Nhsc-v1-294

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nhsc-v1-294

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constitution immediately following prorogation of the legislature. Members of the diplomatic community, the legislature, and other dignitaries were invited to the ceremony. Yet when it came down to signing their names and thus attesting their support, the cabinet refused. The queen later wrote, "They had led me out to the edge of a precipice, and now were leaving me to take the step alone. It was humiliating." 185/

The queen then reluctantly decided to wait until she had more official support; however, the news had spread. The members of the Annexationist Club, a secret organization that had formed during the last constitutional crisis in 1890 (see above, page 288), quickly met and decided the time had come to act on their beliefs. A Committee of Safety was formed under the leadership of Henry E. Cooper. All members of this committee were members of the Annexationist Club with the exception of George Wilcox, the former prime minister. Lorrin Thurston, one of the leaders of the club, proposed as the first order of business a resolution "that it is the sense of this meeting that the solution of the present situation is annexation to the United States." 186/ All but Wilcox approved the motion. Wilcox quietly resigned and returned to his home on Kauai.

The first action of the committee was to send three men, Thurston, W. C. Wilder, and H. F. Glade, to call upon the American Minister, John L. Stevens, to learn if "assistance could be afforded by the United States forces for the protection of life and property, the unanimous sentiment and feeling being that life and property were in danger." 187/ Lorrin Thurston reported back to the Committee that Stevens:

...had said that the United States troops on board the Boston would be ready to land any moment to prevent the destruction of American life and property, and regard to the matter of establishing a Provisional Government they of course recognize the existing government whatever it might be. 188/

Thurston also reported that when ask what requirements there were for being the "existing government" in Stevens eyes, Stevens informed him that whatever government was "actually in possession of the Government building the executive departments and archives, and in possession of the city, that was a de facto government proclaiming itself a government, would necessarily have to be recognized." 189/

Stevens' role in the Hawaiian revolution has always been controversial. He had held strong annexationist views from the beginning, and this was well known in the Hawaiian community. While he did not openly oppose the queen, from such statement as that quoted above it was obvious that he would not oppose a change. Stevens was careful not to offer aid, but he did promise to recognize any government that the committee might be able to establish. Other accounts indicate that Stevens had promised to support the Provisional Government with U.S. troops. There is some doubt of the validity of this assertion, as will be seen below. However, the approval of the American Minister, tacit or otherwise, was enough to bolster the Committee of Safety and to harden their resolve. By the evening of the 14th of January, recruiting and arming of a revolutionary force had begun and plans were under way to take over the government.

The royal government was aware of the Committee and of its purpose a early as Sunday, January 15th, yet nothing was done to break up the movement. It was generally believed by members of the cabinet that Steven

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