On October 20, 1900, the Maui News published a commentary by its editor, George B. Robertson, that focused on Thomas Clark’s candidacy for Territorial senator from Maui. Thomas Clark was a British subject who applied for naturalization with the Minister of the Interior and was granted Hawaiian citizenship on December 23, 1867.
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The editorial reads: “Thomas Clark, a candidate for Territorial senator from Maui, holds that it was an unconstitutional proceeding on the part of the United States to annex the Islands without a treaty, and that as a matter of fact, the Island[s] are not annexed, and cannot be, and that if the democrats come into power they will show the thing up in its true light and demonstrate that…the Islands are de facto independent at the present time. Thomas, necessity knows no law, and it was absolutely necessary to annex the Islands at the time it was done. And further, Thomas, if it becomes to annex Cuba, it will be quicker tha[n] a wink. It is but fair to give you credit for being honest in your views, Thomas, but you don’t quite understand the American people just yet, hence you are very misleading.”
Thomas Clark was from Wailuku, Maui, and he was a signatory on the 1897 Hawaiian Patriotic League’s Petition against Annexation. He was 42 years of age when he signed the petition on page 245, September 11, 1897. You will notice next to his signature is written “Hawaiian” because Thomas Clark, although formerly British, was a Hawaiian subject.
The reason for the petition was because on June 16, 1897, President William McKinley signed a treaty of annexation with insurgents from Hawai‘i and was preparing to submit it to the United States Senate for approval when it reconvenes in December 1897. McKinley ignored the June 17, 1897 diplomatic protest from Queen Lili‘uokalani, and the July 24, 1897 protests from the Hawaiian Patriotic League (Hui Aloha ‘Aina) and the Hawaiian Political Association (Hui Kalai‘aina). This resulted in activating the Hawaiian Patriotic League and the Hawaiian Political Association in order to gather signatures from the people. According to the 1890 government census, the national citizenry numbered 48, 107. The Patriotic League gathered 21,269 signatures and the Political Association gathered 17,000. The two organizations agreed to only submit the Patriotic League’s petition because the Political Association’s petition could be viewed by the Senate as too pro-monarchy.
The Patriotic League’s Petition was entered into the record of the United States Senate by Massachusetts Senator George Fisbie Hoar when it convened in December of 1897. As a result of these signature petitions, the Senate could not garner 2/3’s of the Senators to ratify the McKinley treaty. By March the treaty was dead. On July 7, 1898, a joint resolution of annexation was signed by President McKinley purporting to annex the Hawaiian Islands justified as a war measure, but Congressional legislation has no force and effect beyond the borders of the United States. (See U.S. State of Hawai‘i is a War Crime under International Law). Thomas Clark knew this.
Propaganda was effectively used to disguise the occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom as if the Hawaiian Islands were annexed by a treaty and made a part of the United States. Thomas Clark knew the Hawaiian Kingdom was still independent, but propaganda did not spare the generations after.