that Hawaii not interfere. The U.S. State Department took action and "Kalakaua was ordered to cease and desist from all inflammatory acts in other territories." 54/
The damage to Kalakaua had been done. The opposition had had enough of his conduct and his over-spending. The Hawaiian League was formed in December 1886, consisting of reformers and part-Hawaiians. The goals of this secret opposition group were divergent; "the conservative members simply wanted to force Gibson out of office, while the radicals wanted to overthrow the monarchy and establish a republic or seek annexation to the United States." 55/ The membership, numbering about 400, was led by ruling officers called the "Committee of Thirteen." These leaders included Sanford Dole, Lorrin Thurston, W. R. Castle, and others who "announced, in Honolulu's newspapers, that it [the Hawaiian League] intended to dethrone Kalakaua—and that it had the armed might to do so." 56/
Events Leading to the 1887 Constitution 57/
The Hawaiian League acquired the Honolulu Rifles as a military ally in 1887. The Honolulu Rifles company:
- ...was organized in the spring of 1884 by a group of men reported to be "interested in the formation of a semi-military and social organization." It had the approval of the cabinet and of Kalakaua, who suggested the name for the company, and it became one of the recognized volunteer military companies of the kingdom. It was an all-haole company, and made its first public appearance on April 26, 1885...The early enthusiasm [for it] soon waned and the Rifles attained relatively little prominence or importance until after Volney V. Ashford was elected captain on July 28, 1886. 58/
The Rifles went through various reorganizations and added members to their totals so that "at the end of June , therefore, when the political crisis came to a head, the Honolulu Rifles consisted of a battalion of three companies commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Volney V. Ashford." 59/ Ashford, with his decided military bent and one of the Hawaiian League's future radicals, was a Canadian who came to Hawaii about the beginning of 1885.
It is impossible to ascertain the exact date that the Honolulu Rifles joined the Hawaiian League as their military ally. What is known is that Volney Ashford was their commander when the alliance occurred. Sanford Dole, an original member of the Hawaiian League, described the Rifles and their alliance with the League as follows: "A military organization of volunteers, young men of Honolulu, in several companies, a growth from the original Honolulu Rifles, was won to the support of the league, the commander, Colonel V. V. Ashford, becoming an enthusiastic advocate of its plans." 60/ Kuykendall states that: "in all probability it was not a mere coincidence that the rapid expansion of the Honolulu Rifles occurred simultaneously with that of the Hawaiian League." 61/
Because the Hawaiian League was a secret organization, its origins and early history can only be found in papers of its original members, who played an active part in the League. There are only three published accounts of the League, and "these accounts were written long after the events which they describe; Dole's in 1916, Ashford's in 1919, and