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LOOKING TOWARD ANNEXATION.
The narrative has left Mr. Commissioner Ten Eyck anxiously awaiting at Honolulu the arrival of his successor in office, and chafing at what he regarded as an ignoring of his authority and dignity by Mr. Consul Turrill. In January, 1849, Charles Eames was appointed commissioner of the United States at the Hawaiian Islands, but does not appear to have set out for his post until several months later. On his arrival in San Francisco, Mr. Eames had the good fortune to meet Mr. Judd, the king's commissioner, who was on his way to Washington. Mr. Eames's instructions had included a charge to negotiate, if practicable, a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation with the island government. There could be no more convenient · opportunity to effect this desirable end; and the two representatives, at San Francisco, framed a treaty which, it was believed, would be acceptable to both governments. In the mean time, however, the king had, appointed Mr. Judd's coadjutor, James Jackson Jarves, who was then in this country; and he, without the knowledge of Mr. Judd, — rapid communication between distant points being at that time impossible,— had proceeded to Washington, and there negotiated a similar treaty, the Secretary of State, Mr. Clayton, acting in behalf of the United States. This treaty was concluded on the twentieth day of December, 1849, was ratified by the Senate February 4, 1850, exchanged on the twentyfourth of the following August, and proclaimed by President Fillmore on the ninth day of November, 1850. This was the first fully completed treaty between the United States and the Hawaiian Islands, that of 1821, ne 1896 gotiated by Captain Thomas ap Catesby Jones, having, it will be remembered, failed of ratification by the United States. This convention was, in substance, similar to those negotiated by our government with other nations for similar purposes, and still remained in force at the final annexation of the Islands to the domain of the United States, except so far as modified by later conventions.
It has been already seen that the governments of Great Britain and of France, as early as the year 1853, were apprehensive that an
undercurrent of feeling existed, both in the United States and in Hawaii, looking toward the ultimate annexation of the Islands. In December of that year Hon. W. L. Marcy, Secretary of State, wrote confidentially to Hon. John Mason, our minister at Paris, instructing him “to ascertain, if possible, without making it a matter of direct discussion, what would probably be the course of France in case of an attempt on the part of the United States to add these Islands to our Territorial possessions by negotiation or other peaceable means. I do not think," continued Mr. Marcy, “the present Hawaiian government can long remain in the hands of the present rulers, or under the control of the native inhabitants of these Islands, and both England and France are apprised of our determination not to allow them to be owned by, or to fall under the protection of, either of these powers or of any other European nation. It seems to be inevitable that they must come under the control of this government; and it would be but reasonable and fair that these powers should acquiesce in such a disposition of them, provided the transference was effected by fair means."
It was just at this time that the American whale-fisheries were at their highest point. Fully six hundred and fifty American vessels, ? with a tonnage of more than two hundred thousand, were at that time engaged in this industry. By far the greater portion of these vessels were operating in the Pacific. In the early years of whaling it was the custom for a vessel to remain at sea until it had obtained a full cargo of oil, when the homeward voyage would be begun. One of the most picturesque features of the old whaling ports on the New England seaboard, notably Nantucket, is the “look-out" perched upon the house-top, whence the waiting families at home might watch for the return of longexpected vessels. In the most active years of the whale-fishery, an industry now but little followed,— it was found to be preferable, when even a partial cargo had been obtained, to run in at the Hawaiian Islands, deposit the oil obtained for transshipment in merchant vessels, replenish provisions, water, and other needed articles, and return to the fishing grounds. Americans were rapidly settling in the Islands for the purpose of trade.
Hence the interests of the United States in the Islands were paramount; and the jealousy, especially of Great Britain and France, expanded rapidly. In corresponding degree grew the determination at Washington that no European power should be allowed to intermeddle in the Islands; and, as was natural, as a certain preventive of this, the sentiment for annexation in some form to the United States grew rapidly.
The United States, despite the jealous attitude of England, had extended its borders to the Pacific coast; and in 1847 California had been added. In the year 1850 it was admitted to Statehood, though separated from other States by a wide expanse of almost impassable mountain and plain. Only one year previous to this — in 1849 -- the controversy with Great Britain concerning the Oregon boundary had been settled, and the line had been fixed at the forty-ninth degree of north latitude; and California had scarcely become accustomed to its new position as a member of the sisterhood of States, when the admission of Oregon also — an event consummated in 1856 — began to be a