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]

India Islands, as also that suffered by the English from French privateers from the 
Isle of France, during the wars between those nations, are instances in proof of the 
necessity of anticipating and preventing, when we can, similar evils that may issue 
from these islands if held by other powers. Their proximity to the Pacific States of 
the Union, fine climate and soil, and tropical productions of sugar, coffee, rice, fruits, 
hides, goat-skins, salt, cotton, fine wool, etc., required by the West, in exchange for 
flour, grain, lumber, shooks, and manufactures of cotton, wool, iron, and other arti- 
cles, are evidence of the commercial value of one to the other region.
Is it probable that any European power who may hereafter be at war with the 
United States will refrain from taking possession of this weak Kingdom, in view of 
the great injury that could be done to our commerce through their acquisition of 
It is said that at a proper time the United States may have the sovereignty of these 
islands without money and without price, except, perhaps for purchase of the Crown 
and public lands, and moderate annuities to be given to the five or six high chiefs 
now living with uncertain claims as successors to the Crown.
His Hawaiian Majesty, although only in his forty-first year, is liable to a sudden 
decease, owing to frequent attacks of difficulty in breathing and danger of suffocation 
from congestion caused by obesity. His weight is 300 pounds. He is sole survivor 
of the royal race of Kamehameha; unmarried, no heir, natural or adopted; possessess 
the constitutional prerogative of naming his successor, but it is believed he will not 
exercise it, from a superstitious belief his own death would follow immediately the 
Prince Alexander and Lott Kamehameha (the former subsequently became the fourth 
Hawaiian King and the latter the fifth) and Dr. G. P. Judd, my informant, visited 
England in 1850 as Hawaiian commissioners.
Lord Palmerston, at their interview with him, said, in substance, "that the British 
Government desired the Hawaiian people to maintain proper government and pre- 
serve national independence. If they were unable to do so, he recommended receiv- 
ing a protectorate government under the United States or by becoming an integral 
part of that nation. Such," he thought, "was the destiny of the Hawaiian Islands aris- 
ing from their proximity to the States of California and Oregon, and natural depend- 
ence on those markets for exports and imports, together with probable extinction of 
the Hawaiian aboriginal population and its substitution by immigration from the 
United States." That advice seems sound and prophetic.
The following historical events in relation to these islands are thought worthy of 
revival in recollection:
February 85.1843. - Lord George Paulet, of Her Britannic Majesty's ship Carysfort, 
obtained, by forceful measures, cession of the Hawaiian Islands to the Government 
of Great Britain, July 31, 1843. They were restored to their original sovereignty by 
the British Admiral Thomas.
November 28, 1843. - Joint convention of the English and French Governments, 
which acknowledged, the independence of this archipelago, and reciprocally prom- 
ised never to take possession of any part of same. The United States Government 
was invited to be a party to the above, but declined.
August, 1849. - Admiral Tromelin, with a French naval force, after making demands 
on the Hawaiin Government impossible to be complied with, took unresisted posses- 
sion of the fort and Government buildings in Honolulu, and blockaded the harbor. 
After a few weeks' occupation of the place, the French departed, leaving political 
affairs as they were previous to their arrival.
January, 1851. - A French naval force again appeared at Honolulu, and threatened 
bombardment and destruction of the town.
The King, Kamehameha III, with the government, fearing it would be carried into 
effect, and in mortal dread of being brought under French rule, similar to that placed 
by the latter over Tahiti, of the Society Islands, executed a deed of cession of all the 
Hawaiian Islands and their sovereignty forever in favor of the United States of 
The document, in a sealed envelope, was placed in charge of Mr. Severance, United 
States commissioner here, with instructions to take formal official possession of the 
soil of these islands on occasion of the first hostile shot fired by the French. On 
learning the facts, the latter desisted further aggressive acts, and departed from the 
Since that period the French authorities have pursued a conciliatory course in 
their relations with the Hawaiian Government, and fully of opinion, it is said, that 
a secret treaty exists between the United States Government and that of Hawaii, by 
which these islands pass into the possession of the former in case of aggressions made 
upon them thereafter by any hostile powers.
In 1854 the administration of President Pierce authorized the United States com- 
missioner, Mr. Gregg, to negotiate a treaty with the Hawaiian authorities for the 
cession of the sovereignty of these islands to the United States; but Mr. Gregg 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)  |