"Surrender!" came a loud shout from Confederate lungs.
"Never!" shouted Cushing in reply. "Save yourselves!" he said to his men.
In an instant he had thrown off coat, shoes, sword, and pistols, and plunged into the waters that rolled darkly at his feet, and in which he had just dug a grave for the Albemarle. His men sprung beside him, and struck out boldly for the farther shore.
All this had passed in far less time than it takes to tell it. Little more than five minutes had passed since the first hail, and already the Albemarle was a wreck, the launch destroyed, her crew swimming for their lives, and bullets from deck and shore pouring thickly across the dark stream.
The incensed Confederates hastily manned boats and pushed out into the stream. In a few minutes they had captured most of the swimming crew. One sank and was drowned. One reached the shore. The gallant commander of the launch they failed to find. They called his name,—they had learned it from their prisoners,—but no answer came, and the darkness veiled him from view. Had he gone to the bottom? Such most of the searchers deemed to be his fate.
In a few minutes the light of a blazing fire flashed across the river from Plymouth wharf. It failed to reveal any swimming forms. The impression became general that the daring commander was drowned. After some further search most of the boats returned, deeming their work at an end.
They had not sought far or fast enough. Cushing had reached shore—on the Plymouth side—before the fire was kindled. He was chilled and exhausted, but he dared not stop to rest. Boats were still patrolling the stream; parties of search might soon be scouring the river-banks; the moments were precious, he must hasten on.
He found himself near the walls of a fort. On its parapet, towering gloomily above him, a sentinel could be seen, pacing steadily to and fro. The fugitive lay almost under his eyes. A bushy swamp lay not far beyond, but to reach its shelter he must cross an open space forty feet wide in full view of this man. The sentinel walks away. Cushing makes a dash for life. But not half the space is traversed when his backward glancing eye sees the sentinel about to turn. Down he goes on his back in the rushes, trusting to their friendly shelter and the gloom of the night to keep him from sight.
As he lies there, slowly gaining breath after his excited effort, four men—two of them officers—pass so close that they almost tread on his extended form, seeking him, but failing to see what lies nearly under their feet. They pass on, talking of the night's startling event. Cushing dares not rise again. Yet the swamp must be gained, and speedily. Still flat on his back, he digs his heels into the soft earth, and pushes himself inch by inch through the rushes, until, with a warm heart-throb of hope, he feels the welcome dampness of the swamp.
It proves to be no pleasant refuge. The mire is too deep to walk in, while above it grow tangled briers and thorny shrubs, through which he is able to pass only as before, by lying on his back, and pushing and pulling himself onward.
The hours of the night passed. Day dawned. He had made some progress, and was now at a safe distance from the fort, but found himself still in the midst of peril. Near where he lay a party of soldiers were at work, engaged in planting obstructions in the river, lest the Union fleet should follow its daring pioneers to Plymouth, now that the Albemarle was sunk, and the chief naval defence of the place gone.
Just back from the river-bank, and not far from where he lay, a cornfield lifted its yellowed plumes into the air. Cushing managed to reach its friendly shelter unobserved, and now, almost for the first time since his escape, stood upright, and behind the rustling rows made his way past the soldiers.
To his alarm, as he came near the opposite side of the field, he found himself face to face with a man who glared at him in surprise. Well he might, for the late trimly-dressed lieutenant was now a sorry sight, covered from head to foot with swamp mud, his clothes rent, and blood oozing from a hundred scratches in his skin.
He had no reason for alarm; the man was a negro; the dusky face showed sympathy under its surprise.
"I am a Union soldier," said Cushing, feeling in his heart that no slave would betray him.
"One o' dem as was in de town last night?" asked the negro.
"Yes. Have you been there? Can you tell me anything?"
"No, massa; on'y I's been tole dat dar's pow'ful bad work dar, an' de sojers is bilin' mad."
Further words passed, in the end the negro agreeing to go to the town, see for himself what harm had been done, and bring back word. Cushing would wait for him under shelter of the corn.
The old negro set out on his errand, glad of the opportunity to help one of "Massa Linkum's sojers." The lieutenant secreted himself as well as he could, and waited. An hour passed. Then steps and the rustling of the dry leaves of the corn-stalks were heard. The fugitive peeped from his ambush. To his joy he saw before him the smiling face of his dusky messenger.
"What news?" he demanded, stepping joyfully forward.
"Mighty good news, massa," said the negro, with a laugh. "Dat big iron ship's got a hole in her bottom big 'nough to drive a wagon in. She's deep in de mud, 'longside de wharf, an' folks say she'll neber git up ag'in."
"Good! She's done for, then? My work is accomplished?—Now, old man, tell me how I must go to get back to the ships."
The negro gave what directions he could, and the fugitive took to the swamp again, after a grateful good-by to his dusky friend and a warm "God-speed" from the latter. It was into a thicket of tangled shrubs that Lieutenant Cushing now plunged, so dense that he could not see ten feet in advance. But the sun was visible overhead and served him as a guide. Hour by hour he dragged himself painfully onward. At two o'clock in the afternoon he found himself on the banks of a narrow creek, a small affluent of the Roanoke.
He crouched in the bushes on the creek-side, peering warily before him. Voices reached his ears. Across the stream he saw men. A minute's observation apprised him of the situation. The men he saw to be a group of soldiers, seven in number, who had just landed from a boat in the stream. As he watched, they tied their boat to the root of a tree, and then turned into a path that led upward. Reaching a point at some distance from the river, they stopped, sat down, and began to eat their dinner.
Here was an opportunity, a desperate one, but Cushing had grown ready for desperate chances. He had had enough of wandering through mire and thorns. Without hesitation he lowered himself noiselessly into the water, swam across the stream, untied the boat, pushed it cautiously from the bank, and swam with it down the stream until far enough away to be out of sight of its recent occupants. Then he climbed into the boat and paddled away as fast as possible.
There was no sign of pursuit. The soldiers kept unsuspiciously at their mid-day meal. The swamp-lined creek-sides served well as a shelter from prying eyes. For hours Cushing pursued his slow course. The sun sank; darkness gathered; night came on. At the same time the water widened around him; he was on the surface of the Roanoke.
Onward he paddled; the night crept on till midnight was reached; for ten hours he had been at that exhausting toil. But now before his eyes appeared a welcome sight, the dark hull of a Union gunboat.
"Ship ahoy!" came a loud hail from the exhausted man.
"Who goes there?" answered the lookout on the gunboat.
"A friend. Take me up."
The gunboat was quickly in motion. This might be a Confederate ruse, possibly a torpedo might have been sent to blow them up; they were in dangerous waters. Boats were quickly lowered, and rowed towards the small object on the stream.
"Who are you?" came the cry, as they drew near.
"Lieutenant Cushing, or what is left of me."
"Cushing!" was the excited answer. "And the Albemarle?"
"Will never trouble a Union fleet again. She rests in her grave on the muddy bottom of the Roanoke."
Loud cheers followed this stirring announcement. The sailors bent to their oars, and quickly had the gallant lieutenant on board. Their cheers were heightened tenfold when the crew of the Valley City heard what had been done. In truth, the exploit of Lieutenant Cushing was one that for coolness, daring, and success in the face of seemingly insuperable obstacles has rarely been equalled in history, and the destruction of the Albemarle ranks with the most notable events in the history of war.
ALASKA, A TREASURE HOUSE OF GOLD, FURS, AND FISHES
In 1867, when the far-seeing Secretary Seward purchased Alaska from the Russian government for $7,200,000, there was an outcry of disapproval equal to that made when Louisiana territory was purchased from France in 1803. Many of the people called the region "Seward's Folly" and said it would produce nothing but icebergs and polar bears, and General Benjamin F. Butler, representative from Massachusetts, said in the House: "If we are to pay this amount for Russia's friendship during the war, then give her the $7,200,000 and tell her to keep Alaska." Representative Washburn, of Wisconsin, exclaimed: "I defy any man on the face of the earth to produce any evidence that an ounce of gold has ever been found in Alaska."
To-day Alaska is yielding in gold $10,000,000 per year; its fisheries are among the richest in the world, including more than half the salmon yield of the United States; its forests are of enormous value; its fur-seal harvest is without a rival; its territory is traversed by one of the greatest rivers of the world, two thousand miles long and with more than a thousand miles of navigable waters, and it promises to become an important farming and stock-raising region. As for extent, it is large enough to cover more than twenty of our States. In revenue it has repaid the United States the original outlay and several millions more; while, aside from its gold product, its fisheries have netted $100,000,000 and its furs $80,000,000 since its acquisition. Seward, then, was wise in looking upon this purchase as the greatest achievement of his life, though he truly said that it would take the country a generation to find out Alaska's value.
The most dramatic and interesting portion of the story of Alaska is its gold-mining enterprise, and it is of this, therefore, that we propose to speak. The discovery of placer gold deposits in British Columbia led naturally to the surmise that this precious metal might be found farther northward, and as early as 1880 wandering gold-hunters had made their way over the passes from Cassiar or inward from the coast and were trying the gravel bars of tributaries of the Yukon, finding the yellow metal at several places.
The first important find along the Yukon was made on Stewart River in 1885, about $100,000 being taken out in two summers. The next year a good find was made at Forty-Mile Creek, finds being made later on Sixty-Mile Creek, Birch Creek, and other streams. On Birch Creek arose Circle City, named from its proximity to the Arctic circle, and growing into a well-built and well-conducted little town.
Meanwhile a valuable find had been made on Douglas Island, one of the long chain of islands that bound the western coast line, and this has since developed into one of the richest mines in the world. It is not a placer mine, however, but a quartz mine, one needing capital for its development and with no charms for the ordinary gold-seeker. The gold is found in a friable and easily worked rock, enabling low-grade ores to be handled at a profit, and to-day fifteen hundred stamps are busy and the mines are highly profitable.
The placer miners, however, have no use for gold that rests in quartz veins and has to be obtained by the aid of costly stamping mills. The gold they seek is that on which nature has done the work of stamping, by breaking up the original veins into sands and gravels, with which the freed gold is mixed in condition to be obtained by a simple process of washing. The wandering miners thus prospected Alaska, following the long course of the Yukon and trying its tributary streams, many of them making a living, a few of them acquiring wealth, but none of their finds attracting the attention of the world, which scarcely knew that gold-seekers were at work in this remote and almost unknown region.
Thus it went on until 1897, when on July 16 a party of miners arrived in San Francisco from the upper Yukon with a large quantity of gold in nuggets and dust and a story to tell that deeply stirred that old land of gold. On the 17th another steamer put into Seattle with more miners and $800,000 in gold dust, nearly all of it the outcome of a winter's work on a small stream known as the Klondike, entering the Yukon about fifty miles above Forty-Mile Creek.
The discovery of this rich placer region was made in the autumn of 1896 by an Illinois man named George McCormick, who, in the intervals of salmon fishing, tried his hand at prospecting, and on Bonanzo Creek, a tributary of the Klondike, was surprised and overjoyed to find gold in a profusion never before dreamed of in the Alaskan region. The news of the find spread rapidly through Alaska and before winter set in the old diggings were largely deserted, a swarm of eager miners poured into the Klondike region, and the frozen earth was torn and rent in their eagerness to reach its yellow treasures.
The news of the discovery spread as far and fast as the telegraph could carry it. The richness of the find surpassed anything ever before found and the whole country was agog. The stories of wonderful fortunes made by miners were testified to by a display of nuggets and sacks of shining gold in stores and hotels, the find of one man being shown in a San Francisco shop window in the shape of one hundred and thirty thousand dollars worth of gold.
The old gold-fever broke out again as an epidemic. Such a stampede as took place had never before been seen. The stream of picturesque humanity that poured through Seattle and on to the golden north surpassed the palmy days of '49 when California opened its caves of Aladdin. Every steamer that could be made use of was booked to its full capacity, while many ardent gold-seekers were turned away. Every passenger and every pound of cargo that could be taken on these steamers was loaded and the hegira was almost instantly in full blast.
As it proved, the new find was in Canadian territory, a few miles east of the Alaskan boundary, but the flood of men that set in was mainly American. Many threw up good positions or mortgaged their homes for funds to join the mad migration, oblivious in most cases of the fact that they were setting out to encounter hardships and arctic extremes of temperature for which their home life had utterly unfitted them. Warnings were published that those who joined the pioneer flood faced starvation or death by freezing or hardship, but the tide was on and could not be turned, and before the autumn had far advanced thousands had landed at the mushroom settlements of Skagway and Dyea, laden with the effects they had brought with them and proposing to fight their way against nature's obstacles over the difficult mountain passes and along the little less difficult lakes and streams to the promised land of gold. A village of log houses and tents, known as Dawson, had sprung up at the mouth of the Klondike, and this was the mecca towards which the great pilgrimage set.
The struggle inland of the first comers was a frightful one. No roads or pack-trails existed over the rough and lofty passes of the coast range of mountains, and it was killing work to transport the many tons of equipments and provisions over the nearly impassable Chilkoot and White Passes. For those who came too late in the season it was quite impassable, the trails and rivers were stopped by snow and ice, and numbers had to endure a long and miserable winter in the primitive coast settlements or straggle back to civilization.
The terrors of that first year's battle with the unbroken passes are indescribable. Thousands of dead pack-horses marked the way. And the mountains once crossed and the waters reached new troubles arose. Boats had to be built for the long reach of navigation down the chain of lakes and the Yukon—many having brought the necessary boat timbers with them. Six hundred miles of waterways were to be traversed. On some of the short streams connecting the lakes there were dangerous rapids to be run, in which many lost their goods and some their lives. The early winter added ice to the difficulties of the way and the Yukon section of the trip was made by the later comers through miles of drift ice, grinding and ploughing its way to the peril of the boats, or water travel was checked by the final closing of the stream for the winter, leaving no resource but a long sledging journey over the snow.
Those who took the long voyage to the mouth of the Yukon and journeyed by steamer up that stream had their difficulties with ice and current, and it was not uncommon for them to be frozen in, leaving them the sole expedient of the dog sled, if they elected to proceed to the diggings without their supplies.
Dawson once reached, the trouble and hardship were by no means at an end. Having penetrated a total wilderness in an arctic climate, borne on by dreams of sudden fortune, the enthusiastic treasure-seekers found new difficulties awaiting them. There was no easy task of digging and panning, as in more favored climes. Winter had locked the golden treasures with its strongest fetters. The ground was everywhere frozen into the firmness of rock. In midsummer it thawed no more than three feet down, and eternal frost reigned below.
To reach the gold-bearing gravels the miners had to build fires on the frozen surface and keep these going for twenty-four hours. This would soften the soil to the depth of some six inches. This thrown out, new fires had to be kindled, and thus laboriously the miners burned their way down to the gold-bearing gravel, usually at a depth of fifteen feet. Then other fires were built at the bottom and tunnels made through the five feet or more of "pay-dirt," which was dug out and piled up to await the coming of flowing water in the spring, when the gold might be washed out in the rockers and sluices employed.
As may be seen, the buried treasures of these gravel beds were to be won in these pioneer years only by dint of exhausting labor and frightful hardship. They would never have been found at all had not the bars and shores of the streams yielded gold at the surface level. Yet the extraordinary richness of these gravels, from which as much as $50,000 might be obtained as the result of a winter's work, excited men's imaginations to the utmost, and the stream of gold-seekers continued year after year until Dawson grew to be a well-built and populous city and the yearly output of the Klondike mines amounted to more than $16,000,000.
The difficulty in reaching the mines grew less year by year. As early as 1898 a railway was begun across the White Pass. It now extends from Skagway more than a hundred miles inland, the lakes and streams being traversed by steamers, so that the purgatory of the early prospectors has been converted into the "broad and easy way" of the later sinners. The old method of burning into the frozen soil has also been improved on, steam being now used instead of fire and the pay-dirt reached much more rapidly and cheaply by its aid.
The Klondike region, though largely prospected and worked by Americans, is not in Alaska, Dawson lying sixty miles east of the border. The streams of Alaska itself, so far as they have yet been worked, are far less promising, and yet Alaska has a golden treasure house of its own that may yet prove as prolific as the Klondike itself.
This is at Nome, on the shores of Bering Sea, about twenty-five degrees of longitude nearly due west from Dawson, and a hundred and fifty miles north of the mouth of the Yukon. Here the sands of the sea itself and of its bordering shores have proven splendid gold bearers and have attracted a large population to that inhospitable region, in latitude sixty-five degrees north; here has grown up a city containing 25,000 inhabitants, and here may be seen the most northerly railroad in the world.
In 1898 a soldier, in digging a well on the beach at Nome, saw in the sands thrown up that alluring yellow glint which has led so many men to fortune and so many to death. The story of his find came to the ears of an old prospector from Idaho, who, too ill to go inland, was stranded in the military station of Nome. Spade and pan were at once put to work and in twenty days the fortunate invalid found himself worth $3000 in gold.
At Nome the gold was first found in the beach sands and even in the sands of the sea adjoining the beach, old Neptune being forced to yield part of the treasures he had taken to himself. Later, the bench of higher land stretching back from the beach and the sides of the down-flowing creeks were found to be gold-bearing, the bench gravels being from forty to eighty feet thick, with gold throughout. A heavy growth of moss covers this coastal plain, under which lie the frozen gravels, which are softened by the use of steam and thus forced to give up their previous freight. That is all we need say about the gold product of Alaska, further than to sum up that the territory yields about $10,000,000 per year, or with the Klondike about $25,000,000, these equalling nearly one-third the total production of the United States. Here is a fine showing for a region once deemed worthless.
Gold is an alluring subject, but Alaska has other sources of wealth which enormously exceed its golden sands in value. We have already spoken of the rich products of its fisheries and furs. The former include several species of salmon, which the Yukon yields in vast numbers; the latter embrace, in addition to the usual fur-bearing animals, the valuable fur-seal of the Aleutian Islands, a species found nowhere else. To these sources of wealth may be added the vast forests of valuable timber, especially of spruce, hemlock, red and yellow cedar, which are likely to become of great value in the growing extermination of the home forests of the United States.
Alaska also presents excellent opportunities in its coast districts for agriculture, most of the hardy vegetables and cereals here yielding good crops. But a more valuable outlook for the farmer appears to lie in the grazing opportunities of the land. In some localities along the south coast the grasses grow in splendid luxuriance, much of the grass being six feet high. On the higher elevations and in exposed places the grass is often too low for hay making but is admirable for grazing, the cattle that eat it growing very fat. Of these grass lands there are about 10,000 square miles, of which more than half can be utilized.
Stock raising, then, is likely to become a leading industry, and especially dairying, there being more meat than is needed by the sparse population. There are admirable dairy sites on the islands and mainland. The reindeer, recently introduced, are likely to prove invaluable to the natives, supplanting in great measure the dog for transportation purposes, and supplying also food and clothing. Reindeer milk makes excellent cheese, and in a few years there may be deer-meat for sale outside.
Such is the story of Alaska. It occupies much the same position on the west coast of America as Norway does on that of Europe, but has four times as wide a habitable area as Norway and a milder climate on its south coast lands. Therefore, as Norway sustains a population of 2,240,000, there is no special reason why Alaska may not yet possess a population of 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 and take rank as one of the important States of the American Union.
HOW HAWAII LOST ITS QUEEN AND ENTERED THE UNITED STATES
Up to the year 1898 the United States was confined to the continent of North America. In that year it made a great stride outward over the oceans, adding to its dominion the island of Porto Rico in the West India waters and the archipelagoes of the Philippine and Hawaiian Islands in the far Pacific. Porto Rico and the Philippines were added as a result of the war with Spain. As to how Hawaii was acquired it is our purpose here to tell.
Midway in the North Pacific lies this interesting group of islands, first made known to the world by Captain Cook, the famous English discoverer, in 1778, and annexed to the United States one hundred and twenty years later. Before telling the story of their acquisition a few words as to their prior history will he in place.
Called by Captain Cook the Sandwich Islands, after the English Earl of Sandwich, they afterwards became known as the Hawaiian Islands, from the native name of the largest island of the group, and are now collectively known as Hawaii in their new position as a Territory of the United States.
When Captain Cook visited this locality he found the islands inhabited by a friendly, kind-hearted people, disposed to receive their visitors in a hospitable spirit. But, in the usual way of sailors and discoverers dealing with the primitive races, quarrels soon developed, some of the natives were shot, one of them by Cook himself, and in the fight that followed the great sailor and discoverer lost his life.
At that time each of the islands was governed by a chief, or king if we may call him so, who had absolute authority over his people. Greatest among them was Kamehameha, heir to the throne of Hawaii, who was present when Captain Cook was killed. Bold and ambitious and invested by nature with political genius, this chief conceived the idea of making himself master of all the islands and subjecting their chiefs to his rule.
A shrewd and able man, he was quick to perceive that the strangers who soon began to visit the islands were far superior to the natives in arms and ability and he decided to use them for his ends. In a fight with some American fur traders a schooner, the "Fair American," was taken by the islanders, and two Americans, Isaac Davis and John Young, were made prisoners. With them the new chief obtained the cannon, muskets and ammunition of the "Fair American." Thus equipped, the Napoleon of Hawaii set out on his career of conquest.
Kindly treatment made the two Americans, Davis and Young, his faithful friends and subjects, and they proved his mainstay in the work of conquest. It was no easy matter, even with his cannon and muskets. The chiefs of the other islands resisted him fiercely, and it took many years, with all the stern will and unyielding perseverance of Kamehameha and the ability and courage of his two able lieutenants, to subdue them all. Davis and Young were amply rewarded, with honors and lands, for their services, and some of their descendants still dwell on the islands.
While this work of conquest was going on many vessels visited the islands, missionaries made their way thither, Christianity was introduced and idolatry abolished, and many of the arts of civilization found their way inward. Then settlers other than missionaries came, many of them from America, and a white population was added to the aboriginal. Sugar-cane grew in abundance on the islands and sugar-mills were introduced. Other industries were established. The great fertility of the islands attracted speculators, the lands rose in value, and great fortunes were made. Such is, briefly, the industrial history of these islands.
The political history is not without its interest. Five kings of the name of Kamehameha reigned in succession. Of these, Kamehameha III., under American advice, gave up his absolute rule, founded a constitutional government and distributed the lands among the people. After the Kamehamehas came King Lunalio, who ruled but one year, and Kalakaua, who ruled from 1874 to 1891 and showed such a disposition to return to absolutism that the people were in constant dread for their liberties and lands. It was only by a revolt of the people that they regained their rights, forcing him to grant them a new constitution and their former liberties and privileges.
The next and last monarch of Hawaii was a woman, Liliuokalani, the sister of Kalakaua. She was the wife of an Englishman, Mr. J.O. Dominis, and on a visit to London had been entertained by Queen Victoria. Her rearing and education had been under the influence of American missionaries, and the whites of the islands, who had been in constant fear of the late king, hailed her accession to the throne with joy, with the expectation that they would have in her a good friend. They soon found themselves disappointed.
The extravagance and ill rule of Kalakaua had left the country in a wretched state. It was deeply in debt and the much needed public improvements were at a standstill. The country had long been divided between two parties, the missionary and the anti-missionary, the former seeking to save the natives from vice and degradation, the latter encouraging such vicious practices as lotteries and opium sales for their personal benefit.
Under Kalakaua these ill weeds had gained full growth and the new queen soon showed a disposition to encourage them. Her whole nature seemed to change, her former friends were cast aside and new favorites adopted, and though she had a personal income of about $70,000, it was far from sufficing for her needs.
To add to her income the agents of the Louisiana Lottery were encouraged and the opium smugglers found little interference with their nefarious traffic, while the frequent changes of the queen's ministers kept the people in a state of doubt and uneasiness.
At what was called the long term of the legislature laws were passed favoring the lottery and the opium dealers. The session was protracted until the grinding season for the sugar-cane, when a number of the best members were obliged to return to their plantations, and in their absence the lottery and opium bills were rushed through.
Many of the Christian ladies of Honolulu now called on the queen and implored her to veto this pernicious legislation, which would turn their country into a den of gambling and infamy. She wept with them over the situation and the good ladies knelt and prayed that God would help their queen in the terrible ordeal before her. They left the palace feeling sure that the country was safe from the dread affliction—an hour later the queen signed both bills and they became laws.
The passage of these bills created intense indignation. All felt that it was a piece of treachery and fraud, those who gave the queen any credit for good intentions looking upon her as weak and vacillating and utterly under the influence of bad advisers.
As yet, however, no thought of revolution had arisen. It was imagined that the worst stage had been reached. But when the announcement was made the next day that the queen was about to declare a new constitution the most vivid dread and alarm were aroused. Feeling now secure of a revenue from the proceeds of the lottery and the opium trade, Queen Liliuokalani no longer hesitated to show her hand. The proposed new constitution was a scheme for a return to absolute monarchy, one under which every white man on the islands, unless married to a Hawaiian woman, would be deprived of the right to vote.
The act was a fatal one to her reign. It precipitated a revolution which quickly brought her queenship to an end. The steps which led to this result are well worth relating.
The ceremony of proroguing the legislature ended, the queen returned to the palace with the purpose of immediately proclaiming the new constitution. In the procession to the palace the native society called the "Hui Kalaiaina" marched in a double line, its president carrying a large package containing the constitution. A throng of Hawaiians surrounded the palace gates and filled the grounds near the front entrance to the building, the queen's guard being drawn up under arms.
In the throne room the native society which had escorted the queen ranged themselves in regular lines, their president, Alapai, having in his hand an address which he proposed to deliver. Most of the native members of the legislature were also present, some members of the diplomatic corps being with them.
While they waited, the cabinet was assembled in the blue room, to which they had been summoned by the queen. Here a striking scene took place. Liliuokalani placed before them a copy of the new constitution and bade them sign it, saying that she proposed to promulgate it at once. She met with an outspoken opposition.
"Your Majesty, we have not read that constitution," said Mr. Parker, Secretary of Foreign Affairs. "And before we read it we must advise you that this is a revolutionary act. It cannot be done."
An angry reply came from the queen, and an animated discussion followed, in which the cabinet officials said that a meeting had just been held with the foreign representatives and that if she persisted there was danger of an insurrection.
"It is your doing," she replied. "I would not have undertaken this step if you had not encouraged me to do so. You have led me to the brink of a precipice and are now leaving me to take the leap alone. Why not give the people this constitution? You need have no fear. I will bear the brunt of all the blame afterwards."
The cabinet stood firm, Mr. Peterson, the Attorney General, repeating:
"We have not read the constitution."
"How dare you say that," she exclaimed, "when you have had it in your possession for a month."
The dispute grew more violent as it went on. The cabinet declined to resign when asked by her to do so, whereupon she threatened that if they would not accede to her wishes she would go to the palace door and tell the mob outside that she wished to give them a new constitution but that her ministers had prevented her from doing so.
At this threat three of the ministers left the room and escaped from the building. They remembered the fate of certain representatives who fell into the hands of a Hawaiian mob in 1874. Mr. Parker alone had the courage to remain. He feared that if the queen were left alone she would sign the instrument herself, and proclaim it to the people, telling them that her cabinet refused to comply with her wishes and seeking to rouse against them the wrath of the unthinking mob, whose only idea of the situation was that the white men were opposing their queen.
The cabinet stood between two fires, that of the supporters of the queen on the one hand and that of the white people of Honolulu on the other. The report of the fleeing members raised the excitement of the latter to the boiling pitch. A Committee of Safety was at once organized, and held its first meeting with closed doors.
"Gentlemen," said a member of this committee, "we are brought face to face with this question; what shall we do?"
The discussion ended in a motion by the Hon. A.L. Thurston, to the effect that "preliminary steps be taken at once to form a provisional government, with a view to annexation to the United States of America."
Meanwhile a sub-committee had waited on the United States Minister, Mr. John L. Stevens, asking him to give them the support of the United States troops on board the "Boston."
"Gentlemen," he replied, "I have no authority to involve the United States Government in your revolution. I will request to have troops landed to protect American life and property, but for no other purpose."
Left to their own resources, the revolutionary party determined to go on with the enterprise, even if their own lives should be lost in the effort to prevent the tyranny of the queen. The Committee of Safety collected and stored arms in convenient places, finally taking all these arms to the barracks of the committee.
This brought about the first collision. It was shortly after noon on January 17, 1893, that three of the revolutionists, John Good, Edwin Benner and Edward Parris, with a man named Fritz, were taking some arms in a wagon to the barracks. A policeman, who had been watching the store from which the arms were taken, seized the bridle of the horse and cried:
"What shall I do?" asked Benner.
"Go on!" roared Good.
Benner made a cut at the policeman with his whip and tried to drive on. The man let go the bridle and blew his whistle, bringing two other policemen quickly to his aid. One tried to climb into the front of the wagon, but was knocked senseless by Benner, while the other, who attacked in the rear, was roughly handled by Parris and Fritz.
The wagon now drove on, but got entangled in a block of two street cars and a truck. Other policemen came running up and a fight ensued, one of the officers putting his hand into his pocket as if to draw a weapon.
"Look out, he is going to shoot," cried a voice from one of the cars.
Good instantly drew his pistol, and crying, "Benner, it's life or death; if we must, we must," he fired.
The policeman fell, with a ball in his shoulder. The wagon by this time had got loose from the block and was driven furiously away, reaching the barracks without further trouble.
That wounded policeman constituted the sole list of dead and wounded in the revolution. Men were rapidly gathering about the barracks, two companies of armed men soon marched up, and a proclamation was read to the following effect:
"The Hawaiian monarchical system of government is hereby abrogated.
"A provisional government for the control and management of public affairs and the protection of the public is hereby established, to exist until terms of union with the United States of America have been negotiated and agreed upon."
These were the essential clauses of the proclamation that overthrew the Hawaiian government, the armed insurgents now marching to the palace, where they found no one but a highly indignant woman, the queen, deserted by all and in a violent state of excitement. Her soldiers, who were in the police station, made no effort to help her, and the only thing needed to complete the work of the revolution was the capture of this station. This was done without a blow being struck and the revolution was complete. In this easy way a government more than a century old was overturned and a new one installed in its place.
But the end was not yet. The United States had still to be heard from. Minister Stevens and Captain Wiltse of the "Boston" had landed troops to protect the interests of American citizens and from this incident trouble arose. The revolution in Hawaii took place January 17, 1893, when President Harrison, then in office, had little more than six weeks to serve. Harrison favored annexation of the new ocean republic, a treaty was prepared and sent to the Senate, but before it could be acted upon the 4th of March arrived and a new man, with new views, came in to fill the Presidential chair.
President Cleveland's views were startlingly new. He believed that the success of the revolution was due to the act of Minister Stevens and Captain Wiltse in landing troops, that the queen had been illegally removed, and sent the Hon. Albert S. Willis to Honolulu to unseat President Dole of the new republic and restore Queen Liliuokalani to the throne.
This would undoubtedly have been done but for the dethroned queen herself, who showed a sanguinary spirit that put poor Mr. Willis, a man of kindly nature and humane sympathies, in an embarrassing situation. The President expected the queen, if restored, to show a spirit of forgiveness to the revolutionists and his agent was decidedly taken aback by her answers to his questions.
"Should you be restored to the throne," he asked, "would you grant full amnesty as to life and property to all those persons who have been or who are now in the provisional government?"
The queen's answer, slowly and hesitatingly given, was:
"There are certain laws of my government by which I shall abide. My decision would be, as the law directs, that such persons should be beheaded and their property confiscated."
Here was a mediaeval decision with a vengeance. In spite of all that Willis could plead, the savagely inclined queen stuck to her ultimatum. The utmost she would yield was that these persons "must be exiled or otherwise punished, and their property confiscated."
The tidings of this ultimatum put President Cleveland in an awkward dilemma. The beheading idea was too much for him and the affair dragged on until the following December, when the ex-queen generously consented to let Dole and his friends keep their heads, on condition of leaving the country and losing their property. Finally, when told that she could not have the throne on any such conditions, she experienced a change of heart and agreed to grant full amnesty.
When news of what was in view reached Honolulu there was intense excitement. It was expected that marines would be landed from the warship "Philadelphia" and "Adams" to restore the queen and a determination to resist them arose. The capital was entrenched with sand-bag breastworks, the batteries were manned and armed, and men were stationed to fight. As for President Dole and his cabinet, they were in a quandary. It was finally decided to make only a show of opposition to the landing of the marines, but after they had restored the queen and retired, to capture her again and resume business as a republic.
Their alarm had no real foundation. There had never been an intention to land the marines. The President knew well that he had no authority to land marines for such a purpose, and in his message referred the whole matter to Congress—where it slept.
Yet the ex-queen and her supporters did not sleep. Finding that there was no hope of bringing the United States into the squabble, they organized a counter-revolution of their own, smuggled arms into the country, and in January, 1895, the new insurrection broke out. Great secrecy was maintained. The night of Sunday, January 5, was fixed for the outbreak. In the evening President Dole and his cabinet and many other officials of the republic would be at the service in the Central Union Church and it would be easy to blow up the whole government with a bomb.
Unluckily for the conspirators, their first capture was that of some whiskey, and inspired by this they began celebrating their victory in advance. Yelling and shooting on Sunday afternoon alarmed the authorities and suspicion of something wrong was aroused. An attempt to search a suspected house for arms led to a fight in which one man was killed and others wounded. News of the insurrection were taken to the church and whispered to the members of the National Guard and the government, who slipped quietly out. The pastor, oblivious to this circumstance, went on with his sermon, but uneasiness arose in the congregation, and when at last the clatter of cavalry and the roll of artillery were heard passing the church all order was at an end. The worshippers rushed into the street in a mass, the preacher following. Within ten minutes a state of peace had been changed into one of war.
The most intense excitement prevailed. No one knew anything of the numbers or location of the enemy. They were at length found, in large force, in the hollow basin or crater of Diamond Head, so strongly posted that they could not be dislodged from the side of the land. A tug was therefore sent, with a howitzer, to shell them from the sea, while a fierce land attack was kept up, and before night on Monday they were driven out of their stronghold and in full flight.
Another fight took place at Punchbowl Hill, in the rear of Honolulu, lasting an hour, though with little loss. Tuesday was spent in searching for the enemy and on Wednesday another sharp fight took place, they being again defeated. Before the end of the week the affair was at an end, and the ex-queen arrested as one of the conspirators. Her premises were found to be a regular magazine of arms and artillery.
Lilioukalani now found Hawaii too hot to hold her and sought a new home in the United States, and the republic went on peaceably until 1898, when, the war with Spain then being in progress and a new President in the chair, a new and successful effort for its annexation was made. The bill for its admission was signed by President McKinley on July 7, and the Hawaiian group became an outlying possession of the United States. It was made an American Territory in 1900.