University of Hawaii at Manoa Library

Home: The Annexation Of Hawaii: A Collection Of Document



hawnpac@hawaii.edu
(808) 956-8264

Blount Report: Affairs in Hawaii

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

                             HAWAIIAN   ISLANDS.	609
The plan of the leaders of the new movement seems to have been to reconstruct the Government, and 
then to turn it over to the United States. A secret committee of thirteen was appointed to carry out their 
designs. Their first object was to bring about the removal of two of the ministers, viz: Messrs. Armstrong 
and Judd. The unsuccessful attempt to mate political capital out of the smallpox epidemic of 1853 was 
disgraceful to all engaged in it. At the same time an active agitation was commenced in favor of annexation, 
and the two obnoxious ministers were accused of being an obstacle in the way of it.
Threats were freely used to intimidate the King and chiefs into dismissing them.
In August a memorial in favor of annexation was presented to the King, which was signed by seventeen 
respectable residents, who were supporters of the cabinet. This called out a card, published September 10, 
signed by Revs. E. W. Clark and P. J. Gulick, declaring that "the Protestant missionaries at the islands 
have never engaged in any scheme of annexation. It has been their cherished wish that the Government 
may remain independent under the present constitution and rulers. Whatever may have been done by 
merchants, planters, and others, the Protestant clergymen at the islands have neither advised nor signed any 
memorial to the King touching annexation." In a letter published in August, 1864, Mr. Clark stated that at the 
annual convocation in May, 1853, he had frequent conversations with other missionaries on this engrossing 
subject. "Not one of them expressed an opinion in its favor, but on the contrary, they did express doubts as 
to its expediency, and grave apprehensions of disaster to the natives from the influx of lawless and 
unprincipled foreigners." With this agreed the known views of the French Catholic priests.
The memorial created no little excitement among the British and French residents. The representatives of 
Great Britain and France solicited an audience with the King and privy council, which was granted 
September 1, when they presented a joint address to the King, protesting against any attempt to annex the 
islands to any foreign power as in contravention of existing treaties, as well as unconstitutional. This was 
replied to in an able dispatch addressed to the minister of foreign affairs by the United States commissioner, 
September 3.
A few days later the whole Cabinet resigned, but were all reappointed, with the exception of Dr. Judd, 
who was succeeded by Hon. E. H. Alien, whose appointment gave general satisfaction, and caused no 
change in the policy of the cabinet. The result was a virtual defeat of the schemes of the "thirteen."
GROWTH OF ANNEXATION SENTIMENT, 1854.
Hon. L. Severance, the United States commissioner, returned to the United States in December, 1853, and 
was succeeded by Hon. D. L. Gregg, of Illinois, who arrived in Honolulu January 6, 1854.
Meanwhile the sentiment in favor of annexation seems to have been growing in strength. There were 
strong commercial reasons in its favor. Three-fourths of the business was in the hands of Americans, and the 
chief market of the islands was then, as now, the Pacific coast of the United States. The hope of it stimulated 
speculation, and led to new enterprises, some of which were afterwards abandoned.
The fearful decrease of the native population (several thousands of whom had been carried off by the fatal 
epidemic of 1853), the rapid extinction of the order of chiefs, who were the natural leaders of their race, the 
relapse of the King into habits of gross intemperance, and the perils from without overhanging the feeble 
Government disheartened many true friends of the nation and led them to favor the preliminary steps then 
taken towards annexation. The objections of the missionaries to that measure have already been stated. 
They feared that the rights of the natives might be trampled upon and their interests sacrificed. A new and 
liberal constitution had just been adopted (in 1852) and they fondly hoped that the natives would soon learn 
how to use their newly-granted lands and political rights.
The ministry, as a whole, favored annexation, but Mr. Wyllie acquiesced in it unwillingly and only as a 
last resort in the case of an emergency. During the two following reigns he developed a decided antipathy to 
American influence and American ideas.
The King, however, strongly favored annexation. He had long been harassed by the threats of foreign 
powers; he had once been dethroned by a British naval force; he had repeatedly been compelled to make 
humiliating concessions at the cannon's mouth; he had recently seen his fort dismantled and his beautiful 
yacht carried off, and his difficulties with France still remained unsettled. At the same time he wag kept in a 
state of alarm by rumors of filibusters from abroad and threats of conspirators at home to overturn his 
Government. He was deeply grateful for the constant and generous friendship of the United States and for 
the benefits which his people had received from American citizens. Besides, he had reason to expect for 
himself and his chiefs a sum equal to the revenue of his Kingdom and for his people all the rights of a free 
State in the Union. As far as is known, most of the high chiefs agreed with him.
F E 94-APP II---39

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)  |  library@hawaii.edu