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1897 nearly two hundred and fifty thousand tons of sugar were exported, the entire amount being sent to the United States.
In the year 1855 a treaty of reciprocity was concluded between the United States and the king of the Hawaiian Islands, Hon. William L. Marcy, Secretary of State, acting in behalf of this country, and Judge Lee, the king's commissioner, in behalf of the native government. This treaty appears to have been approved by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs ; but, on submission to the vote of the Senate, the required twothirds majority was not obtained, and the treaty failed of ratification.
In the year 1864, during the progress of the Civil War, the subject of a revival of this treaty was broached; but on account of the probable effect of such a measure on the public revenue, at a time when the financial resources of the country were strained to the last degree, it was not deemed advisable that the subject should then be revived. A few years later another attempt was made, though with no better success. On the first day of February, 1867, Hon. Edward McCook, then
minister of the United States at Honolulu, was instructed by Hon. William H. Seward, then at the head of the Department of State, to the effect that the United States would look favorably upon a plan for a revival of the reciprocity. treaty of 1855, but upon terms more liberal to the United States. Acting upon this suggestion, a new treaty was framed and concluded by Mr. McCook, on the part of the United States, and Hon. C. C. Harris, Hawaiian minister at Washington, acting as a commissioner representing the Hawaiian king. This convention was concluded at San Francisco in May, 1867, and received the approval of President Johnson; but it, too, met the fate of its predecessors, failing of ratification in the Senate. Pending the Senate's discussion, Mr. McCook, in a private note addressed to Secretary Seward, asked for leave to visit Washington at about the time of the assembling of Congress, to communicate his views to the senators.
“Should the treaty be ratified," writes Mr. McCook in confidence to the Secretary of State, “I shall feel that I have accomplished all I can accomplish in my present position, and shall probably wish to return to my home in Colorado, unless you should favor the absolute acquisition of the Hawaiian Islands, in which event I would like to conduct the negotiations. I think their sovereignty could be purchased from the present king (Kamehameha V, Prince Lot], and feel sure that the people of the United States would receive such a purchase with universal acclamation."
Mr. Seward, in a confidential note in reply to this communication, granted the leave of absence asked for, and also gave permission to sound the proper authority “on the large subject mentioned” in his note, and confidentially receive overtures.
Although it failed in the Senate, the treaty was, after some delay, ratified by the Hawaiian government July 30, 1867. There was at this time an undoubted feeling in the Islands strongly favorable to annexation to the United States; and this feeling was, to some extent, reciprocated in Washington. In September, 1867, Mr. Seward wrote to Mr. McCook, pending the assembling of Congress, that “a strong interest, based upon a desire
for annexation of the Sandwich Islands, will be active in opposing a ratification of the Hawaiian treaty. It will be argued,” he continued, “that the reciprocity will tend to hinder and defeat an early annexation, to which the people of the Sandwich Islands are supposed to be now strongly inclined. It is proper that you should know, for your own information, that a lawful and peaceful annexation of the Islands to the United States, with the consent of the people of the Sandwich Islands, is deemed desirable by this government, and that, if the policy of annexation should really conflict with the policy of reciprocity, annexation is in every case to be preferred."
In accordance with advice received in this letter, Mr. McCook, after all, did not visit Washington. In the annual message of President Johnson to the Fortieth Congress, presented December 9, 1868, the President urged attention to the treaty still pending, in these words :
I am aware that upon the question of further extending our possessions it is apprehended by some that our political system cannot successfully be applied to an area more extended than our continent; but the conviction is rapidly gaining ground in the American mind that, with the increased facilities for intercommunication between all portions of the earth, the principles of free government. -as embraced in our Constitution, if faithfully maintained and carried out — would prove of sufficient strength and breadth to comprehend within their sphere and influence the civilized nations of the world.
The attention of the Senate and of Congress is again respectfully invited to the treaty for the establishment of commercial reciprocity with the Hawaiian kingdom, entered into last year, and already ratified by that government. The attitude of the United States toward these Islands is not very different from that in which they stand toward the West Indies. It is known and felt by the Hawaiian government and people that their government and institutions are feeble and precarious, that the United States, being so near a neighbor, would be unwilling to see the Islands pass under foreign control. Their prosperity is continually disturbed by expectations and alarms of unfriendly political proceedings as well from the United States as from other foreign powers. A reciprocity treaty, while it could not materially diminish the revenues of the United States, would be a guarantee of the good will and forbearance of all nations until the people of the Islands shall of themselves, at no distant day, voluntarily apply for admission into the Union.