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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the fiftieth Congress, 1888-'90
(1888-1889)

Hawaii,   pp. 832-875 ff. PDF (19.9 MB)


Page 839


                                   HAWAII.                              
   839
and "An act to provide for the discharge of certain duties hitherto
performed by the
governors," according to the intent and meaning of the constitution,
and that said
message and the action thereon based is of no effect; and be it further
  IRe8olved, That said bills, with the message accompanying them, shall be,
and are
hereby, through the cabinet forthwith referred back to his majesty for such
further
or final action as may be necessary; and be it further
  Resolved, That a committee of thirteen members of this assembly be appointed
to
wait upon his majesty with the cabinet, and inform him respectfully of the
action
of the legislature in the premises.
  The resolution was seconded by Noble Waterhouse.
  Noble Baldwin moved the resolution be adopted. Seconded by Noble Dole.
  Representative Nakaleka moved indefinite postponement.
  Noble Castle said: The issue presented is very grave and must be decided
only
after careful and exhaustive discussion and examination. It calls for a construction
by the legislature of the true intent and meaning of the constitution. It
is to be
regretted that so many important matters have been brought forward at this
session,
when the constitution is young, the legislature inexperienced, and the government
hardly in full grasp of the reins of control under the new order of things.
But, have
it as we would, the issue has arisen and must be decided.
  The question is placed before us and we must indicate what, in our opinion,
are
the limitations upon the power of the KingI What are the limitations upon
the leg-
islative power 1, Whose is the legislative power of the kingdomI The honorable
member for Molokai, Mr. Nakaleka, resents this as a thrust at the King. He
says
that we can not~compel the King to do or not to do anything. The honorable
memr- -
ber must be reminded that in this matter the legislature is not the inferior
of the
King. It stands as his equal, and may express its opinion as to the legality
and con-
stitutionality of his acts.
  In this copntry we have had a government which, in the short space of a
genera-
tion, has progressed from an irresponsible monarchy to the constitutional
government
of a free people. The constitution and laws of 1839 were a recognition of
the exist-
ence of rights inherent in the people. The constitution of 1852 admitted
still more
of those rights. The constitution of 1864 was an attempt to abridge and curtail
them, and, so long as the administration under that constitution was for
the general
good of the public, no one suffered and the abridgment of public right was
not ap-
preciable. But when the powers and abuse of popular right possible thereunder
began to press upon the people, they arose and demanded reformation and recognition
of public right. The constitution of July, 1887, is the answer, and by it
we have
obtained and intend to retain the right to make our own laws and to have
a true
representative and responsible government.
  While our system of constitutional government is in many respects peculiar
to our-
selves, yet we can not avoid comparison with other countries under the reign
of con-
stitutional law. Our system resembles that of Great Britain, the mother of
all free-
dom, rather than that of the United States of America. In the latter no cabinet,
as
of constitutional right, sits with and assa part of the legislature or Congress.
The
Executive is not represented in any respect in, the legislative department.
In this
country, as in England, the cabinet forms a part of the legislature and is
responsible
to it. Here the cabinet is not elective, but our present fundamental law
expressly,
makes the cabinet responsible to the House, and if not in accord, the King
must remove
them upon a vote of want of confidence. In England the cabinet is composed
of
elective members of the Parliament, at least as to a portion of them. No
cabinet in
the United States can be removed by the law-making power. Here and in the
Brit-
ish Empire the cabinets are made and unmade by the legislature.
  The veto power is given by the constitution of each of the United States
to the
governors, and by that of the Federal Union to the PresidentT That power
is fre-
quently exercised. It can be overcome by a two-thirds vote of the legislature,
and
if such vote can not be obtained and the veto power is exercised contrary
to public
policy, the people simply wait for a short term, until the expiration of
the term of
office of the President or governor when another man is elected whose views
are in
accord with such policy. But no such relief-can be had in a constitutional
monarchy;
the sovereign reigns till death ensues, and in some senses this might be
called for-
ever.
  In England the veto power may be said to exist as one of the prerogatives
of the
crown, but it has not been exercised since 1707, during the reign of Queen
Anne, and,
in fact, the power is obsolete. No sovereign of England would dare to nullify
the act
of the Parliament. It will not and can not be done so long as the principle
of re-
sponsibility exists. This principle is what our constitution establishes.
It is for this
that the country arose as one man in June last, and compelled the recognition
of these
principles in the grant of the new constitution.
  Without a review of the growth of this principle of responsible government,
we
now comeo to the question of what is the proper construction of our constitution.


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