Nhsc-v1-277

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nhsc-v1-277

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With these events of the morning of July 1 in mind, Kalakaua called for a meeting of the foreign national ministers. American Minister Merrill wrote the following about this meeting:

About twelve o'clock...His Majesty sent for the British, French, Portuguese and Japanese Commissioners and myself to meet him at the Palace.
When all had assembled His Majesty, evidently being much alarmed, stated that an armed force had recently arrested a late member of his Cabinet, Mr. Gibson, and as armed men were patrolling the streets, and not knowing what the next act might be, he desired to place the control of the affairs of the kingdom in our hands.
This offer we informed him could not be accepted and it was the desire of all the representatives of other powers that he should maintain himself in authority and as he informed us that he had agreed to the wishes of the people, expressed at the Mass Meeting the day previous, and would shortly so inform the Committee in writing, we advised him to at once authorize Mr. Green, if he was the person selected, to form a Ministry when it was believed affairs would assume a quiet attitude. We immediately retired and, passing down to the central portion of the city, assured the people that the King had acceded to their request and was now forming a Ministry with Mr. Green as Premier and no necessity for further excitment existed. 88/

From the above quoted dispatch it appears evident why the foreign ministers, including Merrill, did not want to accept Kalakaua's offer of "placing control of the Kingdom in our hands." The ministers, including Merrill, wanted Kalakaua to stay in authority and were convinced there was every reason to believe things would quiet down since he had agreed to the resolutions of the committee of the Hawaiian League. 89/

Kalakaua, after this meeting, signed and sent his acceptance of the resolutions to the committee. W. L. Green then sent, and the king accepted, a list of cabinet ministers that included W. L. Green, Godfrey Brown, Lorrin A. Thurston, and Clarence W. Ashford. American Minister Merrill wrote that all, except Thurston, were of British origin, and the "principal American merchants...generally coincide in the opinion that the present Ministers are satisfactory, and favorable to the welfare of this kingdom." 90/ Merrill's dispatch concerning the approval by the American merchants of the cabinet is especially noteworthy, since it was well known that the British wanted Hawaii to remain independent and not be annexed to the United States.

The Constitution of 1887 was not actually completed and signed by Kalakaua until July 6. The "new constitution, drawn by the committee and never submitted to the people, was handed to the king and he signed it." 91/ The "bayonet constitution," as it was known (written mainly by Lorrin A. Thurston 92/), made the king more of a ceremonial leader and effectively ended much of the monarchy's power. This was "summed up in the three words" that changed Article 31 of the prevailing 1864 Constitution from "To the King belongs the Executive Power" to the new constitution Article 31 which read "To the King and the Cabinet belongs the Executive power." 93/ The new constitution also incorporated property and income

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