When France commenced her agitations for special concessions in the 1850's, the King, under the influence of his American advisors, drew up a deed of cessation to the United States. The commanding officer of the USS Vandalia had his ship stand by to prevent the intervention of any foreign power during the interim before Washington's reply. With the death of the king, the retirement of the French forces, and the foreign policy of the Fillmore administration, the cessation idea fell into discard. The Navy Department received orders, however, to keep the naval armament of the U.S. in the Pacific to guarantee the safety of the Hawaiian Government.
When Queen Liliokalani was dethroned in the palace revolution of 1893 (17 January), the military influence of the USS Boston, in Honolulu Harbor, insured its success. In 1895, when the Royalists attempted a counter-revolution, an American warship's presence (USS Philadelphia) dampened the possibility for success. The provisional government under Sanford Dole made the final appeal for annexation when the military necessity of the islands became apparent. In 1898, as the U.S. attempted to transport troops, livestock and equipment to the Philippines, the importance of the islands as a depot or reshipping point became obvious.
Annexation was approved on 6 July 1898, and on 12 August 1898, the U.S. flag was run up over the palace. Within a month Commander Z.L. Tanner was given orders to proceed to Honolulu for temporary duty to prepare planes for wharves, coal sheds, and warehouses for naval purposes. He was also instructed to make a survey of Pearl Harbor which might be utilized "sometime in the future." Contracts were let this same year for increasing the capacity of the coal sheds from 1,000 to 20,000 tons and the construction of two piers. The Presidential proclamation of November 1898, reserved certain land in Honolulu and Hawaii for naval purposes and coal sheds.
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