What was being said, 1893.


The United States Asked to Annex the Islands.


American Interests Demand Protection—Other Powers Might Object—Queen Dethroned.

San Francisco, Jan. 28.—News comes from the Sandwich Islands today that a revolution has resulted in the dethronement of Queen Liliuokalani and the newly established government desires to have Hawaii annexed to the United States. A commission of five men appointed by the new revolutionary government arrived here today from Honolulu bearing this news and will proceed at once to Washington to lay the matter before our government. The revolution appears to have had its direct cause inthe new constitution which the vueen essayed to force upon the people and which would have greatly increased her autocratic power. The new instrument, like the queen herself, was very inimicable to the white residents and their immense business interests. The revolution was almost a bloodless one, the government being taken by surprise.

The revolution finds the United States with only one modern man-of-war on the Pacific ocean, the cruiser Boston, now at Honolulu. Admiral Skerritt, commanding the Pacific squadron, is here with the wooden ship Mohican, and acting on telegraphic orders from Washington sailed for Honolulu at 5 o’clock this afternoon. The iron ship Ranger has been ordered from Mare island to San Francisco to await orders. All of our modern war ships except the Boston are on the Atlantic at present on their way to take part in the open naval review at New York. The powerful coast defense ship Monterre is at this port and could be sent on short orders, but being of the coast defense type of ship has a rather limited coal supply to permit of her being sent to the Sandwich islands. Mr. William C. Wilder, one of the Hawaiian commissioners, explained the situation of affairs to an Associated Press representative. Mr. Wilder is president of the Hawaiian Inter-Island Steamship company and has a large interest in Hawaiian property. He said: “If the United States wants the Hawaiian Islands she can have them now and on terms more famorable than ever before offered or than ever will be offered again.  All Americans on the Islands are a unit of annexation. The new provisional government and its aims are supported by nearly all of the English there are all of the Germans. Foreign interests in Hawaii amount to about forty million of dollars, thirty millions of which are in the hands of Americans. Honolulu is as much an American city as San Francisco itself.”

“If the United States government should refuse to annex the islands do you think Great Britain would step in and take possession?” was asked.

“That question I cannot answer,” said Commissioner Wilder; “but this I do know. The queen is strongly in favor of British rule and if allowed to, would, I have no doubt, apply to Great Britain for protection.”

“Why was the British government the only one of the powers represented in Honolulu that did not recognize the provisional government?”

“That I do not know. Queen Liliuokalani,” continued Wilder, “if allowed to carry out her plans, would have become absolute despot of the islands. No whites would have been allowed to vote. The house of nobles would have been abolished. The supreme court judges who are now appointed for life would be appointed for a six-year term only and would have been subject to dismissal at the whim of the queen. We were glad to have the United States ship Boston in Honolulu harbor. She was the only man-of-war in port, and while she did nothing beyond landing armed sailors and marines who patrolled the streets, yet the moral effort was good and probably quelled any disposition to fighting on the part of the natives had there been any.”

The commissioner this morning received an invitation from the San Francisco chamber of commerce to meet the directors of that body and discuss the situation of affairs with merchants. The invitation was accepted and the chamber of commerce will probably adopt resolutions asking the United States government to annex Hawaii.

Lorrin Thurston, chairman of the Hawaiian commission, said this evening: “Things are in such a position now that no party or class of residents are fully capable of establishing a stable government. They must look outside, and naturally come to the United States. The condition of affairs is much more threatening than indicated by the published statements in Hawaiian papers. It was declared to have been the intention of the queen to ultimately expel all foreigners from the island. The proposed disfranchisement of all except the native born was to be the first step. There would be bloodshed and destruction of property, and after expelling all foreigners their property would be confiscated.”

The treaty between France and England, made in 1842, recognized the independence of the islands and bout each nation not to take possession of them. It is clear, in the view of those well posted, that England, under this treaty, cannot annex, nor can France. The United States, at the time this treaty was negotiated, refused to be bound by or join in the treaty. In other words, it refused to pledge itself not to take possession of the islands, but simply recognized the independence of the government.”

The following is the personnel of the Hawaiian commission: Lorrina Thurston, chairman, was premier of the first revolutionary cabinet of Hawaii in 1887. He is a leading lawyer in Honolulu. He was born in Hawaii, his parents being American missionaries. He has been connected with the government in some capacity for years. William C. Wilder is at the head of the Wilder Steamship company, which does a transportation business among the islands. He has not held a political position until recently, when he became a member of the legislature. William R. Castle is a lawyer and largely interested in real estate in the islands. He is one of the principal owners of the Oahu railroad; which runs down to Pearl River harbor. He is a native of Hawaii. Joseph Marsden is a sugar planter in Hawaii. He is an Englishman and has lived in Hawaii about fifteen years. Charles I. Carter is a son of a former Hawaiian minister to Washington. He is a lawyer.


Washington, Jan. 28.—While of course no statement of the policy to be pursued by the United States in the Hawaiian matter can be made, at least until after the arrival tion would be, the interests of other countries in the Sandwich Islands are too large to permit, on the part of the governments of those nations, and acquiescence in such annexation. It would involve consequences the United States would not care for and which its long settled policy forbids it to assume. In executive session today, the senate discussed the resolution. Generally the speeches seem to favor annexation on the establishment of a protectorate. In opposition to these views it was asserted that the debt of Hawaii amounted to more than $3,000,000, which was sufficient to cause this government to halt before assuming the load. It was also stated by other senators that when we secured our coaling station at Pearl River years ago there was an agreement under which England, Germany and the United States and other great powers agreed to keep their hands off and allow Hawaii to run her own affairs. In controverting this statement it was claimed that while there might have been a tacit understanding in that direction, it was not such a contract between the powers as would preclude the United States, in the vent of a request from the government of Hawaii, from exercising the power of annexation, if, indeed, there ever had been any understanding on the subject. In support of the presumption that there was no such agreement it was shown that England had been for a year or so quietly but industriously making inroads in the island and creating a feeling among the people of that country which was harmful and extremely prejudicial to the interests of the United States and those of her citizens who had invested their money in enterprises that were developing the islands and increasing their trade and commerce.

In the house of representatives there as a strong feeling expressee by leading democrats against annexation, at the same time there was an equally unanimous opinion that no other nation should be permitted to step in and control the destiny of the islands. It was said by several congressmen the course of Hawaii is adopting in seeking annexation is practically the same as that taken by Texas when it became part of the United States.

Naval officers are enthusiastic over the news from Hawaii. One officer who has an intimate acquaintance with Stevens, our minster to Hawaii, said he was present when Stevens presented his credentials to the government formed on the accession of the queen to the throne. Stevens read to the queen an address, in which he virtually outlined her policy. The queen did not relish the suggestion of Stevens and became very angry. “If she had adhered to what he said,” remarked the officer, “she would be on the throne today.” In reference to annexation another officer said if the United States possessed Hawaii she would make it the Gibraltar of the Pacific.

San Francisco, Jan. 28.—Commissioner Thurston said this evening he had great hopes the country will accept the islands. “If not,” said he, “our mission is done; but the people, in the even of a refusal, will surely turn to England, who would be only too glad to take us.”

(Weekly Missoulian, 2/1/1893, p. 6)


Weekly Missoulian, Volume XXIII, Number 5, Page 6. February 1, 1893.


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