Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

making this protest was, of course, twofold. It desired to prevent, if possible, the acquisition by the United States of a naval station of such great strategic importance as that at Pearl Harbor; and it desired at the same time to prevent the comsummation of an act which, in the eyes of skilful diplomats, appeared to be the first step toward an absorption of the sovereignty of the Islands by the Great Republic. It had long been the policy of Great Britain to prevent, by all the means in its power, the acquirement by the United States of points which might have a naval or military value

This effort failed; for the Hawaiian minister for foreign affairs, in an able consideration of the case, replied to the arguments of the British commissioner in a way which served to silence further cavil. The cession of Pearl Harbor, therefore, continued in force so long as the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Islands continued; but beyond the making of careful surveys of the bar, and of estimates for its removal, no steps were taken by the United States toward the improvement and utilization of its acquired rights.

[ocr errors]

While the question of the ratification of the supplementary convention was pending in the Senate, the people of the United States were interested and gratified by the coming of Queen Kapiolani to the United States for an extended tour. The queen, who thus made her first visit to a foreign land, was accompanied by Princess Liliuokalani and a suite of attendants. The royal ladies were everywhere received with marked respect, and were made sincerely welcome. While this visit of the queen and the princess, the heir-apparent, had, perhaps, no important political significance, yet it served to disclose the sincere good will of the American people toward the Hawaiians, and to join still more closely the relations between the two nations.

ACCESSION OF LILIUOKALANI. In the summer of 1889, for the second time since the establishment of the Hawaiian monarchy, the forces of the United States were called upon to intervene, in a time of popular uprising, for the protection of the lives and property of Americans. On the thirtieth day of July, in that year, an insurrection against the government broke out in the city of Honolulu. It was led by Robert W. Wilcox and Robert Boyd, two half-caste Hawaiians, who had gathered a body of about one hundred adherents. Although these two men were the actual leaders of the attempted revolt, it is asserted that their act was instigated by a person of high social and political distinction. It should be explained that in the year 1877, three years after the accession of Kalakaua, Prince Leleiohoku, the heir apparent to the throne, suddenly sickened and died. Upon the prince's death the king, exercising his constitutional privilege, appointed his own sister, Lydia Kamakaeha Liliuokalani, to the succession. The year 1887 was prolific of incidents of moment in the history of the Islands. In that year the substantial people, tired of the king's many

many acts subversive of popular liberty, and gross in their venality, rose in their righteous wrath and indignation. A mass meeting of the people was called, at which demands were made which the king dared not refuse. Evidently, he felt his throne tottering; and to the new constitution which was framed he gave his ready assent. The preamble of this constitution recited that the “constitution of this kingdom heretofore in force contains many provisions subversive of civil rights, and incompatible with enlightened constitutional government,” and that it had become imperative, “in order to restore order and tranquillity and the confidence necessary to a further maintenance of the present government, that a new constitution should be at once promulgated.” This new constitution, as may be inferred from this preamble, contained many liberal provisions, and gave good satisfaction to the people. The heir apparent to the throne, however, made no secret of her implacable hostility to the idea of a liberal government. She is

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

said to have openly upbraided her brother for his lack of vigor in failing to assert his royal prerogatives, and to have longed for a return, so far as possible, to that ancient absolutism of the sovereign which prevailed before the white man imported the idea of a constitutional government.

Such being her attitude, it may be true, as was openly charged, that the Wilcox-Boyd rebellion was incited by her, in the hope of dethroning, by this means, her brother, and placing herself in absolute power.

At an early hour on the day of the insurrection a messenger from the king hurried to the house of the minister resident of the United States. He brought the intelligence that the palace grounds and the government building and offices were in the hands of insurgents. The representatives of foreign governments in the city were hastily consulted; and an attempt was made to communicate with the leader of the insurgents, in order to ascertain what were his demands. This effort failed, and soon the sound of rifles and of cannon at the government building came to the ears of all in the city. The

« AnteriorContinuar »