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155 In the spring of 1887, Moreno published a new pamphlet, The Position of Men and Affairs in Hawaii, a long “Open Letter to His Majesty King Kalakaua ,” dated Washington, August 7, 1886. From the first lines there was a new request for reimbursement of the expenses that Moreno incurred for the maintenance of Wilcox, Booth, and Boyd. The bill should have been settled at least six years earlier, but the king had remained deaf and blind “at the instigation of your Guizot, the Mormon criminal Walter Murray Gibson,” forgetting “your duty as an honest man, friend, and king.” Since July 1882, Kalakaua had made it known on many occasions that if Moreno contacted Gibson, he would be paid soon. But Moreno had not done so because, as he wrote, “I do not wish to dishonor myself by entering into a correspondence with a Mormon convict and fugitive, whose position should be in the barrier reef [the state prison in Honolulu] for life and not in the government.” To Moreno, Gibson was nothing but a permanent insult to decency and morality who would ultimately foment the people’s hatred against the king. Gibson was a very ambiguous character indeed. After the adventures that we related in Chapter 5, he purchased the Honolulu newspaper Pacific c h a p t e r 9 The Destiny of Hawaii 156 The Destiny of Hawaii Commercial Advertiser in 1880. He had endured defeat, while Moreno, in no time, had supplanted him in Kalakaua’s heart. But then Gibson eclipsed the Captain’s star in 1882, when the king appointed him minister of foreign affairs. In 1886, Kalakaua promoted him to prime minister. In his new pamphlet, Moreno called Gibson a reborn Judas Iscariot in search of the protection needed to free himself from his uncomfortable past as an escaped convict from a Dutch prison. Gibson, he said, had not hesitated to devise a plan to either dethrone his benefactor Kalakaua or force him to abdicate. Moreno lamented the fact that John E. Bush had decided to admit Gibson “as a member of the special council.” In Gibson’s luck, Moreno saw the signs of an elaborate plot. All his enemies from his Hawaiian period played some part in it: All the stupid rumors, lies, slander, intimidation, and quixotic boasting of the so-called “great American general, statesman, and journalist ” namely that trombone by the name of Comly from Toledo, Ohio, and his absolute padroni Clauss Spreckles [sic] and the pusillanimous Christian missionaries (who are very rich and pay their servile tools well), in the months of August and September 1880, they did well by their religious rival, the Mormon missionary W.M. Gibson, who is the living antithesis of their beliefs, of their customs, of their trafficking.1 Gibson, according to Moreno, had no qualifications for the role of prime minister. He was nothing but “an ordinary crook, a shameless charlatan of low rank, a slimy, callous, and superficial politician” who was seriously undermining the Kingdom, and who would bring Kalakaua to the same humiliating exile that had already happened to Ismail Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt: “A similar crisis is rapidly approaching Hawaii, whether because of the exasperation of the natives and resident foreigners or foreign interference, and he who does not see it is blind.”2 Moreno positioned his Hawaiian misadventures within a wider geopolitical framework. It was no accident that he was “the projector” of the transpacific cable, and Cyrus W. Field was “the opposer.” It was he who sent “the hypocrite son of a missionary ‘General’ Armstrong” to Hawaii in 1880 to plot against the project and against Moreno with the assistance of Comly and another suitable accomplice, the Italian consul Schaefer, who had been “appointed without even being known to the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs.” Moreno, as usual, dedicated numerous poisonous passages to Schaefer in his pamphlet. He had sent Rome a series of “false” reports against Moreno and against the king himself in 1880 and 1881. The Destiny of Hawaii 157 Moreno claimed that he had read three confidential reports about the Reciprocity Treaty, and advised that it was intended to make Kalakaua a second-rate figure, handing the real power to Gibson and Spreckels. They were laughing about Kalakaua in public, in San Francisco, Washington, Philadelphia, and New York. Therefore the king should get rid of such a dangerous entourage as soon as possible and recover the dignity of his...


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