Wednesday, July 8, 2015

U.S. vs Hawaii War of 1894 -- Part Two

The United States opposed removing the Queen. Yes, it's true.

Senators opposed the ratification of the treaty and president-elect Grover Cleveland commissioned an investigation into the events of the overthrow. The investigation was conducted by former Congressman James Henderson Blount. Fact is the situation in Hawaii caught Cleveland off guard. He was concerned that the Harrison's administration and American sugar planters on the islands had conspired during the Hawaiian revolution of 1893 to overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy.

The Blount Report was completed on July 17, 1893 and concluded that "United States diplomatic and military representatives had abused their authority and were responsible for the change in government."

The outcome was that U.S. Minister Stevens was recalled, and the commander of military forces in Hawaii was forced to resign. In the meantime the Leper War on Kauai was suppressed by Provisional Government troops.

President Cleveland stated "Substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair the monarchy."

Cleveland further stated in his 1893 State of the Union Address that, "Upon the facts developed it seemed to me the only honorable course for our Government to pursue was to undo the wrong that had been done by those representing us and to restore as far as practicable the status existing at the time of our forcible intervention."

As evidence that the Provisional Government of Hawaii was not merely "puppets" of the United States, we should recognize that President Cleveland turned the matter over to Congress on December 18, 1893, after Provisional Government of Hawaii president Sanford Dole refused to reinstate the Queen on Cleveland's demand.

It is convenient for people today to mislead others and omit facts about what really took place. It is difficult for those shouting that the United States was behind the overthrow of the Queen when in fact neither the President of the United States nor the Senate wanted Hawaii to be a part of the United States. It is difficult to support their argument when facts show that the United States actually tried to reinstate the Queen even to the point of threatening an invasion and war.

Yes, the refusal of the Provisional Government of Hawaii to follow the wishes of President Cleveland does not look like the actions of a "puppet" government. To get the matter out of his hands, Cleveland turned the matter of to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under chairman John Morgan continued investigation into the matter.

On February 26, 1894, the Morgan Report was submitted, contradicting the Blount Report and finding Stevens and the U.S. Marines "not guilty" of any involvement in the overthrow. The report states: "The complaint by Liliuokalani in the protest that she sent to the President of the United States and dated the 18th day of January, is not, in the opinion of the committee, well founded in fact or in justice."

While it is said that after submission of the Morgan Report, Cleveland ended any efforts to reinstate the monarchy and commenced diplomatic relations with the new government, and that he rebuffed further entreaties from the Queen to intervene. But frankly, that is not true.

Did President Cleveland even threatened to go to war with Hawaii if the Queen was not returned to the throne? Don't think so, don't think the United States almost went to war with Hawaii over the removal of the Queen? 

Well, enter Albert Willis and the U.S. invasion.

President Grover Cleveland of the United States denounced the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Cleveland vowed to reverse the damage done and restore the Kingdom. In fact, Cleveland launched an investigation headed by James Blount as United States Minister to Hawaii, known as the Blount Report. After the investigation, Blount was replaced by Albert Willis , who began negotiations between ex-queen Liliuokalani for a U.S. led invasion to restore the monarchy. However, the agreement broke down because of the death penalty.

Yes, Albert Willis met with Queen Liliuokalani and presented the Queen with President Cleveland's request that she grant amnesty to the Revolutionaries in return for reinstatement. According to Willis, the Queen refused and demanded the death penalty, capital punishment, the decapitation for all of those involved.

The Pending U.S. War with Hawaii and Black Week

Never heard of Black Week? I'm telling you, I had a great Hawaiian History teacher in Mrs. De Mello over at Kaimuki High! The Black Week as it was called in Hawaii at the time, was the period where the people in Hawaii believed they would invaded by the United States. It was believed there would be war between Hawaii and the United States if the Hawaiian government did not put the Queen back on the throne.

Spurred on by Washington's delays and refusals to annex the Hawaiian Islands, by Spring of 1894, concerns of war between the Hawaii and the United States started to build in the Hawaiian Islands. The reason for the talk of war began when rumors circulated of the possible intervention by the United States to restore the Hawaiian Monarchy.

On December 14th, 1893, Albert Willis arrived in Honolulu aboard the USRC Corwin unannounced. It was then that he starts a hoax to convince the Provisional Government of Hawaii that an American invasion to restore the monarchy was coming. 

While this is going on, on December 23rd, unaware that Cleveland had referred the matter to Congress, Willis presented the Provisional Government with Cleveland's demand to restore the queen to the throne – the Provisional Government refused.

The Morgan Report of February 26, 1894, concluded that the overthrow was locally based, motivated by a history of corruption of the monarchy, and that American troops only served to protect American property and citizens and had no role in the end of the Hawaiian Monarchy.

In fact, the American troops did not fire a shot or leave their positions to occupy any parts of the Kingdom of Hawaii unlike they had in 1874 and 1889 when they came to the aid of King Kalakaua. To add to the hysteria of a possibly military conflict in the air stimulated by Wills, Willis staged a mock invasion with the USS Adams and USS Philadelphia. Believe it or not, he directing that their guns be trained on the Hawaiian capital which can be targeted fairly easily from Honolulu harbor.

Willis' goal was to maintain fear of the United States to pressure the Provisional Government into forfeiting the island back to the Queen or at least to maintain a U.S. invasion threat as a possible reality. Let's find out if that worked.

U.S. vs Hawaii War of 1894 -- Part Three

Tom Correa

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