passed on April 30, 1900. "... a citizen was defined as a person who had been a citizen under the republic. This included haoles and Hawaiians but excluded all but about 700 Asians who had been naturalized by the republic." (page 189)
Discussion of the formation of Democrat, Republican, and Independent (Home Rule) political parties, and the election for Territorial delegate. Sam Parker, former member of Lili'uokalani's cabinet, was the Republican nominee; Prince David Kawananakoa was the Democrat nominee; and Robert wilcox was the Home Rule nominee. Wilcox tried to portray the Home Rule Party as being welcoming to all races, but in fact it turned out to be overwhelmingly composed of Hawaiians and focused on securing rights and benefits for Hawaiians. On the morning of the election the Advertiser [newspaper] tried to "smear" Wilcox and torpedo his support among the Hawaiians, by publishing the full text of Wilcox's letter to Blount in 1893 in which Wilcox had said that in 1892 he wanted to set up a republic and join the United States. When the early results came in from O'ahu showing Parker in the lead, The Advertiser published an edition prematurely heralding Sam Parker's victory; until a final vote-count including the outer islands confirmed Wilcox had won.
CHAPTER 12: "THE RECORD OF THE HOME RULE PARTY"
Most native Hawaiians voted for Home Rule candidates for the Territorial legislature; however, enough Hawaiians voted for Republicans that the Republicans won 2/3 of the O'ahu seats including all of the 4th district. Also, the rapid influx of haole immigrants from Europe and America during the last few years of the 1800s, plus growth of the Portuguese population, produced a haole voting majority in Honolulu by 1900. But the first Territorial legislature was controlled by a Home Rule majority, which in turn was controlled by Wilcox. There was growing bitterness between President Dole and the Home Rule majority in the legislature. The legislature passed very few substantive bills, and no budget, so that Dole was forced to call an extra session (which resulted in extra salary for the legislators). Moderate and radical factions emerged in the Home Rule party, contributing to stalemate. In the end Wilcox pronounced the first legislature to have been a failure. According to Andrade, President Dole emerged as more popular and more legitimate than the Home Rule Party. Among other issues was a proposal that California should annex Hawai'i as a county of California -- a proposal Wilcox had supported in 1898 but now opposed. ** Note from Ken Conklin: The concept of annexing Hawai'i as a county of California had also been discussed in several of the Morgan Report testimonies given in 1894.
CHAPTER 13: "WILCOX IN WASHINGTON"
A faction of Republicans and Democrats in the Territorial legislature tried to unseat Wilcox, or in the alternative, to embarrass him in Washington. George D. Gear, leader of the faction, claimed Wilcox's election was faulty because of a technicality regarding the proclamation of the date of the election; and Gear also claimed Wilcox was a bigamist because his divorce from his Italian first wife was not yet official before he married his second wife. A more serious torpedo from Gear was his accusation of treason against Wilcox based on Wilcox's writing of two letters in 1898 to Emilio Aguinaldo, the leader of the Philippine rebellion against U.S. rule there following Spain's defeat. Those three accusations were formally submitted to Congress, to the Committee on Elections; but all three were dismissed.
Andrade discusses several major and minor bills Wilcox introduced in Congress. One bill was to use the leper colony on Moloka'i as a place where the U.S. would send all lepers (in return for federal funding). That bill produced great revulsion in Hawai'i and caused Wilcox to lose public support. A Congressional commission came to Hawai'i to study numerous issues including settlement of claims for the Chinatown fire, plantation operations, Lili'uokalani's land claims, and possible changes to the Organic Act. Wilcox hoped the commission would criticize the Dole administration, but it did not do so.
The Congressional commission considered the disposition of the Crown lands. "The republic had taken the lands from Lili'uokalani and had denied her compensation. ... [in Hawaii] many had come to believe the ex-queen had been dealt with unfairly. In 1901 the regular session of the Home Rule-controlled legislature had passed an appropriation of $250,000 'in full payment and satisfaction of all claims and demands of Her Majesty Lili'uokalani against the Republic of Hawaii and the Territory of Hawaii.' Governor Dole had pocket-vetoed the bill. As noted earlier, although during the extra session an appropriation of $15,000 to Lili'uokalani did become law, it was not considered as compensation for the lands but simply as a grant. The commission did not accept the view of many Hawaiians that the Crown lands traditionally had been regarded as a personal possession not subject to confiscation, saying that the former queen had no legal right to any of those lands, most of which after annexation had become federal lands. It did say that the U.S. government could nevertheless award her a sum as compensation, based upon considerations of justice, fairness, and policy." (page 230)
** Side note from Ken Conklin: In the year 1910, Lili'uokalani lost a lawsuit she filed against the United States in which she demanded compensation for "her" crown lands. The Morgan Report also indicated that during 1893 Lili'uokalani had participated in negotiations with the Provisional Government to provide her a pension and compensation for the crown lands in return for her formal abdication and renunciation of any further claims to land or sovereignty. Thus, throughout the period from 1893 to at least 1910, the ex-queen tried and failed to get land and/or money for herself personally. Today's sovereignty activists should take note that Lili'uokalani never claimed that ethnic Hawaiians as a group had any right to either the crown lands or the government lands; and if she had won any of her negotiations or lawsuits, she would have received a payoff to herself personally rather than to ethnic Hawaiians as a group. To read Lili'uokalani's lawsuit complaint and the 1910 decision of the U.S. Court of Claims, plus analysis, see:
Regarding Wilcox's ineffectiveness in Congress: Wilcox was absent from work far more than was acceptable. Partly that was due to illness, but illness did not explain it all. "Finally, one more point needs to be made, and it may be the most important of all. Wilcox was not fluent in spoken English and preferred to converse and to make speeches in Hawaiian. ... When Wilcox did attend the congressional session, he showed little inclination to speak. Only rarely was his opinion on Hawaiian matters solicited by fellow members of the House." (page 231) Andrade provides two quotes showing Wilcox's poor English.
CHAPTER 14: "DOWNFALL OF WILCOX AND HOME RULE"
Why did Kuhio leave the Home Rule Party and join the Republicans? In February 1902 the Home Rule Party held its convention to write a platform and choose nominees for the legislature. "The climax of the convention came on July 10. [Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole] presented his committee's reoganization plan for the party to the delegates for adoption. The party's old guard, led by Wilcox, moved immediately to crush it. It was first roundly criticized, then threatened with amendments, and finally a motion to postpone consideration indefinitely was adopted by voice vote. At that point the prince, who had been watching these antics with increasing anger and frustration, had had enough. He rose and accused the leadership of having broken its promise to give favorable consideration to his proposal. He had been betrayed. Raising his voice, he vented his feelings: 'From now on I split away from your side. I will resign from the Home Rule Party and never more will I be connected with it.' He then walked out of the convention hall, and approximately forty delegates followed him. This number was nearly half of the 100 delegates present ..." (page 239) The Democrats met with the Home Rule moderates to consider forming a fusion party. The poor record of the Home Rule Party in the legislature (where it held a sizeable majority), and Wilcox's ineffectiveness in Congress, led to a Republican victory with Kuhio becoming Territorial Delegate -- a position he held for 20 years.
EPILOGUE: "THE LAST CAMPAIGN"
A law had been passed [by the legislature] establishing county governments for Hawai'i, which meant that the Home Rule Party could hope to run candidates for county offices in the election of 1903. Wilcox was nominated for Sheriff of Honolulu County, but died during the campaign. In any case, following the election, the Territorial Supreme Court declared the County Act in violation of several provisions of the Organic Act and therefore null and void. County and municipal government was not established until 1907. So even if Wilcox had won the election to be Sheriff of O'ahu, that victory would have been nullified.
Andrade's closing words are a quote from the Honolulu Advertiser's obituary:
"It may be justly said that no other Hawaiian, not of Royal blood, has ever exerted such a powerful influence in Hawaii as Robert W. Wilcox. We may condemn the nature of that influence as we please; but the fact remains that it made history and gave Wilcox rank as a tribune of his people, a man stronger in the elements of leadership than all but one of his native kings." (page 254)
The September 2007 issue of Ka Wai Ola O OHA, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs monthly newspaper, has a full page devoted to Robert Wilcox. Most of the page is occupied by a Hawaiian-language biographical description of him; and there are two photos of him included on the page: a photo of a young Wilcox in his uniform, with sword; and a photo of an older Wilcox looking dapper and distinguished in a suit with tie and vest. The Wilcox material is on page 15 of the physical newspaper, which is page 14 of the pdf here:
The photo of Robert Wilcox below was taken from Wikipedia, and appears to be posted in many other places also.
Here are eight photos of the grave of Robert Wilcox, in Honolulu, and a description of how to find it. Mahalo to Duane Browning of Honolulu for sending the photos along with his description of the grave. The first six photos were taken in August 2007, at which time Mr. Browning wrote comments regretting and deploring the poor condition of the grave. However, in January 2010 Mr. Browning saw a remarkable improvement in the grave, including a very attractive fence resembling the fence around Iolani Palace, plus gravel groundcover inside the fence. Two photos taken January 2010 show the great improvement. Perhaps publication of the six photos from August 2007 on this webpage, along with Mr. Browning's comments, might have spurred the descendants of Robert Wilcox, and/or the Catholic Church which owns the cemetery, to improve the grave. Duane Browning can be reached at
SIX PHOTOS FROM AUGUST 2007, PLUS DUANE BROWNING'S COMMENTS ABOUT THEM.
Duane Browning wrote the following material when he sent the 6 photos of Wilcox's grave in August 2007. And again, mahalo to him. He can be reached at
"To recap on how to find the grave:
1) go to the Catholic cemetery on South King Street, across from Straub Hospital.
2) enter the main gate, go down the center path and past the large cross and monument for several Catholic bishops who served in Hawaii. The monument also includes their graves.
3) on the other side of the monument, continue down the dirt path, until you are almost at the old grounds keeper's shack.
4) looking to your right, you will see the grave.
A brief description of each picture:
[The 6 photos above are in positions
1 2 3
4 5 6]
wilcox1: this is a picture of the grave from the foot of the grave. the marble base is all that remains of the original marker. the flowers were there when I arrived. The plants growing on the grave appear to be sort of flowering plant, the name of which I have no idea. But, I have seen them in-flower and they look nice.
wilcox2: is a side view of the headstone. on top of it is a plastic picture frame with Wilcox's picture and a brief description of his life. the frame is held in-place by a brick.
wilcox3: another pic of the grave from the foot. the barriers along the side of the grave are old wooden planks and there is a PVC pipe sticking-out from the middle. I have no idea what the pipe is/was for originally.
wilcox4: another pic of the headstone from the side
wilcox5: a close-up of the gravestone and the picture on top of it. this is the best pic I could get of it without actually standing on the grave itself. Note at the base, that it says "Gone but not forgotten".
wilcox6: this is a pic of the grave from the rear. You can see the brick that holds the picture frame in-place. Probably something somebody had in their garden that they brought down to hold the picture down, so it wouldn't get knocked-down by the wind.
Without the picture of Congressman Wilcox placed on the top of the headstone base, there is no way that anyone would know who was buried there and it would make the "Gone but not forgotten" inscription even more ironic. Personally, I think that, from the general condition of the grave and the fact that I have almost never seen flowers on it on any of the three times I have visited it, it certainly seems that Wilcox has been almost completely forgotten by modern-day Hawaiians, including the sovereignty activists who trumpet his attempted 1895 counter-revolution.
Personally, I think that Congressman Wilcox deserves better than this. Despite all his faults, he was Hawaii's first Congressman and he did try, for reasons of his own, to overturn the "Bayonet Constitution" and, later, to restore the monarchy. Both are lauded by sovereignty activists today, but the man who led those two efforts is in a nearly-forgotten grave that thousands of people drive past every single day."
TWO PHOTOS OF ROBERT WILCOX' GRAVE TAKEN BY DUANE BROWNING IN JANUARY 2010. THE IMPROVEMENT IS ASTONISHING.
ADDENDUM BY KEN CONKLIN, MONDAY MAY 17, 2010
I had occasion today to stop by the grave of Robert Wilcox at about 8:30 AM. It was my first visit since about 18 months previously, and the improvement was amazing. The previous time, the grave looked like the top six photos -- a very barren, forgotten place.
But this time, it looked like the two photos after that -- a grave enclosed by a nicely painted green fence, with a brown lion, and a cement or marble base with the inscription "Gone but not forgotten." But there is now something new that is not shown in any of the photos.
On top of that base "Gone but not forgotten" there is now an obelisk about five feet tall, whose surface is shiny black with white lettering. The writing consists of the names and dates for the (Hawaiian second) wife, children and grandchildren of Robert Wilcox, presumably including all the ones who have died, but none who are still living. But the names do not include the Italian baroness who was Wilcox' first wife, nor the child they had. Also, on the upper left corner inside the fence there is a rectangular metal sign, red with white lettering, which has a Hawaiian phrase on top with English translation below it, as follows:
Ka Liona Ha'e O Ka Pakipika
The Roaring Lion of the Pacific
Unfortunately the 'okina is an error -- it does not belong in the word "Hae". Furthermore, the word "hae" in this context usually means "wild" or "ferocious."
A man was in the area near the gravesite, who looked and behaved like he might be a groundskeeper. I spoke with him for a few minutes. He said he is a family member, but would not tell me his name. He seemed quite knowledgeable about the deeds of Wilcox and the people named on the obelisk. He said that a few years ago the Wilcox grave was unmarked, and the family actually dug into the ground to make sure it was the Wilcox grave. He said the base with the inscription "Gone but not forgotten" was actually buried below ground level and they decided to put it on the surface. He also commented that when King Street was widened, many burials under the new lane were dug up and moved into the Catholic cemetery, some of which had no known names. He said that there are some graves which have two or three bodies in them. He also commented that many years ago there was a house inside the cemetery where a family lived and where there were often loud, noisy parties; and that the caretaker shed near the Wilcox grave formerly held all the records for the cemetery but burned down and the records were lost.
** There is a statue of Robert Wilcox in Fort Street Mall in downtown Honolulu, which occasionally receives puakea blessings from the pigeons. Duane Browning, who supplied the photos and description of Wilcox's grave, also provided the following photo of Wilcox's statue and the inscriptions on the four bronze plaques on the base of the statue. A few words in the inscriptions as reported below might be misspelled, but it's unclear whether any misspellings are due to errors on the plaques or errors in copying what is on the plaques.
Duane Browning writes: "I transcribed the words on each of the four plates attached on the base of the statue. I include them below, seperated according to which plaque the words were on. I regret any spelling mistakes, which may have been the result of faulty note-taking."
Robert William Kalanihiapo Wilcox
February 15, 1855 - October 23, 1903
Robert Wilcox was born at Honuaola, Maui in 1855 the son of Captain William Slocum Wilcox and Kalua Makoleokalani who descended from Maui royalty. He was known to the Hawaiian people as "Ka Liona Hae O Ka Pakipika" (The Roaring Lion of the Pacific)
He was extremely popular among the Hawaiian people as an educator and legislator. He served as Hawaii's first delegate to Congress from 1900 to 1902. Wilcox led two counter-insurgency movements in 1899 and 1895 against the foreign interests which had seized control of the Hawaiian Government. Tried for treason, he was found not guilty by a jury of Hawaiians and part-Hawaiians under the ethnic jury system then in effect. In 1895 he again organized an army to overthrow the Republic of Hawaii. The Republican forces suppressed the counter-revolutionaries and Wilcox was court-martialed and sentenced to death. Sanford B. Dole, President of the Republic of Hawaii gave him a full pardon in 1898 after the U.S. Congress intervened.
First married to Gina Sobrero of Italy, Wilcox took as his second wife Princess Theresa Owana Kaohelelani Laanui.
After serving as Hawaii's congressional delegate, Wilcox died in 1903 while campaigning for Sheriff of Honolulu. The Home Rule Party, composed largely of Hawaiians, had petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt to appoint Wilcox as Governor. He might have received the appointment had he lived.
Hawaiian's Right to Vote
In 1899 Wilcox represented Hawaii, working in Washington D.C. to obtain the unrestricted franchise for his people in the framing of the Organic Act, then before Congress. In this undertaking Wilcox was supported by Congress and returned home with honor. Hence, after he was elected as the first delegate of Hawaii to Congress, he was looked upon as "The first to strike for liberty and the first to represent his people" (Charles Elihu Slocum)
Hawaiian Freedom Fighter Returns From Italy
In 1880 KIng Kalakaua selected Wilcox among others to study abroad. He was admitted to the Royal Military Academy at Turin Italy, where he was graduated as an Officer of Artillery. Promoted to Sub-Lieutenent of Artillery he was completing his studies when recalled by the Hawaiian Government in 1887. Inspired by the Italian patriot, Guiseppe Garibaldi, Lieutenent Wilcox is depicted here in his Garibaldi uniform which he frequently and proudly wore. He was regarded by many of his countrymen as a national hero due to his commitment to defend the independence of the Hawaiian monarchy
"It's all right. Let them alone. I love to hear my children's voices."
Pacific Commercial Advertiser October 24, 1903
"though at death's door
his armor still he hoped to wear
with his people
his constant prayer
that while his grief-stricken wife
thoughtfully his offspring
with a father's love he bade her stay
with grief he would not not have
By Tom Sharp, Evening Bulletin November 7, 1903
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