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depression brought about by the McKinley Tariff. Rear Admiral Brown reported on August 17, 1892: "The great depression in business matters in the Islands is being felt by all classes. Importations from the United States are extremely light and many vessels leave here in ballast..." 182/
Another major problem was the struggle for control of the cabinet. After the 1892 election, no one party had enough members to claim a clear majority (see above, page 287.) Four successful want-of-confidence resolutions were supported by various combinations of three parties (Reform, National Reform, and Liberal) in the first eight months of the session. Little business was accomplished until November, when a strong moderate cabinet led by George Wilcox was formed as a compromise. It appeared that some stability had at last been achieved.
A number of bills had been postponed during the turmoil. Among the most controversial were the Lottery Bill, the Opium Licensing Bill, and a bill calling for a new constitutional convention. The queen had reluctantly appointed this cabinet, and now a widening rift began to appear between the queen and her ministers. The first two above-mentioned pieces of legislation were supported by the queen, but vigorously opposed by her cabinet. Other clashes worsened the situation. By January 4, 1893, the queen's supporters felt confident enough to propose yet another want-of-confidence resolution. The measure was defeated by only a narrow margin. On January 10, the Lottery Bill passed over the opposition of the cabinet, and taking this as a sign, once again a want-of-confidence vote was called. In the ensuing debate, the feelings of the legislators were summed up by Representative Kamauoha:
- The Cabinet were honest and able men. There was no doubt that they possessed the confidence of the Community. They were men of integrity, who would be able to secure funds to carry on the government. But would they carry out the wishes of the Queen? Would they do what the Queen and the Hawaiian people wanted in regard to the Lottery, the Constitutional Convention, etc.? Would they do as the Queen wanted them to do? 183/
The resolution passed. A new cabinet was appointed by the queen, and on January 14, 1893, the legislature was prorogued.
Events of January, 1893
Constitutional reform had been a major campaign issue in the elections of February 1892; indeed it was a primary plank in the platform of the Liberal Party. Yet the resolution had failed to pass in the legislature of 1892, having been set aside while more pressing matters were attended to. Liliuokalani, as had Kalakaua, had felt severely hampered by the restrictions placed on the monarchy by the present constitution. Now, feeling that she had the will of the people and the support of her new cabinet, the queen decided to take matters into her own hands.
Since early 1892, she had been quietly making plans to revise the constitution. A draft had been prepared in October 1892 that generally reverted to the earlier constitution of 1864, but which gave the monarchy even more control. The queen had made no secret of her intentions. A copy of the document had been submitted to Attorney General Arthur Peterson for his recommendations. All of the cabinet members were aware of its existence, and at least two had promised their support prior to their appointments. 184/
With this in view, Liliuokalani planned to promulgate the new
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