Nhsc-v1-296

From GrassrootWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Previous Page Next Page

nhsc-v1-296

Text Only

indicating an inadequate legal force, I request you to land Marines and Sailors from the ship under your command for the protection of the United States Legation, and the United States Consulate and to secure the safety of American life and property." 193/

Captain Gilbert C. Wiltse, commanding officer of the Boston, had been watching the situation closely since his return to Honolulu on the 14th of January. (The ship, with Stevens and his daughter as passengers, had been at gunnery practice off Hilo from January 4 to January 14.) When Stevens arrived, he found that preparations had already been made. A landing force had been organized and armed, and an order couched in terms of standard Navy policy had been issued to Lieutenant Commander Swinburn, who was to lead the force:

...You will take command of the Battalion and land in Honolulu for the purpose of protecting our Legation, Consulate, and the lives and property of American Citizens, and to assist in preserving public order. Great prudence must be exercised by both officers and men, and no action taken that is not fully warranted by the condition of affairs, and by the conduct of those who may be inimical to the treaty rights of American Citizens...194/

The landing force consisted of "one company of Marines, 30 men, under command of Lieut. H, L. Draper, U.S.M.C., two companies of Sailors, the first consisting of 34 men under command of Lieut. Charles Laird,...and the second consisting of 35 men, under command of Lieut. Dewitt Coffman...and two pieces of artillery, one short gatling and one 37 m/m H.R.C. (Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon)..." 195/

The Marines were detached to guard the Legation and Consulate, while the remainder of the men halted near the Palace until a place to bivouac could be found. At about 9:30 p.m., Arion Hall was obtained. This has been another point of controversy concerning the objectives of the landing force. Arion Hall was some distance from the concentration of American property, yet it was located immediately between the Government Building and the Palace. This would be an ideal location from which to participate in any conflict between the two forces. Though not one hostile move was made by the American forces, there is no doubt that their presence provided a psychological support to the revolutionists. As has been noted above, the cabinet and the queen were convinced that the American Minister and forces from the Boston were in support of the rebelling faction. No matter what their purpose, the mere presence of this armed force served to demoralize the monarchists and to dampen any threat of violence.

A protest was lodged by the local government, but Stevens refused to recall the men. At this point, Monday evening, the Committee of Safety still had not formalized its plans. Sanford Dole, an Associate Judge of the Supreme Court, and generally well respected by all factions, was invited to head the new government that was planned. He was not a member of the Committee of Safety and was not in favor of overthrowing the monarchy or of annexation. His arguments were for deposing the queen and replacing her with a regency in favor of Princess Kaiulani, the queen's designated heir. After much debate, argument, and soul-searching, Dole finally agreed to accept the position the next day.

By Tuesday morning the queen and her cabinet had positive information concerning the Committee of Safety and

-p296-

Previous Page Next Page