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Blount Report: Affairs in Hawaii

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              HAWAIIAN   ISLANDS.	779

was busy, and it was freely stated that a new constitution was to be promulgated in the afternoon. At a 
meeting of business men, held in the room of the chamber of commerce, reference was made to this 
possibility, but still it was not generally believed until in the afternoon the unexpected happened, and doubt 
was transformed into certainty.


Three days before the coup d'etat was attempted, a gentleman who enjoys the confidence of the Queen told 
one of the members of the newly appointed cabinet (who was then in private station) that the blow was to 
be struck, and that the persons of the ministers would be secured. In the anticipation that the new cabinet 
would not make any resistance to the revolutionary blow, the precaution of arresting them was not taken. 
Saturday morning one of the ministers received positive information that a blow was to be struck that 
afternoon. He immediately proceeded to consult two prominent citizens on the course to be taken. After a 
conference, the gentlemen referred to advised the cabinet to refuse to sign a new constitution and to decline 
to resign if their resignations should be demanded. The prorogation of the legislature was the last chapter in 
the story of the morning. It went off tamely and quietly enough, but those who were acquainted with the 
real situation felt that the Government' and the nation were sleeping on the crest of a volcano.


In the afternoon, immediately after the Legislature had been prorogued, the Hui Kalaiaina (a native 
Hawaiian political society), marched over to the palace in order to present a new constitution to the Queen, 
with the petition that the same be promulgated to the people as the fundamental law of the land. The 
matter of the new constitution and petition had been prearranged, and there was little spontaneity about 
it. It really originated with the Queen and a few of her adherents. Activity had been noted for several 
days among some of the native retainers of Her Majesty. Several have since stated that they were ordered 
to appear before her and ask for a new constitution. One case particularly worthy of note is that of an old 
native resident of Nuuanu Valley, who was seen going home on the evening of the prorogation in an old 
working suit of clothes. On being asked where his tall hat, long black coat, and black pants were, be 
replied, "In the basket," pointing to one o which he was carrying on his arm. Proceeding, the native said 
that he, with others, had been ordered to go and ask for a new constitution, and went prepared to ask, 
never dreaming of having the request granted, but before the delegation could present the petition the 
Queen intimated that their prayer would be granted, without giving them time even to read the petition. 
The old man said he knew that was treason, and he thought he had bettor get borne. So ho got his wife to 
bring him his old clothes again, which he immediately donned, shuffling his finery into the basket. Ho 
further stated that he and the rest had no desire for a new constitution.


In the meantime a large crowd of Hawaiians had gathered around the palace gates and in. the grounds near 
the great flight of steps, and natives were also gathered in large groups in the Government-building yard 
and elsewhere in the neighborhood. The Queen retired to the blue room and summoned the ministers, who 
repaired at once to the palace. The Queen was at a table, still dressed in the magnificent costume of the 
morning, and sparkling in a coronet of diamonds. She at once presented them with the draft of the new 
constitution, demanded their signatures, and declared her intention to promulgate the same at once. 
Attorney-general Peterson and Minister of Interior Colburn decidedly refused to do so, and Ministers Corn 
well and Parker, though more hesitatingly, joined their colleagues in this refusal. All the cabinet now perceived 
the expediency of advising Her Majesty not to violate the law, but she was not to be dissuaded from her mad 
course. Bringing her clenched hand down upon the table Queen Liliuokalani said: "Gentlemen, I do not wish 
to hear any more advice. I intend to promulgate this constitution, and to do it now," Proceeding, she told the 
cabinet that unless they abandoned their resistance at once-"he would go out upon the steps of the palace 
and tell the excited crowd there assembled that she wished to give them a new constitution, but that her 
ministers were inside the palace, hindering her from doing it. The ministers remembered the riot at the court 
house, and the fate of the unlucky representatives who fell into the hands of the mob. They knew what the 
threat might mean, and before it could be put into execution they retired from the palace.


From the Government building, the ministers immediately sent word down town asking the citizens what 
support the cabinet could expect in its resistance to the

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