News from 1898: Capt Sealby honored in Hawaii

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Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
MAB Note: On 13 July 1898, Coptic called at Honolulu en route from San Francisco to Yokohama and Hong Kong in the White Star/Occidental & Oriental transpacific service. When she was off Waikiki she signaled to shore the first report received there that the congressional resolution annexing the Republic of Hawaii to the United States had been passed by Congress and signed by President McKinley on 7 July. (The resolution was called the Newlands Resolution, after then-Congressman (later Senator) Francis G. Newlands of Nevada, who in 1912 was a member of the Senate's Titanic inquiry subcommittee.)

Original article digitized by the University of Hawaii at Manoa
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

Hawaiian Gazette, Honolulu, 15 July 1898

Presentation to Capt. Inman Sealby of the Coptic
A Silver Loving Cup---Address Was Read---Happy Response By the Liner's
Gallant Master

Arrangements were made yesterday morning most hastily for a presentation to
Capt. Inman Sealby, R. N. R., master of the O. &. O. S. S. Coptic, which
brought to Honolulu the news of Annexation. The affair was in the hands of
Geo. W. Smith, chairman of the Committee of 100 on entertainment
of "Boys In Blue" and sailors of the American navy. Mr. Smith selected at
Wichman's a handsome and heavy loving cup and had engraved upon it:
"Annexation. Presented by Citizens to Capt. Inman Sealby, R. N. R., who
brought the Good News to Honolulu."

The presentation took place on the deck of the Coptic at 11:45, fifteen
minutes before the ship steamed out to continue her voyage to the Orient.
Among those present were: American Minister and Mrs. H. M. Sewall, American
Consul Haywood, Attorney General Smith, Geo. W. Smith, Geo. R. Carter, E. R.
Adams, Fred J. Lowrey, Senator J. A. McCandless, J. S. Martin, Postmaster
General Oat, Col. W. F. Allen, J. F. Clay, F. B. McStocker, Dr. M. E.
Grossman, Col. J. F. Soper, Maj. J. W. Jones, Capt. W. C. Wilder, C. E.
Graham, Chas Hall, Jas. Nott, Harry Waterhouse, Clarence Crabbe, Capt. L.
T. Kenake, Pilot M. N. Sanders, Capt. A. Gartenberg, Marshal A. M. Brown.

This letter was read to Capt. Sealby and the cup handed over from the box in
the possession of Dr. M. E. Grossman:

Honolulu, U. S. A., July 14th, 1878
Captain Sealby:
I have been asked by the Committee of One Hundred, and citizens of Honolulu,
to express to you their appreciation of the fact that it was the good ship
Coptic, commanded by yourself, and, by your orders decorated so gaily in
honor of the occasion, that brought the joyful news of the annexation of
Hawaii to the United States.

As a mark of their esteem I take pleasure in presenting to you this cup,
hoping that it may be, in years to come, a reminder of an event momentous in
the history of Hawaii.


Capt. Sealby said in response:

"On behalf of the officers of the ship and for myself personally I thank you
most heartily. I realize that the circumstances of this occasion are those
of.a lifetime and I shall never forget the event. I am proud and happy to
have brought to you the news which is so welcome to you and I consider it
a further honor and distinction to have brought the account of the second
remarkable victory of the American navy in this war. I only wish that the
schedule were so arranged that it could be my privilege and fortune to bring
you tidings of the occupation of Santiago by American troops and the news
that the victories of the United States had culminated in peace. Agaln I
thank you and I shall cherish this beautiful token so long as I may live."

Three cheers were given for Capt. Sealby, three for the Coptic and three for
Minister Sewall, who was referred to by Geo. R. Carter as the "ex-United
States Minister." Mrs. Sewall presented Capt. Sealby with a fine carnation

Capt. Inman Sealby, R. N. R., is a young man yet, but an old sailor. He is
an Englishman. His education for the sea began when he became an apprentice
on a sailing vessel in 1879. On the Pacific before reaching his present
position he was first officer of the Oceanic and the Coptic. Capt. Sealby
has circumnavigated the globe no less than nine times and in all this he has
not met with an accident of a serious nature. As Capt. Sealby is now but 35
years of ago it will be seen that he has advanced rapidly in his chosen
career. Promotion has been well earned. Capt. Sealby is very well liked by
all who know him and always will be welcome in Honolulu.



Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
This isn't something I know a whole lot about, Mike, but the sense I get from the contemporary news reports I've read is that the pro-annexation folks (who had earlier led the overthrow of the monarchy and establishment of the Republic of Hawaii) were largely upper-class business types, most of them "foreigners," i.e., from the US. Note that there don't seem to be any native names in this news report celebrating the "great news."
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