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The decline of the whale-fisheries, however, did not serve to produce a corresponding decline of American interests in the Hawaiian Islands. The early influences of the American missionaries were not easily effaced. Although, through the influence of Queen Emma, British interests
were somewhat strengthened, and a see of the English Church was established in the Islands, yet the American missionary strength was in no whit lessened among the people. Then, too, a new and still more important American industry had taken root in the Islands, and was flourishing with even greater vigor than had at any time the whale-fisheries. If a few Americans, who had engaged in the formerly prosperous business of ship-supplies, had now returned, discouraged, to their homes, their places had soon been taken by other enterprising Americans, who had recognized the value of the island soil and climate in the cultivation of the sugar-cane. And so upon the ruins of one American industry rose another, far more lucrative and important, and one destined to aid in cementing the commercial interests of the two countries. It was during this period that, as has already been told, the attention of the country was called to the rapidly growing commercial interests of our citizens in the Islands; and the subject of a treaty of commercial reciprocity was agitated and finally consummated. In the year 1863 the rank of the American diplomatic office at Honolulu was raised to that of minister resident, and James McBride, of Oregon, was appointed by President Lincoln to that position. During the Civil War the attention of the government was devoted mainly to the conduct of military operations at home; and the subject of treaties, either of reciprocity or of annexation with the Hawaiian State, were necessarily left in abeyance. This was the period of high tide of English influence in the Islands. The British and the Southern elements there were united in their feelings against the United States. The sentiments of the king and queen were favorable to Great Britain. Writing to Secretary of State Seward, in October, 1863, Minister McBride said :
those of any other nationality. English policy, English etiquette, and English grandeur seem to captivate and control him. His familiar associates are Englishmen; and where an office becomes vacated by death, resignation, or otherwise, it is filled by the appointment of an Englishman. In a word, English diplomacy here has been so adroit and sagacious as to win the esteem and confidence of His Majesty and the royal family, while American diplomacy has been a complete failure in this respect. It is plainly to be seen that the British government places a high estimate on the future value of the Islands, believing, no doubt, that the Pacific and other railroads will be built, and that these Islands will become very important as a halfway house' between Europe and America on one side and China and Japan on the other, and also in their capacity for growing the sugar-cane, coffee, rice, and cotton, which, no doubt, will be very great when fairly and fully developed. The salubrity and peculiar pleasantness of the climate must also add much to the intrinsic worth and importance of this country."
Notwithstanding this preponderance of proBritish sentiment in high official circles, the commercial interests of American citizens were not lessened. A second extract from the same letter shows this : “I beg leave further to say that American interests greatly predominate here over all others combined, and not less than four-fifths of the commerce connected with these Islands is American. The merchants, traders, dealers of all kinds, and planters are principally Americans. The English have no commerce here worthy of the name, and but one or two retail stores; the Germans about the same amount of business as the English. Many American merchants here are doing quite a large business, and would extend their business still more but for the danger of British rule over this group, which, if it should become the dominant or governing power, American interests would be crushed out with eagerness and despatch. Such is the universal belief of all American citizens with whom I have conversed, and such is my own opinion. ... Some merchants and planters are contracting their business, so that they may not suffer so heavy a loss in the event of the change which seems probable at no very distant day.”
Mr. McBride further reports that a deputation sent by the British government had examined the Islands with especial reference to their capacity for cotton-growing.
The result of this examination, and of experiments in the same line, were of the most encouraging nature.
It is not impossible that Mr. McBride, in characterizing thus strongly the attitude of Kamehameha IV, may have misapprehended, to some extent, the true feelings of the king. The English sympathies of Queen Emma were undoubted, and it was largely through her influence that the English Church was planted in the Islands. And yet, although the royal sympathies were turned, to a large extent, in this direction, it remains true that very many of the personal friends and associates of the king were drawn from among the American residents.
While his sympathies were strongly English, he can scarcely be accused of actual anti-American tendencies. Mr. McBride was succeeded by Mr. Ed