Background history of this document
M E M O R I A L
To the President, the Congress and the People of the United States of America.
This Memorial respectfully represents as follows:
- That your memorialists are residents of the Hawaiian Islands; that the majority of them are aboriginal Hawaiians; and that all of them possess the qualifications provided for electors of representatives in the Hawaiian Legislature by the Constitution and laws prevailing in the Hawaiian Islands at the date of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Constitutional Government January 17, 1893.
- That the supporters of the Hawaiian Constitution of 1887 have been, thence to the present time, in the year 1897, held in subjection by the armed forces of the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands, and of its successor, the Republic of Hawaii; and have never yielded, and do not acknowledge a spontaneous or willing allegiance or support to said Provisional Government, or to said Republic of Hawaii.
- That the Government of the Republic of Hawaii has no warrant for its existence in the support of the people of these Islands; that it was proclaimed and instituted and has hitherto existed and now exists, without considering the rights and wishes of a great majority of the residents, native and foreign born, of the Hawaiian Islands; and especially that said Government exists and maintains itself solely by force of arms, against the rights and wishes of almost the entire aboriginal population of these Islands.
- That said Republic is not and never has been founded or conducted upon a basis of popular government or republican principles; that its Constitution was adopted by a convention, a majority of whose members were self-appointed, and the balance of whose members were elected by a numerically insignificant minority of the white and aboriginal male citizens and residents of these Islands; that a majority of the persons so voting for delegates to such Constitutional Convention was composed of aliens, and that a majority of said aliens so voting were of then very recent residents, without financial interests or social ties in the Islands.
- That the Constitution so adopted by said Convention has never been submitted to a vote of the people of these Islands; but was promulgated and established over the said Islands, and has ever since been maintained, only by force of arms, and with indifference to the will of practically the entire aboriginal population, and a vast majority of the whole population of these Islands.
- That the said Government, so existing under the title of the Republic of Hawaii, assumes and asserts, the right to extinguish the Hawaiian Nationality, heretofore existing, and to cede and convey all rights of sovereignty in and over the Hawaiian Islands and their dependencies to a foreign power, namely, to the United States of America.
- That your memorialists have learned with grief and dismay that the President of the United States has entered into, and submitted for ratification by the United States Senate, a Treaty with the Government of the Republic of Hawaii, whereby it is proposed to extinguish our existence as a Nation, and to annex our territory to the United States.
- That the Hawaiian people, during more than half a century prior to the events hereinabove recited, had been accustomed to participate in the Constitutional forms of Government, in the election of Legislatures, in the administration of justice through regularly constituted magistrates, courts and juries, and in the representative administration of public affairs, in which the principle of government by majorities has been acknowledged and firmly established.
- That your memorialists humbly but fervently protest against the consummation of this invasion of their political rights; and they earnestly appeal to the President, the Congress and the People of the United States, to refrain from further participating in the wrong so proposed; and they invoke in support of this memorial the spirit of that immortal Instrument, the Declaration of American Independence; and especially the truth therein expressed, that Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, ---and here repeat, that the consent of the people of the Hawaiian Islands to the forms of Government imposed by the so-called Republic of Hawaii, and to said proposed Treaty of Annexation, has never been asked by and is not accorded, either to said Government or to said project of Annexation.
- That the consummation of the project of Annexation dealt with in said Treaty would be subversive of the personal and political rights of these memorialists, and of the Hawaiian people and Nation, and would be a negation of the rights and principles proclaimed in the Declaration of American Independence, in the Constitution of the United States, and in the schemes of government of all other civilized and representative Governments.
- Wherefore your memorialists respectfully submit that they, no less than the citizens of any American Commonwealth, are entitled to select, ordain and establish for themselves, such forms of Government as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness; and that questions of such moment to the Hawaiian people as are proposed to be settled by said Treaty, are questions upon which said people have the right, in the forum of Conscience, to be heard; and that said Hawaiian people have thus far been denied the privilege of being heard upon said questions.
- And your memorialists humbly pray the President, Congress and the people of the United States, that no further steps be taken toward the ratification of said Treaty, or toward the extinguishment of the Hawaiian Nationality, or toward the absorption of the Hawaiian people and territory into the body politic and territory of the United States of America, at least until the Hawaiian people, as represented by those citizens and residents of the Hawaiian Islands who, under the provisions of the Hawaiian Constitution, promulgated July 7, 1887, would be qualified to vote for representatives in the Legislature, shall have had the opportunity to express at the ballot box, their wishes as to whether such project of Annexation shall be accepted or rejected.
- And your memorialists, for themselves, and in behalf of the Hawaiian people, and of the residents of the Hawaiian Islands, pledge their faith that if they shall be accorded the privilege of voting upon said questions, at a free and fair election to be held for that purpose; and if a fair count of the votes that shall be cast at such election shall show a majority in favor of such Annexation, these memorialists, and the Hawaiian people will yield a ready and cheerful acquiescence in said project.
Honolulu, Hawaii October 8, 1897
J. Kalua Hookano
Samuel K. Pua
F. J. Testa
C. B. Maile
Samuel K. Kamakaia, Citizens' Committee
James Keauiluna Kaulia, President of the Hawaiian Patriotic League
David Kalauokalani, President of the Hawaiian Political Association