Saturday, April 16, 2016

The United States Didn't Want Hawaii -- Part One

Back on June 19th, 2011, I posted an article about how the Hawaiian legislature elected a new King and the turmoil and revolution that vote actually started. The article is titled: When King Kalakaua Needed U.S. Marines in 1874

Over the years, while I get a lot of email about most of what I write, this article has generated a lot of e-mail.

Much of it is absolutely great, and I can only say thanks for the great words of encouragement. I'm very happy that you like my work. While that is more the case than not, others are not very nice. But being honest, I sort of expected that when I wrote something that I knew some folks just don't want to hear.

I knew that some of the responses would not be what I hoped. But while that's the case, I didn't expect people to write things that I can hardly believe.

And frankly, some people have actually wrote me saying that I made up the whole thing to discredit the Kingdom of Hawaii for some reason. Some have written saying that I'm simply trying to rewrite history, and that my article is a work of fiction.

To those out there saying that I made up the story, no I didn't make it up! I'm simply not that creative. I could never create the treachery and deceit, the power grabs, the turncoats, the coup after coup. I'm not able to disregard of real honest and factual events that took place like those who only focus on things that meet their agenda.

I have no agenda when it comes to reporting history. Whether it's exploring the truth using available evidence to support what did or did not take place with people or places in the Old West or other periods of American history, I like my history real and supported by fact and not unsubstantiated myth.

As for Hawaii, I love Hawaii and would never try to discredit Hawaii for any reason. My family originates from Hawaii. I have grandparents, great-grandparents, even great-great-grandparents buried there.

When my family left Portugal back in the mid 1800's, they arrived in Hawaii as "Contract Labor," other wise known as "Indentured Servants." And yes, the Kingdom of Hawaii brought them there.

My family arrived during the times of Kings and Queens While not Hawaiians by blood, Hawaiians as subjects under the Monarchy. Yes, they were in fact Hawaiian Subjects long before they became Americans. And yes, because I can trace my roots to those Hawaiians, I treasure my Hawaiian heritage no less than someone of Hawaiian blood.

As for those saying that I'm trying to rewrite Hawaiian history, you're a fool if you think so! I simply report history with as much of an objective eye as one can have. I love history and hate those who try to rewrite it. I see history as our best form of education. So really, why would I want to rewrite what took place when I love it's lessons and love what it teaches us about ourselves.

My interest in history goes back to when my grandfather would tell me stories about the way things once were, how people did things, about old technologies, how the blending of cultures took place, the way people fought to survive during tough times, and how people did things for others. I admire those people because of what made them who they were -- they ethics, morals, their will to prevail.
Anyone who has read my articles, especially those on Old West history, knows that I do a lot of research to give you my readers the real story and not the fabrication that many of us are lead to believe is true.

I was called all sorts of things when I wrote about Wild Bill Hickok ambushing David McCanles. I was told that Wyatt Earp couldn't have been a pimp, and arrested as a pimp at the time when many say he was supposed to be a Buffalo Hunter. I was told that I had to be wrong about Doc Holliday being a bad shot or when I said that Tom Horn's hanging was nothing special. I can deal with name callers. They mean very little to me. What I hate are those who rewrite history to benefit themselves or their cause.

Like it or not, it is a historical fact that as a result of the Hawaiian government's request, two Marine Detachments were landed to restore order to the rioting in Honolulu. It is just the truth that American Marines fought a rebellion instituted by the opposition candidate there, restored order, took over the government, and after a few weeks of being in complete control of the Hawaiian government actually handed it back to the Hawaiian monarchy and assisted with the orderly coronation of King David Kalakaua in 1874.

It is a fact that during the fighting, U.S. Marines actually seized government buildings. They occupied the Palace grounds but did not the Palace itself, seized the city armory, the Hawaiian treasury, the Hawaiian Police station house, the Honolulu jail, and the Honolulu Courthouse which was their main objective. All in just a few days, and in just over a week restored order.

Lately, I've been told that a plot to overthrow King Kalakaua in 1888 and a revolt in 1889 never took place. I'm told that Liliuokalani, who planned an insurrection against her own brother King Kalakaua never happened. Really, did I really make that up?

Facts are facts, and in July of 1889, Liliuokalani planned an insurrection against her own brother King Kalakaua. And yes, with the help of Robert Wilcox and 150 armed men occupied the Palace and attempts to have King Kalakaua either abdicate or proclaim that the 1864 Constitution was to replace the 1887 Constitution.

Fact is supporters of King Kalakaua did take up arms against those insurgents. Volunteer riflemen from what was called the Missionary Party turned out to support the government . A legation was on hotel premises where Mr. Merrill, the U.S. Minister requested U.S. Marines again be landed to assist in the matter.

It is a fact that a duel between Liliuokalani's insurgents and volunteers began with rifle fire. Some say small artillery was moved into position but never used. By evening the fighting ended, and the insurgents surrendered to the U.S. Marines and the Missionary Party. These are historical facts!

King Kalakaua reigned for 17 years until his death in 1891. He decided to take a trip to San Francisco to visit America and improve his health. The great King died of a stroke, kidney failure, and liver cirrhosis in San Francisco California on January 20th, 1891.

In keeping with King Kalakaua's wishes, his sister Liliuokalani ascended the throne becoming Queen on January 29, 1891. And whether people want to accept it or not, it's true that her monarchy would be faced with scandal, attempted coups, revolution, all one after the other. Like it or not, her reign reads like a road map to abdication. And as I said before, the only question is "to who?"

I'm told I'm making it up, but the facts don't lie. On March 1892, an abortive revolution was led by the Ashford brothers and R.W. Wilcox of the Liberal Party. The objective was to establish a Republic and then educate the people for future annexation to United States.

The very same conspirator leader Robert Wilcox who was so willing to help Liliuokalani overthrow her brother, then wanted to overthrow her.  After being arrested. a month later all charges were dropped and the conspirators were released.

I love history. I think movie makers and writers can do more with real history. I think the real story is, in most cases, a lot more fascinating than the legend and the fabricated made-up make-believe garbage that many accept as true.

In the case of the Old West, many of the colorful personalities of the times were made even more colorful by way of bullshit artist called Dime Novelists. I find that today's movie makers are full of those same Dime Novelists who it seems can't tell the truth if their lives depended on it.

But friends, my grandfather was right when he said, "Just tell the truth, people won't believe it anyway." Besides, I believe real history makes a better story.

And yes, I love history's ironies. I find it an irony that Queen Liliuokalani supported the same Wilcox in an attempted coup against her own brother King Kalakaua -- only to have the same man attempt one against her. It seemed as though karma came around full swing.

Less than a year later, on January 14, 1893, Queen Liliuokalani proposes to promulgate a new constitution that would give her powers of virtually absolute monarch not seen since Kamehameha The Great. She wanted to take control of the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches of government in the Kingdom.

Many in Hawaii, including many in the government, saw this as too much intrusion by the Queen. That was when a group of mostly European, German, American, Hawaiian business leaders, and other Hawaiian subjects who formed a "Committee of Safety" over-threw the Kingdom to seek annexation by the United States.

United States Government Minister John L. Stevens, responding to a request from the "Committee of Safety," and requested that the a company of Marines aboard the USS Boston be sent to the palace.

From January 16th to April 1st of 1893, the U.S. Marines were back in Hawaii. Fact is that the Marines again landed to protect American lives and property there, and at the request of the Hawaiian government. Yes, it was the government that requested the Marines. They simply didn't just land on their own or at the orders of the American government. Besides, why would the American government want to "invade" Hawaii since the United States already had a Reciprocity Treaty with the Hawaiian government which gave them all sorts of benefits to use the harbors in Hawaii?

Unlike in 1874, in 1893 the American Marines did not fire a shot. They did not take control of any government building, seize any property, jail anyone, or conduct any combat action. They were positioned across from the Palace at the request of the Hawaiian government in charge and waited for orders. That's it. They did nothing else but wait.

The fact is that they were there because of the potential unrest as the internal crisis within the Hawaiian government continued. About 160 Marines landed, and were given specific orders by Captain G. C. Wiltse to "land in Honolulu for the purpose of protecting our legation, consulate, and the lives and property of American citizens, and to assist in preserving public order."

Friends, that sounds a great deal like why they were called up in 1874. And yes, the Marines had seen the riots and rebellion of 1874 in Hawaii, and it was less then 20 year past that they had to "preserve public order" in Honolulu. They understood very well just how bad it could get.

Like it or not, from what I've read, the Marines were there as "U.S. Peace-Keepers" only.

Marines were at the time stationed at Arion Hall, the U.S. Consulate, and the U.S. Legation, under "orders of strict neutrality" and to stay out of any potential line of fire between the Provisional Government and Royalist Forces. They were not to take sides and wait for the outcome of Hawaii's internal political mess..

Hawaiian History says that the Queen surrendered to "the superior force of the United States of America," but what did the under 200 Marines do to make her think they were a "superior force"? Besides the fact that they would have been outnumbered but the Hawaiian people, they didn't do anything but camp out and await orders.

As I've said before, the American Marines landed and positioned themselves at the legislation building across from Iolani Palace and camped out. They sat and waited for orders, and when they were told to return to their ship -- they returned to their ship the USS Boston.

On January 27th, 1893, following the overthrow of the monarchy, the Provisional Government created Hawaiian military forces which was put under the command of Colonel John Harris Soper.

The Hawaiian military forces consisted of four Infantry Companies: three National Guard companies and one Regular Army company. The Hawaiian national guard companies were Company A which was made up of ethnic German volunteers, commanded by Charles W. Zeiler; Company B which was made up of members of the Honolulu Rifles, commanded by Hugh Gunn; and Company C was made up of ethnic Portuguese volunteers, my great-grandfather was supposedly a part of that unit, commanded by Joseph M. Camara. The regulars, not volunteers, were Company D, made up like B Company, from the Honolulu Rifles, commanded by John Good.

I'd like to see the look on the face of some of my relatives when they find out that the Provisional Government who over-threw Queen Liliuokalani actually had formed an Infantry Company made up of ethnic Portuguese volunteers, a few who were relations, to ensure they stay in power.

All of the Hawaiian military was active under the Provisional Government of Hawaii. And yes, they were used in the Leprosy War in 1893.

In 1894, the Republic of Hawaii increased the Hawaiian National Guard and its Regular Army by 1,000 when the United States threatened to invade Hawaii. Yes, the United States threatened to invade they island nation of Hawaii if those who overthrew the Queen did not but her back on the throne. Yes, that is a part of history that is conveniently left out of today's Hawaiian History books.

The Hawaiian National Guard and Regular Army were also used under the authority of the Republic of Hawaii during the 1895 attempted coup lead by Robert Wilcox and the former Queen.

After Hawaii was annexed becoming the Territory of Hawaii in 1898, all of the Hawaiian military forces entered service in the Army National Guard system and became part of the Hawaii Army National Guard there. Am I making this up? No. This is all a matter of historical record.

Part Two is coming up!

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