Nhsc-v1-303

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nhsc-v1-303

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unusual expedient of a joint resolution of Congress to accomplish a thing which ought to have been accomplished nearly ten years ago" 217/

The proceedings in the Senate also confirmed the fear that the treaty lacked votes. Senator Morrill, during annexation debate, stated: "Here the Senate was informed about it after the Secretary had signed the treaty, but even the Senate did not permit itself to discuss it except in secret session until its paucity of votes was disclosed; and it came originally in the form of a treaty..." 218/ The argument for holding secret sessions was weak and the weakness of the argument is evident from reading the proceedings of this session of May 31, 1898, in which senators in the session questioned the secrecy of anything discussed there.

The proceedings of the secret session show that the proponents of annexation desired a secret session not because of concern for war security, but because they feared defeat of the proposed 1897 treaty of annexation. They used the war with Spain to provide "the heat that generated annexation." 219/ As Representative Alexander stated on June 11: "The annexation of the Hawaiian Islands, for the first time in our history, is presented to us as a war necessity." 220/ This idea was echoed by other legislators such as Representative Pearson who said: "I shall give my vote for this resolution for the same reasons that I supported the war revenue bill. I believe that this is a necessary step in the successful prosecution of the war with Spain." 221/

The final argument involved the appropriateness and constitutionality of the resolution, although Congressional debate on Hawaiian annexation did not concentrate on the constitutional authority of the Congress to annex territory, as it did with Texas. After discussion of this issue, the next section of this report considers the constitutionality question in the context of the lack of a plebiscite in Hawaii on the issue of annexation, as was the case in Texas. (See below, pages 305 and 312.)

Congressmen stated that the annexation of Texas by joint resolution was a precedent to be followed in the Hawaiian case. Mr. William Alden Smith of the House of Representatives commented on the annexation issue:

While there can be no question, Mr. Speaker, but that treaty making was especially lodged by the Constitution in the President and Senate, and that the composition of the Senate was so framed that each State should have an equal voice, nevertheless, the exigencies which at times confront the Republic warn us of the importance of the popular branch of Congress, coming direct from the people; and the Texas precedent has made the votes of a majority of both branches of Congress sufficient. 222/

Representative Parker also stated that, in dealing with Hawaii, the proper means of annexation would necessarily come from Congress, rather than the treaty-making power. He gave the following explanation:

It is well understood to be a proper exercise of the treatymaking power that a nation may contract to sell part of its lands which another wishes to buy, but it may well be doubted whether a government can by treaty contract itself out of existence...It may acquiesce, it may agree, but the authority over these islands will
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