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Blount Report: Affairs in Hawaii

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               1220			HAWAIIAN   ISLANDS.

evidence of "hostile intent" for the further reason that the information upon both points submitted to me, had already 
on November 14, been given to your minister at Washington and through him, on November 24, to your 
If there was nothing in the subject of your inquiries to warrant the belief that the United States "intended to use 
force" was there anything unfriendly it my manner of receiving or responding thereto?
As to the written communication, the language used will answer for itself. The oral interview is reported to the 
United Press by its correspondent here, whose accuracy you will attest. In a letter from Honolulu of December 5 he 
'"On the 24th ultimo the Warrimoo brought from Victoria our earliest knowledge of Secretary Gresham's letter. * * * 
Immediately after the news by the Warrimoo was received President Dole and Attorney-General Smith waited upon 
Minister Willis. They asked to know his instructions. He courteously declined to communicate them, but renewed to 
them a previous assurance that he would take absolutely no action until the return of the Alameda on December 21. 
He further assured them that they would be the first to know of any course of action decided upon by him. He 
evinced a genuine sympathy for the Government if not for their cause. Minister Willis then listened appreciatively to 
a representation by the attorney-general to the effect that their struggles for a good and constitutional government 
had been protracted for fifteen years."
You further, in paragraph (15), refer to your communication of November 29, "revoking the general permission 
theretofore granted to the U. S. forces to land for drill." You assigned no reason for such action, and I know of none. 
You were, however, promptly notified that such privilege would not thereafter be exercised, and to this day no 
armed soldier of our Government has been landed here for that or any other purpose.
Indeed, as appears from a letter of Admiral Irwin of November 29, acknowledging the receipt of a copy of your 
letter above referred to, he had "already given orders that our troops were not to be landed for drill or any other 
purpose," as in his opinion the landing of troops for drill would have a tendency to increase the disquiet already 
Your paragraph (16) is a brief extract from the message of President Cleveland of December 4, which was received 
here on the Corwin December 14.
Under our Constitution, as you are well aware, Congress alone has the "power to declare war." As the President 
distinctly announced that be would only act "within the constitutional limits of Executive power," he precluded the 
idea of using force and reaffirmed his declaration of November 14, delivered through Secretary Gresham, not "to do 
anything which would cause injury to life or property of anyone at the islands."
Paragraph (17) describes, upon the authority of certain "visiting citizens," the preparations on board our war vessels 
after the arrival of the Corwin, which seemed to imply that our forces " were ready to land at a moment's notice." 
"Rifles were stacked, cartridge belts were filled with ball cartridges, and knapsacks packed for immediate use." "The  
liberty of the crews was stopped as was that of most of the officers. Those who came on shore were in service 
uniform," etc.
If those "visiting citizens" had made inquiry of the officers in command their apprehensions would have been 
promptly allayed by the information that what they saw on that Friday they could have seen on any third Friday in 
the month, it being the usual "squadron routine drill," viz: "Boat drill, fire party, arm and away," requiring the 
"packing of knapsacks" and other preparations which you detail,
I append two letters of Rear-Admiral Irwin of the 13th and 15th instant, giving "notes from entry in log book U. S. 
Flagship Philadelphia" and "extract from Squadron Routine Drills," showing the above facts, and further that, in his 
own words:
(1) "No different preparations for landing have ever been made since I assumed command of this squadron than 
those made by my predecessor, Rear-Admiral Skerrett, * * * which were intended to suppress riot and to protect the 
lives and property of American and English residents.'"
(2) As to the stoppage of shore leave he explains: "I did, as a matter of precaution, suspend liberty to the crews until 
I could ascertain whether it would be prudent to permit them to land without danger of collision. After coming 
ashore and having satisfied myself on that point, which I did in less than an hour, the order was revoked by 
(3) " On the 18th of December, as the excitement on shore was very great, and as quite a mob had gathered at our 
usual landing, 1 gave orders for our officers to wear their uniforms on shore, which is the usual precaution taken in 
foreign countries in times of great public excitement. It is proper to add that I had been informed by Capt. Rooke, of 
the British cruiser Champion, that he had given a similar order."
(4) "The great guns of the Philadelphia and Adams have never been loaded since their last target practice at sea. The 
usual harbor drills have been kept up, as

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