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had indeed promised support and this was perhaps sufficient to dissuade them from any direct action. However, the government had a force of five hundred men, ten Gatling guns, and twelve pieces of artillery at its disposal. A landing party from the Boston could consist of at most one hundred seventy-five men and the Committee of Safety was assured of only about seventy-five men at that time. For whatever reasons, this day was spent in debate rather than action. 190/
On Sunday evening two cabinet members called on Stevens to find out if the rumors were true. Stevens made it clear to them that he would not support the queen in a conflict. That same day, members of the Committee of Safety also called on Stevens. Stevens reiterated "that while he would call for the United States troops to protect life and property, he could not recognize any government until actually established." He repeated that the troops when landed would not take sides with either party, but would protect American life and property. 191/
On Monday, January 16, a mass meeting was held by the Committee to garner support for their aims. On that day also, in an attempt to defuse the situation, Liliuokalani made a public announcement that no new constitution would be promulgated for the time being. Meanwhile, the Committee sent the following letter to John Stevens:
- We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Honolulu, respectfully represent that, in view of recent public events in this kingdom, culminating in the revolutionary acts of Queen Liliuokalani on Saturday last, the public safety is menaced and lives and property are in peril, and we appeal to you and the United States forces at your command for assistance. The Queen, with the aid of armed force and accompanied by threats of violence and bloodshed from those with whom she was acting, attempted to proclaim a new constitution; and while prevented for the time from accomplishing her object, declared publicly that she would only defer her action. This conduct and action was upon an occasion and under circumstance[s] which have created general alarm and terror. We are unable to protect ourselves without aid and, therefore, pray for the protection of the United States forces. 192/
This letter was delivered some time in the early afternoon. By four o'clock, following the mass meeting, the Committee decided that circumstances were such that any action on their part would have to wait until the next day. As it would be beneficial to their objectives to be established and recognized before any American troops landed, two men called upon Stevens and requested that the landing party be detained until the next day. At this point, it seems obvious that Stevens was trying to avoid the appearance of complicity because he informed them that arrangements had already been made and that there would be no alterations in the plans. The U.S. troops landed at five o'clock that evening.
Stevens had gone aboard the Boston at three o'clock with the following request: "In view of existing critical circumstances in Honolulu,
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