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Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
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*** ANNOUNCEMENT OF IMPORTANT NEW WEBSITE ABOUT THE OVERTHROW OF THE MONARCHY:
THE MORGAN REPORT -- OFFICIAL U.S. SENATE REPORT OF 1894 REGARDING THE OVERTHROW OF THE HAWAIIAN MONARCHY. 808 pages of historical documents and testimony under oath in open hearings under cross-examination. BLOWS A BIG HOLE IN THE TWISTED HISTORY IN THE APOLOGY RESOLUTION OF 1993 AND THE AKAKA BILL. Morgan Report website released to the public on January 17, 2006 in honor of the 113th anniversary of the Hawaiian revolution. Please visit http://morganreport.org. The present webpage about the overthrow of the monarchy, originally written in 2000, has been substantially improved in February/March 2006 in light of information from the Morgan Report and other sources now available.
Was the 1893 overthrow of the monarchy illegal? Obviously, all revolutions are illegal. The American revolution of 1776 was also illegal.
Were most of the people living in Hawai'i at the time of the overthrow opposed to it, in favor of it, or apathetic? We do not know, just as we do not know similar information about the American revolution. There was no Gallup or Zogby poll back then.
In 1890, ethnic Hawaiians were already a minority in the Kingdom. Between 1890 and 1900 there was rapid immigration, primarily from Asia, further reducing the ethnic Hawaiian percentage of the population. The explosion of Asian population in Hawai'i was partly due to King Kalakaua's trip to Japan in 1881 and his invitation for Japanese laborers for the Hawai'i sugar plantations. The following figures are taken from the Native Hawaiian Databook (once available on the OHA website at http://oha.org/databook/go-chap1.98.html):
Hawai'i Census of 1890 (Kingdom): Total population 89,990; Hawaiian 34,436; Part Hawaiian 6,186. Therefore ethnic Hawaiians (full or part) total 40,622 out of 89,990 which is 45%.
Hawai'i Census of 1896 (Republic): Total population 109,020; Hawaiian 31,019; Part Hawaiian 8,485.
Therefore ethnic Hawaiians (full or part) total 39,504 out of 109,020 which is 36%.
U.S. Census of 1900 (Territory): Total population 154,001; Hawaiian 29,799; Part Hawaiian 9,857. Therefore ethnic Hawaiians (full or part) total 39,656 out of 154,001 which is 26%. Japanese were 61,111 out of 154,001 which is an astonishing 40%, far outnumbering any other ethnic group.
Straight-line interpolation is not entirely appropriate due to differences in which month the census was done, and the accelerating rate of immigration; but the approximate figures for 1893 (overthrow of the monarchy) and 1898 (annexation) would be:
1893 (overthrow) ethnic Hawaiians (full or part) 40,063 out of 99,505 which is 40%.
1898 (annexation) ethnic Hawaiians (full or part) 39,580 out of 131,511 which is 30%.
DISCUSSION ABOUT SIGNIFICANCE OF POPULATION DATA
The "Bayonet Constitution" of 1887, forced on King Kalakaua, had restricted voting rights to whites and Hawaiians. It was clearly in the interest of both whites and Hawaiians to prohibit Asians from voting, since Asians were rapidly becoming a majority of the population. Most Asians in Hawai'i were plantation laborers under multi-year contracts, likely to return home after a few years and thus not having a long-term stake in Hawai'i. On the other hand, babies born to Asian plantation workers would automatically be subjects of the Kingdom who would grow up to have voting rights if they stayed in Hawai'i; so to prevent them from becoming a huge voting bloc it was necessary to strip Asians of voting rights. Some European and American businessmen had huge investments in Hawai'i and therefore felt entitled to vote and influence the course of events even though they did not want to give up citizenship in their countries of origin. Upper-class Hawaiians and white businessmen were also glad to protect their oligarchy against lower-class "riff-raff" who might use voting power to demand government handouts at the expense of raising taxes on property-owners. Therefore the Constitution of 1864 (under Lot Kamehameha V) had already contained property/income requirements which had the effect of excluding many native fishermen and taro farmers as well as "white trash" beach bums; and that effort to exclude "riff-raff" was expanded in the Constitution of 1887 which raised the amount of income/property required to be eligible to vote or to hold elective office. The Morgan Report contains testimony from several sources that about 90% of all the wealth and taxes in Hawai'i came from whites, with about 75% coming from Americans or from Hawaiian nationals (native-born or naturalized) of American ancestry. For the 90%/75% figure, see for example the testimony of Peter Cushman Jones, pp. 561-593.
At the time of the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893, 60% of the population had not one drop of Hawaiian native blood. By 1900, when annexation was fully implemented under the Organic Act and the first U.S. census was taken in Hawai'i, 74% of the population had no native blood. Most residents of Hawai'i were not Kingdom subjects (citizens of Hawai'i), because they were indentured plantation field workers or overseers from many places including Japan, China, Portugal, and many other nations. Some residents were foreign businessmen, sailors, etc.; including former plantation workers who moved into town after their contracts expired, and investors or managers from the U.S. and Europe. There were many Hawaiian subjects with full voting rights who had no native blood. And there were many foreigners who, although not naturalized as Hawaiian subjects, nevertheless had voting rights as "denizens." A substantial number of Legislators (both Representatives and Nobles), and nearly all the Cabinet members, judges, and government department heads, had no native blood. Most ethnic Hawaiians probably supported the monarchy, but some favored the overthrow For example, the Speaker of the House in the Republic Legislature was native Hawaiian. Many non-natives favored the overthrow, but some supported the monarchy. For example, following the attempted counter-revolution by Robert Wilcox in January 1895, 22 whites of American ancestry and 3 Canadians were exiled to the U.S. and Canada for their role in supporting Wilcox; and other whites were imprisoned. There were close relationships between some Hawaiian ali'i and the British monarchy: for example Queen Emma was the grandson of John Young; and Lili'uokalani had attended the jubilee of Queen Victoria; and Archibald Cleghorn had married Lili'uokalani's sister and was the father of Princess Ka'iulani. St. Andrews Episcopal Church was founded by Queen Emma explicitly to establish closer relations between England and Hawai'i.
A book published in 2011 focuses on the massive immigration of Japanese as the main factor that prompted the U.S. to finally agree to annexation in order to protect America's strategic defense needs in the North Pacific. The highly respected historian who wrote the book analyzed the Hawaiian revolution and annexation, and Grover Cleveland's attempt to overthrow President Dole and restore the Hawaiian monarchy. He gave special attention to Japanese immigration, Japanese diplomatic and military involvement in opposing annexation, and the normalcy of using joint resolution as the method of annexation. See Book Review of William M. Morgan Ph.D., PACIFIC GIBRALTAR: U.S. - JAPANESE RIVALRY OVER THE ANNEXATION OF HAWAII, 1885-1898 (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2011), including numerous lengthy quotes from each chapter in the book.
The native Hawaiian government was notably racist toward the Japanese and Chinese plantation workers. The property/income requirement in the 1864 Constitution would have excluded nearly all Chinese and Japanese plantation workers, even if they had been native-born in Hawai'i or had taken the loyalty oath to become naturalized subjects of the Kingdom. Of course lower-class ethnic Hawaiians and whites were also excluded from voting rights in that same way. However, Asians were singled out in later legislation. In 1874 the Constitution was amended to remove the property/income requirement -- but also to deny voting rights to all Asians regardless whether they were native-born or naturalized subjects of the Kingdom. Then in 1887 the new ("bayonet") Constitution re-imposed property/income requirements which were even more stringent, and explicitly restricted voting rights to people of Hawaiian, American, or European ancestry (barring all Asians, even native-born or naturalized). Thus, from 1864 to 1874 to 1887, the Kingdom's denial of voting rights to Asians became increasingly racist in proportion to the increase of Asian population. The native Hawaiians and whites were clearly concerned that Asians had an ever-larger majority of the population, although most did not seek naturalization; but as native-born Asian babies grew to age 20 they would automatically become a voting majority (not needing naturalization) unless the laws prohibited them from voting.
The political loyalties of the Asian population in 1893 (whether royalist or revolutionist) are virtually unknown. None of them could vote, and most of them could not read or speak either English or Hawaiian. Many had been illiterate, impoverished, or social outcasts in their homelands. They were generally not regarded as having any political rights or influence, except for occasional (mostly unsuccessful) attempts to bargain collectively for wages and working conditions. However, testimony in the Morgan Report describes political activism by the Japanese legation, who made demands on both the Queen and the Provisional Government that Japanese should be able to vote on the same basis as whites and Hawaiians. Testimony indicates there was a conspiracy between the ex-queen and the Japanese consul, whereby 800 Japanese plantation workers with previous military experience in the Imperial Army would support a counter-revolution by Lili'uokalani in return for her agreement to give voting rights to Japanese. There was also testimony that a Japanese ironclad warship (the Naniwa) was expected to arrive in Honolulu within a few weeks after the revolution. There was also testimony regarding an incident shortly after the revolution when a large group of Japanese men with machetes were running toward the government building but were turned back by intervention of the Japanese consul. These frightening circumstances were some of the reasons cited by U.S. Minister Stevens in his testimony to explain why he allowed the raising of the U.S. flag alongside the Hawaiian flag on the government building (Ali'iolani Hale), at the request of the revolutionary Provisional Government -- to indicate a partial U.S. protectorate to discourage foreign adventurism and to reassure the American (and European) businessmen and families of U.S. protection. See Morgan Report, Testimony of John L. Stevens, pp. 879-941.
THE OVERTHROW OF THE MONARCHY IN 1893 WAS THE FINAL ACT OF A REVOLUTION STARTED IN 1887 WITH THE "BAYONET CONSTITUTION"
The Reform Constitution of 1887 is also known as the "Bayonet Constitution" because a mass protest of about 3,000 residents and Kingdom subjects, including armed men of the Honolulu Rifles, forced King Kalakaua to sign the new constitution or else be overthrown. The protesters were angry at government corruption and the King's lavish lifestyle. Kalakaua had repeatedly thrown out cabinets which refused to sign his legislative proposals, and had openly bribed both elected Representatives and appointed Nobles, running the government as though he was a tin-horn dictator. The new Constitution stripped the King of most of his powers, taking away his right to appoint the upper house of the Legislature (Nobles) and his right to dismiss cabinet officers. The new Constitution also prohibited voting by Asians (some of whom had previously had voting rights as naturalized subjects of the Kingdom). It further reduced the number and improved the "quality" of eligible voters by raising the property/income requirement higher than it had been under the previous Constitution of 1864. The right to vote was thereby limited to whites and Hawaiians who had substantial property or income, in hopes of ensuring "responsible" voting.
The overthrow was not sudden or unexpected. For many years there had been growing opposition to the monarchy, for many reasons. Some of the reasons included the severe alcoholism, gambling, and dissolute lifestyle of the kings; official bribery and corruption; and the running up of huge government debts due to poor management. Kalakaua was the first reigning monarch who ever took a trip around the world; he also built 'Iolani Palace and threw himself a lavish coronation ceremony; all at the expense of taxes generated by white businessmen based on the labor of Asian plantation workers.
The so-called "Bayonet Constitution" of 1887 was forced on King Kalakaua by disgusted citizens and legislators to limit the powers of the king. For example, he was no longer able to either appoint or dismiss his cabinet officers without the approval of the legislature, and the members of the legislative House of Nobles were now to be elected instead of being appointed by the monarch. The fact that this constitution is called "Bayonet Constitution" is not an exaggeration -- the king had no choice but to sign it or be overthrown by force of arms. It was a military coup, which is one of the commonly recognized and accepted ways that revolutions take place.
The final overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani in 1893 was precipitated by her publicly announced intention to unilaterally proclaim a new constitution, violating the existing constitution she had sworn to uphold. Her new constitution would have restored strong powers to the monarch, including undoing the reforms of the constitution of 1887. Her attempt to unilaterally proclaim a new constitution was a naked grab for power, and an act of treason; and it was the immediate precipitating cause of her overthrow. The Queen had appointed her cabinet ministers only a few days before the overthrow, and only after bribing the Legislature to confirm them. Nevertheless, the cabinet ministers refused to support her attempt to proclaim her new constitution, despite threats of bodily harm. The Morgan Report has numerous testimonies describing how the Queen bribed the Legislature to support the dismissal of her cabinet a few days before the Legislature's term ended; and the appointment of a new cabinet favorable to the lottery, distillery, and opium bills; the passage of those bills; the closing of the Legislature; and then the immediate attempt to proclaim a new constitution restoring royal prerogatives (and probably also limiting the right to vote to ethnic Hawaiians only; although she ordered all copies of her proposed constitution to be destroyed when the revolution took place).
Although only 40% of the population in 1893 had any native ancestry, the natives still had a large majority among people with voting rights. Today's Hawaiian activists insist that one reason the revolution was "illegal" is because only people with voting rights should be entitled to decide the form of government and its policies. However, another way of looking at the situation is that it is morally wrong for a minority to exercise power secured by a racial restriction on who can vote; and also wrong for those who pay 90% of the taxes to be prevented from determining government tax and spending policies. All constitutions of the Kingdom of Hawai'i restricted voting rights to adult men. Adding racial restrictions and property/income requirements meant that a very small percentage of the population made the decisions -- a recipe for disaster and revolution in any society, even setting aside the Queen's attempt to take power away from the Legislature.
The Wilcox Rebellion of 1889 was partly an attempt to undo the revolution of 1887 by getting rid of the 1887 Constitution and restoring the 1864 Constitution (with much stronger royal prerogatives). King Kalakaua was actively plotting a coup against the Constitution, and was using Wilcox as a pawn in his political chess game. Meanwhile, Lili'uokalani, the person who would become monarch if Kalakaua was unseated, was plotting a coup against Kalakaua and using Wilcox as her pawn. For details of both plots as reported in testimony in the Morgan Report, see the the item in "Morgan's Gems" entitled "Dueling Palace Coup Plots."
Were there petitions circulated among the people during 1892 pleading with the queen to proclaim a new constitution? Certainly. Following Kalakaua's death in 1891, the new queen made a traditional monarch's tour around the Hawaiian islands, during which she "heard the cries of her people" and received petitions for a new constitution. Lili'uokalani was a very astute political operator. It seems likely that she had sent out advance parties to organize the petition drive in which "her people" (that is, the ethnic Hawaiian people) would beg for a new constitution that would give the queen much stronger powers. Surely far-flung farmers and fishermen living off the land in remote areas had more immediate concerns and would not spontaneously come up with a petition for constitutional reform! There's nothing wrong with drumming up support -- it is normal politics. It also illustrates the same sort of ethnic and racial politics common throughout the world, and even in modern Hawai'i. Ethnic Hawaiians were only about 40% of the population in 1893, and had been steadily losing power and influence for many years. The constitution of 1887 had been a democratic reform making the House of Nobles elected rather than appointed by the monarch, so the non-kanaka majority was gaining increasing power in the legislature as well as in the appointive offices where they had long dominated. The monarch could no longer freely appoint and dismiss members of her own cabinet, without legislative approval. The Queen saw herself as the champion of "her" ethnic Hawaiian people rather than as the monarch of all the people, and the non-kanaka majority were certainly aware of that and were determined not to allow her to reclaim dictatorial powers which would be exercised on a racial basis and against their interests.
Imagine Queen Lili'uokalani from the balcony of the Palace trying to unilaterally proclaim a new constitution abrogating democratic rights and restoring great powers to the monarchy, overturning a revolutionary Constitution established 6 years previously which she had sworn to uphold as a condition of ascending the throne. Now imagine modern-day Queen Elizabeth II of England standing in Westminster on opening day of Parliament, and instead of reading the legislative program written for her by the democratically elected majority in Parliament, she tosses it aside and unexpectedly reads a proclamation dissolving Parliament, declaring that henceforth she will appoint the members of Parliament and exercise her divinely given right to rule. If people took her seriously, there would certainly be a revolutionary reaction.
THE U.S. ROLE IN THE REVOLUTION OF 1893
The Bayonet Constitution of 1887 was strictly an internal political and military coup -- the United States government and troops had no role in it.
During the period between the Bayonet Constitution and the overthrow, there had been at least five significant attempts to overthrow the new government, including a defeated kanaka counterrevolution in 1889 led by Robert Wilcox in which men had been killed and the roof of 'Iolani Palace had been blown open by a grenade.
For a few years before 1893, there had been interest within the U.S. government in the possibility of annexing Hawai'i. There were exploratory meetings and correspondence between the U.S. Secretary of State, the U.S. minister to Hawai'i, and U.S. military officers present in the islands, together with some of the local political conspirators hoping to overthrow the monarchy and produce an annexation.
The U.S.S. Boston, which had been in Honolulu harbor, took a cruise to Hilo and Lahaina a few days before the revolution, for long-delayed target practice and sightseeing. Everyone felt the political situation in Honolulu was stable. U.S. minister Stevens went along on the cruise, accompanied by his two daughters.
While the Boston was on its cruise the Queen bribed the Legislature, allowing her to dismiss her well-respected cabinet and appoint a new cabinet of dubious integrity; she secured passage of very controversial bills for a distillery, a government-sanctioned lottery, and an opium franchise. She then dismissed the Legislature, and immediately held a ceremony at 'Iolani Palace in which the Hui Kalai 'Aina (a native political group) presented her with the new Constitution she had written and intended to proclaim. She summoned her cabinet to the Palace to sign the document, but they refused and two of them ran to a law office downtown, fearful for their lives (several testimonies in the Morgan Report describe the breathless arrival of the cabinet ministers at the downtown law office of W.O. Smith where they had fled for refuge). She stepped out on the Palace balcony to speak to a crowd of natives who had assembled in expectation of a revolutionary new Constitution, and she told them she could not proclaim the new Constitution yet but would do so in a few days.
Mass meetings were held in Honolulu. A royalist rally of about 500 was held on the Palace grounds. A rally at the Armory on Beretania Street was organized by the revolutionist Committee of Safety and attended by about 1500 local men. Some at the Armory rally merely demanded major government reforms; most demanded that the monarchy be overthrown and replaced by a republic; and the leaders of the rally intended to use the political power gained from the revolution to seek annexation of Hawai'i to the United States. Plans were made to reassemble the armed militias who had forced the Bayonet Constitution on Kalakaua in 1887 and had put down the Wilcox rebellion in 1889. The incident that forced the revolutionists to urgent action occurred when a wagon load of rifles and ammunition was headed from a downtown hardware store to the government building to put armaments in place for the revolution, when a native (royalist) policeman tried to stop the wagon and was shot. The noise of the gunshot brought out crowds of people; the revolutionist militias quickly made their way to the government building; the proclamation overthrowing the monarchy was read hastily even as the militias were assembling. After taking over the government building the revolutionists found a large stash of guns and ammunition that had been placed there by the royalists. The policeman who had been shot was only slightly wounded, and was visited in hospital the following day by leaders of the Provisional Government who wished him well. The deposed Queen was escorted to her private home, where she was allowed to keep a substantial number of native royal guards, paid for by the Provisional Government, to protect her personal safety.
Meanwhile the U.S.S. Boston had been headed back toward Honolulu, with U.S. Minister Stevens aboard. The Boston arrived in Honolulu harbor the day before the revolution. As soon as contact was made with the shore, the ship's officers and Minister Stevens heard news about the political upheaval underway. Stevens and several ship's officers (who had homes in Honolulu) received pleas that troops should be landed to protect American life and property. It was clear there would be a revolution by armed militias to overthrow the monarchy. There was fear of violence against Americans and arson against American homes and businesses; and some actual threats had been reported. Accordingly, Minister Stevens asked Captain Wiltse to send troops ashore; and Captain Wiltse did so. Some of the troops were Marines; some were blue-jackets (members of the ship's crew not normally intended for combat but who put on blue jackets and were given rifles). There were a total of about 160 men sent ashore. At the time the revolution actually occurred the detachment of U.S. troops in the area of the Palace and government building were indoors in a building half a block away and down a side road from the main street.
The Morgan Report contains hundreds of pages of testimony from dozens of witnesses about exactly what happened. Some witnesses were local Honolulu residents, including some native-born or naturalized subjects of the Kingdom. Some of those local residents were members of the Committee of Safety or the Provisional Government. Some witnesses were officers or men from the U.S.S. Boston. U.S. Minister Stevens, and U.S. Minister Blount (who had dueling diplomatic appointments in Honolulu simultaneously) gave lengthy testimony under vigorous cross-examination.
The testimony included great detail about who did what, at what time on which day. Readers should go to the Morgan Report website and read the Outline of Topics containing highlights of each person's testimony to choose which testimonies to read. Each testimony title in the Outline of Topics is accompanied by a paragraph or two describing it; long testimonies offer a summary of several pages; and every testimony can be read in its entirety by clicking on the page numbers at the left of the title of that item. The testimony was taken under oath, in public, and subjected to cross-examination.
In the end, the five Democrats and four Republicans on the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs concluded unanimously that there was no conspiracy before the revolution between Minister Stevens or U.S. forces, and the Committee of Safety or local revolutionaries; and there was no assistance given by the U.S. troops as the revolution unfolded. However, a minority of the Senators felt that the presence of U.S. forces emboldened the revolutionaries or weakened the resolve of the royalists, and that the revolution might not have occurred if no U.S. forces had been present. It was clear from the testimony that different detachments of the U.S. forces were sent to various places to protect American life and property. In the area near the government building the U.S. forces stayed inside the building where they were encamped except for two sentries; they did not at any time form a line by the government building; and they never took over any buildings or pointed their weapons at anyone. Taking over buildings and patrolling the streets was done by the armed militias of local revolutionaries.
It is false to say that all or most of the members of the Committee of Safety were Americans. Ralph S. Kuykendal, "The Hawaiian Kingdom" Volume 3 page 597 says: "The Committee of Safety as first appointed was composed of the chairman H.E. Cooper, F.W. McChesney, T.F. Lansing, and J.A. McCandless, who were Americans; W.O. Smith, L.A. Thurston, W.R. Castle and A.S. Wilcox, who were Hawaiian born of American parents; W.C. Wilder, American, C. Bolte, German, and Henry Waterhouse, Tasmanian, who were naturalized Hawaiian citizens; Andrew Brown, Scotchman, and H.F. Glade, German, who were not. After a day or two, Glade and Wilcox resigned, Glade because he had to return to Kauai; Ed. Suhr, a German, and John Emmeluth, an American, replaced them on the committee." So, according to Kuykendal, 7 of the original 13 were subjects of the Kingdom being either Hawai'i-born or naturalized. The Morgan Report on pp. 1101-1102 has somewhat different figures, perhaps because the membership of the Committee of Safety changed from time to time. Responding to cross-examination by Senator Gray, Dr. Francis R. Day identified the nationalities of the 13 members of the Committee of Safety as follows: All 13 were long-time residents of Hawaii who were registered as Hawaii voters -- 5 Americans, 3 Hawaiians, 3 Germans, 1 English, 1 Scottish. All favored annexation to the United States. It should also be noted that many influential white subjects of the Kingdom supported Lili'uokalani. In any case, the U.S. government is not responsible for the actions of its citizens, or its former citizens, in foreign lands.
Morgan Report testimony from several witnesses confirms that Minister Stevens was scrupulously neutral before and during the revolution. Some testimony indicates the royalists were happy to see U.S. troops landed, because those royalists thought the troops would serve to bolster the existing government. Some testimony indicates some revolutionaries were unhappy the U.S. troops had landed before the revolution, because they felt they could have succeeded in the revolution earlier but the presence of U.S. troops would cause a pause or delay in the revolution allowing the Queen to consolidate power.
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.
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. The Constitution of the Republic of Hawaii, dated July 4, 1894, is available at
Interestingly, there were at least five ethnic Hawaiian names in the list of delegates to the Constitutional Convention who unanimously certified the Republic's new Constitution. The Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Republic at the time of annexation in 1898 was ethnic Hawaiian.
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.
Letters granting full diplomatic recognition to the Republic of Hawaii were personally signed by the rulers of 19 foreign nations in 1894, including Queen Victoria, President Grover Cleveland, and 17 others. Photographs of letters from all 19 nations are available on a webpage at
The family of nations recognized the Republic as the legitimate government of Hawaii. That fact disproves the claims of Hawaiian sovereignty activists, discredits the apology resolution of 1993, undermines the Akaka bill, and confirms that the ceding of Hawaii's public lands at annexation was done by a Hawaiian government fully recognized under international law. The historical significance of the fact that the Republic was internationally recognized, and its implications for statehood, Akaka bill, and ceded lands; are discussed at
along with a detailed example of the Hawaiian sovereignty lie that the Republic was never recognized.
The U.S. has apologized for its role in the overthrow, in P.L. 103-150 of 1993. But the overthrow would have been successful without any U.S. forces, as indicated by the fact that the Provisional Government maintained control even after the small contingent of U.S. troops was withdrawn. The landing force of about 160 men was slowly reduced starting a few days after the revolution when the feared violence and arson failed to occur (there were two small fires the night after January 17 which might have been unrelated to the revolution). The Provisional Government's militia were patrolling the streets very effectively. On April 1 Minister Blount ordered the few remaining troops to return to their ship. On April 1 Blount also ordered the removal of the limited U.S. protectorate that Stevens had established, and the removal of the U.S. flag that had flown alongside the Hawaiian flag on the government building as a show of stability.
The Apology Resolution of 1993 has been given detailed analysis showing that it is wrong on the facts (aside from the findings of the Morgan Report). Constitutional law expert Bruce Fein, formerly assistant Attorney General of the United States under President Reagan, wrote a monograph "Hawaii Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand" published June 1, 2005, containing 42 specific criticisms of the Apology Resolution. See:
See also Chapter 10 of Thurston Twigg-Smith's book "Hawaiian Sovereignty: Do the Facts Matter?" Chapter 10 is devoted entirely to a refutation of the Apology Resolution. The entire book can be downloaded from:
The Republic of Hawai'i continued to hold power during the entire four-year term of U.S. President Grover Cleveland, who came into office shortly after the monarchy was overthrown. Cleveland was a friend of Lili'uokalani. He sent Minister Blount on a secret mission to Honolulu to try to destabilize the Dole government and to gather statements from royalists which Cleveland would then use to discredit the revolution and to slow the momentum in Congress toward annexation. Morgan Report testimony by William S. Bowen, pp. 1026-1034, indicates Lili'uokalani had secretly offered the Dole government that she would abandon all claims to the throne and support annexation, in return for an annual pension of $25,000; but Blount intervened and torpedoed the negotiations by pledging that Cleveland would support her restoration to the throne. Later, in December 1893, Cleveland's new Minister to Hawai'i ordered President Dole to step down and reinstate the Queen; but Dole refused.
James Blount was a political hatchet-man for President Cleveland. He was sent to Hawai'i to try to destabilize the Provisional Government and to take statements from royalists that could be used to slow the movement in Congress to approve annexation. Considerable detail is available about these topics in the section on "Historical Background and Importance of the Morgan Report." Topics include: Blount's ulterior motives; Cleveland's failed counter-coup(s); Blount failed to seek or accept evidence contrary to his predetermined conclusions, strongly implicating him as a political hatchet-man; Blount's report actually twisted, distorted, or lied about what some people told him, as confirmed by their later testimony to the Morgan committee describing specific falsehoods Blount told in his report about what they had allegedly said to him.
The Provisional Government and the Republic kept control despite President Cleveland's opposition to them. A counterrevolution attempt by Robert Wilcox in January 1895, with the probable secret support of the U.S. allowing guns to be smuggled from San Francisco to Waikiki, was easily defeated. The ex-queen was found guilty of supporting the counterrevolution by permitting the storage of rifles and bombs in the flower garden of her home at "Washington Place," and was sentenced to prison at hard labor, which she served by being confined to a huge, well-appointed second-floor room in the palace with a servant and plenty of sewing supplies and writing materials. Except for a few weeks immediately following the revolution, the royalist newspapers in Honolulu were allowed to continue publishing without any restriction or censorship. They published news reports, editorials, and poetry supporting the monarchy and severely criticizing the revolution and the Dole government. After a few months of "prison" in the Palace, Lili'uokalani was paroled to house arrest at Washington Place, and then was granted full restoration of her civil rights. Clearly the Provisional Government and Republic were firmly in control of the government, despite the hostility of President Grover Cleveland.
When the attempted counter-revolution by Robert Wilcox was decisively crushed, ex-queen Lili'uokalani gave a formal statement of abdication to President Dole. She gave up any claim to the throne, swore allegiance to the Republic of Hawaii, and told her followers to do likewise. Her abdication statement can be seen at:
To show the seriousness of the Wilcox attempted counter-revolution of 1895, and the strength of the Provisional Government in defeating it and imprisoning the ex-queen and maintaining order on its own with zero help from the U.S. under a hostile U.S. President Grover Cleveland, here is a lengthy quote from Helena G. Allen, "The Betrayal of Liliuokalani"(Glendale California, Arthur H. Clark Co., 1982. Chapter 8 "A Queen Imprisoned", p. 341.
"Liliuokalani, after her conviction of misprision, returned to her prison, sometimes referred to by the Republic writers as the "spacious apartment in the left wing of the Iolani Palace." To Liliuokalani, who was forbidden visitors or news of any kind, and allowed merely to walk under guard on the balcony and never to leave the "spacious quarters" -- this was her prison. Sanford Ballard Dole, after a two-week review period, commuted her sentence from the $5,000 fine and five years "imprisonment at hard labor" to mere imprisonment. In fact all the death sentences were remitted and many of the fines. By March 19, 1895, martial law was ended, and the military commission adjourned sine die. Of the 190 prisoners (37 for "treason and open rebellion"; 141, "treason"; and 12, "misprision"), twenty-two had been exiled to the United States, three were deported to Canada, five received suspended sentences, five were acquitted, among them Sam Nowlein, and the remainder served short sentences usually without either fines or hard labor.
By January 1, 1896, all were "freed", except Liliuokalani. She remained nearly eight months in her Iolani Palace prison (January 16 to September 6, 1895); five months more under "house arrest" at Washington Place (September 6, 1895 to February 6, 1896 -- a little over a month after all the others had been released); then island-restricted from February 6, 1896, to October 6, 1896 -- nearly 21 months total."
Much is made of the fact that the queen did not surrender power to the Honolulu Rifles or to the Provisional Government, but rather to the United States. There are probably many monarchs or dictators who would prefer to choose someone friendly to surrender to, rather than surrendering to their enemies who actually defeated them. German troops east of the Elbe in 1942 tried desperately to find American, French, or British troops to surrender to, rather than surrendering to the Russian forces who were defeating them on the battlefield. And the fact is that in the months after the overthrow, the United States actually sent high government officials to Hawai'i and tried to mediate a reversal of the overthrow and a restoration of the monarchy; but the mediation attempt failed, partly because the ex-queen insisted she would put to death the leaders of the overthrow. The Provisional government gave way to the internationally recognized independent Republic of Hawai'i, and it wasn't until 1898 that annexation to the United States was finally accomplished. Clearly, the United States did not eagerly grab the prize, as it would have done if it had been the primary instigator of the overthrow of the monarchy.
In the American Revolution of 1776, the British had the good sense to surrender to the Americans who had actually defeated them, rather than to the French who had helped finance the revolution, trained the American troops, and supplied thousands of soldiers and dozens of battleships of their own. Imagine if the British had chosen instead to surrender to the superior power of the French, until such time as the French would undo the revolution? As a matter of fact, the American revolutionary war took more than five years to win. The war was won only after the French greatly increased their support for the Americans. At the end, the French navy blockaded Chesapeake Bay to prevent the British from bringing in supplies or troops for the final battle of Yorktown; and during October 1781 thousands of French troops fought side by side with the American rebels. On October 19, 1781, at surrender field near Yorktown, a country lane was turned into a surrender gauntlet. French troops lined up along one side and American rebels lined up on the other side. The entire British military slow-marched through this gauntlet, their fifes playing "The World Turned Upside Down." General Cornwallis was ill, and sent his second-in-command General Ohara. Ohara offered his surrender sword to the French! But the French knew better than to accept it. This day belonged to the American rebels. After the French refused to accept the surrender sword, it was then presented to the American, General George Washington.
Thus, in the American revolution the British monarchy tried to surrender to the French, whose massive military forces had been absolutely essential in making the revolution succeed. But the French had the good sense to refuse the surrender and to make the British surrender to the American rebels. In the Hawaiian revolution, the Americans had played a very small role, sending in only about 160 troops off a single ship, not to fight but merely to prevent rioting. Too bad the Americans made the mistake of accepting delivery of the Queen's protest letter, and passed it along to the federal government. The Americans should have done in Honolulu as the French had done at Yorktown, and should have required that the monarch surrender to the local rebels who had actually defeated her.
At the time of the overthrow, the queen said, "I yield to the superior force of the United States of America ... I do, under this protest and impelled by said force, yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon the facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representatives, and reinstate me in the authority which I claim ..."
It could be argued that the U.S. Government did, in fact, "undo the action of its representatives" -- it fired John L. Stevens from his position with the U.S. Government and stripped Captain Wiltse of his commission as a Naval Officer. However, since the Provisional Government was primarily the creation of forces inside Hawai'i, the U.S. Government had no authority to declare it null and void. The Provisional Government had such a solid and independent grip on power that even President Grover Cleveland was unable to restore the ex-queen to the throne. When President Cleveland's emmisary ordered the Provisional Government to restore the Queen, PG President Sanford B. Dole wrote a lengthy and strongly-worded refusal. Clearly, it was an internal revolution inside Hawai'i, even though 160 outside troops guarded U.S. property and were available if needed as a buffer to prevent violence or arson against innocent civilians.
The full text of the United States letter demanding that the Provisional Government be dissolved and the ex-queen restored to the throne, and the full text of President Sanford B. Dole's blistering letter of refusal, can be seen in a webpage devoted to President Dole at:
President Cleveland was a friend of Lili'uokalani. He did all in his power to undo the Hawai’i revolution and put her back on the throne. He failed, because the Provisional Government held power very strongly and stood firm against him.
Cleveland's friendship for the Queen was so strong that some modern-day Hawaiian activists say that on February 25, 1894 President Cleveland issued an emotionally powerful proclamation declaring that April 30, 1894 would be a national day of mourning for the United States because of the overthrow. Cleveland's bitter personal opposition to the revolution prompted the Provisional Government to entrench itself more firmly, for the long haul, as the Republic of Hawai'i, which was proclaimed on July 4, 1894. Cleveland remained hostile to the new government, and under his authority the U.S. Navy allowed guns to be smuggled into Hawai'i to support the failed Wilcox counter-revolution of January 1895.
Here is President Grover Cleveland's ALLEGED proclamation of a national day of mourning, according to a Hawaiian sovereignty website
That proclamation has been on that website for many years, and is still there as of January 2006.
To My People:
Whereas, my good and great sister and fellow sovereign, her gracious majesty, Liliuokalani, queen of Hawai'i, has been wickedly and unlawfully dethroned by the machinations of Americans and persons of American descent in those islands, being instigated thereto by the devil, one John L. Stevens;
and whereas, my well-concieved plans for the restoration of her sacred majesty have not had the result they deserved but her majesty is still defrauded of her legal rights by her refractory and rebellious subjects, and her position is a just cause of sympathy and alarm;
now, therefore, I, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, do hereby ordain and appoint the last day of April next as a day of solemn fasting, humiliation and prayer. Let my people humble themselves and repent for their injustice to me and my great and good sister, and pray, without distinction of color, for her speedy return to the throne and the discomfiture of the miserable herd of missionaries and their sons, her enemies and traducers.
Long Live Liliuokalani, the de jure queen of Hawaii
Done at our mansion in Washington this 25th day of February, 1894.
A true copy.
Attest, Walter Q. Gresham, Secretary of State
However, it turns out that the ALLEGED Cleveland proclamation was actually a piece of sarcasm directed against Cleveland because of his stubborn support for a lost cause. No such proclamation was actually written by President Cleveland. In April 2006 a Hawaiian sovereignty activist, the disgraced Reverend Kaleo Patterson, made a pilgrimage to Cleveland's birthplace and gravesite in New Jersey, and proclaimed a national day of prayer and repentance for April 30. Patterson captured national media attention as Associated Press published a "news" report in dozens of newspapers throughout the U.S. -- the "news report" cited the Cleveland proclamation as being factual. Research by Jere Krischel and Ken Conklin totally discredited the alleged proclamation, and the national day of prayer, and further tarnished the reputation of the previously discredited Kaleo Patterson. For details, see:
In the apology bill of 1993, the U.S. Government admitted no legal wrongdoing. It merely apologized on behalf of the American People for things done in 1893 by some of its former citizens (who were among the 7 subjects of the Kingdom who were on the 13-member Committee of Safety) and current citizens (Stevens, Wiltse, and 4 members of the Committee of Safety). This is like what sometimes happens when a crime is committed and the family of the criminal feels bad and apologizes to the family of the victim. There is no legal or moral liability implied by the apology -- it is just an expression of sympathy and an assertion that the criminal's family had nothing to do with the criminal actions of one of its members. ("Hey, we're sorry it happened, and embarrassed because he's a member of our family; but he did it on his own and we disavow his action").
An "Apology Bill" was passed by Congress in 1993 (to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the overthrow), with no hearings, after assurances from Senator Inouye on the floor of the Senate, just before the vote was taken, that it was merely a harmless apology.
When U.S. Senator Slade Gorton from the State of Washington expressed concern about the apology bill and asked Senator Inouye about the intention of the bill, Senator Inouye said, "I once again say that the suggestion that this resolution was the first step toward declaring independence or seceding from the United States is at best a very painful distortion of our intent.... To suggest that we are attempting to restore the Kingdom, Mr. President, I find it most difficult to find words to even respond to that.... No, no, this is not seceding or independence. We fought for statehood long enough and we cherish it and we want to stay there. I can assure you, I do not wish to leave this place. So, Mr. President, I hope that our assurance would suffice. After all, we are the authors of this resolution, and that is not our intention.... As I tried to convince my colleagues, this is a simple resolution of apology.... It is a simple apology."
Senator Gorton then said, "This Senator wants to sincerely thank the senior Senator from Hawaii for that answer and accepts it as such. This Senator believes the Senator from Hawaii has said this resolution is unrelated to any kind of special treatment for Native Hawaiians."
When courts need to consider the meaning of a law, they sometimes look at the statements made by the legislators during the debates leading up to the passage of the law. For example, when interpreting the meaning of a provision in the Constitution, the Supreme Court sometimes cites the writings and debates of the people who wrote the Constitution, as found in the Federalist Papers. Lower courts trying to interpret the meaning of an act of Congress or a state statute might examine the record of debate to see what the authors of a bill stated to be its purpose. Thus, the statements of Senator Inouye regarding the intent of the apology bill, and the reliance placed on those assurances by the other Senators such as Senator Gorton, can be used by courts of law to interpret how the apology bill should be applied. It is a simple apology, and not a finding that the overthrow was illegal or that the U.S. is legally to blame for it. As Senator Gorton confirmed, the apology bill is not a pledge by the Congress to support racial entitlement programs. And as the final sentence of the apology bill itself (the "disclaimer") clearly states, “Nothing in this Joint Resolution is intended to serve as a settlement of any claims against the United States.”
An outstanding book was published in 1998 on the history of Hawai'i in general, and the Hawaiian sovereignty issue in particular. Thurston Twigg-Smith, "Hawaiian Sovereignty: Do the Facts Matter?" (Honolulu, HI: Goodale Publishing, 1998). This book focuses on the overthrow of the monarchy (1893) and the annexation of Hawai'i to the United States (1898), but other topics are also covered, including the role of the missionaries. Mr Twigg-Smith is grandson of Lorrin A. Thurston, a leader of the overthrow; and his great-great grandparents were Asa and Lucy Thurston who were in the first company of missionaries to arrive in Hawai'i in 1820. Mr. Twigg-Smith's entire book, including historical photos, can be downloaded free of charge at:
For those who are fond of citing legal technicalities, the Queen's surrender (and the power of the United States) is still legally in effect, because the United States has not yet undone the action of its representatives, nor reinstated her in the authority which she claims, as would be required by the language of her surrender. Read the terms of her surrender again -- she yielded her authority to the United States until such time as certain things would happen. Those things have never yet happened. Thus, the annexation was not necessary according to the queen's surrender, because she had already handed power directly to the United States, and her surrender has not yet been undone by the United States, as she required. The annexation of 1898 is clear evidence that the United States considered the Revolution to have succeeded and that it was negotiating annexation with the official government of Hawai'i (the Republic) which was indeed recognized internationally by all the governments which had previously recognized the Kingdom. This last argument given here is clearly far-fetched -- in exacly the same way as the claims of certain sovereignty activists are far-fetched, when they say that the overthrow was illegal and the annexation never happened. If they say the annexation never happened because a proposed treaty of annexation was defeated and annexation was done only by joint resolution -- then we may just as well say the annexation was never necessary because the queen had surrendered to the United States already in January 1893, until such time as the United States would undo the surrender, which has never happened.
The New York Times on January 17 each year republishes the text of an article they had published in 1893, reporting the overthrow in great detail. History buffs will enjoy reading the details of the overthrow. There are some things we now know were reported inaccurately or incompletely; and details that seemed unimportant then seem very important now, at least in the minds of sovereignty activists. To read the 1893 article, click here (the entire article is copied at the bottom of this webpage in case the following URL fails):
The overthrow of the monarchy, and annexation of Hawai'i to the United States, continue to be controversial topics in Hawai'i today. Government handouts through racially exclusionary programs to benefit ethnic Hawaiians are defended as justifiable reparations for the overthrow and annexation. Sovereignty activists seeking independence for Hawai'i feel it important under "international law" to show that native Hawaiians opposed and resisted both the overthrow and the annexation. Of course many did resist, but there were also many native Hawaiians who applauded and actively helped with the overthrow and annexation. Sovereignty activists today are trying to re-write history by turning such "traitors" into non-persons (as Communists in the Soviet Union did with people they didn't like, both living and dead).
The University of Hawai'i library has created an internet-accessible collection of historical documents about the overthrow of the monarchy and the annexation of Hawai'i to the United States. The project was created by a group of Hawaiian sovereignty-activist students and professors for the purpose of memorializing the resistance of some of the natives. The idea is to prove that the overthrow and annexation were "illegal" and contrary to the wishes of Hawai'i's people. The collection includes:
* The 1894 report on the overthrow to President Cleveland, written by U.S. Rep. James H. Blount. [Mr. Blount was sent to Hawai'i by President Grover Cleveland, a friend of the ex-queen, with a specific mission to gather evidence to justify a restoration of the monarchy. Blount did not place anyone under oath, and he interviewed only Royalists]
* Congressional debates on the annexation statute (the "Organic Act").
* The anti-annexation petition signed by Hawai'i citizens. [note Lorrin A. Thurston's report, below]
* Documents penned by Queen Lili'uokalani and others in protest of the overthrow.
There is a pledge to eventually include the Morgan Report, produced by Congress, running over 800 pages, which took testimony under oath and concluded the overthrow was primarily an internal Hawai'i matter with minimal U.S. involvement. But of course those in charge of this archive project have no desire to provide evidence contrary to their opinions, and it is doubtful the Morgan Report will ever be posted here.
The archive project, including the documents mentioned above, can be found here:
Lorrin A. Thurston, a leader of the overthrow and annexation, wrote an 11-page report thoroughly discrediting the anti-annexation petitions. He pointed out that some individuals signed the petition numerous times in their own names, and also forged the signatures of numerous others (their handwriting was remarkably the same as the forger's!). Sone individuals apparently routinely gathered entire pages of signatures on otherwise blank documents, and later filled in the cause being petitioned. The ages of some small children were also changed to make it appear they were adults. Mr. Thurston's 11-page report is difficult to read because the typewriting has faded, and the documents were scanned as photographs. The first page is at:
***** DOCUMENTS NEWLY REDISCOVERED IN THE STATE ARCHIVES IN FEBRUARY 2008:
On July 4, 1894, the temporary Provisional Government was replaced by the permanent Republic of Hawaii, whose Constitution was written by a Constitutional Convention whose members included at least five ethnic Hawaiians. The Speaker of the House of Representatives was also a native Hawaiian and former royalist, John Kaulukou. The Republic sent letters to the most important nations having trading, diplomatic, and treaty relations with Hawaii, notifying them of the new permanent government and requesting official recognition. During the following several months, letters were received that were personally signed by emperors, kings, and presidents of at least 20 nations on 4 continents, written in 11 languages, granting full diplomatic recognition de jure to the Republic as the rightful government of Hawaii. In January 1895 ex-queen Lili'uokalani also wrote a letter of abdication and signed an oath of loyalty to the Republic. Photos of all those original documents were taken in the Hawaii State Archives, and can be seen at
A webpage discussing the historical significance and implications of those letters for statehood, Akaka bill, and ceded lands; is at
along with a detailed example of the Hawaiian sovereignty lie that such letters do not exist.
In January 1993 perhaps ten thousand ethnic Hawaiians (and some non-Hawaiian political leftists) commemorated the 100th anniversary of the overthrow by marching from Mauna Ala (the Royal Mausoleum where ex-queen Lili'uokalani is buried) to 'Iolani Palace, where there was a day of speeches and flag-waving -- Hawaiian flag only, of course. The ethnic Hawaiian Governor John Waihe'e had ordered all U.S. flags to be removed from all government buildings during a three-day period (out of sensitivity to the feelings of Native Hawaiians, he said).
In January 2003, on the 110th anniversary of the overthrow, another march to 'Iolani Palace had only perhaps fifty participants. But also, several hundred ethnic Hawaiians demanding tens of millions of dollars for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs staged a noisy rally at the Legislature on opening day. The victimology of overthrow and annexation was cited repeatedly as a reason why the non-Hawaiian taxpayers of today's Hawai'i owe reparations to those of native ancestry.
A remarkable series of letters to editor of the Honolulu Advertiser followed after these rallies, focusing on whether the overthrow and annexation were good for Hawai'i, and whether native Hawaiians at the time had supported those events. Here are five of those letters. Earl Arakaki, author of the first letter, was the lead plaintiff in the Arakaki1 lawsuit that desegregated candidacy for trustee of Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and also the Arakaki2 lawsuit seeking to dismantle both OHA and the Departmentof Hawaiian Homelands as being unconstitutional. Kaha'i Topolinski, who write a reply, is a well-known hula master. Thurston Twigg-Smith, who responded to Topolinski and defended Arakaki, is the grandson of Lorrin A. Thurston who was a leader of the overthrow and a diplomat representing the Republic of Hawai'i in negotiations for annexation with the U.S. government.
Posted on: Wednesday, January 22, 2003
Letters to the Editor
Monarchy overthrow was good for Hawai'i
I wholeheartedly agree with John L. Kaulukou, former judge, marshal under the monarchy, speaker of the House of the Republic of Hawai'i, longtime ally of King Kalakaua and his sister, Lili'uokalani, in his statement that annexation to the United States was "the best thing that could happen for Hawai'i, both for the native and foreign population ... I rejoice heartily that it has come."
And, I also agree with Queen Lili'uokalani's entry in her diary on Sunday, Sept. 2, 1900, that "Tho' for a moment (the overthrow) cost me a pang of pain for my people, it was only momentary, for the present has a hope for the future of my people."
And, I agree with the statement by Stephen T. Boggs, emeritus professor of anthropology, University of Hawai'i, that "Sovereignty in the modern day and age rests with the people, not with any government, or any form of government."
Only in the 50th state, and the rest of the United States, are pro-sovereignty activists free to march and demonstrate, and I to opine. God bless America!
Posted on: Saturday, February 8, 2003
Letters to the Editor
Liliu'okalani's quote taken out of context
Earl Arakaki's Jan. 22 letter ("Monarchy overthrow was good for Hawai'i") was interesting. The use of quotes from Judge John L. Kaulukou and Queen Liliu'okalani, however, presents a manufactured point of view. One needs to consider the context of these quotes, the time, the politics and political differences in which they were said.
Judge Kaulukou, after serving a brilliant career under his own Native Hawaiian government, traded his loyalty and became a proponent of U.S. annexation, without question causing the displeasure of many politically connected Hawaiian families. He was branded a traitor.
Addressing Arakaki's quote of Liliu'okalani, "Tho' for a moment (the overthrow) caused me a pang of pain for my people, it was only momentary, for the present has a hope for the future of my people," is taken out of context with the insertion "(the overthrow)". I have searched the dairies of the queen from 1900-1909 and could not find Arakaki's dubious quote with reference to the queen.
From 1900-1909, Liliu'okalani made five trips to Washington, D.C., protesting America's illegal takeover of Hawai'i. Further, my research reveals that the queen's diaries were written "in numerical code and a type of Hawaiian and Tahitian gibberish ... " proving " ... her reluctance to trust her diaries falling again into the wrong hands ... a concerted effort was made by the Hawai'i repositories to keep her diaries private for many years."
Mr. Arakaki, the queen by your quote may have accepted the permanence of U.S. political presence in Hawai'i "a hope" for her people. But never, ever did she agree to accept the traitorous manner in which it was done.
Posted on: Friday, February 14, 2003
Letters to the Editor
Key Hawaiian figures favored annexation
Kaha'i Topolinski attempts in his Feb. 8 letter to belittle the comments in favor of annexation made by Judge John Kaulukou and Queen Lili'uokalani, quoted in an earlier letter to the editor by Earl Arakaki, calling them "a manufactured point of view." They were not. They were real and good evidence that not all Hawaiians opposed annexation and that even logical opponents, like the deposed queen, could see benefits in it.
Judge Kaulukou was elected speaker of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Hawai'i, part of the Hawaiian majority in that body. The republic's Senate also included Native Hawaiians, and it voted unanimously for annexation. This may have caused displeasure among some Hawaiians, as Topolinski alleges, but it is a historical fact.
Judge Kaulukou made his statement that annexation was "the best thing that could happen for Hawai'i, both for the native and foreign population ... I rejoice heartily that it has come" in a lengthy article that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle on July 28, 1898.
The quote attributed to Queen Lili'uokalani -- "Tho' for a moment it (the overthrow) cost me a pang of pain for my people it was only momentary, for the present has a hope for the future of my people" -- was not taken out of context, as Topolinski charges.
He said he could not find it in her diaries. It was taken directly from her diary for Sunday, Sept. 2, 1900, a copy of which I saw when I entered that information into my book, "Hawaiian Sovereignty, Do the Facts Matter?" on Page XII.
There were other key Hawaiian figures of the time who came to favor annexation and the release from the whims of a monarchy. One, also quoted in the forward of my book, was John F. Colburn, a Native Hawaiian member with Sam Parker of Lili'uokalani's last, four-member cabinet, the one that tried to depose her themselves in January 1893.
Posted on: Saturday, February 22, 2003
Letters to the Editor
The Akaka Bill is just a seditious conspiracy
I am writing to protest Gov. Lingle's trip to Washington, D.C., to support passage of the Akaka Bill. I also want to protest the Hawai'i congressional delegation for its support of the same bill. All those who support passage of the Akaka Bill are engaged in a seditious conspiracy against the inherent sovereignty of the kanaka maoli people and the lawfully reinstated Hawaiian government of March 13, 1999.
U.S. Public Law 103-150 was passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1993, to acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the Jan. 17, 1893, overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai'i, and to offer an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for the overthrow. Congress was told by Sen. Slade Gorton that "the logical consequences of this resolution would be independence."
The Akaka Bill is proof of an ongoing criminal enterprise relative to the continued misuse, abuse and disposal of the stolen government lands by elected and appointed agents of the de facto state of Hawai'i and U.S. government.
The Akaka bill is an offense against the law of nations and a seditious conspiracy against the inherent sovereignty of the lawful Hawaiian government.
James D. Kimmel
Posted on: Friday, February 28, 2003
Letters to the Editor
Pro-sovereignty stand misleading
James D. Kimmel (Letters, Feb. 22) misled readers about the issue of Hawaiian sovereignty. He states things as truth that are nothing more than revisionism.
U.S. Public Law 103-150 is anything but. It is a letter of apology, nothing more. It does acknowledge that American presence during the overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani might have influenced events, but in light of the Morgan Senate report of 1894, it goes no further.
Fact: The queen was overthrown by a committee led by individuals with U.S. ties, but the majority were legal citizens of the kingdom. The queen suffered the fate of popular insurrection against her attempt to consolidate power to her court.
Fact: At the time of the overthrow, the annexation club in Honolulu had hundreds of Native Hawaiian members.
Fact: U.S. military forces played no role in the overthrow. The U.S. ambassador did not recognize the republic until all kingdom government buildings were seized. The republic was quickly recognized under international law by all major powers. The elected representatives of the republic, the majority of whom were Native Hawaiians, legally provided a mandate for the republic to seek annexation to the United States. James ignores the messy detail that all elected Hawaiians voted for annexation.
Fact: State ceded lands were defined as "crown land" by the king in 1856. Upon annexation, they were transferred intact to Washington, then returned to the state in 1959. The king's edict declared this land as a benefit for all citizens of the kingdom. The benefits flowing from ceded lands continue to serve the king's purpose to this day: It benefits all citizens of the state of Hawai'i. Individual Hawaiians never had title to this land.
The most important fact: In the annexation bill, the elected representatives unanimously voted that all Native Hawaiians become citizens of the United States. This means the Akaka bill is an offense to the U.S. Constitution. All federal and state laws that grant unique rights to Native Hawaiians are unconstitutional. To adhere to the Constitution, there cannot be a government-to-government relationship of any sort. All U.S. citizens are equal under the law.
There is a constitutionally legal method to address Native Hawaiian land grievances, which, for the large part, stem from my ancestors having little concept of fee-simple land ownership. Thousands, in ignorance, were taken undue advantage of. Ceded lands are solely in state jurisdiction, for the benefit of my citizens, as the king put it.
I believe another Great Mahele is due. Each individual Hawaiian, of 50 percent blood quantum or greater, on Jan. 17 two years from now, to give time for the state to sort out legalities, would receives three acres fee simple. On that date, all unique state and federal programs for Native Hawaiians would cease per the Constitution.
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 23, 2003
U.S. must feed its industrial oligarchy
By Eduardo M. Hernandez
[Photo caption: Eduardo M. Hernandez is a fund-raiser and organizer for AIDS awareness and prevention.]
In 1893, a small group of industrialists illegally manipulated U.S. military forces to oust the leader of the Hawaiian Kingdom — Queen Lili'uokalani.
While this benevolent monarch can hardly be compared with the despotic ruler of Iraq, the method and ends of this historical event clearly show that the United States will lie, bully, cheat and steal under the guise of freedom to feed an insatiable industrial oligarchy.
Today, as the United States appears ready to launch a first-strike attack against Iraq, the character of our nation is once again drawn into question. Will we, in the name of justice and freedom, use force to overthrow Saddam Hussein, disarm Iraq and assume control of its oil? Or will we strive to find a less-violent solution that serves the needs of humanity more than those of the military-industrial complex?
There can be no doubt that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a significant and lethal threat to freedom and democracy. However, it seems unlikely that the massive invasion planned by U.S. military leaders will significantly reduce this threat.
For more than 10 years, the policy of containment has been effective in constraining Iraq from using these weapons. A war may actually empower Saddam and legitimize, in his view, deployment of a hidden arsenal against U.S invaders, his own people or other targets including Israel, causing an escalation of events far beyond anyone's imagination.
The Bush administration seems intent on pursuing its own aims, much as John Stevens and the Committee of Safety were intent on theirs in Hawai'i 110 years ago. Both share little regard for international law, relying rather on the hegemonic power of the United States to achieve a perpetuation of corporate domination.
Posted on: Wednesday, March 5, 2003
Letters to the Editor
'Industrial oligarchy' wasn't part of overthrow
Your community editorial board member Eduardo Hernandez makes an interesting, if somewhat unusual, comparison Feb. 23 of the overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani and the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 to the contemplated overthrow of Saddam Hussein and his government in Iraq, blaming both on what he calls the "industrial oligarchy" of the United States.
Actually, there is a valid comparison, but the root is not some industrial oligarchy. In both cases a dictator/monarch not serving the people of his/her country is the common element.
There was no industrial oligarchy fomenting a revolution in Hawai'i in 1893; there were simply subjects of the kingdom who objected strongly to the willful ways of their queen — she announced she was going to install a new constitution, take away the voting rights of certain taxpayers and appoint all the members of one of the two houses of government. They said no way and removed her from office in a virtually bloodless coup.
The U.S. played a minimal role, pointing no guns, firing no bullets. And even that role was denounced very quickly by President Cleveland, making clear the U.S. itself was not interested in taking over the kingdom.
Interestingly, neither those Hawaiians who now seek independence and those who merely seek compensation from Uncle Sam for damages that never happened are looking for a return to a monarchy.
Further, contrary to Mr. Hernandez' assertions, both the actions of the Hawaiian revolutionists in 1893 and America in Iraq in 2003 follow a clear precept of international law: Any people who believe they are oppressed can exercise the right to overthrow a government that threatens their chosen way of life. Ask the English about their revolution in 1688, Americans about theirs in 1775, the French about theirs in 1789, and don't forget the Chinese revolution in 1911 or the Russian revolution in 1917.
Posted on: Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Letters to the Editor
'Minimal role' during overthrow maximum
Thurston Twigg-Smith said: "The U.S. played a minimal role, pointing no guns, firing no bullets. And even that role was denounced very quickly by President Cleveland, making clear the U.S. itself was not interested in taking over the kingdom" (Letters, March 5).
This "minimal role" consisted of U.S. Minister Stevens ordering the firepower of the USS Boston pointed toward 'Iolani Palace and sending U.S. Marines into the streets of Honolulu. Stevens said such was needed to "protect the lives and the property of American citizens."
If all were equal citizens under the kingdom, who, then, were these "American citizens" whom this abuse of force was designed to protect?
Lili'uokalani said, "That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America ... (that) Stevens has caused United States troops to be landed at Honolulu and declared that he would support the provisional government.
"Now to avoid any collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life, I do this under protest ... until such time as the government of the United States shall ... undo the action of 'its representatives' and reinstate me in the authority which I claim ... "
Sounds like the queen's concern about loss of life was the reason bullets were not fired.
The facts here show that, indeed, the United States, through the actions of its representatives, did orchestrate the overthrow.
Mr. Twigg-Smith, do not whitewash factual history in order to obscure the ugly deeds of Lorrin Thurston, your great-uncle.
Posted on: Thursday, March 13, 2003
Letters to the Editor
Overthrow assertion is revisionist history
I must take exception to Thurston Twigg-Smith's ludicrous assertion that the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy by a handful of foreign-born, greedy, self-interested traitors has the same legitimacy as the French or American revolutions.
The point that Mr. Twigg-Smith ignores is that the vast majority of the Hawaiian people did not feel oppressed by their queen but, to the contrary, loved and worshiped her. The only "oppressed" people were members of the Annexation Club, a treacherous gang of planters and businessmen, led by Mr. Thurston's great-uncle, Lorrin A. Thurston, who sought to control the kingdom politically as well as economically by plotting the overthrow of the queen and annexation to the United States.
Mr. Twigg-Smith asserts that the United States played a minimal role in this illegal overthrow. This allegation stands in stark contrast to President Cleveland's words to Congress: "But for the lawless occupation of Honolulu under false pretexts by the United States forces, and but for Minister Stevens' recognition of the provisional government when the United States forces were its sole support and constituted its only military strength, the queen and her government would never have yielded to the provisional government."
Surely it is time for Mr. Twigg-Smith to forego his attempts at revisionist history and come to terms with the illicit activities of his great-uncle, who, along with the other traitors, should rightly have been hanged for treason.
NOTE FROM WEBSITE EDITOR KEN CONKLIN: The two letters above, from Damon Senaha and Michael Lafreniere, appear to have been written based on some sort of single-source false history of the overthrow. For example, both letters make the same mistake in describing Lorrin A. Thurston as the "great-uncle" of Thurston Twigg-Smith, when in fact Lorrin was his grandfather. Specific detailed errors like that, one day apart, do not happen by accident. The word on the grapevine is that about two dozen letters were received by the Honolulu Advertiser, all sent to San Diego and then re-mailed from there. Perhaps a professor at the UH Center for Hawaiian Studies assigned a letter campaign as a class project, with extra credit for anyone whose letter actually got published. Hawaiian sovereignty activists, following Marxist analysis, regard history as a political weapon and dirty tricks are fair in war. Thurston Twigg-Smith's letter below (after Frank Scott's) sets the record straight.
Posted on: Monday, March 24, 2003
Letters to the Editor
Overthrow interpreted differently
Opinions on the role played by the United States on the overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani in 1893 seem to depend on how one interprets historical data.
Thurston Twigg-Smith (Letters, March 5) indicated that the United States played a minimal role, with no pointing of guns, no firing of bullets and denouncement by President Cleveland.
Next comes Damon Senaha (Letters, March 12), who indicates that the United States, through actions of its representatives, orchestrated the overthrow and that Twigg-Smith is simply whitewashing history.
And then, lo and behold, comes Michael Lafreniere (Letters, March 13), who speculates that the queen was loved and worshiped by the majority of the people, and the lawless occupation of Honolulu by U.S. forces prompted her to resign.
I think all three critics would agree that the crucial basis for their divergent views stems from different interpretations of the actions of John Stevens, U.S. minister to Hawai'i, and Capt. G.C. Wiltse of the USS Boston, as well as the statements in the queen's capitulation.
Stevens indicated to the Committee of Safety, whose members precipitated the overthrow, that he would likely approve of a new government resulting from a potential overthrow, but would play no role in their revolutionary actions. Capt. Wiltse, with the approval of Stevens, sent a limited number of troops to Honolulu for the express purpose of protecting Americans and American property. The U.S. government in Washington had no knowledge of the overthrow until after the fact and expressed strong objections when word was received.
The queen's interpretation as to who was responsible for the overthrow may be ambiguous and irrelevant to those who believe the United States played a minimal, if any, role in the overthrow. Was it a clever ploy on her part to blame the U.S. minister to Hawai'i, hoping the favorably leaning U.S. government in Washington would counter Stevens and argue for her reinstatement? Further actions seem to indicate this.
But for those looking for supporting evidence to support the belief of major U.S. involvement, the wording of the queen's capitulation, however profound, is crucial.
Discussion of the pros and cons on the issue will likely continue unabated unless a critically needed, unbiased investigation is conducted by the U.S. Congress. In retrospect, it is obvious that such an investigation should have preceded the 1993 apology resolution.
Posted on: Thursday, March 27, 2003
Letters to the Editor
Few Americans were part of 1893 revolution
Lorrin A. Thurston was not my great-uncle (as erroneously stated in two letters to the editor because of an editor's error). As clearly stated in my book "Hawaiian Sovereignty, Do the Facts Matter," he was my grandfather.
Letter writer Damon Senaha wonders who were the American citizens being protected by U.S. Minister Stevens when he brought ashore the 162 men from the USS Boston, a move that had been taken several times in earlier years at moments of crisis.
As he could discover by reading Chapter 5 of my book, which describes in detail the events that led to the revolution, there were well over 1,000 Americans in residence in Honolulu who were not part of the revolutionary group. That group of 13 — or as letter writer Michael Lafreniere calls them, "a handful of foreign-born, greedy, self-interested traitors" — was comprised of seven subjects of the monarchy (including L.A. Thurston, one of three Island-born members of the committee), four citizens of America and two Europeans. All were residents and taxpayers of Hawai'i.
In 1893, Cleveland's "fact finder" to Hawai'i, James H. Blount, wrote in his report that the 5,500 members of the city's Annexation Club at that time included 1,218 Americans (22 percent of the club); 1,022 Native Hawaiians (19 percent); 251 Englishmen (5 percent); 2,261 Portuguese (41 percent); 69 Norwegians (1 percent); 351 Germans (6 percent), along with 328 persons unclassified but making up the balance.
Lafreniere's assertion that my grandfather should rightly have been hanged for treason was the queen's viewpoint also. When President Cleveland sent Minister A.S. Willis to replace Stevens as minister and also order the revolutionists to return the kingdom to Lili'uokalani, she overplayed her hand by telling Willis she'd have them hanged when she got control, which caused Cleveland to abandon that course and recognize the new Republic of Hawai'i.
Notably, when the queen's abortive counterrevolution failed in 1895, the republic confined her to the palace for a few months instead of hanging anyone.
Hawaiian sovereignty activists are extremely zealous. They are always eager to uphold the concept that ethnic Hawaiians would never have supported the overthrow or annexation, that they resisted actively, and that the white leaders of those events were villains. Queen Lili'uokalani is portrayed as a martyr, almost to the point of sainthood. Candlelight vigils are held in her memory at the Royal Mausoleum and at 'Iolani palace, and prayers are said. Overthrow leader Lorrin Thurston's grandson, Thurston Twigg-Smith, is an active campaigner against today's Hawaiian racial programs and against today's sovereignty movement, and has published a book "Hawaiian Sovereignty: Do The Facts Matter." Thus, Mr. Twigg-Smith is regarded as a villain by the sovereignty activists both because of his own views and because of the activities of his grandfather. Bookstores are pressured by the sovereignty activists not to carry his book, and copies of it in the library and in bookstores are often vandalized. Indeed, valuable old books published during the decade of the overthrow and annexation, or thereafter, have also been stolen from the public library or vandalized beyond repair, such as the two volumes by William Adam Russ on the "Hawaiian Revolution" and the "Hawaiian Republic"; Lorrin A. Thurston's "A Handbook on the Annexation of Hawaii"; and the Morgan Report.
In view of that background, it's understandable that the sovereignty activists were shocked and outraged to see Earl Arakaki's letter to editor (above) using an amazing quote from Lili'uokalani's diary of 1900 (7 years after the overthrow and 2 years after annexation), as reported in Mr. Twigg-Smith's book. Surely, they thought, their heroine the Queen would never have uttered those words or harbored such a sentiment. Earl Arakaki quoted the ex-queen as follows:
And, I also agree with Queen Lili'uokalani's entry in her diary on Sunday, Sept. 2, 1900, that "Tho' for a moment (the overthrow) cost me a pang of pain for my people, it was only momentary, for the present has a hope for the future of my people."
And so the sovereignty activists began scurrying to somehow discredit the accuracy of that dastardly quote. They turned to a fellow ethnic Hawaiian with expertise in Hawaiian history, and who has extensive experience using the State of Hawai'i archives and the archives at Bishop Museum. Unfortunately for the activists, they chose an honorable man whose personal integrity causes him to place truth above politics, and who has a history of standing firm against intimidation.
DeSoto Brown is collections manager of the Bishop Museum archives, and his work is also his hobby. He has published books on Hawaiian history, including "Hawaii Goes to War" and "Hawaii Recalls," and sells Hawai'i memorabilia on eBay. He is committed to preserving the Hawaiian cultural heritage, and making it available for the education and inspiration of future generations. In 1999-2000, his bosses at Bishop Museum were working closely with the radical organization Hui Malama to remove bones and artifacts from Bishop Museum for re-burial, and even to prohibit photographs of such things from being exhibited. During that period DeSoto Brown showed great courage in speaking out publicly against that policy. He willingly risked loss of his job and hostility bordering on intimidation from Hui Malama, even though a fellow employee was fired for daring to speak out (see the March 29, 2000 issue of the Honolulu Advertiser, article available at http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/2000/Mar/29/localnews3.html ).
DeSoto Brown spent weeks doing his research to track down the original source of the Arakaki/Twigg-Smith quote from Lili'uokalani. At first he published an article showing (politically correct) disdain for Thurston Twigg-Smith and casting doubt on the validity of the quote. But then a week later Mr. Brown did a remarkable thing. He published a follow-up article describing new evidence he had found that verifies the quote's correctness and provides enough context to show that the quote meant what it plainly said. Mr. Brown could have simply kept his findings to himself; but he gave a clear demonstration of scholarly integrity and personal courage by publishing his second article. Here are DeSoto Brown's two articles from the left-wing, alternative, weekly newspaper "The Honolulu Weekly"
The Honolulu Weekly
May 28 - June 3, 2003
The queen's diary
"'Tho' for a moment it [the overthrow] cost me a pang of pain
for my people it was only momentary, for the present has a hope for
the future of my people.'
-former Queen Lili'uokalani in her diary, Sunday, September 2, 1900"
This quote, cited in Thurston Twigg-Smith's book Hawaiian
Sovereignty: Do The Facts Matter? (Goodale Publishers; 1998),
inspired an interesting exchange of letters in The Honolulu
Advertiser earlier this year. In January, a letter from Earl Arakaki
got things going by referencing Twigg-Smith's use of the queen's
quote (written, as it happens, on her 61st birthday) to bolster
claims that some Hawaiians actually ended up supporting their
Predictably, subsequent letters denounced Twigg-Smith's reading,
including one from kumu hula Kaha'i Topolinski, who wrote that he
thought the diary entry had been taken out of context. Twigg-Smith
himself denied this in a letter published on Feb. 14, in which he
said that the wording "was taken directly from her diary a copy
of which I saw when I entered that information in my book." The
letter doesn't say where Twigg-Smith saw the copy, but the book's
bibliography cites the Hawai'i State Archives and Bishop Museum as
the sources for the queen's diaries.
These two repositories do, in fact, have a total of 15 of
Lili'uokalani's diaries between them, dating from 1878 to 1906. But
anyone looking for the 1900 diary is out of luck: It doesn't exist in
So, where did the quote come from? In an e-mailed response to
the question, Twigg-Smith said he'd seen the words in a transcribed
copy of the diary - not the original - and that the copy was in a
private collection. According to Twigg-Smith, the copy was made after
World War II from the original diary, which was in what's known today
as the Hawai'i State Archives.
At press time, an unofficial statement from the Archives said
they have no record of ever having had the 1900 diary.
Unfortunately, these explanations are unlikely to settle the
question of context and the queen's real meaning. With no access to
the original, that debate will continue.
The Honolulu Weekly
June 4-10, 2003
Thurston was right
A story in last week's Honolulu Diary described a published quote from the 1900 diary of deposed Queen Lili'uokalani, reprinted by overthrow apologist Thurston Twigg-Smith and subsequently questioned by others. Twigg-Smith had attributed the source as the Hawai‘i State Archives, but upon inquiry the Archives responded that there was no evidence that the 1900 diary had ever been in their collection.
A further search there, however, turned up a photostatic copy (probably made in the 1930s) of a single page of this diary, in Lili'uokalani's handwriting, which did contain the contested quote. The full text of the photostat:
How sad and yet I gave my consent to have the old Royal Hawaiian Band who are now the Government U.S. band come and serenade me on this the occasion of my 62nd birthday. My consent is the healing over of ill will of all great differences caused by the overthrow of my throne and the deprivation of my people of their rights. Tho' for a moment it cost me a pang of pain for my people — it was only momentary, for the present has a hope for the future for my people. 10 a.m. Went out to Kahala with Mr & Mrs Mana [?] and children. Mr & Mrs Auld, Kaipo, Myra Aimoku Kalahiki. Wakeki Paoakalani J. Aea Mahiai Robinson.
This, at least, addresses the context the quote came from, which had been contested. Still unanswered, however, is the location of the elusive diary in its entirety. It's not in any known, publicly accessible repository at this time. Perhaps this source of further insight into Lili'uokalani's life still waits, somewhere, for discovery.
-- DeSoto Brown
Another quote from Lili'uokalani from more than a century ago also causes some consternation today among sovereignty activists.
Queen Liliuokalani confided to then Senator George Hoar (R. Mass.) that, “The best thing for [Native Hawaiians] that could have happened was to belong to the United States.”
Senator Hoar wrote his own autobiography in 1903 (14 years before the ex-queen died) which included that quote. "Autobiography of Seventy Years" by George Frisbie Hoar (C. Scribner's Sons, 1903). To find that quote from Lili'uokalani, look for "Lili'uokalani" in the index to Hoar's book.
Hoar's book is not easy to get hold of. However, another book by a reputable historian, William Russ, also contains the quote as having been taken by Russ from Hoar's book. See: William Adam Russ, "The Hawaiian Republic" (1894-98) (Associated University Press, London and Toronto 1992). On page 331, Russ quotes Senator Hoar as quoting those words of Lili'uokalani. Russ took his quote directly from Senator Hoar's own autobiography.
Another remarkable series of letters to editor, regarding the 1893 overthrow, began on August 20, 2003 when Thurston Twigg-Smith published a letter in the Honolulu Advertiser criticizing supporters of the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill (Akaka bill) why rely on their interpretation of the overthrow to claim the U.S. owes reparations to ethnic Hawaiians for the "military invasion" of 1893 and subsequent 110-year belligerant occupation of Hawai'i. Here are some of the best (or worst) letters in that series; proving once again that the overthrow and annexation of more than a century ago continue to be controversies affecting modern political policy-making.
The Honolulu Advertiser, Letter, Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Hawai'i citizens overthrew queen
Many of the letters you are publishing from Akaka bill supporters have one erroneous thing in common: They all start with the assumption that the United States not only invaded Hawai'i and still occupies it, but broke treaties and contracts with the kingdom in the process; therefore, reparations are due.
Completely overlooked is the fact that the kingdom was lost because Queen Lili'uokalani was breaking a contract she had made with her own subjects, the residents of Hawai'i. When she took office, she swore to uphold the constitution of Hawai'i. That constitution contained explicit language providing for amendments. So when Lili'uokalani announced she was promulgating a new constitution on her own, she was breaking her contract with her people. Even her own Cabinet objected.
Her proposed constitution was unacceptable to most everyone. Among other things, it would have disenfranchised every subject, Native Hawaiian or otherwise. She proposed she would appoint the upper house of the Legislature instead of allowing that to continue to be done by public election.
The community immediately supported an uprising along lines familiar to Americans since 1776: " ... whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends (i.e., ... deriving ... just powers from the consent of the governed ...) it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government ... " (U.S. Declaration of Independence).
The men who led the revolution in Hawai'i in 1893 were subjects of the queen acting in good conscience. They knew their action would either be supported by the populace as a whole or be rejected by the queen's forces and the rebels dealt with. She said later she would have had them put to death.
The United States, far from supporting the revolution as the activists today would have us believe, demanded the rebels return the kingdom to the queen. They refused.
The United States and every other country in the world that was involved in the Pacific then recognized the new government of Hawai'i, first a provisional government, then a republic.
When the Republic of Hawai'i was finally annexed by the United States, the kingdom was long gone and most of its former subjects had become citizens of the republic.
Unlike the treatment given to conquered Indians, all Hawaiians became voting citizens of the United States and retained title to their lands, and government debts were paid off. Native Hawaiians used their vote to elect other Native Hawaiians to Hawai'i's highest elected office, delegate to Congress, until the late 1920s, and controlled the Legislature and the majority of government offices until World War II.
Any claims they were treated unjustly by the United States are as unwarranted and uncollectible as any claims descendants of the natives of O'ahu or Maui or Moloka'i might have against Kamehameha the Great and his Kingdom of Hawai'i because he invaded those islands, killed off the opposition and seized all of their lands.
T. Twigg-Smith, Honolulu
The Honolulu Advertiser, Letter, Wednesday, August 27, 2003
The truth does indeed matter in overthrow
The Aug. 20 letter on Lili'uokalani was incorrect -- even worse, a revision of history -- in intimating that her own people overthrew her. The book "Does the Truth Matter?" was written by the same individual who now writes that her own people overthrew the queen.
Yes, the truth does matter. The constitution identified here that she is said not to have upheld was the one forced upon her brother, Kalakaua, and named the Bayonet Constitution of 1887, and was to deprive her people of the right to vote and was protested ever after.
Lili'u correctly disliked the forced constitution and only sought to restore to her people the vote with her proposed constitution of 1893 -- a move that offered the opportunity to her detractors awaiting the right moment to have the ripe, golden pear (Hawai'i) fall into the right basket.
The 12 men who planned the 1893 overthrow of Lili'u, some of whom were naturalized citizens, seized the rights of 40,000 other citizens and arguably committed treason. But they adroitly reversed the treason charge to Lili'u to have her convicted and imprisoned, and they threatened to hang her supporters.
Lili'u did not take an oath to support or join the Republic of Hawai'i as a citizen and be subject to the charges against her. Even the 1887 constitution's author admitted it was not legally enacted.
Yes, the truth matters, even as convoluted as it is becoming by revision.
Louis Agard, Honolulu
The Honolulu Advertiser, Letter, Saturday, August 30, 2003
Twigg-Smith left out important information
Regarding Thurston Twigg-Smith's comments on Aug. 21: He failed to say that the so-called citizens of Hawai'i who overthrew the monarchy were white men who conspired together and that his grandfather, L.A. Thurston, was one of them.
Mr. Twigg-Smith has spent a large portion of his life twisting the facts and manipulating the truth to rationalize and justify the wrongdoing that his grandfather did to the Hawaiian people. When he passes from this life and stands face to face with the source of all truth, he will then realize that all of his time, effort and energy on this matter should have been wisely used to correct the wrong that his grandfather did.
When the enemies who dwell among us disturb me, I am always comforted by Psalm 37. It reminds me that I must be steadfast and trust in God, because eventually our enemies do die and then they are no more.
We in Hawai'i are so blessed to be racially diversified. We have learned and shared so much with each other. God bless the good people who have the spirit of aloha and do not try to use it for their own personal gain, and who respect the true host culture of these Islands.
J. Kaululaau, 'Aiea
The Honolulu Advertiser, 2 Letters, Wednesday, September 3, 2003
Apology bill states Hawai'i was invaded
Thurston Twigg-Smith says (Letters, Aug. 20) the assumption is erroneous "that the United States not only invaded Hawai'i and still occupies it, but broke treaties and contracts with the kingdom in the process."
But these are not just assumptions of sovereignty supporters. According to the U.S. Congress, these are findings of fact. The 1993 apology resolution states that: "In pursuance of the conspiracy to overthrow the Government of Hawai'i, the United States Minister and the naval representatives of the United States caused armed naval forces of the United States to invade the sovereign Hawaiian nation ... "
Yes, Congress used the word invade.
And it goes on to say that the U.S. minister extended diplomatic recognition to the provisional government "in violation of treaties between the two nations ... "
Yes, Congress said it was a violation of treaties.
Congress quite directly contradicts Twigg-Smith's revision of history, and this is just in the first paragraph of his distortion-filled letter. But it appears that in his attempt to justify the crimes of his ancestor and further perpetuate the resulting injustices, the facts don't matter.
Scott Crawford, Hana, Maui
Senate in 1993 didn't have facts
In an Aug. 21 letter, Eric Po'ohina, in answer to an Aug. 20 letter by Thurston Twigg-Smith, asked that if what Twigg-Smith said was historically correct, why did Congress confess, in the 1993 Hawaiian Apology Law, to stealing from the Hawaiians?
The answer is that Congress shouldn't have done it. There should have been no such confession. The senators must have been ignorant of Hawaiian history, and so must have been their advisers.
After a commission appointed by the provisional government went to Washington to negotiate an annexation treaty in 1893, President Grover Cleveland appointed James H. Blount to go to Hawai'i as his commissioner to investigate the overthrow of the monarchy and to bring back an unbiased report.
Unfortunately, Blount's report was far from unbiased. He hobnobbed with the royalists, accepted no invitations from the new government officials, and wouldn't even talk to them. When he interviewed people, he asked leading questions and would not let them introduce ideas of their own. He held no open hearings and made no attempt to get the other side of the story.
Not surprisingly, President Cleveland assumed the report was unbiased, and since it held that the success of the overthrow was due to U.S. intervention, he decided that the queen should get back her throne. He appointed Albert S. Willis to be the new U.S. minister to Hawai'i and to go with instructions to President Dole demanding that the provisional government give the throne back to the queen. This it refused to do.
Things were delayed because in Cleveland's request, there was a provision that the leaders of the overthrow be given amnesty. This the queen would not agree to. She thought they should be beheaded and have their belongings confiscated. After many letters back and forth between Willis and Cleveland, she finally did agree, but by that time President Cleveland had sent the matter to Congress.
This time, Sen. John T. Morgan and his Foreign Relations Committee did the investigating. They held many open hearings with lots of witnesses telling both sides of the story. The report of this investigation repudiated Blount's. It said that Blount had not gotten the facts. It concluded that the citizens were justified in the revolution and the establishment of the provisional government. President Cleveland had done what he thought was right, but he had been wrong in trying to restore the queen. Among other things, the report censured those who gave Blount false and misleading statements.
I wonder, if the Senate in 1993 had been told about this second investigation, if it would have given more importance to the report of one biased man who held no open hearings than to the report of a Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate, which did hold open hearings with testimony from all sides of the story.
Elizabeth D. Porteus, Honolulu
The Honolulu Advertiser, Letter, Saturday, September 6, 2003
Queen overthrown by her own subjects
Among the plethora of opinions on the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, Louis Agard (Letters, Aug. 27) accuses Thurston Twigg-Smith of revisionism in his Aug. 20 letter. In fact, Agard is the revisionist. He indicates that Twigg-Smith incorrectly stated that the queen's own people overthrew her. Twigg-Smith distinctly indicated that the people who overthrew her were subjects of the queen.
Mr. Agard also states incorrectly that the 1887 constitution deprived the queen's own people of the right to vote. The 1887 constitution did not deprive the queen's people of the right to vote but did impose an income and property requirement on the right to vote in the upper house.
Agard further states that the queen sought to restore the right to vote to her people in the proposed 1893 constitution. In fact, the new constitution would have taken away the right to vote in the upper house and replaced it with appointments by the queen.
Possibly, a thorough and objective review by the U.S. Congress of the 1893 overthrow would narrow the continuing divergence of opinions. The 1993 apology resolution did not serve this purpose, since it was apparently based on a particular interpretation of historical events to support the belief that the U.S. government played a significant role in the overthrow. The document received no investigation of historical facts and almost no debate prior to approval by the U.S. House and Senate.
Frank Scott, Kailua
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Letter, Friday September 12, 2003 (day after the second anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on America)
Hawaii overthrow worse than Sept. 11
I'll never forget the terrorist attack on the kingdom of Hawaii by the United States on January 1, 1893. The attack on my homeland was nothing near to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Imagine if after the Saudis bombed the WTC, millions of Saudis occupied the continental United States, took over Congress and imprisoned the president.
Then and only then would Americans know how we Hawaiians feel about sovereignty, our Hawaiian homeland, our culture and independence.
Brandish the banner of Hawaiian independence.
Eric Poohina, Kailua
The Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Letters to the Editor
Hawaiians' views of annexation are diverse
Not all Hawaiians looked at annexation negatively. Some Hawaiians accepted these changes or customs. Hawaiians were divided into three groups: the Native Hawaiians, the bicultural Hawaiians and the "haole-fied" Hawaiians.
Many Native Hawaiians did not change for America. They kept their old way of life and wanted to restore the monarchy.
Bicultural Hawaiians were part-white and part-Hawaiian. They took the best of both worlds.
"Haole-fied" Hawaiians took on the American way of life to fit in with the community. They imitated the Americans and married into white families, diluting the Hawaiian gene pool.
Therefore, Hawaiians were quite diverse on their opinion about annexation. Some chose to embrace and accept the American culture while others rejected this new way of life. The bicultural community took both sides and got the most out of each.
Even though the Native Hawaiian groups' viewpoint was expressed the most, there was more than one view to the issue.
On September 7, 2003 a pro-apartheid "red shirt" march by 5,000 to 10,000 ethnic Hawaiians and supporters took place in Waikiki. The purpose of the march was to protest the Arakaki2 lawsuit as well as the two Kamehameha School desegregation lawsuits. Over a period of several weeks, the red-shirt march generated important published statements by the Arakaki2 plaintiffs and by the OHA trustees, as well as letters to editor debating the legitimacy of the overthrow and annexation and bemoaning the allegedly downtrodden status of ethnic Hawaiians. To see extensive material about all that, visit:
A major leader of the overthrow and annexation was Sanford B. Dole. See:
Sanford Ballard Dole -- Elected Legislator and Appointed Supreme Court Justice of the Kingdom of Hawai'i; President of the Provisional Government and of the Republic of Hawai'i; Governor of the Territory of Hawai'i, and Presiding Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Territory of Hawai'i
Sanford B. Dole is still remembered, both positively and negatively, and his role in the history of the overthrow and annexation continues to be discussed in newspaper letters to editor. See: Dole's 160th Birthday April 23, 2004 -- Newspaper publications, responses, rebuttals (also of interest to journalism students as a case study in how different newspapers edit and handle the same content differently)
In 2004 a book was published by Dr. Noenoe Silva entitled "Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism." The book focuses on the late 1800s and especially the overthrow and annexation. It claims ethnic Hawaiians were overwhelmingly opposed to the overthrow and annexation. An important essay-length book review is available at:
The apology resolution of 1993 is an important element of the Akaka bill (Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill). The resolution is cited to justify a need for reconciliation -- a moral obligation owed by the United States to ethnic Hawaiians to compensate them for the overthrow of their monarchy. But on August 16, 2005 former Senators Slade Gorton (R,WA) and Hank Brown (R,CO) published a major article accusing Senator Inouye of violating his moral obligation to tell the truth during the debate on the apology resolution on the floor of the Senate in 1993. Senator Inouye lied when he said the apology resolution would never be used to assert claims for communal land ownership or special race-based programs. Here's the article by Senators Gorton and Brown.
Wall Street Journal on-line, commentary; August 16, 2005
E Pluribus Unum? Not in Hawaii.
By SLADE GORTON and HANK BROWN
The Senate is poised to sanction the creation of a racially exclusive government by and for Native Hawaiians who satisfy a blood test. The new race-based sovereign that would be summoned into being by the so-called Akaka Bill would operate outside the U.S. Constitution and the nation's most cherished civil rights statutes. Indeed, the champions of the proposed legislation boast that the new Native Hawaiian entity could secede from the Union like the Confederacy, but without the necessity of shelling Fort Sumter.
The Akaka Bill classifies citizens by race, defying the express provisions of the 14th Amendment. It also rests on a betrayal of express commitments made by its sponsors a decade ago, and asserts as true many false statements about the history of Hawaii. It should be defeated.
The Akaka Bill's justification rests substantially on a 1993 Apology Resolution passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton when we were members of the Senate representing the states of Washington and Colorado. (We voted against it.) The Resolution is cited by the Akaka Bill in three places to establish the proposition that the U.S. perpetrated legal or moral wrongs against Native Hawaiians that justify the race-based government the legislation would erect. These citations are a betrayal of the word given to us -- and to the Senate -- in the debate over the Apology Resolution.
We specifically inquired of its proponents whether the Apology would be employed to seek "special status under which persons of Native Hawaiian descent will be given rights or privileges or reparations or land or money communally that are unavailable to other citizens of Hawaii." We were promised on the floor of the Senate by Daniel Inouye, the senior senator from Hawaii and a personage of impeccable integrity, that, "As to the matter of the status of Native Hawaiians . . . [t]his resolution has nothing to do with that. . . . I can assure my colleague of that." The Akaka Bill repudiates that promise of Sen. Inouye. It invokes the Apology Resolution to justify granting persons of Native Hawaiian descent -- even in minuscule proportion -- political and economic rights and land denied to other citizens of Hawaii. We were unambiguously told that would not be done.
The Apology Resolution distorted historical truths. It falsely claimed that the U.S. participated in the wrongful overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani in 1893. The U.S. remained strictly neutral. It provided neither arms, nor economic assistance, nor diplomatic support to a band of Hawaiian insurgents, who prevailed without firing a single shot, largely because neither the Native Hawaiian numerical majority nor the Queen's own government resisted the end of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Queen authored her own ouster by planning a coup against the Hawaii Constitution to recapture monarchical powers that had been lost in a strong democratic current. She later confided to Sen. George Hoar that annexation to the U.S. was the best thing that could have happened to Native Hawaiians.
The Resolution falsely asserted that the Kingdom of Hawaii featured a Native Hawaiian government exclusively for Native Hawaiians prior to the 1893 events. In fact, the Kingdom was a splendid fusion of both native and non-native elements in both government and society. The definitive historian of the Kingdom, R.S. Kuykendall, elaborated: "The policy being followed looked to the creation of an Hawaiian state by the fusion of native and foreign ideas and the union of native and foreign personnel, bringing into being an Hawaiian body politic in which all elements, both Polynesian and haole, should work together for the common good under the mild and enlightened rule of an Hawaiian king."
The Apology falsely declared that Native Hawaiians enjoyed inherent sovereignty over Hawaii to the exclusion of non-Native Hawaiians. To the extent sovereignty existed outside the monarch, it reposed equally with all Hawaiians irrespective of ancestry. The Apology falsely maintained that Native Hawaiians never by plebiscite relinquished sovereignty to the U.S. In 1959, Native Hawaiians voted by at least a 2-1 margin for statehood in a plebiscite. Finally, the Apology Resolution and its misbegotten offspring, the Akaka Bill, betray this nation's sacred motto: E Pluribus Unum. They would begin a process of splintering sovereignties in the U.S. for every racial, ethnic, or religious group traumatized by an identity crisis. Movement is already afoot among a few Hispanic Americans to carve out race-based sovereignty from eight western states because the U.S. "wrongfully" defeated Mexico in the Mexican-American war.
The U.S. Constitution scrupulously protects the liberties and freedom of Native Hawaiians. It always has. It always will. Native Hawaiians have never been treated as less than equal by the U.S. Their economic success matches that of non-Native Hawaiians. Intermarriage is the norm. Sen. Inouye himself boasted in 1994 that Hawaii was "one of the greatest examples of a multiethnic society living in relative peace." In other words, E Pluribus Unum is a formula that works. We should not destroy it.
Messrs. Gorton and Brown are former senators for Washington and Colorado, respectively.
The New York Times on January 17 each year republishes the text of an article they had published in 1893, reporting the overthrow in great detail. History buffs will enjoy reading the details of the overthrow. There are some things we now know were reported inaccurately or incompletely; and details that seemed unimportant then seem very important now, at least in the minds of sovereignty activists. Here is the 1893 article, taken from:
On This Day
This event took place on January 17, 1893, and was reported in the The New York Times the following day.
A Revolution In Hawaii
Queen Liliuokalani Deposed From The Throne Grasping For More Power She Fell The Monarchy Abrogated And A Provisional Government Established -- A Commission To Ask For Annexation To The United States -- Troops From The United States Warship Boston Preserving Peace In Honolulu -- The Overthrow Of The Hawaiian Dynasty Accomplished Without Bloodshed -- The Movement Precipitated By An Attempt Of The Queen To Secure More Absolute Prerogatives.
San Francisco, Jan. 28 -- The Hawaiian steamer Claudine arrived at this port at 2 o'clock this morning with the news of a revolution at Honolulu. The revolutionists have succeeded in overthrowing the Government of Hawaii, and United States troops have been landed.
A provisional government has been established, and a commission, headed by Mr. Thurston, came in on the Claudine en route to Washington with a petition to the American Government to annex the Hawaiian Islands to the United States. The commission will leave here to-morrow afternoon and reach Washington next Friday.
Queen Liliuokalani has been deposed from power, the monarchy abrogated, Government buildings seized, and the new provisional Ministry, composed of four members, is sustained by bayonets of volunteers.
Queen Liliuokalani attempted on Saturday, Jan. 14, to promulgate a new Constitution, depriving foreigners of the right of franchise and abrogating the existing House of Nobles, at the same time giving her the power of appointing a new House. This was resisted by the foreign element of the community, which at once appointed a committee of safety of thirteen members, which called a mass meeting of their classes, at which 1,200 or 1,500 were present. That meeting unanimously adopted resolutions condemning the action of the Queen and authorizing the committee to take into consideration whatever was necessary for the public safety.
Manifesto Of The Citizens
On Monday the Committee of Public Safety issued a proclamation to the Hawaiian people, recounting the history of the islands and calling attention to the misrule of the native line of monarchs. The manifesto continues:
Upon the accession of her Majesty Liliuokalani for a brief period the hope prevailed that a new policy would be adopted. This hope was soon blasted by her immediately entering into a conflict with the existing Cabinet, which held office with the approval of a large majority of the Legislature, resulting in the triumph of the Queen and the removal of the Cabinet. The appointment of a new Cabinet subservient to her wishes and its continuance in office until a recent date gave no opportunity for further indication of the policy which would be pursued by her Majesty until the opening of the Legislature in May of 1892. The recent history of that session has shown a stubborn determination on the part of her Majesty to follow the tactics of her late brother, and in all possible ways to secure the extension of the royal prerogatives and the abridgment of popular rights.
Five conspiracies against the Government have occurred within the past five years and seven months. It is firmly believed that the culminating revolutionary attempt of last Saturday will, unless radical measures are taken, wreck our already damaged credit abroad and precipitate to final ruin our already overstrained financial condition, and guarantees of protection to life, liberty, and property will steadily decrease. The political situation is rapidly growing worse.
In this belief and also in the belief that the action hereby taken is and will be for the best personal, political, and property interests of every citizen of the land, we, citizens and residents of the Hawaiian Islands, organized and acting for the public safety and common good, hereby proclaim as follows:
The Hawaiian monarchical system of government is hereby abrogated.
A provisional Government for the control and management of public affairs and the protection of public peace is hereby established, to exist until terms of union with the United States of America have been negotiated and agreed upon.
Such provisional Government shall consist of an Executive Council of four members, who are hereby declared to be S. B. Dole, J. A. King, P. C. Jones, and W. O. Smith, and who shall administer the government of the islands, the first named acting as President and Chairman of such council administering the Department of Foreign affairs, and the others severally administering the Departments of Interior, Finance, and Attorney General, respectively, in the order in which enumerated, according to the existing Hawaiian law, as far as may be consistent with this proclamation; and also of as Advisory Council, which shall consist of fourteen members, who are hereby declared to be S. D. Damon, A. Brown, L. A. Thurston, J. F. Morgan, J. Emmelmuth, H. Waterhouse, J. A. McCandless, E. D. Tenney, F. W. McChesney, F. Wilhelm, W. R. Castle, W. G. Ashley, W. C. Wilder, and C. Bolte.
Such Advisory Council shall also have general legislative authority. Such Executive and Advisory Council shall, acting jointly, have power to remove any member of either council, and to fill such or any other vacancy.
All officers under the existing Government are hereby requested to continue to exercise their functions, and perform the duties of their named persons: Queen Liliuokalani, Charles B. Wilson, Marshal; Samuel Parker, Minister of Foreign Affairs; W. H. Cornwell, Minister of Finance; John F. Colburn, Minister of the Interior, and Arthur P. Peterson, Attorney General, who are hereby removed from office.
All Hawaiian laws and constitutional principles not inconsistent herewith shall continue in force until further order of the Executive and Advisory Councils.
Henry C. Cooper, J. A. McCandless, Andrew Brown, Theodore F. Lansing, John Emmelmuth, C. Bolte, Edward Suhr, Henry Waterhouse, W. C. Wilder, F. W. McChesney, William O. Smith.
The new Government called on volunteers, who assembled, armed to the number of 500. The old Government surrendered without striking a blow, although it had about 400 men under arms and a battery of Gatling guns. The Provisional Government than noticed the representatives of foreign Governments of the change and asked recognition. It was at once granted by all the powers except England.
In the meantime the ordinary routine of work of the Government is going ahead with but little break. The idea of the Provisional Government is to maintain peace and carry on the business of the Government until a treaty of annexation to the United States can be negotiated. The Hawaiian steamer Claudine was chartered and left Honolulu on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 18, four days after the revolt, with five Commissioners aboard, instructed to proceed to Washington and negotiate a treaty of annexation. The Commissioners are Lorrin A. Thurston, William C. Wilder, William R. Caset, Charles L. Carter, and Joseph Marsden, The Claudine also brought representatives of the deposed Queen.
Story Of The Revolution
The following account of the trouble is from the Hawaiian Gazette of Tuesday, Jan. 17:
"Saturday afternoon, Jan. 14, between 1 and 2 o'clock, the community was startled by the information that a coup d' & eacute;tat was in progress and that the Queen was endeavoring to force her Cabinet to sign a new Constitution, which she then proposed to promulgate immediately to the people. The information was at first disbelieved by some, but it was speedily confirmed. The political changes of the past few days, the renewed vote of want of confidence, the secret attempt made by the Queen to secure the overthrow of her Ministers, her secret interviews with regard to a new Constitution, had been felt by some to give hint as to what was to be looked for in the future, and many shared in forebodings.
"On Saturday morning rumor was busy, and it was freely stated that a new Constitution was to be promulgated in the afternoon. At a meeting of business men, held in the room of the Chamber of Commerce, reference was made to this possibility, but still it was not generally believed until in the afternoon the unexpected happened, and doubt was transformed into certainty. Three days before the coup d' & eacute;tat was attempted, a gentleman who enjoys the confidence of the Queen told one of the members of the Cabinet (who was then in a private station) that a blow was to be struck, and that the persons of the Ministers would be secured. In anticipation that the present Cabinet would not make any resistance to a revolutionary blow, the precaution of arresting them was not taken.
Saturday morning one of the Ministers received positive information that a blow was to be struck that afternoon. He immediately proceeded to consult two prominent citizens on the course to be taken. After a conference the gentlemen referred to advised the Cabinet to refuse to sign the Constitution, and to decline to resign if their resignations should be demanded. The prorogation of the Legislature was the last chapter in the story of the morning. It went off tamely and quietly enough but those who were acquainted with the real situation felt that the Government and nation were sleeping on the crest of a volcano.
In the afternoon, immediately after the House had been prorogued, Hut Kalaiaina marched over to the palace and presented a new Constitution to the Queen with a petition that the same be promulgated to the people as the fundamental law of the land. The matter of the new constitution and petition had been prearranged, and it is stated that its promulgation had been promised two weeks previously, and a member from Lahaina, William White, had been actively working up the movement. A large crowd of Hawaiians had gathered near a flight of steps, and natives were also gathered in large groups in the Government Building yard, and elsewhere in the neighborhood.
The Queen retired to the blue room, and summoned the Ministers.
The Ministers at once repaired to the Queen in the Blue Room. She was seated at a table still dressed in the magnificent morning costume, with a sparkling coronet of diamonds. She at once presented them with a draft of the new Constitution, demanded their signatures, and declared her intention to promulgate the same at once.
The Queen Very Angry
Attorney General Peterson and Minister of the Interior Colburn decidedly refused to sign, and Ministers Cornwell and Parker, though more hesitatingly, joined their colleagues in their refusal. All the Cabinet now advised, and even strongly urged her Majesty not to violate the law, but she was not to be dissuaded from her revolutionary course. Bringing her clinched hand down upon the table, Queen Liliuokalani said: "Gentlemen, I do not wish to hear any more advice. I intend to promulgate this Constitution, and do it now."
Proceeding, she told the Cabinet that unless they abandoned their resistance at once she would go out on the steps of the palace and tell the excited crowd there assembled that she wished to give them a new Constitution, but that the Ministers were inside the palace hindering her from doing it. The Ministers remembered the riot at the Court House and the fate of the unlucky representatives who fell into the hands of the mob. They knew what the threat meant, and before it could be put into execution they fled for their lives.
From the Government Building the Ministers immediately sent word about town asking the citizens what support the Cabinet could expect it its resistance to the revolutionary movement begun by the Queen.
The leading citizens of every political complexion hurried together a t the Hon. W. O. Smith's office, and while their numbers were every instant augmented by fresh accessions, held hurried consultations as to the course to be pursued. There was but one mind among all those gathered together. Tradesmen, lawyers, mechanics, merchants, were of one opinion. Unanimity of sentiment reigned such as has not been witnessed here for years, and it was agreed without a dissenting voice that it was the duty of every citizen, without distinction of party, to support the law and liberties of the people, and to resist the revolutionary encroachments of the Queen.
A message to this effect was at once dispatched to the Cabinet. The Ministers now revisited the palace, not without apprehension that they would be taken into custody, even if they suffered no bodily harm. Great pressure had been brought to bear upon her Majesty to induce her to go no further, and to retrace the revolutionary steps she had already taken. While her troops stood drawn up before the palace, waiting fore the final word of command, the Queen hesitated. The conference in the Blue Room lasted a long time, while the result trembled in the balance. She could not be induced to give up her unlawful project, but finally consented, with bitter reluctance, to a temporary postponement of the premeditated coup.
Liliuokalani At Bay
The Queen was a very angry woman when, at 4 P.M., Saturday, she returned to the throne room, where were assembled the Hui Kalaiana with most of the native members of the Legislature, the Cabinet, the Governor of Oahu, the young Princess, Chief Justice Judd and Justice Bickerson, the staff, the ladies of the Court, the Kahili bearers, etc. She ascended the dais and spoke substantially as follows:
Princes, Nobles, And Representatives: I have listened to thousands of the voices of my people that have come to me, and I am prepared to grant their request. The present Constitution is full of defects, as the Chief Justice here will testify, as questions regarding it have so often come before him for sentiment. It is so faulty that I think a new one should be granted. I have prepared one in which the rights of all have been regarded- a Constitution suited to the wishes of the people. I was ready and expected to proclaim the new Constitution today as a suitable occasion for it, and thus satisfy the wishes of my dear people. But with regret I say I have met with obstacles that prevent it.
Return to your homes peaceably and quietly and continue to look toward me and I will look toward you. Keep me ever in your love. I am obliged to postpone the granting of the Constitution for a few days. I must confer with my Cabinet, and when after you return home you may see it, receive it graciously. You have my love and with sorrow I now dismiss you.
Mr. White replied, thanking the Queen and assuring her of the love of the people and that they would wait patiently until their desires should be fulfilled, to which the Queen responded with thanks and left the throne room.
Mr. Kamnamano then began in a loud voice an inflammatory harangue, which was suppressed. He demanded the lives of the members of the Cabinet who had opposed the wishes of her Majesty, and declared that he thirsted for their blood.
A few moments later the Queen went out upon the upper balcony of the palace and addressed the crowd. She told them that on account of the parody of her Ministers she was unable to give them the Constitution which she had promised, but she would take the earliest opportunity of procuring it for them. The crowd then gave three cheers.
The Death Of The Queen Called For
Representative White then proceeded to the steps of the palace and began an address. He told the crowd that the Queen and the Cabinet had betrayed them, and that instead of going home peaceably they should go to the palace and kill and bury the Queen. Attempts were made to stop him, which he resisted, saying he would never close his mouth until a new Constitution was granted. Finally he yielded to the expostulations of Col. Boyd and others, threw up his hands, and declared that he was "Pau" for the present. After this the audience dispersed.
News was brought to the citizens down town that the attempt to carry a revolution through had for the moment failed. However, appreciating the fact that the trouble had only just begun, they did not disperse, but continued the consideration of the emergency. A committee of public safety was formed to which further consideration of the situation was delegated, after which the meeting, which had been animated by one heart and one soul from the beginning dispersed.
Landing Of The Boston's Troops
About 5 o'clock in the afternoon the United States war ship Boston landed about 300 men. Each man had two belts of cartridges around his waist and was armed with a rifle. They marched up to the office of the Consul General of the United States, where a halt was made. The marines were detached and sent to the American Legation on Uuana Avenue, while the sailors marched out along the merchant street with two Gatling guns and made a halt in front of J. A. Hopper's residence. About sundown they moved to the grounds of J. B. Athertons, and after a stay of several hours returned to Arion Hall, where they camped overnight.
Friends of the Queen claim that her actions of Saturday were due to advice furnished by Kahunas. The members of the Hui Kalaiaina were angry enough to tear the Queen to pieces when they learned she had weakened and would not give them their new Constitution. They were an abject-looking lot as they marched on King Street.
The revolutionist party held a meeting at the palace Sunday morning. The Queen called in the Hawaiian pastors who were present to pray that she might keep her throne, and told them that evil-minded foreigners were trying to take it from her.
The early arrival of the United States steamship Boston was an important figure in the proceedings of Saturday. In the minds of many the presence of the war ship prevented the promulgation of the Constitution. The new instrument which the revolutionists wished to proclaim is really the old constitution which gave so much power to the sovereign.
One of the officers of the Household Guards was heard to say that they had enough arms and ammunition to kill every Haole in the country. Representative Kaunamano stood on the palace steps on Saturday and wanted the natives to murder Ministers Parker and Colburn because they did not support the revolutionary scheme.
Native Police Resisted
All day Tuesday, the 17th, the community was in a state of expectancy, looking to the Committee of Public Safety to do something to end the confusion and to secure the rights of all the citizens against encroachment. The committee in the meantime was not idle, but was incessantly occupied completing its organization and perfecting final arrangements necessary to the proclamation of a provisional Government and its protection by an armed force. At about 2:30 o'clock an attempt was made by three native policemen to arrest the progress of a wagon which was being driven up Fort Street by Mr. Benner and Mr. Good. Those in charge of the wagon resisted the attempt of the officers to arrest them. One of the officers making a motion to draw a revolver, Mr. Good drew his own, and calling attention to the fact that he was justified in the shooting, he fired, seeking, however, to avoid the infliction of a dangerous wound. The wagon pursued its way followed by a policeman in a hack.
This episode precipitated the movement. The citizens hurried to the Berotania Street Armory, where they formed into companies, armed, and marched to the Government Building. In the meantime the Committee of Public Safety, accompanied by members of the Government about to be formed, proceeded to the Government Building and inquired for the Cabinet, but the Ministers were not to be found. They demanded and received of Mr. Hassinger possession of the building. The party now proceeded to the front steps and in the presence of a rapidly increasing crowd read the proclamation.
Before the reading of the proclamation was completed, volunteers from the Rifles Armory began to assemble in force. The grounds of Alliolaui Hall were cleared, and a guard set at all the gates. The provisional government sent for the late Ministers, who were at the police station. Two of them came, and finally all four repaired to headquarters of the new Government, where a formal demand was made upon them for possession of the police station. The ex-Ministers asked for time to deliberate upon this demand.
The Queen Yields Unconditionally
They went to the palace to company with Samuel M. Damon, and held a consultation with Liliuokalani. The result was a compromise proposition, which was rejected by the provisional government. The late Queen and Cabinet finally yielded unconditionally, and the police station was turned over to Commander Soper and Capt. Ziegler, with forty men from Company A.
Mr. Wilson made a short address to the police force assembled in the station, telling them that resistance was no longer feasible. The Government assumed formal control of the palace and barracks. The ex-Queen retained to her private residence at Washington Place, and the Government granted her an honorary guard of sixteen men. The Household Guards were paid off to Feb. 1 and disbanded. A strong force of volunteers took possession, and is in charge of the palace, barracks, Police Headquarters, and other Government buildings.
At headquarters the work of military organization is rapidly pushed forward and volunteers continue to pour steadily in from all quarters. It is not apprehended that any difficulty will arise upon the other islands. The provisional government spent a large part of the night in perfecting the organization and adjusting the wheels of the Government to the change. Meantime the ordinary routine of Government work is going ahead with but little break.
Martial Law Proclaimed
The provisional government has placed J. H. Soper in command of all the armed troops on the island. On Wednesday, Jan. 18, he issued the following:
NOTICE: Under martial law, every person found upon the streets or in any public place, between the hours of 9:30 P. M. and 6 A. M., will be liable to arrest, unless provided with a pass from the Commander in Chief, J. H. Soper.
The gathering of crowds is prohibited. Any one disturbing the peace or disobeying orders is liable to summary arrest without warrant.
By the order of the Executive Committee. J. H. SOPER, Commander in Chief.
This proclamation is printed in the Hawaiian, English, and Portuguese languages. Under the orders of the Executive Committee all liquor stores have been closed. The electric works, which supply the city with light and printing offices with power, have been seized by the armed body of the provisional government.
(c) Copyright 2000 - 2012
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
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