University of Hawaii at Manoa Library

Home: The Annexation Of Hawaii: A Collection Of Document
(808) 956-8264

Blount Report: Affairs in Hawaii

[Previous Page] -- [View PDF] -- [View in MS Word] -- [Next Page]

The indirect causes of this outrage were complicated, but of assisted 
and persistent growth. From the early days of foreign interests and 
immigration in Hawaii the American element had predominated. The 
contention of the two principal European nations sending ships into 
the North Pacific - England and France - for supremacy in the islands 
was hampered by this fact. The remedy adopted by the French was 
the introduction of a rival religion. It was the belief of the British 
consul that American influence might thus be broken, and the field left 
clear for a settlement of the question of ultimate sovereignty between 
the two powers, whose policy in that part of the world was one of con- 
quest or colonization. The native sentiment turned toward that people 
by whom their independence had been first virtually acknowledged. 
The treaty negotiated by Capt. Jones had been the first actual recog- 
nition of their autonomy. For while that treaty had not been formally 
ratified, it had been observed as morally binding. The United States 
had manifested towards the Hawaiians a spirit of goodwill, and had 
maintained an attitude of neighborly respect in all official relations. 
The visits of their naval vessels had been generally helpful and encour- 
aging; the purposes of their immigrants had been generally civilizing 
and progressive. By the policy of the French and English the Ameri- 
cans were thrust into a position of defense alongside of the native 
population, and threatened with a share of the punishment to be visited 
upon the government for the fancied insults and wrongs suffered by 
the people of those two nations.
But a short time before the event just recited, William Richards, a 
clergymen, and Timoteo Haalilio, of the King's suite, the first embassy 
from Hawaii, had left for the United States, thence to proceed to Eng- 
land and France, upon the errand of securing recognition of the inde- 
pendence of their government. Mr. Richards had been formerly sent 
to this country in 1836 by the King to secure, if possible, the service of 
some American eminent in public life as advisers to the chiefs; but his 
mission had been unsuccessful.
The embassy having arrived at Washington addressed a communica- 
tion to Mr. Webster on the 14th of December, 1842, setting forth the 
situation of affairs in the Hawaiian Islands, reciting the progress of 
the people in the paths of civilization; their aspirations, and the neces- 
sity that demanded the formulation by the King of some definite foreign 
policy, and the assumption by his government of diplomatic relations 
with other powers.
Mr. Webster answered them on the 19th, declaring in the name of 
the President recognition of the independence of the Hawaiian Govern- 
ment and the sense of the United States that no interference with the 
King by foreign powers should be countenanced. He pointed out the 
interest of the American people in the islands and the reasons for such 
interest, and added that in so obvious a case the President did not re- 
gard a formal treaty or the establishment of formal diplomatic rela- 
tions as then necessary. He concluded with the assurance that not 
improbably the correspondence would be made the subject of a commu- 
nication to Congress, and be thus officially made known to the Gov- 
ernments of the principal commercial nations of Europe. The Presi- 
dent communicated the correspondence to Congress on the 30th of 
December, with a special message declarative of his policy. (Ap- 
This recognition of Hawaiian independence was, as we shall see, 
afterwards confirmed by Mr. Calhoun.
Proceeding to England the Hawaiian ambassadors were finally suc-

Return to Top

Terms of Use  |  UH Mānoa  |  UH System  |  Ask Us
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Library  |  2550 McCarthy Mall  |  Honolulu, Hawaii 96822 USA
808-956-7214 (Reference)  |  808-956-7203 (Circulation)  |  808-956-7205 (Administration)
808-956-5968 (fax)  |