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American Board of Foreign Missions, and of securing himself from the just charge of neglect and inattention to his public duties in connection with this legation."
Although Mr. Ten Eyck resigned his office in September, 1848, he appears to have lingered at the Islands a full year, awaiting the arrival of his successor.
In the mean time the government at Washington appears to have ignored Mr. Ten Eyck. The consul, Mr. J. Turrill, seems to have been the officially recognized representative of the United States at Honolulu in this interim; and the formal correspondence with the Department of State was conducted by him. On the third of September, 1849, the letter attacking President Polk's administration, and, in particular, Mr. Buchanan, was forwarded by Mr. Ten Eyck, and with it a letter written August 31, containing a piece of startling and important information.
At the same time a similar communication was forwarded to the Department of State by Consul Turrill.
These communications conveyed to the government the news that on the thirteenth day of August the French frigate La Poursuivante had entered the harbor of Honolulu, followed, a day later, by the French steamer Gassendi, and that a few days later a series of peremptory demands had been made upon the Hawaiian government by the French Rear-Admiral Tromelin on the pretext that provisions of the Franco-Hawaiian treaty had been wantonly broken. These demands were coupled with threats of coercive measures, if the demands were not conceded by the king.
The consul of the United States was for. mally notified by the French admiral of these proceedings, with the assurance that the French republic neither looked to an occupation nor a protectorate of the Hawaiian archipelago, but only to a reparation of grievances. He added that, in the event of actual hostilities becoming necessary, the property of Americans would be respected.
Consul Turrill, in reply to this note, made a formal protest against the proceedings; and in this protest he was joined by the consuls of Great Britain and of the lesser powers officially represented in the Islands. Not
withstanding these protests, Admiral Tromelin, the king having failed to comply with his demands, on the twenty-fifth of August, landed a force of French marines, and took forcible possession of the fort, the customhouse, and another government building, as well as of a considerable amount of shipping flying the Hawaiian flag, including a schooner belonging to the government. The French forces retained possession of the seized buildings and property for five days, and meantime destroyed public property to a siderable amount. They refrained, however, from lowering the Hawaiian colors or raising those of France, the admiral being doubtless deterred from this step by his knowledge of the existence of the Anglo-French convention of November, 1843.
The king offered no resistance to this forcible occupation, but through Consul Turrill informed the government of the United States of this fresh aggression and the demands made upon him by the French Republic, and for the second time invoked the good offices of the Great Republic in the maintenance of his sovereignty. His Majesty appointed James Jackson Jarves a special commissioner to procure the friendly mediation of the President of the United States with the government of France. Should the President accept the mediation and be accepted by the French government in that capacity, the king engaged to be bound by his decision or by that of the British government, the two acting singly or jointly.
President Fillmore, wishing to maintain the bond of sympathy which existed between the two countries, readily agreed to employ his good offices. George R. Judd was later associated with Mr. Jarves as an additional commissioner to procure the friendly intervention of the United States and Great Britain, and to urge the adoption of treaties by England and France, similar in their terms to that which had, just at this juncture, been negotiated between the United States and Hawaii.
In a communication to the minister of the United States at Paris, Hon. William C. Rives, the Secretary of State, Hon. John M. Clayton, wrote:
“The Department will be slow to believe that the French have any intention to adopt, with reference to the Sandwich Islands, the same policy which they have pursued in regard to Tahiti. If, however, in your judgment it should be warranted by circumstances, you may take a proper opportunity to intimate to the minister for foreign affairs of France that the situation of the Sandwich Islands, in respect to our possessions on the Pacific, and the bonds commercial and of other descriptions between them and the United States, are such that we could never, with indifference, allow them to pass under the dominion or exclusive control of any other power.”
The negotiations thus begun halted in the execution ; and early in the year 1851, the attitude of France continuing hostile, the Hawaiian king resolved upon extreme measures to maintain the integrity of his kingdom, or, at all events, to make it certain that it should not fall into the hands of a European power.
Mr. Luther Severance now represented the United States at the Hawaiian Islands. His communications to the Department of State at Washington, Daniel Web