The withdrawal from Hawaii of the naval force of the United States, by order of President Cleveland, occurred in July, 1894, notwithstanding the fear of Admiral Walker, then in command of the Pacific squadron, that evil results would follow. The Champion, a British war-vessel, was left in the harbor; and the royalists and their English sympathizers were elated. The royalist faction openly asserted that the withdrawal of the American naval force was for the purpose of affording a chance for a revolt. The revolt came in January, 1895, and was promptly met and supprest. This revolt, the trial, the imprisonment in her own apartments of the ex-Queen, and her subsequent abdication constitute a story of Hawaiian history, picturesque and vigorous, but not closely connected with the history of American influence in the islands. . . .
So far as any formal movement toward annexation is concerned, the Hawaiian question lay dormant until after the close of President Cleveland's term of office. The Republican Presidential convention which met in Chicago in the summer of 1896, adopted, as one plank of its platform, a resolution favoring Hawaiian annexation. A few months later the ex-Queen Liliuokalani, who had just previously received a full pardon for her complicity in the revolt of 1895, suddenly appeared in San Francisco, and, after a journey across the continent and a brief visit in Boston, took up her residence with her suite in Washington, in order to oppose the annexation. She made a visit to Mr. Cleveland, but found the President indisposed to enter in any formal manner into her plans. Beyond a pleasant greeting and the cautious expression of hope that her Majesty would be able to obtain some just recognition of her demands, he gave to his visitor no open sympathy.
During the winter the ex-Queen held a series of social receptions, which were attractive and commanded much attention in the life of Washington. At the inauguration of President McKinley, she occupied a prominent position in the diplomatic gallery, through the courtesy of Secretary of State John Sherman and other officials. This over, little more was heard by the general public concerning her actions; but active efforts in her behalf were maintained during the next fifteen months, through the employment of lobbyists.
Almost immediately upon the return of the Republican party to power, and the accession of President McKinley, a new treaty of annexation was drawn up. This treaty was similar in many of its features to the treaty of 1893, withdrawn by President Cleveland. It differed in this particular, however, that in this one no provision was made for a compensation to the ex-Queen or to the Princess Kaiulani. This omission was, beyond doubt, the result of the futile attempt of the ex-Queen, in 1895, to regain her lost power by force. It should be said, however, that the Hawaiian Govemment, some time before, had granted an annual pension of two thousand dollars to the Princess Kaiulani.
This treaty was signed by President McKinley, and submitted to the Senate for ratification. The debate upon this subject behind closed doors was long, and was believed to have been not altogether free from bitterness. It at length became known that, altho the question of the ratification of the treaty had not been brought to actual vote, while a large majority of the members of the Senate were favorable to it, there were yet lacking two or three votes to constitute the two-thirds majority required by the Constitution.
It was then decided to introduce a joint resolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the passage of such a measure requiring not more than a majority vote. This resolution was nearly identical with the proposed treaty.
Pending the final decision of the Hawaiian question by Congress, hostilities had begun between the United States and Spain. On the first day of May, 1898, occurred the naval battle before Manila, in which the American Pacific squadron, under command of Commodore Dewey, without any loss of life, destroyed the opposing Spanish fleet, under the guns of the forts at Cavité. It became necessary at once that a large army of occupation should be sent to invest the city of Manila. The great strategic importance of the Hawaiian Islands now became evident to all, and many who had therefore been pronounced opponents of annexation became converted to an advocacy of the measure. Military expeditions were speedily fitted out for the Philippine Islands; and sailing from San Francisco, made a port of call, for coal and fresh provisions, at Honolulu. The Hawaiian Governmentwhich, under the custom of nations, should have declared neutralityat once upon the beginning of hostilities declined to take this step. The Spanish consul at Honolulu, who protested to the island government against granting to a belligerent nation the use of its harbors, was met with a declaration that the Hawaiian Government regarded the United States as its best friend, and that the islands would welcome the troops in their harbors and on their shores. This was in effect a declaration of alliance, altho no formal alliance had been made.
The Government of the United States accepted this hospitality with gratitude. In Honolulu the members of the military expeditions, as they passed through, were received with unbounded enthusiasm and were lavishly entertained. The effect upon the people of the United States was marked, and the speedy annexation of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States became a certainty. On July 6, 1898, the long struggle was ended; and the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands, an act which had been contemplated as a future probability for half a century, at last became a reality.
The Hawaiian Islands have prospered under the Americans. In 1899, the year after annexation, their foreign trade amounted to $41,687,000, which was an increase of 44 per cent. over the previous year. The products shipped from the islands in 1909 were valued at nearly $40,000,000, of which $37,672,821 was sugar. In 1910 the exports of sugar amounted to $42,626,069; the other exports were coffee, $288,423, fruit, $1,775,000.