Nhsc-v1-283

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nhsc-v1-283

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to get rid of the Reform cabinet." 135/ It is unclear what his intentions were with regard to Kalakaua. It has been suggested that Kalakaua was in sympathy with Wilcox until he learned of Wilcox's plans to depose him in favor of Liliuokalani, although she denied this. 136/ In any event, the government mobilized after learning of Wilcox's actions, and before attacking told the foreign ministers "that they desired to fully inform us of their contemplated action in the present emergency" but, at Minister Merrill's suggestion, "endeavored to communicate with Mr. Wilcox before attacking." 137/

When this attempt failed, the firing began, and Wilcox and his men eventually surrendered. During the morning, when reports of firing were heard, Minister Merrill "requested Commander Woodward to send to the legation a body of marines," which was supplemented by others later in the day to serve "as a precautionary measure in the event any assistance to preserve order might be required." Quiet ensued during the night, and "early the following morning all the men belonging to the Adams returned to the ship." 138/ Wilcox's revolt was crushed in one day, but he won some measure of victory since he "was tried by a native judge as the law required and was acquitted." 139/

As a result of the insurrection and the king's continued objection to many of the cabinet's actions, a statement was drafted by the cabinet for the king's signature prescribing that: "the powers and responsibilities of the ministers and His Majesty should be clearly understood and precisely defined." 140/ The king objected to signing the statement at first but, at a meeting with Ministers Merrill and Wodehouse, he told them he had decided to sign. British Commissioner Wodehouse wrote of this meeting:

Before leaving His Majesty, we explained the hope that he would now accept the role of a Constitutional sovereign, and leave responsibility of Government with his Ministers; anf I remarked that if the country was not satisfied with their conduct, the remedy lay in the polls in February next. 141/

From this time until the general election, further political problems occurred with rifts in the Reform Cabinet, opposition to renewal of the reciprocity treaty, and an anti-Chinese movement. Two major parties formed: the National Reform Party (on Hui Kalaiaina, headed by Robert Wilcox and supported by many haole aliens), whose goal was to revise the constitution and oppose both continued importation of Asian laborers and annexation to the United States; and the Reform Party, supporting the government. The intensity of the pre-election debate was so great that British Commissioner Wodehouse wrote: "The feeling of both parties is very bitter, and perhaps may bring about a collision." 142/

Wodehouse's fear of violence was such that the day before the election he convinced the recently-appointed American Minister Stevens to agree:

..."that Guards for the English and American Legations should be landed tomorrow morning from the English and American War ships now in the Port." Informed of this fact by Stevens, the cabinet ministers vigorously objected to such landing, saying that every precaution was taken to prevent disorder and that the government would provide special guards for the legations if such was requested The diplomats thereupon cancelled their plan and stated no guards would be needed. 143/
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