Imágenes de páginas

the feeling of personal antagonism toward him.

To the same degree did the relations of the Hawaiian minister at Washington, the Hon. L. A. Thurston, become strained. In this matter the accounts of Minister Thurston and Secretary Gresham fail to agree. The latter charged that the Hawaiian minister gave information regarding matters in Hawaii to the press, not having previously given the information in question to the Department of State. Mr. Thurston claimed that the information thus made public did not cover mat

of diplomatic concern, but were purely domestic occurrences, in which the government of the United States was in no manner interested. He also claimed that deliberate social slights had been put upon him by the President and the Secretary of State, thus venting upon him personally the chagrin which they felt at the failure of their plans. Whatever may have been the cause of these strained relations, their outcome was a demand by President Cleveland for the recall of the minister. The letter of demand miscarried in the mails, and was sent to Japan by an error of a postal clerk.

In the mean time the fact that the minister's recall had been demanded became known at Washington. Minister Thurston thereupon withdrew from the legation and returned to Honolulu, placing his resignation in the hands of his government before the arrival of the letter in which his recall had been demanded.

Mr. Thurston almost immediately returned to Washington in the capacity of an agent of the Hawaiian government to promote annexation. His successor in the legation, the Hon. William R. Castle, and later the Hon. Francis M. Hatch, were received at Washington with courtesy; and the latter continued to receive all the social attentions which were due him until the accomplishment of annexation discontinued his position.

The Hawaiian people, convinced that annexation to the United States was now not an event of the immediate future, formed a permanent government, and established themselves as firmly as they could as a member of the family of nations. The republic was declared on the fourth day of July, 1894, and continued, though not in uninterrupted felicity, until the annexation.

Meanwhile the “ Hawaiian Question” was not forgotten at Washington. It is a matter of some significance that in the summer of 1894 a committee of royalists paid a visit to Washington, and endeavored to secure the co-operation of the government in a proposed uprising against the Hawaiian republic. Being informed that the United States would not interfere in the domestic affairs of Hawaii, the committee is said to have stated to Secretary Gresham that, if the United States war vessels should be recalled from Honolulu, the overthrow of the existing government by a sudden assault could be easily accomplished. The committee, on its

its return, bought arms and ammunition on the Pacific coast, and shipped them to the Islands.

The withdrawal of the naval force of the United States, by order of President Cleveland, occurred in July, 1894, notwithstanding the fear of Admiral Walker, then in command of the Pacific squadron, that evil results would follow. The Champion, a British war vessel, was left in the harbor; and the royalists and their English sympathizers were elated. The royalist faction openly asserted

that the withdrawal of the American naval force was for the purpose of affording a chance for a revolt.

The revolt came in January, 1895, and was promptly met and suppressed. This revolt, the trial, the imprisonment in her own apartments of the ex-queen, and her subsequent abdication, constitute a story of Hawaiian history, picturesque and vigorous, but not closely connected with the history of American influence in the Islands.

The action of President Cleveland in the Hawaiian matter resulted in an exhaustive investigation by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, of which Senator Morgan of Alabama, a member of the President's own party, was the chairman. The report of this investigation fills a large volume, and is of great interest.

As a whole, the report of this committee absolved President Cleveland from the imputation of having committed any irregularity or impropriety of conduct, but declared that, had he intended to compel obedience to his decision, by using force to assist in the reenthronement of the queen, he would have

committed an act of war, and one entirely beyond his power. It discussed the question of the landing of the troops from the Boston, and the claim of the queen that it was this display of force which caused her downfall. This latter contention was not sustained, the report deciding that the act of the queen, two days prior to the landing of the troops, in declaring her intention of abrogating the constitution which she had sworn to uphold, was in itself an act of abdication; that an interregnum in executive authority existed when the Boston, conveying the United States minister, arrived in the harbor; and that the act of Minister Stevens and Captain Wiltse of the Boston in directing the landing of the troops was for the purpose only of protecting the lives and property of American citizens until this interregnum should in some way have ceased to exist.

This report of the majority of the Committee on Foreign Affairs was made public, together with a dissenting minority report. Thereafter the Hawaiian Question assumed much of a partisan political aspect.

The adherents of President Cleveland ignored the

« AnteriorContinuar »