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1. Mr. Marcy to Mr. Gregg, April 4, 1854, No. 6.
5. Mr. Gregg to Mr. Marcy, October 2, 1854, No. 54.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, April 4, 1854. SIR: In your general instructions you were furnished with the views of this Government in regard to any change in the political affairs of the Sandwich Islands. The President was aware, when those instructions were prepared, that the question of transferring the sovereignty of those islands to the United States had been raised, and favorably received, by many influential individuals residing therein. It was foreseen that at some period, not far distant, such a change would take place, and that the Hawaiian Islands would come under the protectorate of or be transferred to some foreign power. You were informed that it was not the policy of the United States to accelerate such a change; but if, in the course of events, it becaine unavoidable, this Government would much prefer to acquire the sovereignty of these islands for the United States, rather than to see it transferred to any other power. If any foreign connection is to be formed, the geographical position of these islands indicates that it should be with us. Our commerce with them far exceeds that of all other countries; our citizens are embarked in the most important business concerns of that country, and some of them hold important public positions. In view of the large American interests there established and the intimate commercial relations existing at this time it might well be regarded as the duty of this Government to prevent these islands from becoming the appendage of any other foreign power.
It appears by your dispatches lately received at this Department that the ruling authorities of the Hawaiian Government have become convinced of their inability to sustain themselves any longer as an independent State, and are prepared to throw themselves upon our protection or to seek incorporation into our political system. Fears are entertained by those who faror such a measure that if the United States should manifest a disinclination to receive the proffered sovereignty of this country, the people would seek elsewhere a less desirable connection, or be given over to anarchy.
The information contained in your last dispatch, No. 10, dated the 7th of February, renders it bighly probable that the ruling powers of that Government will have presented to you, as our diplomatic agent, an offer of the sovereignty of their country to the United States. Thé President has deemed it proper that you should be furnished with instructions for the guidance of your conduct in such an emergency. With this dispatch you will be furnished with a full power to treat with
the present authorities of the Hawaiian Government for the transfer of the Sandwich Islands to the United States. This can only be done by a convention or treaty, which will not be valid until it is ratified by the Senate of the United States.
No intimation has ever been given to this Government as to the terms or conditions which will be likely to be annexed to the tender of the sovereignty. It is presumed, however, that something more than a mere protectorate is contemplated. A protectorate tendered to and accepted by the United States would not change the sovereignty of the country. In that case this Government would take upon itself heavy and responsible duties, for which it could hardly expect compensating advantages.
I understand that the measure proposed by the people, and that in which the present rulers are disposed to concur, is "annexation distinguished from protection; and that it is their intention that these islands shall become a part of our Territories and be under the control of this Government as fully as any other of its territorial possessions. In any convention you may make it is expected that the rights to be acquired by the United States should be clearly defined.
Should the sovereignty of these islands be transferred to the United States, the present Government would, as a matter of course, be superseded, or, at least, be subjected to the Federal authority of this country.
It is reasonable to anticipate that the present rulers and chiefs would expect that some provision would be made as compensation to them for the surrender of their political position. This provision could not be, as I conceive, any other than a pecuniary allowance. In this respect the United States would manifest toward them a liberal spirit. Annuities to the amount of $100,000 to be distributed in such manner as they would prefer might be secured to them in the treaty.
In the convention you may make, you are authorized to provide in the amplest manner for the security of individual property as held at the time of the transfer of the sovereignty, but the reservation of political rights or privileges in behalf of individuals would be inconsistent with the political power which it is proposed to vest in the United States.
If you should succeed in making a treaty transferring the islands to the United States, it is advisable that it should receive the ratification of the Hawaiian Government before it is sent here for the consideration of the President and the Senate. You are directed to induce that Gov. ernment to send on one or more persons at the same time the treaty is forwarded, clothed with full powers to assent to any modifications of it which may here be made. In view of the great uncertainty as to the terms by which the cession of the sovereignty of the islands may be encumbered the carrying out of this suggestion is deemed to be of great inportance.
I have good reason to believe that some of the leading powers of Europe would be very unwilling to see the Sandwich Islands become a part of the United States, and, if an opportunity occurred, would endeavor to defeat any negotiation for that purpose. This consideration and others, make it important that you should bring it to a close as expeditiously as possible. The treaty should be here in time to be submitted to the Senate at its present session. I am, etc.,
W. L. MARCY.
wear a crown.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Honolulu, July 26, 1854. SIR: The Hawaiian cabinet has determined, at length, that it will not do to allow much longer delay in bringing to a close arrangements for annexation. On the 17th a meeting was held, at which Prince Alexander was present, when it was agreed that the minister of foreign relations should immediately proceed, if possible, to arrange and sign a treaty to be submitted to the King for ratification. Mr. Wyllie called on me the next day, and we have since had several conferences, but without as yet arriving at any definite result. The difficulty, I apprehend, is that more will be demanded, in the way of consideration, etc., than ought to be yielded. It is probable that by the next mail it will be in my power to communicate something more definite than I am now able to do. I have the assurance of Mr. Wyllie that, so far as he is concerned, there shall be no occasion to complain of further procrastination, and I can not doubt that he is in earnest. Prince Alexander -is responsible for all past delay, and he will not hesitate to incur the responsibility of still more, unless his mind is brought to the conviction which everyone else entertains, that it is impossible for him ever to
He evidently sees that the existing Government is in danger, and wishes to be in a condition to escape it when the crisis comes, but hopes strongly that it may be averted. If a treaty is once signed he will not oppose its ratification directly and openly, but strive to postpone it to the last moment compatible with safety.
I am convinced that a revolution will soon take place if a treaty of annexation is not concluded. The foreign residents, especially Americans, are becoming impatient under the present state of things, and will not be disposed to endure much longer the feebleness and inefficiency of the Government. They have power enough in their hands, if they act in concert, to do anything they wish, and in a single week could subvert the throne and establish a republic upon its ruins.
A combined British and French squadron of seven vessels--three English and four French--arrived here on the 17th from Callao, having made the passage from Nukuhiva in fourteen days. Its appearance created quite an excitement among all classes of people. On Saturday the English frigate Pique joined the feet, making eight vessels in all, as follows: The frigates President and Pique, the sloop Amphitrite, and the steamer Virago (British), under the command of Rear-Admiral David Price; the frigates La Forte and l'Euridice, the corvette D'Artemise, and the brig i obligado (French), commanded by Rear-Admiral Febvrier des Pointes. On Tuesday they all sailed in a north westerly direction. I could not learn satisfactorily who was the commanding officer of the entire squadron, as the English and French accounts differed materially on that point, though I presume it can not be doubted that Admiral Price is the official senior of Admiral des Pointes. It is evident that no great harmony of feeling exists between the different portions of the fleet, and I learn from pretty good authority that a separation will soon be deemed expedient.
On Friday the two admirals and their officers had an audience at the palace which was marked by a circumstance that ought to be mentioned. After the usual courtesies, addresses, etc., were over, the French admiral, on the suggestion of Mons. Perrin, said to the King, through an interpreter, that he hoped there was no thought of alienating the sovereignty of the Kingdom, as such a thing would lead to difficulty
and perhaps war with England and France, which it would be for the interest of His Majesty to avoid. The King made no reply whatever.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DAVID L. GREGG.
Mr. Gregg to Mr. Marcy.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Honolulu, August 7, 1854. SIR: I am only able to write briefly by the mail which goes this afternoon, being much debilitated by an attack of sickuess from which I am just convalescent.
The government here rests on a volcano. Its subversion is within the power of the foreign residents, and I am prepared to witness an outbreak at any moment. The dissatisfaction with the present state of things is daily increasing, and a crisis of some sort is inevitable.
On Tuesday evening last there was an intense alarm among the native population, on account of the supposed presence of “filibusters.” The troops were called out and remained under arms all night. The apprehension seems to have been excited by the discovery of a box of pistols among some goods landed at the custom-house.
I have succeeded in arranging the terms of a treaty of annexation with the minister of foreign relations, which meets the approval of the Crown Prince and cabinet. But it is not yet signed, and I am unable to give you any assurance that it will be immediately completed. The pretense of delay is the supposed necessity of consulting the King, which for some time has been impossible, on account of His Majesty's illness.
The great difficulty I had to encounter was the inveterate prejudice of the Hawaiian authorities against a territorial form of government, which could not be overcome. Finding it impossible to provide other wise, I finally consented to agree to the admission of the islands as a State, as soon as it could be done in conformity with the principles and requirements of the Federal Constitution, leaving the existing laws, so far as they are republican and consistent with such Constitution, in full force and efiect in the meantime,
There was also much controversy as to the extent of consideration. The Government absolutely refused to listen to anything short of annuities to the extent of $300,000, and I finally yielded to the sine qua non which they presented, with the understanding that it was solely ad referendum.
I had intended to send you a copy of the treaty as agreed on, for information, but I have been altogether unequal to the task of making it in time for the present mail.
I have notified the minister of foreign relations that there must be a speedy diplomatical conclusion of our negotiations, and expressed the view that any further delay will be inconsistent with the position of the Government of the United States in the transaction. He assents to the propriety of my representations, and promises to spare no efforts to bring about the signature of the treaty.
I may therefore express the hope that a final result will soon be attained. But I fear the occurrence of a state of things which will place
me in some embarrassment. There is reason to believe that upon the ratification of the treaty there will be a desire and a necessity of an im. mediate transfer of the sovereignty of the islands to the United States in order to guard against pressing danger. If such a crisis occurs I shall deem myself justified in accepting a provisional transfer, subject to the provisions of the treaty, or such arrangements as may be finally made by the two parties. This, I have no doubt, would be decisive as to the influences hereafter to prevail in the archipelago, whatever might be the view of our Government as to the cession. A flood of emigration would pour in from California the moment our flag vas raised, sufficient to put a check upon all future British and French pretensions.
Yesterday I had an audience at the palace for the officers of the St. Mary. The King was unable to be present, owing to his illness, but he was represented by the Kuhina Nui, who always stands in his place when he can not perform his functions.
The British consul-general has demanded a personal audience of the King, to communicate to him certain views of his Government, which will take place as soon as His Majesty is recovered. I have, etc.,
DAVID L. GREGG.
The negotiations for annexation are in the same condition as when my dispatch (No. 51) of the 7th instant was written. On Saturday last the cabinet had an audience of the King and laid before him a copy of the treaty in the Hawaiian language, and through Mr. Arm strong, as interpreter, explained it in all its particulars. He expressed himself satisfied, as I am advised, but stated that he wished to consult particularly with a few of his chiefs before final action was taken. Unfortunately he has since been in such a state of infirmity as to be able to consult with no one, and it is difficult to predict when his present fit of illness will terminate.
I have insisted upon the immediate signature of the treaty, and Mr. Wyllie admits that, according to diplomatic usage, there should be no further delay. In my last dispatch I stated that I had notified him that the negotiations must be at once concluded. I have since addressed him a letter to the same effect, setting forth strongly the reasons which induced me to take this course. A copy of it is herewith inclosed for your information. Its representations I considered would have an important bearing in bringing matters to an issue, and I still think this will be the effect. I hope I did not go further than the President will be willing to approve. The peculiar circumstances which exist seemed to demand a strong expression on my part, with all the incidental references and suggestions which are employed. I acted with regard to what I supposed to be the peculiar exigencies of the times, and it has been intimated to me that my course will probably contribute to hasten matters to a conclusion.
I forward also a copy of the treaty, the terms of which were finally settled between Mr. Wyllie and myself on the 19th ustimo. I have al