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Blount Report: Affairs in Hawaii

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HAWAIIAN  ISLANDS.	21
in favor of the original claim of the British Government to the enjoy- 
ment of privileges equal to those granted the United States. The con- 
troversy led to a change of ministry, and finally to an admission by the 
King's minister of the claim of this Government to exclusive privileges, 
and a pledge to hold the treaty, so interpreted, inviolate. This episode 
involved an "annexation scare" as against the United States, touch- 
ing which Mr. Evarts thus instructed our minister, Mr. Comly, August 
6, 1878:
You will endeavor to disabuse the minds of those who impute to the United States 
any idea of further projects beyond the present treaty. (Appendix.)
From time to time during the ensuing three years questions of inter- 
pretation of articles on the schedule and of the customs provisions of 
the treaty, and some involving attempted or apprehended frauds arose, 
several of them complicated by claims of Great Britain under the stipu- 
lations of the Anglo-Hawaiian treaty of 1852, and by the influence of 
British residents. All these questions were, however, satisfactorily 
determined without resort to any other mode of arrangement than, the 
usual diplomatic method, by notes. A domestic scandal, involving al- 
most the entire Government, followed, resulting in rapid changes of 
ministers and a hasty request for the recall of foreign representatives, 
including Mr. Comly. This request was, however, itself recalled 
promptly after the last change of cabinet on account of this particular 
crisis, and a more agreeable state of affairs brought about. The details 
of these incidents are, however, hardly worthy of any notice, as they 
serve chiefly to establish the disreputable character of certain of the 
King's advisers at the time, to verify charges of general corruption in 
the legislature, and point to influences at work against an extension of 
our reciprocity treaty.*
The same year the good offices of this Government were solicited by 
the Hawaiian Evangelical Association, in the suppression of the liquor 
traffic, by the enforcement of Chief Lebon's ordinance in the Ralik Is- 
lands. Mr. Evarts, on November 13, 1880, instructed Mr. Comly, and 
Mr. Dawson, the United States consul at Apia, also, to make efforts to 
secure some suitable person to act as consular agent of this Govern- 
ment in the Raliks. (Appendix.)
The good offices of this Government were enlisted also in the nego- 
tiation of a treaty between Hawaii and Japan, and its approval of such 
a convention sought by the king's minister for foreign affairs.
In June, 1881, Mr. Comly reported the persistent effort of Great 
Britain to derive benefit or advantage from the parity clause of the 
Anglo-Hawaiian treaty of 1852, through the reciprocity treaty with the 
United States, by way of pushing claims based upon that clause pend- 
ing its termination by notification. He wrote:
I do not propose to trouble the Secretary of State with a repetition of my arguments 
intended to show the inadmissible character of this claim, and showing also that in 
1855, when a reciprocal treaty with the United States was pending, the then British 
Commissioner here (Gen. Miller), acting under direct instructions from Lord 
Clarendon, literally "gave away" the whole case as to this present claim. He says: 
"Great Britain can not, as a matter of right, claim the same advantages for her trade, 
under the strict letter of the treaty of 1852." (Quoted more at length and in his own 
words in my dispatch No. 13.)
For the convenience of the Secretary of State I present a brief itinerary of the 
progress of this claim up to date, as I understand it:
1. Immediately after the reciprocity treaty went into effect, Maj. Wodehouse, the 
British Commissioner, peremptorily notified the Hawaiian Government that "Her 
Majesty's Government can not allow of" any discrimination against British products
*See Mr. Comly's 113, 121, and 122; and Mr. Evart's 76 and 78.

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